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Nero, Chapter 39: More disasters
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To all the disasters and abuses thus caused but the princeps there were added certain accidents of fortune; a plague which in a single autumn entered thirty thousand deaths in the accounts of Libitina; a disaster in Britain, where two important towns were sacked [ Camulodunum (modern Colchester) and Verulamium (modern St. Albans); according to Xiphilinus 80,000 perished] and great members of citizens and allies were butchered; a shameful defeat in the Orient, in consequence of which the legions in Armenia were sent under the yoke and Syria was all but lost. It is surprising and of special note that all this time he bore nothing with more patience than the curses and abuse of the people, and was particularly lenient towards those who assailed him with gibes and lampoons. Of these many were posted or circulated both in Greek and Latin, for example the following:|
A calculation new. Nero his mother slew.
Who can deny the descent from Aeneas' great line of our Nero?
One his mother took off, the other one took off his sire.
While our ruler his lyre does twang and the Parthian his bowstring,
Paean-singer our princeps shall be, and Far-darter our foe.
Rome is becoming one house; off with you to Veii, Quirites!
If that house does not soon seize upon Veii as well.
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Agrippina the Younger
Atellane plays:These were "the old national drama immediately connected with the festive worship of the people in which it took its rise and which therefore retained a respectability which could be conceded to the performances of foreign histriones. Being free from all contact with the professional actor, the young Roman could appear in the Atellan play without any forfeiture of his social position." -- Donaldson, Varronianus, p. 158.