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78

(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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78’ ROMAN DA YS.
to be, a lawful one, but of which it is known that it took
place in presence of the augurs, with witnesses sum-
moned for the occasion, with sacrifices to the gods, with
kisses and embraces.
After this came the feast of the vintage, arranged as
a delirious bacchanal. The wine presses are in motion,
the juices of the grape are gushing out, the women who
take part in the orgy, clothed only in the wild beasts’
skins of the Menads, are dancing in the character of sac-
rificial or inebriated bacchants. In the midst of them,
Messalina, with hair dishevelled, appears, swinging a
thyrsus ; and by her side Silius, he too almost naked,
with ivy wreath and cothurni. The courts and chambers
of the palace ring with the songs of the riotous chorus
and its cry of " Evoe !
’’
One of the drunken revellers,
Vectius Valens, climbs into a high tree and looks around
him. " What seest thou ? " they cry to him. " A terri-
ble storm, coming from Ostia," is his prophetic answer.
Straightway after, a messenger bursts into the palace,
announcing that the emperor knows all, and is coming to
be avenged. The orgy breaks up in horror. The guests
scatter to every quarter ; but already the centurions are
on their track, and hew them down where they are found,
in the streets or houses. Messalina alone quickly recov-
ers herself. She hastens from the palace to her gardens
on the present Monte Pincio, and bids her children, Brit-
annicus and Octavia, hurry to their father and throw
themselves into his arms. Herself, she resolves to make
speed in advance of the children. She knows her hus-
band’s weakness, and trusts in the power of her beauty,
her caresses and her tears, and the entreaties of her
children.
So she hastened on foot the long way from Monte

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