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Tacitus: Annals Book 2 [40]

40. 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." He could not be forced to divulge his accomplices. 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.

40. Vulgabatur interim per Italiam servatum munere deum Agrippam, credebatur Romae; iamque Ostiam invectum multitudo ingens, iam in urbe clandestini coetus celebrabant, cum Tiberium anceps cura distrahere, vine militum servum suum coerceret an inanem credulitatem tempore ipso vanescere sineret: modo nihil spernendum, modo non omnia metuenda ambiguus pudoris ac metus reputabat. postremo dat negotium Sallustio Crispo. ille e clientibus duos (quidam milites fuisse tradunt) deligit atque hortatur, simulata conscientia adeant, offerant pecuniam, fidem atque pericula polliceantur. exequuntur ut iussum erat. dein speculati noctem incustoditam, accepta idonea manu, vinctum clauso ore in Palatium traxere. percontanti Tiberio quo modo Agrippa factus esset respondisse fertur 'quo modo tu Caesar.' ut ederet socios subigi non potuit. nec Tiberius poenam eius palam ausus, in secreta Palatii parte interfici iussit corpusque clam auferri. et quamquam multi e domo principis equitesque ac senatores sustentasse opibus, iuvisse consiliis dicerentur, haud quaesitum.

41. 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.

41. Fine anni arcus propter aedem Saturni ob recepta signa cum Varo amissa ductu Germanici, auspiciis Tiberii, et aedes Fortis Fortunae Tiberim iuxta in hortis, quos Caesar dictator populo Romano legaverat, sacrarium genti Iuliae effigiesque divo Augusto apud Bovillas dicantur. C. Caelio L. Pomponio consulibus Germanicus Caesar a. d. VII. Kal. Iunias triumphavit de Cheruscis Chattisque et Angrivariis quaeque aliae nationes usque ad Albim colunt. vecta spolia, captivi, simulacra montium, fluminum, proeliorum; bellumque, quia conficere prohibitus erat, pro confecto accipiebatur. augebat intuentium visus eximia ipsius species currusque quinque liberis onustus. sed suberat occulta formido, reputantibus haud prosperum in Druso patre eius favorem vulgi, avunculum eiusdem Marcellum flagrantibus plebis studiis intra inventam ereptum, brevis et infaustos populi Romani amores.

42. 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. tax could be lightened, which, for the future, he fixed at one-half 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.

42. Ceterum Tiberius nomine Germanici trecenos plebi sestertios viritim dedit seque collegam consulatui eius destinavit. nec ideo sincerae caritatis fidem adsecutus amoliri iuvenem specie honoris statuit struxitque causas aut forte oblatas arripuit. rex Archelaus quinquagesimum annum Cappadocia potiebatur, invisus Tiberio quod eum Rhodi agentem nullo officio coluisset. nec id Archelaus per superbiam omiserat, sed ab intimis Augusti monitus, quia florente Gaio Caesare missoque ad res Orientis intuta Tiberii amicitia credebatur. ut versa Caesarum subole imperium adeptus est, elicit Archelaum matris litteris, quae non dissimulatis filii offensionibus clementiam offerebae, si ad precandum veniret. ille ignarus doli vel, si intellegere crederetur, vim metuens in urbem properat; exceptusque immiti a principe et mox accusatus in senatu, non ob crimina quae fingebantur sed angore, simul fessus senio et quia regibus aequa, nedum infima insolita sunt, finem vitae sponte an fato implevit. regnum in provinciam redactum est, fructibusque eius levari posse centesimae vectigal professus Caesar ducentesimam in posterum statuit. per idem tempus Antiocho Commagenorum, Philopatore Cilicum regibus defunctis turbabantur nationes, plerisque Romanum, aliis regium imperium cupientibus; et provinciae Syria atque Iudaea, fessae oneribus, deminutionem tributi orabant.

43. Tiberius accordingly discussed these matters and the affairs of Armenia, which I have already related, before the Senate. "The commotions in the East," he said, "could be quieted only by the wisdom, of Germanicus; own life was on the decline, and Drusus had not yet reached his maturity." Thereupon, by a decree of the Senate, the provinces beyond sea were entrusted to Germanicus, with greater powers wherever he went than were given to those who obtained their provinces by lot or by the emperor's appointment. 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.

43. Igitur haec et de Armenia quae supra memoravi apud patres disseruit, nec posse motum Orientem nisi Germanici sapientia conponi: nam suam aetatem vergere, Drusi nondum satis adolevisse. tunc decreto patrum per missae Germanico provinciae quae mari dividuntur, maiusque imperium, quoquo adisset, quam iis qui sorte aut missu principis obtinerent sed Tiberius demoverat Syria Creticum Silanum, per adfinitatem conexam Germanico, quia Silani filia Neroni vetustissimo liberorum eius pacta erat, praefeceratque Cn. Pisonem, ingenio violentum et obsequii ignarum, insita ferocia a patre Pisone qui civili bello resurgentis in Africa partis acerrimo ministerio adversus Caesarem iuvit, mox Brutum et Cassium secutus concesso reditu petitione honorum abstinuit, donec ultro ambiretur delatum ab Augusto consulatum accipere. sed praeter patemos spiritus uxoris quoque Plancinae nobilitate et opibus accendebatur; vix Tiberio concedere, liberos eius ut multum infra despectare. nec dubium habebat se delectum qui Syriae imponeretur ad spes Germanici coercendas. credidere quidam data et a Tiberio occulta mandata; et Plancinam haud dubie Augusta monuit aemulatione muliebri Agrippinam insectandi divisa namque et discors aula erat tacitis in Drusum aut Germanicum studiis. Tiberius ut proprium et sui sanguinis Drusum fovebat: Germanico alienatio patrui amorem apud ceteros auxerat, et quia claritudine matemi generis anteibat, avum M. Antonium, avunculum Augustum ferens. contra Druso proavus eques Romanus Pomponius Atticus dedecere Claudiorum imagines videbatur: et coniunx Germanici Agrippina fecunditate ac fama Liviam uxorem Drusi praecellebat. sed fratres egregie concordes et proximorum certaminibus inconcussi.

44. 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.

44. Nec multo post Drusus in Illyricum missus est ut suesceret militiae studiaque exercitus pararet; simul iuvenem urbano luxu lascivientem melius in castris haberi Tiberius seque tutiorem rebatur utroque filio legiones obtinente. sed Suebi praetendebantur auxilium adversus Cheruscos orantes; nam discessu Romanorum ac vacui externo metu gentis adsuetudine et tum aemulatione gloriae arma in se verterant. vis nationum, virtus ducum in aequo; set Maroboduum regis nomen invisum apud popularis, Arminium pro libertate bellantem favor habebat.

45. 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.

45. Igitur non modo Cherusci sociique eorum, vetus Arminii miles, sumpsere bellum, sed e regno etiam Marobodui Suebae gentes, Semnones ac Langobardi, defecere ad eum. quibus additis praepollebat, ni Inguiomerus cum manu clientium ad Maroboduum perfugisset, non aliam ob causam quam quia fratris filio iuveni patruus senex parere dedignabatur. deriguntur acies, pari utrimque spe, nec, ut olim apud Germanos, vagis incursibus aut disiectas per catervas: quippe longa adversum nos militia insueverant sequi signa, subsidiis firmari, dicta imperatorum accipere. ac tunc Arminius equo conlustrans cuncta, ut quosque advectus erat, reciperatam libertatem, trucidatas legiones, spolia adhuc et tela Romanis derepta in manibus multorum ostentabat; contra fugacem Maroboduum appellans, proeliorum expertem, Hercyniae latebris defensum; ac mox per dona et legationes petivisse foedus, proditorem patriae, satellitem Caesaris, haud minus infensis animis exturbandum quam Varum Quintilium interfecerint. meminissent modo tot proeliorum, quorum eventu et ad postremum eiectis Romanis satis probatum, penes utros summa belli fuerit.

46. 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." To these words, which roused the two armies, was added the stimulus of special motives of their own. 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.

46. Neque Maroboduns iactantia sui aut probris in hostem abstinebat, sed Inguiomerum tenens illo in corpore decus omne Cheruscorum, illius consiliis gesta quae prospere ceciderint testabatur: vaecordem Arminium et rerum nescium alienam gloriam in se trahere, quoniam tres vagas legiones et ducem fraudis ignarum perfidia deceperit, magna cum clade Germaniae et ignominia sua, cum coniunx, cum fiius eius servitium adhuc tolerent. at se duodecim legionibus petitum duce Tiberio inlibatam Germanorum gloriam servavisse, mox condicionibus aequis discessum; neque paenitere quod ipsorum in manu sit, integrum adversum Romanos bellum an pacem incruentam malint. his vocibus instinctos exercitus propriae quoque causae stimulabant, cum a Cheruscis Langobardisque pro antiquo decore aut recenti libertate et contra augendae dominationi certaretur. non alias maiore mole concursum neque ambiguo magis eventu, fusis utrimque dextris cornibus; sperabaturque rursum pugna, ni Maroboduns castra in collis subduxisset. id signum perculsi fuit; et transfugiis paulatim nudatus in Marcomanos concessit misitque legatos ad Tiberium oraturos auxilia. responsum est non lure eum adversus Cheruscos arma Romana invocare, qui pugnantis in eundem hostem Romanos nulla ope iuvisset. missus tamen Drusus, ut rettulimus, paci firmator.

47. 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.

47. Eodem anno duodecim celebres Asiae urbes conlapsae nocturno motu terrae, quo inprovisior graviorque pestis fuit. neque solitum in tali casu effugium subveniebat in aperta prorumpendi, quia diductis terris hauriebantur. sedisse inmensos montis, visa in arduo quae plana fuerint, effulsisse inter ruinam ignis memorant. asperrima in Sardianos lues plurimum in eosdem misericordiae traxit: nam centies sestertium pollicitus Caesar, et quantum aerario aut fisco pendebant in quinquennium remisit. Magnetes a Sipylo proximi damno ac remedio habiti. Temnios, Philadelphenos, Aegeatas, Apollonidenses, quique Mosteni aut Macedones Hyrcani vocantur, et Hierocaesariam, Myrinam, Cymen, Tmolum levari idem in tempus tributis mittique ex senatu placuit, qui praesentia spectaret refoveretque. delectus est M. Ateius e praetoriis, ne consulari obtinente Asiam aemulatio inter pares et ex eo impedimentum oreretur.

48. 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.

48. Magnificam in publicum largitionem auxit Caesar haud minus grata liberalitate, quod bona Aemiliae Musae, locupletis intestatae, petita in fiscum, Aemilio Lepido, cuius e domo videbatur, et Pantulel divitis equitis Romani here ditatem, quamquam ipse heres in parte legeretur, tradidit M. Servilio, quem prioribus neque suspectis tabulis scriptum compererat, nobilitatem utriusque pecunia iuvandam praefatus. neque hereditatem cuiusquam adiit nisi cum amicitia meruisset: ignotos et aliis infensos eoque principem nuncupantis procul arcebat. ceterum ut honestam innocentium paupertatem levavit, ita prodigos et ob flagitia egentis, Vibidium Varronem, Marium Nepotem, Appium Appianum, Cornelium Sullam, Q. Vitellium movit senatu aut sponte cedere passus est.

49. 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.

49. Isdem temporibus deum aedis vetustate aut igni abolitas coeptasque ab Augusto dedicavit, Libero Liberaeque et Cereri iuxta circum maximum, quam A. Postumius dictator voverat, eodemque in loco aedem Florae ab Lucio et Marco Publiciis aedilibus constitutam, et Iano templum, quod apud forum holitorium C. Duilius struxerat, qui primus rem Romanam prospere mari gessit triumphumque navalem de Poenis meruit. Spei aedes a Germanico sacratur: hanc A. Atilius voverat eodem bello.

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