Firmus was an Alexandrian merchant who is said to have been declared emperor in the aftermath of the defeat of the Palmyrene Queen Zenobia by the emperor Aurelian. Firmus was said to be immensely rich, and had such huge physical appetites that he could consume a whole ostrich in a single day, and drain two buckets of wine at a sitting in a drinking contest. The visible signs of his wealth are that the windows in his house were set with glass set in pitch. Also, he owned so many books that he could supply an army on paper, and that his ships sailed to India, as a result of which he owned two twelve-foot elephant tusks. Firmus represents the wealth of Egypt to its fullest. Though much or all of these things may be fiction, the details do not lose their significance.
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Last Updated: June 20th, 2011