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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book III Chapter 56: Tribunitian power for Drusus[AD 22]
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Tiberius having gained credit for forbearance by the check he had given to the growing terror of the informers, wrote a letter to the Senate requesting the tribunitian power for Drusus. This was a phrase which Augustus devised as a designation of supremacy, so that without assuming the name of king or dictator he might have some title to mark his elevation above all other authority. He then chose Marcus Agrippa to be his associate in this power, and on Agrippa's death, Tiberius Nero, that there might be no uncertainty as to the succession. In this manner he thought to check the perverse ambition of others, while he had confidence in Nero's moderation and in his own greatness. Following this precedent, Tiberius now placed Drusus next to the throne, though while Germanicus was alive he had maintained an impartial attitude towards the two princes. However in the beginning of his letter he implored heaven to prosper his plans on behalf of the State, and then added a few remarks, without falsehood or exaggeration, on the character of the young prince. He had, he reminded them, a wife and three children, and his age was the same as that at which he had himself been formerly summoned by the Divine Augustus to undertake this duty. Nor was it a precipitate step; it was only after an experience of eight years, after having quelled mutinies and settled wars, after a triumph and two consulships, that he was adopted as a partner in trials already familiar to him. Tiberius, fama moderationis parta quod ingruentis accusatores represserat, mittit litteras ad senatum quis potestatem tribuniciam Druso petebat. id summi fastigii vocabulum Augustus repperit, ne regis aut dictatoris nomen adsumeret ac tamen appellatione aliqua cetera imperia praemineret. Marcum deinde Agrippam socum eius potestatis, quo defuncto Tiberium Neronem delegit ne successor in incerto foret. sic cohiberi pravas aliorum spes rebatur; simul modestiae Neronis et suae magnitudini fidebat. quo tunc exemplo Tiberius Drusum summae rei admovit, cum incolumi Germanico integrum inter duos iudicium tenuisset. sed principio litterarum veneratus deos ut consilia sua rei publicae prosperarent, modica de moribus adulescentis neque in falsum aucta rettulit. esse illi coniugem et tres liberos eamque aetatem qua ipse quondam a divo Augusto ad capessendum hoc munus vocatus sit. neque nunc propere sed per octo annos capto experimento, compressis seditionibus, compositis bellis, triumphalem