sed veteris populi Romani prospera vel adversa claris scriptoribus memorata sunt ; temporibusque Augusti dicendis non defuere decora ingenia , donec gliscente adulatione deterrerentur . Tiberii Gaique et Claudii ac Neronis res florentibus ipsis ob metum falsae , postquam occiderant recentibus odiis compositae sunt . inde consilium mihi pauca de Augusto et extrema tradere , mox Tiberii principatum et cetera , sine ira et studio , quorum causas procul habeo .
Postquam Bruto et Cassio caesis nulla iam publica arma , Pompeius apud Siciliam oppressus exutoque Lepido , interfecto Antonio ne Iulianis quidem partibus nisi Caesar dux reliquus , posito triumviri nomine consulem se ferens et ad tuendam plebem tribunicio iure contentum , ubi militem donis , populum annona , cunctos dulcedine otii pellexit , insurgere paulatim , munia senatus magistratuum legum in se trahere , nullo adversante , cum ferocissimi per acies aut proscriptione cecidissent , ceteri nobilium , quanto quis servitio promptior , opibus et honoribus extollerentur ac novis ex rebus aucti tuta et praesentia quam vetera et periculosa mallent . neque provinciae illum rerum statum abnuebant , suspecto senatus populique imperio ob certamina potentium et avaritiam magistratuum , invalido legum auxilio quae vi ambitu postremo pecunia turbabantur .
But the successes and reverses of the old Roman people have been recorded by famous historians ; and fine intellects were not wanting to describe the times of Augustus , till growing sycophancy scared them away . The histories of Tiberius , Caius , Claudius , and Nero , while they were in power , were falsified through terror , and after their death were written under the irritation of a recent hatred . Hence my purpose is to relate a few facts about Augustus—more particularly his last acts , then the reign of Tiberius , and all which follows , without either bitterness or partiality , from any motives to which I am far removed .
When after the destruction of Brutus and Cassius there was no longer any army of the Commonwealth , when Pompeius was crushed in Sicily , and when , with Lepidus pushed aside and Antonius slain , even the Julian faction had only Cæsar left to lead it , then , dropping the title of triumvir , and giving out that he was a Consul , and was satisfied with a tribune ' s authority for the protection of the people , Augustus won over the soldiers with gifts , the populace with cheap corn , and all men with the sweets of repose , and so grew greater by degrees , while he concentrated in himself the functions of the Senate , the magistrates , and the laws . He was wholly unopposed , for the boldest spirits had fallen in battle , or in the proscription , while the remaining nobles , the readier they were to be slaves , were raised the higher by wealth and promotion , so that , aggrandised by revolution , they preferred the safety of the present to the dangerous past . Nor did the provinces dislike that condition of affairs , for they distrusted the government of the Senate and the people , because of the rivalries between the leading men and the rapacity of the officials , while the protection of the laws was unavailing , as they were continually deranged by violence , intrigue , and finally by corruption .
As for the auncient Roman peo|ple , both prosperous and miserable , by cleare authors are well remembred . | There lacked not florishing wittes , to se*te out Augustus dayes vntill | flatteries glose to muche affrighted them . Tiberius , Caius , Claudius , | and Neroes time , when they florished for feare of falshood ; after their | dayes , by fresh hates were accorded . This made me take in hande the | laste and few of Augustus dayes , and so Tiberius rule and all the rest , | without malice or zeale , from which both , I am farre of . [ 1 . 2 ] After Brutus | and Cassius slaine there were no common armes . Pompey oppressed in | Sicilia , Lepidus rejected , Anthony killed ; and none left for Julius parte , | but Cesar alone , who leauing the name of Triumuir remained but Consul , | contented by Tribunes right to defend the people . Wherein when he had | won the soldier by gifts , the people by gyftes ( ? ) plentie , and all by eases | sweetnes ; then began he to pluck and drawe , the Senates office , the Magis-|trates power , and all lawes to himselfe . none gainsaying , when the stowt=|est by battayle or exyle were decayed . The rest of noblest , as redyest in | service , so moste aduanced in wealth and dignitie , increased by new gyftes | chose rather the saffe , and present , then ancient and dangerous . Nether | did the Prouinces gainsay this ordered state . The rule of Senate and people | suspected for the great ones striffes , and magistrates auarice , nought | availing lawes healpe , which by violence , ambition , at laste for money | were all shaken .