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buried by the ashes. Pliny, an eminent writer, was

suffocated while observing the eruption. 81 – Titus died, to the great grief and loss of mankind, and

was succeeded by his brother, Domitian, who was one of the most infamous rulers that ever desolated the earth. He raised a violent persecution against the Christians for refusing to adore his statues and worship him as a god. Among the victims was his own

cousin, Clemens, who had embraced Christianity. He 96 — was assassinated by his wife and officers in self-defense,

and the senate proclaimed Nerva, a native of Crete, emperor. He was remarkable for his lenity and all the

gentle virtues. He was followed, after a reign of two 98 — years, by Trajan, whom he had adopted as his colleague

and successor, who is said to have been the greatest and most deserving person of his time. He was, by birth, a Spaniard, was wise and successful as a warrior and statesman, and extremely noble as a man.

He bridged the Danube and the Euphrates rivers and conquered both the Germans and Parthians on the north and east of the empire. A stain on his memory was the perse

cution of the Christians. 117 — He was succeeded by Adrian, in whose reign all the

Roman laws, or annual edicts of the prætors, were compiled into one body, and law assumed the dignity of a science. He promoted literature, but continued

the persecution of the Christians. A rebellion of the 139 — Jews was punished with merciless severity. He was

followed by Antoninus Pins, who suspended all persecution of Christians, promoted the best interests of all parts of the empire, and introduced, during a prosperous reign of twenty-two years, the most important

reforms into every part of the government. 261 — Marcus Aurelius, called the Philosopher, succeeded,

He carried on a successful war with the Germans, and made the welfare of his subjects his special care, but


was seduced, by the pagan philosophers, into a perse. cution of the Christians. Having discovered his error

he stopped it, toward the close of his reign. Com180 — modus, his son, inherited the purple. He also inher

ited a vicious and cruel disposition, and received a demoralizing education from his mother. He was a

monster of vice and cruelty. He was assassinated in 192— his bed by his own family and guards to save their

lives. Pertinax reigned three months, but, attempting to restrain the license of the soldiery, he was murdered by them. The soldiers in Rome then proclaimed that the empire was for sale, and a rich merchant, Didius,

bought it from them and reigned in Rome two months, 193 — when he was also slain by the army. Septimus Sev- .

erus, au able general, seized the purple which he secured against many rivals, and retained for eighteen years. His vigor alone prevented general anarchy, but

he was systematically cruel. 211 — Caracalla, his son, succeeded. He was a bloody and

atrocious tyrant, supported on the throne only by his

soldiers, whose aid he secured by large pay. He was 217 — murdered by the commander of his guards, Macrinus,

who succeeded in acquiring his place, but was soon 218 — murdered by the soldiers. They raised Heliogabalus,

a young Syrian priest of fourteen years of age, through the assurance of his female relatives that he was the son of Caracalla, to the purple. He is described as the

most cruel and infamous of all the Roman emperors. 222 – After four years of horrible crime, he was slain in a

mutiny of his guard and his body thrown into the Tiber. Alexander Severus, succeeded. He was appa

rently a secret admirer of Christianity and a model 235 – prince. He was murdered by Maximin, a Thracian

peasant, who had, by his valor, risen to high command in the army, who seized the reins of power. He was successful in war, but his severity provoked mutiny in 238 — various parts of the empire, and he was slain by his

own soldiers. Gordian succeeded, a heroic youth of a

noble family. He was successful in war, but was mur244 — dered by his own prime minister, Philip, an Arabian,

who became emperor. He favored the Christians, and reigned five years. In his reign, the thousandth year

of the foundation of Rome was celebrated by public 249 — games. He was slain in a revolt by Decius, the general

of his army, who occupied the throne. He raised a most violent storm of persecution against the Christians, who were despoiled of their goods and driven to

caves and deserts. From this time is dated the sect of 250 — anchorites, or hermits, who imagined they could acquire

superior holiness by abandoning society and devoting themselves to meditation and prayer. The idea appears to have been derived from the Persian Magians, who, in this century restored the ancient dynasty and religion of the Persians, or Parsees, in Persia. During the political and social disorganization that soon commenced the anchorites became numerous, and the system was extensively prevalent for a thousand years to the great

injury of active and true Christianity. 251 – Decius was slain in a battle with the Goths, who had

invaded the empire, and Gallus became emperor. 253 — He was put to death by Emilianus, who attempted to

seize the reins of government, but the army elected Valerian, governor of Gaul. The empire was invaded by the Goths on the north and the Persians under their

king, Sapor, on the east. From this time, it had to 259 — fight for its life. Valerian was defeated by Sapor and

remained nine years in captivity, Gallienus, his son, becoming emperor. He was extremely incompetent and a multitude of rival claimants for the supreme authority arose in all directions. They were called the “Thirty Tyrants.” One of them, Odenatus, king of Palmyra, in the Syrian desert, defeated Sapor, and

Gallienus proclaimed him his colleague. On the death of Odenatus, his wife, Zenobia, assumed the title of “Queen of the East,” conquered Egypt and ruled a

wide region with success and splendor. Both Goths 262 - and Persians invaded Asia Minor. Gallienus was mur

dered and Claudius succeeded. He defeated the Goths 270 but died in a pestilence. Aurelian succeeded. He

was an able general. He subdued the Germans and 272 Goths, and conquered Zenobia, one of the most remark275 — able women of history. Aurelian was assassinated by

some victims of his severity, and Tacitus, a Roman senator succeeded, but died in seven months, and was followed by Probus. He was a vigorous general, and drove back the barbarians on all sides, but attempting

to employ his soldiers in labor on public works, they 282 — revolted and murdered him. Carus, the captain of the 283 — imperial guard, was raised to the throne. Dying the

next year, his sons, Carinus and Numerianus, inherited

his authority, but Numerianus was assassinated in a 284 - few months by his father-in-law, and Diocletian, said

to have been formerly a slave, was proclaimed emperor by the army. This was called “The Era of the Martyrs," from the long and bloody persecutions against the Christians. This was the tenth general attack on them, and proved to be the last. The barbarians pressing in great force on all sides, Diocletian appointed several colleagues, and their united ability drove the invaders

back. 305 — Diocletian resigned his power to Galerius, who appointed

three associates, making a division of the empire. One

of these, Constantius, died in Britain, and was suc306 - ceeded by his son, Constantine. For a time, there were

six emperors, but one was killed, Galerius died, and

Constantine conquered the others. 312 - Constantine changed the whole character of the empire

by embracing Christianity and relying largely on that

eleinent for the support of his power, while he disbanded the Pretorian, or royal Guard, which had for two hundred years assumed to make and unmake emperors, and whose example, imitated by the other armies, kept the world periodically disturbed by the disputes and battles

of rival claimants to the imperial purple. By the 313 — edict of Milan, Constantine abolished all laws unfriendly

to Christianity; he restored the authority of the senate and magistrates, and removed his capital from Rome to

Constantinople. 324 — The pagan element was now so worn and decrepid that

no general disorders resulted. Whatever was left ral-
lied under Licinus, who was conquered by Constantine.
It appears to have been the strength of the Christian
element and its essential hostility to the Roman prin-
ciple of violent subjugation that produced so many and
fierce persecutions. Had it not been for the pressure
of barbarians on the empire the prevalence of that sys-
tem would have preserved society and the state for a
thousand years more, as it actually did in the Eastern
empire; but every thing that man has the management
of must be affected by his limitations, his mistakes and
his follies. Christianity needed a better ally, a fresher
and purer society, built up by the young blood and bet-
ter instincts of another and newer people.
Constantine paid great respect to the clergy of the
church and took a leading part in its general counsels

-- a great mistake and a great misfortune. 325 -- His spiritual supremacy was virtually acknowledged at

the council of Nice which he convoked. 330 - Constantine died leaving his vast dominions to his three

sons, who, in the course of ten years, were reduced to one, Constantius.

After a troubled reign of twenty 361 — vears more, he died, and was succeeded by his cousin

Julian, called the “ Apostate," from his renouncing
Christianity and laboring to restore the pagan religion.

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