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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

Tacitus, Histories, 2.76

nan While he was hesitating, moved by such fears as these, his mind was confirmed by his officers and friends and especially by Mucianus, who first had long private conversations with him and then spoke openly before the rest: "All who are debating high emprises ought to consider whether their purpose is useful to the state, glorious for themselves, easy of accomplishment, or at least not difficult. At the same time they must take into account the character of their adviser. Is he ready to share the risks involved as well as to give advice? If Fortune favours the undertaking, who is the man for whom the highest honour is sought? I call you, Vespasian, to the throne. How advantageous to the state, how glorious for you this may prove, are questions which depend, after the gods, on your own acts. Have no fear that I may appear to flatter you. It is rather a disgrace than a glory to be chosen emperor after Vitellius. It is not against the keen mind of the deified Augustus, nor the cautious nature of the aged Tiberius, nor against the long-established imperial house of even a Gaius or a Claudius, or, if you like, of a Nero, that we are rising. You respected the ancestry even of Galba. But to remain longer inactive and to leave the state to corruption and ruin would appear nothing but sloth and cowardice on your part, even if subservience should prove as safe for you as it certainly would be disgraceful. The time is already past and gone when you could seem to have no desires for supreme power. Your only refuge is the throne. Have you forgotten the murder of Corbulo? He was of more splendid family than I am, I grant you, but Nero also was superior to Vitellius in point of noble birth. Anyone who is feared is noble enough in the eyes of the man who fears him. Moreover you have proof in the case of Vitellius himself that an army can make an emperor, for Vitellius owes his elevation to no campaigns or reputation as a soldier, but solely to men's hatred of Galba. Even Otho, who owed his defeat, not to his rival's skill as general or to the force of the opposing army, but to his own hasty despair, Vitellius has already made seem a great emperor whom men regret; and in the meantime he is scattering his legions, disarming his cohorts, and every day sowing new seeds of war. All the enthusiasm and courage that his soldiers ever had is being dissipated in taverns, in debauches, and in imitation of their emperor. You have in Syria, Judea, and Egypt nine legions at their full strength, not worn out by fighting, not infected by mutiny, but troops who have gained strength by experience and proved themselves victorious over a foreign foe. You have strong fleets, cavalry, and cohorts, princes wholly loyal to you, and an experience greater than all others.

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11 results
1. Polybius, Histories, 7.14.6 (2nd cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)

2. Dio Chrysostom, Orations, 1.30-1.32, 3.87, 3.89, 49.7-49.8, 57.6 (1st cent. CE

49.8.  the Celts appointed those whom they call Druids, these also being devoted to the prophetic art and to wisdom in general. In all these cases the kings were not permitted to do or plan anything without the assistance of these wise men, so that in truth it was they who ruled, while the kings became are servants and the ministers of their will, though they sat on golden thrones, dwelt in great houses, and feasted sumptuously. And indeed it is reasonable to expect that man to administer any office most capably who, occupying continuously the most difficult office of all, can show himself free from error.
3. Josephus Flavius, Jewish War, 7.73 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

7.73. The multitude did also betake themselves to feasting; which feasts and drink-offerings they celebrated by their tribes, and their families, and their neighborhoods, and still prayed God to grant that Vespasian, his sons, and all their posterity, might continue in the Roman government for a very long time, and that his dominion might be preserved from all opposition.
4. Suetonius, Claudius, 28 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

5. Suetonius, Galba, 14.2 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

6. Suetonius, Vespasianus, 7.2, 25.1 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

7. Suetonius, Vitellius, 12 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

8. Tacitus, Annals, 13.2, 13.50, 14.7, 14.51-14.57 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

13.2.  The tendency, in fact, was towards murder, had not Afranius Burrus and Seneca intervened. Both guardians of the imperial youth, and — a rare occurrence where power is held in partnership — both in agreement, they exercised equal influence by contrasted methods; and Burrus, with his soldierly interests and austerity, and Seneca, with his lessons in eloquence and his self-respecting courtliness, aided each other to ensure that the sovereign's years of temptation should, if he were scornful of virtue, be restrained within the bounds of permissible indulgence. Each had to face the same conflict with the overbearing pride of Agrippina; who, burning with all the passions of illicit power, had the adherence of Pallas, at whose instigation Claudius had destroyed himself by an incestuous marriage and a fatal adoption. But neither was Nero's a disposition that bends to slaves, nor had Pallas, who with his sullen arrogance transcended the limits of a freedman, failed to waken his disgust. Still, in public, every compliment was heaped upon the princess; and when the tribune, following the military routine, applied for the password, her son gave: "The best of mothers." The senate, too, accorded her a pair of lictors and the office of priestess to Claudius, to whom was voted, in the same session, a public funeral, followed presently by deification. 13.50.  In the same year, as a consequence of repeated demands from the public, which complained of the exactions of the revenue-farmers, Nero hesitated whether he ought not to decree the abolition of all indirect taxation and present the reform as the noblest of gifts to the human race. His impulse, however, after much preliminary praise of his magimity, was checked by his older advisers, who pointed out that the dissolution of the empire was certain if the revenues on which the state subsisted were to be curtailed:— "For, the moment the duties on imports were removed, the logical sequel would be a demand for the abrogation of the direct taxes. To a large extent, the collecting companies had been set up by consuls and plebeian tribunes while the liberty of the Roman nation was still in all its vigour: later modifications had only been introduced in order that the amount of income and the necessary expenditure should tally. At the same time, a check ought certainly to be placed on the cupidity of the collectors; otherwise a system which had been endured for years without a complaint might be brought into ill odour by new-fashioned harshnesses. 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. 14.51.  But, while the evils of the state were growing daily more serious, the resources of the state were dwindling, and Burrus took his leave of life; whether by sickness or by poison may be doubted. Sickness was conjectured from the fact that he ceased to breathe as the result of a gradual swelling of the interior of the throat, and the consequent obstruction of the windpipe. It was more generally asserted that, by Nero's instructions, his palate was smeared with a poisonous drug, ostensibly as a remedial measure, and that Burrus, who had penetrated the crime, on receiving a visit from the emperor, averted his eyes from him, and answered his inquiries with the bare words: "I am well." He was regretted deeply and permanently by a country mindful of his virtue, and of his successors — one of them tamely innocent, the other flagrantly criminal. For the Caesar had appointed two commanders to the praetorian cohorts: Faenius Rufus, commended by the favour of the crowd, as he superintended the provisioning of the capital without profit to himself; and Sofonius Tigellinus, in whose case the attractions were the licentiousness of his past and his infamy. Neither belied his known habits: Tigellinus took the firmer hold over the mind of the prince and was made free of his most intimate debauches; Rufus enjoyed an excellent character with the people and the troops, and laboured under that disadvantage in his relations with Nero. 14.52.  The death of Burrus shook the position of Seneca: for not only had the cause of decency lost in power by the removal of one of its two champions, but Nero was inclining to worse counsellors. These brought a variety of charges to the assault on Seneca, "who was still augmenting that enormous wealth which had transcended the limits of a private fortune; who was perverting the affection of his countrymen to himself; who even in the charm of his pleasure-grounds and the splendour of his villas appeared bent on surpassing the sovereign. The honours of eloquence," so the count proceeded, "he arrogated to himself alone; and he was writing verse more frequently, now that Nero had developed an affection for the art. For of the emperor's amusements in general he was an openly captious critic, disparaging his powers when he drove his horses and deriding his notes when he sang! How long was nothing to be counted brilliant in Rome, unless it was believed the invention of Seneca? Beyond a doubt, Nero's boyhood was finished, and the full vigour of youth had arrived: let him discharge his pedagogue — he had a sufficiently distinguished staff of teachers in his own ancestors. 14.53.  Seneca was aware of his maligners: they were revealed from the quarters where there was some little regard for honour, and the Caesar's avoidance of his intimacy was becoming marked. He therefore asked to have a time fixed for an interview; it was granted, and he began as follows:— "It is the fourteenth year, Caesar, since I was associated with your hopeful youth, the eighth that you have held the empire: in the time between, you have heaped upon me so much of honour and of wealth that all that is lacking to complete my happiness is discretion in its use. I shall appeal to great precedents, and I shall draw them not from my rank but from yours. Augustus, the grandfather of your grandfather, conceded to Marcus Agrippa the privacy of Mytilene, and to Gaius Maecenas, within the capital itself, something tantamount to retirement abroad. One had been the partner of his wars, the other had been harassed by more numerous labours at Rome, and each had received his reward — a magnificent reward, it is true, but proportioned to immense deserts. For myself, what incentive to your generosity have I been able to apply except some bookish acquirements, cultivated, I might say, in the shadows of the cloister? Acquirements to which fame has come because I am thought to have lent a helping hand in your own first youthful efforts — a wage that overpays the service! But you have invested me with measureless influence, with countless riches; so that often I put the question to myself:— 'Is it I, born in the station of a simple knight and a provincial, who am numbered with the magnates of the realm? Among these nobles, wearing their long-descended glories, has my novel name swum into ken? Where is that spirit which found contentment in mediocrity? Building these terraced gardens? — Pacing these suburban mansions? — Luxuriating in these broad acres, these world-wide investments?' — A single defence suggests itself — that I had not the right to obstruct your bounty. 14.54.  "But we have both filled up the measure: you, of what a prince may give to his friend; and I, of what a friend may take from his prince. All beyond breeds envy! True, envy, like everything mortal, lies far beneath your greatness; but by me the burden is felt — to me a relief is necessary. As I should pray for support in warfare, or when wearied by the road, so in this journey of life, an old man and unequal to the lightest of cares, I ask for succour: for I can bear my riches no further. Order my estates to be administered by your procurators, to be embodied in your fortune. Not that by my own action I shall reduce myself to poverty: rather, I shall resign the glitter of wealth which dazzles me, and recall to the service of the mind those hours which are now set apart to the care of my gardens or my villas. You have vigour to spare; you have watched for years the methods by which supreme power is wielded: we, your older friends, may demand our rest. This, too, shall redound to your glory — that you raised to the highest places men who could also accept the lowly. 14.55.  Nero's reply, in effect, was this:— "If I am able to meet your studied eloquence with an immediate answer, that is the first part of my debt to you, who have taught me how to express my thought not merely after premeditation but on the spur of the moment. Augustus, the grandfather of my grandfather, allowed Agrippa and Maecenas to rest after their labours, but had himself reached an age, the authority of which could justify whatever boon, and of whatever character, he had bestowed upon them. And even so he stripped neither of the rewards conferred by himself. It was in battle and jeopardy they had earned them, for such were the scenes in which the youth of Augustus moved; and, had my own days been spent in arms, your weapons and your hand would not have failed me; but you did what the actual case demanded, and fostered first my boyhood, then my youth, with reason, advice, and precept. And your gifts to me will be imperishable, so long as life may last; but mine to you — gardens, capital, and villas — are vulnerable to accident. They may appear many; but numbers of men, not comparable to you in character have held more. Shame forbids me to mention the freedmen who flaunt a wealth greater than yours! And hence I even blush that you, who have the first place in my love, do not as yet excel all in fortune. Or is it, by chance, the case that you deem either Seneca lower than Vitellius, who held his three consulates, or Nero lower than Claudius, and that the wealth which years of parsimony won for Volusius is incapable of being attained by my own generosity to you? 14.56.  "On the contrary, not only is yours a vigorous age, adequate to affairs and to their rewards, but I myself am but entering the first stages of my sovereignty. Why not recall the uncertain steps of my youth, if here and there they slip, and even more zealously guide and support the manhood which owes its pride to you. Not your moderation, if you give back your riches; not your retirement, if you abandon your prince; by my avarice, and the terrors of my cruelty, will be upon all men's lips. And, however much your abnegation may be praised, it will still be unworthy of a sage to derive credit from an act which sullies the fair fame of a friend." He followed his words with an embrace and kisses — nature had fashioned him and use had trained him to veil his hatred under insidious caresses. Seneca — such is the end of all dialogues with an autocrat — expressed his gratitude: but he changed the established routine of his former power, banished the crowds from his antechambers, shunned his attendants, and appeared in the city with a rareness ascribed to his detention at home by adverse health or philosophic studies. 14.57.  With Seneca brought low, it was a simple matter to undermine Faenius Rufus, the charge in his case being friendship with Agrippina. Tigellinus, too, growing stronger with every day, and convinced that the mischievous arts, which were his one source of power, would be all the more acceptable, could he bind the emperor to himself by a partnership in crime, probed his fears, and, discovering the main objects of his alarm to be Plautus and Sulla — both lately removed, the former to Asia, the latter to Narbonese Gaul — began to draw attention to their distinguished lineage and their nearness, respectively, to the armies of the East and of Germany. "Unlike Burrus," he said, "he had not in view two irreconcilable hopes, but purely the safety of Nero. In the capital, where he could work on the spot, the imperial security was more or less provided for; but how were outbreaks at a distance to be stifled? Gaul was alert at the sound of the Dictator's name; and equally the peoples of Asia were unbalanced by the glory of such a grandsire as Drusus. Sulla was indigent, therefore greatly daring, and wore the mask of lethargy only till he could find an occasion for temerity. Plautus, with his great fortune, did not even affect a desire for peace, but, not content to parade his mimicries of the ancient Romans, had taken upon himself the Stoic arrogance and the mantle of a sect which inculcated sedition and an appetite for politics." There was no further delay. On the sixth day following, the slayers had made the crossing to Massilia, and Sulla, who had taken his place at the dinner-table, was despatched before a whisper of alarm had reached him. The head was carried back to Rome, where the premature grey hairs disfiguring it provoked the merriment of Nero.
9. Tacitus, Histories, 2.71.1, 3.56, 4.8, 4.52, 4.81 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

3.56.  While Vitellius was addressing the troops an incredible prodigy appeared — such a flock of birds of ill omen flew above him that they obscured the sky with a black cloud. Another dire omen was given by a bull which overthrew the preparations for sacrifice, escaped from the altar, and was then despatched some distance away and in an unusual fashion. But the most outstanding portent was Vitellius himself; unskilled in war, without foresight, unacquainted with the proper order of march, the use of scouts, the limits within which a general should hurry on a campaign or delay it, he was constantly questioning others; at the arrival of every messenger his face and gait betrayed his anxiety; and then he would drink heavily. Finally, weary of the camp and hearing of the defection of the fleet at Misenum, he returned to Rome, panic-stricken as ever by the latest blow and with no thought for the supreme issue. For when the way was open to him to cross the Apennines while the strength of his forces was unimpaired, and to attack his foes who were still exhausted by the winter and lack of supply, by scattering his forces he delivered over to death and captivity his best troops, who were loyal to the last extremity, although his most experienced centurions disapproved, and if consulted, would have told him the truth. But the most intimate friends of Vitellius kept them away from him, and so inclined the emperor's ears that useful counsel sounded harsh, and he would hear nothing but what flattered and was to be fatal. 4.8.  Marcellus replied that it was not his proposal, but that of the consul designate that was attacked; and it was a proposal that conformed to the ancient precedents, which prescribed that delegates should be chosen by lot, that there might be no room for self-seeking or for hate. Nothing had occurred to give reason for abandoning long-established customs or for turning the honour due an emperor into an insult to any man: they could all pay homage. What they must try to avoid was allowing the wilfulness of certain individuals to irritate the mind of the emperor, who was as yet unbiassed, being newly come to power and watchful of every look and every word. For his own part he remembered the time in which he was born, the form of government that their fathers and grandfathers had established; he admired the earlier period, but adapted himself to the present; he prayed for good emperors, but endured any sort. It was not by his speech any more than by the judgment of the senate that Thrasea had been brought to ruin; Nero's cruel nature found its delight in such shows of justice, and such a friendship caused him no less anxiety than exile in others. In short, let them set Helvidius on an equality with Cato and Brutus in firmness and courage: for himself, he was only one of a senate which accepted a common servitude. He would also advise Priscus not to exalt himself above an emperor, not to try to check by his precepts a man of ripe age as Vespasian was, a man who had gained the insignia of a triumph, and who had sons grown to man's estate. Just as the worst emperors wish for absolute tyrannical power, even the best desire some limit to the freedom of their subjects. These arguments, which were hurled back and forth with great vehemence, were received with different feelings. The party prevailed that favoured the selection of the envoys by lot, for even the ordinary senators were eager to preserve precedent, and all the most prominent also inclined to the same course, fearing to excite envy if they should be selected themselves. 4.52.  It is said that Titus, before leaving, in a long interview with his father begged him not to be easily excited by the reports of those who calumniated Domitian, and urged him to show himself impartial and forgiving toward his son. "Neither armies nor fleets," he argued, "are so strong a defence of the imperial power as a number of children; for friends are chilled, changed, and lost by time, fortune, and sometimes by inordinate desires or by mistakes: the ties of blood cannot be severed by any man, least of all by princes, whose success others also enjoy, but whose misfortunes touch only their nearest kin. Not even brothers will always agree unless the father sets the example." Not so much reconciled toward Domitian as delighted with Titus's show of brotherly affection, Vespasian bade him be of good cheer and to magnify the state by war and arms; he would himself care for peace and his house. Then he had some of the swiftest ships laden with grain and entrusted to the sea, although it was still dangerous: for, in fact, Rome was in such a critical condition that she did not have more than ten days' supplies in her granaries when the supplies from Vespasian came to her relief. 4.81.  During the months while Vespasian was waiting at Alexandria for the regular season of the summer winds and a settled sea, many marvels continued to mark the favour of heaven and a certain partiality of the gods toward him. One of the common people of Alexandria, well known for his loss of sight, threw himself before Vespasian's knees, praying him with groans to cure his blindness, being so directed by the god Serapis, whom this most superstitious of nations worships before all others; and he besought the emperor to deign to moisten his cheeks and eyes with his spittle. Another, whose hand was useless, prompted by the same god, begged Caesar to step and trample on it. Vespasian at first ridiculed these appeals and treated them with scorn; then, when the men persisted, he began at one moment to fear the discredit of failure, at another to be inspired with hopes of success by the appeals of the suppliants and the flattery of his courtiers: finally, he directed the physicians to give their opinion as to whether such blindness and infirmity could be overcome by human aid. Their reply treated the two cases differently: they said that in the first the power of sight had not been completely eaten away and it would return if the obstacles were removed; in the other, the joints had slipped and become displaced, but they could be restored if a healing pressure were applied to them. Such perhaps was the wish of the gods, and it might be that the emperor had been chosen for this divine service; in any case, if a cure were obtained, the glory would be Caesar's, but in the event of failure, ridicule would fall only on the poor suppliants. So Vespasian, believing that his good fortune was capable of anything and that nothing was any longer incredible, with a smiling countece, and amid intense excitement on the part of the bystanders, did as he was asked to do. The hand was instantly restored to use, and the day again shone for the blind man. Both facts are told by eye-witnesses even now when falsehood brings no reward.
10. Cassius Dio, Roman History, 52.15.2-52.15.3, 52.32-52.33, 52.37.1, 53.21.4-53.21.6, 55.7.2, 55.34.2, 57.7.2-57.7.5, 60.2.4, 60.17, 68.2.3 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

52.15.2.  that you and your counsellors should conduct the wars according to your own wishes, all other citizens rendering instant obedience to your commands; that the choice of the officials should rest with you and your advisers; and that you and they should also determine the honours and the punishments. The advantage of all this would be that whatever pleased you in consultation with your peers would immediately become law; 52.15.3.  that our wars against our enemies would be waged with secrecy and at the opportune time; that those to whom any task was entrusted would be appointed because of their merit and not as the result of the lot or rivalry for office; that the good would be honoured without arousing jealousy and the bad punished without causing rebellion. 52.32. 1.  "These matters, then, should be referred by you to the senate, and also those others which are of the greatest importance to the state. For interests which are shared in common should be administered in common. Besides, it is doubtless a quality implanted by nature in all men that they take delight in any marks of esteem received from a superior which imply that they are his equals, and that they not only approve of all decisions made by another in consultation with themselves, as being their own decisions, but also submit to them as having been imposed by their own free choice.,2.  Therefore I say that such business ought to be brought before the senate. Furthermore, all the senators alike, that is, all who are present, should vote on all other matters: but when one of their own number is accused, not all of them should do so, unless the one who is on trial is not yet sitting as a senator or is still in the ranks of the ex-quaestors.,3.  For it is absurd that one who has not yet been a tribune or an aedile should cast a vote against men who have held those offices, or, worse yet, that any one of the latter should vote against men who have been praetors, or one of these last against men who have been consuls. Rather, let the ex-consuls alone have authority to render decisions in the case of all senators, and let the rest of the senators vote only in the cases of senators of a rank equal or inferior to their own. 52.33. 1.  "But do you judge by yourself alone the cases which come to you on appeal or reference from the higher officials and the procurators, from the prefect of the city, the sub-censor, and from the prefects in charge respectively of the grain-supply and the night-watch. For none of these should have such absolute jurisdiction and final authority that an appeal cannot be made from him.,2.  Do you, therefore, pass upon these cases and those which involve knights and centurions recruited from the levies and the foremost private citizens, when they are defendants on a charge punishable by death or disfranchisement. For such cases should be committed to you alone, and for the reasons mentioned no one else should judge them solely upon his own responsibility.,3.  Indeed, in the rendering of decisions generally you should be brought into consultation, invariably by the senators and knights of highest rank and also, as occasion calls for one or another, by the other senators who are ex-consuls and ex-praetors, the object being twofold: that you on your part may first become more intimately acquainted with their characters and may then be able to put them to the right kind of employment, and that they, on their part, may first become familiar with our habits of mind and your plans before they go out to govern the provinces.,4.  Do not, however, ask for a public expression of their opinion on any matter that requires an unusually careful consideration, lest they hesitate to speak freely, since in giving their opinions they follow their superiors in rank; make them, rather, write their opinions on tablets. These you should read in private, that they may become known to no one else, and should then order the writing to be erased forthwith. For the best way for you to get at each man's precise opinion would be to give him the certainty that his vote cannot be detected among the rest.,5.  "Moreover, for your judicial work and your correspondence, to help you attend to the decrees of the states and the petitions of private individuals, and for all other business which belongs to the administration of the empire, you must have men chosen from the knights to be your helpers and assistants. For all the details of administration will move along more easily in this way, and you will neither err through relying upon your own judgment nor become exhausted through relying upon your own efforts.,6.  Grant to every one who wishes to offer you advice, on any matter whatever, the right to speak freely and without fear of the consequences; for if you are pleased with what he says you will be greatly benefited, and if you are not convinced it will do you no harm.,7.  Those who win your favourable opinion for their suggestions you should both commend and honour, since you yourself will gain credit through their discoveries; but do not treat with disrespect or criticise those who fail of your approval, since it is their intentions that you should consider, and their lack of success should not call forth your censure.,8.  Guard against this same mistake in matters of warfare, also; give way neither to anger against a man for an unintentional misfortune nor to jealousy for a piece of good fortune, that all may zealously and gladly incur danger for your sake, confident that if they meet with any reverse they will not be punished for it and if they gain success they will not have snares laid for them.,9.  There have been many, at any rate, who through fear of jealousy on the part of those in power have chosen to accept defeat rather than achieve success, and as a result have gained safety for themselves while inflicting the loss upon their rulers. Therefore, since you yourself stand to reap the major part of the fruits of both outcomes, the failures as well as the successes, you should never consent to become jealous, nominally of others, but really of yourself. 55.7.2.  Here is an instance. Maecenas once came upon him as he was holding court, and seeing that he was on the point of condemning many people to death, he attempted to push his way through the bystanders and get near him. When he was unable to do this, he wrote on a tablet, "Pray rise at last, executioner!" Then he threw the tablet into the lap of Augustus, as if it contained some indifferent matter, and the emperor imposed no death sentences, but arose and departed. 55.34.2.  But at the time to which I refer, Augustus allowed the senate to try most cases without him, and he gave up attending the popular assemblies. Instead, he had the year before personally appointed all who were to hold office, because there were factional outbreaks, and in this and the following years he merely posted a bulletin recommending to the plebs and to the people those whom he favoured. 57.7.2.  He did little or nothing on his own responsibility, but brought all matters, even the slightest, before the senate and communicated them to that body. In the Forum a tribunal had been erected on which he sat in public to dispense justice, and he always associated with himself advisers, after the manner of Augustus; nor did he take any step of consequence without making it known to the rest. 57.7.3.  After setting forth his own opinion he not only granted everyone full liberty to speak against it, but even when, as sometimes happened, others voted in opposition to him, he submitted; for he often would cast a vote himself. Drusus used to act just like the rest, now speaking first, and again after some of the others. 57.7.4.  As for Tiberius, he would sometimes remain silent and sometimes gave his opinion first, or after a few others, or even last; in some cases he would speak his mind directly, but generally, in order to avoid appearing to take away their freedom of speech, he would say: "If I had been giving my views, I should have proposed this or that. 57.7.5.  This method was just as effective as the other and yet the rest were not thereby prevented from stating their views. On the contrary, he would frequently express one opinion and those who followed would prefer something different, and sometimes they actually prevailed; yet for all that he harboured anger against no one. 60.17. 1.  When Claudius now became consul again, for the third time, he abolished many days of thanksgiving and many holidays. For the greater part of the year was being given up to them, with no small detriment to the public business.,2.  Besides thus curtailing the holidays, he retrenched in all other ways that he could. What had been given away by Gaius without any justice or reason he demanded back from the recipients; but he gave back to the highway commissioners the amount of the fines they had paid in the reign of Gaius at the instigation of Corbulo.,3.  Moreover, he gave notice to the governors chosen by lot, since they were slow even now about leaving the city, that they must begin their journey before the middle of April. He reduced the Lycians to servitude because they had revolted and slain some Romans, and he incorporated them in the prefecture of Pamphylia.,4.  During the investigation of this affair, which was conducted in the senate, he put a question in Latin to one of the envoys who had originally been a Lycian, but had been made a Roman citizen; and when the man failed to understand what was said, he took away his citizenship, saying that it was not proper for a man to be a Roman who had no knowledge of the Romans' language.,5.  A great many other persons unworthy of citizenship were also deprived of it, whereas he granted citizenship to others quite indiscriminately, sometimes to individuals and sometimes to whole groups. For inasmuch as Romans had the advantage over foreigners in practically all respects, many sought the franchise by personal application to the emperor, and many bought it from Messalina and the imperial freedmen.,6.  For this reason, though the privilege was at first sold only for large sums, it later became so cheapened by the facility with which it could be obtained that it came to be a common saying, that a man could become a citizen by giving the right person some bits of broken glass.,7.  For his course in the matter, therefore, Claudius brought ridicule upon himself; but he was praised for his conduct in another direction. It seems that information was being laid against many of the new citizens, in some instances to the effect that they were not adopting Claudius' name, and in others that they were not leaving him anything at their death — it being incumbent, they said, upon those who obtained citizenship from him to do both these things. Claudius now forbade that any one should be called to account on these grounds.,8.  Messalina and his freedmen kept offering for sale and peddling out not merely the franchise and military commands, procuratorships, and governorships, but also everything in general, to such an extent that there was a scarcity of all wares; and as a result Claudius was compelled to muster the populace in the Campus Martius, and there from a raised platform to fix the prices of the various articles.,9.  Claudius also gave a gladiatorial contest at the camp, on which occasion he wore a military cloak. His son's birthday was observed by the praetors on their own initiative with a spectacle and dinners. This was also done on later occasions, at least year such of them as chose to do so. 68.2.3.  He abolished many sacrifices, many horse-races, and some other spectacles, in an attempt to reduce expenditures as far as possible. In the senate he took oath that he would not slay any of the senators, and he kept his pledge in spite of plots against himself. Moreover, he did nothing without the advice of the foremost men.
11. Herodian, History of The Empire After Marcus, 1.6.5 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
advisers Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
alexandria Price, Finkelberg and Shahar, Rome: An Empire of Many Nations: New Perspectives on Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Identity (2021) 191
caligula Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
cassius dio Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
claudius (germanicus) Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
commodus Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
education Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
egypt Price, Finkelberg and Shahar, Rome: An Empire of Many Nations: New Perspectives on Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Identity (2021) 191
father(hood) Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
flattery Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
friendship Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
hercules Price, Finkelberg and Shahar, Rome: An Empire of Many Nations: New Perspectives on Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Identity (2021) 191
marcus aurelius Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
nero Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199; Price, Finkelberg and Shahar, Rome: An Empire of Many Nations: New Perspectives on Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Identity (2021) 191
pompeianus Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
readers, foreknowledge Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
reate Price, Finkelberg and Shahar, Rome: An Empire of Many Nations: New Perspectives on Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Identity (2021) 191
senate Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
soldiers Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
speech(es) Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
suetonius tranquillus, c. Price, Finkelberg and Shahar, Rome: An Empire of Many Nations: New Perspectives on Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Identity (2021) 191
tacitus Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
tyranny/tyrants Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
vespasian Price, Finkelberg and Shahar, Rome: An Empire of Many Nations: New Perspectives on Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Identity (2021) 191
vitellius Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199
youth/young (rulers)' Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 199