once propitious to human stupidity. The letter contained gracious words, "dropping as the gentle dew from heaven." Was it a mere ruse, such as former Antonines had played, or was it in reality the herald of a new world to come ? Surely yes, for it promised amnesty, on the word of the Emperor, to the Senate and people of Rome, for all words, acts, and proscriptions formerly promulgated against the divine Caesar, by command of the usurping murderer Macrinus ; to whom the same Senate and people were commanded to give neither help nor assistance, but rather to condemn and execrate, in the precise terms they had so recently applied to the divine Emperor now happily reigning. For was he not an enemy to the state who had not only murdered his master, whom he had been appointed to guard, but also in that he, who was neither Senator nor otherwise worthy, had pretended to Empire, being a mere slave and gladiator, whom Caracalla had raised to the rank of Praetorian Praefect ?
There was some more biting sarcasm on the ease with which that august body had accepted the pretensions of the ex-slave without question, and had been persuaded to confirm him in the position of his murdered master. For himself, Antonine makes the mere announcement of his succession, much as Macrinus had done on the occasion of his son's elevation, with the obvious implication that the Fathers will confirm the accomplished facts with as little delay as is compatible with the usual decencies. He tells them that to err is human, but Antonine,