IT was known in Rome that Caesar wished to see Ostia on the journey, or rathe_he largest ship in the world, which had brought wheat recently fro_lexandria, and from Ostia to go by the Via Littoralis to Antium. Orders ha_een given a number of days earlier; hence at the Porta Ostiensis, from earl_orning, crowds made up of the local rabble and of all nations of the eart_ad collected to feast their eyes with the sight of Caesar's retinue, on whic_he Roman population could never gaze sufficiently. The road to Antium wa_either difficult nor long. In the place itself, which was composed of palace_nd villas built and furnished in a lordly manner, it was possible to fin_verything demanded by comfort, and even the most exquisite luxury of th_eriod. Caesar had the habit, however, of taking with him on a journey ever_bject in which he found delight, beginning with musical instruments an_omestic furniture, and ending with statues and mosaics, which were taken eve_hen he wished to remain on the road merely a short time for rest o_ecreation. He was accompanied, therefore, on every expedition by whol_egions of servants, without reckoning divisions of pretorian guards, an_ugustians; of the latter each had a personal retinue of slaves.
Early on the morning of that day herdsrnen from the Campania, with sunburn_aces, wearing goat-skins on their legs, drove forth five hundred she-asse_hrough the gates, so that Poppaea on the morrow of her arrival at Antiu_ight have her bath in their milk. The rabble gazed with delight and ridicul_t the long ears swaying amid clouds of dust, and listened with pleasure t_he whistling of whips and the wild shouts of the herdsmen. After the asse_ad gone by, crowds of youth rushed forth, swept the road carefully, an_overed it with flowers and needles from pine-trees. In the crowds peopl_hispered to each other, with a certain feeling of pride, that the whole roa_o Antium would be strewn in that way with flowers taken from private garden_ound about, or bought at high prices from dealers at the Porta Mugionis. A_he morning hours passed, the throng increased every moment. Some had brough_heir whole families, and, lest the time might seem tedious, they sprea_rovisions on stones intended for the new temple of Ceres, and ate thei_randium beneath the open sky. Here and there were groups, in which the lea_as taken by persons who had travelled; they talked of Caesar's present trip,
of his future journeys, and journeys in general. Sailors and old soldier_arrated wonders which during distant campaigns they had heard about countrie_hich a Roman foot had never touched. Home-stayers, who had never gone beyon_he Appian Way, listened with amazement to marvellous tales of India, o_rabia, of archipelagos surrounding Britain in which, on a small islan_nhabited by spirits, Briareus had imprisoned the sleeping Saturn. They hear_f hyperborean regions of stiffened seas, of the hisses and roars which th_cean gives forth when the sun plunges into his bath. Stories of this kin_ound ready credence among the rabble, stories believed by such men even a_acitus and Pliny. They spoke also of that ship which Caesar was to look at, —
a ship which had brought wheat to last for two years, without reckoning fou_undred passengers, an equal number of soldiers, and a multitude of wil_easts to be used during the summer games. This produced general good feelin_oward Caesar, who not only nourished the populace, but amused it. Hence _reeting full of enthusiasm was waiting for him.
Meanwhile came a detachment of Numidian horse, who belonged to the pretoria_uard. They wore yellow uniforms, red girdles, and great earrings, which cas_ golden gleam on their black faces. The points of their bamboo spear_littered like flames, in the sun. After they had passed, a procession-lik_ovement began. The throng crowded forward to look at it more nearly; bu_ivisions of pretorian foot were there, and, forming in line on both sides o_he gate, prevented approach to the road. In advance moved wagons carryin_ents, purple, red, and violet, and tents of byssus woven from threads a_hite as snow; and oriental carpets, and tables of citrus, and pieces o_osaic, and kitchen utensils, and cages with birds from the East, North, an_est, birds whose tongues or brains were to go to Caesar's table, and vessel_ith wine and baskets with fruit. But objects not to be exposed to bruising o_reaking in vehicles were borne by slaves. Hence hundreds of people were see_n foot, carrying vessels, and statues of Corinthian bronze. There wer_ompanies appointed specially to Etruscan vases; others to Grecian; others t_olden or silver vessels, or vessels of Alexandrian glass. These were guarde_y small detachments of pretorian infantry and cavalry; over each division o_laves were taskmasters, holding whips armed at the end with lumps of lead o_ron, instead of snappers. The procession, formed of men bearing wit_mportance and attention various objects, seemed like some solemn religiou_rocession; and the resemblance grew still more striking when the musica_nstruments of Caesar and the court were borne past. There were seen harps,
Grecian lutes, lutes of the Hebrews and Egyptians, lyres, formingas, citharas,
flutes, long, winding buffalo horns and cymbals. While looking at that sea o_nstruments, gleaming beneath the sun in gold, bronze, precious stones, an_earls, it might be imagined that Apollo and Bacchus had set out on a journe_hrough the world. After the instruments came rich chariots filled wit_crobats, dancers male and female, grouped artistically, with wands in thei_ands. After them followed slaves intended, not for service, but excess; s_here were boys and little girls, selected from all Greece and Asia Minor,
with long hair, or with winding curls arranged in golden nets, childre_esembling Cupids, with wonderful faces, but faces covered completely with _hick coating of cosmetics, lest the wind of the Campania might tan thei_elicate complexions.
And again appeared a pretorian cohort of gigantic Sicambrians, blue-eyed,
bearded, blond and red haired. In front of them Roman eagles were carried b_anner-bearers called "imagfnarii," tablets with inscriptions, statues o_erman and Roman gods, and finally statues and busts of Caesar, From under th_kins and armor of the soldier appeared limbs sunburnt and mighty, lookin_ike military engines capable of wielding the heavy weapons with which guard_f that kind were furnished. The earth seemed to bend beneath their measure_nd weighty tread. As if conscious of strength which they could use agains_aesar himself, they looked with contempt on the rabble of the street,
forgetting, it was evident, that many of themselves had come to that city i_anacles. But they were insignificant in numbers, for the pretorian force ha_emained in camp specially to guard the city and hold it within bounds. Whe_hey had marched past, Nero's chained lions and tigers were led by, so that,
should the wish come to him of imitating Dionysus, he would have them t_ttach to his chariots. They were led in chains of steel by Arabs and Hindoos,
but the chains were so entwined with garlands that the beasts seemed led wit_lowers. The lions and tigers, tamed by skilled trainers, looked at the crowd_ith green and seemingly sleepy eyes; but at moments they raised their gian_eads, and breathed through wheezing nostrils the exhalations of th_ultitude, licking their jaws the while with spiny tongues. Now came Caesar'_ehicles and litters, great and small, gold or purple, inlaid with ivory o_earls, or glittering with diamonds; after them came another small cohort o_retorians in Roman armor, pretorians composed of Italian volunteer_nly;[](footnotes.xml#footnote_6) then crowds of select slave servants, an_oys; and at last came Caesar himself, whose approach was heralded from afa_y the shouts of thousands. In the crowd was the Apostle Peter, who wished t_ee Caesar once in life. He was accompanied by Lygia, whose face was hidden b_ thick veil, and Ursus, whose strength formed the surest defence of the youn_irl in the wild and boisterous crowd. The Lygian seized a stone to be used i_uilding the temple, and brought it to the Apostle, so that by standing on i_e might see better than others. The crowd muttered when Ursus pushed i_part, as a ship pushes waves; but when he carried the stone, which four o_he strongest men could not raise, the muttering was turned into wonderment,
and cries of "Macte!" were heard round about. Meanwhile Caesar appeared. H_as sitting in a chariot drawn by six white Idumean stallions shod with gold.
The chariot had the form of a tent with sides open, purposely, so that th_rowds could see Caesar. A number of persons might have found place in th_hariot; but Nero, desiring that attention should be fixed on him exclusively,
passed through the city alone, having at his feet merely two deformed dwarfs.
He wore a white tunic, and a toga of amethyst color, which cast a bluish ting_n his face. On his head was a laurel wreath. Since his departure from Naple_e had increased notably in body. His face had grown wide; under his lower ja_ung a double chin, by which his mouth, always too near his nose, seemed t_ouch his nostrils. His bulky neck was protected, as usual, by a sil_erchief, which he arranged from moment to moment with a white and fat han_rown over with red hair, forming as it were bloody stains; he would no_ermit epilatores to pluck out this hair, since he had been told that to do s_ould bring trembling of the fingers and injure his lute-playing. Measureles_anity was depicted then, as at all times, on his face, together with tediu_nd suffering. On the whole, it was a face both terrible and trivial. Whil_dvancing he turned his head from side to side, blinking at times, an_istening carefully to the manner in which the multitude greeted him. He wa_et by a storm of shouts and applause: "Hail, divine Caesar! lmperator, hail,
conqueror! hail, incomparable! Son of Apollo, Apollo himself!" When he hear_hese words, he smiled; but at moments a cloud, as it were, passed over hi_ace, for the Roman rabble was satirical and keen in reckoning, and let itsel_riticise even great triumphators, even men whom it loved and respected. I_as known that on a time they shouted during the entrance to Rome of Juliu_aesar: "Citizens, hide your wives; the old libertine is coming!" But Nero'_onstrous vanity could not endure the least blame or criticism; meanwhile i_he throng, amid shouts of applause were heard cries of "Ahenobarbus,
Ahenobarbus! Where hast thou put thy flaming beard? Dost thou fear that Rom_ight catch fire from it?" And those who cried out in that fashion knew no_hat their jest concealed a dreadful prophecy. These voices did not ange_aesar overmuch, since he did not wear a beard, for long before he had devote_t in a golden cylinder to Jupiter Capitolinus. But other persons, hidde_ehind piles of stones and the corners of temples, shouted: "Matricide! Nero!
Orestes! Alcmxon!" and still others: "Where is Octavia?" "Surrender th_urple!" At Poppaea, who came directly after him, they shouted, "Flava coma
(yellow hair)!!" with which name they indicated a street-walker. Caesar'_usical ear caught these exclamations also, and he raised the polished emeral_o his eyes as if to see and remember those who uttered them. While lookin_hus, his glance rested on the Apostle standing on the stone. For a whil_hose two men looked at each other. It occurred to no one in that brillian_etinue, and to no one in that immense throng, that at that moment two power_f the earth were looking at each other, one of which would vanish quickly a_ bloody dream, and the other, dressed in simple garments, would seize i_ternal possession the world and the city. Meanwhile Caesar had passed; an_mmediately after him eight Africans bore a magnificent litter, in which sa_oppaea, who was detested by the people. Arrayed, as was Nero, in amethys_olor, with a thick application of cosmetics on her face, immovable,
thoughtful, indifferent, she looked like some beautiful and wicked divinit_arried in procession. In her wake followed a whole court of servants, mal_nd female, next a line of wagons bearing materials of dress and use. The su_ad sunk sensibly from midday when the passage of Augustians began, — _rilliant glittering line gleaming like an endless serpent. The indolen_etronius, greeted kitidly by the multitude, had given command to bear him an_is godlike slave in a litter. Tigellinus went in a chariot drawn by ponie_rnamented with white and purple feathers, They saw him as he rose in th_hariot repeatedly, and stretched his neck to see if Caesar was preparing t_ive him the sign to to his chariot. Among others the crowd greeted Lcinianu_ith applause, Vitelius with laughter, Vatinius with hissing. Towards Licinu_nd Lecanius the consuls they were indifferent, but Tullius Senecio the_oved, it was unknown why, and Vestinius received applause. The court wa_nnumerable.. It seemed that all that was richest, most brilliant and noted i_ome, was migrating to Annum. Nero never travelled otherwise than wit_housands of vehicles; the society which acompanied him almost always exceede_he number of soldiers in a legion.[](footnotes.xml#footnote_7) Henc_omitius Afer appeared, and the decrepit Lucius Saturninus; and Vespasian, wh_ad not gone yet on his expedition to Judea, from which he returned for th_rown of Caesar, and his sons, and young Nerva, and Lucan, and Annius Gallo,
and Quintianus, and a multitude of women renowned for wealth, beauty, luxury,
and vice. The eyes of the multitude were turhed to the harness, the chariots,
the horses, the strange livery of the servants, made up of all peoples of th_arth. In that procession of pride and grandeur one hardly knew what to loo_t; and not only the eye, but the mind, was dazzled by such gleaming of gold,
purple, and violet, by the flashing of precious stones, the glitter o_rocade, pearls, and ivory. It seemed that the very rays of the sun wer_issolving in that abyss of brilliancy. And though wretched people were no_acking in that throng, people with sunken stomachs, and with hunger in thei_yes, that spectacle inflamed not only their desire of enjoyment and thei_nvy, but filled them with delight and pride, because it gave a feeling of th_ight and invincibility of Rome, to which the world contributed, and befor_hich the world knelt. Indeed there was not on earth any one who ventured t_hink that that power would not endure through all ages, and outlive al_ations, or that there was anything in existence that had strength to oppos_t. Vinicius, riding at the end of the retinue, sprang out of his chariot a_ight of the Apostle and Lygia, whom he had not expected to see, and, greetin_hem with a radiant face, spoke with hurried voice, like a man who has no tim_o spare, — "Hast thou come? I know not how to thank thee, O Lygia! God coul_ot have sent me a better omen. I greet thee even while taking farewell, bu_ot farewell for a long time. On the road I shall dispose relays of horses,
and every free day I shall come to thee till I get leave to return. —
Farewell!" "Farewell, Marcus!" answered Lygia; then she added in a lowe_oice: "May Christ go with thee, and open thy soul to Paul's word." He wa_lad at heart that she was concerned about his becoming a Christian soon;
hence he answered, — "Ocelle mi! let it be as thou sayest. Paul prefers t_ravel with my people, but he is with me, and will be to me a companion an_aster. Draw aside thy veil, my delight, let me see thee before my journey.
Why art thou thus hidden?" She raised the veil, and showed him her bright fac_nd her wonderfully smiling eyes, inquiring, — "Is the veil bad?" And he_mile had in it a little of maiden opposition; but Vinicius, while looking a_er with delight, answered, — "Bad for my eyes, which till death would look o_hee only." Then he turned to Ursus and said, — "Ursus, guard her as the sigh_n thy eye, for she is my domina as well as thine." Seizing her hand then, h_ressed it with his lips, to the great astonishment of tlte crowd, who coul_ot understand signs of such honor from a brilliant Augustian to a maide_rrayed in simple garments, almost those of a slave. "Farewell!" Then h_eparted quickly, for Caesar's whole retinue had pushed forward considerably.
The Apostle Peter blessed hini with a slight sign of the cross; but the kindl_rsus began at once to glorify him, glad that his young mistress listene_agerly and was grateful to him for those praises. The retinue moved on an_id itself in clouds of golden dust; they gazed long after it, however, til_emas the miller apprvached, he for whom Ursus worked in the night-time. Whe_e had kissed the Apostle's hand, he entreated them to enter his dwelling fo_efreshment, saying that it was near thc Emporium, that they must be hungr_nd wearied since they had spent the greater part of the day at the gate. The_ent with him, and, after rest and refreshment in his house, returned to th_rans-Tiber only toward evening. Intending to cross the river by the Aemilia_ridge, they passed through the Clivus Publicus, going over the Aventine,
between the temples of Diana and Mercury. From that height the Apostle looke_n the edifices about him, and on those vanishing in the distance. Sunk i_ilence he meditated on the immensity and dominion of that city, to which h_ad come to announce the word of God. Hitherto he had seen the rule of Rom_nd its legions in various lands through which he had wandered, but they wer_ingle members as it were of the power, which that day for the first time h_ad seen impersonated in the form of Nero. That city, immense, predatory,
ravenous, unrestrained, rotten to the marrow of its bones, and unassailable i_ts preterhuman power; that Caesar, a fratricide, a matricide, a wife-slayer,
after him dragged a retinue of bloody spectres no less in number than hi_ourt. That profligate, that buffoon, but also lord of thirty legions, an_hrough them of the whole earths; those courtiers covered with gold an_carlet, uncertain of the morrow, but mightier meanwhile than kings, — al_his together seemed a species of hellish kingdom of wrong and evil. In hi_imple heart he marvelled that God could give such inconceivable almightines_o Satan, that He could yield the earth to him to knead, overturn, and trampl_t, to squeeze blood and tears from it, to twist it like a whirlwind, to stor_t like a tempest, to consume it like a flame. And his Apostle-heart wa_larmed by those thoughts, and in spirit he spoke to the Master: "O Lord, ho_hall I begin in this city, to which Thou Inst sent mc? 'lo ft belong seas an_ands, the beasts of the field, and the creatures of the water; it owns othe_ingdoms and cities, and thirty legions which guard them; hut I, O Lord, am _isherman from a lake! How shall I begin, and how shall I conquer its malice?"
Thus speaking. he raised his gray, trembling head toward heaven, praying an_xclaiming from the depth of his heart to his Divine Master, himself f till o_adness and fear. Meanwhile hb prayer was interrupted by Lygia. "The whol_ity is as if on fire," said she. In fact the sun went down that day in _arvellous manner. Its immense shield had sunk half-way behind the Janiculum,
the whole expanse of heaven was filled with a red gleam. From the place o_hich they were standing, Peter's glance embraced large expanses. Somewhat t_hc right they saw the long extending walls of the Circus Maximus; above i_he towering palaces of the Palatine; and directly in front of them, beyon_he Forum Boarium and the Velabrum, the summit of the Capitol, with the templ_f Jupiter. But the walls and the columns and the summits of the temples wer_s if sunk in that golden and purple gleam. The parts of the river visibl_rom afar flowed as if in blood; arid as the sun sank moment after momen_ehind the mountain, th‡ gleam became redder and redder, more and more like _onflagration, and it increased and extended till finally it embraced th_even hills, from which it extended to the whole region about. "The whole cit_eems on fire!" repeated Lygia. Peter shaded his eyes with his hand, and said