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[201] This was the end of Caius, after he had reigned four years, within four months. He was, even before he came to be emperor, ill-natured, and one that had arrived at the utmost pitch of wickedness; a slave to his pleasures, and a lover of calumny; greatly affected by every terrible accident, and on that account of a very murderous disposition where he durst show it. He enjoyed his exorbitant power to this only purpose, to injure those who least deserved it, with unreasonable insolene and got his wealth by murder and injustice. He labored to appear above regarding either what was divine or agreeable to the laws, but was a slave to the commendations of the populace; and whatsoever the laws determined to be shameful, and punished, that he esteemed more honorable than what was virtuous. He was unmindful of his friends, how intimate soever, and though they were persons of the highest character; and if he was once angry at any of them, he would inflict punishment upon them on the smallest occasions, and esteemed every man that endeavored to lead a virtuous life his enemy. And whatsoever he commanded, he would not admit of any contradiction to his inclinations; whence it was that he had criminal conversation with his own sister; 1 from which occasion chiefly it was also that a bitter hatred first sprang up against him among the citizens, that sort of incest not having been known of a long time; and so this provoked men to distrust him, and to hate him that was guilty of it. And for any great or royal work that he ever did, which might be for the present and for future ages, nobody can name any such, but only the haven that he made about Rhegium and Sicily, for the reception of the ships that brought corn from Egypt; which was indeed a work without dispute very great in itself, and of very great advantage to the navigation. Yet was not this work brought to perfection by him, but was the one half of it left imperfect, by reason of his want of application to it; the cause of which was this, that he employed his studies about useless matters, and that by spending his money upon such pleasures as concerned no one's benefit but his own, he could not exert his liberality in things that were undeniably of great consequence. Otherwise he was an excellent orator, and thoroughly acquainted with the Greek tongue, as well as with his own country or Roman language. He was also able, off-hand and readily, to give answers to compositions made by others, of considerable length and accuracy. He was also more skillful in persuading others to very great things than any one else, and this from a natural affability of temper, which had been improved by much exercise and pains-taking; for as he was the grandson 2 of the brother of Tiberius, whose successor he was, this was a strong inducement to his acquiring of learning, because Tiberius aspired after the highest pitch of that sort of reputation; and Caius aspired after the like glory for eloquence, being induced thereto by the letters of his kinsman and his emperor. He was also among the first rank of his own citizens. But the advantages he received from his learning did not countervail the mischief he brought upon himself in the exercise of his authority; so difficult it is for those to obtain the virtue that is necessary for a wise man, who have the absolute power to do what they please without control. At the first he got himself such friends as were in all respects the most worthy, and was greatly beloved by them, while he imitated their zealous application to the learning and to the glorious actions of the best men; but when he became insolent towards them, they laid aside the kindness they had for him, and began to hate him; from which hatred came that plot which they raised against him, and wherein he perished.


1 Spanheim here notes from Suetonius, that the name of Caius's sister with whom he was guilty of incest, was Drusilla and that Suetonius adds, he was guilty of the same crime with all his sisters also. He notes further, that Suetonius omits the mention of the haven for ships, which our author esteems the only public work for the good of the present and future ages which Caius left behind him, though in an imperfect condition.

2 This Caius was the son of that excellent person Germanicus, who was the son of Drusus, the brother of Tiberius the emperor.


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