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These perfumes form the objects of a luxury which may be looked upon as being the most superfluous of any, for pearls and jewels, after all, do pass to a man's representative,1 and garments have some durability; but unguents lose their odour in an instant, and die away the very hour they are used. The very highest recommendation of them is, that when a female passes by, the odour which proceeds from her may possibly attract the attention of those even who till then are intent upon something else. In price they exceed so large a sum even as four hundred denarii per pound: so vast is the amount that is paid for a luxury made not for our own enjoyment, but for that of others; for the person who carries the perfume about him is not the one, after all, that smells it.

And yet, even here, there are some points of difference that deserve to be remarked. We read in the works of Cicero,2 that those unguents which smell of the earth are preferable to those which smell of saffron; being a proof, that even in a matter which most strikingly bespeaks our state of extreme corruptness, it is thought as well to temper the vice by a little show of austerity.3 There are some persons too who look more particularly for consistency4 in their unguents, to which they accordingly give the name of "spissum;5 thus showing that they love not only to be sprinkled, but even to be plastered over, with unguents. We have known the very soles6 even of the feet to be sprinkled with perfumes; a refinement which was taught, it is said, by M. Otho7 to the Emperor Nero. How, I should like to know, could a perfume be at all perceptible, or, indeed, productive of any kind of pleasure, when placed on that part of the body? We have heard also of a private person giving orders for the walls of the bath-room to be sprinkled with unguents, while the Emperor Caius8 had the same thing done to his sitting-bath:9 that this, too, might not be looked upon as the peculiar privilege of a prince, it was afterwards done by one of the slaves that belonged to Nero.

But the most wonderful thing of all is, that this kind of luxurious gratification should have made its way into the camp even: at all events, the eagles and the standards, dusty as they are, and bristling with their sharpened points, are anointed on festive10 days. I only wish it could, by any possibility, be stated who it was that first taught us this practice. It was, no doubt, under the corrupting influence of such temptations as these, that our eagles achieved the conquest11 of the world: thus do we seek to obtain their patronage and sanction for our vices, and make them our precedent for using unguents even beneath the casque.12

1 "Heres." The person was so called who succeeded to the property, whether real or personal, of an intestate.

2 See B. xvii. c. 3, where he quotes this passage from Cicero at length. It appears to be from De Orat. B. iii. c. 69. Both Cicero and Pliny profess to find a smell that arises from the earth itself, through the agency of the sun. But, as Fée remarks, pure earth is perfectly inodorous. He suggests, however, that this odour attributed by the ancients to the earth, may in reality have proceeded from the fibrous roots of thyme and other plants. If such is not the real solution, it seems impossible to suggest any other.

3 By giving preference to the more simple odours.

4 "Crassitudo."

5 Or "thick" unguent.

6 We learn from Athenæus, and a passage in the Aulularia of Plautus, that this was done long before Nero's time, among the Greeks.

7 Who succeeded Galba. He was one of Nero's favourite companions in his debaucheries.

8 Caligula.

9 Solium.

10 After victories, for instance, or when marching orders were given.

11 This is said in bitter irony.

12 Sub casside.

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