The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Perso – Pertinax

211

PERTINAX.

with some additional matter by Duebner, 8vo. Lips. 1839, will be able without further aid to master the difficulties he may encounter.

The translations into different languages are, as might have been expected, very numerous. There are at least fourteen into English, upwards of twenty into French, a still greater number into German, and also several into Italian and various other European languages. Of those into English, that of Barten Holiday is the most quaint, that of Giiford is the most accurate, and affords the best representation of the manner of the original ; that of Dryden is incomparably the most spirited and poetical, but is often diffuse, and often far from being correct ; those of Brewster and Howes are very praiseworthy performances. Of the Ger­ man versions, those of Passow (8vo. Lips. 1809) and Donner (8vo. Stuttgard, 1822) enjoy con­ siderable reputation. [W. R.]

PERSO (Hepa-w), one of the Graeae. (Hygin. Fab. Praef. p. 9 ; Burmann. ad Ov. Met iv. 773 ; comp. graeae.) [L. S.]

PERTINAX, HE'LVIUS, was born, accord­ing to Dion Cassius, at Alba Pompeia, a Roman colony in Liguria on the west bank of the Tanaro, according to Capitolinus at a place called Villa Martis among the Apennines, on the first of Au­gust, a. d. 126. Plis father Helvius Successus was a libertinus of humble fortune, who followed the trade of a wood merchant and charcoal burner, and brought up his son to the same calling. The youth, however, appears to have soon aban­doned this career ; and the various steps by which he gradually ascended to the highest offices of state, until at last he mounted the throne itself, " deserve well," as Gibbon has observed, " to ,be set down as expressive of the form of government and man­ners of the age." 1. Having received a good elementary education he became a teacher of gram­mar, but finding this occupation little profitable, 2. he sought and obtained the post of a centurion through the interest of his father's patron, Lollius Avitus. ' 3. He was next a praefectus cohortis, served in this capacity in Syria, gained great re­nown in the Parthian war, and was then transferred to Britain. 4. He commanded an ala of cavalry in Moesia. 5. He was at the head of the com­missariat on the line of the Aemilian Way. 6. He was admiral of the German fleet. 7. lie was collector of the imperial revenues in Dacia, but was dismissed from this employment in consequence of incurring the suspicions of M. Aurelius, who had listened to the misrepresentations of his enemies. 8. Having found a protector in Claudius Pompei-anus, the husband of Lucilla, he became commander of a vexillum attached t& a legion. 9. Having discharged this duty with credit he was admitted into the senate. 10. M/Aurelius now discovered the falseness of the charges which had been pre­ferred against him, and in order to make amends for the injury inflicted, raised him to the rank of praetor, and gave him the command of the first legion, at the head of which he drove out of Rhaetia and Noricum the barbarians who were threatening to overrun Italy. This inroad, which is called by Dion (Ixxi. 3) the invasion of the Kelts from beyond the Rhine, took place some time after a. d. i?2. The imperial legates were Pompeianus and Pertinax. 11. As a reward for his achievements he was declared consul elect, and is marked in the Fasti as having held that office, although absent ,

PERTINAX.

from Rome, along with M. Didius Julianus in a. d. 179. The accuracy of this date has, however, been called in question. (See notes on Dion Cass. Ixxi. 19.) 12. Being now held in high esteem by the em­peror, who on many occasions commended him pub­licly in the presence of the soldiers and in the senate, after the revolt of Cassius had been suppressed, he proceeded from Syria to guard the frontiers of the Danube, and was appointed to the command of both the Moesias and of Dacia in succession. 13. He was made governor of Syria where he remained, performing the functions of his office with great uprightness until the death of Aurelius. 14. He took his seat in the senate for the first time soon after the accession of Commodus, being one of the guardians or counsellors to whose care the new prince had been consigned by his father, and is one of those enumerated by Dion (Ixxii. 4 ; comp. Herod, ii. 1, 10) as having escaped the destruction entailed by this dangerous distinction ; but in con­sequence of exciting the jealousy of Perennis [PE-rennis] was ordered to retire to his native pro­vince. 15. After the death of Perennis, Commodus earnestly requested him by letter to assume the command in Britain, where he suppressed a mutiny among the legionaries at the peril of his life. 16. Recalled from Britain at his own desire in conse­quence of the bad feeling entertained towards him by the soldiers, by whom he had been wounded and left for dead in the tumult ; he was appointed chief of the commissariat at Rome. 17. He was proconsul of Africa. 18. Lastly, he was praefectus urbi and was consul for the second time in a. d,

192. on the last day of which Commodus was slain; Pertinax, according to Capitolinus and Ju­lian, who upon this point are contradicted by He-rodian, being privy to the plot.

As soon as the tyrant was dead, before the news had been spread abroad, Laetus the praefect of the praetorium, and Eclectus the imperial chamberlain, hastened to offer the throne to Pertinax, and having with difficulty (Aurel. Vict. Epit. xviii. 1 ) succeeded in vanquishing his scruples, immediately hurried him in secret to the camp. An announce­ment was made to the soldiers that Commodus had died of apoplexy, upon which Pertinax delivered an oration, declaring that the supreme power had been forced upon his acceptance, and concluded by promising a liberal donative. Upon this he was slowly and reluctantly hailed as imperator by a few, the rest maintaining a sullen silence. While it was yet night he appeared before the senate, who greeted him with hearty good will; the fol­lowing morning, being the 1st of January, a. d.

193. he was received with equal cordiality by the magistrates and the populace, took up his abode in the Palatium, and was invested with all the honours and titles appertaining to his station, in addition to which, in order to conciliate the citizens, he as­sumed the ancient constitutional designation of princeps senatus. From the very commencement of his reign he manifested a determination to introduce extensive reforms, not only in the ex­penditure and internal arrangements of the palace, but in all departments of the government, more especially in all matters connected with the army, and to restore, if possible, that strictness of disci­pline by which the glory and dominion of Rome had been won. But with rash enthusiasm he resolved to do that at once which could only be accomplished effectually by slow degrees, and raised

p 2

Pages
About | First

209

210

211
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.