To Polybius, on Consolation XV

Why should I speak of the intimacy of the two Luculli, which was broken only by their death? or of the Pompeii? whom the cruelty of Fortune did not even allow to perish by the same catastrophe; for Sextus Pompeius in the first place survived his sister, [65] by whose death the firmly knit bond of peace in the Roman empire was broken, and he also survived his noble brother, whom Fortune had raised so high in order that she might cast him down from as great a height as she had already cast down his father; yet after this great misfortune Sextus Pompeius was able not only to endure his grief but even to make war.

Innumerable instances occur to me of brothers who were separated by death: indeed on the other hand we see very few pairs of brothers growing old together: however, I shall content myself with examples from my own family.

No one can be so devoid of feeling or of reason as to complain of Fortune’s having thrown him into mourning when he learns that she has coveted the tears of the Caesars themselves.

The Emperor Augustus lost his darling sister Octavia, and though Nature destined him for heaven, yet she did not relax her laws to spare him from mourning while on Earth: nay, he suffered every kind of bereavement, losing his sister’s son, [66] who was intended to be his heir. In fine, not to mention his sorrows in detail, he lost his son-in-law, his children, and his grandchildren, and, while he remained among men, no mortal was more often reminded that he was a man.

Yet his mind, which was able to bear all things, bore all these heavy sorrows, and the blessed Augustus was the conqueror, not only of foreign nations, but also of his own sorrows. Gaius Caesar, [67] the grandson of the blessed Augustus, my maternal great uncle, in the first years of manhood, when Prince of the Roman Youth, as he was preparing for the Parthian war, lost his darling brother Lucius [68] who was also “Prince of the Roman Youth,” and suffered more thereby in his mind than he did afterwards in his body, though he bore both afflictions with the greatest piety and fortitude.

Tiberius Caesar, my paternal uncle, lost his younger brother Drusus Germanicus, [69] my father, when he was opening out the innermost fastnesses of Germany, and bringing the fiercest tribes under the dominion of the Roman empire; he embraced him and received his last kiss, but he nevertheless restrained not only his own grief but that of others, and when the whole army, not merely sorrowful but heartbroken, claimed the corpse of their Drusus for themselves, he made them grieve only as it became Romans to grieve, and taught them that they must observe military discipline not only in fighting but also in mourning.

He could not have checked the tears of others had he not first repressed his own.