Gesta Romanorum Vol. I (1871)/Of the end of Sinners

Gesta Romanorum Vol. I  (1871) 
Anonymous, translated by Charles Swan
Of the end of Sinners



Dionysius records, that when Perillus desired to become an artificer of Phalaris, a cruel and tyrannical king who depopulated the kingdom, and was guilty of many dreadful excesses, he presented to him, already too well skilled in cruelty, a brazen bull, which he had just constructed. In one of its sides there was a secret door, by which those who were sentenced should enter and be burnt to death. The idea was, that the sounds produced by the agony of the sufferer confined within, should resemble the roaring of a bull; and thus, while nothing human struck the ear, the mind should be unimpressed by a feeling of mercy. The king highly applauded the invention, and said, "Friend, the value of thy industry is yet untried: more cruel even than the people account me, thou thyself shalt be the first victim."—Indeed, there is no law more equitable, than that the artificer of death should perish by his own devices, as Quidius has observed. (48)


My beloved, the sufferer is any evil-worker who will finally suffer for the exertion of his iniquitous practices.

Note 48.Page 166.

"As Quidius has observed."

"Who Quidius was I am unable to say. The sentiment here referred to is Ovid's—

———"Neque enim lex æquior ulla,
Quàm necis artifices arte perire suâ."

De arte Amandi.

But it is very probable that we should read Ovidius for Quidius above.