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The day before his death, he ordered some dates, 1 served up at the table, to be kept till the next day, adding, "If I have the luck to use them." And turning to those who were nearest him, he said, "To-morrow the moon in Aquarius will be bloody instead of watery, and an event will happen, which will be much talked of all the world over." About midnight, he was so terrified that he leaped out of bed. That morning he tried and passed sentence on a soothsayer sent from Germany, who being consulted about the lightning that had lately happened, predicted from it a change of government. The blood running down his face as he scratched an ulcerous tumour on his forehead, he said, " Would this were all that is to befall me!" Then, upon his asking the time of the day, instead of five o'clock. which was the hour he dreaded, they purposely told him it was six. Overjoyed at this information, as if all danger were now passed, and hastening to the bath, Parthenius, his chamberlain, stopped him, by saying that there was a person come to wait upon him about a matter of great importance, which would admit of no delay. Upon this, ordering all persons to withdraw, he retired into his chamber, and was there slain.
1 Columella (R. R x.i. 2.) enumerates dates among the foreign fruits cultivated in Italy, cherries, dates, apricots, and almonds; and Pliny, xv. 14, informs us that Sextus Papinius was the first who introduced the date tree, having brought it from Africa, in the latter days of Augustus.
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