It happens that nowadays public figures abuse gestures considered obscene. “Infamis digitus”, i.e. the middle finger arranged in a manner reminiscent of male genitals was a gesture most well known in antiquity and already considered offensive and obscene.
Octavian Augustus extremely sensitive to all manifestations of violation of morality was firm in such cases. According to Suetonius in “Augustus”, an actor named Pylades was booed during a performance by one of the spectators. He used then, he used the famous gesture, drawing the unfortunate person’s attention.
Octavian Augustus punished Pylades from Rome and Italy. A popular anecdote also claims that the same gesture was to be used as early as the 4th century BCE by Diogenes against Demosthenes as a reaction to his argument.
Support IMPERIUM ROMANUM!
IMPERIUM ROMANUM is in process of translation over 3300 Polish articles about history of ancient Rome. If you have the opportunity to financially support the further translations – even with smaller amount – I will be very grateful.