Page 0943



of Titus, could not succeed him in the Empire. He left no son to inherit

the state. The brother Domitianus thus became heir to whatever Titus could

transmit. He was by a kind of necessity recognized as Emperor, and was

unopposed in the assumption of power. He represented in his life and

character the worst elements of Roman society. He was indeed the abstract

and brief chronicle of those vices which were undermining the whole

structure of the existing civilization. The Flavian family had been from

the healthy atmosphere of the Sabine hills. The first two Emperors of this

genus had preserved the rustic virtues of their ancestry, but even in the

case of Titus it was evident that the habit of indulgence was preparing the

way for worse to follow. Domitianus, long before his accession to power,

had become a moral bankrupt. He had no vigor of manly purpose, no

persistency in the prosecution of enterprises. He had had no success as a

soldier, being too effeminate for the profession of arms. His reputation in

the army, and afterwards in the administration of law, was that of a

tyrannical martinet, whose chief delight was in cruel exactions and wanton


One of the most marked traits in the character of Domitianus was his

jealousy. He was jealous even of his dead father and brother, It was public

opinion rather than preference which gained his assent to the dedication of

the Arch of Titus. He envied his brother's reputation in letters, and

indeed it should be set down to his credit that he himself made

considerable attainments in literature. After his accession, whatever

ambition he had, became inflamed with military ardor. He made two campaigns

against the Germans, and according to the testimony of his poetic

flatterers, was successful. He decreed himself a triumph on his return, and

took to himself the title of Germanicus!

In the work of his subordinates there was more substantial ground for

boasting. Cneius Julius Agricola, as governor of Britain, conquered Wales

and the island of Anglesea, and carried his victorious arms to the Forth

and the Tay. As a barrier against the Picts and the Scots, he built a wall

from the Clyde to the firth of Forth, and then penetrated into Scotland,

defeating the Pictish king Galgacus and inspiring the country with a

wholesome dread of the Roman eagles. The fleet circumnavigated Britain,

thus determining the hitherto unknown extent and outlines of the island.

The fame of these exploits was borne to Rome, and Rome praised her

victorious general. To Domitianus the praise of another was gall for

bitterness. Agricola was recalled. On his return to Rome he refused all

marks of honor and promotion of his interests. He went into retirement, and

lived for several