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NEW UNIVERSAL BIOGRAPHY.
FROM CALIGULA TO MARCUS AURELIUS
[CENTURY I., of the Christian Æra.]
REMARKABLE FACTS, EVENTS AND DISCOVERIES.
21 Pilate made Governor of Judæa.
25 Jesus baptized in Jordan by John.
29 He is crucified at Jerusalem.
31 Stephen stoned, and St. Paul converted.
39 St. Matthew writes the Gospel. Pilate kills himself.
42 The disciples first called Christians at Antioch.
43 Claudius Cæsar's expedition into Britain.
44 St. Mark writes his Gospel.
50 London founded by the Romans.
51 Caractacus, the British king, carried prisoner to Rome.
52 The Council of the Apostles at Jerusalem.
55 St. Luke writes his Gospel.
56 Rotterdam built.
59 Nero puts his mother and brothers to death; and persecutes the Druids
60 Christianity introduced into Britain.
61 Boadicea, the British queen, defeats the Romans; but is conquered soon after by Suetonius.
62 St. Paul is sent in bonds to Rome; and writes his Epistles between A.D. 51 and 66.
63 The Acts of the Apostles written.
64 Rome set on fire by Nero, and burnt for six days; upon which began the first persecution of the Christians.
66 Martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul.
70 While the factious Jews are destroying one another with mutual fury, Titus Vespasian takes Jerusalem and razes it to the ground. 73 The philosophers banished from Rome by Vespasian.
83 The philosophers expelled Rome by Domitian.
85 Julius Agricola, to protect the civilized Britons from the incursions of the Caledonians, builds a line of forts between the Forth and the Clyde; defeats the Caledonians under Galgacus on the Grampian hills; and first discovers Britain to be an island, by sailing round it.
93 The empire of the Huns in Tartary destroyed by the Chinese. St. John banished to Patmos.
94 The second persecution of the Christians under Domitian.
96 St. John wrote his Revelation.
97 St. John wrote his Gospel.
WE begin a new era with the birth of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST. During this period Britain was conquered by Agricola; and Jerusalem destroyed by Vespasian and Titus.
In the year 98 of the Christian era, Trajan succeeded as emperor of Rome; and being a man of great valour and experience in war, he carried the Roman conquests to their utmost extent. Having conquered the Dacians, a German nation beyond the Danube, and who had of late been very troublesome, he turned his arms eastward; reduced all Mesopotamia, Chaldea, and Assyria; and having taken Ctesiphon, the capital of the Parthian empire, appointed them a king, which he thought would be a proper method for keeping that warlike nation in subjection. After this, he proposed to return to Italy, but died by the way.
At this period, the Roman boundaries extended on the west to the Atlantic ocean, on the north to the Rhine and the Danube, on the east to the Euphrates, and on the south to the sandy deserts of Arabia, and Africa. The Romans being thus almost masters of the world, entitles them to the first place in this division.
CAIUS CÆSAR surnamed CALIGULA, the fourth of the Roman emperors, was the son of Germanicus Cæsar and Agrippina, and born in the year of Rome 765, of Christ 12. He began his reign A. D. 37, with every promising appearance of becoming the real father of his people; but at the end of eight months he was seized with a fever, which, it is thought, left a frenzy on his mind: for his disposition totally changed, and he committed the most atrocious acts of impiety, cruelty, and folly. He began his career of wickedness by murdering several of his relations, who were followed by a number of senators, and other persons of high rank. He openly married his sister Drusilla, and on her death caused divine honours to be paid her, in temples built to her honour. For his favourite horse he built a palace with a marble stable, and an ivory rack: fed him with gilt barley, and wine out of a golden cup. It was even his intention at one time to make him consul. He introduced his horse to the temple in the vestments of the priests
of Jupiter, and caused sacrifices to be offered to himself, his wife, and the horse. He married several wives, whom he put away one after the other. Cruelty in him became an inordinate habit. Some of his sayings express whatever can be conceived of cruelty. "Strike in such a manner that he may feel himself die." "Would to heaven that the Roman people had but one head, that it might be struck off at one blow." Having burst out into a fit of laughter before the consuls, "I was thinking," said he, "that with a wink of my eye I could cause you both to be murdered."
His public exhibitions were extravagant and childish. He caused a bridge of boats to be constructed from Baiæ to Puteoli, on which were erected a number of castles, and after passing over it twice at the head of his troops, he caused the whole to be destroyed. In an expedition into Gaul he showed his folly and cowardice on several occasions; but one of his most ridiculous exploits was in a pretended expedition against Britain. Having drawn up his whole army opposite the island, he commanded the trumpet to sound a charge, and every preparation to be made for battle, when on a sudden the soldiers were ordered to fill their helmets with cockle-shells, and the farce ended with giving a trifling donation to the troops. He was about to follow it up by the tragedy of decimating all the legions of the German army, which had mutinied; but suspecting his intentions, those troops took up their arms, and stood on the defence. He then fled to Rome, where he revenged himself on the senate. At length, a conspiracy was formed against him, headed by Cassius Chærea, and the monster was assassinated as he was passing to the baths, A. D. 41, in the twenty-ninth year of his age. His wife and infant daughter were also sacrificed to the vengeance of the people, who caused his statues to be demolished, and all his public acts to be annulled. This tyrant in his whole appearance, announced somewhat shocking and portentous. He was not without education or natural parts; and applied with some assiduity to the study of eloquence, but his chief attention was directed to the arts, less worthy his station, of music, dancing, gladiatorian exercises, and all the apparatus of public spectacles. In every thing he was capricious and mutable to a degree closely bordering on madness; and was constant only in preserving some form of vice and extravagance. He seems, as Seneca observes, to have been brought forth by nature for the express purpose of showing how much mischief could be effected by the greatest depravity, supported by the highest power.
DRUSILLA LIVIA, a daughter of Germanicus and Agrippina, famous for her debaucheries and licentiousness. She committed incest with her brother Caligula, who was so tenderly attached to her, that in a dangerous illness he made her
heiress of all his possessions, and commanded that she should succeed him in the Roman empire. She died A. D. 38, in the twenty-third year of her age, and was deified by her brother Caligula.
URGULANIA, a Roman lady, was a favourite of the empress Livia. So insolent did she grow upon this, that she refused to go to the senate to give in her evidence, and therefore the prætor was obliged to go to her house to examine her. Lucius Piso, notwithstanding her pride and interest, sued her for a debt, but she refused to appear, and withdrew to the emperor's palace; but Piso proceeded in the suit. Tiberius would not concern himself in this cause any farther than by promising his mother that he would solicit the judges in favour of Urgulania. The result of the affair was, Livia caused the sum, which Piso claimed, to be paid down to him.
CESONIA, wife to the emperor Caligula, was killed by Lupus, as she was weeping over her husband's body, after he was murdered.
JULIUS GRÆCINUS, a Roman senator, was a native of Forum Julii, now Frejus. He was distinguished by his eloquence and virtue, and was put to death by Caligula, for refusing to be the accuser of Marcus Silanus. He was the father of Julius Agricola, and wrote a book on agriculture.
MEMMIUS REGULUS, a Roman, made governor of Greece by Caligula. While Regulus was in his province, the emperor wished to bring the celebrated statue of Jupiter Olympius, by Phidias, to Rome, but this was supernaturally prevented, according to ancient authors, the ship which was to convey it being destroyed by lightning.
CLAUDIUS, the fifth emperor of Rome, whose name at length was Tiberius Claudius Drusus Germanicus, the son of Nero Claudius Drusus, and Antonia Minor, brother of Germanicus, and nephew of the emperor Tiberius, was born at Lyons. The complicated diseases of his infancy had affected all the faculties of his body and mind. The commencement of his reign gave the most promising hopes of a happy continuance. He began by passing an act of oblivion for all former words and actions, and disannulled all the cruel edicts of Caligula. He forbade all persons, under severe penalties, to sacrifice to him as they had done to Caligula; was assiduous in hearing and examining complaints, and frequently administered justice in person; tempering by his mildness the severity of the law. He took a more than ordinary care that Rome should be continually supplied with corn and provisions, securing the merchants against pirates. He was not less assiduous in his buildings, in which he excelled almost all that went before him. He constructed a wonderful aqueduct, called after his own name, much surpassing any other in Rome, either for workmanship or plentiful supply. It brought
water from forty miles distance, through great mountains, and over deep valleys; being built on stately arches, and furnishing the highest parts of the city. He made also an haven at Ostia; a work of such immense expence, that his successors were unable to maintain it. But his greatest work was the draining of the lake Fucinus, which was the largest in Italy, and bringing its water into the Tiber, to strengthen the current of that river. For effecting this, among other vast difficulties, he mined through a mountain of stone three miles broad, and kept thirty thousand men employed for eleven years together. To this solicitude for the internal advantages of the state, he added that of a watchful guardianship over the provinces. He even undertook to gratify the people by foreign conquest. The Britons, who had, for near one hundred years, been left in sole possession of their own island, began to seek the mediation of Rome, to quell their intestine commotions. The principal man who had desired to subject his native country to the Roman dominion, was one Bericus, who persuaded the emperor to make a descent upon the island, magnifying the advantages that would attend the conquest of it. Plautius the prætor, was accordingly ordered to pass over into Gaul, and make preparations for this expedition; and the Britons, under their king Cynobelinus, were several times overthrown. These successes soon after induced Claudius to go into Britain in person, under pretence that the natives were still seditious, and had not delivered up some Roman fugitives who had taken shelter among them. But Claudius soon began to lessen his care for the public, and to commit to his favourites all the concerns of the empire. The chief of his directors was his wife Messalina, whose name is almost become a common appellation to women of abandoned characters. However she was not less remarkable for her cruelties than her lusts; and destroyed many of the most illustrious families of Rome. Subordinate to her were the emperor's freedmen; Pallas, the treasurer; Narcissus, the secretary of state; and Callistus, the master of the requests. These entirely governed Claudius; so that he was only left the fatigues of ceremony, while they possessed all the power of the state. It would be tedious to enumerate the various cruelties which these insidious advisers obliged the feeble emperor to commit; those against his own family will suffice. Appius Silanus, a person of great merit, who had been married to the emperor's mother-in-law, was put to death upon the suggestions of Messalina. After him he slew both his sons-in-law, Silanus and Pompey, and his two nieces the Livias, one the daughter of Drusus, the other of Germanicus; without permitting them to plead in their defence, or even without assigning any cause. Great numbers of others fell sacrifices to the jealousy of Messalina and her minions; who bore so great a sway in the state,