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235

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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ROMAN TRADITIONS OF PETER AND PAUL. 235
perial throne, were marble seats for the consuls, senators
and knights.
At the feet of the emperor and empress, sat Helene,
attired as the goddess Victory. When Simon, after a
successful ascension, should have come back to earth, she
was to receive from Nero’s hand a golden wreath of vic-
tory, with which to crown the triumphant hero of the
day.
In all the temples, the priests had assembled in holi-
day robes of white, and on the temple stairs lingered
groups crowned with chaplets, around the sacrificial vic-
tims, adorned with the sacred girdle.
All the omens for the day had been favorable. All
but one, to which they yet tried to give an auspicious
meaning. There were whispers about an altar which stood
near the shrine of the Capitoline Jupiter. An offering of
incense had in the morning been made there, but the
smoke had risen swiftly and thickened to a cloud, that
remained like a black spot upon the otherwise clear
sky.
This altar had a story of its own, which priests and
monks in the church of Ma?-ia in ara cceli still know how
to tell. The Roman senate had wished to honor the em-
peror Augustus with the title of god, erect a temple to
him, and establish for him a separate priesthood. Au-
gustus, a man who was able without arrogance to bear
prosperity and greatness, hesitated to accept such an
honor, and summoned the Tiburtine sibyl, to hear her
counsel. She came, fastened her dim eyes upon the em-
peror, mumbled a few words, and went. These same
words were at the same moment whispered by the genius
of inspiration to the poet Virgil, as he wrote his fourth
eclogue at Naples. Their substance was, that not from

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