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For why should I mention those displays of extravagance, which can be believed by none but those who have seen them; as that mountains have been leveled, and seas covered with edifices,1 by many private citizens; men whom I consider to have made a sport of their wealth,2 since they were impatient to squander disreputably what they might have enjoyed with honor.

But the love of irregular gratification, open debauchery, and all kinds of luxury,3 had spread abroad with no less force. Men forgot their sex; women threw off all the restraints of modesty. To gratify appetite, they sought for every kind of production by land and by sea; they slept before there was any inclination for sleep; they no longer waited to feel hunger, thirst, cold,4 or fatigue, but anticipated them all by luxurious indulgence. Such propensities drove the youth, when their patrimonies were exhausted, to criminal practices; for their minds, impregnated with evil habits, could not easily abstain from gratifying their passions, and were thus the more inordinately devoted in every way to rapacity and extravagance.

1 XIII. Seas covered with edifices] “Maria constructa esse.” “Contracta pisces æquora sentiunt,
Jactis in altum molibus, etc. Hor. Od., iii.
” “----The haughty lord, who lays
His deep foundations in the seas,
And scorns earth's narrow bound;
The fish affrighted feel their waves
Contracted by his numerous slaves,
Even in the vast profound. Francis.”

2 To have made a sport of their wealth] “Quibus mihi videntur ludibrio fuisse divitiæ.” "They spent their riches on objects which, in the judgment of men of sense, are ridiculous and contemptible." Cortius.

3 Luxury] “Cultûs.” "Deliciarum in victu, luxuries of the table; for we must be careful not to suppose that apparel is meant." Cortius.

4 Cold] “Frigus.” It is mentioned by Cortius that this word is wanting in one MS.; and the English reader may possibly wish that it were away altogether. Cortius refers it to cool places built of stone, sometimes underground, to which the luxurious retired in the hot weather; and he cites Pliny, Ep., v. 6, who speaks of a crytoporticus, a gallery from which the sun was excluded, almost as if it were underground, and which even in summer was cold nearly to freezing. He also refers to Ambros., Epist. xii., and Casaubon. ad Spartian. Adrian., c. x., p. 87.

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