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Quote of the day: Cluvius relates that Agrippina in her ea
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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book XIII Chapter 44: Octavius and Pontia[AD 58]
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About the same time Octavius Sagitta, a tribune of the people, who was enamoured to frenzy of Pontia, a married woman, bribed her by most costly presents into an intrigue and then into abandoning her husband. He had offered her marriage and had won her consent. But as soon as she was free, she devised delays, pretended that her father's wishes were against it, and having secured the prospect of a richer husband, she repudiated her promises. Octavius, on the other hand, now remonstrated, now threatened; his good name, he protested, was lost, his means exhausted, and as for his life, which was all that was left to him, he surrendered it to her mercy. When she spurned him, he asked the solace of one night, with which to soothe his passion, that he might set bounds to it for the future. A night was fixed, and Pontia intrusted the charge of her chamber to a female slave acquainted with her secret. Octavius attended by one freedman entered with a dagger concealed under his dress. Then, as usual in lovers' quarrels, there were chidings, entreaties, reproaches, excuses, and some period of the darkness was given up to passion; then, when seemingly about to go, and she was fearing nothing, he stabbed her with the steel, and having wounded and scared away the slave girl who was hurrying to her, rushed out of the chamber. Next day the murder was notorious, and there was no question as to the murderer, for it was proved that he had passed some time with her. The freedman, however, declared the deed was his, that he had, in fact, avenged his patron's wrongs. He had made some impression by the nobleness of his example, when the slave girl recovered and revealed the truth. Octavius, when he ceased to be tribune, was prosecuted before the consuls by the father of the murdered woman, and was condemned by the sentence of the Senate under "the law concerning assassins." Per idem tempus Octavius Sagitta plebei tribunus, Pontiae mulieris nuptae amore vaecors, ingentibus donis adulterium et mox, ut omitteret maritum, emercatur, suum matrimonium promittens ac nuptias eius pactus. sed ubi mulier vacua fuit, nectere moras, adversam patris voluntatem causari repertaque spe ditioris coniugis promissa exuere. Octavius contra modo conqueri, modo minitari, famam perditam, pecuniam exhaustam obtestans, denique salutem, quae sola reliqua esset, arbitrio eius permittens. ac postquam spernebatur, noctem unam ad solacium poscit, qua delenitus modum in posterum adhiberet. statuitur nox, et Pontia consciae ancillae custodiam cubiculi mandat. ille uno cum liberto ferrum veste occultum infert. tum, ut adsolet in amore et ira, iurgia preces, exprobratio satisfactio, et pars tenebrarum libidini seposita; ea quasi incensus nihil metuentem ferro transverberat et adcurrentem ancillam vulnere absterret cubiculoque prorumpit. postera die manifesta caedes, haud ambiguus percussor; quippe mansitasse una convincebatur. sed libertus suum illud facinus profiteri, se patroni iniurias ultum esse. commoveratque quosdam magnitudine exempli, donec ancilla ex vulnere refecta verum aperuit. postulatusque apud consules a patre interfectae, postquam tribunatu abierat, sententia patrum et lege de sicariis condemnatur.