Chapter Twenty-Seven -- In which Tiberius is a million times worse than Livia ever was.
• Ah ha!:
"I could never have thought it possible that I would miss Livia when she died. ... For it was clear that it had long been only the fear of his mother that had kept Tiberius within bounds. ... Everyone was wondering on just how much popular support Germanicus's family could count on now that Tiberius was preparing to victimize them; and whether it would not be safer to go against Tiberius than against the populace."
I vote to go against Tiberius! Take him down! Come ON! Er, but that means Caligula would be up next, right? And there are only five chapters after this one? Yeesh. I really am going to have to read Claudius the God.
I've been thinking about the "Livia was just and capable" bit in the last section. The big difference between Livia and Tiberius' murderous tendencies is that Livia murdered mostly for personal gain and for (in her mind) the Good of the Empire. (Camilla may have taken issue with that.) Tiberius takes people out because he's embarrassed by them, scared of them, angry or he just feels like it. He's ruled by his desires, and Livia used her head. Of the two, I'd much rather live under Livia's rule than Tiberius'. She, at least, was consistent in her scariness -- Tiberius' feelings changed daily.
And, of course, I like Livia more than Tiberius for the same reason that I found Maxim more likable after I found out what Really Happened to Rebecca -- Livia is a tough lady, and Tiberius is a wiener.
• Auuugh. See? In two pages, Tiberius has banished Agrippina (who he first beat until she lost the sight in one eye) and Nero, locked up Drusus, had the Senate Recorder (who spoke out against Tiberius' desire to go after Germanicus' family) killed (it says he committed suicide), and locked up Gallus in a tiny room where he's being kept, alive and miserable. I'm still hoping Gallus will make it, though -- if he died in that tiny room, wouldn't Claudius have said so, to finish off his part of the story?
• Well, that's a different way of going about things:
The first thing that happened was that Helen became an invalid--we know now that Livilla had given her the choice of taking to her bed as if she were ill or of taking to her bed because she was ill.
Nice to give Helen a choice, I guess. I'd have gone to Naples, too -- who in their right mind (that clearly excepts Livilla) would want to marry Sejanus?
• So. Sejanus. I admit that Tiberius' handling of Sejanus himself was somewhat impressive (though I wonder how much of the planning was done by him and how much was done by Caligula). While I was glad to see him go, my eyeballs popped more and more as I read about what was done to his family and friends. Horror-level-wise, it even beat the lobster. Livilla's death was something else, too.
• What does Tiberius do with all of the money he's raking in? Swim in it like Scrooge McDuck?
Chapter Twenty-Eight -- FINALLY!
• Auuugh. They all died. Gallus, Agrippina, Drusus, Nero. And Tiberius' letter to the Senate about Gallus' death "...regretting, in the case of Gallus, that "the press of public business had constantly postponed his trial so that he had died before his guilt could be proved"." He killed my Gallus, and he killed him slow. I hate Tiberius so very, very much.
• "She was accused of adultery with a slave and not being able to deny the charge (for she was found in bed with him) took her own life." That's the first time I've laughed in a while. (Which obviously isn't to say that I'm not enjoying myself. I laughed, too, when Claudius said that when Tiberius suffered from attacks of remorse, Caligula cheered him up by talking about new kinds of vice.)
• I keep reading Macro as Marco.
• What a scene! The I'm-Not-Dead-Yet-Tiberius scaring the wits out of the would-be-thieving-slave, Caligula terrified about stealing the signet ring early, and Macro taking matters into his own hands and smothering Tiberius. It probably makes me a bad person, but the whole picture was pretty comical. I do suspect that the days of Caligula will make me long for the days of Tiberius. Funny that Livia told everyone that Augustus was still alive for a day after he'd already died, and Marco told everyone that Tiberius had been dead an hour when he was still alive.
• I'm rather glad to see that the people of Rome didn't suddenly decide that Tiberius was wonderful just because he was, you know, dead.
Chapter Twenty-Nine -- Hey, Big Spender.
• "It amused Caligula at first to encourage the absurd misconception that everyone but myself and my mother and Macro and one or two others had of his character, and even to perform a number of acts in keeping with it." Claudius has me giggling again.
• Somehow I suspect that Caligula will have no qualms about taking out Macro, not to mention Gemellus.
• What was with Tiberius' will? Was he feeling super-guilty when he wrote it?
• And why is Caligula bothering to do right by Claudius? Is it because of Thrasyllus' predictions? Those seem to be the only thing he'd put much stock in -- it isn't like he had any real respect for Livia or Tiberius.
• Calpurnia is fab:
"I'd prefer cash," she said, "if you don't mind."
• Caligula has gone through seven million gold pieces in three months. I'm with Calpurnia. There is no fun on the horizon.
• "...Caligula's stern speeches against all sorts of immorality..." Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! And then: "His own morals seemed not to come into the scope of his scriptures." Heh.
• Part of me wants to know what Caligula and "The Scouts" get up to. Most of me doesn't.
• "Caligula's three sisters, Drusilla, Agrippinilla and Lesbia, had all been married to noblemen; but he insisted on their coming to the Palace and living there. Agrippinilla and Lesbia were told to bring their husbands with them, but Drusilla had to leave hers behind; his name was Cassius Longinus and he was sent to govern Asia Minor." Greaaaaat. That won't get people talking or anything.
• I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was: I almost fainted when Caligula revealed the truth about Germanicus' death. As for all of the I'm-A-God stuff, well, we always knew he was bonkers.