Sitting here in the stupor that is the aftermath of Christmas; ruminating on the equation of Pliny’s two bruscum tables, the enormity of it all gradually dawned on me.
A swift clatter on the trusty abacus tells me that’s 2,500,000 and 3,750,000 asses for the two tables! If one accepts the average price of a pet donkey in the twenty-first century is $500, then the tables would be valued at $1,250,000,000 and $1,875,000,000 respectively.
However, this doesn’t take into account the significance of a Roman ass as a beast of burden and the primary mode of transport – the equivalent of the modern ute (pickup truck) or family car. This is colossal!
Taking the new cost of an average workaday ute in Australia as $40,000, then even the cheaper of the two tables is worth the equivalent of $100,000,000 in today’s money!.
Excuse me while I take the chainsaw out for a walk!