Unnamed Journal Volume 3, Issue 1 - Page 36

The Meditations of Caius Caligula wine. But I was not surprised. My next brother, the younger Drusus, learned nothing from this example. Anyone could have clearly seen that Sejanus had had spies in Nero’s home and would obviously have spies in his own, but little Drusus could not be bothered. He was a sensualist, and like many such, he could not pull his mind away from his pleasures. I have always made my indulgences suit my needs. Why seduce a maiden or diddle a slave when you can have the wife of Sejanus’ lieutenant? Drusus’ death - cast into a dungeon, from which he never emerged - was horrible, but it had a kind of poetry to it. He was always in a dungeon and did not know it. It grieves me to say it, but my brothers were poor casts of my father’s mold. Their deaths were sad, but they spared them the shame of being outdone and outshone by their youngest brother. They spared me the trouble of having to defeat and dispose of my father’s sons. Tiberius did me a favor in that respect. I suppose I must speak of Tiberius. I would prefer not to. There is little to say. Except this perhaps: he was as able a man as any that have come out of the legions. One needs only to examine his record of campaigns and consulates to be convinced of his essential competence. He was no genius, mind - no Julius Caesar or Scipio Africanus. But he performed his duties with great grit, always serving Augustus just the way Augustus needed to be served. Augustus was never a soldier, but he had the alacrity to gather soldiers about him and keep their loyalty. So it was with Agrippa, and so it was with Tiberius. I never once heard Tiberius complain of it. He was at his best, and his happiest, leading the legions. Men such as Tiberius - iron of heart, iron of judgment - have been the backbone of Rome from the beginning. When Rome ceases to produce men like him, we shall be lost. It is fitting that one should become Emperor. And yet, I knew only a pitiable monster. I pitied him. Truly, I did. He would have made a better emperor if he had enjoyed it. After the decades of waiting for Augustus to die, he could think of nothing better to do than continue all Augustus’ policies. He was Augustus’ servant to the end, keeping Augustus’ imperium exactly as he had received it. He hated it, but he could do no other. He was not a politician, who sized up the situation and worked it to his ends. He was a soldier, who followed orders, and without someone to give him orders, he had nothing to fall back on. So he was truly more of Augustus’ regent than ever his own man. But Augustus was gone, and before too long the strain began to show. Many a long day I spent in his company, in that dark pleasure-pit on Capri, near the end, bowing and scraping to him, echoing his moods and fancies like a lyre accompanying a poet. I learned his dark heart, that I could best survive. And what I came to understand was this: deep down, the exercise of politics was not where his passion had ever lain. Tiberius did not want to be great; he wanted to be loved. Which somehow he determined he could have by way of politics. And the more he perceived that no one truly loved him, the more he feared that everyone hated him. If he had understood politics, he could have played the game, as Augustus had, keeping Senators under his thumb while pretending to be their comrade and humble servant. But Tiberius did not play games, and could only understand that flattery and ambiguity are less than truth, and less than truth is a lie, and lies are disloyal. As much as I feared for my life while holed up on Capri with him, I found it incredibly sad to watch him crumble. Lord of the World, he was, and utterly sick thereby. It was the need to relieve his sickness as to remove the threat to my person that I made the choice to end his life. Yes, my adoptive grandfather, the uncle of my father, this wretched emperor and corrupted Roman, was the first person I ever killed. Not by my own hand, of course. Even I have limits, and the risk was too great. I had Macro handle it. I sat in the next room and listened assiduously for the moment of his death. I remember the smell in the air, heavy and perfumed, dust dancing on the sunbeams. I wanted to hear the