|Do not fly Iberia
Do not display Latin text
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book I Chapter 15: Galba looks for a successor. Piso adopted[AD 69]
Return to index
We are told that Galba, taking hold of Piso's hand, spoke to this effect:"If I were a private man, and were now adopting you by the Act of the Curiae before the Pontiffs, as our custom is, it would be a high honour to me to introduce into my family a descendant of Gnaeus Pompeius and Marcus Crassus; it would be a distinction to you to add to the nobility of your race the honours of the Sulpician and Lutatian houses. As it is, I, who have been called to the throne by the unanimous consent of gods and men, am moved by your splendid endowments and by my own patriotism to offer to you, a man of peace, that power, for which our ancestors fought, and which I myself obtained by war. I am following the precedent of the Divine Augustus, who placed on an eminence next to his own, first his nephew Marcellus, then his son-in-law Agrippa, afterwards his grandsons, and finally Tiberius Nero, his step-son. But Augustus looked for a successor in his own family, I look for one in the state, not because I have no relatives or companions of my campaigns, but because it was not by any private favour that I myself received the imperial power. Let the principle of my choice be shown not only by my connections which I have set aside for you, but by your own. You have a brother, noble as yourself, and older, who would be well worthy of this dignity, were you not worthier. Your age is such as to be now free from the passions of youth, and such your life that in the past you have nothing to excuse. Hitherto, you have only borne adversity; prosperity tries the heart with keener temptations; for hardships may be endured, whereas we are spoiled by success. You indeed will cling with the same constancy to honor, freedom, friendship, the best possessions of the human spirit, but others will seek to weaken them with their servility. You will be fiercely assailed by adulation, by flattery, that worst poison of the true heart, and by the selfish interests of individuals. You and I speak together to-day with perfect frankness, but others will be more ready to address us as emperors than as men. For to urge his duty upon a prince is indeed a hard matter; to flatter him, whatever his character, is a mere routine gone through without any heart.
Event: Galba looks for a successor
|Igitur Galba, adprehensa Pisonis manu, in hunc modum locutus fertur: "si te privatus lege curiata apud pontifices, ut moris est, adoptarem, et mihi egregium erat Cn. Pompei et M. Crassi subolem in penatis meos adsciscere, et tibi insigne Sulpiciae ac Lutatiae decora nobilitati tuae adiecisse: nunc me deorum hominumque consensu ad imperium vocatum praeclara indoles tua et amor patriae impulit ut principatum, de quo maiores nostri armis certabant, bello adeptus quiescenti offeram, exemplo divi Augusti qui sororis filium Marcellum, dein generum Agrippam, mox nepotes sus, postremo Tiberium Neronem privignum in proximo sibi fastigio conlocavit. sed Augustus in domo successorem quaesivit, ego in re publica, non quia propinquos aut socios belli non habeam, sed neque ipse imperium ambitione accepi, et iudicii mei documentum sit non meae tantum necessitudines, quas tibi postposui, sed et tuae. est tibi frater pari nobilitate, natu maior, dignus hac fortuna nisi tu potior esses. ea aetas tua quae cupiditates adulescentiae iam effugerit, ea vita in qua nihil praeteritum excusandum habeas. fortunam adhuc tantum adversam tulisti: secundae res acrioribus stimulis animos explorant, quia miseriae tolerantur, felicitate corrumpimur. fidem, libertatem, amicitiam, praecipua humani animi bona, tu quidem eadem constantia retinebis, sed alii per obsequium imminuent: inrumpet adulatio, blanditiae [et] pessimum veri adfectus venenum, sua cuique utilitas. etiam [si] ego ac tu simplicissime inter nos hodie loquimur, ceteri libentius cum fortuna nostra quam nobiscum; nam suadere principi quod oporteat multi laboris, adsentatio erga quemcumque principem sine adfectu peragitur."