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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



4458
Dio Chrysostom, Orations, 49.7-49.9


nan Furthermore, since they cannot always be ruled by kings who are philosophers, the most power­ful nations have publicly appointed philosophers as superintendents and officers for their kings. Thus the Persians, methinks, appointed those whom they call Magi, because they were acquainted with Nature and understood how the gods should be worshipped; the Egyptians appointed the priests who had the same knowledge as the Magi, devoting themselves to the service of the gods and knowing the how and the wherefore of everything; the Indians appointed Brachmans, because they excel in self-control and righteousness and in their devotion to the divine, as a result of which they know the future better than all other men know their immediate present; <


nan the Celts appointed those whom they call Druids, these also being devoted to the prophetic art and to wisdom in general. In all these cases the kings were not permitted to do or plan anything without the assistance of these wise men, so that in truth it was they who ruled, while the kings became are servants and the ministers of their will, though they sat on golden thrones, dwelt in great houses, and feasted sumptuously. And indeed it is reasonable to expect that man to administer any office most capably who, occupying continuously the most difficult office of all, can show himself free from error. <


nan For example, the philosopher is always master of himself; and this is altogether more difficult than to be king over all the Greeks or all the barbarians. For what race of men is as savage as are anger and envy and contentiousness, things over which the philosopher must maintain control? What race is as knavish and intrigue number and traitorous as are pleasures and lusts, by which he must never be overcome? What race is as violent and terrifying and debasing to men's souls as are fear and pain, to which he must never be seen to yield? <


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

9 results
1. Polybius, Histories, 7.14.6 (2nd cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)

2. Dio Chrysostom, Orations, 1.30-1.32, 1.38, 3.87, 3.89, 9.12, 11.62, 12.20, 12.27, 12.33-12.34, 13.32, 25.9, 31.159-31.160, 31.163, 32.41-32.44, 32.56, 33.23-33.28, 33.41, 35.18-35.24, 49.8-49.9, 57.6 (1st cent. CE

9.12.  but more difficult in every way — I mean poverty, exile, and disrepute; yes, and anger, pain, desire, fear, and the most redoubtable beast of all, treacherous and cowardly, I mean pleasure, which no Greek or barbarian can claim he fights and conquers by the strength of his soul, but all alike have succumbed to her and have failed in this contest — Persians, Medes, Syrians, Macedonians, Athenians, Lacedaemonians — all, that is, save myself. 12.20.  weak in body and advanced in years, not bearing 'a golden sceptre' or the sacred fillets of any god and arriving at the camp on an enforced journey to gain a daughter's release, but desiring to see strong men contending for empire and power, and their opponents for freedom and native land. Then, not because I shrank from the danger — let no one think this — but because I recalled to mind an old vow, I turned my course hither to you, ever considering that things divine have the greater claim and are more profitable than things human, however important these may be. 12.27.  Now concerning the nature of the gods in general, and especially that of the ruler of the universe, first and foremost an idea regarding him and a conception of him common to the whole human race, to the Greeks and to the barbarians alike, a conception that is inevitable and innate in every creature endowed with reason, arising in the course of nature without the aid of human teacher and free from the deceit of any expounding priest, has made its way, and it rendered manifest God's kinship with man and furnished many evidences of the truth, which did not suffer the earliest and most ancient men to doze and grow indifferent to them; 12.33.  So it is very much the same as if anyone were to place a man, a Greek or a barbarian, in some mystic shrine of extraordinary beauty and size to be initiated, where he would see many mystic sights and hear many mystic voices, where light and darkness would appear to him alternately, and a thousand other things would occur; and further, if it should be just as in the rite called enthronement, where the inducting priests are wont to seat the novices and then dance round and round them — pray, is it likely that the man in this situation would be no whit moved in his mind and would not suspect that all which was taking place was the result of a more than wise intention and preparation, even if he belonged to the most remote and nameless barbarians and had no guide and interpreter at his side — provided, of course, that he had the mind of a human being? 13.32.  but that if they wholeheartedly practised temperance, manliness, and justice, and took them into their souls, securing from somewhere teachers who taught these things and all the other things too, not caring whether the men were Greeks or Romans, or, for that matter, if there is among the Scythians or the Indians a man who teaches the things of which I have spoken, — not, as I think, archery and horsemanship, but far better, if there were a physician who, knowing how to treat the infirmities of the body, is in that way competent to heal the maladies of the soul — a teacher, I mean, who would be able to rid of licentiousness and covetousness and all such infirmities those who were dominated by them — 31.159.  Therefore, just as, when a prosperous and great family has been left desolate and only one male descendant survives, everything depends upon him, and if he errs in any way and bears a bad name, he destroys all the glory of his family and puts shame upon all who preceded him, so too is your position now in respect to Hellas. For you must not take it for granted, Rhodians, that you hold first place in Hellas, nay you must not. For it is only those Hellenes who still live and are sensible of the difference between honour and dishonour of whom it is possible for any to be first. But all the former are past and gone, have perished in an utterly shameful and pitiable way; and as to the rest, it is no longer possible to form a conception of the pre-eminence and splendour of their deeds and, as well, their sufferings, by looking at the men of the present time. 31.160.  Nay, it is rather the stones which reveal the grandeur and the greatness of Hellas, and the ruins of her buildings; her inhabitants themselves and those who conduct her governments would not be called descendants of even the Mysians. So to me, at least, it seems that the cities which have been utterly destroyed have come off better than those which are inhabited as they are now. For the memory of those men remains unimpaired, and the fame of those noble men of the past suffers insult for naught; just as it is true, methinks, with the bodies of the dead — it is in every way better that they should have been utterly destroyed and that no man should see them any more, than that they should rot in the sight of all! 31.163.  Then again, take the mode you affect in dress — which perhaps to some appears ridiculous — the width of the purple stripe; we come now to things still more noticeable — your remaining silent as you watch the games, your applauding by making a clucking sound with your lips — all these manners lend your city dignity, they all cause you to be looked upon as superior to the others, for all these customs you are admired, you are loved; more than by your harbours, your fortifications, your shipyards are you honoured by that strain in your customs which is antique and Hellenic, so that when anybody comes among you he recognizes instantly on disembarking, even if he happens to be of barbarian race, that he has not come to some city of Syria or of Cilicia. But in other cities, unless the stranger hears some one mention the name of the place he sees, that it is called, let us say, 'Lyceum' or 'Academy,' they are all alike to him! 32.41.  What, then, do you suppose those people say when they have returned to their homes at the ends of the earth? Do they not say: "We have seen a city that in most respects is admirable and a spectacle that surpasses all human spectacles, with regard both to beauty and sanctuaries and multitude of inhabitants and abundance of all that man requires," going on to describe to their fellow citizens as accurately as possible all the things that I myself named a short while ago — all about the Nile, the land, and the sea, and in particular the epiphany of the god; "and yet," they will add, "it is a city that is mad over music and horse-races and in these matters behaves in a manner entirely unworthy of itself. For the Alexandrians are moderate enough when they offer sacrifice or stroll by themselves or engage in their other pursuits; but when they enter the theatre or the stadium, just as if drugs that would madden them lay buried there, they lose all consciousness of their former state and are not ashamed to say or do anything that occurs to them. 32.42.  And what is most distressing of all is that, despite their interest in the show, they do not really see, and, though they wish to hear, they do not hear, being evidently out of their senses and deranged â€” not only men, but even women and children. And when the dreadful exhibition is over and they are dismissed, although the more violent aspect of their disorder has been extinguished, still at street-corners and in alley-ways the malady continues throughout the entire city for several days; just as when a mighty conflagration has died down, you can see for a long time, not only the smoke, but also some portions of the buildings still aflame. 32.43.  Moreover, some Persian or Bactrian is likely to say: "We ourselves know how to ride horses and are held to be just about the best in horsemanship" — for they cultivate that art for the defence of their empire and independence — "but for all that we have never behaved that way or anything like it"; whereas you, who have never handled a horse or mounted one yourselves, are unable to restrain yourselves, but are like lame men squabbling over a foot-race. That may explain why, cowards and slackers though you are, you have won so many cavalry battles in the past! 32.44.  And take heed lest these people prove to have spoken more truthfully about you than Anacharsis the Scythian is said to have spoken about the Greeks — for he was held to be one of the sages, and he came to Greece, I suppose, to observe the customs and the people. Anacharsis said that in each city of the Greeks there is a place set apart in which they act insanely day after day — meaning the gymnasium — for when they go there and strip off their clothes, they smear themselves with a drug. "And this," said he, "arouses the madness in them; for immediately some run, others throw each other down, others put up their hands and fight an imaginary foe, and others submit to blows. And when they have behaved in that fashion," said he, "they scrape off the drug and straightway are sane again and, now on friendly terms with one another, they walk with downcast glance, being ashamed at what has occurred. 33.41.  well then, suppose that a man were to judge you too by the sound that came to him from a distance, what kind of men would he guess you were and what your occupation? For you haven't the capacity for tending either cattle or sheep! And would any one call you colonists from Argos, as you claim to be, or more likely colonists of those abominable Aradians? Would he call you Greeks, or the most licentious of Phoenicians? I believe it is more appropriate for a man of sense to plug his ears with wax in a city like yours than if he chanced to be sailing past the Sirens. For there one faced the risk of death, but here it is licentiousness, insolence, the most extreme corruption that threatens. 35.18.  For in India, according to the report, there are rivers, not of water as in your land, but one of milk, one of translucent wine, another of honey, and another of olive oil. And these streams spring from hills near by, as if from the breasts of Mother Earth. And also these products are immeasurably superior to those we have both in flavour and in potency. For what we have in our country we gather in scanty measure and with difficulty from certain animals and plants, crushing the fruits of trees and plants and extracting the food of living creatures by milking and by robbing the hive; while the products of India are altogether purer, untainted, methinks, by violence and ruthlessness. Moreover, the rivers flow during one month for the king, and that constitutes his tribute, while for the rest of the year they flow for the people. 35.19.  So every day the Indians assemble with their children and their wives at the springs and river-banks, sporting and laughing as if in expectation of a feast. And by the banks there grows the lotus — a sturdy plant and, one might say, the sweetest of all foods, not, as the lotus in our land, mere fodder for quadrupeds — and also much sesame and parsley, at least as one might judge from the outward similarity of those plants, although for quality they are not to be compared. And that country produces also another seed, a better food than wheat and barley and more wholesome. And it grows in huge calyxes, like those of roses but more fragrant and larger. This plant they eat, both root and fruit, at no expense of labour. 35.20.  And there are many canals which issue from the rivers, some large and some small, mingling with one another and made by man to suit his fancy. And by their aid the Indians convey with ease the fluids I have named, just as we convey the water of our gardens. And there are baths also close by at their disposal, the water of which in the one case is warm and whiter than silver and in the other it is blue from its depth and coldness. In these they swim, women and children together, all of them beautiful. And after the bath, I dare say, reclining in the meadows they sing and hum. 35.21.  And there are in that land meadows of utter beauty and a variety of flowering trees that provide shade from high above, though they bring their fruit within reach of all who wish to pluck it as the branches nod. And the birds charm them by their song, some seated in the meadows, a great flock of them, and some high up among the topmost branches, their notes more tuneful than those of our musical instruments. And a gentle breeze is ever blowing, and the climate is nearly constant throughout the year, and it resembles most closely that of early summer. And what is more, not only is their sky clearer, but also the stars are more numerous and more brilliant. And these people live more than four hundred years, and during all that time they are beautiful and youthful and neither old age nor disease nor poverty is found among them. 35.22.  So wonder­ful and so numerous are these blessings, and yet there are people called Brachmanes who, abandoning those rivers and the people scattered along their banks, turn aside and devote themselves to private speculation and meditation, undertaking amazing physical labours without compulsion and enduring fearful tests of endurance. And it is said that they have one special fountain, the Fountain of Truth, by far the best and most godlike of all, and that those who drink their fill thereof have never been known to lie. Regarding conditions in that land, then, it is a true story that you have heard. For some of those who have been there have vouched for it; though only a few do go there, in pursuit of trade, and they mingle only with the people of the coast. 35.23.  And that branch of the Indian race is in low repute, and all the others say harsh things of them. It must be admitted that the people of India are more fortunate than you are, but that you are more fortunate than all the others — with the exception of just one more race of mortals, namely, those most rich in gold. And their gold is obtained from ants. These ants are larger than foxes, though in other respects similar to the ants we have. And they burrow in the earth, just as do all other ants. And that which is thrown out by their burrowing is gold, the purest of all gold and the most resplendent. Now there are close to one another a series of what might be called hills of gold dust, and the whole plain is agleam. Therefore it is difficult to look thereon in the sunlight, and many of those who have made the attempt have lost their sight. 35.24.  But the people who live near that land, having traversed the intervening territory (desert land of no great extent) in chariots drawn by horses of greatest speed, arrive at midday, at which time the ants have gone underground; and then these men seize the gold that has been cast forth and flee. And the ants, becoming aware of what has happened, give chase, and, having overtaken their quarry, fight until they either meet their death or kill the foe — for they are the most valiant of all creatures. And so these at any rate know what their gold is worth, and they even die sooner than give it up. 49.8.  the Celts appointed those whom they call Druids, these also being devoted to the prophetic art and to wisdom in general. In all these cases the kings were not permitted to do or plan anything without the assistance of these wise men, so that in truth it was they who ruled, while the kings became are servants and the ministers of their will, though they sat on golden thrones, dwelt in great houses, and feasted sumptuously. And indeed it is reasonable to expect that man to administer any office most capably who, occupying continuously the most difficult office of all, can show himself free from error.
3. Suetonius, Claudius, 28 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

4. Suetonius, Galba, 14.2 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

5. Suetonius, Vitellius, 12 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

6. Tacitus, Annals, 13.2, 13.50, 14.7, 14.51-14.57 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

13.2.  The tendency, in fact, was towards murder, had not Afranius Burrus and Seneca intervened. Both guardians of the imperial youth, and — a rare occurrence where power is held in partnership — both in agreement, they exercised equal influence by contrasted methods; and Burrus, with his soldierly interests and austerity, and Seneca, with his lessons in eloquence and his self-respecting courtliness, aided each other to ensure that the sovereign's years of temptation should, if he were scornful of virtue, be restrained within the bounds of permissible indulgence. Each had to face the same conflict with the overbearing pride of Agrippina; who, burning with all the passions of illicit power, had the adherence of Pallas, at whose instigation Claudius had destroyed himself by an incestuous marriage and a fatal adoption. But neither was Nero's a disposition that bends to slaves, nor had Pallas, who with his sullen arrogance transcended the limits of a freedman, failed to waken his disgust. Still, in public, every compliment was heaped upon the princess; and when the tribune, following the military routine, applied for the password, her son gave: "The best of mothers." The senate, too, accorded her a pair of lictors and the office of priestess to Claudius, to whom was voted, in the same session, a public funeral, followed presently by deification. 13.50.  In the same year, as a consequence of repeated demands from the public, which complained of the exactions of the revenue-farmers, Nero hesitated whether he ought not to decree the abolition of all indirect taxation and present the reform as the noblest of gifts to the human race. His impulse, however, after much preliminary praise of his magimity, was checked by his older advisers, who pointed out that the dissolution of the empire was certain if the revenues on which the state subsisted were to be curtailed:— "For, the moment the duties on imports were removed, the logical sequel would be a demand for the abrogation of the direct taxes. To a large extent, the collecting companies had been set up by consuls and plebeian tribunes while the liberty of the Roman nation was still in all its vigour: later modifications had only been introduced in order that the amount of income and the necessary expenditure should tally. At the same time, a check ought certainly to be placed on the cupidity of the collectors; otherwise a system which had been endured for years without a complaint might be brought into ill odour by new-fashioned harshnesses. 14.7.  Meanwhile, as Nero was waiting for the messengers who should announce the doing of the deed, there came the news that she had escaped with a wound from a light blow, after running just sufficient risk to leave no doubt as to its author. Half-dead with terror, he protested that any moment she would be here, hot for vengeance. And whether she armed her slaves or inflamed the troops, or made her way to the senate and the people, and charged him with the wreck, her wound, and the slaying of her friends, what counter-resource was at his own disposal? Unless there was hope in Seneca and Burrus! He had summoned them immediately: whether to test their feeling, or as cognizant already of the secret, is questionable. — There followed, then, a long silence on the part of both: either they were reluctant to dissuade in vain, or they believed matters to have reached a point at which Agrippina must be forestalled or Nero perish. After a time, Seneca so far took the lead as to glance at Burrus and inquire if the fatal order should be given to the military. His answer was that the guards, pledged as they were to the Caesarian house as a whole, and attached to the memory of Germanicus, would flinch from drastic measures against his issue: Anicetus must redeem his promise. He, without any hesitation, asked to be given full charge of the crime. The words brought from Nero a declaration that that day presented him with an empire, and that he had a freedman to thank for so great a boon: Anicetus must go with speed and take an escort of men distinguished for implicit obedience to orders. He himself, on hearing that Agermus had come with a message from Agrippina, anticipated it by setting the stage for a charge of treason, threw a sword at his feet while he was doing his errand, then ordered his arrest as an assassin caught in the act; his intention being to concoct a tale that his mother had practised against the imperial life and taken refuge in suicide from the shame of detection. 14.51.  But, while the evils of the state were growing daily more serious, the resources of the state were dwindling, and Burrus took his leave of life; whether by sickness or by poison may be doubted. Sickness was conjectured from the fact that he ceased to breathe as the result of a gradual swelling of the interior of the throat, and the consequent obstruction of the windpipe. It was more generally asserted that, by Nero's instructions, his palate was smeared with a poisonous drug, ostensibly as a remedial measure, and that Burrus, who had penetrated the crime, on receiving a visit from the emperor, averted his eyes from him, and answered his inquiries with the bare words: "I am well." He was regretted deeply and permanently by a country mindful of his virtue, and of his successors — one of them tamely innocent, the other flagrantly criminal. For the Caesar had appointed two commanders to the praetorian cohorts: Faenius Rufus, commended by the favour of the crowd, as he superintended the provisioning of the capital without profit to himself; and Sofonius Tigellinus, in whose case the attractions were the licentiousness of his past and his infamy. Neither belied his known habits: Tigellinus took the firmer hold over the mind of the prince and was made free of his most intimate debauches; Rufus enjoyed an excellent character with the people and the troops, and laboured under that disadvantage in his relations with Nero. 14.52.  The death of Burrus shook the position of Seneca: for not only had the cause of decency lost in power by the removal of one of its two champions, but Nero was inclining to worse counsellors. These brought a variety of charges to the assault on Seneca, "who was still augmenting that enormous wealth which had transcended the limits of a private fortune; who was perverting the affection of his countrymen to himself; who even in the charm of his pleasure-grounds and the splendour of his villas appeared bent on surpassing the sovereign. The honours of eloquence," so the count proceeded, "he arrogated to himself alone; and he was writing verse more frequently, now that Nero had developed an affection for the art. For of the emperor's amusements in general he was an openly captious critic, disparaging his powers when he drove his horses and deriding his notes when he sang! How long was nothing to be counted brilliant in Rome, unless it was believed the invention of Seneca? Beyond a doubt, Nero's boyhood was finished, and the full vigour of youth had arrived: let him discharge his pedagogue — he had a sufficiently distinguished staff of teachers in his own ancestors. 14.53.  Seneca was aware of his maligners: they were revealed from the quarters where there was some little regard for honour, and the Caesar's avoidance of his intimacy was becoming marked. He therefore asked to have a time fixed for an interview; it was granted, and he began as follows:— "It is the fourteenth year, Caesar, since I was associated with your hopeful youth, the eighth that you have held the empire: in the time between, you have heaped upon me so much of honour and of wealth that all that is lacking to complete my happiness is discretion in its use. I shall appeal to great precedents, and I shall draw them not from my rank but from yours. Augustus, the grandfather of your grandfather, conceded to Marcus Agrippa the privacy of Mytilene, and to Gaius Maecenas, within the capital itself, something tantamount to retirement abroad. One had been the partner of his wars, the other had been harassed by more numerous labours at Rome, and each had received his reward — a magnificent reward, it is true, but proportioned to immense deserts. For myself, what incentive to your generosity have I been able to apply except some bookish acquirements, cultivated, I might say, in the shadows of the cloister? Acquirements to which fame has come because I am thought to have lent a helping hand in your own first youthful efforts — a wage that overpays the service! But you have invested me with measureless influence, with countless riches; so that often I put the question to myself:— 'Is it I, born in the station of a simple knight and a provincial, who am numbered with the magnates of the realm? Among these nobles, wearing their long-descended glories, has my novel name swum into ken? Where is that spirit which found contentment in mediocrity? Building these terraced gardens? — Pacing these suburban mansions? — Luxuriating in these broad acres, these world-wide investments?' — A single defence suggests itself — that I had not the right to obstruct your bounty. 14.54.  "But we have both filled up the measure: you, of what a prince may give to his friend; and I, of what a friend may take from his prince. All beyond breeds envy! True, envy, like everything mortal, lies far beneath your greatness; but by me the burden is felt — to me a relief is necessary. As I should pray for support in warfare, or when wearied by the road, so in this journey of life, an old man and unequal to the lightest of cares, I ask for succour: for I can bear my riches no further. Order my estates to be administered by your procurators, to be embodied in your fortune. Not that by my own action I shall reduce myself to poverty: rather, I shall resign the glitter of wealth which dazzles me, and recall to the service of the mind those hours which are now set apart to the care of my gardens or my villas. You have vigour to spare; you have watched for years the methods by which supreme power is wielded: we, your older friends, may demand our rest. This, too, shall redound to your glory — that you raised to the highest places men who could also accept the lowly. 14.55.  Nero's reply, in effect, was this:— "If I am able to meet your studied eloquence with an immediate answer, that is the first part of my debt to you, who have taught me how to express my thought not merely after premeditation but on the spur of the moment. Augustus, the grandfather of my grandfather, allowed Agrippa and Maecenas to rest after their labours, but had himself reached an age, the authority of which could justify whatever boon, and of whatever character, he had bestowed upon them. And even so he stripped neither of the rewards conferred by himself. It was in battle and jeopardy they had earned them, for such were the scenes in which the youth of Augustus moved; and, had my own days been spent in arms, your weapons and your hand would not have failed me; but you did what the actual case demanded, and fostered first my boyhood, then my youth, with reason, advice, and precept. And your gifts to me will be imperishable, so long as life may last; but mine to you — gardens, capital, and villas — are vulnerable to accident. They may appear many; but numbers of men, not comparable to you in character have held more. Shame forbids me to mention the freedmen who flaunt a wealth greater than yours! And hence I even blush that you, who have the first place in my love, do not as yet excel all in fortune. Or is it, by chance, the case that you deem either Seneca lower than Vitellius, who held his three consulates, or Nero lower than Claudius, and that the wealth which years of parsimony won for Volusius is incapable of being attained by my own generosity to you? 14.56.  "On the contrary, not only is yours a vigorous age, adequate to affairs and to their rewards, but I myself am but entering the first stages of my sovereignty. Why not recall the uncertain steps of my youth, if here and there they slip, and even more zealously guide and support the manhood which owes its pride to you. Not your moderation, if you give back your riches; not your retirement, if you abandon your prince; by my avarice, and the terrors of my cruelty, will be upon all men's lips. And, however much your abnegation may be praised, it will still be unworthy of a sage to derive credit from an act which sullies the fair fame of a friend." He followed his words with an embrace and kisses — nature had fashioned him and use had trained him to veil his hatred under insidious caresses. Seneca — such is the end of all dialogues with an autocrat — expressed his gratitude: but he changed the established routine of his former power, banished the crowds from his antechambers, shunned his attendants, and appeared in the city with a rareness ascribed to his detention at home by adverse health or philosophic studies. 14.57.  With Seneca brought low, it was a simple matter to undermine Faenius Rufus, the charge in his case being friendship with Agrippina. Tigellinus, too, growing stronger with every day, and convinced that the mischievous arts, which were his one source of power, would be all the more acceptable, could he bind the emperor to himself by a partnership in crime, probed his fears, and, discovering the main objects of his alarm to be Plautus and Sulla — both lately removed, the former to Asia, the latter to Narbonese Gaul — began to draw attention to their distinguished lineage and their nearness, respectively, to the armies of the East and of Germany. "Unlike Burrus," he said, "he had not in view two irreconcilable hopes, but purely the safety of Nero. In the capital, where he could work on the spot, the imperial security was more or less provided for; but how were outbreaks at a distance to be stifled? Gaul was alert at the sound of the Dictator's name; and equally the peoples of Asia were unbalanced by the glory of such a grandsire as Drusus. Sulla was indigent, therefore greatly daring, and wore the mask of lethargy only till he could find an occasion for temerity. Plautus, with his great fortune, did not even affect a desire for peace, but, not content to parade his mimicries of the ancient Romans, had taken upon himself the Stoic arrogance and the mantle of a sect which inculcated sedition and an appetite for politics." There was no further delay. On the sixth day following, the slayers had made the crossing to Massilia, and Sulla, who had taken his place at the dinner-table, was despatched before a whisper of alarm had reached him. The head was carried back to Rome, where the premature grey hairs disfiguring it provoked the merriment of Nero.
7. Tacitus, Histories, 2.71.1, 2.76, 3.56 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

2.76.  While he was hesitating, moved by such fears as these, his mind was confirmed by his officers and friends and especially by Mucianus, who first had long private conversations with him and then spoke openly before the rest: "All who are debating high emprises ought to consider whether their purpose is useful to the state, glorious for themselves, easy of accomplishment, or at least not difficult. At the same time they must take into account the character of their adviser. Is he ready to share the risks involved as well as to give advice? If Fortune favours the undertaking, who is the man for whom the highest honour is sought? I call you, Vespasian, to the throne. How advantageous to the state, how glorious for you this may prove, are questions which depend, after the gods, on your own acts. Have no fear that I may appear to flatter you. It is rather a disgrace than a glory to be chosen emperor after Vitellius. It is not against the keen mind of the deified Augustus, nor the cautious nature of the aged Tiberius, nor against the long-established imperial house of even a Gaius or a Claudius, or, if you like, of a Nero, that we are rising. You respected the ancestry even of Galba. But to remain longer inactive and to leave the state to corruption and ruin would appear nothing but sloth and cowardice on your part, even if subservience should prove as safe for you as it certainly would be disgraceful. The time is already past and gone when you could seem to have no desires for supreme power. Your only refuge is the throne. Have you forgotten the murder of Corbulo? He was of more splendid family than I am, I grant you, but Nero also was superior to Vitellius in point of noble birth. Anyone who is feared is noble enough in the eyes of the man who fears him. Moreover you have proof in the case of Vitellius himself that an army can make an emperor, for Vitellius owes his elevation to no campaigns or reputation as a soldier, but solely to men's hatred of Galba. Even Otho, who owed his defeat, not to his rival's skill as general or to the force of the opposing army, but to his own hasty despair, Vitellius has already made seem a great emperor whom men regret; and in the meantime he is scattering his legions, disarming his cohorts, and every day sowing new seeds of war. All the enthusiasm and courage that his soldiers ever had is being dissipated in taverns, in debauches, and in imitation of their emperor. You have in Syria, Judea, and Egypt nine legions at their full strength, not worn out by fighting, not infected by mutiny, but troops who have gained strength by experience and proved themselves victorious over a foreign foe. You have strong fleets, cavalry, and cohorts, princes wholly loyal to you, and an experience greater than all others. 3.56.  While Vitellius was addressing the troops an incredible prodigy appeared — such a flock of birds of ill omen flew above him that they obscured the sky with a black cloud. Another dire omen was given by a bull which overthrew the preparations for sacrifice, escaped from the altar, and was then despatched some distance away and in an unusual fashion. But the most outstanding portent was Vitellius himself; unskilled in war, without foresight, unacquainted with the proper order of march, the use of scouts, the limits within which a general should hurry on a campaign or delay it, he was constantly questioning others; at the arrival of every messenger his face and gait betrayed his anxiety; and then he would drink heavily. Finally, weary of the camp and hearing of the defection of the fleet at Misenum, he returned to Rome, panic-stricken as ever by the latest blow and with no thought for the supreme issue. For when the way was open to him to cross the Apennines while the strength of his forces was unimpaired, and to attack his foes who were still exhausted by the winter and lack of supply, by scattering his forces he delivered over to death and captivity his best troops, who were loyal to the last extremity, although his most experienced centurions disapproved, and if consulted, would have told him the truth. But the most intimate friends of Vitellius kept them away from him, and so inclined the emperor's ears that useful counsel sounded harsh, and he would hear nothing but what flattered and was to be fatal.
8. Cassius Dio, Roman History, 52.15.2-52.15.3, 52.32-52.33, 52.37.1, 53.21.4-53.21.6, 55.7.2, 55.34.2, 57.7.2-57.7.5, 60.2.4, 60.17, 68.2.3 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

52.15.2.  that you and your counsellors should conduct the wars according to your own wishes, all other citizens rendering instant obedience to your commands; that the choice of the officials should rest with you and your advisers; and that you and they should also determine the honours and the punishments. The advantage of all this would be that whatever pleased you in consultation with your peers would immediately become law; 52.15.3.  that our wars against our enemies would be waged with secrecy and at the opportune time; that those to whom any task was entrusted would be appointed because of their merit and not as the result of the lot or rivalry for office; that the good would be honoured without arousing jealousy and the bad punished without causing rebellion. 52.32. 1.  "These matters, then, should be referred by you to the senate, and also those others which are of the greatest importance to the state. For interests which are shared in common should be administered in common. Besides, it is doubtless a quality implanted by nature in all men that they take delight in any marks of esteem received from a superior which imply that they are his equals, and that they not only approve of all decisions made by another in consultation with themselves, as being their own decisions, but also submit to them as having been imposed by their own free choice.,2.  Therefore I say that such business ought to be brought before the senate. Furthermore, all the senators alike, that is, all who are present, should vote on all other matters: but when one of their own number is accused, not all of them should do so, unless the one who is on trial is not yet sitting as a senator or is still in the ranks of the ex-quaestors.,3.  For it is absurd that one who has not yet been a tribune or an aedile should cast a vote against men who have held those offices, or, worse yet, that any one of the latter should vote against men who have been praetors, or one of these last against men who have been consuls. Rather, let the ex-consuls alone have authority to render decisions in the case of all senators, and let the rest of the senators vote only in the cases of senators of a rank equal or inferior to their own. 52.33. 1.  "But do you judge by yourself alone the cases which come to you on appeal or reference from the higher officials and the procurators, from the prefect of the city, the sub-censor, and from the prefects in charge respectively of the grain-supply and the night-watch. For none of these should have such absolute jurisdiction and final authority that an appeal cannot be made from him.,2.  Do you, therefore, pass upon these cases and those which involve knights and centurions recruited from the levies and the foremost private citizens, when they are defendants on a charge punishable by death or disfranchisement. For such cases should be committed to you alone, and for the reasons mentioned no one else should judge them solely upon his own responsibility.,3.  Indeed, in the rendering of decisions generally you should be brought into consultation, invariably by the senators and knights of highest rank and also, as occasion calls for one or another, by the other senators who are ex-consuls and ex-praetors, the object being twofold: that you on your part may first become more intimately acquainted with their characters and may then be able to put them to the right kind of employment, and that they, on their part, may first become familiar with our habits of mind and your plans before they go out to govern the provinces.,4.  Do not, however, ask for a public expression of their opinion on any matter that requires an unusually careful consideration, lest they hesitate to speak freely, since in giving their opinions they follow their superiors in rank; make them, rather, write their opinions on tablets. These you should read in private, that they may become known to no one else, and should then order the writing to be erased forthwith. For the best way for you to get at each man's precise opinion would be to give him the certainty that his vote cannot be detected among the rest.,5.  "Moreover, for your judicial work and your correspondence, to help you attend to the decrees of the states and the petitions of private individuals, and for all other business which belongs to the administration of the empire, you must have men chosen from the knights to be your helpers and assistants. For all the details of administration will move along more easily in this way, and you will neither err through relying upon your own judgment nor become exhausted through relying upon your own efforts.,6.  Grant to every one who wishes to offer you advice, on any matter whatever, the right to speak freely and without fear of the consequences; for if you are pleased with what he says you will be greatly benefited, and if you are not convinced it will do you no harm.,7.  Those who win your favourable opinion for their suggestions you should both commend and honour, since you yourself will gain credit through their discoveries; but do not treat with disrespect or criticise those who fail of your approval, since it is their intentions that you should consider, and their lack of success should not call forth your censure.,8.  Guard against this same mistake in matters of warfare, also; give way neither to anger against a man for an unintentional misfortune nor to jealousy for a piece of good fortune, that all may zealously and gladly incur danger for your sake, confident that if they meet with any reverse they will not be punished for it and if they gain success they will not have snares laid for them.,9.  There have been many, at any rate, who through fear of jealousy on the part of those in power have chosen to accept defeat rather than achieve success, and as a result have gained safety for themselves while inflicting the loss upon their rulers. Therefore, since you yourself stand to reap the major part of the fruits of both outcomes, the failures as well as the successes, you should never consent to become jealous, nominally of others, but really of yourself. 55.7.2.  Here is an instance. Maecenas once came upon him as he was holding court, and seeing that he was on the point of condemning many people to death, he attempted to push his way through the bystanders and get near him. When he was unable to do this, he wrote on a tablet, "Pray rise at last, executioner!" Then he threw the tablet into the lap of Augustus, as if it contained some indifferent matter, and the emperor imposed no death sentences, but arose and departed. 55.34.2.  But at the time to which I refer, Augustus allowed the senate to try most cases without him, and he gave up attending the popular assemblies. Instead, he had the year before personally appointed all who were to hold office, because there were factional outbreaks, and in this and the following years he merely posted a bulletin recommending to the plebs and to the people those whom he favoured. 57.7.2.  He did little or nothing on his own responsibility, but brought all matters, even the slightest, before the senate and communicated them to that body. In the Forum a tribunal had been erected on which he sat in public to dispense justice, and he always associated with himself advisers, after the manner of Augustus; nor did he take any step of consequence without making it known to the rest. 57.7.3.  After setting forth his own opinion he not only granted everyone full liberty to speak against it, but even when, as sometimes happened, others voted in opposition to him, he submitted; for he often would cast a vote himself. Drusus used to act just like the rest, now speaking first, and again after some of the others. 57.7.4.  As for Tiberius, he would sometimes remain silent and sometimes gave his opinion first, or after a few others, or even last; in some cases he would speak his mind directly, but generally, in order to avoid appearing to take away their freedom of speech, he would say: "If I had been giving my views, I should have proposed this or that. 57.7.5.  This method was just as effective as the other and yet the rest were not thereby prevented from stating their views. On the contrary, he would frequently express one opinion and those who followed would prefer something different, and sometimes they actually prevailed; yet for all that he harboured anger against no one. 60.17. 1.  When Claudius now became consul again, for the third time, he abolished many days of thanksgiving and many holidays. For the greater part of the year was being given up to them, with no small detriment to the public business.,2.  Besides thus curtailing the holidays, he retrenched in all other ways that he could. What had been given away by Gaius without any justice or reason he demanded back from the recipients; but he gave back to the highway commissioners the amount of the fines they had paid in the reign of Gaius at the instigation of Corbulo.,3.  Moreover, he gave notice to the governors chosen by lot, since they were slow even now about leaving the city, that they must begin their journey before the middle of April. He reduced the Lycians to servitude because they had revolted and slain some Romans, and he incorporated them in the prefecture of Pamphylia.,4.  During the investigation of this affair, which was conducted in the senate, he put a question in Latin to one of the envoys who had originally been a Lycian, but had been made a Roman citizen; and when the man failed to understand what was said, he took away his citizenship, saying that it was not proper for a man to be a Roman who had no knowledge of the Romans' language.,5.  A great many other persons unworthy of citizenship were also deprived of it, whereas he granted citizenship to others quite indiscriminately, sometimes to individuals and sometimes to whole groups. For inasmuch as Romans had the advantage over foreigners in practically all respects, many sought the franchise by personal application to the emperor, and many bought it from Messalina and the imperial freedmen.,6.  For this reason, though the privilege was at first sold only for large sums, it later became so cheapened by the facility with which it could be obtained that it came to be a common saying, that a man could become a citizen by giving the right person some bits of broken glass.,7.  For his course in the matter, therefore, Claudius brought ridicule upon himself; but he was praised for his conduct in another direction. It seems that information was being laid against many of the new citizens, in some instances to the effect that they were not adopting Claudius' name, and in others that they were not leaving him anything at their death — it being incumbent, they said, upon those who obtained citizenship from him to do both these things. Claudius now forbade that any one should be called to account on these grounds.,8.  Messalina and his freedmen kept offering for sale and peddling out not merely the franchise and military commands, procuratorships, and governorships, but also everything in general, to such an extent that there was a scarcity of all wares; and as a result Claudius was compelled to muster the populace in the Campus Martius, and there from a raised platform to fix the prices of the various articles.,9.  Claudius also gave a gladiatorial contest at the camp, on which occasion he wore a military cloak. His son's birthday was observed by the praetors on their own initiative with a spectacle and dinners. This was also done on later occasions, at least year such of them as chose to do so. 68.2.3.  He abolished many sacrifices, many horse-races, and some other spectacles, in an attempt to reduce expenditures as far as possible. In the senate he took oath that he would not slay any of the senators, and he kept his pledge in spite of plots against himself. Moreover, he did nothing without the advice of the foremost men.
9. Herodian, History of The Empire After Marcus, 1.6.5 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
advisers Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
alexander Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 119
barbaroi, vs.greeks Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
barbaroi Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
bon sauvage Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
caligula Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
cassius dio Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
claudius (germanicus) Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
commodus Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
darius Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 119
dio chrysostomus Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109, 119
education Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
father(hood) Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
flattery Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
friendship Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
graeci Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
hellenism(e) Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
identity (greek) Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
image Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
india Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
marcus aurelius Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
mythologie Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
nero Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
paideia Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
pompeianus Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
readers, foreknowledge Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
sagesse (dorigine divine) Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
senate Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
soldiers Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
speech(es) Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
stéréotypes (barbares) Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
tacitus Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
tyrannos' Fleury and Schmidt, Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and Its Times - Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque(2010) 109
tyranny/tyrants Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
vitellius Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
youth/young (rulers) Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199