only instance, almost, of good fortune, out of the number of all those who have come into the world under these circumstances. And yet, even he may be considered to have paid the penalty of the unfavourable omen produced by the unnatural mode of his birth, in the unfortunate weakness of his legs, the misfortunes of his youth, a life spent in the very midst of arms and slaughter, and ever exposed to the approaches of death; in his children, too, who have all proved a very curse to the earth, and more especially, the two Agrippinas, who were the mothers respectively of Caius and of Domitius Nero, [Note] so many firebrands hurled among the human race. In addition to all this, we may add the shortness of his life, he being cut off in his fifty-first year, the distress which he experienced from the adulteries of his wife, [Note] and the grievous tyranny to which he was subjected by his father-in-law. Agrippina, too, the mother of Nero, who was lately Emperor, and who proved himself, throughout the whole of his reign, the enemy of the human race, has left it recorded in writing, that he was born with his feet first. It is in the due order of nature that man should enter the world with the head first, and be carried to the tomb in a contrary fashion.
Those children, whose birth has cost the mother her life, are evidently born under more favourable auspices; for such was the case with the first Scipio Africanus; the first, too, of the Cæsars was so named, from his having been removed by an incision in his mother's womb. For a similar reason, too, the Cæsones were called by that name. [Note] Manilius, also, who entered Carthage with his army, was born in a similar manner.
Pliny the Elder, Natural History (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Plin. Nat.].