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1Nobly, then, did Marcellus endure his exile, and his change of place made no change at all in his mind, although poverty went with him. But everyone who has not yet attained to insanity of greed and luxury, which upset everything, knows that there is no calamity in that. For how small a sum is needed to support a man! And who can fail to have this little if he possesses any merit whatsoever? 2So far as concerns myself, I know that I have lost, not but my "engrossments." The wants of the body are trifling. It requires protection from the cold and the quenching of hunger and thirst by food and drink; if we covet anything beyond, we toil to serve, not our needs, but our vices. We have no need to scour the depths of every sea, to load the belly with the carnage of dumb creatures, to wrest shell-fish from the distant shore of farthest sea - curses of gods and goddesses upon the wretches whose luxury overleaps the bounds of an empire that already stirs too much envy!3 They want game that is caught beyond the Phasis to supply their pretentious kitchens, and from the Parthians, from whom Rome has not yet got vengeance, they do not blush to get - birds! From every quarter they gather together every known and unknown thing to tickle a fastidious palate; the food which their stomachs, weakened by indulgence, can scarcely retain is fetched from farthest ocean; they vomit that they may eat, they eat that they may vomit, and they do not deign even to digest the feasts for which they ransack the whole world. If a man despises such things, what harm can poverty do him? If a man covets them, poverty becomes even a benefit to him,, for he is made whole in spite of himself, and, if even under compulsion he will not take his medicine, for a time at least, while he cannot get them, he is as though he did not want them. 4Gaius Caesar, whom, as it seems to me, Nature produced merely to show how far supreme vice, when combined with supreme power, could go, dined one day at a cost of ten million sesterces; and though everybody used their ingenuity to help him, yet he could hardly discover how to spend the tribute-money from three provinces on one dinner! 5How unhappy those whose appetite is stirred at the sight of none but costly foods! And it is not their choice flavour or some delight to the palate that makes them costly, but their rarity and the difficulty of getting them . Otherwise, if men should be willing to return to sanity of mind, what is the need of so many arts that minister to the belly? What need of commerce? What need of ravaging the forests? What need of ransacking the deep? The foods which Nature has placed in every region lie all about us, but men, just as if blind, pass these by and roam through every region, they cross the seas and at great cost excite their hunger when at little cost they might allay it. 6One would like to say: "Why do you launch your ships? Why do you arm your bands both against man and against wild beasts? Why do you rush to and fro in such wild confusion? Why do you pile riches on riches? You really should remember how small your bodies are! Is it not madness and the wildest lunacy to desire so much when you can hold so little? And so you may swell your incomes, and extend your boundaries; yet you will never enlarge the capacity of your bellies. Though your business may prosper, though warfare may profit you much, though you may bring together foods hunted from every quarter, yet you will have no place in which to store your hoards. 7Why do you search for so many things? Our ancestors, of course, were unhappy - they whose virtue even to this day props up our vices, who by their own hands provided themselves with food, whose couch was the earth, whose ceilings did not yet glitter with gold, whose temples were not yet shining with precious stones. 8And so in those days they would solemnly take oath by gods of clay, and those who had invoked them would go back to the enemy, preferring to die rather than break faith. And our dictator, he who, while he gave audience to the envoys of the Samnites, was busy at his hearth, cooking with his own hand the cheapest sort of food, with that hand that had often smitten the enemy before and had placed a laurel wreath upon the lap of Capitoline Jove - this man, of course, was living less happily than did Apicius[1] within our own memory, who in this very city, which at one time the philosophers were ordered to have, as being 'corruptors of youth,' as a professor of the science "if the cookshop defiled the age with his teaching." It is worth our while to learn his end. 9After he had squandered a hundred million sesterces upon his kitchen, after he had drunk up at every one of his revels the equivalent of the many largesses of the emperors and the huge revenue of the Capitol, then for the first time, when overwhelmed with debt and actually forced, he began to examine his accounts. He calculated that he would have ten million sesterces left, and considering that he would be living in extreme starvation if he lived on ten million sesterces, he ended his life by poison. But how great was his luxury if ten millions counted as poverty! What folly then to think that it is the amount of money and not the state of mind that matters! 10Ten million sesterces made one man shudder, and a sum that others seek by prayer he escaped from by poison! For a man so perverted in desire, his last draught was really the most wholesome. When he not only enjoyed, but boasted of his enormous banquets, when he flaunted his vices, when he attracted the attention of the community to his wantonness, when he enticed the young to imitate his own course, Who even without bad examples are quick enough to learn of themselves, it was then that be was eating and drinking poisons. 11Such are the pitfalls of those who measure riches, not by the standard of reason, which has its bounds fixed, but by the standard of a mode of living that is vicious, and yet has boundless and illimitable desire. Nothing will satisfy greed, but even scant measure is enough for Nature's need. Therefore the poverty of an exile holds no hardship; for no place of exile is so barren as not to yield ample support for a man.

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1 Regulus

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