aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Accius, Atreus, fragment 168

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oderint dum metuant.

Let them hate me, as long as they fear me.

A line from the tragedy Atreus by Lucius Accius (170-86 BC), whose work survives only in fragments. This one, evidently spoken by the tyrannical Atreus himself, was much quoted, appearing in Seneca the Younger (On Anger 1.20.4), Cicero (On Duties 1.97), and most famously in Suetonius’ Life of Caligula 30: it was, we learn there, a line that the bad emperor particularly liked to quote.

Written by aleatorclassicus

November 20, 2010 at 12:00 PM

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