Tacitus, Annals

LCL 312: 6-7

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The Annals Of Tacitus

ita prono, ut socium laborum non modo in sermonibus, sed apud patres et populum celebraret colique per theatra et fora effigies eius interque principia legionum sineret.

III. Ceterum plena Caesarum domus, iuvenis filius, nepotes adulti moram cupitis adferebant, quia1 vi tot simul corripere intutum, dolus intervalla scelerum poscebat. Placuit tamen occultior via et a Druso incipere, in quem recenti ira ferebatur. Nam Drusus inpatiens aemuli et animo commotior orto forte iurgio intenderat Seiano manus et contra tendentis os verberaverat. Igitur cuncta temptanti promptissimum visum ad uxorem eius Liviam convertere, quae soror Germanici, formae initio aetatis indecorae, mox pulchritudine praecellebat. Hanc ut amore incensus adulterio pellexit, et postquam primi flagitii potitus est (neque femina amissa pudicitia alia abnuerit), ad coniugii spem, consortium regni et necem mariti impulit. Atque illa, cui avunculus Augustus, socer Tiberius, ex Druso liberi, seque ac maiores et posteros municipali adultero foedabat, ut pro honestis et praesentibus flagitiosa et incerta exspectaret. Sumitur in conscientiam Eudemus, amicus ac medicus Liviae, specie artis frequens


The Annals Of Tacitus

demurring, was complaisant enough to celebrate “the partner of his toils” not only in conversation but before the Fathers and the people, and to allow his effigies to be honoured, in theatre, in forum, and amid the eagles and altars of the legions.1

III. Still, the imperial house with its plentitude of Caesars2—a son arrived at manhood, grandchildren at the years of discretion—gave his ambition pause: for to attack all at once by violence was hazardous, while treachery demanded an interval between crime and crime. He resolved, however, to take the more secret way, and to begin with Drusus, against whom he felt the stimulus of a recent anger; for Drusus, impatient of a rival, and quick-tempered to a fault, had in a casual altercation raised his hand against the favourite, and, upon a counter-demonstration, had struck him in the face. On exploring the possibilities, then, it appeared simplest to turn to the prince’s wife Livia,3 sister of Ger-manicus, in her early days a harsh-favoured girl, later a sovereign beauty. In the part of a fiery lover, he seduced her to adultery: then, when the first infamy had been achieved—and a woman, who has parted with her virtue, will not refuse other demands—he moved her to dream of marriage, a partnership in the empire, and the murder of her husband. And she, the grand-niece of Augustus, the daughter-in-law of Tiberius, the mother of Drusus’ children, defiled herself, her ancestry, and her posterity, with a market-town adulterer, in order to change an honoured estate in the present for the expectation of a criminal and doubtful future. Eudemus, doctor and friend of Livia, was made privy to the design, his profession supplying

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.tacitus-annals.1931