As if conscious of these omens and problems, the mind of Rome, at the close of the Antonine age, sank into a cultural and spiritual fatigue. The practical disfranchisement of first the assemblies and then the Senate had removed the mental stimulus that comes from free political activity and a widespread sense of liberty and power. Since the prince had almost all authority, the citizens left him almost all responsibility. More and more of them, even in the aristocracy, retired into their families and their private affairs; citizens became atoms, and society began to fall to pieces internally precisely when unity seemed most complete. Disillusionment with democracy was followed by disillusionment with monarchy. The “Golden Thoughts” of Aurelius were often leaden thoughts, weighted down with the suspicion that Rome’s problems could not be solved, that the multiplying barbarians could not long be held back by a sterile and pacific breed. Stoicism, which had begun by preaching strength, was ending by preaching resignation. Almost all the philosophers had made their peace with religion. For 400 years Stoicism had been to the upper classes a substitute for religion; now the substitute was put aside, and the ruling orders turned back from the books of the philosophers to the altars of the gods. And yet paganism, too, was dying. Like Italy, it was flushed only with governmental aid and was nearing exhaustion. It had conquered philosophy; but already its temple precincts heard reverently the names of invading deities. The age was heavy with the resurrection of the provinces and the incredible victory of Christ.

BOOK IV: THE EMPIRE: 146 B.C.-A.D. 192

CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE

B.C.

1200: Goidelic Celts invade England 900: Brythonic and Belgic Celts invade England 350: Pytheas of Marseilles explores the North Sea 248: Arsacid Dynasty begins in Parthia 241-10: Sicily becomes a province

238: Sardinia and Corsica acquired 211-190: Arsaces II of Parthia

197: Spain acquired

170-38: Mithridates I of Parthia

168: Macedonia acquired

167: Illyricum

146: Achaea, “Africa,” Epirus

145-130: Ptolemy VII

135-105: John Hyrcanus, King of Judea 135-51: Poseidonius

133: Attalus III bequeaths Pergamum 124-88: Mithridates II of Parthia

121: Gallia Narbonensis

112-05: The Jugurthine War

110: Philo of Byzantium, physicist 104-78: Alexander Jannaeus, King of Judea 102: Cilicia; Pamphylia

88-4: First Mithridatic War

88: Massacre of Romans in Near East 83-1: Second Mithridatic War

78-69: Alexandra, Queen of Judea

76: Timomachus of Byzantium, painter 75-63: Third Mithridatic War

74: Bithynia

74-67: Cyrene and Crete

69-63: Aristobulus II, King of Judea 64: Syria

63: Pontus and Judea become Roman provinces 63-40: Hyrcanus II, King of Judea 58: Cyprus

58-50: Caesar conquers Gaul

55, 54: Caesar in Britain

50: Hero of Alexandria; Meleager of Gadara 46: Numidia

40: Parthians invade Syria

37-4: Herod the Great

30: Egypt

25: Galatia

25-4: Aelius Gallus’ expedition into Arabia Felix 17: Upper and Lower Germany acquired 15: Noricum; Raetia