Messalina: Section 3


Latin

igitur domus principis inhorruit, maximeque ei qui potentiam habebant timuerunt ne res verterentur: spem tamen habebant, si Claudio de atrocitate sceleris persuasissent, Messalinam posse opprimi sine quaestione damnatam; sed periculum esse ne ille defensionem audiret, neve clausae aures etiam confitenti non essent. Narcissus, occasiones quaerens, cum Caesar diu apud Ostiam moraretur, duas eius paelices largitione et promissis perpulit delationem subire. exim Calpurnia (id alteri paelici nomen), ubi datum est secretum, ad genua Caesaris provoluta nupsisse Messalinam Silio exclamat; altera paelice haec confirmante, Calpurnia cieri Narcissum postulat. qui ‘discidiumne tuum’ inquit ‘novisti? nam matrimonium Silii vidit populus et senatus et milites; ac nisi celeriter agis, tenet urbem maritus.’

English

Therefore the household of the emperor shuddered, and most of all those who had power feared that the state might be overthrown. However they had hope that, if they persuaded Claudius of the enormity of the crime, Messalina might be able to be crushed by being condemned without trial. But they thought that there was a danger that he might listen to her defence, and that his ears might not be closed to Messalina even if she confessed (lit. to her confessing). Narcissus, looking for opportunities, while Claudius delayed for a long time at Ostia, prevailed upon two of his courtesans with bribery and promises to undertake the accusation. Then Calpurnia (that was the name of one courtesan), when a private interview was given, having fallen down at the knees of Claudius, exclaimed that Messalina had married Silius. With the other courtesan confirming these things, Calpurnia demanded that Narcissus be summoned. He said, ‘Do you know about your divorce? For the people and the senate and the soldiers have seen Silius’ marriage; and if you do not act quickly, her husband holds the city.’

Commentary

Test

igitur domus principis inhorruit, maximeque ei qui potentiam habebant timuerunt ne res verterentur: spem tamen habebant, si Claudio de atrocitate sceleris persuasissent, Messalinam posse opprimi sine quaestione damnatam; sed periculum esse ne ille defensionem audiret, neve clausae aures etiam confitenti non essent. Narcissus, occasiones quaerens, cum Caesar diu apud Ostiam moraretur, duas eius paelices largitione et promissis perpulit delationem subire. exim Calpurnia (id alteri paelici nomen), ubi datum est secretum, ad genua Caesaris provoluta nupsisse Messalinam Silio exclamat; altera paelice haec confirmante, Calpurnia cieri Narcissum postulat. qui ‘discidiumne tuum’ inquit ‘novisti? nam matrimonium Silii vidit populus et senatus et milites; ac nisi celeriter agis, tenet urbem maritus.’