Quintus saturnus the tim.., p.3
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       Quintus Saturnus The Time of Five Emperors, p.3

           Justin Cahill
 
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those God-forsaken deserts in the East.

  Vespasian won over the troops in Rome. They tortured Vitellius, butchered him and threw his corpse into the Tiber. I myself saw the corpse, with all its chins, float down the River.

  VII

  After all this, it was no surprise to find the centurion at my studio for a fourth time. There was no escort of legionaries. “No need” he assured me “Things are back to normal now. You’ll like our new man. He’s one of us.”

  The new emperor looked me up and down. He was short and bald, with the squint of a man trying to pass a stone. He smiled and greeted me. “So, Quintus Saturnus, we’re both survivors I hear. Do you trust a fellow survivor to pay you ?”

  I blushed. “Ha !” he laughed “Don’t answer !” He clapped me on the back and gestured to a servant, who handed me a leather purse. “Count it” Vespasian encouraged. I protested, embarrassed, saying I trusted him. The emperor laughed again. He took the purse and counted 60 aurei out onto the table.

  “Now get to work” he grinned. Water, bread, olives, tomatoes and meat were brought out for us. “Make me look good. People have to pray to this face. You know this better than most ! There’s no wine until you’re finis[hed] … [the manuscript breaks off at this point].

  oOo

 
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