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132

(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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132 ROMAN DA YS.
officers who belonged to the guard, could hasten forward
and kill him with their swords. As Nero, in spite of his
excesses, had powerful bodily strength—they wondered
that in the Grecian games he had not also appeared as
boxer and wrestler—Lateranus the consul, known for his
strength, offered to be the first assailant. Meanwhile,
Piso should wait at Ceres’ temple, not far from the Cir-
cus, for Fenius Rufus—the chief of praetorians who had
charge of the army, while his colleague, Tigellinus led
the festivities at court—to be accompanied by him to the
praetorian camp, and receive the homage of the life-
guards.
But almost at the last moment the plan was betrayed
by a freed slave. Among the first who, on his denuncia-
tion, were brought to trial, was a woman, Epicaris. The
most frightful tortures, continued two days until her
death, could not extract a word of the secret from her.
Men, on the contrary, could not hold out against the
sight of the torturer’s instruments : they confessed their
guilt and betrayed many of their fellow-conspirators.
Longest were the names of the two officers of the prae-
torians, Fenius Rufus and Subrius Flavus, withheld and
that to the increased trouble of both ; for Rufus was ap-
pointed to lead, by the side of Nero, the investigation,
and Flavus was obliged by his duty to be prei^ent. Per-
haps those accused still hoped that Rufus and Flavus
would strike the blow. And Flavus was a man to do it.
His hand on the sword-hilt, with a nod he asked his
chief if he should not draw the sword and strike Caesar
down ; but Rufus gave a sign in the negative. The
obdurate manner in which Rufus led the examination,
provoked the conspirators to betray him. He was seized
at the tribunal, and put in irons by a soldier. Flavus, too,

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