Then at last Tiberius informed the Senate by letter of the beginning
and completion of the war, without either taking away from or adding
to the truth, but ascribing the success to the loyalty and courage
of his generals, and to his own policy. He also gave the reasons why
neither he himself nor Drusus had gone to the war; he magnified the
greatness of the empire, and said it would be undignified for emperors,
whenever there was a commotion in one or two states, to quit the capital,
the centre of all government. Now, as he was not influenced by fear,
he would go to examine and settle matters.

The Senate decreed vows for his safe return, with thanksgivings and
other appropriate ceremonies. Cornelius Dolabella alone, in endeavouring
to outdo the other Senators, went the length of a preposterous flattery
by proposing that he should enter Rome from Campania with an ovation.
Thereupon came a letter from the emperor, declaring that he was not
so destitute of renown as after having subdued the most savage nations
and received or refused so many triumphs in his youth, to covet now
that he was old an unmeaning honour for a tour in the neighbourhood
of Rome.

About the same time he requested the Senate to let the death of Sulpicius
Quirinus be celebrated with a public funeral. With the old patrician
family of the Sulpicii this Quirinus, who was born in the town of
Lanuvium, was quite unconnected. An indefatigable soldier, he had
by his zealous services won the consulship under the Divine Augustus,
and subsequently the honours of a triumph for having stormed some
fortresses of the Homonadenses in Cilicia. He was also appointed adviser
to Caius Caesar in the government of Armenia, and had likewise paid
court to Tiberius, who was then at Rhodes. The emperor now made all
this known to the Senate, and extolled the good offices of Quirinus
to himself, while he censured Marcus Lollius, whom he charged with
encouraging Caius Caesar in his perverse and quarrelsome behaviour.
But people generally had no pleasure in the memory of Quirinus, because
of the perils he had brought, as I have related, on Lepida, and the
meanness and dangerous power of his last years.

At the close of the year, Caius Lutorius Priscus, a Roman knight,
who, after writing a popular poem bewailing the death of Germanicus,
had received a reward in money from the emperor, was fastened on by
an informer, and charged with having composed another during the illness
of Drusus, which, in the event of the prince’s death, might be published
with even greater profit to himself. He had in his vanity read it
in the house of Publius Petronius before Vitellia, Petronius’s mother-in-law,
and several ladies of rank. As soon as the accuser appeared, all but
Vitellia were frightened into giving evidence. She alone swore that
she had heard not a word. But those who criminated him fatally were
rather believed, and on the motion of Haterius Agrippa, the consul-elect,
the last penalty was invoked on the accused.

Marcus Lepidus spoke against the sentence as follows:- “Senators,
if we look to the single fact of the infamous utterance with which
Lutorius has polluted his own mind and the ears of the public, neither
dungeon nor halter nor tortures fit for a slave would be punishment
enough for him. But though vice and wicked deeds have no limit, penalties
and correctives are moderated by the clemency of the sovereign and
by the precedents of your ancestors and yourselves. Folly differs
from wickedness; evil words from evil deeds, and thus there is room
for a sentence by which this offence may not go unpunished, while
we shall have no cause to regret either leniency or severity. Often
have I heard our emperor complain when any one has anticipated his
mercy by a self-inflicted death. Lutorius’s life is still safe; if
spared, he will be no danger to the State; if put to death, he will
be no warning to others. His productions are as empty and ephemeral
as they are replete with folly. Nothing serious or alarming is to
be apprehended from the man who is the betrayer of his own shame and
works on the imaginations not of men but of silly women. However,
let him leave Rome, lose his property, and be outlawed. That is my
proposal, just as though he were convicted under the law of treason.”

Only one of the ex-consuls, Rubellius Blandus, supported Lepidus.
The rest voted with Agrippa. Priscus was dragged off to prison and
instantly put to death. Of this Tiberius complained to the Senate
with his usual ambiguity, extolling their loyalty in so sharply avenging
the very slightest insults to the sovereign, though he deprecated
such hasty punishment of mere words, praising Lepidus and not censuring
Agrippa. So the Senate passed a resolution that their decrees should
not be registered in the treasury till nine days had expired, and
so much respite was to be given to condemned persons. Still the Senate
had not liberty to alter their purpose, and lapse of time never softened

Caius Sulpicius and Didius Haterius were the next consuls. It was
a year free from commotions abroad, while at home stringent legislation
was apprehended against the luxury which had reached boundless excess
in everything on which wealth is lavished. Some expenses, though very
serious, were generally kept secret by a concealment of the real prices;
but the costly preparations for gluttony and dissipation were the
theme of incessant talk, and had suggested a fear that a prince who
clung to oldfashioned frugality would be too stern in his reforms.
In fact, when the aedile Caius Bibulus broached the topic, all his
colleagues had pointed out that the sumptuary laws were disregarded,
that prohibited prices for household articles were every day on the
increase, and that moderate measures could not stop the evil.
The Annals by Tacitus