XV. A similar fortune seems to have attended the dedication of the second temple. The first, as I have said, was built by Tarquin, but consecrated by Horatius; this was destroyed by fire during the civil wars.1
The second temple was built by Sulla, but Catulus was commissioned to consecrate it,2
after the death of Sulla.
This temple, too was destroyed, during the troublous times of Vitellius,3
and Vespasian began and completely finished the third, with the good fortune that attended him in all his undertakings. He lived to see it completed, and did not live to see it destroyed, as it was soon after; and in dying before his work was destroyed he was just so much more fortunate than Sulla, who died before his was consecrated. For upon time death of Vespasian the Capitol was burned.4
The fourth temple, which is now standing on the same site as the others, was both completed and consecrated by Domitian. It is said that Tarquin expended upon its foundations forty thousand pounds of silver. But time greatest wealth now attributed to any private citizen of Rome would not pay the cost of the gilding alone of the present temple, which was more than twelve thousand talents.5
Its pillars are of Pentelic marble,6
and their thickness was once most happily proportioned to their length; for we saw them at Athens. But when they were recut and scraped at Rome, they did not gain as much in polish as they lost in symmetry and beauty, and they now look too slender and thin.
However, if anyone who is amazed at the costliness of the Capitol had seen a single colonnade in the palace of Domitian, or a basilica or a bath, or the apartments for his concubines, then, as Epicharmus says to the spendthrift,
'Tis not beneficent thou art; thou art diseased; thy mania is to give,
so he would have been moved to say to Domitian:
‘'Tis not pious, nor nobly ambitious that thou art; thou art diseased; thy mania is to build; like the famous Midas, thou desirest that every thing become gold and stone at thy touch.’ So much, then, on this head.