When the sight was over, the outlet of the water was opened. The careless
execution of the work was apparent, the tunnel not having been bored
down so low as the bottom, or middle of the lake. Consequently after
an interval the excavations were deepened, and to attract a crowd
once more, a show of gladiators was exhibited, with floating pontoons
for an infantry engagement. A banquet too was prepared close to the
outflow of the lake, and it was the means of greatly alarming the
whole company, for the water, in the violence of its outburst, swept
away the adjoining parts, shook the more remote, and spread terror
with the tremendous crash. At the same time, Agrippina availed herself
of the emperor’s fright to charge Narcissus, who had been the agent
of the work, with avarice and peculation. He too was not silent, but
inveighed against the domineering temper of her sex, and her extravagant

In the consulship of Didius Junius and Quintus Haterius, Nero, now
sixteen years of age, married Octavia, the emperor’s daughter. Anxious
to distinguish himself by noble pursuits, and the reputation of an
orator, he advocated the cause of the people of Ilium, and having
eloquently recounted how Rome was the offspring of Troy, and Aeneas
the founder of the Julian line, with other old traditions akin to
myths, he gained for his clients exemption from all public burdens.
His pleading too procured for the colony of Bononia, which had been
ruined by a fire, a subvention of ten million sesterces. The Rhodians
also had their freedom restored to them, which had often been taken
away, or confirmed, according to their services to us in our foreign
wars, or their seditious misdeeds at home. Apamea, too, which had
been shaken by an earthquake, had its tribute remitted for five years.

Claudius, on the other hand, was being prompted to exhibit the worst
cruelty by the artifices of the same Agrippina. On the accusation
of Tarquitius Priscus, she ruined Statilius Taurus, who was famous
for his wealth, and at whose gardens she cast a greedy eye. Priscus
had served under Taurus in his proconsular government of Africa, and
after their return charged him with a few acts of extortion, but particularly
with magical and superstitious practices. Taurus, no longer able to
endure a false accusation and an undeserved humiliation, put a violent
end to his life before the Senate’s decision was pronounced. Tarquitius
was however expelled from the Senate, a point which the senators carried,
out of hatred for the accuser, notwithstanding the intrigues of Agrippina.

That same year the emperor was often heard to say that the legal decisions
of the commissioners of the imperial treasury ought to have the same
force as if pronounced by himself. Lest it might be supposed that
he had stumbled inadvertently into this opinion, its principle was
also secured by a decree of the Senate on a more complete and ample
scale than before. It had indeed already been arranged by the Divine
Augustus that the Roman knights who governed Egypt should hear causes,
and that their decisions were to be as binding as those of Roman magistrates,
and after a time most of the cases formerly tried by the praetors
were submitted to the knights. Claudius handed over to them the whole
administration of justice for which there had been by sedition or
war so many struggles; the Sempronian laws vesting judicial power
in the equestrian order, and those of Servilius restoring it to the
Senate, while it was for this above everything else that Marius and
Sulla fought of old. But those were days of political conflict between
classes, and the results of victory were binding on the State. Caius
Oppius and Cornelius Balbus were the first who were able, with Caesar’s
support, to settle conditions of peace and terms of war. To mention
after them the Matii, Vedii, and other too influential names of Roman
knights would be superfluous, when Claudius, we know, raised freedmen
whom he had set over his household to equality with himself and with
the laws.

Next the emperor proposed to grant immunity from taxation to the people
of Cos, and he dwelt much on their antiquity. “The Argives or Coeus,
the father of Latona, were the earliest inhabitants of the island;
soon afterwards, by the arrival of Aesculapius, the art of the physician
was introduced and was practised with much fame by his descendants.”
Claudius named them one by one, with the periods in which they had
respectively flourished. He said too that Xenophon, of whose medical
skill he availed himself, was one of the same family, and that they
ought to grant his request and let the people of Cos dwell free from
all tribute in their sacred island, as a place devoted to the sole
service of their god. It was also certain that many obligations under
which they had laid Rome and joint victories with her might have been
recounted. Claudius however did not seek to veil under any external
considerations a concession he had made, with his usual good nature,
to an individual.

Envoys from Byzantium having received audience, in complaining to
the Senate of their heavy burdens, recapitulated their whole history.
Beginning with the treaty which they concluded with us when we fought
against that king of Macedonia whose supposed spurious birth acquired
for him the name of the Pseudo Philip, they reminded us of the forces
which they had afterwards sent against Antiochus, Perses and Aristonicus,
of the aid they had given Antonius in the pirate-war, of their offers
to Sulla, Lucullus, and Pompeius, and then of their late services
to the Caesars, when they were in occupation of a district peculiarly
convenient for the land or sea passage of generals and armies, as
well as for the conveyance of supplies.
The Annals by Tacitus