Seneca, Consolatio ad Helviam X:
Clearly, our dictator who heard the ambassadors of the Samnites as he turned the most vile food over on the hearth with his hand – the same hand which which he had often struck the enemy and placed the laurel on the lap of Capitoline Jupiter – I say, this dictator had a less blessed life than the one Apicius lived in our memory. Apicius, a professor of culinary knowledge in that city from which philosophers were once banished as corruptors of the youth, affected the entire age with his art. It is worth learning about his death.
When he had tossed away a hundred million sesterces on his kitchen, since he had spent on single feasts the equivalent of so many tributes to the emperor and all the Capitoline treasury, he found himself oppressed by debt and for the first time, under compulsion, checked his account. He calculated that he had only ten million sesterces left, and thinking that he would live in utter starvation if he had to live on that, he ended his life with poison. How great was his luxury, when ten million sesterces was poverty to him!
Scilicet minus beate uiuebat dictator noster qui Samnitium legatos audit cum uilissimum cibum in foco ipse manu sua uersaret — illa qua iam saepe hostem percusserat laureamque in Capitolini Iouis gremio reposuerat — quam Apicius nostra memoria uixit, qui in ea urbe ex qua aliquando philosophi uelut corruptores iuuentutis abire iussi sunt scientiam popinae professus disciplina sua saeculum infecit.’ Cuius exitum nosse operae pretium est. Cum sestertium milliens in culinam coniecisset, cum tot congiaria principum et ingens Capitolii uectigal singulis comisationibus exsorpsisset, aere alieno oppressus rationes suas tunc primum coactus inspexit: superfuturum sibi sestertium centiens computauit et uelut in ultima fame uicturus si in sestertio centiens uixisset, ueneno uitam finiuit. Quanta luxuria erat cui centiens sestertium egestas fuit!