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Legacy of L. Aemilius Paulus

The strongest and most honourable proof of the integrity
The small property left by Aemilius Paulus at his death is a proof of his disinterestedness.
of Lucius Aemilius Paulus was made public after his death. For the character which he enjoyed while alive was found to be justified at his death, than which there can be no clearer proof of virtue. No one of his contemporaries brought home more gold from Iberia than he; no one captured such enormous treasures as he did in Macedonia; and yet, though in both these countries he had the most unlimited authority, he left so small a private fortune, that his sons could not pay his wife's jointure wholly from the sale of his personalty, and were obliged to sell some of his real estate also to do so, a fact of which I have already spoken in some detail.
See 18, 35
This forces us to acknowledge that the fame of the men who have been admired in Greece in this respect suffers by a comparison. For if to abstain from appropriating money, entrusted to a man for the benefit of the depositor, deserves our admiration,—as is said to have happened in the case of the Athenian Aristeides and the Theban Epaminondas,—how much more admirable is it for a man to have been master of a whole kingdom, with absolute authority to do with it as he chose, and yet to have coveted nothing in it! And if what I say appears incredible to any of my readers, let them consider that the present writer was fully aware that Romans, more than any other people, would take his books into their hands,—because the most splendid and numerous achievements recorded therein belong to them; and that with them the truth about the facts could not possibly be unknown, nor the author of a falsehood expect any indulgence.
Polybius has the fear of Roman critics before his eyes.
No one then would voluntarily expose himself to certain disbelief and contempt. And let this be kept in mind throughout the whole course of my work, when I seem to be making a startling assertion about the Romans.

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