Every one of them was a eunuch. They understood what he required of them and they were well fitted to serve his desires. Indeed, he never questioned their allegiance, because it was to himself that they owed their promotion to the highest tanks. Some he employed in actual guard-duties, while others were engaged in various other tasks that he wished to be done.

16. In this way his plans were brought to fruition. There remained, however, the problem of the others — the pick of the city populace and all those who belonged to the merchant class or were manual workers. Their adherence, too, was assured and the hearts of the people won over by his favours. It was a necessary expense, for one day, if need arose, he might want their backing for his projects. The people, on their side, were genuinely attached to him and their sentiments found expression in certain obvious marks of goodwill. For instance they would not allow him to walk on the bare ground; it would be a dreadful thing, they thought, if he did not tread on carpets. His horse, too, must needs revel in covers of silk.

These compliments not unnaturally, gave him pleasure and in his elation he began to reveal what his secret designs were. The truth is, the empress was the object of his wrath, the woman who had become his mother by adoption, contrary to all propriety and reason. This feeling of his, moreover, was no new one, for it dated back to the time when through her efforts he had been made emperor. He had [94] once called her his ‘mistress’ and the very thought of it made him feel like bitng off his own tongue and spitting it away in disgust.

The Emperor’s Hatred for The Augusta And His Envy of her

17. In the public proclamations he heard her name mentioned before his own and after that indignity he could no longer hide his chagrin. It led him, in the first place, to adopt an attitude of defiance. When she approached him, he turned a deaf ear; the council chamber was closed to her, and worse still, she was denied all access to the imperial treasury. In fact, the empress was held in contempt everywhere. Indeed, I would go further than that — he made her an object of ridicule, for he treated her like a prisoner of war. She was kept under surveillance, in the most ignominious manner, her ladies-in-waiting controlled by the emperor and no corner of her private apartments exempt from inspection.

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