|Do not fly Iberia
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Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book XIV Chapter 51: Death of Burrus[AD 62]
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|But while the miseries of the State were daily growing worse, its supports were becoming weaker. Burrus died whether from illness or from poison was a question. It was supposed to be illness from the fact that from the gradual swelling of his throat inwardly and the closing up of the passage he ceased to breathe. Many positively asserted that by Nero's order his throat was smeared with some poisonous drug under the pretence of the application of a remedy, and that Burrus, who saw through the crime, when the emperor paid him a visit, recoiled with horror from his gaze, and merely replied to his question, I indeed am well. Rome felt for him a deep and lasting regret, because of the remembrance of his worth, because too of the merely passive virtue of one of his successors and the very flagrant iniquities of the other. For the emperor had appointed two men to the command of the praetorian cohorts Faenius Rufus, for a vulgar popularity, which he owed to his administration of the corn-supplies without profit to himself; and Sofonius Tigellinus, whose inveterate shamelessness and infamy were an attraction to him. As might have been expected from their known characters, Tigellinus had the greater influence with the prince, and was the associate of his most secret profligacy, while Rufus enjoyed the favour of the people and of the soldiers, and this, he found, prejudiced him with Nero.
|Sed gravescentibus in dies publicis malis subsidia minuebantur, concessitque vita Burrus, incertum valetudine an veneno. valetudo ex eo coniectabatur, quod in se tumescentibus paulatim faucibus et impedito meatu spiritum finiebat. plures iussu Neronis, quasi remedium adhiberetur, inlitum palatum eius noxio medicamine adseverabant, et Burrum intellecto scelere, cum ad visendum eum princeps venisset, adspectum eius aversatum sciscitanti hactenus respondisse: "ego me bene habeo." civitati grande desiderium eius mansit per memoriam virtutis et successorum alterius segnem innocentiam, alterius flagrantissima flagitia [adulteria]. quippe Caesar duos praetoriis cohortibus imposuerat, Faenium Rufum ex vulgi favore, quia rem frumentariam sine quaestu tractabat, Ofonium Tigellinum, veterem impudicitiam atque infamiam in eo secutus. atque illi pro cognitis moribus fuere, validior Tigellinus in animo principis et intimis libidinibus adsumptus, prospera populi et militum fama Rufus,