صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

observing only, that the names of Paulus Æmilius the con.
queror of Macedon, Popilius Lenas the famous ambassador,
Julius Cæsar, Cicero, and Hortensius, give an air of import-
ance to the most trifling circumstances, which occasion their
being mentioned. I purposely keep pretty close to the
originals, that the form and manner of drawing them up, may
be the better preserved.
“ A.U.C. i.e. from the building of Rome, 585.

5th of the Kalends of April.

The Fasces with Æmilius the consul. The consul, crowned with laurel, sacrificed at the temple of Apollo. The senate assembled at the Curia Hostilia about the 8th hour; and a decree passed, that the prætors should give sentence according to the edicts, which were of perpetual validity. This day M. Scapula was accused of an act of violence before C. Bæbius the prætor; 15 of the judges were for condemning him, and 33 for adjourning the cause.

4th of the Kal. of April.

The Fasces with Licinius the consul. It thundered, and an oak was struck with lightning on that part of Mount Palatine called Summa Velia, early in the afternoon. A fray happened in a tavern at the lower end of the Banker's Street,* in which the keeper of the Hog-inArmour tavern, was dangerously wounded. Tertinius, the Ædile, fined the butchers for selling meat which had not been inspected by the overseers of the markets. The fine is to be employed in building a chapel to the temple of the goddess Tellus.

3d of the Kal. of April. The Fasces with Æmilius. It rained stones on Mount Veintine. Posthumius, the tribune, sent his beadle to the consul, because he was unwilling to convene the senate on that day ; but the tribune Decimus putting in his veto, the affair went no further.

Pridie Kal. Aprilis. The Fasces with Licinius. The Latin festivals were celebrated, a sacrifice performed on the Alban Mount, and a dole of raw flesh distributed to the people. A fire happened on Mount Cælius; two trisulætand five houses were consumed to the ground, and four

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

* Called Janus Infiinus, because there was in that part of the street a statue of Janus, as the upper end was called Janus Summus, for the same reason.

+ Houses standing out by themselves, and not joined to the rest of the street Most of the great men's houses at Rome were built after this manner.

damaged. Demiphon, the famous pirate, who was taken by Licinius Nerva, a provincial lieutenant, was crucified. The red standard was displayed at the capitol, and the consuls obliged the youth who were enlisted for the Macedonian war, to take a new oath in the Campus Martius.

Kal. April. Paulus the consul, and Cn. Octavius the prætor, set out this day for Macedonia, in their habits of war, and vast numbers of people attending them to the gates. The funeral of Marcia was performed with greater pomp of images than at. tendance of mourners. The pontifex Sempronius

proclaimed the Megalesian plays in honour of Cybele.

4th of the Nones of April. A Ver Sacrum* was vowed, pursuant to the opinion of the college of priests. Presents were made to the ambassadors of the Etolians. Ebutius the prætor, set out for his province of Sicily. The fleet stationed on the African coast, entered the port of Ostia with the tribute of that province. An entertainment was given to the people by Marcia's sons at their mother's funeral. A stage play was acted, this day being sacred to Cybele,

3d of the Nones of April. Popilius Lenas,+ C. Decimus, C. Hostilius, were sent ambassadors, in a joint commission, to the kings of Syria and Egypt, in order to accommodate the differences, about which they are now at war. Early in the morning they went, with a great attendance of clients and relations, to offer up a sacrifice and libations at the temple of Castor and Pollux, before they began their journey."

The second set of the remains of the Acta Diurna, belong to the year of Rome 691, I have already mentioned how they were discovered, and shall only add, that they are fuller and more entertaining than the former, but rather seem more liable to objections, with regard to their genuineness.

* A Ver Sacrum' was a vow to sacrifice an ox, sheep, or some such beast. born between the Kalends of March, and the Pridie Kal. of June.

† This Popilius met Antiochus, king of Syria, at the head of his conquering army, in Egypt, and drawing a circle round him with a stick he held in bis hand, bid him declare himself a friend or enemy to Rome before he stirred out of it. The king, though flushed with success, chose the former; and in consequence of it, withdrew his troops out of the dominions of Ptolemy, wh was an ally of the Romans,

“ Syllanus and Murena consuls. The Fasces with Murena,

3d of the Ides of August. Murena sacrificed early in the morning at the temple of Castor and Pollux, and afterwards assembled the senate in Pompey's senate-house. Syllanus defended Sext. Roscius of Larinum, who was accused of an act of violence by Tor. quatus before Q. Cornificius the prætor. The defendant was absolved by forty votes, and found guilty by twenty. A riot happened in the Via Sacra, between Clodius's workmen and Milo's slaves.

5th of the Kal. of September. M. Tullius Cicero pleaded in defence of Cornelius Sylla, accused by Torquatus of being concerned in Catiline's conspiracy, and gained his cause by a majority of five judges. The tribunes* of the treasury were against the defendant: One of the prætors advertised by an edict, that he should put off his sittings for five days, upon account of his daugh. ter's marriage. °C. Cæsar set out for his government of the farther Spain, having been long detained by his creditors. A report was brought to Tertinius the prætor, whilst he was trying causes at his tribunal, that his son was dead: this was contrived by the friends of Copponius, who was accused of poisoning, that the prætor in his concern might adjourn the court; but that magistrate having discovered the falsity of the story, returned to his tribunal, and continued taking informations against the accused.

4th of the Kal. of September. The funeral of Metella Pia, a vestal, was celebrated; she was buried in the sepulchre of her ancestors in the Agrelian Road. The censors made a bargain that the temple of Aius Loquens should be repaired for 25 sesterces. Q. Hortensius harangued the people about the censorsbip, and the Allobrogic war. Advice arrived from Etruria, that the remains of the late conspiracy had begun a tumult, headed by L. Sergius."'*

* The judicial power in public trials underwent frequent alterations at Rome, and had been lodged at different times in the senators, the knights, and sometimes in a mixed number of both. It was now shared, by the Au. relian law, between the senatorian and equestrian orders, and the Tribuni Ærarii, who were Plebeians, and paymasters in the Roman exchequer: the latter were deprived of this privilege by J. Cæsar. The number of judges seems to have varied according to the appointment of the magistrates, or the appoin ment of the law on which the accusation was founded. At Milo's trial (for instance) they were reduced by lot to 81; and before sentence was given, the accusers and the accused rejected 5 put of each order, so that 51 determined the cause, which was always done by ballot; but there are other cases where the number of judges is different,

An admirer of antiquity may perhaps find the same conciseness, clearness, and simplicity, in the Acta Diurna, which so eminently distinguish the inscriptions upon the medals and public monuments of the ancients. I must own, however, to be impartial, that they want that sprightly humour and diffuse kind of narration which embellish the compositions of our modern diurnal historians. The Roman gazetteers are defective in several material ornaments of style. They never end an article with the mystical hint, this occasions great speculation. They seem to have been ignorant of such engaging introductions, as we hear it is strongly reported; and of that ingenious, but thread-bare excuse for a downright lie, it wants confirmation. It is also very observable, that the prætor's daugliter is married, without our being told that she was a lady of great beauty, merit, and fortune.

Another remark, which is naturally suggested from several articles of these journals, is the great regard which the Romans paid to the superstitious ceremonies of a false and ridiculous religion. , Not a day passes, but some prodigy is observed, some sacrihce, or festival performed to implore the blessing of their deities upon the arms and councils of the state. Three men of the greatest quality in Rome, before they set out on an embassy of importance, go, in a solemn manner, accompanied by their families and friends, to beg the assistance and protection of the gods, as a necessary preparation for a long joumey and a weighty employ, ment. I shall only add, that if the Romans thought a strict practice of the religious rites transmitted to them, and made

venerable by the institution of their ancestors, absolutely necessary to the preservation of discipline and morality, how much more ought those, who live under a true and divine religion, which enjoins no precepts byt what are rational, no ceremonies but what are significant, to sbew a proper regard for it upon all occasions, at least never to discover by their lives and discourse, that they have lost all sense, not only of solid piety and virtue, but of common decency.

1740, Preface. * This incident seems obscure. Catiline's conspiracy was entirely quashed before this time, so that L. Sergius cannot mean him, as it otherwise might, for his name was Lucius Sergius Catiline; nor can the expression reliquiæ Con. juratorum' be applied to Catiline's commotion in Etruria, which was the opening of the plot, whereas the words in the Acta plainly iinply, that this was a renewal of it, by that part of the conspirators, who had escaped, or were yet undiscovered,

II. On the Catalogue of the Harleian Library.* To solicit a subscription for a catalogue of books exposed to sale, is an attempt for which some apology cannot but be necessary, for few would willingly contribute to the expense of volumes, by which neither instruction nor entertainment could be afforded, from which only the bookseller could expect advantage, and of which the only use must cease, at the dispersion of the library.

Nor could the reasonableness of an universal rejection of our proposal be denied, if this catalogue were to be compiled with no other view, than that of promoting the sale of the books which it enumerates, and drawn up with that inaccuracy and confusion which may be found in those that are daily published.

But our design, like our proposal, is uncommon, and to be prosecuted at a very uncommon expense, it being intended, that the books shall be distributed into their distinct classes, and every class ranged with some regard to the age of the writers; that every book shall be accurately described; that the peculiarities of editions shall be remarked, and observations from the authors of literary history occasionally interspersed, that, by this catalogue, we may inform posa terity of the excellence and value of this great collection, and promote the knowledge of scarce books and elegant editions. For this purpose, men of letters are engaged, who cannot even be supplied with amanuenses, but at an expense above that of a common catalogue,

To shew that this collection deserves a particular degree of regard from the learned and the studious, that it excels any library that was ever yet offered to public sale, in the value as well as number of the volumes which it contains, and that therefore this catalogue will not be of less use to men of letters, than those of the Thuanian, Heinsian, or Barberinian libraries, it may not be improper to exbibit a general account of the different classes as they are naturally divided by the several sciences.

By this method we can indeed exhibit only a general idea, at once magnificent and confused; an idea of the writings of many nations, collected from distant parts of the world, discovered sometimes by chance, and sometimes by curiosity, amidst the rubbish of forsaken monasteries, and the repositories of ancient families, and brought hither from every part, as to the universal receptacle of learning.

It will be no unpleasing effect of this account, if those {* By Dr. Samuel Johnson. It accompanied the proposals for printing by subscription the Bibliotheca Harlejauan E.]

« السابقةمتابعة »