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1062

DOMIT1ANUS.

undertakings and other occurrences of the time. In A. d. 84 he undertook an expedition against the Chatti, which does not seem to have been alto­gether unsuccessful, for we learn from Frontinus (Strateg. 1. 3), that he constructed the frontier wall between the free Germans and those who were subject to Rome, so that he must at any rate have succeeded in confining the barbarians within their own territory. After his return to Rome he celebrated a triumph, and assumed the name of Germanicus. In the same year Agricola, whose success and merits excited his jealousy, was recalled to Rome, ostensibly for the purpose of celebrating a triumph ; but he was never sent back to his post, which was given to another person. [agrjcola.] The most dangerous enemy of Rome at that time was Decebalus, king of the Dacians. Domitian himself took the field against him, but the real management of the war was left to his generals. Simultaneously with this war another was carried on against the Marcomanni and Quadi, who had refused to furnish the Ro­mans with the assistance against Decebalus, which they were bound to do by a treaty. The Ro­mans were defeated bv them, and the conse-

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quence was, that Domitian was obliged to conclude peace with Decebalus on very humiliating terms, a. d. 87. [decebalus.] Another dangerous oc­currence was the revolt of L. Antonius in Upper Germany; but this storm was luckily averted by an unexpected overflow of the Rhine over its banks, which prevented the German auxiliaries, whom Antonius expected, from joining him; so that the rebel was easily conquered by L. Appius Norbanus, in A. d. 91. An insurrection of the Nasamones in Africa was of less importance, and was easily suppressed by Flaccus, the governor of Numidia.

But it is the cruelty and tyranny of Domitian that have given his reign an unenviable notoriety. His natural tendencies burst forth with fresh fury after the Dacian war. His fear and his injured pride and vanity led him to delight in the misfortunes and -sufferings of those whom he hated and envied; and the most distinguish­ed men of the time, especially among the se­nators, had to bleed for their excellence; while, on the other hand, he tried to Avin the populace and the soldiers by large donations, and by public games and fights in the circus and amphitheatre, in which even women appeared among the gladia­tors, and in which he himself took great delight. For the same reason he increased the pay of the soldiers, and the sums he thus expended were ob­tained from the rich by violence and murder; and when in the end he found it impossible to obtain the means for paying his soldiers, he was obliged to reduce their number. The provinces were less exposed to his tyranny, and it was especially Rome and Italy that felt his iron grasp. The ex­pression of thought and sentiment was suppressed or atrociously persecuted, unless men would de­grade themselves to flatter the tyrant. The silent fear and fearful silence which prevailed during the latter years of Domitian's reign in Rome and Italy are briefly but energetically described by Tacitus in the introduction to his Life of Agricola, and his vices and tyranny are exposed in the strongest colours by the withering satire of Juvenal. All the philosophers who lived at Rome were expelled; from which, however, we cannot infer, as sonic

DOMITIANUS.

writers do, that lie hated all philosophical and sci­entific pursuits; the cause being in all probability no other than his vanity and ambition, which could not bear to be obscured by others. Christian writers attribute to him a persecution of the Chris­tians likewise ; but there is no other evidence for it, and the belief seems to have arisen from the strict­ness with which he exacted the tribute from the Jews, and which may have caused much suffering to the Christians also.

As in all similar cases, the tyrant's own cruelty brought about his ruin. Three officers of his court, Parthenius, Sigerius, and Entellus, whom Domitian intended to put to death (this secret was betrayed to them by Domitia, the emperor's wife, who was likewise on the list), formed a conspiracy against his life. Stephanus, a freedman, who was employed by the conspirators, contrived to obtain admission to the emperor's bed-room, and gave him a letter to read. While Domitian was perusing the letter, in which the conspirators' plot -was 'revealed to him, Stephanus plunged a dagger into his abdomen. A violent struggle ensued between the two, until the other conspirators arrived. Domitian fell, after having received seven wounds, on the 18th of Sep­tember, a. d. 96. Apollonius of Tyana, who was then at Ephesus, at the moment Domitian was murdered at Rome, is said to have run across the market-place, and to have exclaimed, "That is right, Stephanus, slay the murderer !"

CU1N OF DOMITIAN,

There are few rulers who better deserve the name of a cruel tyrant than Domitian. The last three years of his reign form one of the most frightful periods that occur in the history of man; but he cannot be called a brutal monster or a madman like Caligula and Nero, for he possessed talent and a cultivated mind ; and although Pliny and Quintilian, who place his poetical productions by the side of those of the greatest masters, are obvi­ously guilty of servile flattery, yet his poetical works cannot have been entirely without merit. His fondness and esteem for literature are attested by the quinquennial contest which he instituted in honour of the Capitoline Jupiter, and one part of which consisted of a musical contest. Both prose writers and poets in Greek as well as in Latin re­cited their productions, and the victors were re­warded with golden crowns. He further instituted the pension for distinguished rhetoricians, which Quintilian enjoyed; and if we look at the compa­ratively flourishing condition of Roman literature during that time, we cannot help thinking that it was, at least in great measure, the consequence of the influence which he exercised and of the encourage­ment which he afforded. It is extremely probable that we still possess one of the literary productions of Domitian in the Latin paraphrase of Aratus's Phaenomena, which is usually attributed to Ger­manicus, the grandson of Augustus. The argu­ments for this opinion have been clearly set forth by Rutgersius ( Var, Led, iii. p. 276), and it is

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