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THE ancestors of Otho were originally of the town of Ferentum, of an ancient and honourable family, and, indeed, one of the most considerable in Etruria. His grandfather, M. Salvius Otho (whose father was a Roman knight, but his mother of mean extraction, for it is not certain whether she was free-born), by the favour of Livia Augusta, in whose house he had his education, was made a senator, but never rose higher than the praetorship. His father, Lucius Otho, was by the mother's side nobly descended, allied to several great families, and so dearly beloved by Tiberius, and so much resembled him in his features, that most people believed Tiberius was his father. He behaved with great strictness and severity, not only in the city offices, but in the pro-consulship of Africa, and some extraordinary commands in the army. He had the courage to punish with death some soldiers in Illyricum, who, in the disturbance attempted by Camillus, upon changing their minds, had put their generals to the sword, as promoters of that insurrection against Claudius. He ordered the execution to take place in the front of the camp, 1 and under his own eyes; though he knew they had been advanced to higher ranks in the army by Claudius, on that very account. By this action he acquired fame, but lessened his favour at court; which, however, he soon recovered, by discovering to Claudius a design upon his life, carried on by a Roman knight, 2 and which he had learnt from some of his slaves. For the senate ordered a statue of him to be erected in the palace; an honour which had been conferred but upon very few before him. And Claudius advanced him to the dignity of a patrician, commending him, at the same time, in the highest terms, and concluding with these words: " A man, than whom I don't so much as wish to have children that should be better." He had two sons by a very noble woman, Albia Terentia, namely, Lucius Titianus, and a younger called Marcus, who had the same cognomen as himself. He had also a daughter, whom he contracted to Drusus, Germanicus's son, before she was of marriageable age.

1 On the esplanade, where the standards, objects of religious reverence, were planted. See note to c. vi. Criminals were usually executed outside the Valium, and in the presence of a centurion.

2 Probably one of the two mentioned in CLAUDIUS, c. xiii.

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