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Scipio's Liberality

The next instance was his conduct to the daughters
Scipio's liberality to his cousins, sisters to his adoptive father.
of the Great Scipio, sisters to his adoptive father.1 When he took the inheritance he was bound to pay them their portion. For their father covenanted to give each of his two daughters a marriage portion of fifty talents. Half of this their mother paid down at once to their husbands, but left the other half undischarged when she died. Now, the Roman law enjoins the payment of money due to women as dowry in three annual instalments, the personal outfit having been first paid within ten months according to custom.2 But Scipio instructed his banker at once to pay the twenty-five talents to each within the ten months. When, therefore, Tiberius Gracchus and Scipio Nasica, for they were the husbands of these ladies, called on the banker at the expiration of the ten months, and asked whether Scipio had given him any instructions as to the money, he told them they might have it at once, and proceeded to enter the transfer of twenty-five talents to each.3 They then said that he had made a mistake, for they had no claim for the whole as yet, but only took a third according to the law; and upon the banker answering that such were his instructions from Scipio, they could not believe him, and went to call on the young man, supposing him to have made a mistake. And, indeed, their feelings were natural: for at Rome, so far from paying fifty talents three years in advance, no one will pay a single talent before the appointed day; so excessively particular are they about money, and so profitable do they consider time. However, when they reached Scipio and asked him what instructions he had given his banker, on his replying, "To pay both sisters the whole sum due to them," they told him he had made a mistake; and with a show of friendly regard pointed out to him that, according to the laws, he had the use of the money for a considerable time longer. But Scipio replied that he was quite aware of all that; but that close reckoning and legal exactness were for strangers; with relations and friends he would do his best to behave straightforwardly and liberally. He therefore bade them draw on the banker for the whole sum. When Tiberius and Nasica heard this they returned home in silence, quite confounded at the magnanimity of Scipio, and condemning themselves for meanness, though they were men of as high a character as any at Rome.

1 The following pedigree will show the various family connexions here alluded to:—

Publius Cornelius Scipioob. in Spain B. C. 212 P. Cornelius Scipio Africanusob. B.C. 187 Aemiliaob. B.C. 162 Lucius Aemilius Paulusob. B.C. 160 Papiria P. Scipio Nasica Cornelia(1) Tib. Sempronius Gracchus Cornelia(2) Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanusob. s. p. adopted his cousin who became Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus ob. B. C. 129. Quintus Fabius Maximusadopted by Q. F. M. Scipio Aemilianusb. B.C. 185 two daughters

2 τῶν ἐπίπλων, the ornamenta of a bride, consisting of clothes, jewels, slaves, and other things, in accordance with her station. See Horace, Sat. 2, 3, 214. For the three instalments in which it was necessary to pay dowries, see Cicero ad Att. ii. 23; 2 Phil. § 113.

3 ποιοῦντος τὴν διαγραφὴν seems a banker's term for "paying," i.e. by striking off or cancelling a debt entered against a man. The only other instance of such a use seems to be Dionys. Hal. 5, 28.

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