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The way we were: Extravagance

Extracts from memoirs and diaries

By Ian Irvine   August 2012

Nero thought a “fortune could only be enjoyed by squandering it”

Suetonius describes the extravagance of Nero (Roman Emperor from 54 to 68AD):

“He thought a magnificent fortune could only be enjoyed by squandering it, claiming that only miserly people kept a close account of their spending, while gentlemen scattered their wealth extravagantly. Nothing so stirred his admiration and envy of Caligula, his uncle, as the way he had run through Tiberius’s vast legacy in such a short space of time. So he showered gifts on people and poured money away.

He spent eight thousand gold pieces a day on…

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