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1 We have an account of the vicissitudes in the life of Ventidius Bassus in A. Gellius, B. xv. c. 4, and in Valerius Paterculus, B. ii. c. 65. We learn from these writers, that Ventidius was a native of Picenum, and that, when that city was taken by Cneius Pompeius, in the Social war, Ventidius, then an infant, was carried in his mother's arms, before the car of the conqueror.—B.
2 The passage of Cicero referred to, occurs in a letter to Plancus, Ep. ad Fam. B. x. Ep. 18, where, speaking of Ventidius, who had united himself to the party of Antony, he says, "And I look down upon the camp of the mule-driver, Ventidius."
3 "Caliga." A strong heavy sandal worn by the Roman soldiers and centurions; but not by the superior officers. The term "a caligâ," therefore, had the same meaning as our expression, "from the ranks." The Emperor Caligula received that surname when a boy, in consequence of wearing the caliga, and being inured to the life of a common soldier.
4 In the year A.U.C. 704.
5 He was a native of Gades, in Spain. A party of the Roman nobles induced an inhabitant of Gades to accuse him of having illegally assumed the privileges of a Roman citizen. The cause was tried B.C. 55, and he was supported by Pompey and Crassus, and defended by Cicero. One of the tests of the being a Roman citizen, was the immunity from being scourged, according to the provisions of the Porcian law. So St. Paul, who, as a citizen of Tarsus, enjoyed the rights of a Roman citizen, says to the centurion, Acts xxii. 25, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?"
6 The accusation against Balbus appears to have been his illegal usurpation of the rights of a Roman citizen, being born a foreigner. Pliny has previously informed us, B. v, c. 5, that he was a native of Gades or Cadiz. He was elected consul A.U.C. 713.—B.
7 L. Fulvius Curius. consul B.C. 322. In B.C. 313 he was master of the horse to the dictator, L. Æmilius.
8 "Felix." Hardouin informs us, that he transmitted this surname to his descendants; among them was Felix, the governor of Judæa, before whom St Paul was taken for judgment.—B.
10 According to Pliny, B. xi. c. 39, and Plutarch, Sylla was affected by what has been termed the "Morbus pediculosus" or "Lousy disease." Plutarch, however, ascribes his death to the bursting of an internal abscess; and the same cause is assigned by Val. Maximus, B. ix. c. 3.—B. It was probably of a similar disease that Herod Agrippa died, whom we find mentioned in Acts xii. 23, as being eaten of worms.
11 Plutarch refers to a dream which Sylla had a short time before his death, but it does not seem to correspond to the one here alluded to.—B. "Plutarch relates that shortly before his death, Sylla dreamed that his son Cornelius, who died before his wife, Cecilia Metella, appeared to him, and summoned him away to join his mother. Appian also states that just before his death, Sylla beheld a spirit in a dream, which summoned him by name; upon which he called together his friends, made his will, and died soon after of a fever. Only two days before his death he finished the twenty-second book of his Memoirs, in which, foreseeing his end, he boasted of the prediction of the Chaldæans, that it was his fate to die after a happy life, and in the height of his prosperity.
12 This is referred to by Tacitus, Hist. B. iii. c. 73.—B. Plutarch tells us that Catulus performed this ceremony of dedication.
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