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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 ROMAN EMPERORS IN MARBLE. I3I
itself changed, and a Stoic to wear the diadem : were it
the young philosopher Lucius Silanus, highly respected
by public opinion, or the aged Seneca, esteemed in spite
of all his faults. " The shame ’’
—said one of the con-
spirators, Subrius Flavus, tribune of the guard—" is the
same, if the cithern-player be removed and the tragic
actor come instead." Flavus had proposed Seneca as
emperor.
According to the idea of antiquity, a tyrant’s murder
was a deed of valor, not a felony. The idea had been
formed in the Hellenic free states, where a citizen who
had despised the law, had placed himself outside the
pale of the law, and lay, legally unpunished, where he
was struck down. In Rome this idea was not applicable
now, for the power of the emperor stood upon lawful
ground. But noteworthy it is, that much later in Roman
history, on many occasions we see a feeling become ap-
parent, that the empire was a violation of justice, to
which time could never give prescriptive right ; for gen-
erations yet, even the common soldier of the legion who
fought on the frontiers of the realm, knew that the power
of the state was to be sought in that indefinite something,
called the Roman senate and people. In any case, the
conspirators had to choose only between murder of the
emperor and civil war ; and they could, we know, plead
the Caesarian doctrine of " raison d’Etat^’ when they
chose the former as safer and less detrimental. And so
they at last agreed upon the day and place. Nero was
to be killed at the Circus, when the festival of Ceres was
celebrated there. One of the conspirators was on some
pretext to approach the emperor, cast himself as if in en-
treaty at his feet, seize him around the legs, throw him
to the ground, and hold him fast until the conspiring

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