The Annals of Imperial Rome

By Cornelius Tacitus; Michael Grant | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 15
The Plot

As soon as next year's consuls took office,1 a conspiracy was hatched and instantly gained strength. Senators and other gentry, officers, even women, competed to join. They hated Nero; and they liked Gaius Calpurnius Piso. His membership of the aristocratic Calpurnian house linked him, on his father's side, with many illustrious families. Among the masses, too, he enjoyed a great reputation for his good qualities, real or apparent. For he employed his eloquence to defend his fellow-citizens in court; he was a generous friend -- and gracious and affable even to strangers; and he also possessed the accidental advantages of impressive stature and a handsome face. But his character lacked seriousness or self-control. He was superficial, ostentatious, and sometimes dissolute. But many people are fascinated by depravity and disinclined for austere morals on the throne. Such men found Piso's qualities attractive.

However, his ambitions were not what originated the conspiracy. Who did, who initiated this enterprise which so many joined, I could not easily say. Subrius Flavus, a colonel of the Guard, and Sulpicius Asper, company-commander, were in the forefront -- as their courageous deaths showed. Violent hatred was what brought in Lucan and Plautius Lateranus. Lucan's animosity was personal. For Nero had the impudence to compete with Lucan as a poet, and had impeded his reputation by vetoing his publicity. Lateranus joined from no personal grievance; his motive was patriotism. Two other senators, Flavius Scaevinus and Afranius Quintianus, belied their reputations by becoming leaders in so important a project. For Scaevinus' brain was ruined by dissipation, and he led a languid, sleepy life. Quintianus was a notorious degenerate who had been insulted by Nero in an offensive poem, and desired revenge.

____________________
1
Aulus Licinius Nerva Silanus Firmus Pasidienus and Marcus Julius Vestinus Atticus.

-356-

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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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