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Quotes Suitable For Framing: Petronius

To Nero, Emperor of Rome, Master of the World, Divine Pontiff. I know that my death will be a disappointment to you, since you wished to render me this service yourself. To be born in your reign is a miscalculation; but to die in it is a joy. I can forgive you for murdering your wife and your mother, for burning our beloved Rome, for befouling our fair country with the stench of your crimes. But one thing I cannot forgive – the boredom of having to listen to your verses, your second-rate songs, your mediocre performances. Adhere to your special gifts, Nero – murder and arson, betrayal and terror. Mutilate your subjects if you must; but with my last breath I beg you – do not mutilate the arts. Fare well, but compose no more music. Brutalize the people, but do not bore them, as you have bored to death your friend, the late Gaius Petronius.

Fictional farewell letter from Petronius, the arbiter of taste, to Nero as set forth in the novel Quo Vadis.  Petronius did send a scathing farewell letter to Nero before his suicide, brought on by his alleged involvement in plot to assassinate Nero, but the contents are lost to history, alas.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

3 Comments

  1. From section XCIV in Satiricon Liber, I believe the correct quote cited in the meme above is:

    “Raram fecit mixturam cum sapientia forma.”

    Form [beauty] makes a rare [thin, infrequent] mixing [mingling] with wisdom [judgement / understanding; reason; prudence, discretion, discernment; good sense; good taste; intelligence].

    See http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/petronius1.html

    Just being an anal retentive nuke. 😉 Now back to neutrons ‘R us.

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