The Agricola of Tacitus.

The Oxford Translation Revised, With Notes. With An Introduction by Edward Brooks, Jr. (Philadelphia, D. McKay, [c1897])

1. The old tradition of conveying the actions and behaviors of the famous to future generations has been continued in the present age, even though this age has neglected those living in it; today, most ignore and despise any high and noble performance that is superior to lying reputation. In the past, however, there was a greater willingness and greater opportunity to perform acts to be remembered, so everyone who was able, for one's own satisfaction, without self-interest, to record examples of great accomplishment. And many considered it honesty, rather than arrogance, to be their own biographers. Of this, Rutilius and Scaurus 1 were examples; who were never blamed for this, nor was the truth of their account called in question; this is the way achievement was always estimated, when the culture could appreciate virtue. Since these times are different, I have chosen to write a history of a deceased person, and an explanation seemed necessary, one that I would not have to make, if these times had been less cruel and hostile to splendid deeds. 2

2. We read that when Arulenus Rusticus published the praises of Paetus Thrasea, and Herennius Senecio those of Priscus Helvidius, it was thought to be a crime worthy of the death penalty; 3 and the jealous fury of a dictator was let loose not only against the authors, but against their writings; so that those great works of genius were burned at the location for voting in the forum by specially-appointed bureaucrats. In that fire they thought to extinguish the voice of the Roman people, the freedom of the senate, and the conscious emotions of all humankind; capping it off by driving out wise philosophers, 4 and the banishing every liberal art, so that nothing generous or honorable might remain. We were patient, however, and in contrast to the utmost liberty in the past, we, deprived by govenment intrusion of meaningful conversation, experienced the utmost of slavery. With these restrictions on discussion we might have forgotten entirely, had we been as able to forget, as we were forced to be silent.

3. Now we have begun to revive our spirits. At the first dawning of this happy period, 5 the emperor Nerva united two things thought incompatible, monarchy and liberty; and Trajan is now daily augmenting the happiness of the empire; and the public security 6 has not only assured our hopes and wishes, but has seen those wishes grow in confidence and stability, Even so, we know from the nature of sickness, remedies are more slow in their operation than diseases; and, as bodies slowly develop, over time, but they can perish in a minute, so it is more easy to suppress initiative and genius than to promote them. For doing nothing becomes attractive; and laziness, however hateful at first, becomes in time a habit. During the space of fifteen years, 7 a large slice of human life, how great a number have fallen through casual events, and, as what happened to all the most distinguished, extinguished by the cruelty of the emperor; while we, the few who have survived and outlived not just those others alone, but, if I may be allowed to say, even ourselves, find a gap of so many years in our lives, which has silently brought us from youth to maturity, from mature age to the very edge of life. Still, I will not regret having written, however ineptly, a remembrance of past public service, and a testimony of present joy. 8

The present work is dedicated to the honor of my father-in-law, and may be approved, or at least excused, because of my honest intention.

4. Cnaeus Julius Agricola was born at the ancient and illustrious colony of Forumjulii. 9 Both his grandfathers were imperial procurators, 10 an office which confers the rank of equestrian ("knightly") nobility. His father, Julius Graecinus, 11 of the senatorian order, was famous for the study of eloquence and philosophy; and by these accomplishments he drew on himself the displeasure of Caius Caesar; 12 for, being commanded to undertake the accusation of Marcus Silanus, 13--on his refusal, he was put to death. His mother was Julia Procilla, a lady of exemplary chastity. Educated with tenderness in her heart, 14 he passed his childhood and youth attaining every liberal art. He was preserved from the allurements of vice, not only by a naturally good disposition, but by being sent very early to pursue his studies at Massilia; 15 a place where Grecian politeness and provincial frugality are happily united. I remember he was used to relate, that in his early youth he would have devoted himself with more enthusiasm to philosophical speculation than was suitable to a Roman and a senator, had not the prudence of his mother restrained the warmth and vehemence of his disposition: for his lofty and upright spirit, inflamed by the charms of glory and exalted reputation, led him to the pursuit with more eagerness than discretion. Reason and riper years tempered his warmth; and from the study of wisdom, he retained what is most difficult to encompass: moderation.

5. He learned the rudiments of war in Britain, under Suetonius Paullinus, an active and prudent commander, who chose him for his tent companion, in order to form an estimate of his merit. 16 Nor did Agricola, like many young men, who convert military service into extreme self-indulgence, converting his milital title to moral dissolution or laziness, or his inexperience, to spend his time in pleasures and absences from duty; but he employed himself in gaining a knowledge of the country, making himself known to the army, learning from the experienced, and imitating the best; neither pressing to be employed through self-importance, nor avoiding work through fear; and performing his duty with equal care and spirit. At no other time in truth was Britain more disturbed or in a state of greater uncertainty. Our veterans slaughtered, our colonies burnt, 17 our armies cut off, 18--we were then fighting for safety, afterwards for victory. During this period, although all things were done under the conduct General and direction of Suetonius, as well as the distress of the whole province and the glory of recovering it, all the general's share, yet these imparted skill, experience, and incentives to the young Agricola ; and the passion for military glory entered his soul; such a passion was not appreciated in those times, 19 in which success was unfavorably judged, and a great reputation was more dangerous than a bad one.

6. After leaving to assume the offices of magistracy in Rome, he married Domitia Decidiana, a lady of illustrious descent, from which connection he derived credit and support in his pursuit of greater things. They lived together in admirable harmony and mutual affection; each giving the preference to the other; a conduct equally praiseworthy in both, except that a greater degree of praise is due to a good wife, in proportion as a bad one deserves the greater censure. The choice of quaestorship 20 gave him Asia Minor for his province, and the proconsul Salvius Titianus 21 for his superior; by neither of which circumstances was he corrupted, although the province was wealthy and open to plunder, and the proconsul, from his rapacious disposition, would readily have agreed to a mutual concealment of guilt. Agricola's family was increased there by the birth of a daughter, who was both the support of his house, and his consolation; for he lost an earlier son in infancy. The interval between his serving the offices of quaestor and tribune of the people, and even the year of the latter magistracy, he passed in rest and inactivity; he well knew the temper of the times under Nero, in which indolence was wisdom. He maintained the same tenor of conduct when praetor; for the judiciary part of the office did not fall to his share. 22 In the exhibition of public games, and the idle trappings of dignity, he regarded appropriateness and the measured amount of his fortune; by no means approaching extravagance, yet inclining rather to a popular course. When he was afterwards appointed by the Emperor Galba to manage an inquest concerning the offerings which had been presented to the temples, by his strict attention and diligence he preserved the state from any further sacrilege than what it had suffered from Nero. 23

7. The following year 24 inflicted a severe wound on his peace of mind, and his domestic concerns. The fleet of the Emperor Otho, roving in a disorderly manner on the Italian coast, 25 attacked the region of Intemelii, 26 a part of Liguria, in which Agricola's mother was murdered at her own estate, her lands were ravaged, and a great part of her effects, which had invited the assassins, was carried off. As Agricola upon this event was hastening to perform the duties of filial piety, he was overtaken by the news of the Emperor Vespasian's aspiring to the empire, 27 and immediately went over to his party. The first acts of power, and the government of the city, were entrusted to Mucianus; Domitian being at that time very young, and taking no other privilege from his father's elevation than that of indulging his dissipated tastes. Mucianus, having approved Agricola's vigor and trustworthiness in the service of raising taxes, gave him the command of the twentieth legion, 28 which had appeared reluctant in swearing allegiance, as soon as Mucianus had heard about the rebellious practices of its commander. 29 This legion had been unmanageable and resistant even to the consular lieutenants; 30 and its late commander, of praetorian rank, had not sufficient authority to keep it in obedience; though it was uncertain whether from his own disposition, or that of his soldiers. Agricola was therefore appointed as his successor and avenger; but, with an uncommon degree of moderation, he chose rather to have it appear that he had found the legion obedient, than that he had made it so.

8. Vettius Bolanus was at that time governor of Britain, and ruled with a milder sway than was suitable to so turbulent a province. Under his administration, Agricola, accustomed to obey, and taught to consult the practical as well as the glorious, tempered his enthusiasm, and restrained his enterprising spirit. His virtues had soon a larger field for their display, with the appointment of Petilius Cerealis, 31 a man of consular dignity, to the government. At first he only shared the fatigues and dangers of his general; but was presently allowed to partake of his glory. Cerealis frequently entrusted him with part of his army as a trial of his abilities; and from the event sometimes enlarged his command. On these occasions, Agricola was never pretentious in assuming to himself the merit of his actions; but always, as a subordinate officer, gave the honor of his good fortune to his superior. Thus, by his spirit in executing orders, and his modesty in reporting his success, he avoided envy, yet did not fail of acquiring reputation.

9. On his return from commanding the legion he was raised by Vespasian to the patrician order, and then appointed to governing Aquitania, 32 a distinguished promotion, both in respect to the office itself, and the hopes of the consulate to which it destined him. It is a common supposition that military men, habituated to unscrupulous and rigorous camp procedures, where things are carried with a strong hand, are deficient in the behavior and subtlety of genius requisite in civil jurisdiction. Agricola, however, by his natural prudence, could act with efficiency and precision even among civilians. He distinguished the hours of business from those of relaxation. When the court or tribunal demanded his presence, he was serious, intent, impressive, yet generally inclined to lenity. When the duties of his office were over, that powerful man was instantly laid aside. Nothing of sternness, arrogance, or greed appeared; and, what was a singular happiness, his good will did not impair his authority, nor his severity render him less beloved. In fact, to mention integrity and freedom from corruption in such a man, would be an affront to his virtues. He did not even seek reputation, an object to which men of worth frequently sacrifice, by showing off or by cleverness: at the same time he also avoided competition with his colleagues, 33 and argument with the procurators. To win in such struggles he thought inglorious; and to lose, a disgrace. Somewhat less than three years were spent in this office, when he was recalled to the immediate prospect of the consulate; while at the same time a popular opinion prevailed that the government of Britain would he conferred upon him; an opinion not based upon any suggestions of his own, but upon his being thought equal to the position. Popular fame does not always err; sometimes it even directs a choice. When consul, 34 he contracted his daughter, a lady already of the happiest potential, to myself, then a very young man; and after his office ended, I received her in marriage. He was immediately appointed governor of Britain, and the pontificate 35 was added to his other dignities.

10. The situation and inhabitants of Britain have been described by many writers; 36 and I shall not add to the number with the view of competing with them in accuracy and skill, but I write because it was first thoroughly subdued in the period of the present history. Those things which, before they were established, those writers ornamented with their eloquence, shall here be related with a faithful adherence to known facts. Britain, the largest of all the islands which have come within the knowledge of the Romans, stretches on the east towards Germany, on the west towards Spain, 37 and on the south it is even within sight of Gaul. Its northern extremity has no opposite land, but is washed by a wide and open sea. Livy, the most eloquent of ancient witers, and Fabius Rusticus, of the modern ones, have compared the shape of Britain to an oblong shield, or a two-edged axe. 38 And this is in reality its appearance, exclusive of Caledonia; whence it has been popularly attributed to the whole island. But that tract of country, irregularly stretching out to an immense length towards the furthest shore, is gradually contracted in form of a wedge. 39 The Roman fleet, at this period first sailing round this remotest coast, gave certain proof that Britain was an island; and at the same time discovered and subdued the Orcades, 40 islands till then unknown. Thule 41 was also distinctly seen, which winter and eternal snow had hitherto concealed. The sea is reported to be sluggish and difficult to a rower; and even to be scarcely agitated by winds. The cause of this stagnation I imagine to be the deficiency of land and mountains where tempests are generated; and the difficulty with which such a mighty mass of waters, in an uninterrupted main, is put in motion. 42 It is not the business of this work to investigate the nature of the ocean and the tides; a subject which many writers have already undertaken. I shall only add one circumstance: that the dominion of the sea is nowhere more extensive; that it carries many currents in this direction and in that; and its ebbs and flows are not confined to the shore, but the sea penetrates into the heart of the country, and works its way among hills and mountains, as though it were in its own domain. 43

11. Who were the first inhabitants of Britain, whether indigenous 44 or immigrants, is a question involved in the obscurity usual among barbarians. Their physical condition is various, and from this deductions are formed of their different origin. Thus, the ruddy hair and large limbs of the Caledonians 45 point out a German derivation. The swarthy complexion and curled hair of the Silures, 46 together with their situation opposite to Spain, render it probable that a colony of the ancient Iberi 47 possessed themselves of that territory. They who are nearest Gaul 48 resemble the inhabitants of that country; whether from the duration of hereditary influence, or whether it be that when lands jut forward in opposite directions, 49 climate gives the same condition of body to the inhabitants of both. On a general survey, however, it appears probable that the Gauls originally took possession of the neighboring coast. The sacred rites and superstitions 50 of these people are discernible among the Britons. The languages of the two peoples do not greatly differ. The same audacity in provoking danger, and irresolution in facing it when present, is observable in both. The Britons, however, display more ferocity, 51 not being yet softened by a long peace: for it appears from history that the Gauls were once famous in warfare, till, losing their courage with their liberty, sluggishness and indolence entered among them. The same change has also taken place among those of the Britons who have been long subdued; 52 but the rest continue such as the Gauls formerly were.

12. Their military strength consists in infantry; some British tribes also make use of chariots in war; in the management of which, the most esteemed person guides the reins, while his dependents fight from the chariot. 53 The Britons were formerly governed by kings, 54 but at present they are divided in factions and parties among their chiefs; and this want of unity for organizing some general plan is the most favorable circumstance to us, in our ambitions against so powerful a people. It is seldom that two or three communities concur in repelling the common danger; and thus, while they engage singly, they are all subdued. The sky in this country is deformed by clouds and frequent rains; but the cold is never extremely rigorous. 55 The length of the days greatly exceeds that in our part of the world. 56 The nights are bright, and, at the extremity of the island, so short, that the close and return of day is scarcely distinguished by a perceptible interval. It is even asserted that, when clouds do not intervene, the splendor of the sun is visible during the whole night, and that it does not appear to rise and set, but to move across the sky.57 The cause of this is, that the extreme and flat parts of the earth, casting a low shadow, do not throw up the darkness, and so night falls beneath the sky and the stars. 58 The soil, though improper for the olive, the vine, and other productions of warmer climates, is fertile, and suitable for grain. Growth is quick, but maturation slow; both from the same cause, the great humidity of the ground and the atmosphere. 59 The earth yields gold and silver 60 and other metals, the rewards of victory. The ocean produces pearls, 61 but of a cloudy and ashen hue; which some impute to a lack of skill in the gatherers; for in the Red Sea the oysters are plucked from the rocks alive and vigorous, but in Britain they are collected as the sea throws them up. For my own part, I can more readily conceive that the defect is in the nature of the pearls than in our avarice.

13. The Britons cheerfully submit to taxes, tributes, and the other services of government, if they are not treated injuriously; but such treatment they bear with impatience, their subjection only extending to obedience, not to servitude. Julius Caesar, 62 was the first Roman who entered Britain with an army; but, although he terrified the inhabitants by a successful engagement, and became master of the shore, he may be considered to have transmitted rather the discovery than the possession of the country to posterity. The Roman civil wars soon followed; the leaders' weapons were turned against their country; and a long neglect of Britain ensued, which continued even after the establishment of peace. This Augustus attributed to policy; and Tiberius to the injunctions of his predecessor. 63 It is certain that Caius Caesar 64 considered an expedition into Britain; but his mindset, quick in forming schemes, and unsteady in pursuing them, together with the ill success of his mighty attempts against Germany, rendered the design abortive. Claudius 65 accomplished the undertaking, transporting his legions and auxiliaries; and he associated Vespasian in the direction of affairs, which laid the foundation of his future fortune. In this expedition, tribes were subdued, kings made captive, and Vespasian was delivered to the fates.

14. Aulus Plautius, the first consular governor, and his successor, Ostorius Scapula, 66 were both eminent in military abilities. Under them, the nearest part of Britain was gradually reduced into the form of a province, and a colony of veterans 67 was settled. Certain districts were bestowed upon king Cogidunus, a ruler who continued in perfect fidelity within our own memory. This was done agreeably to the ancient and long established practice of the Romans, to make even kings the instruments of Roman enslavement. Didius Gallus, the next governor, preserved the acquisitions of his predecessors, and added a very few fortified posts in the remoter parts, for the fame attached to enlarging his province. Veranius succeeded, but died within the year. Suetonius Paullinus then commanded with success for two years, subduing various tribes, and establishing garrisons. In the confidence with which this inspired him, he undertook an expedition against the island Mona, 68 which had furnished the rebels with supplies; and he thereby exposed the settlements behind him to a surprise.

15. For the Britons, relieved from present dread by the absence of the governor, began to hold conferences, in which they described the miseries of servitude, compared their several injuries, and inflamed each other with such representations as these: "That the only result of their patience was still more grievous explotations of a people who had submitted so easily. That formerly they had one king for each tribe; now two were set over them, the lieutenant and the procurator, the former venting his rage upon their life's blood, the latter upon their properties; 69 that either the agreement or disagreement 70 between these governors was equally fatal to those whom they ruled, while the officers of the one, and the centurions of the other, joined in oppressing them by all kinds of violence and contempt; so that nothing was beyond their greed, nothing beyond their lust. In battle it was the bravest who took spoils; but those officials whom they allowed to seize British houses, force away British children, and levy taxes, were, for the most part, the cowardly and weak; as if the only lesson of suffering of which they were ignorant was how to die for their country. Yet how inconsiderable would the number of invaders appear if the Britons were to calculate their own forces. From considerations like these, Germany had thrown off the Roman yoke, 71 though only a river 72 and not the ocean was its barrier. The welfare of the British people, their wives, and their parents called them to fight, while greed and indulgence alone spurred their enemies; these Romans would withdraw as even the deified Julius had done, if the present race of Britons would emulate the courage of their ancestors, and not be disheartened at the event of the first or second battle. Superior spirit and perseverence were always the possession of the wretched; and the gods themselves now seemed to compassionate the Britons, by ordaining the absence of the general, and detaining his army on another island. The most difficult point, that of assembling in order to deliberate, was already accomplished; and there was always more danger from the discovery of designs like these, than from their execution."

16. Whipped up by such insights, they unanimously rose to weapons, led by Boadicea, 73 a woman of royal descent (for they make no distinction between the sexes in succession to the throne), and attacking the soldiers dispersed through the garrisons, stormed the fortified posts, and invaded the colony 74 itself, as the seat of slavery. They practiced every kind of cruelty with which rage and victory could inspire barbarians; and had not Paullinus, on being acquainted with the commotion of the province, marched speedily to its relief, Britain would have been lost. The fortune of a single battle, however, reduced it to its former subjection; but many still remained armed, those whom the consciousness of revolt, and particular dread of the governor, had driven to despair. Paullinus, although otherwise exemplary in his administration, treated those who surrendered with severity, and pursued too rigorous measures, as one who was revenging his own personal injury as well; so Petronius Turpilianus 75 was sent in his place, as someone more inclined to be lenient, and one who, being unacquainted with the enemy's offensive acts, could more easily accept their penitence. After having restored conditions to their former quiet state, he delivered the command to Trebellius Maximus. 76 Trebellius, lazy, and inexperienced in military affairs, maintained the tranquillity of the province by popular practices; for even the barbarians, seduced by vice, had now learned to excuse repressive behavior; and the intervention of more Roman civil wars afforded a legitimate excuse for his inactivity. Sedition however infected the soldiers, who, instead of their usual military services, were rioting in boredom. Trebellius, after escaping the fury of his army by flight and concealment, dishonored and abased, regained a precarious authority; and a kind of tacit compact took place, of safety for the general, and immorality for the army. This mutiny did not involve bloodshed. Vettius Bolanus, 77 succeeding during the continuance of the civil wars, was unable to introduce discipline into Britain. The same inaction towards the enemy, and the same insolence in the camp, continued; except that Bolanus, unblemished in his character, and not obnoxious by any crime, in some measure substituted affection for authority.

17. At length, when Vespasian received the possession of Britain together with the rest of the world, the great commanders and well-appointed armies which were sent over lessened the confidence of the enemy; and Petilius Cerealis struck terror by an attack upon the Brigantes, 78 who are reputed to form the most populous tribe in the whole province. Many battles were fought, some of them attended with much bloodshed; and the greater part of the Brigantes were either brought into subjection, or destroyed in the ravages of war. The conduct and reputation of Cerealis were both so brilliant that they might have eclipsed the splendor of a successor; yet Julius Frontinus, 79 a truly great man, continued the arduous competition, as far as circumstances would permit. 80 He subdued the strong and warlike tribe of the Silures, 81 in which expedition, besides the courage of the enemy, he had the difficulties of the country to struggle with.

18. Such was the state of Britain, and such had been the vicissitudes of warfare, when Agricola arrived in the middle of summer; 82 at a time when the Roman soldiers, supposing that the expeditions for that year had been concluded, were thinking of enjoying themselves without care, and the natives were thinking of seizing the opportunity thus afforded them. Not long before Agricola's arrival, the Ordovices 83 had cut off almost an entire corps of cavalry stationed on their frontiers; and this beginning threw the inhabitants of the province into anxious suspense, because war was what they wished for, and they either approved of the example, or waited to discover the disposition of the new governor. 84 The season was now far advanced, the troops dispersed through the country, and onvinced that they would be allowed to remain inactive during the rest of the year; these circumstances tended to delay and discourage any military enterprise; for this reason it was generally thought most advisable to content with defending the most vulnerable posts: yet Agricola determined to march out and meet the approaching danger. For this purpose, he drew together the detachments from the legions, 85 and a small body of auxiliaries; and when he perceived that the Ordovices would not venture to descend into the plain, he led an advanced party in person to the attack, in order to inspire the rest of his troops with equal enthusiasm. The result of the action was almost the total annihilation of the Ordovices; when Agricola, sensible that fame must be followed up, and that the future events of the war would be determined by the first success, resolved to attack the island Mona, from which Paullinus had been previously summoned by the general rebellion of Britain, as before related. 86 The usual deficiency of an spontaneous expedition is a deficiency of transport vessels; both the ability and resolution of the general were exerted to mend this defect. A select body of auxiliaries, relieved of their baggage, men well acquainted with the fords, and accustomed, after the manner of their homeland, to direct their horses and manage their arms while swimming, 87 were ordered to plunge suddenly into the channel; because of this expediency, the enemy, who expected the arrival of a fleet, and a formal invasion by sea, were struck with terror and astonishment, conceiving nothing too difficult or impossible to troops who in this way began an attack. They were therefore persuaded to sue for peace, and to surrender of the island; an event which made the name of Agricola lustrous; he, upon entering his province, had employed in action and dangers the time which is usually devoted to ostentatious parade, and the compliments of office. Nor was he tempted, in the pride of success, to term that an expedition or a victory; it was only controling the vanquished; he did not even to announce his success in dispatches displaying laurel leaves. 88 But concealing his glory served to increase it; since men were now induced to imagine the magnificence of his future, when such important services would be passed over in silence.

19. Well acquainted with the condition of the province, and taught by the experience of former governors how little progress had been effected by war, where success was followed by injuries, he next undertook to eradicate the causes of war. And beginning with himself, and those next to him, he first established restrictions for his own household, a task no less difficult to most governors than the administration of the province. He allowed no public business to pass through the hands of his slaves or freedmen. In appointing soldiers to service, 89 in order to attend to his person, he was not influenced by private favor, or the centurions' recommendations or requests, but he considered the best men as likely to prove the most faithful. He would know everything; but was content to let some things pass unnoticed. 90 He could pardon small faults, and use severity to great ones; yet did not always punish, but was frequently satisfied with penitence. He chose rather to confer offices and employments upon such as would not offend, than to condemn those who had offended. The augmentation 91 of tributes and contributions he mitigated by a just and equal assessment, abolishing those private demands which were more painful to be obeyed than the taxes themselves. For the inhabitants, insulted by the Romans, had been compelled to ignore their own locked-up granaries, to buy grain needlessly, and to sell it again at a stated price. Long and difficult journeys had also been imposed upon them; for the several districts, instead of being allowed to supply the nearest winter quarters, were forced to carry their grain to remote and roundabout places; by which means, what was easy to be procured by all, was converted into an article of gain to a few.

20. By suppressing these abuses in the first year of his administration, he established a favorable idea of peace, which, through the negligence or oppression of his predecessors, had been no less dreaded than war. At the return of summer 92 he assembled his army. On their march, he commended those who were regular and orderly, and restrained the stragglers; he marked out the encampments, 93 and explored in person the estuaries and forests. At the same time he perpetually harassed the enemy by sudden incursions; and, after sufficiently alarming them, by an interval of forbearance, he held to their view the benefits of peace. By this management, many tribes, which until that time had asserted their independence, were now induced to forget their animosity, and to deliver hostages. These districts were surrounded with camps and forts, disposed with so much attention and judgment, that no part of Britain, up to now new to the Roman arms, escaped unattended.

21. The succeeding winter was employed in the most excellent measures. In order, by a taste of pleasures, to reclaim the natives from that rude and unsettled state which prompted them to war, and reconcile them to quiet and tranquillity, he incited them, by private instigations and public encouragements, to erect temples, courts of justice, and dwelling-houses. He distributed commendations to those who were prompt in complying with his intentions, and reprimanded such as were late; he thus promoted a spirit of emulation which had all the force of necessity. He was also attentive to provide a liberal education for the sons of their chieftains, preferring the natural genius of the Britons to the attainments of the Gauls; and his attempts were attended with such success, that they who before had disdained to use the Roman language, were now ambitious to be eloquent. Hence the Roman habit began to be held in honor, and the toga was frequently worn. At length they gradually deviated into a taste for those excesses which stimulate vice; porticos, and baths, and the elegancies of the table; and this, from their inexperience, they termed culture, while, in reality, it constituted a part of their slavery.

22. The military expeditions of the third year 94 discovered new tribes to the Romans, and Roman ravages extended as far as the estuary of the Tay. 95 The enemies were thereby struck with such terror that they did not venture to molest the army, though it had been harassed by violent tempests; the Romans, then, had sufficient opportunity to erect fortresses. 96 Persons of experience remarked that no general had ever shown greater skill than Agricola in the choice of advantageous situations; for not one of his fortified posts was either taken by storm, or surrendered by capitulation. The garrisons made frequent sallies [suprise attacks]; for they were secured against a blockade by a year's provision in their stores. Thus the winter passed without alarm, and each garrison proved sufficient for its own defence; while the enemy, who were generally accustomed to copensate for the losses of the summer by the successes of the winter, now equally unfortunate in both seasons, were baffled and driven to despair. In these transactions, Agricola never attempted to impute to himself the glory of others; but he always bore an impartial testimony to the meritorious actions of his officers, from the centurion to the commander of a legion. He was represented by some as rather harsh in correction; as if the same disposition which made him affable to the deserving, had inclined him to severity towards the worthless. But his anger left no remains behind; his silence and reserve were not to be dreaded; and he esteemed it more honorable to show marks of open displeasure than to entertain secret hatred.

23. The fourth summer 97 was spent in securing the country which had been overrun; and if the courage of the army and the glory of the Roman name had permitted it, our conquests would have found a limit within Britain itself. For the tides of the opposite seas, flowing very far up the estuaries of Clota and Bodotria, 98 almost intersect the country; leaving only a narrow neck of land, which was then defended by a chain of forts. 99 Thus all the territory on this side was held in subjection, and the remaining enemies were removed, as it were, into another island.

24. In the fifth campaign, 100 Agricola, crossing over in the first ship, 101 subdued, by frequent and successful engagements, several tribes till then unknown; and stationed troops in that part of Britain which is opposite to Ireland, rather with a view to future advantage, than from any apprehension of danger from that quarter. For the possession of Ireland, situated between Britain and Spain, and lying widely to the Gallic sea, 102 would have formed a very beneficial connection between the most powerful parts of the empire. This island is less than Britain, but larger than those of our sea. 103 Its soil, climate, and the manners and dispositions of its inhabitants, are little different from those of Britain. Its ports and harbors are better known, from the concourse of merchants for the purposes of commerce. Agricola had received into his protection one of its petty kings, who had been expelled by a domestic sedition; and detained him, under the semblance of friendship, till an occasion should offer of making use of him. I have frequently heard him assert, that a single legion and a few auxiliaries would be sufficient entirely to conquer Ireland and keep it in subjection; and that such an event would also have contributed to restrain the Britons, by awing them with the prospect of the Roman arms all around them, and, as it were, banishing liberty from their sight.

25. In the summer which began the sixth year 104 of Agricola's administration, extending his views to the regions situated beyond Bodotria, 105 as a general insurrection of the remoter tribes was discovered, and the enemy's army rendered marching unsafe, he caused the harbors to be explored by his fleet, which, now first acting in aid of the land-forces gave the formidable spectacle of war at once pushed on by sea and land. The cavalry, infantry, and marines were frequently mingled in the same camp, and recounted with mutual pleasure their several exploits and adventures; comparing, in the boastful language of military men, the dark recesses of woods and mountains, with the horrors of waves and tempests; and the land and enemy subdued, with the conquered ocean. It was also discovered from the captives that the Britons had been struck with consternation at the view of the fleet, conceiving the last refuge of the vanquished to be cut off, now the secret retreats of their seas were disclosed. The various inhabitants of Caledonia immediately took up arms, with great preparations, magnified, however, by rumor, as usual where the truth is unknown; and by beginning hostilities, and attacking our fortresses, they inspired terror as daring to act offensively; so that some persons, disguising their timidity under the mask of prudence, were for instantly retreating on this side the firth, and relinquishing the country rather than waiting to be driven out. Agricola, in the meantime, being informed that the enemy intended to bear down in several bodies, distributed his army into three divisions, that his inferiority of numbers, and ignorance of the country, might not give them an opportunity of surrounding him.

26. When this was known to the enemy, they suddenly changed their design; and making a general attack in the night upon the ninth legion, which was the weakest, 106 in the confusion of sleep and consternation they slaughtered the sentinels, and burst through the entrenchments. They were now fighting within the camp, when Agricola, who had received information of their march from his scouts, and followed close upon their track, gave orders for the swiftest of his horse and foot to charge the enemy's rear. Presently the whole army raised a general shout; and the standards now glittered at the approach of day. The Britons were distracted by opposite dangers; while the Romans in the camp rekindled their courage, and secure in safety, began to contend for glory. They now in their turns rushed forwards to the attack, and a furious engagement ensued in the gates of the camp; till by the eager efforts of both Roman armies, one to give assistance, the other to appear not to need it, the enemy was routed: and had not the woods and marshes sheltered the fugitives, that day would have terminated the war.

27. The soldiers, inspirited by the steadfastness which characterized and the fame which attended this victory, cried out that "nothing could resist their courage; now was the time to penetrate into the heart of Caledonia, and in a continued series of engagements at length to discover the utmost limits of Britain." Those even who had before recommended caution and prudence now became rash and boastful by success. It is the hard condition of military command, that a share in prosperous events is claimed by all, but misfortunes are imputed to one alone. The Britons meantime, attributing their defeat not to the superior bravery of their adversaries, but to chance, and the skill of the general, lost no confidence; but proceeded to arm their youth, to send their wives and children to places of safety, and to cement the confederacy of their several peoples by solemn assemblies and sacrifices. Thus the parties separated with minds mutually furious.

28. During the same summer, a cohort of Usipii, 107 which had been raised in Germany, and sent over into Britain, performed an extremely daring and unforgetable action. After murdering a centurion and some soldiers who had been incorporated with them for the purpose of instructing them in military discipline, they seized upon three light vessels, and compelled the captains to go on board with them. One of these capitains, however, escaped to shore, and they killed the other two in suspicion; and before the affair was publicly known, they sailed away, as it were by pure luck. They were presently driven at the mercy of the waves; and they had frequent skirmishes, with various success, with the Britons, defending their property from plunder. 108 At length they were reduced to such extremity of distress as to be obliged to feed upon each other; the weakest being first sacrificed, and then such as were taken by a throw of dice. In this manner having sailed round the island, they lost their ships through a lack of skill; and, being regarded as pirates, were intercepted, first by the Suevi, then by the Frisii. Some of them, after being sold for slaves, by the change of masters were brought to the Roman side of the river, 109 and became notorious from the relation of their extraordinary adventures. 110

29. In the beginning of the next summer, 111 Agricola received a severe domestic wound in the loss of a son, about a year old. He bore this calamity, not with the showy firmness which many have affected, nor yet with the tears and lamentations of feminine sorrow; and war was one of the remedies of his grief. Having sent forwards his fleet to spread its ravages through various parts of the coast, in order to excite an extensive and doubtful alarm, he marched with an army equipped for expedition, to which he had joined the bravest of the Britons whose fidelity had been approved by a long allegiance, and arrived at the Grampian hills, where the enemy was already encamped. 112 For the Britons, undismayed by the event of the former action, expecting revenge or slavery, and at length taught that the danger common to them all must be repelled by union alone, had assembled the strength of all their tribes by embassies and confederacies. Upwards of thirty thousand men in arms were now perceived; and the youth, together with those of a hale and vigorous age, renowned in war, and bearing their several honorary decorations, were still flocking in; when Calgacus, 113 the most distinguished for birth and courage among the chieftains, is said to have addressed ["harangued"] the multitude, gathering round and eager for battle, in the following way:

30. "When I reflect on the causes of the war, and the circumstances of our situation, I feel a strong persuasion that our united efforts on the present day will prove the beginning of universal liberty to Britain. For we are all not debased by slavery; and there is no land behind us, nor does even the sea afford a refuge, while the Roman fleet hovers around. Thus the use of arms, which is at all times honorable to the brave, now offers the only safety even to cowards. In all the battles which have yet been fought, with various success, against the Romans, our countrymen may be deemed to have reposed their final hopes and resources in us: for we, the noblest sons of Britain, and therefore stationed in its last recesses, far from the view of servile shores, have preserved even our eyes unpolluted by the contact of subjection. We, at the furthest limits both of land and liberty, have been defended to this day by the remoteness of our situation and of our fame. The extremity of Britain is now disclosed; and whatever is unknown becomes an object of magnitude. But there is no tribe beyond us; nothing but waves and rocks, and the still more hostile Romans, whose arrogance we cannot escape by debasement and submission. These plunderers of the world, after exhausting the land by their devastations, are rifling the ocean: stimulated by greed, if their enemy be rich; by ambition, if poor; unsatiated by the East and by the West: the only people who behold wealth and poverty with equal enthusiasm. To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace. 114

31. "Our children and relations are by the appointment of nature the dearest of all things to us. These are torn away by conscription to serve in foreign lands. 115 Our wives and sisters, though they should escape the violation of hostile force, are polluted under names of friendship and hospitality. Our estates and possessions are consumed in taxes; our grain in contributions. Even our bodies are worn down admid whippings and insults in clearing woods and draining marshes. Wretches born to slavery are once bought, and afterwards maintained by their masters: Britain every day buys, every day feeds, her own servitude. 116 And as among domestic slaves every newcomer serves enduring the scorn and derision of his fellows; so, in this ancient household of the world, we, as the newest and vilest, are sought out to destruction. For we have neither cultivated lands, nor mines, nor harbors, which can induce them to preserve us for our labors. The courage too and unsubmitting spirit of subjects only render them more obnoxious to their masters; while remoteness and secrecy of situation itself, in proportion as it conduces to security, tends to inspire suspicion. Since then all hopes of mercy are useless, at length assume courage, both you to whom safety and you to whom glory is dear. The Trinobantes, even under a female leader, had force enough to burn a colony, to storm camps, and, if success had not damped their power, would have been able entirely to throw off the yoke; and shall not we, untouched, unsubdued, and struggling not for the acquisition but the security of liberty, show at the very first onset what men Caledonia has reserved for her defense?

32. "Can you imagine that the Romans are as brave in war as they are immoral in peace? Acquiring fame from our discords and dissensions, they convert the faults of their enemies into the glory of their own army, an army composed of the most different peoples, which success alone has kept together, and which misfortune will as certainly dissolve. Indeed, can you suppose that Gauls, and Germans, and (I blush to say it) even Britons, who, though they expend their blood to establish a foreign dominion, have been longer its foes than its subjects, will be retained by loyalty and affection? Terror and dread alone are the weak bonds of attachment; this attachment, when it is broken, means that they who cease to fear will begin to hate. Every incitement to victory is on our side. The Romans have no wives to inspire them; no parents to abhor their flight. Most of them have either no home, or a distant one. Few in number, ignorant of the country, looking around in silent horror at woods, seas, and a heaven itself unknown to them, they are delivered by the gods, as it were imprisoned and bound, into our hands. Be not terrified with an idle show, and the glitter of silver and gold, which can neither protect nor wound. In the very ranks of the enemy we shall find our own bands. The Britons will acknowledge their own cause. The Gauls will recollect their former liberty. The rest of the Germans will desert them, as the Usipii have lately done. Nor is there anything formidable behind them: ungarrisoned forts; colonies of old men; municipal towns dysfunctional and distracted between unjust masters and ill-obeying subjects. Here is a general; here an army. There, taxes, excavated mines, and all the instances of punishments inflicted on slaves; these, whether to bear eternally, or instantly to revenge, this field must determine. March then to battle, and think of your ancestors and your posterity."

33. They received this harangue eagerly, and testified their applause after the barbarian manner, with songs, and yells, and dissonant shouts. And now the several divisions were in motion, the glittering of arms was beheld, while the most daring and impetuous were hurrying to the front, and the line of battle was forming; when Agricola, although his soldiers were in high spirits, and scarcely to be kept within their entrenchments, kindled additional enthusiasm by these words:

"It is now the eighth year, my fellow-soldiers, in which, under the high fortunes of the Roman empire, by your courage and perseverance you have been conquering Britain. In so many expeditions, in so many battles, whether you have been required to exert your courage against the enemy, or your patient labors against the very nature of the country, neither have I ever been dissatisfied with my soldiers, nor you with your general. In this mutual confidence, we have proceeded beyond the limits of former commanders and former armies; and are now become acquainted with the extremity of the island, not by uncertain rumor, but by actual possession with our arms and encampments. Britain is discovered and subdued. How often on a march, when impeded by mountains, bogs and rivers, have I heard the bravest among you exclaim, 'When shall we see the enemy? when shall we be led to the field of battle?' At length they have moved out from their retreats; your wishes and your courage have now free scope; and every circumstance is equally propitious to the victor, and ruinous to the vanquished. For, the greater our glory in having marched over vast tracts of land, penetrated forests, and crossed arms of the sea, while advancing towards the foe, the greater will be our danger and difficulty if we should attempt a retreat. We are inferior to our enemies in knowledge of the country, and less able to obtain provisions; but we have arms in our hands, and in these we have everything. For myself, it has long been my principle, that either a retreating general or an army is never safe. Not only, then, are we to reflect that death with honor is preferable to life with shame, but we are to remember that security and glory are seated in the same place. Even to fall in this extremest edge of earth and of nature cannot be thought an inglorious fate.

34. "If unknown tribes or untried troops were drawn up against you, I would exhort you from the example of other armies. At present, remember your own honors, question your own eyes. These are they, who, the last year, attacking by surprise a single legion in the obscurity of the night, were put to flight by a shout: these were the greatest fugitives of all the Britons, and therefore the longest survivors. As in penetrating woods and thickets the fiercest animals boldly rush on the hunters, while the weak and fearful flee at their very noise; so the bravest of the Britons have long since fallen: the remaining number consists solely of the cowardly and spiritless; these you see at length within your reach, not because they have stood their ground, but because they are overtaken. Paralyzed with fear, their bodies are fixed and chained down in yonder field, which to you will speedily be the scene of a glorious and memorable victory. Here bring your works and services to a conclusion; close a struggle of fifty years 118 with one great day; and convince your countrymen, that to the army ought not to be imputed either the lentherning of war, or the causes of rebellion."

35. While Agricola was yet speaking, the enthusiasm of the soldiers declared itself; and as soon as he had finished, they burst forth into cheerful acclamations, and instantly flew to arms. Thus eager and impetuous, he formed them so that the centre was occupied by the auxiliary infantry, in number eight thousand, and three thousand horse were spread in the wings. The legions were stationed in the rear, before the entrenchments; a disposition which would render the victory signally glorious, if it were obtained without the expense of Roman blood; and would ensure support if the rest of the army were repulsed. The British troops, for the greater display of their numbers, and more formidable appearance, were ranged upon the rising grounds, so that the first line stood upon the plain, the rest, as if linked together, rose above one another upon the ascent. The charioteers 119 and horsemen filled the middle of the field with their restlessness and rearing. Then Agricola, fearing from the superior number of the enemy lest he should be obliged to fight as well on his flanks as in front, extended his ranks; and although this rendered his line of battle less firm, and several of his officers advised him to bring up the legions, yet, filled with hope, and resolute in danger, he dismissed his horse and took his station on foot before the standards.

36. At first the action was carried on at a distance. The Britons, armed with long swords and short shields, 120 with steadiness and dexterity avoided or struck down our missile weapons, and at the same time poured in a torrent of their own. Agricola then encouraged three Batavian and two Tungrian 121 cohorts to fall in and come to close quarters; a method of fighting familiar to these veteran soldiers, but a hardship to the enemy from the nature of their armor; for the enormous British swords, blunt at the point, are unfit for close grappling, and engaging in a confined space. When the Batavians, therefore, began to redouble their blows, to strike with the bosses of their shields, and mangle the faces of the enemy, and, bearing down all those who resisted them on the plain, were advancing their lines up the ascent, the other cohorts, fired with enthusiasm and emulation, joined in the charge, and overthrew all who came in their way: and so great was their impetuosity in the pursuit of victory, that they left many of their foes half dead or unhurt behind them. In the meantime their troops of cavalry took to flight, and the armed chariots mingled in the engagement of the infantry; but although their first shock occasioned some consternation, they were soon entangled among the close ranks of the cohorts, and the inequalities of the ground. Not the least appearance was left of an engagement of cavalry; since the men, long keeping their ground with difficulty, were forced along with the bodies of the horses; and frequently, straggling chariots, and affrighted horses without their riders, flying variously as terror impelled them, rushed obliquely crosswise or directly through the lines. 122

37. Those of the Britons who, yet disengaged from the fight, sat on the summits of the hills, and looked with careless contempt on the smallness of our numbers, now began gradually to descend; and would have fallen on the rear of the conquering troops, had not Agricola, foreseeing this very event, opposed four reserved squadron of horse to their attack, which, the more furiously they had advanced, drove them back with the greater speed. Their project was thus turned against themselves; and the squadrons were ordered to wheel from the front of the battle and fall upon the enemy's rear. A striking and hideous spectacle now appeared on the plain: some pursuing; some striking: some making prisoners, whom they slaughtered as others came in their way. Now, as their several dispositions prompted, crowds of armed Britons fled before inferior numbers; or a few Britons, even those unarmed, rushed upon their foes, offering themselves to a voluntary death. Arms, carcasses, and mangled limbs were widely scattered, and the field was dyed in blood. Even among the vanquished were seen instances of rage and courage. When the fugitives approached the woods, they regrouped, and surrounded the foremost of the pursuers, who had advanced incautiously, unacquainted with the country; and had not Agricola, who was everywhere present, caused some strong and lightly-equipped cohorts to surround the ground, while part of the dismounted cavalry made way through the thickets, and part on horseback scoured the open woods, had not he anticipated this, some disaster would have proceeded from the pursuers' excess of confidence. But when the enemy saw the Romans again formed in compact order, they renewed their flight, not in groups as before, or waiting for their companions, but scattered and mutually avoiding each other; and thus took their way to the most distant and hidden retreats. Night and abundance of slaughter put an end to the pursuit. Of the enemy ten thousand were slain: on our part three hundred and sixty fell; among these was Aulus Atticus, the praefect of a cohort, who, by his juvenile enthusiasm, and the fire of his horse, was borne into the midst of the enemy.

38. Success and plunder made the night joyful to the victors; while the Britons, wandering and forlorn, amid the widespread lamentations of men and women, were dragging along the wounded; calling out to the unhurt; abandoning their dwellings, and in the rage of despair setting them on fire; choosing places of concealment, and then deserting them; consulting together, and then separating. Sometimes, on beholding the dear pledges of kindred and affection, they were melted into tenderness, or more frequently roused into fury; so much so that several, according to authentic information, instigated by a savage compassion, laid violent hands upon their own wives and children. On the succeeding day, a vast silence all around, desolate hills, the distant smoke of burning houses, and not a living soul seen by the scouts, displayed more amply the face of victory. After parties had been detached to all quarters without discovering any certain tracks of the enemy's flight, or any bodies of them still in arms, as the lateness of the season rendered it impracticable to spread the war through the country, Agricola led his army to the confines of the Horesti. 123 Having received hostages from this people, he ordered the commander of the fleet to sail round the island; for which expedition he was furnished with sufficient force, and preceded by the terror associated with the Roman name. He himself then led back the cavalry and infantry, marching slowly, that he might impress a deeper awe on the newly conquered tribes; and at length distributed his troops into their winter-quarters. The fleet, about the same time, with prosperous gales and fame, entered the Trutulensian 124 harbor, from which, coasting all the further shore of Britain, it returned entire to its former station. 125

39. The account of these transactions, although unadorned with the glory of words in the letters of Agricola, was received by the Emperor Domitian, as was customary with that monarch, with outward expressions of joy, but inward anxiety. He was conscious that his late mock-triumph over Germany, 126 in which he had exhibited purchased slaves, whose habits and hair 127 were contrived to give them the resemblance of captives, was a subject of derision; in contrast here, a real and important victory, in which so many thousands of the enemy were slain, was celebrated with universal applause. His greatest dread was that the name of a private man should be exalted above that of the emperor. In vain had he silenced the eloquence of the forum, and cast a shade upon all civil honors, if military glory were still in possession of another. Other accomplishments might more easily be connived at, but the talents of a great general were truly imperial. Tortured with such anxious thoughts, and brooding over them in secret, 128 a certain indication of some malignant intention, he judged it most prudent for the present to suspend his rancor, until the first burst of glory and the affections of the army should fade: for Agricola still possessed the command in Britain.

40. Domitian therefore caused the senate to decree Agricola triumphal ornaments, 129--a statue crowned with laurel, and all the other honors which are substituted for a real triumph, together with a profusion of complimentary expressions; and he also directed that an expectation be raised that the province of Syria, vacant by the death of Atilius Rufus, a consular man, and usually reserved for persons of the greatest distinction, would be designed for Agricola. It was commonly believed that one of the freedmen, who were employed in confidential services, was despatched with the instrument appointing Agricola to the government of Syria, with orders to deliver it if he should be still in Britain; but it wasa also believed that this messenger, meeting Agricola in the straits, 130 returned directly to Domitian without so much as confronting him. 131 Whether this was really the fact, or only a fiction founded on the mentality and character of the emperor, is uncertain. Agricola, in the meantime, had delivered the province, in peace and security, to his successor; 132 and lest his entry into the city should be rendered too conspicuous by the concourse and acclamations of the people, he declined the salutation of his friends by arriving in the night; and went by night, as he was commanded, to the palace. There, after being received with a slight embrace, but not a word spoken, he was mingled with the servile throng. In this situation, he endeavored to soften the glare of military reputation, which is offensive to those who themselves live in laziness, by the practice of virtues of a different cast. He resigned himself to ease and tranquillity, was modest in his clothing and equipment, affable in conversation, and in public was only accompanied by one or two of his friends; so much so that the many, who are accustomed to form their ideas of great men from their slaves and appearance, when they saw Agricola, were likely to call his fame into question: few could understand his conduct.

41. He was frequently, during that period, accused in his absence before Domitian, and in his absence also acquitted. The source of his danger was not any criminal action, nor the complaint of any injured person; but a ruler hostile to virtue, and his own high reputation, and the worst kind of enemies, eulogists. 133 For the situation of public affairs which followed was such as would not permit the name of Agricola to rest in silence: so many armies in Moesia, Dacia, Germany, and Pannonia lost through the terror or cowardice of their generals; 134 so many men of military character, with numerous cohorts, defeated and taken prisoners; while a dubious struggle was maintained, not for the boundaries of the empire, and the banks of the bordering rivers, 135 but for the winter-quarters of the legions, and the possession of our territories. In this state of things, when loss succeeded loss, and every year was signaled by disasters and slaughters, the public voice loudly demanded Agricola for general: every one comparing his strength, firmness, and experience in war, with the laziness and weak-spiritedness of the others. It is certain that the ears of Domitian himself were battered by such insinuations; all the time the best of his freedmen pressed him to the choice through motives of fidelity and affection, and the worst through envy and malignity, emotions to which he was of himself sufficiently prone. Thus Agricola, as well by his own virtues as the vices of others, was urged on precipitously to glory.

42. The year now arrived in which the proconsulate of Asia or Africa must fall by lot upon Agricola; 136 and as Civica had lately been put to death, Agricola was provided with a lesson, and Domitian with an example. 137 Some persons, acquainted with the secret inclinations of the emperor, came to Agricola, and inquired whether he intended to go to his province; and first, somewhat distantly, they began to commend a life of leisure and tranquillity; then offered their services in procuring him to be excused from the office; and at length, throwing off all disguise, after using arguments both to persuade and intimidate him, compelled him to accompany them to Domitian. The emperor, prepared to dissemble, and assuming an air of stateliness, received his petition for excuse, and Domitian allowed himself to be formally thanked 138 for granting it, without blushing at so evil a favor. He did not, however, bestow on Agricola the salary 139 usually offered to a proconsul, and which he himself had granted to others; either taking offence that it was not requested, or feeling a that it would seem to be a bribe for what he had in reality extorted through his authority. It is a principle of human nature to hate those whom we have injured; 140 and Domitian was constitutionally inclined to anger, which was the more difficult to be avoided, in proportion as it was the more disguised. Yet he was softened by the temper and prudence of Agricola; who did not think it necessary, by a stubbornly rebellious spirit, or a vain show of liberty, to challenge fame or promote his fate. 141 Let those be warned, who are accustomed to admire every opposition to domination, that even under a bad emperor men may be truly great; that submission and modesty, if accompanied with vigor and industry, will elevate a character to a height of public esteem equal to that which many, through sudden and dangerous paths, have attained, without benefit to their country, by an ambitious death.

43. His decease was a severe affliction to his family, a grief to his friends, and a subject of regret even to foreigners, and those who had no personal knowledge of him. 142 The common people too, and the class who little interest themselves about public concerns, were frequent in their inquiries at his house during his sickness, and made him the subject of conversation at the forum and in private circles; nor did any person either rejoice at the news of his death, or speedily forget it. Their commiseration was aggravated by a prevailing report that he was taken off by poison. I cannot venture to affirm anything certain of this matter; 143 yet, during the whole course of his illness, the principal of the imperial freedmen and the most confidential of the physicians was sent much more frequently than was customary for a court whose visits were chiefly paid by messages; whether that was done out of real solicitude, or for the purposes of state inquisition. On the day of his decease, it is certain that accounts of his approaching collapse were every instant transmitted to the emperor by couriers stationed for the purpose; and no one believed that the information, which so many pains had been taken to speed, could be received with regret. He put on, however, in his countenance and demeanor, the semblance of grief: for he was now secured from an object of hatred, and could more easily conceal his joy than his fear. It was well known that on reading the will, in which he was nominated co-heir 144 with the excellent wife and most dutiful daughter of Agricola, he expressed great satisfaction, as if it had been a voluntary testimony of honor and esteem: so blind and corrupt had his mind been rendered by continual flattery, that he was ignorant of the fact tha none but a bad emperor could be nominated heir by a good father.

44. Agricola was born in the ides of June, during the third consulate of Caius Caesar; 145 he died in his fifty-sixth year, on the tenth of the calends of September, when Collega and Priscus were consuls. 146 Posterity may wish to form an idea of his person. His figure was attractive rather than majestic. In his countenance there was nothing to inspire awe; its character was gracious and engaging. You would readily have believed him a good man, and willingly a great one. And indeed, although he was snatched away in the midst of a vigorous age, yet if his life be measured by his glory, it was a period of the greatest extent. For after the full enjoyment of all that is truly good, which is found in virtuous pursuits alone, decorated with consular and triumphal ornaments, what more could fortune contribute to his elevation? Immoderate wealth did not fall to his share, yet he possessed a decent affluence. 147 His wife and daughter surviving, his dignity unimpaired, his reputation flourishing, and his kindred and friends yet in safety, it may even be thought an additional felicity that he was thus withdrawn from impending evils. For, as we have heard him express his wishes of continuing to the dawn of the present auspicious day, and beholding Trajan in the imperial seat, wishes in which he formed a certain prescience of the event; so it is a great consolation, that by his untimely end he escaped that latter period, in which Domitian, not by intervals and remissions, but by a continued, and, as it were, a single act, aimed at the destruction of the commonwealth. 148

45. Agricola did not behold the senate-house besieged, and the senators enclosed by a circle of arms; 149 and in one disaster the massacre of so many consular men, the flight and banishment of so many honorable women. As yet Carus Metius 150 was distinguished only by a single victory; the counsels of Messalinus 151 resounded only through the Albanian citadel; 152 and Massa Baebius 153 was himself among the accused. Soon after, our own hands 154 dragged Helvidius 155 to prison; ourselves were tortured with the spectacle of Mauricus and Rusticus, 156 and sprinkled with the innocent blood of Senecio. 157

Even Nero withdrew his eyes from the cruelties he commanded. Under Domitian, it was the principal part of our miseries to see and to be seen: then our sighs were registered; and that stern countenance, with its dominant redness, 158 his defence against shame, was employed in noting the pallid horror of so many spectators. Happy, O Agricola not only in the splendor of your life, but in the seasonableness of your death. With resignation and cheerfulness, from the testimony of those who were present in your last moments, did you meet your fate, as if striving to the utmost of your power to make the emperor appear guiltless. But to myself and your daughter, besides the anguish of losing a parent, the aggravating affliction remains, that it was not our lot to watch over your sick-bed, to support you when languishing, and to fill ourselves with beholding and embracing you. With what attention should we have received your last instructions, and engraven them on our hearts. This is our sorrow; this is our wound: to us you were lost four years before by a tedious absence. Everything, doubtless, O best of parents, was administered for your comfort and honor, while a most affectionate wife sat beside you; yet fewer tears were shed upon your bier, and in the last light which your eyes beheld, something was still wanting.

46. If there be any habitation for the shades of the virtuous, and if, as philosophers suppose, exalted souls do not perish with the body, may you repose in peace, and call us, your household, from empty regret and feminine lamentations, to the contemplation of your virtues, which allow no place for mourning or complaining. Let us rather adorn your memory with our admiration, with our short-lived praises, and, as far as our natures will permit, with an imitation of your example. This is truly to honor the dead; this is the piety of every near relation. I would also recommend it to the wife and daughter of this great man, to show their veneration of a husband's and a father's memory by revolving his actions and words in their breasts, and endeavoring to retain an idea of the form and features of his mind, rather than of his person. Not that I would reject those resemblances of the human figure which are engraven in brass or marbles but as their originals are frail and perishable, so likewise are they: while the form of the mind is eternal, and not to be retained or expressed by any foreign matter, or the artist's skill, but by the manners of the survivors. Whatever in Agricola was the object of our love, of our admiration, remains, and will remain in the minds of men, transmitted in the records of fame, through an eternity of years. For, while many great persons of antiquity will be involved in a common forgetfulness with the base and inglorious, Agricola shall survive, represented and dedicated to future ages.

NOTES: [1] Rutilius was consul B.C. 104; and for his upright life and great strictness was banished B.C. 92. Tacitus is the only writer who says he wrote his own life. Athenaeus mentions that he wrote a history of the affairs of Rome in the Greek language. Scaurus was consul B.C. 114, and again B.C. 106. He is the same Scaurus whom Sallust mentions as having been bribed by Jugurtha. As the banishment of Rutilius took place on the accusation of Scaurus, it is possible that, when the former wrote his life, the latter also wrote his, in order to defend himself from charges advanced against him. Back

[2] Venia opus fuit. Such an apology for the unworthiness of his subject at the commencement of the biography, ill accords with the tone of dignified confidence which pervades the memoir. The best commentary I have seen on the passage is that of Walther; and it would not, perhaps, be giving more space to so mooted a question than the scholar requires, to extract it entire: -- "Venia," he says, "is here nothing else than what we, in the language of modesty, call an apology, and has respect to the very justification he has just offered in the foregoing exordium. For Tacitus there appeals to the usage, not of remote antiquity only, but of later times also, to justify his design of writing the biography of a distinguished man. There would have been no need of such an apology in other times. In other times, dispensing with all preamble, he would have begun, as in c. 4, 'Cnaeus Julius Agricola,' assured that no one would question the propriety of his course. But now, after a long and servile silence, when one begins again 'facta moresque posteris tradere' ["to transmit the doings and customs of past men"], when he utters the first word where speech and almost memory (c. 2) had so long been lost, when he stands forth as the first vindicator of condemned virtue, he seems to venture on something so new, so strange, so bold, that it may well require apology." Back

[3] A passage in Dio excellently illustrates the fact here referred to: "He (Domitian) put to death Rusticus Arulenus, because he studied philosophy, and had given Thrasea the appellation of holy; and Herennius Senecio, because, although he lived many years after serving the office of quaestor, he solicited no other post, and because he had written the Life of Helvidius Priscus." (lxvii. p. 765.) With less accuracy, Suetonius, in his Life of Domitian (s. 10), says: "He put to death Junius Rusticus, because he had published the panegyrics of Paetus Thrasea and Helvidius Priscus, and had styled them most holy persons; and on this occasion he expelled all the philosophers from the city, and from. Italy." Arulenus Rusticus was a Stoic; on which account he was contumeliously called by M. Regulus "the ape of the Stoics, marked with the Vitellian scar." (Pliny, Epist. i. 5.) Thrasea, who killed Nero, is particularly recorded in the Annals, book xvi. Back

[4] The expulsion of the philosophers, mentioned in the passage above quoted from Suetonius. Back

[5] This truly happy period began when, after the death of Domitian, and the recision of his acts, the imperial authority devolved on Nerva, whose virtues were emulated by the successive emperors, Trajan, Hadrian, and both the Antonines. Back

[6] Securitas publica, "the public security," was a current expression and wish, and was frequently inscribed on medals. Back

[7] The term of Domitian's reign. Back

[8] It appears that at this time Tacitus proposed to write not only the books of his History and Annals, which contain the "memorial of past servitude," but an account of the "present blessings" exemplified in the occurrences under Nerva and Trajan. Back

[9] There were two Roman colonies of this name; one in Umbria, supposed to be the place now called Friuli; the other in Narbonnensian Gaul, the modern name of which is Frejus. This latter was probably the birth-place of Agricola. Back

[10] Of the procurators who were sent to the provinces, some had the charge of the public revenue; others, not only of that, but of the private revenue of the emperor. These were the imperial procurators. All the offices relative to the finances were in the possession of the Roman knights; of whom the imperial procurators were accounted noble. Hence the equestrian nobility of which Tacitus speaks. In some of the lesser provinces, the procurators had the civil jurisdiction, as well at the administration of the revenue. This was the case in Judaea. Back

[11] Seneca bears a very honorable testimony to this person, "If," says he, "we have occasion for an example of a great mind, let us cite that of Julius Graecinus, an excellent person, whom Caius Caesar put to death on this account alone, that he was a better man than could be suffered under a tyrant." (De Benef. ii. 21.) His books concerning Vineyards are commended by Columella and Pliny. Back

[12] Caligula, one of the most cruel and insanely capricious of all the early Roman emperors. Back

[13] Marcus Silanus was the father of Claudia, the first wife of Caius. According to the historians of that period, Caius was jealous of him, and took every opportunity of mortifying him. Tacitus (Hist. iv. 48) mentions that the emperor deprived him of the military command of the troops in Africa in an insulting manner. Dion (lix.) states, that when, from his age and rank, Silanus was usually asked his opinion first in the senate, the emperor found a pretext for preventing this respect. Suetonius (iv. 23) records that the emperor one day put to sea in a hasty manner, and commanded Silanus to follow him. This, from fear of illness, he declined to do; upon which the emperor, alleging that he stayed on shore in order to get possession of the city in case any accident befell himself, compelled him to cut his own throat. It would seem, from the present passage of Tacitus, that there were some legal forms taken in the case of Silanus, and that Julius Graecinus was ordered to be the accuser; and that that noble-minded man, refusing to take part in proceedings so cruel and iniquitous, was himself put to death. Back

[14] Of the part the Roman matrons took in the education of youth, Tacitus has given an elegant and interesting account, in his Dialogue concerning Oratory, c. 28. Back

[15] Now Marseilles. This was a colony of the Phoenicians; whence it derived that Grecian politeness for which it was long famous. Back

[16] It was usual for generals to admit young men of promising characters to this honorable companionship, which resembled the office of an aide-de- camp in the modern service. Thus, Suetonius informs us that Caesar made his first campaign in Asia as tent-companion to Marcus Thermus the praetor. Back

[17] This was the fate of the colony of veterans at Camalodunum, now Colchester or Maldon. A particular account of this revolt is given in the 14th book of the Annals. Back

[18] This alludes to the defeat of Petilius Cerialis, who came with the ninth legion to succor the colony of Camalodunum. All the infantry were slaughtered; and Petilius, with the cavalry alone, got away to the camp. It was shortly after this, that Suetonius defeated Boadicea and her forces. Back

[19] Those of Nero. Back

[20] The office of quaestor was the entrance to all public employments. The quaestors and their secretaries were distributed by lot to the several provinces, that there might be no previous connections between them and the governors, but they might serve as checks upon each other. Back

[21] Brother of the emperor Otho. Back

[22] At the head of the praetors, the number of whom was different at different periods of the empire, were the Praetor Urbanus, and Praetor Peregrinus. The first administered justice among the citizens, the second among strangers. The rest presided at public debates, and had the charge of exhibiting the public games, which were celebrated with great solemnity for seven successive days, and at a vast expense. This, indeed, in the times of the emperors, was almost the sole business of the praetors, whose dignity, as Tacitus expresses it, consisted in the idle trappings of state; whence Boethius justly terms the praetorship "an empty name, and a grievous burthen on the senatorian rank." Back

[23] Nero had plundered the temples for the supply of his extravagance and debauchery. See Annals, xv. 45. Back

[24] This was the year of Rome 822, CE (Common Era) 69. Back

[25] The cruelties and depredations committed on the coast of Italy by this fleet are described in lively colors by Tacitus, Hist. ii. 12, 13. Back

[26] Now the county of Vintimiglia. The attack upon the municipal town of this place, called Albium Intemelium, is particularly mentioned in the passage above referred to. Back

[27] In the month of July of this year. Back

[28] The twentieth legion, surnamed the Victorious, was stationed in Britain at Deva, the modern Chester, where many inscriptions and other monuments of Roman antiquities have been discovered. Back

[29] Roscius Caelius. His disputes with the governor of Britain, Trebellius Maximus, are related by Tacitus, Hist. i. 60. Back

[30] The governors of the province, and commanders in chief over all the legions stationed in it. Back

[31] He had formerly been commander of the ninth legion. Back

[32] The province of Aquitania extended from the Pyrenean mountains to the river Liger (Loire). Back

[33] The governors of the neighboring provinces. Back

[34] Agricola was consul in the year of Rome 830, CE 77, along with Domitian. They succeeded, in the calends of July, the consuls Vespasian and Titus, who began the year. Back

[35] He was admitted into the Pontifical College, an extremely important Roman institution originally inn charge of the bridges in Rome ("pons" = bridge), at the head of which was the Pontifex Maximus ["Greatest Bridge-Builder"]. Back

[36] Julius Caesar, Livy, Strabo, Fabius Rusticus, Pomponius Mela, Pliny, and so on. Back

[37] Thus Caesar: "One side of Britain inclines towards Spain, and the setting sun; on which part Ireland is situated." -- Bell. Gall. v. 13. Back

[38] These, as well as other resemblances suggested by ancient geographers, have been mostly corrected by the greater accuracy of modern maps, but they still demonstrate some sophistication on their part. Back

[39] This is true, that the northern extremity of Scotland is much narrower than the southern coast of England. Back

[40] The Orkney Islands. These, although now first thoroughly known to the Romans, had before been heard of, and mentioned by authors. Thus Mela, in. 6: "There are thirty of the Orcades, separated from each other by narrow straits." And Pliny, iv. 16: "The Orcades are forty in number, at a small distance from each other." In the reign of Claudius, the report concerning these islands was particularly current, and excessive praise converted it into the news of a victory. Hence Hieronymus in his Chronicon says, "Claudius triumphed over the Britons, and added the Orcades to the Roman empire." Back

[41] Camden supposes the Shetland Islands to be meant here by Thule; others imagine it to have been one of the Hebrides. Pliny, iv. 16, mentions Thule as the most remote of all known islands; and, by placing it but one day's sail from the Frozen Ocean, renders it probable that Iceland was intended. Procopius (Bell. Goth, ii. 15) speaks of another Thule, which must have been Norway, which many of the ancients thought to be an island. Mr. Pennant supposes that the Thule here meant was Foula, a very lofty isle, one of the most westerly of the Shetlands, which might easily be descried by the fleet. Back

[42] As far as the meaning of this passage can be elucidated, it would appear as if the first circumnavigators of Britain, to enhance the idea of their dangers and hardships, had represented the Northern sea as in such a thickened half solid state, that the oars could scarcely be worked, or the water agitated by winds. Tacitus, however, rather chooses to explain its stagnant condition from the want of winds, and the difficulty of moving so great a body of waters. But the fact, taken either way, is erroneous; as this sea is never observed frozen, and is remarkably stormy and tempestuous. -- Aiken. Back

[43] The great number of firths and inlets of the sea, which almost cut through the northern parts of the island, as well as the height of the tides on the coast, render this observation peculiarly proper. Back

[44] Caesar mentions that the interior inhabitants of Britain were supposed to have originated in the island itself. (Bell. Gall. v. 12.) Back

[45] Caledonia, now Scotland, was at that time overspread by vast forests. Thus Pliny, iv. 16, speaking of Britain, says, that "for thirty years past the Roman arms had not extended the knowledge of the island beyond the Caledonian forest." Back

[46] Traditionally, these were inhabitants of what are now the counties of Glamorgan, Monmouth, Brecknock, Hereford, and Radnor, but they could have controlled all of modern-day Wales.. Back

[47] The Iberi were a people of Spain, so called from their neighborhood to the river Iberus, now Ebro. Back

[48] Of these, the inhabitants of Kent are honorably mentioned by Caesar. "Of all these people, by far the most civilized are those inhabiting the maritime country of Cantium, who differ little in their manners from the Gauls." -- Bell. Gall. v. 14. Back

[48] From the obliquity of the opposite coasts of England and France, some part of the former runs further south than the northern extremity of the latter. Back

[50] Particularly the mysterious and bloody solemnities of the Druids. Back

[51] The children were born and nursed in this ferocity. Thus Solinus, c. 22, speaking of the warlike people of Britons, says, "When a woman is delivered of a male child, she lays its first food upon the husband's sword, and with the point gently puts it within the little one's mouth, praying to her country deities that his death may in like manner be in the midst of arms." Back

[52] In the reign of Claudius. Back

[53] The practice of the Greeks in the Homeric age was the reverse of this. Back

[54] Thus the kings Cunobelinus, Caractacus, and Prasutagus, and the queens Cartismandua and Boadicea, are mentioned in different parts of Tacitus. Back

[55] Caesar says of Britain, "the climate is more temperate than that of Gaul, the cold being less severe." (Bell. Gall. v. 12.) This certainly proceeds from its insular situation, and the moistness of its atmosphere. Back

[56] Thus Pliny (ii. 75): -- "The longest day in Italy is of fifteen hours, in Britain of seventeen, where in summer the nights are light." Back

[57] Tacitus, through the medium of Agricola, must have got this report, either from the men of Scandinavia, or from those of the Britons who had passed into that country, or been informed to this effect by those who had visited it. It is quite true, that in the further part of Norway, and so also again in Iceland and the regions about the North Pole, there is, at the summer solstice, an almost uninterrupted day for nearly two months. Tacitus here seems to affirm this as universally the case, not having heard that, at the winter solstice, there is a night of equal duration. Back

[58] Tacitus, after having given the report of the Britons as he had heard it, probably from Agricola, now goes on to state his own views on the subject. He represents that, as the far north is level, there is nothing, when the sun is in the distant horizon, to throw up a shadow towards the sky: that the light, indeed, is intercepted from the surface of the earth itself, and so there is darkness upon it; but that the sky above is still clear and bright from its rays. And hence he supposes that the brightness of the upper regions neutralizes the darkness on the earth, forming a degree of light equivalent to the evening twilight or the morning dawn, or, indeed, rendering it next to impossible to decide when the evening closes and the morning begins. Compare the following account, taken from a "Description of a Visit to Shetland," in vol. viii. of Chambers' Miscellany: -- "Being now in the 60th degree of north latitude, daylight could scarcely be said to have left us during the night, and at 2 o'clock in the morning, albeit the mist still hung about us, we could see as clearly as we can do in London, at about any hour in a November day." Back

[59] Mr. Pennant has a pleasing remark concerning the soil and climate of our island, well agreeing with that of Tacitus: -- "The climate of Great Britain is above all others productive of the greatest variety and abundance of wholesome vegetables, which, to crown our happiness, are almost equally diffused through all its parts: this general fertility is owing to those clouded skies, which foreigners mistakenly urge as a reproach on our country: but let us cheerfully endure a temporary gloom, which clothes not only our meadows, but our hills, with the richest verdure." -- Brit. Zool. 4to. i. 15. Back

[60] Strabo (iv. 138) testifies the same. Cicero, on the other hand, asserts, that not a single grain of silver is found on this island. (Ep. ad Attic, iv. 16.) If we have recourse to modern authorities, we find Camden mentioning gold and silver mines in Cumberland, silver in Flintshire, and gold in Scotland. Dr. Borlase (Hist. of Cornwall, p. 214) relates, that so late as the year 1753, several pieces of gold were found in what the miners call stream tin; and silver is now got in considerable quantity from several of our lead ores. A curious paper, concerning the Gold Mines of Scotland, is given by Mr. Pennant in Append. (No. x.) to his second part of a "Tour in Scotland in 1772," and a much more general account of the mines and ores of Great Britain in early times, in his "Tour in Wales of 1773," pp. 51-66. Back

[61] Camden mentions pearls being found in the counties of Caernarvon and Cumberland, and in the British sea. Mr. Pennant, in his "Tour in Scotland in 1769," takes notice of a considerable pearl fishery out of the fresh-water mussel, in the vicinity of Perth, from whence 10,000_l._ worth of pearls were sent to London from 1761 to 1764. It was, however, almost exhausted when he visited the country. See also the fourth volume of Mr. Pennant's Br. Zool. (Class vi. No. 18), where he gives a much more ample account of the British pearls. Origen, in his Comment. on Matthew, pp. 210, 211, gives a description of the British pearl, which, he says, was next in value to the Indian; -- "Its surface is of a gold color, but it is cloudy, and less transparent than the Indian." Pliny speaks of the British unions as follows: -- "It is certain that small and discolored ones are produced in Britain; since the deified Julius has given us to understand that the breastplate which he dedicated to Venus Genitrix, and placed in her temple, was made of British pearls." -- ix. 35. Back

[62] Caesar's two expeditions into Britain were in the years of Rome 699 and 700. He himself gives an account of them, and they are also mentioned by Strabo and Dio. Back

[63] It was the wise policy of Augustus not to extend any further the limits of the empire; and with regard to Britain, in particular, he thought the conquest and preservation of it would be attended with more expense than it could repay. (Strabo, ii. 79, and iv. 138.) Tiberius, who always professed an entire deference for the maxims and injunctions of Augustus, in this instance, probably, was convinced of their propriety. Back

[64] Caligula. Back

[65] Claudius invaded Britain in the year of Rome 796, CE 43. Back

[66] In the parish of Dinder, near Hereford, are yet remaining the vestiges of a Roman encampment, called Oyster-hill, as is supposed from this Ostorius. Camden's Britain, by Gibson, p. 580. Back

[67] That of Camalodunum, now Colchester, or Maldon. Back

[68] The Mona of Tacitus is the Isle of Anglesey, that of Caesar is the Isle of Man, called by Pliny Monapia. Back

[69] The avarice of Catus Decidianus the procurator is mentioned as the cause by which the Britons were forced into this war, by Tacitus, Annal. xiv. 32. Back

[70] Julius Classicianus, who succeeded Decidianus, was at variance with the governor, but was no less oppressive to the province. Back

[71] By the slaughter of Varus. Back

[72] The Rhine and Danube. Back

[73] Boadicea, whose name is variously written Boudicea, Bonduca, Voadicea, and so on, was queen of the Iceni, or people of Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, and Huntingdonshire. A particular account of this revolt is given in the Annals, xiv. 31, and seq. Back

[74] Of Camalodunum. Back

[75] This was in CE 61. According to Tac. Hist. i. 6, Petronius Turpilianus was put to death by Galba, CE 68. Back

[76] The date of his arrival is uncertain. Back

[77] He was sent to Britain by Vespasian, CE 69. Back

[78] The Brigantes inhabited Yorkshire, Lancashire, Westmoreland, Cumberland, and Durham. Back

[79] The date of his arrival in Britain is uncertain. This Frontinus is the author of the work on "Stratagems," and, at the time of his appointment to the lieutenancy of Britain, he was curator aquarum at Rome. This, probably, it was that induced him to write his other work on the aqueducts of Rome. Back

[80] This seems to relate to his having been curtailed in his military operations by the parsimony of Vespasian, who refused him permission to attack other people than the Silures. See c. 11. Back

[81] Where these people inhabited is mentioned in note 46. Back

[82] This was in the year of Rome 831, CE 78. Back

[83] Inhabitants of North Wales, exclusive of the Isle of Anglesey. Back

[84] I.e. Some were for immediate action, others for delay. Instead of et quibus, we read with Dr. Smith's edition (London, 1850), ut quibus. Back

[85] Vexilla is here used for vexillarii. "Under the Empire the name of Vexillarii was given to a distinct body of soldiers supposed to have been composed of veterans, who were released from the military oath and regular service, but kept embodied under a separate flag (vexillum), to render assistance to the army if required, guard the frontier, and garrison recently conquered provinces; a certain number of these supernumeraries being attached to each legion. (Tac. Hist. ii. 83, 100; Ann. i. 36.)" -- Rich, Comp. to Dict. and Lex. s. v. Vexillum. Back

[86] A pass into the vale of Clwyd, in the parish of Llanarmon, is still called Bwlch Agrikle, probably from having been occupied by Agricola, in his road to Mona. -- Mr. Pennant. Back

[87] From this circumstance it would appear that these auxiliaries were Batavians, whose skill in this practice is related by Tacitus, Hist. iv. 12. Back

[88] It was customary for the Roman generals to decorate with sprigs of laurel the letters in which they sent home the news of any remarkable success. Thus Pliny, xv. 30: "The laurel, the principal messenger of joy and victory among the Romans, is affixed to letters, and to the spears and javelins of the soldiers." The laurus of the ancients was probably the baytree, and not what we now call laurel. Back

[89] The Latin is "Ascire," or "accire," literally, "To receive into regular service." The reference is to the transfer of soldiers from an excess number available to the legions. So Walch, followed by Dronke, Both, and Walther. The next clause implies, that he took care to receive into the service none but the best men (optimum quemque), who, he was confident, would prove faithful (fidelissimum). Back

[90] In like manner Suetonius says of Julius Caesar, "He neither noticed nor punished every crime; but while he strictly inquired into and rigorously punished desertion and mutiny, he connived at other delinquencies." -- Life of Julius Caesar, s. 67. Back

[91] Many commentators propose reading "exaction," instead of "augmentation." But the latter may be suffered to remain, especially as Suetonius informs us that "Vespasian, not contented with renewing some taxes remitted under Galba, added new and heavy ones: and augmented the tributes paid by the provinces, even doubling some." -- Life of Vesp. s. 19. Back

[92] In the year of Rome 832. CE 79. Back P> [93] Many vestiges of these or other Roman camps yet remain in different parts of Great Britain. Two principal ones, in the county of Annandale, in Scotland, called Burnswork and Middleby, are described at large by Gordon in his Itiner. Septentrion, pp. 16, 18. Back

[94] The year of Rome 833, CE 80. Back

[95] Now the Firth of Tay. Back

[96] The principal of these was at Ardoch, seated so as to command the entrance into two valleys, Strathallan and Strathearn. A description and plan of its remains, still in good preservation, are given by Mr. Pennant in his Tour in Scotland in 1772, part ii. p. 101. Back

[97] The year of Rome 834, CE 81. Back

[98] The Firths of Clyde and Forth. Back

[99] The neck of land between these opposite arms of the sea is only about thirty miles wide. About fifty-five years after Agricola had left the island, Lollius Urbicus, governor of Britain under the Emperor Antoninus Pius, erected a vast wall or rampart, extending from Old Kirkpatrick on the Clyde, to Caeridden, two miles west of Abercorn, on the Forth, a space of nearly thirty-seven miles, defended by twelve or thirteen forts. These may be on the same site as Agricola's defenses. This wall is usually called "Graham's Dike"; and some parts of it are still discernable. Back

[100] The year of Rome 835, CE 82. Back

[101] Crossing the Firth of Clyde, or Dumbarton Bay, and turning to the western coast of Argyleshire, or the Isles of Arran and Bute. Back

[102] The Bay of Biscay. Back

[103] The Mediterranean. Back

[104] The year of Rome 836, CE 83. Back

[105] The eastern parts of Scotland, north of the Firth of Forth, where now are the counties of Fife, Kinross, Perth, Angus, and so on . Back

[106] This legion, which had been weakened by many engagements, was afterwards recruited, and then called Gemina. Its station at this affair is supposed by Gordon to have been Lochore in Fifeshire. Mr. Pennant rather imagines the place of the attack to have been Comerie in Perthshire. Back

[107] For an account of these people see Manners of the Germans, c. 32. Back

[108] Mr. Pennant had a present made him in Skye, of a brass sword and a denarius found in that island. Might they not have been lost by some of these people in one of their landings? Back

[109] The Rhine. Back

[110] This extraordinary expedition, according to Dio, set out from the western side of the island. They therefore must have coasted all that part of Scotland, must have passed the intricate navigation through the Hebrides, and the dangerous strait of Pentland Firth, and, after coming round to the eastern side, must have been driven to the mouth of the Baltic Sea, Here they lost their ships; and, in their attempt to proceed homeward by land, were seized as pirates, part by the Suevi, and the rest by the Frisii. Back

[111] The year of Rome 837, CE 84. Back

[112] The scene of this celebrated engagement is by Gordon (Itin. Septent.) supposed to be in Strathern, near a place now called the Kirk of Comerie, where are the remains of two Roman camps. Mr. Pennant, however, in his Tour in 1772, part ii. p. 96, gives reasons which appear well founded for dissenting from Gordon's opinion. Back

[113] The more usual spelling of this name is Galgacus; but the other is preferred as of better authority. Back

[114] "Peace given to the world" is a very frequent inscription on the Roman medals. Back

[115] It was the Roman policy to send the recruits raised in the provinces to some distant country, for fear of their desertion or revolt. Back

[116] How much this was the fate of the Romans themselves, when, in the decline of the empire, they were obliged to pay tribute to the surrounding barbarians, is shown in lively colors by Salvian: -- "We call that a gift which is a purchase, and a purchase of a condition the most hard and miserable. For all captives, when they are once redeemed, enjoy their liberty: we are continually paying a ransom, yet are never free." -- De Gubern. Dei, vi. Back

[118] The expedition of Claudius into Britain was in the year of Rome 796, from which to the period of this engagement only forty-two years were elapsed. The number fifty therefore is given oratorically rather than accurately. Back

[119] The Latin word used here, covinarius, signifies the driver of a covinus, or chariot, the axle of which was bent into the form of a scythe. The British manner of fighting from chariots is particularly described by Caesar, who gives them the name of esseda: -- "The following is the manner of fighting from essedae: They first drive round with them to all parts of the line, throwing their javelins, and generally disordering the ranks by the very alarm occasioned by the horses, and the rattling of the wheels: then, as soon as they have insinuated themselves between the troops of horse, they leap from their chariots and fight on foot. The drivers then withdraw a little from the battle, in order that, if their friends are overpowered by numbers, they may have a secure retreat to the chariots. Thus they act with the celerity of horse, and the stability of foot; and by daily use and exercise they acquire the power of holding up their horses at full speed down a steep declivity, of stopping them suddenly, and turning in a short compass; and they accustom themselves to run upon the pole, and stand on the cross-tree, and from thence with great agility to recover their place in the chariot." -- Bell. Gall. iv. 33. Back

[120] These targets, called cetrae, in the Latin, were made of leather. The broad sword and target were till very lately the peculiar arms of the Highlanders. Back

[121] Several inscriptions have been found in Britain commemorating the Tungrian cohorts. Back

[122] The great conciseness of Tacitus has rendered the description of this battle somewhat obscure. The following, however, seems to have been the general course of occurrences in it: -- The foot on both sides began the engagement. The first line of the Britons which was formed on the plain being broken, the Roman auxiliaries advanced up the hill after them. In the meantime the Roman horse in the wings, unable to withstand the shock of the chariots, gave way, and were pursued by the British chariots and horse, which then fell in among the Roman infantry, These, who at first had relaxed their files to prevent their being out-fronted, now closed, in order better to resist the enemy, who by this means were unable to penetrate them. The chariots and horse, therefore, became entangled admid the inequalities of the ground, and the thick ranks of the Romans; and, no longer able to wheel and career as upon the open plain, gave not the least appearance of an equestrian skirmish: but, keeping their footing with difficulty on the declivity, were pushed off, and scattered in disorder over the field. Back

[123] People of Fifeshire. Back

[124] Where this was does not appear. Brotier calls it Sandwich, making it the same as Rutupium: others Plymouth or Portsmouth. It is clear, however, this cannot be the case, from the subsequent words. -- White. Back

[125] This circumnavigation was in a contrary direction to that of the Usipian deserters, the fleet setting out from the Firth of Tay on the eastern coast, and sailing round the northern, western, and southern coasts, till it arrived at the port of Sandwich in Kent. After staying here some time to refit, it went to its former station, in the Firth of Forth, or Tay. Back

[126] It was in this same year that Domitian made his pompous expedition into Germany, from whence he returned without ever seeing the enemy. Back

[127] Caligula in like manner got a number of tall men with their hair dyed red to give credit to a pretended victory over the Germans. Back

[128] Thus Pliny, in his Panegyric on Trajan, xlviii., represents Domitian as "ever affecting darkness and secrecy, and never emerging from his solitude but in order to make a solitude." Back

[129] Not the triumph itself, which, after the year of Rome 740 was no longer granted to private persons, but reserved for the imperial family. This new piece of adulation was invented by Agrippa in order to gratify Augustus. The "triumphal ornaments" which were still bestowed, were a peculiar garment, statue, and other insignia which had distinguished the person of the triumphing general. Back

[130] Of Dover. Back

[131] Domitian, it seems, was afraid that Agricola might refuse to obey the recall he forwarded to him, and even maintain his post by force. He therefore despatched one of his confidential freedmen with an autograph letter, wherein he was informed Syria was given to him as his province. This, however, was a mere ruse: and hence it was not to be delivered as Agricola had already set out on his return. In compliance with these instructions, the freedman returned at once to Domitian, when he found Agricola on his passage to Rome According to Dion (liii.), the emperor's lieutenants were required to leave their province immediately upon the arrival of their successor, and return to Rome within three months. -- White. Back

[132] Agricola's successor in Britain appears to have been Sallustius Lucullus, who, as Suetonius informs us, was put to death by Domitian because he, permitted certain lances of a new construction to be palled Lucullean. -- Life of Domitian, s. 10. Back

[133] Of this worst kind of enemies, who praise a man in order to render him obnoxious, the emperor Julian, who had himself suffered greatly by them, speaks feelingly in his 12th epistle to Basilius; -- "For we live together not in that state of dissimulation, which, I imagine, you have hitherto experienced: in which those who praise you, hate you with a more confirmed aversion than your most inveterate enemies," Back

[134] These calamitous events are recorded by Suetonius in his Life of Domitian. Back

[135] The Rhine and Danube. Back

[136] The two senior consulars cast lots for the government of Asia and Africa. Back

[137] Suetonius relates that Civica Cerealis was put to death in his proconsulate of Asia, on the charge of meditating a revolt. (Life of Domitian, s. 10.) Back

[138] Obliging persons to return thanks for an injury was a refinement in tyranny frequently practised by the worst of the Roman emperors. Thus Seneca informs us, that "Caligula was thanked by those whose children had been put to death, and whose property had been confiscated." (De Tranquil, xiv.) And again; -- "The reply of a person who had grown old in his attendance on kings, when he was asked how he had attained a thing so uncommon in courts as old age? is well known. It was, said he, by receiving injuries, and returning thanks." -- De Ira, ii. 33. Back

[139] From a passage in Dio, lxxviii. p. 899, this sum appears to have been decies sestertium, about 9,000_l._ sterling. Back

[140] Thus Seneca: "Little souls rendered insolent by prosperity have this worst property, that they hate those whom they have injured." -- De Ira, ii. 33. Back

[141] Several who suffered under Nero and Domitian erred, though nobly, in this respect. Back

[142] A Greek epigram still extant of Antiphilus, a Byzantine, to the memory of a certain Agricola, is supposed by the learned to refer to the great man who is the subject of this work. It is in the Anthologia, lib. i. tit. 37. Back

[143] Dio absolutely affirms it; but from the manner in which Tacitus, who had better means of information, speaks of it, the story was probably false. Back

[144] It appears that the custom of making the emperor co-heir with the children of the testator was not by any means uncommon. It was done in order to secure the remainder to the family. Thus Prasutagus, king of the Iceni in Britain, made Nero co-heir with his two daughters. Thus when Lucius Vetus was put to death by Nero, his friends urged him to leave part of his property to the emperor, that his grandsons might enjoy the rest. (Ann. xvi. 11.) Suetonius (viii. 17) mentions that Domitian used to seize the estates of persons the most unknown to him, if any one could be found to assert that the deceased had expressed an intention to make the emperor his heir. -- White. Back

[145] Caligula. This was CE 40, when he was sole consul. Back

[146] According to this account, the birth of Agricola was on June 13th, in the year of Rome 793, CE 40; and his death on August 23d, in the year of Rome 846 CE 93: for this appears by the Fasti Consulares to have been the year of the consulate of Collega and Priscus. He was therefore only in his fifty-fourth year when he died; so that the copyists must probably have written by mistake LVI. instead of LIV. Back

[147] From this representation, Dio appears to have been mistaken in asserting that Agricola passed the latter part of his life in dishonor and penury. Back

[148] Juvenal breaks out in a noble strain of indignation against this savage cruelty, which distinguished the latter part of Domitian's reign:
Atque utinam his potius nugis tota illa dedisset Tempora saevitiae: claras quibus abstulit Urbi Illustresque animas impune, et vindice nullo. Sed periit, postquam cerdonibus esse timendus Coeperat: hoc nocuit Lamiarum, caede madenti. -- Sat. iv. 150.
"What folly this but oh that all the rest Of his dire reign had thus been spent in jest/ And all that time such trifles had employed/ In which so many nobles he destroyed/ He safe, they unrevenged, to the disgrace/ Of the surviving, tame, patrician race/ But when he dreadful to the rabble grew,/ Him, who so many lords had slain, they slew." -- DUKE. Back

[149] This happened in the year of Rome 848, CE 105. Back

[150] Carus and Massa, who were proverbially infamous as informers, are represented by Juvenal as dreading a still more dangerous villain, Heliodorus.
-- Quem Massa timet, quem munere palpat Carus. -- Sat. i. 35.
"Whom Massa dreads, whom Carus soothes with bribes."
Carus is also mentioned with deserved infamy by Pliny and Martial. He was a mimic by profession. Back

[151] Of this odious instrument of tyranny, Pliny the younger thus speaks: "The conversation turned upon Catullus Messalinus, whose loss of sight added the evils of blindness to a cruel disposition. He was irreverent, unblushing, unpitying, Like a weapon, of itself blind and unconscious, he was frequently hurled by Domitian against every man of worth." (iv. 22.) Juvenal launches the thunder of invective against him in the following lines: --
Et cum mortifero prudens Vejento Catullo, Qui numquam visae flagrabat amore puellae, Grande, et conspicuum nostro quoque tempore monstrum, Caecus adulator, dirusque a ponte satelles, Dignus Aricinos qui mendicaret ad axes, Blandaque devexae jactaret basia rhedae. -- Sat. iv. 113.
"Cunning Vejento next, and by his side/ Bloody Catullus leaning on his guide:/ Decrepit, yet a furious lover he,/ And deeply struck with charms he could not see./ A monster, that even this worst age outives,/ Conspicuous and above the common size./ A blind base flatterer; from some bridge or gate,/ Raised to a murdering minister of state./ Deserving still to beg upon the road,/ And bless each passing wagon and its load." -- DUKE. Back

[152] This was a famous villa of Domitian's, near the site of the ancient Alba, about twelve miles from Rome. The place is now called Albano, and vast ruins of its magnificent edifices still remain. Back

[153] Tacitus, in his History, mentions this Massa Baebius as a person most destructive to all men of worth, and constantly engaged on the side of villains. From a letter of Pliny's to Tacitus, it appears that Herennius Senecio and himself were joined as counsel for the province of Boetica in a prosecution of Massa Baebius; and that Massa after his condemnation petitioned the consuls for liberty to prosecute Senecio for treason. Back

[154] By "our own hands," Tacitus means one of our own body, a senator. As Publicius Certus had seized upon Helvidius and led him to prison, Tacitus imputes the crime to the whole senatorian order. To the same purpose Pliny observes: "Amidst the numerous villanies of numerous persons, nothing appeared more atrocious than that in the senate-house one senator should lay hands on another, a praetorian on a consular man, a judge on a criminal." -- B. ix. ep. 13. Back

[155] Helvidius Priscus, a friend of Pliny the younger, who did not suffer his death to remain unrevenged. See the Epistle above referred to. Back

[156] There is in this place some defect in the manuscripts, which critics have endeavored to supply in different manners. Brotier seems to prefer, though he does not adopt in the text, "nos Mauricum Rusticumque divisimus," "we parted Mauricus and Rusticus," by the death of one and the banishment of the other. The prosecution and crime of Rusticus (Arulenus) is mentioned at the beginning of this piece, c. 2. Mauricus was his brother. Back

[157] Herennius Senecio. See c. 2. Back

[158] Thus Pliny, in his Panegyr. on Trajan, xlviii.: "Domitian was terrible even to behold; pride in his brow, anger in his eyes, a feminine paleness in the rest of his body, in his face shamelessness suffused in a glowing red." Seneca, in Epist. xi. remarks, that "some are never more to be dreaded than when they blush; as if they had effused all their modesty. Sylla was always most furious when the blood had mounted into his cheeks." Back

Source: Ancient/Classical History