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Caligula, Chapter 53: Caligula as an orator.
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As regards liberal studies, he[Note 1] gave little attention to literature but a great deal to oratory, and he was as ready of speech and eloquent as you please, especially if he had occasion to make a charge against anyone. For when he was angry, he had an abundant flow of words and thoughts, and his voice and delivery were such that for very excitement he could not stand still and he was clearly heard by those at a distance. When about to begin an harangue, he threatened to draw the sword of his nightly labors, and he had such scorn of a polished and elegant style that he used to say that Seneca, who was very popular just then, composed mere school exercises, and that he was sand without lime. He had the habit, too, of writing replies to the successful pleas of orators and composing accusations and defences of important personages who were brought to trial before the senate; and according as his stylus had run most easily, he brought ruin or relief to each of them by his speech, while he would also invite the equestrian order by proclamation to come in and hear him. |
Note 1: he = Caligula