Tacitus, Annals

LCL 312: 106-107

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The Annals Of Tacitus

opposuit sese incidentibus, atque habitu tali repertus est a militibus, qui subsidio venerant. Maior ex eo, et quamquam exitiosa suaderet, ut non sui anxius, cum fide audiebatur. Adsimulabatque iudicis partis adversum Germanici stirpem, subditis qui accusatorum nomina sustinerent maximeque insectarentur Neronem proximum successioni et, quamquam modesta iuventa, plerumque tamen quid in praesentiarum conduceret oblitum, dum a libertis et clientibus, apiscendae potentiae properis, exstimulatur ut erectum et fidentem animi1 ostenderet: velle id populum Romanum, cupere exercitus, neque ausurum contra Seianum, qui nunc patientiam senis et segnitiam iuvenis iuxta insultet.

LX. Haec atque talia audienti nihil quidem pravae cogitationis, sed interdum voces procedebant contumaces et inconsultae, quas adpositi custodes exceptas auctasque cum deferrent neque Neroni defendere daretur, diversae insuper sollicitudinum formae oriebantur. Nam alius occursum eius vitare, quidam salutatione reddita statim averti, plerique inceptum sermonem abrumpere, insistentibus contra inridentibusque qui Seiano fautores aderant. Enimvero Tiberius torvus aut falsum renidens vultu: seu loqueretur seu taceret iuvenis, crimen ex silentio, ex voce. Ne nox quidem secura, cum uxor vigilias

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The Annals Of Tacitus

an attitude in which he was found by the soldiers who had come to their assistance. This brought an accession of greatness, and, fatal though his advice might be, yet, as a man whose thoughts were not for himself, he found a confiding listener. Towards the family of Germanicus he began to assume the pose of judge, suborning agents to support the character of accusers, their main attack to be delivered on Nero, who stood next in the line of succession, and, in spite of the modesty of his youth, too often forgot what the times demanded, while his freedmen and clients, bent on the rapid acquisition of power, urged him to a display of spirit and confidence:—“It was this the nation desired and the armies yearned for, and Sejanus, who now trampled alike on the patience of an old man and the tameness of a young one, would not risk a counter-stroke!”

LX. To all this and the like he listened with no malice in his mind; but at intervals there fell from him defiant and unconsidered phrases; and as these were seized upon and reported with enlargements by the watchers posted round his person, no chance of refutation being allowed him, other forms of anxiety began in addition to make their appearance. One man would avoid meeting him; some went through the formality of salutation, then promptly turned away; many broke off any attempt at conversation; while, in contrast, any adherents of Sejanus who happened to be present stood their ground and jeered. As to Tiberius, he met him either with gloomy brows or with a hypocritical smile on his countenance; whether the boy spoke or held his peace, there was guilt in silence, guilt in speech. Even night itself was not secure, since his

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.tacitus-annals.1931