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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10507
Suetonius, Claudius, 29.1


nan Wholly under the control of these and of his wives, as I have said, he played the part, not of a prince, but of a servant lavishing honours, the command of armies, pardons or punishments, according to the interests of each of them, or even their wish or whim; and that too for the most part in ignorance and blindly. Not to go into details about less important matters (such as revoking his grants, rescinding his decisions, substituting false letters patent, or even openly changing those which he had issued), he put to death his father-in‑law Appius Silanus and the two Julias, daughters of Drusus and Germanicus, on an unsupported charge and giving them no opportunity for defence; also Gnaeus Pompeius, the husband of his elder daughter, and Lucius Silanus who was betrothed to his younger one.


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

6 results
1. Josephus Flavius, Jewish Antiquities, 19.266-19.271 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

19.266. Claudius complied with him, and called the senate together into the palace, and was carried thither himself through the city, while the soldiery conducted him, though this was to the great vexation of the multitude; 19.267. for Cherea and Sabinus, two of Caius’s murderers, went in the fore-front of them, in an open manner, while Pollio, whom Claudius, a little before, had made captain of his guards, had sent them an epistolary edict, to forbid them to appear in public. 19.268. Then did Claudius, upon his coming to the palace, get his friends together, and desired their suffrages about Cherea. They said that the work he had done was a glorious one; but they accused him the he did it of perfidiousness, and thought it just to inflict the punishment [of death] upon him, to discountece such actions for the time to come. 19.269. So Cherea was led to his execution, and Lupus and many other Romans with him. Now it is reported that Cherea bore this calamity courageously; and this not only by the firmness of his own behavior under it, but by the reproaches he laid upon Lupus, who fell into tears; 19.271. But Lupus did not meet with such good fortune in going out of the world, since he was timorous, and had many blows leveled at his neck, because he did not stretch it out boldly [as he ought to have done].
2. Juvenal, Satires, 6, 1 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

3. Seneca The Younger, Apocolocyntosis, 8.2, 11.1, 11.3-11.5 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

4. Suetonius, Claudius, 11.1, 13.2, 35.1, 37.2 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

5. Tacitus, Annals, 1.6, 11.3, 11.26-11.28, 11.30-11.31, 11.34-11.37, 12.42 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

1.6.  The opening crime of the new principate was the murder of Agrippa Postumus; who, though off his guard and without weapons, was with difficulty dispatched by a resolute centurion. In the senate Tiberius made no reference to the subject: his pretence was an order from his father, instructing the tribune in charge to lose no time in making away with his prisoner, once he himself should have looked his last on the world. It was beyond question that by his frequent and bitter strictures on the youth's character Augustus had procured the senatorial decree for his exile: on the other hand, at no time did he harden his heart to the killing of a relative, and it remained incredible that he should have sacrificed the life of a grandchild in order to diminish the anxieties of a stepson. More probably, Tiberius and Livia, actuated in the one case by fear, and in the other by stepmotherly dislike, hurriedly procured the murder of a youth whom they suspected and detested. To the centurion who brought the usual military report, the emperor rejoined that he had given no instructions and the deed would have to be accounted for in the senate. The remark came to the ears of Sallustius Crispus. A partner in the imperial secrets — it was he who had forwarded the note to the tribune — he feared the charge might be fastened on himself, with the risks equally great whether he spoke the truth or lied. He therefore advised Livia not to publish the mysteries of the palace, the counsels of her friends, the services of the soldiery; and also to watch that Tiberius did not weaken the powers of the throne by referring everything and all things to the senate:— "It was a condition of sovereignty that the account balanced only if rendered to a single auditor. 11.26.  By now the ease of adultery had cloyed on Messalina and she was drifting towards untried debaucheries, when Silius himself, blinded by his fate, or convinced perhaps that the antidote to impending danger was actual danger, began to press for the mask to be dropped:— "They were not reduced to waiting upon the emperor's old age: deliberation was innocuous only to the innocent; detected guilt must borrow help from hardihood. They had associates with the same motives for fear. He himself was celibate, childless, prepared for wedlock and to adopt Britannicus. Messalina would retain her power unaltered, with the addition of a mind at ease, could they but forestall Claudius, who, if slow to guard against treachery, was prompt to anger." She took his phrases with a coolness due, not to any tenderness for her husband, but to a misgiving that Silius, with no heights left to scale, might spurn his paramour and come to appreciate at its just value a crime sanctioned in the hour of danger. Yet, for the sake of that transcendent infamy which constitutes the last delight of the profligate, she coveted the name of wife; and, waiting only till Claudius left for Ostia to hold a sacrifice, she celebrated the full solemnities of marriage. 11.27.  It will seem, I am aware, fabulous that, in a city cognizant of all things and reticent of none, any human beings could have felt so much security; far more so, that on a specified day, with witnesses to seal the contract, a consul designate and the emperor's wife should have met for the avowed purposes of legitimate marriage; that the woman should have listened to the words of the auspices, have assumed the veil, have sacrificed in the face of Heaven; that both should have dined with the guests, have kissed and embraced, and finally have spent the night in the licence of wedlock. But I have added no touch of the marvellous: all that I record shall be the oral or written evidence of my seniors. 11.28.  A shudder, then, had passed through the imperial household. In particular, the holders of power with all to fear from a reversal of the established order, gave voice to their indignation, no longer in private colloquies, but without disguise:— "Whilst an actor profaned the imperial bedchamber, humiliation might have been inflicted, but destruction had still been in the far distance. Now, with his stately presence, his vigour of mind, and his impending consulate, a youthful noble was girding himself to a greater ambition — for the sequel of such a marriage was no mystery!" Fear beyond doubt came over them when they considered the hebetude of Claudius, his bondage to his wife, and the many murders perpetrated at the fiat of Messalina. Yet, again, the very pliancy of the emperor gave ground for confidence that, if they carried the day thanks to the atrocity of the charge, they might crush her by making her condemnation precede her trial. But the critical question, they realized, was whether Claudius would give a hearing to her defence, and whether they would be able to close his ears even to her confession. 11.30.  As the next step, Calpurnia — for so the woman was called — secured a private audience, and, falling at the Caesar's knee, exclaimed that Messalina had wedded Silius. In the same breath, she asked Cleopatra, who was standing by ready for the question, if she had heard the news; and, on her sign of assent, requested that Narcissus should be summoned. He, entreating forgiveness for the past, in which he had kept silence to his master on the subject of Vettius, Plautius, and their like, said that not even now would he reproach the lady with her adulteries, far less reclaim the palace, the slaves, and other appurteces of the imperial rank. No, these Silius might enjoy — but let him restore the bride and cancel the nuptial contract! "Are you aware," he demanded, "of your divorce? For the nation, the senate, and the army, have seen the marriage of Silius; and, unless you act with speed, the new husband holds Rome! 11.31.  The Caesar now summoned his principal friends; and, in the first place, examined Turranius, head of the corn-department; then the praetorian commander Lusius Geta. They admitted the truth; and from the rest of the circle came a din of voices:— "He must visit the camp, assure the fidelity of the guards, consult his security before his vengeance." Claudius, the fact is certain, was so bewildered by his terror that he inquired intermittently if he was himself emperor — if Silius was a private citizen. But Messalina had never given voluptuousness a freer rein. Autumn was at the full, and she was celebrating a mimic vintage through the grounds of the house. Presses were being trodden, vats flowed; while, beside them, skin-girt women were bounding like Bacchanals excited by sacrifice or delirium. She herself was there with dishevelled tresses and waving thyrsus; at her side, Silius with an ivy crown, wearing the buskins and tossing his head, while around him rose the din of a wanton chorus. The tale runs that Vettius Valens, in some freak of humour, clambered into a tall tree, and to the question, "What did he spy?" answered: "A frightful storm over Ostia" — whether something of the kind was actually taking shape, or a chance-dropped word developed into a prophecy. 11.34.  It was a persistent tradition later that, amid the self-contradictory remarks of the emperor, who at one moment inveighed against the profligacies of his wife, and, in the next, recurred to memories of his wedded life and to the infancy of his children, Vitellius merely ejaculated: "Ah, the crime — the villainy!" Narcissus, it is true, urged him to explain his enigma and favour them with the truth; but urgency was unavailing; Vitellius responded with incoherent phrases, capable of being turned to any sense required, and his example was copied by Caecina Largus. And now Messalina was within view. She was crying to the emperor to hear the mother of Octavia and Britannicus, when the accuser's voice rose in opposition with the history of Silius and the bridal: at the same time, to avert the Caesar's gaze, he handed him the memoranda exposing her debaucheries. Shortly afterwards, at the entry into Rome, the children of the union were on the point of presenting themselves, when Narcissus ordered their removal. Vibidia he could not repulse, nor prevent her from demanding in indigt terms that a wife should not be given undefended to destruction. He therefore replied that the emperor would hear her and there would be opportunities for rebutting the charge: meanwhile, the Virgin would do well to go and attend to her religious duties. 11.35.  Throughout the proceedings Claudius maintained a strange silence, Vitellius wore an air of unconsciousness: all things moved at the will of the freedman. He ordered the adulterer's mansion to be thrown open and the emperor to be conducted to it. First he pointed out in the vestibule an effigy — banned by senatorial decree — of the elder Silius; then he demonstrated how the heirlooms of the Neros and the Drusi had been re­quisitioned as the price of infamy. As the emperor grew hot and broke into threats, he led him to the camp, where a mass-meeting of the troops had been prearranged. After a preliminary address by Narcissus, he spoke a few words: for, just as his resentment was, shame denied it utterance. There followed one long cry from the cohorts demanding the names and punishment of the criminals. Set before the tribunal, Silius attempted neither defence nor delay, and asked for an acceleration of death. His firmness was imitated by a number of Roman knights of the higher rank. Titius Proculus, appointed by Silius as "custodian" of Messalina, and now proffering evidence, was ordered for execution, together with Vettius Valens, who confessed, and their accomplices Pompeius Urbicus and Saufeius Trogus. The same penalty was inflicted also on Decrius Calpurnianus, prefect of the city-watch; on Sulpicius Rufus, procurator of the school of gladiators; and on the senator Juncus Vergilianus. 11.36.  Only Mnester caused some hesitation, as, tearing his garments, he called to Claudius to look at the imprints of the lash and remember the phrase by which he had placed him at the disposal of Messalina. "Others had sinned through a bounty of high hope; he, from need; and no man would have had to perish sooner, if Silius gained the empire." The Caesar was affected, and leaned to mercy; but the freedmen decided him, after so many executions of the great, not to spare an actor: when the transgression was so heinous, it mattered nothing whether it was voluntary or enforced. Even the defence of the Roman knight Traulus Montanus was not admitted. A modest but remarkably handsome youth, he had within a single night received his unsought invitation and his dismissal from Messalina, who was equally capricious in her desires and her disdains. In the cases of Suillius Caesoninus and Plautius Lateranus, the death penalty was remitted. The latter was indebted to the distinguished service of his uncle: Suillius was protected by his vices, since in the proceedings of that shameful rout his part had been the reverse of masculine. 11.37.  Meanwhile, in the Gardens of Lucullus, Messalina was fighting for life, and composing a petition; not without hope, and occasionally — so much of her insolence she had retained in her extremity — not without indignation. In fact, if Narcissus had not hastened her despatch, the ruin had all but fallen upon the head of the accuser. For Claudius, home again and soothed by an early dinner, grew a little heated with the wine, and gave instructions for someone to go and inform "the poor woman" â€” the exact phrase which he is stated to have used — that she must be in presence next day to plead her cause. The words were noted: his anger was beginning to cool, his love to return; and, if they waited longer, there was ground for anxiety in the approaching night with its memories of the marriage-chamber. Narcissus, accordingly, burst out of the room, and ordered the centurions and tribune in attendance to carry out the execution: the instructions came from the emperor. Evodus, one of the freedmen, was commissioned to guard against escape and to see that the deed was done. Hurrying to the Gardens in advance of the rest, he discovered Messalina prone on the ground, and, seated by her side, her mother Lepida; who, estranged from her daughter during her prime, had been conquered to pity in her last necessity, and was now advising her not to await the slayer:— "Life was over and done; and all that could be attempted was decency in death." But honour had no place in that lust-corrupted soul, and tears and lamentations were being prolonged in vain, when the door was driven in by the onrush of the new-comers, and over her stood the tribune in silence, and the freedman upbraiding her with a stream of slavish insults. 12.42.  As yet, however, Agrippina lacked courage to make her supreme attempt, unless she could discharge from the command of the praetorian cohorts both Lusius Geta and Rufrius Crispinus, whom she believed faithful to the memory of Messalina and pledged to the cause of her children. Accordingly, through her assertions to her husband that the cohorts were being divided by the intriguing rivalry of the pair, and that discipline would be stricter if they were placed under a single head, the command was transferred to Afranius Burrus; who bore the highest character as a soldier but was well aware to whose pleasure he owed his appointment. The exaltation of her own dignity also occupied Agrippina: she began to enter the Capitol in a carriage; and that honour, reserved by antiquity for priests and holy objects, enhanced the veneration felt for a woman who to this day stands unparalleled as the daughter of an Imperator and the sister, the wife, and the mother of an emperor. Meanwhile, her principal champion, Vitellius, at the height of his influence and in the extremity of his age — so precarious are the fortunes of the mighty — was brought to trial upon an indictment laid by the senator Junius Lupus. The charges he preferred were treason and designs upon the empire and to these the Caesar would certainly have inclined his ear, had not the prayers, or rather the threats of Agrippina converted him to the course of formally outlawing the prosecutor: Vitellius had desired no more.
6. Cassius Dio, Roman History, 60.3.4, 60.14.4, 60.24.4, 60.31.4 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

60.3.4.  He put Chaerea and some others to death, in spite of his pleasure at the death of Gaius. For he was looking far ahead to insure his own safety, and so, instead of feeling grateful toward the man through whose deed he had gained the throne, he was displeased with him for having dared to slay an emperor. He acted in this matter, not as the avenger of Gaius, but as though he had caught Chaerea plotting against himself. 60.14.4.  As they had no true or even plausible charge to bring against him, Narcissus invented a dream in which he declared he had seen Claudius murdered by the hand of Silanus; then at early dawn, while the emperor was still in bed, trembling all over he related to him the dream, and Messalina, taking up the matter, exaggerated its significance. 60.24.4.  Marcus Julius Cottius received an addition to his ancestral domain, which lay in that part of the Alps that bears his family name, and he was now for the first time called king. The Rhodians were deprived of their liberty because they had impaled some Romans.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
addressee, significant naming of Keane, Juvenal and the Satiric Emotions (2015) 71
addressee, victimization of Keane, Juvenal and the Satiric Emotions (2015) 71
adjudication, adjudicating Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
adviser, satirist as, on marriage Keane, Juvenal and the Satiric Emotions (2015) 71
agrippina Keane, Juvenal and the Satiric Emotions (2015) 71; Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
anger, and women Keane, Juvenal and the Satiric Emotions (2015) 71
asinius gallus Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
bureaucracy Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
c. appius silanus Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
c. silius Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
caligula Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
case Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
cassius chaerea Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
cassius dio Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
claudius Keane, Juvenal and the Satiric Emotions (2015) 71; Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
court Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
emotion, infection with Keane, Juvenal and the Satiric Emotions (2015) 71
governor Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
indignatio, in satiric plot Keane, Juvenal and the Satiric Emotions (2015) 71
junia calvina, l. junius silanus Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
junia calvina Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
jurisdiction Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
l. vitellius Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
law Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
magistrate Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
maiestas Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
marriage Keane, Juvenal and the Satiric Emotions (2015) 71
masculinity Keane, Juvenal and the Satiric Emotions (2015) 71
messalina Keane, Juvenal and the Satiric Emotions (2015) 71; Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
myth, in rhetorical education Keane, Juvenal and the Satiric Emotions (2015) 71
nero Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
pleasure Keane, Juvenal and the Satiric Emotions (2015) 71
relegatio, relegation' Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
rhetorical education, controversiae and suasoriae Keane, Juvenal and the Satiric Emotions (2015) 71
senate Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
suetonius Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155
tacitus Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 155