Tacitus, Annals

LCL 312: 18-19

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The Annals Of Tacitus

“Patres conscripti, hos” inquit “orbatos parente tradidi patruo ipsorum precatusque sum, quamquam esset illi propria suboles, ne secus quam suum sanguinem foveret, attolleret, sibique et posteris conformaret. Erepto Druso preces ad vos converto disque et patria coram obtestor: Augusti pronepotes, clarissimis maioribus genitos, suscipite, regite, vestram meamque vicem explete. Hi vobis, Nero et Druse, parentum loco. Ita nati estis, ut bona malaque vestra ad rem publicam pertineant.”

IX. Magno ea fletu et mox precationibus faustis audita; ac si modum orationi posuisset, misericordia sui gloriaque animos audientium impleverat: ad vana et totiens inrisa revolutus, de reddenda re publica utque consules seu quis alius regimen susciperent, vero quoque et honesto fidem dempsit. Memoriae Drusi eadem quae in Germanicum decernuntur, plerisque additis, ut ferme amat posterior adulatio. Funus imaginum pompa maxime inlustre fuit, cum origo Iuliae gentis Aeneas omnesque Albanorum reges et conditor urbis Romulus, post Sabina nobilitas, Attus Clausus ceteraeque Claudiorum effigies longo ordine spectarentur.

X. In tradenda morte Drusi quae plurimis maxi­maeque

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The Annals Of Tacitus

“Conscript Fathers,” he said, “when these children lost their parent, I gave them to their uncle, and begged him, though he had issue of his own, to use them as if they were blood of his blood—to cherish them, build up their fortunes, form them after his own image and for the welfare of posterity. With Drusus gone, I turn my prayers to you; I conjure you in the sight of Heaven and of your country:—These are the great-grandchildren of Augustus, scions of a glorious ancestry; adopt them, train them, do your part—and do mine! Nero and Drusus, these shall be your father and your mother: it is the penalty of your birth that your good and your evil are the good and the evil of the commonwealth.”

IX. All this was listened to amid general tears, then with prayers for a happy issue; and, had he only set a limit to his speech, he must have left the minds of his hearers full of compassion for himself, and of pride: instead, by reverting to those vain and oft-derided themes, the restoration of the republic and his wish that the consuls or others would take the reins of government, he destroyed the credibility even of the true and honourable part of his statement.—The memorials decreed to Germanicus were repeated for Drusus, with large additions, such as sycophancy commonly favours at a second essay. The most arresting feature of the funeral was the parade of ancestral images, while Aeneas, author of the Julian line, with the whole dynasty of Alban kings, and Romulus, the founder of the city, followed by the Sabine nobles, by Attus Clausus,1 and by the rest of the Claudian effigies, filed in long procession past the spectator.

X. In recording the death of Drusus, I have given

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.tacitus-annals.1931