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32. Surena now took the head and hand of Crassus and sent them to Hyrodes in Armenia, but he himself sent word by messengers to Seleucia that he was bringing Crassus there alive, and prepared a laughable sort of procession which he insultingly called a triumph. [2] That one of his captives who bore the greatest likeness to Crassus, Caius Paccianus, put on a woman's royal robe, and under instructions to answer to the name of Crassus and the title of Imperator when so addressed, was conducted along on horseback. Before him rode trumpeters and a few lictors borne on camels; from the fasces of the lictors purses were suspended, and to their axes were fastened Roman heads newly cut off; [3] behind these followed courtezans of Seleucia, musicians, who sang many scurrilous and ridiculous songs about the effeminacy and cowardice of Crassus and these things were for all to see.

But before the assembled senate of Seleucia, Surena brought licentious books of the ‘Milesiaca’ 1 of Aristides, and in this matter, at least, there was no falsehood on his part, for the books were found in the baggage of Roscius, and gave Surena occasion to heap much insulting ridicule upon the Romans, since they could not, even when going to war, let such subjects and writings alone. [4] The people of Seleucia, however, appreciated the wisdom of Aesop2 when they saw Surena with a wallet of obscenities from the ‘Milesiaca’ in front of him, but trailing behind him a Parthian Sybaris in so many waggon-loads of concubines.3 After a fashion his train was a counter-part to the fabled echidnae and scytalae among serpents, by showing its conspicuous and forward portions fearful and savage, with spears, archery, and horse, [5] but trailing off in the rear of the line into dances, cymbals, lutes, and nocturnal revels with women. Roscius was certainly culpable, but it was shameless in the Parthians to find fault with the ‘Milesiaca,’ when many of the royal line of their Arsacidae were sprung from Milesian and Ionian courtezans.

1 Probably a collection of love stories, the scenes of which were laid in Miletus. Of its author, who flourished perhaps in the second century B.C., almost nothing is known.

2 In the fable of the two wallets, which everyone carries, one in front containing his neighbour's faults, which are therefore always before his eyes; and one behind containing his own faults, which he therefore never sees.

3 Cf. chapter xxi. 6.

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