William Wotton, B.D.
The History of Rome, from the Death of Antoninus Pius, to the Death
of Severus Alexander, London: Printed for Tim. Goodwin, at the Queen's-Head
against St. Dunstan's Church, Fleetstreet, MDCCI
Life of M. Aurelius Antoninus Elagabalus
A.C. 219 &c.
He pretended to castrate himself like one of Cybele's Priests [margin note: Lamp in Elagab. cap. 7], and then went thro all their troublesome and idle Ceremony's of Initiation, and afterwards removed the Image of the Mother of the Gods, to keep company with his Black Stone.
Life of M. Aurelius Severus Alexander
Chapter I [pp. 429-468]
A.C. 222 &c.
The first thing to be done [margin note: Herodian lib. 6.9.2 or 6.3.2.?], was to send back all the Foreign Images that had been brought to Rome, to their respective Cities and Temples; then he removed all those impure Ministers of Elagabalus, who had crept into all Places, and were possest of most Employments. [margin note: Lamp in Alex. cap. 15.] A very strict Inquisition was made, and the guilty were turned out of all their Offices, especially Magistrates. He cleared likewise the Senate, and the Equestrian Order, and examined the People, the Army, and the Court most particularly, in order to send away those infamous Persons, who in [page 438] the late Reign had swarmed in Rome. [margin note: Cap. 34.] Those Eunuchs whom Elagabalus kept for abominable Uses, were distributed amongst Alexander's friends as Slaves, with a particular Command to kill them without the Formality of a Trial, if they misbehaved themselves. His Dwarfs of both Sexes, Eunuchs for singing, and Buffoons, with all those Songsters and Pantomimes that were kept to make the Emperor sport, were now given to the People; those that were useless were dispersed into several Cities to be maintained, that they might not as Vagrants gather too many together in any one place, and become burthensome to the Inhabitants. An incredible number of lewd Women that belonged to the Palace were sold [margin note: ibid.], and the Money that was raised was applied to the uses of the Public: The Catamites also of the Court were all transported, some of whom were shipwrackt in their Voiage. In the making of this Scrutiny, and indeed in all public Business, Alexander follow'd the Advice of a Committee of XVI Senators [margin note: Herodian lib. 6.9.1.?], whom Maesa and Mamaea chose out of the Senate, for the Severity of their Manners, and their Experience in Business, to be constantly about their Son. These XVI who were chiefly under the direction of Domitius Ulpianus, were a standing Counsel to this young Emperor [margin note: Dion p. 917 A]; and they soon introduced a face of Order and good Government over the whole Empire, by their vigilance and industry.
A.C. 222 &c.
He took great care to preserve his People from the Insults of Slaves. He had once a design to have obliged them to wear a different Habit; but Ulpian and Paullus dissuaded him from it, because they did not think it advisable in a Government where slaves were so numerous, ever to give them a Temtation to try their strength. [margin note: Lamp in Alex. c. 27.] He order'd his own Servants however to wear a distinct Habit [margin note: id. c. 23.], that the People might know them; and his Freed-Men to wear the common Habit of Free Plebeians. He had a mortal Aversion to Eunuchs, that third Species of Mankind, as he pleasantly used to call them, who had born so great a Sway under Elagabalus. Those few that were suffered in the Court, were allow'd to be in no Employment near [page 463] himself, but appointed to attend upon his Wife. There was a great deal of Reason for this Prohibition; for several Emperors had suffered Eunuchs to be Ministers of State, to the great disturbance of the Common-Wealth. Their chiefest Aim was to raise Mony, and in order to that they would keep the Prince whom they served in ignorance of his own Affair's as much as ever they could [margin note: id. cap. 45 / collat. cum cap 66.]; would sow dissensions between him and his best Friends; would suffer none to come at him but themselves; and would sell his Ear, pretending Interest where they had none, and alway's more than they really had. By this means they raised Mony of every Man that had any thing to sollicit for at Court, and were often paid for Services in which they had not the least Hand. The Romans called this selling of Smoak; and as this practise was very common under weak or corrupt Emperors, so wise Princes never failed to punish it with great Severity wheresoever they could prove it. Alexander gave a remarkable Instance of his detestation of this Custom, in the Case of Vetronius Turinus.