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Tacitus, Annals, 6.28.1

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

4 results
1. Pliny The Elder, Natural History, 10.5 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

2. Tacitus, Annals, 3.55, 4.58.2, 6.22.1-6.22.3, 6.28, 6.29.4, 13.58 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

3.55.  When the Caesar's epistle had been read, the aediles were exempted from such a task; and spendthrift epicureanism, after being practised with extravagant prodigality throughout the century between the close of the Actian War and the struggle which placed Servius Galba on the throne, went gradually out of vogue. The causes of that change may well be investigated. Formerly aristocratic families of wealth or outstanding distinction were apt to be led to their downfall by a passion for magnificence. For it was still legitimate to court or be courted by the populace, by the provincials, by dependent princes; and the more handsome the fortune, the palace, the establishment of a man, the more imposing his reputation and his clientèle. After the merciless executions, when greatness of fame was death, the survivors turned to wiser paths. At the same time, the self-made men, repeatedly drafted into the senate from the municipalities and the colonies, and even from the provinces, introduced the plain-living habits of their own hearths; and although by good fortune or industry very many arrived at an old age of affluence, yet their prepossessions persisted to the end. But the main promoter of the stricter code was Vespasian, himself of the old school in his person and table. Thenceforward, deference to the sovereign and the love of emulating him proved more powerful than legal sanctions and deterrents. Or should we rather say there is a kind of cycle in all things — moral as well as seasonal revolutions? Nor, indeed, were all things better in the old time before us; but our own age too has produced much in the sphere of true nobility and much in that of art which posterity well may imitate. In any case, may the honourable competition of our present with our past long remain! 6.22.1.  For myself, when I listen to this and similar narratives, my judgement wavers. Is the revolution of human things governed by fate and changeless necessity, or by accident? You will find the wisest of the ancients, and the disciplines attached to their tenets, at complete variance; in many of them a fixed belief that Heaven concerns itself neither with our origins, nor with our ending, nor, in fine, with mankind, and that so adversity continually assails the good, while prosperity dwells among the evil. Others hold, on the contrary, that, though there is certainly a fate in harmony with events, it does not emanate from wandering stars, but must be sought in the principles and processes of natural causation. Still, they leave us free to choose our life: that choice made, however, the order of the future is certain. Nor, they maintain, are evil and good what the crowd imagines: many who appear to be the sport of adverse circumstances are happy; numbers are wholly wretched though in the midst of great possessions — provided only that the former endure the strokes of fortune with firmness, while the latter employ her favours with unwisdom. With most men, however, the faith is ineradicable that the future of an individual is ordained at the moment of his entry into life; but at times a prophecy is falsified by the event, through the dishonesty of the prophet who speaks he knows not what; and thus is debased the credit of an art, of which the most striking evidences have been furnished both in the ancient world and in our own. For the forecast of Nero's reign, made by the son of this very Thrasyllus, shall be related at its fitting place: at present I do not care to stray too far from my theme. 6.28.  In the consulate of Paulus Fabius and Lucius Vitellius, after a long period of ages, the bird known as the phoenix visited Egypt, and supplied the learned of that country and of Greece with the material for long disquisitions on the miracle. I propose to state the points on which they coincide, together with the larger number that are dubious, yet not too absurd for notice. That the creature is sacred to the sun and distinguished from other birds by its head and the variegation of its plumage, is agreed by those who have depicted its form: as to its term of years, the tradition varies. The generally received number is five hundred; but there are some who assert that its visits fall at intervals of 1461 years, and that it was in the reigns, first of Sesosis, then of Amasis, and finally of Ptolemy (third of the Macedonian dynasty), that the three earlier phoenixes flew to the city called Heliopolis with a great escort of common birds amazed at the novelty of their appearance. But while antiquity is obscure, between Ptolemy and Tiberius there were less than two hundred and fifty years: whence the belief has been held that this was a spurious phoenix, not originating on the soil of Arabia, and following none of the practices affirmed by ancient tradition. For — so the tale is told — when its sum of years is complete and death is drawing on, it builds a nest in its own country and sheds on it a procreative influence, from which springs a young one, whose first care on reaching maturity is to bury his sire. Nor is that task performed at random, but, after raising a weight of myrrh and proving it by a far flight, so soon as he is a match for his burden and the course before him, he lifts up his father's corpse, conveys him to the Altar of the Sun, and consigns him to the flames. — The details are uncertain and heightened by fable; but that the bird occasionally appears in Egypt is unquestioned. 13.58.  In the same year, the tree in the Comitium, known as the Ruminalis, which eight hundred and thirty years earlier had sheltered the infancy of Remus and Romulus, through the death of its boughs and the withering of its stem, reached a stage of decrepitude which was regarded as a portent, until it renewed its verdure in fresh shoots.
3. Tacitus, Histories, 4.84 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

4.84.  When the ambassadors reached Sinope, they delivered the gifts, requests, and messages of their king to Scydrothemis. He was all uncertainty, now fearing the god and again being terrified by the threats and opposition of his people; often he was tempted by the gifts and promises of the ambassadors. In the meantime three years passed during which Ptolemy did not lessen his zeal or his appeals; he increased the dignity of his ambassadors, the number of his ships, and the quantity of gold offered. Then a terrifying vision appeared to Scydrothemis, warning him not to hinder longer the purposes of the god: as he still hesitated, various disasters, diseases, and the evident anger of the gods, growing heavier from day to day, beset the king. He called an assembly of his people and made known to them the god's orders, the visions that had appeared to him and to Ptolemy, and the misfortunes that were multiplying upon them: the people opposed their king; they were jealous of Egypt, afraid for themselves, and so gathered about the temple of the god. At this point the tale becomes stranger, for tradition says that the god himself, voluntarily embarking on the fleet that was lying on the shore, miraculously crossed the wide stretch of sea and reached Alexandria in two days. A temple, befitting the size of the city, was erected in the quarter called Rhacotis; there had previously been on that spot an ancient shrine dedicated to Serapis and Isis. Such is the most popular account of the origin and arrival of the god. Yet I am not unaware that there are some who maintain that the god was brought from Seleucia in Syria in the reign of Ptolemy III; still others claim that the same Ptolemy introduced the god, but that the place from which he came was Memphis, once a famous city and the bulwark of ancient Egypt. Many regard the god himself as identical with Aesculapius, because he cures the sick; some as Osiris, the oldest god among these peoples; still more identify him with Jupiter as the supreme lord of all things; the majority, however, arguing from the attributes of the god that are seen on his statue or from their own conjectures, hold him to be Father Dis.
4. Cassius Dio, Roman History, 58.27.1 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

58.27.1.  And if Egyptian affairs touch Roman interests at all, it may be mentioned that the phoenix was seen that year. All these events were thought to foreshadow the death of Tiberius. Thrasyllus, indeed, did die at this very time, and the emperor himself died in the following spring, in the consulship of Gnaeus Proculus and Pontius Nigrinus.

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
aemilius lepidus,m. Shannon-Henderson (2019) 231
altars Shannon-Henderson (2019) 230
annales maximi,narrative placement of material in Shannon-Henderson (2019) 229, 230
antiquitas Shannon-Henderson (2019) 230, 231
astrologers Shannon-Henderson (2019) 229
aventine hill Shannon-Henderson (2019) 231
britannicus,murder of Shannon-Henderson (2019) 230
brothers Shannon-Henderson (2019) 230
decline,of rome Davies (2004) 213
egypt Shannon-Henderson (2019) 229, 230, 231
fatum,diagnosis Davies (2004) 213, 219
fatum,in tacitus Davies (2004) 213, 219
fatum,of rome Davies (2004) 213
ficus ruminalis Davies (2004) 213; Shannon-Henderson (2019) 229, 230
fire,interpreted as prodigy Shannon-Henderson (2019) 231
flavian dynasty Shannon-Henderson (2019) 230
fors,forte Davies (2004) 213
fortuna Shannon-Henderson (2019) 229
fratricide Shannon-Henderson (2019) 230
funerals Shannon-Henderson (2019) 231
galba Shannon-Henderson (2019) 231
greeks Shannon-Henderson (2019) 229
ira deorum Davies (2004) 213
kings Shannon-Henderson (2019) 231
memoria Shannon-Henderson (2019) 231
memory,cultural Shannon-Henderson (2019) 231
miracula Shannon-Henderson (2019) 230
myth Shannon-Henderson (2019) 230
nero (emperor),murders committed by Shannon-Henderson (2019) 230
nero (emperor) Shannon-Henderson (2019) 229
omens Davies (2004) 213; Shannon-Henderson (2019) 231
phoenix Davies (2004) 213, 219; Shannon-Henderson (2019) 229, 230, 231
pietas Shannon-Henderson (2019) 229
prodigies Shannon-Henderson (2019) 230
ptolemy Shannon-Henderson (2019) 231
remus Shannon-Henderson (2019) 229
saecula,beatissimum Davies (2004) 219
saecula Davies (2004) 213
saecular games,of augustus Davies (2004) 219
saecular games,of domitian Davies (2004) 219
saeculum corruptissimum,dating Davies (2004) 219
series saeculorum Davies (2004) 213, 219
syme,ronald Shannon-Henderson (2019) 230
tacitus,and the fatum of rome Davies (2004) 213, 219
temples,religious memory and Shannon-Henderson (2019) 231
tiberius,astrology and Shannon-Henderson (2019) 229
tiberius,emperor,and signs Davies (2004) 213
trees Shannon-Henderson (2019) 229, 230
tumuli' Shannon-Henderson (2019) 229
uelut,and interpretation Davies (2004) 213
vespasian,and signs Davies (2004) 219
vespasian Shannon-Henderson (2019) 230