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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



1085
Apuleius, The Golden Ass, 8.23


nanAuctioned Having fled from that detestable halt, leaving the residents in the depths of mourning, we travelled on again, and marching all day over the plain arrived, exhausted, at a well-known populous city. The herdsmen decided to make their home and permanent residence there, as seeming to offer a safe retreat far from anyone who might search for them, and also attracted by the abundance of rich and plentiful food. After three days rest to restore the animals, and render us more saleable, we were taken off to market. In a loud voice the auctioneer announced our prices, but while the horses and other asses were sold to some wealthy man I alone remained, an unsold item, scorned in disgust. I was angered by now at being pawed by buyers trying to guess my age from my teeth, so when a man with foul-smelling hands kept scraping my gums again and again with his fetid fingers, I grabbed his hand with my teeth and crushed it to a pulp. This rid those standing by of any desire to buy a creature so ferocious, so the auctioneer, whose voice was cracked and hoarse, began to utter witticisms at my expense. 'How long must this old nag stand here without a sale? Poor old thing, he's crippled by worn-out hooves, deformed from pain, and totally lazy except when he's being vicious. His skin's fit for nothing but making a garbage sieve. So I'll give him away to any man who won't mind wasting fodder.' With such remarks the auctioneer had the crowd roaring with laughter. But cruel and savage Fortune, whom my flight across the land had not eluded, un-placated by my earlier sufferings, turned her blind gaze once more in my direction, and amazingly put me in the way of the very purchaser to add to my harsh misfortunes. Learn what he was: a eunuch, and an old one at that, bald on top but with ringlets of grey hair circling his scalp, the scum of society, one of the dregs who frequent the city streets sounding their cymbals and castanets, dragging the Syrian Great Goddess round with them, using her to beg. He was more than eager to buy me, and asked where I came from. 'Oh, he's a fine Cappadocian, a strong little chap,' the auctioneer cried. And how many years had I? 'Well,' the auctioneer replied, 'the astrologer who did his chart said this year he was five, but no doubt as a citizen who fills in his census returns he can tell you the answer better than I. It's a crime of course to sell you a Roman citizen as a slave, that's the Cornelian Law, still why not buy yourself this fine and useful piece of property, who'll give you satisfaction at home and abroad?' This odious buyer kept on asking one question after another, and finally asked anxiously how docile I might be. 'This is no ass you see before you, it's a bell-wether of the flock, never a biter or kicker, but gentle as a lamb for any task. You'd think,' said the auctioneer, 'that inside this ass's hide lived the mildest of human-beings. It's not hard to prove either: just stick your face between his back legs, and you'll easily demonstrate his truly passive nature.' The auctioneer was having fun at the eunuch's expense, but the latter got the point of the joke and swore with feigned indignation: 'You lunatic, you deaf and dumb corpse of an auctioneer! I call on the all-powerful, the all-creating goddess, Syrian Atagartis; and holy Sabazius too, and Ma of Commagene; on Idaean Mother Cybele and her consort Attis; on Lady Astarte and her consort Adonis; may they strike you blind as well for tormenting me with your scurrilous jests. Do you think I'd entrust the goddess, you fool, to some savage creature that might tumble her sacred image from its back, and be forced to run round like a servant-girl, hair streaming in the wind, to find a doctor for my goddess as she lay there on the ground?' Hearing that, it crossed my mind to start leaping around like mad, so he'd give up the whole idea of buying me when he saw how savage I was when roused. But that eager purchaser thwarted my scheme, by paying a price on the nail that my owner, of course, being doubtless thoroughly sick and tired of me, swiftly and joyfully accepted: less than a single gold piece, seventeen denarii. He handed me over at once with the halter, made of common broom, to this Philebus for such was the name of the man who was my new owner.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

6 results
1. Juvenal, Satires, 11.146 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

2. Martial, Epigrams, 5.35, 9.59 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

3. Martial, Epigrams, 5.35, 9.59 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

4. Apuleius, The Golden Ass, 7.17-7.19, 7.21, 7.23-7.24, 7.26, 7.28, 8.1, 8.15-8.16, 8.22 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

5. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 10.29-10.30 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

10.29. To Trajan. Sempronius Caelianus, who is an excellent young officer, has sent me two slaves who were discovered among the recruits, and I have postponed their punishment in order to consult you, who are at once the founder and upholder of military discipline, as to the penalty I should inflict What makes me specially doubtful in the matter is, that though the two men had subscribed to the military oath, they had not been assigned to any company of the legions. So I beg you, Sir, to write and tell me what course I ought to adopt, the more so as the case promises to be a precedent. 10.30. Trajan to Pliny. Sempronius Caelianus acted in conformity with my commands in sending to you the slaves, into whose case we must inquire to see whether they have deserved capital punishment. But it all depends on whether they volunteered to serve, or whether they were picked out for service or even offered as substitutes. If they were picked out, then the recruiting officer made a mistake; if they were offered as substitutes, the fault lies with those who offered them; if they came of their own free will, knowing their status as slaves, then they are the persons to be visited with punishment. For it does not much matter that they had not yet been assigned to a company of the legions. The real truth as to their origin should have been found out on the day when they were passed for service.
6. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 10.29-10.30 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
apuleius Lateiner and Spatharas, The Ancient Emotion of Disgust (2016) 215
bestial Lateiner and Spatharas, The Ancient Emotion of Disgust (2016) 215
census Tacoma, Models from the Past in Roman Culture: A World of Exempla (2016) 92
citizenship Tacoma, Models from the Past in Roman Culture: A World of Exempla (2016) 92
constantine Huebner and Laes, Aulus Gellius and Roman Reading Culture: Text, Presence and Imperial Knowledge in the 'Noctes Atticae' (2019) 93
disgust elicitors Lateiner and Spatharas, The Ancient Emotion of Disgust (2016) 215
emotional wellbeing, of slaves Huebner and Laes, Aulus Gellius and Roman Reading Culture: Text, Presence and Imperial Knowledge in the 'Noctes Atticae' (2019) 93
excrement Lateiner and Spatharas, The Ancient Emotion of Disgust (2016) 215
expulsions Tacoma, Models from the Past in Roman Culture: A World of Exempla (2016) 92
fastidium, and satiety Kaster, Emotion, Restraint, and Community in Ancient Rome (2005) 199
fugitive slaves Tacoma, Models from the Past in Roman Culture: A World of Exempla (2016) 92
jews Tacoma, Models from the Past in Roman Culture: A World of Exempla (2016) 92
oral Lateiner and Spatharas, The Ancient Emotion of Disgust (2016) 215
pollution Lateiner and Spatharas, The Ancient Emotion of Disgust (2016) 215
satiety, and fastidium Kaster, Emotion, Restraint, and Community in Ancient Rome (2005) 199
sick Lateiner and Spatharas, The Ancient Emotion of Disgust (2016) 215
slaves, sexual abuse by masters Huebner and Laes, Aulus Gellius and Roman Reading Culture: Text, Presence and Imperial Knowledge in the 'Noctes Atticae' (2019) 93
slaves relationships, precariousness of Huebner and Laes, Aulus Gellius and Roman Reading Culture: Text, Presence and Imperial Knowledge in the 'Noctes Atticae' (2019) 93
slaves relationships Huebner and Laes, Aulus Gellius and Roman Reading Culture: Text, Presence and Imperial Knowledge in the 'Noctes Atticae' (2019) 93
status usurpation Tacoma, Models from the Past in Roman Culture: A World of Exempla (2016) 92
taedium Kaster, Emotion, Restraint, and Community in Ancient Rome (2005) 199
titus (emperor) Kaster, Emotion, Restraint, and Community in Ancient Rome (2005) 199
tongue' Lateiner and Spatharas, The Ancient Emotion of Disgust (2016) 215
urine Kaster, Emotion, Restraint, and Community in Ancient Rome (2005) 199
vespasian Kaster, Emotion, Restraint, and Community in Ancient Rome (2005) 199
wisse, jakob Kaster, Emotion, Restraint, and Community in Ancient Rome (2005) 199