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Augustus, Chapter 66: His friends.
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He [Note 1] was cautious in forming friendships, but clung to them with great constancy; not only rewarding the virtues and merits of his friends according to their deserts, but bearing likewise with their faults and vices, provided that they were of a venial kind. For amongst all his friends, we scarcely find any who fell into disgrace with him, except Salvidienus Rufus, whom he raised to the consulship, and Cornelius Gallus, whom he made prefect in Egypt; both of them men of the lowest extraction. One of these, being engaged in plotting a rebellion, he delivered over to the senate, for condemnation; and the other, on account of his ungrateful and malicious temper, he forbade his house, and his living in any of the provinces. When, however, Gallus, being denounced by his accusers, and sentenced by the senate, was driven to the desperate extremity of laying violent hands upon himself, he commended, indeed, the attachment to his person of those who manifested so much indignation, but he shed tears, and lamented his unhappy condition, That I alone, said he, cannot be allowed to resent the misconduct of my friends in such a way only as I would wish. The rest of his friends of all orders flourished during their whole lives, both in power and wealth, in the highest ranks of their several orders, notwithstanding some occasional lapses. For, to say nothing of others, he sometimes complained that Agrippa was hasty, and Maecenas a tattler; the former having thrown up all his employments and retired to Mytilene, on suspicion of some slight coolness, and from jealousy that Marcellus received greater marks of favour; and the latter having confidentially imparted to his wife Terentia the discovery of Murena's conspiracy. He likewise expected from his friends, at their deaths as well as during their lives, some proofs of their reciprocal attachment. For though he was far from coveting their property, and indeed would never accept of any legacy left him by a stranger, yet he pondered in a melancholy mood over their last words; not being able to conceal his chagrin, if in their wills they made but a slight, or no very honourable mention of him, nor his joy, on the other hand, if they expressed a grateful sense of his favours, and a hearty affection for him. And whatever legacies or shares of their property were left for him by such as were parents, he used to restore to their children, either immediately, or if they were under age, upon the day of their assuming the manly dress, or of their marriage, with interest. |
Note 1: he = Augustus
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Marcus Claudius Marcellus