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Having exhausted the exchequer by the expense of his buildings and public spectacles, with the augmentation of pay lately granted to the troops, he made an attempt at the reduction of the army, in order to lessen the military charges. But reflecting, that he should, by this measure, expose himself to the insults of the barbarians, while it would not suffice to extricate him from his embarrassments, he had recourse to plundering his subjects by every mode of exaction. The estates of the living and the dead were sequestered upon any accusation, by whomsoever preferred. The unsupported allegation of any one person, relative to a word or action construed to affect the dignity of the emperor, was sufficient. Inheritances, to which he had not the slightest pretension, were confiscated, if there was found so much as one person to say, he had heard from the deceased when living, " that he had made the emperor his heir." Besides the exactions from others, the poll-tax on the Jews was levied with extreme rigour, both on those who lived after the manner of Jews in the city, without publicly professing themselves to be such, 1 and on those who, by concealing their origin, avoided paying the tribute imposed upon that people. I remember, when I was a youth, to have been present,2 when an old man, ninety years of age, had his person exposed to vitw in a very crowded court, in order that, on inspection, the procurator might satisfy himself whether he was circumcised.3 From his earliest years Domitian was any thing but courteous, of a forward, assuming disposition, and extravagant both in his words and actions. When Caenis, his father's concubine, upon her return from Istria, offered him a kiss, as she had been used to do, he presented her his hand to kiss. Being indignant, that his brother's son-in-law should be waited on by servants dressed in white,4 he exclaimed, οὺκ ἀγαθὸν πολυκοιρανίν. Too many princes are not good.5
1 Gentiles who were proselytes to the Jewish religion; or, perhaps, members of the Christian sect, who were confounded with them. See the note to TIBERIUS, c. xxxvi. The tax levied on the Jews was two drachmas per head. It was general throughout the empire.
2 We have had Suetonius's reminiscences, derived through his grandfather and father successively, CALIGULA, c. xix.; OTHO, c. X. We now come to his own, commencing from an early age.
4 The imperial liveries were white and gold.
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