Apocolocyntosis

Apocolocyntosis

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Apocolocyntosis by Lucius Annaeus Seneca

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Apocolocyntosis

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Translated by W. H. D. Rouse

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On this Jupiter bids Hercules go and find out what country he comes from; you see Hercules had travelled over the whole world, and might be expected to know all the nations in it. But Hercules, the first glimpse he got, was really much taken aback, although not all the monsters in the world could frighten him; when he saw this new kind of object, with its extraordinary gait, and the voice of no terrestrial beast, but such as you might hear in the leviathans of the deep, hoarse and inarticulate, he thought his thirteenth labour had come upon him. When he looked closer, the thing seemed to be a kind of man. Up he goes, then, and says what your Greek finds readiest to his tongue:

"Who art thou, and what thy people? Who thy
parents, where thy home?"
[Sidenote: Od. i, 17]

Claudius was delighted to find literary men up there, and began to hope there might be some corner for his own historical works. So he caps him with another Homeric verse, explaining that he was Caesar:

"Breezes wafted me from Ilion unto the Ciconian land."
[Sidenote: Od. ix, 39]

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