A Spectacle of Desperate Poverty?

And Euphorion the Chalcidian, in his Historical Memorials, writes as follows – “But among the Romans it is common for five minae to be offered to any one who chooses to take it, to allow his head to be cut off with an axe, so that his heirs might receive the reward: and very often many have returned their names as willing, so that there has been a regular contest between them as to who had the best right to be beaten to death.”

from Athenaeus.

Or perhaps just an othering of the barbaric Romans.

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