Karen Dolby is a freelance editor and writer. Among her books are History's Naughty Bits, Oranges and Lemons: Rhymes from Past Times and Homework Help for Mums and Dads, all published by Michael O'Mara Books. She lives and writes in south London.
One of the most outrageous stories concerned Vedius Pollio, who fed slaves at will to the lamprey eels in his fishpond if they displeased him. This was deemed shockingly cruel, even by Roman standards, and Emperor Augustus himself intervened on behalf of a slave. One evening, when Augustus was dining with Vedius Pollio, a slave broke a crystal cup. To save the terrified servant, Augustus proceeded to smash all the crystal cups at the table.
When Augustus inherited Vedius’s magnificent villa on his death, he had it demolished so that the house would not remain as a monument to its evil owner.
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and vivacity, but he was not as generous to her as he had been