On Benefits Book II, XII

Gaius Caesar granted Pompeius Pennus his life, that is, if not to take away life be to grant it; then, when Pompeius was set free and returning thanks to him, he stretched out his left foot to be kissed.

Those who excuse this action, and say that it was not done through arrogance, say that he wished to show him a gilded, nay a golden slipper studded with pearls.

“Well,” say they, “what disgrace can there be in a man of consular rank kissing gold and pearls, and what part of Caesar’s whole body was it less pollution to kiss?”

So, then, that man, the object of whose life was to change a free state into a Persian despotism, was not satisfied when a senator, an aged man, a man who had filled the highest offices in the State, prostrated himself before him in the presence of all the nobles, just as the vanquished prostrate themselves before their conqueror!

He discovered a place below his knees down to which he might thrust liberty.

What is this but trampling upon the commonwealth, and that, too, with the left foot, though you may say that this point does not signify?

It was not a sufficiently foul and frantic outrage for the emperor to sit at the trial of a consular for his life wearing slippers, he must needs push his shoes into a senator’s face.