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Agricola was born on the ides of June, in the third consulship of Caligula; he died on the tenth before the calends of September, during the consulship of Collega and Priscus, in the fifty-sixth year of his age.1 [His life extended through the reigns of nine emperors, from Caligula to Domitian.] As to his person, about which in future times there may be some curiosity, he was of that make and stature which may be said to be graceful, not majestic. His countenance had not that commanding air which strikes with awe; a sweetness of expression was the prevailing character. Though he was snatched away in the vigour of life, yet if we consider the space his glory filled in the eyes of mankind, he might be said to have died full of years. Possessing all the best enjoyments that spring from virtue, and from virtue only; adorned with every dignity, which either the consular rank or triumphal honours could bestow; what further advantage could he derive from fortune? Immoderate riches he never desired, content with an honourable independence. His wife and daughter left in a state of security, his honours blooming around him, his fame unblemished, his relations flourishing, and every tie of friendship preserved to the last, he may be considered as supremely happy, that he did not live to see the tempestuous times that soon after followed. To counterbalance his untimely end, it is at least some consolation, that he escaped that black and horrible period, in which Domitian no longer broke out in sudden fits and starts of cruelty, but, throwing off all restraint, proceeded in one continued course of unrelenting fury, as if determined to crush the commonwealth at a blow.
1 There seems, in this place, to be some mistake, not, however, imputable to Tacitus, but, more probably, to the transcribers, who, in their manuscript, might easily write LVI. instead of LIV. Caligula's third consulship was A. U. C. 793, A. D. 40. Agricola was born on the thirteenth of June in that year: he died on the ioth of the calends of September, that is the 23d of August, in the consulship of Pompeius Collega and Cornelius Priscus, A. U. C, 846, A. D. 93. According to this account, Agricola, on the 13th of June, A. U. C. 846, entered on the fifty-fourth year of his age, and died in the month of August following. It is, therefore, probable, that the copyists, as already observed, inserted in their manuscript fifty-six for fifty-four.
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