There was profound excitement among those present, and they even tried
to soothe her agitation, but she insisted on an interview with her
son. Then, instead of pleading her innocence, as though she lacked
confidence, or her claims on him by way of reproach, she obtained
vengeance on her accusers and rewards for her friends.

The superintendence of the corn supply was given to Faenius Rufus,
the direction of the games which the emperor was preparing, to Arruntius
Stella, and the province of Egypt to Caius Balbillus. Syria was to
be assigned to Publius Anteius, but he was soon put off by various
artifices and finally detained at Rome. Silana was banished; Calvisius
and Iturius exiled for a time; Atimetus was capitally punished, while
Paris was too serviceable to the emperor’s profligacy to allow of
his suffering any penalty. Plautus for the present was silently passed

Next Pallas and Burrus were accused of having conspired to raise Cornelius
Sulla to the throne, because of his noble birth and connection with
Claudius, whose son-in-law he was by his marriage with Antonia. The
promoter of the prosecution was one Paetus, who had become notorious
by frequent purchases of property confiscated to the exchequer and
was now convicted clearly of imposture. But the proved innocence of
Pallas did Pallas did not please men so much, as his arrogance offended
them. When his freedmen, his alleged accomplices, were called, he
replied that at home he signified his wishes only by a nod or a gesture,
or, if further explanation was required, he used writing, so as not
to degrade his voice in such company. Burrus, though accused, gave
his verdict as one of the judges. The prosecutor was sentenced to
exile, and the account-books in which he was reviving forgotten claims
of the exchequer, were burnt.

At the end of the year the cohort usually on guard during the games
was withdrawn, that there might be a greater show of freedom, that
the soldiery too might be less demoralised when no longer in contact
with the licence of the theatre, and that it might be proved whether
the populace, in the absence of a guard, would maintain their self-control.
The emperor, on the advice of the augurs, purified Rome by a lustration,
as the temples of Jupiter and Minerva had been struck by lightning.

In the consulship of Quintus Volusius and Publius Scipio, there was
peace abroad, but a disgusting licentiousness at home on the part
of Nero, who in a slave’s disguise, so as to be unrecognized, would
wander through the streets of Rome, to brothels and taverns, with
comrades, who seized on goods exposed for sale and inflicted wounds
on any whom they encountered, some of these last knowing him so little
that he even received blows himself, and showed the marks of them
in his face. When it was notorious that the emperor was the assailant,
and the insults on men and women of distinction were multiplied, other
persons too on the strength of a licence once granted under Nero’s
name, ventured with impunity on the same practices, and had gangs
of their own, till night presented the scenes of a captured city.
Julius Montanus, a senator, but one who had not yet held any office,
happened to encounter the prince in the darkness, and because he fiercely
repulsed his attack and then on recognizing him begged for mercy,
as though this was a reproach, forced to destroy himself. Nero was
for the future more timid, and surrounded himself with soldiers and
a number of gladiators, who, when a fray began on a small scale and
seemed a private affair, were to let it alone, but, if the injured
persons resisted stoutly, they rushed in with their swords. He also
turned the licence of the games and the enthusiasm for the actors
into something like a battle by the impunity he allowed, and the rewards
he offered, and especially by looking on himself, sometimes concealed,
but often in public view, till, with the people at strife and the
fear of a worse commotion, the only remedy which could be devised
was the expulsion of the offending actors from Italy, and the presence
once more of the soldiery in the theatre.

During the same time there was a discussion in the Senate on the misconduct
of the freedmen class, and a strong demand was made that, as a check
on the undeserving, patrons should have the right of revoking freedom.
There were several who supported this. But the consuls did not venture
to put the motion without the emperor’s knowledge, though they recorded
the Senate’s general opinion, to see whether he would sanction the
arrangement, considering that only a few were opposed to it, while
some loudly complained that the irreverent spirit which freedom had
fostered, had broken into such excess, that freedmen would ask their
patrons’ advice as to whether they should treat them with violence,
or, as legally, their equals, and would actually threaten them with
blows, at the same time recommending them not to punish. “What right,”
it was asked, “was conceded to an injured patron but that of temporarily
banishing the freedman a hundred miles off to the shores of Campania?
In everything else, legal proceedings were equal and the same for
both. Some weapon ought to be given to the patrons which could not
be despised. It would be no grievance for the enfranchised to have
to keep their freedom by the same respectful behaviour which had procured
it for them. But, as for notorious offenders, they deserved to be
dragged back into slavery, that fear might be a restraint where kindness
had had no effect.”
The Annals by Tacitus