I, Claudius, Day Seven, Chapters 20-22

March 17, 2008

Chapters 20-22

Chapter 20. The first few pages are filled with descriptions of Claudius’ writing projects. His writing histories. The Etruscan history we’ve already gotten a brief introduction to, but this is the first (in my recollect) of hearing about his “History of Carthage” project.

The rest of the chapter focuses on Germanicus. Having been recalled from Germany, his new station is in the East. It is essentially all just a plot, a scheme, to set Germanicus up. To kill him. They hire Gnaeus Piso to be governor of Syria. They essentially tell him to set Germanicus up, make it appear he is a traitor, then kill him in the name of justice, and we’ll allow you to get away with it all. He shouldn’t have been so eager to take part in the fall. But of course big-picture thinking isn’t really all too common. At least outside of Livia’s own warped “big picture” goals.

A lot of time is spent on Germanicus. He really has a torturous kind of death. Not only is he being poisoned, it’s more that his mind is being attacked as well. Psychological warfare. What with the whole witch craft thing and the spelling Germanicus backwards thing and the removing one letter of his name each day. Anyway, Germanicus wasn’t always a good guy. But he was better than Tiberius. And he wasn’t pure evil like some of the others. So I wasn’t happy to see him go. Though I expected it of course.

Chapter 21

The funeral of Germanicus. The trial and subsequent death “suicide” of course of Piso. He was a villain and all. But to be betrayed by his wife. That is just extra-harsh I think.

Chapter 22

Tiberius. Livia. Sejanus. Castor. Villains all. The fighting. The plotting. A bit tedious at times. But now and then you find a gem. The death of Drusillus. Another “accidental” death. “it was said at the inquest that he had been throwing fruit up in the air and trying to catch it in his mouth: his death was unquestionably due to an accident. But nobody believed this. . . .As was the custom in such cases, the pear tree was charged with murder and sentenced to be uprooted and burned.” (294) The chapter then digresses in my opinion. The chapter seems to say just that no one is safe. There is no justice. If Livia or Tiberius or Sejanus wanted you dead, false charges would be brought against you and you’d be killed. The end.

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