This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Silius had a wife, Sosia Galla, whose love of Agrippina made her hateful to the emperor. The two, it was decided, were to be attacked, but Sabinus was to be put off for a time. Varro, the consul, was let loose on them, who, under colour of a hereditary feud, humoured the malignity of Sejanus to his own disgrace. The accused begged a brief respite, until the prosecutor's consulship expired, but the emperor opposed the request. "It was usual," he argued, "for magistrates to bring a private citizen to trial, and a consul's authority ought not to be impaired, seeing that it rested with his vigilance to guard the commonwealth from loss." It was characteristic of Tiberius to veil new devices in wickedness under ancient names. And so, with a solemn appeal, he summoned the Senate, as if there were any laws by which Silius was being tried, as if Varro were a real consul, or Rome a commonwealth. The accused either said nothing, or, if he attempted to defend himself, hinted, not obscurely, at the person whose resentment was crushing him. A long concealed complicity in Sacrovir's rebellion, a rapacity which sullied his victory, and his wife Sosia's conduct, were alleged against him. Unquestionably, they could not extricate themselves from the charge of extortion. The whole affair however was conducted as a trial for treason, and Silius forestalled impending doom by a self-inflicted death.