Peramoena

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At Caesar dedicatis per Campaniam templis, quamquam edicto monuisset ne quis quietem eius inrumperet, concursusque oppidanorum disposito milite prohiberentur, perosus tamen municipia et colonias omniaque in continenti sita Capreas se in insulam abdidit trium milium freto ab extremis Surrentini promunturii diiunctam. solitudinem eius placuisse maxime crediderim, quoniam importuosum circa mare et vix modicis navigiis pauca subsidia; neque adpulerit quisquam nisi gnaro custode. caeli temperies hieme mitis obiectu montis quo saeva ventorum arcentur; aestas in favonium obversa et aperto circum pelago peramoena; prospectabatque pulcherrimum sinum, antequam Vesuvius mons ardescens faciem loci verteret. Graecos ea tenuisse Capreasque Telebois habitatas fama tradit. sed tum Tiberius duodecim villarum nominibus et molibus insederat, quanto intentus olim publicas ad curas tanto occultiores in luxus et malum otium resolutus. manebat quippe suspicionum et credendi temeritas quam Seianus augere etiam in urbe suetus acrius turbabat non iam occultis adversum Agrippinam et Neronem insidiis. quis additus miles nuntios, introitus, aperta secreta velut in annales referebat, ultroque struebantur qui monerent perfugere ad Germaniae exercitus vel celeberrimo fori effigiem divi Augusti amplecti populumque ac senatum auxilio vocare. eaque spreta ab illis, velut pararent, obiciebantur.
(Tacitus, Ann. 4.67)

Tiberius had in the meantime finished dedicating the temples in Campania. He had also issued an edict advising people that his peace was not to be disturbed, and crowds of townspeople were kept at bay by soldiers stationed for that purpose. Even so, his distaste for the municipal towns, colonies, and everything lying on the mainland led him to shut himself away on the island of Capreae, which is separated from the tip of the promontory of Surrentum by a strait three miles wide. I am inclined to believe that it was the solitude that pleased him most: surrounded by the sea, the island has no harbours and barely any havens even for smaller craft, and no one could put in there without a sentry knowing about it. The climate is mild during winter because of a mountain barrier by which it is protected from savage gales, and in summer the island is delightful because it is exposed to the west wind and surrounded by open sea. In addition, it enjoyed the view of a beautiful bay, until Mt. Vesuvius’ eruptions changed the landscape. Tradition has it that Greeks colonized the area, and that Capreae was inhabited by the Teleboans. At this time, however, it was Tiberius who settled there, occupying twelve villas, individual structures with their own names and, as totally as he had been engrossed with public affairs, he now similarly relaxed into private extravagances and pernicious leisure. For there still remained his excessive tendency to suspicion and credulity. This Sejanus had persistently cultivated in Rome, as well, and now he was stoking it more fiercely, his traps for Agrippina and Nero no longer kept a secret. Soldiers, assigned to the two, would take note of messages and visits they received, and all their open and private activities, as accurately as for a work of history. Men were actually given the task of advising them to seek refuge with the armies in Germany, or to embrace the statue of the deified Augustus when the Forum was particularly crowded, and call on the people and Senate for help. Such courses of action were rejected, but they were charged with intending to accept them. (tr. John C. Yardley)

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