I, who complained aforetime that the world’s limits were too narrow, am now not even a boundary to myself. 1 O chiefest of the gods, I seemed to thee more powerful than is meet, inasmuch as the Parthian Sapor 2 freely restored my standards and, laying aside his royal tiara, wept for the deaths of the Crassi as he made atonement therefor. And hence now, woe is me! I have fallen upon the fate I feared, after wresting their rights from senate and people; I am merged in the Emperor, wholly the Emperor’s property, and through Caesar I who was once a queen am becoming a mangled realm. 3 Tiberius with his Capri and Gaius with his soldier’s boots 4 were followed by Claudius with his censorship and Nero, who in death played the man; Galba, to whom the stern Piso gave a claim to reverence, was laid low by Otho, who, while he sought by his mirror to seem beautiful, made me ugly. Then Vitellius, with his loathsome gluttony, thrust his paunch upon me, and though he reigned but a short time he perished all too late. Thus sore wearied was I when Vespasian, famed man of war, possessed me, and after him Titus, after Titus his brother; and after him the tranquil Nerva scarce began to make me myself again,—Nerva, who made himself greater by the Caesar he adopted. Then came Trajan, by whose doing Agrippina 5 became a terror to the Sygam-brians, an emperor gallant, faithful, righteous and vigorous. In my captivity I pray for such another. I know not if anyone can match Trajan—unless perchance Gaul should once more 6 send forth a man
- 1 i.e. “the precincts of my own city are not intact” (Semple, p. 89).
- 2Phraates IV: see n. on 2. 457.
- 3 i.e. successive Caesars are reducing Rome’s dominion more and more.
- 4A reference to the nickname Caligula (= little military boot) given to Gaius in his boyhood by the soldiers, because he went about the barracks dressed like a soldier. For the allusions to Claudius and Otho in this passage see nn. On 5. 322 sq.
- 5Colonia Agrippina (Cologne).
- 6Trajan was a native of Spain, which was now included in the “Prefecture of the Gauls.”