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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book XIII Chapter 43: Condemnation of Suilius[AD 58]
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Persons were not wanting to report all this to Seneca, in the exact words, or with a worse sense put on it. Accusers were also found who alleged that our allies had been plundered, when Suilius governed the province of Asia, and that there had been embezzlement of public monies. Then, as an entire year had been granted to them for inquiries, it seemed a shorter plan to begin with his crimes at Rome, the witnesses of which were on the spot. These men charged Suilius with having driven Quintus Pomponius by a relentless prosecution into the extremity of civil war with having forced Julia, Drusus's daughter, and Sabina Poppaea to suicide, with having treacherously ruined Valerius Asiaticus, Lusius Saturninus and Cornelius Lupus, in fact, with the wholesale conviction of troops of Roman knights, and with all the cruelty of Claudius. His defence was that of all this he had done nothing on his own responsibility but had simply obeyed the emperor, till Nero stopped such pleadings, by stating that he had ascertained from his father's notebooks that he had never compelled the prosecution of a single person. Suilius then sheltered himself under Messalina 's orders, and the defence began to collapse. "Why," it was asked, "was no one else chosen to put his tongue at the service of that savage harlot? We must punish the instruments of atrocious acts, when, having gained the rewards of wickedness, they impute the wickedness to others." And so, with the loss of half his property, his son and grand-daughter being allowed to retain the other half, and what they had inherited under their mother's or grandmother's will being also exempted from confiscation, Suilius was banished to the Balearic Isles. Neither in the crisis of his peril nor after his condemnation did he quail in spirit. Rumour said that he supported that lonely exile by a life of ease and plenty. When the accusers attacked his son Nerullinus on the strength of men's hatred of the father and of some charges of extortion, the emperor interposed, as if implying that vengeange was fully satisfied. Nec deerant qui haec isdem verbis aut versa in deterius Senecae deferrent. repertique accusatores direptos socios, cum Suillius provinciam Asiam regeret, ac publicae pecuniae peculatum detulerunt. mox, quia inquisitionem annuam impetraverant, brevius visum [sub] urbana crimina incipi, quorum obvii testes erant. ii acerbitate accusationis Q. Pomponium ad necessitatem belli civilis detrusum, Iuliam Drusi filiam Sabinamque Poppaeam ad mortem actas et Valerium Asiaticum, Lusium Saturninum, Cornelium Lupum circumventos, iam equitum Romanorum agmina damnata omnemque Claudii saevitiam Suillio obiectabant. ille nihil ex his sponte susceptum, sed principi paruisse defendebat, donec eam orationem Caesar cohibuit, compertum sibi referens ex commentariis patris sui nullam cuiusquam accusationem ab eo coactam. tum iussa Messalinae praetendi et labare defensio: cur enim neminem alium delectum, qui saevienti impudicae vocem praeberet? puniendos rerum atrocium ministros, ubi pretia scelerum adepti scelera ipsa aliis delegent. igitur adempta bonorum parte (nam filio et nepti pars concedebatur eximebanturque etiam quae testamento matris aut aviae acceperant) in insulas Baleares pellitur, non in ipso discrimine, non post damnationem fractus animo; ferebaturque copiosa et molli vita secretum illud toleravisse. filium eius Nerullinum adgressis accusatoribus per invidiam patris et crimina repetundarum, intercessit princeps