AD 54: Claudius feels that Rome should return to be a Republic but nonetheless marries his niece Agripinilla and makes her son Nero co-heir with his own, teen-aged son Britannicus. Aware of a prophecy that Nero will indeed become sole emperor Claudius encourages Britannicus to flee abroad and then return to restore the Republic but the boy refuses and he is killed by Nero. Claudius resignedly allows himself to be poisoned by his wife and dies. Nero and Agripinilla look for his will but find only his chronicle which they burn. However Claudius and the Sibyl have the last laugh as he has made a copy, which he has buried to be found long after his death. Written by
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Unable to poison Claudius' food, Agripinilla must have poisoned hers. It was in a dish of mushrooms, which she loved and out of which she had been eating. He had finished his own and had called for more, which he often did. Then she offered him hers, out of her own dish. At first, I thought nothing of it; when you're used to seeing someone eat out of a dish it doesn't occur to you that it may contain something different in just one part. And then, she lifted the mushroom onto her fork and held ...