Page:The Amazing Emperor Heliogabalus.djvu/156

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

are peculiar, but incapable of verification) ; the general distribution of wheat, the unusual magnificence of the whole scene, and the congiary in which even the wives of Senators took part. The sums of money given are most noticeable ; every one in Rome received 150 drachmae per head, except the soldiers, who only got 100, or very slightly more — a diminution of the promised privileges formerly granted by Caracalla, which could scarcely have been pleasing to the Lords of Rome, especially if, as Lampridius says, the Emperor had already begun to lose his popularity with the army. It almost presupposes a change of idea in the body politic, and argues that the new government was bent on the same reforms which had ruined Macrinus, a circumstance which would not turn out advantageously for all concerned. Certainly it was neither wise nor conducive to peace thus to reduce the donative on such an occasion ; but of this more must be said later.

Directly after the festivities in honour of the arrival, and, as has been suggested, of the marriage as well, because we can only trace one congiary and one set of rejoicings during this year — which circumstance rather leads one to suppose that the extraordinary generosity cited did duty for the two occasions — the Emperor set to work to provide a shelter for his God. In point of fact, he provided two. The first and most magnificent, was on the Palatine ; the other, almost as vast and beautiful, was a sort of summer resting-place in the suburbs. Wissowa considers that this second was