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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Death and Character of Tiberius
By Tacitus (56–c. 120 A.D.)
 
From the ‘Annals’: Translation of Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb

ON the 15th of March, his breath failing, he was believed to have expired; and Caius Cæsar 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 Cæsar, in silent stupor, passed from the highest hopes to the extremity of apprehension. Marco, nothing daunted, ordered the old emperor to be smothered under a huge heap of clothes; and all to quit the entrance-hall.  1
  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 Cæsar, 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.  2
 
 
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