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The highest price ever given for a man born in slavery, so far as I am able to discover, was that paid for Daphnus, the grammarian, who was sold by Natius of Pisaurum1 to M. Scaurus, the first man in the state, for seven hundred thousand sesterces.2 In our day, no doubt, comic actors have fetched a higher price, but then they were purchasing their own freedom. In the time of our ancestors, Roscius, the actor, gained five hundred thousand sesterces annually. Perhaps, too, a person might in the present instance refer to the case of the army commissary3 in the Armenian war, which was of late years undertaken in favour of Tiridates; which officer, in our own time, received his manumission from Nero for the sum of thirteen million sesterces;4 but, in this case, the consideration was the profit to be derived from the war,5 and it was not the value of the man that was paid for. And so, too, when Lutorius Priscus bought of Sejanus, the eunuch, Pæzon, for fifty million sesterces,6 the price was given, by Hercules! rather to gratify the passion of the purchaser, than in commendation of the beauty of the slave. Universal sorrow and consternation then reigning, the public were too much pre-occupied with it to put a stop to a bargain of so scandalous a nature.7

1 Now Pesaro.

2 We have the same difficulty in ascertaining the sums here mentioned, as in all former cases. Holland estimates the sum given for Daphnus at 300,700 sesterces, vol. i. p. 175.—B.

3 "Dispensator;" we have an explanation of this term, B. xxxiii. c. 13.—B.

4 Holland estimates the sum paid for the enfranchisement of this man at 120,000 sesterces, vol. i. p. 175.—B.

5 In his capacity, probably, of contractor for provisions and stores.

6 Holland estimates the price paid on this occasion at 3,500 sesterces, ubi supra, thus differing exceedingly from Ajasson's estimate.—B.

7 "Quam quidam injuriam lucri fecit ille mercatus in luctu civitatis, quoniam arguere nulli vacabat." We can see the meaning of this passage, but a literal translation of it, as it stands, is out of the question.

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