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To honour the gods at their sacrifices, no greater mark of honour has been thought of than to gild the horns of the animals sacrificed—that is, of the larger victims1 only. But in warfare, this species of luxury made such rapid advances, that in the Epistles of M. Brutus from the Plains of Philippi, we find expressions of indignation at the fibulæ2 of gold that were worn by the tribunes. Yes, so it is, by Hercules! and yet you, the same Brutus, have not said a word about women wearing gold upon their feet; while we, on the other hand, charge him with criminality3 who was the first to confer dignity upon gold by wearing the ring. Let men even, at the present day, wear gold upon the arms in form of bracelets—known as "dardania," because the practice first originated in Dardania, and called "viriolæ" in the language of the Celts, "viriæ"4 in that of Celtiberia, let women wear gold upon their arms5 and all their fingers, their necks, their ears, the tresses of their hair; let chains of gold run meandering along their sides; and in the still hours of the night let sachets filled with pearls hang suspended from the necks of their mistresses, all bedizened with gold, so that in their very sleep even they may still retain the consciousness that they are the possessors of such gems: but are they to cover their feet6 as well with gold, and so, between the stola7 of the matrons and the garb of the plebeians, establish an intermediate8 or equestrian9 order of females? Much more becomingly do we accord this distinction to our pages,10 and the adorned beauty of these youths has quite changed the features of our public baths.

At the present day, too, a fashion has been introduced among the men even, of wearing effigies upon their fingers representing Harpocrates11 and other divinities of Egypt. In the reign of Claudius, also, there was introduced another unusual distinction, in the case of those to whom was granted the right of free admission,12 that, namely, of wearing the likeness of the emperor engraved in gold upon a ring: a circumstance that gave rise to vast numbers of informations, until the timely elevation of the Emperor Vespasianus rendered them impossible, by proclaiming that the right of admission to the emperor belonged equally to all. Let these particulars suffice on the subject of golden rings and the use of them.

1 Oxen, namely. The smaller victims had the head encircled with chaplets.

2 The clasps by which the "sagum" or military cloak was fastened on the shoulders.

3 See the beginning of Chapter 4 of the present Book.

4 Isidorus Hispalensis, Orig. B. xix. c. 30, says that bracelets were formerly so called from the circumstance of being conferred on warriors as the reward of bravery—"ob virtutem." Scævola, Ulpian, and others speak of "viriolæ" as ornaments worn by females.

5 See B. xxxvii. c. 6.

6 In allusion to the use of gold as an ornament for the shoes and sandal-ties.

7 A dress worn over the tunic, and which came as low as the ankles or feet. The stola was the characteristic dress of the Roman matrons of rank; other females being restricted to the use of the toga, which did not reach so low.

8 Between the matrons of rank whose feet were not to be seen at all, and the plebeian females, whose feet were seen, but comparatively unadorned.

9 In the same way that the gold ring was the distinguishing mark of the Equites, so would the gold ankle-jewels be the characteristic of this new order of females. In the use of the word "Equcstrem," Ajasson absolutely detects an indelicate allusion, and rallies our author on thus retaining "the aroma of the camp!"

10 "Pædagogiis." The origin of our word "page." The pages of the Romans were decorated with gold ankle-jewels and other ornaments for the legs.

11 Or Horus, the god of silence. Ajasson is of opinion that this impression on the seal was symbolical of the secrecy which ought to be preserved as to written communications.

12 To the Emperor's presence.

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