Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 392: 298-299

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Pliny: Natural History

certe utroque nomine idem significatur, hoc est gramen ex arce cum sua terra evolsum, ac semper e legatis, cum ad hostes clarigatumque mitterentur, id est res raptas clare repetitum, unus utique verbenarius vocabatur.


IV. Corona quidem nulla fuit graminea nobilior, in maiestate populi terrarum principis praemiisque gloriae. gemmatae et aureae, vallares, murales, rostratae, civicae, triumphales post hanc fuere suntque cunctae magno intervallo magnaque differentia. 7ceteras omnes singuli, et duces ipsi imperatoresque militibus aut aliquando collegis dedere, decrevit in triumphis senatus cura belli solutus et populus otiosus, graminea numquam nisi in desperatione suprema contigit, nulli nisi ab universo exercitu servato decreta. ceteras imperatores dedere, hanc solam miles imperatori. eadem vocatur obsidionalis liberatis obsidione abominandoque 8exitu totis castris. quod si civicae honos uno aliquo ac vel humillimo cive servato praeclarus sacerque habetur, quid tandem existimari debet unius virtute servatus universus exercitus? dabatur haec viridi e gramine decerpto inde ubi



and in embassies. At any rate both names mean the same thing, that is, a turf from the citadel pulled up with its own earth; and on every occasion when envoys were sent to the enemy to perform clarigatio,a that is to demand in loud tones the restitution of plundered property, one in particular was called vervain bearer.

IV. No crown indeed has been a higher honourCrowns, especially those of grass. than the crown of grass among the rewards for glorious deeds given by the sovereign people, lords of the earth. Jewelled crowns, golden crowns, crowns for scaling enemy ramparts or walls, or for boarding men-of-war, the civic crown for saving the life of a citizen, the triumph crown—these were instituted later than this grass crown, and all differ from it greatly, in distinction as in character. All the others have been given by individuals and personally by generals and commanders to their soldiers, or occasionally to their colleagues, or have been decreed in triumphs by a Senate freed from the anxiety of war and by a people enjoying peace; the grass crown has never been conferred except upon the leader of a forlorn hope, being voted only by the whole army and only to him who rescued it. The other crowns have been conferred by commanders, this alone on a commander by his soldiers. The same crown is called the siege crown when a whole camp has been relieved and saved from awful destruction. But if the civic crown is deemed a glorious and hallowed distinction because the life has been saved of only one and even maybe the lowliest citizen, what, pray, ought to be thought of the preservation of a whole army by the courage of one man? This crown used to be made from green

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938