Empta

christies-auction

Ingenti ergo labore et moderatione, cum apud Carnuntum iugi triennio perseverasset, bellum Marcomannicum confecit, quod cum his Quadi, Vandali, Sarmatae, Suevi atque omnis barbaria commoverat, multa hominum milia interfecit, ac Pannoniis servitio liberatis Romae rursus cum Commodo Antonino, filio suo, quem iam Caesarem fecerat, triumphavit. ad huius belli sumptum cum aerario exhausto largitiones nullas haberet neque indicere provincialibus aut senatui aliquid vellet, instrumentum regii cultus facta in foro divi Traiani sectione distraxit, vasa aurea, pocula crystallina et murrina, uxoriam ac suam sericam et auream vestem, multa ornamenta gemmarum. ac per duos continuos menses ea venditio habita est multumque auri redactum. post victoriam tamen emptoribus pretia restituit, qui reddere comparata voluerunt; molestus nulli fuit, qui maluit semel empta retinere.
(Eutropius, Brev. 8.13)

When he* had persevered, therefore, with enormous labour and patience for three whole years at Carnuntum, he put an end to the Marcomannic war which, together with the latter, the Quadi, Vandals, Sarmatae, Suebi and all the barbarians had provoked. He killed many thousand men, freed the Pannonians from slavery, and again celebrated a triumph at Rome with Commodus Antoninus, his son, whom he had by then made Caesar. Since the treasury had been exhausted to pay for this war and he had no funds to distibute and he did not want to place any tax on the provincials or the senate, at an auction held in the forum of the deified Trajan he sold off the belongings of his royal way of life, gold vessels, crystal goblets, wine flavoured with myrrh, his wife’s and his own silk and gold embroidered garments and many jewelled ornaments. The sale went on for two months consecutively and a lot of gold was raised. After his victory, however, he gave back the purchase price to those buyers who were willing to return what they had bought but he troubled no one who preferred to keep what he had purchased.

* Marcus Aurelius.

(tr. Harold Wesley Bird)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s