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Flavius Eutropius “Summary of Roman History”, Book 7

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“Liber Primus/Book I” | “Liber Secondus/Book II” | “Liber Tertius/Book III” | “Liber Quartus/Book IV” | “Liber Quintus/Book V” | “Liber Sextus/Book VI” | “Liber Septimus/Book VII” | “Liber Octavus/Book VIII” | “Liber Nonus/Book IX”.

Flavius Eutropius

”Summary of Roman History”, Book 7
To Emperor Valens, Gothicus, Maximus, Perpetual Augustus, from the Imperial Secretary Flavius Eutropius

English translation by Lamberto Bozzi (2019)

Flavius Eutropius


Chapter 1

In the year seven hundred and nine, or thereabout,
Caesar having been massacred, civil wars broke out.
Actually the Senate was on Caesar’s assassins’ side.
And Consul Antony, a Caesar’s party member, tried
To crush them by a civil war. So,
Having disturbed the Republic, Antony
Was by the Senate declared a foe.
In his pursuit, two Consuls were promptly
Dispatched, Pansa and Hirtius, and Octavian, too,
An adolescent just turned eighteen, the nephew
Of Julius Caesar, by testament his heir,
And by his order his name allowed to bear.
It was he, later called Augustus, who
Seized power. Against Antony marched the three
Generals who defeated him. However two
Of the winning Consuls died and the army
Took orders from Caesar Augustus only.

Anno urbis septingentesimo fere ac nono interfecto Caesare civilia bella reparata sunt. Percussoribus enim Caesaris senatus favebat. Antonius consul partium Caesaris civilibus bellis opprimere eos conabatur. Ergo turbata re publica multa Antonius scelera committens a senatu hostis iudicatus est. Missi ad eum persequendum duo consules, Pansa et Hirtius, et Octavianus, adulescens annos X et VIII natus, Caesaris nepos, quem ille testamento heredem reliquerat et nomen suum ferre iusserat. Hic est, qui postea Augustus est dictus et rerum potitus. Qui profecti contra Antonium tres duces vicerunt eum. Evenit tamen ut victores consules ambo morerentur. Quare tres exercitus uni Caesari Augusto paruerunt.

Chapter 2

Having been put to flight, Antony, whose army
Was lost, sought and received the hospitality
Of Lepidus, once Master of the Cavalry
Of Caesar, at that time with huge armed forces at
His disposal. It was then through Lepidus that
Caesar made peace with Antony, as if to
Take revenge for the death of his father who
Had adopted him by testament. At the head
Of his army he went back to Rome and by force,
Although he was just twenty, had the Senate endorse
The conferring of his Consulship. The aforesaid
Senate he proscribed. With Lepidus and Antony,
he took care of the Republic militarily.
Among many other noblemen, they also
assassinated orator Cicero.

Fugatus Antonius amisso exercitu confugit ad Lepidum, qui Caesaris magister equitum fuerat et tum militum copias grandes habebat, a quo susceptus est. Mox Lepido operam dante Caesar pacem cum Antonio fecit et quasi vindicaturus patris sui mortem, a quo per testamentum fuerat adoptatus, Romam cum exercitu profectus extorsit, ut sibi vicesimo anno consulatus daretur. Senatum proscripsit, cum Antonio ac Lepido rem publicam armis tenere coepit. Per hos etiam Cicero orator occisus est multique alii nobiles.

Chapter 3

In the meantime Caesar’s murderers, Brutus and Cassius,
Set a great war in motion, for in Macedonia and
In the East many were the armies under their command.
Mark Antony and Caesar Octavianus Augustus
Consequently set forward against them, but Lepidus
Stayed behind to defend Italy. They took
Up arms near Philippi, a Macedonian city.
In the first battle Caesar and Antony
Lost, but Cassius, one at the top of the book
Of nobility, died nevertheless.
In the second battle Brutus and countless
Noblemen among those who
Had fought with them were killed too.
Between them was the Republic divided
So that Augustus held Gaul, Italy,
All parts of Spain, and instead Antony
Asia, Pontus and the Orient occupied.
But Consul Lucius Antonius thought
Of fomenting a civil war in Italy.
He was the brother of him who had fought
With Caesar versus Brutus and Cassius.
Overcome and made prisoner, but not killed, he
Was, near Perusia a city in Tuscany.

Interea Brutus et Cassius, interfectores Caesaris, ingens bellum moverunt. Erant enim per Macedoniam et Orientem multi exercitus, quos occupaverant. Profecti sunt igitur contra eos Caesar Octavianus Augustus et M. Antonius; remanserat enim ad defendendam Italiam Lepidus. Apud Philippos, Macedoniae urbem, contra eos pugnaverunt. Primo proelio victi sunt Antonius et Caesar, periit tamen dux nobilitatis Cassius, secundo Brutum et infinitam nobilitatem, quae cum illis bellum gesserat, victam interfecerunt. Ac sic inter eos divisa est res publica, ut Augustus Hispanias, Gallias et Italiam teneret, Antonius Asiam, Pontum, Orientem. Sed in Italia L. Antonius consul bellum civile commovit, frater eius, qui cum Caesare contra Brutum et Cassium dimicaverat. Is apud Perusium, Tusciae civitatem, victus et captus est, neque occisus.

Chapter 4

In the island of Sicily, in the meantime, Sextus Pompey,
Son of Gnaeus Pompey the Great, got a big war underway,
with the surviving company
Of Brutus’ and Cassius’ Party.
Caesar Augustus Octavianus
Together with Marcus Antonius
Carried on the war against Sextus Pompey.
At last a peace treaty put an end to the fray.

Interim a Sex. Pompeio, Cn. Pompeii Magni filio, ingens bellum in Sicilia commotum est his, qui superfuerant ex partibus Bruti Cassiique, ad eum confluentibus. Bellatum per Caesarem Augustum Octavianum et M. Antonium adversus Sex. Pompeium est. Pax postremo convenit.

Chapter 5

In those days Marcus Agrippa’s military engagements
In Acquitania were conducted with good luck.
Lucius Ventidius Bassus routed the Persian assailants
Breaking into Syria in three battles. He struck
Dead Pacorus, Orodes’ son, on the very day once
Orodes, the Persians’ King, had Crassus done
To death by captain Surena, personally.
In Rome, for his merits, he was the first one
To triumph over the Parthians, magnificently.

Eo tempore M. Agrippa in Acquitania rem prospere gessit et L. Ventidius Bassus inrumpentes in Syriam Persas tribus proeliis vicit. Pacorum, regis Orodis filium, interfecit eo ipso die, quo olim Orodes, Persarum rex, per ducem Surenam Crassum occiderat. Hic primus de Parthis iustissimum triumphum Romae egit.

Chapter 6

Meanwhile Sextus Pompeius broke the peace and,
Having been overpowered in a naval engagement,
Fled to Asia and was killed. Antony, in whose hand
Were Asia and the Orient, took as his wife
Queen Cleopatra of Egypt after his divorcement
from Caesar Augustus Octavianus’ sister. An armed strife
With the Persians he set in motion too. In the first
Battles he was successful but then he was accursed
By hunger and the plague. He suffered a defeat
At the hands of the Parthians during his retreat
And let himself like a loser be dispersed.

Interim Pompeius pacem rupit et navali proelio victus fugiens ad Asiam interfectus est. Antonius, qui Asiam et Orientem tenebat, repudiata sorore Caesaris Augusti Octaviani Cleopatram, reginam Aegypti, duxit uxorem. Contra Persas etiam ipse pugnavit. Primis eos proeliis vicit, regrediens tamen fame et pestilentia laboravit et, cum instarent Parthi fugienti, ipse pro victo recessit.

Chapter 7

A great civil war he started, too,
Pressed by Cleopatra his wife,
The ambitious Queen of Egypt who
Desired, at that point of her life,
To rule also over the City.
Augustus crushed him in a famed sea
Engagement near Actium, a place in Greece
From which he fled to Egypt, and
Having in desperation lost his peace,
For everybody stood on Augustus’ side,
Took his own life. By her own hand
Cleopatra of an adder’s poison died.
By decree of Augustus Octavianus,
Egypt fell under the Roman Empire’s aegis
And the command of Gnaeus Cornelius Gallus
Who was since then Egypt’s first Roman Justice.

Hic quoque ingens bellum civile commovit cogente uxore Cleopatra, regina Aegypti, dum cupiditate muliebri optat etiam in urbe regnare. Victus est ab Augusto navali pugna clara et inlustri apud Actium, qui locus in Epiro est, ex qua fugit in Aegyptum et desperatis rebus, cum omnes ad Augustum transirent, ipse se interemit. Cleopatra sibi aspidem admisit et veneno eius extincta est. Aegyptus per Octavianum Augustum imperio Romano adiecta est praepositusque ei C. Cornelius Gallus. Hunc primum Aegyptus Romanum iudicem habuit.

Chapter 8

As all wars in the world had come to an end
Back to Rome Octavianus Augustus came
Ten years after retaining in his name
The Consulship. Alone he did then attend
For forty-four years the affairs of State,
Already for twelve years before that date
He had exercised full authority
With Consuls Lepidus and Antony.
Therefore from the beginning to the end, for some
Fifty-six years lasted Octavianus’ Princedom.
He died a natural death in Atella
A hamlet in the region of Campania.
He’s buried in Campus Martius, a man
Whom, with good reason, most people can
Consider a God. Never was one in war
Luckier, in peace more moderate than
He, for certain. And during the forty-four
Years during which he solitarily ran
The Empire he also led a most polite
Life, was most liberal to all and most
True to his friends whom he raised to a post
Of honour almost at his own height.

Ita bellis toto orbe confectis Octavianus Augustus Romam rediit, duodecimo anno, quam consul fuerat. Ex eo rem publicam per quadraginta et quattuor annos solus obtinuit. Ante enim duodecim annis cum Antonio et Lepido tenuerat. Ita ab initio principatus eius usque ad finem quinquaginta et sex anni fuerunt. Obiit autem septuagesimo sexto anno morte communi in oppido Campaniae Atella. Romae in campo Martio sepultus est, vir, qui non inmerito ex maxima parte deo similis est putatus. Neque enim facile ullus eo aut in bellis felicior fuit aut in pace moderatior. Quadraginta et quattuor annis, quibus solus gessit imperium, civilissime vixit, in cunctos liberalissimus, in amicos fidissimus, quos tantis evexit honoribus, ut paene aequaret fastigio suo.

Chapter 9

The Roman State was never, before
Octavianus, more flourishing for
The civil wars excepted,
Which saw him undefeated,
He expanded the dominion
Of the Roman Imperial Nation
By adding Egypt, Cantabria, Dalmatia,
Formerly often vanquished
But then quite subjugated,
Pannonia, Illyricum, Aquitania,
the Vindelici, the Alpine Salassi,
Rhaetia, every single maritime city
Of the Pontus, Panticapaeon
And Bosporus among them. He won
Then many battles against the Dacians.
He also killed a great deal of Germans,
And pushed them beyond the Elbe river,
In that barbarian country much farther
Than the Rhine. Yet he conducted this war through
His stepson Drusus, and in Pannonia, too,
The war was waged by Tiberius another
Stepson who transferred forty thousand
War prisoners from Germany and
Sent them to the Rhine where they occupied
The river banks along the Gallic side.
Armenia from the Parthians he recovered.
Hostages were given to him by the Persians
Something that had never in the past occurred.
They also returned the standards of the Romans
From defeated Crassus formerly captured.

Nullo tempore ante eum magis Romana res floruit. Nam exceptis civilibus bellis, in quibus invictus fuit, Romano adiecit imperio Aegyptum, Cantabriam, Dalmatiam saepe ante victam, sed penitus tunc subactam, Pannoniam, Aquitaniam, Illyricum, Raetiam, Vindelicos et Salassos in Alpibus, omnes Ponti maritimas civitates, in his nobilissimas Bosphorum et Panticapaeum. Vicit autem multis proeliis Dacos. Germanorum ingentes copias cecidit, ipsos quoque trans Albim fluvium summovit, qui in Barbarico longe ultra Rhenum est. Hoc tamen bellum per Drusum, privignum suum, administravit, sicut per Tiberium, privignum alterum, Pannonicum, quo bello XL captivorum milia ex Germania transtulit et supra ripam Rheni in Gallia conlocavit. Armeniam a Parthis recepit. Obsides, quod nulli antea, Persae ei dederunt. Reddiderunt etiam signa Romana, quae Crasso victo ademerant.

Chapter 10

To the Scytians and the Indians, beyond whose ken
The name of the Romans had been up to then,
Were dispatched ambassadors with presents laden.
Galatia too, once a Kingdom became
A province whose first administrator
Was Marcus Lollius, a former Praetor.
So great indeed was his warm-hearted fame
Among the Barbarians kings friendly to
The Roman People that in his honour they
Would found new cities called, after his name,
Caesarea, as did King Juba, too,
In Mauritania, and in Palestine, which today
Is a famous town. And many Kings came
From their principalities to acclaim
Him and in Roman dress, in the toga that is,
Along his chariot or horse ran with steady gait.
When he died he was deified. Tiberius
His stepson, then son-in-law, adopted of late
Years, inherited a truly most blessed State.

Scythae et Indi, quibus antea Romanorum nomen incognitum fuerat, munera et legatos ad eum miserunt. Galatia quoque sub hoc provincia facta est, cum antea regnum fuisset, primusque eam M. Lollius pro praetore administravit. Tanto autem amore etiam apud barbaros fuit, ut reges populi Romani amici in honorem eius conderent civitates, quas Caesareas nominarent, sicut in Mauritania a rege Iuba, et in Palaestina, quae nunc urbs est clarissima. Multi autem reges ex regnis suis venerunt, ut ei obsequerentur, et habitu Romano, togati scilicet, ad vehiculum vel equum ipsius cucurrerunt. Moriens Divus appellatus. Rem publicam beatissimam Tiberio successori reliquit, qui privignus ei, mox gener, postremo adoptione filius fuerat.

Chapter 11

Tiberius managed the Empire’s affairs
With great negligence, great brutality,
Vile avarice and gross debauchery.
He himself never fought, leaving the cares
Of war to his lieutenants. Some Kings he
Had enticed to his presence were never free
To leave, Archelaus the Cappadocian among them
Whose Kingdom’s boundaries he would moreover mayhem
By turning it into a province and decreeing to name
After himself its most important city which became
Caesarea, the Mazaca of old. After twenty-three
Years of his Imperial rule, he died, at seventy-
eight in Campania, to the populace’s great acclaim.

Tiberius ingenti socordia imperium gessit, gravi crudelitate, scelesta avaritia, turpi libidine. Nam nusquam ipse pugnavit, bella per legatos gessit suos. Quosdam reges ad se per blanditias evocatos numquam remisit, in quibus Archelaum Cappadocem, cuius etiam regnum in provinciae formam redegit et maximam civitatem appellari nomine suo iussit, quae nunc Caesarea dicitur, cum Mazaca antea vocaretur. Hic tertio et vicesimo imperii anno, aetatis septuagesimo octavo, ingenti omnium gaudio mortuus est in Campania.

Chapter 12

He was succeeded by Caius Caesar nicknamed
Caligula, nephew of Drusus, Augustus’
Stepson and stepson also of Tiberius;
A man most pernicious and most unashamed
Who palliated Tiberius’ depravity.
He made war against the Germans, pressed
Into Suevia with no feats of gallantry.
He practised brother-sister incest;
With the daughter of one of them he
Had intercourse, too. Then, as his fury
Would erratically erupt with great
Greed, lust and cruelty against all,
He was killed, aged twenty-nine, and his fate
Was sealed after three years, eight months and eight
Days of reign in a Palatial Hall.

Successit ei C. Caesar, cognomento Caligula, Drusi, privigni Augusti, et ipsius Tiberii nepos, sceleratissimus ac funestissimus et qui etiam Tiberii dedecora purgaverit. Bellum contra Germanos suscepit et ingressus Sueviam nihil strenue fecit. Stupra sororibus intulit, ex una etiam filiam cognovit. Cum adversum cunctos ingenti avaritia, libidine, crudelitate saeviret, interfectus in Palatio est anno aetatis vicesimo nono, imperii tertio, mense decimo dieque octavo.

Chapter 13

He was thereupon succeeded by Claudius,
Caligula’s uncle, son of that Drusus
Who near Moguntiacum has a monument.
Mediocrity highlighted his government:
Sometimes he was quiet and moderate
Sometimes he showed a stupid cruel trait.
He brought war to Britain, which nobody
Since Julius Caesar had managed to occupy.
It was vanquished by Gnaeus Sentius and by
Aulus Plautius, illustrious and impeccably
Noble soldiers. After that a very well-attended.
Triumph was celebrated. To the empire were added
Some islands in the ocean beyond Britain, that is
The Orcades. He named his own son Britannicus
And was so obliging towards some friends of his as to
Accompany also the highly-bred Plautius,
Who had done so well during the British expedition,
And walk on his left side on the triumphal march up to
The Capitol. At sixty-four, after a reign
Of fourteen years, he died and had then the consecration
That put him like a god on an immortal plane.

Post hunc Claudius fuit, patruus Caligulae, Drusi, qui apud Mogontiacum monumentum habet, filius, cuius et Caligula nepos erat. Hic medie imperavit, multa gerens tranquille atque moderate, quaedam crudeliter et insulse. Britanniae intulit bellum, quam nullus Romanorum post C. Caesarem attigerat, eaque devicta per Cn. Sentium et A. Plautium, inlustres ac nobiles viros, triumphum celebrem egit. Quasdam insulas etiam ultra Britannias in Oceano positas imperio Romano addidit, quae appellantur Orchades, filio autem suo Britannici nomen inposuit. Tam civilis autem circa quosdam amicos extitit, ut etiam Plautium, nobilem virum, qui expeditione Britannica multa egregie fecerat, triumphantem ipse prosequeretur et conscendenti Capitolium laevus incederet. Is vixit annos IV et LX, imperavit XIV. Post mortem consecratus est Divusque appellatus.

Chapter 14

Nero succeeded him, similar to
Caligula his uncle, a man who
brought diminishment and fragility
To the Roman Empire with his shocking
Licentiousness and prodigality.
Like Caius Caligula with unguents
Cold and hot bathed he, and went fishing
With gold nets hauled in by purplish ligaments.
He slew most of the Senate and again
Was the archenemy of all good men.
Lastly he prostituted himself with such shame
As to gambol and sing in the attire
Of a tragic actor or of a lyre
Player. Wide was his parricidal fame:
His own brother and sister he slew,
And then his own mother and wife too.
He set fire to Rome, as if to contemplate
The once, in captured Troy, spectacular spate
Of fires. All things military he shunned,
And indeed he almost lost the island
Of Britannia. During his reign, up there,
The two noblest cities certainly were
Captured and pulled down. The Parthians took away
Armenia and had the Roman Legions pass
Under the yoke. Two provinces under his sway
Were established, though, the Pontus Polemoniacus
By King Polemon’s concession and the complete mass
Of the Cottian Alps, bequeathed by the Late King Cottius.

Successit huic Nero, Caligulae, avunculo suo, simillimus, qui Romanum imperium et deformavit et diminuit, inusitatae luxuriae sumptuumque, ut qui exemplo C. Caligulae in calidis et frigidis lavaret unguentis, retibus aureis piscaretur, quae blattinis funibus extrahebat. Infinitam senatus partem interfecit, bonis omnibus hostis fuit. Ad postremum se tanto dedecore prostituit, ut et saltaret et cantaret in scaena citharoedico habitu vel tragico. Parricidia multa commisit, fratre, uxore, sorore, matre interfectis. Urbem Romam incendit, ut spectaculi eius imaginem cerneret, quali olim Troia capta arserat. In re militari nihil omnino ausus Britanniam paene amisit. Nam duo sub eo nobilissima oppida capta illic atque eversa sunt. Armeniam Parthi sustulerunt legionesque Romanas sub iugum miserunt. Duae tamen sub eo provinciae factae sunt, Pontus Polemoniacus concedente rege Polemone et Alpes Cottiae Cottio rege defuncto.

Chapter 15

Therefore, being despised in the Roman
World, abandoned simultaneously
By all, and declared an enemy
By the Senate, now a hunted man
To be lead naked to his public punishment,
And be battered to death with his head in a two-
Pronged fork and then bundled down an escarpment,
Nero fled the Palace and committed suicide
In the farm of a freed-man from his retinue
Lying next to the fourth milestone from the City, astride
The Salaria and the Nomentana Highways.
He built the Neronian Baths in Rome, in his days,
Now called Alexandrian. He died at thirty-
Two, after fourteen years of reign, in the last phase
of the line of Augustus’ whole family.

Per haec Romano orbi execrabilis ab omnibus simul destitutus est et a senatu hostis iudicatus; cum quaereretur ad poenam, quae poena erat talis, ut nudus per publicum ductus, furca capiti eius inserta, virgis usque ad mortem caederetur atque ita praecipitaretur a saxo, e Palatio fugit et in suburbano liberti sui, quod est inter Salariam et Nomentanam viam ad quartum urbis miliarium, se interfecit. Is aedificavit Romae thermas, quae ante Neronianae dictae nunc Alexandrianae appellantur. Obiit tricesimo et altero aetatis anno, imperii quarto decimo, atque in eo omnis Augusti familia consumpta est.

Chapter 16

Servius Galba succeeded him, of ancient
Lineage and Senator in his seventy-
Third year, but Emperor by the preferment
Of the Gauls and the Spaniards; he also
Was willingly accepted by all the army,
For he had led a signal military
And civil life. Often Consul and Pro-
Consul, and in the grimmest wars frequently
Leader. Good was the start of his rule though,
With a propensity to severity.
Yet he was killed in the seventh month of his reign
By Otho’s plot. In the Roman Forum he was slain;
A grave in his garden was his last home,
On the Aurelian Way, not far from Rome.

Huic Ser. Galba successit, antiquissimae nobilitatis senator, cum septuagesimum et tertium annum ageret aetatis, ab Hispanis et Gallis imperator electus, mox ab universo exercitu libenter acceptus. Nam privata eius vita insignis fuerat militaribus et civilibus rebus. Saepe consul, saepe pro consule, frequenter dux in gravissimis bellis. Huius breve imperium fuit et quod bona haberet exordia, nisi ad severitatem propensior videretur. Insidiis tamen Othonis occisus est imperii mense septimo. Iugulatus in foro Romae sepultusque in hortis suis, qui sunt Aurelia via non longe ab urbe Roma.

Chapter 17

Otho invaded the Empire after having slain
Galba. His mother’s family was nobler
Than his father’s, but neither line was arcane.
In private life he was weak and friendly to
Nero. As Emperor he gave no other
Proof of his own virtue; for when Otho slew
Galba, in those very days, Vitellius too
Was appointed Emperor by the armies
Stationed in Germany; So having gone to
War against him and being brought down on his knees
Near Betriacus, in Italy, in a minor strife,
He, still commanding efficient troops, took his own life.
His soldiers beseeched him not to despair
So soon of the outcome of the engagement,
But he replied that he was well aware
To be too small to rouse civil warfare.
At thirty years of age, on the ninety-fifth day
Of reign, he voluntarily passed away.

Otho occiso Galba invasit imperium, materno genere nobilior quam paterno, neutro tamen obscuro. In privata vita mollis et Neroni familiaris, in imperio documentum sui non potuit ostendere. Nam cum isdem temporibus, quibus Otho Galbam occiderat, etiam Vitellius factus esset a Germanicianis exercitibus imperator, bello contra eum suscepto cum apud Betriacum in Italia levi proelio victus esset, ingentes tamen copias ad bellum haberet, sponte semet occidit. Petentibus militibus, ne tam cito de belli desperaret eventu, cum tanti se non esse dixisset, ut propter eum bellum civile moveretur, voluntaria morte obiit tricesimo et octavo aetatis anno, nonagesimo et quinto imperii die.

Chapter 18

Then Vitellius, born of a family
Richer in honour than in quality,
Took possession of the Empire. His father too,
Of modest origins, had once held three
Ordinary consulships. His reign bore
The mark of infamy and cruelty, mainly through
Gluttony and also voracity,
For he was accustomed, people would say,
To banqueting four or five times a day.
People remember a most famous supper,
A treat indeed from Vitellius, his brother,
Where apart from the habitual outlay
Two thousand fish were served and
Also fowl up to seven thousand.
For his desire to resemble Nero,
To the point of being prepared also
To honour his remains buried in
A plain resting place, he was slain
By Vespasians captains, though,
For he had let Sabinus, Emperor
Vespasian’s brother, die in the City,
Burned in a fire in the Capitol. He
Was indeed murdered with great infamy:
He was dragged naked along the public
Streets of the City of Rome, on end his hair,
A sword under his chin, smeared with mephitic
Excrements, by the people passing there,
On his face and chest; his throat was cut, then
He was dumped into the Tiber’s drain,
With no grave. He died at fifty-seven,
After eight months and one day of reign.

Dein Vitellius imperio potitus est, familia honorata magis quam nobili. Nam pater eius non admodum clare natus tres tamen ordinarios gesserat consulatus. Hic cum multo dedecore imperavit et gravi saevitia notabilis, praecipue ingluvie et voracitate, quippe cum de die saepe quarto vel quinto feratur epulatus. Notissima certe cena memoriae mandata est, quam ei Vitellius frater exhibuit, in qua super ceteros sumptus duo milia piscium, septem milia avium adposita traduntur. Hic cum Neroni similis esse vellet atque id adeo prae se ferret, ut etiam exequias Neronis, quae humiliter sepultae fuerant, honoraret, a Vespasiani ducibus occisus est interfecto prius in urbe Sabino, Vespasiani imperatoris fratre, quem cum Capitolio incendit. Interfectus autem est magno dedecore: tractus per urbem Romam publice, nudus, erecto coma capite et subiecto ad mentum gladio, stercore in vultum et pectus ab omnibus obviis adpetitus, postremo iugulatus et in Tiberim deiectus etiam communi caruit sepultura. Periit autem aetatis anno septimo et quinquagesimo, imperii mense octavo et die uno.

Chapter 19

Vespasian succeeded him. He was named
Emperor in Palestine, a lowborn Prince, truly,
But on a par with the very cream of chivalry
And in his private life, moreover, famed
As the one whom Claudius had sent to Germany
And then to Britain where he met the enemy
Thirty-two times in battle, adding to the Empire two
Strong nations, twenty cities and Britain’s Isle of Wight.
In Rome he wielded power with moderation too.
As far as money was concerned he was somewhat tight
Fisted, but never taking it away unjustly
From anybody; and even if he diligently
Tried to make it, he used it nevertheless
To allay the needs of the poor with largesse.
Nor was, before him, a liberality
Greater or more just in a Prince ever found.
A gentle leniency did in him abound:
Exile his sole sanction to do away
With all those guilty of lèse-majesté.
To the Empire he added Judaea
And Jerusalem, the noblest City
of Palestine, Rhodes and Achaia,
Byzantium, Samos and also Lycia,
Formerly free. Cilicia and Thracia,
Once under the rule of a friendly
King were demoted with Commagena
To the rank of a Provincial County.

Vespasianus huic successit, factus apud Palaestinam imperator, princeps obscure quidem natus, sed optimis conparandus, privata vita inlustris, ut qui a Claudio in Germaniam et deinde in Britanniam missus tricies et bis cum hoste conflixerit, duas validissimas gentes, viginti oppida, insulam Vectam, Britanniae proximam, imperio Romano adiecerit. Romae se in imperio moderatissime gessit. Pecuniae tantum avidior fuit, ita tamen, ut eam nulli iniuste auferret. Quam cum omni diligentiae provisione colligeret, tamen studiosissime largiebatur, praecipue indigentibus. Nec facile ante eum cuiusquam principis vel maior est liberalitas comperta, vel iustior. Placidissimae lenitatis, ut qui maiestatis quoque contra se reos non facile punierit ultra exilii poenam. Sub hoc Iudaea Romano accessit imperio et Hierosolyma, quae fuit urbs nobilissima Palaestinae. Achaiam, Lyciam, Rhodum, Byzantium, Samum, quae liberae ante id tempus fuerant, item Thraciam, Ciliciam, Commagenen, quae sub regibus amicis egerant, in provinciarum formam redegit.

Chapter 20

He forgot offences and enmities and bore
With levity the invectives hurled at himself by
Lawyers and philosophers; but the hard core
Of military discipline was under his watchful eye.
He celebrated the triumph over Jerusalem
With his son Titus, and having become therefore
The dear of the Senate, the citizenry
And lastly of everybody. He was to succumb
Of internal haemorrhage in his country home
In the Sabines’ territory, at sixty-
Nine, after nine years and seven days of reign,
Finding a place under the gods’ celestial dome.
He upheld his sons’ rights again and again
And - being targeted with many plotting wiles
Which, once exposed, he preferred to slight with smiles -
Quite clearly declared, in the Senate’s Hall,
His sons would succeed him or none at all.

Offensarum et inimicitiarum inmemor fuit, convicia a causidicis et philosophis in se dicta leviter tulit, diligens tamen coercitor disciplinae militaris. Hic cum filio Tito de Hierosolymis triumphavit. Per haec cum senatui, populo, postremo cunctis amabilis ac iucundus esset, profluvio ventris extinctus est in villa propria circa Sabinos, annum agens aetatis sexagesimum nonum, imperii nonum et diem septimum, atque inter Divos relatus est. Genituram filiorum ita cognitam habuit, ut, cum multae contra eum coniurationes fierent, quas patefactas ingenti dissimulatione contempsit, in senatu dixerit aut filios sibi successuros, aut neminem.

Chapter 21

He was succeeded by his son Titus who
Was named Vespasian like his father and
Was a paragon of all kinds of virtue,
The darling and delight of Humankind, too,
In speech, in war, in moderation grand.
He supported causes in Latin and composed
Poems and tragedies in Greek. During
The siege of Jerusalem, while serving
Under the Emperor, his father, he disposed
Of twelve defenders with twelve arrow shots.
In Rome his rule was so good and charming
That his punishments were numbered in noughts.
Those who had plotted against him he set free
And treated with the same familiarity
As before. Such were his graciousness and largesse
He never let anyone go with his hands empty,
And against his friends reproval he answered
No one should part from the emperor in sadness;
And moreover, having one day remembered
At dinnertime how on that same day
He had not given anything away
As a loan to somebody, he would complain:
“my friend this day has passed alas! in vain”
He built an amphitheatre in Rome. In the feasts
For its inauguration he slew five thousand beasts.

Huic Titus filius successit, qui et ipse Vespasianus est dictus, vir omnium virtutum genere mirabilis adeo, ut amor et deliciae humani generis diceretur, facundissimus, bellicosissimus, moderatissimus. Causas Latine egit, poemata et tragoedias Graece conposuit. In oppugnatione Hierosolymorum sub patre militans duodecim propugnatores duodecim sagittarum confixit ictibus. Romae tantae civilitatis in imperio fuit, ut nullum omnino puniret, convictos adversum se coniurationis dimiserit vel in eadem familiaritate, qua antea, habuerit. Facilitatis et liberalitatis tantae fuit, ut, cum nulli quicquam negaret et ab amicis reprehenderetur, responderit nullum tristem debere ab imperatore discedere, praeterea, cum quadam die in cena recordatus fuisset nihil se illo die cuiquam praestitisse, dixerit: "Amici, hodie diem perdidi". Hic Romae amphitheatrum aedificavit et quinque milia ferarum in dedicatione eius occidit.

Chapter 22

Therefore, blessed with uncommon affection,
He died of illness in that villa on the land
Where his own father had died two years, eight months and
Eight days since his imperial election.
The public mourning was indeed so great
That all had a deep feeling of bereavement.
The Senate, having announced in the late
Afternoon his death, breaking into the Curia at night
Hailed the dead man with words of appraisement
Never uttered when he was still alive and there. Quite
A choice position he got in the gods’ contingent.

Per haec inusitato favore dilectus morbo periit in ea, qua pater, villa post biennium et menses octo, dies viginti, quam imperator erat factus, aetatis anno altero et quadragesimo. Tantus luctus eo mortuo publicus fuit, ut omnes tamquam in propria doluerint orbitate. Senatus obitu ipsius circa vesperam nuntiato nocte inrupit in curiam et tantas ei mortuo laudes gratiasque congessit, quantas nec vivo umquam egerat nec praesenti. Inter Divos relatus est.

Chapter 23

His younger brother Domitian presently
Accepted the Empire. More like those three:
Nero, Caligula and Tiberius was he
Than his father or his brother.
At the outset he used power
Quite moderately though, but indeed
He was soon enmeshed in anger,
Passions, inhumanity and greed,
Inspiring such hatred against himself as to
Efface the merits of his father and brother.
The most aristocratic Senators he slew
And was the first to be called Lord and God too.
On Capitol Hill he only let gold or silver
To be used in the casting of his statue.
He slew his cousins and was abominably
Proud too. He sent out four expeditionary
Forces: one against the Sarmatians
The others against the Catti and the Dacians,
Over whom the triumph was arranged in pairs.
The Sarmatian Triumph was one of those affairs
Which, on the contrary, earned him laurels only.
In the same wars though, many a calamity
Befell him, for in Sarmatia a legion of his
Was crushed with his captain; and Oppius Sabinus,
Ex Consul, and Praetorian Prefect Cornelius
Fuscus with most of the troops on their flanks
Were liquidated by the Dacian ranks.
In Rome he built many public buildings too,
Among which the Capitol, the Forum Transitorium
The Temple of Isis and the Porticus Divorum,
The Serapium and the Stadium. But it’s true
That when all began to hate him for his devilry
He was murdered by his own retinue
In the course of a palatial conspiracy.
He was aged forty-five, had reigned for fifteen
Years and was buried in a grave poor and mean.

Domitianus mox accepit imperium, frater ipsius iunior, Neroni aut Caligulae aut Tiberio similior quam patri vel fratri suo. Primis tamen annis moderatus in imperio fuit, mox ad ingentia vitia progressus libidinis, iracundiae, crudelitatis, avaritiae tantum in se odii concitavit, ut merita et patris et fratris aboleret. Interfecit nobilissimos e senatu. Dominum se et deum primus appellari iussit. Nullam sibi nisi auream et argenteam statuam in Capitolio passus est poni. Consobrinos suos interfecit. Superbia quoque in eo execrabilis fuit. Expeditiones quattuor habuit, unam adversum Sarmatas, alteram adversum Cattos, duas adversum Dacos. De Dacis Cattisque duplicem triumphum egit, de Sarmatis solam lauream usurpavit. Multas tamen calamitates isdem bellis passus est; nam in Sarmatia legio eius cum duce interfecta est et a Dacis Oppius Sabinus consularis et Cornelius Fuscus, praefectus praetorio, cum magnis exercitibus occisi sunt. Romae quoque multa opera fecit, in his Capitolium et Forum Transitorium, Divorum Porticus, Isium ac Serapium et Stadium. Verum, cum ob scelera universis exosus esse coepisset, interfectus est suorum coniuratione in Palatio anno aetatis quadragesimo quinto, imperii quinto decimo. Funus eius ingenti dedecore per vespillones exportatum et ignobiliter est sepultum.

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