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Scipio's Generosity to his Mother

His next object was to cultivate lofty sentiments in
Scipio's liberality to his mother.
regard to money, and to maintain a higher standard of disinterestedness than other people. In this respect he had an excellent start in his association with his natural father (L. Aemilius): but he also had good natural impulses towards the right; and chance contributed much to his success in this particular aim. For he first lost the mother of his adoptive father, who was the sister of his natural father Lucius, and wife of his adoptive grandfather, Scipio the Great. She left a large fortune, to which he was heir, and which gave him the first opportunity of giving a proof of his principles. Aemilia, for that was this lady's name, was accustomed to attend the women's processions in great state, as sharing the life and high fortune of Scipio. For besides the magnificence of her dress and carriage, the baskets, cups, and such implements for the sacrifice, which were carried in her train, were all of silver or gold on great occasions; and the number of maid-servants and other domestics that made up her train was in proportion to this splendour. All this establishment, immediately after Aemilia's funeral, Scipio presented to his own mother, who had long before been divorced by his father Lucius, and was badly off considering the splendour of her birth.1 She had therefore in previous years refrained from taking part in grand public processions; but now; as there chanced to be an important state sacrifice, she appeared surrounded with all the splendour and wealth which had once been Aemilia's using among other things the same muleteers, pair of mules, and carriage. The ladies, therefore, who saw it were much impressed by the kindness and liberality of Scipio, and all raised their hands to heaven and prayed for blessings upon him. This act, indeed, would be thought honourable anywhere, but at Rome it was quite astonishing: for there no one ever thinks of giving any of his private property to any one if he can help it. This was the beginning of Scipio's reputation for nobility of character, and it spread very widely,—for women are talkative and prone to exaggeration whenever they feel warmly.

1 She was the daughter of C. Papirius Carbo, Coss. B. C. 231.

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