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Quote of the day: Though sterner judges pronounced Vitelli
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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book VI Chapter 21: Thrasyllus[AD 33]
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Whenever he sought counsel on such matters, he would make use of the top of the house and of the confidence of one freedman, quite illiterate and of great physical strength. The man always walked in front of the person whose science Tiberius had determined to test, through an unfrequented and precipitous path (for the house stood on rocks), and then, if any suspicion had arisen of imposture or of trickery, he hurled the astrologer, as he returned, into the sea beneath, that no one might live to betray the secret. Thrasyllus accordingly was led up the same cliffs, and when he had deeply impressed his questioner by cleverly revealing his imperial destiny and future career, he was asked whether he had also thoroughly ascertained his own horoscope, and the character of that particular year and day. After surveying the positions and relative distances of the stars, he first paused, then trembled, and the longer he gazed, the more was he agitated by amazement and terror, till at last he exclaimed that a perilous and well-nigh fatal crisis impended over him. Tiberius then embraced him and congratulated him on foreseeing his dangers and on being quite safe. Taking what he had said as an oracle, he retained him in the number of his intimate friends. Quotiens super tali negotio consultaret, edita domus parte ac liberti unius conscientia utebatur. is litterarum ignarus, corpore valido, per avia ac derupta (nam saxis domus imminet) praeibat eum cuius artem experiri Tiberius statuisset et regredientem, si vanitatis aut fraudum suspicio incesserat, in subiectum mare praecipitabat ne index arcani existeret. igitur Thrasullus isdem rupibus inductus postquam percontantem commoverat, imperium ipsi et futura sollerter patefaciens, interrogatur an suam quoque genitalem horam comperisset, quem tum annum, qualem diem haberet. ille positus siderum ac spatia dimensus haerere primo, dein pavescere, et quantum introspiceret magis ac magis trepidus admirationis et metus, postremo exclamat ambiguum sibi ac prope ultimum discrimen instare. tum complexus eum Tiberius praescium periculorum et incolumem fore gratatur, quaeque dixerat oracli vice accipiens inter intimos