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Tiberius Chapter 21: Death of Augustus[14 AD]
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Since the consuls caused a law to be passed soon after this that he should govern the provinces jointly with Augustus and hold the census with him, he set out for Illyricum on the conclusion of the lustral ceremonies; but he was at once recalled, and finding Augustus in his last illness but still alive, he spent an entire day with him in private. I know that it is commonly believed, that when Tiberius left the room after this confidential talk, Augustus was overheard by his chamberlains to say: "Alas for the Roman people, to be ground by jaws that crunch so slowly!" I also am aware that some have written that Augustus so openly and unreservedly disapproved of his austere manners, that he sometimes broke off his freer and lighter conversation when Tiberius appeared; but that overcome by his wife's entreaties he did not reject his adoption, or perhaps was even led by selfish considerations, that with such a successor he himself might one day be more regretted. But after all I cannot be led to believe that an emperor of the utmost prudence and foresight acted without consideration, especially in a matter of so great moment. It is my opinion that after weighing the faults and the merits of Tiberius, he decided that the latter preponderated, especially since he took oath before the people that he was adopting Tiberius for the good of the country, and alludes to him in several letters as a most able general and the sole defence of the Roman people. In illustration of both these points, I append a few extracts from these letters: |
Fare thee well, Tiberius, most charming of men, and success go with you, as you war for me and for the Muses. Fare thee well, most charming and valiant of men and most conscientious of generals, or may I never know happiness. I have only praise for the conduct of your summer campaigns, dear Tiberius, and I am sure that no one could have acted with better judgment than you did amid so many difficulties and such apathy of your army. All who were with you agree that the well-known line could be applied to you: 'One man alone by his foresight has saved our dear country from ruin.' If anything comes up that calls for careful thought, or if I am vexed at anything, I long mightily, so help me Heaven, for my dear Tiberius, and the lines of Homer come to my mind:
Both may return to our homes, since great are his wisdom and knowledge.'
|Ac non multo post lege per consules lata, ut prouincias cum Augusto communiter administraret simulque censum a[u]geret, condito lustro in Illyricum profectus est. Et statim ex itinere reuocatus iam quidem adfectum, sed tamen spirantem adhuc Augustum repperit fuitque una secreto per totum diem. Scio uulgo persuasum quasi egresso post secretum sermonem Tiberio uox Augusti per cubicularios excepta sit: "Miserum populum R., qui sub tam lentis maxillis erit." Ne illud quidem ignoro aliquos tradidisse, Augustum palam nec dissimulanter morum eius diritatem adeo improbasse, ut nonnumquam remissiores hilarioresque sermones superueniente eo abrumperet; sed expugnatum precibus uxoris adoptionem non abnuisse, uel etiam ambitione tractum, ut tali successore desiderabilior ipse quandoque fieret. Adduci tamen nequeo quin existimem, circumspectissimum et prudentissimum principem in tanto praesertim negotio nihil temere fecisse; sed uitiis Tiberi[i] uirtutibusque perpensis potiores duxisse uirtutes, praesertim cum et rei p. Causa adoptare se eum pro contione iurauerit et epistulis aliquot ut peritissimum rei militaris utque unicum p. R. Praesidium prosequatur. Ex quibus in exemplum pauca hinc inde subieci. "Vale, iucundissime Tiberi, et feliciter rem gere, §moŠ kaŠ tašw ~moui~a~ai~t strathg«n. Iucundissime et ita sim felix, uir fortissime et dux nomimtate, uale. Ordinem aestiuorum tuorum ego uero [ . . . ], mi Tiberi, et inter tot rerum difficultates kaŠ to- saŹthn époyum[e]¤an t«n strateuomnvn non potuisse quemquam prudentius gerere se quam tu gesseris, existimo. [h]ii quoque qui tecum fuerunt omnes confitentur, uersum illum in te posse dici: unus homo nobis uigilando restituit rem. Siue quid incidit de quo sit cogitandum diligentius, siue quid stomachor, ualde medius Fidius Tiberium meum desidero succurritque uersus ille Homericus: toŹtou g" sp[o]mnoio kaŠ §k purŚw aŽyomnoioźmfv nostĘsaimen, §p[e]Š per¤oide nosai. Attenuatum te esse continuatione laborum cum audio et lego, di me perdant nisi cohorrescit corpus meum; teque oro ut parcas tibi, ne si te languere audierimus, et ego et mater tua expiremus et summa imperi sui populus R. Periclitetur. Nihil interest ualeam ipse necne, si tu non ualebis. Deos obsecro, ut te nobis conseruent et ualere nunc et semper patiantur, si non p. R. Perosi sunt."|