Pliny: Natural History

aurum, sicut Carthagini cum Hannibale victae octingenta milia, x͞v͞i͞1 pondo annua in quinquaginta annos, nihil auri. nec potest videri paenuria mundi id evenisse. iam Midas et Croesus infinitum possederant, iam Cyrus devicta Asia pondo x͞x͞i͞i͞i͞i͞ invenerat praeter vasa aurumque factum et in eo solium,2 platanum, vitem. qua victoria argenti 3 talentorum reportavit et craterem Semiramidis, 52cuius pondus xv talentorum colligebat. talentum Aegyptium pondo lxxx patere M.4 Varro tradit. iam regnaverat in Colchis Saulaces Aeetae suboles, qui terram virginem nactus plurimum auri argentique eruisse dicitur in Suanorum gente, et alioqui velleribus aureis incluto regno. et illius aureae camarae, argenteae trabes et columnae atque parastaticae narrantur victo5 Sesostri, Aegypti rege tam superbo, ut prodatur annis quibusque sorte reges singulos e subiectis iungere ad currum solitus atque ita triumphare.


XVI. Et nos fecimus quae posteri fabulosa arbitrentur. Caesar, qui postea dictator fuit, primus in aedilitate munere patris funebri omni apparatu



when conquered together with Hannibal, 800,000202 b.c. pounds weight of silver in yearly instalments of 16,000 pounds spread over 50 years, but no gold. Nor can it be considered that this was due to the world’s poverty. Midas and Croesus had already possessed wealth without limit, and Cyrus had already on conquering Asia Minor found booty consisting of 24,000546–5 b.c. pounds weight of gold, besides vessels and articles made of gold, including a throne, a plane-tree and a vine. And by this victory he carried off 500,000a talents of silver and the wine-bowl of Semiramis the weight of which came to 15 talents. The Aegyptian talent according to Marcus Varro amounts to 80 pounds of gold. Saulaces the descendant of Aeetes had already reigned in Colchis, who is said to have come on a tract of virgin soil in the country of the Suani and elsewhere and to have dug up from it a great quantity of gold and silver, his realm being moreover famous for golden fleeces.b We are also told of his gold-vaulted ceilings and silver beams and columns and pilasters, belonging to Sesostris King of Egypt whom Saulaces conquered, so proud a monarch that he is reported to have been in the habit every year of harnessing to his chariot individual kings selected by lot from among his vassals and so going in triumphal procession.

XVI. We too have done things to be deemed mythical by those who come after us. Caesar, the future dictator, was the first person in the office of aedile to use nothing but silver for the appointments65 b.c. of the arena—it was at the funeral games presented in honour of his father; and this was the first

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938