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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. I. B.C. 4004 to A.D. 1066.

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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER
The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. I. B.C. 4004 to A.D. 1066.
page 156



A.D. 60. INHUMAN CONDUCT ΟΓ NERO. A.D. 58. Albinus succeeded Festus, as procurator of Judea. And at this time, Nero, who was capable of scarcely any actions of military daring, very nearly lost Britain. A.D. 59. Peter the Apostle ordained two bishops, namely, Linus and Cletus, to perform all the duties to the people in the city of Rome as his suffragans, and to preach the faith of Christ to the infidels without ceasing. A.D. 60. Nero slew Agrippina, his own wife, and the sister of his father. And he indulged in luxury to such a degree, that he used to be bathed in both cold and warm unguents, and to fish with golden nets, which he drew up with purple cords. Nero, urged on by the madness of his wicked mind, ordered his mother to be slain and cut to pieces, that he might see how it was that he was cherished in her womb. And his physician used to say, accusing him of his wicked conduct towards his mother, " All laws, both human and divine, forbid a son to kill his mother, who has brought him forth with so much pain, and has nourished him with so much trouble and anxiety." And he answered them, " Cause me then to become pregnant with a boy, and afterwards to bring him forth, that I may know how great was the pain which was endured by my mother." (And he had conceived this desire of bringing forth a child, because while passing through the city he heard a woman crying out.) They tell him that such a thing is not possible, because it is contrary to nature ; nor can anything be known which is inconsistent with reason. Nero replied to them, " Unless you cause me to become pregnant with a boy and to bring forth, I will cause you all to die by a cruel death." Then they gave him a drink, and in it they secretly gave him a frog to swallow, and by their devices they caused this frog to grow in his belly. And presently his belly began to swell, not being able to endure what was contrary to his nature, so that Nero believed that he was pregnant with child. And they made him observe a regimen, such as they were aware was adapted to nourish a frog, saying " that it was necessary to adhere to such a diet, because of his pregnancy." At length, when he was harassed with excessive pain, h e said to the physicians, " Hasten the time of my delivery, because my languor is such that I am unable to pant or breathe." Then they gave him potions to cause him to vomit,


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