Home Introduction Persons Geogr. Sources Events Mijn blog(Nederlands)
Religion Subjects Images Queries Links Contact Do not fly Iberia
This is a non-commercial site. Any revenues from Google ads are used to improve the site.

Custom Search
Quote of the day: Poppaea died from a casual outburst of r
Notes
Display Latin text
Twelve Emperors by Suetonius

Vespasian, Chapter 23: Wit[AD 69-79]
Next chapter
Return to index
Previous chapter
He [Note 1] also quoted Greek verses with great timeliness, saying of a man of tall stature, and monstrous parts: "Striding along and waving a lance that casts a long shadow," [ Iliad 7.213] and of the freedman Cerylus, who was very rich, and to cheat the privy purse of its dues at his death had begun to give himself out as free-born, changing his name to Laches: "O Laches, Laches, When you are dead, you'll change your name at once to Cerylus again" Menander, Fr. 223.2]. But he particularly resorted to witticisms about his unseemly means of gain, seeking to diminish their odium by some jocose saying and to turn them into a jest. Having put off one of his favorite attendants, who asked for a stewardship for a pretended brother, he summoned the candidate himself, and after compelling him to pay him as much money as he had agreed to give his advocate, appointed him to the position without delay. On his attendant's taking up the matter again, he said: "Find yourself another brother; the man that you thought was yours is mine." On a journey, suspecting that his muleteer had got down to shoe the mules merely to make delay and give time for a man with a lawsuit to approach the emperor, he asked how much he was paid for shoeing the mules and insisted on a share of the money. When Titus found fault with him for contriving a tax upon public toilets, he held a piece of money from the first payment to his son's nose, asking whether its odor was offensive to him. When Titus said "No," he replied, "Yet it comes from urine." On the report of a deputation that a colossal statue of great cost had been voted him at public expense, he demanded to have it set up at once, and holding out his open hand, said that the base was ready. He did not cease his jokes even then in apprehension of death and in extreme danger; for when among other portents the Mausoleum [of Augustus] opened on a sudden and a comet appeared in the heavens, he declared that the former applied to Junia Calvina of the family of Augustus, and the latter to the king of the Parthians, who wore his hair long; and as death drew near, he said: me. Methinks I'm turning into a god."

Note 1: he = Vespasian