Tacitus, Annals

LCL 249: 284-285

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The Annals Of Tacitus

manibus verberans. Mox disiectis quorum per umeros sustinebatur, praeceps et singulorum pedibus advolutus, tantum consternationis invidiaeque concivit, ut pars militum gladiatores, qui e servitio Blaesi erant, pars ceteram eiusdem familiam vincirent, alii ad quaerendum corpus effunderentur. Ac ni propere neque corpus ullum reperiri, et servos adhibitis cruciatibus abnuere caedem, neque illi fuisse umquam fratrem pernotuisset, haud multum ab exitio legati aberant. Tribunos tamen ac praefectum castrorum extrusere, sarcinae fugientium direptae, et centurio Lucilius interficitur, cui militaribus facetiis vocabulum “cedo alteram” indiderant, quia, fracta vite1 in tergo militis, alteram clara voce ac rursus aliam poscebat. Ceteros latebrae texere, uno retento Clemente Iulio, qui perferendis militum mandatis habebatur idoneus ob promptum ingenium. Quin ipsae inter se legiones octava et quinta decuma ferrum parabant, dum centurionem cognomento Sirpicum illa morti deposcit, quintadecumani tuentur, ni miles nonanus preces et adversum aspernantis minas interiecisset.

XXIV. Haec audita quamquam abstrusum et tristissima quaeque maxime occultantem Tiberium perpulere, ut Drusum filium cum primoribus civitatis duabusque praetoriis cohortibus mitteret,


The Annals Of Tacitus

his speech by weeping and striking his face and breast: then, dashing aside the friends on whose shoulders he was supported, he threw himself headlong and fawned at the feet of man after man, until he excited such consternation and hatred that one party flung into irons the gladiators in Blaesus’ service; another, the rest of his household; while the others poured out in search of the corpse. In fact, if it had not come to light very shortly that no body was discoverable, that the slaves under torture denied the murder, and that Vibulenus had never owned a brother, they were within measurable distance of making away with the general. As it was, they ejected the tribunes and camp-marshal and plundered the fugitives’ baggage. The centurion Lucilius also met his end. Camp humorists had surnamed him “Fetch-Another,” from his habit, as one cane1 broke over a private’s back, of calling at the top of his voice for a second, and ultimately a third. His colleagues found safety in hiding: Julius Clemens alone was kept, as the mutineers considered that his quick wits might be of service in presenting their claims. The eighth and fifteenth legions, it should be added, were on the point of turning their swords against each other upon the question of a centurion named Sirpicus,—demanded for execution by the eighth and protected by the fifteenth,—had not the men of the ninth intervened with entreaties and, in the event of their rejection, with threats.

XXIV. In spite of his secretiveness, always deepest when the news was blackest, Tiberius was driven by the reports from Pannonia to send out his son Drusus, with a staff of nobles and two praetorian

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.tacitus-annals.1931