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NIHIL NOVUM SUB SOLE

1001 deeds, sayings, curiosities and anecdotes of the ancient world

Urbi et orbi: the city ruling an Empire (II)

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The Roman citizen, in his self-assertion and self-satisfaction, confuses the "orbis terrarum" with the "orbis romanus". There are also innumerable texts and facts that claim to establish in the citizens this idea: that the world, at least interesting, is Roman.

It is that, for example, we can see in Cicero, Rhetorica Ad Herennium, 4,9,13:

Our discourse will belong to the Middle type if, as I have said above,'' we have somewhat relaxed our style, and yet have not escended to the most ordinary prose, as follows :

Men of the jury, you see against whom we are waging war — against allies wlio have been wont to light in our defence, and together with us to preserve our empire by their valour and zeal. Not only must they have known themselves, their resources, and their manpower, but their nearness to us and their alliance with us in all affairs enabled them no less to learn and appraise the power of the Roman people in every sphere. When they had resolved to fight against us, on what, I ask you, did they rely in presuming to undertake the war, since they understood that much the greater part of our allies remained faithful to duty, and since they saw that they had at hand no great supply of soldiers, no competent commanders, and no public money — in short, none of the things needful for carrying on the war ? Even if they were waging war with neighbours on a question of boundaries, even if in their opinion one battle would decide the contest, they would yet come to the task in every way better prepared and equipped than they are now. It is still less credible that with such meagre forces they would attempt to usurp that sovereignty over the whole world which all the civilized peoples, kings, and barbarous nations have accepted, in part compelled by force, in part of their own will, when conquered either by the arms of Rome or by her generosity. Some one will ask :  What of the Fregellans ? Did they not make the attempt on their own initiative ? ' Yes, but these allies would be less ready to make the attempt precisely because they saw how the Fregellans fared." For inexperienced peoples, unable to find in history a precedent for every circumstance, are through imprudence easily led into error; whilst those who know what has befallen others can easily from the fortunes of these others draw profit for their own policies.'' Have they, then, in taking up arms, been impelled by no motive ? Have they relied on no hope ? Who will believe that any one has been so mad as to dare, with no forces to depend on, to challenge the sovereignty of the Roman people ? They must, therefore, have had some motive, and what else can this be but what I say ? "  (Translated by Harry Caplan)

In mediocri figura versabitur oratio, si haec, ut ante dixi, aliquantum demiserimus neque tamen ad infimum descenderimus, sic:

«Quibuscum bellum gerimus, iudices, videtis: cum sociis, qui pro nobis pugnare et imperium nostrum nobiscum simul virtute et industria conservare soliti sunt. Ii cum se et opes suas et copiam necessario norunt, tum vero nihilominus propter propinquitatem et omnium rerum societatem, quid omnibus rebus populus Romanus posset, scire <et> existimare poterant. Ii, cum deliberassent nobiscum bellum gerere, quaeso, quae res erat, qua freti bellum suscipere conarentur, cum multo maximam partem sociorum in officio manere intellegerent? Cum sibi non multitudinem militum, non idoneos imperatores, non pecuniam publicam praesto esse viderent? Non denique ullam rem, quae res pertinet ad bellum administrandum? Si cum finitumis de finibus bellum gererent, si totum certamen in uno proelio positum putarent, tamen omnibus rebus instructiores et apparatiores venirent; nedum illi imperium orbis terrae, cui imperio omnes gentes, reges, nationes partim vi, partim voluntate consenserunt, cum aut armis aut liberalitate a populo Romano superati essent, ad se transferre tantulis viribus conarentur. Quaeret aliquis: Quid? Fregellani non sua sponte conati sunt? Eo quidem isti minus facile conarentur, quod illi quemadmodum discessent videbant. Nam rerum inperiti, qui unius cuiusque rei de rebus ante gestis exempla petere non possunt, ii per inprudentiam facillime deducuntur in fraudem: at ii, qui sciunt, quid aliis acciderit, facile ex aliorum eventis suis rationibus possunt providere. Nulla igitur re inducti, nulla spe freti arma sustulerunt? Quis hoc credet, tantam amentiam quemquam tenuisse, ut imperium populi Romani temptare auderet nullis copiis fretus? Ergo aliquid fuisse necessum est. Quid aliud, nisi id, quod dico, potest esse?»

This is that Ovid says on several occasions. Thus in Fasti, 1, 75 et seq. about the celebrations of January 1 to the god Janus:

Behold how Aether glows with sacred fire,
Where incense and odorous nard aspire ;
How lambent flames all tremulously rolled
Up to thy dome, reflect from burnished gold.
Lo! the procession mounts Tarpeia's height;
The garb and festival are sacred white ;
New fasces lead the way ; in purple dye
New consuls in the chairs of ivory.
The unyoked steers, from the Faliscan plain, 
Proffer their necks consentant to be slain ;
And Jupiter from heaven gazing round
Begardeth nothing else, but Boman ground.
Salve, auspicious morn! for ever aye
Return to Romans an auspicious day. 
Jane biformis, what shall I call thee ?
Greece, has no corresponding deity.
Propound the cause, why of Celestials one
May see behind his back the deed that's done,
And at the same time view events before. 

(By Jonh Benson Rose. 1866)

cernis odoratis ut luceat ignibus aether,              
     et sonet accensis spica Cilissa focis?
flamma nitore suo templorum verberat aurum,
     et tremulum summa spargit in aede iubar.
vestibus intactis Tarpeias itur in arces,
     et populus festo concolor ipse suo est,              
iamque novi praeeunt fasces, nova purpura fulget,
     et nova conspicuum pondera sentit ebur.
colla rudes operum praebent ferienda iuvenci,
     quos aluit campis herba Falisca suis.
Iuppiter arce sua totum cum spectet in orbem,              
     nil nisi Romanum quod tueatur habet.
salve, laeta dies, meliorque revertere semper,
     a populo rerum digna potente coli.
Quem tamen esse deum te dicam, Iane biformis?
     nam tibi par nullum Graecia numen habet.              
ede simul causam, cur de caelestibus unus
     sitque quod a tergo sitque quod ante vides.

And then, a little later:

The Orbs is Urbs Romana, and our home.

Romanae spatium est Urbis et orbis idem.

Fasti 2, 667 y ss.

What happened when the Capitol was built ?
When all the gods, yielding to Jove, withdrew,
Save Terminus, the ancients tell us, who
Now shares that fane with Jove : therefore its roof
Is pierced that he may see the stars aloof.
Since then, Termine, thou art not free 
To chop and change about in levity :
Where thou art placed remain, lest so it prove
Thou giv'st to man what thou deny'st to Jove.
If plough or harrow hurtle thee, cry out, 
" This land is mine ; friend, mind what you're about."
There is a road on the Laurentian plain
That marked the limits of the Dardan reign ;
The sixth stone from the city marks the way,
And there a sheep to Terminus we slay.
All nations have their termini, save Rome : 
The Orbs is Urbs Romana, and our home.

(By Jonh Benson Rose. 1866)

quid, nova cum fierent Capitolia? nempe deorum
     cuncta Iovi cessit turba locumque dedit;
Terminus, ut veteres memorant, inventus in aede
     restitit et magno cum Iove templa tenet.              
nunc quoque, se supra ne quid nisi sidera cernat,
     exiguum templi tecta foramen habent.
Termine, post illud levitas tibi libera non est:
     qua positus fueris in statione, mane;
nec tu vicino quicquam concede roganti,              
     ne videare hominem praeposuisse Iovi:
et seu vomeribus seu tu pulsabere rastris,
     clamato "tuus est hic ager, ille tuus".'
est via quae populum Laurentes ducit in agros,
     quondam Dardanio regna petita duci:              
illa lanigeri pecoris tibi, Termine, fibris
     sacra videt fieri sextus ab Urbe lapis.
gentibus est aliis tellus data limite certo:
     Romanae spatium est Urbis et orbis idem.

Pompey's triumphs from the East to the West confirm to the Romans  they are the masters of the world. Plutarch presents us the triple triumphal parade of Pompey, in which the whole empire, all the land that he had conquered, participates.

Plutarch, Pompey 45:

His triumph had such a magnitude that, although it was distributed over two days, still the time would not suffice, but much of what had been prepared could not find a place in the spectacle, enough to dignify and adorn another triumphal procession. Inscriptions borne in advance of the procession indicated the nations over which he triumphed.  These were: Pontus, Armenia, Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, Media, Colchis, Iberia, Albania, Syria, Cilicia, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia and Palestine, Judaea, Arabia, and all the power of the pirates by sea and land which had been overthrown. Among these peoples no less than a thousand strongholds had been captured, according to the inscriptions, and cities not much under nine hundred in number, besides eight hundred piratical ships, while thirty-nine cities had been founded.  In addition to all this the inscriptions set forth that whereas the public revenues from taxes had been fifty million drachmas, they were receiving from the additions which Pompey had made to the city's power eighty-five million, and that he was bringing into the public treasury in coined money and vessels of gold and silver twenty thousand talents, apart from the money which had been given to his soldiers, of whom the one whose share was the smallest had received fifteen hundred drachmas.  The captives led in triumph, besides the chief pirates, were the son of Tigranes the Armenian with his wife and daughter, Zosime, a wife of King Tigranes himself, Aristobulus, king of the Jews, a sister and five children of Mithridates, Scythian women, and hostages given by the Iberians, by the Albanians, and by the king of Commagene; there were also very many trophies, equal in number to all the battles in which Pompey had been victorious either in person or in the persons of his lieutenants.  But that which most enhanced his glory and had never been the lot of any Roman before, was that he celebrated his third triumph over the third continent. For others before him had celebrated three triumphs; but he celebrated his first over Libya, his second over Europe, and this his last over Asia, so that he seemed in a way to have included the whole world in his three triumphs. (Translated by by Bernadotte Perrin)

We also have information on the deeds of Pompey in Diodorus Siculus 40, 4

This is a copy of the inscription that Pompeius set up, recording his achievements in Asia.
Pompeius Magnus, son of Gnaeus, imperator, freed the coasts of the world and all the islands within the Ocean from the attacks of pirates. He rescued from siege the kingdom of Ariobarzanes, Galatia and the territories and provinces beyond there, Asia and Bithynia. He protected Paphlagonia, Pontus, Armenia and Achaïa, also Iberia, Colchis, Mesopotamia, Sophene and Gordyene. He subjugated Dareius king of the Medes, Artoles king of the Iberians, Aristobulus king of the Jews, and Aretas king of the Nabataean Arabs, also Syria next to Cilicia, Judaea, Arabia, the province of Cyrenaica, the Achaei, Iozygi, Soani and Heniochi, and the other tribes that inhabit the coast between Colchis and Lake Maeotis, together with the kings of these tribes, nine in number, and all the nations that dwell between the Pontic Sea and the Red Sea. He extended the borders of the empire up to the borders of the world. He maintained the revenues of the Romans, and in some cases he increased them. He removed the statues and other images of the gods, and all the other treasure of the enemies, and dedicated to the goddess {Minerva} 12,060 pieces of gold and 307 talents of silve
r. (Translation by by Francis R. Walton)

Perhaps he is Pliny the most exaggerated to remind us of the success of Pompey throughout the Roman world:

"The most glorious, however, of all glories, resulting from these exploits, was, as he himself says, in the speech which he made in public relative to his previous career, that Asia, which he received as the boundary of the empire, he left its centre".

Let's extend this quote

Naturalis Historia:  7, 95 et seq. (26) (27) et seq.

But now, as it belongs fully as much to the glorious renown of the Roman Empire, as to the victorious career of a single individual, I shall proceed on this occasion to make mention of all the triumphs and titles of Pompeius Magnus: the splendour of his exploits having equalled not only that of those of Alexander the Great, but even of Hercules, and perhaps of Father Liber even. After having recovered Sicily, where he first commenced his career as a partizan of Sylla, but in behalf of the republic, after having conquered the whole of Africa, and reduced it to subjection, and after having received for his share of the spoil the title of " Great," he was decreed the honours of a triumph; and he, though only of equestrian rank, a thing that had never occurred before, re-entered the city in the triumphal chariot: immediately after which, he hastened to the west, where he left it inscribed on the trophy which he raised upon the Pyrenees, that he had, by his victories, reduced to subjection eight hundred and seventy-six cities, from the Alps to the borders of Farther Spain; at the same time he most magnanimously said not a word about Sertorius. After having put an end to the civil war, which indeed was the primary cause of all the foreign ones, he, though still of only equestrian rank, again entered Rome in the triumphal chariot, having proved himself a general thus often before having been a soldier. After this, he was dispatched to the shores of all the various seas, and then to the East, whence he brought back to his country the following titles of honour, resembling therein those who conquer at the sacred games—for, be it remembered, it is not they that are crowned, but their respective countries. These honours then did he award to the City, in the temple of Minerva, which he consecrated from the spoils that he had gained: "Cneius Pompeius Magnus, Imperator, having brought to an end a war of thirty years' duration, and having defeated, routed, put to the sword, or received the submission of, twelve millions two hundred and seventy-eight thousand men, having sunk or captured eight hundred and forty-six vessels, having received as allies one thousand five hundred and thirty-eight cities and fortresses, and having conquered all the country from the Mæotis to the Red Sea, dedicates this shrine as a votive offering due to Minerva." Such, in few words, is the sum of his exploits in the East. The following are the introductory words descriptive of the triumph which he obtained, the third day before the calends of October, in the consulship of M. Piso and M. Messala; "After having delivered the sea-coast from the pirates, and restored the seas to the people of Rome, he enjoyed a triumph over Asia, Pontus, Armenia, Paphlagonia, Cappadocia, Cilicia, Syria, the Scythians, Judæa, the Albanians, Iberia, the island of Crete, the Basterni, and, in addition to all these, the kings Mithridates and Tigranes."

The most glorious, however, of all glories, resulting from these exploits, was, as he himself says, in the speech which he made in public relative to his previous career, that Asia, which he received as the boundary of the empire, he left its centre. If any one should wish, on the other hand, in a similar manner, to pass in review the exploits of Cæsar, who has shown himself greater still than Pompeius, why then he must enumerate all the countries in the world, a task, I may say, without an end.  (Translation by John Bostock, M.D., F.R.S., H.T. Riley, Esq., B.A., Ed. )

Verum ad decus imperii Romani, non solum ad viri unius, pertinet victoriarum Pompei Magni titulos omnes triumphosque hoc in loco nuncupari, aequato non modo Alexandri Magni rerum fulgore, sed etiam Herculis prope ac Liberi patris.
igitur Sicilia recuperata, unde primum Sullanus in rei publicae causa exoriens auspicatus est, Africa vero tota subacta et in dicionem redacta Magnique nomine in spolium inde capto, eques Romanus, id quod antea nemo, curru triumphali revectus et statim ad solis occasum transgressus, excitatis in Pyrenaeo tropaeis, oppida DCCCLXXVI ab Alpibus ad fines Hispaniae ulterioris in dicionem redacta victoriae suae adscripsit et maiore animo Sertorium tacuit, belloque civili, quod omnia externa conciebat, extincto iterum triumphales currus eques R. induxit, totiens imperator ante quam miles.
postea ad tota maria et deinde solis ortus missus hos retulit patriae titulos more sacris certaminibus vincentium — neque enim ipsi coronantur, sed patrias suas coronant —, hos ergo honores urbi tribuit in delubro Minervae, quod ex manubiis dicabat:
CN·POMPEIVS MAGNVS IMPERATOR BELLO XXX ANNORVM CONFECTO FVSIS FVGATIS OCCISIS IN DEDITIONEM ACCEPTIS HOMINVM CENTIENS VICIENS SEMEL LXXXIII DEPRESSIS AVT CAPTIS NAVIBVS DCCCXLVI OPPIDIS CASTELLIS MDXXXVIII IN FIDEM RECEPTIS TERRIS A MAEOTIS AD RVBRVM MARE SVBACTIS VOTVM MERITO MINERVAE.
Hoc est breviarium eius ab oriente. triumphi vero, quem duxit a. d. III kal. Oct. M. Pisone M. Messala cos., praefatio haec fuit:
CVM ORAM MARITIMAM PRAEDONIBVS LIBERASSET ET IMPERIVM MARIS POPVLO ROMANO RESTITVISSET EX ASIA PONTO ARMENIA PAPHLAGONIA CAPPADOCIA CILICIA SYRIA SCYTHIS IVDAEIS ALBANIS HIBERIA INSVLA CRETA BASTERNIS ET SVPER HAEC DE REGE MITHRIDATE ATQVE TIGRANE TRIVMPHAVIT.
Summa summarum in illa gloria fuit (ut ipse in conditione dixit, cum de rebus suis disseret) Asiam ultimam provinciarum accepisse eandemque mediam patriae reddidisse. si quis e contrario simili modo velit percensere Caesaris res, qui maior ille apparuit, totum profecto terrarum orbem enumeret, quod infinitum esse conveniet.

In many passages Pliny goes even further and justifies Roman imperialism by its beneficial effects for humanity. In the book 27 of his Natural History tells us about the numerous plants in the world that are collected and transported from anywhere in the world only by effect of the Roman Pax. That is why the Romans are like a second light, as a second sun for humanity, and also as a second nature as he will say in the book 44. I transcribe both passages:

Pliny, 27, 1 y ss:

The further I proceed in this work, the more I am impressed with admiration of the ancients; and the greater the number of plants that remain to be described, the more I am induced to venerate the zeal displayed by the men of former times in their researches, and the kindly spirit manifested by them in transmitting to us the results thereof. Indeed their bounteousness in this respect would almost seem to have surpassed the munificent disposition even of Nature herself, if our knowledge of plants had depended solely upon man's spirit of discovery: but as it is, it is evident beyond all doubt that this knowledge has emanated from the gods themselves, or, at all events, has been the result of divine inspiration, even in those cases where man has been instrumental in communicating it to us. In other words, if we must confess the truth—a marvel surpassed by nothing in our daily experience—Nature herself, that common parent of all things, has at once produced them, and has discovered to us their properties.

Wondrous indeed is it, that a Scythian plant should be brought from the shores of the Palus Mæotis, and the euphorbia from Mount Atlas and the regions beyond the Pillars of Hercules, localities where the operations of Nature have reached their utmost limit! That in another direction, the plant britannica should be conveyed to us from isles of the Ocean situate beyond the confines of the earth! That the æthiopis5 should reach us from a climate scorched by the luminaries of heaven! And then, in addition to all this, that there should be a perpetual interchange going on between all parts of the earth, of productions so instrumental to the welfare of mankind! Results, all of them, ensured to us by the peace that reigns under the majestic sway of the Roman power, a peace which brings in presence of each other, not individuals only, belonging to lands and nations far separate, but mountains even, and heights towering above the clouds, their plants and their various productions! That this great bounteousness of the gods may know no end, is my prayer, a bounteousness which seems to have granted the Roman sway as a second luminary for the benefit of mankind.
(Translation by John Bostock, M.D., F.R.S. H.T. Riley, Esq., B.A)

Crescit profecto apud me certe tractatu ipso admiratio antiquitatis, quantoque maior copia herbarum dicenda restat, tanto magis adorare priscorum in inveniendo curam, in tradendo benignitatem subit. nec dubie superata hoc modo posset videri etiam rerum naturae ipsius munificentia, si humani operis esset inventio.
nunc vero deorum fuisse eam apparet aut certe divinam, etiam cum homo inveniret, eandemque omnium parentem et genuisse haec et ostendisse, nullo vitae miraculo maiore, si verum fateri volumus. Scythicam herbam a Maeotis paludibus et Euphorbeam e monte Atlante ultraque Herculis columnas ex ipso rerum naturae defectu, parte alia Britannicam ex oceani insulis extra terris positis, itemque Aethiopidem ab exusto sideribus axe, alias praeterea aliunde ultro citroque humanae saluti in toto orbe portari, inmensa Romanae pacis maiestate non homines modo diversis inter se terris gentibusque, verum etiam montes et excedentia in nubes iuga partusque eorum et herbas quoque invicem ostentante! aeternum, quaeso, deorum sit munus istud! adeo Romanos velut alteram lucem dedisse rebus humanis videntur.

Pliny in 37, 77 (200) ss. assimilates Rome to nature itself and Italy is the governor and second mother of the world; the first is, of course, nature itself.

Having now treated of all the works of Nature, it will be as well to take a sort of comparative view of her several productions, as well as the countries which supply them. Through-out the whole earth, then, and wherever the vault of heaven extends, there is no country so beautiful, or which, for the productions of Nature, merits so high a rank as Italy, that ruler and second parent of the world ; recommended as she is by her men, her women, her generals, her soldiers, her slaves, her superiority in the arts, and the illustrious examples of genius which she has produced. Her situation, too, is equally in her favour ; the salubrity and mildness of her climate ; the easy access which she offers to all nations ; her coasts indented with so many harbours ; the propitious breezes, too, that always prevail on her shores ; advantages, all of them, due to her situation, lying, as she does, midway between the East and the West, and extended in the most favourable of all positions. Add to this, the abundant supply of her waters, the salubrity of her groves, the repeated intersections of her mountain ranges, the comparative innocuousness of her wild animals, the fertility of her soil, and the singular richness of lier pastures.  (Translation by John Bostock, M.D., F.R.S., and H. T. Riley, Esq., B.A.)

Etenim peractis omnibus naturae operibus discrimen quoddam rerum ipsarum atque terrarum facere conveniet.
Ergo in toto orbe, quacumque caeli convexitas vergit, pulcherrima omnium est iis rebus, quae merito principatum naturae optinent, Italia, rectrix parensque mundi altera, viris feminis, ducibus militibus, servitiis, artium praestantia, ingeniorum claritatibus, iam situ ac salubritate caeli atque temperie, accessu cunctarum gentium facili, portuosis litoribus, benigno ventorum adflatu. quod contingit positione procurrentis in partem utilissimam et inter ortus occasusque mediam, aquarum copia, nemorum salubritate, montium articulis, ferorum animalium innocentia, soli fertilitate, pabuli ubertate.

Also Cicero in Catiline Orations: 4, 11 (6) compares  Rome with the lux orbis terrarum.

Wherefore, if you decide on this you give me a companion in my address, dear and acceptable to the Roman people; or if you prefer to adopt the opinion of Silanus, you will easily defend me and yourselves from the reproach of cruelty, and I will prevail that it shall be much lighter. Although, O conscript fathers, what cruelty can there be in chastising the enormity of such excessive wickedness? For I decide from my own feeling. For so may I be allowed; to enjoy the republic in safety in your company, as I am not moved to be somewhat vehement in this cause by any severity of disposition, (for who is more merciful than I am?) but rather by a singular humanity and mercifulness. For I seem to myself to see this city, the light of the world and the citadel of all nations, falling on a sudden by one conflagration. I see in my mind's eye miserable and unburied heaps of cities in my buried country; the sight of Cethegus and his madness raging amid your slaughter is ever present to my sight. (Translatión by C. D. Yonge, 1856)

Quam ob rem, sive hoc statueritis, dederitis mihi comitem ad contionem populo carum atque iucundum, sive Silani sententiam sequi malueritis, facile me atque vos a crudelitatis vituperatione populo Romano purgabo atque obtinebo eam multo leniorem fuisse. Quamquam, patres conscripti, quae potest esse in tanti sceleris inmanitate punienda crudelitas? Ego enim de meo sensu iudico. Nam ita mihi salva re publica vobiscum perfrui liceat, ut ego, quod in hac causa vehementior sum, non atrocitate animi moveor (quis enim est me mitior?), sed singulari quadam humanitate et misericordia. Videor enim mihi videre hanc urbem, lucem orbis terrarum atque arcem omnium gentium, subito uno incendio concidentem, cerno animo sepulta in patria miseros atque insepultos acervos civium, versatur mihi ante oculos aspectus Cethegi et furor in vestra caede bacchantis.

The concentrated and visual expression of the whole empire is represented in the famous "Map of Agrippa".
Agrippa ordered to build a map of the whole known world that was placed in the Porticus that had the name of his sister Vipsania, in the Field of Mars and near the Pantheon, and whose purpose was to show that Rome was the center of the world. We could therefore consider the map of the Orbis Terrarum or representation of the whole known world. There are those who think that it was simply a list of places with their dimension and the distance between them rather than a representation of the world. And it is that we have only some written fragments of the description of the map and and we can get some idea for later ones. We can imagine the Roman citizen, planning  a journey or by mere curiosity, observing this huge map of countries and roads.

It is considered that the measures were of great precision, although Pliny observes some error, for example when he speaks of Hispania and of Baetica:

Pliny, Naturalis Historia, 3, 17(3,2,17)

At the present day the length of Bætica, from the town of Castulo, on its frontier, to Gades is 250 miles, and from Murci, which lies on the sea-coast, twenty-five miles more. The breadth, measured from the coast of Carteia, is 234 miles. Who is there that can entertain the belief that Agrippa, a man of such extraordinary diligence, and one who bestowed so much care on his subject, when he proposed to place before the eyes of the world a survey of that world, could be guilty of such a mistake as this, and that too when seconded by the late emperor the divine Augustus ? For it was that emperor who completed the Portico which had been begun by his sister, and in which the survey was to be kept, in conformity with the plan and descriptions of M. Agrippa. (Translation by John Bostock, M.D., F.R.S., H.T. Riley, Esq., B.A., Ed.)

Baeticae longitudo nunc a Castulonis oppidi fine Gadix CCL et a Murgi maritima ora XXV p. amplior, latitudo a Carteia Anam ora CCXXXIIII p. Agrippam quidem in tanta viri diligentia praeterque in hoc opere cura, cum orbem terrarum orbi spectandum propositurus esset, errasse quis credat et cum eo Divum Augustum? is namque conplexam eum porticum ex destinatione et commentariis M. Agrippae a sorore eius inchoatam peregit.

Vitruvius expresses the same idea from another point of view: there was no better place than Rome to conquer the world:

Vitruvius, VI,1, 10-11

But although southern nations have the keenest wits, and are infinitely clever in forming schemes, yet the moment it comes to displaying valour, they succumb because all manliness of spirit is sucked out of them by the sun. On the other hand, men born in cold countries are indeed readier to meet the shock of arms with great courage and without timidity, but their wits are so slow that they will rush to the charge inconsiderately and inexpertly, thus defeating their own devices. Such being nature's arrangement of the universe, and all these nations being allotted temperaments which are lacking in due moderation, the truly perfect territory, situated under the middle of the heaven, and having on each side the entire extent of the world and its countries, is that which is occupied by the Roman people.

In fact, the races of Italy are the most perfectly constituted in both respects—in bodily form and in mental activity to correspond to their valour. Exactly as the planet Jupiter is itself temperate, its course lying midway between Mars, which is very hot, and Saturn, which is very cold, so Italy, lying between the north and the south, is a combination of what is found on each side, and her preeminence is well regulated and indisputable. And so by her wisdom she breaks the courageous onsets of the barbarians, and by her strength of hand thwarts the devices of the southerners. Hence, it was the divine intelligence that set the city of the Roman people in a peerless and temperate country, in order that it might acquire the right to command the whole world. (Translation by Morris Hicky Morgan, 1914)

Cum sint autem meridiane nationes animis acutissimis infinitaque sollertia consiliorum, simul ut ad fortitudinem ingrediuntur, ibi succumbunt, quod habent exsuctas ab sole animorum virtutes; qui vero refrigeratis nascuntur regionibus, ad armorum vehementiam paratiores sunt magnis virtutibus sine timore, sed tarditate animi sine considerantia inruentes sine sollertia suis consiliis refragantur. cum ergo haec ita sint ab natura rerum in mundo conlocata et omnes nationes inmoderatis mixtionibus disparatae, veros inter spatium totius orbis terrarum regionesque medio mundi populus Romanus possidet fines.

Namque temperatissimae ad utramque partem et corporum membris animorumque vigoribus pro fortitudine sunt in Italia gentes. quemadmodum enim Iovis stella inter Martis ferventissimam et Saturni frigidissimam media currens temperatur, eadem ratione Italia inter septentrionalem meridianamque ab utraque parte mixtionibus temperatas et invictas habet laudes. itaque consiliis refringit barbarorum virtutes, forti manu meridianorum cogitationes. ita divina mens civitatem populi Romani egregia temperataque regione conlocavit, uti orbis terrarum imperii potiretur.

If the "orbis terrarum" is the "orbis romanorum" and Rome is a microcosm, Nero, for example, claims that his Domus Aurea is a microcosm also, a small-scale reproduction of the "Roman empire", including forests, lakes and Masterpieces of the entire empire. Texts of Suetonius or Tacitus and many others confirms it.

Suetonius, Nero’s Life, (The Lives of the Twelve Caesars), VI,31

In nothing was he more prodigal than in his buildings. He completed his palace by continuing it from the Palatine to the Esquiline hill, calling the building at first only "The Passage," but after it was burnt down and rebuilt, "The Golden House.1 Of its dimensions and furniture, it may be sufficient to say thus much: the porch was so high that there stood in it a colossal statue of himself a hundred and twenty feet in height; and the space included in it was so ample, that it had triple porticos a mile in length, and a lake like a sea, surrounded with buildings which had the appearance of a city. Within its area were corn fields, vineyards, pastures, and woods, containing a vast number of animals of various kinds, both wild and tame. In other parts it was entirely over-laid with gold, and adorned with jewels and mother of pearl. The supper rooms were vaulted, and compartments of the ceilings, inlaid with ivory, were made to revolve, and scatter flowers; while they contained pipes which shed unguents upon the guests. The chief banqueting room was circular, and revolved perpetually, night and day, in imitation of the motion of the celestial bodies. The baths were supplied with water from the sea and the Albula. Upon the dedication of this magnificent house after it was finished, all he said in approval of it was, "that he had now a dwelling fit for a man." (An English Translation. Publishing Editor. J. Eugene Reed. Alexander Thomson. Philadelphia. Gebbie & Co. 1889.)

Non in alia re tamen damnosior quam in aedificando domum a Palatio Esquilias usque fecit, quam primo transitoriam, mox incendio absumptam restitutamque auream nominauit. de cuius spatio atque cultu suffecerit haec rettulisse. uestibulum eius fuit, in quo colossus CXX pedum staret ipsius effigie; tanta laxitas, ut porticus triplices miliarias haberet; item stagnum maris instar, circumsaeptum aedificiis ad urbium speciem; rura insuper aruis atque uinetis et pascuis siluisque uaria, cum multitudine omnis generis pecudum ac ferarum.
in ceteris partibus cuncta auro lita, distincta gemmis unionumque conchis erant; cenationes laqueatae tabulis eburneis uersatilibus, ut flores, fistulatis, ut unguenta desuper spargerentur; praecipua cenationum rotunda, quae perpetuo diebus ac noctibus uice mundi circumageretur; balineae marinis et albulis fluentes aquis. eius modi domum cum absolutam dedicaret, hactenus comprobauit, ut se diceret “quasi hominem tandem habitare coepisse.”

In a similar way Martial, in his Book "On  the Spectacles", offers us numerous examples of spectacles in Rome with exotic animals, brought from the confines of the empire, of which the Romans  feel themselves owners.

Martial: De spectaculis (On the Spectacles), 2,

Here where, rayed with stars, the Colossus  views heaven anear, and in the middle way tall scaffolds rise, hatefully gleamed the palace of a savage king, and but a single house now stood in all the City. Here, where the far-seen Amphitheatre lifts its mass august, was Nero's mere. Here, where we admire the warm-baths., 1 a gift swiftly wrought, a proud domain had robbed their dwellings from the poor.  Where the Claudian Colonnade extends its outspread shade the Palace ended in its furthest part. Rome has been restored to herself, and under thy governance, Caesar, that is now the delight of a people which was once a master's.
(Translation by Waltr C. A. Ker, M.A.)

Hic ubi sidereus propius uidet astra colossus
     et crescunt media pegmata celsa uia,
inuidiosa feri radiabant atria regis
     unaque iam tota stabat in urbe domus;
hic ubi conspicui uenerabilis Amphitheatri              
     erigitur moles, stagna Neronis erant;
hic ubi miramur uelocia munera thermas,
     abstulerat miseris tecta superbus ager;
Claudia diffusas ubi porticus explicat umbras,
    ultima pars aulae deficientis erat.              
Reddita Roma sibi est et sunt te preside, Caesar,
     deliciae populi, quae fuerant domini.

So in  De spectaculis, 5

That Pasiphae was mated to the Dictaean bull, believe : we have seen it, the old-time myth has won its warrant. And let not age-long eld, Caesar, marvel at itself : whatever Fame sings of, that the Arena makes real for thee. (Translation by Waltr C. A. Ker, M.A.)

Iunctam Pasiphaen Dictaeo credite tauro:
     uidimus, accepit fabula prisca fidem.
Nec se miretur, Caesar, longaeua uetustas:
     quidquid fama canit, praestat harena tibi.

And in  6,b

Ok the lion laid low in Nemea's vasty vale, a deed renowned and worthy of Hercules, Fame used to sing. Dumb be ancient witness ! for after thy shows, O Caesar, we declare that such things are wrought by woman's prowess now. (Translation by Waltr C. A. Ker, M.A.)

Prostratum uasta Nemees in ualle leonem
     nobile et Herculeum fama canebat opus.
Prisca fides taceat: nam post tua munera, Caesar,
     hoc iam femineo Marte fatemur agi.

And in  7

As, fettered on a Scythian crag, Prometheus fed the untiring fowl with his too prolific heart, so Laureolus,  hanging on no unreal cross, gave up his vitals defenceless to a Caledonian bear. His mangled limbs lived, though the parts dripped gore, and in all his body was nowhere a body's shape. A punishment deserved at length he won he in his guilt had with his sword pierced his parent's or his master's throat, or in his madness robbed a temple of its close-hidden gold, or had laid by stealth his savage torch to thee, O Rome. Accursed, he had outdone the crimes told of by ancient lore ; in him that which had been a show before was punishment. (Translation by Waltr C. A. Ker, M.A.)

Qualiter in Scythica religatus rupe Prometheus
     adsiduam nimio pectore pauit auem,
nuda Caledonia sic uiscera praebuit urso
     non falsa pendens in cruce Laureolus.
Viuebant laceri membris stillantibus artus              
     inque omni nusquam corpore corpus erat.
Denique supplicium dignum tulit: ille parentis
     uel domini iugulum foderat ense nocens,
templa uel arcano demens spoliauerat auro,
     subdiderat saeuas uel tibi, Roma, faces.              
Vicerat antiquae sceleratus crimina famae,
     in quo, quae fuerat fabula, poena fuit.

And in  8

Daedalus, now thou art being so mangled by a Lucanian boar, how wouldst thou wish thou hadst now thy wings ! (Translation by Waltr C. A. Ker, M.A.)

Daedale, Lucano cum sic lacereris ab urso,
     quam cuperes pinnas nunc habuisse tuas!

And in 9

Shown along thy Arena's floor, O Caesar, a rhinoceros afforded thee an unpromised fray. Oh, into what dreadful rage fired he with lowered head ! How great was the bull ] to which a bull was as a dummy ! (Translation by Waltr C. A. Ker, M.A.)

Praestitit exhibitus tota tibi, Caesar, harena
     quae non promisit proelia rhinoceros.
O quam terribilis exarsit pronus in iras!
     Quantus erat taurus, cui pila taurus erat!

And in 17

In that, loyal and suppliant, the elephant adores thee which here but now was so fearful a foe to a bull, this it does unbidden, at the teaching of no master ; believe me, it too feels the presence of our God! (Translation by Waltr C. A. Ker, M.A.)

Quod pius et supplex elephas te, Caesar, adorat
     hic modo qui tauro tam metuendus erat,
non facit hoc iussus, nulloque docente magistro,
     crede mihi, nostrum sentit et ille deum.

Etc. etc.

Up to this point,  some texts document the divine status that Rome acquired by virtue of the force and energy emanating from it. I could add  many more. This explains why the "city" par excellence, par “antonomasia”, is Rome.

Note: antonomasia, Greek word, ἀντονομασία, from the verb ἀντονομάζω ("antonomázo"), composed of anti- / ant- / anta-, with the meaning of "instead of", "in exchange for", and the verb ὀνομάζω "onomázo"), that means “to denominate, to name”, derived from ὄνομα "ónoma", name. It designates a rhetorical figure that consists of naming a noun by the adjective that expresses its quality or vice versa, because there it is given that quality in an outstanding way.

(To be continued…)

   
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