Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Big Read II: I, Claudius Ch. 20-22

Chapter 20: Germanicus poisoned and haunted
~Claudius is a conscientious and methodical historian, it keeps him out of mischief
~Livia and Tiberius set up Piso as Governor, encouraging him to thwart Germanicus by whatever means; Piso acts more like a mobster, sets up graft payments, etc. He delights in his thwarting role toward Germanicus. Piso and his wife Plancina act out a parody of Germanicus and Agrippina.
~Tiberius puts a negative spin on all of Germanicus's actions. Germanicus takes ill, he fears poison, then he fears witchcraft is being used against him. He gets a red rash, blue nails...wonder what causes that. The number 25 is significant because he never got that Eagle back...he dies on the 25th day of his illness.

Chapter 21: Germanicus's murderess acquitted
~Livia and Tiberius pretend to grieve, but actually hide from the people who loved Germanicus; Livilla misses the funeral due to the birth of her twin boys, father Sejanus.
~Castor swears to Agrippina that justice will be done.
~Plancina kills her husband Piso and makes it look like suicide so she will be spared. She retrieves and returns an incriminating letter to Livia. Plancina is acquitted of Germanicus's death.
~It means a lot to Claudius when Agrippina said "she understood now what Germanicus had meant when he told her, just before his death, that the truest friend he had ever had was his poor brother Claudius."

Everyone was wanting to know what it meant when a grandmother [Livia] gave gracious interviews to the murderess [Plancina] of her grandson and rescued her from the vengeance of the Senate. The answer could only be that the grandmother had instigated the murder herself and was so utterly unashamed of herself that the wife and children of the victim would not survive him long.

Chapter 22: Sejanus feeds Tiberius's paranoia
~Tiberius still insecure. Used to say, "Let them fear me, so long as they obey me," he now told Sejanus, "Let them hate me, so long as they fear me."
~Agrippina seeks help: Claudius sends her to the two good people that Tiberius consults: Nerva, and Vipsania.
~Ominous bond between Livia and Caligula? Some unpleasant secret?
~Sejanus wants a betrothal between his 4 year old daughter and Claudius's 13 year old son Drusillus. Three days later D is dead with a pear in his throat. It was believed Livia did it because she was not consulted. I don't think so? The pear tree is charged with murder.
~Sejanus and Livilla frame Castor. Castor asks Livia for help, and she agrees because she hopes to get Tiberius to mistrust Sejanus. Castor completely out of favor. He falls ill and dies of consumption.
~Sejanus plots with Livilla to become emperor. Yeah, right. Livia may be old, but she is formidable.
~Piso's relative that defended him tells Agrippina he is not her enemy. He dies.
~Sejanus makes up a story about the "Leek Green Party" being formed by Agrippina. That was just Germanicus's favorite color, so of course his family bet on that one.
~Anything sealed with the Sphynx is "classified." Useful to hide ignoble acts, even promised payments.
~More and more are being accused of treason.
~"The fact was that the senator's wife one morning noticed a sheet of paper posted high up on the gate of the house. She asked her husband to read out what was on it--he was taller." The senator was reported by informer, cross-examined, and he was condemned to be thrown down a cliff. A crime to read something!
~More books are banned, of course that makes them popular, even though they're not very good.

No comments: