Livy on Rome’s decline


the wicked conspiracy to all vice and lust



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the wicked conspiracy to all vice and lust was contained, but had committed none of the acts to which they were bound by the oath against either themselves or others, they left in chains; upon those who had permitted themselves to be defiled by debauchery or murder, who had polluted themselves by false testimony, forged seals, substitution of wills or other frauds, they inflicted capital punishment. More were killed than were thrown into prison. There was a large number of men and women in both classes. Convicted women were turned over to their relatives or to those who had authority over them, that they might be punished in private: if there was no suitable person to exact it, the penalty was inflicted by the state. Then the task was entrusted to the consuls of destroying all forms of Bacchic worship, first at Rome and then throughout Italy, except in cases where an ancient altar or image had been consecrated. For the future it was then provided by decree of the senate that there should be no Bacchanalia in Rome or Italy. If any person considered such worship to be ordained by tradition or to be necessary, and believed that he could not omit it without sin and atonement, he was to make a declaration before the city praetor, and the latter would consult the senate. If permission were granted to him, at a meeting where not fewer than one hundred were in attendance, he should offer the sacrifice, provided that not more than five people should take part in the rite, and that there should be no common purse or master of sacrifices or priest.”4

The above reveals that in 186 B.C., the Roman Senate did not approve of adultery, homosexuality and sex before marriage among free Romans. It is possible that this Bacchic movement was the first major outbreak of homosexuality in the Roman Republic.


In 173 or 155 B.C., the Romans banned the Greek Epicurean philosophers
The ancient Greek writer Athenaeus records that in 173 or 155 B.C. when Lucius Postumius was consul, the Romans banned the Greek Epicurean philosophers from Rome. At this time, the Romans did not like the Epicurean worship of pleasure. Athenaeus stated: “And Epicurus, again, says: ‘The beginning and root of all good is the satisfaction of the belly, and all wise and exquisite things have in this their standard of reference.’ And in the treatise ‘


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