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Vitellius, Chapter 2: His family
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On the other hand several have written that the founder of the family was a freedman, while Cassius Severus and others as well say further that he was a cobbler, and that his son, after making a considerable fortune from the sale of confiscated estates and the profession of informer, married a common strumpet, daughter of one Antiochus who kept a bakery, and became the father of a Roman eques. But this difference of opinion may be left unsettled. In any event Publius Vitellius of Nuceria, whether of ancient stock or of parents and forefathers in whom he could take no pride, unquestionably a Roman eques and a steward of Augustus' property, left four sons of high rank with the same name and differing only in their forenames: Aulus, Quintus, Publius and Lucius. Aulus, who was given to luxury and especially notorious for the magnificence of his feasts, died a consul, appointed to the office with Domitius, father of the emperor Nero. Quintus lost his rank at the time when it was resolved, at the suggestion of Tiberius, to depose and get rid of undesirable Senators. Publius, a member of Germanicus' staff, arraigned Gnaeus Piso, the enemy and murderer of his commander, and secured his condemnation. Arrested among the accomplices of Seianus, after holding the praetorship, and handed over to his own brother to be kept in confinement, he opened his veins with a penknife, but allowed himself to be bandaged and restored, not so much from unwillingness to die, as because of the entreaties of his friends; and he met a natural death while still in confinement. Lucius attained the consulate and then was made governor of Syria, where with supreme diplomacy he not only induced Artabanus, King of the Parthians, to hold a conference with him, but even to do obeisance to the standards of the legion. Later he held, with the Emperor Claudius, two more regular consulships and the censorship [47 and 50 C.E.]. He also bore the charge of the empire while Claudius was away on his expedition to Britain. He was an honest and active man, but of very ill repute because of his passion for a freedwoman, which went so far that he used her spittle mixed with honey to rub on his throat and jaws as a medicine, not secretly nor seldom, but openly and every day. He had also a wonderful gift for flattery and was the first to begin to worship Gaius Caesar as a god; for on his return from Syria he did not presume to approach the emperor except with veiled beads, turning himself about and then prostrating himself. To neglect no means of gaining the favor of Claudius, who was a slave to his wives and freedmen, he begged of Messalina, as the highest possible favor, that she would allow him to take off her shoes; and when he had taken off her right slippers he constantly carried it about between his toga and his tunic, and sometimes kissed it. Narcissus also and Pallas he honored by cherishing their images among his household gods. It was he who made the famous remark, "May you often do it," when he was congratulating Claudius at the celebration of the Secular games. |
Event: The process against Piso
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Standard:When an army was in camp, they were fixed in the ground, each marking the station of the cohort to which it belonged; when they were taken up it was the signal for breaking up the camp and commencing the march.