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Title: Plutarch's Lives, Volume I
Author: Plutarch, 46-120?
Language: English
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Translated from the Greek
with Notes and a Life of Plutarch


Late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge

and the late

Formerly Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge



George Bell & Sons, York St., Covent Garden, and New York


Reprinted from Stereotype Plates by Wm. Clowes & Sons, Ltd., Stamford
Street and Charing Cross


No apologies are needed for a new edition of so favourite an author as
Plutarch. From the period of the revival of classical literature in
Europe down to our own times, his writings have done more than those of
any other single author to familiarise us with the greatest men and the
greatest events of the ancient world.

The great Duke of Marlborough, it is said, confessed that his only
knowledge of English history was derived from Shakespeare's historical
plays, and it would not be too much to say that a very large proportion
of educated men, in our own as well as in Marlborough's times, have owed
much of their knowledge of classical antiquity to the study of
Plutarch's Lives. Other writers may be read with profit, with
admiration, and with interest; but few, like Plutarch, can gossip
pleasantly while instructing solidly; can breathe life into the dry
skeleton of history, and show that the life of a Greek or Roman worthy,
when rightly dealt with, can prove as entertaining as a modern novel. No
one is so well able as Plutarch to dispel the doubt which all schoolboys
feel as to whether the names about which they read ever belonged to men
who were really alive; his characters are so intensely human and
lifelike in their faults and failings as well as in their virtues, that
we begin to think of them as of people whom we have ourselves personally

His biographies are numerous and short. By this, he avoids one of the
greatest faults of modern biographers, that namely of identifying
himself with some one particular personage, and endeavouring to prove
that all his actions were equally laudable. Light and shade are as
necessary to a character as to a picture, but a man who devotes his
energies for years to the study of any single person's life, is
insensibly led into palliating or explaining away his faults and
exaggerating his excellencies until at last he represents him as an
impossible monster of virtue. Another advantage which we obtain by his
method is that we are not given a complete chronicle of each person's
life, but only of the remarkable events in it, and such incidents as
will enable us to judge of his character. This also avoids what is the
dreariest part of all modern biographies, those chapters I mean which
describe the slow decay of their hero's powers, his last illness, and
finally his death. This subject, which so many writers of our own time
seem to linger lovingly upon, is dismissed by Plutarch in a few lines,
unless any circumstance of note attended the death of the person

Without denying that Plutarch is often inaccurate and often diffuse;
that his anecdotes are sometimes absurd, and his metaphysical
speculations not unfrequently ridiculous, he is nevertheless generally
admitted to be one of the most readable authors of antiquity, while all
agree that his morality is of the purest and loftiest type.

The first edition of the Greek text of Plutarch's Lives appeared at
Florence in the year 1517, and two years afterwards it was republished
by Aldus. Before this, however, about the year 1470, a magnificent Latin
version by various hands appeared at Rome. From this, from the Greek
text, and also from certain MSS. to which he had access, Amyot in the
year 1559 composed his excellent translation, of which it has been well
said: "Quoique en vieux Gaulois, elle a un air de fraicheur qui la fait
rejeunir de jour en jour."

Amyot's spirited French version was no less spiritedly translated by Sir
Thomas North. His translation was much read and admired in its day; a
modern reviewer even goes so far as to say that it is "still beyond
comparison the best version of Parallel Lives which the English tongue
affords." Be this as it may, the world will ever be deeply indebted to
North's translation, for it is to Shakespeare's perusal of that work
that we owe 'Coriolanus,' 'Antony and Cleopatra,' and 'Julius Caesar.'

North's translation was followed by that known as Dryden's. This work,
performed by many different hands, is of unequal merit. Some Lives are
rendered into a racy and idiomatic, although somewhat archaic English,
while others fall far short of the standard of Sir Thomas North's work.
Dryden's version has during the last few years been re-edited by A.H.
Clough, Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford.

The translation by which Plutarch is best known at the present day is
that of the Langhornes. Their style is certainly dull and commonplace,
and is in many instances deserving of the harsh epithets which have been
lavished upon it. We must remember, however, before unsparingly
condemning their translation, that the taste of the age for which they
wrote differed materially from that of our own, and that people who
could read the 'Letters of Theodosius and Constantia' with interest,
would certainly prefer Plutarch in the translation of the Langhornes to
the simpler phrases of North's or Dryden's version. All events, comic or
tragic, important or commonplace, are described with the same inflated
monotony which was mistaken by them for the dignity of History. Yet
their work is in many cases far more correct as a translation, and the
author's meaning is sometimes much more clearly expressed, than in
Dryden's earlier version. Langhorne's Plutarch was re-edited by
Archdeacon Wrangham in the year 1819.

In 1844, thirteen Lives were translated by that eminent scholar the late
Mr. George Long; and it is by way of complement to these Lives that the
present version was undertaken with his consent and his approval.

Those translated by Mr. Long were selected by him as illustrating a
period of Roman history in which he was especially interested, and will
therefore be found to be more fully annotated than the others. It has
seemed to me unnecessary to give information in the notes which can at
the present day be obtained in a more convenient form in Dr. Smith's
Classical Dictionary and Dictionary of Antiquities, many of the articles
in which are written by Mr. Long himself. The student of classical
literature will naturally prefer the exhaustive essays to be found in
these works to any notes appended to Plutarch's text, while to those who
read merely "for the story," the notes prove both troublesome and

In deciding on the spelling of the Greek proper names, I have felt great
hesitation. To make a Greek speak of Juno or Minerva seems as absurd as
to make a Roman swear by Herakles or Ares. Yet both Greek and Roman
divinities are constantly mentioned. The only course that seemed to
avoid absolute absurdity appeared to me to be that which I have adopted,
namely to speak of the Greek divinities by their Greek, and the Latin
ones by their Latin names. In substituting a k for the more usual c, I
have followed the example of Grote, who in his History spells all Greek
names exactly as they are written, with the exception of those with
which we are so familiar in their Latin form as to render this
practically impossible; as for instance in the case of Cyprus or
Corinth, or of a name like Thucydides, where a return to the Greek k
would be both pedantic and unmeaning.

The text, which I have followed throughout, is that of C. Sintenis,
Leipsic, 1873.



[Footnote A: It has been thought desirable to give here Mr. Long's
preface to the lives published by him, under the title of "Civil Wars of
Rome." The lives will be found in subsequent volumes.]

Among the extant Lives of Plutarch there are thirteen Lives of Romans
which belong to the most eventful period of Roman history. They are the
lives of the brothers Tiberius and Caius Sempronius Gracchus, of Caius
Marius, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Quintus Sertorius, Marcus Licinius
Crassus, Cneius Pompeius Magnus, Marcus Porcius Cato the Younger, Marcus
Tullius Cicero, Lucius Licinius Lucullus, Caius Julius Caesar, Marcus
Junius Brutus, and Marcus Antonius. From the year of the death of
Tiberius Gracchus, B.C. 133, to the death of Marcus Antonius, B.C. 30, a
period of about one hundred years, the Roman State was convulsed by
revolutions which grew out of the contest between the People and the
Nobility, or rather, out of the contests between the leaders of these
two bodies. This period is the subject of Appian's History of the Civil
Wars of the Romans, in Five Books. Appian begins with the Tribunate and
legislation of Tiberius Gracchus, from which he proceeds to the
Dictatorship of Sulla, and then to the quarrels between Pompeius and
Caesar, and Caesar's Dictatorship and assassination. He then proceeds to
the history of the Triumvirate formed after Caesar's death by his great
nephew Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus, Marcus Antonius, and Lepidus, the
quarrels of the Triumviri, the downfall of Lepidus, who was reduced to
the condition of a private person, and the death of Sextus Pompeius, the
last support of the party in whose cause his father, Cneius Pompeius,
lost his life. The remainder of this History, which is lost, carried the
narration down to the quarrels of Octavianus and Marcus Antonius, which
ended in the defeat of Antonius in the battle of Actium, B.C. 31, and
his death in Egypt, B.C. 30. The victory over Antonius placed all the
power in the hands of Octavianus, who, in the year B.C. 27, received
from the Roman Senate the title of Augustus, or the Sacred, by which
name he is commonly known as the first of the long series of Roman
Emperors. "He made himself," says Appian (_Civil Wars_, i. 5), "like
Caius Julius Caesar, and still more than Caesar, governor of his country
and of all the nations under it, without needing either election or the
popular votes, or any show of such things. After his government had
subsisted for a long time, and been maintained with vigour, fortunate in
all his measures, and feared, he left behind him descendants and
successors who kept the power that he transmitted to them. In this way,
after various civil commotions, the Roman State was restored to
tranquillity, and the government became a Monarchy. And how this came
about I have explained, and brought together all the events, which are
well worth the study of those who wish to become acquainted with
ambition of men unbounded, love of power excessive, endurance unwearied,
and forms of suffering infinite." Thus, the historian's object was to
trace the establishment of the Imperial power in Rome back to its
origin, to show that the contests of the rival heads of parties involved
the State in endless calamities, which resulted in a dissolution of all
the bonds that held society together, and rendered the assumption of
supreme power by one man a healing and a necessary event.

As already observed, it happens that thirteen of Plutarch's extant Lives
are the lives of the most distinguished of the Romans who lived during
this eventful period; and though Plutarch's Lives severally are not
histories of the times to which they respectively refer, nor
collectively form a History of any given time, yet they are valuable as
portraits of illustrious men, and help us to form a better judgment of
those who make so conspicuous a figure in History.

Plutarch was a native of the town of Chaeroneia, in Boeotia; the times
of his birth and death are not exactly known, but we learn from his own
works that he was a young student at Delphi, in the thirteenth year of
the reign of the Emperor Nero, A.D. 66. He visited both Italy and Rome,
and probably resided at Rome for some time. He wrote his Life of
Demosthenes, at least after his return to Chaeroneia: he says (_Life of
Demosthenes_, c. 2), that he had not time to exercise himself in the
Latin Language during his residence at Rome, being much occupied with
public business, and giving lessons in philosophy. Accordingly it was
late before he began to read the Latin writers; and we may infer from
his own words that he never acquired a very exact knowledge of the
language. He observes that it happened in his case, that in his study of
the Latin writers he did not so much learn and understand the facts from
the words, as acquire the meaning of the words from the facts, of which
he had already some knowledge. We may perhaps conclude from this, that
Plutarch wrote all his Roman lives in Chaeroneia, after he had returned
there from Rome. The statement that Plutarch was the preceptor of the
Emperor Trajan, and was raised to the consular rank by him, is not
supported by sufficient evidence. Plutarch addressed to Trajan his Book
of Apophthegms, or Sayings of Kings and Commanders; but this is all that
is satisfactorily ascertained as to the connection between the Emperor
and Philosopher. Trajan died A.D. 117.

"The plan of Plutarch's Biographies is briefly explained by himself in
the introduction to the Life of Alexander the Great, where he makes an
apology for the brevity with which he is compelled to treat of the
numerous events in the Lives of Alexander and Caesar. 'For,' he says, 'I
do not write Histories, but Lives; nor do the most conspicuous acts of
necessity exhibit a man's virtue or his vice, but oftentimes some slight
circumstance, a word, or a jest, shows a man's character better than
battles with the slaughter of tens of thousands, and the greatest arrays
of armies and sieges of cities. Now, as painters produce a likeness by a
representation of the countenance and the expression of the eyes,
without troubling themselves about the other parts of the body, so I
must be allowed to look rather into the signs of a man's character, and
thus give a portrait of his life, leaving others to describe great
events and battles.' The object then of Plutarch in his Biographies was
a moral end, and the exhibition of the principal events in a man's life
was subordinate to this his main design; and though he may not always
have adhered to the principle which he laid down, it cannot be denied
that his view of what biography should be, is much more exact than that
of most persons who have attempted this style of composition. The life
of a statesman or of a general, when written with a view of giving a
complete history of all the public events in which he was engaged, is
not biography, but history. This extract from Plutarch will also in some
measure be an apology for the want of historical order observable in
many of his Lives. Though altogether deficient in that critical sagacity
which discerns truth from falsehood, and distinguishes the intricacies
of confused and conflicting statements, Plutarch has preserved in his
Lives a vast number of facts which would otherwise have been unknown to
us. He was a great reader, and must have had access to large libraries.
It is said that he quotes two hundred and fifty writers, a great part of
whose works are now entirely lost." (_Penny Cyclopaedia_, art.
"Plutarch," by the writer of this Preface.)

The lively portraitures of men drawn in Plutarch's Lives have made them
favourite reading in all ages. Whether Plutarch has succeeded in drawing
the portraits true, we cannot always determine, because the materials
for such a judgment are sometimes wanting. But when we can compare his
Lives with other extant authorities, we must admit, that though he is by
no means free from error as to his facts, he has generally selected
those events in a man's life which most clearly show his temper, and
that on the whole, if we judge of a man by Plutarch's measure, we shall
form a just estimate of him. He generally wrote without any
predilections or any prejudices. He tells us of a man's good and bad
acts, of his good and bad qualities; he makes no attempt to conceal the
one or the other; he both praises and blames as the occasion may arise;
and the reader leaves off with a mixed opinion about Plutarch's Greeks
and Romans, though the favourable or the unfavourable side always
predominates. The benevolent disposition of Plutarch, and his noble and
elevated character, have stamped themselves on all that he has written.
A man cannot read these Lives without being the better for it: his
detestation of all that is mean and disingenuous will be increased; his
admiration of whatever is truthful and generous will be strengthened and

The translation of these Lives is difficult. Plutarch's text is
occasionally corrupted; and where it is not corrupted, his meaning is
sometimes obscure. Many of the sentences are long and ill-constructed;
the metaphors often extravagant; and the just connection of the parts is
sometimes difficult to discover. Many single words which are or ought to
be pertinent in Plutarch, and which go towards a description of
character in general or of some particular act, can hardly be rendered
by any English equivalent; and a translator often searches in vain for
something which shall convey to the reader the exact notion of the
original. Yet Plutarch's narrative is lively and animated; his anecdotes
are appropriately introduced and well told; and if his taste is
sometimes not the purest, which in his age we could not expect it to be,
he makes amends for this by the fulness and vigour of his expression. He
is fond of poetical words, and they are often used with striking effect.
His moral reflections, which are numerous, have the merit of not being
unmeaning and tiresome, because he is always in earnest and has got
something to say, and does not deal in commonplaces. When the reflection
is not very profound, it is at least true; and some of his remarks show
a deep insight into men's character.

I have attempted to give Plutarch's meaning in plain language; to give
all his meaning, and neither more nor less. If I have failed in any
case, it is because I could do no better. But, though I have not always
succeeded in expressing exactly what I conceive to be the meaning of the
original, I have not intentionally added to it or detracted from it. It
may be that there are passages in which I have mistaken the original;
and those who have made the experiment of rendering from one language
into another, know that this will sometimes happen even in an easy
passage. A difficult passage attracts more than usual of a translator's
attention, and if he fails there, it is either because the difficulty
cannot be overcome, or because he cannot overcome it. Mere inadvertence
or sleepiness may sometimes cause a translator to blunder, when he would
not have blundered if any friend had been by to keep him awake.

The best thing that a man can do to avoid these and other errors is to
compare his translation, when he has finished it, with some other. The
translation which I have compared with mine is the German translation of
Kaltwasser, Magdeburg, 1799, which is generally correct. Kaltwasser in
his Preface speaks of the way in which he used the German translations
of two of his predecessors, J. Christopher Kind, Leipzig, 1745-1754, and
H. v. Schirach, 1776-1780, and some others. He says, "These two
translations, with the French translations above mentioned, I have duly
used, for it is the duty of a translator to compare himself with his
predecessors; but I lay my labour before the eyes of the public, without
fearing that I shall be accused of copying or of close imitation. First
of all, I carefully studied the text of my author and translated him as
well as I could: then, and not before, I compared the labour of my
predecessors, and where I found a more suitable expression or a happier
turn, I made use of it without hesitation. In this way, every fault,
every deviation of the old translators must be apparent; the most
striking of them I have remarked on in the notes, but I have more
frequently amended such things silently, as a comparison will show the
reader." The translator has not compared his version with any English
version. The translation of North, which has great merit in point of
expression, is a version of Amyot's French version, from which, however,
it differs in some passages, where it is decidedly wrong and Amyot's
version is right. Indeed, it is surprising to find how correct this old
French translation generally is. The translation of 'Plutarch's Lives
from the Greek by several hands,' was published at London in 1683-86. It
was dedicated by Dryden to James Butler, the first Duke of Ormond, in a
fulsome panegyric. It is said that forty-one translators laboured at the
work. Dryden did not translate any of the Lives; but he wrote the Life
of Plutarch which is prefixed to this translation. The advertisement
prefixed to the translation passes under the name and character of the
bookseller (Jacob Tonson), but, as Malone observes, it may from internal
evidence be safely attributed to Dryden. The bookseller says, "You have
here the first volume of Plutarch's Lives turned from the Greek into
English; and give me leave to say, the first attempt of doing it from
the _originals_." This is aimed at North's version, of which Dryden
remarks in his Life of Plutarch: "As that translation was only from the
French, so it suffered this double disadvantage; first, that it was but
a copy of a copy, and that too but lamely taken from the Greek original;
secondly, that the English language was then unpolished, and far from
the perfection which it has since attained; so that the first version is
not only ungrammatical and ungraceful, but in many places almost
unintelligible." There is another English version, by the Langhornes,
which has often been reprinted; there is an edition of it with notes by
Wrangham. I have compared my translation carefully with the German of
Kaltwasser, and sometimes with the French of Amyot, and I have thus
avoided some errors into which I should have fallen. There are errors
both in the versions of Amyot and Kaltwasser which I have avoided; but I
may have fallen into others.

The translation of Kaltwasser contains some useful notes. Those which I
have added to this translation are intended to explain so much as needs
explanation to a person who is not much acquainted with Roman history
and Roman usages; but they will also be useful to others. The notes of
Kaltwasser have often reminded me of the passages where some note would
be useful, and have occasionally furnished materials also. But as I have
always referred to the original authorities, I do not consider it
necessary to make more than this general acknowledgment. The notes added
to this translation are all my own, and contain my own opinions and

This translation has been made from the edition of C. Sintenis, Leipzig,
1839, and I have compared the text of Sintenis with that of G.H.
Schaefer, Leipzig, 1826, which has been severely criticized: this
edition contains, however, some useful notes. I have very seldom made
any remarks on the Greek text, as such kind of remark would not have
suited the plan and design of this version, which is not intended for
verbal critics.

I shall explain by two brief extracts what is my main design in this
version and in the notes, which must be my apology for not affecting a
learned commentary, and my excuse to those who shall not find here the
kind of remarks that are suitable to a critical edition of an ancient
author. I have had another object than to discuss the niceties of words
and the forms of phrases, a labour which is well in its place, if it be
done well, but is not what needs to be done to such an author as
Plutarch to render him useful. A man who was a great reader of Plutarch,
a just and solid thinker above the measure of his age, and not surpassed
in his way by any writer in our own, Montaigne, observes in his 'Essay
of the Education of Children'--"Let him enquire into the manners,
revenues, and alliances of princes, things in themselves very pleasant
to learn, and very useful to know. In this conversing with men, I mean,
and principally those who only live in the records of history, he shall
by reading those books, converse with those great and heroic souls of
former and better ages. 'Tis an idle and vain study, I confess, to those
who make it so, by doing it after a negligent manner, but to those who
do it with care and observation, 'tis a study of inestimable fruit and
value; and the only one, as Plato reports, the Lacedaemonians reserved
to themselves. What profit shall he not reap as to the business of men,
by reading the Lives of Plutarch? But withal, let my governor remember
to what end his instructions are principally directed, and that he do
not so much imprint in his pupil's memory the date of the ruin of
Carthage, as the manners of Hannibal and Scipio; not so much where
Marcellus died, as why it was unworthy of his duty that he died there.
That he do not teach him so much the narrative part, as the business of
history. The reading of which, in my opinion, is a thing that of all
others we apply ourselves unto with the most differing and uncertain
measures."[A] North, in his address to the Reader, says: "The profit of
stories, and the praise of the Author, are sufficiently declared by
Amiot, in his Epistle to the Reader: so that I shall not need to make
many words thereof. And indeed if you will supply the defects of this
translation, with your own diligence and good understanding: you shall
not need to trust him, you may prove yourselves, that there is no
prophane study better than Plutarch. All other learning is private,
fitter for Universities than Cities, fuller of contemplation than
experience, more commendable in students themselves, than profitable
unto others. Whereas stories are fit for every place, reach to all
persons, serve for all times, teach the living, revive the dead, so far
excelling all other books, as it is better to see learning in Noblemen's
lives, than to read it in Philosophers' writings."


[Footnote A: Cotton's Translation.]


LIFE OF PLUTARCH                               xxiii

LIFE OF THESEUS                                    1

LIFE OF ROMULUS                                   30


LIFE OF LYKURGUS                                  67

LIFE OF NUMA                                      99


LIFE OF SOLON                                    130

LIFE OF POPLICOLA                                161


LIFE OF THEMISTOKLES                             185

LIFE OF CAMILLUS                                 214

LIFE OF PERIKLES                                 252

LIFE OF FABIUS MAXIMUS                           288


LIFE OF ALKIBIADES                               318



LIFE OF TIMOLEON                                 395

LIFE OF AEMILIUS                                 428



Plutarch was born probably between A.D. 45 and A.D. 50, at the little
town of Chaeronea in Boeotia. His family appears to have been long
established in this place, the scene of the final destruction of the
liberties of Greece, when Philip defeated the Athenians and Boeotian
forces there in 338 B.C. It was here also that Sulla defeated
Mithridates, and in the great civil wars of Rome we again hear, this
time from Plutarch himself, of the sufferings of the citizens of
Chaeronea. Nikarchus, Plutarch's great-grandfather, was, with all the
other citizens, without any exception, ordered by a lieutenant of Marcus
Antonius to transport a quantity of corn from Chaeronea to the coast
opposite the island of Antikyra. They were compelled to carry the corn
on their shoulders, like slaves, and were threatened with the lash if
they were remiss. After they had performed one journey, and were
preparing their burdens for a second, the welcome news arrived that
Marcus Antonius had lost the battle of Actium, whereupon both the
officers and soldiers of his party stationed in Chaeronea at once fled
for their own safety, and the provisions thus collected were divided
among the inhabitants of the city.

When Plutarch was born, however, no such warlike scenes as these were to
be expected. Nothing more than the traditions of war remained on the
shores of the Mediterranean. Occasionally some faint echo of strife
would make itself heard from the wild tribes on the Danube, or in the
far Syrian deserts, but over nearly all the world known to the ancients
was established the Pax Romana. Battles were indeed fought, and troops
were marched upon Rome, but this was merely to decide who was to be the
nominal head of the vast system of the Empire, and what had once been
independent cities, countries, and nations submitted unhesitatingly to
whoever represented that irresistible power. It might be imagined that a
political system which destroyed all national individuality, and
rendered patriotism in its highest sense scarcely possible, would have
reacted unfavourably on the literary character of the age. Yet nothing
of the kind can be urged against the times which produced Epictetus, Dio
Chrysostom and Arrian; while at Rome, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus,
Martial, and Juvenal were reviving the memories of the Augustan age.

From several passages in Plutarch's writings we gather that he studied
under a master named Ammonius, at Athens. For instance, at the end of
his Life of Themistokles, he mentions a descendant of that great man who
was his fellow-student at the house of Ammonius the philosopher. Again,
he tells us that once Ammonius, observing at his afternoon lecture that
some of his class had indulged too freely in the pleasures of the table,
ordered his own son to be flogged, "because," he said, "the young
gentleman cannot eat his dinner without pickles," casting his eye at the
same time upon the other offenders so as to make them sensible that the
reproof applied to them also.

By way of completing his education he proceeded to visit Egypt. The
"wisdom of the Egyptians" always seems to have had a fascination for the
Greeks, and at this period Alexandria, with its famous library and its
memories of the Ptolemies, of Kallimachus and of Theokritus, was an
important centre of Greek intellectual activity. Plutarch's treatise on
Isis and Osiris is generally supposed to be a juvenile work suggested by
his Egyptian travels. In all the Graeco-Egyptian lore he certainly
became well skilled, although we have no evidence as to how long he
remained in Egypt. He makes mention indeed of a feast given in his
honour by some of his relatives on the occasion of his return home from
Alexandria, but we can gather nothing from the passage as to his age at
that time.

One anecdote of his early life is as follows:--"I remember," he says,
"that when I was still a young man, I was sent with another person on a
deputation to the Proconsul; my colleague, as it happened, was unable to
proceed, and I saw the Proconsul and performed the commission alone.
When I returned I was about to lay down my office and to give a public
account of how I had discharged it, when my father rose in the public
assembly and enjoined me not to say _I_ went, but _we_ went, nor to say
that _I_ said, but _we_ said, throughout my story, giving my colleague
his share."

The most important event in the whole of Plutarch's pious and peaceful
life is undoubtedly his journey to Italy and to Rome; but here again we
know little more than that he knew but little Latin when he went
thither, and was too busy when there to acquire much knowledge of that
tongue. His occupation at Rome, besides antiquarian researches which
were afterwards worked up into his Roman Lives, was the delivery of
lectures on philosophical and other subjects, a common practice among
the learned Greeks of his day. Many of these lectures, it is
conjectured, were afterwards recast by him into the numerous short
treatises on various subjects now included under the general name of
Moralia. Plutarch's visit to Rome and business there is admirably
explained in the following passage of North's 'Life of Plutarch':--"For
my part, I think Plutarch was drawn to Rome by meanes of some friends he
had there, especially by Sossius Senecio, that had been a Consull, who
was of great estimation at that time, and namely under the Empire of
Trajan. And that which maketh me think so, is because of Plutarch's own
words, who saith in the beginning of his first book of his discourse at
the table, that he gathered together all his reasons and discourses made
here and there, as well in Rome with Senecio, as in Greece with Plutarch
and others. Not being likely that he would have taken the pains to have
made so long a voyage, and to have come to such a city where he
understood not their vulgar tongue, if he had not been drawn thither by
Senecio, and such other men; as also in acknowledgement of the good
turnes and honour he had received by such men, he dedicated diverse of
his bookes unto them, and among others, the Lives unto Senecio, and the
nine volumes of his discourse at the table, with the treaty, How a man
may know that he profiteth in vertue. Now for the time, considering what
he saith in the end of his book against curiosity, I suppose that he
taught in Rome in the time of Titus and of Domitian: for touching this
point, he maketh mention of a nobleman called Rusticus, who being one
day at his lecture, would not open a letter which was brought him from
the Emperor, nor interrupt Plutarch, but attended to the end of his
declamation, and until all the hearers were gone away; and addeth also,
that Rusticus was afterwards put to death by the commandment of
Domitian. Furthermore, about the beginning of the Life of Demosthenes,
Plutarch saith, that whilst he remained in Italy and at Rome, he had no
leizure to study the Latine tongue; as well for that he was busied at
that time with matters he had in hand, as also to satisfie those that
were his followers to learne philosophie of him."[A]

[Footnote A: North's 'Plutarch,' 1631, p. 1194.]

A list of all Plutarch's writings would be a very long one. Besides the
Lives, which is the work on which his fame chiefly rests, he wrote a
book of 'Table Talk,' which may have suggested to Athenaeus the plan of
his 'Symposium.'

The most remarkable of his minor works is that 'On the Malignity of
Herodotus.' Grote takes this treatise as being intended seriously as an
attack upon the historian, and speaks of the "honourable frankness which
Plutarch calls his malignity." But it is probably merely a rhetorical
exercise, in which Plutarch has endeavoured to see what could be said
against so favourite and well-known a writer.

He was probably known as an author before he went to Rome. Large
capitals have always had a natural attraction for literary genius, as it
is in them alone that it can hope to be appreciated. And if this be the
case at the present day, how much more must it have been so before the
invention of printing, at a time when it was more usual to listen to
books read aloud than to read them oneself? Plutarch journeyed to Rome
just as Herodotus went to Athens, or as he is said to have gone to the
Olympian festival, in search of an intelligent audience of educated men.
Whether his object was merely praise, or whether he was influenced by
ideas of gain, we cannot say. No doubt his lectures were not delivered
gratis, and that they were well attended seems evident from Plutarch's
own notices of them, and from the names which have been preserved of the
eminent men who used to frequent them. Moreover, strange though it may
appear to us, the demand for books seems to have been very brisk even
though they were entirely written by hand.

The epigrams of Martial inform us of the existence of a class of slaves
whose occupation was copying books, and innumerable allusions in Horace,
Martial, &c., to the Sosii and others prove that the trade of a
bookseller at Rome was both extensive and profitable. Towards the end of
the Republic it became the fashion for Roman nobles to encourage
literature by forming a library, and this taste was given immense
encouragement by Augustus, who established a public library in the
Temple of Apollo on the Mount Palatine, in imitation of that previously
founded by Asinius Pollio. There were other libraries besides these, the
most famous of which was the Ulpian library, founded by Trajan, who
called it so from his own name, Ulpius. Now Trajan was a contemporary of
our author, and this act of his clearly proves that there must have been
during Plutarch's lifetime a considerable reading public, and consequent
demand for books at Rome.

Of Plutarch's travels in Italy we know next to nothing. He mentions
incidentally that he had seen the bust or statue of Marius at Ravenna,
but never gives us another hint of how far he explored the country about
which he wrote so much. No doubt his ignorance of the Latin language
must not be taken as a literal statement, and probably means that he was
not skilled in it as a spoken tongue, for we can scarcely imagine that
he was without some acquaintance with it when he first went to Rome, and
he certainly afterwards became well read in the literature of Rome. In
some cases he has followed Livy's narrative with a closeness which
proves that he must have been acquainted with that author either in the
original or in a translation, and the latter alternative is, of the two,
the more improbable.

It seems to be now generally thought that his stay at Rome was a short
one. Clough, in his excellent Preface, says on this subject, "The fault
which runs through all the earlier biographies, from that of Rualdus
downwards, is the assumption, wholly untenable, that Plutarch passed
many years, as many perhaps as forty, at Rome. The entire character of
his life is of course altered by such an impression." He then goes on to
say that in consequence of this mistaken idea, it is not worth while for
him to quote Dryden's 'Life of Plutarch,' which was originally prefixed
to the translations re-edited by himself. Yet I trust I may be excused
if I again quote North's 'Life of Plutarch,' as the following passage
seems to set vividly before us the quiet literary occupation of his
later days.

"For Plutarch, though he tarried a long while in Italy, and in Rome, yet
that tooke not away the remembrance of the sweet aire of Greece, and of
the little towne where he was borne; but being touched from time to time
with a sentence of an ancient poet, who saith that,

    "'In whatsoever countrey men are bred
    (I know not by what sweetnesse of it led),
    They nourish in their minds a glad desire,
    Unto their native homes for to retire,'

"he resolved to go back into Greece againe, there to end the rest of his
daies in rest and honour among his citizens, of whom he was honourably
welcomed home. Some judge that he left Rome after the death of Trajan,
being then of great yeares, to leade a more quiet life. So being then at
rest, he earnestly took in hand that which he had long thought of
before, to wit, the Lives, and tooke great pains with it until he had
brought his worke to perfection, as we have done at this present;
although that some Lives, as those of Scipio African, of Metellus
Numidicus, and some other are not to be found. Now himselfe confesseth
in some place, that when he began this worke, at the first it was but to
profit others; but that afterwards it was to profit himselfe, looking
upon those histories, as if he had looked in a glasse, and seeking to
reform his life in some sort, and to forme it in the mould of the
vertues of these great men; taking this fashion of searching their
manners, and writing the Lives of these noble men, to be a familiar
haunting and frequenting of them. Also he thought, [said he himselfe]
that he lodged these men one after another in his house, entering into
consideration of their qualities, and that which was great in either of
them, choosing and principally taking that which was to be noted, and
most worthy to be knowne in their sayings and deeds."[A]

[Footnote A: North's 'Plutarch,' 1631, p. 1198.]

Of Plutarch in his domestic relations we gather much information from
his own writings. The name of his father has not been preserved, but it
was probably Nikarchus, from the common habit of Greek families to
repeat a name in alternate generations. His brothers Timon and Lamprias
are frequently mentioned in his essays and dialogues, where Timon is
spoken of in the most affectionate terms. Rualdus has ingeniously
recovered the name of his wife, Timoxena, from internal evidence
afforded by his writings. A touching letter is still extant, addressed
by Plutarch to his wife, bidding her not give way to excessive grief at
the death of their only daughter, who was named Timoxena after her
mother. The number of his sons we cannot exactly state. Autobulus and
Plutarch are especially spoken of as his sons, since the treatise on the
Timaeus of Plato is dedicated to them, and the marriage of his son
Autobulus is the occasion of one of the dinner-parties recorded in the
'Table Talk.' Another person, one Soklarus, is spoken of in terms which
seem to imply that he was Plutarch's son, but this is nowhere definitely
stated. His treatise also on Marriage Questions, addressed to Eurydike
and Pollianus, seems to speak of her as having been recently an inmate
of his house, but without enabling us to form an opinion whether she was
his daughter or not. A modern writer well describes his maturer years by
the words: "Plutarch was well born, well taught, well conditioned; a
self-respecting amiable man, who knew how to better a good education by
travels, by devotion to affairs private and public; a master of ancient
culture, he read books with a just criticism: eminently social, he was a
king in his own house, surrounded himself with select friends, and knew
the high value of good conversation; and declares in a letter written to
his wife that 'he finds scarcely an erasure, as in a book well written,
in the happiness of his life.'"

He was an active member of the little community of Chaeronea, being
archon of that town. Whether this dignity was annual or for life we do
not know, but it was probably the former, and very likely he served it
more than once. He speaks of his devotion to the duties of his office as
causing him to incur the ridicule of some of his fellow-citizens, when
they saw him engaged in the humblest duties. "But," he says, in Clough's
version, "the story told about Antisthenes comes to my assistance. When
some one expressed surprise at his carrying home some pickled fish from
market in his own hands, _It is_, he answered, _for myself_. Conversely,
when I am reproached with standing by and watching while tiles are
measured out, and stone and mortar brought up, _This service_, I say,
_is not for myself_, it is for my country."

Plutarch was for many years a priest of Apollo at Delphi. The scene of
some of his 'Table Talk' is laid there, when he in his priestly capacity
gives a dinner party in honour of the victor in the poetic contest at
the Pythian games. Probably this office was a source of considerable
income, and as the journey from Chaeronea to Delphi, across Mount
Parnassus, is a very short one, it interfered but little with his
literary and municipal business. In his essay on "Whether an old man
should continue to take part in public life," he says, "You know,
Euphanes, that I have for many Pythiads (that is, periods of four years
elapsing between the Pythian festivals), exercised the office of Priest
of Apollo: yet I think you would not say to me,'Plutarch, you have
sacrificed enough; you have led processions and dances enough; it is
time, now that you are old, to lay aside the garland from your head, and
to retire as superannuated from the oracle.'"

Thus respected and loved by all, Plutarch's old age passed peacefully
away. "Notwithstanding," as North says, "that he was very old, yet he
made an end of the Lives.... Furthermore, Plutarch, having lived alwaies
honourably even to old age, he died quietly among his children and
friends in the city of Chaeronea, leaving his writings, an immortal
savour of his name, unto posterity. Besides the honour his citizens did
him, there was a statue set up for him by ordinance of the people of
Rome, in memory of his virtues. Now furthermore, though time hath
devoured some part of the writings of this great man, and minished some
other: neverthelesse those which remaine, being a great number, have
excellent use to this day among us."



I. As in books on geography, Sossius Senecio, the writers crowd the
countries of which they know nothing into the furthest margins of their
maps, and write upon them legends such as, "In this direction lie
waterless deserts full of wild beasts;" or, "Unexplored morasses;" or,
"Here it is as cold as Scythia;" or, "A frozen sea;" so I, in my
writings on Parallel Lives, go through that period of time where history
rests on the firm basis of facts, and may truly say, "All beyond this is
portentous and fabulous, inhabited by poets and mythologers, and there
is nothing true or certain."

When I had written the lives of Lykurgus the lawgiver and Numa the king,
it appeared to me natural to go back to Romulus also, as I was engaged
on the history of times so close to his. So when I was reflecting, in
the words of Aeschylus,

    "Against this chieftain, who can best contend?
    Whom shall I match in fight, what trusty friend?"

it occurred to me to compare the founder of the fair and famous city of
Athens with him, and to contrast Theseus with the father of unconquered
glorious Rome. Putting aside, then, the mythological element, let us
examine his story, and wherever it obstinately defies probability, and
cannot be explained by natural agency, let us beg the indulgence of our
readers, who will kindly make allowance for tales of antiquity.

II. Theseus appears to have several points of resemblance to Romulus.
Both were unacknowledged illegitimate children, and were reputed to
descend from the Gods.

    "Both warriors, well we all do know,"

and both were wise as well as powerful. The one founded Rome, while the
other was the joint founder of Athens; and these are two of the most
famous of cities. Both carried off women by violence, and neither of
them escaped domestic misfortune and retribution, but towards the end of
their lives both were at variance with their countrymen, if we may put
any trust in the least extravagant writings upon the subject.

III. Theseus traced his descent on the father's side from Erechtheus and
the original Autochthones,[A] while on the mother's side he was
descended from Pelops. For Pelops surpassed all the other princes of the
Peloponnesus in the number of his children as well as in wealth; and of
these he gave many of his daughters in marriage to the chief men of the
country, and established many of his sons as rulers in various cities.
One of these, Pittheus, the grandfather of Theseus, founded Troezen,
which is indeed but a little state, though he had a greater reputation
than any man of his time for eloquence and wisdom. The nature of this
wisdom of his seems to have been much of the same kind as that which
made the reputation of Hesiod, in the collection of maxims known as the
'Works and Days.' One of these maxims is indeed ascribed to Pittheus:

     "Let promised pay be truly paid to friends."

At any rate, this is what Aristotle the philosopher has recorded; and
also Euripides, when he speaks of Hippolytus as "child of holy
Pittheus," shows the prevailing opinion about Pittheus. Now Aegeus
desired to have children, and the Oracle at Delphi is said to have given
him the well-known response, forbidding him to have intercourse with any
woman before he reached Athens, but not appearing to explain this
clearly. Consequently, on his way home, he went to Troezen, and asked
the advice of Pittheus about the response of the God, which ran thus:

    "Great chief, the wine-skin's foot must closed remain,
    Till thou to Athens art returned again."

Pittheus clearly perceived what the oracle must mean, and persuaded or
cheated Aegeus into an intrigue with Aethra. Afterwards, when he
discovered that he had conversed with the daughter of Pittheus, as he
imagined that she might prove with child, he left behind him his sword
and sandals hidden under a great stone, which had a hollow inside it
exactly fitting them. This he told to Aethra alone, and charged her if a
son of his should be born, and on growing to man's estate should be able
to lift the stone and take from under it the deposit, that she should
send him at once with these things to himself, in all secrecy, and as
far as possible concealing his journey from observation. For he greatly
feared the sons of Pallas, who plotted against him, and despised him on
account of his childlessness, they themselves being fifty brothers, all
the sons of Pallas.

[Footnote A: Autochthones was the name by which the original citizens of
Athens called themselves, meaning that they were sprung from the soil
itself, not immigrants from some other country.]

IV. When Aethra's child was born, some writers say that he was at once
named Theseus, from the tokens placed under the stone; others say that
he was afterwards so named at Athens, when Aegeus acknowledged him as
his son. He was brought up by his grandfather Pittheus, and had a master
and tutor, Konnidas, to whom even to the present day, the Athenians
sacrifice a ram on the day before the feast of Theseus, a mark of
respect which is much more justly due to him, than those which they pay
to Silanion and Parrhasius, who have only made pictures and statues of

V. As it was at that period still the custom for those who were coming
to man's estate to go to Delphi and offer to the god the first-fruits of
their hair (which was then cut for the first time),[A] Theseus went to
Delphi, and they say that a place there is even to this day named after
him. But he only cut the front part of his hair, as Homer tells us the
Abantes did, and this fashion of cutting the hair was called Theseus's
fashion because of him. The Abantes first began to cut their hair in
this manner, not having, as some say, been taught to do so by the
Arabians, nor yet from any wish to imitate the Mysians, but because they
were a warlike race, and met their foes in close combat, and studied
above all to come to a hand-to-hand fight with their enemy, as
Archilochus bears witness in his verses:

    "They use no slings nor bows,
      Euboea's martial lords,
    But hand to hand they close
      And conquer with their swords."

So they cut their hair short in front, that their enemies might not
grasp it. And they say that Alexander of Macedon for the same reason
ordered his generals to have the beards of the Macedonians shaved,
because they were a convenient handle for the enemy to grasp.

[Footnote A: The first cutting of the hair was always an occasion of
solemnity among the Greeks, the hair being dedicated to some god. The
first instance of this is in Homer's Iliad, where Achilles speaks of
having dedicated his hair to the river Spercheius. The Athenian youth
offered their hair to Herakles. The Roman emperor Nero, in later times,
imitated this custom.]

VI. Now while he was yet a child, Aethra concealed the real parentage of
Theseus, and a story was circulated by Pittheus that his father was
Poseidon. For the people of Troezen have an especial reverence for
Poseidon; he is their tutelar deity; to him they offer first-fruits of
their harvest, and they stamp their money with the trident as their
badge. But when he was grown into a youth, and proved both strong in
body and of good sound sense, then Aethra led him to the stone, told him
the truth about his father, and bade him take the tokens from beneath it
and sail to Athens with them. He easily lifted the stone, but determined
not to go to Athens by sea, though the voyage was a safe and easy one,
and though his mother and his grandfather implored him to go that way.
By land it was a difficult matter to reach Athens, as the whole way was
infested with robbers and bandits. That time, it seems, produced men of
great and unwearied strength and swiftness, who made no good use of
these powers, but treated all men with overbearing insolence, taking
advantage of their strength to overpower and slay all who fell into
their hands, and disregarding justice and right and kindly feeling,
which they said were only approved of by those who dared not do injury
to others, or feared to be injured themselves, while men who could get
the upper hand by force might disregard them. Of these ruffians,
Herakles in his wanderings cut off a good many, but others had escaped
him by concealing themselves, or had been contemptuously spared by him
on account of their insignificance. But Herakles had the misfortune to
kill Iphitus, and thereupon sailed to Lydia and was for a long time a
slave in that country under Omphale, which condition he had imposed upon
himself as a penance for the murder of his friend. During this period
the country of Lydia enjoyed peace and repose; but in Greece the old
plague of brigandage broke out afresh, as there was now no one to put it
down. So that the journey overland to Athens from Peloponnesus was full
of peril; and Pittheus, by relating to Theseus who each of these
evildoers was, and how they treated strangers, tried to prevail upon him
to go by sea. But it appears that Theseus had for a long time in his
heart been excited by the renown of Herakles for courage: he thought
more of him than of any one else, and loved above all to listen to those
who talked of him, especially if they had seen and spoken to him. Now he
could no longer conceal that he was in the same condition as
Themistokles in later times, when he said that the trophy of Miltiades
would not let him sleep. Just so did the admiration which Theseus
conceived for Herakles make him dream by night of his great exploits,
and by day determine to equal them by similar achievements of his own.

VII. As it happened, they were connected, being second cousins; for
Aethra was the daughter of Pittheus, and Alkmena the daughter of
Lysidike, and Lysidike and Pittheus were brother and sister, being the
children of Pelops and Hippodameia. So Theseus thought that it would be
a great and unbearable disgrace to him that his cousin should go
everywhere and clear the sea and land of the brigands who infested them,
and he should refuse to undertake the adventures that came in his way;
throwing discredit upon his reputed father by a pusillanimous flight by
sea, and upon his real father by bringing him only the sandals and an
unfleshed sword, and not proving his noble birth by the evidence of some
brave deed accomplished by him. In this spirit he set out on his
journey, with the intention of doing wrong to no one, but of avenging
himself on any one who offered wrong to him.

VIII. And first in Epidaurus he slew Periphetes, who used a club as his
weapon, and on this account was called the club-bearer, because he laid
hands upon him and forbade him to proceed farther on his way. The club
took his fancy, and he adopted it as a weapon, and always used it, just
as Herakles used his lion's skin; for the skin was a proof of how huge a
beast the wearer had overcome, while the club, invincible in the hands
of Theseus, had yet been worsted when used against him. At the Isthmus
he destroyed Sinis the Pine-bender by the very device by which he had
slain so many people, and that too without having ever practised the
art, proving that true valour is better than practice and training.
Sinis had a daughter, a tall and beautiful girl, named Perigoune. When
her father fell she ran and hid herself. Theseus sought her everywhere,
but she fled into a place where wild asparagus grew thick, and with a
simple child-like faith besought the plants to conceal her, as if they
could understand her words, promising that if they did so she never
would destroy or burn them. However, when Theseus called to her,
pledging himself to take care of her and do her no hurt, she came out,
and afterwards bore Theseus a son, named Melanippus. She afterwards was
given by Theseus in marriage to Deïoneus, the son of Eurytus of
Oechalia. Ioxus, a son of Melanippus, and Theseus's grandchild, took
part in Ornytus's settlement in Caria; and for this reason the
descendants of Ioxus have a family custom not to burn the asparagus
plant, but to reverence and worship it.

IX. Now the wild sow of Krommyon, whom they called Phaia, was no
ordinary beast, but a fierce creature and hard to conquer. This animal
he turned out of his way to destroy, that it might not be thought that
he performed his exploits of necessity. Besides, he said, a brave man
need only punish wicked men when they came in his way, but that in the
case of wild beasts he must himself seek them out and attack them. Some
say that Phaia was a murderous and licentious woman who carried on
brigandage at Krommyon, and was called a sow from her life and habits,
and that Theseus put her to death.

X. Before coming to Megara he slew Skeiron by flinging him down a
precipice into the sea, so the story runs, because he was a robber, but
some say that from arrogance he used to hold out his feet to strangers
and bid them wash them, and that then he kicked the washers into the
sea. But Megarian writers, in opposition to common tradition, and, as
Simonides says, "warring with all antiquity," say that Skeiron was not
an arrogant brigand, but repressed brigandage, loved those who were good
and just, and was related to them. For, they point out, Aeakus is
thought to have been the most righteous of all the Greeks, and Kychreus
of Salamis was worshipped as a god, and the virtue of Peleus and Telamon
is known to all. Yet Skeiron was the son-in-law of Kychreus, and
father-in-law of Aeakus, and grandfather of Peleus and Telamon, who were
both of them sons of Endeis, the daughter of Skeiron and his wife
Chariklo. It is not then reasonable to suppose that these, the noblest
men of their time, would make alliances with a malefactor, and give and
receive from him what they prized most dearly. But they say that Theseus
slew Skeiron, not when he first went to Athens, but that afterwards he
took the town of Eleusis which belonged to the Megarians, by dealing
treacherously with Diokles, who was the chief magistrate there, and that
on that occasion he killed Skeiron. This is what tradition says on both

XI. At Eleusis Theseus overcame Kerkyon of Arcadia in wrestling and
killed him, and after journeying a little farther he killed Damastes,
who was surnamed Prokroustes, by compelling him to fit his own body to
his bed, just as he used to fit the bodies of strangers to it. This he
did in imitation of Herakles; for he used to retort upon his aggressors
the same treatment which they intended for him. Thus Herakles offered up
Busiris as a sacrifice, and overcame Antaeus in wrestling, and Kyknus in
single combat, and killed Termerus by breaking his skull. This is, they
say, the origin of the proverb, "A Termerian mischief," for Termerus, it
seems, struck passers-by with his head, and so killed them. So also did
Theseus sally forth and chastise evildoers, making them undergo the same
cruelties which they practised on others, thus justly punishing them for
their crimes in their own wicked fashion.

XII. As he proceeded on his way, and reached the river Kephisus, men of
the Phytalid race were the first to meet and greet him. He demanded to
be purified from the guilt of bloodshed, and they purified him, made
propitiatory offerings, and also entertained him in their houses, being
the first persons from whom he had received any kindness on his journey.
It is said to have been on the eighth day of the month Kronion, which is
now called Hekatombeion, that he came to his own city. On entering it he
found public affairs disturbed by factions, and the house of Aegeus in
great disorder; for Medea, who had been banished from Corinth, was
living with Aegeus, and had engaged by her drugs to enable Aegeus to
have children. She was the first to discover who Theseus was, while
Aegeus, who was an old man, and feared every one because of the
disturbed state of society, did not recognise him. Consequently she
advised Aegeus to invite him to a feast, that she might poison him.
Theseus accordingly came to Aegeus's table. He did not wish to be the
first to tell his name, but, to give his father an opportunity of
recognising him, he drew his sword, as if he meant to cut some of the
meat with it, and showed it to Aegeus. Aegeus at once recognised it,
overset the cup of poison, looked closely at his son and embraced him.
He then called a public meeting and made Theseus known as his son to the
citizens, with whom he was already very popular because of his bravery.
It is said that when the cup was overset the poison was spilt in the
place where now there is the enclosure in the Delphinium, for there
Aegeus dwelt; and the Hermes to the east of the temple there they call
the one who is "at the door of Aegeus."

XIII. But the sons of Pallas, who had previously to this expected that
they would inherit the kingdom on the death of Aegeus without issue, now
that Theseus was declared the heir, were much enraged, first that
Aegeus should be king, a man who was merely an adopted child of Pandion,
and had no blood relationship to Erechtheus, and next that Theseus, a
stranger and a foreigner, should inherit the kingdom. They consequently
declared war. Dividing themselves into two bodies, the one proceeded to
march openly upon the city from Sphettus, under the command of Pallas
their father, while the other lay in ambush at Gargettus, in order that
they might fall upon their opponents on two sides at once. But there was
a herald among them named Leos, of the township of Agnus, who betrayed
the plans of the sons of Pallas to Theseus. He suddenly attacked those
who were in ambush, and killed them all, hearing which the other body
under Pallas dispersed. From this time forth they say that the township
of Pallene has never intermarried with that of Agnus, and that it is not
customary amongst them for heralds to begin a proclamation with the
words "Acouete Leo," (Oyez) for they hate the name of Leo[A] because of
the treachery of that man.

[Footnote A: The Greek word _leos_ signifies people.]

XIV. Now Theseus, who wished for employment and also to make himself
popular with the people, went to attack the bull of Marathon, who had
caused no little trouble to the inhabitants of Tetrapolis. He overcame
the beast, and drove it alive through the city for all men to see, and
then sacrificed it to Apollo of Delphi. Hekale, too, and the legend of
her having entertained Theseus, does not seem altogether without
foundation in fact; for the people of the neighbouring townships used to
assemble and perform what was called the Hekalesian sacrifice to Zeus
Hekalus, and they also used to honour Hekale, calling her by the
affectionate diminutive Hekaline, because she also, when feasting
Theseus, who was very young, embraced him in a motherly way, and used
such like endearing diminutives. She also made a vow on Theseus's
behalf, when he was going forth to battle, that if he returned safe she
would sacrifice to Zeus; but as she died before he returned, she had the
above-mentioned honours instituted by command of Theseus, as a grateful
return for her hospitality. This is the legend as told by Philochorus.

XV. Shortly after this the ship from Crete arrived for the third time
to collect the customary tribute. Most writers agree that the origin of
this was, that on the death of Androgeus, in Attica, which was ascribed
to treachery, his father Minos went to war, and wrought much evil to the
country, which at the same time was afflicted by scourges from Heaven
(for the land did not bear fruit, and there was a great pestilence and
the rivers sank into the earth). So that as the oracle told the
Athenians that, if they propitiated Minos and came to terms with him,
the anger of Heaven would cease and they should have a respite from
their sufferings, they sent an embassy to Minos and prevailed on him to
make peace, on the condition that every nine years they should send him
a tribute of seven youths and seven maidens. The most tragic of the
legends states these poor children when they reached Crete were thrown
into the Labyrinth, and there either were devoured by the Minotaur or
else perished with hunger, being unable to find the way out. The
Minotaur, as Euripides tells us, was

    "A form commingled, and a monstrous birth,
    Half man, half bull, in twofold shape combined."

XVI. Philochorus says that the Cretans do not recognise this story, but
say that the Labyrinth was merely a prison, like any other, from which
escape was impossible, and that Minos instituted gymnastic games in
honour of Androgeus, in which the prizes for the victors were these
children, who till then were kept in the Labyrinth. Also they say that
the victor in the first contest was a man of great power in the state, a
general of the name of Taurus, who was of harsh and savage temper, and
ill-treated the Athenian children. And Aristotle himself, in his
treatise on the constitution of the Bottiaeans, evidently does not
believe that the children were put to death by Minos, but that they
lived in Crete as slaves, until extreme old age; and that one day the
Cretans, in performance of an ancient vow, sent first-fruits of their
population to Delphi. Among those who were thus sent were the
descendants of the Athenians, and, as they could not maintain themselves
there, they first passed over to Italy, and there settled near
Iapygium, and from thence again removed to Thrace, and took the name of
Bottiaeans. For this reason, the Bottiaean maidens when performing a
certain sacrifice sing "Let us go to Athens." Thus it seems to be a
terrible thing to incur the hatred of a city powerful in speech and
song; for on the Attic stage Minos is always vilified and traduced, and
though he was called "Most Kingly" by Hesiod, and "Friend of Zeus" by
Homer, it gained him no credit, but the playwrights overwhelmed him with
abuse, styling him cruel and violent. And yet Minos is said to have been
a king and a lawgiver, and Rhadamanthus to have been a judge under him,
carrying out his decrees.

XVII. So when the time of the third payment of the tribute arrived, and
those fathers who had sons not yet grown up had to submit to draw lots,
the unhappy people began to revile Aegeus, complaining that he, although
the author of this calamity, yet took no share in their affliction, but
endured to see them left childless, robbed of their own legitimate
offspring, while he made a foreigner and a bastard the heir to his
kingdom. This vexed Theseus, and determining not to hold aloof, but to
share the fortunes of the people, he came forward and offered himself
without being drawn by lot. The people all admired his courage and
patriotism, and Aegeus finding that his prayers and entreaties had no
effect on his unalterable resolution, proceeded to choose the rest by
lot. Hellanikus says that the city did not select the youths and maidens
by lot, but that Minos himself came thither and chose them, and that he
picked out Theseus first of all, upon the usual conditions, which were
that the Athenians should furnish a ship, and that the youths should
embark in it and sail with him, not carrying with them any weapon of
war; and that when the Minotaur was slain, the tribute should cease.
Formerly, no one had any hope of safety; so they used to send out the
ship with a black sail, as if it were going to a certain doom; but now
Theseus so encouraged his father, and boasted that he would overcome the
Minotaur, that he gave a second sail, a white one, to the steersman, and
charged him on his return, if Theseus were safe, to hoist the white one,
if not, the black one as a sign of mourning. But Simonides says that it
was not a white sail which was given by Aegeus, but "a scarlet sail
embrued in holm oak's juice," and that this was agreed on by him as the
signal of safety. The ship was steered by Phereklus the son of Amarsyas,
according to Simonides.

But Philochorus says that Theseus had one Nausithous sent him from
Skirus of Salamis, to steer the ship, and Phaeax to act as look-out, as
the Athenians had not yet turned their attention to the sea.

One of the youths chosen by lot was Menestheos the son of Skirus's
daughter. The truth of this account is attested by the shrines of
Nausithous and Phaeax, which Theseus built at Phalerum, and by the feast
called the Kybernesia or pilot's festival, which is held in their

XVIII. When the lots were drawn Theseus brought the chosen youths from
the Prytaneum, and proceeding to the temple of the Delphian Apollo,
offered the suppliants' bough to Apollo on their behalf. This was a
bough of the sacred olive-tree bound with fillets of white wool. And
after praying he went to sea on the sixth day of the month Munychion, on
which day even now they send maidens as suppliants to the temple of the
Delphian Apollo. And there is a legend that the Delphian oracle told him
that Aphrodite would be his guide and fellow-traveller, and that when he
was sacrificing a she-goat to her by the seaside, it became a he-goat;
wherefore the goddess is called Epitragia.

XIX. When they reached Crete, according to most historians and poets,
Ariadne fell in love with him, and from her he received the clue of
string, and was taught how to thread the mazes of the Labyrinth. He slew
the Minotaur, and, taking with him Ariadne and the youths, sailed away.
Pherekydes also says that Theseus also knocked out the bottoms of the
Cretan ships, to prevent pursuit. But Demon says that Taurus, Minos's
general, was slain in a sea-fight in the harbour, when Theseus sailed
away. But according to Philochorus, when Minos instituted his games,
Taurus was expected to win every prize, and was grudged this honour; for
his great influence and his unpopular manners made him disliked, and
scandal said, that he was too intimate with Pasiphae. On this account,
when Theseus offered to contend with him, Minos agreed. And, as it was
the custom in Crete for women as well as men to be spectators of the
games, Ariadne was present, and was struck with the appearance of
Theseus, and his strength, as he conquered all competitors. Minos was
especially pleased, in the wrestling match, at Taurus's defeat and
shame, and, restoring the children to Theseus, remitted the tribute for
the future. Kleidemus tells the story in his own fashion and at
unnecessary length, beginning much farther back. There was, he says, a
decree passed by all the Greeks, that no ship should sail from any post
with more than five hands on board, but Jason alone, the master of the
great ship Argo, should cruise about, and keep the sea free of pirates.
Now when Daedalus fled to Athens, Minos, contrary to the decree, pursued
him in long war galleys, and being driven to Sicily by a storm, died
there. When his son Deukalion sent a warlike message to the Athenians,
bidding them give up Daedalus to him, or else threatening that he would
put to death the children whom Minos had taken as hostages, Theseus
returned him a gentle answer, begging for the life of Daedalus, who was
his own cousin and blood relation, being the son of Merope, the daughter
of Erechtheus. But he busied himself with building a fleet, some of it
in Attica, in the country of the Thymaitadae, far from any place of
resort of strangers, and some in Troezen, under the management of
Pittheus, as he did not wish his preparations to be known. But when the
ships were ready to set sail, having with him as pilots, Daedalus
himself and some Cretan exiles, as no one knew that he was coming, and
the Cretans thought that it was a friendly fleet that was advancing, he
seized the harbour, and marched at once to Knossus before his arrival
was known. Then he fought a battle at the gates of the Labyrinth, and
slew Deukalion and his body-guard. As Ariadne now succeeded to the
throne, he made peace with her, took back the youths, and formed an
alliance between the Cretans and the Athenians, in which each nation
swore that it would not begin a war against the other.

XX. There are many more stories about these events, and about Ariadne,
none of which agree in any particulars. Some say that she hanged herself
when deserted by Theseus, and some, that she was taken to Naxos by his
sailors, and there dwelt with Oenarus, the priest of Dionysus, having
been deserted by Theseus, who was in love with another.

    "For Aegle's love disturbed his breast."

This line, we are told by Hereas of Megara, was struck out of Hesiod's
poems by Peisistratus; and again he says that he inserted into Homer's
description of the Shades,

    "Peirithous and Theseus, born of gods,"

to please the Athenians. Some writers say that Theseus had by Ariadne
two sons, Staphylus and Oenopion, whom Ion of Chios follows when he
speaks of his own native city as that

    "Which erst Oenopion stablished, Theseus' son."

The pleasantest of these legends are in nearly every one's mouth. But
Paeon of Amathus gives an account peculiar to himself, that Theseus was
driven by a storm to Cyprus, and that Ariadne, who was pregnant,
suffered much from the motion of the ship, and became so ill, that she
was set on shore, but Theseus had to return to take charge of the ship,
and was blown off to sea. The women of the country took care of Ariadne,
and comforted her in her bereavement, even bringing forged letters to
her as if from Theseus, and rendering her assistance during her
confinement; and when she died in childbirth, they buried her. Theseus,
on his return, grieved much, and left money to the people of the
country, bidding them sacrifice to Ariadne; he also set up two little
statues, one of silver, and the other of brass. And at this sacrifice,
which takes place on the second day of the month Gorpiaeus, one of the
young men lies down on the ground, and imitates the cries of a woman in
travail; and the people of Amathus call that the grove of Ariadne
Aphrodite, in which they show her tomb.

But some writers of Naxos tell a different story, peculiar to
themselves, that there were two Minoses and two Ariadnes, of whom one,
they say, was married to Dionysus in Naxos, and was the mother of
Staphylus and his brother, while the younger was carried off by Theseus,
and came to Naxos after he deserted her; and a nurse called Korkyne came
with her, whose tomb they point out. Then Naxians also says that this
Ariadne died there, and is honoured, but not so much as the elder; for
at the feast in honour of the elder, there are merriment and revelry,
but at that of the younger gloomy rites are mingled with mirth.

XXI. Theseus, when he sailed away from Crete, touched at Delos; here he
sacrificed to the god and offered up the statue of Aphrodite, which
Ariadne had given him; and besides this, he and the youths with him
danced a measure which they say is still practised by the people of
Delos to this day, being an imitation of the turnings and windings of
the Labyrinth expressed by complicated evolutions performed in regular
order. This kind of dance is called by the Delians "the crane dance,"
according to Dikaearchus. It was danced round the altar of the Horns,
which is all formed of horns from the left side. They also say that he
instituted games at Delos, and that then for the first time a palm was
given by him to the victor.

XXII. As he approached Attica, both he and his steersman in their
delight forgot to hoist the sail which was to be a signal of their
safety to Aegeus; and he in his despair flung himself down the cliffs
and perished. Theseus, as soon as he reached the harbour, performed at
Phalerum the sacrifices which he had vowed to the gods if he returned
safe, and sent off a herald to the city with the news of his safe
return. This man met with many who were lamenting the death of the king,
and, as was natural, with others who were delighted at the news of their
safety, and who congratulated him and wished to crown him with garlands.
These he received, but placed them on his herald's staff, and when he
came back to the seashore, finding that Theseus had not completed his
libation, he waited outside the temple, not wishing to disturb the
sacrifice. When the libation was finished he announced the death of
Aegeus, and then they all hurried up to the city with loud lamentations:
wherefore to this day, at the Oschophoria, they say that it is not the
herald that is crowned, but his staff, and that at the libations the
bystanders cry out, "Eleleu, Iou, Iou;" of which cries the first is used
by men in haste, or raising the paean for battle, while the second is
used by persons in surprise and trouble.

Theseus, after burying his father, paid his vow to Apollo, on the
seventh day of the month Pyanepsion; for on this day it was that the
rescued youths went up into the city. The boiling of pulse, which is
customary on this anniversary, is said to be done because the rescued
youths put what remained of their pulse together into one pot, boiled it
all, and merrily feasted on it together. And on this day also, the
Athenians carry about the Eiresione, a bough of the olive tree garlanded
with wool, just as Theseus had before carried the suppliants' bough, and
covered with first-fruits of all sorts of produce, because the
barrenness of the land ceased on that day; and they sing,

    "Eiresione, bring us figs
       And wheaten loaves, and oil,
    And wine to quaff, that we may all
       Host merrily from toil."

However, some say that these ceremonies are performed in memory of the
Herakleidae, who were thus entertained by the Athenians; but most
writers tell the tale as I have told it.

XXIII. Now the thirty-oared ship, in which Theseus sailed with the
youths, and came back safe, was kept by the Athenians up to the time of
Demetrius Phalereus. They constantly removed the decayed part of her
timbers, and renewed them with sound wood, so that the ship became an
illustration to philosophers of the doctrine of growth and change, as
some argued that it remained the same, and others, that it did not
remain the same. The feast of the Oschophoria, or of carrying boughs,
which to this day the Athenians celebrate, was instituted by Theseus.
For he did not take with him all the maidens who were drawn by lot, but
he chose two youths, his intimate friends, who were feminine and fair to
look upon, but of manly spirit; these by warm baths and avoiding the
heat of the sun and careful tending of their hair and skin he
completely metamorphosed, teaching them to imitate the voice and
carriage and walk of maidens. These two were then substituted in the
place of two of the girls, and deceived every one; and when they
returned, he and these two youths walked in procession, dressed as now
those who carry boughs at the Oschophoria are dressed. They carry them
in honour of Dionysus and Ariadne, because of the legend, or rather
because they returned home when the harvest was being gathered in. And
the women called supper-carriers join in carrying them and partake of
the sacrifice, in imitation of the mothers of those who were drawn by
lot; for they used continually to bring their children food. Also, old
tales are told, because these women used to tell their children such
ones, to encourage and amuse them.

These things are related by the historian Demus. Moreover, a sacred
enclosure was dedicated to Theseus, and those families out of whom the
tribute of the children had been gathered were bidden to contribute to
sacrifices to him. These sacrifices were presided over by the
Phytalidae, which post Theseus bestowed upon them as a recompense for
their hospitality towards him.

XXIV. After the death of Aegeus, Theseus conceived a great and important
design. He gathered together all the inhabitants of Attica and made them
citizens of one city, whereas before they had lived dispersed, so as to
be hard to assemble together for the common weal, and at times even
fighting with one another.

He visited all the villages and tribes, and won their consent; the poor
and lower classes gladly accepting his proposals, while he gained over
the more powerful by promising that the new constitution should not
include a king, but that it should be a pure commonwealth, with himself
merely acting as general of its army and guardian of its laws, while in
other respects it would allow perfect freedom and equality to every one.
By these arguments he convinced some of them, and the rest knowing his
power and courage chose rather to be persuaded than forced into
compliance. He therefore destroyed the prytaneia, the senate house, and
the magistracy of each individual township, built one common prytaneum
and senate house for them all on the site of the present acropolis,
called the city Athens, and instituted the Panathenaic festival common
to all of them. He also instituted a festival for the resident aliens,
on the sixteenth of the month, Hekatombeion, which is still kept up. And
having, according to his promise, laid down his sovereign power, he
arranged the new constitution under the auspices of the gods; for he
made inquiry at Delphi as to how he should deal with the city, and
received the following answer:

    "Thou son of Aegeus and of Pittheus' maid,
    My father hath within thy city laid
    The bounds of many cities; weigh not down
    Thy soul with thought; the bladder cannot drown."

The same thing they say was afterwards prophesied by the Sibyl
concerning the city, in these words:

     "The bladder may be dipped, but cannot drown."

XXV. Wishing still further to increase the number of his citizens, he
invited all strangers to come and share equal privileges, and they say
that the words now used, "Come hither all ye peoples," was the
proclamation then used by Theseus, establishing as it were a
commonwealth of all nations. But he did not permit his state to fall
into the disorder which this influx of all kinds of people would
probably have produced, but divided the people into three classes, of
Eupatridae or nobles, Geomori or farmers, Demiurgi or artisans. To the
Eupatridae he assigned the care of religious rites, the supply of
magistrates for the city, and the interpretation of the laws and customs
sacred or profane, yet he placed them on an equality with the other
citizens, thinking that the nobles would always excel in dignity, the
farmers in usefulness, and the artisans in numbers. Aristotle tells us
that he was the first who inclined to democracy, and gave up the title
of king; and Homer seems to confirm this view by speaking of the people
of the Athenians alone of all the states mentioned in his catalogue of
ships. Theseus also struck money with the figure of a bull, either
alluding to the bull of Marathon, or Taurus, Minos' general, or else to
encourage farming among the citizens. Hence they say came the words,
"worth ten," or "worth a hundred oxen." He permanently annexed Megara to
Attica, and set up the famous pillar on the Isthmus, on which he wrote
the distinction between the countries in two trimeter lines, of which
the one looking east says,

     "This is not Peloponnesus, but Ionia,"

and the one looking west says,

     "This is Peloponnesus, not Ionia."

And also he instituted games there, in emulation of Herakles; that, just
as Herakles had ordained that the Greeks should celebrate the Olympic
games in honour of Zeus, so by Theseus's appointment they should
celebrate the Isthmian games in honour of Poseidon.

The festival which was previously established there in honour of
Melikerta used to be celebrated by night, and to be more like a
religious mystery than a great spectacle and gathering. Some writers
assert that the Isthmian games were established in honour of Skeiron,
and that Theseus wished to make them an atonement for the murder of his
kinsman; for Skeiron was the son of Kanethus and of Henioche the
daughter of Pittheus. Others say that this festival was established in
honour of Sinis, not of Skeiron. Be this as it may, Theseus established
it, and stipulated with the Corinthians that visitors from Athens who
came to the games should have a seat of honour in as large a space as
could be covered by a sail of the public ship which carried them, when
stretched out on the ground. This we are told by Hellanikus and Andron
of Halikarnassus.

XXVI. Besides this, according to Philochorus and other writers, he
sailed with Herakles to the Euxine, took part in the campaign against
the Amazons, and received Antiope as the reward for his valour; but most
historians, among whom are Pherekydes, Hellanikus, and Herodorus, say
that Theseus made an expedition of his own later than that of Herakles,
and that he took the Amazon captive, which is a more reasonable story.
For no one of his companions is said to have captured an Amazon; while
Bion relates that he caught this one by treachery and carried her off;
for the Amazons, he says, were not averse to men, and did not avoid
Theseus when he touched at their coast, but even offered him presents.
He invited the bearer of these on board his ship; and when she had
embarked he set sail. But one, Menekrates, who has written a history of
the town of Nikaea in Bithynia, states that Theseus spent a long time in
that country with Antiope, and that there were three young Athenians,
brothers, who were his companions in arms, by name Euneon, Thoas, and
Soloeis. Soloeis fell in love with Antiope, and, without telling his
brothers, confided his passion to one of his comrades. This man laid the
matter before Antiope, who firmly rejected his pretensions, but treated
him quietly and discreetly, telling Theseus nothing about it. Soloeis,
in despair at his rejection, leaped into a river and perished; and
Theseus then at length learned the cause of the young man's death. In
his sorrow he remembered and applied to himself an oracle he had
received from Delphi. It had been enjoined upon him by the Pythia that
whenever he should be struck down with special sorrow in a foreign land,
he should found a city in that place and leave some of his companions
there as its chiefs. In consequence of this the city which he founded
was called Pythopolis, in honour of the Pythian Apollo, and the
neighbouring river was called Soloeis, after the youth who died in it.
He left there the brothers of Soloeis as the chiefs and lawgivers of the
new city, and together, with them one Hermus, an Athenian Eupatrid. In
consequence of this, the people of Pythopolis call a certain place in
their city the house of Hermes, by a mistaken accentuation transferring
the honour due to their founder, to their god Hermes.

XXVII. This was the origin of the war with the Amazons; and it seems to
have been carried on in no feeble or womanish spirit, for they never
could have encamped in the city nor have fought a battle close to the
Pnyx and the Museum unless they had conquered the rest of the country,
so as to be able to approach the city safely. It is hard to believe, as
Hellanikus relates, that they crossed the Cimmerian Bosphorus on the
ice; but that they encamped almost in the city is borne witness to by
the local names, and by the tombs of the fallen. For a long time both
parties held aloof, unwilling to engage; but at last Theseus, after
sacrificing to Phobos (Fear), attacked them. The battle took place in
the month Boedromion, on the day on which the Athenians celebrate the
feast Boedromia. Kleidemus gives us accurate details, stating that the
left wing of the Amazons stood at the place now called the Amazoneum,
while the right reached up to the Pnyx, at the place where the gilded
figure of Victory now stands. The Athenians attacked them on this side,
issuing from the Museum, and the tombs of the fallen are to be seen
along the street which leads to the gate near the shrine of the hero
Chalkodus, which is called the Peiraeic gate. On this side the women
forced them back as far as the temple of the Eumenides, but on the other
side those who assailed them from the temple of Pallas, Ardettus, and
the Lyceum, drove their right wing in confusion back to their camp with
great slaughter. In the fourth month of the war a peace was brought
about by Hippolyte; for this writer names the wife of Theseus Hippolyte,
not Antiope. Some relate that she was slain fighting by the side of
Theseus by a javelin hurled by one Molpadia, and that the column which
stands beside the temple of Olympian Earth is sacred to her memory. It
is not to be wondered at that history should be at fault when dealing
with such ancient events as these, for there is another story at
variance with this, to the effect that Antiope caused the wounded
Amazons to be secretly transported to Chalkis, where they were taken
care of, and some of them were buried there, at what is now called the
Amazoneum. However, it is a proof of the war having ended in a treaty of
peace, that the place near the temple of Theseus where they swore to
observe it, is still called Horeomosium, and that the sacrifice to the
Amazons always has taken place before the festival of Theseus. The
people of Megara also show a burying-place of the Amazons, as one goes
from the market-place to what they call Rhus, where the lozenge-shaped
building stands. It is said that some others died at Chaeronea, and were
buried by the little stream which it seems was anciently called
Thermodon, but now is called Haemon, about which we have treated in the
life of Demosthenes. It would appear that the Amazons did not even get
across Thessaly without trouble, for graves of them are shown to this
day at Skotussa and Kynoskephalae.

XXVIII. The above is all that is worthy of mention about the Amazons;
for, as to the story which the author of the 'Theseid' relates about
this attack of the Amazons being brought about by Antiope to revenge
herself upon Theseus for his marriage with Phaedra, and how she and her
Amazons fought, and how Herakles slew them, all this is clearly
fabulous. After the death of Antiope, Theseus married Phaedra, having a
son by Antiope named Hippolytus, or Demophoon, according to Pindar. As
for his misfortunes with this wife and son, as the account given by
historians does not differ from that which appears in the plays of the
tragic poets, we must believe them to have happened as all these writers

XXIX. However, there are certain other legends about Theseus' marriage
which have never appeared on the stage, which have neither a creditable
beginning nor a prosperous termination: for it is said that he carried
off one Anaxo, a Troezenian girl, and after slaying Sinis and Kerkyon he
forced their daughters, and that he married Periboea the mother of Ajax
and also Phereboea and Iope the daughter of Iphikles: and, as has been
told already, it was on account of his love for Aegle the daughter of
Panopeus that he deserted Ariadne, which was a shameful and
discreditable action. And in addition to all this he is charged with
carrying off Helen, which brought war upon Attica, and exile and
destruction on himself; about which we shall speak presently. But,
though many adventures were undertaken by the heroes of those times,
Herodorus is of opinion that Theseus took no part in any of them, except
with the Lapithae in their fight with the Centaurs; though other writers
say that he went to Kolchis with Jason and took part with Meleager in
the hunt of the Kalydonian boar.

From these legends arises the proverb, "Not without Theseus;" also he by
himself without any comrades performed many glorious deeds, from which
the saying came into vogue, "This is another Herakles."

Theseus, together with Adrastus, effected the recovery of the bodies of
those who fell under the walls of the Cadmea at Thebes, not after
conquering the Thebans, as Euripides puts it in his play, but by a truce
and convention, according to most writers. Philochorus even states that
this was the first occasion on which a truce was made for the recovery
of those slain in battle. But we have shown in our 'Life of Herakles'
that he was the first to restore the corpses of the slain to the enemy.
The tombs of the rank and file are to be seen at Eleutherae, but those
of the chiefs at Eleusis, by favour of Theseus to Adrastus. Euripides's
play of the 'Suppliants' is contradicted by that of Aeschylus, the
'Eleusinians,' in which Theseus is introduced giving orders for this to
be done.

XXX. His friendship for Peirithous is said to have arisen in the
following manner: He had a great reputation for strength and courage;
Peirithous, wishing to make trial of these, drove his cattle away from
the plain of Marathon, and when he learned that Theseus was pursuing
them, armed, he did not retire, but turned and faced him. Each man then
admiring the beauty and courage of his opponent, refrained from battle,
and first Peirithous holding out his hand bade Theseus himself assess
the damages of his raid upon the cattle, saying that he himself would
willingly submit to whatever penalty the other might inflict. Theseus
thought no more of their quarrel, and invited him to become his friend
and comrade; and they ratified their compact of friendship by an oath.
Hereupon, Peirithous, who was about to marry Deidameia, begged Theseus
to come and visit his country and meet the Lapithae. He also had invited
the Centaurs to the banquet; and as they in their drunken insolence laid
hands upon the women, the Lapithae attacked them. Some of them they
slew, and the rest they overcame, and afterwards, with the assistance of
Theseus, banished from their country. Herodorus, however, says that this
is not how these events took place, but that the war was going on, and
that Theseus went to help the Lapithae and while on his way thither
first beheld Herakles, whom he made a point of visiting at Trachis,
where he was resting after his labours and wanderings; and that they met
with many compliments and much good feeling on both sides. But one would
more incline to those writers who tell us that they often met, and that
Herakles was initiated by Theseus's desire, and was also purified before
initiation at his instance, which ceremony was necessary because of some
reckless action.

XXXI. Theseus was fifty years old, according to Hellanikus, when he
carried off Helen, who was a mere child. For this reason some who wish
to clear him of this, the heaviest of all the charges against him, say
that it was not he who carried off Helen, but that Idas and Lynkeus
carried her off and deposited her in his keeping. Afterwards the Twin
Brethren came and demanded her back, but he would not give her up; or
even it is said that Tyndareus himself handed her over to him, because
he feared that Enarsphorus the son of Hippocoon would take her by force,
she being only a child at the time. But the most probable story and that
which most writers agree in is the following: The two friends, Theseus
and Peirithous, came to Sparta, seized the maiden, who was dancing in
the temple of Artemis Orthia, and carried her off. As the pursuers
followed no farther than Tegea, they felt no alarm, but leisurely
travelled through Peloponnesus, and made a compact that whichever of
them should win Helen by lot was to have her to wife, but must help the
other to a marriage. They cast lots on this understanding, and Theseus
won. As the maiden was not yet ripe for marriage he took her with him to
Aphidnae, and there placing his mother with her gave her into the charge
of his friend Aphidnus, bidding him watch over her and keep her presence
secret. He himself in order to repay his obligation to Peirithous went
on a journey with him to Epirus to obtain the daughter of Aidoneus the
king of the Molossians, who called his wife Persephone, his daughter
Kore, and his dog Cerberus. All the suitors of his daughter were bidden
by him to fight this dog, and the victor was to receive her hand.
However, as he learned that Peirithous and his friend were come, not as
wooers, but as ravishers, he cast them into prison. He put an end to
Peirithous at once, by means of his dog, but only guarded Theseus

XXXII. Now at this period Mnestheus, the son of Peteus, who was the son
of Orneus, who was the son of Erechtheus, first of all mankind they say
took to the arts of a demagogue, and to currying favour with the people.
This man formed a league of the nobles, who had long borne Theseus a
grudge for having destroyed the local jurisdiction and privileges of
each of the Eupatrids by collecting them all together into the capital,
where they were no more than his subjects and slaves; and he also
excited the common people by telling them that although they were
enjoying a fancied freedom they really had been deprived of their
ancestral privileges and sacred rites, and made to endure the rule of
one foreign despot, instead of that of many good kings of their own

While he was thus busily employed, the invasion of Attica by the sons of
Tyndareus greatly assisted his revolutionary scheme; so that some say
that it was he who invited them to come. At first they abstained from
violence, and confined themselves to asking that their sister Helen
should be given up to them; but when they were told by the citizens that
she was not in their hands, and that they knew not where she was, they
proceeded to warlike measures. Akademus, who had by some means
discovered that she was concealed at Aphidnae, now told them where she
was; for which cause he was honoured by the sons of Tyndareus during his
life, and also the Lacedaemonians, though they often invaded the country
and ravaged it unsparingly, yet never touched the place called the
Akademeia, for Akademus's sake. Dikaearchus says that Echemus and
Marathus, two Arcadians, took part in that war with the sons of
Tyndareus; and that from the first the place now called Akademeia was
then named Echedemia, and that from the second the township of Marathon
takes its names, because he in accordance with some oracle voluntarily
offered himself as a sacrifice there in the sight of the whole army.

However, the sons of Tyndareus came to Aphidnae, and took the place
after a battle, in which it is said that Alykus fell, the son of
Skeiron, who then was fighting on the side of the Dioskuri. In memory
of this man it is said that the place in the territory of Megara where
his remains lie is called Alykus. But Hereas writes that Alykus was
slain by Theseus at Aphidnae, and as evidence he quotes this verse about

    "Him whom Theseus slew in the spacious streets of Aphidnae,
    Fighting for fair-haired Helen."

But it is not likely that if Theseus had been there, his mother and the
town of Aphidnae would have been taken.

XXXIII. After the fall of Aphidnae, the people of Athens became
terrified, and were persuaded by Mnestheus to admit the sons of
Tyndareus to the city, and to treat them as friends, because, he said,
they were only at war with Theseus, who had been the first to use
violence, and were the saviours and benefactors of the rest of mankind.
These words of his were confirmed by their behaviour, for, victorious as
they were, they yet demanded nothing except initiation into the
mysteries, as they were, no less than Herakles, connected with the city.
This was permitted them, and they were adopted by Aphidnus, as Herakles
had been by Pylius. They received divine honours, being addressed as
"Anakes," either because of the cessation of the war, or from the care
they took, when they had such a large army within the walls of Athens,
that no one should be wronged; for those who take care of or guard
anything are said to do it "anakos," and perhaps for this reason kings
are called "Anaktes." Some say that they were called Anakas because of
the appearance of their stars in the heavens above, for the Attics
called "above" "anekas."

XXXIV. It is said that Aethra, the mother of Theseus, was carried off as
a captive to Lacedaemon, and thence to Troy with Helen, and Homer
supports this view, when he says that there followed Helen,

    "Aithra the daughter of Pittheus and large-eyed Klymene."

Others reject this verse, and the legend about Mounychus, who is said to
have been the bastard son of Laodike, by Demophoon, and to have been
brought up in Troy by Aithra. But Istrus, in his thirteenth book of his
'History of Attica,' tells quite a different and peculiar story about
Aithra, that he had heard that Paris was conquered by Achilles and
Patroklus near the river Spercheius, in Thessaly, and that Hector took
the city of Troezen by storm, and amongst the plunder carried off
Aithra, who had been left there. But this seems impossible.

XXXV. Now Aidoneus the Molossian king chanced to be entertaining
Herakles, and related to him the story of Theseus and Peirithous, what
they had intended to do, and how they had been caught in the act and
punished. Herakles was much grieved at hearing how one had perished
ingloriously, and the other was like to perish. He thought that nothing
would be gained by reproaching the king for his conduct to Peirithous,
but he begged for the life of Theseus, and pointed out that the release
of his friend was a favour which he deserved. Aidoneus agreed, and
Theseus, when set free, returned to Athens, where he found that his
party was not yet overpowered. Whatever consecrated grounds had been set
apart for him by the city, he dedicated to Herakles, and called Heraklea
instead of Thesea, except four, according to Philochorus. But, as he at
once wished to preside and manage the state as before, he was met by
factious opposition, for he found that those who had been his enemies
before, had now learned not to fear him, while the common people had
become corrupted, and now required to be specially flattered instead of
doing their duty in silence.

He endeavoured to establish his government by force, but was overpowered
by faction; and at last, despairing of success, he secretly sent his
children to Euboea, to Elephenor, the son of Chalkodous; and he himself,
after solemnly uttering curses on the Athenians at Gargettus, where now
is the place called Araterion, or the place of curses, set sail for
Skyros, where he was, he imagined, on friendly terms with the
inhabitants, and possessed a paternal estate in the island. At that time
Lykomedes was king of Skyros; so he proceeded to demand from him his
lands, in order to live there, though some say that he asked him to
assist him against the Athenians. Lykomedes, either in fear of the great
reputation of Theseus, or else to gain the favour of Mnestheus, led him
up to the highest mountain top in the country, on the pretext of
showing him his estate from thence, and pushed him over a precipice.
Some say that he stumbled and fell of himself, as he was walking after
supper, according to his custom. As soon as he was dead, no one thought
any more of him, but Mnestheus reigned over the Athenians, while
Theseus's children were brought up as private citizens by Elephenor, and
followed him to Ilium. When Mnestheus died at Ilium, they returned home
and resumed their rightful sovereignty. In subsequent times, among many
other things which led the Athenians to honour Theseus as a hero or
demi-god, most remarkable was his appearance at the battle of Marathon,
where his spirit was seen by many, clad in armour, leading the charge
against the barbarians.

XXXVI. After the Persian war, in the archonship of Phaedo, the Athenians
were told by the Delphian Oracle to take home the bones of Theseus and
keep them with the greatest care and honour. There was great difficulty
in obtaining them and in discovering his tomb, on account of the wild
and savage habits of the natives of the island. However, Kimon took the
island, as is written in my history of his Life, and making it a point
of honour to discover his tomb, he chanced to behold an eagle pecking
with its beak and scratching with its talons at a small rising ground.
Here he dug, imagining that the spot had been pointed out by a miracle.
There was found the coffin of a man of great stature, and lying beside
it a brazen lance-head and a sword. These relics were brought to Athens
by Kimon, on board of his trireme, and the delighted Athenians received
them with splendid processions and sacrifices, just as if the hero
himself were come to the city. He is buried in the midst of the city,
near where the Gymnasium now stands, and his tomb is a place of
sanctuary for slaves, and all that are poor and oppressed, because
Theseus, during his life, was the champion and avenger of the poor, and
always kindly hearkened to their prayers. Their greatest sacrifice in
his honour takes place on the eighth of the month of Pyanepsion, upon
which day he and the youths came back from Crete. But besides this they
hold a service in his honour on the eighth of all the other months,
either because it was on the eighth day of Hekatombeion that he first
arrived in Athens from Troezen, as is related by Diodorus the
topographer, or else thinking that number to be especially his own,
because he is said to have been the son of Poseidon, and Poseidon is
honoured on the eighth day of every month. For the number eight is the
first cube of an even number, and is double the first square, and
therefore peculiarly represents the immovable abiding power of that god
whom we address as "the steadfast," and the "earth upholder."


Historians are not agreed upon the origin and meaning of the famous name
of Rome, which is so celebrated through all the world. Some relate that
the Pelasgi, after wandering over the greater part of the world, and
conquering most nations, settled there, and gave the city its name from
their own strength in battle.[A] Others tell us that after the capture
of Troy some fugitives obtained ships, were carried by the winds to the
Tyrrhenian or Tuscan coast, and cast anchor in the Tiber. There the
women, who had suffered much from the sea voyage, were advised by one
who was accounted chief among them for wisdom and noble birth, Roma by
name, to burn the ships. At first the men were angry at this, but
afterwards, being compelled to settle round about the Palatine Hill,
they fared better than they expected, as they found the country fertile
and the neighbours hospitable; so they paid great honour to Roma, and
called the city after her name. From this circumstance, they say, arose
the present habit of women kissing their male relatives and connections;
because those women, after they had burned the ships, thus embraced and
caressed the men, trying to pacify their rage.

[Footnote A: The Greek [Greek: rhômê] = strength.]

II. Some say that Roma, who gave the name to the city, was the daughter
of Italus and Leucaria, or of Telephus the son of Hercules, and the wife
of Aeneas, while others say that she was the daughter of Ascanius the
son of Aeneas. Others relate that Romanus, the son of Odysseus and
Circe, founded the city, or that it was Romus, the son of Hemathion, who
was sent from Troy by Diomedes; or Romis the despot of the Latins, who
drove out of his kingdom the Tyrrhenians, who, starting from Thessaly,
had made their way to Lydia, and thence to Italy. And even those who
follow the most reasonable of these legends, and admit that it was
Romulus who founded the city after his own name, do not agree about his
birth; for some say that he was the son of Aeneas and Dexithea the
daughter of Phorbas, and with his brother Romus was brought to Italy
when a child, and that as the river was in flood, all the other boats
were swamped, but that in which the children were was carried to a soft
bank and miraculously preserved, from which the name of Rome was given
to the place. Others say that Roma, the daughter of that Trojan lady,
married Latinus the son of Telemachus and bore a son, Romulus; while
others say that his mother was Aemilia the daughter of Aeneas and
Lavinia, by an intrigue with Mars; while others give a completely
legendary account of his birth, as follows:

In the house of Tarchetius, the king of the Albani, a cruel and lawless
man, a miracle took place. A male figure arose from the hearth, and
remained there for many days. Now there was in Etruria an oracle of
Tethys, which told Tarchetius that a virgin must be offered to the
figure; for there should be born of her a son surpassing all mankind in
strength, valour, and good fortune. Tarchetius hereupon explained the
oracle to one of his daughters, and ordered her to give herself up to
the figure; but she, not liking to do so, sent her servant-maid instead.
Tarchetius, when he learned this, was greatly incensed, and cast them
both into prison, meaning to put them to death. However, in a dream,
Vesta appeared to him, forbidding him to slay them. In consequence of
this he locked them up with a loom, telling them that when they had
woven the piece of work upon it they should be married. So they wove all
day, and during the night other maidens sent by Tarchetius undid their
work again. Now when the servant-maid was delivered of twins, Tarchetius
gave them to one Teratius, and bade him destroy them. He laid them down
near the river; and there they were suckled by a she-wolf, while all
sorts of birds brought them morsels of food, until one day a cowherd saw
them. Filled with wonder he ventured to come up to the children and
bear them off. Saved from death in this manner they grew up, and then
attacked and slew Tarchetius. This is the legend given by one
Promathion, the compiler of a history of Italy.

III. But the most credible story, and that has most vouchers for its
truth, is that which was first published in Greece by Diokles of
Peparethos, a writer whom Fabius Pictor has followed in most points.
There are variations in this legend also; but, generally speaking, it
runs as follows:

The dynasty established by Aeneas at Alba Longa, came down to two
brothers, Numitor and Amulius. Amulius offered his brother the choice
between the sovereign power and the royal treasure, including the gold
brought from Troy. Numitor chose the sovereign power. But Amulius,
possessing all the treasure, and thereby having more power than his
brother, easily dethroned him, and, as he feared his brother's daughter
might have children who would avenge him, he made her a priestess of
Vesta, sworn to celibacy for ever. This lady is named by some Ilia, by
others Rhea or Silvia. After no long time she was found to be with
child, against the law of the Vestals. Her life was saved by the
entreaties of Antho, the king's daughter, but she was closely
imprisoned, that she might not be delivered without Amulius's knowledge.
She bore two children of remarkable beauty and size, and Amulius, all
the more alarmed at this, bade an attendant take them and expose them.
Some say that this man's name was Faustulus, while others say that this
was not his name, but that of their rescuer. However, he placed the
infants in a cradle, and went down to the river with the intention of
throwing them into it, but seeing it running strong and turbulently, he
feared to approach it, laid down the cradle near the bank and went away.
The river, which was in flood, rose, and gently floated off the cradle,
and carried it down to a soft place which is now called Cermalus, but
anciently, it seems, was called Germanus, because brothers are called

IV. Near this place was a fig-tree, which they called Ruminalius, either
from Romulus, as most persons imagine, or because cattle came to
ruminate in its shade, or, more probably, because of the suckling of
the children there, for the ancients called the nipple _rouma_.
Moreover, they call the goddess who appears to have watched over the
children Roumilia, and to her they sacrifice offerings without wine, and
pour milk as a libation upon her altar.

It is said that while the infants were lying in this place, the she-wolf
suckled them, and that a woodpecker came and helped to feed and watch
over them. Now these animals are sacred to the god Mars; and the Latins
have a peculiar reverence and worship for the woodpecker. These
circumstances, therefore, did not a little to confirm the tale of the
mother of the children, that their father was Mars, though some say that
she was deceived by Amulius himself, who, after condemning her to a life
of virginity, appeared before her dressed in armour, and ravished her.
Others say that the twofold meaning of the name of their nurse gave rise
to this legend, for the Latins use the word _lupa_ for she-wolves, and
also for unchaste women, as was the wife of Faustulus, who brought up
the children, Acca Laurentia by name. To her also the Romans offer
sacrifice, and in the month of April the priest of Mars brings libations
to her, and the feast is called Laurentia.

V. The Romans also worship another Laurentia, for this reason: The
priest of Hercules, weary with idleness, proposed to the god to cast the
dice on the condition that, if he won, he should receive something good
from the god, while if he lost, he undertook to provide the god with a
bountiful feast and a fair woman to take his pleasure with. Upon these
conditions he cast the dice, first for the god, and then for himself,
and was beaten. Wishing to settle his wager properly, and making a point
of keeping his word, he prepared a feast for the god, and hired
Laurentia, then in the pride of her beauty, though not yet famous. He
feasted her in the temple, where he had prepared a couch, and after
supper he locked her in, that the god might possess her. And, indeed,
the god is said to have appeared to the lady, and to have bidden her go
early in the morning into the market-place, and to embrace the first man
she met, and make him her friend. There met her a citizen far advanced
in years, possessing a fair income, childless, and unmarried. His name
was Tarrutius. He took Laurentia to himself, and loved her, and upon his
death left her heiress to a large and valuable property, the greater
part of which she left by will to the city. It is related of her, that
after she had become famous, and was thought to enjoy the favour of
Heaven, she vanished near the very same spot where the other Laurentia
lay buried. This place is now called Velabrum, because during the
frequent overflowings of the river, people used there to be ferried over
to the market-place; now they call ferrying _velatura_. Some say that
the road from the market-place to the circus, starting from this point,
used to be covered with sails or awnings by those who treated the people
to a spectacle; and in the Latin tongue a sail is called _velum_. This
is why the second Laurentia is honoured by the Romans.

VI. Now Faustulus, the swineherd of Amulius, kept the children concealed
from every one, though some say that Numitor knew of it, and shared the
expense of their education. They were sent to Gabii to learn their
letters, and everything else that well-born children should know; and
they were called Romulus and Remus, because they were first seen sucking
the wolf. Their noble birth showed itself while they were yet children,
in their size and beauty; and when they grew up they were manly and
high-spirited, of invincible courage and daring. Romulus, however, was
thought the wiser and more politic of the two, and in his discussions
with the neighbours about pasture and hunting, gave them opportunities
of noting that his disposition was one which led him to command rather
than to obey. On account of these qualities they were beloved by their
equals and the poor, but they despised the king's officers and bailiffs
as being no braver than themselves, and cared neither for their anger
nor their threats. They led the lives and followed the pursuits of nobly
born men, not valuing sloth and idleness, but exercise and hunting,
defending the land against brigands, capturing plunderers, and avenging
those who had suffered wrong. And thus they became famous.

VII. Now a quarrel arose between the herdsmen of Numitor and those of
Amulius, and cattle were driven off by the former. Amulius's men,
enraged at this, fought and routed the others, and recovered a great
part of the booty. They cared nothing for Numitor's anger, but collected
together many needy persons and slaves, and filled them with a
rebellious spirit. While Romulus was absent at a sacrifice (for he was
much addicted to sacrifices and divination), the herdsmen of Numitor
fell in with Remus, accompanied by a small band, and fought with him.
After many wounds had been received on both sides, Numitor's men
conquered and took Remus alive. Remus was brought before Numitor, who
did not punish him, as he feared his brother's temper, but went to his
brother and begged for justice, saying that he had suffered wrong at the
hands of the king his brother's servants. As all the people of Alba
sympathised with Remus, and feared that he would be unjustly put to
death, or worse, Amulius, alarmed at them, handed over Remus to his
brother Numitor, to deal with as he pleased. Numitor took him, and as
soon as he reached home, after admiring the bodily strength and stature
of the youth, which surpassed all the rest, perceiving in his looks his
courageous and fiery spirit, undismayed by his present circumstances,
and having heard that his deeds corresponded to his appearance, and
above all, as seems probable, some god being with him and watching over
the first beginnings of great events, he was struck by the idea of
asking him to tell the truth as to who he was, and how he was born,
giving him confidence and encouragement by his kindly voice and looks.
The young man boldly said, "I will conceal nothing from you, for you
seem more like a king than Amulius. You hear and judge before you
punish, but he gives men up to be punished without a trial. Formerly we
(for we are twins) understood that we were the sons of Faustulus and
Laurentia, the king's servants; but now that we are brought before you
as culprits, and are falsely accused and in danger of our lives, we have
heard great things about ourselves. Whether they be true or not, we must
now put to the test. Our birth is said to be a secret, and our nursing
and bringing up is yet stranger, for we were cast out to the beasts and
the birds, and were fed by them, suckled by a she-wolf, and fed with
morsels of food by a woodpecker as we lay in our cradle beside the great
river. Our cradle still exists, carefully preserved, bound with brazen
bands, on which is an indistinct inscription, which hereafter will serve
as a means by which we may be recognised by our parents, but to no
purpose if we are dead." Numitor, considering the young man's story, and
reckoning up the time from his apparent age, willingly embraced the hope
which was dawning on his mind, and considered how he might obtain a
secret interview with his daughter and tell her of all this; for she was
still kept a close prisoner.

VIII. Faustulus, when he heard of Remus being captured and delivered up
to Numitor, called upon Romulus to help him, and told him plainly all
about his birth; although previously he had hinted so much, that any one
who paid attention to his words might have known nearly all about it;
and he himself with the cradle ran to Numitor full of hopes and fears,
now that matters had come to a critical point. He was viewed with
suspicion by the guards at the king's gate, and while they were treating
him contemptuously, and confusing him by questions, they espied the
cradle under his cloak. Now it chanced that one of them had been one of
those who had taken the children to cast them away, and had been present
when they were abandoned. This man, seeing the cradle and recognising it
by its make and the inscription on it, suspected the truth, and at once
told the king and brought the man in to be examined. Faustulus, in those
dire straits, did not altogether remain unshaken, and yet did not quite
allow his secret to be wrung from him. He admitted that the boys were
alive, but said that they were living far away from Alba, and that he
himself was bringing the cradle to Ilia, who had often longed to see and
touch it to confirm her belief in the life of her children. Now Amulius
did what men generally do when excited by fear or rage. He sent in a
great hurry one who was a good man and a friend of Numitor, bidding him
ask Numitor whether he had heard anything about the survival of the
children. This man on arrival, finding Numitor all but embracing Remus,
confirmed his belief that he was his grandson, and bade him take his
measures quickly, remaining by him himself to offer assistance. Even had
they wished it, there was no time for delay; for Romulus was already
near, and no small number of the citizens, through hatred and fear of
Amulius, were going out to join him. He himself brought no small force,
arrayed in companies of a hundred each. Each of these was led by a man
who carried a bundle of sticks and straw upon a pole. The Latins called
these _manipla_; and from this these companies are even at the present
day called _maniples_ in the Roman army. Now as Remus raised a revolt
within, while Romulus assailed the palace without, the despot was
captured and put to death without having been able to do anything, or
take any measures for his own safety.

The greater part of the above story is told by Fabius Pictor and Diokles
of Peparethos, who seem to have been the first historians of the
foundation of Rome. The story is doubted by many on account of its
theatrical and artificial form, yet we ought not to disbelieve it when
we consider what wondrous works are wrought by chance, and when, too, we
reflect on the Roman Empire, which, had it not had a divine origin,
never could have arrived at its present extent.

IX. After the death of Amulius, and the reorganisation of the kingdom,
the twins, who would not live in Alba as subjects, and did not wish to
reign there during the life of their grandfather, gave up the sovereign
power to him, and, having made a suitable provision for their mother,
determined to dwell by themselves, and to found a city in the parts in
which they themselves had been reared; at least, this is the most
probable of the various reasons which are given. It may also have been
necessary, as many slaves and fugitives had gathered round them, either
that they should disperse these men and so lose their entire power, or
else go and dwell alone amongst them. It is clear, from the rape of the
Sabine women, that the citizens of Alba would not admit these outcasts
into their own body, since that deed was caused, not by wanton
insolence, but by necessity, as they could not obtain wives by fair
means; for after carrying the women off they treated them with the
greatest respect. Afterwards, when the city was once founded, they made
it a sanctuary for people in distress to take refuge in, saying that it
belonged to the god Asylus; and they received in it all sorts of
persons, not giving up slaves to their masters, debtors to their
creditors, or murderers to their judges, but saying that, in accordance
with a Pythian oracle, the sanctuary was free to all; so that the city
soon became full of men, for they say that at first it contained no less
than a thousand hearths. Of this more hereafter. When they were
proceeding to found the city, they at once quarrelled about its site.
Romulus fixed upon what is now called Roma Quadrata, a square piece of
ground, and wished the city to be built in that place; but Remus
preferred a strong position on Mount Aventino, which, in memory of him,
was called the Remonium, and now is called Rignarium.

They agreed to decide their dispute by watching the flight of birds, and
having taken their seats apart, it is said that six vultures appeared to
Remus, and afterwards twice as many to Romulus. Some say that Remus
really saw his vultures, but that Romulus only pretended to have seen
them, and when Remus came to him, then the twelve appeared to Romulus;
for which reason the Romans at the present day draw their auguries
especially from vultures. Herodorus of Pontus says that Hercules
delighted in the sight of a vulture, when about to do any great action.
It is the most harmless of all creatures, for it injures neither crops,
fruit, nor cattle, and lives entirely upon dead corpses. It does not
kill or injure anything that has life, and even abstains from dead birds
from its relationship to them. Now eagles, and owls, and falcons, peck
and kill other birds, in spite of Aeschylus's line,

    "Bird-eating bird polluted e'er must be."

Moreover, the other birds are, so to speak, ever before our eyes, and
continually remind us of their presence; but the vulture is seldom seen,
and it is difficult to meet with its young, which has suggested to some
persons the strange idea that vultures come from some other world to pay
us their rare visits, which are like those occurrences which, according
to the soothsayers, do not happen naturally or spontaneously, but by the
interposition of Heaven.

X. When Remus discovered the deceit he was very angry, and, while
Romulus was digging a trench round where the city wall was to be built,
he jeered at the works, and hindered them. At last, as he jumped over
it, he was struck dead either by Romulus himself, or by Celer, one of
his companions. In this fight, Faustulus was slain, and also Pleistinus,
who is said to have been Faustulus's brother and to have helped him in
rearing Romulus and his brother. Celer retired into Tyrrhenia, and from
him the Romans call quick sharp men _Celeres_; Quintus Metellus, who,
when his father died, in a very few days exhibited a show of gladiators,
was surnamed Celer by the Romans in their wonder at the short time he
had spent in his preparations.

XI. Romulus, after burying Remus and his foster-parents in the Remurium,
consecrated his city, having fetched men from Etruria, who taught him
how to perform it according to sacred rites and ceremonies, as though
they were celebrating holy mysteries. A trench was dug in a circle round
what is now the Comitium, and into it were flung first-fruits of all
those things which are honourable and necessary for men. Finally each
man brought a little of the earth of the country from which he came, and
flung it into one heap and mixed it all together. They call this pit by
the same name as the heavens, _Mundus_. Next, they drew the outline of
the city in the form of a circle, with this place as its centre. And
then the founder, having fitted a plough with a brazen ploughshare, and
yoked to it a bull and a cow, himself ploughs a deep furrow round the
boundaries. It is the duty of his attendants to throw the clods inwards,
which the plough turns up, and to let none of them fall outwards. By
this line they define the extent of the fortifications, and it is called
by contraction, Pomoerium, which means behind the walls or beyond the
walls (_post moenia_). Wherever they intend to place a gate they take
off the ploughshare, and carry the plough over, leaving a space. After
this ceremony they consider the entire wall sacred, except the gates;
but if they were sacred also, they could not without scruple bring in
and out necessaries and unclean things through them.

XII. It is agreed that the foundation of the city took place on the
eleventh day before the Kalends of May (the 21st of April). And on this
day the Romans keep a festival which they call the birthday of the city.
At this feast, originally, we are told, they sacrificed nothing that has
life, but thought it right to keep the anniversary of the birth of the
city pure and unpolluted by blood. However, before the foundation of the
city, they used to keep a pastoral feast called Palilia. The Roman
months at the present day do not in any way correspond to those of
Greece; yet they (the Greeks) distinctly affirm that the day upon which
Romulus founded the city was the 30th of the month. The Greeks likewise
tell us that on that day an eclipse of the sun took place, which they
think was that observed by Antimachus of Teos, the epic poet, which
occurred in the third year of the sixth Olympiad. In the time of Varro
the philosopher, who of all the Romans was most deeply versed in Roman
history, there was one Taroutius, a companion of his, a philosopher and
mathematician, who had especially devoted himself to the art of casting
nativities, and was thought to have attained great skill therein. To
this man Varro proposed the task of finding the day and hour of
Romulus's birth, basing his calculations on the influence which the
stars were said to have had upon his life, just as geometricians solve
their problems by the analytic method; for it belongs, he argued, to the
same science to predict the life of a man from the time of his birth,
and to find the date of a man's birth if the incidents of his life are
given. Taroutius performed his task, and after considering the things
done and suffered by Romulus, the length of his life, the manner of his
death, and all such like matters, he confidently and boldly asserted
that Romulus was conceived by his mother in the first year of the second
Olympiad, at the third hour of the twenty-third day of the month which
is called in the Egyptian calendar _Choiac_, at which time there was a
total eclipse of the sun. He stated that he was born on the twenty-first
day of the month _Thouth_, about sunrise. Rome was founded by him on the
ninth day of the month _Pharmouthi_, between the second and third hour;
for it is supposed that the fortunes of cities, as well as those of men,
have their certain periods which can be discovered by the position of
the stars at their nativities. The quaint subtlety of these speculations
may perhaps amuse the reader more than their legendary character will
weary him.

XIII. When the city was founded, Romulus first divided all the
able-bodied males into regiments, each consisting of three thousand
infantry and three hundred cavalry. These were named legions, because
they consisted of men of military age selected from the population. The
rest of the people were now organised. They were called Populus, and a
hundred of the noblest were chosen from among them and formed into a
council. These he called Patricians, and their assembly the Senate. This
word Senate clearly means assembly of old men; and the members of it
were named Patricians, according to some, because they were the fathers
of legitimate offspring; according to others, because they were able to
give an account of who their own fathers were, which few of the first
colonists were able to do. Others say that it was from their
_Patrocinium_, as they then called, and do at the present day call,
their patronage of their clients. There is a legend that this word arose
from one Patron, a companion of Evander, who was kind and helpful to his
inferiors. But it is most reasonable to suppose that Romulus called them
by this name because he intended the most powerful men to show kindness
to their inferiors, and to show the poorer classes that they ought not
to fear the great nor grudge them their honours, but be on friendly
terms with them, thinking of them and addressing them as fathers
(Patres). For, up to the present day, foreigners address the senators as
Lords, but the Romans call them Conscript Fathers, using the most
honourable and least offensive of their titles. Originally they were
merely called the Fathers, but afterwards, as more were enrolled, they
were called Conscript Fathers. By this more dignified title Romulus
distinguished the Senate from the People; and he introduced another
distinction between the powerful and the common people by naming the
former patrons, which means defenders, and the latter clients, which
means dependants. By this means he implanted in them a mutual good
feeling which was the source of great benefits, for the patrons acted as
advocates for their clients in law suits, and in all cases became their
advisers and friends, while the clients not only respected their patrons
but even assisted them, when they were poor, to portion their daughters
or pay their creditors. No law or magistrate could compel a patron to
bear witness against his client, nor a client against his patron.
Moreover, in later times, although all their other rights remained
unimpaired, it was thought disgraceful for a patron to receive money
from a client. So much for these matters.

XIV. In the fourth month after the city was founded, we are told by
Fabius, the reckless deed of carrying off the women took place. Some say
that Romulus himself naturally loved war, and, being persuaded by some
prophecies that Rome was fated to grow by wars and so reach the greatest
prosperity, attacked the Sabines without provocation; for he did not
carry off many maidens, but only thirty, as though it was war that he
desired more than wives for his followers. This is not probable: Romulus
saw that his city was newly-filled with colonists, few of whom had
wives, while most of them were a mixed multitude of poor or unknown
origin, who were despised by the neighouring states, and expected by
them shortly to fall to pieces. He intended his violence to lead to an
alliance with the Sabines, as soon as the damsels became reconciled to
their lot, and set about it as follows: First he circulated a rumour
that the altar of some god had been discovered, hidden in the earth.
This god was called Census, either because he was the god of counsel
(for the Romans to this day call their assembly _Concilium_, and their
chief magistrates _consuls_, as it were those who take counsel on behalf
of the people), or else it was the equestrian Neptune. The altar stands
in the greater hippodrome, and is kept concealed except during the
horse-races, when it is uncovered. Some say that, as the whole plot was
dark and mysterious, it was natural that the god's altar should be
underground. When it was brought out, he proclaimed a splendid sacrifice
in its honour, and games and shows open to all men. Many people
assembled to see them, and Romulus sat among his nobles, dressed in a
purple robe. The signal for the assault was that he should rise, unfold
his cloak, and then again wrap it around him. Many men armed with swords
stood round him, and at the signal they drew their swords, rushed
forward with a shout, and snatched up the daughters of the Sabines, but
allowed the others to escape unharmed. Some say that only thirty were
carried off, from whom the thirty tribes were named, but Valerius of
Antium says five hundred and twenty-seven, and Juba six hundred and
eighty-three, all maidens. This is the best apology for Romulus; for
they only carried off one married woman, Hersilia, which proved that it
was not through insolence or wickedness that they carried them off, but
with the intention of forcibly effecting a union between the two races.
Some say that Hersilia married Hostilius, one of the noblest Romans,
others that she married Romulus himself, and that he had children by
her; one daughter, called Prima from her being the first-born, and one
son, whom his father originally named Aollius, because of the assembling
of the citizens, but whom they afterwards named Avillius. This is the
story as told by Zenodotus of Troezen, but many contradict it.

XV. Among the ravishers they say there were some men of low condition
who had seized a remarkably tall and beautiful maiden. When any of the
nobles met them and endeavoured to take her away from them, they cried
out that they were taking her to Talasius, a young man of good family
and reputation. Hearing this, all agreed and applauded, and some even
turned and accompanied them, crying out the name of Talasius through
their friendship for him. From this circumstance the Romans up to the
present day call upon Talasius in their marriage-songs, as the Greeks do
upon Hymen; for Talasius is said to have been fortunate in his wife.
Sextius Sulla of Carthage, a man neither deficient in learning or taste,
told me that this word was given by Romulus as the signal for the rape,
and so that all those who carried off maidens cried "Talasio." But most
authors, among whom is Juba, think that it is used to encourage brides
to industry and spinning wool (talasia), as at that time Greek words
had not been overpowered by Latin ones. But if this be true, and the
Romans at that time really used this word "talasia" for wool-spinning,
as we do, we might make another more plausible conjecture about it. When
the treaty of peace was arranged between the Romans and the Sabines, a
special provision was made about the women, that they were to do no work
for the men except wool-spinning. And thus the custom remained for the
friends of those who were married afterwards to call upon Talasius in
jest, meaning to testify that the bride was to do no other work than
spinning. To the present day the custom remains in force that the bride
must not step over the threshold into her house, but be lifted over it
and carried in, because the Sabine maidens were carried in forcibly, and
did not walk in.

Some add that the parting of the bride's hair with the point of a spear
is done in memory of the first Roman marriage having been effected by
war and battle; on which subject we have enlarged further in our
treatise on Causes.

The rape of the Sabines took place upon the eighteenth day of the month
Sextilis, which is now called August, on which day the feast of the
Consualia is kept.

XVI. The Sabines were a numerous and warlike tribe, dwelling in unwalled
villages, as though it was their birthright as a Lacedaemonian colony to
be brave and fearless. Yet when they found themselves bound by such
hostages to keep the peace, and in fear for their daughters, they sent
an embassy to propose equitable and moderate terms, that Romulus should
give back their daughters to them, and disavow the violence which had
been used, and that afterwards the two nations should live together in
amity and concord. But when Romulus refused to deliver up the maidens,
but invited the Sabines to accept his alliance, while the other tribes
were hesitating and considering what was to be done, Acron, the king of
the Ceninetes, a man of spirit and renown in the wars, who had viewed
Romulus first proceeding in founding a city with suspicion, now, after
what he had done in carrying off the women, declared that he was
becoming dangerous, and would not be endurable unless he were
chastised. He at once began the war, and marched with a great force; and
Romulus marched to meet him. When they came in sight of each other they
each challenged the other to fight, the soldiers on both sides looking
on. Romulus made a vow that if he should overcome and kill his enemy he
would himself carry his spoils to the temple of Jupiter and offer them
to him. He overcame his adversary, and slew him, routed his army and
captured his city. He did not harm the inhabitants, except that he
ordered them to demolish their houses and follow him to Rome, to become
citizens on equal terms with the rest. This is the policy by which Rome
grew so great, namely that of absorbing conquered nations into herself
on terms of equality.

Romulus, in order to make the fulfilment of his vow as pleasing to
Jupiter, and as fine a spectacle for the citizens as he could, cut down
a tall oak-tree at his camp, and fashioned it into a trophy,[A] upon
which he hung or fastened all the arms of Acron, each in its proper
place. Then he girded on his own clothes, placed a crown of laurel upon
his long hair, and, placing the trophy upright on his right shoulder,
marched along in his armour, singing a paean of victory, with all the
army following him. At Rome the citizens received him with admiration
and delight; and this procession was the origin of all the subsequent
triumphs and the model which they imitated. The trophy itself was called
an offering to Jupiter Feretrius; for the Romans call to strike,
_ferire_, and Romulus prayed that he might strike down his enemy. The
spoils were called _spolia opima_, according to Varro, because _opim_
means excellence. A more plausible interpretation would be from the
deed itself, for work is called in Latin _opus_. This dedication of
_spolia opima_ is reserved as a privilege for a general who has slain
the opposing general with his own hand. It has only been enjoyed by
three Roman generals, first by Romulus, who slew Acron, king of the
Ceninetes, second by Cornelius Cossus, who slew the Tyrrhenian
Tolumnius, and, above all, by Claudius Marcellus, who killed Britomart,
the king of the Gauls. Now Cossus and Marcellus drove into the city in
chariots and four, carrying the trophies in their own hands; but
Dionysius is in error when he says that Romulus used a chariot and four,
for the historians tell us that Tarquinius, the son of Demaratus, was
the first of the kings who introduced this pomp into his triumphs.
Others say that Poplicola was the first to triumph in a chariot.
However, the statues of Romulus bearing the trophy, which are to be seen
in Rome, are all on foot.

[Footnote A: The habit of erecting trophies on a field of battle in
token of victory appears to have been originally confined to the Greeks,
who usually, as in the text, lopped the branches off a tree, placed it
in the ground in some conspicuous place, and hung upon it the shields
and other spoils taken from the enemy. In later times the Romans adopted
the habit of commemorating a victory by erecting some building on the
field of battle. Under the emperors, victory was commemorated by a
triumphal arch at Rome, many of which now exist. The Greek trophies were
always formed of perishable materials, and it was contrary to their
custom to repair them, that they might not perpetuate national

XVII. After the capture of the Ceninete tribe, while the rest of the
Sabines were still engaged in preparation for war, the inhabitants of
Fidenae and Crustumerium and Antemna attacked the Romans. A battle took
place in which they were all alike worsted, after which they permitted
Romulus to take their cities, divide their lands, and incorporate them
as citizens. Romulus divided all the lands among the citizens, except
that which was held by the fathers of any of the maidens who had been
carried off, which he allowed them to retain.

The remainder of the Sabines, angry at these successes, chose Tatius as
their general and marched against Rome. The city was hard to attack, as
the Capitol stood as an advanced fort to defend it. Here was placed a
garrison, and Tarpeius was its commander, not the maiden Tarpeia, as
some write, who make out Romulus a fool; but it was this Tarpeia, the
daughter of the captain of the garrison, who betrayed the capital to the
Sabines, for the sake of the golden bracelets which she saw them
wearing. She asked as the price of her treachery that they should give
her what they wore on their left arms. After making an agreement with
Tatius, she opened a gate at night and let in the Sabines. Now it
appears that Antigonus was not singular when he said that he loved men
when they were betraying, but hated them after they had betrayed; as
also Caesar said, in the case of Rhymitalkes the Thracian, that he loved
the treachery but hated the traitor; but this seems a common reflection
about bad men by those who have need of them, just as we need the poison
of certain venomous beasts; for they appreciate their value while they
are making use of them, and loathe their wickedness when they have done
with them. And that was how Tarpeia was treated by Tatius. He ordered
the Sabines to remember their agreement, and not to grudge her what was
on their left arms. He himself first of all took off his gold armlet,
and with it flung his great oblong shield. As all the rest did the like,
she perished, being pelted with the gold bracelets and crushed by the
number and weight of the shields. Tarpeius also was convicted of
treachery by Romulus, according to Juba's version of the history of
Sulpicius Galba. The other legends about Tarpeia are improbable; amongst
them that which is told by Antigonus, that she was the daughter of
Tatius the Sabine leader, abducted by Romulus, and treated by her father
as is related above. Simylus the poet talks utter nonsense when he says
that it was not the Sabines but the Gauls to whom Tarpeia betrayed the
Capitol, because she was in love with their king. His verses run as

    "And near Tarpeia, by the Capitol
      That dwelt, betrayer of the walls of Rome.
    She loved the chieftain of the Gauls too well,
      To guard from treachery her father's home."

And a little afterwards he speaks of her death.

    "Her did the Boians and the Celtic tribes
      Bury, but not beside the stream of Po;
    From off their warlike arms their shields they flung,
      And what the damsel longed for laid her low."

XVIII. However, as Tarpeia was buried there, the hill was called the
Tarpeian hill until King Tarquinius, when he dedicated the place to
Jupiter, removed her remains and abolished the name of Tarpeia. But even
to this day they call the rock in the Capitol the Tarpeian Rock, down
which malefactors used to be flung. When the Sabines held the citadel,
Romulus in fury challenged them to come down and fight. Tatius accepted
his challenge with confidence, as he saw that if overpowered his men
would have a strong place of refuge to retreat to. All the intermediate
space, in which they were about to engage, was surrounded by hills, and
so seemed to make a desperate battle necessary, as there were but narrow
outlets for flight or pursuit. It chanced, also, that the river had been
in flood a few days before, and had left a deep muddy pool of water upon
the level ground where the Forum now stands; so that men's footing was
not certain, but difficult and treacherous. Here a piece of good fortune
befell the Sabines as they heedlessly pressed forward. Curtius, one of
their chiefs, a man with a reputation for dashing courage, rode on
horseback far before the rest. His horse plunged into this morass, and
he, after trying to extricate him, at last finding it impossible, left
him there and saved himself. This place, in memory of him, is still
called the Gulf of Curtius. Warned of their danger, the Sabines fought a
stout and indecisive battle, in which many fell, amongst them Hostilius.
He is said to have been the husband of Hersilia and the grandfather of
Hostilius, who became king after the reign of Numa. Many combats took
place in that narrow space, as we may suppose; and especial mention is
made of one, which proved the last, in which Romulus was struck on the
head by a stone and like to fall, and unable to fight longer. The Romans
now gave way to the Sabines, and fled to the Palatine hill, abandoning
the level ground. Romulus, now recovered from the blow, endeavoured to
stay the fugitives, and with loud shouts called upon them to stand firm
and fight. But as the stream of fugitives poured on, and no one had the
courage to face round, he lifted his hands to heaven and prayed to
Jupiter to stay the army and not to allow the tottering state of Rome to
fall, but to help it. After his prayer many were held back from flight
by reverence for the king, and the fugitives suddenly resumed their
confidence. They made their first stand where now is the temple of
Jupiter Stator, which one may translate "He who makes to stand firm;"
and then forming their ranks once more they drove back the Sabines as
far as what is now called the Palace, and the Temple of Vesta.

XIX. While they were preparing to fight as though the battle was only
now just begun, they were restrained by a strange spectacle, beyond the
power of words to express. The daughters of the Sabines who had been
carried off were seen rushing from all quarters, with loud shrieks and
wailings, through the ranks and among the dead bodies, as though
possessed by some god. Some of them carried infant children in their
arms, and others wore their hair loose and dishevelled. All of them kept
addressing the Romans and the Sabines alternately by the most endearing
names. The hearts of both armies were melted, and they fell back so as
to leave a space for the women between them. A murmur of sorrow ran
through all the ranks, and a strong feeling of pity was excited by the
sight of the women, and by their words, which began with arguments and
upbraidings, but ended in entreaties and tears. "What wrong have we done
to you," said they, "that we should have suffered and should even now
suffer such cruel treatment at your hands? We were violently and
wrongfully torn away from our friends, and after we had been carried off
we were neglected by our brothers, fathers, and relatives for so long a
time, that now, bound by the closest of ties to our enemies, we tremble
for our ravishers and wrongers when they fight, and weep when they fall.
Ye would not come and tear us from our ravishers while we were yet
maidens, but now ye would separate wives from their husbands, and
mothers from their children, a worse piece of service to us than your
former neglect. Even if it was not about us that you began to fight, you
ought to cease now that you have become fathers-in-law, and
grandfathers, and relatives one of another. But if the war is about us,
then carry us off with your sons-in-law and our children, and give us
our fathers and relatives, but do not take our husbands and children
from us. We beseech you not to allow us to be carried off captive a
second time." Hersilia spoke at length in this fashion, and as the other
women added their entreaties to hers, a truce was agreed upon, and the
chiefs met in conference. Hereupon the women made their husbands and
children known to their fathers and brothers, fetched food and drink for
such as needed it, and took the wounded into their own houses to be
attended to there. Thus they let their friends see that they were
mistresses of their own houses, and that their husbands attended to
their wishes and treated them with every respect.

In the conference it was accordingly determined that such women as chose
to do so should continue to live with their husbands, free, as we have
already related, from all work and duties except that of spinning wool
(_talasia_); that the Romans and the Sabines should dwell together in
the city, and that the city should be called Rome, after Romulus, but
the Romans be called Quirites after the native city of Tatius; and that
they should both reign and command the army together. The place where
this compact was made is even to this day called the Comitium, for the
Romans call meeting _coire_.

XX. Now that the city was doubled in numbers, a hundred more senators
were elected from among the Sabines, and the legions were composed of
six thousand infantry and six hundred cavalry. They also established
three tribes, of which they named one Rhamnenses, from Romulus, another
Titienses from Tatius, and the third Lucerenses, after the name of a
grove to which many had fled for refuge, requiring asylum, and had been
admitted as citizens. They call a grove _lucus_. The very name of
_tribe_ and tribune show that there were three tribes. Each tribe was
divided into ten _centuries_, which some say were named after the women
who were carried off; but this seems to be untrue, as many of them are
named after places. However, many privileges were conferred upon the
women, amongst which were that men should make way for them when they
walked out, to say nothing disgraceful in their presence, or appear
naked before them, on pain of being tried before the criminal court; and
also that their children should wear the _bulla_, which is so called
from its shape, which is like a bubble, and was worn round the neck, and
also the broad purple border of their robe (_praetexta_).

The kings did not conduct their deliberations together, but each first
took counsel with his own hundred senators, and then they all met
together. Tatius dwelt where now is the temple of Juno Moneta, and
Romulus by the steps of the Fair Shore, as it is called, which are at
the descent from the Palatine hill into the great Circus. Here they say
the sacred cornel-tree grew, the legend being that Romulus, to try his
strength, threw a spear, with cornel-wood shaft, from Mount Aventine,
and when the spear-head sunk into the ground, though many tried, no one
was able to pull it out. The soil, which was fertile, suited the wood,
and it budded, and became the stem of a good-sized cornel-tree. After
the death of Romulus this was preserved and reverenced as one of the
holiest objects in the city. A wall was built round it, and whenever any
one thought that it looked inclined to droop and wither he at once
raised a shout to tell the bystanders, and they, just as if they were
assisting to put out a fire, called for water, and came from all
quarters carrying pots of water to the place. It is said that when Gaius
Caesar repaired the steps, and the workmen were digging near it, they
unintentionally damaged the roots, and the tree died.

XXI. The Sabines adopted the Roman system of months, and all that is
remarkable about them will be found in the 'Life of Numa.' But Romulus
adopted the large oblong Sabine shield, and gave up the round Argolic
shields which he and the Romans had formerly carried. The two nations
shared each other's festivals, not abolishing any which either had been
wont to celebrate, but introducing several new ones, among which are the
Matronalia, instituted in honour of the women at the end of the war, and
that of the Carmentalia. It is thought by some that Carmenta is the
ruling destiny which presides over a man's birth, wherefore she is
worshipped by mothers. Others say that she was the wife of Evander the
Arcadian, a prophetess who used to chant oracles in verse, and hence
surnamed Carmenta (for the Romans call verses _carmina_); whereas it is
generally admitted that her right name was Nicostrate. Some explain the
name of Carmenta more plausibly as meaning that during her prophetic
frenzy she was bereft of intellect; for the Romans call to lack,
_carcre_; and mind, _mentem_.

We have spoken before of the feast of the Palilia. That of the
Lupercalia would seem, from the time of its celebration, to be a
ceremony of purification; for it is held during the ominous days of
February, a month whose name one might translate by Purification; and
that particular day was originally called Febraté. The name of this
feast in Greek signifies that of wolves, and it is thought, on this
account, to be very ancient, and derived from the Arcadians who came to
Italy with Evander. Still this is an open question, for the name may
have arisen from the she-wolf, as we see that the Luperci start to run
their course from the place where Romulus is said to have been exposed.
The circumstances of the ritual are such as to make it hard to
conjecture their meaning. They slaughter goats, and then two youths of
good family are brought to them. Then some with a bloody knife mark the
foreheads of the youths, and others at once wipe the blood away with
wool dipped in milk. The youths are expected to laugh when it is wiped
away. After this they cut the skins of the goats into strips and run
about naked, except a girdle round the middle, striking with the thongs
all whom they meet. Women in the prime of life do not avoid being
struck, as they believe that it assists them in childbirth and promotes
fertility. It is also a peculiarity of this festival that the Luperci
sacrifice a dog. One Bontes, who wrote an elegiac poem on the origin of
the Roman myths, says that when Romulus and his party had killed
Amulius, they ran back in their joy to the place where the she-wolf
suckled them when little, and that the feast is typical of this, and
that the young nobles run,

    "As, smiting all they met, that day
    From Alba Romulus and Remus ran."

The bloody sword is placed upon their foreheads in token of the danger
and slaughter of that day, and the wiping with the milk is in
remembrance of their nurse. Caius Acilius tells us that, before the
foundation of Rome, the cattle of Romulus and Remus were missing, and
they, after invoking Faunus, ran out to search for them, naked, that
they might not be inconvenienced by sweat; and that this is the reason
that the Luperci ran about naked. As for the dog, one would say that if
the sacrifice is purificatory, it is sacrificed on behalf of those who
use it. The Greeks, in their purificatory rites, sacrifice dogs, and
often make use of what is called Periskylakismos. But if this feast be
in honour of the she-wolf, in gratitude for her suckling and preserving
of Romulus, then it is very natural to sacrifice a dog, for it is an
enemy of wolves; unless, indeed, the beast is put to death to punish it
for hindering the Luperci when they ran their course.

XXII. It is said also that Romulus instituted the service of the sacred
fire of Vestae, and the holy virgins who keep it up, called Vestals.
Others attribute this to Numa, though they say that Romulus was a very
religious prince, and learned in divination, for which purpose he used
to carry the crooked staff called _lituus_, with which to divide the
heavens into spaces for the observation of the flight of birds. This,
which is preserved in the Palatium, was lost when the city was taken by
the Gauls; but afterwards, when the barbarians had been repulsed, it was
found unharmed in a deep bed of ashes, where everything else had been
burned or spoiled. He also enacted some laws, the most arbitrary of
which is that a wife cannot obtain a divorce from her husband, but that
a husband may put away his wife for poisoning her children,
counterfeiting keys, or adultery. If any one put away his wife on other
grounds than these, he enacted that half his property should go to his
wife, and half to the temple of Ceres. A man who divorced his wife was
to make an offering to the Chthonian gods.[A] A peculiarity of his
legislation is that, while he laid down no course of procedure in case
of parricide, he speaks of all murder by the name of parricide, as
though the one were an abominable, but the other an impossible crime.
And for many years it appeared that he had rightly judged, for no one
attempted anything of the kind at Rome for nearly six hundred years; but
it is said that the first parricide was that of Lucius Hostilius, which
he committed after the war with Hannibal. Enough has now been said upon
these subjects.

[Footnote A: Chthonian gods are the gods of the world below.]

XXIII. In the fifth year of the reign of Tatius, some of his relatives
fell in with ambassadors from Laurentum, on their way to Rome, and
endeavoured to rob them. As the ambassadors would not submit to this,
but defended themselves, they slew them. Romulus at once gave it as his
opinion that the authors of this great and audacious crime ought to be
punished, but Tatius hushed the matter up, and enabled them to escape.
This is said to have been the only occasion upon which they were openly
at variance, for in all other matters they acted with the greatest
possible unanimity. The relatives, however, of the murdered men, as they
were hindered by Tatius from receiving any satisfaction, fell upon him
when he and Romulus were offering sacrifice at Lavinium, and slew him,
but respected Romulus, and praised him as a just man. He brought home
the body of Tatius, and buried it honourably. It lies near what is
called the _Armilustrium_, on Mount Aventine.

But Romulus neglected altogether to exact any satisfaction for the
murder. Some writers say that the city of Lavinium, in its terror,
delivered up the murderers of Tatius, but that Romulus allowed them to
depart, saying that blood had been atoned for by blood. This speech of
his gave rise to some suspicion that he was not displeased at being rid
of his colleague. However, it caused no disturbance in the state, and
did not move the Sabines to revolt, but partly out of regard for
Romulus, and fear of his power, and belief in his divine mission, they
continued to live under his rule with cheerfulness and respect. Many
foreign tribes also respected Romulus, and the more ancient Latin races
sent him ambassadors, and made treaties of friendship and alliance.

He took Fidenae, a city close to Rome, according to some authorities, by
sending his cavalry thither on a sudden, and ordering them to cut the
pivots of the city gates, and then unexpectedly appearing in person.
Others say that the people of Fidenae first invaded the Roman territory,
drove off plunder from it, and insulted the neighbourhood of the city
itself, and that Romulus laid an ambush for them, slew many, and took
their city. He did not destroy it, but made it a Roman colony, and sent
two thousand five hundred Romans thither as colonists on the Ides of

XXIV. After this a pestilence fell upon Rome, which slew men suddenly
without previous sickness, and afflicted the crops and cattle with
barrenness. A shower of blood also fell in the city, so that religious
terror was added to the people's sufferings. As a similar visitation
befell the citizens of Laurentum, it became evident that the wrath of
the gods was visiting these cities because of the unavenged murders of
Tatius and of the ambassadors. The guilty parties were delivered up on
both sides, and duly punished, after which the plague was sensibly
mitigated. Romulus also purified the city with lustrations, which, they
say, are even now practised at the Ferentine gate. But before the plague
ceased, the people of Camerium attacked the Romans, supposing that they
would be unable to defend themselves on account of their misfortune, and
overran their country. Nevertheless, Romulus instantly marched against
them, slew six hundred of them in battle, and took their city. Half the
survivors he transplanted to Rome, and settled twice as many Romans as
the remainder at Camerium, on the Kalends of Sextilis. So many citizens
had he to spare after he had only inhabited Rome for about sixteen
years. Among the other spoils, he carried off a brazen four-horse
chariot from Camerium; this he dedicated in the temple of Vulcan, having
placed in it a figure of himself being crowned by Victory.

XXV. As the city was now so flourishing, the weaker of the neighbouring
states made submission, and were glad to receive assurance that they
would be unharmed; but the more powerful, fearing and envying Romulus,
considered that they ought not to remain quiet, but ought to check the
growth of Rome. First the Etruscans of Veii, a people possessed of wide
lands and a large city, began the war by demanding the surrender to them
of Fidenae, which they claimed as belonging to them. This demand was not
only unjust, but absurd, seeing that they had not assisted the people of
Fidenae when they were fighting and in danger, but permitted them to be
destroyed, and then demanded their houses and lands, when they were in
the possession of others. Receiving a haughty answer from Romulus, they
divided themselves into two bodies, with one of which they attacked
Fidenae, and with the other went to meet Romulus. At Fidenae they
conquered the Romans, and slew two thousand; but they were defeated by
Romulus, with a loss of eight thousand men. A second battle now took
place at Fidenae, in which all agree that Romulus took the most
important part, showing the greatest skill and courage, and a strength
and swiftness more than mortal. But some accounts are altogether
fabulous, such as that fourteen hundred were slain, more than half of
whom Romulus slew with his own hand. The Messenians appear to use
equally inflated language about Aristomenes, when they tell us that he
thrice offered sacrifice for having slain a hundred Lacedaemonians.
After the victory, Romulus did not pursue the beaten army, but marched
straight to the city of Veii. The citizens, after so great a disaster,
made no resistance, but at their own request were granted a treaty and
alliance for a hundred years, giving up a large portion of their
territory, called the Septem Pagi, or seven districts, and their
saltworks by the river, and handing over fifty of their leading men as

For his success at Veii, Romulus enjoyed another triumph, on the Ides of
October, when he led in his train many captives, amongst whom was the
Veientine general, an old man, who was thought to have mismanaged
matters foolishly and like a boy. On this account to this day, when a
sacrifice is made for victory, they lead an old man through the Forum
and up to the Capitol, dressed in a boy's robe with wide purple border,
and with a child's _bulla_ hung round his neck; and the herald calls out
"Sardinians for sale." For the Tyrrhenians or Tuscans are said to be of
Sardinian origin, and Veii is a Tyrrhenian city.

XXVI. This was Romulus's last war. After it, he, like nearly all those
who have risen to power and fame by a great and unexpected series of
successes, became filled with self-confidence and arrogance, and, in
place of his former popular manners, assumed the offensive style of a
despot. He wore a purple tunic, and a toga with a purple border, and did
business reclining instead of sitting on a throne; and was always
attended by the band of youths called Celeres, from their quickness in
service. Others walked before him with staves to keep off the crowd, and
were girt with thongs, with which to bind any one whom he might order
into custody. The Latins used formerly to call to bind _ligare_, and now
call it _alligare_; wherefore the staff-bearers are called _lictors_,
and their staves are called _bacula_,[A] from the rods which they then
carried. It is probable that these officers now called _lictors_ by the
insertion of the _c_, were originally called _litors_, that is, in
Greek, _leitourgoi_ (public officials). For to this day the Greeks call
a town-hall _leitus_, and the people _laos_.

[Footnote A: The Romans termed these bundles of rods _fasces_. The
derivation of _lictor_ from the Greek shows the utter ignorance of
etymology prevailing among the ancients.]

XXVII. When Romulus' grandfather Numitor died in Alba, although he was
evidently his heir, yet through a desire for popularity he left his
claim unsettled, and contented himself with appointing a chief
magistrate for the people of Alba every year; thus teaching the Roman
nobles to desire a freer constitution, which should not be so much
encroached upon by the king. For at Rome now even the so-called Fathers
took no part in public affairs, but had merely their name and dignity,
and were called into the Senate House more for form's sake than to
express their opinions. When there, they listened in silence to
Romulus's orders, and the only advantage which they possessed over the
commons was that they knew the king's mind sooner than they. Worst of
all was, that he of his own authority divided the land which was
obtained in war amongst the soldiers, and restored the hostages to the
Veientines, against the will of the Senate and without consulting it, by
which he seemed purposely to insult it. On this account the Senate was
suspected, when shortly after this he miraculously disappeared. His
disappearance took place on the Nones of the month now called July, but
then Quintilis, leaving nothing certain or agreed on about his end
except the date. Even now things happen in the same fashion as then; and
we need not wonder at the uncertainty about the death of Romulus, when
that of Scipio Africanus, in his own house after supper, proved so
inexplicable, some saying that it arose from an evil habit of body, some
that he had poisoned himself, some that his enemies had suffocated him
during the night. And yet the corpse of Scipio lay openly exposed for
all to see, and gave all who saw it some ground for their conjectures;
whereas Romulus suddenly disappeared, and no morsel of his body or shred
of his garments were ever seen again. Some supposed that the Senators
fell upon him in the Temple of Vulcan, and, after killing him cut his
body in pieces and each of them carried off one in the folds of his
robe. Others think that his disappearance took place neither in the
Temple of Vulcan, nor yet in the presence of the Senators alone, but say
that Romulus was holding an assembly without the city, near a place
called the Goat's Marsh, when suddenly strange and wonderful things took
place in the heavens, and marvellous changes; for the sun's light was
extinguished, and night fell, not calm and quiet, but with terrible
thunderings, gusts of wind, and driving spray from all quarters.
Hereupon the people took to flight in confusion, but the nobles
collected together by themselves. When the storm was over, and the light
returned, the people returned to the place again, and searched in vain
for Romulus, but were told by the nobles not to trouble themselves to
look for him, but to pray to Romulus and reverence him, for he had been
caught up into heaven, and now would be a propitious god for them
instead of a good king.

The people believed this story, and went their way rejoicing, and
praying to him with good hope; but there were some who discussed the
whole question in a harsh and unfriendly spirit, and blamed the nobles
for encouraging the people to such acts of folly when they themselves
were the murderers of the king.

XXVIII. Now Julius Proculus, one of the noblest patricians, and of good
reputation, being one of the original colonists from Alba, and a friend
and companion of Romulus, came into the Forum, and there upon his oath,
and touching the most sacred things, stated before all men that as he
was walking along the road Romulus appeared, meeting him, more beautiful
and taller than he had ever appeared before, with bright and glittering
arms. Astonished at the vision he had spoken thus: "O king, for what
reason or with what object have you left us exposed to an unjust and
hateful suspicion, and left the whole city desolate and plunged in the
deepest grief?" He answered, "It pleased the gods, Proculus, that I
should spend thus much time among mankind, and after founding a city of
the greatest power and glory should return to heaven whence I came. Fare
thee well; and tell the Romans that by courage and self-control they
will attain to the highest pitch of human power. I will ever be for you
the kindly deity Quirinus."

This tale was believed by the Romans from the manner of Proculus in
relating it and from his oath: indeed a religious feeling almost
amounting to ecstasy seems to have taken hold of all present; for no one
contradicted him, but all dismissed their suspicions entirely from their
minds and prayed to Quirinus, worshipping him as a god.

This account resembles the Greek legends of Aristeas of Proconnesus, and
that of Kleomedes of Astypalaea. The story goes that Aristeas died in a
fuller's shop, and that when his friends came to fetch his body it had
disappeared; then some persons who had just returned from travel said
that they had met Aristeas walking along the road to Kroton. Kleomedes,
we are told, was a man of unusual size and strength, but stupid and
half-crazy, who did many deeds of violence, and at last in a boy's
school struck and broke in two the column that supported the roof, and
brought it down. As the boys were killed, Kleomedes, pursued by the
people, got into a wooden chest, and shut down the lid, holding in
inside so that many men together were not able to force it open. They
broke open the chest, and found no man in it, dead or alive. Astonished
at this, they sent an embassy to the oracle at Delphi, to whom the
Pythia answered,

    "Last of the heroes is Kleomedes of Astypalaea."

And it also related that the corpse of Alkmena when it was being carried
out for burial, disappeared, and a stone was found lying on the bier in
its place. And many such stories are told, in which, contrary to reason,
the earthly parts of our bodies are described as being deified together
with the spiritual parts. It is wicked and base to deny that virtue is a
spiritual quality, but again it is foolish to mix earthly with heavenly

We must admit, speaking with due caution, that, as Pindar has it, the
bodies of all men follow overpowering Death, but there remains a living
spirit, the image of eternity, for it alone comes from heaven. Thence it
comes, and thither it returns again, not accompanied by the body, but
only when it is most thoroughly separated and cleansed from it, and
become pure and incorporeal. This is the pure spirit which Herakleitus
calls the best, which darts through the body like lightning through a
cloud, whereas that which is clogged by the body is like a dull, cloudy
exhalation, hard to loose and free from the bonds of the body. There is
no reason, therefore, for supposing that the bodies of good men rise up
into heaven, which is contrary to nature; but we must believe that men's
virtues and their spirits most certainly, naturally and rightly proceed
from mankind to the heroes, and from them to the genii, and from thence,
if they be raised above and purified from all mortal and earthly taint,
even as is done in the holy mysteries, then, not by any empty vote of
the senate, but in very truth and likelihood they are received among the
gods, and meet with the most blessed and glorious end.

XXIX. Some say that the name Quirinus, which Romulus received, means
Mars; others that it was because his people were called Quirites.
Others, again, say that the spear-head or spear was called by the
ancients _Quiris_, and that the statue of Juno leaning on a spear is
called Juno Quirites, and that the dart which is placed in the Regia is
addressed as Mars, and that it is customary to present with a spear
those who have distinguished themselves in war, and therefore that it
was as a warrior, or god of war, that Romulus was called Quirinus. A
temple dedicated to him is built on the Quirinal Hill which bears his
name, and the day of his translation is called the People's Flight, and
the Nonae Caprotinae, because they go out of the city to the Goat's
Marsh on that day to sacrifice, for in Latin a goat is called _Capra_.
And as they go to the sacrifice they call out many of the names of the
country, as Marcus, Lucius, Caius, with loud shouts, in imitation of
their panic on that occasion, and their calling to each other in fear
and confusion. But some say that this is not an imitation of terror, but
of eagerness, and that this is the reason of it: after the Gauls had
captured Rome and been driven out by Camillus, and the city through
weakness did not easily recover itself, an army of Latins, under one
Livius Postumius, marched upon it. He halted his army not far from Rome,
and sent a herald to say that the Latins were willing to renew their old
domestic ties, which had fallen into disuse, and to unite the races by
new intermarriage. If, therefore, the Romans would send out to them all
their maidens and unmarried women, they would live with them on terms of
peace and friendship, as the Romans had long before done with the
Sabines. The Romans, when they heard this, were afraid of going to war,
yet thought that the surrender of their women was no better than
captivity. While they were in perplexity, a female slave named Philotis,
or according to some Tutola, advised them to do neither, but by a
stratagem to avoid both war and surrender of the women. This stratagem
was that they should dress Philotis and the best looking of the other
female slaves like free women, and send them to the enemy; then at night
Philotis said she would raise a torch, and the Romans should come under
arms and fall upon the sleeping enemy. This was done, and terms were
made with the Latins. Philotis raised the torch upon a certain fig-tree
with leaves which spread all round and behind, in such a manner that the
light could not be seen by the enemy, but was clearly seen by the
Romans. When they saw it, they immediately rushed out, calling
frequently for each other at the various gates in their eagerness. As
they fell unexpectedly upon the enemy, they routed them, and keep the
day as a feast. Therefore the Nones are called Caprotinae because of the
fig-tree, which the Romans call _caprificus_, and the women are feasted
out of doors, under the shade of fig-tree boughs. And the female slaves
assemble and play, and afterwards beat and throw stones at each other,
as they did then, when they helped the Romans to fight. These accounts
are admitted by but few historians, and indeed the calling out one
another's names in the daytime, and walking down to the Goats' Marsh
seems more applicable to the former story, unless, indeed, both of these
events happened on the same day.

Romulus is said to have been fifty-four years old, and to be in the
thirty-eighth year of his reign when he disappeared from the world.


I. The above are all the noteworthy particulars which we have been able
to collect about Theseus and Romulus. It seems, in the first place, that
Theseus of his own free will, and without any compulsion, when he might
have reigned peacefully in Troezen, where he was heir to the kingdom, no
mean one, longed to accomplish heroic deeds: whereas Romulus was an
exile, and in the position of a slave; the fear of death was hanging
over him if unsuccessful, and so, as Plato says, he was made brave by
sheer terror, and through fear of suffering death and torture was forced
into doing great exploits. Moreover, Romulus's greatest achievement was
the slaying of one man, the despot of Alba, whereas Skeiron, Sinis,
Prokrustes, and Korynetes were merely the accompaniments and prelude to
the greater actions of Theseus, and by slaying them he freed Greece from
terrible scourges, before those whom he saved even knew who he was. He
also might have sailed peacefully over the sea to Athens, and had no
trouble with those brigands, whereas Romulus could not be free from
trouble while Amulius lived. And it is a great argument in favour of
Theseus that he attacked those wicked men for the sake of others, having
himself suffered no wrong at their hands; whereas the twins were
unconcerned at Amulius's tyranny so long as it did not affect
themselves. And although it may have been a great exploit to receive a
wound in fighting the Sabines, and to slay Acron, and to kill many
enemies in battle, yet we may compare with these, on Theseus's behalf,
his battle with the Centaurs and his campaign against the Amazons. As
for the courage which Theseus showed in the matter of the Cretan
tribute, when he voluntarily sailed to Crete with the youths and
maidens, whether the penalty was to be given to the Minotaur to eat, or
be sacrificed at the tomb of Androgeus, or even to be cast into
dishonoured slavery under an insolent enemy, which is the least
miserable fate mentioned by any writer, what a strength of mind, what
public spirit and love of fame it shows! In this instance it seems to me
that philosophers have truly defined love as a "service designed by the
gods for the care and preservation of the young." For the love of
Ariadne seems to have been specially intended by Heaven to save Theseus;
nor need we blame her for her passion, but rather wonder that all men
and women did not share it. If she alone felt it, then I say she
deserved the love of a god, because of her zeal for all that is best and

II. Both were born statesmen, yet neither behaved himself as a king
should do, but, from similar motives, the one erred on the side of
democracy, the other on that of despotism. The first duty of a king is
to preserve his crown; and this can be effected as well by refraining
from improperly extending his rights as by too great eagerness to keep
them. For he who either gives up or overstrains his prerogative ceases
to be a king or constitutional ruler, but becomes either a despot or
demagogue; and in the one case is feared, in the other despised by his
subjects. Still the one is the result of kindliness of disposition, and
the other that of selfishness and ferocity.

III. If we are not to attribute their misfortunes to chance, but to
peculiarities of disposition, then we cannot acquit Romulus of blame in
his treatment of his brother, nor Theseus in that of his son; but the
greatest excuse must be made for the one who acted under the greatest
provocation. One would not have thought that Romulus would have flown
into such a passion during a grave deliberation on matters of state;
while Theseus was misled, in his treatment of his son, by love and
jealousy and a woman's slander, influences which few men are able to
withstand. And what is more, Romulus's fury resulted in actual deeds of
unfortunate result; whereas the anger of Theseus spent itself in words
and an old man's curses, and the youth seems to have owed the rest of
his suffering to chance; so here, at any rate, one would give one's
vote for Theseus.

IV. Romulus, however, has the credit of having started with the most
slender resources, and yet of having succeeded. The twins were called
slaves and the sons of a swineherd before they achieved their liberty;
yet they freed nearly all the Latin race, and at one and the same time
gained those titles which are the most glorious among men, of slayers of
their enemies, preservers of their own house, kings of their own nation,
and founders of a new city, not by transferring the population of old
ones, as Theseus did, when he brought together many towns into one, and
destroyed many cities that bore the names of kings and heroes of old.
Romulus did this afterwards, when he compelled his conquered enemies to
cast down and obliterate their own dwellings, and become fellow-citizens
with their conquerors; yet at first he did not change the site of his
city nor increase it, but starting with nothing to help him, he obtained
for himself territory, patrimony, sovereignty, family, marriage, and
relatives, and he killed no one, but conferred great benefits on those
who, instead of homeless vagrants, wished to become a people and
inhabitants of a city. He slew no brigands or robbers, but he conquered
kingdoms, took cities, and triumphed over kings and princes.

V. As for the misfortune of Remus, it seems doubtful whether Romulus
slew him with his own hand, as most writers attribute the act to others.
He certainly rescued his mother from death, and gloriously replaced his
grandfather, whom he found in an ignoble and servile position, on the
throne of Aeneas. He did him many kindnesses, and never harmed him even
against his will. But I can scarcely imagine that Theseus's
forgetfulness and carelessness in hoisting the black sail can, by any
excuses or before the mildest judges, come much short of parricide:
indeed, an Athenian, seeing how hard it is even for his admirers to
exculpate him, has made up a story that Aegeus, when the ship was
approaching, hurriedly ran up to the acropolis to view it, and fell
down, as though he were unattended, or would hurry along the road to the
shore without servants.

VI. The crimes of Theseus in carrying off women are without any decent
excuse; first, because he did it so often, for he carried off Ariadne
and Antiope and Anaxo of Troezen, and above all when he was an old man
he carried off Helen, when she was not yet grown up, and a mere child,
though he was past the age for even legitimate marriage. Besides, there
was no reason for it, for these Troezenian, Laconian, and Amazonian
maidens, besides their not being betrothed to him, were no worthier
mothers for his children than the Athenian daughters of Erechtheus and
Kekrops would have been, so we must suspect that these acts were done
out of mere riotous wantonness.

Now Romulus, though he carried off nearly eight hundred women, yet kept
only one, Hersilia, for himself, and distributed the others among the
unmarried citizens; and afterwards, by the respect, love, and justice
with which he treated them, proved that his wrongful violence was the
most admirable and politic contrivance for effecting the union of the
two nations. By means of it he welded them into one, and made it the
starting-point of harmony at home and strength abroad. The dignity,
love, and permanence with which he invested the institution of marriage
is proved by the fact that during two hundred and thirty years no man
separated from his wife or woman from her husband; but, just as in
Greece, very exact persons can mention the first instance of parricide
or matricide, so all the Romans know that Spurius Carvilius was the
first who put away his wife, upon a charge of barrenness. Events also
testify to the superior wisdom of Romulus, for, in consequence of that
intermarriage, the two kings and the two races shared the empire,
whereas, from the marriage of Theseus, the Athenians obtained no
alliance or intercourse with any nation, but only hatreds and wars and
deaths of citizens and at last the destruction of Aphidnae, and they
themselves escaped from the fate which Paris brought upon Troy, only by
the mercy of their enemies and their own entreaties and supplications.
The mother of Theseus, not nearly but quite, suffered the fate of
Hekuba, who was abandoned and given up by her son, unless the story of
her captivity is false, as I hope it is, together with much of the

Also the religious part of their histories makes a great distinction
between them. For Romulus's success was due to the great favour of
Heaven, whereas the oracle given to Aegeus, to refrain from all women in
foreign parts, seems to argue that the birth of Theseus took place
contrary to the will of the gods.


I. With regard to Lykurgus the lawgiver there is nothing whatever that
is undisputed; as his birth, his travels, his death, and, besides all
this, his legislation, have all been related in various ways; and also
the dates of his birth do not in any way accord. Some say that he was
contemporary with Iphitus, and with him settled the conditions of the
Olympic truce; and among these is Aristotle the philosopher, who adduces
as a proof of it the quoit which is at Olympia, on which the name of
Lykurgus is still preserved. Others, among them Eratosthenes and
Apollodorus, by computing the reigns of the kings of Sparta,[A] prove
that he must have lived many years before the first Olympiad. Timaeus
conjectures that there were two men of the name of Lykurgus in Sparta at
different times, and that the deeds of both are attributed to one of
them, on account of his celebrity. The elder, he thinks, must have lived
not far off the time of Homer; indeed some say that he came into the
presence of Homer. Xenophon gives an idea of his antiquity when he
speaks of him as living in the time of the Herakleidae. By descent of
course the last kings of Sparta are Herakleidae, but he appears to mean
by Herakleidae the earliest of all, who were next to Herakles himself.

[Footnote A: In the Spartan constitution there were two kings, who were
believed to be descended from two brothers, Eurysthenes and Prokles, the
two sons of Aristodemus. When the descendants of Herakles returned to
Peloponnesus, and divided that country amongst them, Lacedaemon fell to
the lot of Aristodemus, who left his two sons joint heirs to the
monarchy. The kings of Sparta had little real power, and to this no
doubt they owed the fact of their retaining their dignity when every
other Hellenic state adopted a democratic form of government.]

However, in spite of these discrepancies, we will endeavour, by
following the least inconsistent accounts and the best known
authorities, to write the history of his life. Simonides the poet tells
us that the father of Lykurgus was not Eunomus, but Prytanis. But most
writers do not deduce his genealogy thus, but say that Soüs was the son
of Prokles, and grandson of Aristodemus, and that Soüs begat Euripus;
Euripus, Prytanis, and Prytanis, Eunomus. Eunomus had two sons,
Polydektes by his first wife, and Lykurgus by his second wife Dionassa,
which makes him, according to Dieutychides, sixth in descent from
Prokles, and eleventh from Herakles.

II. The most remarkable of his ancestors was Soüs, in whose reign the
Spartans enslaved the Helots, and annexed a large portion of Arcadia. It
is said that Soüs once was besieged by the Kleitorians, in a fort where
there was no water, and was compelled to conclude a treaty to restore
the territory in dispute, if he and his men were permitted to drink at
the nearest spring. After this had been agreed upon, he called his men
together, and offered his kingdom to any one who could refrain from
drinking. But as no one could do this, but all drank, last of all he
himself came down to the spring, and in the presence of the enemy merely
sprinkled his face with the water, and marched off, refusing to restore
the disputed territory, on the ground that all did not drink. But though
he gained great fame by this, yet it was not he but his son Eurypon who
gave the name of Eurypontidae to the family, because Eurypon was the
first to relax the despotic traditions of his family and render his
government more popular with the people. But as a consequence of this
the people were encouraged to demand more freedom, and great confusion
and lawlessness prevailed in Sparta for a long time, because some of the
kings opposed the people and so became odious, while others were found
to yield to them, either to preserve their popularity, or from sheer
weakness of character. It was during this period of disorder that the
father of Lykurgus lost his life. He was endeavouring to part two men
who were quarrelling, and was killed by a blow from a cook's chopper,
leaving the kingdom to his elder son Polydektes.

III. He also died after a short time, and, as all thought, Lykurgus
ought to have been the next king. And he did indeed reign until his
brother's wife was found to be pregnant; but as soon as he heard this,
he surrendered the crown to the child, if it should be a boy, and merely
administered the kingdom as guardian for the child. The Lacedaemonian
name for the guardian of a royal orphan is _prodikus_. Now the queen
made a secret proposal to him, that she should destroy her infant and
that they should live together as king and queen. Though disgusted at
her wickedness, he did not reject the proposal, but pretended to approve
of it. He said that she must not risk her life and injure her health by
procuring abortion, but that he would undertake to do away with the
child. Thus he deluded her until her confinement, at which time he sent
officials and guards into her chamber with orders to hand the child over
to the women if it was a girl, and to bring it to him, whatever he might
be doing, if it was a boy. He happened to be dining with the archons
when a male child was born, and the servants brought it to him. He is
said to have taken the child and said to those present, "A king is born
to you, O Spartans," and to have laid him down in the royal seat and
named him Charilaus, because all men were full of joy admiring his
spirit and justice. He was king for eight months in all; and was much
looked up to by the citizens, who rendered a willing obedience to him,
rather because of his eminent virtues than because he was regent with
royal powers. There was, nevertheless, a faction which grudged him his
elevation, and tried to oppose him, as he was a young man.

They consisted chiefly of the relatives and friends of the queen-mother,
who considered that she had been insultingly treated, and her brother
Leonidas once went so far in his abusive language as to hint to Lykurgus
that he knew that he meant to be king, throwing the suspicion upon
Lykurgus, if anything should happen to the child, that he would be
supposed to have managed it. This sort of language was used by the
queen-mother also, and he, grieved and alarmed, decided to avoid all
suspicion by leaving the country and travelling until his nephew should
be grown up and have an heir born to succeed him.

IV. With this intention he set sail, and first came to Crete, where he
studied the constitution and mixed with the leading statesmen. Some part
of their laws he approved and made himself master of, with the
intention of adopting them on his return home, while with others he was
dissatisfied. One of the men who had a reputation there for learning and
state-craft he made his friend, and induced him to go to Sparta. This
was Thales, who was thought to be merely a lyric poet, and who used this
art to conceal his graver acquirements, being in reality deeply versed
in legislation. His poems were exhortations to unity and concord in
verse, breathing a spirit of calm and order, which insensibly civilised
their hearers and by urging them to the pursuit of honourable objects
led them to lay aside the feelings of party strife so prevalent in
Sparta; so that he may be said in some degree to have educated the
people and prepared them to receive the reforms of Lykurgus.

From Crete Lykurgus sailed to Asia Minor, wishing, it is said, to
contrast the thrifty and austere mode of life of the Cretans with the
extravagance and luxury of the Ionians, as a physician compares healthy
and diseased bodies, and to note the points of difference in the two
states. There, it seems, he first met with the poems of Homer, which
were preserved by the descendants of Kreophylus, and observing that they
were no less useful for politics and education than for relaxation and
pleasure, he eagerly copied and compiled them, with the intention of
bringing them home with him. There was already some dim idea of the
existence of these poems among the Greeks, but few possessed any
portions of them, as they were scattered in fragments, but Lykurgus
first made them known. The Egyptians suppose that Lykurgus visited them
also, and that he especially admired their institution of a separate
caste of warriors. This he transferred to Sparta, and, by excluding
working men and the lower classes from the government, made the city a
city indeed, pure from all admixture. Some Greek writers corroborate the
Egyptians in this, but as to Lykurgus having visited Libya and Iberia,
or his journey to India and meeting with the Gymnosophists, or naked
philosophers, there, no one that we know of tells this except the
Spartan Aristokrates, the son of Hipparchus.

V. During Lykurgus's absence the Lacedaemonians regretted him and sent
many embassies to ask him to return, telling him that their kings had
indeed the royal name and state, but nothing else to distinguish them
from the common people, and that he alone had the spirit of a ruler and
the power to influence men's minds. Even the kings desired his presence,
as they hoped that he would assist in establishing their authority and
would render the masses less insolent. Returning to a people in this
condition, he at once began alterations and reforms on a sweeping scale,
considering that it was useless and unprofitable to do such work by
halves, but that, as in the case of a diseased body, the original cause
of the disorder must be burned out or purged away, and the patient begin
an entirely new life. After reflecting on this, he made a journey to
Delphi. Here he sacrificed to the god, and, on consulting the oracle,
received that celebrated answer in which the Pythia speaks of him as
beloved by the gods, and a god rather than a man, and when he asked for
a good system of laws, answered that the god gives him what will prove
by far the best of all constitutions. Elated by this he collected the
leading men and begged them to help him, first by talking privately to
his own friends, and thus little by little obtaining a hold over more
men and banding them together for the work. When the time was ripe for
the attempt, he bade thirty of the nobles go into the market-place early
in the morning completely armed, in order to overawe the opposition. The
names of twenty of the most distinguished of these men have been
preserved by Hermippus, but the man who took the greatest part in all
Lykurgus's works, and who helped him in establishing his laws, was
Arthmiades. At first King Charilaus was terrified at the confusion,
imagining that a revolt had broken out against himself, and fled for
refuge to the temple of Minerva of the Brazen House; but, afterward
reassured and having received solemn pledges for his safety, returned
and took part in their proceedings. He was of a gentle nature, as is
proved by the words of his colleague, King Archelaus, who, when some
were praising the youth, said, "How can Charilaus be a good man, if he
is not harsh even to wicked men?"

Of Lykurgus's many reforms, the first and most important was the
establishment of the Council of Elders, which Plato says by its
admixture cooled the high fever of royalty, and, having an equal vote
with the kings on vital points, gave caution and sobriety to their
deliberations. For the state, which had hitherto been wildly oscillating
between despotism on the one hand and democracy on the other, now, by
the establishment of the Council of the Elders, found a firm footing
between these extremes, and was able to preserve a most equable balance,
as the eight-and-twenty elders would lend the kings their support in the
suppression of democracy, but would use the people to suppress any
tendency to despotism. Twenty-eight is the number of Elders mentioned by
Aristotle, because of the thirty leading men who took the part of
Lykurgus two deserted their post through fear. But Sphairus says that
those who shared his opinions were twenty-eight originally. A reason may
be found in twenty-eight being a mystic number, formed by seven
multiplied by four, and being the first perfect number after six, for
like that, it is equal to all its parts.[A] But I think that he probably
made this number of elders, in order that with the two kings the council
might consist of thirty members in all.

[Footnote A: 14, 2, 7, 4, 1, make by addition 28; as 3, 2, and 1 make

VI. Lykurgus was so much interested in this council as to obtain from
Delphi an oracle about it, called the _rhetra_, which runs as follows:
"After you have built a temple to Zeus of Greece and Athene of Greece,
and have divided the people into _tribes_ and _obes_, you shall found a
council of thirty, including the chiefs, and shall from season to season
_apellazein_ the people between Babyka and Knakion, and there propound
measures and divide upon them, and the people shall have the casting
vote and final decision." In these words tribes and obes are divisions
into which the people were to be divided; the chiefs mean the kings;
_apellazein_ means to call an assembly, in allusion to Apollo, to whom
the whole scheme of the constitution is referred. Babyka and Knakion
they now call Oinous; but Aristotle says that Knakion is a river and
Babyka a bridge. Between these they held their assemblies, without any
roof or building of any kind; for Lykurgus did not consider that
deliberations were assisted by architecture, but rather hindered, as
men's heads were thereby filled with vain unprofitable fancies, when
they assemble for debate in places where they can see statues and
paintings, or the proscenium of a theatre, or the richly ornamented roof
of a council chamber. When the people were assembled, he permitted no
one to express an opinion; but the people was empowered to decide upon
motions brought forward by the kings and elders. But in later times, as
the people made additions and omissions, and so altered the sense of the
motions before them, the kings, Polydorus and Theopompus, added these
words to the _rhetra_, "and if the people shall decide crookedly, the
chiefs and elders shall set it right." That is, they made the people no
longer supreme, but practically excluded them from any voice in public
affairs, on the ground that they judged wrongly. However these kings
persuaded the city that this also was ordained by the god. This is
mentioned by Tyrtaeus in the following verses:

    "They heard the god, and brought from Delphi home,
      Apollo's oracle, which thus did say:
    That over all within fair Sparta's realm
      The royal chiefs in council should bear sway,
    The elders next to them, the people last;
      If they the holy _rhetra_ would obey."

VII. Though Lykurgus had thus mixed the several powers of the state, yet
his successors, seeing that the powers of the oligarchy were unimpaired,
and that it was, as Plato calls it, full of life and vigour, placed as a
curb to it the power of the Ephors. The first Ephors, of whom Elatus was
one, were elected about a hundred and thirty years after Lykurgus, in
the reign of Theopompus. This king is said to have been blamed by his
wife because he would transmit to his children a less valuable crown
than he had received, to which he answered: "Nay, more valuable, because
more lasting." In truth, by losing the odium of absolute power, the King
of Sparta escaped all danger of being dethroned, as those of Argos and
Messene were by their subjects, because they would abate nothing of
their despotic power. The wisdom of Lykurgus became clearly manifest to
those who witnessed the revolutions and miseries of the Argives and
Messenians, who were neighbouring states and of the same race as the
Spartans, who, originally starting on equal terms with them, and indeed
seeming in the allotment of their territories to have some advantage,
yet did not long live happily, but the insolent pride of the kings and
the unruly temper of the people together resulted in a revolution, which
clearly proved that the checked and balanced constitution established
among the Spartans was a divine blessing for them. But of this more

VIII. The second and the boldest of Lykurgus's reforms was the
redistribution of the land. Great inequalities existed, many poor and
needy people had become a burden to the state, while wealth had got into
a very few hands. Lykurgus abolished all the mass of pride, envy, crime,
and luxury which flowed from those old and more terrible evils of riches
and poverty, by inducing all land-owners to offer their estates for
redistribution, and prevailing upon them to live on equal terms one with
another, and with equal incomes, striving only to surpass each other in
courage and virtue, there being henceforth no social inequalities among
them except such as praise or blame can create.

Putting his proposals immediately into practice, he divided the outlying
lands of the state among the Perioeki, in thirty thousand lots, and that
immediately adjoining the metropolis among the native Spartans, in nine
thousand lots, for to that number they then amounted. Some say that
Lykurgus made six thousand lots, and that Polydorus added three thousand
afterwards; others that he added half the nine thousand, and that only
half was allotted by Lykurgus.

Each man's lot was of such a size as to supply a man with seventy
medimni of barley, and his wife with twelve, and oil and wine in
proportion; for thus much he thought ought to suffice them, as the food
was enough to maintain them in health, and they wanted nothing more. It
is said that, some years afterwards, as he was returning from a journey
through the country at harvest-time, when he saw the sheaves of corn
lying in equal parallel rows, he smiled, and said to his companions that
all Laconia seemed as if it had just been divided among so many

IX. He desired to distribute furniture also, in order completely to do
away with inequality; but, seeing that actually to take away these
things would be a most unpopular measure, he managed by a different
method to put an end to all ostentation in these matters. First of all
he abolished the use of gold and silver money, and made iron money alone
legal; and this he made of great size and weight, and small value, so
that the equivalent for ten minae required a great room for its stowage,
and a yoke of oxen to draw it. As soon as this was established, many
sorts of crime became unknown in Lacedaemon. For who would steal or take
as a bribe or deny that he possessed or take by force a mass of iron
which he could not conceal, which no one envied him for possessing,
which he could not even break up and so make use of; for the iron when
hot was, it is said, quenched in vinegar, so as to make it useless, by
rendering it brittle and hard to work?

After this, he ordered a general expulsion of the workers in useless
trades. Indeed, without this, most of them must have left the country
when the ordinary currency came to an end, as they would not be able to
sell their wares: for the iron money was not current among other Greeks,
and had no value, being regarded as ridiculous; so that it could not be
used for the purchase of foreign trumpery, and no cargo was shipped for
a Laconian port, and there came into the country no sophists, no
vagabond soothsayers, no panders, no goldsmiths or workers in silver
plate, because there was no money to pay them with. Luxury, thus cut off
from all encouragement, gradually became extinct; and the rich were on
the same footing with other people, as they could find no means of
display, but were forced to keep their money idle at home. For this
reason such things as are useful and necessary, like couches and tables
and chairs, were made there better than anywhere else, and the Laconian
cup, we are told by Kritias, was especially valued for its use in the
field. Its colour prevented the drinker being disgusted by the look of
the dirty water which it is sometimes necessary to drink, and it was
contrived that the dirt was deposited inside the cup and stuck to the
bottom, so as to make the drink cleaner than it would otherwise have
been. These things were due to the lawgiver; for the workmen, who were
not allowed to make useless things, devoted their best workmanship to
useful ones.

X. Wishing still further to put down luxury and take away the desire for
riches, he introduced the third and the most admirable of his reforms,
that of the common dining-table. At this the people were to meet and
dine together upon a fixed allowance of food, and not to live in their
own homes, lolling on expensive couches at rich tables, fattened like
beasts in private by the hands of servants and cooks, and undermining
their health by indulgence to excess in every bodily desire, long sleep,
warm baths, and much repose, so that they required a sort of daily
nursing like sick people. This was a great advantage, but it was a
greater to render wealth valueless, and, as Theophrastus says, to
neutralise it by their common dining-table and the simplicity of their
habits. Wealth could not be used, nor enjoyed, nor indeed displayed at
all in costly apparatus, when the poor man dined at the same table with
the rich; so that the well-known saying, that "wealth is blind and lies
like a senseless log," was seen to be true in Sparta alone of all cities
under heaven. Men were not even allowed to dine previously at home, and
then come to the public table, but the others, watching him who did not
eat or drink with them, would reproach him as a sensual person, too
effeminate to eat the rough common fare.

For these reasons it is said that the rich were bitterly opposed to
Lykurgus on this question, and that they caused a tumult and attacked
him with shouts of rage. Pelted with stones from many hands, he was
forced to run out of the market-place, and take sanctuary in a temple.
He outstripped all his pursuers except one, a hot-tempered and spirited
youth named Alkander, who came up with him, and striking him with a club
as he turned round, knocked out his eye. Lykurgus paid no heed to the
pain, but stood facing the citizens and showed them his face streaming
with blood, and his eye destroyed. All who saw him were filled with
shame and remorse. They gave up Alkander to his mercy, and conducted him
in procession to his own house, to show their sympathy. Lykurgus thanked
them and dismissed them, but took Alkander home with him. He did him no
harm and used no reproachful words, but sent away all his servants and
bade him serve him. Alkander, being of a generous nature, did as he was
ordered, and, dwelling as he did with Lykurgus, watching his kind
unruffled temper, his severe simplicity of life, and his unwearied
labours, he became enthusiastic in his admiration of him, and used to
tell his friends and acquaintances that Lykurgus, far from being harsh
or overbearing, was the kindest and gentlest of men. Thus was Alkander
tamed and subdued, so that he who had been a wicked and insolent youth
was made into a modest and prudent man.

As a memorial of his misfortune, Lykurgus built the temple of Athene,
whom he called Optilitis, for the Dorians in that country call the eyes
_optiloi_. Some writers, however, among whom is Dioskorides, who wrote
an 'Account of the Spartan Constitution,' say that Lykurgus was struck
upon the eye, but not blinded, and that he built this temple as a
thank-offering to the goddess for his recovery.

At any rate, it was in consequence of his mishap that the Spartans
discontinued the habit of carrying staffs when they met in council.

XI. The Cretans call this institution of taking meals in common
_andreia_, which means _men's_ repast; but the Lacedaemonians call it
_phiditia_, which can either be explained as another form of _philia_,
friendship, putting a _d_ for an _l_, from the friendly feelings which
prevailed at them, or else because it accustomed them to frugality,
which is called _pheido_. Possibly the first letter was an addition, and
the word may have originally been _editia_, from _edodé_, food.

They formed themselves into messes of fifteen, more or less. Each member
contributed per month a _medimnus_ of barley, eight measures of wine,
five minas' weight of cheese, and half as much of figs; and in addition
to this a very small sum of money to buy fish and other luxuries for a
relish to the bread. This was all, except when a man had offered a
sacrifice, or been hunting, and sent a portion to the public table. For
persons were allowed to dine at home whenever they were late for dinner
in consequence of a sacrifice or a hunting expedition, but the rest of
the company had to be present. This custom of eating in common lasted
for very many years. When King Agis returned from his victorious
campaign against the Athenians, and wished to dine at home with his
wife, he sent for his share of the public dinner, and the polemarchs
refused to let him have it. As next day, through anger, he did not offer
the customary sacrifice, they fined him. Boys were taken to the public
tables, as though they were schools of good manners; and there they
listened to discourses on politics, and saw models of gentlemanly
behaviour, and learned how to jest with one another, joking without
vulgarity, and being made the subjects of jokes without losing their
temper. Indeed, it was considered peculiarly Laconian to be able to take
a joke; however, if the victim could not, he was entitled to ask that it
should go no farther. As they came in, the eldest present said to each
man, pointing to the door, "Through this no tale passes."

It is said that they voted for a new member of a mess in this manner.
Each man took a piece of bread crumb and threw it in silence into a
vessel, which a servant carried on his head. Those who voted for the new
member threw in their bread as it was, those who voted against, crushed
it flat in their hands. If even one of these crushed pieces be found,
they rejected the candidate, as they wished all members of the society
to be friendly. The candidate was said to be rejected by the
_kaddichus_, which is their name for the bowl into which the bread is

The "black broth" was the most esteemed of their luxuries, insomuch that
the elder men did not care for any meat, but always handed it over to
the young, and regaled themselves on this broth. It is related that, in
consequence of the celebrity of this broth, one of the kings of Pontus
obtained a Laconian cook, but when he tasted it he did not like it. His
cook thereupon said, "O king, those who eat this broth must first bathe
in the Eurotas." After drinking wine in moderation the guests separate,
without any torches; for it is not permitted to walk with a light on
this or any other occasion, in order that they may accustom themselves
to walk fearlessly and safely in the dark. This then is the way in which
the common dining-tables are managed.

XII. Lykurgus did not establish any written laws; indeed, this is
distinctly forbidden by one of the so-called Rhetras.

He thought that the principles of most importance for the prosperity and
honour of the state would remain most securely fixed if implanted in the
citizens by habit and training, as they would then be followed from
choice rather than necessity; for his method of education made each of
them into a lawgiver like himself. The trifling conventions of everyday
life were best left undefined by hard-and-fast laws, so that they might
from time to time receive corrections or additions from men educated in
the spirit of the Lacedaemonian system. On this education the whole
scheme of Lykurgus's laws depended. One _rhetra_, as we have seen,
forbade the use of written laws. Another was directed against
expenditure, and ordered that the roof of every house should consist of
beams worked with the axe, and that the doors should be worked with the
saw alone, and with no other tools. Lykurgus was the first to perceive
the truth which Epameinondas is said in later times to have uttered
about his own table, when he said that "such a dinner has no room for
treachery." He saw that such a house as that has no place for luxury and
expense, and that there is no man so silly and tasteless as to bring
couches with silver feet, purple hangings, or golden goblets into a
simple peasant's house, but that he would be forced to make his
furniture match the house, and his clothes match his furniture, and so
on. In consequence of this it is said that the elder Leotychides when
dining in Corinth, after looking at a costly panelled ceiling, asked his
host whether the trees grew square in that country. A third _rhetra_ of
Lykurgus is mentioned, which forbids the Spartans to make war frequently
with the same people, lest by constant practice they too should become
warlike. And this especial accusation was subsequently brought against
King Agesilaus in later times, that, by his frequent and long-continued
invasions of Boeotia, he made the Thebans a match for the
Lacedaemonians; for which cause Antalkidas, when he saw him wounded,
said, "The Thebans pay you well for having taught them to fight, which
they were neither willing nor able to do before."

Maxims of this sort they call _rhetras_, which are supposed to have a
divine origin and sanction.

XIII. Considering education to be the most important and the noblest
work of a lawgiver, he began at the very beginning, and regulated
marriages and the birth of children. It is not true that, as Aristotle
says, he endeavoured to regulate the lives of the women, and failed,
being foiled by the liberty and habits of command which they had
acquired by the long absences of their husbands on military expeditions,
during which they were necessarily left in sole charge at home,
wherefore their husbands looked up to them more than was fitting,
calling them Mistresses; but he made what regulations were necessary for
them also. He strengthened the bodies of the girls by exercise in
running, wrestling, and hurling quoits or javelins, in order that their
children might spring from a healthy source and so grow up strong, and
that they themselves might have strength, so as easily to endure the
pains of childbirth. He did away with all affectation of seclusion and
retirement among the women, and ordained that the girls, no less than
the boys, should go naked in processions, and dance and sing at
festivals in the presence of the young men. The jokes which they made
upon each man were sometimes of great value as reproofs for ill-conduct;
while, on the other hand, by reciting verses written in praise of the
deserving, they kindled a wonderful emulation and thirst for distinction
in the young men: for he who had been praised by the maidens for his
valour went away congratulated by his friends; while, on the other hand,
the raillery which they used in sport and jest had as keen an edge as a
serious reproof; because the kings and elders were present at these
festivals as well as all the other citizens. This nakedness of the
maidens had in it nothing disgraceful, as it was done modestly, not
licentiously, producing simplicity, and teaching the women to value good
health, and to love honour and courage no less than the men. This it was
that made them speak and think as we are told Gorgo, the wife of
Leonidas, did. Some foreign lady, it seems, said to her, "You Laconian
women are the only ones that rule men." She answered, "Yes; for we alone
bring forth men."

XIV. These were also incentives to marriage, I mean these processions,
and strippings, and exercises of the maidens in the sight of the young
men, who, as Plato says, are more swayed by amorous than by mathematical
considerations; moreover, he imposed certain penalties on the unmarried
men. They were excluded from the festival of the Gymnopaedia, in honour
of Athene; and the magistrates ordered them during winter to walk naked
round the market-place, and while doing so to sing a song written
against themselves, which said that they were rightly served for their
disobedience to the laws; and also they were deprived of the respect and
observance paid by the young to the elders.

Thus it happened that no one blamed the young man for not rising before
Derkyllidas, famous general as he was. This youth kept his seat, saying,
"You have not begotten a son to rise before me."

Their marriage custom was for the husband to carry off his bride by
force. They did not carry off little immature girls, but grown up women,
who were ripe for marriage. After the bride had been carried off the
bridesmaid received her, cut her hair close to her head, dressed her in
a man's cloak and shoes, and placed her upon a couch in a dark chamber
alone. The bridegroom, without any feasting and revelry, but as sober as
usual, after dining at his mess, comes into the room, looses her virgin
zone, and, after passing a short time with her, retires to pass the
night where he was wont, with the other young men. And thus he
continued, passing his days with his companions, and visiting his wife
by stealth, feeling ashamed and afraid that any one in the house should
hear him, she on her part plotting and contriving occasions for meeting
unobserved. This went on for a long time, so that some even had children
born to them before they ever saw their wives by daylight. These
connections not only exercised their powers of self-restraint, but also
brought them together with their bodies in full vigour and their
passions unblunted by unchecked intercourse with each other, so that
their passion and love for each other's society remained unextinguished.

Having thus honoured and dignified the married state, he destroyed the
vain womanish passion of jealousy, for, while carefully avoiding any
disorder or licentiousness, he nevertheless permitted men to associate
worthy persons with them in the task of begetting children, and taught
them to ridicule those who insisted on the exclusive possession of their
wives, and who were ready to fight and kill people to maintain their
right. It was permitted to an elderly husband, with a young wife, to
associate with himself any well-born youth whom he might fancy, and to
adopt the offspring as his own.

And again, it was allowable for a respectable man, if he felt any
admiration for a virtuous mother of children, married to some one else,
to induce her husband to permit him to have access to her, that he might
as it were sow seed in a fertile field, and obtain a fine son from a
healthy stock. Lykurgus did not view children as belonging to their
parents, but above all to the state; and therefore he wished his
citizens to be born of the best possible parents; besides the
inconsistency and folly which he noticed in the customs of the rest of
mankind, who are willing to pay money, or use their influence with the
owners of well-bred stock, to obtain a good breed of horses or dogs,
while they lock up their women in seclusion and permit them to have
children by none but themselves, even though they be mad, decrepit, or
diseased; just as if the good or bad qualities of children did not
depend entirely upon their parents, and did not affect their parents
more than any one else.

But although men lent their wives in order to produce healthy and useful
citizens, yet this was so far from the licence which was said to prevail
in later times with respect to women, that adultery was regarded amongst
them as an impossible crime. A story is told of one Geradas, a very old
Spartan, who, when asked by a stranger what was done to adulterers among
them, answered, "Stranger, there are no adulterers with us." "And if
there were one?" asked the stranger. "Then," said Geradas, "he would
have to pay as compensation a bull big enough to stand on Mount Täygetus
and drink from the river Eurotas." The stranger, astonished, asked
"Where can you find so big a bull?" "Where can you find an adulterer in
Sparta?" answered Geradas. This is what is said about their marriage

XV. A father had not the right of bringing up his offspring, but had to
carry it to a certain place called Lesché, where the elders of the tribe
sat in judgment upon the child. If they thought it well-built and
strong, they ordered the father to bring it up, and assigned one of the
nine thousand plots of land to it; but if it was mean-looking or
misshapen, they sent it away to the place called the Exposure, a glen
upon the side of Mount Täygetus; for they considered that if a child did
not start in possession of health and strength, it was better both for
itself and for the state that he should not live at all. Wherefore the
women used to wash their newborn infants with wine, not with water, to
make trial of their constitution. It was thought that epileptic or
diseased children shrank from the wine and fell into convulsions, while
healthy ones were hardened and strengthened by it. A certain supervision
was exercised over the nurses, making them bring up the children without
swaddling clothes, so as to make their movements free and unconfined,
and also to make them easily satisfied, not nice as to food, not afraid
in the dark, not frightened at being alone, not peevish and fretful. For
this reason, many foreigners used to obtain Lacedaemonian nurses for
their children, and it is said that Amykla, the nurse of Alkibiades, was
a Lacedaemonian. But Plato tells us that Perikles put him under the care
of one Zopyrus, who was no better than the other slaves; whereas
Lykurgus would not intrust the Spartan boys to any bought or hired
servants, nor was each man allowed to bring up and educate his son as he
chose, but as soon as they were seven years of age he himself received
them from their parents, and enrolled them in companies. Here they lived
and messed in common, and were associated for play and for work.
However, a superintendent of the boys was appointed, one of the best
born and bravest men of the state, and they themselves in their troops
chose as leader him who was wisest, and fiercest in fight. They looked
to him for orders, obeyed his commands, and endured his punishments, so
that even in childhood they learned to obey. The elder men watched them
at their play, and by instituting fights and trials of strength,
carefully learned which was the bravest and most enduring. They learned
their letters, because they are necessary, but all the rest of their
education was meant to teach them to obey with cheerfulness, to endure
labours, and to win battles. As they grew older their training became
more severe; they were closely shorn, and taught to walk unshod and to
play naked. They wore no tunic after their twelfth year, but received
one garment for all the year round. They were necessarily dirty, as they
had no warm baths and ointments, except on certain days, as a luxury.
They slept all together in troops and companies, on beds of rushes which
they themselves had picked on the banks of the Eurotas with their hands,
for they were not allowed to use a knife. In winter they mixed the herb
called lycophon with the rushes, as it is thought to possess some

XVI. At this age the elder men took even greater interest in them,
frequenting the gymnasia where they were, and listening to their
repartees with each other, and that not in a languid careless manner,
but just as if each thought himself the father, instructor, and captain
of them all.

Thus no time was left unemployed, and no place was left without some one
to give good advice and punish wrong-doing; although a regular
superintendent of the boys was appointed from the leading men of the
city, and they had their own chiefs, who were the wisest and bravest of
the Eirenes. This is a name given to those who have begun their second
year after ceasing to be children, and the eldest of the children are
called Melleirenes. This Eiren, who is twenty years old, commands his
company in their battles, and in the house uses them as his servants to
prepare dinner. He orders the bigger boys to carry logs of wood, and the
little ones to gather pot herbs. They also bring him what they steal,
which they do, some from the gardens, and some from the men's
dining-tables, where they rush in very cleverly and cautiously; for if
one be taken, he is severely scourged for stealing carelessly and
clumsily. They also steal what victuals they can, learning to take them
from those who are asleep or off their guard. Whoever is caught is
punished by stripes and starvation. Their meals are purposely made
scanty, in order that they may exercise their ingenuity and daring in
obtaining additions to them. This is the main object of their short
commons, but an incidental advantage is the growth of their bodies, for
they shoot up in height when not weighed down and made wide and broad by
excess of nutriment. This also is thought to produce beauty of figure;
for lean and slender frames develop vigour in the limbs, whereas those
which are bloated and over-fed cannot attain this, from their weight.
This we see in the case of women who take purgatives during pregnancy,
whose children are thin, but well-shaped and slender, because from their
slight build they receive more distinctly the impress of their mother's
form. However, it may be that the cause of this phenomenon is yet to be

XVII. The boys steal with such earnestness that there is a story of one
who had taken a fox's cub and hidden it under his cloak, and, though his
entrails were being torn out by the claws and teeth of the beast,
persevered in concealing it until he died. This may be believed from
what the young men in Lacedaemon do now, for at the present day I have
seen many of them perish under the scourge at the altar of Diana

After dinner the Eiren would recline, and bid one of the boys sing, and
ask another some questions which demand a thoughtful answer, such as
"Who is the best among men?" or "How is such a thing done?" By this
teaching they began even in infancy to be able to judge what is right,
and to be interested in politics; for not to be able to answer the
questions, "Who is a good citizen?" or "Who is a man of bad repute?" was
thought to be the sign of a stupid and unaspiring mind. The boy's answer
was required to be well reasoned, and put into a small compass; he who
answered wrongly was punished by having his thumb bitten by the Eiren.
Often when elders and magistrates were present the Eiren would punish
the boys; if only he showed that it was done deservedly and with method,
he never was checked while punishing, but when the boys were gone, he
was called to account if he had done so either too cruelly or too

The lovers of the boys also shared their honour or disgrace; it is said
that once when a boy in a fight let fall an unmanly word, his lover was
fined by the magistrates. Thus was love understood among them; for even
fair and honourable matrons loved young maidens, but none expected their
feelings to be returned. Rather did those who loved the same person make
it a reason for friendship with each other, and vie with one another in
trying to improve in every way the object of their love.

XVIII. The boys were taught to use a sarcastic yet graceful style of
speaking, and to compress much thought into few words; for Lykurgus made
the iron money have little value for its great size, but on the other
hand he made their speech short and compact, but full of meaning,
teaching the young, by long periods of silent listening, to speak
sententiously and to the point. For those who allow themselves much
licence in speech seldom say anything memorable. When some Athenian
jeered at the small Laconian swords, and said that jugglers on the stage
could easily swallow them, King Agis answered, "And yet with these
little daggers we can generally reach our enemies." I think that the
Laconian speech, though it seems so short, yet shows a great grasp of
the subject and has great power over the listeners. Lykurgus himself
seems to have been short and sententious, to judge from what has been
preserved of his sayings; as, for instance, that remark to one who
proposed to establish a democracy in the state, "First establish a
democracy in your own household." And when he was asked why he ordained
the sacrifices to be so small and cheap, he answered, "It is in order
that we may never be forced to omit them." So too in gymnastic
exercises, he discouraged all those which are not performed with the
hand closed.

The same class of answers are said to have been made by him to his
fellow-countrymen in his letters. When they asked how they should keep
off their enemies, he answered, "By remaining poor, and not each trying
to be a greater man than the other." Again, about walls, he said, "that
cannot be called an open town which has courage, instead of brick walls
to defend it." As to the authenticity of these letters, it is hard to
give an opinion.

XIX.--The following anecdotes show their dislike of long speeches. When
some one was discoursing about matters useful in themselves at an
unfitting time, King Leonidas said, "Stranger, you speak of what is
wanted when it is not wanted." Charilaus the cousin of Lykurgus, when
asked why they had so few laws answered, that men of few words required
few laws. And Archidamidas, when some blamed Hekataeus the Sophist for
having said nothing during dinner, answered, "He who knows how to speak
knows when to speak also." The following are some of those sarcastic
sayings which I before said are not ungrateful. Demaratus, when some
worthless fellow pestered him with unreasonable queries, and several
times inquired, "Who is the best man in Sparta?" answered, "He who is
least like you." When some were praising the magnificence and justice
with which the Eleans conducted the Olympian games, Agis said, "What is
there so very remarkable in the people of Elis acting justly on one day
in every five years?"

A stranger was vaunting his admiration of them, and was saying that in
his own city he was called a lover of Sparta. Theopompus observed, "It
would be more to your credit to be called a lover of your own city."
Pleistoanax the son of Pausanias, when an Athenian orator reproached the
Lacedaemonians for ignorance, observed, "What you say is quite true, for
we are the only Greeks who have not learned some mischief from you."

When a stranger asked Archidamidas how many Spartans there were, he
answered, "Enough to keep off bad men."

One may also discover their peculiarities in their jokes; for they are
taught never to talk at random, nor to utter a syllable that does not
contain some thought. As, when one of them was invited to hear a man
imitate the nightingale, he answered, "I have heard the original;" and
the man who read this epigram--

    "These men, to quench a tyrant's pride,
    Before Selinus fought and died."

"These men," said he, "deserved to die; for, instead of quenching it,
they should have let it burn itself out." When a young man was promised
a present of cocks that would fight till they died, he said, "I had
rather have some that will fight and kill their foes." This was the
style of their talk; so that some have well said that philosophy is more
truly Laconian than gymnastic exercises.

XX.--Their education in poetry and music was no less carefully watched
over than their cleverness and purity of speech, but their songs were
such as rouse men's blood and stir them to deeds of prowess, written in
plain unaffected language, upon noble and edifying subjects. For the
most part they consisted of panegyrics upon those who had been happy
enough to die for their country, reproaches of cowards for living a
miserable life, and encouragement to bravery suitable to those of all
ages. A good instance of this is that on festivals when there are three
choruses, that of the old men first sang--

    "We once were lusty youths and tall."

Then that of the young men sang--

    "We still are stout; come, try a fall,"

and the third, that of the children, rejoined--

    "But we'll be stronger than you all."

Indeed, if one pays any attention to such Laconian poetry as is still
extant, and to the march music which was played on the flutes when they
were going to meet their enemies, it becomes clear that Terpander and
Pindar were right in connecting poetry with bravery. The former speaks
thus of the Lacedaemonians:

    "Where the youths are bold with the spear,
    And the voice of the muse is clear,
    And justice to all is dear."

And Pindar says of them--

    "Where the old are wise in council,
      And the young are brave in fight;
    Where song and dance are honoured
      On many a festal night."

For they represent them as being most warlike and at the same time most

    "The sword with song full well combines,"

as the Laconian poet says. Even in their battles the king first
sacrificed to the Muses, to remind them, it would appear, of their
education and their former contests, that they may be bold in danger,
and do deeds worthy of record in the fight.

XXI.--In time of war, too, they relaxed their strict rules and allowed
their young men to dress their hair and ornament their shields and
costumes, taking a pride in them such as one does in high-mettled
horses. For this reason, although they all let their hair grow long
after the age of puberty, yet it was especially in time of danger that
they took pains to have it smooth and evenly parted, remembering a
saying of Lykurgus about the hair, that it made a well-looking man look
handsomer, and an ugly man look more ferocious.

During a campaign they made the young men perform less severe gymnastic
exercises, and allowed them to live a freer life in other respects, so
that, for them alone of all mankind, war was felt as a relief from
preparation for war. When their array was formed and the enemy were in
sight, the king used to sacrifice a kid, and bid them all put on
garlands, and the pipers to play the hymn to Kastor; then he himself
began to sing the paean for the charge, so that it was a magnificent and
terrible spectacle to see the men marching in time to the flutes, making
no gap in their lines, with no thought of fear, but quietly and steadily
moving to the sound of the music against the enemy. Such men were not
likely to be either panic-stricken or over-confident, but had a cool and
cheerful confidence, believing that the gods were with them.

With the king used to march into battle a Spartan who had won a crown
in the public games of Greece. It is said that one of them was offered a
mighty bribe at Olympia, but refused to take it, and with great trouble
threw his adversary in the wrestling-match. Some one then asked him,
"Laconian, what have you gained by your victory?" The man, smiling with
delight, answered, "I shall fight in front of the king in the wars."
After they had routed their enemy and gained the victory, they were wont
to pursue so far as to render their success secure, and then to draw
off, as they did not think it manly or befitting a Greek to cut down and
butcher those who could fight no longer.

This was not merely magnanimous, but very useful to them, for their
enemies, knowing that they slew those who resisted, but spared those who
gave way, often judged it better for themselves to flee than to stand
their ground.

XXII. The sophist Hippias states that Lykurgus himself was a great
warrior and took part in many campaigns; and Philostephanus even
attributed to Lykurgus the division of the cavalry into the troops
called _oulamos_. This, according to him, consisted of a troop of fifty
horsemen drawn up in a square. Demetrius Phalereus, on the other hand,
says that he had no experience in war, and arranged the whole
constitution in time of peace. Moreover the institution of the Olympic
truce seems to be the idea of a man of gentle and peaceful temperament,
some however say, according to Hermippus, that Lykurgus had at first no
communication with Iphitus, but happened to be present in the crowd;
that he then heard a voice as it were of a man behind him blaming him
and wondering why he did not encourage his fellow-citizens to take part
in the festival. As, when he turned round, there was no one who could
have said so, he concluded that it was a divine warning, and, at once
joining Iphitus and assisting him in regulating the festival, he
rendered it both more splendid and more lasting.

XXIII. The training of the Spartan youth continued till their manhood.
No one was permitted to live according to his own pleasure, but they
lived in the city as if in a camp, with a fixed diet and fixed public
duties, thinking themselves to belong, not to themselves, but to their
country. Those who had nothing else to do, either looked after the
young, and taught them what was useful, or themselves learned such
things from the old. For ample leisure was one of the blessings with
which Lykurgus provided his countrymen, seeing that they were utterly
forbidden to practise any mechanical art, while money-making and
business were unnecessary, because wealth was disregarded and despised.
The Helots tilled the ground, and produced the regular crops for them.
Indeed, a Spartan who was at Athens while the courts were sitting, and
who learned that some man had been fined for idleness, and was leaving
the court in sorrow accompanied by his grieving friends, asked to be
shown the man who had been punished for gentlemanly behaviour. So
slavish did they deem it to labour at trade and business. In Sparta, as
was natural, lawsuits became extinct, together with money, as the people
had neither excess nor deficiency, but all were equally well off, and
enjoyed abundant leisure by reason of their simple habits. All their
time was spent in dances, feasting, hunting or gymnastic exercises and
conversation, when they were not engaged in war.

XXIV. Those who were less than thirty years old never came into the
market-place at all, but made their necessary purchases through their
friends and relations. And it was thought discreditable to the older men
to be seen there much, and not to spend the greater part of the day in
the gymnasium and the _lesches_ or places for conversation. In these
they used to collect together and pass their leisure time, making no
allusions to business or the affairs of commerce, but their chief study
being to praise what was honourable, and contemn what was base in a
light satiric vein of talk which was instructive and edifying to the
hearers. Nor was Lykurgus himself a man of unmixed austerity: indeed, he
is said by Sosibius to have set up the little statue of the god of
laughter, and introduced merriment at proper times to enliven their
wine-parties and other gatherings. In a word, he trained his countrymen
neither to wish nor to understand how to live as private men, but, like
bees, to be parts of the commonwealth, and gather round their chief,
forgetting themselves in their enthusiastic patriotism, and utterly
devoted to their country. This temper of theirs we can discern in many
of their sayings. Paidaretus, when not elected into the three hundred,
went away rejoicing that the city possessed three hundred better men
than himself. Polykratidas, when he went with some others on a mission
to the generals of the great king, was asked by them, if he and his
party came as private persons or as ambassadors? He answered, "As
ambassadors, if we succeed; as private men, if we fail."

And when some citizens of Amphipolis came to Lacedaemon, and went to see
the mother of Brasidas, Argileonis, she asked them whether Brasidas died
bravely and worthily of Sparta. When they praised him to excess, and
said that he had not left his like behind, she said, "Say not so,
strangers; Brasidas was a noble and a gallant man, but Sparta has many
better than he."

XXV. Lykurgus himself composed his senate, as we have seen, of the
persons who took part in his plot; and in future be ordained that
vacancies should be filled up by those men, upwards of sixty years of
age, who were adjudged to be the most worthy.

This seemed the greatest prize in the world, and also the most difficult
to obtain; for it was not merely that a man should be adjudged swiftest
of the swift, or strongest of the strong, but he had to be chosen as the
best and wisest of all good and wise men, and, as a prize, was to obtain
power to regulate the morals of the state, as he was intrusted with
powers of life and death, and disfranchisement, and with all the highest

The elections took place as follows: The citizens were all assembled,
and certain men were placed in a building close by, where they could
neither see nor be seen, but merely hear the shouts of the general
assembly. They decided these, as indeed they did other contests, by
shouts of approval, not of all at once, but lots were cast, and each
candidate in the order denoted by his lot came forward and silently
walked through the assembly. The men locked up in the building had
writing materials, and noted down who was cheered most loudly, not
knowing who each man was, beyond that he was first, second, third, and
so on, of the candidates. They then told the number of the man for whom
there had been most voices, and he crowned himself with a garland and
offered sacrifice to the gods, followed by many of the young men, who
congratulated him, and by many women, who sang songs praising his
virtues and his felicity. As he went from one temple to another, each of
his relatives used to offer him food, saying, "The state honours you
with this banquet." But he would pass by them all, and go to his usual
mess-table. Here nothing uncommon took place, except that he was given a
second ration, which he took away with him; and after dinner, the women
of his own family being at the doors of the mess-room, he would call for
the one whom he wished to honour, and give her his portion, saying that
he had received it as a prize, and gave it to her as such. This caused
her to be greatly envied by the other women.

XXVI.--Moreover, he made excellent regulations about funerals. In the
first place, he abolished all silly superstition, and raised no
objections to burial in the city, and to placing tombs near the temples,
in order to accustom the young to such sights from their infancy, so
that they might not feel any horror of death, or have any notion about
being defiled by touching a dead body, or walking among tombs. Next, he
permitted nothing to be buried with the dead, but they placed the body
in the grave, wrapped in a purple cloth and covered with olive-leaves.
It was not permitted to inscribe the name of the deceased upon his tomb,
except in the case of men who had fallen in war, or of women who had
been priestesses. A short time was fixed for mourning, eleven days; on
the twelfth they were to sacrifice to Demeter (Ceres) and cease from
their grief. For, in Sparta, nothing was left without regulation, but,
with all the necessary acts of life, Lykurgus mingled some ceremony
which might enkindle virtue or discourage vice; indeed he filled his
city with examples of this kind, by which the citizens were insensibly
moulded and impelled towards honourable pursuits. For this reason he
would not allow citizens to leave the country at pleasure, and to wander
in foreign lands, where they would contract outlandish habits, and
learn to imitate the untrained lives and ill-regulated institutions to
be found abroad. Also, he banished from Lacedaemon all strangers who
were there for no useful purpose; not, as Thucydides says, because he
feared they might imitate his constitution, and learn something
serviceable for the improvement of their own countries, but rather for
fear that they might teach the people some mischief. Strangers introduce
strange ideas; and these lead to discussions of an unsuitable character,
and political views which would jar with the established constitution,
like a discord in music. Wherefore he thought that it was more important
to keep out evil habits than even to keep the plague from coming into
the city.

XXVII. In all these acts of Lykurgus, we cannot find any traces of the
injustice and unfairness which some complain of in his laws, which they
say are excellent to produce courage, but less so for justice. And the
institution called Krypteia, if indeed it is one of the laws of
Lykurgus, as Aristotle tells us, would agree with the idea which Plato
conceived about him and his system. The Krypteia was this: the leaders
of the young men used at intervals to send the most discreet of them
into different parts of the country, equipped with daggers and necessary
food; in the daytime these men used to conceal themselves in
unfrequented spots, and take their rest, but at night they would come
down into the roads and murder any Helots they found. And often they
would range about the fields, and make away with the strongest and
bravest Helots they could find. Also, as Thucydides mentions in his
History of the Peloponnesian War, those Helots who were especially
honoured by the Spartans for their valour were crowned as free men, and
taken to the temples with rejoicings; but in a short time they all
disappeared, to the number of more than two thousand, and in such a way
that no man, either then or afterwards, could tell how they perished.
Aristotle says that the Ephors, when they first take office, declare war
against the Helots, in order that it may be lawful to destroy them. And
much other harsh treatment used to be inflicted upon them; and they were
compelled to drink much unmixed wine, and then were brought into the
public dining-halls, to show the young what drunkenness is.

They were also forced to sing low songs, and to dance low dances, and
not to meddle with those of a higher character. It is said that when the
Thebans made their celebrated campaign in Lacedaemon, they ordered the
Helots whom they captured to sing them the songs of Terpander, and
Alkman, and Spendon the Laconian; but they begged to be excused, for,
they said, "the masters do not like it." So it seems to have been well
said that in Lacedaemon, the free man was more free, and the slave more
a slave than anywhere else. This harsh treatment, I imagine, began in
later times, especially after the great earthquake, when they relate
that the Helots joined the Messenians, ravaged the country, and almost
conquered it. I cannot impute this wicked act of the Krypteia to
Lykurgus, when I consider the gentleness and justice of his general
behaviour, which also we know was inspired by Heaven.

XXVIII. When the leading men of the city were thoroughly imbued with the
spirit of his institutions, and the newly constituted state was able to
walk by itself without leading-strings, and bear its own weight alone,
then, as Plato says of God, that he was pleased with the world that he
had created, when it first began to live and move, so was it with
Lykurgus. He admired the spectacle of his laws in operation, and, as far
as was possible by human prudence, he desired to leave it eternal and
unchangeable. He assembled all the citizens, and told them that the city
was now fairly well provided with materials for happiness and virtue,
but that he would not bestow upon them the most valuable gift of all,
until he had taken counsel with Heaven. It was therefore their duty to
abide by the already established laws, and to change and alter nothing
till he returned from Delphi; on his return, he would do whatever the
god commanded. They all assented, and bade him depart, and he, after
making first the kings and elders, and then the rest of the citizens,
swear that they would keep their existing constitution till Lykurgus
came back, set out for Delphi. Upon reaching the temple he sacrificed to
the god, and inquired whether his laws were good, and sufficient for the
prosperity and happiness of his country. Receiving answer from the
oracle that his laws were indeed good, and that the city would become
famous if it kept the constitution of Lykurgus, he wrote down this
prophecy and sent it to Sparta. But he himself, after offering a second
sacrifice to the god, and having embraced his friends and his son,
determined not to release his countrymen from their oath, but to put an
end to his own life, being at an age when, though life was still
pleasant, it seemed time to go to his rest, after having excellently
arranged all his people's affairs. He departed by starvation, as he
thought that a true statesman ought to make even his death of service to
the state, and not like that of a private person, the useless end of an
idle life. His death came in the fulness of time, after he had done an
excellent work, and it was left as the guardian of all the good that he
had done, because the citizens had sworn that they would abide by his
constitution until he returned to them. Nor was he deceived in his
expectations; for the state was by far the most celebrated in Greece,
for good government at home and renown abroad, during a period of five
hundred years, under his constitution, which was kept unaltered by
fourteen kings, counting from himself down to Agis the son of
Archidamus. For the institution of Ephors was not a relaxation, but a
strengthening of the original scheme, and while it seemed popular it
really confirmed the power of the oligarchy.

XXIX. But in the reign of Agis money found its way into Sparta, and,
after money, selfishness and greed for gain came in, on account of
Lysander, who, though himself incorruptible, yet filled his country with
luxury and love of gold, as he brought back gold and silver from the
wars, and disregarded the laws of Lykurgus. Before this, when those laws
were in force, Sparta was like a wise and practised warrior more than a
city, or rather, she with her simple staff and cloak, like Herakles with
his lion-skin and club, ruled over a willing Greece, deposed bad kings
or factions, decided wars, and crushed revolutions; and that, too, often
without moving a single soldier, but merely by sending a commissioner,
who was at once obeyed, even as bees collect and rank themselves in
order when their queen appears. Sparta then had so much order and
justice as to be able to supply her neighbours; and I cannot understand
those who say that the Lacedaemonians "knew how to obey, but not how to
rule;" nor that story of some one who said to king Theopompus that the
safety of Sparta lay in her kings knowing how to rule. "Rather," he
answered, "in her citizens knowing how to obey."

They would not brook an incapable commander: their very obedience is a
lesson in the art of command; for a good leader makes good followers,
and just as it is the object of the horse-breaker to turn out a gentle
and tractable horse, so it is the object of rulers to implant in men the
spirit of obedience. But the Lacedaemonians produced a desire in other
states to be ruled by them and to obey them; for they used to send
embassies and ask not for ships or money or troops, but for one Spartan
for a leader; and when they obtained him, they respected him and feared
him, as, for instance, the Sicilians had Gylippus as a general, the
people of Chalkidike had Brasidas, while Lysander and Kallikratidas and
Agesilaus were made use of by all the Greeks in Asia Minor. These men
were called Regulators and Pacificators in each several state, and the
whole city of Sparta was regarded as a school and example of orderly
public life and of settled political institutions. This was alluded to
by Stratonikus when he said in jest that the Athenians ought to conduct
mysteries and shows, the Eleans to be stewards at the games, and the
Lacedaemonians to be beaten if the others did not do right. This was not
spoken seriously; but Antisthenes, the Sokratic philosopher, was serious
when he said of the Thebans, who were in high spirits after their
victory at Leuktra, that they were as pleased as schoolboys who had
beaten their master.

XXXI. Not that this was Lykurgus's main object, that his country should
dominate over as many other states as possible; but seeing that, in
states as in individuals, happiness is derived from virtue and
single-mindedness, he directed all his efforts to implant in his
countrymen feelings of honour, self-reliance, and self-control. These
were also taken as the basis of their constitution by Plato, Diogenes,
Zeno, and all who have written with any success upon this subject. But
they have left mere dissertations; Lykurgus produced an inimitable
constitution, confuted those who complained of the unreality of the
'Essay on the True Philosopher,' by showing them the spectacle of an
entire city acting like philosophers, and thereby obtained for himself a
greater reputation than that of any other Greek legislator at any
period. For this reason Aristotle says that he has less honour in
Lacedaemon than he deserves, although his memory is greatly respected;
for he has a temple, and they sacrifice to him every year as if he was a
god. It is also said that after his remains were carried home, his tomb
was struck by lightning. This distinction befell scarcely any other man
of note except Euripides, who died long after him, and was buried at
Arethusa in Macedonia. It was considered a great proof and token of his
fame by the admirers of Euripides, that this should happen to him after
his death which happened before to the especial favourite of Heaven.
Some say that Lykurgus died at Kirrha, but Apollothemis says that he was
taken to Elis and died there, and Timaeus and Aristoxenus say that he
ended his days in Crete. Aristoxenus even says that the Cretans show his
tomb in what is called the Strangers' Road in Pergamia. He is said to
have left one son, Antiorus, who died childless, and so ended the
family. His companions and relatives and their descendants kept up the
practice of meeting together for a long period; and the days when they
met were called Lykurgids. Aristokrates the son of Hipparchus says that
when Lykurgus died in Crete, his friends burned his body and threw the
ashes into the sea, at his own request, as he feared that if any remains
of him should be brought back to Lacedaemon, they would think themselves
absolved from their oath, and change the constitution. This is the story
of Lykurgus.


I. There is a considerable conflict of opinion about the time of King
Numa's reign, although several pedigrees seem to be accurately traced to
him. One Clodius, in a book on the verification of dates, insists that
all these old records were destroyed during the Gaulish troubles, and
that those which are now extant were composed by interested persons, by
whose means men who had no right to such honours claimed descent from
the noblest families. Though Numa is said to have been a friend of
Pythagoras, yet some deny that he had any tincture of Greek learning,
arguing that either he was born with a natural capacity for sound
learning, or that he was taught by some barbarian.[A] Others say that
Pythagoras was born much later, some five generations after the times of
Numa, but that Pythagoras the Spartan, who won the Stadium race at
Olympia on the thirteenth Olympiad, wandered into Italy, and there
meeting Numa, assisted him in the establishment of his constitution; and
that from this cause, the Roman constitution in many points resembles
the Laconian. The Olympic games were instituted in the third year of
Numa's reign. Another story is that Numa was a Sabine by birth, and the
Sabines consider themselves to be of Lacedaemonian origin. It is hard to
reconcile the dates, especially those which refer to Olympiads, the
table of which is said to have been made out by Hippias of Elis, on no
trustworthy basis. However, what things I have heard about Numa that are
worthy of mention I shall proceed to relate, beginning from a
starting-point of my own.

[Footnote A: That is, by some one who was not a Greek.]

II. Rome had been founded, and Romulus had reigned, for thirty-seven
years, when upon the fifth day of the month of July, which day is now
called _nonae caprotinae_, he was performing a public sacrifice outside
the gates, at a place called the Goat's Marsh, in the presence of the
Senate and most of the people. Suddenly a great commotion began in the
air, thick clouds covered the earth, with violent gusts and showers. The
people fled in terror, and Romulus disappeared. His body could never be
found, but suspicion fell upon the patricians, and a report was current
among the populace that they had long been jealous of his power as king,
and had determined to get it into their own hands. Indeed, he had dealt
with them very harshly and tyrannically. Fearing this suspicion, they
gave out that he was not dead, but had been caught up into heaven; and
Proclus, a man of mark, swore that he saw Romulus ascend into heaven in
his armour as he was, and that he heard a voice ordering that he should
be called Quirinus. Another disturbance took place in Rome about the
election of the next king, because the new citizens were not yet
thoroughly amalgamated with the old ones, the people were unquiet, and
the patricians suspicious of one another. Nevertheless they all
determined that they would have a king, but they disagreed not merely
about who, but of what race he should be.

Romulus's original colonists thought it a monstrous thing that the
Sabines, because they had been admitted to a share of the city and the
country, should propose to rule over it; while the Sabines not
unreasonably urged that because, after the death of Tatius, they had
acquiesced in Romulus reigning alone, now in their turn they ought to
furnish a king of their own nation. They had not, they said, been
adopted by a more powerful race than themselves, but had, by their
combination with the Romans, greatly raised the power and renown of
their city.

The two races were at issue on these points. The patricians, fearing
that confusion might arise if the state were left without a head, made
one of their own number every day assume the insignia of royalty,
perform the usual sacrifices to the gods, and transact business for six
hours by day, and six by night. This equal division of their periods of
rule was not only just for those in office, but prevented any jealousy
of them being felt by the populace, each day and night, because they saw
one who had been a king become a private person. This form of
government the Romans call an interregnum.

III. But, although they appeared to manage things so smoothly,
suspicions and threatenings of disturbance arose, for men said that they
meditated altering the form of government to an oligarchy, in order to
keep all political power in their own hands, and would not therefore
elect a king. Hereupon the two factions agreed that one should select a
king from the ranks of the other. This, they thought, would both put an
end to their quarrels for the present, and also ensure the candidate who
should be chosen being impartial, because he would be friendly to the
one party because it had chosen him, and to the other because he
belonged to it by birth. The Sabines gave the Romans their choice which
they would do; and they decided that it would be better to choose a
Sabine king themselves, than to be ruled by a Roman chosen by the
Sabines. After deliberation amongst themselves, they chose Numa
Pompilius, a man who was not one of those Sabines who had settled in
Rome, but whose excellence was so well-known to all, that the Sabines,
as soon as they heard his name, were even more eager for him than the
Romans who had chosen him. When they had informed the people of their
decision, they sent an embassy to Numa, composed of the leading men of
both parties, to beg of him to come to Rome and assume the crown.

Numa belonged to a celebrated Sabine city, Cures, from which the united
Romans and Sabines called themselves Quirites. He was the son of
Pomponius, an honourable citizen, and was the youngest of four brothers.
By a miraculous coincidence he was born on the very day on which Romulus
founded Rome; that is, the tenth day before the Calends of May. His
naturally good disposition had been so educated by sorrow and
philosophic pursuits, that he rose superior not merely to commonplace
vices, but even to the worship of brute force, so common among
barbarians, and considered true courage to consist in the conquest of
his own passions. Accordingly he banished all luxury and extravagance
from his house, and was known as a trusty friend and counsellor, both by
his countrymen and by strangers. When at leisure, he disregarded sensual
enjoyments and money-getting, but devoted himself to the service of the
gods and to speculations about their nature and power, so that he
obtained great celebrity. Indeed Tatius, when he was acting as
joint-king with Romulus, chose him for the husband of his only daughter
Tatia. But Numa was not elated by his marriage, and did not remove to
the town where his father-in-law was king, but stayed where he was in
Cures, among the Sabines, tending his aged father; while Tatia also
preferred the quiet of a private citizen's life to the pomp which she
might have enjoyed in Rome. She is said to have died in the thirteenth
year after her marriage.

IV. Now Numa was in the habit of leaving the city and passing much of
his time in the country, wandering alone in the sacred groves and
dwelling in desert places. Hence the story first arose that it was not
from any derangement of intellect that he shunned human society, but
because he held converse with higher beings, and had been admitted to
marriage with the gods, and that, by passing his time in converse with
the nymph Egeria, who loved him, he became blessed, and learned heavenly
wisdom. It is evident that this is the same as many ancient myths; such
as that told by the Phrygians about Attis, that of the Bithynians about
Herodotus, that of the Arcadians about Endymion, and many others. Yet it
seems probable that a god, who loves man better than bird or beast,
should take pleasure in conversing with those men who are remarkable for
goodness, and not despise nor disdain to hold communion with the wise
and righteous. But it is hard to believe that a god or deity could feel
the passion of love for a human form; although the Egyptians not
unreasonably say, that a woman may be impregnated by the spirit of a
god, but that a man can have no material union with a god. However it is
very right to believe that a god can feel friendship for a man, and from
this may spring a love which watches over him and guides him in the path
of virtue. There is truth in the myths of Phorbas, of Hyacinthus, and of
Admetus, who were all loved by Apollo, as was also Hippolytus of Sicyon.
It is said that whenever he set sail from Sikyon to Kirrha on the
opposite coast, the Pythia would recite the verse,

    "Now goes our dear Hippolytus to sea,"

as if the god knew that he was coming and rejoiced at it.

There is also a legend that Pan loved Pindar and his verses; and for the
Muse's sake, Hesiod and Archilochus were honoured after their deaths;
while Sophokles during his life is said, by a legend which remains
current at the present day, to have become the friend of Aesculapius,
and on his death to have had the rites of burial supplied by the care of
another god.

If, then, we believe the legends which are told about these persons, why
should we doubt that Zaleukus, Minos, Zoroaster, Numa, and Lykurgus were
inspired by Heaven, when they governed their kingdoms and gave them
laws? We may suppose that the gods, when in an earnest mood, would hold
converse with such men as these, the best of their kind, to talk with
and encourage them, just as they visit the poets, if they do at all,
when inclined for pleasure. However, if any one thinks differently, as
Bacchylides says, "The way is broad."

The other view, which some take about Lykurgus and Numa and such men,
seems very plausible, that they, having to deal with an obstinate and
unmanageable people when introducing great political changes, invented
the idea of their own divine mission as a means of safety for

V. It was in Numa's fortieth year that the envoys came from Rome to ask
him to be king. Their spokesmen were Proculus and Velesius, one of whom
had very nearly been elected king, for the Romulus people inclined much
to Proculus, and those of Tatius were equally in favour of Velesius.
These men made a short speech, imagining that Numa would be delighted
with his fortune; but it appears that it took much hard pleading to
induce a man who had lived all his life in peace to take the command of
a city which owed its origin and its increase alike to war. He said, in
the presence of his father and of Marcius, one of his relations, "Every
change in a man's life is dangerous; and when a man is not in want of
anything needful, and has no cause for being dissatisfied with his lot,
it is sheer madness for him to change his habits and way of life; for
these, at any rate, have the advantage of security, while in the new
state all is uncertain. Not even uncertain are the perils of royalty,
judging from Romulus himself, who was suspected of having plotted
against his partner Tatius, and whose peers were suspected of having
assassinated him. Yet these men call Romulus the child of the gods, and
tell how he had a divinely sent nurse, and was preserved by a miracle
while yet a child; while I was born of mortal parents, and brought up by
people whom you all know: even the points which you praise in my
character are far from those which make a good king, being love of
leisure and of unprofitable speculation, and also a great fondness for
peace and unwarlike matters, and for men who meet together for the glory
of the gods or for cheerful converse with one another, and who at other
times plough their fields and feed their cattle at home. But you Romans
have very likely many wars left upon your hands by Romulus, for the
conduct of which the state requires a vigorous warrior in the prime of
life. The people too, from their successes, are accustomed to and eager
for war, and are known to be longing for fresh conquests and
possessions; so that they would ridicule me when I told them to honour
the gods and act justly, and if I tried to instil a hatred of wars and
of brute force into a city which wants a general more than a king."

VI. As he refused the offered crown in such terms, the Romans used every
kind of entreaty to induce him to accept it, begging him not to plunge
the state again into civil war, because there was no other man whom the
two parties would agree to receive as their king. In their absence, his
father and Marcius begged him not to refuse so great and marvellous an
offer. "If," they said, "you do not desire wealth, because of your
simple life, and do not care for the glory of royalty, because you
derive more glory from your own virtue, yet think that to be king is to
serve God, who gives you this office and will not allow your
righteousness to lie idle, useful only to yourself. Do not therefore
shrink from assuming this office, which gives you an opportunity to
conduct the solemn ceremonials of religion with due pomp, and to
civilise the people and turn their hearts, which can be effected more
easily by a king than by any one else. This people loved Tatius, though
he was a foreigner, and they respect the memory of Romulus as if he was
a god. And who knows, if the people, although victorious, may not have
had enough of wars, and, sated with triumphs and spoils, may not be
desirous of a gentle and just ruler under whom they may enjoy rest and
peace. If, however, they are madly bent upon war, is it not better that
you should hold the reins, and direct their fury elsewhere, becoming
yourself a bond of union and friendship between the Sabine nation and
this powerful and flourishing city?" Besides these arguments, it is said
that the omens were favourable, and that the people of the city, as soon
as they heard of the embassy, came and besought him to go and become
king, and thus unite and combine the two races.

VII. When he had made up his mind, he sacrificed to the gods, and
started for Rome. The Senate and people met him and showed great
affection for him; the matrons also greeted him, and there were
sacrifices in the temples, and every one was as joyous as if he had
received a kingdom instead of a king. When they came into the Forum, the
_interrex_ or temporary king, Spurius Vettius, put it to the vote, and
all the people voted for Numa. When they offered him the insignia of
royalty, he bade them stop, saying that he wished to have his crown
confirmed to him by God as well as by man. Taking the prophets and
priests he ascended the Capitol, which the Romans at that time called
the Tarpeian Hill. There the chief of the prophets made him turn towards
the south, covered his head, and then standing behind him with his hand
laid upon his head, he prayed, and looked for a sign or omen sent from
the gods in every quarter of the heavens. A strange silence prevailed
among the people in the Forum, as they watched him eagerly, until a
prosperous omen was observed. Then Numa received the royal robes and
came down from the hill among the people. They received him with cheers
and congratulations, as the most pious of men, and as beloved of Heaven.
When he became king, his first act was to disband the body-guard of
three hundred men, whom Romulus always had kept about his person, who
were called _Celeres_, that is, swift; for Numa would not distrust a
loyal people nor reign over a disloyal one. Next he instituted a third
high priest, in addition to the existing priests of Jupiter and Mars,
whom, in honour of Romulus, he called the Flamen Quirinalis. The elder
priests are called Flamens from the skull-caps which they wear, and the
word is derived from the Greek word for felt; for at that time Greek
words were mingled with Latin ones more than now. For instance, the
_laena_ worn by the priests is said by Juba to be the Greek _chlaina_,
and the boy, whose parents must be both alive, who is servant to the
priest of Jupiter, is called _Camillus_, just as the Greeks sometimes
call Hermes (Mercury) _Cadmilus_, from his being the servant of the

VIII. Numa, after confirming his popularity by these measures, proceeded
at once to attempt to convert the city from the practice of war and the
strong hand, to that of right and justice, just as a man tries to soften
and mould a mass of iron. The city at that time was indeed what Plato
calls "inflamed and angry," for it owed its very existence to the
reckless daring by which it had thrust aside the most warlike races of
the country, and had recruited its strength by many campaigns and
ceaseless war, and, as carpentry becomes more fixed in its place by
blows, so the city seemed to gain fresh power from its dangers. Thinking
that it would be a very difficult task to change the habits of this
excited and savage people, and to teach them the arts of peace, he
looked to the gods for help, and by sacrifices, processions, and choral
dances, which he himself organised and arranged, he awed, interested,
and softened the manners of the Romans, artfully beguiling them out of
their warlike ferocity. Sometimes he spoke of supernatural terrors, evil
omens, and unpropitious voices, so as to influence them by means of
superstition. These measures proved his wisdom, and showed him a true
disciple of Pythagoras, for the worship of the gods was an important
part of his state policy, as it is of Pythagoras's system of philosophy.
His love of outward show and stratagem was also said to be derived from
Pythagoras, for as the latter tamed an eagle and made it alight upon
him, and when walking through the crowd at Olympia showed his golden
thigh, and did all the other surprising devices which made Timon of
Phlius write the epigram--

    "Pythagoras by magic arts,
    And mystic talk deludes men's hearts,"

so did Numa invent the story of his amour with a wood-nymph and his
secret converse with her, and of his enjoying the society of the Muses.
He referred most of his prophetic utterances to the Muses, and taught
the Romans to worship one of them especially, whom he called Tacita,
which means silent or dumb. This seems to have been done in imitation of
Pythagoras, who especially revered silence. His legislation about images
was also connected with the Pythagorean doctrine, which says that first
principles cannot be touched or seen, but are invisible spiritual
essences; for Numa forbade the Romans to worship any likenesses of men
or of beasts. Among them there was no image of a god, either carved or
moulded, in the early times. For a hundred and seventy years they built
temples, and placed shrines in them, but made no image of any living
thing, considering that it was wrong to make the worse like the better,
and that God cannot be comprehended otherwise than by thought. Their
sacrifices also were connected with the Pythagorean doctrine; they were
for the most part bloodless, and performed with flour, libations of
wine, and all the commonest things. But besides these, there are other
distinct proofs of the connection of these two men with one another. One
of these is that the Romans enrolled Pythagoras as a citizen, as we are
told by Epicharmus the comic poet, in a letter which he wrote to
Antenor. He was a man who lived in old times and underwent the
Pythagorean training. Another proof is that of his four sons, King Numa
named one Mamercus after the son of Pythagoras; from whom sprung the
ancient patrician house of the Aemilii. This name was originally given
him in sport by the king, who used to call him _aimulos_ or wily. I
myself have heard many Romans narrate that an oracle once bade the
Romans establish the wisest and the bravest of the Greeks in their own
city, and that in consequence of it they set up two brazen statues in
the Forum, one of Alkibiades and one of Pythagoras. But all this can be
so easily disputed that it is not worth while to pursue it farther or to
put any trust in it.

IX. To Numa also is referred the institution of the Pontifices, or high
priests; and he himself is said to have been one of the first. The
Pontifices are so called, according to some authorities, because they
worship the gods, who are powerful and almighty; for powerful in Latin
is _potens_. Others say that it refers to an exception made in favour of
possibilities, meaning that the legislator ordered the priests to
perform what services lay in their power, and did not deny that there
are some which they cannot. But the most usually received and most
absurd derivation is that the word means nothing more than bridge
builders, and that they were so named from the sacrifices which are
offered upon the sacred bridge, which are of great sanctity and
antiquity. The Latins call a bridge _pontem_. This bridge is intrusted
to the care of the priests, like any other immovable holy relic; for the
Romans think that the removal of the wooden bridge would call down the
wrath of Heaven. It is said to be entirely composed of wood, in
accordance with some oracle, without any iron whatever.

The stone bridge was built many years afterwards, when Aemilius was
Quaestor. However, it is said that the wooden bridge itself does not
date from the time of Numa, but that it was finished by Marcius, the
grandson of Numa, when he was king.

The chief priest, or Pontifex Maximus, is an interpreter and prophet or
rather expounder of the will of Heaven. He not only sees that the public
sacrifices are properly conducted, but even watches those who offer
private sacrifices, opposes all departure from established custom, and
points out to each man how to honour the gods and how to pray to them.
He also presides over the holy maidens called vestals.

The consecration of the vestal virgins, and the worship and watching of
the eternal flame by them, are entirely attributed to Numa, and
explained either by the pure and uncorruptible essence of fire being
intrusted to the keeping of those who are stainless and undefiled, or
by that which is barren and without fruit being associated with maidens.

Indeed, in Greece, wherever an eternal fire is kept up, as at Delphi and
Athens, it is not maidens, but widows, past the age to wed, that tend
it. When any of these fires chance to go out, as, for instance, the
sacred lamp went out at Athens when Aristion was despot, and the fire
went out at Delphi when the temple was burned by the Persians, and at
Rome in the revolutions during the time of the wars with King
Mithridates the fire, and even the altar upon which it burned, was swept
away; then they say that it must not be lighted from another fire, but
that an entirely new fire must be made, lighted by a pure and undefiled
ray from the sun. They usually light it with mirrors made by hollowing
the surface of an isosceles right-angled triangle, which conducts all
the rays of light into one point. Now when it is placed opposite to the
sun, so that all the rays coming from all quarters are collected
together into that point, the ray thus formed passes through the thin
air, and at once lights the dryest and lightest of the objects against
which it strikes, for that ray has the strength and force of fire

Some say that the only duty of the vestal virgins is to watch that
eternal fire, but others say they perform certain secret rites, about
which we have written as much as it is lawful to divulge, in the Life of

X. The first maidens who were consecrated by Numa were named Gegania and
Verenia; and afterwards Canuleia and Tarpeia were added. Servius
subsequently added two more to their number, which has remained six ever
since his reign. Numa ordained that the maidens should observe celibacy
for thirty years, during the first ten years of which they were to learn
their duties, during the next perform them, and during the last to teach
others. After this period any of them who wished might marry and cease
to be priestesses; but it is said that very few availed themselves of
this privilege, and that those few were not happy, but, by their regrets
and sorrow for the life they had left, made the others scruple to leave
it, prefer to remain virgins till their death. They had great
privileges, such as that of disposing of their property by will when
their fathers were still alive, like women who have borne three
children. When they walk abroad they are escorted by lictors with the
fasces; and if they happen to meet any criminal who is being taken to
execution, he is not put to death; but the vestal must swear that she
met him accidentally, and not on purpose. When they use a litter, no one
may pass under it on pain of death. The vestals are corrected by stripes
for any faults which they commit, sometimes by the Pontifex Maximus, who
flogs the culprit without her clothes, but with a curtain drawn before
her. She that breaks her vow of celibacy is buried alive at the Colline
Gate, at which there is a mound of earth which stretches some way inside
the city wall. In it they construct an underground chamber, of small
size, which is entered from above. In it is a bed with bedding, and a
lamp burning; and also some small means of supporting life, such as
bread, a little water in a vessel, milk, and oil, as though they wished
to avoid the pollution of one who had been consecrated with such holy
ceremonies dying of hunger. The guilty one is placed in a litter,
covered in, and gagged with thongs so that she cannot utter a sound.
Then they carry her through the Forum. All make way in silence, and
accompany her passage with downcast looks, without speaking. There is no
more fearful sight than this, nor any day when the city is plunged into
deeper mourning. When the litter reaches the appointed spot, the
servants loose her bonds, and the chief priest, after private prayer and
lifting his hands to Heaven before his dreadful duty, leads her out,
closely veiled, places her upon a ladder which leads down into the
subterranean chamber. After this he turns away with the other priests;
the ladder is drawn up after she has descended, and the site of the
chamber is obliterated by masses of earth which are piled upon it, so
that the place looks like any other part of the mound. Thus are the
vestals punished who lose their chastity.

XI. Numa is said to have built the Temple of Vesta, which was to contain
the sacred fire, in a circular form, imitating thereby not the shape of
the earth, but that of the entire universe, in the midst of which the
Pythagoreans place the element of fire, which they call Vesta and the
Unit. The earth they say is not motionless, and not in the centre of its
orbit, but revolves round the central fire, occupying by no means the
first or the most honourable place in the system of the universe. These
ideas are said to have been entertained by Plato also in his old age;
for he too thought that the earth was in a subordinate position, and
that the centre of the universe was occupied by some nobler body.

XII. The Pontifices also explain, to those who inquire of them, the
proper ceremonies at funerals. For Numa taught them not to think that
there was any pollution in death, but that we must pay due honours to
the gods below, because they will receive all that is noblest on earth.
Especially he taught them to honour the goddess Libitina, the goddess
who presides over funeral rites, whether she be Proserpine, or rather
Venus, as the most learned Romans imagine, not unnaturally referring our
birth and our death to the same divinity.

He also defined the periods of mourning, according to the age of the
deceased. He allowed none for a child under three years of age, and for
one older the mourning was only to last as many months as he lived
years, provided those were not more than ten. The longest mourning was
not to continue above ten months, after which space widows were
permitted to marry again; but she that took another husband before that
term was out was obliged by his decree to sacrifice a cow with calf.

Of Numa's many other institutions I shall only mention two, that of the
Salii and of the Feciales, which especially show his love of justice.
The Feciales are, as it were, guardians of peace, and in my opinion
obtain their name from their office; for they were to act as mediators,
and not to permit an appeal to arms before all hope of obtaining justice
by fair means had been lost. The Greeks call it peace when two states
settle their differences by negotiation and not by arms; and the Roman
Feciales frequently went to states that had done wrong and begged them
to think better of what they had done. If they rejected their offers,
then the Feciales called the gods to witness, invoked dreadful curses
upon themselves and their country, if they were about to fight in an
unjust cause, and so declared war. Against the will of the Feciales, or
without their approval, no Roman, whether king or common soldier, was
allowed to take up arms, but the general was obliged first to have it
certified to him by the Feciales that the right was on his side, and
then to take his measures for a campaign. It is said that the great
disaster with the Gauls befell the city in consequence of this ceremony
having been neglected. The barbarians were besieging Clusium; Fabius
Ambustus was sent as an ambassador to their camp to make terms on behalf
of the besieged. His proposals met with a harsh reply, and he, thinking
that his mission was at an end, had the audacity to appear before the
ranks of the men of Clusium in arms, and to challenge the bravest of the
barbarians to single combat. He won the fight, slew his opponent and
stripped his body; but the Gauls recognised him, and sent a herald to
Rome, complaining that Fabius had broken faith and not kept his word,
and had waged war against them without its being previously declared.
Hereupon the Feciales urged the Senate to deliver the man up to the
Gauls, but he appealed to the people, and by their favour escaped his
just doom. Soon after the Gauls came and sacked Rome, except the
Capitol. But this is treated of more at length in the 'Life of

XIII. The priests called Salii are said to owe their origin to the
following circumstances: In the eighth year of Numa's reign an epidemic
raged throughout Italy, and afflicted the city of Rome. Now amidst the
general distress it is related that a brazen shield fell from heaven
into the hands of Numa. Upon this the king made an inspired speech,
which he had learned from Egeria and the Muses. The shield, he said,
came for the salvation of the city, and they must guard it, and make
eleven more like it, so that no thief could steal the one that fell from
heaven, because he could not tell which it was. Moreover the place and
the meadows round about it, where he was wont to converse with the
Muses, must be consecrated to them, and the well by which it was watered
must be pointed out as holy water to the vestal virgins, that they might
daily take some thence to purify and sprinkle their temple. The truth
of this is said to have been proved by the immediate cessation of the
plague. He bade workmen compete in imitating the shield, and, when all
others refused to attempt it, Veturius Mamurius, one of the best workmen
of the time, produced so admirable an imitation, and made all the
shields so exactly alike, that even Numa himself could not tell which
was the original. He next appointed the Salii to guard and keep them.
These priests were called Salii, not, as some say, after a man of
Samothrace or of Mantinea named Salius, who first taught the art of
dancing under arms, but rather from the springing dance itself, which
they dance through the city when they carry out the shields in the month
of March, dressed in scarlet tunics, girt with brazen girdles, with
brazen helmets on their heads and little daggers with which they strike
the shields. The rest of their dance is done with their feet; they move
gracefully, whirling round, swiftly and airily counter-changing their
positions with light and vigorous motions according to rhythm and
measure. The shields are called _ancilia_, because of their shape; for
they are not round, nor with a perfect circumference, but are cut out of
a wavy line, and curl in at the thickest part towards each other; or
they may be called _ancilia_ after the name of the elbow, _ankon_, on
which they are carried; at least so Juba conjectures in his endeavours
to find a Greek derivation for the word. The name may be connected with
the fall of the shield _from above_ (_anekathen_), or with the healing
(_akesis_) of the plague, and the cessation of that terrible calamity,
if we must refer the word to a Greek root.

It is related that, to reward Mamurius for his workmanship, his name is
mentioned in the song which the Salii sing while they dance their
Pyrrhic dance; others, however, say that it is not Veturium Mamurium
that they say, but _Veterem Memoriam_, which means ancient memory.

XIV. After he had arranged all religious ceremonies, he built, near the
temple of Vesta, the Regia, as a kind of royal palace; and there he
spent most of his time, engaged in religious duties, instructing the
priests, or awaiting some divine colloquy. He had also another house on
the hill of Quirinus, the site of which is even now pointed out.

In all religious processions through the city the heralds went first to
bid the people cease their work, and attend to the ceremony; for just as
the Pythagoreans are said to forbid the worship of the gods in a cursory
manner, and to insist that men shall set out from their homes with this
purpose and none other in their minds, so Numa thought it wrong that the
citizens should see or hear any religious ceremony in a careless,
half-hearted manner, and made them cease from all worldly cares and
attend with all their hearts to the most important of all duties,
religion; so he cleared the streets of all the hammering, and cries, and
noises which attend the practice of ordinary trades and handicrafts,
before any holy ceremony. Some trace of this custom still survives in
the practice of crying out _Hoc age_ when the consul is taking the
auspices or making a sacrifice. These words mean "Do this thing," and
are used to make the bystanders orderly and attentive. Many of his other
precepts are like those of the Pythagoreans; for just as they forbid men
to sit upon a quart measure, or to stir the fire with a sword, or to
turn back when they set out upon a journey, and bid them sacrifice an
odd number to the gods above, and an even one to those below, all of
which things had a mystical meaning, which was hidden from the common
mass of mankind, so also some of Numa's rites can only be explained by
reference to some secret legend, such as his forbidding men to make a
libation to the gods with wine made from an unpruned vine, and his
ordering that no sacrifice should be made without flour, and that men
should turn round while worshipping and sit after they had worshipped.
The first two of these seem to point to cultivation of the fruits of the
earth, as a part of righteousness; the turning round of the worshippers
is said to be in imitation of the revolution of the globe, but it seems
more probable that, as all temples look towards the east, the worshipper
who enters with his back to the sun turns round towards this god also,
and begs of them both, as he makes his circuit, to fulfil his prayer.
Unless indeed there is an allusion to the symbolical wheel of the
Egyptians, and the change of posture means that nothing human is
constant, and that, however God may turn about our lives, it is our duty
to be content. The act of sitting after prayer was said to portend that
such as were good would obtain a solid and lasting fulfilment of their
prayers. Or again, this attitude of rest marks the division between
different periods of prayer; so that after the end of one prayer they
seat themselves in the presence of the gods, in order that under their
auspices they may begin the next. This fully agrees with what has been
said above, and shows that the lawgiver intended to accustom his
countrymen not to offer their prayers in a hurry, or in the intervals of
doing something else, but when they were at leisure and not pressed for

XV. By this religious training the city became so easily managed by
Numa, and so impressed by his power, as to believe stories of the
wildest character about him, and to think nothing incredible or
impossible if he wished to do it. For instance, it is related that once
he invited many of the citizens to dine with him, and placed before them
common vessels and poor fare; but, as they were about to begin dinner,
he suddenly said that his familiar goddess was about to visit him, and
at once displayed abundance of golden cups and tables covered with
costly delicacies. The strangest story of all is that of his
conversation with Jupiter. The legend runs that Mount Aventine was not
at this time enclosed within the city, but was full of fountains and
shady glens, and haunted by two divinities, Picus and Faunus, who may be
compared to Satyrs or to Pan, and who, in knowledge of herbs and magic,
seem equal to what the Greeks call the Daktyli of Mount Ida. These
creatures roamed about Italy playing their tricks, but Numa caught them
by filling the spring at which they drank with wine and honey. They
turned into all kinds of shapes, and assumed strange and terrible forms,
but when they found that they were unable to escape, they told Numa much
of the future, and showed him how to make a charm against thunder-bolts,
which is used to this day, and is made of onions and hair and sprats.
Some say that it was not these deities who told him the charm, but that
they by magic arts brought down Jupiter from heaven, and he, in a rage,
ordered Numa to make the charm of "Heads"; and when Numa added, "Of
onions," he said "Of men's"--"Hair," said Numa, again taking away the
terrible part of the imprecation. When then Jupiter said "With
living"--"Sprats," said Numa, answering as Egeria had taught him. The
god went away appeased, and the place was in consequence called Ilicius.
This was how the charm was discovered.

These ridiculous legends show the way in which the people had become
accustomed to regard the gods. Indeed Numa is said to have placed all
his hopes in religion, to such an extent that even when a message was
brought him, saying, "The enemy are approaching," he smiled and said,
"And I am sacrificing."

XVI. The first temples that he founded are said to have been those of
Fides or Faith, and Terminus. Fides is said to have revealed to the
Romans the greatest of all oaths, which they even now make use of; while
Terminus is the god of boundaries, to whom they sacrifice publicly, and
also privately at the divisions of men's estates; at the present time
with living victims, but in old days this was a bloodless sacrifice, for
Numa argued that the god of boundaries must be a lover of peace, and a
witness of righteousness, and therefore averse to bloodshed.

Indeed Numa was the first king who defined the boundaries of the
country, since Romulus was unwilling, by measuring what was really his
own, to show how much he had taken from other states: for boundaries, if
preserved, are barriers against violence; if disregarded, they become
standing proofs of lawless injustice. The city had originally but a
small territory of its own, and Romulus gained the greater part of its
possessions by the sword. All this Numa distributed among the needy
citizens, thereby removing the want which urged them to deeds of
violence, and, by turning the people's thoughts to husbandry, he made
them grow more civilised as their land grew more cultivated. No
profession makes men such passionate lovers of peace as that of a man
who farms his own land; for he retains enough of the warlike spirit to
fight fiercely in defence of his own property, but has lost all desire
to despoil and wrong his neighbours. It was for this reason that Numa
encouraged agriculture among the Romans, as a spell to charm away war,
and loved the art more because of its influence on men's minds than
because of the wealth which it produced. He divided the whole country
into districts, which he called pagi, and appointed a head man for
each, and a patrol to guard it. And sometimes he himself would inspect
them, and, forming an opinion of each man's character from the condition
of his farm, would raise some to honours and offices of trust, and
blaming others for their remissness, would lead them to do better in

XVII. Of his other political measures, that which is most admired is his
division of the populace according to their trades. For whereas the
city, as has been said, originally consisted of two races, which stood
aloof one from the other and would not combine into one, which led to
endless quarrels and rivalries, Numa, reflecting that substances which
are hard and difficult to combine together, can nevertheless be mixed
and formed into one mass if they are broken up into small pieces,
because then they more easily fit into each other, determined to divide
the whole mass of the people of Rome into many classes, and thus, by
creating numerous petty rivalries, to obliterate their original and
greatest cause of variance.

His division was according to their trades, and consisted of the
musicians, the goldsmiths, the builders, the dyers, the shoemakers, the
carriers, the coppersmiths, and the potters. All the other trades he
united into one guild. He assigned to each trade its special privileges,
common to all the members, and arranged that each should have its own
times of meeting, and worship its own special patron god, and by this
means he did away with that habit, which hitherto had prevailed among
the citizens, of some calling themselves Sabines, and some Romans; one
boasting that they were Tatius's men, and other Romulus's. So this
division produced a complete fusion and unity. Moreover he has been much
praised for another of his measures, that, namely, of correcting the old
law which allows fathers to sell their sons for slaves. He abolished
this power in the case of married men, who had married with their
father's consent; for he thought it a monstrous injustice that a woman,
who had married a free man, should be compelled to be the wife of a

XVIII. He also dealt with astronomical matters, not with perfect
accuracy, and yet not altogether without knowledge. During the reign of
Romulus the months had been in a state of great disorder, some not
containing twenty days, some five-and-thirty, and some even more,
because the Romans could not reconcile the discrepancies which arise
from reckoning by the sun and the moon, and only insisted upon one
thing, that the year should consist of three hundred and sixty days.

Numa reckoned the variation to consist of eleven days, as the lunar year
contains three hundred and fifty-four days, and the solar year three
hundred and sixty-five. He doubled these eleven days and introduced them
every other year, after February, as an intercalary month, twenty-two
days in duration, which was called by the Romans Mercedinus. This was a
remedy for the irregularities of the calendar which itself required more
extensive remedies.

He also altered the order of the months, putting March, which used to be
the first month, third, and making January the first, which in the time
of Romulus had been the eleventh, and February the second, which then
had been the twelfth. There are many writers who say that these months,
January and February, were added to the calendar by Numa, and that
originally there had only been ten months in the year, just as some
barbarians have three, and in Greece the Arcadians have four, and the
Acarnanians six. The Egyptians originally had but one month in their
year, and afterwards are said to have divided it into four mouths;
wherefore, though they live in the newest of all countries, they appear
to be the most ancient of all nations, and in their genealogies reckon
an incredible number of years, because they count their months as years.

XIX. One proof that the Romans used to reckon ten months and not twelve
in the year is the name of the last month; for up to the present day it
is called _December_, the tenth, and the order of the months shows that
March was the first, for the fifth month from it they called
_Quintilis_, the fifth; and the sixth month Sextilis, and so on for the
others, although, by their putting January and February before March, it
resulted that the month which they number fifth is really seventh in
order. Moreover, there is a legend that the month of March, being the
first, was dedicated by Romulus to Mars, and the second, April, to
Aphrodité (Venus); in which month they sacrifice to this goddess, and
the women bathe on the first day of it crowned with myrtle. Some,
however, say that April is not named after Aphrodité, because the word
April does not contain the letter _h_, and that it comes from the Latin
word _aperio_, and means the month in which the spring-time opens the
buds of plants; for that is what the word signifies. Of the following
months, May is named after Maia, the mother of Hermes or Mercury, for it
is dedicated to her, and June from Juno. Some say that these names
signify old age and youth, for old men are called by the Latins majores,
and young men juniores. The remaining months they named, from the order
in which they came, the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth:
Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, December. Then
Quintilis was called Julius after Julius Caesar, who conquered Pompeius;
and Sextilis was called Augustus, after the second of the Roman
Emperors. The next two months Domitian altered to his own titles, but
not for any long time, as after his death they resumed their old names
of September and October. The last two alone have preserved their
original names without change. Of the months, added or altered by Numa,
Februarius means the month of purification, for that is as nearly as
possible the meaning of the word, and during it they sacrifice to the
dead, and hold the festival of the Lupercalia, which resembles a
ceremony of purification. The first month, Januarius, is named after
Janus. My opinion is, that Numa moved the month named after Mars from
its precedence, wishing the art of good government to be honoured before
that of war. For Janus in very ancient times was either a deity or a
king, who established a social polity, and made men cease from a savage
life like that of wild beasts. And for this reason his statues are made
with a double face, because he turned men's way of life from one form to

XX. There is a temple to him in Rome, which has two doors, and which
they call the gate of war. It is the custom to open the temple in time
of war, and to close it during peace. This scarcely ever took place, as
the empire was almost always at war with some state, being by its very
greatness continually brought into collision with the neighbouring
tribes. Only in the time of Caesar Augustus, after he had conquered
Antonius, it was closed; and before that, during the consulship of
Marcus Atilius and Titus Manlius, for a short time, and then was almost
immediately reopened, as a new war broke out. But during Numa's reign no
one saw it open for a single day, and it remained closed for forty-three
years continuously, so utterly had he made wars to cease on all sides.
Not only was the spirit of the Romans subdued and pacified by the gentle
and just character of their king, but even the neighbouring cities, as
if some soothing healthful air was breathed over them from Rome, altered
their habits and longed to live quiet and well-governed, cultivating the
earth, bringing up their families in peace, and worshipping the gods.
And gay festivals and entertainments, during which the people of the
various states fearlessly mixed with one another, prevailed throughout
Italy, for Numa's knowledge of all that was good and noble was shed
abroad like water from a fountain, and the atmosphere of holy calm by
which he was surrounded spread over all men. The very poets when they
wrote of that peaceful time were unable to find adequate expressions for
it, as one writes--

    "Across the shields are cobwebs laid,
    Rust eats the lance and keen edged blade;
    No more we hear the trumpets bray.
    And from our eyes no more is slumber chased away."

No war, revolution, or political disturbance of any kind is recorded
during Numa's reign, neither was there any envy or hatred of him or any
attempt by others to obtain the crown; but either fear of the gods who
visibly protected him, or reverence for his virtues, or the special
grace of Heaven, made men's lives innocent and untainted with evil, and
formed a striking proof of the truth of what Plato said many years
afterwards, that the only escape from misery for men is when by Divine
Providence philosophy is combined with royal power, and used to exalt
virtue over vice. Blessed indeed is the truly wise man, and blessed are
they who hear the words of his mouth. Indeed his people require no
restraints or punishments, but seeing a plain example of virtue in the
life of their chief, they themselves of their own accord reform their
lives, and model them upon that gentle and blessed rule of love and just
dealing one with another which it is the noblest work of politicians to
establish. He is most truly a king who can teach such lessons as these
to his subjects, and Numa beyond all others seems to have clearly
discerned this truth.

XXI. Historians differ in their accounts of his wives and children. Some
say that he married Tatia alone, and was the father of one daughter
only, named Pompilia; but others, besides her, assign to him four sons,
named Pompo, Pinus, Calpus, and Mamercus, from whom descended the four
noble families of the Pomponii, Pinarii, Calphurnii, and Mamerci, which
for this reason took the title of Rex, that is, king. Others again say
that these pedigrees were invented to flatter these families, and state
that the Pompilian family descends not from Tatia, but from Lucretia,
whom he married after he became king. All, however, agree that Pompilia
married Marcius, the son of that Marcius who encouraged Numa to accept
the crown. This man accompanied Numa to Rome, was made a member of the
Senate, and after Numa's death laid claim to the crown, but was worsted
by Tullus Hostilius and made away with himself. His son Marcius, who
married Pompilia, remained in Rome, and became the father of Ancus
Marcius, who was king after Tullus Hostilius, and who was only five
years old when Numa died.

We are told by Piso that Numa died, not by a sudden death, but by slow
decay from sheer old age, having lived a little more than eighty years.

XXII. He was enviable even in death, for all the friendly and allied
nations assembled at his funeral with national offerings. The senators
bore his bier, which was attended by the chief priests, while the crowd
of men, women and children who were present, followed with such weeping
and wailing, that one would have thought that, instead of an aged king,
each man was about to bury his own dearest friend, who had died in the
prime of life. At his own wish, it is said, the body was not burned, but
placed in two stone coffins and buried on the Janiculum Hill. One of
these contained his body, and the other the sacred books which he
himself had written, as Greek legislators write their laws upon tablets.
During his life he had taught the priests the contents of these books,
and their meaning and spirit, and ordered them to be buried with his
corpse, because it was right that holy mysteries should be contained,
not in soulless writings, but in the minds of living men. For the same
reason they say that the Pythagoreans never reduced their maxims to
writing, but implanted them in the memories of worthy men; and when some
of their difficult processes in geometry were divulged to some unworthy
men, they said that Heaven would mark its sense of the wickedness which
had been committed by some great public calamity; so that, as Numa's
system so greatly resembled that of Pythagoras, we can easily pardon
those who endeavour to establish a connection between them.

Valerius of Antium says that twelve sacred books and twelve books of
Greek philosophy were placed in the coffin. Four hundred years
afterwards, when Publius Cornelius and Marcus Baebius were consuls, a
great fall of rain took place, and the torrent washed away the earth and
exposed the coffins. When the lids were removed, one of the coffins was
seen by all men to be empty, and without any trace of a corpse in it;
the other contained the books, which were read by Petilius the praetor,
who reported to the Senate that in his opinion it was not right that
their contents should be made known to the people, and they were
therefore carried to the Comitium and burned there.

All good and just men receive most praise after their death, because
their unpopularity dies with them or even before them; but Numa's glory
was enhanced by the unhappy reigns of his successors. Of five kings who
succeeded him, the last was expelled and died an exile, and of the other
four, not one died a natural death, but three were murdered by
conspirators, and Tullus Hostilius, who was king next after Numa, and
who derided and insulted his wise ordinances, especially those
connected with religion, as lazy and effeminate, and who urged the
people to take up arms, was cut down in the midst of his boastings by a
terrible disease, and became subject to superstitious fears in no way
resembling Numa's piety. His subjects were led to share these terrors,
more especially by the manner of his death, which is said to have been
by the stroke of a thunderbolt.


I. Now that we have gone through the lives of Numa and Lykurgus, we must
attempt, without being daunted by difficulties, to reconcile the points
in which they appear to differ from each other. Much they appear to have
had in common, as, for example, their self-control, their piety, and
their political and educational ability; and while the peculiar glory of
Numa is his acceptance of the throne, that of Lykurgus is his
abdication. Numa received it without having asked for it; Lykurgus when
in full possession gave it up. Numa, though a private man and not even a
Roman, was chosen by the Romans as their king; but Lykurgus from being a
king reduced himself to a private station. It is honourable to obtain a
crown by righteousness, but it is also honourable to prefer
righteousness to a crown. Numa's virtue made him so celebrated that he
was judged worthy to be king, Lykurgus' made him so great that he did
not care to be king.

Again, like those who tune the strings of a lyre, Lykurgus drew tighter
the relaxed and licentious Sparta, while Numa merely slackened the
highly strung and warlike Rome, so that here Lykurgus had the more
difficult task. He had to persuade his countrymen, not to take off their
armour and lay aside their swords, but to leave off using gold and
silver, and to lay aside costly hangings and furniture; he had not to
make them exchange wars for sacrifices and gay festivals, but to cease
from feasts and drinking-parties, and work hard both in the field and in
the palaestra to train themselves for war.

For this reason, Numa was able to effect his purpose without difficulty,
and without any loss of popularity and respect; while Lykurgus was
struck and pelted, and in danger of his life, and even so could scarcely
carry out his reforms. Yet the genius of Numa was kindly and gentle,
and so softened and changed the reckless fiery Romans that they became
peaceful, law-abiding citizens; and if we must reckon Lykurgus'
treatment of the Helots as part of his system, it cannot be denied that
Numa was a far more civilised lawgiver, seeing that he allowed even to
actual slaves some taste of liberty, by his institution of feasting them
together with their masters at the festival of Saturn.

For this custom of allowing the labourers to share in the harvest-feast
is traced to Numa. Some say that this is in remembrance of the equality
which existed in the time of Saturn, when there was neither master nor
slave, but all were kinsmen and had equal rights.

II. Both evidently encouraged the spirit of independence and
self-control among their people, while of other virtues, Lykurgus loved
bravery, and Numa loved justice best; unless indeed we should say that,
from the very different temper and habits of the two states, they
required to be treated in a different manner. It was not from cowardice,
but because he scorned to do an injustice, that Numa did not make war;
while Lykurgus made his countrymen warlike, not in order that they might
do wrong, but that they might not be wronged. Each found that the
existing system required very important alterations to check its
excesses and supply its defects. Numa's reforms were all in favour of
the people, whom he classified into a mixed and motley multitude of
goldsmiths and musicians and cobblers; while the constitution introduced
by Lykurgus was severely aristocratic, driving all handicrafts into the
hands of slaves and foreigners, and confining the citizens to the use of
the spear and shield, as men whose trade was war alone, and who knew
nothing but how to obey their leaders and to conquer their enemies. In
Sparta a free man was not permitted to make money in business, in order
that he might be truly free.

Each thing connected with the business of making money, like that of
preparing food for dinner, was left in the hands of slaves and helots.
Numa made no regulations of this kind, but, while he put an end to
military plundering, raised no objection to other methods of making
money, nor did he try to reduce inequalities of fortune, but allowed
wealth to increase unchecked, and disregarded the influx of poor men
into the city and the increase of poverty there, whereas he ought at the
very outset, like Lykurgus, while men's fortunes were still tolerably
equal, to have raised some barrier against the encroachments of wealth,
and to have restrained the terrible evils which take their rise and
origin in it. As for the division of the land among the citizens, in my
opinion, Lykurgus cannot be blamed for doing it, nor yet can Numa for
not doing it. The equality thus produced was the very foundation and
corner-stone of the Lacedaemonian constitution, while Numa had no motive
for disturbing the Roman lands, which had only been recently distributed
among the citizens, or to alter the arrangements made by Romulus, which
we may suppose were still in force throughout the country.

III. With regard to a community of wives and children, each took a wise
and statesman-like course to prevent jealousy, although the means
employed by each were different. A Roman who possessed a sufficient
family of his own might be prevailed upon by a friend who had no
children to transfer his wife to him, being fully empowered to give her
away, by divorce, for this purpose; but a Lacedaemonian was accustomed
to lend his wife for intercourse with a friend, while she remained
living in his house, and without the marriage being thereby dissolved.
Many, we are told, even invited those who, they thought, would beget
fine and noble children, to converse with their wives. The distinction
between the two customs seems to be this: the Spartans affected an
unconcern and insensibility about a matter which excites most men to
violent rage and jealousy; the Romans modestly veiled it by a legal
contract which seems to admit how hard it is for a man to give up his
wife to another. Moreover Numa's regulations about young girls were of a
much more feminine and orderly nature, while those of Lykurgus were so
highflown and unbecoming to women, as to have been the subject of notice
by the poets, who call them _Phainomerides_, that is with bare thighs,
as Ibykus says; and they accuse them of lust, as Euripides says--

    "They stay not, as befits a maid, at home,
    But with young men in shameless dresses roam."

For in truth the sides of the maiden's tunic were not fastened together
at the skirt, and so flew open and exposed the thigh as they walked,
which is most clearly alluded to in the lines of Sophokles--

    "She that wanders nigh,
    With scanty skirt that shows the thigh,
    A Spartan maiden fair and free,

On this account they are said to have become bolder than they should be,
and to have first shown this spirit towards their husbands, ruling
uncontrolled over their households, and afterwards in public matters,
where they freely expressed their opinions upon the most important
subjects. On the other hand, Numa preserved that respect and honour due
from men to matrons which they had met with under Romulus, who paid them
these honours to atone for having carried them off by force, but he
implanted in them habits of modesty, sobriety, and silence, forbidding
them even to touch wine, or to speak even when necessary except in their
husbands' presence. It is stated that once, because a woman pleaded her
own cause in the Forum, the Senate sent to ask the oracle what this
strange event might portend for the state.

A great proof of the obedience and modesty of the most part of them is
the way in which the names of those who did any wrong is remembered.
For, just as in Greece, historians record the names of those who first
made war against their own kindred or murdered their parents, so the
Romans tell us that the first man who put away his wife was Spurius
Carvilius, nothing of the kind having happened in Rome for two hundred
and thirty years from its foundation; and that the wife of Pinarius,
Thalaea by name, was the first to quarrel with her mother-in-law Gegania
in the reign of Tarquinius Superbus--so well and orderly were marriages
arranged by this lawgiver.

IV. The rest of their laws for the training and marriage of maidens
agree with one another, although Lykurgus put off the time of marriage
till they were full-grown, in order that their intercourse, demanded as
it was by nature, might produce love and friendship in the married pair
rather than the dislike often experienced by an immature child towards
her husband, and also that their bodies might be better able to support
the trials of child-bearing, which he regarded as the sole object of
marriage; whereas the Romans gave their daughters in marriage at the age
of twelve years or even younger, thinking thus to hand over a girl to
her husband pure and uncorrupt both in body and mind. It is clear that
the former system is best for the mere production of children, and the
latter for moulding consorts for life. But by his superintendence of the
young, his collecting them into companies, his training and drill, with
the table and exercises common to all, Lykurgus showed that he was
immensely superior to Numa, who, like any commonplace lawgiver, left the
whole training of the young in the hands of their fathers, regulated
only by their caprice or needs; so that whoever chose might bring up his
son as a shipwright, a coppersmith, or a musician, as though the
citizens ought not from the very outset to direct their attention to one
object, but were like people who have embarked in the same ship for
various causes, who only in time of danger act together for the common
advantage of all, and at other times pursue each his own private ends.
Allowance must be made for ordinary lawgivers, who fail through want of
power or of knowledge in establishing such a system; but no such excuse
can be made for Numa, who was a wise man, and who was made king of a
newly-created state which would not have opposed any of his designs.
What could be of greater importance than to regulate the education of
the young and so to train them that they might all become alike in their
lives and all bear the same impress of virtue? It was to this that
Lykurgus owed the permanence of his laws; for he could not have trusted
to the oaths which he made them take, if he had not by education and
training so steeped the minds of the young in the spirit of his laws,
and by his method of bringing them up implanted in them such a love for
the state, that the most important of his enactments remained in force
for more than five hundred years; for the lives of all Spartans seem to
have been coloured by these laws. That which was the aim and end of
Numa's policy, that Rome should be at peace and friendly with her
neighbours, ceased immediately upon his death; at once the double-gated
temple, which he kept closed as if he really kept war locked up in it,
had both its gates thrown open and filled Italy with slaughter. His
excellent and righteous policy did not last for a moment, for the people
were not educated to support it, and therefore it could not be lasting.
But, it may be asked, did not Rome flourish by her wars? It is hard to
answer such a question, in an age which values wealth, luxury, and
dominion more than a gentle peaceful life that wrongs no one and
suffices for itself. Yet this fact seems to tell for Lykurgus, that the
Romans gained such an enormous increase of power by departing from
Numa's policy, while the Lacedaemonians, as soon as they fell away from
the discipline of Lykurgus, having been the haughtiest became the most
contemptible of Greeks, and not only lost their supremacy, but had even
to struggle for their bare existence. On the other hand, it was truly
glorious for Numa that he was a stranger and sent for by the Romans to
be their king; that he effected all his reforms without violence, and
ruled a city composed of discordant elements without any armed force
such as Lykurgus had to assist him, winning over all men and reducing
them to order by his wisdom and justice.


I. Didymus the grammarian, in the book about Solon's laws which he wrote
in answer to Asklepiades, quotes a saying of one Philokles, that Solon
was the son of Euphorion, which is quite at variance with the testimony
of all other writers who have mentioned Solon: for they all say that he
was the son of Exekestides, a man whose fortune and power were only
moderate, but whose family was of the noblest in Athens; for he was
descended from Kodrus the last Athenian king. Herakleides of Pontus
relates that the mother of Solon was first cousin to the mother of
Peisistratus. The two boys, we are told, were friends when young, and
when in after years they differed in politics they still never
entertained harsh or angry feelings towards one another, but kept alive
the sacred flame of their former intimate friendship. Peisistratus is
even said to have dedicated the statue of Love in the Academy where
those who are going to run in the sacred torch-race light their torches.

II. According to Hermippus, Solon, finding that his father had by his
generosity diminished his fortune, and feeling ashamed to be dependent
upon others, when he himself was come of a house more accustomed to give
than to receive, embarked in trade, although his friends were eager to
supply him with all that he could wish for. Some, however, say that
Solon travelled more with a view to gaining experience and learning than
to making money. He was indeed eager to learn, as he wrote when an old

    "Old to grow, but ever learning,"

but disregarded wealth, for he wrote that he regarded as equally rich
the man who owned

    "Gold and broad acres, corn and wine;
    And he that hath but clothes and food,
    A wife, and youthful strength divine."

Yet elsewhere he has written, but

    "I long for wealth, not by fraud obtained,
    For curses wait on riches basely gained."

There is no reason for an upright statesman either to be over anxious
for luxuries or to despise necessaries. At that period, as Hesiod tells
us, "Work was no disgrace," nor did trade carry any reproach, while the
profession of travelling merchant was even honourable, as it civilised
barbarous tribes, and gained the friendship of kings, and learned much
in many lands. Some merchants founded great cities, as, for example,
Protis, who was beloved by the Gauls living near the Rhone, founded
Marseilles. It is also said that Thales the sage, and Hippocrates the
mathematician, travelled as merchants, and that Plato defrayed the
expenses of his journey to Egypt by the oil which he disposed of in that

III. Solon's extravagance and luxurious mode of life, and his poems,
which treat of pleasure more from a worldly than a philosophic point of
view, are attributed to his mercantile training; for the great perils of
a merchant's life require to be paid in corresponding pleasures. Yet it
is clear that he considered himself as belonging to the class of the
poor, rather than that of the rich, from the following verses:

    "The base are rich, the good are poor; and yet
      Our virtue for their gold we would not change;
    For that at least is ours for evermore,
      While wealth we see from hand to hand doth range."

His poetry was originally written merely for his own amusement in his
leisure hours; but afterwards he introduced into it philosophic
sentiments, and interwove political events with his poems, not in order
to record them historically, but in some cases to explain his own
conduct, and in others to instruct, encourage, or rebuke the Athenians.
Some say that he endeavoured to throw his laws into an epic form, and
tell us that the poem began--

    "To Jove I pray, great Saturn's son divine,
    To grant his favour to these laws of mine."

Of ethical philosophy, he, like most of the sages of antiquity, was most
interested in that branch which deals with political obligations. As to
natural science, his views are very crude and antiquated, as we see from
the following verses:

    "From clouds the snow and hail descend,
    And thunderbolts the lightnings send;
    The waves run high when gales do blow,
    Without the wind they're still enow."

Indeed, of all the sages of that time, Thales alone seems to have known
more of physics than was necessary to supply man's every-day needs; all
the others having gained their reputation for political wisdom.

IV. These wise men are said to have met at Delphi, and again at Corinth,
where they were entertained by the despot Periander. Their reputation
was greatly increased by the tripod which was sent to all of them and
refused by all with a gracious rivalry. The story goes that some men of
Cos were casting a net, and some strangers from Miletus bought the haul
of them before it reached the surface.

The net brought up a golden tripod, the same which, it is said, Helen
threw into the sea at that spot, in accordance with some ancient oracle,
when she was sailing away from Troy. A dispute arose at first between
the strangers and the fishermen; afterwards it was taken up by their
respective cities, who even came to blows about it. Finally they
consulted the oracle at Delphi, which ordered it to be given to the
wisest. Now it was first sent to Miletus, to Thales, as the men of Cos
willingly gave it to that one man, although they had fought with all the
Milesians together about it. Thales said that Bias was wiser than
himself, and sent it to him; and by him it was again sent to another
man, as being wiser yet. So it went on, being sent from one to another
until it came to Thales a second time, and at last was sent from Miletus
to Thebes and consecrated to Apollo Ismenius. As Theophrastus tells the
story, the tripod was first sent to Bias at Priéne, and secondly to
Thales at Miletus, and so on through all of the wise men until it again
reached Bias, and was finally offered at Delphi. This is the more common
version of the story, although some say that it was not a tripod but a
bowl sent by Croesus, others that it was a drinking-cup left behind by
one Bathykles.

V. Anacharsis is said to have met Solon, and afterwards Thales in
private, and to have conversed with them. The story goes that Anacharsis
came to Athens, went to Solon's door, and knocked, saying that he was a
stranger and had come to enter into friendship with him. When Solon
answered that friendships were best made at home, Anacharsis said, "Well
then, do you, who are at home, enter into friendship with me." Solon,
admiring the man's cleverness, received him kindly, and kept him for
some time in his house. He was at this time engaged in politics, and was
composing his laws. Anacharsis, when he discovered this, laughed at
Solon's undertaking, if he thought to restrain the crimes and greed of
the citizens by written laws, which he said were just like spiders'
webs; for, like them, they caught the weaker criminals, but were broken
through by the stronger and more important.

To this Solon answered, that men keep covenants, because it is to the
advantage of neither party to break them; and that he so suited his laws
to his countrymen, that it was to the advantage of every one to abide by
them rather than to break them. Nevertheless, things turned out more as
Anacharsis thought than as Solon wished. Anacharsis said too, when
present at an assembly of the people, that he was surprised to see that
in Greece wise men spoke upon public affairs, and ignorant men decided

VI. When Solon went to Thales at Miletus, he expressed his wonder at his
having never married and had a family. Thales made no answer at the
time, but a few days afterwards arranged that a man should come to him
and say that he left Athens ten days before. When Solon inquired of him,
whether anything new had happened at Athens, the man answered, as Thales
had instructed him, that "there was no news, except the death of a
young man who had been escorted to his grave by the whole city. He was
the son, they told him, of a leading citizen of great repute for his
goodness, but the father was not present, for they said he had been
travelling abroad for some years." "Unhappy man," said Solon, "what was
his name?" "I heard his name," answered the man, "but I cannot remember
it; beyond that there was much talk of his wisdom and justice." Thus by
each of his answers he increased Solon's alarm, until he at last in his
excitement asked the stranger whether it were not Solon's son that was
dead. The stranger said that it was. Solon was proceeding to beat his
head and show all the other marks of grief, when Thales stopped him,
saying with a smile, "This, Solon, which has the power to strike down so
strong a man as you, has ever prevented my marrying and having children.
But be of good courage, for this tale which you have been told is
untrue." This story is said by Hermippus to have been told by Pataikos,
he who said that he had inherited the soul of Aesop.

VII. It is a strange and unworthy feeling that prompts a man not to
claim that to which he has a right, for fear that he may one day lose
it; for by the same reasoning he might refuse wealth, reputation, or
wisdom, for fear of losing them hereafter. We see even virtue, the
greatest and most dear of all possessions, can be destroyed by disease
or evil drugs; and Thales by avoiding marriage still had just as much to
fear, unless indeed he ceased to love his friends, his kinsmen, and his
native land. But even he adopted his sister's son Kybisthus; for the
soul has a spring of affection within it, and is formed not only to
perceive, to reflect, and to remember, but also to love. If it finds
nothing to love at home, it will find something abroad; and when
affection, like a desert spot, has no legitimate possessors, it is
usurped by bastard children or even servants, who when they have
obtained our love, make us fear for them and be anxious about them. So
that one may often see men, in a cynical temper, inveighing against
marriage and children, who themselves shortly afterwards will be plunged
into unmanly excesses of grief, at the loss of their child by some slave
or concubine. Some have even shown terrible grief at the death of dogs
and horses; whereas others, who have lost noble sons, made no unusual or
unseemly exhibition of sorrow, but passed the remainder of their lives
calmly and composedly. Indeed it is weakness, not affection, which
produces such endless misery and dread to those who have not learned to
take a rational view of the uncertainty of life, and who cannot enjoy
the presence of their loved ones because of their constant agony for
fear of losing them. We should not make ourselves poor for fear of
losing our property, nor should we guard ourselves against a possible
loss of friends by making none; still less ought we to avoid having
children for fear that our child might die. But we have already dwelt
too much upon this subject.

VIII. After a long and harassing war with the Megarians about the
possession of the Island of Salamis, the Athenians finally gave up in
sheer weariness, and passed a law forbidding any one for the future,
either to speak or to write in favour of the Athenian claim to Salamis,
upon pain of death. Solon, grieved at this dishonour, and observing that
many of the younger men were eager for an excuse to fight, but dared not
propose to do so because of this law, pretended to have lost his reason.
His family gave out that he was insane, but he meanwhile composed a
poem, and when he had learned it by heart, rushed out into the
market-place wearing a small felt cap, and having assembled a crowd,
mounted the herald's stone and recited the poem which begins with the

    "A herald I from Salamis am come,
    My verse will tell you what should there be done."

The name of this poem is Salamis; it consists of a hundred beautifully
written lines. After he had sung it, his friends began to commend it,
and Peisistratus made a speech to the people, which caused such
enthusiasm that they abrogated the law and renewed the war, with Solon
as their leader. The common version of the story runs thus: Solon sailed
with Peisistratus to Kolias, where he found all the women of the city
performing the customary sacrifice to Demeter (Ceres). At the same time,
he sent a trusty man to Salamis, who represented himself as a deserter,
and bade the Megarians follow him at once to Kolias, if they wished to
capture all the women of the first Athenian families. The Megarians were
duped, and sent off a force in a ship. As soon as Solon saw this ship
sail away from the island, he ordered the women out of the way, dressed
up those young men who were still beardless in their clothes,
headdresses, and shoes, gave them daggers, and ordered them to dance and
disport themselves near the seashore until the enemy landed, and their
ship was certain to be captured. So the Megarians, imagining them to be
women, fell upon them, struggling which should first seize them, but
they were cut off to a man by the Athenians, who at once sailed to
Salamis and captured it.

IX. Others say that the island was not taken in this way, but that first
of all Solon received the following oracular response from Apollo at

    "Appease the land's true lords, the heroes blest,
    Who near Asopia's fair margin rest,
    And from their tombs still look towards the West."

After this, Solon is said to have sailed by night, unnoticed by the
Megarians, and to have sacrificed to the heroes Periphemus and Kychreus.
His next act was to raise five hundred Athenian volunteers, who by a
public decree were to be absolute masters of the island if they could
conquer it. With these he set sail in a number of fishing-boats, with a
triaconter or ship of war of thirty oars, sailing in company, and
anchored off a certain cape which stretches towards Euboea. The
Megarians in Euboea heard an indistinct rumour of this, and at once ran
to arms, and sent a ship to reconnoitre the enemy. This ship, when it
came near Solon's fleet, was captured and its crew taken prisoners. On
board of it Solon placed some picked men, and ordered them to make sail
for the city of Salamis, and to conceal themselves as far as they could.
Meanwhile he with the remaining Athenians attacked the Megarian forces
by land; and while the battle was at its hottest, the men in the ship
succeeded in surprising the city.

This story appears to be borne out by the proceedings which were
instituted in memory of the capture. In this ceremony an Athenian ship
used to sail to Salamis, at first in silence, and then as they neared
the shore with warlike shouts. Then a man completely armed used to leap
out and run, shouting as he went, up to the top of the hill called
Skiradion, where he met those who came by land. Close by this place
stands the temple of Ares, which Solon built; for he conquered the
Megarians in the battle, and sent away the survivors with a flag of

X. However, as the Megarians still continued the war, to the great
misery of both sides, they agreed to make the Lacedaemonians arbitrators
and judges between them. Most writers say that Solon brought the great
authority of Homer's 'Iliad' to his aid, by interpolating in the
catologue of ships the two verses--

    "Ajax from Salamis twelve vessels good
    Brought, and he placed them where the Athenians stood,"

which he had read as evidence before the court.

The Athenians, however, say that all this is nonsense, but that Solon
proved to the arbitrators that Philaeus and Eurysakes, the sons of Ajax,
when they were enrolled as Athenian citizens, made over the island to
Athens, and dwelt, one at Brauron, in Attica, and the other at Melité;
moreover, there is an Athenian tribe which claims descent from Philaeus,
to which Peisistratus belonged. Wishing, however, yet more thoroughly to
prove his case against the Megarians, he based an argument on the tombs
in the island, in which the corpses were buried, not in the Megarian,
but in the Athenian manner. For the Megarians bury their dead looking
towards the east, and the Athenians towards the west. But Hereas of
Megara denies this, and says that the Megarians also bury their dead
looking towards the west, and moreover, that each Athenian had a coffin
to himself, while the Megarians place two or three bodies in one coffin.
However, Solon supported his case by quoting certain oracles from
Delphi, in which the god addresses Salamis as Ionian. The Spartan
arbitrators were five in number, their names being Kritolaidas,
Amompharetus, Hypsichidas, Anaxilos, and Kleomenes.

XI. Solon's reputation and power were greatly increased by this, but he
became much more celebrated and well-known in Greece by his speeches on
behalf of the temple at Delphi, in which he urged the necessity of
checking the insolent conduct of the people of Kirrha towards the
temple, and of rallying in defence of the god. The Amphiktyons,
prevailed upon by his eloquence, declared war, as we learn from
Aristotle, among other writers, in his book about the winners of the
prize at the Pythian games, in which he attributes this decision to
Solon. However, he was not made general in that war, as Hermippus
relates, quoting from Evanthes of Samos; for Aeschines the orator does
not mention him, and, in the records of Delphi, Alkmaeon, not Solon, is
mentioned as general of the Athenians on that occasion.

XII. Athens had long been suffering from the anger of the gods, which it
had incurred by the treatment of Kylon's party. These conspirators took
sanctuary in Athene's temple, but were induced by Megakles the archon to
quit it and stand their trial. They fastened a thread to the shrine of
the goddess, and kept hold of it so as still to be under her protection.
But as they were coming down from the Acropolis, just beside the temple
of the Furies, the string broke, and Megakles and the other archons,
thinking that the goddess rejected their appeal, seized them. Some of
them were stoned to death outside the temple, and some who had fled for
sanctuary to the altars were slain there. Only those who fell as
suppliants at the feet of the archons' wives were spared. After this the
archons were called accursed, and were viewed with horror; moreover, the
survivors of Kylon's party regained strength, and continued their
intrigues against Megakles and the archons. At the time of which we are
speaking these dissensions had reached their height, and the city was
divided into two factions, when Solon, who was already a man of great
reputation, came forward with some of the noblest Athenians, and by his
entreaties and arguments prevailed upon those magistrates who were
called accursed, to stand trial and be judged by a jury of three hundred
citizens selected from the best families. Myron of Phlya prosecuted, and
the archons were found guilty, and forced to leave the country. The
bodies of such of them as had died were dug up, and cast out beyond the
borders of Attica.

During these disorders the Athenians were again attacked by the
Megarians, and lost Nisaea, and were again driven out of Salamis. The
city was also a prey to superstitious terrors, and apparitions were
seen, so that the prophets, after inspecting their victims, said that
the city was polluted and under a curse, and that it required
purification. Upon this they sent for Epimenides the Phaestian, of
Crete, who is reckoned among the seven wise men of Greece, by some of
those who do not admit Periander into their number. He was thought to
enjoy the favour of Heaven, and was skilled in all the lore of the
sacred mysteries, and in the sources of divine inspiration; wherefore he
was commonly reported to be the child of the nymph Balte, and to be one
of the old Curetes of Crete revived. He came to Athens and was a friend
to Solon, assisting him greatly in his legislation. He remodelled their
religious rites, and made their mourning more moderate, introducing
certain sacrifices shortly after the funeral, and abolishing the harsh
and barbarous treatment which women were for the most part subject to
before in times of mourning. Above all, by purifications and atoning
sacrifices, and the erection of new temples, he so sanctified and
hallowed the city as to make the minds of the people obedient to the
laws, and easily guided into unity and concord. It is said that he saw
Munychia, and viewed it carefully for some time in silence. Then he said
to the bystanders, "How blind is man to the future. The Athenians would
eat this place up with their teeth if they knew what misfortunes it will
bring upon them?" A prophetic saying of the same kind is attributed to
Thales. He bade his friends bury him in a low and neglected quarter of
Miletus, telling them that one day it would be the market-place of the
city. Epimenides was greatly honoured by the Athenians, and was offered
large sums of money by them, and great privileges, but he refused them
all, and only asked for a branch of the sacred olive-tree, which he
received and went his way.

XIII. When the troubles about Kylon were over, and the accursed men cast
out of the country, the Athenians relapsed into their old dispute about
the constitution. The state was divided into as many factions as there
were parts of the country, for the Diakrii, or mountaineers, favoured
democracy; the Pedioei, oligarchy; while those who dwelt along the
seashore, called Parali, preferred a constitution midway between these
two forms, and thus prevented either of the other parties from carrying
their point. Moreover, the state was on the verge of revolution, because
of the excessive poverty of some citizens, and the enormous wealth of
others, and it appeared that the only means of putting an end to these
disorders was by establishing an absolute despotism. The whole people
were in debt to a few wealthy men; they either cultivated their farms,
in which case they were obliged to pay one-sixth of the profit to their
creditors, and were called Hektemori, or servants, or else they had
raised loans upon personal security, and had become the slaves of their
creditors, who either employed them at home, or sold them to foreigners.
Many were even compelled to sell their own children, which was not
illegal, and to leave the country because of the harshness of their

The greater part, and those of most spirit, combined together, and
encouraged one another not to suffer such oppression any longer, but to
choose some trustworthy person to protect their interests, to set free
all enslaved debtors, redistribute the land, and, in a word, entirely
remodel the constitution.

XIV. In this position of affairs, the most sensible men in Athens
perceived that Solon was a person who shared the vices of neither
faction, as he took no part in the oppressive conduct of the wealthy,
and yet had sufficient fortune to save him from the straits to which the
poor were reduced. In consequence of this, they begged him to come
forward and end their disputes. But Phanias of Lesbos says that Solon
deceived both parties, in order to save the state, promising the poor a
redistribution of lands, and the rich a confirmation of their
securities. However, Solon himself tells us that it was with reluctance
that he interfered, as he was threatened by the avarice of the one
party, and the desperation of the other. He was chosen archon next after
Philombrotus, to act as an arbitrator and lawgiver at once, because the
rich had confidence in him as a man of easy fortune, and the poor
trusted him as a good man. It is said also that a saying which he had
let fall some time before, that "equality does not breed strife," was
much circulated at the time, and pleased both parties, because the rich
thought it meant that property should be distributed according to merit
and desert, while the poor thought it meant according to rule and
measure. Both parties were now elate with hope, and their leaders urged
Solon to seize the supreme power in the state, of which he was
practically possessed, and make himself king. Many even of the more
moderate class of politicians, who saw how weary and difficult a task it
would be to reform the state by debates and legislative measures, were
quite willing that so wise and honest a man should undertake the sole
management of affairs. It is even said that Solon received an oracle as

    "Take thou the helm, the vessel guide,
    Athens will rally to thy side."

His intimate friends were loudest in their reproaches, pointing out that
it was merely the name of despot from which he shrunk, and that in his
case his virtues would lead men to regard him as a legitimate hereditary
sovereign; instancing also Tunnondas, who in former times had been
chosen by the Euboeans, and, at the present time, Pittakus, who had been
chosen king of Mitylene. But nothing could shake Solon's determination.
He told his friends that monarchy is indeed a pleasant place, but there
is no way out of it; and he inserted the following verses in answer to
Phokus, in one of his poems:

                   "But if I spared
    My country, and with dread tyrannic sway,
    Forbore to stain and to pollute my glory;
    I feel no shame at this; nay rather thus,
    I think that I excel mankind."

From which it is clear that he possessed a great reputation even before
he became the lawgiver of Athens.

In answer to the reproaches of many of his friends at his refusal to
make himself despot, he wrote as follows:

    "Not a clever man was Solon, not a calculating mind,
    For he would not take the kingdom, which the gods to him inclined,
    In his net he caught the prey, but would not draw it forth to land,
    Overpowered by his terrors, feeble both of heart and hand;
    For a man of greater spirit would have occupied the throne,
    Proud to be the Lord of Athens, though 'twere for a day alone,
    Though the next day he and his into oblivion were thrown."

XV. This is the way in which he says the masses, and low-minded men,
spoke of him. He, however, firmly rejecting the throne, proceeded
quietly to administer public affairs, in laying down his laws without
any weak yielding to the powerful, or any attempt to court popularity.
Such as were good, he did not meddle with, fearing that if he

    "Disturbed and overset the state,"

he might not have sufficient power to

    "Reconstitute and organise again,"

in the best way. He carried out his measures by persuasion, and, where
he thought he could succeed, by force; in his own words,

    "Combining Force and Justice both together."

Being afterwards asked whether he had composed the best possible laws
for the Athenians, he answered, "The best that they would endure." And
the habit of Athenians of later times, who soften down harsh words by
using politer equivalents, calling harlots "mistresses," taxes
"contributions," garrisons of cities "protectors," and the common prison
"the house," was, it seems, first invented by Solon, who devised the
name of "relief from burdens" for his measure to abolish all debts.

This was his first measure; namely, to put an end to all existing debts
and obligations, and to forbid any one in future to lend money upon
security of the person of the debtor. Some writers, among whom is
Androtion, say that he benefited the poor, not by the absolute
extinction of debt, but by establishing a lower rate of interest; and
that this measure was called "Relief from burdens," and together with it
the two other measures for the enlargement of measures and of the value
of money, which were passed about the same time. For he ordered a mina,
which was before constituted of seventy three drachmas, to contain a
hundred, so that, though they paid the same amount, yet the value was
less; thus those who had much to pay were benefited, and still their
creditors were not cheated. But most writers say that the "Relief from
burdens" meant the extinction of all securities whatever, and this
agrees best with what we read in his poems. For Solon prides himself in
these upon having

    "Taken off the mortgages, which on the land were laid,
    And made the country free, which was formerly enslaved."

While he speaks of bringing back Athenian citizens who had been sold
into slavery abroad,

    "In distant lands who roam,
      Their native tongue forgot,
    Or here endure at home
      A slave's disgraceful lot,"

and of making them free men again.

It is said that in consequence of this measure he met with the greatest
trouble of his life. As he was meditating how he might put an end to
debt, and what words and preambles were best for the introduction of
this law, he took counsel with his most intimate friends, such as Konon
and Kleinias and Hipponikus, informing them that he had no intention of
interfering with the tenure of land, but that he intended to abolishing
all existing securities. They instantly took time by the forelock,
borrowed large sums from the wealthy, and bought up a great extent of
land. Presently the decree came forth, and they remained in enjoyment of
these estates, but did not repay their loan to their creditors. This
brought Solon into great discredit, for the people believed that he had
been their accomplice. But he soon proved that this must be false, by
remitting a debt of five talents which he himself had lent; and some
state the sum at fifteen talents, amongst whom is Polyzelus of Rhodes.
However, his friends were for ever afterwards called "The Swindlers."

XVI. By this measure he pleased neither party, but the rich were
dissatisfied at the loss of their securities, and the poor were still
more so because the land was not divided afresh, as they hoped it would
be, and because he had not, like Lykurgus, established absolute

But Lykurgus was eleventh in direct descent from Herakles, and had
reigned in Lacedaemon for many years, and had his own great reputation,
friends, and interest to assist him in carrying out his reforms: and
although he chose to effect his purpose by violence, so that his eye was
actually knocked out, yet he succeeded in carrying that measure, so
valuable for the safety and concord of the state, by which it was
rendered impossible for any citizen to be either rich or poor. Solon's
power could not reach this height, as he was only a commoner and a
moderate man; yet he did all that was in his power, relying solely upon
the confidence and goodwill of his countrymen.

It is clear that they were disappointed, and expected more from his
legislation, from his own verses--

    "Once they speculated gaily, what good luck should them befall,
    Now they look upon me coldly, as a traitor to them all."

Yet he says, if any one else had been in his position,

    "He ne'er would have desisted from unsettling the laws,
    Till he himself got all the cream."

However, not long afterwards, they perceived the public benefits which
he had conferred upon them, forgot their private grievances, and made a
public sacrifice in honour of the Seisachtheia, or "Relief from
burdens." Moreover, they constituted Solon supreme reformer and
lawgiver, not over some departments only, but placing everything alike
in his hands; magistracies, public assemblies, senate, and law-courts.
He had full powers to confirm or abolish any of these, and to fix the
proper qualifications for members of them, and their numbers and times
of meeting.

XVII. First of all, then, he repealed all the laws of Drakon, except
those relating to murder, because of their harshness and the excessive
punishments which they awarded. For death was the punishment for almost
every offence, so that even men convicted of idleness were executed, and
those who stole pot-herbs or fruits suffered just like sacrilegious
robbers and murderers. So that Demades afterwards made the joke that
Drakon's laws were not written with ink, but with blood. It is said
that Drakon himself, when asked why he had fixed the punishment of death
for most offences, answered that he considered these lesser crimes to
deserve it, and he had no greater punishment for more important ones.

XVIII. In the next place, Solon, who wished to leave all magistracies as
he found them, in the hands of the wealthy classes, but to give the
people a share in the rest of the constitution, from which they were
then excluded, took a census of the wealth of the citizens, and made a
first class of those who had an annual income of not less than five
hundred medimni of dry or liquid produce; these he called
Pentakosiomedimni. The next class were the Hippeis, or knights,
consisting of those who were able to keep a horse, or who had an income
of three hundred medimni. The third class were the Zeugitae, whose
property qualification was two hundred medimni of dry or liquid produce;
and the last class were the Thetes, whom Solon did not permit to be
magistrates, but whose only political privilege was the right of
attending the public assemblies and sitting as jurymen in the law
courts. This privilege was at first insignificant, but afterwards became
of infinite importance, because most disputes were settled before a
jury. Even in those cases which he allowed the magistrates to settle, he
provided a final appeal to the people.

Solon moreover is said to have purposely worded his laws vaguely and
with several interpretations, in order to increase the powers of these
juries, because persons who could not settle their disputes by the
letter of the law were obliged to have recourse to juries of the people,
and to refer all disputes to them, as being to a certain extent above
the laws. He himself notices this in the following verses:

    "I gave the people all the strength they needed,
      Yet kept the power of the nobles strong;
    Thus each from other's violence I shielded,
      Not letting either do the other wrong."

Thinking that the weakness of the populace required still further
protection, he permitted any man to prosecute on behalf of any other who
might be ill-treated. Thus if a man were struck or injured, any one else
who was able and willing might prosecute on his behalf, and the
lawgiver by this means endeavoured to make the whole body of citizens
act together and feel as one. A saying of his is recorded which quite
agrees with the spirit of this law. Being asked, what he thought was the
best managed city? "That," he answered, "in which those who are not
wronged espouse the cause of those who are, and punish their

XIX. He established the senate of the Areopagus of those who had held
the yearly office of archon, and himself became a member of it because
he had been archon. But in addition to this, observing that the people
were becoming turbulent and unruly, in consequence of their relief from
debt, he formed a second senate, consisting of a hundred men selected
from each of the four tribes, to deliberate on measures in the first
instance, and he permitted no measures to be proposed before the general
assembly, which had not been previously discussed in this senate. The
upper senate he intended to exercise a general supervision, and to
maintain the laws, and he thought that with these two senates as her
anchors, the ship of the state would ride more securely, and that the
people would be less inclined to disorder. Most writers say that Solon
constituted the senate of the Areopagus, as is related above; and this
view is supported by the fact that Drakon nowhere mentions or names the
Areopagites, but in all cases of murder refers to the Ephetai. However,
the eighth law on the thirteenth table of the laws of Solon runs thus:--

"All citizens who were disfranchised before the magistracy of Solon
shall resume their rights, except those who have been condemned by the
Areopagus, or by the Ephetai, or by the king--archons, in the prytaneum,
for murder or manslaughter, or attempts to overthrow the government and
who were in exile when this law was made."

This again proves that the senate of the Areopagus existed before the
time of Solon; for who could those persons be who were condemned by the
court of the Areopagus, if Solon was the first who gave the senate of
the Areopagus a criminal jurisdiction; though perhaps some words have
been left out, or indistinctly written, and the law means "all those
who had been condemned on the charges which now are judged by the court
of the Areopagus, the Ephetai, or the Prytanies, when this law was made,
must remain disfranchised, though the others become enfranchised?" Of
these explanations the reader himself must consider which he prefers.

XX. The strangest of his remaining laws is that which declared
disfranchised a citizen who in a party conflict took neither side;
apparently his object was to prevent any one regarding home politics in
a listless, uninterested fashion, securing his own personal property,
and priding himself upon exemption from the misfortunes of his country,
and to encourage men boldly to attach themselves to the right party and
to share all its dangers, rather than in safety to watch and see which
side would be successful. That also is a strange and even ludicrous
provision in one of his laws, which permits an heiress, whose husband
proves impotent, to avail herself of the services of the next of kin to
obtain an heir to her estate. Some, however, say that this law rightly
serves men who know themselves to be unfit for marriage, and who
nevertheless marry heiresses for their money, and try to make the laws
override nature; for, when they see their wife having intercourse with
whom she pleases, they will either break off the marriage, or live in
constant shame, and so pay the penalty of their avarice and wrong-doing.
It is a good provision also, that the heiress may not converse with any
one, but only with him whom she may choose from among her husband's
relations, so that her offspring may be all in the family. This is
pointed at by his ordinance that the bride and bridegroom should be shut
in the same room and eat a quince together, and that the husband of an
heiress should approach her at least thrice in each month. For even if
no children are born, still this is a mark of respect to a good wife,
and puts an end to many misunderstandings, preventing their leading to
an actual quarrel.

In other marriages he suppressed dowries, and ordered the bride to bring
to her husband three dresses and a few articles of furniture of no great
value; for he did not wish marriages to be treated as money bargains or
means of gain, but that men and women should enter into marriage for
love and happiness and procreation of children. Dionysius, the despot of
Syracuse, when his mother wished to be married to a young citizen, told
her that he had indeed broken the laws of the state when he seized the
throne, but that he could not disregard the laws of nature so far as to
countenance such a monstrous union. These disproportioned matches ought
not to be permitted in any state, nor should men be allowed to form
unequal loveless alliances, which are in no sense true marriages. A
magistrate or lawgiver might well address an old man who marries a young
girl in the words of Sophokles: "Poor wretch, a hopeful bridegroom you
will be;" and if he found a young man fattening like a partridge in the
house of a rich old woman, he ought to transfer him to some young maiden
who is without a husband. So much for this subject.

XXI. Besides these, Solon's law which forbids men to speak evil of the
dead is much praised. It is good to think of the departed as sacred, and
it is only just to refrain from attacking the absent, while it is
politic, also, to prevent hatred from being eternal. He also forbade
people to speak evil of the living in temples, courts of justice, public
buildings, or during the national games; and imposed a fine of three
drachmas to the person offended, and two to the state. His reason for
this was that it shows a violent and uncultivated nature not to be able
to restrain one's passion in certain places and at certain times,
although it is hard to do so always, and to some persons impossible; and
a legislator should frame his laws with a view to what he can reasonably
hope to effect, and rather correct a few persons usefully than punish a
number to no purpose.

He gained credit also by his law about wills. Before his time these were
not permitted at Athens, but the money and lands of a deceased person
were inherited by his family in all cases. Solon, however, permitted any
one who had no children to leave his property to whom he would,
honouring friendship more than nearness of kin, and giving a man
absolute power to dispose of his inheritance. Yet, on the other hand, he
did not permit legacies to be given without any restrictions, but
disallowed all that were obtained by the effects of disease or by
administration of drugs to the testator, or by imprisonment and
violence, or by the solicitations of his wife, as he rightly considered
that to be persuaded by one's wife against one's better judgment is the
same as to submit to force. For Solon held that a man's reason was
perverted by deceit as much as by violence, and by pleasure no less than
by pain.

He regulated, moreover, the journeys of the women, and their mournings
and festivals. A woman was not allowed to travel with more than three
dresses, nor with more than an obolus' worth of food or drink, nor a
basket more than a cubit in length; nor was she to travel at night,
except in a waggon with a light carried in front of it. He abolished the
habits of tearing themselves at funerals, and of reciting set forms of
dirges, and of hiring mourners. He also forbade them to sacrifice an ox
for the funeral feast, and to bury more than three garments with the
body, and to visit other persons' graves. Most of these things are
forbidden by our own laws also; with the addition, that by our laws
those who offend thus are fined by the gynaeconomi, or regulators of the
women, for giving way to unmanly and womanish sorrow.

XXII. Observing that the city was filled with men who came from all
countries to take refuge in Attica, that the country was for the most
part poor and unproductive, and that merchants also are unwilling to
despatch cargoes to a country which has nothing to export, he encouraged
his countrymen to embark in trade, and made a law that a son was not
obliged to support his father, if his father had not taught him a trade.
As for Lykurgus, whose city was clear of strangers, and whose land was
"unstinted, and with room for twice the number," as Euripides says, and
who above all had all the Helots, throughout Lacedaemon, who were best
kept employed, in order to break their spirit by labour and hardship, it
was very well that his citizens should disdain laborious handicrafts and
devote their whole attention to the art of war.

But Solon had not the power to change the whole life of his countrymen
by his laws, but rather was forced to suit his laws to existing
circumstances, and, as he saw that the soil was so poor that it could
only suffice for the farmers, and was unable to feed a mass of idle
people as well, he gave great honour to trade, and gave powers to the
senate of the Areopagus to inquire what each man's source of income
might be, and to punish the idle. A harsher measure was that of which we
are told by Herakleides of Pontus, his making it unnecessary for
illegitimate children to maintain their father. Yet if a man abstains
from an honourable marriage, and lives with a woman more for his own
pleasure in her society than with a view to producing a family, he is
rightly served, and cannot upbraid his children with neglecting him,
because he has made their birth their reproach.

XXIII. Altogether Solon's laws concerning women are very strange. He
permitted a husband to kill an adulterer taken in the act; but if any
one carried off a free woman and forced her, he assessed the penalty at
one hundred drachmas. If he obtained her favours by persuasion, he was
to pay twenty drachmas, except in the case of those who openly ply for
hire, alluding to harlots; for they come to those who offer them money
without any concealment. Moreover, he forbade men to sell their sisters
and daughters, except in the case of unchastity. Now to punish the same
offence at one time with unrelenting severity, and at another in a light
and trifling manner, by imposing so slight a fine, is unreasonable,
unless the scarcity of specie in the city at that period made fines
which were paid in money more valuable than they would now be; indeed,
in the valuation of things for sacrifice, a sheep and a drachma were
reckoned as each equal to a medimnus of corn. To the victor at the
Isthmian games he appointed a reward of a hundred drachmas, and to the
victor in the Olympian, five hundred. He gave five drachmas for every
wolf that was killed, and one drachma for every wolf's whelp; and we are
told by Demetrius of Phalerum that the first of these sums was the price
of an ox, and the second that of a sheep. The prices of choice victims,
which he settled in his sixteenth tablet of laws, would naturally be
higher than those of ordinary beasts, but even thus they are cheap
compared with prices at the present day. It was an ancient practice
among the Athenians to destroy the wolves, because their country was
better fitted for pasture than for growing crops. Some say that the
Athenian tribes derive their names, not from the sons of Ion, but from
the different professions in which men were then divided: thus the
fighting men were named Hoplites, and the tradesmen Ergadeis; the two
remaining ones being the Geleontes, or farmers, and the Aigikoreis, or
goat-herds and graziers. With regard to water, as the country is not
supplied with either rivers or lakes, but the people depend chiefly upon
artificial wells, he made a law, that wherever there was a public well
within four furlongs, people should use it, but if it were farther off,
then they must dig a private well for themselves; but if a man dug a
depth of sixty feet on his own estate without finding water, then he was
to have the right of filling a six-gallon pitcher twice a day at his
neighbour's well; for Solon thought it right to help the distressed, and
yet not to encourage laziness. He also made very judicious regulations
about planting trees, ordering that they should not be planted within
five feet of a neighbour's property, except in the case of olives and
fig-trees, which were not to be planted within nine feet; for these
trees spread out their roots farther than others, and spoil the growth
of any others by taking away their nourishment and by giving off hurtful
juices. Trenches and pits he ordered to be dug as far away from another
man's property as they were deep; and no hive of bees was to be placed
within three hundred feet of those already established by another man.

XXIV. Oil was the only product of the country which he allowed to be
exported, everything else being forbidden; and he ordered that if any
one broke this law the archon was to solemnly curse him, unless he paid
a hundred drachmas into the public treasury. This law is written on the
first of his tablets. From this we see that the old story is not
altogether incredible, that the export of figs was forbidden, and that
the men who informed against those who had done so were therefore called
sycophants. He also made laws about damage received from animals, one of
which was that a dog who had bitten a man should be delivered up to him
tied to a stick three cubits long, an ingenious device for safety.

One is astounded at his law of adopting foreigners into the state,
which permits no one to become a full citizen in Athens unless he be
either exiled for life from his native city, or transfers himself with
his whole family to Athens to practise his trade there. It is said that
his object in this was not so much to exclude other classes of people
from the city, as to assure these of a safe refuge there; and these he
thought would be good and faithful citizens, because the former had been
banished from their own country, and the latter had abandoned it of
their own freewill. Another peculiarity of Solon's laws was the public
dining-table in the prytaneum. Here he did not allow the same person to
dine often, while he punished the man who was invited and would not
come, because the one seemed gluttonous, and the other contemptuous.

XXV. He ordered that all his laws should remain in force for a hundred
years, and he wrote them upon triangular wooden tablets, which revolved
upon an axis in oblong recesses, some small remains of which have been
preserved in the prytaneum down to the present day. These, we are told
by Aristotle, were called _Kurbeis_. The comic poet Kratinus also says,

    "By Solon and by Draco, mighty legislators once,
    Whose tablets light the fire now to warm a dish of pulse."

Some say that the term _Kurbeis_ is only applied to those on which are
written the laws which regulate religious matters.

The senate swore by a collective oath that it would enforce Solon's
laws; and each of the Thesmothetae took an oath to the same effect at
the altar in the market-place, protesting that, if he transgressed any
of the laws, he would offer a golden statue as big as himself to the
temple at Delphi.

Observing the irregularity of the months, and that the motions of the
moon did not accord either with the rising or setting of the sun, but
that frequently she in the same day overtakes and passes by him, he
ordered that day to be called "the old and the new," and that the part
of it before their conjunction should belong to the old month, while the
rest of the day after it belonged to the new one, being, it seems, the
first to rightly interpret the verse of Homer--

    "The old month ended and the new began."

He called the next day that of the new moon. After the twentieth, he no
longer reckoned forwards, but backwards, as the moon decreased, until
the thirtieth of the month.

When Solon had passed all his laws, as people came to him every day to
praise or blame, or advise him to add or take away from what he had
written, while innumerable people wanted to ask questions, and discuss
points, and kept bidding him explain what was the object of this or that
regulation, he, feeling that he could not do all this, and that, if he
did not, his motives would be misunderstood; wishing, moreover, to
escape from troubles and the criticism and fault-finding of his
countrymen [for, as he himself writes, it is "Hard in great measures
every one to please"], made his private commercial business an excuse
for leaving the country, and set sail after having obtained from the
Athenians leave of absence for ten years. In this time he thought they
would become used to his laws.

XXVI. He first went to Egypt, where he spent some time, as he himself

    "At Nilus' outlets, by Canopus' strand."

And he also discussed points of philosophy with Psenophis of Heliopolis,
and with Sonchis of Sais, the most distinguished of the Egyptian
priests. From them he heard the tale of the island Atlantis, as we are
told by Plato, and endeavoured to translate it into a poetical form for
the enjoyment of his countrymen. He next sailed to Cyprus, where he was
warmly received by Philocyprus, one of the local sovereigns, who ruled
over a small city founded by Demophon, the son of Theseus, near the
river Klarius, in a position which was easily defended, but

As a fair plain lay below, Solon persuaded him to remove the city to a
pleasanter and less contracted site, and himself personally
superintended the building of the new city, which he arranged so well
both for convenience and safety, that many new settlers joined
Philocyprus, and he was envied by the neighbouring kings. For this
reason, in honour of Solon, he named the new city Soloi, the name of the
old one having been Aipeia. Solon himself mentions this event, in one of
his elegiac poems, in which he addresses Philocyprus, saying--

                         "Long may'st thou reign,
      Ruling thy race from Soloi's throne with glory,
    But me may Venus of the violet crown
      Send safe away from Cyprus famed in story.
    May Heaven to these new walls propitious prove,
    And bear me safely to the land I love."

XXVII. Some writers argue, on chronological grounds, that Solon's
meeting with Croesus must have been an invention. But I cannot think
that so famous a story, which is confirmed by so many writers, and,
moreover, which so truly exhibits Solon's greatness of mind and wisdom,
ought to be given up because of the so-called rules of chronology, which
have been discussed by innumerable persons, up to the present day,
without their being ever able to make their dates agree. The story goes
that Solon at Croesus's desire came to Sardis, and there felt much like
a continental when he goes down to the seaside for the first time; for
he thinks each river he comes to must be the sea, and so Solon, as he
walked through the court and saw many of the courtiers richly attired
and each of them swaggering about with a train of attendants and
body-guards, thought that each one must be the king, until he was
brought before the king himself, who, as far as precious stones, richly
dyed clothes, and cunningly worked gold could adorn him, was splendid
and admirable, indeed a grand and gorgeous spectacle to behold. When
Solon was brought into his presence, he showed none of the feelings and
made none of the remarks about the sight, which Croesus expected, but
evidently despised such vulgar ostentation. Croesus then ordered his
treasures to be exhibited to him, and all the rest of his possessions
and valuables; not that Solon needed this, for the sight of Croesus
himself was enough to show him what sort of man he was. When, after
having seen all this, he was again brought before the king, Croesus
asked him whether he knew any man more happy than himself. Solon at
once answered that one Tellus, a fellow countryman of his own, was more
happy. He explained that Tellus was a good man, and left a family of
good sons; that he passed his life beyond the reach of want, and died
gloriously in battle for his country. At this, Croesus began to think
that Solon must be a cross-grained churlish fellow, if he did not
measure happiness by silver and gold, but preferred the life and death
of some private man of low degree to such power and empire as his.
However, he asked him a second time, whether he knew any one more happy
than himself, next to Tellus. Solon answered that he knew two men,
Kleobis and Biton, remarkable for their love for each other and for
their mother, who, as the oxen that drew their mother travelled slowly,
put themselves under the yoke and drew the carriage with her in it to
the temple of Here. She was congratulated by all the citizens, and was
very proud of them; and they offered sacrifice, drank some wine, and
then passed away by a painless death after so much glory.

"Then," asked Croesus angrily, "do you not reckon me at all among happy
men?" Solon, who did not wish to flatter him, nor yet to exasperate him
farther, answered, "O King of the Lydians, we Greeks have been endowed
with moderate gifts, by Heaven, and our wisdom is of a cautious and
homely cast, not of a royal and magnificent character; so, being
moderate itself, and seeing the manifold chances to which life is
exposed, it does not permit us to take a pride in our present
possessions, nor to admire the good fortune of any man when it is liable
to change. Strange things await every man in the unknown future; and we
think that man alone happy whose life has been brought to a fortunate
termination. To congratulate a man who is yet alive and exposed to the
caprice of fortune is like proclaiming and crowning as victor one who
has not yet run his race, for his good fortune is uncertain and liable
to reversal." After speaking thus, Solon took his leave, having enraged
Croesus, who could not take his good advice.

XXVIII. Aesop, the writer of the fables, who had been sent for to Sardis
by Croesus and enjoyed his favour, was vexed at the king's ungracious
reception of Solon, and advised him thus: "Solon," said he, "one ought
either to say very little to kings or else say what they wish most to
hear." "Not so," said Solon; "one should either say very little to them,
or else say what is best for them to hear." So at that time Croesus
despised Solon; but after he had been defeated by Cyrus, his city taken,
and he himself was about to be burned alive upon a pyre erected in the
presence of all the Persians and of Cyrus himself, then he thrice cried
out, "Solon," as loud as he could. Cyrus, surprised at this, sent to ask
what man or god Solon might be, who was invoked by a man in such
extremity. Croesus, without any concealment said, "He is one of the wise
men of Greece, whom I sent for, not because I wished to listen to him
and learn what I was ignorant of, but in order that he might see and
tell of my wealth, which I find it is a greater misfortune to lose than
it was a blessing to possess. For, while I possessed it, all I enjoyed
was opinion and empty talk; whereas, now the loss of it has brought me
in very deed into terrible and irreparable misfortunes and sufferings.
Now this man, who foresaw what might befall me, bade me look to the end
of my life, and not be arrogant on the strength of a fleeting

When this was reported to Cyrus, he being a wiser man than Croesus, and
finding Solon's words strongly borne out by the example before him, not
only released Croesus, but treated him with favour for the rest of his
life; so that Solon had the glory of having by the same words saved one
king's life and given instruction to another.

XXIX. During Solon's absence the strife of the factions at Athens was
renewed; Lykurgus was the chief of the party of the Pediaei, Megakles,
the son of Alkmaeon, led the Parali, and Peisistratus, the Diakrii, who
were joined by the mass of the poorer classes who hated the rich. Thus
the city still obeyed Solon's laws, but was longing for change, and all
men hoped for a new revolution, in which they trusted to get not only
their rights, but something more, and to triumph over the opposite
faction. In this state of affairs Solon landed at Athens, and was
received with respect by all the citizens. Although, on account of his
age, he was no longer able to engage in politics as keenly as before,
still he met the leaders of the various factions privately and
endeavoured to arrange their differences and reconcile them to one
another. Peisistratus appeared to pay more attention to him than the
others, for he was crafty and pleasant of speech, a protector of the
poor, and a man of moderation even in his quarrels. The qualities which
he had not, he affected to possess, giving himself out to be a cautious
and law-abiding man, who loved even-handed justice and was enraged at
any revolutionary proceedings. Thus he deceived the people; but Solon
soon saw through him, and detected his plans before any one else. He was
not shocked, but endeavoured to turn him from his purpose by advice,
saying to him and to others that if his desire to be first and his wish
to make himself master could be removed, there would be no more
excellent and virtuous citizen than Peisistratus.

At this time Thespis was beginning to introduce the drama, and the
novelty of his exhibition attracted many people, although the regular
contests were not yet introduced. Solon, who was fond of seeing sights
and gaining knowledge, and whose old age was spent in leisure and
amusements and good fellowship, went to see Thespis, who acted in his
own play, as the ancient custom was. After the play was over, he asked
him if he was not ashamed to tell so many lies before so many people.
When Thespis answered that there was no harm in saying and doing these
things in jest, Solon violently struck the ground with his stick,
saying, "If we praise and approve of such jests as these, we shall soon
find people jesting with our business."

XXX. When Peisistratus wounded himself and was driven into the
market-place in a cart to excite the people, whom he told that he had
been so treated by his enemies because he defended the constitution, and
while he was surrounded by a noisy crowd of sympathisers, Solon came
near him and said, "Son of Hippokrates, you are dishonourably imitating
Homer's Ulysses. You are doing this to deceive your fellow citizens,
while he mutilated himself to deceive the enemy." Upon this, as the
people were willing to take up arms on behalf of Peisistratus, they
assembled at the Pnyx, where Ariston proposed that a body-guard of
fifty club-bearers should be assigned to Peisistratus. Solon opposed
this, urging many arguments, like what we read in his poems:

    "You hang upon a crafty speaker's words;"

and again,

    "Each alone a fox in cunning,
    You grow stupid when you meet."

But as he saw that the poor were eager to serve Peisistratus, while the
rich held back from cowardice, he went away, after saying that he was
wiser than the one class, and braver than the other; wiser, namely, than
those who did not understand what was going on, and braver than those
who did understand, but did not dare to oppose the despotism with which
they were threatened.

The people carried the proposal, and would not be so mean as to make any
stipulation with Peisistratus about the number of his body-guard, but
permitted him to keep as many as he pleased until he seized the
Acropolis. When this took place, the city was convulsed; Megakles and
the other descendants of Alkmaeon fled, but Solon, although he was now
very old and had no one to stand by him, nevertheless came into the
market-place and addressed the citizens, reproaching them for their
folly and remissness, and urging them to make a final effort to retain
their freedom. It was then that he made the memorable remark that, in
former days it would have been easier for them to have prevented
despotism from appearing amongst them, but that now it would be more
glorious to cut it down, when it had arrived at its full growth.
However, as no one listened to him, because of the general terror, he
went home, armed himself, and took his post in the street outside his
door, saying, "I have done all I could for my country and her laws."
After this he remained quiet, though his friends urged him to leave
Athens. He, however, wrote poems reproaching the Athenians--

    "Through your own cowardice you suffered wrong,
      Blame then yourselves and not the gods for this;
    'Twas you yourselves that made the tyrant strong,
      And rightly do you now your freedom miss."

XXXI. At this many of his friends told him that the despot would surely
put him to death, and when they asked him what he trusted to, that he
performed such mad freaks, he answered, "To my age." But Peisistratus,
after he became established as sovereign, showed such marked favour to
Solon that he even was advised by him, and received his approval in
several cases. For he enforced most of Solon's laws, both observing them
himself and obliging his friends to do so. Indeed, when accused of
murder before the court of the Areopagus, he appeared in due form to
stand his trial, but his accuser let the case fall through. He also made
other laws himself, one of which is that those who are maimed in war
shall be kept at the public expense. Herakleides says that this was done
in imitation of Solon, who had already proposed it in the case of
Thersippus. But Theophrastus tells us that it was not Solon, but
Peisistratus, who made the law about idleness, by means of which he
rendered the city more quiet, and the country better cultivated.

Solon also attempted to write a great poem about the fable of
'Atlantis,' which he had learned from the chroniclers of Sais
particularly concerned the Athenians, but he did not finish it, not, as
Plato says, for want of leisure, but rather because of his advanced age,
which made him fear that the task was too great for him. His own words
tell us that he had abundance of leisure--

    "Old I grow, but ever learning,"


    "Venus and Bacchus are all my care,
    And the Muses, that charm the hearts of men."

Plato eagerly took in hand the scheme of the 'Atlantis,' as though it
were a fine site for a palace, which had come to be his by inheritance,
still unbuilt on. He placed in the beginning of it such splendid
entrance-halls and vestibules as we find in no other tale or legend or
poem, but, as he began the work too late, he died before he was able to
finish it; so that the more we enjoy what he has written, the more we
grieve over what is lost. As the temple of Olympic Zeus among the
temples of Athens, so the 'Atlantis' is the only one among Plato's many
noble writings that is unfinished.

Solon lived on into the reign of Peisistratus for a long time,
according to Herakleides of Pontus, but less than two years, according
to Phanias of Eresus. For Peisistratus became despot in the archonship
of Komius, and Phanias tells us that Solon died during the archonship of
Hegesistratus, Komias' successor. The story that his ashes were
scattered round the island of Salamis is legendary and improbable, yet
it is confirmed by many trustworthy writers, amongst whom is the
philosopher Aristotle.


I. As a parallel to Solon we shall take Poplicola, who was honoured with
this name by the Romans, his original name having been Publius Valerius,
a supposed descendant of that Valerius who in ancient times was
especially instrumental in making the Romans and Sabines cease to be
enemies and become one people; for it was he who persuaded the two kings
to meet and make terms of peace. Valerius, a descendant of this hero,
was a man of eminence in Rome, which was then ruled by the kings,
because of his eloquence and wealth. He always spoke boldly on the side
of justice, and assisted the poor and needy with such kindness that it
was clear that, in case of a revolution, he would become the first man
in the state.

Tarquinius Superbus, the king, had not come to his throne justly, but by
wicked and lawless violence, and as he reigned tyrannically and
insolently, the people hated him, and seized the opportunity of the
death of Lucretia, after her dishonour, to drive him out. Lucius Brutus,
who was determined to change the form of government, applied to Valerius
first of all, and with his vigorous assistance drove out the king. After
these events Valerius kept quiet, as long as it seemed likely that the
people would choose a single general to replace their king, because he
thought that it was Brutus's right to be elected, as he had been the
leader of the revolution. However the people, disgusted with the idea of
monarchy, and thinking that they could more easily endure to be ruled by
two men, proposed that two consuls should be chosen. Valerius now became
a candidate, hoping that he and Brutus would be elected; but he was not
chosen. Brutus, instead of Valerius, whom he would have preferred, had
as a colleague Tarquinius Collatinus, the husband of Lucretia, who was
not a better man than Valerius, but was elected because the men in power
at Rome, seeing what intrigues the exiled king was setting on foot to
secure his return, wished to have for their general a man who was his
sworn personal enemy.

II. Valerius, disgusted at the idea that he was not trusted to fight for
his country because he had not suffered any personal wrong at the hands
of the king, left the senate, refused to attend public meetings, and
ceased to take any part whatever in public affairs, so that people began
to fear that in his rage he might go over to the king's party and
destroy the tottering edifice of Roman liberty. Brutus suspected some
others besides him, and proposed on a certain day to hold a solemn
sacrifice and bind the senate by an oath. Valerius, however, came
cheerfully into the Forum, and was the first to swear that he would
never yield anything to the Tarquins, but would fight for liberty to the
death, by which he greatly delighted the senate and encouraged the
leading men of the state. His acts too, immediately confirmed his words,
for ambassadors came from Tarquin with specious and seductive proposals,
such as he thought would win over the people, coming from a king who
seemed to have laid aside his insolence and only to wish for his just
rights. The consuls thought it right that these proposals should be laid
before the people, but Valerius would not permit it, not wishing that
the poorer citizens, to whom the war was a greater burden than the
monarchy had been, should have any excuse for revolt.

III. After this came other ambassadors, announcing that Tarquin would
give up his throne, put an end to the war, and only ask for his own
property and that of his relatives and friends, upon which to live in
exile. Many were inclined to agree to this, and amongst them Collatinus,
when Brutus, an inflexible and harsh-tempered man, rushed into the
Forum, calling out that his colleague was a traitor, who wished to
furnish the tyrant with the means of continuing the war and recovering
his throne, when he ought rather to grudge him food to keep him from
starving. The citizens assembled, and Caius Minucius, a private citizen,
was the first man who addressed them, encouraging Brutus, and pointing
out to the Romans how much better it was that the money should be used
to help them than to help their enemies. In spite of this, however, the
Romans decided that, as they now possessed the liberty for which they
had fought, they would not lose the additional blessing of peace for the
sake of this property, but would cast it from them after the tyrant to
which it belonged.

Tarquin really cared little for the property, and the demand was merely
made in order to sound the people and arrange a plot for the betrayal of
the state, which was managed by the ambassadors whom he had nominally
sent to look after his property. These men were selling some part of it,
keeping some safe, and sending some of it away, and meanwhile intrigued
so successfully that they won over two of the best families in Rome,
that of the Aquillii, in which were three senators, and that of the
Vitellii, among whom were two. All these men were, on the mother's side,
nephews of the consul Collatinus, and the Vitellii were also related to
Brutus, for he had married their sister, and by her had a large family.
The Vitellii, being relatives and intimate friends of the two elder sons
of Brutus, induced them to take part in the conspiracy, holding out to
them the hope that they might ally themselves to the great house of
Tarquin, soon to be restored to the throne, and would rid themselves of
their father's stupidity and harshness. By harshness, they alluded to
his inexorable punishment of bad men, and the stupidity was that which
he himself affected for a long time, in order to conceal his real
character from the tyrant, which was made matter of reproach to him

IV. So, after they had persuaded these young men, they conferred again
with the Aquillii, and determined that all the conspirators should swear
a great and terrible oath, in which a man is killed, and each person
then pours a libation of his blood, and touches his entrails. The room
in which they meant to do this was, as may be supposed, a dark and
half-ruined one. Now a servant of the name of Vindicius happened to
conceal himself in it; not that he had any designs or any knowledge of
what was going on, but chancing to be in the room when the conspirators
solemnly entered, he was afraid of being detected there, and so hid
himself behind a chest, where he could see what was done and hear what
was said by them. They agreed to assassinate both consuls, and wrote a
letter to Tarquin acquainting him with their determination, which they
gave to the ambassadors, who were lodging in the house of the Aquillii
as their guests, and were present at this scene. After this they
dispersed, and Vindicius came out from his hiding-place. He was at a
loss what use to make of the discovery which Fortune had thrown in his
way, for he thought it a shocking thing, as indeed it was, for him to
make such a fearful revelation to Brutus about his sons, or to
Collatinus about his nephews, and he would not trust any private citizen
with a secret of such importance. Tormented by his secret, and unable to
remain quiet, he addressed himself to Valerius, chiefly moved to do so
by his affable kindly temper; for his house was open all day to those
who wished to speak with him, and he never refused an interview or
rejected a poor man's petition.

V. When, then, Vindicius came before him and told him all that he knew
in the presence only of his wife and his brother Marcus, Valerius was
astounded and horrified. He would not let the man go, but locked him up,
set his wife to guard the door, and bade his brother to surround the
king's quarters, to seize the letter, if possible, keeping a strict
watch over all the servants there. He himself, with a large train of
clients, friends and servants, went to the house of the Aquillii, who
were not within. As no one expected him, he pushed into the house and
found the letter lying in the ambassadors' apartments.

While he was thus employed, the Aquillii returned in haste, and
assembling a force at the door endeavoured to take away the letter from
him. His own party came to his assistance, and with their gowns twisted
round their necks with much buffeting made their way to the Forum. The
same thing happened at the king's quarters, where Marcus laid hold of
another letter which was being taken thither concealed among some
baggage, and brought as many of the king's party as he could into the

VI. When the consuls had put a stop to the confusion, Vindicius, at
Valerius's command, was brought out of his prison, and a court was held.
The letters were recognised, and the culprits had nothing to say for
themselves. All were silent and downcast, and a few, thinking to please
Brutus, hinted at banishment as the penalty of their crime. Collatinus
by his tears, and Valerius by his silence gave them hopes of mercy. But
Brutus, addressing each of his sons by name, said, "Come, Titus, come
Tiberius, why do you make no answer to the charges against you?" As,
after being asked thrice, they made no answer, he, turning his face to
the lictors, said, "I have done my work, do yours." They immediately
seized upon the young men, tore off their clothes, tied their hands
behind their backs, and scourged them. Although the people had not the
heart to look at so dreadful a sight, yet it is said that Brutus never
turned away his head, and showed no pity on his stern countenance, but
sat savagely looking on at the execution of his sons until at last they
were laid on the ground and their heads severed with an axe. Then he
handed over the rest of the culprits to be dealt with by his colleague,
rose, and left the Forum. His conduct cannot be praised, and yet it is
above censure. Either virtue in his mind overpowered every other
feeling, or his sorrow was so great as to produce insensibility. In
neither case was there anything unworthy, or even human in his conduct,
but it was either that of a god or a brute beast. It is better, however,
that we should speak in praise of so great a man rather than allow our
weakness to distrust his virtue. Indeed the Romans think that even the
foundation of the city by Romulus was not so great an event as the
confirmation of its constitution by Brutus.

VII. When he left the Forum all men were silent for a long while,
shuddering at what had been done. The Aquillii took heart at the
mildness of Collatinus, and asked for time to prepare their defence.
They also begged that Vindicius might be given up to them, because he
was their servant, and ought not to be on the side of their accusers.
Collatinus was willing to allow this, but Valerius said that he was not
able to give the man up, because he was surrounded by so large a crowd,
and called upon the people not to disperse without punishing the
traitors. At last he laid his hands upon the two corpses, called for
Brutus, and reproached Collatinus for making his colleague act against
nature by condemning his own sons to death, and then thinking to please
the wives of these traitors and public enemies by saving their lives.
The consul, vexed at this, ordered the lictors to seize Vindicius. They
forced their way through the crowd, tried to lay hold of him, and struck
those who defended him, but the friends of Valerius stood in front of
him and beat them off, and the people raised a shout for Brutus. He
returned, and when silence was restored said that he had, as a father,
full power to condemn his sons to death, but that as for the other
culprits, their fate should be decided by the free vote of the citizens,
and that any one might come forward and address the people. The people,
however, would listen to no speeches, but voted unanimously for their
death, and they were all beheaded.

Collatinus, it seems, had been viewed with suspicion before because of
his connection with the royal family, and his second name, Tarquinius,
was odious to the people. After these events, having utterly failed as
consul, he voluntarily laid down that office, and left the city. So now
there was another election, and Valerius received the due reward of his
patriotism and was gloriously made consul. Thinking that Vindicius ought
to receive something for his services, he made him a freedman, the first
ever made in Rome, and allowed him to vote in whatever tribe he chose to
be enrolled. The other freedmen were not allowed the suffrage till, long
after, it was given them by Appius to obtain popularity among them. The
whole ceremony is up to the present day called _vindicta_, after
Vindicius, we are told.

VIII. After this they allowed the king's property to be plundered, and
destroyed the palace. Tarquinius had obtained the pleasantest part of
the Field of Mars, and had consecrated it to that god. This field had
just been cut, and the corn lay on the ground, for the people thought
that they must not thresh it or make any use of it, because of the
ground being consecrated, so they took the sheaves and threw them into
the river. In the same way they cut down the trees and threw them in,
leaving the whole place for the god, but uncultivated and unfruitful.
As there were many things of different sorts all floating together in
the river, the current did not carry them far, but when the first masses
settled on a shallow place, the rest which were carried down upon them
could not get past, but became heaped up there, and the stream compacted
them securely by the mud which it deposited upon them, not only
increasing the size of the whole mass, but firmly cementing it together.
The waves did not shake it, but gently beat it into a solid consistency.
Now, from its size, it began to receive additions, as most of what the
river brought down settled upon it. It is now a sacred island close by
the city, with temples and walks, and in the Latin tongue it has a name
which means "between two bridges." Some state that this did not happen
when Tarquinia's field was consecrated, but in later times when
Tarquinia gave up another field next to that one, for the public use.
This Tarquinia was a priestess, one of the Vestal virgins, and she was
greatly honoured for having done so, and was allowed to appear as a
witness in court, which no other woman could do; she also was permitted
to marry, by a decree of the senate, but did not avail herself of it.
These are the legends which they tell about this island.

IX. Tarquin now gave up all hopes of recovering his throne by intrigue,
and appealed to the Etruscans, who willingly espoused his cause and
endeavoured to restore him with a great army. The consuls led out the
Romans to fight against them, posting them in holy places one of which
is called the Arsian grove, and another the Aesuvian meadow. When they
were about to join battle, Aruns, the son of Tarquin, and Brutus, the
Roman consul, attacked one another, not by chance, but with fell hatred
and rage, the one urging his horse against the tyrant and enemy of his
country, the other against the man who drove him into exile. Falling
upon one another with more fury than judgment, they made no attempt to
defend themselves, but only to strike, and both perished. The struggle,
so terribly begun, was continued with equal ferocity on both sides,
until the armies, after great losses, were separated by a tempest.
Valerius was in great straits, not knowing how the battle had gone, and
observing that his soldiers were despondent when they looked at the
corpses of their comrades, and elated when they saw those of the enemy,
so equal and undecided had been the slaughter. Yet each side, when it
viewed its own dead close by, was more inclined to own itself defeated,
than to claim the victory because of the supposed losses of the enemy.
Night came on, and it was spent as may be imagined by men who had fought
so hard. When all was quiet in both camps, we are told that the grove
was shaken, and that from it proceeded a loud voice which declared that
the Etruscans had lost one man more than the Romans. Apparently it was
the voice of a god; for immediately the Romans raised a bold and joyous
shout, and the Etruscans, panic-stricken, ran out of their camp and
dispersed. The Romans attacked the camp, took prisoners all that were
left in it, something less than five thousand, and plundered it. The
dead, when counted, proved to be eleven thousand three hundred of the
enemy, and of the Romans the same number save one. This battle is said
to have been fought on the Calends of March. Valerius triumphed after it
in a four-horse chariot, being the first consul that ever did so. And it
was a magnificent sight, and did not, as some say, offend the
spectators; for, if so, the habit of doing it would not have been so
carefully kept up for so many years. The people were also pleased with
the honours which Valerius paid to his colleague in arranging a splendid
funeral for him; he also pronounced a funeral oration over him, which
was so much approved of by the Romans that from that day forth it became
the custom for all good and great men at their deaths to have an oration
made over them by the leading men of the time. This is said to have been
older even than the Greek funeral orations, unless, as Anaximenes tells
us, Solon introduced this custom.

X. But the people were vexed and angry, because though Brutus, whom they
thought the author of their liberty, would not be consul alone, but had
one colleague after another, yet "Valerius," they said, "has got all
power into his own hands, and is not so much the heir of the consulship
of Brutus as of the tyranny of Tarquin. And what use is it for him to
praise Brutus while he imitates Tarquin in his deeds, swaggering down
into the Forum with all the rods and axes before him, from a house
larger than the king's palace used to be." Indeed, Valerius lived in
rather too splendid a house on the Velian Hill, looking down into the
Forum, and difficult to climb up to, so that when he walked down from it
he did indeed look like a tragedy king leaving his palace. But now he
proved how valuable a thing it is for a statesman engaged in important
matters to keep his ears open to the truth, and shut against flattery.
Hearing from his friends what the people thought of him, he did not
argue or grieve at it, but suddenly assembled a number of workmen and
during the night destroyed his entire house down to the very
foundations, so that on the next day the Romans collected in crowds to
see it, admiring the magnanimity of the man, but sorrowing at the
destruction of so great and noble a house, which, like many a man, had
been put to death undeservedly, and expressing their concern for their
consul, who had no house to live in. Valerius, indeed, had to be
entertained by his friends, until the people gave him a site and built
him a house upon it, of more moderate proportions than the other, in the
place where at the present day stands the temple of Vica Pota. Wishing
to make not only himself but his office cease to be an object of terror
to his countrymen, he removed the axes from the bundles of rods carried
by the lictors, and when he entered the assembly of the people he
ordered his _fasces_ to be bowed and lowered before them, to show
respect to the majesty of the people. This custom the consuls observe to
this day. By these acts he did not really humble himself as he appeared
to the Romans to be doing, but he so completely destroyed any illwill
which had been felt against him that by giving up the semblance of power
he really gained the reality, as the people were eager to serve him and
obey him. For this reason they surnamed him _Poplicola_, which means
"lover of the people," and this name so took the place of his former one
that we shall use it during the remainder of this account of his life.

XI. He permitted any one to become a candidate for the consulship; and
while he was sole consul he used his power to effect the greatest of his
reforms, because he did not know who his new colleague might be, and
whether he would not thwart him through ignorance or illwill. First of
all he brought up the senate to its proper number, for many senators had
perished, some at Tarquin's hands in former years, and some in the late
battle. It is said that he elected no less than a hundred and sixty-four
new senators. After this, he enacted laws which greatly added to the
power of the people, the first one of which gave accused persons a power
of appeal from the decision of the consuls to the people. The second
appointed the penalty of death to those who entered upon any public
office without the consent of the people. The third was to assist the
poor, as it relieved them from taxes and enabled them all to apply
themselves with greater assiduity to trade. The law, too, which he
enacted about disobedience to the consuls is no less popular in its
spirit, and favours the people more than the great nobles. He assessed
the fine for disobedience at the price of five oxen and two sheep. Now
the value of a sheep was ten obols, and that of an ox a hundred, for at
this period the Romans did not make much use of coined money, but
possessed abundance of cattle. For this reason at this day they call
property _peculia_, from _pecus_, a sheep, and on their oldest coins
they marked the figure of an ox, a sheep, or a pig. Their children, too,
were distinguished by the names of Suillii, Bubulci, Caprarii and
Porcii, for _capra_ means a goat, and _porcus_ a pig.

XII. Though Poplicola favoured the people so much in these laws, and
showed such great moderation, yet in one instance he appointed a
terrible penalty. One of his laws enacted that any citizen was at
liberty to put to death anyone who tried to make himself king, without
any form of trial. No penalty was to be enforced, if the man could bring
forward proofs of the other's intention. His reason for this was that it
was impossible for any one to attempt to make himself king, unperceived
by some of his countrymen, but quite possible for him, although
detected, to become too powerful to be brought to trial. So, before he
made his attempt on the crown, any one was at liberty to exact from him
that penalty, which he would be unable to do after his success.

His law about the treasury was also much approved. It being necessary
that the citizens should contribute taxes to carry on the war, as he did
not wish to touch the revenue himself or to allow his friends to do so,
and was even unwilling that the public money should be brought into a
private man's house, he appointed the Temple of Saturn to be used as a
treasury, which it is to this day, and he appointed also two of the
younger citizens as quaestors, to manage the accounts. The first
quaestors were Publius Venturius and Marcus Minucius, and a large sum of
money was collected, for a hundred and thirty thousand persons were
taxed, although orphans and widows were exempted.

When he had settled all these matters, he nominated Lucretius, the
father of Lucretia, as his colleague, and gave up the _fasces_ to him as
a mark of respect, because he was the elder man. This custom, that the
elder of the two consuls has the _fasces_ carried before him, remains to
this day. As Lucretius died shortly afterwards, a new election took
place, and Marcus Horatius was elected, and acted as Poplicola's
colleague for the remainder of his year of office.

XIII. As Tarquin was stirring up the Etruscans to a second war with
Rome, a great portent is said to have taken place. While he was yet
king, and had all but finished the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, he,
either in accordance with some prophecy or otherwise, ordered certain
Etruscan workmen at Veii to make an earthenware four-horse chariot to be
placed on the top of the temple. Shortly afterwards he was driven from
the throne, and the chariot, which had been modelled in clay, was placed
in the furnace. Here it did not, as clay generally does, shrink and
become smaller in the fire, as the wet dries out of it, but swelled to
so great a size, and became so hard and strong that it could only be got
out of the furnace by taking off the roof and sides. As this was decided
by the prophets to be a sign from Heaven that those who possessed the
chariot would be prosperous and fortunate, the Veientines determined not
to give it up to the Romans, arguing that it belonged to Tarquin, not to
those who had cast him out.

A few days afterwards there were horse-races there; everything
proceeded as usual, but as the driver of the winning chariot, after
receiving his crown as victor, was driving slowly out of the circus, the
horses suddenly became excited for no apparent cause, and, either guided
by Heaven or by chance, rushed towards Rome, their driver with them, for
he finding it impossible to stop them was forced to let them whirl him
along until they reached the Capitol, where they threw him down near
what is called the Ratumenan Gate. The Veientines, struck with fear and
wonder at this event, permitted the workmen to deliver up the
earthenware chariot to the Romans.

XIV. Tarquinius the son of Demaratus, when at war with the Sabines,
vowed that he would build the temple of Jupiter Olympius, but it was
built by Tarquinius Superbus, the son or grandson of him who made the
vow. He had not time to dedicate it, but was dethroned just before its
completion. Now when it was finished and thoroughly decorated, Poplicola
was eager to have the glory of dedicating it. Many of the nobles,
however, grudged him this, and were more incensed at this than at all
the glory which he had won as a general and as a legislator; for _that_,
they said, was his vocation, but _this_ was not. They stirred up
Horatius to oppose him and urged him to claim the right to dedicate the
temple. So when Poplicola was of necessity absent on military service,
the senate decreed that Horatius should dedicate it, and brought him up
into the Capitol to do so, a thing which they never could have done had
Poplicola been present. Some say that the two consuls casts lots, and
that the one, sorely against his will, drew the lot to command the army
in the field, and the other that to dedicate the temple. But we may
conjecture how this was, from the events which took place at the
dedication. On the Ides of September, which corresponds with the full
moon in our month Metageitnion, all the people assembled in the Capitol,
and Horatius, after silence had been enjoined upon all, performed the
ceremony of dedication. When, as is customary, he was about to take hold
of the doors of the temple and say the prayer of dedication, Marcus,
Poplicola's brother, who had long been standing near the doors watching
his opportunity, said to him, "Consul, your son has just died of
sickness in the camp." All who heard this were grieved, but Horatius,
undisturbed, merely said, "Fling his corpse where you please, for I
cannot grieve for him," and completed the dedication service. The story
was false, invented by Marcus to confuse Horatius. His conduct is a
remarkable instance of presence of mind, whether it be that he at once
saw through the trick, or believed the story and was not disturbed by

XV. The same fortune seems to have attended the second temple also. The
first, as we have related, was built by Tarquin, and dedicated by
Horatius. This was destroyed by fire in the civil wars. The second was
built by Sulla, but the name of Catulus appears as its dedicator, for
Sulla died before it was completed. This again was burned during the
civil tumults in the time of Vitellius, and Vespasian built a third,
which had nearly the same fortune as the others, except that he saw it
completed, and did not see it shortly afterwards destroyed, being thus
more fortunate than Tarquin in seeing the completion, and than Sulla in
seeing the dedication of his work. When Vespasian died the Capitol was
burned. The fourth and present temple was built and dedicated by
Domitian. It is said that Tarquin spent forty thousand pounds of silver
in building the foundations; but there is no private citizen in Rome at
the present day who could bear the expense of gilding the existing
temple, which cost more than twelve thousand talents. Its columns are of
Pentelic marble, exquisitely proportioned, which I myself saw at Athens;
but at Rome they were again cut and polished, by which process they did
not gain so much in gloss as they lost in symmetry, for they now appear
too slender. However, if any one who wonders at the expense of the
temple in the Capitol were to see the splendour of any one portico,
hall, or chamber in the house of Domitian, he would certainly be led to
parody that line of Epicharmus upon an extravagant fellow,

    "Not good-natured, but possessed with the disease of giving,"

and would say that Domitian was not pious or admirable, but possessed
with the disease of building, and turned everything into bricks and
mortar, just as it is said Midas turned things into gold. So much for

XVI. Tarquin, after the great battle in which his son was slain by
Brutus, took refuge at Clusium and begged Lars Porsena, the most
powerful king in Italy, to assist him. He was thought to be an
honourable and ambitious man, and promised his aid. First he sent an
embassy to Rome, ordering them to receive Tarquin; and when the Romans
refused to obey, he declared war against them, and telling them at what
place and time he would attack them, marched against them with a great
army. At Rome, Poplicola, though absent, was chosen consul for the
second time, and with him, Titus Lucretius. He returned to Rome, and by
way of putting a slight upon Porsena, went and founded the city of
Sigliuria, while his army was close at hand. He built the walls of this
place at a vast expense, and sent away seven hundred colonists to it, as
if the war with which he was menaced was a very unimportant matter. But,
nevertheless, Porsena made a sharp assault upon the walls of Rome, drove
away the garrison, and very nearly entered the town. Poplicola
forestalled him by sallying from one of the gates, and fought by the
banks of the Tiber against overwhelming numbers until he was severely
wounded and had to be carried out of the battle. As the same fate befell
his colleague Lucretius, the Romans lost heart and endeavoured to save
themselves by flight into the town. As the enemy also began to push
across the wooden bridge, Rome was in danger of being taken. But
Horatius, surnamed Cocles, and with him two of the noblest citizens,
named Herminius and Lartius, held the wooden bridge against them. This
Horatius was surnamed Cocles because he had lost an eye in the wars, or
as some say because of the flatness of his nose, which made his eyes and
eyebrows seem to meet, having nothing to separate them, and therefore
the people meaning to call him Cyclops, by a mistake of pronunciation,
named him Cocles. This man stood at the end of the bridge and kept off
the enemy until his friends behind had cut down the bridge. Then he
plunged into the river in his armour and swam to the other bank, though
wounded by an Etruscan spear in the thigh. Poplicola, in admiration of
his valour, at once proposed and passed a decree that every Roman should
give him the price of one day's provisions. Moreover, he gave him as
much land as he could plough in one day. And a brazen statue of him was
placed in the temple of Vulcan, by which honourable allusion was made to
the lameness caused by his wound.

XVII. As Porsena pressed the siege, the Romans suffered from famine, and
another separate army of Etruscans invaded their territory. But
Poplicola, who was now consul for the third time, though he thought it
his chief duty to remain stedfast and hold out the city against Porsena,
did nevertheless sally out and attack these men, routing them with a
loss of five thousand. Now as to the legend of Mucius, it is told in
many different ways, but I will relate it as it seems most probable that
it happened. He was a man of great courage, and very daring in war, who,
meaning to assassinate Porsena, stole into the camp in an Etruscan dress
and speaking the Etruscan language. When he arrived at the raised
platform on which the king was sitting, he did not exactly know which
was he, and being afraid to ask, he drew his sword and killed the man
who of all the party looked most as if he were the king. Hereupon, he
was seized and questioned. A fire was burning close by in a brazier
which had been brought for Porsena to offer sacrifice. Mucius held his
right hand over this, and while the flesh was being consumed looked at
Porsena cheerfully and calmly, until he in astonishment acquitted him
and restored him his sword, which Mucius took with his left hand. On
account of this he is said to have been named _Scaevola_, which means
left-handed. He then said that though he did not fear Porsena, he was
conquered by his generosity, and out of kindness would tell him what
torture would have failed to extort: "Three hundred young Romans
like-minded with myself are at present concealed in your camp. I was
chosen by lot to make the first attempt, and am not grieved that I
failed to kill a man of honour, who ought to be a friend rather than an
enemy to the Romans." Porsena, hearing this, believed it to be true, and
became much more inclined to make peace, not, I imagine, so much for
fear of the three hundred, as out of admiration for the spirit and
valour of the Romans. This Mucius is called Scaevola by all writers, but
Athenodorus, the son of Sandon, in his book which is dedicated to
Octavia, the sister of Caesar Augustus, says that he was also named

XVIII. Poplicola, who did not think Porsena so terrible as an enemy as
he would be valuable as a friend and ally, was willing that he should
decide the quarrel between the Romans and Tarquin, and often proposed
that he should do so, feeling sure that he would discover him to be a
wretch who had been most deservedly dethroned. But Tarquin roughly
answered that he would submit his claims to no judge, and least of all
to Porsena, who had been his ally and now seemed inclined to desert him.
Porsena was angered at this, and, as his son Aruns also pleaded hard for
the Romans, put an end to the war upon condition that they should give
up the portion of Etruscan territory which they had seized, restore
their prisoners, and receive back their deserters. Upon this, ten youths
of the noblest families were given as hostages, and as many maidens,
among whom was Valeria, the daughter of Poplicola.

XIX. While these negotiations were going on, and Porsena, through his
confidence in the good faith of the Romans, had relaxed the discipline
of his camp, these Roman maidens came down to bathe in the river at a
place where a bank, in the form of a crescent, makes the water smooth
and undisturbed. As they saw no guards, nor any one passing except in
boats, they determined to swim across, although the stream was strong
and deep. Some say that one of them, by name Cloelia, rode on a horse
across the river, encouraging the others as they swam. When they had got
safe across they went to Poplicola, but he was displeased with them
because it made him seem more faithless than Porsena, and he feared lest
this daring feat of the maidens might be suspected of being a
preconcerted plot of the Romans. For these reasons he sent them back to
Porsena. Now Tarquin and his party, foreseeing that this would be done,
laid an ambush on the further bank and attacked those who were
escorting the girls with superior numbers. Still they made a stout
defence, and meanwhile Valeria, the daughter of Poplicola, made her way
through the combatants and escaped, and three slaves who also got away
took care of her. The others were mixed up with the fight, and were in
considerable danger, when Aruns, Porsena's son, came to the rescue, put
the enemy to the rout, and saved the Romans. When the girls were brought
before Porsena, he asked which it was that had conceived the attempt to
escape and encouraged the others. Being told that it was Cloelia, he
smiled kindly upon her, and presented her with one of his own horses,
splendidly caparisoned. This is relied upon by those who say that it was
Cloelia alone who rode on horseback over the river, as proving their
case. Others say that it was not because she used a horse, but to honour
her manly spirit that the Etruscan king made her this present. A statue
of her, on horseback, stands in the Sacred Way as you go up to the
Palatine Hill, which by some is said not to be a statue of Cloelia, but
of Valeria.

Porsena, after making peace with the Romans, among many other instances
of generosity, ordered his army to carry back nothing but their arms
when they retired, leaving the entrenched camp full of food and property
of every kind for the Romans. For this reason, at the present day,
whenever there is a sale of any public property, especially that which
is taken in war, proclamation is always made, "Porsena's goods for
sale," so that the Romans have never forgotten the kindness which they
received from him. A brazen statue of him used to stand near the senate
house, of plain and oldfashioned workmanship.

XX. After this the Sabines invaded the country. Marcus Valerius,
Poplicola's brother, and Posthumius Tubertus were then consuls, and
Marcus, acting by the advice of Poplicola, who was present, won two
great battles, in the second of which he slew thirteen thousand of the
enemy without the Romans losing a man. He was rewarded for this, in
addition to his triumph, by having a house built for him upon the
Palatine Hill at the public expense. And whereas all other street doors
open inwards, the doors of that house were made to open outwards, as a
perpetual memorial of the honour paid him by the people, who thus made
way for him. It is said that all the doors in Greece used once to open
this way, arguing from the comedies, in which those who are coming out
of a house always knock at the door, to warn those who are passing or
standing near not to be struck by the leaves of the door, as they open.

XXI. Next year Poplicola was consul for the fourth time. There was an
expectation of a war against the Latins and Sabines combined.

Moreover the city seemed to have displeased the gods; for all the
pregnant women were delivered prematurely, and of imperfectly formed
children. Poplicola, after appeasing the gods below according to the
injunctions of the Sibylline books, re-established certain games in
accordance with an oracle, brought the city into a more hopeful state of
mind, and began to consider what he had to fear from earthly foes, for
the enemy's army was large and formidable. There was one Appius Clausus,
a Sabine, of great wealth and remarkable personal strength, and a
virtuous and eloquent man, who, like all great men, was the object of
envy and ill-will to many. He was accused by his enemies of having put
an end to the war, because he wished to increase the power of Rome, in
order to enable him the more easily to triumph over the liberties of his
own country, and make himself king of it. Perceiving that the populace
eagerly listened to these tales, and that he was an object of dislike to
the war party and the army, he began to fear impeachment: so, having
numerous followers, besides his personal friends and relatives, he was
able to divide the state into two parties. This caused great delay in
the Sabines' preparations for attacking the Romans, and Poplicola,
feeling it to be his duty not merely to watch but to assist Clausus,
sent envoys, who spoke to him as follows: "Poplicola feels that you are
a man of honour, who would be unwilling to take vengeance upon your
countrymen, although you have been shamefully treated by them. But if
you choose to put yourself in safety by leaving your country and a
people that hates you, he will receive you, both in his public and his
private capacity, in a manner worthy of your own high character and of
the dignity of Rome." After much deliberation, Clausus decided that he
could not do better than accept this offer, and assembled all his
friends. They in their turn influenced many others, so that he was able
to transplant to Rome five thousand of the most peaceful and respectable
families of the Sabine nation. Poplicola, who had notice of their
arrival, welcomed them kindly and graciously. He made them all citizens
of Rome, and gave each of them two acres of land along the river Anio.
He gave Clausus twenty-five acres, and enrolled him among the Senators.
Clausus afterwards became one of the first men in Rome for wisdom and
power, and his descendants, the Claudian family, was one of the most
illustrious in history.

XXII. Though the disputes of the Sabines were settled by this migration,
yet their popular orators would not let them rest, but vehemently urged
that they ought not to let Appius, a deserter and an enemy, prevail upon
them to let the Romans go unpunished--a thing which he could not
persuade them to do when he was present among them. They proceeded to
Fidenae with a great army and encamped there, and laid two thousand men
in ambush before Rome, in wooded and broken ground, meaning in the
morning to send out a few horsemen to plunder ostentatiously. These men
were ordered to ride up close to Rome, and then to retire till their
pursuers were drawn into the snare. Poplicola heard of this plan the
same day from deserters, and quickly made all necessary arrangements. At
evening he sent Postumius Balbus, his son-in-law, with three thousand
men to occupy the tops of the hills under which the Sabine ambush was
placed. His colleague, Lucretius, was ordered to take the
swiftest-footed and noblest youth of the city, and pursue the plundering
horsemen, while he himself with the rest of the forces made a circuitous
march and outflanked the enemy. It chanced that a thick mist came on
about dawn, in the midst of which Postumius charged down from the hills
upon the men in ambush with a loud shout, while Lucretius sent his men
to attack the cavalry, and Poplicola fell upon the enemy's camp. The
Sabines were routed in every quarter, and even when fighting no longer
were cut down by the Romans, their rash confidence proving ruinous to
them. Each party thought that the others must be safe, and did not care
to stay and fight where they were, but those who were in the camp ran to
those in the ambush, and those in the ambush towards the camp, each of
them meeting those with whom they hoped to take refuge, and finding that
those who they had hoped would help them needed help themselves. The
Sabines would have been all put to the sword, had not the neighbouring
city of Fidenae afforded them a refuge, especially for the men from the
camp. Such as could not reach Fidenae were either put to death or taken

XXIII. The Romans, accustomed as they are to refer all great success to
the intervention of Heaven, thought that the whole glory of this
achievement was due to the general. The first thing heard was the
victorious soldiers declaring that Poplicola had delivered up the enemy
to them blind and lame, and all but in chains, for them to slaughter at
their ease. The people were enriched by the plunder and the sale of the
prisoners for slaves. Poplicola enjoyed a triumph, and previously
delivering over the administration of the city to the two succeeding
consuls, died shortly afterwards, having attained to the highest pitch
of glory that man can reach. The people, as if they had done nothing
during his life to honour him as he deserved, and were now for the first
time to show their gratitude, decreed him a public funeral, and moreover
that every person should contribute the coin called _quadrans_, to show
him respect. The women also made a common agreement to wear mourning for
him for a whole year. He was buried by a decree of the people within the
city near the place called Velia, and all his family were given the
privilege of burial there. At the present day not one of the family is
actually buried there, but the corpse is carried thither, and laid down,
while some one places a lighted torch under it for a moment, after which
it is carried away. By this ceremony they claim the right, although they
forego it, and bury the corpse outside the city.


I. It is a point peculiar to this comparison, and which does not occur
in any of the other Lives which I have written, that in turn one
imitates and the other bears witness to his fellow's deeds. Observe, for
instance, Solon's definition of happiness before Croesus, how much
better it suits Poplicola than Tellus. He says that Tellus was fortunate
because of his good luck, his virtue, and his noble children; but yet he
makes no mention of him or of his children in his poetry, and he never
was a man of any renown, or held any high office.

Now Poplicola's virtues made him the most powerful and glorious of the
Romans during his life, and six hundred years after his death the very
noblest families of Rome, those named Publicola and Messala and
Valerius, are proud to trace their descent from him, even at the present
day. Tellus, it is true, died like a brave man fighting in the ranks,
but Poplicola slew his enemies, which is much better than being killed
oneself, and made his country victorious by skill as a general and a
statesman, and, after triumphing and enjoying honours of every kind,
died the death which Solon thought so enviable. Besides, Solon, in his
answer to Mimnermus about the time of life, has written the verses:

    "To me may favouring Heaven send,
    That all my friends may mourn my end,"

in which he bears witness to the good fortune of Poplicola; for he, when
he died, was mourned not only by all his friends and relations but by
the whole city, in which thousands wept for him, while all the women
wore mourning for him as if he were a son or father of them all that
they had lost.

Solon says in his poems,

    "I long for wealth, but not procured
    By means unholy."

Now Poplicola not only possessed wealth honourably acquired, but also
was able to spend it, much to his credit, in relieving the needy. Thus
if Solon was the wisest, Poplicola was certainly the most fortunate of
men; for what Solon prayed for as the greatest blessing, Poplicola
possessed and enjoyed to the end of his days.

II. Thus has Solon done honour to Poplicola; and he again honoured Solon
by regarding him as the best model a man could follow in establishing a
free constitution: for he took away the excessive power and dignity of
the consuls and made them inoffensive to the people, and indeed made use
of many of Solon's own laws; as he empowered the people to elect their
own consuls, and gave defendants a right of appeal to the people from
other courts, just as Solon had done. He did not, like Solon, make two
senates, but he increased the existing one to nearly double its number.
His grounds for the appointment of quaestors was to give the consul
leisure for more important matters, if he was an honest man; and if he
was a bad man, to remove the opportunity of fraud which he would have
had if he were supreme over the state and the treasury at once. In
hatred of tyrants Poplicola exceeded Solon, for he fixed the penalty for
a man who might be proved to be attempting to make himself king, whereas
the Roman allowed any one to kill him without trial. And while Solon
justly prided himself upon his having been offered the opportunity to
make himself despot, with the full consent of his fellow-countrymen, and
yet having refused it, Poplicola deserves even greater credit for having
been placed in an office of almost despotic power, and having made it
more popular, not using the privileges with which he was entrusted.
Indeed Solon seems to have been the first to perceive that a people

                        "Obeys its rulers best,
    When not too free, yet not too much opprest."

III. The relief of debtors was a device peculiar to Solon, which, more
than anything else confirmed the liberty of the citizens. For laws to
establish equality are of no use if poor men are prevented from enjoying
it because of their debts; and in the states which appear to be the most
free, men become mere slaves to the rich, and conduct the whole business
of the state at their dictation. It should be especially noted that
although an abolition of debt would naturally produce a civil war, yet
this measure of Solon's, like an unusual but powerful dose of medicine,
actually put an end to the existing condition of internal strife; for
the well-known probity of Solon's character outweighed the discredit of
the means to which he resorted. In fact Solon began his public life with
greater glory than Poplicola, for he was the leading spirit, and
followed no man, but entirely single handed effected the most important
reforms; while Poplicola was more enviable and fortunate at the close of
his career.

Solon himself saw his own constitution overthrown, while that of
Poplicola preserved order in the city down to the time of the civil
wars; and the reason was that Solon, as soon as he had enacted his laws,
went on his travels, leaving them written on wooden tablets, defenceless
against all assailants; whereas Poplicola remained at home, acted as
consul, and by his statesmanship ensured the success and permanence of
the new constitution. Moreover, Solon could not stop Peisistratus,
although he perceived his designs, but was forced to see a despotism
established; while Poplicola destroyed a monarchy which had existed for
many years, showing equal virtue with Solon, but greater good fortune
and power to enable him to carry out his intentions.

IV. With regard to warlike achievements, Daimachus of Plataea will not
even admit that Solon made the campaign against the Megarians, which we
have related; but Poplicola both by strategy and personal valour won
many great battles. As a statesman, Solon seems to have acted somewhat
childishly in pretending that he was mad, in order to make his speech
about Salamis, while Poplicola ran the very greatest risks in driving
out the tyrant and crushing the conspiracy. He was especially
responsible for the chief criminals being put to death, and thus not
only drove the Tarquins out of the city, but cut off and destroyed
their hopes of return. And while he showed such vigour in enterprises
that required spirit and courage, he was equally admirable in peaceful
negotiations and the arts of persuasion; for he skilfully won over the
formidable Porsena to be the friend instead of the enemy of Rome.

Still we may be reminded that Solon stirred up the Athenians to capture
Salamis, which they had given up to the Megarians, while Poplicola
withdrew the Romans from a country which they had conquered. We must,
however, consider the circumstances under which these events took place.
A subtle politician deals with every thing so as to turn it to the
greatest advantage, and will often lose a part in order to save the
whole, and by sacrificing some small advantage gain another more
important one, as did Poplicola on that occasion; for he, by withdrawing
from a foreign country, preserved his own, gained the enemy's camp for
the Romans, who before were only too glad to save their city from ruin,
and at last, by converting his enemy into an arbitrator and winning his
cause, obtained all the fruits of victory: for Porsena put an end to the
war, and left behind him all his war material to show his respect for
the noble character of the consul.


I. Themistokles came of a family too obscure to entitle him to
distinction. His father, Neokles, was a middle-class Athenian citizen,
of the township of Phrearri and the tribe Leontis. He was base born on
his mother's side, as the epigram tells us:

    "My name's Abrotonon from Thrace,
    I boast not old Athenian race;
    Yet, humble though my lineage be,
    Themistokles was born of me."

Phanias, however, says that the mother of Themistokles was a Carian, not
a Thracian, and that her name was not Abrotonon but Euterpe. Manthes
even tells us that she came from the city of Halikarnassus in Caria. All
base-born Athenians were made to assemble at Kynosarges, a gymnasium
outside the walls sacred to Herakles, who was regarded as base born
among the gods because his mother was a mortal; and Themistokles induced
several youths of noble birth to come to Kynosarges with him and join in
the wrestling there, an ingenious device for destroying the exclusive
privileges of birth. But, for all that, he evidently was of the blood of
Lykomedes; for when the barbarians burned down the temple of the
Initiation at Phlya, which belonged to the whole race of the descendants
of Lykomedes, it was restored by Themistokles, as we are told by

II. He is agreed by all to have been a child of vigorous impulses,
naturally clever, and inclined to take an interest in important affairs
and questions of statesmanship. During his holidays and times of leisure
he did not play and trifle as other children do, but was always found
arranging some speech by himself and thinking it over. The speech was
always an attack on, or a defence of, some one of his playfellows. His
schoolmaster was wont to say, "You will be nothing petty, my boy; you
will be either a very good or a very bad man."

In his learning, he cared nothing for the exercises intended to form the
character, and mere showy accomplishments and graces, but eagerly
applied himself to all real knowledge, trusting to his natural gifts to
enable him to master what was thought to be too abstruse for his time of
life. In consequence of this, when in society he was ridiculed by those
who thought themselves well mannered and well educated, he was obliged
to make the somewhat vulgar retort that he could not tune a lute or play
upon the harp, but he could make a small and obscure state great and

In spite of all this, Stesimbrotus says that Themistokles was a pupil of
Anaxagoras, and attended the lectures of Melissus the physicist; but
here he is wrong as to dates. Melissus was the general who was opposed
to Perikles, a much younger man than Themistokles, when he was besieging
Samos, and Anaxagoras was one of Perikles's friends. One is more
inclined to believe those who tell us that Themistokles was a follower
and admirer of Mnesiphilus of Phrearri, who was neither an orator nor a
natural philosopher, but a man who had deeply studied what went by the
name of wisdom, but was really political sharp practice and expedients
of statesmanship, which he had, as it were, inherited as a legacy from
Solon. Those who in later times mixed up this science with forensic
devices, and used it, not to deal with the facts of politics, but the
abstract ideas of speculative philosophy, were named Sophists.
Themistokles used to converse with this man when he had already begun
his political career. In his childhood he was capricious and unsteady,
his genius, as yet untempered by reason and experience, showing great
capacities both for good and evil, and after breaking out into vice, as
he himself used afterwards to admit, saying that the colts which are the
hardest to break in usually make the most valuable horses when properly
taught. But as for the stories which some have fabricated out of this,
about his being disinherited by his father, and about his mother
committing suicide through grief at her son's disgrace, they seem to be
untrue. On the other hand, some writers tell us that his father, wishing
to dissuade him from taking part in politics, pointed out to him the old
triremes lying abandoned on the beach, and told him that politicians,
when the people had no farther use for them, were cast aside in like

III. Very early in life Themistokles took a vigorous part in public
affairs, possessed by vehement ambition. Determined from the very outset
that he would become the leading man in the state, he eagerly entered
into all the schemes for displacing those who where then at the head of
affairs, especially attacking Aristeides, the son of Lysimachus, whose
policy he opposed on every occasion. Yet his enmity with this man seems
to have had a very boyish commencement; for they both entertained a
passion for the beautiful Stesilaus, who, we are told by Ariston the
philosopher, was descended from a family residing in the island of Keos.
After this difference they espoused different parties in the state, and
their different temper and habits widened the breach between them.
Aristeides was of a mild and honourable nature, and as a statesman cared
nothing for popularity or personal glory, but did what he thought right
with great caution and strict rectitude. He was thus often brought into
collision with Themistokles, who was trying to engage the people in many
new schemes, and to introduce startling reforms, by which he would
himself have gained credit, and which Aristeides steadily opposed.

He is said to have been so recklessly ambitious and so frenziedly eager
to take part in great events, that though he was very young at the time
of the battle of Marathon, when the country rang with the praises of the
generalship of Miltiades, he was often to be seen buried in thought,
passing sleepless nights and refusing invitations to wine-parties, and
that he answered those who asked him the cause of his change of habits,
that the trophies of Miltiades would not let him sleep. Other men
thought that the victory of Marathon had put an end to the war, but
Themistokles saw that it was but the prelude to a greater contest, in
which he prepared himself to stand forth as the champion of Greece, and,
foreseeing long before what was to come, endeavoured to make the city
of Athens ready to meet it.

IV. First of all, he had the courage to propose that the Athenians,
instead of dividing amongst themselves the revenues derived from the
silver mines at Laurium, should construct ships out of this fund for the
war with Aegina. This was then at its height, and the Aeginetans, who
had a large navy, were masters of the sea. By this means Themistokles
was more easily enabled to carry his point, not trying to terrify the
people by alluding to Darius and the Persians, who lived a long way off,
and whom few feared would ever come to attack them, but by cleverly
appealing to their feelings of patriotism against the Aeginetans, to
make them consent to the outlay.

With that money a hundred triremes were built, which were subsequently
used to fight against Xerxes. After this he kept gradually turning the
thoughts of the Athenians in the direction of the sea, because their
land force was unable even to hold its own against the neighbouring
states, while with a powerful fleet they could both beat off the
barbarians and make themselves masters of the whole of Greece. Thus, as
Plato says, instead of stationary soldiers as they were, he made them
roving sailors, and gave rise to the contemptuous remark that
Themistokles took away from the citizens of Athens the shield and the
spear, and reduced them to the oar and the rower's bench. This, we are
told by Stesimbrotus, he effected after quelling the opposition of
Miltiades, who spoke on the other side. Whether his proceedings at this
time were strictly constitutional or no I shall leave to others to
determine; but that the only safety of Greece lay in its fleet, and that
those triremes were the salvation of the Athenians after their city was
taken, can be proved by the testimony, among others, of Xerxes himself;
for although his land force was unbroken, he fled after his naval
defeat, as though no longer able to contend with the Greeks, and he left
Mardonius behind more to prevent pursuit, in my opinion, than with any
hopes of conquest.

V. Some writers tell us that he was a keen man of business, and explain
that his grand style of living made this necessary; for he made costly
sacrifices, and entertained foreigners in a splendid manner, all of
which required a large expenditure; but some accuse him of meanness and
avarice, and even say that he sold presents which were sent for his
table. When Philides the horse-dealer refused to sell him a colt, he
threatened that he would soon make a wooden horse of the man's house;
meaning that he would stir up lawsuits and claims against him from some
of his relations.

In ambition he surpassed every one. When yet a young and unknown man he
prevailed upon Epikles of Hermione, the admired performer on the harp,
to practise his art in his house, hoping thereby to bring many people to
it to listen. And he displeased the Greeks when he went to the Olympian
games by vying with Kimon in the luxury of his table, his tents, and his
other furniture. It was thought very proper for Kimon, a young man of
noble birth, to do so; but for a man who had not yet made himself a
reputation, and had not means to support the expense, such extravagance
seemed mere vulgar ostentation. In the dramatic contest, which even then
excited great interest and rivalry, the play whose expenses he paid for
won the prize. He put up a tablet in memory of his success bearing the
words: Themistokles of Phrearri was choragus, Phrynichus wrote the play,
Adeimantus was archon. Yet he was popular, for he knew every one of the
citizens by name, and gave impartial judgment in all cases referred to
him as arbitrator. Once, when Simonides of Keos asked him to strain a
point in his favour, Themistokles, who was a general at the time,
answered that Simonides would be a bad poet if he sang out of tune; and
he would be a bad magistrate if he favoured men against the law. At
another time he rallied Simonides on his folly in abusing the
Corinthians, who inhabited so fine a city, and in having his own statue
carved, though he was so ugly. He continued to increase in popularity by
judiciously courting the favour of the people, and was at length able to
secure the triumph of his own party, and the banishment of his rival

VI. As the Persians were now about to invade Greece, the Athenians
deliberated as to who should be their leader. It is said that most men
refused the post of General through fear, but that Epikydes, the son of
Euphemides, a clever mob-orator, but cowardly and accessible to bribes,
desired to be appointed, and seemed very likely to be elected.
Themistokles, fearing that the state would be utterly ruined if its
affairs fell into such hands, bribed him into forgetting his ambitious
designs, and withdrawing his candidature.

He was much admired for his conduct when envoys came from the Persian
king to demand earth and water, in token of submission. He seized the
interpreter, and by a decree of the people had him put to death, because
he had dared to translate the commands of a barbarian into the language
of free Greeks. He acted in the same way to Arthmias of Zelea. This man,
at the instance of Themistokles, was declared infamous, he and his
children and his descendants for ever, because he brought Persian gold
among the Greeks. His greatest achievement of all, however, was, that he
put an end to all the internal wars in Greece, and reconciled the states
with one another, inducing them to defer the settlement of their feuds
until after the Persian war. In this he is said to have been greatly
assisted by Chileon the Arcadian.

VII. On his appointment as General, he at once endeavoured to prevail
upon his countrymen to man their fleet, leave their city, and go to meet
the enemy by sea as far from Greece as possible. As this met with great
opposition, he, together with the Lacedaemonians, led a large force as
far as the Vale of Tempe, which they intended to make their first line
of defence, as Thessaly had not at that time declared for the Persians.
When, however, the armies were forced to retire from thence, and all
Greece, up to Boeotia, declared for the Persians, the Athenians became
more willing to listen to Themistokles about fighting by sea, and he was
sent with a fleet to guard the straits at Artemisium. Here the Greeks
chose the Lacedaemonians, and their general, Eurybiades, to take the
command; but the Athenians refused to submit to any other state, because
they alone furnished more ships than all the rest. Themistokles, at this
crisis perceiving the danger, gave up his claims to Eurybiades, and
soothed the wounded pride of the Athenians, telling them that if they
proved themselves brave men in the war, they would find that all the
other states in Greece would cheerfully recognise their supremacy. On
this account he seems more than any one else to deserve the credit of
having saved Greece, and to have covered the Athenians with glory by
teaching them to surpass their enemies in bravery, and their allies in
good sense. When the Persian fleet reached Aphetai, Eurybiades was
terrified at the number of ships at the mouth of the Straits, and,
learning that two hundred sail more were gone round the outside of
Euboea to take him in the rear, he at once wished to retire further into
Greece, and support the fleet by the land army in Peloponnesus, for he
regarded the Persian king's fleet as utterly irresistible at sea. Upon
this the Euboeans, who feared to be deserted by the Greeks, sent one
Pelagon with a large sum of money, to make secret proposals to
Themistokles. He took the money, Herodotus tells us, and gave it to
Eurybiades and his party. One of those who most vehemently opposed him
was Architeles, the captain of the Sacred Trireme, who had not
sufficient money to pay his crew, and therefore wished to sail back to
Athens. Themistokles stirred up the anger of his men to such a pitch
that they rushed upon him and took away his supper. At this, Architeles
was much vexed, but Themistokles sent him a basket containing bread and
meat, with a talent of silver hidden underneath it, with a message
bidding him eat his supper and pay his men the next day, but that, if he
did not, Themistokles would denounce him to his countrymen as having
received bribes from the enemy. This we are told by Phanias of Lesbos.

VIII. The battles which took place in the Straits with the Persian
ships, were indeed indecisive, but the experience gained in them was of
the greatest value to the Greeks, as they were taught by their result
that multitudes of ships and splendid ensigns, and the boastful
war-cries of barbarians, avail nothing against men who dare to fight
hand to hand, and that they must disregard all these and boldly grapple
with their enemies. Pindar seems to have understood this when he says,
about the battle at Artemisium, that there

             "The sons of Athena laid
    Their freedom's grand foundation."

for indeed confidence leads to victory. This Artemisium is a promontory
of the island of Euboea, stretching northwards beyond Hestiaea; and
opposite to it is Olizon, which was once part of the dominions of
Philoktetes. There is upon it a small temple of Artemis (Diana), which
is called the "Temple towards the East." Round it stand trees and a
circle of pillars of white stone. This stone, when rubbed in the hand,
has the colour and smell of saffron. On one of these pillars were
written the following verses:

    "The sons of Athens once o'ercame in fight
      All Asia's tribes, on yonder sea;
    They raised these pillars round Diana's shrine,
      To thank her for their victory."

Even now a place is pointed out on the beach where, under a great heap
of sand, there is a deep bed of black ashes where it is thought the
wrecks and dead bodies were burned.

IX. But when the news of Thermopylae was brought to the Greeks at
Artemisium, that Leonidas had fallen, and Xerxes was in possession of
the passes, they retired further into Greece, the Athenians protecting
the rear on account of their bravery, and full of pride at their
achievements. At all the harbours and landing-places along the coast,
Themistokles, as he passed by, cut conspicuous inscriptions on stones,
some of which he found on the spot, and others which he himself set up
at all the watering-places and convenient stations for ships. In these
inscriptions he besought the Ionians, if possible, to come over to the
Athenians, who were their fathers, and who were fighting for their
liberty; and if they could not do this, to throw the barbarian army into
confusion during battle. He hoped that these writings would either bring
the Ionians over to the side of the Greeks, or make them suspected of
treason by the Persians.

Meanwhile Xerxes invaded Greece through Doris, and came into Phokis,
where he burned the city of the Phokaeans. The Greeks made no
resistance, although the Athenians begged them to make a stand in
Boeotia, and cover Attica, urging that they had fought in defence of the
whole of Greece at Artemisium. However, as no one would listen to them,
but all the rest of the Greeks determined to defend the Peloponnesus,
and were collecting all their forces within it, and building a wall
across the Isthmus from sea to sea, the Athenians were enraged at their
treachery, and disheartened at being thus abandoned to their fate. They
had no thoughts of resisting so enormous an army; and the only thing
they could do under the circumstances, to abandon their city and trust
to their ships, was distasteful to the people, who saw nothing to be
gained by victory, and no advantage in life, if they had to desert the
temples of their gods and the monuments of their fathers.

X. At this crisis, Themistokles, despairing of influencing the populace
by human reasoning, just as a dramatist has recourse to supernatural
machinery, produced signs and wonders and oracles. He argued that it was
a portent that the sacred snake during those days deserted his usual
haunt. The priests, who found their daily offerings to him of the first
fruits of the sacrifices left untouched, told the people, at the
instigation of Themistokles, that the goddess Athena (Minerva) had left
the city, and was leading them to the sea. He also swayed the popular
mind by the oracle, in which he argued that by "wooden walls" ships were
alluded to; and that Apollo spoke of Salamis as "divine," not terrible
or sad, because Salamis would be the cause of great good fortune to the
Greeks. Having thus gained his point, he proposed a decree, that the
city be left to the care of the tutelary goddess of the Athenians, that
all able-bodied men should embark in the ships of war, and that each man
should take the best measures in his power to save the women and
children and slaves.

When this decree was passed, most of the Athenians sent their aged folks
and women over to Troezen, where they were hospitably received by the
Troezenians, who decreed that they should be maintained at the public
expense, receiving each two obols a day, that the children should be
allowed to pick the fruit from any man's tree, and even that their
school expenses should be paid. This decree was proposed by Nikagoras.

The Athenians at this time had no public funds, yet Aristotle tells us
that the Senate of the Areopagus, by supplying each fighting man with
eight drachmas, did good service in manning the fleet; and Kleidemus
tells us that this money was obtained by an artifice of Themistokles.
When the Athenians were going down to the Peiraeus, he gave out that the
Gorgon's head had been lost from the statue of the goddess.
Themistokles, under pretext of seeking for it, searched every man, and
found great stores of money hidden in their luggage, which he
confiscated, and thus was able to supply the crews of the ships with
abundance of necessaries. When the whole city put to sea, the sight
affected some to pity, while others admired their courage in sending
their families out of the way that they might not be disturbed by
weeping and wailing as they went over to Salamis. Yet many of the aged
citizens who were left behind at Athens afforded a piteous sight; and
even the domestic animals, as they ran howling to the sea-shore,
accompanying their masters, touched men's hearts. It is said that the
dog of Xanthippus, the father of Perikles, could not endure to be
separated from him, and jumping into the sea swam alongside of his
trireme, reached Salamis, and then at once died. His tomb is even now to
be seen at the place called Kynossema.

XI. Besides these great achievements, Themistokles, perceiving that his
countrymen longed to have Aristeides back again, and fearing that he
might ally himself with the Persian, and work ruin to Greece out of
anger against his own country (for Aristeides had been banished from
Athens before the war when Themistokles came into power), proposed a
decree, that any citizen who had been banished for a term of years,
might return and do his best by word and deed to serve his country
together with the other citizens.

Eurybiades, on account of the prestige of Sparta, held the chief command
of the fleet, but was unwilling to risk a battle, preferring to weigh
anchor and sail to the Isthmus where the land army of the Peloponnesians
was assembled. This project was opposed by Themistokles; and it was on
this occasion that he made use of the following well-known saying: When
Eurybiades said to him, "Themistokles, in the public games they whip
those who rise before their turn." "True," said Themistokles, "but they
do not crown those who lag behind." And when Eurybiades raised his
staff as if he would strike him, Themistokles said, "Strike, but hear
me." When Eurybiades, in wonder at his gentle temper, bade him speak, he
again urged Eurybiades to remain at Salamis. Some one then said, that a
man without a city had no right to tell those who still possessed one to
abandon it, but Themistokles turning upon him, answered, "Wretch, we
Athenians have indeed abandoned our walls and houses, because we scorn
to be slaves for the sake of mere buildings, but we have the greatest
city of all Greece, our two hundred ships of war, which now are ready to
help you if you choose to be saved by their means; but, if you betray us
and leave us, some of the Greeks will soon learn to their cost that the
Athenians have obtained a free city and a territory no worse than that
which they left behind." When Eurybiades heard Themistokles use this
language, he began to fear that the Athenians might really sail away and
leave him.

When Eretrieus tried to say something to Themistokles, he answered, "Do
you too dare to say anything about war, you, who like a cuttle-fish,
have a sword but no heart."

XII. It is said by some writers that while Themistokles was talking
about these matters upon the deck of his ship, an owl was seen to fly
from the right-hand side of the fleet, and to perch upon his mast; which
omen encouraged all the Athenians to fight. But when the Persian host
poured down to Phalerum, covering the whole sea-shore, and the king
himself was seen with all his forces, coming down to the beach with the
infantry, the Greeks forgot the words of Themistokles, and began to cast
eager glances towards the Isthmus and to be angry with any one who
proposed to do anything else than withdraw. They determined to retire by
night, and the steersmen were given orders to prepare for a voyage.
Themistokles, enraged at the idea of the Greek fleet dispersing, and
losing the advantage of the narrow waters, planned the affair of
Sikinnus. This Sikinnus was a Persian who had been taken prisoner, and
who was fond of Themistokles and took charge of his children. He sent
this man secretly to Xerxes, ordering him to say that Themistokles, the
general of the Athenians, has determined to come over to the king of the
Persians, and is the first to tell him that the Greeks are about to
retreat. He bids him not to allow them to fly, but to attack them while
they are disheartened at not being supported by a land force, and
destroy their fleet.

Xerxes, who imagined this to be said for his advantage, was delighted,
and at once gave orders to the commanders of his ships to make ready for
battle at their leisure, all but two hundred, whom he ordered to put to
sea at once, surround the whole strait, and close up the passages
through the islands, so that no one of the enemy could escape. While
this was being done, Aristeides, the son of Lysimachus, who was the
first to perceive it, came to the tent of Themistokles, although the
latter was his enemy, and had driven him into exile. When Themistokles
came to meet him, he told him they were surrounded; knowing the frank
and noble character of Aristeides, Themistokles told him the whole plot,
and begged him as a man in whom the Greeks could trust, to encourage
them to fight a battle in the straits. Aristeides praised Themistokles
for what he had done, and went round to the other generals and captains
of ships, inciting them to fight. Yet they were inclined to doubt even
the word of Aristeides, when a trireme from the island of Tenos, under
the command of Panaitios, came in, having deserted from the enemy, and
brought the news that the Greeks were really surrounded. Then, in a
spirit of anger and despair, they prepared for the struggle.

XIII. At daybreak Xerxes took his seat on a high cliff overlooking all
his host, just above the Temple of Herakles, we are told by Phanodemus,
where the strait between Salamis and Attica is narrowest, but according
to Akestodorus, close to the Megarian frontier, upon the mountains
called Horns. Here he sat upon the golden throne, with many scribes
standing near, whose duty it was to write down the events of the battle.

While Themistokles was sacrificing on the beach, beside the admiral's
ship, three most beautiful captive boys were brought to him, splendidly
adorned with gold and fine clothes. They were said to be the children of
Sandauke, the sister of Xerxes, and Artäuktes. When Euphrantides the
prophet saw them, there shone at once from the victims on the altar a
great and brilliant flame, and at the same time some one was heard to
sneeze on the right hand, which is a good omen. Euphrantides now
besought Themistokles to sacrifice these young men as victims to
Dionysus, to whom human beings are sacrificed; so should the Greeks
obtain safety and victory. Themistokles was struck with horror at this
terrible proposal; but the multitude, who, as is natural with people in
great danger, hoped to be saved by miraculous rather than by ordinary
means, called upon the God with one voice, and leading the captives up
to the altar, compelled him to offer them up as the prophet bade him.
This story rests on the authority of Phanias of Lesbos, who was a man of
education, and well read in history.

XIV. As for the numbers of the Persian fleet, the poet Aeschylus, as
though he knew it clearly, writes as follows in his tragedy of the

    "And well I know a thousand sail
      That day did Xerxes meet,
    And seven and two hundred more,
      The fastest of his fleet."

The Athenian ships, a hundred and eighty in number, had each eighteen
men on deck, four of whom were archers, and the rest heavy-armed
soldiers. Themistokles now chose the time for the battle as judiciously
as he had chosen the place, and would not bring his triremes into line
of battle before the fresh wind off the sea, as is usual in the morning,
raised a heavy swell in the straits. This did not damage the low flat
ships of the Greeks, but it caught the high-sterned Persian ships,
over-weighted as they were with lofty decks, and presented their
broadsides to the Greeks, who eagerly attacked them, watching
Themistokles because he was their best example, and also because
Ariamenes, Xerxes's admiral, and the bravest and best of the king's
brothers, attacked him in a huge ship, from which, as if from a castle,
he poured darts and arrows upon him.

But Ameinias of Dekeleia and Sokles of Pedia, who were both sailing in
the same vessel, met him stem to stem. Each ship crashed into the other
with its iron beak, and was torn open. Ariamenes attempted to board the
Greek ship, but these two men set upon him with their spears, and drove
him into the sea. His body was noticed by Queen Artemisia floating
amongst the other wreckage, and was by her brought to Xerxes.

XV. At this period of the battle it is said that a great light was seen
to shine from Eleusis, and that a great noise was heard upon the
Thriasian plain near the sea, as though multitudes of men were escorting
the mystic Iacchus in procession. From the place where these sounds were
heard a mist seemed to spread over the sea and envelop the ships. Others
thought that they saw spirit-forms of armed men come from Aegina, and
hold their hands before the ships of the Greeks. These it was supposed
were the Aeakid heroes, to whom prayers for help had been offered just
before the battle. The first man to capture a ship was Lykomedes, an
Athenian captain, who cut off its ensign and dedicated it to Apollo with
the laurel crown at the Temple at Phlyae.

In the narrow straits the Persians were unable to bring more than a part
of their fleet into action, and their ships got into each other's way,
so that the Greeks could meet them on equal terms, and, although they
resisted until evening, completely routed them, winning, as Simonides
calls it, that "glorious and famous victory," the greatest exploit ever
achieved at sea, which owed its success to the bravery of the sailors
and the genius of Themistokles.

XVI. After this naval defeat, Xerxes, enraged at his failure,
endeavoured to fill up the strait with earth, and so to make a passage
for his land forces to Salamis, to attack the Greeks there. Now
Themistokles, in order to try the temper of Aristeides, proposed that
the fleet should sail to the Hellespont, and break the bridge of boats
there, "in order," said he, "that we may conquer Asia in Europe." But
Aristeides disapproved of this measure, saying, "Hitherto we have fought
against the Persian king, while he has been at his ease; but if we shut
him up in Greece, and drive the chief of so large an army to despair, he
will no longer sit quietly under a golden umbrella to look on at his
battles, but will strain every nerve and superintend every operation in
person, and so will easily retrieve his losses and form better plans for
the future."

"Instead of breaking down the existing bridge for him, Themistokles,"
said he, "we ought rather, if possible, at once to build another, and
send the man out of Europe as quickly as possible." "Well then,"
answered Themistokles, "if you think that our interest lies in that
direction, we ought all to consider and contrive to send him out of
Greece as fast as we can." When this resolution was adopted,
Themistokles sent one of the king's eunuchs, whom he had found among the
prisoners, bidding him warn Xerxes that "the Greeks had determined after
their victory to sail to the Hellespont and break the bridge, but that
Themistokles, out of his regard for the king, advises him to proceed as
fast as he can to his own sea, and cross over it, while he
(Themistokles) gained time for him by delaying the allied fleet."
Xerxes, hearing thus, was much alarmed and retired in all haste. And
indeed the battle with Mardonius at Plataea shows us which of the two
was right; for the Greeks there could scarcely deal with a small part of
the Persian army, and what therefore could they have done with the

XVII. Herodotus tells us that, of Greek States, Aegina received the
prize of valour, and that, of the generals, it was awarded to
Themistokles, though against the will of the voters. When the armies
retired to the Isthmus all the generals laid their votes on the altar
there, and each man declared himself to deserve the first prize for
valour, and Themistokles to deserve the second. However, the
Lacedaemonians brought him home with them to Sparta, and gave Eurybiades
the first prize for valour, but Themistokles that for wisdom, a crown of
olive-leaves. They also gave him the best chariot in their city, and
sent three hundred of their young men to escort him out of the country.
It is also related that at the next Olympian games, when Themistokles
appeared upon the race-course, all the spectators took no further
interest in the contests, but passed the whole day in admiring and
applauding him, and in pointing him out to such as were strangers; so
that he was delighted, and said to his friends that he had now received
his reward for all his labours on behalf of Greece.

XVIII. He was by nature excessively fond of admiration, as we may judge
from the stories about him which have been preserved. Once, when he was
made admiral of the Athenian fleet, he put off all the necessary
business of his office until the day appointed for sailing, in order
that he might have a great many dealings with various people all at
once, and so appear to be a person of great influence and importance.
And when he saw the corpses floating in the sea with gold bracelets and
necklaces, he himself passed them by, but pointed them out to a friend
who was following, saying, "Do you pick them up and keep them; for you
are not Themistokles." A beautiful youth, named Antiphates, regarded him
coolly at first, but eventually became submissive to him because of his
immense reputation. "Young man," said Themistokles, "it has taken some
time, but we have at length both regained our right minds." He used to
say that the Athenians neither admired nor respected him, but used him
like a plane-tree under which they took shelter in storm, but which in
fair weather they lopped and stripped of its leaves. Once when a citizen
of Seriphos said to him that he owed his glory, not to himself but to
his city, he answered, "Very true; I should not have become a great man
if I had been a Seriphian, nor would you if you had been an Athenian."
When one of his fellow-generals, who thought that he had done the state
good service, was taking a haughty tone, and comparing his exploits with
those of Themistokles, he said, "The day after a feast, once upon a
time, boasted that it was better than the feast-day itself, because on
that day all men are full of anxiety and trouble, while upon the next
day every one enjoys what has been prepared at his leisure. But the
feast-day answered, 'Very true, only but for me you never would have
been at all.' So now," said he, "if I had not come first, where would
you all have been now?" His son, who was spoiled by his mother, and by
himself to please her, he said was the most powerful person in Greece;
for the Athenians ruled the Greeks, he ruled the Athenians, his wife
ruled him, and his son ruled his wife. Wishing to be singular in all
things, when he put up a plot of ground for sale, he ordered the crier
to announce that there were good neighbours next to it. When two men
paid their addresses to his daughter, he chose the more agreeable
instead of the richer of the two, saying that he preferred a man without
money to money without a man. Such was his character, as shown in his

XIX. Immediately after the great war, he began to rebuild and fortify
the city. In order to succeed in this, Theopompus says that he bribed
the Spartan ephors into laying aside opposition, but most writers say
that he outwitted them by proceeding to Sparta nominally on an embassy.
Then when the Spartans complained to him that Athens was being
fortified, and when Poliarchus came expressly from Aegina to charge him
with it, he denied it, and bade them send commissioners to Athens to see
whether it was true, wishing both to obtain time for the fortifications
to be built, and also to place these commissioners in the hands of the
Athenians, as hostages for his own safety. His expectations were
realised; for the Lacedaemonians, on discovering the truth, did him no
harm, but dissembled their anger and sent him away. After this he built
Peiraeus, as he perceived the excellence of its harbours, and was
desirous to turn the whole attention of the Athenians to naval pursuits.
In this he pursued a policy exactly the opposite to that of the ancient
kings of Attica; for they are said to have endeavoured to keep their
subjects away from the sea, and to accustom them to till the ground
instead of going on board ships, quoting the legend that Athene and
Poseidon had a contest for the possession of the land, and that she
gained a decision in her favour by the production of the sacred olive.
Themistokles, on the other hand, did not so much "stick Peiraeus on to
Athens," as Aristophanes the comic poet said, as make the city dependent
upon Peiraeus, and the land dependent on the sea. By this means he
transferred power from the nobles to the people, because sailors and
pilots became the real strength of the State. For this reason the thirty
tyrants destroyed the bema, or tribune on the place of public assembly,
which was built looking towards the sea, and built another which looked
inland, because they thought that the naval supremacy of Athens had been
the origin of its democratic constitution, and that an oligarchy had
less to fear from men who cultivated the land.

XX. Themistokles had even more extended views than these about making
the Athenians supreme at sea. When Xerxes was gone, the whole Greek
fleet was drawn up on shore for the winter at Pagasae. Themistokles then
publicly told the Athenians that he had a plan which would save and
benefit them all, but which must not be divulged. The Athenians bade him
tell Aristeides only, and to execute his designs if he approved.

Themistokles then told Aristeides that his design was to burn the whole
Greek fleet as they lay on the beach. But Aristeides came forward and
told the people that no proposal could be more advantageous or more
villainous; so that the Athenians forbade Themistokles to proceed with
it. On another occasion the Lacedaemonians proposed, in a meeting of the
Amphiktyonic council, that all States that had taken no part in the
Persian war should be excluded from that council; Themistokles, fearing
that if the Lacedaemonians should exclude Thessaly, Argos, and Thebes,
they would have complete control over the votes, and be able to carry
what measures they pleased, made representations to the various States,
and influenced the votes of their deputies at the meeting, pointing out
to them that there were only thirty-one States which took any part in
the war, and that most of these were very small ones, so that it would
be unreasonable for one or two powerful States to pronounce the rest of
Greece outlawed, and be supreme in the council. After this he generally
opposed the Lacedaemonians; wherefore they paid special court to Kimon,
in order to establish him as a political rival to Themistokles.

XXI. Moreover, he made himself odious to the allies by sailing about the
islands and wringing money from them. A case in point is the
conversation which Herodotus tells us he held with the people of Andros,
when trying to get money from them. He said that he was come, bringing
with him two gods, Persuasion and Necessity; but they replied that they
also possessed two equally powerful ones, Poverty and Helplessness, by
whom they were prevented from supplying him with money. The poet,
Timokreon of Rhodes, in one of his songs, writes bitterly of
Themistokles, saying that he was prevailed upon by the bribes which he
received from exiles to restore them to their native country, but
abandoned himself, who was his guest and friend. The song runs as

    "Though ye may sing Pausanias or Xanthippus in your lays,
    Or Leotychides, 'tis Aristeides whom I praise,
    The best of men as yet produced by holy Athens' State,
    Since thus upon Themistokles has fall'n Latona's hate:
    That liar and that traitor base, who for a bribe unclean,
    Refused to reinstate a man who his own guest had been.
    His friend too, in his native Ialysus, but who took
    Three silver talents with him, and his friend forsook.
    Bad luck go with the fellow, who unjustly some restores
    From exile, while some others he had banished from our shores,
    And some he puts to death; and sits among us gorged with pelf.
    He kept an ample table at the Isthmian games himself,
    And gave to every guest that came full plenty of cold meat,
    The which they with a prayer did each and every of them eat,
    But their prayer was 'Next year be there no Themistokles to meet.'"

And after the exile and condemnation of Themistokles, Timokreon wrote
much more abusively about him in a song which begins,

    "Muse, far away,
    Sound this my lay,
    For it both meet and right is."

It is said that Timokreon was exiled from home for having dealings with
the Persians, and that Themistokles confirmed his sentence. When, then,
Themistokles was charged with intriguing with the Persians, Timokreon
wrote upon him,

    "Timokreon is not the only Greek
    That turned a traitor, Persian gold to seek;
    I'm not the only fox without a tail,
    But others put their honour up for sale."

XXII. As the Athenians, through his unpopularity, eagerly listened to
any story to his discredit, he was obliged to weary them by constantly
repeating the tale of his own exploits to them. In answer to those who
were angry with him, he would ask, "Are you weary of always receiving
benefits from the same hand?" He also vexed the people by building the
Temple of Artemis of Good Counsel, as he called her, hinting that he had
taken good counsel for the Greeks. This temple he placed close to his
own house in Melite, at the place where at the present day the public
executioner casts out the bodies of executed criminals, and the clothes
and ropes of men who have hanged themselves. Even in our own times a
small statue of Themistokles used to stand in the Temple of Artemis of
Good Counsel; and he seems to have been a hero not only in mind, but in
appearance. The Athenians made use of ostracism to banish him, in order
to reduce his extravagant pretensions, as they always were wont to do in
the case of men whom they thought over powerful and unfit for living in
the equality of a democracy. For ostracism implied no censure, but was
intended as a vent for envious feelings, which were satisfied by seeing
the object of their hatred thus humbled.

XXIII. When Themistokles was banished from Athens, he lived in Argos,
during which time the proceedings of Pausanias gave a great opportunity
to his enemies. He was impeached on a charge of treason by Leobotes, the
son of Alkmaeon of Agraulai, and the Spartans joined in the impeachment.
Pausanias, indeed, at first concealed his treacherous designs from
Themistokles, although he was his friend; but when he saw that
Themistokles was banished, and chafing at the treatment he had received,
he was encouraged to ask him to share his treason, and showed him the
letters which he had received from the Persian king, at the same time
inflaming his resentment against the Greeks, whom he spoke of as
ungrateful wretches. Themistokles refused utterly to join Pausanias, but
nevertheless told no one of his treasonable practices, either because he
hoped that he would desist, or that his visionary and impossible
projects would be disclosed by other means. And thus it was that when
Pausanias was put to death, certain letters and writings on this subject
were found, which threw suspicion upon Themistokles. The Lacedaemonians
loudly condemned him, and many of his own countrymen, because of the
enmity they bore him, brought charges against him. He did not appear in
person at first, but answered these attacks by letters. In these he told
his accusers that he had always sought to rule, and was not born to
obey; so that he never would sell himself and Greece to be a slave to
the Persians. But in spite of these arguments, his enemies prevailed
upon the Athenians to send men with orders to seize him, and bring him
to be tried by Greece.

XXIV. He was apprised of this in time to take refuge in Korkyra, a State
which was under obligations to him. For once, when Korkyra was at
variance with Corinth, he had been chosen to arbitrate between them, and
had reconciled them, giving as his award that the Corinthians were to
pay down twenty talents, and each State to have an equal share in the
city and island of Leucas, as being a colony from both of them. From
thence he fled to Epirus; but, being still pursued by the Athenians and
Lacedaemonians, he adopted a desperate resolution. Admetus, the king of
the Molossians, had once made some request to the Athenians, which
Themistokles, who was then in the height of his power, insultingly
refused to grant. Admetus was deeply incensed, and eager for vengeance;
but now Themistokles feared the fresh fury of his countrymen more than
this old grudge of the king's, put himself at his mercy, and became a
suppliant to Admetus in a novel and strange fashion; for he lay down at
the hearth of Admetus, holding that prince's infant son, which is
considered among the Molossians to be the most solemn manner of becoming
a suppliant, and one which cannot be refused. Some say that Phthia, the
king's wife, suggested this posture to Themistokles, and placed her
infant on the hearth with him; while others say that Admetus, in order
to be able to allege religious reasons for his refusal to give up
Themistokles to his pursuers, himself arranged the scene with him. After
this, Epikrates, of the township of Acharnai, managed to convey his wife
and children out of Athens to join him, for which, we are told by
Stesimbrotus, Kimon subsequently had him condemned and executed. But,
singularly enough, afterwards Stesimbrotus either forgets his wife and
children, or makes Themistokles forget them, when he says that he sailed
to Sicily and demanded the daughter of the despot Hiero in marriage,
promising that he would make all Greece obey him. As Hiero rejected his
proposals, he then went to Asia.

XXV. Now it is not probable that this ever took place. Theophrastus, in
his treatise on monarchy, relates that when Hiero sent race-horses to
Olympia and pitched a costly tent there, Themistokles said to the
assembled Greeks that they ought to destroy the despot's tent, and not
permit his horses to run. Thucydides too informs us that he crossed to
the Aegean sea, and set sail from Pydna, none of his fellow-travellers
knowing who he was until the ship was driven by contrary winds to Naxos,
which was then being besieged by the Athenians. Then he became alarmed,
and told the captain and the pilot who he was, and, partly by
entreaties, partly by threats that he would denounce them to the
Athenians, and say that they well knew who he was, but were carrying him
out of the country for a bribe, he prevailed on them to hold on their
course to the coast of Asia.

Of his property, much was concealed by his friends and sent over to him
in Asia; but what was confiscated to the public treasury amounted,
according to Theopompus, to a hundred talents, and according to
Theophrastus to eighty, albeit Themistokles, before his entrance into
political life, did not possess property worth three talents.

XXVI. When he sailed to Kyme, he found that many of the inhabitants of
the Ionic coast were watching for an opportunity to capture him,
especially Ergoteles and Pythodorus (for indeed, to men who cared not
how they made their money, he would have been a rich prize, as the
Persian king had offered a reward of two hundred talents for him), he
fled to Aegae, a little Aeolian city, where he was known by no one
except his friend Nikogenes, the richest of all the Aeolians, who was
well known to the Persians of the interior. In this man's house he lay
concealed for some days. Here, after the feast which followed a
sacrifice, Olbius, who took charge of Nikogenes's children, fell into a
kind of inspired frenzy, and spoke the following verse:

"Night shall speak and give thee counsel, night shall give thee
victory." After this Themistokles dreamed a dream. He thought that a
snake was coiling itself upon his belly and crawling up towards his
throat. As soon as it reached his throat, it became an eagle and flapped
its wings, lifted him up, and carried him a long distance, until he saw
a golden herald's staff. The eagle set him down upon this securely, and
he felt free from all terror and anxiety. After this he was sent away by
Nikogenes, who made use of the following device. Most barbarian nations,
and the Persians especially, are violently jealous in their treatment of
women. They guard not only their wives, but their purchased slaves and
concubines, with the greatest care, not permitting them to be seen by
any one out of doors, but when they are at home they lock them up, and
when they are on a journey they place them in waggons with curtains all
round them. Such a waggon was prepared for Themistokles, and he
travelled in it, his escort telling all whom they met that they were
conveying a Greek lady from Ionia to one of the king's courtiers.

XXVII. Thucydides and Charon of Lampsakus relate that Xerxes was now
dead, and that Themistokles gave himself up to his son; but Ephorus,
Deinon, Kleitarchus, Herakleides, and many others, say that it was to
Xerxes himself that he came. But the narrative of Thucydides agrees
better with the dates, although they are not thoroughly settled.

At this perilous crisis Themistokles first applied to Artabanus, a
chiliarch, or officer in command of a regiment of a thousand men, whom
he told that he was a Greek, and that he wished to have an interview
with the king about matters of the utmost importance, and in which the
king was especially interested. He replied, "Stranger, the customs of
different races are different, and each has its own standard of right
and wrong; yet among all men it is thought right to honour, admire, and
to defend one's own customs. Now we are told that you chiefly prize
freedom and equality; we on the other hand think it the best of all our
laws to honour the king, and to worship him as we should worship the
statue of a god that preserves us all. Wherefore if you are come with
the intention of adopting our customs, and of prostrating yourself
before the king, you may be permitted to see the king, and speak with
him; but if not, you must use some other person to communicate with him;
for it is not the custom for the king to converse with any one who does
not prostrate himself before him." Themistokles, hearing this, said to
him, "Artabanus, I am come to increase the glory and power of the king,
and will both myself adopt your customs, since the god that has exalted
the Persians will have it so, and will also increase the number of those
who prostrate themselves before the king. So let this be no impediment
to the interview with him which I desire." "Whom of the Greeks," asked
Artabanus, "are we to tell him is come? for you do not seem to have the
manners of a man of humble station." "No one," answered Themistokles,
"must learn my name before the king himself." This is the story which we
are told by Phanias. But Eratosthenes, in his treatise on wealth, tells
us also that Themistokles was introduced to Artabanus by an Eretrian
lady with whom the latter lived.

XXVIII. When he was brought into the king's presence he prostrated
himself, and stood silent. The king then told his interpreter to ask him
who he was; and when the interpreter had asked this question, he told
him to answer, "I am, O King, Themistokles the Athenian, an exile, a man
who has wrought much evil to the Persians, but more good than evil, in
that I stopped the pursuit when Greece was safe, and I was able to do
you a kindness as all was well at home. In my present fallen fortunes I
am prepared to be grateful for any mark of favour you may show me, or to
deprecate your anger, should you bear a grudge against me. You may see,
from the violence of my own countrymen against me, how great were the
benefits which I conferred upon the Persians; so now use me rather as a
means of proving your magnanimity than of glutting your wrath. Wherefore
save me, your suppliant, and do not destroy one who has become the enemy
of Greece." Themistokles also introduced a supernatural element into his
speech by relating the vision which he saw at the house of Nikogenes,
and also a prophecy which he received at the shrine of Jupiter of
Dodona, which bade him "go to the namesake of the god," from which he
concluded that the god sent him to the king, because they were both
great, and called kings. To this speech the Persian king made no answer,
although he was astonished at his bold spirit; but in conversation with
his friends he spoke as though this were the greatest possible piece of
good fortune, and in his prayers begged Arimanios to make his enemies
ever continue to banish their ablest men. He is said to have offered a
sacrifice to the gods and to have drunk wine at once, and during the
night in his soundest sleep he thrice cried out, "I have got
Themistokles the Athenian."

XXIX. At daybreak he called together his friends and sent for
Themistokles, who augured nothing pleasant from the insults and abuse
which he received from the people at the palace gates, when they heard
his name. Moreover Roxanes the chiliarch, as Themistokles passed by him
in silence into the king's presence, whispered, "Thou subtle serpent of
Greece, the king's good genius has led thee hither." But when he was
come before the king and had prostrated himself a second time, the king
embraced him, and said in a friendly tone that he already owed him two
hundred talents: for as he had brought himself he was clearly entitled
to the reward which was offered to any one else who would do so. He also
promised him much more than this, and encouraged him to speak at length
upon the affairs of Greece. To this Themistokles answered, that human
speech was like embroidered tapestry, because when spread out it shows
all its figures, but when wrapped up it both conceals and spoils them,
wherefore he asked for time. The king was pleased with his simile, and
bade him take what time he chose. He asked for a year, during which he
learned the Persian language sufficiently to talk to the king without an
interpreter. This led the people to imagine that he discoursed about the
affairs of Greece; but many changes were made at that time in the great
officers of the court, and the nobles disliked Themistokles, imagining
that he dared to speak about them to the king. Indeed, he was honoured
as no other foreigner ever was, and went hunting with the king and lived
in his family circle, so that he came into the presence of the king's
mother, and became her intimate friend, and at the king's command was
instructed in the mysteries of the Magi.

When Demaratus the Spartan was bidden to ask for a boon, he asked to be
allowed to drive through Sardis wearing his tiara upright like that of
the king. Mithropaustes, the king's cousin, took hold of Demaratus by
his tiara, saying, "You have no brains for the king's tiara to cover;
do you think you would become Zeus if you were given his thunderbolt to
wield?" The king was very angry with Demaratus because of this request,
but Themistokles by his entreaties restored him to favour. It is also
said that the later Persian kings, whose politics were more mixed up
with those of Greece, used to promise any Greek whom they wished to
desert to them that they would treat him better than Themistokles. We
are told that Themistokles himself, after he became a great man and was
courted by many, was seated one day at a magnificent banquet, and said
to his children, "My sons, we should have been ruined if it had not been
for our ruin." Most writers agree that three cities, Magnesia,
Lampsakus, and Myous, were allotted to him for bread, wine, and meat. To
these Neanthes of Kyzikus and Phanias add two more, Perkote and
Palaiskepsis, which were to supply bedding and clothing respectively.

XXX. On one occasion, when he went down to the seaside on some business
connected with Greece, a Persian named Epixyes, Satrap of Upper Phrygia,
plotted his assassination. He had long kept some Pisidians who were to
kill him when he passed the night in the town of Leontokophalos, which
means 'Lion's Head.' It is said that the mother of the gods appeared to
him while he was sleeping at noon and said, "Themistokles, be late at
Lion's Head, lest you fall in with a lion. As a recompense for this
warning, I demand Mnesiptolema for my handmaid." Themistokles, disturbed
at this, after praying to the goddess, left the highway and made a
circuit by another road, avoiding that place; when it was night he
encamped in the open country. As one of the sumpter cattle that carried
his tent had fallen into a river, Themistokles's servants hung up the
rich hangings, which were dripping with wet, in order to dry them. The
Pisidians meanwhile came up to the camp with drawn swords, and, not
clearly distinguishing in the moonlight the things hung out to dry,
thought that they must be the tent of Themistokles, and that they would
find him asleep within it. When they came close to it and raised the
hangings, the servants who were on the watch fell upon them and seized
them. Having thus escaped from danger, he built a temple to Dindymene at
Magnesia to commemorate the appearance of the goddess, and appointed
his daughter Mnesiptolema to be its priestess.

XXXI. When he came to Sardis, he leisurely examined the temples and the
offerings which they contained, and in the temple of the mother of the
gods, he found a bronze female figure called the Water-carrier, about
two cubits high, which he himself, when overseer of the water supply of
Athens, had made out of the fines imposed upon those who took water

Either feeling touched at the statue being a captive, or else willing to
show the Athenians how much power he possessed in Persia, he proposed to
the Satrap of Lydia to send it back to Athens. This man became angry at
his demand, and said that he should write to the king, and tell him of
it. Themistokles in terror applied himself to the harem of the Satrap,
and by bribing the ladies there induced them to pacify him, while he
himself took care to be more cautious in future, as he saw that he had
to fear the enmity of the native Persians. For this reason, Theopompus
tells us, he ceased to wander about Asia, but resided at Magnesia,
where, receiving rich presents and honoured equally with the greatest
Persian nobles, he lived for a long time in tranquillity; for the king's
attention was so entirely directed to the affairs of the provinces of
the interior that he had no leisure for operations against Greece. But
when Egypt revolted, and the Athenians assisted it, and Greek triremes
sailed as far as Cyprus and Cilicia, and Kimon was master of the sea,
then the king determined to attack the Greeks, and prevent their
development at his expense. Armies were put in motion, generals were
appointed, and frequent messages were sent to Themistokles from the
king, bidding him attack Greece and fulfil his promises. Themistokles,
unmoved by resentment against his countrymen, and uninfluenced by the
thought of the splendid position which he might occupy as
commander-in-chief, possibly too, thinking that his task was an
impossible one, as Greece possessed many great generals, especially
Kimon, who had a most brilliant reputation, but chiefly because he would
not soil his glory and disgrace the trophies which he had won,
determined, as indeed was his best course, to bring his life to a
fitting close. He offered sacrifice to the gods, called his friends
together, and, having taken leave of them, drank bull's blood, according
to the most common tradition, but according to others, some
quickly-operating poison, and died at Magnesia in the sixty-fifth year
of a life almost entirely spent in great political and military

The King of Persia, when he heard of the manner of his death and his
reasons for dying, admired him more than ever, and continued to treat
his family and friends with kindness.

XXXII. Themistokles left five children, Neokles, Diokles, Archeptolis,
Polyeuktus, Kleophantus, by his first wife Archippe, who was the
daughter of Lysander, of the township of Alopekai. Of these Kleophantus
is mentioned by Plato the philosopher as being an excellent horseman,
but otherwise worthless. Of the elder ones, Neokles was bitten by a
horse and died while still a child, and Diokles was adopted by his
grandfather Lysander. He also had several daughters by his second wife,
of whom Mnesiptolema married Archeptolis, her father's half-brother;
Italia married Panthoides of the island of Chios, and Sybaris married
Nikomedes, an Athenian. After Themistokles's death, his nephew
Phrasikles sailed to Magnesia, and with her brother's consent married
Nicomache, and also took charge of the youngest child, who was named

The people of Magnesia show a splendid tomb of Themistokles in their
market-place; but with regard to the fate of his remains we must pay no
attention to Andokides, who in his address to his friends, tells us that
the Athenians stole them and tore them to pieces, because he would tell
any falsehood to excite the hatred of the nobles against the people.
Phylarchus, too, writes his history in such dramatic form that he all
but resorts to the actual machinery of the stage, bringing forward one
Neokles, and Demopolis as the children of Themistokles to make a
touching scene, which anyone can see is untrue. Diodorus the
topographer, in his treatise 'On Tombs' says, more as a conjecture than
as knowing it for a fact, that in the great harbour of Peiraeus a kind
of elbow juts out from the promontory of Alkimus, and that when one
sails past this, going inwards, where the sea is most sheltered, there
is a large foundation, and upon it the tomb of Themistokles, shaped like
an altar. It is thought that the comic poet Plato alludes to this in the
following verses:

    "By the sea's margin, by the watery strand,
    Thy monument, Themistokles, shall stand;
    By this directed to thy native shore
    The merchant shall convey his freighted store;
    And when our fleets are summoned to the fight,
    Athens shall conquer with thy tomb in sight."

The descendants of Themistokles are given certain privileges at Magnesia
even to the present day, for I know that Themistokles, an Athenian, my
friend and fellow-student in the school of Ammonias the philosopher,
enjoyed them.


I. The strangest fact in the life of Furius Camillus is that, although
he was a most successful general and won great victories, though he was
five times appointed dictator, triumphed four times, and was called the
second founder of Rome, yet he never once was consul. The reason of this
is to be found in the political condition of Rome at that time; for the
people, being at variance with the senate, refused to elect consuls, and
chose military tribunes instead, who, although they had full consular
powers, yet on account of their number were less offensive to the people
than consuls. To have affairs managed by six men instead of two appears
to have been a consolation to those who had suffered from the arbitrary
rule of a few. It was during this period that Camillus reached the
height of power and glory, and yet he would not become consul against
the will of the people, although several occasions occurred when he
might have been elected, but in his various appointments he always
contrived, even when he had sole command, to share his power with
others, while even when he had colleagues he kept all the glory for
himself. His moderation prevented any one from grudging him power, while
his successes were due to his genius, in which he confessedly surpassed
all his countrymen.

II. The family of the Furii was not a very illustrious one before
Camillus gained glory in the great battle with the Aequi and Volsci,
where he served under the dictator Postumius Tubertus. Riding out before
the rest of the army, he was struck in the thigh by a dart, but tore it
out, assailed the bravest of the enemy, and put them to flight. After
this, amongst other honours he was appointed censor, an office of great
dignity at that time. One admirable measure is recorded of his
censorship, that by arguments and threatening them with fines he
persuaded the unmarried citizens to marry the widow women, whose number
was very great on account of the wars. Another measure to which he was
forced was that of taxing orphans, who had hitherto been exempt from
taxation. This was rendered necessary by the constant campaigns which
were carried on at a great expense, and more especially by the siege of
Veii. Some call the inhabitants of this city Veientani. It was the
bulwark of Etruria, possessing as many fighting men as Rome itself; the
citizens were rich, luxurious, and extravagant in their habits, and
fought bravely many times for honour and for power against the Romans.
At this period, having been defeated in several great battles, the
people of Veii had given up any schemes of conquest, but had built
strong and high walls, filled their city with arms and provisions, and
all kinds of material of war, and fearlessly endured a siege, which was
long, no doubt, but which became no less irksome and difficult to the
besiegers. Accustomed as the Romans had been to make short campaigns in
summer weather, and to spend their winters at home, they were now for
the first time compelled by their tribunes to establish forts and
entrench their camp, and pass both summer and winter in the enemy's
country for seven years in succession. The generals were complained of,
and as they seemed to be carrying on the siege remissly, they were
removed, and others appointed, among them Camillus, who was then tribune
for the second time. But he effected nothing in the siege at that time,
because he was sent to fight the Faliscans and Capenates, who had
insulted the Roman territory throughout the war with Veii, when the
Roman army was engaged elsewhere, but were now driven by Camillus with
great loss to the shelter of their city walls.

III. After this, while the war was at its height, much alarm was caused
by the strange phenomenon seen at the Alban lake, which could not be
accounted for on ordinary physical principles. The season was autumn,
and the summer had not been remarkable for rain or for moist winds, so
that many of the streams and marshes in Italy were quite dried up, and
others held out with difficulty, while the rivers, as is usual in
summer, were very low and deeply sunk in their bed. But the Alban lake,
which is self-contained, lying as it does surrounded by fertile hills,
began for no reason, except it may be the will of Heaven, to increase in
volume and to encroach upon the hillsides near it, until it reached
their very tops, rising quietly and without disturbance. At first the
portent only amazed the shepherds and herdsmen of the neighbourhood; but
when the lake by the weight of its waters broke through the thin isthmus
of land which restrained it, and poured down in a mighty stream through
the fertile plains below to the sea, then not only the Romans, but all
the people of Italy, thought it a portent of the gravest character. Much
talk about it took place in the camp before Veii, so that the besieged
also learned what was happening at the lake.

IV. As always happens during a long siege, where there are frequent
opportunities of intercourse between the two parties, one of the Romans
had become intimate with a citizen of Veii, who was learned in legendary
lore, and was even thought to have supernatural sources of information.
When this man heard of the overflowing of the lake, his Roman friend
observed that he was overjoyed, and laughed at the idea of the siege
being successful. The Roman told him that these were not the only
portents which troubled the Romans at the present time, but that there
were others stranger than this, about which he should like to consult
him, and, if possible, save himself in the common ruin of his country.
The man eagerly attended to his discourse, imagining that he was about
to hear some great secrets. The Roman thus decoyed him away farther and
farther from the city gate, when he suddenly seized him and lifted him
from the ground. Being the stronger man, and being assisted by several
soldiers from the camp, he overpowered him, and brought him before the
generals. Here the man, seeing that there was no escape, and that no one
can resist his destiny, told them of the ancient oracles about his city,
how it could not be taken until its enemies drove back the waters of the
Alban lake, and prevented its joining the sea. When the senate heard
this they were at a loss what to do, and determined to send an embassy
to Delphi to enquire of the God. The embassy consisted of men of mark
and importance, being Licinius Cossus, Valerius Potitus, and Fabius
Ambustus. After a prosperous journey they returned with a response from
Apollo, pointing out certain ceremonies which had been neglected in the
feast of the Latin games, and bidding them, if possible, force the
waters of the Alban lake away from the sea into its ancient course, or,
if this could not be done, to divide the stream by canals and
watercourses, and so to expend it in the plain. When the answer was
brought back, the priests took the necessary steps about the sacrifices,
while the people turned their attention to the diversion of the water.

V. In the tenth year of the war, the Senate recalled all the rest of the
generals, and made Camillus Dictator. He chose Cornelius Scipio to be
his Master of the Knights, and made a vow to the gods, that, if he
succeeded in bringing the war to a glorious close, he would celebrate a
great festival, and build a shrine to the goddess whom the Romans call
_Mater Matuta_. This goddess, from the rites with which she is
worshipped, one would imagine to be the same as the Greek Leukothea. For
they bring a slave girl into the temple and beat her, and then drive her
out; they take their brothers' children in their arms in preference to
their own, and generally their ceremonies seem to allude to the nursing
of Bacchus, and to the misfortunes which befell Ino because of her
husband's concubine. After this, Camillus invaded the Faliscan
territory, and in a great battle overthrew that people, and the
Capenates who came to their assistance. Next, he turned his attention to
the siege of Veii, and, perceiving that it would be a difficult matter
to take the city by assault, he ordered mines to be dug, as the ground
near the walls was easily worked, and the mines could be sunk to a
sufficient depth to escape the notice of the besieged. As this work
succeeded to his wish, he made a demonstration above ground to call the
enemy to the walls and distract their attention, while others made their
way unperceived through the mine to the Temple of Juno in the citadel,
the largest and most sacred edifice in the city. Here, it is said, was
the King of the Veientines, engaged in sacrificing. The soothsayer
inspected the entrails, and cried with a loud voice, that the goddess
would give the victory to whoever offered that victim. The Romans in the
mine, hearing these words, quickly tore up the floor, and burst through
it with shouts and rattling arms. The enemy fled in terror, and they
seized the victims and carried them to Camillus. However, this story
sounds rather fabulous.

The city was stormed, and the Romans carried off an enormous mass of
plunder. Camillus, who viewed them from the citadel, at first stood
weeping, but when, congratulated by the bystanders, raised his hands to
heaven and said, "Great Jupiter, and all ye other gods, that see all
good and evil deeds alike, ye know that it is not in unrighteous
conquest, but in self-defence, that the Romans have taken this city of
their lawless enemies. If," he continued, "there awaits us any reverse
of fortune to counterbalance this good luck, I pray that it may fall,
not upon the city or army of Rome, but, as lightly as may be, upon my
own head." After these words he turned round to the right, as is the
Roman habit after prayer, and while turning, stumbled and fell. All
those present were terrified at the omen, but he recovered himself,
saying that, as he had prayed, he had received a slight hurt to temper
his great good fortune.

VI. When the city was sacked, he determined to send the statue of Juno
to Rome, according to his vow. When workmen were assembled for this
purpose, he offered sacrifice, and prayed to the goddess to look kindly
on his efforts, and to graciously take up her abode among the gods of
Rome. It is said that the statue answered that it wished to do so, and
approved of his proceedings. But Livy tells us that Camillus offered his
prayers while touching the statue, and that some of the bystanders said,
"She consents, and is willing to come." However, those who insist on the
supernatural form of the story have one great argument in their favour,
in the marvellous fortune of Rome, which never could from such small
beginnings have reached, such a pitch of glory and power without many
direct manifestations of the favour of Heaven. Moreover, other
appearances of the same kind are to be compared with it, such as that
statues have often been known to sweat, have been heard to groan, and
have even turned away and shut their eyes, as has been related by many
historians before our own time. And I have heard of many miraculous
occurrences even at the present day, resting on evidence which cannot be
lightly impugned. However, the weakness of human nature makes it equally
dangerous to put too much faith in such matters or to entirely
disbelieve them, as the one leads to superstition and folly, and the
other to neglect and contempt of the gods. Our best course is caution,
and the "golden mean."

VII. Camillus, either because he was elated by the magnificence of his
exploit in having taken a city as large as Rome after a ten years'
siege, or else because he had been so flattered by his admirers that his
pride overcame his sober judgment, conducted his triumph with great
ostentation, especially in driving through Rome in a chariot, drawn by
four white horses, which never was done by any general before or since,
for this carriage is thought to be sacred to Jupiter, the king and
father of the gods. The citizens, unaccustomed to splendour, were
displeased with him for this, and their dislike was increased by his
opposition to the law for a redistribution of the people. The tribunes
proposed that the Senate and people should be divided into two parts,
one of which should stay at Rome and the other remove to the captured
city, because they would be more powerful if they possessed two great
cities, instead of one, and held the land in common, still remaining one
nation. The lower classes, which were numerous and poor, eagerly took up
the scheme, and continually clamoured round the speakers at the rostra,
demanding to have it put to the vote. But the Senate and the nobles
thought that it was not a redistribution, but the absolute destruction
of Rome which the tribunes were demanding, and in their anger rallied
round Camillus. He, fearing to have a contest on the matter, kept
putting off the people and inventing reasons for delay, so as to prevent
the law being brought forward to be voted upon. This increased his
unpopularity; but the greatest and most obvious reason for the dislike
which the people bore him arose from his demand for the tenth part of
the spoils; very naturally, though perhaps he scarcely deserved it. On
his way to Veii it seems he had made a vow, that if he took the city he
would dedicate the tenth part of the spoil to Apollo. But when the city
was taken and plundered, he either was unwilling to interfere with his
countrymen, or else forgot his vow, and allowed them to enrich
themselves with the booty. Afterwards, when he had laid down his
dictatorship, he brought the matter before the Senate, and the
soothsayers declared that the victims for sacrifice showed, when
inspected, that the gods were angry and must be propitiated.

VIII. The Senate decreed, not that the plunder should be given up, for
that would have been scarcely possible to carry out, but that those who
had taken any should be put on their oath, and contribute a tenth part
of its value. This measure bore very hardly upon the soldiers, poor
hard-working men, who were now compelled to repay so large a proportion
of what they had earned and spent. Camillus was clamorously assailed by
them, and, having no better excuse to put forward, made the
extraordinary statement that he had forgotten his vow when the city was
plundered. The people angrily said that he had vowed to offer up a tithe
of the enemy's property, but that he really was taking a tithe from the
citizens instead. However, all the contributions were made, and it was
determined that with them a golden bowl should be made and sent to
Apollo at Delphi. There was a scarcity of gold in the city, and while
the government were deliberating how it was to be obtained, the matrons
held a meeting among themselves, and offered their golden ornaments to
make the offering, which came to eight talents' weight of gold. The
Senate rewarded them by permitting them to have a funeral oration
pronounced over their graves the same as men; for hitherto it had not
been customary at Rome to make any speeches at the funerals of women.
They also chose three of the noblest citizens to travel with the
offering, and sent them in a well-manned ship of war, splendidly
equipped. Both storms and calms at sea are said to be dangerous, and
they chanced on this occasion to come very near destruction, and
miraculously escaped, for in a calm off the Aeolian Islands they were
assailed by Liparian triremes, who took them for pirates. At their
earnest entreaty these people forbore to run down their vessel, but took
it in tow and brought it into their harbour, where they treated it as a
piratical craft, and put up the crew and the property on board for sale
by public auction. With great difficulty, by the goodness and influence
of one man, Timesitheos, a general, they obtained their release, and
were allowed to proceed. Timesitheos even launched some ships of his
own, with which he escorted them to Delphi, where he also took part in
the ceremony of consecration. In return for his services, as was only
just, he received special honours at Rome.

IX. The tribunes of the people again began to agitate about the
redistribution of land and occupation of Veii, but a war with the
Faliscans gave the leading men a seasonable opportunity to elect
magistrates after their own hearts for the coming year. Camillus was
appointed military tribune, with five others, as it was thought that the
State required a general of tried experience. At the decree of the
Senate, Camillus raised a force and invaded the Faliscan territory. He
now besieged Falerii, a strong city well provided with all munitions of
war, which he considered it would be a work of no small time and labour
to take; but he was desirous of employing the people in a long siege, to
prevent their having leisure for factious proceedings at home. This was
ever the policy of the Romans, to work off the elements of internal
strife in attacks on their neighbours.

X. The Faliscans thought so little of the siege, from the strength of
their defences, that, except when on duty on the walls, they used to
walk about their city in their ordinary dress, and their children were
sent regularly to school, and used to be taken by their master to walk
and take exercise outside the walls. For the Faliscans, like the Greeks,
had one common school, as they wished all their children to be brought
up together. The schoolmaster determined to betray these boys to the
enemy, and led them outside the walls for exercise every day, and then
led them back again. By this means he gradually accustomed them to going
out as if there was no danger, until finally he took all the boys and
handed them over to the Roman pickets, bidding them bring him to
Camillus. When he was brought before him he said that he was a
schoolmaster, that he preferred the favour of Camillus to his duty, and
that he came to hand over to him the city of Falerii in the persons of
these boys.

Camillus was very much shocked. He said that war is indeed harsh, and is
carried on by savage and unrighteous means, but yet there are laws of
war which are observed by good men, and one ought not so much to strive
for victory, as to forego advantages gained by wicked and villainous
means: thus a truly great general ought to succeed by his own warlike
virtues, not by the baseness of others.

Having spoken thus, he ordered his slaves to tear the schoolmaster's
clothes, tie his hands behind his back, and give the boys sticks and
scourges with which to drive him back to the city. The Faliscans had
just discovered the treachery of their schoolmaster, and, as may be
expected, the whole city was filled with mourning at such a calamity,
men and women together running in confusion to the gates and walls of
the city, when the boys drove in their schoolmaster with blows and
insults, calling Camillus their saviour, their father, and their god.
Not only those who were parents, but all the citizens were struck with
admiration at the goodness of Camillus. They at once assembled, and
despatched ambassadors, putting themselves unreservedly in his hands.
These men Camillus sent on to Rome, where they stated before the Senate,
that the Romans, by preferring justice to conquest, had taught them to
prefer submission to freedom, although they did not think that they fell
short of the Romans in strength so much as in virtue. The Senate
referred the ambassadors to Camillus for their first answer; and he,
after receiving a contribution in money, and having made a treaty of
alliance with the Faliscans, drew off his forces.

XI. But the soldiers, who had been looking forward to plundering
Falerii, when they returned to Rome empty handed, abused Camillus to the
other citizens, saying that he was a hater of the people, and grudged
poor men a chance of enriching themselves. When the tribunes
reintroduced the proposal of redistribution of the land, and removing
half the city to Veii, Camillus openly, without caring how unpopular he
became, opposed the measure. The people, sorely against their will, gave
up the measure, but hated Camillus so fiercely that even his domestic
afflictions (for he had just lost one of his two sons by sickness) could
not move them to pity. Being of a kind and loving nature, he was
dreadfully cast down at this misfortune, and spent all his time within
doors mourning with the women of his family, while his enemies were
preparing an impeachment against him.

XII. His accuser was Lucius Apuleius, and the charge brought against him
was embezzlement of the spoils of Etruria. He was even said to have in
his possession some brazen gates which were taken in that country. The
people were much excited against him, and it was clear that, whatever
the charge against him might be, they would condemn him. Consequently he
assembled his friends and comrades, who were a great number in all, and
begged them not to permit him to be ruined by false accusations, and
made a laughing-stock to his enemies. But when his friends, after
consulting together, answered that they did not think that they could
prevent his being condemned, but that they would assist him to pay any
fine that might be imposed, he, unable to bear such treatment,
determined in a rage to leave Rome and go into exile. He embraced his
wife and son, and walked from his house silently as far as the gate of
the city. There he turned back, and, stretching out his hands towards
the Capitol, prayed to the gods that, if he was driven out of Rome
unjustly by the insolence and hatred of the people, the Romans might
soon repent of their conduct to him, and appear before the world begging
him to return, and longing for their Camillus back again.

XIII. Like Achilles, he thus cursed his countrymen and left them. His
cause was undefended, and in his absence he was condemned to pay a fine
of fifteen thousand _ases_, which in Greek money is fifteen hundred
_drachmas_, for the _as_ was the Roman coin at that time, and
consequently ten copper _ases_ were called a _denarius_.

Every Roman believes that the prayers of Camillus were quickly heard by
Justice, and that a terrible retribution was exacted for his wrongs,
which filled all men's mouths at that time; so terrible a fate befell
Rome, with such destruction, danger, and disgrace, whether it arose from
mere chance, or whether it be the office of some god to punish those who
requite virtue with ingratitude.

XIV. The first omen of impending evil was the death of Julius the
Censor; for the Romans reverence the office of censor, and account it
sacred. Another omen was that, a short time before Camillus went into
exile, one Marcus Caedicius, a man of no particular note, and not even a
senator, but a thoroughly respectable man, communicated a matter of some
importance to the tribunes of the people. He said that the night before
he had been walking along what is called the New Road, when some one
called him by name. He turned round and could see no one, but heard a
voice louder than man's say, "Go, Marcus Caedicius, tell the government
early in the morning that in a short time they may expect the Gauls."
When the tribunes of the people heard this they laughed him to scorn,
and shortly afterwards Camillus left the city.

XV. The Gauls are a people of the Celtic race, and are said to have
become too numerous for their own country, and consequently to have left
it to search for some other land to dwell in. As they consisted of a
large multitude of young warriors, they started in two bodies, one of
which, went towards the northern ocean, and, passing the Rhipaean
mountains, settled in the most distant part of Europe. The other body
established themselves between the Pyrenees and the Alps, and for a long
time dwelt near the Senones and Celtorii. At last they tasted wine,
which was then for the first time brought thither out of Italy. In an
ecstasy of delight at the drink they wildly snatched up their arms, took
their families with them, and rushed to the Alps in search of the
country which produced such fruits as this, considering all other
countries to be savage and uncultivated. The man who first introduced
wine among them and encouraged them to proceed to Italy was said to be
one Aruns, an Etruscan of some note, who, though a well-meaning man, had
met with the following misfortune. He had been left guardian to an
orphan named Lucumo, one of the richest and handsomest of his
countrymen. This boy lived in the house of Aruns from his childhood, and
when he grew up he would not leave it, but pretended to delight in his
society. It was long before Aruns discovered that Lucumo had debauched
his wife, and that their passion was mutual; but at length they were
unable any longer to conceal their intrigue, and the youth openly
attempted to carry off the woman from her husband. He went to law, but
was unable to contend with the numerous friends and great wealth of
Lucumo, and so left the country. Hearing about the Gauls, he went to
them and incited them to invade Italy.

XVI. They immediately made themselves masters of the country, which
reaches from the Alps down to the sea on both sides of Italy, which in
ancient times belonged to the Etruscans, as we see by the names, for the
upper sea is called the Adriatic from Adria, an Etruscan city, and the
lower is called the Etruscan Sea. It is a thickly wooded country, with
plenty of pasturage, and well watered. At that period it contained
eighteen fair and large cities, with a thriving commercial population.
The Gauls took these cities, drove out their inhabitants, and occupied
them themselves. This, however, took place some time previously to our

XVII. The Gauls at this time marched against the Etruscan city of
Clusium and besieged it. The inhabitants appealed to the Romans to send
ambassadors and letters to the barbarians, and they sent three of the
Fabian family, men of the first importance in Rome. They were well
received, because of the name of Rome, by the Gauls, who desisted from
their siege and held a conference with them. The Romans inquired what
wrong the Gauls had suffered from the people of Clusium that they should
attack their city. To this Brennus, the king of the Gauls, answered with
a laugh, "The people of Clusium wrong us by holding a large territory,
although they can only inhabit and cultivate a small one, while they
will not give a share of it to us, who are numerous and poor. You Romans
were wronged in just the same way in old times by the people of Alba,
and Fidenae, and Ardea, and at the present day by the Veientines and
Capenates, and by many of the Faliscans and Volscians. You make
campaigns against these people if they will not share their good things
with you, you sell them for slaves and plunder their territory, and
destroy their cities; and in this you do nothing wrong, but merely obey
the most ancient of all laws, that the property of the weak belongs to
the strong, a law which prevails among the gods on the one hand, and
even among wild beasts, amongst whom the stronger always encroach upon
the weaker ones. So now cease to pity the besieged men of Clusium, for
fear you should teach the Gauls to become good-natured and pitiful
towards the nations that have been wronged by the Romans."

This speech showed the Romans that Brennus had no thought of coming to
terms, and they in consequence went into Clusium and encouraged the
inhabitants to attack the barbarians under their guidance, either
because they wished to make trial of the valour of the Gauls, or to make
a display of their own. The people of Clusium made a sally, and a battle
took place near their wall. In this one of the Fabii, Quintus Ambustus
by name, was on horseback, and rode to attack a fine powerful Gaul who
was riding far in advance of the rest. At first the Roman was not
recognised because the fight was sharp, and the flashing of his arms
prevented his face being clearly seen. But when he slew his antagonist
and jumped down from his horse to strip his body of its spoils, Brennus
recognised him, and called the gods to witness his violation of the
common law of all nations, in coming to them as an ambassador and
fighting against them as an enemy. He immediately put a stop to the
battle and took no further heed of the people of Clusium, but directed
his army against Rome. However, as he did not wish it to be thought that
the bad conduct of the Romans pleased the Gauls, who only wanted a
pretext for hostilities, he sent and demanded that Fabius should be
delivered up to him to be punished, and at the same time led his army
slowly forwards.

XVIII. At Rome the Senate was called together, and many blamed Fabius,
while those priests who are called Feciales urged the Senate in the
name of religion to throw the whole blame of what had happened upon one
guilty head, and, by delivering him up, to clear the rest of the city
from sharing his guilt. These Feciales were instituted by the mildest
and justest of the kings of Rome, Numa Pompilius, to be guardians of
peace, and examiners of the reasons which justify a nation in going to
war. However the Senate referred the matter to the people, and when the
priests repeated their charges against Fabius before them, the people so
despised and slighted religion as to appoint Fabius and his brothers
military tribunes. The Gauls, when they heard this, were enraged, and
hurried on, disregarding everything but speed. The nations through which
they passed, terrified at their glancing arms and their strength and
courage, thought that their land was indeed lost and that their cities
would at once be taken, but to their wonder and delight the Gauls did
them no hurt, and took nothing from their fields, but marched close by
their cities, calling out that they were marching against Rome, and were
at war with the Romans only, and held all other men to be their friends.
To meet this impetuous rush, the military tribunes led out the Romans,
who, in numbers indeed were quite a match for the Gauls, for they
amounted to no less than forty thousand heavy-armed men, but for the
most part untrained and serving for the first time.

Besides this disadvantage, they neglected the duties of religion, for
they neither made the usual sacrifices nor consulted the soothsayers.
Confusion also was produced by the number of commanders, though
frequently before this, in much less important campaigns, they had
chosen single generals, whom they called dictators, as they knew that
nothing is so important at a dangerous crisis as that all should
unanimously and in good order obey the commands of one irresponsible
chief. And the unfair treatment which Camillus had received now bore
disastrous fruits, for no man dared to use authority except to flatter
and gain the favour of the people.

They proceeded about eleven miles from the city, and halted for the
night on the banks of the river Allia, which joins the Tiber not far
from where their camp was pitched. Here the barbarians appeared, and,
after an unskilfully managed battle, the want of discipline of the
Romans caused their ruin. The Gauls drove the left wing into the river
and destroyed it, but the right of the army, which took refuge in the
hills to avoid the enemy's charge on level ground, suffered less, and
most of them reached the city safely. The rest, who survived after the
enemy were weary of slaughter, took refuge at Veii, imagining that all
was over with Rome.

XIX. This battle took place about the summer solstice at the time of
full moon, on the very day on which in former times the great disaster
befel the Fabii, when three hundred of that race were slain by the
Etruscans. But this defeat wiped out the memory of the former one, and
the day was always afterwards called that of the Allia, from the river
of that name.

It is a vexed question whether we ought to consider some days unlucky,
or whether Herakleitus was right in rebuking Hesiod for calling some
days good and some bad, because he knew not that the nature of all days
is the same. However the mention of a few remarkable instances is
germane to the matter of which we are treating. It happened that on the
fifth day of the Boeotian month Hippodromios, which the Athenians call
Hekatombeion,[A] two signal victories were won by the Boeotians, both of
which restored liberty to Greece; one, when they conquered the Spartans
at Leuktra, and the other, when, more than two hundred years before
this, they conquered the Thessalians under Lattamyas at Kerêssus.

[Footnote A: Plutarch himself was a Boeotian.]

Again, the Persians were beaten by the Greeks on the sixth of Boedromion
at Marathon, and on the third they were beaten both at Plataea and at
Mykale, and at Arbela on the twenty-fifth of the same month. The
Athenians too won their naval victory under Chabrias at Naxos on the
full moon of Boedromion, and that of Salamis on the twentieth of that
month, as I have explained in my treatise 'On Days.'

The month of Thargelion evidently brings misfortune to the barbarians,
for Alexander defeated the Persian king's generals on the Granicus in
Thargelion, and the Carthaginians were defeated by Timoleon in Sicily
on the twenty-seventh of Thargelion, at which same time Troy is believed
to have been taken, according to Ephorus, Kallisthenes, Damastes and

On the other hand, the month Metageitnion, which the Boeotians call
Panemos, is unfavourable to the Greeks, for on the seventh of that month
they were defeated by Antipater at Kranon and utterly ruined; and before
that, were defeated during that month by Philip at Chaeronea. And on
that same day and month and year Archidamus and his troops, who had
crossed over into Italy, were cut to pieces by the natives. The
twenty-first day of that month is also observed by the Carthaginians as
that which has always brought the heaviest misfortunes upon them. And I
am well aware that at the time of the celebration of the mysteries
Thebes was destroyed for the second time by Alexander, and that after
this Athens was garrisoned by Macedonian soldiers on the twentieth of
Boedromion, on which day they bring out the mystic Iacchus in
procession. And similarly the Romans, under the command of Caepio, on
that same day lost their camp to the Gauls, and afterwards, under
Lucullus, defeated Tigranes and the Armenians. King Attalus and Pompeius
the Great died on their own birthdays. And I could mention many others,
who have had both good and evil fortune on the same anniversaries. But
the Romans regard that day as especially unlucky, and on account of it,
two other days in every month are thought so, as superstitious feeling
is increased by misfortune. This subject I have treated at greater
length in my treatise on 'Roman Questions.'

XX. If, after the battle, the Gauls had at once followed up the
fugitives, nothing could have prevented their taking Rome and destroying
every one who was left in it; such terror did the beaten troops produce
when they reached home, and such panic fear seized upon every one.
However the barbarians scarcely believed in the completeness of their
victory, and betook themselves to making merry over their success and to
dividing the spoils taken in the Roman camp, so that they afforded those
who left the city time to effect their escape, and those who remained in
it time to recover their courage and make preparations for standing a
siege. They abandoned all but the Capitol to the enemy, and fortified it
with additional ramparts and stores of missiles. One of their first acts
was to convey most of their holy things into the Capitol, while the
Vestal virgins took the sacred fire and their other sacred objects and
fled with them from the city. Some indeed say that nothing is entrusted
to them except the eternal fire, which King Numa appointed to be
worshiped as the origin of all things. For fire has the liveliest motion
of anything in nature; and everything is produced by motion or with some
kind of motion. All other parts of matter when heat is absent lie
useless and apparently dead, requiring the power of fire as the breath
of life, to call them into existence and make them capable of action.

Numa therefore, being a learned man and commonly supposed on account of
his wisdom to hold communion with the Muses, consecrated fire, and
ordered it to be kept unquenched for ever as an emblem of the eternal
power that orders all things. Others say that, as among the Greeks, a
purificatory fire burns before the temple, but that within are other
holy things which no man may see, except only the virgins, who are named
Vestals; and a very wide-spread notion is, that the famous Trojan
Palladium, which was brought to Italy by Aeneas, is kept there. Others
say that the Samothracian gods are there, whom Dardanus brought to Troy
after he had founded it, and caused to be worshipped there, which, after
the fall of Troy, Aeneas carried off and kept until he settled in Italy.
But those who pretend to know most about such matters say that there are
two jars of no great size in the temple, one open and empty, and the
other full and sealed, and that these may be seen only by the holy
virgins. Others think that this is a mistake, arising from the fact
that, at the time of which we are treating, the Vestal virgins placed
most of their sacred things in two jars and concealed them in the earth
under the Temple of Quirinus, which place even to the present day is
called the _Doliola_, or place of the jars.

XXI. However this may be, the Vestals took the most important of their
holy things and betook themselves to flight along the Tiber. Here Lucius
Albinus, a plebian, was journeying among the fugitives, with his wife
and infant children and their few necessaries in a waggon. When he saw
the Vestal virgins, without any attendants, journeying on foot and in
distress, carrying in their bosoms the sacred images of the gods, he at
once removed his wife, children, and property from the waggon and handed
it over to them, to escape into one of the Greek cities in Italy. The
piety of Albinus and his care for the duties of religion at so terrible
a crisis deserve to be recorded.

The rest of the priests and the old men who had been consuls, and been
honoured with triumphs, could not bear to leave the city. At the
instance of Fabius, the Pontifex Maximus, they put on their sacred
vestments and robes of state, and after offering prayer to the gods, as
if they were consecrating themselves as victims to be offered on behalf
of their country, they sat down in their ivory chairs in the Forum in
full senatorial costume, and waited what fortune might befal them.

XXII. On the third day after the battle Brennus appeared, leading his
army to attack the city. At first, seeing the gates open and no guards
on the walls, he feared some ambuscade, as he could not believe that the
Romans had so utterly despaired of themselves. When he discovered the
truth, he marched through the Colline Gate, and captured Rome, a little
more than three hundred and sixty years after its foundation, if we can
believe that any accurate record has been kept of those periods whose
confusion has produced such difficulties in the chronology of later
times. However, an indistinct rumour of the fall of Rome seems at once
to have reached Greece: for Herakleides of Pontus, who lived about that
time, speaks in his book 'On the Spirit,' of a rumour from the west that
an army had come from the Hyperboreans and had sacked a Greek colony
called Rome, which stood somewhere in that direction, near the great
ocean. Now, as Herakleides was fond of strange legends, I should not be
surprised if he adorned the original true tale of the capture of the
city with these accessories of "the Hyperboreans" and "the great ocean."
Aristotle, the philosopher, had evidently heard quite accurately that
the city was taken by the Gauls, but he says that it was saved by one
Lucius: now Camillus's name was Marcus, not Lucius. All this, however,
was pure conjecture.

Brennus, after taking possession of Rome, posted a force to watch the
Capitol, and himself went down to the Forum, and wondered at the men who
sat there silent, with all their ornaments, how they neither rose from
their seats at the approach of the enemy, nor changed colour, but sat
leaning on their staffs with fearless confidence, quietly looking at one
another. The Gauls were astonished at so strange a sight, and for a long
time they forbore to approach and touch them, as if they were superior
beings. But when one of them ventured to draw near to Marcus Papirius
and gently stroke his long beard, Papirius struck him on the head with
his staff, at which the barbarian drew his sword and slew him. Upon this
they fell upon the rest and killed them, with any other Romans whom they
found, and spent many days in plundering the houses, after which they
burned them and pulled them down in their rage at the men in the
Capitol, because they would not surrender, but drove them back when they
assaulted it. For this reason they wreaked their vengeance on the city,
and put to death all their captives, men and women, old and young alike.

XXIII. As the siege was a long one, the Gauls began to want for
provisions. They divided themselves into two bodies, one of which
remained with the king and carried on the siege, while the others
scoured the country, plundering and destroying the villages, not going
all together in a body, but scattered in small detachments in various
directions, as their elation at their success caused them to have no
fear about separating their forces. Their largest and best disciplined
body marched towards Ardea, where Camillus, since his banishment, had
lived as a private person. All his thoughts, however, were bent not upon
avoiding or fleeing from the Gauls, but upon defeating them if possible.
And so, seeing that the people of Ardea were sufficient in numbers, but
wanting in confidence because of the want of experience and remissness
of their leaders, he first began to tell the younger men that they ought
not to ascribe the misfortunes of the Romans to the bravery of the
Gauls, for the misconduct of the former had given them a triumph which
they did not deserve. It would, he urged, be a glorious thing, even at
the risk of some danger, to drive away a tribe of savage barbarians, who
if they were victorious always exterminated the vanquished: while, if
they only showed bravery and confidence, he could, by watching his
opportunity, lead them to certain victory. As the younger men eagerly
listened to these words, Camillus proceeded to confer with the chief
magistrates of the Ardeates. After obtaining their consent also, he
armed all those who were capable of service, but kept them within the
walls, as he wished to conceal their presence from the enemy who were
now close at hand. But when the Gauls after scouring the country
returned laden with plunder and carelessly encamped in the plain, and
when at night by the influence of wine and sleep all was quiet in their
camp, Camillus, who had learned the state of the case from spies, led
out the men of Ardea, and marching over the intervening ground in
silence, about midnight attacked their entrenched camp with loud shouts
and blasts of his trumpet, which threw the Gauls, half-drunk and heavy
with sleep as they were, into great confusion. Few recovered their
senses so far as to attempt to resist Camillus, and those few fell where
they stood; but most of them were slain as they lay helpless with wine
and sleep. Such as escaped from the camp and wandered about the fields
were despatched by cavalry the next day.

XXIV. The fame of this action, when noised among the neighbouring
cities, called many men to arms, especially those Romans who had escaped
to Veii after the battle of the Allia. These men lamented their fate,
saying, "What a general has Providence removed from Rome in Camillus,
whose successes now bring glory to Ardea, while the city that produced
and brought up so great a man has utterly perished. And now we, for want
of a general to lead us, are sitting still inside the walls of a city
not our own, and giving up Italy to the enemy. Come, let us send to the
men of Ardea, and beg their general of them, or else ourselves take up
our arms and march to him. He is no longer an exile, nor are we any
longer his countrymen, for our country is ours no more, but is in the
hands of the enemy."

This was agreed, and they sent to beg Camillus to become their general.
But he refused, saying that he would not do so without a decree from the
citizens in the Capitol; for they as long as they survived, represented
the city of Rome, and therefore although he would gladly obey their
commands, he would not be so officious as to interfere against their
will. The soldiers admired the honourable scruples of Camillus, but
there was a great difficulty in representing them to the garrison of the
Capitol; indeed, it seemed altogether impossible for a messenger to
reach the citadel while the city was in the possession of the enemy.

XXV. One of the younger Romans, Pontius Cominius, of the middle class of
citizens, but with an honourable ambition to distinguish himself,
undertook the adventure. He would not take any writing to the garrison,
for fear that if he were taken the enemy might discover Camillus's
plans. He dressed himself in poor clothes, with corks concealed under
them, and performed most of the journey fearlessly by daylight, but when
he came near the city he went by night. As it was impossible to cross
the river by the bridge, which was held by the Gauls, he wrapped what
few clothes he had round his head, and trusted to his corks to float him
over to the city. After he had landed, he walked round, observing by the
lights and the noise where the Gauls were most wakeful, until he reached
the Carmentan Gate, where all was quiet. At this place the Capitolian
Hill forms a steep and precipitous crag, up which he climbed by a hollow
in the cliff, and joined the garrison. After greeting them and making
known his name, he proceeded to an interview with the leading men. A
meeting of the Senate was called, at which he recounted Camillus's
victory, which they had not heard of, and explained the determination of
the soldiers. He then begged them to confirm Camillus's appointment as
general, because the citizens without the walls would obey no other.

When the Senate heard this, they deliberated, and finally appointed
Camillus dictator, and sent back Pontius by the same way that he came,
which he was able to accomplish as fortunately as before. He eluded the
Gauls, and brought the decree of the senate to the Romans outside the

XXVI. They heard the news with enthusiasm, so that Camillus when he
came, found that they already numbered twenty thousand, while he drew
many additional troops from the neighbouring friendly cities. Thus was
Camillus a second time appointed dictator, and, proceeding to Veii,
joined the soldiers there, to whom he added many others from the allies,
and prepared to attack the enemy. But meanwhile at Rome, some of the
Gauls happening to pass by the place where Pontius climbed up the
Capitol, noticed in many places the marks of where he had clutched at
the rock with his hands and feet, torn off the plants which grew upon
it, and thrown down the mould. They brought the news to the king, who
came and viewed the place. He said nothing at the time, but in the
evening he called together those Gauls who were lightest and most
accustomed to climb mountains, and thus addressed them: "The road up the
rock, which we by ourselves could not discover, has been proved by our
enemies not to be impassable to men, and it would be disgraceful for us
after having begun so well to leave our enterprise incomplete, and to
give up the place as impregnable after the enemy themselves have shown
us how it may be taken. Where it is easy for one man to climb, it cannot
be hard for many to climb one by one, as their numbers will give them
confidence and mutual support. Suitable honours and presents will be
given to those who distinguish themselves."

XXVII. After this speech of their king, the Gauls eagerly volunteered
for the assault, and about midnight many of them climbed silently up the
rock, which although rough and precipitous was easier of ascent than
they had imagined, so that the first of them reached the top, and were
on the point of preparing to attack the rampart and its sleeping
garrison, for neither men nor dogs noticed them. But there were sacred
geese kept in the temple of Juno, which in other times were fed without
stint, but which then, as there was scarcely food enough for the men,
were somewhat neglected. These birds are naturally quick of hearing and
timid, and now being rendered wakeful and wild by hunger, quickly
perceived the Gauls climbing up, and rushing noisily to the place woke
the garrison, while the Gauls feeling that they were discovered no
longer preserved silence, but violently assaulted the place. The Romans,
snatching up whatever arms came first to hand, ran to repulse them: and
first of all Manlius, a man of consular rank, strong of body and full of
courage, fell in with two of the enemy. As one of them lifted up his
battleaxe, Manlius cut off his right hand with his sword, while he
dashed his shield into the other's face, and threw him backwards down
the cliff. After this he stood upon the wall, and with the help of those
who assembled round him, beat off the rest, for not many had reached the
top, or effected anything commensurate with the boldness of the attempt.
Having thus escaped the danger, the Romans threw their sentinel down the
rock; while on Manlius they conferred by vote a reward for his bravery,
intended more for honour than advantage; for each man gave him a day's
rations, which consisted of half a Roman pound of meal, and the fourth
part of a Greek cotyle of wine.

XXVIII. This affair disheartened the Gauls, who were also in want of
provisions, for they could not forage as before for fear of Camillus,
while disease also crept in among them, encamped as they were in the
ruins of Rome among heaps of dead bodies, while the deep layer of ashes
became blown by the wind into the air, making it dry and harsh, and the
vapours of the conflagrations were injurious to breathe. They were
especially distressed by the change from a cloudy country where there
are plenty of shady retreats, to the flat burning plains of Rome in
autumn, and their siege of the Capitol became wearisome, for they had
now beleaguered it for seven months; so that there was much sickness in
their camp, and so many died that they no longer buried the dead. Yet
for all this the besieged fared no better. Hunger pressed them, and
their ignorance of what Camillus was doing disheartened them; for no one
could reach them with news, because the city was strictly watched by
Gauls. As both parties were in these straits, proposals for a
capitulation took place; at first among the outposts on both sides;
afterwards the chief men on each side. Brennus, the Gaulish king, and
Sulpicius the Roman tribune, met, and it was agreed that the Romans
should pay a thousand pounds of gold, and that the Gauls should, on
receiving it, at once leave the country. Both parties swore to observe
these conditions, but when the gold was being weighed, the Gauls at
first tampered with the scales unperceived, and then openly pulled the
beam, so that the Romans became angry. But at this Brennus insolently
took off his sword and belt, and flung them into the scale; and when
Sulpicius asked, "What is this?" "What should it be," replied the Gaul;
"but woe to the vanquished!" At this some of the Romans were angry and
thought that they ought to take back their gold into the Capitol, and
again endure the siege; while others said that they must put up with
insults, provided they were not too outrageous, and not think that there
was any additional disgrace in paying more than they had agreed, because
in paying any ransom at all, they were acting from sheer necessity
rather than feelings of honour.

XXIX. While the Romans were thus disputing with the Gauls, and with one
another, Camillus with his army was at the gates. Learning what was
being done, he ordered the mass of his soldiers to follow him quietly
and in good order, and himself pushed on with the picked troops to join
the Romans, who all made way for him, and received him as dictator with
silence and respect. He then took the gold from the scales and gave it
to his victors, and ordered the Gauls to take the scales and the beam,
and depart, "for," said he, "it is the custom of the Romans to defend
their country not with gold but with iron." At this Brennus became
angry, and said that he was being wronged by the treaty being broken;
and Camillus answered that the negotiations were illegal, because when
they began he was already dictator, and therefore, as no one else had
any authority, the treaty had been made by the Gauls with persons who
were not authorized to treat. But now, if they wished, they might make
fresh proposals, for he was come with full legal powers to pardon such
as made their submission, and to punish unrepentant evil-doers. Enraged
at this, Brennus began to skirmish, and the two parties, mixed up as
they were, in houses and lands where no military formation was
possible, did go so far as to draw their swords and push one another
about; but Brennus soon recovered his temper, and drew off the Gauls,
with but little loss, in their camp.

During the night he got them all under arms, left the city, and, after a
march of about eight miles, encamped by the side of the Gabinian Road.
But at daybreak, Camillus was upon him, in glittering armour, leading on
the Romans who had now recovered their courage. After a long and
fiercely contested battle they routed the Gauls and took their camp.
Some of the fugitives were at once pursued and slain, but most of them
straggled about the country, and were put to death by the people of the
neighbouring towns and villages who sallied out upon them.

XXX. Thus was Rome strangely taken, and yet more strangely preserved,
after having been for seven months in the possession of the Gauls, for
they entered it a few days after the Ides of Quintilis, and left it
about the Ides of February. Camillus, as we may easily imagine, entered
the city in a triumph, as the saviour of his lost country, and the
restorer of Rome to itself; for as he drove into the city he was
accompanied by those who had before left it, with their wives and
children, while those who had been besieged in the Capitol, and all but
starved there, came out to meet him embracing one another, weeping, and
scarcely believing in their present happiness. The priests and servants
of the gods also appeared with such of the sacred things as they had
saved, either by burying them on the spot, or by carrying them away, and
now displayed these images, which had not been seen for so long a time,
to the citizens, who greeted them with joy, as if the gods themselves
were again returning to Rome. Camillus performed a sacrifice to the
gods, and purified the city in the manner recommended by experts, and
then proceeded to restore all the previously existing temples, while he
himself added another to _Aius Loquutius_, or Rumour, having carefully
sought out the place at which the voice in the night miraculously
foretold the coming of the Gaulish host to Marcus Caedicius.

XXXI. With great difficulty the sites of the temples were cleared of
rubbish by the zeal of Camillus and the labour of the priests; but as
the city was utterly destroyed, and required to be entirely rebuilt, the
people became disheartened at so great an undertaking. Men who had lost
their all were inclined to wait, and indeed required rest after their
misfortunes, rather than labours and toils, which neither their bodies
nor their purses were able to endure. And thus it came to pass that they
turned their thoughts a second time towards Veii, a city which stood
quite ready to be inhabited. This gave opportunities to their mob
orators to make speeches, as usual, which they knew would be pleasing to
the people, in which Camillus was disrespectfully spoken of as depriving
them of a city which stood ready to receive them, for his own prviate
ambition, and was said to be compelling them to live encamped in the
midst of ruins, and re-erect their houses in that vast heap of ashes,
all in order that he might be called, not merely the leader and general
of Rome, but might usurp the place of Romulus and be called her founder.
Fearing disturbances, the Senate would not permit Camillus to lay down
his dictatorship for a year, although he wished to do so, and although
no dictator before this had ever remained in office for more than six
months. In the meantime the senators themselves encouraged and consoled
the people by personal appeals, pointing to the tombs and monuments of
their ancestors, and recalling to their minds the temples and holy
places which Romulus and Numa and the other kings had consecrated and
left in charge to them. More especially they dwelt upon the omen of the
newly severed head which had been found when the foundations of the
Capitol were dug, by which it was proved that that spot was fated to
become the head of Italy, and the fire of Vesta which the virgins had
relighted after the war, and which it would be a disgrace for them to
extinguish, and to abandon the city, whether they were to see it
inhabited by foreigners or turned into fields for cattle to feed in.
While persistently urging these considerations both in public speeches
and in private interviews with the people, they were much affected by
the lamentations of the poor over their helpless condition. The people
begged that, as they had, like people after a shipwreck, saved their
lives and nothing else, they might not, in addition to this misfortune,
be compelled to put together the ruins of a city which had been utterly
destroyed, while another was standing ready to receive them.

XXXII. Under these circumstances, Camillus determined to debate the
question publicly. He himself made a long appeal on behalf of his native
place, and many other speeches were delivered. Finally he rose, and bade
Lucius Lucretius, whose privilege it was, to vote first, and then after
him the rest in order. Silence was enforced, and Lucretius was just on
the point of voting when a centurion in command of a detachment of the
guard of the day marched by, and in a loud voice called to the
standard-bearer: "Pitch the standard here: here it is best for us to
stay." When these words were heard so opportunely in the midst of their
deliberations about the future, Lucretius reverently said that he
accepted the omen, and gave his vote in accordance with it, and his
example was followed by all the rest. The people now showed a strange
revulsion of feeling, for they encouraged one another to begin the work
of rebuilding, not on any regular plan, but just as each man happened to
find a convenient place for his work. Consequently they quickly rebuilt
the city, for within a year it is said that both the city walls and the
private houses were completed; but it was full of intricate, narrow
lanes and inconveniently placed houses.

The priests, who had been ordered by Camillus to mark out the boundaries
where the temples had stood among the general wreck, when in their
circuit of the Palatine Hill they came upon the chapel of Mars, found
it, like every other building, destroyed and levelled to the ground by
the Gauls, but while thoroughly examining the place they found the
augur's staff of Romulus hidden under a deep heap of ashes. This staff
is curved at one end, and is called _lituus_. They use it to divide the
heavens into squares when taking the auspices, just as Romulus himself
did, as he was deeply skilled in divination. When he vanished from among
mankind, the priests kept his staff just like any other sacred object.
That at such a time, when all the other holy things perished, this
should have been preserved, gave them good hopes of Rome, which that
omen seemed to presage would be eternal.

XXXIII. Before they had finished rebuilding the city they became
involved in a war, for the Aequians, Volscians, and Latins combined
their forces and invaded the country, while the Etruscans besieged
Sutrium, a city in alliance with Rome. The tribunes in command of the
Roman forces encamped near the Marcian heights, and were there besieged
by the Latins and in danger of having their camp taken. They sent to
Rome for assistance, and the Romans appointed Camillus dictator for the
third time. About this war there are two different accounts, of which I
will mention the legendary one first:--It is said that the Latins,
either merely as a pretext, or really wishing to amalgamate the two
races as before, sent a demand to Rome for free unmarried women to be
delivered up for them to marry. As the Romans were at their wits' ends
what to do, because they feared to go to war, being scarcely recovered
from their late mishap, while they suspected that the women would be
used as hostages if they gave them up, and that the proposal of
intermarriage was merely a feint, a slave girl named Tutula, or, as some
say, Philotis, advised the magistrates to send her and the best-looking
of the female slaves, dressed like brides of noble birth, and that she
would manage the rest. The magistrates approved of her proposal, chose
such girls as she thought suitable, and having dressed them in fine
clothes and jewellery, handed them over to the Latins, who were encamped
at no great distance from the city. At night the girls stole the daggers
of the enemies, and Tutula or Philotis climbed up a wild fig-tree,
stretched out her cloak behind her, and raised a torch as a signal,
which had been agreed upon between her and the magistrates, though no
other citizen knew of it. Wherefore, the soldiers rushed out of the
gates with a great clamour and disturbance, calling to one another and
scarcely able to keep their ranks as their chiefs hurried them along.
When they reached the enemy's camp, they found them asleep and not
expecting an attack, so that they took their camp and slew most of
them. This took place on the nones of the month Quintilis, now called
July, and the festival which then takes place is in memory of the events
of that day. First they march out of the gates in a mass, calling out
the common names of the country, such as Caius, Marcus, or Lucius, in
imitation of their hurried calling for each other on that occasion.
Next, female slaves splendidly dressed walk round laughing and romping
with all whom they meet. These girls also perform a sort of fight among
themselves, like those who on that day took their share in the fight
with the Latins: and afterwards they sit down to a feast, under the
shade of fig-tree boughs. They call this day the _nonae caprotinae_,
probably from the wild fig-tree from which the slave girl waved the
torch; for in Latin a wild fig-tree is called _caprificus_. Others say
that most of these things were said and done when Romulus disappeared,
for on this very day he was snatched away, outside the city gates, in a
sudden storm and darkness, or as some think during an eclipse of the
sun: and they say that the day is called _nonae caprotiae_ from the
place, because Romulus was carried off while holding a meeting of the
entire people at the place called the Goat's Marsh, as is written in his

XXXIV. The other story is approved by most writers, who relate it as
follows:--Camillus, after being appointed dictator for the third time,
and learning that the army under the command of the military tribunes
was being besieged by the Latins and Volscians, was compelled to arm
even those citizens who were past the age for service in the field. He
marched by a long circuit to the Marcian heights unnoticed by the enemy,
and established his army behind them. By lighting fires he announced his
arrival to the Romans in the camp, who took courage, and began to
meditate sallying out of their camp and attacking the enemy. But the
Latins and Volscians kept close within the rampart of their camp, which
they fortified with many additional palisades, on all sides, for they
now were between two hostile armies, and intended to await succour from
home, while they also expected a force from Etruria to come to their
aid. Camillus, perceiving this, and fearing that he might be surrounded
in his turn, vigorously used his opportunity. The rampart of the allies
was formed of wood, and as a strong wind blew down from the mountains at
daybreak, he prepared combustibles, and early in the morning got his
forces under arms. One division he sent to attack the enemy's camp with
darts, and missile weapons, and loud shouts, while he himself, with
those who were in charge of the fire, waited for his opportunity on that
side towards which the wind usually blew. When the other troops were
engaged with the enemy, the sun rose, and a strong wind got up. At this
Camillus gave the signal for attack, and at once enveloped the palisades
with lighted missiles. As the flames quickly spread in the thick wooden
palisades, the Latins, finding their camp girt with flames, were driven
into a small compass, and finally obliged to sally out of their
entrenchments, outside of which the Romans stood ready to receive them.
Few of those who broke out escaped, while all who remained in the camp
perished in the flames, until the Romans extinguished them and began to

XXXV. After this exploit, Camillus left his son Lucius in charge of the
camp, to guard the prisoners and the booty, and himself invaded the
enemy's country. He took the capital of the Aequi, reduced the Volsci to
subjection, and marched at once upon Sutrium to relieve that city, whose
inhabitants had not heard of his successes, but were still besieged by
the Etruscans. The Sutrians had just surrendered, and had been turned
out of their city by the enemy with nothing but the clothes they had on.
Camillus met them on the road with their wives and children, weeping
over their misfortune. He was greatly moved at so piteous a sight, and,
perceiving that the Romans were touched by the despairing entreaties of
the people of Sutrium, who clung to them with tears in their eyes,
determined that he would at once avenge their wrongs, and march upon
Sutrium that very day, arguing that men who were merry with success,
having just captured a wealthy city, with no enemy either left within
its walls or expected from without, would be found in careless disorder.
In this conjecture he was right; for he not only marched through the
country, but even obtained possession of the walls and gates unperceived
by the enemy, who had posted no guards, but were carousing in the
various private houses. Indeed when they learned that the Romans were in
possession of the town, they were in such a condition of intoxication
that most of them could not even attempt to escape, but shamefully
waited in the houses where they were until they were either killed or
taken prisoners. Thus was the city of Sutrium twice taken in one day,
and thus did the victors lose their prize, and the dispossessed
inhabitants regain their homes by Camillus's means.

XXXVI. The triumph which he enjoyed after these campaigns added to his
popularity and glory as much as either of the former; for even those who
disliked him most, and who had insisted that all his successes were due
to good fortune more than to skill, were now forced to admit the
brilliancy of his generalship, and to give his genius its due. The chief
of his enemies and detractors was Marcus Manlius, he who had been the
first man to fling the Gauls down the cliff in the night attack on the
Capitol, and who in remembrance of this was surnamed Capitolinus. This
man, endeavouring to make himself the first man in Rome, and not being
able to surpass the fame of Camillus by fair means, made the accusation
against him usual in such cases, that he was intending to make himself
king. This falsehood he repeated in his addresses to the people, with
whom he was making himself popular, especially with those who were in
debt; some of whom he defended, and assisted in coming to terms with
their creditors, while others he forcibly rescued from the officers of
the law, so that many needy persons were attracted to him, and became
the terror of all respectable citizens by their riotous disturbances in
the Forum. To put an end to these disorders, Quintus Capitolinus was
created dictator, and he put Manlius in prison; but the people upon this
went into mourning, a thing only done on the occasion of some great
public disaster, and the Senate, terrified at this, ordered Manlius to
be acquitted. Manlius was not improved by his captivity, but was more
turbulent and disorderly in his conduct than he had been before.
Camillus was now again elected military tribune, and Manlius was
impeached: but the place in which he was tried told greatly against his
accusers. For the very spot on the Capitol on which Manlius fought with
the Gauls on that night was visible from the Forum, and the sight of it
raised a strong feeling in his favour; while he himself pointed to it,
and, with tears in his eyes, reminded them of how he had fought for
them, so that his judges were at their wits' end, and often adjourned
the trial, for they could not acquit him of a crime which was clearly
proved against him, and yet they could not bring themselves to let the
law take its course, when the scene before them reminded them constantly
of his great exploit. Camillus, perceiving this, removed the court to
the Petelian Grove outside the city gates, where, as the Capitol was not
visible, the prosecutor was able to press home his charges against
Manlius, while the judges were not prevented from punishing him for his
recent crimes by their remembrance of what he had done in former times.
He was convicted, led to the Capitol, and thrown down the cliff, which
thus witnessed both the most glorious deed of his life, and his
miserable end. The Romans destroyed his house, on the site of which they
built the Temple of Juno Moneta, and decreed that for the future no
patrician might dwell upon the Capitol.

XXXVII. Camillus, when appointed military tribune for the sixth time,
begged to be excused, as he was growing old, and perhaps feared that
such unbroken success and glory would call down upon him the wrath of
the gods.[A] His most obvious reason for declining the appointment was
the state of his health, for at this time he was sick. However, the
people would not permit him to retire, but loudly urged that they did
not want him to ride on horseback or fight in the ranks, but merely to
advise and superintend. Thus they compelled him to accept the office,
and with one of his colleagues, Lucius Furius, at once to lead an army
against the enemy. He left the city and encamped near the enemy, where
he wished to remain inactive, in order that, if a battle should be
necessary, he might recover his health sufficiently to take part in it.
But as his colleague Lucius, who longed to distinguish himself, was so
eager for action that he could not be restrained, and excited the
subordinate officers, Camillus, fearing that it might be supposed that
he grudged younger men an opportunity of gaining laurels, agreed, sorely
against his will, to allow his colleague to lead out the army and offer
battle, while he with a few troops remained behind in the camp. But when
he heard that Lucius had rashly engaged and that the Romans were
defeated, he could not restrain himself, but leaping from his couch met
them with his followers at the gate of the camp. Here he forced his way
through the fugitives and attacked the pursuing force, so that those
Romans whom he had passed at once turned and followed him, while those
who were still outside the camp rallied round him, calling upon one
another not to desert their general. The enemy's pursuit was thus
checked, and on the following day Camillus marched out with his entire
force, entirely defeated them, and entering their camp together with the
fugitives, put most of them to the sword. After this, hearing that
Satria had been captured by the Etruscans, and all the Roman colonists
there put to death, he sent the greater part of his force back to Rome,
reserving only the youngest and most vigorous of the soldiers, with whom
he assaulted the Etruscans who held the city, and conquered them,
killing many, and putting the rest to flight.

[Footnote A: The punishment of excessive and unbroken prosperity was
assigned by the Greeks to the goddess Nemesis. The idea of too great a
career of success exciting the anger of the gods is common throughout
the whole of ancient literature. A well-known instance is the story of
Polykrates of Samos, as told by Herodotus. Amasis the king of Egypt,
observing the unbroken good fortune of Polykrates, advised him
voluntarily to sacrifice some of his treasures. Polykrates, following
his friend's advice, cast his signet-ring into the sea. But the ring was
swallowed by a fish, and the fish was caught and presented to the king,
who thus recovered his ring. When Amasis heard of this, he refused to
ally himself with Polykrates, thinking that such good fortune presaged a
terrible disaster. Polykrates was put to death shortly afterwards by the
Persians, who conquered his kingdom.]

XXXVIII. By his return to Rome with great spoils, he proved that those
men were right who had not feared that weakness or old age would impair
the faculties of a general of daring and experience, but who had chosen
him, ill and unwilling to act as he was, rather than men in the prime
of life, who were eager to hold military commands. For this reason, when
the people of Tusculum were reported to be in insurrection, they bade
Camillus take one of the other five tribunes as his colleague, and march
against them. Camillus, in spite of all that the rest of the tribunes
could urge, for they all wished to be taken, chose Lucius Furius, whom
no one could have supposed he would have chosen; for he it was who had
been so eager to fight, against the better judgment of Camillus, and so
had brought about the defeat in the late war; however, Camillus chose
him rather than any other, wishing, it would appear, to conceal his
misfortune and wipe out his disgrace.

The people of Tusculum cleverly repaired their fault. When Camillus
marched to attack them they filled the country with men working in the
fields and tending cattle just as in time of peace; the city gates were
open, the boys at school, the lower classes plying various trades, and
the richer citizens walking in the market-place in peaceful dress. The
magistrates bustled about the city, pointing out where the Romans were
to be quartered, as if the thought of treachery had never entered their
minds. Camillus, though this conduct did not shake his belief in their
guilt, was moved to pity by their repentance. He ordered them to go to
Rome and beg the Senate to pardon them; and when they appeared, he
himself used his influence to procure their forgiveness, and the
admission of Tusculum to the Roman franchise. These were the most
remarkable events of his sixth tribuneship.

XXXIX. After this, Licinius Stolo put himself at the head of the
plebeians in their great quarrel with the Senate. They demanded that
consuls should be re-established, one of whom should always be a
plebeian, and that they should never both be patricians. Tribunes of the
people were appointed, but the people would not suffer any election of
consuls to be held. As this want of chief magistrates seemed likely to
lead to still greater disorders, the Senate, much against the will of
the people, appointed Camillus dictator for the fourth time. He himself
did not wish for the post, for he was loth to oppose men who had been
his comrades in many hard-fought campaigns, as indeed he had spent much
more of his life in the camp with his soldiers than with the patrician
party in political intrigues, by one of which he was now appointed, as
that party hoped that if successful he would crush the power of the
plebeians, while in case of failure he would be ruined. However, he made
an effort to deal with the present difficulty. Knowing the day on which
the tribunes intended to bring forward their law, he published a
muster-roll of men for military service, and charged the people to leave
the Forum and meet him on the Field of Mars, threatening those who
disobeyed with a heavy fine. But when the tribunes answered his threats
by vowing that they would fine him fifty thousand _drachmas_ unless he
ceased his interference with the people's right of voting, he retired to
his own house, and after a few days laid down his office on pretence of
sickness. This he did, either because he feared a second condemnation
and banishment, which would be a disgrace to an old man and one who had
done such great deeds, or else because he saw that the people were too
strong to be overpowered, and he did not wish to make the attempt.

The Senate appointed another dictator, but he made that very Licinius
Stolo, the leader of the popular party, his master of the horse, and
thus enabled him to pass a law which was especially distasteful to the
patricians, for it forbade any one to possess more than five hundred
_jugera_ of land. Stolo, after this success, became an important
personage; but, a short time afterwards, he was convicted of possessing
more land than his own law permitted, and was punished according to its

XL. There still remained the difficulty about the consular elections,
the most important point at issue between the two parties, and the
Senate was greatly disturbed at it, when news arrived that the Gauls,
starting from the Adriatic Sea, were a second time marching in great
force upon Rome. At the same time evident traces of their approach could
be seen, as the country was being plundered, and such of the inhabitants
as could not easily reach Rome were taking refuge in the mountains.

This terrible tidings put an end to all internal disputes. The Senate
and people formed themselves into one assembly, and with one voice
appointed Camillus dictator for the fifth time. He was now a very old
man, being near his eightieth year; but at this pressing crisis he made
none of his former excuses, but at once took the chief command and
levied an army for the war. As he knew that the chief power of the Gauls
lay in their swords, with which they dealt heavy blows on the heads and
shoulders of their enemy, without any skill in fence, he prepared for
most of his soldiers helmets made entirely of smooth iron, so that the
swords would either break or glance off them, while he also had brass
rims fitted to their shields, because the wood by itself could not
endure a blow. He also instructed the soldiers to use long pikes, and to
thrust them forward to receive the sword-cuts of the enemy.

XLI. When the Gauls were encamped on the banks of the Anio, near the
city, loaded with masses of plunder, Camillus led out his troops and
posted them in a glen from which many valleys branched out, so that the
greater part of the force was concealed, and that which was seen
appeared to be clinging in terror to the hilly ground. Camillus, wishing
to confirm the enemy in this idea, would not move to prevent the country
being plundered before his eyes, but palisaded his camp and remained
quiet within it, until he saw that the foraging parties of the Gauls
straggled in careless disorder, while those in the camp did nothing but
eat and drink. Then, sending forward his light troops before daybreak to
be ready to harass the Gauls and prevent their forming their ranks
properly as they came out of their camp, he marched the heavy-armed men
down into the plain at sunrise, a numerous and confident body, and not,
as the Gauls fancied, a few disheartened men.

The very fact of his commencing the attack dashed the courage of the
Gauls; next, the attacks of the light troops, before they had got into
their wonted array and divided themselves into regiments, produced
disorder. When at last Camillus led on the heavy-armed troops, the Gauls
ran to meet them brandishing their swords, but the Romans with their
pikes advanced and met them, receiving their sword-cuts on their armour,
which soon made the Gaulish swords bend double, as they were made of
soft iron hammered out thin, while the shields of the Gauls were
pierced and weighed down by the pikes that stuck in them. They therefore
dropped their own arms, and endeavoured to seize the pikes and turn them
against their enemies. But the Romans, seeing them now defenceless,
began to use their swords, and slew many of the first ranks, while the
rest took to flight all over the flat country; for Camillus had taken
care to guard the hills and rough ground, while the Gauls knew that
they, in their over-confidence, had been at no pains to fortify their
camp, and that the Romans could easily take it.

This battle is said to have been fought thirteen years after the capture
of Rome, and in consequence of it the Romans conceived a contempt for
these barbarians, whom they had before greatly dreaded, and even
believed that their former victories over the Gauls were due to their
being weakened by pestilence, and to fortunate circumstances, rather
than to their own valour. This raised so great a terror of them, that a
law was passed which relieved the priests from military service except
in case of a Gaulish invasion.

XLII. This was the last of Camillus's military exploits, though during
this campaign he took the city of Velitrae, which yielded to him without
a battle. But his greatest political struggle was yet to come, for it
was harder to deal with the people now that they were elated with
victory. They insisted that the existing constitution should be
annulled, and that one of the two consuls should be chosen from among
them. They were opposed by the Senate, which would not permit Camillus
to lay down his office, as the patricians imagined that with the help of
his great power they could more easily defend their privileges. One day,
however, as Camillus was sitting publicly doing business in the Forum, a
viator or servant sent by the tribunes of the people bade him follow
him, and even laid his hand upon him as if to arrest him. At this such a
disturbance arose as had never been known before, as Camillus's party
endeavoured to push the officer down from the tribunal, while the people
clamoured to him to drag the dictator from his seat. Camillus himself,
not knowing what to do, would not lay down his office, but called the
Senate to meet. Before entering the Senate house, he turned round to
the Capitol and prayed that the gods would bring affairs to a happy
termination, vowing that when the present disorders were at an end he
would build a Temple of Concord. After a violent debate, the Senate
agreed to adopt the milder course of yielding to the popular demand, and
permitting one of the two consuls to be chosen from the people. When the
dictator announced this decision of the Senate to the people, they at
once, as was natural, were delighted with the Senate, and escorted
Camillus home with applause and shouts. On the next day they met and
decreed that the Temple of Concord which Camillus had vowed should be
erected on a spot facing the Forum, where these events had taken place;
moreover, that the Latin games should continue for four days instead of
three, and that all citizens of Rome should at once offer sacrifice and
crown themselves with garlands.

In the assembly for the election of consuls, over which Camillus
presided there were elected Marcus Aemilius, a patrician, and Lucius
Sextius, the first plebeian ever elected consul. This was the result of
Camillus's administration.

XLIII. In the following year a pestilence broke out in Rome which
destroyed enormous numbers of people, and among them most of the leading
men. And in this year died Camillus, at a ripe old age, full of years
and honours, more regretted by the Romans than all those who died of the


I. One day in Rome, Caesar, seeing some rich foreigners nursing and
petting young lapdogs and monkeys, enquired whether in their parts of
the world the women bore no children: a truly imperial reproof to those
who waste on animals the affection which they ought to bestow upon
mankind. May we not equally blame those who waste the curiosity and love
of knowledge which belongs to human nature, by directing it to
worthless, not to useful objects? It is indeed unavoidable that external
objects, whether good or bad, should produce some effect upon our
senses; but every man is able, if he chooses, to concentrate his mind
upon any subject he may please. For this reason we ought to seek virtue,
not merely in order to contemplate it, but that we may ourselves derive
some benefit from so doing. Just as those colours whose blooming and
pleasant hues refresh our sight are grateful to the eyes, so we ought by
our studies to delight in that which is useful for our own lives; and
this is to be found in the acts of good men, which when narrated incite
us to imitate them. The effect does not take place in other cases, for
we frequently admire what we do not wish to produce; indeed we often are
charmed with the work, but despise the workman, as in the case of dyes
and perfumery which we take pleasure in, although we regard dyers and
perfumers as vulgar artizans. That was a clever saying of Antisthenes,
who answered, when he heard that Ismenias was a capital flute-player,
"But he must be a worthless man, for if he were not, he would not be
such a capital flute-player!" and King Philip of Macedon, when his son
played brilliantly and agreeably on the harp at an entertainment, said
to him, "Are you not ashamed, to play so well?"

It is enough for a king, if he sometimes employs his leisure in
listening to musicians, and it is quite a sufficient tribute from him to
the Muses, if he is present at the performances of other persons.

II. If a man devotes himself to these trifling arts, the time which he
wastes upon them proves that he is incapable of higher things. No well
nurtured youth, on seeing the statue of Jupiter Olympius at Pisa, wishes
that he were a Pheidias, or that he were a Polykleitus on seeing the
statue of Juno at Argos, nor yet while he takes pleasure in poetry, does
he wish that he were an Anakreon, a Philetas, or an Archilochus; for it
does not necessarily follow that we esteem the workman because we are
pleased with the work. For this reason men are not benefited by any
spectacle which does not encourage them to imitation, and where
reflection upon what they have observed does not make them also wish to
do likewise; whereas we both admire the deeds to which virtue incites,
and long to emulate the doers of them.

We enjoy the good things which we owe to fortune, but we admire virtuous
actions; and while we wish to receive the former, we wish ourselves to
benefit others by the latter. That which is in itself admirable kindles
in us a desire of emulation, whether we see noble deeds presented before
us, or read of them in history. It was with this purpose that I have
engaged in writing biography, and have arranged this tenth book to
contain the lives of Perikles and of Fabius Maximus, who fought against
Hannibal, men who especially resembled one another in the gentleness and
justice of their disposition, and who were both of the greatest service
to their native countries, because they were able to endure with
patience the follies of their governments and colleagues. Of my success,
the reader of the following pages will be able to judge for themself.

III. Perikles was of the tribe Akamantis, and of the township of
Cholargos, and was descended from the noblest families in Athens, on
both his father's and mother's side. His father, Xanthippus, defeated
the Persian generals at Mykalé, while his mother, Agariste, was a
descendant of Kleisthenes, who drove the sons of Peisistratus out of
Athens, put an end to their despotic rule, and established a new
constitution admirably calculated to reconcile all parties and save the
country. She dreamed that she had brought forth a lion, and a few days
afterwards was delivered of Perikles. His body was symmetrical, but his
head was long out of all proportion; for which reason in nearly all his
statues he is represented wearing a helmet, as the sculptors did not
wish, I suppose, to reproach him with this blemish. The Attic poets
called him squill-head, and the comic poet, Kratinus, in his play
'Cheirones,' says,

    "From Kronos old and faction,
      Is sprung a tyrant dread,
    And all Olympus calls him,
      The man-compelling head."

And again in the play of 'Nemesis'

    "Come, hospitable Zeus, with lofty head."

Telekleides, too, speaks of him as sitting

                      "Bowed down
          With a dreadful frown,
    Because matters of state have gone wrong,
          Until at last,
          From his head so vast,
    His ideas burst forth in a throng."

And Eupolis, in his play of 'Demoi,' asking questions about each of the
great orators as they come up from the other world one after the other,
when at last Perikles ascends, says,

    "The great headpiece of those below."

IV. Most writers tell us that his tutor in music was Damon, whose name
they say should be pronounced with the first syllable short. Aristotle,
however, says that he studied under Pythokleides. This Damon, it seems,
was a sophist of the highest order, who used the name of music to
conceal this accomplishment from the world, but who really trained
Perikles for his political contests just as a trainer prepares an
athlete for the games. However, Damon's use of music as a pretext did
not impose upon the Athenians, who banished him by ostracism, as a
busybody and lover of despotism. He was ridiculed by the comic poets;
thus Plato represents some one as addressing him,

    "Answer me this, I humbly do beseech,
    For thou, like Cheiron, Perikles did'st teach."

Perikles also attended the lectures of Zeno, of Elea, on natural
philosophy, in which that philosopher followed the method of Parmenides.
Zeno moreover had made an especial study of how to reduce any man to
silence who questioned him, and how to enclose him between the horns of
a dilemma, which is alluded to by Timon of Phlius in the following

    "Nor weak the strength of him of two-edged tongue,
    Zeno that carps at all."

But it was Anaxagoras of Klazomenae who had most to do with forming
Perikles's style, teaching him an elevation and sublimity of expression
beyond that of ordinary popular speakers, and altogether purifying and
ennobling his mind. This Anaxagoras was called Nous, or Intelligence, by
the men of that day, either because they admired his own intellect, or
because he taught that an abstract intelligence is to be traced in all
the concrete forms of matter, and that to this, and not to chance, the
universe owes its origin.

V. Perikles greatly admired Anaxagoras, and became deeply interested in
these grand speculations, which gave him a haughty spirit and a lofty
style of oratory far removed from vulgarity and low buffoonery, and also
an imperturbable gravity of countenance, and a calmness of demeanour and
appearance which no incident could disturb as he was speaking, while the
tone of his voice never showed that he heeded any interruption. These
advantages greatly impressed the people. Once he sat quietly all day in
the market-place despatching some pressing business, reviled in the
foulest terms all the while by some low worthless fellow. Towards
evening he walked home, the man following him and heaping abuse upon
him. When about to enter his own door, as it was dark, he ordered one of
his servants to take a torch and light the man home. The poet Ion,
however, says that Perikles was overbearing and insolent in
conversation, and that his pride had in it a great deal of contempt for
others; while he praises Kimon's civil, sensible, and polished address.
But we may disregard Ion, as a mere dramatic poet who always sees in
great men something upon which to exercise his satiric vein; whereas
Zeno used to invite those who called the haughtiness of Perikles a mere
courting of popularity and affectation of grandeur, to court popularity
themselves in the same fashion, since the acting of such a part might
insensibly mould their dispositions until they resembled that of their

VI. These were not the only advantages which Perikles gained from his
intimacy with Anaxagoras, but he seems to have learned to despise those
superstitious fears which the common phenomena of the heavens produce in
those who, ignorant of their cause, and knowing nothing about them,
refer them all to the immediate action of the gods. Knowledge of
physical science, while it puts an end to superstitious terrors,
replaces them by a sound basis of piety. It is said that once a ram with
one horn was sent from the country as a present to Perikles, and that
Lampon the prophet, as soon as he saw this strong horn growing out of
the middle of the creature's forehead, said that as there were two
parties in the state, that of Thucydides and that of Perikles, he who
possessed this mystic animal would unite the two into one. Anaxagoras
cut open the beast's skull, and pointed out that its brain did not fill
the whole space, but was sunken into the shape of an egg, and all
collected at that part from which the horn grew. At the time all men
looked with admiration on Anaxagoras, but afterwards, when Thucydides
had fallen, and all the state had become united under Perikles, they
admired Lampon equally.

There is, I imagine, no reason why both the prophet and the natural
philosopher should not have been right, the one discovering the cause,
and the other the meaning. The one considered why the horn grew so, and
for what reason; the other declared what it _meant_ by growing so, and
for what _end_ it took place. Those who say that when the cause of a
portent is found out the portent is explained away, do not reflect that
the same reasoning which explains away heavenly portents would also put
an end to the meaning of the conventional signals used by mankind. The
ringing of bells, the blaze of beacon fires, and the shadows on a dial
are all of them produced by natural causes, but have a further meaning.
But perhaps all this belongs to another subject.

VII. Perikles when young greatly feared the people. He had a certain
personal likeness to the despot Peisistratus; and as his own voice was
sweet, and he was ready and fluent in speech, old men who had known
Peisistratus were struck by his resemblance to him. He was also rich, of
noble birth, and had powerful friends, so that he feared he might be
banished by ostracism, and consequently held aloof from politics, but
proved himself a brave and daring soldier in the wars. But when
Aristeides was dead, Themistokles banished, and Kimon generally absent
on distant campaigns, Perikles engaged in public affairs, taking the
popular side, that of the poor and many against that of the rich and
few, quite contrary to his own feelings, which were entirely
aristocratic. He feared, it seems, that he might be suspected of a
design to make himself despot, and seeing that Kimon took the side of
the nobility, and was much beloved by them, he betook himself to the
people, as a means of obtaining safety for himself, and a strong party
to combat that of Kimon. He immediately altered his mode of life; was
never seen in any street except that which led to the market-place and
the national assembly, and declined all invitations to dinner and such
like social gatherings, so utterly that during the whole of his long
political life he never dined with one of his friends, except when his
first cousin, Euryptolemus, was married. On this occasion he sat at
table till the libations were poured, upon which he at once got up and
went away. For solemnity is wont to unbend at festive gatherings, and a
majestic demeanour is hard to keep up when one is in familiar
intercourse with others. True virtue, indeed, appears more glorious the
more it is seen, and a really good man's life is never so much admired
by the outside world as by his own intimate friends. But Perikles feared
to make himself too common even with the people, and only addressed
them after long intervals--not speaking upon every subject, and, not
constantly addressing them, but, as Kritolaus says, keeping himself like
the Salaminian trireme for great crises, and allowing his friends and
the other orators to manage matters of less moment. One of these friends
is said to have been Ephialtes, who destroyed the power of the Council
of the Areopagus, "pouring out," as Plato, the comic poet, said, "a full
and unmixed draught of liberty for the citizens," under the influence of
which the poets of the time said that the Athenian people

    "Nibbled at Euboea, like a horse that spurns the rein,
    And wantonly would leap upon the islands in the main."

VIII. Wishing to adopt a style of speaking consonant with his haughty
manner and lofty spirit, Perikles made free use of the instrument which
Anaxagoras as it were put into his hand, and often tinged his oratory
with natural philosophy. He far surpassed all others by using this
"lofty intelligence and power of universal consummation," as the divine
Plato calls it;[A] in addition to his natural advantages, adorning his
oratory with apt illustrations drawn from physical science.

[Footnote A: Plato, Phaedrus.]

For this reason some think that he was nicknamed the Olympian; though
some refer this to his improvement of the city by new and beautiful
buildings, and others from his power both as a politician and a general.
It is not by any means unlikely that these causes all combined to
produce the name. Yet the comedies of that time, when they allude to
him, either in jest or earnest, always appear to think that this name
was given him because of his manner of speaking, as they speak of him as
"thundering and lightening," and "rolling fateful thunders from his
tongue." A saying of Thucydides, the son of Melesias, has been
preserved, which jestingly testifies to the power of Perikles's
eloquence. Thucydides was the leader of the conservative party, and for
a long time struggled to hold his own against Perikles in debate. One
day Archidamus, the King of Sparta, asked him whether he or Perikles was
the best wrestler. "When I throw him in wrestling," Thucydides answered,
"he beats me by proving that he never was down, and making the
spectators believe him." For all this Perikles was very cautious about
his words, and whenever he ascended the tribune to speak, used first to
pray to the gods that nothing unfitted for the present occasion might
fall from his lips. He left no writings, except the measures which he
brought forward, and very few of his sayings are recorded. One of these
was, that he called Aegina "the eyesore of the Peiraeus," and that "he
saw war coming upon Athens from Peloponnesus." Stesimbrotus tells us
that when he was pronouncing a public funeral oration over those who
fell in Samos, he said that they had become immortal, even as the gods:
for we do not see the gods, but we conceive them to be immortal by the
respect which we pay them, and the blessings which we receive from them;
and the same is the case with those who die for their country.

IX. Thucydides represents the constitution under Perikles as a democracy
in name, but really an aristocracy, because the government was all in
the hands of one leading citizen. But as many other writers tell us that
during his administration the people received grants of land abroad, and
were indulged with dramatic entertainments, and payments for their
services, in consequence of which they fell into bad habits, and became
extravagant and licentious, instead of sober hard-working people as they
had been before, let us consider the history of this change, viewing it
by the light of the facts themselves. First of all, as we have already
said, Perikles had to measure himself with Kimon, and to transfer the
affections of the people from Kimon to himself. As he was not so rich a
man as Kimon, who used from his own ample means to give a dinner daily
to any poor Athenian who required it, clothe aged persons, and take away
the fences round his property, so that any one might gather the fruit,
Perikles, unable to vie with him in this, turned his attention to a
distribution of the public funds among the people, at the suggestion, we
are told by Aristotle, of Damonides of Oia. By the money paid for public
spectacles, for citizens acting as jurymen and other paid offices, and
largesses, he soon won over the people to his side, so that he was able
to use them in his attack upon the Senate of the Areopagus, of which he
himself was not a member, never having been chosen Archon, or
Thesmothete, or King Archon, or Polemarch. These offices had from
ancient times been obtained by lot, and it was only through them that
those who had approved themselves in the discharge of them were advanced
to the Areopagus. For this reason it was that Perikles, when he gained
strength with the populace, destroyed this Senate, making Ephialtes
bring forward a bill which restricted its judicial powers, while he
himself succeeded in getting Kimon banished by ostracism, as a friend of
Sparta and a hater of the people, although he was second to no Athenian
in birth or fortune, had won most brilliant victories over the Persians,
and had filled Athens with plunder and spoils of war, as will be found
related in his life. So great was the power of Perikles with the common

X. One of the provisions of ostracism was that the person banished
should remain in exile for ten years. But during this period the
Lacedaemonians with a great force invaded the territory of Tanagra, and,
as the Athenians at once marched out to attack them, Kimon came back
from exile, took his place in full armour among the ranks of his own
tribe, and hoped by distinguishing himself in the battle amongst his
fellow citizens to prove the falsehood of the Laconian sympathies with
which he had been charged. However, the friends of Perikles drove him
away, as an exile. On the other hand, Perikles fought more bravely in
that battle than he had ever fought before, and surpassed every one in
reckless daring. The friends of Kimon also, whom Perikles had accused of
Laconian leanings, fell, all together, in their ranks; and the Athenians
felt great sorrow for their treatment of Kimon, and a great longing for
his restoration, now that they had lost a great battle on the frontier,
and expected to be hard pressed during the summer by the Lacedaemonians.
Perikles, perceiving this, lost no time in gratifying the popular wish,
but himself proposed the decree for his recall; and Kimon on his return
reconciled the two States, for he was on familiar terms with the
Spartans, who were hated by Perikles and the other leaders of the common
people. Some say that, before Kimon's recall by Perikles, a secret
compact was made with him by Elpinike, Kimon's sister, that Kimon was
to proceed on foreign service against the Persians with a fleet of two
hundred ships, while Perikles was to retain his power in the city. It is
also said that, when Kimon was being tried for his life, Elpinike
softened the resentment of Perikles, who was one of those appointed to
impeach him. When Elpinike came to beg her brother's life of him, he
answered with a smile, "Elpinike, you are too old to meddle in affairs
of this sort." But, for all that, he spoke only once, for form's sake,
and pressed Kimon less than any of his other prosecutors. How, then, can
one put any faith in Idomeneus, when he accuses Perikles of procuring
the assassination of his friend and colleague Ephialtes, because he was
jealous of his reputation? This seems an ignoble calumny, which
Idomeneus has drawn from some obscure source to fling at a man who, no
doubt, was not faultless, but of a generous spirit and noble mind,
incapable of entertaining so savage and brutal a design. Ephialtes was
disliked and feared by the nobles, and was inexorable in punishing those
who wronged the people; wherefore his enemies had him assassinated by
means of Aristodikus of Tanagra. This we are told by Aristotle. Kimon
died in Cyprus, while in command of the Athenian forces.

XI. The nobles now perceived that Perikles was the most important man in
the State, and far more powerful than any other citizen; wherefore, as
they still hoped to check his authority, and not allow him to be
omnipotent, they set up Thucydides, of the township of Alopekae, as his
rival, a man of good sense, and a relative of Kimon, but less of a
warrior and more of a politician, who, by watching his opportunities,
and opposing Perikles in debate, soon brought about a balance of power.
He did not allow the nobles to mix themselves up with the people in the
public assembly, as they had been wont to do, so that their dignity was
lost among the masses; but he collected them into a separate body, and
by thus concentrating their strength was able to use it to
counterbalance that of the other party. From the beginning these two
factions had been but imperfectly welded together, because their
tendencies were different; but now the struggle for power between
Perikles and Thucydides drew a sharp line of demarcation between them,
and one was called the party of the Many, the other that of the Few.
Perikles now courted the people in every way, constantly arranging
public spectacles, festivals, and processions in the city, by which he
educated the Athenians to take pleasure in refined amusements; and also
he sent out sixty triremes to cruise every year, in which many of the
people served for hire for eight months, learning and practising
seamanship. Besides this he sent a thousand settlers to the Chersonese,
five hundred to Naxos, half as many to Andros, a thousand to dwell among
the Thracian tribe of the Bisaltae, and others to the new colony in
Italy founded by the city of Sybaris, which was named Thurii. By this
means he relieved the state of numerous idle agitators, assisted the
necessitous, and overawed the allies of Athens by placing his colonists
near them to watch their behaviour.

XII. The building of the temples, by which Athens was adorned, the
people delighted, and the rest of the world astonished, and which now
alone prove that the tales of the ancient power and glory of Greece are
no fables, was what particularly excited the spleen of the opposite
faction, who inveighed against him in the public assembly, declaring
that the Athenians had disgraced themselves by transferring the common
treasury of the Greeks from the island of Delos to their own custody.
"Perikles himself," they urged, "has taken away the only possible excuse
for such an act--the fear that it might be exposed to the attacks of the
Persians when at Delos, whereas it would be safe at Athens. Greece has
been outraged, and feels itself openly tyrannised over, when it sees us
using the funds which we extorted from it for the war against the
Persians, for gilding and beautifying our city, as if it were a vain
woman, and adorning it with precious marbles, and statues, and temples,
worth a thousand talents." To this Perikles replied, that the allies had
no right to consider how their money was spent, so long as Athens
defended them from the Persians; while they supplied neither horses,
ships, nor men, but merely money, which the Athenians had a right to
spend as they pleased, provided they afforded them that security which
it purchased. It was right, he argued, that, after the city had provided
all that was necessary for war, it should devote its surplus money to
the erection of buildings which would be a glory to it for all ages,
while these works would create plenty by leaving no man unemployed, and
encouraging all sorts of handicraft, so that nearly the whole city would
earn wages, and thus derive both its beauty and its profit from itself.
For those who were in the flower of their age, military service offered
a means of earning money from the common stock; while, as he did not
wish the mechanics and lower classes to be without their share, nor yet
to see them receive it without doing work for it, he had laid the
foundations of great edifices which would require industries of every
kind to complete them; and he had done this in the interests of the
lower classes, who thus, although they remained at home, would have just
as good a claim to their share of the public funds as those who were
serving at sea, in garrison, or in the field. The different materials
used, such as stone, brass, ivory, gold, ebony, cypress-wood, and so
forth, would require special artizans for each, such as carpenters,
modellers, smiths, stone masons, dyers, melters and moulders of gold,
and ivory painters, embroiderers, workers in relief; and also men to
bring them to the city, such as sailors and captains of ships and pilots
for such as came by sea; and, for those who came by land, carriage
builders, horse breeders, drivers, rope makers, linen manufacturers,
shoemakers, road menders, and miners. Each trade, moreover, employed a
number of unskilled labourers, so that, in a word, there would be work
for persons of every age and every class, and general prosperity would
be the result.

XIII. These buildings were of immense size, and unequalled in beauty and
grace, as the workmen endeavoured to make the execution surpass the
design in beauty; but what was most remarkable was the speed with which
they were built. All these edifices, each of which one would have
thought, it would have taken many generations to complete, were all
finished during the most brilliant period of one man's administration.
We are told that Zeuxis, hearing Agatharchus, the painter, boasting how
easily and rapidly he could produce a picture, said, "I paint very
slowly." Ease, and speed of execution, seldom produces work of any
permanent value or delicacy. It is the time which is spent in laborious
production for which we are repaid by the durable character of the
result. And this makes Perikles's work all the more wonderful, because
it was built in a short time, and yet has lasted for ages. In beauty
each of them at once appeared venerable as soon as it was built; but
even at the present day the work looks as fresh as ever, for they bloom
with an eternal freshness which defies time, and seems to make the work
instinct with an unfading spirit of youth.

The overseer and manager of the whole was Pheidias, although there were
other excellent architects and workmen, such as Kallikrates and Iktinus,
who built the Parthenon on the site of the old Hekatompedon, which had
been destroyed by the Persians, and Koroebus, who began to build the
Temple of Initiation at Eleusis, but who only lived to see the columns
erected and the architraves placed upon them. On his death, Metagenes,
of Xypete, added the frieze and the upper row of columns, and Xenokles,
of Cholargos, crowned it with the domed roof over the shrine. As to the
long wall, about which Sokrates says that he heard Perikles bring
forward a motion, Kallikrates undertook to build it. Kratinus satirises
the work for being slowly accomplished, saying

     "He builds in speeches, but he does no work."

The Odeum, which internally consisted of many rows of seats and many
columns, and externally of a roof sloping on all sides from a central
point, was said to have been built in imitation of the king of Persia's
tent, and was built under Perikles's direction. For this reason Kratinus
alludes to him in his play of the 'Thracian Woman'--

    "Our Jove with lofty skull appears;
    The Odeum on his head he bears,
    Because he fears the oyster-shell no more."

Perikles at that period used his influence to pass a decree for
establishing a musical competition at the Panathenaic festival; and,
being himself chosen judge, he laid down rules as to how the candidates
were to sing, and play the flute or the harp. At that period, and ever
afterwards, all musical contests took place in the Odeum.

The Propylaea, before the Acropolis, were finished in five years, by
Mnesikles the architect; and a miraculous incident during the work
seemed to show that the goddess did not disapprove, but rather
encouraged and assisted the building. The most energetic and active of
the workmen fell from a great height, and lay in a dangerous condition,
given over by his doctors. Perikles grieved much for him; but the
goddess appeared to him in a dream, and suggested a course of treatment
by which Perikles quickly healed the workman. In consequence of this, he
set up the brazen statue of Athene the Healer, near the old altar in the
Acropolis. The golden statue of the goddess was made by Pheidias, and
his name appears upon the basement in the inscription. Almost everything
was in his hands, and he gave his orders to all the workmen--as we have
said before--because of his friendship with Perikles. This led to their
both being envied and belied; for it was said that Perikles, with the
connivance of Pheidias, carried on intrigues with Athenian ladies, who
came ostensibly to see the works. This accusation was taken up by the
comic poets, who charged him with great profligacy, hinting that he had
an improper passion for the wife of Menippus, his friend, and a
lieutenant-general in the army. Even the bird-fancying of Pyrilampes,
because he was a friend of Perikles, was misrepresented, and he was said
to give peacocks to the ladies who granted their favours to Perikles.
But, indeed, how can we wonder at satirists bringing foul accusations
against their betters, and offering them up as victims to the spite of
the populace, when we find Stesimbrotus, of Thasos, actually inventing
that unnatural and abominable falsehood of Perikles's intrigue with his
own daughter-in-law. So hard is it to discover the truth, because the
history of past ages is rendered difficult by the lapse of time; while
in contemporary history the truth is always obscured, either by private
spite and hatred, or by a desire to curry favour with the chief men of
the time.

XIV. When the speakers of Thucydides's party complained that Perikles
had wasted the public money, and destroyed the revenue, he asked the
people in the assembly whether they thought he had spent much. When they
answered "Very much indeed," he said in reply, "Do not, then, put it
down to the public account, but to mine; and I will inscribe my name
upon all the public buildings." When Perikles said this, the people,
either in admiration of his magnificence of manner, or being eager to
bear their share in the glory of the new buildings, shouted to him with
one accord to take what money he pleased from the treasury, and spend it
as he pleased, without stint. And finally, he underwent the trial of
ostracism with Thucydides, and not only succeeded in driving him into
exile, but broke up his party.

XV. As now there was no opposition to encounter in the city, and all
parties had been blended into one, Perikles undertook the sole
administration of the home and foreign affairs of Athens, dealing with
the public revenue, the army, the navy, the islands and maritime
affairs, and the great sources of strength which Athens derived from her
alliances, as well with Greek as with foreign princes and states.
Henceforth he became quite a different man: he no longer gave way to the
people, and ceased to watch the breath of popular favour; but he changed
the loose and licentious democracy, which had hitherto existed, into a
stricter aristocratic, or rather monarchical, form of government. This
he used honourably and unswervingly for the public benefit, finding the
people, as a rule, willing to second the measures which he explained to
them to be necessary, and to which he asked their consent, but
occasionally having to use violence, and to force them, much against
their will, to do what was expedient; like a physician dealing with some
complicated disorder, who at one time allows his patient innocent
recreation, and at another inflicts upon him sharp pains and bitter,
though salutary, draughts. Every possible kind of disorder was to be
found among a people possessing so great an empire as the Athenians; and
he alone was able to bring them into harmony, by playing alternately
upon their hopes and fears, checking them when over-confident, and
raising their spirits when they were cast down and disheartened. Thus,
as Plato says, he was able to prove that oratory is the art of
influencing men's minds, and to use it in its highest application, when
it deals with men's passions and characters, which, like certain strings
of a musical instrument, require a skilful and delicate touch. The
secret of his power is to be found, however, as Thucydides says, not so
much in his mere oratory, as in his pure and blameless life, because he
was so well known to be incorruptible, and indifferent to money; for
though he made the city, which was a great one, into the greatest and
richest city of Greece, and though he himself became more powerful than
many independent sovereigns, who were able to leave their kingdoms to
their sons, yet Perikles did not increase by one single drachma the
estate which he received from his father.

XVI. This is the clear account of his power which is given by Thucydides
the historian; though the comic poets misrepresent him atrociously,
calling his immediate followers the New Peisistratidae, and calling upon
him to swear that he never would make himself despot, as though his
pre-eminence was not to be borne in a free state. And Telekleides says,
that the Athenians delivered up into his hands

    "The tribute from the towns, the towns themselves,
    The city walls, to build or to destroy,
    The right of making either peace or war,
    And all the wealth and produce of the land."

And all this was not on any special occasion, or when his administration
was especially popular, but for forty years he held the first place
among such men as Ephialtes, Leokrates, Myronides, Kimon, Tolmides, and
Thucydides; and, after the fall and banishment of Thucydides by
ostracism, he united in himself for five-and-twenty years all the
various offices of state, which were supposed to last only for one year;
and yet during the whole of that period proved himself incorruptible by
bribes. As to his paternal estate, he was loth to lose it, and still
more to be troubled with the management of it; consequently, he adopted
what seemed to him the simplest and most exact method of dealing with
it. Every year's produce was sold all together, and with the money thus
obtained, he would buy what was necessary for his household in the
market, and thus regulate his expenditure. This did not make him
popular with his sons when they grew up; nor yet did the women of his
family think him a liberal manager, but blamed his exact regulation of
his daily expenses, which allowed none of the superfluities common in
great and wealthy households, but which made the debit and credit
exactly balance each other. One servant, Euangelos, kept all his
accounts, as no one else had either capacity or education enough to be
able to do so. These proceedings differed greatly from those of
Anaxagoras the philosopher, who left his house, and let his estate go to
ruin, while he pursued his lofty speculations. I conceive, however, that
the life of a philosopher and that of a practical politician are not the
same, as the one directs his thoughts to abstract ideas, while the other
devotes his genius to supplying the real wants of mankind, and in some
cases finds wealth not only necessary, but most valuable to him, as
indeed it was to Perikles, who assisted many of the poorer citizens. It
is said that, as Perikles was engaged in public affairs, Anaxagoras, who
was now an old man and in want, covered his head with his robe, and
determined to starve himself to death; but when Perikles heard of this,
he at once ran to him, and besought him to live, lamenting, not
Anaxagoras's fate, but his own, if he should lose so valuable a
political adviser. Then Anaxagoras uncovered his head, and said to him,
"Perikles, those who want to use a lamp supply it with oil."

XVII. As the Lacedaemonians began to be jealous of the prosperity of the
Athenians, Perikles, wishing to raise the spirit of the people and to
make them feel capable of immense operations, passed a decree, inviting
all the Greeks, whether inhabiting Europe or Asia, whether living in
large cities or small ones, to send representatives to a meeting at
Athens to deliberate about the restoration of the Greek temples which
had been burned by the barbarians, about the sacrifices which were due
in consequence of the vows which they had made to the gods on behalf of
Greece before joining battle, and about the sea, that all men might be
able to sail upon it in peace and without fear. To carry out this decree
twenty men, selected from the citizens over fifty years of age, were
sent out, five of whom invited the Ionian and Dorian Greeks in Asia and
the islands as far as Lesbos and Rhodes, five went to the inhabitants of
the Hellespont and Thrace as far as Byzantium, and five more proceeded
to Boeotia, Phokis, and Peloponnesus, passing from thence through Lokris
to the neighbouring continent as far as Akarnania and Ambrakia; while
the remainder journeyed through Euboea to the Oetaeans and the Malian
gulf, and to the Achaeans of Phthia and the Thessalians, urging them to
join the assembly and take part in the deliberations concerning the
peace and well-being of Greece. However, nothing was effected, and the
cities never assembled, in consequence it is said of the covert
hostility of the Lacedaemonians, and because the attempt was first made
in Peloponnesus and failed there: yet I have inserted an account of it
in order to show the lofty spirit and the magnificent designs of

XVIII. In his campaigns he was chiefly remarkable for caution, for he
would not, if he could help it, begin a battle of which the issue was
doubtful; nor did he wish to emulate those generals who have won
themselves a great reputation by running risks, and trusting to good
luck. But he ever used to say to his countrymen, that none of them
should come by their deaths through any act of his. Observing that
Tolmides, the son of Tolmaeus, elated by previous successes and by the
credit which he had gained as a general, was about to invade Boeotia in
a reckless manner, and had persuaded a thousand young men to follow him
without any support whatever, he endeavoured to stop him, and made that
memorable saying in the public assembly, that if Tolmides would not take
the advice of Perikles, he would at any rate do well to consult that
best of advisers, Time. This speech had but little success at the time;
but when, a few days afterwards, the news came that Tolmides had fallen
in action at Koronea, and many noble citizens with him, Perikles was
greatly respected and admired as a wise and patriotic man.

XIX. His most successful campaign was that in the Chersonesus, which
proved the salvation of the Greeks residing there: for he not only
settled a thousand colonists there, and thus increased the available
force of the cities, but built a continuous line of fortifications
reaching across the isthmus from one sea to the other, by which he shut
off the Thracians, who had previously ravaged the peninsula, and put an
end to a constant and harassing border warfare to which the settlers
were exposed, as they had for neighbours tribes of wild plundering

But that by which he obtained most glory and renown was when he started
from Pegae, in the Megarian territory, and sailed round the Peloponnesus
with a fleet of a hundred triremes; for he not only laid waste much of
the country near the coast, as Tolmides had previously done, but he
proceeded far inland, away from his ships, leading the troops who were
on board, and terrified the inhabitants so much that they shut
themselves up in their strongholds. The men of Sikyon alone ventured to
meet him at Nemea, and them he overthrew in a pitched battle, and
erected a trophy. Next he took on board troops from the friendly
district of Achaia, and, crossing over to the opposite side of the
Corinthian Gulf, coasted along past the mouth of the river Achelous,
overran Akarnania, drove the people of Oeneadae to the shelter of their
city walls, and after ravaging the country returned home, having made
himself a terror to his enemies, and done good service to Athens; for
not the least casualty, even by accident, befel the troops under his

XX. When he sailed into the Black Sea with a great and splendidly
equipped fleet, he assisted the Greek cities there, and treated them
with consideration; and showed the neighbouring savage tribes and their
chiefs the greatness of his force, and his confidence in his power, by
sailing where he pleased, and taking complete control over that sea. He
left at Sinope thirteen ships, and a land force under the command of
Lamachus, to act against Timesileon, who had made himself despot of that
city. When he and his party were driven out, Perikles passed a decree
that six hundred Athenian volunteers should sail to Sinope, and become
citizens there, receiving the houses and lands which had formerly been
in the possession of the despot and his party. But in other cases he
would not agree to the impulsive proposals of the Athenians, and he
opposed them when, elated by their power and good fortune, they talked
of recovering Egypt and attacking the seaboard of the Persian empire.
Many, too, were inflamed with that ill-starred notion of an attempt on
Sicily, which was afterwards blown into a flame by Alkibiades and other
orators. Some even dreamed of the conquest of Etruria and Carthage, in
consequence of the greatness which the Athenian empire had already
reached, and the full tide of success which seemed to attend it.

XXI. Perikles, however, restrained these outbursts, and would not allow
the people to meddle with foreign states, but used the power of Athens
chiefly to preserve and guard her already existing empire, thinking it
to be of paramount importance to oppose the Lacedaemonians, a task to
which he bent all his energies, as is proved by many of his acts,
especially in connection with the Sacred War. In this war the
Lacedaemonians sent a force to Delphi, and made the Phokaeans, who held
it, give it up to the people of Delphi: but as soon as they were gone
Perikles made an expedition into the country, and restored the temple to
the Phokaeans; and as the Lacedaemonians had scratched the oracle which
the Delphians had given them, on the forehead of the brazen wolf there,
Perikles got a response from the oracle for the Athenians, and carved it
on the right side of the same wolf.

XXII. Events proved that Perikles was right in confining the Athenian
empire to Greece. First of all Euboea revolted, and he was obliged to
lead an army to subdue that island. Shortly after this, news came that
the Megarians had become hostile, and that an army, under the command of
Pleistoanax, king of the Lacedaemonians, was menacing the frontier of
Attica. Perikles now in all haste withdrew his troops from Euboea, to
meet the invader. He did not venture on an engagement with the numerous
and warlike forces of the enemy, although repeatedly invited by them to
fight: but, observing that Pleistoanax was a very young man, and
entirely under the influence of Kleandrides, whom the Ephors had sent to
act as his tutor and counsellor because of his tender years, he opened
secret negotiations with the latter, who at once, for a bribe, agreed to
withdraw the Peloponnesians from Attica. When their army returned and
dispersed, the Lacedaemonians were so incensed that they imposed a fine
on their king, and condemned Kleandrides, who fled the country, to be
put to death. This Kleandrides was the father of Gylippus, who caused
the ruin of the Athenian expedition in Sicily. Avarice seems to have
been hereditary in the family, for Gylippus himself, after brilliant
exploits in war, was convicted of taking bribes, and banished from
Sparta in disgrace. This is more fully set forth in the Life of

XXIII. When Perikles submitted the accounts of the campaign to the
people, there was an item of ten talents, "for a necessary purpose,"
which the people passed without any questioning, or any curiosity to
learn the secret. Some historians, amongst whom is Theophrastus the
philosopher, say that Perikles sent ten talents annually to Sparta, by
means of which he bribed the chief magistrates to defer the war, thus
not buying peace, but time to make preparations for a better defence. He
immediately turned his attention to the insurgents in Euboea, and
proceeding thither with a fleet of fifty sail, and five thousand heavy
armed troops, he reduced their cities to submission. He banished from
Chalkis the "equestrian order," as it was called, consisting of men of
wealth and station; and he drove all the inhabitants of Hestiaea out of
their country, replacing them by Athenian settlers.

He treated these people with this pitiless severity, because they had
captured an Athenian ship, and put its crew to the sword.

XXIV. After this, as the Athenians and Lacedaemonians made a truce for
thirty years, Perikles decreed the expedition against Samos, on the
pretext that they had disregarded the commands of the Athenians, to
cease from their war with the Milesians. It was thought that he began
this war with the Samians to please Aspasia, and this is, therefore, a
good opportunity to discuss that person's character, and how she
possessed so great influence and ability that the leading politicians of
the day were at her feet, while philosophers discussed and admired her
discourse. It is agreed that she was of Milesian origin, and that her
father's name was Axiochus; and she is said to have reserved her favours
for the most powerful personages in Greece, in imitation of Thargelia,
an Ionian lady of ancient times, of great beauty, ability, and
attractions, who had many lovers among the Greeks, and brought them all
over to the Persian interest, by which means the seeds of the Persian
faction were sown in many cities of Greece, as they were all men of
great influence and position.

Now some writers say that Perikles valued Aspasia only for her wisdom
and political ability. Indeed Sokrates and his friends used to frequent
her society; and those who listened to her discourse used to bring their
wives with them, that they too might profit by it, although her
profession was far from being honourable or decent, for she kept
courtesans in her house. Aeschines says that Lysikles, the sheep dealer,
a low-born and low-minded man, became one of the first men in Athens,
because he lived with Aspasia after Perikles's death. In Plato's
dialogue too, called 'Menexenus,' though the first part is written in a
humorous style, yet there is in it thus much of serious truth, that she
was thought to discuss questions of rhetoric with many Athenians. But
Perikles seems to have been more enamoured of Aspasia's person than her
intellect. He was married to a woman who was nearly related to him, who
had previously been the wife of Hipponikus, by whom she became the
mother of Kallias the rich. By her Perikles had two sons, Xanthippus and
Paralus; but afterwards, as they could not live comfortably together,
he, at his wife's wish, handed her over to another husband, and himself
lived with Aspasia, of whom he was passionately fond. It is said that he
never went in or out of his house during the day without kissing her. In
the comedies of the time, she is spoken of as the new Omphale and as
Deianeira, and sometimes as Hera (Juno). Kratinus plainly speaks of her
as a harlot in the following lines:

    "To him Vice bore a Juno new,
    Aspasia, shameless harlot."

He is thought to have had a bastard son by her, who is mentioned by
Eupolis in his play of 'The Townships,' where Perikles is introduced,
asking, "Lives then my son?" to which Myronides answers:

    "He lives, and long had claimed a manly name,
    But that he feared his harlot mother's shame."

It is said that Aspasia became so illustrious and well known that the
Cyrus who fought with his brother for the empire of Persia, called his
favourite concubine Aspasia, though she had before been named Milto. She
was a Phokaean by birth, the daughter of Hermotimus. After the death of
Cyrus in battle, she was taken into the king's harem, and acquired great
influence with him. These particulars about Aspasia occurred to my
memory, and I thought that perhaps I might please my readers by relating

XXV. Perikles is accused of going to war with Samos to save the
Milesians, at the request of Aspasia. These States were at war about the
possession of the city of Priéne, and the Samians, who were victorious,
would not lay down their arms and allow the Athenians to settle the
matter by arbitration, as they ordered them to do. For this reason
Perikles proceeded to Samos, put an end to the oligarchical form of
government there, and sent fifty hostages and as many children to
Lemnos, to ensure the good behaviour of the leading men. It is said that
each of these hostages offered him a talent for his own freedom, and
that much more was offered by that party which was loth to see a
democracy established in the city. Besides all this, Pissuthnes the
Persian, who had a liking for the Samians, sent and offered him ten
thousand pieces of gold if he would spare the city. Perikles, however,
took none of these bribes, but dealt with Samos as he had previously
determined, and returned to Athens. The Samians now at once revolted, as
Pissuthnes managed to get them back their hostages, and furnished them
with the means of carrying on the war. Perikles now made a second
expedition against them, and found them in no mind to submit quietly,
but determined to dispute the empire of the seas with the Athenians.
Perikles gained a signal victory over them in a sea-fight off the Goats'
Island, beating a fleet of seventy ships with only forty-four, twenty of
which were transports.

XXVI. Simultaneously with his victory and the flight of the enemy he
obtained command of the harbour of Samos, and besieged the Samians in
their city. They, in spite of their defeat, still possessed courage
enough to sally out and fight a battle under the walls; but soon a
larger force arrived from Athens, and the Samians were completely

Perikles now with sixty ships sailed out of the Archipelago into the
Mediterranean, according to the most current report intending to meet
the Phoenician fleet which was coming to help the Samians, but,
according to Stesimbrotus, with the intention of attacking Cyprus, which
seems improbable. Whatever his intention may have been, his expedition
was a failure, for Melissus, the son of Ithagenes, a man of culture, who
was then in command of the Samian forces, conceiving a contempt for the
small force of the Athenians and the want of experience of their leaders
after Perikles's departure, persuaded his countrymen to attack them. In
the battle the Samians proved victorious, taking many Athenians
prisoners, and destroying many of their ships. By this victory they
obtained command of the sea, and were able to supply themselves with
more warlike stores than they had possessed before. Aristotle even says
that Perikles himself was before this beaten by Melissus in a sea-fight.
The Samians branded the figure of an owl on the foreheads of their
Athenian prisoners, to revenge themselves for the branding of their own
prisoners by the Athenians with the figure of a _samaina_. This is a
ship having a beak turned up like a swine's snout, but with a roomy
hull, so as both to carry a large cargo and sail fast. This class of
vessel is called _samaina_ because it was first built at Samos by
Polykrates, the despot of that island. It is said that the verse of

    "The Samians are a deeply lettered race,"

alludes to this branding.

XXVII. When Perikles heard of the disaster which had befallen his army,
he returned in all haste to assist them. He beat Melissus, who came out
to meet him, and, after putting the enemy to rout, at once built a wall
round their city, preferring to reduce it by blockade to risking the
lives of his countrymen in an assault. As time went on the Athenians
became impatient and eager to fight, and it was hard to restrain their
ardour. Perikles divided the whole force into eight divisions, and made
them all draw lots. The division which drew the white bean he permitted
to feast and take their ease, while the rest did their duty. For this
reason those who are enjoying themselves call it a "white day," in
allusion to the white bean. Ephorus tells us that Perikles made use of
battering engines in this siege, being attracted by their novelty, and
that Artemon the mechanician was present, who was surnamed Periphoretus
because he was lame, and carried in a litter to see such of the works as
required his superintendence. This story is proved to be false by
Herakleides of Pontus, he quoting Anakreon's poems, in which Artemon
Periphoretus is mentioned many generations before the revolt and siege
of Samos. He tells us that Artemon was an effeminate coward who spent
most of his time indoors, with two slaves holding a brazen shield over
his head for fear that anything should fall upon it, and if he was
obliged to go out, used to be carried in a hammock slung so low as
almost to touch the ground, from which he received the name of

XXVIII. In the ninth month of the siege the Samians surrendered.
Perikles demolished their walls, confiscated their fleet, and imposed a
heavy fine upon them, some part of which was paid at once by the
Samians, who gave hostages for the payment of the remainder at fixed
periods. Douris, of Samos, makes a lamentable story of this, accusing
Perikles and the Athenians of great cruelty, no mention of which is to
be found in Thucydides, Ephorus, or Aristotle. He obviously does not
tell the truth when he says that Perikles took the captains and marine
soldiers of each ship to the market-place at Miletus, bound them to
planks, and after they had been so for ten days and were in a miserable
state, knocked them on the head with clubs and cast out their bodies
without burial. But Douris, even in cases where he has no personal bias,
prefers writing an exciting story to keeping to the exact truth, and in
this instance probably exaggerated the sufferings of his countrymen in
order to gratify his dislike of the Athenians.

Perikles, after the reduction of Samos, returned to Athens, where he
buried those who had fallen in the war in a magnificent manner, and was
much admired for the funeral oration which, as is customary, was spoken
by him over the graves of his countrymen. When he descended from the
rostrum the women greeted him, crowning him with garlands and ribbons
like a victorious athlete, and Elpinike drawing near to him said, "A
fine exploit, truly, Perikles, and well worthy of a crown, to lose many
of our brave fellow-citizens, not fighting with Persians or Phoenicians,
as my brother Kimon did, but in ruining a city of men of our own blood
and our own allies." At these words of Elpinike, Perikles merely smiled
and repeated the verse of Archilochus--

    "Too old thou art for rich perfumes."

Ion says that his victory over the Samians wonderfully flattered his
vanity. Agamemnon, he was wont to say, took ten years to take a
barbarian city, but he in nine months had made himself master of the
first and most powerful city in Ionia. And the comparison was not an
unjust one, for truly the war was a very great undertaking, and its
issue quite uncertain, since, as Thucydides tells us, the Samians came
very near to wresting the empire of the sea from the Athenians.

XXIX. After these events, as the clouds were gathering for the
Peloponnesian war, Perikles persuaded the Athenians to send assistance
to the people of Korkyra, who were at war with the Corinthians, and thus
to attach to their own side an island with a powerful naval force, at a
moment when the Peloponnesians had all but declared war against them.

When the people passed this decree, Perikles sent only ten ships under
the command of Lacedaemonius, the son of Kimon, as if he designed a
deliberate insult; for the house of Kimon was on peculiarly friendly
terms with the Lacedaemonians. His design in sending Lacedaemonius out,
against his will, and with so few ships, was that if he performed
nothing brilliant he might be accused, even more than he was already, of
leaning to the side of the Spartans. Indeed, by all means in his power,
he always threw obstacles in the way of the advancement of Kimon's
family, representing that by their very names they were aliens, one son
being named Lacedaemonius, another Thessalus, another Eleius. Moreover,
the mother of all three was an Arcadian.

Now Perikles was much reproached for sending these ten ships, which
were of little value to the Korkyreans, and gave a great handle to his
enemies to use against him, and in consequence sent a larger force after
them to Korkyra, which arrived there after the battle. The Corinthians,
enraged at this, complained in the congress of Sparta of the conduct of
the Athenians, as did also the Megarians, who said that they were
excluded from every market and every harbour which was in Athenian
hands, contrary to the ancient rights and common privileges of the
Hellenic race. The people of Aegina also considered themselves to be
oppressed and ill-treated, and secretly bemoaned their grievances in the
ears of the Spartans, for they dared not openly bring any charges
against the Athenians. At this time, too, Potidaea, a city subject to
Athens, but a colony of Corinth, revolted, and its siege materially
hastened the outbreak of the war. Archidamus, indeed, the king of the
Lacedaemonians, sent ambassadors to Athens, was willing to submit all
disputed points to arbitration, and endeavoured to moderate the
excitement of his allies, so that war probably would not have broken out
if the Athenians could have been persuaded to rescind their decree of
exclusion against the Megarians, and to come to terms with them. And,
for this reason, Perikles, who was particularly opposed to this, and
urged the people not to give way to the Megarians, alone bore the blame
of having begun the war.

XXX. It is said, that when an embassy arrived at Athens from Lacedaemon
to treat upon these matters, Perikles argued that there was a law which
forbade the tablet, on which the decree against the Megarians was
written, to be taken down. "Then," said Polyalkes, one of the
ambassadors, "do not take it down, but turn it with its face to the
wall; for there is no law against that!"

Clever as this retort was, it had no effect on Perikles. He had, it
seems, some private spite at the Megarians, though the ground of quarrel
which he put publicly forward was that the Megarians had applied to
their own use some of the sacred ground; and he passed a decree for a
herald to be sent to the Megarians, and then to go on to the
Lacedaemonians to complain of their conduct. This decree of Perikles is
worded in a candid and reasonable manner; but the herald,
Anthemokritus, was thought to have met his death at the hands of the
Megarians, and Charinus passed a decree to the effect that Athens should
wage war against them to the death, without truce or armistice; that any
Megarian found in Attica should be punished with death, and that the
generals, when taking the usual oath for each year, should swear in
addition that they would invade the Megarian territory twice every year;
and that Anthemokritus should be buried near the city gate leading into
the Thriasian plain, which is now called the Double Gate.

Now, the Megarians say that they were not to blame for the murder of
Anthemokritus, and lay it upon Perikles and Aspasia, quoting the
hackneyed rhymes from the 'Acharnians,' of Aristophanes:

    "Some young Athenians in their drunken play,
    From Megara Simaetha stole away,
    The men of Megara next, with angered soul,
    Two of Aspasia's choicest harlots stole."

XXXI. How the dispute originated it is hard to say, but all writers
agree in throwing on Perikles the blame of refusing to reverse the
decree. Some attribute his firmness to a wise calculation, saying that
the demand was merely made in order to try him, and that any concessions
would have been regarded as a sign of weakness; while others say that he
treated the Lacedaemonians so cavalierly through pride and a desire to
show his own strength. But the worst motive of all, and that to which
most men attribute his conduct, was as follows: Pheidias, the sculptor,
was, as we have related, entrusted with the task of producing the statue
of the tutelary goddess of Athens. His intimacy with Perikles, with whom
he had great influence, gained for him many enemies, who, wishing to
experiment on the temper of the people towards Perikles himself, bribed
Menon, one of Pheidias's fellow-workmen, to seat himself in the
market-place as a suppliant who begged that he might receive protection
while he denounced and prosecuted Pheidias. The people took this man
under its protection, and Pheidias was prosecuted before the Senate. The
alleged charges of theft were not proved, for Pheidias, by the advice of
Perikles, had originally fashioned the golden part of the statue in
such a manner that it could all be taken off and weighed, and this
Perikles bade the prosecutor do on this occasion. But the glory which
Pheidias obtained by the reality of his work made him an object of envy
and hatred, especially when in his sculpture of the battle with the
Amazons on the shield of the goddess he introduced his own portrait as a
bald-headed old man lifting a great stone with both hands, and also a
very fine representation of Perikles, fighting with an Amazon. The
position of the hand, which was holding a spear before the face of
Perikles, was ingeniously devised as if to conceal the portrait, which,
nevertheless, could plainly be seen on either side of it. For this,
Pheidias was imprisoned, and there fell sick and died, though some say
that his enemies poisoned him in order to cast suspicion upon Perikles.
At the instance of Glykon, the people voted to Menon, the informer, an
immunity from public burdens, and ordered the generals of the State to
provide for the wretch's safety.

XXXII. About the same time Aspasia was prosecuted for impiety, at the
suit of Hermippus, the comic playwright, who moreover accused her of
harbouring free-born Athenian ladies, with whom Perikles carried on
intrigues. Also Diopeithes proposed a decree, that prosecutions should
be instituted against all persons who disbelieved in religion, and held
theories of their own about heavenly phenomena. This was aimed at
Perikles through the philosopher Anaxagoras. As the people adopted this
decree, and eagerly listened to these slanderous accusations, another
decree was carried by Drakontides, that Perikles should lay the accounts
of his dealings with the public revenue before the Prytanes, and that
the judges should carry their suffrage from the altar in the Acropolis,
and go and determine the cause in the city. At the motion of Hagnon this
part of the decree was reversed, but he succeeded in having the action
conducted before fifteen hundred judges, in a form of trial which one
might call either one for theft, or taking of bribes, or for public
wrong-doing. Aspasia was acquitted, quite contrary to justice, according
to Aeschines, because Perikles shed tears and made a personal appeal to
the judges on her behalf. He feared that Anaxagoras would be convicted,
and sent him out of the city before his trial commenced. And now, as he
had become unpopular by means of Pheidias, he at once blew the war into
a flame, hoping to put an end to these prosecutions, and to restore his
own personal ascendancy by involving the State in important and
dangerous crises, in which it would have to rely for guidance upon
himself alone.

These are the causes which are assigned for his refusal to permit the
Athenians to make any concession to the Lacedaemonians, but the real
history of the transaction will never be known.

XXXIII. Now, as the Lacedaemonians knew that if he could be removed from
power they would find the Athenians much more easy to deal with, they
bade them, "drive forth the accursed thing," alluding to Perikles's
descent from the Alkmaeonidae by his mother's side, as we are told by
Thucydides the historian. But this attempt had just the contrary effect
to that which they intended; for, instead of suspicion and dislike,
Perikles met with much greater honour and respect from his countrymen
than before, because they saw that he was an object of especial dislike
to the enemy. For this reason, before the Peloponnesians, under
Archidamus, invaded Attica, he warned the Athenians that if Archidamus,
when he laid waste everything else, spared his own private estate
because of the friendly private relations existing between them, or in
order to give his personal enemies a ground for impeaching him, that he
should give both the land and the farm buildings upon it to the State.

The Lacedaemonians invaded Attica with a great host of their own troops
and those of their allies, led by Archidamus, their king. They
proceeded, ravaging the country as they went, as far as Acharnae (close
to Athens), where they encamped, imagining that the Athenians would
never endure to see them there, but would be driven by pride and shame
to come out and fight them. However, Perikles thought that it would be a
very serious matter to fight for the very existence of Athens against
sixty thousand Peloponnesian and Boeotian[A] heavy-armed troops, and so
he pacified those who were dissatisfied at his inactivity by pointing
out that trees when cut down quickly grow again, but that when the men
of a State are lost, it is hard to raise up others to take their place.
He would not call an assembly of the people, because he feared that they
would force him to act against his better judgment, but, just as the
captain of a ship, when a storm comes on at sea, places everything in
the best trim to meet it, and trusting to his own skill and seamanship,
disregarding the tears and entreaties of the sea-sick and terrified
passengers; so did Perikles shut the gates of Athens, place sufficient
forces to ensure the safety of the city at all points, and calmly carry
out his own policy, taking little heed of the noisy grumblings of the
discontented. Many of his friends besought him to attack, many of his
enemies threatened him and abused him, and many songs and offensive
jests were written about him, speaking of him as a coward, and one who
was betraying the city to its enemies. Kleon too attacked him, using the
anger which the citizens felt against him to advance his own personal
popularity, as we see from the following lines of Hermippus:

    "King of Satyrs, wherefore fear you
    Spear to wield, and only dare to
    Talk in swelling phrase, while yet you
                     Cower, Teles like,
    And when goaded on, past bearing,
    By our Kleon's tongue so daring,
    Only gnash your teeth despairing,
                     Still afraid to strike."

[Footnote A: The Dorians of Boeotia and Peloponnesus were accounted the
best infantry soldiers of Greece.]

XXXIV. Perikles was unmoved by any of these attacks, but quietly endured
all this storm of obloquy. He sent a fleet of a hundred ships to attack
Peloponnesus, but did not sail with it himself, remaining at home to
keep a tight hand over Athens until the Peloponnesians drew off their
forces. He regained his popularity with the common people, who suffered
much from the war, by giving them allowances of money from the public
revenue, and grants of land; for he drove out the entire population of
the island of Aegina, and divided the land by lot among the Athenians. A
certain amount of relief also was experienced by reflecting upon the
injuries which they were inflicting on the enemy; for the fleet as it
sailed round Peloponnesus destroyed many small villages and cities, and
ravaged a great extent of country, while Perikles himself led an
expedition into the territory of Megara and laid it all waste. By this
it is clear that the allies, although they did much damage to the
Athenians, yet suffered equally themselves, and never could have
protracted the war for such a length of time as it really lasted, but,
as Perikles foretold, must soon have desisted had not Providence
interfered and confounded human counsels. For now the pestilence fell
among the Athenians, and cut off the flower of their youth. Suffering
both in body and mind they raved against Perikles, just as people when
delirious with disease attack their fathers or their physicians. They
endeavoured to ruin him, urged on by his personal enemies, who assured
them that he was the author of the plague, because he had brought all
the country people into the city, where they were compelled to live
during the heat of summer, crowded together in small rooms and stifling
tents, living an idle life too, and breathing foul air instead of the
pure country breezes to which they were accustomed. The cause of this,
they said, was the man who, when the war began, admitted the masses of
the country people into the city, and then made no use of them, but
allowed them to be penned up together like cattle, and transmit the
contagion from one to another, without devising any remedy or
alleviation of their sufferings.

XXXV. Hoping to relieve them somewhat, and also to annoy the enemy,
Perikles manned a hundred and fifty ships, placed on board, besides the
sailors, many brave infantry and cavalry soldiers, and was about to put
to sea. The Athenians conceived great hopes, and the enemy no less
terror from so large an armament. When all was ready, and Perikles
himself had just embarked in his own trireme, an eclipse of the sun took
place, producing total darkness, and all men were terrified at so great
a portent. Perikles, observing that his helmsman was alarmed and knew
not what to do, held his cloak over the man's eyes and asked him if he
thought that a terrible portent. As he answered that he did not,
Perikles said: "What is the difference, then, between it and an eclipse
of the sun, except that the eclipse is caused by something larger than
my cloak?" This subject is discussed by the philosophers in their

Perikles sailed with the fleet, but did nothing worthy of so great a
force. He besieged the sacred city of Epidaurus, but, although he had
great hopes of taking it, he failed on account of the plague, which
destroyed not only his own men, but every one who came in contact with
them. After this he again endeavoured to encourage the Athenians, to
whom he had become an object of dislike. However, he did not succeed in
pacifying them, but they condemned him by a public vote to be general no
more, and to pay a fine which is stated at the lowest estimate to have
been fifteen talents, and at the highest fifty. This was carried,
according to Idomeneus, by Kleon, but according to Theophrastus by
Simmias; whilst Herakleides of Pontus says that it was effected by

XXXVI. He soon regained his public position, for the people's outburst
of anger was quenched by the blow they had dealt him, just as a bee
leaves its sting in the wound; but his private affairs were in great
distress and disorder, as he had lost many of his relatives during the
plague, while others were estranged from him on political grounds.
Xanthippus too, the eldest of his legitimate sons, who was a spendthrift
by nature and married to a woman of expensive habits, a daughter of
Tisander, the son of Epilykus, could not bear with his father's stingy
ways and the small amount of money which he allowed him. He consequently
sent to one of his friends and borrowed money from him as if Perikles
had authorised him to do so. When the friend asked for his money back
again, Perikles prosecuted him, at which proceeding young Xanthippus was
enraged and abused his father, sneering at his way of life and his
discussions with the sophists. When some athlete accidentally killed
Epitimus of Pharsalus with a javelin, he said that Perikles spent the
whole day arguing with Protagoras whether in strict accuracy the
javelin, or the man who threw it, or the stewards of the games, ought to
be considered the authors of the mishap. And, besides this, Stesimbrotus
tells us that Xanthippus put about that scandal about his father and his
own wife, so that the father and son remained irreconcilable enemies
until Xanthippus's death, which happened during the plague, by an
attack of that disorder. At the same time Perikles lost his sister and
most of his relations, especially those who supported his policy. Yet he
would not yield, nor abate his firmness and constancy of spirit because
of these afflictions, but was not observed to weep or mourn, or attend
the funeral of any of his relations, until he lost Paralus, the last of
his legitimate offspring. Crushed by this blow, he tried in vain to keep
up his grand air of indifference, and when carrying a garland to lay
upon the corpse he was overpowered by his feelings, so as to burst into
a passion of tears and sobs, which he had never done before in his whole

XXXVII. Athens made trial of her other generals and public men to
conduct her affairs, but none appeared to be of sufficient weight or
reputation to have such a charge entrusted to him. The city longed for
Perikles, and invited him again to lead its counsels and direct its
armies; and he, although dejected in spirits and living in seclusion in
his own house, was yet persuaded by Alkibiades and his other friends to
resume the direction of affairs. The people apologised for their
ungrateful treatment of him, and when he was again in office and elected
as general, he begged of them to be released from the operations of the
law of bastardy, which he himself had originally introduced, in order
that his name and race might not altogether become extinct for want of
an heir. The provisions of the law were as follows:--Perikles many years
before, when he was at the height of his power and had children born to
him, as we have related, of legitimate birth, proposed a law that only
those born of an Athenian father and mother should be reckoned Athenian
citizens. But when the king of Egypt sent a present of forty thousand
_medimni_ of wheat to be divided among the citizens, many lawsuits arose
about the citizenship of men whose birth had never been questioned
before that law came into force, and many vexatious informations were
laid. Nearly five thousand men were convicted of illegitimacy of birth
and sold for slaves, while those who retained their citizenship and
proved themselves to be genuine Athenians amounted to fourteen thousand
and forty. It was indeed an unreasonable request that a law which had
been enforced in so many instances should now be broken in the person of
its own author, but Perikles's domestic misfortunes, in which he seemed
to have paid the penalty for his former haughtiness and pride, touched
the hearts of the Athenians so much that they thought his sorrows
deserving of their pity, and his request such as he was entitled to make
and they to grant in common charity, and they consented to his
illegitimate son being enrolled in his own tribe and bearing his own
name. This man was subsequently put to death by the people, together
with all his colleagues, for their conduct after the sea-fight at

XXXVIII. After this it appears that Perikles was attacked by the plague,
not acutely or continuously, as in most cases, but in a slow wasting
fashion, exhibiting many varieties of symptoms, and gradually
undermining his strength. Theophrastus, in his treatise on Ethics,
discusses whether a man's character can be changed by disease, and
whether virtue depends upon bodily health. As an example, he quotes a
story that Perikles, when one of his friends came to visit him during
his sickness, showed him a charm hung round his neck, as a proof that he
must be indeed ill to submit to such a piece of folly. As he was now on
his deathbed, the most distinguished of the citizens and his surviving
friends collected round him and spoke admiringly of his nobleness and
immense power, enumerating also the number of his exploits, and the
trophies which he had set up for victories gained; for while in chief
command he had won no less than nine victories for Athens. They were
talking thus to one another in his presence, imagining that he could no
longer understand them, but had lost his power of attending to them. He,
however, was following all that they said, and suddenly broke silence,
saying that he was surprised at their remembering and praising him for
the exploits which depended entirely upon fortune for their success, and
which many other generals had done as well as himself, while they did
not mention his greatest and most glorious title to fame. "No Athenian,"
said he, "ever wore black because of me."

XXXIX. Perikles was to be admired, not only for his gentleness and
mildness of spirit, which he preserved through the most violent
political crises and outbreaks of personal hatred to himself, but also
for his lofty disposition. He himself accounted it his greatest virtue
that he never gave way to feelings of envy or hatred, but from his own
exalted pinnacle of greatness never regarded any man as so much his
enemy that he could never be his friend. This alone, in my opinion,
justifies that outrageous nickname of his, and gives it a certain
propriety; for so serene and impartial a man, utterly uncorrupt though
possessed of great power, might naturally be called Olympian. Thus it is
that we believe that the gods, who are the authors of all good and of no
evil to men, rule over us and over all created things, not as the poets
describe them in their bewildering fashion, which their own poems prove
to be untrue. The poets describe the abode of the gods as a safe and
untroubled place where no wind or clouds are, always enjoying a mild air
and clear light, thinking such a place to be fittest for a life of
immortal blessedness; while they represent the gods themselves as full
of disorder and anger and spite and other passions, which are not
becoming even to mortal men of common sense. Those reflections, however,
perhaps belong to another subject.

Events soon made the loss of Perikles felt and regretted by the
Athenians. Those who during his lifetime had complained that his power
completely threw them into the shade, when after his death they had made
trial of other orators and statesmen, were obliged to confess that with
all his arrogance no man ever was really more moderate, and that his
real mildness in dealing with men was as remarkable as his apparent
pride and assumption. His power, which had been so grudged and envied,
and called monarchy and despotism, now was proved to have been the
saving of the State; such an amount of corrupt dealing and wickedness
suddenly broke out in public affairs, which he before had crushed and
forced to hide itself, and so prevented its becoming incurable through
impunity and licence.


I. Such a man did Perikles show himself to be in his most memorable
acts, as far as they are extant.

Let us now turn our attention to Fabius.

The first of the family is said to descend from one of the nymphs,
according to some writers, according to others from an Italian lady who
became the mother of Fabius by Hercules near the river Tiber. From him
descended the family of the Fabii, one of the largest and most renowned
in Rome. Some say that the men of this race were the first to use
pitfalls in hunting, and were anciently named Fodii in consequence; for
up to the present day ditches are called _fossae_, and to dig is called
_fodere_ in Latin: and thus in time the two sounds became confused, and
they obtained the name of Fabii. The family produced many distinguished
men, the greatest of whom was Rullus, who was for that reason named
Maximus by the Romans. From him Fabius Maximus, of whom I am now
writing, was fourth in descent. His own personal nickname was
Verrucosus, because he had a little wart growing on his upper lip. The
name of Ovicula, signifying sheep, was also given him while yet a child,
because of his slow and gentle disposition. He was quiet and silent,
very cautious in taking part in children's games, and learned his
lessons slowly and with difficulty, which, combined with his easy
obliging ways with his comrades, made those who did not know him think
that he was dull and stupid. Few there were who could discern, hidden in
the depths of his soul, his glorious and lion-like character. Soon,
however, as time went on, and he began to take part in public affairs,
he proved that his apparent want of energy was really due to serenity of
intellect, that he was cautious because he weighed matters well
beforehand, and that while he was never eager or easily moved, yet he
was always steady and trustworthy. Observing the immense extent of the
empire, and the numerous wars in which it was engaged, he exercised his
body in warlike exercises, regarding it as his natural means of defence,
while he also studied oratory as the means by which to influence the
people, in a style suited to his own life and character. In his speeches
there were no flowery passages, no empty graces of style, but there was
a plain common sense peculiar to himself, and a depth of sententious
maxims which is said to have resembled Thucydides. One of his speeches
is extant, a funeral oration which he made in public over his son who
died after he had been consul.

II. He was consul five times, and in his first consulship obtained a
triumph over the Ligurians. They were defeated by him and driven with
great loss to take refuge in the Alps, and thus were prevented from
ravaging the neighbouring parts of Italy as they had been wont to do.
When Hannibal invaded Italy, won his first battle at the Trebia, and
marched through Etruria, laying everything waste as he went, the Romans
were terribly disheartened and cast down, and terrible prodigies took
place, some of the usual kind, that is, by lightning, and others of an
entirely new and strange character. It was said that shields of their
own accord became drenched with blood: that at Antium standing corn bled
when it was cut by the reapers; that red-hot stones fell from heaven,
and that the sky above Falerii was seen to open and tablets to fall, on
one of which was written the words "Mars is shaking his arms."

None of these omens had any effect upon Caius Flaminius, the consul,
for, besides his naturally spirited and ambitious nature, he was excited
by the successes which he had previously won, contrary to all reasonable
probability. Once, against the express command of the Senate, and in
spite of the opposition of his colleague, he engaged with the Gauls and
won a victory over them. Fabius also was but little disturbed by the
omens, because of their strange and unintelligible character, though
many were alarmed at them. Knowing how few the enemy were in numbers,
and their great want of money and supplies, he advised the Romans not
to offer battle to a man who had at his disposal an army trained by many
previous encounters to a rare pitch of perfection, but rather to send
reinforcements to their allies, keep a tight hand over their subject
cities, and allow Hannibal's brilliant little force to die away like a
lamp which flares up brightly with but little oil to sustain it.

III. This reasoning had no effect upon Flaminius, who said that he would
not endure to see an enemy marching upon Rome, and would not, like
Camillus of old, fight in the streets of Rome herself. He ordered the
military tribunes to put the army in motion, and himself leaped upon his
horse's back. The horse for no visible reason shied in violent terror,
and Flaminius was thrown headlong to the ground. He did not, however,
alter his determination, but marched to meet Hannibal, and drew up his
forces for battle near the lake Thrasymenus, in Etruria. When the armies
met, an earthquake took place which destroyed cities, changed the
courses of rivers, and cast down the crests of precipices; but in spite
of its violence, no one of the combatants perceived it. Flaminius
himself, after many feats of strength and courage, fell dead, and around
him lay the bravest Romans. The rest fled, and the slaughter was so
great that fifteen thousand were killed, and as many more taken
prisoners. Hannibal generously desired to bury the body of Flaminius
with military honours, to show his esteem for the consul's bravery; but
it could not be found among the slain, and no one knew how it

The defeat at the Trebia had not been clearly explained either by the
general who wrote the despatch, or by the messenger who carried it, as
they falsely represented it to have been a drawn battle; but as soon as
the praetor Pomponius heard the news of this second misfortune, he
assembled the people in the Forum, and said, without any roundabout
apologies whatever, "Romans, we have lost a great battle, the army is
destroyed, and the consul Flaminius has fallen. Now, therefore, take
counsel for your own safety." These words produced the same impression
on the people that a gust of wind does upon the sea. No one could calmly
reflect after such a sudden downfall of their hopes. All, however,
agreed that the State required one irresponsible ruler, which the Romans
call a dictatorship, and a man who would fulfil this office with
fearless energy. Such a man, they felt, was Fabius Maximus, who was
sufficiently qualified for the office by his abilities and the respect
which his countrymen bore him, and was moreover at that time of life
when the strength of the body is fully capable of carrying out the ideas
of the mind, but when courage is somewhat tempered by discretion.

IV. As soon as the people had passed their decree, Fabius was appointed
dictator,[A] and appointed Marcus Minucius his master of the horse.
First, however, he begged of the Senate to allow him the use of a horse
during his campaigns. There was an ancient law forbidding this practice,
either because the main strength of the army was thought to lie in the
columns of infantry, and for that reason the dictator ought to remain
always with them, or else because, while in all other respects the
dictator's power is equal to that of a king, it was thought well that in
this one point he should have to ask leave of the people. Next, however,
Fabius, wishing at once to show the greatness and splendour of his
office, and so make the citizens more ready to obey him, appeared in
public with all his twenty-four lictors at once; and when the surviving
consul met him, he sent an officer to bid him dismiss his lictors, lay
aside his insignia of office, and come before him as a mere private
citizen. After this he began in the best possible way, that is, by a
religious ceremony, and assured the people that it was in consequence of
the impiety and carelessness of their late general, not by any fault of
the army, that they had been defeated. Thus he encouraged them not to
fear their enemies, but to respect the gods and render them propitious,
not that he implanted any superstitious observances among them, but he
confirmed their valour by piety, and took away from them all fear of the
enemy by the hopes which he held out to them of divine protection. At
this time many of the holy and mysterious books, which contain secrets
of great value to the State, were inspected. These are called the
Sibylline books. One of the sentences preserved in these was said to
have an evident bearing on contemporary events; what it was can only be
guessed at by what was done. The dictator appeared before the people and
publicly vowed to the gods a _ver sacrum_, that is, all the young which
the next spring should produce, from the goats, the sheep, and the kine
on every mountain, and plain, and river, and pasture within the bounds
of Italy. All these he swore that he would sacrifice, and moreover that
he would exhibit musical and dramatic shows, and expend upon them the
sum of three hundred and thirty-three _sestertia_, and three hundred and
thirty-three _denarii_, and one-third of a _denarius_. The sum total of
this in our Greek money is eighty-three thousand five hundred and
eighty-three drachmas and two obols. What the particular virtue of this
exact number may be it is hard to determine, unless it be on account of
the value of the number three, which is by nature perfect, and the first
of odd numbers, the first also of plurals, and containing within itself
all the elements of the qualities of number.

[Footnote A: Liv., xxii. 8, _sq._]

V. Fabius, by teaching the people to rest their hopes on religion, made
them view the future with a more cheerful heart. For his own part, he
trusted entirely to himself to win the victory, believing that Heaven
grants men success according to the valour and conduct which they
display. He marched against Hannibal, not with any design of fighting
him, but of wearing out his army by long delays, until he could, by his
superior numbers and resources, deal with him easily. With this object
in view he always took care to secure himself from Hannibal's cavalry,
by occupying the mountains overhanging the Carthaginian camp, where he
remained quiet as long as the enemy did, but when they moved he used to
accompany them, showing himself at intervals upon the heights at such a
distance as not to be forced to fight against his will, and yet, from
the very slowness of his movements, making the enemy fear that at every
moment he was about to attack. By these dilatory manoeuvres he incurred
general contempt, and was looked upon with disgust by his own soldiers,
while the enemy, with the exception of one man, thought him utterly
without warlike enterprise. That man was Hannibal himself. He alone
perceived Fabius's true generalship and thorough comprehension of the
war, and saw that either he must by some means be brought to fight a
battle, or else the Carthaginians were lost, if they could not make use
of their superiority in arms, but were to be worn away and reduced in
number and resources, in which they were already deficient. He put in
force every conceivable military stratagem and device, like a skilful
wrestler when he tries to lay hold of his antagonist, and kept attacking
Fabius, skirmishing round him, and drawing him from place to place, in
his endeavours to make him quit his policy of caution. But Fabius was
convinced that he was right, and steadily declined battle. His master of
the horse, Minucius, who longed for action, gave him much trouble. This
man made unseemly boasts, and harangued the army, filling it with wild
excitement and self-confidence. The soldiers in derision used to call
Fabius Hannibal's lacquey, because he followed him wherever he went, and
thought Minucius a really great general, and worthy of the name of
Roman. Minucius, encouraged in his arrogant vauntings, began to ridicule
the habit of encamping on the mountain-tops, saying that the dictator
always took care to provide them with good seats from which to behold
the spectacle of the burning and plundering of Italy, and used to ask
the friends of Fabius whether he took his army up so near the sky
because he had ceased to take any interest in what went on on the earth
below, or whether it was in order to conceal it from the enemy among the
clouds and mists. When Fabius was informed of these insults by his
friends, who begged him to wipe away this disgrace by risking a battle,
he answered, "If I did so, I should be more cowardly than I am now
thought to be, in abandoning the policy which I have determined on
because of men's slanders and sneers. It is no shame to fear for one's
country, but to regard the opinions and spiteful criticisms of the
people would be unworthy of the high office which I hold, and would show
me the slave of those whom I ought to govern and restrain when they
would fain do wrong."

VI. After this, Hannibal made a blunder. Wishing to move his army
further from that of Fabius, and to gain an open part of the country
where he could obtain forage, he ordered his guides one night after
supper to lead the way at once to Casinatum. They, misunderstanding him
because of his foreign pronunciation, led his forces to the borders of
Campania, near the city of Casilinum, through the midst of which flows
the river Lothronus, which the Romans call Vulturnus. This country is
full of mountains, except one valley that runs towards the sea-coast,
where the river at the end of its course overflows into extensive
marshes, with deep beds of sand. The beach itself is rough and
impracticable for shipping.

When Hannibal was marching down this valley, Fabius, by his superior
knowledge of the country, came up with him, placed four thousand men to
guard the narrow outlet, established the main body in a safe position in
the mountains, and with the light-armed troops fell upon and harassed
the rear of Hannibal's army, throwing it all into disorder, and killing
about eight hundred men. Upon this, Hannibal determined to retrace his
steps. Perceiving the mistake which he had made, and the danger he was
in, he crucified his guides, but still could not tell how to force his
way out through the Roman army which was in possession of the mountain
passes. While all were terrified and disheartened, believing themselves
to be beset on all sides by dangers from which there was no escape,
Hannibal decided on extricating himself by stratagem. Taking about two
thousand captured oxen, he ordered his soldiers to bind a torch or
faggot of dry wood to their horns, and at night at a given signal to set
them on fire, and drive the animals towards the narrow outlet near the
enemy's camp. While this was being done, he got the remainder of the
troops under arms and led them slowly forward. The cattle, while the
flame was moderate, and burned only the wood, walked steadily forward
towards the mountain side, astonishing the shepherds on the mountain,
who thought that it must be an army, marching in one great column,
carrying torches. But when their horns were burned to the quick, causing
them considerable pain, the beasts, now scorched by the fire from one
another as they shook their heads, set off in wild career over the
mountains, with their foreheads and tails blazing, setting fire to a
great part of the wood through which they passed. The Romans watching
the pass were terribly scared at the sight; for the flames looked like
torches carried by men running, and they fell into great confusion and
alarm, thinking that they were surrounded, and about to be attacked on
all sides by the enemy. They dared not remain at their post, but
abandoned the pass, and made for the main body. At that moment
Hannibal's light troops took possession of the heights commanding the
outlet, and the main army marched safely through, loaded with plunder.

VII. It happened that while it was yet night Fabius perceived the trick;
for some of the oxen in their flight had fallen into the hands of the
Romans; but, fearing to fall into an ambuscade in the darkness, he kept
his men quiet under arms. When day broke he pursued and attacked the
rearguard, which led to many confused skirmishes in the rough ground,
and produced great confusion, till Hannibal sent back his practised
Spanish mountaineers from the head of his column. These men, being light
and active, attacked the heavily-armed Roman infantry and beat off
Fabius' attack with very considerable loss. Now Fabius's unpopularity
reached its highest pitch, and he was regarded with scorn and contempt.
He had, they said, determined to refrain from a pitched battle, meaning
to overcome Hannibal by superior generalship, and he had been defeated
in that too. And Hannibal himself, wishing to increase the dislike which
the Romans felt for him, though he burned and ravaged every other part
of Italy, forbade his men to touch Fabius's own estates, and even placed
a guard to see that no damage was done to them. This was reported at
Rome, greatly to his discredit; and the tribunes of the people brought
all kinds of false accusations against him in public harangues,
instigated chiefly by Metilius, who was not Fabius's personal enemy, but
being a relative of Minucius, the Master of the Horse, thought that he
was pressing the interests of the latter by giving currency to all these
scandalous reports about Fabius. He was also disliked by the Senate
because of the terms which he had arranged with Hannibal about the
exchange of prisoners. The two commanders agreed that the prisoners
should be exchanged man for man, and that if either party had more than
the other, he should redeem for two hundred and fifty drachmas per man.
When, then, this exchange took place, two hundred and forty Romans were
found remaining in Hannibal's hands. The Senate determined not to send
these men's ransom, and blamed Fabius for having acted improperly and
against the interests of the State in taking back men whose cowardice
had made them fall into the hands of the enemy. Fabius, on hearing this,
was not moved at the discontent of the citizens, but having no money, as
he could not bear to deceive Hannibal and give up his countrymen, sent
his son to Rome with orders to sell part of his estate, and bring him
the money at once to the camp. The young man soon sold the land, and
quickly returned. Fabius now sent the ransom to Hannibal and recovered
the prisoners, many of whom afterwards offered to repay him; but he
would take nothing, and forgave their debt to them all.

VIII. After this the priests recalled him to Rome to perform certain
sacrifices. He now transferred the command to Minucius, and not merely
ordered him as dictator not to fight or entangle himself with the enemy,
but even gave him much advice and besought him not to do so, all of
which Minucius set at nought, and at once attacked the enemy. Once he
observed that Hannibal had sent the greater part of his army out to
forage for provisions, and, attacking the remaining troops, he drove
them into their intrenched camp, slew many, and terrified the rest, who
feared that he might carry the camp by assault. When Hannibal's forces
collected again, Minucius effected his retreat with safety, having
excited both himself and the army with his success, and filled them with
a spirit of reckless daring. Soon an inflated report of the action
reached Rome. Fabius, when he heard of it, said that with Minucius he
feared success more than failure; but the populace were delighted, and
joyfully collected in the Forum, where Metilius the tribune ascended the
rostra, and made a speech glorifying Minucius, and accusing Fabius not
merely of remissness or cowardice, but of actual treachery, accusing
also the other leading men of the city of having brought on the war from
the very beginning in order to destroy the constitution; and he also
charged them with having placed the city in the hands of one man as
dictator, who by his dilatory proceedings would give Hannibal time to
establish himself firmly and to obtain reinforcements from Africa to
enable him to conquer Italy.

IX. When Fabius addressed the people, he did not deign to make any
defence against the accusations of the tribune, but said that he should
accomplish his sacrifices and sacred duties as quickly as possible, in
order to return to the army and punish Minucius for having fought a
battle against his orders. At this a great clamour was raised by the
people, who feared for their favourite Minucius, for a dictator has
power to imprison any man, and even to put him to death; and they
thought that Fabius, a mild-tempered man now at last stirred up to
wrath, would be harsh and inexorable. All refrained from speaking, but
Metilius, having nothing to fear because of the privileges of his office
of tribune (for that is the only office which does not lose its
prerogatives on the election of a dictator, but remains untouched though
all the rest are annulled), made a violent appeal to the people, begging
them not to give up Minucius, nor allow him to be treated as Manlius
Torquatus treated his son, who had him beheaded, although he had fought
most bravely and gained a crown of laurel for his victory. He asked them
to remove Fabius from his dictatorship, and to bestow it upon one who
was able and willing to save the country. Excited as they were by these
words, they yet did not venture upon removing Fabius from his post, in
spite of their feeling against him, but they decreed that Minucius
should conduct the war, having equal powers with the dictator, a thing
never before done in Rome, but which occurred shortly afterwards, after
the disaster at Cannae, when Marcus Junius was dictator in the camp,
and, as many members of the Senate had perished in the battle, they
chose another dictator, Fabius Buteo. However, he, after enrolling the
new senators, on the same day dismissed his lictors, got rid of the
crowd which escorted him, and mixed with the people in the Forum,
transacting some business of his own as a private man.

X. Now the people, by placing Minucius on the same footing with the
dictator, thought to humble Fabius, but they formed a very false
estimate of his character. He did not reckon their ignorance to be his
misfortune, but as Diogenes the philosopher, when some one said "They
are deriding you," answered "But I am not derided," thinking that those
alone are derided who are affected and disturbed by it, so Fabius
quietly and unconcernedly endured all that was done, hereby affording an
example of the truth of that philosophic maxim that a good and honest
man can suffer no disgrace. Yet he grieved over the folly of the people
on public grounds, because they had given a man of reckless ambition an
opportunity for indulging his desire for battle; and, fearing that
Minucius would be altogether beside himself with pride and vain glory,
and would soon do some irreparable mischief, he left Rome unperceived by
any one. On reaching the camp, he found Minucius no longer endurable,
but insolent and overbearing, and demanding to have the sole command
every other day. To this Fabius would not agree, but divided his forces
with him, thinking it better to command a part than partly to command
the whole of the army. He took the first and fourth legion, and left the
second and third to Minucius, dividing the auxiliary troops equally with

As Minucius gave himself great airs, and was gratified at the thought
that the greatest officer in the State had been humbled and brought low
by his means, Fabius reminded him that if he judged aright, he would
regard Hannibal, not Fabius, as his enemy; but that if he persisted in
his rivalry with his colleagues, he must beware lest he, the honoured
victor, should appear more careless of the safety and success of his
countrymen, than he who had been overcome and ill-treated by them.

XI. Minucius thought all this to be merely the expression of the old
man's jealousy. He took his allotted troops, and encamped apart from
him. Hannibal was not ignorant of what was passing, and watched all
their movements narrowly.

There was a hill between the two armies, which it was not difficult to
take, which when taken would afford an army a safe position, and one
well supplied with necessaries. The plain by which it was surrounded
appeared to be perfectly smooth, but was nevertheless intersected with
ditches and other hollow depressions. On this account Hannibal would not
take the hill, although he could easily have done so, but preferred to
leave it untouched, in order to draw the enemy into fighting for its
possession. But as soon as he saw Fabius separated from Minucius, he
placed during the night some troops in the depressions and hollows which
we have mentioned, and at daybreak sent a few men to take the hill, in
order to draw Minucius into fighting for it, in which he succeeded.
Minucius first sent out his light troops, then his cavalry, and finally,
seeing that Hannibal was reinforcing the troops on the hill, he came
down with his entire force. He fought stoutly, and held his own against
the soldiers on the hill, who shot their missiles at him; when Hannibal,
seeing him thoroughly deceived, and offering an unprotected flank to the
troops in the ambush, gave them the signal to charge. Upon this they
attacked the Romans from all sides, rushing upon them with loud shouts,
cutting off the rearmost men, and throwing the whole army into confusion
and panic. Minucius himself lost heart and kept glancing first at one
and then at another of his officers, none of whom ventured to stand
their ground, but betook themselves in a confused mass to running away,
a proceeding which brought them no safety, for the Numidian horsemen, as
the day was now theirs, scoured the plain, encompassing the fugitives,
and cut off all stragglers.

XII. Fabius had carefully watched the Romans, and saw in what danger
they were. Conscious, it would seem, of what was going to happen, he had
kept his troops under arms, and gained his information of what was going
on, not from the reports of scouts, but from his own eyesight, from a
convenient height outside of his camp. As soon as he saw the army
surrounded and panic-stricken, and heard the cries of the Romans, who no
longer fought, but were overcome by terror, and betaking themselves to
flight, he smote his thigh and with a deep sigh, said to his friends,
"By Hercules, now Minucius has ruined himself, quicker than I expected,
and yet slower than his manoeuvres warranted." Having given orders to
carry out the standards as quickly as possible, and for the whole army
to follow, he said aloud, "My men, hurry on your march: think of Marcus
Minucius; he is a brave man and loves his country. If he has made any
mistake in his haste to drive out the enemy, we will blame him for that
at another time." The appearance of Fabius scared and drove back the
Numidians, who were slaughtering the fugitives in the plain; next he
bore against those who were attacking the Roman rear, slaying all he
met, though most of them, before they were cut off and treated as they
had treated the Romans, betook themselves to flight. Hannibal seeing
that the fortune of the battle was changed, and how Fabius himself, with
a strength beyond his years, was forcing his way through the thickest
battle up the hill to reach Minucius, withdrew his troops, and, sounding
a retreat, led them back into his entrenched camp, affording a most
seasonable relief to the Romans. It is said that Hannibal as he retired,
spoke jokingly about Fabius to his friends in the words, "Did I not
often warn you that the dark cloud which has so long brooded on the
mountain tops, would at last break upon us with blasts of hail and

XIII. After the battle Fabius collected the spoils of such of the enemy
as were slain, and drew off his forces without letting fall a single
boastful or offensive expression about his colleague. But Minucius
assembled his own troops, and thus addressed them, "My fellow-soldiers,
it is beyond human skill to make no mistakes in matters of importance,
but it is the part of a man of courage and sense to use his mistakes as
warnings for the future. I myself confess that I have little fault to
find with Fortune, and great reason to thank her; for in the space of
one day I have learned what I never knew in all my previous life: that
is, that I am not able to command others, but myself require a
commander, and I have no ambition to conquer a man by whom it is more
glorious to be defeated. The dictator is your leader in everything
except in this, that I will lead you to express your thankfulness to
him, by being the first to offer myself to him as an example of
obedience and willingness to carry out his orders." After these words
he ordered the eagles to be raised aloft and all the soldiers to follow
them to the camp of Fabius. On entering it, he proceeded to the
General's tent, to the surprise and wonderment of all. When Fabius was
come out, he placed his standards in the ground before him, and himself
addressed him as father in a loud voice, while his soldiers greeted
those of Fabius by the name of their Patrons, which is the name by which
freed men address those who have set them free. Silence being enforced,
Minucius said: "Dictator, you have won two victories to-day, for you
have conquered Hannibal by your bravery, and your colleague by your
kindness and your generalship. By the one you have saved our lives, and
by the other you have taught us our duty, for we have been disgracefully
defeated by Hannibal, but beneficially and honourably by you. I call you
my excellent father, having no more honourable appellation to bestow,
since I owe a greater debt of gratitude to you than to him who begot me.
To him I merely owe my single life, but to you I owe not only that but
the lives of all my men." After these words he embraced Fabius, and the
soldiers followed his example, embracing and kissing one another, so
that the camp was full of joy and of most blessed tears.

XIV. After this, Fabius laid down his office, and consuls were again
elected. Those who were first elected followed the defensive policy of
Fabius, avoiding pitched battles with Hannibal, but reinforcing the
allies and preventing defections. But when Terentius Varro was made
consul, a man of low birth, but notorious for his rash temper and his
popularity with the people, he made no secret, in his inexperience and
self-confidence, of his intention of risking everything on one cast. He
was always reiterating in his public speeches that under such generals
as Fabius the war made no progress, whereas he would conquer the enemy
the first day he saw him. By means of these boastful speeches he
enrolled as soldiers such a multitude as the Romans had never before had
at their disposal in any war, for there collected for the battle
eighty-eight thousand men. This caused great disquietude to Fabius and
other sensible Romans, who feared that if so many of the youth of Rome
were cut off, the city would never recover from the blow. They addressed
themselves therefore to the other consul, Paulus Aemilius, a man of
great experience in war, but disagreeable to the people and afraid of
them because he had once been fined by them. Fabius encouraged him to
attempt to hold the other consul's rashness in check, pointing out that
he would have to fight for his country's safety with Terentius Varro no
less than with Hannibal. Varro, he said, will hasten to engage because
he does not know his own strength, and Hannibal will do so because he
knows his own weakness. "I myself, Paulus," said he, "am more to be
believed than Varro as to the condition of Hannibal's affairs, and I am
sure that if no battle takes place with him for a year, he will either
perish in this country or be compelled to quit it; because even now,
when he seems to be victorious and carrying all before him, not one of
his enemies have come over to his side, while scarcely a third of the
force which he brought from home is now surviving." It is said that
Paulus answered as follows: "For my own part, Fabius, it is better for
me to fall by the spears of the enemy than be again condemned by the
votes of my own countrymen; but if public affairs are indeed in this
critical situation, I will endeavour rather to approve myself a good
general to you than to all those who are urging me to the opposite
course." With this determination Paulus began the campaign.

XV. Varro induced his colleague to adopt the system of each consul
holding the chief command on alternate days. He proceeded to encamp near
Hannibal on the banks of the river Aufidus, close to the village of
Cannae. At daybreak he showed the signal of battle (a red tunic
displayed over the General's tent), so that the Carthaginians were at
first disheartened at the daring of the consul and the great number of
his troops, more than twice that of their own army. Hannibal ordered his
soldiers to get under arms, and himself rode with a few others to a
rising ground, from which he viewed the enemy, who were already forming
their ranks. When one Gisco, a man of his own rank, said to him that the
numbers of the enemy were wonderful, Hannibal with a serious air
replied, "Another circumstance much more wonderful than this has escaped
your notice, Gisco." When Gisco asked what it might be, Hannibal
answered, "It is, that among all those men before you there is not one
named Gisco." At this unexpected answer they all began to laugh, and as
they came down the hill they kept telling this joke to all whom they
met, so that the laugh became universal, and Hannibal's staff was quite
overpowered with merriment. The Carthaginian soldiers seeing this took
courage, thinking that their General must be in a position to despise
his enemy if he could thus laugh and jest in the presence of danger.

XVI. In the battle Hannibal employed several stratagems: first, in
securing the advantage of position, by getting the wind at his back, for
it blew a hurricane, raising a harsh dust from the sandy plains, which
rose over the Carthaginians and blew in the faces of the Romans,
throwing them into confusion. Secondly, in his disposition of his forces
he showed great skill. The best troops were placed on the wings, and the
centre, which was composed of the worst, was made to project far beyond
the rest of the line. The troops on each wing were told that when the
Romans had driven in this part of the line and were so become partly
enclosed, that each wing must turn inwards, and attack them in the flank
and rear and endeavour to surround them. This was the cause of the
greatest slaughter; for when the centre gave way, and made room for the
pursuing Romans, Hannibal's line assumed a crescent form, and the
commanders of the select battalions charging from the right and left of
the Romans attacked them in flank, destroying every man except such as
escaped being surrounded. It is related that a similar disaster befel
the Roman cavalry. The horse of Paulus was wounded, and threw its rider,
upon which man after man of his staff dismounted and came to help the
consul on foot. The cavalry, seeing this, took it for a general order to
dismount, and at once attacked the enemy on foot. Hannibal, seeing this,
said, "I am better pleased at this than if he had handed them over to me
bound hand and foot." This anecdote is found in those writers who have
described the incidents of the battle in detail. Of the consuls, Varro
escaped with a few followers to Venusia. Paulus, in the whirling eddies
of the rout, covered with darts which still stuck in his wounds, and
overwhelmed with sorrow at the defeat, sat down on a stone to await his
death at the hands of the enemy. The blood with which his face and head
were covered made it hard for any one to recognise him; but even his own
friends and servants passed him by, taking no heed of him. Only
Cornelius Lentulus, a young patrician, saw and recognised him.
Dismounting from his horse and leading it up to him he begged him to
take it and preserve his life, at a time when the State especially
needed a wise ruler. But he refused, and forced the youth, in spite of
his tears, to remount his horse. He then took him by the hand, saying,
"Lentulus, tell Fabius Maximus, and bear witness yourself, that Paulus
Aemilius followed his instructions to the last, and departed from
nothing of what was agreed upon between us; but he was vanquished first
by Varro, and secondly by Hannibal." Having given Lentulus these
instructions he sent him away, and flinging himself on to the enemy's
swords perished. In that battle it is reckoned that fifty thousand
Romans fell, and four thousand were taken prisoners, besides not less
than ten thousand who were taken after the battle in the camps of the
two consuls.

XVII. After this immense success, Hannibal was urged by his friends to
follow up his victory and enter Rome with the fugitives, promising that
five days thereafter he should sup in the Capitol. It is not easy to say
what reasons could have deterred him from doing so, and it seems rather
as if some divinity prevented his march, and inspired him with the
dilatory and timid policy which he followed. It is said that the
Carthaginian, Barca, said to him, "You know how to win a victory, but do
not know how to use one." Yet so great a change was effected by this
victory that he, who before it had not possessed a single city, market,
or harbour in Italy, and had to obtain his provisions with the utmost
difficulty by plunder, having no regular base of operations, but merely
wandering about with his army as though carrying on brigandage on a
large scale, now saw nearly the whole of Italy at his feet. Some of the
largest and most powerful States came over to him of their own accord,
and he attacked and took Capua, the most important city next to Rome

It would appear that the saying of Euripides, that "adversity tries our
friends," applies also to good generals. That which before this battle
was called Fabius's cowardice and remissness, was now regarded as more
than human sagacity, and a foresight so wonderful as to be beyond
belief. Rome at once centred her last hopes upon Fabius, taking refuge
in his wisdom as men take sanctuary at an altar, believing his
discretion to be the chief cause of her surviving this present crisis,
even as in the old Gaulish troubles. For though he had been so cautious
and backward at a time when there seemed to be no imminent danger, yet
now when every one was giving way to useless grief and lamentation, he
alone walked through the streets at a calm pace, with a composed
countenance and kindly voice, stopped all womanish wailings and
assemblies in public to lament their losses, persuaded the Senate to
meet, and gave fresh courage to the magistrates, being really himself
the moving spirit and strength of the State, which looked to him alone
to command it.

XVIII. He placed guards at the gates to prevent the mob from quitting
the city, and regulated the period of mourning, bidding every man mourn
for thirty days in his own house, after which all signs of mourning were
to be put away. As the feast of Ceres fell during those days, it was
thought better to omit both the sacrifices and the processions than to
have them marred by the consciousness of their misfortune, which would
be painfully evident in the small number of worshippers and their
downcast looks. However, everything that the soothsayers commanded to
appease the anger of the gods and to expiate prodigies was carried out.
Fabius Pictor, a relative of the great Fabius, was sent to Delphi, and
of two of the Vestal virgins who were found to have been seduced, one
was buried alive, as is the usual custom, while the other died by her
own hand. Especially admirable was the spirit and the calm composure of
the city when the consul Varro returned after his flight. He came
humbled to the dust, as a man would who had been the cause of a
terrible disaster, but at the gate the Senate and all the people went
out to greet him. The chief men and the magistrates, amongst whom was
Fabius, having obtained silence, spoke in praise of him "because he had
not despaired of the State after such a calamity, but had come back to
undertake the conduct of affairs and do what he could for his countrymen
as one who thought they might yet be saved."

XIX. When they learned that Hannibal after the battle had turned away
from Rome to other parts of Italy, the Romans again took courage and
sent out armies and generals. Of those the most remarkable were Fabius
Maximus and Claudius Marcellus, both equally admirable, but from an
entirely different point of view. Marcellus, as has been related in his
Life, was a man of activity and high spirit, rejoicing in a hand-to-hand
fight, and just like the lordly warriors of Homer. With a truly
venturesome audacity, he in his first battles outdid in boldness even
the bold Hannibal himself; while Fabius, on the other hand, was
convinced that his former reasoning was true, and believed that without
any one fighting or even meddling with Hannibal, his army would wear
itself out and consume away, just as the body of an athlete when
overstrained and exerted soon loses its fine condition. For this reason
Poseidonius calls Fabius the shield, and Marcellus the sword of Rome,
because the steadiness of Fabius, combined with the warlike ardour of
Marcellus, proved the saving of the state. Hannibal, frequently meeting
Marcellus, who was like a raging torrent, had his forces shaken and
weakened; while Fabius, like a deep quiet river kept constantly
undermining them and wasting them away unperceived. Hannibal was at
length reduced to such extremities that he was weary of fighting
Marcellus, and feared Fabius even though he did not fight: for these
were the persons whom he generally had to deal with, as praetors,
consuls, or pro-consuls, for each of them was five times consul. He drew
Marcellus, when consul for the fifth time, into an ambuscade; but
although he tried every art and stratagem upon Fabius he could effect
nothing, except once, when he very nearly succeeded in ruining him. He
forged letters from the leading citizens of Metapontum, and then sent
them to Fabius. These letters were to the effect that the city would
surrender if he appeared before it, and that the conspirators were only
waiting for his approach. Fabius was so much moved by these letters as
to take a part of his army and commence a night march thither; but
meeting with unfavourable omens on the way he turned back, and soon
afterwards learned that the letters were a stratagem of Hannibal's, who
was waiting for him under the city walls. This escape one may attribute
to the favour of Heaven.

XX. In the case of revolts and insurrections among the subject cities
and allies, Fabius thought it best to restrain them and discountenance
their proceedings in a gentle manner, not treating every suspected
person with harshness, or inquiring too strictly into every case of
suspected disloyalty. It is said that a Marsian soldier, one of the
chief men of the allies for bravery and nobility of birth, was
discovered by Fabius to be engaged in organizing a revolt. Fabius showed
no sign of anger, but admitted that he had not been treated with the
distinction he deserved, and said that in the present instance he should
blame his officers for distributing rewards more by favour than by
merit; but that in future he should be vexed with him if he did not
apply directly to himself when he had any request to make. Saying this,
he presented him with a war horse and other marks of honour, so that
thenceforth the man always served him with the utmost zeal and fidelity.
He thought it a shame that trainers of horses and dogs should be able to
tame the savage spirit of those animals by careful attention and
education rather than by whips and clogs, and yet that a commander of
men should not rely chiefly on mild and conciliatory measures, but treat
them more harshly than gardeners treat the wild fig-trees, wild pears,
and wild olives, which they by careful cultivation turn into trees
bearing good fruit. His captains informed him that a certain soldier, a
Lucanian by birth, was irregular and often absent from his duty. He made
inquiries as to what his general conduct was. All agreed that it would
be difficult to find a better soldier, and related some of his exploits.
Fabius at length discovered that the cause of his absence was that he
was in love with a certain girl, and that he continually ran the risk of
making long journeys from the camp to meet her. Without the knowledge of
the soldier, he sent and apprehended this girl, whom he concealed in his
own tent. Then he invited the Lucanian to a private interview, and
addressed him as follows:--"You have been observed frequently to pass
the night outside of the camp, contrary to the ancient practice and
discipline of the Roman army: but also, you have been observed to be a
brave man. Your crime is atoned for by your valiant deeds, but for the
future I shall commit you to the custody of another person." Then, to
the astonishment of the soldier, he led the girl forward, joined their
hands, and said: "This lady pledges her word that you will remain in the
camp with us. You must prove by your conduct that it was not from any
unworthy motive, for which she was the pretext, but solely through love
for her that you used to desert your post." This is the story which is
related about him.

XXI. Fabius obtained possession of Tarentum by treachery in the
following manner. In his army was a young man of Tarentum whose sister
was devotedly attached to him. Her lover was a Bruttian, and one of the
officers of Hannibal's garrison there. This gave the Tarentine hopes of
effecting his purpose, and with the consent of Fabius he went into the
city, being commonly supposed to have run away to see his sister. For
the first few days the Bruttian remained in his quarters, as she wished
her amour with him not to be known to her brother. He then, however,
said: "There was a rumour in the army that you were intimate with one of
the chiefs of the garrison. Who is he? for if he is as they say, a man
of courage and distinction--war, which throws everything into confusion,
will care little what countryman he may be. Nothing is disgraceful which
we cannot avoid; but it is a blessing, at a time when justice has no
power, that we should yield to a not disagreeable necessity." Upon this
the lady sent for her Bruttian admirer and introduced him to her
brother. He, by encouraging the stranger in his passion, and assuring
him that he would induce his sister to look favourably on it, had no
difficulty in inducing the man, who was a mercenary soldier, to break
his faith in expectation of the great rewards which he was promised by
Fabius. This is the account given of the transaction by most writers,
though some say that the lady by whose means the Bruttian was seduced
from his allegiance was not a Tarentine, but a Bruttian by race, who was
on intimate terms with Fabius; and that as soon as she discovered that a
fellow-countryman and acquaintance of hers was in command of the
Bruttian garrison, told Fabius of it, and by interviews which she had
with the officer outside the walls gradually won him over to the Roman

XXII. While these negotiations were in progress, Fabius, wishing to
contrive something to draw Hannibal away, sent orders to the troops at
Rhegium to ravage the Bruttian country and take Caulonia by storm. The
troops at Rhegium were a body of eight thousand men, mostly deserters:
and the most worthless of those disgraced soldiers whom Marcellus
brought from Sicily, so that their loss would not cause any sorrow or
harm to Rome; while he hoped that by throwing them out as a bait to
Hannibal he might draw him away from Tarentum, as indeed he did.
Hannibal at once started with his army to attack them, and meanwhile, on
the sixth day after Fabius arrived before Tarentum, the young man having
previously concerted measures with the Bruttian and his sister, came to
him by night and told him that all was ready; knowing accurately and
having well inspected the place where the Bruttian would be ready to
open the gate and let in the besiegers. Fabius would not depend entirely
upon the chance of treachery; but though he himself went quietly to the
appointed place, the rest of the army attacked the town both by sea and
land, with great clamour and disturbance, until, when most of the
Tarentines had run to repel the assault, the Bruttian gave the word to
Fabius, and, mounting his scaling ladders, he took the place. On this
occasion Fabius seems to have acted unworthily of his reputation, for he
ordered the chief Bruttian officers to be put to the sword, that it
might not be said that he gained the place by treachery. However, he
did not obtain this glory, and gained a reputation for faithlessness and
cruelty. Many of the Tarentines were put to death, thirty thousand were
sold for slaves, and the city was sacked by the soldiers. Three thousand
talents were brought into the public treasury.

While everything else was being carried off, it is said that the clerk
who was taking the inventory asked Fabius what his pleasure was with
regard to the gods, meaning the statues and pictures. Fabius replied,
"Let us leave the Tarentines their angry gods." However, he took the
statue of Hercules from Tarentum and placed it in the Capitol, and near
to it he placed a brazen statue of himself on horseback, acting in this
respect much worse than Marcellus, or rather proving that Marcellus was
a man of extraordinary mildness and generosity of temper, as is shown in
his Life.

XXIII. Hannibal is said to have been hastening to relieve Tarentum, and
to have been within five miles of it when it was taken. He said aloud:
"So then, the Romans also have a Hannibal; we have lost Tarentum just as
we gained it." Moreover in private he acknowledged to his friends that
he had long seen that it was very difficult, and now thought it
impossible for them to conquer Italy under existing circumstances.

Fabius enjoyed a second triumph for this success, which was more
glorious than his first. He had contended with Hannibal and easily
baffled all his attempts just as a good wrestler disengages himself with
ease from the clutches of an antagonist whose strength is beginning to
fail him; for Hannibal's army was no longer what it had been, being
partly corrupted by luxury and plunder, and partly also worn out by
unremitting toils and battles.

One Marcus Livius had been in command of Tarentum when Hannibal obtained
possession of it. In spite of this, he held the citadel, from which he
could not be dislodged, until Tarentum was recaptured by the Romans.
This man was vexed at the honours paid to Fabius, and once, in a
transport of envy and vain glory, he said before the Senate that he, not
Fabius, was the real author of the recapture of the town. Fabius with a
smile answered: "Very true; for if you had not lost the place, I could
never have recaptured it."

XXIV. The Romans, among many other marks of respect for Fabius, elected
his son consul. When he had entered on this office and was making some
arrangements for the conduct of the war, his father, either because of
his age and infirmities or else intending to try his son, mounted on
horseback and rode towards him through the crowd of bystanders. The
young man seeing him at a distance would not endure this slight, but
sent a lictor to bid his father dismount and come on foot, if he wanted
anything of the consul. Those present were vexed at this order, and
looked on Fabius in silence, as if they thought that he was unworthily
treated, considering his great reputation: but he himself instantly
alighted, ran to his son, and embracing him, said: "You both think and
act rightly, my son; for you know whom you command, and how great an
office you hold. Thus it was that we and our ancestors made Rome great,
by thinking less of our parents and of our children than of the glory of
our country." It is even said to be true that the great grandfather of
Fabius, although he had been consul five times, had finished several
campaigns with splendid triumphs, and was one of the most illustrious
men in Rome, yet acted as lieutenant to his son when consul in the
field, and that in the subsequent triumph the son drove into Rome in a
chariot and four, while he with the other officers followed him on
horseback, glorying in the fact that although he was his son's master,
and although he was and was accounted the first citizen in Rome, yet he
submitted himself to the laws and the chief magistrate. Nor did he
deserve admiration for this alone.

Fabius had the misfortune to lose his son, and this he bore with
fortitude, as became a man of sense and an excellent parent. He himself
pronounced the funeral oration which is always spoken by some relative
on the deaths of illustrious men, and afterwards he wrote a copy of his
speech and distributed it to his friends.

XXV. Cornelius Scipio meanwhile had been sent to Spain, where he had
defeated the Carthaginians in many battles and driven them out of the
country, and had also overcome many tribes, taken many cities, and done
glorious deeds for Rome. On his return he was received with great honour
and respect, and, feeling that the people expected some extraordinary
exploit from him, he decided that it was too tame a proceeding to fight
Hannibal in Italy, and determined to pour troops into Africa, attack
Carthage, and transfer the theatre of war from Italy to that country. He
bent all his energies to persuade the people to approve of this project,
but was violently opposed by Fabius, who spread great alarm through the
city, pointing out that it was being exposed to great danger by a
reckless young man, and endeavouring by every means in his power to
prevent the Romans from adopting Scipio's plan. He carried his point
with the Senate, but the people believed that he was envious of Scipio's
prosperity and desired to check him, because he feared that if he did
gain some signal success, and either put an end to the war altogether or
remove it from Italy, he himself might be thought a feeble and dilatory
general for not having finished the war in so many campaigns.

It appears that at first Fabius opposed him on grounds of prudence and
caution, really fearing the dangers of his project, but that the contest
gradually became a personal one, and he was moved by feelings of
jealousy to hinder the rise of Scipio; for he tried to induce Crassus,
Scipio's colleague, not to give up the province of Africa to Scipio, but
if the expedition were determined on, to go thither himself, and he
prevented his being supplied with funds for the campaign. Scipio being
thus compelled to raise funds himself, obtained them from the cities in
Etruria which were devoted to his interests. Crassus likewise was not
inclined to quarrel with him, and was also obliged to remain in Italy by
his office of Pontifex Maximus.

XXVI. Fabius now tried another method to oppose Scipio. He dissuaded the
youth of the city from taking service with him by continually
vociferating in all public meetings that Scipio not only was himself
running away from Hannibal, but also was about to take all the remaining
forces of Italy out of the country with him, deluding the young men
with vain hopes, and so persuading them to leave their parents and
wives, and their city too, while a victorious and invincible enemy was
at its very gates. By these representations he alarmed the Romans, who
decreed that Scipio should only use the troops in Sicily, and three
hundred of the best men of his Spanish army. In this transaction Fabius
seems to have acted according to the dictates of his own cautious

However, when Scipio crossed over into Africa, news came to Rome at once
of great and glorious exploits performed and great battles won. As
substantial proof of these there came many trophies of war, and the king
of Numidia as a captive. Two camps were burned and destroyed, with great
slaughter of men, and loss of horses and war material in the flames.
Embassies also were sent to Hannibal from Carthage, begging him in
piteous terms to abandon his fruitless hopes in Italy and come home to
help them, while in Rome the name of Scipio was in every man's mouth
because of his successes. At this period Fabius proposed that a
successor to Scipio should be sent out, without having any reason to
allege for it except the old proverb that it is dangerous to entrust
such important operations to the luck of one man, because it is hard for
the same man always to be lucky. This proposal of his offended most of
his countrymen, who thought him a peevish and malignant old man, or else
that he was timid and spiritless from old age, and excessively terrified
at Hannibal; for, even when Hannibal quitted Italy and withdrew his
forces, Fabius would not permit the joy of his countrymen to be unmixed
with alarm, as he informed them that now the fortunes of Rome were in a
more critical situation than ever, because Hannibal would be much more
to be dreaded in Africa under the walls of Carthage itself, where he
would lead an army, yet reeking with the blood of many Roman dictators,
consuls and generals, to attack Scipio. By these words the city was
again filled with terror, and although the war had been removed to
Africa yet its alarms seemed to have come nearer to Rome.

XXVII. However Scipio, after no long time, defeated Hannibal in a
pitched battle and crushed the pride of Carthage under foot. He gave
the Romans the enjoyment of a success beyond their hopes, and truly

    "Restored the city, shaken by the storm."

Fabius Maximus did not survive till the end of the war, nor did he live
to hear of Hannibal's defeat, or see the glorious and lasting prosperity
of his country, for about the time when Hannibal left Italy he fell sick
and died.

The Thebans, we are told, buried Epameinondas at the public expense,
because he died so poor that they say nothing was found in his house
except an iron spit. Fabius was not honoured by the Romans with a
funeral at the public expense, yet every citizen contributed the
smallest Roman coin towards the expenses, not that he needed the money,
but because they buried him as the father of the people, so that in his
death he received the honourable respect which he had deserved in his


I. Such is the story of these men's lives. As they both gave many proofs
of ability in war and politics, let us first turn our attention to their
warlike exploits. And here we must notice that Perikles found the
Athenian people at the height of their power and prosperity, so that
from the flourishing condition of the State it could scarcely meet with
any great disaster, whereas Fabius performed his great services to Rome
when it was in the last extremity of danger, and did not merely, like
Perikles, confirm the prosperity of his country, but greatly improved
it, having found it in a lamentable condition. Moreover, the successes
of Kimon, the victories of Myronides and Leokrates, and the many
achievements of Tolmides rather gave Perikles when in chief command an
occasion for public rejoicing and festivity, than any opportunity for
either conquests abroad or defensive wars at home. Fabius, on the other
hand, had before his eyes the spectacle of many defeats and routs of
Roman armies, of many consuls and generals fallen in battle, of lakes,
plains and forests filled with the bodies of the slain, and of rivers
running with blood. Yet with his mature and unbending intellect he
undertook to extricate Rome from these dangers, and as it were by his
own strength alone supported the State, so that it was not utterly
overwhelmed by these terrible disasters. Nevertheless it would appear
not to be so hard a task to manage a State in adversity, when it is
humble and is compelled by its misfortunes to obey wise counsellors, as
it is to check and bridle a people excited and arrogant with good
fortune, which was especially the case with Perikles and the Athenians.
On the other hand, considering the terrible nature of the blows which
had fallen on the Romans, Fabius must have been a great and
strong-minded man not to be disconcerted by them, but still to be able
to carry out the policy upon which he had determined.

II. We may set the capture of Samos by Perikles against the retaking of
Tarentum by Fabius, and also the conquest of Euboea by the one against
that of the Campanian cities by the other, though Capua itself was
recovered by the consuls, Fulvius and Appius. Fabius seems never to have
fought a pitched battle, except that one which gained him his first
triumph, while Perikles set up nine trophies for victories by sea and
land. But again, there is no action of Perikles which can be compared to
that of Fabius when he snatched away Minucius from the grasp of
Hannibal, and saved an entire Roman army from destruction. That was an
exploit glorious for the courage, generalship, and kindness of heart
displayed by Fabius; but, on the other hand Perikles, made no such
blunder as did Fabius, when out-generalled by Hannibal with the cattle.
Here, although Fabius caught his enemy in a defile which he had entered
by chance, yet he let him escape by night, and next day found his tardy
movements outstripped, and himself defeated by the man whom he had just
before so completely cut off. If it be the part of a good general, not
merely to deal with the present, but to make conjectures about the
future, we may remark that the Peloponnesian war ended just as Perikles
had foretold, for the Athenians frittered away their strength; whereas
the Romans, contrary to the expectation of Fabius, by sending Scipio to
attack Carthage gained a complete victory, not by chance, but by the
skill of their general and the courage of their troops, who overthrew
the enemy in a pitched battle. Thus the one was proved to be right by
the misfortunes of his country, and the other proved to be wrong by its
success, indeed it is just as much a fault in a general to receive a
check from want of foresight as to let slip an opportunity through
diffidence; and both these failings, excess of confidence and want of
confidence, are common to all except the most consummate generals. Thus
much for their military talents.

III. In political matters, the Peloponnesian war is a great blot upon
the fame of Perikles; for it is said to have been caused by his refusal
to yield the least point to the Lacedaemonians. I do not imagine,
however, that Fabius Maximus would have yielded anything to the
Carthaginians, but would have bravely risked any danger in defence of
the Roman Empire. The kind treatment of Minucius by Fabius and his
mildness of character contrast very favourably with the bitter party
feud of Perikles with Kimon and Thucydides, who were men of good birth,
and belonging to the conservative party, and whom Perikles drove into
exile by the ostracism. Then, too, the power of Perikles was much
greater than that of Fabius. Perikles would not permit the State to
suffer disaster because of the bad management of her generals. One of
them alone, Tolmides, succeeded in having his own way, against the
wishes of Perikles, and perished in an attack on the Boeotians, while
all the rest, because of his immense influence and power, submitted
themselves to his authority and regulated their proceedings by his
ideas. Whereas Fabius, although he could avoid any error in managing his
own army, was thwarted by his being powerless to control the movements
of other generals.

For the Romans would not have suffered so many defeats if Fabius had
enjoyed the same power that Perikles did in Athens. As to their
generosity with regard to money, the one was remarkable for never
receiving bribes, while the other spent much on ransoming prisoners at
his own expense; although this was not much above six talents, while it
is hard for any one to tell the amount of money which Perikles might
have taken from foreign princes and Greek allied states, all of which he
refused and kept his hands clean. As to the great public works, the
construction of the temples, and of the public buildings with which
Perikles adorned Athens, the whole of the edifices in Rome together,
before the time of the emperors, are not worthy to be compared to them,
for they far surpassed them both in largeness of scale and in beauty of


I. The pedigree of Alkibiades is said to begin with Eurysakes the son of
Ajax, while on the mother's side he descended from Alkmaeon, being the
son of Deinomache, the daughter of Megakles. His father Kleinias fought
bravely at Artemisium in a trireme fitted out at his own expense, and
subsequently fell fighting the Boeotians, in the battle of Koronea.
Alkibiades after this was entrusted to Perikles and Ariphron, the two
sons of Xanthippus, who acted as his guardians because they were the
next of kin. It has been well remarked that the friendship of Sokrates
for him did not a little to increase his fame, seeing that Nikias,
Demosthenes, Lamakus, Phormio, Thrasybulus, and Theramenes, were all men
of mark in his lifetime, and yet we do not know the name of the mother
of any one of them, while we know the name even of the nurse of
Alkibiades, who was a Laconian, named Amykla, and that of Zopyrus, his
_paedagogus_, one of which pieces of information we owe to Antisthenes,
and the other to Plato. As to the beauty of Alkibiades, it is not
necessary to say anything except that it was equally fascinating when he
was a boy, a youth, and a man. The saying of Euripides, that all
beauties have a beautiful autumn of their charms, is not universally
true, but it was so in the case of Alkibiades and of a few other persons
because of the symmetry and vigour of their frames. Even his lisp is
said to have added a charm to his speech, and to have made his talk more
persuasive. His lisp is mentioned by Aristophanes in the verses in which
he satirises Theorus, in which Alkibiades calls him Theolus, for he
pronounced the letter _r_ like _l_. Archippus also gives a sneering
account of the son of Alkibiades, who, he said, swaggered in his walk,
trailing his cloak, that he might look as like his father as possible,

    "Bends his affected neck, and lisping speaks."

II. His character, in the course of his varied and brilliant career,
developed many strange inconsistencies and contradictions. Emulation and
love of distinction were the most prominent of his many violent
passions, as is clear from the anecdotes of his childhood. Once when
hard pressed in wrestling, rather than fall, he began to bite his
opponent's hands. The other let go his hold, and said, "You bite,
Alkibiades, like a woman." "No," said he, "like a lion." While yet a
child, he was playing at knucklebones with other boys in a narrow
street, and when his turn came to throw, a loaded waggon was passing. He
at first ordered the driver to stop his team because his throw was to
take place directly in the path of the waggon. Then as the boor who was
driving would not stop, the other children made way; but Alkibiades
flung himself down on his face directly in front of the horses, and bade
him drive on at his peril. The man, in alarm, now stopped his horses,
and the others were terrified and ran up to him.

In learning he was fairly obedient to all his teachers, except in
playing the flute, which he refused to do, declaring that it was unfit
for a gentleman. He said that playing on the harp or lyre did not
disfigure the face, but that when a man was blowing at a flute, his own
friends could scarcely recognise him. Besides, the lyre accompanies the
voice of the performer, while the flute takes all the breath of the
player and prevents him even from speaking. "Let the children of the
Thebans," he used to say, "learn to play the flute, for they know not
how to speak; but we Athenians according to tradition have the goddess
Athene (Minerva) for our patroness, and Apollo for our tutelary
divinity; and of these the first threw away the flute in disgust, and
the other actually flayed the flute player Marsyas." With such talk as
this, between jest and earnest, Alkibiades gave up flute-playing
himself, and induced his friends to do so, for all the youth of Athens
soon heard and approved of Alkibiades's derision of the flute and those
who learned it. In consequence of this the flute went entirely out of
fashion, and was regarded with contempt.

III. In Antiphon's scandalous chronicle, we read that Alkibiades once
ran away from home to the house of one of his admirers.

Ariphron, his other guardian, proposed to have him cried; but Perikles
forbade it, saying that, if he was dead, he would only be found one day
sooner because of it, while if he was safe, he would be disgraced for
life. Antiphon also tells us that he killed one of his servants by
striking him with a club, at the gymnasium of Sibyrtus. But perhaps we
ought not to believe these stories, which were written by an enemy with
the avowed purpose of defaming his character.

IV. His youthful beauty soon caused him to be surrounded with noble
admirers, but the regard of Sokrates for him is a great proof of his
natural goodness of disposition, which that philosopher could discern in
him, but which he feared would wither away like a faded flower before
the temptations of wealth and position, and the mass of sycophants by
whom he was soon beset. For no one ever was so enclosed and enveloped in
the good things of this life as Alkibiades, so that no breath of
criticism or free speech could ever reach him. Yet, with all these
flatterers about him, trying to prevent his ever hearing a word of
wholesome advice or reproof, he was led by his own goodness of heart to
pay special attention to Sokrates, to whom he attached himself in
preference to all his rich and fashionable admirers.

He soon became intimate with Sokrates, and when he discovered that this
man did not wish to caress and admire him, but to expose his ignorance,
search out his faults, and bring down his vain unreasoning conceit, he

    "Let fall his feathers like a craven cock."

He considered that the conversation of Sokrates was really a divine
instrument for the discipline and education of youth; and thus learning
to despise himself, and to admire his friend, charmed with his good
nature, and full of reverence for his virtues, he became insensibly in
love with him, though not as the world loveth; so that all men were
astonished to see him dining with Sokrates, wrestling with him, and
sharing his tent, while he treated all his other admirers with harshness
and some even with insolence, as in the case of Anytus the son of
Anthemion. This man, who was an admirer of Alkibiades, was entertaining
a party of friends, and asked him to come. Alkibiades refused the
invitation, but got drunk that night at a riotous party at his own
house, in which state he proceeded in a disorderly procession to Anytus.
Here he looked into the room where the guests were, and seeing the
tables covered with gold and silver drinking-cups, ordered his slaves to
carry away half of them, and then, without deigning to enter the room,
went home again. Anytus' guests were vexed at this, and complained of
his being so arrogantly and outrageously treated. "Say rather,
considerately," answered Anytus, "for although he might have taken them
all, yet he has left us the half of them."

V. In this same way he used to treat his other admirers, with the
exception, it is said, of one of the resident aliens,[A] a man of small
means who sold all that he had and carried the money, amounting to about
a hundred _staters_, to Alkibiades, begging him to accept it. Alkibiades
laughed at him, and invited him to dinner. After dinner he gave him back
his money, and ordered him next day to go and overbid those who were
about to bid for the office of farmer of the taxes. The poor man begged
to be excused, because the price was several talents, but Alkibiades
threatened to have him beaten if he did not do so, for he had some
private grudge of his own against the farmers of the taxes. Accordingly
the alien went next morning early into the market-place and bid a
talent. The tax farmers now clustered round him angrily, bidding him
name some one as security, imagining that he would not be able to find
one. The poor man was now in great trouble and was about to steal away,
when Alkibiades, who was at some distance, called out to the presiding
magistrates, "Write down my name. I am his friend, and I will be surety
for him." On hearing this, the tax farmers were greatly embarrassed, for
their habit was to pay the rent of each year with the proceeds of the
next, and they saw no way of doing so in this instance. Consequently
they begged the man to desist from bidding, and offered him money.
Alkibiades would not permit him to take less than a talent, and when
this was given him he let him go. This was the way in which he did him a

[Footnote A: [Greek: metoikikhon].]

VI. The love of Sokrates, though he had many rivals, yet overpowered
them all, for his words touched the heart of Alkibiades and moved him to
tears. Sometimes his flatterers would bribe him by the offer of some
pleasure, to which he would yield and slip away from Sokrates, but he
was then pursued like a fugitive slave by the latter, of whom he stood
in awe, though he treated every one else with insolence and contempt.
Kleanthes used to say that Sokrates's only hold upon him was through his
ears, while he scorned to meddle with the rest of his body. And indeed
Alkibiades was very prone to pleasure, as one would gather from what
Thucydides says on the subject. Those too who played on his vanity and
love of distinction induced him to embark on vast projects before he was
ripe for them, assuring him that as soon as he began to take a leading
part in politics, he would not only eclipse all the rest of the generals
and orators, but would even surpass Perikles in power and renown. But
just as iron which has been softened in the fire is again hardened by
cold, and under its influence contracts its expanded particles, so did
Sokrates, when he found Alkibiades puffed up by vain and empty conceit,
bring him down to his proper level by his conversation, rendering him
humble minded by pointing out to him his many deficiencies.

VII. After he had finished his education, he went into a school, and
asked the master for a volume of Homer. When the master said that he
possessed none of Homer's writings, he struck him with his fist, and
left him. Another schoolmaster told him that he had a copy of Homer
corrected by himself. "Do you," asked he, "you who are able to correct
Homer, teach boys to read! One would think that you could instruct men."

One day he wished to speak to Perikles, and came to his house. Hearing
that he was not at leisure, but was engaged in considering how he was to
give in his accounts to the Athenians, Alkibiades, as he went away,
said, "It would be better if he considered how to avoid giving in any
accounts at all to the Athenians."

While yet a lad he served in the campaign of Potidaea, where he shared
the tent of Sokrates, and took his place next him in the ranks. In an
obstinate engagement they both showed great courage, and when Alkibiades
was wounded and fell to the ground, Sokrates stood in front of him,
defending him, and so saved his life and arms from the enemy. Properly,
therefore, the prize for valour belonged to Sokrates; but when the
generals appeared anxious to bestow it upon Alkibiades because of his
great reputation, Sokrates, who wished to encourage his love for glory,
was the first to give his testimony in his favour, and to call upon them
to crown him as victor and to give him the suit of armour which was the
prize. And also at the battle of Delium, when the Athenians were routed,
Alkibiades, who was on horseback, when he saw Sokrates retreating on
foot with a few others, would not ride on, but stayed by him and
defended him, though the enemy were pressing them and cutting off many
of them. These things, however, happened afterwards.

VIII. He once struck Hipponikus, the father of Kallias, a man of great
wealth and noble birth, a blow with his fist, not being moved to it by
anger, or any dispute, but having agreed previously with his friends to
do so for a joke. When every one in the city cried out at his indecent
and arrogant conduct, Alkibiades next morning at daybreak came to the
house of Hipponikus, knocked, and came to him. Here he threw off his
cloak, and offered him his body, bidding him flog him and punish him for
what he had done. Hipponikus, however, pardoned him, and they became
friends, so much so that Hipponikus chose him for the husband of his
daughter Hipparete. Some writers say that not Hipponikus but Kallias his
son gave Hipparete to Alkibiades to wife, with a dowry of ten talents,
and that when her first child was born Alkibiades demanded and received
ten more talents, as if he had made a previous agreement to that effect.
Upon this Kallias, fearing that Alkibiades might plot against his life,
gave public notice in the assembly that if he died childless, he would
leave his house and all his property to the State.

Hipparete was a quiet and loving wife, but was so constantly insulted by
her husband's amours with foreign and Athenian courtesans, that she at
length left his house and went to her brother's. Alkibiades took no heed
of this, but continued in his debauchery.

It was necessary for her to deliver her petition for separation to the
magistrate with her own hand, and when she came to do so, Alkibiades
laid hold of her, and took her home with him through the market-place,
no one daring to oppose him and take her from him. She lived with him
until her death, which took place not long after Alkibiades sailed for
Ephesus. In this instance his violence does not seem to have been
altogether lawless or without excuse, for the object of the law in
making a wife appear in person in public seems to be that she may have
an opportunity of meeting her husband and making up her quarrel with

IX. He had a dog of remarkable size and beauty, for which he had paid
seventy minae. It had a very fine tail, which he cut off. When his
friends blamed him, and said that every one was sorry for the dog and
angry with him for what he had done, he laughed and said, "Then I have
succeeded; for I wish the Athenians to gossip about this, for fear they
should say something worse about me."

X. It is said that his first public act was on the occasion of a
voluntary subscription for the State. He did not intend doing anything
of the sort, but as he was passing he heard a great noise, and finding
that voluntary subscriptions were being made, went and subscribed. The
people cheered and applauded him, at which he was so much delighted as
to forget a quail which he had in his cloak. When it escaped and ran
about bewildered, the Athenians applauded all the more, and many rose
and chased it. It was caught by the pilot Antiochus, who restored it,
and became one of Alkibiades's greatest friends. Starting with great
advantages from his noble birth, his wealth, his recognised bravery in
battle, and his many friends and relatives, he relied upon nothing so
much as on his eloquence for making himself popular and influential. His
rhetorical powers are borne witness to by the comic dramatists; and the
greatest of orators, Demosthenes, in his speech against Meidias, speaks
of Alkibiades as being most eloquent, besides his other charms. If we
are to believe Theophrastus, who has inquired more diligently into these
various tales than any one else, Alkibiades excelled all men of his time
in readiness of invention and resource. However, as he wished not merely
to speak to the purpose, but also to clothe his thoughts in the most
appropriate language, he did not always succeed in combining the two,
and often hesitated and stopped, seeking for the right word, and not
continuing his speech until it occurred to him.

XI. He was renowned for his stud, and for the number of his racing
chariots. No other person, king or commoner, ever entered seven
four-horse chariots for the race at Olympia except Alkibiades. His
winning the first, second, and fourth prizes with these, as Thucydides
tells us, though Euripides says that he won the third also, excels in
glory any other successes by other persons in these races. The poem of
Euripides runs as follows:

    "Son of Kleinias, thee I sing,
    In truth it is a noble thing,
    First, second, and third place
    To win in chariot race,
    To hear the herald thrice thy name proclaim,
    And thrice to bear away the olive crown of fame."

XII. His success was rendered all the more conspicuous by the manner in
which the various States vied with one another in showing him honour.
Ephesus pitched a magnificent tent for his accommodation, Chios
furnished his horses with provender, and himself with animals for
sacrifice; and Lesbos supplied him with wine, and every thing else
necessary for giving great entertainments. Yet even at this brilliant
period of his life he incurred discredit, either by his own fault or
through the spite of his enemies. The story is that an Athenian named
Diomedes, a respectable man and a friend of Alkibiades, was desirous of
winning a victory at Olympia. Hearing that there was a chariot and four
which belonged to the city of Argos, and knowing that Alkibiades had
great influence and many friends in that place, he persuaded him to buy
the chariot for him. Alkibiades, however, bought the chariot and entered
it for the race as his own, leaving Diomedes to call upon heaven and
earth to witness his ill-treatment. It appears that a trial took place
about this matter, and Isokrates wrote a speech about this chariot in
defence of the son of Alkibiades, in which Tisias, not Diomedes, is
mentioned as the prosecutor.

XIII. When, as a mere boy, Alkibiades plunged into political life, he at
once surpassed most of the statesmen of the age. His chief rivals were
Phaeax, the son of Erasistratus, and Nikias, the son of Nikeratus, the
latter a man advanced in life, and bearing the reputation of being an
excellent general, while the former, like Alkibiades himself, was a
young man of good family, just rising into notice, but inferior to him
in many respects, particularly in oratory. Though affable and persuasive
in private circles, he could not speak equally well in public, for he
was, as Eupolis says,

    "At conversation best of men, at public speaking worst."

In a certain attack on Alkibiades and Phaeax, we find, among other
charges, Alkibiades accused of using the gold and silver plate of the
city of Athens as his own for his daily use.

There was at Athens one Hyperbolus, of the township of Peirithois, whom
Thucydides mentions as a worthless man, and one who was constantly
ridiculed by the comic dramatists. From his utter disregard of what was
said of him, and his carelessness for his honour, which, though it was
mere shameless impudence and apathy, was thought by some to show
firmness and true courage, he was pleasing to no party, but frequently
made use of by the people when they wished to have a scurrilous attack
made upon those in power. At this time he was about to resort to the
proceeding called ostracism, by which from time to time the Athenians
force into exile those citizens who are remarkable for influence and
power, rather because they envy them than because they fear them.

But as it was clear that one of the three, Nikias, Phaeax, and
Alkibiades, would be ostracised, Alkibiades combined their several
parties, arranged matters with Nikias, and turned the ostracism against
Hyperbolus himself. Some say that it was not Nikias but Phaeax with whom
Alkibiades joined interest, and that with the assistance of his
political party he managed to expel Hyperbolus, who never expected any
such treatment; for before that time this punishment had never been
extended to low persons of no reputation, as Plato, the comic dramatist,
says in the lines where he mentions Hyperbolus:

    "Full worthy to be punished though he be,
    Yet ostracism's not for such as he."

We have elsewhere given a fuller account of this affair.

XIV. Alkibiades was dissatisfied at the respect shown for Nikias, both
by enemies of the State and by the citizens of Athens. Alkibiades was
the proxenus[A] of the Lacedaemonians at Athens, and paid especial court
to those Spartans who had been captured at Pylos; yet, when the
Lacedaemonians discovered that it was chiefly by Nikias's means that
they obtained peace, and recovered their prisoners, they were lavish of
their attentions to him. The common phrase among the Greeks of that time
was that Perikles had begun the war, and Nikias had finished it; and the
peace was usually called the peace of Nikias. Alkibiades, irritated
beyond measure at his rival's success, began to meditate how he could
destroy the existing treaty. He perceived that the Argives, hating and
fearing Sparta, wished to break off from it, and he encouraged them by
secret assurances of an Athenian alliance, and also both by his agents
and in person he urged the leading men not to give way to the
Lacedaemonians, or yield any points to them, but to turn to Athens, and
await their co-operation, for the Athenians, he said, already began to
regret that they had made peace at all, and would soon break it.

[Footnote A: An office resembling that of a modern consul for a foreign

When the Lacedaemonians made an alliance with the Boeotians, and
delivered up Panaktus to the Athenians in a dismantled condition, not
with its walls standing, as they ought to have done, Alkibiades
exasperated the rage of the Athenians by his speeches, and raised a
clamour against Nikias by the plausible accusation that he, when
general, had hung back from capturing the enemy's forces which were cut
off in the island of Sphakteria, and that when they had been captured by
another, he had released them and restored them to their homes, in order
to gain the favour of the Lacedaemonians. And for all that, although he
was such a friend of the Lacedaemonians, he had not dissuaded them from
forming alliances with Corinth and with the Boeotians, while he
prevented the Athenians from becoming allies of any Greek State which
might wish it, if the step did not happen to please the Lacedaemonians.

Upon this, while Nikias was smarting under these accusations,
ambassadors arrived from Lacedaemon with instructions to propose
reasonable terms, and announcing that they came with full powers to
conclude the negotiations for peace on an equitable basis. The Senate
received them willingly, and next day they were to appear before the
people. Fearing that they would succeed, Alkibiades contrived to obtain
a private interview with them, in which he addressed them as follows:
"What is this that you do, men of Sparta! Do you not know that the
Senate always treats those who appear before it in a kindly and
reasonable manner, but the people are always full of pride and ambition?
If you say that you have plenary powers, they will bewilder you by their
violence and force great concessions from you. So come, cease this
folly, if you wish to negotiate with the Athenians in a moderate way,
and not to be forced into conceding points against your will. Discuss
all the points at issue, but do not say that you have full power to
decide them. I will do my best to assist you, as a friend to
Lacedaemon." After these words he confirmed his promise by an oath, and
thus completely detached them from Nikias and left them trusting him
only, and admiring him as a man of remarkable sense and intelligence. On
the following day the people assembled, and the ambassadors appeared
before them. When they were politely asked by Alkibiades in what
capacity they came, they said that they were not plenipotentiaries.
Immediately upon this Alkibiades assailed them with furious invective,
as though they, not he, were in the wrong, calling them faithless
equivocators, who had not come either to speak or to do anything honest.
The Senate was vexed at its treatment, and the people were excessively
enraged, while Nikias, who knew nothing of the trick, was astounded and
covered with confusion at the conduct of the ambassadors.

XV. The Lacedaemonian alliance being put an end to by this means,
Alkibiades, who was now elected one of the generals of Athens, at once
formed an alliance with Argos, Elis and Mantinea. No one approved of the
way in which he effected this, but still the result was very important,
as it agitated all the States in Peloponnesus, and set them against one
another, brought so many men into line to fight the Lacedaemonians at
the battle of Mantinea, and removed the scene of conflict so far from
Athens, that the Lacedaemonians could gain no great advantage by
victory, whereas if they failed, they would have to struggle for their
very existence. After this battle the select regiment at Argos, called
the "Thousand," endeavoured to overthrow the government and establish
themselves as masters of the city; and with the assistance of the
Lacedaemonians they destroyed the constitution. But the people took up
arms again, and defeated the usurpers; and Alkibiades coming to their
aid, made the victory of the popular side more complete. He persuaded
the citizens to build long walls down to the sea, and to trust entirely
to the Athenian naval forces for support. He even sent them carpenters
and stonemasons from Athens, and showed great zeal on their behalf,
which tended to increase his personal interest and power no less than
that of his country. He advised the people of Patrae also to join their
city to the sea by long walls; and when some one said to the people of
Patrae, that the Athenians would swallow them up, he answered, "Perhaps
they may, but it will be by degrees and beginning with the feet,
whereas the Lacedaemonians will seize them by the head and do it at

However, Alkibiades ever pressed the Athenians to establish their empire
by land as well as by sea, reminding them of the oath which the young
men take in the Temple of Agraulos, and which it was their duty to
confirm by their deeds. This oath is, that they will regard wheat,
barley, vines and olives as the boundaries of Attica, by which it is
hinted that they ought to make all cultivated and fruitful lands their

XVI. In the midst of all this display of political ability, eloquence,
and statesmanlike prudence, he lived a life of great luxury, debauchery,
and profuse expenditure, swaggering through the market-place with his
long effeminate mantle trailing on the ground. He had the deck of his
trireme cut away, that he might sleep more comfortably, having his bed
slung on girths instead of resting on the planks; and he carried a
shield not emblazoned with the ancestral bearings of his family, but
with a Cupid wielding a thunderbolt. The leading men of Athens viewed
his conduct with disgust and apprehension, fearing his scornful and
overbearing manner, as being nearly allied to the demeanour of a despot,
while Aristophanes has expressed the feeling of the people towards him
in the line,

    "They love, they hate, they cannot live without him."

And again he alludes to him in a bitterer spirit in the verse:

    "A lion's cub 'tis best you should not rear,
    For if you do, your master he'll appear."

His voluntary contributions of money to the State, his public
exhibitions and services, and displays of munificence, which could not
be equalled in splendour, his noble birth, his persuasive speech, his
strength, beauty, and bravery, and all his other shining qualities,
combined to make the Athenians endure him, and always give his errors
the mildest names, calling them youthful escapades and honourable
emulation. For example, he locked up Agatharchus the painter, and when
he had painted his house let him go with a present. He boxed Taurea's
ears because he was exhibiting shows in rivalry with him, and
contending with him for the prize. And he even took one of the captive
Melian women for his mistress, and brought up a child which he had by
her. This was thought to show his good nature; but this term cannot be
applied to the slaughter of all the males above puberty in the island of
Melos, which was done in accordance with a decree promoted by

When Aristophon painted the courtesan Nemea embracing Alkibiades, all
men eagerly crowded to see it; but older men were vexed at these things
too, thinking them only fit for despots, and considering them to be open
violations of the laws. Indeed Archestratus spoke very much to the
purpose when he said that Greece could not bear more than one
Alkibiades. Once, when Alkibiades had made a successful speech in the
public assembly, and was being conducted home in triumph by his friends,
Timon the misanthrope met him, and did not get out of his way, as he did
to every one else, but came up to him and took him by the hand, saying,
"Go on, my boy, increase in glory; for your increase will bring ruin to
all this crowd." Some laughed, some cursed him, but others took his
words to heart. So various were the opinions formed about Alkibiades,
because of the inconsistency of his character.

XVII. Even during the lifetime of Perikles, the Athenians had a
hankering after Sicily, and after his death they endeavoured to obtain
possession of it, by sending troops to the assistance of those cities
which were oppressed by the Syracusans, and thus paving the way for a
greater armament. It was, however, Alkibiades who fanned their desires
into a flame, and who persuaded them to abandon these half-hearted
attempts, to proceed with a great force to the island, and to endeavour
to subdue it. He raised great expectations among the people, but his own
aspirations were far more entensive; for he regarded the conquest of
Sicily not merely as an end, but as a stepping-stone to greater things.
While Nikias was dissuading the people from the attempt, on the ground
that it would be a difficult matter to capture the city of Syracuse,
Alkibiades was dreaming of Carthage and Libya; and after these were
gained, he meditated the conquest of Italy and of Peloponnesus,
regarding Sicily as little more than a convenient magazine and place of
arms. He greatly excited the younger Athenians by his vast designs, and
they listened eagerly to the marvellous stories of the old who had
served in that country; so that many of them would spend their time
sitting in the gymnasia and public seats, drawing sketches of the shape
of the island of Sicily, and of the position of Libya and Carthage. It
is said that Sokrates the philosopher, and Meton the astronomer, did not
expect that the state would gain any advantage from this expedition; the
former probably receiving a presentiment of disaster, as was his wont,
from his familiar spirit. Meton either made calculations which led him
to fear what was about to happen, or else gathered it from the art of
prophecy. He feigned madness, and seizing a torch, attempted to set his
house on fire. Some say that Meton made no pretence of madness, but that
he burned down his house one night, and next morning came and besought
the Athenians, after such a misfortune, to exempt his son from serving
with the expedition. Thus he deceived his fellow citizens and carried
his point.

XVIII. Nikias, much against his will, was chosen to lead the expedition.
His unwillingness was in a great measure due to the fact that Alkibiades
was to act as his colleague; for the Athenians thought that the war
would be conducted better if the rashness of Alkibiades was tempered by
the prudence of Nikias, because the third general, Lamachus, although
advanced in years, yet had the reputation of being no less daring and
reckless a soldier than Alkibiades himself.

When the public assembly were debating about the number of the troops
and the preparation for the armament, Nikias made another attempt to
oppose the whole measure and to put a stop to the war. Alkibiades,
however, took the other side and carried all before him. The orator
Demostratus moved, that the generals should be empowered to demand
whatever stores and war material they pleased, and have absolute power
to carry on the war at their own discretion. This was agreed to by the
people, and all was ready for setting sail, when unlucky omens occurred.
The festival of Adonis took place at that very time, and during it the
women carry about in many parts of the city figures dressed like corpses
going to be buried, and imitate the ceremony of a funeral by tearing
their hair and singing dirges. And besides this, the mutilation of the
Hermae in one night, when all of them had their faces disfigured,
disturbed many even of those who, as a rule, despised such things. A
story was put about that the Corinthians, of whom the Syracusans were a
colony, had done it, hoping that such an evil omen might make the
Athenians either postpone or give up their expedition. But the people
paid no heed to this insinuation, and still less to those who argued
that there was no omen in the matter at all, but that it was the work of
extravagant young men after their wine. They regarded the incident with
feelings of rage and fear, imagining that it proved the existence of an
organised plot aimed at greater matters. Both the Senate and the General
Assembly met several times during the next few days, and inquired
sharply into every thing that could throw any light upon it.

XIX. During this time, Androkles, a popular speaker, brought forward
several slaves and resident aliens, who charged Alkibiades and his
friends with mutilating certain other statues, and with parodying the
ceremonies of initiation to the sacred mysteries when in their cups.
They said that the part of the Herald was taken by Theodorus, that of
the Torch-bearer by Polytion, and that of Hierophant by Alkibiades
himself, while the rest of the company were present and were initiated,
and were addressed by them as Mysts, which means persons who have been
initiated into the mysteries. These are the charges which we find
specified in the indictment drawn against Alkibiades by Thessalus the
son of Kimon, in which he accuses Alkibiades of sacrilege against the
two goddesses, Demeter (Ceres) and Proserpine. The people now became
very much enraged with Alkibiades, and were still more exasperated by
his personal enemy Androkles. Alkibiades was at first alarmed, but soon
perceived that all the sailors of the fleet about to sail to Sicily
were on his side, as were also the soldiers. A body of a thousand
Argives and Mantineans also were heard to say that they were going to
cross the seas and fight in a distant land all for the sake of
Alkibiades, and that if he did not meet with fair play, they would at
once desert. Encouraged by this, he appeared at the appointed time to
defend himself, which disconcerted and disheartened his enemies, who
feared that the people might deal leniently with him because they
required his services. Matters being in this posture, they prevailed
upon some of the orators who were not known to be enemies to Alkibiades,
but who hated him nevertheless, to move before the people that it was an
absurd proceeding for the irresponsible general of so great a force of
Athenians and their allies to waste his time while the court was drawing
lots for the jury, and filling water-clocks with water. "Let him sail,
and may good luck attend him, and when the war is finished let him
return and speak in his defence, for the laws will be the same then as
now." Alkibiades saw clearly their malicious object in postponing his
trial, and said publicly that it was very hard to leave such accusations
and slanders behind him, and to be sent out in command of a great
expedition with such a terrible fate hanging over him. If he could not
prove his innocence, he ought to be put to death; and if he could clear
himself of these charges, it was only just that he should be enabled to
attack the enemy with a light heart, without having to fear false
accusers at home.

XX. He did not, however, succeed in this, but was ordered to sail, and
put to sea with his colleagues, having under their orders a fleet of
nearly one hundred and forty triremes, five thousand one hundred
heavy-armed troops, archers, slingers, and light-armed troops to the
number of about thirteen hundred, and all other stores and provisions in
proportion. After reaching Italy and capturing Rhegium, he gave his
opinion as to the manner in which the war ought to be conducted; but as
Nikias opposed him and was joined by Lamachus, he sailed over to Sicily
and induced the city of Catana to join them, but did nothing further,
because he was sent for at once to return and stand his trial at Athens.
At first, as we have stated, Alkibiades was only vaguely suspected, and
only the testimony of slaves and resident aliens could be obtained
against him; but afterwards, during his absence, his enemies had worked
hard to get up a case against him, and connected his sacrilegious
conduct about the mysteries with the mutilation of the Hermae, which
they argued were all the work of one body of conspirators, bent upon
revolution and the destruction of the existing form of government. All
those who were in any degree implicated were cast into prison without a
trial, and they were much vexed they had not immediately brought
Alkibiades to trial and obtained judgment against him on such grave
charges as these. Any of his friends, relations, or acquaintances who
fell into their hands received very harsh treatment.

Thucydides has omitted the names of those who impeached him, but others
give their names as Diokleides and Teukrus, among whom is Phrynichus the
comic dramatist, who writes as follows:--

    "And, dearest Hermes, do not fall
    And break your head; and, worst of all,
    To some new Diokleides show the way,
    By slander base to swear men's lives away."

And again Hermes says:

    "I will not fall. I will not for my pains
    Let Teukrus fatten on informers' gains."

Though really the informers brought no decided evidence forward for any
important charge, one of them, when asked how he recognised the faces of
the statue-breakers, answered that he saw them by the light of the moon:
a signal falsehood, because it was done on the night of the new moon.
This answer made the more thoughtful citizens unwilling to press the
charge, but had no effect whatever on the people, who were as eager as
ever, and continued to cast into prison any man who might be informed

XXI. One of those who was imprisoned was the orator Andokides, whom
Hellanikus, the historian, reckons as a descendant of Odysseus
(Ulysses). Andokides was thought to be a man of aristocratic and
antipopular sentiments, and what made him particularly suspected of
having taken part in the statue-breaking, was that the large statue of
Hermes, near his house, the gift of the tribe Aegeis, was one of the
very few which remained unbroken. Wherefore even at the present day it
is called the Hermes of Andokides, and everyone speaks of it by that
name in spite of the inscription on it.

It happened that Andokides, while in custody, formed an acquaintance and
friendship for one of the other persons who were imprisoned on the same
charge, a man of the name of Timaeus, of inferior birth and position to
himself, but much cleverer and more courageous. This man persuaded
Andokides to inform against himself and some few others, because, by a
decree of the people, any one who acted as informer was to be given a
free pardon, whereas no one could count upon the results of a trial,
which the more prominent citizens had especial reasons for dreading. He
pointed out that it was better to save his life by a lie than to be put
to death with infamy as if he was really guilty; moreover, looking at
the whole affair, it was best to sacrifice a few persons of doubtful
character to the fury of the people, and thereby to save many good men
from becoming its victims. Andokides was convinced by these arguments of
Timaeus, and by informing against himself and some others obtained a
pardon for himself, while all those whose names he mentioned were put to
death, except such as had fled the country.

To procure greater credit to his information, Andokides even accused his
own servants. However, the people did not abate their rage, but, ceasing
to take any further interest in the statue-breakers, they turned
savagely against Alkibiades. Finally, they despatched the Salaminian
trireme after him, ingeniously ordering its officers not to use any
personal violence, but to speak him fair and bid him return to stand his
trial and set himself right with the people.

They were afraid of an outbreak, or even of a mutiny in the army in
Sicily, which Alkibiades could have raised with the greatest ease, if he
had wished to do so. Indeed, the soldiers became disheartened when he
left them, and looked forward to long delays and periods of dull
inaction under Nikias's command, now that he who used to spur matters
on was gone. Lamachus, indeed, was a brave and skilful soldier, but his
poverty prevented his opinions from carrying their due weight.

XXII. Alkibiades the moment he sailed away lost Messina for the
Athenians. There was a party in that city ready to deliver it up, which
he knew well, and by disclosing their intentions to the Syracusan party
he effectually ruined the plot. At Thurii he landed, and concealed
himself so that he could not be found. When one of his friends said to
him, "Alkibiades, do you not trust your native country?" He answered,
"Yes, in other matters; but when my life is at stake I would not trust
my own mother, for fear that she might mistake a black bean for a white
one." Afterwards hearing that the Athenians had condemned him to death,
he said, "I will show them that I am still alive."

The indictment against him is framed thus:

"Thessalus, the son of Kimon, of the township of Lakia, accuses
Alkibiades, the son of Kleinias, of the township of the Skambonidae, of
sacrilege against the two goddesses, Demeter and Kora, by parodying the
sacred mysteries and giving a representation of them in his own house,
wearing himself such a robe as the Hierophant does when he shows the
holy things, and calling himself the Hierophant, Poulytion, the
Torch-bearer, Theodorus, of the township of Phegaea, the Herald, and
addressing the rest of the company as Mysts and Epopts (Initiates and
Novices), contrary to the rules and ceremonies established by the
Eumolpidae, and Kerykes, and the priests of Eleusis." As he did not
appear, they condemned him, forfeited his goods, and even caused all the
priests and priestesses to curse him publicly. It is said that Theano,
the daughter of Menon, the priestess of the temple of Agraulos, was the
only one who refused to carry out this decree, alleging that it was to
pray and not to curse that she had become a priestess.

XXIII. While these terrible decrees and sentences were being passed
against Alkibiades, he was living at Argos; for as soon as he left
Thurii, he fled to the Peloponnesus, where, terrified at the violence of
his enemies, he determined to abandon his country, and sent to Sparta
demanding a safe asylum, on the strength of a promise that he would do
the Spartans more good than he had in time past done them harm. The
Spartans agreed to his request, and invited him to come. On his arrival,
he at once effected one important matter, by stirring up the dilatory
Spartans to send Gylippus at once to Syracuse with reinforcements for
that city, to destroy the Athenian army in Sicily. Next, he brought them
to declare war against the Athenians themselves; while his third and
most terrible blow to Athens was his causing the Lacedaemonians to seize
and fortify Dekeleia, which did more to ruin Athens than any other
measure throughout the war. With his great public reputation, Alkibiades
was no less popular in private life, and he deluded the people by
pretending to adopt the Laconian habits. When they saw him closely
shaved, bathing in cold water, eating dry bread and black broth, they
wondered, and began to doubt whether this man ever had kept a professed
cook, used perfumes, or endured to wear a Milesian mantle. For
Alkibiades, among his other extraordinary qualities, had this especial
art of captivating men by assimilating his own manners and habits to
theirs, being able to change, more quickly than the chameleon, from one
mode of life to another. The chameleon, indeed, cannot turn itself
white; but Alkibiades never found anything, good or bad, which he could
not imitate to the life. Thus at Sparta he was fond of exercise, frugal
and severe; in Ionia, luxurious, frivolous, and lazy; in Thrace, he
drank deep; in Thessaly he proved himself a good horseman; while, when
he was consorting with the satrap Tissaphernes, he outdid even the
Persian splendour and pomp. It was not his real character that he so
often and so easily changed, but as he knew that if he appeared in his
true colours, he would be universally disliked, he concealed his real
self under an apparent adoption of the ways and fashions of whatever
place he was in. In Lacedaemon you would say, looking at his appearance,

     "'Tis not Achilles' son, 'tis he himself."

He was just such a man as Lykurgus himself would have trained; but if
you examined his habits and actions more closely, you would say:

     "'Tis the same woman still."

For while King Agis was away in the wars, Alkibiades seduced his wife
Timaea, so that she became pregnant by him, and did not even deny the
fact. When her child was born it was called Leotychides in public, but
in her own house she whispered to her friends and attendants that his
name was Alkibiades, so greatly was she enamoured of him. He himself
used to say in jest that he had not acted thus out of wanton passion,
but in order that his race might one day rule in Lacedaemon. King Agis
heard of all this from many informants, but was most convinced of its
truth by a computation of the time before the birth of the child.
Terrified at an earthquake, he had once quitted his wife's chamber, and
for ten months afterwards had never conversed with her. As it was at the
end of this period that Leotychides was born, he declared that the child
was not his; and for this reason he never succeeded to the throne.

XXIV. After the Athenian disaster in Sicily, ambassadors came to Sparta
from Chios, Lesbos, and Kyzikus. The claims of the Lesbians were
favoured by the Boeotians, and those of the people of Kyzikus by
Pharnabazus; but, at the recommendation of Alkibiades, the
Lacedaemonians decided to give the preference to the Chians. He himself
sailed to that island, caused nearly the whole of the cities of Ionia to
revolt from Athens, and injured the Athenian cause much by constantly
assisting the Lacedaemonian generals. King Agis, however, was already
his personal enemy, because of Alkibiades's intrigue with his wife, and
now was enraged at his successes; for it was said that scarcely anything
was done without Alkibiades. The other leading men in Sparta also hated
Alkibiades, because he had thrown them into the shade; and they had
sufficient influence with the home government to obtain an order for his
execution, to be sent to the generals in Ionia.

Alkibiades received warning of this in good time. Alarmed at the news,
he still continued to co-operate with the Lacedaemonians, but utterly
refused to trust his person among them. To ensure his safety, he betook
himself to Tissaphernes, the satrap or viceroy for the king of Persia in
that province, and at once became the most important personage amongst
his followers. The barbarian being himself a lover of deceit and of
crooked ways, admired his cleverness and versatility; while no man's
nature could resist the fascinations and charms of the society of
Alkibiades, which Tissaphernes now enjoyed daily. Although he hated the
Greeks as much as any Persian, yet he was so overpowered by the
flatteries of Alkibiades, that he in his turn repaid him with
compliments even more excessive. He decreed that the pleasantest of his
parks, a place charmingly wooded and watered, with delightful walks and
summer-houses, should be called "the Alkibiades;" and all men from that
time forth spoke of it by that name.

XXV. Now that Alkibiades had determined that the Spartans were not to be
trusted, and that he was in fear of Agis, their king, he began to speak
evil of them to Tissaphernes, withholding him from assisting them
thoroughly, and enabling them to conquer the Athenians, but advising him
rather to starve the Lacedaemonians forces by insufficient supplies, so
as to play one side off against the other, and thus encourage them to
wear each other out, in order that in the end both might be so weakened
as to fall an easy prey to the Persians.

Tissaphernes at once adopted this policy, and made no secret of his
regard and admiration for Alkibiades, who was now looked up to by the
Greeks on both sides, while the Athenians repented of their decrees
against him. He also began to fear that if their city were to be utterly
destroyed he would necessarily fall into the hands of his enemies, the

The most important post in the Athenian empire at this time was the
island of Samos. Here lay the greater part of their fleet, and it was
from this headquarters that they sent out expeditions to recover the
revolted cities of Ionia, and guarded those which they still retained,
as, in spite of their great losses, they still possessed a fleet capable
of holding its own against the Lacedaemonians. They were in great fear
of Tissaphernes and the Phoenician fleet of a hundred and fifty sail of
triremes, which was said to be on the point of arriving, because if it
really came all would be over with Athens. Alkibiades, knowing this,
sent a secret message to the Athenian leaders at Samos, holding out
hopes of bringing Tissaphernes over to the Athenian side. He would not,
he said, do this to please the populace of Athens, because he could not
trust them, but he would effect it if the nobility would, like brave
gentlemen, put an end to the insolent behaviour of the lower orders, and
would themselves undertake to save the city and empire of Athens.

All were eager to adopt the proposal of Alkibiades, except Phrynichus of
the _demos_ or township of Deirades, who suspected the real truth, that
Alkibiades cared nothing about the form of government which might be
established at Athens, but was seeking for some excuse for being
restored to his native country, and thought, by his harsh language about
the people, to ingratiate himself with the nobles. He was, however,
overruled; and, being now clearly marked as the personal enemy of
Alkibiades, sent a secret message to Astyochus, the admiral of the
Lacedaemonian fleet, bidding him beware of Alkibiades, who was playing a
double game. However, he met his match in perfidy. Astyochus, desirous
of gaining the favour of Tissaphernes, and seeing that Alkibiades had
great influence with him, betrayed Phrynichus's letter to them.
Alkibiades upon this at once sent persons to Samos to charge Phrynichus
with this act of treason, and he, seeing that all men were shocked at
what he had done, and were indignant with him, and being at his wit's
end, endeavoured to heal one mischief by another. He sent a second
letter to Astyochus, reproaching him for his betrayal of confidence, and
promising that he would enable him to capture the fleet and camp of the
Athenians. However, the treachery of Phrynichus did no harm to the
Athenians, because of the counter treachery of Astyochus, who
communicated this letter also to Alkibiades. Now Phrynichus, expecting a
second charge of treason from Alkibiades, was beforehand with him, in
announcing to the Athenians that the enemy were about to attack them,
and advising them to keep near their ships, and to fortify their
camp.[A] This they proceeded to do, when there came a second letter from
Alkibiades, warning them against Phrynichus, who meditated betraying the
harbour to the enemy. This letter was not believed at the time, for men
imagined that Alkibiades, who knew perfectly well all the movements and
intentions of the enemy, was making use of that knowledge to destroy his
personal enemy Phrynichus, by exciting an undeserved suspicion against
him. Yet, when afterwards Hermon, one of the Athenian horse-patrol,
stabbed Phrynichus with his dagger in the market-place, the Athenians,
after trying the case, decided that the deceased was guilty of treason,
and crowned Hermon and his comrades with garlands.

[Footnote A: The ancient trireme was not habitable, like a modern ship
of war. The crew always, if possible, landed for their meals, and when
stationed at any place, drew the ship up on the beach and lived entirely
on shore.]

XXVI. The friends of Alkibiades being in a majority at Samos, now
despatched Peisander to Athens to attempt the subversion of the
republic, and to encourage the nobles to seize the government, and put
an end to the democratic constitution. If this was done, they conceived
that Alkibiades would make Tissaphernes their friend and ally, and this
was the pretext and excuse put forward by those who established the
oligarchy. When, however, the so-called Five Thousand, who really were
the Four Hundred, were at the head of affairs, they paid but little
attention to Alkibiades, and were very remiss in carrying on the war,
partly because they distrusted the citizens, who were not yet accustomed
to the new constitution, and partly because they thought that the
Lacedaemonians, who were always favourable to oligarchical governments,
would deal more tenderly with them on that account. The Athenian
populace remained quiet, though sorely against its will, because of the
terror inspired by the oligarchs, for no small number of citizens who
had opposed the Four Hundred had been put to death; but the men of
Samos, as soon as they heard the news, were indignant, and wished at
once to sail to Peiraeus. They sent at once for Alkibiades, elected him
their general, and bade him lead them on to crush this new despotism.
Alkibiades on this occasion acted like a really great commander, and not
at all as one would expect of a man who had suddenly been raised to
power by popular favour.

He refused to curry favour with the soldiery by carrying out their
wishes, regardless of their having found him a homeless exile, and
having made him the commander of so many ships and so many men; but he
resisted their impulse, and by preventing their committing so great an
error, without doubt saved the Athenian empire. For if the fleet had
left Samos, the enemy could without a battle have made themselves
masters of the whole of Ionia, the Hellespont, and the islands in the
Aegean while Athenians would have fought with Athenians in their own
city. All this was prevented by Alkibiades alone, who not only persuaded
the populace, and pointed out the folly of such proceedings in public
speeches, but even entreated and commanded each individual man to remain
at Samos. He was assisted in this by Thrasybulus, of the township of
Steiria, who was present, and spoke in his loud voice, which was said to
be the loudest of any Athenian of his time. This was a noble achievement
of Alkibiades, and so, too, was his undertaking that the Phoenician
fleet, which the Lacedaemonians expected would be sent by the Persian
king to help them, should either be won over to the Athenian side, or at
any rate prevented from joining the Lacedaemonians. In order to effect
this, he sailed away in great haste, and, although the Phoenician fleet
was at Aspendus, yet Tissaphernes brought it no further, and deceived
the Lacedaemonians. Both parties gave Alkibiades the credit of having
detained it, and more especially the Lacedaemonians, who imagined that
he was teaching the Persians to allow the Greeks to destroy one another,
for it was perfectly clear that such a force, if added to either of the
contending parties, must have made them complete masters of the sea.

XXVII. After this the government of the Four Hundred was dissolved, as
the friends of Alkibiades eagerly took the side of the popular party.
Although the Athenians now wished and even commanded Alkibiades to
return to his native city, yet he felt that he ought not to come home
emptyhanded, and owing his restoration to the good nature of the
people, but rather to return after some glorious achievement. With this
intention he at first left Samos with a few ships and cruised in the
seas near Knidus and Kôs; then, hearing that Mindarus, the Spartan
admiral, had gone to the Hellespont with all his fleet, and that the
Athenian fleet had followed him, he hurried to the assistance of the
Athenian commanders.

Sailing northwards with eighteen triremes he chanced to arrive towards
evening, at the end of a sea-fight off Abydos, in which neither party
had won any decided advantage. The appearance of his squadron caused
very different feelings among the combatants, for the Athenians were
alarmed, and the enemy encouraged. However, he soon hoisted an Athenian
flag, and bore down upon that part of the Peloponnesian fleet which had
been hitherto victorious. He put them to flight, compelled them to run
their ships ashore, and then attacking them, disabled their ships, and
broke them to pieces, forcing the crews to swim ashore, where
Pharnabazus the satrap led a force to the water's edge to fight for the
preservation of the vessels. In the end the Athenians took thirty ships,
recovered those of their own which had been captured, and erected a
trophy, as victors.

Alkibiades gained great glory by this splendid piece of good fortune,
and at once went off with rich presents and a gorgeous military retinue,
to display his fresh laurels to Tissaphernes. He met, however, with a
very different reception to that which he expected, for Tissaphernes,
whose mind had been poisoned against him by the Lacedaemonians, and who
feared that the king might be displeased with his own dealings with
Alkibiades, considered that he had arrived at a very opportune moment,
and at once seized him and imprisoned him at Sardis; thinking that this
arbitrary act would prove to the world that the other suspicions of an
understanding between them were unfounded.

XXVIII. Thirty days afterwards, Alkibiades by some means obtained a
horse, eluded his guards, and fled for refuge to Klazomenae. He gave out
that he had been privately released by Tissaphernes himself, in order to
disgrace that satrap, and at once sailed to the Athenian fleet in the
Hellespont. Learning that Mindarus and Pharnabazus were both in the city
of Kyzikus, he encouraged his soldiers by a speech, in which he told
them that they would have to fight at sea, on land, and against the town
walls too, for that if they were not completely victorious they could
get no pay. He manned his ships and proceeded to Prokonessus, ordering
all small vessels which they met to be seized and detained in the
interior of the fleet, in order that the enemy might not learn his
movements. It happened also that a heavy thunderstorm with rain and
darkness assisted his design, as he not only was unseen by the enemy,
but was never suspected of any intention of attack by the Athenians
themselves, who had given up any idea of going to sea when he ordered
them on board. Little by little the clouds cleared away, and disclosed
the Peloponnesian fleet cruising off the harbour of Kyzikus. Alkibiades,
fearing that if the enemy saw how numerous his own fleet was, they would
take refuge on shore, ordered the other commanders to remain behind
under easy sail, and himself with forty ships went on ahead to entice
them to an engagement. The Peloponnesians, deceived by this manoeuvre,
at once attacked these few ships, despising their small numbers. But the
little squadron engaged them until the rest came up, when they fled
ashore in terror. Alkibiades with twenty of the fastest sailing ships
broke through the enemy's line, ran his ships ashore, landed their
crews, and attacked the fugitives from the enemy's fleet with terrible
slaughter. Mindarus and Pharnabazus now came to the rescue, but they
were beaten back; Mindarus died fighting bravely, and Pharnabazus only
saved himself by flight. By this battle the Athenians obtained
possession of many dead bodies of their enemies,[A] many stand of arms,
the whole of the hostile fleet, and the town of Kyzikus, which they took
by storm, putting its Peloponnesian garrison to the sword, as soon as
Pharnabazus withdrew his troops. They now not merely obtained a firm
hold on the Hellespont, but were able to drive the Lacedaemonians from
the sea in all quarters. A despatch was captured, written in the
Laconian fashion, informing the Ephors of the disaster. "Our ships are
gone; Mindarus is slain; the men are starving; we know not what to do."

[Footnote A: The Greeks attached great importance to the burial of the
dead. The usual test of which party had won a battle was, which side
after it demanded a truce for the burial of the dead. Here the
possession of the dead bodies of the enemy is enumerated as one of the
proofs of victory.]

XXIX. The men who had served under Alkibiades were so elated by this
victory that they disdained to mix with the rest of the army, alleging
that the others had often been defeated, and that they were invincible.
Indeed, not long before, Thrasyllus had received a defeat near Ephesus,
upon which the Ephesians erected the brazen trophy to the disgrace of
the Athenians; so that the soldiers of Alkibiades reproached those of
Thrasyllus with this, glorifying themselves and their commander, and
refusing to allow the others to make use of their places of exercise or
their quarters in camp. However, when Pharnabazus with a large force of
infantry and calvary attacked them while they were invading the
territory of Abydos, Alkibiades led them out to fight him, defeated him,
and, together with Thrasyllus, pursued him till nightfall. After this
the soldiers fraternised with each other and returned to their camp
rejoicing together. On the following day Alkibiades erected a trophy and
ravaged the country of Pharnabazus, no one daring to oppose him. He even
took priests and priestesses prisoners, but released them without

The city of Chalkedon had revolted from Athens, and received a
Lacedaemonian harmost[A] and garrison. Alkibiades was eager to attack
them, but, hearing that they had collected all the property[B] in their
country and placed it in the hands of the Bithynians, a friendly tribe,
he led his whole army to the Bithynian frontier and sent a herald to
that people reproaching them for what they had done. In terror, the
Bithynians gave up the property to him, and entered into an alliance
with him.

[Footnote A: A "harmost," [Greek: harmostês], was an officer sent from
Sparta to administer a subject city. See p. 97.]

[Footnote B: Probably consisting of corn and cattle, as Clough
translates it.]

XXX. He now completely invested Chalkedon, by building a wall reaching
from sea to sea. Pharnabazus came down to raise the siege, and
Hippokrates, the harmost of the city, led out his forces and attacked
the Athenians at the same time. Alkibiades arranged his army so as to be
able to fight them both at once, forced Pharnabazus to retreat with
disgrace, killed Hippokrates, and put his force to flight with severe
loss. He now took a cruise round the Hellespont, to raise contributions
from the towns on the coast, during which he took Selymbria, where he,
very unnecessarily, was exposed to great personal risk. The party who
intended to betray the city had arranged to show a torch as a signal at
midnight, but were compelled to do so before the appointed time, fearing
one of the conspirators, who suddenly changed his mind. When then the
torch was raised, the army was not ready for the assault, but
Alkibiades, taking some thirty men with him, ran at full speed up to the
walls, giving orders to the rest to follow. The city gate was opened for
him, and, twenty peltasts[A] having joined his thirty soldiers, he
entered, when he perceived the men of Selymbria under arms marching down
the street to meet him. To await their onset would have been ruin, while
pride forbade a hitherto invincible general to retire. Ordering his
trumpet to sound, he bade one of those present proclaim aloud that the
Selymbrians ought not to appear in arms against the Athenians. This
speech made some of the townspeople less eager to fight, as they
imagined that their enemies were all within the walls, while it
encouraged others who hoped to arrange matters peaceably. While they
were standing opposite to one another and parleying, Alkibiades's army
came up, and he, truly conjecturing that the Selymbrians were really
disposed to be friendly, began to fear that his Thracian troops might
sack the city; for many of these barbarians were serving in his army as
volunteers, from a particular attachment they had to his person. He
therefore sent them all out of the city, and did not permit the
terrified people of Selymbria to suffer any violence, but, having
exacted a contribution of money and placed a garrison in the town, he
sailed away.

[Footnote A: Peltasts were light-armed troops, so called because they
carried light round shields instead of the large unwieldy oblong shield
of the Hoplite, or heavy-armed infantry soldier. These light troops came
gradually into favour with the Greeks during the Peloponnesian war, and
afterward became very extensively used.]

XXXI. Meanwhile the generals who were besieging Chalkedon made an
agreement with Pharnabazus, on these conditions. They were to receive a
sum of money; the people of Chalkedon were to become subjects of Athens
as before; Pharnabazus was not to lay waste the province; and he was to
provide an escort and a safe-conduct for an Athenian embassy to the
Persian king. On the return of Alkibiades, Pharnabazus desired him to
swear to observe these conditions, but Alkibiades refused to do so
unless Pharnabazus swore first. After this capitulation he proceeded to
Byzantium, which had revolted from Athens, and built a wall round that
city. Anaxilaus and Lykurgus, with some others, now offered to betray
the city if the lives and property of the inhabitants were spared. Upon
this Alkibiades put about a report that his presence was urgently
required on the Ionian coast, and sailed away by daylight with all his
fleet. The same night he landed with all his soldiers, and marched up to
the walls in silence, while the fleet, with a great clamour and
disturbance, forced its way into the harbour. The suddenness of this
assault, entirely unexpected as it was, terrified the people of
Byzantium, and gave those of them who inclined to the Athenian side an
opportunity of admitting Alkibiades quietly, while the attention of
every one was directed to the ships in the harbour. The town did not,
however, surrender altogether without fighting; for the Peloponnesians,
Megarians, and Boeotians who were in it drove the Athenians back into
their ships with loss, and when they heard that the land forces had
entered the town they formed in line and engaged them. A severe battle
took place, but Alkibiades on the right wing, and Theramenes on the
left, were at length victorious, and took prisoners the survivors, some
three hundred in number. After this battle no citizen of Byzantium was
either put to death or banished, those being the terms on which the
conspirators had delivered up the city, namely, that they should suffer
no loss of life or property.

Anaxilaus was afterwards tried at Sparta for having betrayed the city,
and justified what he had done, saying that he was not a Lacedaemonian,
but a Byzantine, and that he saw Byzantium, not Sparta, in danger, as
the city was surrounded by the enemy's siege works, no provisions being
brought in to it, and what there was in it being consumed by the
Peloponnesians and Boeotians, while the people of Byzantium with their
wives and children were starving. He did not, he said, betray the city
to the enemy, but relieved it from the miseries of war, imitating
therein the noblest Lacedaemonians, whose only idea of what was noble
and just was what would serve their own country. The Lacedaemonians, on
hearing this speech, were ashamed to press the charge, and acquitted

XXXII. Now, at length, Alkibiades began to wish to see his native
country again, and still more to be seen and admired by his countrymen
after his splendid series of victories. He proceeded home with the
Athenian fleet, which was magnificently adorned with shields and
trophies, and had many prizes in tow, and the flags of many more which
he had captured and destroyed--all of them together amounting to not
less than two hundred. But we cannot believe the additions which Douris
the Samian, who says that he is a descendant of Alkibiades, makes to
this story, to the effect that Chrysogonus, the victor at the Pythian
games, played on the flute to mark the time for the rowers, while
Kallipides the tragedian, attired in his buskins, purple robe, and other
theatrical properties, gave them orders, and that the admiral's ship
came into harbour with purple sails, as if returning from a party of
pleasure. Neither Theopompus, nor Ephorus, nor Xenophon mentions these
circumstances, nor was it likely that he should present himself before
the Athenians in such a swaggering fashion, when he was returning home
from exile, after having suffered such a variety of misfortunes. The
truth is, he sailed to Athens with considerable misgivings, and on his
arrival would not leave his ship until from her deck he saw Euryptolemus
his cousin, with many of his friends and relatives, assembled to welcome

When he landed, the people seemed to have no eyes for the other
generals, but all rushed towards him, and escorted him on his way,
cheering him, embracing him, and crowning him with flowers. Those who
could not get near him gazed upon him from a distance, and the older men
pointed him out to the younger ones. Yet the joy of the citizens was
mingled with tears in the midst of their rejoicings, when they thought
of their past disasters, for they reflected that they would not have
failed in Sicily, or met with any of their other terrible
disappointments, if they had not parted with Alkibiades when in the full
tide of prosperity. He had found Athens barely able to hold her own at
sea, by land mistress of little more than the ground on which the city
stood, and torn by internal strife; from which miserable and forlorn
condition he had restored her so completely, that she was again not only
omnipotent at sea, but also victorious everywhere on land.

XXXIII. Before his return a decree had been passed authorising him to do
so, at the instance of Kritias, the son of Kallaeschrus, who himself
alludes to it in his poems, mentioning the service which he performed
for Alkibiades in the following verse:

    "I moved your restoration by decree,
    And that you're home again you owe to me."

Immediately on the return of Alkibiades, the people assembled in the
Pnyx, where he addressed them. He spoke with tears of his misfortunes,
for which he partly reproached his countrymen, though he attributed them
chiefly to his own unlucky fortune, and he greatly raised their hopes by
speaking encouragingly about their probable successes in the future. He
was honoured with golden crowns, and elected sole general with absolute
power both by sea and land. A decree was also passed by which his
property was restored to him, and the Eumolpidae and Kerykes were
ordered to retract the curses which they had invoked upon him at the
instance of the people. When all the rest obeyed, Theodorus the
hierophant excused himself, saying, If he has done the State no wrong, I
never cursed him.

XXXIV. While Alkibiades was in this glorious career of prosperity, some
persons in spite of his success foreboded evil from the day which he had
chosen for his return home; for on the day on which he sailed into the
harbour the statue of Athene on the Acropolis is stripped of its
garments and ornaments, which are cleaned, while it in the meanwhile is
covered up to conceal it from human eyes. This ceremony takes place on
the 25th of the month Thargelion, which day is considered by the
Athenians to be the unluckiest of all. Moreover, the goddess did not
appear to receive Alkibiades with a kindly welcome, but to turn away her
face from him and drive him from her presence. Be this as it may, all
went well and just as Alkibiades wished. A fleet of a hundred triremes
was manned, and placed at his disposal, but he with creditable pride
refused to set sail until after the celebration of the Eleusinian
mysteries. Since the permanent occupation of Dekeleia and of the passes
commanding the road to Eleusis by the enemy, the procession had been
necessarily shorn of many of its distinctive features, as it had to be
sent by sea. All the customary sacrifices, dances, and other rites which
used to be practised on the road, when Iacchus is carried along in
solemn procession, were of necessity omitted. It seemed therefore to
Alkibiades that it would both honour the gods and increase his own
reputation among men, if he restored the ancient form of this ceremony,
escorting the procession with his troops and protecting it from the
enemy; for he argued that Agis would lose prestige if he did not attack,
but allowed the procession to pass unmolested, whereas if he did attack,
Alkibiades would be able to fight in a holy cause, in defence of the
most sacred institutions of his country, with all his countrymen present
as witnesses of his own valour. When he determined to do this, after
concerting measures with the Eumolpidae and Kerykes, he placed vedettes
on the mountains and sent an advanced guard off at day-break, following
with the priests, novices, and initiators marching in the midst of his
army, in great good order and perfect silence. It was an august and
solemn procession, and all who did not envy him said that he had
performed the office of a high priest in addition of that of a general.
The enemy made no attack, and he led his troops safely back to Athens,
full of pride himself, and making his army proud to think itself
invincible while under his command. He had so won the affections of the
poor and the lower orders, that they were strangely desirous of living
under his rule. Many even besought him to put down the malignity of his
personal enemies, sweep away laws, decrees, and other pernicious
nonsense, and carry on the government without fear of a factious

XXXV. What his own views about making himself despot of Athens may have
been we cannot tell; but the leading citizens took alarm at this, and
hurried him away as quickly as possible to sea, voting whatever measures
he pleased, and allowing him to choose his own colleagues. He set sail
with his hundred ships, reached Andros, and defeated the inhabitants of
that island, and the Lacedaemonian garrison there. He did not, however,
capture the city, and this afterwards became one of the points urged
against him by his enemies. Indeed, if there ever was a man destroyed by
his reputation, it was Alkibiades. Being supposed to be such a prodigy
of daring and subtlety, his failures were regarded with suspicion, as if
he could have succeeded had he been in earnest; for his countrymen would
not believe that he could really fail in anything which he seriously
attempted. They expected to hear of the capture of Chios, and of the
whole Ionian coast, and were vexed at not at once receiving the news of
a complete success. They did not take into account the want of money
which Alkibiades felt, while warring against men who had the king of
Persia for their paymaster, and which made frequent absences from his
camp necessary to provide subsistence for his troops. It was one of
these expeditions, indeed, which exposed him to the last and most
important of the many charges brought against him. Lysander had been
sent by the Lacedaemonians to take the command of their fleet. On his
arrival, by means of the money paid by Cyrus, he raised the pay of his
sailors from three obols a day to four. Alkibiades, who could with
difficulty pay his men even three obols, went to Caria to levy
contributions, leaving in command of the fleet one Antiochus, a good
seaman, but a thoughtless and silly man. He had distinct orders from
Alkibiades not to fight even if the enemy attacked him, but such was his
insolent disregard of these instructions that he manned his own trireme
and one other, sailed to Ephesus, and there passed along the line of the
enemy's ships, as they lay on the beach, using the most scurrilous and
insulting language and gestures. At first Lysander put to sea with a few
ships to pursue him, but as the Athenians came out to assist him, the
action became general. The entire fleets engaged and Lysander was
victorious. He killed Antiochus, captured many ships and men, and set up
a trophy. When Alkibiades on his return to Samos heard of this, he put
to sea with all his ships, and offered battle to Lysander; but he was
satisfied with his previous victory, and refused the offer.

XXXVI. Thrasybulus, the son of Thrason, a bitter personal enemy of
Alkibiades, now set sail for Athens to accuse him, and to exasperate his
enemies in the city against him. He made a speech to the people,
representing that Alkibiades had ruined their affairs and lost their
ships by insolently abusing his authority and entrusting the command,
during his own absence, to men who owed their influence with him to deep
drinking and cracking seamen's jokes, and that he securely traversed the
provinces to raise money, indulging in drunken debauches with Ionian
courtezans, while the enemy's fleet was riding close to his own. He was
also blamed for the construction of certain forts in Thrace, near
Bisanthe, which he destined as a place of refuge for himself, as if he
could not or would not live in his native city.

The Athenians were so wrought upon by these charges against Alkibiades,
that they elected other generals to supersede him, thus showing their
anger and dislike for him. Alkibiades, on learning this, left the
Athenian camp altogether, got together a force of foreign troops, and
made war on the irregular Thracian tribes on his own account, thus
obtaining much plunder and freeing the neighbouring Greek cities from
the dread of the barbarians. Now when the generals Tydeus, Menander, and
Adeimantus came with the entire Athenian fleet to Aegospotamoi, they
used early every morning to go to Lampsakus to challenge the fleet of
Lysander, which lay there, to a sea-fight. After this ceremony they
would return and spend the whole day in careless indolence, as if
despising their enemy. Alkibiades, who lived close by, did not disregard
their danger, but even rode over on horseback and pointed out to the
generals that they were very badly quartered in a place where there was
no harbour and no city, having to obtain all their provisions from
Sestos, and, when the ships were once hauled up on shore, allowing the
men to leave them unguarded and straggle where they pleased, although
they were in the presence of a fleet which was trained to act in silence
and good order at the command of one man.

XXXVII. Though Alkibiades gave this advice, and urged the generals to
remove to Sestos, they would not listen to him. Tydeus indeed rudely
bade him begone, for they, not he, were now generals. Alkibiades, too,
suspected that there was some treachery in the case, and retired,
telling his personal friends, who escorted him out of the camp, that if
he had not been so outrageously insulted by the generals, he could in a
few days have compelled the Lacedaemonians either to fight a battle at
sea against their will, or abandon their ships. To some this seemed mere
boasting, while others thought that he could very possibly effect it by
bringing many Thracian light-armed troops and cavalry to assault the
camp on the land side. However, the result soon proved that he had
rightly seen the fault of the Athenian position. Lysander suddenly and
unexpectedly assailed it, and except eight triremes which escaped under
Konon, took all the rest, nearly two hundred in number. Lysander also
put three thousand prisoners to the sword. He shortly afterwards
captured Athens, burned her ships, and pulled down her Long Walls.
Alkibiades, terrified at seeing the Lacedaemonians omnipotent by sea and
land, shifted his quarters to Bithynia, sending thither a great amount
of treasure, and taking much with him, but leaving much more in his
Thracian fortresses. In Bithynia, however, he suffered much loss at the
hands of the natives, and determined to proceed to the court of
Artaxerxes, thinking that the Persian king, if he would make trial of
him, would find that he was not inferior to Themistokles in ability,
while he sought him in a much more honourable way; for it was not to
revenge himself on his fellow-citizens, as Themistokles did, but to
assist his own country against its enemy that he meant to solicit the
king's aid. Imagining that Pharnabazus would be able to grant him a safe
passage to the Persian court, he went into Phrygia to meet him, and
remained there for some time, paying his court to the satrap, and
receiving from him marks of respect.

XXXVIII. The Athenians were terribly cast down at the loss of their
empire; but when Lysander robbed them of their liberty as well, by
establishing the government of the Thirty Tyrants, they began to
entertain thoughts which never had occurred to them before, while it was
yet possible that the State might be saved from ruin. They bewailed
their past blunders and mistakes, and of these they considered their
second fit of passion with Alkibiades to have been the greatest. They
had cast him off for no fault of his own, but merely because they were
angry with his follower for having lost a few ships disgracefully; they
had much more disgraced themselves by losing the services of the ablest
and bravest general whom they possessed. Even in their present abasement
a vague hope prevailed among them that Athens could not be utterly lost
while Alkibiades was alive; for he had not during his former exile been
satisfied with a quiet life, and surely now, however prosperous his
private circumstances might be, he would not endure to see the triumph
of the Lacedaemonians, and the arrogant tyranny of the Thirty. Indeed
this was proved to be no vain dream by the care which the Thirty took to
watch all the motions of Alkibiades. At last, Kritias informed Lysander,
that while Athens was governed by a democracy, the Lacedaemonian empire
in Greece could never be safe; and if the Athenians were ever so much
inclined to an oligarchical form of government, Alkibiades, if he lived,
would not long suffer them to submit to it. However, Lysander was not
prevailed upon by these arguments until a despatch came from Sparta
bidding him make away with Alkibiades, either because the home
government feared his ability and enterprise, or because they wished to
please his enemy, King Agis.

XXXIX. Lysander now sent orders for his death to Pharnabazus, who
entrusted their execution to his brother Magaeus and his uncle
Susamithres. Alkibiades was at this time dwelling in a village in
Phrygia, with Timandra the courtezan, and one night he dreamed that he
was dressed in his mistress's clothes, and that she, holding his head in
her arms, was painting his face and adorning him like a woman. Others
say that he saw Magaeus in his dream cutting off his head, and his body
all in flames. All, however, agree that the dream took place shortly
before his death. His murderers did not dare to enter the house, but
stood round it in a circle and set it on fire. Alkibiades, on
discovering them, flung most of the bedding and clothes on to the fire,
wrapped his cloak round his left arm, and with his dagger in his right
dashed through the flames unhurt, not giving his clothes time to catch
fire. None of the barbarians dared to await his onset, but as soon as
they saw him they scattered, and from a distance shot at him with darts
and arrows. After he had fallen and the barbarians were gone, Timandra
took up his corpse, covered it with her own clothes, and, as far as was
in her power, showed it every mark of honour and respect.

This Timandra is said to have been the mother of Lais, commonly called
the Corinthian, who really was brought as a captive from Hykkara, a
small town in Sicily. Some writers, although they agree in their account
of the manner of his death, differ as to its cause, alleging that it was
neither due to Pharnabazus nor to Lysander nor the Lacedaemonians, but
that Alkibiades had debauched a girl of noble birth and was living with
her, and that her relatives, enraged at this insult, during the night
set fire to the house in which Alkibiades was living, and, as has been
related, shot him as he leaped out through the flames.


I. The patrician family of the Marcii at Rome produced many illustrious
men, amongst whom was Ancus Marcius, the grandson of Numa, who became
king after the death of Tullus Hostilius. To this family also belonged
Publius and Quintus Marcius, who supplied Rome with abundance of
excellent water, and Censorinus, twice appointed censor by the Roman
people, who afterwards passed a law that no one should hold that office

Caius Marcius, the subject of this memoir, was an orphan, and brought up
by a widowed mother. He proved that, hard though the lot of an orphan
may be, yet it does not prevent a man's becoming great and
distinguished, and that the bad alone allege it as an excuse for an
intemperate life. He also proves to us that a naturally noble nature, if
it be not properly disciplined, will produce many good and bad qualities
together, just as a rich field, if not properly tilled, will produce
both weeds and good fruit. The immense energy and courage of his mind
used to urge him to attempt and to perform great exploits, but his harsh
and ambitious temper made it difficult for him to live on friendly terms
with his companions. They used to admire his indifference to pleasure
and pain, and his contempt for bribes, but in politics they were angered
by his morose and haughty manner, too proud for a citizen of a republic.
Indeed there is no advantage to be gained from a liberal education so
great as that of softening and disciplining the natural ferocity of our
disposition, by teaching it moderation, and how to avoid all extremes.
However, at that period warlike virtues were valued above all others at
Rome, which is proved by the Romans possessing only one word for virtue
and for bravery, so that virtue, a general term, is applied by them to
the particular form, courage.

II. Marcius, having an especial passion for war, was familiar from
childhood with the use of arms. Reflecting that artificial weapons are
of little use without a body capable of wielding them, he so trained
himself for all possible emergencies that he was both able to run
swiftly and also to grapple with his foe so strongly that few could
escape from him. Those who entered into any contest with him, when
beaten, used to ascribe their defeat to his immense bodily strength,
which no exertions could tire out.

III. He served his first campaign while yet a youth, when Tarquin, the
exiled King of Rome, after many battles and defeats, staked all upon one
last throw, and assembled an army to attack Rome. His force consisted
chiefly of Latins, but many other Italian states took his part in the
war, not from any attachment to his person, but through fear and dislike
of the growing power of Rome. In the battle which ensued, in which
various turns of fortune took place, Marcius, while fighting bravely
under the eye of the dictator himself, saw a Roman fallen and helpless
near him. He at once made for this man, stood in front of him, and
killed his assailant. After the victory, Marcius was among the first who
received the oak-leaf crown. This crown is given to him who has saved
the life of a citizen in battle, and is composed of oak-leaves, either
out of compliment to the Arcadians, whom the oracle calls 'acorn
eaters,' or because in any campaign in any country it is easy to obtain
oak-boughs, or it may be that the oak, sacred to Jupiter the protector
of cities, forms a suitable crown for one who has saved the life of a
citizen. The oak is the most beautiful of all wild trees, and the
strongest of those which are artificially cultivated. It afforded men in
early times both food and drink, by its acorns and the honey found in
it, while by the bird-lime which it produces, it enables them to catch
most kinds of birds and other creatures, as additional dainties.

This was the battle in which they say that the Dioscuri, Castor and
Pollux, appeared, and immediately after the battle were soon in the
Forum at Rome announcing the victory, with their horses dripping with
sweat, at the spot where now there is a temple built in their honour
beside the fountain. In memory of this, the day of the victory, the 15th
of July, is kept sacred to the Dioscuri.

IV. To win distinction early in life is said to quench and satisfy the
eagerness of some men whose desire for glory is not keen; but for those
with whom it is the ruling passion of their lives, the gaining of
honours only urges them on, as a ship is urged by a gale, to fresh
achievements. They do not regard themselves as having received a reward,
but as having given a pledge for the future, and they feel it their duty
not to disgrace the reputation which they have acquired, but to eclipse
their former fame by some new deed of prowess. Marcius, feeling this,
was ever trying to surpass himself in valour, and gained such prizes and
trophies that the later generals under whom he served were always
striving to outdo the former ones in their expressions of esteem for
him, and their testimony to his merits. Many as were the wars in which
Rome was then engaged, Marcius never returned from any without a prize
for valour or some especial mark of distinction. Other men were brave in
order to win glory, but Marcius won glory in order to please his mother.
That she should hear him praised, see him crowned, and embrace him
weeping for joy, was the greatest honour and happiness of his life.
Epameinondas is said to have had the same feelings, and to have
considered it to be his greatest good-fortune that his father and mother
were both alive to witness his triumphant success at the battle of
Leuktra. He, however, enjoyed the sympathy and applause of both parents,
but Marcius, being fatherless, lavished on his mother all that affection
which should have belonged to his father, besides her own share. So
boundless was his love for Volumnia that at her earnest desire he even
married a wife, but still continued to live in the house of his mother.

V. At this time, when his reputation and influence were very
considerable because of his prowess, there was a party-quarrel going on
in Rome between the patricians, who wished to defend the privileges of
men of property, and the people, who were suffering terrible
ill-treatment at the hands of their creditors. Those who possessed a
small property were forced either to pledge or to sell it, while those
who were absolutely destitute were carried off and imprisoned, though
they might be scarred and enfeebled from the wars in which they had
served in defence of their country. The last campaign was that against
the Sabines, after which their rich creditors promised to treat them
with less harshness. In pursuance of a decree of the Senate, Marcus
Valerius the consul was the guarantee of this promise. But when, after
serving manfully in this campaign and conquering the enemy, they met
with no better treatment from their creditors, and the Senate seemed
unmindful of its engagements, allowing them to be imprisoned and
distresses to be levied upon their property as before, there were
violent outbreaks and riots in the city. This disturbed condition of the
commonwealth was taken advantage of by the enemy, who invaded the
country and plundered it. When the consuls called all men of military
age to arms, no one obeyed, and then at last the patricians hesitated.
Some thought that they ought to yield to the lower classes, and make
some concessions instead of enforcing the strict letter of the law
against them; while others, among whom was Marcius, opposed this idea,
not because he thought the money of great consequence, but because he
considered this to be the beginning of an outburst of democratic
insolence which a wise government would take timely measures to suppress
before it gathered strength.

VI. As the Senate, although it frequently met, came to no decision on
this matter, the plebeians suddenly assembled in a body, left the city,
and established themselves on what was afterwards called the Mons Sacer,
or Sacred Hill, near the river Anio. They abstained from all factious
proceedings, and merely stated that they had been driven from the city
by the wealthy classes. Air and water and a place in which to be buried,
they said, could be obtained anywhere in Italy, and they could get
nothing more than this in Rome, except the privilege of being wounded or
slain in fighting battles on behalf of the rich. At this demonstration,
the Senate became alarmed, and sent the most moderate and popular of its
members to treat with the people. The spokesman of this embassy was
Menenius Agrippa, who, after begging the plebeians to come to terms, and
pleading the cause of the Senate with them, wound up his speech by the
following fable: Once upon a time, said he, all the members revolted
against the belly, reproaching it with lying idle in the body, and
making all the other members work in order to provide it with food; but
the belly laughed them to scorn, saying that it was quite true that it
took all the food which the body obtained, but that it afterwards
distributed it among all the members. "This," he said, "is the part
played by the Senate in the body politic. It digests and arranges all
the affairs of the State, and provides all of you with wholesome and
useful measures."

VII. Upon this they came to terms, after stipulating that five men
should be chosen to defend the cause of the people, who are now known as
tribunes of the people. They chose for the first tribunes the leaders of
the revolt, the chief of whom were Junius Brutus and Sicinius Vellutus.
As soon as the State was one again, the people assembled under arms, and
zealously offered their services for war to their rulers. Marcius,
though but little pleased with these concessions which the plebeians had
wrung from the patricians, yet, noticing that many patricians were of
his mind, called upon them not to be outdone in patriotism by the
plebeians, but to prove themselves their superiors in valour rather than
in political strength.

VIII. Corioli was the most important city of the Volscian nation, with
which Rome then was at war. The consul Cominius was besieging it, and
the Volscians, fearing it might be taken, gathered from all quarters,
meaning to fight a battle under the city walls, and so place the Romans
between two fires. Cominius divided his army, and led one part of it to
fight the relieving force, leaving Titus Lartius, a man of the noblest
birth in Rome, to continue the siege with the rest of his troops. The
garrison of Corioli, despising the small numbers of their besiegers,
attacked them and forced them to take shelter within their camp. But
there Marcius with a few followers checked their onset, slew the
foremost, and with a loud voice called on the Romans to rally. He was,
as Cato said a soldier should be, not merely able to deal weighty blows,
but struck terror into his enemies by the loud tones of his voice and
his martial appearance, so that few dared to stand their ground before
him. Many soldiers rallied round him and forced the enemy to retreat;
but he, not satisfied with this, followed them close and drove them in
headlong flight back to the city. On arriving there, although he saw
that the Romans were slackening their pursuit as many missiles were
aimed at them from the city walls, and none of them thought of daring to
enter together with the fugitives into a city full of armed men, yet he
stood and cheered them on, loudly telling them that fortune had opened
the city gates as much to the pursuers as to the pursued. Few cared to
follow him, but he, forcing his way through the crowd of fugitives,
entered the city with them, none daring at first to withstand him. Soon,
when the enemy saw how few of the Romans were within the gates, they
rallied and attacked them. Marcius, in the confused mass of friends and
foes, fought with incredible strength, swiftness, and courage,
overthrowing all whom he attacked, driving some to the further parts of
the town, and forcing others to lay down their arms, so that Lartius was
able to march the rest of the Roman army into the gates unmolested.

IX. When the city was taken, the greater part of the soldiers fell to
plundering it, which greatly vexed Marcius. He loudly exclaimed that it
was a disgraceful thing, when the consul was on the point of engaging
with the enemy, that they should be plundering, or, on the pretext of
plunder, keeping themselves safe out of harm's way. Few paid any
attention to him, but with those few he marched on the track of the main
body, frequently encouraging his followers to greater speed, and not to
give way to fatigue, and frequently praying to Heaven that he might not
come too late for the battle, but arrive in time to share the labours
and perils of his countrymen. There was at that time a custom among the
Romans, when they were drawn up in order of battle, ready to take their
shields in their hands, and to gird themselves with the trabea, to make
their will verbally, naming their heir in the presence of three or four
witnesses. The Roman army was found by Marcius in the act of performing
this ceremony. At first some were alarmed at seeing him appear with only
a few followers, covered with blood and sweat; but when he ran joyously
up to the consul and told him that Corioli was taken, Cominius embraced
him, and all the ranks took fresh courage, some because they heard, and
others because they guessed the glorious news. They eagerly demanded to
be led to battle. Marcius now enquired of Cominius how the enemy's line
of battle was arranged, and where it was strongest. When the consul
answered that he believed that the men of Antium, the proudest and
bravest troops of the Volscians, were posted in the centre, he answered,
"I beg of you, place us opposite to those men." The consul, filled with
admiration for his spirit, placed him there. As soon as the armies met,
Marcius charged before the rest, and the Volscians gave way before his
onset. The centre, where he attacked, was quite broken, but the ranks on
either side wheeled round and surrounded him, so that the consul feared
for his safety, and despatched the choicest of his own troops to his
aid. They found a hot battle raging round Marcius, and many slain, but
by the shock of their charge they drove off the enemy in confusion. As
they began to pursue them, they begged Marcius, now weary with toil and
wounds, to retire to the camp, but he, saying that "it was not for
victors to be weary," joined in the pursuit. The rest of the Volscian
army was defeated, many were slain, and many taken.

X. On the next day Lartius and the rest joined the consul. He ascended a
rostrum, and after returning suitable thanks to Heaven for such
unexampled successes, turned to Marcius. First he praised his conduct in
the highest terms, having himself witnessed some part of it, and having
learned the rest from Lartius. Next, as there were many prisoners,
horses, and other spoil, he bade him, before it was divided, choose a
tenth part for himself. He also presented him with a horse and
trappings, as a reward for his bravery. As all the Romans murmured their
approval, Marcius coming forward said that he gladly accepted the horse,
and was thankful for the praise which he had received from the consul.
As for the rest, he considered that to be mere pay, not a prize, and
refused it, preferring to take his share with the rest. "One especial
favour," said he, "I do beg of you. I had a friend among the Volscians,
who now is a captive, and from having been a rich and free man has
fallen to the condition of a slave. I wish to relieve him from one of
his many misfortunes--that of losing his liberty and being sold for a
slave." After these words, Marcius was cheered more than he had been
before, and men admired his disinterestedness more than they had admired
his bravery. Even those who grudged him his extraordinary honours now
thought that by his unselfishness he had shown himself worthy of them,
and admired his courage in refusing such presents more than the courage
by which he had won the right to them. Indeed, the right use of riches
is more glorious than that of arms, but not to desire them at all is
better even than using them well.

XI. When the cheering caused by Marcius's speech had subsided, Cominius
said: "Fellow soldiers, we cannot force a man against his will to
receive these presents; but, unless his achievements have already won it
for him, let us give him the title of Coriolanus, which he cannot
refuse, seeing for what it is bestowed, and let us confirm it by a
general vote."

Hence he obtained the third name of Coriolanus. From this we may clearly
see that his own personal name was Caius, and that Marcius was the
common name of his family, while the third name was added afterwards to
mark some particular exploit, peculiarity, or virtue in the bearer. So
also did the Greeks in former ages give men names derived from their
actions, such as Kallinikus (the Victor), or Soter (the Preserver); or
from their appearance, as Fusco (the Fat), or Gripus (the Hook-nosed);
or from their virtues, as Euergetes (the Benefactor), or Philadelphus
(the Lover of his Brethren), which were names of the Ptolemies: or from
their success, as Eudaemon (the Fortunate), a name given to the second
king of the race of Battus. Some princes have even had names given them
in jest, as Antigonus was called Doson (the Promiser), and Ptolemy
Lathyrus (the Vetch).

The Romans used this sort of name much more commonly, as for instance
they named one of the Metelli Diadematus, or wearer of the diadem,
because he walked about for a long time with his head bound up because
of a wound in the forehead.

Another of the same family was named Celer (the Swift), because of the
wonderful quickness with which he provided a show of gladiators on the
occasion of his father's funeral. Some even to the present day derive
their names from the circumstances of their birth, as for instance a
child is named Proculus if his father be abroad when he is born, and
Postumus if he be dead. If one of twins survive, he is named Vopiscus.
Of names taken from bodily peculiarities they use not only Sulla (the
Pimply), Niger (the Swarthy), Rufus (the Red-haired), but even such as
Caecus (the Blind), and Claudus (the Lame), wisely endeavouring to
accustom men to consider neither blindness nor any other bodily defect
to be any disgrace or matter of reproach, but to answer to these names
as if they were their own. However, this belongs to a different branch
of study.

XII. When the war was over, the popular orators renewed the
party-quarrels, not that they had any new cause of complaint or any just
grievance to proceed upon; but the evil result which had necessarily
been produced by their former riotous contests were now made the ground
of attacks on the patricians. A great part of the country was left
unsown and untilled, while the war gave no opportunities for importation
from other countries. The demagogues, therefore, seeing that there was
no corn in the market, and that even if there had been any, the people
were not able to buy it, spread malicious accusations against the rich,
saying that they had purposely produced this famine in order to pay off
an old grudge against the people. At this juncture ambassadors arrived
from the town of Velitrae, who delivered up their city to the Romans,
desiring that they would send some new inhabitants to people it, as a
pestilence had made such havoc among the citizens that there was
scarcely a tenth part of them remaining alive.

The wiser Romans thought that this demand of the people of Velitrae
would confer a most seasonable relief on themselves, and would put an
end to their domestic troubles, if they could only transfer the more
violent partizans of the popular party thither, and so purge the State
of its more disorderly elements. The consuls accordingly chose out all
these men and sent them to colonize Velitrae, and enrolled the rest for
a campaign against the Volsci, that they might not have leisure for
revolutionary plottings, but that when they were all gathered together,
rich and poor, patrician and plebeian alike, to share in the common
dangers of a camp, they might learn to regard one another with less
hatred and illwill.

XIII. But Sicinnius and Brutus, the tribunes of the people, now
interposed, crying aloud that the consuls were veiling a most barbarous
action under the specious name of sending out colonists. They were
despatching many poor men to certain destruction by transporting them to
a city whose air was full of pestilence and the stench from unburied
corpses, where they were to dwell under the auspices of a god who was
not only not their own, but angry with them. And after that, as if it
was not sufficient for them that some of the citizens should be starved,
and others be exposed to the plague, they must needs plunge wantonly
into war, in order that the city might suffer every conceivable misery
at once, because it had refused any longer to remain in slavery to the
rich. Excited by these speeches, the people would not enrol themselves
as soldiers for the war, and looked with suspicion on the proposal for
the new colony. The Senate was greatly perplexed, but Marcius, now a
person of great importance and very highly thought of in the State,
began to place himself in direct opposition to the popular leaders, and
to support the patrician cause. In spite of the efforts of the
demagogues, a colony was sent out to Velitrae, those whose names were
drawn by lot being compelled by heavy penalties to go thither; but as
the people utterly refused to serve in the campaign against the
Volscians, Marcius made up a troop of his own clients, with which and
what others he could persuade to join him he made an inroad into the
territory of Antium. Here he found much corn, and captured many
prisoners and much cattle. He kept none of it for himself, but returned
to Rome with his troops loaded with plunder. This caused the others to
repent of their determination, when they saw the wealth which these men
had obtained, but it embittered their hatred of Marcius, whom they
regarded as gaining glory for himself at the expense of the people.

XIV. Shortly after this, however, Marcius stood for the consulship, and
then the people relented and felt ashamed to affront such a man, first
in arms as in place, and the author of so many benefits to the State. It
was the custom at Rome for those who were candidates for any office to
address and ingratiate themselves with the people, going about the Forum
in a toga without any tunic underneath it, either in order to show their
humility by such a dress, or else in order to display the wounds which
they had received, in token of their valour. At that early period there
could be no suspicion of bribery, and it was not for that reason that
the citizens wished their candidates to come down among them ungirt and
without a tunic. It was not till long afterwards that votes were bought
and sold, and that a candidature became an affair of money. This habit
of receiving bribes, when once introduced, spread to the courts of
justice and to the armies of the commonwealth, and finally brought the
city under the despotic rule of the emperors, as the power of arms was
not equal to that of money. For it was well said that he who first
introduced the habit of feasting and bribing voters ruined the
constitution. This plague crept secretly and silently into Rome, and was
for a long time undiscovered. We cannot tell who was the first to bribe
the people or the courts of law at Rome. At Athens it is said that the
first man who gave money to the judges for his acquittal was Anytus the
son of Anthemion, when he was tried for treachery at Pylos towards the
end of the Peloponnesian War, a period when men of uncorrupted
simplicity and virtue were still to be found in the Forum at Rome.

XV. Marcius displayed many scars, gained in the numerous battles in
which for seventeen years in succession he had always taken a prominent
part. The people were abashed at these evidences of his valour, and
agreed among themselves that they would return him as consul. But when,
on the day of election, he appeared in the Forum, escorted by a splendid
procession of the entire Senate, and all the patricians were seen
collected round him evidently intent upon obtaining his election, many
of the people lost their feeling of goodwill towards him, and regarded
him with indignation and envy; which passions were assisted by their
fear lest, if a man of such aristocratic tendencies and such influence
with the patricians should obtain power, he might altogether destroy the
liberties of the people. For these reasons they did not elect Marcius.
When two persons had been elected consuls, the Senate was much
irritated, considering that it, rather than its candidate Marcius, had
been insulted, while he was much enraged, and could not bear his
disgrace with any temper or patience, being accustomed always to yield
to the more violent and ferocious emotions as being the more spirited
course, without any mixture of gravity and self-restraint, virtues so
necessary for political life. He had never learned how essential it is
for one who undertakes to deal with men, and engage in public business,
to avoid above all things that self-will which, as Plato says, is of the
family of solitude, and to become longsuffering and patient, qualities
which some foolish people hold very cheap. Marcius, plain and
straightforward, thinking it to be the duty of a brave man to bear down
all opposition, and not reflecting that it is rather a sign of weakness
and feebleness of mind to be unable to restrain one's passion, flung
away in a rage, bitterly irritated against the people. The young
aristocracy of Rome, who had ever been his fast friends, now did him an
ill service by encouraging and exasperating his anger by their
expressions of sympathy; for he was their favourite leader and a most
kind instructor in the art of war when on a campaign, as he taught them
to delight in deeds of prowess without envying and grudging one another
their proper meed of praise.

XVI. While this was the state of affairs at Rome, a large amount of corn
arrived there, some of which had been bought in Italy, but most of it
sent as a present from Sicily by Gelon the despot; which gave most men
hopes that the famine would come to an end, and that the quarrel between
the patricians and plebeians would, under these improved circumstances,
be made up. The Senate at once assembled, and the people eagerly waited
outside the doors of the senate house, expecting and hoping that prices
would be lowered, and that the present of corn would be distributed
gratis among them; and indeed some of the senators advised the adoption
of that course. Marcius, however, rose and bitterly inveighed against
those who favoured the people, calling them demagogues and betrayers of
their own order, alleging that by such gratification they did but
cherish that spirit of boldness and arrogance which had been spread
among the people against the patricians, which they would have done well
to crush upon its first appearance, and not suffer the plebeians to grow
so strong by giving so much power to the tribunes of the people. Now, he
urged, they had become formidable because every demand they made had
been agreed to, and nothing done against their wishes; they contemned
the authority of the consuls, and lived in defiance of the constitution,
governed only by their own seditious ringleaders, to whom they gave the
title of tribunes. For the Senate to sit and decree largesses of corn to
the populace, as is done in the most democratic States in Greece, would
merely be to pay them for their disobedience, to the common ruin of all
classes. "They cannot," he went on to say, "consider this largess of
corn to be a reward for the campaign in which they have refused to
serve, or for the secession by which they betrayed their country, or the
scandals which they have been so willing to believe against the Senate.
As they cannot be said to deserve this bounty, they will imagine that it
has been bestowed upon them by you because you fear them, and wish to
pay your court to them. In this case there will be no bounds to their
insubordination, and they never will cease from riots and disorders. To
give it them is clearly an insane proceeding; nay, we ought rather, if
we are wise, to take away from them this privilege of the tribuneship,
which is a distinct subversion of the consulate, and a cause of
dissension in the city, which now is no longer one, as before, but is
rent asunder in such a manner that there is no prospect of our ever
being reunited, and ceasing to be divided into two hostile factions."

XVII. With much talk to this effect Marcius excited the young men, with
whom he was influential, and nearly all the richer classes, who loudly
declared that he was the only man in the State who was insensible both
to force and to flattery. Some of the elders, however, opposed him,
foreseeing what would be the result of his policy. Indeed, no good
resulted from it. The tribunes of the people, as soon as they heard that
Marcius had carried his point, rushed down into the forum and called
loudly upon the people to assemble and stand by them. A disorderly
assembly took place, and on a report being made of Marcius's speech, the
fury of the people was so great that it was proposed to break into the
senate house; but the tribunes turned all the blame upon Marcius alone,
and sent for him to come and speak in his own defence. As this demand
was insolently refused, the tribunes themselves, together with the
aediles, went to bring him by force, and actually laid hands upon him.
However, the patricians rallied round him, thrust away the tribunes of
the people, and even beat the aediles, their assistants in this quarrel.
Night put an end to the conflict, but at daybreak the consuls, seeing
the people terribly excited, and gathering in the forum from all
quarters, began to fear the consequences of their fury. They assembled
the senators and bade them endeavour, by mild language and healing
measures, to pacify the multitude, as it was no season for pride or for
standing upon their dignity, but if they were wise they would perceive
that so dangerous and critical a posture of affairs required a temperate
and popular policy. The majority of the senators yielded, and the
consuls proceeded to soothe the people in the best way they could,
answering gently such charges as had been brought against them, even
speaking with the utmost caution when blaming the people for their late
outrageous conduct, and declaring that there should be no difference of
opinion between them about the way in which corn should be supplied, and
about the price of provisions.

XVIII. As the people now for the most part had cooled down, and from
their attentive and orderly demeanour were evidently much wrought upon
by the words of the consuls, the tribunes came forward and addressed
them. They said that now that the Senate had come to a better frame of
mind, the people would willingly make concessions in their turn; but
they insisted that Marcius should apologise for his conduct, or deny if
he could that he had excited the Senate to destroy the constitution,
that when summoned to appear he had disobeyed, and that finally he had,
by beating and insulting the aediles in the market-place, done all that
lay in his power to raise a civil war and make the citizens shed one
another's blood. Their object in saying this was either to humble
Marcius, by making him entreat the clemency of the people, which was
much against his haughty temper, or else expecting that he would yield
to his fiery nature and make the breach between himself and the people
incurable. The latter was what they hoped for from their knowledge of
his character.

Marcius came forward to speak in his defence, and the people stood
listening in dead silence. But when, instead of the apologetic speech
which they expected, he began to speak with a freedom which seemed more
like accusing them than defending himself, while the tones of his voice
and the expression of his countenance showed a fearless contempt for his
audience, the people became angry, and plainly showed their
disapprobation of what he said. Upon this, Sicinnius, the boldest of the
tribunes, after a short consultation with his colleagues, came forward
and said that the tribunes had condemned Marcius to suffer the penalty
of death, and ordered the aediles to lead him at once to the Capitol,
and cast him down the Tarpeian rock. When the aediles laid hold of him,
many of the people themselves seemed struck with horror and remorse, and
the patricians in the wildest excitement, called upon one another to
rescue him, and by main force tore him from his assailants and placed
him in the midst of themselves. Some of them held out their hands and
besought the populace by signs, as no voice could be heard in such an
uproar. At last the friends and relations of the tribunes, seeing that
it was impossible to carry out their sentence on Marcius without much
bloodshed, persuaded them to alter the cruel and unprecedented part of
the sentence, and not to put him to death by violence, or without a
trial, but to refer the matter to the people, to be voted upon by them.
Upon this Sicinnius, turning to the patricians, demanded what they meant
by rescuing Marcius from the people when they intended to punish him.
They at once retorted, "Nay, what do you mean by dragging one of the
bravest and best men in Rome to a cruel and illegal death?" "You shall
not," answered Sicinnius, "make that a ground of quarrel with the
people, for we allow you what you demand, that this man be put on his
trial. You, Marcius, we summon to appear in the forum on the third
market-day ensuing, and prove your innocence if you can, as the votes of
your countrymen will be then taken about your conduct."

XIX. The patricians were glad enough to terminate the affair in this
way, and retired rejoicing, bearing Marcius with them. During the time
which was to elapse before the third market-day (which the Romans hold
on every ninth day, and therefore call them nundinae), they had some
hope that a campaign against the people of Antium would enable them to
put off the trial until the people's anger had abated through length of
time and warlike occupations; afterwards, as they came to terms at once
with the Antiates, the patricians held frequent meetings, in which they
expressed their fear of the people, and considered by what means they
could avoid delivering Marcius up to them, and prevent their mob orators
from exciting them. Appius Claudius, who had the reputation of being the
bitterest enemy of the people in Rome, gave it as his opinion that the
Senate would destroy itself and ruin the State utterly if it permitted
the people to assume the power of trying patricians and voting on their
trials; while the older men, and those who were more inclined to the
popular side, thought that this power would render the people gentle and
temperate, and not savage and cruel. The people, they said, did not
despise the Senate, but imagined that they were despised by it, so that
this privilege of holding the trial would agreeably salve their wounded
vanity, and, as they exercised their franchise, they would lay aside
their anger.

XX. Marcius, perceiving that the Senate, divided between their regard
for himself and their fear of the people, knew not what to do, himself
asked the tribunes of the people what it was that he was charged with,
and what indictment they intended to bring against him at his trial.
When they answered that the charge against him was one of treason,
because he had attempted to make himself absolute despot in Rome, and
that they would prove it, he at once rose, saying that he would at once
defend himself before the people on that score, and that if he were
convicted, he would not refuse to undergo any punishment whatever;
"Only," said he, "do not bring forward some other charge against me, and
deceive the Senate." When they had agreed upon these conditions, the
trial took place.

The tribunes, however, when the people assembled, made them vote by
tribes, and not by centuries;[A] by which device the votes of rich
respectable men who had served the State in the wars would be swamped by
those of the needy rabble who cared nothing for truth or honour. In the
next place, they passed by the charge of treason, as being impossible to
prove, and repeated what Marcius had originally said before the Senate,
when he dissuaded them from lowering the price of corn, and advised the
abolition of the office of tribune. A new count in the indictment was
that he had not paid over the money raised by the sale of the plunder
after his expedition against Antium, but had divided it among his own
followers. This last accusation is said to have disturbed Marcius more
than all the rest, as he had never expected it, and was not prepared
with any answer that would satisfy the people, so that the praises which
he bestowed on those who had made that campaign with him only angered
the far greater number who had not done so. At last the people voted.
Marcius was condemned by a majority of the tribes, and was sentenced to
perpetual banishment. After sentence was passed, the people displayed
greater joy than if they had won a pitched battle, while the Senate was
downcast and filled with regret at not having run any risks rather than
allow the people to obtain so much power, and use it so insolently. Nor
was there any need for distinctions of dress or anything else to
distinguish the two parties, because a plebeian might be told at once by
his delight, a patrician by his sorrow.

[Footnote A: See the article "Comitia" in Dr. Smith's Dictionary of

XXI. Marcius himself, however, remained unmoved. Proud and haughty as
ever, he appeared not to be sorry for himself, and to be the only one of
the patricians who was not. This calmness, however, was not due to any
evenness of temper or any intention of bearing his wrongs meekly. It
arose from concentrated rage and fury, which many do not know to be an
expression of great grief. When the mind is inflamed with this passion,
it casts out all ideas of submission or of quiet. Hence an angry man is
courageous, just as a fever patient is hot, because of the inflamed
throbbing excitement of his mind. And Marcius soon showed that this was
his own condition. He went home, embraced his weeping wife and mother,
bade them bear this calamity with patience, and at once proceeded to the
city gates, escorted by the patricians in a body. Thence, taking nothing
with him, and asking no man for any thing, he went off, accompanied by
three or four of his clients. He remained for a few days at some farms
near the city, agitated deeply by conflicting passions. His anger
suggested no scheme by which he might benefit himself, but only how to
revenge himself on the Romans. At length he decided that he would raise
up a cruel war against them, and proceeded at once to make application
to the neighbouring nation of the Volscians, whom he knew to be rich and
powerful, and only to have suffered sufficiently by their late defeats
to make them desirous of renewing their quarrel with Rome.

XXII. There was a certain citizen of Antium named Tullus Aufidius, who,
from his wealth, courage, and noble birth, was regarded as the most
important man in the whole Volscian nation. Marcius knew that this man
hated him more than any other Roman; for in battle they had often met,
and by challenging and defying one another, as young warriors are wont
to do, they had, in addition to their national antipathy, gained a
violent personal hatred for one another. In spite of this, however,
knowing the generous nature of Tullus, and longing more than any
Volscian to requite the Romans for their treatment, he justified the

    "'Tis hard to strive with rage, which aye,
    Though life's the forfeit, gains its way."

He disguised himself as completely as he could, and, like Ulysses,

    "Into the city of his foes he came."

XXIII. It was evening when he entered Antium, and although many met him,
no one recognised him. He went to Tullus's house, and entering, sat down
by the hearth in silence, with his head wrapped in his cloak. The
domestics, astonished at his behaviour, did not dare to disturb him, as
there was a certain dignity about his appearance and his silence, but
went and told Tullus, who was at supper, of this strange incident.
Tullus rose, went to him, and inquired who he was and what he wanted.
Then at length Marcius uncovered his face, and, after a short pause,
said, "If you do not recognise me, Tullus, or if you do not believe your
eyes, I must myself tell you who I am. I am Caius Marcius, who has
wrought you and the Volscians more mischief than any one else, and who,
lest I should deny this, have received the additional title of
Coriolanus. This I cannot lose: every thing else has been taken from me
by the envious spite of the people, and the treacherous remissness of
the upper classes. I am an exile, and I now sit as a suppliant on your
hearth, begging you, not for safety or protection, for should I have
come hither if I feared to die, but for vengeance against those who
drove me forth, which I am already beginning to receive by putting
myself in your hands. If then, my brave Tullus, you wish to attack your
foes, make use of my misfortunes, and let my disgrace be the common
happiness of all the Volscians. I shall fight for you much better than I
have fought against you, because I have the advantage of knowing exactly
the strength and weakness of the enemy. If, however, you are tired of
war, I have no wish for life, nor is it to your credit to save the life
of one who once was your personal enemy, and who now is worn out and
useless." Tullus was greatly delighted with this speech, and giving him
his right hand, answered, "Rise, Marcius, and be of good courage. You
have brought us a noble present, yourself; rest assured that the
Volscians will not be ungrateful." He then feasted Marcius with great
hospitality, and for some days they conferred together as to the best
method of carrying on the war.

XXIV. Rome meanwhile was disturbed by the anger of the patricians
towards the plebeians, especially on account of the banishment of
Marcius, and by many portents which were observed both by the priests
and by private persons, one of which was as follows. There was one Titus
Latinus, a man of no great note, but a respectable citizen and by no
means addicted to superstition. He dreamed that he saw Jupiter face to
face, and that the god bade him tell the Senate that "they had sent a
bad dancer before his procession, and one who was very displeasing to

On first seeing this vision he said that he disregarded it; but after it
had occurred a second and a third time he had the unhappiness to see his
son sicken and die, while he himself suddenly lost the use of his limbs.

He told this story in the senate house, to which he had been carried on
a litter; and as soon as he had told it, he found his bodily strength
return, rose, and walked home.

The senators, greatly astonished, inquired into the matter. It was found
that a slave, convicted of some crime, had been ordered by his master to
be flogged through the market-place, and then put to death. While this
was being done, and the wretch was twisting his body in every kind of
contortion as he writhed under the blows, the procession by chance was
following after him. Many of those who walked in it were shocked at the
unseemliness of the spectacle, and disgusted at its inhumanity, but no
one did anything more than reproach and execrate a man who treated his
slaves with so much cruelty.

At that period men treated their slaves with great kindness, because
the master himself worked and ate in their company, and so could
sympathise more with them. The great punishment for a slave who had done
wrong was to make him carry round the neighbourhood the piece of wood on
which the pole of a waggon is rested. The slave who has done this and
been seen by the neighbours and friends, lost his credit, and was called
_furcifer_, for the Romans call that piece of timber _furca_, "a fork,"
which the Greeks call _hypostates_, "a supporter."

XXV. So when Latinus related his dream to the senators, and they were
wondering who the bad and unacceptable dancer could be who had led the
procession, some of them remembered the slave who had been flogged
through the market-place and there put to death. At the instance of the
priests, the master of the slave was punished for his cruelty, and the
procession and ceremonies were performed anew in honour of the gods.
Hence we may see how wisely Numa arranged this, among other matters of
ceremonial. Whenever the magistrates or priests were engaged in any
religious rite, a herald walked before them crying in a loud voice "_Hoc
age_." The meaning of the phrase is, "Do this," meaning to tell the
people to apply their minds entirely to the religious ceremony, and not
to allow any thought of worldly things to distract their attention,
because men as a rule only attend to such matters by putting a certain
constraint on their thoughts.

It is the custom in Rome to begin a sacrifice, a procession, or a
spectacle, over again, not only when anything of this kind happens, but
for any trifling reason. Thus, if one of the horses drawing the sacred
car called Thensa stumbles, or the charioteer takes the reins in his
left hand, they have decreed that the procession must begin again. In
later times they have been known to perform one sacrifice thirty times,
because every time some slight omission or mistake took place.

XXVI. Meanwhile Marcius and Tullus in Antium held private conferences
with the chief men of the Volscians, and advised them to begin the war
while Rome was divided by its domestic quarrels. They discountenanced
this proposal, because a truce and cessation of hostilities for two
years had been agreed upon: but the Romans themselves gave them a
pretext for breaking the truce, by a proclamation which was made at the
public games, that all Volscians should quit the city before sunset.
Some say this was effected by a stratagem of Marcius, who sent a false
accusation against the Volscians to the magistrates at Rome, saying that
during the public games they meant to attack the Romans and burn the
city. This proclamation made them yet bitterer enemies to the Romans
than before; and Tullus, wishing to bring the business to a climax,
induced his countrymen to send ambassadors to Rome to demand back the
cities and territory which the Romans had taken from the Volscians in
the late war. The Romans were very indignant when they heard these
demands, and made answer, that the Volscians might be the first to take
up arms, but that the Romans would be the last to lay them down. Upon
this, Tullus convoked a general assembly, in which, after determining
upon war, he advised them to summon Marcius to their aid, not owing him
any grudge for what they had suffered at his hands, but believing that
he would be more valuable to them as a friend than he had been dangerous
as an enemy.

XXVII. Marcius was called before the assembly, and having addressed the
people, was thought by them to know how to speak as well as how to
fight, and was considered to be a man of great ability and courage. He,
together with Tullus, was nominated general with unlimited powers. As he
feared the Volscians would take a long time to prepare for the war, and
that meanwhile the opportunity for attack might pass away, he ordered
the leading men in the city to make all necessary preparations, and
himself taking the boldest and most forward as volunteers, without
levying any troops by compulsory conscription, made a sudden and
unexpected inroad into the Roman territory. Here he obtained so much
plunder that the Volscians were wearied with carrying it off and
consuming it in their camp. However, his least object was to obtain
plunder and lay waste the country; his main desire was to render the
patricians suspected by the people. While all else was ravaged and
destroyed, he carefully protected their farms, and would not allow any
damage to be done or anything to be carried off from them. This
increased the disorders at Rome, the patricians reproaching the people
for having unjustly banished so able a man, while the plebeians accused
them of having invited Marcius to attack in order to obtain their
revenge, and said that, while others fought, they sat as idle
spectators, having in the war itself a sure safeguard of their wealth
and estates. Having produced this new quarrel among the Romans, and,
besides loading the Volscians with plunder, having taught them to
despise their enemy, Marcius led his troops back in safety.

XXVIII. By great and zealous exertions the entire Volscian nation was
soon assembled under arms. The force thus raised was very large; part
was left to garrison the cities, as a measure of precaution, while the
rest was to be used in the campaign against Rome. Marcius now left
Tullus to determine which corps he would command. Tullus, in answer,
said that as Marcius, he knew, was as brave a man as himself, and had
always enjoyed better fortune in all his battles, he had better command
the army in the field. He himself, he added, would remain behind, watch
over the safety of the Volscian cities, and supply the troops with
necessaries. Marcius, strengthened by this division of the command,
marched to the town of Circeii, a Roman colony. As it surrendered, he
did it no harm, but laid waste the country of Latium, where he expected
the Romans would fight a battle in defence of their allies the Latins,
who frequently sent to entreat their protection. But at Rome the people
were unwilling to fight, and the consuls were just at the expiry of
their term of office, so that they did not care to run any risks, and
therefore rejected the appeals of the Latins. Marcius now led his troops
against the Latian cities, Tolerium, Labici, Pedum, and Bola, all of
which he took by storm, sold the inhabitants for slaves, and plundered
the houses. Those cities, however, which voluntarily came to his side he
treated with the utmost consideration, even pitching his camp at a
distance, for fear they might be injured by the soldiery against his
will, and never plundering their territory.

XXIX. When at last he took Bollae, a town not more than twelve miles
from Rome, obtaining immense booty and putting nearly all the adult
inhabitants to the sword, then not even those Volscians who had been
appointed to garrison the cities would any longer remain at their posts,
but seized their arms and joined the army of Marcius, declaring that he
was their only general, and that they would recognise no other leader.
His renown and glory spread throughout all Italy, and all men were
astonished that one man by changing sides should have produced so great
a change. The affairs of Rome were in the last disorder, the people
refusing to fight, while internal quarrels and seditious speeches took
place daily, until news came that Lavinium was being invested by the
enemy. This town contains the most ancient images and sacred things of
the tutelary deities of Rome, and is the origin of the Roman people,
being the first town founded by Aeneas.

Upon this a very singular change of opinions befel both the people and
the Senate. The people were eager to annul their sentence against
Marcius, and to beg him to return, but the Senate, after meeting and
considering this proposal, finally rejected it, either out of a mere
spirit of opposition to anything proposed by the people, or because they
did not wish him to return by favour of the people; or it may be because
they themselves were now angry with him for having shown himself the
enemy of all classes alike, although he had only been injured by one,
and for having become the avowed enemy of his country, in which he knew
that the best and noblest all sympathised with him, and had suffered
along with him. When this resolution was made known to the people, they
were unable to proceed to vote or to pass any bill on the subject,
without a previous decree of the Senate.

XXX. Marcius when he heard of this was more exasperated than ever. He
raised his siege of Lavinium, marched straight upon Rome, and pitched
his camp five miles from the city, at the place called _Fossae
Cluiliae_. The appearance of his army caused much terror and
disturbance, but nevertheless put an end to sedition, for no magistrate
or patrician dared any longer oppose the people's desire to recall him.
When they beheld the women running distractedly through the city, the
old men weeping and praying at the altars, and no one able to take
courage and form any plan of defence, it was agreed that the people had
been right in wishing to come to terms with Marcius, and that the Senate
had committed a fatal error in inflicting a new outrage upon him, just
at the time when all unkindness might have been buried. It was
determined, therefore, by the whole city that an embassy should be
despatched to Marcius, to offer him restoration to his own country, and
to beg of him to make peace. Those of the Senate who were sent were
relations of Marcius, and expected to be warmly welcomed by a man who
was their near relation and personal friend. Nothing of the kind,
however, happened. They were conducted through the enemy's camp, and
found him seated, and displaying insufferable pride and arrogance, with
the chiefs of the Volscians standing round him. He bade the ambassadors
deliver their message; and after they had, in a supplicatory fashion,
pronounced a conciliatory oration, he answered them, dwelling with
bitterness on his own unjust treatment; and then in his capacity of
general-in-chief of the Volscians, he bade them restore the cities and
territory which they had conquered in the late war, and to grant the
franchise to the Volscians on the same terms as enjoyed by the Latins.
These, he said, were the only conditions on which a just and lasting
peace could be made. He allowed them a space of thirty days for
deliberation, and on the departure of the ambassadors immediately drew
off his forces.

XXXI. This affair gave an opportunity to several of the Volscians, who
had long envied and disliked his reputation, and the influence which he
had with the people. Among these was Tullus himself, who had not been
personally wronged by Marcius, but who, as it is natural he should, felt
vexed at being totally eclipsed and thrown into the shade, for the
Volscians now thought Marcius the greatest man in their whole nation,
and considered that any one else ought to be thankful for any measure of
authority that he might think fit to bestow. Hence secret hints were
exchanged, and private meetings held, in which his enemies expressed
their dissatisfaction, calling the retreat from Rome an act of treason,
not indeed that he had betrayed any cities or armies to the enemy, but
he had granted them time, by which all other things are won and lost. He
had given the enemy a breathing time, they said, of thirty days, being
no less than they required to put themselves in a posture of defence.

Marcius during this time was not idle, for he attacked and defeated the
allies of the Romans, and captured seven large and populous towns. The
Romans did not venture to come to help their allies, but hung back from
taking the field, and seemed as if paralysed and benumbed. When the term
had expired, Marcius presented himself a second time before Rome, with
his entire army. The Romans now sent a second embassy, begging him to
lay aside his anger, withdraw the Volscians from the country, and then
to make such terms as would be for the advantage of both nations. The
Romans, they said, would yield nothing to fear; but if he thought that
special concessions ought to be made to the Volscians, they would be
duly considered if they laid down their arms. To this Marcius answered
that, as general of the Volscians, he could give them no answer; but
that as one who was still a citizen of Rome he would advise them to
adopt a humbler frame of mind, and come to him in three days with a
ratification of his proposals. If they should come to any other
determination, he warned them that it would not be safe for them to come
to his camp again with empty words.

XXXII. When the ambassadors returned, and the Senate heard their report,
they determined in this dreadful extremity to let go their sheet anchor.
They ordered all the priests, ministers, and guardians of the sacred
mysteries, and all the hereditary prophets who watched the omens given
by the flight of birds, to go in procession to Marcius, dressed in their
sacred vestments, and beseech him to desist from the war, and then to
negotiate conditions of peace between his countrymen and the Volscians.
Marcius received the priests in his camp, but relaxed nothing of his
former harshness, bidding the Romans either accept his proposals or
continue the war.

When the priests returned, the Romans resolved in future to remain
within the city, repulse any assault which might be made on the walls,
and trust to time and fortune, as it was evident that they could not be
saved by anything that they could do. The city was full of confusion,
excitement, and panic terror, until there happened something like what
is mentioned in Homer, but which men as a rule are unwilling to believe.
He observes that on great and important occasions

    "Athene placed a thought within his mind;"

and again--

    "But some one of th' immortals changed my mind,
    And made me think of what the folk would say;"


    "Because he thought it, or because the god
    Commanded him to do so."

Men despise the poet, as if, in order to carry out his absurd
mythological scheme, he denied each man his liberty of will. Now Homer
does nothing of this kind, for whatever is reasonable and likely he
ascribes to the exercise of our own powers, as we see in the common

    "But I reflected in my mighty soul;"


    "Thus spoke he, but the son of Peleus raged,
    Divided was his soul within his breast;"

and again--

                 "But she persuaded not
    The wise Bellerophon, of noble mind."

But in strange and unlikely actions, where the actors must have been
under the influence of some supernatural impulse, he does speak of the
god not as destroying, but as directing the human will; nor does the god
directly produce any decision, but suggests ideas which influence that
decision. Thus the act is not an involuntary one, but opportunity is
given for a voluntary act, with confidence and good hope superadded. For
either we must admit that the gods have no dealings and influence at all
with men, or else it must be in this way that they act when they assist
and strengthen us, not of course by moving our hands and feet, but by
filling our minds with thoughts and ideas which either encourage us to
do what is right, or restrain us from what is wrong.

XXXIII. At Rome at this time the women were praying in all the temples,
especially in that of Jupiter in the Capitol, where the noblest ladies
in Rome were assembled. Among them was Valeria, the sister of the great
Poplicola, who had done such great services to the State both in peace
and war. Poplicola died some time before, as has been related in his
Life, but his sister was held in great honour and esteem in Rome, as her
life did credit to her noble birth. She now experienced one of the
divine impulses of which I have spoken, and, inspired by Heaven to do
what was best for her country, rose and called on the other ladies to
accompany her to the house of Volumnia, the mother of Marcius. On
entering, and finding her sitting with her daughter-in-law, nursing the
children of Marcius, Valeria placed her companions in a circle round
them, and spoke as follows: "Volumnia, and you, Virgilia, we have come
to you, as women to women, without any decree of the Senate or
instructions from a magistrate; but Heaven, it would appear, has heard
our prayers, and has inspired us with the idea of coming hither to beg
of you to save our countrymen, and to gain for yourselves greater glory
than that of the Sabine women when they reconciled their husbands and
their fathers. Come with us to Marcius, join us in supplicating him for
mercy, and bear an honourable testimony to your country, that it never
has thought of hurting you, however terribly it has been injured by
Marcius, but that it restores you to him uninjured, although possibly it
will gain no better terms by so doing." When Valeria had spoken thus,
the other women applauded, and Volumnia answered in the following words:
"My friends, besides those sufferings which all are now undergoing, we
are especially to be pitied. We have lost the glory and goodness of our
Marcius, and now see him more imprisoned in than protected by the army
of the enemy. But the greatest misfortune of all is that our country
should have become so weak as to be obliged to rest its hopes of safety
on us. I cannot tell if he will pay any attention to us, seeing that he
has treated his native country with scorn, although he used to love it
better than his mother, his wife, and his children. However, take us,
and make what use of us you can. Lead us into his presence, and there,
if we can do nothing else, we can die at his feet supplicating for

XXXIV. Having spoken thus, she took Virgilia and her children, and
proceeded, in company with the other women, to the Volscian camp. Their
piteous appearance produced, even in their enemies, a silent respect.
Marcius himself was seated on his tribunal with the chief officers; and
when he saw the procession of women was at first filled with amazement;
but when he recognised his mother walking first, although he tried to
support his usual stern composure, he was overcome by his emotion. He
could not bear to receive her sitting, but descended and ran to meet
her. He embraced his mother first, and longest of all; and then his wife
and children, no longer restraining his tears and caresses, but
completely carried away by his feelings.

XXXV. When he had taken his fill of embraces, perceiving that his mother
desired to address him, he called the chiefs of the Volscians together,
and listened to Volumnia, who addressed him as follows:

"You may judge, my son, by our dress and appearance, even though we keep
silence, to what a miserable condition your exile has reduced us at
home. Think now, how unhappy we must be, beyond all other women, when
fortune has made the sight which ought to be most pleasing to us, most
terrible, when I see my son, and your wife here sees her husband,
besieging his native city. Even that which consoles people under all
other misfortunes, prayer to the gods, has become impossible for us. We
cannot beg of heaven to give us the victory and to save you, but our
prayers for you must always resemble the imprecations of our enemies
against Rome. Your wife and children are in such a position, that they
must either lose you or lose their native country. For my own part, I
cannot bear to live until fortune decides the event of this war. If I
cannot now persuade you to make a lasting peace, and so become the
benefactor instead of the scourge of the two nations, be well assured
that you shall never assail Rome without first passing over the corpse
of your mother. I cannot wait for that day on which I shall either see
my countrymen triumphing over my son, or my son triumphing over his
country. If indeed I were to ask you to betray the Volscians and save
your country, this would be a hard request for you to grant; for though
it is base to destroy one's own fellow citizens, it is equally wrong to
betray those who have trusted you. But we merely ask for a respite from
our sufferings, which will save both nations alike from ruin, and which
will be all the more glorious for the Volscians because their
superiority in the field has put them in a position to grant us the
greatest of blessings, peace and concord, in which they also will share
alike with us. You will be chiefly to be thanked for these blessings, if
we obtain them, and chiefly to be blamed if we do not. For though the
issue of war is always doubtful, this much is evident, that if you
succeed, you will become your country's evil genius, and if you fail,
you will have inflicted the greatest miseries on men who are your
friends and benefactors, merely in order to gratify your own private

XXXVI. While Volumnia spoke thus, Marcius listened to her in silence.
After she had ceased, he stood for a long while without speaking, until
she again addressed him. "Why art thou silent, my son? Is it honourable
to make everything give way to your rancorous hatred, and is it a
disgrace to yield to your mother, when she pleads for such important
matters? Does it become a great man to remember that he has been ill
treated, and does it not rather become him to recollect the debt which
children owe to their parents. And yet no one ought to be more grateful
than you yourself, who punish ingratitude so bitterly: in spite of
which, though you have already taken a deep revenge on your country for
its ill treatment of you, you have not made your mother any return for
her kindness. It would have been right for me to gain my point without
any pressure, when pleading in such a just and honourable cause; but if
I cannot prevail by words, this resource alone is left me." Saying this,
she fell at his feet, together with his wife and children. Marcius,
crying out, "What have you done to me, mother?" raised her from the
ground, and pressing her hand violently, exclaimed, "You have conquered;
your victory is a blessed one for Rome, but ruinous to me, for I shall
retreat conquered by you alone." After speaking thus, and conferring for
a short time in private with his mother and his wife, he at their own
request sent them back to Rome, and the following night led away the
Volscian army. Various opinions were current among the Volscians about
what had taken place. Some blamed him severely, while others approved,
because they wished for peace. Others again, though they disliked what
he had done, yet did not regard him as a traitor, but as a soft-hearted
man who had yielded to overwhelming pressure. However, no one disobeyed
him, but all followed him in his retreat, though more out of regard for
his noble character than for his authority.

XXXVII. The Roman people, when the war was at an end, showed even more
plainly than before what terror and despair they had been in. As soon as
they saw the Volscians retreating from their walls, all the temples were
opened, and filled with worshippers crowned with garlands and
sacrificing as if for a victory. The joy of the senate and people was
most conspicuously shown in their gratitude to the women, whom they
spoke of as having beyond all doubt saved Rome. The senate decreed that
the magistrates should grant to the women any mark of respect and esteem
which they themselves might choose. The women decided on the building of
the temple of Female Fortune, the expenses of which they themselves
offered to subscribe, only asking the state to undertake the maintenance
of the services in it. The senate praised their public spirit, but
ordered the temple and shrine to be built at the public expense.
Nevertheless, the women with their own money provided a second image of
the goddess, which the Romans say, when it was placed in the temple was
heard to say,

     "A pleasing gift have women placed me here."

XXXVIII. The legend says that this voice was twice heard, which seems
impossible and hard for us to believe. It is not impossible for statues
to sweat, to shed tears, or to be covered with spots of blood, because
wood and stone often when mouldering or decaying, collect moisture
within them, and not only send it forth with many colours derived from
their own substance, but also receive other colours from the air; and
there is nothing that forbids us to believe that by such appearances as
these heaven may foreshadow the future. It is also possible that statues
should make sounds like moaning or sighing, by the tearing asunder of
the particles of which they are composed; but that articulate human
speech should come from inanimate things is altogether impossible, for
neither the human soul, nor even a god can utter words without a body
fitted with the organs of speech. Whenever therefore we find many
credible witnesses who force us to believe something of this kind, we
must suppose that the imagination was influenced by some sensation which
appeared to resemble a real one, just as in dreams we seem to hear when
we hear not, and to see when we see not. Those persons, however, who are
full of religious fervour and love of the gods, and who refuse to
disbelieve or reject anything of this kind, find in its miraculous
character, and in the fact that the ways of God are not as our ways, a
great support to their faith. For He resembles mankind in nothing,
neither in nature, nor movement, nor learning, nor power, and so it is
not to be wondered at if He does what seems to us impossible. Nay,
though He differs from us in every respect, it is in his works that He
is most unlike us. But, as Herakleitus says, our knowledge of things
divine mostly fails for want of faith.

XXXIX. When Marcius returned to Antium, Tullus, who had long hated him
and envied his superiority, determined to put him to death, thinking
that if he let slip the present opportunity he should not obtain
another. Having suborned many to bear witness against him, he called
upon him publicly to render an account to the Volscians of what he had
done as their general. Marcius, fearing to be reduced to a private
station while his enemy Tullus, who had great influence with his
countrymen, was general, answered that he had been given his office of
commander-in-chief by the Volscian nation, and to them alone would he
surrender it, but that as to an account of what he had done, he was
ready at that moment, if they chose, to render it to the people of
Antium. Accordingly the people assembled, and the popular orators
endeavoured by their speeches to excite the lower classes against
Marcius. When, however, he rose to speak, the mob were awed to silence,
while the nobility, and those who had gained by the peace, made no
secret of their good will towards him, and of their intention to vote in
his favour. Under these circumstances, Tullus was unwilling to let him
speak, for he was a brilliant orator, and his former services far
outweighed his last offence. Indeed, the whole indictment was a proof of
how much they owed him, for they never could have thought themselves
wronged by not taking Rome, if Marcius had not brought them so near to
taking it. Tullus, therefore, thought that it would not do to wait, or
to trust to the mob, but he and the boldest of his accomplices, crying
out that the Volscians could not listen to the traitor, nor endure him
to play the despot over them by not laying down his command, rushed upon
him in a body and killed him, without any of the bystanders interfering
in his behalf. However, the most part of the nation was displeased at
this act, as was soon proved by the numbers who came from every city to
see his dead body, by the splendid funeral with which he was honoured,
and by the arms and trophies which were hung over his tomb, as that of a
brave man and a consummate general.

The Romans, when they heard of his death, made no sign of either honour
or anger towards him, except that they gave permission to the women, at
their request, to wear mourning for him for ten months, as if they were
each mourning for her father, her brother, or her son. This was the
extreme limit of the period of mourning, which was fixed by Numa
Pompilius, as has been related in his Life.

The loss of Marcius was at once felt by the Volscians. First of all,
they quarrelled with the Aequi, their friends and allies, and even came
to blows with them; next, they were defeated by the Romans in a battle
in which Tullus was slain, and the flower of the Volscian army perished.
After this disaster they were glad to surrender at discretion, and
become the subjects of Rome.


I. As all the most memorable achievements of both Alkibiades and
Coriolanus are now before us, we may begin our comparison by observing
that as to military exploits, the balance is nearly even; for both alike
gave proofs of great personal bravery and great skill in generalship,
unless it be thought that Alkibiades proved himself the more perfect
general because of his many victories both by sea and land. Both alike
obtained great success for their native countries while they remained in
command of their countrymen, and both succeeded even more remarkably
when fighting against them. As to their respective policy, that of
Alkibiades was disliked by the more respectable citizens, because of his
personal arrogance, and the arts to which he stooped to gain the favour
of the lower classes; while the proud ungracious haughtiness of
Coriolanus caused him to be hated by the people of Rome. In this respect
neither of them can be praised; yet he who tries to gain the favour of
the people is less to blame than he who insults them for fear he should
be thought to court them. Although it is wrong to flatter the people in
order to gain power, yet to owe one's power only to terror, and to ill
treat and keep down the masses is disgraceful as well as wrong.

II. It is not difficult to see why Marcius is considered to have been a
simple-minded and straightforward character, while Alkibiades has the
reputation of a false and tricky politician. The latter has been
especially blamed for the manner in which he deceived and outwitted the
Lacedaemonian ambassadors, by which, as we learn from Thucydides, he
brought the truce between the two nations to an end. Yet that stroke of
policy, though it again involved Athens in war, rendered her strong and
formidable, through the alliance with Argos and Mantinea, which she owed
to Alkibiades. Marcius also, we are told by Dionysius, produced a
quarrel between the Romans and the Volscians by bringing a false
accusation against those Volscians who came to see the festival at Rome;
and in this case the wickedness of his object increased his guilt,
because he did not act from a desire of personal aggrandisement, or from
political rivalry, as did Alkibiades, but merely yielding to what Dion
calls the unprofitable passion of anger, he threw a large part of Italy
into confusion, and in his rage against his native country destroyed
many innocent cities. On the other hand, the anger of Alkibiades caused
great misfortune to his countrymen; yet as soon as he found that they
had relented towards him he returned cheerfully to his allegiance, and
after being banished for the second time, did not take any delight in
seeing their generals defeated, and could not sit still and let them
make mistakes and uselessly expose themselves to danger. He did just
what Aristeides is so much praised for doing to Themistokles; he went to
the generals, although they were not his friends, and pointed out to
them what ought to be done.

Marcius, again, is to be blamed for having made the whole of Rome suffer
for what only a part of it had done, while the best and most important
class of citizens had been wronged equally with himself, and warmly
sympathised with him. Afterwards, although his countrymen sent him many
embassies, beseeching his forgiveness for their one act of ignorance and
passion, he would not listen to them, but showed that it was with the
intention of utterly destroying Rome, not of obtaining his own
restoration to it, that he had begun that terrible and savage war
against it. This, then, may be noted as the difference between their
respective positions: Alkibiades went back to the Athenian side when the
Spartans began to plot against him, because he both feared them and
hated them; but Marcius, who was in every respect well treated by the
Volscians, could not honourably desert their cause. He had been elected
their commander-in-chief, and besides this great power enjoyed their
entire confidence; while Alkibiades, though his assistance was found
useful by the Lacedaemonians, was never trusted by them, but remained
without any recognised position, first in Sparta and then in the camp in
Asia Minor, till he finally threw himself into the arms of Tissaphernes,
unless, indeed, he took this step to save Athens, hoping some day to be
restored to her.

III. As to money, Alkibiades has been blamed for receiving it
discreditably in bribes, and for spending it in luxurious extravagance;
while the generals who offered Marcius money as an honourable reward for
his valour could not prevail upon him to accept it. This, however, made
him especially unpopular in the debates about freeing the people from
debt, because it was said that he pressed so hardly on the poor, not
because he wished to make money by them, but purely through arrogance
and pride. Antipater, in a letter to a friend on the death of Aristotle
the philosopher, observes, "Besides his other abilities, the man had the
art of persuasion." Now Marcius had not this art; and its absence made
all his exploits and all his virtues unpleasant even to those who
benefited by them, as they could not endure his pride and haughtiness,
which brooked no compeer. Alkibiades, on the other hand, knew how to
deal on friendly terms with every one, and we need not therefore be
surprised at the pleasure which men took in his successes, while even
some of his failures had a charm of their own for his friends. Hence it
was that Alkibiades, even after inflicting many grievous losses upon his
countrymen, was chosen by them as commander-in-chief, whereas Marcius,
when after a splendid display of courage and conduct he tried for the
consulship which he deserved, failed to obtain it. The one could not be
hated by his countrymen, even when they were ill treated by him; while
the other, though admired by all, was loved by none.

IV. Marcius, indeed, effected nothing great when in command of his own
countrymen, but only when fighting against them, whereas the Athenians
frequently benefited by the successes of Alkibiades, when he was acting
as their commander-in-chief. Alkibiades when present easily triumphed
over his enemies, whereas Marcius, although present, was condemned by
the Romans, and put to death by the Volscians. Moreover, though he was
wrongfully slain, yet he himself furnished his enemies with a pretext
for his murder, by refusing the public offer of peace made by the
Romans, and then yielding to the private entreaties of his mother and
wife, so that he did not put an end to the enmity between the two
nations, but left them at war, and yet lost a favourable opportunity for
the Volscians.

If he was influenced by a feeling of duty towards the Volscians, he
ought to have obtained their consent before withdrawing their forces
from before Rome; but if he cared nothing for them, or for anything
except the gratification of his own passion, and with this feeling made
war upon his country, and only paused in the moment of victory, it was
not creditable to him to spare his country for his mother's sake, but
rather he should have spared his country and his mother with it; for his
mother and his wife were but a part of Rome, which he was besieging.
That he should have treated the public supplications of ambassadors and
the prayers of priests with contempt, and afterwards have drawn off his
forces to please his mother, is not so much a credit to her as a
disgrace to his country, which was saved by the tears and entreaties of
one woman, as though it did not deserve to survive on its own merits.
The mercy which he showed the Romans was so harshly and offensively
granted that it pleased neither party; he withdrew his forces without
having either having come to an understanding with his friends or his
foes. All this must be attributed to his haughty, unbending temper,
which is in all cases odious, but which in an ambitious man renders him
savage and inexorable. Such men will not seek for popularity, thinking
themselves already sufficiently distinguished, and then are angry at
finding themselves unpopular.

Indeed, neither Metellus, nor Aristeides, nor Epameinondas would stoop
to court the favour of the people, and had a thorough contempt for all
that the people can either give or take away; yet although they were
often ostracised, convicted, and condemned to pay fines, they were not
angry with their fellow countrymen for their folly, but came back and
became reconciled to them as soon as they repented. The man who will not
court the people, ought least of all to bear malice against them,
reflecting that anger at not being elected to an office in the state,
must spring from an excessive desire to obtain it.

V. Alkibiades made no secret of his delight in being honoured and his
vexation when slighted, and in consequence endeavoured to make himself
acceptable to all with whom he had to do. Marcius was prevented by his
pride from courting those who could have bestowed honour and advancement
upon him, while his ambition tortured him if these were withheld.

These are the points which we find to blame in his character, which in
all other respects was a noble one. With regard to temperance, and
contempt for money, he may be compared with the greatest and purest men
of Greece, not merely with Alkibiades, who cared only too little for
such things, and paid no regard to his reputation.


It was for the sake of others that I first undertook to write
biographies, but I soon began to dwell upon and delight in them for
myself, endeavouring to the best of my ability to regulate my own life,
and to make it like that of those who were reflected in their history as
it were in a mirror before me. By the study of their biographies, we
receive each man as a guest into our minds, and we seem to understand
their character as the result of a personal acquaintance, because we
have obtained from their acts the best and most important means of
forming an opinion about them. "What greater pleasure could'st thou gain
than this?" What more valuable for the elevation of our own character?
Demokritus says, that we ought to pray that we may meet with propitious
phantasms, and that from the infinite space which surrounds us good and
congenial phantasms, rather than base and sinister ones, may be brought
into contact with us. He degrades philosophy by foisting into it a
theory which is untrue, and which leads to unbounded superstition;
whereas we, by our familiarity with history, and habit of writing it, so
train ourselves by constantly receiving into our minds the memorials of
the great and good, that should anything base or vicious be placed in
our way by the society into which we are necessarily thrown, we reject
it and expel it from our thoughts, by fixing them calmly and severely on
some of these great examples. Of these, I have chosen for you in this
present instance, the life of Timoleon the Corinthian, and that of
Aemilius Paulus, men who both laid their plans with skill, and carried
them out with good fortune, so as to raise a question whether it was
more by good luck or by good sense that they succeeded in their most
important achievements.

I. The state of affairs at Syracuse, before the mission of Timoleon to
Sicily, was this. Dion had driven out the despot[A] Dionysius, but was
immediately afterwards slain by treachery, and those who, under Dion,
had freed the Syracusans, quarrelled amongst themselves. The city, which
received a constant succession of despots, was almost forsaken because
of its many troubles. Of the rest of Sicily, one part was rendered quite
ruined and uninhabited by the wars, and most of the cities were held by
barbarians of various nations, and soldiers who were under no paymaster.
As these men willingly lent their aid to effect changes of dynasty,
Dionysius, in the twelfth year of his exile, collected a body of foreign
troops, drove out Nysaeus, the then ruler of Syracuse, again restored
his empire, and was re-established as despot. He had strangely lost the
greatest known empire at the hands of a few men, and more strangely
still became again the lord of those who had driven him out, after
having been an exile and a beggar. Those then of the Syracusans who
remained in the city were the subjects of a despot not naturally humane,
and whose heart now had been embittered by misfortune:[B] but the better
class of citizens and the men of note fled to Hiketes, the ruler of
Leontini, swore allegiance to him, and chose him as their general for
the war. This man was nowise better than the avowed despots, but they
had no other resource, and they trusted him because he was a Syracusan
by birth, and had a force capable of encountering that of their own

[Footnote A: [Greek: tyrannos], here and elsewhere translated _despot_,
means a man who had obtained irresponsible power by unconstitutional

[Footnote B: Compare Tacitus, "eo immitior quia toleraverat."]

II. Meanwhile the Carthaginians came to Sicily with a great fleet, and
were hovering off the island watching their opportunity. The Sicilians
in terror wished to send an embassy to Greece, and ask for help from the
Corinthians, not merely on account of their kinship with them, and of
the many kindnesses which they had received from them, but also because
they saw that the whole city loved freedom, and hated despots, and that
it had waged its greatest and most important wars, not for supremacy and
greed of power, but on behalf of the liberty of Greece. But Hiketes who
had obtained his post of commander-in-chief with a view, not to the
liberation of Syracuse, but the establishment of himself as despot
there, had already had secret negotiations with the Carthaginians,
though in public he commended the Syracusans, and sent ambassadors of
his own with the rest to Peloponnesus: not that he wished that any
assistance should come thence, but, in case the Corinthians, as was
probable, should refuse their help because of the disturbed state of
Greece, he hoped that he should more easily be able to bring matters
round to suit the Carthaginian interest, and to use them as allies
either against the Syracusan citizens, or against their despot. Of this
treacherous design he was shortly afterwards convicted.

III. When the ambassadors arrived, the Corinthians, who had always been
in the habit of watching over the interests of their colonies,
especially Syracuse, and who were not at war with any of the Greek
States at that time, but living in peace and leisure, eagerly voted to
help them. A General was now sought for, and while the government was
nominating and proposing those who were eager for an opportunity of
distinguishing themselves, a man of the people stood up and named
Timoleon, the son of Timodemus, one who no longer took any part in
politics, and who had no hope or thought of obtaining the post: but some
god, it seems, put it into the man's mind to name him, such a kind
fortune was at once shown at his election, and such success attended his
actions, illustrating his noble character. He was of a good family, both
his father Timodemus, and his mother Demariste being of rank in the
city. He was a lover of his country, and of a mild temper, except only
that he had a violent hatred for despotism and all that is base. His
nature was so happily constituted, that in his campaigns he showed much
judgment when young, and no less daring when old. He had an elder
brother, Timophanes, who was in no respect like him, but rash, and
inflamed with a passion for monarchy by worthless friends and foreign
soldiers, with whom he spent all his time: he was reckless in a
campaign, and loved danger for its own sake, and by this he won the
hearts of his fellow-citizens, and was given commands, as being a man of
courage and of action. Timoleon assisted him in obtaining these
commands, by concealing his faults or making them appear small, and by
magnifying the clever things which he did.

IV. Now in the battle which the Corinthians fought against the Argives
and Kleoneans, Timoleon was ranked among the hoplites,[A] and his
brother Timophanes, who was in command of the cavalry, fell into great
danger. His horse received a wound, and threw him off among the enemy.
Of his companions, some at once dispersed in panic, while those who
remained by him, being a few against many, with difficulty held their
own. When Timoleon saw what had happened, he ran to the rescue, and held
his shield in front of Timophanes as he lay, and, after receiving many
blows, both from missiles and in hand-to-hand fight, on his arms and
body, with difficulty drove back the enemy and saved his brother.

[Footnote A: Heavy armed foot-soldiers, carrying a spear and shield.]

When the Corinthians, fearing lest they might again suffer what they did
once before when their own allies took their city, decreed that they
would keep four hundred mercenary soldiers, they made Timophanes their

But he, disdaining truth and honour, immediately took measures to get
the city into his own power, and showed his tyrannical disposition by
putting to death many of the leading citizens without a trial. Timoleon
was grieved at this, and, treating the other's crime as his own
misfortune, endeavoured to argue with him, and begged him to abandon his
foolish and wicked design, and to seek for some means of making amends
to his fellow-citizens. However, as he rejected his brother's advice,
and treated him with contempt, Timoleon took Aeschylus, his kinsman,
brother of the wife of Timophanes, and his friend the seer, whom
Theopompus calls Satyrus, but Ephorus and Timaeus call Orthagoras, and,
after an interval of a few days, again went to his brother. The three
men now stood round him, and besought him even now to listen to reason,
and repent of his ambition; but as Timophanes at first laughed at them,
and then became angry and indignant, Timoleon stepped a little aside,
and covering his face, stood weeping, while the other two drew their
swords and quickly despatched him.

V. When this deed was noised abroad, the more generous of the
Corinthians praised Timoleon for his abhorrence of wickedness and his
greatness of soul, because, though of a kindly disposition, and fond of
his own family, he had nevertheless preferred his country to his family,
and truth and justice to his own advantage. He had distinguished himself
in his country's cause both by saving his brother's life, and by putting
him to death when he plotted to reduce her to slavery. However, those
who could not endure to live in a democracy, and who were accustomed to
look up to those in power, pretended to rejoice in the death of the
tyrant, but by their abuse of Timoleon for having done an unholy and
impious deed, reduced him to a state of great melancholy. Hearing that
his mother took it greatly to heart, and that she used harsh words and
invoked terrible curses upon him, he went to her to try to bring her to
another state of mind, but she would not endure the sight of him, but
shut the door against him. Then indeed he became very dejected, and
disordered in his mind, so as to form an intention of destroying himself
by starvation; but this his friends would not permit, but prevailed on
him by force and entreaty so that he determined to live, but alone by
himself. He gave up all interest in public affairs, and at first did not
even enter the city, but passed his time wandering in the wildest part
of the country in an agony of mind.

VI. Thus our judgments, if they do not borrow from reason and philosophy
a fixity and steadiness of purpose in their acts, are easily swayed and
influenced by the praise or blame of others, which make us distrust our
own opinions.

For not only, it seems, must the deed itself be noble and just, but also
the principle from which we do it must be stable and unchangeable, so
that we may make up our minds and then act from conviction. If we do
not, then like those epicures who most eagerly seize upon the daintiest
food and soonest become satiated and nauseate it, so we become filled
with sorrow and remorse when the deed is done, because the splendid
ideas of virtue and honour which led us to do it fade away in our minds
on account of our own moral weakness. A remorseful change of mind
renders even a noble action base, whereas the determination which is
grounded on knowledge and reason cannot change even if its actions fail.
Wherefore Phokion the Athenian, who opposed the measures of Leosthenes,
when Leosthenes seemed to have succeeded, and he saw the Athenians
sacrificing and priding themselves on their victory, said that he should
have wished that he had himself done what had been done, but he should
wish to have given the same counsel that he did give. Aristeides the
Lokrian, one of the companions of Plato, put this even more strongly
when Dionysius the elder asked for one of his daughters in marriage. "I
had rather," he said, "see the girl a corpse, than the consort of a
despot." A short time afterwards when Dionysius put his sons to death
and insultingly asked him whether he were still of the same mind about
the disposal of his daughter, he answered, that he was grieved at what
had happened, but had not changed his mind about what he had said. And
these words perhaps show a greater and more perfect virtue than

VII. Now Timoleon's misery, after the deed was done, whether it was
caused by pity for the dead or filial reverence for his mother, so broke
down and humbled his spirit that for nearly twenty years he took no part
in any important public affair. So when he was nominated as General, and
when the people gladly received his name and elected him, Telekleides,
who at that time was the first man in the city for power and reputation,
stood up and spoke encouragingly to Timoleon, bidding him prove himself
brave and noble in the campaign.[A] "If," said he, "you fight well, we
shall think that we slew a tyrant, but if badly, that we murdered your

[Footnote A: From these words, Grote conjectures that Telekleides was
also present at the death of Timophanes.]

While Timoleon was preparing for his voyage and collecting his soldiers,
letters were brought to the Corinthians from Hiketes plainly showing
that he had changed sides and betrayed them.

For as soon as he had sent off his ambassadors to Corinth, he openly
joined the Carthaginians, and in concert with them attempted to drive
out Dionysius and establish himself as despot of Syracuse.

Fearing that the opportunity would escape him if an army and general
came from Corinth before he had succeeded, he sent a letter to the
Corinthians to say that they need not incur the trouble and expense of
sending an expedition to Sicily and risking their lives, especially as
the Carthaginians would dispute their passage, and were now watching for
their expedition with a numerous fleet; and that, as they had been so
slow, he should be obliged to make these Carthaginians his allies to
attack the despot.

When these letters were read, even if any of the Corinthians had been
lukewarm about the expedition, now their anger against Hiketes stirred
them up to co-operate vigorously with Timoleon and assist him in
equipping his force.

VIII. When the ships were ready, and everything had been provided for
the soldiers, the priestesses of Proserpine had a dream that the two
goddesses appeared dressed for a journey, and said that they were going
to accompany Timoleon on his voyage to Sicily.

Hereupon the Corinthians equipped a sacred trireme, and named it after
the two goddesses. Timoleon himself proceeded to Delphi and sacrificed
to the god, and when he came into the place where oracles were
delivered, a portent occurred to him. From among the various offerings
suspended there, a victor's wreath, embroidered with crowns and symbols
of victory slipped down and was carried by the air so as to alight upon
the head of Timoleon; so that it appeared that the god sent him forth to
his campaign already crowned with success. He started with only seven
ships from Corinth, two from Korkyra, and one from Leukadia; and as he
put to sea at night and was sailing with a fair wind, he suddenly saw
the heavens open above his ship and pour down a flood of brilliant
light. After this a torch like that used at the mysteries rose up before
them, and, proceeding on the same course, alighted on that part of Italy
for which the pilots were steering. The seers explained that this
appearance corroborated the dream of the priestesses, and that the light
from heaven showed that the two goddesses were joining the expedition;
for Sicily is sacred to Proserpine, as the myth tells us that she was
carried off there, and that the island itself was given her as a wedding

The fleet, encouraged by these proofs of divine favour, crossed the open
sea, and proceeded along the Italian coast. But the news from Sicily
gave Timoleon much concern, and dispirited his soldiers. For Hiketes had
conquered Dionysius, and taken the greater part of Syracuse; he had
driven him into the citadel and what is called the island, and was
besieging and blockading him there, and urging the Carthaginians to take
measures to prevent Timoleon from landing in Sicily, in order that, when
the Greeks were driven off, he and his new allies might partition the
island between themselves.

IX. The Carthaginians sent twenty triremes to Rhegium, having on board
ambassadors from Hiketes to Timoleon charged with instructions as bad as
his deeds. For their proposals were plausible, though their plan was
base, being that Timoleon, if he chose, should come as an adviser to
Hiketes and partake of his conquests; but that he should send his ships
and soldiers back to Corinth, as the war was within a little of being
finished, and as the Carthaginians were determined to oppose his passage
by force if he attempted it. So the Corinthians, when they reached
Rhegium, found these ambassadors, and saw the Carthaginian fleet
cruising to intercept them. They were enraged at this treatment, and all
were filled with anger against Hiketes, and with fear for the people of
Sicily, who, they clearly saw, were to be the prize of the treachery of
Hiketes and the ambition of the Carthaginians. Yet it seemed impossible
that they should overcome both the fleet of the barbarians which was
riding there, double their own in number, and also the forces under
Hiketes at Syracuse, of which they had expected to be put in command.

X. Nevertheless Timoleon met the ambassadors and the Carthaginian
admirals, and mildly informed them that "he would accede to their
proposals, for what could he do if he refused them? but that he wished,
before they parted, to listen to them, and to answer them publicly
before the people of Rhegium, a city of Greek origin and friendly to
both parties; as this would conduce to his own safety, and they also
would be the more bound to stand by their proposal about the Syracusans
if they took the people of Rhegium as their witnesses." He made this
overture to help a plot which he had of stealing a march upon them, and
the leading men of the Rhegines assisted him in it, as they wished the
Corinthian influence to prevail in Sicily, and feared to have the
barbarians for neighbours. Accordingly they called together an assembly
and shut the city gates, that the citizens might not attend to anything
else, and then, coming forward, they made speeches of great length, one
man treating the subject after another without coming to any conclusion,
but merely wasting the time, until the Corinthian triremes had put to
sea. The Carthaginians were kept at the assembly without suspecting
anything, because Timoleon himself was present and gave them to
understand that he was just upon the point of rising and making them a
speech. But when news was secretly conveyed to him that the fleet was
under way, and that his ship alone was left behind waiting for him, he
slipped through the crowd, the Rhegines who stood round the bema[A]
helping to conceal him, and, gaining the seashore, sailed off with all

[Footnote A: Bema, the tribune from which the orators spoke.]

They reached Tauromenium in Sicily, where they were hospitably received
by Andromachus, the ruler and lord of that city, who had long before
invited them thither. This Andromachus was the father of Timaeus, the
historian, and being as he was by far the most powerful of the
legitimate princes of Sicily, ruled his subjects according to law and
justice, and never concealed his dislike and hatred of the despots. For
this reason he permitted Timoleon to make his city his headquarters, and
prevailed on the citizens to cast in their lot with the Syracusans and
free their native land.

XI. At Rhegium meanwhile, the Carthaginians, when the assembly broke up
and Timoleon was gone, were infuriated at being outwitted, and became a
standing joke to the people of Rhegium, because they, although they were
Phoenicians, yet did not seem to enjoy a piece of deceit when it was at
their own expense. They then sent an ambassador in a trireme to
Tauromenium, who made a long speech to Andromachus, threatening him in a
bombastic and barbarian style with their vengeance if he did not at once
turn the Corinthians out of his city. At last he pointed to his
outstretched hand, and turning it over threatened that he would so deal
with the city. Andromachus laughed, and made no other answer than to
hold out his own hand in the same way, now with one side up, and now
with the other, and bade him sail away unless he wished to have his ship
so dealt with.

Hiketes, when he heard of Timoleon's arrival, in his terror sent for
many of the Carthaginian ships of war; and now the Syracusans began
utterly to despair of their safety, seeing the Carthaginians in
possession of the harbour, Hiketes holding the city, and Dionysius still
master of the promontory, while Timoleon was as it were hanging on the
outskirts of Sicily in that little fortress of Tauromenium, with but
little hope and a weak force, for he had no more than one thousand
soldiers and the necessary supplies for them. Nor had the cities of
Sicily any trust in him, as they were in great distress, and greatly
exasperated against those who pretended to lead armies to their succour,
on account of the treachery of Kallippus and Pharax; who, one an
Athenian and the other a Lacedaemonian, but both giving out that they
were come to fight for freedom and to put down despotism, did so
tyrannise themselves, that the reign of the despots in Sicily seemed to
have been a golden age, and those who died in slavery were thought more
happy than those who lived to see liberty.

XII. So thinking that the Corinthian would be no better than these men,
and that the same plausible and specious baits would be held out to lure
them with hopes and pleasant promises under the yoke of a new master,
they all viewed the proposals of the Corinthians with suspicion and
shrank back from them except the Adranites. These were the inhabitants
of a small city, sacred to Adranus, a god whose worship extends
especially throughout Sicily. They were at feud with one another, as one
party invited Hiketes and the Carthaginians, while the other sent for
Timoleon to help them. And by some chance it happened that as each party
strove to get there first, they both arrived at the same time; Hiketes
with five thousand soldiers, whereas Timoleon altogether had no more
than twelve hundred.

Starting with these men from Tauromenium, which is forty-two miles from
Adranum, he made but a short march on the first day, and then encamped.
On the next day he marched steadily forward, passed some difficult
country, and late in the day heard that Hiketas had just reached the
little fortress and was encamping before it. On this the officers halted
the van of the army, thinking that the men would be fresher after taking
food and rest; but Timoleon went to them and begged them not to do so,
but to lead them on as fast as they could, and fall upon the enemy while
they were in disorder, as it was probable they would be, having just
come off their march, and being busy about pitching their tents, and
cooking their supper. Saying this he seized his shield,[A] and led the
way himself as to an assured victory; and the rest, reassured, followed
him confidently. They were distant only about thirty furlongs. These
were soon passed, and they fell headlong upon the enemy, who were in
confusion, and fled as soon as they discovered their attack. For this
reason no more than three hundred of them were slain, but twice as many
were taken prisoners, and their camp was captured. The people of Adranum
now opened their gates, and made their submission to Timoleon, relating
with awe and wonder how, at the outset of the battle, the sacred doors
of the temple flew open of their own accord, and the spear of the god
was seen to quiver at the point, while his face was covered with a thick

[Footnote A: The shield of a General was habitually carried for him by
an orderly.]

XIII. These portents, it seems, did not merely presage the victory, but
also the subsequent events, of which this was the prosperous beginning.
Immediately several cities sent ambassadors and joined Timoleon, as did
also Mamercus the despot of Katana, a man of warlike tastes and great
wealth, who made an alliance with him. But the most important thing of
all was that Dionysius himself, who had now lost all hope of success,
and was on the point of being starved out, despising Hiketes for being
so shamefully beaten, but admiring Timoleon, sent to him and offered to
deliver up both himself and the citadel to the Corinthians.

Timoleon, accepting this unexpected piece of good fortune, sent
Eukleides and Telemachus, Corinthian officers, into the citadel, and
four hundred men besides, not all together nor openly, for that was
impossible in the face of the enemy, who were blockading it, but by
stealth, and in small bodies. So these soldiers took possession of the
citadel, and the palace with all its furniture, and all the military
stores. There were a good many horses, and every species of artillery
and missile weapon. Also there were arms and armour for seventy thousand
men, which had been stored up there for a long time, and Dionysius also
had two thousand soldiers, all of whom he handed over to Timoleon with
the rest of the fortress, and then, with his money and a few of his
friends, he put to sea, and passed unnoticed through Hiketes's cruisers.
He proceeded to the camp of Timoleon, appearing for the first time as a
private person in great humility, and was sent to Corinth in one ship,
and with a small allowance of money. He had been born and bred in the
most splendid and greatest of empires, and had reigned over it for ten
years, but for twelve more, since the time that Dion attacked him, he
had constantly been in troubles and wars, during which all the cruelties
which he had exercised on others, were more than avenged upon himself,
by the miserable death of his wife and family, which are more
particularly dwelt upon in the life of Dion.

XIV. Now when Dionysius reached Corinth, there was no one in Greece who
did not wish to see him and speak to him. Some, who rejoiced in his
misfortunes, came to see him out of hatred, in order to trample on him
now that he was down, while others sympathised with him in his change of
fortune, reflecting on the inscrutable ways of the gods, and the
uncertainty of human affairs. For that age produced nothing in nature or
art so remarkable as that change of fortune which showed the man, who
not long before had been supreme ruler of Sicily, now dining at Corinth
at the cook's shop, lounging at the perfumer's, drinking at the taverns,
instructing female singers, and carefully arguing with them about their
songs in the theatre, and about the laws of music. Some thought that
Dionysius acted thus from folly, and indolent love of pleasure, but
others considered that it was in order that he might be looked down
upon, and not be an object of terror or suspicion to the Corinthians, as
he would have been if they thought that he ill brooked his reverse of
fortune, and still nourished ambitious designs, and that his foolish and
licentious mode of life was thus to be accounted for.

XV. But for all that, certain of his sayings are remembered, which
sufficiently prove that he showed real greatness of mind in adapting
himself to his altered circumstances. When he arrived at Leukas, which,
like Syracuse, was a Corinthian colony, he said that he was like a young
man who has got into disgrace. They associate gaily with their brothers,
but are ashamed to meet their fathers, and avoid them: and so he was
ashamed to go to the parent city, but would gladly live there with them.
Another time in Corinth, when some stranger coarsely jeered at the
philosophic studies in which he used to delight when in power, and at
last asked him what good he had obtained from the wisdom of Plato, "Do
you think," answered he, "that I have gained nothing from Plato, when I
bear my reverse of fortune as I do." When Aristoxenus, the musician, and
some others asked him what fault he had found with Plato, and why, he
answered that absolute power, amongst its many evils, was especially
unfortunate in this, that none of a despot's so-called friends dare to
speak their mind openly. And he himself, he said, had been by such men
deprived of the friendship of Plato. A man, who thought himself witty,
once tried to make a joke of Dionysius by shaking out his cloak, when he
came into his presence, as is the custom before despots, to show that
one has no concealed weapons; but he repaid the jest by begging him to
do it when he left him, that he might be sure that he had not stolen any
of his property.

Philip of Macedon once, when they were drinking together, made some
sneering remark about the poetry and tragedies which Dionysius the elder
had written, pretending to be at a loss to know how he found time for
such pursuits; but Dionysius cleverly answered, "He wrote them during
the time which you and I, and all who are thought such lucky fellows,
spend over our wine."

Plato never saw Dionysius at Corinth, for he was dead at that time; but
Diogenes of Sinope, when he first met him, said, "How unworthily you
live, Dionysius." Dionysius answered him, "Thank you, Diogenes, for
sympathising with my misfortunes." "Why," said Diogenes; "do you suppose
that I sympathise with you, and am not rather grieved that a slave like
you, a man fit, like your father, to grow old and die on a miserable
throne, should be living in luxury and enjoyment amongst us?" So, when I
compare with these sayings of his the lamentations which Philistius
pours forth over the daughters of Leptines, that they had fallen from
the glories of sovereign power into a humble station, they seem to me
like the complainings of a woman who has lost her perfumes, her purple
dresses, or her jewels.

These details, I think, for readers who are at leisure, are not foreign
to the design of biography, and not without value.

XVI. If the fall of Dionysius seems strange, the good fortune of
Timoleon was no less wonderful. Within fifty days of his landing in
Sicily, he was master of the citadel of Syracuse, and sent back
Dionysius to Peloponnesus. Encouraged by his success, the Corinthians
sent him a reinforcement of two thousand hoplites and two hundred horse.
These men reached Thurii, but there found it impossible to cross over
into Sicily, as the Carthaginians held the sea with a great fleet. As it
was necessary for them to remain there for a time, they made use of
their leisure to perform a most excellent action. For the Thurians made
an expedition against the Bruttii,[A] and meanwhile these men took
charge of their city, and guarded it carefully and trustily as if it had
been their own.

[Footnote A: The natives of Southern Italy.]

Hiketes meanwhile was besieging the citadel of Syracuse, and preventing
corn from being brought by sea to the Corinthians. He also obtained two
strangers, whom he sent to assassinate Timoleon, who, trusting in the
favour shown him by the gods, was living carelessly and unsuspectingly
among the people of Adranum. These men, hearing that he was about to
offer sacrifice, came into the temple with daggers under their cloaks,
and mingling with the crowd round the altar, kept edging towards him.
They were just on the point of arranging their attack, when a man struck
one of them on the head with his sword, and he fell. Neither the
assailant nor the accomplice of the fallen man stood his ground, but the
one with his sword still in his hand ran and took refuge on a high rock,
while the other laid hold of the altar, and begged for pardon at
Timoleon's hands if he revealed the whole plot. When assured of his
safety he confessed that he and the man who had been killed had been
sent thither to assassinate Timoleon. Meanwhile others brought back the
man from the rock, who loudly declared that he had done no wrong, but
had justly slain him in vengeance for his father, whom this wretch had
killed at Leontini. Several of those present bore witness to the truth
of his story, and they marvelled much at the ways of Fortune, how she
makes the most incongruous elements work together to accomplish her
purposes. The Corinthians honoured the man with a present of ten minae,
because he had co-operated with the guardian angel of Timoleon, and had
put off the satisfaction of his private wrong until a time when it saved
the life of the general. This good fortune excited men's feelings so
that they guarded and reverenced Timoleon as a sacred person sent by
heaven to restore the liberties of Sicily.

XVII. When Hiketes failed in this attempt on Timoleon, and saw that many
were joining him, he began to blame himself for only using the great
Carthaginian force that was present by stealth, and as if he was ashamed
of it, concealing his alliance and using them clandestinely, and he sent
for Mago, their General, to come with all the force at his disposal. He
sailed in with a formidable fleet of a hundred and fifty ships, and took
possession of the harbour, disembarked sixty thousand troops, and
encamped with them in the city of Syracuse, so that all men thought that
the long-talked-of and expected subjugation of Sicily to the barbarian
was imminent. For the Carthaginians during their endless wars in Sicily
had never before taken Syracuse, but now, by the invitation of the
traitor Hiketes, the city was turned into a barbarian camp. The
Corinthians in the citadel were in a position of great danger and
difficulty, as they no longer had sufficient provisions, because the
harbours were blockaded, and they perpetually had to divide their forces
for skirmishes and battles at the walls, and to repel every device and
method of attack known in sieges.

XVIII. Timoleon, however, relieved them by sending corn from Katana in
small fishing-smacks and boats, which, chiefly in stormy weather, stole
in through the triremes of the barbarians when they were scattered by
the roughness of the sea. Mago and Hiketes, perceiving this, determined
to take Katana, from which place the besieged drew their supplies, and
they sailed from Syracuse with the best of their troops. The Corinthian
Neon, the General in command of the besieged force, observing from the
citadel that those of the enemy who were left behind kept careless
guard, suddenly fell upon them, and, slaying some and routing the rest
he made himself master of Achradina, which is the strongest and least
assailable part of the city of Syracuse, which, as it were, consists of
several towns.

Being now in possession of abundance of provisions and money, he did not
leave the place, and go back to the citadel on the promontory, but
fortified the circuit of Achradina and held it conjointly with the
Acropolis, with which he connected its fortifications. A horseman from
Syracuse brought the news of the capture of Achradina to Mago and
Hiketes when they were close to Katana. Alarmed at the news they
returned with all speed, having neither taken the city they went to
take, nor kept the one which they had taken.

XIX. It may be doubted whether these actions owe more to fortune than to
courage and conduct; but the next event can only be ascribed to fortune.
The Corinthian troops at Thurii were in fear of the Carthaginian
triremes under Hanno which were watching them, and as the sea had for
many days been excessively rough, in consequence of a gale, determined
to march on foot through the Bruttii. Partly by persuasion and partly
by force they made their way to Rhegium, while the sea was still very
stormy. The Carthaginian Admiral, who no longer expected the
Corinthians, and thought that he was waiting there to no purpose,
persuaded himself that he had invented a masterpiece of deceit. He
ordered his sailors to crown themselves with garlands, decked out his
triremes with Greek shields and wreaths of palm, and set out for
Syracuse. As he passed the citadel they cheered loudly, and with
uproarious merriment called out to the garrison that they had come back
after a complete victory over the Corinthians, hoping by this means to
dispirit the besieged. But while he was playing these silly tricks the
Corinthians had reached Rhegium, and as no one disputed their passage,
and the cessation of the gale had made the straits singularly smooth and
calm, they embarked in the passage boats and what fishing-smacks were to
be found, and crossed over into Sicily, so easily and in such calm
weather that they were able to make their horses swim alongside of the
vessels and tow them by their halters.

XX. As soon as they had crossed, Timoleon met them, and at once obtained
possession of Messina, and, after reviewing them, marched on Syracuse at
once, confiding more in his good fortune and his former successes than
in the number of his troops, which amounted to no more than four
thousand. When Mago heard of this march, he was much disquieted, and his
suspicions of his allies were increased by the following circumstance.
In the marshes round the city, into which runs much fresh water from
springs and rivers which find their way into the sea, there was a great
quantity of eels, which afforded plenty of sport for those who cared to
fish for them; and the mercenary soldiers on both sides used to meet and
fish whenever there was a cessation of hostilities. As they were all
Greeks, and had no private grounds for hatred, they would cheerfully
risk their lives in battle against each other, but during times of truce
they conversed freely. So then, while engaged in fishing, they talked to
one another, and admired the beauty of the sea, and the fine situation
of the city. Then one of the Corinthian garrison said, "Can it be that
you, Greeks as you are, should be endeavouring to betray to the
barbarian so great and beautiful a city as this, and that you should be
trying to establish these base and cruel Carthaginians nearer to our
country? Rather ought you to wish that there were more Sicilies to act
as bulwarks of Greece. Do you suppose that these men have gathered
together their host from the pillars of Herakles and the Atlantic coast,
and risked their lives at sea, merely to support the dynasty of Hiketes?
He, if he had the spirit of a real prince, never would have turned out
his brethren, and invited the enemy into his native land, but would have
made terms with Timoleon and the Corinthians, and been honoured
accordingly." These words were noised abroad in the camp by the
mercenaries, and gave Mago the pretext which he had long been waiting
for, to abandon their cause on the plea of suspecting their fidelity.
Wherefore, although Hiketes begged him to remain, and pointed out how
far superior he was to the enemy, yet he, thinking that Timoleon's army
surpassed his in courage and good fortune as much as his did in numbers,
weighed anchor at once and sailed to Africa, letting Sicily slip through
his fingers, to his great disgrace, for no assignable reason.

XXI. On the next day appeared Timoleon with his troops in battle array.
As soon as they learned their departure, and saw the harbour, they
proceeded to mock at the cowardice of Mago, and they sent a crier round
the city offering a reward to any one who would tell them to what place
the Carthaginian force had run away. Nevertheless, Hiketes still showed
a bold front, and did not relax his hold on the city, and, as the part
which was in his possession was strong and hard of access, Timoleon
divided his army, and himself led the assault on the most difficult side
of the position, by the river Anapus, ordering another body, under Isias
the Corinthian, to attack from Achradina. A third corps, consisting of
the newly arrived reinforcement under Deinarchus and Demaretus were to
attack Epipolae. The assault took place simultaneously on all sides. The
speedy rout of Hiketes and capture of the city may be justly ascribed to
the skill of the General; but the fact that not one of the Corinthians
was killed or wounded is due to Timoleon's good fortune, which seemed to
vie with his courage and try to make those who read of his exploits
wonder at their good luck more than their merit.

In a few days not only was all Sicily and Italy ringing with his fame,
but throughout Greece his great successes were known, and the city of
Corinth, which scarcely thought that the expedition had reached Sicily,
heard at the same time that the troops were safe and victorious, so
prosperously did affairs turn out, and with such speed did fortune
publish the glory of his deeds.

XXII. Timoleon, having thus gained possession of the fortified citadel
on the promontory, did not fall into the same snare as Dion, and was not
moved to spare the place for the sake of its beautiful and costly
architecture. Dion's jealousy of the people led him to distrust them,
and proved his ruin; but Timoleon took a very different course. He made
proclamation that any Syracusan who chose might come with a crowbar and
take part in the destruction of the despot's castle. When they had all
assembled, in order to mark that day and that proclamation as the real
beginning of liberty, they not only destroyed and subverted the castle,
but also the houses and tombs of the despots. Timoleon at once had the
place levelled, and built upon it courts of justice, delighting the
citizens by substituting a republic for a tyranny.

Having taken the city, he was now at a loss for citizens, for some had
been killed in the wars and revolutions, and some had gone into exile to
avoid the despots, so that the market-place of Syracuse was overrun with
herbage so deep and thick that horses were pastured on it, while the
grooms lay on the grass near them. The other cities, except a very few,
had become the haunts of deer and wild boars, and persons at leisure
used to hunt them with dogs in the suburbs and round the walls. None of
those who had taken refuge in the various forts and castles would return
to the city, as they all felt a dread and hatred of public assemblies
and politics, which had produced the greater part of the tyrants under
whom they had suffered. In this difficulty it occurred to Timoleon and
the Syracusans to apply to the Corinthians, and ask them to send out
fresh colonists from Greece. Otherwise, they said, the land must lie
uncultivated, and, above all, they were looking forward to a great war
with Africa, as they heard that on Mago's return the Carthaginians were
so enraged at his failure, that, though he committed suicide to avoid a
worse fate, they had crucified his dead body, and were collecting a
great force, meaning next summer to invade Sicily.

XXIII. When these letters from Timoleon reached them, together with
ambassadors from the Syracusans, who besought them to take upon them the
care of this their poor city, and once again become the founders of it,
the Corinthians were not tempted by greed to take unfair advantages and
seize the city for themselves, but first sent heralds to all the games
held in honour of the gods throughout Greece, and to all places where
people assembled, to proclaim that the Corinthians, having abolished
despotism at Syracuse and driven out the despot, invite all Syracusans
and other Sicilian Greeks who choose to go and dwell in the city under
free institutions, receiving an equal and just share of the land. Next
they sent messengers to Asia Minor and the islands, wherever they heard
that most of the scattered bands of exiles had settled, and invited them
all to come to Corinth, as the Corinthians would at their own expense
furnish them with vessels and commanders and a safe convoy to Syracuse.

By these proclamations Corinth gained great and well-deserved renown,
seeing that she had forced Syracuse from its tyrants, saved it from the
barbarians, and given back the country to its own citizens. The exiles,
however, when assembled at Corinth found their numbers too small, and
begged to be allowed to receive among them others from Corinth and the
rest of Greece. When by this means they had raised their numbers to not
less than ten thousand, they sailed to Syracuse. Many citizens from
Italy and Sicily had already joined Timoleon, who, when he found their
numbers (according to Athanis) amount to sixty thousand, divided the
country among them, and sold the houses for a thousand talents,
affording the original citizens the option of purchasing their own
houses. At the same time, to relieve the financial distress of the
State, with a view to the approaching war, he even sold all the
statues. A vote of the assembly was taken about each one, and he was
condemned, like a criminal on his trial. On this occasion they say that
the Syracusans, though they condemned all the rest, decided on keeping
that of the ancient prince Gelo, because they admired and respected him
for his victory over the Carthaginians at Himera.

XXIV. The life of Syracuse being rekindled by this influx of citizens
from all quarters, Timoleon determined to set free the other cities
also, and to exterminate the despots in Sicily. In the course of his
campaigns against them he compelled Hiketes to renounce his alliance
with the Carthaginians, to demolish his castle, and to live in Leontini
as a private citizen. Leptines, the despot of Apollonia and of several
smaller towns, fearing to be taken by him, surrendered. Timoleon spared
his life, and sent him to Corinth, as he thought that it reflected
credit upon his native city, that the despots of Sicily should be seen
by all Greece living there as humble exiles. As for the soldiers whom he
had in his pay, he determined not to keep them idle, but to support them
by the plunder of an enemy's country. So while he himself returned to
Syracuse, to superintend the reconstruction of the constitution, and to
assist the lawgivers Kephalus and Dionysius in framing the best form of
polity, he sent the troops under Deinarchus and Demaretus to subdue the
western portion of the island, which had fallen into the hands of the
Carthaginians. Here they induced several cities to revolt from the
barbarians, and not only gained abundant pay and plunder for themselves
from their conquests, but were able to furnish funds for the approaching

XXV. During this time the Carthaginian forces sailed to Lilybaeum with
seventy thousand men, two hundred ships of war, and a thousand
transports carrying engines of war, four horse chariots, provisions, and
other war material, as they meant no longer to use half measures, but at
one swoop to drive the Greeks out of Sicily. Their force indeed was
sufficient for the conquest of the Sikeliot Greeks even if they had not
been weakened by their internal strife.

Hearing that their own part of the island was being ravaged, they at
once in great anger marched to attack the Corinthians, under the command
of Hasdrubal and Hamilcar. News of this quickly reached Syracuse, and
the great numbers of the enemy caused such panic among the citizens,
that, numerous as they were, Timoleon could only induce three thousand
to get under arms and follow him. Besides these, there was the paid
force, four thousand in number; and of these again about a thousand were
overcome by their fears on the march, and went back, declaring that
Timoleon could not be in his right senses, but must be insane to march
with five thousand foot and a thousand horse to attack seventy thousand
men, and to separate his force eight days' journey from Syracuse, in a
place where there was no hope of shelter for the fugitives or of
honourable burial for the dead. Timoleon treated it as an advantage that
these men disclosed their cowardice before the day of battle. He
encouraged the rest, and led them with all haste to the river Krimesus,
where he heard that the Carthaginians were concentrating.

XXVI. As he was mounting a hill, beyond which he expected to see the
camp and army of the enemy, there met him some mules loaded with
parsley. It occurred to the soldiers that this was a bad omen, for we
generally use parsley for wreathing tombs; indeed from this practice
arises the proverb, when a man is dangerously ill, that he is ready for
his parsley. Wishing to rid them from this superstition and to stop
their fears, Timoleon halted them, and made a suitable speech, pointing
out that their crown of victory had come of its own accord into their
hands before the battle, for this is the herb with which the Corinthians
crown the victors at the Isthmian games, accounting it sacred and
peculiar to their own country. For then parsley was used for the crown
at the Isthmian games, as it is even to this day at those of Nemea, and
the pine has only been lately introduced. So Timoleon, having addressed
his soldiers, as has been said, first crowned himself with the parsley,
and then his officers and men did so likewise. But the prophets
perceiving two eagles flying towards them, one of whom carried a snake
in its talons, while the other flew along with loud and inspiriting
cries, pointed them out to the soldiers, who all began to pray and
invoke the gods.

XXVII. The time of year was the beginning of summer, near the solstice
at the end of the month Thargelion.[A] A thick mist rose from the river,
and all the plain was concealed in fog, so that nothing could be seen of
the enemy, but only a confused murmur from the movement of that great
host reached the hill. The Corinthians, when they had reached the
summit, paused and piled their arms. Now the sun shone out, and the mist
rose from the valley. Gathering together, it hung in clouds about the
hill-tops, while below, the river Krimesus appeared, with the enemy
crossing it.

[Footnote A: About May.]

First went the four-horse chariots in terrible pomp, all drawn up in
battle array, while next to them followed ten thousand hoplites with
white shields. These they conjectured to be native Carthaginians by the
splendour of their equipments and their slow and orderly march.
Following these came the other nations, turbulently and confusedly
struggling across. Timoleon, seeing that the river kept off the mass of
the enemy, and allowed them to fight with just so many as they chose,
pointed out to his soldiers how the enemy's array was broken by the
stream, some having crossed, and some being still crossing. He ordered
Demaretus to take the cavalry and charge the Carthaginians, to prevent
their having time to form in order of battle. But he himself marched
down to the plain, having drawn up his force with the other Sicilian
Greeks and a few strangers on each of the wings, but with his Syracusans
and the best of the paid force under his own command in the centre.

For a short time he held back, watching the effect of the cavalry
charge; but seeing that they were unable to come to blows with the
Carthaginians because of the chariots which careered about in front of
their ranks, and that they constantly had to fall back to avoid their
array being broken, and then to make short rushes as occasion served, he
himself took his shield, and called to the infantry to follow him and be
of good cheer. It seemed to them that his voice was more than man's,
and louder than was his wont, either from their faculties being strained
by the excitement of the contest, or else because, as most of them
believed, some god shouted with him. Quickly they raised their war-cry
in answer, and begged him to lead them on and wait no longer. Ordering
the cavalry to ride round the line of chariots and attack the infantry
in flank, he closed up the foremost ranks, and with the trumpet sounding
the charge, attacked the Carthaginians.

XXVIII. They manfully encountered his first assault, and being armed
with iron cuirasses and brass helmets, and protected with large shields,
they were able to withstand the thrust of the Greek spears. But when the
struggle came to be decided with swords, where skill as well as strength
was employed, there suddenly broke upon them from the mountains a
terrible storm of thunder with vivid flashes of lightning. The mist,
which had hitherto hung about the mountain peaks, now rolled down on to
the field of battle, with violent gusts, hail, and rain. The Greeks
received it on their backs, while the rain beat into the faces of the
barbarians, and the lightning dazzled their eyes, as the storm swept
violently along with frequent flashes from the clouds. These were great
disadvantages, especially to inexperienced men, as the thunder and the
pattering of the rain and hail on their armour prevented their hearing
the commands of their officers. The Carthaginians, not being lightly
equipped, but, as has been narrated, in complete armour, slipped on the
muddy ground and were encumbered by the wet folds of their dress, which
rendered them less active in the fight, and easily overcome by the
Greeks, since when they fell in the slippery mud they could not rise
again with their shields. The river Krimesus, which had been held up by
the multitudes that were crossing it, was now swollen to a torrent by
the rain, and the plain through which it runs, lying as it does under
many steep glens and ravines, was now covered with streams not running
in the ordinary channels, in which the Carthaginians stumbled and were
hard bested.

At last, from the violence of the storm, and the Greeks having cut to
pieces their front rank, a chosen body of four hundred men, the great
mass turned and fled. Many were overtaken and slain on the plain, and
many more perished in the river, while the light-armed troops prevented
most of them from gaining the shelter of the mountains. It was said that
among the myriads of slain there were three thousand citizens of
Carthage--a great loss and grief to that city, for they belonged to the
noblest and richest classes; nor do we ever hear of so many native
Carthaginians having perished in any one battle before this, as they
generally make use of Libyan, Spanish and Numidian troops, so that in
case of defeat the loss falls upon other nations.

XXIX. The Greeks discovered the rank of the dead by the richness of
their spoil; for when they collected the booty no account was taken of
iron or brass, such an abundance was there of silver and gold; for they
crossed the river and captured the enemy's camp. Of the captives, the
greater part were stolen by the soldiers, and sold privately, but a body
of five thousand was brought into the common stock. Two hundred chariots
also were taken. The most glorious and magnificent spectacle of all was
the tent of Timoleon, round which booty of every kind was piled up in
heaps, among which were a thousand corslets of exquisite workmanship,
and ten thousand shields. As they were but few to gather the plunder of
so many, and as they fell in with such riches, it was only on the third
day that they managed to erect a trophy of their victory. Together with
the despatch announcing his success, Timoleon sent home to Corinth the
finest of the arms and armour, desiring to make his country envied by
all men, when they should see, in that alone of all Greek cities, that
the most important shrines were not adorned with Grecian spoils, nor
with offerings obtained by the slaughter of men of their own race and
blood, dismal memorials at best, but with spoils of the barbarian, whose
inscriptions bore noble testimony to the justice, as well as the courage
of the victors, telling how the Corinthians and their general, Timoleon,
having freed the Greeks who dwell in Sicily from the yoke of Carthage,
set up these thank-offerings to the gods.

XXX. After the victory he left the paid force in the enemy's country, to
ravage and plunder the Carthaginian dominions, and himself proceeded to
Syracuse. He now ordered out of the island those mercenary troops by
whom he had been deserted before the battle; and even forced them to
quit Sicily before sunset. These men crossed into Italy and perished
there at the hands of the Bruttians, who broke their word to them and
betrayed them. This was the penalty which Heaven imposed on them for
their desertion. But Mamercus, the despot of Catana, and Hiketes, either
through disgust at Timoleon's successes, or else fearing him as a man
not likely to keep faith with despots, made an alliance with Carthage,
as they said that the Carthaginians, unless they wished to be utterly
driven out of Sicily, must send a competent force and a general. Gisco
the son of Hanno sailed thither with seventy ships, and also with a
force of Greek mercenary soldiers, whom the Carthaginians had never used
before; but now they were full of admiration for the Greeks, as being
the most warlike and invincible of men. Having effected a junction of
their forces in the territory of Messina, they cut to pieces a body of
four hundred foreign soldiers whom Timoleon sent against them; and in
the Carthaginian dominion they laid an ambush near the place called
Hietae, and cut off the hired troops of Euthymus the Leukadian. Both
these circumstances made the good fortune of Timoleon more renowned. For
these were some of the men who under Philomelus of Phokis and Onomarchus
sacrilegiously took Delphi, and shared in the plunder of the temple. As
all men loathed them and shrank from them as from men under a curse,
they wandered about Peloponnesus until Timoleon, being unable to get any
other soldiers, enlisted them in his service. When they reached Sicily,
they were victorious in every battle which they fought where he was
present. After the most important struggles of the war were over, they
were sent to reinforce others, and so perished and came to nought; and
not all at once, but piecemeal, as if their avenging fate had given way
to Timoleon's good fortune for a season, lest the good should suffer
from the punishment of the wicked. Thus the kindness of the gods towards
Timoleon was no less seen and wondered at in his failures than in his

XXXI. The people of Syracuse were much nettled by the insulting jests
passed upon them by the despots. Mamercus, who plumed himself on his
poems and tragedies, gave himself great airs after conquering the
mercenaries, and when he hung up their shields as offerings to the gods,
he inscribed this insolent elegiac couplet upon them.

    "These, with purple wrought, and ivory, gold, and amber,
    We with our simple shields conquered and laid in the dust."

After these events, while Timoleon was on a campaign in the direction of
Kalauria, Hiketes invaded the Syracusan territory, did much damage and
insult, and retired loaded with spoil, past the very walls of Kalauria,
despising Timoleon, who had but a small force with him. He, however, let
him pass, but then pursued with his cavalry and light troops. Hiketes,
perceiving this, halted after crossing the river Damyrias, and drew up
his troops along the farther bank to dispute the passage, encouraged to
do so by the different nature of the ford, and the steepness of the
hills on either hand. Now a strange rivalry and contest arose among
Timoleon's captains, which delayed their onset. No one chose to let any
one else lead the way against the enemy, but each man wished to be
first; so that their crossing was conducted in a disorderly fashion,
each man trying to push by and outstrip the rest. Hereupon Timoleon,
wishing to choose the leaders by lot, took a ring from each. These he
threw into his own cloak, mixed them up, and showed the first which he
drew out, which happened to be engraved with the figure of a trophy of
victory. When the young men saw this they raised a shout of joy, and
would not wait for the rest to be drawn, but each man, as fast as he
could, rode through the river and set upon the enemy. Their assault was
irresistible; the enemy fled, all of them throwing away their shields,
and with the loss of a hundred men.

XXXII. Soon after this, while Timoleon was campaigning in the Leontine
country, he took Hiketes alive, with his son Eupolemus, and Euthymus,
the commander of his cavalry. The soldiers seized and bound them, and
led them into Timoleon's presence. Hiketes and his son were put to death
as despots and traitors; nor did Euthymus meet with compassion, though
he was a man of renown in athletic contest, and of great personal
bravery, because of a scoffing speech of which he was accused against
the Corinthians. The story goes that he was addressing the people of
Leontini on the subject of the Corinthian invasion, and told them that
there was nothing to be alarmed at if

     "Corinthian ladies have come out from home."[A]

Thus it is that most people seem to suffer more from hard words than
hard deeds, and are more excited by insult than by actual hurt. What we
do to our enemies in war is done of necessity, but the evil we say of
them seems to spring from an excess of spite.

[Footnote A: A line in the Medea of Euripides. The point of the joke
depends on the punctuation, but cannot be kept in translation.]

XXXIII. On Timoleon's return the Syracusans brought the family and
daughters of Hiketes before the public assembly for trial, and condemned
them to death. And this, methinks, is the most heartless of Timoleon's
actions, that for want of a word from him these poor creatures should
have perished. He seems not to have interfered, and to have let the
people give full vent to their desire to avenge Dion, who dethroned
Dionysius. For Hiketes was the man who threw Dion's wife Arete alive
into the sea, with her sister Aristomache and her little son, as is told
in the Life of Dion.

XXXIV. After this he marched against Mamercus at Catana. He beat him in
a pitched battle near the river Abolus, routing him with a loss of two
thousand men, no small part of whom belonged to the Phoenician
contingent under Gisco. Hereupon, at the request of the Carthaginians,
he made peace, stipulating that they should hold the country beyond the
river Lykus, and that those who wished should be allowed to have it and
go to reside at Syracuse, with their families and property, and also
that they should give up their alliance with the despots. In despair at
this Mamercus sailed to Italy, to try to bring the Lucanians against
Timoleon and the Syracusans; but he was deserted by his followers, who
turned their ships back, sailed to Syracuse, and surrendered Catana to
Timoleon. Mamercus now was forced to take refuge in Messina with Hippo,
the despot there. But Timoleon came and besieged it both by sea and
land. Hippo endeavoured to escape on a ship, and was taken. The people
of Messina, to whom he was delivered up, brought every one, even the
boys from school, into the theatre, to witness that most salutary
spectacle, a tyrant meeting with his deserts. He was put to death with
torture; but Mamercus surrendered himself to Timoleon on condition that
he should have a fair trial before the people of Syracuse, and that
Timoleon should say nothing against him. When he was brought to Syracuse
he was brought before the people, and tried to deliver a long
premeditated speech to them, but meeting with interruptions and seeing
that the assembly was inexorable he flung away his cloak and rushed
across the theatre, striking his head against a stone step with the
intention of killing himself. However he failed, and paid the penalty of
his crimes by suffering the death of a pirate.

XXXV. In this fashion the despotisms were put down by Timoleon, and the
wars finished. The whole island, which had become a mere wilderness
through the constant wars, and was grown hateful to the very natives,
under his administration became so civilized and desirable a country
that colonists sailed to it from those very places to which its own
citizens had formerly betaken themselves to escape from it. For Akragas
and Gela, large cities, which after the war with Athens had been
destroyed by the Carthaginians, were now repeopled; the former colonists
led by Megellus and Pheristus, from Elea on the south coast of Italy,
and the latter by a party led by Gorgus, who sailed from Keos and
collected together the former citizens.

When these cities were being reorganised Timoleon not only afforded them
peace and safety, but also gave them great assistance, and showed so
great an interest in them as to be loved and respected by them as their
real Founder. The other cities also all of them looked upon him with the
same feelings, so that no peace could be made by them, no laws
established, no country divided among settlers, no constitutional
changes made that seemed satisfactory, unless he had a hand in them,
and arranged them just as an architect, when a building is finished,
gives some graceful touches which adorn the whole.

XXXVI. There were many Greeks, in his lifetime, who became great, and
did great things, such as Timotheus, and Agesilaus, and Pelopidas, and
Timoleon's great model, Epameinondas. But these men's actions produced a
glory which was involved in much strain and toil, and some of their
deeds have incurred censure, and even been repented of. Whereas those of
Timoleon, if we except the terrible affair of his brother, have nothing
in them to which we cannot apply, like Timaeus, that verse of

    "Ye gods, what Venus or what grace divine
    Took part in this."

For as in the poetry of Antimachus, and the paintings of Dionysius, the
Kolophonians, we find a certain vigour and power, yet think them forced
in expression, and produced with much labour, while the paintings of
Nikomachus and the verses of Homer, besides their other graces and
merits, have the charm of seeming to have been composed easily and
without effort, so also the campaigns of Timoleon, when compared with
the laborious and hardly contested ones of Epameinondas or Agesilaus,
seem to have, besides their glory, a wonderful ease, which property is
not so much to be attributed to good luck as to prosperous valour. He,
however, ascribed all his successes to Fortune, for in writing to his
friends at home, and in his public speeches to the Syracusans, he
frequently expressed his thankfulness to this goddess, who, having
determined to save Sicily, had chosen to ascribe to him the credit of
doing it. In his house he built a chapel to Automatia,--the goddess
under whose auspices blessings and glory came as it were of themselves.
To her he offered sacrifices, and consecrated his house to her. He lived
in a house which the Syracusans had bestowed upon him as a special prize
for his successes as general, and also the most beautiful and pleasant
country seat, where indeed he spent most of his leisure time with his
wife and children, whom he had sent for from Corinth. For he never
returned to Corinth, nor mixed himself up in the troubles of Greece, nor
did he expose himself to the hatred of political faction, which is the
rock upon which great generals commonly split, in their insatiate thirst
for honour and power; but he remained in Sicily, enjoying the blessings
of which he was the author; the greatest of which was to see so many
cities, and so many tens of thousands, all made happy and prosperous by
his means.

XXXVII. But since, as Simonides says, all larks must have crests, and
all republics sycophants, so two of the popular leaders, Laphystius and
Demaenetus, attacked Timoleon. When Laphystius was insisting on his
giving bail for some lawsuit, he would not permit the people to hoot at
him or stop him; for he said that all his labours and dangers had been
endured to obtain for every Syracusan the right of appealing to the
laws. Demaenetus made many attacks in the public assembly on his
generalship; but he made him no answer except to declare his
thankfulness to the gods for having granted his prayer that he might see
all Syracusans in possession of liberty of speech.

Though he confessedly had performed the greatest and most glorious
actions of any Greek of his time, and though he had gained the glory of
having alone done that which the orators in their speeches at great
public meetings used to urge the entire nation to attempt, he was
fortunately removed from the troubles which fell upon ancient Greece,
and saved from defiling his hands with the blood of his countrymen. His
courage and conduct were shown at the expense of barbarians and despots;
his mildness of temper was experienced by Greeks; he was able to erect
the trophies for most of his victories, without causing tears and
mourning to the citizens; but nevertheless, within eight years, he
restored Sicily to its native inhabitants, freed from the scourges which
had afflicted it for so long a time and seemed so ineradicable. When
advanced in years he suffered from a dimness of sight, which soon became
total blindness. He had done nothing to cause it, and had met with no
accident, but the disease was congenital, and in time produced a
cataract. Many of his relatives are said in a similar fashion to have
lost their sight when advanced in years. But Athanis tells us that
during the war with Hippo and Mamercus, at the camp at Mylae, his
eyesight became affected, and that this was noticed by all, but that he
did not on that account desist from the siege, but persevered in the
war, till he captured the two despots; but as soon as he returned to
Syracuse he resigned his post of commander-in-chief, begging the
citizens to allow him to do so, as the war had been brought to a happy

XXXVIII. That he endured his misfortune without repining is not to be
wondered at; but one must admire the respect and love shown him when
blind by the people of Syracuse. They constantly visited him, and
brought with them any strangers that might be staying with them, both to
his town and country house, to show them their benefactor, glorying in
the fact that he had chosen to spend his life amongst them, and had
scorned the magnificent reception which his exploits would have ensured
him, had he returned to Greece. Of the many important tributes to his
worth none was greater than the decree of the Syracusans that whenever
they should be engaged in war with foreign tribes, they would have a
Corinthian for their general. Great honour was also reflected upon him
by their conduct in the public assembly; for, though they managed
ordinary business by themselves, on the occasion of any important debate
they used to call him in. Then he would drive through the market-place
into the theatre; and when the carriage in which he sat was brought in,
the people would rise and salute him with one voice. Having returned
their greeting, and allowed a short time for their cheers and blessings,
he would hear the disputed point debated, and then give his opinion.
When this had been voted upon his servants would lead his carriage out
of the theatre, while the citizens, cheering and applauding him as he
went, proceeded to despatch their other business without him.

XXXIX. Cherished in his old age with such respect and honour, as the
common father of his country, Timoleon at length, after a slight
illness, died. Some time was given for the Syracusans to prepare his
funeral, and for neighbours and foreigners to assemble, so that the
ceremony was performed with great splendour. The bier, magnificently
adorned, and carried by young men chosen by lot, passed over the place
where once the castle of Dionysius had been pulled down. The procession
was joined by tens of thousands of men and women, whose appearance was
gay enough for a festival, for they all wore garlands and white robes.
Their lamentations and tears mingled with their praises of the deceased
showed that they were not performing this as a matter of mere outward
respect and compliance with a decree, but that they expressed real
sorrow and loving gratitude. At last, when the bier was placed upon the
pyre, Demetrius, the loudest voiced of the heralds at that time, read
aloud the following:--

"The Syracusan people solemnise, at the cost of two hundred minae, the
funeral of this man, the Corinthian Timoleon, son of Timodemus. They
have passed a vote to honour him for all future time with festival
matches in music, horse and chariot races, and gymnastics, because,
after having put down the despots, subdued the foreign enemy, and
recolonized the greatest among the ruined cities, he restored to the
Sicilian Greeks their constitution and laws."[A]

[Footnote A: Grote.]

They buried him in the market-place, and afterwards surrounded the spot
with a colonnade, and built a palastra in it for the young men to
practise in, and called it the Timoleonteum; and, living under the
constitution and laws which he established, they passed many years in


II.[A] Most writers agree that the Aemilian was one of the most noble
and ancient of the patrician families of Rome. Those who tell us that
King Numa was a pupil of Pythagoras, narrate also that Mamercus, the
founder of this family, was a son of that philosopher, who for his
singular grace and subtlety of speech was surnamed Aemilius. Most of the
members of the family who gained distinction by their valour, were also
fortunate, and even the mishap of Lucius Paullus at Cannae bore ample
testimony to his prudence and valour. For since he could not prevail
upon his colleague to refrain from battle, he, though against his better
judgment, took part in it, and disdained to fly; but when he who had
begun the contest fled from it, he stood firm, and died fighting the
enemy. This Aemilius had a daughter, who married Scipio the Great, and a
son who is the subject of this memoir. Born in an age which was rendered
illustrious by the valour and wisdom of many distinguished men, he
eclipsed them all, though he followed none of the studies by which young
men were then gaining themselves a reputation, but chose a different
path. He did not practise at the bar, nor could he bring himself to
court the favour of the people by the greetings, embraces, and
professions of friendship to which most men used to stoop to obtain
popularity. Not that he was by nature unfitted for such pursuits; but he
considered it better to gain a reputation for courage, justice, and
truth, in which he soon outshone his contemporaries.

[Footnote A: In Sintenis's text the chapter with which this life usually
begins is prefixed to the Life of Timoleon.]

III. The first honourable office for which he was a candidate was that
of aedile, for which he was elected against twelve others, who, they
say, all afterwards became consuls. When chosen a priest of the college
of Augurs, whom the Romans appoint to watch and register the omens
derived from the flight of birds, or the signs of the heavens, he so
carefully applied himself to learning the ancient customs and religion
of his ancestors, that the priesthood, hitherto merely considered as an
empty title of honour and sought after for that reason only, became
regarded as the sublimest craft of all, confirming the saying of the
philosophers, that holiness consists in a knowledge of how to serve the
gods. Under him everything was done with both zeal and skill. He
neglected all other duties, when engaged upon these, neither omitting
any part nor adding any, arguing with his companions, when they blamed
him for his care about trifles, that though a man might think that
heaven was merciful and forgiving of negligences, yet that habitual
disregard and overlooking of such points was dangerous for the state,
seeing that no one ever begins till some flagrant breach of the law to
disturb the constitution, but those who are careless of accuracy in
small things soon begin to neglect the most important. He was no less
severe in exacting and maintaining military discipline than with
religious observances, never forgetting the general in the demagogue,
nor, as many then did, endeavouring to make his first command lead to a
second by indulgence and affability to his troops, but, like a priest
expounding mysteries, he carefully taught them everything requisite for
a campaign, and, by his severity to the careless and disobedient,
restored the former glory to his country; for he seemed to think victory
over the enemy was merely a subordinate incident in the great work of
disciplining his fellow-citizens.

IV. When the Romans were at war with Antiochus the Great, and all their
most experienced generals were employed against him, there arose another
war in the west of Europe, in consequence of revolutionary movements in
Spain. Aemilius was appointed commander to conduct this war, not with
six lictors only, like ordinary generals, but twelve, so as to give him
consular authority. He defeated the barbarians in two pitched battles,
with a loss of nearly thirty thousand. The credit of this exploit
belongs peculiarly to the general, who made such use of the advantage of
the ground, and the ford over a certain river, as to render victory an
easy matter for his soldiers. He also took two hundred and fifty cities,
which opened their gates to him. Having established a lasting peace in
his province he returned to Rome, not having gained a penny by his
command. For he was careless of money-making, though he spent his
fortune without stint; and it was so small, that after his death it
hardly sufficed to make up the dower of his wife.

V. He married Papiria, the daughter of Papirius Maso, a consular; and
after living with her for a considerable time, divorced her, though he
had by her an illustrious family, for she was the mother of the renowned
Scipio, and of Fabius Maximus. No reason for their separation has come
down to us, but there is much truth in that other story about a divorce,
that some Roman put away his wife; and his friends then blamed him,
saying, "Is she not chaste? is she not beautiful? is she not fruitful?"
He, stretching out his shoe, said, "Is it not beautiful? is it not new?
But none of you can tell where it pinches me. In fact, some men divorce
their wives for great and manifest faults, yet the little but constant
irritation which proceeds from incompatible tempers and habits, though
unnoticed by the world at large, does gradually produce between married
people breaches which cannot be healed."

So Aemilius put away Papiria, and married again. By his second marriage
he had two sons, whom he kept at home, but those by the former marriage
he had adopted into the greatest and noblest families of Rome, the elder
into that of Fabius Maximus, who had five times been consul, while the
younger was treated by Scipio Africanus as his cousin, and took the name
of Scipio.

Of his two daughters, one married a son of Cato, the other Aelius
Tubero, an excellent man, who supported his poverty more gloriously than
any other Roman. There were sixteen in the family, all Aelii; and one
small house and estate sufficed for them all, with their numerous
offspring and their wives, among whom was the daughter of our Aemilius,
who, though her father had twice been consul and twice triumphed, was
not ashamed of the poverty of her husband, but was proud of the virtue
that kept him poor. But nowadays brothers and kinsmen, unless their
inheritances be divided by mountain ranges, rivers, and walls like
fortifications, with plenty of space between them, quarrel without
ceasing. These are the materials for reflection which history affords to
those who choose to make use of them.

VI. Aemilius, when elected consul, marched against the sub-Alpine
Ligurians, called by some Ligustines, a brave and spirited nation, and
from their nearness to Rome, skilled in the arts of war. Mixed with the
Gauls, and the Iberians of the sea coast, they inhabit the extremity of
Italy where it dies away into the Alps, and also that part of the Alps
which is washed by the Tuscan Sea, opposite the Libyan coast. At this
time they took also to seafaring, and, sailing forth in small piratical
ships, they plundered and preyed upon commerce as far as the columns of
Heracles. On Aemilius's approach they opposed him, forty thousand
strong; but he, with only eight thousand, attacked five-fold his own
numbers, put them to rout, and having chased them into their fastnesses,
offered them reasonable and moderate terms; for it was not the Roman
policy utterly to exterminate the Ligurian race, but to leave them as an
outwork to protect Italy against the constant movements of the Gaulish

Trusting in Aemilius they surrendered all their ships and their cities
into his hands. He did the cities no hurt, or at most destroyed the
walls, and restored them to the owners, but he carried off all the
ships, leaving them nothing larger than a six-oared boat; while he set
free the numerous captives which they had taken both by sea and land,
among whom were some Roman citizens. These were his glorious exploits in
that consulship. Afterwards he frequently let his desire for re-election
be seen, and once became a candidate, but as he failed and was passed
over, he thenceforth remained in retirement, occupying himself with
religious matters, and teaching his children not only the Roman
education in which he himself had been brought up, but also the Greek,
and that more carefully. For not only were the grammarians,
philosophers, and orators Greek, but also the sculptors and painters,
and the young men kept Greeks to manage their horses and hounds, and
instruct them in hunting. Aemilius, unless hindered by public business,
always was present at the exercises and studies of his sons, and was the
kindest father in Rome.

VII. This was the period during which the Romans, who were at war with
Perseus, King of Macedon, complained of their generals, whose ignorance
and cowardice had led to the most disgraceful and ridiculous failure,
and to the sustaining of much more loss than they inflicted. They, who
had just driven Antiochus, called the Great, out of Asia Minor, beyond
Taurus, and restricted him to Syria, making him glad to purchase peace
at the price of fifteen thousand talents; who, a little before, had
crushed Philip in Thessaly, and set free the Greeks from the power of
Macedon; and who had also utterly subdued Hannibal himself, a man whose
daring and immense resources rendered him far more dangerous an opponent
than any king, thought that it was not to be borne that Perseus should
wage war as if he were on equal terms with the Roman people, and that,
too, with only the remnants of his father's routed forces; for they did
not know that Philip, after his defeat, had greatly increased the power
and efficiency of the Macedonian army. To explain which, I shall briefly
relate the story from the beginning.

VIII. Antigonus, who was the most powerful of the generals and
successors of Alexander, and who obtained for himself and his family the
title of king, had a son named Demetrius, whose son was Antigonus,
called Gonatas. His son again was named Demetrius, who, after reigning
some short time, died, leaving a son Philip, a mere boy in years.
Fearing disturbance during his minority, the Macedonian nobles made
Antigonus, a cousin of the deceased, Regent and commander-in-chief,
associating with him in this office the mother of Philip. Finding him a
moderate and useful ruler, they soon gave him the title of king. He had
the soubriquet of Doson, as though he were only a promiser, not a
performer of his engagements. After this man, Philip came to the throne,
and, while yet a boy, distinguished himself in all that becomes a king,
so as to raise men's hopes that he might restore the empire of Macedon
to its ancient glory, and be alone able to check the power of Rome,
which now menaced the whole world. Defeated in a great battle at
Scotussa by Titus Flamininus, he bent to the storm, surrendered all that
he had to the Romans, and was thankful for mild treatment. Afterwards,
chafing at his subordinate position, and thinking that to reign
dependent on the pleasure of the Romans was more worthy of a slave who
cares only for sensual pleasure, than of a man of spirit, he gave his
whole mind up to preparations for war, and secretly and unscrupulously
collected materials for it. Of the cities in his kingdom, he allowed
those on the sea-coast and the main roads to fall into partial decay, so
that his power might be despised, while he collected great forces in the
interior. Here he filled all the outposts, fortresses, and cities with
arms, money, and men fit for service, and thus trained the nation for
war, yet kept his preparations secret. In his arsenals were arms for
thirty thousand men; eight million medimni of corn were stored in his
fortresses, and such a mass of treasure as would pay an army of ten
thousand men for ten years. But before he could put all these forces in
motion and begin the great struggle, he died of grief and remorse, for
he had, as he admitted, unjustly put his other son Demetrius to death on
the calumnies of one far worse than he was. Perseus, the survivor,
inherited his father's hatred of the Romans with his kingdom, but was
not of a calibre to carry out his designs, as his small and degraded
mind was chiefly possessed by avarice. He is said not even to have been
legitimate, but that Philip's wife obtained him when a baby from his
real mother, a midwife of Argos, named Gnathaina, and palmed him off
upon her husband. And this seems to have been one reason for her putting
Demetrius to death, for fear that if the family had a legitimate heir,
this one's bastardy would be discovered.

IX. However, low-born and low-minded though he was, yet having by the
force of circumstances drifted into war, he held his own and maintained
himself for a long time against the Romans, defeating generals of
consular rank with great armies, and even capturing some of them.
Publius Licinius, who first invaded Macedonia, was defeated in a cavalry
engagement, with a loss of two thousand five hundred brave men killed,
and six hundred prisoners. Perseus next by a sudden attack made himself
master of the Roman naval station at Oreus, took twenty store ships,
sunk the rest, which were loaded with grain, and took also four
quinqueremes.[A] He fought also a second battle, in which he drove back
the consular general Hostilius, who was trying to invade Macedonia near
Elimiae; and when he tried to steal in through Thessaly, he again
offered battle, which the Roman declined. As an accessory to the war he
now made a campaign against the Dardans, as if affecting to despise the
Romans and to be at leisure. Here he cut to pieces ten thousand of the
barbarians, and carried off much plunder. He also had secret
negotiations with the Gauls who dwell near the Ister, called Basternae,
a nation of warlike horsemen, and by means of Genthius their king he
endeavoured to induce the Illyrians to take part in the war. There was
even a report that the barbarians had been induced by his bribes to
march through the southern part of Gaul beside the Adriatic, and so
invade Italy.

[Footnote A: Ships of war with five banks of oars.]

X. The Romans, when they learnt all this, determined that they would
disregard political influence in their choice of a general, and choose
some man of sense and capable of undertaking great operations. Such a
one was Paulus Aemilius, a man of advanced age, being about sixty years
old, but still in full vigour of body, and surrounded by kinsmen,
grown-up sons, and friends, who all urged him to listen to the appeal of
his country and be consul. He at first treated the people with little
respect, and shunned their eager professions of zeal, on the plea that
he did not wish for the command; but as they waited on him daily, and
called for him to come into the forum and shouted his name, he was at
length prevailed upon. When a candidate, he seemed to enter the field
not with a view to getting office, but to giving victory and strength in
battle to his fellow-citizens; with such zeal and confidence did they
unanimously elect him consul for the second time, not permitting lots
to be cast for provinces by the two consuls, as is usual, but at once
decreeing to him the management of the Macedonian war. It is said that
when he was named general against Perseus, he was escorted home in
triumph by the people _en masse_, and found his daughter Tertia, who was
quite a little child, in tears. He embraced her, and asked her why she
was crying; and she, throwing her arms round him and kissing him, said,
"Do you not know, father, that our Perseus is dead?" meaning a little
dog which she had brought up, which was so named. Aemilius said, "May
this bring good luck, my daughter: I accept the omen." This story Cicero
the orator tells in his book on Divination.

XI. It being the custom that the consuls-elect should return thanks, and
make a gracious speech to the people from the rostrum, Aemilius called
together the people and said that he had sought for his former
consulship because he wanted office, but for this one because they
wanted a general: wherefore he felt no gratitude towards them, but would
lay down his consulship if they thought that they would succeed better
in the war under some one else; but if they felt confidence in him, he
asked them not to interfere with his acts as general, nor to gossip
about him, but to furnish quietly what was wanted for the war; for if
they tried to command their commander they would afford even a more
sorry spectacle than they had already done. By these words he made the
citizens stand greatly in awe of him, and gave them great expectations
of what he would effect, while all rejoiced that they had passed over
those who used to flatter them, and had chosen a general of independence
and spirit. So much did the Roman people respect bravery and honour,
because it led to conquests, and to making them masters of the world.

XII. I consider it to have been by divine favour that Aemilius Paulus on
starting for his campaign met with such a fortunate and calm voyage, and
so speedily and safely arrived at the camp; but as to the war itself,
and his conduct of it, accomplished as it was partly by swift daring,
partly by wise dispositions, by the valour of friends, confidence in the
midst of dangers, and reliance on sound plans, I cannot tell of any
glorious and distinguished exploit, which, as in the case of other
generals, owed its success to his good fortune; unless, indeed, any one
should count as good fortune for Aemilius the avarice of Perseus, which
destroyed the great and well-founded hopes of the Macedonians in the
war, and brought them to ruin by the meanness of their chief. At his
request there came a force of Basternae, a thousand horse and ten
thousand light troops who fought with them, all mercenary soldiers--men
who knew nothing of tilling the soil, or of sailing the sea, who did not
live from the produce of their flocks, but who studied one art and
business solely, ever to fight and overcome their antagonists. So, when
in the camp at Maedike, these men mixed with the king's troops, tall in
their person, admirable in their drill, boastful and haughty in their
defiance of the foe, they gave confidence to the Macedonians, and made
them think that the Romans never could withstand their attack, but would
be terrified at their appearance and march, outlandish and ferocious as
it was. But Perseus, now that he had got such auxiliaries as these, and
put his men into such heart, because he was asked for a thousand staters
for each officer, became bewildered at the amount of the sum which he
would have to pay, and his meanness prevailing over his reason, refused
their offers, and broke off the alliance, as if he had been steward of
his kingdom for the Romans rather than fighting against them, and had to
give an exact account of his expenses in the war to his enemies; though
he might have been taught by them, who had besides other war materials,
a hundred thousand soldiers collected together ready for use. Yet he,
when engaged in war with such a power as this, where such great forces
were kept on foot to contend with him, kept doling out and sparing his
money as if it were not his own. And still he was not a Lydian or
Phoenician, but a man who from his descent ought to have had a share of
the spirit of Philip and Alexander, who made all their conquests by the
principle that empire may be gained by gold, not gold by empire. It
used, indeed, to be a proverb that "It is not Philip, but Philip's gold
that takes the cities of Greece." Alexander, too, when beginning his
Indian campaign, seeing the Macedonians laboriously dragging along the
rich and unwieldy plunder of the Persians, first burned all the royal
carriages, and then persuaded the soldiers to do the like with their
own, and start for the war as light as if they had shaken off a burden.
But Perseus, when spending his own money to defend himself, his
children, and his kingdom, rather than sacrifice a little and win,
preferred to be taken to Rome with many others, a rich captive, and show
the Romans how much he had saved for them.

XIII. For not only did he dismiss the Gauls and break his word to them,
but after inducing Genthius the Illyrian to take part in the war for a
bribe of three hundred talents, he lodged the money with that prince's
envoys, all counted, and let them put their seals upon it. Genthius then
thinking that he had got what he asked, did a wicked and impious deed in
seizing and throwing into prison some Roman ambassadors who were sent to
him. Perseus, thinking that Genthius no longer needed money to make him
hostile to Rome, since he had given him such a pledge of his hatred of
it, and had involved himself in war with it by such a crime, deprived
the poor man of his three hundred talents, and shortly afterwards looked
calmly on while he and his family were plucked out of their kingdom,
like birds out of a nest, by Lucius Anicius, who was sent with an army
against him. Aemilius, when he came to contend with such a rival as
this, despised him as a man, but was surprised at the force which he had
at his disposal. These were four thousand cavalry, and of infantry
soldiers of the Macedonian phalanx nearly forty thousand. Encamped by
the sea-shore, near the skirts of Mount Olympus, on ground nowhere
accessible, and strongly fortified by himself with outworks and defences
of wood, Perseus lived in careless security, thinking that by time and
expense he should wear out Aemilius's attack. But he, while he busied
his mind with every possible mode of assault, perceiving that his army
in consequence of its past want of discipline was impatient, and usurped
the general's province by proposing all sorts of wild schemes, severely
reprimanded the soldiers, and ordered them not to meddle with what was
not their concern, but only take care that they and their arms were
ready, and to use their swords as Romans should when their general
should give the word. He ordered the night sentries to go on guard
without their spears, that they might be more attentive and less
inclined to sleep, having no arms to defend themselves against the

XIV. The army was chiefly troubled by want of water; for only a very
little bad water ran or rather dripped out of a spring near the sea.
Aemilius perceiving that Olympus, immediately above him, was a large and
well-wooded mountain, and guessing from the greenness of the foliage
that it must contain some springs which had their courses underground,
dug many pits and wells along the skirts of the mountain, which
immediately were filled with pure water, which by the pressure above was
driven into these vacant spaces. Yet some say that there are no hidden
fountains of water, lying ready in such places as these, and say that it
is not because they are dug out or broken into that they flow, but that
they have their origin and cause in the saturation of the surrounding
earth which becomes saturated by its close texture and coldness, acting
upon the moist vapours, which when pressed together low down turn into
water. For just as women's breasts are not receptacles full of milk
ready to flow, but change the nutriment which is in them into milk, and
so supply it, so also the cold places which are full of springs have no
water concealed in them, nor any such reservoirs as would be needed to
send out deep rivers from any fixed point, but by their pressure they
convert the air and vapour which is in them into water. At any rate,
those places which are dug over break more into springs and run more
with water, in answer to this treatment of their surface, just as
women's breasts respond to sucking, for it moistens and softens the
vapour; whereas land which is not worked is incapable of producing
water, not having the motion by which moisture is obtained. Those who
argue thus have given sceptics the opportunity of saying, that if it be
true, there can be no blood in animals, but that it gathers about
wounds, and that the flow of blood is produced by the air, or some
change which takes place in the flesh. They are proved to be wrong by
those who sink shafts for mines, and meet with rivers in the depths of
the earth, which have not collected themselves by degrees, as would be
the case if they derived their origin from the sudden movements of the
earth, but flow with a full stream. Also, when mountains and rocks are
fissured by a blow, there springs out a gush of water, which afterwards
ceases. But enough of this.

XV. Aemilius remained quiet for some days, and it is said two such great
hosts never were so near together and so quiet. After exploring and
trying every place he discovered that there was still one pass
unguarded, that, namely, through Perrhaebae by Pythium and Petra. He
called a council of war to consider this, being himself more hopeful of
success that way, as the place was not watched, than alarmed at the
precipices on account of which the enemy neglected it. First of those
present, Scipio, surnamed Nasica, son-in-law to Scipio Africanus,
afterwards a leading man in the Senate, volunteered to lead the party
which was to make this circuitous attack. And next Fabius Maximus, the
eldest of the sons of Aemilius, though still only a youth, rose and
spiritedly offered his services. Aemilius, delighted, placed under their
command not so many troops as Polybius says in his history, but so many
as Nasica himself tells us that he had, in a letter which he wrote to
one of the princes of that region about this affair. He had three
thousand Italians, besides his main body, and five thousand who composed
the left wing. Besides these, Nasica took a hundred and twenty horse,
and two hundred of Harpalus's light troops, Thracians and Cretans mixed.
He began his march along the road towards the sea, and encamped near the
temple of Herakles, as though he intended to sail round to the other
side of the enemy's camp, and so surround him: but when the soldiers had
supped, and it was dark, he explained his real plan to his officers,
marched all night away from the sea, and halted his men for rest near
the temple of Apollo. At this place Olympus is more than ten furlongs
high: and this is proved by the epigram which the measurer wrote as

     "The height of Olympus' crest at the temple of Pythian Apollo
     consists of (measured by the plumb line) ten stades, and
     besides a hundred feet all but four. It was Xenagoras, the son
     of Eumelus, who discovered its height. King Apollo, hail to
     thee; be thou propitious to us."

And yet geometricians say that neither the height of any mountain nor
the depth of any sea is above ten stades (furlongs). However, Xenophanes
did not take its altitude conjecturally, but by a proper method with

XVI. Here then Nasica halted. Perseus in the morning saw Aemilius's army
quiet in its place, and would have had no idea of what was going on had
not a Cretan deserter come and told him of the flank march of the
Romans. Then he became alarmed, but still did not disturb his camp, but,
placing ten thousand foreign mercenaries and two thousand Macedonians
under the command of Milo, ordered him to march swiftly and occupy the
passes. Now Polybius says that the Romans fell upon these men when they
were in their beds, but Nasica tells us that a sharp and dangerous
conflict took place upon the heights. He himself was assailed by a
Thracian, but struck him through the breast with his spear. However, the
enemy were forced back; Milo most shamefully fled in his shirt, without
his arms, and Scipio was able to follow, and at the same time lead his
forces on to level ground. Perseus, terrified and despairing when he saw
them, at once broke up his camp and retreated. But still he was obliged
either to give battle before Pydna, or else to disperse his army among
the various cities of the kingdom, and so to await the Romans, who,
being once entered into his country, could not be driven out without
much slaughter and bloodshed. It was urged by his friends that he had a
great numerical superiority, and that the troops would fight desperately
in defence of their wives and families, especially if their king took
the command and shared their danger. He pitched his camp and prepared
for battle, viewed the ground, and arranged the commands, intending to
set upon the Romans as soon as they appeared. Now the position both
possessed a flat plain for the manoeuvres of the phalanx, which requires
level ground, and also hills rising one above another offered refuges
and means for outflanking the enemy to his light troops. Also two
rivers, the Aeson and Leukus, which ran across as it, though not very
deep at that season (late autumn), were expected to give some trouble to
the Romans.

XVII. Aemilius, on effecting a junction with Nasica, marched in battle
array against the enemy. When, however, he saw their position and their
numbers, he halted in surprise, considering within himself what he
should do. His young officers, eager for battle, rode up to him and
begged him not to delay. Conspicuous among these was Nasica, excited by
his successful flank march round Olympus. Aemilius smiled at them and
answered, "I would do so if I were of your age, but many victories have
shown me the mistakes of the vanquished, and prevent my attacking a body
of men drawn up in a chosen position with troops on the march and
undeployed." He gave orders that those troops who were in front should
gather together and appear to be forming in battle array, while those
who were behind pitched their palisades and fortified a camp. Then by
wheeling off men by degrees from the front line, he gradually broke up
his line of battle, and quietly drew all his forces within the ramparts
of his camp. When night fell, and after supper the army had betaken
itself to sleep and rest, suddenly the moon, which was full and high in
the heavens, became obscured, changed colour, and became totally
eclipsed. The Romans, after their custom, called for her to shine again
by clattering with brass vessels, and uplifting blazing faggots and
torches. The Macedonians did nothing of the sort, but dismay spread over
their camp, and they muttered under their breath that this portended the
eclipse of their king. Now Aemilius was not unacquainted with the
phenomena of eclipses, which result from the moon being at fixed periods
brought into the shadow of the earth and darkened, until it passes the
obscured tract and is again enlightened by the sun, yet being very
devout and learned in divination, he offered to her a sacrifice of
eleven calves. At daybreak he sacrificed twenty oxen to Herakles without
obtaining a favourable response; but with the one-and-twentieth
favourable signs appeared and portents of victory for them, provided
they did not attack. He then vowed a hecatomb and sacred games in
honour of the god, and ordered his officers to arrange the men in line
of battle. But he waited till the sun declined and drew towards the
west, that his troops might not fight with the morning sun in their
eyes. He passed away the day sitting in his tent, which was pitched
looking towards the flat country and the camp of the enemy.

XVIII. Some writers tell us, that about evening, by a device of
Aemilius, the battle was begun by the enemy, the Romans having driven a
horse without a bridle out of their camp and then tried to catch it,
from which pursuit the battle began; but others say that Roman soldiers
who were carrying fodder for the cattle were set upon by the Thracians
under Alexander, and that to repel them a vigorous sortie was made with
seven hundred Ligurians; that many on both sides came up to help their
comrades, and so the battle began. Aemilius, like a pilot, seeing by the
motion and disturbance of his camp that a storm was at hand, came out of
his tent, and going along the lines of the infantry spoke encouraging
words to them, while Nasica, riding up to the skirmishers, saw the whole
army of the enemy just on the point of attacking. First marched the
Thracians, whose aspect they saw was most terrible, as they were tall
men, dressed in dark tunics, with large oblong shields and greaves of
glittering white, brandishing aloft long heavy swords over their right
shoulders. Next to the Thracians were the mercenaries, variously armed,
and mixed with Paeonians. After these came a third corps, of
Macedonians, picked men of proved courage, and in the flower of their
age, glittering with gilded arms and new purple dresses. Behind them
again came the phalanxes from the camp with their brazen shields,
filling all the plain with the glittering of their armour, and making
the hills ring with their shouts. So swiftly and boldly did they advance
that those who were first slain fell two furlongs only from the Roman

XIX. When the battle began, Aemilius came up, and found the front ranks
of the Macedonians had struck their spear-heads into the Roman shields,
so that they could not reach them with their swords. When also the other
Macedonians took their shields off their shoulders and placed them in
front, and then at the word of command all brought down their pikes, he,
viewing the great strength of that serried mass of shields, and the
menacing look of the spears that bristled before them, was amazed and
terrified, having never seen a more imposing spectacle--and often
afterwards he used to speak of that sight, and of his own feelings at
it. At the time, however, he put on a cheerful and hopeful look, and
rode along the ranks showing himself to the men without helmet or
cuirass. But the Macedonian king, according to Polybius, having joined
battle, was seized with a fit of cowardice, and rode off to the city on
the pretext that he was going to sacrifice to Herakles, a god unlikely
to receive the base offerings of cowards or to fulfil their unreasonable
prayers; for it is not reasonable that he who does not shoot should hit
the mark, nor that he who does not stand fast at his post should win the
day, or that the helpless man should succeed or the coward prosper. But
the god heard the prayers of Aemilius, for he prayed for victory whilst
fighting, sword in hand, and invited the god into the battle to aid him.
Not but what one Poseidonius, who says that he took part in these
transactions, and wrote a history of Perseus in many volumes, says that
it was not from cowardice, or on the pretext of offering sacrifice that
he left the field, but that on the day before the battle he was kicked
on the leg by a horse; that in the battle, though in great pain, and
entreated by his friends to desist, he ordered a horse to be brought,
and without armour rode up to the phalanx. Here as many missiles were
flying about from both sides, an iron javelin struck him, not fairly
with its point, but it ran obliquely down his left side, tearing his
tunic, and causing a dark bruise on his flesh, the scar of which was
long visible. This is what Poseidonius urges in defence of Perseus.

XX. Now as the Romans when they met the phalanx could make no impression
upon it, Salovius, the leader of the Pelignians, seized the standard of
his regiment and threw it among the enemy. The Pelignians, as the loss
of a standard is thought to be a crime and an impiety by all Italians,
rushed to the place, and a fierce conflict began there with terrible
slaughter. The one party tried to dash aside the long spears with their
swords, and to push them with their shields, and to seize them away with
their very hands, while the Macedonians, wielding their spears with both
hands, drove them through their opponents, armour and all: for no shield
or corslet could resist their thrust. They then cast over their own
heads the bodies of these Pelignians and Marrucini, who pressed madly
like wild creatures up to the line of spears and certain death. When the
first rank fell in this manner, those behind gave way: it cannot be said
that they fled, but they retreated to a mountain called Olokrus.
Poseidonius tells us that Aemilius tore his clothes in despair at seeing
these men give ground, while the other Romans were confounded at the
phalanx, which could not be assailed, but with its close line of spears,
like a palisade, offered no point for attack. But when he saw that, from
the inequalities of the ground, and the length of their line, the
Macedonian phalanx did not preserve its alignment, and was breaking into
gaps and breaches, as is natural should happen in a great army,
according to the different attacks of the combatants, who made it bulge
inwards in one place, and outward in another, then he came swiftly up,
and dividing his men into companies, ordered them to force their way
into the spaces and intervals of the enemy's line, and to make their
attack, not in any one place all together, but in several, as they were
broken up into several bodies. As soon as Aemilius had given these
instructions to the officers, who communicated them to the men, they
charged into the spaces, and at once some attacked the now helpless
Macedonians in flank, while others got into their rear and cut them off.
The phalanx dissolved immediately, and with it was lost all the power
and mutual assistance which it gave. Fighting in single combats or small
groups, the Macedonians struck in vain with their little daggers at the
strong shields reaching to their feet carried by the Romans. Their light
targets could ill ward off the blows of the Roman sword, which cut right
through all their defensive armour. After a useless resistance they
turned and fled.

XXI. But the fight was a sharp one. Here Marcus, the son of Cato,
Aemilius's son-in-law, whilst fighting with great valour let fall his
sword. Educated as he had been in the strictest principles of honour,
and owing it to such a father to give extraordinary proofs of courage,
he thought that life would be intolerable for him if he allowed an enemy
to carry off such a trophy from him, and ran about calling upon every
friend or acquaintance whom he saw to help him to recover it. Many brave
men thus assembled, and with one accord left the rest of the army and
followed him. After a sharp conflict and much slaughter, they succeeded
in driving the enemy from the ground, and having thus chased it, they
betook themselves to searching for the sword. When at last after much
trouble it was found among the heaps of arms and corpses, they were
overjoyed, and with a shout assailed those of the enemy who still
resisted. At length the three thousand picked men were all slain
fighting in their ranks. A great slaughter took place among the others
as they fled, so that the plain and the skirts of the hills were covered
with corpses, and the stream of the river Leukus ran red with blood even
on the day after the battle; for, indeed, it is said that more than
twenty-five thousand men perished. Of the Romans there fell a hundred,
according to Poseidonius, but Nasica says only eighty.

XXII. This battle, fraught with such important issues, was decided in a
remarkably short time; beginning to fight at the ninth hour, the Romans
were victorious before the tenth. The remainder of the day was occupied
in pursuit, which being pressed for some fifteen (English) miles, it was
late before they returned to their camp. All the officers on their
return were met by their servants with torches, and conducted with songs
of triumph to their tents, which were illuminated and wreathed with ivy
and laurel; but the general himself was deeply dejected. The youngest of
the two sons who were serving under him--his own favourite, the noblest
of all his children in character--was nowhere to be found; and it was
feared that, being high-spirited and generous, though but a boy in
years, he must have become mixed up with the enemy, and so perished. The
whole army learned the cause of his sorrow and perplexity, and quitting
their suppers, ran about with torches, some to the tent of Aemilius, and
some outside the camp to look for him among the corpses. The whole camp
was filled with sorrow, and all the plain with noise, covered as it was
with men shouting for Scipio--for he had won all hearts from the very
beginning, having beyond all his kinsfolk the power of commanding the
affections of men. Very late at night, after he had been all but given
up for lost, he came in with two or three comrades, covered with the
blood of the enemies he had slain, having, like a well-bred hound, been
thoughtlessly carried along by the joy of the chase. This was that
Scipio who afterwards took by storm Carthage and Numantia, and became by
far the most famous and powerful of all the Romans of his time. So
fortune, deferring to another season the expression of her jealousy at
his success, now permitted Aemilius to take an unalloyed pleasure in his

XXIII. Perseus fled from Pydna to Pella, his cavalry having, as one
would expect, all got safe out of the action. But when the infantry met
them, they abused them as cowards and traitors, and began to push them
from their horses and deal them blows, and so Perseus, terrified at the
disturbance, forsook the main road, and to avoid detection took off his
purple robe and laid it before him, and carried his crown in his hand;
and, that he might talk to his friends as he walked, he got off his
horse, and led him. But one of them made excuse that he must tie his
shoes, another that he must water his horse, another that he must get
himself a drink, and so they gradually fell off from him and left him,
not fearing the rage of the enemy so much as his cruelty: for,
exasperated by his defeat, he tried to fasten the blame of it upon
others instead of himself. When he came to Pella, his treasurers Euktus
and Eulaeus met him and blamed him for what had happened, and in an
outspoken and unseasonable way gave him advice: at which he was so much
enraged that he stabbed them both dead with his dagger. After this no
one stayed with him except Evander a Cretan, Archedamus an Aetolian, and
Neon a Boeotian. Of the common soldiers the Cretans followed him, not
from any love they bore him, but being as eager for his riches as bees
are for honey. For he carried great store of wealth with him, and out of
it distributed among the Cretans cups and bowls and other gold and
silver plate to the amount of fifty talents. But when he reached first
Amphipolis, and then Galepsus, and had got a little the better of his
fears, his old malady of meanness attacked him, and he would complain to
his friends that he had flung some of the drinking cups of Alexander the
Great to the Cretans by mistake, and entreated with tears those who had
them to give back and take the value in money. Those who understood his
character were not taken in by this attempt to play the Cretan with men
of Crete, but some believed him and lost their cups for nothing. For he
never paid the money, but having swindled his friends out of thirty
talents, which soon fell into the hands of the enemy, he sailed with the
money to Samothrace, and took sanctuary in the temple of the Dioskuri as
a suppliant.

XXIV. The people of Macedon have always been thought to love their
kings, but now, as if some main prop had broken, and the whole edifice
of government fallen to the ground, they gave themselves up to Aemilius,
and in two days constituted him master of the entire kingdom. This seems
to confirm the opinion of those who say that these successes were owing
to especial good fortune: and the incident of the sacrifice also was
clearly sent from Heaven. For when Aemilius was offering sacrifice at
Amphipolis, when the sacred rites had been performed, lightning came
down upon the altar, and burned up the offering. But in its miraculous
character and good luck the swiftness with which the news spread
surpasses all these; for on the fourth day after Perseus had been
vanquished at Pydna, while the people at Rome were assembled at a horse
race, suddenly there arose amongst them a rumour that Aemilius had
defeated Perseus in a great battle and had subdued all Macedonia. This
report soon spread among the populace, who expressed their joy by
applause and shouts throughout the city all that day. Afterwards, as the
report could be traced to no trustworthy source, but was merely repeated
among them vaguely, it was disbelieved and came to nothing; but in a few
days they learned the real story, and wondered at the rumour which had
preceded it, combining truth with falsehood.

XXV. There is a legend that the news of the battle on the river Sagra in
Italy against the natives was carried the same day into Peloponnesus,
and that of the battle of Mykale against the Medes was so carried to
Plataea. The victory of the Romans over the Latins under the exiled
Tarquins was reported at Rome a little after it took place, by two men,
tall and fair, who came from the army. These men they conjectured to
have been the Dioskuri (Castor and Pollux). The first man who fell in
with them as they stood in the forum, near the fountain, found them
washing their horses, which were covered with sweat. He marvelled much
at their tale of the victory; and then they are said to have smiled
serenely and stroked his beard, which instantly changed from black to
yellow, thus causing his story to be believed, besides winning for him
the soubriquet of Ahenobarbus, which means 'brazen beard.' But that
which happened in our own time will make all these credible. When
Antonius rebelled against Domitian, and a great war in Germany was
expected, Rome was greatly disturbed till suddenly there arose among the
people a rumour of victory, and a story ran through Rome that Antonius
himself was killed, and that the army under him had been utterly
exterminated. And this report was so clear and forcible, that many of
the magistrates offered sacrifice for the victory. When the originator
of it was sought for, as he could not be found, but the story when
traced from one man to another was lost in the vast crowd as if in the
sea, and appeared to have no solid foundation, all belief in it died
away: but when Domitian set out with his forces to the war, he was met
on the way by messengers with despatches describing the victory. The day
of this success was the same as that stated by the rumours, though the
places were more than two thousand five hundred (English) miles distant.
All men of our own time know this to be true.

XXVI. Cnaeus Octavius, the admiral under Aemilius's orders, now cruised
round Samothrace. He did not, from religious motives, violate Perseus's
right of sanctuary, but prevented his leaving the island and escaping.
But nevertheless Perseus somehow outwitted him so far as to bribe one
Oroandes, a Cretan, who possessed a small vessel, to take him on board.
But this man like a true Cretan took the money away by night, and
bidding him come the next night with his family and attendants to the
harbour near the temple of Demeter, as soon as evening fell, set sail.
Now Perseus suffered pitiably in forcing himself, and his wife and
children, who were unused to hardships, through a narrow window in the
wall, and set up a most pititul wailing when some one who met him
wandering on the beach showed him the ship of Oroandes under sail far
away at sea. Day was now breaking, and having lost his last hope, he
made a hasty retreat to the town wall, and got into it with his wife,
before the Romans, though they saw him, could prevent him. But his
children he had entrusted to a man named Ion, who once had been a
favourite of his, but now betrayed him, and delivered them up to the
Romans, thus providing the chief means to compel him, like a wild
animal, to come and surrender himself into the hands of those who had
his children. He felt most confidence in Nasica, and inquired for him,
but as he was not present, after lamenting his fate, and reflecting on
the impossibility of acting otherwise, he surrendered himself to Cnaeus.

Now he was able to prove that he had a vice yet more sordid than
avarice, namely, base love of life; by which he lost even his title to
pity, the only consolation of which fortune does not deprive the fallen.
He begged to be brought into the presence of Aemilius, who, to show
respect to a great man who had met with a terrible misfortune, rose, and
walked to meet him with his friends, with tears in his eyes. But Perseus
offered a degrading spectacle by flinging himself down upon his face and
embracing his knees, with unmanly cries and entreaties, which Aemilius
could not endure to listen to; but looking on him with a pained and sad
expression, said, "Wretched man: why do you by this conduct deprive
fortune of all blame, by making yourself seem to deserve your mishaps,
and to have been unworthy of your former prosperity, but worthy of your
present misery? And why do you depreciate the value of my victory, and
make my success a small one, by proving degenerate and an unworthy
antagonist for Romans? Valour, however unfortunate, commands great
respect even from enemies: but the Romans despise cowardice, even though
it be prosperous."

XXVII. However, he raised him from the ground, and, having given him his
hand, he entrusted him to Tubero, and then taking into his own tent his
sons, sons-in-law, and most of the younger officers, he sat silent,
wrapt in thought for some time, to their astonishment. Then he said,
"Ought a man to be confident that he deserves his good fortune, and
think much of himself when he has overcome a nation, or city, or empire;
or does fortune give this as an example to the victor also of the
uncertainty of human affairs, which never continue in one stay? For what
time can there be for us mortals to feel confident, when our victories
over others especially compel us to dread fortune, and while we are
exulting, the reflection that the fatal day comes now to one, now to
another, in regular succession, dashes our joy. Can we, who in less than
an hour have trampled under our feet the successor of Alexander the
Great, who was so powerful and mighty, and who see these kings who but
lately were guarded by their tens of thousands of foot and thousands of
horse, now receiving their daily bread from the hands of their foes, can
we suppose that our present prosperity is likely to endure for all time?
You, young men, be sure that you lay aside your haughty looks and
vainglory in your victory, and await with humility what the future may
bring forth, ever considering what form of retribution Heaven may have
in store for us to set off against our present good fortune." They say
that Aemilius spoke long in this strain, and sent away his young
officers with their pride and boastfulness well curbed and restrained by
his words, as though with a bridle.

XXVIII. After these events he sent the army into cantonments, to rest,
and he himself set out to visit Greece, making a progress which was both
glorious and beneficent; for in the cities to which he came he restored
the popular constitutions, and bestowed on them presents, from the
king's treasury, of corn and oil. For so much, they say, was found
stored up, that all those who received it and asked for it, were
satisfied before the mass could be exhausted. At Delphi, seeing a large
square column of white marble, on which a golden statue of Perseus was
to have been placed, he ordered his own to be placed there, as the
vanquished ought to give place to the victors. At Olympia, as the story
goes, he uttered that well-known saying, that Pheidias had carved the
very Zeus of Homer.

When ten commissioners arrived from Rome, he restored to the Macedonians
their country to dwell in, and their cities free and independent,
imposing upon them a tribute of a hundred talents, only half what they
used to pay to their kings. He exhibited gymnastic spectacles of every
kind, and gave splendid sacrifices and feasts in honour of the gods,
having boundless resources for the purpose in the king's treasury; and
in ordering and arranging each man's place at table, and saluting him
according to his merit and degree, he sho