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Quote of the day: Lucius Tarquitius, a member of a patrici
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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book II Chapter 36: On elections.[AD 16]
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A dispute then arose between Gallus and the emperor. Gallus proposed that the elections of magistrates should be held every five years, and that the commanders of the legions who before receiving a praetorship discharged this military service should at once become praetors-elect, the emperor nominating twelve candidates every year. It was quite evident that this motion had a deeper meaning and was an attempt to explore the secrets of imperial policy. Tiberius, however, argued as if his power would be thus increased. "It would," he said, "be trying to his moderation to have to elect so many and to put off so many. He scarcely avoided giving offence from year to year, even though a candidate's rejection was solaced by the near prospect of office. What hatred would be incurred from those whose election was deferred for five years! How could he foresee through so long an interval what would be a man's temper, or domestic relations, or estate? Men became arrogant even with this annual appointment. What would happen if their thoughts were fixed on promotion for five years? It was in fact a multiplying of the magistrates five-fold, and a subversion of the laws which had prescribed proper periods for the exercise of the candidate's activity and the seeking or securing office. With this seemingly conciliatory speech he retained the substance of power. Et certamen Gallo adversus Caesarem exortum est. nam censuit in quinquennium magistratuum comitia habenda, utque legionum legati, qui ante praeturam ea militia fungebantur, iam tum praetores destinarentur, princeps duodecim candidatos in annos singulos nominaret. haud dubium erat eam sententiam altius penetrare et arcana imperii temptari. Tiberius tamen, quasi augeretur potestas eius, disseruit: grave moderationi suae tot eligere, tot differre. vix per singulos annos offensiones vitari, quamvis repulsam propinqua spes soletur: quantum odii fore ab iis qui ultra quinquennium proiciantur? unde prospici posse quae cuique tam longo temporis spatio mens, domus, fortuna? superbire homines etiam annua designatione: quid si honorem per quinquennium agitent? quinquiplicari prorsus magistratus, subverti leges, quae sua spatia exercendae candidatorum industriae quaerendisque aut potiundis honoribus statuerint. favorabili