|Do not fly Iberia
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Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book XII Chapter 41: Nero declared adult[AD 51]
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|In the fifth consulship of Tiberius Claudius with Sextius Cornelius Orfitus for his colleague, Nero was prematurely invested with the dress of manhood, that he might be thought qualified for political life. The emperor willingly complied with the flattery of the Senate who wished Nero to enter on the consulship in his twentieth year, and meanwhile, as consul-elect, to have proconsular authority beyond the limits of the capital with the title of prince of the youth of Rome." A donative was also given to the soldiery in Nero's name, and presents to the city populace. At the games too of the circus which were then being celebrated to win for him popular favour, Britannicus wore the dress of boyhood, Nero the triumphal robe, as they rode in the procession. The people would thus behold the one with the decorations of a general, the other in a boy's habit, and would accordingly anticipate their respective destinies. At the same time those of the centurions and tribunes who pitied the lot of Britannicus were removed, some on false pretexts, others by way of a seeming compliment. Even of the freedmen, all who were of incorruptible fidelity were discarded on the following provocation. Once when they met, Nero greeted Britannicus by that name and was greeted in return as Domitius. Agrippina reported this to her husband, with bitter complaint, as the beginning of a quarrel, as implying, in fact, contempt of Nero's adoption and a cancelling at home of the Senate's decree and the people's vote. She said, too, that, if the perversity of such malignant suggestions were not checked, it would issue in the ruin of the State. Claudius, enraged by what he took as a grave charge, punished with banishment or death all his son's best instructors, and set persons appointed by his step-mother to have the care of him.