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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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The eighteen hundred crowns were hung upon the Egyp-
tian obelisk in the circus of Nero, that thus the culture
of the ancient time, mother of Gr^eco-Roman civilization
might also receive its tribute of homage.
It is the same obelisk that now stands between the
fountains on the open place in front of St. Peter’s. It
has lived to see much—what shall it live to see yet ?
Even Nero’s artistic career had its thorns. However
often he acted, he never did so without fear. On his
entrance he was seen to be pale and trembling, and the
encouraging shouts of the spectators first gave him con-
fidence. He suffered from the suspicion that it was the
emperor, more than the artist, for whom the applause was
intended ; and after victory he wished for defeat, that he
might believe in the impartiality of the judges ; but when
it occasionally happened that he was overcome, he envied
the lucky antagonist.
Among his favorite parts, were those of the two mat
ricides, Orestes and Alcmaeon, How shall we explain his
so forcing his imagination into that world of anguish,
from which he else wished to rescue it ? Did he enjoy
living over again in the person of another, the tortures he
had so deeply suffered in his own ? Did he wish to per-
suade posterity that he who liked to play Orestes, could
not in reality be an Orestes? Or did it give him allevia-
tion to do penance under another’s name? It is a phe-
nomenon in psychology, that criminals, when they think
themselves safe, speak of the very kind of misdeed of
which they know themselves to be guilty. Murder will
out, says an old proverb. Perhaps something similar is
at the bottom of this.
The two years immediately preceding the art journey

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