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On this page: Didius Gallus – Didius Scaeva – Dido

1006

DIDIUS.

shouted that he would give twenty-five thousand. The guards thereupon closed with the offers of Julianus, threw open their gates, saluted him by the name of Commodus, and proclaimed him em­peror. The senate was compelled to ratify the election. But the populace, after the first confu­sion had subsided, did not tamely submit to the dishonour brought upon the state. Whenever the prince appeared in public he was saluted with groans, imprecations, and shouts of " robber and parricide." The mob endeavoured to obstruct his progress to the Capitol, and even ventured to assail him with stones. This state of public feeling having become known, Pescennius Niger in Syria, Septimius Severus in Illyria, and Clodius Albinus in Britain, each having three legions under his command, refused to acknowledge the authority of Julianus, who for a time made vigorous efforts to maintain his power. Severus, the nearest and therefore most dangerous foe, was declared a pub­lic enemy; deputies were sent from the senate to persuade the soldiers to abandon him; a new general was nominated to supersede him, and a centurion despatched to take his life. The prae­torians, long strangers to active military operations, were marched into the Campus Martins, regularly drilled, and exercised in the construction of fortifi­cations and field works. Severus, however, hav­ing secured Albinus by declaring him Caesar, ad­vanced steadily towards the city, made himself master of the fleet at Ravenna, defeated Tullius Crispinus, the praetorian praeiect, who had been sent forward to arrest his progress, and gained over to his party the ambassadors commissioned to seduce his troops. On the other hand, the prae­torians, destitute of discipline, and sunk in de­bauchery and sloth, were alike incapable of offer­ing any effectual resistance to an invader, and indisposed to submit to restraint. Matters being in this desperate state, Julianus now attempted negotiation, and offered to share the empire with his rival. But Severus turned a deaf ear to these overtures, and still pressed forwards, all Italy de­claring for him as he advanced. At last the prae­torians, having received assurances that they should suffer no punishment, provided they would give up the actual murderers pf Pertinax and offer no resistance, suddenly seized upon the ringleaders of the late conspiracy, and reported what they had done to Silius Messala, the consul, by whom the senate was hastily summoned and informed of these proceedings. Forthwith a formal decree was passed proclaiming Severus emperor, awarding divine honours to Pertinax, and denouncing death to Julianus, who, deserted by all except one of his praefects and his son-in-law, Repentinus, was slain in the palace by a common soldier in the 61st year of his age and the third month of his reign.

Niebuhr, in his lectures on Roman history pub­lished by Dr. Schmitz, treats the common account that, after the death of Pertinax, the praetorians offered the imperial dignity for sale to the highest bidder, as a sad exaggeration or misrepresentation, and declares, that he is unable to believe that Sul-picianus and Julianus bid against one another, as at an auction. With all respect for his opinion, no event in ancient history rests upon surer evi­dence. Setting aside the testimony of Herodian, Capitolinus, and Spartianus, we have given the narrative of that strange exhibition almost in the

BiDO.

words of Dion Cassius, who was not only in Rome at the period in question, but actually attended the meeting of the senate held on the very night when the bargain was concluded. We cannot suppose that he was ignorant of the real facts of the case. We cannot imagine any motive which could induce him to fabricate a circumstantial and improbable falsehood. (DionCass.lxxiii.il—17; Spartian. Did. Julian.; Capitolin. Pertin., sub fin., ii. 6. § 9, 7. § 4; Eutrop. viii. 9; Victor, Caes. xix.; Zosim. i. 7.) [W. R.]

DIDIUS GALLUS. [gallus.]

DIDIUS SCAEVA. [scaeva.]

DIDO (AicJoiJ), also called Elissa, which is pro­bably her more genuine name in the eastern tradi­tions, was a Phoenician princess, and the reputed founder of Carthage. The substance of her story is given by Justin (xviii. 4, &c.), which has been embellished and variously modified by other writ­ers, especially by Virgil, who has used the story very freely, to suit the purposes of his poem. (See especially books i. and iv.) We give the story as related by Justin, and refer to the other writers where they present any differences. After the death of the Tyrian king, Mutgo (comp. Jo­seph, c. Apion. i. 18, where he is called Matgenus ; Serv. adA.cn. i. 343, 642, who calls him Methres ; others again call him Belus or Agenor), the people gave the government to his son, Pygmalion; and his daughter Dido or Elissa married her uncle, Acerbas (Virg. Aen. i. 343, calls him Sichaeus, and Servius, on this passage, Sicharbas), a priest of Heracles, which was the highest office in the state next to that of king. Acerbas possessed ex­traordinary treasures, which he kept secret, but a report of them reached Pygmalion, and led him to murder his uncle. (Comp. Virg. Aen. i. 349, &c., where Sichaeus is murdered at an altar; whereas J. Malalas, p. 162, &c., ed. Bonn, and Eustath. ad Dionys. Pericg. 195, represent the murder as hav­ing taken place during a journey, or during the chase.) Hereupon, Dido, who according to Virgil and others was informed of her husband's murder in a dream, pretended that, in order to forget her grief, she would in future live with her brother Pygmalion, while in secret she made all prepara­tions for quitting her country. The servants whom Pygmalion sent to assist her in the change of her residence were gained over by her, and having further induced some noble Tyrians, who were dissatisfied with Pygmalion's rule, to join her, she secretly sailed away in search of a new home. The party first landed in the island of Cyprus, where their number was increased by a priest of Zeus, who joined them with his wife and children, and by their carrying off by force eighty maidens to provide the emigrants with wives. In the mean time, Pygmalion, who had heard of the flight of Dido, prepared to set out in pursuit of her; but he was prevented by the entreaties of his mother and by the threats of the gods (Serv. ad Aen. i. 363, gives a different account of the escape of Dido); and she thus safely landed in a bay on the coast of Africa. Here she purchased (according to Serv. ad Aen. i. 367, and Eustath. I. c., of king Hiarbas) as much land as might be covered with the hide of a bull $ but she ordered the hide to be cut up into the thinnest possible stripes, and with them she sur­rounded a great extent of country, which she called Byrsa, from fivptfa, i. e. the hide of a bull. (Comp. Virg. Aen< i. 367; Servius, adloc. and ad iv. 670 j

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