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Statues of this nature are still in existence at various places. At Rome, in fact, and in our municipal towns, we still see many such pediments of temples; wonderful too, for their workmanship, and, from their artistic merit and long duration, more deserving of our respect than gold, and certainly far less baneful. At the present day even, in the midst of such wealth as we possess, we make our first libation at the sacrifice, not from murrhine1 vases or vessels of crystal, but from ladles2 made of earthenware.

Bounteous beyond expression is the earth, if we only consider in detail her various gifts. To omit all mention of the cereals, wine, fruits, herbs, shrubs, medicaments, and metals, bounties which she has lavished upon us, and which have already passed under our notice, her productions in the shape of pottery alone, would more than suffice, in their variety, to satisfy our domestic wants; what with gutter-tiles of earthenware, vats for receiving wine, pipes3 for conveying water, conduits4 for supplying baths, baked tiles for roofs, bricks for foundations, the productions, too, of the potter's wheel; results, all of them, of an art, which induced King Numa to establish, as a seventh company,5 that of the makers of earthenware.

Even more than this, many persons have chosen to be buried in coffins6 made of earthenware; M. Varro, for instance, who was interred, in true Pythagorean style, in the midst of leaves of myrtle, olive, and black poplar; indeed, the greater part of mankind make use of earthen vases for this purpose. For the service of the table, the Samian pottery is even yet held in high esteem; that, too, of Arretium in Italy, still maintains its high character; while for their cups, and for those only, the manufactories of Surrentum, Asta, Pollentia, Saguntum in Spain, and Pergamus in Asia,7 are greatly esteemed.

The city of Tralles, too, in Asia, and that of Mutina in Italy, have their respective manufactures of earthenware, and even by this branch of art are localities rendered famous; their productions, by the aid of the potter's wheel, becoming known to all countries, and conveyed by sea and by land to every quarter of the earth. At Erythræ, there are still shown, in a temple there, two amphoræ, that were consecrated in consequence of the singular thinness of the material: they originated in a contest between a master and his pupil, which of the two could make earthenware of the greatest thinness. The vessels of Cos are the most highly celebrated for their beauty, but those of Adria8 are considered the most substantial.

In relation to these productions of art, there are some instances of severity mentioned: Q. Coponius, we find, was condemned for bribery, because he made present of an amphora of wine to a person who had the right of voting. To make luxury, too, conduce in some degree to enhance our estimation of earthenware, "tripatinium,"9 as we learn from Fenestella, was the name given to the most exquisite course of dishes that was served up at the Roman banquets. It consisted of one dish of murænæ,10 one of lupi,11 and a third of a mixture of fish. It is clear that the public manners were then already on the decline; though we still have a right to hold them preferable to those of the philosophers even of Greece, seeing that the representatives of Aristotle, it is said, sold, at the auction of his goods, as many as seventy dishes of earthenware. It has been already12 stated by us, when on the subject of birds, that a single dish cost the tragic actor Æsopus one hundred thousand sesterces; much to the reader's indignation, no doubt; but, by Hercules! Vitellius, when emperor, ordered a dish to be made, which was to cost a million of sesterces, and for the preparation of which a furnace had to be erected out in the fields! luxury having thus arrived at such a pitch of excess as to make earthenware even sell at higher prices than murrhine13 vessels. It was in reference to this circumstance, that Mucianus, in his second consulship, when pronouncing one of his perorations, reproached the memory of Vitellius with his dishes as broad as the Pomptine Marsh; not less deserving to be execrated than the poisoned dish of Asprenas, which, according to the accusation brought against him by Cassius Severus, caused the death of one hundred and thirty guests.14

These works of artistic merit have conferred celebrity on some cities even, Rhegium for example, and Cumæ. The priests of the Mother of the gods, known as the Galli, deprive themselves of their virility with a piece of Samian15 pottery, the only means, if we believe M. Cælius,16 of avoiding dangerous results. He it was, too, who recommended, when inveighing against certain abominable practices, that the person guilty of them should have his tongue cut out, in a similar manner; a reproach which would appear to have been levelled by anticipation against this same Vitellius.

What is there that human industry will not devise? Even broken pottery has been utilized; it being found that, beaten to powder, and tempered with lime, it becomes more solid and durable than other substances of a similar nature; forming the cement known as the "Signine"17 composition, so extensively employed for even making the pavements of houses.18

1 See B. xxxiii. c. 2, and B. xxxvii. cc. 7, 8, 11.

2 "Simpuvia."

3 See B. xxxi. c. 31.

4 "Mammatis." The exact meaning of this word is unknown. The passage is evidently in a corrupt state.

5 As to the Roman "Collegia," see B. viii. c. 42, and B. xxxiv. c. 1.

6 "Solia."—The same name is given also to a kind of sitting or re- clining-bath, often mentioned by Pliny.

7 Asia Minor.

8 See B. iii. c. 18.

9 A service of three dishes.

10 See B. ix. c. 39.

11 See B. ix. cc. 24, 28, 74, 79.

12 In B. x. c. 72.

13 See Note 60 above.

14 See B. xxiii. c. 47, and the end of this Book.

15 Martial speaks of this practice, B. iii. Epigr. 81.

16 Nothing further seems to be known of this personage, or of the grounds of his invective. Pliny may possibly allude to some abominable practices, with which Vitellius is charged by Suetonius also.

17 The "Opus Signinum" was a plaster or cement much used for making pavements. It took its name from Signia, in Italy, celebrated for its tiles. See B. iii. c. 9.

18 The floors of the Roman houses were seldom boarded.

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