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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book XIV Chapter 49: Thrasea[AD 62]
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Thrasea's freespokenness broke through the servility of the other senators. As soon as the consul allowed a division, they voted with him, with but few exceptions. Among these, the most enthusiastic in his flattery was Aulus Vitellius, who attacked all the best men with abuse, and was silent when they replied, the usual way of a cowardly temper. The consuls, however, did not dare to ratify the Senate's vote, and simply communicated their unanimous resolution to the emperor. Hesitating for a while between shame and rage, he at last wrote to them in reply that Antistius, without having been provoked by any wrong, had uttered outrageous insults against the sovereign; that a demand for punishment had been submitted to the Senate, and that it was right that a penalty should be decreed proportioned to the offence; that for himself, inasmuch as he would have opposed severity in the sentence, he would not be an obstacle to leniency. They might determine as they pleased, and they had free liberty to acquit. This and more to the same effect having been read out, clearly showing his displeasure, the consuls did not for that reason alter the terms of the motion, nor did Thrasea withdraw his proposal, or the Senate reject what it had once approved. Some were afraid of seeming to expose the emperor to odium; the majority felt safe in numbers, while Thrasea was supported by his usual firmness of spirit, and a determination not to let his fame perish.