and never did more than once to break Vulcan's
Whom seizing by the foot he cast from the threshold of the sky,'
and once he fell in a rage with his wife and
strung her up: did he do any killing? You killed Messalina, whose great-uncle I was
no less than yours. 'I don't know,' did you say? Curse you! that is just it: not to
know was worse than to kill. Caligula he went on persecuting even when he was dead.
Caligula murdered his father-in-law, Claudius his son-in-law to boot. Caligula would
not have Crassus' son called Great; Claudius gave him his name back, and took away
his head. In one family he destroyed Crassus, Magnus, Scribonia, the Tristionias,
Assario, noble though they were; Crassus indeed such a fool that he might have been
emperor. Is this he you want now to make a god? Look at his body, born under the
wrath of heaven! In fine, let him say as many as three words quickly, and he may
have me for a slave. God! who will worship this god, who will believe him? While you
make gods of such as he, no one will believe you to be gods. To be brief, my lords:
if I have lived[p. 397]
honourably among you, if I have never given plain
speech to any, avenge my wrongs. This is my motion": then he read out his amendment,
which he had committed to writing: “Inasmuch as the blessed Claudius murdered
his father-in-law Appius Silanus, his two sons-in-law, Pompeius Magnus and L.
Silanus, Crassus Frugi his daughter's father-in-law, as like him as two eggs in
a basket, Scribonia his daughter's mother-in-law, his wife Messalina, and others
too numerous to mention; I propose that strong measures be taken against him,
that he be allowed no delay of process, that immediate sentence of banishment be
passed on him, that he be deported from heaven within thirty days, and from
Olympus within thirty hours.”
A division was taken upon this without further debate. Not a moment was lost: Mercury
got a grip of his throat, and haled him to the lower regions, to that bourne from
which they say no traveller returns."