Iocos

Malcolm-McDowell-as-Caligula
Malcolm McDowell as Caligula

Inter varios iocos, cum assistens simulacro Iovis Apellen tragoedum consuluisset uter illi maior videretur, cunctantem flagellis discidit collaudans subinde vocem deprecantis quasi etiam in gemitu praedulcem. quotiens uxoris vel amiculae collum exoscularetur, addebat: ‘tam bona cervix simul ac iussero demetur.’ quin et subinde iactabat exquisiturum se vel fidiculis de Caesonia sua, cur eam tanto opere diligeret.
(Suetonius, Cal. 33)

Among his other jokes, he once asked the actor Apelles, when he was next to a statue of Jupiter, which of them was the greater and when Appeles hesitated to answer, he had him flayed with scourges, praising the quality of his voice, as he cried out for mercy, as delightful even when groaning. Whenever he kissed the neck of a wife or a mistress, he would add: ‘This lovely neck would be severed the minute I gave the order.’ Indeed, from time to time he would exlaim that he might even have to use torture on his own Caesonia to find out from her why he loved her so very much. (tr. Catharine Edwards)

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