He then left the Senate and ended his life by starvation. His books,
so the Senators decreed, were to be burnt by the aediles; but some
copies were left which were concealed and afterwards published. And
so one is all the more inclined to laugh at the stupidity of men who
suppose that the despotism of the present can actually efface the
remembrances of the next generation. On the contrary, the persecution
of genius fosters its influence; foreign tyrants, and all who have
imitated their oppression, have merely procured infamy for themselves
and glory for their victims.

That year was such a continuous succession of prosecutions that on
the days of the Latin festival when Drusus, as city-prefect, had ascended
his tribunal for the inauguration of his office, Calpurnius Salvianus
appeared before him against Sextus Marius. This the emperor openly
censured, and it caused the banishment of Salvianus. Next, the people
of Cyzicus were accused of publicly neglecting the established worship
of the Divine Augustus, and also of acts of violence to Roman citizens.
They were deprived of the franchise which they had earned during the
war with Mithridates, when their city was besieged, and when they
repulsed the king as much by their own bravery as by the aid of Lucullus.
Then followed the acquittal of Fonteius Capito, the late proconsul
of Asia, on proof that charges brought against him by Vibius Serenus
were fictitious. Still this did not injure Serenus, to whom public
hatred was actually a protection. Indeed any conspicuously restless
informer was, so to say, inviolable; only the insignificant and undistinguished
were punished.

About the same time Further Spain sent a deputation to the Senate,
with a request to be allowed, after the example of Asia, to erect
a temple to Tiberius and his mother. On this occasion, the emperor,
who had generally a strong contempt for honours, and now thought it
right to reply to the rumour which reproached him with having yielded
to vanity, delivered the following speech:-

“I am aware, Senators, that many deplore my want of firmness in not
having opposed a similar recent petition from the cities of Asia.
I will therefore both explain the grounds of my previous silence and
my intentions for the future. Inasmuch as the Divine Augustus did
not forbid the founding of a temple at Pergamos to himself and to
the city of Rome, I who respect as law all his actions and sayings,
have the more readily followed a precedent once approved, seeing that
with the worship of myself was linked an expression of reverence towards
the Senate. But though it may be pardonable to have allowed this once,
it would be a vain and arrogant thing to receive the sacred honour
of images representing the divine throughout all the provinces, and
the homage paid to Augustus will disappear if it is vulgarised by
indiscriminate flattery.

“For myself, Senators, I am mortal and limited to the functions of
humanity, content if I can adequately fill the highest place; of this
I solemnly assure you, and would have posterity remember it. They
will more than sufficiently honour my memory by believing me to have
been worthy of my ancestry, watchful over your interests, courageous
in danger, fearless of enmity, when the State required it. These sentiments
of your hearts are my temples, these my most glorious and abiding
monuments. Those built of stone are despised as mere tombs, if the
judgment of posterity passes into hatred. And therefore this is my
prayer to our allies, our citizens, and to heaven itself; to the last,
that, to my life’s close, it grant me a tranquil mind, which can discern
alike human and divine claims; to the first, that, when I die, they
honour my career and the reputation of my name with praise and kindly

Henceforth Tiberius even in private conversations persisted in showing
contempt for such homage to himself. Some attributed this to modesty;
many to self-distrust; a few to a mean spirit. “The noblest men,”
it was said, “have the loftiest aspirations, and so Hercules and Bacchus
among the Greeks and Quirinus among us were enrolled in the number
of the gods. Augustus, did better, seeing that he had aspired. All
other things princes have as a matter of course; one thing they ought
insatiably to pursue, that their memory may be glorious. For to despise
fame is to despise merit.”
The Annals by Tacitus