Friday, May 15, 2015


Death in the Privy

Valerius Maximus 9.13.2 (tr. D.R. Shackleton Bailey):
Cn. Carbo too is a great embarrassment to Latium's annals. In his third Consulship he was led to execution in Sicily by Pompey's orders. Abjectly and tearfully he begged the soldiers to let him relieve himself before he died, so that he might longer enjoy his miserable daylight, and he dragged out the delay until his head was cut off as he sat in the squalid place.

Cn. quoque Carbo magnae verecundiae est Latinis annalibus. tertio in consulatu suo iussu Pompeii in Sicilia ad supplicium ductus, petiit a militibus demisse et flebiliter ut sibi alvum levare prius quam exspiraret liceret, quo miserrimae lucis usu diutius frueretur, eo usque moram trahens donec caput eius sordido in loco sedentis abscideretur.
For this and other classical examples see Johannes Ravisius Textor (Jean Tixier de Ravisi), "In Latrinis Mortui aut Occisi," Officinae epitome (1560), to which might perhaps be added Suetonius, Life of Vespasian 24 (tr. J.C. Rolfe):
Taken on a sudden with such an attack of diarrhoea that he all but swooned, he said, "An emperor ought to die standing," and while he was struggling to get on his feet, he died in the arms of those who tried to help him, on the ninth day before the Kalends of July, at the age of sixty-nine years, one month and seven days.

alvo repente usque ad defectionem soluta, imperatorem ait stantem mori oportere; dumque consurgit ac nititur, inter manus sublevantium extinctus est VIIII. Kal. Iul. annum agens aetatis sexagensimum ac nonum superque mensem ac diem septimum.


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