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of Christianity to the Flavian dynasty, its public notoriety at Pompeii-and why should Pompeii be deemed exceptional ?*all characterising the period of Domitian,† and the evidence furnished by the Pauline Epistles, it seems hardly open to doubt that in Nero's time the number of Christians in Rome must have been large, and, as they were not yet driven by persecution to concealment, their existence a notorious fact. Of course the fact of the imperial household furnishing recruits to the faith would bring Christianity under Nero's notice whenever he had a purpose to serve by noticing it.
It is a curious question whether Tacitus's vilification of the Christians was not a contributory cause to the scarcity of his works; so that we only possess them, and that very incompletely, in forms dependent ultimately on two archetypes.‡ The destruction of his monument at Terni, by Pope Paul V., 'as that of an enemy of Christianity,' shows the light in which he was regarded. The obscurities of his peculiar style, which had not, and probably could not have, any imitators, would no doubt concur; and Church writers who affected superior Latinity would certainly not look to him as a model. If he thus acquired, as seems not unlikely, the character of one who calumniated the early martyrs in bad Latin-the oldest and, in spite of his obscurity, the ablest advocatus diaboli-we ought perhaps rather to wonder that so much of him has been preserved. He would not commend himself by either peculiarity to the librarians of the Western monasteries, and has had, in fact, a narrow escape of oblivion.
* For brethren found at Puteoli by St. Paul, see Acts xxviii. 13, 14. † It should be noticed that the facts above referred to throw their light backward, and imply a growth of at least a quarter of a century in the Christian community at Rome. There, too, until the attention of the Government was pointedly turned upon them, the Christians would, at this period, be safest, owing to the confluence and toleration of all foreign religions in the capital. We see from the Acts of the Apostles that their molestation in Gentile centres was due to Jewish enmity. Accordingly, as the influence of Poppea was greatest about this time, and she is believed to have favoured the Jews, she may possibly have suggested Nero's atrocities against the Christians, as shown by Mr. Furneaux, ii. App. ii. p. 574. How an apparently small number of brethren ' can be inferred from Acts xxviii. 15 (ib. p. 575) is not easy to see. But from Ep. Rom. i. 8 foll. it seems unlikely that that number was inconsiderable, especially as, from the tenor of the Epistle, it clearly included both Jewish and heathen converts.
‡‘Annals' i.-vi. depend solely on the first Medicean; 'Annals' xi.-xvi. and the 'Histories,' in MSS. of various groups on the second Medicean: see Furneaux, vol. i. Introd. p. 5, ii. Introd. p. 4, Spooner, Introd. p. 2.
The term 'Annals' has no real authority as a title. The books so called were originally known as those 'Ab excessu 'Divi Augusti,' i.e. they took their title from their point of departure. The earlier Historiæ,' planned as they are on the years with which they deal,* might just as well have been termed Annals' as the others. Both series of books are unhappily defective.
The Histories' are merely a considerable and continuous fragment; but, if entire, would carry us to the end of Domitian's principate. The three sections with which Hist.' i. opens have a distinct character, and abound in those marks of style and syntax to which, as far more copiously stamping the Annals' than the other works, Mr. Furneaux, as already noticed, has devoted his introduction, chap. v. It seems to us that these sections, written thus in his later manner, were added by the historian when the work was completed, perhaps even after the Annals' were begun, and joined by the single word ceterum to the first sentence of the body of the work. That sentence § is so remote from that later manner that it might almost have been written by Livy. The opening sections exhibit the writer's personal standpoint, and express the fact that he had reserved for his old age (senectuti seposui) the completion of the Histories,' to include Nerva and Trajan. This must be allowed to suit exactly the case of one who was either meditating or had commenced a work like the Annals,' to intercept the completion of the 'Histories.'
As the historian sometimes scatters his events about the Roman world to preserve the unity of time, so the editor of the Histories' vindicates the unity of place by going seriatim through the provinces of the empire and showing the parts ' which they played in the events of the year' 69 A.D. Thus between them the unities of the historical drama are preserved, the editor being largely but honourably indebted to Mommsen. It seems ungracious to ask, after so much pains taken, Is the game worth the candle?' It has the ill effect of discouraging the student from all personal
*This is plain from the fact that at 'Hist.' v. 14 the narrative of Civilis's revolt is resumed from iv. 79, the events at Alexandria and those of the Judæan war, because they fell in the same year, being interposed. See especially the phrase, 'ejusdem anni principio,' with which Book v. commences. Thus we are transported in iv. 80-v. 13 to Egypt and the East, and thence back to the West and the Rhine, local continuity giving place to sequence of time, as in Thucydides.
research into his author, and for students we presume the edition is intended. The very act of thus locally digesting the historical material, when made by his own effort, becomes a valuable mental discipline to the tiro in Tacitus. To find the whole done for him converts it into a mere load upon the memory. There is a further section on the characters of Galba, Otho, and Vitellius. They are not collectively worth the ten closely printed pages they occupy, and any corrections of Tacitus's estimate of them might be told in three.
In Mr. Spooner's Introduction, sect. vii., the story of the revolt of Civilis is given with painstaking fidelity, but we want the relief of prominence thrown upon the dominant events and situations, rather than a flat silhouette of every incident. Of course it is difficult to exemplify how this should be done without virtually rewriting a large portion of the essay. But the editor omits to notice that the rising was probably much more nearly successful than Tacitus suggests, and was compromised rather than crushed. Triumphati magis quam victi' is the verdict of Tacitus himself on the German tribes (Germania,' 37), and this seems to exemplify it. The narrative breaks off in the Histories' (v. 26) with Civilis's speech half spoken. But any substântial Roman success would probably have been indicated in the Germania,' published apparently while the writer was engaged on the Histories.' In it the Batavi, Civilis's tribesmen, who were the backbone of his effort against Rome, are not only respectfully mentioned, but signally extolled. Nay, the verdict above cited stands in a context clearly referring, although in general terms, to that effort, as shown by the phrase, etiam Gallias affectavere.'
The movement was bound to fail, as Mr. Spooner shows, and the reasons for this, with the lessons learned by Roman policy from the attempt, form the most valuable portions of his essay. It was, as he also shows, a premonitory shock of the grand upheaval of the north-western nations, which it required yet nearly four centuries to mature and concentrate upon the empire. But in 69 A.D. Germany was not yet ripe, and Rome was not yet rotten.
The reason why Tacitus will ever, by a large class of sympathetic readers, be placed facile princeps among historians is not far to seek. His grand elevation of moral dignity has never been surpassed. He has no relish for the ridiculous side of absurdity, but ever gravely unfolds its unreason, and writes like a man who had never enjoyed a hearty laugh.
Of all the pasquinades in which the cultured high-life of Rome avenged itself on its imperial tormentors, he has preserved not one; although possibly some of its bitterer sarcasms may have served to point the deeply mordent comments which ever and anon clinch the intervals of his narrative. Of all the ancient historians preserved to us, he had the fullest imaginative power and the most profound moral consciousness. In these characteristics Tertullian-apart from his Christianity-most nearly of ancient writers resembles him. But Tacitus never loses his temper, as Tertullian frequently does, and never accompanies the thunder of judgement with the hailstorm of vituperation. His is 'a landscape on which the sun never shines;' but his gloom is always a calm, and by its very calmness the more intense. His word-pictures remind us of the legend of the Pilatus mountain, which, as it darkens with mist, throws out on that sombre background the phantom of the spectral suicide. His virtue has the pungency, but also the robustness, of persecuted righteousness,—
Per damna, per cædes, ab ipso
Ducit opes animumque ferro
and makes us feel perpetually the 'sava et infesta virtutibus tempora,' which threw a blight on his earlier life.
But we fail to find in Tacitus the austere impartiality which is superior to the bias of personal feelings strongly enlisted. His patriotic sympathies forbad him to state the unvarnished tale of Roman losses in defeat against a foreign and barbarian enemy. His account of the Jews, their religion and their origin, betrays prejudice steeped in ignorance-an ignorance founded on disdain of inquiry. You would never gather from his narrative that the eminently readable works of Josephus, in spite of their enjoying the patronage of Titus, had for him any existence, or that to consult any Jewish authority in respect of that unique people was a suitable homage to historical truth. Contempt seems with him not merely to have excluded research, but to have quenched even curiosity. And if this was so with the historically most curious race which ever crossed Rome's march of empire, and whose death-struggle must have filled some of the most profoundly interesting of his perished pages, how much more so with the struggling sect of Christians, whom he probably regarded as bred from the decaying refuse of that Jewish nation!
ART. V.-1. Da G. D'ANNUNZIO :-Terra Vergine. Roma: 1883. San Pantaleone. Firenze: 1886. Il Piacere. Milano: 1889.
2. Da G. VERGA:-I Malavoglia. Vita dei Campi. Novelle Rusticane. Primavera. Milano: 1881. Per le Vie. Milano: 1883.
3. Da Signora SERAO:-Storia della Fanciulla. Milano: 1886. Vita e Avventure di Riccardo Joanna. Milano: 1887. All'Erta Sentinella. Milano: 1889. Addio Amore. Napoli: 1890. Il Paese di Cucagna. Milano: 1891. Fantasia. Torino: 1892. Ediz. 3a.
4. Da A. DE NINO:-Usi e Costumi Abruzzesi. 5 vols. Fi renze: 1891.
5. Da S. FARINA :-Il Signor Io. Torino: 1882. Amore ha Cent' Occhi. Milano: 1885. Mio Figlio. Milano: 1885. 6. Da DE AMICIS:-Bozzetti Militari. Firenze: 1869. Alle Porte d'Italia. Milano: 1888. Il Romanzo d'un Maestro. Milano: 1892. Ediz. 12a. Cuore. Milano: 1893. Ediz. 146a.
7. Da A. FOGAZZARO: Malombra. Milano: 1886. Fedele. Milano: 1887. Il Mistero del Poeta. Milano: 1888. Daniele Cortis. Torino: 1891.
HE time is past when students of Italian can complain of a dearth of novels and light literature. A long list of authors lies before us, some of whose works have been translated into various languages and whose names are well known out of Italy. A large and brilliant contingentSignor D'Annunzio, Signor Verga, Signora Serao, Signor Salvatore Di Giacomo, Signor Capuana, Signor De Nino, Signor Farina-come from Southern Italy and the islands where still linger so many traces of the fine and subtle Greek intellect. Unfortunately many of these writers have a passion for dwelling on morbid and unwholesome themes, on moral and physical putrefaction-a taste which appears to have impregnated the literature and the art of the present day in Italy.
Incomparably the greatest stylist of the modern Italian school is Signor Gabriele D'Annunzio, a native of the Abruzzi, but educated in Tuscany, and already favourably known in France as a poet. His tales and sketches of peasant life glow with local colour. Terra Vergine,' written, we believe, whilst Signor D'Annunzio was still in his teens,