The Reasons I Need to Take Control of the State

Apollonius of Tyana, 5.29

“Since I observe that even though Nero is out of the way human affairs are not much better and the state is so miserable as to be held by Vitelleus, I am emboldened to take over. Foremost, I want to provide myself as a great resource for people since my contest is with a terrible drunk.

Vitellius bathes in more perfume than I use water. If he were stabbed with a sword, he’d bleed more perfume than blood. He rages from one wine bender to another and trembles at dice, afraid of a bad roll even as he gambles the state in a game. He screws married women when he’s covered in prostitutes, claiming that sex with risks is sweeter.”

“Ὁρῶν δὲ μηδ᾿ ὁπότε Νέρων ἐκποδὼν γέγονεν ἐπὶ τὸ λῷον μεθιστάμενα τὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἀλλ᾿ οὕτως ἀτίμως τὴν ἀρχὴν πράττουσαν, ὡς ἐπὶ Βιτελίῳ κεῖσθαι, θαρρῶν ἤδη ἐπ᾿ αὐτὴν εἶμι, πρῶτον μέν, ἐπειδὴ βούλομαι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις παρασχεῖν ἐμαυτὸν πολλοῦ ἄξιον, εἶτα, ἐπειδὴ πρὸς ἄνθρωπον ὁ ἀγὼν ἔσται κραιπαλῶντα· Βιτέλιος γὰρ μύρῳ μὲν λοῦται πλεῖον ἢ ἐγὼ ὕδατι, δοκεῖ δέ μοι καὶ ξίφει πληγεὶς μύρον ἐκδώσειν μᾶλλον ἢ αἷμα, οἴνῳ δὲ οἶνον ξυνάπτων μαίνεται, καὶ κυβεύει μὲν δεδιὼς μή τι αὐτὸν οἱ πεττοὶ σφήλωσιν, ὑπὲρ δὲ ἀρχῆς ἀναρριπτεῖ παίζων, ἑταίραις δὲ ὑποκείμενος ἐπιθόρνυται ταῖς γεγαμημέναις, ἡδίω φάσκων τὰ μετὰ κινδύνων ἐρωτικά.

Vitellius from the Capitoline Museum (

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