This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
With respect to the charge or imputation of loathsome impurity before-mentioned, he very easily refuted it by the chastity of his life, at the very time when it was made, as well as ever afterwards. His conduct likewise gave the lie to that of luxurious extravagance in his furniture, when, upon the taking of Alexandria, he reserved for himself nothing of the royal treasures but a porcelain cup, and soon afterwards melted down all the vessels of gold, even such as were intended for common use. But his amorous propensities never left him, and, as he grew older, as is reported, he was in the habit of debauching young girls, who were procured for him, from all quarters, even by his own wife. To the observations on his gaming, he paid not the smallest regard; but played in public, but purely for his diversion, even when he was advanced in years; and not only in the month of December, 1 but at other times, and upon all days, whether festivals or not. This evidently appears from a letter under his own hand, in which he says, "I supped, my dear Tiberius, with the same company. We had, besides, Vinicius, and Silvius the father. We gamed at supper like old fellows, both yesterday and to-day. And as any one threw upon the tali2 aces or sixes, he put down for every talus a denarius; all which was gained by him who threw a Venus."3 In another letter, he says: "We had, my dear Tiberius, a pleasant time of it during the festival of Minerva: for we played every day, and kept the gaming-board warm. Your brother uttered many exclamations at a desperate run of ill-fortune; but recovering by degrees, and unexpectedly, he in the end lost not much. I lost twenty thousand sesterces for my part; but then I was profusely generous in my play, as I commonly am; for had I insisted upon the stakes which I declined, or kept what I gave away, I should have won about fifty thousand. But this I like better: for it will raise my character for generosity to the skies." In a letter to his daughter, he writes thus . "I have sent you two hundred and fifty denarii, which I gave to every one of my guests; in case they were inclined at supper to divert themselves with the Tali, or at the game of Even-or-Odd."
1 See c. xxxii. and note.
2 The Romans, at their feasts, during the intervals of drinking, often played at dice, of which there were two kinds, the tesserae and tali. The former had six sides, like the modern dice; the latter, four oblong sides, for the two ends were not regarded. In playing, they used three tessera and four tal, which were all put into a box wider below than above, and being shaken, were thrown out upon the gaming-board or table.
3 The highest cast was so called.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.