THE TWELVE CAESARS
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Lives of the Grammarians -
Lives of the Poets
 A.U.C. 708.
Gladiators were first publicly exhibited at Rome by two brothers
called Bruti, at the funeral of their father, A.U.C. 490; and for some
time they were exhibited only on such occasions. But afterwards they
were also employed by the magistrates, to entertain the people,
particularly at the Saturnalia, and feasts of Minerva. These cruel
spectacles were prohibited by Constantine, but not entirely suppressed
until the time of Honorius.
The Circensian games were shews exhibited in the Circus Maximus,
and consisted of various kinds: first, chariot and horse-races, of which.
the Romans were extravagantly fond. The charioteers were distributed
into four parties, distinguished by the colour of their dress. The
spectators, without regarding the speed of the horses, or the skill of
the men, were attracted merely by one or the other of the colours, as
caprice inclined them. In the time of Justinian, no less than thirty
thousand men lost their lives at Constantinople, in a tumult raised by a
contention amongst the partizans of the several colours. Secondly,
contests of agility and strength; of which there were five kinds, hence
called Pentathlum. These were, running, leaping, boxing, wrestling, and
throwing the discus or quoit. Thirdly, Ludus Trojae, a mock-fight,
performed by young noblemen on horseback, revived by Julius Caesar, and
frequently celebrated by the succeeding emperors. We meet with a
description of it in the fifth book of the Aeneid, beginning with the
Incedunt pueri, pariterque ante ora parentum
Fraenatis lucent in equis: quos omnis euntes
Trinacriae mirata fremit Trojaeque juventus.
Fourthly, Venatio, which was the fighting of wild beasts with one
another, or with men called Bestiarii, who were either forced to the
combat by way of punishment, as the primitive Christians were, or fought
voluntarily, either from a natural ferocity of disposition, or induced by
hire. An incredible number of animals of various kinds were brought from
all quarters, at a prodigious expense, for the entertainment of the
people. Pompey, in his second consulship, exhibited at once five hundred
lions, which were all dispatched in five days; also eighteen elephants.
Fifthly the representation of a horse and foot battle, with that of an
encampment or a siege. Sixthly, the representation of a sea-fight
(Naumachia), which was at first made in the Circus Maximus, but
afterwards elsewhere. The combatants were usually captives or condemned
malefactors, who fought to death, unless saved by the clemency of the
emperor. If any thing unlucky happened at the games, they were renewed,
and often more than once.
A meadow beyond the Tiber, in which an excavation was made,
supplied with water from the river.
Julius Caesar was assisted by Sosigenes, an Egyptian philosopher,
in correcting the calendar. For this purpose he introduced an additional
day every fourth year, making February to consist of twenty-nine days
instead of twenty-eight, and, of course, the whole year to consist of
three hundred and sixty-six days. The fourth year was denominated
Bissextile, or leap year, because the sixth day before the calends, or
first of March, was reckoned twice.
The Julian year was introduced throughout the Roman empire, and continued
in general use till the year 1582. But the true correction was not six
hours, but five hours, forty-nine minutes; hence the addition was too
great by eleven minutes. This small fraction would amount in one hundred
years to three-fourths of a day, and in a thousand years to more than
seven days. It had, in fact, amounted, since the Julian correction, in
1582, to more than seven days. Pope Gregory XIII., therefore, again
reformed the calendar, first bringing forward the year ten days, by
reckoning the 5th of October the 15th, and then prescribing the rule
which has gradually been adopted throughout Christendom, except in
Russia, and the Greek church generally.
Principally Carthage and Corinth.
The Latus Clavus was a broad stripe of purple, on the front of the
toga. Its width distinguished it from that of the knights, who wore it
The Suburra lay between the Celian and Esquiline hills. It was one
of the most frequented quarters of Rome.
Bede, quoting Solinus, we believe, says that excellent pearls were
found in the British seas, and that they were of all colours, but
principally white. Eccl. Hist. b. i. c. 1.
Et predicator Caesaris unquam habuit.
Gallias Caesar subegit, Nicomedes Caesarem;
Ecce Caesar nunc triumphat, qui subegit Gallias:
Nicomedes non triumphat, qui subegit Caesarem.
Aegisthus, who, like Caesar, was a pontiff, debauched Clytemnestra
while Agamemnon was engaged in the Trojan war, as Caesar did Mucia, the
wife of Pompey, while absent in the war against Mithridates.
A double entendre; Tertia signifying the third [of the value of the
farm], as well as being the name of the girl, for whose favours the
deduction was made.
Urbani, servate uxores; moechum calvum adducimus:
Aurum in Gallia effutuisti, hic sumpsisti mutuum.
Plutarch tells us that the oil was used in a dish of asparagus.
Every traveller knows that in those climates oil takes the place of
butter as an ingredient in cookery, and it needs no experience to fancy
what it is when rancid.
Meritoria rheda; a light four-wheeled carriage, apparently hired
either for the journey or from town to town. They were tolerably
commodious, for Cicero writes to Atticus, (v. 17.) Hanc epistolam dictavi
sedens in rheda, cum in castra proficiscerer.
Plutarch informs us that Caesar travelled with such expedition,
that he reached the Rhone on the eighth day after he left Rome.
Caesar tells us himself that he employed C. Volusenus to
reconnoitre the coast of Britain, sending him forward in a long ship,
with orders to return and make his report before the expedition sailed.
Religione; that is, the omens being unfavourable.
The standard of the Roman legions was an eagle fixed on the head of
a spear. It was silver, small in size, with expanded wings, and
clutching a golden thunderbolt in its claw.
To save them from the torture of a lingering death.
Now Lerida, in Catalonia.
The title of emperor was not new in Roman history; 1. It was
sometimes given by the acclamations of the soldiers to those who
commanded them. 2. It was synonymous with conqueror, and the troops
hailed him by that title after a victory. In both these cases it was
merely titular, and not permanent, and was generally written after the
proper name, as Cicero imperator, Lentulo imperatore. 3. It assumed a
permanent and royal character first in the person of Julius Caesar, and
was then generally prefixed to the emperor's name in inscriptions, as
IMP. CAESAR. DIVI. etc.
Cicero was the first who received the honour of being called "Pater
Statues were placed in the Capitol of each of the seven kings of
Rome, to which an eighth was added in honour of Brutus, who expelled the
last. The statue of Julius Caesar was afterwards raised near them.
The white fillet was one of the insignia of royalty. Plutarch, on
this occasion, uses the expression, diadaemati basiliko, a royal diadem.
The Lupercalia was a festival, celebrated in a place called the
Lupercal, in the month of February, in honour of Pan. During the
solemnity, the Luperci, or priests of that god, ran up and down the city
naked, with only a girdle of goat's skin round their waist, and thongs of
the same in their hands; with which they struck those they met,
particularly married women, who were thence supposed to be rendered
Persons appointed to inspect and expound the Sibylline books.