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(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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present at the Eleusinian mysteries, for he felt within
himself that he should have fled, at the herald’s cry
Let the sin-oppressed and guilty remain far off! " To
Bajae he never returned : the sight of those shores,
where the monstrous deed had been done, was unendura-
ble to him. Poppaea Sabina, who had thought the great-
est obstacle between herself and the imperial dignity
removed, found herself cheated in her expectation, and
had to struggle yet for years, though supported by Nero’s
infatuated heart, to reach her goal.
Nero liked to have himself portrayed as Apollo, the
god of poetry, song and cithern-playing. It follows as a
matter of course that the best Greek masters of the time
had the charge of immortalizing him as such, in bronze
and marble. But it would seem as if their flattering
chisels were not contented with this task ; they wished
not only to represent Nero as Apollo, but Apollo as
Nero. The ideal beauty of the god must not be dis-
turbed ; but artists like Zenodorus were able to breathe
upon that beauty a faint likeness to the emperor’s hand-
some features. Thus, that age seems to have given rise
to a peculiar type of Apollo, which in two or three works
of art, has come down to our own day. The foremost
of these works is also one of the most admirable that we
have from the time of the later antique : the world-re-
nowned Apollo Belvedere.
For him who writes these lines, this statue has a pe-
culiarity apart from its aesthetic and art history. I am
bold enough to think that it is evidence risen from the
grave, of Nero’s struggle with his pangs of conscience.
He wished to have before his eyes the assurance that
blood-guiltiness can be atoned for ; and with this silent

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