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THE EMPEROR'S TABLETS
SOME of the Roman legions, displeased at having so
unworthy an emperor, revolted under their general
Antonius. As he failed to please them, however,
they did not fight very bravely for him, and his troops
were completely defeated the first time they met the
legions which still remained faithful to Domitian.
Although the soldiers had failed to get rid of
Domitian, the cruel reign of that emperor was soon
ended. He had married a wife by force, and she was
known by the name of Domitia. Of course she could not
love a husband who had taken her against her will.
Domitian therefore grew tired of her, and wrote her
name down upon the tablets where he was wont to place
the names of the next persons to be slain.
Domitia found these tablets. Seeing her own name
 among several others, she carried the list to two
pretorian guards who were to die also, and induced them
to murder Domitian. Under the pretext of revealing a
conspiracy against him, these men sent a freedman into
the imperial chamber.
While Domitian was eagerly reading a paper upon which
the names of the conspirators were written, this
freedman suddenly drew out a dagger, which he had
hidden beneath his robe, and dealt the emperor a mortal
Domitian fell, loudly calling for help. The pretorian
guard rushed in at this sound, but, instead of killing
the freedman, they helped him dispatch their master,
who had reigned about fifteen years, but had not made a
The Romans related that signs and prodigies foretold
the emperor's death, and that an astrologer at
Ephesus saw the crime reflected in the skies at the
very moment when it happened.
Under Domitian's reign there was another terrible
persecution of the Christians, and John, a disciple of
our Lord, was banished to the island of Patmos, where
he wrote Revelation, the last book of the New
Testament. Although John escaped on this occasion, he
later became a martyr, for he was tortured by being
plunged into boiling oil.
It is said, however, in some stories, that John did not
die in the boiling oil, but lived to be a very old man.
On the spot where he is said to have suffered there is
now a chapel which bears his name.