Book XIX - Chapters 2-4
HOW THE SENATORS DETERMINED TO RESTORE THE DEMOCRACY; BUT THE SOLDIERS WERE FOR PRESERVING THE MONARCHY, CONCERNING THE SLAUGHTER OF CAIUS'S WIFE AND DAUGHTER. A CHARACTER OF CAIUS'S MORALS.
1. WHEN the public affairs were in this posture, Claudius was on the sudden hurried away out of his house; for the soldiers had a meeting together; and when they had debated about what was to be done, they saw that a democracy was incapable of managing such a vast weight of public affairs; and that if it should be set up, it would not be for their advantage; and in case any one of those already in the government should obtain the supreme power, it would in all respects be to their grief, if they were not assisting to him in this advancement; that it would therefore be right for them, while the public affairs were unsettled, to choose Claudius emperor, who was uncle to the deceased Caius, and of a superior dignity and worth to every one of those that were assembled together in the senate, both on account of the virtues of his ancestors, and of the learning he had acquired in his education; and who, if once settled in the empire, would reward them according to their deserts, and bestow largesses upon them. These were their consultations, and they executed the same immediately. Claudius was therefore seized upon suddenly by the soldiery. But Cneas Sentins Saturninns, although he understood that Claudius was seized, and that he intended to claim the government, unwillingly indeed in appearance, but in reality by his own free consent, stood up in the senate, and, without being dismayed, made an exhortatory oration to them, and such a one indeed as was fit for men of freedom and generosity, and spake thus:
2. "Although it be a thing incredible, O Romans! because of the great length of time, that so unexpected an event hath happened, yet are we now in possession of liberty. How long indeed this will last is uncertain, and lies at the disposal of the gods, whose grant it is; yet such it is as is sufficient to make us rejoice, and be happy for the present, although we may soon be deprived of it; for one hour is sufficient to those that are exercised in virtue, wherein we may live with a mind accountable only to ourselves, in our own country, now free, and governed by such laws as this country once flourished under. As for myself, I cannot remember our former time of liberty, as being born after it was gone; but I am beyond measure filled with joy at the thoughts of our present freedom. I also esteem those that were born and bred up in that our former liberty happy men, and that those men are worthy of no less esteem than the gods themselves who have given us a taste of it in this age; and I heartily wish that this quiet enjoyment of it, which we have at present, might continue to all ages. However, this single day may suffice for our youth, as well as for us that are in years. It will seem an age to our old men, if they might die during its happy duration: it may also be for the instruction of the younger sort, what kind of virtue those men, from whose loins we are derived, were exercised in. As for ourselves, our business is, during the space of time, to live virtuously, than which nothing can be more to our advantage; which course of virtue it is alone that can preserve our liberty; for as to our ancient state, I have heard of it by the relations of others; but as to our later state, during my lifetime, I have known it by experience, and learned thereby what mischiefs tyrannies have brought upon this commonwealth, discouraging all virtue, and depriving persons of magnanimity of their liberty, and proving the teachers of flattery and slavish fear, because it leaves the public administration not to be governed by wise laws, but by the humor of those that govern. For since Julius Caesar took it into his head to dissolve our democracy, and, by overbearing the regular system of our laws, to bring disorders into our administration, and to get above right and justice, and to be a slave to his own inclinations, there is no kind of misery but what hath tended to the subversion of this city; while all those that have succeeded him have striven one with another to overthrow the ancient laws of their country, and have left it destitute of such citizens as were of generous principles, because they thought it tended to their safety to have vicious men to converse withal, and not only to break the spirits of those that were best esteemed for their virtue, but to resolve upon. their utter destruction. Of all which emperors, who have been many in number, and who laid upon us insufferable hardships during the times of their government, this Caius, who hath been slain today, hath brought more terrible calamities upon us than did all the rest, not only by exercising his ungoverned rage upon his fellow citizens, but also upon his kindred and friends, and alike upon all others, and by inflicting still greater miseries upon them, as punishments, which they never deserved, he being equally furious against men and against the gods. For tyrants are not content to gain their sweet pleasure, and this by acting injuriously, and in the vexation they bring both upon men's estates and their wives; but they look upon that to be their principal advantage, when they can utterly overthrow the entire families of their enemies; while all lovers of liberty are the enemies of tyranny. Nor can those that patiently endure what miseries they bring on them gain their friendship; for as they are conscious of the abundant mischiefs they have brought on these men, and how magnanimously they have borne their hard fortunes, they cannot but be sensible what evils they have done, and thence only depend on security from what they are suspicious of, if it may be in their power to take them quite out of the world. Since, then, we are now gotten clear of such great misfortunes, and are only accountable to one another, (which form of government affords us the best assurance of our present concord, and promises us the best security from evil designs, and will be most for our own glory in settling the city in good order,) you ought, every one of you in particular, to make provision for his own, and in general for the public utility: or, on the contrary, they may declare their dissent to such things as have been proposed, and this without any hazard of danger to come upon them, because they have now no lord set over them, who, without fear of punishment, could do mischief to the city, and had an uncontrollable power to take off those that freely declared their opinions. Nor has any thing so much contributed to this increase of tyranny of late as sloth, and a timorous forbearance of contradicting the emperor's will; while men had an over-great inclination to the sweetness of peace, and had learned to live like slaves; and as many of us as either heard of intolerable calamities that happened at a distance from us, or saw the miseries that were near us, out of the dread of dying virtuously, endured a death joined with the utmost infamy. We ought, then, in the first place, to decree the greatest honors we are able to those that have taken off the tyrant, especially to Cherea Cassius; for this one man, with the assistance of the gods, hath, by his counsel and by his actions, been the procurer of our liberty. Nor ought we to forget him now we have recovered our liberty, who, under the foregoing tyranny, took counsel beforehand, and beforehand hazarded himself for our liberties; but ought to decree him proper honors, and thereby freely declare that he from the beginning acted with our approbation. And certainly it is a very excellent thing, and what becomes free-men, to requite their benefactors, as this man hath been a benefactor to us all, though not at all like Cassius and Brutus, who slew Caius Julius [Caesar]; for those men laid the foundations of sedition and civil wars in our city; but this man, together with his slaughter of the tyrant, hath set our city free from all those sad miseries which arose from the tyranny." (8)
3. And this was the purport of Sentius's oration, (9) which was received with pleasure by the senators, and by as many of the equestrian order as were present. And now one Trebellius Maximus rose up hastily, and took off Sentius's finger a ring, which had a stone, with the image of Caius engraven upon it, and which, in his zeal in speaking, and his earnestness in doing what he was about, as it was supposed, he had forgotten to take off himself. This sculpture was broken immediately. But as it was now far in the night, Cherea demanded of the consuls the watchword, who gave him this word, Liberty. These facts were the subjects of admiration to themselves, and almost incredible; for it was a hundred years since the democracy had been laid aside, when this giving the watchword returned to the consuls; for before the city was subject to tyrants, they were the commanders of the soldiers. But when Cherea had received that watchword, he delivered it to those who were on the senate's side, which were four regiments, who esteemed the government without emperors to be preferable to tyranny. So these went away with their tribunes. The people also now departed very joyful, full of hope and of courage, as having recovered their former democracy, and were no longer under an emperor; and Cherea was in very great esteem with them.
4. And now Cherea was very uneasy that Caius's daughter and wife were still alive, and that all his family did not perish with him, since whosoever was left of them must be left for the ruin of the city and of the laws. Moreover, in order to finish this matter with the utmost zeal, and in order to satisfy his hatred of Caius, he sent Julius Lupus, one of the tribunes, to kill Caius's wife and daughter. They proposed this office to Lupus as to a kinsman of Clement, that he might be so far a partaker of this murder of the tyrant, and might rejoice in the virtue of having assisted his fellow citizens, and that he might appear to have been a partaker with those that were first in their designs against him. Yet did this action appear to some of the conspirators to be too cruel, as to this using such severity to a woman, because Caius did more indulge his own ill-nature than use her advice in all that he did; from which ill-nature it was that the city was in so desperate a condition with the miseries that were brought on it, and the flower of the city was destroyed. But others accused her of giving her consent to these things; nay, they ascribed all that Caius had done to her as the cause of it, and said she had given a potion to Caius, which had made him obnoxious to her, and had tied him down to love her by such evil methods; insomuch that she, having rendered him distracted, was become the author of all the mischiefs that had befallen the Romans, and that habitable world which was subject to them. So that at length it was determined that she must die; nor could those of the contrary opinion at all prevail to have her saved; and Lupus was sent accordingly. Nor was there any delay made in executing what he went about, but he was subservient to those that sent him on the first opportunity, as desirous to be no way blameable in what might be done for the advantage of the people. So when he was come into the palace, he found Cesonia, who was Caius's wife, lying by her husband's dead body, which also lay down on the ground, and destitute of all such things as the law allows to the dead, and all over herself besmeared with the blood of her husband's wounds, and bewailing the great affliction she was under, her daughter lying by her also; and nothing else was heard in these her circumstances but her complaint of Caius, as if he had not regarded what she had often told him of beforehand; which words of hers were taken in a different sense even at that time, and are now esteemed equally ambiguous by those that hear of them, and are still interpreted according to the different inclinations of people. Now some said that the words denoted that she had advised him to leave off his mad behavior and his barbarous cruelty to the citizens, and to govern the public with moderation and virtue, lest he should perish by the same way, upon their using him as he had used them. But some said, that as certain words had passed concerning the conspirators, she desired Caius to make no delay, but immediately to put them all to death, and this whether they were guilty or not, and that thereby he would be out of the fear of any danger; and that this was what she reproached him for, when she advised him so to do, but he was too slow and tender in the matter. And this was what Cesonia said, and what the opinions of men were about it. But when she saw Lupus approach, she showed him Caius's dead body, and persuaded him to come nearer, with lamentation and tears; and as she perceived that Lupus was in disorder, and approached her in order to execute some design disagreeable to himself, she was well aware for what purpose he came, and stretched out her naked throat, and that very cheerfully to him, bewailing her case, like one that utterly despaired of her life, and bidding him not to boggle at finishing the tragedy they had resolved upon relating to her. So she boldly received her death's wound at the hand of Lupus, as did the daughter after her. So Lupus made haste to inform Cherea of what he had done.
5. This was the end of Caius, after he had reigned four years, within four months. He was, even before he came to be emperor, ill-natured, and one that had arrived at the utmost pitch of wickedness; a slave to his pleasures, and a lover of calumny; greatly affected by every terrible accident, and on that account of a very murderous disposition where he durst show it. He enjoyed his exorbitant power to this only purpose, to injure those who least deserved it, with unreasonable insolene and got his wealth by murder and injustice. He labored to appear above regarding either what was divine or agreeable to the laws, but was a slave to the commendations of the populace; and whatsoever the laws determined to be shameful, and punished, that he esteemed more honorable than what was virtuous. He was unmindful of his friends, how intimate soever, and though they were persons of the highest character; and if he was once angry at any of them, he would inflict punishment upon them on the smallest occasions, and esteemed every man that endeavored to lead a virtuous life his enemy. And whatsoever he commanded, he would not admit of any contradiction to his inclinations; whence it was that he had criminal conversation with his own sister; (10) from which occasion chiefly it was also that a bitter hatred first sprang up against him among the citizens, that sort of incest not having been known of a long time; and so this provoked men to distrust him, and to hate him that was guilty of it. And for any great or royal work that he ever did, which might be for the present and for future ages, nobody can name any such, but only the haven that he made about Rhegium and Sicily, for the reception of the ships that brought corn from Egypt; which was indeed a work without dispute very great in itself, and of very great advantage to the navigation. Yet was not this work brought to perfection by him, but was the one half of it left imperfect, by reason of his want of application to it; the cause of which was this, that he employed his studies about useless matters, and that by spending his money upon such pleasures as concerned no one's benefit but his own, he could not exert his liberality in things that were undeniably of great consequence. Otherwise he was an excellent orator, and thoroughly acquainted with the Greek tongue, as well as with his own country or Roman language. He was also able, off-hand and readily, to give answers to compositions made by others, of considerable length and accuracy. He was also more skillful in persuading others to very great things than any one else, and this from a natural affability of temper, which had been improved by much exercise and pains-taking; for as he was the grandson (11) of the brother of Tiberius, whose successor he was, this was a strong inducement to his acquiring of learning, because Tiberius aspired after the highest pitch of that sort of reputation; and Caius aspired after the like glory for eloquence, being induced thereto by the letters of his kinsman and his emperor. He was also among the first rank of his own citizens. But the advantages he received from his learning did not countervail the mischief he brought upon himself in the exercise of his authority; so difficult it is for those to obtain the virtue that is necessary for a wise man, who have the absolute power to do what they please without control. At the first he got himself such friends as were in all respects the most worthy, and was greatly beloved by them, while he imitated their zealous application to the learning and to the glorious actions of the best men; but when he became insolent towards them, they laid aside the kindness they had for him, and began to hate him; from which hatred came that plot which they raised against him, and wherein he perished.
HOW CLAUDIUS WAS SEIZED UPON AND BROUGHT OUT OF HIS HOUSE AND BROUGHT TO THE CAMP; AND HOW THE SENATE SENT AN EMBASSAGE TO HIM.
1. NOW Claudius, as I said before, went out of that way along which Caius was gone; and as the family was in a mighty disorder upon the sad accident of the murder of Caius, he was in great distress how to save himself, and was found to have hidden himself in a certain narrow place, (12) though he had no other occasion for suspicion of any dangers, besides the dignity of his birth; for while he was a private man, he behaved himself with moderation, and was contented with his present fortune, applying himself to learning, and especially to that of the Greeks, and keeping himself entirely clear from every thing that might bring on any disturbance. But as at this time the multitude were under a consternation, and the whole palace was full of the soldiers' madness, and the very emperor's guards seemed under the like fear and disorder with private persons, the band called pretorian, which was the purest part of the army, was in consultation what was to be done at this juncture. Now all those that were at this consultation had little regard to the punishment Caius had suffered, because he justly deserved such his fortune; but they were rather considering their own circumstances, how they might take the best care of themselves, especially while the Germans were busy in punishing the murderers of Caius; which yet was rather done to gratify their own savage temper, than for the good of the public; all which things disturbed Claudius, who was afraid of his own safety, and this particularly because he saw the heads of Asprenas and his partners carried about. His station had been on a certain elevated place, whither a few steps led him, and whither he had retired in the dark by himself. But when Gratus, who was one of the soldiers that belonged to the palace, saw him, but did not well know by his countenance who he was, because it was dark, though he could well judge that it was a man who was privately there on some design, he came nearer to him; and when Claudius desired that he would retire, be discovered who he was, and owned him to be Claudius. So he said to his followers, "This is a Germanicus; (13) come on, let us choose him for our emperor." But when Claudius saw they were making preparations for taking him away by force, and was afraid they would kill him, as they had killed Caius, he besought them to spare him, putting them in mind how quietly he had demeaned himself, and that he was unacquainted with what had been done. Hereupon Gratus smiled upon him, and took him by the right hand, and said, "Leave off, sir, these low thoughts of saving yourself, while you ought to have greater thoughts, even of obtaining the empire, which the gods, out of their concern for the habitable world, by taking Caius out of the way, commit to thy virtuous conduct. Go to, therefore, and accept of the throne of thy ancestors." So they took him up and carried him, because he was not then able to go on foot, such was his dread and his joy at what was told him.
2. Now there was already gathered together about Gratus a great number of the guards; and when they saw Claudius carried off, they looked with a sad countenance, as supposing that he was carried to execution for the mischiefs that had been lately done; while yet they thought him a man who never meddled with public affairs all his life long, and one that had met with no contemptible dangers under the reign of Caius; and some of them thought it reasonable that the consuls should take cognizance of these matters; and as still more and more of the soldiery got together, the crowd about him ran away, and Claudius could hardly go on, his body was then so weak; and those who carried his sedan, upon an inquiry that was made about his being carried off, ran away and saved themselves, as despairing of their Lord's preservation. But when they were come into the large court of the palace, (which, as the report goes about it, was inhabited first of all the parts of the city of Rome,) and had just reached the public treasury, many more soldiers came about him, as glad to see Claudius's face, and thought it exceeding right to make him emperor, on account of their kindness for Germanicus, who was his brother, and had left behind him a vast reputation among all that were acquainted with him. They reflected also on the covetous temper of the leading men of the senate, and what great errors they had been guilty of when the senate had the government formerly; they also considered the impossibility of such an undertaking, as also what dangers they should be in, if the government should come to a single person, and that such a one should possess it as they had no hand in advancing, and not to Claudius, who would take it as their grant, and as gained by their good-will to him, and would remember the favors they had done him, and would make them a sufficient recompense for the same.
3. These were the discourses the soldiers had one with another by themselves, and they communicated them to all such as came in to them. Now those that inquired about this matter willingly embraced the invitation that was made them to join with the rest; so they carried Claudius into the camp, crowding about him as his guard, and encompassing him about, one chairman still succeeding another, that their vehement endeavors might not be hindered. But as to the populace and senators, they disagreed in their opinions. The latter were very desirous to recover their former dignity, and were zealous to get clear of the slavery that had been brought on them by the injurious treatment of the tyrants, which the present opportunity afforded them; but for the people, who were envious against them, and knew that the emperors were capable of curbing their covetous temper, and were a refuge from them, they were very glad that Claudius had been seized upon, and brought to them, and thought that if Claudius were made emperor, he would prevent a civil war, such as there was in the days of Pompey. But when the senate knew that Claudius was brought into the camp by the soldiers, they sent to him those of their body which had the best character for their virtues, that they might inform him that he ought to do nothing by violence, in order to gain the government; that he who was a single person, one either already or hereafter to be a member of their body, ought to yield to the senate, which consisted of so great a number; that he ought to let the law take place in the disposal of all that related to the public order, and to remember how greatly the former tyrants had afflicted their city, and what dangers both he and they had escaped under Caius; and that he ought not to hate the heavy burden of tyranny, when the injury is done by others, while he did himself willfully treat his country after a mad and insolent manner; that if he would comply with them, and demonstrate that his firm resolution was to live quietly and virtuously, he would have the greatest honors decreed to him that a free people could bestow; and by subjecting himself to the law, would obtain this branch of commendation, that he acted like a man of virtue, both as a ruler and a subject; but that if he would act foolishly, and learn no wisdom by Caius's death, they would not permit him to go on; that a great part of the army was got together for them, with plenty of weapons, and a great number of slaves, which they could make use of; that good hope was a great matter in such cases, as was also good fortune; and that the gods would never assist any others but those that undertook to act with virtue and goodness, who can be no other than such as fight for the liberty of their country.
4. Now these ambassadors, Veranius and Brocchus, who were both of them tribunes of the people, made this speech to Claudius; and falling down upon their knees, they begged of him that he would not throw the city into wars and misfortunes; but when they saw what a multitude of soldiers encompassed and guarded Claudius, and that the forces that were with the consuls were, in comparison of them, perfectly inconsiderable, they added, that if he did desire the government, he should accept of it as given by the senate; that he would prosper better, and be happier, if he came to it, not by the injustice, but by the good-will of those that would bestow it upon him.
WHAT THINGS KING AGRIPPA DID FOR CLAUDIUS; AND HOW CLAUDIUS WHEN HE HAD TAKEN THE GOVERNMENT COMMANDED THE MURDERERS OF CAIUS TO BE SLAIN.
1. NOW Claudius, though he was sensible after what an insolent manner the senate had sent to him yet did he, according to their advice, behave himself for the present with moderation; but not so far that he could not recover himself out of his fright; so he was encouraged [to claim the government] partly by the boldness of the soldiers, and partly by the persuasion of king Agrippa, who exhorted him not to let such a dominion slip out of his hands, when it came thus to him of its own accord. Now this Agrippa, with relation to Caius, did what became one that had been so much honored by him; for he embraced Caius's body after he was dead, and laid it upon a bed, and covered it as well as he could, and went out to the guards, and told them that Caius was still alive; but he said that they should call for physicians, since he was very ill of his wounds. But when he had learned that Claudius was carried away violently by the soldiers, he rushed through the crowd to him, and when he found that he was in disorder, and ready to resign up the government to the senate, he encouraged him, and desired him to keep the government; but when he had said this to Claudius, he retired home. And upon the senate's sending for him, he anointed his head with ointment, as if he had lately accompanied with his wife, and had dismissed her, and then came to them: he also asked of the senators what Claudius did; who told him the present state of affairs, and then asked his opinion about the settlement of the public. He told them in words that he was ready to lose his life for the honor of the senate, but desired them to consider what was for their advantage, without any regard to what was most agreeable to them; for that those who grasp at government will stand in need of weapons and soldiers to guard them, unless they will set up without any preparation for it, and so fall into danger. And when the senate replied that they would bring in weapons in abundance, and money, and that as to an army, a part of it was already collected together for them, and they would raise a larger one by giving the slaves their liberty, - Agrippa made answer, "O senators! may you be able to compass what you have a mind to; yet will I immediately tell you my thoughts, because they tend to your preservation. Take notice, then, that the army which will fight for Claudius hath been long exercised in warlike affairs; but our army will be no better than a rude multitude of raw men, and those such as have been unexpectedly made free from slavery, and ungovernable; we must then fight against those that are skillful in war, with men who know not so much as how to draw their swords. So that my opinion is, that we should send some persons to Claudius, to persuade him to lay down the government; and I am ready to be one of your ambassadors."
2. Upon this speech of Agrippa, the senate complied with him, and he was sent among others, and privately informed Claudius of the disorder the senate was in, and gave him instructions to answer them in a somewhat commanding strain, and as one invested with dignity and authority. Accordingly, Claudius said to the ambassadors, that he did not wonder the senate had no mind to have an emperor over them, because they had been harassed by the barbarity of those that had formerly been at the head of their affairs; but that they should taste of an equitable government under him, and moderate times, while he should only he their ruler in name, but the authority should be equally common to them all; and since he had passed through many and various scenes of life before their eyes, it would be good for them not to distrust him. So the ambassadors, upon their hearing this his answer, were dismissed. But Claudius discoursed with the army which was there gathered together, who took oaths that they would persist in their fidelity to him; Upon which he gave the guards every man five thousand (14) drachmae a-piece, and a proportionable quantity to their captains, and promised to give the same to the rest of the armies wheresoever they were.
3. And now the consuls called the senate together into the temple of Jupiter the Conqueror, while it was still night; but some of those senators concealed themselves in the city, being uncertain what to do, upon the hearing of this summons; and some of them went out of the city to their own farms, as foreseeing whither the public affairs were going, and despairing of liberty; nay, these supposed it much better for them to be slaves without danger to themselves, and to live a lazy and inactive life, than by claiming the dignity of their forefathers, to run the hazard of their own safety. However, a hundred and no more were gotten together; and as they were in consultation about the present posture of affairs, a sudden clamor was made by the soldiers that were on their side, desiring that the senate would choose them an emperor, and not bring the government into ruin by setting up a multitude of rulers. So they fully declared themselves to be for the giving the government not to all, but to one; but they gave the senate leave to look out for a person worthy to be set over them, insomuch that now the affairs of the senate were much worse than before, because they had not only failed in the recovery of their liberty, which they boasted themselves of, but were in dread of Claudius also. Yet were there those that hankered after the government, both on account of the dignity of their families and that accruing to them by their marriages; for Marcus Minucianus was illustrious, both by his own nobility, and by his having married Julia, the sister of Caius, who accordingly was very ready to claim the government, although the consuls discouraged him, and made one delay after another in proposing it: that Minucianus also, who was one of Caius's murderers, restrained Valerius of Asia from thinking of such things; and a prodigious slaughter there had been, if leave had been given to these men to set up for themselves, and oppose Claudius. There were also a considerable number of gladiators besides, and of those soldiers who kept watch by night in the city, and rowers of ships, who all ran into the camp; insomuch that, of those who put in for the government, some left off their pretensions in order to spare the city, and others out of fear for their own persons.
4. But as soon as ever it was day, Cherea, and those that were with him, came into the senate, and attempted to make speeches to the soldiers. However, the multitude of those soldiers, when they saw that they were making signals for silence with their hands, and were ready to begin to speak to them, grew tumultuous, and would not let them speak at all, because they were all zealous to be under a monarchy; and they demanded of the senate one for their ruler, as not enduring any longer delays: but the senate hesitated about either their own governing, or how they should themselves be governed, while the soldiers would not admit them to govern, and the murderers of Caius would not permit the soldiers to dictate to them. When they were in these circumstances, Cherea was not able to contain the anger he had, and promised, that if they desired an emperor, he would give them one, if any one would bring him the watchword from Eutychus. Now this Eutychus was charioteer of the green-band faction, styled Prasine, and a great friend of Caius, who used to harass the soldiery with building stables for the horses, and spent his time in ignominious labors, which occasioned Cherea to reproach them with him, and to abuse them with much other scurrilous language; and told them he would bring them the head of Claudius; and that it was an amazing thing, that, after their former madness, they should commit their government to a fool. Yet were not they moved with his words, but drew their swords, and took up their ensigns, and went to Claudius, to join in taking the oath of fidelity to him. So the senate were left without any body to defend them, and the very consuls differed nothing from private persons. They were also under consternation and sorrow, men not knowing what would become of them, because Claudius was very angry at them; so they fell a reproaching one another, and repented of what they had done. At which juncture Sabinus, one of Caius's murderers, threatened that he would sooner come into the midst of them and kill himself, than consent to make Claudius emperor, and see slavery returning upon them; he also abused Cherea for loving his life too well, while he who was the first in his contempt of Caius, could think it a good thin to live, when, even by all that they had done for the recovery of their liberty, they found it impossible to do it. But Cherea said he had no manner of doubt upon him about killing himself; that yet he would first sound the intentions of Claudius before he did it.
5. These were the debates [about the senate]; but in the camp every body was crowding on all sides to pay their court to Claudius; and the other consul, Quintus Pomponhis, was reproached by the soldiery, as having rather exhorted the senate to recover their liberty; whereupon they drew their swords, and were going to assault him, and they had done it, if Claudius had not hindered them, who snatched the consul out of the danger he was in, and set him by him. :But he did not receive that part of the senate which was with Quintus in the like honorable manner; nay, some of them received blows, and were thrust away as they came to salute Claudius; nay, Aponius went away wounded, and they were all in danger. However, king Agrippa went up to Claudius, and desired he would treat the senators more gently; for if any mischief should come to the senate, he would have no others over whom to rule. Claudius complied with him, and called the senate together into the palace, and was carried thither himself through the city, while the soldiery conducted him, though this was to the great vexation of the multitude; for Cherea and Sabinus, two of Caius's murderers, went in the fore-front of them, in an open manner, while Pollio, whom Claudius, a little before, had made captain of his guards, had sent them an epistolary edict, to forbid them to appear in public. Then did Claudius, upon his coming to the palace, get his friends together, and desired their suffrages about Cherea. They said that the work he had done was a glorious one; but they accused him the he did it of perfidiousness, and thought it just to inflict the punishment [of death] upon him, to discountenance such actions for the time to come. So Cherea was led to his execution, and Lupus and many other Romans with him. Now it is reported that Cherea bore this calamity courageously; and this not only by the firmness of his own behavior under it, but by the reproaches he laid upon Lupus, who fell into tears; for when Lupus laid his garment aside, and complained of the cold (15) he said, that cold was never hurtful to Lupus [i.e. a wolf] And as a great many men went along with them to see the sight, when Cherea came to the place, he asked the soldier who was to be their executioner, whether this office was what he was used to, or whether this was the first time of his using his sword in that manner, and desired him to bring him that very sword with which he himself slew Caius. (16) So he was happily killed at one stroke. But Lupus did not meet with such good fortune in going out of the world, since he was timorous, and had many blows leveled at his neck, because he did not stretch it out boldly [as he ought to have done].
6. Now, a few days after this, as the Parental solemnities were just at hand, the Roman multitude made their usual oblations to their several ghosts, and put portions into the fire in honor of Cherea, and besought him to be merciful to them, and not continue his anger against them for their ingratitude. And this was the end of the life that Cherea came to. But for Sabinus, although Claudius not only set him at liberty, but gave him leave to retain his former command in the army, yet did he think it would be unjust in him to fail of performing his obligations to his fellow confederates; so he fell upon his sword, and killed himself, the wound reaching up to the very hilt of the sword.