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Claudius then summoned all his most powerful friends. First he questioned Turranius, superintendent of the corn market; next, Lusius Geta, who commanded the prætorians. When they confessed the truth, the whole company clamoured in concert that he must go to the camp, must assure himself of the prætorian cohorts, must think of safety before he thought of vengeance. It is quite certain that Claudius was so overwhelmed by terror that he repeatedly asked whether he was indeed in possession of the empire, whether Silius was still a subject.

Messalina meanwhile, more wildly profligate than ever, was celebrating in mid autumn a representation of the vintage in her new home. The presses were being trodden; the vats were overflowing; women girt with skins were dancing, as Bacchanals dance in their worship or their frenzy. Messalina with flowing hair shook the thyrsus, and Silius at her side, crowned with ivy and wearing the buskin, moved his head to some lascivious chorus. It is said that one Vettius Valens climbed a very lofty tree in sport, and when they asked him what he saw, replied, "A terrible storm from Ostia." Possibly some such appearance had begun; perhaps, a word dropped by chance became a prophecy.

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