While he thus spoke like a prophet, he opened his veins. What followed
will be a proof that Arruntius rightly chose death. Albucilla, having
stabbed herself with an ineffectual wound, was by the Senate’s order
carried off to prison. Those who had ministered to her profligacy,
Carsidius Sacerdos, an ex-praetor, and Pontius Fregellanus were sentenced,
respectively, to transportation to an island and to loss of a senator’s
rank. A like punishment was adjudged in the case of Laelius Balbus,
and, indeed, with intense satisfaction, as Balbus was noted for his
savage eloquence and his eagerness to assail the innocent.

About the same time Sextus Papinius, who belonged to a family of consular
rank, chose a sudden and shocking death, by throwing himself from
a height. The cause was ascribed to his mother who, having been repeatedly
repulsed in her overtures, had at last by her arts and seductions
driven him to an extremity from which he could find no escape but
death. She was accordingly put on her trial before the Senate, and,
although she grovelled at the knees of the senators and long urged
a parent’s grief, the greater weakness of a woman’s mind under such
an affliction and other sad and pitiful pleas of the same painful
kind, she was after all banished from Rome for ten years, till her
younger son would have passed the frail period of youth.

Tiberius’s bodily powers were now leaving him, but not his skill in
dissembling. There was the same stern spirit; he had his words and
looks under strict control, and occasionally would try to hide his
weakness, evident as it was, by a forced politeness. After frequent
changes of place, he at last settled down on the promontory of Misenum
in a country-house once owned by Lucius Lucullus. There it was noted,
in this way, that he was drawing near his end. There was a physician,
distinguished in his profession, of the name of Charicles, usually
employed, not indeed to have the direction of the emperor’s varying
health, but to put his advice at immediate disposal. This man, as
if he were leaving on business his own, clasped his hand, with a show
of homage, and touched his pulse. Tiberius noticed it. Whether he
was displeased and strove the more to hide his anger, is a question;
at any rate, he ordered the banquet to be renewed, and sat at the
table longer than usual, by way, apparently, of showing honour to
his departing friend. Charicles, however, assured Macro that his breath
was failing and that he would not last more than two days. All was
at once hurry; there were conferences among those on the spot and
despatches to the generals and armies. On the 15th of March, his breath
failing, he was believed to have expired, and Caius Caesar was going
forth with a numerous throng of congratulating followers to take the
first possession of the empire, when suddenly news came that Tiberius
was recovering his voice and sight, and calling for persons to bring
him food to revive him from his faintness. Then ensued a universal
panic, and while the rest fled hither and thither, every one feigning
grief or ignorance, Caius Caesar, in silent stupor, passed from the
highest hopes to the extremity of apprehension. Macro, nothing daunted,
ordered the old emperor to be smothered under a huge heap of clothes,
and all to quit the entrance-hall.

And so died Tiberius, in the seventy eighth year of his age. Nero
was his father, and he was on both sides descended from the Claudian
house, though his mother passed by adoption, first into the Livian,
then into the Julian family. From earliest infancy, perilous vicissitudes
were his lot. Himself an exile, he was the companion of a proscribed
father, and on being admitted as a stepson into the house of Augustus,
he had to struggle with many rivals, so long as Marcellus and Agrippa
and, subsequently, Caius and Lucius Caesar were in their glory. Again
his brother Drusus enjoyed in a greater degree the affection of the
citizens. But he was more than ever on dangerous ground after his
marriage with Julia, whether he tolerated or escaped from his wife’s
profligacy. On his return from Rhodes he ruled the emperor’s now heirless
house for twelve years, and the Roman world, with absolute sway, for
about twenty-three. His character too had its distinct periods. It
was a bright time in his life and reputation, while under Augustus
he was a private citizen or held high offices; a time of reserve and
crafty assumption of virtue, as long as Germanicus and Drusus were
alive. Again, while his mother lived, he was a compound of good and
evil; he was infamous for his cruelty, though he veiled his debaucheries,
while he loved or feared Sejanus. Finally, he plunged into every wickedness
and disgrace, when fear and shame being cast off, he simply indulged
his own inclinations.

[The four following books and the beginning of Book XI, which are
lost, contained the history of a period of nearly ten years, from
A.D. 37 to A.D. 47. These years included the reign of Caius Caesar
(Caligula), the son of Germanicus by the elder Agrippina, and the
first six years of the reign of Claudius. Caius Caesar’s reign was
three years ten months and eight days in duration. Claudius (Tiberius
Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus), the brother of Germanicus, succeeded
him, at the age of fifty, and reigned from A.D. 41 to A.D. 54.

The Eleventh Book of the Annals opens with the seventh year of Claudius’s
reign. The power of his wife Messalina was then at its height. She
was, it seems, jealous of a certain Poppaea Sabina, who is mentioned
in Book XIII., as “having surpassed in beauty all the ladies of her
day.” This Poppaea was the daughter of the Poppaeus Sabinus alluded
to in Book VI., and the mother of the more famous Poppaea, afterwards
the wife of the emperor Nero. Messalina contrived to involve this
lady and her lover, Valerius Asiaticus, in a ruinous charge. Asiaticus
had been twice consul, once under Caius Caesar, a second time under
Claudius in A.D. 46. He was rich as well as noble. The Eleventh Book,
as we have it, begins with the account of his prosecution by means
Messalina, who with the help of Lucius Vitellius, Vitellius, father
of the Vitellius, afterwards emperor, effected his ruin.