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III.1‑19

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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III.40‑55

(Vol. III) Tacitus
Annals

Book III (continued)

p553 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 p555front 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 p557had 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 p559would 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 p561at 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." p563Accordingly 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,21 had 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 p565and 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 p567war, 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 p569equal 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 p571gave 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 p573of 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 p575property 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 p577regulation 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; p579for 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 p581infrequently 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 p583whom 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 p585Cordus, 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 p587roving 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.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 As in chap. 11, the words priore aestate are probably interpolated: at all events, Camillus' defeat of Tacfarinas took place in 17 A.D. (see II.52).

2 The stream is otherwise unknown.

3 I.56; 72; II.32; III.64; IV.13; 22; 73; VI.30; XI.19. The numismatic evidence fixes his proconsulate of Africa for the years 18‑20 A.D.

4 Sporadic cases of "decimation" crop up till a much later period. The practice dated traditionally from Appius Claudius (Liv. II.59 fin.).

5 In Tunis.

6 The torques and "headless spear" (hasta pura) were usual military decorations: the "civic crown" of oak-leaves was, on the other hand, the most coveted and most sparingly awarded of all such distinctions. It was, in fact, a standing emblem of the imperial house, though declined by Tiberius (Suet. Tib. 26): The indispensable conditions were that the recipient should be a Roman citizen; that he should have saved the life of a Roman on the battle-field; that he should have slain an enemy in so doing; and that he should not have fallen back from the ground on which his exploit was performed (Plin. H.N. XVI.4; Gell. V.6). Since Africa was unique among senatorial provinces in that the proconsul had a legion under him, Apronius would have been within his rights in conferring the crown: otherwise, its bestowal would have rested with the emperor (see XV.12). From a still extant inscription we gather that Helvius took the cognomen "Civica," rose to be leading-centurion, and presented baths to his fellow-townsmen of Varia (Vicovaro, near Tivoli).

Thayer's Note: The inscription is CIL 14.03472 (= CIL05.*00802), and reads

Marcus Helvius Marci filius Camilia Rufus
Civica primus pilus
balneum
municipibus et incolis
dedit

7 See the obituary notice in chap. 48.

8 A treasonable offence: for other allusions to it see XII.22 and 52; XVI.14 and 30; and above II.27.

9 The malignity lay in the fact that the divorce had taken place years ago.

10 See the note on chap. 17.

11 They argued that Drusus was only the mouthpiece of his father: if then, measures were taken to prevent his speaking first, the only possible inference was that Tiberius was bent upon a conviction and desired to escape the odium of proposing it through his son.

12 Probably the Ludi Romani magni (Sept. 4‑19).

13 The great Theatre of Pompey in the Campus Martius; completed in 55 B.C.

14 See VI.27.

15 She had presumably married Scaurus (insignis nobilitate et orandis causis, vita probrosus, VI.29) after her divorce from Quirinius. Confiscation usually followed upon the "interdiction from fire and water" — exile, in the rigour of the term.

16 For the elder Julia see I.53, note; for her daughter, IV.71.

17 Death in the case of Iullus Antonius (I.10); banishment in that of Silanus and Gracchus (I.53).

18 The lex Iulia de adulteriis (II.50).

19 The future father-in‑law of Caligula (VI.20, note).

20 Passed in 9 A.D. during the term of office of the consules suffecti M. Papius Mutilus and Q. Poppaeus Secundus — both childless and indeed unmarried (D. Cass. LVI.10).

21 The lex Iulia de maritandis ordinibus of 18 B.C., with regard to which the prayers of Horace were not answered (Carm. saec. 17‑20).

22 Torrentius on Suet. Aug. 34 cites Tertullian's description (Apol. 4):— vanissimas Papias leges.

23 The principal dates for this and the next chapter are the following:— 451 B.C. Patrician decemviri legibus scribundis, superseding all magistrates, publish ten "Tables" (fons omnis publici privatique iuris, Liv. III.34). 450 B.C. Two tables (iniquissimae according to Cicero) added by second body of decemvirs, half plebeian in composition. — 133 B.C. Tribunate, agrarian law, and death of Tiberius Gracchus. 123 B.C. Tribunate and legislation of C. Gracchus. 122 B.C. Second tribunate and further legislation of C. Gracchus. The senate employ M. Livius Drusus to outbid him for popular favour. 121 B.C. First senatus consultum ultimum. Massacre of Gracchus and his adherents. — 100 B.C. Sixth consulate of Marius. Violent demagogic agitation of L. Apuleius Saturninus and C. Servilius Glaucia. Second senatus consultum ultimum: Marius suppresses Saturninus and Glaucia. — 91 B.C. Far-reaching and popular proposals of the tribune M. Livius Drusus (son of the one mentioned above). His assassination and failure to enfranchise the Italian allies precipitate the Social War (91‑88 B.C.). 88‑82 B.C. Sulla and Marius. Dictatorship of Sulla (82 B.C.). 81 B.C. "Cornelian Laws" of Sulla. (The tribunes are left with little more than a restricted right of veto.) 79 B.C. Abdication of Sulla, who dies next year. 78 B.C. M. Aemilius Lepidus begins the attempt to overthrow the Sullan constitution. 70 B.C. The powers of the tribunate restored by Pompey and Crassus. — 52 B.C. Chaos at Rome (Clodius, Milo, etc.). Pompey appointed consul for third time (without a colleague). 49 B.C. Outbreak of war between Caesar and Pompey. 48 B.C. Defeat and death of Pompey, 48‑28 B.C. 'Continua per viginti annos discordia.' 27 B.C. Seventh consulate of Octavian, who receives the name Augustus. Formal establishment of the principate.

24 At this time more than a quarter of the property falling to the exchequer as a result of their activities (Suet. Ner. 10).

25 Still in 20 A.D.

26 He was probably born in 6 A.D.

27 A collective term for the four inferior magistrates (comprising in all 20 members), one of which must normally be held before the quaestorship.

28 The twenty-fifth year.

29 It is shown by inscriptions that the pontificate was held, not by Nero, but by his brother Drusus.

30 Only an informal arrangement for the future, since Sejanus' daughter must have been little more than an infant: see V.9. The actual betrothal took place later, but was followed within a few days by the death of Claudius' son (Suet. Claud. 27).

31 L. Volusius Saturninus, consul (suffectus) 12 B.C.; proconsul of Africa 6 B.C.; legate of Syria 5 A.D.

32 His duty (probably as one of a commission of three appointed by Augustus) was to draw up and arrange the list of knights competent to serve as jurors.

33 See Hor. Carm. II.2.

34 See I.6.

35 The association was ominous as well as remarkable. For the list of Tiberius' colleagues in the consulate runs:— Quintilius Varus (13 B.C.), Cn. Piso (7 B.C.), Germanicus (18 A.D.), Drusus (21 A.D.), Sejanus (31 A.D.). See D. Cass. LVII.20.

36 He must have been an older man than the celebrated general of Claudius and Nero — possibly his father, though the question is not free from difficulties.

37 The magistrates in question were the curatores viarum, a body reorganized, if not created, by Augustus.

38 The roads, it would seem, were put in order at the expense of the curators and contractors. If they were unable to meet the resultant demands for money, their property was auctioned. For the subsequent history of the obscure episode see D. Cass. LIV.15 and LX.17.

39 The two great governorships still within the bestowal of the senate were those of Asia and Africa, which were normally assigned to the two doyens among the ex-consuls, the particular province to be held by each being determined by lot. But since, in this case, the destination of Africa is to be settled not by lot, but iudicio patrum, there remains only Asia; which should automatically fall to Lepidus as the senior ex-consul (he had held office in 6 A.D. with L. Arruntius, and for one reason or other had already been passed over five times).

40 Either this is a round number for forty-one or quadragesimum (I.64) for thirty-ninth: for the campaign of 16 A.D. was now to be reckoned.

41 The allusion, of course, is to Plancina (II.55): later, Caecina might have found a more scandalous example in the wife of Calvisius Sabinus (Hist. I.48).

42 The statement would seem to be exaggerated: for a similar view, compare Juv. VIII.128‑30.

43 The lex Oppia, directed mainly against extravagance in dress, was passed as a measure of economy in the Hannibalian War, but was rescinded twenty years later (see Liv. XXXIV init.).

44 I.8, III.18. His father was the famous orator, soldier, littérateur and politician, M. Valerius Messala Corvinus, the friend of Tibullus, of Horace, and, in his old age, of Tiberius, who took him as the model of his Latinity (Suet. Tib. 70).

45 It is doubtful, however, whether he would have allowed the precedent as valid: see Suet. Aug. 24.

46 For the right of asylum attached to a statue of the emperor, compare the advice given to Agrippina (IV.67 fin.). According to Suetonius — whatever the statement may be worth — matters went so far that it became a capital offence, circa Augusti simulacrum servum cecidisse, vestimenta mutasse (cf. D. Cass. LXVII.12), nummo vel anulo effigiem impressam (cf. Philostr. 18 Ol.) latrinae aut lupanari intulisse (Suet. Tib. 58).

47 The mania for building was such as amply to justify the manuscript reading here. Literary references to it are very numerous: see for instance, Hor. Carm. II.15; Hor. Sat. II.3.306; below, chap. 53. To a request for a loan an all-sufficient answer was "aedifico" (Mart. IX.46).

48 Strictly of Crete and Cyrene, the two having been combined by Augustus into a single senatorial province.

49 See II.64‑67.

50 The Balkans.

51 In 342 B.C. The town, in the upper valley of the Maritza, has retained its importance and — at all events, till 1918 — the name of its founder (Turk. Filibé).

Thayer's Note: Now Plovdiv; the second-largest city in Bulgaria.

52 In Moesia — north of the Balkans. Vellaeus must have succeeded Pomponius Flaccus (II.66).


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