Pliny the Younger, Panegyricus

LCL 59: 440-441

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Panegyricus

4permixta deorum simulacra sorderent. Ergo istae quidem aereae et paucae manent manebuntque quam diu templum ipsum, illae autem 〈aureae〉1 et innumerabiles strage ac ruina publico gaudio litaverunt. Iuvabat illidere solo superbissimos vultus, instare ferro, saevire securibus, ut si singulos5 ictus sanguis dolorque sequeretur. Nemo tam temperans gaudii seraeque laetitiae, quin instar ultionis videretur cernere laceros artus truncata membra, postremo truces horrendasque imagines obiectas excoctasque flammis, ut ex illo terrore et minis in usum hominum ac voluptates ignibus6 mutarentur. Simili reverentia, Caesar, non apud genium tuum bonitati tuae gratias agi, sed apud numen Iovis optimi maximi pateris: illi debere nos quidquid tibi debeamus, illius quod bene facias,7 muneris esse qui te dedit. Ante quidem ingentes hostiarum greges per Capitolinum iter magna sui parte velut intercepti devertere via cogebantur, cum saevissimi domini atrocissima effigies tanto victimarum cruore coleretur, quantum ipse humani sanguinis profundebat.

53. Omnia, patres conscripti, quae de aliis principibus a me aut dicuntur aut dicta sunt, eo pertinent

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figures of the gods were defiled by having statues of an incestuous emperor in their midst.1 And so your few statues of bronze stand and will stand as long as the temple itself, whereas those innumerable golden images, as a sacrifice to public rejoicing, lie broken and destroyed. It was our delight to dash those proud faces to the ground, to smite them with the sword and savage them with the if blood and agony could follow from every blow. Our transports of joy—so long deferred—were unrestrained; all sought a form of vengeance in beholding those bodies mutilated, limbs hacked in pieces, and finally that baleful, fearsome visage cast into fire, to be melted down, so that from such menacing terror something for man’s use and enjoyment should rise out of the flames.

With the same reverence for the gods, Caesar, you will not allow public thanks for your benevolence to be addressed to your genius, but direct them to the godhead of Jupiter Best and Highest; to him, you say, we owe whatever we owe you, and your benefactions are the gift of him who gave you to us. Yet previously the vast herds of victims were often stopped on the Capitoline Way and large numbers forced to turn aside, for in honour of that grim statue of a brutal tyrant2 the blood of victims had to flow as freely as the human blood he shed.

53. All that I say and have said, Conscript Fathers, about previous emperors is intended to show how

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_younger-panegyricus.1969