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Tacitus, Annals, 13.12.1

nan For the rest, maternal authority had weakened little by little. For Nero had slipped into a love affair with a freedwoman by the name of Acte, and at the same time had taken into his confidence Marcus Otho and Claudius Senecio, two handsome youths; the former of consular family, the latter a son of one of the imperial freedmen. At first, without the knowledge of his mother, then in defiance of her opposition, they had crept securely into the prince's favour as the partners of his dissipation and of his questionable secrets; while even his older friends showed no reluctance that a girl of that standing should gratify, without injury to anyone, the cravings of the emperor: for, whether from some whim of fate or because the illicit is stronger than the licit, he abhorred his wife Octavia, in spite of her high descent and proved honour; and there was always the risk that, if he were checked in this passion, his instincts would break out at the expense of women of rank.

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

4 results
1. Seneca The Younger, Thyestes, 5-6, 4 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

2. Suetonius, Nero, 34.4 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

3. Tacitus, Annals, 14.1.1, 14.2-14.10 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

14.1.1.  In the consular year of Gaius Vipstanius and Gaius Fonteius, Nero postponed no further the long-contemplated crime: for a protracted term of empire had consolidated his boldness, and day by day he burned more hotly with love for Poppaea; who, hopeless of wedlock for herself and divorce for Octavia so long as Agrippina lived, plied the sovereign with frequent reproaches and occasional raillery, styling him "the ward, dependent on alien orders, who was neither the empire's master nor his own. For why was her wedding deferred? Her face, presumably, and her grandsires with their triumphs, did not give satisfaction — or was the trouble her fecundity and truth of heart? No, it was feared that, as a wife at all events, she might disclose the wrongs of the Fathers, the anger of the nation against the pride and greed of his mother! But, if Agrippina could tolerate no daughter-in‑law but one inimical to her son, then let her be restored to her married life with Otho: she would go to any corner of earth where she could hear the emperor's ignominy rather than view it and be entangled in his perils." To these and similar attacks, pressed home by tears and adulterous art, no opposition was offered: all men yearned for the breaking of the mother's power; none credited that the hatred of the son would go the full way to murder. 14.2.  It is stated by Cluvius that Agrippina's ardour to keep her influence was carried so far that at midday, an hour at which Nero was beginning to experience the warmth of wine and good cheer, she presented herself on several occasions to her half-tipsy son, coquettishly dressed and prepared for incest. Already lascivious kisses, and endearments that were the harbingers of guilt, had been observed by their intimates, when Seneca sought in a woman the antidote to female blandishments, and brought in the freedwoman Acte, who, alarmed as she was both at her own danger and at Nero's infamy, was to report that the incest was common knowledge, since his mother boasted of it, and that the troops would not submit to the supremacy of a sacrilegious emperor. According to Fabius Rusticus, not Agrippina, but Nero, desired the union, the scheme being wrecked by the astuteness of the same freedwoman. The other authorities, however, give the same version as Cluvius, and to their side tradition leans; whether the enormity was actually conceived in the brain of Agrippina, or whether the contemplation of such a refinement in lust was merely taken as comparatively credible in a woman who, for the prospect of power, had in her girlish years yielded to the embraces of Marcus Lepidus; who, for a similar ambition had prostituted herself to the desires of Pallas; and who had been inured to every turpitude by her marriage with her uncle. 14.3.  Nero, therefore, began to avoid private meetings with her; when she left for her gardens or the estates at Tusculum and Antium, he commended her intention of resting; finally, convinced that, wherever she might be kept, she was still an incubus, he decided to kill her, debating only whether by poison, the dagger, or some other form of violence. The first choice fell on poison. But, if it was to be given at the imperial table, then the death could not be referred to chance, since Britannicus had already met a similar fate. At the same time, it seemed an arduous task to tamper with the domestics of a woman whose experience of crime had made her vigilant for foul play; and, besides, she had herself fortified her system by taking antidotes in advance. Cold steel and bloodshed no one could devise a method of concealing: moreover, there was the risk that the agent chosen for such an atrocity might spurn his orders. Mother wit came to the rescue in the person of Anicetus the freedman, preceptor of Nero's boyish years, and detested by Agrippina with a vigour which was reciprocated. Accordingly, he pointed out that it was possible to construct a ship, part of which could be artificially detached, well out at sea, and throw the unsuspecting passenger overboard:— "Nowhere had accident such scope as on salt water; and, if the lady should be cut off by shipwreck, who so captious as to read murder into the delinquency of wind and wave? The sovereign, naturally, would assign the deceased a temple and the other displays of filial piety. 14.4.  This ingenuity commended itself: the date, too, was in its favour, as Nero was in the habit of celebrating the festival of Minerva at Baiae. Thither he proceeded to lure his mother, observing from time to time that outbreaks of parental anger had to be tolerated, and that he must show a forgiving spirit; his aim being to create a rumour of reconciliation, which Agrippina, with the easy faith of her sex in the agreeable, would probably accept. — In due course, she came. He went down to the beach to meet her (she was arriving from Antium), took her hand, embraced her, and escorted her to Bauli, the name of a villa washed by the waters of a cove between the promontory of Misenum and the lake of Baiae. Here, among others, stood a more handsomely appointed vessel; apparently one attention the more to his mother, as she had been accustomed to use a trireme with a crew of marines. Also, she had been invited to dinner for the occasion, so that night should be available for the concealment of the crime. It is well established that someone had played the informer, and that Agrippina, warned of the plot, hesitated whether to believe or not, but made the journey to Baiae in a litter. There her fears were relieved by the blandishments of a cordial welcome and a seat above the prince himself. At last, conversing freely, — one moment boyishly familiar, the next grave-browed as though making some serious communication, — Nero, after the banquet had been long protracted, escorted her on her way, clinging more closely than usual to her breast and kissing her eyes; possibly as a final touch of hypocrisy, or possibly the last look upon his doomed mother gave pause even to that brutal spirit. 14.5.  A starlit night and the calm of an unruffled sea appeared to have been sent by Heaven to afford proof of guilt. The ship had made no great way, and two of Agrippina's household were in attendance, Crepereius Gallus standing not far from the tiller, while Acerronia, bending over the feet of the recumbent princess, recalled exultantly the penitence of the son and the re-entry of the mother into favour. Suddenly the signal was given: the canopy above them, which had been heavily weighted with lead, dropped, and Crepereius was crushed and killed on the spot. Agrippina and Acerronia were saved by the height of the couch-sides, which, as it happened, were too solid to give way under the impact. Nor did the break-up of the vessel follow: for confusion was universal, and even the men accessory to the plot were impeded by the large numbers of the ignorant. The crew then decided to throw their weight on one side and so capsize the ship; but, even on their own part, agreement came too slowly for a sudden emergency, and a counter-effort by others allowed the victims a gentler fall into the waves. Acerronia, however, incautious enough to raise the cry that she was Agrippina, and to demand aid for the emperor's mother, was despatched with poles, oars, and every nautical weapon that came to hand. Agrippina, silent and so not generally recognised, though she received one wound in the shoulder, swam until she was met by a few fishing-smacks, and so reached the Lucrine lake, whence she was carried into her own villa. 14.6.  There she reflected on the evident purpose of the treacherous letter of invitation and the exceptional honour with which she had been treated, and on the fact that, hard by the shore, a vessel, driven by no gale and striking no reef, had collapsed at the top like an artificial structure on land. She reviewed as well the killing of Acerronia, glanced simultaneously at her own wound, and realized that the one defence against treachery was to leave it undetected. Accordingly she sent the freedman Agermus to carry word to her son that, thanks to divine kindness and to his fortunate star, she had survived a grave accident; but that, however great his alarm at his mother's danger, she begged him to defer the attention of a visit: for the moment, what she needed was rest. Meanwhile, with affected unconcern, she applied remedies to her wound and fomentations to her body: Acerronia's will, she gave instructions was to be sought, and her effects sealed up, — the sole measure not referable to dissimulation. 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. 14.8.  In the interval, Agrippina's jeopardy, which was attributed to accident, had become generally known; and there was a rush to the beach, as man after man learned the news. Some swarmed up the sea-wall, some into the nearest fishing-boats: others were wading middle-deep into the surf, a few standing with outstretched arms. The whole shore rang with lamentations and vows and the din of conflicting questions and vague replies. A huge multitude streamed up with lights, and, when the knowledge of her safety spread, set out to offer congratulations; until, at the sight of an armed and threatening column, they were forced to scatter. Anicetus drew a cordon around the villa, and, breaking down the entrance, dragged off the slaves as they appeared, until he reached the bedroom-door. A few servants were standing by: the rest had fled in terror at the inrush of men. In the chamber was a dim light and a single waiting-maid; and Agrippina's anxiety deepened every instant. Why no one from her son — nor even Agermus? Had matters prospered, they would have worn another aspect. Now, nothing but solitude, hoarse alarms, and the symptoms of irremediable ill! Then the maid rose to go. "Dost thou too forsake me?" she began, and saw Anicetus behind her, accompanied by Herculeius, the trierarch, and Obaritus, a centurion of marines. "If he had come to visit the sick, he might take back word that she felt refreshed. If to do murder, she would believe nothing of her son: matricide was no article of their instructions." The executioners surrounded the couch, and the trierarch began by striking her on the head with a club. The centurion was drawing his sword to make an end, when she proffered her womb to the blow. "Strike here," she exclaimed, and was despatched with repeated wounds. 14.9.  So far the accounts concur. Whether Nero inspected the corpse of his mother and expressed approval of her figure is a statement which some affirm and some deny. She was cremated the same night, on a dinner-couch, and with the humblest rites; nor, so long as Nero reigned, was the earth piled over the grave or enclosed. Later, by the care of her servants, she received a modest tomb, hard by the road to Misenum and that villa of the dictator Caesar which looks from its dizzy height to the bay outspread beneath. As the pyre was kindled, one of her freedmen, by the name of Mnester, ran a sword through his body, whether from love of his mistress or from fear of his own destruction remains unknown. This was that ending to which, years before, Agrippina had given her credence, and her contempt. For to her inquiries as to the destiny of Nero the astrologers answered that he should reign, and slay his mother; and "Let him slay," she had said, "so that he reign. 14.10.  But only with the completion of the crime was its magnitude realized by the Caesar. For the rest of the night, sometimes dumb and motionless, but not rarely starting in terror to his feet with a sort of delirium, he waited for the daylight which he believed would bring his end. Indeed, his first encouragement to hope came from the adulation of the centurions and tribunes, as, at the suggestion of Burrus, they grasped his hand and wished him joy of escaping his unexpected danger and the criminal enterprise of his mother. His friends in turn visited the temples; and, once the example had been given, the Campanian towns in the neighbourhood attested their joy by victims and deputations. By a contrast in hypocrisy, he himself was mournful, repining apparently at his own preservation and full of tears for the death of a parent. But because the features of a landscape change less obligingly than the looks of men, and because there was always obtruded upon his gaze the grim prospect of that sea and those shores, — and there were some who believed that he could hear a trumpet, calling in the hills that rose around, and lamentations at his mother's grave, — he withdrew to Naples and forwarded to the senate a letter, the sum of which was that an assassin with his weapon upon him had been discovered in Agermus, one of the confidential freedmen of Agrippina, and that his mistress, conscious of her guilt, had paid the penalty of meditated murder.
4. Curtius Rufus, Historiae Alexandri Magni, 8.3.5-8.3.6

8.3.5. nisi prohibitus esset fratrum eius occursu. Ceterum abire e conspectu iubet addito metu mortis, si se oculis eius obtulisset, et ad desiderium levandum noctes agere inter pelices coepit. 8.3.6. Sed penitus haerens amor fastidio praesentium accensus est. Itaque rursus uni ei deditus orare non destitit, ut tali consilio abstineret patereturque sortem, quamcumque iis fortuna fecisset:

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
acerronia Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
acte Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204; Shannon-Henderson (2019) 295
actor,acting Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
agrippina the younger,empress Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
agrippina the younger,murder of Shannon-Henderson (2019) 295
anicetus Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204; Shannon-Henderson (2019) 295
annals Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
brick-stamps and brick production Bruun and Edmondson (2015) 589
burrus Shannon-Henderson (2019) 295
c. suetonius tranquillus Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
claudia aug.l. acte,neros mistress Bruun and Edmondson (2015) 589
conspiracy,conspirator Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
crime Shannon-Henderson (2019) 295
drama Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
emperor,princeps Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
epicharis Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
euplia theodori filia Bruun and Edmondson (2015) 589
fatum Shannon-Henderson (2019) 295
ficus ruminalis Shannon-Henderson (2019) 295
figlinae,potteries Bruun and Edmondson (2015) 589
fistulae aquariae,water pipes Bruun and Edmondson (2015) 589
incest Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
instrumentum domesticum Bruun and Edmondson (2015) 589
kin murder Shannon-Henderson (2019) 295
marcus aurelius Bruun and Edmondson (2015) 589
memory,cultic,decline and' Shannon-Henderson (2019) 295
nero,emperor Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
nero (emperor),marriages of Shannon-Henderson (2019) 295
nero (emperor),murders committed by Shannon-Henderson (2019) 295
nero (emperor),prodigies and Shannon-Henderson (2019) 295
octavia,wife of nero Shannon-Henderson (2019) 295
officinae,officinatores / trices,bricks Bruun and Edmondson (2015) 589
olbia,sardinia Bruun and Edmondson (2015) 589
oratio recta,oratio obliqua Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
poppaea sabina,empress Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
princeps Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
puteoli,pozzuoli,campania Bruun and Edmondson (2015) 589
seneca the younger Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
ship (collapsible) Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
soldiers Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
speech-acts Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
sulpicii,bankers at puteoli Bruun and Edmondson (2015) 589
tacitus,p. cornelius Poulsen and Jönsson (2021) 204
tutores Bruun and Edmondson (2015) 589
velitrae,latium Bruun and Edmondson (2015) 589
water supply Bruun and Edmondson (2015) 589
wax-tablets,tabellae ceratae Bruun and Edmondson (2015) 589
women,economic and professional activities Bruun and Edmondson (2015) 589
women,lower status Bruun and Edmondson (2015) 589
women of senatorial rank Bruun and Edmondson (2015) 589