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1165

NERO,

book of Tacitus ends, and the fate of the des- j picable tyrant has not been transmitted to us in the words of the indignant historian, who himself is compelled to apologise for his tedious record of crimes and bloodshed. (Tacit. Ann. xvi. 16.)

The time chosen for the death of Thrasea and Soranus was that when Tiridates was preparing to make his entry into Rome. The Armenian king came by land to Rome with his wife and his children. The provinces that he passed through had to support the expense of his numerous train. He entered Italy from Illyricum, and was received by Nero at Naples, before whom he fell on his knees, and acknowledged him as his lord. Tiridates was conducted to Rome, where he humbled himself before Nero in the theatre, who gave him the crown of Armenia and permission to rebuild Artaxata (Dion Cass. Ixiii. 6). Tiridates went home by way of Brundusium. Vologeses was invited to Rome by Nero to go through the same ceremony, but he declined the honour, and suggested that if Nero .wished to see him he should come to Asia. (Dion Cass. Ixiii. 7.)

Nero formed some plans for extending the em­pire, and various expeditions were talked of, but Nero was not a soldier: he had not even that Roman virtue. In the latter part of this year he visited.Achaea with a great train, to show his skill to the Greeks as a musician and charioteer, and to receive the honours which were liberally bestowed upon him. While Nero was in Achaea, Cestius Gallus, the governor of Syria, sent him intelligence of his defeat by the Jews, who were in arms ; on which Nero sent Vespasian, the future emperor, to carry on the war against them, and Mucianus to take the administration of Syria.

In the year a. d. 67 Nero was present at the Olympic games, which had been deferred from the year 65 in order that so distinguished a person might be present. To commemorate his visit he declared all Achaea to be free, which was publicly proclaimed at Corinth on the day of the celebration of the Isthmian games. But the Greeks paid dear for what they got, by the price of every thing being raised in consequence of Nero's visit; and they witnessed one of his acts of cruelty, in putting to death, at the Isthmian games, a singer whose voice drowned that of the imperial performer. (Lucian, Nero^ vol. iii. p. 642. ed. Hemst.) Nero also paid a visit to Delphi, and got a kind of indirect promise of a long life; but other matters reported about this visit are somewhat confusedly told by different authorities. He also designed a canal across the Isthmus, which was commenced with great parade, and Nero himself first struck the ground with a golden spade. The works were carried on vigorously fora time, but were suspended by his own orders. While Nero was in Greece he summoned Corbulo there in an affectionate letter, but, on the old soldier arriving at Cenchreae, Nero sent orders to put him to death, which Corbulo anticipated by stabbing himself. Thus perished a man who had served the empire and the emperor faithfully, and whose military talent and integrity entitled him to the name of a genuine Roman. (Dion. Ixiii. 17.)

Nero had left Helius a freedman in the adminis­tration of Rome, with full power to do as he pleased, which power he abused. Helius, foresee­ing the mischief that was preparing for his master, wrote to request him to return to R,ome, and

NERO.

finally he went to Greece to urge his departure. Nero left Greece probably in the autumn of a. d. 67. He entered Rome in triumph, as befitted an Olympic victor, through a breach made in the walls, riding in the car of Augustus, with a musician at his side ; and he displayed the nume^ rous crowns that he had received in his Grecian visit. Music, chariot driving, and the like amuse­ments, occupied this foolish man until, as Tille-mont naively remarks, the rising in Spain and Gaul gave him other occupation.

Silius Italicus, the poet, and Galerius Trachalus were consuls a. d. 68, the last year of Nero's life. The storm that had long been preparing broke out in Gaul, where Julius Vindex, the governor of Celtica, called the people together, and, pointing out their grievances, and pourtraying the despi­cable character of Nero, urged them to revolt. Vindex was soon at the head of a large army, and he wrote to Galba, who was governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, to offer his assistance in raising him to the imperial power. Galba at the same time learned that Nero had sent orders to put him to death, on which he made a public harangue against the crimes of Nero, and was proclaimed emperor ; but he only assumed the title of legatus of the senate and the Roman people. Nero was at Naples when he heard of the rising in Gaul, which gave him little concern, and he went on with his ordinary amusements. At last he came to Rome, where he heard of the insurrection of Galba, which threw him into a violent fit of passion and alarm, but he had neither ability nor courage to organise any effectual means of resistance. The senate de­clared Galba an enemy of the state ; and Nero, for some reason or other, deprived the two consuls of their office, and made himself sole consul. This was his fifth consulate. Possibly he had some vague idea of putting himself more distinctly at the head of affairs with the title of sole consul, which Cn. Pompeius had once enjoyed before him and C. Julius Caesar.

Verginius Rufus, governor in Upper Germany, a man of ability and integrity, was not favourable to the pretensions of Galba. Rufus first marched against Vindex, and was supported by those parts of Gaul which bordered on the Rhine ; the town of Lyon, with others, declared against Vindex; Verginius laid siege to Vesontio (Besanqon), and Vindex came to relieve it, The two generals had a conference, and appear to have come to some agreement; but, as Vindex was going to enter the town, the soldiers of Verginius, thinking that he was about to attack them, fell on the troops of Vindex. The whole affair is very confused ; but the fact that Vindex perished, or killed himself, is certain. The soldiers now destroyed the statues of Nero, and proclaimed Verginius as Augustus ; but he steadily refused the honour, and declared that he would submit to the orders of the senate. The death of Vindex discouraged Galba, who was be­ginning to lose all hopes, when he received intelli­gence from Rome that he was recognised as the successor of Nero.

A famine at Rome, and the exertion that Nero was making to raise money, hastened his ruin. Nymphidius Sabinus, who was now praefectus praetorio with Tigellinus, taking advantage of a rumour that Nero was going to fly to Egypt, per­suaded the troops to proclaim Galba. Nero was immediately deserted. He escaped from the

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