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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



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Tacitus, Annals, 3.57.2
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1. Tacitus, Annals, 3.58.1, 3.59-3.63, 3.71, 3.71.2, 4.1.2, 4.70.1-4.70.4, 16.16.1-16.16.2 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

3.58.1.  Meanwhile, after the governor­ship of Junius Blaesus in Africa had been extended, the Flamen Dialis, Servius Maluginensis, demanded the allotment of Asia to himself. "It was a common fallacy," he insisted, "that the flamens of Jove were not allowed to leave Italy; nor was his own legal status different from that of the flamens of Mars and Quirinus. If, then, they had had provinces allotted them, why was the right withheld from the priests of Jove? There was no national decree to be found on the point — nothing in the Books of Ceremonies. The pontiffs had often performed the rites of Jove, if the flamen was prevented by sickness or public business. For seventy-five years after the self-murder of Cornelius Merula no one had been appointed in his room, yet the rites had not been interrupted. But if so many years could elapse without a new creation, and without detriment to the cult, how much more easily could he absent himself for twelve months of proconsular authority? Personal rivalries had no doubt in former times led the pontiffs to prohibit his order from visiting the provinces: to‑day, by the grace of Heaven, the chief pontiff was also the chief of men, beyond the reach of jealousy, rancour, or private inclinations. 3.59.  Since various objections to the argument were raised by the augur Lentulus and others, it was determined, in the upshot, to wait for the verdict of the supreme pontiff himself. Tiberius postponed his inquiry into the legal standing of the flamen, but modified the ceremonies with which it had been resolved to celebrate the tribunician power of Drusus; criticizing specifically the unprecedented motion of Haterius and the gold lettering so repugt to Roman custom. A letter, too, from Drusus was read, which, though tuned to a modest key, left an impression of extreme arrogance. "So the world," men said, "had come to this, that even a mere boy, invested with such an honour, would not approach the divinities of Rome, set foot within the senate, or, at the least, take the auspices on his native soil. War, they must assume, or some remote quarter of the world detained him; though at that instant he was perambulating the lakes and beaches of Campania! Such was the initiation of the governor of the human race, these the first lessons derived from the paternal instruction! A grey-haired emperor might, if he pleased, recoil from the view of his fellow-citizens, and plead the fatigue of age and the labours he had accomplished: but, in the case of Drusus, what impediment could there be save pride? 3.60.  Tiberius, however, while tightening his grasp on the solid power of the principate, vouchsafed to the senate a shadow of the past by submitting the claims of the provinces to the discussion of its members. For throughout the Greek cities there was a growing laxity, and impunity, in the creation of rights of asylum. The temples were filled with the dregs of the slave population; the same shelter was extended to the debtor against his creditor and to the man suspected of a capital offence; nor was any authority powerful enough to quell the factions of a race which protected human felony equally with divine worship. It was resolved, therefore, that the communities in question should send their charters and deputies to Rome. A few abandoned without a struggle the claims they had asserted without a title: many relied on hoary superstitions or on their services to the Roman nation. It was an impressive spectacle which that day afforded, when the senate scrutinized the benefactions of its predecessors, the constitutions of the provinces, even the decrees of kings whose power antedated the arms of Rome, and the rites of the deities themselves, with full liberty as of old to confirm or change. 3.61.  The Ephesians were the first to appear. "Apollo and Diana," they stated, "were not, as commonly supposed, born at Delos. In Ephesus there was a river Cenchrius, with a grove Ortygia; where Latona, heavy-wombed and supporting herself by an olive-tree which remained to that day, gave birth to the heavenly twins. The grove had been hallowed by divine injunction; and there Apollo himself, after slaying the Cyclopes, had evaded the anger of Jove. Afterwards Father Liber, victor in the war, had pardoned the suppliant Amazons who had seated themselves at the altar. Then the sanctity of the temple had been enhanced, with the permission of Hercules, while he held the crown of Lydia; its privileges had not been diminished under the Persian empire; later, they had been preserved by the Macedonians — last by ourselves. 3.62.  The Magnesians, who followed, rested their case on the rulings of Lucius Scipio and Lucius Sulla, who, after their defeats of Antiochus and Mithridates respectively, had honoured the loyalty and courage of Magnesia by making the shrine of Leucophryne Diana an inviolable refuge. Next, Aphrodisias and Stratonicea adduced a decree of the dictator Julius in return for their early services to his cause, together with a modern rescript of the deified Augustus, who praised the unchanging fidelity to the Roman nation with which they had sustained the Parthian inroad. Aphrodisias, however, was championing the cult of Venus; Stratonicea, that of Jove and Diana of the Crossways. The statement of Hierocaesarea went deeper into the past: the community owned a Persian Diana with a temple dedicated in the reign of Cyrus; and there were references to Perpenna, Isauricus, and many other commanders who had allowed the same sanctity not only to the temple but to the neighbourhood for two miles round. The Cypriotes followed with an appeal for three shrines — the oldest erected by their founder Aërias to the Paphian Venus; the second by his son Amathus to the Amathusian Venus; and a third by Teucer, exiled by the anger of his father Telamon, to Jove of Salamis. 3.63.  Deputations from other states were heard as well; till the Fathers, weary of the details, and disliking the acrimony of the discussion, empowered the consuls to investigate the titles, in search of any latent flaw, and to refer the entire question back to the senate. Their report was that — apart from the communities I have already named — they were satisfied there was a genuine sanctuary of Aesculapius at Pergamum; other claimants relied on pedigrees too ancient to be clear. "For Smyrna cited an oracle of Apollo, at whose command the town had dedicated a temple to Venus Stratonicis; Tenos, a prophecy from the same source, ordering the consecration of a statue and shrine to Neptune. Sardis touched more familiar ground with a grant from the victorious Alexander; Miletus had equal confidence in King Darius. With these two, however, the divine object of adoration was Diana in the one case, Apollo in the other. The Cretans, again, were claiming for an effigy of the deified Augustus." The senate, accordingly, passed a number of resolutions, scrupulously complimentary, but still imposing a limit; and the applicants were ordered to fix the brass records actually inside the temples, both as a solemn memorial and as a warning not to lapse into secular intrigue under the cloak of religion. 3.71.  A problem in religion now presented itself: in what temple were the knights to lodge the offering vowed, in connection with Augusta's illness, to Equestrian Fortune? For though shrines to Fortune were plentiful in the city, none carried the epithet in question. It was found that there was a temple of the name at Antium, and that all sacred rites in the country towns of Italy, with all places of worship and divine images, were subject to the jurisdiction and authority of Rome. At Antium, accordingly, the gift was placed. And since points of religion were under consideration, the Caesar produced his recently deferred answer to the Flamen Dialis, Servius Maluginensis; and read a pontifical decree, according to which the Flamen, whenever attacked by illness, might at the discretion of the supreme pontiff absent himself for more than two nights, so long as it was not on days of public sacrifice nor oftener than twice in one year. The ruling thus laid down in the principate of Augustus showed that a year's absence and a provincial governorship were not for the flamens of Jupiter. Attention was also called to a precedent set by the supreme pontiff, Lucius Metellus; who had vetoed the departure of the Flamen, Aulus Postumius. Asia, therefore, was allotted to the consular next in seniority to Maluginensis. 4.70.1.  However, in a letter read on the first of January, the Caesar, after the orthodox prayers for the new year, turned to Sabinus, charging him with the corruption of several of his freedmen, and with designs against himself; and demanded vengeance in terms impossible to misread. Vengeance was decreed without loss of time; and the doomed man was dragged to his death, crying with all the vigour allowed by the cloak muffling his head and the noose around his neck, that "these were the ceremonies that inaugurated the year, these the victims that bled to propitiate Sejanus!" In whatever direction he turned his eyes, wherever his words reached an ear, the result was flight and desolation, an exodus from street and forum. Here and there a man retraced his steps and showed himself again, pale at the very thought that he had manifested alarm. "For what day would find the killers idle, when amid sacrifices and prayers, at a season when custom prohibited so much as an ominous word, chains and the halter come upon the scene? Not from want of thought had odium such as this been incurred by Tiberius: it was a premeditated and deliberate act, that none might think that the new magistrates were precluded from inaugurating the dungeon as they did the temples and the altars." — A supplementary letter followed: the sovereign was grateful that they had punished a mann who was a danger to his country. He added that his own life was full of alarms, and that he suspected treachery from his enemies. He mentioned none by name; but no doubt was felt that the words were levelled at Agrippina and Nero. 16.16.1.  Even had I been narrating campaigns abroad and lives laid down for the commonwealth, and narrating them with the same uniformity of incident, I should myself have lost appetite for the task, and I should expect the tedium of others, repelled by the tale of Roman deaths, honourable perhaps, but tragic and continuous. As it is, this slave-like patience and the profusion of blood wasted at home weary the mind and oppress it with melancholy. The one concession I would ask from those who shall study these records is that they would permit me not to hate the men who died with so little spirit! It was the anger of Heaven against the Roman realm — an anger which you cannot, as in the case of beaten armies or captured towns, mention once and for all and proceed upon your way. Let us make this concession to the memory of the nobly born: that, as in the last rites they are distinguished from the vulgar dead, so, when history records their end, each shall receive and keep his special mention.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
asylum, right of Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 149
auspices Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 148
caermioniae Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 148
campania Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 148
curia Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 148
decline, of religion Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 194
decline, of rome Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 194
drusus (son of tiberius) Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 147, 148, 149
family, imperial Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 149
fortuna, fortuna equestris, temple of Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 147
gods, and impiety Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 194
gold Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 147, 148
greeks Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 149
haterius Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 148
ira deorum Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 194
letters Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 147
memory, cultural Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 149
myth Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 149
nero caesar Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 194
pontifex/pontifices Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 147
pontifex maximus, emperor as Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 148
priests and priesthoods Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 147, 148, 149
prodigies, assessment Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 194
prodigies, reporting Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 194
senate, and emperor Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 194
senate, failure of expertise Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 194
senate Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 149
servius maluginensis Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 147, 148, 149
sibylline books, consulted Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 194
sycophancy, and religious honours Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 194
temples Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 149
tiberius, emperor, undermines religion Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 194
tiberius, worshipful treatment of Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 148
tribunicia potestas' Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 147
tribunicia potestas Shannon-Henderson, Power Play in Latin Love Elegy and its Multiple Forms of Continuity in Ovid’s (2019) 148