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Lives of Illustrious Men

Vita Passieni Crispi

Passienus96 Crispus, municeps Viselliensis,97 tirocinio suo in senatu ita coepit: “Patres conscripti et tu Caesar!” propter quod simulata oratione98 plenissime a Tiberio conlaudatus est.99 Plurimas sponte causas apud centumviros egit, pro qua re in basilica Iulia eius statua posita est. Consulatus duos gessit. Uxores habuit duas, primam Domitiam, deinde Agrippinam, illam amitam, hanc matrem Neronis Caesaris. Possedit bis milies sestertium. Omnium principum gratiam adpetivit, sed praecipue C.100 Caesaris, quem iter facientem secutus est pedibus. Hic nullo audiente ab eodem101 interrogatus, haberetne sicut ipse cum sorore germana consuetudinem, “Nondum” inquit, quantumvis decenter et caute, ne aut negando102 eum argueret aut adsentiendo103 semet mendacio dehonestaret. Periit per fraudem Agrippinae, quam heredem reliquerat, et funere publico elatus est.

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Crispus

The Life of Passienus Crispus

Passienus Crispus, a native of Visellium, began his first speech in the senate with these words: “Conscript fathers and you, Caesar,” and was in consequence highly commended by Tiberius, though not sincerely. He voluntarily pleaded a number of cases in the court of the Hundred,60 and therefore his statue was set up in the Basilica Julia.61 He was twice consul. He married twice: first Domitia and then Agrippina, respectively the aunt and the mother of the emperor Nero. He possessed an estate of two hundred million sesterces. He tried to gain favour with all the emperors, but especially with Gaius Caesar, whom he attended on foot when the emperor made a journey. When he was asked by Gaius in a private conversation whether he had commerce with his own sister, as the emperor had with his, he replied “Not yet”; a very fitting and cautious answer, neither accusing the emperor by denying the allegation, nor dishonouring himself with a lie by admitting it. He was slain by the treachery of Agrippina, whom he had made his heir, and was honoured with a public funeral.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.suetonius-lives_illustrious_men_passienus_crispus.1914