23 DOMITIAN next received the imperial dignity, the younger brother of Titus, but more like Nero, or Caligula, or Tiberius, than his father or brother. In the commencement however of his reign he used his power with moderation; but, soon proceeding to the greatest excesses of licentiousness, rage, cruelty, and avarice, he provoked such universal detestation, that he effaced the remembrance of his father's and his brother's merits. He put to death the most distinguished of the senate. He was the first that required to be addressed as Lord and God; and he suffered no statue to be erected to him in the Capitol except of gold or silver. He put his own cousins to death. His pride also was execrable.
He made four expeditions, one against the Sarmatians, another against the Catti, and two against the Dacians. On account of the Dacians and the Catti he celebrated a double triumph; for the Sarmatians, he assumed only the laurel. He suffered many disasters however in these wars, for in Sarmatia one of his legions was cut off together with its captain, and by the Dacians Oppius Sabinus, a person of consular dignity, and Cornelius Fuscus, the prefect of the praetorian cohort, were slain, with numerous armies. At Rome he also erected several public buildings, among which were the Capitol, the Forum Transitorium, the Odeum, the Porticus Divorum, the temples of Isis and Serapis, and the Stadium.
But, becoming universally odious on account of his crimes, he was put to death by a conspiracy of his own servants within the palace, in the forty-fifth year of his age, and the fifteenth of his reign. His corpse was carried out with extreme insult by common bearers, and buried ignominiously.
1 Caesaris nepos.] Grand nephew. Attia, the mother of Octavianus, was the daughter of Julia, Julius Caesar's sister. Thus Julius Caesar was great uncle to Octavianus.Glareanus.
2 Drusi privigni Augusti, et ipsius Tiberii nepos.] Either something is wanting in the text, as Madame Dacier observes, or nepos is used in a double sense, for a grandson and grand-nephew; for Drusus, the grandfather of Caligula, was the brother of Tiberius. I have translated nepos in this double sense.
3 Consecratus est.] This word seems properly to signify "was made au object of worship."
4 Duo nobilissima oppida.] Three are named, as Grunerus observes, by Tacitus, Annal. XIV. Camelodunum, c. 31, and Londinium and Verulamium, c. 33. Suetonius, however, Nero, c. 39, and Orosius, vii. 7, say two. Camelodunum is said by Camden to be Malden in Essex; Verulamium was near St. Alban's.
5 Furca capiti ejus inserta.] Thus these words are uniformly written in all the manuscripts and editions that I have seen. But what furcam capiti inserere means, I confess that I do not understand, unless that it be possible to explain it by hypallage. Barthius ad Briton. (Philipp. 6, 572) p. 458, judiciously proposes to read furcae capite inserto, a correction also made by Oudendorpius in the margin of his copy. Suetonius, Nero, c. 49, has cervicem inseri furcae.Verheyk. Tzschucke fancies that it may be explained by hypallage, for capite furcae inserto, and therefore makes no alteration. I have given what is evidently the sense.
6 Privata ejus vita.] Privata vita is opposed to imperium, as in c. 19; for under the emperors, even from the time of Augustus, it had become customary to call all privati except the emperor himself, even such as held the highest offices of state. See Jani ad Hor. Od. iii. 8, 26. So I)DIW/THS is opposed to BASILEU\S in Zosimus, ii. 7.Tzsckucke.
7 Privata vita.] See note on c. 16.
8 Duas validissimas gentes.] The Greek translator thinks that the Britons and Germans are meant. Vespasian is said to have recovered Britain, by Tacitus, Agric. c. 17. What other nation is intended is not clear.