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government might exist. It might be easy to rebuild temples, re-establish cults and ceremonies; it was harder to turn men's minds sincerely to belief, and quite as hard through laws to make them mend their ways:-Quid leges sine moribus ?
Augustus did his part. He built new temples, and restored those which were ruinous, he re-established and purified the worship of the gods.' He himself, as chief pontiff, scrupulously fulfilled the functions of his priestly office; and once, when a vestal virgin was needed, and the senate held back their daughters, he vowed he would devote one of his granddaughters were they old enough. A reform of manners was needed. Augustus was urged to bring it about by legislation; the senate pressed him, and zealously swore to conform. Then Augustus promulgated sumptuary laws, and laws severely punishing adultery as well as celibacy, and rewarding fruitful marriages. All had succeeded so far with him; even the Parthians, awed by his power, had returned the standards lost by Crassus; men looked for good result from his reforming legislation, and now, at the height of his prestige, he sought to set a religious seal upon it all, by celebrating the Secular Games in solemn prayer and thanksgiving to the mighty gods who had made Rome great and henceforth would preserve her in her greatness, a renovated state. Horace had produced noble odes, either directly warning the people to rebuild the temples of the gods and return to the virtues of the olden time,' or giving gleaming pictures of courage, fortitude, frugality, how they nobly advantaged their possessors.' Now he was directed to compose the Secular Hymn to be sung at the most solemn moment of the festival by a chorus of boys and girls, pure and chaste, of the noblest Roman families.
1 See generally Boissier, ib., livre i, ch. 1.
2 Carm., iii, vi; iii, xxiv.
3 Ib., iii, i-v; ii, xv.
4 This was B.C. 17. Virgil had died two years before.
Apollo and Diana, hear us, as we pray in this sacred time by the Sibyl's commands. Bountiful Sun, giver of the day, thou lookest upon nothing greater The Carmen than Rome. Ilithyia protect our mothers, rear our children, prosper our marriage laws, that in the circling years this festal song may again be sung. Ye Parcæ, true declarers of events, add good destinies to our accomplished lots. Hide thy dart, Apollo, and hear thy suppliant boys. Luna, hear thy maidens! If Rome is your work, and through you Æneas brought his country's remnant to Italy, ye gods grant virtue to the docile youth, peace to placid age, to the race of Romans prosperity, offspring, and honor. Grant the prayers of Venus' and Anchises' glorious descendant, mighty to the warring, gentle to the prostrate foe. The Medes, the Scythians, the Indians submit. Justice, peace, honor, ancient shame and courage have returned, and the full horn of plenty. May Phoebus extend our happy age into another and still better time. May Diana hear us. We carry home the hope, sure and good, that we are heard by Jove and all the gods."
The Hymn voiced the feeling of the Romans celebrating the solemn festival in power and peace. It prayed for objects which all desired, peace, plenty, offspring, purer morals, and a secure continuance of the state, with growing honor, in the coming years. But there was yet a crowning hope, directed toward a mortal who was more than mortal, who, with the office of a god, should bring universal happiness to his Empire, bring back, indeed, the return of blessed times, if such ever existed. Virgil and Horace both expressed it, the former in his larger way; the latter, writing some years afterwards, more definitely.
Magnus ab integro sæclorum nascitur ordo,
sings Virgil in his fourth Eclogue. A new order arises; Saturnian reign returns; a child is sent from heaven,
through whom shall end the Iron Age, and a golden race arise upon the earth. The poet describes the glorious course of this child in language fitting an imperial prince, but hardly a child of Pollio, in whose consulship the child was to be born. Then he tells of the earth's happy state, when the stag shall not fear the lion, when the serpent and the noxious herb shall perish, and every land bear all things unfurrowed by the plow:
O mihi tum longæ maneat pars ultima vitæ !
The beauty of this poem and the longing hope it carries of rest and blessedness have given rise to many thoughts. Whatever delusion there has been in these, the world was longing for peace and rest, hoping for it, since so many years of civil strife were past; and in Virgil's pure heart, these longings rose perhaps to the hope of a regeneration of mankind. The poet, later in his life, proclaimed that it was Cæsar Augustus, a god's son, who should found the golden ages again in Latium;' and though mankind remained sufficiently human to dash the realization of this hope, nevertheless the poet spake with true prophecy of Rome's charge,—pacisque imponere morem; for Rome was to give her world, with one sharp break, two centuries of peace.
Not in the inspired way of Virgil, and yet beautifully, Horace, three years after the Secular Games, reverts to this broad hope. Augustus had been quieting his Empire far from Rome; too long had he been absent: "O good leader, return to thy country, to gladden thy people. As a mother with vows and prayers calls for her far-absent son, his stricken country desires Cæsar." Then follows a picture of the good time which is already come. "The ox wanders safe in the fields, Ceres gives fruitfulness, ships fly over the safe sea, guile is no longer, homes are chaste, crime is crushed, no enemies from without are
1 Æn., vi, 792.
feared, men dwell in quiet and bless thee, praying that long mayest thou give festal seasons to Italy.'
Similar though more material hopes filled many minds, coming with the thought, now felt to be realized, of one secure world-empire, guarded by a more than The imperial chief. From the old times of Homer's Imperial Apotheosis. Zeus-born kings, it had never been a far course for pagan thought to deify its heroes. There were many precedents for the imperial apotheosis in the East, in Egypt, in Greece, in Rome itself,-precedents for holding great men divine; besides which, the way was made easy by the custom of ancestor worship. The senate had exhausted human honors with Julius Cæsar, and after his death a temple was decreed him. The thought of worshipping Augustus grew up throughout the Empire, gathering strength from the success and beneficence of his rule. The East first received permission to build temples to him jointly with the goddess Roma, and afterwards the western provinces established his cult. It penetrated Italy, all people desiring to worship that greatness through which they lived secure. While he lived, Augustus permitted no temple to be raised to him in Rome, but the people even there worshipped him privately.' Virgil had, in terms of bucolic gladness, recognized a god in Augustus, who had restored him to his fields and again permitted his flocks to wander, and himself to play upon the pipe; and perhaps more seriously did the words of the fifth Eclogue refer to Julius Cæsar:
Deus, deus ille, Menalca.
Sis bonus, o felixque tuis!
At the opening of the Georgics he invokes earnestly, if with some uncertainty, Cæsar Augustus as a god, and 1 Carm., iv, v.
2 See generally Boissier, ib., livre i, ch. 2. Some indeed reproached Augustus because "nihil deorum honoribus relictum, cum se templis et effigie numinum per flamines et sacerdotes coli vellet."-Tacitus, Annales, i, 10.
prays him to become accustomed to be called upon with vows. But the younger poet Horace, whose life extended. to the years when Augustus' position had clearer recognition, expresses more pointedly the imperial aspect of Augustus' deification. In the twelfth ode of the first book, the poet celebrates the gods of Rome, beginning with Father Jove, following with Pallas, Bacchus, and Phoebus Apollo. He then names the demi-gods, Hercules, and Leda's boys; then Rome's heroes,—Romulus, Numa, Cato, Regulus, Camillus, and Julius, whose star shines like the moon among the lesser fires. Then rises the invocation again to Jove, father and guardian of the human race, to whom by fate is given the care of great Cæsar (Augustus): "Thou rulest, Cæsar second to thee. Cæsar subdues all nations to his sway, Jove thunders above." These last verses ignore the other gods, and show Augustus as the counterpart on earth of Jupiter in heaven, a thought which is brought to sharper expression in one of the great political odes of the third book: Cælo tonantem credidimus Jovem Regnare; præsens divus habebitur Augustus.'
Augustus is called divus here, and in a still later ode Horace addresses him:
O tutela præsens
Italiæ dominæque Romæ,*
an expression which recognizes his divinity, for the word præsens, in its connection, signifies propitious, and is applicable only to a god. These lines breathe the feeling of imperial Rome guarded by one imperial chief, and they proclaim that this imperial chief, the head of Rome's religion, the special care of Rome's great gods, is himself divine.
Such was the ideal of the state, the public ideal, which 1 Carm., iii, v, 1−3. Ib., iv, xiv, 43.