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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. 1
7
heart without feeling, a cowardly nature ; he is a hypo-
crite, who from his nineteenth year to his seventy-seventh
wore the mask of dissembling, while the age he lived in
did not succeed in seeing through him. Had not that
age, then, fallen low enough to suspect every virtue and
tolerate every vice ?
The picture Gibbon has drawn in a few hard strokes,
is executed in the finest detail by Ampere. But with
every shadow he puts in, the portrait stands out not
uglier only, but more improbable, too ; and when he
makes out every word, every action of Augustus a lie or
a deception, the reader has at last to ask himself if this
be sound psychology, and whether light has really been
thrown upon the character and motives of Augustus,
when he is turned into a monster, who for fifty years in-
cessantly and successfully plays the virtuous, without, as
in the case of other actors, the part’s entering into his soul,
and changing into a kind of nature.
Augustus adorned Rome with beautiful buildings and
works of art, but not with an imperial palace. At a
time of unbridled luxury, when Roman citizens sur-
rounded themselves with the splendor of Eastern kings,
and Eastern kings built temples to the prince of the
Roman senate, this prince lived in a little house on the
Palatine, which had previously belonged to Hortensius
the orator. On each side of the entrance stood a laurel-
tree ; above the door hung the wreath of oak leaves
given by the senate. The colonnade in front of the house
was not made of marble, not even of travertine, but of
the spotted volcanic tufa, peperine, which is the poorest
of Roman building materials. He who stepped in, in the
hope of finding behind the unpretentious walls, marble
statues, artistic furniture, costly mosaics —had made a mis>

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