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trial. Let no one regard the tears of Drusus; let no one regard my grief; let no one regard those other sentiments which false rumors have imputed to me."
Ch. 13. Two days were then assigned for presenting and proving the charges; and then it was ordered that after an interval of six days, three should be conceded to the defence. At the time ordained, Fulcinius began by accusing him that he had displayed ambition and avarice in his administration of Spain - a stale and unimportant charge - on which conviction would not harm him if he answered the new one; from which, acquittal would not save him if he were convicted of the graver crimes. After him, Servæus, Veranius, and Vitellius, with equal earnestness of effort, but Vitellius, with far superior eloquence, maintained that through hatred of Germanicus and purpose of revolution, he had by license and wrong of the allies, so debauched the common soldiers, that the worst of them bestowed on him the appellation of father of the legion; that, on the other hand, he had shown great cruelty against every one of the best, and particularly against the attendants and friends of Germanicus; that he had at length destroyed him by poison and by sorcery; that for this purpose were designed those accursed sacrificial rites and preparations of Piso and Plancina; that he had assailed the Republic by arms; and that before the criminal could be subjected to prosecution, it had been necessary first to conquer him in battle.
Ch. 14. The defence, against all charges but that of poison, was timorous and incomplete ; for his military ambition, and bis exposures of the Prince to the plunder of the most rapacious of his force, and his insolence to his commander, could not be denied. The charge of poisoning alone, he seems to have rejected. Indeed, his accusers scarcely in the first instance made it sufficiently probable ; for they assumed the ground that at an entertainment given him by Germanicus, as Piso reclined above Germanicus, he with his own hands poisoned the meats; whereas, it seemed absurd, that, surrounded by another's servants, under the eye of so many standing near, in the very presence of Germanicus, he should have attempted such an act. Besides this improbability, the accused offered to subject his own servants to the question by torture, and demanded that those of Germanicus should be so too. For various reasons his judges were inexorable: Cæsar, for the war made upon the province; the senate, from the belief that Germanicus could not have died without unfair means. All the time, too, the cries of the people in front of the Curia were heard, exclaiming, “ that their hands should not spare him if he escaped conviction by the senate.” Already they had dragged the statues of Piso to the Gemonian
stairs, and would have dashed them in pieces had they not been by command of the Prince, protected and restored to their places. The prisoner was therefore put upon a litter, and conveyed forth by a tribune of the Prætorian cohort - a murmur of doubt and of divided opinion running through the multitude, whether it were a guard or an executioner who attended him.
Ch. 15. Towards Plancina there was the same popular odium, but greater favor of the court; so that it was felt to be uncertain to what extremity the Prince would permit the proceedings against her to go. She herself, while Piso's prospects were yet doubtful, with an equal chance of acquittal or conviction, would promise that she would share his fortune whatever it were; and if such were the issue, would be partaker of his death. As soon, however, as through the secret intercession of Augusta she had obtained pardon, she began by degrees to separate herself from her husband, and to conduct her defence upon a distinct policy. The accused perceived that this inferred his ruin, and doubted whether he should struggle further. Urged by his sons, however, he nerved himself, and again entered the senate, and although he encountered renewed accusation, the hostile speeches of Senators, and all things adverse and stern, he was alarmed by nothing so much as to see Tiberius without pity, without anger, unmoved and close; so that no species of emotion might break forth. Having been borne again to his house, as if for the purpose of meditating his defence for the next day, he wrote a few lines, sealed them, and delivered them to his freedman. He then bathed, and bestowed the other accustomed cares upon his person. When his wife, at a late hour, left his chamber, he ordered the doors to be closed ; and at daylight was found with his throat pierced through, his sword lying on the ground.
Ch. 16. I remember to have heard, from ancient men, that there was more than once seen in the hands of Piso, a little volume, which he himself did not make public; but that his friends ever persisted in repeating that it contained letters of Tiberius, and instructions against Germanicus; and that he had determined to produce it in the senate, and arraign the Prince on it if he had not been overreached by the deceitful assurances of Sejanus; and further, that he did not die by his own hand but was slain by an assassin, who was sent in for that purpose. The truth of either of these representations I may not assert; yet ought I not to conceal that they were made by old men, who were still alive down to the age youth. Composing his features to an expression of sorrow, Tiberius complained that odium was sought to be cast on himself by such a mode of death, and endeavored to learn, by
numerous inquiries, how Piso had passed his last day and night of life. To some of these inquiries his son answered discreetly, to others less so. Tiberius took and read aloud the last letter of Piso, composed in nearly these terms:
“ Borne down by a conspiracy of enemies, and the odium of a false charge - truth and innocence no longer availing me - I call the immortal gods to witness, Cæsar, that my whole life has been marked by my fidelity towards you, and an equal piety towards your mother. I beseech you, protect my children. Cneius had no share in my fortunes, whatever they were, since his whole time was passed in the city, and Marcus urgently dissuaded me from reacquiring Syria. Oh, had I yielded to my young son — not he to his aged father! For this I the more earnestly entreat, lest be, who is innocent, shall be doomed to expiate my guilt. By my long series of loyal services, extending through five-and-forty years; by our united consular office; Ì, once the cherished friend of Augustus, your father - once yours also; I, who shall never ask you more — ask the safety of my unhappy son.” Of Plancina, he said nothing.
Ch. 17. After listening to this, Tiberius absolved the young man from the crime of the civil war. A son, he said, could not disobey the orders of a father; nor could he himself refuse a sentiment of compassionate regard for the dignity of the house, and for the fate of Piso bimself, however deserved. On behalf of Plancina, he discoursed too; but with an air as of shame and self-disgrace - pleading the prayers of his mother in her behalf. Against her, however, the secret complainings of all the best of men were increasing every moment. “ Was it just,” they said, “ that a grandmother should favor
should hold intercourse of speech with — should snatch from the jurisdiction of the senate the murderess of her grandson? Should that which the laws exact for all Romans be denied to Germanicus? Behold a Cæsar wept by Vitellius and Veranius, and Plancina defended by the Prince and by Augusta! What hinders that she turn her poisons and all her arts of death, so felicitously tested, upon Agrippina and her children, and glut so excellent a grandmother, and glut the uncle, with the blood of a whole most unhappy house”?
Upon the whole cause two days were consumed in the forms of judicial trial, the Prince urging the children of Piso to save their mother. And when the prosecutor and the witnesses had summed
the accusation with their most emulous exertion of ability, and no one replied a word, compassion, rather than hate, was heightened. Aurelius Cotta, the consul, being first asked his opinion — for, upon the proposition of Cæsar, magistrates performed that function also — thus declared it;" that the
name of Piso be erased from the public chronicles; that part of his estates be confiscated; that part should be bestowed on his son Cneius Piso; and that he should change his prænomen; that Marcus Piso should be unclothed of his senatorial dignity, and, with a provision of fifty thousand great sesterces, sent into exile for ten years ; that Plancina should be spared to the prayers of Augusta."
Ch. 18. The severity of this judgment was in many particulars mitigated by the Emperor. Let not, he said, the name of Piso be erased from the public registers, since that of Marcus Antonius, who had borne arms against his country, and that of Julius Antonius, who had violated the house of Augustus, had been permitted to remain. Marcus Piso, too, he spared the degradation which had been advised, and gave him the whole of his father's estate. Ever, as I have often related, he was sufficiently unmoved by the temptation of wealth, and he was now the more inclined to mercy from the sense of shame that Plancina had been absolved. When, also, Valerius Messalinus proposed that a golden statue of Mars, the avenger, should be set up in the Teinple of Mars, and Cæcina Severus, that an altar should be built to revenge, the Prince prohibited it, and said that for victory over a foreign foe such offerings might appropriately be dedicated; that internal evils should be covered over with a silent grief.
Messalinus had added advice that to Tiberius and Augusta, and to Antonia, Agrippina, and Drusus, should be decreed thanks for the revenging of Germanicus, and had omitted the mention of Claudius. Lucius Asprenas, in presence of the senate, inquired of Messalinus if it were prudent to pass by that name? Then, at length, it was added to this proposition.
To me, the wider the survey which I take of the events of older or more recent times, the more do the jests of human life, turning its solemn things to derision and laughter, display themselves; for, surely, all men might seem to have been destined by fame, by hope, by veneration, to the throne, rather than he whom fortune was secretly cherishing for the future Prince.
Ch. 19. A few days afterwards, Cæsar procured a decree of the senate, bestowing the office of priest upon Vitellius, Veranius, and Servæus. To Fulcinius he promised his vote for public honors; yet gave him a hint that he should hold the impetuosity of his eloquence under more restraint. And thus ended the proceedings which sought to punish the death of Germanicus. That event is a subject on which a great diversity of conjecture existed both among the actors in that time and subsequently. All things are shaded in uncertainty, since
some believe and report all which they hear, others record falsely, and the original error enlarges with the course of time.
Drusus, who had lost his military command by entering the city, now retired to entitle himself to resume it, and then returned with the honors of ovation. A few days afterwards died Vipsania, his mother. She alone, of all the children of Agrippa, enjoyed the blessing of a peaceful death. Of the rest, some are known to have perished by the sword, and others are believed to have perished by poison or want.
Ch. 20. In the same year, Tacfarinas, who, during the summer before, as I have related, had been expelled from the country by Camillus, recommenced war in Africa. He began by predatory incursions, now here, now there, which his celerity of movement made it impracticable to punish. Soon he advanced to the sack and destruction of whole villages; he began to carry off large and valuable booty; and at length, not far from the river Pagida, he inclosed a Roman legion. Decrius commanded in the camp; a prompt and experienced officer; and he regarded this siege itself a disgrace. Exhorting his soldiers, therefore, to court an opportunity of battle in the open fields, he formed his line in front of the camp. In the first shock the legion gave way. With great gallantry, he threw himself in the way of his flying troops, amid a shower of arrows; he reproached the standard-bearers that a Roman soldier should show his back to a rabble of undisciplined barbarians and deserters. Wounded, his eye pierced through, he still sternly turned his face on the enemy, and continued to fight until, deserted by his soldiers, he fell, slain, upon the field.
Ch. 21. When these events became known to Apronius, who succeeded to Camillus, alarmed rather by the disgrace attached to his own troops than by the fame won by the enemy, he resorted to that extreme measure of the old times, then become almost disused, a decimation; causing every tenth man in the dishonored legion, drawn by lot, to be beaten to death. Such was the effect of this severity, that when the same force of Tacfarinas attacked the post called Thala, a single banner of Roman soldiers, not exceeding five hundred in number, repulsed and routed them. In this action a common soldier, Rufus Helvius, won the glory of saving the life of a citizen, and was presented by Apronius with chains and a spear. Cæsar added the civic crown, gently complaining, but not offended, that Apronius had not given that also, by virtue of his authority as proconsul. Discerning that his Numidians were smitten with terror, and refused to try again the hazards of attempting a siege, Tacfarinas broke up the war into sudden and dispersed attacks, retiring when pursued, and then coming back upon the enemies' rear;