Puslapio vaizdai

aristocracy declined, and in proportion as the middle classes acquired influence in the state and succeeded in imposing upon it their ideas and sentiments. The passage in Suetonius proves to us that he no longer understood this matrimonial_custom, and it is doubtful whether even Tacitus thoroughly understood it. Nor is it improbable that it should have seemed strange even to many of the contemporaries of Claudius. We could therefore explain how, not really understanding what had happened, the historians of the following century should have believed that Messalina had married Silius while she was still the wife of Claudius.

In short, Claudius had been persuaded to divorce Messalina and to marry her to Silius. The passage from Suetonius, if carefully interpreted, clearly tells us this. What means were employed to persuade Claudius to consent to this new marriage we do not know. Suetonius refers to this, but he is not clear. In any case, this point is less important than that other question: Why was Messa

rius under the law of high treason, he had committed suicide. His mother, Sosia Galla, had been condemned to exile on account of her devotion to Agrippina. Starting out with these considerations, and examining acutely the accounts of all the ancient historians, Silvagni concluded that behind this marriage there lay a conspiracy to ruin Claudius and to put Caius Silius in his place. Messalina must sooner or later have felt that the situation was an impossible one, that Claudius was not a sufficiently strong or energetic emperor to

be able to impose the disorganized government of himself and his freedmen upon the empire, and that any day he might fall a prey to a plot or an assassination. What would happen, she must have asked herself, if Claudius, like Caligula, should some day be despatched by a conspiracy? The same fate would doubtless be waiting for her: for having killed him, the conspirators would certainly murder her also. Consequently she took up with the idea of ruining the emperor herself in order to contribute to the elevation of his successor, and thus to preserve at his side the position which she had occupied in the court of Claudius. But once Claudius had been slain, there would be no other member of the family of Augustus old enough to govern. She therefore decided to choose him in a family famous for its devotion to Germanicus and the more popular branch of the house, thus hoping the more easily to win over the legions and the pretorians to the cause of the new emperor. Since the descendants of Drusus were dead, what other option remained to her than to choose a successor in the families of the aristocracy who had shown for them the greatest devotion and love?


From a photograph by Anderson of the bust in the Museo Nazionale


lina, after seven years of empire, willing to divorce Claudius and marry Silius? The problem is not an easy one, but after long examination I have decided to accept with slight modification the explanation given by Umberto Silvagni in his beautiful work, "The Empire and the Women of the Cæsars," a book which contains many original ideas and much acute observation. Silvagni, who is an excellent student of Roman history, has well brought out how Silius belonged to a family of the aristocracy famous for its devotion to the party of Germanicus and Agrippina. His father, who had been a great friend of Germanicus, had been one of the victims of Sejanus, and accused in the time of Tibe

Thus, for the first time, a woman was

placed at the head of a really vast political conspiracy destined to wrest the supreme power from the family of Augustus; and this woman proved her sagacity by knowing how to organize this great plot so well and so opportunely that the most intelligent and influential among the freedmen of Claudius debated for a long time whether they would join her or throw in their lot with the emperor. So doubtful seemed the issue of this struggle between the weak husband and the energetic, audacious, and unscrupulous wife! They allowed Messalina and Silius to enlist friends and partizans in every part of Roman society, to come to an understanding with the prefect of the guards, to obtain the divorce from Claudius, even to celebrate their marriage, without opening the eyes of the emperor. Claudius would probably have been destroyed if at the last moment Narcissus had not decided to rush to the emperor, who was at Ostia, and, by terrifying him in some unspeakable way, had not induced him to stamp out the conspiracy with a bold and unexpected stroke. There followed one of those periods of judicial murder which for more than thirty years had been costing much Roman blood, and in this slaughter Messalina, too, was overthrown.

After the discovery of the conspiracy, Claudius made a harangue to the soldiers, in which he told them that as he had not been very successful in his marriages he did not intend to take another wife. The proposal was wise, but difficult of execution, for there were many reasons why the emperor needed to have a woman at his side. We very soon find Claudius consulting his freedmen on the choice of a new wife. There was much discussion

and uncertainty, but the choice finally fell upon Agrippina. That choice was significant. Agrippina was the niece of Claudius, and marriages between uncle and niece, if not exactly prohibited, were looked upon by the Romans with a profound revulsion of feeling. Claudius and his freedmen could not have decided to face this repugnance except for serious and important reasons. Among these the most serious was probably that after the experience with Messalina, it seemed best not to go outside the family. An empress belonging to the family would not be so likely to plot against the descendants of Augustus as had been this strange woman, who belonged to one of those aristocratic families who deeply hated the imperial house. Agrippina, furthermore, was the daughter of Germanicus. This was a powerful recommendation with the people, the pretorian cohorts, and the legions. In addition, she was intelligent, cultivated, simple, and economical; she had grown up in the midst of political affairs, she knew how the empire was governed, and up to this point she had lived a life above reproach. She seemed to be the woman above all others destined to make the people forget Messalina and to reestablish among the masses respect for the family of Augustus, now seriously compromised by many scandals and dissensions. Furthermore, she did not seem to suffer too much by comparison with Livia.

Claudius asked the senate to authorize marriages between uncles and nieces, as he did not dare to assume the responsibility of going counter to public sentiment. And thus the daughter of Germanicus and the sister of Caligula became

an empress.

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HE little Greenland woman is bid as

belong, scrambling with an amazing con

The Title Greenland Toe as the little fidence over the hills and among the rocks,

Greenland man. Even if she is the first child, she is looked at with as kindly eyes as if she were a boy. If she is the fifth, sixth, or perhaps the seventh in a row of girls, she may be less gladly received. I have known a father to clothe his fifth or sixth daughter as a boy, and to treat her in every way as if she were one. When later a brother was born, the girl received the female rights again.

The first year of her life the little one hangs at her mother's breast, or takes her daily rest in the amaut, an enormous sack, with a wide opening through which the mother or servant puts her head, letting the sack hang on her shoulders. In this the child is put, and stands leaning toward its bearer's back, until, in sleeping, it slides down in the sack.

The mother and the maid (even the poorest woman has a maid for her child) are both its complete slaves.

The child suckles until the next little one comes, even if three or more years lie between. At this age she has long grown away from the amaut and the maid, and has put on the national dress. Already she begins to walk about at her own risk. It is astonishing to see such tots running about far from the house to which they

and finding their way home again with a never-failing local sense. It must always be remembered that a town in Greenland in no way resembles a town, even of the least dimensions, in civilized countries. The houses lie helter-skelter among the rocks along the sea, and between them run narrow paths, clearly visible only in winter, when they are marked out by dirty footsteps on the white snow. Only twice in more than twenty-five years have I known of children in real danger.

At the age of five the seriousness of life begins with school; and, although, specially in places where there is no Danish priest, this is a very small thing, nevertheless, it is a limiting of the treasured independence and a restraint from which most of the children would prefer to escape.

Besides going to school, there are other duties, especially if there are younger sisters or brothers. To relieve the mother and the maid, the amaut is put on the little girl, the baby is placed in it, and away the little bearer totters with her heavy load, reeling like a boat in a high sea, with the corners of the amaut brushing against her heels.

At school the little girl receives only instruction from books, and this is very lim1 The writer of this article, as the wife of the Danish Governor of Greenland, is qualified by experience to give authoritative information on this subject.

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