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Indeed the rules upon this point were remarkably severe. L. Fulvius, a banker,1 having been accused, at the time of the Second Punic War, of looking down from the balcony2 of his house upon the Forum, with a chaplet of roses upon his head, was imprisoned by order of the Senate, and was not liberated before the war was brought to a close. P. Munatius, having placed upon his head a chaplet of flowers taken from the statue of Marsyas,3 was condemned by the Triumviri to be put in chains. Upon his making appeal to the tribunes of the people, they refused to intercede in his behalf —a very different state of things to that at Athens, where the young men,4 in their drunken revelry, were in the habit, before midday, of making their way into the very schools of the philosophers even. Among ourselves, no such instance of a similar licentiousness is to be found, unless, indeed, in the case of the daughter5 of the late Emperor Augustus, who, in her nocturnal debaucheries, placed a chaplet on the statue6 of Marsyas, conduct deeply deplored in the letters of that god.7

1 Or "money-changer," "argentarius."

2 "E pergulâ suâ." Scaliger thinks that the "pergula" was a part of a house built out into the street, while, according to Ernesti, it was a little room in the upper part of a house. In B. xxxv. c. 36, it clearly means a room on the ground-floor.

3 In the Fora of ancient cities there was frequently a statue of this mythological personage, with one hand erect, in token, Servius says (on B. iv. 1. 58 of the Æneid), of the freedom of the state, Marsyas having been the minister of Bacchus, the god of liberty. His statue in the Forum of Rome was the place of assembly for the courtesans of that city, who used to crown it with chaplets of flowers. See also Horace i. Sat. 6. 1. 120; Juvenal, Sat. 9. l. 1 and 2; and Martial,ii. Ep. 64. l. 7.

4 Cujacius thinks that Pliny has in view here Polemen of Athens, who when a young man, in his drunken revelry, burst into the school of Xenocrates, the philosopher, with his fellow-revellers, wearing his festive garland on his head. Being arrested, however, by the discourse, he stopped to listen, and at length, tearing off the garland, determined to enter on a more abstemious course of life. Becoming an ardent disciple of Xenocrates, he ultimately succeeded him at the head of the school. The passage as given in the text, from its apparent incompleteness, would appear to be in a mutilated state.

5 Julia. See B. vii. c. 46.

6 Thus acknowledging herself to be no better than a common courtesan.

7 "Illius dei."

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  • Cross-references to this page (7):
    • Harper's, Histrio
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), CORO´NA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), HI´STRIO
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CENTU´RIPA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CYRENA´ICA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ROMA
    • Smith's Bio, Muna'tius
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