Compton, Todd M. 2006. Victim of the Muses: Poet as Scapegoat, Warrior and Hero in Greco-Roman and Indo-European Myth and History. Hellenic Studies Series 11. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_Compton.Victim_of_the_Muses.2006.
Chapter 24. Phaedrus: Another Fabulist
brevi docebo. servitus obnoxia,
quia quae volebat non audebat dicere,
affectus proprios in fabellas translulit,
calumniamque fictis elusit iocis .
ego illius pro semita feci viam,
et cogitavi plura quam reliquerat,
in calamitatem deligens quaedam meam.
quodsi accusator alius Seiano foret,
si testis alius, iudex alius denique,
dignum faterer esse me tantis malis,
nec his dolorem delenirem remediis.
suspicione si quis errabit sua,
et, rapiens ad se quod erit commune omnium,
stulte nudabit animi conscientiam,
huic excusatum me velim nihilo minus.
neque enim notare singulos mens est mihi,
verum ipsam vitam et mores hominum ostendere.
Thus Sejanus felt that some of the fables in the first two books of Phaedrus referred to him in a derogatory way; he judged the fabulist summarily, acting as prosecutor, witness, and judge; and he leveled a punishment. All we know about the punishment is that it was great, a disaster, calamitas, and painful; that Phaedrus was still enduring it when he wrote his third book; and that he wrote to lessen the pain. These would all fit exile perfectly, and Alice Brenot suggests that the punishment probably was exile; exile is also the first punishment that Duff lists as a possibility. Phaedrus may very possibly have been an exiled fabulist; whether or not he was exiled, he was certainly punished severely. (Duff also mentions as possibilities imprisonment or “even a return to slavery.”)