The Lives of the Twelve Caesars Claudius by Suetonius

The Lives of the Twelve Caesars Claudius by Suetonius
  1. Having thus established himself in power, his first object was to abolish all remembrance of the two preceding days, in which a revolution in the state had been canvassed. Accordingly, he passed an act of perpetual oblivion and pardon for everything said or done caring that time; and this he faithfully observed, with the exception only of putting to death a few tribunes and centurions concerned in the conspiracy against Caius, both as an example, and because he understood that they had also planned his own death. He now turned his thoughts towards paying respect to the memory of his relations. His most solemn and usual oath was, “By Augustus.”

He prevailed upon the senate to decree divine honours to his grandmother Livia, with a chariot in the Circensian procession drawn by elephants, as had been appointed for Augustus, and public offerings to the shades of his parents. Besides which, he instituted Circensian games for his father, to be celebrated every year, upon his birth day, and, for his mother, a chariot to be drawn through the circus; with the title of Augusta, which had been refused by his grandmother. To the memory of his brother, to which, upon all occasions, he showed a great regard, he gave a Greek comedy, to be exhibited in the public diversions at Naples, and awarded the crown for it, according to the sentence of the judges in that solemnity. Nor did he omit to make honourable and grateful mention of Mark Antony; declaring by a proclamation, “That he the more earnestly insisted upon the observation of his father Drusus’s birth-day, because it was like wise that of his grandfather Antony.” He completed the marble arch near Pompey’s theatre, which had formerly been decreed by the senate in honour of Tiberius, but which had been neglected. And though he canceled all the acts of Gaius, yet he forbade the day of his assassination, notwithstanding it was that of his own accession to the empire, to be reckoned amongst the festivals.

  1. But with regard to his own aggrandizement, he was sparing and modest, declining the name of emperor, and refusing all excessive honours. He celebrated the marriage of his daughter and the birth-day of a grandson with great privacy, at home. He recalled none of those who had been banished, without a decree of the senate: and requested of them permission for the prefect and the military tribunes of the praetorian guards to attend him in the senate-house; and also that they would be pleased to bestow upon his procurators judicial authority in the provinces. He asked of the consuls likewise the privilege of holding fairs upon his private estate. He frequently assisted the magistrates in the trial of causes, as one of their assessors. And when they gave public spectacles, he would rise up with the rest of the spectators, and salute them both by words and gestures. When the tribunes of the people came to him while he was on the tribunal, he excused himself, because, on account of the crowd, he could not hear them unless they stood. In a short time, by this conduct, he wrought himself so much into the favour and affection of the public, that when, upon his going to Ostia, a report was spread in the city that he had been waylaid and slain, the people never ceased cursing the soldiers for traitors, and the senate as parricides, until one or two persons, and presently after several others, were brought by the magistrates upon the rostra, who assured them that he was alive, and not far from the city, on his way home.
  2. Conspiracies, however, were formed against him, not only by individuals separately, but by a faction; and at last his government was disturbed with a civil war. A low fellow was found with a poniard about him, near his chamber, at midnight. Two men of the equestrian order were discovered waiting for him in the streets, armed with a pike and a huntsman’s dagger; one of them intending to attack him as he came out of the theatre, and the other as he was sacrificing in the temple of Mars. Gallus Asinius and Statilius Corvinus, grandsons of the two orators, Pollio and Messala, formed a conspiracy against him, in which they engaged many of his freedmen and slaves. Furius Camillus Scribonianus, his legate in Dalmatia, broke into rebellion, but was reduced in the space of five days; the legions which he had seduced from their oath of fidelity relinquishing their purpose, upon an alarm occasioned by ill omens. For when orders were given them to march, to meet their new emperor, the eagles could not be decorated, nor the standards pulled out of the ground, whether it was by accident, or a divine interposition.
  3. Besides his former consulship, he held the office afterwards four times; the first two successively, but the following, after an interval of four years each; the last for six months, the others for two; and the third, upon his being chosen in the room of a consul who died; which had never been done by any of the emperors before him. Whether he was consul or out of office, he constantly attended the courts for the administration of justice, even upon such days as were solemnly observed as days of rejoicing in his family, or by his friends; and sometimes upon the public festivals of ancient institution. Nor did he always adhere strictly to the letter of the laws, but overruled the rigour or lenity of many of their enactments, according to his sentiments of justice and equity. For where persons lost their suits by insisting upon more than appeared to be their due, before the judges of private causes, he granted them the indulgence of a second trial. And with regard to such as were convicted of any great delinquency, he even exceeded the punishment appointed by law, and condemned them to be exposed to wild beasts.
  4. But in hearing and determining causes, he exhibited a strange inconsistency of temper, being at one time circumspect and sagacious, at another inconsiderate and rash, and sometimes frivolous and like one out of his mind. In correcting the roll of judges, he struck off the name of one who, concealing the privilege his children gave him to be excused from serving, had answered to his name, as too eager for the office. Another who was summoned before him in a cause of his own, but alleged that the affair did not properly come under the emperor’s cognizance, but that of the ordinary judges, he ordered to plead the cause himself immediately before him, and show in a case of his own, how equitable a judge he would prove in that of other persons. A woman refusing to acknowledge her own son, and there being no clear proof on either side, he obliged her to confess the truth, by ordering her to marry the young man. He was much inclined to determine causes in favour of the parties who appeared, against those who did not, without inquiring whether their absence was occasioned by their own fault or by real necessity. On proclamation of a man’s being convicted of forgery, and that he ought to have his hand cut off, he insisted that an executioner should be immediately sent for, with a Spanish sword and a block. A person being prosecuted for falsely assuming the citizenship, and a frivolous dispute arising between the advocates in the cause, whether he ought to make his appearance in the Roman or Grecian dress, to show his impartiality, he commanded him to change his clothes several times according to the character he assumed in the accusation or defense. An anecdote is related of him, and believed to be true, that, in a particular cause he delivered his sentence in writing thus: ” I am in favour of those who have spoken the truth.” By this he so much forfeited the good opinion of the world, that he was everywhere and openly despised. A person making an excuse for the non-appearance of a witness whom he had sent for from the provinces, declared it was impossible for him to appear, concealing the reason for some time: at last, after several interrogatories were put to him on the subject, he answered, “The man is dead;” to which Claudius replied, ” I think that is a sufficient excuse.” Another thanking him for suffering a person who was prosecuted to make his defense by counsel, added, ” And yet it is no more than what is usual.” I have likewise heard some old men say, that the advocates used to abuse his patience so grossly, that they would not only call him back, as he was quitting the tribunal, but would seize him by the hem of his toga, and sometimes catch him by the heels, to make him stay. That such behaviour, however strange, is not incredible, will appear from this anecdote. Some obscure Greek, who was a litigant, had an altercation with him, in which he called out, ” You are an old fool.” It is certain that a Roman knight, who was prosecuted by unscrupulous enemies on a false charge of obscenity with women, observing that common strumpets were summoned against him and allowed to give evidence, upbraided Claudius in very harsh and severe terms with his folly and cruelty, and threw his style, and some books which he had in his hands, in his face, with such violence as to wound him severely in the cheek.
  5. He likewise assumed the censorship, which had been discontinued since the time that Paulus and Plancus had jointly held it. But this also he administered very unequally, and with a strange variety of humour and conduct. In his review of the knights, he passed over, without any mark of disgrace, a profligate young man, only because his father spoke of him in the highest terms; “for,” said he, ” his father is his proper censor.” Another, who was infamous for debauching youths and for adultery, he only admonished “to indulge his youthful inclinations more sparingly, or at least more cautiously ;” adding, “why must I know what mistress you keep?” When, at the request of his friends, he had taken off a mark of infamy which he had set upon one knight’s name he said, “Let the blot, however, remain.” He not only struck out of the list of judges, but likewise deprived of Roman citizenship, an illustrious man of the highest provincial rank in Greece, because he was ignorant of the Latin language. Nor in this review did he suffer any one to give an account of his conduct by an advocate, but obliged each man to speak for himself in the best way he could. He disgraced many, and some that little expected it, and for a reason entirely new, namely, for going out of Italy without his license; and one likewise, for having in his province, been the familiar companion of a king; observing, that, in former times, Rabirius Postumus had been prosecuted for treason, although he only went after Ptolemy to Alexandria for the purpose of securing payment of a debt. Having tried to brand with disgrace several others, he, to his own greater shame, found them generally innocent, through the negligence of the persons employed to inquire into their characters; those whom he charged with living in celibacy, with want of children, or estate, proving themselves to be husbands, parents, and in affluent circumstances. One of the knights who was charged with stabbing himself, laid his bosom bare, to show that there was not the least mark of violence upon his body. The following incidents were remarkable in his censorship. He ordered a chariot, plated with silver, and of very sumptuous workmanship, which was exposed for sale in the Sigillaria, to be purchased, and broken in pieces before his eyes. He published twenty proclamations in one day, in one of which he advised the people, “Since the vintage was very plentiful, to have their casks well secured at the bung with pitch :” and in another, he told them, “that nothing would sooner cure the bite of a viper, than the sap of the yew-tree.”
  6. He undertook only one expedition, and that was of short duration. The triumphal ornaments decreed him by the senate, he considered as beneath the imperial dignity, and was therefore resolved to have the honour of a real triumph. For this purpose, he selected Britain, which had never been attempted by any one since Julius Caesar, and was then chafing with rage, because the Romans would not give up some deserters. Accordingly, he set sail from Ostia, but was twice very near being wrecked by the furious north-wester, upon the coast of Liguria, and near the islands called Stoechades. Having marched by land from Marseilles to Boulogne, he thence passed over to Britain, and part of the island submitting to him, within a few days after his arrival, without battle or bloodshed, he returned to Rome in less than six months from the time of his departure, and triumphed in the most solemn manner; to witness which, he not only gave leave to governors of provinces to come to Rome, but even to some of the exiles. Among the spoils taken from the enemy, he fixed upon the pediment of his house on the Palatine, a naval crown, in token of his having passed, and, as it were, conquered the Ocean, and had it suspended near the civic crown which was there before. Messalina, his wife, followed his chariot in a covered litter. Those who had attained the honour of triumphal ornaments in the same war, rode behind; the rest followed on foot, wearing the robe with the broad stripes. Crassus Frugi was mounted upon a horse richly caparisoned, in a robe embroidered with palm leaves, because this was the second time of his obtaining that honour.
  7. He paid particular attention to the care of the city, and to have it well supplied with provisions. A dreadful fire happening in the Aemiliana, which lasted some time, he passed two nights in the Diribitorium, and the soldiers and gladiators not being in sufficient numbers to extinguish it, he caused the magistrates to summon the people out of all the streets in the city, to their assistance. Placing bags of money before him, he encouraged them to do their utmost, declaring, that he would reward every one on the spot, according to their exertions. During a scarcity of provisions, occasioned by bad crops for several successive years, he was stopped in the middle of the forum by the mob, who so abused him, at the same time pelting him with fragments of bread that he had some difficulty in escaping into the palace by a back door. He therefore used all possible means to bring provisions to the city, even in winter. He proposed to the merchants a sure profit, by indemnifying them against any loss that might befall them by storms at sea; and granted great privileges to those who built ships for that traffic.
  8. To a citizen of Rome he gave an exemptions from the penalty of the Papia-Poppaean law to one who had only the Latin rights of citizenship, and to women the rights which by law belonged to those who had four children: which enactments are in force to this day.
  9. He completed some important public works which, though, not numerous, were very useful. The principal were an aqueduct, which had been begun by Gaius; an outlet for the discharge of the waters of the Fucine lake, and the harbour of Ostia; although he knew that Augustus had refused to comply with the repeated application of the Marsians for one of these, and that the other had been several times intended by Julius Caesar, but as often abandoned on account of the difficulty of its execution. He brought to the city the cool and plentiful springs of the Claudian water, one of which is called Caeruleus, and the other Curtius and Albudignus, as likewise the river of the New Anio, in a stone canal; and distributed them into many magnificent reservoirs. The canal from the Fucine lake was undertaken as much for the sake of profit, as for the honour of the enterprise; for there were parties who offered to drain it at their own expense, on condition of their having a grant of the land laid dry. With great difficulty he completed a canal three miles in length, partly by cutting through, and partly by tunneling, a mountain; thirty thousand men being constantly employed in the work for eleven years. He formed the harbour at Ostia, by carrying out circular piers on the right and on the left, with a mole protecting, in deep water, the entrance of the port. To secure the foundation of this mole, he sunk the vessel in which the great obelisk had been brought from Egypt; and built upon piles a very lofty tower, in imitation of the Pharos at Alexandria, on which lights were burnt to direct mariners in the night.

GONE WITH THE WIND

GONE WITH THE WIND

As Part 2 opens, Scarlett is shown picking cotton in the fields at Tara. Later, when she goes inside, a Yankee straggler comes in and tries to steal what’s left of their money, but Scarlett kills him and takes all of his looted money.

The war is finally over!! (1865) Frank Kennedy wants Suellen to marry him, and Ashley comes home to Tara. But there is trouble, the Yankee carpetbaggers and southern scalawags have raised the taxes on Tara. Now they are $300 — an unreachable amount of money. Ashley and Scarlett talk at the barn. Scarlett confesses her love for him again He says that he admires her fearlessness. They kiss, and then Scarlett asks Ashley to run away, then he says that she can’t go because she has too much honor to leave Tara. Emmy Slattery and Mr. Wilkinson come to Tara and offer to buy it from them. Scarlett tells them to leave. Gerald gets on his horse to chases them away, but he falls off and dies from a fall while he is jumping.

Scarlett decides that she’ll go see Rhett in Atlanta and ask him for the $300. She dresses up in a dress that she made out of curtains. Rhett is in jail, and he says that he can’t get his money out because it is hidden in Europe. After this Scarlett runs into Frank Kennedy. She marries him for the $300 , and then she starts a lumber business with Ashley. As Scarlett is on her way to the mill, she is attacked by hobos, but Big Sam saves her life.

Later that night, the women are all together, and India tells off Scarlett for all of the things that she has done. The husbands have gone to the woods to attack the men who attacked Scarlett. Rhett tries to save them from doing it but it is too late, Ashley was shot and Frank Kennedy was killed. (Poor Scarlett, widowed again!) Rhett makes up a lie to tell the Yankees of them being at Belle Whatley’s house, so that they can get back inside without Ashley getting arrested. Melanie invites Belle to her house to thank her for saving Ashley’s life.

Scarlett and Rhett are talking and he again asks her to marry him, and this time she says yes. They go on a grand honeymoon to New Orleans. Scarlett wants to go back to Tara. They go back, and build a mansion in Atlanta. They have a baby girl named ‘Bonnie Blue’ Butler. Scarlett doesn’t want to have anymore children because she is still in love with Ashley. They separate, and Rhett goes to see Belle and she convinces him to go back, because the Bonnie needs him. Rhett gets drunk one night after Melanie’s party and he wants to rid Ashley in Scarlett’s mind forever. This is the famous ‘carry her (to bed) up the Grand Staircase’ scene.

The next morning he apologizes then says he is going to London and taking Bonnie with him. Bonnie hates it there and says that she wants to go home and see her mother. Rhett takes Bonnie home, and then says he’s leaving. Scarlett tells him that she is pregnant, they both say that they don’t want the baby and Rhett says maybe Scarlett will have an accident. As he says this she falls down the stairs. Scarlett lost the baby. After some time, Mellie tells Rhett that Scarlett is better. They are on the patio talking and watching Bonnie, when Bonnie decides that she will jump. But she does not make it and dies, just like Gerald.

Mammy calls on Mellie to help her, because Scarlett and Rhett are both distraught. But Mellie is very ill, and falls when she is at their house and never recovers. Mellie dies shortly after. Scarlett realizes as Mellie dies that her love for Ashley never existed, and that she really loves Rhett. She rushes home to tell him, but it is too late. He has already made up his mind to go to Charleston. Scarlett begs him not to go, “where shall I go …. what shall I do?” But Rhett says, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Scarlett believes that she needs to get him back so she says she’ll go to Tara to think, to the place that gives her strength. “After all,” Scarlett says, “tomorrow is another day.”

Man Of History

Man Of History

Barack Obama, an African-American, steps into the vortex of power as America’s 44th president, with high hopes of bringing change not just to his country but the whole world.

It was a momentous event presaged by black civil rights leader, the late Martin Luther King Jnr, 46 years ago. And the outpouring of emotions, the joy, the celebrations all over the world, from Kenya, his father’s birth place to Japan, Indonesia, from the streets of New York, to London, Berlin and Paris—all underscored its historic significance. As Barack Obama, 47, stepped forward to be sworn in as America’s first black president on 20 January, hope in a new global chapter under his leadership was unmistakable. More than two million people crammed into Capitol Hill and other streets of Washington to watch Obama’s inauguration and listen to his speech. On television worldwide, about 1.5 billion watched the event. Such is the awesome response to Obama the world over.

Even in the Arab world where America is intensely disliked because of the foreign policy errors of past administrations, there is hope, as is the case in other parts of the world, that with Obama as the leader of the free world, change will come. And his middle name, Hussein, also makes him difficult to hate in the Muslim world. Salah al-Mohaisen, a Saudi man who runs a jewelry store in Riyadh said he was overjoyed at Obama’s election. “I feel that he could understand Arab suffering” he said, in apparent reference to the suffering of Palestinians, under Israel occupation.

In Iran, many of the citizens hope Obama will bring about a significant change in US policy and perhaps restore diplomatic relations between both countries. Muna Abdul Razak, a 37-year-old primary school teacher in the Northern Iraqi city of Mosal expressed the hope that “Obama will be more responsible than Bush who destroyed Iraq. “Everybody likes him. I am hopeful that he is really going to change things for the better, by transforming US policy towards the Middle East’’.

That the emergence of Barack Obama is not just a welcome departure from the brutish politics and war mongering that his predecessor, George W. Bush represented, the ascent of an African-American as president shows the country has buried many decades of racism and is poised to turn a new chapter of racial harmony.But the success story of the 47-year-old junior senator from Illinois began with the keynote address he read at the Democratic Convention in Boston in the summer of 2004. Before then, he was largely unknown outside his state of Illinois, where as a youth he cut his teeth as a community mobiliser. But that changed moments after he mounted the podium and delivered a moving speech about the American spirit and the artificial divisions working against the realisation of its full destiny.

“I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that in no other country on earth is my story even possible,” the young senator said.

Many who listened to his speech truly thought that he had a great future in politics, but not many would immediately tip him for the presidency. But Obama on 10 February 2008 announced his candidacy for the US top job. He had not even spent a full term as senator. He alluded to his inexperience when he said, “I know I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I’ve been here long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.” He faced Hillary Clinton, a former first lady, in the contest for the Democratic Party’s nomination. All political pundits and pollsters pointed to a Hillary Clinton victory against a man still seen as a political upstart.

But against all odds Obama prevailed. He trounced Clinton in the opening caucuses at Iowa, built up momentum and eventually beat her to the party’s ticket. His giant killing did not end there. For the presidential election proper he was up against Republican opponent, Senator John McCain of Arizona, who had spent close to 25 years in Congress. Though so much capital was made of Obama’s inexperience, he ran an aggressive, effective and technology-driven campaign, reaching out to Americans from all races and age, preaching the gospel of change. In mobilising Americans for the change he envisions, Obama also raised an unprecedented campaign funds of close to a billion dollars, from the people. He drove the point home that four more years of a Republican administration would be suicidal for the American people, as the ruling party had failed spectacularly to manage the economy, resulting in massive job and home losses. He made a good job of convincing Americans that McCain is not different from Bush

The rest is history. Four more years of an administration akin to that of Bush was inconceivable for Americans and so on 4 November, they gave Obama a landslide victory. His ascendance also redefined America’s electoral geography, as he won in states hitherto dominated by the Republicans.

The Escape Committee

The Escape Committee

Some of the finest escape artists in the Allied Air Forces arrived at Luft III. Squadron Leader (S/L) Roger J Bushell, CO of No 92 (Spitfire) Squadron had been shot down in May 1940, during the Battle of France. On a previous escape he had been hiding in Prague and was caught in the aftermath of the Heydrich assassination. The family hiding him were all executed by the Gestapo and Jack Zaphouk, his Czech co-escaper, was purged to Colditz Castle. Bushell developed a cold unyielding hatred for the enemy but failed, however, to distinguish between the Gestapo and the far better type represented by the Camp Kommandant.

Although the first SBO (Senior British Officer) was Group Captain Harry “Wings” Day (57 Sqdn, shot down 13-Oct-39, Blenheim I, L1138), he was succeeded by the arrival in June 1942 of a more senior officer, G/C Herbert M Massey, a rugged veteran WW1 pilot, and in October 1942 Wings Day was sent to Offizierlager (Oflag, or Officer Camp) XXIB. Bushell masterminded the Luft III Escape Organization, together with an executive committee of Flying Officer (F/O) Wally Floody (J5481), Peter ‘Hornblower’ Fanshawe RN and Flight Lieutenant (F/L) George Harsh (102 Sqdn, shot down 5/6-Oct-42, Halifax II W7824).

(Ranks Page)

Bushell collected the most skilled forgers, tailors, tunnel engineers and surveillance experts and announced his intention to put 250 men outside the wire. This would cause a tremendous problem and cause the enemy to divert men and resources to round up the escapers. His idea was not so much to return escapers to the UK but mainly to cause a giant internal problem for the German administration. He went about this task with a typical determinedness, despite having been officially warned that his next escape and recapture would result in him being shot.

Key Personnel

Tunnel engineering was in the expert hands of Floody, a Canadian Spitfire pilot and prewar mining engineer. The original ‘Tunnel King’, he masterminded the construction of all three tunnels, aided by F/Lt R. G. “Crump” Ker-Ramsey (Fighter Interception Unit, shot down on a night patrol 13/14-Sep-40, Blenheim IVF Z5721), Henry “Johnny” Marshall, Fanshawe, and a host of others. The dapper Rhodesian Johnny Travis and his team of manufacturers made escape kit such as compasses from fragments of broken Bakelite gramophone records, melted and shaped and incorporating a tiny needle made from slivers of magnetised razor blades. Stamped on the underside was ‘Made in Stalag Luft 3 – Patent Pending’.

F/L Des Plunkett (218 Sqdn, shot down 20/21-6-42, Stirling I, W7530 HA:Q) and his team assumed responsibility for map making. Real ID papers and passes were obtained by bribery or theft from the guards and copied by F/L ‘Tim’ Walenn and his forgers. These two departments were known as “Dean and Dawson” after a well-known firm of travel agents. Service uniforms were carefully recut by Tommy Guest and his men, who also produced workmens’ clothes and other ‘civilian’ attire. These were often hidden in spaces created by ace carpenter Pilot Officer (P/O) “Digger” Macintosh (12 Sqdn, shot down 12-May-40, Battle I, L5439 PH:N).

A surprising number of guards proved co-operative in supplying railway timetables, maps, and the bewildering number of official papers required for escapers. One tiny mistake in forgery, or one missing document would immediately betray the holder, a problem complicated by the fact that the official stamps and appearance of the various papers were changed regularly by the Germans. It was necessary to obtain details of the lie of the land directly outside the camp, and especially ascertain the location of the nearest railway station. Bribery by cigarettes or chocolate usually worked. In one case, a less than intelligent guard provided key information for which he was paid in chocolate. The prisoner asked him to sign a receipt, explaining that it was necessary to account for the chocolate. The guard obliged, and was soon blackmailed into bringing in a camera and film, Bushell being quite ruthless in exploiting such opportunities.

Forged papers included Dienstausweise (permission to be on Wehrmacht property), Urlaubscheine (military leave pass), Ruckkehrscheine (for foreign workers returning home), Kennkarte (general identity card), Sichtvermark (visa), Ausweise and Vorlaufweise (pass and temporary pass). Many of these required weeks of work to reproduce.

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