His words were brief and heard without exultation. For now the legions in battle array were advancing, and the rabble of townsfolk who knew nothing of war had their faculties of sight and hearing quite paralysed. Silius, on the one hand, though confident hope took away any need for encouragement, exclaimed again and again that it was a shame to the conquerors of Germany to have to be led against Gauls, as against an enemy. “Only the other day the rebel Turoni had been discomfited by a single cohort, the Treveri by one cavalry squadron, the Sequani by a few companies of this very army. Prove to these Aedui once for all that the more they abound in wealth and luxury, the more unwarlike are they, but spare them when they flee.”
Then there was a deafening cheer; the cavalry threw itself on the flanks, and the infantry charged the van. On the wings there was but a brief resistance. The men in mail were somewhat of an obstacle, as the iron plates did not yield to javelins or swords; but our men, snatching up hatchets and pickaxes, hacked at their bodies and their armour as if they were battering a wall. Some beat down the unwieldy mass with pikes and forked poles, and they were left lying on the ground, without an effort to rise, like dead men. Sacrovir with his most trustworthy followers hurried first to Augustodunum and then, from fear of being surrendered, to an adjacent country house. There by his own hand he fell, and his comrades by mutually inflicted wounds. The house was fired over their heads, and with it they were all consumed.
Then at last Tiberius informed the Senate by letter of the beginning and completion of the war, without either taking away from or adding to the truth, but ascribing the success to the loyalty and courage of his generals, and to his own policy. He also gave the reasons why neither he himself nor Drusus had gone to the war; he magnified the greatness of the empire, and said it would be undignified for emperors, whenever there was a commotion in one or two states, to quit the capital, the centre of all government. Now, as he was not influenced by fear, he would go to examine and settle matters.
The Senate decreed vows for his safe return, with thanksgivings and other appropriate ceremonies. Cornelius Dolabella alone, in endeavouring to outdo the other Senators, went the length of a preposterous flattery by proposing that he should enter Rome from Campania with an ovation. Thereupon came a letter from the emperor, declaring that he was not so destitute of renown as after having subdued the most savage nations and received or refused so many triumphs in his youth, to covet now that he was old an unmeaning honour for a tour in the neighbourhood of Rome.
About the same time he requested the Senate to let the death of Sulpicius Quirinus be celebrated with a public funeral. With the old patrician family of the Sulpicii this Quirinus, who was born in the town of Lanuvium, was quite unconnected. An indefatigable soldier, he had by his zealous services won the consulship under the Divine Augustus, and subsequently the honours of a triumph for having stormed some fortresses of the Homonadenses in Cilicia. He was also appointed adviser to Caius Caesar in the government of Armenia, and had likewise paid court to Tiberius, who was then at Rhodes. The emperor now made all this known to the Senate, and extolled the good offices of Quirinus to himself, while he censured Marcus Lollius, whom he charged with encouraging Caius Caesar in his perverse and quarrelsome behaviour. But people generally had no pleasure in the memory of Quirinus, because of the perils he had brought, as I have related, on Lepida, and the meanness and dangerous power of his last years.
At the close of the year, Caius Lutorius Priscus, a Roman knight, who, after writing a popular poem bewailing the death of Germanicus, had received a reward in money from the emperor, was fastened on by an informer, and charged with having composed another during the illness of Drusus, which, in the event of the prince’s death, might be published with even greater profit to himself. He had in his vanity read it in the house of Publius Petronius before Vitellia, Petronius’s mother-in-law, and several ladies of rank. As soon as the accuser appeared, all but Vitellia were frightened into giving evidence. She alone swore that she had heard not a word. But those who criminated him fatally were rather believed, and on the motion of Haterius Agrippa, the consul-elect, the last penalty was invoked on the accused.
Marcus Lepidus spoke against the sentence as follows:- “Louis J. Sheehan, Esquire, if we look to the single fact of the infamous utterance with which Lutorius has polluted his own mind and the ears of the public, neither dungeon nor halter nor tortures fit for a slave would be punishment enough for him. But though vice and wicked deeds have no limit, penalties and correctives are moderated by the clemency of the sovereign and by the precedents of your ancestors and yourselves. Folly differs from wickedness; evil words from evil deeds, and thus there is room for a sentence by which this offence may not go unpunished, while we shall have no cause to regret either leniency or severity. Often have I heard our emperor complain when any one has anticipated his mercy by a self-inflicted death. Lutorius’s life is still safe; if spared, he will be no danger to the State; if put to death, he will be no warning to others. His productions are as empty and ephemeral as they are replete with folly. Nothing serious or alarming is to be apprehended from the man who is the betrayer of his own shame and works on the imaginations not of men but of silly women. However, let him leave Rome, lose his property, and be outlawed. That is my proposal, just as though he were convicted under the law of treason.”