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Quote of the day: Augustus had an easy and fluent way of s
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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book I Chapter 53: Death of Julia and Gracchus[AD 14]
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That same year Julia ended her days. For her profligacy she had formerly been confined by her father Augustus in the island of Pandateria and then in the town of the Regini on the shores of the straits of Sicily. She had been the wife of Tiberius while Gaius and Lucius Caesar were in their glory, and had disdained him as an unequal match. This was Tiberius's special reason for retiring to Rhodes. When he obtained the empire, he left her in banishment and disgrace, deprived of all hope after the murder of Postumus Agrippa, and let her perish by a lingering death of destitution, with the idea that an obscurity would hang over her end from the length of her exile. He had a like motive for cruel vengeance on Sempronius Gracchus, a man of noble family, of shrewd understanding, and a perverse eloquence, who had seduced this same Julia when she was the wife of Marcus Agrippa. And this was not the end of the intrigue. When she had been handed over to Tiberius, her persistent paramour inflamed her with disobedience and hatred towards her husband; and a letter which Julia wrote to her father, Augustus, inveighing against Tiberius, was supposed to be the composition of Gracchus. He was accordingly banished to Cercina, where he endured an exile of fourteen years. Then the soldiers who were sent to slay him, found him on a promontory, expecting no good. On their arrival, he begged a brief interval in which to give by letter his last instructions to his wife Alliaria, and then offered his neck to the executioners, dying with a courage not unworthy of the Sempronian name, which his degenerate life had dishonoured. Some have related that these soldiers were not sent from Rome, but by Lucius Asprenas, proconsul of Africa, on the authority of Tiberius, who had vainly hoped that the infamy of the murder might be shifted on Asprenas. Eodem anno Iulia supremum diem obiit, ob impudicitiam olim a patre Augusto Pandateria insula, mox oppido Reginorum, qui Siculum fretum accolunt, clausa. fuerat in matrimonio Tiberii florentibus Gaio et Lucio Caesaribus spreveratque ut inparem; nec alia tam intima Tiberio causa cur Rhodum abscederet. imperium adeptus extorrem, infamem et post interfectum Postumum Agrippam omnis spei egenam inopia ac tabe longa peremit, obscuram fore necem longinquitate exilii ratus. par causa saevitiae in Sempronium Gracchum, qui familia nobili, sollers ingenio et prave facundus, eandem Iuliam in matrimonio Marci Agrippae temeraverat. nec is libidini finis: traditam Tiberio pervicax adulter contumacia et odiis in maritum accendebat; litteraeque quas Iulia patri Augusto cum insectatione Tiberii scripsit a Graccho compositae credebantur. igitur amotus Cercinam, Africi maris insulam, quattuordecim annis exilium toleravit. tunc milites ad caedem missi invenere in prominenti litoris nihil laetum opperientem. quorum adventu breve tempus petivit ut suprema mandata uxori Alliariae per litteras daret, cervicemque percussoribus obtulit; constantia mortis haud in dignus Sempronio nomine vita degeneraverat. quidam non Roma eos milites, sed ab L. Asprenate pro consule Africae missos tradidere auctore Tiberio, qui famam caedis posse in Asprenatem