“Once, when [Caligula] was playing dice and had learned that he didn’t have any money, he demanded the tax roles of the Gauls and then ordered the wealthiest of them to be killed. He returned to his said that “while you have been competing over a few mere handfuls, I have come into one hundred and fifty million.” And those men died without any plan it all.
A certain one of them, Julius Sacerdos, who was well-to-do but certainly not one of the super-rich to the each that he should have been attached for it, was killed because he had a similar name. Everything happened with as little concern as this.
I don’t need to mention any of the many others who died by name, but I will talk about those for whom history demands some memory. First, he had Lentulus Gaetulicus killed—he was well-reputed in every way and had been an overseer of Germany for ten years all because he was dear to his soldiers. He also killed Lepidus, his lover and beloved, Drusilla’s husband, a man who had joined Gaius himself in having sex with those other sisters, Argippina and Julia. He had even stood for office five years soon than the law allowed and he had kept announcing that he would leave him as the successor of the empire. He sent the soldiers money for that man, as if he had overcome some enemy, and also sent three daggers to Mars the Avenger in Rome.”
“The second class after these are farmers who are the most numerous of the Indians. They pay no attention to martial weapons or deeds of war, but instead work the land and pay taxes to the kinds or the cities that are independent. If war should break out among the Indians, it is unlawful for them to touch those who work the land or to ravage the land. While the other Indians are warring against each other and killing each other where they may, the majority of them plow the land at peace, or tend their fines or harvest their crops.
The third class of Indians are herdsmen, shepherds and cowherds. These men do not live in cities or in villages but are nomads living their lives in the hills. They also pay taxes from their possessions. In addition, they hunt birds and wild beasts throughout the country.
The fourth group is made up of craftsmen and shopkeepers. These men do public works and pay tax from their own labors except for the portion that fashions war weapons. These men also receive pay from the common wealth. In this group one also finds shipwrights and the sailors who navigate the rivers.
The warriors form the fifth class of Indians and they are second in number after the farmers although they enjoy special freedom and happiness. These warriors practice only for war. Others make their weapons; others provide their horses; others attend them in the camp to care for their horses, keep their weapons in good order, handle the elephants, tend to the chariots and drive them. When it is necessary, they fight, but they are happy when there is peace. Their pay at the public expense is great enough that they can support others on it with ease.
Men who are called overseers form the sixth class. These men oversee all acts through the country and the city and report on them to the king where there is a king or to the officers where cities are independent. It is unlawful for them to report something false, but no Indian has faced a charge of perjury.
The seventh group are men who deliberate with the kind on the common good or with the leaders in the autonomous cities. This class is small and surpasses all others in wisdom and justice. From the members of the group they select provincial governors, lieutenants, treasurers, generals, admirals, stewards and directors of agriculture.
It is unlawful to marry outside your class. For example, for someone from the artisan class to marry a farmer or the reverse. It is unlawful for one man to pursue two trades or to change classes, as if a herdsman might become a farmer or a craftsman become a herder. It is only permitted for a wise man to come from every class since their jobs is not easy but the most burdensome of all.”
“Megasthenes claims that there are 128 Indian tribes. There are certainly many tribes in India; on this I agree with Megasthenes. But I cannot figure out precisely how he learned and then recorded this number when he did not visit the greater part of the Indian lands, and when there isn’t much engagement among many of the peoples with one another. In ancient times, the Indians were nomads who did not farm like the Skythians. They wandered from one place to another on wagons exchanging places with the Skythians, neither founding cities nor consecrating temples to the gods. So in India, there were no cities nor temples built, but they girt themselves in the skins of the beasts they killed and ate the bark of trees. In their own language they called those trees tala—on these trees grow just as on the tops of palm trees something like a tuft of wool.
They also ate the animals they killed raw until Dionysus arrived in their land. When Dionysus arrive, that he might grow stronger in India, he founded many cities and established their laws and he gave the Indians wine must as he did the Greeks and he also taught them to plow the earth once he gave them seeds himself. For this reason, either Triptolemos did not come to this part of the earth when he was sent by Demeter to distribute grain to the world or Dionysus came before Triptolemos and gave them the seeds of civilized grains. Dionysus first taught them to yoke bulls and many of them to be farmers instead of nomads. He also armed them with weapons for war. He taught them to worship the gods, especially himself by beating on drums and sounding cymbals. He taught them the satyr dance which the Greeks call the kordax and he taught them to grow long hair to honor the gods, how to wear turbans, and apply oils. Even when Alexander arrived, Indians went into battle to the sound of cymbals and drums.”
“If it were possible to develop a sufficient analysis of whether or not men and states should be praised or criticized from only their victories and defeats, then I think I could stop here and end my investigation, and end the work at these most immediately narrated events, according to my original plan. For the fifty-three years end here which brought about the expansion and advance of Roman power. In later years, it seems it was agreed that it was necessary for everyone to heed the Romans and obey what they commanded.
But since evaluations of rulers and the conquered, if based merely on the contests themselves, are not at all complete—this is because what seems to many to be the greatest successes, if they are not used correctly, may bring the greatest disasters; and, in turn, the most shocking disasters at times can turn into the advantage of those who suffer them if they handle them well—we must add to the events that have been described the policy of the conquerors, what it was like after this and how they ruled in general, the various beliefs and evaluations of those who were ruled by them, and in addition to these things, I must investigate the actions and passions which overpowered and dominated men in their private lives and in their shared governments. It is obvious that it will be clear from these things whether the Roman rule should be avoided or instead should be sought and for future generations whether the Roman rule should be praised and envied or criticized. And this indeed will be the most useful contribution of my work both for the present day and years to come.”