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(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - The Roman Emperors in Marble - 1. Julius Caesar and Augustus

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THE ROMAN EMPERORS IN MARBLE. I
5
pression produced by sights like these, Ampere sketches
his Augustus, and makes him answerable for that which
he himself has seen. This is laying hold far back upon
the chain of causes, indeed, without therefore laying
hold of the right link. A good republican does not
make an emperor, or a king, or a demagogue, or a party,
answerable in the first instance for the destruction of
freedom and morality ; for him, the people itself is the
cause—the Roman of its own Csesarism, the French of
its own. It is an unworthy doctrine, that of the " poor,
innocent people," and far less truthful than De Maistre’s
assertion :
" les peuples iiont jamais que le goitverne-
vient qiiils in&itenty And it is a despicable sight, that
of a powerful and educated people, that will not answer
before the world’s tribunal for its fate, but always has a
Peter or a Paul to shift the blame upon.
Augustus does not look false; but shrewd—that may
be conceded. There is, however, a pretty bit of road
between shrewdness and falseness. The one lies still
within the boundaries of honor, the other, far without.
As to the " uneasiness and menace," there is not a trace
of them. On the contrary ; the portraits of Augustus
confirm the words of Suetonius, that " his features were
quiet and cheerful, whether he spoke or was silent."
When one has seen them, one understands how the tradi-
tion could spring up, of a Gallic chief who would have
thrown Augustus over a precipice, but was hindered from
doing so by the gentle expression of his face.
Our manner of seeing is influenced more than we
suppose by our thoughts concerning that we see. And
Ampere has, as we know, but sorry thoughts of Au-
gustus.
Tacitus expresses himself about him with a caution

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