On Anger, Book III, XXXIII

The greatest hullabaloo is about money: this it is which wearies out the law-courts, sows strife between father and son, concocts poisons, and gives swords to murderers just as to soldiers: it is stained with our blood: on account of it husbands and wives wrangle all night long, crowds press round the bench of magistrates, kings rage and plunder, and overthrow communities which it has taken the labour of centuries to build, that they may seek for gold and silver in the ashes of their cities.

Do you like to look at your moneybags lying in the corner? it is for these that men shout till their eyes start from their heads, that the law-courts ring with the din of trials, and that jurymen brought from great distances sit to decide which man’s covetousness is the more equitable.

What shall we say if it be not even for a bag of money, but for a handful of coppers or a shilling scored up by a slave that some old man, soon to die without an heir, bursts with rage? what if it be an invalid moneylender whose feet are distorted by the gout, and who can no longer use his hands to count with, who calls for his interest of one thousandth a month, [51] and by his sureties demands his pence even during the paroxysms of his disease?

If you were to bring to me all the money from all our mines, which we are at this moment sinking, if you were to bring tonight all that is concealed in hoards, where avarice returns money to the earth from whence it came, and pity that it ever was dug out⁠—all that mass I should not think worthy to cause a wrinkle on the brow of a good man.

What ridicule those things deserve which bring tears into our eyes!