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A private entertainment which he gave, commonly called the Supper of the Twelve Gods, 1 and at which the guests were dressed in the habit of gods and goddesses, while he personated Apollo himself, afforded subject of much conversation, and was imputed to him not only by Antony in his letters, who likewise names all the parties concerned, but in the following well-known anonymous verses: “Cum primum istorum conduxit mensa choragum,
Sexque deos vidit Mallia, sexque deas
Impia dum Phoebi Caesar mendacia ludit,
Dum nova divorum coenat adulteria:
Omnia se a terris tunc numina declinarunt:
Fugit et auratos Jupiter ipse thronos.
” “When Mallia late beheld, in mingled train,
Twelve mortals ape twelve deities in vain,
Caesar assumed what was Apollo's due,
And wine and lust inflamed the motley crew.
At the foul sight the gods avert their eyes,
And from his throne great Jove indignant flies.
” What rendered this supper more obnoxious to public censure, was, that it happened at a time when there was a great scarcity, and almost a famine, in the city. The day after, there was a cry current among the people, "that the gods had eaten up all the corn; and that Caesar was indeed Apollo, but Apollo the Tormentor;" under which title that god was worshipped in some quarter of the city. 2 He was likewise charged with being excessively fond of fine furniture, and Corinthian vessels, as well as with being addicted to gaming. For, during the time of the proscription, the following line was written upon his statue: “Pater argentarius, ego Corinthiarius;
” “My father was a silversmith, 3 my dealings are in brass;
” because it was believed, that he had put some persons upon the list of the proscribed, only to obtain the Corinthian vessels in their possession. And afterwards, in the Sicilian war, the following epigram was published: “Postquam bis classe victus naves perdidit,
Aliquando ut vincat, ludit assidue aleam.
” “Twice having lost a fleet in luckless fight,
To win at last, he games both day and night.
2 Probably in the Suburra, where Martial informs us that torturing scourges were sold:
3 Like the gold and silver-smiths of the middle ages, the Roman money-lenders united both trades. See afterwards NERo, c. 5. It is hardly necessary to remark that vases or vessels of the compound metal which went by the name of Corinthian brass, or bronze, were esteemed even more valuable than silver plate.
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