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He possessed himself of the imperial power with more favour and authority than he administered it, although he gave many proofs of his being an excellent prince: but these were not so grateful to the people, as his misconduct was offensive. He was governed by three favourites, who, because they lived in the palace, and were constantly about him, obtained the name of his pedagogues. These were Titus Vinius who had been his lieutenant in Spain, a man of insatiable avarice; Cornelius Laco, who, from an assessor to the prince, was advanced to be prefect of the pretorian guards, a person of intolerable arrogance, as well as indolence; and his freedman Icelus, dignified a little before with the privilege of wearing the gold ring, and the use of the cognomen Martianus, who became a candidate for the highest honour within the reach of any person of the equestrian order. 1 He resigned himself so implicitly into the power of those three favourites, who governed in every thing according to the capricious impulse of their vices and tempers, and his authority was so much abused by them, that the tenor of his conduct was not very consistent with itself. At one time, he was more rigorous and frugal, at another, more lavish and negligent, than became a prince who had been chosen by the people, and was so far advanced in years. He condemned some men of the first rank in the senatorian and equestrian orders, upon a very slight suspicion, and without trial. He rarely granted the freedom of the city to any one; and the privilege belonging to such as had three children, only one or two; and that with great difficulty, and only for a limited time. When the judges petitioned to have a sixth decury added to their number, he not only denied them, but abolished the vacation which had been granted to them by Claudius for the winter, and the beginning of the year.
1 The command of the pretoran guards.
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