The source of abominable deeds. If History is the Great Prose Writer, renowned historians, such as Tacitus, endowed with literary genius, can turn a text dedicated to the past into a Shakespearean masterpiece. Tacitus, fierce on Tiberius, tries hard to present the second Caesar as a Monster. He would have succeeded, perhaps, if Tiberius had not been followed by Caligula, Nero. In the case of Nero, Tacitus is spared the effort of invention or exaggeration. To be the Shakespeare of Historiography, he simply has to be a narrator.
Nero is such a rich source, so generous of abominable facts, that their simple recording gives birth to great prose texts. I take as an example the Assassination of Octavia. Octavia is the daughter of Claudius and Messalina. Nero’s mother, Agrippina, marries her to her half-brother Nero when she is only 13 years old. Nero hated her. It seems that the act of marriage in bed was not performed. He publicly cheats on her first with the slave Acte and then with Poppaea Sabina. Acte is a slave forced into bed with Nero by Seneca and Burrus, his all-powerful advisers and teachers, to counter the influence of Agrippina, Nero’s mother, and to avoid the public humiliation of the Emperor, who was only 16 years old when he ascended the throne. Sabina Poppaea, a kind of Elena Lupescu of the Roman Empire, puts her hands on Nero. Tacitus amuses himself by recounting the trick by which Otho, the husband, places her in Nero’s bed, so that in the end, the trick would seduce Nero so that he would take her as his wife, and send Otho to the mother of hell, in the provinces. Well made, master of the bed, Sabina manages to remove her competitors in power, Agrippina, Nero’s mother, and Octavia, his childhood wife. It should be noted that, in turn, she is killed by Nero in a fit of rage. Schizophrenic, Nero remarries Sporus, a freedman, whom he castrates to remain pure. Sporus is introduced as the Empress. He survives Nero, and becomes the lover of the head of the Praetorian Guard. The assassination of Octavia, beneficiary, like any wife publicly deceived by her husband, of great popular sympathy, is coldly described by Tacitus:
“Octavia, however, is bound in thongs and her veins are opened at all her joints; and because the blood contracted in her veins due to fear was draining badly, Octavia is suffocated in the steam of a bath with boiling water. To this was added an even more shocking horror: his head was cut off and brought to Rome to be shown to Poppaea. For these deeds the bringing of offerings to the temples was decreed.”
As in other cases, Tacitus’s wonders stem from the reaction of others to these horrible crimes:
“I have mentioned this event in detail at the end of this book, so that all those who will learn about the events of those times either from those painted by me or from those narrated by others, can realize in advance that, either as often as Nero ordered extortions and murders, so many times were thanksgivings offered to the gods, and that all that was regarded as heralding a happy event now became to us the sign of an orgy for the state.
However, I will not shroud in silence the fact that [drept urmare] senatorial decrees were given which had something new in flattering the emperor, and this meant falling to the lowest level of servitude.”
Ad. From the newspapers: “The string for tying the sheaves arrives
Farmers are informed that a quantity of 600 tons of paper string for tying the sheaves will soon arrive in the country.
This string was tested by the machine testing station of the Agronomic Research Institute of Romania and gave favorable results.
The string has left Germany, so in 7-8 days it will arrive in the country.” (The currentFriday, June 27, 1941)
NOTE: This editorial is taken in its entirety from cristoiublog.ro
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