Roman citizens paid emperor piles of silver to leave them alone, inscription reveals

Roman citizens paid emperor piles of silver to leave them alone, inscription reveals

An ancient Greek inscription dating to the second century A.D. is essentially a thank-you note for a shady cash gift, a new translation reveals. The inscription immortalized the words of a Roman emperor who accepted piles of silver from a city anxious to demonstrate its loyalty. 

During a time of political upheaval in the Roman Empire, residents of the city Nicopolis ad Istrum, in what is now Bulgaria, backed an unsuccessful contender for the emperor’s seat. After their champion’s loss, they promptly sent the victor — Emperor Septimus Severus — 700,000 silver coins, as a sign of fealty. 

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