Annals of Tacitus Book I: VII-VIII

VII. But, in fact, the consuls of Rome fell to servitude, and the patricians, and the equestrians, too. By however much a man was illustrious, by that much more he deceived and they hastened, with composed countenance, so as not to seem too happy at the departure of the Prince, nor too sad at the commencement of another, to mix with tears joy and with lament, adulation. Sextus Pompeius and Sextus Appuleius were the first to swear an oath to the words of Tiberius Caesar, and with them Seius Strabo and C. Turranius, the former the prefect of the praetorian cohorts, the latter of the grain; and soon thereafter the Senate, the soldiers, and the people. For Tiberius began everything through the consuls just as if for the ancient Republic and he was hesitant of command. And the decree was not even announced by which he summoned the patricians to the senate, except that he rendered it in the pretext of the power of the tribune, received under Augustus. The words of the edict were few and very modest in sense: he would deliberate concerning the honours of his father, and not leave off from the body and that he took possession of this single public office. But once Augustus was dispensed with he gave sign to the praetorian cohorts just as the Imperator had; guards, arms, and the rest of the court, too; he accompanied soldiers to the forum and soldiers to the curial house. He sent a letter to the army as if the principate were attained, in no way reluctant except when he spoke at the Senate. The principal cause was due to fear lest Germanicus, in whose hand rested so many legions, immense auxiliaries of allies, and who was astonishingly popular among the people, preferred to have the imperium rather than wait for it. And he conceded to public opinion that it would seem better to have been invited and elected by the nation, than to have crept in through wifely ambition and by an old man’s adoption. Later, it was understood that this hesitation was introduced to observe the inclinations of the highborn. For distorting words or a countenance into reproach, he stored it away.

VIII. There was no step to be taken on the first day of Senate except concerning the last things of Augustus, whose will, taken by the Vestal Virgins, held Tiberius and Livia as his heirs. Livia was adopted into the Julian family and the title Augustus; following in hope, his grandsons and great-grandsons; third in degree, he had written the leading men of the state, but many were hated by him for their boasting and glory for posterity. There were no legacies beyond the civilian boundary, except that he gave 43,500,000 sesterces to the people and plebs, a thousand coins each for the soldiers of the praetorian cohorts, five-hundred each to the residents of the city, and to the legionaries and cohorts of the Roman citizens, three-hundred coins to each man individually. It was then deliberated concerning his honours; of which those that seemed most highly distinguished, Asinius Gallus moved that the funeral procession be led through the gate of triumph, and L. Arruntius that the titles of the laws he passed, and the names of nations conquered by him be carried in front. Added to this, Messala Valerius that the oath of allegiance to the name of Tiberius be renewed each year; and asked by Tiberius whether he hadn’t brought forth this opinion by his mandate, he answered that he had spoken of his own accord, and that in those affairs which pertained to the commonwealth no plan would be used except his own nor any with a risk of offense: only that pretense remained of flattering him. The patricians cried out together that the body must be carried to the funeral pyre on the shoulders of the senators. Caesar excused them with questioning moderation, and he warned the people by an edict that, where once they had thrown the funeral procession of the divine Julius into disorder by too much zeal, they did not more wish for Augustus to be cremated in the forum than in the field of Mars, his destined abode. One the day of the funeral, the soldiers stood just as if on guard, in much ridicule by those who had themselves seen and those who had received from their parents that day of raw servitude till now, of the vain attempt to strike again for liberty, when the dictator Caesar had been cut down, a deed seen by some as the worst and others as the finest: and now the old Prince, long in power, having foreseen means for his heirs against the Republic, evidently must be protected by military support, so that his grave might be peaceably suffered.

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