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Claudius, Chapter 25: Administration of justice (cont.)
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His military organization of the equestrian order was this. After having the command of a cohort, they were promoted to a wing of auxiliary horse, and subsequently received the commission of tribune of a legion. He [Note 1] raised a body of militia, who were called Supernumeraries, who, though they were a sort of soldiers, and kept in reserve, yet received pay. He procured an act of the senate to prohibit all soldiers from attending senators at their houses, in the way of respect and compliment. He confiscated the estates of all freedmen who presumed to take upon themselves the equestrian rank. Such of them as were ungrateful to their patrons, and were complained of by them, he reduced to their former condition of slavery; and declared to their advocates, that he would always give judgment against the freedmen, in any suit at law which the masters might happen to have with them. Some persons having exposed their sick slaves in a languishing condition, on the island of Aesculapius, because of the tediousness of their cure; he declared all who were so exposed perfectly free, never more to return, if they should recover, to their former servitude; and that if any one chose to kill at once, rather than expose, a slave, he should be liable for murder. He published a proclamation, forbidding all travelers to pass through the towns of Italy any otherwise than on foot, or in a litter or chair. He quartered a cohort of soldiers at Puteoli, and another at Ostia, to be in readiness against any accidents from fire. He prohibited foreigners from adopting Roman names, especially those which belonged to families. Those who falsely pretended to the citizenship, he beheaded on the Esquiline. He gave up to the senate the provinces of Achaia and Macedonia, which Tiberius had transferred to his own administration. He deprived the Lycians of their liberties, as a punishment for their fatal dissensions; but restored to the Rhodians their freedom, upon their repenting of their former misdemeanors. He exonerated for ever the people of Troy from the payment of taxes, as being the founders of the Roman race; reciting upon the occasion a letter in Greek, from the senate and people of Rome to king Seleucus, in which they promised him their friendship and alliance, provided that he would grant their kinsmen the Trojans immunity from all burdens.|
He banished from Rome all the Jews, who were continually making disturbances at the instigation of one Chrestus. He allowed the ambassadors of the Germans to sit at the public spectacles in the seats assigned to the senators, being induced to grant them favours by their frank and honourable conduct. For, having been seated in the rows of benches which were common to the people, on observing the Parthian and Armenian ambassadors sitting among the senators, they took upon themselves to cross over into the same seats, as being, they said, no way inferior to the others, in point either of merit or rank.
The religious rites of the Druids, solemnized with such horrid cruelties, which had only been forbidden the citizens of Rome during the reign of Augustus, he utterly abolished among the Gauls. On the other hand, he attempted to transfer the Eleusinian mysteries from Attica to Rome. He likewise ordered the temple of Venus Erycina in Sicily, which was old and in a ruinous condition, to be repaired at the expense of the Roman people. He concluded treaties with foreign princes in the forum, with the sacrifice of a sow, and the form of words used by the heralds in former times. But in these and other things, and indeed the greater part of his administration, he was directed not so much by his own judgment, as by the influence of his wives and freedmen; for the most part acting in conformity to what their interests or fancies dictated.
Note 1: he = Claudius
|Equestris militias ita ordinavit, ut post cohortem alam, post alam tribunatum legionis daret; stipendiaque instituit et imaginariae militiae genus, quod vocatur "supra numerum," quo absentes et titulo tenus fungerentur. Milites domus senatorias salutandi causa ingredi etiam patrum decreto prohibuit. Libertinos, qui se pro equitibus R. agerent, publicavit, ingratos et de quibus patroni quererentur revocavit in seruitutem advocatisque eorum negavit se adversus libertos ipsorum ius dicturum. Cum quidam aegra et adfecta mancipia in insulam Aesculapi taedio medendi exponerent, omnes qui exponerentur liberos esse sanxit, nec redire in dicionem domini, si conualuissent; quod si quis necare quem mallet quam exponere, caedis crimine teneri. Viatores ne per Italiae oppida nisi aut pedibus aut sella aut lectica transirent, monuit edicto. Puteolis et Ostiae singulas cohortes ad arcendos incendiorum casus collocavit. Peregrinae condicionis homines vetuit usurpare Romana nomina dum taxat gentilicia. Civitatem R. usurpantes in campo Esquilino securi percussit. provincias Achaiam et Macedoniam, quas Tiberius ad curam suam transtulerat, senatui reddidit. Lyciis ob exitiabiles inter se discordias libertatem ademit, Rhodiis ob paenitentiam veterum delictorum reddidit. Iliensibus quasi Romanae gentis auctoribus tributa in perpetuum remisit recitata vetere epistula Graeca senatus populique R. Seleuco regi amicitiam et societatem ita demum pollicentis, si consanguineos suos Ilienses ab omni onere immunes praestitisset. Iudaeos impulsore Chresto assidue tumultuantis Roma expulit. Germanorum legatis in orchestra sedere permisit, simplicitate eorum et fiducia commotus, quod in popularia deducti, cum animaduertissent Parthos et Armenios sedentis in senatu, ad eadem loca sponte transierant, nihilo deteriorem virtutem aut condicionem suam praedicantes. Druidarum religionem apud Gallos dirae immanitatis et tantum civibus sub Augusto interdictam penitus abolevit; contra sacra Eleusinia etiam transferre ex Attica Romam conatus est, templumque in Sicilia Veneris Erycinae vetustate conlapsum ut ex aerario pop. R. reficeretur, auctor fuit. Cum regibus foedus in foro icit porca caesa ac vetere fetialium praefatione adhibita. Sed et haec et cetera totumque adeo ex parte magna principatum non tam suo quam uxorum libertorumque arbitrio administravit, talis ubique plerumque, qualem esse eum aut expediret illis aut liberet.|