Revelation and the Moral Condition of the World - F.W. Farrar

Revelation and the

Moral Condition of the World

 

F.W. Farrar

Book I

The World

 Chapter I

Moral Condition of the World

 

“Quem vocet divum populus ruentis

Imperi rebus? 

Prece qua fatigent

Virgines sanctae minus audientem

Carmina Vestam?” 

Hor. Od. I, ii, 25

 

“Nona aetas agitur perjoraque saecula ferri

Temporibus, quorum sceleri non invenit ipsa

Nomen, et a nullo posuit natura metallo.”

Juv Sat. xiii, 28-30

 

“From Mummius to Augustus the Roman city stands as the living mistress of a dead world, and from Augustus to Theodusius the mistress becomes as lifeless as her subjects.”  Freeman’s Essays, ii, 330

 The epoch which witnessed the early growth of Christianity was an epoch of which the horror and the degradation have rarely been equaled, and perhaps never exceeded, in the annals of mankind.  Were we to form our sole estimate of it from the lurid picture of its wickedness, which St. Paul in more than one passage has painted with a few powerful strokes, we might suppose that we were judging it from too lofty a standpoint.  We might be accused of throwing too dark a shadow upon the crimes of Paganism, when we set it as a foil to the lustre of an ideal holiness.  But even if St. Paul had never paused amid his sacred reasonings to affix his terrible brand upon the pride of Heathenism, there would still have been abundant proofs of the abnormal wickedness which accompanied the decadence of ancient civilization.  They are stamped upon its coinage, cut on its gems, painted upon its chamber-walls, sown broadcast over the pages of its poets, satirists, and historians.  “Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant!”  Is there any age which stands so instantly condemned by the bare mention of its rulers as that which recalls the successive names of Tiberius, Gaius, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, and which after a brief gleam of better examples under Vespasian and Titus, sank at last under ht hideous tyranny of a Domitian?  Is there any age of which the evil characteristics force themselves so instantaneously upon the mind as that of which we mainly learn the history and moral condition from the relics of Pompeii and Herculaneum, the satires of Persius and Juvenal, the epigrams of Martial, and the terrible records of Tacitus, Suetonius, and Dion Cassius?  And yet even beneath this lowest deep, there is a lower deep; for not even on their dark pages are the depths of Satan so shamelessly laid bare to human gaze as they are in the sordid fictions of Petronius and of Apuleius.   But to dwell upon the crimes and the retributive misery of that period is happily not my duty.  I need but make a passing allusion to its enormous wealth; its unbounded self-indulgence; its coarse and tasteless luxury; its greedy avarice; its sense of  insecurity and terror;[1] its apathy, debauchery, and cruelty;[2] its hopeless fatalism;[3] its unspeakable sadness and weariness;[4] its strange extravagances alike of infidelity and of superstition.[5]

 At the lowest extreme of the social scale were millions of slaves, without family, without religion, without possessions, who had no recognized rights, and towards whom none had any recognized duties, passing normally from a childhood of degradation to a manhood of hardship, and an old age of unpitied neglect.[6]  Only a little above the slaves stood the lower classes, w3ho formed the vast majority of the freeborn inhabitants of the Roman Empire.  They were, for the most part, beggars and idlers, familiar with the grossest indignities of an unscrupulous dependence.  Despising a life of honest industry, they asked only for bread and the games of the Circus, and were ready to support any government, even the most despotic, if it would supply these needs.  They spent their mornings in lounging about the Forum, or in dancing attendance at the levees of patrons, for a share in whose largesses they daily struggled.[7]  They spent their afternoons and evening in gossiping at the Public Baths, in listlessly enjoying the polluted plays of the theatre, or looking with fierce thrills of delighted horror at the bloody sports of the arena.  At night, they crept up to their miserable garrets in the sixth and seventh stories of the huge insulae – the lodging-houses of the poorer quarters of London, there drifted all that was most wretched and vile.[8]  Their life, as it is described for us by their contemporaries, was largely made up of squalor, misery, and vice.

 Immeasurably removed from these needy and greedy freemen, and living chiefly amid crowds of corrupted and obsequious slaves, stood the constantly diminishing throng of the wealthy and the noble.[9]  Every age in its decline has exhibited the spectacle of selfish luxury side by side with abject poverty; of –

 “Wealth, a monster gorged

Mid starving populations:” –

 But nowhere, and at no period, were these contrasts so startling as they were in Imperial Rome.  There a whole population might be trembling lest they should be starved by the delay of Alexandrian corn-ship, while the upper classes were squandering a fortune at a single banquet,[10] drinking out of myrrhine and jeweled vases worth hundreds of pounds,[11] and feasting on the brains of peacocks and the tongues of nightingales.[12]  As a  consequence disease was rife,  men were short-lived, and even women became liable to gout.[13]  Over a large part of Italy,  most of the freeborn population had to content themselves, even in winter, with a tunic, and the luxury of a toga was reserved only, by way of honour, to the corpse.[14]  Yet at this very time, the dress of Roman ladies displayed an unheard-of splendour.  The elder Pliny tells us that he himself saw Lollia Paulina dressed for a betrothal feast in a robe entirely covered with pearls and emeralds, which had cost forty million sesterces,[15] and which was know to be less costly than some of her other dresses.[16]  Gluttony, caprice, extravagance, ostentation, impurity, rioted in the heart of a society which knew of no other means by which to break the monotony of its weariness, or alleviate the anguish of its despair. 

“On that hard Pagan world disgust

And secret loathing fell;

Deep weariness and sated lust

Made human life a hell.

In his cool hall, with haggard eyes,

The Roman noble lay;

He drove abroad in furious s guise

Along the Apian Way;

He made a feast, frank fierce and fast,

And crowned his hair with flowers-

No easier nor n o quicker past

The impracticable hours.” 

At the summit of the whole decaying system – necessary, yet detested – elevated indefinitely above the very highest, yet living in dread of the very lowest, oppressing a population which he terrified, and terrified by the population which he oppressed – was an Emperor, raised to the divinest pinnacle of autocracy, yet conscious that his life hung upon a thread;[17] - an Emperor who, in the terrible phrase of Gibbon, was at once a priest, an atheist, and a god.[18] 

The general condition of society was such as might have been expected from the existence of these elements.  The Romans had entered on a stage of fatal degeneracy from the first day of their close intercourse with Greece.[19]  Greece learnt from Rome her cold-blooded cruelty; Rome learnt from Greece her voluptuous corruption.  Family life among the Romans had once been a sacred thing, and for 520 years divorce had been unknown among them.[20]  Under the Empire marriage had come to be regarded with disfavour and disdain.[21]  Women, as Seneca says, married in order to be divorced, and were divorced in order to marry; and noble Roman matrons counted the years not by the Consuls, but by their discarded or discarding husbands.[22] 

To have a family was regarded as a misfortune, because the childless were courted with extraordinary assiduity by crowds of fortune-hunters.[23]  When there were children in a family, their education was left to be begun under the tutelage of those slaves who were otherwise the most decrepit and useless,[24] and was carried on, with results too fatally obvious, by supple, accomplished, and abandoned Greeklings.[25]  But indeed no system of education could have eradicated  the influence of the domestic circle.  No care[26] could have prevented the sons and daughters of a wealthy family from catching the contagion of the vices of which they saw in their parents a constant and unblushing example.[27] 

Literature and art were infected with the prevalent degradation.  Poetry sank in great measure into exaggerated satire, hollow declamation, or frivolous epigrams.  Art was partly corrupted by the fondness for glare, expensiveness, and size,[28] and partly sank into miserable triviality, or immoral prettinesses,[29] such as those which decorated the walls of Pompeii in the first century, and the Parc aux Cerfs in the eighteenth.  Greek statues of the days of Phidias were ruthlessly decapitated, that their heads might be replaced by the scowling or imbecile figures of a Gaius or a Claudius. Nero, professing to be a connoisseur, thought that he improved the Alexander of Lysimachus by gilding it from head to foot.  Eloquence, deprived of every legitimate aim, and used almost solely for purposes of insincere display, was tempted to supply the lack of genuine fire by sonorous euphony and theatrical affectation.  A training in rhetoric was now understood to be a training in the art of emphasis and verbiage, which was rarely used for any loftier purpose than to make sycophancy plausible, or to embellish sophistry with speciousness.[30]   The drama, even in Horace’s days, had degenerated into a vehicle for the exhibition of scenic splendour or ingenious machinery.  Dignity, wit, pathos, were no longer expected on the stage, for the dramatist was eclipsed by the swordsman or the rope-dancer.[31]  The actors who absorbed the greatest part of popular favour were pantomimists, whose insolent prosperity was generally in direct proportion to the infamy of their character.[32]  And while the shamelessness of the threatre corrupted the purity of all classes from the earliest age,[33] the hearts of the multitude were made hard as the nether millstone with brutal insensibility, by the fury of the circus, the atrocities of the amphitheatre, and the cruel orgies of the games.[34]  Augustus, in the document annexed to his will,  mentioned that he had exhibited 8,000 gladiators and 3, 510 wild beasts.  The old warlike spirit of the Romans was dead among the gilded youth of families in which distinction of any kind was certain to bring down upon its most prominent members the murderous suspicion of irresponsible despots.  The spirit which has cone led the Domitii and the Fabii “to drink delight of battle with their peers” on the plains of Gaul and in the forests of Germany, was now satiated by gazing on criminals fighting for dead life with bears and tigers, or upon bands of gladiators who hacked each other to pieces on the encrimsoned sand.[35]  The languid enervation of the delicate and dissolute aristocrat could only be amused by magnificence and stimulated by grossness or by blood.[36]  Thus the gracious illusions by which true Art has ever aimed at purging the passions of terror and pity, were extinguished by the realism of tragedies ignobly horrible, and comedies intolerably base.  Two phrases ;sum up the characteristics of Roman civilization in the days of the Empire – heartless cruelty, and unfathomable corruption.[37] 

If there had been a refuge anywhere for the sentiments of outraged virtue and outraged humanity, we might have hoped to find it in the Senate, the members of which were heirs of so many noble and austere traditions.  But – even in the days of Tiberius – the Senate, as Tacitus tells us, had rushed headlong into the most servile flattery,[38] and this would not have been possible if its members had not been tainted by the prevalent deterioration.  It was  before the once grace and pure-minded Senators of Rome – the greatness of whose state was founded on the sanctity of  family relationships – that the Censor Metellus had declared in A.U.C. 602, without one dissentient murmur, that marriage could only regarded as an intolerable necessity.[39]  Before that same Senate, at an earlier period, a leading Consular had not scrupled to assert that there was scarcely one among them all who had not ordered one or more of his own infant children to be exposed to death.[40]  In the hearing of that same Senate in A.D. 59, not long before St. Paul wrote his letter to Philemon, C. Cassius Longinus had gravely argued that the only security for the life of masters was to put into execution the sanguinary Silanian Law, which enacted that, if a master was murdered, every one of his slaves, however numerous, however notoriously innocent, should be indiscriminately massacred.[41]  It was the senators of Rome who thronged forth to meet with adoring congratulations the miserable youth who came to them with his hands reeking with the blood of matricide.[42]  They offered thanksgivings to the gods for his worst cruelties,[43] and obediently voted Divine honours o the dead infant, four months old, of the wife whom he afterwards killed with a brutal kick.[44] 

And what was the religion of a period which  needed the sanctions and consolations of religion more deeply than any age since the world began?  It is certain that the old Paganism was – except in country places – practically dead.  The very fact that it was necessary to prop it up by the buttress of political interference shows how hollow and ruinous the structure of classic Polytheism had become.[45]  The decrees and reforms of Claudius wee not likely to reassure the faith of an age which had witnessed in contemptuous silence, or with frantic adulation, the assumption by Gaius of the attributes of deity after deity, had tolerated his insults against their sublimest objects of worship, and encouraged his claim to a living apostheosis.[46]  The upper classes were “destitute of faith, yet terrified at skepticism.”  They had long learned to treat the current mythology as a mass of worthless fables, scarcely amusing enough for even a school-boy’s laughter,[47] but they were the ready dupes of every wandering quack who chose to assume the character of a mathematicus or a mage.[48]  Their official religion was a decrepit Theogony; their real religion was a vague and credulous fatalism, which disbelieved in the existence of the gods, or held with Epicurus that that they were careless of mankind.[49]  The mass of the populace either accorded to the old beliefs a nominal adherence which saved them the trouble of giving any thought to the matter,[50] and reduced their creed and their morals to a survival of national habits; or else they plunged with eager curiosity into the crowd of foreign cults[51] – among which a distorted Judaism took its place[52] – such as made the Romans familiar with strange names like Sabazius and Anchialus, Agdistis, Isis, and the Syrian godess.[53]  All men joined in the confession ;that “the oracles were dumb.”  It hardly needed the wail of mingled lamentations as of departing deities which swept over the astonished crew of the vessel of Palodes to assure the world that the reign of the gods of Hellas was over – that “Great Pan was dead.”[54] 

Such are the scenes which we must witness, such are the sentiments with which we must become familiar, the moment that we turn away our eyes from the spectacle of the little Christian churches, composed chiefly as yet of salves and artisans, who had been taught to imitate a Divine example of humility and sincerity, of purity and love.  There were, indeed, a few among the Heathen who lived nobler lives and professed a purer ideal than the Pagans around them.  Here and there in the ranks of the philosophers a Demetrius, a Musonius Rufus, and Epictetus; here and there among Senators and Helvidius Priscus, a Paetus Thrasea, a Barea Soranus; here and there among literary men a Seneca or a Persius – showed that virtue was not yet extinct.  But the Stoicism on which they learned for support amid the terrors and temptations of that awful epoch utterly failed to provide a remedy against the universal degradation.  It aimed at cherishing an insensibility which gave no real comfort, and for which it offered no adequate motive.  It aimed at repressing the passions by a violence so unnatural that with them it also crushed some of the gentlest and most elevating emotions.  Its self-satisfaction and exclusiveness repelled the gentlest and sweetest natures from its communion.  It made a vice of compassion, which Christianity inculcated as a virtue; it cherished a haughtiness which Christianity discouraged as a sin.  It was unfit for the task of ameliorating mankind, because it looked on human nature in its normal aspects with contemptuous disgust.  Its marked characteristic was a despairing sadness, which become specially prominent in its most sincere adherents.  Its favourite theme was the glorification of suicide, which wiser moralists had severally reprobated,[55] but which many Stoics belauded as the one sure refuge against oppression and outrage.[56] It was a philosophy which was indeed able to lacerate the heart with a righteous indignation against the crimes and follies of mankind, but which vainly strove to resist, and which scarcely even hoped to stem, the ever-swelling tide of vice and misery.   For wretchedness it had no pity; on vice it looked with impotent disdain.  Thrasea was regarded as an antique hero for waking out of the Senate-house during the discussion of some decree which involved a servility more than usually revolting.[57]  He gradually drove his few admirers to the conviction that, even for those who had every advantage of rank and wealth, nothing was possible but a life of crushing sorrow ended by a death of complete despair.[58]  St. Paul and St. Peter, on the other hand, were at the very same epoch teaching in the same city, to a few Jewish hucksters and a few Gentile slaves, a doctrine so full of hope and brightness that letters, written in a prison with torture and death in view, read like idylls of serene happiness and Paeans of triumphant joy.  The graves of these poor sufferers, hid from the public eye in the catacombs, were decorated with an art, rude indeed, yet so triumphant as to make their subterranean squalor radiant with emblems of all that is brightest and most poetic in the happiness of man.[59]  While the glimmering taper of the Stoics was burning pale, as though amid the vapours of a charnel-house, the torch of Life upheld by the hands of the Tarsian tent-maker and the Galilaean fisherman had flashed from Damascus to Antioch, from Antioch to Athens, from Athens to Corinth, from Corinth to Ephesus, from Ephesus to Rome.

 ooo0ooo


Notes:

[1]   2 Cor. Vii, 10; “Interciderat sortis humanae commercius vi metus,”  Tac. Ann. Vi, 19; “Pavor internus occupaverat animos,” id, iv, 76.  See the very remarkable passage of Pliny (“at Hercule homini plurima exhomine mala sunt,” H.N. vii, I).

[2]  Mar. Ep. Ii, 66; Juv. vi, 491.

[3]  Lucan, Phars. I, 70, 81, Suet. Tib. 69; Tac. Agric. 42; Ann. Iii, 18, iv, 26; “Sed mihi haec et talia audienti in incerto judicam est, fatone res mortalius et necessitate immutabilian forte volvantur,” Ann. vi, 22; Plin. H.N. ii, 7; Sen. De Benef. Iv, 7.

[4] Tacitus, with all his resources, finds it difficult to vary his language in describing so many suicides.

[5]   See my Witness of History to Christ, p. 101; Seekers after God, p. 38.  The ‘taurobolies” and “kriobolies” (baths in the blood of bulls and rams) mark the extreme sensuality of superstition.  See Dollinger, Gentile and Jew, ii, 179; De Pressense, Trois Premiers Siecles, ii, 1-60, etc.

[6] Some of the loci classici on Roman slavery are: Cic, De Rep, xiv, 23; Juv. vi, 219, x, 183, xiv, 16-24; Sen. Ep. 47; De Ira, iii, 35, 40; De Clem. 18; Controv. V, 33; De Vit. Beat. 17; Plin. H.N. xxxiii, II; Plut. Cato, 21.  Vedius Pollio and the lampreys (Plin. H.N. ix, 23).  In the debate on the murder of Pedanius Secundus (Tac. Ann. Xiv, 42-45) many eminent sentators openly advocated the brutal law that when a master was murdered, his slaves, often to the number of hundreds, should be put to death.  These facts, and many others, will be found collected in Wallon, De l’Escalavage dans l’ Antiquite; Friedlander, , Sittengesch. Roms; Becker, Gallus, E.T. 199-225; Dollinger, Judenth. U. Heidenth. ix, I, 2, It is reckoned that in the Empire there cannot have been fewer than 60,000,000 slaves (Le Maistre, Du Pape, I, 283).  They were so numerous as to be divided according to their nationalities (Tac. Ann. iii. 53), and every slave was regarded as a potential enemy (Sen. Ep. xlvii).

[7] Seut. Ner. 16; Mart, iv, 8, viii, 50; Juv. I, 100,128, iii, 269, etc.

[8]   Juv. Sat. iii, 60-65; Athen. I, 17, 36; Tac. Ann, xv, 44, “quo cuncta undique atrrocia aut pudenda confluent;”  Vitruv. Ii, 8; Suet. Ner. 38.  There were 44,000, insulae in Rome to only 1,780 domus (Becker, Gallus, E.T., p. 232).

[9]   Among the 1, 200, 000 inhabitants of ancient Rome, even in Cicero’s time, there were scarcely 2,0000 proprietors (Cic. De Off.  Ii, 21).

[10]   See Tac. Ann. Iii, 55.   400,000 sesterces (Juv. xi, 19).  Taking the standard of 100,000 sesterces to be in the Augustan age L1,080 (which is a little below the calculation of Hultsch), this would be L4,320.  30,000,0000 sesterces (Sen. Ep. xcv; Sen. Ad Helv. 9).  In the days of Tiberius three mullets had sold for 30,000 sexterces (Suet. Tib. 34).  Even in the days of Pompey Romans had adopted the disgusting practice of preparing for a dinner by taking an emetic.  Vitellius set on the table at one banquet 2,000 fish and 7,000 birds, and in less than eight months spent in feasts a sum that would now amount to several millions.

[11] Plin. H.N. viii, 48, xxxvii, 18.

[12] “Portenta luxuriate,” Sen. Ep. cx; Plin. H.N. ix, 18, 32, x, 51, 72.  Petron. 93.  Juv. xi 1-55, v, 92-100; Mcrob. Sat, iii, 12, 13; Sen. Ep. lxxxix, 21; Mart. Ep. lxx, 5; Lamridius, Elagab. 20; Suet. Vitell. 13.  On the luxury of the age in general, see Sen. De Brev. Vit. 12; Ep. xcv.

[13]   Sen. Ep. xcv. 15-29.  At Herculaneum many of the rolls discovered were cookery books.

[14]   Juv. i. 171; Mart. Ix, 58, 8.

[15]  L432, 000

[16]   Pliny, H.N. ix, 35, 8.

[17] Tac. Ann. v, 6; Suet. Claud. 35.

[18] “Coelum decretum,” Tac. Ann. 1, 73; “Dis aequa potestas Caesaris,” Juv. iv, 71; Plin. Paneg; 74-5, “Civitas n ihil felicitate suae putat adstrui, posse nisi ut Di Caesarem imitentur.”  (Cf. Suet. Jul 88; Tib. 13, 58; Aug. 59; Calig. 33; Vesp. 23; Domit. 13.)  Lucan, vii, 456; Philo, Leg. Ad Gaium passim; Don Cass. Lxiii, 5, 20; Martial, passim; Tert. Apol. 33, 34; Boissier, La Rel. Romaine, I, 122-208.

[19]   The degeneracy is specially traceable in their literature from the days of Plautus onwards.

[20]   The first Roman recoreded to have divorced his wife was Sp. Carvilius Ruga, B.c. 234 (Dionys. Ii, 25; Aul. Gell. Xvii, 21).

[21]   Hor. Od. Iii, 6, 17. “Raque in hoc aevo ques velit esse parens,”  Ov. Nux. 15.  Hence the Lex Papis Poppaea, the Jus trium liberorum, etc.  Suet. Oct. 34; Aul. Gell. 1, 6.  See Champagny, Les Cesars, I, 258, seq.

[22]   “Non consulum numero sed maritorum annos suos computant,” Sen. De Benef. Iii, 16; “Repudium jam votum erat, et quasi matrimonii fructus,”  Tert. Apol 6; “Corrumere et corrumpi saeculum votaur,” Tac. Germ. 19.  Comp. Suet. Calig. 34.

[23] Tac. Germ. 20; Ann. Xiii, 52; LPlin. H.N. xiv, proaem; Sen. Ad Marc. Consol. 19; Plin. Epp. Iv, 16; Juv. Sat. xii, 114, seq.

[24]   Plut. De Lib. Educ.

[25] Juv. vii, 187, 219.

[26] Juv. Sat. vix.

[27] Juv. Sat. xiv, passim; Tac. De Orat. 28, 29; Quinct. I, 2; Sec. De Ira, ii, 22; Ep. 95.

[28]   It was the age of Colossi (Plin. H.N. xxxiv, 7; Mart. Ep. I, 71, viii, 44; Stat. Sylv. I, I etc.).

[29]   “Popoygraphia.  Cic. Att. Xv, 16; Plin. xxxv, 37.  See Champagny, Les Cesars, iv, 138, who refers to Vitruv. Vii, 5; Plin H.N. xiv, 22, and xxxv, 10 (the painter Arelius, etc.).

[30]   Tac. Dial. 36-41; Ann. Xv, 71; Sen. Ep. cvi, 12; Petron. Satyr. I; Dion Cass. lix, 20.

[31]   Juv. xiv, 250; Suet. Nero, ii; Galv. 6.

[32]   Mnester (Tac. Ann. xi, 4, 36); Paris (Juv. vi, 87, vii, 88); Aliturus (Jos. Vit. 3); Pylades (Zosim. I, 6); Bathyllus (Dion Cass, liv, 17; Tac. Ann. I, 54).

[33] Isidor. xviii, 39.

[34]   “Mera homicidia sunt,” Sen. Ep. vii, 2;  ‘Nihil est nobis…cum insania circi, cum impudicitia theatria, cum atrocitate arenae, cum vanitate sxsti,” Ter. Apol. 38.  Cicero inclined to the prohibition of games which imperiled life (De Legg. Ii, 15), and Seneca (l, c.) expressed his compassionate disapproval, and exposed the falsehood and sophism of the plea that after all the sufferers were only criminals.  Yet in the days of Claudius the number of those thus butchered was so great that the statue of Augustus had to be moved that it might not constantly be covered with a veil (Dion Cass. lx, 13, who in the same chapter mentions a lion that had been trained to devour men.)  In Claudius’s sham sea-fight we are told that the incredible number of 19,000 men fought each other (Tac. Ann. xii, 56).  Titus, the “darling of the human race,” in one day brought into the theatre 5,000 wild beasts (Suet. Tit. 7) and butchered thousand of Jews in the games at Berytus.  In Trajan’s games (Dion Cass. lxviii, 15) 11,000 animals and 10,000 men had to fight.

[35]   Suet. Claud. 14, 21, 34; Ner. 12; Calig. 35; Tac. Ann. xiii, 49; Plin.  Paneg. 33.

[36]   Tac. Ann. xv, 32.

[37]   Eph. iv, 19; 2 Cor. Vii, 10.  Merivale, vi, 452; Champagny, Les Cesars, iv, 161, seq.  Seneca, describing the age in the tragedy of Octavia, says: -

“Saeculo premimur gravi

Qou scelera regnant, saevit impieatas furens, “ etc.

Oct. 379-437.

[38]  Tac. Ann, iii, 65, 2; xiv, 12, 13, etc.

[39]   Comp. Tac. Ann. ii, 37, 38; iii, 34, 35; xv, 19; Aul Gell. N.A. I, 6; Liv. Epit.50.

[40]   This abandonment of children was a normal practice (Ter. Heaut. iv, I, 37; Ovid, Amor. ii, 14; Suet. Calig. 5; Oct. 65; Juv. Sat. vi, 592; Plin. Ep. iv, 15 (comp. ii, 20); Sen. Ad Marciam, 19; Controv.. x, 6).  Augustine (De civ. Dei, iv, 11) tells us that there was a goddess Levana, so called “quia levat infantes;” if the father did not take the newborn child in his arms, it was exposed (Tac. Hist. v, 5; Germ. 19; Tert. Apol. 9; Ad Natt. Xxv, 3, etc.  And see Denis, Ides morales dans l’Antiquite, ii, 203).

[41]   Tac. Ann. xiv, 43, 44; v. supra, p. 3.

[42]   Tac. Ann. xiv, 13: “festo cultu Senatum.”

[43]    “Quotiens fugas et caedes jussit princes, totiens grates Deis actas,” Tac. Ann. xiv, 64.

[44]   Tac. Ann. xvi, 6; Suet. Ner. 25; Dion Cass. lxii, 27.

[45]  Suet. Tib. 36.

[46]   Suet. Calig. 51.  See Mart. Ep. v. 8, where he talks of the “edict of our Lord and God,” i.e., of Domitian; and vii, 60, where he says that he shall pray to Domitian, and not to Jupiter.

[47]  “Esse aliquos manes et subterranean regan…

Nec pueri credunt nisi qui nondum aere lavantur..”

Juv. Sat. ii, 149, 152.

[48]   Tac. H. I, 22; Ann. vi, 20, 21, xii, 68; Juv. Sat. xiv, 248, iii, 42, vii, 200, etc; Suet. Aug. 94; Tib. 14; Ner. 26; Otho. 4; Domit. 15, etc.

[49]   Lucr. vi, 445-455; Juv. Sat. vii, 189-202, x, 129, xiii, 86-89; Plin. H.N. ii, 21; Quinct. Instt. V, 6, 3; Tac. H. i, 10-18, ii, 69-82; Agric. 13; Germ. 33; Ann. vi, 22, etc.

[50]   Juv. Sat. iii, 144, vi, 342, xiii, 75-83.

[51]   “Nec turba deorum talis ut est hodie,” Juv. Sat. xiii, 46; “Ignobilem Deorum turbam quam longo aevo longa superstitio congressit,”  Sen. Ep. 110-.  See Boissier, Les Religios Etrangeres (Rel. Rom. I, 374-450);  Liv. xxxix, 8; Tac. Ann. ii, 85; Val. Max. I, iii, 2.

[52]   Juv. Sat. xiv, 96-106; Jos. Antt. Xviii, 3; Pers. Sat. v, 180.

[53]   Cic. De Legg. ii, 8; De Div. ii, 24; Tert. ad Natt. I, 10; Juv. Sat. xiv, 263, xv, i-32.

[54]   Plut. De Def. Orac., p. 419.  Some Christian writers connect this remarkable story with the date of the Crucifixion.  See Neidner, Lehrbuch d. Chr. K. G., p. 64.

[55]   Virg. Aen. vi, 450, seq.; Tusc. Disp. I, 74; Cic. De Senect. 73; De Rep. vi, 15; Somn. Scip. 3; Sen. Ep. 70.  Comp. Epict. Enchir. 52.

[56]   Both Zeno and Cleanthes died by suicide.  For the grequency of suicide under the empire see Tac. Ann. vi, 10-, 26, xv, 60; Hist. v, 26; Suet. Tib, 49; Sen. De Benef. Ii, 27; Ep. 70; Plin. Ep. I, 12, iii, 7, 16, vi, 24.  For its glorification, Lucan, Phars. iv.: -

“Mors utinam pavaidos vitae subducerer nolles,

Se virtus te sola daret.”

“mortes repentinae, hoc est summa vitae felicitas,”  Plin. H.N. vii, 53, cf. 51.  The practice of suicide became in the days of Trajan almost a “national usuage” (see Merivale, vii, 317, viii, 107).  The variety of Latin phrases for suicide shows the frequency of the crime.  On the pride of Stoicism see Tac. Ann. xiv, 57; Juv. xiii, 93.

[57]   On the motion against the memory of Agrippina (Tac. Ann. xiv, 12).  He has also opposed the execution of Anistius (id. xiv, 48).  It was further remembered against him that he had not attended the obsequies of the deified Poppaea, or offered sacrifice for the preservation of Nero’s “divine voice.”

[58]   Suet. Ner. 37.

[59]   “There the ever-green leaf protests in sculptured silence that the winter of the grave cannot touch the saintly soul; the blossoming branch speaks of vernal suns beyond the snows of this chill world; the good shepherd shows form his benign looks that the mortal way so terrible to nature had become to those Christians as the meadow-path between the grassy slopes and beside the still waters.”  (Martineau, Hours of Thought, p. 155.)

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