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And so died Tiberius, in the seventy-eighth year of his age. Nero was his father, and he was on both sides descended from the Claudian house, though his mother passed by adoption, first into the Livian, then into the Julian family. From earliest infancy, perilous vicissitudes were his lot. Himself an exile, he was the companion of a proscribed father, and on being admitted as a stepson into the house of Augustus, he had to struggle with many rivals, so long as Marcellus and Agrippa and, subsequently, Caius and Lucius Cæsar were in their glory. Again his brother Drusus enjoyed in a greater degree the affection of the citizens. But he was more than ever on dangerous ground after his marriage with Julia, whether he tolerated or escaped from his wife's profligacy. On his return from Rhodes he ruled the emperor's now heirless house for twelve years, and the Roman world, with absolute sway, for about twenty-three. His character too had its distinct periods. It was a bright time in his life and reputation, while under Augustus he was a private citizen or held high offices; a time of reserve and crafty assumption of vir-
tue, as long as Germanicus and Drusus were alive. Again while his mother lived, he was a compound of good and evil; he was infamous for his cruelty, though he veiled his debaucheries, while he loved or feared Sejanus. Finally, he plunged into every wickedness and disgrace, when fear and shame being cast off, he simply indulged his own inclinations. 1

1 [The four following books and the beginning of Book XI, which are lost, contained the history of a period of nearly ten years, from A.D. 37 to A.D. 47. These years included the reign of Caius Cæsar (Caligula), the son of Germanicus by the elder Agrippina, and the first six years of the reign of Claudius. Caius Cæsar's reign was three years ten months and eight days in duration. Claudius (Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus), the brother of Germanicus, succeeded him, at the age of fifty, and reigned from A.D. 41 to A.D. 54.

The Eleventh Book of the Annals opens with the seventh year of Claudius's reign. The power of his wife Messalina was then at its height. She was, it seems, jealous of a certain Poppæa Sabina, who is mentioned in Book XIII., § 45, as "having surpassed in beauty all the ladies of her day." This Poppæa was the daughter of the Poppæus Sabinus alluded to in Book VI., § 39, and the mother of the more famous Poppæa, afterwards the wife of the emperor Nero. Messalina contrived to involve this lady and her lover, Valerius Asiaticus, in a ruinous charge. Asiaticus had been twice consul, once under Caius Cæsar, a second time under Claudius in A.D. 46. He was rich as well as noble. The Eleventh Book, as we have it, begins with the account of his prosecution by means of Messalina, who with the help of Lucius Vitellius, the father of the Vitellius, afterwards emperor, effected his ruin.]

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