Page:The Amazing Emperor Heliogabalus.djvu/181

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CHAPTER VI
Antonine's Dealings with Alexander

Lampridius has given us, in his life of Alexander Severus, a mass of undigested information concerning the character and daily life of Mamaea's son. The narrative is as much concerned to prove the virtues of Alexander as it is to represent the degradation of his predecessor. Somehow the panegyric misses fire; Lampridius has produced a spasmodic and unenlightened discourse on trivialities, together with a haphazard essay on his hero's moral qualities. He assures us that Alexander had a regal presence, great flashing eyes, a penetrating gaze, a manly appearance, and the stature and health of a soldier. Now, the practice of idealising the appearance of royalty is not unknown, even in these days. Unfortunately, this description is in no way borne out by the portraits still extant. Alexander, in the Vatican bust, has certainly the appearance of strength, but it is such as is possessed by a lusty coal-heaver, with a bull neck and a thick skull; the undecided features of the face, the weak mouth and chin, the low forehead, half hidden by the hair, all betoken mild-mannered vacuity rather than