The Annals of Imperial Rome

By Cornelius Tacitus; Michael Grant | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
'Partner of My Labours'

TIBERIUS now began his ninth year of national stability and domestic prosperity (the latter, he felt, augmented by Germanicus' death).1 But then suddenly Fortune turned disruptive. The emperor himself became tyrannical -- or gave tyrannical men power. The cause and beginning of the change lay with Lucius Aelius Sejanus, commander of the Guard. I have said something of his influence, and will now describe his origins and personality - and his criminal attempt on the throne.

Sejanus was born at Vulsinii. His father was a Roman gentleman outside the senate.2 After increasing his income - it was alleged - by a liaison with a rich debauchee,3 the boy joined, while still young, the suite of Augustus' grandson Gaius Caesar. Next by various devices he obtained a complete ascendancy over Tiberius. To Sejanus alone the otherwise cryptic emperor spoke freely and unguardedly. This was hardly due to Sejanus' cunning; in that he was outclassed by Tiberius. The cause was rather heaven's anger against Rome - to which the triumph of Sejanus, and his downfall too, were catastrophic. Of audacious character and untiring physique, secretive about himself and ever ready to incriminate others, a blend of arrogance and servility, he concealed behind a carefully modest exterior an unbounded lust for power. Sometimes this impelled him to lavish excesses, but more often to incessant work. And that is as damaging as excess when the throne is its aim.

The command of the Guard had hitherto been of slight importance. Sejanus enhanced it by concentrating the Guard battalions, scattered about Rome, in one camp. Orders could reach them simultaneously, and their visible numbers and strength would increase their selfconfidence and intimidate the population. His pretexts were, that

____________________
1
The consuls were Gaius Asinius Pollio (II) and Gaius Antistius Vetus (I).
2
Lucius Seius Strabo.
3
Marcus Gavius, Apicius.

-153-

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The Annals of Imperial Rome
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Introduction 7
  • The Annals Of Imperial Rome 27
  • Chapter 1 - From Augustus to Tiberius 29
  • Chapter 2 - Mutiny on the Frontiers 41
  • Chapter 3 - War with the Germans 59
  • Chapter 4 - The First Treason Trials 88
  • Chapter 5 - The Death of Germanicus 102
  • Chapter 6 - Tiberius and the Senate 126
  • Chapter 7 - 'Partner of My Labours' 153
  • Chapter 8 - The Reign of Terror 193
  • Part Two - Claudius and Nero 223
  • Chapter 9 - The Fall of Messalina 225
  • Chapter 10 - The Mother of Nero 244
  • Chapter II - The Fall of Agrippina 274
  • Chapter 12 - Nero and His Helpers 310
  • Chapter 13 - Eastern Settlement 334
  • Chapter 14 - The Burning of Rome 349
  • Chapter 15 - The Plot 356
  • Chapter 16 - Innocent Victims 370
  • Notes 385
  • List of Roman Emperors 399
  • Lists of Some Eastern Monarchs 400
  • Key to Technical Terms 402
  • Key to Place-Names 410
  • Genealogical Tables 433
  • Index of Personal Names 439
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