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Quote of the day: Julius Civilis, a man of commanding infl
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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book XIII Chapter 3: The funeral of Claudius[AD 54]
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On the day of the funeral the prince pronounced Claudius's panegyric, and while he dwelt on the antiquity of his family and on the consulships and triumphs of his ancestors, there was enthusiasm both in himself and his audience. The praise of his graceful accomplishments, and the remark that during his reign no disaster had befallen Rome from the foreigner, were heard with favour. When the speaker passed on to his foresight and wisdom, no one could refrain from laughter, though the speech, which was composed by Seneca, exhibited much elegance, as indeed that famous man had an attractive genius which suited the popular ear of the time. Elderly men who amuse their leisure with comparing the past and the present, observed that Nero was the first emperor who needed another man's eloquence. The dictator Caesar rivalled the greatest orators, and Augustus had an easy and fluent way of speaking, such as became a sovereign. Tiberius too thoroughly understood the art of balancing words, and was sometimes forcible in the expression of his thoughts, or else intentionally obscure. Even Gaius Caesar 's disordered intellect did not wholly mar his faculty of speech. Nor did Claudius, when he spoke with preparation, lack elegance. Nero from early boyhood turned his lively genius in other directions; he carved, painted, sang, or practised the management of horses, occasionally composing verses which showed that he had the rudiments of learning. Die funeris laudationem eius princeps exorsus est, dum antiquitatem generis, consulatus ac triumphos maiorem enumerabat, intentus ipse et ceteri; liberalium quoque artium commemoratio et nihil regente eo triste rei publicae ab externis accidisse pronis animis audita: postquam ad providentiam sapientiamque flexit, nemo risui temperare, quamquam oratio a Seneca composita multum cultus praeferret, ut fuit illi viro ingenium amoenum et temporis eius auribus accommodatum. adnotabant seniores quibus otiosum est vetera et praesentia contendere, primum ex iis, qui rerum potiti essent, Neronem alienae facundiae eguisse. nam dictator Caesar summis oratoribus aemulus; et Augusto prompta ac profluens quaeque deceret principem eloquentia fuit. Tiberius artem quoque callebat, qua verba expenderet, tum validus sensibus aut consulto ambiguus. etiam C. Caesaris turbata mens vim dicendi non corrupit; nec in Claudio, quotiens meditata dissereret, elegantiam requireres. Nero puerilibus statim annis vividum animum in alia detorsit: caelare pingere, cantus aut regimen equorum exercere;