Latin Quotes, Sayings, Tattoos, Phrases & Mottos

Most texts and materials on this site have to do with the Latin language, including its perception in popular culture: movies, tattoos, inscriptions, engravings, bits of ancient philosophy, online Latin resources and company names. There is also information about learning Latin and Greek: textbooks, dictionaries, DVDs and software that can be used in a homeschooling environment.


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Marble statues, painted pictures and moral degradation

 
This is one of my most favorite places in Sallust (Bel.Cat 11.5):

Huc accedebat, quod L. Sulla exercitum, quem in Asia ductaverat, quo sibi fidum faceret, contra morem maiorum luxuriose nimisque liberaliter habuerat. Loca amoena, voluptaria facile in otio ferocis militum animos molliverant. Ibi primum insuevit exercitus populi Romani amare, potare, signa, tabulas pictas, vasa caelata mirari, ea privatim et publice rapere, delubra spoliare, sacra profanaque omnia polluere.


In short, when Sulla's army arrived in Asia they quickly became enamored with luxuries of the East, and abandoned traditional virtues of a Roman citizen. The signs of their moral degradation are listed in the following order: whoring, boozing, admiration for statues, painted pictures and carved vases - which resulted in massive theft of these objects of art, plundering of shrines and defilement of everything and all, both sacred and profane.

It is noteworthy that admiration for art is found right in between signs of licentiousness and desecration of temples. The end of the Roman republic was nigh...

On an unrelated note, I always found the use of 'signum' meaning 'sculpture' very interesting. statues were meant as representations of deities, they reminded people about gods, in their absence.

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