|Do not fly Iberia
Translated by Wilmer Cave Wright
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|Now these were very trivial matters and could not so far make the city hostile to me. But my greatest offence of all, and what aroused that violent hatred of yours, was the following. When I [Note 1] arrived among you the populace in the theatre, who were being oppressed by the rich, first of all cried aloud, "Everything plentiful; everything dear!" On the following day I had an interview with your powerful citizens and tried to persuade them that it is better to despise unjust profits and to benefit the citizens and the strangers in your city. And they promised to take charge of the matter, but though for three successive months I took no notice and waited, they neglected the matter in a way that no one would have thought possible. And when I saw that there was truth in the outcry of the populace, and that the pressure in the market was due not to any scarcity but to the insatiate greed of the rich, I appointed a fair price for everything, and made it known to all men. And since the citizens had everything else in great abundance, wine, for instance, and olive oil and all the rest, but were short of corn, because there had been a terrible failure of the crops owing to the previous droughts, I decided to send to Chalcis and Hierapolis and the cities round about, and from them I imported for you four hundred thousand measures of corn. And when this too had been used, I first expended five thousand, then later seven thousand, and now again ten thousand bushels -- modii" as they are called in my country -- all of which was my very own property; moreover I gave to the city corn which had been brought for me from Egypt; and the price which I set on it was a silver piece, not for ten measures but for fifteen, that is to say, the same amount that had formerly been paid for ten measures. And if in summer, in your city, that same number of measures is sold for that sum, what could you reasonably have expected at the season when, as the Boeotian poet [Note 2] says, "It is a cruel thing for famine to be in the house." Would you not have been thankful to get five measures for that sum, especially when the winter had set in so severe?