Ὁ Αὔγουστος καὶ ἡ ρωμαϊκὴ φυγοτεκνία

Προσέξτε πῶς ἀντιμετωπίζει ὁ αὐτοκράτορας Αὔγουστος τὴν φυγοτεκνία: Ὡς θρησκευτικῆς φύσης ἔγκλημα. Ὁ Αὔγουστος ἀπευθύνεται στοὺς Ρωμαίους:


Yet, if one were to name over all the worst crimes, the others are as naught in comparison with this one you are now committing, whether you consider them crime for crime or even set all of them together over against this single crime of yours. 2 For you are committing murder in not begetting in the first place those who ought to be your descendants; you are committing sacrilege in putting an end to the names and honours of your ancestors; and you are guilty of impiety in that you are abolishing your families, which were instituted by the gods, and destroying the greatest of offerings to them, — human life, — thus overthrowing their rites and their temples. 3 Moreover, you are destroying the State by disobeying its laws, and you are betraying your country by rendering her barren and childless; nay more, you are laying her even with the dust by making her destitute of future inhabitants. For it is human beings that constitute a city, we are told, not houses or porticos or market-places empty of men […] «Indeed, it was never permitted to any man, even in olden times, to neglect marriage and the begetting of children; but from the very outset, when the government was first established, strict laws were made regarding these matters, and subsequently many decrees were passed by both the senate and the people, which it would be superfluous to enumerate here. I, now, have increased the penalties for the disobedient, in order that through fear of becoming liable to them you might be brought to your senses; and to the obedient I have offered a more numerous and greater prizes than are given for any other display of excellence, in order that for this reason, if for no other, you might be persuaded to marry and beget children. 6 Yet you have not striven for any of the recompenses nor feared any of the penalties, but have shown contempt for all these measures and have trodden them all underfoot, as if you were not living in a civilized community. You talk, forsooth, about this ‘free’ and ‘untrammelled’ life that you have adopted, without wives and without children; but you are not a whit better than brigands or the most savage of beasts.  For surely it is not your delight in a solitary existence that leads you to live without wives, nor is there one of you who either eats alone or sleeps alone; no, what you want is to have full liberty for wantonness and licentiousness. 2 Yet I allowed you to pay your court to girls still of tender years and not yet ripe for marriage, in order that, classed as prospective bridegrooms, you might live as family men should; and I permitted those not in the senatorial order to wed freedwomen, so that, if anyone through love or intimacy of any sort should be disposed to such a course, he might go about it lawfully. 3 And I did not limit you rigidly even to this, but at first gave you three whole years in which to make your preparations, and later two. Yet not even so, by threatening, or urging, or postponing, or entreating, have I accomplished anything. 4 For you see for yourselves how much more numerous you are than the married men, when you ought by this time to have provided us with as many children besides, or rather with several times your number. How otherwise can families continue? How can the State be preserved, if we neither marry nor have children? For surely you are not expecting men to spring up from the ground to succeed to your goods and to the public interests, as the myths describe! And yet it is neither right nor creditable that our race should cease, and the name of Romans be blotted out with us, and the city be given over to foreigners — Greeks or even barbarians. 6 Do we not free our slaves chiefly for the express purpose of making out of them as many citizens as possible? And do we not give our allies a share in the government in order that our numbers may increase? And do you, then, who are Romans from the beginning and claim as your  ancestors the famous Marcii, the Fabii, the Quintii, the Valerii, and the Julii, do you desire that your families and names alike shall perish with you? 1 Nay, I for my part am ashamed that I have been forced even to mention such a thing. Have done with your madness, then, and stop at last to reflect, that with many dying all the time by disease and many in war it is impossible for the city to maintain itself, unless its population is continually renewed by those who are ever and anon to be born. 2 «And let none of you imagine that I fail to realize that there are disagreeable and painful things incident to marriage and the begetting of children. But bear this in mind, that we do not possess any other good with which some unpleasantness is not mingled, and that in our most abundant and greatest blessings there reside the most abundant and greatest evils. 3 Therefore, if you decline to accept the latter, do not seek to obtain the former, either, since for practically everything that has any genuine excellence or enjoyment one must strive beforehand, strive at the time, and strive afterwards. But why should I prolong my speech by going into all these details? Even if there are, then, some unpleasant things incident to marriage and the begetting of children, set over against them the advantages, and you will find these to be at once more numerous and more compelling. 4 For, in addition to all the other blessings that naturally inhere in this state of life, the prizes offered by the laws should induce each other to obey me; for a very small part of these inspires many to undergo even death. And is it not disgraceful that for rewards which lead others to  sacrifice even their lives you should be unwilling either to marry wives or to rear children?

1 «Therefore, fellow-citizens, — for I believe that I have now persuaded you both to hold fast to the name of citizens and to secure the title of men and fathers as well, — I have administered this rebuke to you not for my own pleasure but from necessity, and not as your enemy nor as one who hates you but rather loving you and wishing to obtain many others like you, in order that we may have lawful homes to dwell in and houses full of descendants, so that we may approach the gods together with our wives and our children, and in partnership with one another may risk our all in equal measure and reap in like degree the hopes we cherish in them. How, indeed, could I be a good ruler over you, if I could endure to see you growing constantly fewer in number? 3 How could I any longer be rightfully called father by you, if you rear no children? Therefore, if you really hold me in affection, and particularly if you have given me this title not out of flattery but as an honour, be eager now to become both men and fathers, in order that you may not only share this title yourselves but may also justify it as applied to me.»

Ἐδῶ, ὁ Δίων Κάσσιος παραθέτει διάφορα σχετικὰ μέτρα τοῦ Αὔγουστου:

10 1 Such were his words to the two groups at that time. Afterwards he increased the rewards to those who had children and in the case of the others made a distinction between the married men and the unmarried by imposing different penalties; furthermore, he granted a year’s time to those who were remiss in either respect, in which to obey him and thus escape the penalties. 2 Contrary to the Lex Voconia, according to which no woman could inherit property  to the value of more than one hundred thousand sesterces, he permitted some women to inherit larger amounts; and he granted the Vestal Virgins all the privileges enjoyed by women who had borne children. 3 Later the Lex Papia Poppaea was framed by Marcus Papius Mutilus and by Quintus Poppaeus Secundus, who were consuls at the time for a part of the year. Now it chanced that both of them were not only childless but were not even married, and from this very circumstance the need of the law was apparent. These were the events in Rome.

Πάντως, ἡ πρόβλεψη τοῦ Αὔγουστου (βλ. παραπάνω) ἐπαληθεύτηκε: Τὸ ὄνομα τῶν Ρωμαίων πέρασε στοὺς Ἕλληνες.



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