1 1 Without1 once pausing in her navigation of the wintry sea, Agrippina reached the island of Corcyra2 opposite the Calabrian coast.aThere, frantic with grief and unschooled to suffering, she spent a few days in regaining her composure. Meanwhile, at news of her advent, there was a rush of people to Brundisium, as the nearest and safest landing-place for the voyager. Every intimate friend was present; numbers of military men, each with his record of service under Germanicus; even many strangers from the local towns, some thinking it respectful to the emperor, the majority following their example. The moment her squadron was sighted in the offing, not only the harbour and the points nearest the sea but the city-walls and house-roofs, all posts, indeed, commanding a wide enough prospect, were thronged by a crowd of mourners, who asked each other if they ought to receive her landing in silence, or with some audible expression of feeling. It was not yet clear to them what the occasion required, when little by little the flotilla drew to shore, not with the accustomed eager oarsmanship, but all with an ordered melancholy. When, clasping the fatal urn, she left the ship with her two children, and fixed her eyes on the ground, a single groan arose from the whole multitude; nor could a distinction be traced between the relative and the stranger, the wailings of women or of men; only, the attendants of Agrippina, exhausted by long-drawn sorrow, were less demonstrative than the more recent mourners by whom they were met.
2 1 The Caesar had sent two cohorts of his Guard; with further orders that the magistrates of Calabria, Apulia, and Campania should render the last offices to the memory of his son. And so his ashes were borne on the shoulders of tribunes and centurions: before him the standards went unadorned, the Axes reversed; while, at every colony they passed, the commons in black and the knights in official purple3burned raiment, perfumes, and other of the customary funeral tributes, in proportion to the resources of the district. Even the inhabitants of outlying towns met the procession, devoted their victims and altars to the departed spirit, and attested their grief with tears and cries. Drusus came up to Tarracina,4 with Germanicus’ brother Claudius and the children who had been left in the capital. The consuls, Marcus Valerius5 and Marcus Aurelius6 (who had already begun their magistracy), the senate, and a considerable part of the people, filled the road, standing in scattered parties and weeping as they pleased: for of adulation there was none, since all men knew that Tiberius was with difficulty dissembling his joy at the death of Germanicus.
3 1 He and Augusta abstained from any appearance in public, either holding it below their majesty to sorrow in the sight of men, or apprehending that, if all eyes perused their looks, they might find hypocrisy legible. I fail to discover, either in the historians or in the government journals,7 that the prince’s mother, Antonia,8 bore any striking part in the ceremonies, although, in addition to Agrippina and Drusus and Claudius, his other blood-relations are recorded by name. Ill-health may have been the obstacle; or a spirit broken with grief may have shrunk from facing the visible evidence of its great affliction; but I find it more credible that Tiberius and Augusta, who did not quit the palace, kept her there, in order to give the impression of a parity of sorrow — of a grandmother and uncle detained at home in loyalty to the example of a mother.
4 1 The day on which the remains were consigned to the mausoleum of Augustus9 was alternately a desolation of silence and a turmoil of laments. The city-streets were full, the Campus Martius alight with torches. There the soldier in harness,10 the magistrate lacking his insignia, the burgher in his tribe, iterated the cry that “the commonwealth had fallen and hope was dead” too freely and too openly for it to be credible that they remembered their governors. Nothing, however, sank deeper into Tiberius’ breast than the kindling of men’s enthusiasm for Agrippina — “the glory of her country, the last scion of Augustus, the peerless pattern of ancient virtue.” So they styled her; and, turning to heaven and the gods, prayed for the continuance of her issue — “and might they survive their persecutors!”
5 1 There were those who missed the pageantry of a state-funeral and compared the elaborate tributes rendered by Augustus to Germanicus’ father, Drusus:— “In the bitterest of the winter, the sovereign had gone in person as far as Ticinum,11 and, never stirring from the corpse, had entered the capital along with it. The bier had been surrounded with the family effigies of the Claudian and Livian12houses; the dead had been mourned in the Forum,13 eulogized upon the Rostra; every distinction which our ancestors had discovered, or their posterity invented, was showered upon him. But to Germanicus had fallen not even the honours due to every and any noble! Granted that the length of the journey was a reason for cremating his body, no matter how, on foreign soil, it would only have been justice that he should have been accorded all the more distinctions later, because chance had denied them at the outset. His brother14 had gone no more than one day’s journey to meet him; his uncle not even to the gate. Where were those usages of the ancients — the image placed at the head of the couch, the set poems to the memory of departed virtue, the panegyrics, the tears, the imitations (if no more) of sorrow?”
6 1 All this Tiberius knew; and, to repress the comments of the crowd, he reminded them in a manifesto that “many illustrious Romans had died for their country, but none had been honoured with such a fervour of regret: a compliment highly valued by himself and by all, if only moderation were observed. For the same conduct was not becoming to ordinary families or communities and to leaders of the state and to an imperial people. Mourning and the solace of tears had suited the first throes of their affliction; but now they must recall their minds to fortitude, as once the deified Julius at the loss of his only daughter,15 and the deified Augustus at the taking of his grandchildren,16 had thrust aside their anguish. There was no need to show by earlier instances how often the Roman people had borne unshaken the slaughter of armies, the death of generals, the complete annihilation of historic houses. Statesmen were mortal, the state eternal. Let them return, therefore, to their usual occupations and — as the Megalesian Games17 would soon be exhibited — resume even their pleasures!”
7 1 The period of mourning now closed; men went back to their advocations, and Drusus left for the armies of Illyricum. All minds were elated at the prospect of calling Piso to account, and complaints were frequent that, during the interval, he should be roaming amid the landscapes of Asia and Achaia, destroying the evidences of his guilt by presumptuous and fraudulent delays. For news had spread that Martina — the notorious poisoner, despatched to Rome, as I have said,18 by Gnaeus Sentius — had suddenly yielded up the ghost at Brundisium; that poison had been concealed in a knot of her hair; and that no indications of self-murder had been found on the body.19
8 1 Meanwhile, Piso, sending his son in advance to the capital with a message designed to pacify the emperor, bent his way to Drusus; whom he hoped to find not so much angered at a brother’s death as reconciled to himself by the suppression of a rival. To make a display of impartiality, Tiberius gave the young envoy a civil reception, and treated him with the liberality he was in the habit of showing to the cadets of noble families. To the father, Drusus’ answer was that, “if the current imputations were true, his own resentment must rank foremost of all; but he preferred to believe they were false and unfounded, and that Germanicus’ death involved the doom of no one.” The reply was given in public, all secrecy having been avoided; and no doubts were felt that the phrasing was dictated by Tiberius, when a youth, who had otherwise the simple and pliant character of his years, resorted for the nonce to the disingenuities of age.
9 1 After crossing the sea of Dalmatia,20 Piso left his vessels at Ancona, and, travelling through Picenum, then by the Flaminian Road,21came up with a legion marching from Pannonia to Rome, to join later on the garrison in Africa:22 an incident which led to much gossip and discussion as to the manner in which he had kept showing himself to the soldiers on the march and by the wayside. From Narnia, either to avoid suspicion or because the plans of a frightened man are apt to be inconsistent, he sailed down the Nar, then down the Tiber, and added to the exasperation of the populace by bringing his vessel to shore at the mausoleum of the Caesars. It was a busy part of the day and of the river-side; yet he with a marching column of retainers, and Plancina with her escort of women, proceeded beaming on their way. There were other irritants also; among them, festal decorations upon his mansion looming above the forum; guests and a dinner; and, in that crowded quarter, full publicity for everything.
10 1 Next day, Fulcinius Trio23 applied to the consuls for authority to prosecute Piso.24 He was opposed by Vitellius, Veranius, and the other members of Germanicus’ suite: Trio, they argued, had no standing in the case; nor were they themselves acting as accusers, but as deponents and witnesses to the facts, carrying out the instructions of the prince. Waiving the indictment on this head, Trio secured the right of arraigning Piso’s previous career, and the emperor was asked to take over the trial. To this even the defendant made no demur, as he distrusted the prepossessions of the people and senate; while Tiberius, he knew, had the strength of mind to despise scandal, and was involved in his mother’s accession to the plot. Besides, truth was more easily distinguished from accepted calumny by one judge; where there were more, odium and malevolence carried weight. The difficulties of the inquiry, and the rumours busy with his own character, were not lost upon Tiberius. Therefore with a few intimate friends for assessor, he heard the threats of the accusers, the prayers of the accused; and remitted the case in its integrity to the senate.
11 1 In the interval, Drusus returned from Illyricum. The Fathers had decreed him an ovation at his entry, in return for the submission of Maroboduus and his achievements of the preceding summer;25 but he postponed the honour and made his way into the capital privately.
As his advocates the defendant now specified Lucius Arruntius, Publius Vinicius, Asinius Gallus, Marcellus Aeserninus and Sextus Pompeius. They declined on various pretexts, and Manius Lepidus, Lucius Piso, and Livineius Regulus came to his support. The whole nation was eagerly speculating upon the loyalty of Germanicus’ friends, the criminal’s grounds for confidence, the chances that Tiberius would be able to keep his sentiments effectively under lock and key. Never had the populace been more keenly on the alert: never had it shown more freedom of whispered criticism and suspicious silence towards the emperor.
12 1 On the day the senate met, the Caesar spoke with calculated moderation. “Piso,” he said, “had been his father’s lieutenant26 and friend; and he himself, at the instance of the senate, had assigned him to Germanicus as his coadjutor in the administration of the East. Whether, in that position, he had merely exasperated the youthful prince by perversity and contentiousness, and then betrayed pleasure at his death, or whether he had actually cut short his days by crime, was a question they must determine with open minds. For” (he proceeded) “if the case is one of a subordinate who, after ignoring the limits of his commission and the deference owed to his superior, has exulted over that superior’s death and my own sorrow, I shall renounce his friendship, banish him from my house, and redress my grievances as a man without invoking my powers as a sovereign. But if murder comes to light — and it would call for vengeance, were the victim the meanest of mankind — then do you see to it that proper requital is made to the children of Germanicus and to us, his parents. At the same time, consider the following points:— Did Piso’s treatment of the armies make for disorder and sedition? Did he employ corrupt means to win the favour of the private soldiers? Did he levy war in order to repossess himself of the province? Or are these charges falsehoods, published with enlargements by the accusers; at whose zealous indiscretions I myself feel some justifiable anger? For what was the object in stripping the corpse naked and exposing it to the degrading contact of the vulgar gaze? Or in diffusing the report — and among foreigners — that he fell a victim to poison, if that is an issue still uncertain and in need of scrutiny? True, I lament my son, and shall lament him always. But far from hampering the defendant in adducing every circumstance which may tend to relieve his innocence or to convict Germanicus of injustice (if injustice there was), I beseech you that, even though the case is bound up with a personal sorrow of my own, you will not therefore receive the assertion of guilt as a proof of guilt. If kinship or a sense of loyalty has made some of you his advocates, then let each, with all the eloquence and devotion he can command, aid him in his hour of danger. To the accusers I commend a similar industry, a similar constancy. The only extra-legal concession we shall be found to have made to Germanicus is this, that the inquiry into his death is being held not in the Forum but in the Curia, not before a bench of judges but the senate.27 Let the rest of the proceedings show the like restraint: let none regard the tears of Drusus, none my own sadness, nor yet any fictions invented to our discredit.”
13 1 It was then resolved to allow two days for the formulation of the charges: after an interval of six days, the case for the defence would occupy another three. Fulcinius opened with an old and futile tale of intrigue and cupidity during Piso’s administration of Spain. The allegations, if established, could do the defendant no harm, should he dispel the more recent charge: if they were rebutted, there was still no acquittal, if he was found guilty of the graver delinquencies. Servaeus,º Veranius, and Vitellius followed — with equal fervour; and Vitellius with considerable eloquence.28 “Through his hatred of Germanicus and his zeal for anarchy,” so ran the indictment, “Piso had, by relaxing discipline and permitting the maltreatment of the provincials, so far corrupted the common soldiers that among the vilest of them he was known as the Father of the Legions. On the other hand, he had been ruthless to the best men, especially the companions and friends of Germanicus, and at last, with the help of poison and the black arts, had destroyed the prince himself. Then had come the blasphemous rites and sacrifices29 of Plancina and himself, an armed assault on the commonwealth, and — in order that he might be put on his trial — defeat upon a stricken field.”30
14 1 On all counts but one the defence wavered. There was no denying that he had tampered with the soldiery, that he had abandoned the provinces to the mercies of every villain, that he had even insulted the commander-in‑chief. The single charge which he seemed to have dissipated was that of poisoning. It was, indeed, none too plausibly sustained by the accusers, who argued that, at a dinner given by Germanicus, Piso (who was seated above him)b introduced the dose into his food. Certainly, it seemed folly to assume that he could have ventured the act among strange servants, under the eyes of so many bystanders, and in the presence of the victim himself: also, he offered his own slaves for torture, and insisted on its application to the attendants at the meal. For one reason or other, however, the judges were inexorable: the Caesar,31 because war had been levied on a province; the senate, because it could never quite believe that Germanicus had perished without foul play. . . .32 A demand for the correspondence was rejected as firmly by Tiberius as by Piso. At the same time, shouts were heard: it was the people at the senate-doors, crying that, if he escaped the suffrages of the Fathers, they would take the law into their own hands. They had, in fact, dragged his effigies to the Gemonian Stairs,33 and were engaged in dismembering them, when they were rescued and replaced at the imperial command. He was therefore put in a litter and accompanied home by an officer of one of the praetorian cohorts; while rumour debated whether the escort was there for the preservation of his life or the enforcement of his death.
15 1 Plancina, equally hated, had more than equal influence; so that it was considered doubtful how far the sovereign would be allowed to proceed against her. She herself, so long as hope remained for Piso, protested that she would share his fortune for good or ill, or, if the need arose, would meet destruction in his company. But once her pardon had been procured by the private intercessions of Livia, she began step by step to dissociate herself from her husband and to treat her own defence as a distinct issue. It was a fatal symptom, and the defendant knew it. He was doubtful whether to make another effort or not; but, as his sons pressed him, he hardened his heart and entered the senate once more. He faced the repetition of the charges, the hostile cries of the Fathers, the fierce opposition evident in every quarter; but nothing daunted him more than the sight of Tiberius, pitiless and angerless, barred and bolted against the ingress of any human emotion. After being carried home, he wrote a little, apparently notes for his defence the next day; sealed the paper, and handed it to a freedman. Then he gave the usual attention to his person; and finally, late at night, when his wife had left the bedroom, he ordered the door to be closed, and was found at daybreak with his throat cut and a sword lying on the floor.
16 1 I remember hearing my elders speak of a document seen more than once in Piso’s hands. The purport he himself never disclosed, but his friends always asserted that it contained a letter from Tiberius with his instructions in reference to Germanicus; and that, if he had not been tricked by the empty promises of Sejanus, he was resolved to produce it before the senate and to put the emperor upon his defence. His death, they believed, was not self-inflicted: an assassin had been let loose to do the work. I should hesitate to endorse either ptheory: at the same time, it was my duty not to suppress a version given by contemporaries who were still living in my early years.
With his lineaments composed to melancholy, the Caesar expressed to his regret to the senate that Piso should have chosen a form of death reflecting upon his sovereign . . .34 and cross-examined him at length on the manner in which his father had spent his last day and night. Though there were one or two indiscretions, the answers were in general adroit enough, and he now read a note drawn up by Piso in nearly the following words:— “Broken by a confederacy of my enemies and the hatred inspired by their lying accusation, since the world has no room for my truth and innocence, I declare before Heaven, Caesar, that I have lived your loyal subject and your mother’s no less dutiful servant. I beg you both to protect the interests of my children. Gnaeus has no connexion with my affairs, good or ill, since he spent the whole period in the capital; while Marcus advised me against returning to Syria. And I can only wish that I had given way to my youthful son, rather than he to his aged father! I pray, therefore, with added earnestness that the punishment of my perversity may not fall on his guiltless head. By my five-and-forty years35 of obedience, by the consulate we held in common,36 as the man who once earned the confidence of your father, the deified Augustus, as the friend who will never ask favour more, I appeal for the life of my unfortunate son.” Of Plancina not a word.
17 1 Tiberius followed by absolving the younger Piso from the charge of civil war, — for “the orders came from a father, and a son could not have disobeyed,” — and at the same time expressed his sorrow for a noble house and the tragic fate of its representative, whatever his merits or demerits. In offering a shamefaced and ignominious apology for Plancina, he pleaded the entreaties of his mother; who in private was being more and more hotly criticized by every person of decency:— “So it was allowable in a grandmother to admit her husband’s murderess to sight and speech, and to rescue her from the senate! The redress which the laws guaranteed to all citizens had been denied to Germanicus alone. The voice of Vitellius and Veranius had bewailed the Caesar: the emperor and Augusta had defended Plancina. It remained to turn those drugs and arts, now tested with such happy results, against Agrippina and her children, and so to satiate this admirable grandmother and uncle with the blood of the whole calamitous house!” Two days were expended on this phantom of a trial, with Tiberius pressing Piso’s sons to defend their mother; and as the accusers and witnesses delivered their competing invectives, without a voice to answer, pity rather than anger began to deepen. The question was put in the first instance to Aurelius Cotta, the consul; for, if the reference came from the sovereign, even the magistrates went through the process of registering their opinion.37 Cotta proposed that the name of Piso should be erased from the records, one half of his property confiscated, and the other made over to his son Gnaeus, who should change his first name;38 that Marcus Piso should be stripped of his senatorial rank, and relegated39 for a period of ten years with a gratuity of five million sesterces: Plancina, in view of the empress’s intercession, might be granted immunity.
18 1 Much in these suggestions was mitigated by the emperor. He would not have Piso’s name cancelled from the records, when the names of Mark Antony, who had levied war on his fatherland,40 and of Iullus Antonius,41 who had dishonoured the hearth of Augustus, still remained. He exempted Marcus Piso from official degradation, and granted him his patrimony: for, as I have often said,42 he was firm enough against pecuniary temptations, and in the present case his shame at the acquittal of Plancina made him exceptionally lenient. So, again, when Valerius Messalinus43 proposed to erect a golden statue in the temple of Mars the Avenger, and Caecina Severus44 an altar of Vengeance, he vetoed the scheme, remarking that these memorials were consecrated after victories abroad; domestic calamities called for sorrow and concealment. Messalinus had added that Tiberius, Augusta, Antonia, Agrippina, and Drusus ought to be officially thanked for their services in avenging Germanicus: Claudius he had neglected to mention. Indeed, it was only when Lucius Asprenas45 demanded point-blank in the senate if the omission was deliberate that the name was appended. For myself, the more I reflect on events recent or remote, the more am I haunted by the sense of a mockery in human affairs. For by repute, by expectancy, and by veneration, all men were sooner marked out for sovereignty than that future emperor whom destiny was holding in the background.
19 1 A few days later, the Caesar recommended the senate to confer priesthoods on Vitellius, Veranius, and Servaeus. To Fulcinius he promised his support, should he become a candidate for preferment, but warned him not to let impetuosity become the downfall of eloquence.
This closed the punitive measures demanded by Germanicus’ death: an affair which, not only to the generation which witnessed it, but in the succeeding years, was a battle-ground of opposing rumours. So true it is that the great event is an obscure event: one school admits all hearsay evidence, whatever its character, as indisputable; another perverts the truth into its contrary; and, in each case, posterity magnifies the error.
Drusus, who had left the capital, in order to regularize his command,46 entered it shortly afterwards with an ovation. A few days later, his mother Vipsania47 died — the only one of all Agrippa’s children whose end was peace. The rest perished, part, it is known, by the sword, part, it was believed, by poison or starvation.
20 1 In the same year, Tacfarinas — whose defeat by Camillus in the previous summer1 I have already mentioned — resumed hostilities in Africa: at first, by desultory raids, too speedy for reprisals; then, by the destruction of villages and by plunder on a larger scale. Finally, he invested a Roman cohort not far from the river Pagyda.2 The position was commanded by Decrius, who, quick in action and experienced in war, regarded the siege as a disgrace. After an address to the men, he drew up his lines in front of the encampment so as to offer battle in the open. As the cohort broke at the first onset, he darted eagerly among the missiles, to intercept the fugitives, cursing the standard-bearers who could see Roman soldiers turn their backs to a horde of undrilled men or deserters. At the same time, he turned his wounded breast and his face — with one eye pierced — to confront the enemy, and continued to fight until he dropped forsaken by his troop.
21 1 When the news reached Lucius Apronius3 (the successor of Camillus), perturbed more by the disgrace of his own troops than by the success of the enemy, he resorted to a measure rare in that period and reminiscent of an older world, drawing by lot and flogging to death every tenth man in the dishonoured cohort.4 And so effective was the severity that, when the same forces of Tacfarinas assaulted a stronghold named Thala,5 they were routed by a company of veterans not more than five hundred in number. During the engagement a private soldier, Helvius Rufus, earned the distinction of saving a Roman life, and was presented by Apronius with the collar and spear: the civic crown was added by the emperor; who regretted, more in sorrow than in anger, that the proconsul had not exercised his power to award this further honour.6 As the Numidians had both lost heart and disdained sieges, Tacfarinas fell back on guerilla warfare, yielding ground when the enemy became pressing, and then returning to harass the rear. Indeed, so long as the African adhered to this strategy, he befooled with impunity the ineffective and footsore Roman. But when he deviated to the coastal district and encumbered himself with a train of booty which kept him near a fixed encampment, Apronius Caesianus, marching at his father’s order with the cavalry and auxiliary cohorts reinforced by the most mobile of the legionaries, fought a successful engagement and chased the Numidians into the desert.
22 1 At Rome, in the meantime, Lepida, who, over and above the distinction of the Aemilian family, owned Sulla and Pompey for great-grandsires, was accused of feigning to be a mother by Publius Quirinius,7 a rich man and childless. There were complementary charges of adulteries, of poisonings, and of inquiries made through the astrologers with reference to the Caesarian house.8 The defence was in the hands of her brother, Manius Lepidus. Despite her infamy and her guilt, Quirinius, by persisting in his malignity after divorcing her,9 had gained her a measure of sympathy. It is not easy to penetrate the emperor’s sentiments during this trial: so adroitly did he invert and confuse the symptoms of anger and of mercy. He began by requesting the senate not to deal with the charges of treason; then he lured the former consul, Marcus Servilius, with a number of other witnesses, into stating the very facts he had apparently wished to have suppressed. Lepida’s slaves, again, were being held in military custody; he transferred them to the consuls, and would not allow them to be questioned under torture upon the issues concerning his own family. Similarly, he exempted Drusus, who was consul designate, from speaking first to the question.10 By some this was read as a concession relieving the rest of the members from the need of assenting: others took it to mark a sinister purpose on the ground that he would have ceded nothing save the duty of condemning.11
23 1 In the course of the Games,12 which had interrupted the trial, Lepida entered the theatre with a number of women of rank; and there, weeping, wailing, invoking her ancestors and Pompey himself, whom that edifice13 commemorated, whose statues were standing before their eyes, she excited so much sympathy that the crowd burst into tears, with a fierce and ominous outcry against Quirinius, to whose doting years, barren bed, and petty family they were betraying a woman once destined for the bride of Lucius Caesar and the daughter-in‑law of the deified Augustus. Then, with the torture of her slaves, came the revelation of her crimes; and the motion of Rubellius Blandus,14 who pressed for her formal outlawry, was carried. Drusus sided with him, though others had proposed more lenient measures. Later, as a concession to Scaurus, who had a son by her, it was decided not to confiscate her property.15 And now at last Tiberius disclosed that he had ascertained from Quirinius’ own slaves that Lepida had attempted their master’s life by poison.
24 1 For the disasters of the great houses (for at no great distance of time Piso had been lost to the Calpurnii and Lepida to the Aemilii) there was some consolation in the return of Decimus Silanus to the Junian family. His mischance deserves a brief retrospect. Fortune, staunch to the deified Augustus in his public life, was less propitious to him at home, owing to the incontinence of his daughter and granddaughter,16 whom he expelled from the capital while penalizing their adulterers by death or banishment.17 For designating as he did the besetting sin of both the sexes by the harsh appellations of sacrilege and treason, he overstepped both the mild penalties of an earlier day and those of his own laws.18 But the fate of other delinquents I shall record together with the general history of that age, should I achieve the task I have set before me and be spared for yet other themes. Decimus Silanus, the lawless lover of Augustus’ granddaughter, though subjected to no harsher penalty than forfeiture of the imperial friendship, realized that the implication was exile; nor was it until the accession of Tiberius that he ventured to appeal to the senate and sovereign through his influential brother, Marcus Silanus,19 whose high descent and eloquence gave him a commanding position. Even so, while Silanus was expressing his gratitude before the senate, Tiberius replied that “he also was glad that his brother had returned from his distant pilgrimage: he had an indefeasible right to do so, as he had been exiled neither by resolution of the senate nor by form of law. At the same time, he retained his father’s objections to him intact; and the repatriation of Silanus had not cancelled the wishes of Augustus.” Accordingly he resided for the future in Rome, but without holding office.
25 1 A motion was then introduced to qualify the terms of the Lex Papia Poppaea.20 This law, complementary to the Julian rogations,21had been passed by Augustus in his later years, in order to sharpen the penalties of celibacy and to increase the resources of the exchequer. It failed, however, to make marriage and the family popular22 — childlessness remained the vogue. On the other hand, there was an ever-increasing multitude of persons liable to prosecution, since every household was threatened with subversion by the arts of the informers; and where the country once suffered from its vices, it was now in peril from its laws. This circumstance suggests that I should discuss more deeply the origin of legislation and the processes which have resulted in the countless and complex statutes of to‑day.
26 1 Primeval man, untouched as yet by criminal passion, lived his life without reproach or guilt, and, consequently, without penalty or coercion: rewards were needless when good was sought instinctively, and he who coveted nothing unsanctioned by custom had to be withheld from nothing by a threat. But when equality began to be outworn, and ambition and violence gained ground in place of modesty and self-effacement, there came a crop of despotisms, which with many nations has remained perennial. A few communities, either from the outset or after a surfeit of kings, decided for government by laws. The earliest specimens were the artless creations of simple minds, the most famous being those drawn up in Crete by Minos, in Sparta by Lycurgus, and in Athens by Solon — the last already more recondite and more numerous. In our own case, after the absolute sway of Romulus, Numa imposed on his people the bonds of religion and a code dictated by Heaven. Other discoveries were due to Tullus and Ancus. But, foremost of all, Servius Tullius became an ordainer of laws, to which kings themselves were to owe obedience.
2723 Upon the expulsion of Tarquin, the commons, to check senatorial factions, framed a large number of regulations for the protection of their liberties or the establishment of concord; the Decemvirs came into being; and, by incorporating the best features of the foreign constitutions, the Twelve Tables were assembled, the final instance of equitable legislation. For succeeding laws, though occasionally suggested by a crime and aimed at the criminal, were more often carried by brute force in consequence of class-dissension — to open the way to an unconceded office, to banish a patriot, or to consummate some other perverted end. Hence our demagogues: our Gracchi and Saturnini, and on the other side a Drusus bidding as high in the senate’s name; while the provincials were alternately bribed with hopes and cheated with tribunician vetoes. Not even the Italian war, soon replaced by the Civil war, could interrupt the flow of self-contradictory legislation; until Sulla, in his dictatorship, by abolishing or inverting the older statutes and adding more of his own, brought the process to a standstill, but not for long. The calm was immediately broken by the Rogations of Lepidus, and shortly afterwards the tribunes were repossessed of their licence to disturb the nation as they pleased. And now bills began to pass, not only of national but of purely individual application, and when the state was most corrupt, laws were most abundant.
28 1 Then came Pompey’s third consulate. But this chosen reformer of society, operating with remedies more disastrous than the abuses, this maker and breaker of his own enactments, lost by the sword what he was holding by the sword. The followed twenty crowded years of discord, during which law and custom ceased to exist: villainy was immune, decency not rarely a sentence of death. At last, in his sixth consulate, Augustus Caesar, feeling his power secure, cancelled the behests of his triumvirate, and presented us with laws to serve our needs in peace and under a prince. Thenceforward the fetters were tightened: sentries were set over us and, under the Papia-Poppaean law, lured on by rewards;24 so that, if a man shirked the privileges of paternity, the state, as universal parent, might step into the vacant inheritance. But they pressed their activities too far: the capital, Italy, every corner of the Roman world, had suffered from their attacks, and the positions of many had been wholly ruined. Indeed, a reign of terror was threatened, when Tiberius, for the fixing of a remedy, chose by lot five former consuls, five former praetors, and an equal number of ordinary senators: a body which, by untying many of the legal knots, gave for the time a measure of relief.
29 1 About the same date,25 he commended Germanicus’ son Nero, who had now entered on man’s estate,26 to the good offices of the Fathers, and taxed the gravity of his audience by asking them to relieve him from the duty of serving on the Vigintivirate27 and to allow his candidature for the quaestorship five years before the legal age.28 His plea was that the same concessions had been voted to himself and his brother at the instance of Augustus. But even then, I should imagine, there must have been some who secretly scoffed at these princely petitions; and yet those were the early days of the Caesarian domination, early custom was more in the eyes of men, and the relationship of a stepfather and his stepsons is a slighter thing than that of a grandfather and a grandchild. Nero was granted a pontificate29 in addition, and on the day of his first entry into the Forum, a largess was distributed to the lower orders, who were overjoyed to see a scion of Germanicus arrived already at maturity. Their delight was soon increased by his marriage with Drusus’ daughter, Julia; but the satisfaction expressed at these events was balanced by a dislike for the choice of Sejanus as the future father-in‑law of the son of Claudius.30 The impression was that the emperor had sullied the dignity of his house, while needlessly exalting Sejanus, who even then was suspected of more than legitimate ambitions.
30 1 At the close of the year, two famous Romans gave up the ghost, Lucius Volusius31 and Sallustius Crispus. Volusius belonged to an old family which, none the less, had never advanced beyond the praetorship. He himself enriched it with the consulate, and, besides discharging the duties of the censorship in the selection of the equestrian decuries,32 became the first accumulator of the wealth which raised the family fortunes to such unmeasured heights. Crispus,33 a knight by extraction, was the grandson of a sister of Gaius Sallustius, the brilliant Roman historian, who adopted him into his family and name. Thus for him the avenue to the great offices lay clear; but, choosing to emulate Maecenas, without holding senatorial rank he outstripped in influence many who had won a triumph or the consulate; while by his elegancy and refinements he was sundered from the old Roman school, and in the ample and generous scale of his establishment approached extravagance. Yet under it all lay a mental energy, equal to gigantic tasks, and all the more active from the display he made of somnolence and apathy. Hence, next to Maecenas, while Maecenas lived, and later next to none, he it was who sustained the burden of the secrets of emperors. He was privy to the killing of Agrippa Postumus;34 but with advancing years he retained more the semblance than the reality of his sovereign’s friendship. The same lot had fallen to Maecenas also, — whether influence, rarely perpetual, dies a natural death, or there comes a satiety, sometimes to the monarch who had no more to give, sometimes to the favourite with no more to crave.
31 1 Now came the fourth consulate of Tiberius and the second of Drusus — a noticeable association of father and son.35 For, three years earlier, the same official partnership of Germanicus and Tiberius had been neither grateful to the uncle nor knit so closely by the ties of blood.
In the beginning of the year, Tiberius, with the professed object of restoring his health, withdrew to Campania; either to train himself step by step for a protracted and continuous absence, or to cause Drusus, through the retirement of his father, to fulfil his consular duties alone. It chanced, indeed, that a trivial affair which developed into a serious conflict supplied the prince with the material of popularity. Domitius Corbulo,36 who had held the praetorship, complained to the senate that the young aristocrat, Lucius Sulla, had not given up his seat to him at a gladiatorial exhibition. On Corbulo’s side were his age, national custom, and the partialities of the older men; Mamercus Scaurus, Lucius Arruntius, and other of Sulla’s connections were active in the opposite cause. There was a sharp exchange of speeches, with references to the example of our ancestors, who had censured youthful irreverence in grave decrees; until Drusus made a speech calculated to ease the tension, and Corbulo was accorded satisfaction by Mamercus, who was at once the uncle of Sulla, his stepfather, and the most fluent orator of that generation.
It was Corbulo, again, who raised the outcry that numbers of roads throughout Italy were broken and impracticable owing to the rascality of the contractors and the remissness of the magistrates.37 He readily undertook to carry out the prosecution; but the results were considered to be less a benefit to the community than a catastrophe to the many whose property and repute suffered from the ruthless condemnations and forced sales.38
32 1 Not long afterwards, a letter from Tiberius apprized the senate that Africa had been disturbed once more by an inroad of Tacfarinas, and that the Fathers were to use their judgment in choosing a proconsul, with military experience, and of a physique adequate to the campaign. Sextus Pompeius improved the occasion by airing his hatred of Marcus Lepidus, whom he attacked as a spiritless and poverty-stricken degenerate, who should consequently be debarred from the Asiatic province as well.39 The senate disapproved: Lepidus, it held, was gentle rather than cowardly; and, as his patrimony was embarrassed, an honoured name carried without reproach was a title of honour, not of disgrace. To Asia accordingly he went; and, as for Africa, it was decided to leave the emperor to choose a man for the post.
33 1 In the course of the debate, Caecina Severus moved that no magistrate, who had been allotted a province, should be accompanied by his wife. He explained beforehand at some length that “he had a consort after his own heart, who had borne him six children: yet he had conformed in private to the rule he was proposing for the public; and, although he had served his forty campaigns40 in one province or other, she had always been kept within the boundaries of Italy. There was point in the old regulation which prohibited the dragging of women to the provinces or foreign countries: in a retinue of ladies there were elements apt, by luxury or timidity, to retard the business of peace or war and to transmute a Roman march into something resembling an Eastern procession. Weakness and a lack of endurance were not the only failings of the sex: give them scope, and they turned hard, intriguing, ambitious. They paraded among the soldiers; they had the centurions at beck and call. Recently a woman had presided at the exercises of the cohorts and the manoeuvres of the legions.41 Let his audience reflect that, whenever a magistrate was on trial for malversation, the majority of the charges were levelled against his wife.42 It was to the wife that the basest of the provincials at once attached themselves; it was the wife who took in hand and transacted business. There were two potentates to salute in the streets; two government-houses; and the more headstrong and autocratic orders came from the women, who, once held in curb by the Oppian43 and other laws, had now cast their chains and ruled supreme in the home, the courts, and by now the army itself.”
34 1 A few members listened to the speech with approval: most interrupted with protests that neither was there a motion on the subject nor was Caecina a competent censor in a question of such importance. He was presently answered by Valerius Messalinus,44 a son of Messala, in whom there resided some echo of his father’s eloquence:— “Much of the old-world harshness had been improved and softened; for Rome was no longer environed with wars, nor were the provinces hostile. A few allowances were now made to the needs of women; but not such as to embarrass even the establishment of their consorts, far less our allies: everything else the wife shared with her husband, and in peace the arrangement created no difficulties. Certainly, he who set about a war must gird up his loins; but, when he returned after his labour, what consolations more legitimate than those of his helpmeet? — But a few women had lapsed into intrigue or avarice. — Well, were not too many of the magistrates themselves vulnerable to temptation in more shapes than one? Yet governors still went out to governorships! — Husbands had often been corrupted by the depravity of their wives. — And was every single man, then, incorruptible? The Oppian laws in an earlier day were sanctioned because the circumstances of the commonwealth so demanded: later remissions and mitigations were due to expediency. It was vain to label our own inertness with another title: if the woman broke bounds, the fault lay with the husband. Moreover, it was unjust that, through the weakness of one or two, married men in general should be torn from their partners in weal and woe, while at the same time a sex frail by nature was left alone, exposed to its own voluptuousness and the appetites of others. Hardly by surveillance on the spot could the marriage-tie be kept undamaged: what would be the case if, for a term of years, it were dissolved as completely as by divorce? While they were taking steps to meet abuses elsewhere, it would be well to remember the scandals of the capital! Drusus added a few sentences upon his own married life:— “Princes not infrequently had to visit the remote parts of the empire. How often had the deified Augustus travelled to west and east with Livia for his companion!45 He had himself made an excursion to Illyricum; and, if there was a purpose to serve, he was prepared to go to other countries — but not always without a pang, if he were severed from the well-beloved wife who was the mother of their many common children.” Caecina’s motion was thus evaded.
35 1 At the next meeting of the senate there was a letter from Tiberius; in which, after an indirect stricture upon the Fathers, “who transferred the whole of their responsibilities to the sovereign,” he nominated Manius Lepidus and Junius Blaesus, either of whom was to be chosen for the proconsulate of Africa. The two were then heard. Lepidus, excusing himself with particular earnestness, pleaded the state of his health, the age of his children, and his now marriageable daughter; while it was also understood, though not said, that Blaesus was Sejanus’ uncle, and therefore too powerful a competitor. The answer of Blaesus was in form a refusal; but it was a refusal less uncompromising, and unanimous flattery assisted him to change his mind.
36 1 Now came the disclosure of a practice whispered in the private complaints of many. There was a growing tendency of the rabble to cast insult and odium on citizens of repute, and to evade the penalty by grasping some object portraying the Caesar.46 The freedmen and slaves, even, were genuinely feared by the patron or the owner against whom they lifted their voices or their hands. Hence a speech of the senator, Gaius Cestius:— “Princes, he admitted, were equivalent to deities; but godhead itself listened only to the just petitions of the suppliant, and no man fled to the Capitol or other sanctuary of the city to make it a refuge subserving his crimes. The laws had been abolished — overturned from the foundations — when Annia Rufilla, whom he had proved guilty of fraud in a court of justice, could insult and threaten him in the Forum, upon the threshold of the curia; while he himself dared not try the legal remedy because of the portrait of the sovereign with which she confronted him.” Similar and, in some cases, more serious experiences, were described by a din of voices around him; and appeals to Drusus, to set the example of punishment, lasted till he gave orders for her to be summoned and imprisoned, after conviction, in the public cells.
37 1 In addition, Considius Aequus and Caelius Cursor, Roman knights, who had laid fictitious charges of treason against the praetor Magius Caecilianus, were at the emperor’s instance punished by decree of the senate. Both incidents were laid to the credit of Drusus; for it was believed that, moving in the capital among the gatherings and conversations of his fellow-men, he had a softening influence on the inscrutable designs of his father. In view of his youth, not even his laxities were too unpopular: better he should follow the bent he did — play the architect47 by day, the epicure by night — than live in solitude, deaf to the voice of pleasure, and immersed in sullen vigilance and sinister meditations.
38 1 For Tiberius and the informers showed no fatigue. Ancharius Priscus had accused Caesius Cordus, proconsul of Crete,48 of malversation: a charge of treason, the complement now of all arraignments, was appended. Antistius Vetus, a grandee of Macedonia, had been acquitted of adultery: the Caesar reprimanded the judges and recalled him to stand his trial for treason, as a disaffected person, involved in the schemes of Rhescuporis during that period after the murder of Cotys when he had meditated war against ourselves.49 The defendant was condemned accordingly to interdiction from fire and water, with a proviso that his place of detention should be an island not too conveniently situated either for Macedonia or for Thrace. For since the partition of the monarchy between Rhoemetalces and the children of Cotys, who during their minority were under the tutelage of Trebellenus Rufus, Thrace — unaccustomed to Roman methods — was divided against herself; and the accusations against Trebellenus were no more violent than those against Rhoemetalces for leaving the injuries of his countrymen unavenged. Three powerful tribes, the Coelaletae, Odrysae, and Dii, took up arms, but under separate leaders of precisely equal obscurity: a fact which saved us from a coalition involving a serious war. One division embroiled the districts at hand; another crossed the Haemus range50 to bring out the remote clans; the most numerous, and least disorderly, besieged the king in Philippopolis, a city founded by Philip of Macedon.51
39 1 On receipt of the news, Publius Vellaeus, who was at the head of the nearest army,52 sent the auxiliary horse and light cohorts to deal with the roving bands who were in quest of plunder or recruits: he himself led the flower of the infantry to raise the siege. Success came everywhere at once: the marauders were put to the sword; differences broke out in the besieging force; the king made an opportune sally, and the legion arrived. Neither battle nor engagement is a term applicable to an affair in which half-armed men and fugitives were butchered with no effusion of Roman blood.
40 1 The same year saw an incipient rebellion among the heavily indebted communities of the Gallic provinces.1 The most active promoters were Julius Florus among the Treviri and Julius Sacrovir among the Aedui. Each was a man of birth, with ancestors whose services had been rewarded by Roman citizenship in years when Roman citizenship was rare and bestowed upon merit only. At secret conferences, taking into their councils every desperado or any wretch whose beggary and guilty fears made crime a necessity, they arranged that Florus should raise the Belgae and Sacrovir the less distant Gauls. And so in assemblies and conventicles they made their seditious pronouncements on the continuous tributes, the grinding rates of interest, the cruelty and pride of the governors:— “The legions were mutinous since the news of Germanicus’ murder, and it was an unequalled opportunity for regaining their independence: they had only to look from their own resources to the poverty of Italy, the unwarlike city population, the feebleness of the armies except for the leavening of foreigners.”
41 1 There was hardly a community in which the seeds of the movement had not fallen; but the first outbreak came from the Andecavi and Turoni.2 p589The former were quelled by the legate Acilius Aviola, who called out a cohort on garrison duty at Lugdunum:3 the Turoni were crushed by a body of legionaries sent by Visellius Varro, the legate of Lower Germany. The commander was again Aviola, supported by several Gaulish chieftains, who brought up auxiliaries with the intention of screening their defection for the moment and unmasking it at a more favourable juncture. Sacrovir himself was there, a conspicuous figure, urging his men to strike for Rome, and bare-headed, — “to let his courage be seen,” he explained. The prisoners, however, charged him with making his identity clear so as to avoid becoming a target for missiles. Tiberius, consulted on the point, rejected the information, and fostered the war by his indecision.
42 1 Meanwhile, Florus pressed on with his designs and endeavoured to induce a troop of horse, enrolled in the neighbourhood of Treves but kept in our service and under our discipline, to open hostilities by a massacre of Roman financiers. A few men were actually won over, but the greater number remained loyal. Apart from these, a rabble of debtors and dependants took up arms, and were making for the forest country known as the Ardennes,4 when they were debarred by the legions which Visellius and Gaius Silius5 had detached from their two armies, by opposite roads, to intercept their march. Julius Indus, a countryman of the insurgents, at feud with Florus and hence the more eager to be of service, was sent ahead with a body of picked men, and dispersed the still orderless multitude. Florus eluded the conquerors in unknown coverts, to fall at last by his own hand, on descrying the soldiers who had occupied every egress.
43 1 So ended the rising as far as the Treviri were concerned. Among the Aedui trouble came in the graver form to be expected from the superior wealth of the community and the remoteness of the suppressing force.6 The tribal capital, Augustodunum,7 had been seized by armed Sacrovir, whose intention was to enlist those cadets of the great Gallic families who were receiving a liberal education at the city-schools, and to use them as pledges for the adhesion of their parents and relatives: simultaneously he distributed weapons, secretly manufactured, among the younger men. His followers amounted to forty thousand; one-fifth armed on the legionary model; the rest with boar-spears, hangers, and other implements of the hunting-field. To these he added a contingent of slaves, destined for the gladiatorial ring and encased in the continuous shell of iron usual in the country:8 the so‑called “cruppelarians” — who, if too weighty to inflict wounds, are impregnably fortified against receiving them. These forces were steadily increased: the neighbouring districts had not as yet openly committed themselves, but private enthusiasm ran high, and relations were strained between the Roman generals, then at issue over the conduct of the campaign, which was claimed by each as his own prerogative. Finally, Varro, now old and weakly, withdrew in favour of Silius, who was still in the prime of life.
44 1 At Rome, however, the tale ran that not the Treviri and Aedui only were in revolt, but the four-and-sixty tribes of Gaul: the Germans had joined the league, the Spains were wavering, and, as in all rumours, every statement was amplified and credited. The patriot, anxious for the commonwealth, grieved; but in many hatred of the existing order and a craving for change were such that they exulted even in their own perils, and lavished reproaches on Tiberius, who, in this convulsion of affairs, could centre his attention on the memoranda of the informers:— “Was Sacrovir also to stand his trial for treason before the senate? At last, men had arisen to check these murderous epistles9by the sword! War itself was a welcome exchange for the horrors of peace.” All the more resolute was his studied unconcern; he made no change of place, none of looks, but maintained his wonted behaviour through all those days, whether from deep reserve or because he had information that the disturbances were of moderate extent and slighter than reported.
45 1 In the meantime, Silius, marching with two legions, had sent forward an auxiliary troop, and was devastating the villages of the Sequani; who lay on the extreme frontier,10 adjoining the Aedui and their allies under arms. Then he moved at full speed upon Augustodunum. The march was a race between the standard-bearers, and even the private soldiers protested angrily against pausing for the usual rest or the long nightly bivouac:— “Let them only see the rebels in front, and be seen: it was enough for victory!” At the twelfth milestone11 Sacrovir and his powers came into view on an open piece of ground. He had stationed his iron-clad men in the van, his cohorts on the wings, his half-armed followers in the rear. He himself, splendidly mounted, amid a group of chieftains, rode up to his troops, reminding them of the ancient laurels of the Gauls, and the reverses they had inflicted upon the Romans; how glorious their freedom, if they conquered; how much more insufferable their bondage, should they be vanquished once again.
46 1 His words were few and to a cheerless audience: for the embattled legions were drawing on; and the undrilled townsmen, new to the trade of war, had little control over their eyes and ears. On the other side — though anticipated hope had removed the need for exhortation — Silius exclaimed that it was an insult to the conquerors of the Germanies to be led as though to meet an enemy and to be confronted with Gauls! “But recently one cohort shattered the rebel Turoni; one troop of horse, the Treviri; a few squadrons of this very army, the Sequani. The richer the Aedui, the more extravagant in their pleasures, the more unwarlike are they; put them to the rout, and have mercy on them when they flee.”12 The answer was returned in a great shout: the cavalry enveloped the flanks, and the infantry attacked the van. On the wings there was no delay; in front, the iron-clad men offered a brief impediment, as their plating was proof against javelin and sword. But the legionaries caught up their axes and picks and hacked at armour and flesh as if demolishing a wall: others overturned the inert masses with poles or forks, and left them lying like the dead without an effort to rise again. Sacrovir, with his staunchest adherents, made his way first to Augustodunum; then, apprehending his surrender, to an adjacent villa. Here he fell by his own hand, the rest by mutually inflicted wounds; the bodies were burnt by the house being fired over them.
47 1 And now at last a letter from Tiberius informed the senate of the outbreak and completion of a war. He neither understated nor overstated the facts, but remarked that the fidelity and courage of his generals, and his own policy, had gained the day. At the same time, he added the reasons why neither Drusus nor himself had left for the campaign, insisting on the extent of the empire and on the loss of prestige to the sovereign if the disaffection of one or two communities could make him abandon the capital, which was the centre of government for the whole. However, now that fear was not the motive-force, he would go, view matters on the spot, and arrange a settlement. The Fathers decreed vows for his return, supplications, and other compliments: Cornelius Dolabella13 alone, intent upon distancing his competitors, carried sycophancy to the absurd point of proposing that he should enter the city from Campania with an ovation. The sequel was a missive from Caesar, who asserted, with a touch of pride, that “after subduing some of the fiercest of nations, and receiving or rejecting so many triumphs in his youth,14 he was not so bankrupt in fame as to court in his age a futile honour conferred for an excursion in the suburbs.”
48 1 About the same time, he asked the senate to allow the death of Sulpicius Quirinius15 to be solemnized by a public funeral. With the old patrician family of the Sulpicii Quirinius — who sprang from the municipality of Lanuvium16 — had no connection; but as an intrepid soldier and an active servant he won a consulate under the deified Augustus, and, a little later, by capturing the Homonadensian strongholds beyond the Cilician frontier,17 earned the insignia of triumph. After his appointment, again, as adviser to Gaius Caesar during his command in Armenia, he had shown himself no less attentive to Tiberius, who was then residing in Rhodes.18 This circumstance the emperor now disclosed in the senate, coupling a panegyric on his good offices to himself with a condemnation of Marcus Lollius,19 whom he accused of instigating the cross-grained and provocative attitude of Gaius Caesar. In the rest of men, however, the memory of Quirinius awoke no enthusiasm, in view of his attempt (already noticed) to ruin Lepida, and the combination of meanness with exorbitant power which had marked his later days.
49 1 At the end of the year, Clutorius Priscus,20 a Roman knight, who had been presented by the emperor with a sum of money in return for a widely circulated poem deploring the death of Germanicus, was attacked by an informer; the charge being that during an illness of Drusus he had composed another set of verses, to be published, in the event of his death, with a yet more lucrative result. Clutorius, with foolish loquacity, had boasted of his performance in the house of Publius Petronius,21 before his host’s mother-in‑law, Vitellia, and many women of rank. When the informer appeared, the rest were terrified into giving evidence; Vitellia alone insisted p601that she had heard nothing. However, the witnesses who supported the fatal charge were considered the more credible; and, on the motion of the consul designate, Haterius Agrippa, the last penalty was invoked against the culprit.
50 1 Opposition came from Manius Lepidus, whose speech ran thus:— “If, Conscript Fathers, we regard one point only, — the enormity of the utterance by which Clutorius Priscus has defiled his own soul and the ears of men, — neither the cell, nor the noose,22 nor even the torments reserved for slaves23 are adequate to his punishment. But if, while vice and crime are limitless, the penalties and remedies of both are tempered by the sovereign’s moderation and by the example of your ancestors and yourselves; if there is a difference between fatuity and villainy, between evil-speaking and evil-doing; then there is room for a proposal which neither leaves the defendant’s guilt unpunished nor gives us cause to rue either our softness or our hardness of heart. Time and again I have heard our prince express his regret when anyone by taking his own life had forestalled his clemency. Clutorius’ life is still intact: he is a man whom to spare can involve no public menace; whom to slay can create no public deterrent. His occupations are as futile and erratic as they are charged with folly; nor can any grave and considerable danger be expected from a person who by betraying his own infamy insinuates himself into the favour not of men but of silly women. Expel him, however, from Rome, confiscate his property, ban him from fire and water: this is my proposal, and I make it precisely as though he were guilty under the law of treason.”24
51 1 A single ex-consul, Rubellius Blandus, concurred with Lepidus: the remainder followed Agrippa’s motion; and Priscus was led to the cells and immediately executed. This promptitude drew a typically ambiguous reprimand from Tiberius in the senate. He commended the loyalty of members, who avenged so sharply insults, however slight, to the head of the state, but deprecated such a hurried punishment of a verbal offence. Lepidus he praised; Agrippa he did not blame. It was therefore resolved that no senatorial decree should be entered in the Treasury before the lapse of nine full days,25 all prisoners under sentence of death to be reprieved for that period. But the senate had not liberty to repent, nor was Tiberius usually softened by the interval.
52 1 The consulate of Gaius Sulpicius26 and Decimus Haterius27 followed: a year of quiet abroad, though at home there was uneasiness against the luxury which had broken all bounds and extended to every object on which money can be squandered. But other extravagances, though actually more serious, could as a rule be kept private by concealing the prices paid: it was the apparatus of gluttony and intemperance which had become the eternal theme of gossip and had awakened anxiety lest a prince of old-world thriftiness might adopt too harsh measures. For, when the point was mooted by Gaius Bibulus, it had been maintained by his fellow-aediles also that the sumptuary law28 was a dead letter; that the prohibited prices for articles of food were rising daily; and that the advance could not be checked by moderate methods. The senate, too, when consulted, had referred the question without any discussion to the emperor. But Tiberius, after debating with himself repeatedly whether it was possible to arrest these uncurbed passions, whether such an arrest might not prove an even greater national evil, and what would be the loss of dignity should he attempt a reform which could not be enforced, or, if enforced, would demand the degradation and disgrace of his most illustrious subjects, finally composed a letter to the senate, the drift of which was as follows:—
53 1 “On other occasions, Conscript Fathers, it is perhaps preferable that, if my opinion is needed on a matter of public policy, the question should be put and answered when I am present; but in this debate it was better that my eyes should be withdrawn; otherwise, through your indicating the anxious features of members who might be charged with indecent luxury, I too might see and, so to speak, detect them. If our active aediles had taken me into their counsels beforehand, I am not sure but that I should have advised them to leave vigorous and full-blown vices alone, rather than force matters to an issue which might only inform the world with what abuses we were powerless to cope. Still, they have done their duty — and I could wish to see every other magistrate as thorough in the discharge of his office. But for myself it is neither honourable to be silent nor easy to be outspoken, because it is not the part of aedile or praetor or consul that I act. Something greater and more exalted is demanded from a prince; and, while the credit of his successes is arrogated by every man to himself, when all err it is one alone who bears the odium. For on what am I to make my first effort at prohibition and retrenchment to the ancient standard? On the infinite expanse of our villas?29 The numbers — the nations — of our slaves?30 The weight of our silver and gold? The miracles of bronze31 and canvas? The promiscuous dress of male and female32 — and the specially female extravagance by which, for the sake of jewels, our wealth is transported to alien or hostile countries?33
54 1 “I am aware that at dinner-parties and social gatherings these things are condemned, and the call is for restriction; but let any one pass a law and prescribe a penalty, and the same voices will be uplifted against ‘this subversion of the state, this death-blow to all magnificence, this charge of which not a man is guiltless’! And yet even bodily ailments, if they are old and inveterate, can be checked only by severe and harsh remedies; and, corrupted alike and corrupting, a sick and fevered soul needs for its relief remedies not less sharp than the passions which inflame it. All the laws our ancestors discovered, all which the deified Augustus enacted, are now buried, those in oblivion, these — to our yet greater shame — in contempt. And this it is that has given luxury its greater boldness. For if you covet something which is not yet prohibited, there is always a fear that prohibition may come; but once you have crossed forbidden ground with impunity, you have left your tremors and blushes behind. — Then why was frugality once the rule? — Because every man controlled himself; because we were burghers of a single town; nor were there even the same temptations while our empire was confined to Italy. By victories abroad we learned to waste the substance of others; by victories at home, our own. How little a thing it is to which the aediles call attention! How trivial, if you cast your eyes around! But, Heaven knows, not a man points out in a motion that Italy depends on external supplies, and that the life of the Roman nation is tossed day after day at the uncertain mercy of wave and wind.34 And if the harvests of the provinces ever fail to come to the rescue of master and slave and farm, our parks and villas will presumably have to support us! That, Conscript Fathers, is a charge which rests upon the shoulders of the prince; that charge neglected will involve the state in utter ruin. For other ills the remedy must be within our own breasts: let improvement come to you and me from self-respect, to the poor from necessity, to the rich from satiety. Or, if there is a magistrate who can promise the requisite energy and severity, I give him my praises and confess my responsibilities lightened. But if it is the way of reformers to be zealous in denouncing corruption, and later, after reaping the credit of their denunciation, to create enmities and bequeath them to myself, then believe me, Conscript Fathers, I too am not eager to incur animosities. True, while they are serious — and often iniquitous — I face them for the sake of the state; but when they are idle, unmeaning, and unlikely to profit myself or you, I beg with justice to be excused.”
55 1 When the Caesar’s epistle had been read, the aediles were exempted from such a task; and spendthrift epicureanism, after being practised with extravagant prodigality throughout the century between the close of the Actian War and the struggle which placed Servius Galba on the throne,35 went gradually out of vogue. The causes of that change may well be investigated.
Formerly aristocratic families of wealth or outstanding distinction were apt to be led to their downfall by a passion for magnificence. For it was still legitimate to court or be courted by the populace, by the provincials, by dependent princes; and the more handsome the fortune, the palace, the establishment of a man, the more imposing his reputation and his clientèle. After the merciless executions,36 when greatness of fame was death, the survivors turned to wiser paths. At the same time, the self-made men, repeatedly drafted into the senate from the municipalities and the colonies, and even from the provinces, introduced the plain-living habits of their own hearths; and although by good fortune or industry very many arrived at an old age of affluence, yet their prepossessions persisted to the end. But the main promoter of the stricter code was Vespasian, himself of the old school in his person and table. Thenceforward, deference to the sovereign and the love of emulating him proved more powerful than legal sanctions and deterrents. Or should we rather say there is a kind of cycle in all things — moral as well as seasonal revolutions? Nor, indeed, were all things better in the old time before us; but our own age too has produced much in the sphere of true nobility and much in that of art which posterity well may imitate. In any case, may the honourable competition of our present with our past long remain!
56 1 Tiberius, now that his check to the onrush of informers1 had earned him a character for moderation, sent a letter to the senate desiring the tribunician power for Drusus. This phrase for the supreme dignity was discovered by Augustus; who was reluctant to take the style of king or dictator, yet desirous of some title indicating his pre-eminence over all other authorities.2 Later, he selected Marcus Agrippa as his partner in that power, then, on Agrippa’s decease,3 Tiberius Nero; his object being to leave the succession in no doubt. In this way, he considered, he would stifle the misconceived hopes of other aspirants; while, at the same time, he had faith in Nero’s self-restraint and in his own greatness. In accordance with this precedent, Tiberius then placed Drusus on the threshold of the empire, although in Germanicus’ lifetime he had held his judgment suspended between the pair. — Now, however, after opening his letter with a prayer that Heaven would prospect his counsels to the good of the realm, he devoted a few sentences, free from false embellishments, to the character of the youth:— “He had a wife and three children; and he had reached the age4 at which, formerly, he himself had been called by the deified Augustus to undertake the same charge. Nor was it in haste, but only after eight years of trial, after mutinies repressed, wars composed, one triumph, and two consulates, that he was now admitted to share a task already familiar.”
57 1 The members had foreseen this pronouncement, and their flatteries were therefore well prepared. Invention, however, went no further than to decree effigies of the princes, altars to the gods, temples, arches, and other time-worn honours. An exception was when Marcus Silanus5 sought a compliment to the principate in a slight to the consulship, and proposed that on public and private monuments the inscription recording the date should bear the names, not of the consuls of the year, but of the persons exercising the tribunician power. Quintus Haterius,6 who moved that the day’s resolutions should be set up in the senate-house in letters of gold, was derided as an old man who could reap nothing from his repulsive adulation save its infamy.
58 1 Meanwhile, after the governorship of Junius Blaesus7 in Africa had been extended, the Flamen Dialis,8 Servius Maluginensis, demanded the allotment of Asia9 to himself. “It was a common fallacy,” he insisted, “that the flamens of Jove were not allowed to leave Italy; nor was his own legal status different from that of the flamens of Mars and Quirinus. If, then, they had had provinces allotted them, why was the right withheld from the priests of Jove? There was no national decree to be found on the point — nothing in the Books of Ceremonies. The pontiffs had often performed the rites of Jove, if the flamen was prevented by sickness or public business. For seventy-five years after the self-murder of Cornelius Merula10 no one had been appointed in his room, yet the rites had not been interrupted. But if so many years could elapse without a new creation, and without detriment to the cult, how much more easily could he absent himself for twelve months of proconsular authority? Personal rivalries had no doubt in former times led the pontiffs to prohibit his order from visiting the provinces: to‑day, by the grace of Heaven, the chief pontiff was also the chief of men,11 beyond the reach of jealousy, rancour, or private inclinations.”
59 1 Since various objections to the argument were raised by the augur Lentulus12 and others, it was determined, in the upshot, to wait for the verdict of the supreme pontiff himself.
Tiberius postponed his inquiry into the legal standing of the flamen, but modified the ceremonies with which it had been resolved to celebrate the tribunician power of Drusus; criticizing specifically the unprecedented motion of Haterius and the gold lettering so repugnant to Roman custom. A letter, too, from Drusus was read, which, though tuned to a modest key, left an impression of extreme arrogance. “So the world,” men said, “had come to this, that even a mere boy, invested with such an honour, would not approach the divinities of Rome, set foot within the senate, or, at the least, take the auspices on his native soil. War, they must assume, or some remote quarter of the world detained him; though at that instant he was perambulating the lakes and beaches of Campania! Such was the initiation of the governor of the human race, these the first lessons derived from the paternal instruction! A grey-haired emperor might, if he pleased, recoil from the view of his fellow-citizens, and plead the fatigue of age and the labours he had accomplished: but, in the case of Drusus, what impediment could there be save pride?”
60 1 Tiberius, however, while tightening his grasp on the solid power of the principate, vouchsafed to the senate a shadow of the past by submitting the claims of the provinces13 to the discussion of its members. For throughout the Greek cities there was a growing laxity, and impunity, in the creation of rights of asylum. The temples were filled with the dregs of the slave population; the same shelter was extended to the debtor against his creditor and to the man suspected of a capital offence; nor was any authority powerful enough to quell the factions of a race which protected human felony equally with divine worship. It was resolved, therefore, that the communities in question should send their charters and deputies to Rome. A few abandoned without a struggle the claims they had asserted without a title: many relied on hoary superstitions or on their services to the Roman nation. It was an impressive spectacle which that day afforded, when the senate scrutinized the benefactions of its predecessors, the constitutions of the provinces, even the decrees of kings whose power antedated the arms of Rome, and the rites of the deities themselves, with full liberty as of old to confirm or change.
61 1 The Ephesians were the first to appear. “Apollo and Diana,” they stated, “were not, as commonly supposed, born at Delos. In Ephesus there was a river Cenchrius, with a grove Ortygia;14 where Latona, heavy-wombed and supporting herself by an olive-tree which remained to that day, gave birth to the heavenly twins. The grove had been hallowed by divine injunction; and there Apollo himself, after slaying the Cyclopes, had evaded the anger of Jove. Afterwards Father Liber, victor in the war, had pardoned the suppliant Amazons who had seated themselves at the altar. Then the sanctity of the temple had been enhanced, with the permission of Hercules, while he held the crown of Lydia; its privileges had not been diminished under the Persian empire; later, they had been preserved by the Macedonians — last by ourselves.”
62 1 The Magnesians,15 who followed, rested their case on the rulings of Lucius Scipio and Lucius Sulla, who, after their defeats of Antiochus and Mithridates respectively,16 had honoured the loyalty and courage of Magnesia by making the shrine of Leucophryne Diana17 an inviolable refuge. Next, Aphrodisias and Stratonicea18 adduced a decree of the dictator Julius in return for their early services to his cause, together with a modern rescript of the deified Augustus, who praised the unchanging fidelity to the Roman nation with which they had sustained the Parthian inroad.19 Aphrodisias, however, was championing the cult of Venus; Stratonicea, that of Jove and Diana of the Crossways. The statement of Hierocaesarea20 went deeper into the past: the community owned a Persian Diana21 with a temple dedicated in the reign of Cyrus; and there were references to Perpenna,22 Isauricus,23 and many other commanders who had allowed the same sanctity not only to the temple but to the neighbourhood for two miles round. The Cypriotes followed with an appeal for three shrines — the oldest erected by their founder Aërias to the Paphian Venus;24 the second by his son Amathus to the Amathusian Venus; and a third by Teucer, exiled by the anger of his father Telamon, to Jove of Salamis.
63 1 Deputations from other states were heard as well; till the Fathers, weary of the details, and disliking the acrimony of the discussion, empowered the consuls to investigate the titles, in search of any latent flaw, and to refer the entire question back to the senate. Their report was that — apart from the communities I have already named — they were satisfied there was a genuine sanctuary of Aesculapius at Pergamum;25 other claimants relied on pedigrees too ancient to be clear. “For Smyrna cited an oracle of Apollo, at whose command the town had dedicated a temple to Venus Stratonicis; Tenos,26 a prophecy from the same source, ordering the consecration of a statue and shrine to Neptune. Sardis touched more familiar ground with a grant from the victorious Alexander; Miletus had equal confidence in King Darius. With these two, however, the divine object of adoration was Diana in the one case, Apollo in the other. The Cretans, again, were claiming for an effigy of the deified Augustus.” The senate, accordingly, passed a number of resolutions, scrupulously complimentary, but still imposing a limit; and the applicants were ordered to fix the brass records actually inside the temples, both as a solemn memorial and as a warning not to lapse into secular intrigue under the cloak of religion.
64 1 About the same time, a serious illness of Julia Augusta made it necessary for the emperor to hasten his return27 to the capital, the harmony between mother and son being still genuine, or their hatred concealed: for a little earlier, Julia, in dedicating an effigy to the deified Augustus not far from the theatre of Marcellus, had placed Tiberius’ name after her own in the inscription;28 and it was believed that, taking the act as a derogation from the imperial dignity, he had locked it in his breast with grave and veiled displeasure. Now, however, the senate gave orders for a solemn intercession and the celebration of the Great Games — the latter to be exhibited by the pontiffs, the augurs, and the Fifteen, assisted by the Seven and by the Augustal fraternities.29 Lucius Apronius had moved that the Fetials30 should also preside at the Games. The Caesar opposed, drawing a distinction between the prerogatives of the various priesthoods, adducing precedents, and pointing out that “the Fetials had never had that degree of dignity, while the Augustals had only been admitted among the others because theirs was a special priesthood of the house for which the intercession was being offered.”
65 1 It is not my intention to dwell upon any senatorial motions save those either remarkable for their nobility or of memorable turpitude; in which case they fall within my conception of the first duty of history — to ensure that merit shall not lack its record and to hold before the vicious word and deed the terrors of posterity and infamy. But so tainted was that age, so mean its sycophancy, that not only the great personages of the state, who had to shield their magnificence by their servility, but all senators of consular rank, a large proportion of the ex-praetors, many ordinary members31 even, vied with one another in rising to move the most repulsive and extravagant resolutions. The tradition runs that Tiberius, on leaving the curia, had a habit of ejaculating in Greek, “These men! — how ready they are for slavery!” Even he, it was manifest, objecting though he did to public liberty, was growing weary of such grovelling patience in his slaves.
66 1 Then, step by step, they passed from the degrading to the brutal. Gaius Silanus, the proconsul of Asia, accused of extortion by the provincials, was attacked simultaneously by the ex-consul Mamercus Scaurus,32 the praetor Junius Otho, and the aedile Bruttedius Niger, who flung at him the charge of violating the godhead of Augustus33 and spurning the majesty of Tiberius, while Mamercus made play with the precedents of antiquity — the indictment of Lucius Cotta by Scipio Africanus,34 of Servius Galba by Cato the Censor,35 of Publius Rutilius by Marcus Scaurus.36 Such, as all men know, were the crimes avenged by Scipio and Cato or the famous Scaurus, the great-grandsire of Mamercus, whom that reproach to his ancestors dishonoured by his infamous activity! Junius Otho’s old profession had been to keep a school; afterwards, created a senator by the influence of Sejanus, by his effrontery and audacity he brought further ignominy, if possible, upon the meanness of his beginnings.37 Bruttedius, amply provided with liberal accomplishments, and bound, if he kept the straight road, to attain all distinctions, was goaded by a spirit of haste, which impelled him to outpace first his equals, then his superiors, and finally his own ambitions: an infirmity fatal to many, even of the good, who, disdaining the sure and slow, force a premature success, though destruction may accompany the prize.38
67 1 The number of the accusers was swelled by Gellius Publicola and Marcus Paconius, the former the quaestor of Silanus, the latter his legate. No doubt was felt that the defendant was guilty on the counts of cruelty and malversation; but there were many additional circumstances, which would have imperilled even the innocent. Over and above the array of hostile senators were the most fluent advocates of all Asia, selected, as such, to press the charge; and to these was replying a solitary man, devoid of forensic knowledge, and beset by that personal fear which enfeebles even professional eloquence: for Tiberius did not scruple to injure his case, by word, by look, by the fact that he himself was most assiduous in his questions, which it was permissible neither to refute nor to elude, while often an admission had to be made, lest the sovereign should have asked in vain. Further, to allow the examination of his slaves under torture, they had been formally sold to the treasury-agent;39 and, lest a single friend should come to his help in the hour of peril, charges of treason were subjoined — a binding and inevitable argument for silence. He requested, therefore, an interval of a few days, and threw up his defence, first hazarding a note to the Caesar in which he had mingled reproaches with petitions.
68 1 Tiberius, in order that the measures he was preparing against Silanus might come with the better grace through being supported by a precedent, ordered the bill in which the deified Augustus had indicted Volesus Messala,40 another proconsul of Asia, to be read aloud, together with the decree registered against him by the senate. He then asked Lucius Piso for his opinion. After a long preface devoted to the sovereign’s clemency, he declared for the outlawry of Silanus from fire and water and his relegation to the isle of Gyarus.41 So, too, the others; with the exception of Gnaeus Lentulus, who moved that, so far as the property of Silanus had been derived from his mother, it should, as she came of the Atian house,42 be treated as distinct from the rest and restored to his son.
69 1 Tiberius approved; but Cornelius Dolabella, to pursue the sycophancy further, proposed, after an attack on Silanus’ character, that no man of scandalous life and bankrupt reputation should be eligible for a province, the decision in such cases to rest with the emperor. “For delinquencies were punished by the law; but how much more merciful to the delinquent, how much better for the provincial, to provide against all irregularities beforehand!” The Caesar spoke in opposition:— “True, the reports with regard to Silanus were not unknown to him; but judgments could not be based on rumour. Many a man by his conduct in his province had reversed the hopes or fears entertained concerning him: some natures were roused to better things by great position, others became sluggish. It was neither possible for a prince to comprehend everything within his own knowledge, nor desirable that he should be influenced by the intrigues of others. The reason why laws were made retrospective towards the thing done was that things to be were indeterminable. It was on this principle their forefathers had ruled that, if an offence had preceded, punishment should follow; and they must not now overturn a system wisely invented and always observed. Princes had enough of burdens — enough, even, of power: the rights of the subject shrank as autocracy grew; and, where it was possible to proceed by form of law, it was a mistake to employ the fiat of the sovereign.” This democratic doctrines were hailed with a pleasure answering to their rarity on the lips of Tiberius. He himself, tactful and moderate when not swayed by personal anger, added that “Gyarus was a bleak and uninhabited island. Out of consideration for the Junian house and for a man once their peer, they might allow him to retire to Cythnus43 instead. This was also the desire of Silanus’ sister Torquata, a Vestal of old-world saintliness.” The proposal was adopted without discussion.44
70 1 Later, an audience was given to the Cyrenaeans, and Caesius Cordus was convicted of extortion on the arraignment of Ancharius Priscus.45 Lucius Ennius, a Roman knight, found himself indicted for treason on the ground that he had turned a statuette of the emperor to the promiscuous uses of household silver.46 The Caesar forbade the entry of the case for trial, though Ateius Capito47 protested openly and with a display of freedom: for “the right of decision ought not to be snatched from the senate, nor should so grave an offence pass without punishment. By all means let the sovereign be easy-tempered in a grievance of his own; but injuries to the state he must not condone!” Tiberius understood this for what it was, rather than for what it purported to be, and persisted in his veto. The degradation of Capito was unusually marked, since, authority as he was on secular and religious law, he was held to have dishonoured not only the fair fame of the state but his personal good qualities.
71 1 A problem in religion now presented itself: in what temple were the knights to lodge the offering vowed, in connection with Augusta’s illness, to Equestrian Fortune? For though shrines to Fortune were plentiful in the city, none carried the epithet in question.48 It was found that there was a temple of the name at Antium,49 and that all sacred rites in the country towns of Italy, with all places of worship and divine images, were subject to the jurisdiction and authority of Rome. At Antium, accordingly, the gift was placed.
And since points of religion were under consideration, the Caesar produced his recently deferred answer50 to the Flamen Dialis, Servius Maluginensis; and read a pontifical decree, according to which the Flamen, whenever attacked by illness, might at the discretion of the supreme pontiff absent himself for more than two nights, so long as it was not on days of public sacrifice nor oftener than twice in one year. The ruling thus laid down in the principate of Augustus showed that a year’s absence and a provincial governorship were not for the flamens of Jupiter. Attention was also called to a precedent set by the supreme pontiff, Lucius Metellus; who had vetoed the departure of the Flamen, Aulus Postumius.51 Asia, therefore, was allotted to the consular next in seniority to Maluginensis.
72 1 Nearly at the same time, Marcus Lepidus asked permission from the senate to strengthen and decorate the Basilica of Paulus,52 a monument of the Aemilian house, at his own expense. Public munificence was a custom still; nor had Augustus debarred a Taurus, a Philippus, or a Balbus53 from devoting the trophies of his arms or the overflow of his wealth to the greater splendour of the capital and the glory of posterity: and now Lepidus, a man of but moderate fortune, followed in their steps by renovating the famous edifice of his fathers. On the other hand, the rebuilding of the Theatre of Pompey, destroyed by a casual fire, was undertaken by Caesar, on the ground that no member of the family was equal to the task of restoration: the name of Pompey was, however, to remain. At the same time, he gave high praise to Sejanus, “through whose energy and watchfulness so grave an outbreak had stopped at one catastrophe.” The Fathers voted a statue to Sejanus, to be placed in the Theatre of Pompey.54 Again, a short time afterwards, when he was honouring Junius Blaesus, proconsul of Africa, with the triumphal insignia, he explained that he did so as a compliment to Sejanus, of whom Blaesus was uncle. — None the less the exploits of Blaesus deserved such a distinction.
73 1 For Tacfarinas,55 in spite of many repulses, having first recruited his forces in the heart of Africa, had reached such a pitch of insolence as to send an embassy to Tiberius, demanding nothing less than a territorial settlement for himself and his army, and threatening in the alternative a war from which there was no extrication. By all accounts, no insult to himself and the nation ever stung the emperor more than this spectacle of a deserter and bandit aping the procedure of an unfriendly power. “Even Spartacus,56 after the annihilation of so many consular armies, when his fires were blazing through an Italy unavenged while the commonwealth reeled in the gigantic conflicts with Sertorius and Mithridates, — even Spartacus was not accorded a capitulation upon terms. And now, at the glorious zenith of the Roman nation, was this brigand Tacfarinas to be bought off by a peace and a cession of lands?” He handed over the affair to Blaesus; who, while inducing the other rebels to believe they might sheathe the sword with impunity, was to capture the leader by any means whatsoever. Large numbers came in under the amnesty. Then, the arts of Tacfarinas were met by a mode of warfare akin to his own.
74 1 Since it was noticed that the African, overmatched in solid fighting strength but more expert in the petty knaveries of war, operated with a number of bands, first attacking, then vanishing, and always manoeuvring for an ambuscade, arrangements were made for three forward movements and three columns to execute them. One, in charge of the legate Cornelius Scipio, held the road by which the enemy raided the Leptitanians57 and then fell back upon the Garamantians. On another side, the younger Blaesus58 marched with his own division to prevent the hamlets of Cirta59 from being ravaged with impunity. In the centre, with the flower of the troops, was the commander himself; who, by securing the appropriate positions with fortresses or entrenchments, had rendered the whole district cramped and dangerous for his enemies. Turn where they would, they found some part of the Roman forces — on the front, on the flank, often in the rear; and numbers were destroyed or entrapped by these methods. Next, he subdivided his tripartite army into yet more numerous detachments, headed by centurions of tested courage. Not even when summer was spent would he fall in with custom by withdrawing his men and quartering them for a winter’s rest in the Old Province.60 Precisely as though he stood on the threshold of a campaign, he arranged his chain of forts, and with flying columns of men familiar with the deserts kept hounding Tacfarinas from one desert camp to another; until at last, after capturing the renegade’s brother, he returned; too hastily, however, for the interests of the province, since he left those behind him who were capable of resuscitating the war. Tiberius, however, chose to treat it as ended, and even conferred on Blaesus the privilege of being saluted Imperator by his legions: a time-honoured tribute to generals who, after a successful campaign, were acclaimed by the joyful and spontaneous voice of a conquering army. Several might hold the title simultaneously, nor did it raise them above an equality with their colleagues. It was awarded in a few cases even by Augustus;61 and now for the last time Tiberius assigned it to Blaesus.
75 1 This year saw the passing of two famous men: one, Asinius Saloninus, distinguished as the grandson of Marcus Agrippa and Asinius Pollio, as the brother of Drusus, and as the destined consort of the Caesar’s grandchild;62 the other, Ateius Capito, on whom I have touched already.63 By his eminence as a jurist he had won the first position in the state; but his grandfather had been one of Sulla’s centurions, nor had his father risen above a praetorship. His consulate had been accelerated by Augustus, so that the prestige of that office should give him an advantage over Antistius Labeo, a commanding figure in the same profession. For that age produced together two of the glories of peace;64 but, while Labeo’s uncompromising independence assured him the higher reputation with the public, the pliancy of Capito was more to the taste of princes. The one, because he halted at the praetorship, won respect by his ill-treatment; the other, because he climbed to the consulate, reaped hatred from a begrudged success.
76 1 Junia, too, born niece to Cato, wife of Caius Cassius, sister of Marcus Brutus,65 looked her last on life, sixty-three full years after the field of Philippi. Her will was busily discussed by the crowd; because in disposing of her great wealth she mentioned nearly every patrician of note in complimentary terms, but omitted the Caesar. The slur was taken in good part, and he offered no objection to the celebration of her funeral with a panegyric at the Rostra and the rest of the customary ceremonies. The effigies of twenty great houses preceded her to the tomb — members of the Manlian and Quinctian families, and names of equal splendour. But Brutus and Cassius shone brighter than all by the very fact that their portraits were unseen.