maandag 26 oktober 2009

I have seen Lollia Paulina

I have seen Lollia Paulina, the wife of the Emperor Caius1 - it was not at any public festival, or any solemn ceremonial, but only at an ordinary wedding entertainment - covered with emeralds and pearls, which shone in alternate layers upon her head, in her hair, in her wreaths, in her ears, upon her neck, in her bracelets, and on her fingers, the value of which amounted in all to forty millions of sesterces; indeed she was prepared at once to prove the fact by showing the receipts and acquittances.
Nor were these any presents made by a prodigal potentate, but treasures which had descended to her from her grandfather, and obtained by the spoliation of the provinces. Such are the fruits of plunder and extortion!
It was for this reason that M. Lollius was held so infamous all over the East for the presents which he extorted from the kings; the result of which was, that he was denied the friendship of Caius C├Žsar2, and took poison; and all this was done, I say, that his grand-daughter might be seen, by the glare of lamps, covered all over with jewels to the amount of forty millions of sesterces!

Pliny maior, Nat.Hist. Book IX, Lviii, 117/118

1.Caligula, emperor 37-41 A.D.

2.Caius Caesar, elder brother of Lucius Caesar and Agrippa Posthumus, sons of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Julia, daughter of Augustus.
Caius and Lucius (and eventually also Agrippa Posthumus) were adopted as his sons by their grandfather Augustus.

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