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When Masurius had said this, the second course, as it is called, was served up to us; which, indeed, was very often offered to us, not only on the days of the festival of Saturn,1 when it is the custom of the Romans to feast their slaves, while they themselves discharge the offices of their slaves. But this is in reality a Grecian custom. At all events, in Crete, at the festival of Mercury, a similar thing takes place, as Carystius tells us in his Historic Reminiscences; for then, while the slaves are feasting, the masters wait upon them as if they were the servants: and so they do at Trœzen in the month Geræstius. For then there is a festival which lasts for many days, on one of which the slaves play at dice in common with the citizens, and the masters give a banquet to the slaves, as Carystius himself tells us. And Berosus, in the first book of his History of Babylon, says that on the sixteenth day of the month Lous, there is a great festival celebrated in [p. 1022] Babylon, which is called Sakeas; and it lasts five days: and during those days it is the custom for the masters to be under the orders of their slaves; and one of the slaves puts on a robe like the king's, which is called a zoganes, and is master of the house. And Ctesias also mentions this festival in the second book of his History of Persia. But the Coans act in an exactly contrary manner, as Macareus tells us in the third book of his History of Cos. For when they sacrifice to Juno, the slaves do not come to the entertainment; on which account Phylarchus says—
Among the Sourii, the freemen only
Assist at the holy sacrifice; none else
The temples or the altars dare approach;
And no slave may come near the sacred precincts.

1 The Saturnalia originally took place on the 19th of December; in the time of Augustus, on the 17th, 18th, and 19th: but the merrymaking in reality appears to have lasted seven days. Horace speaks of the licence then permitted to the slaves:—

"Age, libertate Decembri,
Quando ita majores vuluerunt, utere—narra."—Sat. ii. 7. 4.
Vide Smith, Gr. Lat. Ant.

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