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228

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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228 ROMAN DA VS.
velous splendor. Now, he himself came before the
Roman people in the character of singer or driver. Often
a rumor ran around, that some member of the emperor’s
household, or some great man suspected of republican
ideas, had been put out of the way. Sometimes there
was talk of mysterious warning signs, that had appeared
in secluded parts of the country; of conspiracies in
Rome; of mutinous movements among the armies sta-
tioned at the frontiers of the empire. But at this time,
one thing in particular formed the theme of conversation,
not for a day only but for weeks and months, in all the
circles of Rome. On the forum, at the great baths, every-
where where citizens and strangers came together in num-
bers, they asked each other: " Have you seen Simon the
wise man? Have you heard of the miracle he last per-
formed?"
There was no less talk of his companion, Helene.
Divine wisdom, it was said, had become incarnate in her
person. A more beautiful woman, no one had seen.
But most people added that her beauty made them
shudder. She was like an image of Isis. Her features
were fixed, her skin was of the Parian marble’s hue, her
eyes had the lustre of gems, but not of life. Was she
a statue, to which Simon’s magic had given the power
of motion? Was she mortal creature, or spirit of
evil?
When Paul had sojourned several days in Rome, he
walked across the Field of Mars to the Flaminian gate
and the Garden Hill (Monte Pincio). The Field of Mars
was filled with a crowd of people, attracted by the rumor
that Simon the Sorcerer and Helene would appear. And
they came, in a triumphal car, glancing with gold and
drawn by white horses ; Simon, clad as Jupiter Serapis,.

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