How to Give: An Ancient Guide to Giving and Receiving

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"Romans in the Age of Nero were preoccupied with transactional obligations, namely, what one could expect in return for something given. Emperors firmed up their power by offering donations to troops, or handouts to the public; rich men received hosts of clientelae every morning, godfather-style, promising favors or granting petitions in exchange for gifts or loyalty. Even the gods could be bought: A Roman often intoned the formula do ut des, "I give so that you may give," while making sacrifice. The Roman statesman and ...

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