Next Drusus perished, after having prolonged life for eight days on
the most wretched of food, even chewing the stuffing, his bed. According
to some writers, Macro had been instructed that, in case of Sejanus
attempting an armed revolt, he was to hurry the young prince out of
the confinement in which he was detained in the Palace and put him
at the head of the people. Subsequently the emperor, as a rumour was
gaining ground that he was on the point of a reconciliation with his
daughter-in-law and his grandson, chose to be merciless rather than
to relent.

He even bitterly reviled him after his death, taunting him with nameless
abominations and with a spirit bent on his family’s ruin and hostile
to the State. And, what seemed most horrible of all, he ordered a
daily journal of all that he said and did to be read in public. That
there had been spies by his side for so many years, to note his looks,
his sighs, and even his whispered thoughts, and that his grandfather
could have heard read, and published all, was scarce credible. But
letters of Attius, a centurion, and Didymus, a freedman, openly exhibited
the names of slave after slave who had respectively struck or scared
Drusus as he was quitting his chamber. The centurion had actually
added, as something highly meritorious, his own language in all its
brutality, and some utterances of the dying man in which, at first
feigning loss of reason, he imprecated in seeming madness fearful
things on Tiberius, and then, when hope of life was gone, denounced
him with a studied and elaborate curse. “As he had slain a daughter-in-law,
a brother’s son, and son’s sons, and filled his whole house with bloodshed,
so might he pay the full penalty due to the name and race of his ancestors
as well as to future generations.”

The Senate clamorously interrupted, with an affectation of horror,
but they were penetrated by alarm and amazement at seeing that a hitherto
cunning prince, who had shrouded his wickedness in mystery, had waxed
so bold as to remove, so to speak, the walls of his house and display
his grandson under a centurion’s lash, amid the buffetings of slaves,
craving in vain the last sustenance of life.

Men’s grief at all this had not died away when news was heard of Agrippina.
She had lived on, sustained by hope, I suppose, after the destruction
of Sejanus, and, when she found no abatement of horrors, had voluntarily
perished, though possibly nourishment was refused her and a fiction
concocted of a death that might seem self-chosen. Tiberius, it is
certain, vented his wrath in the foulest charges. He reproached her
with unchastity, with having had Asinius Gallus as a paramour and
being driven by his death to loathe existence. But Agrippina, who
could not endure equality and loved to domineer, was with her masculine
aspirations far removed from the frailties of women. The emperor further
observed that she died on the same day on which Sejanus had paid the
penalty of his crime two years before, a fact, he said, to be recorded;
and he made it a boast that she had not been strangled by the halter
and flung down the Gemonian steps. He received a vote of thanks, and
it was decreed that on the seventeenth of October, the day on which
both perished, through all future years, an offering should be consecrated
to Jupiter.

Soon afterwards Cocceius Nerva, a man always at the emperor’s side,
a master of law both divine and human, whose position was secure and
health sound, resolved to die. Tiberius, as soon as he knew it, sat
by him and asked his reasons, adding intreaties, and finally protesting
that it would be a burden on his conscience and a blot on his reputation,
if the most intimate of his friends were to fly from life without
any cause for death. Nerva turned away from his expostulations and
persisted in his abstinence from all food. Those who knew his thoughts
said that as he saw more closely into the miseries of the State, he
chose, in anger and alarm, an honourable death, while he was yet safe
and unassailed on.

Meanwhile Agrippina’s ruin, strange to say, dragged Plancina with
it. Formerly the wife of Cneius Piso, and one who had openly exulted
at the death of Germanicus, she had been saved, when Piso fell, by
the intreaties of Augusta, and not less by the enmity of Agrippina.
When hatred and favour had alike passed away, justice asserted itself.
Pursued by charges universally notorious, she suffered by her own
hand a penalty tardy rather than undeserved.
The Annals by Tacitus