|Religion||Subjects||Images||Queries||Links||Contact||Do not fly Iberia|
Do not display Latin text
Augustus, Chapter 71: Girls and gaming.
Return to index
With respect to the charge or imputation of loathsome impurity before-mentioned, he [Note 1] very easily refuted it by the chastity of his life, at the very time when it was made, as well as ever afterwards. His conduct likewise gave the lie to that of luxurious extravagance in his furniture, when, upon the taking of Alexandria, he reserved for himself nothing of the royal treasures but a porcelain cup, and soon afterwards melted down all the vessels of gold, even such as were intended for common use. But his amorous propensities never left him, and, as he grew older, as is reported, he was in the habit of debauching young girls, who were procured for him, from all quarters, even by his own wife. To the observations on his gaming, he paid not the smallest regard; but played in public, but purely for his diversion, even when he was advanced in years; and not only in the month of December [during the Saturnalia], but at other times, and upon all days, whether festivals or not. This evidently appears from a letter under his own hand, in which he says,|
I supped, my dear Tiberius, with the same company. We had, besides, Vinicius, and Silvius the father. We gamed at supper like old fellows, both yesterday and to-day. And as any one threw upon the tali [dice] aces or sixes, he put down for every talus a denarius; all which was gained by him who threw a Venus.
In another letter, he says: We had, my dear Tiberius, a pleasant time of it during the festival of Minerva: for we played every day, and kept the gaming-board warm. Your brother uttered many exclamations at a desperate run of ill-fortune; but recovering by degrees, and unexpectedly, he in the end lost not much. I lost twenty thousand sesterces for my part; but then I was profusely generous in my play, as I commonly am; for had I insisted upon the stakes which I declined, or kept what I gave away, I should have won about fifty thousand. But this I like better: for it will raise my character for generosity to the skies.
In a letter to his daughter, [Note 1] he writes thus:
I have sent you two hundred and fifty denarii, which I gave to every one of my guests; in case they were inclined at supper to divert themselves with the tali, or at the game of Even-or-Odd.
|Ex quibus sive criminibus sive maledictis infamiam impudicitiae facillime refutavit et praesentis et posterae vitae castitate; item lautitiarum invidiam, cum et Alexandria capta nihil sibi praeter unum murrinum calicem ex instrumento regio retinuerit et mox vasa aurea assiduissimi usus conflaverit omnia. Circa libidines haesit, postea quoque, ut ferunt, ad vitiandas virgines promptior, quae sibi undique etiam ab uxore conquirerentur. Aleae rumorem nullo modo expavit lusitque simpliciter et palam oblectamenti causa etiam senex ac praeterquam Decembri mense aliis quoque festis et profestis diebus. Nec id dubium est. Autographa quadam epistula: "Cenavi," ait, "mi Tiberi, cum iisdem; accesserunt convivae Vinicius et Silius pater. Inter cenam lusimus geronticos et heri et hodie; talis enim iactatis, ut quisque canem aut senionem miserat, in singulos talos singulos denarios in medium conferebat, quos tollebat universos, qui Venerem iecerat." Et rursus aliis litteris: "Nos, mi Tiberi, Quinquatrus satis iucunde egimus; lusimus enim per omnis dies forumque aleatorium calfecimus. Frater tuus magnis clamoribus rem gessit; ad summam tamen perdidit non multum, sed ex magnis detrimentis praeter spem paulatim retractum est. Ego perdidi viginti milia nummum meo nomine, sed cum effuse in lusu liberalis fuissem, ut soleo plerumque. Nam si quas manus remisi cuique exegissem aut retinuissem quod cuique donavi, vicissem vel quinquaginta milia. Sed hoc malo; benignitas enim mea me ad caelestem gloriam efferet." Scribit ad filiam: "Misi tibi denarios ducentos quinquaginta, quos singulis convivis dederam, si vellent inter se inter cenam vel talis vel par impar ludere."|