When the assassin, in the military phrase, reported to Tiberius,
that what he had given in orders was duly executed, the reply of the new emperor
was, that he had given no such orders, and for what was done the centurion must
answer before the senate.
A disavowal so very extraordinary gave the alarm to Sallustius Crispus,
a minister then in favour, and trusted with the secrets of the court. The warrant
for the execution had passed through his hands. He dreaded a public examination;
well aware that, whether he disclosed the truth, or attempted to disguise it,
his own danger would, in either case, be precisely the same. To ward off the
blow, he remonstrated to Livia, that the secret counsels of the imperial family,
the conducts of ministers, and the actions of the centurions, ought to be veiled
from the public eye. By referring too much to the senate, the
prince would weaken his own authority: that men should be accountable
to the sovereign only, was a branch of the imperial prerogative; and if Tiberius
departed from it, he ceased to reign.