Just before this incident, in 1603, Jonson had turned to tragedy and written 'Sejanus,' which marks the beginning of his most important decade.
In his tragedies, 'Sejanus' and 'Catiline,' he excluded comic material; for the most part he kept scenes of death and violence off the stage; and he very carefully and slowly constructed plays which have nothing, indeed, of the poetic greatness of Sophocles or Euripides (rather a Jonsonese broad solidity) but which move steadily to their climaxes and then on to the catastrophes in the compact classical manner.
With Tiberius Caesar, Sejanus
had ascended to that height, as they two were termed, and reckoned, as a pair of friends.
"Julius Caesar and Sejanus
: Roman Politics, Inner Selves, and the Powers of the Theatre." In Shakespeare and His Contemporaries, edited by E.
John Kuhn and Ian Burrows discuss Ben Jonson's Sejanus
in light of very different contexts.
His maiden victory arrived on Sejanus
at Stockton in 1943 while he was runner-up in the Apprentices' Championship three years later.
Nos hacen decir, como escribio el complice de Shakespeare en los tragos de la Taberna de las Sirenas de Londres, Ben Jonson en Sejanus
, Su Caida:
He then published The Life of Sejanus
, the biography of Tiberius's infamous favorite mapped onto the life and death of Concini.
He is explicit about this point in his interpretation of Sejanus
, one of his two tragedies, in light of the providential dispensation of just rewards: "This do we advance as a mark of terror to all traitors and treasons, to show how just the heavens are in pouring and thundering down a weighty vengeance on their unnatural intents, even to the worst princes; much more to those for guard of whose piety and virtue the angels are in continual watch, and God himself miraculously working." (18) The rhetoric of this remark suggests the continuity in moral thinking between Jonson's tragedy, comical satire, and court masques.
(3.1.1239-42) Now, only "base flattery in a servile forme" (3.1.1260) can guarantee career advancements, and political offices are regularly distributed to unworthy individuals, much like in Tiberius's reign as depicted in Ben Jonson's Sejanus
His Fall (1603): meritocracy has already become a chimera about seventy years earlier.
What we know of the most famous individual praetorians (Sejanus
under Tiberius, Tigellinus under Nero) is juxtaposed with the rhythm of routine of the members of the individual cohorts of the Guard.
Gaveston's sneer to "leaden earls, that glory in your birth," to "go sit at home and eat your tenants' beef" (6.74-75), foretold the irresistible rise of the favorite staged in plays like The Roman Actor (1626) or Sejanus
His Tall (1603).