When the men, at whom this strong censure was levelled, loudly protested,
Silius, who had a quarrel with Suilius, attacked them with savage
energy. He cited as examples the orators of old who had thought fame
with posterity the fairest recompense of eloquence. And, “apart from
this,” he said, “the first of noble accomplishments was debased by
sordid services, and even good faith could not be upheld in its integrity,
when men looked at the greatness of their gains. If law suits turned
to no one’s profit, there would be fewer of them. As it was, quarrels,
accusations, hatreds and wrongs were encouraged, in order that, as
the violence of disease brings fees to the physician, so the corruption
of the forum might enrich the advocate. They should remember Caius
Asinius and Messala, and, in later days, Arruntius and Aeserninus,
men raised by a blameless life and by eloquence to the highest honours.”

So spoke the consul-elect, and others agreed with him. A resolution
was being framed to bring the guilty under the law of extortion, when
Suilius and Cossutianus and the rest, who saw themselves threatened
with punishment rather than trial, for their guilt was manifest, gathered
round the emperor, and prayed forgiveness for the past.

When he had nodded assent, they began to plead their cause. “Who,”
they asked, “can be so arrogant as to anticipate in hope an eternity
of renown? It is for the needs and the business of life that the resource
of eloquence is acquired, thanks to which no one for want of an advocate
is at the mercy of the powerful. But eloquence cannot be obtained
for nothing; private affairs are neglected, in order that a man may
devote himself to the business of others. Some support life by the
profession of arms, some by cultivating land. No work is expected
from any one of which he has not before calculated the profits. It
was easy for Asinius and Messala, enriched with the prizes of the
conflict between Antony and Augustus, it was easy for Arruntius and
Aeserninus, the heirs of wealthy families, to assume grand airs. We
have examples at hand. How great were the fees for which Publius Clodius
and Caius Curio were wont to speak! We are ordinary senators, seeking
in the tranquillity of the State for none but peaceful gains. You
must consider the plebeian, how he gains distinction from the gown.
Take away the rewards of a profession, and the profession must perish.”
The emperor thought that these arguments, though less noble, were
not without force. He limited the fee which might be taken to ten
thousand sesterces, and those who exceeded this limit were to be liable
to the penalties of extortion.

About this same time Mithridates, of whom I have before spoken as
having ruled Armenia, and having been imprisoned by order of Caius
Caesar, made his way back to his kingdom at the suggestion of Claudius
and in reliance on the help of Pharasmanes. This Pharasmanes, who
was king of the Iberians and Mithridates’ brother, now told him that
the Parthians were divided, and that the highest questions of empire
being uncertain, lesser matters were neglected. Gotarzes, among his
many cruelties, had caused the death of his brother Artabanus, with
his wife and son. Hence his people feared for themselves and sent
for Vardanes. Ever ready for daring achievements, Vardanes traversed
375 miles in two days, and drove before him the surprised and terrified
Gotarzes. Without moment’s delay, he seized the neighbouring governments,
Seleucia alone refusing his rule. Rage against the place, which indeed
had also revolted from his father, rather than considerations of policy,
made him embarrass himself with the siege of a strong city, which
the defence of a river flowing by it, with fortifications and supplies,
had thoroughly secured. Gotarzes meanwhile, aided by the resources
of the Dahae and Hyrcanians, renewed the war; and Vardanes, compelled
to raise the siege of Seleucia, encamped on the plains of Bactria.

Then it was that while the forces of the East were divided, and hesitated
which side they should take, the opportunity of occupying Armenia
was presented to Mithridates, who had the vigorous soldiers of Rome
to storm the fortified heights, while his Iberian cavalry scoured
the plain. The Armenians made no resistance after their governor,
Demonax, had ventured on a battle and had been routed. Cotys, king
of Lesser Armenia, to whom some of the nobles inclined, caused some
delay, but he was stopped by a despatch from Claudius, and then everything
passed into the hands of Mithridates, who showed more cruelty than
was wise in a new ruler. The Parthian princes however, just when they
were beginning battle, came to a sudden agreement, on discovering
a plot among their people, which Gotarzes revealed to his brother.
At first they approached each other with hesitation; then, joining
right hands, they promised before the altars of their gods to punish
the treachery of their enemies and to yield one to the other. Vardanes
seemed more capable of retaining rule. Gotarzes, to avoid all rivalry,
retired into the depths of Hyrcania. When Vardanes returned, Seleucia
capitulated to him, seven years after its revolt, little to the credit
of the Parthians, whom a single city had so long defied.

He then visited the strongest governments, and was eager to recover
Armenia, but was stopped by Vibius Marsus, governor of Syria, who
threatened war. Meanwhile Gotarzes, who repented of having relinquished
his throne, at the solicitation of the nobility, to whom subjection
is a special hardship in peace, collected a force. Vardanes marched
against him to the river Charinda; a fierce battle was fought over
the passage, Vardanes winning a complete victory, and in a series
of successful engagements subduing the intermediate tribes as far
as the river Sindes, which is the boundary between the Dahae and the
Arians. There his successes terminated. The Parthians, victorious
though they were, rebelled against distant service. So after erecting
monuments on which he recorded his greatness, and the tribute won
from peoples from whom no Arsacid had won it before, he returned covered
with glory, and therefore the more haughty and more intolerable to
his subjects than ever. They arranged a plot, and slew him when he
was off his guard and intent upon the chase. He was still in his first
youth, and might have been one of the illustrious few among aged princes,
had he sought to be loved by his subjects as much as to be feared
by his foes.
The Annals by Tacitus