Imperial purple - by Edgar Saltus - PDF ebook

Imperial purple 

Imperial purple

Collection of biographical sketches of Roman Emperors.

Excerpt from Nero chapter:

" Save a monster, what can you expect from Agrippina and Myself? " 
It was Domitius, Nero's father, who made this ingenious remark. He was not a good man; he was not even good-looking, merely vicious and rich. But his viciousness was benign beside that of Agrippina, who poisoned him when Nero's birth ensured the heritage of his wealth. In all its galleries history has no other portrait such as hers. Caligula's sister, his mistress as well, exiled by him and threatened with death, her eyes dazzled and her nerves unstrung by the impossibilities of that fabulous reign, it was not until Claud, her uncle, recalled her and Messalina disappeared, that the empress awoke. She too, she determined, would rule, and the jus oscula aiding, she married out of hand that imbecile uncle of hers, on whose knee she had played as a child. 

On the day of the wedding a young patrician, expelled from the senate, killed himself. Agrippina had accused him of something not nice, not because he was guilty, nor yet because the possibility of the thing shocked her, but because he was betrothed to Octavia, Claud's daughter, who, Agrippina determined, should be Nero's wife. Presently Caligula's widow, an old rival of her own, a lady who had thought she would like to be empress twice, and whom Claud had eyed grotesquely, was disencumbered of three million worth of emeralds, with which she heightened her beauty, and told very civilly that it was time to die. So, too, disappeared a Calpurnia, a Lepida; women young, rich, handsome, impure, and as such dangerous to Agrippina's peace of mind. The legality of her crimes was so absolute tli^t the mere ownership of an enviable object was a cause for death. 

A senator had a villa that pleased her; he was invited to die. Another had a pair of those odorous murrhine vases, which Pompey had found in Armenia, and which on their first appearance set Rome wild; he, too, was invited to die. But, though Agrippina dealt in death, she dealt in seductions too. Rome, that had adored Caligula, promptly fell under his sister's sway. 

There was a splendor in her eyes, which so many crimes had lit; in her carriage, there was such majesty, the pomp with which she surrounded herself was so magnificent, that Rome, enthralled, applauded. Beyond, on the Rhine, a city which is today Cologne rose in honor of her sovereignty. To her wishes, the senate was subservient, to her indiscretions band. Claud, who meanwhile had been wholly sightless, suddenly showed signs of dis- comment. A woman, charged with illicit commerce, was brought to his tribunal. He condemned her, of course. " In my case," he explained, " matrimony has  not been successful, but the fate that destined me to marry impure women destined me also to punish them." It was then that Agrippina ordered of Locusta that famous stew of poison and mushrooms, which Nero, in allusion to Claud's apotheosis, called the food of the gods. The fate that destined Claud to marry Agrippina destined her to kill him.


  1. That Woman
  2. Conjectural Rome
  3. Fabulous FieldsThe Pursuit of the Impossible
  4. Nero
  5. The House of Flavia
  6. The Poison in the Purple
  7. Faustine
  8. The Agony

Author: Edgar Saltus
Publication date: 1906

Download Imperial purple PDF ebook 2.6 MB

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