Eugène Sue.

The Brass Bell; or, The Chariot of Death online

. (page 9 of 9)
Online LibraryEugène SueThe Brass Bell; or, The Chariot of Death → online text (page 9 of 9)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

"One can see by this passage," adds d'Auvergne, "that Caesar, having
been released by the Gaul who had made him prisoner and who was carrying
him off on his horse fully armed from the field of battle, believed the
saving of his life to be due to the very word which was intended to be
his death sentence: to the word _sko_, which Caesar wrote _ceco_, and
which he falsely interpreted to mean _release_ when the word in Gallic
in reality means _kill_, _strike_, _beat down_. Everything points to the
conclusion that fear or stupefaction having seized the Gauls, in whose
power Caesar completely was, at the mere mention of his name, he owed
his safety to the sheer astonishment of his captor."

[11] "During the fight, which lasted from the seventh hour until the
evening, not a Gaul was seen turning his back (aversum hostem nemo
videre potuit)." - Caesar, _De Bello Gallico_, ch. XXXVII.

[12] "When the Romans drew near the chariots they came face to face with
a new enemy, the war dogs. These were with difficulty exterminated by
the archers." - Pliny, book LXXII, chap. C.

[13] The total destruction of the Gallic fleet was the result of an
extremely dangerous invention by the Romans, who, by means of scythes
fastened to long poles, cut the stays which held the masts. These fell,
and the Gallic vessels, deprived of sails and motion, were reduced to
impotence. See Caesar, _De Bello Gallico_, book III, ch. XIV, XV.

[14] See Pliny, Quintilian, Seneca, etc. Cited by Wallon in his _History
of Slavery in Antiquity_, vol. II, p. 329.

[15] About $100 or $120 in modern money. This was at the time the market
price of a slave. (Wallon, _History of Slavery in Antiquity_, vol. II,
p. 329.)

[16] Slaves had no name of their own. They were given indiscriminately
all sorts of soubriquets, even to the names of animals. (Givin, p. 339.)

[17] It was the custom to throw in "for good measure," upon the purchase
of a lot of slaves for labor or for pleasure, a few old men who were
nothing but skin and bones. See Plautus, _Bachid._ IV, _Prospera_ IV;
and _Terence_, _Eun._ Cited by Wallon, _History of Slavery in
Antiquity_, vol. II. p. 56.

[18] There were in the selling of slaves, as in the vending of animals
established grounds entitling the purchaser to recover in full or in
part his purchase price. Six months were allowed for causes of the first
class to manifest themselves, a year for the latter.

Deafness, dumbness, short-sightedness, tertiary or quaternary ague,
gout, epilepsy, polyp, varicose veins, a breath indicating an internal
malady, sterility among the women - such were the grounds accepted for
complete abrogation of the contract. As to moral defects, nothing was
said. Nevertheless, the merchant was not allowed to ascribe to a slave
qualities he did not possess. One was bound above all to make known
whether a slave possessed a tendency toward suicide. (Wallon, _History
of Slavery in Antiquity_, vol. II, p. 63.)

[19] We do not dare to expatiate on these monstrosities. We shall only
cite the words of the lawyer Heterus: "Shamelessness is a crime in a
free man - a duty in a freedman - and a necessity in a slave." For further
details of the abominable and precocious depravity into which slaves and
their children were dragged, see Wallon, _History of Slavery in
Antiquity_, p. 266, following.

[20] "Masters disemboweled their slaves, to search for prognostications
in their entrails." - Wallon, vol. II, p. 251.

[21] The characteristics of different nationalities of slaves had passed
into bywords with the dealers. Thus they said "timid as a Phrygian,"
"vain as a Moor," "deceitful as a Cretan," "intractable as a Sardinian,"
"fierce as a Dalmatian," "gentle as an Ionian," etc., etc. (Wallon, vol.
II, p. 65.)

[22] Caesar wished to make a severe example. So "He put the Senate to
death, and sold the rest at auction." - Caesar, _De Bello Gallico_, book
III, ch. XVI.

[23] See Wallon, vol. II, ch. III, for the singular means employed by
the "horse-dealers" to rejuvenate their slaves.

[24] The Gauls in the north and west of France attached so much
importance and dignity to the length of their hair that the provinces
they inhabited were called "Long-haired Gaul." (Latour d'Auvergne,
Gallic Origins.)

[25] When prisoners of war were sold as slaves, they were made to wear
wreaths of the leaves of trees as a distinctive sign. (Wallon.)

[26] "The magic philters of Media and Circe of old were nothing but
pharmaceutical brews of an action as diversified as powerful. Several of
these narcotic or exhilarators, which threw a man into an incredible
moral prostration, or else into a fit of frenzy, were long employed
among the Romans. The slave merchants used them to overcome and enervate
their more unconquerable captives." - _Philosophic Dictionary_, p. 345.

[27] "The higher priced slaves were kept in a sort of cage, which drew,
by its air of mystery, the attention of the connoisseurs." - Wallon, vol.
II, p. 54.

[28] The slave was obliged to lift weights, to march, to leap, to prove
his vigor and agility. (Wallon, vol. II, p. 59.)

[29] The feet of women and children were daubed with white clay.

[30] See Petronius for details of Roman patrician "fashions."

[31] For these shameful manners, which respect for humanity renders
unpicturable, see Tacitus, Martial, Juvenal, and above all Petronius.

[32] See above authors.

[33] The master was civilly responsible for the acts of his slave, the
same as for those of his dog. (Wallon, vol. II, p. 183.)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9

Online LibraryEugène SueThe Brass Bell; or, The Chariot of Death → online text (page 9 of 9)