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Infinite is the number of examples of affection which have been known in all parts of the world; but one in particular occurred at Rome, to which no other can possibly be compared. A woman of quite the lower class, and whose name has consequently not come down to us, having lately given birth to a child, obtained permission to visit her mother,1 who was confined in prison; but was always carefully searched by the gaoler before being admitted, to prevent her from intro- ducing any food. At last, however, she was detected nourishing her mother with the milk of her breast; upon which, in consideration of the marvellous affection of the daughter, the mother was pardoned, and they were both maintained for the rest of their days at the public charge; the spot, too, was consecrated to Piety, a temple to that goddess being built on the site of the prison, in the consulship2 of C. Quintius and M. Acilius, where the theatre of Marcellus34 now stands.

The father of the Gracchi, on finding [two] serpents in his house, consulted the soothsayers, and received an answer to the effect, that he would survive if the serpent of the other sex was put to death.—"No," said he, "rather kill the serpent of my own sex, for Cornelia is still young, and may yet bear children."5 Thus did he shew himself ready, at the same moment, to spare his wife and to benefit the state; and shortly after, his wish was accomplished. M. Lepidus died of regret for his wife, Apuleia, after having been divorced from her.6 P. Rupilius,7 who was at the time affected by a slight disease, instantly expired, upon news being brought to him that his brother had failed in obtaining the consulship. P. Catienus Plotinus was so much attached to his patron, that on finding himself named heir to all his property, he threw himself on the funeral pile.

1 Solinus and Festus differ somewhat from Pliny, in stating that it was her father whose life was thus saved by the affectionate daughter. Valerius Maximus, who tells the story, says that the family was "ingenui sanguinis," meaning "of genteel origin." Such families were, however, sometimes reduced, even among the Romans, to a level with the plebeian classes.

2 A.U.C. 604.

3 This theatre is again mentioned in B. xxxvi. c. 12. It was built of stone, and erected by Augustus in honour of his nephew Marcellus.

4 This is related by Valerius Maximus, B. v. c. 8, somewhat more in detail, and with a degree of animation, which is not frequently to be met with in that author.—B.

5 Cicero, De Divin. B. i. c. 18, Val. Maximus, B. iv. c. 6, and Plutarch, relate this more circumstantially. The serpents were of different sexes; if the male serpent was killed, his own death was to be the consequence; if the female, that of his wife, Cornelia.—B.

6 Pliny gives an account of the circumstances which attended the death of Lepidus, in the 54th Chapter. He was the father of the triumvir.—B.

7 Or Rutilius, consul B.C. 132, the year after the death of Tiberius Gracchus, whose adherents he prosecuted with the greatest cruelty. He also obtained a triumph for bringing to a conclusion the Servile war. He was an intimate friend of the younger Scipio Africanus, who obtained the consulship for him, but failed in gaining that honour for his brother Lucius. About the same period, he was condemned, in the tribuneship of Caius Gracchus, for his illegal acts in the prosecution of the adherents of Tiberius Gracchus. It has been suggested that this indignity may have had a greater share than the ill success of his brother in causing his death.

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