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With the close of the year came disquieting rumours that the Parthians had again broken their bounds and were ravaging Armenia, from which they had driven Rhadamistus, who, having often possessed himself of the kingdom and as often been thrust out of it, had now relinquished hostilities. Rome with its love of talking began to ask how a prince of scarce seventeen was to encounter and avert this tremendous peril, how they could fall back on one who was ruled by a woman; or whether battles and sieges and the other operations of war could be directed by tutors. "Some, on the contrary, argued that this was better than it would have been, had Claudius in his feeble and spiritless old age, when he would certainly have yielded to the bidding of slaves, been summoned to the hardships of a campaign. Burrus, at least, and Seneca were known to be men of very varied experience, and, as for the emperor himself, how far was he really short of mature age, when Cneius Pompeius and Cæsar Octavianus, in their eighteenth and nineteenth years respectively, bore the brunt of civil wars? The highest rank chiefly worked through its prestige and its counsels more than by the sword and hand. The emperor would give a plain proof whether he was advised by good or bad friends by putting aside all jealousy and selecting some eminent general, rather than by promoting out of favouritism, a rich man backed up by interest."

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