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NERVA, ACU'TIUS, one of the consules suffecti in the reign of Trajan, A. d. 100. (Fasti; Plin. Ep. ii. 12.)
NERVA,COCCEIUS. 1. M. cocceius nerva, was consul with L. Gellius Poplicola, b.c. 36. (Dion Cass. xlviii. 54.) He is probably the Coc-ceius who brought about the reconciliation between M. Antonius and Caesaf Oetavianus, b. c. 40, though this Cocceius is called Lucius by Appian (B. C. v. 60, &c.); and also the Cocceius mentioned by Horace (Sat. i. 5. 28, &c.). He is sometimes considered to be the grandfather of the emperor Nerva, and consequently the same person who died in the time of Tiberius, a. d. 33, which is not possible.
2. M. cocceius nerva, who died a. d. 33, was probably the son of the consul of b. c. 36 : he was the grandfather of the emperor Nerva. This Nerva was consul with C. Vibius Rufinus, a. D. 22 : Tacitus (Ann. iv. 58) says that he had been consul. He was one of the intimate friends of Tiberius Caesar, who gave him the superintendence of the aqueducts of Rome (Frontinus, De Aquaeduct. ii.). Nerva accompanied Tiberius in his retirement from Rome A. d. 26. In the year A. d. 33, he resolutely starved himself to death, notwithstanding the intreaties of Tiberius, whose constant companion he was. Tacitus (Ann. vi. 26) and Dion Cassius (Iviii. 21) give different reasons for this resolution of Nerva, but we may infer from both of them that Nerva was tired of his master. Tacitus says, that he was profoundly skilled in the law. He is often mentioned in the Digest (43. tit. 8. s. 2 ; 16. tit. 3. s. 32), and he wrote several legal works, but the title of no one of them is mentioned.
3. M. cocceius nerva, was the son of the jurist. He must have been a precocious youth, if we rightly understand Ulpian (Dig. 3. tit. i. s. 1), when he says that he gave responsa (puUice de jure •responsitasse) at the age of seventeen or a little more. He is probably the Cocceius Nerva mentioned by Tacitus (Ann. xv. 72) as Praetor Designatus. He wrote a work De Usucapionibus (Dig. 41. tit. 2. s. 47) as Papinian states ; and he is often cited in the Digest under the name of Nerva Filius. Gaius (Instil, ii. 195, iii. 133) cites Nerva, without saying whether he means the father or the son. [G. L ]
NERVA, M. COCCEIUS, Roman emperor, a. d. 96—98, was born at Narnia, in Umbria (Aur. Vict. Epit. 12), as some interpret the wor^s of Victor, or rather his family was from Narnia. yHis father was probably the jurist, No. 3. The time of his birth was a. d. 32, inasmuch as he died in January, a. d. 98,.at the age of nearly sixty-six (Dion Cass. Ixviii. 4). He was consul with Vespasian, A. d. 71, and with Domitian, a. d. 90. Tillemont supposes him to be the Nerva mentioned by Tacitus (Ann. xv. 72), but this Nerva is, perhaps, the father of the emperor.
Nerva was probably at Rome when Domitian was assassinated, and privy to the conspiracy, though Aurelius Victor (de Caes. 12) seems to intend to say that he was in Gaul, which is very improbable. His life was saved from the cruelty of Domitian by the emperor's superstition, who believed an astrologer's prediction that Nerva would
soon die a natural death (Dion Cass. Ixvii. 15). On the assassination of Domitian, in September, A. d. 96, Nerva was declared emperor at Rome by-the people and the soldiers, and his administration at once restored tranquillity to the state. He stopped proceedings against those who, under the system of Ms predecessor, had been accused of treason (majestas), and allowed many exiled persons to return to Rome. The class of informers were suppressed by penalties (Plin. Panegyr. c. 35) ; some were put to death, among whom was the philosopher Sura ; and, conformably to the old law, Nerva declared that slaves and freedmen should never be examined as witnesses against their masters or patrons when accused of a crime (Dion Cass. Ixvii. 1). These measures were necessary to restore order and confidence after the suspicious and cruel administration of Domitian. But there was weakness in the character of Nerva, as appears from the following anecdote. He was entertaining Junius Mauricus and Fabius Veiento at table. Veiento had played the part of an accuser (delator) under Domitian. The conversation turned on Catullus Messallinus, who was then dead, but had been an infamous informer under Domitian. " What would this Catullus be doing," said Nerva, "if he were alive now ;5' to which Mauricus bluntly replied, " he would be supping with us" (Aur. Vict. Epit. 12).
The public events of his short reign were few and unimportant ; and it is chiefly his measures of internal administration of which there are any records. Nerva attempted to relieve the poverty of many of the citizens by buying land and distributing it among them, one of the remedies for distress which the Romans had long tried, and with little advantage. The practice of occasionally distributing money among the poor citizens, and allowances of grain, still continued under Nerva, one of the parts of Roman administration which continually kept alive the misery for which it supplied temporary relief. He also diminished the expences of the state by stopping many of the public shows and festivals. Many enactments, by which we must understand Senatus consulta, were passed in his time, among which the prohibition against making eunuchs is worthy of notice 5 but Domitian had already made the same regulation in the beginning of his reign (Dion Cass. Ixvii. 2), whence we must conclude that the law had either been repealed or required some stricter penalties to enforce it.
In the second year of his reign, Nerva was consul, for the third time, with L. Verginius Rufus, also for the third time consul. Rufus had been proclaimed emperor by the soldiers in the time of Nero, A. d. 68, but had refused the dangerous honour. The emperor made no difficulty about associating Rufus with himself in the consulship, but Rufus was a very old man, and soon died. Calpurnius Crassus, a descendant of the Crassi of the republic, with others, conspired against the emperor, but the plot was discovered, and Nerva rebuked the conspirators by putting into their hands at a show of gladiators, the swords with which the men were going to fight, and asking' the conspirators, in the usual way, if they were sharp enough. This anecdote, if true, shows that the exhibitions of gladiators were in use under Nerva. The text of Dion does not state what was the punishment of Crassus, but Victor (Epit. 12) says that Crassus was rele-