“Self-made man” in the Roman edition – during discussion in “The Banquet of Trimalchio” (Petronius):
So you’re a Roman knight! Well, I’m a king’s son! How’s it come that you’ve been a slave, you’ll ask because I put myself into service because I’d rather be a Roman citizen than a tax-paying provincial. And now I hope that my life will be such that no one can jeer at me. I’m a man among men! I take my stroll bareheaded and owe no man a copper cent. I never had a summons in my life and no one ever said to me, in the forum, pay me what you owe me. I’ve bought a few acres and saved up a few dollars and I feed twenty bellies and a dog. I ransomed my bedfellow so no one could wipe his hands on her bosom; a thousand dinars it cost me, too. I was chosen priest of Augustus without paying the fee, and I hope that I won’t need to blush in my grave after I’m dead.