On the day of the funeral soldiers stood round as a guard, amid much
ridicule from those who had either themselves witnessed or who had
heard from their parents of the famous day when slavery was still
something fresh, and freedom had been resought in vain, when the slaying
of Caesar, the Dictator, seemed to some the vilest, to others, the
most glorious of deeds. “Now,” they said, “an aged sovereign, whose
power had lasted long, who had provided his heirs with abundant means
to coerce the State, requires forsooth the defence of soldiers that
his burial may be undisturbed.”

Then followed much talk about Augustus himself, and many expressed
an idle wonder that the same day marked the beginning of his assumption
of empire and the close of his life, and, again, that he had ended
his days at Nola in the same house and room as his father Octavius.
People extolled too the number of his consulships, in which he had
equalled Valerius Corvus and Caius Marius combined, the continuance
for thirty-seven years of the tribunitian power, the title of Imperator
twenty-one times earned, and his other honours which had either frequently
repeated or were wholly new. Sensible men, however, spoke variously
of his life with praise and censure. Some said “that dutiful feeling
towards a father, and the necessities of the State in which laws had
then no place, drove him into civil war, which can neither be planned
nor conducted on any right principles. He had often yielded to Antonius,
while he was taking vengeance on his father’s murderers, often also
to Lepidus. When the latter sank into feeble dotage and the former
had been ruined by his profligacy, the only remedy for his distracted
country was the rule of a single man. Yet the State had been organized
under the name neither of a kingdom nor a dictatorship, but under
that of a prince. The ocean and remote rivers were the boundaries
of the empire; the legions, provinces, fleets, all things were linked
together; there was law for the citizens; there was respect shown
to the allies. The capital had been embellished on a grand scale;
only in a few instances had he resorted to force, simply to secure
general tranquillity.”

It was said, on the other hand, “that filial duty and State necessity
were merely assumed as a mask. It was really from a lust of sovereignty
that he had excited the veterans by bribery, had, when a young man
and a subject, raised an army, tampered with the Consul’s legions,
and feigned an attachment to the faction of Pompeius. Then, when by
a decree of the Senate he had usurped the high functions and authority
of Praetor when Hirtius and Pansa were slain- whether they were destroyed
by the enemy, or Pansa by poison infused into a wound, Hirtius by
his own soldiers and Caesar’s treacherous machinations- he at once
possessed himself of both their armies, wrested the consulate from
a reluctant Senate, and turned against the State the arms with which
he had been intrusted against Antonius. Citizens were proscribed,
lands divided, without so much as the approval of those who executed
these deeds. Even granting that the deaths of Cassius and of the Bruti
were sacrifices to a hereditary enmity (though duty requires us to
waive private feuds for the sake of the public welfare), still Pompeius
had been deluded by the phantom of peace, and Lepidus by the mask
of friendship. Subsequently, Antonius had been lured on by the treaties
of Tarentum and Brundisium, and by his marriage with the sister, and
paid by his death the penalty of a treacherous alliance. No doubt,
there was peace after all this, but it was a peace stained with blood;
there were the disasters of Lollius and Varus, the murders at Rome
of the Varros, Egnatii, and Juli.”

The domestic life too of Augustus was not spared. “Nero’s wife had
been taken from him, and there had been the farce of consulting the
pontiffs, whether, with a child conceived and not yet born, she could
properly marry. There were the excesses of Quintus Tedius and Vedius
Pollio; last of all, there was Livia, terrible to the State as a mother,
terrible to the house of the Caesars as a stepmother. No honour was
left for the gods, when Augustus chose to be himself worshipped with
temples and statues, like those of the deities, and with flamens and
priests. He had not even adopted Tiberius as his successor out of
affection or any regard to the State, but, having thoroughly seen
his arrogant and savage temper, he had sought glory for himself by
a contrast of extreme wickedness.” For, in fact, Augustus, a few years
before, when he was a second time asking from the Senate the tribunitian
power for Tiberius, though his speech was complimentary, had thrown
out certain hints as to his manners, style, and habits of life, which
he meant as reproaches, while he seemed to excuse. However, when his
obsequies had been duly performed, a temple with a religious ritual
was decreed him.

After this all prayers were addressed to Tiberius. He, on his part,
urged various considerations, the greatness of the empire, his distrust
of himself. “Only,” he said, “the intellect of the Divine Augustus
was equal to such a burden. Called as he had been by him to share
his anxieties, he had learnt by experience how exposed to fortune’s
caprices was the task of universal rule. Consequently, in a state
which had the support of so many great men, they should not put everything
on one man, as many, by uniting their efforts would more easily discharge
public functions.” There was more grand sentiment than good faith
in such words. Tiberius’s language even in matters which he did not
care to conceal, either from nature or habit, was always hesitating
and obscure, and now that he was struggling to hide his feelings completely,
it was all the more involved in uncertainty and doubt. The Senators,
however, whose only fear was lest they might seem to understand him,
burst into complaints, tears, and prayers. They raised their hands
to the gods, to the statue of Augustus, and to the knees of Tiberius,
when he ordered a document to be produced and read. This contained
a description of the resources of the State, of the number of citizens
and allies under arms, of the fleets, subject kingdoms, provinces,
taxes, direct and indirect, necessary expenses and customary bounties.
All these details Augustus had written with his own hand, and had
added a counsel, that the empire should be confined to its present
limits, either from fear or out of jealousy.

Meantime, while the Senate stooped to the most abject supplication,
Tiberius happened to say that although he was not equal to the whole
burden of the State, yet he would undertake the charge of whatever
part of it might be intrusted to him. Thereupon Asinius Gallus said,
“I ask you, Caesar, what part of the State you wish to have intrusted
to you?” Confounded by the sudden inquiry he was silent for a few
moments; then, recovering his presence of mind, he replied that it
would by no means become his modesty to choose or to avoid in a case
where he would prefer to be wholly excused. Then Gallus again, who
had inferred anger from his looks, said that the question had not
been asked with the intention of dividing what could not be separated,
but to convince him by his own admission that the body of the State
was one, and must be directed by a single mind. He further spoke in
praise of Augustus, and reminded Tiberius himself of his victories,
and of his admirable deeds for many years as a civilian. Still, he
did not thereby soften the emperor’s resentment, for he had long been
detested from an impression that, as he had married Vipsania, daughter
of Marcus Agrippa, who had once been the wife of Tiberius, he aspired
to be more than a citizen, and kept up the arrogant tone of his father,
Asinius Pollio.
The Annals by Tacitus