The emperor in his letter on the first of January, after offering
the usual prayers for the new year, referred to Sabinus, whom he reproached
with having corrupted some of his freedmen and having attempted his
life, and he claimed vengeance in no obscure language. It was decreed
without hesitation, and the condemned man was dragged off, exclaiming
as loudly as he could, with head covered and throat tightly bound,
“that this was inaugurating the year; these were the victims slain
to Sejanus.” Wherever he turned his eyes, wherever his words fell,
there was flight and solitude; the streets and public places were
forsaken. A few retraced their steps and again showed themselves,
shuddering at the mere fact that they had betrayed alarm. “What day,”
they asked, “will be without some execution, when amid sacrifices
and prayers, a time when it is usual to refrain even from a profane
word, the chain and halter are introduced? Tiberius has not incurred
such odium blindly; this is a studied device to make us believe that
there is no reason why the new magistrates should not open the dungeons
as well as the temple and the altars.” Thereupon there came a letter
of thanks to them for having punished a bitter foe to the State, and
the emperor further added that he had an anxious life, that he apprehended
treachery from enemies, but he mentioned no one by name. Still there
was no question that this was aimed at Nero and Agrippina.

But for my plan of referring each event to its own year, I should
feel a strong impulse to anticipate matters and at once relate the
deaths by which Latinius and Opsius and the other authors of this
atrocious deed perished, some after Caius became emperor, some even
while Tiberius yet ruled. For although he would not have the instruments
of his wickedness destroyed by others, he frequently, when he was
tired of them, and fresh ones offered themselves for the same services,
flung off the old, now become a mere incubus. But these and other
punishments of guilty men I shall describe in due course.

Asinius Gallus, to whose children Agrippina was aunt, then moved that
the emperor should be requested to disclose his apprehensions to the
Senate and allow their removal. Of all his virtues, as he counted
them, there was none on which Tiberius so prided himself as his ability
to dissemble, and he was therefore the more irritated at an attempt
to expose what he was hiding. Sejanus however pacified him, not out
of love for Gallus, but rather to wait the result of the emperor’s
wavering mood, knowing, as he did, that, though slow in forming his
purpose, yet having once broken through his reserve, he would follow
up harsh words with terrible deeds.

About the same time Julia died, the granddaughter of Augustus. He
had condemned her on a conviction of adultery and had banished her
to the island of Trimerus, not far from the shores of Apulia. There
she endured a twenty years’ exile, in which she was supported by relief
from Augusta, who having overthrown the prosperity of her step-children
by secret machinations, made open display of her compassion to the
fallen family.

That same year the Frisii, a nation beyond the Rhine, cast off peace,
more because of our rapacity than from their impatience of subjection.
Drusus had imposed on them a moderate tribute, suitable to their limited
resources, the furnishing of ox hides for military purposes. No one
ever severely scrutinized the size or thickness till Olennius, a first-rank
centurion, appointed to govern the Frisii, selected hides of wild
bulls as the standard according to which they were to be supplied.
This would have been hard for any nation, and it was the less tolerable
to the Germans, whose forests abound in huge beasts, while their home
cattle are undersized. First it was their herds, next their lands,
last, the persons of their wives and children, which they gave up
to bondage. Then came angry remonstrances, and when they received
no relief, they sought a remedy in war. The soldiers appointed to
collect the tribute were seized and gibbeted. Olennius anticipated
their fury by flight, and found refuge in a fortress, named Flevum,
where a by no means contemptible force of Romans and allies kept guard
over the shores of the ocean.

As soon as this was known to Lucius Apronius, propraetor of Lower
Germany, he summoned from the Upper province the legionary veterans,
as well as some picked auxiliary infantry and cavalry. Instantly conveying
both armies down the Rhine, he threw them on the Frisii, raising at
once the siege of the fortress and dispersing the rebels in defence
of their own possessions. Next, he began constructing solid roads
and bridges over the neighbouring estuaries for the passage of his
heavy troops, and meanwhile having found a ford, he ordered the cavalry
of the Canninefates, with all the German infantry which served with
us, to take the enemy in the rear. Already in battle array, they were
beating back our auxiliary horse as well as that of the legions sent
to support them, when three light cohorts, then two more, and after
a while the entire cavalry were sent to the attack. They were strong
enough, had they charged altogether, but coming up, as they did, at
intervals, they did not give fresh courage to the repulsed troops
and were themselves carried away in the panic of the fugitives. Apronius
entrusted the rest of the auxiliaries to Cethegus Labeo, the commander
of the fifth legion, but he too, finding his men’s position critical
and being in extreme peril, sent messages imploring the whole strength
of the legions. The soldiers of the fifth sprang forward, drove back
the enemy in a fierce encounter, and saved our cohorts and cavalry,
who were exhausted by their wounds. But the Roman general did not
attempt vengeance or even bury the dead, although many tribunes, prefects,
and first-rank centurions had fallen. Soon afterwards it was ascertained
from deserters that nine hundred Romans had been cut to pieces in
a wood called Braduhenna’s, after prolonging the fight to the next
day, and that another body of four hundred, which had taken possession
of the house of one Cruptorix, once a soldier in our pay, fearing
betrayal, had perished by mutual slaughter.
The Annals by Tacitus