Saturday, November 23, 2019

M/M: A Desperate Escape from an Emperor's Assassins: Cassius Dio, Epit. LXXIII.14

Commodus autem, ubi expleverat animum voluptatibus ludisque, tum demum caedes meditabatur, occidebatque nobiles viros: in quorum numero fuit Julianus praefectus, quem publice amplecti atque osculari, patremque appellare consueverat: itemque Julius Alexander, is qui iaculis confecerat leonem ex equo: qui postquam interfectores adesse cognovit, eos de nocte trucidavit, et praeterea Emesenorum, ex quibus ipse erat ortus, quotquot inimici, sui fuerant, omnes interemit. Quo facto, equo contendit ad barabaros: effugissetque omnino, nisi puerum, quem habebat in deliciis, comitem cepisset. Quum enim incitato equo iter faceret, adolescentulum defessum labore itineris nolebat relinquere, ac deprehensus ab insecutoribus, et illi et sibi mortem attulit. 

--Cassius Dio, Epit. LXXIII.14; translated from the Greek by Johannis Albertus Fabricius, 1752

Once he had fulfilled his wildest dreams in pleasures and gladiatorial fights, [the Roman Emperor] Commodus then turned to murder plots and began killing the noblemen of Rome.
One of his victims was Julianus the Prefect, whom he used to embrace and kiss in public, even calling him "Father."

Another was Julius Alexander, a man who was condemned for killing a lion while on horseback. Once he realized that assassins were at his door, Julianus killed them under the cover of night; he also killed all of his enemies at Emesa, his birthplace. Once this was done, he hopped on his horse, intending to head for the border; he would have been successful in his escape except he took his lover [puerum, quem habebat in deliciis] as his travel companion. While they were making their way as quickly as they could, the lad grew tired, and Julianus refused to leave him behind. Because of this, the couple was overtaken by their pursuers, and both were killed.

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