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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9460
Pliny The Younger, Letters, 2.7


nanTo Macrinus: Yesterday, on the motion of the Emperor, a triumphal statue was decreed to Vestricius Spurinna. He is not one of those heroes, of whom there have been many, who have never stood in battle, never seen a camp, and never heard the call of the trumpets except at the public shows: no, he is one of the real heroes who used to win that decoration by the sweat of their brow, by shedding their blood and doing mighty deeds. For Spurinna restored by force of arms the king of the Bructeri to his kingdom, and, after threatening war, subdued that savage race by the terror of his name, which is the noblest kind of victory. That was the reward of his valour, and the fact that his son Cottius, whom he lost while he was away on his duties, was deemed worthy of being honoured with a statue has solaced his grief for his loss. Young men rarely attain such distinction, but his father deserved this additional honour, for it required some considerable solace to heal his bitter wound. Moreover, Cottius himself had given such striking proofs of his splendid character that his short and narrow life ought to be prolonged by the immortality, so to speak, that a statue confers upon him; for his uprightness, his weight of character, his influence were such that his virtues served as a spur even to the older men with whom he has now been placed on an equality by the honour paid to him.


nanTo Macrinus. Yesterday, on the motion of the Emperor, a triumphal statue was decreed to Vestricius Spurinna. He is not one of those heroes, of whom there have been many, who have never stood in battle, never seen a camp, and never heard the call of the trumpets except at the public shows If I understand the matter aright, in conferring that dignity upon him, regard was had not only to the memory of the dead man and the grief of his father, but also to the effect it would have upon others. When such splendid rewards are bestowed upon young men - provided they deserve them - they will serve to sharpen the inclinations of the rising generation to the practice of the honourable arts; they will make our leading men more desirous of bringing up their children, increase the joy they will have in them if they survive, and provide a glorious consolation if they lose them. It is for these reasons that I rejoice on public grounds that a statue has been decreed to Cottius, and on personal grounds I am equally delighted. My affection for that most accomplished youth was as strong as is my ungovernable sorrow at his loss. So I shall find it soothing from time to time to gaze upon his statue, to look back upon it, to stand beneath it, and to walk past it. For if the busts of the dead that we set up in our private houses assuage our grief, how much more soothing should be the statues of our dead friends erected in the most frequented spots, which recall to us not only the form and face of our lost ones, but also their dignities and glory? Farewell.


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

6 results
1. Augustus, Res Gestae Divi Augusti, 34 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

2. Josephus Flavius, Jewish Antiquities, 12.40-12.42, 12.60-12.84, 12.248-12.255, 12.318 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

12.41. He also gave order to those who had the custody of the chest that contained those stones, to give the artificers leave to choose out what sorts of them they pleased. He withal appointed, that a hundred talents in money should be sent to the temple for sacrifices, and for other uses. 12.41. upon whose fall the army did not stay; but when they had lost their general, they were put to flight, and threw down their arms. Judas also pursued them and slew them, and gave notice by the sound of the trumpets to the neighboring villages that he had conquered the enemy; 12.42. Now I will give a description of these vessels, and the manner of their construction, but not till after I have set down a copy of the epistle which was written to Eleazar the high priest, who had obtained that dignity on the occasion following: 12.42. 1. But when Demetrius was informed of the death of Nicanor, and of the destruction of the army that was with him, he sent Bacchides again with an army into Judea 12.61. And when he was informed how large that was which was already there, and that nothing hindered but a larger might be made, he said that he was willing to have one made that should be five times as large as the present table; but his fear was, that it might be then useless in their sacred ministrations by its too great largeness; for he desired that the gifts he presented them should not only be there for show, but should be useful also in their sacred ministrations. 12.62. According to which reasoning, that the former table was made of so moderate a size for use, and not for want of gold, he resolved that he would not exceed the former table in largeness; but would make it exceed it in the variety and elegancy of its materials. 12.63. And as he was sagacious in observing the nature of all things, and in having a just notion of what was new and surprising, and where there was no sculptures, he would invent such as were proper by his own skill, and would show them to the workmen, he commanded that such sculptures should now be made, and that those which were delineated should be most accurately formed by a constant regard to their delineation. 12.64. 9. When therefore the workmen had undertaken to make the table, they framed it in length two cubits [and a half], in breadth one cubit, and in height one cubit and a half; and the entire structure of the work was of gold. They withal made a crown of a hand-breadth round it, with wave-work wreathed about it, and with an engraving which imitated a cord, and was admirably turned on its three parts; 12.65. for as they were of a triangular figure, every angle had the same disposition of its sculptures, that when you turned them about, the very same form of them was turned about without any variation. Now that part of the crown-work that was enclosed under the table had its sculptures very beautiful; but that part which went round on the outside was more elaborately adorned with most beautiful ornaments, because it was exposed to sight, and to the view of the spectators; 12.66. for which reason it was that both those sides which were extant above the rest were acute, and none of the angles, which we before told you were three, appeared less than another, when the table was turned about. Now into the cordwork thus turned were precious stones inserted, in rows parallel one to the other, enclosed in golden buttons, which had ouches in them; 12.67. but the parts which were on the side of the crown, and were exposed to the sight, were adorned with a row of oval figures obliquely placed, of the most excellent sort of precious stones, which imitated rods laid close, and encompassed the table round about. 12.68. But under these oval figures, thus engraven, the workmen had put a crown all round it, where the nature of all sorts of fruit was represented, insomuch that the bunches of grapes hung up. And when they had made the stones to represent all the kinds of fruit before mentioned, and that each in its proper color, they made them fast with gold round the whole table. 12.69. The like disposition of the oval figures, and of the engraved rods, was framed under the crown, that the table might on each side show the same appearance of variety and elegancy of its ornaments; so that neither the position of the wave-work nor of the crown might be different, although the table were turned on the other side, but that the prospect of the same artificial contrivances might be extended as far as the feet; 12.71. but upon the table itself they engraved a meander, inserting into it very valuable stones in the middle like stars, of various colors; the carbuncle and the emerald, each of which sent out agreeable rays of light to the spectators; with such stones of other sorts also as were most curious and best esteemed, as being most precious in their kind. 12.72. Hard by this meander a texture of net-work ran round it, the middle of which appeared like a rhombus, into which were inserted rock-crystal and amber, which, by the great resemblance of the appearance they made, gave wonderful delight to those that saw them. 12.73. The chapiters of the feet imitated the first buddings of lilies, while their leaves were bent and laid under the table, but so that the chives were seen standing upright within them. 12.74. Their bases were made of a carbuncle; and the place at the bottom, which rested on that carbuncle, was one palm deep, and eight fingers in breadth. 12.75. Now they had engraven upon it with a very fine tool, and with a great deal of pains, a branch of ivy and tendrils of the vine, sending forth clusters of grapes, that you would guess they were nowise different from real tendrils; for they were so very thin, and so very far extended at their extremities, that they were moved with the wind, and made one believe that they were the product of nature, and not the representation of art. 12.76. They also made the entire workmanship of the table appear to be threefold, while the joints of the several parts were so united together as to be invisible, and the places where they joined could not be distinguished. Now the thickness of the table was not less than half a cubit. 12.77. So that this gift, by the king’s great generosity, by the great value of the materials, and the variety of its exquisite structure, and the artificer’s skill in imitating nature with graying tools, was at length brought to perfection, while the king was very desirous, that though in largeness it were not to be different from that which was already dedicated to God, yet that in exquisite workmanship, and the novelty of the contrivances, and in the splendor of its construction, it should far exceed it, and be more illustrious than that was. 12.78. 10. Now of the cisterns of gold there were two, whose sculpture was of scale-work, from its basis to its belt-like circle, with various sorts of stones enchased in the spiral circles. 12.79. Next to which there was upon it a meander of a cubit in height; it was composed of stones of all sorts of colors. And next to this was the rod-work engraven; and next to that was a rhombus in a texture of net-work, drawn out to the brim of the basin 12.81. And this was the construction of the two cisterns of gold, each containing two firkins. But those which were of silver were much more bright and splendid than looking-glasses, and you might in them see the images that fell upon them more plainly than in the other. 12.82. The king also ordered thirty vials; those of which the parts that were of gold, and filled up with precious stones, were shadowed over with the leaves of ivy and of vines, artificially engraven. 12.83. And these were the vessels that were after an extraordinary manner brought to this perfection, partly by the skill of the workmen, who were admirable in such fine work, but much more by the diligence and generosity of the king 12.84. who not only supplied the artificers abundantly, and with great generosity, with what they wanted, but he forbade public audiences for the time, and came and stood by the workmen, and saw the whole operation. And this was the cause why the workmen were so accurate in their performance, because they had regard to the king, and to his great concern about the vessels, and so the more indefatigably kept close to the work. 12.248. 4. Now it came to pass, after two years, in the hundred forty and fifth year, on the twenty-fifth day of that month which is by us called Chasleu, and by the Macedonians Apelleus, in the hundred and fifty-third olympiad, that the king came up to Jerusalem, and, pretending peace, he got possession of the city by treachery; 12.249. at which time he spared not so much as those that admitted him into it, on account of the riches that lay in the temple; but, led by his covetous inclination, (for he saw there was in it a great deal of gold, and many ornaments that had been dedicated to it of very great value,) and in order to plunder its wealth, he ventured to break the league he had made. 12.251. for he forbade them to offer those daily sacrifices which they used to offer to God, according to the law. And when he had pillaged the whole city, some of the inhabitants he slew, and some he carried captive, together with their wives and children, so that the multitude of those captives that were taken alive amounted to about ten thousand. 12.252. He also burnt down the finest buildings; and when he had overthrown the city walls, he built a citadel in the lower part of the city, for the place was high, and overlooked the temple; on which account he fortified it with high walls and towers, and put into it a garrison of Macedonians. However, in that citadel dwelt the impious and wicked part of the [Jewish] multitude, from whom it proved that the citizens suffered many and sore calamities. 12.253. And when the king had built an idol altar upon God’s altar, he slew swine upon it, and so offered a sacrifice neither according to the law, nor the Jewish religious worship in that country. He also compelled them to forsake the worship which they paid their own God, and to adore those whom he took to be gods; and made them build temples, and raise idol altars in every city and village, and offer swine upon them every day. 12.254. He also commanded them not to circumcise their sons, and threatened to punish any that should be found to have transgressed his injunction. He also appointed overseers, who should compel them to do what he commanded. 12.255. And indeed many Jews there were who complied with the king’s commands, either voluntarily, or out of fear of the penalty that was denounced. But the best men, and those of the noblest souls, did not regard him, but did pay a greater respect to the customs of their country than concern as to the punishment which he threatened to the disobedient; on which account they every day underwent great miseries and bitter torments; 12.318. o he chose out some of his soldiers, and gave them order to fight against those guards that were in the citadel, until he should have purified the temple. When therefore he had carefully purged it, and had brought in new vessels, the candlestick, the table [of shew-bread], and the altar [of incense], which were made of gold, he hung up the veils at the gates, and added doors to them. He also took down the altar [of burnt-offering], and built a new one of stones that he gathered together, and not of such as were hewn with iron tools.
3. Pliny The Elder, Natural History, 35.12-35.13 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

4. Suetonius, Claudius, 3.2 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

5. Tacitus, Annals, 2.33, 3.55 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

2.33.  At the next session, the ex-consul, Quintus Haterius, and Octavius Fronto, a former praetor, spoke at length against the national extravagance; and it was resolved that table-plate should not be manufactured in solid gold, and that Oriental silks should no longer degrade the male sex. Fronto went further, and pressed for a statutory limit to silver, furniture, and domestics: for it was still usual for a member to precede his vote by mooting any point which he considered to be in the public interest. Asinius Gallus opposed:— "With the expansion of the empire, private fortunes had also grown; nor was this new, but consot with extremely ancient custom. Wealth was one thing with the Fabricii, another with the Scipios; and all was relative to the state. When the state was poor, you had frugality and cottages: when it attained a pitch of splendour such as the present, the individual also throve. In slaves or plate or anything procured for use there was neither excess nor moderation except with reference to the means of the owner. Senators and knights had a special property qualification, not because they differed in kind from their fellow-men, but in order that those who enjoyed precedence in place, rank, and dignity should enjoy it also in the easements that make for mental peace and physical well-being. And justly so — unless your distinguished men, while saddled with more responsibilities and greater dangers, were to be deprived of the relaxations compensating those responsibilities and those dangers." — With his virtuously phrased confession of vice, Gallus easily carried with him that audience of congenial spirits. Tiberius, too, had added that it was not the time for a censorship, and that, if there was any loosening of the national morality, a reformer would be forthcoming. 3.55.  When the Caesar's epistle had been read, the aediles were exempted from such a task; and spendthrift epicureanism, after being practised with extravagant prodigality throughout the century between the close of the Actian War and the struggle which placed Servius Galba on the throne, went gradually out of vogue. The causes of that change may well be investigated. Formerly aristocratic families of wealth or outstanding distinction were apt to be led to their downfall by a passion for magnificence. For it was still legitimate to court or be courted by the populace, by the provincials, by dependent princes; and the more handsome the fortune, the palace, the establishment of a man, the more imposing his reputation and his clientèle. After the merciless executions, when greatness of fame was death, the survivors turned to wiser paths. At the same time, the self-made men, repeatedly drafted into the senate from the municipalities and the colonies, and even from the provinces, introduced the plain-living habits of their own hearths; and although by good fortune or industry very many arrived at an old age of affluence, yet their prepossessions persisted to the end. But the main promoter of the stricter code was Vespasian, himself of the old school in his person and table. Thenceforward, deference to the sovereign and the love of emulating him proved more powerful than legal sanctions and deterrents. Or should we rather say there is a kind of cycle in all things — moral as well as seasonal revolutions? Nor, indeed, were all things better in the old time before us; but our own age too has produced much in the sphere of true nobility and much in that of art which posterity well may imitate. In any case, may the honourable competition of our present with our past long remain!
6. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 2.7 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

2.7. To Macrinus. Yesterday, on the motion of the Emperor, a triumphal statue was decreed to Vestricius Spurinna. He is not one of those heroes, of whom there have been many, who have never stood in battle, never seen a camp, and never heard the call of the trumpets except at the public shows If I understand the matter aright, in conferring that dignity upon him, regard was had not only to the memory of the dead man and the grief of his father, but also to the effect it would have upon others. When such splendid rewards are bestowed upon young men - provided they deserve them - they will serve to sharpen the inclinations of the rising generation to the practice of the honourable arts; they will make our leading men more desirous of bringing up their children, increase the joy they will have in them if they survive, and provide a glorious consolation if they lose them. It is for these reasons that I rejoice on public grounds that a statue has been decreed to Cottius, and on personal grounds I am equally delighted. My affection for that most accomplished youth was as strong as is my ungovernable sorrow at his loss. So I shall find it soothing from time to time to gaze upon his statue, to look back upon it, to stand beneath it, and to walk past it. For if the busts of the dead that we set up in our private houses assuage our grief, how much more soothing should be the statues of our dead friends erected in the most frequented spots, which recall to us not only the form and face of our lost ones, but also their dignities and glory? Farewell.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
aemilius lepidus, m. Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 138
antiochus iv epiphanes Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 138
appearance Laes Goodey and Rose, Disabilities in Roman Antiquity: Disparate Bodies (2013) 34
asinius gallus Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 138
augustus, shield inscribed with his virtues Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 138
child Laes Goodey and Rose, Disabilities in Roman Antiquity: Disparate Bodies (2013) 34
chronic disease Laes Goodey and Rose, Disabilities in Roman Antiquity: Disparate Bodies (2013) 34
claudius Laes Goodey and Rose, Disabilities in Roman Antiquity: Disparate Bodies (2013) 34
claudius sabinus, app. Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 138
death Laes Goodey and Rose, Disabilities in Roman Antiquity: Disparate Bodies (2013) 34
disparity Laes Goodey and Rose, Disabilities in Roman Antiquity: Disparate Bodies (2013) 34
health Laes Goodey and Rose, Disabilities in Roman Antiquity: Disparate Bodies (2013) 34
imagines, in funerals Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 138
impietas against, and virtus Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 138
intelligence Laes Goodey and Rose, Disabilities in Roman Antiquity: Disparate Bodies (2013) 34
lutatius catulus, q. Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 138
morio Laes Goodey and Rose, Disabilities in Roman Antiquity: Disparate Bodies (2013) 34
pliny the younger Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 138
ptolemy ii philadelphus Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 138
res gestae Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 138
rome, basilica aemilia Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 138
rome, temple of bellona Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 138
satire Laes Goodey and Rose, Disabilities in Roman Antiquity: Disparate Bodies (2013) 34
servilius priscus, p. Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 138
shields Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 138
statuary, honorific Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 138
statuary Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 138
statues, recycling' Galinsky, Memory in Ancient Rome and Early Christianity (2016) 243
statues Galinsky, Memory in Ancient Rome and Early Christianity (2016) 243
status Laes Goodey and Rose, Disabilities in Roman Antiquity: Disparate Bodies (2013) 34
stutter Laes Goodey and Rose, Disabilities in Roman Antiquity: Disparate Bodies (2013) 34
vestricius spurinna, t., his son commemorated Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 138