**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


by [?]

* * * * *

It was the proud boast of Augustus that he found Rome a place of brick and left it a city of marble. Commercial prosperity buys the leisure upon which letters flourish. We flout the businessman, but without him there would be no poets. Poets write for the people who have time to read. And out of the surplus that is left after securing food, we buy books. Augustus built his marble city, and he also made Vergil, Horace, Ovid and Livy possible.

Augustus reigned forty-four years, and it was in the twenty-seventh year of his reign that there was born in Bethlehem of Judaea a Babe who was to revolutionize the calendar. The Dean of Ely subtly puts forth the suggestive thought that if it had not been for Augustus we might never have heard of Jesus. It was Augustus who made Jerusalem a Roman Province; and it was the economic and political policy of Augustus that evolved the Scribes and Pharisees; and ill-gotten gains made the hypocrites and publicans possible; then comes Pontius Pilate with his receding chin.

Jesus was seventeen years old when Augustus died–Augustus never heard of him, and the Roman’s unprophetic mind sent no searchlight into the future, neither did his eyes behold the Star in the East.

We are all making and shaping history, and how much, none of us knows, any more than did Augustus.

Julius Caesar had no son to take his place, so he named his nephew, Augustus, his heir. Augustus was succeeded by Tiberius, his adopted child. Caligula, successor of Tiberius, was the son of the great Roman General, Germanicus. Caligula revealed his good sense by drinking life to its lees in a reign of four years, dying without heirs–Nature refusing to transmit either infamy or genius. Claudius, an uncle of Caligula, accepted the vacant place, as it seemed to him there was no one else could fill it so well. Claudius had the felicity to be married four times, and left several sons, but Fate had it that he should be followed by Nero, his stepson, who called himself “Caesar,” yet in whose veins there leaped not a single Caesarean corpuscle.

The guardian and tutor of Nero was Lucius Seneca, the greatest, best and wisest man of his time, a fact I here state in order to show the vanity of pedagogics. Harking back once more to Augustus, let it be known that but for him Seneca would probably have never left his mark upon this bank and shoal of time. Seneca was a Spaniard, born in Cordova, a Roman Province, that was made so by Augustus, under whose kindly and placating influence all citizens of Hispania became Roman citizens–just as, when California was admitted to the Union, every man in the State was declared a naturalized citizen of the United States, the act being performed for political purposes, based on the precedents of Augustus, and never done before nor since in America.

Seneca was four years old when his father’s family moved from Cordova to Rome; this was three years before the birth of Christ. Years pass, but the human heart is forever the same. The elder Seneca, Marcus Seneca, had ambitions–he was a great man in Cordova: he could memorize a list of two thousand words. These words had no relationship one to another, and Marcus Seneca could not put words together so as to make good sense, but his name was “Loisette”: he had a scheme of mnemonics that he imparted for a consideration. He was also a teacher of elocution, and had compiled a yearbook of the sayings of Horace, which secured him a knighthood. Augustus paid his colonists pretty compliments, very much as England gives out brevets to Strathcona and other worthy Canadians, who raise troops of horse to fight England’s battles in South Africa when duty calls.