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It is generally believed, but erroneously, that silver was first employed for making statues of the deified Emperor Augustus, at a period when adulation was all the fashion: for I find it stated, that in the triumph celebrated by Pompeius Magnus there was a silver statue exhibited of Pharnaces, the first1 king of Pontus, as also one of Mithridates Eupator,2 besides chariots of gold and silver.

Silver, too, has in some instances even supplanted gold; for the luxurious tastes of the female plebeians having gone so far as to adopt the use of shoe-buckles of gold,3 it is considered old-fashioned to wear them made of that metal.4 I myself, too, have seen Arellius Fuscus5—the person whose name was erased from the equestrian order on a singularly calumnious charge,6 when his school was so thronged by our youth, attracted thither by his celebrity—wearing rings made of silver. But of what use is it to collect all these instances, when our very soldiers, holding ivory even in contempt, have the hilts of their swords made of chased silver? when, too, their scabbards are heard to jingle with their silver chains, and their belts with the plates of silver with which they are inlaid?

At the present day, too, the continence of our very pages is secured by the aid of silver:7 our women, when bathing, quite despise any sitting-bath that is not made of silver: while for serving up food at table, as well as for the most unseemly purposes, the same metal must be equally employed! Would that Fabricius could behold these instances of luxuriousness, the baths of our women—bathing as they do in company with the men—paved with silver to such an extent that there is not room left for the sole of the foot even! Fabricius, I say, who would allow of no general of an army having any other plate than a patera and a salt-cellar of silver. —Oh that he could see how that the rewards of valour in our day are either composed of these objects of luxury, or else are broken up to make them!8 Alas for the morals of our age! Fabricius puts us to the blush.

1 Meaning the first king of that name. He was son of Mithridates IV., king of Pontus.

2 Appian says that there "was a gold statue of this Mithridates, exhibited in the triumph of Pompey, eight cubits in height," Plutarch speaks of another statue of the same king, exhibited by Lucullus, six feet in height.

3 "Compedes." See Chapter 12 of this Book.

4 The translation of this passage is somewhat doubtful. We will, therefore, subjoin that of Holland, who adopts the other version. "As we may see by our proud and sumptuous dames, that are but commoners and artizans' wives, who are forced to make themselves carquans and such ornaments for their shoes, of silver, because the rigour of the statute provided in that case will not permit them to weare the same of gold."

5 A rhetorician who taught at Rome in the reign of Augustus. The poet Ovid was one of his pupils. His rival in teaching declamation was Porcius Latro.

6 Of an improper intimacy with his pupils.

7 Rings of silver being passed through the prepuce. This practice is described by Celsus, B. vii. c. 25.

8 "Videret hinc dona fortium fieri, aut in hæc frangi."

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