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30. C. Calpurnius Piso, the leader of the well-known conspiracy against Nero in A. D. 65. He is first mentioned in A. D. 37, when Caligula was invited to his nuptial banquet on the day of his marriage with Livia Orestilla; but the emperor took a fancy to the bride, whom he married, and shortly afterwards banished the husband. He was recalled by Claudius, and raised to the consulship, but in what year is uncertain, as his name does not occur in the Fasti. When the crimes and follies of Nero had made him both hated and despised by his subjects, a formidable conspiracy was formed against the tyrant, and the conspirators destined Piso as his successor. Piso himself did not form the plot; but as soon as he had joined it, his great popularity gained him many partizans. He possessed most of the qualities which the Romans prized, high birth, an eloquent address, liberality and affability; and he also displayed a sufficient love of magnificence and luxury to suit the taste of the day, which would not have tolerated austerity of manner or character. The conspiracy was discovered by Milichus, a freedman of Flavius Scevinus, one of the conspirators. Piso thereupon opened his veins, and thus died. (Schol. ad juv. 5.109; D. C. 59.8 : Tac. Ann. 14.65, 15.48-59; D. C. 62.24, &c.; Suet. Nero 36.)

Panagyric on Calpurnius Piso

There is extant a poem in 261 lines, containing a panegyric on a certain Calpurnius Piso, whom Wernsdorf supposes with considerable probability to be the same as the leader of the conspiracy against Nero.

Piso left a son, whom Tacitus calls Calpurnius Galerianus, and who would appear from his surname to have been adopted by Piso. The ambition of the father caused the death of the son; for Mucianus, the praefect of Vespasian, fearing lest Galerianus might follow in his father's steps, put him to death, when he obtained possession of the city in A. D. 70. (Tac. Hist. 4.11.)


The poem is printed in the fourth volume of Wernsdorf's Poetae Latini Minores, where it is attributed to Saleius Bassus

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  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Suetonius, Nero, 36
    • Tacitus, Annales, 14.65
    • Tacitus, Annales, 15.48
    • Tacitus, Annales, 15.59
    • Tacitus, Historiae, 4.11
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