Augustus won over the soldiers with gifts, the populace with cheap corn, and all men with the sweets of repose, and so grew greater by degrees, while he concentrated in himself the functions of the Senate, the magistrates, and the laws. He was wholly unopposed, for the boldest spirits had fallen in battle, or in the proscription, while the remaining nobles, the readier they were to be slaves, were raised the higher by wealth and promotion, so that, aggrandized by revolution, they preferred the safety of the present to the dangerous past. Nor did the provinces dislike that condition of affairs, for they distrusted the government of the Senate and the people, because of the rivalries between the leading men and the rapacity of the officials, while the protection of the laws was unavailing, as they were continually deranged by violence, intrigue, and finally by corruption. Pg. 4

Stript of equality all looked up to the commands of a sovereign without the least apprehension for the present, while Augustus in the vigor of life, could maintain his own position, that of his house, and the general tranquility. Pg. 5

He had also from earliest infancy been reared in an imperial house; consulships and triumphs had been heaped on him in his younger days. [this is viewed as bad] Pg. 5

There was his mother too with a woman’s caprice. Pg. 5

It was more probable that Tiberius and Livia, the one from fear, the other from a stepmother’s enmity, hurried on the destruction of a youth whom they suspected and hated. When the centurion reported, according to military custom, that he had executed the command, Tiberius replied that he had not given the command, and that the act must be justified to the Senate. Pg. 6

Tiberius had no old grudge against him, but simply mistrusted him, because he was rich and daring, had brilliant accomplishments, and corresponding popularity. Pg. 11

Mutiny broke out in the legions of Pannonia, which could be traced to no fresh cause except the change of emperors and the prospect it held out of license in tumult and of profit from a civil war. Pg. 13

Had allowed his men a rest from military duties, either for mourning or rejoicing. This was the beginning of demoralization among the troops, of quarelling, of listening to the talk of every pestilent fellow, in short, of craving for luxury and idleness and loathing discipline and toil. Pg. 13

But there was an arrogant tone among the soldiers, to whom the fact that their commander’s son was pleading their common cause clearly showed that they had wrested by compulsion what they had failed to obtain by good behavior. Pg. 14

Rufus, who had long been a common soldier, then a centurion, and subsequently camp-prefect, tried to revive the old severe discipline, inured as he was to work and toil, and all the sterner because he had endured. Pg. 15

Pg. 16 [Vibulenus’s encitement]

When clouds arose and obstructed their sight, and it was thought she was buried in the gloom, with that proneness to superstition which steals over minds once thoroughly cowed, they lamented that this is a portent of neverending hardship, and that heaven frowned on their deeds. Pg 18

Then ensued a conflict of opinion among them, some maintaining that it was best to await the envoys return and meanwhile humor the soldiers, others, that stronger methods ought to be used, inasmuch as the rabble knows no mean, and inspires fear, unless they are afraid, though when they have once been overawed, they can be safely despised. “While superstition still swayed them, the general should apply terror by removing the leaders of the mutiny.” pg 19

Nor did their commander check them. Indeed, the blind rage of so many had robbed him of his resolution. pg 20

Then there were feminine jealousies, Livia feeling a stepmother's bitterness towards Agrippina, and Agrippina herself too being rather excitable, only her purity and love of her husband gave a right direction to her otherwise imperious disposition. pg 21

And as it is the way with a mob to fix any charge, however groundless, on some particular person, they reproached Munatius Plancus, an ex-consol and the chief envoy, with being the author of the Senate's decree. pg. 24

But his sons might alike visit both, and not compromise the imperial dignity, which inspired the greatest awe at a distance. There was also an excuse for mere youths referring some matters to their father, with the possibility that he could conciliate or crush those who resisted Germanicus or Drusus. pg. 28

"In peace," Caecina said, "the merits of a man's case are carefully weighed; when war bursts on us, innocent and guilty alike perish." pg. 28

He rejoiced that the mutiny was crushed, but the fact that Germanicus had won the soldiers' favor by lavishing money, and promptly granting the discharge, as well as his fame as a soldier, annoyed him. pg. 30

her persistent paramor inflamed her with disobedience and hatred towards her husband. pg. 31

and he thought it citizenlike to mingle in the pleasures of the populace. pg. 31

For with barbarians, the more eager a man's daring, the more does he inspire confidence, and the more highly is he esteemed in times of revolution. pg. 33

for traitors are detested even by those whom they prefer pg. 33

The report of the surrender and kind reception of Segestes, when generally known, was heard with hope or grief according as men shrank from war or desired it. pg. 34

This Tiberius did not approve, either interpreting unfavorably every act of Germanicus, or because he thought that the spectacle of the slain and unburied made the army slow to fight and more afraid of the enemy. pg. 36

This was Caecina's 40th campaign as a subordinate or commander, and, with such experience of success and peril, he was perfectly fearless. pg. 37

pg. 39 [The German reverse]

The voice of mutual encouragement availed not against the adverse force of the waves. There was nothing to distinguish the brave from the coward, the prudent from the careless, forethought from chance; the same strong power swept everything before it. pg. 40

Germanicus having praised their zeal, took only for the war their arms and horses, and relieved the soldiers out of his own purse. And that he might also soften the rememberance of the disaster with kindness, he went round to the wounded, applauded the feats of soldier after soldier, examined their wounds, raised the hopes of one, the ambition of another, and the spirits of all by his encouragement and interest, thus strengthening their ardor for himself and for battle. pg. 41

He alleged against Marcellus that he had made some disrespectful remarks about Tiberius, a charge not to be evaded, inasmuch as the accuser selected the worst features of the emperor's character and grounded his case on them. The things were true, and so were believed to have been said. pg. 42

Tiberius was deeply moved, and repenting of the outburst, all the more because of its thoughtlessness, he quietly allowed the accused to be acquitted of the charges of treason. pg. 42

It was part of Tiberius's character to prolong indefinitely military commands and to keep many men until the end of their life with the same army and in the same administrations. Various motives have been assigned for this. Some say that, out of aversion to any fresh anxiety, he retained what he had once approved as a permanent arrangement; others, that he grudged to see many enjoying promotion. Some, again, think that though he had an acute intellect, his judgement was irresolute, for he did not seek out eminent merit, and yet he detested vice. From the best men he apprehended danger to himself, from the worst, disgrace to the state. He went so far at last in this irresolution, that he appointed to provinces men whom he did not mean to allow to leave Rome. pg. 45

Generally he declared that only those had offered themselves to him as candidates whose names he had given to the consuls, and that others might offer themselves if they had confidence in their influence or merit. A plausible profession this in words, but really unmeaning and delusive, and the greater the disguise of freedom which marked it, the more cruel the enslavement into which it was soon to plunge us. pg. 45

Back To Top

Back to Collected Wisdom

Home Page

© 2009