Vedius Pollio

Publius Vedius Pollio was a Roman of equestrian rank, and a friend of the Roman emperor Augustus, who appointed him to a position of authority in the province of Asia. In later life he became known for his luxurious tastes and cruelty to his slaves – when they displeased him, he had them fed to lampreys that he maintained for that purpose, which was deemed to be an exceedingly cruel act. When Vedius tried to apply this method of execution to a slave who broke a crystal cup, Emperor Augustus was so appalled that he not only intervened to prevent the execution but had all of Pollio's valuable drinking vessels deliberately broken. This incident, and Augustus's demolition of Vedius's mansion in Rome he inherited in his will, were frequently referred to in antiquity in discussions of ethics and of the public role of Augustus.


Publius Vedius Pollio was a Roman of equestrian rank, and a friend of the Roman emperor Augustus, who appointed him to a position of authority in the province of Asia. In later life he became known for his luxurious tastes and cruelty to his slaves – when they displeased him, he had them fed to lampreys that he maintained for that purpose, which was deemed to be an exceedingly cruel act. When Vedius tried to apply this method of execution to a slave who broke a crystal cup, Emperor Augustus was so appalled that he not only intervened to prevent the execution but had all of Pollio's valuable drinking vessels deliberately broken. This incident, and Augustus's demolition of Vedius's mansion in Rome he inherited in his will, were frequently referred to in antiquity in discussions of ethics and of the public role of Augustus.
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