The first crime of the new reign was the murder of Postumus Agrippa.
Though he was surprised and unarmed, a centurion of the firmest resolution
despatched him with difficulty. Tiberius gave no explanation of the
matter to the Senate; he pretended that there were directions from
his father ordering the tribune in charge of the prisoner not to delay
the slaughter of Agrippa, whenever he should himself have breathed
his last. Beyond a doubt, Augustus had often complained of the young
man’s character, and had thus succeeded in obtaining the sanction
of a decree of the Senate for his banishment. But he never was hard-hearted
enough to destroy any of his kinsfolk, nor was it credible that death
was to be the sentence of the grandson in order that the stepson might
feel secure. It was more probable that Tiberius and Livia, the one
from fear, the other from a stepmother’s enmity, hurried on the destruction
of a youth whom they suspected and hated. When the centurion reported,
according to military custom, that he had executed the command, Tiberius
replied that he had not given the command, and that the act must be
justified to the Senate.

As soon as Sallustius Crispus who shared the secret (he had, in fact,
sent the written order to the tribune) knew this, fearing that the
charge would be shifted on himself, and that his peril would be the
same whether he uttered fiction or truth, he advised Livia not to
divulge the secrets of her house or the counsels of friends, or any
services performed by the soldiers, nor to let Tiberius weaken the
strength of imperial power by referring everything to the Senate,
for “the condition,” he said, “of holding empire is that an account
cannot be balanced unless it be rendered to one person.”

Meanwhile at Rome people plunged into slavery- consuls, senators,
knights. The higher a man’s rank, the more eager his hypocrisy, and
his looks the more carefully studied, so as neither to betray joy
at the decease of one emperor nor sorrow at the rise of another, while
he mingled delight and lamentations with his flattery. Sextus Pompeius
and Sextus Apuleius, the consuls, were the first to swear allegiance
to Tiberius Caesar, and in their presence the oath was taken by Seius
Strabo and Caius Turranius, respectively the commander of the praetorian
cohorts and the superintendent of the corn supplies. Then the Senate,
the soldiers and the people did the same. For Tiberius would inaugurate
everything with the consuls, as though the ancient constitution remained,
and he hesitated about being emperor. Even the proclamation by which
he summoned the senators to their chamber, he issued merely with the
title of Tribune, which he had received under Augustus. The wording
of the proclamation was brief, and in a very modest tone. “He would,”
it said, “provide for the honours due to his father, and not leave
the lifeless body, and this was the only public duty he now claimed.”

As soon, however, as Augustus was dead, he had given the watchword
to the praetorian cohorts, as commander-in-chief. He had the guard
under arms, with all the other adjuncts of a court; soldiers attended
him to the forum; soldiers went with him to the Senate House. He sent
letters to the different armies, as though supreme power was now his,
and showed hesitation only when he spoke in the Senate. His chief
motive was fear that Germanicus, who had at his disposal so many legions,
such vast auxiliary forces of the allies, and such wonderful popularity,
might prefer the possession to the expectation of empire. He looked
also at public opinion, wishing to have the credit of having been
called and elected by the State rather than of having crept into power
through the intrigues of a wife and a dotard’s adoption. It was subsequently
understood that he assumed a wavering attitude, to test likewise the
temper of the nobles. For he would twist a word or a look into a crime
and treasure it up in his memory.

On the first day of the Senate he allowed nothing to be discussed
but the funeral of Augustus, whose will, which was brought in by the
Vestal Virgins, named as his heirs Tiberius and Livia. The latter
was to be admitted into the Julian family with the name of Augusta;
next in expectation were the grand and great-grandchildren. In the
third place, he had named the chief men of the State, most of whom
he hated, simply out of ostentation and to win credit with posterity.
His legacies were not beyond the scale of a private citizen, except
a bequest of forty-three million five hundred thousand sesterces “to
the people and populace of Rome,” of one thousand to every praetorian
soldier, and of three hundred to every man in the legionary cohorts
composed of Roman citizens.

Next followed a deliberation about funeral honours. Of these the most
imposing were thought fitting. The procession was to be conducted
through “the gate of triumph,” on the motion of Gallus Asinius; the
titles of the laws passed, the names of the nations conquered by Augustus
were to be borne in front, on that of Lucius Arruntius. Messala Valerius
further proposed that the oath of allegiance to Tiberius should be
yearly renewed, and when Tiberius asked him whether it was at his
bidding that he had brought forward this motion, he replied that he
had proposed it spontaneously, and that in whatever concerned the
State he would use only his own discretion, even at the risk of offending.
This was the only style of adulation which yet remained. The Senators
unanimously exclaimed that the body ought to be borne on their shoulders
to the funeral pile. The emperor left the point to them with disdainful
moderation, he then admonished the people by a proclamation not to
indulge in that tumultuous enthusiasm which had distracted the funeral
of the Divine Julius, or express a wish that Augustus should be burnt
in the Forum instead of in his appointed resting-place in the Campus
The Annals by Tacitus