About the titulus crucis and Nero

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About the titulus crucis and Nero

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:13 am

Tacitus talks about a false Nero.

8 1 About this time Achaia and Asia were terrified by a false rumour of Nero's arrival. The reports with regard to his death had been varied, and therefore many people imagined and believed that he was alive. The forces and attempts of other pretenders we shall tell as we proceed;9 but at this time, a slave from Pontus or, as others have reported, a freedman from Italy, who was skilled in playing on the cithara and in singing, gained the readier belief in his deceit through these accomplishments and his resemblance to Nero. He recruited some deserters, poor tramps whom he had bribed by great promises, and put to sea. A violent storm drove him to the island of Cythnus, where he called to his standard some soldiers who were returning from the East on leave, or ordered them to be killed if they refused. Then he robbed the merchants, and armed all the ablest-bodied of their slaves. A centurion, Sisenna, who was carrying clasped right hands,10 the symbol of friendship, to the praetorians in the name of the army in Syria, the pretender approached with various artifices, until Sisenna in alarm and fearing violence secretly left the island and made his escape. Then the alarm spread far and wide. Many came eagerly forward at the famous name, prompted by their desire for a change and their hatred of the present situation. The fame of the pretender was increasing from day to day when a chance shattered it.

The provinces of Galatia and Pamphylia11 had been entrusted by Galba to Calpurnius Asprenas, who had been given as escort two triremes from the fleet at Misenum. With these Calpurnius reached the island of Cythnus, where there were many who tried to win over the captains in Nero's name. The pretender, assuming a look of sorrow and calling on the soldiers, once his own, for protection, begged them to land him in Syria or Egypt. The captains, either hesitating or acting with craft, declared that they must address their soldiers and that they would return after they had prepared the minds of all. But they faithfully reported everything to Asprenas, at whose bidding they captured the pretender's ship and killed him, whoever he was. His body, which was remarkable for its eyes, hair, and grim face, was carried to Asia and from there to Rome.

(Tacitus, Hist. 2:8-9)

According to Suetonius, Nero was promised the “Kingdom of Jerusalem” (Nero XL).


It is more probable that the function of the titulus was to remember that the victim was the Jewish Christ. An excessive judaizing emphasis is at work here.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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