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life are collected by Tillemont, Histoire dcs Em- pereurs, vol. i.) [G. L.j
paksee afe night witlk a few freedmew, and made lifs way to a house about four miles from Rome, which belonged to Phaon, one of his freedmen, where he passed the night and part of the following day in a state of agonising terror. His hiding-place being known, a centurion with some soldiers was sent to seize him. Though a coward, Nero thought a voluntary death better than the indignities which he knew were preparing for him ; and, after some irresolution, and with the aid of his secretary Epa-phroditus, he gave himself a mortal wound when he heard the trampling of the horses on which his pursuers were mounted. The centurion on entering attempted to stop the flow of blood, but Nero saying, " It is too late. Is this your fidelity ?" expired with a horrid stare.
The body of Nero received funeral honours suitable to his rank, and his ashes were placed in the sepulchre of the Domitii by two of his nurses and his concubine Acte, who had won Nero's affections from his wife Octavia at the beginning of his reign. (Tac. Ann. xiii. 12 ; Suet. Nr.r. 50.) Suetonius, after his manner, gives a description of Nero's person, which is not very flattering: the "cervix obesa" of Suetonius is a characteristic of Nero's bust. (Lib. of Entertaining Knowledge^ Townley Gallery, vol. ii. p. 28.)
In his youth Nero was instructed in all the liberal knowledge of the time except philosophy ; and he was turned from the study of the old Roman orators by his master Seneca. Accordingly, he applied himself to poetry, and Suetonius says that his verses were not made for him, as some suppose, for the biographer had seen and examined some of Nero's writing-tablets and small books, in which the writing was in his own hand, with many erasures and cancellings and interlineations. He had also skill in painting and modelling. Though profuse and fond of pomp and splendour, Nero had apparently some taste. The Apollo Belvedere and the Fighting Gladiator, as it is called, by Agasias, were found in the ruins of a villa at Antium, which is conjectured to have belonged to Nero. (See Thiersch, Ueber die Epochen der Bildenden Kunst, $c. p. 312, 2d ed.)
Nero's progress in crime is easily traced, and the lesson is worth reading. Without a good education, and with no talent for his high station, he was placed in a position of danger from the first. He was sensual, and fond of idle display, and then he became greedy of money to satisfy his expenses ; he was timid, and by consequence he became cruel when he anticipated danger ; and, like other murderers, his first crime, the poisoning of Britannicus, made him capable of another. But, contemptible and cruel as he was, there are many persons who, in the same situation, might run the same guilty career. He was only in his thirty-first year when he died, and he had held the supreme power for thirteen years and eight months. He was the last of the descendants of Julia, the sister of the dictator Caesar.
There were a few writers in the time of Nero who have been preserved—Persius the satirist, Lucan, the author of the Pharsalia, and Seneca, the preceptor of Nero. The jurists, C. Cassius Longi-nus, after whom the Sabiniani were sometimes called Cassiani, and Nerva, the father of the emperor Nerva, lived under Nero. (Tac. Ann. xiii.— xvi. ; Suet. Ner.; Dion Cass. Ixi.—Ixiii. ed. Rei-marus. All the authorities ior the facts of Nero's
COIN OF THE EMPEROR NERO.
NERO, the eldest son of Germanicus and Agrip-pina, was a youth of about twelve years of age at the death of his father in A. D. 19. In the following year (a. d. 20) he was commended to the favour of the senate by the emperor Tiberius, who went through the form of requesting that body to allow Nero to become a candidate for the quaestor-ship five years before the legal age. He likewise had the dignity of pontiff conferred upon him, and about the same time was married to Julia, the daughter of Drusus, who was the son of the emperor Tiberius. Nero had been betrothed in the lifetime of his father to the daughter of Silanus (Tac. Ann. ii. 43), but it appears that this marriage never took effect. By the death of Drusus, the son of Tiberius, who was poisoned at the instigation of Sejanus in A. d. 23, Nero became the heir to the imperial throne ; and as Sejanus had compassed the death of Drusus, in order that he might succeed Tiberius, the same motives led him to plan the death of Nero, as well as of his younger brother Drusus. And this he found no difficulty in accomplishing, as the jealous temper of Tiberius had already become alarmed at the marks of public favour which were exhibited to Nero and Drusus as the sons of Germanicus, and he had expressed his displeasure in the senate, in A. d. 24, at the public prayers which had been offered for their health. Spies were placed about Nero, and every word and action of the unhappy young prince were eagerly caught up, misinterpreted and misrepresented, and then reported to the emperor. His wife was also entirely in the interests of Sejanus, since her mother was the mistress of the all-powerful minister ; and his brother Drusus, who was of an unamiable disposition, and who did not stand so high-in the favour of their mother Agrippina, was readily induced to second" the designs of Sejanus, in hopes that the death of Nero would secure him the succession to the throne. At length, in A. d. 29, Tiberius sent a letter to the senate in which he accused Agrippina and Nero in the bitterest terms, but was unable to convict them of any attempt at rebellion ; the haughtiness of the former and the licentiousness of the latter were the chief crimes laid to their charge. The people, who loved Agrippina and hallowed the memory of Germanicus, surrounded the senate-house, exclaiming that the letter was a forgery. On the first day the senate came to no resolution on the matter, and Tiberius found it necessary to repeat his charges. The obsequious body dared no longer resist ; and the fate of Agrippina and Nero was sealed. Nero was declared an enemy of the state, was removed to the island of Pontia, and shortly afterwards was there starved to death. According to some accounts he put an end to his own life, when the executioner appeared before him with the instruments of death. (Tac. Ann. iii. 29, iv. 8, 17, 59, 60, 67, v. 3,4 ;