The Annals By Tacitus Written A.C.E.. Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb. The Annals has been divided into the following. ISBN Digital (PDF): ISBN Digital ebook as a work (in our case the Annals), an oeuvre (here that of Tacitus), historical settings (Neronian. EBook PDF, KB, This text-based PDF or EBook was created from the HTML version of this book and is part of the Portable Library of Liberty. HTML, KB.
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EBook PDF, MB, This text-based PDF or EBook was created from the HTML Gordon's translation and his lengthy Discourses on Tacitus bring Tacitus'. For other English-language translations of this work, see Annals (Tacitus). The Annals (From the Passing of the Divine Augustus) (). 1. In the consulship of Sisenna Statilius Taurus and Lucius Libo there was a commotion in the kingdoms and Roman provinces of the East.
But fear had not yet been laid aside, nor had hope yet returned to the people, when the fire resumed its ravages; in the less congested parts of the city, however; so that, while the toll of human life was not so great, the destruction of temples and of porticoes dedicated to pleasure was on a wider scale. The second fire produced the greater scandal of the two, as it had broken out on Aemilian property 16 of Tigellinus and appearances suggested that Nero was seeking the glory of founding a new capital and endowing it with his own name.
There were those who noted that the first outbreak of the fire took place on the nineteenth of July, the anniversary of the capture and burning of Rome by the Senones: others have pushed their researches so far as to resolve the interval between the two fires into equal numbers of years, of months, and of days. The architects and engineers were Severus and Celer, who had the ingenuity and the courage to try the force of art even against the veto of nature and to fritter away the resources of a Caesar.
These colonnades Nero offered to erect at his own expense, and also to hand over the building-sites, clear of rubbish, to the owners. He made a further offer of rewards, proportioned to the rank and resources of the various claimants, and fixed a term within which houses or blocks of tenement must be completed, if the bounty was to be secured. The buildings themselves, to an extent definitely specified, were to be solid, untimbered structures of Gabine or Alban stone, 26 that particular stone being proof against fire.
Again, there was to be a guard to ensure that the water-supply — intercepted by private lawlessness a — should be available for public purposes in greater quantities and at more points; appliances for checking fire were to be kept by everyone in the open; there were to be no joint partitions between buildings, but each was to be surrounded by its own walls. These reforms, welcomed for their utility, were also beneficial to the appearance of the new capital.
Ritual banquets and all-night vigils were celebrated by women in the married state. But neither human help, nor imperial munificence, nor all the modes of placating Heaven, could stifle scandal or dispel the belief that the fire had taken place by order. Therefore, to scotch the rumour, Nero substituted as culprits, and punished with the utmost refinements of cruelty, a class of men, loathed for their vices, 27 whom the crowd styled Christians. Nero had offered his Gardens for the spectacle, and gave an exhibition in his Circus, mixing with the crowd in the habit of a charioteer, or mounted on his car.
Hence, in spite of a guilt which had earned the most exemplary punishment, there arose a sentiment of pity, due to the impression that they were being sacrificed not for the welfare of the state but to the ferocity of a single man. From such potential pretenders to the throne the threat of usurpation could never be extinguished entirely. Less acute but more constant pressure came from those groups within Roman imperial society that were capable of meaningful collective action in the public sphere.
Especially significant were the senate, the plebs urbana of Rome, and the legionary armies. Neither women nor freedmen shared in political decision-making in republican times, but now could wield greater influence than many a distinguished senator, simply because they had easy access to, and the ear of, the emperor. The same goes for the prefect of the Praetorian Guard, the bodyguard of the emperor and the most significant military presence in the city of Rome.
Finally, the groupings themselves were not necessarily homogeneous. The interaction of centre and periphery is one of the main topics of the first few chapters of the set text. On the other hand, they were subordinate to the princeps and had to accommodate his existence — not least because the emperor put a cap on senatorial rivalry, preventing the senate from dissolving into suicidal infighting and kicking off civil war. For the Roman aristocracy remained a highly competitive body: senators who pursued a public career vied for prestigious appointments, acted as patrons for others with like ambitions, and desired glory.
In contrast to republican times, however, success and effectivness in these roles and undertakings depended in large part on being in favour or at least not on bad terms with the emperor — though, as we shall see in Section 6, defying the emperor could also yield a type of fame.
Lintott — including discussion of the republican background and Rutledge To act, by contrast, as a member of that society, as the peer of its most elevated members, was symbolically to associate autocratic power with the social structure. Civility both reinforced the social hierarchy by demonstrating imperial respect for it, and strengthened the autocracy by linking it with the social structure.
For an equivalent in adult entertainment check out His Most notoriously, our sources show an avowed interest in portraying emperors who for one reason or other fell out of favour as mentally deranged.
In many a text, early imperial Rome comes across as a society ruled over by lunatics besotted with power and keen to act on every depraved instinct. Tacitus contributed his share to our image of Roman emperors as evil freaks.
Over the last few decades, however, scholarship has increasingly started to question this picture, arguing that your favourite salacious anecdote about imperial Rome such as Caligula appointing his horse to the consulship may just be too good to be true — and is in fact a distorting rumour put into circulation posthumously by individuals and groups much invested in blackening the reputation of the deceased emperor.
The question as to why these sensationalizing stories have emerged and been able to colonize our imagination so effectively is arguably just as interesting as trying to put an emperor on the psychiatric couch on the basis of insufficient and distorted evidence. Yet the prosecution was continued in the Senate with the same persistency, and Tiberius declared on oath that he would have interceded for his life, guilty though he was, but for his hasty suicide.
His property was divided among his accusers, and praetorships out of the usual order were conferred on those who were of senators' rank. Cotta Messalinus then proposed that Libo's bust should not be carried in the funeral procession of any of his descendants; and Cneius Lentulus, that no Scribonius should assume the surname of Drusus.
Days of public thanksgiving were appointed on the suggestion of Pomponius Flaccus. Offerings were given to Jupiter, Mars, and Concord, and the 13th day of September, on which Libo had killed himself, was to be observed as a festival, on the motion of Gallus Asinius, Papius Mutilus, and Lucius Apronius. I have mentioned the proposals and sycophancy of these men, in order to bring to light this old-standing evil in the State. Decrees of the Senate were also passed to expel from Italy astrologers and magicians.
One of their number, Lucius Pituanius, was hurled from the Rock. Another, Publius Marcius, was executed, according to ancient custom, by the consuls outside the Esquiline Gate, after the trumpets had been bidden to sound.
On the next day of the Senate's meeting much was said against the luxury of the country by Quintus Haterius, an ex-consul, and by Octavius Fronto, an ex-praetor. It was decided that vessels of solid gold should not be made for the serving of food, and that men should not disgrace themselves with silken clothing from the East.
Fronto went further, and insisted on restrictions being put on plate, furniture, and household establishments. It was indeed still usual with the Senators, when it was their turn to vote, to suggest anything they thought for the State's advantage.
Gallus Asinius argued on the other side.
Riches were one thing with the Fabricii, quite another with the Scipios. The State was the standard of everything; when it was poor, the homes of the citizens were humble; when it reached such magnificence, private grandeur increased. In household establishments, and plate, and in whatever was provided for use, there was neither excess nor parsimony except in relation to the fortune of the possessor.
A distinction had been made in the assessments of Senators and knights, not because they differed naturally, but that the superiority of the one class in places in the theatre, in rank and in honour, might be also maintained in everything else which insured mental repose and bodily recreation, unless indeed men in the highest position were to undergo more anxieties and more dangers, and to be at the same time deprived of all solace under those anxieties and dangers.
And Tiberius too had added that this was not a time for censorship, and that if there were any declension in manners, a promoter of reform would not be wanting. During this debate Lucius Piso, after exclaiming against the corruption of the courts, the bribery of judges, the cruel threats of accusations from hired orators, declared that he would depart and quit the capital, and that he meant to live in some obscure and distant rural retreat.
At the same moment he rose to leave the Senate House. Tiberius was much excited, and though he pacified Piso with gentle words, he also strongly urged his relatives to stop his departure by their influence or their entreaties. Soon afterwards this same Piso gave an equal proof of a fearless sense of wrong by suing Urgulania, whom Augusta's friendship had raised above the law.
Neither did Urgulania obey the summons, for in defiance of Piso she went in her litter to the emperor's house; nor did Piso give way, though Augusta complained that she was insulted and her majesty slighted. Tiberius, to win popularity by so humouring his mother as to say that he would go to the praetor's court and support Urgulania, went forth from the palace, having ordered soldiers to follow him at a distance.
He was seen, as the people thronged about him, to wear a calm face, while he prolonged his time on the way with various conversations, till at last when Piso's relatives tried in vain to restrain him, Augusta directed the money which was claimed to be handed to him. This ended the affair, and Piso, in consequence, was not dishonoured, and the emperor rose in reputation.
Urgulania's influence, however, was so formidable to the State, that in a certain cause which was tried by the Senate she would not condescend to appear as a witness. The praetor was sent to question her at her own house, although the Vestal virgins, according to ancient custom, were heard in the courts, before judges, whenever they gave evidence.
I should say nothing of the adjournment of public business in this year, if it were not worth while to notice the conflicting opinions of Cneius Piso and Asinius Gallus on the subject. Piso, although the emperor had said that he would be absent, held that all the more ought the business to be transacted, that the State might have honour of its Senate and knights being able to perform their duties in the sovereign's absence.
Gallus, as Piso had forestalled him in the display of freedom, maintained that nothing was sufficiently impressive or suitable to the majesty of the Roman people, unless done before Caesar and under his very eyes, and that therefore the gathering from all Italy and the influx from the provinces ought to be reserved for his presence.
Tiberius listened to this in silence, and the matter was debated on both sides in a sharp controversy. The business, however, was adjourned. A dispute then arose between Gallus and the emperor.
Gallus proposed that the elections of magistrates should be held every five years, and that the commanders of the legions who before receiving a praetorship discharged this military service should at once become praetorselect, the emperor nominating twelve candidates every year. It was quite evident that this motion had a deeper meaning and was an attempt to explore the secrets of imperial policy.
Tiberius, however, argued as if his power would be thus increased. He scarcely avoided giving offence from year to year, even though a candidate's rejection was solaced by the near prospect of office. What hatred would be incurred from those whose election was deferred for five years!
How could he foresee through so long an interval what would be a man's temper, or domestic relations, or estate? Men became arrogant even with this annual appointment.
What would happen if their thoughts were fixed on promotion for five years? It was in fact a multiplying of the magistrates five-fold, and a subversion of the laws which had prescribed proper periods for the exercise of the candidate's activity and the seeking or securing office.
With this seemingly conciliatory speech he retained the substance of power. He also increased the incomes of some of the Senators. Hence it was the more surprising that he listened somewhat disdainfully to the request of Marcus Hortalus, a youth of noble rank in conspicuous poverty.
He was the grandson of the orator Hortensius, and had been induced by Augustus, on the strength of a gift of a million sesterces, to marry and rear children, that one of our most illustrious families might not become extinct. Accordingly, with his four sons standing at the doors of the Senate House, the Senate then sitting in the palace, when it was his turn to speak he began to address them as follows, his eyes fixed now on the statue of Hortensius which stood among those of the orators, now on that of Augustus: At the same time, my ancestors deserved to have descendants.
For myself, not having been able in these altered times to receive or acquire wealth or popular favour, or that eloquence which has been the hereditary possession of our house, I was satisfied if my narrow means were neither a disgrace to myself nor burden to others.
At the emperor's bidding I married. Behold the offspring and progeny of a succession of consuls and dictators.
Not to excite odium do I recall such facts, but to win compassion. While you prosper, Caesar, they will attain such promotion as you shall bestow. Meanwhile save from penury the great-grandsons of Quintus Hortensius, the foster-children of Augustus. The Senate's favourable bias was an incitement to Tiberius to offer prompt opposition, which he did in nearly these words: Certainly our ancestors did not grant the privilege of occasionally proposing amendments or of suggesting, in our turn for speaking, something for the general advantage in order that we might in this house increase our private business and property, thereby bringing odium on the Senate and on emperors whether they concede or refuse their bounty.
In fact, it is not a request, but an importunity, as utterly unreasonable as it is unforeseen, for a senator, when the house has met on other matters, to rise from his place and, pleading the number and age of his children, put a pressure on the delicacy of the Senate, then transfer the same constraint to myself, and, as it were, break open the exchequer, which, if we exhaust it by improper favouritism, will have to be replenished by crimes.
Money was given you, Hortalus, by Augustus, but without solicitation, and not on the condition of its being always given. Otherwise industry will languish and idleness be encouraged, if a man has nothing to fear, nothing to hope from himself, and every one, in utter recklessness, will expect relief from others, thus becoming useless to himself and a burden to me.
Tiberius perceived it, and having paused a while, said that he had given Hortalus his answer, but that if the senators thought it right, he would bestow two hundred thousand sesterces on each of his children of the male sex.
The others thanked him; Hortalus said nothing, either from alarm or because even in his reduced fortunes he clung to his hereditary nobility. Nor did Tiberius afterwards show any pity, though the house of Hortensius sank into shameful poverty.
That same year the daring of a single slave, had it not been promptly checked, would have ruined the State by discord and civil war. A servant of Postumus Agrippa, Clemens by name, having ascertained that Augustus was dead, formed a design beyond a slave's conception, of going to the island of Planasia and seizing Agrippa by craft or force and bringing him to the armies of Germany.
The slowness of a merchant vessel thwarted his bold venture. Meanwhile the murder of Agrippa had been perpetrated, and then turning his thoughts to a greater and more hazardous enterprise, he stole the ashes of the deceased, sailed to Cosa, a promontory of Etruria, and there hid himself in obscure places till his hair and beard were long. In age and figure he was not unlike his master. Then through suitable emissaries who shared his secret, it was rumoured that Agrippa was alive, first in whispered gossip, soon, as is usual with forbidden topics, in vague talk which found its way to the credulous ears of the most ignorant people or of restless and revolutionary schemers.
He himself went to the towns, as the day grew dark, without letting himself be seen publicly or remaining long in the same places, but, as he knew that truth gains strength by notoriety and time, falsehood by precipitancy and vagueness, he would either withdraw himself from publicity or else forestall it.
It was rumoured meanwhile throughout Italy, and was believed at Rome, that Agrippa had been saved by the blessing of Heaven. Already at Ostia, where he had arrived, he was the centre of interest to a vast concourse as well as to secret gatherings in the capital, while Tiberius was distracted by the doubt whether he should crush this slave of his by military force or allow time to dissipate a silly credulity.
Sometimes he thought that he must overlook nothing, sometimes that he need not be afraid of everything, his mind fluctuating between shame and terror.
At last he entrusted the affair to Sallustius Crispus, who chose two of his dependants some say they were soldiers and urged them to go to him as pretended accomplices, offering money and promising faithful companionship in danger. They did as they were bidden; then, waiting for an unguarded hour of night, they took with them a sufficient force, and having bound and gagged him, dragged him to the palace.
When Tiberius asked him how he had become Agrippa, he is said to have replied, "As you became Caesar. Tiberius did not venture on a public execution, but ordered him to be slain in a private part of the palace and his body to be secretly removed. And although many of the emperor's household and knights and senators were said to have supported him with their wealth and helped him with their counsels, no inquiry was made.
At the close of the year was consecrated an arch near the temple of Saturn to commemorate the recovery of the standards lost with Varus, under the leadership of Germanicus and the auspices of Tiberius; a temple of Fors Fortuna, by the Tiber, in the gardens which Caesar, the dictator, bequeathed to the Roman people; a chapel to the Julian family, and statues at Bovillae to the Divine Augustus.
In the consulship of Caius Caecilius and Lucius Pomponius, Germanicus Caesar, on the 26th day of May, celebrated his triumph over the Cherusci, Chatti, and Angrivarii, and the other tribes which extend as far as the Elbe. There were borne in procession spoils, prisoners, representations of the mountains, the rivers and battles; and the war, seeing that he had been forbidden to finish it, was taken as finished.
The admiration of the beholders was heightened by the striking comeliness of the general and the chariot which bore his five children. Still, there was a latent dread when they remembered how unfortunate in the case of Drusus, his father, had been the favour of the crowd; how his uncle Marcellus, regarded by the city populace with passionate enthusiasm, had been snatched from them while yet a youth, and how short-lived and ill-starred were the attachments of the Roman people.
Tiberius meanwhile in the name of Germanicus gave every one of the city populace three hundred sesterces, and nominated himself his colleague in the consulship.
Still, failing to obtain credit for sincere affection, he resolved to get the young prince out of the way, under pretence of conferring distinction, and for this he invented reasons, or eagerly fastened on such as chance presented.
King Archelaus had been in possession of Cappadocia for fifty years, and Tiberius hated him because he had not shown him any mark of respect while he was at Rhodes.
This neglect of Archelaus was not due to pride, but was suggested by the intimate friends of Augustus, because, when Caius Caesar was in his prime and had charge of the affairs of the East, Tiberius's friendship was thought to be dangerous. When, after the extinction of the family of the Caesars, Tiberius acquired the empire, he enticed Archelaus by a letter from his mother, who without concealing her son's displeasure promised mercy if he would come to beg for it.
Archelaus, either quite unsuspicious of treachery, or dreading compulsion, should it be thought that he saw through it, hastened to Rome. There he was received by a pitiless emperor, and soon afterwards was arraigned before the Senate.
In his anguish and in the weariness of old age, and from being unused, as a king, to equality, much less to degradation, not, certainly, from fear of the charges fabricated against him, he ended his life, by his own act or by a natural death. His kingdom was reduced into a province, and Caesar declared that, with its revenues, the one per cent. During the same time, on the deaths of Antiochus and Philopator, kings respectively of the Commageni and Cilicians, these nations became excited, a majority desiring the Roman rule, some, that of their kings.
The provinces too of Syria and Judaea, exhausted by their burdens, implored a reduction of tribute. Tiberius accordingly discussed these matters and the affairs of Armenia, which I have already related, before the Senate. Tiberius had however removed from Syria Creticus Silanus, who was connected by a close tie with Germanicus, his daughter being betrothed to Nero, the eldest of Germanicus's children.
He appointed to it Cneius Piso, a man of violent temper, without an idea of obedience, with indeed a natural arrogance inherited from his father Piso, who in the civil war supported with the most energetic aid against Caesar the reviving faction in Africa, then embraced the cause of Brutus and Cassius, and, when suffered to return, refrained from seeking promotion till, he was actually solicited to accept a consulship offered by Augustus.
But beside the father's haughty temper there was also the noble rank and wealth of his wife Plancina, to inflame his ambition. He would hardly be the inferior of Tiberius, and as for Tiberius's children, he looked down on them as far beneath him.
He thought it a certainty that he had been chosen to govern Syria in order to thwart the aspirations of Germanicus. Some believed that he had even received secret instructions from Tiberius, and it was beyond a question that Augusta, with feminine jealousy, had suggested to Plancina calumnious insinuations against Agrippina.
For there was division and discord in the court, with unexpressed partialities towards either Drusus or Germanicus. Tiberius favoured Drusus, as his son and born of his own blood. As for Germanicus, his uncle's estrangement had increased the affection which all others felt for him, and there was the fact too that he had an advantage in the illustrious rank of his mother's family, among whom he could point to his grandfather Marcus Antonius and to his great-uncle Augustus.
Drusus, on the other hand, had for his great-grandfather a Roman knight, Pomponius Atticus, who seemed to disgrace the ancestral images of the Claudii.
Again, the consort of Germanicus, Agrippina, in number of children and in character, was superior to Livia, the wife of Drusus. Yet the brothers were singularly united, and were wholly unaffected by the rivalries of their kinsfolk. Soon afterwards Drusus was sent into Illyricum to be familiarised with military service, and to win the goodwill of the army.
Tiberius also thought that it was better for the young prince, who was being demoralised by the luxury of the capital, to serve in a camp, while he felt himself the safer with both his sons in command of legions. However, he made a pretext of the Suevi, who were imploring help against the Cherusci.
For when the Romans had departed and they were free from the fear of an invader, these tribes, according to the custom of the race, and then specially as rivals in fame, had turned their arms against each other. The strength of the two nations, the valour of their chiefs were equal.
But the title of king rendered Maroboduus hated among his countrymen, while Arminius was regarded with favour as the champion of freedom.
Thus it was not only the Cherusci and their allies, the old soldiers of Arminius, who took up arms, but even the Semnones and Langobardi from the kingdom of Maroboduus revolted to that chief. With this addition he must have had an overwhelming superiority, had not Inguiomerus deserted with a troop of his dependants to Maroboduus, simply for the reason that the aged uncle scorned to obey a brother's youthful son.
The armies were drawn up, with equal confidence on both sides, and there were not those desultory attacks or irregular bands, formerly so common with the Germans. Prolonged warfare against us had accustomed them to keep close to their standards, to have the support of reserves, and to take the word of command from their generals. On this occasion Arminius, who reviewed the whole field on horseback, as he rode up to each band, boasted of regained freedom, of slaughtered legions, of spoils and weapons wrested from the Romans, and still in the hands of many of his men.
As for Maroboduus, he called him a fugitive, who had no experience of battles, who had sheltered himself in the recesses of the Hercynian forest and then with presents and embassies sued for a treaty; a traitor to his country, a satellite of Caesar, who deserved to be driven out, with rage as furious as that with which they had slain Quintilius Varus. They should simply remember their many battles, the result of which, with the final expulsion of the Romans, sufficiently showed who could claim the crowning success in war.
Nor did Maroboduus abstain from vaunts about himself or from revilings of the foe. Clasping the hand of Inguiomerus, he protested "that in the person before them centred all the renown of the Cherusci, that to his counsels was due whatever had ended successfully. Arminius in his infatuation and ignorance was taking to himself the glory which belonged to another, for he had treacherously surprised three unofficered legions and a general who had not an idea of perfidy, to the great hurt of Germany and to his own disgrace, since his wife and his son were still enduring slavery.
As for himself, he had been attacked by twelve legions led by Tiberius, and had preserved untarnished the glory of the Germans, and then on equal terms the armies had parted.
He was by no means sorry that they had the matter in their own hands, whether they preferred to war with all their might against Rome, or to accept a bloodless peace. The Cherusci and Langobardi were fighting for ancient renown or newly-won freedom; the other side for the increase of their dominion. Never at any time was the shock of battle more tremendous or the issue more doubtful, as the right wings of both armies were routed.
Further fighting was expected, when Maroboduus withdrew his camp to the hills. This was a sign of discomfiture. He was gradually stripped of his strength by desertions, and, having fled to the Marcomanni, he sent envoys to Tiberius with entreaties for help.
The answer was that he had no right to invoke the aid of Roman arms against the Cherusci, when he had rendered no assistance to the Romans in their conflict with the same enemy. Drusus, however, was sent as I have related, to establish peace. That same year twelve famous cities of Asia fell by an earthquake in the night, so that the destruction was all the more unforeseen and fearful.
Nor were there the means of escape usual in, such a disaster, by rushing out into the open country, for there people were swallowed up by the yawning earth.
Vast mountains, it is said, collapsed; what had been level ground seemed to be raised aloft, and fires blazed out amid the ruin. The calamity fell most fatally on the inhabitants of Sardis, and it attracted to them the largest share of sympathy. The emperor promised ten million sesterces, and remitted for five years all they paid to the exchequer or to the emperor's purse.
Magnesia, under Mount Sipylus, was considered to come next in loss and in need of help. The people of Temnus, Philadelpheia, Aegae, Apollonis, the Mostenians, and Hyrcanian Macedonians, as they were called, with the towns of Hierocaesarea, Myrina, Cyme, and Tmolus, were; it was decided, to be exempted from tribute for the same time, and some one was to be sent from the Senate to examine their actual condition and to relieve them.
Marcus Aletus, one of the expraetors, was chosen, from a fear that, as an exconsul was governor of Asia, there might be rivalry between men of equal rank, and consequent embarrassment. To his splendid public liberality the emperor added bounties no less popular. The property of Aemilia Musa, a rich woman who died intestate, on which the imperial treasury had a claim, he handed over to Aemilius Lepidus, to whose family she appeared to belong; and the estate of Patuleius, a wealthy Roman knight, though he was himself left in part his heir, he gave to Marcus Servilius, whose name he discovered in an earlier and unquestioned will.
In both these cases he said that noble rank ought to have the support of wealth. Nor did he accept a legacy from any one unless he had earned it by friendship. Those who were strangers to him, and who, because they were at enmity with others, made the emperor their heir, he kept at a distance.
While, however, he relieved the honourable poverty of the virtuous, he expelled from the Senate or suffered voluntarily to retire spendthrifts whose vices had brought them to penury, like Vibidius Varro, Marius Nepos, Appius Appianus, Cornelius Sulla, and Quintus Vitellius.
About the same time he dedicated some temples of the gods, which had perished from age or from fire, and which Augustus had begun to restore. These were temples to Liber, Libera, and Ceres, near the Great Circus, which last Aulus Postumius, when Dictator, had vowed; a temple to Flora in the same place, which had been built by Lucius and Marcus Publicius, aediles, and a temple to Janus, which had been erected in the vegetable market by Caius Duilius, who was the first to make the Roman power successful at sea and to win a naval triumph over the Carthaginians.
A temple to Hope was consecrated by Germanicus; this had been vowed by Atilius in that same war. Meantime the law of treason was gaining strength.
Appuleia Varilia, grand-niece of Augustus, was accused of treason by an informer for having ridiculed the Divine Augustus, Tiberius, and Tiberius's mother, in some insulting remarks, and for having been convicted of adultery, allied though she was to Caesar's house.
Adultery, it was thought, was sufficiently guarded against by the Julian law. As to the charge of treason, the emperor insisted that it should be taken separately, and that she should be condemned if she had spoken irreverently of Augustus. Her insinuations against himself he did not wish to be the subject of judicial inquiry.
When asked by the consul what he thought of the unfavourable speeches she was accused of having uttered against his mother, he said nothing. Afterwards, on the next day of the Senate's meeting, he even begged in his mother's name that no words of any kind spoken against her might in any case be treated as criminal.
He then acquitted Appuleia of treason. For her adultery, he deprecated the severer penalty, and advised that she should be removed by her kinsfolk, after the example of our forefathers, to more than two hundred miles from Rome. Her paramour, Manlius, was forbidden to live in Italy or Africa. A contest then arose about the election of a praetor in the room of Vipstanus Gallus, whom death had removed. Germanicus and Drusus for they were still at Rome supported Haterius Agrippa, a relative of Germanicus.
Many, on the other hand, endeavoured to make the number of children weigh most in favour of the candidates. Tiberius rejoiced to see a strife in the Senate between his sons and the law.
Beyond question the law was beaten, but not at once, and only by a few votes, in the same way as laws were defeated even when they were in force. In this same year a war broke out in Africa, where the enemy was led by Tacfarinas. A Numidian by birth, he had served as an auxiliary in the Roman camp, then becoming a deserter, he at first gathered round him a roving band familiar with robbery, for plunder and for rapine. After a while, he marshalled them like regular soldiers, under standards and in troops, till at last he was regarded as the leader, not of an undisciplined rabble, but of the Musulamian people.
This powerful tribe, bordering on the deserts of Africa, and even then with none of the civilisation of cities, took up arms and drew their Moorish neighbours into the war. These too had a leader, Mazippa. The army was so divided that Tacfarinas kept the picked men who were armed in Roman fashion within a camp, and familiarised them with a commander's authority, while Mazippa, with light troops, spread around him fire, slaughter, and consternation.
They had forced the Ciniphii, a far from contemptible tribe, into their cause, when Furius Camillus, proconsul of Africa, united in one force a legion and all the regularly enlisted allies, and, with an army insignificant indeed compared with the multitude of the Numidians and Moors, marched against the enemy.
There was nothing however which he strove so much to avoid as their eluding an engagement out of fear. It was by the hope of victory that they were lured on only to be defeated. The legion was in the army's centre; the light cohorts and two cavalry squadrons on its wings.
Nor did Tacfarinas refuse battle. The Numidians were routed, and after a number of years the name of Furius won military renown. Since the days of the famous deliverer of our city and his son Camillus, fame as a general had fallen to the lot of other branches of the family, and the man of whom I am now speaking was regarded as an inexperienced soldier.
All the more willingly did Tiberius commemorate his achievements in the Senate, and the Senators voted him the ornaments of triumph, an honour which Camillus, because of his unambitious life, enjoyed without harm. In the following year Tiberius held his third, Germanicus his second, consulship.
Germanicus, however, entered on the office at Nicopolis, a city of Achaia, whither he had arrived by the coast of Illyricum, after having seen his brother Drusus, who was then in Dalmatia, and endured a stormy voyage through the Adriatic and afterwards the Ionian Sea.
He accordingly devoted a few days to the repair of his fleet, and, at the same time, in remembrance of his ancestors, he visited the bay which the victory of Actium had made famous, the spoils consecrated by Augustus, and the camp of Antonius. For, as I have said, Augustus was his great-uncle, Antonius his grandfather, and vivid images of disaster and success rose before him on the spot. Thence he went to Athens, and there, as a concession to our treaty with an allied and ancient city, he was attended only by a single lictor.
The Greeks welcomed him with the most elaborate honours, and brought forward all the old deeds and sayings of their countrymen, to give additional dignity to their flattery. Thence he directed his course to Euboea and crossed to Lesbos, where Agrippina for the last time was confined and gave birth to Julia.
He then penetrated to the remoter parts of the province of Asia, visited the Thracian cities, Perinthus and Byzantium; next, the narrow strait of the Propontis and the entrance of the Pontus, from an anxious wish to become acquainted with those ancient and celebrated localities.
He gave relief, as he went, to provinces which had been exhausted by internal feuds or by the oppressions of governors. In his return he attempted to see the sacred mysteries of the Samothracians, but north winds which he encountered drove him aside from his course. And so after visiting Ilium and surveying a scene venerable from the vicissitudes of fortune and as the birth-place of our people, he coasted back along Asia, and touched at Colophon, to consult the oracle of the Clarian Apollo.
There, it is not a woman, as at Delphi, but a priest chosen from certain families, generally from Miletus, who ascertains simply the number and the names of the applicants. Then descending into a cave and drinking a draught from a secret spring, the man, who is commonly ignorant of letters and of poetry, utters a response in verse answering to the thoughts conceived in the mind of any inquirer.
It was said that he prophesied to Germanicus, in dark hints, as oracles usually do, an early doom. Cneius Piso meanwhile, that he might the sooner enter on his design, terrified the citizens of Athens by his tumultuous approach, and then reviled them in a bitter speech, with indirect reflections on Germanicus, who, he said, had derogated from the honour of the Roman name in having treated with excessive courtesy, not the people of Athens, who indeed had been exterminated by repeated disasters, but a miserable medley of tribes.
As for the men before him, they had been Mithridates's allies against Sulla, allies of Antonius against the Divine Augustus. He taunted them too with the past, with their ill-success against the Macedonians, their violence to their own countrymen, for he had his own special grudge against this city, because they would not spare at his intercession one Theophilus whom the Areopagus had condemned for forgery.
Then, by sailing rapidly and by the shortest route through the Cyclades, he overtook Germanicus at the island of Rhodes. The prince was not ignorant of the slanders with which he had been assailed, but his good nature was such that when a storm arose and drove Piso on rocks, and his enemy's destruction could have been referred to chance, he sent some triremes, by the help of which he might be rescued from danger. But this did not soften Piso's heart. Scarcely allowing a day's interval, he left Germanicus and hastened on in advance.
When he reached Syria and the legions, he began, by bribery and favouritism, to encourage the lowest of the common soldiers, removing the old centurions and the strict tribunes and assigning their places to creatures of his own or to the vilest of the men, while he allowed idleness in the camp, licentiousness in the towns, and the soldiers to roam through the country and take their pleasure.
He went such lengths in demoralizing them, that he was spoken of in their vulgar talk as the father of the legions. Plancina too, instead of keeping herself within the proper limits of a woman, would be present at the evolutions of the cavalry and the manoeuvres of the cohorts, and would fling insulting remarks at Agrippina and Germanicus.
Some even of the good soldiers were inclined to a corrupt compliance, as a whispered rumour gained ground that the emperor was not averse to these proceedings. Of all this Germanicus was aware, but his most pressing anxiety was to be first in reaching Armenia.