18 Sep Trust no one!
“I’M THINKING OF writing a book about my family,” said the new Roman Emperor Claudius to his trusted friend King Herod.
“What sort of book?” inquired Herod.
“To tell the truth,” whispered Claudius, looking around to make sure no one else was listening.
“Will you tell everything?” asked Herod.
“Everything,” said Claudius emphatically, “as a historian should. Well, not great tales of heroic exploits, like Titus Livius wrote, no. But the plain facts, the kitchen details, even the gossip.”
“Why? Why should you want to write such a book? Why rake it all up?” inquired Herod.
“Because I owe it to the others to tell the truth, to Posthumous and Germanicus,” said Claudius.
“Why?” Herod beseeched.
“Because they’re dead,” said Claudius solemnly.
“And a man should keep faith with his friends, even though they’re dead. You see, I’ve been so very fortunate in my life, when they who were born more deserving, have not. I’ve had only three real friends in my life. Posthumous and Germanicus were two – third one is you.”
“Listen Claudius,” admonished Herod.
“Let me give you a piece of advice. One last piece and then I’m done. Trust no one, my friend, no one! Not your most grateful freedman. Not your most intimate friend. Not your dearest child. Not the wife of your bosom. Trust no one!”
“No one?” asked Claudius, looking into Herod’s eyes. “Not even you ?”
From the 1976 BBC Masterpiece Theatre production of I, Claudius.
(Based on: I, Claudius: from the autobiography of Tiberius Claudius born 10 B.C. murdered and deified A.D. 54. and Claudius The God, both authored by Robert Graves. New York: Vintage International Edition, 1989, originally published by Random House, 1935.)
“For the greatest enemy of the truth is very often not the lie— deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.” —President John F. Kennedy @ Yale University June 11, 1962