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T'asso, analian poetry ius (TiTuanuvium
ever, in his own country, in August 1755. During his residence at Paris he published an Italian, French, and Latin, and Latin, French, and Italian dictionary, 2 vols. 4to, 1735, often reprinted, and esteemed the best until that of Alberti appeared; an Italian grammar; a treatise on French pronunciation; some good editions of Ariosto, Tasso, and other Italian authors; and an excellent collection of Italian poetry, 1729, 2 vols, 12mo.'
ANTONINUS PIUS (TITUS AURELIUS Fulvius Boio. NUS ANTONINUS), was born at Lanuvium in Italy (of parents originally of Nismes) in the eighty-sixth year of the Christian era. He was first made procónsul of Asia, then governor of Italy, and consul in the year 120, and displayed the same virtues in these employments as he did afterwards on the imperial throne: he was mild, prudent, moderate, and just. In the year 138 he succeeded the emperor Adrian, who had adopted him, and the first step of his government was to release a number of persons whom his predecessor had condemned to die. The senate, charmed with such a commencement of authority, decreed him the title of Pius, and ordered that statues should be erected to his honour, These he appears to have amply merited. He set about diminishing the taxes, and preventing the litigious and oppressive exaction of them; and bestowed much of his private fortune in charity. Such conduct made his name as much respected abroad as at home. Several nations sent embassies to him, and others besought his counsel in the appointment of their sovereigns: even kings came to pay homage to his exalted virtues. This must have been highly gratifying to him, as his object was to render his name respected by cultivating the gentler arts of peace, rather than by extending his dominions by war. Rome, accordingly, and her provinces, never enjoyed such days of honour and tranquillity as under his reign. Besides redressing the wrongs, and alleviating the calamities which happened to fall upon any part of his dominions, he displayed his taste by the erection of several noble and useful public edifices. In short, in every respect of public or private character, he is celebrated as one of the greatest and best characters in ancient times. Whatever is amiable, generous, and magnanimous, has been ascribed to him; but what ought to endear his memory even to the present day, was his conduct towards the Christians.
1 Biog. Universeller-Memoirs of Literature, vol. XII. p. 116.
In his days the enemies of the Christians had no preten. . sions to support persecution but the grossest misrepresentations. These were probably offered to Antoninus as they had been to other sovereigns. To repel them Justin Martyr presented his “ Apology” to Antoninus about the third year of his reign, in 140, and not in vain. Antoninus was a man of sense and humanity, and open to conviction. Asia Proper was still the scene of Christianity and of persecution, and thence the application was made to Antoninus, and earthquakes had then happened, with which the Pagans were much terrified, and ascribed them to the vengeance of heaven against the Christians. This will explain some circumstances in the edict sent by our emperor to the council of Asia, which is one of the most remarkable productions of pagan wisdom, and evinces an uncommon spirit of liberality. No apology, we trust, can be requisite for its insertion in this place.
66 The Emperor to the Council of Asia. I am quite of opinion, that the Gods will take care to discover such persons. For it much more concerns them to punish those who refuse to worship them than you, if they be able. But you harass and vex the Christians, and accuse them of atheism and other crimes, which you can by no means prove. To them it appears advantageous to die for their religion, and they gain their point, while they throw away their lives, rather than comply with your injunctions. As to the earthquakes, which have happened in past times, or lately, is it not proper to remind you of your own despondency, when they happen; and to desire you to compare your spirit with theirs, and observe how serenely they confide in God? In such seasons you seem to be ignorant of the gods, and to neglect their worship; you live in the practical ignorance of the supreme God himself, and you harass and persecute to death those who do worship him. Concerning these sanie men some others of the provincial governors wrote to our divine father Adrian, to whom he returned answer, “That 'they should not be molested, unless they appeared to attempt something against the Roman government. Many also have signified to me concerning these men, to whom I have returned an answer agreeable to the maxims of my father. But if any person will still persist in accusing the Christians merely as such
let the accused be acquitted, though he appear to be a Christian; and let the accuser be punished.”
Eusebius informs us, that this was no empty edict, but was really put in execution. Nor did Antoninus content himself with one edict. He wrote to the same purpose to the Larisseans, the Thessalonians, the Athenians, and all the Greeks. It may be therefore concluded that the Christians enjoyed complete toleration during his reign, which lasted twenty-three years. He died March 7, 161, aged seventy-three. His death was a public calamity, and his memory was honoured by every testimony of public gratitude. For a century afterwards, all the Roman emperors assumed the name of Antoninus, from its popularity. Many curious particulars of his private and public life may be seen in the authors referred to in the note.?
ANTONINUS PHILOSOPHUS (MARCUS AURELIUS), the Roman emperor, was born at Rome, April 26, in the year 121. When he was adopted by his grandfather by the father's side, he received his name, M. Annius Verus; and Adrian the emperor, instead of Verus, used to call him Verissimus, on account of his rectitude and veracity. When he was adopted by Antoninus Pius, he assumed the name of M. Ælius Aurelius Verus, because Aurelius was the name of Antoninus's family, and Ælius that of Adrian's, into which he entered. When he became emperor, he left the name of Verus to Lucius Commodus, his adopted brother, and took that of Antoninus, under which he is generally known in history. But he is distinguished from his predecessor Titus Antoninus, either by the name of Marcus, or by the name of Philosophus, which is given him by the general consent of writers, although we do not find this title to have been conferred by any public act or authority of the senate. Adrian, upon the death of Cejonius Commodus, turned his eyes upon Marcus Aurelius; but as he was not then eighteen years of age, and consequently too young for so important a station, he fixed upon Antoninus Pius, whom he adopted, on condition that he should likewise adopt Marcus Aurelius. The year after this adoption Adrian appointed him quæstor, though he had not yet attained the age prescribed by the laws. After the death of Adrian, Aurelius married Faustina, the daughter of Antoninus Pius, by whom he had several children. In the year 139 he was invested with new honours by the emperor Pius, and behaved in such a manner as endeared him to that prince and the whole people.
1 Gen. Dict.-Universal Hist.-Eusebius's Hist. Eccl. lib. IV, cap. 13.--Masheiin.--Milner's Church History, vol. I. p. 206. Lardner's Works, vol. VII. where there is an excellent defence of the authenticity of the above edict.
Upon the death of Pius, which happened in the year 161, he was obliged by the senate to take upon him the government, in the management of which he took Lucius Verus as his colleague. Dion Cassius says, that the reason of doing this was, that he might have leisure to pursue his studies, and on account of his ill state of health; Lucius being of a strong vigorous constitution, and consequently more fit for the fatigues of war. The same day he took upon him the name of Antoninus, which he gave likewise to Verus his colleague, and betrothed his daughter Lucilla to him. The two emperors went afterwards to the camp, where, after having performed the funeral rites of Pius, they pronounced each of them a panegyric to his memory. They discharged the government in a very amicable manner. But the happiness which the empire began to enjoy under the two brothers, was interrupted in the year 162, by a dreadful inundation of the river Tiber, which destroyed a prodigious number of cattle, and occasioned a famine at Rome. This calamity was followed by the Parthian war, and at the same time the Catti ravaged Germany and Rhætia; and an insurrection was apprehended from the Britons, against whom Calphurnius Agricola was sent, and Aufidius Victorinus against the Catti. But it was thought proper that Lucius Verus should go in person to oppose the Parthians, while Antoninus continued at Rome, where his presence was necessary. During this war with the Parthians about the year 163 or 164 he sent his daughter Lucilla to Verus, having before promised her to him in marriage, and attended her as far as Brundusium, resolving to have conducted her to Syria, if it had not been objected to him by some persons, that his design of going into the east was to claim the honour of having finished the Parthian war; upon which he immediately returned to Rome. The Romans having gained a victory over the Parthians, who were obliged to abandon Mesopotamia, the two emperors triumphed over them at Rome in the year 166, and were honoured with the title of fathers of their country. But this year was fatal on account of a terrible pestilence which spread itself over the whole world, and a famine, under which Rome laboured. The Marcomanni, and many other people of Germany, likewise took up arms against the Ro. mans; but the two emperors having marched in person against them, obliged the Germans to sue for peace. The war, however, was renewed the year following, and the two emperors marched again in person; but Lucius Verus was seized with an apoplectic fit, and died at Altinum.
In the year 170 Antoninus made vast preparations against the Germans, and carried on the war with great vigour, During this war, in the year 174, a very extraordinary event is said to have happened, which, according to Dion Cassius, was as follows: Antoninus's army being blocked up by the Quadi in a very disadvantageous place, where there was no possibility of procuring water; and in this situation, being worn out with fatigue and wounds, oppressed with heat and thirst, and incapable of retiring or engaging the enemy, instantly the sky was covered with clouds, and there fell a vast quantity of rain. The Roman army were about to quench their thirst, when the enemy came upon them with such fury, that they must certainly have been defeated, had it not been for a shower of hail, accompanied with a storm of thunder and lightning, which fell upon the enemy, without the least annoyance to the Romans, who by this means gained the victory*. In the year 175 Antoninus made a treaty with several nations of Germany. Soon after, Avidius Cassius, governor of Syria, revolted from the emperor : this insurrection, however, was suppressed by the death of Cassius, who was killed by a cen. turion named Anthony. Antoninus behaved with great lenity towards those who had been engaged for Cassius; he would not put to death, nor imprison, nor even sit in judgment himself upon any of the senators engaged in this revolt; but he referred them to the senate, fixing a day for their appearance, as if it had been only a civil affair. He
* The Pagans as well as Christians, legion; and, as a mark of distinction, according to M. Tillemont, p. 621, art. we are told that they received the title xvi. have acknowledged the truth of of the Thundering Legion from Antonia this prodigy, but have greatly differed nus. (Euseb. Eccles. Hist. lib. v. cap. as to the cause of such miraculous 5.) Mr. Moyle, in the second volume event, the former ascribing it, some of his works, has endeavoured to exto one magician, and some to another: plode this story of the Thundering Le. In Antoninus's Pillar, the glory is as- gion, which occasioned Mr. Whiston to cribed to Jupiter the god of rain and publish an answer in 1726, entitled, thunder. But the Christians affirmed, c Of the Thundering Legion}" or, of that God granted this favour at the the miraculous Deliverance of Marcus prayer of the Christian soldiers in the Antoninus and his Army, upon the Roman army, who are said to have Prayers of the Christians. composed the twelfth, or the Melitene