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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10588
Tacitus, Annals, 15.74.2
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1. Tacitus, Annals, 1.73, 2.26.4, 3.18.2, 3.66.1, 4.1, 4.15.3, 11.31, 14.22.1-14.22.2, 15.23.4, 15.34, 15.44.1-15.44.2, 15.47.2, 15.53.3, 15.54, 16.14 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

1.73.  It will not be unremunerative to recall the first, tentative charges brought in the case of Falanius and Rubrius, two Roman knights of modest position; if only to show from what beginnings, thanks to the art of Tiberius, the accursed thing crept in, and, after a temporary check, at last broke out, an all-devouring conflagration. Against Falanius the accuser alleged that he had admitted a certain Cassius, mime and catamite, among the "votaries of Augustus," who were maintained, after the fashion of fraternities, in all the great houses: also, that when selling his gardens, he had parted with a statue of Augustus as well. To Rubrius the crime imputed was violation of the deity of Augustus by perjury. When the facts came to the knowledge of Tiberius, he wrote to the consuls that place in heaven had not been decreed to his father in order that the honour might be turned to the destruction of his countrymen. Cassius, the actor, with others of his trade, had regularly taken part in the games which his own mother had consecrated to the memory of Augustus; nor was it an act of sacrilege, if the effigies of that sovereign, like other images of other gods, went with the property, whenever a house or garden was sold. As to the perjury, it was on the same footing as if the defendant had taken the name of Jupiter in vain: the gods must look to their own wrongs. 3.66.1.  Then, step by step, they passed from the degrading to the brutal. Gaius Silanus, the proconsul of Asia, accused of extortion by the provincials, was attacked simultaneously by the ex-consul Mamercus Scaurus, the praetor Junius Otho, and the aedile Bruttedius Niger, who flung at him the charge of violating the godhead of Augustus and spurning the majesty of Tiberius, while Mamercus made play with the precedents of antiquity — the indictment of Lucius Cotta by Scipio Africanus, of Servius Galba by Cato the Censor, of Publius Rutilius by Marcus Scaurus. Such, as all men know, were the crimes avenged by Scipio and Cato or the famous Scaurus, the great-grandsire of Mamercus, whom that reproach to his ancestors dishonoured by his infamous activity! Junius Otho's old profession had been to keep a school; afterwards, created a senator by the influence of Sejanus, by his effrontery and audacity he brought further ignominy, if possible, upon the meanness of his beginnings. Bruttedius, amply provided with liberal accomplishments, and bound, if he kept the straight road, to attain all distinctions, was goaded by a spirit of haste, which impelled him to outpace first his equals, then his superiors, and finally his own ambitions: an infirmity fatal to many, even of the good, who, disdaining the sure and slow, force a premature success, though destruction may accompany the prize. 4.1.  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. 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. 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.  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. 15.54.  It is surprising, none the less, how in this mixture of ranks and classes, ages and sexes, rich and poor, the whole affair was kept in secrecy, till the betrayal came from the house of Scaevinus. On the day before the attempt, he had a long conversation with Antonius Natalis, after which he returned home, sealed his will, and taking the dagger, mentioned above, from the sheath, complained that it was to be rubbed on a whetstone till the edge glittered: this task he entrusted to his freedman Milichus. At the same time, he began a more elaborate dinner than usual, and presented his favourite slaves with their liberty, or, in some cases, with money. He himself was moody, and obviously deep in thought, though he kept up a disconnected conversation which affected cheerfulness. At last, he gave the word that bandages for wounds and appliances for stopping haemorrhage were to be made ready. The instructions were again addressed to Milichus: possibly he was aware of the conspiracy, and had so far kept faith; possibly, as the general account goes, he knew nothing, and caught his first suspicions at that moment. About the sequel there is uimity. For when his slavish brain considered the wages of treason, and unbounded wealth and power floated in the same instant before his eyes, conscience, the safety of his patron, the memory of the liberty he had received, withdrew into the background. For he had also taken his wife's counsel. It was feminine and baser; for she held before him the further motive of fear, and pointed out that numbers of freedmen and slaves had been standing by, who had witnessed the same incidents as himself:— "One man's silence would profit nothing; but one man would handle the rewards — he who won the race to give information. 16.14.  In the consulate of Gaius Suetonius and Luccius Telesinus, Antistius Sosianus, who had, as I have said, been sentenced to exile for composing scurrilous verses upon Nero, heard of the honour paid to informers and of the emperor's alacrity for bloodshed. Reckless by temperament, with a quick eye for opportunities, he used the similarity of their fortunes in order to ingratiate himself with Pammenes, who was an exile in the same place and, as a noted astrologer, had wide connections of friendship. He believed it was not for nothing that messengers were for ever coming to consult Pammenes, to whom, as he discovered at the same time, a yearly pension was allowed by Publius Anteius. He was further aware that Pammenes' affection for Agrippina had earned him the hatred of Nero; that his riches were admirably calculated to excite cupidity; and that this was a circumstance which proved fatal to many. He therefore intercepted a letter from Anteius, stole in addition the papers, concealed in Pammenes' archives, which contained his horoscope and career, and, lighting at the same time on the astrologer's calculations with regard to the birth and life of Ostorius Scapula, wrote to the emperor that, could he be granted a short respite from his banishment, he would bring him grave news conducive to his safety; for Anteius and Ostorius had designs upon the empire, and were peering into their destinies and that of the prince. Fast galleys were at once sent out, and Sosianus arrived in haste. The moment his information was divulged, Anteius and Ostorius were regarded, not as incriminated, but as condemned: so much so, that not a man would become signatory to the will of Anteius until Tigellinus came forward with his sanction, first warning the testator not to defer his final dispositions. Anteius swallowed poison; but, disgusted by its slowness, found a speedier death by cutting his arteries.
2. Tacitus, Histories, 1.22.1, 1.86.3, 2.78.1, 2.78.4, 4.26.2 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
altars Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 176
anicius cerialis, c. Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 329
asia Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 176
astrologers expelled, poor guides Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 167
astrology, and fatum Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 167
astrology, and imperial destinies Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 167
astrology, as superstitio Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 167
astrology, successful/inappropriate Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 167
augustus, divus Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 176
auspices Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
belief Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 167
calendar, additions to Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
calpurnius piso, cn. (governor of syria), trial and death of Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 176
capitoline hill Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
cerealia Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
circus maximus Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
civil wars Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 329
comet, as sign Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 157, 200
consuls Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 329
cultic commemoration Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 176
decemuiri sacris faciundis Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 167
decline, of religion Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
delatores Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 176
expiation' "65.0_167.0@fatalism', of tacitus" Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
fatum, and the gods Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 157
ferentinum Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 329
festivals Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
fortuna Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328, 329
germanicus, memory and Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 176
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) 167, 200
governors Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 176
informers Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 167
interpretation, mistaken Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 157
interpretation, positive Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
ira deorum Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 157
julius vindex Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
jupiter vindex Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 176, 328
lightning, as prodigy Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 157, 200
livia, temples dedicated to Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 176
mars ultor Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 176
nero, and signs Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 157, 200
nero, offends gods Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 157, 200
nero, undermines religion Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
nero Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 157
nero (emperor) Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 176
nero (son of germanicus) Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 176
numen of the emperor Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 176
omens, in tacitus Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 157
omens Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 157
pessimism, in ammianus, in tacitus Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 167
pisonian conspiracy Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328, 329
prodigies, as wrath of gods Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
prodigies, assessment Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 157
prodigies, in tacitus Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 157
prodigies, reporting Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 157, 200
prodigies, under nero Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
religio, religio, ritual, and emperors Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
religio, religio, ritual, and historiography Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 167
religio, religio, ritual, of Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
ritual Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 200
rubrius Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 176
saevitia Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 176
salus, temples of Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
salus Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 157
scaevinus Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 329
senate, exemplary Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 167
senate, flattery of emperor by Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328, 329
senate Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 176
sodalitas titii, sol, temple of Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
statues Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 176
superstitio Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 167
uelut, and interpretation Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 157
ultio' Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 328
vespasian, and astrology Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 167
vespasian, and signs Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 167
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