Mukētōn

mushrooms-2097619_640

Ὁ δὲ Κλαύδιος τοῖς ὑπὸ τῆς Ἀγριππίνης δρωμένοις, ὧν γε καὶ ᾐσθάνετο ἤδη, ἀχθόμενος, καὶ τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ τὸν Βρεττανικὸν ἐπιζητῶν, ἐξ ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῷ ἐπίτηδες ὑπ’ἐκείνης τὰ πολλὰ γιγνόμενον, Νέρωνι, οἷα τῷ ἑαυτῆς παιδὶ ἐκ τοῦ προτέρον ἀνδρὸς αὐτῆς Δομιτίου, πάντα τρόπον περιποιουμένης τὸ κράτος, καὶ ὁπότε ἐντύχοι φιλοφρόνως συγγινόμενος, οὐκ ἤνεγκε τὸ γιγνόμενον, ἀλλ’ἐκείνην τε καταλῦσαι καὶ τὸν υἱὸν ἐς τοὺς ἐφήβους ἐσαγαγεῖν καὶ διάδοχον τῆς ἀρχῆς ἀποδεῖξαι παρεσκευάζετο. μαθοῦσα δὲ ταῦτα ἡ Ἀγριππῖνα ἐφοβήθη, καὶ αὐτὸν προκαταλαβεῖν φαρμάκῳ πρίν τι τοιοῦτον πραχθῆναι ἐσπούδασεν. ὡς δὲ ἐκεῖνος οὐδὲν ὑπό τε τοῦ οἴνου, ὃν πολὺν ἀεί ποτε ἔπινε, καὶ ὑπὸ τῆς ἄλλης διαίτῃς, ᾗ πάντες ἐπίπαν πρὸς φυλακήν σφων οἱ αὐτοκράτορες χρῶνται, κακοῦσθαι ἠδύνατο, Λουκοῦστάν τινα φαρμακίδα περιβόητον ἐπ’ αὐτῷ τούτῳ νέον ἑαλωκυῖαν μετεπέμψατο, καὶ φάρμακόν τι ἄφυκτον προκατασκευάσασα δι’ αὐτῆς ἔς τινα τῶν καλουμένων μυκήτων ἐνέβαλε. καὶ αὐτὴ μὲν ἐκ τῶν ἄλλων ἤσθιεν, ἐκεῖνον δὲ ἐκ τοῦ τὸ φάρμακον ἔχοντος (καὶ γὰρ μέγιστος καὶ κάλλιστος ἦν) φαγεῖν ἐποίησε. καὶ ὁ μὲν οὕτως ἐπιβουλευθεὶς ἐκ μὲν τοῦ συμποσίου ὡς καὶ ὑπερκορὴς μέθης σφόδρα ὢν ἐξεκομίσθη, ὅπερ που καὶ ἄλλοτε πολλάκις ἐγεγόνει, κατεργασθεὶς δὲ τῷ φαρμάκῳ διά τε τῆς νυκτὸς οὐδὲν οὔτ’εἰπεῖν οὔτ’ἀκοῦσαι δυνηθεὶς μετήλλαξε, τῇ τρίτῃ καὶ δεκάτῃ τοῦ Ὀκτωβρίου, ζήσας ἑξήκοντα καὶ τρία ἔτη καὶ μῆνας δύο καὶ ἡμέρας τρεῖς καὶ δέκα, αὐταρχήσας δὲ ἔτη τρία καὶ δέκα καὶ μῆνας ὀκτὼ καὶ ἡμέρας εἴκοσι.
(Cassius Dio, Hist. 61.34.1-3)

Claudius was angered by Agrippina’s actions, of which he was now becoming aware, and sought for his son Britannicus, who had purposely been kept out of his sight by her most of the time (for she was doing everything she could to secure the throne for Nero, inasmuch as he was her own son by her former husband Domitius); and he displayed his affection whenever he met the boy. He would not endure her behaviour, but was preparing to put an end to her power, to cause his son to assume the toga virilis, and to declare him heir to the throne. Agrippina, learning of this, became alarmed and made haste to forestall anything of the sort by poisoning Claudius. But since, owing to the great quantity of wine he was forever drinking and his general habits of life, such as all emperors as a rule adopt for their protection, he could not easily be harmed, she sent for a famous dealer in poisons, a woman named Lucusta, who had recently been convicted on this very charge; and preparing with her aid a poison whose effect was sure, she put it in one of the vegetables called mushrooms. Then she herself ate of the others, but made her husband eat of the one which contained the poison; for it was the
largest and finest of them. And so the victim of the plot was carried from the banquet apparently quite overcome by strong drink, a thing that had happened many times before; but during the night the poison took effect and he passed away, without having been able to say or hear a word. It was the thirteenth of October, and he had lived sixty-three years, two months, and thirteen days, having been emperor thirteen years, eight months and twenty days. (tr. Earnest Cary)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s