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Vitellius, having first put forward these arguments in a conciliatory speech, and met with decided acquiescence from the Senate, began afresh to point out, that, as they all recommended the emperor's marriage, they ought to select a lady conspicuous for noble rank and purity, herself too the mother of children. "It cannot," he said, "be long a question that Agrippina stands first in nobility of birth. She has given proof too that she is not barren, and she has suitable moral qualities. It is, again, a singular advantage to us, due to divine providence, for a widow to be united to an emperor who has limited himself to his own lawful wives. We have heard from our fathers, we have ourselves seen that married women were seized at the caprice of the Cæsars. This is quite alien to the propriety of our day. Rather let a precedent be now set for the taking of a wife by an emperor. But, it will be said marriage with a brother's daughter is with us a novelty. True; but it is common in other countries, and there is no law to forbid it. Marriages of cousins were long unknown,
but after a time they became frequent. Custom adapts itself to expediency, and this novelty will hereafter take its place among recognized usages."

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