|Do not fly Iberia
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Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book XIII Chapter 42: Suilius against Seneca[AD 58]
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|A man who had struggled with various calamities and earned the hate of many, was then impeached and condemned, but not without angry feelings towards Seneca. This was Publius Suilius. He had been terrible and venal, while Claudius reigned and when times were changed, he was not so much humbled as his enemies wished, and was one who would rather seem a criminal than a suppliant. With the intent of crushing him, so men believed, a decree of the Senate was revived, along with the penalty of the Cincian Law against persons who had pleaded for hire. Suilius spared not complaint or indignant remonstrance; freespoken because of his extreme age as well as from his insolent temper, he taunted Seneca with his savage enmity against the friends of Claudius, under whose reign he had endured a most righteously deserved exile. "The man," he said, "familiar as he was only with profitless studies, and with the ignorance of boyhood, envied those who employed a lively and genuine eloquence in the defence of their fellow-citizens. He had been Germanicus's quaestor, while Seneca had been a paramour in his house. Was it to be thought a worse offence to obtain a reward for honest service with the litigant's consent, than to pollute the chambers of the imperial ladies? By what kind of wisdom or maxims of philosophy had Seneca within four years of royal favour amassed three hundred million sesterces? At Rome the wills of the childless were, so to say, caught in his snare while Italy and the provinces were drained by a boundless usury. His own money, on the other hand, had been acquired by industry and was not excessive. He would suffer prosecutions, perils, anything indeed rather than make an old and self-learned position of honour to bow before an upstart prosperity."