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Building these terraced gardens? All beyond breeds envy! True, envy, like everything mortal, lies far beneath your greatness; but by me the burden is felt — to me a relief is necessary. Order my estates to be administered by your procurators, to be embodied in your fortune. You have vigour to spare; you have watched for years the methods by which supreme power is wielded: This, too, shall redound to your glory — that you raised to the highest places men who could also accept the lowly.

Augustus, the grandfather of my grandfather, allowed Agrippa and Maecenas to rest after their labours, but had himself reached an age, the authority of which could justify whatever boon, and of whatever character, he had bestowed upon them. And even so he stripped neither of the rewards conferred by himself. It was in battle and jeopardy they had earned them, for such were the scenes in which the youth of Augustus moved; and, had my own days been spent in arms, your weapons and your hand would not have failed me; but you did what the actual case demanded, and fostered first my boyhood, then my youth, with reason, advice, and precept.

And your gifts to me will be imperishable, so long as life may last; but mine to you — gardens, capital, and villas — are vulnerable to accident. They may appear many; but numbers of men, not comparable to you in character have held more. Shame forbids me to mention the freedmen who flaunt a wealth greater than yours! Or is it, by chance, the case that you deem either Seneca lower than Vitellius, 32 who held his three consulates, or Nero lower than Claudius, and that the wealth which years of parsimony won for Volusius 33 is incapable of being attained by my own generosity to you?

Not your moderation, if you give back your riches; not your retirement, if you abandon your prince; by my avarice, and the terrors of my cruelty, will be upon all men's lips. And, however much your abnegation may be praised, it will still be unworthy of a sage to derive credit from an act which sullies the fair fame of a friend. Seneca — such is the end of all dialogues with an autocrat — expressed his gratitude: Tigellinus, too, growing stronger with every day, and convinced that the mischievous arts, which were his one source of power, would be all the more acceptable, could he bind the emperor to himself by a partnership in crime, probed his fears, and, discovering the main objects of his alarm to be Plautus and Sulla — both lately removed, the former to Asia, the latter to Narbonese Gaul — began to draw attention to their distinguished lineage and their nearness, respectively, to the armies of the East and of Germany.

Gaul was alert at the sound of the Dictator's name; and equally the peoples of Asia were unbalanced by the glory of such a grandsire as Drusus. Plautus, with his great fortune, did not even affect a desire for peace, but, not content to parade his mimicries of the ancient Romans, had taken upon himself the Stoic arrogance and the mantle of a sect which inculcated sedition and an appetite for politics.

On the sixth day following, the slayers had made the crossing to Massilia, and Sulla, who had taken his place at the dinner-table, was despatched before a whisper of alarm had reached him. The head was carried back to Rome, where the premature grey hairs disfiguring it provoked the merriment of Nero. It was a general story that he had made his way to Corbulo, then at the head of large armies, and should there be a killing of the famous and the innocent, especially exposed to danger.


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Compassion for his great name would win him the support of the good, the alliance of the bold; in the meantime, no resource should be disdained. If he repelled sixty soldiers" the number arriving , "then in the interval — while the news was travelling back to Nero — while another force was moving to the scene — there would be a train of events which might develop into war.

In fine, either he saved his life by this course or hardihood would cost him no dearer than timidity. Either, exiled and unarmed, he foresaw no help; or he had wearied of hope and its incertitudes; or possibly the cause was affection for his wife and children, to whom he supposed the emperor would prove more placable if no alarms had disturbed his equanimity.

At all events, he was found in the early afternoon, stripped for bodily exercise. Yet he sent a letter to the Senate, not confessing the execution of Sulla and Plautus, but observing that both were turbulent spirits and that he was watching with extreme care over the safety of the commonwealth.

On that grand, a national thanksgiving was voted, together with the expulsion of Sulla and Plautus from the senate — an insulting mockery now more deadly than the evils inflicted on them. Long the paramour of Nero, and dominating him first as an adulterer, then as a husband, she incited one of the domestics of Octavia to accuse her of a love affair with a slave: She was removed, however, first under colour of a civil divorce, and received — two ominous gifts — the mansion of Burrus and the estates of Plautus. The measure led to general and undisguised protests from the common people, endowed with less discretion than their superiors, and — thanks to their humble station — faced by fewer perils.

Then came a rumour that Nero had repented of his outrage and recalled Octavia to his side. They hurled down the effigies of Poppaea, they carried the statues of Octavia shoulder-high, strewed them with flowers, upraised them in the forum and the temples. Even the emperor's praises were essayed with vociferous loyalty. Already they were filling the Palace itself with their numbers and their cheers, when bands of soldiers emerged and scattered them in disorder with whipcuts and levelled weapons.

All the changes effected by the outbreak were rectified, and the honours of Poppaea were reinstated. She herself, always cruel in her hatreds, and now rendered more so by her fear that either the violence of the multitude might break out in a fiercer storm or Nero follow the trend of popular feeling, threw herself at his knees: Those arms had been lifted against the sovereign; only a leader had been lacking, and, once the movement had begun, a leader was easily come by, — the one thing necessary was an excursion from Campania, a personal visit to the capital by her whose distant nod evoked the storm!

And apart from this, what was Poppaea's transgression? Or was the reason that she was on the point of giving an authentic heir to the hearth of the Caesars?


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  • Did the Roman nation prefer the progeny of an Egyptian flute-player to be introduced to the imperial throne? But suspicion resting on a slave had little force; and it had been nullified by the examinations of the waiting-women. It was therefore decided to procure a confession from some person to whom there could also be imputed a false charge of contemplated revolution.

    Anicetus, perpetrator of the matricide, was thought suitable.

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    He was summoned accordingly, and the Caesar reminded him of his earlier service: The opportunity for a not less grateful action was at hand, if he could remove a malignant wife. Not even force or cold steel was necessary: Anicetus, with inbred perversity and an ease communicated by former crimes, invented and confessed more than had been ordered, in the presence of friends convened by the emperor to play the part of a privy council. He was then banished to Sardinia, 43 where he supported a not impecunious exile, and died by a natural death. He then confined her in the island of Pandateria. There were yet some who recollected the banishment of Agrippina 45 by Tiberius; the more recent memory of Julia's 46 expulsion by Claudius still dwelt in the minds of men.

    Then had come the maid, more potent than her mistress, and Poppaea turning bride only to destroy a wife; last of all, an accusation more bitter than any doom. She was tied fast with cords, and the veins were opened in each limb: As a further and more hideous cruelty, the head was amputated and carried to Rome, where it was viewed by Poppaea. For all these things offerings were decreed to the temples — how often must those words be said?

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    Let all who make their acquaintance with the history of that period in my narrative or that of others take so much for granted: Doryphorus, 51 as an opponent of the marriage with Poppaea; Pallas, because he kept his vast riches to himself by a too protracted old age. The result was the alarm of Piso and the birth of an elaborate and luckless conspiracy against Nero. The Loeb Editor's Notes: Antonius Primus, of Toulouse: It was directed against the various forms of fraudulence in connection with wills. What was the exact scope of the prefect's jurisdiction at this period is not clear, but evidently it was more summary than that of the praetor.

    The penalty for the first was, in criminal cases, relegation, exile, or loss of rank, according to circumstances. You can still see all customer reviews for the product. Top rated Most recent Top rated.

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    All reviewers Verified purchase only All reviewers All stars 5 star only 4 star only 3 star only 2 star only 1 star only All positive All critical All stars All formats Format: There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. By padme35 on February 13, Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Lucius and Callistus don't actually spend much time together in this series opener but every word they share is powerful and memorable.

    A great story of what we do to find the ones we love even when it isn't that smart. One person found this helpful.

    Lucius and Callistus by J.P. Bowie

    There was a problem loading comments right now. By lanora on November 17, Liked this author a lot stories was compelling and the characters likable. I cheered them on the whole way with love conquering all. A good read, worth the money and the time. Don't forget the second book also sold on Amazon.

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