in Barchester Towers

Chapter 46 – Mr. Slope’s Parting Interview with the Signora

the last of the Neros

Julia was ever the favorite name with the ladies of that family

the interview between Mr. Thorne and the last of the Neros

Madeline, in an attempt to aggrandize herself and her nuptial misfortune, immensely plays up her alleged connection to the emperors of ancient Rome via her Italian husband.  Her husband’s last name is Neroni, a name similar to that of Nero, the last emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, which produced the most famous rulers of Rome.  Nero was indeed the last of his line, as he kicked his pregnant wife to death before she could bear him a child, making it quite improbable that Madeline’s daughter or husband bear any relation, however diluted, to that ancient family, as she frequently claims and as she implies by naming her daughter “Julia,” a name appearing quite frequently throughout the Julio-Claudian genealogy.  [JM 2005]

Sources:  OCD.


infernal gods

The gods of the world below.  Slope has just been humiliated by Madeline Stanhope, with whom he was previously infatuated.  The experience changes her in his eyes from a heavenly angel to a demonic being.  It seems likely that Trollope makes reference more to a Classical idea (of the Underworld) than to a Christian one (of Hell) in light of Madeline’s frequent self-characterisations as both unreligious and almost a relic of pagan imperial Rome.  [JM 2005]