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Besides his cruelty, he lay under the suspicion of giving way to habits of luxury, as he often prolonged his revels till midnight with the most riotous of his acquaintance. Nor was he unsuspected of lewdness, and his well-known attachment to queen Berenice,1 who received from him, as it is reported, a promise of marriage. He was supposed, besides, to be of a rapacious disposition; for it is certain, that, in causes which came before his father, he used to offer his interest for sale, and take bribes. In short, people publicly expressed an unfavourable opinion of him, and said he would prove another Nero. This prejudice, however, turned out in the end to his advantage, and enhanced his praises to the highest pitch when he was found to possess no vicious propensities, but, on the contrary, the noblest virtues. His entertainments were agreeable rather than extravagant: and he surrounded himself with such excellent friends, that the succeeding princes adopted them as most serviceable to themselves and the state. He immediately sent away Berenice from the city, much against both their inclinations. Some of his old eunuchs, though such accomplished dancers, that they bore an uncontrollable sway upon the stage, he was so far from treating with any extraordinary kindness, that he would not so much as witness their performances in the crowded theatre. He violated no private right; and if ever man refrained from injustice, he did; nay, he would not accept of the allowable and customary offerings. Yet, in munificence, he was inferior to none of the princes before him. Having dedicated his amphitheatre, 2 and built some warm baths3 close by it with great expedition, he entertained the people with most magnificent spectacles. He likewise exhibited a naval fight in the old Naumachia, besides a combat of gladiators; and in one day brought into the theatre five thousand wild beasts of all kinds.4
1 Berenice, whose name is written by our author and others Beronice, was daughter of Agrippa the Great, who was by Aristobulus, grandson of Herod the Great. Having been contracted to Mark, son of Alexander Lysimachus, he died before their union, and Agrippa married her to Herod, Mark's brother, for whom he had obtained from the emperor Claudius the kingdom of Chalcis. Herod also dying, Berenice, then a widow, lived with her brother, Agrippa, and was suspected of an incestuous intercourse with him. It was at this time that, on their way to the imperial court at Rome, they paid a visit to Festus, at Casarea, and were present when St. Paul answered his accusers so eloquently before the tribunal of the governor. Her fascinations were so great, that, to shield herself from the charge of incest, she prevailed on Polemon, king of Cilicia, to submit to be circumcised, become a Jew, and marry her. That union also proving unfortunate, she appears to have returned to Jerusalem, and having attracted Vespasian by magnificent gifts, and the young Titus by her extraordinary beauty, she followed them to Rome, after the termination of the Jewish war, and had apartments in the palace, where she lived with Titus, "to all appearance, as his wife," as Xiphilinus informs us; and there seems no doubt that he would have married her, but for the strong prejudices of the Romans against foreign alliances. Suetonius tells us with what pain they separated.
2 The Colosseum: it had been four years in building. See VESPAS. c. ix.
3 The Baths of Titus stood on the Esquiline Hill, on part of the ground which had been the gardens of Maecenas. Considerable remains of them are still found among the vineyards; vaulted chambers of vast dimensions, some of which were decorated with arabesque paintings, still in good preservation. Titus appears to have erected a palace for himself adjoining; for the Laocoon, which is mentioned by Pliny as standing in this palace, was found in the neighbouring ruins.
4 If the statements were not well attested, we might be incredulous as to the number of wild beasts collected for the spectacles to which the people of Rome were so passionately devoted. The earliest account we have of such an exhibition, was A. U. C. 502, when one hundred and forty-two elephants, taken in Sicily, were produced. Pliny. who gives this information, states that lions first appeared in any number, A. U. C. 652; but these were probably not turned loose. In 661, Sylla, when he was praetor, brought forward one hundred. In 696, besides lions, elephants, and bears, one hundred and fifty panthers were shown for the first time. At the dedication of Pompey's Theatre, there was the greatest exhibition of beasts ever then known; including seventeen elephants, six hundred lions, which were killed in the course of five days, four hundred and ten panthers, c. A rhinoceros also appeared for the first time. This was A. U. c. 70I. The art of taming these beasts was carried to such perfection, that Mark Antony actually yoked them to his carriage. Julius Caesar, in his third dictatorship, A. U. c. 708, showed a vast number of wild beasts, among which were four hundred lions and a cameleopard. A tiger was exhibited for the first time at the dedication of the Theatre of Marcellus, A. U. C. 743. It was kept in a cage. Claudius afterwards exhibited four together. The exhibition of Titus, at the dedication of the Colosseum, here mentioned by Suetonius, seems to have been the largest ever made; Xiphilinus even adds to the number, and says, that including wild-boars, cranes and other animals, no less than nine thousand were killed. In the reigns of succeeding emperors, a new feature was given to these spectacles, the Circus being converted into a temporary forest, by planting large trees, in which wild animals were turned loose, and the people were allowed to enter the wood and take what they pleased. In this instance, the game consisted principally of beasts of chase; and, on one occasion, one thousand stags, as many of the ibex, wild sheep (moufflons from Sardinia?), and other grazing animals, besides one thousand wild boars, and as many ostriches, were turned loose by the emperor Gordian.
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