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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10588
Tacitus, Annals, 11.4.2
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1. Artemidorus, Oneirocritica, 1.77 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

2. Tacitus, Annals, 1.2.1, 1.9.1, 4.1.1, 4.64.1, 11.4.1, 11.5.1, 11.13-11.14, 11.31.2, 12.8.2, 12.43, 12.43.1, 13.17.2, 14.22.1-14.22.4, 15.34.1-15.34.2 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

1.2.1.  When the killing of Brutus and Cassius had disarmed the Republic; when Pompey had been crushed in Sicily, and, with Lepidus thrown aside and Antony slain, even the Julian party was leaderless but for the Caesar; after laying down his triumviral title and proclaiming himself a simple consul content with tribunician authority to safeguard the commons, he first conciliated the army by gratuities, the populace by cheapened corn, the world by the amenities of peace, then step by step began to make his ascent and to unite in his own person the functions of the senate, the magistracy, and the legislature. Opposition there was none: the boldest spirits had succumbed on stricken fields or by proscription-lists; while the rest of the nobility found a cheerful acceptance of slavery the smoothest road to wealth and office, and, as they had thriven on revolution, stood now for the new order and safety in preference to the old order and adventure. Nor was the state of affairs unpopular in the provinces, where administration by the Senate and People had been discredited by the feuds of the magnates and the greed of the officials, against which there was but frail protection in a legal system for ever deranged by force, by favouritism, or (in the last resort) by gold. 1.9.1.  Then tongues became busy with Augustus himself. Most men were struck by trivial points — that one day should have been the first of his sovereignty and the last of his life — that he should have ended his days at Nola in the same house and room as his father Octavius. Much, too, was said of the number of his consulates (in which he had equalled the combined totals of Valerius Corvus and Caius Marius), his tribunician power unbroken for thirty-seven years, his title of Imperator twenty-one times earned, and his other honours, multiplied or new. Among men of intelligence, however, his career was praised or arraigned from varying points of view. According to some, "filial duty and the needs of a country, which at the time had no room for law, had driven him to the weapons of civil strife — weapons which could not be either forged or wielded with clean hands. He had overlooked much in Antony, much in Lepidus, for the sake of bringing to book the assassins of his father. When Lepidus grew old and indolent, and Antony succumbed to his vices, the sole remedy for his distracted country was government by one man. Yet he organized the state, not by instituting a monarchy or a dictator­ship, but by creating the title of First Citizen. The empire had been fenced by the ocean or distant rivers. The legions, the provinces, the fleets, the whole administration, had been centralized. There had been law for the Roman citizen, respect for the allied communities; and the capital itself had been embellished with remarkable splendour. Very few situations had been treated by force, and then only in the interests of general tranquillity. 4.1.1.  The consulate of Gaius Asinius and Gaius Antistius was to Tiberius the ninth year of public order and of domestic felicity (for he counted the death of Germanicus among his blessings), when suddenly fortune disturbed the peace and he became either a tyrant himself or the source of power to the tyrannous. The starting-point and the cause were to be found in Aelius Sejanus, prefect of the praetorian cohorts. of his influence I spoke above: now I shall unfold his origin, his character, and the crime by which he strove to seize on empire. Born at Vulsinii to the Roman knight Seius Strabo, he became in early youth a follower of Gaius Caesar, grandson of the deified Augustus; not without a rumour that he had disposed of his virtue at a price to Apicius, a rich man and a prodigal. Before long, by his multifarious arts, he bound Tiberius fast: so much so that a man inscrutable to others became to Sejanus alone unguarded and unreserved; and the less by subtlety (in fact, he was beaten in the end by the selfsame arts) than by the anger of Heaven against that Roman realm for whose equal damnation he flourished and fell. He was a man hardy by constitution, fearless by temperament; skilled to conceal himself and to incriminate his neighbour; cringing at once and insolent; orderly and modest to outward view, at heart possessed by a towering ambition, which impelled him at whiles to lavishness and luxury, but oftener to industry and vigilance — qualities not less noxious when assumed for the winning of a throne. 4.64.1.  The disaster had not yet faded from memory, when a fierce outbreak of fire affected the city to an unusual degree by burning down the Caelian Hill. "It was a fatal year, and the sovereign's decision to absent himself had been adopted under an evil star" — so men began to remark, converting, as is the habit of the crowd, the fortuitous into the culpable, when the Caesar checked the critics by a distribution of money in proportion to loss sustained. Thanks were returned to him; in the senate, by the noble; in the streets, by the voice of the people: for without respect of persons, and without the intercession of relatives, he had aided with his liberality even unknown sufferers whom he had himself encouraged to apply. Proposals were added that the Caelian Hill should for the future be known as the Augustan, since, with all around on fire, the one thing to remain unscathed had been a bust of Tiberius in the house of the senator Junius. "The same," it was said, "had happened formerly to Claudia Quinta; whose statue, twice escaped from the fury of the flames, our ancestors had dedicated in the temple of the Mother of the Gods. The Claudian race was sacrosanct and acceptable to Heaven, and additional solemnity should be given to the ground on which the gods had shown so notable an honour to the sovereign. 11.4.1.  The Fathers were then convened; and Suillius proceeded to add to the list of accused two Roman knights of the highest rank, surnamed Petra. The cause of death lay in the allegation that they had lent their house as a trysting-place for Mnester and Poppaea. It was, however, for a vision during his night's sleep that one of them was indicted, the charge being that he had seen Claudius crowned with a wheaten diadem, the ears inverted, and on the strength of his vision had predicted a shortage in the corn-supply. It has been stated by some that the thing seen was a vine-wreath with whitening leaves; which he read as an indication of the emperor's decease at the wane of autumn. The point not disputed was that it was a dream, whatever its character, which brought ruin to himself and to his brother. A million and a half sesterces, with the decorations of the praetor­ship, were voted to Crispinus. Vitellius proposed a million more for Sosibius, for assisting Britannicus by his instructions and Claudius by his counsels. Scipio, who was also asked for his view, replied: "As I think what all think of Poppaea's offences, take me as saying what all say!" — an elegant compromise between conjugal love and senatorial obligation. 11.5.1.  And now Suillius, steady and pitiless, continued his prosecutions, his boldness finding a multitude of imitators: for the concentration of all legal and magisterial functions in the person of the sovereign had opened a wide field to the plunderer. Nor was any public ware so frankly on sale as the treachery of advocates: so much so that Samius, a Roman knight of distinction, after paying Suillius four hundred thousand sesterces and finding him in collusion with the opponents, fell on his sword in the house of his counsel. Hence, following the lead of the consul designate, Gaius Silius, whose power and whose ruin I shall describe in their place, the Fathers rose in a body, demanding the Cincian law, with its ancient stipulation that no person shall accept either money or gift for pleading a cause. 12.43.  Many prodigies occurred during the year. Ominous birds took their seat on the Capitol; houses were overturned by repeated shocks of earthquake, and, as the panic spread, the weak were trampled underfoot in the trepidation of the crowd. A shortage of corn, again, and the famine which resulted, were construed as a supernatural warning. Nor were the complaints always whispered. Claudius, sitting in judgement, was surrounded by a wildly clamorous mob, and, driven into the farthest corner of the Forum, was there subjected to violent pressure, until, with the help of a body of troops, he forced a way through the hostile throng. It was established that the capital had provisions for fifteen days, no more; and the crisis was relieved only by the especial grace of the gods and the mildness of the winter. And yet, Heaven knows, in the past, Italy exported supplies for the legions into remote provinces; nor is sterility the trouble now, but we cultivate Africa and Egypt by preference, and the life of the Roman nation has been staked upon cargo-boats and accidents. 12.43.1.  Many prodigies occurred during the year. Ominous birds took their seat on the Capitol; houses were overturned by repeated shocks of earthquake, and, as the panic spread, the weak were trampled underfoot in the trepidation of the crowd. A shortage of corn, again, and the famine which resulted, were construed as a supernatural warning. Nor were the complaints always whispered. Claudius, sitting in judgement, was surrounded by a wildly clamorous mob, and, driven into the farthest corner of the Forum, was there subjected to violent pressure, until, with the help of a body of troops, he forced a way through the hostile throng. It was established that the capital had provisions for fifteen days, no more; and the crisis was relieved only by the especial grace of the gods and the mildness of the winter. And yet, Heaven knows, in the past, Italy exported supplies for the legions into remote provinces; nor is sterility the trouble now, but we cultivate Africa and Egypt by preference, and the life of the Roman nation has been staked upon cargo-boats and accidents. 14.22.1.  Meanwhile, a comet blazed into view — in the opinion of the crowd, an apparition boding change to monarchies. Hence, as though Nero were already dethroned, men began to inquire on whom the next choice should fall; and the name in all mouths was that of Rubellius Plautus, who, on the mother's side, drew his nobility from the Julian house. Personally, he cherished the views of an older generation: his bearing was austere, his domestic life being pure and secluded; and the retirement which his fears led him to seek had only brought him an accession of fame. The rumours gained strength from the interpretation — suggested by equal credulity — which was placed upon a flash of light. Because, while Nero dined by the Simbruine lakes in the villa known as the Sublaqueum, the banquet had been struck and the table shivered; and because the accident had occurred on the confines of Tibur, the town from which Plautus derived his origin on the father's side, a belief spread that he was the candidate marked out by the will of deity; and he found numerous supporters in the class of men who nurse the eager and generally delusive ambition to be the earliest parasites of a new and precarious power. Nero, therefore, perturbed by the reports, drew up a letter to Plautus, advising him "to consult the peace of the capital and extricate himself from the scandal-mongers: he had family estates in Asia, where he could enjoy his youth in safety and quiet." To Asia, accordingly, he retired with his wife Antistia and a few of his intimate friends. About the same date, Nero's passion for extravagance brought him some disrepute and danger: he had entered and swum in the sources of the stream which Quintus Marcius conveyed to Rome; and it was considered that by bathing there he had profaned the sacred waters and the holiness of the site. The divine anger was confirmed by a grave illness which followed. 15.34.1.  There an incident took place, sinister in the eyes of many, providential and a mark of divine favour in those of the sovereign; for, after the audience had left, the theatre, now empty, collapsed without injury to anyone. Therefore, celebrating in a set of verses his gratitude to Heaven, Nero — now bent on crossing the Adriatic — came to rest for the moment at Beneventum; where a largely attended gladiatorial spectacle was being exhibited by Vatinius. Vatinius ranked among the foulest prodigies of that court; the product of a shoemaker's shop, endowed with a misshapen body and a scurrile wit, he had been adopted at the outset as a target for buffoonery; then, by calumniating every man of decency, he acquired a power which made him in influence, in wealth, and in capacity for harm, pre-eminent even among villains.
3. Tacitus, Histories, 1.86, 2.91.1, 4.26.2 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

1.86.  Prodigies which were reported on various authorities also contributed to the general terror. It was said that in the vestibule of the Capitol the reins of the chariot in which Victory stood had fallen from the goddess's hands, that a superhuman form had rushed out of Juno's chapel, that a statue of the deified Julius on the island of the Tiber had turned from west to east on a bright calm day, that an ox had spoken in Etruria, that animals had given birth to strange young, and that many other things had happened which in barbarous ages used to be noticed even during peace, but which now are only heard of in seasons of terror. Yet the chief anxiety which was connected with both present disaster and future danger was caused by a sudden overflow of the Tiber which, swollen to a great height, broke down the wooden bridge and then was thrown back by the ruins of the bridge which dammed the stream, and overflowed not only the low-lying level parts of the city, but also parts which are normally free from such disasters. Many were swept away in the public streets, a larger number cut off in shops and in their beds. The common people were reduced to famine by lack of employment and failure of supplies. Apartment houses had their foundations undermined by the standing water and then collapsed when the flood withdrew. The moment people's minds were relieved of this danger, the very fact that when Otho was planning a military expedition, the Campus Martius and the Flaminian Way, over which he was to advance, were blocked against him was interpreted as a prodigy and an omen of impending disaster rather than as the result of chance or natural causes.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
actium Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 243
adultery Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 241
arval brethren Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 241, 242
augustus Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 243
augustus (octavian), signs at death Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161
bacchus Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 242
brothers Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 241, 242, 243
brutus Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 242
censors and census Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 243
ceres Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 241
claudius, antiquarianism of Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 243
claudius, censorship of Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 243
claudius, death of Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 242
claudius, priesthoods of Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 241
claudius, wives of Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 241, 243
comet, as sign Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161
crowns Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 241
decline, of religion Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161
delatores Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 242
domitian Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 243
dream, reinterpreted Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161
dream Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161
dreams Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 241, 242, 243
expiation Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161
famine Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 242
fatum, and the gods Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161
gardens Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 241
gods, mood deduced Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161
grain supply Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 241
haruspices Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 243
ira deorum Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161
lustrum Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 243
magistrates Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 243
memory, cultic, revival and Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 243
messalina Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 241
mnester Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 241
nero, and signs Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161
omens, in tacitus Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161
pax deorum Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161
petra brothers Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 241, 242, 243
philippi Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 242
prodigies, as wrath of gods Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161
prodigies, assessment Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161
prodigies, in historiography Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161
prodigies, in tacitus Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161
prodigies, lists Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161
prodigies, reporting Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161
republic Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 243
saevitia Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 242
secular games Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 243
senate Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 243
silius Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 242
suillius Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 242
suovetaurilia Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 243
valerius asiaticus Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 241
vindemia' Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 242
vitellius, as caesar Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 161