Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 447 pages of information about Tacitus.


[32] i.e. the emperor’s finance agent in the province of

[33] Cp. chap. 6.

[34] A gold signet-ring was the sign of a free-born Roman
knight.  Its grant to freedmen was an innovation of which
Tacitus disapproved.

[35] Tacitus here follows the story told by Suetonius in his
life of Otho.  In the Annals, xiii. 45, 46, Tacitus gives in
detail a more probable version.  It is more likely that Poppaea
used Otho as a stepping-stone to Nero’s favour than that Otho,
as Suetonius quotes, ‘committed adultery with his own wife.’

[36] See chap. 5, note 10.

[37] One of the three Commissioners of Public Revenue
appointed by Nero in A.D. 62 (Ann., xv. 18).

[38] Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi Licinianus was the son of M.
Licinius Crassus Frugi, and adopted son of L. Calpurnius Piso
Frugi.  His mother, Scribonia, was a descendant of Pompey.

[39] Adoption from one family into another needed in old days
the sanction of the Comitia Curiata.  When that assembly became
obsolete, the priests summoned a formal meeting of thirty
lictors, and their sanction of an act of adoption was still
called lex curiata.  Galba was now Pontifex maximus.

[40] Galba belonged to the Gens Sulpicia, and was connected
through his mother, Mummia, with Q. Lutatius Catulus, who had
led the senatorial party in the first half of the last

[41] i.e.  Galba’s great-grandfather had fought for Caesar
against Piso’s ancestor, Pompey.

[42] The children of Julia and Agrippa.

[43] Crassus Scribonianus, cp. chap. 47, and iv. 39.

[44] i.e. co-optation, employed in former days to raise a
special contingent for emergencies.


Reports of the German rebellion grew daily more insistent and the public was always ready to believe any news, provided it was bad.  Accordingly the senate decided that a commission must be sent to the army in Germany.  It was discussed in private whether Piso should go himself to add dignity to the commission, since he could carry the authority of the emperor, while the others represented the senate.  It was also proposed to send Laco, the prefect of the Guards, but he objected.  The senate had allowed Galba to nominate the commissioners and he showed the most miserable indecision, now nominating members, now excusing them, now making exchanges, yielding always to pressure from people who wanted to go or to stay at home according as they were determined by their hopes or their fears.  The next question was 20 one of finance.  After investigating all possible sources it seemed most reasonable to recover the revenue from those quarters where the cause of the deficit lay.  Nero had squandered

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