" Why, just now in the Forum I worked on a couple of
fellows I knew, young lawyers, and, " Going to lunch, then?"
I in my innocence ask. And a terrible silence
settles upon us. Does anyone say "You come too!"?
Heads begin shaking. I tell them a nice little story,
one of my best. God knows how often it's fed me.
Laughter then? No. Smiles? No. "
From Titus Maccius Plautus, a Roman playwright, middle of the 2nd century BC, describing a once prosperous middle class person's story of lament in the midst of ancient Rome's growing wealth. The growing capital at the time, as example had 100 public baths fed by a new aqueduct called the Aqua Marcia.