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Tacitus: Annals Book 2 [50]

50. 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.

50. Adolescebat interea lex maiestatis. et Appuleiam Varillam, sororis Augusti neptem, quia probrosis sermonibus divum Augustum ac Tiberium et matrem eius inlusisset Caesarique conexa adulterio teneretur, maiestatis delator arcessebat. de adulterio satis caveri lege Iulia visum: maiestatis crimen distingui Caesar postulavit damnarique, si qua de Augusto inreligiose dixisset: in se iacta nolle ad cognitionem vocari. interrogatus a consule quid de iis censeret quae de matre eius locuta secus argueretur reticuit; dein proximo senatus die illius quoque nomine oravit ne cui verba in eam quoquo modo habita crimini forent. liberavitque Appuleiam lege maiestatis: adulterii graviorem poenam deprecatus, ut exemplo maiorum propinquis suis ultra ducentesimum lapidem removeretur suasit. adultero Manlio Italia atque Africa interdictum est.

51. 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.

51. De praetore in locum Vipstani Galli, quem mors abstulerat, subrogando certamen incessit. Germanicus.atque Drusus (nam etiam tum Romae erant) Haterium Agrippam propinquum Germanici fovebant: contra plerique nitebantur ut numerus liberorum in candidatis praepolleret, quod lex iubebat. laetabatur Tiberius, cum inter filios eius et leges senatus disceptaret. victa est sine dubio lex, sed neque statim et paucis suffragiis, quo modo etiam cum valerent leges vincebantur.

52. 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.

52. Eodem anno coeptum in Africa bellum, duce hostium Tacfarinate. is natione Numida, in castris Romanis auxiliaria stipendia meritus, mox desertor, vagos primum et latrociniis suetos ad praedam et raptus congregare, dein more militiae per vexilla et turmas componere, postremo non inconditae turbae sed Musulamiorum dux haberi. valida ea gens et solitudinibus Africae propinqua, nullo etiam tum urbium cultu, cepit arma Maurosque accolas in bellum traxit: dux et his, Mazippa. divisusque exercitus, ut Tacfarinas lectos viros et Romanum in modum armatos castris attineret, disciplina et imperiis suesceret, Mazippa levi cum copia incendia et caedis et terrorem circumferret. coapulerantque Cinithios, haud spernendam nationem, in eadem, cum Furius Camillus pro consule Africae legionem et quod sub signis sociorum in unum conductos ad hostem duxit, modicam manum, si multitudinem Numidarum atque Maurorum spectares; sed nihil aeque cavabatur quam ne bellum metu eluderent; spe victoriae inducti sunt ut vincerentur. igitur legio medio, leves cohortes duaeque alae in cornibus locantur. nec Tacfarinas pugnam detrectavit. fusi Numidae, multosque post annos Furio nomini partum decus militiae. nam post illum reciperatorem urbis filiumque eius Camillum penes alias familias imperatoria laus fuerat; atque hic, quem memoramus, bellorum expers habebatur. eo pronior Tiberius res gestas apud senatum celebravit; et decrevere patres triumphalia insignia, quod Camillo ob modestiam vitae impune fuit.

53. 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.

53. Sequens annus Tiberium tertio, Germanicum iterum consules habuit. sed eum honorem Germanicus iniit apud urbem Achaiae Nicopolim, quo venerat per Illyricam oram viso fratre Druso in Delmatia agente, Hadriatici ac mox Ionii maris adversam navigationem perpessus. igitur paucos dies insumpsit reficiendae classi; simul sinus Actiaca victoria inclutos et sacratas ab Augusto manubias castraque Antonii cum recordatione maiorum suorum adiit. namque ei, ut memoravi, avunculus Augustus, avus Antonius erant, magnaque illic imago tristium laetorumque. hinc ventum Athenas, foederique sociae et vetustae urbis datum ut uno lictore uteretur. excepere Graeci quaesitissimis honoribus, vetera suorum facta dictaque praeferentes quo plus dignationis adulatio haberet.

54. 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.

54. Petita inde Euboca tramisit Lesbum ubi Agrippina novissimo partu Iuliam edidit. tum extrema Asiae Perinthumque ac Byzantium, Thraecias urbes, mox Propontidis angustias et os Ponticum intrat, cupidine veteres locos et fama celebratos noscendi; pariterque provincias internis certaminibus aut magistratuum iniuriis fessas refovebat. atque illum in regressu sacra Samothracum visere nitentem obvii aquilones depulere. igitur adito Ilio quaeque ibi varietate fortunae et nostri origine veneranda, relegit Asiam adpellitque Colophona ut Clarii Apollinis oraculo uteretur. non femina illic, ut apud Delphos, sed certis e familiis et ferme Mileto accitus sacerdos numerum modo consultantium et nomina audit; tum in specum degressus, hausta fontis arcani aqua, ignarus plerumque litterarum et carminum edit responsa versibus compositis super rebus quas quis mente concepit. et ferebatur Germanico per ambages, ut mos oraculis, maturum exitum cecinisse.

55. 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.

55. At Cn. Piso quo properantius destinata inciperet civitatem Atheniensium turbido incessu exterritam oratione saeva increpat, oblique Germanicum perstringens quod contra decus Romani nominis non Atheniensis tot cladibus extinctos, sed conluviem illam nationum comitate nimia coluisset: hos enim esse Mithridatis adversus Sullam, Antonii adversus divum Augustum socios. etiam vetena obiectabat, quae in Macedones inprospere, violenter in suos fecissent, offensus urbi propria quoque ira quia Theophilum quendam Areo iudicio falsi damnatum precibus suis non concederent. exim navigatione celeri per Cycladas ee compendia maris adsequitur Germanicum apud insulam Rhodum, haud nescium quibus insectationibus petitus foret: sed tanta mansuetudine agebat ut, cum orta tempestas raperet in abrupta possetque interitus inimici ad casum referri, miserit triremis quarum subsidio discrimini eximeretur. neque tamen mitigatus Piso, et vix diei moram perpessus linquit Germanicum praevenitque. et postquam Syriam ac legiones attigit, largitione, ambitu, infimos manipularium iuvando, cum veteres centuriones, severos tribunos demoveret locaque eorum clientibus suis vel deterrimo cuique attribueret, desidiam in castris, licentiam in urbibus, vagum ac lascivientem per agros militem sineret, eo usque corruptionis provectus est ut sermone vulgi parens legionum haberetur. nec Plancina se intra decora feminis tenebat, .sed exercitio equitum, decursibus cohortium interesse, in Agrippinam, in Germanicum contumelias iacere, quibusdam etiam bonorum militum ad mala obsequia promptis, quod haud invito imperatore ea fieri occultus rumor incedebat. nota haec Germanico, sed praeverti ad Armenios instantior cura fuit.

56. This had been of old an unsettled country from the character of its people and from its geographical position, bordering, as it does, to a great extent on our provinces and stretching far away to Media. It lies between two most mighty empires, and is very often at strife with them, hating Rome and jealous of Parthia. It had at this time no king, Vonones having been expelled, but the nation's likings inclined towards Zeno, son of Polemon, king of Pontus, who from his earliest infancy had imitated Armenian manners and customs, loving the chase, the banquet, and all the popular pastimes of barbarians, and who had thus bound to himself chiefs and people alike. Germanicus accordingly, in the city of Artaxata, with the approval of the nobility, in the presence of a vast multitude, placed the royal diadem on his head. All paid him homage and saluted him as King Artaxias, which name they gave him from the city. Cappadocia meanwhile, which had been reduced to the form of a province, received as its governor Quintus Veranius. Some of the royal tributes were diminished, to inspire hope of a gentler rule under Rome. Quintus Servaeus was appointed to Commagene, then first put under a praetor's jurisdiction.

56. Ambigua gens ea antiquitus hominum ingeniis et situ terrarum, quoniam nostris provinciis late praetenta penitus ad Medos porrigitur; maximisque imperiis interiecti et saepius discordes sunt, adversus Romanos odio et in Parthum invidia. regem illa tempestate non habobant, amoto Vonone: sed favor nationis inclinabat in Zenonem, Polemonis regis Pontici filium, quod is prima ab infantia instituta et cultum Armeniorum aemulatus, venatu epulis et quae alia barbari celebrant, proceres plebemque iuxta de vinxerat. igitur Germanicus in urbe Artaxata adprobantibus nobilibus, circumfusa multitudine, insigne regium capiti eius imposuit. ceteri venerantes regem Artaxiam consalutavere, quod illi vocabulum indiderant ex nomine urbis. at Cappadoces in formam provinciae redacti Q. Veranium legatum accepere; et quaedam ex regiis tributis deminuta quo mitius Romanum imperium speraretur. Commagenis Q. Servaeus praeponitur, tum primum ad ius praetoris translatis.

57. Successful as was this settlement of all the interests of our allies, it gave Germanicus little joy because of the arrogance of Piso. Though he had been ordered to march part of the legions into Armenia under his own or his son's command, he had neglected to do either. At length the two met at Cyrrhus, the winterquarters of the tenth legion, each controlling his looks, Piso concealing his fears, Germanicus shunning the semblance of menace. He was indeed, as I have said, a kind-hearted man. But friends who knew well how to inflame a quarrel, exaggerated what was true and added lies, alleging various charges against Piso, Plancina, and their sons. At last, in the presence of a few intimate associates, Germanicus addressed him in language such as suppressed resentment suggests, to which Piso replied with haughty apologies. They parted in open enmity. After this Piso was seldom seen at Caesar's tribunal, and if he ever sat by him, it was with a sullen frown and a marked display of opposition. He was even heard to say at a banquet given by the king of the Nabataeans, when some golden crowns of great weight were presented to Caesar and Agrippina and light ones to Piso and the rest, that the entertainment was given to the son of a Roman emperor, not of a Parthian king. At the same time he threw his crown on the ground, with a long speech against luxury, which, though it angered Germanicus, he still bore with patience.

57. Cunctaque socialia prospere composita non ideo laetum Germanicum habebant ob superbiam Pisonis qui iussus partem legionum ipse aut per filium in Armeniam ducere utrumque neglexerat Cyrri demum apud hiberna decumae legionis convenere, firmato vultu, Piso adversus metum, Germanicus ne minari crederetur; et erat, ut rettuli, clementior. sed amici accendendis offensionibus callidi intendere vera, adgerere falsa ipsumque et Plancinam et filios variis modis criminari. postremo paucis familiarium adhibitis sermo coeptus a Caesare, qualem ira et dissimulatio gignit, responsum a Pisone precibus contumacibus; discesseruntque apertis odiis. post quae rarus in tribunali Caesaris Piso, et si quando adsideret, atrox ac dissentire manifestus. vox quoque eius audita est in convivio, cum apud regem Nabataeorum coronae aureae magno pondere Caesari et Agrippinae, leves Pisoni et ceteris offerrentur, principis Romani, non Parthi regis filio eas epulas dari; abiecitque simul coronam et multa in luxum addidit quae Germanico quamquam acerba tolerabantur tamen.

58. Meantime envoys arrived from Artabanus, king of the Parthians. He had sent them to recall the memory of friendship and alliance, with an assurance that he wished for a renewal of the emblems of concord, and that he would in honour of Germanicus yield the point of advancing to the bank of the Euphrates. He begged meanwhile that Vonones might not be kept in Syria, where, by emissaries from an easy distance, he might draw the chiefs of the tribes into civil strife. Germanicus' answer as to the alliance between Rome and Parthia was dignified; as to the king's visit and the respect shown to himself, it was graceful and modest. Vonones was removed to Pompeiopolis, a city on the coast of Cilicia. This was not merely a concession to the request of Artabanus, but was meant as an affront to Piso, who had a special liking for Vonones, because of the many attentions and presents by which he had won Plancina's favour.

58. Inter quae ab rege Parthorum Artabano legati venere. miserat amicitiam ac foedus memoraturos, et cupere novari dextras, daturumque honori Germanici ut ripam Euphratis accederet: petere interim ne Vonones in Syria haberetur neu proceres gentium propinquis nuntiis ad discordias traheret. ad ea Germanicus de societate Romanorum Pa ??? ue magnifice, de adventu regis et cultu sui cum decore ac modestia respondit. Vonones Pompeiopolim, Ciliciae maritimam urbem, amotus est. datum id non modo 6 precibus Artabani, sed contumeliae Pisonis cui gratissimus erat ob plurima oflicia et dona quibus Plancinam devinxerat.

59. In the consulship of Marcus Silanus and Lucius Norbanus, Germanicus set out for Egypt to study its antiquities. His ostensible motive however was solicitude for the province. He reduced the price of corn by opening the granaries, and adopted many practices pleasing to the multitude. He would go about without soldiers, with sandalled feet, and apparelled after the Greek fashion, in imitation of Publius Scipio, who, it is said, habitually did the same in Sicily, even when the war with Carthage was still raging. Tiberius having gently expressed disapproval of his dress and manners, pronounced a very sharp censure on his visit to Alexandria without the emperor's leave, contrary to the regulations of Augustus. That prince, among other secrets of imperial policy, had forbidden senators and Roman knights of the higher rank to enter Egypt except by permission, and he had specially reserved the country, from a fear that any one who held a province containing the key of the land and of the sea, with ever so small a force against the mightiest army, might distress Italy by famine.

59. M. Silano L. Norbano consulibus Germanicus Aegyptum proficiscitur cognoscendae antiquitatis. sed cura provinciae praetendebatur, levavitque apertis horreis pretia frugum multaque in vulgus grata usurpavit: sine milite incedere, pedibus intectis et pari cum Graecis amictu, P. Scipionis aemulatione, quem eadem factitavisse apud Siciliam, quamvis flagrante adhuc Poenorum bello, accepimus. Tiberius cultu habituque eius lenibus verbis perstricto, acerrime increpuit quod contra instituta Augusti non sponte principis Alexandriam introisset. nam Augustus inter alia dominationis arcana, vetitis nisi permissu ingredi senatoribus aut equitibus Romanis inlustribus, seposuit Aegyptum ne fame urgeret Italiam quisquis eam provinciam claustraque terrae ac maris quamvis levi praesidio adversum ingentis exercitus insedisset.

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