Chapter Fourteen -- The Augustus Aftermath.
It is possible that Gallus would have succeeded in blocking the decree by this appeal to Roman pride and sanity had it not been for a man called Atticus, a senior magistrate.
Once again, Claudius subtly (har har) slips his opinion in there. I love it when he does that. And then, just a little bit later, when he writes about the deaths of Romulus and Hercules, he does his story within a story thing -- I love that. (Okay, about the reference to Hercules being poisoned by his wife -- was Gallus suggesting that there WAS a parallel, that there was NOT a parallel, and if he was saying there was NOT a parallel, was he actually saying there was? My head hurts.)
• The Vestal Virgins have Augustus' will? Oh, I'm sure it's totally safe with them, then. Not.
• Wait, Tiberius KNEW about the suppressed will? Dirtbag. Even if he went along with the suppression because he's afraid of Livia, couldn't he have, I don't know, left it lying around in public somewhere?
• Gallus rules. I hope nothing bad happens to him due to calling Tiberius' crappy bluff.
• Ah. Yes. Fear of Livia is clearly part of Tiberius' assholic behavior:
There was another explanation of this cautious behavior of his, namely that Livia had boasted in pubic that he was receiving the monarchy as a gift from her hands. She made the boast not only to strengthen her position at Augustus's widow but to warn Tiberius that if her crimes ever came to light he would be regarded as her accomplice, being the person who principally benefited from them.
• So now everyone but Livia thinks Postumus is dead. Where IS he?
Chapter Fifteen -- Mutiny and Dice.
• "They asked why in Hell's name had he come then if he had no power to do anything for them."
Fair question. And, sheesh, I don't blame the soldiers for revolting in either situation. Also, why do they know what a beast Livia is when it's taken the people so much closer to her so much longer to figure it out? Is it just easier to see the Eeevil from a distance, did Everything Change after Augustus' death, or are Rumors Flying? I don't know why I'm feeling so indecisive today.
• While I don't blame the soldiers for revolting, sacking France might be a tad excessive. March on Rome, guys! March on Rome! (Sorry. I've developed a real dislike for Tiberius.)
• Tiberius plans to go to Germany to "do his own dirty work":
He therefore told the Senate that he would go to Germany, and began slowly to make preparations, choosing his staff and fitting out a small fleet. But by the time he was ready the approach of winter made navigation dangerous and the news from Germany was more hopeful. So he did not go. He had not intended to go.
I wish I had a time machine. I'd go back in time and spray-paint TIBERIUS STINKS on every available surface.
• Claudius' humorous book on dice falls flat. Claudius just can't win. Also, what happens if he runs out of money? And did the real will get destroyed? Will it be discovered at the eleventh hour, just as Claudius is about to marry the eeevil Stefano DiMera because he's broke? Oh, wait. Sorry. I'm mixing up my soaps.
Chapter Sixteen -- Enter Caligula.
• As I said, Enter Caligula. I wondered when he would turn up. No, I've never seen the movie.
• Wow. Everyone is so open about their distrust of Livia now:
Germanicus insisted on Agrippina's going away, though she swore that she was afraid of nothing and would far rather die with him there than have news from safety of his murder by the mutineers. But he asked her whether she thought Livia would make a good mother for their orphaned children, and this decided her to do as he wished.
Well, open about it as long as Livia isn't there, I'd wager.
• Holy cow, these soldiers are fickle. All it finally took was the loss of young Caligula the good luck charm, and they ended it. Almost a hundred men beheaded in two hours. What a gruesome scene. And then:
So everything was all right again at Bonn, and Caligula was told by the men that he had put down the mutiny single-handed and that one day he'd be a great emperor and win wonderful victories; which was very bad for the child, who was already, as I say, disgracefully spoilt.
• "He divided his forces into four columns and wasted the country on a fifty-mile frontage, burning the villages and slaughtering the inhabitants without respect for age or sex." I wouldn't have expected that from Germanicus.
• And, at three years old, Caligula burns Claudius' house down. On purpose. Excellent. Is it wrong of me to dislike a three-year-old so intensely? Probably. I do really hope something awful happens to Tiberius. (I think he makes me crazy because, while he is one of the Bad Apple Claudians, he is still "easily tempted to virtue", so I feel like he should step up.) To balance all that out, I totally adore Agrippina.