previous next


Indeed, while making these reflections, one cannot but feel ashamed of the men of ancient times even. There are still in existence censorial1 laws, which forbid the kernels2 in the neck of swine to be served at table, dormice too, and other things too trifling to mention: and yet there has been no law passed, forbidding marble to be imported, or the seas to be traversed in search of it!

(2.) It may possibly be observed, that this was, because marble was not then introduced. Such, however, is not the fact; for in the ædileship of M. Scaurus,3 three hundred and sixty columns were to be seen imported; for the decorations of a temporary theatre, too, one that was destined to be in use for barely a single month. And yet the laws were silent thereon; in a spirit of indulgence for the amusements of the public, no doubt. But then, why such indulgence? or how do vices more insidiously steal upon us than under the plea of serving the public? By what other way, in fact, did ivory, gold, and precious stones, first come into use with private individuals?

Can we say that there is now anything that we have reserved for the exclusive use of the gods? However, be it so, let us admit of this indulgence for the amusements of the public; but still, why did the laws maintain their silence when the largest of these columns, pillars of Lucullan4 marble, as much as eight-and-thirty feet in height, were erected in the atrium of Scaurus? a thing, too, that was not done privately or in secret; for the contractor for the public sewers compelled him to give security for the possible damage that might be done in the carriage of them to the Palatium.5 When so bad an example as this was set, would it not have been advisable to take some precautions for the preservation of the public morals? And yet the laws still preserved their silence, when such enormous masses as these were being carried past the earthenware6 pediments of the temples of the gods, to the house of a private individual!

1 See B. viii. c. 82.

2 "Glandia."

3 See Chapter 24 of this Book.

4 See Chapter 8 of this Book.

5 In the Eleventh Region of the City.

6 See B. xxxv. cc. 43, 45.

Creative Commons License
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.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (4 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: