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Quote of the day: He had been induced by Augustus, on the
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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book I Chapter 77: Trouble in the theatre[AD 15]
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Meanwhile the unruly tone of the theatre which first showed itself in the preceding year, broke out with worse violence, and some soldiers and a centurion, besides several of the populace, were killed, and the tribune of a praetorian cohort was wounded, while they were trying to stop insults to the magistrates and the strife of the mob. This disturbance was the subject of a debate in the Senate, and opinions were expressed in favour of the praetors having authority to scourge actors. Haterius Agrippa, tribune of the people, interposed his veto, and was sharply censured in a speech from Asinius Gallus, without a word from Tiberius, who liked to allow the Senate such shows of freedom. Still the interposition was successful, because Augustus had once pronounced that actors were exempt from the scourge, and it was not lawful for Tiberius to infringe his decisions. Many enactments were passed to fix the amount of their pay and to check the disorderly behaviour of their partisans. Of these the chief were that no senator should enter the house of a pantomime player, that Roman knights should not crowd round them in the public streets, that they should exhibit themselves only in the theatre, and that the praetors should be empowered to punish with banishment any riotous conduct in the spectators. At theatri licentia, proximo priore anno coepta, gravius tum erupit, occisis non modo e plebe set militibus et centurione, vulnerato tribuno praetoriae cohortis, dum probra in magistratus et dissensionem vulgi prohibent. actum de ea seditione apud patres dicebanturque sententiae, ut praetoribus ius virgarum in histriones esset. intercessit Haterius Agrippa tribunus plebei increpitusque est Asinii Galli oratione, silente Tiberio, qui ea simulacra libertatis senatui praebebat. valuit tamen intercessio, quia divus Augustus immunis verberum histriones quondam responderat, neque fas Tiberio infringere dicta eius. de modo lucaris et adversus lasciviam fautorum multa decernuntur; ex quis maxime insignia, ne domos pantomimorum senator introiret, ne egredientis in publicum equites Romani cingerent aut alibi quam in theatro spectarentur, et spectantium immodestiam exilio multandi potestas praetoribus