A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

a Roman historian, who, after having lived long and blamelessly, was impeached by two of his own clients before Tiberius of having praised Brutus and denominated Cassius " the last of the Romans"--" crimine," says Tacitus, " novo ac tunc primum audito." His real offence, however, was the freedom of speech in which he had indulged against Sejanus, for the work in which the objectionable passages occurred had been published for many years, and had been read with approbation by Augustus himself. Perceiving from the relentless aspect of the emperor that there was no room for hope, Cordus delivered an apology, the substance of which has been preserved or fabricated by Tacitus, appealing to the impunity enjoyed under similar circumstances by all preceding annalists, and then quitting the senate-house retired to his own mansion, where he starved himself to death. (A. D. 25.) The subservient fathers ordained that his works should be burned by the aediles in the city, and by the public authorities wherever elsewhere found, but copies were so much the more eagerly treasured in concealment by his daughter Marcia and by his friends, who afterwards gave them again to the world with the full permission of Caligula. A few scanty fragments are contained in the seventh of the Suasoriae of Seneca.