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Quote of the day: Livia feeling a stepmother's bitterness
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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book VI Chapter 11: The deputy[AD 32]
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In former days, when the kings and subsequently the chief magistrates went from Rome, an official was temporarily chosen to administer justice and provide for emergencies, so that the capital might not be left without government. It is said that Denter Romulius was appointed by Romulus, then Numa Marcius by Tullus Hostilius, and Spurius Lucretius by Tarquinius Superbus. Afterwards, the consuls made the appointment. The shadow of the old practice still survives, whenever in consequence of the Latin festival some one is deputed to exercise the consul's functions. And Augustus too during the civil wars gave Cilnius Maecenas, a Roman knight, charge of everything in Rome and Italy. When he rose to supreme power, in consideration of the magnitude of the State and the slowness of legal remedies, he selected one of the ex-consuls to overawe the slaves and that part of the population which, unless it fears a strong hand, is disorderly and reckless. Messala Corvinus was the first to obtain the office, which he lost within a few days, as not knowing how to discharge it. After him Taurus Statilius, though in advanced years, sustained it admirably; and then Piso, after twenty years of similar credit, was, by the Senate's decree, honoured with a public funeral. Namque antea profectis domo regibus ac mox magistratibus, ne urbs sine imperio foret in tempus deligebatur qui ius redderet ac subitis mederetur; feruntque ab Romulo Dentrem Romulium, post ab Tullo Hostilio Numam Marcium et ab Tarquinio Superbo Spurium Lucretium impositos. dein consules mandabant; duratque simulacrum quoties ob ferias Latinas praeficitur qui consulare munus usurpet. ceterum Augustus bellis civilibus Cilnium Maecenatem equestris ordinis cunctis apud Romam atque Italiam praeposuit: mox rerum potitus ob magnitudinem populi ac tarda legum auxilia sumpsit e consularibus qui coerceret servitia et quod civium audacia turbidum, nisi vim metuat. primusque Messala Corvinus eam potestatem et paucos intra dies finem accepit quasi nescius exercendi; tum Taurus Statilius, quamquam provecta aetate, egregie toleravit; dein Piso viginti per annos pariter probatus publico funere ex decreto