Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 447 pages of information about Tacitus.

The ruse was detected, but it could not be unmasked.  That was part 86 of the courtier’s policy.[459] Thus they proceeded to Lugdunum.  From there Domitian is supposed to have sent messengers to Cerialis to test his loyalty, and to ask whether the general would transfer his army and his allegiance to him, should he present himself in person.  Whether Domitian’s idea was to plan war against his father or to acquire support against his brother, cannot be decided, for Cerialis parried his proposal with a salutary snub and treated it as a boy’s day-dream.  Realizing that older men despised his youth, Domitian gave up even those functions of government which he had hitherto performed.  Aping bashfulness and simple tastes, he hid his feelings under a cloak of impenetrable reserve, professing literary tastes and a passion for poetry.  Thus he concealed his real self and withdrew from all rivalry with his brother, whose gentler and altogether different nature he perversely misconstrued.


    [448] Cp. ii. 59.

    [449] During June and July before the Etesian winds (cp. ii. 98)
          began to blow from the north-west.

    [450] Circa A.D. 108.

    [451] Meaning ‘king’s son’, and therefore portending sovereignty.

    [452] i.e.  Ptolemy Soter, who founded the dynasty of the
          Lagidae, and reigned 306-283 B.C.

    [453] They inherited the priesthood of Demeter at Eleusis and
          supplied the hierophants who conducted the mysteries.

    [454] i.e. the sovereign god of the underworld.

    [455] It is evident from these words that the worship of
          Serapis was ancient in Egypt.  It seems to be suggested that
          the arrival of this statue from Pontus did not originate but
          invigorated the cult of Serapis.  Pluto, Dis, Serapis, are all
          names for a god of the underworld.  Jupiter seems added vaguely
          to give more power to the title.  We cannot expect accurate
          theology from an amateur antiquarian.

    [456] Ptolemy Euergetes, 247-222 B.C.

    [457] According to Eustathius there was a Mount Sinopium near
          Memphis.  This suggests an origin for the title Sinopitis,
          applied to Serapis, and a cause for the invention of the
          romantic story about Sinope in Pontus.

    [458] Cp. chap. 68.

    [459] i.e.  Mucianus was too cunning to give Domitian any
          excuse for declaring his suspicions.



Project Gutenberg
Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook