The Annals of Imperial Rome

By Cornelius Tacitus; Michael Grant | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
The Reign of Terror

FORTY-FOUR speeches were delivered about the punishment of Livilla. A few were prompted by anxiety, most by routine servility. But a partisan of Sejanus defended himself. 'That Sejanus should be disgraced' he said, 'and my friendship with him become shameful, did not cross my mind. Destinies are reversed! The man who called Sejanus his colleague and son-in-law pardons himself. Everyone else proceeds from humiliating sycophancy to outrageous abuse. Which is the more lamentable, to accuse a friend or to be accused because of him? I do not know! I shall not test whether anybody is cruel or merciful. A free man, undisturbed in conscience, I shall forestall my destruction. Remember me, please, happily, not sorrowfully. Add my name to those who have honourably withdrawn themselves from the harrowing national scene.'

He spent part of the day with his friends. If they wished to stay and talk, he let them. When they left, he bade them farewell. Then, while many still remained, gazing on his unperturbed features and not knowing the end was near, he drew a sword concealed in his clothing and fell upon it. Tiberius did not assail the dead man with the slanders and insults with which he had so savagely attacked Sejanus' uncle, Quintus Junius Blaesus.

Next came the cases of Publius Vitellius and Publius Pomponius Secundus. The former was charged with offering the keys of the Treasury (of which he was controller) and Military Treasury for seditious projects. Pomponius was accused of friendship with a man who had sheltered in his garden, as the safest hiding-place, after Sejanus' execution.1 The only support of Vitellius and Pomponius in this predicament was the fearlessness of their brothers, who went bail for them. But after numerous adjournments Publius Vitellius found his hopes and fears unendurable. Requesting a pen-knife (he wanted to

____________________
1
Aelius Gallus. The accuser was the ex-praetor Considius.

-193-

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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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