Messalina: Section 5


Latin

mirum inter haec silentium Claudii: omnia liberto oboediebat; qui contionem militum in castris paravit. apud eos praemonente Narcisso princeps pauca verba fecit: continuus dehinc clamor militum nomina reorum et poenas flagitantium. ductus Silius ad tribunal non defensionem, non moras temptavit, sed precatus est ut mors acceleraretur. interim Messalina Lucullianis in hortis prolatare vitam, componere preces, nonnulla spe et ira: tantam superbiam etiam tum gerebat. ac nisi caedem eius Narcissus properavisset, vertisset pernicies in accusatorem. nam Claudius domum regressus, ubi cena vinoque incaluit, imperavit ut femina misera (hoc enim verbo Claudium usum esse ferunt) ad causam dicendam postridie adesset. quod ubi Narcissus audivit et languescere iram redire amorem vidit, timebat, si moraretur, propinquam noctem et uxorii cubiculi memoriam; igitur prorumpit denuntiatque centurionibus et tribuno, qui aderat, exsequi caedem: ita imperatorem iubere.

English

Amidst all of this, Claudius’ silence was remarkable: he obeyed his freedman in everything; it was his freedman who arranged for an assembly of the troops in their headquarters. In their presence Narcissus explained the situation, then the emperor added a few words. Following that there was immediate uproar among the soldiers, demanding the names of the guilty and their punishment. Silius, brought onto the platform, attempted no defence, no delay. Instead he prayed that his death might be quick. Meanwhile Messalina prolonged her life in the Gardens of Lucullus and composing prayers, with some hope and anger: such great arrogance even then was she displaying. And if Narcissus had not speeded up her execution, she would have turned the ruin on her accuser. For Claudius, having returned home, when he had relaxed with dinner and wine, ordered that the ‘poor woman’ (for they say Claudius used this phrase) should be present the next day to plead her case. When Narcissus heard this and saw that Claudius’ anger was weakening and his love returning, he feared, if he delayed, the approaching night and the memory of the marriage-bed. Therefore he rushes out and orders the centurions and a tribune who was present to carry out the execution: thus the emperor orders (i.e. saying it was an order from the emperor).

Commentary

Test

mirum inter haec silentium Claudii: omnia liberto oboediebat; qui contionem militum in castris paravit. apud eos praemonente Narcisso princeps pauca verba fecit: continuus dehinc clamor militum nomina reorum et poenas flagitantium. ductus Silius ad tribunal non defensionem, non moras temptavit, sed precatus est ut mors acceleraretur. interim Messalina Lucullianis in hortis prolatare vitam, componere preces, nonnulla spe et ira: tantam superbiam etiam tum gerebat. ac nisi caedem eius Narcissus properavisset, vertisset pernicies in accusatorem. nam Claudius domum regressus, ubi cena vinoque incaluit, imperavit ut femina misera (hoc enim verbo Claudium usum esse ferunt) ad causam dicendam postridie adesset. quod ubi Narcissus audivit et languescere iram redire amorem vidit, timebat, si moraretur, propinquam noctem et uxorii cubiculi memoriam; igitur prorumpit denuntiatque centurionibus et tribuno, qui aderat, exsequi caedem: ita imperatorem iubere.