The Feast of Cleopatra

Decadence And Beads In The Ancient World
Asked about the most precious piece of jewelry, would have been for centuries the answer clear: beads, of course. The product of the Freshwater Pearl Mussel, discovered often only by chance, was reserved for a pure luxury and the rich and powerful. A slave who discovered a beautiful Pearl, had earned his freedom so.

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In early cultures they did appreciate the Pearl.In India and Ceylon was dipped in a big way for pearls. Already in the ancient Vedic literature beads are as special gifts or Bridal jewelry always mentioned and associated with the god Krishna. The ancient Sanskrit word for Pearl “fallen”, which is probably to be understood as homage to the fun loving God is nothing. Beaded necklaces among the official insignia of some emperor at the beginning of the 20th century.

After Indians have long appreciated the Pearl as a divine gift and sweet residue of morning dew in a freshwater pearl Mussel, the esteemed showpieces from the Orient reached since the campaigns of Alexander of the great even after Greece, and it ultimately later also in the Roman Welt.Dort, bead necklaces were a popular status symbol. The society ladies adorned in such great numbers with beads, that’s called the critics and Mockers on the plan. Just the Earrings from several beads that were so popular among wealthy Roman women were called Madness by for example by Seneca. He found it obscene, to carry the value of a medium-sized inheritance in each ear. But also in pillows, tablecloths, even in the soles of sandals beads processed – at least for those who could afford them.

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This cult in the Roman Empire was driven to the extreme. So lane Paulina was the most expensive Pearl, wife of the notorious for eccentric escapades and his sadism ruler Caligula, even at the smallest everyday occasions. But that was not enough: not only that she are shrouded in pearls, the value of which nearly corresponded to the Roman State budget, wore the status-conscious Empress to even jeweler invoices to the value of her jewelry pieces at any time show. Her husband snubbed only little later Senate and people of Rome: not only, that he simply appointed his favorite horse of Incitatus Consul – after all, the highest office in the State–no, he the noble ungulate on the occasion of his appointment even a luxurious Pearl Necklace laid to. No wonder that later historians thought it was insane.

Most poetically but is the history, the Pliny who knows to tell seniors about the Egyptian Queen Kleopatra and who was the model for numerous films and plays. In the last few days in Egypt, as the beautiful Queen set her Wiles on the ambitious Commander of Markus Antonius, she loved to bless him with expensive, exotic Festival maehlern. Now it happened that the legendary lovers a bet completed who could align the most expensive meal. Cleopatra said she would be applying a meal worth ten million Sesterces. The always adventurous Antonius entered to with joys. After a while noble, Royal standards but not overly special meal the Queen finally put out a bowl sharp vinegar him.

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Surprised the proud Romans wanted to ask already, what then should this nonsense as Cleopatra took off her gorgeous earrings – a legendary teardrop-shaped bead, the pride of the ancient world – and the noble piece graceful dissolved in vinegar. With this multimillion dollar mix, you are raising to the confused Commander and handed him the second part of the Ohrgehänges so that he do it right for you. That was the good Antony then too far.

He magnanimously admitted his defeat. The remaining earring was after the victory of the later as Augustus glorified Octavian of Egypt brought to Rome and formed, divided into two parts the earrings of the statue of Venus in the pantheon.