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He returned to Rome after an absence of nearly eight years,1 with great and confident hopes of his future elevation, which he had entertained from his, youth, in consequence of various prodigies and predictions. For Livia, when pregnant with him, being anxious to discover, by different modes of divination, whether her offspring would be a son, amongst others, took an egg from a hen that was sitting, and kept it warm with her own hands, and those of her maids, by turns, until a fine cock-chicken, with a large comb, was hatched. Scribonius, the astrologer, predicted great things of him when he was a mere child. " He will come in time," said the prophet, "to be even a king, but without the usual badge of royal dignity;" the rule of the Caesars being as yet unknown. When he was making his first expedition, and leading his army through Macedonia into Syria, the altars which had been formerly consecrated at Philippi by the victorious legions, blazed suddenly with spontaneous fires. Soon after, as he was marching to Illyricum, he stopped to consult the oracle of Geryon, near Padua; and having drawn a lot by which he was desired to throw golden tali into the fountain of Aponus,2 for an answer to his inquiries, he did so, and the highest numbers came up. And those very tali are still to be seen at the bottom of the fountain. A few days before his leaving Rhodes, an eagle, a bird never before seen in that island, perched on the top of his house. And the day before he received the intelligence of the permission granted him to return, as he was changing his dress, his tunic appeared to be all on fire. He then likewise had a remarkable proof of the skill of Thrasyllus, the astrologer, whom, for his proficiency in philosophical researches, he had taken into his family. For, upon sight of the ship which brought the intelligence, he said good news was coming: whereas every thing going wrong before, and quite contrary to his predictions, Tiberius had intended that very moment, when they were walking together, to throw him into the sea, as an impostor, and one to whom he had too hastily entrusted his secrets.
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