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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



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Tacitus, Histories, 4.42.6
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1. Tacitus, Annals, 3.66.1, 11.24, 11.24.7, 13.4.1, 15.23.2, 15.44.5 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

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. 11.24.  Unconvinced by these and similar arguments, the emperor not only stated his objections there and then, but, after convening the senate, addressed it as follows: — "In my own ancestors, the eldest of whom, Clausus, a Sabine by extraction, was made simultaneously a citizen and the head of a patrician house, I find encouragement to employ the same policy in my administration, by transferring hither all true excellence, let it be found where it will. For I am not unaware that the Julii came to us from Alba, the Coruncanii from Camerium, the Porcii from Tusculum; that — not to scrutinize antiquity — members were drafted into the senate from Etruria, from Lucania, from the whole of Italy; and that finally Italy itself was extended to the Alps, in order that not individuals merely but countries and nationalities should form one body under the name of Romans. The day of stable peace at home and victory abroad came when the districts beyond the Po were admitted to citizenship, and, availing ourselves of the fact that our legions were settled throughout the globe, we added to them the stoutest of the provincials, and succoured a weary empire. Is it regretted that the Balbi crossed over from Spain and families equally distinguished from Narbonese Gaul? Their descendants remain; nor do they yield to ourselves in love for this native land of theirs. What else proved fatal to Lacedaemon and Athens, in spite of their power in arms, but their policy of holding the conquered aloof as alien-born? But the sagacity of our own founder Romulus was such that several times he fought and naturalized a people in the course of the same day! Strangers have been kings over us: the conferment of magistracies on the sons of freedmen is not the novelty which it is commonly and mistakenly thought, but a frequent practice of the old commonwealth. — 'But we fought with the Senones.' — Then, presumably, the Volscians and Aequians never drew up a line of battle against us. — 'We were taken by the Gauls.' — But we also gave hostages to the Tuscans and underwent the yoke of the Samnites. — And yet, if you survey the whole of our wars, not one was finished within a shorter period than that against the Gauls: thenceforward there has been a continuous and loyal peace. Now that customs, culture, and the ties of marriage have blended them with ourselves, let them bring among us their gold and their riches instead of retaining them beyond the pale! All, Conscript Fathers, that is now believed supremely old has been new: plebeian magistrates followed the patrician; Latin, the plebeian; magistrates from the other races of Italy, the Latin. Our innovation, too, will be parcel of the past, and what to‑day we defend by precedents will rank among precedents. 13.4.1.  However, when the mockeries of sorrow had been carried to their close, he entered the curia; and, after an opening reference to the authority of the Fathers and the uimity of the army, stated that "he had before him advice and examples pointing him to an admirable system of government. Nor had his youth been poisoned by civil war or family strife: he brought to his task no hatreds, no wrongs, no desire for vengeance. He then outlined the character of the coming principate, the points which had provoked recent and intense dissatisfaction being specially discounteced:— "He would not constitute himself a judge of all cases, secluding accusers and defendants within the same four walls and allowing the influence of a few individuals to run riot. Under his roof would be no venality, no loophole for intrigue: the palace and the state would be things separate. Let the senate retain its old prerogatives! Let Italy and the public provinces take their stand before the judgement-seats of the consuls, and let the consuls grant them access to the Fathers: for the armies delegated to his charge he would himself be responsible.
2. Tacitus, Histories, 1.3.1, 3.51.2 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

3. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 1.5, 7.6, 7.33, 9.13 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

1.5. To Voconius Romanus. Did you ever see a man more abject and fawning than Marcus Regulus has been since the death of Domitian? His misdeeds were better concealed during that prince's reign, but they were every bit as bad as they were in the time of Nero. He began to be afraid that I was angry with him and he was not mistaken, for I certainly was annoyed. After doing what he could to help those who were prosecuting Rusticus Arulenus, he had openly exulted at his death, and went so far as to publicly read and then publish a pamphlet in which he violently attacks Rusticus and even calls him "the Stoics' ape," adding that "he is marked with the brand of Vitellius." * You recognise, of course, the Regulian style! He tears to pieces Herennius Senecio so savagely that Metius Carus said to him, "What have you to do with my dead men? Did I ever worry your Crassus or Camerinus?" - these being some of Regulus's victims in the days of Nero. Regulus thought I bore him malice for this, and so he did not invite me when he read his pamphlet. Besides, he remembered that he once mortally attacked me in the court of the centumviri. ** I was a witness on behalf of Arionilla, the wife of Timon, at the request of Rusticus Arulenus, and Regulus was conducting the prosecution. We on our side were relying for part of the defence on a decision of Metius Modestus, an excellent man who had been banished by Domitian and was at that moment in exile. This was Regulus's opportunity. "Tell me, Secundus," said he, "what you think of Modestus." You see in what peril I should have placed myself if I had answered that I thought highly of him, and how disgraceful it would have been if I had said that I thought ill of him. I fancy it must have been the gods who came to my rescue. "I will tell you what I think of him," I said, "when the Court has to give a decision on the point." He returned to the charge Well, now the fellow is conscience-stricken, and buttonholes first Caecilius Celer and then implores Fabius Justus to reconcile me to him. Not content with that, he makes his way in to see Spurinna, and begs and prays of him - you know what an abject coward he is when he is frightened - as follows. "Do go," says he, "and call on Pliny in the morning - early in the morning, for my suspense is unbearable - and do what you can to remove his anger against me." I was early awake that day, when a message came from Spurinna, "I am coming to see you." I sent back word, "I will come and see you." We met at the portico of Livia, just as we were each of us on the way to see the other. He explained his commission from Regulus and added his own entreaties, but did not press the point too strongly, as became a worthy gentleman asking a favour for a worthless acquaintance. This was my answer That practically closed the conversation. I did not wish it to go any further, so that I might not commit myself until Mauricus arrived. Moreover, I am quite aware that Regulus is a difficult bird to net. He is rich, he is a shrewd intriguer, he has no inconsiderable body of followers and a still larger circle of those who fear him, and fear is often a more powerful factor than affection. But, after all, these are bonds that may be shattered and weakened, for a bad man's influence is as little to be relied upon as is the man himself. Moreover, let me repeat that I am waiting for Mauricus. He is a man of sound judgment and sagacity, which he has learned by experience, and he can gauge what is likely to happen in the future from what has occurred in the past. I shall be guided by him, and either strike a blow or set aside my weapons just as he thinks best. I have written you this letter because it is only right, considering our regard for one another, that you should be acquainted not only with what I have said and done, but also with my plans for the future. Farewell. 7.6. To Macrinus. The suit against Varenus has come to an unusual and remarkable conclusion, and the issue is even now open to doubt. People say that the Bithynians have withdrawn their accusation against him, on the ground that they entered upon it without adequate proofs. That, I repeat, is what people are saying. However, the legate of the province is in Rome, and he has laid the decree of the Council before Caesar, before many of the leading men here, and even before us who are acting for Varenus. None the less our friend Magnus, as usual, persists in his opposition, and he still keeps worrying that estimable man Nigrinus. He pressed the consuls, through Nigrinus, to force Varenus to produce his official accounts. I was standing by Varenus in a friendly way, and had made up my mind to say nothing, for nothing would have damaged his prospects so much as for me, who had been appointed by the senate to act on his behalf, to begin defending him, as though he were on his trial, when the great thing was to prevent him being put on his trial at all. However, when Nigrinus had concluded his demand, and the consuls looked towards me to say something, I remarked In one instance, a mother who had lost her son - for there is no reason why I should not recall some of my old cases, though this was not my motive in writing this letter - accused his freedmen - who were also co-heirs to the estate - of having forged the will and poisoned their master. She brought the matter to the notice of the Emperor, and obtained permission for Julius Servianus to act as judge. I defended the accused in a crowded court, for the case was a regular cause célèbre, and there were the best counsel of the day engaged on both sides. The hearing was decided by the evidence of the slaves, who were submitted to torture, and their answers were in favour of the accused. Subsequently, the mother appealed to the Emperor, declaring that she had discovered fresh proofs. Suburanus was instructed to give her a hearing again, provided that she brought forward new evidence. Julius Africanus appeared for the mother - a grandson of the orator of whom Passienus Crispus said after listening to his speech It has been much the same in the present case, and my policy in saying just what I did on behalf of Varenus and nothing more has been greatly approved. The consuls, as Polyaenus desired, have left the Emperor an entirely free hand, and I am waiting for him to hear the case, with much anxiety; for, when he does, the issue of the day will either free us, who are on Varenus's side, from all trouble and make our minds perfectly easy, or it will entail our setting to work again and a new period of anxious worry. Farewell. 7.33. To Tacitus. I venture to prophesy - and I know my prognostics are right - that your histories will be immortal, and that, I frankly confess, makes me the more anxious to figure in them. For if it is quite an ordinary thing for us to take care to secure the best painter to paint our portrait, ought we not also to be desirous of getting an author and historian of your calibre to describe our deeds ? That is why though it could hardly escape your careful eye, as it is to be found in the public records - I bring the following incident before your notice, and I do so in order to assure you how pleased I shall be, if you will lend your powers of description and the weight of your testimony to setting forth the way I behaved on an occasion when I reaped credit, owing to the dangers to which I exposed myself. The senate had appointed me to act with Herennius Senecio on behalf of the province of Baetica in the prosecution of Baebius Massa, * and, when Massa had been sentenced, it decreed that his property should be placed under public custody. Senecio came to me, after finding out that the consuls would be at liberty to hear petitions, and said My conduct on this occasion, whatever its worth may have been, will be made even more famous, more distinguished, and more noble if you describe it, although I do not ask of you to go beyond the strict letter of what actually occurred. For history ought never to transgress against truth, and an honourable action wants nothing more than to be faithfully recorded. Farewell. %%% 9.13. To Quadratus. The more carefully and closely you have read the books I composed to vindicate the character of Helvidius, the more anxious, you say, you are for me to write an account of the whole affair from beginning to end, which you were too young to take any part in, giving you details which do not appear in my volumes as well as those which do. When Domitian was put to death, I took counsel with myself and came to the conclusion that there was now a splendid and glorious opportunity for prosecuting the guilty, vindicating the oppressed, and at the same time bringing myself into prominence. It seemed to me that of all the many crimes committed by that crowd of wretches, there was none more atrocious than that a senator should have laid violent hands upon another senator in the senate-house, that a man of praetorian rank should have assaulted a man of consular rank, and a judge an accused person. Besides, Helvidius and I were friends, so far as friendship was possible with one who, owing to the terrorism that prevailed, tried to conceal his illustrious name and equally illustrious virtues in strict retirement; and I was also a friend of Arria and Fannia, * the former of whom was the step-mother of Helvidius, and the latter the mother of Arria. But it was not so much my feelings as a friend, but my sense of public duty, my indignation at what had taken place, and the importance of the precedent, which stirred me. For the first few days after liberty had been restored each man was busy in his own interests impeaching his own private enemies - at least the more unimportant of them - and at once obtaining their condemnation, but all was being done with uproar and turbulence. I considered it would show greater modesty and boldness not to overthrow the worst criminal of them all on the general odium against the practices of the late reign, but to attack him on a specific charge, after the first furious outburst had worn itself out and the general rage was daily abating, and when men were beginning again to think of what was just. So, though I was in great distress at the time, for I had just recently lost my wife, ** I sent to Anteia - who was the wife of Helvidius - asking her to come and see me, as the bereavement I had recently suffered kept me still confined to my house. When she came, I said It was my unfailing practice to consult Corellius on all matters, for I looked upon him as the most far-seeing and the wisest man of our time ; but in this business I was satisfied with my own judgment, for I was afraid that he would try and dissuade me from my design, as he was always rather prone to hesitation and caution. However, I could not make up my mind to refrain from giving him a hint, when the day came, of what I was going to do, though I did not ask his advice as to whether I should proceed with my intention, for I have found by experience that, when you have decided on a course of action, it is a mistake to consult as to its wisdom those whose advice you ought to follow when once you ask them for it. I entered the senate ; I craved permission to address the house, and for a little time everyone agreed with what I said. But when I began to touch upon the charge I was bringing and foreshadow whom I was accusing - though I had not yet named him - there were loud cries of dissent from all sides. One exclaimed, "Let us know who it is that you are denouncing out of order? " ; another, "Who is it that is being put on his trial before he has been impeached ?" ; another, "Let us who survive remain in security." I listened without fear or trepidation, sustained by the righteousness of the cause I had undertaken, while it always materially contributes to one's confidence or fear whether one's audience is merely unwilling to hear your case or actively disapproves of it. It would be tedious to relate all the exclamations which were flung from side to side, but at last the consul said By this time the time for recording opinions had arrived. Among the speakers were Domitius Apollinaris, the consul-designate, Fabricius Veiento, Fabius Maximinus, Vettius Proculus, the colleague of Publicius Certus, who was the subject of debate, and the father-in-law of the wife whom I had just lost. After these Ammius Flaccus spoke. They all defended Certus, just as if I had already named him, which I had not, and took up and defended his cause, though the charge had been left vague. †† I need not tell you the substance of their speeches, for you have them in my books, just as I took them down in their own words. They were opposed by Avidius Quietus and Cornutus Tertullus. Quietus urged that it was most unjust to refuse to hear the complaints of the aggrieved persons, and, therefore, Arria and Fannia ought not to be robbed of their right to lodge a complaint. It did not matter, he said, what class a person belonged to, the point was whether his case was just. Cornutus said that he had been appointed guardian by the consuls to the daughter of Helvidius at the request of her mother and step-father, and that he could not think of failing in his duties at such a moment. However, he would set a limit to his own personal resentment and only support the very moderate request of these excellent ladies, who would be satisfied with bringing before the notice of the senate the crime-stained servility of Publicius Certus, and asking that, though the penalty for his most iniquitous crime might be foregone, he might at least be branded with some mark of disgrace similar to being officially degraded by the censors. Satrius Rufus followed with an equivocal speech, the meaning of which was by no means clear. "I consider," he said, "Publicius Certus will be wronged unless he is acquitted ; he has been impeached by the friends of Arria ; and Fannia, and by his own friends. Nor ought we to be anxious on his account, for we, who think well of him, are also to act as his judges. If he is innocent, as I hope and prefer to think he is, and as I shall continue to believe until something is proved against him, you will be able to acquit him." Such were the sentiments delivered, in the order in which the speakers were severally called upon to speak. Then my turn came ; I rose to my feet, and opening my remarks as you will find in my book, I replied to all, one by one. It was wonderful to notice with what attention and applause all my points were received by those who a little before were shouting me down. This sweeping change of view was due either to the importance of the subject under debate, or to the success of my speech, or to the boldness of the speaker. At length I concluded; Veiento began to answer me, but no one suffered him to speak ; he was greeted with such interruptions and clamours that he exclaimed, "I beg of you, conscript fathers, not to force me to appeal to the tribunes for protection." Immediately the tribune Murena broke in with, "I permit you, most honourable Veiento, to speak." At that the tumult broke out again. In the pauses between the outcries the consul read over the names and took the votes by a division, and then adjourned the House, leaving Veiento still on his feet and struggling to deliver his speech. He complained bitterly of the indignity - as he called it - which had been shown him, quoting the line from Homer Certus was not present when all this took place, either owing to his having some suspicion of what was about to happen, or else he was ill, which was the reason he assigned for his absence. It is true that Caesar never referred to the senate the inquiry into Certus's crimes, yet I gained the point for which I had striven. For it was a colleague of Certus who gained the consulship, and Certus's place was taken by someone else, and so the sentence at the close of my speech was fulfilled, where I said, "Let him give back, now that we have a model emperor to reign over us, the prize which was conferred upon him by the worst of emperors." Subsequently, I recalled the speech to my memory as best I could, and added a good deal. By a coincidence, which looked rather more than a coincidence. Certus was taken ill and died a very few days after I published my book. I have heard people say that he was haunted by a phantom which was for ever presenting itself to his mind and gaze, and that he thought he saw me threatening him with a sword. I should not like to say that this actually was the case, but it adds to the moral that it should be considered as true. Well, I have written you a letter which, judged by the standard length of a letter, is about as long as the books you have read, but you have only yourself to blame, inasmuch as you were not content with the published books. Farewell.
4. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 1.5, 7.6, 7.33, 9.13 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

1.5. To Voconius Romanus. Did you ever see a man more abject and fawning than Marcus Regulus has been since the death of Domitian? His misdeeds were better concealed during that prince's reign, but they were every bit as bad as they were in the time of Nero. He began to be afraid that I was angry with him and he was not mistaken, for I certainly was annoyed. After doing what he could to help those who were prosecuting Rusticus Arulenus, he had openly exulted at his death, and went so far as to publicly read and then publish a pamphlet in which he violently attacks Rusticus and even calls him "the Stoics' ape," adding that "he is marked with the brand of Vitellius." * You recognise, of course, the Regulian style! He tears to pieces Herennius Senecio so savagely that Metius Carus said to him, "What have you to do with my dead men? Did I ever worry your Crassus or Camerinus?" - these being some of Regulus's victims in the days of Nero. Regulus thought I bore him malice for this, and so he did not invite me when he read his pamphlet. Besides, he remembered that he once mortally attacked me in the court of the centumviri. ** I was a witness on behalf of Arionilla, the wife of Timon, at the request of Rusticus Arulenus, and Regulus was conducting the prosecution. We on our side were relying for part of the defence on a decision of Metius Modestus, an excellent man who had been banished by Domitian and was at that moment in exile. This was Regulus's opportunity. "Tell me, Secundus," said he, "what you think of Modestus." You see in what peril I should have placed myself if I had answered that I thought highly of him, and how disgraceful it would have been if I had said that I thought ill of him. I fancy it must have been the gods who came to my rescue. "I will tell you what I think of him," I said, "when the Court has to give a decision on the point." He returned to the charge Well, now the fellow is conscience-stricken, and buttonholes first Caecilius Celer and then implores Fabius Justus to reconcile me to him. Not content with that, he makes his way in to see Spurinna, and begs and prays of him - you know what an abject coward he is when he is frightened - as follows. "Do go," says he, "and call on Pliny in the morning - early in the morning, for my suspense is unbearable - and do what you can to remove his anger against me." I was early awake that day, when a message came from Spurinna, "I am coming to see you." I sent back word, "I will come and see you." We met at the portico of Livia, just as we were each of us on the way to see the other. He explained his commission from Regulus and added his own entreaties, but did not press the point too strongly, as became a worthy gentleman asking a favour for a worthless acquaintance. This was my answer That practically closed the conversation. I did not wish it to go any further, so that I might not commit myself until Mauricus arrived. Moreover, I am quite aware that Regulus is a difficult bird to net. He is rich, he is a shrewd intriguer, he has no inconsiderable body of followers and a still larger circle of those who fear him, and fear is often a more powerful factor than affection. But, after all, these are bonds that may be shattered and weakened, for a bad man's influence is as little to be relied upon as is the man himself. Moreover, let me repeat that I am waiting for Mauricus. He is a man of sound judgment and sagacity, which he has learned by experience, and he can gauge what is likely to happen in the future from what has occurred in the past. I shall be guided by him, and either strike a blow or set aside my weapons just as he thinks best. I have written you this letter because it is only right, considering our regard for one another, that you should be acquainted not only with what I have said and done, but also with my plans for the future. Farewell. 7.6. To Macrinus. The suit against Varenus has come to an unusual and remarkable conclusion, and the issue is even now open to doubt. People say that the Bithynians have withdrawn their accusation against him, on the ground that they entered upon it without adequate proofs. That, I repeat, is what people are saying. However, the legate of the province is in Rome, and he has laid the decree of the Council before Caesar, before many of the leading men here, and even before us who are acting for Varenus. None the less our friend Magnus, as usual, persists in his opposition, and he still keeps worrying that estimable man Nigrinus. He pressed the consuls, through Nigrinus, to force Varenus to produce his official accounts. I was standing by Varenus in a friendly way, and had made up my mind to say nothing, for nothing would have damaged his prospects so much as for me, who had been appointed by the senate to act on his behalf, to begin defending him, as though he were on his trial, when the great thing was to prevent him being put on his trial at all. However, when Nigrinus had concluded his demand, and the consuls looked towards me to say something, I remarked In one instance, a mother who had lost her son - for there is no reason why I should not recall some of my old cases, though this was not my motive in writing this letter - accused his freedmen - who were also co-heirs to the estate - of having forged the will and poisoned their master. She brought the matter to the notice of the Emperor, and obtained permission for Julius Servianus to act as judge. I defended the accused in a crowded court, for the case was a regular cause célèbre, and there were the best counsel of the day engaged on both sides. The hearing was decided by the evidence of the slaves, who were submitted to torture, and their answers were in favour of the accused. Subsequently, the mother appealed to the Emperor, declaring that she had discovered fresh proofs. Suburanus was instructed to give her a hearing again, provided that she brought forward new evidence. Julius Africanus appeared for the mother - a grandson of the orator of whom Passienus Crispus said after listening to his speech It has been much the same in the present case, and my policy in saying just what I did on behalf of Varenus and nothing more has been greatly approved. The consuls, as Polyaenus desired, have left the Emperor an entirely free hand, and I am waiting for him to hear the case, with much anxiety; for, when he does, the issue of the day will either free us, who are on Varenus's side, from all trouble and make our minds perfectly easy, or it will entail our setting to work again and a new period of anxious worry. Farewell. 7.33. To Tacitus. I venture to prophesy - and I know my prognostics are right - that your histories will be immortal, and that, I frankly confess, makes me the more anxious to figure in them. For if it is quite an ordinary thing for us to take care to secure the best painter to paint our portrait, ought we not also to be desirous of getting an author and historian of your calibre to describe our deeds ? That is why though it could hardly escape your careful eye, as it is to be found in the public records - I bring the following incident before your notice, and I do so in order to assure you how pleased I shall be, if you will lend your powers of description and the weight of your testimony to setting forth the way I behaved on an occasion when I reaped credit, owing to the dangers to which I exposed myself. The senate had appointed me to act with Herennius Senecio on behalf of the province of Baetica in the prosecution of Baebius Massa, * and, when Massa had been sentenced, it decreed that his property should be placed under public custody. Senecio came to me, after finding out that the consuls would be at liberty to hear petitions, and said My conduct on this occasion, whatever its worth may have been, will be made even more famous, more distinguished, and more noble if you describe it, although I do not ask of you to go beyond the strict letter of what actually occurred. For history ought never to transgress against truth, and an honourable action wants nothing more than to be faithfully recorded. Farewell. %%% 9.13. To Quadratus. The more carefully and closely you have read the books I composed to vindicate the character of Helvidius, the more anxious, you say, you are for me to write an account of the whole affair from beginning to end, which you were too young to take any part in, giving you details which do not appear in my volumes as well as those which do. When Domitian was put to death, I took counsel with myself and came to the conclusion that there was now a splendid and glorious opportunity for prosecuting the guilty, vindicating the oppressed, and at the same time bringing myself into prominence. It seemed to me that of all the many crimes committed by that crowd of wretches, there was none more atrocious than that a senator should have laid violent hands upon another senator in the senate-house, that a man of praetorian rank should have assaulted a man of consular rank, and a judge an accused person. Besides, Helvidius and I were friends, so far as friendship was possible with one who, owing to the terrorism that prevailed, tried to conceal his illustrious name and equally illustrious virtues in strict retirement; and I was also a friend of Arria and Fannia, * the former of whom was the step-mother of Helvidius, and the latter the mother of Arria. But it was not so much my feelings as a friend, but my sense of public duty, my indignation at what had taken place, and the importance of the precedent, which stirred me. For the first few days after liberty had been restored each man was busy in his own interests impeaching his own private enemies - at least the more unimportant of them - and at once obtaining their condemnation, but all was being done with uproar and turbulence. I considered it would show greater modesty and boldness not to overthrow the worst criminal of them all on the general odium against the practices of the late reign, but to attack him on a specific charge, after the first furious outburst had worn itself out and the general rage was daily abating, and when men were beginning again to think of what was just. So, though I was in great distress at the time, for I had just recently lost my wife, ** I sent to Anteia - who was the wife of Helvidius - asking her to come and see me, as the bereavement I had recently suffered kept me still confined to my house. When she came, I said It was my unfailing practice to consult Corellius on all matters, for I looked upon him as the most far-seeing and the wisest man of our time ; but in this business I was satisfied with my own judgment, for I was afraid that he would try and dissuade me from my design, as he was always rather prone to hesitation and caution. However, I could not make up my mind to refrain from giving him a hint, when the day came, of what I was going to do, though I did not ask his advice as to whether I should proceed with my intention, for I have found by experience that, when you have decided on a course of action, it is a mistake to consult as to its wisdom those whose advice you ought to follow when once you ask them for it. I entered the senate ; I craved permission to address the house, and for a little time everyone agreed with what I said. But when I began to touch upon the charge I was bringing and foreshadow whom I was accusing - though I had not yet named him - there were loud cries of dissent from all sides. One exclaimed, "Let us know who it is that you are denouncing out of order? " ; another, "Who is it that is being put on his trial before he has been impeached ?" ; another, "Let us who survive remain in security." I listened without fear or trepidation, sustained by the righteousness of the cause I had undertaken, while it always materially contributes to one's confidence or fear whether one's audience is merely unwilling to hear your case or actively disapproves of it. It would be tedious to relate all the exclamations which were flung from side to side, but at last the consul said By this time the time for recording opinions had arrived. Among the speakers were Domitius Apollinaris, the consul-designate, Fabricius Veiento, Fabius Maximinus, Vettius Proculus, the colleague of Publicius Certus, who was the subject of debate, and the father-in-law of the wife whom I had just lost. After these Ammius Flaccus spoke. They all defended Certus, just as if I had already named him, which I had not, and took up and defended his cause, though the charge had been left vague. †† I need not tell you the substance of their speeches, for you have them in my books, just as I took them down in their own words. They were opposed by Avidius Quietus and Cornutus Tertullus. Quietus urged that it was most unjust to refuse to hear the complaints of the aggrieved persons, and, therefore, Arria and Fannia ought not to be robbed of their right to lodge a complaint. It did not matter, he said, what class a person belonged to, the point was whether his case was just. Cornutus said that he had been appointed guardian by the consuls to the daughter of Helvidius at the request of her mother and step-father, and that he could not think of failing in his duties at such a moment. However, he would set a limit to his own personal resentment and only support the very moderate request of these excellent ladies, who would be satisfied with bringing before the notice of the senate the crime-stained servility of Publicius Certus, and asking that, though the penalty for his most iniquitous crime might be foregone, he might at least be branded with some mark of disgrace similar to being officially degraded by the censors. Satrius Rufus followed with an equivocal speech, the meaning of which was by no means clear. "I consider," he said, "Publicius Certus will be wronged unless he is acquitted ; he has been impeached by the friends of Arria ; and Fannia, and by his own friends. Nor ought we to be anxious on his account, for we, who think well of him, are also to act as his judges. If he is innocent, as I hope and prefer to think he is, and as I shall continue to believe until something is proved against him, you will be able to acquit him." Such were the sentiments delivered, in the order in which the speakers were severally called upon to speak. Then my turn came ; I rose to my feet, and opening my remarks as you will find in my book, I replied to all, one by one. It was wonderful to notice with what attention and applause all my points were received by those who a little before were shouting me down. This sweeping change of view was due either to the importance of the subject under debate, or to the success of my speech, or to the boldness of the speaker. At length I concluded; Veiento began to answer me, but no one suffered him to speak ; he was greeted with such interruptions and clamours that he exclaimed, "I beg of you, conscript fathers, not to force me to appeal to the tribunes for protection." Immediately the tribune Murena broke in with, "I permit you, most honourable Veiento, to speak." At that the tumult broke out again. In the pauses between the outcries the consul read over the names and took the votes by a division, and then adjourned the House, leaving Veiento still on his feet and struggling to deliver his speech. He complained bitterly of the indignity - as he called it - which had been shown him, quoting the line from Homer Certus was not present when all this took place, either owing to his having some suspicion of what was about to happen, or else he was ill, which was the reason he assigned for his absence. It is true that Caesar never referred to the senate the inquiry into Certus's crimes, yet I gained the point for which I had striven. For it was a colleague of Certus who gained the consulship, and Certus's place was taken by someone else, and so the sentence at the close of my speech was fulfilled, where I said, "Let him give back, now that we have a model emperor to reign over us, the prize which was conferred upon him by the worst of emperors." Subsequently, I recalled the speech to my memory as best I could, and added a good deal. By a coincidence, which looked rather more than a coincidence. Certus was taken ill and died a very few days after I published my book. I have heard people say that he was haunted by a phantom which was for ever presenting itself to his mind and gaze, and that he thought he saw me threatening him with a sword. I should not like to say that this actually was the case, but it adds to the moral that it should be considered as true. Well, I have written you a letter which, judged by the standard length of a letter, is about as long as the books you have read, but you have only yourself to blame, inasmuch as you were not content with the published books. Farewell.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
authority, of ammianus, of tacitus Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 145
decline, of morals Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 145
domitian Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 331
exempla, in tacitus Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 145
fear Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 331
historiography Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 145
letters Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 331
means of Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 331
nero Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 331
persuasion Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 331
pliny Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 331
readership Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 331
regulus (m. aquilius) Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 331
religio, religio, ritual, and emperors Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 145
religio, religio, ritual, of Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 145
rhetoric/rhetorical Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 331
senate, and emperor Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 145
senate, failure of expertise' Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 145
senate Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 331
silence Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 331
speeches Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 331
tacitus, on imperial rule Davies, Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods (2004) 145
tacitus Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 331