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To this crazy constitution of his mind may, I think, very justly be ascribed two faults which he had of a nature directly repugnant one to the other, namely, an excessive confidence and the most abject timidity. For he, who affected so much to despise the gods, was ready to shut his eyes and wrap up his head in his cloak at the slightest storm of thunder and lightning; and if it was violent he got up and hid himself under his bed. In his visit to Sicily, after ridiculing many strange objects which that country affords, he ran away suddenly in the night from Messini, terrified by the smoke and rumbling at the summit of Mount AEtna. And though in words he was very valiant against the barbarians, yet upon passing a narrow defile in Germany in his light car, surrounded by a strong body of his troops, some one happening to say, "There would be no small consternation amongst us if an enemy were to appear," he immediately mounted his horse and rode towards the bridge in great haste; but finding them blocked up with camp-followers and baggage-wagons, he was in such a hurry that he caused himself to be carried in men's hands over the heads of the crowd. Soon afterwards, upon hearing that the Germans were again in rebellion, he prepared to quit Rome and equipped a fleet, comforting himself with this consideration, that if the enemy should prove victorious and possess themselves of the heights of the Alps as the Cimbri 1 had done, or of the city, as the Senones 2 formerly did, he should still have in reserve the transmarine provinces.3 Hence it was, I suppose, that it occurred to his assassins to invent the story intended to pacify the troops who mutinied at his death, that he had laid violent hands upon himself in a fit of terror occasioned by the news brought him of the defeat of his army.
3 By the transmarine provinces, Asia, Egypt, etc. are meant; so that we find Caligula entertaining visions of an eastern empire, and removing the seat of government, which were long afterwards realized in the time of Constantine.
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