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His military organization of the equestrian order was this. After having the command of a cohort, they were promoted to a wing of auxiliary horse, and subsequently received the commission of tribune of a legion. He raised a body of militia, who were called Supernumeraries, who, though they were a sort of soldiers, and kept in reserve, yet received pay. He procured an act of the senate to prohibit all soldiers from attending senators at their houses, in the way of respect and compliment. He confiscated the estates of all freedmen who presumed to take upon themselves the equestrian rank. Such of them as were ungrateful to their patrons, and were complained of by them, he reduced to their former condition of slavery; and declared to their advocates, that he would always give judgment against the freedmen, in any suit at law which the masters might happen to have with them. Some persons having exposed their sick slaves, in a languishing condition, on the island of Aesculapius, 1 because of the tediousness of their cure; he declared all who were so exposed perfectly free, never more to return, if they should recover, to their former servitude; and that if any one chose to kill at once, rather than expose, a slave, he should be liable for murder. He published a proclamation, forbidding all travellers to pass through the towns of Italy any otherwise than on foot, or in a litter or chair.2 He quartered a cohort of soldiers at Puteoli, and another at Ostia, to be in readiness against any accidents from fire. He prohibited foreigners from adopting Roman names, especially those which belonged to families.3 Those who falsely pretended to the freedom of Rome, he heheaded on the Esquiline. He gave up to the senate the provinces of Achaia and Macedonia, which Tiberius had transferred to his own administration. He deprived the Lycians of their liberties, as a punishment for their fatal dissensions; but restored to the Rhodians their freedom, upon their repenting of their former misdemeanors. He exonerated for ever the people of Ilium from the payment of taxes, as being the founders of the Roman race; reciting upon the occasion a letter in Greek, from the senate and people of Rome to king Seleucus, 4 on which they promised him their friendship and alliance, provided that he would grant their kinsmen the Iliensians immunity from all burdens. He banished from Rome all the Jews, who were continually making disturbances at the instigation of one Chrestus. 5 He allowed the ambassadors of the Germans to sit at the public spectacles in the seats assigned to the senators, being induced to grant them favours by their frank and honourable conduct. For, having been seated in the rows of benches which were common to the people, on observing the Parthian and Armenian ambassadors sitting among the senators, they took upon themselves to cross over into the same seats, as being, they said, no way inferior to the others, in point either of merit or rank. The religiouis rites of the Druids, solemnized with such horrid cruelties, which had only been forbidden the citizens of Rome during the reigh of Augustus, he utterly abolished among the Gauls.6 On the other hand, he attempted to transfer the Eleusinian mysteries from Attica to Rome.7 He likewise ordered the temple of Venus Erycina in Sicily, which was old and in a ruinous condition, to be repaired at the expense of the Roman people. He concluded treateis with foreign princes in the forum, with the sacrifice of a sow and the form of words used by the heralds in former times. But in these and other thigns, and indeed the greater part of his administration, he was directed not so much by his own judgment, as by the influence of his wives and freedmen; for the most part acting in conformity to what their interests or fancies dictated.
1 This island in the Tiber, opposite the Campus Martins, is said to have been formed by the corn sown by Tarquin the Proud on that consecrated field, and cut down and thrown by order of the consuls into the river. The water being low, it lodged in the bed of the stream, and gradual deposits of mud raising it above the level of the water, it was in course of time covered with buildings. Among these was the temple of AEsculapius, erected A. U. C. 462, to receive the serpent, the emblem of that deity which was brought to Rome in the time of a plague. There is a coin of Antoninus Pius recording this event, and Lumisdus has preserved copies of some curious votive inscriptions in acknowledgment of cures which were found in its ruins, Antiquities of Rome, p. 379. It was common for the patient after having been exposed some nights in the temple, without being cured, to depart and put an end to his life. Suetonius here informs us that slaves so exposed, at last obtained their freedom.
2 Which were carried on the shoulders of slaves. This prohibition had for its object either to save the wear and tear in the narrow streets, or to pay respect to the liberties of the town.
3 See the note in c. i. of this life of CLAUDIUS.
5 Suetonius has already, in TIBERIUS, C. xxxvi., mentioned the expulsion of the Jews from Rome, and this passage confirms the conjecture, offered in the note, that the Christians were obscurely alluded to in the former notice. The antagonism between Christianity and Judaism appears to have given rise to the tumults which first led the authorities to interfere. Thus much we seem to learn from both passages: but the most enlightened men of that age were singularly ill-informed on the stupendous events which had recently occurred in Judea, and we find Suetonius, although he lived at the commencement of the first century of the Christian aera, when the memory of these occurrences was still fresh, and it might be supposed, by that time, widely diffused, transplanting Christ from Jerusalem to Rome, and placing him in the time of Claudius, although the crucifixion took place during the reign of Tiberius. St. Luke, Acts xviii. 2, mentions the expulsion of the Jews from Rome by the emperor Claudius: Dio, however, says that he did not expel them, but only forbad their religious assemblies. It was very natural for Suetonius to write Chrestus instead of Christus, as the former was a name in use among the Greeks and Romans. Among others, Cicero mentions a person of that name in his Fam. Ep. ii. 8.
6 Pliny tells us that Druidism had its origin in Gaul, and was trnsplanted into Britain, xxi. 1. Julius Caesar asserts just the contrary, Bell. Gall. vi.13.11. The edict of Claudius was not carried into effect; at least, we find vestiges of Druidism in Gaul, during the reigns of Nero and Alexander Severus.
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