The Veneti and Vindelici of Aurelius Victor

Sextus Aurelius Victor (circa 320 – circa 390) was a historian and politician of the Roman Empire. He was a governor of Pannonia Secunda so he was familiar with the going ons in that region.

Four works have at various times been attributed to him:

  • The Origin of the Roman People (Origo Gentis Romanae)
  • On the Illustrious Roman Men (De Viris Illustribus Romae)
  • Book of the Caesars (Liber de Caesaribus)
  • Epitome [short history] of the Caesars (Epitome de Caesaribus)

Apparently, only his authorship of the Liber is confirmed and his authorship of the Epitome is now rejected.  Both of these works are supposed to have been based on a hypothesized 4th century history, the so-called Enmann’s Kaisergeschichte (whose existence has not been confirmed). 

The Book and the Epitome

In any event in the Book of the Caesars the Venetic name comes up twice and in the Epitome there is a mention of the Vindelici.  For those reasons both are mentioned here. The most interesting mention is that in the Book which talks about Julianus, the corrector of the Veneti. This is a reference to Marcus Aurelius Sabinus Julianus (or Julian of Pannonia, ? – circa 285 – 286) who was an imperial usurper. The corrector is a Roman administrative title, like a “fixer” sent by the Emperor to get things straightened out in the provinces.  Apparently, fixers, sometimes rebelled agains their masters.  The corrector title also appears in other instances with reference to the region of Venetia (such as corrector Venetiae et Histriae – for example, Attius Insteius Tertullus or C. Vettius Cossinius (!) Rufinus). Yet in the Aurelius Victor work, the author mentions the Veneti – not Venetia (Venetos correctura). Our knowledge of this comes from certain inscriptions – described here in the Böcking edition of the Notitia Dignitatum:

(BTW The reference in that text above on the right side is to the famous description from Procopius’ Gothic Wars (part I, 15): “And adjoining this is the land of Precalis, beyond which is the territory called Dalmatia, all of which is counted as part of the western empire. And beyond that point is Liburnia, and Istria, and the land of the Veneti extending to the city of Ravenna. These countries are situated on the sea in that region. But above them are the Siscii and Suevi (not those who are subjects of the Franks, but another group), who inhabit the interior. And beyond these are settled the Carnii and Norici. On the right of these dwell the Dacians and Pannonians, who hold a number of towns, including Singidunum and Sirmium, and extend as far as the Ister River. Now these peoples north of the Ionian Gulf were ruled by the Goths at the beginning of this war, but beyond the city of Ravenna on the left of the river Po the country was inhabited by the Ligurians.”)

Earlier in the Book of the Caesars, the region of Venetia is mentioned.  Finally, there is also mention of Carnuntum in Pannonia which was at the edges of Marcomarus’ kingdom.

In the Epitome, we have the mention of Octavian’s conquest of, among others, the Raeti, Vindelici and Dalmatae as well as the Suevi and Chatti and too of the Pannoni and the Getae and Bastarnae.

The Book comes from thelatinlibrary.com which is an excellent source site. The English translation is from H.W. Bird’s 1994 edition. For the Epitome I used Franz Pichlmayr’s 1911 edition.  The English translation of the relevant section is the recent one by Thomas Banchich from 2009 (which is also based on Pichlmayr’s edition).

Book of the Caesars
Liber de Caesaribus
(chapter 16)
English

“For he [Antoninus Pius] adopted into his family and into the imperial power M. Boionius [Marcus Aurelius], who is known as Aurelius Antoninus, and was from the same town and of equal nobility, but far superior in the purists of philosophy and eloquence. All his actions and decisions, both civil and military, were divinely inspired: but his inability to restrain his wife soiled this for she had erupted to such a degree of shamelessness that while staying in Campania she would haunt the beauty spots along the coast to puck out those sailors, because they mostly work in the nude, (who would deb) particularly suitable for her disgraceful passions. Accordingly, when his father-in-law and died at Lorium at the age of seventy-five, Aurelius straightway admitted his brother, Lucius Verus, to a share of his power. Under his leadership, the Persians under their king, Vologeses, though at first they had been victorious, finally yielded a triumph. Lucius died within a few a days, thus providing material for the invention that he had been destroyed by the treater of his brother who, they say, was vexed with envy at his exploits and had devised the following deception at dinner. For, with one side of a knife smeared with poison, he cut a piece of a sow’s udder with it and deliberately set it aside. He ate one slice and, as is customary among close friends, he offered the other, which the poisson had touched, to his brother. Only minds with criminal inclinations can believe this of such  great man, especially since it is generally acknowledged that Lucius died of illness at Altinum, a city in Venetia, and that Marcus possessed such wisdom, gentleness, integrity and learning that as he was about to march against the Marcomanni with his son Commoduus, whom he had substituted as Caesar, he was surrounded by a throng of philosophers begging him not to commit himself to a campaign or to battle before he had explained some difficult and very obscure points of the philosophical systems. So in their eagerness for learning they feared that the uncertainties of war would endanger his safety:L and fine arts flourished to such an extent during his region that I consider precisely this to have been the glory of the times. Ambiguities of the law were admirably clarified and, by eliminating the custom of posting bail, the right of laying a charge and having it disposed of on the determined date was duly established. Roman citizenship was granted without discrimination to all and many cities were founded, settled, restored or embellished and in particular Punic Carthage, which fire had terribly ravaged, and Ephesus in Asia and Nocomedia in Bithynia, which had been leveled by an earthquake, just as Nicomedia was in our time during the consulship of Cerealis. Triumphs were celebrated over nations which, under  King Marcomarus, used to extend all the way from the Pannonian city which is called Carnuntum to the centre of Gaul. So in the eighteenth year of his reign he died in the prime of his life at Vienna, to the very great distress of all people. Finally the senators and common folk, who are divided in other matters, voted everything to him alone, temples, columns and priests.”

Latin

Namque M. Boionium, qui Aurelius Antoninus habetur, eodem oppido, pari nobilitate, philosophandi vero eloquentiaeque studiis longe praestantem, in familiam atque imperium ascivit. Cuius divina omnia domi militiaeque facta consultaque; quae imprudentia regendae coniugia attaminavit, quae in tantum petulantiae proruperat, ut in Campania sedens amoena litorum obsideret ad legendes ex nauticis, quia plerumque nudi agunt, flagitiis aptiores. Igitur Aurelius socero apud Lorios anno vitae post quintum et septuagesimum mortuo confestim fratrem Lucium Verum in societatem potentiae accepit. Eius ductu Persae, cum primum superavissent, ad extremum triumpho cessere, rege Vologeso. Lucius paucis diebus moritur, hincque materies fingendi dolo consanguinei circumventum; quem ferunt, cum invidia gestarum rerum angeretur, fraudem inter coenam exercuisse. Namque lita veneno cultri parte vulvae frustum, quod de industria solum erat, eo praecidit consumptoque uno, uti mos est inter familiares, alterum, qua virus contigerat, germano porrexit. Haec in tanto viro credere nisi animi ad scelus proni non queunt, quippe cum Lucium satis constet Altini, Venetiae urbe, morbo consumptum, tantumque Marco sapientiae lenitudinis innocentiae ac litterarum fuisse, ut is Marcomannos cum filio Commodo, quem Caesarem suffecerat, petiturus philosophorum turba obtestantium circumfunderetur, ne expeditioni aut pugnae se prius committeret, quam sectarum ardua ac perocculta explanavisset. Ita incerta belli in eius salute doctrinae studiis metuebantur; tantumque illo imperante floruere artes bonae, ut illam gloriam etiam temporum putem. Legum ambigua mire distincta, vadimoniorumque sollemni remoto denuntiandae litis operiendaeque ad diem commode ius introductum. Data cunctis promiscue civitas Romana, multaeque urbes conditae deductae repositae ornataeque, atque inprimis Poenorum Garthago, quam ignis foede consumpserat, Asiaeque Ephesus ac Bithyniae Nicomedia constratae terrae motu, aeque ac nostra aetate Nicomedia Cereali consule. Triumphi acti ex nationibus, quae regi Marcomaro ab usque urbe Pannoniae, cui Carnuto nomen est, ad media Gallorum protendebantur. Ita anno imperii octavo decimoque aevi validior Vendobonae interiit, maximo gemitu mortalium omnium. Denique, qui seiuncti in aliis, patres ac vulgus soli omnia decrevere, templa columnas sacerdotes.

Book of the Caesars
Liber de Caesaribus
(chapter 39)
English

[After the death of Probus, Carus becomes emperor and his sons Carinus (older) and Numerian (younger) become Caesars.  Carinus is sent to Gaul while Carus and Numerian head out to Mesopotamia to fight the Persians. Carus dies and Numerian is murdered, while sick, by Aper his father-in-law.]

“But after the crime had been betrayed by the odor of his decomposing limbs, at a council of generals and tribunes Valerius Diocletian, commander of the household troops, was selected because of his good sense. He was a great man, yet he had the following characteristics: he was, in fact, the first who really desired a supply of silk, purple and gems for his sandals, together with a gold-brocaded robe. Although these things went beyond good taste and betrayed a vain and haughty disposition, they were nevertheless trivial in comparison with the rest. For he was the first of all [emperors] after Caligula and Domitian to permit himself to be called ‘Lord’ in public and to be worshipped and addressed as a god. From these indications, as far as I can understand, I have concluded that all men from the humblest backgrounds, especially when they have attained exalted positions, are excessive in their pride and ambition. For this reason Marius, in our ancestors’ times, and he [Valerius Diocletian] in ours, went beyond the common limits since a mind that has never experienced power is insatiable like a man saved from starvation. Consequently, it seems strange to me that most people accuse the nobility of arrogance whereas, in preserving the memory of its patrician origins, it has some right to assert its eminence as compensation for the annoyances by which it is afflicted. But these faults in Valerius were effaced by the other good qualities, and especially by the fact that although he allowed himself to be called ‘Lord’ he acted like a parent; and it is fairly certain that this shrewd man wanted to demonstrate that it was the harshness of circumstances rather than of titles that created obstacles.”

Julianus

“Meanwhile Carinus [the older son of Carus], informed of what had happened and in the hope that he might more easily put down the revolts that were breaking out, hastily made it for Illyricum by skirting Italy.  There he scattered Julianus’ battle line and cut him down. For the latter [Julianus], while he was governing the Veneti as corrector, had learned of Carus’ death and in his eagerness to seize the imperial power he had advanced to meet the approaching enemy.  Moreover when Carinus reached Moesia he straightway joined battle with Diocletian near the Margus, but while he was in hot pursuit of his defeated foes he died under the blows of his own men because he could not control his lust and used to seduce many of his soldiers’ wives. Their husbands had grown increasingly hostile but they had nevertheless put aside their anger and resentment to see how the war turned out. Since it was going quite successfully for him, in fear that a man of such character would become more and more overbearing in victory, they avenged themselves. That was the end of Carus and his children. Narbonne was their native city; they ruled for two years. Consequently, Valerius, in his first speech to the army, drew his sword, gazed up at the sun and while attesting that he had no knowledge of Numerian’s murder and had not wanted the imperial power, with one blow he transfixed Aper was standing right beside him. It was through his treachery, as we have shown above, that the good and eloquent young man [Numerian], his son-in-law, had perished. Pardon was granted to the rest and practically all the enemy were retained, especially one outstanding man named Aristobulus, the praetorian prefect, on account of his services. This was a novel and unexpected occurrence in the history of mankind, that in a  civil war no one was stripped of his possessions, reputation or rank, for we are delighted if such a war is waged with all due observances and with mercy and if a limit is set on exiles, proscriptions and also on punishments and murders.”

“Why should I recount that many men, foreigners too, have been admitted into partnership in order to protect and extend Roman authority? For when Diocletian had learned, after Carinus‘ death, that in Gaul Helianus and Amandus had stirred up a band of peasants and robbers, who the inhabitants call Bagaudae, and had ravaged the regions far and wider and were making attempts on very many of the cities, he immediately appointed as emperor Maximian, a loyal friend who. although he was rather uncivilized, was nevertheless a good soldier of sound character. He subsequently received the surname Herculius from his worship of that deity, just as Valerius received that of Jovius. This was also the origin of the names given to those auxiliary units which were particularly outstanding in the army. Well, Herculius marched into Gaul and in a short time had pacified  the whole country by routing the enemy forces or accepting their surrender. In this war Carausius, a citizen of Menapia, distinguished himself by his clearly remarkable exploits. For this reason and in addition because he was considered an expert pilot (he head earned his living at this job as a young man), he was put in charge of fitting out a fleet and driving out the Germans who were infesting the seas. Because of this appointment he became quite arrogant and when he had overcome many of the barbarians but had not turned over all the booty to the public treasury, in fear of Herculius, who, he learned, had ordered his execution, he seized the imperial power and made for Britain. At the arm time the Persians were causing serious disturbances in the east and Julianus and the Quinquegentian peoples in Africa…”

Latin

Sed postquam odore tabescentium membrorum scelus proditum est, ducum consilio tribunorumque Valerius Diocletianus domesticos regens ob sapientiam deligitur, magnus vir, his moribus tamen: quippe qui primus ex auro veste quaesita serici ac purpurae gemmarumque vim plantis concupiverit. Quae quamquam plus quam civilia tumidique et affluentis animi, levia tamen prae ceteris. Namque se primus omnium Caligulam post Domitianumque dominum palam dici passus et adorari se appellarique uti deum. Quis rebus, quantum ingenium est, compertum habeo humillimos quosque, maxime ubi alta accesserint, superbia atque ambitione immodicos esse. Hinc Marius patrum memoria, hinc iste nostra communem habitum supergressi, dum animus potentiae expers tamquam inedia refecti insatiabilis est. Quo mihi mirum videtur nobilitati plerosque superbiam dare, quae gentis patriciae memor molestiarum, quis agitatur, remedio eminere paululum iuris habet. Verum haec in Valerio obducta ceteris bonis; eoque ipso, quod dominum dici passus, parentem egit; satisque constat prudentem virum edocere voluisse atrocitatem rerum magis quam nominum officere. Interim Carinus eorum, quae acciderant, certior spe facilius erumpentes motus sedatum iri Illyricum propere Italiae circuitu petit. Ibi Iulianum pulsa eius acie obtruncat. Namque is cum Venetos correctura ageret, Cari morte cognita imperium avens eripere adventanti hosti obviam processerat. At Carinus ubi Moesiam contigit, illico Marcum iuxta Diocletiano congressus, dum victos avide premeret, suorum ictu interiit, quod libidine impatiens militarium multas affectabat, quarum infestiores viri iram tamen doloremque in eventum belli distulerant. Quo prosperius cedente metu, ne huiuscemodi ingenium magis magisque victoria insolesceret, sese ulti sunt. Is finis Caro liberisque; Narbone patria, imperio biennii fuere. Igitur Valerius prima ad exercitum contione cum educto gladio solem intuens obtestaretur ignarum cladis Numeriani neque imperii cupientem se fuisse, Aprum proxime astantem ictu transegit; cuius dolo, uti supra docuimus, adolescens bonus facundusque et gener occiderat. Ceteris venia data retentique hostium fere omnes ac maxime vir insignis nomine Aristobulus praefectus praetorio per officia sua. Quae res post memoriam humani nova atque inopinabilis fuit civili bello fortunis fama dignitate spoliatum neminem, cum pie admodum mansueteque geri laetemur exilio proscriptioni atque etiam suppliciis et caedibus modum fieri. Quid ea memorem ascivisse consortio multos externosque tuendi prolatandive gratia iuris Romani? Namque ubi comperit Carini discessu Helianum Amandumque per Galliam excita manu agrestium ac latronum, quos Bagaudas incolae vocant, populatis late agris plerasque urbium tentare, Maximianum statim fidum amicitia quamquam semiagrestem, militiae tamen atque ingenio bonum imperatorem iubet.  Huic postea cultu numinis Herculio cognomentum accessit, uti Valerio Iovium; unde etiam militaribus auxiliis longe in exercitum praestantibus nomen impositum. Sed Herculius in Galliam profectus fusis hostibus aut acceptis quieta omnia brevi patraverat. Quo bello Carausius, Menapiae civis, factis promptioribus enituit; eoque eum, simul quia gubernandi (quo officio adolescentiam mercede exercuerat) gnarus habebatur, parandae classi ac propulsandis Germanis maria infestantibus praefecere. Hoc elatior, cum barbarum multos opprimeret neque praedae omnia in aerarium referret, Herculii metu, a quo se caedi iussum compererat, Britanniam hausto imperio capessivit. Eodem tempore Orientem Persae, Africam Iulianus ac nationes Quinquegentanae graviter quatiebant…

[later see  Et interea caesi Marcomanni Carporumque natio translata omnis in nostrum solum, cuius fere pars iam tum ab Aureliano erat.]

Epitome of the Caesars
Epitome de Caesaribus
English

“In the seven hundred and twenty-second year from the foundation of the city, but the four hundred and eightieth from the expulsion of the kings, the custom was resumed at Rome of absolute obedience to one man, with, instead of rex, the appellation imperator or the more venerable name Augustus. Accordingly, Octavian, whose father was Octavius, a senator, and who was descended in his mother’s line through the Julian family from Aeneas (but called Gaius Caesar, his grandmother’s brother) was then given the cognomen Augustus on account of his victory. Placed in control, he, per se, exercised tribunician potestas. The region of Egypt, difficult to enter because of the inundation of the Nile and impassable because of swamps, he made into a form of province. By the labor of soldiers, he opened canals, which through neglect had been clogged with the slime of ages, to make Egypt a bountiful supplier of the city’s ration. In his time, two hundred million allotments of grain were imported annually from Egypt to the city. He joined to the number of provinces for the Roman people the Cantabri and Aquitani, Raeti, Vindelici, Dalmatae. The Suevi and Chatti he destroyed, the Sigambri he transferred to Gallia. The Pannonii he added as tributaries. The peoples of the Getae and Basternae, aroused to wars, he compelled to concord. To him Persia sent hostages and granted the authority of creating kings. To him the Indians, Scythians, Garamantes, and Aethiopians sent legations with gifts. Indeed, he so detested disturbances, wars and dissensions that he never ordered a war against any race except for just reasons. And he used to say that to be of a boastful and most capricious mind through the ardor of a triumph and on account of a laurel crown — that is barren, fruitless foliage — plunged the security of citizens into danger by the uncertain outcomes of battles; and that nothing whatever was more appropriate to a good imperator than temerity: whatever was being done properly, happened quickly enough; and that arms must never be taken up except in the hope of a very significant benefit, lest, because of heavy loss for a trifling reward, the sought-after victory be like a golden hook for fishermen, the damage of which, through its having been broken off or lost, no gain of the catch is able to compensate. In his time, a Roman army and tribunes and propraetor were destroyed beyond the Rhine. So much did he mourn what had transpired that, made unsightly by his dress, hair, and the remaining symbols of mourning, he struck his head with a powerful blow. He used to censure an innovation of his uncle, too, who, calling the soldiers comrades in novel and charming fashion, while he affected to ingratiate himself, had weakened the auctoritas of the princeps.  Indeed, toward citizens he was most clemently disposed. He appeared faithful toward his friends, the most eminent of whom were Maecenas on account of his taciturnity, Agrippa on account of his endurance and the self-effacedness of his labor. Moreover, he used to delight in Virgil. He was a rare one, indeed, for making friendships; most steadfast toward retaining them. He was so devoted to liberal studies, especially to eloquence, that no day slipped by, not even on campaign, without him reading, writing, and declaiming. He introduced laws, some new, others revised, in his own name. He added to and ornamented Rome with many structures, glorying in the remark: “I found a city of bricks, I left her a city of marble.” He was gentle, pleasant, urbane, and of charming disposition, handsome in his entire physique, but with large eyes, rapidly moving the pupils of which, in the fashion of the brightest stars, he used to explain with a smile that men turned from his gaze as from the intense rays of the sun. When a certain soldier averted his eyes from his face and was asked by him why he so behaved, he answered: “Because I am unable to bear the lightning of your eyes.” For all that, so great a man did not lack vices. For he was somewhat impatient, a bit irascible, secretly envious, openly fatuous; furthermore, moreover, he was most desirous of holding dominion — more than it is possible to imagine — , an avid player at dice. And though he was much at table or drink, to a certain degree, in fact, abstaining from sleep, he nevertheless used to gratify his lust to the extent of the dishonor of his public reputation. For he was accustomed to lie among twelve catamites and an equal number of girls. Also, possessed by the love of the wife of another, when his wife Scribonia had been set aside, he joined Livia to himself as if with her husband’s consent. Of this Livia there were already two sons, Tiberius and Drusus. And while he was a servant of luxury, he was nevertheless a most severe castigator of the same vice, in the manner of men who are relentless in correcting the vices in which they themselves avidly indulge. For he damned to exile the poet Ovid, also called Naso, because he wrote for him the three booklets of the Art of Love. And because he was of exuberant and cheerful spirit, he was amused by every type of spectacle, especially those with an unknown species and infinite number of wild animals. When he had passed through seventy-seven years, he died at Nola of a disease. Yet some write that he was killed by a deception of Livia, who, since she had gained information that Agrippa (the son of her stepdaughter, whom, as a result of his mother-in-law’s hatred, he had relegated to an island) was to be recalled, feared that, when he had obtained control of affairs, she would be punished. Thereupon, the senate resolved that the dead or murdered man should be decorated with numerous and novel honors. For in addition to the title “Father of his Country,” which it had proclaimed, it dedicated temples to him at Rome and throughout the most celebrated cities, with all proclaiming openly: “Would that he either had not been born or had not died!” he first alternative said of a most base beginning, the second of a splendid outcome. For in pursuing the principate he was held an oppressor of liberty and in ruling he so loved the citizens that once, when a three-days’ supply of grain was discerned in the storehouses, he would have chosen to die by poison if fleets from the provinces were not arriving in the interim.  When these fleets had arrived, the safety of the fatherland was attributed to his felicity. He ruled fifty-six years, twelve with Antony, but forty-six alone. Certainly he never would have drawn the power of the state to himself or retained it so long if he had not possessed in abundance great gifts of nature and of conscious efforts.”

Latin

Anno urbis conditae septingentesimo vicesimo secundo, ab exactis vero regibus quadringentesimo octogesimoque, mos Romae repetitus uni prorsus parendi, pro rege imperatori vel sanctiori nomine Augusto appellato. Octavianus igitur, patre Octavio senatore genitus, maternum genus ab Aenea per Iuliam familiam sortitus, adoptione vero Gai Caesaris maioris avunculi Gaius Caesar dictus, deinde ob victoriam Augustus cognommatus est. Iste in imperio positus tribuniciam potestatem per se exercuit. Regionem Aegypti inundatione Nili accessu difficilem inviamque paludibus in provinciae formam redegit. Quam ut annonae urbis copiosam efficeret, fossas incuria vetustatis limo clausas labore militum patefecit. Huius tempore ex Aegypto urbi annua ducenties centena milia frumenti inferebantur. Iste Cantabros et Aquitanos, Rhaetos, Vindelicos, Dalmatas provinciarum numero populo Romano coniunxit. Suevos Cattosque delevit, Sigambros in Galliam transtulit. Pannonios stipendiarios adiecit. Getarum populos Basternasque lacessitos bellis ad concordiam compulit. Huic Persae obsides obtulerunt creandique reges arbitrium permiserunt. Ad hunc Indi, Scythae, Garamantes, Aethiopes legatos cum donis miserunt. Adeo denique turbas bella simultates execratus est, ut nisi iustis de causis numquam genti cuiquam bellum indixerit. Iactantisque esse ingenii et levissimi dicebat ardore triumphandi et ob lauream coronam, id eat folia infructuosa, in discrimen per incertos eventus certaminum securitatem civium praecipitare; eque imperatori bono quicquam minus quam temeritatem congruere: satis celeriter fieri, quicquid commode gereretur, armaque, nisi maioris emolumenti spe, nequaquam movenda esse, ne compendio tenui, iactura gravi, petita victoria similis sit hamo aureo piscantibus, cuius abrupti amissique detrimentum nullo capturae lucro pensari potest. Huius tempore trans Rhenum vastatus est Romanus exercitus atque tribuni et propraetor. Quod in tantum accidisse perdoluit, ut cerebri valide incursu parietem pulsaret, veste capilloque ac reliquis lugentium indiciis deformis. Avunculi quoque inventum vehementer arguebat, qui milites commilitones novo blandoque more appellans, dum affectat carior fieri, auctoritatem principis emolliverat. Denique erga cives clementissime versatus est. In amicos fidus extitit. Quorum praecipui erant ob taciturnitatem Maecenas, ob patientiam laboris modestiamque Agrippa. Diligebat praeterea Virgilium. Rarus quidem ad recipiendas amicitias, ad retinendas constantissimus. Liberalibus studiis, praesertim eloquentiae, in tantum incumbens, ut nullus ne in procinctu quidem laberetur dies, quin legeret scriberet declamaret. Leges alias novas alias correctas protulit suo nomine. Auxit ornavitque Romam aedificiis multis, isto glorians dicto: “Urbem latericiam repperi, relinquo marmoream.” Fuit mitis gratus civilis animi et lepidi, corpore toto pulcher, sed oculis magis. Quorum acies clarissimorum siderum modo vibrans libenter accipiebat cedi ab intendentibus tamquam solis radiis aspectu suo. A cuius facie dum quidam miles oculos averteret et interrogaretur ab eo, cur ita faceret, respondit: “Quia fulmen oculorum tuorum ferre non possum”. Nec tamen vir tantus vitiis caruit. Fuit enim panlulum impatiens, leniter iracundus, occulte invidus, palam factiosus; porro autem dominandi supra quam aestimari potest, cupidissimus, studiosus aleae lusor. Cumque esset cibi ac vini multum, aliquatenus vero somni abstinens, serviebat tamen libidini usque ad probrum vulgaria famae. Nam inter duodecim catamitos totidemque puellas accubare solitus erat. Abiecta quoque uxore Scribonia amore alienae coniugis possessus Liviam quasi marito concedente sibi coniunxit. Cuius Liviae iam erant filii Tiberius et Drusus. Cumque esset luxuriae serviens, erat tamen eiusdem vitii severissimus ultor, more hominum, qui in ulciscendis vitiis, quibus ipsi vehementer indulgent, acres sunt. Nam poetam Ovidium, qui et Naso, pro eo, quod tres libellos amatoriae artis conscripsit, exilio damnavit. Quodque est laeti animi vel amoeni, oblectabatur omni genere spectaculorum, praecipue ferarum incognito specie et infinite numero. Annos septem et septuaginta ingressus Nolae morbo interiit. Quamquam alii scribant dolo Liviae exstinctum metuentis, ne, quia privignae filium Agrippam, quem odio novercali in insulam relegaverat, reduci compererat, eo summam rerum adepto poenas daret. Igitur mortuum seu necatum multis novisque honoribus senatus censuit decorandum. Nam praeter id, quod antea Patrem patriae dixerat, templa tam Romae quam per urbes celeberrimas ei consecravit, cunctis vulgo iactantibus: “Utinam aut non nasceretur aut non moreretur!”  Alterum pessimi incepti, exitus praeclari alterum. Nam et in adipiscendo principatu oppressor libertatis est habitus et in gerendo cives sic amavit, ut tridui frumento in horreis quondam viso statuisset veneno mori, si e provinciis classes interea non venirent. Quibus advectis felicitati eius salus patriae est attributa. Imperavit annos quinquaginta et sex, duodecim cum Antonio, quadraginta vero et quattuor solus. Qui certe nunquam aut reipublicae ad se potentiam traxisset aut tamdiu ea potiretur, nisi magnis naturae et studiorum bonis abundasset.

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November 13, 2017

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