Dio Cassius, Roman History

LCL 176: 158-159

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Epitome of Book LXII

him a mere appendage of Nero, because he a.d. 67 was constantly with him; but Polycleitus and Calvia Crispinilla, apart from Nero, plundered, sacked and despoiled everything that it was possible to pillage. The former was associated with Helius at Rome, and the latter with the “Sabina” who was known as Sporus. Calvia had been entrusted with the care of the boy and with the oversight of the wardrobe, though a woman and of high rank; and through her all were stripped of their possessions.

Now Nero called Sporus “Sabina” not merely because, owing to his resemblance to her he had been made a eunuch, but because the boy, like the mistress, had been solemnly married to him in Greece, Tigellinus giving the bride away, as the law ordained. All the Greeks held a celebration in honour of their marriage, uttering all the customary good wishes, even to the extent of praying that legitimate children might be born to them. After that Nero had two bedfellows at once, Pythagoras to play the rôle of husband to him, and Sporus that of wife. The latter, in addition to other forms of address, was termed “lady,” “queen,” and “mistress.” Yet why should one wonder at this, seeing that Nero would fasten naked boys and girls to stakes, and then putting on the hide of a wild beast would attack them and satisfy his brutal lust under the appearance of devouring parts of their bodies? Such were the indecencies of Nero.

When he received the senators, he wore a short flowered tunic and a muslin neck-cloth; for in matters of dress, also, he was already transgressing custom, even going so far as to wear ungirded tunics in public. It is reported also that the members of

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.dio_cassius-roman_history.1914