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102

(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 - 5. Nero

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102 ROMAN DA YS.
dian race, joined to the influence that aversion, hate and
hunting after spicy news, exerts on the imagination, may
have spun Nero’s portrait over with fictions, that saga-
city might yet be able partially to separate from the
truth. Is it not so, that the Roman choniclers, with
Nero’s later life before their eyes, believed him already
as youth, as boy, to have been not only capable of but
even a sharer in all the worst deeds of which his mother
is accused ? Are not the historians of the Flavian era
the authorities of Tacitus? And what that high-minded
portrayer of the times mentions but doubtfully, and as
rumor is not that certainty for Suetonius and the others?
It is probable that Burrus died of the protracted disease
of the throat, of which both Tacitus and Suetonius
speak ; but does not the latter, as well as Dio Cassius
after him, say without the slightest reservation that
Nero sent his former teacher poison ? According to them,
did not Nero kick his second wife Poppaea Sabina to
death, although Tacitus informs us that while some of
his authorities affirmed this, others asserted that she died
by poison? And Tacitus himself does not believe that
Nero purposely caused her death, " for he wished himself
children and loved her passionately.’’ To the descrip-
tions of the death of Britannicus, cling many contradic-
tions. Not to dwell on the circumstance that neither
Subrius Flavus nor Julius Vindex, while they charge
Nero with so many other crimes, attribute to him fratri-
cide—a circumstance that weighs but little, as we proba-
bly have the words of these men reproduced with the
freedom common in Roman writers—I yet dare incline
to the opinion that matricide is Nero’s first crime.
I would not therewith be understood to contradict
the possibility of Nero’s guilt, in the death of Britanni-

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