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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. 8l
victory. In Rome, there is a spot that for over two
thousand years has been dedicated to the spirit of phi-
lanthropy. It is the Tiber island. There, where for
centuries a hospital, with church and cloister, has stood,
there was in the olden time a temple of ^sculapius.
where the ailing poor sought aid and shelter. Heartless-
ness was even here ready to extract an advantage from
mercy. Unscrupulous masters were used to give their
sick slaves up to be tended on the Tiber island ; to claim
them again if they grew well, but in the other event, to
abandon them to their fate. Claudius put an end to this
abuse. He issued a law which must have seemed to
many a slaveholder dangerous to society ; for the law
decreed that every slave so given up, who recovered, was
a free man ; and that every master who killed a sick
slave, rather than take care of or give him up, should be
punished as a murderer.
Such memories must expiate something of that in
which this Caesar, in his weakness, was guilty. He was
a noble-born soul in chains. Unhappily, such weakness
is often more rigorously judged than the strength of will
that has no chains at all, not even those of conscience, to
shake off.

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