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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



2165
Cassius Dio, Roman History, 60.25.6


nan So carefully, now, did Claudius guard against both possibilities that he would not even permit one who had acted as assessor to a governor to draw lots at once for the governorship of a province that would naturally fall to him; nevertheless, he allowed some of them to govern for two years, and in some cases he sent out men appointed by himself. Those who requested the privilege of leaving Italy were given permission by Claudius on his own responsibility without action on the part of the senate; yet, in order to appear to be doing this under some form of law, he ordered that a decree should be passed sanctioning this procedure;


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1. Suetonius, Claudius, 26, 25 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

2. Tacitus, Annals, 11.23-11.25, 12.6-12.7, 12.53, 12.60 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

11.23.  In the consulate of Aulus Vitellius and Lucius Vipsanius, the question of completing the numbers of the senate was under consideration, and the leading citizens of Gallia Comata, as it is termed, who had long before obtained federate rights and Roman citizenship, were claiming the privilege of holding magistracies in the capital. Comments on the subject were numerous and diverse; and in the imperial council the debate was conducted with animation on both sides:— "Italy," it was asserted, "was not yet so moribund that she was unable to supply a deliberative body to her own capital. The time had been when a Roman-born senate was enough for nations whose blood was akin to their own; and they were not ashamed of the old republic. Why, even to‑day men quoted the patterns of virtue and of glory which, under the old system, the Roman character had given to the world! Was it too little that Venetians and Insubrians had taken the curia by storm, unless they brought in an army of aliens to give it the look of a taken town? What honours would be left to the relics of their nobility or the poor senator who came from Latium? All would be submerged by those opulent persons whose grandfathers and great-grandfathers, in command of hostile tribes, had smitten our armies by steel and the strong hand, and had besieged the deified Julius at Alesia. But those were recent events! What if there should arise the memory of the men who essayed to pluck down the spoils, sanctified to Heaven, from the Capitol and citadel of Rome? Leave them by all means to enjoy the title of citizens: but the insignia of the Fathers, the glories of the magistracies, — these they must not vulgarize! 11.24.  Unconvinced by these and similar arguments, the emperor not only stated his objections there and then, but, after convening the senate, addressed it as follows: — "In my own ancestors, the eldest of whom, Clausus, a Sabine by extraction, was made simultaneously a citizen and the head of a patrician house, I find encouragement to employ the same policy in my administration, by transferring hither all true excellence, let it be found where it will. For I am not unaware that the Julii came to us from Alba, the Coruncanii from Camerium, the Porcii from Tusculum; that — not to scrutinize antiquity — members were drafted into the senate from Etruria, from Lucania, from the whole of Italy; and that finally Italy itself was extended to the Alps, in order that not individuals merely but countries and nationalities should form one body under the name of Romans. The day of stable peace at home and victory abroad came when the districts beyond the Po were admitted to citizenship, and, availing ourselves of the fact that our legions were settled throughout the globe, we added to them the stoutest of the provincials, and succoured a weary empire. Is it regretted that the Balbi crossed over from Spain and families equally distinguished from Narbonese Gaul? Their descendants remain; nor do they yield to ourselves in love for this native land of theirs. What else proved fatal to Lacedaemon and Athens, in spite of their power in arms, but their policy of holding the conquered aloof as alien-born? But the sagacity of our own founder Romulus was such that several times he fought and naturalized a people in the course of the same day! Strangers have been kings over us: the conferment of magistracies on the sons of freedmen is not the novelty which it is commonly and mistakenly thought, but a frequent practice of the old commonwealth. — 'But we fought with the Senones.' — Then, presumably, the Volscians and Aequians never drew up a line of battle against us. — 'We were taken by the Gauls.' — But we also gave hostages to the Tuscans and underwent the yoke of the Samnites. — And yet, if you survey the whole of our wars, not one was finished within a shorter period than that against the Gauls: thenceforward there has been a continuous and loyal peace. Now that customs, culture, and the ties of marriage have blended them with ourselves, let them bring among us their gold and their riches instead of retaining them beyond the pale! All, Conscript Fathers, that is now believed supremely old has been new: plebeian magistrates followed the patrician; Latin, the plebeian; magistrates from the other races of Italy, the Latin. Our innovation, too, will be parcel of the past, and what to‑day we defend by precedents will rank among precedents. 11.25.  The emperor's speech was followed by a resolution of the Fathers, and the Aedui became the first to acquire senatorial rights in the capital: a concession to a long-standing treaty and to their position as the only Gallic community enjoying the title of brothers to the Roman people. Much at the same time, the Caesar adopted into the body of patricians all senators of exceptionally long standing or of distinguished parentage: for by now few families remained of the Greater and Lesser Houses, as they were styled by Romulus and Lucius Brutus; and even those selected to fill the void, under the Cassian and Saenian laws, by the dictator Caesar and the emperor Augustus were exhausted. Here the censor had a popular task, and he embarked upon it with delight. How to remove members of flagrantly scandalous character, he hesitated; but adopted a lenient method, recently introduced, in preference to one in the spirit of old-world severity, advising each offender to consider his case himself and to apply for the privilege of renouncing his rank: that leave would be readily granted; and he would publish the names of the expelled and the excused together, so that the disgrace should be softened by the absence of anything to distinguish between censorial condemnation and the modesty of voluntary resignation. In return, the consul Vipstanus proposed that Claudius should be called Father of the Senate:— "The title Father of his Country he would have to share with others: new services to the state ought to be honoured by unusual phrases." But he personally checked the consul as carrying flattery to excess. He also closed the lustrum, the census showing 5,984,072 citizens. And now came the end of his domestic blindness: before long, he was driven to note and to avenge the excesses of his wife — only to burn afterwards for an incestuous union. 12.6.  As this engagingly worded preface was followed by flattering expressions of assent from the members, he took a fresh starting-point:— "Since it was the universal advice that the emperor should marry, the choice ought to fall on a woman distinguished by nobility of birth, by experience of motherhood, and by purity of character. No long inquiry was needed to convince them that in the lustre of her family Agrippina came foremost: she had given proof of her fruitfulness, and her moral excellences harmonized with the rest. But the most gratifying point was that, by the dispensation of providence, the union would be between a widow and a prince with experience of no marriage-bed but his own. They had heard from their fathers, and they had seen for themselves, how wives were snatched away at the whim of the Caesars: such violence was far removed from the orderliness of the present arrangement. They were, in fact, to establish a precedent by which the emperor would accept his consort from the Roman people! — Still, marriage with a brother's child, it might be said, was a novelty in Rome. — But it was normal in other countries, and prohibited by no law; while marriage with cousins and second cousins, so long unknown, had with the progress of time become frequent. Usage accommodated itself to the claims of utility, and this innovation too would be among the conventions of to‑morrow. 12.7.  Members were not lacking to rush from the curia, with emulous protestations that, if the emperor hesitated, they would proceed by force. A motley crowd flocked together, and clamoured that such also was the prayer of the Roman people. Waiting no longer, Claudius met them in the Forum, and offered himself to their felicitations, then entered the senate, and requested a decree legitimizing for the future also the union of uncles with their brothers' daughters. None the less, only a single enthusiast for that form of matrimony was discovered — the Roman knight Alledius Severus, whose motive was generally said to have been desire for the favour of Agrippina. — From this moment it was a changed state, and all things moved at the fiat of a woman — but not a woman who, as Messalina, treated in wantonness the Roman Empire as a toy. It was a tight-drawn, almost masculine tyranny: in public, there was austerity and not infrequently arrogance; at home, no trace of unchastity, unless it might contribute to power. A limitless passion for gold had the excuse of being designed to create a bulwark of despotism. 12.53.  At the same time, he submitted a motion to the Fathers, penalizing women who married slaves; and it was resolved that anyone falling so far without the knowledge of the slave's owner should rank as in a state of servitude; while, if he had given sanction, she was to be classed as a freedwoman. That Pallas, whom the Caesar had specified as the inventor of his proposal, should receive the praetorian insignia and fifteen million sesterces, was the motion of the consul designate, Barea Soranus. It was added by Cornelius Scipio that he should be accorded the national thanks, because, descendant though he was of the kings of Arcadia, he postponed his old nobility to the public good, and permitted himself to be regarded as one of the servants of the emperor. Claudius passed his word that Pallas, contented with the honour, declined to outstep his former honest poverty. And there was engraved on official brass a senatorial decree lavishing the praises of old-world frugality upon a freedman, the proprietor of three hundred million sesterces. 12.60.  Several times in this year, the emperor was heard to remark that judgments given by his procurators ought to have as much validity as if the ruling had come from himself. In order that the opinion should not be taken as a chance indiscretion, provision — more extensive and fuller than previously — was made to that effect by a senatorial decree as well. For an order of the deified Augustus had conferred judicial powers on members of the equestrian order, holding the government of Egypt; their decisions to rank as though they had been formulated by the national magistrates. Later, both in other provinces and in Rome, a large number of cases till then falling under the cognizance of the praetors were similarly transferred; and now Claudius handed over in full the judicial power so often disputed by sedition or by arms — when, for instance, the Sempronian rogations placed the equestrian order in possession of the courts; or the Servilian laws retroceded those courts to the senate; or when, in the days of Marius and Sulla, the question actually became a main ground of hostilities. But the competition was then between class and class, and the results of victory were universally valid. Gaius Oppius and Cornelius Balbus were the first individuals who, supported by the might of Caesar, were able to take for their province the conditions of a peace or the determination of a war. It would serve no purpose to mention their successors, a Matius or a Vedius or the other all too powerful names of Roman knights, when the freedmen whom he had placed in charge of his personal fortune were now by Claudius raised to an equality with himself and with the law.
3. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 7.29, 8.6, 10.8 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

7.29. To Montanus. You will first laugh, then feel annoyed, and then laugh again, if ever you read something which you will think almost incredible, unless you see it with your own eyes. I noticed the other day, just before you come to the first milestone on the Tiburtine Road, a monument to Pallas * bearing this inscription 8.6. To Montanus. You must by this time be aware from my last letter that I just lately noticed the monument erected to Pallas, which bore the following inscription Well, then, am I to consider that those who decreed these extravagant praises were merely gratifying his vanity or were acting like abject slaves ? I should say the former if such a spirit were becoming to a senate, and the latter but that no one is such an abject slave as to stoop to such servilities. Are we to ascribe it then to a desire to curry favour with Pallas, or to an insane passion to get on in the world? But who is so utterly mad as to wish to get on in the world at the price of his own shame and the disgrace of his country, especially when l 10.8. To Trajan. When, Sir, your late father, * both by a very fine speech and by setting them a most honourable example himself, urged every citizen to deeds of liberality, I sought permission from him to transfer to a neighbouring township all the statues of the emperors which had come into my possession by various bequests and were kept just as I had received them ill my distant estates, and to add thereto a statue of himself. He granted the request and made most flattering references to myself, and I immediately wrote to the decurions asking them to assign me a plot of ground upon which I might erect a temple ** at my own cost, and they offered to let me choose the site myself as a mark of appreciation of the task I had undertaken. But first my own ill-health, then your father's illness, and subsequently the anxieties of the office you bestowed upon me, have prevented my proceeding with the work. However, I think the present is a convenient opportunity for getting on with it, for my month of duty ends on the Kalends of September and the following month contains a number of holidays. I ask, therefore, as a special favour, that you will allow me to adorn with your statue the work which I am about to begin ; and secondly, that in order to complete it as soon as possible, you will grant me leave of absence. It would be alien to my frank disposition if I were to conceal from your goodness the fact that you will, if you grant me leave, be incidentally aiding very materially my private fices. The rent of my estates in that district exceeds 400,000 sesterces, and if the new tets are to be settled in time for the next pruning, the letting of the farms must not be any further delayed. Besides, the succession of bad vintages we have had forces me to consider the question of making certain abatements, and I cannot enter into that question unless I am on the spot. So, Sir, if for these reasons you grant me leave for thirty days, I shall owe to your kindness the speedy fulfilment of a work of loyalty and the settlement of my private fices. I cannot reduce the length of leave I ask for to narrower limits, inasmuch as the township and the estates I have spoken of are more than a hundred and fifty miles from Rome. 0
4. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 7.29, 8.6, 10.8 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

7.29. To Montanus. You will first laugh, then feel annoyed, and then laugh again, if ever you read something which you will think almost incredible, unless you see it with your own eyes. I noticed the other day, just before you come to the first milestone on the Tiburtine Road, a monument to Pallas * bearing this inscription 8.6. To Montanus. You must by this time be aware from my last letter that I just lately noticed the monument erected to Pallas, which bore the following inscription Well, then, am I to consider that those who decreed these extravagant praises were merely gratifying his vanity or were acting like abject slaves ? I should say the former if such a spirit were becoming to a senate, and the latter but that no one is such an abject slave as to stoop to such servilities. Are we to ascribe it then to a desire to curry favour with Pallas, or to an insane passion to get on in the world? But who is so utterly mad as to wish to get on in the world at the price of his own shame and the disgrace of his country, especially when l 10.8. To Trajan. When, Sir, your late father, * both by a very fine speech and by setting them a most honourable example himself, urged every citizen to deeds of liberality, I sought permission from him to transfer to a neighbouring township all the statues of the emperors which had come into my possession by various bequests and were kept just as I had received them ill my distant estates, and to add thereto a statue of himself. He granted the request and made most flattering references to myself, and I immediately wrote to the decurions asking them to assign me a plot of ground upon which I might erect a temple ** at my own cost, and they offered to let me choose the site myself as a mark of appreciation of the task I had undertaken. But first my own ill-health, then your father's illness, and subsequently the anxieties of the office you bestowed upon me, have prevented my proceeding with the work. However, I think the present is a convenient opportunity for getting on with it, for my month of duty ends on the Kalends of September and the following month contains a number of holidays. I ask, therefore, as a special favour, that you will allow me to adorn with your statue the work which I am about to begin ; and secondly, that in order to complete it as soon as possible, you will grant me leave of absence. It would be alien to my frank disposition if I were to conceal from your goodness the fact that you will, if you grant me leave, be incidentally aiding very materially my private fices. The rent of my estates in that district exceeds 400,000 sesterces, and if the new tets are to be settled in time for the next pruning, the letting of the farms must not be any further delayed. Besides, the succession of bad vintages we have had forces me to consider the question of making certain abatements, and I cannot enter into that question unless I am on the spot. So, Sir, if for these reasons you grant me leave for thirty days, I shall owe to your kindness the speedy fulfilment of a work of loyalty and the settlement of my private fices. I cannot reduce the length of leave I ask for to narrower limits, inasmuch as the township and the estates I have spoken of are more than a hundred and fifty miles from Rome. 0
5. Justinian, Digest, (5th cent. CE - 6th cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
claudianum, sc (no., (no. Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441
claudianum, sc (no. Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441
claudius, legislation under Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441
cornelia de falsis, lex Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441
emperor, oversees Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441
gallia narbonensis Price, Finkelberg and Shahar, Rome: An Empire of Many Nations: New Perspectives on Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Identity (2021) 36
italy Price, Finkelberg and Shahar, Rome: An Empire of Many Nations: New Perspectives on Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Identity (2021) 36; Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441
macedonianum, sc Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441
oratio Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441
ornamenta Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441
pallas Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441
pergamon Price, Finkelberg and Shahar, Rome: An Empire of Many Nations: New Perspectives on Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Identity (2021) 36
plinius caecilius secundus, c. (minor) Price, Finkelberg and Shahar, Rome: An Empire of Many Nations: New Perspectives on Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Identity (2021) 36
saeculares ludi/secular games Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441
salutatio Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441
senate, in latin and greek, legislation Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441
senators absences, residence Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441
senators absences, salutatio Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441
senatus consultum' Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441
sicily Price, Finkelberg and Shahar, Rome: An Empire of Many Nations: New Perspectives on Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Identity (2021) 36
silanianum, sc Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441
statilius taurus corvinus t. (cos. Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441
tifernum tiberinum Price, Finkelberg and Shahar, Rome: An Empire of Many Nations: New Perspectives on Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Identity (2021) 36
trajan Price, Finkelberg and Shahar, Rome: An Empire of Many Nations: New Perspectives on Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Identity (2021) 36
vinicius m. (cos. Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 441