Suetonius quotes at Tiberius 21. 4–7 a number of passages from letters of Augustus to Tiberius showing the high regard in which he professed to hold him, despite his reservations about the darker side of his character, once he had decided to adopt him ‘rei publicae causa’ in a.d 4. They seem to have attracted little critical comment, although Seager connects them with the handling by Tiberius of the Pannonian revolt in a.d. 6–9. suggesting that in view of their fulsome character they were probably written towards the end of this period, when the crisis was past, rather than earlier when Augustus may (Dio 55.31) have been critical of Tiberius’ caution in prosecuting the war. But he does not attempt a more detailed appraisal of the possible dates of the individual letters quoted. Sections 21. 4 and 5 in particular present interesting textual difficulties, mainly arising from the transmission of Greek in a predominantly Latin text: this article discusses these with a view to throwing greater light on the historical significance of the letters.
First, the text, to which I have appended a limited apparatus which concentrates on the points of greatest difficulty (the manuscript references are as in Ihm's edition).