or AURA'TA, C. SE'RGIUS, was a contemporary of L. Crassus the orator, and lived a short time before the Marsic war.
He was distinguished for his great wealth, his love of luxury and refinement, and possessed withal an unblemished character.
In a fragment of Cicero, preserved by Augustin, Orata is described as a man "ditissimus, amoenissimus, deliciosissimus ;" and it is related of him, that he was the first person who invented the pensiles balneae,
that is, baths with the hypocausta
under them (Dict. of Ant. s. u. Balneum
), and also the first who formed artificial oyster-beds at Baiae, from which he obtained a large revenue.
He is further said to have been the first person who asserted and established the superiority of the shell-fish from the Lucrine lake, although under the empire they were less esteemed than those from Britain. His surname Orata
was given to him, according to some authorities, because he was very fond of goldfish (auratae pisces
), according to others, because he was in the habit of wearing two very large gold rings. (Augustin. de Beata Vita,
100.26, p. 308, ed. Bened.; Cic. de Off,
3.16, de Fin.
2.22, de Orat.
1.39; V. Max. 9.1.1
; Plin. Nat. 9.54. s. 79
; Varr. R. R.
3.3.10; Col. 8.16.5
; Macrob. Saturn.
2.11; Festus, s. v. Orata.