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12 March 2008

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Chapters 14-16
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cc

Gallus DOES rule. So what do you think his odds are?

Erin A

I was pleased with Germanicus' loyalty to his country and his troops. Pretty amazing that he kept his word about bounty for folks and even took it from his own pocketbook. And, Claudius' generosity! If I had a time machine, I'd go around shouting the praises for Claudius -- of course Livia would surely have me locked up and poisoned in the end.

Caligula. I can ONLY imagine what I jewel he will turn out to be in this book. NOT!

I saw the movie in college. I went to a midnight showing in Harvard Square with the guys who lived on my floor (that and Rocky Horror ran in a small theatre there for AGES). Oh. My. Word. I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into...YOWZERS!

Becky

http://readingwithbecky.wordpress.com/miscellaneous/i-claudius-day-five-chapters-14-16/

emmaco

Wow, you're really hating Tiberius, aren't you? Not that he's not deserving of the hate, I just kept forgetting to hate him (I guess he's still lagging far behind Livia in terms of evilness).

Sorry about missing the last session! I've got random thoughts (that's all I seem to manage these days) for the six chapters here.

Leila

Well, I like Gallus, so his odds aren't good. But I know that you're a tricky one, cc, so maybe I'm in for a surprise.

Erin, you're talking about the theater on Church Street, yes?

Oh, and also: DOWN WITH TIBERIUS!

cc

That's TOTALLY what Gallus was getting at: to admit the parallel with Hercules you had to admit the (other) parallel with Hercules. Ha ha!

Re: the relative evilnesses of Livia and Tiberius. I think I'm mostly with Leila and find Tiberius more repellent because he could have been a decent guy. (It gets worse...way, way worse) and his tremendous hypocrisy is really icky. Livia is such a towering figure of evil--she never screws up, she never does anything banal, she never loses her cool.

The Roman historian Tacitus covers this period in the Annales (as opposed to the Histories) and I can highly recommend them even for those with only a casual interest in the period. Especially after reading the Graves' books it's easier to keep things/people straight. And believe it or not, but his account of the Rhine mutinies is even more exciting/dramatic than the I, Claudius version. Super. There's also a full (if slightly different) account of the Postumus affair. Oh. Also, his description of the funeral of Augustus? Priceless. I'll see if I can hunt up a translation of some of the better parts and pass them on.

(I got them! I love them! Yay!)

Heidi

Woo! I am caught up....for about 5 minutes anyway.

"towering figure of evil--she never screws up, she never does anything banal, she never loses her cool" I wished I'd said that, cc. Spot on. I look forward to your selections from Tacitus.


cc

Here's Tacitus' account of the Rhine mutiny. Book 1.30-ish

"But the nearer Germanicus was to the highest hope, the more laboriously did he exert himself for Tiberius, and he made the neighbouring Sequani and all the Belgic states swear obedience to him. On hearing of the mutiny in the legions, he instantly went to the spot, and met them outside the camp, eyes fixed on the ground, and seemingly repentant.

As soon as he entered the entrenchments, confused murmurs became audible. Some men, seizing his hand under pretence of kissing it, thrust his fingers into their mouths, that he might touch their toothless gums; others showed him their limbs bowed with age. He ordered the throng which stood near him, as it seemed a promiscuous gathering, to separate itself into its military companies. They replied that they would hear better as they were. The standards were then to be advanced, so that thus at least the cohorts might be distinguished. The soldiers obeyed reluctantly. Then beginning with a reverent mention of Augustus, he passed on to the victories and triumphs of Tiberius, dwelling with especial praise on his glorious achievements with those legions in Germany. Next, he extolled the unity of Italy, the loyalty of Gaul, the entire absence of turbulence or strife. He was heard in silence or with but a slight murmur.

As soon as he touched on the mutiny and asked what had become of soldierly obedience, of the glory of ancient discipline, whither they had driven their tribunes and centurions, they all bared their bodies and taunted him with the scars of their wounds and the marks of the lash. And then with confused exclamations they spoke bitterly of the prices of exemptions, of their scanty pay, of the severity of their tasks, with special mention of the entrenchment, the fosse, the conveyance of fodder, building-timber, firewood, and whatever else had to be procured from necessity, or as a check on idleness in the camp. The fiercest clamour arose from the veteran soldiers, who, as they counted their thirty campaigns or more, implored him to relieve worn-out men, and not let them die under the same hardships, but have an end of such harassing service, and repose without beggary.

Some even claimed the legacy of the Divine Augustus, with words of good omen for Germanicus, and, should he wish for empire, they showed themselves abundantly willing. Thereupon, as though he were contracting the pollution of guilt, he leapt impetuously from the tribunal. The men opposed his departure with their weapons, threatening him repeatedly if he would not go back. But Germanicus protesting that he would die rather than cast off his loyalty, plucked his sword from his side, raised it aloft and was plunging it into his breast, when those nearest him seized his hand and held it by force. The remotest and most densely crowded part of the throng, and, what almost passes belief, some, who came close up to him, urged him to strike the blow, and a soldier, by name Calusidius, offered him a drawn sword, saying that it was sharper than his own. Even in their fury, this seemed to them a savage act and one of evil precedent, and there was a pause during which Caesar's friends hurried him into his tent."

Erin A

Leila, Church Street sounds right -- I can't remember exactly, but it was a side street off Harvard Square and there was a bead store across from the movie theatre (ok, so this was totally back in 80s...)

:)

jessmonster

Ooh, thanks for sharing the Tacitus quotes!

Here's are my thoughts

jessmonster

"Here's are" - ouch! You know what I meant ;)

Also, I agree about Tiberius - he's all the more icky because he could be good and isn't.

Heidi

Hey, Leila, hope everything's alright.

I created a bubblus mindmap...I welcome collaborators.

http://bubbl.us/view.php?sid=89658&pw=yaoFwWCVZkqtUNTRoS1NaNzZOeGdzLg

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