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Claudius, Chapter 40: Indifference and unconcern (cont.)
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He [Note 1] frequently appeared so careless in what he said, and so inattentive to circumstances, that it was believed he never reflected who he himself was, or amongst whom, or at what time, or in what place, he spoke. In the debate in the senate relative to the butchers and vintners, he cried out, " I ask you, who can live without a snack" And mentioned the great plenty of old taverns, from which he himself used formerly to have his wine. Among other reasons for his supporting a certain person who was candidate for the quaestorship, he gave this: " His father," said he, "once gave me, at just the right time, a draught of cold water when I was sick." Upon his bringing a woman as a witness in some cause before the senate, he said, " This woman was my mother's freedwoman and dresser, but she always considered me as her master; and this I say, because there are some still in my family that do not look upon me as such." The people of Ostia addressing him in open court with a petition, he flew into a rage at them, and said, " There is no reason why I should oblige you: if any one else is free to act as he pleases, surely I am." The following expressions he had in his mouth every day, and at all hours and seasons: " What , do you take me for a Telegenius?" And in Greek, Speak, but do not touch me; besides many other familiar sentences, below the dignity of a private person, much more of an emperor, who was not deficient either in eloquence or learning, as having applied himself very closely to the liberal sciences. |
Note 1: he = Claudius
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Quaestor:There were two sets of officers bearing this title, the commissioners of the treasure, and the "trackers of murder" -- as their title may be literally translated -- whose duty was to search for and bring up for prosecution those who had been guilty of capital crimes.