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round for his friends. But none of them vouchsafing any message in reply, he went with a few attendants to their houses. The doors being everywhere shut, and no one giving him any answer, he returned to his bed-chamber, whence those who had the charge of it had all now eloped; some having gone one way and some another, carrying off with them his bedding and box of poison. He then endeavored to find Spicillus the gladiator, or some one, to kill him; but not being able to procure any one,
What!” said he, “have I then neither friend nor foe?” and immediately ran out, as if he would throw himself into the Tiber.
But this furious impulse subsiding, he wished for some place of privacy, where he might collect his thoughts; and his freedman Phaon offering him his country-house, between the Salarian and Nomentan roads, about four miles from the city, he mounted a horse, barefoot as he was and in his tunic, only slipping over it an old soiled cloak; with his head muffled up, and a handkerchief before his face, and four persons only to attend him, of whom Sporus was He was suddenly struck with horror by an earthquake, and by a flash of lightning which darted full in his face; and heard from the neighboring camp the shouts of the soldiers, wishing his destruction, and prosperity to Galba. He also heard a traveler they met on the road say, “They are in pursuit of Nero;” and another ask, "Is there any news in the city about Nero ? » Uncovering his face when his horse was started by the scent of a carcass which lay in the road, he was recognized and saluted by an old soldier who had been discharged from the guards. When they came to the lane which turned up to the house, they quitted their horses, and with much difficulty he wound among bushes and briers, and along a track through a bed of rushes, over which they spread their cloaks for him to walk on.
Having reached a wall at the back of the villa, Phaon advised him to hide himself awhile in a sand-pit; when he replied, "I will not go underground alive.” Staying there some little time, while preparations were made for bringing him privately into the villa, he took up in his hand some water out of a neighboring tank, to drink, saying, “This is Nero's distilled water.” Then, his cloak having been torn by the brambles, he pulled out the thorns which stuck in it. At last, being admitted, creeping upon his hands and knees through a hole made for him in the wall, he lay down in the first closet he came to, upon a miserable pallet, with an old coverlet thrown over it; and being
both hungry and thirsty, though he refused some coarse bread that was brought him, he drank a little warm water.
All who surrounded him now pressing him to save himself from the indignities which were ready to befall him, he ordered a pit to be sunk before his eyes, of the size of his body, and the bottom to be covered with pieces of marble put together, if any could be found about the house; and water and wood to be got ready for immediate use about his corpse: weeping at everything that was done, and frequently saying, “What an artist is now about to perish!” Meanwhile, letters being brought in by a servant belonging to Phaon, he snatched them out of his hand and there read, “That he had been declared an enemy by the Senate; and that search was making for him, that he might be punished according to the ancient custom of the Romans.” He then inquired what kind of punishment that was; and being told that the practice was to strip the criminal naked and scourge him to death, while his neck was fastened within a forked stake, he was so terrified that he took up two daggers which he had brought with him, and after feeling the points of both, put them up again, saying, “The fatal hour has not yet come.” One while, he begged of Sporus to begin to wail and lament; another while, he entreated that one of them would set him an example by killing himself; and then again, he condemned his own want of resolution in these words: "I yet live, to my shame and disgrace: this is not becoming for Nero; it is not becoming. Thou oughtest in such circumstances to have a good heart. Come then; courage, man!” The horsemen who had received orders to bring him away alive, were now approaching the house.
As soon he heard them coming, he uttered with a trembling voice the following verse:
“Ιππων μ' ώκυπόδων αμφί χτύπος ουατα βάλλει:
he then drove a dagger into his throat, being assisted in the act by his secretary Epaphroditus. A centurion bursting in just as he was dying, and applying his cloak to the wound, pretending that he was come to his assistance, he made no other reply but this: «'Tis too late," and "Is this your loyalty ? Immediately after pronouncing these words he expired, with his eyes fixed and starting out of his head, to the terror of all who beheld him.
WAS chiefly addicted to the vices of luxury and cruelty. He always made three meals a day, sometimes four; breakfast, dinner, and supper, and a drunken revel after all.
For these several meals he would make different appointments at the houses of his friends on the same day. None ever entertained him at less expense than 400,000 sesterces (over $20,000). The most famous was a set entertainment given him by his brother, at which, it is said, there were served up no less than two thousand choice fishes and seven thousand birds. Yet even this supper he himself outdid, at a feast he gave on the first use of a dish which had been made for him, and which for its extraordinary size he called «The Shield of Minerva.” In this dish were tossed up together the livers of char-fish, the brains of pheasants and peacocks, the tongues of flamingoes, and the entrails of lampreys, which had been brought in ships of war as far as from the Carpathian Sea and the Spanish Straits. He was not only a man of insatiable appetite, but would gratify it at the most unseasonable times, and with any garbage that came in his way.
He delighted in the infliction of punishments, even capital ones, without any distinction of persons or occasions. Several noblemen, his schoolfellows and companions, invited by him to court, he treated with such flattering caresses as seemed to indi. cate an affection short only of admitting them to share the honors of the imperial dignity; yet he put them all to death by some base means or other. To one he gave poison with his own hand, in a cup of cold water which he called for in a fever. He scarcely spared one of all the usurers, notaries, and publicans who had ever demanded a debt of him at Rome, or any toll or custom on the road. One of these, while in the very ad of saluting him, he ordered for execution, but immediately sent for him back; upon which all about him applauding his clemency, he commanded him to be slain in his own presence, saying, "I have a mind to feed my eyes.” Two sons who interceded for their father, he ordered to be executed with him. A Roman knight, upon his being dragged away for execution, and crying out to him, “You are my heir,” he desired to produce his will; and finding that he had made his freedman joint heir with him, he commanded that both he and the freedman should have their throats cut.