VIII[8arg] A passage from a speech of Favonius, an early orator, containing an attack which he made on luxurious entertainments, when he was advocating the Licinian law for lessening extravagance.
WHEN I was reading an old speech of Favonius, a man of no little eloquence, in which 1 . . . I learned the whole of it by heart, in order to be able to remember that such extravagant living is truly hateful. These words which I have added are those of Favonius: 2 “The leaders in gluttony and luxury declare that an entertainment is not elegant, unless, when you are eating with the greatest relish, your plate is removed and a better, richer dainty comes from the reserves. This to-day is thought the very flower of a feast among those with whom extravagance and fastidiousness take the place of elegance; who say that the whole of no bird ought to be eaten except a fig-pecker; who think that a dinner is mean and stingy unless so many of the other birds and fatted fowl are provided, that the guests may be satisfied with the rumps and hinder parts; who believe that those who eat the upper parts of such birds and fowl have no refinement of taste. If luxury continues to increase in its present proportion, what remains but that men should bid someone to eat their dinners for them, in order that they may not fatigue themselves by feeding, when the couch is more profusely adorned with gold, silver and purple for a few mortals than for the immortal gods?” 3 [p. 83]