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Tiberius after this acquitted the young Piso of the charge of civil war on the ground that a son could not have refused a father's orders, compassionating at the same time the high rank of the family and the terrible downfall even of Piso himself, however he might have deserved it. For Plancina he spoke with shame and conscious disgrace, alleg-
YOUNG PISO AND PLANCINA SPARED
ing in excuse the intercession of his mother, secret complaints against whom from all good men were growing more and more vehement. "So it was the duty of a grandmother," people said, "to look a grandson's murderess in the face, to converse with her and rescue her from the Senate. What the laws secure on behalf of every citizen, had to Germanicus alone been denied. The voices of a Vitellius and Veranius had bewailed a Cæsar, while the emperor and Augusta had defended Plancina. She might as well now turn her poisonings, and her devices which had proved so successful, against Agrippina and her children, and thus sate this exemplary grandmother and uncle with the blood of a most unhappy house."

Two days were frittered away over this mockery of a trial, Tiberius urging Piso's children to defend their mother. While the accusers and their witnesses pressed the prosecution with rival zeal, and there was no reply, pity rather than anger was on the increase. Aurelius Cotta, the consul, who was first called on for his vote (for when the emperor put the question, even those in office went through the duty of voting), held that Piso's name ought to be erased from the public register, half of his property confiscated, half given up to his son, Cneius Piso, who was to change his first name; that Marcus Piso, stript of his rank, with an allowance of five million sesterces, should be banished for ten years, Plancina's life being spared in consideration of Augusta's intercession.

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