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Caligula, Chapter 8; Birth of Caligula (12 AD)[12 AD]
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Gaius Caesar was born the day before the Kalends of September in the consulship of his father; and Gaius Fonteius Capito [August 31, 12 A.D.]. Conflicting testimony makes his birthplace uncertain. Gnaeus Lentulus Gaetulicus writes that he was born at Tibur, Plinius Secundus among the Treveri, in a village called Ambitarvium above the Confluence. Pliny adds as proof that altars are shown there, inscribed "For the Delivery of Agrippina". Verses which were in circulation soon after he became emperor indicate that he was begotten in the winter-quarters of the legions: |
I myself find in the Acta Publica [the official publication of important events] that he first saw the light at Antium. Gaetulicus is shown to be wrong by Pliny, who says that he told a flattering lie, to add some luster to the fame of a young and vain-glorious prince from the city sacred to Hercules; and that he lied with the more assurance because Germanicus really did have a son born to him at Tibur, also called Gaius Caesar, of whose lovable disposition and untimely death I have already spoken. Pliny has erred in his chronology; for the historians of Augustus agree that Germanicus was not sent to Germany until the close of his consulship, when Gaius was already born. Moreover, the inscription on the altar adds no strength to Pliny's view, for Agrippina twice gave birth to daughters in that region, and any childbirth, regardless of sex, is called puerperium, since the men of old called girls puerae, just as they called boys puelli. Furthermore, we have a letter written by Augustus to his grand-daughter Agrippina, a few months before he died, about the Gaius in question (for no other child of the name was still alive at that time), reading as follows: Yesterday I arranged with Talarius and Asillius to bring your boy Gaius on the fifteenth day before the Kalends of June, if it be the will of the gods. I send with him besides one of my slaves who is a physician, and I have written Germanicus to keep him if he wishes. Farewell, my own Agrippina, and take care to come in good health to your Germanicus. I think it is clear enough that Gaius could not have been born in a place to which he was first taken from Rome when he was nearly two years old. This letter also weakens our confidence in the verses, the more so because they are anonymous. We must then accept the only remaining testimony, that of the public record, particularly since Gaius loved Antium as if it were his native soil, always preferring it to all other places of retreat, and even thinking, it is said, of transferring thither the seat and abode of the empire through weariness of Rome.
|C. Caesar natus est pridie Kal. Sept. patre suo et C. Fonteio Capitone coss. Ubi natus sit, incertum diuersitas tradentium facit. Cn. Lentulus Gaetulicus Tiburi genitum scribit, Plinius Secundus in Treueris uico Ambitaruio supra Confluentes; addit etiam pro argumento aras ibi ostendi inscriptas ob agrippinae pverperivm. Uersiculi imperante mox eo diuulgati apud hibernas legiones procreatum indicant: In castris natus, patriis nutritus in armis, Iam designati principis omen erat. Ego in actis Anti editum inuenio. Gaetulicum refellit Plinius quasi mentitum per adulationem, ut ad laudes iuuenis gloriosique principis aliquid etiam ex urbe Herculi sacra sumeret, abusumque audentius mendacio, quod ante annum fere natus Germanico filius Tiburi fuerat, appellatus et ipse C. Caesar, de cuius amabili pueritia immaturoque obitu supra diximus. Plinium arguratio temporum. Nam qui res Augusti memoriae mandarunt, Germanicum exacto consulatu in Galliam missum consentiunt iam nato Gaio. Nec Plini opinionem inscriptio arae quicquam adiuuerit, cum Agrippina bis in ea regione filias enixa sit, et qualiscumque partus sine ullo sexus discrimine puerperium uocetur, quod antiqui etiam puellas pueras, sicut et pueros puellos dictitarent. Extat et Augusti epistula, ante paucos quam obiret menses ad Agrippinam neptem ita scripta de Gaio hoc--neque enim quisquam iam alius infans nomine pari tunc supererat--: "puerum Gaium XV. Kal. Iun. si dii uolent, ut ducerent Talarius et Asillius, heri cum iis constitui. mitto praeterea cum eo ex seruis meis medicum, quem scripsi Germanico si uellet ut retineret. Ualebis, mea Agrippina, et dabis operam ut ualens peruenias ad Germanicum tuum." Abunde parere arbitror non potuisse ibi nasci Gaium, quo prope bimulus demum perductus ab urbe sit. Uersiculorum quoque fidem eadem haec eleuant et eo facilius, quod ii sine auctore sunt. Sequenda est igitur, quae sola [auctor] restat et publici instrumenti auctoritas, praesertim cum Gaius Antium omnibus semper locis atque secessibus praelatum non aliter quam natale solum dilexerit tradaturque etiam sedem ac domicilium imperii taedio urbis transferre eo destinasse.|