Moesia and even from Asia. In the end, and not including the Thracian cavalry of King Rhoemetalces, a force of 15 legions with an equal number of auxiliaries was employed. Even so the task of putting down the insurrection was difficult enough, and it was not until late in the summer of A.D. 9, after three years of fighting, that Germanicus, who had been sent to assist Tiberius, ended the war by the capture of Andetrium in Dalmatia.
Five days later the news reached Rome of the disaster to Varus and his legions, in the heart of what was to have been the new province of Germany beyond the Rhine. The disaster was avowedly due entirely to Varus’s incapacity and vanity, and might no doubt have been repaired by leaders of the calibre of Tiberius and Germanicus. Augustus, however, was now seventy-two, the Dalmatian outbreak had severely tried his nerve, and now for the second time in three years the fates seemed to pronounce clearly against a further prosecution of his long-cherished scheme of a Roman Germany reaching to the Elbe.
All that was immediately necessary was done. Recruiting was pressed forward in Rome, and first Tiberius and then Germanicus were despatched to the Rhine. But the German leaders were too prudent to risk defeat, and the Roman generals devoted their attention mainly to strengthening the line of the Rhine.
The defeat of Varus, and the tacit abandonment of the plans of expansion begun twenty-five years before, are almost the last events of importance in the long principate of Augustus. The last five years of his life (A.D. 10–14) were untroubled by war or disaster. Augustus was ageing fast, and was more and more disinclined to appear personally in the senate or in public. Yet in A.D. 13 he consented, reluctantly we are told, to yet one more renewal of his imperium for ten years, stipulating, however, that his step-son Tiberius, himself now over fifty, should be associated with himself on equal terms in the administration of the empire. Early in the same year (January 16, A.D. 13) the last triumph of his principate was celebrated. Tiberius was now in Rome, the command on the Rhine having been given to Germanicus, who went out to it immediately after his consulship (A.D. 12), and the time had come to celebrate the Dalmatian and Pannonian triumph, which the defeat of Varus had postponed. Augustus witnessed the triumphal procession, and Tiberius, as it turned from the Forum to ascend the Capitol, halted, descended from his triumphal car, and did reverence to his adopted father.
One last public appearance Augustus made in Rome. During A.D. 13 he and Tiberius conducted a census of Roman citizens, the third taken by his orders; the first having been in 28 B.C. at the very outset of his rule. The business of the census lasted over into the next year, but on the 11th of May, A.D. 14, before a great crowd in the Campus Martius, Augustus took part in the solemn concluding ceremony of burying away out of sight the old age and inaugurating the new. The ceremony had been full of significance in 28 b.c., and now more than forty years later it was given a pathetic interest by Augustus himself. When the tablets containing the vows to be offered for the welfare of the state during the next lustrum were handed to him, he left the duty of reciting them to Tiberius, saying that he would not take vows which he was never destined to perform.
It was apparently at the end of June or early in July that Augustus left Rome on his last journey. Travelling by road to Astura (Torre Astura) at the southern point of the little bay of Antium, he sailed thence to Capri and to Naples. On his way at Puteoli, the passengers and crew of a ship just come from Alexandria cheered the old man by their spontaneous homage, declaring, as they poured libations, that to him they owed life, safe passage on the seas, freedom and fortune.
At Naples, in spite of increasing disease, he bravely sat out a gymnastic contest held in his honour, and then accompanied Tiberius as far as Beneventum on his way to Brundusium and Illyricum. On his return he was forced by illness to stop at Nola, his father’s old home. Tiberius was hastily recalled and had a last confidential talk on affairs of state. Thenceforward, says Suetonius, he gave no more thought to such great affairs. He bade farewell to his friends, inquired after the health of Drusus’s daughter who was ill, and then quietly expired in the arms of the wife who for more than fifty years had been his most intimate and trusted guide and counsellor, and to whom his last words were an exhortation to “live mindful of our wedded life.” He died on the 19th of August, A.D. 14, in the same room in which his father had died before him, and on the anniversary of his entrance upon his first consulship fifty-seven years before (43 B.C.). The corpse was carried to Rome in slow procession along the Appian Way. On the day of the funeral it was borne to the Campus Martius on the shoulders of senators and there burnt. The ashes were reverently collected by Livia, and placed in the mausoleum by the Tiber which her husband had built for himself and his family. The last act was the formal decree of the senate by which Augustus, like his father Julius before him, was added to the number of the gods recognized by the Roman state.
If we except writers like Voltaire who could see in Augustus only the man who had destroyed the old republic and extinguished political liberty, the verdict of posterity on Augustus has varied just in proportion as his critics have fixed their attention, mainly, on the means by which he rose to power, or the use which he made of the power when acquired. The lines of argument followed respectively by friendly and hostile contemporaries immediately after his death (Tac. Ann. i. 9, 10) have been followed by later writers with little change. But of late years, our increasing mistrust of the current gossip about him, and our increased knowledge of the magnitude of what he actually accomplished, have conspicuously influenced the judgments passed upon him. We allow the faults and crimes of his early manhood, his cruelties and deceptions, his readiness to sacrifice everything that came between him and the end he had in view. On the other hand, a careful study of what he achieved between the years 38 B.C., when he married Livia, and his death in A.D. 14, is now held to give him a claim to rank, not merely as an astute and successful intriguer, or an accomplished political actor, but as one of the world’s great men, a statesman who conceived and carried through a scheme of political reconstruction which kept the empire together, secured peace and tranquillity, and preserved civilization for more than two centuries.
AUGUSTUS I. (1526–1586), elector of Saxony, was the younger son of Henry, duke of Saxony, and consequently belonged to the Albertine branch of the Wettin family. Born at Freiberg on the 31st of July 1526, and brought up as a Lutheran, he received a good education and studied at the university of Leipzig. When Duke Henry died in 1541 he decreed that his lands should be divided equally between his two sons, but as his bequest was contrary to law, it was not carried out, and the dukedom passed almost intact to his elder son, Maurice. Augustus, however, remained on friendly terms with his brother, and to further his policy spent some time at the court of the German king, Ferdinand I., in Vienna. In 1544 Maurice secured the appointment of his brother as administrator of the bishopric of Merseburg; but Augustus was very extravagant and was soon compelled to return to the Saxon court at Dresden. Augustus supported his brother during the war of the league of Schmalkalden, and in the policy which culminated in the transfer of the Saxon electorate from John Frederick I., the head of the Ernestine branch of the Wettin