This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Being roused at last by numerous proclamations of Vindex, treating him with reproaches and contempt, he in a letter to the senate exhorted them to avenge his wrongs and those of the republic; desiring them to excuse his not appearing in the senate house, because he had got cold. But nothing so much galled him, as to find himself railed at as a pitiful harper, and, instead of Nero, styled Aenobarbus: which being his family name, since he was upbraided with it, he declared he would resume it, and lay aside the name he had taken by adoption. Passing by the other accusations as wholly groundless, he earnestly refuted that of his want of skill in an art upon which he had bestowed so much pains, and in which he had arrived at such perfection; asking frequently those about him, "if they knew any one who was a more accomplished musician?" But being alarmed by messengers after messengers of ill news from Gaul, he returned in great consternation to Rome. On the road, his mind was somewhat relieved, by observing the frivolous omen of a Gaulish soldier defeated and dragged by the hair by a Roman knight, which was sculptured on a monument; so that he leaped for joy, and adored the heavens. Even then he made no appeal either to the senate or people, but calling together some of the leading men at his own house, he held a hasty consultation upon the present state of affairs, and then, during the remainder of the day, carried them about with him to view some musical instruments, of a new invention, which were played by water;1 exhibiting all the parts, and discoursing upon the principles and difficulties of the contrivance; which, he told them, he intended to produce in the theatre, if Vindex would give him leave.
1 Suetonius calls them organa hydraulica, and they seem to have been a musical instrument on the same principle as our present organs, only that water was the inflating power. Vltruvius (iv. i.) mentions the instrument as the invention of Ctesibus of Alexandria. It is also well described by Tertullian, De Aniza, c. xiv. The pneumatic organ appears to have been a later improvement. We have before us a contorniate medallion, of Caracalla, from the collection of Mr. W. S. Bohn, upon which one or other of these instruments figures. On the obverse is the bust of the emperor in armour, laureated, with the inscription M. AURELIUS ANTONINUS PIUS AUG. BRIT. (his latest title). On the reverse is the organ; an oblong chest with the pipes above, and adrapedfigure on each side.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.