Sorry I missed Friday -- the time change finally caught up with me and I slept through my alarm. Twice.
Then I had to work Saturday and ended up in Migraine City. LAME.
And Sunday was busier than I expected, as it has a tendency to be. Anyway...
• On Tiberius' communication with the Senate:
The Senate soon found that if he spoke with studied elegance in favour of a motion he meant that he wanted it voted against, and that if he spoke with studied elegance against it this meant that he wanted it passed; and that on the very few occasions when he spoke briefly and without any rhetoric he meant to be taken literally. Gallus and an old wag called Haterius used to delight in making speeches in warm agreement with Tiberius, enlarging his arguments to a point only just short of absurdity and then voting the way he really wanted them to vote; thus showing that they understood his tricks perfectly.
Fabulous. I continue to love (and worry about) Gallus. And Haterius sounds like the sort of name a friend of mine would choose to use in a Death Metal Forum.
• "When they saw that there was nothing that Tiberius hated so much as hearing Livia praised they kept it up. Haterius ever suggested that just as the Greeks were called by their fathers' names, so Tiberius should be named after his mother and that it should be a crime to call him other than Tiberius Liviades--or perhaps Livigena would be the more correct Latin form." Oh. My. God. First of all, I'm shocked that he hasn't offed them yet. Second, I totally want to be friends with them.
• "Though Tiberius hated his mother more than ever, he continued to let her rule him." And that, my friends, is my issue with Tiberius. I'd probably respect him more if he ran away in the middle of the night... or broke down and indulged in a little matricide. (The second option really wouldn't work out all that well, because then he'd really, truly be in power, and that, I suspect, would be disastrous.)
• Wow. Sejanus (doesn't Janus the God have two faces?) sounds like a younger, male Livia. Except I doubt he would make "an exceptionally able and just ruler".
• I admit it. I glazed over during the description of the code. I do the same thing when I hit the code bits in the Dorothy Sayers books. (Happily, this was just a few lines. In the Lord Peter stories, the codes go on forever.)
• "I published the book and one or two people said that my suggestions were sensible, but of course it had absolutely no result." Awww. Poor Claudius. Again.
Chapter Eighteen -- The Return of Postumus.
• Holy cow, I can't believe how quickly things have changed:
...popular feeling now ran so strongly in sympathy with Postumus and against Tiberius and Livia that if a single favourable word had come from Germanicus the whole City, including the Guards and the City battalions, would have come over to him at once.
Where is Germanicus?? I am Freaking Out. I do love it that not even the general populace believes that Tiberius is really in power.
Tiberius told a slave to strike Postumus on the mouth for his insolence, and he was then put on the rack and asked to reveal his fellow-conspirators. But he would only tell scandalous anecdotes of the private life of Tiberius, which were so disgusting and so circumstantial that Tiberius lost his temper and battered his face in with his great bony fists. The soldiers finished the bloody work by beheading him and hacking him into pieces in the cellar of the Palace.
I am so depressed. Something really, really horrible had better happen to Tiberius. Really, really, really horrible. Really, really, really, really horrible. Times a bazillion. I'm VERY upset. I mean, I KNEW there was no way that Postumus would get away with being so ridiculously awesome, but I HOPED that he would -- you know?
• I know that I shouldn't worried about Claudius because he's, you know, the one telling the story -- but knowing that someone (probably Livia or Tiberius or in the employ of Livia or Tiberius) intercepted all those letters to Germanicus... Yeah, I'm worried.
Chapter Nineteen -- Comedy on the German Front, Germanicus' return home, the End of Hermann.
• "Come on then, you one-eyed bean-eating slave, you!" Heh. Claudius is right -- that conversation was hilarious. And Germanicus gets mega-points from me for transcribing it.
• In the description of Germanicus' triumphal procession, 'cars' are mentioned a few times. I couldn't help but picture convertibles.
• Rats! Claudius is sent to Carthage so he can't tell Germanicus about Postumus. There MUST be a way for him to get around Livia's spies. I'm shocked that there hasn't been an attempt on his life.
• Professional informers. That's all Rome needs.
• We finally get the fleshed-out version of the Urgulania Gets Summoned to Debtors' Court story. Livia really has mellowed -- in the old days, she'd have never paid the debt. She would have just poisoned Calpurnius.
• Hermann finally gets done in, and by his own family, too -- moral: Don't Get Too Big For Your Britches. There has been a lot of hacking to pieces over the last few chapters.