Short URL for this page:

[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Clicca hic ad Latinam paginam legendam.]

[image ALT: Faire clic ici pour une traduction française.]

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

[image ALT: link to previous section]
Book II
Chs. 59‑93

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Roman History

C. Velleius Paterculus

published in the Loeb Classical Library,

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!

[image ALT: a blank space]

Velleius Paterculus, Roman History

 p247  Book II: Chapters 94‑131

94 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] At this period Tiberius Claudius Nero, in his nineteenth year, began his public life as quaestor. I have already told how, when he was three years of age, his mother Livia, the daughter of Drusus Claudianus, had become the wife of Caesar, her  p249 former husband, Tiberius Nero, himself giving her in marriage to him.​214 2 Nurtured by the teaching of eminent praeceptors, a youth equipped in the highest degree with the advantages of birth, personal beauty, commanding presence, an excellent education combined with native talents, 3 Tiberius gave early promise of becoming the great man he now is, and already by his look revealed the prince. Now, acting on the orders of his stepfather, he so skilfully regulated the difficulties of the grain supply and relieved the scarcity of cornº at Ostia and in the city that it was apparent from his execution of this commission how great he was destined to become. 4 Shortly afterwards he was sent by his stepfather with an army to visit the eastern provinces and restore them to order, and in that part of the world gave splendid illustration of all his strong qualities. Entering Armenia with his legions, he brought it once more under the sovereignty of the Roman people, and gave the kingship to Artavasdes. Even the king of the Parthians, awed by the reputation of so great a name, sent his own children as hostages to Caesar.

95 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] On Nero's return Caesar resolved to test his powers in a war of no slight magnitude. In this work he gave him as a collaborator his own brother Drusus Claudius, to whom Livia gave birth when already in the house of Caesar. The two brothers attacked the Raeti and Vindelici from different directions, 2 and after storming many towns and strongholds, as well as engaging successfully in pitched battles, with more danger than real loss to the Roman army, though with much bloodshed on the part of the enemy, they thoroughly subdued  p251 these races,​215 protected as they were by the nature of the country, difficult of access, strong in numbers, and fiercely warlike.

3 Before this had occurred the censor­ship of Plancus and Paulus, which, exercised as it was with mutual discord, was little credit to themselves or little benefit to the state, for the one lacked the force, the other the character, in keeping with the office; Paulus was scarcely capable of filling the censor's office, while Plancus had only too much reason to fear it, nor was there any charge which he could make against young men, or hear others make, of which he, old though he was, could not recognize himself as guilty.

96 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Then occurred the death of Agrippa.​216 Though a "new man" he had by his many achievements brought distinction upon his obscure birth, even to the extent of becoming the father-in‑law217 of Nero;​218 and his sons, the grandsons of the emperor, had been adopted by Augustus under the names of Gaius and Lucius. His death brought Nero closer to Caesar, since his daughter Julia, who had been the wife of Agrippa, now married Nero.

2 Shortly after, the Pannonian war, which had been begun by Agrippa in the consulate of your grandfather, Marcus Vinicius, was conducted by Nero, a war which was important and formidable enough, and on account of its proximity a menace to Italy. In another place I shall describe the tribes of the Pannonians and the races of Dalmatians, the situation of their country and its rivers, 3 the number and extent of their forces, and the many glorious victories won in the course of this war by this great  p253 commander; my present work must keep to its design. After achieving this victory Nero celebrated an ovation.219

97 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] But while everything was being successfully managed in this quarter of the either, a disaster received in Germany under Marcus Lollius the legate — he was a man who was ever more eager for money than for honest action, and of vicious habits in spite of his excessive efforts at concealment — and the loss of the eagle of the fifth legion, summoned Caesar from the city to the provinces of Gaul. 2 The burden of responsibility for this war​220 was then entrusted to Drusus Claudius, the brother of Nero, a young man endowed with as many great qualities as men's nature is capable of receiving or application developing. It would be hard to say whether his talents were the better adapted to a military career or the duties of life; at any rate, the charm and the sweetness of his character are said to have been inimitable, 3 and also his modest attitude of equality towards his friends. As for his personal beauty, it was second only to that of his brother. But, after accomplishing to a great extent the subjection of Germany, in which much blood of that people was shed on various battle-fields, an unkind fate carried him off during his consul­ship, in his thirtieth year. 4 The burden of responsibility for this war was then transferred to Nero. He carried it on with his customary valour and good fortune, and after traversing every part of Germany in a victorious campaign, without any loss of the army entrusted to him — for he made this one of his chief concerns — he so subdued the country as to reduce it almost to the status of a tributary  p255 province. He then received a second triumph, and a second consul­ship.

98 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] While the events of which we have spoken were taking place in Pannonia and in Germany, a fierce rebellion arose in Thrace, and all its clans were aroused to arms. It was terminated by the valour of Lucius Piso, whom we still have with us to‑day as the most vigilant and at the same time the gentlest guardian of the security of the city. 2 As lieutenant of Caesar he fought the Thracians for three years, and by a succession of battles and sieges, with great loss of life to the Thracians, he brought these fiercest of races to their former state of peaceful subjection. By putting an end to this war he restored security to Asia and peace to Macedonia. Of Piso all must think and say that his character is an excellent blend of firmness and gentleness, 3 and that it would be hard to find anyone possessing a stronger love of leisure, or, on the other hand, more capable of action, and of taking the necessary measures without thrusting his activity upon our notice.

99 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Soon afterwards Tiberius Nero, who had now held two consul­ships and celebrated two triumphs; who had been made the equal of Augustus by sharing with him the tribunician power; the most eminent of all Roman citizens save one (and that because he wished it so); the greatest of generals, attended alike by fame and fortune; veritably the second luminary and the second head of the state — 2 this man, moved by some strangely incredible and inexpressible feeling of affection for Augustus, sought leave from him who was both his father-in‑law and stepfather to rest from the unbroken succession of his labours.​221 The real  p257 reasons for this were soon made plain. Inasmuch as Gaius Caesar had already assumed the toga of manhood, and Lucius was reaching maturity, he concealed his reason in order that his own glory might not stand in the way of the young men at the beginning of their careers. 3 I must reserve for my regular history a description of the attitude of the state at this juncture, of the feelings of the individual citizens, of the tears of all at taking leave of such a man, and how nearly the state came to laying upon him its staying hand. 4 Even in this brief epitome I ought to say that all who departed for the provinces across the sea, whether proconsuls or governors appointed by the emperor, went out of their way to see him at Rhodes, and on meeting him they lowered their fasces to him though he was but a private citizen — if such majesty could ever belong to a private citizen — thereby confessing that his retirement was more worthy of honour than their official position.

100 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The whole world felt the departure of Nero from his position as protector of the city. The Parthian, breaking away from his alliance with us, laid hold of Armenia, and the eyes of its conqueror were no longer upon it.

2 But in the city, in the very year in which Augustus, then consul with Gallus Caninius​222 (thirty years ago), had sated to repletion the minds and eyes of the Roman people with the magnificent spectacle of a gladiatorial show and a sham naval battle on the occasion of the dedication of the temple of Mars,​223 a calamity broke out in the emperor's own household which is shameful to narrate and dreadful to  p259 recall. 3 For his daughter Julia, utterly regardless of her great father and her husband, left untried no disgraceful deed untainted with either extravagance or lust of which a woman could be guilty, either as the doer or as the object, and was in the habit of measuring the magnitude of her fortune only in the terms of licence to sin, setting up her own caprice as a law unto itself. 4 Iulus Antonius, who had been a remarkable example of Caesar's clemency, only to become the violator of his household, avenged with his own hand​224 the crime he had committed. After the defeat of Marcus Antonius, his father, Augustus had not only granted him his life, but after honouring him with the priesthood, the praetor­ship, the consul­ship, and the governor­ship of provinces, had admitted him to the closest ties of relation­ship through a marriage with his sister's daughter.​225 5 Quintius Crispinus also, who hid his extraordinary depravity behind a stern brow, Appius Claudius, Sempronius Gracchus, Scipio, and other men of both orders but of less illustrious name, suffered the penalty which they would have paid had it been the wife of an ordinary citizen they had debauched instead of the daughter of Caesar and the wife of Nero. Julia was banished to an island​226 and removed from the eyes of her country and her parents,​227 though her mother Scribonia accompanied her and employed with her as a voluntary companion of her exile.

101 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Shortly after this Gaius Caesar, who had previously made a tour of other provinces, but only as a visitor, was dispatched to Syria. On his way he first paid his respects to Tiberius Nero, whom  p261 he treated with all honour as his superior. In his province he conducted himself with such versatility as to furnish much material for the panegyrist and not a little for the critic. On an island in the Euphrates, with an equal retinue on each side, Gaius had a meeting with the king of the Parthians, a young man of distinguished presence. This spectacle of the Roman army arrayed on one side, the Parthian on the other, 2 while these two eminent leaders not only of the empires they represented but also of mankind thus met in conference — truly a notable and a memorable sight — 3 it was my fortunate lot to see early in my career as a soldier, when I held the rank of tribune. I had already entered upon this grade of the service under your father, Marcus Vinicius, and Publius Silius in Thrace and Macedonia; later I visited Achaia and Asia and all the eastern provinces, the outlet of the Black Sea and both its coasts, and it is not without feelings of pleasure that I recall the many events, places, peoples, and cities. As for the meeting, first the Parthian dined with Gaius upon the Roman bank, and later Gaius supped with the king on the soil of the enemy.

102 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] It was at this time that there were revealed to Caesar, through the Parthian king, the traitorous designs, revealing a crafty and deceitful mind, of Marcus Lollius, whom Augustus had desired to be the adviser of his still youthful son; and gossip spread the report abroad. In regard to his death, which occurred within a few days, I do not know whether it was accidental or voluntary. But the joy which people felt at this death was equalled by the sorrow which the state felt long afterwards at the decease in the same province of Censorinus,  p263 a man born to win the affections of men. 2 Then Gaius entered Armenia and at first conducted his campaign with success; but later, in a parley near Artagera, to which he rashly entrusted his person, he was seriously wounded by a man named Adduus, so that, in consequence, his body became less active, and his mind of less service to the state. 3 Nor was there lacking the companion­ship of persons who encouraged his defects by flattery — for flattery always goes hand in hand with high position — as a result of which he wished to spend his life in a remote and distant corner of the world rather than return to Rome. Then, in the act of returning to Italy, after long resistance and still against his will, he died​228 in a city of Lycia which they call Limyra, his brother Lucius having died about a year before​229 at Massilia on his way to Spain.

103 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] But fortune, which had removed the hope of the great name of Caesar,​230 had already restored to the state her real protector; for the return of Tiberius Nero from Rhodes in the consul­ship of Publius Vinicius, your father, and before the death of either of these youths, had filled his country with joy. Caesar Augustus did not long hesitate, 2 for he had no need to search for one to choose as his successor but merely to choose the one who towered above the others. 3 Accordingly, what he had wished to do after the death of Lucius but while Gaius was still living, and had been prevented from doing by the strong opposition of Nero himself, he now insisted upon carrying out after the death of both young men, namely, to make Nero his  p265 associate in the tribunician power, in spite of his continued objection both in private and in the senate; and in the consul­ship of Aelius Catus and Gaius Sentius,​231 on the twenty-seventh of June, he adopted him, seven hundred and fifty-four years after the founding of the city, and twenty-seven years ago. The rejoicing of that day, the concourse of the citizens, 4 their vows as they stretched their hands almost to the very heavens, and the hopes which they entertained for the perpetual security and the eternal existence of the Roman empire, I shall hardly be able to describe to the full even in my comprehensive work, much less try to do it justice here. 5 I shall simply content myself with stating what a day of good omen it was for all. On that day there sprang up once more in parents the assurance of safety for their children, in husbands for the sanctity of marriage, in owners for the safety of their property, and in all men the assurance of safety, order, peace, and tranquillity; indeed, it would have been hard to entertain larger hopes, or to have them more happily fulfilled.

104 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] On the same day Marcus Agrippa, to whom Julia had given birth after the death of Agrippa, was also adopted by Augustus; but, in the case of Nero, an addition was made to the formula of adoption in Caesar's own words: "This I do for reasons of state." 2 His country did not long detain at Rome the champion and the guardian of her empire, but forthwith dispatched him to Germany, where, three years before, an extensive war had broken out in the governor­ship of that illustrious man, Marcus Vinicius, your grandfather. Vinicius had carried on this war with success in some quarters,  p267 and in others had made a successful defence, and on this account there had been decreed to him the ornaments of a triumph​232 with an honorary inscription recording his deeds.

3 It was at this time that I became a soldier in the camp of Tiberius Caesar, after having previously filled the duties of the tribunate. For, immediately after the adoption of Tiberius, I was sent with him to Germany as prefect of the cavalry. Succeeding my father in that position, and for nine continuous years as prefect of cavalry or as commander of a legion I was a spectator of his superhuman achievements, and further assisted in them to the extent of my modest ability. I do not think that mortal man will be permitted to behold again a sight like that which I enjoyed, when, throughout the most populous parts of Italy and the full extent of the provinces of Gaul, the people as they beheld once more their old commander, who by virtue of his services had long been a Caesar before he was such in name, congratulated themselves in even heartier terms than they congratulated him. 4 Indeed, words cannot express the feelings of the soldiers at their meeting, and perhaps my account will scarcely be believed — the tears which sprang to their eyes in their joy at the sight of him, their eagerness, their strange transports in saluting him, their longing to touch his hand, and their inability to restrain such cries as "Is it really you that we see, commander?" "Have we received you safely back among us?" "I served with you, general, in Armenia!" "And I in Raetia!" "I received my decoration from you in Vindelicia!" "And I mine in Pannonia!" "And I in Germany!"

 p269  105 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] He at once entered Germany.​233 The Canninefates, the Attuarii,​a and Bructeri were subdued, the Cherusci (Arminius, a member of this race, was soon to become famous for the disaster inflicted upon us) were again subjugated, the Weser crossed, and the regions beyond it penetrated. Caesar claimed for himself every part of the war that was difficult or dangerous, placing Sentius Saturninus, who had already served as legate under his father in Germany, in charge of expeditions of a less dangerous character: 2 a man many-sided in his virtues, a man of energy and action, and of foresight, alike able to endure the duties of a soldier as he was well trained in them, but who, likewise, when his labours left room for leisure, made a liberal and elegant use of it, but with this reservation, that one would call him sumptuous and jovial rather than extravagant or indolent. About the distinguished ability of this illustrious man and his famous consul­ship I have already spoken.​234 3 The prolonging of the campaign of that year into the month of December increased the benefits derived from the great victory. Caesar was drawn to the city by his filial affection, though the Alps were almost blocked by winter's snows; but the defence of the empire brought him at the beginning of spring back to Germany, where he had on his departure pitched his winter camp at the source of the river Lippe, in the very heart of the country, the first​235 Roman to winter there.

106 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Ye Heavens, how large a volume could be filled with the tale of our achievements in the following summer​236 under the general­ship of Tiberius Caesar! All Germany was traversed by our armies,  p271 races were conquered hitherto almost unknown, even by name; and the tribes of the Cauchi were again subjugated. All the flower of their youth, infinite in number though they were, huge of stature and protected by the ground they held, surrendered their arms, and, flanked by a gleaming line of our soldiers, fell with their generals upon their knees before the tribunal of the commander. 2 The power of the Langobardi was broken, a race surpassing even the Germans in savagery;​b and finally — and this is something which had never before been entertained even as a hope, much less actually attempted — a Roman army with its standards was led four hundred miles beyond the Rhine as far as the river Elbe, which flows past the territories of the Semnones and the Hermunduri. 3 And with this wonderful combination of careful planning and good fortune on the part of the general, and a close watch upon the seasons, the fleet which had skirted the windings of the sea coast sailed up the Elbe from a sea hitherto unheard of and unknown,​237 and after proving victorious over many tribes effected a junction with Caesar and the army, bringing with it a great abundance of supplies of all kinds.

107 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Even in the midst of these great events I cannot refrain from inserting this little incident. We were encamped on the nearer bank of the aforesaid river, while on the farther bank glittered the arms of the enemies' troops, who showed an inclination to flee at every movement and manoeuvre of our vessels, when one of the barbarians, advanced in years, tall of stature, of high rank, to judge by his dress, embarked in a canoe, made as is usual with  p273 them of a hollowed log, and guiding this strange craft he advanced alone to the middle of the stream 2 and asked permission to land without harm to himself on the bank occupied by our troops, and to see Caesar. Permission was granted. Then he beached his canoe, and, after gazing upon Caesar for a long time in silence, exclaimed: "Our young men are insane, for though they worship you as divine when absent, when you are present they fear your armies instead of trusting to your protection. But I, by your kind permission, Caesar, have to‑day seen the gods of whom I merely used to hear; and in my life have never hoped for or experienced a happier day." After asking for and receiving permission to touch Caesar's hand, he again entered his canoe, and continued to gaze back upon him until he landed upon his own bank. 3 Victorious over all the nations and countries which he approached, his army safe and unimpaired, having been attacked but once, and that too through deceit on the part of the enemy with great loss on their side, Caesar led his legions back to winter quarters, and sought the city with the same haste as in the previous year.

108 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Nothing remained to be conquered in Germany except the people of the Marcomanni, which, leaving its settlements at the summons of its leader Maroboduus, had retired into the interior and now dwelt in the plains surrounded by the Hercynian forest. 2 No considerations of haste should lead us to pass over this man Maroboduus without mention. A man of noble family, strong in body and courageous in mind, a barbarian by birth but not in intelligence, he achieved among his countrymen no mere chief's position gained as the result of internal  p275 disorders or chance or liable to change and dependent upon the caprice of his subjects, but, conceiving in his mind the idea of a definite empire and royal powers, he resolved to remove his own race far away from the Romans and to migrate to a place where, inasmuch as he had fled before the strength of more powerful arms, he might make his own all powerful. Accordingly, after occupying the region we have mentioned, he proceeded to reduce all the neighbouring races by war, or to bring them under his sovereignty by treaty.

109 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The body of guards protecting the kingdom of Maroboduus, which by constant drill had been brought almost to the Roman standard of discipline, soon placed him in a position of power that was dreaded even by our empire. His policy toward Rome was to avoid provoking us by war, but at the same time to let us understand that, if he were provoked by us he had in reserve the power and the will to resist. 2 The envoys whom he sent to the Caesars sometimes commended him to them as a suppliant and sometimes spoke as though they represented an equal. Races and individuals who revolted from us found in him a refuge, and in all respects, with but little concealment, he played the part of a rival. His army, which he had brought up to the number of seventy thousand foot and four thousand horse, he was steadily preparing, by exercising it in constant wars against his neighbours, for some greater task than that which he had in hand. 3 He was also to be feared on this account, that, having Germany at the left and in front of his settlements, Pannonia on the right, and Noricum in the rear​238 of them, he was dreaded by all as one who  p277 might at any moment descend upon all. 4 Nor did he permit Italy to be free from concern as regards his growing power, since the summits of the Alps which mark her boundary were not more than two hundred miles distant from his boundary line. 5 Such was the man and such the region that Tiberius Caesar resolved to attack from opposite directions in the course of the coming year. Sentius Saturninus had instructions to lead his legions through the country of the Catti into Boiohaemum, for that is the name of the region occupied by Maroboduus, cutting a passage through the Hercynian forest which bounded the region, while from Carnuntum, the nearest point of Noricum in this direction, he himself undertook to lead against the Marcomanni the army which was serving in Illyricum.

110 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Fortune sometimes breaks off completely, sometimes merely delays, the execution of men's plans. Caesar had already arranged his winter quarters on the Danube, and had brought up his army to within five days' march of the advanced posts of the enemy; 2 and the legions which he had ordered Saturninus to bring up, separated from the enemy by an almost equal distance, were on the point of effecting a junction with Caesar at a predetermined rendezvous within a few days, when all Pannonia, grown arrogant through the blessings of a long peace and now at the maturity of her power, suddenly took up arms,​239 bringing Dalmatia and all the races of that region into her alliance. 3 Thereupon glory was sacrificed to necessity; and it did not seem to Tiberius a safe course to keep his army buried in the interior of the country and thus leave Italy unprotected from an enemy so near at hand. The  p279 full number of the races and tribes which had rebelled reached a total of more than eight hundred thousand. About two hundred thousand infantry trained to arms, and nine thousand cavalry were being assembled. 4 Of this immense number, which acted under the orders of energetic and capable generals, one portion had decided to make Italy its goal, which was connected with them by the line of Nauportum and Tergeste, a second had already poured into Macedonia, while a third had set itself the task of protecting their own territories. The chief authority rested with the two Batones and Pinnes as generals. 5 Now all the Pannonians possessed not only a knowledge of Roman discipline but also of the Roman tongue, many also had some measure of literary culture, and the exercise of the intellect was not uncommon among them. And so it came to pass, by Hercules, that no nation ever displayed such swiftness in following up with war its own plans for war, 6 and in putting its resolves into execution. Roman citizens were over­powered, traders were massacred, a considerable detachment of veterans, stationed in the region which was most remote from the commander, was exterminated to a man, Macedonia was seized by armed forces, everywhere was wholesale devastation by fire and sword. Moreover, such a panic did this war inspire that even the courage of Caesar Augustus, rendered steady and firm by experience in so many wars, was shaken with fear.

111 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Accordingly levies were held, from every quarter all the veterans were recalled to the standards, men and women were compelled, in proportion to their income, to furnish freedmen as  p281 soldiers. Men heard Augustus say in the senate, that, unless precautions were taken, the enemy might appear in sight of Rome within ten days. 2 The services of senators and knights were demanded for this war, and promised. All these our preparations would have been vain had we not had the man to take command. And so, as a final measure of protection, the state demanded from Augustus that Tiberius should conduct the war.

3 In this war also my modest abilities had an opportunity for glorious service. I was now, at the end of my service in the cavalry, quaestor designate, and though not yet a senator I was placed upon a parity with senators and even tribunes elect, and led from the city to Tiberius a portion of the army which was entrusted to me by Augustus. 4 Then in my quaestor­ship, giving up my right to have a province allotted me, I was sent to Tiberius as legatus Augusti.240

What armies of the enemy did we see drawn up for battle in that first year! What opportunities did we avail ourselves of through the foresight of the general to evade their united forces and rout them in separate divisions! With what moderation and kindness did we see all the business of warfare conducted, though under the authority of a military commander! With what judgement did he place our winter camps! How carefully was the enemy so blockaded by the outposts of our army that he could nowhere break through, and that, through lack of supplies and by disaffection within his own ranks, he might gradually be weakened in strength!

112 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] An exploit of Messalinus in the first summer of the war, fortunate in its issue as it was bold in  p283 undertaking, must here be recorded for posterity. 2 This man, who was even more noble in heart than in birth, and thoroughly worthy of having had Corvinus as his father, and of leaving his cognomen to his brother Cotta, was in command in Illyricum, and, at the sudden outbreak of the rebellion, finding himself surrounded by the army of the enemy and supported by only the twentieth legion, and that at but half its normal strength, he routed and put to flight more than twenty thousand, and for this was honoured with the ornaments of a triumph.

3 The barbarians were so little satisfied with their numbers and had so little confidence in their own strength that they had no faith in themselves where Caesar was. The part of their army which faced the commander himself, worn down according as it suited our pleasure or advantage, and reduced to the verge of destruction by famine, not daring to withstand him when he took the offensive, nor to meet our men when they gave them an opportunity for fighting and drew up their line of battle, occupied the Claudian mountain​241 and defended itself behind fortifications. 4 But the division of their forces which had swarmed out to meet the army which the consulars Aulus Caecina and Silvanus Plautius were bringing up from the provinces across the sea, surrounded five of our legions, together with the troops of our allies and the cavalry of the king (for Rhoemetalces, king of Thrace, in conjunction with the aforesaid generals was bringing with him a large body of Thracians as reinforcements for the war), and inflicted a disaster that came near being fatal to all. 5 The horsemen of the king were routed, the cavalry of the allies put to flight, the cohorts  p285 turned their backs to the enemy, and the panic extended even to the standards of the legion. But in this crisis the valour of the Roman soldier claimed for itself a greater share of glory than it left to the generals, who departing far from the policy of their commander, had allowed themselves to come into contact with the enemy before they had learned through their scouts where the enemy was. 6 At this critical moment, when some tribunes of the soldiers had been slain by the enemy, the prefect of the camp and several prefects of cohorts had been cut off, a number of centurions had been wounded, and even some of the centurions of the first rank had fallen, the legions, shouting encouragement to each other, fell upon the enemy, and not content with sustaining their onslaught, broke through their line and wrested a victory from a desperate plight.

7 About this time Agrippa, who had been adopted by his natural grandfather on the same day as Tiberius, and had already, two years before, begun to reveal his true character, alienated from himself the affection of his father and grandfather,​242 falling into reckless ways by a strange depravity of mind and disposition; and soon, as his vices increased daily, he met the end which his madness deserved.

113 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Listen now, Marcus Vinicius, to the proof that Caesar was no less great in war as a general than you now see him in peace as an emperor. When the two armies were united, that is to say the troops which had served under Caesar and those which had come to reinforce him, and there were now gathered together in one camp ten legions, more than seventy cohorts, fourteen troops of cavalry  p287 and more than ten thousand veterans, and in addition a large number of volunteers and the numerous cavalry of the king — in a word a greater army than had ever been assembled in one place since the civil wars — all were finding satisfaction in this fact and reposed their greatest hope of victory in their numbers. 2 But the general, who was the best judge of the course he pursued, preferring efficiency to show, and, as we have so often seen him doing in all his wars, following the course which deserved approval rather than that which was currently approval, after keeping the army which had newly arrived for only a few days in order to allow it to recover from the march, decided to send it away, since he saw that it was too large to be managed and was not well adapted to effective control. 3 And so he sent it back whence it came, escorting it with his own army onº a long exceedingly laborious march, whose difficulty can hardly be described. His purpose in this was, on the one hand, that no one might dare to attack his united forces, and, on the other, to prevent the united forces of the enemy from falling upon the departing division, through the apprehension of each nation for its own territory. Then returning himself to Siscia, at the beginning of a very hard winter, he placed his lieutenants, of whom I was one, in charge of the divisions of his winter quarters.

114 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] And now for a detail which in the telling may lack grandeur, but is most important by reason of the true and substantial personal qualities it reveals and also of its practical service — a thing most pleasant as an experience and remarkable for the kindness it displayed. Throughout the whole  p289 period of the German and Pannonian war there was not one of us, or of those either above or below our rank, who fell ill without having his health and welfare looked after by Caesar with as much solicitude indeed as though this were the chief occupation of his mind, preoccupied though he was by his heavy responsibilities. 2 There was a horsed vehicle ready for those who needed it, his own litter was at the disposal of all, and I, among others, have enjoyed its use. Now his physicians, now his kitchen, and now his bathing equipment, brought for this one purpose for himself alone, ministered to the comfort of all who were sick. All they lacked was their home and domestic servants, but nothing else that friends at home could furnish or desire for them. 3 Let me also add the following trait, which, like the others I have described, will be immediately recognized as true by anyone who participated in that campaign. Caesar alone of commanders was in the habit of also travelling in the saddle, and, throughout the greater portion of the summer campaign, of sitting​243 at the table when dining with invited guests. Of those who did not imitate his own stern discipline he took no notice, in so far as no harmful precedent was thereby created. He often admonished, sometimes gave verbal reproof, but rarely punishment, and pursued the moderate course of pretending in most cases not to see things, and of administering only occasionally a reprimand.

4 The winter brought the reward of our efforts in the termination of the war, though it was not until the following summer that all Pannonia sought peace, the remnants of the war as a whole  p291 being confined to Dalmatia. In my complete work I hope to describe in detail how those fierce warriors, many thousand in number, who had but a short time before threatened Italy with slavery, now brought the arms they had used in rebellion and laid them down, at a river called the Bathinus, prostrating themselves one and all before the knees of the commander; and how of their two supreme commanders, Bato and Pinnes, the one was made a prisoner and the other gave himself up.

5 In the autumn the victorious army was led back to winter quarters. Caesar gave the chief command of all the forces to Marcus Lepidus, a man who in name and in fortune approaches the Caesars, whom one admires and loves the more in proportion to his opportunities to know and understand him, and whom one regards as an ornament to the great names from whom he springs.

115 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Caesar then devoted his attention and his arms to his second task, the war in Dalmatia. What assistance he had in this quarter from his aide and lieutenant Magius Celer Velleianus, my brother, is attested by the words of Tiberius himself and of his father, and signalized by the record of the high decorations conferred upon him by Caesar on the occasion of his triumph. 2 In the beginning of summer Lepidus led his army out of winter quarters, in an effort to make his way to Tiberius the commander, through the midst of races that were as yet unaffected and untouched by the disasters of war and therefore still fierce and warlike; after a struggle in which he had to contend with the difficulties of the country as well as the attacks of the enemy, and after inflicting great loss on those who barred his way,  p293 by the devastation of fields, burning of houses, and slaying of the inhabitants, he succeeded in reaching Caesar, rejoicing in victory and laden with booty. 3 For these feats, for which, if they had been performed under his own auspices he would properly have received a triumph, he was granted the ornaments of a triumph, the wish of the senate endorsing the recommendation of the Caesars.

4 This campaign brought the momentous war to a successful conclusion; for the Perustae and Desiadates, Dalmatian tribes, who were almost unconquerable on account of the position of their strongholds in the mountains, their warlike temper, their wonderful knowledge of fighting, and, above all, the narrow passes in which they lived, were then at last pacified, not now under the mere general­ship, but by the armed prowess of Caesar himself, and then only when they were almost entirely exterminated.

5 Nothing in the course of this great war, nothing in the campaigns in Germany, came under my observation that was greater, or that aroused my admiration more, than these traits of its general; no chance of winning a victory ever seemed to him timely, which he would have to purchase by the sacrifice of his soldiers; the safest course was always regarded by him as the best; he consulted his conscience first and then his reputation, and, finally, the plans of the commander were never governed by the opinion of the army, but rather the army by the wisdom of its leader.

116 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] In the Dalmatian war Germanicus, who had been dispatched in advance of the commander to regions both wild and difficult, gave great proof of  p295 his valour. By his repeated services and careful vigilance 2 the governor of Dalmatia, Vibius Postumusº the consular, also earned the ornaments of a triumph. A few years before this honour had been earned in Africa by Passienus and Cossus, both celebrated men, though not alike in merit. Cossus passed on to his son, a young man born to exhibit every variety of excellence, a cognomen that still testifies to his victory. 3 And Lucius Apronius, who shared in the achievements of Postumus, earned by the distinguished valour which he displayed in this campaign also, the honours which he actually won shortly afterwards.

Would that it had not been demonstrated, by greater proofs, how mighty an influence fortune wields in all things; yet even here her power can be recognized by abundant examples. For instance, Aelius Lamia, a man of the older type, who always tempered his old-fashioned dignity by a spirit of kindliness, had performed splendid service in Germany and Illyricum, and was soon to do so in Africa, but failed to receive triumphal honours, not through any fault of his, but through lack of opportunity; 4 and Aulus Licinius Nerva Silianus, the son of Publius Silius, a man who was not adequately praised even by the friend who knew him best, when he declared that there were no qualities which he did not possess in the highest degree, whether as an excellent citizen or as an honest commander, through his untimely death failed not only to reap the fruit of his close friendship with the emperor but also to realize that lofty conception of his powers which had been inspired by his father's eminence. 5 If anyone shall say that I have gone out of my way to mention these  p297 men, his criticism will meet no denial. In the sight of honest men fair-minded candour without misrepresentation is no crime.

117 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Scarcely had Caesar put the finishing touch upon the Pannonian and Dalmatian war, when, within five days of the completion of this task, dispatches from Germany brought the baleful news of the death of Varus,​244 and of the slaughter of three legions, of as many divisions of cavalry, and of six cohorts — as though fortune were granting us this indulgence at least, that such a disaster should not be brought upon us when our commander was occupied by other wars. The cause of this defeat and the personality of the general require of me a brief digression.

2 Varus Quintilius, descended from a famous rather than a high-born family, was a man of mild character and of a quiet disposition, somewhat slow in mind as he was in body, and more accustomed to the leisure of the camp than to actual service in war. That he was no despiser of money is demonstrated by his governor­ship of Syria: he entered the rich province a poor man, but left it a rich man and the province poor. 3 When placed in charge of the army in Germany, he entertained the notion that the Germans were a people who were men only in limbs and voice, and that they, who could not be subdued by the sword, could be soothed by the law. 4 With this purpose in mind he entered the heart of Germany as though he were going among a people enjoying the blessings of peace, and sitting on his tribunal he wasted the time of a summer campaign in holding court and observing the proper details of legal procedure.

 p299  118 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] But the Germans, who with their great ferocity combine great craft, to an extent scarcely credible to one who has had no experience with them, and are a race to lying born, by trumping up a series of fictitious lawsuits, now provoking one another to disputes, and now expressing their gratitude that Roman justice was settling these disputes, that their own barbarous nature was being softened down by this new and hitherto unknown method, and that quarrels which were usually settled by arms were now being ended by law, brought Quintilius to such a complete degree of negligence, that he came to look upon himself as a city praetor administering justice in the forum, and not a general in command of an army in the heart of Germany. 2 Thereupon appeared a young man of noble birth, brave in action and alert in mind, possessing an intelligence quite beyond the ordinary barbarian; he was, namely, Arminius, the son of Sigimer, a prince of that nation, and he showed in his countenance and in his eyes the fire of the mind within. He had been associated with us constantly on private campaigns, and had even attained the dignity of equestrian rank. This young man made use of the negligence of the general as an opportunity for treachery, sagaciously seeing that no one could be more quickly over­powered than the man who feared nothing, and that the most common beginning of disaster was a sense of security. 3 At first, then, he admitted but a few, later a large number, to a share in his design; he told them, and convinced them too, that the Romans could be crushed, added execution to resolve, and named a day for carrying out the  p301 plot. 4 This was disclosed to Varus through Segestes, a loyal man of that race and of illustrious name, who also demanded that the conspirators be put in chains. But fate now dominated the plans of Varus and had blindfolded the eyes of his mind. Indeed, it is usually the case that heaven perverts the judgement of the man whose fortune it means to reverse, and brings it to pass — and this is the wretched part of it — that that which happens by chance seems to be deserved, and accident passes over into culpability. And so Quintilius refused to believe the story, and insisted upon judging the apparent friendship of the Germans toward him by the standard of his merit. And, after this first warning, there was no time left for a second.

119 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The details of this terrible calamity, the heaviest that had befallen the Romans on foreign soil since the disaster of Crassus in Parthia, I shall endeavour to set forth, as others have done, in my larger work. Here I can merely lament the disaster as a whole. 2 An army unexcelled in bravery, the first of Roman armies in discipline, in energy, and in experience in the field, through the negligence of its general, the perfidy of the enemy, and the unkindness of fortune was surrounded, nor was as much opportunity as they had wished given to the soldiers either of fighting or of extricating themselves, except against heavy odds; nay, some were even heavily chastised for using the arms and showing the spirit of Romans. Hemmed in by forests and marshes and ambuscades, it was exterminated almost to a man by the very enemy whom it had always  p303 slaughtered like cattle, whose life or death had depended solely upon the wrath or the pity of the Romans. 3 The general had more courage to die than to fight, for, following the example of his father​245 and grandfather, he ran himself through with his sword. 4 Of the two prefects of the camp, Lucius Eggius furnished a precedent as noble as that of Ceionius was base, who, after the greater part of the army had perished, proposed its surrender, preferring to die by torture at the hands of the enemy than in battle. Vala Numonius, lieutenant of Varus, who, in the rest of his life, had been an inoffensive and an honourable man, also set a fearful example in that he left the infantry unprotected by the cavalry and in flight tried to reach the Rhine with his squadrons of horse. But fortune avenged his act, for he did not survive those whom he had abandoned, but died in the act of deserting them. 5 The body of Varus, partially burned, was mangled by the enemy in their barbarity; his head was cut off and taken to Maroboduus and was sent by him to Caesar; but in spite of the disaster it was honoured by burial in the tomb of his family.

120 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] On hearing of this disaster, Caesar flew to his father's side. The constant protector of the Roman empire again took up his accustomed part. Dispatched to Germany, he reassured the provinces of Gaul, distributed his armies, strengthened the garrison towns, and then, measuring himself by the standard of his own greatness, and not by the presumption of an enemy who threatened Italy with a war like that of the Cimbri and Teutones, he took the offensive and crossed the Rhine with his army. 2 He thus made aggressive war upon the  p305 enemy when his father and his country would have been content to let him hold them in check, he penetrated into the heart of the country, opened up military roads, devastated fields, burned houses, routed those who came against him, and, without loss to the troops with which he had crossed, he returned, covered with glory, to winter quarters.

3 Due tribute should be paid to Lucius Asprenas, who was serving as lieutenant under Varus his uncle, and who, backed by the brave and energetic support of the two legions under his command, saved his army from this great disaster, and by a quick descent to the quarters of the army in Lower Germany strengthened the allegiance of the races even on the hither side of the Rhine who were beginning to waver. There are those, however, who believed that, though he had saved the lives of the living, he had appropriated to his own use the property of the dead who were slain with Varus, and that inheritances of the slaughtered army were claimed by him at pleasure. 4 The valour of Lucius Caedicius, prefect of the camp, also deserves praise, and of those who, pent up with him at Aliso, were besieged by an immense force of Germans. For, overcoming all their difficulties which want rendered unendurable and the forces of the enemy almost insurmountable, following a design that was carefully considered, and using a vigilance that was ever on the alert, they watched their chance, and with the sword won their way back to their friends. 5 From all this it is evident that Varus, who was, it must be confessed, a man of character and of good intentions, lost his life and his magnificent army more through lack of judgement in the commander than of valour in his  p307 soldiers. 6 When the Germans were venting their rage upon their captives, an heroic act was performed by Caldus Caelius, a young man worthy in every way of his long line of ancestors, who, seizing a section of the chain with which he was bound, brought down with such force upon his own head as to cause his instant death, both his brains and his blood gushing from the wound.

121 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Tiberius showed the same valour, and was attended by the same fortune, when he entered Germany on his later campaigns as in his first. After he had broken the force of the enemy by his expeditions on sea and land, had completed his difficult task in Gaul, and had settled by restraint rather than by punishment the dissensions that had broken out among the Viennenses, at the request of his father that he should have in all the provinces and armies a power equal to his own, the senate and Roman people so decreed. For indeed it was incongruous that the provinces which were being defended by him should not be under his jurisdiction, 2 and that he who was foremost in bearing aid should not be considered an equal in the honour to be won. On his return to the city he celebrated the triumph over the Pannonians and Dalmatians, long since due him, but postponed by reason of a succession of wars. Who can be surprised at its magnificence, since it was the triumph of Caesar. Yet who can fail to wonder at the kindness of fortune to him? 3 For the most eminent leaders of the enemy were not slain in battle, that report should tell thereof, but were taken captive, so that in his triumph he exhibited them in chains. It was my lot and that of my brother to participate in this  p309 triumph among the men of distinguished rank and those who were decorated with distinguished honours.

122 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Among the other acts of Tiberius Caesar, wherein his remarkable moderation shines forth conspicuously, who does not wonder at this also, that, although he unquestionably earned seven triumphs, he was satisfied with three? For who can doubt that, when he had recovered Armenia, had placed over it a king upon whose head he had with his own hand set the mark of royalty, and had put in order the affairs of the east, he ought to have received an ovation; and that after his conquest of the Vindelici and the Raeti he should have entered the city as victor in a triumphal chariot? 2 Or that, after his adoption, when he had broken the power of the Germans in three successive campaigns, the same honour should have been bestowed upon him and should have been accepted by him? And that, after the disaster received under Varus, when this same Germany was crushed by a course of events which, sooner than was expected, came to a happy issue, the honour of a triumph should have been awarded to this consummate general? But, in the case of this man, one does not know which to admire the more, that in courting toils and danger he went beyond all bounds or that in accepting honours he kept within them.

123 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] We now come to the crisis which was awaited with the greatest foreboding. Augustus Caesar had dispatched his grandson Germanicus to Germany to put an end to such traces of the war as still remained, and was on the point of sending his son Tiberius to Illyricum to strengthen by peace the  p311 regions he had subjugated in war. With the double purpose of escorting him on his way, and of being present at an athletic contest which the Neapolitans had established in his honour, he set out for Campania. Although he had already experienced symptoms of growing weakness and of a change in his health for the worse, his strong will resisted infirmity and he accompanied his son. Parting from him at Beneventum he went to Nola. As his health grew daily worse, and he knew full well for whom he must send if he wished to leave everything secure behind him, he sent in haste for his son to return. Tiberius hurried back and reached the side of the father of his country before he was even expected. 2 Then Augustus, asserting that his mind was now at ease, and, with the arms of his beloved Tiberius about him, commending to him the continuation of their joint work, expressed all his readiness to meet the end if the fates should call him. He revived a little at seeing Tiberius and at hearing the voice of one so dear to him, but, ere long, since no care could withstand the fates, in his seventy-sixth year, in the consul­ship of Pompeius and Apuleius​246 he was resolved into the elements from which he sprang and yielded up to heaven his divine soul.

124 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Of the misgivings of mankind at this time, the trepidation of the senate, the confusion of the people, the fears of the city, of the narrow margin between safety and ruin on which we then found ourselves, I have no time to tell as I hasten on my way, nor could he tell who had the time. Suffice it for me to voice the common utterance: "The world whose ruin we had feared we found  p313 not even disturbed, and such was the majesty of one man that there was no need of arms either to defend the good or to restrain the bad." 2 There was, however, in one respect what might be called a struggle in the state, as, namely, the senate and the Roman people wrestled with Caesar to induce him to succeed to the position of his father, while he on his side strove for permission to play the part of a citizen on a parity with the rest rather than that of an emperor over all. At last he was prevailed upon rather by reason than by the honour, since he saw that whatever he did not undertake to protect was likely to perish. He is the only man to whose lot it has fallen to refuse the principate for a longer time, almost, than others had fought to secure it.

3 After heaven had claimed​c his father, and human honours had been paid to his body as divine honours were paid to his soul,​247 the first of his tasks as emperor was the regulation of the comitia, instructions for which Augustus had left in his own handwriting. 4 On this occasion it was my lot and that of my brother, as Caesar's candidates,​248 to be named for the praetor­ship immediately after those of noble families and those who had held the priesthoods, and indeed to have had the distinction of being the last to be recommended by Augustus and the first to be named by Tiberius Caesar.

125 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The state soon reaped the fruit of its wise course in desiring Tiberius, nor was it long before it was apparent what we should have had to endure had our request been refused, and what  p315 we had gained in having it granted. For the army serving in Germany, commanded by Germanicus in person, and the legions in Illyricum, seized at the same moment by a form of madness and a deep desire to throw everything into confusion, wanted a new leader, a new order of things, and a new republic. 2 Nay, they even dared to threaten to dictate terms to the senate and to the emperor. They tried to fix for themselves the amount of their pay and their period of service. They even resorted to arms; the sword was drawn; their conviction that they would not be punished came near to breaking out into the worst excesses of arms. All they needed was someone to lead them against the state; there was no lack of followers. 3 But all this disturbance was soon quelled and suppressed by the ripe experience of the veteran commander, who used coercion in many cases, made promises where he could so with dignity, and by the combination of severe punishment of the most guilty with milder chastisement of the others.

4 In this crisis, while in many respects the conduct of Germanicus was not lacking in rigour, Drusus employed the severity of the Romans of old. Sent by his father into the very midst of the conflagration, when the flames of mutiny were already bursting forth, he preferred to hold to a course which involved danger to himself than one which might prove a ruinous precedent, and used the very swords of those by whom he had been besieged to coerce his besiegers. 5 In this task he had in Junius Bassus no ordinary helper, a man whom one does not know whether to consider more useful in the camp or better in the toga. A few years later, as proconsul  p317 in Africa, he earned the ornaments of a triumph, with the title of imperator.

The two provinces of Spain, however, and the army in them were held in peace and tranquillity, since Marcus Lepidus, of whose virtues and distinguished service in Illyricum I have already spoken, was there in command, and since he had in the highest degree the quality of instinctively knowing the best course and the firmness to hold to his views. On the coast of Illyricum his vigilance and fidelity was emulated in detail by Dolabella, a man of noble-minded candour.

126 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Who would undertake to tell in detail the accomplishments of the past sixteen years, since they are borne in upon the eyes and hearts of all? Caesar deified his father, not by exercise of his imperial authority, but by his attitude of reverence; he did not call him a god, but made him one. 2 Credit has been restored in the forum, strife has been banished from the forum, canvassing for office from the Campus Martius,​d discord from the senate-house; justice, equity, and industry, long buried in oblivion, have been restored to the state; the magistrates have regained their authority, the senate its majesty, the courts their dignity; rioting in the theatre has been suppressed; all citizens have either been impressed with the wish to do right, or have been forced to do so by necessity. 3 Right is now honoured, evil is punished; the humble man respects the great but does not fear him, the great has precedence over the lowly but does not despise him. When was the price of grain more reasonable, or when were the blessings of peace greater? The pax augusta,​249 which has spread to the regions of the east and of the  p319 west and to the bounds of the north and of the south, preserves every corner of the world safe from the fear of brigandage. 4 The munificence of the emperor claims for its province the losses inflicted by fortune not merely on private citizens, but on whole cities. The cities of Asia have been restored, the provinces have been freed from the oppression of their magistrates. Honour ever awaits the worthy; for the wicked punishment is slow but sure; fair play has now precedence over influence, and merit over ambition, for the best of emperors teaches his citizens to do right by doing it, and though he is greatest among us in authority, he is still greater in the example which he sets.

127 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] It is but rarely that men of eminence have failed to employ great men to aid them in directing their fortune, as the two Scipios employed the two Laelii, whom in all things they treated as equal to themselves, or as the deified Augustus employed Marcus Agrippa, and after him Statilius Taurus. In the case of these men their lack of lineage was no obstacle to their elevation to successive consul­ships, triumphs, and numerous priesthoods. For great tasks require great helpers, 2 and it is important to the state that those who are necessary to her service should be given prominence in rank, and that their usefulness should be fortified by official authority. 3 With these examples before him, Tiberius Caesar has had and still has as his incomparable associate in all the burdens of the principate Sejanus Aelius, son of a father who was among the foremost in the equestrian order, but connected, on his mother's side, with old and illustrious families and families distinguished by public honours, while he had  p321 brothers, cousins, and an uncle who had reached the consul­ship. He himself combined with loyalty to his master great capacity for labour, and possessed a well-knit body to match the energy of his mind; 4 stern but yet gay, cheerful but yet strict; busy, yet always seeming to be at leisure. He is one who claims no honours for himself and so acquires all honours, whose estimate of himself is always below the estimate of others, calm in expression and in his life, though his mind is sleeplessly alert.250

128 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] In the value set upon the character of this man, the judgement of the whole state has long vied with that of the emperor. Nor is it a new fashion on the part of the senate and the Roman people to regard as most noble that which is best. For the Romans who, three centuries ago, in the days before the Punic war, raised Tiberius Coruncanius, a "new man," to the first position in the state, not only bestowing on him all the other honours but the office of pontifex maximus as well; and those who elevated to consul­ships, censor­ships, and triumphs Spurius Carvilius, though born of equestrian rank, 2 and soon afterwards Marcus Cato, though a new man and not a native of the city but from Tusculum, and Mummius, who triumphed over Achaia; 3 and those who regarded Gaius Marius, though of obscure origin, as unquestionably the first man of the Roman name until his sixth consul­ship; and those who yielded such honours to Marcus Tullius that on his recommendation he could secure positions of importance almost for anyone he chose; and those who refused no honour to Asinius Pollio, honours which could only be earned, even by the noblest, by sweat and toil —  p323 all these assuredly felt that the highest honours should be paid to the man of merit. 4 It was but the natural following of precedent that impelled Caesar to put Sejanus to the test, and that Sejanus was induced to assist the emperor with his burdens, and that brought the senate and the Roman people to the point where they were ready to summon for the preservation of its security the man whom they regarded as the most useful instrument.

129 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] But having set before the reader a sort of general outline of the principate of Caesar, let us now review some of the details. With what sagacity did he draw to Rome Rhascupolis,​251 the slayer of his brother's son Cotys who shared the throne with him; in this transaction Tiberius employed the rare services of Flaccus Pomponius, a consular, and a man born to carry out tasks requiring accurate discrimination, and who by his straightforward character also deserved glory though he never sought it. 2 With what dignity did he listen to the trial of Drusus Libo, not in the capacity of emperor, but as a senator and a judge! How swiftly did he suppress that ingrate in his plot for revolution! How well had Germanicus been trained under his instructions, having so thoroughly learned the rudiments of military science under him that he was later to welcome him home as conqueror of Germany! What honours did he heap upon him, young though he was, making the magnificence of his triumph to correspond to the  p325 greatness of his deeds! 3 How often did he honour the people with largesses, and how gladly, whenever he could do so with the senate's sanction, did he raise to the required rating the fortunes of senators, but in such a way as not to encourage extravagant living, nor yet to allow senators to lose their rank because of honest poverty! With what honours did he send his beloved Germanicus to the provinces across the seas! With what effective diplomacy, carried out though the help and agency of his son Drusus, did he force Maroboduus, who clung to the limits of the territories he had seized as a serpent to his hole, to come forth like the serpent under the spell of his salutary charms — a simile which I use with no disrespect to Caesar. With what honour does he treat him while at the same time he holds him securely! With what wonderful swiftness and courage did he repress the formidable war, stirred up at the instigation of Sacrovir and Florus Julius,​252 so that the Roman people learned that he had conquered before they knew he was engaged in war, and the news of victory preceded the news of the danger! 4 The African war also, which caused great consternation and grew more formidable every day, was soon extinguished under his auspices and in accordance with his plans.

130 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] What public buildings did he construct in his own name or that of his family! With what pious munificence, exceeding human belief, does he now rear the temple to his father! With what a magnificent control of personal feeling did he restore the works of Gnaeus Pompey when destroyed by fire! For a feeling of kinship leads him to protect every famous monument. 2 With what generosity at  p327 the time of the recent fire on the Caelian Hill, as well as on other occasions, did he use his private fortune to make good the losses of people of all ranks in life! And the recruiting of the army, a thing ordinarily looked upon with great and constant dread, with what calm on the part of the people does he provide for it, and without any of the usual panic attending conscription! 3 If either nature permits, or man's weak faculties allow, I may dare to make this plaint to the gods: How has this man deserved, in the first place, to have Drusus Libo enter upon a traitorous conspiracy against him, or later to earn the hostility of Silius and Piso, though in the one case he created his rank, and in the other he increased it? Passing on to greater trials — although he regarded these as great enough — how did he deserve the loss of his sons in their prime or of his grandson, the son of Drusus? Thus far I have told of sorrows only, 4 we must now come to the shame. With what pain, Marcus Vinicius, have the past three years rent his heart! With what fire, the more cruel because pent up, was his soul consulted because of the grief, the indignation, and the shame he was forced to suffer through his daughter-in‑law and his grandson!​253 His sorrow at this time was crowned by the loss of his mother, 5 a woman pre-eminent among women, and who in all things resembled the gods more than mankind, whose power no one felt except for the alleviation of trouble or the promotion of rank.

131 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Let me end my volume with a prayer. O Jupiter Capitolinus, and Mars Gradivus, author and stay of the Roman name, Vesta, guardian of the eternal fire, and all other divinities who have  p329 exalted this great empire of Rome to the highest point yet reached on earth! On you I call, and to you I pray in the name of this people: guard, preserve, protect the present state of things, the peace which we enjoy, the present emperor, and when he has filled his post of duty — 2 and may it be the longest granted to mortals — grant him successors until the latest time, but successors whose shoulders may be as capable of sustaining bravely the empire of the world as we have found his to be: foster the pious plans of all good citizens and crush the impious designs of the wicked.​e

The Editor's Notes:

214 See Chap. LXXV.3.º

215 15 B.C.

216 12 B.C.

217 Tiberius had married Agrippina, daughter of Agrippa and Pomponia.

218 Nero is throughout these chapters the later emperor Tiberius.

219 An ovation was a lesser triumph. This distinction between ovation and triumph is given by Gell. V.6.

Thayer's Note: For full details (in English) and sources, see the article Ovatio in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

220 12‑9 B.C.



223 The Temple of Mars Ultor in the Forum of Augustus.

224 By committing suicide.

225 Marcella, daughter of Octavia by her first husband, C. Marcellus.

226 Pandataria, off the coast of Campania.

227 He means Augustus and Livia. Her own mother was of course Scribonia.

228 A.D. 4.

229 A.D. 2.

230 i.e. Gaius and Lucius who were grandsons of Augustus. Tiberius was merely a step-son.

231 A.D. 4.

232 Inasmuch as, under the empire, the emperor was technically commander-in‑chief, he alone had a legitimate claim to a triumph. After 14 B.C. triumphs were rarely conceded to any but members of the imperial family. But in lieu of a triumph the victorious general was given titles bestowed upon the imperator of republican times, the permission to wear the triumphal robe and the right to bequeath triumphal statues to his descendants.

233 A.D. 4.

234 Bk. II Chap. XCIII.º

235 The position of princeps before the verb seems to justify the interpretation in preference to taking it as a substantive.

236 A.D. 5.

237 If he means simply the North Sea, it had been already navigated by Drusus but not so far to the eastward.

238 The region was that of Bohemia. By "In front" he means "to the north." The "rear" is to the south, the "left" owing to the west, and the "right" to the east, although Pannonia really lay south-east.

239 Pannonian War, A.D. 6‑9.

240 Legatus Augusti: as staff officer appointed by Augustus and attached to the army of Tiberius.

241 A mountain range in Pannonia near the modern Warasdin on the river Drave.

242 i.e. Augustus who was his grandfather and adopted father.

243 At formal dinners the Romans reclined on couches.

244 A.D. 9.

245 His father Sextus Quintilius Varus fought on the side of Brutus and Cassius at Philippi. After the loss of the battle he was slain, at his own request, by one of his freedmen, see Bk. II Chap. LXXI. Information is lacking concerning his grandfather and the manner of his death.

246 A.D. 14.

247 This refers to his official deification. He was given the title of Divus, a temple was erected in his honour, a special class of priests was created to conduct the rites, and a special festival, the Augustalia, was established in his memory.

248 i.e. among the candidates nominated by Caesar. The emperor nominated part of the candidates, allowing the people to nominate the rest, reserving, however, the right (p313)of veto in the case of candidates whom he deemed unworthy.

249 Pax augusta, "Augustan peace." The expression, used to characterize the contrast between the tranquillity of his reign and the turmoil of the Civil Wars, which preceded it, had become proverbial.

250 Tacitus, Annals iv.1, has a very different description.

251 On the death of Rhoemetalces, King of Thrace, Augustus divided the kingdom between Cotys, son of Rhoemetalces, and Rhascupolis, the king's brother. On the death of Augustus, Rhascupolis had invaded his nephew's kingdom, and subsequently, on the pretext of an amicable adjustment, invited him to a conference, seized his person, and later put him to death. When Tiberius summoned him to Rome he began to collect an army. He (p323)was enticed into the Roman camp by Pomponius Flaccus, propraetor of Illyria and sent to Rome. He was condemned to exile at Alexandria, where an excuse was found for putting him to death.

252 A.D. 21.

253 Agrippina, the wife of Germanicus, adopted son of Tiberius, banished to Pandataria in A.D. 30, where she died, in A.D. 33, of voluntary starvation; and Nero, the son of Germanicus and Agrippina, who was banished to the island of Pontia.

Thayer's Notes:

a Strabo (VII.1.3, 1.4) calls them Chattuarii.

b The second of these statements seems to have been quite true, but the Langobardi, more commonly referred to now as the Lombards, were far from broken, resurfacing in Late Antiquity to invade Italy and terrorize what was left of the Roman Empire.

c Actually, reclaimed (literally, "After the father having returned to heaven"). By Velleius' standards, this is very subtle flattery, lightly tossed off: no wonder the translator missed it.

d To modern ears this sounds strange, but the Romans had a much more stringent code governing what was acceptable, or even legally permissible, in someone standing for office than we do in today's democracies. For the full particulars, see the article Ambitus in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

e Like most prayers, Velleius's was not answered. Within two years, Sejanus had been sacked and executed; within eight, Tiberius was dead, succeeded by Caligula, one of the worst monsters ever to sully the Roman throne; after the interlude of Claudius, the suicide of the similarly monstrous Nero in a filthy hiding-place, only 40 years after Velleius' book, put an end to the dynasty of Augustus and Tiberius and plunged the empire into murderous chaos.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 20 Dec 16