And now Attalus Philometor died,1
and Eudemus of Pergamum brought to Rome the king's last will and testament, by which the Roman people was made his heir. At once Tiberius courted popular favour by bringing in a bill which provided that the money of King Attalus, when brought to Rome, should be given to the citizens who received a parcel of the public land, to aid them in stocking and tilling their farms.
And as regarded the cities which were included in the kingdom of Attalus, he said it did not belong to the senate to deliberate about them, but he himself would submit a pertinent resolution to the people. By this proceeding he gave more offence than ever to the senate; and Pompeius, rising to speak there, said that he was a neighbour of Tiberius, and therefore knew that Eudemus of Pergamum had presented Tiberius with a royal diadem and purple robe, believing that he was going to be king in Rome.
Moreover, Quintus Metellus upbraided Tiberius with the reminder that whenever his father, during his censorship, was returning home after a supper, the citizens put out their lights, for fear they might be thought to be indulging immoderately in entertainments and drinking bouts, whereas Tiberius himself was lighted on his way at night by the neediest and most reckless of the populace.
Titus Annius, too, a man of no high character or sobriety, but held to be invincible in arguments carried on by question and answer, challenged Tiberius to a judicial wager,2
solemnly asserting that he had branded with infamy his colleague, who was sacred and inviolable by law. As many senators applauded this speech, Tiberius dashed out of the senate-house, called the people together, and ordered Annius to be brought before them, with the intention of denouncing him.
But Annius, who was far inferior to Tiberius both in eloquence and in reputation, had recourse to his own particular art, and called upon Tiberius to answer a few questions before the argument began. Tiberius assented to this and silence was made, whereupon Annius said:
‘If thou wish to heap insult upon me and degrade me, and I invoke the aid of one of thy colleagues in office, and he mount the rostra to speak in my defence, and thou fly into a passion, come, wilt thou deprive that colleague of his office?’
At this question, we are told, Tiberius was so disconcerted that, although he was of all men most ready in speech and most vehement in courage, he held his peace.