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Mnester alone occasioned a pause. Rending off his clothes, he insisted on Claudius looking at the scars of his stripes and remembering his words when he surrendered himself, without reserve, to Messalina's bidding. The guilt of others had been the result of presents or of large promises; his, of necessity. He must have been the first victim had Silius obtained empire.

Cæsar was touched by his appeal and inclined to mercy, but his freedmen prevailed on him not to let any indulgence be shown to a player when so many illustrious citizens had fallen. "It mattered not whether he had sinned so greatly from choice or compulsion." Even the defence of Traulus Montanus, a Roman knight, was not admitted. A young man of pure life, yet of singular beauty, he had been summoned and dismissed within the space of one night by Messalina, who was equally capricious in her passions and dislikes. In the cases of Suilius Cæsoninus and Plautius Lateranus, the extreme penalty was remitted. The latter was saved by the distinguished services of his uncle; the former by his very vices, having amid that abominable throng submitted to the worst degradation.

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