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There is another cretaceous earth, known as "argentaria,"1 from the brightness2 which it imparts to silver. There is also the most inferior kind of chalk; which was used by the ancients for tracing the line of victory3 in the Circus, and for marking the feet of slaves on sale, that were brought from beyond sea. Such, for instance, were Publilius4 Lochius, the founder of our mimic scenes; his cousin, Manilius Antiochus,5 the first cultivator of astronomy; and Staberius Eros, our first grammarian; all three of whom our ancestors saw brought over in the same ship6

(18.) But why mention these names, recommended as they are by the literary honours which they acquired? Other instances too, Rome has beheld of persons rising to high positions from the slave-market;7 Chrysogonus, for example, the freedman of Sylla; Amphion, the freedman of Q. Catulus; the man who was the keeper8 of Lucullus; Demetrius, the freedman of Pompeius, and Auge, the freedwoman of Demetrius,9 or else of Pompeius himself, as some have supposed; Hipparchus, the freedman of M. Antonius; as also, Menas10 and Menecrates,11 freedmen of Sextus Pompeius, and many others as well, whom it would be superfluous to enumerate, and who have enriched themselves at the cost of Roman blood, and the licence that results from proscription.

Such is the mark that is set upon those droves of slaves which we see on sale, such the opprobrium thrown upon them by a capricious fortune ! And yet, some of these very men have we beheld in the enjoyment of such power and influence, that the senate itself has decreed them—at the command of Agrippina,12 wife of the Emperor Claudius—the decorations even of the prætorship: all but honoured with the fasces and their laurels, in fact, and sent back in state to the very place from which they originally came, with their feet whitened with the slave-dealer's chalk!

1 Plate powder; from "argentum," "silver." See B. xvii. c. 4.

2 Whitening, or chalk washed and prepared, is still used for this purpose.

3 The goal for the chariots.

4 This reading is restored by Sillig from the Bamberg MS., but no particulars are known relative to the person alluded to; unless, indeed, as Sillig suspects to be the case, he is identical with Publius Syrus, the writer of mimes, mentioned in B. viii. c. 77.

5 Supposed by some to have been the Manilius who was author of the poem called "Astronomica," still in existence. It is more probable, however, that he was the father of the poet, or perhaps the grandfather; as it is clear from a passage in Suetonius, that Staberius Eros taught at Rome during the civil wars of Sylla, while the poem must have been written, in part at least, after the death of Augustus.

6 Being afterwards manumitted. Sillig thinks that they may have arrived in Rome about B.C. 90.

7 "Catasta." A raised platform of wood on which the slaves were exposed for sale.

8 "Rectorem." For an explanation of this allusion, see B. xxviii. c. 14.

9 A native of Gadara in Syria, according to Josephus. Seneca speaks of him as being more wealthy than his master.

10 Or Menodorus, who deserted Sextus Pompeius and went over to Octavianus.

11 Who remained faithful to Pompeius, and died in his cause.

12 He is probably speaking in reference to her paramour, the freedman Pallas. See B. xxxiii. c. 47.

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