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(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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THE ROMAN EMPERORS IN MARBLE. 55
he fled from the spot and gave up the plan, when certain
soldiers in the legions, which were assembled without
arms and surrounded by bands of horsemen, snuffed
treachery and hastened to their swords.
History preserves some of Caligula’s sayings which
make an insight into his soul possible. He himself prized
unflinching firmness as his chief and most characteristic
quality. The expression throws a sudden light into his
inner world. It is a psychological experience knowing
no exception, that heartless men admire themselves as
strong of will. The driver who flays the sore back of his
jaded horse with lashes, believes, so long as his own back
goes free, that he is a man of firm character, and is
strengthened in his self-admiration by the compassion of
others. That cowards are heartless, is another rule that
is not abolished by its exceptions. " Cowards are cruel,"
says Gay, and is right in that, even if he be not always
right when he adds :
" but the brave
Love mercy and delight to save."
Caligula’s cowardice is known. His biographers give
serio-comic testimony of it. His fancied firmness did
not withstand even the show of an impending danger.
But a timid boy backed by a powerful fellow, thinks he
can challenge a world. Caligula, surrounded by a well
paid band of stout Germans and freed gladiators, thought
the same. Cowardice is easy to reconcile with defiance.
But to Caius, defiance was the same as courage. So this
poor wretch admired himself as a firm and courageous
man, and found in multiplied misdeeds added impulse to
self-admiration.
Tiberius suffered from pangs of conscience. Caligula

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