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have had its part in producing it. The to determine the triumph of Agrippina's man who for many years had done every- party. Now that his son had been taken thing for himself, who had never wished from him, where, if not among the sons to have either counselors or confidants of Germanicus and Agrippina, could Tiabout him, now that he was growing old, berius look for a successor ? And as a furneeded the support of younger energies and ther proof that Tiberius desired as far as of stronger wills. But in his family he possible to avoid conflict in the bosom of could rely only upon his son Drusus, who his family, he did not hesitate a moment, had now become a serious and trustworthy despite all the annoyances and difficulties man, and in the year 22 A.D. he asked the which he had suffered at the hands of senate that it concede to his son the tribu- Agrippina and her friends. He officially nician power; that is, that they make him recognized that in the sons of Germanicus his colleague. But the son did not suffice, were henceforth placed the future hopes and Sejanus therefore succeeded in making of his family and of the empire. Of the himself, together with Drusus, in fact, if two elder, Nero was now sixteen and not in name, the first and most active and Drusus was somewhat younger, though we influential collaborator and counselor of do not know his exact age. These he sumTiberius. He was even more active and moned to appear before the senate, and he influential than Drusus, for the latter was presented them to the assembly with a frequently absent on distant military mis- noble discourse the substance of which sions to the confines of the empire, while Tacitus has preserved for us, exhorting Sejanus, as commander of the pretorian the youths and the senate to fulfil their guard, was virtually always at Rome, respective duties for the greatness and the where the emperor now appeared less and prosperity of the republic. less frequently.
After the death of Drusus, therefore, a Such was the origin of the anomalous reconciliation became possible in the fampower of this man, who was not even a ily of the Cæsars. The latent rivalry besenator-a power which was the result of tween the families of Tiberius and Gerthe weakness of Tiberius and of the fierce manicus was extinguished. Indeed, even discords which divided the aristocracy; in the midst of the tears shed for the early and it was a power which must of neces- death of Drusus, a gleam of concord seenis sity prove disastrous, especially to the to have shone down upon the house desoparty of Agrippina and Germanicus. Al- lated by many tragedies, while Sejanus, though indications are not lacking that whose power depended upon the strife of there was no great harmony or friendship the factions, was for a moment set aside between Sejanus and Drusus, it is evident and driven back into the shadows. But it that Sejanus, as the energetic representa- was not to continue long; for soon the tive of the interests of Tiberius, must have flames of discord broke out more violently directed all his efforts against the friends
Whom shall we blame, Sejaof Agrippina, who was arousing the fierc- nus or Agrippina? Tacitus says that it est opposition to the emperor. But in the was the fault of Sejanus, whom he accuses year 23, an unforeseen event seemed sud- of having tried to destroy the descendants denly to change the situation and to ren- of Germanicus, in order to usurp their der possible a reconciliation between Ti- place: but he himself is forced to admit in berius and the party of Agrippina. This another passage (Annals iv., 59) that virwould necessarily diminish, if
, indeed, it tually a little court of freedmen and dedid not altogether destroy, Tiberius's need pendents gathered about Nero, the leader of Sejanus as collaborator at the very mo- of the sons of Germanicus, urging him on ment when the fortunes of the latter were against Tiberius and Sejanus, and begging in the ascendant. For in this year, Drusus him to act quickly. “This,” they said, “is also, like so many other members of his the will of the people, the desire of the family, died prematurely, at the age of armies. Nor would Sejanus, who was thirty-eight, and on this occasion, for the even then making light of the patience of time being, at least, no one raised the cry the old man and of the dilatoriness of the of poisoning. This unexpected misfortune youth, have dared to resist him.” From moved Tiberius profoundly, for he dearly such speeches it is only a short step to plans loved his son, and it seemed for a moment for rebellion and conspiracy. In all proba
bility the blame for this later and more bit- ment, a means of acquiring and consoliter dissension must, as usually happens, dating power. He had therefore disrupted be divided between the two factions. The his first family in order to contract this party of Agrippina, emboldened by its good marriage, which would have redoubled his fortune and by the weakness of Tiberius, power and his influence and have introwas, after the death of Drusus, aware of duced him into the imperial household. its own supremacy. Its members had only But his bold stroke failed, because Tiberius a single aim; even before it was possible refused; and he refused, Tacitus tells us, they wished to see Nero, the first-born son above all because he was afraid that this of Germanicus, in the position of Tiberius. marriage would still further irritate They therefore took up again their strug- Agrippina.
Agrippina. The emperor is supposed to gles and intrigues against Tiberius, and have told Sejanus that too many feminine attempted to incite Nero against the em- quarrels were already disturbing and agiperor. But this time Sejanus was block- tating the house of the Cæsars, to the ing their pathway. The death of Drusus serious detriment of his nephew's sons. had even further increased the trust and And what would happen, he asked, if this affection which the emperor had for his marriage should still further foment existassistant, and he was henceforth the only ing hatreds? Quid si intendatur certamen confidant and the only friend of the em- tali conjugio? The reply is significant, peror; a war without quarter between him because it proves to us that Tiberius, who and Agrippina, her sons and the party of is accused of harboring a fierce hate Germanicus, was inevitable.
against the sons of Germanicus and AgripSejanus began by attempting to ex- pina, was still seeking, two years after the clude from the magistracy and from office death of Drusus, to appease both factions, all the friends of Agrippina and all the attempting not to irritate his adversaries members of the opposing faction. At this and to preserve a reasonable equanimity in time it was difficult to arrive at any of the midst of these animosities and these the more important offices without being struggles. recommended to the senate by the em- In any case, Sejanus was refused, and peror, against whose choice the senate no this refusal was a slight success for the longer dared to rebel; since the emperor party of Agrippina, which, a year later, in was held responsible for the conduct of the 26, attempted on its own account an analogovernment, it was only just that he should gous move. Agrippina asked Tiberius for be allowed to select his more important permission to remarry. If we are to becollaborators. Sejanus was therefore able, lieve Tacitus, Agrippina made this request by using his influence over Tiberius, to on her own initiative, impelled by one of lay a thousand difficulties and obstacles in those numerous and more or less reasonathe way of even the legitimate ambitions ble caprices which were continually shootof the most eminent men of the opposite ing through her head. But are we to faction. Nor were these the only weapons suppose that suddenly, after a long widowemployed; others no less efficacious were hood, Agrippina put forth so strange a called into play, and intrigues, calumnies, proposal without any arrière-pensée whataccusations, and trials were set on foot ever? Furthermore, if this proposal had without scruple and with a ferocity the been merely the momentary caprice of a horror of which Tacitus has painted with whimsical woman, would it have been so indelible colors. Among these intrigues seriously debated in the imperial housetwo matrimonial projects must be men- hold, and would the daughter of Agriptioned. In the year 25, Sejanus attempted pina have recounted the episode in her a bold stroke; he repudiated his wife Api- memoirs? It is more probable that this cata, and asked Tiberius for the hand of marriage, too, had a political aim. By Livilla (Livia), the widow of Drusus. giving a husband to Agrippina, they were Sejanus had frequented the political aris- also seeking to give a leader to the antitocracy of the empire, and, despite his Tiberian party. The sons of Germanicus equestrian origin, was quick to adopt not were too young, and Agrippina was too only their ambitions and their manners, violent and tactless, to be able alone to but also their ideas on marriage. He, too, cope successfully with Sejanus, supported considered it as simply a political instru- as he was by Tiberius, by Livia, and by
Antonia. We can thus explain why Tibe- of ridiculous and infamous legend. He rius opposed and prevented the marriage: had dreamed of victories over the enemies Agrippina, unassisted, had caused him suf- of Rome, and he had to resign himself to ficient trouble; it would have been entirely struggling day and night against the hyssuperfluous for him to sanction her taking terical extravagance of Agrippina: he had to herself an official counselor in the guise to be content, even without the sure hope of a husband.
of success, if he could convince the maThis time Sejanus triumphed over the jority that he was not a poisoner. Authorill success of his rivals, and the struggle ity without glory or respect, power dicontinued in this manner between the two vorced from the means sufficient for its parties, but with an increasing advantage exercise-such was the situation in which to Sejanus. Beginning with the year 26, the successor of Augustus, the second emwe see numerous indications that the party peror, after twelve years of a difficult and of Agrippina and Germanicus was on the trying reign, found himself. He no longer decline. It was no longer able to resist felt himself safe at Rome, where he feared the blows and machinations of Sejanus, rightly or wrongly that his life was being who detached from it, one after another, continually threatened, and it is not astonall the men of any importance. He either ishing that, old, wearied, and disgusted, won them over to himself through his between the years 26 and 27 he should favors and his promises, or he frightened have retired definitely to Capri, seeking to them with his threats; and those who re- hide his misanthropy, his weariness, and sisted most tenaciously he destroyed with his disgust with men and things in the his suits.
wonderful little isle which a delightful caTiberius was the storm-center of these price of nature had set down in the lap of struggles, and contrary to what legend has the divine Bay of Naples. reported, he attempted as far as he was But instead of the peace he sought at able to prevent the two parties from going Capri, Tiberius found the infamy of histo extremes. But what pain, repugnance, tory. How dark and terrible are the and fatigue it must have cost him to memories of him associated with the make the effort necessary for maintaining charming isle, which, violet-tinted, on a last ray of reason and justice among so beautiful, sunny days emerges from an many evil passions, animosities, ambitions,
azure sea against an azure sky! That and rivalries ! It must have cost him fragment of paradise fallen upon the shore dearly, for he had grown up in the time of one of the most beautiful seas in the when the dream of a great restoration of world is said to have been for about ten the aristocracy was luring the upper years a hell of fierce cruelties and abomiclasses of Rome with its fairest and most nable vices. Tiberius passed sentence upon luminous smile. As a young man he had himself, in the opinion of posterity, when known and loved Vergil, Horace, and he secluded himself in Capri. Ought we, Livy, the two poets and the historian of without a further word, to transcribe this this great dream; like all the elect spirits sentence? There are, to be sure, no deof those now distant years, he had seen cisive arguments to prove false the acbehind this vision a great senate, a glorious counts about the horrors of Capri which and terrible army, an austere and revered the ancients, and especially Suetonius, have republic like that which Livy had pictured transmitted to us; there are some, howwith glowing colors in his immortal pages. ever, which make us mistrust and with
Instead of all this, he was now forced hold our judgment. Above all, we have to take his place at the head of this deca- the right to ask ourselves how, from dent and wretched nobility, which seemed whom, and by access to what sources did to be interested only in rending itself Suetonius and the other ancients learn so asunder with calumnies, denunciations, many extraordinary details. It must be suits, and scandalous condemnations, and remembered that all the great figures in which repaid him for all that he had done the history of Rome who had many eneand was still doing for its safety and the mies, like Sylla, Cæsar, Antony, and prosperity of the empire by directing Augustus himself, were accused of having against his name the most atrocious calum- scandalous habits. Precisely because the nies, the fiercest railleries, and every sort puritan tradition was strong at Rome, such an accusation did much harm, and friends was a certain Titius Sabinus, and for this reason, whether true or false, ene- the implacable Sejanus destroyed him with mies were glad to repeat it whenever they a suit of which Tacitus has given us an wished to discredit a character. Lastly, all account, a horrible story of one of the most the ancient writers, even the most hostile, abominable judicial machinations which tell us that up to a ripe age Tiberius pre- human perfidy can imagine. Dissensions served his exemplary habits. Is it likely, arose to aggravate the already serious then, that suddenly, when already old, he danger in which Agrippina and her friends should have soiled himself with all the had been placed. Nero, the first-born son, vices ? At all events, if there is any truth and Drusus, the second, became hostile at contained in these accounts, we can at most the very moment when they should have conclude that as an old man Tiberius be- united against the ruthless adversary who came subject to some mental infirmity and wished to exterminate them all. A last that the man who took refuge at Capri rock of refuge remained to protect the was no longer entirely sane.
family of Germanicus. It was Livia, the Certain it is, in any case, that after his revered old lady who had been present at retirement to Capri, Tiberius seriously the birth of the fortunes of Augustus and neglected public affairs, and that Sejanus the new imperial authority, and who had was finally looked upon at Rome as the held in her arms that infant world which de facto emperor. The bulletins and re- had been born in the midst of the convulports which were sent from the empire sions of the civil wars, and a little later and from Rome to the emperor passed had watched it try its first steps on the through his hands, as well as the decisions pathway of history. Livia did not much which Tiberius sent back to the state. love Agrippina, whose hatred and inAt Rome, in all affairs of serious or slight trigues against Tiberius she had always importance, the senators turned to Seja- blamed; but she was too wise and too sonus, and about him, whom all fell into the licitous of the prestige of the family to habit of considering as the true emperor, allow Sejanus entirely to destroy the house a court and party were formed. In fear of Germanicus. As long as she lived, of his great power, the senators and the Agrippina and Nero could dwell safely in old aristocracy suppressed the envy which Rome. But Livia was feeble, and in the the dizzy rise of this obscure knight had beginning of 29, at the age of eighty-six, aroused. Rome suffered without protest she died. The catastrophe which had that a man of obscure birth should rule been carefully prepared by Sejanus was the empire in the place of a descendant of now consummated; a few months after the the great Claudian family, and the sena- death of Livia, Agrippina and Nero were tors of the most illustrious houses grew subjected to a suit, and, under an accusaaccustomed to paying him court. Worsetion of having conspired against Tiberius, still, virtually all of them aided him, either were condemned to exile by the senate. by openly favoring him or by allowing him Shortly after his condemnation, Nero coma free hand, to complete the decisive de- mitted suicide. struction of the party and the family of The account which Tacitus gives us of Germanicus-of that same Germanicus of this trial is obscure, involved, and fragwhom all had been fond and whose mem- mentary, for the story is broken off at its ory the people still venerated.
most important point by an unfortunate After the retirement of Tiberius to lacuna in the manuscript. The other hisCapri, all felt that Agrippina and her sons torians add but little light with their brief were inevitably doomed sooner or later to phrases and passing allusions. We do not succumb in the duel with the powerful, therefore entirely understand either the ambitious, and implacable prefect of the contents of the charges, the reason for the pretorians who represented Tiberius at condemnation, the stand taken by the acRome. Only few generous idealists cused, or the conduct of Tiberius with reremained faithful to the conquered, who gard to the accusation. It seems hardly were now near their destruction; such sup- probable that Agrippina and Nero could porters as might possibly ease the misery have been truly guilty of a real conspiracy of ruin, but not ward it off or avoid it. against Tiberius. Isolated as they had Among these last faithful and heroic been by Sejanus after the retirement of
Tiberius to Capri, they would scarcely should exercise the rule and have all its have been able to set a conspiracy on foot, burdens and dangers while he left to even if they had so desired. They were others the pomp, the honors, and the adpaying the penalty for the long war of vantages. Although Tiberius allowed the calumnies and slanders which they had senate to heap honors upon his faithful waged upon Tiberius, for the aversion and prefect of the pretorians, and though he the scorn which they had always shown himself showed his gratitude to him in for him. In this course of conduct many many ways, even going to the point of senators had encouraged them as long as being willing to give him the widow of Tiberius alone had not dared to have re- Nero in marriage, he never really expected course to violent and cruel measures in to take him as his colleague or to designate order to make himself respected by his him as his successor. Tiberius was family. But such acts of disrespect be- Claudian, and that a knight without ancame serious crimes for the unfortunate cestry should be placed at the head of the woman and her hapless son, even in the Roman aristocracy was to him unthinkaeyes of the senators who had encouraged ble; after the exile of Nero he had cast them to commit them, now that Sejanus his eyes upon Caius, another son of Gerhad reinvigorated the imperial authority manicus, as his possible successor. Nor with his energy, and now that all felt that had he hidden his intention: he had even behind Tiberius and in his name and place clearly expressed it in different speeches to there was acting a man of decision who the senate. Therefore Sejanus must finally knew how to punish his enemies and to re- have come to the conclusion that if he ward his friends.
continued to defend Tiberius and his inThe trial and condemnation of Agrip- terests, he could no longer hope for anypina and Nero were certainly the machi- thing from him, and might even compronations of Sejanus, who carried along mise the influence and the popularity with him not only the senate and the which he had already acquired. Tiberius friends of the imperial family, but perhaps was hated and detested, there was a nueven Tiberius himself. They prove how merous party opposed to him in the senmuch Sejanus had been able to strengthen ate, and he was extremely unpopular imperial authority, which had been hesi- among the masses. Many admired Sejatating and feeble in the last decade. Se
nus through spiteful hatred of Tiberius, janus had dared to do what Tiberius had for it amounted to saying that they prenever succeeded in doing; he had destroyed ferred to be governed by an obscure that center of opposition which gathered knight rather than by an old and detested about Agrippina in the house of Germani- Claudian who had shut himself up in cus. It is therefore scarcely necessary to Capri. And thus Sejanus seems to have say that the ruin of Agrippina still further deluded himself into
deluded himself into believing that if he increased the power of Sejanus. All succeeded in doing away with the embowed trembling before the man who had peror, he could easily take his position by dared humiliate the very family of the Julio- setting aside the young son of Germanicus Claudii. Honors were showered upon his and profiting by the popularity which the head; he was made senator and pontifex; fall of Tiberius would bring him. Little he received the proconsular power; there by little he came to an understanding with was talk of a marriage between him and the enemies of Tiberius and prepared a the widow of Nero; and it was finally conspiracy for the final overthrow of the proposed that he be named consul for five odious government of the son of Livia. years. Indeed, in 31, through the will of Many senators had agreed to this, and cerTiberius, he actually became the colleague tainly few conspiracies were ever organof the emperor himself in the consulate. ized under more favorable auspices. TiHe needed only the tribunician power to berius was old, disgusted with everything make him the official collaborator of the and everybody, and alone in Capri; he had emperor and his designated successor. virtually not a single friend in Rome; Every one at Rome, furthermore, consid- about what happened in the world he ered him the future prince. But having knew only what Sejanus told him. He arrived at this height, Sejanus's head was was therefore entirely in the hands of the turned, and he asked himself why he man who was preparing to sacrifice him