Extreme makeovers: ancient style

A while ago there was a popular TV show in which friends would remodel friends' homes without any creative input whatsovever. You would just send a family on a vacation (all paid for) and when they got back, boom! All new house and decor (surprise, not everybody liked it).

There is a story from Roman antiquity which might as well be an inspiration to such TV shows. According to Cassio Dio Roman History 58, 22, Sextus Marius, an incredibly wealthy Plebeian, once demonstrated his might to a neighbor in a rather unusual way. Marius invited the man (with whom he had a dispute) to stay with him as a guest for two days. On the first day, Marius had the neighbor's villa completely demolished. On the second day the villa was rebuilt on a much more impressive scale. Marius told the stupefied neighbor that he knew how to defend his interests and how to repay favors.

Marius' immense wealth ended up costing his life. In 33 A.D. the Emperor Tiberius, coveting his riches, had him condemned to death and thrown from the Tarpeian Rock.

Also found in A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities by J. C. McKeown.

  • #history
  • #anecdotes