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II.1‑26

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Annals

of
Tacitus

published in Vol. III
of the Loeb Classical Library edition of Tacitus, 1931

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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II.47‑88

(Vol. III) Tacitus
Annals

Book II (continued)

p423 27 1 Nearly at the same time, a charge of revolutionary activities was laid against Libo Drusus,1 a member of the Scribonian family. I shall describe in some detail the origin, the progress, and the end of this affair, as it marked the discovery of the system destined for so many years to prey upon the vitals of the commonwealth. Firmius Catus, a senator, and one of Libo's closest friends, had urged that short-sighted youth, who had a foible for absurdities, to resort to the forecasts of astrologers, the ritual of magicians, and the society of interpreters of dreams; pointing to his great-grandfather Pompey, to his great-aunt Scribonia (at one time the consort of Augustus), to his cousinship with the Caesars, and to his mansion crowded with ancestral portraits; encouraging him in his luxuries and loans; and, to bind him in a yet stronger chain of evidence, sharing his debaucheries and his embarrassments.

28 1 When he had found witnesses enough, and slaves to testify in the same tenor, he asked for p425an interview with the sovereign, to whom the charge and the person implicated had been notified by Vescularius Flaccus,2 a Roman knight on familiar terms with Tiberius. The Caesar, without rejecting the information, declined a meeting, as "their conversations might be carried on through the same intermediate, Flaccus." In the interval, he distinguished Libo with a praetorship and several invitations to dinner. There was no estrangement on his brow, no hint of asperity in his speech: he had buried his anger far too deep. He could have checked every word and action of Libo: he preferred, however, to know them. At length, a certain Junius, solicited by Libo to raise departed spirits by incantations,3 carried his tale to Fulcinius Trio.4 Trio's genius, which was famous among the professional informers, hungered after notoriety. He swooped immediately on the accused, approached the consuls, and demanded a senatorial inquiry. The Fathers were summoned, to deliberate (it was added) on a case of equal importance and atrocity.

29 1 Meanwhile, Libo changed into mourning, and with an escort of ladies of quality made a circuit from house to house, pleading with his wife's relatives, and conjuring them to speak in mitigation of his danger, — only to be everywhere refused on different pretexts and identical grounds of alarm. On the day the senate met, he was so exhausted by fear and distress — unless, as some accounts have it, he counterfeited illness — that he was borne to the doors of the Curia in a litter, and, leaning on his brother, extended his hands and his appeals to Tiberius, by p427whom he was received without the least change of countenance. The emperor then read over the indictment and the names of the sponsors, with a self-restraint that avoided the appearance of either palliating or aggravating the charges.

30 1 Besides Trio and Catus, Fonteius Agrippa and Gaius Vibius had associated themselves with the prosecution, and it was disputed which of the four should have the right of stating the case against the defendant. Finally, Vibius announced that, as no one would give way and Libo was appearing without legal representation, he would take the counts one by one.5 He produced Libo's papers, so fatuous that, according to one, he had inquired of his prophets if he would be rich enough to cover the Appian Road as far as Brundisium with money. There was more in the same vein, stolid, vacuous, or, if indulgently read, pitiable. In one paper, however, the accuser argued, a set of marks, sinister or at least mysterious, had been appended by Libo's hand to the names of the imperial family and a number of senators. As the defendant denied the allegation, it was resolved to question the slaves, who recognized the handwriting, under torture;6 and, since an old decree prohibited their examination in a charge affecting the life of their master, Tiberius, applying his talents to the discovery of a new jurisprudence, ordered them to be sold individually to the treasury agent: all to procure servile evidence against a Libo, without overriding a senatorial decree! In view of this, the accused asked for an adjournment till the next day, and left for home, after commissioning his relative, Publius Quirinius, to make a final appeal to the emperor.

p429 31 1 The reply ran, that he must address his petitions to the senate. Meanwhile, his house was picketed by soldiers; they were tramping in the portico itself, within eyeshot and earshot, when Libo, thus tortured at the very feast which he had arranged to be his last delight on earth, called out for a slayer,7 clutched at the hands of his slaves, strove to force his sword upon them. They, as they shrank back in confusion, overturned lamp and table together; and he, in what was now for him the darkness of death, struck two blows into his vitals. He collapsed with a moan, and his freedmen ran up: the soldiers had witnessed the bloody scene, and retired.

In the senate, however, the prosecution was carried through with unaltered gravity, and Tiberius declared on oath that, guilty as the defendant might have been, he would have interceded for his life, had he not laid an over-hasty hand upon himself.

32 1 His estate was parcelled out among the accusers, and extraordinary praetorships were conferred on those of senatorial status. Cotta Messalinus then moved that the effigy of Libo should not accompany the funeral processions of his descendants; Gnaeus Lentulus, that no member of the Scribonian house should adopt the surname of Drusus. Days of public thanksgiving were fixed at the instance of Pomponius Flaccus. Lucius Piso, Asinius Gallus, Papius Mutilus, and Lucius Apronius procured a decree that votive offerings should be made to Jupiter, Mars, and Concord; and that the thirteenth of September, the anniversary of Libo's suicide, should rank as a festival. This union of sounding names and sycophancy I have recorded as showing how long that evil has been rooted in the State. — p431Other resolutions of the senate ordered the expulsion of the astrologers8 and magic-mongers from Italy. One of their number, Lucius Pituanius, was flung from the Rock; another — Publius Marcius — was executed by the consuls outside the Esquiline Gate according to ancient usage9 and at sound of trumpet.

33 1 At the next session, the ex-consul, Quintus Haterius,10 and Octavius Fronto, a former praetor, spoke at length against the national extravagance; and it was resolved that table-plate11 should not be manufactured in solid gold, and that Oriental silks should no longer degrade the male sex. Fronto went further, and pressed for a statutory limit to silver, furniture, and domestics: for it was still usual for a member to precede his vote by mooting any point which he considered to be in the public interest. Asinius Gallus opposed:— "With the expansion of the empire, private fortunes had also grown; nor was this new, but consonant with extremely ancient custom. Wealth was one thing with the Fabricii, another with the Scipios; and all was relative to the state. When the state was poor, you had frugality and cottages: when it attained a pitch of splendour such as the present, the individual also throve. In slaves or plate or anything procured for use there was neither excess nor moderation except with reference to the means of the owner. Senators and knights had a special property p433qualification,12 not because they differed in kind from their fellow-men, but in order that those who enjoyed precedence in place, rank, and dignity should enjoy it also in the easements that make for mental peace and physical well-being. And justly so — unless your distinguished men, while saddled with more responsibilities and greater dangers, were to be deprived of the relaxations compensating those responsibilities and those dangers." — With his virtuously phrased confession of vice, Gallus easily carried with him that audience of congenial spirits. Tiberius, too, had added that it was not the time for a censorship, and that, if there was any loosening of the national morality, a reformer would be forthcoming.

34 1 During the debate, Lucius Piso, in a diatribe against the intrigues of the Forum, the corruption of the judges, and the tyranny of the advocates with their perpetual threats of prosecution, announced his retirement — he was migrating from the capital, and would live his life in some sequestered, far-away country nook. At the same time, he started to leave the Curia. Tiberius was perturbed; and, not content with having mollified him by a gentle remonstrance, induced his relatives also to withhold him from departure by their influence or their prayers. — It was not long before the same Piso gave an equally striking proof of the independence of his temper by obtaining a summons against Urgulania, whose friendship with the ex-empress had raised her above the law. Urgulania declined to obey, and, ignoring Piso, drove to the imperial residence: her antagonist, likewise, stood his ground, in spite of Livia's complaint that his act was an outrage and humiliation to herself. Tiberius, who p435reflected that it would be no abuse of his position to indulge his mother up to the point of promising to appear at the praetorian court and lend his support to Urgulania, set out from the palace, ordering his guards to follow at a distance. The people, flocking to the sight, watched him while with great composure of countenance he protracted the time and the journey by talking on a variety of topics, until, as his relatives failed to control Piso, Livia gave orders for the sum in demand to be paid. This closed an incident of which Piso had some reason to be proud, while at the same time it added to the emperor's reputation. For the rest, the influence of Urgulania lay so heavy on the state that, in one case on trial before the senate, she disdained to appear as a witness, and a praetor was sent to examine her at home, although the established custom has always been for the Vestal Virgins, when giving evidence, to be heard in the Forum and courts of justice.

35 1 Of this year's adjournment13 I should say nothing, were it not worth while to note the divergent opinions of Gnaeus Piso and Asinius Gallus on the subject. Piso, although the emperor had intimated that he would not be present, regarded it as a further reason why public business should go forward, so that the ability of the senators and knights to carry out their proper duties in the absence of the sovereign might redound to the credit of the state. Forestalled by Piso in this show of independence, Gallus objected that business, not transacted under the immediate eye of their prince, lacked distinction and fell short of the dignity of the Roman people; and for that reason the concourse p437of Italy and the influx from the provinces ought to be reserved for his presence. The debate was conducted with much vigour on both sides, while Tiberius listened and was mute: the adjournment, however, was carried.

36 1 Another passage of arms arose between Gallus and the Caesar. The former moved that the elections should determine the magistrates for the next five years,14 and that legionary commanders, serving in that capacity before holding the praetorship, should become praetors designate at once, the emperor nominating twelve candidates for each year. There was no doubt that the proposal went deeper than this, and trespassed on the arcana of sovereignty. Tiberius, however, replied by treating it as an extension of his own prerogative:— "To his moderate temper it was an ungrateful task to mete out so many appointments and disappointments. Even on the annual system, it was difficult to avoid offences, though hope of office in the near future softened the rebuff: how much odium must he incur from those whom he threw aside for above five years! And how could it be foreseen what would be the frame of mind, the family, the fortune of each over so long an interval of time? Men grew arrogant enough even in the twelve months after nomination: what if they had a whole quinquennium in which to play the official? The proposal actually multiplied the number of magistrates by five, and subverted the laws which had fixed the proper periods for exercising the industry of candidates and for soliciting or enjoying preferment." With this speech, which outwardly had a popular appearance, he kept his hold upon the essentials of sovereignty.

p439 37 1 In addition, he gave monetary help to several senators; so that it was the more surprising when he treated the application of the young noble, Marcus Hortalus, with a superciliousness uncalled for in view of his clearly straitened circumstances. He was a grandson of the orator Hortensius; and the late Augustus, by the grant of a million sesterces,15 had induced him to marry and raise a family, in order to save his famous house from extinction. With his four sons, then, standing before the threshold of the Curia, he awaited his turn to speak; then, directing his gaze now to the portrait of Hortensius among the orators (the senate was meeting in the Palace),16 now to that of Augustus, he opened in the following manner:— "Conscript Fathers, these children whose number and tender age you see for yourselves, became mine not from any wish of my own, but because the emperor so advised, and because, at the same time, my ancestors had earned the right to a posterity. For to me, who in this changed world had been able to inherit nothing and acquire nothing, — not money, nor popularity, nor eloquence, that general birthright of our house, — to me it seemed enough if my slender means were neither a disgrace to myself nor a burden to my neighbour. At the command of the sovereign, I took a wife; and here you behold the stock of so many consuls, the offspring of so many dictators!17 I say it, not to awaken odium, but to woo compassion. Some day, Caesar, under your happy sway, they will wear whatever honours you have chosen to bestow: in the meantime, rescue from beggary the great-grandsons of Quintus Hortensius, the fosterlings of the deified Augustus!"

p441 38 1 The senate's inclination to agree incited Tiberius to a more instant opposition. His speech in effect ran thus:— "If all the poor of the earth begin coming here and soliciting money for their children, we shall never satisfy individuals, but we shall exhaust the state. And certainly, if our predecessors ruled that a member, in his turn to speak, might occasionally go beyond the terms of the motion and bring forward a point in the public interest, it was not in order that we should sit here to promote our private concerns and personal fortunes, while rendering the position of the senate and its head equally invidious whether they bestow or withhold their bounty. For this is no petition, but a demand — an unseasonable and unexpected demand, when a member rises in a session convened for other purposes, puts pressure on the kindly feeling of the senate by a catalogue of the ages and number of his children, brings the same compulsion to bear indirectly upon myself, and, so to say, carries the Treasury by storm though, if we drain it by favouritism, we shall have to refill it by crime. The deified Augustus gave you money, Hortalus; but not under pressure, nor with a proviso that it should be given always. Otherwise, if a man is to have nothing to hope or fear from himself, industry will languish, indolence thrive, and we shall have the whole population waiting, without a care in the world, for outside relief, incompetent to help itself, and an incubus to us." These sentences and the like, though heard with approval by the habitual eulogists of all imperial actions honourable or dishonourable, were by most received with silence or a suppressed murmur. Tiberius felt the chill, and, after a short p443pause, observed that Hortalus had had his answer; but, if the senate thought it proper, he would present each of his male children with two hundred thousand sesterces. Others expressed their thanks; Hortalus held his peace: either his nerve failed him, or even in these straits of fortune he clung to the traditions of his race. Nor in the future did Tiberius repeat his charity, though the Hortensian house kept sinking deeper into ignominious poverty.

39 1 In the same year, the country, but for prompt measures, would have been plunged into faction and civil war by the hardihood of a solitary serf. Clemens by name, he was the slave of Agrippa Postumus;18 but there was nothing servile in the imagination which, on the news of Augustus' death, conceived the idea of making for the isle of Planasia, rescuing Agrippa by fraud or force, and conveying him to the armies of Germany. The tardy movement of a cargo-boat interfered with his venture; and since in the meantime the execution had been carried out, he fell back on a more ambitious and precarious scheme; purloined the funeral ashes; and sailing to Cosa,19 a promontory on the Etruscan coast, vanished into hiding until his hair and beard should have grown: for in age and general appearance he was not unlike his master. Then, through fitting agents, partners in his secret, a report that Agrippa lived began to circulate; at first, in whispered dialogues, as is the way with forbidden news; soon, in a rumour which ran wherever there were fools with open ears, or malcontents with the usual taste for revolution. He himself took to visiting the provincial towns in the dusk of the day. He was never to be seen in the open, and never overlong p445in one neighbourhood: rather, as truth acquires strength by publicity and delay, falsehood by haste and incertitudes, he either left his story behind him or arrived in advance of it.

40 1 Meanwhile, it was rumoured through Italy that Agrippa had been saved by the special grace of Heaven: at Rome the rumour was believed. Already huge crowds were greeting his arrival in Ostia, already there were clandestine receptions in the capital itself, when the dilemma began to distract Tiberius:— Should he call in the military to suppress one of his own slaves, or leave this bubble of credulity to vanish with the mere lapse of time? Tossed between shame and alarm, he reflected one moment that nothing was despicable; the next, that not everything was formidable. At last he handed over the affair to Sallustius Crispus,20 who chose two of his clients (soldiers according to some accounts) and instructed them to approach the pretender in the character of accomplices, offer him money, and promise fidelity whatever the perils. These orders they carried out: then, waiting for a night when the impostor was off his guard, they took an adequate force and haled him, chained and gagged, to the palace. To the inquiry of Tiberius, how he turned himself into Agrippa, he is said to have answered: "As you turned yourself into a Caesar."21 He could not be forced to divulge his confederates. Nor did Tiberius hazard a public execution, but gave orders for him to be killed in a secret quarter of the palace, and the body privately removed: and notwithstanding that many of the imperial household, as well as knights and senators, were said to have given him the support of their wealth and the benefit of their advice, no investigation followed.

p447 41 1 The close of the year saw dedicated an arch near the temple of Saturn22 commemorating the recovery, "under the leadership of Germanicus the auspices of Tiberius," of the eagles lost with Varus;23 a temple to Fors Fortuna on the Tiber bank, in the gardens which the dictator Caesar had bequeathed to the nation;24 a sanctuary to the Julian race, and an effigy to the deity of Augustus, at Bovillae.25

In the consulate of Gaius Caelius26 and Lucius Pomponius, Germanicus Caesar, on the twenty-sixth day of May, celebrated his triumph over the Cherusci, the Chatti, the Angrivarii, and the other tribes lying west of the Elbe. There was a procession of spoils and captives, of mimic mountains, rivers, and battles; and the war, since he had been forbidden to complete it, was assumed to be complete. To the spectators the effect was heightened by the noble figure of the commander himself, and by the five children who loaded his chariot. Yet beneath lay an unspoken fear, as men reflected that to his father Drusus the favour of the multitude had not brought happiness — that Marcellus, his uncle,27 had been snatched in youth from the ardent affections of the populace — that the loves of the Roman nation were fleeting and unblest!

42 1 For the rest, Tiberius, in the name of Germanicus, made a distribution to the populace of three hundred sesterces a man: as his colleague in the consulship he nominated himself. All this, however, won him no credit for genuine affection, and he decided to remove the youth under a show of honour; some of the pretexts he fabricated, others he accepted as chance offered. For fifty p449years King Archelaus had been in possession of Cappadocia;28 to Tiberius a hated man, since he had offered him none of the usual attentions during his stay in Rhodes.29 The omission was due not to insolence, but to advice from the intimates of Augustus; for, as Gaius Caesar was then in his heyday and had been despatched to settle affairs in the East, the friendship of Tiberius was believed unsafe. When, through the extinction of the Caesarian line, Tiberius attained the empire, he lured Archelaus from Cappadocia by a letter of his mother; who, without dissembling the resentment of her son, offered clemency, if he came to make his petition. Unsuspicious of treachery, or apprehending force, should he be supposed alive to it, he hurried to the capital, was received by an unrelenting sovereign, and shortly afterwards was impeached in the senate. Broken, not by the charges, which were fictitious, but by torturing anxiety, combined with the weariness of age and the fact that to princes even equality — to say nothing of humiliation — is an unfamiliar thing, he ended his days whether deliberately or in the course of nature. His kingdom was converted into a province; and the emperor, announcing that its revenues made feasible a reduction of the one per cent sale-tax,30 fixed it for the future at one half of this amount. — About the same time, the death of the two kings, Antiochus of Commagene31 and Philopator of Cilicia,32 disturbed the peace of their countries, where the majority of men desired a Roman governor, and the minority a monarch. The provinces, too, of Syria and Judaea, p451exhausted by their burdens, were pressing for a diminution of the tribute.

43 1 These circumstances, then, and the events in Armenia, which I mentioned above, were discussed by Tiberius before the senate. "The commotion in the East," he added, "could only be settled by the wisdom of Germanicus: for his own years were trending to their autumn, and those of Drusus were as yet scarcely mature."33 There followed a decree of the Fathers, delegating to Germanicus the provinces beyond the sea, with powers overriding, in all regions he might visit, those of the local governors holding office by allotment or imperial nomination. Tiberius, however, had removed Creticus Silanus34 from Syria — he was a marriage connection of Germanicus, whose eldest son, Nero, was plighted to his daughter — and had given the appointment to Gnaeus Piso, a man of ungoverned passions and constitutional insubordinacy. For there was a strain of wild arrogance in the blood — a strain derived from his father Piso; who in the Civil War lent strenuous aid against Caesar to the republican party during its resurrection in Africa, then followed the fortunes of Brutus and Cassius, and, on the annulment of his exile, refused to become a suitor for office, until approached with a special request to accept a consulate proffered by Augustus. But, apart from the paternal temper, Piso's brain was fired by the lineage and wealth of his wife Plancina:35 to Tiberius he accorded a grudging precedence; upon his children he looked down as far beneath him. p453Nor did he entertain a doubt that he had been selected for the governorship of Syria in order to repress the ambitions of Germanicus.36 The belief has been held that he did in fact receive private instructions from Tiberius; and Plancina, beyond question, had advice from the ex-empress, bent with feminine jealousy upon persecuting Agrippina. For the court was split and torn by unspoken preferences for Germanicus or for Drusus. Tiberius leaned to the latter as his own issue and blood of his blood. Germanicus, owing to the estrangement of his uncle, had risen in the esteem of the world; and he had a further advantage in the distinction of his mother's family, among whom he could point to Mark Antony for a grandfather and to Augustus for a great-uncle. On the other hand, the plain Roman knight, Pomponius Atticus, who was great-grandfather to Drusus,37 seemed to reflect no credit upon the ancestral effigies of the Claudian house; while both in fecundity and in fair fame Agrippina, the consort of Germanicus, ranked higher than Drusus' helpmeet, Livia.38 The brothers, however, maintained a singular unanimity, unshaken by the contentions of their kith and kin.

44 1 Shortly afterwards, Drusus was despatched to Illyricum, in order to serve his apprenticeship to war and acquire the favour of the army. At the same time, Tiberius believed that the young prince, who was running riot among the extravagances of the capital, was better in camp,39 and that he himself p455would be all the safer with both his sons at the head of legions. The pretext, however, was a Suebian40 request for help against the Cherusci: for, now that the Romans had withdrawn and the foreign menace was removed, the tribes — obedient to the national custom, and embittered in this case by their rivalry in prestige — had turned their weapons against each other. The power of the clans and the prowess of their leaders were upon a level; but while his kingly title rendered Maroboduus unpopular with his countrymen, Arminius aroused enthusiasm as the champion of liberty.

45 1 The result was that not only the veteran soldiery of Arminius — the Cherusci and their confederates — took up the campaign, but even from the dominions of Maroboduus two Suebian tribes, the Semnones and Langobardi,41 revolted to his cause. This accession assured him the preponderance, had not Inguiomerus42 with a band of his retainers deserted to the enemy, for the sole reason that as an old man and an uncle he scorned to obey the youthful son of his brother. Hope ran high on both sides as the lines of battle drew up, no longer to the old German accompaniment of charges either desultory or executed by scattered parties: for their long campaigns against ourselves had accustomed them to follow their standards, to secure their main body by reserves, and to give attention to their generals' orders. So, in this instance, Arminius on horseback passed in review the whole of his forces, and, as he came to the several divisions, pointed to the liberties they had recovered, the legions they had butchered, and the spoils and spears, torn from Roman dead, which many of them carried in their p457hands. Maroboduus, in contrast, was described as "the fugitive who, without one stricken field, had lain safe in the coverts of the Hercynian Forest43 and then sued for a treaty with gifts and embassies, a betrayer of his country, a satellite of the Caesar; whom it was their duty to expel with as little compunction as they felt when they slew Quintilius Varus. Let them only recall the series of their stricken fields! The issue of those, and the final ejection of the Romans showed plainly enough with whom had rested the mastery in the war!"

46 1 Nor could Maroboduus refrain from a panegyric upon himself and an invective against the enemy, but holding Inguiomarus by the hand, "There was but one person," he declared, "in whom resided the whole glory of the Cherusci — by whose counsels had been won whatsoever success they had achieved! Arminius was a fool, a novice in affairs, who usurped another man's fame, because by an act of perfidy he had entrapped three straggling legions and a commander who feared no fraud: a feat disastrous to Germany and disgraceful to its author, whose wife and child were even yet supporting their bondage. For himself, when he was attacked by twelve legions, with Tiberius at their head, he had kept the German honour unstained, and soon afterwards the combatants had parted on equal terms:44 nor could he regret that it was now in their power to choose with Rome either a war uncompromised or a bloodless peace!" Fired by the oratory, the armies were stimulated also by motives of their own, as the Cherusci and Langobardi were striking for ancient p459fame or recent liberty; their adversaries for the extension of a realm. No field ever witnessed a fiercer onset or a more ambiguous event; for on both sides the right wing was routed. A renewal of the conflict was expected, when Maroboduus shifted his camp to the hills. It was the sign of a beaten man; and stripped gradually of his forces by desertions, he fell back upon the Marcomani45 and sent a deputation to Tiberius asking assistance. The reply ran that "to invoke the Roman arms against the Cherusci was not the part of a man who had brought no help to Rome when she was herself engaged against the same enemy." Drusus, however, as we have mentioned, was sent out to consolidate a peace.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Seneca's epigram (Epp. 70.10) deserves quotation:— Adulescens tam stolidus quam nobilis, maiora sperans quam illo saeculo quisquam sperare poterat aut ipse ullo.

2 See VI.10.

3 In order to question them as to the future. An interesting account of the procedure may be found in Heliodorus, Aeth. VI sub fin.

4 His subsequent career may be traced from III.9 and 19; V.11; VI.4 and 38.

5 So that Libo could answer each immediately, and no continuous speech would be needed on either side.

6 Otherwise their testimony was not admissible.

7 A professional whose hand would be steadier than his own. So Nero Spiculum murmillonem vel quemlibet percussorem, cuius manu periret, requisivit (Suet. Ner. 47).

8 Genus hominum potentibus infidum, sperantibus fallax, quod in civitate nostra et vetabitur semper et retinebitur (Hist. I.22). For another decree — atrox et inritum — see XII.52; for Tiberius' interest in the art, and Tacitus' verdict upon it, VI.20 sqq.; and for a large collection of literary and historical references, Mayor on Juv. XIV.248.

9 The procedure, unknown to Nero (Suet. Ner. 49) and rare enough to be an interesting spectacle to the antiquarian Claudius (Claud. 34) was decapitation.

10 The famous and now aged orator: see I.13, III.57, and the short notice in IV.61.

11 As distinct from vessels consecrated to religious uses.

12 The former, one million sesterces; the latter, four hundred thousand.

13 The vacation of the senate and law-courts. In this case, the embarrassing point was that, if the vacation was arranged to coincide with the absence of the emperor, it would coincide also with the presence in the capital of a multitude of Italians and provincials with important legal business, public or private, to transact.

14 If the motion were carried, the elections would continue to be held annually. At the first, however, all magistracies for the next five years would be allotted; at the second (held in the following year) those for the fifth year from that date; and so indefinitely. But, if the holders of all magistracies were unalterably predetermined for five years, the result must obviously be not only to fetter the inclinations of the sovereign to an appreciable extent, but to render the prospective officials, whose position was secure in advance, considerably less pliant than would otherwise have been the case.

15 The senatorial census (see I.75).

16 In the Latin library of the Palatium (Suet. Aug. 29; D. Cass. LIII.1), where the senate was frequently convened in the declining years of Augustus. For the portrait-medallions of the orators see chap. 83 below.

17 The list, in reality, only includes one dictator, one consul, and a consul designate.

18 See above, I.3, 5, 6.

19 In reality, the town at the neck of the promontory Mons Argentarius (M. Argentaro), which lay a little to the southeast of Planasia (Pianosa), and a few miles from Igilium (Giglio).

20 See I.6 and III.30.

21 If not per uxorium ambitum et senili adoptione (I.7), at least by methods not more discreditable.

22 In the Forum, near the Golden Milestone.

Thayer's Note: See the article Arcus Tiberii in Platner & Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome.

23 See I.60 and II.25: the third was only recovered under Claudius (D. Cass. LX.8).

24 On the right bank of the Tiber.

Thayer's Note: See the article Horti Caesaris in Platner & Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome.

25 In Latium, some little distance west of the head of the Alban Lake. The long-standing connection of the Julii with the town was due to the fact that traditionally it was planted from Alba Longa, itself founded by Iulus.

26 This name and C. Caecilius are equally well attested: for a possible explanation, see Nipperdey ad loc.

27 Marcellus (half-brother of Germanicus' mother) died at the age of twenty (21 B.C.); Drusus at that of thirty (9 B.C.).

28 The sentence, to be exact, must be taken as reverting to the accession of Tiberius (14 A.D.): for it was in 36 B.C. that Archelaus (grandson and namesake of Sulla's antagonist in the Mithridatic War) was pressed by Antony with the kingdom of Cappadocia; to which Augustus had subsequently added Lesser Armenia and part of Cilicia.

29 See I.4.

30 See I.78.

31 This little kingdom, a remnant of the Seleucian empire, lay pent in between Cappadocia on the north, Syria on the south, Cilicia on the west, and the Euphrates on the East; the capital being Lucian's birthplace, Samosata. The country was important only as commanding the passage of the Upper Euphrates.

32 Philopator's sovereignty, however, extended only to a petty principality in the east of the country.

33 The statement is rather highly coloured: for Tiberius was only fifty-nine years of age, Germanicus thirty-one, and Drusus twenty-nine.

34 See above, chap. 4.

35 Munatia Plancina (D. Cass. LVIII.22); presumably a daughter of the celebrated L. Munatius Plancus — morbo proditor — to whom Horace addresses the ode Laudabunt alii e.q.s. (I.7).

36 "The proudest member of one of the noblest houses yet left, he had spoken out in the senate (I.74) and had perhaps been noted by Augustus as dangerous (I.13). Yet his wife stood high in the favour of Augustus, and he could hardly be passed over in the award of provinces. It is reasonable to suppose that the one mistrust was set against the other, that he was to be some check on his young 'imperator,' who, in turn, was to check him by an 'imperium maius' on the spot." — Furneaux.

37 Agrippa's first wife was Pomponia, daughter of Cicero's friend. The child of the union was Vipsania Agrippina, first wife of Tiberius and mother of Drusus.

38 Sister of Germanicus and Claudius; first cousin, wife, and poisoner of Drusus.

39 See III.32 (and perhaps I.76).

40 See I.44.

41 East of the Elbe, north of Bohemia.

42 See I.60.

43 i.e. in Bohemia.

44 The reference is to the events of 6 A.D., when the decision was taken to crush the new and formidable power created by Marbod. A double invasion of Bohemia in overwhelming force was about to be launched when the operations were effectively arrested by the great revolt of Pannonia and Dalmatia, which appeared to threaten Italy itself. To the accidental nature of his deliverance Marbod naturally does not here allude: Arminius had done so above in the words proeliorum expertem.

45 Presumably "the men of the marches"; a powerful tribe, driven by the campaigns of Germanicus' father from the banks of the Main into Bohemia, from which they expelled the Celtic inhabitants.


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