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The Poems of Sidonius

301non animum populi): ferri mala crimina ferro solvit et in vestram plus concidit ille ruinam. iam tunc imperium praesentis principis aurea volvebant bona fata colu; sed publica damna invidiam fugere viri. quicumque fuerunt 315nomen in Augustum lecti, tenuere relictum Caesaribus solium: postquam tu capta laboras, hic quod habet fecit. Traianum Nerva vocavit, cum pignus iam victor erat: Germanicus esset ut titulis, meritis fuerat. res ordine currit; 320hanc ambit famam quisquis sic incipit. olim post Capreas Tiberi, post turpia numina Gai, censuram Claudi, citharam thalamosque Neronis, post speculi immanis pompam, quo se ille videbat hinc turpis, quod pulcher, Otho, post quina Vitelli 325milia famosi ventris damnata barathro, his titulis princeps lectus similique labore Vespasianus erat. “Sed ne fortasse latronis me clausam virtute putes, consumpsit in illo vim gentis vitae vitium; Scythicam feritatem 330non vires, sed vota tenent, spoliisque potitus immensis robur luxu iam perdidit omne quo valuit dum pauper erat. mea viscera pro se in me nunc armat; laceror tot capta per annos
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II. Panegyric on Anthemius

him, not the hearts of the people); the sword’s crime he expiated by the sword, and so he fell, O Rome, bringing thee lower than he himself was brought. Yet even then the kindly fates with their golden distaff were evolving the reign of our present chief; but the calamities of the people shrank from bringing enmity on such a man. All who had been chosen to bear the name of Augustus had held a throne left for them by the Caesars; but he, when thou 1 wert captured and in sore trouble, created that which he now holds. Nerva called Trajan to power when his son was already a conqueror; in official title he was styled Germanicus, but his deeds had made him so already. The one thing leads to the other: whoever begins thus aims at the same glory. In olden days after Tiberius in Capri, after Gaius’ base assumption of divinity, after the censorship of Claudius, 2 after Nero with his lyre and his lechery, after the parade of that horrible mirror 3 in which Otho, foul because he was fair, was wont to behold himself, after Vitellius’ five millions of money condemned to the bottomless pit of his scandalous belly, Vespasian had been chosen emperor with the same titles won by the same toil as Trajan’s and Majorian’s.

“But lest haply thou think that I am securely hemmed in by the valour of the Robber, know that in him the vileness of his vices has sapped the vigour of his race. 4 His Scythian 5 savagery is governed not by his strength but by his desires; spoils immense he has won, but already by his profligacy he has lost all that made him strong when he was poor. Now he arms mine own flesh against me for his own ends, and after all these years of captivity I am being

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.sidonius-poems.1936