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122

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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122 ROMAN DAYS.
cy, the author of " Troica " probably painted the love
adventures of Zeus, Ganymede, Anchises, Aphrodite,
Paris and Helen, in such lively colors in all the details,
that even his own age, which could bear the incredible
in that line, found them too strong. What power the
Romans attributed to him to feel " purely aesthetically,"
and hold the sense of beauty aloof from " disturbing in-
fluences"—that is made manifest by the report, in reality
untrue, that at sight of his murdered mother’s body, he
had no words but those of rapture over her beauty. This
report was contradicted and confuted even by his ene-
mies. But certain it is, that if Nero with his aesthetic
theory went in advance of the new romantic school, he
was the man to apply his doctrine more emphatically
than even Schlegel in " Lucinda.’’
As we know, many Romans suspected Nero of having
planned the fire, and through his emissaries, of having
hindered its extinction. The suspicion rested on the
conviction that he would buy a spectacle, at however dear
a cost ; and was strengthened, when they saw him take
possession of a large part of the quarters burned, for his
new imperial palace. But assuredly this fire, fine as it
was as a spectacle, and welcome as it was for Nero’c
building plans, yet grieved none more deeply than him-
self; for countless works of art, and among them many
of priceless value, paintings and statues by the most cel-
ebrated artists of ancient Greece, had been annihilated
in the flames. Meanwhile, the feeling against the em-
peror grew so threatening, that his friends found it con-
venient to divert suspicion to another quarter, and point
out the Christians. And it is more than possible that
the authors of the accusation believed in its truthfulness.
Of the new religious sect of the Christians, horrible false-

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