Agricola, Georgius, De re metallica, 1912/1950

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had betaken themselves to flight, he was asked by one, why he carried
away none of his goods with him, and he replied, “I carry all my possessions
with me.” And it is said that Socrates, having received twenty minae sent
to him by Aristippus, a grateful disciple, refused them and sent them back to
him by the command of his conscience.
Aristippus, following his example
in this matter, despised gold and regarded it as of no value.
And once
when he was making a journey with his slaves, and they, laden with the
gold, went too slowly, he ordered them to keep only as much of it as they
could carry without distress and to throw away the remainder16. Moreover,
Anacreon of Teos, an ancient and noble poet, because he had been troubled
about them for two nights, returned five talents which had been given him
by Polycrates, saying that they were not worth the anxiety which he had
gone through on their account.
In like manner celebrated and exceedingly
powerful princes have imitated the philosophers in their scorn and contempt
for gold and silver.
There was for example, Phocion, the Athenian, who was
appointed general of the army so many times, and who, when a large sum of gold
was sent to him as a gift by Alexander, King of Macedon, deemed it trifling and
scorned it.
And Marcus Curius ordered the gold to be carried back to the
Samnites, as did also Fabricius Luscinus with regard to the silver and
copper.
And certain Republics have forbidden their citizens the use and
employment of gold and silver by law and ordinance; the Lacedaemonians,
by the decrees and ordinances of Lycurgus, used diligently to enquire among
their citizens whether they possessed any of these things or not, and the
possessor, when he was caught, was punished according to law and justice.
The inhabitants of a town on the Tigris, called Babytace, buried their gold
in the ground so that no one should use it.
The Scythians condemned the
use of gold and silver so that they might not become avaricious.

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