1. P. Valerius
Asiaticus, consul suffectus under Caligula, but in what year is uncertain, and a second time consul under Claudius in A. D. 46 with M. Junius Silanus. Valerius was a friend of Caligula, but, having received a gross insult from him, rejoiced at his death. When the praetorian troops, after the assassination of the emperor, were seeking for the murderer in order to wreak their vengeance on him, Valerius stood up in a conspicuous place and exclaimed " Would that I had killed him," by which act of courage the soldiers were so astonishe d that they returned quietly to their quarters. Valerius was very wealthy and this proved his ruin.
The empress Messalina coveted his splendid gardens, which were the same as Lucullus had originally laid out, and which Valerius had made still more magnificent.
She also suspected him of being one of the paramours of the beautiful Poppaea Sabina, the mother of Nero's wife, whom she both feared and detested; and she therefore resolved to crush Valerius and Poppaea at the same time.
She employed Suillius to accuse him, and also instructed Sosibius, who was then a slave or a freedman in the palace, to caution Claudius against the power and wealth of Valerius.
This was in A. D. 47, the year following his second consulship. Valerius had in the preceding year voluntarily resigned his consulship after holding it for a short time, in order to avoid the envy of which he was the subject. Suillius accused him of the part he had taken in Caligula's death, and of an intention of setting out to the German armies with a view of aspiring to the empire, since he was born at Vienna (Vienne) in Gaul and had many connections in that part of the Roman world.
The weak and credulous emperor was easily persuaded. Valerius was apprehended at Baiae.
The senate was not summoned, but he was brought into the emperor's chamber, where Suillius laid various crimes to his charge. Valerius defended himself with spirit, and the emperor would have acquitted him had it not been for Messalina, who got Vitellius, then consul for the third time, to persuade the emperor to sentence him to death.
He was allowed the choice of his death, and died by opening his veins. (D. C. 59.30
; Joseph. 19.1; Sen. de Const. Sap.
18; Tac. Ann. 11.1
; D. C. 60.27