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Augustus, Chapter 53: His modesty.
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He [Note 1] always abhorred the title of Lord, as ill-omened and offensive. And when, in a play, performed at the theatre, at which he was present, these words were introduced, O just and gracious lord, and the whole company, with joyful acclamations, testified their approbation of them, as applied to him, he instantly put a stop to their indecent flattery, by waving his hand, and frowning sternly, and next day publicly declared his displeasure in a proclamation. He never afterwards would suffer himself to be addressed in that manner, even by his own children or grandchildren, either in jest or earnest, and forbade them the use of all such complimentary expressions to one another. He rarely entered any city or town, or departed from it, except in the evening or the night, to avoid giving any person the trouble of complimenting him. During his consulships, he commonly walked the streets on foot; but at other times, rode in a close carriage. He admitted to court even plebeians, in common with people of the higher ranks; receiving the petitions of those who approached him with so much affability, that he once jocosely rebuked a man, by telling him, You present your memorial with as much hesitation as if you were offering money to an elephant. On senate days, he used to pay his respects to the Conscript Fathers only in the house, addressing them each by name as they sat, without any prompter; and on his departure, he bade each of them farewell, while they retained their seats. In the same manner, he maintained with many of them a constant intercourse of mutual civilities, giving them his company upon occasions of any particular festivity in their families; until he became advanced in years, and was incommoded by the crowd at a wedding. Being informed that Gallus Terrinius, a senator, with whom he had only a slight acquaintance, had suddenly lost his sight, and under that privation had resolved to starve himself to death, he paid him a visit and by his consolatory admonitions diverted him from his purpose. |
Note 1: he = Augustus
|Domini appellationem ut maledictum et obprobrium semper exhorruit. Cum spectante eo ludos pronuntiatum esset in mimo: "O dominum aequum et bonum!" et universi quasi de ipso dictum exsultantes comprobassent, et statim manu vultuque indecoras adulationes repressit et insequenti die gravissimo corripuit edicto; dominumque se posthac appellari ne a Liberis quidem aut nepotibus suis vel serio vel ioco passus est atque eius modi blanditias etiam inter ipsos prohibuit. Non temere urbe oppidove ullo egressus aut quoquam ingressus est nisi vespera aut noctu, ne quem officii causa inquietaret. In consulatu pedibus fere, extra consulatum saepe adoperta sella per publicum incessit. Promiscuis salutationibus admittebat et plebem, tanta comitate adeuntium desideria excipiens, ut quendam ioco corripuerit, quod sic sibi libellum porrigere dubitaret, "quasi elephanto stipem." Die senatus numquam patres nisi in curia salutavit et quidem sedentis ac nominatim singulos nullo submonente; etiam discedens eodem modo sedentibus valere dicebat. Officia cum multis mutuo exercuit, nec prius dies cuiusque sollemnes frequentare desiit, quam grandior iam natu et in turba quondam sponsaliorum die vexatus. Gallum Cerrinium senatorem minus sibi familiarem, sed captum repente oculis et ob id inedia mori destinantem praesens consolando revocavit ad vitam.|