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But of the extravagance which prevails at the present time Lucullus was the first oiiginator, he who subdued Mithridates, as Nicolaus the Peripatetic relates. For he, coming to Rome after the defeat of Mithridates, and also after that of Tigranes, the king of Armenia, and having triumphed, and having given in an account of his exploits in war, proceeded to an extravagant way of living from his former simplicity, and was the first teacher of luxury to the Romans, having amassed the wealth of the two before-mentioned kings. But the famous Cato, as Polybius tells us in the thirty-fourth book of his History, was very indignant, and cried out, that some men had introduced foreign luxury into Rome, having bought an earthen jar of pickled fish from Pontus for three hundred drachmæ, and some beautiful boys at a higher price than a man might buy a field. “But in former times the inhabitants of Italy were so easily contented, that even now,” says Posidonius, “those who are in very easy circumstances are used to accustom their sons to drink as much water as possible, and to eat whatever they can get. And very often,” says he, “the father or mother asks their son whether he chooses to have pears or nuts for his supper; and then he, eating some of these things, is contented and goes to bed.” But now, as Theopompus tells us in the first book of his history of the Actions of Philip, there is no one of those who are even tolerably well off who does not provide a most sumptuous table, and who has not cooks and a great many more attendants, and who does not spend more on his daily living than formerly men used to spend on their festivals and sacrifices. And since now this present discussion has gone far enough, let us end this book at this point.
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