About the same time Plautius Silvanus, the praetor, for unknown reasons,
threw his wife Apronia out of a window. When summoned before the emperor
by Lucius Apronius, his father-in-law, he replied incoherently, representing
that he was in a sound sleep and consequently knew nothing, and that
his wife had chosen to destroy herself. Without a moment’s delay Tiberius
went to the house and inspected the chamber, where were seen the marks
of her struggling and of her forcible ejection. He reported this to
the Senate, and as soon as judges had been appointed, Urgulania, the
grandmother of Silvanus, sent her grandson a dagger. This was thought
equivalent to a hint from the emperor, because of the known intimacy
between Augusta and Urgulania. The accused tried the steel in vain,
and then allowed his veins to be opened. Shortly afterwards Numantina,
his former wife, was charged with having caused her husband’s insanity
by magical incantations and potions, but she was acquitted.

This year at last released Rome from her long contest with the Numidian
Tacfarinas. Former generals, when they thought that their successes
were enough to insure them triumphal distinctions, left the enemy
to himself. There were now in Rome three laurelled statues, and yet
Tacfarinas was still ravaging Africa, strengthened by reinforcements
from the Moors, who, under the boyish and careless rule of Ptolemaeus,
Juba’s son, had chosen war in preference to the despotism of freedmen
and slaves. He had the king of the Garamantes to receive his plunder
and to be the partner of his raids, not indeed with a regular army,
but with detachments of light troops whose strength, as they came
from a distance, rumour exaggerated. From the province itself every
needy and restless adventurer hurried to join him, for the emperor,
as if not an enemy remained in Africa after the achievements of Blaesus,
had ordered the ninth legion home, and Publius Dolabella, proconsul
that year, had not dared to retain it, because he feared the sovereign’s
orders more than the risks of war.

Tacfarinas accordingly spread rumours; that elsewhere also nations
were rending the empire of Rome and that therefore her soldiers were
gradually retiring from Africa, and that the rest might be cut off
by a strong effort on the part of all who loved freedom more than
slavery. He thus augmented his force, and having formed a camp, he
besieged the town of Thubuscum. Dolabella meanwhile collecting all
the troops on the spot, raised the siege at his first approach, by
the terror of the Roman name and because the Numidians cannot stand
against the charge of infantry. He then fortified suitable positions,
and at the same time beheaded some chiefs of the Musulamii, who were
on the verge of rebellion. Next, as several expeditions against Tacfarinas
had proved the uselessness of following up the enemy’s desultory movements
with the attack of heavy troops from a single point, he summoned to
his aid king Ptolemaeus and his people, and equipped four columns,
under the command of his lieutenants and tribunes. Marauding parties
were also led by picked Moors, Dolabella in person directing every

Soon afterwards news came that the Numidians had fixed their tents
and encamped near a half-demolished fortress, by name Auzea, to which
they had themselves formerly set fire, and on the position of which
they relied, as it was inclosed by vast forests. Immediately the light
infantry and cavalry, without knowing whither they were being led,
were hurried along at quick march. Day dawned, and with the sound
of trumpets and fierce shouts, they were on the half-asleep barbarians,
whose horses were tethered or roaming over distant pastures. On the
Roman side, the infantry was in close array, the cavalry in its squadrons,
everything prepared for an engagement, while the enemy, utterly surprised,
without arms, order, or plan, were seized, slaughtered, or captured
like cattle. The infuriated soldiers, remembering their hardships
and how often the longed-for conflict had been eluded, sated themselves
to a man with vengeance and bloodshed. The word went through the companies
that all were to aim at securing Tacfarinas, whom, after so many battles,
they knew well, as there would be no rest from war except by the destruction
of the enemy’s leader. Tacfarinas, his guards slain round him, his
son a prisoner, and the Romans bursting on him from every side, rushed
on the darts, and by a death which was not unavenged, escaped captivity.

This ended the war. Dolabella asked for triumphal distinctions, but
was refused by Tiberius, out of compliment to Sejanus, the glory of
whose uncle Blaesus he did not wish to be forgotten. But this did
not make Blaesus more famous, while the refusal of the honour heightened
Dolabella’s renown. He had, in fact, with a smaller army, brought
back with him illustrious prisoners and the fame of having slain the
enemy’s leader and terminated the war. In his train were envoys from
the Garamantes, a rare spectacle in Rome. The nation, in its terror
at the destruction of Tacfarinas, and innocent of any guilty intention,
had sent them to crave pardon of the Roman people. And now that this
war had proved the zealous loyalty of Ptolemaeus, a custom of antiquity
was revived, and one of the Senators was sent to present him with
an ivory sceptre and an embroidered robe, gifts anciently bestowed
by the Senate, and to confer on him the titles of king, ally, and

The same summer, the germs of a slave war in Italy were crushed by
a fortunate accident. The originator of the movement was Titus Curtisius,
once a soldier of the praetorian guard. First, by secret meetings
at Brundisium and the neighbouring towns, then by placards publicly
exhibited, he incited the rural and savage slave-population of the
remote forests to assert their freedom. By divine providence, three
vessels came to land for the use of those who traversed that sea.
In the same part of the country too was Curtius Lupus, the quaestor,
who, according to ancient precedent, had had the charge of the “woodland
pastures” assigned to him. Putting in motion a force of marines, he
broke up the seditious combination in its very first beginnings. The
emperor at once sent Staius, a tribune, with a strong detachment,
by whom the ringleader himself, with his most daring followers, were
brought prisoners to Rome where men already trembled at the vast scale
of the slave-establishments, in which there was an immense growth,
while the freeborn populace daily decreased.
The Annals by Tacitus