The Lives of the Twelve Caesars

IV. But the father of Tiberius Caesar, being quaestor to Caius Caesar,
and commander of his fleet in the war of Alexandria, contributed greatly
to its success. He was therefore made one of the high-priests in the
room of Publius Scipio [297]; and was sent to settle some colonies in
Gaul, and amongst the rest, those of Narbonne and Arles [298]. After the
assassination of Caesar, however, when the rest of the senators, for fear
of public disturbances; were for having the affair buried in oblivion, he
proposed a resolution for rewarding those who had killed the tyrant.
Having filled the office of praetor [299], and at the end of the year a
disturbance breaking out amongst the triumviri, he kept the badges of his
office beyond the legal time; and following Lucius Antonius the consul,
brother of the triumvir, to Perusia [300], though the rest submitted, yet
he himself continued firm to the party, and escaped first to Praeneste,
and then to Naples; whence, having in vain invited the slaves to liberty,
he fled over to Sicily. But resenting (196) his not being immediately
admitted into the presence of Sextus Pompey, and being also prohibited
the use of the fasces, he went over into Achaia to Mark Antony; with
whom, upon a reconciliation soon after brought about amongst the several
contending parties, he returned to Rome; and, at the request of Augustus,
gave up to him his wife Livia Drusilla, although she was then big with
child, and had before borne him a son. He died not long after; leaving
behind him two sons, Tiberius and Drusus Nero.

V. Some have imagined that Tiberius was born at Fundi, but there is only
this trifling foundation for the conjecture, that his mother’s
grandmother was of Fundi, and that the image of Good Fortune was, by a
decree of the senate, erected in a public place in that town. But
according to the greatest number of writers, and those too of the best
authority, he was born at Rome, in the Palatine quarter, upon the
sixteenth of the calends of December [16th Nov.], when Marcus Aemilius
Lepidus was second time consul, with Lucius Munatius Plancus [301], after
the battle of Philippi; for so it is registered in the calendar, and the
public acts. According to some, however, he was born the preceding year,
in the consulship of Hirtius and Pansa; and others say, in the year
following, during the consulship of Servilius Isauricus and Antony.

VI. His infancy and childhood were spent in the midst of danger and
trouble; for he accompanied his parents everywhere in their flight, and
twice at Naples nearly betrayed them by his crying, when they were
privately hastening to a ship, as the enemy rushed into the town; once,
when he was snatched from his nurse’s breast, and again, from his
mother’s bosom, by some of the company, who on the sudden emergency
wished to relieve the women of their burden. Being carried through
Sicily and Achaia, and entrusted for some time to the care of the
Lacedaemonians, who were under the protection of the Claudian family,
upon his departure thence when travelling by night, he ran the hazard of
his life, by a fire which, suddenly bursting out of a wood on all sides,
surrounded the whole party so closely, that part of Livia’s dress and
hair was burnt. The presents which were made him (197) by Pompeia,
sister to Sextus Pompey, in Sicily, namely, a cloak, with a clasp, and
bullae of gold, are still in existence, and shewn at Baiae to this day.
After his return to the city, being adopted by Marcus Gallius, a senator,
in his will, he took possession of the estate; but soon afterwards
declined the use of his name, because Gallius had been of the party
opposed to Augustus. When only nine years of age, he pronounced a
funeral oration in praise of his father upon the rostra; and afterwards,
when he had nearly attained the age of manhood, he attended the chariot
of Augustus, in his triumph for the victory at Actium, riding on the
left-hand horse, whilst Marcellus, Octavia’s son, rode that on the right.
He likewise presided at the games celebrated on account of that victory;
and in the Trojan games intermixed with the Circensian, he commanded a
troop of the biggest boys.

VII. After assuming the manly habit, he spent his youth, and the rest of
his life until he succeeded to the government, in the following manner:
he gave the people an entertainment of gladiators, in memory of his
father, and another for his grandfather Drusus, at different times and in
different places: the first in the forum, the second in the amphitheatre;
some gladiators who had been honourably discharged, being induced to
engage again, by a reward of a hundred thousand sesterces. He likewise
exhibited public sports, at which he was not present himself. All these
he performed with great magnificence, at the expense of his mother and
father-in-law. He married Agrippina, the daughter of Marcus Agrippa, and
grand-daughter of Caecilius Atticus, a Roman knight, the same person to
whom Cicero has addressed so many epistles. After having by her his son
Drusus, he was obliged to part with her [302], though she retained his
affection, and was again pregnant, to make way for marrying Augustus’s
daughter Julia. But this he did with extreme reluctance; for, besides
having the warmest attachment to Agrippina, he was disgusted with the
conduct of Julia, who had made indecent advances to him during the
lifetime of her former husband; and that she was a woman of loose
character, was the general opinion. At divorcing Agrippina he felt the
deepest regret; and upon meeting her afterwards, (198) he looked after
her with eyes so passionately expressive of affection, that care was
taken she should never again come in his sight. At first, however, he
lived quietly and happily with Julia; but a rupture soon ensued, which
became so violent, that after the loss of their son, the pledge of their
union, who was born at Aquileia and died in infancy [303], he never would
sleep with her more. He lost his brother Drusus in Germany, and brought
his body to Rome, travelling all the way on foot before it.

VIII. When he first applied himself to civil affairs, he defended the
several causes of king Archelaus, the Trallians, and the Thessalians,
before Augustus, who sat as judge at the trials. He addressed the senate
on behalf of the Laodiceans, the Thyatireans, and Chians, who had
suffered greatly by an earthquake, and implored relief from Rome. He
prosecuted Fannius Caepio, who had been engaged in a conspiracy with
Varro Muraena against Augustus, and procured sentence of condemnation
against him. Amidst all this, he had besides to superintend two
departments of the administration, that of supplying the city with corn,
which was then very scarce, and that of clearing the houses of correction
[304] throughout Italy, the masters of which had fallen under the odious
suspicion of seizing and keeping confined, not only travellers, but those
whom the fear of being obliged to serve in the army had driven to seek
refuge in such places.

IX. He made his first campaign, as a military tribune, in the Cantabrian
war [305]. Afterwards he led an army into the East [306], where he
restored the kingdom of Armenia to Tigranes; and seated on a tribunal,
put a crown upon his head. He likewise recovered from the Parthians the
standards which they had taken from Crassus. He next governed, for
nearly a year, the province of Gallia Comata, which was then in great
disorder, on account of the incursions of the barbarians, and the feuds
of the chiefs. He afterwards commanded in the several wars against the
Rhaetians, Vindelicians, Pannonians, and Germans. In the Rhaetian and
Vindelician wars, he subdued the nations in the Alps; and in the
Pannonian wars the Bruci, and (199) the Dalmatians. In the German war,
he transplanted into Gaul forty thousand of the enemy who had submitted,
and assigned them lands near the banks of the Rhine. For these actions,
he entered the city with an ovation, but riding in a chariot, and is said
by some to have been the first that ever was honoured with this
distinction. He filled early the principal offices of state; and passed
through the quaestorship [307], praetorship [308], and consulate [309] almost successively. After some interval, he was chosen consul a second
time, and held the tribunitian authority during five years.

X. Surrounded by all this prosperity, in the prime of life and in
excellent health, he suddenly formed the resolution of withdrawing to a
greater distance from Rome [310]. It is uncertain whether this was the
result of disgust for his wife, whom he neither durst accuse nor divorce,
and the connection with whom became every day more intolerable; or to
prevent that indifference towards him, which his constant residence in
the city might produce; or in the hope of supporting and improving by
absence his authority in the state, if the public should have occasion
for his service. Some are of opinion, that as Augustus’s sons were now
grown up to years of maturity, he voluntarily relinquished the possession
he had long enjoyed of the second place in the government, as Agrippa had
done before him; who, when M. Marcellus was advanced to public offices,
retired to Mitylene, that he might not seem to stand in the way of his
promotion, or in any respect lessen him by his presence. The same reason
likewise Tiberius gave afterwards for his retirement; but his pretext at
this time was, that he was satiated with honours, and desirous of being
relieved from the fatigue of business; requesting therefore that he might
have leave to withdraw. And neither the earnest entreaties of his
mother, nor the complaint of his father-in-law made even in the senate,
that he was deserted by him, could prevail upon him to alter his
resolution. Upon their persisting in the design of detaining him, he
refused to take any sustenance for four days together. At last, having
obtained permission, leaving his wife and son at Rome, he proceeded (200)
to Ostia [311], without exchanging a word with those who attended him,
and having embraced but very few persons at parting.

XI. From Ostia, journeying along the coast of Campania, he halted awhile
on receiving intelligence of Augustus’s being taken ill, but this giving
rise to a rumour that he stayed with a view to something extraordinary,
he sailed with the wind almost full against him, and arrived at Rhodes,
having been struck with the pleasantness and healthiness of the island at
the time of his landing therein his return from Armenia. Here contenting
himself with a small house, and a villa not much larger, near the town,
he led entirely a private life, taking his walks sometimes about the
Gymnasia [312], without any lictor or other attendant, and returning the
civilities of the Greeks with almost as much complaisance as if he had
been upon a level with them. One morning, in settling the course of his
daily excursion, he happened to say, that he should visit all the sick
people in the town. This being not rightly understood by those about
him, the sick were brought into a public portico, and ranged in order,
according to their several distempers. Being extremely embarrassed by
this unexpected occurrence, he was for some time irresolute how he should
act; but at last he determined to go round them all, and make an apology
for the mistake even to the meanest amongst them, and such as were
entirely unknown to him. One instance only is mentioned, in which he
appeared to exercise his tribunitian authority. Being a constant
attendant upon the schools and lecture-rooms of the professors of the
liberal arts, on occasion of a quarrel amongst the wrangling (201)
sophists, in which he interposed to reconcile them, some person took the
liberty to abuse him as an intruder, and partial in the affair. Upon
this, withdrawing privately home, he suddenly returned attended by his
officers, and summoning his accuser before his tribunal, by a public
crier, ordered him to be taken to prison. Afterwards he received tidings
that his wife Julia had been condemned for her lewdness and adultery, and
that a bill of divorce had been sent to her in his name, by the authority
of Augustus. Though he secretly rejoiced at this intelligence, he
thought it incumbent upon him, in point of decency, to interpose in her
behalf by frequent letters to Augustus, and to allow her to retain the
presents which he had made her, notwithstanding the little regard she
merited from him. When the period of his tribunitian authority expired
[313], declaring at last that he had no other object in his retirement
than to avoid all suspicion of rivalship with Caius and Lucius, he
petitioned that, since he was now secure in that respect, as they were
come to the age of manhood, and would easily maintain themselves in
possession of the second place in the state, he might be permitted to
visit his friends, whom he was very desirous of seeing. But his request
was denied; and he was advised to lay aside all concern for his friends,
whom he had been so eager to greet.

XII. He therefore continued at Rhodes much against his will, obtaining,
with difficulty, through his mother, the title of Augustus’s lieutenant,
to cover his disgrace. He thenceforth lived, however, not only as a
private person, but as one suspected and under apprehension, retiring
into the interior of the country, and avoiding the visits of those who
sailed that way, which were very frequent; for no one passed to take
command of an army, or the government of a province, without touching at
Rhodes. But there were fresh reasons for increased anxiety. For
crossing over to Samos, on a visit to his step-son Caius, who had been
appointed governor of the East, he found him prepossessed against him, by
the insinuations of Marcus Lollius, his companion and director. He
likewise fell under suspicion of sending by some centurions who had been
promoted by himself, upon their return to the camp after a furlough,
mysterious messages to several persons there, intended, apparently, to
(202) tamper with them for a revolt. This jealousy respecting his
designs being intimated to him by Augustus, he begged repeatedly that
some person of any of the three Orders might be placed as a spy upon him
in every thing he either said or did.

XIII. He laid aside likewise his usual exercises of riding and arms; and
quitting the Roman habit, made use of the Pallium and Crepida [314]. In
this condition he continued almost two years, becoming daily an object of
increasing contempt and odium; insomuch that the people of Nismes pulled
down all the images and statues of him in their town; and upon mention
being made of him at table one of the company said to Caius, “I will sail
over to Rhodes immediately, if you desire me, and bring you the head of
the exile;” for that was the appellation now given him. Thus alarmed not
only by apprehensions, but real danger, he renewed his solicitations for
leave to return; and, seconded by the most urgent supplications of his
mother, he at last obtained his request; to which an accident somewhat
contributed. Augustus had resolved to determine nothing in the affair,
but with the consent of his eldest son. The latter was at that time out
of humour with Marcus Lollius, and therefore easily disposed to be
favourable to his father-in-law. Caius thus acquiescing, he was
recalled, but upon condition that he should take no concern whatever in
the administration of affairs.

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