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to the sister of Atticus. When she was either dead or divorced, Augustus gave him his niece Marcella in marriage; on the death of his presumptive heir, Marcellus, he made him divorce the sister and marry the widow of the deceased— his own daughter, the infamous Julia. In these transactions Augustus displayed the coarseness and heartlessness with which he regulated all the matrimonial alliances of his family; and even his own. Perhaps by these double nuptials he implanted in the mind of Agrippa the assurance of a peaceful accession to the imperial throne. The death of the aspirant saved Augustus the treachery of defeating his hopes; but his sons were adopted by the Emperor, and one might have attained the sovereignty, if his own savage nature and the fraud of Livia had not provoked first his exile, and then achieved bis assassination. The double alliance of Agrippa has scarcely been sufficiently noted by historians, though it helps to explain his continued subservience and to illustrate the politic arts of his master. The indolent and luxurious temperament of Maecenas removed him from all ambitious designs. He seems to have been sincerely attached to Augustus, and perhaps prided himself more on his illustrious lineage and his descent from the old Etruscan kings and Porsenna, than he would have done on the possession of the insignia of empire, if he could have consented to trouble himself with its burdens. The two friends and counsellors of Augustus constitute an integral and essential part of his career, as it was through them he won and retained his brilliant and tranquil success.
The munificence of the Roman Emperor was as singular, as guarded and as prudent as his confidence. He was greedy of gain, and most profusely lavish in his expenditures. It was well said by him that he had found Rome a city of clay and left it a city of marble: invenit lateritiam, reliquit marmoream.* He scarcely collected all his revenues and husbanded his resources: he scattered them apparently without stint or regret. To his family he was most liberal in his gifts; to his friends most generous; to strangers or those who had no claim upon him, unexpectedly bountiful. He had a covetous taste for gems, plate and objects of virli, and was accused of having inserted the names of many persons in the lists of proscription in order to confiscate their Corinthian vessels ;• yet he was simple, modest and unostentatious in his habits and style of living. On his first appearance at Rome, after the assassination of his uncle, the great Julius, he poured out his private fortune, his inheritance, and the wealth of his relatives and friends, in the discharge of Caesar's bequests to the citizens, and in the celebration of the games in honour of Venus, the Ancestress, designed to commemorate the battle of Pharsalia. This seemingly insane extravagance was indulged before his position was assured, and as the first step to future fortune. It was done at the very time when more than all his attainable means would have been supposed inadequate to support the army which was designed to overawe the Senate, and keep Antony and the Consuls in check. But never was extravagance more sagacious or effectual. It had been hazarded in opposition to the general opinions of his advisers; it drained his coffers, but they were soon replenished; it filled the ranks of his army, it confirmed the regards of the populace; it divided the sentiments of the senators and the partialities of the patricians; and it gave him a prominent and influential position among the contending parties. Antony had sought and gained popularity and strength by professing to carry out the unexecuted designs of Caesar; and, for this purpose, had interpolated the Journals and falsified the Records. Octavius acquired a larger favour and more general support by fulfilling his bequests, and himself liquidating the legacies of the Dictator to the people, at a time when Antony had appropriated and squandered nearly the whole of the Dictator's estate. Octavius thus became at once one of the acknowledged powers of the state. It was not yet seen that he was
* Suetonius Vit. Octavii., c. xx\ i.i.
• This is one of those stories which Suetonius (Vit. Octavii., c. lxx.) reports and discredits. He mentions, however, that during this proscription, some one wrote on the status of Octavius—
Pater Argentariua, ego, Corinthianus.
already the chief power, and the holder of the balance. The liberality of the young intriguer, as of the older statesman, was always wisely directed for the acquisition of larger gains, either in specie or in favour. The larger receipts were always judiciously expended in the extension of his magnificent projects, and in strengthening his popularity. Thus, by an incessant alternation of extravagance and gain, of profit and profusion, the Roman Empire was adorned and ameliorated by his munificence, and he himself reaped the large rewards of a prodigality, which was, in truth, the most far-seeing policy.
But, though thus splendid in his public expenditures and in his generosity to others, his private life was, as we have said, simple, frugal and unostentatious. He endeavoured to recall, as far as practicable, the shadowy image of those republican usages, which had long vanished in substance. He contemplated the concealment of his despotic power beneath the modest fashions which characterized those ages of freedom, which were regarded as a Saturnian era in the imaginations of the people. It is here that the difference of the historial antecedents at Rome and in France, accounts for and justifies, in point of policy, a corresponding difference, whether conscious or instinctive, between the domestic life of Augustus and Louis Napoleon. In France, the national love of show demands display, and the French tastes revert to the glories of the old regime, and the more dazzling splendours of the first Empire. The ages of Charlemagne and of St. Louis are forgotten. In Rome, it was otherwise. There popular fantasy recurred to republican simplicity and the, frugality of Cincinnatus and Fabricius. The axe and the fasces were hidden beneath wreaths of roses ; and absolute authority was exercised under the names familiar to Roman liberty, and by men who wore the mask of ancient republicanism.
We should have signalized before the occasional boldness, the felicitous temerity, which so strangely diversified the conduct of Octavius. The landing at Brundisium in the face of the army of Antony, the march to Rome, the claim of the inheritance bequeathed to him by Julius Caesar—all undertaken in defiance of the unanimous advice of his friends—were, according to all estimation previous to the event, as rash and ridiculous as the appearance of Louis Napoleon at Strasburg, or his descent at Boulogne. Their immediate success was greater; but, perhaps, the French Emperor derived as much ultimate benefit from his previous demonstrations, and their failure, as the Roman did from his instant good fortuue. How curious, and shifting, and contrariant the lights and shadows in the character of both!— by what indirect and intricate modes they ministered to the surprising achievement of the crowning result!—and how atrangely the similitudes of thought, motive and action, reveal themselves amid all the apparent discrepances in the careers of the ancient prototype and the modern repetition!
The matrimonial and amatory adventures of Octavius are too curious to be altogether disregarded. He was almost as universal a gallant as his uncle, who was said to be the husband of all the women in Rome.* He was coarse in his lascivious tastes, and unrestricted in the indulgence of his sensual propensities. He circled through a whole harem of promiscuous mistresses, and was permanently devoted to none of them. Yet he was not insensible to the empire of love, nor incapable of a strong attachment. His first matrimonial alliance was a mere mariage de convenance. Clodia, the bride, was a child, forced upon him by the demands of the soldiery at the formation of the Triumvirate, and an excuse for a divorce was furnished by the occurrence of the Persian war, before the marriage was consummated. He united himself to Scribonia, the wife or widow of two former husbands, in order to strengthen himself against Antony with Sextus Pompeius, whose wife was her niece. On a change of policy and a reconciliation with Antony, he divorced her, on the very day that his only daughter was born, in order to wrest from Tiberius Claudius his pregnant wife, Livia Drusilla, the only woman to whom he seems ever to have been sincerely attached. The permanent bond of union, however, in even this third marriage, may have been supplied less by the beauty and attractions of the wife, than by the aid and the consolation which her shrewd counsels and skilful diplomacy brought to the Emperor, and, perhaps, also by the irresistible influence which she exercised over his thoughts and actions. To her he seems to have unbosomed all his plans, views and projects, and by her they appear to have been modified or approved, while their execution was facilitated by her feminine craft and intrigue. To her ascendancy may, perhaps, be ascribed the neglect of Maecenas during the last few years of his life, and the long declining influence of both himself and Agrippa, and to her consummate sagacity may also be attributed the little change of policy and the absence of all political disturbance subsequent to their deaths. She was the only confidant whom the dark and solitary thinker admitted to share the immense burthen of his perplexed schemes; the only one to whom he revealed the intricate mysteries and tangled labyrinths of his finely spun and hidden web. That she was faithless to the trust may be readily supposed, and was a penalty which Augustus himself deserved, though not at her hands. It is strongly suggested, however, by the circumstances attending the deaths of Marcellus, Agrippa Postumus and himself— in each of which cases Livia has been suspected of murder by poison or violence. The great object of her solicitude seems uniformly to have been to gain the succession for her son Tiberius, and to strengthen the monarchy that there might be an Empire to which he could succeed. That son distrusted, and rightly, his mother; and never allowed her the same authority or ascendancy which she had enjoyed under Augustus, or won from him.
* We leave the strong expression of Catullus (Carm. xxix.) in the obscurity of the original Latin:'
Et ille nunc superbus ct supcrfluens
Perambulabit omnium cubilia,
Ut albulus columbus, aut Adoneus 1
Before the commencement of this series of marriages, Octavius had been betrothed to the daughter of P. Servilius Isauricus, but the match was broken off" by policy and the intervention of the soldiery. Thus the Emperor, who distinguished his reign by the stringency of his laws on the subject of marriage, and in repression of the licentiousness of