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Italy.] ALEXANDER SEVERUS.
image of Jesus Christ among those of the Gods, and extraordinary men, whom he honoured with peculiar veneration. Many authors imagine that his mother was a Christian.
The clemency and moderation of Alexander were particularly evident with respect to Ovinius Camillus, who had aspired to the empire. He named him his colleague, divided with him his palacp, and the honours attendant on the supreme authority; but he required that he should participate in all its labours and its cares. Camillus, very soon disgusted at the part he acted, solicited permission to abdicate the imperial seat, and to retire into the country, to which Alexander consented.
In the tenth year of the reign of Alexander, Artaxerxes, who had succeeded in seducing the Persians from the dominion of the Parthians, declared war against him. To oppose him, the emperor marched at the head of his troops. He established in his army the most rigid discipline, and made himself feared and beloved by his legions. One of them revolted, and the soldiers continuing, notwithstanding the reproach of Alexander, to utter seditious expressions; " Citizens," said he, "retire, and throw down your arms." The whole legion, struck with astonishment, immediately quitted their arms and military habit, and departed in silence. He afterwards re-embodied them, and that identical legion signalized itself more than any other in the war against the Persians, and testified the most sincere regret at the death of Alexander.
Conqueror of Artaxerxes, he entered Rome in triumph, when he learnt that his frontiers were threatened by the Germans. Alexander marched to attack them, and they retreated at his approach. He attempted to restore discipline among the legions of Gaul; his severity excited their disaffection. Maximinus, a Goth by birth, whom he had raised to the first distinction in the army, on account of his bravery, availing himself of the disposition of the troops, caused Alexander and his mother to be assassinated in the year 235. This prince was then only twenty-seven; he had reigned thirteen years. He patronized literature and learned men; and devoted his leisure to the study of the best authors. He decorated Rome with several monuments. SOPHOCLES.
Trajan, Antoninus, and Marcus Aurelius, it must be confessed, achieved considerably more than Alexander; but it must likewise be observed, that they were severally older when they ascended the throne, than Alexander when he ceased to reign.
Thespis was the father of Grecian tragedy; but aü the efforts of the learned have not been able to inform us what form he gave it. Born with an ardent mind, a manly character, a soul susceptible of enthusiasm, Eschylus aggrandized the stage, excited terror, affright, and pity. Genius often inspired, but taste did not enlighten him; he distinguished himself, as Longinus says, by bold thoughts, by noble and heroic images; but, by attempting too great elevation, he exposed himself to great failures. Sophocles brought tragedy to the highest degree of perfection; according to some, he composed 125 pieces, according to others, only 80. The least of these two numbers is prodigious; and, in spite of our resources, and the facility of borrowing and imitating, the fecundity of the moderns is not to be compared wifhj that of the Greeks, who had every thing to create and. invent:—seven of these pieces only have reached us. We can here only cast a rapid glance on these master-r pieces, the objects of admiration of the learned in all ages. His CEdipus presents one of the most pathetic subjects of the ancient theatre.—A prince who becomes a parricide, and commits incest by the effect of fatality, and who, without being guilty, finds himself, in a moment, the object of universal execration, who, with horror, discovers his mother in his wife, his brothers in his children, must have excited terror and pity in the minds