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Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book VI Chapter 8: The fall of Sejanus. Marcus Terentius[AD 32]
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A Roman knight, Marcus Terentius, at the crisis when all others had hypocritically repudiated the friendship of Sejanus, dared, when impeached on that ground, to cling to it by the following avowal to the Senate: "In my position it is perhaps less to my advantage to acknowledge than to deny the charge. Still, whatever is to be the issue of the matter, I shall admit that I was the friend of Sejanus, that I anxiously sought to be such, and was delighted when I was successful. I had seen him his father's colleague in the command of the praetorian cohorts and subsequently combining the duties of civil and military life. His kinsfolk and connections were loaded with honours; intimacy with Sejanus was in every case a powerful recommendation to the emperor's friendship. Those, on the contrary, whom he hated, had to struggle with danger and humiliation. I take no individual as an instance. All of us who had no part in his last design, I mean to defend at the peril of myself alone. It was really not Sejanus of Vulsinii, it was a member of the Claudian and Julian houses, in which he had taken a position by his marriage-alliance, it was your son-in-law, Caesar [Note 1], your partner in the consulship, the man who administered your political functions, whom we courted. It is not for us to criticise one whom you may raise above all others, or your motives for so doing. Heaven has intrusted you with the supreme decision of affairs, and for us is left the glory of obedience. And, again, we see what takes place before our eyes, who it is on whom you bestow riches and honours, who are the most powerful to help or to injure. That Sejanus was such, no one will deny. To explore the prince's secret thoughts, or any of his hidden plans, is a forbidden, a dangerous thing, nor does it follow that one could reach them. "Do not, senators, think only of Sejanus's last day, but of his sixteen years of power. We actually adored a Satrius and a Pomponius. To be known even to his freedmen and hall-porters was thought something very grand. What then is my meaning? Is this apology meant to be offered for all without difference and discrimination? No; it is to be restricted within proper limits. Let plots against the State, murderous designs against the emperor be punished. As for friendship and its obligations, the same principle must acquit both you, Caesar, and us."
Note 1: Caesar = Tiberius
Event: The fall of Sejanus