The Bizarre Life of the Man Who Killed Spartacus

The Bizarre Life of the Man Who Killed Spartacus

2020/06/25

As the Ancient Encyclopedia points out, Marcus Crassus had no shortage of virtues. Despite his Scrooge McDuck-like wealth, he wasn't a miser. He was known to be extremely generous to his friends, and a large part of his political popularity can be attributed to his willingness to spend lavishly on public festivals and entertainments. He was well-versed in philosophy, and his skills as an orator were so strong that even the legendary rhetorician Cicero was hesitant to ever argue with him in a legal setting. But despite his many strengths, his one vice — greed — was so powerful that it was said to have outweighed all the good. In fact, in one notorious case, he was able to use his greed as a defense against an accusation of another crime.



According to Ancient Origins, Crassus was once brought to trial on charges of getting too intimate with a Vestal Virgin, one of the priestesses of the goddess Vesta who were supposed to remain, well, you know. If found guilty, Crassus would've been executed, with his wealth and reputation lost. However, Crassus explained they weren't hooking up. Instead, his explanation was that, the priestess — his cousin, Licinia — owned a suburban villa that he'd been trying to convince her to sell him at a low price. Ultimately, the judge agreed that Crassus was more likely to be greedy than lustful, and so both Crassus and Licinia were spared execution. Even after this, Crassus hounded Licinia until she sold him the villa.
















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