25 AD: The trial of Cremutius Cordus

In 25 AD, the republican historian Cremutius Cordus is convicted of treason for calling Caesar’s assassins, Brutus and Cassius, the ‘last Romans’. Facing a death sentence, he starves himself to death. All his books are burned and banned.


The later historian Tacitus reconstructs his defence speech:


“Conscript Fathers, my words are brought to judgement—so guiltless am I of deeds! … You may sentence me to death, but then not only Brutus and Cassius will be remembered. I, too, shall not be forgotten.”
– Aulus Cremutius Cordus according to Tacitus, Annales 4.34-35