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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book VI Chapter 2: Swords for Tiberius?[AD 32]
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At Rome meanwhile, in the beginning of the year, as if Livia's crimes had just been discovered and not also long ago punished, terrible decrees were proposed against her very statues and memory, and the property of Sejanus was to be taken from the exchequer and transferred to the imperial treasury; as if there was any difference. The motion was being urged with extreme persistency, in almost the same or with but slightly changed language, by such men as Scipio, Silanus, and Cassius, when suddenly Togonius Gallus intruding his own obscurity among illustrious names, was heard with ridicule. He begged the emperor to select a number of senators, twenty out of whom should be chosen by lot to wear swords and to defend his person, whenever he entered the Senate-House. The man had actually believed a letter from him in which he asked the protection of one of the consuls, so that he might go in safety from Capreae to Rome. Tiberius however, who usually combined jesting and seriousness, thanked the senators for their goodwill, but asked who could be rejected, who could be chosen? "Were they always to be the same, or was there to be a succession? Were they to be men who had held office or youths, private citizens or officials? Then, again, what a scene would be presented by persons grasping their swords on the threshold of the Senate House? His life was not of so much worth if it had to be defended by arms." This was his answer to Togonius, guarded in its expression, and he urged nothing beyond the rejection of the motion. At Romae principio anni, quasi recens cognitis Liviae flagitiis ac non pridem etiam punitis, atroces sententiae dicebantur in effigies quoque ac memoriam eius et bona Seiani ablata aerario ut in fiscum cogerentur, tamquam referret. Scipiones haec et Silani et Cassii isdem ferme aut paulum immutatis verbis adseveratione multa censebant, cum repente Togonius Gallus, dum ignobilitatem suam magnis nominibus inserit, per deridiculum auditur. nam principem orabat deligere senatores ex quis viginti sorte ducti et ferro accincti, quoties curiam inisset, salutem eius defenderent. crediderat nimirum epistulae subsidio sibi alterum ex consulibus poscentis ut tutus a Capreis urbem peteret. Tiberius tamen, ludibria seriis permiscere solitus, egit grates benevolentiae patrum: sed quos omitti posse, quos deligi? semperne eosdem an subinde alios? et honori bus perfunctos an iuvenes, privatos an e magistratibus? quam deinde speciem fore sumentium in limine curiae gladios? neque sibi vitam tanti si armis tegenda foret. haec adversus Togonium verbis moderans neque ultra