Gambling With Roman Emperors

Dio Cassius, Roman Histories 59.22 [ AD 39]

“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.”

κυβεύων δέ ποτε, καὶ μαθὼν ὅτι οὐκ εἴη οἱ ἀργύριον, ᾔτησέ τε τὰς τῶν Γαλατῶν ἀπογραφάς, καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν τοὺς πλουσιωτάτους θανατωθῆναι κελεύσας, ἐπανῆλθέ τε πρὸς τοὺς συγκυβευτὰς καὶ ἔφη ὅτι “ὑμεῖς περὶ ὀλίγων δραχμῶν ἀγωνίζεσθε, ἐγὼ δὲ ἐς μυρίας καὶ πεντακισχιλίας μυριάδας ἤθροισα.” καὶ οὗτοι μὲν ἐν οὐδενὶ λόγῳ ἀπώλοντο· ἀμέλει εἷς τις αὐτῶν Ἰούλιος Σακερδὼς ἄλλως μὲν εὖ χρημάτων ἥκων, οὐ μέντοι καὶ ὑπερπλουτῶν ὥστε καὶ ἐπιβουλευθῆναι δι᾿ αὐτά, ὅμως ἐξ ἐπωνυμίας ἀπεσφάγη· οὕτως ἀκρίτως πάντα ἐγίγνετο. τῶν δὲ ἄλλων τοὺς μὲν πολλοὺς οὐδὲν δέομαι ὀνομαστὶ καταλέγειν, ὧν δὲ δὴ ἡ ἱστορία τὴν μνήμην ἀπαιτεῖ, φράσω. τοῦτο μὲν γὰρ Γαιτούλικον Λέντουλον, τά τε ἄλλα εὐδόκιμον ὄντα καὶ τῆς Γερμανίας δέκα ἔτεσιν ἄρξαντα, ἀπέκτεινεν, ὅτι τοῖς στρατιώταις ᾠκείωτο· τοῦτο δὲ τὸν Λέπιδον ἐκεῖνον τὸν ἐραστὴν τὸν ἐρώμενον, τὸν τῆς Δρουσίλλης ἄνδρα, τὸν καὶ ταῖς ἄλλαις αὐτοῦ ἀδελφαῖς τῇ τε Ἀγριππίνῃ καὶ τῇ Ἰουλίᾳ μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ ἐκείνου συνόντα, ᾧ πέντε ἔτεσι θᾶσσον τὰς ἀρχὰς παρὰ τοὺς νόμους αἰτῆσαι ἐπέτρεψεν, ὃν καὶ διάδοχον τῆς ἡγεμονίας καταλείψειν ἐπηγγέλλετο, κατεφόνευσε. καὶ τοῖς τε στρατιώταις ἀργύριον ἐπὶ τούτῳ, καθάπερ πολεμίων τινῶν κεκρατηκώς, ἔδωκε, καὶ ξιφίδια τρία τῷ Ἄρει τῷ Τιμωρῷ ἐς τὴν Ῥώμην ἔπεμψε.

NAMABG-Caligula 1.JPG
Portrait de l’empereur Gaius Julius Augustus Germanicus

“Unlawful to Marry Outside Your Class” — Greek History of India

Arrian on Indian Castes, Part II (GO here for Part 1)

Arrian, Historia Indica 11

“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.”

Greek India


δεύτεροι δ’ ἐπὶ τούτοισιν οἱ γεωργοί εἰσιν, οὗτοι πλήθει πλεῖστοι ᾿Ινδῶν ἐόντες. καὶ τούτοισιν οὔτε ὅπλα ἐστὶν ἀρήια οὔτε μέλει τὰ πολεμήια ἔργα, ἀλλὰ τὴν χώρην οὗτοι ἐργάζονται, καὶ τοὺς φόρους τοῖς τε βασιλεῦσι καὶ τῇσι πόλεσιν, ὅσαι αὐτόνομοι, οὗτοι ἀποφέρουσι. καὶ εἰ πόλεμος ἐς ἀλλήλους τοῖσιν ᾿Ινδοῖσι τύχοι,τῶν ἐργαζομένων τὴν γῆν οὐ θέμις σφιν ἅπτεσθαι οὐδὲ αὐτὴν τὴν γῆν τέμνειν, ἀλλὰ οἳ μὲν πολεμοῦσι καὶ κατακαίνουσιν ἀλλήλους ὅπως τύχοιεν, οἳ δὲ πλησίον αὐτῶν κατ’ ἡσυχίαν ἀροῦσιν ἢ τρυγῶσιν ἢ κλαδῶσιν ἢ θερίζουσιν.

τρίτοι δέ εἰσιν ᾿Ινδοῖσιν οἱ νομέες, οἱ ποιμένες τε καὶ βουκόλοι. καὶ οὗτοι οὔτε κατὰ πόληας οὔτε ἐν τῇσι κώμῃσιν οἰκέουσι νομάδες τέ εἰσι καὶ ἀνὰ τὰ ὄρεα βιοτεύουσι. φόρον δὲ καὶ οὗτοι ἀπὸ τῶν κτηνέων ἀποφέρουσι, καὶ θηρεύουσιν οὗτοι ἀνὰ τὴν χώρην ὄρνιθάς τε καὶ ἄγρια θηρία.

τέταρτον δέ ἐστι τὸ δημιουργικόν τε καὶ καπηλικὸν γένος. καὶ οὗτοι λειτουργοί εἰσι καὶ φόρον ἀποφέρουσιν ἀπὸ τῶν ἔργων τῶν σφετέρων, πλήν γε δὴ ὅσοι τὰ ἀρήια ὅπλα ποιέουσιν· οὗτοι δὲ καὶ μισθὸν ἐκ τοῦ κοινοῦ προσλαμβάνουσιν. ἐν δὲ τούτῳ τῷ γένει οἵ τε ναυπηγοὶ καὶ οἱ ναῦταί εἰσιν, ὅσοι κατὰ τοὺς ποταμοὺς πλώουσι.

πέμπτον δὲ γένος ἐστὶν ᾿Ινδοῖσιν οἱ πολεμισταί, πλήθει μὲν δεύτερον μετὰ τοὺς γεωργούς, πλείστῃ δὲ ἐλευθερίῃ τε καὶ εὐθυμίῃ ἐπιχρεόμενον. καὶ οὗτοι ἀσκηταὶ μόνων τῶν πολεμικῶν ἔργων εἰσίν· τὰ δὲ ὅπλα ἄλλοι αὐτοῖς ποιέουσι καὶ ἵππους ἄλλοι παρέχουσι καὶ διακονοῦσιν ἐπὶ στρατοπέδου ἄλλοι, οἳ τούς τε ἵππους αὐτοῖς θεραπεύουσι καὶ τὰ ὅπλα ἐκκαθαίρουσι καὶ τοὺς ἐλέφαντας ἄγουσι καὶ τὰ ἅρματα κοσμέουσί τε καὶ ἡνιοχεύουσιν. αὐτοὶ δέ, ἔστ’ ἂν μὲν πολεμεῖν δέῃ, πολεμοῦσιν, εἰρήνης δὲ γενομένης εὐθυμέονται· καί σφιν μισθὸς ἐκ τοῦ κοινοῦ τοσόσδε ἔρχεται ὡς καὶ ἄλλους τρέφειν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ εὐμαρέως.

ἕκτοι δέ εἰσιν ᾿Ινδοῖσιν οἱ ἐπίσκοποι καλεόμενοι. οὗτοι ἐφορῶσι τὰ γινόμενα κατά τε τὴν χώρην καὶ κατὰ τὰς πόληας, καὶ ταῦτα ἀναγγέλλουσι τῷ βασιλεῖ, ἵναπερ βασιλεύονται ᾿Ινδοί, ἢ τοῖς τέλεσιν, ἵναπερ αὐτόνομοί εἰσι. καὶ τούτοις οὐ θέμις ψεῦδος ἀγγεῖλαι οὐδέν, οὐδέ τις ᾿Ινδῶν αἰτίην ἔσχε ψεύσασθαι.

ἕβδομοι δέ εἰσιν οἱ ὑπὲρ τῶν κοινῶν βουλευόμενοι ὁμοῦ τῷ βασιλεῖ ἢ κατὰ πόληας ὅσαι αὐτόνομοι σὺν τῇσιν ἀρχῇσι. πλήθει μὲν ὀλίγον τὸ γένος τοῦτό ἐστι, σοφίῃ δὲ καὶ δικαιότητι ἐκ πάντων προκεκριμένον. ἔνθεν οἵ τε ἄρχοντες αὐτοῖσιν ἐπιλέγονται καὶ ὅσοι νομάρχαι καὶ ὕπαρχοι καὶ θησαυροφύλακές τε καὶ στρατοφύλακες, ναύαρχοί τε καὶ ταμίαι καὶ τῶν κατὰ γεωρ-γίην ἔργων ἐπιστάται.

γαμέειν δὲ ἐξ ἑτέρου γένεος οὐ θέμις, οἷον τοῖσι γεωργοῖσιν ἐκ τοῦ δημιουργικοῦ ἢ ἔμπαλιν. οὐδὲ δύο τέχνας ἐπιτηδεύειν τὸν αὐτὸν οὐδὲ τοῦτο θέμις, οὐδὲ ἀμείβειν ἐξ ἑτέρου γένεος εἰς ἕτερον, οἷον γεωργικὸν ἐκ νομέως γενέσθαι ἢ νομέα ἐκ δημιουργικοῦ. μοῦνόν σφισιν ἀνεῖται σοφιστὴν ἐκ παντὸς γένεος γενέσθαι, ὅτι οὐ μαλθακὰ τοῖσι σοφιστῇσίν εἰσι τὰ πρήγματα ἀλλὰ πάντων ταλαιπωρότατα.

Dionysus and Indian Cities

Yes, the run of Greek texts on India continues. Today, the establishment of cities. (Since we have already read some about cotton.) Note: Arrian is a Greek author of the Roman imperial period. I don’t assume he is saying anything incontrovertibly ‘true’ about India. But he does say interesting things about Roman and Greek ideas about India…

Arrian, Historia India, Chapter 7

“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.”



ἔθνεα δὲ ᾿Ινδικὰ εἴκοσι καὶ ἑκατὸν τὰ ἅπαντα λέγει Μεγασθένης, δυοῖν δέοντα. καὶ πολλὰ μὲν εἶναι ἔθνεα ᾿Ινδικὰ καὶ αὐτὸς συμφέρομαι Μεγασθένει, τὸ δὲ ἀτρεκὲς οὐκ ἔχω εἰκάσαι ὅπως ἐκμαθὼν ἀνέγραψεν, οὐδὲ πολλοστὸν μέρος τῆς ᾿Ινδῶν γῆς ἐπελθών, οὐδὲ ἐπιμιξίης πᾶσι τοῖς γένεσιν ἐούσης ἐς ἀλλήλους. πάλαι μὲν δὴ νομάδας εἶναι ᾿Ινδούς, καθάπερ Σκυθέων τοὺς οὐκ ἀροτῆρας, οἳ ἐπὶ τῇσιν ἁμάξῃσι πλανώμενοι ἄλλοτε ἄλλην τῆς Σκυθίης ἀμείβουσιν, οὔτε πόληας οἰκέοντες οὔτε ἱερὰ θεῶν σέβοντες. οὕτω μηδὲ ᾿Ινδοῖσι πόληας εἶναι μηδὲ ἱερὰ θεῶν δεδομημένα, ἀλλ’ ἀμπίσχεσθαι μὲν δορὰς θηρίων ὅσων κατακάνοιεν, σιτέεσθαι δὲ τῶν δενδρέων τὸν φλοιόν. καλέεσθαι δὲ τὰ δένδρεα ταῦτα τῇ ᾿Ινδῶν φωνῆ τάλα, καὶ φύεσθαι ἐπ’ αὐτῶν, κατάπερ τῶν φοινίκων ἐπὶ τῇσι κορυφῇσιν, οἷά περ τολύπας. σιτέεσθαι δὲ καὶ τῶν θηρίων ὅσα ἕλοιεν ὠμοφαγέοντας, πρίν γε δὴ Διόνυσον ἐλθεῖν ἐς τὴν χώρην τῶν ᾿Ινδῶν. Διόνυσον δὲ ἐλθόντα, ὡς καρτερὸς ἐγένετο ᾿Ινδῶν, πόληάς τε οἰκίσαι καὶ νόμους θέσθαι τῇσι πόλεσιν, οἴνου τε δοτῆρα ᾿Ινδοῖς γενέσθαι κατάπερ ῞Ελλησι, καὶ σπείρειν διδάξαι τὴν γῆν διδόντα αὐτὸν σπέρματα, ἢ οὐκ ἐλάσαντος ταύτῃ Τριπτολέμου, ὅτε περ ἐκ Δήμητρος ἐστάλη σπείρειν τὴν γῆν πᾶσαν, ἢ πρὸ Τριπτολέμου τις οὗτος Δινυσος ἐπελθὼν τὴν ᾿Ινδῶν γῆν σπέρματά σφισιν ἔδωκε καρποῦ τοῦ ἡμέρου. βόας τε ὑπ’ ἄροτρον ζεῦξαι Διόνυσον πρῶτον καὶ ἀροτῆρας ἀντὶ νομάδων ποιῆσαι ᾿Ινδῶν τοὺς πολλοὺς καὶ ὁπλίσαι ὅπλοισι τοῖσιν ἀρηίοισι. καὶ θεοὺς σέβειν ὅτι ἐδίδαξε Διόνυσος ἄλλους τε καὶ μάλιστα δὴ ἑωυτὸν κυμβαλίζοντας καὶ τυμπανίζοντας καὶ ὄρχησιν δὲ ἐκδιδάξαι τὴν σατυρικήν, τὸν κόρδακα παρ’ ῞Ελλησι καλούμενον, καὶ κομᾶν [᾿Ινδοὺς] τῷ θεῷ  μιτρηφορέειν τε ἀναδεῖξαι καὶ μύρων ἀλοιφὰς ἐκδιδάξαι, ὥστε καὶ εἰς ᾿Αλέξανδρον ἔτι ὑπὸ κυμβάλων τε καὶ τυμπάνων ἐς τὰς μάχας ᾿Ινδοὶ καθίσταντο.

How Far Should Historical Analysis Go? Polybius on Rome

Polybius, Histories 3.4

“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.”

Εἰ μὲν οὖν ἐξ αὐτῶν τῶν κατορθωμάτων ἢ καὶ τῶν ἐλαττωμάτων ἱκανὴν ἐνεδέχετο ποιήσασθαι τὴν διάληψιν ὑπὲρ τῶν ψεκτῶν ἢ τοὐναντίον ἐπαινετῶν
ἀνδρῶν καὶ πολιτευμάτων, ἐνθάδε που λήγειν ἂν ἡμᾶς ἔδει καὶ καταστρέφειν ἅμα τὴν διήγησιν καὶ τὴν πραγματείαν ἐπὶ τὰς τελευταίας ῥηθείσας πράξεις κατὰ τὴν ἐξ ἀρχῆς πρόθεσιν. ὅ τε γὰρ χρόνος ὁ πεντηκοντακαιτριετὴς εἰς ταῦτ’ ἔληγεν, ἥ τ’ αὔξησις καὶ προκοπὴ τῆς ῾Ρωμαίων δυναστείας ἐτετελείωτο· πρὸς δὲ τούτοις ὁμολογούμενον ἐδόκει τοῦτ’ εἶναι καὶ κατηναγκασμένον ἅπασιν ὅτι λοιπόν ἐστι ῾Ρωμαίων ἀκούειν καὶ τούτοις πειθαρχεῖν ὑπὲρ τῶν παραγγελλομένων.

ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐκ αὐτοτελεῖς εἰσιν οὔτε περὶ τῶν κρατησάντων (οὔτε περὶ τῶν) ἐλαττωθέντων αἱ ψιλῶς ἐξ αὐτῶν τῶν ἀγωνισμάτων διαλήψεις, διὰ τὸ πολλοῖς μὲν τὰ μέγιστα δοκοῦντ’ εἶναι τῶν κατορθωμάτων, ὅταν μὴ δεόντως αὐτοῖς χρήσωνται, τὰς μεγίστας ἐπενηνοχέναι συμφοράς, οὐκ ὀλίγοις δὲ τὰς ἐκπληκτικωτάτας περιπετείας, ὅταν εὐγενῶς αὐτὰς ἀναδέξωνται, πολλάκις εἰς τὴν τοῦ συμφέροντος περιπεπτωκέναι μερίδα, προσθετέον ἂν εἴη ταῖς προειρημέναις πράξεσι τήν τε τῶν κρατούντων αἵρεσιν, ποία τις ἦν μετὰ ταῦτα καὶ πῶς προεστάτει τῶν ὅλων, τάς τε τῶν ἄλλων ἀποδοχὰς καὶ διαλήψεις, πόσαι καὶ τίνες ὑπῆρχον περὶ τῶν ἡγουμένων, πρὸς δὲ τούτοις τὰς ὁρμὰς καὶ τοὺς ζήλους ἐξηγητέον, τίνες παρ’ ἑκάστοις ἐπεκράτουν καὶ κατίσχυον περί τε τοὺς κατ’ ἰδίαν βίους καὶ τὰς κοινὰς πολιτείας. δῆλον γὰρ ὡς ἐκ τούτων φανερὸν ἔσται τοῖς μὲν νῦν οὖσιν πότερα φευκτὴν ἢ τοὐναντίον αἱρετὴν εἶναι συμβαίνει τὴν ῾Ρωμαίων δυναστείαν, τοῖς δ’ ἐπιγενομένοις πότερον ἐπαινετὴν καὶ ζηλωτὴν ἢ ψεκτὴν γεγονέναι νομιστέον τὴν ἀρχὴν αὐτῶν. ἀρχὴν αὐτῶν. τὸ γὰρ ὠφέλιμον τῆς ἡμετέρας ἱστορίας πρός τε τὸ παρὸν καὶ πρὸς τὸ μέλλον ἐν τούτῳ πλεῖστον κείσεται τῷ μέρει.