Annals of Tacitus, Book I:IV-VI

IV. Therefore, since the condition of the state was overturned, there was nothing anywhere of an old-fashioned and wholesome character: everyone, once equality was despoiled, looked to the commands of the Prince, in no dread at present, so long as Augustus was in the prime of his life, and he sustained both home and peace. But afterward, his advanced old age was fatigued by a his sickness and body, and the end was present as well as the hope of something new, a few scattered the good seeds of liberty in vain, but most began to dread war, while others desired it. By far the greatest part spread word of imminent masters by various rumours: that Agrippa was wild and inflamed by his ignominy, not equal to such power neither by his age nor in experience of such matters, that Tiberius Nero was mature in years, had seen war, but by old age and the inborn arrogance of the Claudian family, and that many proofs of savagery, although they were concealed, had burst forth. The latter was raised in an imperial home from infancy; consulships heaped upon his youth, and triumphs; not even in those years in which he was an exile on a pretense of retirement at Rhodes did he reflect upon anything other than anger, insincerity, and secret lusts. That womanly weakness assailed his mother: that they were enslaved to a woman and to two youths over them who would in the meantime repress the commonwealth as often as tear it apart.

V. While deliberating these things and much alike, the health of Augustus was burdened , and certain men suspected a crime of his wife. For indeed, the rumour had advanced a few months before that Augustus,  with chosen accomplices and his companion Fabius Maximus, was taken to see Agrippa at Planasia; there were many tears from both there and signs of affection and there was hope from him that the youth might be returned to the household gods of his grandfather: this Maximus revealed to his wife, Marcia, and she to Livia. This was known to Caesar; and when Maximus died not long afterward, possibly by a death he sought himself, lamentations of his wife were heard at the funeral blaming herself because the cause of his destruction had been in marriage. In whatever way this matter carried itself, Tiberius soon arrived at Illyria, summoned by an urgent letter from this mother; and it is not sufficiently known whether he found Augustus as yet drawing air at the city of Nola or expired. For Livia had also surrounded the house and roads with eager guardians, and meanwhile spread joyous announcements, till at length by provisions which the occasion warranted the same report bore news at the same time that Augustus had departed and that Nero had power over the state.

VI. The first crime of the new principate was the murder of Postumus Agrippa, whom unknowing and unarmed a centurion executed with difficulty, however emboldened he was in spirit. Concerning this matter, Tiberius explained nothing among the Senate: he counterfeited the orders of his father, by which he had appointed a tribune placed as guard, so that he might, without delay, inflict death upon Agrippa at whatever time he should meet his own last day. Without a doubt, Augustus bewailed much and furious concerning the morals of the youth, he had accomplished such that his exile was ratified by deliberation of the Senate: but he was not at any time callous to the murder of one of his own, nor was the death of his grandson for the security of his step-son credibly occasioned. Closer to the truth, Tiberius and Livia, the one by fear, the other by a step-mother’s hatred, had prepared in haste the murder of that suspected and hated youth. When the centurion reported, as was the custom of the military, that the deed was done was ordered, he answered that he did not order it and that the reason for the deed must be delivered to the Senate. When, later, Sallustius Crispus, a participant in the secret acts (for he had sent the note to the tribune) learned, fearing lest he be substituted for the culprit, that he was nearest to peril whether he furnished fiction or truth, advised Livia that the secrets of her home, the counsels of friends, and the offices of the soldiers not be widely divulged, and that Tiberius not weaken the power of the principate by invoking the whole to the Senate: that this is the condition of ruling—that no other reckoning would be correct than if it is handed over to a single man.

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