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70

(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 - 4. Claudius

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70 ROMAN DA YS.
of his subject, and does not risk a judgment of anything,
without the most careful sifting of all that has up to the
time been ransacked and expressed upon the same
theme.
Perhaps this quality was one of his greatest misfor-
tunes, as ruler of the realm. It made him a pedant and
bureaucratic chief in every trifle which he knew he un-
derstood, and misled him into a well-meant but ridicu-
lous or aggravating interference, through prescribing in
household matters and other things which those prac-
tised in such affairs, and for whom the instructions were
intended, understood at least as well as he did himself.
But what was far worse : this same quality of his made
him utterly crest-fallen in those daily arising questions in
which he did not feel himself at home. Conscious of the
dullness with which he received an impression of every-
thing that did not tickle his senses, and of the slowness
with which he cleared his ideas, he had no confidence in
his own judgment, and had for such questions, therefore,
no other answer than Holberg’s " Ask my steward !"
Least of all did he attribute to himself the power to see
through the thoughts and designs of others, to separate
the honest from the dishonest, and friend from foe. That
care he left to the men around him, who once for all
had won his confidence. The charges to which a
great many senators and knights fell victims during his
reign, are collectively to be written on the calendar of
sins of those around him. When, after the emperor’s
death, his papers were looked through, it was found
that he himself had never urged or advanced any ac-
cusation. Of the death sentences given, he was com-
monly ignorant until they had been executed ; often
even afterwards, so that he invited to his table Romans

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