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tied to a tree. A few steps farther brought for yachts; but it has its own advan-
into view the engaged couple, one kneeling tages.
at the side of a puddle of water winding a As a place where a man who has to work
five-inch tin boat, the other putting the in New York may live the year round,
finishing pats to a miniature mud dock where there is the highest altitude for the
with a tin shovel !

least number of miles from town, as a Tuxedo is not a rowdy community, or a place where little children may be algay one in the sense of concerts and balls lowed to run at large in safety-in other and elaborate parties. As a summer re- words, as a beautiful place of permanent sort, it lacks the ocean beach of New Jer- homes, Tuxedo is as nearly ideal as can be sey and Long Island, and it has no harbor found.

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THE WOMEN OF THE CÆSARS

SIXTH PAPER: AGRIPPINA, THE MOTHER OF NERO

BY GUGLIELMO FERRERO

Author of “The Greatness and Decline of Rome," etc.

IT

T is possible, as Tacitus says, that mar- would end the scandals, suits, and atro

riage with Claudius was the height of cious personal and family quarrels which Agrippina's ambition, but it is also possi- were dividing Rome. Agrippina was the ble that it was an act of supreme self- daughter of Germanicus, the granddaughter sacrifice on the part of a woman who had of Drusus, and had in her veins the blood been educated in the traditions of the Ro- of the Claudii, with all their pride, their man aristocracy, and who therefore con- energy, their puritanical, conservative, and sidered herself merely a means to the po- aristocratic spirit, and the moment she aplitical advancement of her relatives and peared, all hopes were centered in her. her children.

Although she was a sort of feminine TiI am rather inclined to accept this sec- berius, and in the purity of her life reond explanation. When she married Clau- sembled her mother and her great-granddius, Agrippina not only married an uncle mother Livia, Tacitus nevertheless maligns who was much older than herself, and her for her relationships with Pallas and who must necessarily prove a rather diffi- Seneca. The fact that Messalina, even cult and disagreeable husband, but she with her implacable hatred, failed to bring bound up her fate with that of a weak about her downfall under the lex de adulemperor whose life was continually threat- teriis, proves the unreliability of these ened by plots and revolts, and whose hesi- statements, and Tacitus proves it himself tations and terrors plainly portended that when he says that she suffered no deparhe would one day end by precipitating the ture from chastity unless it helped her imperial authority and government into power (Nihil domi impudicum nisi domisome bizarre and terrible catastrophe. For nationi expediret). This means that Agrippina it meant that she was blindly Agrippina was a lady of irreproachable staking her life and her honor, and that life; for if there is one thing which stands she would lose them both should she fail out clearly in the history of this remarkato compensate for the innumerable defi- ble woman, it is that both her rise and her ciencies of her strange husband through fall depended upon causes of such a nature her own intelligence and strength of will. that not even her womanly charms could Every one will recognize how difficult was have increased her power or retarded her the task which she had undertaken.

ruin. All hearts were therefore filled with But at the beginning fortune favored hope when they saw this respectable, acAgrippina as she boldly took up the work tive, and energetic woman take her place that lay before her. The wild pranks of at the side of Claudius the weakling, for Caligula and the scandals of Messalina she brought back the memory of the most had aroused an immeasurable disgust in venerated personages of the family of AuRome and Italy. Every one was out of gustus. patience. The senate as well as the people The new empress, encouraged by this were demanding a stronger, more coher- show of favor, applied herself with all the ent, and respectable government, which strength of her impassioned nature to the task of again making operative in the state ium regno pararetur (She sought to enrich those traditional ideas of the nobility in the family under the pretext of providing which Livia had educated first Tiberius for the needs of the empire). What Taciand Drusus, then Germanicus, and then tus calls a “pretext” was, on the contrary, Agrippina herself. In this descendant of the ancient aristocratic conception of hers the spirit of the great-grandmother wealth, which in the eyes of the great finally reappeared, for it had been eclipsed families was destined to be a means of by the fatal and terrible struggle between government and an instrument of power: Tiberius and Agrippina, by the madness the family possessed it in order to use it of Caligula, and the comic scandals of the for the benefit of the state. first part of the reign of Claudius. All In short, Agrippina attempted to revive this served to bring back into the state a the aristocratic traditions of government little of that authoritative vigor which the which had inspired the policies of Augusnobility in the time of its splendor had tus and Tiberius. Not only did she atconsidered the highest ideal of government. tempt to do this, but, strange as it may Tacitus says of her rule that it was as seem, she succeeded almost without a rigid as if a man's (adductum et quasi struggle. The government of Agrippina virile). This signifies that under the in- was from the first a great success. From fluence of Agrippina the laxity and dis- the moment when she became empress order of the first years of Claudius's reign there is discernible in the entire adminisgave place to a certain order and disci- tration, a greater firmness and consistency pline. Severity there was, and more often of policy. Claudius no longer seems, as haughtiness (palam severitas ac saepius formerly, to be at the mercy of his freedsuperbia). The freedmen who had for- men and the fleeting impulses of the momerly been so powerful and aggressive, ment, and even the dark shadows of the now stepped aside, which is an evident time are lighted up for some years. A sign that their petulance had now found a certain concord and tranquillity returned check in the energy of Agrippina. The to the imperial house, to the aristocracy, state finances and the fortune of the im- to the senate, and to the state. Although perial house were reorganized, for Agrip- Tacitus accuses Agrippina of having made pina, like_Livia and like all the ladies of Claudius commit all sorts of cruelties, it the great Roman nobility, was an excellent is certain that trials, scandals, and suicide administrator, frugal, and ever watchful became much less frequent under her rule. of her slaves and freedmen, and careful of During the six years that Claudius lived all items of income and expense. The after his marriage with Agrippina, scandaRoman aristocracy, like all other aristoc- lous tragedies became so rare that Tacitus, racies, hated the parvenus, the men of sud- being deprived of his favorite materials, den riches, traffickers who had too quickly set down the story of these six years in become wealthy, and all persons whose a single book. In other words, Agriponly aim was to amass money. We know pina encountered virtually no opposition, that Agrippina sought to prevent as far as while Tiberius and even Augustus, when possible the malversations of public funds they wished to govern according to the by which the powerful freedmen of Clau- traditions of the ancient nobility, had to dius had been enriching themselves. After combat the party of the new aristocracy, she became empress we hear accounts of with its modern and Oriental tendencies. numerous suits instituted against person- This party no longer seemed to exist when ages who had been guilty of wasting pub- Agrippina urged Claudius to continue lic treasure, while under Messalina no resolutely in the policy of his ancestors, such cases were brought forward. We for one party only, that of the old nobility, know, furthermore, that she reëstablished seemed with Agrippina to control the state. the fortune of the imperial family, which This must have been the result partly of in all probability had been seriously com- the disgust for the scandals of the previous promised by the reckless expenditures of decade, which had made every one realize Messalina. This is what Tacitus refers the need of restoring more serious discito in one of his sentences, which, as usual, pline in the government, and partly of the is colored by his malignity: Cupido auri exhaustion which had come upon both parimmensa obtentum habebat quasi subsid- ties as the result of so many struggles, reprisals, suits, and scandals. The force of first husband, and at the time of her marthe opposition in the two factions gradu- riage with Claudius this youth was about ally diminished. A greater gentleness in- eleven years old. It is in connection with duced all to accept the direction of the her plans for this son that Tacitus brings government without resistance, and the his most serious charges against Agrippina. authority of the emperor and his counsel- According to his story, from the first day ors acquired greater importance in propor- of her marriage Agrippina attempted to tion as the strength of the opposition in make of her son, the future Nero, the

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the aristocracy and the senate became successor of Claudius, thereby excluding gradually weaker.

Britannicus, the son of Messalina, from In any case, the empire was no longer the throne. To obtain this end, she spared, to have forced upon it the ridiculous and so he says, neither intrigues, fraud, nor descandalous spectacle of such weaknesses ceit; she had Seneca recalled from exile and incongruities as had seriously compro- and appointed tutor of her child. She remised the prestige of the highest authority moved from office the two commanders of in the first period of the reign of Claudius. the pretorian guard, who were creatures But Agrippina was not content with of Messalina, and in their stead she had merely making provision as best she could elected one of her own, a certain Afranius for the present; she also looked forward Burrhus. She laid pitfalls for Britannicus to the future. She had had a son by her and surrounded him with spies, and in the year 50, by dint of much intrigue and to adopt her son does not mean, therefore, many caresses, she finally succeeded in that she wished to set Britannicus aside having Claudius adopt her son. But this and give the advantage to Nero. It merely whole story is merely a complicated and proves that she did not wish the family of fantastic romance, embroidered about a Augustus to lose the supreme power, and truth which in itself is comparatively sim- for this reason she intended to prepare not ple. Tacitus himself tells us that Agrip- only one successor, but two possible sucpina was a most exacting mother; that is cessors, to Claudius, just as Augustus had a mother of the older Roman type, in his for a long time trained both Drusus and own words, trux et minax. She did not Tiberius. In order to understand how follow the gentle methods of the newer wise and reasonable the conduct of Agripeducation, which

pina really was, we were gradually be

must also rememing introduced into

ber that Nero was the great fami

four years older lies, and she had

than Britannicus, brought up her son

and that, therefore, in the ancient man

in the year 50, ner with the great

when

Nero was est simplicity. It

adopted, Britanniis well to keep in

cus was a mere lad mind, furthermore,

of nine. As Clauthat neither Bri

dius was already tannicus nor Nero

sixty, it

it would had any right to

have been most imthe throne of Clau

prudent to desigdius. The heredi

nate a nine-yeartary principle did

old lad as his only not yet exist in

possible successor, the imperial gov

when Nero, who ernment: the sen

was four years his ate was free to

senior, would have choose whomsoever

been better preit wished. To be

pared than Britansure, up to that

“nicus to take up time the choice had

the reign. There always fallen upon

is a further proof a member of the From the bust in the Vatican Museum

that Agrippina had Augustan family;

no thought of debut it had only THE EMPEROR CLAUDIUS

stroying the race of been because it was

Claudius and Meseasier to find there persons who were salina, for before his adoption she had marknown and respected, who commanded ried Nero to Octavia, the daughter of the the admiration of the soldiers in distant imperial pair. Octavia was a woman posregions, and who had received a certain sessed of all the virtues which the ancient preparation for the diverse and often diffi- Roman nobility had cherished. She was cult duties of their office. And it was chaste, modest, patient, gentle, and unprecisely for this reason that Augustus and selfish, and she would be able to assist in Tiberius had always sought to prepare strengthening the power of her house. more than one youth for the highest office, Agrippina had therefore, in the ancient both in order that the senate might have a manner, affianced the young pair at an certain freedom of choice, and also that early age, and hoped that she might make there might be some one in reserve, in case a couple which would serve as an example one of these young men should disappoint to the families of the aristocracy. the hopes of the empire or should die pre- In short, Agrippina, far from seeking maturely, as so many others had died. to weaken the imperial house by destroyThat she should have persuaded Claudius ing the descendants of Messalina, was at

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