Next, after various and usually fruitless complaints from the praetors,
the emperor finally brought forward a motion about the licentious
behaviour of the players. “They had often,” he said, “sought to disturb
the public peace, and to bring disgrace on private families, and the
old Oscan farce, once a wretched amusement for the vulgar, had become
at once so indecent and so popular, that it must be checked by the
Senate’s authority. The players, upon this, were banished from Italy.

That same year also brought fresh sorrow to the emperor by being fatal
to one of the twin sons of Drusus, equally too by the death of an
intimate friend. This was Lucilius Longus, the partner of all his
griefs and joys, the only senator who had been the companion of his
retirement in Rhodes. And so, though he was a man of humble origin,
the Senate decreed him a censor’s funeral and a statue in the forum
of Augustus at the public expense. Everything indeed was as yet in
the hands of the Senate, and consequently Lucilius Capito, procurator
of Asia, who was impeached by his province, was tried by them, the
emperor vehemently asserting “that he had merely given the man authority
over the slaves and property of the imperial establishments; that
if he had taken upon himself the powers of a praetor and used military
force, he had disregarded his instructions; therefore they must hear
the provincials.” So the case was heard and the accused condemned.
The cities of Asia, gratified by this retribution and the punishment
inflicted in the previous year on Caius Silanus, voted a temple to
Tiberius, his mother, and the Senate, and were permitted to build
it. Nero thanked the Senators and his grandfather on their behalf
and carried with him the joyful sympathies of his audience, who, with
the memory of Germanicus fresh in their minds, imagined that it was
his face they saw, his voice they heard. The youth too had a modesty
and a grace of person worthy of a prince, the more charming because
of his peril from the notorious enmity of Sejanus.

About the same time the emperor spoke on the subject of electing a
priest of Jupiter in the room of Servius Maluginensis, deceased, and
of the enactment of a new law. “It was,” he said, “the old custom
to nominate together three patricians, sons of parents wedded according
to the primitive ceremony, and of these one was to be chosen. Now
however there was not the same choice as formerly, the primitive form
of marriage having been given up or being observed only by a few persons.”
For this he assigned several reasons, the chief being men’s and women’s
indifference; then, again, the ceremony itself had its difficulties,
which were purposely avoided; and there was the objection that the
man who obtained this priesthood was emancipated from the father’s
authority, as also was his wife, as passing into the husband’s control.
So the Senate, Tiberius argued, ought to apply some remedy by a decree
of a law, as Augustus had accommodated certain relics of a rude antiquity
to the modern spirit.

It was then decided, after a discussion of religious questions, that
the institution of the priests of Jupiter should remain unchanged.
A law however was passed that the priestess, in regard to her sacred
functions, was to be under the husband’s control, but in other respects
to retain the ordinary legal position of women. Maluginensis, the
son, was chosen successor to his father. To raise the dignity of the
priesthood and to inspire the priests with more zeal in attending
to the ceremonial, a gift of two million sesterces was decreed to
the Vestal Cornelia, chosen in the room of Scantia; and, whenever
Augusta entered the theatre, she was to have a place in the seats
of the Vestals.

In the consulship of Cornelius Cethegus and Visellius Varro, the pontiffs,
whose example was followed by the other priests in offering prayers
for the emperor’s health, commended also Nero and Drusus to the same
deities, not so much out of love for the young princes as out of sycophancy,
the absence and excess of which in a corrupt age are alike dangerous.
Tiberius indeed, who was never friendly to the house of Germanicus,
was then vexed beyond endurance at their youth being honoured equally
with his declining years. He summoned the pontiffs, and asked them
whether it was to the entreaties or the threats of Agrippina that
they had made this concession. And though they gave a flat denial,
he rebuked them but gently, for many of them were her own relatives
or were leading men in the State. However he addressed a warning to
the Senate against encouraging pride in their young and excitable
minds by premature honours. For Sejanus spoke vehemently, and charged
them with rending the State almost by civil war. “There were those,”
he said, “who called themselves the party of Agrippina, and, unless
they were checked, there would be more; the only remedy for the increasing
discord was the overthrow of one or two of the most enterprising leaders.”

Accordingly he attacked Caius Silius and Titius Sabinus. The friendship
of Germanicus was fatal to both. As for Silius, his having commanded
a great army for seven years, and won in Germany the distinctions
of a triumph for his success in the war with Sacrovir, would make
his downfall all the more tremendous and so spread greater terror
among others. Many thought that he had provoked further displeasure
by his own presumption and his extravagant boasts that his troops
had been steadfastly loyal, while other armies were falling into mutiny,
and that Tiberius’s throne could not have lasted had his legions too
been bent on revolution. All this the emperor regarded as undermining
his own power, which seemed to be unequal to the burden of such an
obligation. For benefits received are a delight to us as long as we
think we can requite them; when that possibility is far exceeded,
they are repaid with hatred instead of gratitude.
The Annals by Tacitus