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FRAGMENTS OF A ROMAN TALE. ( June 1823.) - Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay, Miscellaneous Writings, vol. 1 
The Miscellaneous Writings of Lord Macaulay, vol. 1, (London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1860).
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FRAGMENTS OF A ROMAN TALE. (June 1823.)
* * * * *
It was an hour after noon. Ligarius was returning from the Campus Martius. He strolled through one of the streets which led to the forum, settling his gown, and calculating the odds on the gladiators who were to fence at the approaching Saturnalia. While thus occupied, he overtook Flaminius, who, with a heavy step and a melancholy face, was sauntering in the same direction. The light-hearted young man plucked him by the sleeve.
“Good day, Flaminius. Are you to be of Catiline’s party this evening?”
“Why so? Your little Tarentine girl will break her heart.”
“No matter. Catiline has the best cooks and the finest wine in Rome. There are charming women at his parties. But the twelve-line board and the dice-box pay for all. The Gods confound me if I did not lose two millions of sesterces last night. My villa at Tibur, and all the statues that my father the prætor brought from Ephesus, must go to the auctioneer. That is a high price, you will acknowledge, even for Phœnicopters, Chian, and Callinice.”
“High indeed, by Pollux.”
“And that is not the worst. I saw several of the leading senators this morning. Strange things are whispered in the higher political circles.”
“The Gods confound the political circles. I have hated the name of politician ever since Sylla’s proscription, when I was within a moment of having my throat cut by a politician, who took me for another politician. While there is a cask of Falernian in Campania, or a girl in the Suburra, I shall be too well employed to think on the subject.”
“You will do well,” said Flaminius gravely, “to bestow some little consideration upon it at present. Otherwise, I fear, you will soon renew your acquaintance with politicians, in a manner quite as unpleasant as that to which you allude.”
“Averting Gods! what do you mean?”
“I will tell you. There are rumours of conspiracy. The order of things established by Lucius Sylla has excited the disgust of the people, and of a large party of the nobles. Some violent convulsion is expected.”
“What is that to me? I suppose that they will hardly proscribe the vintners and gladiators, or pass a law compelling every citizen to take a wife.”
“You do not understand. Catiline is supposed to be the author of the revolutionary schemes. You must have heard bold opinions at his table repeatedly.”
“I never listen to any opinions upon such subjects, bold or timid.”
“Look to it. Your name has been mentioned.”
“Mine! good Gods! I call heaven to witness that I never so much as mentioned Senate, Consul, or Comitia, in Catiline’s house.”
“Nobody suspects you of any participation in the inmost counsels of the party. But our great men surmise that you are among those whom he has bribed so high with beauty, or entangled so deeply in distress, that they are no longer their own masters. I shall never set foot within his threshold again. I have been solemnly warned by men who understand public affairs; and I advise you to be cautious.”
The friends had now turned into the forum, which was thronged with the gay and elegant youth of Rome. “I can tell you more,” continued Flaminius; “somebody was remarking to the Consul yesterday how loosely a certain acquaintance of ours tied his girdle. ‘Let him look to himself,’ said Cicero, ‘or the state may find a tighter girdle for his neck.’ ”
“Good Gods! who is it? You cannot surely mean —”
“There he is.”
Flaminius pointed to a man who was pacing up and down the forum at a little distance from them. He was in the prime of manhood. His personal advantages were extremely striking, and were displayed with an extravagant but not ungraceful foppery. His gown waved in loose folds; his long dark curls were dressed with exquisite art, and shone and steamed with odours; his step and gesture exhibited an elegant and commanding figure in every posture of polite languor. But his countenance formed a singular contrast to the general appearance of his person. The high and imperial brow, the keen aquiline features, the compressed mouth, the penetrating eye, indicated the highest degree of ability and decision. He seemed absorbed in intense meditation. With eyes fixed on the ground, and lips working in thought, he sauntered round the area, apparently unconscious how many of the young gallants of Rome were envying the taste of his dress, and the ease of his fashionable stagger.
“Good Heaven!” said Ligarius, “Caius Cæsar is as unlikely to be in a plot as I am.”
“Not at all.”
“He does nothing but game, feast, intrigue, read Greek, and write verses.”
“You know nothing of Cæsar. Though he rarely addresses the Senate, he is considered as the finest speaker there, after the Consul. His influence with the multitude is immense. He will serve his rivals in public life as he served me last night at Catiline’s. We were playing at the twelve lines.* — Immense stakes. He laughed all the time, chatted with Valeria over his shoulder, kissed her hand between every two moves, and scarcely looked at the board. I thought that I had him. All at once I found my counters driven into the corner. Not a piece to move, by Hercules. It cost me two millions of Sesterces. All the Gods and Goddesses confound him for it!”
“As to Valeria,” said Ligarius, “I forgot to ask whether you have heard the news.”
“Not a word. What?”
“I was told at the baths to-day that Cæsar escorted the lady home. Unfortunately old Quintus Lutatius had come back from his villa in Campania, in a whim of jealousy. He was not expected for three days. There was a fine tumult. The old fool called for his sword and his slaves, cursed his wife, and swore that he would cut Cæsar’s throat.”
“He laughed, quoted Anacreon, trussed his gown round his left arm, closed with Quintus, flung him down, twisted his sword out of his hand, burst through the attendants, ran a freed-man through the shoulder, and was in the street in an instant.”
“Well done! Here he comes. Good day, Caius.”
Cæsar lifted his head at the salutation. His air of deep abstraction vanished; and he extended a hand to each of the friends.
“How are you after your last night’s exploit?”
“As well as possible,” said Cæsar laughing.
“In truth we should rather ask how Quintus Lutatius is.”
“He, I understand, is as well as can be expected of a man with a faithless spouse and a broken head. His freed-man is most seriously hurt. Poor fellow! he shall have half of whatever I win to-night. Flaminius, you shall have your revenge at Catiline’s.”
“You are very kind. I do not intend to be at Catiline’s till I wish to part with my town-house. My villa is gone already.”
“Not at Catiline’s, base spirit! You are not of his mind, my gallant Ligarius. Dice, Chian, and the loveliest Greek singing-girl that was ever seen. Think of that, Ligarius. By Venus, she almost made me adore her, by telling me that I talked Greek with the most Attic accent that she had heard in Italy.”
“I doubt she will not say the same of me,” replied Ligarius. “I am just as able to decipher an obelisk as to read a line of Homer.”
“You barbarous Scythian, who had the care of your education?”
“An old fool, — a Greek pedant, — a Stoic. He told me that pain was no evil, and flogged me as if he thought so. At last one day, in the middle of a lecture, I set fire to his enormous filthy beard, singed his face, and sent him roaring out of the house. There ended my studies. From that time to this I have had as little to do with Greece as the wine that your poor old friend Lutatius calls his delicious Samian.”
“Well done, Ligarius. I hate a Stoic. I wish Marcus Cato had a beard that you might singe it for him. The fool talked his two hours in the Senate yesterday, without changing a muscle of his face. He looked as savage and as motionless as the mask in which Roscius acted Alecto. I detest everything connected with him.”
“Except his sister, Servilia.”
“True. She is a lovely woman.”
“They say that you have told her so, Caius.”
“So I have.”
“And that she was not angry.”
“What woman is?”
“Aye, — but they say —”
“No matter what they say. Common fame lies like a Greek rhetorician. You might know so much, Ligarius, without reading the philosophers. But come, I will introduce you to little dark-eyed Zoe.”
“I tell you I can speak no Greek.”
“More shame for you. It is high time that you should begin. You will never have such a charming instructress. Of what was your father thinking when he sent for an old Stoic with a long beard to teach you? There is no language-mistress like a handsome woman. When I was at Athens, I learnt more Greek from a pretty flower-girl in the Peiræus than from all the Portico and the Academy. She was no Stoic, Heaven knows. But come along to Zoe. I will be your interpreter. Woo her in honest Latin, and I will turn it into elegant Greek between the throws of dice. I can make love and mind my game at once, as Flaminius can tell you.”
“Well, then, to be plain, Cæsar, Flaminius has been talking to me about plots, and suspicions, and politicians. I never plagued myself with such things since Sylla’s and Marius’s days; and then I never could see much difference between the parties. All that I am sure of is, that those who meddle with such affairs are generally stabbed or strangled. And, though I like Greek wine and handsome women, I do not wish to risk my neck for them. Now, tell me as a friend, Caius; — is there no danger?”
“Danger!” repeated Cæsar, with a short, fierce, disdainful laugh: “What danger do you apprehend?”
“That you should best know,” said Flaminius; “you are far more intimate with Catiline than I. But I advise you to be cautious. The leading men entertain strong suspicions.”
Cæsar drew up his figure from its ordinary state of graceful relaxation into an attitude of commanding dignity, and replied in a voice of which the deep and impassioned melody formed a strange contrast to the humorous and affected tone of his ordinary conversation. “Let them suspect. They suspect because they know what they have deserved. What have they done for Rome? — What for mankind? — Ask the citizens. Ask the provinces. Have they had any other object than to perpetuate their own exclusive power, and to keep us under the yoke of an oligarchical tyranny, which unites in itself the worst evils of every other system, and combines more than Athenian turbulence with more than Persian despotism?”
“Good Gods! Cæsar. It is not safe for you to speak, or for us to listen to, such things, at such a crisis.”
“Judge for yourselves what you will hear. I will judge for myself what I will speak. I was not twenty years old when I defied Lucius Sylla, surrounded by the spears of legionaries and the daggers of assassins. Do you suppose that I stand in awe of his paltry successors, who have inherited a power which they never could have acquired; who would imitate his proscriptions, though they have never equalled his conquests?”
“Pompey is almost as little to be trifled with as Sylla. I heard a consular senator say that, in consequence of the present alarming state of affairs, he would probably be recalled from the command assigned to him by the Manilian law.”
“Let him come, — the pupil of Sylla’s butcheries, — the gleaner of Lucullus’s trophies, — the thief-taker of the Senate.”
“For heaven’s sake, Caius! — if you knew what the Consul said—”
“Something about himself, no doubt. Pity that such talents should be coupled with such cowardice and coxcombry. He is the finest speaker living,—infinitely superior to what Hortensius was, in his best days; — a charming companion, except when he tells over for the twentieth time all the jokes that he made at Verres’s trial. But he is the despicable tool of a despicable party.”
“Your language, Caius, convinces me that the reports which have been circulated are not without foundation. I will venture to prophecy that within a few months the republic will pass through a whole Odyssey of strange adventures.”
“I believe so; an Odyssey of which Pompey will be the Polyphemus, and Cicero the Siren. I would have the state imitate Ulysses: show no mercy to the former; but contrive, if it can be done, to listen to the enchanting voice of the other, without being seduced by it to destruction.”
“But whom can your party produce as rivals to these two famous leaders?”
“Time will show. I would hope that there may arise a man, whose genius to conquer, to conciliate, and to govern, may unite in one cause an oppressed and divided people; — may do all that Sylla should have done, and exhibit the magnificent spectacle of a great nation directed by a great mind.”
“And where is such a man to be found?”
“Perhaps where you would least expect to find him. Perhaps he may be one whose powers have hitherto been concealed in domestic or literary retirement. Perhaps he may be one, who, while waiting for some adequate excitement, for some worthy opportunity, squanders on trifles a genius before which may yet be humbled the sword of Pompey and the gown of Cicero. Perhaps he may now be disputing with a sophist; perhaps prattling with a mistress; perhaps—” and, as he spoke, he turned away, and resumed his lounge, “strolling in the Forum.”
* * * * * * * *
It was almost midnight. The party had separated. Catiline and Cethegus were still conferring in the supper-room, which was, as usual, the highest apartment of the house. It formed a cupola, from which windows opened on the flat roof that surrounded it. To this terrace Zoe had retired. With eyes dimmed with fond and melancholy tears, she leaned over the balustrade, to catch the last glimpse of the departing form of Cæsar, as it grew more and more indistinct in the moonlight. Had he any thought of her? Any love for her? He, the favourite of the high-born beauties of Rome, the most splendid, the most graceful, the most eloquent of its nobles? It could not be. His voice had, indeed, been touchingly soft whenever he addressed her. There had been a fascinating tenderness even in the vivacity of his look and conversation. But such were always the manners of Cæsar towards women. He had wreathed a spring of myrtle in her hair as she was singing. She took it from her dark ringlets, and kissed it, and wept over it, and thought of the sweet legends of her own dear Greece,—of youths and girls, who, pining away in hopeless love, had been transformed into flowers by the compassion of the Gods; and she wished to become a flower, which Cæsar might sometimes touch, though he should touch it only to weave a crown for some prouder and happier mistress.
She was roused from her musings by the loud step and voice of Cethegus, who was pacing furiously up and down the supper-room.
“May all the gods confound me, if Cæsar be not the deepest traitor, or the most miserable idiot, that ever intermeddled with a plot!”
Zoe shuddered. She drew nearer to the window. She stood concealed from observation by the curtain of fine network which hung over the aperture, to exclude the annoying insects of the climate.
“And you, too!” continued Cethegus, turning fiercely on his accomplice; “you to take his part against me!—you, who proposed the scheme yourself!”
“My dear Caius Cethegus, you will not understand me. I proposed the scheme; and I will join in executing it. But policy is as necessary to our plans as boldness. I did not wish to startle Cæsar — to lose his co-operation —perhaps to send him off with an information against us to Cicero and Catulus. He was so indignant at your suggestion, that all my dissimulation was scarcely sufficient to prevent a total rupture.”
“Indignant! The gods confound him! — He prated about humanity, and generosity, and moderation. By Hercules, I have not heard such a lecture since I was with Xenochares at Rhodes.”
“Cæsar is made up of inconsistencies. He has boundless ambition, unquestioned courage, admirable sagacity. Yet I have frequently observed in him a womanish weakness at the sight of pain. I remember that once one of his slaves was taken ill while carrying his litter. He alighted, put the fellow in his place, and walked home in a fall of snow. I wonder that you could be so ill-advised as to talk to him of massacre, and pillage, and conflagration. You might have foreseen that such propositions would disgust a man of his temper.”
“I do not know. I have not your self-command, Lucius. I hate such conspirators. What is the use of them? We must have blood — blood, — hacking and tearing work—bloody work!”
“Do not grind your teeth, my dear Caius; and lay down the carving-knife. By Hercules, you have cut up all the stuffing of the couch.”
“No matter; we shall have couches enough soon, — and down to stuff them with, — and purple to cover them, — and pretty women to loll on them, — unless this fool, and such as he, spoil our plans. I had something else to say. The essenced fop wishes to seduce Zoe from me.”
“Impossible! You misconstrue the ordinary gallantries which he is in the habit of paying to every handsome face.”
“Curse on his ordinary gallantries, and his verses, and his compliments, and his sprigs of myrtle! If Cæsar should dare — by Hercules, I will tear him to pieces in the middle of the Forum.”
“Trust his destruction to me. We must use his talents and influence — thrust him upon every danger — make him our instrument while we are contending — our peaceoffering to the Senate if we fail — our first victim if we succeed.”
“Hark! what noise was that?”
“Somebody in the terrace! — lend me your dagger.”
Catiline rushed to the window. Zoe was standing in the shade. He stepped out. She darted into the room — passed like a flash of lightning by the startled Cethegus — flew down the stairs — through the court — through the vestibule — through the street. Steps, voices, lights, came fast and confusedly behind her; — but with the speed of love and terror she gained upon her pursuers. She fled through the wilderness of unknown and dusky streets, till she found herself, breathless and exhausted, in the midst of a crowd of gallants, who, with chaplets on their heads, and torches in their hands, were reeling from the portico of a stately mansion.
The foremost of the throng was a youth whose slender figure and beautiful countenance seemed hardly consistent with his sex. But the feminine delicacy of his features rendered more frightful the mingled sensuality and ferocity of their expression. The libertine audacity of his stare, and the grotesque foppery of his apparel, seemed to indicate at least a partial insanity. Flinging one arm round Zoe, and tearing away her veil with the other, he disclosed to the gaze of his thronging companions the regular features and large dark eyes which characterise Athenian beauty.
“Clodius has all the luck to night,” cried Ligarius.
“Not so, by Hercules,” said Marcus Cœlius; “the girl is fairly our common prize: we will fling dice for her. The Venus* throw, as it ought to do, shall decide.”
“Let me go — let me go, for Heaven’s sake,” cried Zoe, struggling with Clodius.
“What a charming Greek accent she has. Come into the house, my little Athenian nightingale.
“Oh! what will become of me? If you have mothers—if you have sisters—”
“Clodius has a sister,” muttered Ligarius, “or he is much belied.”
“By Heaven, she is weeping,” said Clodius.
“If she were not evidently a Greek,” said Cœlius, “I should take her for a vestal virgin.”
“And if she were a vestal virgin,” cried Clodius fiercely, “it should not deter me. This way;—no struggling — no screaming.”
“Struggling! screaming!” exclaimed a gay and commanding voice; “You are making very ungentle love, Clodius.”
The whole party started. Cæsar had mingled with them unperceived.
The sound of his voice thrilled through the very heart of Zoe. With a convulsive effort she burst from the grasp of her insolent admirer, flung herself at the feet of Cæsar, and clasped his knees. The moon shone full on her agitated and imploring face: her lips moved; but she uttered no sound. He gazed at her for an instant—raised her — clasped her to his bosom. “Fear nothing, my sweet Zoe.” Then, with folded arms, and a smile of placid defiance, he placed himself between her and Clodius.
Clodius staggered forward, flushed with wine and rage, and uttering alternately a curse and a hiccup.
“By Pollux, this passes a jest. Cæsar, how dare you insult me thus?”
“A jest! I am as serious as a Jew on the Sabbath. Insult you; For such a pair of eyes I would insult the whole consular bench, or I should be as insensible as King Psammis’s mummy.”
“Good Gods, Cæsar!” said Marcus Cœlius, interposing; “you cannot think it worth while to get into a brawl for a little Greek girl!”
“Why not? The Greek girls have used me as well as those of Rome. Besides, the whole reputation of my gallantry is at stake. Give up such a lovely woman to that drunken boy! My character would be gone for ever. No more perfumed tablets, full of vows and raptures? No more toying with fingers at the Circus. No more evening walks along the Tiber. No more hiding in chests, or jumping from windows. I, the favoured suitor of half the white stoles in Rome, could never again aspire above a freed-woman. You a man of gallantry, and think of such a thing! For shame, my dear Cœlius! Do not let Clodia hear of it.”
While Cæsar spoke he had been engaged in keeping Clodius at arm’s length. The rage of the frantic libertine increased as the struggle continued. “Stand back, as you value your life,” he cried; “I will pass.”
“Not this way, sweet Clodius. I have too much regard for you to suffer you to make love at such disadvantage. You smell too much of Falernian at present. Would you stifle your mistress? By Hercules, you are fit to kiss nobody now, except old Piso, when he is tumbling home in the morning from the vintners.”*
Clodius plunged his hand into his bosom, and drew a little dagger, the faithful companion of many desperate adventures.
“Oh, Gods! he will be murdered!” cried Zoe.
The whole throng of revellers was in agitation. The street fluctuated with torches and lifted hands. It was but for a moment. Cæsar watched with a steady eye the descending hand of Clodius, arrested the blow, seized his antagonist by the throat, and flung him against one of the pillars of the portico with such violence that he rolled, stunned and senseless, on the ground.
“He is killed,” cried several voices.
“Fair self-defence, by Hercules!” said Marcus Cœlius. “Bear witness, you all saw him draw his dagger.”
“He is not dead — he breathes,” said Ligarius. “Carry him into the house; he is dreadfully bruised.”
The rest of the party retired with Clodius. Cœlius turned to Cæsar.
“By all the Gods, Caius! you have won your lady fairly. A splendid victory! You deserve a triumph.”
“What a madman Clodius has become!”
“Intolerable. But come and sup with me on the Nones. You have no objection to meet the Consul?”
“Cicero? None at all, We need not talk politics. Our old dispute about Plato and Epicurus will furnish us with plenty of conversation. So reckon upon me, my dear Marcus, and farewell.”
Cæsar and Zoe turned away. As soon as they were beyond hearing, she began in great agitation:—
“Cæsar, you are in danger. I know all. I overheard Catiline and Cethegus. You are engaged in a project which must lead to certain destruction.”
“My beautiful Zoe, I live only for glory and pleasure. For these I have never hesitated to hazard an existence which they alone render valuable to me. In the present case, I can assure you that our scheme presents the fairest hopes of success.”
“So much the worse. You do not know — you do not understand me. I speak not of open peril, but of secret treachery. Catiline hates you; — Cethegus hates you;—your destruction is resolved. If you survive the contest, you perish in the first hour of victory. They detest you for your moderation; — they are eager for blood and plunder. I have risked my life to bring you this warning; but that is of little moment. Farewell! — Be happy;”
Cæsar stopped her. “Do you fly from my thanks, dear Zoe?”
“I wish not for your thanks, but for your safety;—I desire not to defraud Valeria or Servilia of one caress, extorted from gratitude or pity. Be my feelings what they may, I have learnt in a fearful school to endure and to suppress them. I have been taught to abase a proud spirit to the claps and hisses of the vulgar; — to smile on suitors who united the insults of a despicable pride to the endearments of a loathsome fondness;— to affect sprightliness with an aching head, and eyes from which tears were ready to gush;— to feign love with curses on my lips, and madness in my brain. Who feels for me any esteem,— any tenderness? Who will shed a tear over the nameless grave which will soon shelter from cruelty and scorn the broken heart of the poor Athenian girl? But you, who alone have addressed her in her degradation with a voice of kindness and respect, farewell. Sometimes think of me,— not with sorrow;— no; I could bear your ingratitude, but not your distress. Yet, if it will not pain you too much, in distant days, when your lofty hopes and destinies are accomplished,—on the evening of some mighty victory,— in the chariot of some magnificent triumph,— think on one who loved you with that exceeding love which only the miserable can feel. Think that, wherever her exhausted frame may have sunk beneath the sensibilities of a tortured spirit, — in whatever hovel or whatever vault she may have closed her eyes, — whatever strange scenes of horror and pollution may have surrounded her dying bed, your shape was the last that swam before her sight — your voice the last sound that was ringing in her ears. Yet turn your face to me, Cæsar. Let me carry away one last look of those features, and then—” He turned round. He looked at her. He hid his face on her bosom, and burst into tears. With sobs long and loud, and convulsive as those of a terrified child, he poured forth on her bosom the tribute of impetuous and uncontrollable emotion. He raised his head; but he in vain struggled to restore composure to the brow which had confronted the frown of Sylla, and the lips which had rivalled the eloquence of Cicero. He several times attempted to speak, but in vain: and his voice still faltered with tenderness, when, after a pause of several minutes, he thus addressed her:
“My own dear Zoe, your love has been bestowed on one who, if he cannot merit, can at least appreciate and adore you. Beings of similar loveliness, and similar devotedness of affection, mingled, in all my boyish dreams of greatness, with visions of curule chairs and ivory cars, marshalled legions and laurelled fasces. Such I have endeavoured to find in the world; and, in their stead, I have met with selfishness, with vanity, with frivolity, with falsehood. The life which you have preserved is a boon less valuable than the affection —”
“Oh! Cæsar,” interrupted the blushing Zoe, “think only on your own security at present. If you feel as you speak,— but you are only mocking me,— or perhaps your compassion—”
“By Heaven!— by every oath that is binding—”
“Alas! alas! Cæsar, were not all the same oaths sworn yesterday to Valeria? But I will trust you, at least so far as to partake your present dangers. Flight may be necessary:— form your plans. Be they what they may, there is one who, in exile, in poverty, in peril, asks only to wander, to beg, to die with you.”
“My Zoe, I do not anticipate any such necessity. To renounce the conspiracy without renouncing the principles on which it was originally undertaken, — to elude the vengeance of the Senate without losing the confidence of the people,—is, indeed, an arduous, but not an impossible, task. I owe it to myself and to my country to make the attempt. There is still ample time for consideration. At present I am too happy in love to think of ambition or danger.”
They had reached the door of a stately palace. Cæsar struck it. It was instantly opened by a slave. Zoe found herself in a magnificent hall, surrounded by pillars of green marble, between which were ranged the statues of the long line of Julian nobles.
“Call Endymion,” said Cæsar.
The confidential freed-man made his appearance, not without a slight smile, which his patron’s good nature emboldened him to hazard, at perceiving the beautiful Athenian.
“Arm my slaves, Endymion; there are reasons for precaution. Let them relieve each other on guard during the night. Zoe, my love, my preserver, why are your cheeks so pale? Let me kiss some bloom into them. How you tremble! Endymion, a flask of Samian and some fruit. Bring them to my apartments. This way, my sweet Zoe.”
* * * * * * * *
[* ]Duodecim scripta, a game of mixed chance and skill, which seems to have been very fashionable in the higher circles of Rome. The famous lawyer Mucius was renowned for his skill in it.—(Cic. Orat. i. 50.)
[* ]Venus was the Roman term for the highest throw on the dice.
[* ]Cic. in Pis.