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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9460
Pliny The Younger, Letters, 4.9.7


nanHowever, just as there was difference of opinion in the Senate, so there is the same with the general public. Those who approved the proposal of Caepio find fault with that of Macer as being vindictive and severe; those who agree with Macer condemn Caepio's motion as lax and even inconsistent, for they say it is incongruous to allow a man to keep his place in the Senate when judges have been allotted to try him. There was also a third proposal. Valerius Paulinus, who agreed in the main with Caepio, proposed that an inquiry should be instituted into the case of Theophanes, as soon as he had concluded his work on the deputation. It was urged that during his conduct of the prosecution he had committed a number of offences which came within the scope of the law under which he had accused Bassus. However, the consuls did not approve this proposal, though it found great favour with a large proportion of the Senate. None the less, Paulinus gained a reputation thereby for justice and consistency. When the Senate rose, Bassus came in for an ovation; crowds gathered round him and greeted him with a remarkable demonstration of their joy. Public sympathy had been aroused in his favour by the old story of the hazards he had gone through being told over again, by the association of his name with grave perils, by his tall physique and the sadness and poverty of his old age. You must consider this letter as the forerunner of another: you will be looking out for my speech in full and with every detail, and you will have to look out for it for some time to come, because, owing to the importance of the subject, it will require more than a mere brief and cursory revision. Farewell.


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1. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 4.11, 7.6, 7.10, 7.33, 9.13.4 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

4.11. To Cornelius Minicianus. Have you heard that Valerius Licinianus is teaching rhetoric in Sicily? I do not think you can have done, for the news is quite fresh. He is of praetorian rank, and he used at one time to be considered one of our most eloquent pleaders at the bar, but now he has fallen so low that he is an exile instead of being a senator, and a mere teacher of rhetoric instead of being a prominent advocate. Consequently in his opening remarks he exclaimed, sorrowfully and solemnly You will say that this is all very sad and pitiful, but that a man who defiled his profession of letters by the guilt of incest deserves to suffer. It is true that he confessed his guilt, but it is an open question whether he did so because he was guilty or because he feared an even heavier punishment if he denied it. For Domitian was in a great rage and was boiling over with fury because his witnesses had left him in the lurch. His mind was set upon burying alive Cornelia, the chief of the Vestal Virgins, as he thought to make his age memorable by such an example of severity, and, using his authority as pontifex maximus, or rather exercising the cruelty of a tyrant and the wanton caprice of a ruler, he summoned the rest of the pontiffs not to the Palace but to his Villa at Alba. There, with a wickedness just as monstrous as the crime which he pretended to be punishing, he declared her guilty of incest, without summoning her before him and giving her a hearing, though he himself had not only committed incest with his brother's daughter but had even caused her death, for she died of abortion during her widowhood. He immediately despatched some of the pontiffs to see that his victim was buried alive and put to death. Cornelia invoked in turns the aid of Vesta and of the rest of the deities, and amid her many cries this was repeated most frequently Moreover, when Celer, the Roman knight who was accused of having intrigued with Cornelia, was being scourged with rods in the forum, he did nothing but cry out, "What have I done? I have done nothing." Consequently Domitian's evil reputation for cruelty and injustice blazed up on all hands. He fastened upon Licinianus for hiding a freedwoman of Cornelia on one of his farms. Licinianus was advised by his friends who interested themselves on his behalf to take refuge in making a confession and beg for pardon, if he wished to escape being flogged in the forum, and he did so. Herennius Senecio spoke for him in his absence very much in the words of Homer, "Patroclus is fallen;" ** for he said, "Instead of being an advocate, I am the bearer of news You see how careful I am to obey your wishes, as I not only give you the news of the town, but news from abroad, and minutely trace a story from its very beginning. I took for granted that, as you were away from Rome at the time, all you heard of Licinianus was that he had been banished for incest. For rumour only gives one the gist of the matter, not the various stages through which it passes. Surely I deserve that you should return the compliment and write and tell me what is going on in your town and neighbourhood, for something worthy of note is always happening. But say what you will, provided you give me the news in as long a letter as I have written to you. I shall count up not only the pages, but the lines and the syllables. Farewell. 7.6. To Macrinus. The suit against Varenus has come to an unusual and remarkable conclusion, and the issue is even now open to doubt. People say that the Bithynians have withdrawn their accusation against him, on the ground that they entered upon it without adequate proofs. That, I repeat, is what people are saying. However, the legate of the province is in Rome, and he has laid the decree of the Council before Caesar, before many of the leading men here, and even before us who are acting for Varenus. None the less our friend Magnus, as usual, persists in his opposition, and he still keeps worrying that estimable man Nigrinus. He pressed the consuls, through Nigrinus, to force Varenus to produce his official accounts. I was standing by Varenus in a friendly way, and had made up my mind to say nothing, for nothing would have damaged his prospects so much as for me, who had been appointed by the senate to act on his behalf, to begin defending him, as though he were on his trial, when the great thing was to prevent him being put on his trial at all. However, when Nigrinus had concluded his demand, and the consuls looked towards me to say something, I remarked In one instance, a mother who had lost her son - for there is no reason why I should not recall some of my old cases, though this was not my motive in writing this letter - accused his freedmen - who were also co-heirs to the estate - of having forged the will and poisoned their master. She brought the matter to the notice of the Emperor, and obtained permission for Julius Servianus to act as judge. I defended the accused in a crowded court, for the case was a regular cause célèbre, and there were the best counsel of the day engaged on both sides. The hearing was decided by the evidence of the slaves, who were submitted to torture, and their answers were in favour of the accused. Subsequently, the mother appealed to the Emperor, declaring that she had discovered fresh proofs. Suburanus was instructed to give her a hearing again, provided that she brought forward new evidence. Julius Africanus appeared for the mother - a grandson of the orator of whom Passienus Crispus said after listening to his speech It has been much the same in the present case, and my policy in saying just what I did on behalf of Varenus and nothing more has been greatly approved. The consuls, as Polyaenus desired, have left the Emperor an entirely free hand, and I am waiting for him to hear the case, with much anxiety; for, when he does, the issue of the day will either free us, who are on Varenus's side, from all trouble and make our minds perfectly easy, or it will entail our setting to work again and a new period of anxious worry. Farewell. 7.10. To Macrinus. I have a way, as soon as I know the beginning of a case, of wanting to be able to add on the conclusion from which it seems to be torn asunder, and so I dare say that you too would like to hear the sequel to the case of Varenus and the Bithynians. * Polyaenus spoke on the one side and Magnus on the other, and, when the pleadings were concluded, Caesar said 7.33. To Tacitus. I venture to prophesy - and I know my prognostics are right - that your histories will be immortal, and that, I frankly confess, makes me the more anxious to figure in them. For if it is quite an ordinary thing for us to take care to secure the best painter to paint our portrait, ought we not also to be desirous of getting an author and historian of your calibre to describe our deeds ? That is why though it could hardly escape your careful eye, as it is to be found in the public records - I bring the following incident before your notice, and I do so in order to assure you how pleased I shall be, if you will lend your powers of description and the weight of your testimony to setting forth the way I behaved on an occasion when I reaped credit, owing to the dangers to which I exposed myself. The senate had appointed me to act with Herennius Senecio on behalf of the province of Baetica in the prosecution of Baebius Massa, * and, when Massa had been sentenced, it decreed that his property should be placed under public custody. Senecio came to me, after finding out that the consuls would be at liberty to hear petitions, and said My conduct on this occasion, whatever its worth may have been, will be made even more famous, more distinguished, and more noble if you describe it, although I do not ask of you to go beyond the strict letter of what actually occurred. For history ought never to transgress against truth, and an honourable action wants nothing more than to be faithfully recorded. Farewell. %%%
2. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 4.9.7, 4.11, 7.6, 7.10, 7.33, 9.13.4 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

4.11. To Cornelius Minicianus. Have you heard that Valerius Licinianus is teaching rhetoric in Sicily? I do not think you can have done, for the news is quite fresh. He is of praetorian rank, and he used at one time to be considered one of our most eloquent pleaders at the bar, but now he has fallen so low that he is an exile instead of being a senator, and a mere teacher of rhetoric instead of being a prominent advocate. Consequently in his opening remarks he exclaimed, sorrowfully and solemnly You will say that this is all very sad and pitiful, but that a man who defiled his profession of letters by the guilt of incest deserves to suffer. It is true that he confessed his guilt, but it is an open question whether he did so because he was guilty or because he feared an even heavier punishment if he denied it. For Domitian was in a great rage and was boiling over with fury because his witnesses had left him in the lurch. His mind was set upon burying alive Cornelia, the chief of the Vestal Virgins, as he thought to make his age memorable by such an example of severity, and, using his authority as pontifex maximus, or rather exercising the cruelty of a tyrant and the wanton caprice of a ruler, he summoned the rest of the pontiffs not to the Palace but to his Villa at Alba. There, with a wickedness just as monstrous as the crime which he pretended to be punishing, he declared her guilty of incest, without summoning her before him and giving her a hearing, though he himself had not only committed incest with his brother's daughter but had even caused her death, for she died of abortion during her widowhood. He immediately despatched some of the pontiffs to see that his victim was buried alive and put to death. Cornelia invoked in turns the aid of Vesta and of the rest of the deities, and amid her many cries this was repeated most frequently Moreover, when Celer, the Roman knight who was accused of having intrigued with Cornelia, was being scourged with rods in the forum, he did nothing but cry out, "What have I done? I have done nothing." Consequently Domitian's evil reputation for cruelty and injustice blazed up on all hands. He fastened upon Licinianus for hiding a freedwoman of Cornelia on one of his farms. Licinianus was advised by his friends who interested themselves on his behalf to take refuge in making a confession and beg for pardon, if he wished to escape being flogged in the forum, and he did so. Herennius Senecio spoke for him in his absence very much in the words of Homer, "Patroclus is fallen;" ** for he said, "Instead of being an advocate, I am the bearer of news You see how careful I am to obey your wishes, as I not only give you the news of the town, but news from abroad, and minutely trace a story from its very beginning. I took for granted that, as you were away from Rome at the time, all you heard of Licinianus was that he had been banished for incest. For rumour only gives one the gist of the matter, not the various stages through which it passes. Surely I deserve that you should return the compliment and write and tell me what is going on in your town and neighbourhood, for something worthy of note is always happening. But say what you will, provided you give me the news in as long a letter as I have written to you. I shall count up not only the pages, but the lines and the syllables. Farewell. 7.6. To Macrinus. The suit against Varenus has come to an unusual and remarkable conclusion, and the issue is even now open to doubt. People say that the Bithynians have withdrawn their accusation against him, on the ground that they entered upon it without adequate proofs. That, I repeat, is what people are saying. However, the legate of the province is in Rome, and he has laid the decree of the Council before Caesar, before many of the leading men here, and even before us who are acting for Varenus. None the less our friend Magnus, as usual, persists in his opposition, and he still keeps worrying that estimable man Nigrinus. He pressed the consuls, through Nigrinus, to force Varenus to produce his official accounts. I was standing by Varenus in a friendly way, and had made up my mind to say nothing, for nothing would have damaged his prospects so much as for me, who had been appointed by the senate to act on his behalf, to begin defending him, as though he were on his trial, when the great thing was to prevent him being put on his trial at all. However, when Nigrinus had concluded his demand, and the consuls looked towards me to say something, I remarked In one instance, a mother who had lost her son - for there is no reason why I should not recall some of my old cases, though this was not my motive in writing this letter - accused his freedmen - who were also co-heirs to the estate - of having forged the will and poisoned their master. She brought the matter to the notice of the Emperor, and obtained permission for Julius Servianus to act as judge. I defended the accused in a crowded court, for the case was a regular cause célèbre, and there were the best counsel of the day engaged on both sides. The hearing was decided by the evidence of the slaves, who were submitted to torture, and their answers were in favour of the accused. Subsequently, the mother appealed to the Emperor, declaring that she had discovered fresh proofs. Suburanus was instructed to give her a hearing again, provided that she brought forward new evidence. Julius Africanus appeared for the mother - a grandson of the orator of whom Passienus Crispus said after listening to his speech It has been much the same in the present case, and my policy in saying just what I did on behalf of Varenus and nothing more has been greatly approved. The consuls, as Polyaenus desired, have left the Emperor an entirely free hand, and I am waiting for him to hear the case, with much anxiety; for, when he does, the issue of the day will either free us, who are on Varenus's side, from all trouble and make our minds perfectly easy, or it will entail our setting to work again and a new period of anxious worry. Farewell. 7.10. To Macrinus. I have a way, as soon as I know the beginning of a case, of wanting to be able to add on the conclusion from which it seems to be torn asunder, and so I dare say that you too would like to hear the sequel to the case of Varenus and the Bithynians. * Polyaenus spoke on the one side and Magnus on the other, and, when the pleadings were concluded, Caesar said 7.33. To Tacitus. I venture to prophesy - and I know my prognostics are right - that your histories will be immortal, and that, I frankly confess, makes me the more anxious to figure in them. For if it is quite an ordinary thing for us to take care to secure the best painter to paint our portrait, ought we not also to be desirous of getting an author and historian of your calibre to describe our deeds ? That is why though it could hardly escape your careful eye, as it is to be found in the public records - I bring the following incident before your notice, and I do so in order to assure you how pleased I shall be, if you will lend your powers of description and the weight of your testimony to setting forth the way I behaved on an occasion when I reaped credit, owing to the dangers to which I exposed myself. The senate had appointed me to act with Herennius Senecio on behalf of the province of Baetica in the prosecution of Baebius Massa, * and, when Massa had been sentenced, it decreed that his property should be placed under public custody. Senecio came to me, after finding out that the consuls would be at liberty to hear petitions, and said My conduct on this occasion, whatever its worth may have been, will be made even more famous, more distinguished, and more noble if you describe it, although I do not ask of you to go beyond the strict letter of what actually occurred. For history ought never to transgress against truth, and an honourable action wants nothing more than to be faithfully recorded. Farewell. %%%


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
antony (mark antony), grants by, for billeting Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar's: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E to 70 B.C.E (2006) 78
asia, exemption of, from billeting Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar's: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E to 70 B.C.E (2006) 78
asia Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar's: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E to 70 B.C.E (2006) 78
baebius massa Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 476
billeting, jews granted freedom from Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar's: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E to 70 B.C.E (2006) 78
celer Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 476
cornelia Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 476
dionysiac artists, letter of l. mummius to Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar's: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E to 70 B.C.E (2006) 78
dionysiac artists, letter of sulla to Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar's: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E to 70 B.C.E (2006) 78
domitian, jurisdiction Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 476
emperor, jurisdiction Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 476
emperor, relationship Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 476
favors, of caesar Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar's: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E to 70 B.C.E (2006) 78
grants, of freedom from billeting, etc. Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar's: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E to 70 B.C.E (2006) 78
iulius bassus, c, trials of under vespasian, trajan's role" Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 476
jewish state, and caesar Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar's: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E to 70 B.C.E (2006) 78
jewish state, exempted from billeting Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar's: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E to 70 B.C.E (2006) 78
josephus, on jewish state, grants to, by caesar Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar's: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E to 70 B.C.E (2006) 78
julius caesar, and jews, caesar granting judea immunity from military service, billeting, and requisitioned transport Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar's: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E to 70 B.C.E (2006) 78
julius caesar, and jews, decrees of c. concerning jewish state Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar's: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E to 70 B.C.E (2006) 78
julius caesar, favors of Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar's: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E to 70 B.C.E (2006) 78
lex antonia Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar's: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E to 70 B.C.E (2006) 78
lex iulia de repetundis Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar's: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E to 70 B.C.E (2006) 78
lex porcia Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar's: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E to 70 B.C.E (2006) 78
publicius certus Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 476
repetundae (misgovernment), trials for Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 476
senate, in latin and greek, treatment of defendants' Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 476
trajan, jurisdiction Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 476
valerius licinianus, l. Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 476
varenus rufus Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984) 476
winter quartering, jews free from Udoh, To Caesar What Is Caesar's: Tribute, Taxes, and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 B.C.E to 70 B.C.E (2006) 78