Ingeniosissimus

chicken

Fuit praeterea idem ingeniosissimus, cuius ostendendi acuminis scilicet pauca libet ponere: nam cum taurum ingentem in arenam misisset, exissetque ad eum feriendum venator neque productum decies potuisset occidere, coronam venatori misit, mussantibusque cunctis, quid rei esset quod homo ineptissimus coronaretur, ille per curionem dici iussit: ‘taurum totiens non ferire difficile est’. idem, cum quidam gemmas vitreas pro veris vendidisset eius uxori, atque illa re prodita vindicari vellet, subripi quasi ad leonem venditorem iussit, deinde e cavea caponem emitti, mirantibusque cunctis rem tam ridiculam per curionem dici iussit: ‘imposturam fecit et passus est’. deinde negotiatorem dimisit.
(Historia Augusta, Gall. 12.5)

Gallienus, furthermore, was exceedingly clever, and I wish to relate a few actions of his in order to show his wit. Once, when a huge bull was led into the arena, and a huntsman came forth to fight him but was unable to slay the bull though it was brought out ten times, he sent the huntsman a garland, and when all the crowd wondered what it might mean that so foolish a fellow should be crowned with a garland, he bade a herald announce: “It is a difficult thing to miss a bull so many times.” On another occasion, when a certain man sold his wife glass jewels instead of real, and she, discovering the fraud, wished the man to be punished, he ordered the seller to be haled off, as though to a lion, and then had them let out from the cage a capon, and when all were amazed at so absurd a proceeding, he bade the herald proclaim: “He practised deceit and then had it practised on him.” Then he let the dealer go home. (tr. David Magie)

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