In The Kingdom of the Wicked, Gaius Ofonius Tigellinus is the most vicious enabler of the emperor Nero.
Jona Lendering (livius.org) maintains that “history has been unkind towards Tigellinus, who was one of the closest and most loyal advisers of the emperor Nero (54-68) during the second half of his reign” – read more.
Anthony Burgess obviously based his Tigellinus on Tacitus, who, in History, Book 1, writes:
72. Then followed as great a burst of joy, though from a less worthy cause, when the destruction of Tigellinus was achieved. Sophonius Tigellinus, a man of obscure birth, steeped in infamy from his boyhood, and shamelessly profligate in his old age, finding vice to be his quickest road to such offices as the command of the watch and of the Praetorian Guard, and to other distinctions due to merit, went on to practise cruelty, rapacity, and all the crimes of maturer years. He perverted Nero to every kind of atrocity; he even ventured on some acts without the Emperor's knowledge, and ended by deserting and betraying him. Hence there was no criminal, whose doom was from opposite motives more importunately demanded, as well by those who hated Nero, as by those who regretted him. During the reign of Galba Tigellinus had been screened by the influence of Vinius, who alleged that he had saved his daughter. And doubtless he had preserved her life, not indeed out of mercy, when he had murdered so many, but to secure for himself a refuge for the future. For all the greatest villains, distrusting the present, and dreading change, look for private friendship to shelter them from public detestation, caring not to be free from guilt, but only to ensure their turn in impunity. This enraged the people more than ever, the recent unpopularity of Vinius being superadded to their old hatred against Tigellinus. They rushed from every part of the city into the palace and forum, and bursting into the circus and theatre, where the mob enjoy a special license, broke out into seditious clamours. At length Tigellinus, having received at the springs of Sinuessa a message that his last hour was come, amid the embraces and caresses of his mistresses and other unseemly delays, cut his throat with a razor, and aggravated the disgrace of an infamous life by a tardy and ignominious death.
And on Cassius Dio (Epitome of Book 62):
Tigellinus, who had outstripped all his contemporaries in licentiousness and bloodthirstiness, succeeded Burrus. He won Nero away from the others and made light of his colleague Rufus.
It was to him that the famous retort is said to have been made by Pythias. When all the other attendants of Octavia, with the exception of Pythias, had taken sides with Sabina in her attack upon the empress, despising Octavia because she was in misfortune and toadying to Sabina because she had great influence, Pythias alone had refused, though cruelly tortured, to utter lies against her mistress, and finally, as Tigellinus continued to urge her, she spat in his face, saying: “My mistress's privy parts are cleaner, Tigellinus, than your mouth.”
. . . Tigellinus had been appointed director of the banquet and everything had been provided on a lavish scale. The arrangements were made as follows. In the centre of the lake there had first been lowered the great wooden casks used for holding wine, and on top of these, planks had been fastened, while round about this platform taverns and booths had been erected. Thus Nero and Tigellinus and their fellow-banqueters occupied the centre, where they held their feast on purple rugs and soft cushions, while all the rest made merry in the taverns. They would also enter the brothels and without let or hindrance have intercourse with any of the women who were seated there, among whom were the most beautiful and distinguished in the city, both slaves and free, courtesans and virgins and married women; and these were not merely of the common people but also of the very noblest families, both girls and grown women. Every man had the privilege of enjoying whichever one he wished, as the women were not allowed to refuse anyone. Consequently, indiscriminate rabble as the throng was, they not only drank greedily but also wantoned riotously; and now a slave would debauch his mistress in the presence of his master, and now a gladiator would debauch a girl of noble family before the eyes of her father. The pushing and fighting and general uproar that took place, both on the part of those who were actually going in and on the part of those who were standing around outside, were disgraceful. Many men met their death in these encounters, and many women, too, some of the latter being suffocated and some being seized and carried off.