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He likewise erected several new public buildings, namely the temple of Peace1 near the forum, that of Claudius on the Coelian mount, which had been begun by Agrippina, but almost entirely demolished by Nero;2 and an amphitheatre3 in the middle of the city, upon finding that Augustus had projected such a work. He purified the senatorian and equestrian orders, which had been much reduced by the havoc made amongst them at several times, and was fallen into disrepute by neglect. Having expelled the most unworthy, he chose in their room the most honourable persons in Italy and the provinces. And to let it be known that those two orders differed not so much in privileges as in dignity, he declared publicly when some altercation passed between a senator and a Roman knight, "that senators ought not to be treated with scurrilous language, unless they were aggressors, and then it was fair and lawful to return it."
1 The temple of Peace, erected A. D. 71, on the conclusion of the wars with the Germans and the Jews, was the largest temple in Rome. Vespasian and Titus deposited in it the sacred vessels and other spoils which were carried in their triumph after the conquest of Jerusalem. They were consumed, and the temple much damaged, if not destroyed, by fire, towards the end of the reign of Commodus, in the year 191. It stood in the Forum, where some ruins on a prodigious scale, still remaining, were traditionally considered to be those of the Temple of Peace, until Piranesi contended that they are part of Nero's Golden House. Others suppose that they are the remains of a Basilica. A beautiful fluted Corinthian column, forty-seven feet high, which was removed from this spot, and now stands before the church of S. Maria Maggiore, gives a great idea of the splendour of the original structure.
2 This temple, converted into a Christian church by pope Simplicius, who flourished A. D. 464-483, preserves much of its ancient character. It is now called San Stefano in Rotondo, from its circular form; the thirty-four pillars, with arches springing from one to the other and intended to support the cupola, still remaining to prove its former magnificence.
3 This amphitheatre is the famous Colosseum begun by Vespasian and finished by Titus. It is needless to go into details respecting a building the gigantic ruins of which are so well known.
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