Enemēthē

Great-Fire-of-Rome-3

Ἐπεὶ δὲ οἱ ὄχλοι ταῖς συστάδην μάχαις ἡττώμενοι, ἀναπηδῶντες ἐς τὰ δωμάτια τῷ τε κεράμῳ βάλλοντες αὐτοὺς καὶ λίθων βολαῖς τῶν τε ἄλλων ὀστράκων ἐλυμαίνοντο, ἐπαναβῆναι μὲν αὐτοῖς δι’ ἄγνοιαν τῶν οἰκήσεων οὐκ ἐτόλμησαν οἱ στρατιῶται, κεκλεισμένων δὲ τῶν οἰκιῶν καὶ τῶν ἐργαστηρίων ταῖς θύραις, καὶ εἴ τινες ἦσαν ξύλων ἐξοχαί (πολλαὶ δὲ αὗται κατὰ τὴν πόλιν), πῦρ προσετίθεσαν. ῥᾷστα δὲ διὰ πυκνότητα τῶν συνοικιῶν ξυλείας τε πλῆθος ἐπάλληλον μέγιστον μέρος τῆς πόλεως τὸ πῦρ ἐνεμήθη, ὡς πολλοὺς μὲν ἐκ πλουσίων ποιῆσαι πένητας, ἀποβαλόντας θαυμαστὰ καὶ ἀμφιλαφῆ κτήματα, ἔν τε προσόδοις πλουσίαις καὶ ἐν ποικίλῃ πολυτελείᾳ τίμια. πλῆθός τε ἀνθρώπων συγκατεφλέχθη, φυγεῖν μὴ δυνηθέντων διὰ τὸ τὰς ἐξόδους ὑπὸ τοῦ πυρὸς προκατειλῆφθαι. οὐσίαι τε ὅλαι πλουσίων ἀνδρῶν διηρπάγησαν, ἐγκαταμιξάντων ἑαυτοὺς τοῖς στρατιώταις πρὸς τὸ ἁρπάζειν κακούργων καὶ εὐτελῶν δημοτῶν. τοσοῦτον δὲ μέρος τῆς πόλεως τὸ πῦρ ἐλυμήνατο ὡς μηδεμίαν τῶν μεγίστων πόλεων ὁλόκληρον δύνασθαι τῷ μέρει ἐξισωθῆναι.
(Herodian, Hist. 7.12.5-7)

Bested in the hand-to-hand fighting, the people climbed to the housetops and rained down upon the praetorians tiles, stones, and clay pots. In this way they inflicted severe injuries upon the soldiers, who, being unfamiliar with the houses, did not dare to climb after them, and, of course, the doors of the shops and houses were barred. The soldiers did, however, set fire to houses that had wooden balconies (and there were many of this type in the city). Because a great number of houses were made chiefly of wood, the fire spread very rapidly and without a break throughout most of the city. Many men who lost their vast and magnificent properties, valuable for the large incomes they produced and for their expensive decorations, were reduced from wealth to poverty. A great many people died in the fire, unable to escape because the exits had been blocked by the flames. All the property of the wealthy was looted when the criminal and worthless elements in the city joined with the soldiers in plundering. And the part of Rome destroyed by fire was greater in extent than the largest intact city in the empire. (tr. Edward C. Echols)

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