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DOMITIAN was born upon the ninth of the calends of November1 [24th October], when his father was consul elect (being to enter upon his office the month following), in the sixth region of the city, at the Pomegranate,2 in the house which he afterwards converted into a temple of the Flavian family. He is said to have spent the time of his youth in so much want and infamy, that he had not one piece of plate belonging to him; and it is well known, that Clodius Pollio, a man of pretorian rank, against whom there is a poem of Nero's extant, entitled Luscio, kept a note in his hand-writing, which he sometimes produced, in which Domitian made an assignment with him for bad purposes. * * * Thomson omits material here * * * In the war with Vitellius, he fled into the capital with his uncle Sabinus, and a part of the troops they had in tie city.s But the enemy breaking in, and the temple being set on fire, he hid himself all night with the sacristan; and next morning, assuming the disguise of a worshipper of Isis, and mixing with the priests of that idle superstition, he got over the Tiber, 3 with only one attendant, to the house of a woman who was the mother of one of his school-fellows, and lurked there so close, that, though the enemy, who were at his heels, searched very strictly after him, they could not discover him. At last, after the success of his party, appearing in public, and being unanimously saluted by the title of Caesar, he assumed the office of praetor of the City, with consular authority, but in fact had nothing but the name; for the jurisdiction he transferred to his next colleague. He used, however his absolute power so licentiously, that even then he plainly discovered what sort of prince he was likely to prove. Not to go into details, after he had made free with the wives of many men of distinction, he took Domitia Longina from her husband, AElias Lamia, and married her; and in one day disposed of above twenty offices in the city and provinces; upon which Vespasian said several times, "he wondered he did not send him a successor too."
1 A. U. C. 804.
2 A street. in the sixth region of Rome, so called, probably, from a remarkable specimen of this beautiful shrub which had made free growth on the spot.
3 VITELLIUS, c. XV. Tacitus (Hist. iii.) differs from Suetonius, saying that Domitian took refuge with a client of his father's near the Velabrum. Perhaps he found it more safe afterwards to cross the Tiber.
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