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Pliny the Younger (A.D. 62?–c.A.D. 113).  Letters.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
CXVII. To the Emperor Trajan
 
 
IT is customary here upon any person taking the manly robe, solemnizing his marriage, entering upon the office of a magistrate, or dedicating any public work, to invite the whole senate, together with a considerable part of the commonalty, and distribute to each of the company one or two denarii. 1 I request you to inform me whether you think proper this ceremony should be observed, or how far you approve of it. For myself, though I am of opinion that upon some occasions, especially those of public festivals, this kind of invitation may be permitted, yet, when carried so far as to draw together a thousand persons, and sometimes more, it seems to be going beyond a reasonable number, and has somewhat the appearance of ambitious largesses.  1
 
Note 1. The denarius=17 cents. The sum total, then, distributed among one thousand persons at the rate of, say, two denarii a piece would amount to about $350. [back]
 

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