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His malady proceeded from diarrhoea; notwithstanding which, he went round the coast of Campania, and the adjacent islands, and spent four days in that of Capri; where he gave himself up entirely to repose and relaxation. Happening to sail by the bay of Puteoli, the passengers and mariners aboard a ship of Alexandria, 1 just then arrived, clad all in white, with chaplets upon their heads, and offering incense, loaded him with praises and joyful acclamations, crying out, " By you we live, by you we sail securely, by you enjoy our liberty and our fortunes." At which being greatly pleased, he distributed to each of those who attended him, forty gold pieces, requiring from them an assurance on oath, not to employ the sum given them in any other way, than the purchase of Alexandrian merchandize. And during several days afterwards, he distributed Togae 2 and Pallia, among other gifts, on condition that the Romans should use the Greek, and the Greeks the Roman dress and language. He likewise constantly attended to see the boys perform their exercises, according to an ancient custom still continued at Capri. He gave them likewise an entertainment in his presence, and not only permitted, but required from them the utmost freedom in jesting, and scrambling for fruit, victuals, and other things which he threw amongst them. In a word, he indulged himself in all the ways of amusement he could contrive. He called an island near Capri, Ἀπραγόπολις, "The City of the Do-littles," from the indolent life which several of his party led there. A favourite of his, one Masgabas,3 he used to call κτιστής, as if he had been the planter of the island. And observing from his room a great company of people with torches, assembled at the tomb of this Masgabas, who died the year before, he uttered very distinctly this verse, which he made extempore: “κτιστοῦ δὲ τύμβον εἰχορῶ πυρούμενον
” “Blazing with lights I see the founder's tomb.
” Then turning to Thrasyllus, a companion of Tiberius, who reclined on the other side of the table, he asked him, who knew nothing about the matter, what poet he thought was the author of that verse; and on his hesitating to reply, he added another: “ὁρᾷς φάεσσι Μασγάβαν τιμώμενον
” “Honor'd with torches, Masgabas you see;
” and put the same question to him concerning that likewise. The latter replying, that, whoever might be the author, they were excellent verses,4 he set up a great laugh, and fell into an extraordinary vein of jesting upon it. Soon afterwards, passing over to Naples, although at that time greatly disordered in his bowels by the frequent returns of his disease, he sat out the exhibition of the gymnastic games which were performed in his honour every five years, and proceeded with Tiberius to the place intended. But on his return, his disorder increasing, he stopped at Nola, sent for Tiberius back again, and had a long discourse with him in private; after which, he gave no further attention to business of any importance.
1 "Puteoli"-" a ship of Alexandria." Words which bring to our recollection a passage in the voyage of St. Paul, Acts xxvili. 11-13. Alexandria was at that time the seat of an extensive commerce. and not only exported to Rome and other cities of Italy, vast quantities of corn and other products of Egypt, but was the mart for spices and other commodities, the fruits of the traffic with the east.
2 The Toga has been already described in a note to c. lxxi. The Pallium was a cloak, generally worn by the Greeks, both men and women, freemen and slaves, but particularly by philosophers.
3 Masgabas seems, by his name, to have been of African origin.
4 A courtly answer from the Professor of Science, in which character he attended Tiberius. We shall hear more of him in the reign of that emperor.
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