[1: There had been no example of three successive generations on the throne; only three instances of sons who succeeded their fathers. The marriages of the Caesars (notwithstanding the permission, and the frequent practice of divorces) were generally unfruitful.]


[2: Hist. August p. 138.]


[3: Hist. August. p. 140. Herodian, l. vi. p. 223. Aurelius Victor. By comparing these authors, it should seem that Maximin had the particular command of the Tribellian horse, with the general commission of disciplining the recruits of the whole army. His biographer ought to have marked, with more care, his exploits, and the successive steps of his military promotions.]


[4: See the original letter of Alexander Severus, Hist. August. p. 149.]


[5: Hist. August. p. 135. I have softened some of the most improbable circumstances of this wretched biographer. From his ill-worded narration, it should seem that the prince's buffoon having accidentally entered the tent, and awakened the slumbering monarch, the fear of punishment urged him to persuade the disaffected soldiers to commit the murder.]


[6: Herodian, l. vi. 223-227.]


[7: Caligula, the eldest of the four, was only twenty-five years of age when he ascended the throne; Caracalla was twenty-three, Commodus nineteen, and Nero no more than seventeen.]


[8: It appears that he was totally ignorant of the Greek language; which, from its universal use in conversation and letters, was an essential part of every liberal education.]


[9: Hist. August. p. 141. Herodian, l. vii. p. 237. The latter of these historians has been most unjustly censured for sparing the vices of Maximin.]


[10: The wife of Maximin, by insinuating wise counsels with female gentleness, sometimes brought back the tyrant to the way of truth and humanity. See Ammianus Marcellinus, l. xiv. c. l, where he alludes to the fact which he had more fully related under the reign of the Gordians. We may collect from the medals, that Paullina was the name of this benevolent empress; and from the title of Diva, that she died before Maximin. (Valesius ad loc. cit. Ammian.) Spanheim de U. et P. N. tom. ii. p. 300. Note: If we may believe Syrcellus and Zonaras, in was Maximin himself who ordered her death - G]


[11: He was compared to Spartacus and Athenio. Hist. August p. 141.]


[12: Herodian, l. vii. p. 238. Zosim. l. i. p. 15.]


[13: In the fertile territory of Byzacium, one hundred and fifty miles to the south of Carthage. This city was decorated, probably by the Gordians, with the title of colony, and with a fine amphitheatre, which is still in a very perfect state. See Intinerar. Wesseling, p. 59; and Shaw's Travels, p. 117.]


[14: Herodian, l. vii. p. 239. Hist. August. p. 153.]


[15: Hist. Aug. p. 152. The celebrated house of Pompey in carinis was usurped by Marc Antony, and consequently became, after the Triumvir's death, a part of the Imperial domain. The emperor Trajan allowed, and even encouraged, the rich senators to purchase those magnificent and useless places, (Plin. Panegyric. c. 50;) and it may seem probable, that, on this occasion, Pompey's house came into the possession of Gordian's great- grandfather.]


[16: The Claudian, the Numidian, the Carystian, and the Synnadian. The colors of Roman marbles have been faintly described and imperfectly distinguished. It appears, however, that the Carystian was a sea-green, and that the marble of Synnada was white mixed with oval spots of purple. See Salmasius ad Hist. August. p. 164.]


[17: Hist. August. p. 151, 152. He sometimes gave five hundred pair of gladiators, never less than one hundred and fifty. He once gave for the use of the circus one hundred Sicilian, and as many Cappaecian Cappadecian horses. The animals designed for hunting were chiefly bears, boars, bulls, stags, elks, wild asses, &c. Elephants and lions seem to have been appropriated to Imperial magnificence.]


[18: See the original letter, in the Augustan History, p. 152, which at once shows Alexander's respect for the authority of the senate, and his esteem for the proconsul appointed by that assembly.]


[A: Herodian expressly says that he had administered many provinces, lib. vii. 10. - W.]


[19: By each of his concubines, the younger Gordian left three or four children. His literary productions, though less numerous, were by no means contemptible.]


[B: Not the personal likeness, but the family descent from the Scipiod. - W.]


[20: Herodian, l. vii. p. 243. Hist. August. p. 144.]


[21: Quod. tamen patres dum periculosum existimant; inermes armato esistere approbaverunt. - Aurelius Victor.]


[22: Even the servants of the house, the scribes, &c., were excluded, and their office was filled by the senators themselves. We are obliged to the Augustan History. p. 159, for preserving this curious example of the old discipline of the commonwealth.]


[23: This spirited speech, translated from the Augustan historian, p. 156, seems transcribed by him from the origina registers of the senate]


[24: Herodian, l. vii. p. 244]


[25: Herodian, l. vii. p. 247, l. viii. p. 277. Hist. August. p 156-158.]


[26: Herodian, l. vii. p. 254. Hist. August. p. 150-160. We may observe, that one month and six days, for the reign of Gordian, is a just correction of Casaubon and Panvinius, instead of the absurd reading of one year and six months. See Commentar. p. 193. Zosimus relates, l. i. p. 17, that the two Gordians perished by a tempest in the midst of their navigation. A strange ignorance of history, or a strange abuse of metaphors!]


[27: See the Augustan History, p. 166, from the registers of the senate; the date is confessedly faulty but the coincidence of the Apollinatian games enables us to correct it.]


[28: He was descended from Cornelius Balbus, a noble Spaniard, and the adopted son of Theophanes, the Greek historian. Balbus obtained the freedom of Rome by the favor of Pompey, and preserved it by the eloquence of Cicero. (See Orat. pro Cornel. Balbo.) The friendship of Caesar, (to whom he rendered the most important secret services in the civil war) raised him to the consulship and the pontificate, honors never yet possessed by a stranger. The nephew of this Balbus triumphed over the Garamantes. See Dictionnaire de Bayle, au mot Balbus, where he distinguishes the several persons of that name, and rectifies, with his usual accuracy, the mistakes of former writers concerning them.]


[29: Zonaras, l. xii. p. 622. But little dependence is to be had on the authority of a modern Greek, so grossly ignorant of the history of the third century, that he creates several imaginary emperors, and confounds those who really existed.]


[30: Herodian, l. vii. p. 256, supposes that the senate was at first convoked in the Capitol, and is very eloquent on the occasion. The Augustar History p. 116, seems much more authentic.]


[C: According to some, the son. - G.]


[31: In Herodian, l. vii. p. 249, and in the Augustan History, we have three several orations of Maximin to his army, on the rebellion of Africa and Rome: M. de Tillemont has very justly observed that they neither agree with each other nor with truth. Histoire des Empereurs, tom. iii. p. 799.]


[32: The carelessness of the writers of that age, leaves us in a singular perplexity. 1. We know that Maximus and Balbinus were killed during the Capitoline games. Herodian, l. viii. p. 285. The authority of Censorinus (de Die Natali, c. 18) enables us to fix those games with certainty to the year 238, but leaves us in ignorance of the month or day. 2. The election of Gordian by the senate is fixed with equal certainty to the 27th of May; but we are at a loss to discover whether it was in the same or the preceding year. Tillemont and Muratori, who maintain the two opposite opinions, bring into the field a desultory troop of authorities, conjectures and probabilities. The one seems to draw out, the other to contract the series of events between those periods, more than can be well reconciled to reason and history. Yet it is necessary to choose between them. Note: Eckhel has more recently treated these chronological questions with a perspicuity which gives great probability to his conclusions. Setting aside all the historians, whose contradictions are irreconcilable, he has only consulted the medals, and has arranged the events before us in the following order: -

   Maximin, A. U. 990, after having conquered the Germans, reenters Pannonia, establishes his winter quarters at Sirmium, and prepares himself to make war against the people of the North.

   In the year 991, in the cal ends of January, commences his fourth tribunate. The Gordians are chosen emperors in Africa, probably at the beginning of the month of March. The senate confirms this election with joy, and declares Maximin the enemy of Rome. Five days after he had heard of this revolt, Maximin sets out from Sirmium on his march to Italy. These events took place about the beginning of April; a little after, the Gordians are slain in Africa by Capellianus, procurator of Mauritania. The senate, in its alarm, names as emperors Balbus and Maximus Pupianus, and intrusts the latter with the war against Maximin. Maximin is stopped on his road near Aquileia, by the want of provisions, and by the melting of the snows: he begins the siege of Aquileia at the end of April. Pupianus assembles his army at Ravenna. Maximin and his son are assassinated by the soldiers enraged at the resistance of Aquileia: and this was probably in the middle of May. Pupianus returns to Rome, and assumes the government with Balbinus; they are assassinated towards the end of July Gordian the younger ascends the throne. Eckhel de Doct. Vol vii 295. - G.]


[33: Velleius Paterculus, l. ii. c. 24. The president de Montesquieu (in his dialogue between Sylla and Eucrates) expresses the sentiments of the dictator in a spirited, and even a sublime manner.]


[34: Muratori (Annali d' Italia, tom. ii. p. 294) thinks the melting of the snows suits better with the months of June or July, than with those of February. The opinion of a man who passed his life between the Alps and the Apennines, is undoubtedly of great weight; yet I observe, 1. That the long winter, of which Muratori takes advantage, is to be found only in the Latin version, and not in the Greek text of Herodian. 2. That the vicissitudes of suns and rains, to which the soldiers of Maximin were exposed, (Herodian, l. viii. p. 277,) denote the spring rather than the summer. We may observe, likewise, that these several streams, as they melted into one, composed the Timavus, so poetically (in every sense of the word) described by Virgil. They are about twelve miles to the east of Aquileia. See Cluver. Italia Antiqua, tom. i. p. 189, &c.]


[35: Herodian, l. viii. p. 272. The Celtic deity was supposed to be Apollo, and received under that name the thanks of the senate. A temple was likewise built to Venus the Bald, in honor of the women of Aquileia, who had given up their hair to make ropes for the military engines.]


[36: Herodian, l. viii. p. 279. Hist. August. p. 146. The duration of Maximin's reign has not been defined with much accuracy, except by Eutropius, who allows him three years and a few days, (l. ix. 1;) we may depend on the integrity of the text, as the Latin original is checked by the Greek version of Paeanius.]


[37: Eight Roman feet and one third, which are equal to above eight English feet, as the two measures are to each other in the proportion of 967 to 1000. See Graves's discourse on the Roman foot. We are told that Maximin could drink in a day an amphora (or about seven gallons) of wine, and eat thirty or forty pounds of meat. He could move a loaded wagon, break a horse's leg with his fist, crumble stones in his hand, and tear up small trees by the roots. See his life in the Augustan History.]


[38: See the congratulatory letter of Claudius Julianus, the consul to the two emperors, in the Augustan History.]


[39: Hist. August. p. 171.]


[40: Herodian, l. viii. p. 258.]


[41: Herodian, l. viii. p. 213.]


[42: The observation had been made imprudently enough in the acclamations of the senate, and with regard to the soldiers it carried the appearance of a wanton insult. Hist. August. p. 170.]


[43: Discordiae tacitae, et quae intelligerentur potius quam viderentur. Hist. August. p. 170. This well-chosen expression is probably stolen from some better writer.]


[44: Herodian, l. viii. p. 287, 288.]


[45: Quia non alius erat in praesenti, is the expression of the Augustan History.]


[46: Quintus Curtius (l. x. c. 9,) pays an elegant compliment to the emperor of the day, for having, by his happy accession, extinguished so many firebrands, sheathed so many swords, and put an end to the evils of a divided government. After weighing with attention every word of the passage, I am of opinion, that it suits better with the elevation of Gordian, than with any other period of the Roman history. In that case, it may serve to decide the age of Quintus Curtius. Those who place him under the first Caesars, argue from the purity of his style but are embarrassed by the silence of Quintilian, in his accurate list of Roman historians.

   Note: This conjecture of Gibbon is without foundation. Many passages in the work of Quintus Curtius clearly place him at an earlier period. Thus, in speaking of the Parthians, he says, Hinc in Parthicum perventum est, tunc ignobilem gentem: nunc caput omnium qui post Euphratem et Tigrim amnes siti Rubro mari terminantur. The Parthian empire had this extent only in the first age of the vulgar aera: to that age, therefore, must be assigned the date of Quintus Curtius. Although the critics (says M. de Sainte Croix) have multiplied conjectures on this subject, most of them have ended by adopting the opinion which places Quintus Curtius under the reign of Claudius. See Just. Lips. ad Ann. Tac. ii. 20. Michel le Tellier Praef. in Curt. Tillemont Hist. des Emp. i. p. 251. Du Bos Reflections sur la Poesie, 2d Partie. Tiraboschi Storia della, Lett. Ital. ii. 149. Examen. crit. des Historiens d'Alexandre, 2d ed. p. 104, 849, 850. - G.

   This interminable question seems as much perplexed as ever. The first argument of M. Guizot is a strong one, except that Parthian is often used by later writers for Persian. Cunzius, in his preface to an edition published at Helmstadt, (1802,) maintains the opinion of Bagnolo, which assigns Q. Curtius to the time of Constantine the Great. Schmieder, in his edit. Gotting. 1803, sums up in this sentence, aetatem Curtii ignorari pala mest. - M.]


[47: Hist. August. p. 161. From some hints in the two letters, I should expect that the eunuchs were not expelled the palace without some degree of gentle violence, and that the young Gordian rather approved of, than consented to, their disgrace.]


[48: Duxit uxorem filiam Misithei, quem causa eloquentiae dignum parentela sua putavit; et praefectum statim fecit; post quod, non puerile jam et contemptibile videbatur imperium.]


[49: Hist. August. p. 162. Aurelius Victor. Porphyrius in Vit Plotin. ap. Fabricium, Biblioth. Graec. l. iv. c. 36. The philosopher Plotinus accompanied the army, prompted by the love of knowledge, and by the hope of penetrating as far as India.]


[50: About twenty miles from the little town of Circesium, on the frontier of the two empires.

   Note: Now Kerkesia; placed in the angle formed by the juncture of the Chaboras, or al Khabour, with the Euphrates. This situation appeared advantageous to Diocletian, that he raised fortifications to make it the but wark of the empire on the side of Mesopotamia. D'Anville. Geog. Anc. ii. 196. - G. It is the Carchemish of the Old Testament, 2 Chron. xxxv. 20. ler. xlvi. 2. - M.]


[51: The inscription (which contained a very singular pun) was erased by the order of Licinius, who claimed some degree of relationship to Philip, (Hist. August. p. 166;) but the tumulus, or mound of earth which formed the sepulchre, still subsisted in the time of Julian. See Ammian Marcellin. xxiii. 5.]


[52: Aurelius Victor. Eutrop. ix. 2. Orosius, vii. 20. Ammianus Marcellinus, xxiii. 5. Zosimus, l. i. p. 19. Philip, who was a native of Bostra, was about forty years of age.

   Note: Now Bosra. It was once the metropolis of a province named Arabia, and the chief city of Auranitis, of which the name is preserved in Beled Hauran, the limits of which meet the desert. D'Anville. Geog. Anc. ii. 188. According to Victor, (in Caesar.,) Philip was a native of Tracbonitis another province of Arabia. - G.]


[53: Can the epithet of Aristocracy be applied, with any propriety, to the government of Algiers? Every military government floats between two extremes of absolute monarchy and wild democracy.]


[54: The military republic of the Mamelukes in Egypt would have afforded M. de Montesquieu (see Considerations sur la Grandeur et la Decadence des Romains, c. 16) a juster and more noble parallel.]


[55: The Augustan History (p. 163, 164) cannot, in this instance, be reconciled with itself or with probability. How could Philip condemn his predecessor, and yet consecrate his memory? How could he order his public execution, and yet, in his letters to the senate, exculpate himself from the guilt of his death? Philip, though an ambitious usurper, was by no means a mad tyrant. Some chronological difficulties have likewise been discovered by the nice eyes of Tillemont and Muratori, in this supposed association of Philip to the empire.

   Note: Wenck endeavors to reconcile these discrepancies. He supposes that Gordian was led away, and died a natural death in prison. This is directly contrary to the statement of Capitolinus and of Zosimus, whom he adduces in support of his theory. He is more successful in his precedents of usurpers deifying the victims of their ambition. Sit divus, dummodo non sit vivus. - M.]


[56: The account of the last supposed celebration, though in an enlightened period of history, was so very doubtful and obscure, that the alternative seems not doubtful. When the popish jubilees, the copy of the secular games, were invented by Boniface VII., the crafty pope pretended that he only revived an ancient institution. See M. le Chais, Lettres sur les Jubiles.]


[57: Either of a hundred or a hundred and ten years. Varro and Livy adopted the former opinion, but the infallible authority of the Sybil consecrated the latter, (Censorinus de Die Natal. c. 17.) The emperors Claudius and Philip, however, did not treat the oracle with implicit respect.]


[58: The idea of the secular games is best understood from the poem of Horace, and the description of Zosimus, 1. l. ii. p. 167, &c.]


[59: The received calculation of Varro assigns to the foundation of Rome an aera that corresponds with the 754th year before Christ. But so little is the chronology of Rome to be depended on, in the more early ages, that Sir Isaac Newton has brought the same event as low as the year 627 (Compare Niebuhr vol. i. p. 271. - M.)]


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