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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10588
Tacitus, Annals, 15.23.4
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1. Tacitus, Annals, 13.3.2, 14.12.1-14.12.2, 15.34, 15.44.1-15.44.2, 15.47.2, 15.74.2, 16.21.1-16.21.2, 16.22.1-16.22.3 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

14.12.1.  However, with a notable spirit of emulation among the magnates, decrees were drawn up: thanksgivings were to be held at all appropriate shrines; the festival of Minerva, on which the conspiracy had been brought to light, was to be celebrated with annual games; a golden statue of the goddess, with an effigy of the emperor by her side, was to be erected in the curia, and Agrippina's birthday included among the inauspicious dates. Earlier sycophancies Thrasea Paetus had usually allowed to pass, either in silence or with a curt assent: this time he walked out of the senate, creating a source of danger for himself, but implanting no germ of independence in his colleagues. Portents, also, frequent and futile made their appearance: a woman gave birth to a serpent, another was killed by a thunderbolt in the embraces of her husband; the sun, again, was suddenly obscured, and the fourteen regions of the capital were struck by lightning — events which so little marked the concern of the gods that Nero continued for years to come his empire and his crimes. However, to aggravate the feeling against his mother, and to furnish evidence that his own mildness had increased with her removal, he restored to their native soil two women of high rank, Junia and Calpurnia, along with the ex-praetors Valerius Capito and Licinius Gabolus — all of them formerly banished by Agrippina. He sanctioned the return, even, of the ashes of Lollia Paulina, and the erection of a tomb: Iturius and Calvisius, whom he had himself relegated some little while before, he now released from the penalty. As to Silana, she had died a natural death at Tarentum, to which she had retraced her way, when Agrippina, by whose enmity she had fallen, was beginning to totter or to relent. 15.34.  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. 15.44.1.  So far, the precautions taken were suggested by human prudence: now means were sought for appeasing deity, and application was made to the Sibylline books; at the injunction of which public prayers were offered to Vulcan, Ceres, and Proserpine, while Juno was propitiated by the matrons, first in the Capitol, then at the nearest point of the sea-shore, where water was drawn for sprinkling the temple and image of the goddess. Ritual banquets and all-night vigils were celebrated by women in the married state. But neither human help, nor imperial munificence, nor all the modes of placating Heaven, could stifle scandal or dispel the belief that the fire had taken place by order. Therefore, to scotch the rumour, Nero substituted as culprits, and punished with the utmost refinements of cruelty, a class of men, loathed for their vices, whom the crowd styled Christians. Christus, the founder of the name, had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilatus, and the pernicious superstition was checked for a moment, only to break out once more, not merely in Judaea, the home of the disease, but in the capital itself, where all things horrible or shameful in the world collect and find a vogue. First, then, the confessed members of the sect were arrested; next, on their disclosures, vast numbers were convicted, not so much on the count of arson as for hatred of the human race. And derision accompanied their end: they were covered with wild beasts' skins and torn to death by dogs; or they were fastened on crosses, and, when daylight failed were burned to serve as lamps by night. Nero had offered his Gardens for the spectacle, and gave an exhibition in his Circus, mixing with the crowd in the habit of a charioteer, or mounted on his car. Hence, in spite of a guilt which had earned the most exemplary punishment, there arose a sentiment of pity, due to the impression that they were being sacrificed not for the welfare of the state but to the ferocity of a single man. 16.21.1.  After the slaughter of so many of the noble, Nero in the end conceived the ambition to extirpate virtue herself by killing Thrasea Paetus and Barea Soranus. To both he was hostile from of old, and against Thrasea there were additional motives; for he had walked out of the senate, as I have mentioned, during the discussion on Agrippina, and at the festival of the Juvenalia his services had not been conspicuous — a grievance which went the deeper that in Patavium, his native place, the same Thrasea had sung in tragic costume at the . . . Games instituted by the Trojan Antenor. Again, on the day when sentence of death was all but passed on the praetor Antistius for his lampoons on Nero, he proposed, and carried, a milder penalty; and, after deliberately absenting himself from the vote of divine honours to Poppaea, he had not assisted at her funeral. These memories were kept from fading by Cossutianus Capito. For, apart from his character with its sharp trend to crime, he was embittered against Thrasea, whose influence, exerted in support of the Cilician envoys prosecuting Capito for extortion, had cost him the verdict. 16.22.1.  He preferred other charges as well:— "At the beginning of the year, Thrasea evaded the customary oath; though the holder of a quindecimviral priesthood, he took no part in the national vows; he had never offered a sacrifice for the welfare of the emperor or for his celestial voice. Once a constant and indefatigable member, who showed himself the advocate or the adversary of the most commonplace resolutions of the Fathers, for three years he had not set foot within the curia; and but yesterday, when his colleagues were gathering with emulous haste to crush Silanus and Vetus, he had preferred to devote his leisure to the private cases of his clients. Matters were come already to a schism and to factions: if many made the same venture, it was war! 'As once,' he said, 'this discord-loving state prated of Caesar and Cato, so now, Nero, it prates of yourself and Thrasea. And he has his followers — his satellites, rather — who affect, not as yet the contumacity of his opinions, but his bearing and his looks, and whose stiffness and austerity are designed for an impeachment of your wantonness. To him alone your safety is a thing uncared for, your talents a thing unhonoured. The imperial happiness he cannot brook: can he not even be satisfied with the imperial bereavements and sorrows? Not to believe Poppaea deity bespeaks the same temper that will not swear to the acts of the deified Augustus and the deified Julius. He contemns religion, he abrogates law. The journal of the Roman people is scanned throughout the provinces and armies with double care for news of what Thrasea has not done! Either let us pass over to his creed, if it is the better, or let these seekers after a new world lose their chief and their instigator. It is the sect that produced the Tuberones and the Favonii — names unloved even in the old republic. In order to subvert the empire, they make a parade of liberty: the empire overthrown, they will lay hands on liberty itself. You have removed Cassius to little purpose, if you intend to allow these rivals of the Bruti to multiply and flourish! A word in conclusion: write nothing yourself about Thrasea — leave the senate to decide between us!' " Nero fanned still more the eager fury of Cossutianus, and reinforced him with the mordant eloquence of Eprius Marcellus.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
acta of emperors Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
adulatio, graeca Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 180
adulatio Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
agrippina the younger Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
birth Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
calendar, additions to Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
comet, as sign Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
cossutianus capito Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
decline, of religion Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
decline, of senate Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 180
deification, of claudia augusta (nero's daughter)" Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 180
deification, of claudius Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 180
deification Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 180
delatores Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
emperor cult Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
expiation Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
family, imperial Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
flaminica, agrippina as Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 180
gods, and impiety Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
gods, give warnings Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
gods, mood deduced Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
gods, negotiation with Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
imperial cult Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 180
interpretation, positive Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
kin murder Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
libertas Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
lightning, as prodigy Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
nero, and signs Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
nero, offends gods Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
nero, undermines religion Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
nuncupare/nuncupatio Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
oaths Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
pontifex maximus, daughter of Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
pontifex maximus, deification of Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
priests, (mis-)appointments Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 180
prodigies, as wrath of gods Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
prodigies, reporting Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
prodigies, under nero Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
quindecimviri Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
religio, religio, ritual, and emperors Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
religio, religio, ritual, of Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
religio Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
ritual Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
sacrifice, for health of emperor and imperial family' Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
senate, and emperor Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 180
senate, failure of expertise Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 180
thrasea paetus Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 341
vesta Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
vindex Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200