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144

(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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144 ROMAN DA YS.
tians, light brown, his eyes were bluish gray. He was of
middle height, and had strong dispositions to corpulency.
At the play—when he sat among the spectators, namely,
and did not himself appear—he made use of a polished
emerald, as an eye-glass. This " lorgnette," the only one
known from the antique world, has given modern optics
a good deal to think about and wrangle over. In his
letter on the Greek and Roman art of cutting precious
stones, Lessing has given a few lines to this subject.
In the Revelation of St. John; we find an echo of the
feelings which the terrible persecution of the Christians
at Rome awakened in their brethren of the faith, Baby-
lon the great, the city on the seven hills, is undoubtedly
Rome ; and few are probably those who look into history,
who now doubt that the beast whose " number is six
hundred, three score and six," is Nero. If you write
Caesar Nero in Hebrew letters, and add their value in
numbers, you obtain 666. The predictions of Antichrist
possibly stand in some relation to the prophecies Sue-
tonius speaks of, that Nero, if he lost Rome’s sceptre,
should found a kingdom of Jerusalem, or a larger Eastern
power ;
yes, at last win back the empire of the world.
Even the traditions of the middle ages are busied with him.
Spirits and devils, it is said, haunted Nero"s grave on Monte
Pincio, and frightened the Romans, until the latter suc-
ceeded in driving them away, by a powerful incantation.
But from the grave, in course of time, there grew an im-
mense walnut tree, in which a multitude of ravens made
hideous clamor. It was supposed that these were the exor-
cised fiends, and the supposition was strengthened, when
it was discovered that the leafage of the tree was at night
transformed into a basalt dome. Pope Paschal II. (1099
—1 1 18) was much alarmed at the clamor, and knew of nc

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