This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
In the year of the consulship of Caius Pompeius and Quintus Veranius, the marriage arranged between Claudius and Agrippina was confirmed both by popular rumour and by their own illicit love. Still, they did not yet dare to celebrate the nuptials in due form, for there was no precedent for the introduction of a niece into an uncle's house. It was positively incest, and if disregarded, it would, people feared, issue in calamity to the State. These scruples ceased not till Vitellius undertook the management of the matter in his own way. He asked the emperor whether he would yield to the recommendations of the people and to the authority of the Senate. When Claudius replied that he was one among the citizens and could not resist their unanimous voice, Vitellius requested him to wait in the palace, while he himself went to the Senate. Protesting that the supreme interest of the commonwealth was at stake, he begged to be allowed to speak first, and then began to urge that the very burdensome labours of the emperor in a world-wide administration, required assistance, so that free from domestic cares, he might consult the public welfare. How again could there be a more virtuous relief for the mind of an imperial censor than the taking of a wife to share his prosperity and his troubles, in whom he might intrust his inmost thoughts and the care of his young children, unused as he was to luxury and pleasure, and wont from his earliest youth to obey the laws.