If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed…
Crassus owned a landed estate valued at more than one million and a half pounds sterling, and Ridorus, after having lost a good deal in the civil war, left an estate worth one million forty-seven hundred pounds. And Lentulus, the augur, died worth three millions, three hundred and thirty-three thousand, three hundred and thirty-three pounds sterling. Apicius was possessed of above nine hundred and sixteen thousand, six hundred and seventy-one pounds. His wealth, however, was by no means satisfactory or sufficient for him. For after having spent vast sums in his kitchen, he was so miserable that he put an end to his own life by poison. These rich old Romans were not bankers or mere merchants and traders. These amounts did not merely pass through their hands in the way of trade. They were worth so much in hard money. Nor were all the millionaires of ancient times Romans. Herodotus says that Xerxes, in going to Greece, the father of Ahasuerus — or as some say, Ahasuerus himself — found Pythius, the Lydian, possessed of two thousand talents of silver and four millions of gold darics; that is, about twenty-seven and a half millions of dollars (Lib. 7.). And Plutarch informs us, that after Crassus, the Roman general, had given the tenth of all he had to Hercules, he entertained ten thousand people at his tables, and gave to every citizen as much corn as would support him three months; and then had seven thousand one hundred Roman talents remaining; that is, about twenty-eight millions of dollars. Surely, then, there is nothing incredible in our history because it speaks of ten thousand talents of silver. The wealth and luxury of the old world, in many particulars, surpassed our own times. The enormous debts contracted in the days of Alexander and of the Caesars prove that the wealth of those times was great, although this is a way to prove one's wealth by that is not at all to my mind, especially for a Church. Anthony owed, we are told, at the ides of March, £333,333 13s. 4d., which, however, it is said he paid before the calends of April, every penny of it.
(W. A. Scott, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king's treasuries.
WEB: If it pleases the king, let it be written that they be destroyed; and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who are in charge of the king's business, to bring it into the king's treasuries."