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29

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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THE ROMAN EMPERORS IN MARBLE. 29
would see the flower of antique humanity, look for it
among the citizens, not the princes. Power, succeeded to
or possessed by birthright, is clearly not the condition
most favorable for the improvement of man. Still less
is slavery.
Seldom does the quiet and gentle strength of moral
will shine forth from the features of a Roman emperor,
as from the glorious face of Antoninus Pius ; oftener, the
force of a coldly mathematical understanding, bare of
ideality, inaccessible to great visions ; now and then, the
beast-tamer’s power to subjugate ; and sometimes, too,
the might of unbridled passions, which at the bottom is
weakness.
Another remark one makes is that the races show

even if interruptedly—retrogression. They begin with a
fine, regular type, which more or less sustains itself
through all the members of the so-called Julian family,
and in which one might be inclined to see the influence
of an aesthetic breeding, carried through many genera-
tions. These are men who have grown up amid Hellenic
paintings and sculpture, have brought their mental food
from the literature of Greece, and moved in circles w^here
every gesture passing the limit of beauty, shocks ; where
no one can expect success without mastery over his
outer man, and intuitive knowledge of the dispositions
of those around him ; and where perception is sharp-
ened against the polished exterior of his companions.
With the Flavians, a coarser mould of features comes
on ;
" the urbane " gives way for a something rustic
;
the aesthetic for a something common. The honest,
good-humored, but stingy toll officer who was father
of this house, plainly has handed down his face to
Vespasian and Titus. Some of the Antonines have a

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