This is said to have been the first sedition at Rome, since the abolition of royal power, to end in bloodshed and the death of citizens; the rest though neither trifling nor raised for trifling objects, were settled by mutual concessions, the nobles yielding from fear of the multitude, and the people out of respect for the senate. And it was thought that even on this occasion Tiberius would have given way without difficulty had persuasion been brought to bear upon him,
and would have yielded still more easily if his assailants had not resorted to wounds and bloodshed; for his adherents numbered not more than three thousand. But the combination against him would seem to have arisen from the hatred and anger of the rich rather than from the pretexts which they alleged; and there is strong proof of this in their lawless and savage treatment of his dead body. For they would not listen to his brother's request that he might take up the body and bury it by night, but threw it into the river along with the other dead.
Nor was this all; they banished some of his friends without a trial and others they arrested and put to death. Among these Diophanes the rhetorician also perished. A certain Caius Villius they shut up in a cage, and then put in vipers and serpents, and in this way killed him. Blossius of Cumae was brought before the consuls, and when he was asked about what had passed, he admitted that he had done everything at the bidding of Tiberius.
Then Nasica said to him,
‘What, then, if Tiberius had ordered them to set fire to the Capitol?’ Blossius at first replied that Tiberius would not have given such an order; but when the same question was put to him often and by many persons, he said:
‘If such a man as Tiberius had ordered such a thing, it would also have been right for me to do it; for Tiberius would not have given such an order if it had not been for the interest of the people.’
Well, then, Blossius was acquitted, and afterwards went to Aristonicus2
in Asia, and when the cause of Aristonicus was lost, slew himself.