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He reduced the expense of the plays and public spectacles, by diminishing the allowances to actors, and curtailing the number of gladiators. He made grievous complaints to the senate, that the price of Corinthian vessels was become enormous, and that three mullets had been sold for thirty thousand sesterces: upon which he proposed that a new sumptuary law should be enacted; that the butchers and other dealers in viands should be subject to an assize, fixed by the senate yearly; and the aediles commissioned to restrain eating-houses and taverns, so far as not even to permit the sale of any kind of pastry. And to encourage frugality in the public by his own example, he would often, at his solemn feasts, have at his tables victuals which had been served up the day before, and were partly eaten, and half a boar, affirming, It has all the same good bits that the whole had." He published an edict against the practice of people's kissing each other when they met; and would not allow new year's gifts 1 to be presented after the calends [the first] of January was passed. He had been in the habit of returning these offerings four-fold, and making them with his own hand; but being annoyed by the continual interruption to which he was exposed during the whole month, by those who had not the opportunity of attending him on the festival, he returned none after that day.

1 Strenas; the French étrennes.

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