And Philippides, in his Disappearance of Silver, speaks of the use of it as ostentatious and uncommon, and aimed at only by some foreigners who had made fortunes but lately—
A. I felt a pity for all human things,And Alexis, in his Little House, introducing a young man in love displaying his wealth to his mistress, represents him as making her some such speech as this—
Seeing men nobly born to ruin hasting,
And branded slaves displaying silver dishes
Whene'er they ate a pennyworth of salt-fish,
Or a small handful of capers, in a plate
Whose weight is fifty drachms of purest silver.
And formerly 'twould have been hard to see
One single flagon vow'd unto the gods.
B. That is rare now. For if one man should vow
A gift like that, some other man would steal it.
A. I told the slaves, (for I brought two from home,)And I am myself acquainted with one of our own fellow-citizens who is as proud as he is poor, and who, when all his silver plate put together scarcely weighed a drachma, used to keep calling for his servant, a single individual, an the only one he had, but still he called him by hundreds of different names. “Here, you Strombichides, do not put o the table [p. 364] any of my winter plate, but my summer plate.” And the character in Nicostratus, in the play entitled the Kings, is just such another. There is a braggart soldier, of whom he speaks—
To place the carefully wiped silver vessels
Fairly in sight. There was a silver goblet,
And cups which weigh'd two drachms; a beaker too
Whose weight was four; a wine-cooler, ten obols,
Slighter than e'en Philippides' own self.
And yet these things are not so ill-contrived
To make a show . . . .
There is some vinegar and a wine-cooler,For there were at that time people who were able to beat out silver till it was as thin as a piece of skin.
Thinner than thinnest gauze.