Ancient History & Civilisation

NOTES

Unless otherwise stated, ‘Tacitus’ refers to The Annals; Valerius Maximus to Memorable Doings and Sayings; Livy, Justin, Florus, Appian, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Cassius Dio, Velleius Paterculus and Herodotus to their respective Histories; Lucretius to On the Nature of Things; Petronius to The Satyricon; Lucan to The Civil War; Strabo to his Geography; Aulus Gellius to Attic Nights; Macrobius to The Saturnalia; Pliny to Pliny the Elder, and his Natural History; Artemidorus to The Interpretation of Dreams; Vitruvius to On Architecture; and Frontinus to On Aqueducts.

Preface

1 Suetonius. Caligula: 46

2 Ibid: 22

3 Ibid: 50.2

4 Seneca. To Helvia: 10.4

5 Eusebius. The Proof of the Gospel: 3.139

6 Philo. On the Embassy to Gaius: 146–7

7 Ovid. Letters from Pontus: 4.9.126

8 Mark 12.17

9 Cassius Dio: 52.34.2

10 Ibid: 53.19.3

11 Tacitus: 3.19

12 Ibid: 1.1

13 Tacitus: 3.65

14 Valerius Maximus: 3.6. preface

15 Seneca. Letters: 57.2

16 Seneca. On Clemency: 1.11.2

17 Ovid. Sorrows: 4.4.15

1 Children of the Wolf

1 Witness, for instance, a dedication made in the late third or early second century BC by a Greek on the Aegean island of Chios, which showcased Romulus and Remus. ‘According to the story,’ the inscription read, ‘it came about that they were begotten by [the war god himself], which one might well consider to be a true story because of the bravery of the Romans.’ Quoted by Wiseman (1995), p. 161.

2 Livy: 31.34

3 Justin: 38.6.7–8

4 Ennius: fragment 156

5 Florus: 1.1.8

6 Sallust. The Conspiracy of Catiline: 7.1–2

7 Livy: 7.6.2

8 Lucretius: 3.834

9 Livy: 37.45

10 So, at any rate, reports Valerius Maximus: 2.2.1

11 Livy: 38.53

12 Livy: 38.50

13 Valerius Maximus: 6.2.8

14 Cicero. On Piso: 16

15 Cicero. On his House: 66

16 Manilius: Astronomica: 1.793

17 Petronius: 119

18 Suetonius. The Deified Julius: 20

19 Livy. Periochae: 103

20 Propertius: 3.4, line 2

21 Appian: 2.31

22 Lucan: 1.109–11

23 Petronius: 121

24 Virgil. Aeneid: 2.557. In the poem, the headless corpse is Priam’s; the detail that Virgil was echoing a description of Pompey we owe to Servius. The description was almost certainly from Asinius Pollio’s history of the civil war. (See Morgan (2000), pp. 52–5.)

25 Dionysius of Halicarnassus: 7.70.1

26 Justin: 28.2.8

27 Suetonius. The Deified Julius: 77

28 Cicero. Philippics: 6.19

29 Plutarch. Titus Quinctius Flaminius: 12.6

30 Livy: 1.3. The observation probably dates to the decade after Caesar’s assassination. See Luce.

31 Cicero. In Defence of Marcellus: 27

32 Pliny: 8.155

33 Cicero. Philippics: 3.12

34 Ovid. Fasti: 2.441. Ovid transposes the oracular command to the time of Romulus, but its actual date was 276 BC. See Wiseman (2008), p. 76.

35 Plutarch. Julius Caesar: 61.4

36 Cassius Dio: 44.11.3

37 Cicero. Republic: 2.30.52

38 Gaius Matius, a businessman whose entire career was marked by a deep suspicion of politics. He is being quoted with deep disapproval by Cicero. Letters to Atticus: 14.1

39 Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews: 14.309

40 From the Memoirs of Augustus, fragment 6. Quoted by Ramsey and Licht, p. 159.

2 Back to the Future

1 Livia was born, almost certainly in Rome, on 30 January 59 – or possibly 58. See Barrett (2002), pp. 309–10

2 Virgil. Eclogues: 4:61

3 Plutarch. Roman Questions: 102

4 Seneca. On Mercy: 1.14.3

5 Barrett (2002: p. 348, n. 18) notes the lack of explicit evidence identifying Livius Drusus as the adoptive father of Drusus Claudianus, but acknowledges the circumstantial evidence to be overwhelming.

6 Dionysius of Halicarnassus: 3.67.5

7 Cicero. Against Verres: 5.180

8 Cicero. On the Responses of the Haruspices: 13.27

9 Cicero. For Marcus Caelius: 21

10 Tacitus: 1.4.3. Scholars are agreed that the darkening of the Claudians’ reputation occurred at some point in the first century BC; Wiseman (1979) convincingly dates it to the late 50s and 40s.

11 Valerius Maximus: 1.4.3

12 Lucan: 2.358

13 Cicero. On his House: 109

14 For the significance of the crocus stamen as a flower part used ‘to promote women’s menstrual and reproductive cycles’, see Sebasta, p. 540, n. 33.

15 Plutarch. Romulus: 15.5

16 Appian: 4.11

17 Velleius Paterculus: 2.71.2

18 Valerius Maximus: 6.8.6

19 Suetonius. The Deified Augustus: 2

20 Although according to Dio (47.49.3), it was lost at sea. Another tradition is recorded by Plutarch (Brutus: 53.4), who reports that Antony had Brutus’s body cremated and the ashes sent home to his mother.

21 Appian: 4.8

22 ‘In Praise of Turia’: the quoted passage comes from a eulogy carved by a mourning husband on the tombstone of his wife. The dead woman has long been identified with a paragon of selfless heroism named Turia, who – according to an anecdote recorded by Valerius Maximus (6.7.2) – risked everything to save her husband from the evils of the Proscriptions. Classicists, as is their way, are now more sceptical than they were of this identification – but not entirely dismissive.

23 Appian: 4.4

24 Suetonius (Augustus: 15) says that 200 senators and knights were offered as a literal sacrifice. The story clearly derives from a hostile source – but although much exaggerated, it is clear that that its origin must lie in an authentic episode.

25 Suetonius. Augustus: 62.2. Suetonius is quoting Augustus’s own words (fragment 14).

26 Ibid

27 By Brunt (1971), pp. 509–12

28 Virgil. Eclogues: 1.11–12

29 Propertius: 4.1.130

30 Virgil. Eclogues: 9.5

31 Horace. Satires: 2.1.37

32 Ibid: 1.6.72–3

33 Virgil. Georgics: 1.505

34 Strabo: 6.1.2

35 Propertius: 2.1.29

36 Velleius: 2.88.2

37 Horace. Epodes: 7.17–20

38 Horace. Odes: 2.13.28

39 Horace. Satires: 2.2.126–7

40 Appian: 5.132

41 Ibid: 5.130

42 Plutarch. Antony: 24

43 Virgil. Aeneid: 4.189–90

44 Seneca. Letters: 94.46. The quotation is from Sallust, The Jugurthine War: 10.6.

45 Seneca. On Benefits: 3.32.4

46 Strabo: 5.3.8

47 Horace. Epodes: 9.5

48 Horace. Satires: 1.5.29

49 Ibid: 1.6.61–2

50 Ibid: 2.6.58

51 Ibid: 2.6.1–3

52 Res Gestae: 25.2

53 Virgil. Aeneid: 8.678–9

54 Horace. Odes: 1.37.1

55 Ovid. Fasti: 1.30

56 Cicero. On Duties: 2.26

57 Livy: 1.10

58 Cornelius Nepos. Life of Atticus: 20.3

59 Or rather, in accordance with what the young Caesar and his agents claimed to have been venerable custom. Just as likely is that the entire ritual was made up. See Wiedemann, p. 482.

60 The name was stamped on sling-shot. The young Caesar was also accused on the sling-shot of being a ‘cocksucker’ and having a loose anus. See Hallett (2006), p. 151.

61 The link between the defeat by Sextus and the adoption of the name Imperator was first made by Syme in a classic essay (1958).

62 Horace. Satires: 2.6.55–6

63 Virgil. Georgics: 4.90

64 For the impenetrable nature of the murk that envelops the origins of the triumph, see Beard (2007), pp. 305–18.

65 Dionysius of Halicarnassus: 2.34.2

66 Virgil. Aeneid: 8.717

67 Propertius: 2.8.14

68 Virgil. Aeneid: 1.291

69 Cassius Dio: 51.24

70 Livy: 4.20

71 An inscription from a recently discovered coin, minted in 28 BC. See Rich and Williams.

72 Achievements of the Deified Augustus: 6.1

73 Ibid: 34.1

74 Aulus Gellius: 5.6.13

75 The inscription is from a coin minted in 19 BC. See Dear, p. 322

76 Cassius Dio: 53.6

77 Ibid: 53.20

78 Horace. Odes: 3.8.18

79 Ibid: 1.35.29–30

80 Ibid: 3.14.14–16

81 Ovid. Sorrows: 4.4.13–16

82 Some scholars dispute whether this temple was in fact built, but the evidence – consisting as it does of both coins and the explicit statement of Dio that it was indeed raised on the Capitol ‘in imitation of that of Jupiter’ (54.8) – seems to me irrefutable.

83 Ovid. Fasti: 1.609–10

84 Macrobius: 2.4.20

85 Ibid: 2.4.12

86 Quoted in Suetonius. Life of Horace

87 Suetonius. The Deified Augustus: 70.2

88 Servius. On the Aeneid: 4.58

89 Velleius Paterculus

90 Plutarch. Antony: 75

91 Virgil. Aeneid: 8.720

92 Just as the vast temple of Jupiter on the Capitol was dedicated to Juno and Minerva as well, so did Liber share his temple with Ceres and Libera. Wiseman (2004: p. 68) convincingly argues that this was no coincidence, and that the temple of Liber was consciously founded as a counterpoint to the huge temple on the Capitol.

93 Suetonius. The Deified Augustus: 79.2

94 Ovid. Sorrows: 1.70

95 Suetonius. The Deified Augustus: 94.4

96 Ibid: 72.1

97 Cicero. In Defence of Murena: 76

98 Horace. Satires: 1.8.16

99 Cicero. On the Agrarian Law: 2.17

100 Ibid. To Atticus: 1.19.4

101 The number of tribunes increased over the succeeding decades. By 449 BC, there were ten.

102 Cassius Dio: 54.10

103 Macrobius: 2.4.18

104 Horace. Odes: 3.6.1–2

105 Ibid: 7–8

106 Ovid. Fasti: 1.223–4

107 ‘In Praise of Turia’

108 Horace. ‘Carmen Saeculare’: 47–8

109 Ibid: 57–60

110 Ovid. Fasti: 6.647

111 From Suetonius’s life of Horace

112 Suetonius. The Deified Augustus: 58.2

113 Ovid. Fasti: 3.709

114 Ibid: 5.553

115 Suetonius reports that all these statues were dressed as though for the celebration of a triumph; but we know from the fragments of them found that in fact some of them were shown wearing togas.

116 Suetonius. The Deified Augustus: 31.5

117 Horace. Odes: 4.14.6

3 The Exhaustion of Cruelty

1 Funeral Lament for Drusus: 351. In Poetae Latini Minores 1, ed. E. Baehrens (1879)

2 Plutarch. Life of Cato the Censor: 16

3 Ovid. Loves: 3.15.6

4 Dionysius of Halicarnassus: 6.13.4

5 Ovid. The Art of Loving: 3.121–2

6 Ovid. Sorrows: 4.10.35

7 Ibid: 4.10.37–8

8 Ovid. The Art of Loving: 3.122

9 Ibid: 1.17

10 Cato the Censor, in Plutarch’s life of him: 17

11 Ovid. Loves: 1.15.3

12 Ibid: 1.7.38

13 Cicero. Tusculan Disputations: 2.53

14 Petronius: 92. The tone is satirical but matter-of-fact.

15 Pliny the Younger. Letters: 3.1.2

16 Priapea: 25.6–7

17 Valerius Maximus: 6.1. preface

18 Cato the Elder: fragment 222. Later jurists ruled that, although the father of a woman taken in flagrante might legally kill her, a husband could not – unless his wife’s lover was of low or sordid social standing.

19 Ovid. Loves: 3.4.37

20 Ibid: 3.4.17

21 Ibid: 3.4.11

22 Ovid. On Women’s Facials: 25–6

23 Seneca. Natural Questions: 1.16.6

24 Ibid: 1.116.9

25 Ibid: 1.16.7

26 Horace. Odes: 3.6.19–20

27 Ibid: 3.24.33–4

28 Pseudo-Acro, scholiast on Horace: 1.2.63. Quoted by McGinn, p. 165

29 Tacitus. Annals: 3.28

30 Horace. Odes: 4.5.21–2

31 Ovid. Loves: 3.4.5–6

32 Cassius Dio: 48.52

33 Ovid. Sorrows: 3.1.39–40

34 Velleius Paterculus: 2.79.1

35 Pliny: 15.137

36 Cassius Dio: 54.6

37 Suetonius. Tiberius: 51.2

38 Macrobius: 2.5.9

39 Ibid: 2.5.8

40 Ibid: 2.5.4

41 Philo. Embassy to Gaius: 167

42 Seneca. To Polybius, On Consolation: 15.5

43 Ovid. The Art of Loving: 1.184

44 Ibid. 1.177–8

45 Ibid, 1.175

46 Ovid. Loves: 1.5.26

47 Pliny: 7.149

48 Seneca. On Mercy: 1.10.3

49 Ibid: 1.11.2

50 Ovid. The Art of Loving: 2.573

51 Ibid: 2.552–3

52 Ibid: 2.2.599–600

53 Artemidorus: 2.9

54 Velleius Paterculus: 2.91.4

55 Ovid. Fasti: 5.145–6

56 Plutarch. Moralia: 207e

57 From a Messenian inscription discovered in 1960. Quoted in Zankel, p. 259.

58 From a decree of the town council of Pisa. Reproduced in Lott (2012), p. 72.

59 Ovid. The Art of Loving: 1.203

60 Cassius Dio: 55.13.1

61 From a letter written by Augustus to Gaius in AD 1, and quoted by Aulus Gellius: 15.7

62 Tacitus: 6.25

63 Ulpian. Digest: 1.15.3

64 Cassius Dio: 55.27.1

65 Confusion surrounds the fate of Julia’s husband, since a man of his name who appears on an inscription in a list of priests is described as dying in AD 14. A commentary on the poet Juvenal, though, makes it clear that he was executed. The priest was therefore almost certainly his son.

66 Some scholars (e.g. Claassen, pp. 12–13) date Ovid’s exile to AD 9 but internal and external evidence alike seem to me definitively to point to AD 8. Legally speaking, Ovid was not an exsul, an exile, but a relegatus – someone ‘relegated’ from Rome, but without the loss of his civic rights. Ovid himself, though, often referred to his loneliness and misery as an ‘exsilium’ – as well he might have done.

67 Ovid. Sorrows: 2.207

68 Ibid: 6.27

69 Ovid. Black Sea Letters: 2.2.19

70 For a survey of the many theories about Ovid’s exile, see Thibault. My reading of it follows Green (1989). As Claassen comments (p. 234), ‘No other explanation than a political one can make sense of Ovid’s exile.’

71 Ovid. Sorrows: 1.11.3–4

72 Ibid: 2.195–6

73 Ovid. Sorrows: 5.10.37

74 Ovid. Letters from Pontus: 1.2.81–2

75 Ovid. Sorrows: 5.7.46

76 Ovid. Fasti: 2.291

77 Ovid. Sorrows: 2.199–200

78 Ibid: 5.10.19–20

79 Valerius Maximus: 6.1.11

80 Velleius Paterculus: 2.115.5

81 Ovid. Sorrows: 2.171–2

82 Cicero. On Duties: 2.27

83 The opening of Augustus’s record of achievements, the Res Gestae

84 Virgil. Aeneid: 1.279

85 Albinovanus Pedo: 3, quoted in Benario, p. 166. ‘The realm of shadow’ is specifically a reference to the Wadden Sea. The poem describes a naval expedition in AD 16.

86 Tacitus: 2.24

87 Tacitus. Germania: 4

88 Or possibly, on some interpretations, in 10 BC.

89 Strabo: 4.4.2

90 Ovid. Amores: 1.14.45–6

91 Tacitus. Germania: 19

92 Cassius Dio: 56.18

93 Velleius Paterculus: 2.118.2

94 Florus: 30.3

95 Suetonius. The Deified Augustus: 23

96 Ibid. Tiberius: 21.3. The phrase was Augustus’s own.

97 Ibid. Augustus was quoting – or rather adapting – the poet Ennius.

98 Ovid. Black Sea Letters: 2.1.37–8

99 Ibid: 2.1.61–2

100 Seneca. On Benefits: 3.38.2

101 Consolation to Livia: 356

102 Tacitus: 5.1

103 Ibid

104 Cicero. On the Republic: 1.67

105 Ovid. Black Sea Letters: 3.1.118

106 Velleius Paterculus: 2.130.5

107 Ovid. Black Sea Letters: 3.1.125

108 Suetonius. The Deified Augustus: 64.2

109 Such, at any rate, is the evidence of an inscription found at Rhegium, which records a freedwoman of Julia’s having a mother who was a freedwoman of Livia’s. See Barrett (2002), p. 51.

110 Tacitus: 4.71

111 The inscription is quoted by Flory, p. 318. The temple was that of Fortuna Muliebris, ‘Female Fortune’. The same inscription can be found on the Arch of Ticinum: ‘Drusi f. uxori Caesaris Augusti’.

112 Livy: 8.18.6

113 Virgil. Georgics: 128–30

114 Suetonius. The Deified Augustus: 51.3

115 Seneca the Elder. Controversies: 10, Preface 5

116 Tacitus: 1.72

117 Velleius Paterculus: 126.3

118 Suetonius. The Deified Claudius: 3

119 Ibid: 41.2

120 Cassius Dio: 55.32

121 Tacitus: 1.5

122 Velleius Paterculus: 11.123.1

123 Ibid: 11.123.2

124 Suetonius. The Deified Augustus: 99.1

125 Tacitus: 1.6. Pettinger (p. 178, n. 28) convincingly argues that the details of this episode derived from Tacitus’s reading of a source unconsulted by other historians: the memoirs of Germanicus’s daughter (and the mother of the Emperor Nero), Agrippina. ‘Tacitus, in using the private memoirs of the younger Agrippina, has landed a scoop…’

126 Ibid

127 Suetonius. Tiberius: 22

128 Ibid: 23

129 Tacitus: 6

4 The Last Roman

1 The garden had originally belonged to Pompey.

2 Ovid. Black Sea Letters: 4.13.27

3 Suetonius. The Deified Augustus: 99.1

4 Tacitus: 1.11

5 Suetonius. Tiberius: 21.2

6 Velleius: 2.126.3

7 Tacitus: 1.13

8 Cassius Dio: 56.26

9 Velleius: 2.124.2

10 Cassius Dio: 57.1

11 Suetonius. Tiberius: 25.1

12 The suggestion is Syme’s (1986), p. 300

13 Suetonius. Tiberius: 24.1

14 Tacitus: 1.17

15 Luke 7.8

16 Tacitus: 1.23

17 Ibid: 1.51

18 Velleius: 2.125.1–2

19Senatus Consultum de Cn. Pisone Patre’: line 161

20 Tacitus: 3.33. The words are those of Severus Caecina, Germanicus’s deputy on the Rhine, following his return from the front. The influence of Agrippina on his sentiments can only be surmised.

21 Valerius Maximus: 3.2.2

22 Tacitus: 2.26

23 Velleius: 2.129.2

24 Tacitus: 1.33

25 Suetonius. Tiberius: 50.3

26 Tacitus: 1.53

27 Velleius: 2.126.3

28 Tacitus: 2.39

29 Ibid: 2.40

30 Ibid

31 Tacitus: 2.26

32 Valerius Maximus: 5.5

33 See Syme (1980), p. 336: ‘the surmise is easy’.

34 Seneca. On Anger: 1.18

35 Cicero: The Republic: 5.1.2

36 Tacitus: 4.38

37 Cassius Dio: 57.15

38 Tacitus: 2.43

39 Ibid: 2.53

40 Artemon. Anthologia Graeca: 12.55

41 Paraphrase of an anecdote in Josephus’s Antiquities of the Jews: 18.171–6

42 Polybius: 31.4

43 Tacitus: 1.55

44 Ibid: 1.56

45 Philo. Special Laws: 3.174

46 Ehrenberg and Jones, p. 138 (320b)

47 Res Gestae: 27

48 Tacitus: 2.71

49 ‘Senatus Consultum de Cn. Pisone Patre’: lines 55–6

50 Ibid: line 46

51 Tacitus: 2.83

52 Ibid: 3.4

53 Ibid: 3.15

54 See Versnel, pp. 383–7

55 Ovid. Fasti: 2.551

56 Ovid. Black Sea Letters: 4.8.49–51

57 Seneca. On Benefits: 5.25.2

58 Seneca the Elder. Controversies: 10.3.5

59 Statius. Silvae: 3.3.200–1

60 ‘Senatus Consultum de Cn. Pisone Patre’: lines 115–16

61 A phrase that appears on a number of Tiberius’s coins.

62 Tacitus: 3.34

63 Ibid: 4.8

64 Ibid: 3.65

65 Ibid: 11.21

66 Cicero. On Duties: 2.50

67 Tacitus: 4.34

68 Seneca. To Marcia, On Consolation: 22.5

69 Tacitus: 6.7

70 Pliny: 26.2

71 For the likelihood that Tiberius coined the word, see Champlin: http://www.princeton.edu/~pswpc/pdfs/champlin/090601.pdf, pp. 5–6

72 Tacitus: 4.52

73 Ibid: 4.54

74 For the rumours linking Gallus to Agrippina, see Shotter (1971), pp. 454–5

75 Tacitus: 4.40

76 Ibid: 4.41

77 Strabo: 5.4.8

78 For the likelihood that Tiberius identified with Ulysses, see Stewart, pp. 87–8. For a fascinating meditation on the broader implications of this self-identification, see Champlin’s Tiberiana essay, ‘Tales of Brave Ulysses’. Juvenal, writing a century later, explicitly compared Tiberius to Ulysses (10.84).

79 Ovid. Metamorphoses: 3.158–9

80 Cassius Dio: 58.4

81 I am indebted to Llewelyn Morgan for pointing this out.

82 Pliny: 8.145

83 Suetonius. Caligula: 22.2

84 Tacitus: 3.55

85 Cassius Dio: 58.5

86 Tacitus: 4.2.

87 Valerius Maximus: 9.11.ext.4

88 The details of Apicata’s suicide are derived from an inscription which records that someone connected to Sejanus – almost certainly his wife – committed suicide eight days after the execution of Sejanus himself. It is possible, though, as Jane Bellemore has argued, that the person referred to in the inscription was not Apicata but Livilla – in which case we would have evidence that the couple had secretly married at some point. The case is open.

89 Tacitus: 6.6

90 Plutarch: fr. 182, in Plutarch’s Moralia, ed. F. H. Sandbach (1969)

91 Suetonius. Tiberius: 60

92 Ovid. Loves: 3.4.25

93 Tacitus: 6.1

94 Tacitus: 6.20

95 Suetonius. Caligula: 11

96 Philo. Embassy to Gaius: 142

97 For the location and height of this lighthouse, see Champlin (Journal of Roman Studies, 2011), p.96.

98 Tacitus: 6.46

99 Seneca. Letters: 43.3

5 Let Them Hate Me

1 Suetonius. Tiberius: 75.1

2 Suetonius. Caligula: 15.1

3 Ibid: 14.1

4 Philo. On the Embassy to Gaius: 41

5 Tacitus: 3.24

6 Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews: 18.256

7 Cassius Dio: 59.7.4

8 Augustus’s legislation on seating had initially targeted theatres, then amphitheatres – but the precise legal situation of the Circus Maximus is not clear. According to Cassius Dio (55.22), senators and equestrians were allocated seats there by Augustus; but Suetonius describes them as sitting among the rest of the Roman people until the time of Claudius (Deified Claudius: 21.3).

9 Philo. On the Embassy to Gaius: 45

10 Suetonius. Caligula: 29

11 Petronius: 117

12 Seneca. On Providence: 4.4

13 Tacitus. 4.62

14 Seneca. Letters: 7.5

15 Cassius Dio: 59.22.7

16 Suetonius. Caligula: 24.1

17 Seneca. To Polybius on Consolation: 17.5

18 Homer. The Iliad: 2.204. Caligula is described as quoting it in Suetonius’s biography of him (22.1).

19 Cassius Dio: 59.18.5

20 Ibid: 59.16.5–6

21 Ibid: 59.16.11

22 Ibid: 59.16.6

23 See Winterling (2011), p. 108, for this interpretation of an event that Cassius Dio (59.20.1–3) has badly garbled.

24 See Barrett (1989), pp. 125–6. The clinching evidence for Caligula’s recruitment of the two legions is provided by the tombstone of a centurion: Smallwood, p. 278.

25 From an inscription recording the Acta Fratrum Arvalium – the protocols of a priestly brotherhood named the Arvals. It appears in Smallwood, p. 14.

26 The link between Gaeticulus and Lepidus is only made specific once, in a throwaway comment by Suetonius (The Deified Claudius: 9.1). It is strongly implied, though, by Cassius Dio, who describes the executions of the two men, and the exile of Caligula’s two sisters, in consecutive sentences.

27 Tacitus: 12.64. Tacitus muddles the Domitia who looked after Nero with her sister, Domitia Lepida.

28 Suetonius. Caligula: 29

29 The attack was probably against a tribe called the Canninefates, who lived on an island in the Rhine delta. It appears to have been, at best, indecisive. See Tacitus, Histories: 4.15.3.

30 Persius: 6.46

31 Suetonius. Caligula: 49.1

32 Cassius Dio: 59.23.3

33 Or so says Suetonius (Caligula: 19.1). Cassius Dio says the bridge went from Puteoli to a place near Baiae named Bauli; Josephus that it went to Misenum, a town on the same promontory where Baiae is located, but too far from Puteoli to be credible.

34 Suetonius. Caligula: 19.3

35 Cassius Dio: 59.17.11

36 Suetonius. Caligula: 22.1

37 Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews: 19.121

38 Philo. On the Embassy to Gaius: 263

39 Quoted by Suetonius (Caligula: 30.1) from the poet Accius

40 This is nowhere stated specifically, but can be deduced by cross-referencing the account of the conspiracy in Cassius Dio with Tacitus’s mention of a senator forced to commit suicide under Nero who, twenty-six years earlier, had betrayed a conspiracy to Caligula. See Barrett (1996, pp. 156–7) and Winterling (2011, pp. 136–7).

41 Seneca. On Anger: 3.19.2

42 Suetonius. Caligula: 30.1

43 Cassius Dio: 59.26.9

44 Ibid: 59.27.6

45 Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews: 19.86

46 Seneca. On Anger: 2.33.4

47 Cassius Dio: 59.29.9

48 Ibid

49 Suetonius. Caligula: 41.1. The story has been widely doubted, but attempts to explain it away seem to me less plausible than the supposition that it was simultaneously an attack on the prestige of the nobility, a satire on Augustan values, and a typically Caligulan amplification of the sexual fantasies enacted on Capri.

50 Seneca. On Firmness: 18.1

51 Ibid: 18.2

52 Cassius Dio: 59.29.2

53 Ibid: 59.25.7

54 Philo. On the Embassy to Gaius: 338

55 This account derives principally from Josephus, whose sources for the assassination of Caligula were excellent. Suetonius gives two alternative accounts, which nevertheless differ only slightly in the details. According to one of them, the first blow to hit Caligula was to the chin.

56 Such, at any rate, is the evidence of Seneca (On Firmness: 18.3).

57 Cassius Dio: 59.29.7

58 Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews: 19.199

59 It is Josephus who tells us that Caesonia was killed several hours after her husband’s death. According to Suetonius, she and her daughter were with Caligula when he was attacked, and died alongside him.

6 Io Saturnalia!

1 Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews: 19.115

2 Ibid: 19.159

3 Ibid: 19.168

4 Cassius Dio: 60.1.3

5 Suetonius. The Deified Claudius: 10.3

6 Ibid: 3.2

7 The phrase is found on a coin of Claudius’s, dated AD 41/2. The formula EX.S.C. confirms that it was a decree of the Senate’s.

8 See Suetonius, The Deified Claudius: 10.4. For the finances of Claudius’s expenditure on the military, see Campbell (1984), pp. 166–8 and Osgood (2011), pp. 35–7.

9 Tacitus. Histories: 4.74

10 Suetonius. The Deified Augustus: 101.4

11 Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews: 19.64

12 Ibid: 19.65

13 Statius. Silvae: 3.3.64–6

14 Dionysius of Halicarnassus: 4.23.2

15 Ovid. Loves: 1.8.64

16 Tacitus: 13.27

17 Horace. Satires: 1.6.45

18 Horace. Epodes: 4.6

19 Seneca. Letters: 47.10

20 Dionysius of Halicarnassus: 4.23.2

21 Catullus: 14.15

22 Horace. Epodes: 4.5

23 Pliny the Younger. Letters: 3.16.6

24 See Bradley (1994), pp. 166–7

25 Herodotus: 4.184

26 Pliny: 5.1.14

27 Vitruvius: 8.2.24

28 Pliny: 30.13

29 The surrender of the king of Orkney to Claudius comes in a late history, that of Eutropius but seems to derive from a reliable source. Tellingly, the detail that the Orkneys are thirty in number comes from a geographer, Pomponius Mela, who was writing even as Claudius was returning from Britain, and bruiting his achievements. See Stevens (1951 (1)). An alternative theory holds that Eutropius had confused Claudius’s campaign with a later one, that of Tacitus’s father-in-law, Agricola, who in AD 83 sent a fleet which circumnavigated Britain.

30 Suetonius. The Deified Claudius: 17.3

31 Seneca. To Polybius on Consolation: 14.1

32 Tacitus: 12.38

33 Boatwright convincingly argues that Claudius made the entire tradition up, relying on his reputation for antiquarian scholarship to ensure that the claim would be widely accepted.

34 Frontinus: 16

35 Artemidorus: 2.9

36 Pliny: 36.123

37 Seneca. On Benefits: 4.28.2

38 Acts 11.28

39 The estimate of the annual amount of grain imported is Aldrete’s (p. 134).

40 Cassius Dio: 60.11.3

41 See Williams (2010), p. 190, for this analogy.

42 Suetonius. Galba: 22

43 Seneca. Trojan Women: 91

44 Tacitus. 9.2, ‘Mollitiam corporis’ – literally, ‘softness of body’. Mollitia, when applied to a man, did not just mean soft, but soft like a woman: the kind of man, in other words, who allowed himself to be fucked.

45 Cassius Dio: 60.2.4

46 Ovid. Loves: 2.17.1

47 Cicero. Republic: 1.67

48 Suetonius. Vitellius: 2.5

49 Ovid. The Art of Loving: 3.215–16

50 Seneca. On Benefits: 6.32.1

51 Juvenal: 6.129

52 Tacitus: 11.30

53 Ibid: 11.31

54 Ibid: 11.35

55 Ibid: 11.36. See Williams (2010), p. 217, for the strong likelihood, if not absolute certainty, that the Suillius Caesonius mentioned by Tacitus as ‘playing the woman’s role’ was the son of Asiaticus’s prosecutor. As Williams says, ‘This is a rare moment in the midst of the innuendoes and accusations that pervade Roman texts, a moment when we come temptingly close to being able to ascertain what actually happened.’

56 Tacitus (12.1–2) describes Narcissus, Callistus and Pallas as each pitching a different woman to their master: a scene so reminiscent of the episode from Greek mythology in which three goddesses staged a beauty pageant before the Trojan prince Paris as to be obviously fictional. Nevertheless, with Pallas a strong partisan of Agrippina’s, and Narcissus just as obviously opposed to her cause, it does provide an entertaining allegory of Claudius’s court.

57 Suetonius. Claudius: 39.2

58 Tacitus: 12.6

59 Octavia: 142. The play was traditionally, if implausibly, ascribed to Seneca. Its true authorship remains unknown.

60 Tacitus: 12.7

61 Ibid

62 Suetonius. Claudius: 41.2

63 Tacitus: 12.42

64 Seneca. To Polybius on Consolation: 12.3

65 Suetonius. Claudius: 43

66 Cassius Dio: 61.35.4

67 Suetonius. Nero: 9

7 What an Artist

1 Octavia: 156

2 Tacitus: 12.37

3 Cassius Dio: 61.7.3

4 Suetonius. Nero: 10.1

5 Seneca. On Mercy: 1.14.2

6 Tacitus: 13.13

7 Ibid: 15.42

8 Suetonius. Otho: 3.1

9 Tacitus: 13.14

10 So, at any rate, says Tacitus. Suetonius claims that Britannicus was cremated the day after his death.

11 Octavia: 169–70

12 Seneca. On Mercy: 1.16.2

13 Pliny: 16.200

14 It is possible that Nero’s successors agreed. Trajan, an emperor in the early second century AD, and who was consistently rated by the Romans as their best, is supposed to have declared that ‘no emperor had been the equal of Nero during the first five years of his reign’. Trajan too built a great harbour at Ostia; and it has been credibly suggested that he was paying tribute to Nero’s own record there (Thornton, 1989).

15 Calpurnius Siculus: 7.45–6

16 Cassius Dio: 61.12.2

17 Ibid: 61.5.4

18 Octavia: 125

19 Pliny: 37.50

20 Cassius Dio: 61.11.4

21 Ibid: 61.2.2

22 Ibid: 61.13.2

23 Horace. Epistles: 1.1.83

24 So reports Tacitus, at any rate. According to Cassius Dio, Agrippina made it to the shore unaided. Dio also reports that the ship sank straight away.

25 Tacitus: 14.8

26 Cassius Dio: 61.14.2

27 For the theatricality of Agrippina’s murder, see Baldwin and especially the brilliant book on Nero by Champlin (2003), pp. 84–111.

28 Tacitus: 14.10

29 The games were called by Nero Ludi Maximi, ‘The Greatest Ever Games’.

30 Seneca. Natural Questions: 12.3

31 Tacitus: 14.15

32 This was Aelia Catella, cited by Cassius Dio (61.19.2). ‘Aelia Catella is assumed a daughter of Sex. Aelius Catus, hence sister of Aelia Patina’ (Syme 1986, n. 79). Aelia Patina had been Claudius’s second wife. He had married her in 28 and divorced her in 31.

33 Cassius Dio: 19.20.5

34 Seneca. Letters: 14.6

35 Tacitus, although our best source for the events of Boudicca’s revolt, mistakenly dates it to AD 61.

36 Seneca. Medea: 371–2

37 Seneca. Medea: 376–9. The play is ostensibly referring to the Greek hero Jason and his voyages with the Argonauts, but it is clear that Seneca has Roman expansion into Britain on his mind as well.

38 Seneca. On Benefits: 7.3.2

39 Seneca. On Benefits: 7.27.1

40 Tacitus: 14.37

41 Tacitus. Agricola: 19

42 Pliny: 3.39

43 Tacitus: 11.23

44 Ibid: 11.24

45 Ibid: 15.44

46 Quoted by Augustine in The City of God, 6.10

47 Valerius Maximus: 1.3.3

48 Quoted by Augustine in The City of God, 6.11

49 Tacitus: 14.44

50 Ibid: 14.45

51 Seneca. On the Happy Life: 7.3

52 Cassius Dio: 62.13.2

53 Ibid: 62.13.4

54 Calpurnius Siculus: 1.49–51

55 Seneca. Natural Questions: 3.29.9

56 Cassius Dio: 62.28.1

57 Tacitus: 15.37

58 Ibid

59 According to Chinese records, the comet was visible for seventy-five days, between 3 May and 16 July. See Rogers, p. 1953.

60 Cassius Dio (62.18.2) says that two-thirds of Rome was destroyed, while Tacitus (15.40.2) says of the fourteen districts into which the city was divided, only four were left untouched by the fire. Archaeological evidence suggests that they were both exaggerating. See Newbold, p. 858.

61 Tacitus: 15.44

62 Pliny: 10.2.5

63 Pliny the Younger. Panegyric in Praise of Trajan: 46.4

64 Martial. On Spectacles: 2.8

65 Ibid: 2.4

66 The estimate is Albertson’s, who suggests, based on the various figures given for the height of the statue, that was 31.5 metres tall.

67 Pliny: 34.45

68 For an elucidation of this extraordinary episode, reported by both Suetonius and Cassius Dio, see Champlin (2003), pp. 169–71.

69 Suetonius. Nero: 55

70 Tacitus: 15.67

71 Ibid: 15.60

72 Seneca. On Providence: 3.3

73 Seneca. Letters: 71.21

74 Ibid: 101.10

75 Tacitus: 15.73

76 Ibid: 15.62

77 Ibid: 15.68

78 Ibid: 16.4

79 Cassius Dio: 63.26.3

80 Ibid: 62.18.3. Seneca delivered the warning in the wake of Agrippina’s murder.

81 Ibid: 63.4.2

82 Ibid: 63.6.1

83 No chronological account of Nero’s sojourn in Greece has survived. Estimates of when precisely he might have arrived in Corinth range from August to November.

84 Livy: 33.32

85 Cassius Dio: 63.15.1

86 Valerius Maximus: 2.4.2

87 Seneca. Letters: 80.7

88 Tacitus: 13.3

89 An ancient commentator on the satirist Juvenal tells us that an aristocratic and intimidatingly learned woman who is described by the poet as taking an interest in the arts of oratory was none other than Statilia Messalina. Scholiast on Juvenal: 6.434

90 Seneca: 47.7. The details of how to keep boys hairless derive from Pliny: 30.41.

91 The translation of ‘Paezon’ as ‘Boy Toy’ is Champlin’s (2012), p. 380. The gasps of wonder are Pliny’s (7.129).

92 Tacitus. Histories: 1.73

93 Dio Chrysostom. On Beauty: 11

94 Cassius Dio: 63.22.1

95 From an inscription found in 1887 at Karditza, Greece. Smallwood, p. 64

96 Plutarch. Galba: 4.1

97 Seneca. On Mercy: 1.4.2

98 Virgil. Georgics: 512–14

99 Cassius Dio: 63.20.5

100 Evidence for this having been more than coincidence is circumstantial but strong.

101 Suetonius. Nero: 41

102 Ibid

103 Ibid: 43

104 Plutarch. Galba: 6.3

105 Suetonius. Nero: 47.2. The line is a quotation from Virgil.

106 Suetonius. Nero: 49.2

107 Ibid: 49.4

108 Dio Chrysostom. On Beauty: 10

109 Revelation 13.3

110 Ibid: 17.8

111 Ibid: 17.4

112 Both Suetonius (Nero: 49.1) and Cassius Dio (6.29.2) record it. It was evidently, as Dio says, ‘a much quoted saying’.

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