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But it was this conquest by Pompeius Magnus that first introduced so general a taste for pearls and precious stones; just as the victories, gained by L. Scipio1 and Cneius Manlius,2 had first turned the public attention to chased silver, Attalic tissues, and banquetting-couches decorated with bronze; and the conquests of L. Mummius had brought Corinthian bronzes and pictures into notice.

(2.) To prove more fully that this was the case, I will here give the very words of the public Registers3 with reference to the triumphs of Pompeius Magnus. On the occasion of his third triumph, over the Pirates and over the Kings and nations of Asia and Pontus that have been already enumerated in the Seventh Book4 of this work, M. Piso and M. Messala being consuls,5 on the day before6 the calends of October, the anniversary of his birth, he displayed in public, with its pieces, a chess-board,7 made of two precious stones, three feet in width by two in length—and to leave no doubt that the resources of Nature do become exhausted, I will here observe, that no precious stones are to be found at the present day, at all approaching such dimensions as these; as also that there was upon this board a moon of solid gold, thirty pounds in weight! —three banquetting-couches; vessels for nine waiters, in gold and precious stones; three golden statues of Minerva, Mars, and Apollo; thirty-three crowns adorned with pearls; a square mountain of gold, with stags upon it, lions, and all kinds of fruit, and surrounded with a vine of gold; as also a musæum,8 adorned with pearls, with an horologe9 upon the top of it.

There was a likeness also in pearls of Pompeius himself, his noble countenance, with the hair thrown back from the forehead, delighting the eye. Yes, I say, those frank features, so venerated throughout all nations, were here displayed in pearls! the severity of our ancient manners being thus subdued, and the display being more the triumph of luxury than the triumph of conquest. Never, most assuredly, would Pompeius have so long maintained his surname of "Magnus" among the men of that day, if on the occasion of his first10 conquest his triumph had been such as this. Thy portrait in pearls, O Magnus! those resources of prodigality, that have been discovered for the sake of females only! Thy portrait in pearls, refinements in luxury, which the Roman laws would not have allowed thee to wear even! And was it in this way that thy value must be appreciated? Would not that trophy have given a more truthful likeness of thee which thou hadst erst erected upon the Pyrenæan11 mountain heights? Assuredly such a portrait as this had been no less than a downright ignominy and disgrace, were we not bound to behold in it a menacing presage of the anger of the gods, and to see foreshadowed thereby the time when that head, now laden with the wealth of the East, was to be displayed, severed from the body.12

But in other respects, how truly befitting the hero was this triumph! To the state, he presented two thousand millions of sesterces; to the legati and quæstors who had exerted themselves in defence of the sea coast, he gave one thousand millions of sesterces; and to each individual soldier, six thousand sesterces. He has rendered, however, comparatively excusable the Emperor Caius,13 who, in addition to other femmine luxuries, used to wear shoes adorned with pearls; as also the Emperor Nero, who used to adorn his sceptres with masks worked in pearls, and had the couches, destined for his pleasures, made of the same costly materials. Nay, we have no longer any right, it would seem, to censure the employment of drinking-cups adorned with precious stones, of various other articles in daily use that are similarly enriched, and of rings that sparkle with gems: for what species of luxury can there be thought of, that was not more innocent in its results than this on the part of Pompeius?

1 See B. xxxiii c. 53.

2 See B. xxxiv. c. 8.

3 "Acta."

4 Chapter 7.

5 A.U.C. 693.

6 30th of September

7 "Alveum lusorium."

8 Probably meaning a shrine dedicated to the Muses.

9 See B. ii. c. 78, and B. vii. c. 60.

10 That of Africa.

11 See B. vii. c. 27.

12 As was the case, after the murder of Pompey in Egypt.

13 Caligula.

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