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From Ostia, journeying along the coast of Campania, he halted awhile on receiving intelligence of Augustus's being taken ill, but this giving rise to a rumour that he stayed with a view to something extraordinary, he sailed with the wind almost full against him, and arrived at Rhodes, having been struck with the pleasantness and healthiness of the island at the time of his landing there in his return from Armenia. Here contenting himself with a small house, and a villa not much larger, near the town, he led entirely a private life, taking his walks sometimes about the Gymnasia, The Gymnasia were places of exercise, and received their name from the Greek word signifying naked, because the contending parties wore nothing but drawers. without any lictor or other attendant, and returning the civilities of the Greeks with almost as much complaisance as if he had been upon a level with them. One morning, in settling the course of his daily excursion, he happened to say, that he should vi
Those for whom he once conceived a regard, he favoured even to madness. He used to kiss Mnester, the pantomimic actor, publicly in the theatre; and if any person made the least noise while he was dancing, he would order him to be dragged from his seat, and scourged him with his own hand. A Roman knight once making some bustle, he sent him, by a centurion, an order to depart forthwith for Ostia,The port of Rome. and carry a letter from him to king Ptolemy in Mauritania. The letter was comprised in these words: "Do neither good nor harm to the bearer." He made some gladiators captains of his German guards. He deprived the gladiators called Mirmillones of some of their arms. One Columbus coming off with victory in a combat, but being slightly wounded, he ordered some poison to be infused in the wound, which he thence called Columbinum. For thus it was certainly named with his own hand in a list of other poisons. He was so extravagantly fond of the party of charioteers whose colours
He devised a new style of building in the city, ordering piazzas to be erected before all houses both in the streets and detached, to give facilities from their terraces, in case of fire, for preventing it from spreading; and these he built at his own expense. He likewise designed to extend the city walls as far as Ostia, and bring the sea from thence by a canal into the old city. Many severe regulations and new orders were made in his time. A sumptuary law was enacted. Public suppers were limited to the Sportulae;The Sportulae were small wicker baskets, in which victuals or money were carried. The word was in consequence applied to the public entertainments at which food was distributed, or money given in lieu of it. and victualling-houses restrained from selling any dressed victuals, except pulse and herbs, whereas before they sold all kinds of meat. He likewise inflicted punishments on the Christians, a sort of people who held a new and impious"Superstitionis novae et maleficae,"
His vices gaining strength by degrees, he laid aside his jocular amusements, and all disguise; breaking out into enormous crimes, without the least attempt to conceal them. His revels were prolonged from mid-day to midnight, while he was frequently refreshed by warm baths, and, in the summer time, by such as were cooled with snow. He often supped in public, in the Naumachia, with the sluices shut, or in the Campus Martius, or the Circus Maximus, being waited upon at table by common prostitutes of the town, and Syrian strumpets and gleegirls. As often as he went down the Tiber to Ostia, or coasted through the gulf of Baiae, booths furnished as brothels and eating-houses, were erected along the shore and river banks; before which stood matrons, who, like bawds and hostesses, allured him to land. It was also his custom to invite himself to supper with his friends: at one of which was expended no less than four millions of sesterces in chaplets, and at another something more in roses.