Light and Fire
Fire is the test of gold; adversity of the strong man.
SENECA, DE PROVIDENTIA5.101
As gold is proven by fire, so are we by ordeals.
MINUCIUS FELIX, OCTAVIUS 36.92
Virtus and the honores won in the crucible of the contest were shining and volatile; the refining fire of the ordeal produced a heightened sense of vividness, a brilliant, gleaming, resplendent existence.3 The man of honor was speciosus, illustris, clarus, nobilis, splendidus: the woman of honor was, in addition, candida, casta, pura. Valerius Maximus describes brave Cloelia as a lumen virtutis (3.2.2).4 Cicero declares that Julius Caesar was “the fairest light of all nations and all history” (omnium gentium atque omnis memoriae clarissimum lumen [ Pro rege Deiotaro 5.15]). Ovid's Cyclops praises Galatea as “shining brighter than glass” (splendidior vitro [ Metamorphoses 13.791]).____________________