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Title: The Best of the World's Classics,  Restricted to prose. Volume I (of X) - Greece
Author: Various
Language: English
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                  [Illustration: HENRY CABOT LODGE]

                               THE BEST

                               _of the_

                           WORLD'S CLASSICS

                         RESTRICTED TO PROSE

                          HENRY CABOT LODGE


                          FRANCIS W. HALSEY

                          _Associate Editor_

                With an Introduction, Biographical and
                       Explanatory Notes, etc.

                            IN TEN VOLUMES

                                Vol. I


                       FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY

                         NEW YORK AND LONDON

                         COPYRIGHT, 1909, BY

                       FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY

       *       *       *       *       *

The Best of the World's Classics



484 B.C.--200 A.D.

       *       *       *       *       *


Ever since civilized man has had a literature he has apparently sought
to make selections from it and thus put his favorite passages together
in a compact and convenient form. Certain it is, at least, that to the
Greeks, masters in all great arts, we owe this habit. They made such
collections and named them, after their pleasant imaginative fashion,
a gathering of flowers, or what we, borrowing their word, call an
anthology. So to those austere souls who regard anthologies as a
labor-saving contrivance for the benefit of persons who like a
smattering of knowledge and are never really learned, we can at least
plead in mitigation that we have high and ancient authority for the
practise. In any event no amount of scholarly deprecation has been
able to turn mankind or that portion of mankind which reads books from
the agreeable habit of making volumes of selections and finding in
them much pleasure, as well as improvement in taste and knowledge.
With the spread of education and with the great increase of literature
among all civilized nations, more especially since the invention of
printing and its vast multiplication of books, the making of volumes
of selections comprizing what is best in one's own or in many
literatures is no longer a mere matter of taste or convenience as with
the Greeks, but has become something little short of a necessity in
this world of many workers, comparatively few scholars, and still
fewer intelligent men of leisure. Anthologies have been multiplied
like all other books, and in the main they have done much good and no
harm. The man who thinks he is a scholar or highly educated because he
is familiar with what is collected in a well-chosen anthology, of
course, errs grievously. Such familiarity no more makes one a master
of literature than a perusal of a dictionary makes the reader a master
of style. But as the latter pursuit can hardly fail to enlarge a man's
vocabulary, so the former adds to his knowledge, increases his stock
of ideas, liberalizes his mind and opens to him new sources of

The Greek habit was to bring together selections of verse, passages
of especial merit, epigrams and short poems. In the main their example
has been followed. From their days down to the "Elegant Extracts in
Verse" of our grandmothers and grandfathers, and thence on to our own
time with its admirable "Golden Treasury" and "Oxford Handbook of
Verse," there has been no end to the making of poetical anthologies
and apparently no diminution in the public appetite for them. Poetry
indeed lends itself to selection. Much of the best poetry of the world
is contained in short poems, complete in themselves, and capable of
transference bodily to a volume of selections. There are very few
poets of whose quality and genius a fair idea can not be given by a
few judicious selections. A large body of noble and beautiful poetry,
of verse which is "a joy forever," can also be given in a very small
compass. And the mechanical attribute of size, it must be remembered,
is very important in making a successful anthology, for an essential
quality of a volume of selections is that it should be easily
portable, that it should be a book which can be slipt into the pocket
and readily carried about in any wanderings whether near or remote.
An anthology which is stored in one or more huge and heavy volumes is
practically valueless except to those who have neither books nor
access to a public library, or who think that a stately tome printed
on calendered paper and "profusely illustrated" is an ornament to a
center-table in a parlor rarely used except on solemn or official

I have mentioned these advantages of verse for the purposes of an
anthology in order to show the difficulties which must be encountered
in making a prose selection. Very little prose is in small parcels
which can be transferred entire, and therefore with the very important
attribute of completeness, to a volume of selections. From most of the
great prose writers it is necessary to take extracts, and the chosen
passage is broken off from what comes before and after. The fame of a
great prose writer as a rule rests on a book, and really to know him
the book must be read and not merely passages from it. Extracts give
no very satisfactory idea of "Paradise Lost" or "The Divine Comedy,"
and the same is true of extracts from a history or a novel. It is
possible by spreading prose selections through a series of small
volumes to overcome the mechanical difficulty and thus make the
selections in form what they ought above all things to be--companions
and not books of reference or table decorations. But the spiritual or
literary problem is not so easily overcome. What prose to take and
where to take it are by no means easy questions to solve. Yet they are
well worth solving, so far as patient effort can do it, for in this
period of easy printing it is desirable to put in convenient form
before those who read examples of the masters which will draw us back
from the perishing chatter of the moment to the literature which is
the highest work of civilization and which is at once noble and

Upon that theory this collection has been formed. It is an attempt to
give examples from all periods and languages of Western civilization
of what is best and most memorable in their prose literature. That the
result is not a complete exhibition of the time and the literatures
covered by the selections no one is better aware than the editors.
Inexorable conditions of space make a certain degree of incompleteness
inevitable when he who is gathering flowers traverses so vast a
garden, and is obliged to confine the results of his labors within
such narrow bounds. The editors are also fully conscious that, like
all other similar collections, this one too will give rise to the
familiar criticism and questionings as to why such a passage was
omitted and such another inserted; why this writer was chosen and that
other passed by. In literature we all have our favorites, and even the
most catholic of us has also his dislikes if not his pet aversions. I
will frankly confess that there are authors represented in these
volumes whose writings I should avoid, just as there are certain towns
and cities of the world to which, having once visited them, I would
never willingly return, for the simple reason that I would not
voluntarily subject myself to seeing or reading what I dislike or,
which is worse, what bores and fatigues me. But no editor of an
anthology must seek to impose upon others his own tastes and opinions.
He must at the outset remember and never afterward forget that so far
as possible his work must be free from the personal equation. He must
recognize that some authors who may be mute or dull to him have a
place in literature, past or present, sufficiently assured to entitle
them to a place among selections which are intended above all things
else to be representative.

To those who wonder why some favorite bit of their own was omitted
while something else for which they do not care at all has found a
place I can only say that the editors, having supprest their own
personal preferences, have proceeded on certain general principles
which seem to be essential in making any selection either of verse or
prose which shall possess broader and more enduring qualities than
that of being a mere exhibition of the editor's personal taste. To
illustrate my meaning: Emerson's "Parnassus" is extremely interesting
as an exposition of the tastes and preferences of a remarkable man of
great and original genius. As an anthology it is a failure, for it is
of awkward size, is ill arranged and contains selections made without
system, and which in many cases baffle all attempts to explain their
appearance. On the other hand, Mr. Palgrave, neither a very remarkable
man nor a great and original genius, gave us in the first "Golden
Treasury" a collection which has no interest whatever as reflecting
the tastes of the editor, but which is quite perfect in its kind.
Barring the disproportionate amount of Wordsworth which includes some
of his worst things--and which, be it said in passing, was due to Mr.
Palgrave's giving way at that point to his personal enthusiasm--the
"Golden Treasury" in form, in scope, and in arrangement, as well as in
almost unerring taste, is the best model of what an anthology should
be which is to be found in any language.

Returning now to our questioner who misses some favorite and finds
something else which he dislikes, the only answer, as I have just
said, is that the collection is formed on certain general principles,
as any similar collection of the sort must be. This series is called
"The Best of the World's Classics," and "classics" is used not in the
narrow and technical sense, but rather in that of Thoreau, who defined
classics as "the noblest recorded thoughts of mankind." Therefore, the
first principle of guidance in selection is to take examples of the
great writings which have moved and influenced the thought of the
world, and which have preeminently the quality of "high seriousness"
as required by Aristotle. This test alone, however, would limit the
selections too closely. Therefore the second principle of choice is to
make selections from writers historically important either personally
or by their writings. The third rule is to endeavor to give selections
which shall be representative of the various literatures and the
various periods through which, the collection ranges. Lastly, and this
applies, of course, only to passages taken from the writers of England
and the United States, the effort has been to give specimens of the
masters of English prose, of that prose in its development and at its
best, and to show, so far as may be, what can be accomplished with
that great instrument, and what a fine style really is as exhibited in
the best models. Everything contained in these volumes is there in
obedience to one at least of these principles, many in obedience to
more than one, some in conformity to all four.

No one will become a scholar or a master of any of the great
literatures here represented by reading this collection. Literature
and scholarship are not to be had so cheaply as that. Yet is there
much profit to be had from these little volumes. They contain many
passages which merit Dr. Johnson's fine saying about books: "That they
help us to enjoy life or teach us to endure it." To the man of
letters, to the man of wide reading, they will at least serve to
recall, when far from libraries and books, those authors who have been
the delight and the instructors of a lifetime. They will bring at
least the pleasures of memory and that keener pleasure which arises
when we meet a poem or a passage of prose which we know as an old and
well-loved friend, remote from home, upon some alien page.

To that larger public whose lives are not spent among books and
libraries, and for whose delectation such a collection as this is
primarily intended, these volumes rightly read at odd times, in idle
moments, in out-of-the-way places, on the ship or the train, offer
much. They will bring the reader in contact with many of the greatest
intellects of all time. They contain some of the noblest thoughts that
have passed through the minds of our weak and erring race. There is no
man who will not be the better, for the moment at least, by reading
what Cicero says about old age, Seneca about death, and Socrates
about love, to go no further for examples than to

    "The glory that was Greece,
    And the grandeur that was Rome."

Moreover, the bowing acquaintance which can be formed here may easily
offer attractions which will lead to a close and intimate friendship,
with all that the word implies in the case of a great author or a
great book. It seems to me, for example, as if no one who read here
the too brief extracts from Erasmus or from Cervantes, to take at
random two writers widely separated in thought, could fail to pursue
the acquaintance thus begun, so potent are the sympathetic charm, the
wit, the wisdom and the humor of both these great men. There is, at
least, variety in these little volumes, and while many things in them
may not appeal to us, they may to our neighbors. That which "is dumb
to us may speak to him."

Again, let it be noticed that there is much more than the "high
seriousness" which is the test of the greatest prose as of the finest
poetry. Humor and pathos, tragedy and comedy, all find their place and
glimpses of the pageant of human history flit through the pages. It
would seem as if it were impossible to read extracts from Thucydides
and Tacitus and Gibbon and not long to go to their histories and learn
all that could be said by such men about the life of man upon earth,
about Athens and Rome and the rise and fall of empires. Selections are
unsatisfying and the better they are the more unsatisfying they
become. But this is in reality their great merit. They have much
beauty in themselves, they awaken pleasant memories, they revive old
delights, but, above all, if rightly read they open the gates to the
illimitable gardens whence all the flowers which have here been
gathered may be found blooming in radiance, unplucked and unbroken and
rooted in their native soil.

The most important part of the collection is that which gives
selections from those writers whose native tongue is English. No
translation even of prose can ever quite reproduce its original, and
as a rule can not hope to equal it. There are many translations,
notably the Elizabethan, which are extremely fine in themselves and
memorable examples of English prose. Still they are not the original
writings. Something escapes in the translation into another tongue,
an impalpable something which can not be held or transmitted. The
Bible stands alone, a great literary monument of the noblest and most
beautiful English, which has formed English speech and become a part
of the language as it is of the thought and emotion of the people who
read "King James'" version in all parts of the globe. Yet we know that
the version which the people, so fortunate in its possession, wisely
and absolutely decline to give up in exchange for any revision is
neither an accurate nor a faithful reproduction of its original.
Therefore, putting aside the English Bible as wholly by itself, it may
be safely said that the soul of a language and the beauties of style
which it is capable of exhibiting can only be found and studied in the
productions of writers who not only think in the language in which
they write, but to whom that speech is native, the inalienable
birthright and heritage of their race or country. In such writers we
get not only the thought, the humor, or the pathos, all that can be
transferred in a translation, but also the pleasure to the ear akin to
music, the sense of form, the artistic gratification which form
brings, all those attributes which are possible in the highest degree
to those only to whom the language is native.

For these reasons, as will be readily understood, in making selections
from those writers whose native tongue is English, specimens have been
given of all periods from the earliest time and occasionally of
authors who would not otherwise find a place in such a collection, for
the purpose of tracing in outline the development of English prose and
the formation of an English style which, like all true and great
styles, is peculiar to the language and can not be reproduced in any
other. This is not the place, nor would it be feasible within any
reasonable limits to narrate the history of English prose. But in
these selections it is possible to follow its gradual advance from the
first rude and crude attempts through the splendid irregularities of
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries to the establishment of a
standard of style in the eighteenth and thence onward to the
modifications and changes in that standard which extend to our own

The purpose of this collection is not didactic. If it were it would be
a school-book and not an anthology in the Greek sense, where the
first principle was to seek what was of literary value, artistic in
expression, and noble in thought. Yet the mere bringing together of
examples of prose from the writings of the great masters of style can
not but teach a lesson never more needed than now.

I do not mean by this to suggest imitation of any writer. Nothing is
more dangerous, especially when the style of the writer imitated is
peculiar and strongly marked. That which is valuable and instructive
is the opportunity given here for a study of fine English styles, and
in this way to learn the capabilities of the language and the general
principles which have governed the production of the best English
prose. We have in the English language an unequaled richness of
vocabulary far surpassing in extent that of any other tongue. It
possesses a great literature and a body of poetry unrivaled in modern
times. It is not only one of the strongest bonds of union in the
United States, but it is the language in which our freedom was won and
in which our history and our laws are written. It is our greatest
heritage. To weaken, corrupt or deprave it would be a misfortune
without parallel to our entire people. Yet we can not disguise from
ourselves the fact that the fertility of the printing-press, the
multiplication of cheap magazines, and the flood of printed words
poured out daily in the newspapers all tend strongly in this
direction. This is an era of haste and hurry stimulated by the great
inventions which have changed human environment. Form and style in any
art require time, and time seems the one thing we can neither spare
nor wisely economize. Yet, in literature above all arts, to abandon
form and style is inevitably destructive and entails misfortunes which
can hardly be estimated, for loose, weak and vulgar writing is a sure
precursor of loose, weak and vulgar thinking. If form of expression is
cast aside, form in thought and in the presentation of thought is
certain to follow. Against all this the fine English prose amply
represented in these selections offers a silent and convincing protest
to every one who will read it attentively.

We can begin with the splendid prose of the age of Elizabeth and of
the seventeenth century. It is irregular and untamed, but exuberant
and brilliant, rich both in texture and substance. We find it at its
height in the strange beauties of Sir Thomas Browne, in the noble
pages of Milton, stiff with golden embroidery, as Macaulay says, and
in the touching and beautiful simplicity of Bunyan's childlike
sentences. Thence we pass to the eighteenth century, when English
prose was freed from its involutions and irregularities and brought to
uniformity and to a standard. The age of Anne gave to English prose
balance, precision and settled form. There have been periods of
greater originality, but the eighteenth century at least lived up to
Pope's doctrine, set forth in the familiar line:

    "What oft was thought but ne'er so well exprest."

As there is no better period to turn to for instruction than the age
of Anne, so, if we must choose a single writer there is no better
master to be studied than Swift. There have been many great writers
and many fine and beautiful styles since the days of the terrible Dean
of St. Patrick's, from the imposing and finely balanced sentences of
Gibbon to the subtle delicacy of Hawthorne and the careful finish of
Robert Louis Stevenson. But in Swift better than in any one writer can
we find the lessons which are so sorely needed now. He had in the
highest degree force, clearness and concentration all combined with a
marvelous simplicity. Swift's style may have lacked richness, but it
never failed in taste. There is not a line of false fine-writing in
all his books. Those are the qualities which are so needed now,
simplicity and clearness and a scrupulous avoidance of that would-be
fine writing which is not at all fine but merely vulgar and insincere.

The writing in our newspapers is where reform is particularly needed.
There are great journals here and there which maintain throughout a
careful standard of good and sober English. Most of them, unhappily,
are filled in the news columns at least with a strange jargon found
nowhere else, spoken by no one and never used in daily life by those
who every night furnish it to the compositors. It is happily
compounded in about equal parts of turgid fine writing, vulgar
jauntiness and indiscriminate slang.

I can best show my meaning by example. A writer in a newspaper wished
to state that a man who had once caused excitement by a book of
temporary interest and who, after the days of his notoriety were over,
lived a long and checkered career, had killed himself. This is the way
he said it:

     His life's work void of fruition and dissipated into
     emptiness, his fondest hopes and ambitions crumbled and
     scattered, shunned as a fanatic, and unable to longer wage
     life's battle, Hinton Rowan Helper, at one time United
     States consul general to Buenos Ayres, yesterday sought the
     darkest egress from his woes and disappointments--a
     suicide's death.

     In an unpretentious lodging-house in Pennsylvania avenue,
     near the Capitol, the man who as much, if not more than any
     other agitator, is said to have blazed the way to the Civil
     War, the writer who stirred this nation to its core by his
     anti-slavery philippics, and the promoter with the most
     gigantic railroad enterprise projected in the history of the
     world, was found gript in the icy hand of death. The brain
     which gave birth to his historic writings had willed the
     stilling of the heart which for three-quarters of a century
     had palpitated quick and high with roseate hopes.

That passage, taken at hazard from a newspaper, is intended, I think,
to be fine writing of an imposing and dramatic kind. Why could not
the writer have written it, a little more carefully perhaps, but still
in just the language which he would have used naturally in describing
the event to his wife or friend? Simply stated, it would have been far
more solemn and impressive than this turgid, insincere account with
its large words, its forced note of tragedy and its split infinitive.
Let me put beneath it another description of a death-bed:

     The blood and spirits of Le Fevre, which were waxing cold
     and slow, and were retreating to their last citadel, the
     heart--rallied back,--the film forsook his eyes for a
     moment,--he looked up wishfully into my Uncle Toby's
     face,--then cast a look upon his boy,--and that ligament,
     fine as it was,--was never broken.

     Nature instantly ebbed again,--the film returned to its
     place,--the pulse fluttered,--stopt,--went
     on,--throbbed,--stopt again,--moved,--stopt,--shall I go on?

This famous passage is neither unintentional sentiment nor unaffected
pathos. The art is apparent even in the punctuation. The writer meant
to be touching and pathetic and to awaken emotions of tenderness and
pity and he succeeded. The description is all he meant it to be. The
extract from the newspaper arouses no emotion, unless it be
resentment at its form and leaves us cold and unmoved. The other is
touching and pitiful. Observe the manner in which Sterne obtains his
effect, the perfect simplicity and good taste of every word, the
reserve, the gentleness, the utter absence of any straining for
effect. The one description died the day it appeared. The other has
held its place for a century and a half. Are not the qualities which
produced such a result worth striving for?

Let me take another haphazard selection from a description of a young
girl entitled as such to every one's kindness, courtesy and respect.
In it occurs this sentence: "The college girl is grammatical in
speech, but she has the jolliest, chummiest jargon of slang that ever
rolled from under a pink tongue." That articulate sounds come from
beneath the tongue is at least novel and few persons are fortunate
enough to be able to talk with that portion of their mouths. But I
have no desire to dwell either upon the anatomical peculiarities of
the sentence or upon its abysmal vulgarity. It is supposed to be
effective, it is what is appropriately called "breezy," it is a form
of words which can be heard nowhere in the speech of men and women.
Why should it be consigned to print? It is possible to describe a
young girl attractively and effectively in much simpler fashion. Let
me give an example, not a famous passage at all, from another writer:

     She shocked no canon of taste; she was admirably in keeping
     with herself, and never jarred against surrounding
     circumstances. Her figure, to be sure--so small as to be
     almost childlike and so elastic that motion seemed as easy
     or easier to it than rest--would hardly have suited one's
     idea of a countess. Neither did her face--with brown
     ringlets on either side and a slightly piquant nose, and the
     wholesome bloom, and the clear shade of tan, and the half
     dozen freckles, friendly remembrancers of the April sun and
     breeze--precisely give us the right to call her beautiful.
     But there was both luster and depth in her eyes. She was
     very pretty; as graceful as a bird and graceful much in the
     same way; as pleasant about the house as a gleam of sunshine
     falling on the floor through a shadow of twinkling leaves,
     or as a ray of firelight that dances on the wall while
     evening is drawing nigh.

Contrast this with the newspaper sentence and the sensation is one of
pain. Again I say, observe the method by which Hawthorne gets his
effect, the simplicity of the language, the balance of the sentences,
the reserve, the refinement, and the final imaginative touch in the
charming comparison with which the passage ends.

To blame the hard working men who write for the day which is passing
over them because they do not write like Sterne and Hawthorne would be
as absurd as it would be unjust. But they ought to recognize the
qualities of fine English prose, they ought to remember that they can
improve their readers by giving them good, simple English, pure and
undefiled, and they ought not to debauch the public taste by vulgar
fine writing and even more vulgar light writing. In short, they ought
to write for the public as they would talk to their wives and children
and friends; a little more formally and carefully perhaps, but in the
same simple and direct fashion.

For the prolific authors of the flood of stories, which every month
bears on its broad bosom many tons of advertisements, no such
allowance need be made. They are not compelled to furnish copy between
daylight and dark. They need a course of study in English prose more
than anyone else, and they would profit by the effort. As a class
they seem to be like the young man in Du Maurier's picture, who, being
asked if he had read Thackeray, replies, "No. I nevah read novels; I
write them."

In this age of quickening movement and restless haste it is, above all
things, important to struggle against the well-nigh universal
inclination to abandon all efforts for form and style. They are the
great preservers of what is best in literature, the salt which ought
never to lose its savor. Those who use English in public speech and
public writing have a serious responsibility too generally forgotten
and disregarded. I would fain call attention to it altho no single man
can hope to effect much by any plea he can make in behalf of the use
of good English, whether written or spoken. Yet no one, I think, can
read the great masterpieces of English prose and not have both lesson
and responsibility brought home to him. He would be insensible,
indeed, if he did not feel after such reading that he was a sharer in
a noble heritage which it behooved him to guard and cherish. If this
series serves no other purpose, it will exhibit to those who read it
some of the splendors and the beauties of English prose. It will at
least open the gates of literature and perhaps lead its readers to
authors they have not known before, or recall the words of writers who
have entered into their lives and thoughts and thus make them more
mindful of the ineffable value to them and their children of the great
language which is at once their birthright and their inheritance.


_Washington, D. C., July 15, 1909._



INTRODUCTION. By Henry Cabot Lodge.

HERODOTUS--(Born probably in 484 B.C., died probably in 424.)

I         Solon's Words of Wisdom to Croesus.
            (From Book I of the "History." Translated by Rawlinson)

II        Babylon and Its Capture by Cyrus.
            (From Book I of the "History." Translated by Taylor)

III       The Pyramid of Cheops.
            (From Book II of the "History." Translated by Rawlinson)

IV        The Story of Periander's Son.
            (From Book III of the "History." Translated by Rawlinson)

THUCYDIDES--(Born about 471 B.C., died about 401.)

I         The Athenians and Spartans Contrasted.
            (From Book I of the "Peloponnesian War." Translated by Benjamin

II        The Plague at Athens.
            (From Book II of the "Peloponnesian War." Translated by
             Benjamin Jowett)

III       The Sailing of the Athenian Fleet for Sicily.
            (From Book VI of the "Peloponnesian War." Translated by
             Benjamin Jowett)

IV        Completion of the Athenian Defeat at Syracuse.
            (From Book VII of the "Peloponnesian War." Translated by
             Benjamin Jowett)

XENOPHON--(Born about 430 B.C., died about 357.)

I         The Character of Cyrus the Younger.
            (From the "Anabasis." Translated by J. S. Watson)

II        The Greek Army in the Snows of Armenia.
            (From the "Anabasis." Translated by Watson)

III       The Battle of Leuctra.
            (From Book VI of the "Hellenica." Translated by Watson)

IV        Of the Army of the Spartans.
            (From the treatise on "The Government of Lacedæmon."
             Translated by Watson)

V         How to Choose and Manage Saddle Horses.
            (From the treatise on "Horsemanship." Translated by Watson)

PLATO--(Born about 427 B.C., died in 347.)

I         The Image of the Cave.
            (From the "Republic." Translated by Benjamin Jowett)

II        Good and Evil.
            (From the "Protagoras." Translated by Benjamin Jowett)

III       Socrates in Praise of Love.
            (From the "Symposium." Translated by Benjamin Jowett)

IV        The Praise of Socrates by Alcibiades.
            (From the "Symposium." Translated by Benjamin Jowett)

V         The Refusal of Socrates to Escape from Prison.
            (From the "Crito." Translated by Benjamin Jowett)

VI        The Death of Socrates.
            (From the "Phædo." Translated by Benjamin Jowett)

ARISTOTLE--(Born in 384 B.C., died in 322.)

I         What Things are Pleasant.
            (From Book I of the "Rhetoric." Translated by Buckley)

II        The Life Most Desirable.
            (From Book VII of the "Politics." Translated by Walford)

III       Ideal Husbands and Wives.
            (From Book I of the "Economics." Translated by Walford)

IV        Happiness as an End of Human Action.
            (From Book X of the "Nicomachean Ethics." Translated by Browne)

POLYBIUS--(Born in 204 B.C., died about 125.)

I         The Battle of Cannæ.
            (From Book IV of the "Histories." Translated by Shuckburgh)

II        Hannibal's Advance on Rome.
            (From Book IX of the "Histories." Translated by Shuckburgh)

III       The Defense of Syracuse by Archimedes.
            (From Book VIII of the "Histories." Translated by Shuckburgh)

PLUTARCH--(Born about 46 A.D., died in 125.)

I         Demosthenes and Cicero Compared.
            (From the "Lives." Translated by Sir Thomas North)

II        The Assassination of Cæsar.
            (From the "Lives." Translated by North)

III       Cleopatra's Barge.
            (From the "Life of Mark Antony." Translated by North)

IV        The Death of Antony and Cleopatra.
            (From the "Life of Mark Antony." Translated by North)

EPICTETUS--(Born about the middle of the first century.)

I         Of Freedom.
            (From the "Discourses." Translated by Thomas Wentworth

II        Of Friendship.
            (From the "Discourses." Translated by Higginson)

III       The Philosopher and the Crowd.
            (From the "Discourses." Translated by Higginson)

LUCIAN--(Born about 120 A.D., died about 200.)

I         A Descent to the Unknown.
            (From "Menippus." Translated by H. W. and F. G. Fowler)

II        Among the Philosophers.
            (From the "Fisher: A Resurrection Piece." Translated by
             H. W. and F. G. Fowler)

III       Of Liars and Lying.
            (From the "Liar." Translated by H. W. and F. G. Fowler)

       *       *       *       *       *


484 B.C.--200 A.D.


     Born in Asia Minor, probably in 484 B.C.; died in Italy,
     probably in 424; commonly called the "Father of History";
     assisted in the expulsion of the tyrant Lygdamis from
     Halicarnassus; traveled in Persia, Egypt, and Greece; lived
     afterward in Samos and Athens, settling in Thurii, Italy,
     about 444 B.C.; his history of the Persian invasion of
     Greece, extending to 479 B.C., was first printed in Greek by
     Aldus Manutius in 1502, but a Latin version had appeared in



When all these conquests had been added to the Lydian empire, and the
prosperity of Sardis[3] was now at its height, there came thither, one
after another, all the sages of Greece living at the time, and among
them Solon, the Athenian. He was on his travels, having left Athens to
be absent ten years, under the pretense of wishing to see the world,
but really to avoid being forced to repeal any of the laws which at
the request of the Athenians he had made for them. Without his
sanction the Athenians could not repeal them, as they had bound
themselves under a heavy curse to be governed for ten years by the
laws which should be imposed on them by Solon.

On this account, as well as to see the world, Solon set out upon his
travels, in the course of which he went to Egypt to the court of
Amasis,[4] and also paid a visit to Croesus at Sardis. Croesus
received him as his guest, and lodged him in the royal palace. On the
third or fourth day after, he bade his servants conduct Solon over his
treasuries and show him all their greatness and magnificence. When he
had seen them all, and so far as time allowed inspected them,
Croesus addrest this question to him: "Stranger of Athens, we have
heard much of thy wisdom and of thy travels through many lands, from
love of knowledge and a wish to see the world. I am curious therefore
to inquire of thee, whom of all the men that thou hast seen thou
deemest the most happy?"

This he asked because he thought himself the happiest of mortals; but
Solon answered him without flattery, according to his true sentiments,
"Tellus of Athens, sire." Full of astonishment at what he had heard
Croesus demanded sharply, "And wherefore dost thou deem Tellus
happiest?" To this the other replied: "First, because his country was
flourishing in his days, and he himself had sons both beautiful and
good, and he lived to see children born to each of them, and these
children all grew up; and further, because after a life spent in what
our people look upon as comfort, his end was surpassingly glorious. In
a battle between the Athenians and their neighbors near Eleusis, he
came to the assistance of his countrymen, routed the foe, and died
upon the field most gallantly. The Athenians gave him a public funeral
on the spot where he fell, and paid him the highest honors."

Thus did Solon admonish Croesus by the example of Tellus,
enumerating the manifold particulars of his happiness. When he had
ended, Croesus inquired a second time, who after Tellus seemed to
him the happiest, expecting that at any rate he would be given the
second place. "Cleobis and Bito," Solon answered: "they were of Argive
race; their fortune was enough for their wants, and they were besides
endowed with so much bodily strength that they had both gained prizes
at the games. Also, this tale is told of them: There was a great
festival in honor of the goddess Juno at Argos, to which their mother
must needs be taken in a car. Now, the oxen did not come home from the
field in time; so the youths, fearful of being too late, put the yoke
on their own necks, and themselves drew the car in which their mother
rode. Five and forty furlongs did they draw her, and stopt before the
temple. This deed of theirs was witnessed by the whole assembly of
worshipers, and then their life closed in the best possible way.
Herein, too, God showed forth most evidently how much better a thing
for man death is than life. For the Argive men stood thick around the
car and extolled the vast strength of the youths; and the Argive women
extolled the mother who was blest with such a pair of sons; and the
mother herself, overjoyed at the deed and at the praises it had won,
standing straight before the image, besought the goddess to bestow on
Cleobis and Bito, the sons who had so mightily honored her, the
highest blessing to which mortals can attain. Her prayer ended, they
offered sacrifice and partook of the holy banquet, after which the two
youths fell asleep in the temple. They never woke again, but so passed
from the earth. The Argives, looking on them as among the best of men,
caused statues of them to be made, which they gave to the shrine at

When Solon had thus assigned these youths the second place Croesus
broke in angrily, "What, stranger of Athens! is my happiness then so
utterly set at naught by thee that thou dost not even put me on a
level with private men?"

"O Croesus," replied the other, "thou askedst a question concerning
the condition of man, of one who knows that the Power above us is
full of jealousy, and fond of troubling our lot. A long life gives
one to witness much, and experience much oneself, that one would not
choose. Seventy years I regard as the limit of the life of man. In
these seventy years are contained, without reckoning intercalary
months, twenty-five thousand and two hundred days. Add an intercalary
month to every other year, that the seasons may come round at the
right time, and there will be, besides the seventy years, thirty-five
such months, making an addition of one thousand and fifty days. The
whole number of the days contained in the seventy years will thus be
twenty-six thousand two hundred and fifty, whereof not one but will
produce events unlike the rest. Hence man is wholly accident.

"For thyself, O Croesus, I see that thou art wonderfully rich, and
art the lord of many nations; but with respect to that whereon thou
questionest me, I have no answer to give, until I hear that thou hast
closed thy life happily. For assuredly he who possesses great store of
riches is no nearer happiness than he who has what suffices for his
daily needs, unless it so hap that luck attend upon him, and so he
continue in the enjoyment of all his good things to the end of life.
For many of the wealthiest men have been unfavored of fortune, and
many whose means were moderate have had excellent luck. Men of the
former class excel those of the latter but in two respects; these last
excel the former in many. The wealthy man is better able to content
his desires, and to bear up against a sudden buffet of calamity. The
other has less ability to withstand these evils (from which, however,
his good luck keeps him clear), but he enjoys all these following
blessings: he is whole of limb, a stranger to disease, free from
misfortune, happy in his children, and comely to look upon.

"If in addition to all this he ends his life well, he is of a truth
the man of whom thou art in search, the man who may rightly be termed
happy. Call him, however, until he die, not happy but fortunate.
Scarcely indeed can any man unite all these advantages: as there is no
country which contains within it all that it needs, but each while it
possesses some things lacks others, and the best country is that which
contains the most, so no single human being is complete in every
respect--something is always lacking. He who unites the greatest
number of advantages, and retaining them to the day of his death, then
dies peaceably--that man alone, sire, is in my judgment entitled to
bear the name of 'happy.' But in every matter it behooves us to mark
well the end: for oftentimes God gives men a gleam of happiness, and
then plunges them into ruin."

Such was the speech which Solon addrest to Croesus, a speech which
brought him neither largess nor honor. The king with much indifference
saw Solon depart, since the former thought that a man must be an
arrant fool who made no account of present good, but bade men always
wait and mark the end.


[Footnote 1: Herodotus, at a certain period in his life, came under
the influence of Pericles and his contemporaries, but it is clear from
his writings that he received from Attic thought and style little
definite inspiration. J. P. Mahaffy has likened him to Goldsmith in
his aloofness from his environment. Often ridiculed by his friends for
simplicity, Goldsmith far exceeded his clever critics in directness
and pathos, and thus gained a place in literature which contemporaries
never dreamed would be his. The narrative of Herodotus, adds Mahaffy,
gives us more information about the state of the ancient nations and
their culture than all other Greek historians put together. His
purpose, as Herodotus himself declares, was to narrate the great
conflict between the Greeks and barbarians, in order that the causes
might be known and glorious deeds might not perish. Readers are
imprest by the perfect ease and mastery with which a great variety of
subjects are dealt with, his story "advancing with epic grandeur to
its close." Mahaffy pronounces Herodotus an Ionic story-writer, who
never became an Attic one--the chief master of Ionic, as Thucydides
was of Attic prose.]

[Footnote 2: From Book I of the "History." Translated by George
Rawlinson. Croesus reigned from 560 B.C. to 546. The visit of Solon
was made some time before 559.]

[Footnote 3: The capital of Lydia, in Asia Minor, and a flourishing
city in the time of Croesus. It was several times destroyed, the
last time by Tamerlane. Its site is now a village.]

[Footnote 4: Amasis came to the Egyptian throne in 569 B.C., and
reigned 44 years.]



Assyria contains many large cities; but of these Babylon, to which,
after the destruction of Nineveh, the seat of government was removed,
is by far the most renowned and the most strongly fortified. Babylon
is situated in an extensive plain. Each side of the city, which forms
a square, measures one hundred and twenty stadia (about fourteen
miles), making the entire circuit of the city four hundred and eighty
stadia--such is the magnitude of this city Babylon! and in
magnificence also it surpassed every city of which we have any
knowledge. It is surrounded by a trench, deep, wide, and full of
water. Within this is a wall, the width of which is fifty royal
cubits, and its height two hundred cubits.[6] The royal cubit exceeds
the common measure by three fingers' breadth.

It is proper I should say in what manner the earth removed from the
trench was disposed of, and how the wall was constructed. The earth,
as fast as it was removed from the trench, was converted into bricks
and baked in furnaces: when thus prepared, melted bitumen was used
instead of mortar; and between every thirtieth course of bricks there
was inserted a layer of reeds. The sides of the trench were first
lined with brickwork, and then the wall raised in the manner
described. On the upper edges of the wall, and opposite to one
another, were constructed turrets; between these turrets a space was
left wide enough for a chariot and four horses to pass and turn. In
the walls were one hundred gates, all of brass, with posts and upper
lintels of the same. Eight days' journey from Babylon is a city named
Is, near which runs a small river of the same name, discharging itself
into the Euphrates; this river brings down with its waters clots of
bitumen in large quantities. From this source was derived the bitumen
used in cementing the walls of Babylon.

Such are the fortifications of Babylon. The city is divided into two
portions by the river Euphrates, which runs through the midst of it.
This river rises in Armenia, and throughout its course is wide, deep,
and swift; it empties itself into the Red sea.[7] Each of the city
walls is extended to the river, where it makes an angle, and, with a
coating of burnt bricks, lines the sides of the river. The city is
filled with houses of three or four stories, forming streets in
straight lines, and running parallel with one another, the cross
streets opening upon the river through as many smaller brazen gates,
placed in the breastwork of the river walls. Within the principal wall
just mentioned is a second, not much inferior to the first in
strength, tho less in width.

In the center of each portion of the city is an enclosed space--the
one occupied by the royal palace, a building of vast extent and great
strength; in the other stands the temple of Jupiter Belus, with its
brazen gates, remaining in my time: it is a square structure; each
side measures two stadia. Within the enclosure is erected a solid
tower, measuring a stadium both in width and depth; upon this tower is
raised another, and then another, and another, making eight in all.
The ascent is by a path which is formed on the outside of the towers;
midway in the ascent is a resting-place, furnished with easy chairs,
in which those who ascend repose themselves. On the summit of the
topmost tower stands a large temple; and in this temple is a great
couch, handsomely fitted up; and near it stands a golden table: no
statue whatever is erected in the temple, nor does any man ever pass
the night there; but a woman only, chosen from the people by the god,
as the Chaldeans, who are the priests of the temple affirm. The same
persons say--tho I give no credit to the story--that the god himself
comes to the temple and reposes on the bed, in like manner as at
Thebes in Egypt, where also, in the temple of Jupiter, a woman passes
the night. A similar custom is observed at Pataris, in Lycia, where
there is at times an oracle, on which occasions the priestess is shut
up by night in the temple.

Within the precincts of the temple at Babylon there is a smaller
sacred edifice on the ground, containing an immense golden statue of
Jupiter in a sitting posture: around the statue are large tables,
which, with the steps and throne, are all of gold, and, as the
Chaldeans affirm, contain eight hundred talents of gold. Without this
edifice is a golden altar; there is also another altar of great size,
on which are offered full-grown animals: upon the golden altar it is
not lawful to offer sacrifices except sucklings. Once in every year,
when the festival of this god is celebrated, the Chaldeans burn upon
the greater altar a thousand talents of frankincense. There was also,
not long since, in this sacred enclosure a statue of solid gold,
twelve cubits in height; at least so the Chaldeans affirm: I did not
myself see it. This figure Darius Hystaspes would fain have taken, but
dared not execute his wishes; however, his son Xerxes not only took
it, but put to death the priests who endeavored to prevent its
removal. Such was the magnificence of this temple, which contained
also many private offerings.

Of this Babylon there were several monarchs--as I shall mention in my
history of the Assyrians--who adorned the city and its temples. Among
these, two young women must be mentioned. The former, named
Semiramis,[8] reigned five generations before the latter. This queen
raised an embankment worthy of admiration through the plain to confine
the river, which heretofore often spread over the level like a lake.
The latter of these two queens, named Nitocris,[9] excelled the
former in intelligence: she left monuments, some of which I must
describe. Seeing the Medes already possest of extensive empire, and
restlessly extending their power, by taking city after city, among
which was Nineveh, she resolved in good time to secure herself against
them in the best manner possible. In the first place, therefore, as
the river Euphrates ran in a straight course through the city, she
formed excavations at a distance above it, by which means its course
became so tortuous that it three times passed a certain town of
Assyria, called Ardericca; travelers from our sea,[10] in descending
the Euphrates toward Babylon, three times arrive at that town in the
course of three days. She also raised both banks of the river to an
amazing height and thickness. At some distance above Babylon, and near
the river, she dug a reservoir in the marsh, of such depth as to drain
it. The width of this excavation was such as to make its circuit four
hundred and twenty stadia. The earth removed from it was taken to
raise the banks of the river; this done, she brought stones, with
which the sides of the lake were lined. Both these works--the
diverting of the river and the reservoir--were formed with the
intention of rendering the current less rapid by its many windings,
which broke its force, and at the same time made the navigation more
circuitous; so that those who descended toward Babylon by water might
have to make a long circuit around the lake. These works were
effective on that side which was exposed to the inroads of the Medes,
and where the distance between her dominions and theirs was the least;
for she wished to cut off all communication with them, and to keep
them in ignorance of her movements.

Thus did this princess raise from the depths a fortification, within
which she was included. The city being divided into two portions by
the river in former times, whoever wished to pass from one to the
other was obliged to take a boat, which manifestly was a great
inconvenience. This defect she supplied. When she had dug the lake in
the marsh, she availed herself of the occasion to construct another
monument also, by which her fame will be perpetuated. She caused
stones of great magnitude to be hewn, and when they were ready, the
lake being empty, she turned the waters of the Euphrates into it;
which, as it filled, left the old channel dry. Then she lined both
sides of the river and the descent from the gates with burnt bricks,
in like manner as the city walls; and with the stones already
mentioned she constructed, as near the middle of the city as possible,
a bridge, binding the stones together with iron and lead. During the
day, planks of wood were extended from pier to pier, so as to form a
pathway; these were withdrawn at night, to prevent the people from
passing over to plunder one another. This bridge was, as we have said,
formed by withdrawing the water of the Euphrates into the artificial
lake; when completed, the river was restored to its ancient channel;
the propriety of this mode of proceeding then become apparent, by
means of which the citizens obtained the accommodation of a bridge.

The same queen also executed the following machination: she
constructed for herself a tomb, aloft upon a gate in one of the most
frequented ways of the city; upon the sepulcher she engraved this
inscription: "If any one of my successors, the kings of Babylon, shall
lack money, let him open the sepulcher, and take what treasures he
pleases. But let him beware of opening it from any other cause than
necessity; for in such a case it shall not turn to his advantage."
This sepulcher remained undisturbed till Darius ascended the throne.
To this king it seemed a grievance both that this gate should remain
useless, and that the wealth deposited in it, and which invited
research, should not be appropriated. The gate was not used, because
no one could pass through it without having a dead body over his head.
He therefore opened the tomb, in which he found--of treasures indeed
nothing, but the corpse, and an inscription to this effect: "If thou
hadst not been insatiably eager for riches, and greedy of filthy
lucre, thou wouldst not have opened the depository of the dead." So
much for this queen and the reports that have been handed down
concerning her.

It was against the son of this woman that Cyrus made war; he was named
(like his father) Labynetus, and reigned over the Assyrians. When the
Great King[11] goes out to battle, he is attended by ample provisions
and cattle drawn from the home stock; and even water from the
Choaspian spring at Susa,[12] of which alone the king drinks, is
carried about for his use; for he can taste no other stream. This
Choaspian water, after having been boiled, is put into vases of
silver, which are transported in four-wheeled wagons drawn by mules,
following him wherever he goes.

Cyrus advancing toward Babylon arrived at the river Gyndes, which,
rising in the Matienian hills and running through the country of the
Dardanians (or Darnians), empties itself into the Tigris; and this
river, passing by the city Opis, discharges its waters into the Red
Sea.[13] When Cyrus attempted to pass this river Gyndes, which could
only be done by boats, one of the white horses called sacred, full of
mettle, plunged into the stream and endeavored to reach the opposite
bank; but, being submerged in the current, it was carried away. Cyrus,
enraged at the river for this injury, threatened to reduce it so low
that in future women should ford it with ease, not wetting their
knees. Having uttered this threat, he delayed the progress of his army
toward Babylon, and, dividing his forces into two bodies, measured out
one hundred and eighty channels to be cut from both banks of the
river, thus diverting the Gyndes on all sides. He enjoined upon his
army the work of digging these trenches, and by their numbers they
completed it; but the whole summer was spent there in the labor.

Cyrus having in this manner punished the river Gyndes, by distributing
its waters into three hundred and sixty trenches, as soon as the next
spring appeared, advanced toward Babylon. The Babylonians, coming out
in battle-array, waited his approach; when he drew nigh to the city
they engaged him, but, being defeated, retired within the walls. Some
time before, well knowing the restless intentions of Cyrus, and seeing
him attack one nation after another, they had brought into the city an
abundance of corn for many years. They therefore disregarded the
siege. But Cyrus, beset with difficulties, saw a long time pass away
without his making any progress toward the accomplishment of his

At length, either at the suggestion of some one else or from a thought
of his own, he resorted to the following means: He disposed the whole
of his army, by placing one part above the city, where the river
enters it, and another part below, where it makes its exit, commanding
them as soon as they should perceive the river to be sufficiently
shallow to enter by that way. This order being given, he himself went
off with the inferior troops of the army. Arriving at the lake, he did
what had been done before by the queen of Babylon in the marsh; for,
by making a trench from the river to the empty reservoir, he diverted
the water from the ancient channel, till it so far subsided as to
become fordable.

As soon as this happened, the Persians who had been appointed for this
purpose entered Babylon by the bed of the river, the water of which
was little more than knee-deep. If the Babylonians had been before
apprized of the intentions of Cyrus, or if they had learned at the
moment what he was doing, they would not have suffered the Persians to
enter the city, nor would the Babylonians have perished so
shamefully; for if they had closed all the gates by the river's side,
and ascended the walls which ran along it, they might have taken the
Persians as in a net. But the Persians came upon their opponents quite
unexpectedly; and from the great extent of the city--as it has been
affirmed by some of the inhabitants--those who dwelt in the outskirts
of the city were made prisoners before the people in the center of
Babylon knew that the place was taken. But, as it happened, they were
celebrating a festival, and were dancing and feasting when they
learned what had happened. Thus was Babylon the first time taken.


[Footnote 5: From Book I of the "History." Translated by Isaac Taylor.
Cyrus, after capturing Babylon, did not destroy it; it was Darius
Hystaspes who razed its walls and towers. Darius Hystaspes was the
father of that Darius who succeeded to the Persian throne after the
failure of male heirs to Cyrus. Xerxes carried further the work of
destruction at Babylon. Its permanent decay was accelerated still more
by the founding, in its neighborhood, of Seleucia in 300 B.C. In the
time of Pliny it had become a dismal and silent place.]

[Footnote 6: Equivalents in English feet for these measurements have
been estimated as eighty-five feet for the width and three hundred and
thirty-five feet for the height.]

[Footnote 7: Now called the Persian Gulf.]

[Footnote 8: Semiramis is regarded by modern antiquarians as a
fabulous personage. By some of them she has been identified with the
goddess Astarte.]

[Footnote 9: Antiquarians have great doubts as to the identity of this
queen. By some she is thought to have been the wife of Nebuchadnezzar,
who began to reign in 604 B.C., and the mother or grandmother of
Belshazzar, the last of the kings of Babylon.]

[Footnote 10: That is, from the sea which encircled Greece.]

[Footnote 11: Herodotus means by this the King of Persia.]

[Footnote 12: Susa was the capital of Susiana, a country lying at the
head of the Persian Gulf.]

[Footnote 13: Here again for Red Sea we must read Persian Gulf.]



Till the death of Rhampsinitus, the priests said, Egypt was
excellently governed, and flourished greatly; but after him Cheops
succeeded to the throne, and plunged into all manner of wickedness. He
closed the temples and forbade the Egyptians to offer sacrifice,
compelling them instead to labor, one and all, in his service. Some
were required to drag blocks of stone down to the Nile from the
quarries in the Arabian range of hills; others received the blocks
after they had been conveyed in boats across the river, and drew them
to the range of hills called the Libyan. A hundred thousand men
labored constantly, and were relieved every three months by a fresh
lot. It took ten years' oppression of the people to make the causeway
for the conveyance of the stones, a work not much inferior, in my
judgment, to the pyramid itself. This causeway is five furlongs in
length, ten fathoms wide, and in height, at the highest part, eight
fathoms. It is built of polished stone, and is covered with carvings
of animals. To make it took ten years, as I said--or rather to make
the causeway, the works on the mound where the pyramid stands, and the
underground chambers, which Cheops intended as vaults for his own use;
these last were built on a sort of island, surrounded by water
introduced from the Nile by a canal. The pyramid itself was twenty
years in building. It is a square, eight hundred feet each way, and
the height the game, built entirely of polished stone, fitted together
with the utmost care. The stones of which it is composed are none of
them less than thirty feet in length.

The pyramid was built in steps, battlement-wise, as it is called, or,
according to others, altar-wise. After laying the stones for the base,
they raised the remaining stones to their places by means of machines
formed of short wooden planks. The first machine raised them from the
ground to the top of the first step. On this there was another
machine, which received the stone upon its arrival, and conveyed it to
the second step, whence a third machine advanced it still higher.
Either they had as many machines as there were steps in the pyramid or
possibly they had but a single machine, which, being easily moved,
was transferred from tier to tier as the stone rose--both accounts are
given, and therefore I mention both. The upper portion of the pyramid
was finished first, then the middle, and finally the part which was
lowest and nearest the ground. There is an inscription in Egyptian
characters on the pyramid which records the quantity of radishes,
onions, and garlic consumed by the laborers who constructed it; and I
perfectly well remember that the interpreter who read the writing to
me said that the money expended in this way was 1,600 talents of
silver. If this then is a true record, what a vast sum must have been
spent on the iron tools used in the work, and on the feeding and
clothing of the laborers, considering the length of time the work
lasted, which has already been stated, and the additional time--no
small space, I imagine--which must have been occupied by the quarrying
of the stones, their conveyance, and the formation of the underground


[Footnote 14: From Book II of the "History." Translated by George
Rawlinson. The Pyramid of Cheops was built about 3,500 B.C. Cheops,
according to Herodotus, reigned fifty years.]



After Periander had put to death his wife Melissa, it chanced that on
his first affliction a second followed of a different kind. His wife
had borne him two sons, and one of them had now reached the age of
seventeen, the other of eighteen years, when their mother's father,
Procles, tyrant of Epidaurus,[16] asked them to his court. They went,
and Procles treated them with much kindness, as was natural,
considering they were his own daughter's children. At length, when the
time for parting came, Procles as he was sending them on their way
said, "Know you now, my children, who it was that caused your mother's
death?" The elder son took no account of this speech, but the younger,
whose name was Lycophron, was sorely troubled at it--so much so that
when he got back to Corinth, looking upon his father as his mother's
murderer, he would neither speak to him nor answer when spoken to nor
utter a word in reply to all his father's questionings. So Periander,
at last growing furious at such behavior, banished his son from his

The younger son gone, he turned to the elder and asked him what it was
that their grandfather had said to them. Then the son related in how
kind and friendly a fashion the grandfather had received them; but,
not having taken any notice of the speech which Procles had uttered at
parting, he quite forgot to mention it. Periander insisted that it was
not possible this should be all--their grandfather must have given
them some hint or other--and he went on pressing his son till at last
he remembered the parting speech and told it. Periander, after he had
turned the whole matter over in his thoughts and felt unwilling to
give way at all, sent a messenger to the persons who had opened their
houses to his outcast son and forbade them to harbor him. Then the
boy, when he had been driven from one friend, sought refuge with
another, but was forced from shelter to shelter by the threats of his
father, who menaced all those that took him in, and commanded them to
shut their doors against him. Still, as fast as he was forced to leave
one house he went to another, and was received by the inmates; for his
acquaintances, altho in no small alarm, yet gave him shelter, as he
was Periander's son.

At last Periander made proclamation that whoever harbored his son, or
even spoke to him, should forfeit a certain sum of money to Apollo. On
hearing this no one any longer liked to take him in, or even to hold
converse with him, and he himself did not think it right to seek to do
what was forbidden; so, abiding by his resolve, he made his lodging in
the public porticoes. When four days had passed in this way,
Periander, seeing how wretched his son was, that he neither washed nor
took any food, felt moved with compassion toward him; wherefore,
foregoing his anger, he approached the lad, and said, "Which is
better, oh, my son, to fare as now thou farest or to receive my crown
and all the good things that I possess, on the one condition of
submitting thyself to thy father? See, now, tho my own child, and lord
of this wealthy Corinth, thou hast brought thyself to a beggar's life,
because thou must resist and treat with anger him whom it least
behooves thee to oppose. If there has been a calamity, and thou
bearest me ill will on that account, bethink thee that I too feel it,
and am the greater sufferer, inasmuch as it was by me that the deed
was done. For thyself, now that thou knowest how much better a thing
it is to be envied than pitied, and how dangerous it is to indulge
anger against parents and superiors, come back with me to thy home."
With such words as these did Periander chide his son; but the latter
made no reply except to remind his father that he was indebted to the
god in the penalty for coming and holding converse with him. Then
Periander knew there was no cure for the youth's malady, nor means of
overcoming it; so he prepared a ship and sent him away out of his
sight to Corcyra,[17] which island at that time belonged to him. As
for Procles, Periander, regarding him as the true author of all his
present troubles, went to war with him as soon as his son was gone,
and not only made himself master of his kingdom, Epidaurus, but also
took Procles himself, and carried him into captivity.

As time went on, and Periander came to be old, he found himself no
longer equal to the oversight and management of affairs. Seeing
therefore in his elder son no manner of ability, but knowing him to be
dull and blockish, he sent to Corcyra and recalled Lycophron to take
the kingdom. Lycophron, however, did not even deign to ask the bearer
of this message a question. But Periander's heart was set upon the
youth, so he sent again to him, this time by his own daughter, the
sister of Lycophron, who would, he thought, have more power to
persuade him than any other person. Then the daughter, when she had
reached Corcyra, spoke thus with her brother: "Dost thou wish the
kingdom, brother, to pass into strange hands, and our father's wealth
to be made a prey rather than thyself return to enjoy it? Come back
home with me, and cease to punish thyself. It is scant gain, this
obstinacy. Why seek to cure evil by evil? Mercy, remember, is by many
set above justice. Many, also while pushing their mother's claims have
forfeited their father's fortune. Power is a slippery thing--it has
many suitors; and he is old and stricken in years--let not thy own
inheritance go to another."

Thus did the sister, who had been tutored by Periander what to say,
urge all the arguments most likely to have weight with her brother.
He, however, made answer that so long as he knew his father to be
still alive, he would never go back to Corinth. When the sister
brought Periander this reply, he sent to his son a third time by a
herald, and said he would come himself to Corcyra, and let his son
take his place at Corinth, as heir to his kingdom. To these terms
Lycophron agreed; and Periander was making ready to pass into Corcyra
and his son to return to Corinth, when the Corcyreans, being informed
of what was taking place, to keep Periander away, put the young man to
death. For this reason it was that Periander took vengeance on the


[Footnote 15: From Book III of the "History." Translated by George
Rawlinson. Periander was tyrant of Corinth, succeeding to power about
625 B.C. He is believed to have reigned forty years.]

[Footnote 16: A city on the coast of Argolis, one of the states of
southern Greece.]

[Footnote 17: Now known as Corfu, an island lying off the western
coast of Greece, adjacent to Epirus.]


     Born in Athens about 471 B.C.; died about 401; celebrated as
     a historian; claimed blood relationship with Miltiades and
     Cimon; possest an ample fortune; in 424 commanded an
     expedition against Brasidas, but failing in it went into
     exile, returning to Athens twenty years later; did not live
     to finish his "History of the Peloponnesian War," the
     narrative ending seven years before the war closed; the
     Greek text first printed by Aldus at Venice in 1502.[18]



Such were the causes of ill feeling which at this time existed between
the Athenians and Peloponnesians;[20] the Corinthians complaining that
the Athenians were blockading their colony of Potidæa, which was
occupied by a Corinthian and Peloponnesian garrison; the Athenians
rejoining that the Peloponnesians had excited to revolt a state which
was an ally and tributary of theirs, and that they had now openly
joined the Potidæans, and were fighting on their side. The
Peloponnesian war, however, had not yet broken out; the peace still
continued; for thus far the Corinthians had acted alone.

But now, seeing Potidæa[21] besieged, they bestirred themselves in
earnest. Corinthian troops were shut up within the walls, and they
were afraid of losing the town; so without delay they invited the
allies to meet at Sparta. There they inveighed against the Athenians,
whom they affirmed to have broken the treaty and to have wronged the
Peloponnesians.... The Megarians alleged, among other grounds of
complaint, that they were excluded from all harbors within the
Athenian dominion and from the Athenian market, contrary to the
treaty. The Corinthians waited until the other allies had stirred up
the Lacedæmonians; at length they came forward, and, last of all,
spoke as follows:

"The spirit of trust, Lacedæmonians, which animates your own political
and social life makes you distrust others who, like ourselves, have
something unpleasant to say, and this temper of mind, tho favorable to
moderation, too often leaves you in ignorance of what is going on
outside your own country. Time after time we have warned you of the
mischief which the Athenians would do to us, but instead of taking our
words to heart, you chose to suspect that we spoke only from
interested motives. And this is the reason why you have brought the
allies to Sparta, too late, not before but after the injury has been
inflicted, and when they are smarting under the sense of it. Which of
them all has a better right to speak than ourselves, who have the
heaviest accusations to make, outraged as we are by the Athenians, and
neglected by you? If the crimes which they are committing against
Hellas were being done in a corner, then you might be ignorant, and we
should have to inform you of them; but now, what need of many words?
Some of us, as you see, have been already enslaved; they are at this
moment intriguing against others, notably against allies of ours; and
long ago they had made all their preparations in expectation of war.
Else why did they seduce from her allegiance Corcyra, which they still
hold in defiance of us, and why are they blockading Potidæa, the
latter a most advantageous post for the command of the Thracian
peninsula, the former a great naval power which might have assisted
the Peloponnesians?

"And the blame of all this rests on you; for you originally allowed
them to fortify their city after the Persian war, and afterward to
build their Long Walls;[22] and to this hour you have gone on
defrauding of liberty their unfortunate subjects, and are now
beginning to take it away from your own allies. For the true enslaver
of a people is he who can put an end to their slavery, but has no care
about it; and all the more, if he be reputed the champion of liberty
in Hellas. And so we have met at last, but with what difficulty! and
even now we have no definite object. By this time we ought to have
been considering, not whether we are wronged, but how we are to be
revenged. The aggressor is not now threatening, but advancing; he has
made up his mind, while we are resolved about nothing. And we know too
well how by slow degrees and with stealthy steps the Athenians
encroach upon their neighbors. While they think that you are too dull
to observe them, they are more careful; but, when they know that you
wilfully overlook their aggressions, they will strike you and not
spare. Of all Hellenes, Lacedæmonians, you are the only people who
never do anything; on the approach of an enemy, you are content to
defend yourselves against him, not by acts, but by intentions, and
seek to overthrow him, not in the infancy but in the fulness of his
strength. How came you to be considered safe? That reputation of
yours was never justified by facts. We all know that the Persian made
his way from the ends of the earth against Peloponnesus before you
encountered him in a worthy manner; and now you are blind to the
doings of the Athenians, who are not at a distance, as he was, but
close at hand. Instead of attacking your enemy, you wait to be
attacked, and take the chances of a struggle which has been deferred
until his power is doubled. And you know that the barbarian miscarried
chiefly through his own errors, and that we have oftener been
delivered from these very Athenians by blunders of their own than by
any aid from you. Some have already been ruined by the hopes which you
inspired in them; for so entirely did they trust you that they took no
precautions themselves. These things we say in no accusing or hostile
spirit--let that be understood--but by way of expostulation. For men
expostulate with erring friends; they bring accusations against
enemies who have done them a wrong.

"And surely we have a right to find fault with our neighbors if any
one ever had. There are important interests at stake to which, as far
as we can see, you are insensible. And you have never considered what
manner of men are these Athenians with whom you will have to fight,
and how utterly unlike yourselves. They are revolutionary, equally
quick in the conception and in the execution of every new plan; while
you are conservative--careful only to keep what you have, originating
nothing, and not acting even when action is most necessary. They are
bold beyond their strength; they run risks which prudence would
condemn; and in the midst of misfortune they are full of hope. Whereas
it is your nature, tho strong, to act feebly; when your plans are most
prudent, to distrust them; and when calamities come upon you, to think
that you will never be delivered from them. They are impetuous, and
you are dilatory; they are always abroad, and you are always at home.
For they hope to gain something by leaving their homes; but you are
afraid that any new enterprise may imperil what you have already. When
conquerors, they pursue their victory to the utmost; when defeated,
they fall back the least. Their bodies they devote to their country as
tho they belonged to other men; their true self is in their mind,
which is most truly their own when employed in her service. When they
do not carry out an intention which they have formed, they seem to
have sustained a personal bereavement; when an enterprise succeeds,
they have gained a mere instalment of what is to come; but if they
fail, they at once conceive new hopes and so fill up the void. With
them alone to hope is to have, for they lose not a moment in the
execution of an idea. This is the lifelong task, full of danger and
toil, which they are always imposing upon themselves. None enjoy their
good things less, because they are always seeking for more. To do
their duty is their only holiday, and they deem the quiet of inaction
to be as disagreeable as the most tiresome business. If a man should
say to them, in a word, that they were born neither to have peace
themselves nor to allow peace to other men, he would simply speak the

"In the face of such an enemy, Lacedæmonians, you persist in doing
nothing. You do not see that peace is best secured by those who use
their strength justly, but whose attitude shows that they have no
intention of submitting to wrong. Justice with you seems to consist in
giving no annoyance to others and in defending yourselves only against
positive injury. But this policy would hardly be successful, even if
your neighbors were like yourselves; and in the present case, as we
pointed out just now, your ways compared with theirs are
old-fashioned. And, as in the arts, so also in politics, the new must
always prevail over the old. In settled times the traditions of
government should be observed; but when circumstances are changing and
men are compelled to meet them, much originality is required.

"The Athenians have had a wider experience, and therefore the
administration of their state has improved faster than yours. But here
let your procrastination end; send an army at once into Attica and
assist your allies, especially the Potidæans, to whom your word is
pledged. Do not allow friends and kindred to fall into the hands of
their worst enemies, or drive us in despair to seek the alliance of
others; in taking such a course we should be doing wrong either before
the gods who are witnesses of our oaths or before men whose eyes are
upon us. For the true breakers of treaties are not only those who,
when forsaken, turn to others, but those who forsake allies whom they
have sworn to defend. We will remain your friends if you choose to
bestir yourselves; for we should be guilty of an impiety if we
deserted you without cause; and we shall not easily find allies
equally congenial to us. Take heed then; you have inherited from your
fathers the leadership of Peloponnesus; see that her greatness suffers
no diminution at your hands."

Thus spake the Corinthians. Now there happened to be staying at
Lacedæmon an Athenian embassy which had come on other business, and
when the envoys heard what the Corinthians had said, they felt bound
to go before the Lacedæmonian assembly, not with the views of
answering the accusations brought against them by the cities, but they
wanted to put before the Lacedæmonians the whole question, and make
them understand that they should take time to deliberate and not be
rash. They desired also to set forth the greatness of their city,
reminding the elder men of what they knew, and informing the younger
of what lay beyond their experience. They thought that their words
would sway the Lacedæmonians in the direction of peace. So they came
and said that, if they might be allowed, they too would like to
address the people. The Lacedæmonians invited them to come forward,
and they spoke as follows:

"We were not sent here to argue with your allies, but on a special
mission; observing, however, that no small outcry has arisen against
us, we have come forward, not to answer the accusations which they
bring (for you are not judges before whom either we or they have to
plead), but to prevent you from lending too ready an ear to their bad
advice and so deciding wrongly about a very serious question. We
propose also, in reply to the wider charges which are raised against
us, to show that what we have acquired we hold rightfully.

"Of the ancient deeds handed down by tradition and which no eye of any
one who hears us ever saw, why should we speak? But of the Persian
war, and other events which you yourselves remember, speak we must,
altho we have brought them forward so often that the repetition of
them is disagreeable to us. When we faced those perils we did so for
the common benefit; in the solid good you shared, and of the glory,
whatever good there may be in that, we would not be wholly deprived.
Our words are not designed to deprecate hostility, but to set forth in
evidence the character of the city with which, unless you are very
careful, you will soon be involved in war. We tell you that we, first
and alone, dared to engage with the barbarian at Marathon,[23] and
that, when he came again, being too weak to defend ourselves by land,
we and our whole people embarked on shipboard and shared with the
other Hellenes in the victory of Salamis.[24] Thereby he was prevented
from sailing to the Peloponnesus and ravaging city after city; for
against so mighty a fleet how could you have helped one another? He
himself is the best witness of our words; for when he was once
defeated at sea, he felt that his power was gone and quickly retreated
with the greater part of his army.

"The event proved undeniably that the fate of Hellas depended on her
navy. And the three chief elements of success were contributed by us;
namely, the greatest number of ships, the ablest general, the most
devoted patriotism. The ships in all numbered four hundred, and of
these, our own contingent amounted to nearly two-thirds. To the
influence of Themistocles, our general, it was chiefly due that we
fought in the strait, which was confessedly our salvation; and for
this service you yourselves honored him above any stranger who ever
visited you. Thirdly, we displayed the most extraordinary courage and
devotion; there was no one to help us by land; for up to our frontier
those who lay in the enemy's path were already slaves; so we
determined to leave our city and sacrifice our homes. Even in that
extremity we did not choose to desert the cause of the allies who
still resisted, and by dispersing ourselves to become useless to them;
but we embarked and fought, taking no offense at your failure to
assist us sooner. We maintain then that we rendered you a service at
least as great as you rendered us. The cities from which you came to
help us were still inhabited and you might hope to return to them;
your concern was for yourselves and not for us; at any rate, you
remained at a distance while we had anything to lose. But we went
forth from a city which was no more, and fought for one of which there
was small hope; and yet we saved ourselves, and bore our part in
saving you. If, in order to preserve our land, like other states, we
had gone over to the Persians at first, or afterward had not ventured
to embark because our ruin was already complete, it would have been
useless for you with your weak navy to fight at sea, but everything
would have gone quietly just as the Persian desired.

"Considering, Lacedæmonians, the energy and sagacity which we then
displayed, do we deserve to be so bitterly hated by the other Hellenes
merely because we have an empire? That empire was not acquired by
force; but you would not stay and make an end of the barbarian, and
the allies came of their own accord and asked us to be their leaders.
The subsequent development of our power was originally forced upon us
by circumstances; fear was our first motive; afterward ambition, and
then interest stept in. And when we had incurred the hatred of most of
our allies, when some of them had already revolted and been
subjugated, and you were no longer the friends to us which you once
had been, but suspicious and ill-disposed, how could we without great
risk relax our hold? For the cities as fast as they fell away from us
would have gone over to you. And no man is to be reproached who seizes
every possible advantage when the danger is so great.

"At all events, Lacedæmonians, we may retort that you, in the exercise
of your supremacy, manage the cities of Peloponnesus to suit your own
views, and that if you, and not we, had persevered in the command of
the allies long enough to be hated, you would have been quite as
intolerable to them as we are, and would have been compelled, for the
sake of your own safety, to rule with a strong hand. An empire was
offered to us: can you wonder that, acting as human nature always
will, we accepted it, and refused to give it up again, constrained by
three all powerful motives, ambition, fear, interest? We are not the
first who have aspired to rule; the world has ever held that the
weaker must be kept down by the stronger. And we think that we are
worthy of power; and there was a time when you thought so too; but now
when you mean expediency you talk about justice. Did justice ever
deter any one from taking by force whatever he could? Men who indulge
the natural ambition of empire deserve credit if they are in any
degree more careful of justice than they need be. How moderate we are
would speedily appear if others took our place; indeed, our very
moderation, which should be our glory, has been unjustly converted
into a reproach.

"For because in our suits with our allies, regulated by treaty, we do
not even stand upon our rights, but have instituted the practise of
deciding them at Athens and by Athenian law, we are supposed to be
litigious. None of our opponents observes why others, who exercise
dominion elsewhere and are less moderate than we are in their dealings
with their subjects, escape this reproach. Why is it? Because men who
practise violence have no longer any need of law. But we are in the
habit of meeting our allies on terms of equality, and, therefore, if
through some legal decision of ours, or exercise of our imperial
power, contrary to their own ideas of right, they suffer ever so
little, they are not grateful for our moderation in leaving them so
much, but are far more offended at their trifling loss than if we had
from the first plundered them in the face of day, laying aside all
thought of law. For then they would themselves have admitted that the
weaker must give way to the stronger. Mankind resents injustice more
than violence, because the one seems to be an unfair advantage taken
by an equal, the other is the irresistible force of a superior. They
were patient under the yoke of the Persian, who inflicted on them far
more grievous wrongs; but now our dominion is odious in their eyes.
And no wonder: the ruler of the day is always detested by his
subjects. And should your empire supplant ours, may not you lose the
good-will which you owe to the fear of us? Lose it you certainly will,
if you mean again to exhibit the temper of which you gave a specimen
when, for a short time, you led the confederacy against the Persian.
For the institutions under which you live are incompatible with those
of foreign states; and further, when any of you goes abroad, he
respects neither these nor any other Hellenic laws.

"Do not then be hasty in deciding a question which is serious; and do
not, by listening to the misrepresentations and complaints of others,
bring trouble upon yourselves. Realize, while there is time, the
inscrutable nature of war; and how when protracted it generally ends
in becoming a mere matter of chance, over which neither of us can have
any control, the event being equally unknown and equally hazardous to
both. The misfortune is that in their hurry to go to war, men begin
with blows, and when a reverse comes upon them, then have recourse to
words. But neither you nor we have as yet committed this mistake; and
therefore while both of us can still choose the prudent part, we tell
you not to break the peace or violate your oaths. Let our differences
be determined by arbitration, according to the treaty. If you refuse,
we call to witness the gods by whom you have sworn that you are the
authors of the war; and we will do our best to strike in return."

When the Lacedæmonians had heard the charges brought by the allies
against the Athenians, and their rejoinder, they ordered everybody but
themselves to withdraw, and deliberated alone. The majority were
agreed that there was now a clear case against the Athenians, and that
they must fight at once.[25]


[Footnote 18: Jowett says Thucydides "stands absolutely alone among
historians, not only of Hellas, but of the world, in his impartiality
and love of truth." Macaulay's enthusiasm for him is well known.
Mahaffy says his work was intended to be a military history, compiled
from original documents and from personal observations made by himself
and other eye-witnesses. "There can not be the smallest doubt," adds
Mahaffy, "that, in the hands of Thucydides, the art of writing history
made an extraordinary stride and attained a perfection which no
subsequent Hellenic, and few modern writers have attained." He is
praised for the "lofty dignity" which he imparts to every subject. His
temper is so solemn and severe as to be "strangely un-Attic." Among
his great and enduring merits is the fact that he has "taught us to
know more of Greek interpolitical life than all other Greek writers
put together." No historian has been greater than he, not only in
dignity of language, but in calmness of judgment, in intellectual
force, and in breadth and acuteness of observation.]

[Footnote 19: From Book I of the "History of the Peloponnesian War."
Translated by Benjamin Jowett.]

[Footnote 20: The Peloponnesians were the people of the peninsula
which forms the southern part of Greece, and which is now known as
Morea. In ancient times this territory was called the Peloponnesus.
Its people comprized the inhabitants of several political domains
called Achaia, Sicyonia, Corinthia, Argolis, Arcadia, Laconia,
Messenia, and Elis. Laconia was otherwise, and quite anciently, known
as Lacedæmon, its capital being the city of Sparta.]

[Footnote 21: Potidæa, the modern Pinaka, had revolted from Athens in
432 B.C., but did not capitulate until the end of the second year of
the Peloponnesian war. It was a rich and flourishing town, originally
Dorian, but colonized later from Corinth. During one of the Eastern
invasions of Greece, it fell into Persian hands.]

[Footnote 22: These walls connected Athens with its port, the Piræus,
and were each about five miles long. They ran parallel and were
separated from each other by about 500 feet of space. This intervening
land was used for a carriage road, on either side of which were
houses. Thus was formed a continuous walled street from Athens to the
sea, so that communication in case of war was made secure.]

[Footnote 23: The battle of Marathon was fought in September, 490. It
ended the attempts of Darius to subdue Greece.]

[Footnote 24: The battle of Salamis took place in September, 480, and
was fought in waters lying between the Piræus and the island of
Salamis. Themistocles commanded the Greeks. The Persian ships were
practically annihilated. Byron's lines on this battle, in his poem
"The Isles of Greece," will be recalled.]


THE PLAGUE AT ATHENS[26] (430--425 B.C.)

They [the enemy] had not been there [in Attica] many days when the
plague broke out at Athens for the first time. A similar disorder is
said to have previously smitten many places, particularly Lemnos;[27]
but there is no record of such a pestilence occurring elsewhere, or of
so great a destruction of human life. For a while physicians, in
ignorance of the nature of the disease, sought to apply remedies; but
it was in vain, and they themselves were among the first victims,
because they oftenest came into contact with it. No human art was of
any avail, and as to supplications in temples, inquiries of oracles,
and the like, they were utterly useless, and at last men were
overpowered by the calamity and gave up all remedies.

The disease is said to have begun south of Egypt in Ethiopia; thence
it descended into Egypt and Libya, and after spreading over the
greater part of the Persian empire, suddenly fell upon Athens. It
first attacked the inhabitants of the Piræus, and it was supposed that
the Peloponnesians had poisoned the cisterns, no conduits having as
yet been made there. It afterward reached the upper city, and then the
mortality became far greater. As to its probable origin or the causes
which might or could have produced such a disturbance of nature, every
man, whether a physician or not, will give his own opinion. But I
shall describe its actual course, and the symptoms by which any one
who knows them beforehand may recognize the disorder should it ever
reappear. For I was myself attacked, and witnessed the sufferings of

The season was admitted to have been remarkably free from ordinary
sickness; and if anybody was already ill of any other disease, it was
absorbed in this. Many who were in perfect health, all in a moment,
and without any apparent reason, were seized with violent heats in the
head and with redness and inflammation of the eyes. Internally the
throat and the tongue were quickly suffused with blood, and the breath
became unnatural and fetid. There followed sneezing and hoarseness; in
a short time the disorder, accompanied by a violent cough, reached the
chest; then fastening lower down, it would move the stomach and bring
on all the vomits of bile to which physicians have ever given names;
and they were very distressing. An ineffectual retching producing
violent convulsions attacked most of the sufferers; some as soon as
the previous symptoms had abated, others not until long afterward. The
body externally was not so very hot to the touch, nor yet pale; it was
of a livid color inclining to red, and breaking out in pustules and
ulcers. But the internal fever was intense; the sufferers could not
bear to have on them even the finest linen garment; they insisted on
being naked, and there was nothing which they longed for more eagerly
than to throw themselves into cold water. And many of those who had no
one to look after them actually plunged into the cisterns, for they
were tormented by unceasing thirst, which was not in the least
assuaged whether they drank little or much. They could not sleep; a
restlessness which was intolerable never left them.

While the disease was at its height the body, instead of wasting away,
held out amid these sufferings in a marvelous manner, and either they
died on the seventh or ninth day, not of weakness, for their strength
was not exhausted, but of internal fever, which was the end of most;
or, if they survived, then the disease descended into the bowels and
there produced violent ulcerations; severe diarrhea at the same time
set in, and at a later stage caused exhaustion, which finally with few
exceptions carried them off. For the disorder, which had originally
settled in the head, passed gradually through the whole body, and, if
a person got over the worst, would often seize the extremities and
leave its mark, attacking the privy parts and the fingers and the
toes; and some escaped with the loss of these, some with the loss of
their eyes. Some, again, had no sooner recovered than they were seized
with a forgetfulness of all things and knew neither themselves nor
their friends.

The malady took a form not to be described, and the fury with which it
fastened upon each sufferer was too much for human nature to endure.
There was one circumstance in particular which distinguished it from
ordinary diseases. The birds and animals, which feed on human flesh,
altho so many bodies were lying unburied, either never went near them
or died if they touched them. This was proved by a remarkable
disappearance of the birds of prey, which were not to be seen either
about the bodies or anywhere else; while in the case of the dogs the
fact was even more obvious, because they live with man.

Such was the general nature of the disease; I omit many strange
peculiarities which characterized individual cases. None of the
ordinary sicknesses attacked any one while it lasted, or, if they did,
they ended in the plague. Some of the sufferers died from want of
care, others equally who were receiving the greatest attention. No
single remedy could be deemed a specific; for that which did good to
one did harm to another. No constitution was of itself strong enough
to resist or weak enough to escape the attacks; the disease carried
off all alike and defied every mode of treatment. Most appalling was
the despondency which seized upon any one who felt himself sickening;
for he instantly abandoned his mind to despair and, instead of holding
out, absolutely threw away his chance of life. Appalling too was the
rapidity with which men caught the infection, dying like sheep if they
attended on one another, and this was the principal cause of
mortality. When they were afraid to visit one another, the sufferers
died in their solitude, so that many houses were empty because there
had been no one left to take care of the sick; or if they ventured
they perished, especially those who aspired to heroism. For they went
to see their friends without thought of themselves and were ashamed to
leave them, even at a time when the very relatives of the dying were
at last growing weary and ceased to make lamentations, overwhelmed by
the vastness of the calamity. But whatever instances there may have
been of such devotion, more often the sick and the dying were tended
by the pitying care of those who had recovered, because they knew the
course of the disease and were themselves free from apprehension. For
no one was ever attacked a second time, or not with a fatal result.
All men congratulated them; and they themselves, in the excess of
their joy at the moment, had an innocent fancy that they could not die
of any other sickness.

The crowding of the people out of the country into the city aggravated
the misery, and the newly arrived suffered most. For, having no houses
of their own, but inhabiting, in the height of summer, stifling huts,
the mortality among them was dreadful, and they perished in wild
disorder. The dead lay as they had died, one upon another, while
others hardly alive wallowed in the streets and crawled about every
fountain craving for water. The temples in which they lodged were full
of the corpses of those who had died in them; for the violence of the
calamity was such that men, not knowing where to turn, grew reckless
of all law, human and divine. The customs which had hitherto been
observed at funerals were universally violated, and they buried their
dead each one as best he could. Many, having no proper appliances,
because the deaths in their household had been so frequent, made no
scruple of using the burial-place of others. When one man had raised a
funeral pile, others would come, and throwing on their dead first, set
fire to it; or when some other corpse was already burning, before they
could be stopt would throw their own dead upon it and depart.

There were other and worse forms of lawlessness which the plague
introduced at Athens. Men who had hitherto concealed their indulgence
in pleasure now grew bolder. For, seeing the sudden change--how the
rich died in a moment, and those who had nothing immediately inherited
their property--they reflected that life and riches were alike
transitory, and they resolved to enjoy themselves while they could,
and to think only of pleasure. Who would be willing to sacrifice
himself to the law of honor when he knew not whether he would ever
live to be held in honor? The pleasure of the moment and any sort of
thing which conduced to it took the place both of honor and of
expediency. No fear of God or law of man deterred a criminal. Those
who saw all perishing alike thought that the worship or neglect of the
gods made no difference. For offenses against human law no punishment
was to be feared; no one would live long enough to be called to
account. Already a far heavier sentence had been passed and was
hanging over a man's head; before that feeling, why should he not take
a little pleasure?

Such was the grievous calamity which now afflicted the Athenians;
within the walls their people were dying, and without, their country
was being ravaged. In their troubles they naturally called to mind a
verse which the elder men among them declared to have been current
long ago:

     "A Dorian war will come and a plague with it."


[Footnote 25: The Peloponnesian war broke out in 431 B.C., and lasted
until 404. Its result was the abasement of Athens and the elevation of
Sparta to supreme power in Greece. When it began, Athens with her
allies included all the coast cities of Asia Minor as far south as
Lycia, the cities bordering on the Thracian and Chalcidian shores, and
nearly all the islands of the Ægean Sea. Sparta at the same time was
leader in a confederacy of independent states, among which were nearly
all the Peloponnesian states, besides some of those in northern
Greece, those of Magna Græcia and Sicily. Athens was strong in her
navy, which comprized 300 galleys, while the Spartan strength lay in
her land forces. The treasury of Athens was full, that of Sparta weak.
After the war, the walls of Athens were demolished and she was
deprived of her foreign possessions. The government set over her was
an oligarchy of thirty persons, known in history as the thirty
tyrants. These men soon made their harsh rule so intolerable that
within sixteen months after Athens surrendered to Sparta they were
deposed and democratic rule was restored to the Athenians.]

[Footnote 26: From Book II of the "History of the Peloponnesian War."
Translated by Benjamin Jowett.]

[Footnote 27: One of the larger islands of the Ægean Sea, its area
being about one hundred and eighty square miles.]



About the middle of summer the expedition started for Sicily. Orders
had been previously given to most of the allies, to the corn-ships,
the smaller craft, and generally to the vessels in attendance on the
armament that they should muster at Corcyra, whence the whole fleet
was to strike across the Ionian Gulf to the promontory of Iapygia.[29]
Early in the morning of the day appointed for their departure, the
Athenians and such of their allies as had already joined them went
down to the Piræus and began to man the ships. The entire population
of Athens accompanied them, citizens and strangers alike. The citizens
came to take farewell, one of an acquaintance another of a kinsman,
another of a son; the crowd as they passed along were full of hope and
full of tears; hope of conquering Sicily, tears because they doubted
whether they would ever see their friends again, when they thought of
the long voyage on which they were sending them. At the moment of
parting, the danger was nearer; and terrors which had never occurred
to them when they were voting the expedition now entered into their
souls. Nevertheless their spirits revived at the sight of the armament
in all its strength and of the abundant provision which they had made.
The strangers and the rest of the multitude came out of curiosity,
desiring to witness an enterprise of which the greatness exceeded

No armament so magnificent or costly had ever been sent out by any
single Hellenic power, tho in mere number of ships and hoplites that
which sailed to Epidaurus under Pericles and afterward under Hagnon to
Potidæa was not inferior. For that expedition consisted of a hundred
Athenian and fifty Chian and Lesbian triremes, conveying four thousand
hoplites, all Athenian citizens, three hundred cavalry, and a
multitude of allied troops. Still the voyage was short and the
equipments were poor, whereas this expedition was intended to be long
absent, and was thoroughly provided both for sea and land service,
wherever its presence might be required.

On the fleet the greatest pains and expense had been lavished by the
trierarchs and the state. The public treasury gave a drachma a day to
each sailor, and furnished empty hulls for sixty swift sailing
vessels, and for forty transports carrying hoplites. All these were
manned with the best crews which could be obtained. The trierarchs,
besides the pay given by the state, added somewhat more out of their
own means to the wages of the upper ranks of rowers and of the petty
officers. The figureheads and other fittings provided by the
trierarchs were of the most costly description. Every one strove to
the utmost that his own ship might excel both in beauty and
swiftness. The infantry had been well selected and the lists carefully
made up. There was the keenest rivalry among the soldiers in the
matter of arms and personal equipment.

And while at home the Athenians were thus competing with one another
in the performance of their several duties, to the rest of Hellas the
expedition seemed to be a grand display of their power and greatness,
rather than a preparation for war. If any one had reckoned up the
whole expenditure (1) of the state, (2) of individual soldiers and
others, including in the first not only what the city had already laid
out, but what was entrusted to the generals, and in the second what
either at the time or afterward private persons spent upon their
outfit, or the trierarchs upon their ships, the provision for the long
voyage which every one may be supposed to have carried with him over
and above his public pay, and what soldiers or traders may have taken
for purposes of exchange, he would have found that altogether an
immense sum amounting to many talents was withdrawn from the city. Men
were quite amazed at the boldness of the scheme and the magnificence
of the spectacle, which were everywhere spoken of, no less than at the
great disproportion of the force when compared with that of the enemy
against whom it was intended. Never had a greater expedition been sent
to a foreign land; never was there an enterprise in which the hope of
future success seemed to be better justified by actual power.

When the ships were manned and everything required for the voyage had
been placed on board, silence was proclaimed by the sound of the
trumpet, and all with one voice before setting sail offered up the
customary prayers; these were recited, not in each ship, but by a
single herald, the whole fleet accompanying him. On every deck both
officers and men, mingling wine in bowls, made libations from vessels
of gold and silver. The multitude of citizens and other well-wishers
who were looking on from the land joined in the prayer. The crews
raised the pæan, and when the libations were completed, put to sea.
After sailing out for some distance in single file, the ships raced
with one another as far as Ægina;[30] thence they hastened onward to
Corcyra, where the allies who formed the rest of the army were

Meanwhile reports of the expedition were coming in to Syracuse from
many quarters, but for a long time nobody gave credit to them. At
length an assembly was held. Even then different opinions were
exprest, some affirming and others denying that the expedition was
coming. At last Hermocrates,[31] the son of Hermon, believing that he
had certain information, came forward, and warned the Syracusans....

Great was the contention which his words aroused among the Syracusan
people, some asserting that the Athenians would never come, and that
he was not speaking truth, others asking, "And if they should come,
what harm could they do to us nearly so great as we could do to them?"
while others were quite contemptuous, and made a jest of the whole
matter. A few only believed Hermocrates and realized the danger. At
last Athenagoras, the popular leader, who had at that time the
greatest influence with the multitude, came forward and spoke....

The Athenians and their allies were by this time collected at Corcyra.
There the generals began by holding a final review of the ships, and
disposed them in the order in which they were to anchor at their
stations. The fleet was divided into three squadrons, and one of them
assigned by lot to each of the three generals, in order to avoid any
difficulties which might occur, if they sailed together, in finding
water, anchorage, and provisions where they touched; they thought also
that the presence of a general in each division would promote good
order and discipline throughout the fleet. They then sent before them
to Italy and Sicily three ships, which had orders to find out what
cities in those regions would receive them, and to meet them again on
their way, that they might know before they put in.

At length the great armament proceeded to cross from Corcyra to
Sicily. It consisted of a hundred and thirty-four triremes in all,
besides two Rhodian vessels of fifty oars. Of these a hundred were
Athenian, sixty being swift vessels, and the remaining forty
transports; the rest of the fleet was furnished by the Chians and
other allies. The hoplites numbered in all five thousand one hundred,
of whom fifteen hundred were Athenians taken from the roll, and seven
hundred who served as marines were of the fourth and lowest class of
Athenian citizens. The remainder of the hoplites were furnished by the
allies, mostly by the subject states; but five hundred came from
Argos, besides two hundred and fifty Mantinean and other mercenaries.
The archers were in all four hundred and eighty, of whom eighty were
Cretans. There were seven hundred Rhodian slingers, a hundred and
twenty light-armed Megarians who were exiles, and one horse transport
which conveyed thirty horsemen and horses.

Such were the forces with which the first expedition crossed the sea.
For the transport of provisions thirty merchant-ships, which also
conveyed bakers, masons, carpenters, and tools such as are required in
sieges, were included in the armament. It was likewise attended by a
hundred small vessels; these as well as the merchant-vessels, were
prest into the service. Other merchant-vessels and lesser craft in
great numbers followed of their own accord for purposes of trade. The
whole fleet now struck across the Ionian Sea from Corcyra. They
arrived at the promontory of Iapygia and at Tarentum,[32] each ship
taking its own course, and passed along the coast of Italy. The
Italian cities did not admit them within their walls, or open a market
to them, but allowed them water and anchorage; Tarentum and Locri[33]
refused even these. At length they reached Rhegium,[34] the extreme
point of Italy, where the fleet reunited. As they were not received
within the walls, they encamped outside the city, at the temple of
Artemis; there they were provided by the inhabitants with a market,
and drawing up their ships on shore they took a rest. They held a
conference with the Rhegians, and prest them, being Chalcidians
themselves, to aid their Chalcidian kinsmen the Leontines. But the
Rhegians replied that they would be neutral, and would only act in
accordance with the decision of all the Italian Greeks. The Athenian
commanders now began to consider how they could best commence
operations in Sicily. Meanwhile they were expecting the ships which
had gone on and were to meet them from Egesta;[35] for they wished to
know whether the Egestæans really had the money of which the
messengers had brought information to Athens.


[Footnote 28: From Book VI of "The History of the Peloponnesian War."
Translated by Benjamin Jowett. At the time of the sailing of this
fleet the war had been in progress sixteen years. Syracuse, a Greek
colony, founded from Corinth, had now become an ally of Sparta against

[Footnote 29: Iapygia lies in what is now Apulia, southern Italy. It
is the extreme southern point of the "heel" of the "boot."]

[Footnote 30: An island in the Saronic Gulf, lying immediately south
of Attica; in an artistic and historical sense, one of the most
celebrated of Greek islands.]

[Footnote 31: One of the three generals of Syracuse entrusted with the
defense of the city. His character was "one of the brightest and
purest" in the history of that place, says a writer in Smith's
"Dictionary." His daughter married the tyrant Dionysius.]

[Footnote 32: The modern Taranto, in southern Italy, in the gulf of
that name.]

[Footnote 33: The city of Locri lay near Gerace, a town in the
extremity of the "toe" of the "boot." It was allied with Syracuse in
the fourth century.]

[Footnote 34: The modern Reggio, which lies opposite Messina, and
which, like Messina, was destroyed in the earthquake of 1908.]

[Footnote 35: Also written Segesta, a city in northwestern Sicily, six
miles from the coast and about twenty-five miles west of Palermo. The
modern city of Aleamo stands near its site. Segesta traced its
foundation to fugitives from Troy. Among its notable ruins is a Greek
temple in the Doric order, which is one of the finest that have
survived to our time.]



The Syracusans and the allies naturally thought that the struggle
would be brought to a glorious end if, after having defeated the
Athenian fleet, they took captive the whole of their great armament,
and did not allow them to escape either by sea or land. So they at
once began to close the mouth of the Great Harbor, which was about a
mile wide, by means of triremes, merchant-vessels, and small boats,
placed broadside, which they moored there. They made every preparation
also for a naval engagement, should the Athenians be willing to hazard
another; and all their thoughts were on a grand scale.

The Athenians, seeing the closing of the harbor and inferring the
intentions of the enemy, proceeded to hold a council. The generals and
officers met and considered the difficulties of their position. The
most pressing was the want of food. For they had already sent to
Catana,[37] when they intended to depart, and stopt the supplies; and
they could get no more unless they recovered the command of the sea.
They resolved therefore to quit their lines on the higher ground and
to cut off by a cross-wall a space close to their ships, no greater
than was absolutely required for their baggage and for their sick;
after leaving a guard there, they meant to put on board every other
man, and to launch all their ships, whether fit for service or not;
they would then fight a decisive battle, and, if they conquered, go to
Catana; but if not, they would burn their ships, and retreat by land
in good order, taking the nearest way to some friendly country,
barbarian or Hellenic.

This design they proceeded to execute, and, withdrawing quietly from
the upper walls, manned their whole fleet, compelling every man of any
age at all suitable for service to embark. The entire number of the
ships which they manned was about a hundred and ten. They put on board
numerous archers and javelin-men, Acarnanians,[38] and other
foreigners, and made such preparations for action as the nature of the
plan imposed upon them by their necessities allowed. When all was
nearly ready, Nicias,[39] perceiving that the soldiers were deprest by
their severe defeat at sea, which was no new experience to them,
while at the same time the want of provisions made them impatient to
risk a battle with the least possible delay, called his men together
and before they engaged exhorted them....

Nicias gave orders to man the ships. Gylippus[40] and the Syracusans
could see clearly enough from the preparations which the Athenians
were making that they were going to fight. But they had also previous
notice, and had been told of the iron grapnels; and they took
precautions against this as against all the other devices of the
Athenians. They covered the prows of their vessels with hides,
extending a good way along the upper part of their sides, so that the
grapnels might slip and find no hold. When all was ready, Gylippus and
the other generals exhorted their men....

When Gylippus and the other Syracusan generals had, like Nicias,
encouraged their troops, perceiving the Athenians to be manning their
ships, they presently did the same. Nicias, overwhelmed by the
situation, and seeing how great and how near the peril was (for the
ships were on the very point of rowing out), feeling too, as men do on
the eve of a great struggle, that all which he had done was nothing,
and that he had not said half enough, again addrest the trierarchs,
and calling each of them by his father's name, and his own name, and
the name of his tribe, he entreated those who had made any reputation
for themselves not to be false to it, and those whose ancestors were
eminent not to tarnish their hereditary fame. He reminded them that
they were the inhabitants of the freest country in the world, and how
in Athens there was no interference with the daily life of any man. He
spoke to them of their wives and children and their fathers' gods, as
men will at such a time; for then they do not care whether their
common-place phrases seem to be out of date or not, but loudly
reiterate the old appeals, believing that they may be of some service
at the awful moment. When he thought that he had exhorted them, not
enough, but as much as the scanty time allowed, he retired, and led
the land-forces to the shore, extending the line as far as he could,
so that they might be of the greatest use in encouraging the
combatants on board ship. Demosthenes,[41] Menander, and Euthydemus,
who had gone on board the Athenian fleet to take command, now quitted
their own station, and proceeded straight to the closed mouth of the
harbor, intending to force their way to the open sea where a passage
was still left.

The Syracusans and their allies had already put out with nearly the
same number of ships as before. A detachment of them guarded the
entrance of the harbor; the remainder were disposed all round it in
such a manner that they might fall on the Athenians from every side at
once, and that their land-forces might at the same time be able to
cooperate whenever the ships retreated to the shore. Sicanus and
Agatharchus commanded the Syracusan fleet, each of them a wing; Pythen
and the Corinthians occupied the center.

When the Athenians approached the closed mouth of the harbor, the
violence of their onset overpowered the ships which were stationed
there; they then attempted to loosen the fastenings. Whereupon from
all sides the Syracusans and their allies came bearing down upon them,
and the conflict was no longer confined to the entrance, but extended
throughout the harbor. No previous engagement had been so fierce and
obstinate. Great was the eagerness with which the rowers on both sides
rushed upon their enemies whenever the word of command was given; and
keen was the contest between the pilots as they maneuvered one against
another. The marines too were full of anxiety that, when ship struck
ship, the service on deck should not fall short of the rest; every one
in the place assigned to him was eager to be foremost among his
fellows. Many vessels meeting--and never did so many fight in so small
a space, for the two fleets together amounted to nearly two
hundred--they were seldom able to strike in the regular manner,
because they had no opportunity of first retiring or breaking the
line; they generally fouled one another as ship dashed against ship in
the hurry of flight or pursuit. All the time that another vessel was
bearing down, the men on deck poured showers of javelins and arrows
and stones upon the enemy; and when the two closed, the marines fought
hand to hand, and endeavored to board. In many places, owing to the
want of room, they who had struck another found that they were struck
themselves; often two or even more vessels were unavoidably entangled
about one, and the pilots had to make plans of attack and defense,
not against one adversary only, but against several coming from
different sides.

The crash of so many ships dashing against one another took away the
wits of the sailors, and made it impossible to hear the boatswains,
whose voices in both fleets rose high, as they gave directions to the
rowers, or cheered them on in the excitement of the struggle. On the
Athenians' side they were shouting to their men that they must force a
passage and seize the opportunity now or never of returning in safety
to their native land. To the Syracusans and their allies was
represented the glory of preventing the escape of their enemies, and
of a victory by which every man would exalt the honor of his own city.
The commanders, too, when they saw any ship backing water without
necessity, would call the captain by his name, and ask, of the
Athenians, whether they were retreating because they expected to be
more at home upon the land of their bitterest foes than upon that sea
which had been their own so long; on the Syracusan side, whether, when
they knew perfectly well that the Athenians were only eager to find
some means of flight, they would themselves fly from the fugitives.

While the naval engagement hung in the balance, the two armies on
shore had great trial and conflict of soul. The Sicilian soldier was
animated by the hope of increasing the glory which he had already won,
while the invader was tormented by the fear that his fortunes might
sink lower still. The last chance of the Athenians lay in their ships,
and their anxiety was dreadful. The fortune of the battle varied; and
it was not possible that the spectators on the shore should all
receive the same impression of it. Being quite close and having
different points of view, they would some of them see their own ships
victorious; their courage would then revive, and they would earnestly
call upon the gods not to take from them their hope of deliverance.
But others, who saw their ships worsted, cried and shrieked aloud, and
were by the sight alone more utterly unnerved than the defeated
combatants themselves. Others again who had fixt their gaze on some
part of the struggle which was undecided, were in a state of
excitement still more terrible; they kept swaying their bodies to and
fro in an agony of hope and fear as the stubborn conflict went on and
on; for at every instant they were all but saved or all but lost. And
while the strife hung in the balance, you might hear in the Athenian
army at once lamentation, shouting, cries of victory or defeat, and
all the various sounds which are wrung from a great host in extremity
of danger. Not less agonizing were the feelings of those on board.

At length the Syracusans and their allies, after a protracted
struggle, put the Athenians to flight, and triumphantly bearing down
upon them, and encouraging one another with loud cries and
exhortations, drove them to the land. Then that part of the navy which
had not been taken in the deep water fell back in confusion to the
shore, and the crews rushed out of the ships into the camp. And the
land-forces, no longer now divided in feeling, but uttering one
universal groan of intolerable anguish ran, some of them to save the
ships, others to defend what remained of the wall; but the greater
number began to look to themselves and to their own safety. Never had
there been a greater panic in an Athenian army than at that moment.
They now suffered what they had done to others at Pylos. For at
Pylos[42] the Lacedæmonians, when they saw their ships destroyed, knew
that their friends who had crossed over into the island of
Sphacteria[43] were lost with them. And so now the Athenians, after
the rout of their fleet, knew that they had no hope of saving
themselves by land unless events took some extraordinary turn.

Thus, after a fierce battle and great destruction of ships and men on
both sides, the Syracusans and their allies gained the victory. They
gathered up the wrecks and bodies of the dead, and sailing back to the
city, erected a trophy. The Athenians, overwhelmed by their misery,
never so much as thought of recovering their wrecks or of asking leave
to collect their dead. Their intention was to retreat that very

On the third day after the sea-fight, when Nicias and Demosthenes
thought that their preparations were complete, the army began to move.
They were in a dreadful condition; not only was there the great fact
that they had lost their whole fleet, and instead of their expected
triumph had brought the utmost peril upon Athens as well as upon
themselves, but also the sights which presented themselves as they
quitted the camp were painful to every eye and mind. The dead were
unburied, and when any one saw the body of a friend lying on the
ground he was smitten with sorrow and dread, while the sick or wounded
who still survived but had to be left were even a greater trial to the
living, and more to be pitied than those who were gone. Their prayers
and lamentations drove their companions to distraction; they would beg
that they might be taken with them, and call by name any friend or
relative whom they saw passing; they would hang upon their departing
comrades and follow as far as they could, and when their limbs and
strength failed them and they dropt behind, many were the imprecations
and cries which they uttered. So that the whole army was in tears, and
such was their despair that they could hardly make up their minds to
stir altho they were leaving an enemy's country, having suffered
calamities too great for tears already, and dreading miseries yet
greater in the unknown future.

There was also a general feeling of shame and self-reproach--indeed
they seemed, not like an army, but like a fugitive population of a
city captured after a siege, and of a great city too. For the whole
multitude who were marching together numbered not less than forty
thousand. Each of them took with him anything he could carry which was
likely to be of use. Even the heavy-armed and cavalry, contrary to
their practise when under arms, conveyed about their persons their own
food, some because they had no attendants, others because they could
not trust them; for they had long been deserting, and most of them
had gone off all at once. Nor was the food which they carried
sufficient, for the supplies of the camp had failed. Their disgrace
and the universality of the misery, altho there might be some
consolation in the very community of suffering, was nevertheless at
that moment hard to bear, especially when they remembered from what
pomp and splendor they had fallen into their present low estate. Never
had a Hellenic army experienced such a reverse. They had come
intending to enslave others, and they were going away in fear that
they would be themselves enslaved. Instead of the prayers and hymns
with which they had put to sea, they were now departing amid appeals
to heaven of another sort. They were no longer sailors but landsmen,
depending, not upon their fleet but upon their infantry. Yet in face
of the great danger which still threatened them all these things
appeared endurable....

When daylight broke and the Syracusans and their allies saw that the
Athenians had departed, most of them thought that Gylippus had let
them go on purpose, and were very angry with him. They easily found
the line of their retreat, and quickly following came up with them
about the time of the midday meal. The troops of Demosthenes were
last; they were marching slowly and in disorder, not having recovered
from the panic of the previous night, when they were overtaken by the
Syracusans, who immediately fell upon them and fought. Separated as
they were from the others, they were easily hemmed in by the Syracusan
cavalry and driven into a narrow space. The division of Nicias was as
much as six miles in advance, for he marched faster, thinking that
their safety depended at such a time, not in remaining and fighting,
if they could avoid it, but in retreating as quickly as they could,
and resisting only when they were positively compelled.

Demosthenes, on the other hand, who had been more incessantly harassed
throughout the retreat, because marching last, was first attacked by
the enemy; now, when he saw the Syracusans pursuing him, instead of
pressing onward, had ranged his army in order of battle. Thus
lingering he was surrounded, and he and the Athenians under his
command were in the greatest danger and confusion. For they were
crusht into a walled enclosure, having a road on both sides and
planted thickly with olive-trees, and missiles were hurled at them
from all points. The Syracusans naturally preferred this mode of
attack to a regular engagement. For to risk themselves against
desperate men would have been only playing into the hands of the
Athenians. Moreover, every one was sparing of his life; their good
fortune was already assured, and they did not wish to fall in the hour
of victory. Even by this irregular mode of fighting they thought that
they could overpower and capture the Athenians.

And so when they had gone on all day assailing them with missiles from
every quarter, and saw that they were quite worn out with their wounds
and all their other sufferings, Gylippus and the Syracusans made a
proclamation, first of all to the islanders, that any of them who
pleased might come over to them and have their freedom. But only a few
cities accepted the offer. At length an agreement was made for the
entire force under Demosthenes. Their arms were to be surrendered but
no one was to suffer death, either from violence or from imprisonment,
or from want of the bare means of life. So they all surrendered, being
in number six thousand, and gave up what money they had. This they
threw into the hollows of shields and filled four. The captives were
at once taken to the city. On the same day Nicias and his division
reached the river Erineus, which he crossed, and halted his army on a
rising ground.

On the following day, he was overtaken by the Syracusans, who told him
that Demosthenes had surrendered, and bade him do the same. He, not
believing them, procured a truce while he sent a horseman to go and
see. Upon the return of the horseman bringing assurance of the fact,
he sent a herald to Gylippus and the Syracusans, saying that he would
agree, on behalf of the Athenian state, to pay the expenses which the
Syracusans had incurred in the war, on condition that they should let
his army go; until the money was paid he would give Athenian citizens
as hostages, a man for a talent. Gylippus and the Syracusans would not
accept these proposals, but attacked and surrounded this division of
the army as well as the other, and hurled missiles at them from every
side until the evening. They too were grievously in want of food and
necessaries. Nevertheless they meant to wait for the dead of the night
and then to proceed. They were just resuming their arms, when the
Syracusans discovered them and raised the pæan. The Athenians,
perceiving that they were detected, laid down their arms again, with
the exception of about three hundred men who broke through the enemy's
guard, and made their escape in the darkness as best they could.

When the day dawned Nicias led forward his army, and the Syracusans
and the allies again assailed them on every side, hurling javelins and
other missiles at them. The Athenians hurried on to the river
Assinarus. They hoped to gain a little relief if they forded the
river, for the mass of horsemen and other troops overwhelmed and
crusht them; and they were worn out by fatigue and thirst. But no
sooner did they reach the water than they lost all order and rushed
in; every man was trying to cross first, and, the enemy pressing upon
them at the same time, the passage of the river became hopeless. Being
compelled to keep close together they fell one upon another, and
trampled each other under foot; some at once perished, pierced by
their own spears; others got entangled in the baggage and were carried
down the stream. The Syracusans stood upon the further bank of the
river, which was steep, and hurled missiles from above on the
Athenians, who were huddled together in the deep bed of the stream and
for the most part were drinking greedily. The Peloponnesians came down
the bank and slaughtered them, falling chiefly upon those who were in
the river. Whereupon the water at once became foul but was drunk all
the same, altho muddy and dyed with blood, and the crowd fought for

At last, when the dead bodies were lying in heaps upon one another in
the water and the army was utterly undone, some perishing in the
river, and any one who escaped being cut off by the cavalry, Nicias
surrendered to Gylippus, in whom he had more confidence than in the
Syracusans. He entreated him and the Lacedæmonians to do what they
pleased with himself, but not to go on killing the men. So Gylippus
gave the word to make prisoners. Thereupon the survivors, not
including, however, a large number whom the soldiers concealed, were
brought in alive. As for the three hundred who had broken through the
guard in the night, the Syracusans sent in pursuit and seized them.
The total of the public prisoners when collected was not great; for
many were appropriated by the soldiers, and the whole of Sicily was
full of them, they not having capitulated like the troops under
Demosthenes. A large number also perished; the slaughter at the river
being very great, quite as great as any which took place in the
Sicilian war; and not a few had fallen in the frequent attacks which
were made upon the Athenians during the march. Still many escaped,
some at the time, others ran away after an interval of slavery, and
all these found refuge at Catana.

The Syracusans and their allies collected their forces and returned
with the spoil, and as many prisoners as they could take with them,
into the city. The captive Athenians and allies they deposited in the
quarries, which they thought would be the safest place of confinement.
Nicias and Demosthenes they put to the sword, altho against the will
of Gylippus. For Gylippus thought that to carry home with him to
Lacedæmon the generals of the enemy, over and above all his other
successes, would be a brilliant triumph. One of them, Demosthenes,
happened to be the greatest foe, and the other the greatest friend of
the Lacedæmonians, both in the same matter of Pylos and Sphacteria....

Those who were imprisoned in the quarries were at the beginning of
their captivity harshly treated by the Syracusans. There were great
numbers of them, and they were crowded in a deep and narrow place. At
first the sun by day was scorching and suffocating, for they had no
roof over their heads, while the autumn nights were cold, and the
extremes of temperature engendered violent disorders. Being cramped
for room, they had to do everything on the same spot. The corpses of
those who had died from their wounds, exposure to the weather, and the
like lay heaped one upon another. The smells were intolerable; and the
prisoners were at the same time afflicted by hunger and thirst. During
eight months they were allowed only about half a pint of water and a
pint of food a day.[44] Every kind of misery which could befall man in
such a place befell them. This was the condition of all the captives
for about ten weeks. At length the Syracusans sold them, with the
exception of the Athenians and of any Sicilian or Italian Greeks who
had sided with them in the war. The whole number of the public
prisoners is not accurately known, but they were not less than seven

Of all the Hellenic actions which took place in this war, or indeed of
all Hellenic actions which are on record, this was the greatest--the
most glorious to the victors, the most ruinous to the vanquished; for
they were utterly and at all points defeated, and their sufferings
were prodigious. Fleet and army perished from the face of the earth;
nothing was saved, and of the many who went forth few returned home.

Thus ended the Sicilian expedition.


[Footnote 36: From Book VII of the "History of the Peloponnesian War,"
translated by Benjamin Jowett. "The noblest piece of tragedy in all
written history," says John Morley of this book. Gray, the poet, in
one of his letters, inquired, "Is it, or is it not, the finest thing
you ever read in your life?" Macaulay, in a letter once wrote: "I do
assure you that there is no prose composition in the world that I
place so high as the Seventh book of Thucydides. Tacitus was a great
man, but he was not up to the Sicilian expedition." Praise is given to
this chapter by Mahaffy for "the sustained splendor of the narrative."
Grote had profound admiration for the famous picture contained in the
selection here given. He refers to its "condensed and burning phrases"
as imparting an impression which modern historians have sought in vain
to convey.]

[Footnote 37: The modern Catania, on the east coast of Sicily.]

[Footnote 38: The people of Acarnania, a province of Greece, lying on
the Ionian Sea south of the Ambracian Gulf.]

[Footnote 39: Commander of the Athenians.]

[Footnote 40: The Spartan general who had been sent to Syracuse by
advice of Alcibiades after he went over to the enemy.]

[Footnote 41: Next under Nicias in command of the expedition. He died
twenty-nine years before the birth of the orator of the same name.]

[Footnote 42: Here occurred one of the most memorable events in the
Peloponnesian war, the defense of Pylos under Demosthenes.]

[Footnote 43: This island lies immediately south of Pylos. It is long
and narrow and guards the Bay of Navarino, the largest harbor in
Greece, which was the scene of a famous battle between the English,
French, Turkish, and Russian fleets in 1827.]

[Footnote 44: This allowance of food was only about one-half the
amount usually given to a slave.]


     Born in Athens about 430 B.C.; died after 357; celebrated as
     historian and essayist, being a disciple of Socrates; joined
     the expedition of Cyrus the Younger in 401, and after the
     battle of Cunaxa became the chief leader of ten thousand
     Greeks in their march to the Black Sea, the story being
     chronicled in his famous "Anabasis"; fought on the Spartan
     side in the battle of Coronea; banished from Athens, he
     settled at Scillus in Eleia; spent his last years in
     Corinth; among his writings besides the "Anabasis" are the
     "Hellenica," "Cycropædia," "Memorabilia of Socrates," and
     essays on hunting and horsemanship.



Thus then died Cyrus, a man who, of all the Persians since Cyrus the
Elder, was the most princely and most worthy of empire, as is agreed
by all who appear to have had personal knowledge of him. In the first
place, while he was yet with his brother and the other youths, he was
a boy, and when he was receiving his education thought to surpass them
all in everything. For without exception the sons of the Persian
nobles are educated at the gates of the king;[46] where they may learn
many a lesson of virtuous conduct, but can see or hear nothing
disgraceful. In this place the boys see some honored by the king, and
others disgraced, and hear of them; so that in their very childhood
they learn to govern and to obey.

Here Cyrus, first of all, showed himself most remarkable for modesty
among those of his own age, and for paying more ready obedience to his
elders than even those who were inferior to him in station; and next
he was noted for his fondness for horses, and for managing them in a
superior manner. They found him, too, very desirous of learning and
most assiduous in practising the warlike exercises of archery and
hurling the javelin. When it suited his age, he grew extremely fond of
the chase, and of braving dangers in encounters with wild beasts. On
one occasion he did not shrink from a she bear that attacked him;
however, in grappling with her, he was dragged from his horse, and
received some wounds, the scars of which were visible on his body, but
at last killed her. The person who first came to his assistance he
made a happy man in the eyes of many.

When he was sent down by his father, as satrap of Lydia and Great
Phrygia and Cappadocia, and was also appointed commander of all the
troops whose duty it is to muster in the plain of Castolus, he soon
showed that if he made a league or compact with any one, or gave a
promise, he deemed it of the utmost importance not to break his word.
Accordingly, the states that were committed to his charge, as well as
individuals, had the greatest confidence in him; and if any one had
been his enemy, he felt secure that if Cyrus entered into a treaty
with him, he should suffer no infraction of the stipulations. When,
therefore, he waged war against Tissaphernes,[47] all the cities, of
their own accord, chose to adhere to Cyrus in preference to
Tissaphernes, except the Milesians; but they feared Cyrus, because he
would not abandon the cause of the exiles; for he both showed by his
deeds, and declared in words, that he would never desert them, since
he had once become a friend to them, not even tho they should grow
still fewer in number, and be in a worse condition than they were.

Whenever any one did Cyrus a kindness or an injury, he showed himself
anxious to go beyond him in those respects; and some used to mention a
wish of his, that he "desired to live long enough to outdo both those
who had done him good, and those who had done him ill, in the requital
that he should make." Accordingly, to him alone of the men of our days
were so great a number of people desirous of committing the disposal
of their property, their cities, and their own person.

Yet no one could with truth say this of him, that he suffered the
criminal or unjust to deride his authority; for he of all men
inflicted punishment most unsparingly; and there were often to be
seen, along the most frequented roads, men deprived of their feet, or
hands, or eyes; so that in Cyrus' dominions it was possible for any
one, Greek or barbarian, who did no wrong, to travel without fear
whithersoever he pleased, and having with him whatever might suit his

To those who showed ability for war, it is acknowledged that he paid
distinguished honor. His first war was with the Pisidians and Mysians;
and, marching in person into these countries, he made those whom he
saw voluntarily hazarding their lives in his service governors over
the territory that he subdued, and distinguished them with rewards in
other ways, so that the brave appeared to be the most fortunate of
men, while the cowardly were deemed fit only to be their slaves. There
were, therefore, great numbers of persons who voluntarily exposed
themselves to danger wherever they thought that Cyrus would become
aware of their exertions.

With regard to justice, if any appeared to him inclined to display
that virtue, he made a point of making such men richer than those who
sought to profit by injustice. Accordingly, while in many other
respects his affairs were administered judiciously, he likewise
possest an army worthy of the name. For it was not for money that
generals and captains came from foreign lands to enter into his
service, but because they were persuaded that to serve Cyrus well
would be more profitable than any amount of monthly pay. Besides, if
any one executed his orders in a superior manner, he never suffered
his diligence to go unrewarded; consequently, in every undertaking,
the best-qualified officers were said to be ready to assist him.

If he noticed any one that was a skilful manager, with strict regard
to justice, stocking the land of which he had the direction, and
securing income from it, he would never take anything from such a
person, but was ever ready to give him something in addition; so that
men labored with cheerfulness, acquired property with confidence, and
made no concealment from Cyrus of what each possest; for he did not
appear to envy those who amassed riches openly, but to endeavor to
bring into use the wealth of those who concealed it.

Whatever friends he made, and felt to be well disposed to him, and
considered to be capable of assisting him in anything that he might
wish to accomplish, he is acknowledged by all to have been most
successful in attaching them to him. For, on the very same account on
which he thought that he himself had need of friends--namely, that he
might have cooperators in his undertakings--did he endeavor to prove
an efficient assistant to his friends in whatever he perceived any of
them desirous of effecting.

He received, for many reasons, more presents than perhaps any other
single individual; and these he outdid every one else in distributing
among his friends, having a view to the character of each, and to what
he perceived each most needed. Whatever presents any one sent him of
articles of personal ornament, whether for warlike accouterment or
merely for dress, concerning these, they said, he used to remark that
he could not decorate his own person with them all, but that he
thought friends well equipped were the greatest ornament a man could
have. That he should outdo his friends, indeed, in conferring great
benefits is not at all wonderful, since he was so much more able; but
that he should surpass his friends in kind attentions and an anxious
desire to oblige, appears to me far more worthy of admiration.
Frequently, when he had wine served him of a peculiarly fine flavor,
he would send half-emptied flagons of it to some of his friends, with
a message to this effect, "Cyrus has not for some time met with
pleasanter wine than this; and he has therefore sent some of it to
you, and begs you will drink it to-day, with those whom you love
best." He would often, too, send geese partly eaten and the halves of
loaves, and other such things, desiring the bearer to say, in
presenting them, "Cyrus has been delighted with these, and therefore
wishes you also to taste of them."

Wherever provender was scarce, but he himself, from having many
attendants, and from the care which he took, was able to procure some,
he would send it about, and desire his friends to give that provender
to the horses that carried them, so that hungry steeds might not carry
his friends. Whenever he rode out and many were likely to see him, he
would call to him his friends, and hold earnest conversation with
them, that he might show whom he held in honor; so that, from what I
have heard, I should think that no one was ever beloved by a greater
number of persons, either Greeks or barbarians. Of this fact the
following is a proof: that no one deserted to the king from Cyrus,
tho only a subject (except that Orontes[48] attempted to do so; but he
soon found the person whom he believed faithful to him more a friend
to Cyrus than to himself), while many came over to Cyrus from the
king, after they had become enemies to each other, and these, too, men
who were greatly beloved by the king; for they felt persuaded that if
they proved themselves brave soldiers under Cyrus, they would obtain
from him more adequate rewards for their services than from the king.

What occurred also at the time of his death is a great proof as well
that he himself was a man of merit as that he could accurately
distinguish such as were trustworthy, well disposed, and constant to
their attachment. For when he was killed, all his friends and the
partakers of his table who were with him fell fighting in his defense
except Ariæus, who had been posted in command of the cavalry on the
left; and, when he learned that Cyrus had fallen in the battle, he
took to flight, with all the troops which he had under his command.


[Footnote 45: From the "Anabasis." Translated by J. S. Watson. Cyrus
the Younger, son of Darius Nothus, with the help of 10,000 Greeks,
sought to conquer his brother Artaxerxes, but was defeated and killed
in the battle of Cunaxa in 401 B.C. The elder Cyrus, called the
"Great," founder of the Persian Empire, died in 529 B.C. It is the
retreat of the 10,000 Greeks that Xenophon chronicles in the

[Footnote 46: By this is meant at the palace of the king, tho not
literally within the palace. Among the ancient Persians, as to-day
among the Turks at Constantinople, the king's palace was called "the

[Footnote 47: A Persian satrap who took part in the battle of Cunaxa.
He became chief ruler of Western Asia, but was overthrown by the
Greeks in 395 and put to death.]

[Footnote 48: A Persian of royal blood, one of the officers of Cyrus
the Younger, several times in revolt against him, and finally



(400 B.C.)

The next day it was thought necessary to march away as fast as
possible, before the enemy's force should be reassembled, and get
possession of the pass. Collecting their baggage at once, therefore,
they set forward through a deep snow, taking with them several guides;
and, having the same day passed the height on which Tiribazus had
intended to attack them, they encamped. Hence they proceeded three
days' journey, through a desert tract of country, a distance of
fifteen parasangs, to the river Euphrates, and passed it without being
wet higher than the middle. The sources of the river were said not to
be far off.

Hence they advanced three days' march, through much snow and a level
plain, a distance of fifteen parasangs; the third day's march was
extremely troublesome, as the north wind blew full in their faces,
completely parching up everything and benumbing the men. One of the
augurs, in consequence, advised that they should sacrifice to the
wind; and a sacrifice was accordingly offered, when the vehemence of
the wind appeared to every one manifestly to abate. The depth of the
snow was a fathom; so that many of the baggage-cattle and slaves
perished, with about thirty of the soldiers. They continued to burn
fires through the whole night, for there was plenty of wood at the
place of encampment. But those who came up late could get no wood;
those therefore who had arrived before, and had kindled fires, would
not admit the late comers to the fire unless they gave them a share of
the corn or other provisions that they had brought. Thus they shared
with one another what they respectively had. In the places where the
fires were made, as the snow melted, there were formed large pits that
reached to the ground; and here there was accordingly opportunity to
measure the depth of the snow.

Hence they marched through snow the whole of the following day, and
many of the men contracted the bulimia. Xenophon, who commanded in the
rear, finding in his way such of the men as had fallen down with it,
knew not what disease it was. But as one of those acquainted with it
told him that they were evidently affected with bulimia, and that they
would get up if they had something to eat, he went round among the
baggage, and, wherever he saw anything eatable, he gave it out, and
sent such as were able to run to distribute it among those diseased,
who, as soon as they had eaten, rose up and continued their march. As
they proceeded, Cheirisophus[50] came, just as it grew dark, to a
village, and found a spring in front of the rampart, some women and
girls belonging to the place fetching water. The women asked them who
they were; and the interpreter answered, in the Persian language, that
they were people going from the king to the satrap. They replied that
he was not there, but about a parasang off.

However, as it was late, they went with the water-carriers within the
rampart to the head man of the village; and here Cheirisophus, and as
many of the troops as could come up, encamped; but of the rest, such
as were unable to get to the end of the journey spent the night on the
way without food or fire; and some of the soldiers lost their lives on
that occasion. Some of the enemy too, who had collected themselves
into a body, pursued our rear, and seized any of the baggage-cattle
that were unable to proceed, fighting with one another for the
possession of them. Such of the soldiers, also, as had lost their
sight from the effects of the snow, or had had their toes mortified by
the cold, were left behind. It was found to be a relief to the eyes
against the snow if the soldiers kept something black before them on
the march, and to the feet, if they kept constantly in motion, and
allowed themselves no rest, and if they took off their shoes in the
night; but as to such as slept with their shoes on, the straps worked
into their feet, and the soles were frozen about them; for when their
old shoes had failed them, shoes of raw hides had been made by the
men themselves from the newly skinned oxen.

From such unavoidable sufferings, some of the soldiers were left
behind, who, seeing a piece of ground of a black appearance, from the
snow having disappeared there, conjectured that it must have melted;
and it had, in fact, melted in the spot from the effect of a fountain,
which was sending up a vapor in a woody hollow close at hand. Turning
aside thither, they sat down and refused to proceed farther. Xenophon,
who was with the rear-guard, as soon as he heard this, tried to
prevail on them by every art and means not to be left behind, telling
them, at the same time, that the enemy were collected and pursuing
them in great numbers. At last he grew angry; and they told him to
kill them, as they were quite unable to go forward. He then thought it
the best course to strike terror, if possible, into the enemy that
were behind, lest they should fall upon the exhausted soldiers. It was
now dark, and the enemy were advancing with a great noise, quarreling
about the booty that they had taken, when such of the rear-guard as
were not disabled started up, and rushed toward them, while the tired
men, shouting as loud as they could, clashed their spears against
their shields. The enemy, struck with alarm, threw themselves into the
hollow amid the snow, and no one of them afterward made himself heard
from any quarter.

Xenophon, and those with him, telling the sick men that a party would
come to their relief next day, proceeded on their march, but before
they had gone four stadia they found other soldiers resting by the
way in the snow, and covered up with it, no guard being stationed over
them. They roused them up, but they said that the head of the army was
not moving forward. Xenophon, going past them, and sending on some of
the ablest of the peltasts, ordered them to ascertain what it was that
hindered their progress. They brought word that the whole army was in
that manner taking rest. Xenophon and his men, therefore, stationing
such a guard as they could, took up quarters there without fire or
supper. When it was near day, he sent the youngest of his men to the
sick, telling them to rouse them and oblige them to proceed.

At this juncture Cheirisophus sent some of his people from the
villages to see how the rear were faring. The young men were rejoiced
to see them, and gave them the sick to conduct to the camp, while they
themselves went forward, and, before they had gone twenty stadia,
found themselves at the village in which Cheirisophus was quartered.
When they came together, it was thought safe enough to lodge the
troops up and down in the villages. Cheirisophus accordingly remained
where he was, and the other officers, appropriating by lot the several
villages that they had in sight, went to their respective quarters
with their men.

Here Polycrates, an Athenian captain, requested leave of absence, and,
taking with him the most active of his men, and hastening to the
village which Xenophon had been allotted, surprized all the villagers
and their head man in their houses, together with seventeen colts that
were bred as a tribute for the king, and the head man's daughter, who
had been but nine days married; her husband was gone out to hunt
hares, and was not found in any of the villages. Their houses were
under ground, the entrance like the mouth of a well, but spacious
below; there were passages dug into them for the cattle, but the
people descended by ladders. In the houses were goats, sheep, cows,
and fowls, with their young; all the cattle were kept on fodder within
the walls.[51] There were also wheat, barley, leguminous vegetables,
and barley-wine, in large bowls; the grains of barley floated in it
even with the brims of the vessels, and reeds also lay in it, some
larger and some smaller, without joints; and these, when any one was
thirsty, he was to take in his mouth and suck. The liquor is very
strong, unless one mixed water with it, and a very pleasant drink to
those accustomed to it.


[Footnote 49: From the "Anabasis." Translated by J. S. Watson. The
"Anabasis" has made Xenophon perhaps the most prominent figure of
ancient classical literature, largely because every schoolboy who
studies Greek knows at least this book. It stands in that sense to
Greek literature as Cæsar's "Commentaries" stands to Latin. The book
has further value, not only as authentic history, but for the curious
details it gives of the manners and customs of savage tribes living
along the shores of the Euxine, and of those which prevailed at the
Persian court and elsewhere in the Persian state.]

[Footnote 50: A Spartan general who, at the instance of Xenophon, had
been appointed to lead the van of the retreating Greek army.]

[Footnote 51: W. T. Ainsworth, who has made a geographical commentary
on Xenophon's "Anabasis," says: "This description of a village on the
Armenian uplands applies itself to many that I visited." Houses on
exposed elevations he found to be still semisubterranean. Whatever
might be the kind of cottage used, domestic animals "participated with
the family in the warmth and protection thereof."]



(371 B.C.)

For the battle everything was adverse on the side of the
Lacedæmonians, while to the enemy everything was rendered favorable by
fortune. It was after dinner that the last council of war was held by
Cleombrotus; and, as the officers had drunk a little at noon, it was
said that the wine in some degree inspired them. And as, when both
sides were fully armed, and it was now evident that a battle would
take place, the people who had provisions for sale, with some of the
baggage-carriers and others who were unwilling to fight, were
proceeding first of all to quit the camp of the Boeotians, the
mercenaries under Hiero the Phocian peltasts, and the Heraclean and
Phliasian cavalry, making a circuit, fell upon them as they were going
off, turned them back, and pursued them to the Boeotian camp; so
that they made the army of the Boeotians larger and more numerous
than before.

Besides, as there was a plain between the armies, the Lacedæmonians
drew up their cavalry before their main body and the Thebans drew up
theirs over against them; but the cavalry of the Thebans had been
exercised in wars with the Orchomenians and Thespians, while that of
the Lacedæmonians was at that time in a very inefficient condition;
for the richest men maintained the horses, and, when notice of an
expedition was given, the men appointed came to ride them, and each
taking his horse, and whatever arms were given him, proceeded at once
to the field; and thus the weakest and least spirited of all the men
were mounted on horseback. Such was the cavalry on either side. Of the
foot, it was said that the Lacedæmonians advanced with each enomoty
drawn up three deep, this arrangement making them not more than twelve
deep in all. The Theban infantry, in close array, were not less than
fifty deep, considering that if they could defeat the body of the
enemy posted around the king, the rest of the army would be an easy

As soon as Cleombrotus began to lead forward against the enemy, and
even before the troops about him were aware that he was putting them
in motion, the cavalry had already engaged, and those of the
Lacedæmonians were at once defeated, who, as they fled, fell in among
their own heavy-armed infantry, on which the troops of the Thebans
were also pressing. But that the troops round Cleombrotus had at first
the advantage in the contest, any one may be convinced by certain
proof; for they would not have been able to take him and carry him off
alive unless those who fought in front of him had been at that time
victorious. When, however, Deimon the polemarch, Sphodrias, one of the
attendants at the royal tent, and Cleonymus, his son, were killed, and
the horse-guard, those who are called supporters of the polemarch,
and the rest, being overpowered by the mass of the enemy, were forced
to fall back, the Lacedæmonians on the left, seeing the right wing
thus repulsed, also gave way; yet, tho many were killed, and they were
quite defeated, they were able, when they had repassed the trench
which was in front of the camp, to form themselves under arms in the
place from which they had set out. Their camp was nevertheless not on
level ground, but rather somewhat on an acclivity.

Some of the Lacedæmonians, at the time, who thought their disaster an
insupportable disgrace, exclaimed that they ought to prevent the enemy
from erecting a trophy, and endeavor to recover the dead, not by
making a truce, but by fighting another battle. However, the
polemarchs, seeing that of the Lacedæmonians in all nearly a thousand
had lost their lives; and that of the Spartans, who were in the field
to the number of about seven hundred, about four hundred had fallen;
and observing, also, that all the auxiliaries were too dispirited to
renew the combat, and some of them not even concerned at what had
happened, called a council of the chief officers, and deliberated what
course they ought to pursue; and as all were of opinion that "they
ought to fetch off the dead by truce," they accordingly despatched a
herald to treat respecting a truce. The Thebans soon afterward erected
a trophy, and gave up the dead under truce.

After these occurrences, the messenger who was sent with the news of
the calamity to Lacedæmon arrived there on the last day of the
gymnopædiæ and after the chorus of men had made their entry. The
ephors, when they heard of the calamity, were greatly concerned, as, I
think, they naturally must have been; yet they did not order that
chorus to withdraw, but allowed them to finish the entertainment. They
then sent the names of the dead to their several relatives, and gave
notice to the women to make no lamentations, but to bear their
affliction in silence. The day after, a person might have seen those
whose relatives had died appearing in public with looks of
cheerfulness and joy; however, of those whose relatives were said to
be alive, he would have seen but few, and those going about with
gloomy and dejected countenances.


[Footnote 52: From Book VI of the "Hellenica." At Leuctra, which lies
near Thebes in Boetia, Epaminondas commanding the Boeotians,
overwhelmed the Spartans under Cleombrotus. From this event dates the
decline of Sparta.]



The regulations which I have mentioned are beneficial alike in peace
and in war; but if any one wishes to learn what the lawgiver contrived
better than other legislators with reference to military proceedings,
he may attend to the following particulars:

In the first place, then, the ephors give the cavalry and infantry
public notice of the years during which they must join the army, as
well as the artizans; for the Lacedæmonians provide themselves in the
field with an abundance of all those things which people use in a
city; and of whatever instruments an army may require in common,
orders are given to bring some on wagons and others on beasts of
burden, as by this arrangement anything left behind is least likely to
escape notice.

For engagements in the field he made the following arrangements: He
ordered that each soldier should have a purple robe and a brazen
shield; for he thought that such a dress had least resemblance to that
of women, and was excellently adapted for the field of battle, as it
is soonest made splendid, and is longest in growing soiled. He
permitted also those above the age of puberty to let their hair grow,
as he thought that they thus appeared taller, more manly, and more
terrible in the eyes of the enemy.

When they were thus equipped, he divided them into six moræ of cavalry
and heavy-armed infantry. Each of these moræ of the citizens has one
polemarch, four centurions, eight captains of fifty, and sixteen
enomotarchs. The men of these moræ are sometimes, according to the
command issued, formed in enomotiæ, sometimes by threes, sometimes by
sixes. As to what most people imagine, that the arrangement of the
Lacedæmonians under arms is extremely complex, they conceive the exact
contrary to what is the fact; for in the Lacedæmonian order the
officers are placed in the front ranks, and each rank is in a
condition to perform everything which it is necessary for it to
perform. So easy is it to understand this arrangement that no one who
can distinguish one man from another would fail of learning it; for it
is assigned to some to lead, and enjoined on others to follow.
Shiftings of place, by which the companies are extended or deepened,
are ordered by the word of the enomotarch, as by a herald; and in
these there is nothing in the least difficult to learn.

But how it is possible for men in this arrangement, even if they are
thrown into confusion, to fight with an enemy presenting themselves on
any quarter alike, it is not so easy to understand, except for those
who have been brought up under the institution of Lycurgus. The
Lacedæmonians do with the greatest ease what appears extremely
difficult to other men that are even accustomed to arms. For when they
march in column, one enomotia follows in the rear of another; and if,
when they are in this order, a body of the enemy shows itself in
front, orders are given to each enomotarch to bring up his enomotia to
the front on the left; and this movement is made throughout the whole
army, until it presents itself in full array against the enemy. But if
again, while they are in this order, the enemy should show themselves
in the rear, each rank performs the evolution, that the strongest may
always be presented to the enemy.

But when the commander is on the left, they do not in that case
consider themselves in a worse condition, but sometimes even in a
better; for if an enemy should attempt to encompass them, he would
come round, not on the defenseless, but on the armed side. If on any
occasion, again, it should appear advantageous, for any particular
object, that the commander should occupy the right wing, they wheel
the troop toward the wing, and maneuver the main body until the
commander is on the right, and the rear becomes the left. But if,
again, the body of the enemy appear on the right, marching in column,
they do nothing else but turn each century round, like a ship, so as
to front the enemy; and thus the century which was in the rear comes
to the right. But if the enemy approach on the left, they do not allow
them to come near, but repulse them, or turn their centuries round to
face the enemy; and thus again the century that was in the rear takes
its place on the left.


[Footnote 53: From the treatise on "The Government of Lacedæmon."
Translated by J. S. Watson. This work is believed to be the earliest
extant specimen of Attic prose. Mahaffy describes it as "one of the
most interesting and instructive documents of the age, very remarkable
for its Machiavellian tone, in its calm ignoring of the right and
wrong of the case as irrelevant."]



When a person would buy a horse that has been already ridden, we shall
subjoin some admonitions which he ought to bear in mind, if he would
not be cheated in his purchase. In the first place, then, let it not
escape his notice what the _age_ is; for a horse that has no longer
the marks in his teeth neither delights the buyer with hope nor is so
easy to be exchanged.

It is also necessary to see how he takes the rider on his back;[55]
for many horses reluctantly receive on them anything which it is plain
to them that they can not receive without being compelled to work. It
must likewise be observed whether, when he is mounted, he wishes to
separate himself from other horses, or whether, if he be ridden near
horses standing by, he carries off his rider toward them. There are
some horses too that, from bad training, run off from the place of
exercise to their stalls at home.

As for horses whose jaws are not alike, that sort of riding which is
called the _pede_ exposes them, and, still more, a change in the
direction in which they are ridden; for many horses will not attempt
to run away with their riders unless a hard jaw, and their course
directed homeward, concur to stimulate them. We ought to ascertain,
also, whether the horse, being put to his speed, is readily pulled up,
and whether he submits to be turned about.

It is good for a purchaser not to be too ignorant, moreover, whether a
horse is equally willing to obey when he is roused with a blow; for a
servant and an army, if disobedient, are useless, but a disobedient
horse is not only useless, but often plays the traitor.

However, when we take upon ourselves to purchase a warhorse, we must
make trial of him in all things in which war will make trial of him;
and these are leaping across ditches, springing over walls, jumping on
to mounds, and jumping down from them; and we must try him in riding
up and down steep places, and along them; for all such efforts show
his spirit, whether it is bold and whether his body is sound. Yet we
must not at once reject a horse that does not accomplish all these
feats perfectly; for many fail, not from being unable, but from want
of training; and if they are taught, and used, and exercised in such
performances, they will execute them all well, provided they are sound
in other respects, and not wanting in spirit.

We must, however, be cautious of having anything to do with horses
that are naturally shy; for horses that are excessively timorous will
not only not allow the rider on their back to harm the enemy, but will
often take him by surprize, and expose him to great danger. We must
also learn whether the horse has anything of vice either toward other
horses or toward men, and whether he is averse to being handled; for
all such defects are troublesome to his owner.

As to any reluctance to being bridled and mounted, and other tricks, a
person will much sooner discover them if, when the horse has been
thoroughly exercised, he attempt to do to him what he did before he
began to ride him; since horses that, after having been exercised, are
ready to submit to exercise again give sufficient proofs of a
mettlesome spirit.

To sum up all in a few words, whatever horse has good feet, is
mild-tempered, sufficiently swift, is willing and able to endure
fatigue, and is in the highest degree obedient will probably give
least trouble to his rider, and contribute most to his safety in
military occupations. But horses that from sluggishness require a
great deal of driving or, from excess of mettle, much coaxing and
care, afford plenty of employment to the rider, as well as much
apprehension in time of danger....

We shall now show how a man may groom a horse with least danger to
himself and most benefit to the animal. If, when he cleans him, he
look the same way as the horse, there is danger that he may be struck
in the face with his knee or his hoof. But if he look in the opposite
direction to the horse when he cleans him, keeping himself out of the
reach of his leg, and rubs gradually down by the shoulder, he will
thus receive no injury, and may clean the frog of the horse's foot by
turning up the hoof. In like manner let him clean the hind legs.

But whoever is employed about a horse ought to know that to do these
things, and everything else that he has to do, he must come as little
as possible near the face and the tail; for if a horse be inclined to
be vicious, he has in both these parts the advantage of the man. But a
person who approaches him at the side may manage the horse with least
danger to himself, and with most power over the beast.

When we have to lead a horse, we do not approve of the practise of
leading from behind, for these reasons: that the person leading the
horse is thus least able to keep on his guard against him, and the
horse has most liberty to do what he pleases. To the mode, again, of
conducting him with a long rein, to teach him to go forward and take
the lead, we object for the following reasons: that the horse can do
mischief on whichever side he pleases, and that, by turning himself
round, he can set himself opposite his leader. When there are a number
of horses together, too, how, if they are thus led, can they be
prevented from annoying one another? But a horse that is accustomed to
be led at the side will be least in a condition to molest either other
horses or men, and will be readiest at hand for his rider whenever he
may require to mount in haste.

That the groom may put on the bridle properly, let him first approach
the horse on the left side, and then throwing the reins over the
horse's head, let him suffer them to rest on the point of the
shoulder; and next let him take the headpiece in his right hand, and
apply the bit with his left. If the horse take the bit into his mouth,
the man has nothing to do but to put on the headpiece; but if the
horse will not open his mouth, the man must hold the bit to his teeth,
and insert the middle finger of his left hand between the horse's
bars; for most horses, when this is done, open their mouths; should
the horse, however, not even then receive the bit, let him press the
lip against the dog-tooth or tusk, and there are very few horses that,
on feeling this, will not admit it....

But never to approach a horse in a fit of anger is the one great
precept and maxim of conduct in regard to the treatment of a horse;
for anger is destitute of forethought, and consequently often does
that of which the agent must necessarily repent.

When a horse is shy of any object, and reluctant to approach it, the
rider must try to make him feel that there is nothing terrible in it,
especially to a horse of spirit; but if he can not succeed, the rider
must himself touch that which appears so alarming, and lead the horse
up gently to it. As to those who force horses forward with blows in
such a case they merely inspire the animals with greater terror; for
they imagine when they suffer any pain at such a time, that what they
look upon with alarm is in some way the cause of it.

When the groom brings the horse to the rider, we have no objection
that he should know how to make the horse stoop, so that it may be
easy to mount him; yet we think every rider ought to take care to be
able to mount even if the horse does not bend to him; for sometimes a
different horse will present himself, and the same horse will not
always be equally obedient....

When he has taken his seat, whether on the horse's bare back or on the
cloth, we do not like that he should sit as if he were on a
carriage-seat, but as if he were standing upright with his legs
somewhat apart, for thus he will cling more firmly to the horse with
his thighs, and keeping himself erect, he will be able to throw a
javelin, or to strike a blow on horseback, if it be necessary, with
greater force.

But it is necessary to allow the leg, as well as the foot, to hang
loose from the knee; for if a rider keep his leg stiff, and strike it
against anything, it may be broken; but if the leg hang easy, and
anything strikes against it, it will yield, and yet not move the thigh
from its position.

A rider should also accustom himself to keep the parts of his body
above the hips as flexible as possible; for he will by this means be
better able to exert himself, and if any person should drag or push
him, he will be less likely to be thrown off.

Let it be observed, that when he is seated on the horse's back, he
must first teach the horse to stand quiet, until he has drawn up his
mantle, if necessary, and adjusted the reins, and taken hold of his
lance in such a way as it may most conveniently be carried. Then let
him keep his left arm close to his side; for in such an attitude a
rider appears most graceful and his hand has the greatest power.

As to reins, we approve of such as are equally balanced, and not weak,
or slippery, or too thick, so that the hand which holds them may be
able also to hold the spear when it is necessary.

When the rider gives the signal to the horse to start, let him begin
to advance at a walking pace, as this pace is least likely to disturb
the horse. Let him hold the reins, if the horse be inclined to hold
down his head, rather high, but if he be more disposed to carry it
erect, let him keep them lower, for thus he will best set off the
horse's figure. After a little, if he trot at his natural pace, he
will find his limbs become pliant without inconvenience, and will come
with the greatest readiness to obey the whip. Since too it is the most
approved practise to set off toward the left side, the horse will most
readily start on that side, if, when he lifts, as he is trotting, the
right foot, the rider then give him the signal to gallop. For, being
then about to raise the left foot, he will thus start with that foot;
and just at the moment that the rider turns him to the left, he will
make the first spring in his gallop; for a horse, when he is turned to
the right, naturally leads off with the right foot, and when turned to
the left, with the left foot.


[Footnote 54: From the treatise, "On Horsemanship." Translated by J.
S. Watson. Mahaffy says this treatise on the horse "shows an insight
into the character of horses which would do credit to a modern book."
Most readers of the treatise who are familiar with horses have
remarked how true it all is of the horse as we know him to-day. One
commentator has remarked that the book reads as if it might have been
written by some educated man professionally attached to racing

[Footnote 55: The ancients did not use the stirrup; nor did they have
a saddle in the modern sense of the word.]


    Born in Ægina of aristocratic parents about 427 B.C.; died
     in Athens in 347; originally called Aristocles and surnamed
     Plato because of his broad shoulders; a disciple of Socrates
     and a teacher of Aristotle; was the founder of the Academic
     school; in his youth a successful gymnast, soldier, and
     poet; traveled in Egypt, Sicily, and Magna Græcia; arrested
     in Syracuse by Dionysius, the tyrant, and sold as a slave in
     Ægina, where he was released and returned to Athens;
     revisited Syracuse in 367 and 361; lived afterward in Athens
     until his death, which occurred at a marriage feast.[56]



After this, I said, imagine the enlightenment or ignorance of our nature
in a figure. Behold: human beings living in a sort of underground den,
which has a mouth open toward the light and reaching all across the den;
they have been here from their childhood, and have their legs and necks
chained so that they can not move, and can see only before them; for the
chains are arranged in such a manner as to prevent them from turning
round their heads. At a distance above and behind them the light of a
fire is blazing, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a
raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the
way, like the screen which marionette-players have before them, over
which they show the puppets.

I see, he[58] said.

And do you see, I said, men passing along the wall carrying vessels,
which appear over the wall; also figures of men and animals, made of
wood and stone and various materials; and some of the passengers, as
you would expect, are talking, and some of them are silent?

That is a strange image, he said, and they are strange prisoners.

Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only their own shadows, or the
shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of
the cave.

True, he said; how could they see anything but the shadows if they
were never allowed to move their heads?

And of the objects which are being carried in like manner they would
see only the shadows.

Yes, he said.

And if they were able to talk to one another, would they not suppose
that they were naming what was actually before them.

Very true.

And suppose further that the prison had an echo which came from the
other side, would they not be sure to fancy that the voice which they
heard was that of a passing shadow?

No question, he replied.

There can be no question, I said, that the truth would be to them just
nothing but the shadows of the images.

That is certain.

And now look again, and see how they are released and cured of their
folly. At first, when any one of them is liberated and compelled
suddenly to go up and turn his neck round and walk and look at the
light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he
will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he
had seen the shadows; and then imagine some one saying to him that
what he saw before was an illusion, but that now he is approaching
real being and has a truer sight and vision of more real things--what
will be his reply? And you may further imagine that his instructor is
pointing to the objects as they pass and requiring him to name
them--will he not be in a difficulty? Will he not fancy that the
shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now
shown to him?

Far truer.

And if he is compelled to look at the light, will he not have a pain
in his eyes which will make him turn away to take refuge in the
objects of vision which he can see, and which he will conceive to be
clearer than the things which are now being shown to him?

True, he said.

And suppose, once more, that he is reluctantly dragged up a steep and
rugged ascent, and held fast and forced into the presence of the sun
himself, do you not think that he will be pained and irritated, and
when he approaches the light he will have his eyes dazzled, and will
not be able to see any of the realities which are now affirmed to be
the truth?

Not all in a moment, he said.

He will require to get accustomed to the sight of the upper world. And
first he will see the shadows best, next the reflections of men and
other objects in the water, and then the objects themselves; next he
will gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars; and he will see
the sky and the stars by night better than the sun, or the light of
the sun, by day.


And at last he will be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections
of him in the water, but he will see him as he is in his own proper
place, and not in another; and he will contemplate his nature.


And after this, he will reason that the sun is he who gives the
seasons and the years, and is the guardian of all that is in the
visible world, and in a certain way the cause of all things which he
and his fellows have been accustomed to behold....

No question, he said.

This allegory, I said, you may now append to the previous argument;
the prison is the world of sight, the light of the fire is the sun,
the ascent and vision of the things above you may truly regard as the
upward progress of the soul into the intellectual world; that is my
poor belief, to which, at your desire, I have given expression.
Whether I am right or not God only knows; but, whether true or false,
my opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears
last of all, and is seen only with an effort; and, when seen, is
inferred also to be the universal author of all things beautiful and
right, parent of light and the lord of light in his world, and the
source of truth and reason in the other; this is the first great cause
which he who would act rationally either in public or private life
must behold.

I agree, he said, as far as I am able to understand you.

I should like to have your agreement in another matter I said. For I
would not have you marvel that those who attain to this beatific
vision are unwilling to descend to human affairs; but their souls are
ever hastening into the upper world in which they desire to dwell; and
this is very natural, if our allegory may be trusted.

Certainly, that is quite natural.

And is there anything surprizing in one who passes from divine
contemplation to human things, misbehaving himself in a ridiculous
manner; if, while his eyes are blinking and before he has become
accustomed to the darkness visible, he is compelled to fight in courts
of law, or in other places, about the images or shadows of images of
justice, and is endeavoring to meet the conceptions of those who have
never yet seen the absolute justice?

There is nothing surprizing in that, he replied.

Any one who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of
the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from
coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of
the mind's eye, quite as much as of the bodily eye; and he who
remembers this when he sees the soul of any one whose vision is
perplexed and weak will not be too ready to laugh; he will first ask
whether that soul has come out of the brighter life, and is unable to
see because unaccustomed to the dark, or having turned from darkness
to the day is dazzled by excess of light. And then he will count the
one happy in his condition and state of being, and he will pity the
other; or, if he have a mind to laugh at the soul which comes from
below into the light there will be more reason in this than in the
laugh which greets the other from the den.

That, he said, is a very just remark.

But if this is true, then certain professors of education must be
mistaken in saying that they can put a knowledge into the soul which
was not there before, like giving eyes to the blind.

Yes, that is what they say, he replied.

Whereas, I said, our argument shows that the power is already in the
soul; and that as the eye can not turn from darkness to light without
the whole body, so too, when the eye of the soul is turned round, the
whole soul must be turned from the world of generation into that of
being, and become able to endure the sight of being and of the
brightest and best of being--that is to say, of the good.

Very true.

And this is conversion; and the art will be how to accomplish this as
easily and completely as possible; not implanting eyes, for they exist
already, but giving them a right direction, which they have not.

Yes, he said, that may be assumed.

And hence while the other qualities seem to be akin to the body, being
infused by habit and exercise and not originally innate, the virtue of
wisdom is part of a divine essence, and has a power which is
everlasting, and by this conversion is rendered useful and profitable,
and is also capable of becoming hurtful and useless. Did you never
observe the narrow intelligence flashing from the keen eye of a clever
rogue--how eager he is, how clearly his paltry soul sees the way to
his end; he is the reverse of blind, but his keen sight is taken into
the service of evil, and he is dangerous in proportion to his

Very true, he said.

But what if there had been a circumcision of such natures in the days
of their youth; and they had been severed from the leaden weights, as
I may call them, with which they are born into the world, which lead
on to sensual pleasures, such as those of eating and drinking, and
drag them down and turn the vision of their souls about the things
that are below--if, I say, these natures had been released from these
tendencies and turned round to the truth, the very same faculty in
these very same persons would have seen the other as keenly as they
now see that on which the eye is fixt.

That is very likely.

Yes, I said; and there is another thing which is likely, or rather a
necessary inference from what has proceeded, that neither the
uneducated and uninformed of the truth, nor yet those who never make
an end of their education, will be able ministers of state; not the
former, because they have no single aim of duty which is the rule of
their actions, private as well as public; nor the latter, because they
will not act at all except upon compulsion, fancying that they are
already in the islands of the blest.

Very true, he replied.

Then, I said, the business of us who are the founders of the state
will be to compel the best minds to attain that knowledge which has
been already declared by us to be the greatest of all--to that
eminence they must ascend and arrive at the good, and when they have
ascended and seen enough we must not allow them to do as they do now.

What do you mean?

I mean that they remain in the upper world; but this must not be
allowed; they must be made to descend again among the prisoners in the
den, and partake of their labors and honors, whether they are worth
having or not.

But is not this unjust? he said; ought we to give them an inferior
life, when they might have a superior one?

You have again forgotten, my friend, I said, the intention of the
legislator; he did not aim at making any one class in the state happy
above the rest; the happiness was to be in the whole state, and he
held the citizens together by persuasion and necessity, making them
benefactors of one another; to this end he created them, not that they
should please themselves, but they were to be his instruments in
binding up the state.

True, he said, I had forgotten that.


[Footnote 56: Plato is one of the very few Greek authors none of whose
work has been lost. He shares this good fortune with Xenophon. Of the
dialog Plato was practically, if not actually, the originator, and the
form has survived to our day.]

[Footnote 57: From "The Republic." Translated by Benjamin Jowett. In
this famous work Plato describes an ideal commonwealth.]

[Footnote 58: The speaker here is Glaucon, Plato's brother.]



I suppose that you are satisfied at having a life of pleasure which is
without pain. And if you are satisfied, and if you are unable to show
any good or evil which does not end in pleasure and pain, hear the
consequences: If this is true, then I say that the argument is absurd
which affirms that a man often does evil knowingly when he might
abstain, because he is seduced and amazed by pleasure; or again, when
you say that a man knowingly refuses to do what is good because he is
overcome at the moment by pleasure. Now that this is ridiculous will
be evident if we only give up the use of various names, such as
pleasant and painful and good and evil. As there are two things, let
us call them by two names--first, good and evil, and then pleasant and
painful. Assuming this, let us go on to say that a man does evil
knowing that he does evil. But some one will ask, Why? Because he is
overcome, is the first answer. And by what is he overcome? the
inquirer will proceed to ask. And we shall not be able to reply, by
pleasure, for the name of pleasure has been exchanged for that of

In our answer, then, we shall say only that he is overcome. By what?
he will reiterate. By the good, we shall have to reply; indeed, we
shall. Nay, but our questioner will rejoin with a laugh, if he be one
of the swaggering sort, that is too ridiculous, that a man should do
what he knows to be evil when he ought not, because he is overcome by
good. Is that, he will ask, because the good was worthy or not worthy
of conquering the evil? And in answer to that we shall clearly reply,
because it was not worthy; for if it had been worthy, then he who, as
we say, was overcome by pleasure, would not have been wrong. But how,
he will reply, can the good be unworthy of the evil, or the evil of
the good? Is not the real explanation that they are out of proportion
to each other, either as greater and smaller, or more and fewer? This
we can not deny. And when you speak of being overcome, what do you
mean, he will say, but that you choose the greater evil in exchange
for the lesser good? This being the case, let us now substitute the
names of pleasure and pain, and say, not as before, that a man does
what is evil knowingly, but that he does what is painful knowingly,
and because he is overcome by pleasure, which is unworthy to overcome.
And what measure is there of the relations of pleasure to pain other
than excess and defect, which means that they become greater and
smaller, and more and fewer, and differ in degree? For if any one
says, Yes, Socrates, but immediate pleasure differs widely from future
pleasure and pain, to which I should reply: And do they differ in any
other way except by reason of pleasure and pain? There can be no other
measure of them. And do you, like a skilful weigher, put into the
balance the pleasures and the pains, near and distant, and weigh them,
and then say which outweighs the other? If you weigh pleasures against
pleasures, you of course take the more and greater; or if you weigh
pains against pains, you take the fewer and the less; or if pleasures
against pains, then you choose that course of action in which the
painful is exceeded by the pleasant, whether the distant by the near
or the near by the distant; and you avoid that course of action in
which the pleasant is exceeded by the painful. Would you not admit, my
friends, that this is true? I am confident that they can not deny

He agreed with me.

Well then, I shall say, if you admit that, be so good as to answer me
a question: Do not the same magnitudes appear larger to your sight
when near, and smaller when at a distance. They will acknowledge that.
And the same holds of thickness and number; also sounds which are in
themselves equal are greater when near and lesser when at a distance.
They will grant that also. Now supposing that happiness consisted in
making and taking large things, what would be the saving principle of
human life? Would the art of measuring be the saving principle or
would the power of appearance? Is not the latter that deceiving art
which makes us wander up and down and take the things at one time of
which we repent at another, both in our actions and in our choice of
things great and small? But the art of measurement is that which would
do away with the effect of appearances, and, showing the truth, would
fain teach the soul at last to find rest in the truth, and would thus
save our life. Would not mankind generally acknowledge that the art
which accomplishes this is the art of measurement?

Yes, he said, the art of measurement.

Suppose, again, the salvation of human life to depend on the choice of
odd and even, and on the knowledge of when men ought to choose the
greater or less, either in reference to themselves or to each other
whether near or at a distance; what would be the saving principles of
our lives? Would not knowledge?--a knowledge of measuring, when the
question is one of excess and defect, and a knowledge of number, when
the question is of odd and even? The world will acknowledge that, will
they not?

Protagoras admitted that they would.

Well then, I say to them, my friends, seeing that the salvation of
human life has been found to consist in the right choice of pleasures
and pains--in the choice of the more and the fewer, and the greater
and the less, and the nearer and remoter--must not this measuring be a
consideration of excess and defect and equality in relation to one

That is undeniably true.

And this, as possessing measure, must undeniably also be an art and

They will agree to that....

Then you agree, I said, that the pleasant is the good, and the painful
evil. And here I would beg my friend Prodicus not to introduce his
distinction of names, whether he is disposed to say pleasurable,
delightful, joyful. However and in whatever way he rejoices to name
them, I will ask you, most excellent Prodicus, to answer this in my

Prodicus laughed and assented, as did the others.

Then, my friends, I said, what do you say to this? Are not all actions
the tendency of which is to make life painless and pleasant honorable
and useful? The honorable work is also useful and good.

This was admitted.

Then, I said, if the pleasant is the good, nobody does anything under
the idea or conviction that some other thing would be better and is
also attainable when he might do the better. And this inferiority of a
man to himself is merely ignorance, as the superiority of a man to
himself is wisdom.

They all assented.

And does not ignorance consist in having a false opinion and being
deceived about important matters?

To that they unanimously assented also.

Then, I said, no man voluntarily pursues evil or that which he thinks
to be evil. To prefer evil to good is not in human nature; and when a
man is compelled to choose one of two evils, no one will choose the
greater when he might have the less.

We all agreed to every word of this.

Well, I said, there is a certain thing called fear or terror; and
here, Prodicus, I should particularly like to know whether you would
agree with me in defining this fear or terror as expectation of evil.

Protagoras and Hippias agreed, but Prodicus said that this was fear
and not terror.

Never mind about that, Prodicus, I said; but let me ask whether, if
our former assertions are true, a man will pursue that which he fears
when he need not? Would not this be in contradiction to the admission
which has been already made, that he thinks the things which he fears
to be evil? And no one will pursue or voluntarily accept that which he
thinks to be evil.


[Footnote 59: From the "Protagoras," translated by Benjamin Jowett.
Protagoras, from whom this dialog gets its name, was one of the Greek
sophists, born about 481 B.C., and exiled from Athens on a charge of
atheism, his work entitled "On the Gods" being publicly burned. In the
dialog, which took place in the house of Calias, a wealthy Athenian
gentleman, besides Protagoras there were present other sophists,
including Hippias, Prodicus, Hippocrates, Alcibiades, and Critias.]



And now I will take my leave of you, and rehearse the tale of love
which I heard once upon a time from Diotima,[61] of Mantinea, who was
a wise woman in this and many other branches of knowledge. She was the
same who deferred the plague of Athens ten years by a sacrifice, and
was my instructress in the art of love. In the attempt that I am
about to make, I shall pursue Agathon's method, and begin with his
admissions, which are nearly if not quite the same as I made to the
wise woman when she questioned me; this will be the easiest way, and I
shall take both parts myself as well as I can. For, like Agathon, she
spoke first of the being and nature of Love, and then of his works.
And I said to her, in nearly the same words which he used to me, that
Love was a mighty god, and likewise fair; and she proved to me as I
proved to him that, in my way of speaking about him, Love was neither
fair nor good. "What do you mean, Diotima," I said; "is love then evil
and foul?" "Hush," she cried; "is that to be deemed foul which is not
fair?" "Certainly," I said. "And is that which is not wise ignorant?
Do you not see that there is a mean between wisdom and ignorance?"
"And what is this?" I said. "Right opinion," she replied, "which, as
you know, being incapable of giving a reason, is not knowledge (for
how could knowledge be devoid of reason? nor, again, ignorance, for
neither can ignorance attain the truth), but is clearly something
which is a mean between ignorance and wisdom." "Quite true," I
replied. "Do not then insist," she said, "that what is not fair is of
necessity foul or what is not good is evil, or infer that because Love
is not fair and good he is therefore foul and evil; for he is in mean
between them." "Well," I said, "Love is surely admitted by all to be a
great god." "By those who know or by those who don't know?" "By all."
"And how, Socrates," she said with a smile, "can Love be acknowledged
to be a great god by those who say that he is not a god at all?" "And
who are they?" I said. "You and I are two of them," she replied. "How
can that be?" I said. "That is very intelligible," she replied, "as
you yourself would acknowledge that the gods are happy and fair--of
course you would--would you dare to say that any god was not?"
"Certainly not," I replied. "And you mean by the happy those who are
the possessors of things good or fair?" "Yes." "And you admitted that
Love, because he was in want, desires those good and fair things of
which he is in want?" "Yes, I admitted that." "But how can he be a god
who has no share in the good or the fair?" "That is not to be
supposed." "Then you see that you also deny the deity of Love."

"What then is Love?" I asked. "Is he mortal?" "No." "What then?" "As
in the former instance, he is neither mortal nor immortal, but in a
mean between them." "What is he then, Diotima?" "He is a great spirit,
and like all that is spiritual he is intermediate between the divine
and the mortal." "And what is the nature of this spiritual power?" I
said. "This is the power," she said, "which interprets and conveys to
the gods the prayers and sacrifices of men, and to men the commands
and rewards of the gods; and this power spans the chasm which divides
them, and in this all is bound together, and through this the arts of
the prophet and the priest, their sacrifices and mysteries and charms,
and all prophecy and incantation, find their way. For God mingles not
with man; and through this power all the intercourse and speech of God
with man, whether awake or asleep, is carried on. The wisdom which
understands this is spiritual; all other wisdom, such as that of arts
or handicrafts, is mean and vulgar. Now these spirits or intermediate
powers are many and divine, and one of them is Love." "And who," I
said, "was his father, and who his mother?" "The tale," she said,
"will take time; nevertheless I will tell you. On the birthday of
Aphrodite there was a feast of the gods, at which the god Poros or
Plenty, who is the son of Metis or Discretion, was one of the guests.
When the feast was over, Penia or Poverty, as the manner was, came
about the doors to beg. Now Plenty, who was the worse for Nectar
(there was no wine in those days), came into the garden of Zeus and
fell into a heavy sleep; and Poverty, considering her own straitened
circumstances, plotted to have him for a husband, and accordingly she
lay down at his side and conceived Love, who partly because he is
naturally a lover of the beautiful, and because Aphrodite is herself
beautiful, and also because he was born on Aphrodite's birthday is her
follower and attendant. And as his parentage is, so also are his

"In the first place, he is always poor, and anything but tender and
fair, as the many imagine him; and he is hard-featured and squalid,
and has no shoes nor a house to dwell in; on the bare earth exposed he
lies under the open heaven, in the streets, or at the doors of houses,
taking his rest; and like his mother, he is always in distress. Like
his father too, whom he also partly resembles, he is always plotting
against the fair and the good; he is bold, enterprising, strong, a
hunter of men, always at some intrigue or other, keen in the pursuit
of wisdom, and never wanting resources; a philosopher at all times,
terrible as an enchanter, sorcerer, sophist; for as he is neither
mortal nor immortal, he is alive and flourishing at one moment when he
is in plenty, and dead at another moment, and again alive by reason of
his father's nature. But that which is always flowing in is always
flowing out, and so he is never in want and never in wealth, and he is
also in a mean between ignorance and knowledge. The truth of the
matter is just this: No god is a philosopher or seeker after wisdom,
for he is wise already; nor does any one else who is wise seek after
wisdom. Neither do the ignorant seek after wisdom. For herein is the
evil of ignorance, that he who is neither good nor wise is
nevertheless satisfied; he feels no want, and has therefore no
desire." "But who then, Diotima," I said, "are the lovers of wisdom,
if they are neither the wise nor the foolish?" "A child may answer
that question," she replied; "they are those who, like Love, are in a
mean between the two. For wisdom is a most beautiful thing, and Love
is of the beautiful; and therefore Love is also a philosopher or lover
of wisdom, and being a lover of wisdom is in a mean between the wise
and the ignorant. And this again is a quality which Love inherits from
his parents; for his father is wealthy and wise, and his mother poor
and foolish. Such, my dear Socrates, is the nature of the spirit Love.
The error in your conception of him was very natural, and as I imagine
from what you say, has arisen out of a confusion of love and the
beloved--this made you think that love was all beautiful. For the
beloved is the truly beautiful, delicate, and perfect and blest; but
the principle of love is of another nature, and is such as I have

I said, "O thou strange woman, thou sayest well, and now, assuming
Love to be such as you say, what is the use of him?" "That, Socrates,"
she replied, "I will proceed to unfold; of his nature and birth I have
already spoken, and you acknowledge that Love is of the beautiful. But
some one will say, 'Of the beautiful in what, Socrates and
Diotima?'--or rather let us put the question more clearly, and ask,
When a man loves the beautiful, what does he love?" I answered her,
"That the beautiful may be his." "Still," she said, "the answer
suggests a further question, which is this, What is given by the
possession of beauty?" "That," I replied, "is a question to which I
have no answer ready." "Then," she said, "let me put the word 'good'
in the place of the beautiful, and repeat the question, What does he
who loves the good desire?" "The possession of the good," I said. "And
what does he gain who possesses the good?" "Happiness," I replied;
"there is no difficulty in answering that." "Yes," she said, "the
happy are made happy by the acquisition of good things. Nor is there
any need to ask why a man desires happiness; the answer is already
final." "That is true," I said. "And is this wish and this desire
common to all? and do all men always desire their own good, or only
some men?--what think you?" "All men," I replied; "the desire is
common to all." "But all men, Socrates," she rejoined, "are not said
to love, but only some of them; and you say that all men are always
loving the same things." "I myself wonder," I said, "why that is."
"There is nothing to wonder at," she replied; "the reason is that one
part of love is separated off and receives the name of the whole, but
the other parts have other names." "Give an example," I said. She
answered me as follows: "There is poetry, which, as you know, is
complex and manifold. And all creation or passage of non-being into
being is poetry or making, and the processes of all art are creative,
and the masters of arts are all poets." "Very true." "Still," she
said, "you know that they are not called poets, but have other names;
the generic term 'poetry' is confined to that specific art which is
separated off from the rest of poetry, and is concerned with music and
meter; and this is what is called poetry, and they who possess this
kind of poetry are called poets."

"Very true," I said. "And the same holds of love. For you may say
generally that all desire of good and happiness is due to the great
and subtle power of Love; but those who, having their affections set
upon him, are yet diverted into the paths of money-making or gymnastic
philosophy are not called lovers--the name of the genus is reserved
for those whose devotion takes one form only--they alone are said to
love, or to be lovers." "In that," I said, "I am of opinion that you
are right." "Yes," she said, "and you hear people say that lovers are
seeking for the half of themselves; but I say that they are seeking
neither for the half nor for the whole, unless the half or the whole
be also a good. And they will cut off their own hands and feet and
cast them away if they are evil; for they love them not because they
are their own, but because they are good, and dislike them not because
they are another's, but because they are evil. There is nothing which
men love but the good. Do you think that there is?" "Indeed," I
answered, "I should say not." "Then," she said, "the conclusion of the
whole matter is that men love the good." "Yes," I said. "To which may
be added that they love the possession of the good?" "Yes, that may be
added." "And not only the possession, but the everlasting possession
of the good?" "That may be added too." "Then love," she said, "may be
described generally as the love of the everlasting possession of the
good?" "That is most true," I said.

"Then if this be the nature of love, can you tell me further," she
said, "what is the manner of the pursuit? What are they doing who show
all this eagerness and heat which is called love? Answer me that."
"Nay, Diotima," I said, "if I had known I should not have wondered at
your wisdom or have come to you to learn." "Well," she said, "I will
teach you: love is only birth in beauty, whether of body or soul."
"The oracle requires an explanation," I said; "I don't understand
you." "I will make my meaning clearer," she replied. "I mean to say
that which all men are bringing to the birth of their bodies and their
souls. There is a certain age at which human nature is desirous of
procreation; and this procreation must be in beauty and not in
deformity; and this is the mystery of man and woman, which is a divine
thing, for conception and generation are a principle of immortality in
the mortal creature. And in the inharmonical they can never be. But
the deformed is always inharmonical with the divine, and the beautiful
harmonious. Beauty, then, is the destiny or goddess of parturition who
presides a birth, and therefore, when approaching beauty the
conceiving power is propitious, and diffuse, and benign, and begets
and bears fruit; on the appearance of foulness she frowns and
contracts in pain, and is averted and morose, and shrinks up, and not
without a pang refrains from conception. And this is the reason why,
when the hour of conception arrives, and the teeming nature is full,
there is such a flutter and ecstasy about beauty whose approach is the
alleviation of pain. For love, Socrates, is not, as you imagine, the
love of the beautiful only." "What then?" "The love of generation and
birth in beauty." "Yes," I said. "Yes, indeed," she replied. "But why
of birth?" I said. "Because to the mortal, birth is a sort of eternity
and immortality," she replied; "and as has been already admitted, all
men will necessarily desire immortality together with good if love is
of the everlasting possession of the good."

All this she taught me at various times when she spoke of love. And on
another occasion she said to me: "What is the reason, Socrates, of
this love, and the attendant desire? See you not how all animals,
birds as well as beasts, in their desire of procreation, are in agony
when they take the infection of love; this begins with the desire of
union, to which is added the care of offspring, in behalf of whom the
weakest are ready to battle against the strongest even to the
uttermost, and to die for them, and will let themselves be tormented
with hunger or suffer anything in order to maintain their
offspring.... Marvel not then at the love which all men have of their
offspring; for that universal love and interest are for the sake of

When I heard this, I was astonished and said, "Is this really true, O
thou wise Diotima?" And she answered with all the authority of a
sophist: "Of that, Socrates, you may be assured; think only of the
ambition of men, and you will marvel at their senselessness unless you
consider how they are stirred by the love of an immortality of fame.
They are ready to run risks greater far than they would have run for
their children, and to spend money and undergo any amount of toil, and
even to die for the sake of leaving behind them a name which shall be
eternal. Do you imagine that Alcestis[62] would have died on behalf of
Admetus, or Achilles after Patroclus, or your own Codrus in order to
preserve the kingdom for his sons, if they had not imagined that the
memory of their virtues, which is still retained among us, would be
immortal? Nay," she said, "for I am persuaded that all men do all
things for the sake of the glorious fame of immortal virtue, and the
better they are the more they desire this; for they are ravished with
the desire of the immortal.

"Men whose bodies only are creative betake themselves to women and
beget children--this is the character of their love; their offspring,
as they hope, will preserve their memory and give them the blessedness
and immortality which they desire in the future. But creative
souls--for there are men who are more creative in their souls than in
their bodies--conceive that which is proper for the soul to conceive
or retain. And what are these conceptions?--wisdom and virtue in
general. And such creators are all poets and other artists who may be
said to have invention. But the greatest and fairest sort of wisdom by
far is that which is concerned with the ordering of states and
families, and which is called temperance and justice. And he who in
youth has the seed of these implanted in him and is himself inspired,
when he comes to maturity desires to beget and generate offspring. And
he wanders about seeking beauty that he may beget offspring--for in
deformity he will beget nothing--and embraces the beautiful rather
than the deformed; and when he finds a fair and noble and
well-nurtured soul, and there is union of the two in one person, he
gladly embraces it, and to such a soul he is full of fair speech about
virtue and the nature and pursuits of a good man; and he tries to
educate it; and at the touch and presence of the beautiful he brings
forth the beautiful which he conceived long before, and the beautiful
is ever present with him and in his memory even when absent, and in
company they tend that which he brings forth, and they are bound
together by a far nearer tie and have a closer friendship than those
who beget mortal children, for the children who are their common
offspring are fairer and more immortal. Who, when he thinks of Homer
and Hesiod[63] and other great poets, would not rather emulate them
in the creation of children such as theirs, which have preserved their
memory and given them everlasting glory? Or who would not have such
children as Lycurgus[64] left behind to be the saviors, not only of
Lacedæmon, but of Hellas, as one may say? There is Solon, too, who is
the revered father of Athenian laws; and many others there are in
various places, both among Hellenes and barbarians. They all have done
many noble works, and have been the parents of virtue of every kind,
and in honor of their children many temples have been raised, which
were never raised in honor of the mortal children of any one.

"These are the lesser mysteries of love, into which even you,
Socrates, may enter; to the greater and more hidden ones which are the
crown of these, and to which, if you pursue them in a right spirit,
they will lead, I know not whether you will be able to attain. But I
will do my utmost to inform you, and do you follow if you can. For he
who would proceed rightly in this matter should begin in youth to turn
to beautiful forms; and first, if his instructor guide him rightly, he
should learn to love one such form only--out of that he should create
fair thoughts; and soon he will find himself perceive that the beauty
of one form is truly related to the beauty of another; and then if
beauty in general is his pursuit, how foolish would he be not to
recognize that the beauty in every form is one and the same! And when
he perceives this he will abate his violent love of the one, which he
will despise and deem a small thing, and will become a lover of all
beautiful forms; this will lead him on to consider that the beauty of
the mind is more honorable than the beauty of the outward form. So
that if a virtuous soul have but a little comeliness, he will be
content to love and tend it, and will search out and bring to the
birth thoughts which may improve the young, until his beloved is
compelled to contemplate and see the beauty of institutions and laws,
and understand that all is of one kindred, and that personal beauty is
only a trifle; and after laws and institutions he will lead him on to
the sciences, that he may see their beauty, being not like a servant
in love with the beauty of one youth or man or institution, himself a
slave mean and calculating, but looking at the abundance of beauty and
drawing toward the sea of beauty, and creating and beholding many fair
and noble thoughts and notions in boundless love of wisdom, until at
length he grows and waxes strong, and at last the vision is revealed
to him of a single science, which is the science of beauty

Such, Phædrus[65]--and I speak not only to you, but to all men--were
the words of Diotima; and I am persuaded of their truth. And being
persuaded of them, I try to persuade others that in the attainment of
this end human nature will not easily find a better helper than Love.
And, therefore, also, I say that every man ought to honor him as I
myself honor him, and walk in his ways, and exhort others to do the
same, even as I praise the power and spirit of Love according to the
measure of my ability now and ever.

The words which I have spoken, you, Phædrus, may call an encomium of
Love or anything else which you please.


[Footnote 60: From "The Symposium." Translated by Benjamin Jowett.
Mahaffy ranks this work "as greater and more brilliant" than the
"Phædo." Being intensely Greek, it has, however, seemed alien, if not
offensive, to many modern readers. Scholars have valued it highly as a
vivid picture of the manners of the most refined society of Athens. It
has sometimes been called "The Banquet." Under that name, the poet
Shelley made a translation. The banquet described took place in the
house of the tragic poet Agathon. Agathon was born about 477 B.C., of
a rich and eminent Athenian family. He was remarkable for personal
accomplishments rather than for high literary genius. He is believed
to have died at the age of forty-seven.]

[Footnote 61: Diotima, a priestess, reputed to have been a
Pythagorean, but some writers have doubted her existence.]

[Footnote 62: The wife of Admetus, a Thessalian king, who sacrificed
her life in order to save that of her husband.]

[Footnote 63: Hesiod, whose home was in Boeotia, is thought to have
lived about three centuries after Homer; that is, about 800 B.C. He
was a shepherd in his youth, and began to write verses while tending
his flocks.]

[Footnote 64: Lived probably in the ninth century B.C., and the
traditional author of the laws by which Sparta was governed for
several centuries.]

[Footnote 65: An Athenian, son of Pythocles, and friend of Plato, but
of whom nothing more is known.]



When Socrates had done speaking, the company applauded, and
Aristophanes[67] was beginning to say something in answer to the
allusion which Socrates had made to his own speech, when suddenly
there was a great knocking at the door of the house, as of revelers,
and the sound of a flute-girl was heard. Agathon told the attendants
to go and see who were the intruders. "If they are friends of ours,"
he said, "invite them in, but if not say that the drinking is over." A
little while afterward they heard the voice of Alcibiades resounding
in the court; he was in a great state of intoxication, and kept
roaring and shouting: "Where is Agathon? Lead me to Agathon," and at
length, supported by the flute-girl and some of his companions, he
found his way to them. "Hail, friends," he said, appearing at the door
crowned with a massive garland of ivy and wall-flowers, and having his
head flowing with ribbons. "Will you have a very drunken man as a
companion of your revels? Or shall I crown Agathon, as was my
intention in coming, and go my way? For I was unable to come
yesterday, and therefore I come to-day, carrying on my head three
ribbons, that taking them from my own head I may crown the head of
this fairest and wisest of men, as I may be allowed to call him. Will
you laugh at me because I am drunk? Yet I know very well that I am
speaking the truth, altho you may laugh. But first tell me whether I
shall come in on the understanding that I am drunk. Will you drink
with me or not?"

The company were vociferous in begging that he should take his place
among them, and Agathon specially invited him. Thereupon he was led in
by the people who were with him; and as he was being led he took the
crown and ribbons from his head, intending to crown Agathon, and had
them before his eyes; this prevented him from seeing Socrates, who
made way for him, and Alcibiades took the vacant place between Agathon
and Socrates, and in taking the place he embraced Agathon and crowned
him. "Take off his sandals," said Agathon, "and let him make a third
on the same couch."

"By all means; but who makes the third partner in our revels?" said
Alcibiades, turning round and starting up as he caught sight of
Socrates. "By Heracles," he said, "what is this? Here is Socrates
always lying in wait for me, and always, as his way is, coming out at
all sorts of unexpected places; and now, what have you to say for
yourself, and why are you lying here, where I perceive that you have
contrived to find a place, not by a professor or lover of jokes, like
Aristophanes, but by the fairest of the company?"

Socrates turned to Agathon and said: "I must ask you to protect me,
Agathon; for this passion of his has grown quite a serious matter.
Since I became his admirer I have never been allowed to speak to any
other fair one, or so much as to look at them. If I do he goes wild
with envy and jealousy, and not only abuses me, but can hardly keep
his hands off me, and at this moment he may do me some harm. Please
see to this, and either reconcile me to him or, if he attempt
violence, protect me, as I am in bodily fear of his mad and passionate

"There can never be reconciliation between you and me," said
Alcibiades; "but for the present I will defer your chastisement. And I
must beg you, Agathon, to give me back some of the ribbons that I may
crown the marvelous head of this universal despot. I would not have
him complain of me for crowning you, and neglecting him, who in
conversation is the conqueror of all mankind; and this not once only,
as you were the day before yesterday, but always." Then taking some of
the ribbons, he crowned Socrates, and again reclined. When he had lain
down again, he said: "You seem, my friends, to be sober, which is a
thing not to be endured; you must drink for that was the agreement
which I made with you--and I elect myself master of the feast until
you are quite drunk. Let me have a large goblet, Agathon, or rather,"
he said, addressing the attendant, "bring me that wine-cooler." The
wine-cooler which caught his eye was a vessel holding more than two
quarts; this he filled and emptied, and bade the attendant fill it
again for Socrates. "Observe, my friends," said Alcibiades, "that my
ingenious device will have no effect on Socrates, for he can drink any
quantity of wine and not be at all nearer being drunk." Socrates drank
the cup which the attendant filled for him....

"I shall praise Socrates in a figure which will appear to him to be a
caricature, and yet I do not mean to laugh at him, but only to speak
the truth. I say, then, that he is exactly like the masks of Silenus,
which may be seen sitting in the statuaries' shops, having pipes and
flutes in their mouths; and they are made to open in the middle, and
there are images of gods inside them. I say also that he is like
Marsyas the satyr. You will not deny this, Socrates, that your face is
like that of a satyr. Aye, and there is a resemblance in other points
too. For example, you are a bully--that I am in a position to prove by
the evidence of witnesses if you will not confess. And are you not a
flute-player? That you are, and a far more wonderful performer than
Marsyas. For he indeed with instruments charmed the souls of men by
the power of his breath, as the performers of his music do still; for
the melodies of Olympus are derived from the teaching of Marsyas, and
these, whether they are played by a great master or by a miserable
flute-girl, have a power which no others have; they alone possess the
soul and reveal the wants of those who have need of gods and
mysteries, because they are inspired.

"But you produce the same effect with the voice only, and do not
require the flute; that is the difference between you and him. When we
hear any other speaker, even a very good one, his words produce
absolutely no effect upon us in comparison, whereas the very fragments
of you and your words, even at second-hand, and however imperfectly
repeated, amaze and possess the souls of every man, woman, and child
who comes within hearing of them. And if I were not afraid that you
think me drunk, I would have sworn to as well as spoken of the
influence which they have always and still have over me. For my heart
leaps within me more than that of any Corybantian[68] reveler, and my
eyes rain tears when I hear him. And I observe that many others are
affected in the same way. I have heard Pericles and other great
orators, but tho I thought that they spoke well, I never had any
similar feeling; my soul was not stirred by them, nor was I angry at
the thought of my own slavish state. But this Marsyas has often
brought me to such a pass that I have felt as if I could hardly endure
the life which I am leading (this, Socrates, you admit); and I am
conscious that if I did not shut my ears against him, and fly from the
voice of the siren, he would detain me until I grew old sitting at his
feet. For he makes me confess that I ought not to live as I do,
neglecting the wants of my own soul, and busying myself with the
concerns of the Athenians; therefore I hold my ears and tear myself
away from him. And he is the only person who ever made me ashamed,
which you might think not to be in my nature, and there is no one else
who does the same. For I know that I can not answer him or say that I
ought not to do as he bids, but when I leave his presence the love of
popularity gets the better of me. And therefore I run away and fly
from him, and when I see him I am ashamed of what I have confest to
him. And many a time I wish that he were dead, and yet I know that I
should be much more sorry than glad if he were to die; so that I am at
my wit's end.

"And this is what I and many others have suffered from the
flute-playing of this satyr. Yet hear me once more while I show you
how exact the image is, and how marvelous his power. For I am sure
that none of you know him; but I know him and will describe him, as I
have begun. See you how fond he is of the fair? He is always with them
and is always being smitten by them, and then again he knows nothing
and is ignorant of all things--that is the appearance which he puts
on. Is he not like a Silenus in this? Yes, surely; that is, his outer
mask, which is the carved head of the Silenus; but when he is opened,
what temperance there is, as I may say to you, O my companions in
drink, residing within. Know you that beauty and wealth and honor, at
which the many wonder, are of no account with him, and are utterly
despised by him; he regards not at all the persons who are gifted with
them; mankind are nothing to him; all his life is spent in mocking
and flouting at them. But when I opened him, and looked within at his
serious purpose, I saw in him divine and golden images of such
fascinating beauty that I was ready to do in a moment whatever
Socrates commanded (they may have escaped the observation of others,
but I saw them). Now I thought that he was seriously enamored of my
beauty, and this appeared to be a grand opportunity of hearing him
tell what he knew, for I had a wonderful opinion of the attractions of
my youth.

"In the prosecution of this design, when I next went to him, I sent
away the attendant who usually accompanied me (I will confess the
whole truth, and beg you to listen; and if I speak falsely, do you,
Socrates, expose the falsehood). Well, he and I were alone together,
and I thought that when there was nobody with us, I should hear him
speak the language of love as lovers do, and I was delighted. Not a
word; he conversed as usual, and spent the day with me and then went
away. Afterward I challenged him to the palestra; and he wrestled and
closed with me several times alone; I fancied that I might succeed in
this way. Not a bit; there was no use in that. Lastly, as I had failed
hitherto, I thought that I must use stronger measures and attack him
boldly, as I had begun, and not give him up until I saw how the matter
stood. So I invited him to supper, just as if he were a fair youth,
and I a designing lover. He was not easily persuaded to come; he did,
however, after a while, accept the invitation, and when he came the
first time, he wanted to go away at once as soon as supper was over,
and I had not the face to detain him....

"And yet I could not help wondering at his natural temperance and
self-restraint and courage. I never could have thought that I should
have met with a man like him in wisdom and endurance. Neither could I
be angry with him or renounce his company any more than I could hope
to win him. For I well knew that if Ajax could not be wounded by
steel, much less he by money; and I had failed in my only chance of
captivating him. So I wandered about and was at my wit's end; no one
was ever more hopelessly enslaved by another. All this, as I should
explain, happened before he and I went on the expedition to Potidæa;
there we messed together, and I had the opportunity of observing his
extraordinary power of sustaining fatigue and going without food when
our supplies were intercepted at any place, as will happen with an
army. In the faculty of endurance he was superior not only to me but
to everybody else; there was no one to be compared to him. Yet at a
festival he was the only person who had any real powers of enjoyment,
and tho not willing to drink, he could if compelled beat us all at
that, and the most wonderful thing of all was that no human being had
ever seen Socrates drunk; and that, if I am not mistaken, will soon be
tested. His endurance of cold was also surprizing. There was a severe
frost, for the winter in that region is really tremendous, and
everybody else either remained indoors, or if they went out had on no
end of clothing, and were well shod, and had their feet swathed in
felt and fleeces; in the midst of this, Socrates, with his bare feet
on the ice, and in his ordinary dress, marched better than any of the
other soldiers who had their shoes on, and they looked daggers at him
because he seemed to despise them.

"I have told you one tale, and now I must tell you another, which is
worth hearing, of the doings and sufferings of this enduring man while
he was on the expedition. One morning he was thinking about something
which he could not resolve; and he would not give up, but continued
thinking from early dawn until noon--there he stood fixt in thought;
and at noon attention was drawn to him, and the rumor ran through the
wondering crowd that Socrates had been standing and thinking about
something ever since the break of day. At last, in the evening after
supper, some Ionians out of curiosity (I should explain that this was
not in the winter but in summer) brought out their mats and slept in
the open air that they might watch him and see whether he would stand
all night. There he stood all night as well as all day and the
following morning; and with the return of light he offered up a prayer
to the sun, and went his way. I will also tell, if you please--and
indeed I am bound to tell--of his courage in battle; for who but he
saved my life? Now this was the engagement in which I received the
prize for valor; for I was wounded and he would not leave me, but he
rescued me and my arms; and he ought to have received the prize of
valor which the generals wanted to confer on me partly on account of
my rank, and I told them so (this Socrates will not impeach or deny),
but he was more eager than the generals that I and not he should have
the prize. There was another occasion on which he was very noticeable;
this was in the flight of the army after the battle of Delium, and I
had a better opportunity of seeing him than at Potidæa, as I was
myself on horseback, and therefore comparatively out of danger. He and
Laches were retreating as the troops were in flight, and I met them
and told them not to be discouraged, and promised to remain with them;
and there you might see him, Aristophanes, as you describe, just as he
is in the streets of Athens, stalking like a pelican, and rolling his
eyes, calmly contemplating enemies as well as friends, and making very
intelligible to anybody, even from a distance, that whoever attacks
him will be likely to meet with a stout resistance; and in this way he
and his companion escaped--for these are the sort of persons who are
never touched in war; they pursue only those who are running away
headlong. I particularly observed how superior he was to Laches in
presence of mind.

"Many are the wonders of Socrates which I might narrate in his praise;
most of his ways might perhaps be paralleled in others, but the most
astonishing thing of all is his absolute unlikeness to any other human
being that is or ever has been. You may imagine Brasidas and others to
have been like Achilles; or you may imagine Nestor and Antenor to have
been like Pericles; and the same may be said of other famous men, but
of this strange being you will never be able to find any likeness,
however remote, either among men who now are or who ever have been,
except that which I have already suggested of Silenus and the satyrs;
and this is an allegory not only of himself, but also of his words.
For, altho I forgot to mention this before, his words are ridiculous
when you first hear them; he clothes himself in language that is as
the skin of the wanton satyr--for his talk is of pack-asses and smiths
and cobblers and curriers, and he is always repeating the same things
in the same words, so that an ignorant man who did not know him might
feel disposed to laugh at him; but he, who pierces the mask and sees
what is within will find that they are the only words which have a
meaning in them, and also the most divine, abounding in fair examples
of virtue, and of the largest discourse, or rather extending to the
whole duty of a good and honorable man.

"This, friends, is my praise of Socrates. I have added my blame of him
for his ill treatment of me; and he has ill treated not only me, but
Charmides,[69] the son of Glaucon, and Euthydemus,[70] the son of
Diocles, and many others in the same way--beginning as their lover, he
has ended by making them pay their addresses to him. Wherefore I say
to you, Agathon, 'Be not deceived by him; learn from me and take
warning, and don't be a fool and learn by experience,' as the proverb

When Alcibiades had done speaking, there was a laugh at his plainness
of speech, as he seemed to be still in love with Socrates. "You are
sober, Alcibiades," said Socrates, "or you would never have gone about
to hide the purpose of your satyr's praises, for all this long story
is only an ingenious circumlocution, the point of which comes in by
the way at the end; you want to get up a quarrel between me and
Agathon, and your notion is that I ought to love you and nobody else,
and that you and you only ought to love Agathon. But the plot of this
satyric or Selinic drama has been detected, and you must not allow
him, Agathon, to set us at variance."

"I believe you are right," said Agathon, "and I am disposed to think
that his intention in placing himself between you and me was only to
divide us; but he shall gain nothing by that move, as I will go and
lie in the couch next to you."

"Yes, yes," replied Socrates, "by all means come here and lie on the
couch below me."

"Alas," said Alcibiades, "how am I fooled by this man! He is
determined to get the better of me at every turn. I do beseech you,
allow Agathon to lie between us."

"Impossible," said Socrates, "as you praised me, and I ought to praise
my neighbor on the right, he will be out of order in praising me again
when he ought rather to be praised by me, and I must entreat you to
consent to this, and not be jealous, for I have a great desire to
praise the youth."

"Ha! ha!" cried Agathon; "I will rise instantly, that I may be praised
by Socrates."

"The usual way," said Alcibiades; "where Socrates is, no one else has
any chance with the fair, and now how readily has he invented a
specious reason for attracting Agathon to himself!"


[Footnote 66: From "The Symposium." Translated by Benjamin Jowett.
This picture of Socrates is declared by Mahaffy to be the most
wonderful of all pictures of him, inasmuch as it shows him "in all his
ugliness, his fascination, his deep sympathy, his iron courage, his
unassailable chastity." Mahaffy's enthusiasm has been shared by many
writers and readers in all generations.]

[Footnote 67: The famous comic poet and dramatist, author of the
"Frogs," "Clouds," "Birds," and many other works, of which only eleven
are now extant; born about 451 B.C., died not later than 380.]

[Footnote 68: The Corybantes were priests of the Phrygian goddess
Rhea, worship of whom was exprest in dances, which often took the
character of orgies.]

[Footnote 69: Charmides was an uncle of Plato, noted for moderation.]

[Footnote 70: Euthydemus was a name given by Plato to one of his
dialogs, in which virtue and the teaching of virtue are the themes.]



_Crito_: There are persons who at no great cost are willing to save
you and bring you out of prison; and as for the informers, you may
observe that they are far from being exorbitant in their demands; a
little money will satisfy them. My means, which, as I am sure, are
ample, are at your service, and if you have a scruple about spending
all mine, here are strangers who will give you the use of others; and
one of them, Simmias the Theban, has brought a sum of money for this
very purpose; and Cebes and many others are willing to spend their
money too. I say, therefore, do not on that account hesitate about
making your escape, and do not say, as you did in court, that you will
have difficulty in knowing what to do with yourself if you escape. For
men will love you in other places to which you may go, and not in
Athens only; there are friends of mine in Thessaly, if you like to go
to them, who will value and protect you, and no Thessalians will give
you any trouble.

Nor can I think that you are justified, Socrates, in betraying your
own life when you might be saved; this is playing into the hands of
your enemies and destroyers; and moreover I should say that you were
betraying your children; for you might bring them up and educate them;
instead of which you go away and leave them, and they will have to
take their chance; and if they do not meet with the usual fate of
orphans, there will be small thanks to you. No man should bring
children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in
their nurture and education. But you are choosing the easier part, as
I think, not the better and manlier, which would rather have become
one who professes virtue in all his actions, like yourself. And indeed
I am ashamed not only of you, but of us who are your friends, when I
reflect that this entire business of yours will be attributed to our
want of courage. The trial need never have come on, or might have been
brought to another issue; and the end of all, which is the crowning
absurdity, will seem to have been permitted by us, through cowardice
and baseness, who might have saved you, as you might have saved
yourself, if we had been good for anything (for there was no
difficulty in escaping); and we did not see how disgraceful, Socrates,
and also miserable all this will be to us as well as you. Make your
mind up then, or rather have your mind already made up, for the time
of deliberation is over, and there is only one thing to be done, which
must be done, if at all, this very night, and which any delay will
render all but impossible; I beseech you therefore, Socrates, to be
persuaded by me, and to do as I say....

_Socrates_: From these premises I proceed to argue the question
whether I ought or ought not to try and escape without the consent of
the Athenians; and if I am clearly right in escaping, then I will
make the attempt; but if not, I will abstain. The other considerations
which you mention, of money and loss of character and the duty of
educating children, are, as I fear, only the doctrines of the
multitude, who would be as ready to call people to life if they were
able as they are to put them to death--and with as little reason. But
now, since the argument has thus far prevailed, the only question
which remains to be considered is whether we shall do rightly either
in escaping or in suffering others to aid in our escape and paying
them in money and thanks, or whether we shall not do rightly; and if
the latter, then death or any other calamity which may ensue on my
remaining here must not be allowed to enter into the calculation.

_Crito_: I think that you are right, Socrates; how then shall we

_Socrates_: Let us consider the matter together, and do you either
refute me if you can, and I will be convinced, or else cease, my dear
friend, from repeating to me that I ought to escape against the wishes
of the Athenians; for I am extremely desirous to be persuaded by you,
but not against my own better judgment. And now please to consider my
first position, and do your best to answer me.

_Crito_: I will do my best....

_Socrates_: Again, Crito, may we do evil?

_Crito_: Surely not, Socrates.

_Socrates_: And what of doing evil in return for evil, which is the
morality of the many; is that just or not?

_Crito_: Not just.

_Socrates_: For doing evil to another is the same as injuring him?

_Crito_: Very true.

_Socrates_: Then we ought not to retaliate or render evil for evil to
any one, whatever evil we may have suffered from him. But I would have
you consider, Crito, whether you really mean what you are saying. For
this opinion has never been held, and never will be held, by any
considerable number of persons; and those who are agreed and those who
are not agreed upon this point have no common ground, and can only
despise one another when they see how widely they differ. Tell me,
then, whether you agree with and assent to my first principle, that
neither injury nor retaliation nor warding off evil by evil is ever
right. And shall that be the premise of our argument? Or do you
decline and dissent from this? For this has been of old and is still
my opinion; but, if you are of another opinion, let me hear what you
have to say. If, however, you remain of the same mind, I will proceed.

_Crito_: You may proceed, for I have not changed my mind.

_Socrates_: Then I will proceed to the next step, which may be put in
the form of a question: Ought a man to do what he admits to be right
or ought he to betray the right?

_Crito_: He ought to do what he thinks right.

_Socrates_: But if this is true, what is the application? In leaving
the prison against the will of the Athenians, do I wrong any? or
rather do I not wrong those whom I ought least to wrong? Do I not
desert the principles which were acknowledged by us to be just? What
do you say?

_Crito_: I can not tell, Socrates; for I do not know.

_Socrates_: Then consider the matter in this way: Imagine that I am
about to play truant (you may call the proceeding by any name which
you like), and the laws and the government come and interrogate me:
"Tell us, Socrates," they say; "what are you about? Are you going by
an act of yours to overturn us--the laws and the whole state, as far
as in you lies? Do you imagine that a state can subsist and not be
overthrown in which the decisions of law have no power, but are set
aside and overthrown by individuals?" What will be our answer, Crito,
to these and the like words? Any one, and especially a clever
rhetorician, will have a good deal to urge about the evil of setting
aside the law which requires a sentence to be carried out; and we
might reply, "Yes; but the state has injured us and given an unjust
sentence." Suppose I say that?

_Crito_: Very good, Socrates.

_Socrates_: "And was that our agreement with you?" the law would say;
"or were you to abide by the sentence of the state?" And if I were to
express astonishment at their saying this, the law would probably add:
"Answer, Socrates, instead of opening your eyes; you are in the habit
of asking and answering questions. Tell us what complaint you have to
make against us which justifies you in attempting to destroy us and
the state? In the first place, did we not bring you into existence?
Your father married your mother by our aid and begot you. Say whether
you have any objection to urge against those of us who regulate
marriage?" None, I should reply. "Or against those of us who regulate
the system of nurture and education of children in which you were
trained? Were not the laws, which have the charge of this, right in
commanding your father to train you in music and gymnastic?" Right, I
should say. "Well then, since you were brought into the world and
nurtured and educated by us, can you deny, in the first place, that
you are our child and slave, as your fathers were before you? And if
this is true, you are not on equal terms with us; nor can you think
that you have a right to do to us what we are doing to you. Would you
have any right to strike or revile or do any other evil to a father or
to your master, if you had one, when you have been struck or reviled
by him, or received some other evil at his hands? You would not say
this? And because we think right to destroy you, do you think that you
have any right to destroy us in return, and your country as far as in
you lies? And will you, O professor of true virtue, say that you are
justified in this? Has a philosopher like you failed to discover that
our country is more to be valued and higher and holier far than mother
or father or any master, and more to be regarded in the eyes of the
gods and of men of understanding; also to be soothed, and gently and
reverently entreated when angry, even more than a father, and if not
persuaded, obeyed? And when we are punished by her, whether with
imprisonment or stripes, the punishment is to be endured in silence;
and if she lead us to wounds or death in battle, thither we follow as
is right; neither may any one yield or retreat or leave his rank, but
whether in battle, or in a court of law, or in any other place, he
must do what his city and his country order him, or he must change
their view of what is just; and if he may do no violence to his father
or mother, much less may he do violence to his country." What answer
shall we make to this, Crito? Do the laws speak truly, or do they not?

_Crito_: I think that they do.

_Socrates_: Then the laws will say: "Consider, Socrates, if this is
true, that in your present attempt you are going to do us wrong. For,
after having brought you into the world, and nurtured and educated
you, and given you and every other citizen a share in every good that
we had to give, we further proclaim and give the right to every
Athenian that if he does not like us when he has come of age and has
seen the ways of the city, and made our acquaintance, he may go where
he pleases and take his goods with him; and none of our laws will
forbid him or interfere with him. Any of you who does not like us and
the city, and who wants to go to a colony or to any other city, may go
where he likes and take his goods with him. But he who has experience
of the manner in which we order justice and administer the state, and
still remains, has entered into an implied contract that he will do as
we command him. And he who disobeys us is, as we maintain, thrice
wrong; first, because in disobeying us he is disobeying his parents;
secondly, because we are the authors of his education; thirdly,
because he had made an agreement with us that he will duly obey our
commands; and he neither obeys them nor convinces us that our commands
are wrong; and we do not rudely impose them, but give him the
alternative of obeying or convincing us; that is what we offer, and he
does neither. These are the sort of accusations to which, as we were
saying, you, Socrates, will be exposed if you accomplish your
intentions; you above all other Athenians." Suppose I ask, why is
this? They will justly retort upon me that I above all other men have
acknowledged the agreement. "There is clear proof," they will say,
"Socrates, that we and the city were not displeasing to you. Of all
Athenians you have been the most constant resident in the city, which,
as you never leave, you may be supposed to love. For you never went
out of the city either to see the games, except once when you went to
the Isthmus, or to any other place unless when you were on military
service; nor did you travel as other men do. Nor have you any
curiosity to know other states or their laws; your affections did not
go beyond us and our state; we were your special favorites, and you
acquiesced in our government of you; and this is the state in which
you begot your children, which is a proof of your satisfaction.
Moreover, you might, if you had liked, have fixt the penalty at
banishment in the course of the trial--the state which refuses to let
you go now would have let you go then. But you pretended that you
preferred death to exile, and that you were not grieved at death. And
now you have forgotten these fine sentiments, and pay no respect to us
the laws, of which you are the destroyer, and are doing what only a
miserable slave would do, running away and turning your back upon the
compacts and agreements which you made as a citizen. And first of all
answer this very question: Are we right in saying that you agreed to
be governed according to us in deed, and not in word only? Is that
true or not?" How shall we answer that, Crito? Must we not agree?

_Crito_: There is no help, Socrates.

_Socrates_: Then will they not say: "You, Socrates, are breaking the
covenants and agreements which you made with us at your leisure, not
in any haste or under any compulsion or deception, but having had
seventy years to think of them, during which time you were at liberty
to leave the city, if we were not to your mind, or if our covenants
appeared to you to be unfair. You had your choice, and might have gone
either to Lacedæmon or Crete, which you often praise for their good
government, or to some other Hellenic or foreign state. Whereas you,
above all other Athenians, seemed to be so fond of the state, or, in
other words, of us her laws (for who would like a state that has no
laws?), that you never stirred out of her; the halt, the blind, the
maimed were not more stationary in her than you were. And now you run
away and forsake your agreements. Not so, Socrates, if you will take
our choice; do not make yourself ridiculous by escaping out of the

"For just consider, if you transgress and err in this sort of way,
what good will you do either to yourself or to your friends? That your
friends will be driven into exile and deprived of citizenship, or will
lose their property, is tolerably certain; and you yourself if you fly
to one of the neighboring cities, as, for example, Thebes or Megara,
both of which are well-governed cities, will come to them as an
enemy, Socrates, and their government will be against you, and all
patriotic citizens will cast an evil eye upon you as a subverter of
the laws, and you will confirm in the minds of the judges the justice
of their own condemnation of you. For he who is a corrupter of the
laws is more than likely to be a corrupter of the young and foolish
portion of mankind. Will you then flee from well-ordered cities and
virtuous men? and is existence worth having on these terms?...

"Listen, then, Socrates, to us who have brought you up. Think not of
life and children first, and of justice afterward, but of justice
first, that you may be justified before the princes of the world
below. For neither will you nor any that belong to you be happier or
holier or juster in this life, or happier in another, if you do as
Crito bids. Now you depart in innocence, a sufferer and not a doer of
evil; a victim, not of the laws, but of men. But if you go forth,
returning evil for evil, and injury for injury, breaking the covenants
and agreements which you have made with us, and wronging those whom
you ought least to wrong--that is to say, yourself, your friends, your
country, and us--we shall be angry with you while you live, and our
brethren, the laws in the world below, will receive you as an enemy;
for they will know that you have done your best to destroy us. Listen,
then, to us and not to Crito."

This is the voice which I seem to hear murmuring in my ears, like the
sound of the flute in the ears of the mystic; that voice, I say, is
humming in my ears, and prevents me from hearing any other. And I know
that anything more which you may say will be vain. Yet speak, if you
have anything to say.

_Crito_: I have nothing to say, Socrates.

_Socrates_: Then let me follow the intimations of the will of God.


[Footnote 71: From the "Crito," translated by Benjamin Jowett. Crito
was an influential and well-to-do citizen of Athens and a friend of
Socrates; but nothing more definite about him is known.]



"Me, already, as the tragic poet would say, the voice of fate calls.
Soon I must drink the poison; and I think that I had better repair to
the bath first, in order that the women may not have the trouble of
washing my body after I am dead."

When he had done speaking, Crito said: "And have you any commands for
us, Socrates--anything to say about your children or any other matter
in which we can serve you?"

"Nothing particular," he said; "only, as I have always told you, I
would have you to look to yourselves; that is a service which you may
always be doing to me and mine as well as to yourselves. And you need
not make professions; for if you take no thought for yourselves, and
walk not according to the precepts which I have given you, not now for
the first time, the warmth of your professions will be of no avail."

"We will do our best," said Crito. "But in what way would you have us
bury you?"

"In any way that you like; only you must get hold of me, and take care
that I do not walk away from you." Then he turned to us, and added
with a smile: "I can not make Crito believe that I am the same
Socrates who has been talking and conducting the argument; he fancies
that I am the other Socrates whom he will soon see a dead body--and he
asks, How shall he bury me? And tho I have spoken many words in the
endeavor to show that when I have drunk the poison I shall leave you
and go to the joys of the blest--these words of mine, with which I
comforted you and myself, have had, as I perceive, no effect upon
Crito. And therefore I want you to be surety for me now, as he was
surety for me at the trial: but let the promise be of another sort;
for he was my surety to the judges that I would remain, but you must
be my surety to him that I shall not remain, but go away and depart;
and then he will suffer less at my death, and not be grieved when he
sees my body being burned or buried. I would not have him sorrow at my
hard lot, or say at the burial, 'Thus we lay out Socrates,' or, 'Thus
we follow him to the grave or bury him'; for false words are not only
evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil. Be of good
cheer then, my dear Crito, and say that you are burying my body only,
and do with that as is usual, and as you think best."

When he had spoken these words, he arose and told us to wait until he
went into the bath-chamber with Crito; and we waited, talking and
thinking of the subject of discourse, and also of the greatness of
our sorrow: he was like a father of whom we were being bereaved, and
we were about to pass the rest of our lives as orphans. When he had
taken the bath, his children were brought to him--(he had two young
sons and an elder one); and the women of his family also came, and he
talked to them and gave them a few directions in the presence of
Crito; and he then dismissed them and returned to us.

Now the hour of sunset was near, for a good deal of time had passed
while he was within. When he came out, he sat down with us again after
his bath, but not much was said. Soon the jailer, who was the servant
of the eleven, entered and stood by him, saying: "To you, Socrates,
whom I know to be the noblest and gentlest and best of all who ever
came to this place, I will not impute the angry feelings of other men,
who rage and swear at me when, in obedience to the authorities, I bid
them drink the poison--indeed, I am sure that you will not be angry
with me; for others, as you are aware, and not I, are the guilty
cause. And so fare you well, and try to bear lightly what must needs
be; you know my errand." Then bursting into tears, he went out.

Socrates looked at him and said, "I return your good wishes, and will
do as you bid." Then turning to us, he said, "How charming the man is;
since I have been in prison he has always been coming to see me, and
at times he would talk to me, and was as good as could be, and now see
how generously he sorrows for me. But we must do as he says, Crito;
let the cup be brought if the poison is prepared; if not, let the
attendant prepare some."

"Yet," said Crito, "the sun is still upon the hilltops, and I know
that many a one has taken the draft late; and after the announcement
had been made to him, he has eaten and drunk, and enjoyed the society
of his beloved; do not hasten then; there is still time."

Socrates said: "Yes, Crito, and they of whom you speak are right in
doing thus, for they think that they will gain by the delay; but I am
right in not doing thus, for I do not think that I should gain
anything by drinking the poison a little later; I should be sparing
and saving a life which is already gone; I could only laugh at myself
for this. Please then to do as I say, and not to refuse me."

Crito made a sign to the servant, who was standing by; and he went
out, and after being absent for some time returned with the jailer
carrying the cup of poison. Socrates said: "You, my good friend, who
are experienced in these matters, shall give me the directions how I
am to proceed." The man answered: "You have only to walk about until
your legs are heavy, and then to lie down, and the poison will act."
At the same time he handed the cup to Socrates, who in the easiest and
gentlest manner, without the least fear or change of color or feature,
looking at the man with all his eyes, Echecrates,[73] as his manner
was, took the cup and said: "What do you say about making a libation
out of this cup to any god? May I or not?" The man answered: "We only
prepare, Socrates, just so much as we deem enough." "I understand,"
he said; "yet I may and must ask the gods to prosper my journey from
this to that other world--even so--and so be it according to my
prayer." Then holding the cup to his lips, quite readily and
cheerfully he drank off the poison. And hitherto most of us had been
able to control our sorrow; but now when we saw him drinking, and saw
too that he had finished the draft, we could no longer forbear, and in
spite of myself my own tears were flowing fast; so that I covered my
face and wept over myself, for certainly I was not weeping over him,
but at the thought of my own calamity in having lost such a friend.
Nor was I the first, for Crito, when he found himself unable to
restrain his tears, had got up and moved away, and I followed; and at
that moment, Apollodorus, who had been weeping all the time, broke out
into a loud and passionate cry which made cowards of us all. Socrates
alone retained his calmness: "What is this strange outcry?" he said.
"I sent away the women mainly in order that they might not offend in
this way, for I have heard that a man should die in peace. Be quiet
then, and have patience." When we heard that, we were ashamed, and
refrained our tears; and he walked about until, as he said, his legs
began to fail, and then he lay on his back, according to the
directions, and the man who gave him the poison now and then looked at
his feet and legs; and after a while he prest his foot hard and asked
him if he could feel; and he said, "No"; and then his leg, and so
upward and upward, and showed us that he was cold and stiff. And he
felt them himself, and said: "When the poison reaches the heart, that
will be the end." He was beginning to grow cold about the groin, when
he uncovered his face, for he had covered himself up, and said (they
were his last words)--"Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you
remember to pay the debt?" "The debt shall be paid," said Crito; "is
there anything else?" There was no answer to this question; but in a
minute or two a movement was heard, and the attendants uncovered him;
his eyes were set, and Crito closed his eyes and mouth.

Such was the end, Echecrates, of our friend, whom I may truly call the
wisest, and justest, and best of all the men whom I have ever known.


[Footnote 72: From the "Phædo." Translated by Benjamin Jowett.
Probably the "Phædo" is, of all Plato's writings, the most famous. Its
importance is ascribed by Mahaffy not only to what is said of
immortality, in passages which have "fascinated the thoughtful men of
all ages," but to the touching story of the last hours of Socrates.]

[Footnote 73: Echecrates seems to have been the Locrian philosopher to
whom Plato is believed to have gone for some of his early


Born in Stagira in 384 B.C.; died at Chalcis in Euboea in 322; the
most famous of Greek philosophers; went to Athens in his eighteenth
year as a pupil of Plato and remained there for twenty years; in 343
went to the Court of Macedon, where he undertook the education of
Alexander the Great, then thirteen years old; in 335 returned to
Athens and produced the greater part of his writings; afterward forced
to flee from Athens to Chalcis during an uprising against the
Macedonians; his numerous writings deal with all branches of science
known to his times; the first edition of the Greek text, that of Aldus
Manutius, published in 1495-98.[74]



Let it be laid down by us, that pleasure is a certain motion of the
soul, and a settlement of it, at once rapid and perceptible, into its
own proper nature; and that pain is the contrary. If then pleasure be
a thing of this nature, it is plain that whatever is productive of the
disposition I have described is pleasant; while everything of a
nature to destroy it, or produce a disposition the opposite to it, is

Generally speaking, therefore, it is necessary, both that the being in
progress toward a state conformable to nature should be pleasant; and
that, in the highest degree, when those feelings, whose original is
conformable to it, shall have recovered that their nature; and habits,
because that which is habitual becomes by that time natural, as it
were; for, in a certain way, custom is like nature, because the idea
of frequency is proximate to that of always; now nature belongs to the
idea of always, custom to that of often. What is not compulsory, also,
is pleasant; for compulsion is contrary to nature. Wherefore acts of
necessity are painful; and it has been truly remarked, "Every act of
necessity is in its nature painful." It must be also that a state of
sedulous attention, anxiety, the having the mind on the stretch, are
painful, for they all are acts of necessity, and constrained, unless
they have become habitual; but it is custom which, under such
circumstances, renders them pleasant. The contraries of these must
also be pleasant; wherefore, relaxation of mind, leisure,
listlessness, amusements, and intervals of rest, rank in the class of
things pleasant; for none of these has anything to do with necessity.
Everything of which there is an innate appetite, is pleasant; for
appetite is a desire of what is pleasant.

Now, of appetites, some are irrational, others attended by reason. I
call all those irrational which men desire, not from any conception
which they form: of this kind are all which are said to exist
naturally, as those of the body; thirst or hunger, for instance, in
the case of sustenance; and the appetite of sustenance in every kind.
And the appetites connected with objects of taste, and of lust, and,
in fact, objects of touch generally; the appetite of fragrant odors,
too, as connected with smelling, and hearing, and sight. Appetites
attended by reason are all those whatsoever which men exercise from a
persuasion: for many things there are which they desire to behold, and
possess, on hearsay and persuasion. Now, as the being pleased stands
in the perception of a certain affection, and as imagination is a kind
of faint perception, there will attend on him who exercises either
memory or hope a kind of imagination of that which is the object of
his memory or hope; but if so, it is plain that they who exercise
memory or hope, certainly feel pleasure, since they have also a
perception. So that everything pleasant consists either in the
perception of present objects, or in the remembrance of those which
have already been, or in the hope of such as are yet to be; for men
exercise perception on present, memory on past, and hope on future
objects. Now the objects of memory are pleasant, not only such as at
the moment while present were pleasant, but some even which were not
pleasant, should their consequence subsequently be honorable and good;
and hence this saying, "But it is indeed pleasant for a man, when
preserved, to remember his toils"; and this, "For after his
sufferings, a man who has suffered much, and much achieved, is
gladdened at the recollection." But the reason of this is, that to be
exempt from evil is pleasant. And all objects are pleasant in hope,
which appear by their presence either to delight or benefit in a great
degree; or to benefit, without giving pain. In a word, whatever
objects by their presence delight us, do so, generally speaking, as we
hope for, or remember them. On which account, too, the feeling of
anger is pleasant; just as Homer has remarked of anger in his poem,
"That which with sweetness far greater than distilling honey as it
drops"; for there is no one who feels anger where the object seems
impracticable to his revenge; nor with those far their superiors in
power do men feel anger at all, or if they do, it is in a less degree.

There is also a kind of pleasure consequent on most appetites; for
either in the recollection that they have enjoyed them, or in the hope
that they shall enjoy them, men are affected and delighted by a
certain pleasure: thus men possest by fevers feel delight, amid their
thirst, as well at the remembrance how they used to drink, as at the
hope of drinking yet again. Lovers, too, feel delight in conversing,
writing, and composing something, ever about the object beloved;
because, in all those energies, they have a perception, as it were, of
the object they love. And this is in all cases a criterion of the
commencement of love, when persons feel pleasure not only in the
presence of the object, but are enamored also of it when absent, on
memory; wherefore, even when pain arises at absence, nay in the midst
of mourning, and the very dirge of death, there yet arises within us a
certain pleasure. For the pain is felt because the object is not
present; but the pleasure consists in remembering and seeing, as it
were, both the person, and what he used to do, and the kind of
character of which he was. Whence has it been said, and with
probability enough, "Thus spake he, and excited within them all a
desire of lamentation." Also the avenging oneself is pleasant; for the
getting of that is pleasant, the failing to get which is painful: now
the angry do feel pain in an excessive degree if they be not avenged;
but in the hope of revenge they take pleasure.

Again, to overcome is pleasant, not to the ambitious only, but even to
all; for there arises an imagination of superiority, for which all,
either in a faint or more violent degree, have an appetite. But since
to overcome is pleasant, it must follow, of course, that amusements
where there is field for rivalry, as those of music and disputations,
are pleasant; for it frequently occurs, in the course of these, that
we overcome; also chess, ball, dice, and drafts.

Again, it is the same with respect to amusements where a lively
interest is taken; for, of these, some become pleasant as accustomed
to them; others are pleasant at first; for instance, hunting and every
kind of sporting; for where there is rivalry, there is also victory;
on which principle the disputations of the bar and of the schools are
pleasant to those who have become accustomed to them, and have
abilities. Also honor and good character are most pleasant, by reason
that an idea arises, that one is such as is the good man; and this in
a greater degree should those people pronounce one such who he thinks
speak truth: such are those immediately about one, rather than those
who are more removed; familiar friends, and acquaintances, and one's
fellow citizens, rather than those who are at a distance; the present,
rather than a future generation; a man of practical wisdom, rather
than a mere ignoramus; many, than a few; for it is more likely that
these I have mentioned will adhere to the truth, than that the
opposite characters will: since one has no anxiety about the honor or
the opinion of such as one greatly despises, children and animals, for
instance, not at least for the sake of such opinion itself; but if one
is anxious about it, then it is on account of something else.

A friend, too, ranks among things pleasant; for the affection of love
is pleasant; since there is no lover of wine who does not delight in
wine: also the having affection felt toward one is pleasant; for there
is in this case also an idea of one's being an excellent person, which
all who have any sensibility to it are desirous of; now the having
affection felt for you is the being beloved yourself, on your own
account. Also the being held in admiration is pleasant, on the very
account of being honored by it. Flattery and the flatterer are
pleasant; since the flatterer is a seeming admirer and a seeming
friend. To continue the same course of action is also pleasant; for
what is habitual was laid down to be pleasant. To vary is also
pleasant; for change is an approach to what is natural: for sameness
produces an excess of a stated habit; whence it has been said, "In
everything change is pleasant." For on this principle, whatever occurs
at intervals of time is pleasant, whether persons or things; for it is
a variation of present objects; and at the same time that which
occurs merely at intervals possesses the merit of rarity. Also
learning and admiration, generally speaking, are pleasant; for under
admiration exists a desire [to learn], so that what is admired is
desired; and in the act of learning there is a settlement into a state
conformable to nature. To benefit and to be benefited are also of the
number of pleasant things; for to be benefited is to get what people
desire; but to benefit is to possess and abound; things, the both of
which men desire. And because a tendency to beneficence is pleasant,
it is also pleasant to a man to set his neighbor on his legs again,
and to put a finish to that which was deficient in some particular.



He who proposes to make the fitting inquiry as to which form of
government is the best, ought first to determine what manner of living
is most eligible; for while this remains uncertain, it will also be
equally uncertain what government is best. For, unless some unexpected
accident interfere, it is probable that those who enjoy the best
government will live best according to existing circumstances; he
ought, therefore, first to come to some agreement as to the manner of
life which, so to speak, is most desirable for all; and afterward,
whether this life is the same or different in the individual and the
member of a state.

Deeming then that we have already sufficiently shown what sort of life
is best, in our popular discourses on that subject, we must now make
use of what we there said. Certainly no one ever called in question
the propriety of one of the divisions; namely, that as there are three
kinds of things good for man, which are, what is external, what
belongs to the body, and to the soul, it is evident that all these
must conspire to make men truly happy. For no one would say that a man
was happy who had nothing of fortitude or temperance, justice or
prudence, but was afraid of the flies that flew round him; or who
would abstain from nothing, if he chanced to be desirous of meat or
drink, or who would murder his dearest friend for a farthing; or, in
like manner, one who was in every particular as wanting and misguided
in his understanding as an infant or a maniac. These truths are so
evident that all must agree to them, tho some may dispute about the
quantity and the degree: for they may think, that a very little amount
of virtue is sufficient for happiness; but as to riches, property,
power, honor, and all such things, they endeavor to increase them
without bounds. But to such we say, that it is easy to prove, from
what experience teaches us concerning these cases, that it is not
through these external goods that men acquire virtue, but through
virtue that they acquire them. As to a happy life, whether it is to be
found in pleasure or in virtue, or in both, certain it is that it
belongs more frequently to those whose morals are most pure, and whose
understandings are best cultivated, and who preserve moderation in
the acquisition of external goods, than to those who possess a
sufficiency of external good things, but are deficient in the rest.

And that such is the case will be clearly seen by any one who views
the matter with reflection. For whatsoever is external has its
boundary, as a machine; and whatsoever is useful is such that its
excess is either necessarily hurtful, or at best useless to the
possessor. But every good quality of the soul, the higher it is in
degree, becomes much the more useful, if it is permitted on this
subject to adopt the word "useful" as well as "noble." It is also
evident that the best disposition of each thing will follow in the
same proportion of excess, as the things themselves, of which we allow
they are accidents, differ from each other in value. So that if the
soul is more noble than any outward possession, or than the body, both
in itself and with respect to us, it must be admitted, of course, that
the best disposition of each must follow the same analogy. Besides, it
is for the sake of the soul that these things are desirable, and it is
on this account that wise men should desire them, and not the soul for

Let us therefore be well agreed that so much of happiness falls to the
lot of every one as he possesses of virtue and wisdom, and in
proportion as he acts according to their dictates; since for this we
have the example of the God Himself, who is completely happy, not from
any external good, but in Himself, and because He is such by nature.
For good fortune is something of necessity different from happiness,
as every external good of the soul is produced by chance or by
fortune; but it is not from fortune that any one is just or wise.
Hence it follows, as established by the same reasoning, that the state
which is best, and acts best, will be happy: for no one can fare well
who acts not well; nor can the actions either of man or city be
praiseworthy without virtue and wisdom. For valor, justice and wisdom
have in a state the same force and form as in individuals; and it is
only as he shares in these virtues that each man is said to be just,
wise, and prudent.


[Footnote 74: Aristotle has been recognized as a great name in the
classic literature of Greece, but this, as Mahaffy points out, is
rather as a critic than as a man of letters in the narrow sense of the
word. Physically he was unattractive. In his day he was thought ugly.
His features were small and his legs thin. A sitting portrait of him,
now preserved in Rome, shows a refined and careworn, tho somewhat hard
face, in which thought and perhaps bodily suffering have drawn deep
furrows. His writings are said to have numbered about four hundred.]

[Footnote 75: From Book I of the "Rhetoric." Translated by Theodore

[Footnote 76: From Book VII of the "Politics." Translated by Edward



But as to man, the first object of his care should be respecting a
wife; for the society which exists between the male and female is
above all others natural. For it is laid down by us elsewhere, that
nature aims at producing many such creatures as the several kinds of
animals; but it is impossible for the female to accomplish this
without the male, or the male without the female, so that the society
between them exists of necessity. In all other animals indeed, this
association is irrational, and exists only so far as they possess a
natural instinct, and for the sake of procreation alone. But in the
milder and more intelligent animals, this bond more nearly approaches
perfection; for there seem to be in them more signs of mutual
assistance and good-will, and of cooperation with each other. But this
is especially the case with man, because the male and female here
cooperate not only for the sake of existence, but of living happily.
And the procreation of children is a means not only of subserving
nature, but also of solid benefit; for the labor which they expend
during their season of vigor upon their helpless young is given back
to them in the decay of age, from their children who are then in

And at the same time, by this continual cycle, nature provides for the
continuance of the race as a species, since she can not do so
numerically. Thus divinely predisposed toward such a society is the
nature of both the male and the female. For the sexes are at once
divided, in that neither of them have powers adequate for all
purposes, nay, in some respects even opposite to each other, tho they
tend to the same end. For nature has made the one sex stronger and the
other weaker, that the one by reason of fear may be more adapted to
preserve property, while the other, by reason of its fortitude, may be
disposed to repel assaults; and that the one may provide things
abroad, while the other preserves them at home. And with respect to
labor, the one is by nature capable of attending to domestic duties,
but weak as to matters out-of-doors; the other is ill-adapted to works
where repose is necessary, but able to perform those which demand
exercise. And with respect to children, the bearing of them belongs to
one sex, but the advantage of them is common to both; for the one has
to rear them, and the other to educate them....

A good and perfect wife ought to be mistress of everything within the
house, and to have the care of everything according to fixt laws;
allowing no one to come in unbidden by her husband, and especially
keeping on her guard against everything which can be noised abroad
relating to a woman's dishonor. So that if any mischance has happened
within doors, she alone ought to know about it; but when those who
have come in have done anything wrong, the husband should bear the
blame. And she should manage the expenses laid out upon such festivals
as her husband has agreed with her in keeping, and make an outlay of
clothes and other ornaments on a somewhat lesser scale than is
encouraged by the laws of the state; considering that neither splendor
of vestments, nor preeminence of beauty, nor the amount of gold,
contributes so much to the commendation of a woman as good management
in domestic affairs, and a noble and comely manner of life; since all
such array of the soul is far more lovely, and has greater force (than
anything besides), to provide herself and her children true ornament
till old age.

A wife therefore ought to inspire herself with confidence, and
perpetually to be at the head of domestic affairs. For it is unseemly
for a man to know all that goes on in the house; in all respects
indeed she ought to be obedient to her husband, and not to busy
herself about public affairs, nor to take part in matrimonial
concerns. And when it is time to give his daughters in marriage, or to
get wives for his sons, by all means in these respects she should obey
her husband. And she ought to show herself a fellow counsellor to her
husband, so as to assent to what pleases him, remembering that it is
less unseemly for a husband to take in hand domestic matters, than for
a wife to busy herself in affairs out-of-doors. But the well-ordered
wife will justly consider the behavior of her husband as a model of
her own life, and a law to herself, invested with a divine sanction by
means of the marriage tie and the community of life. For if she can
persuade herself to bear her husband's ways patiently, she will most
easily manage matters in the house; but if she can not, she will have
greater difficulty. So that it will be seemly for her to show herself
of one mind with her husband, and tractable, not only when her husband
is in good luck and prosperity, but also when he is in misfortune; and
when good fortune has failed him or sickness has laid hold of his
bodily frame, or when he has been deprived of his senses, she ought
gently and sympathetically to yield in any matter which is not base
and unworthy; but if her husband has been ailing and made a mistake,
she ought not to keep it on her mind, but to lay the blame on disease
or ignorance....

But the husband in his turn should find out certain laws to regulate
his treatment of his wife, as one who entered the house of her husband
to share his children and his life, and to leave him a progeny
destined to bear the names of her husband's parents and her own. And
what in the world could there be more holy than these ties? or what is
there about which a man in his sound sense could strive more earnestly
than to beget the children who shall hereafter nurse his declining
years, from the best and most praiseworthy of wives; for they are to
be, as it were, the best and most pious preservers of their father and
mother, and guardians of the entire family. For it is probable that
they will turn out good, if they have been reared uprightly by their
parents in the habitual practise of what is just and holy but if the
contrary should be the case, they will suffer the loss themselves. For
unless parents afford their children a fit pattern of life, they will
leave them an obvious excuse to quote against themselves. And this is
to be feared, that if they have not lived well, their sons will
disregard them, and neglect them in their old age.

On this account nothing is to be omitted which tends to the fit
education of a bride, so that the children may be born of the best
possible mother. For the husbandman neglects nothing so as to cast his
seed upon the richest and best wrought ground, considering that it is
from such a soil that he will hereafter reap the fairest fruits; and
if any violence threatens, he fights against his enemy, and
deliberately chooses to die rather than endure to see it ravaged; and
such a disposition as this is praised by most persons. And as such is
the care which is spent by us on the support of our bodies, what
manner of men ought we to show ourselves on behalf of our children and
of the mother that is to rear them? Ought we not most readily to
strain every nerve? For in this way alone does the constitution of
man's nature, which is mortal, attain to prosperity, and the prayers
of parents all tend to this one end. And hence, whoever cares not for
this is sure to be regardless of the gods.

It was for the sake of the gods, then, who were present to him when
he offered the marriage sacrifice, that he not only took to himself a
wife, but also (what is far more) gave himself over to his bride to
honor her next to his own parents. But that which is most precious in
the eyes of a prudent wife is to see her husband preserving himself
entirely for her, thinking of no other woman in comparison with her,
and regarding herself, above all other women, as peculiarly his own,
and faithful toward him. For in proportion as a wife perceives that
she is faithfully and justly cared for, so much the more will she
exert her energies to show herself such. Whoever therefore is prudent
will not fail to remember with how much honor it becomes him to
requite his parents, his wife, and his children, in order that he may
gain the name of one who is just and upright in distributing to each
their due. For every one is indignant beyond measure at being deprived
of that which belongs to himself in a peculiar manner; and there is no
one who is content at being deprived of his own property, tho one were
to give him plenty of his neighbor's goods. And in very truth nothing
is so peculiarly the property of a wife as a chaste and hallowed

And hence it would not befit a prudent man to cast his seed wherever
chance might take it, lest children should be born to him from a bad
and base stock, on an equality with his legitimate sons; and by this
the wife is robbed of her conjugal rights, the children are injured,
and above all, the husband himself is enveloped in disgrace. He ought
therefore to approach his wife with much self-restraint and decency,
and to maintain modesty in his words, and in his deeds a regard to
what is lawful and honest, and in his intercourse he should be true
and discreet. And to little errors, even tho they be voluntary, he
ought to vouchsafe pardon; and if she has made any mistake through
ignorance, he ought to advise her, and not to inspire her with fear,
except such as is accompanied with reverence and respect. For such
treatment would be more suited to mistresses at the hands of their
gallants. Yet, nevertheless, justly to love her husband with reverence
and respect, and to be loved in turn, is that which befits a wife of
gentle birth, as to her intercourse with her own husband. For fear is
of two kinds; the one kind is reverent and full of respect; such is
that which good sons exhibit toward their parents, and well-ordered
citizens toward those who rule them in a kindly spirit. But the other
kind is attended by hatred and aversion: such is that which slaves
feel toward their masters, and citizens toward unjust and lawless

Furthermore, the husband ought to choose the best course out of all
that we have said above, and so to conciliate his wife to himself, and
to make her trustworthy and well disposed, as that whether her husband
be present or absent, she will be equally good, while he can turn his
attention to public matters: so that even in his absence she may feel
that no one is better, nor more suited to herself, nor more nearly
bound to her, than her own husband: and that he may always direct his
energies to the public good, and show from the very first that such is
the case, even tho she may be very young and quite inexperienced in
such matters. For if the husband should ever begin such a course of
conduct as this, and show himself to be perfect master of himself, he
would be the best guide of the entire course of his life, and he would
teach his wife to adopt a similar mode of action.


[Footnote 77: From Book I of the "Economics." Translated by Edward



Since we have spoken of the virtues, of the different kinds of
friendships, and of pleasures, it remains that we should discuss the
subject of happiness in outline, since we assumed this to be the end
of human actions. Therefore, if we recapitulate what has been said
before, the argument will be more concise.

We have said that it is not a habit; for if it were, it might exist in
a man who slept throughout his life, living the life of a plant, and
suffering the greatest misfortunes. If, then, this does not please us,
but if we must rather bring it under a kind of energy, as was said
before; and if, of energies, some are necessary and eligible for the
sake of something else, others are eligible for their own sakes; it is
plain that we must consider happiness as one of those which are
eligible for their own sakes, and not one of those which are eligible
for the sake of something else; for happiness is in want of nothing,
but is self-sufficient. Now those energies are eligible for their own
sakes from which nothing more is sought for beyond the energy. But of
this kind, actions done according to virtue seem to be: for the
performance of honorable and good acts is among things eligible for
their own sakes. And of amusements, those are eligible for their own
sakes which are pleasant: for men do not choose these for the sake of
anything else: for they are rather injured by them than benefited,
since they neglect their persons and property. But the majority of
those who are called happy fly to such pastimes as these; and,
therefore, those who have a happy turn for such pastimes as these are
in favor with tyrants; for they make themselves agreeable in those
things which tyrants desire; and such are the men they want.

These things are thought to belong to happiness, because those who are
in power pass their leisure in them. But such men are perhaps no
proof; for neither virtue nor intellect consists in having power, and
from these two good energies proceed; nor if those, who have never
tasted pure and liberal pleasure, fly to bodily pleasures, must we
therefore think that these pleasures are more eligible; for children
think those things which are esteemed by them the best. It is
reasonable, therefore, to suppose, that as the things which appear
honorable to children and men differ, so also those which appear so to
the bad and the good will differ likewise, and therefore, as we have
very often said, those things are honorable and pleasant which are so
to the good man. But to every man that energy is most eligible which
is according to his proper habit; and, therefore, to the good man,
that is most eligible which is according to virtue.

Consequently happiness does not consist in amusement; for it is absurd
that the end should be amusement; and that men should toil and suffer
inconvenience all their life long for the sake of amusement; for we
choose everything, as we might say, for the sake of something else,
except happiness; for that is an end. But to be serious and to labor
for the sake of amusement appears foolish and very childish. But to
amuse ourselves in order that we may be serious, as Anacharsis said,
seems to be right: for amusement resembles relaxation. Relaxation,
therefore, is not the end, for we have recourse to it for the sake of
the energy. But the happy life seems to be according to virtue; and
this is serious, and does not consist in amusement. We say also that
serious things are better than those which are ridiculous and joined
with amusement; and that the energy of the better part and of the
better man is more serious; and the energy of the better man is at
once superior, and more tending to happiness. Besides, any person
whatever, even a slave, may enjoy bodily pleasures no less than the
best man; but no one allows that a slave partakes of happiness except
so far as that he partakes of life: for happiness does not consist in
such modes of passing life, but in energies according to virtue, as
has been said already.

If happiness be an energy according to virtue, it is reasonable to
suppose that it is according to the best virtue; and this must be the
virtue of the best part of man. Whether, then, this best part be the
intellect, or something else--which is thought naturally to bear rule
and to govern, and to possess ideas upon honorable and divine
subjects, or whether it is itself divine, or the most divine of any
property which we possess; the energy of this part according to its
proper virtue must be perfect happiness: and that this energy is
contemplative has been stated. This also would seem to agree with what
was said before, and with the truth: for this energy is the noblest;
since the intellect is the noblest thing within us, and of subjects of
knowledge, those are noblest with which the intellect is conversant.

It is also most continuous; for we are better able to contemplate
continuously than to do anything else continuously. We think also that
pleasure must be united to happiness: but of all the energies
according to virtue, that according to wisdom is confessedly the most
pleasant: at any rate, wisdom seems to contain pleasures worthy of
admiration, both in point of purity and stability: and it is
reasonable to suppose that his mode of life should be pleasanter to
those who know it than to those who are only seeking it. Again, that
which is called self-sufficiency must be most concerned with
contemplative happiness; for both the wise man and the just, and all
others, need the necessaries of life; but supposing them to be
sufficiently supplied with such goods, the just man requires persons
toward whom and with whom he may act justly; and in like manner the
temperate man, and the brave man, and so on with all the rest. But the
wise man, if even by himself, is able to contemplate; and the more so
the wiser he is; perhaps he will energize better, if he has
cooperators, but nevertheless he is most self-sufficient. This would
seem also to be the only energy which is loved for its own sake; for
it has no result beyond the act of contemplation; but from the active
energies, we gain more or less beyond the performance of the action.

Happiness seems also to consist in leisure; for we are busy in order
that we may have leisure; and we go to war in order that we may be at
peace. Now the energies of the active virtues are exerted in political
or military affairs; and the actions with respect to these are thought
to allow of no leisure. Certainly military actions altogether exclude
it; for no one chooses war, nor makes preparations for war for the
sake of war; for a man would be thought perfectly defiled with blood,
if he made his friends enemies in order that there might be battles
and massacres. The energy of the statesman is also without leisure;
and besides the actual administration of the state, the statesman
seeks to gain power and honors, or at least happiness for himself and
his fellow citizens, different from the happiness of the state, which
we are in search of, clearly as being different.

If, then, of all courses of action which are according to the virtues,
those which have to do with politics and war excel in beauty and
greatness; and these have no leisure, and aim at some end, and are not
chosen for their own sakes; but the energy of the intellect is thought
to be superior in intensity, because it is contemplative; and to aim
at no end beyond itself, and to have a pleasure properly belonging to
it; and if this increases the energy; and if self-sufficiency, and
leisure, and freedom from cares (as far as anything human can be
free), and everything which is attributed to the happy man, evidently
exist in this energy; then this must be the perfect happiness of man,
when it attains the end of life complete; for nothing is incomplete of
those things which belong to happiness.

But such a life would be better than man could attain to; for he would
live thus, not so far forth as he is man, but as there is in him
something divine. But so far as this divine part surpasses the whole
compound nature, so far does its energy surpass the energy which is
according to all other virtue. If, then, the intellect be divine when
compared with man, the life also, which is in obedience to that, will
be divine when compared with human life. But a man ought not to
entertain human thoughts, as some would advise, because he is human,
nor mortal thoughts, because he is mortal: but as far as it is
possible he should make himself immortal, and do everything with a
view to living in accordance with the best principle in him; altho it
be small in size, yet in power and value it is far more excellent than
all. Besides, this would seem to be each man's "self," if it really is
the ruling and the better part. It would be absurd, therefore, if a
man were to choose not his own life, but the life of some other thing.
And what was said before will apply now; for that which peculiarly
belongs to each by nature is best and most pleasant to every one; and
consequently to man, the life according to intellect is most pleasant,
if intellect especially constitutes Man. This life, therefore, is the
most happy.


[Footnote 78: From Book X of the "Nicomachean Ethics." Translated by
R. W. Browne.]


     Born in Megalopolis in Greece, in 204 B.C.; died about 125;
     celebrated as an historian; entered the service of the
     Achæan League; taken to Rome about 169 as a political
     prisoner, becoming a friend of Scipio the younger; later
     engaged in settling the affairs of Achaia; went to Egypt in
     181 as an ambassador of the Achæan League; of his history of
     Rome in forty books, five only have been preserved



(216 B.C.)

When the news arrived at Rome that the two armies were face to face,
and that skirmishes between advanced parties of both sides were daily
taking place, the city was in a state of high excitement and
uneasiness; the people dreading the result, owing to the disasters
which had now befallen them on more than one occasion; and foreseeing
and anticipating in their imaginations what would happen if they were
utterly defeated. All the oracles preserved at Rome were in
everybody's mouth; and every temple and house was full of prodigies
and miracles: in consequence of which the city was one scene of vows,
sacrifices, supplicatory processions, and prayers. For the Romans in
times of danger take extraordinary pains to appease gods and men, and
look upon no ceremony of that kind in such times as unbecoming or
beneath their dignity.

When he took over the command on the following day, as soon as the sun
was above the horizon, Gaius Terentius[81] got the army in motion from
both the camps. Those from the larger camp he drew up in order of
battle, as soon as he had got them across the river, and bringing up
those of the smaller camp he placed them all in the same line,
selecting the south as the aspect of the whole. The Roman horse he
stationed on the right wing along the river, and their foot next them
in the same line, placing the maniples, however, closer together than
usual, and making the depth of each maniple several times greater than
its front. The cavalry of the allies he stationed on the left wing,
and the light-armed troops he placed slightly in advance of the whole
army, which amounted with its allies to eighty thousand infantry and a
little more than six thousand horse. At the same time Hannibal brought
his Balearic slingers and spearmen across the river, and stationed
them in advance of his main body; which he led out of their camp,
and, getting them across the river at two spots, drew them up opposite
the enemy. On his left wing, close to the river, he stationed the
Iberian and Celtic horse opposite the Roman cavalry; and next to them
half the Libyan heavy-armed foot; and next to them the Iberian and
Celtic foot; next, the other half of the Libyans, and, on the right
wing, the Numidian horse. Having now got them all into line, he
advanced with the central companies of the Iberians and Celts; and so
arranged the other companies next these in regular gradations that the
whole line became crescent-shaped, diminishing in depth toward its
extremities: his object being to have his Libyans as a reserve in the
battle, and to commence the action with his Iberians and Celts.

The armor of the Libyans was Roman, for Hannibal had armed them with a
selection of the spoils taken in previous battles. The shield of the
Iberians and Celts was about the same size, but their swords were
quite different. For that of the Roman can thrust with as deadly
effects as it can cut, while the Gallic sword can only cut, and that
requires some room. And the companies coming alternately--the naked
Celts, and the Iberians with their short linen tunics bordered with
purple stripes, the whole appearance of the line was strange and
terrifying. The whole strength of the Carthaginian cavalry was ten
thousand, but that of their foot was not more than forty thousand,
including the Celts. Æmilius[82] commanded on the Roman right, Gaius
Terentius on the left, Marcus Atilius and Gnæus Servilius, the Consuls
of the previous year, on the center. The left of the Carthaginians
was commanded by Hasdrubal,[83] the right by Hanno,[84] the center by
Hannibal in person, attended by his brother Mago. And as the Roman
line faced the south, as I said before, and the Carthaginian the
north, the rays of the rising sun did not inconvenience either of

The battle was begun by an engagement between the advanced guard of
the two armies; and at first the affair between these light-armed
troops was indecisive. But as soon as the Iberian and Celtic cavalry
got at the Romans, the battle began in earnest, and in the true
barbaric fashion: for there was none of the usual formal advance and
retreat; but when they once got to close quarters, they grappled man
to man, and, dismounting from their horses, fought on foot. But when
the Carthaginians had got the upper hand in this encounter and killed
most of their opponents on the ground--because the Romans all
maintained the fight with spirit and determination--and began chasing
the remainder along the river, slaying as they went and giving no
quarter; then the legionaries took the place of the light-armed and
closed with the enemy. For a short time the Iberian and Celtic lines
stood their ground and fought gallantly; but, presently overpowered by
the weight of the heavy-armed lines, they gave way and retired to the
rear, thus breaking up the crescent. The Roman maniples followed with
spirit, and easily cut their way through the enemy's line; since the
Celts had been drawn up in a thin line, while the Romans had closed up
from the wings toward the center and the point of danger. For the two
wings did not come into action at the same time as the center: but the
center was first engaged because the Gauls, having been stationed on
the arc of the crescent, had come into contact with the enemy long
before the wings, the convex of the crescent being toward the enemy.
The Romans, however, going in pursuit of these troops, and hastily
closing in toward the center and the part of the enemy which was
giving ground, advanced so far that the Libyan heavy-armed troops on
either wing got on their flanks. Those on the right, facing to the
left, charged from the right upon the Roman flank; while those who
were on the left wing faced to the right, and, dressing by the left,
charged their right flank, the exigency of the moment suggesting to
them what they ought to do. Thus it came about, as Hannibal had
planned, that the Romans were caught between two hostile lines of
Libyans--thanks to their impetuous pursuit of the Celts. Still they
fought, tho no longer in line, yet singly or in maniples, which faced
about to meet those who charged them on the flanks.

Tho he had been from the first on the right wing, and had taken part
in the cavalry engagement, Lucius Æmilius still survived. Determined
to act up to his own exhortatory speech, and seeing that the decision
of the battle rested mainly on the legionaries, riding up to the
center of the line he led the charge himself, and personally grappled
with the enemy, at the same time cheering on and exhorting his
soldiers to the charge. Hannibal, on the other side, did the same, for
he too had taken his place on the center from the commencement. The
Numidian horse on the Carthaginian right were meanwhile charging the
cavalry on the Roman left; and tho, from the peculiar nature of their
mode of fighting, they neither inflicted nor received much harm, they
yet rendered the enemy's horse useless by keeping them occupied, and
charging them first on one side and then on another. But when
Hasdrubal, after all but annihilating the cavalry by the river, came
from the left to the support of the Numidians, the Roman allied
cavalry, seeing his charge approaching, broke and fled.

At that point Hasdrubal appears to have acted with great skill and
discretion. Seeing the Numidians to be strong in numbers, and more
effective and formidable to troops that had once been forced from
their ground, he left the pursuit to them; while he himself hastened
to the part of the field where the infantry were engaged, and brought
his men up to support the Libyans. Then, by charging the Roman legions
on the rear, and harassing them by hurling squadron after squadron
upon them at many points at once, he raised the spirits of the
Libyans, and dismayed and deprest those of the Romans. It was at this
point that Lucius Æmilius fell, in the thick of the fight, covered
with wounds: a man who did his duty to his country at the last hour of
his life, as he had throughout its previous years, if any man ever
did. As long as the Romans could keep an unbroken front, to turn first
in one direction and then in another to meet the assaults of the
enemy, they held out; but the outer files of the circle continually
falling, and the circle becoming more and more contracted, they at
last were all killed on the field; and among them Marcus Atilius and
Gnæus Servilius, the Consuls of the previous year, who had shown
themselves brave men and worthy of Rome in the battle. While this
struggle and carnage were going on, the Numidian horse were pursuing
the fugitives, most of whom they cut down or hurled from their horses;
but some few escaped into Venusia, among whom was Gaius Terentius, the
Consul, who thus sought a flight, as disgraceful to himself, as his
conduct in office had been disastrous to his country.

Such was the end of the battle of Cannæ,[85] in which both sides
fought with the most conspicuous gallantry, the conquered no less than
the conquerors. This is proved by the fact that, out of six thousand
horse, only seventy escaped with Gaius Terentius to Venusia, and about
three hundred of the allied cavalry to various towns in the
neighborhood. Of the infantry ten thousand were taken prisoners in
fair fight, but were not actually engaged in the battle: of those who
were actually engaged only about three thousand perhaps escaped to the
towns of the surrounding district; all the rest died nobly, to the
number of seventy thousand, the Carthaginians being on this occasion,
as on previous ones, mainly indebted for their victory to their
superiority in cavalry: a lesson to posterity that in actual war it is
better to have half the number of infantry, and the superiority in
cavalry, than to engage your enemy with an equality in both. On the
side of Hannibal there fell four thousand Celts, fifteen hundred
Iberians and Libyans, and about two hundred horse....

The result of this battle, such as I have described it, had the
consequences which both sides expected. For the Carthaginians by their
victory were thenceforth masters of nearly the whole of the Italian
coast which is called _Magna Græcia_. Thus the Tarentines immediately
submitted; and the Arpani and some of the Campanian states invited
Hannibal to come to them; and the rest were with one consent turning
their eyes to the Carthaginians: who, accordingly, began now to have
high hopes of being able to carry even Rome itself by assault.


[Footnote 79: Polybius, who, as will be noted, belongs to a period two and
a half centuries later than the greatest Greek historians--Herodotus,
Thucydides and Xenophon--is classed by Mahaffy as "the soberest and most
valuable" of those who wrote with masters as their models. While he has
suffered from the fate of all imitators, his work is "of the highest value
to the historian, as a long series of approving critics has amply shown."
He has never been read as a stylist, "nor could he be said to form a part
of the classical literature of Greece."]

[Footnote 80: From Book IV of the "Histories." Translated by Evelyn S.
Shuckburgh. In this battle Hannibal had about 50,000 men, and the
Romans about 80,000.]

[Footnote 81: Gaius Terentius Varro, who was then Consul and died
later than 200 B.C.]

[Footnote 82: Lucius Æmilius Paulus was then Consul.]

[Footnote 83: Hannibal's brother, who, nine years later, crossed the
Alps and was killed in battle by the Romans. It was a tradition in
Rome that Hasdrubal's head, severed from his body, was sent to

[Footnote 84: The younger brother of Hannibal, who in 200 B.C. was
defeated by Scipio at Silpia.]

[Footnote 85: The site of Cannæ in Apulia, southern Italy, near the
Adriatic shore, lies on the bank of the river Aufidus, now called the



When the news had arrived at Rome that Hannibal had encamped over
against their lines, and was actually besieging their forces, there
was a universal excitement and terror, from a feeling that the result
of the impending battle would decide the whole war. Consequently, with
one heart and soul, the citizens had all devoted themselves to
sending out reenforcements and making preparations for this struggle.
On their part, the Capuans were encouraged by the receipt of
Hannibal's letter, and by thus learning the object of the Carthaginian
movement, to stand by their determination, and to await the issue of
this new hope. At the end of the fifth day, therefore, after his
arrival on the ground, Hannibal ordered his men to take their supper
as usual, and leave their watch-fires burning; and started with such
secrecy that none of the enemy knew what was happening. He took the
road through Samnium, and marched at a great pace and without
stopping, his skirmishers always keeping before him to reconnoiter and
occupy all the posts along the route: and while those in Rome had
their thoughts still wholly occupied with Capua,[87] and the campaign
there, he crossed the Anio without being observed; and having arrived
at a distance of not more than forty stades from Rome, there pitched
his camp.

On this being known at Rome, the utmost confusion and terror prevailed
among the inhabitants--this movement of Hannibal's being as unexpected
as it was sudden; for he had never been so close to the city before.
At the same time their alarm was increased by the idea at once
occurring to them that he would not have ventured so near if it were
not that the armies at Capua were destroyed. Accordingly, the men at
once went to line the walls, and the points of vantage in the defenses
of the town; while the women went round to the temples of the gods and
implored their protection, sweeping the pavements of the temples with
their hair: for this is their customary way of behaving when any
serious danger comes upon their country. But just as Hannibal had
encamped, and was intending to attempt the city itself next day, an
extraordinary coincidence occurred which proved fortunate for the
preservation of Rome.

For Gnæus Fulvius and Publius Sulpicius, having already enrolled one
consular army, had bound the men with the usual oath to appear at Rome
armed on that very day; and were also engaged on that day in drawing
out the lists and testing the men for the other army: whereby it so
happened that a large number of men had been collected in Rome
spontaneously in the very nick of time. These troops the Consuls
boldly led outside the walls, and, entrenching themselves there,
checked Hannibal's intended movement. For the Carthaginians were at
first eager to advance, and were not altogether without hope that they
would be able to take Rome itself by assault. But when they saw the
enemy drawn up in order, and learned before long from a prisoner what
had happened, they abandoned the idea of attacking the city, and began
devastating the country-side instead, and setting fire to the houses.
In these first raids they collected an innumerable amount of booty,
for the field of plunder upon which they were entered was one into
which no one had ever expected an enemy to set foot.

But presently, when the Consuls ventured to encamp within ten stades
of him, Hannibal broke up his quarters before daylight. He did so for
three reasons: first, because he had collected an enormous booty;
secondly, because he had given up all hope of taking Rome; and
lastly, because he reckoned that the time had now come at which he
expected, according to his original idea, that Appius would have
learned the danger threatening Rome, and would have raised the siege
of Capua, and come with his whole force to the relief of the city; or
at any rate would hurry up with the greater part, leaving a detachment
to carry on the siege. Publius had caused the bridges over the Anio to
be broken down, and thus compelled Hannibal to get his army across by
a ford; and he now attacked the Carthaginians as they were engaged in
making the passage of the stream and caused them great distress. They
were not able however to strike an important blow, owing to the number
of Hannibal's cavalry, and the activity of the Numidians in every part
of the field. But before retiring to their camp they wrested the
greater part of the booty from them, and killed about three hundred
men; and then, being convinced that the Carthaginians were beating a
hasty retreat in a panic, they followed in their rear, keeping along
the line of hills. At first Hannibal continued to march at a rapid
pace, being anxious to meet the force which he expected; but at the
end of the fifth day, being informed that Appius had not left the
siege of Capua, he halted; and waiting for the enemy to come up, made
an attack upon his camp before daylight, killed a large number of
them, and drove the rest out of their camp. But when day broke, and he
saw the Romans in a strong position upon a steep hill, to which they
had retired, he decided not to continue his attack upon them; but
marching through Daunia and Bruttium he appeared at Rhegium so
unexpectedly that he was within an ace of capturing the city, and did
cut off all who were out in the country; and during this excursion
captured a very large number of the Rhegini....

Who could refrain from speaking in terms of admiration of this great
man's strategic skill courage and ability when one looks to the length
of time during which he displayed those qualities; and realizes to
oneself the pitched battles, the skirmishes and sieges, the
revolutions and counter-revolutions of states, the vicissitudes of
fortune, and in fact the course of his design and its execution in its
entirety? For sixteen continuous years Hannibal maintained the war
with Rome in Italy without once releasing his army from service in the
field, but keeping those vast numbers under control, like a good
pilot, without any sign of disaffection toward himself or toward each
other, tho he had troops in his service who, so far from being of the
same tribe, were not even of the same race. He had Libyans, Iberians,
Ligurians, Celts, Phoenicians, Italians, Greeks, who had naturally
nothing in common with each other, neither laws, nor customs, nor
language. Yet the skill of the commander was such that these
differences, so manifold and so wide, did not disturb the obedience to
one word of command and to a single will. And yet circumstances were
not by any means unvarying: for tho the breeze of fortune often set
strongly in his favor, it as often also blew in exactly the opposite
direction. There is therefore good ground for admiring Hannibal's
display of ability in campaign; and there can be no fear in saying
that, if he had reserved his attack upon the Romans until he had
first subdued other parts of the world, there is not one of his
projects which would have eluded his grasp. As it was, he began with
those whom he should have attacked last, and accordingly began and
ended his career with them.[88]


[Footnote 86: From Book IX of the "Histories." Translated by Evelyn S.

[Footnote 87: Capua lies seventeen miles north of Naples.]



(214-212 B.C.)

When Epicydes and Hippocrates had occupied Syracuse, and had alienated
the rest of the citizens with themselves from the friendship of Rome,
the Romans who had already been informed of the murder of Hieronymus,
tyrant of Syracuse, appointed Appius Claudius as Pro-prætor to command
a land force, while Marcus Claudius Marcellus[90] commanded the fleet.
These officers took up a position not far from Syracuse, and
determined to assault the town from the land at Hexapylus, and by sea
at what was called Stoa Scytice in Achradina, where the wall has its
foundation close down to the sea. Having prepared their wicker
pent-houses, and darts, and other siege material, they felt confident
that, with so many hands employed, they would in five days get their
works in such an advanced state as to give them the advantage over the
enemy. But in this they did not take into account the abilities of
Archimedes;[91] nor calculate on the truth that, in certain
circumstances, the genius of one man is more effective that any
numbers whatever. However they now learned it by experience. The city
was strong from the fact of its encircling wall lying along a chain of
hills with overhanging brows, the ascent of which was no easy task,
even with no one to hinder it, except at certain definite points.
Taking advantage of this, Archimedes had constructed such defenses
both in the town, and at the places where an attack might be made by
sea, that the garrison would have everything at hand which they might
require at any moment, and be ready to meet without delay whatever the
enemy might attempt against them.

The attack was begun by Appius bringing his pent-houses, and scaling
ladders, and attempting to fix the latter against that part of the
wall which abuts on Hexapylus toward the east. At the same time Marcus
Claudius Marcellus with sixty quinqueremes was making a descent upon
Achradina. Each of these vessels were full of men armed with bows and
slings and javelins, with which to dislodge those who fought on the
battlements. As well as these vessels he had eight quinqueremes in
pairs. Each pair had had their oars removed, one on the larboard and
the other on the starboard side, and then had been lasht together on
the sides thus left bare. On these double vessels, rowed by the outer
oars of each of the pair, they brought up under the walls some engines
called "Sambucæ," the construction of which was as follows: A ladder
was made four feet broad, and of a height to reach the top of the wall
from the place where its foot had to rest; each side of the ladder was
protected by a railing, and a covering or pent-house was added
overhead. It was then placed so that its foot rested across the sides
of the lasht-together vessels, which touched each other with its other
extremity protruding a considerable way beyond the prows.

On the tops of the mast pulleys were fixt with ropes: and when the
engines were about to be used, men standing on the sterns of the
vessels drew the ropes tied to the head of the ladder, while others
standing on the prows assisted the raising of the machine and kept it
steady with long poles. Having then brought the ships close in shore
by using the outer oars of both vessels they tried to let the machine
down upon the wall. At the head of the ladder was fixt a wooden stage
secured on three sides by wicker-shields, upon which stood four men
who fought and struggled with those who tried to prevent the Sambuca
from being made to rest on the battlements. But when they have fixt it
and so got above the level of the top of the wall, the four men
unfasten the wicker-shields from either side of the stage and walk
out upon the battlements or towers as the case may be; they are
followed by their comrades coming up by the Sambuca, since the
ladder's foot is safely secured with ropes and stands upon both the
ships. This construction has got the name of "Sambuca," or "Harp," for
the natural reason, that when it is raised the combination of the ship
and ladder has very much the appearance of such an instrument.

With such contrivances and preparations were the Romans intending to
assault the towers. But Archimedes had constructed catapults to suit
every range; and as the ships sailing up were still at a considerable
distance, he so wounded the enemy with stones and darts, from the
tighter wound and longer engines as to harass and perplex them to the
last degree; and when these began to carry over their heads, he used
smaller engines graduated according to the range required from time to
time, and by this means caused so much confusion among them as to
altogether check their advance and attack; and finally Marcellus was
reduced in despair to bringing up his ships under cover of night. But
when they had come close to land, and so too near to be hit by the
catapults, they found that Archimedes had prepared another contrivance
against the soldiers who fought from the decks. He had pierced the
wall as high as a man's stature with numerous loop-holes, which, on
the outside, were about as big as the palm of the hand. Inside the
wall he stationed archers and cross-bows, or scorpions, and by the
volleys discharged through these he made the marines useless. By these
means he not only baffled the enemy, whether at a distance or close
at hand, but also killed the greater number of them. As often, too, as
they tried to work their Sambucæ, he had engines ready all along the
walls, not visible at other times, but which suddenly reared
themselves above the wall from the inside, when the moment for their
use had come, and stretched their beams far over the battlements, some
of them carrying stones weighing as much as ten talents, and others
great masses of lead. So whenever the Sambucæ were approaching, these
beams swung round on their pivot the required distance, and by means
of a rope running through a pulley dropt the stone, upon the Sambucæ,
with the result that it not only smashed the machine itself to pieces,
but put the ship also and all on board into the most serious danger.

Other machines which he invented were directed against storming
parties, who, advancing under the protection of pent-houses, were
secured by them from being hurt by missiles shot through the walls.
Against these he either shot stones big enough to drive the marines
from the prow; or let down an iron hand swung on a chain, by which the
man who guided the crane, having fastened on some part of the prow
where he could get a hold, prest down the lever of the machine inside
the wall; and when he had thus lifted the prow and made the vessel
rest upright on its stern, he fastened the lever of his machine so
that it could not be moved; and then suddenly slackened the hand and
chain by means of a rope and pulley. The result was that many of the
vessels heeled over and fell on their sides; some completely
capsized; while the greater number, by their prows coming down
suddenly from a height, dipt low in the sea, shipped a great quantity
of water, and became a scene of the utmost confusion. Tho reduced
almost to despair by these baffling inventions of Archimedes, and tho
he saw that all his attempts were repulsed by the garrison with
mockery on their part and loss to himself, Marcellus could not yet
refrain from making a joke at his own expense, saying that "Archimedes
was using his ships to ladle out the sea-water, but that his 'harps'
not having been invited to the party were buffeted and turned out with
disgrace." Such was the end of the attempt at storming Syracuse by

Nor was Appius Claudius more successful. He, too, was compelled by
similar difficulties to desist from the attempt; for while his men
were still at a considerable distance from the wall, they began
falling by the stones and shots from the engines and catapults. The
volleys of missiles, indeed, were extraordinarily rapid and sharp, for
their construction had been provided for by all the liberality of a
Hiero, and had been planned and engineered by the skill of an
Archimedes. Moreover, when they did at length get near the walls, they
were prevented from making an assault by the unceasing fire through
the loop-holes, which I mentioned before; or if they tried to carry
the place under cover of pent-houses, they were killed by the stones
and beams let down upon their heads. The garrison also did them no
little damage with those hands at the end of their engines; for they
used to lift the men, armor, and all, into the air, and then throw
them down. At last Appius retired into the camp, and summoning the
Tribunes to a council of war, decided to try every possible means of
taking Syracuse except a storm. And this decision they carried out;
for during the eight months of siege which followed, tho there was no
stratagem or measure of daring which they did not attempt, they never
again ventured to attempt a storm. So true it is that one man and one
intellect, properly qualified for the particular undertaking, is a
host in itself and of extraordinary efficacy. In this instance, at any
rate, we find the Romans confident that their forces by land and sea
would enable them to become masters of the town, if only one old man
could be got rid of; while as long as he remained there, they did not
venture even to think of making the attempt, at least by any method
which made it possible for Archimedes to oppose them. They believed,
however, that their best chance of reducing the garrison was by a
failure of provisions sufficient for so large a number as were within
the town; they therefore relied upon this hope, and with their ships
tried to cut off their supplies by sea, and with their army by land.


[Footnote 88: This paragraph is taken from Book XI.]

[Footnote 89: From Book VIII of the "Histories." Translated by Evelyn
S. Shuckburgh. Syracuse was now an ally of Carthage in the Punic war,
but in the earlier Punic war had been an ally of Rome.]

[Footnote 90: A celebrated statesman and general, born before 268
B.C., died in 208; five times Consul; defeated the Gauls; defended
Nola; captured Syracuse; commanded Apulia against Hannibal; killed in
a skirmish at Venusia.]

[Footnote 91: The celebrated geometrician, who discovered the
principle of the lever, and after detecting an alloy uttered the
famous exclamation "Eureka." He was killed at the siege of Syracuse.]


     Born in Chæronea in Boeotia about 46 A.D.; died in 125;
     celebrated for his forty-six "Lives of Greeks and Romans,"
     and for works on philosophical and moral subjects; settled
     at Athens at the time of Nero's visit in 66, and traveled in
     Greece, Egypt and Italy; being in Rome during the reign of
     Vespasian; lived at Chæronea in the latter part of his life
     where he was elected archon.[92]



Furthermore, leaving the comparison aside of the difference of their
eloquence in their orations: methinks I may say thus much of them.
That Demosthenes did wholly employ all his wit and learning (natural
or artificial) unto the art of rhetoric, and that in force, and vertue
of eloquence, he did excel all the orators in his time: and for
gravity and magnificent style, all those also that only write for shew
or ostentation: and for sharpness and art, all the sophisters and
masters of rhetoric. And that Cicero was a man generally learned in
all sciences, and that had studied divers books, as appeareth plainly
by the sundry books of philosophy of his own making, written after the
manner of the Academic philosophers. Furthermore, they may see in his
orations he wrote in certain causes to serve him when he pleaded: that
he sought occasions in his by-talk to shew men that he was excellently
well learned. Furthermore, by their phrases a man may discern some
spark of their manners and conditions. For Demosthenes' phrase hath no
manner of fineness, jests, nor grace in it, but is altogether grave
and harsh, and not only smelleth of the lamp, as Pytheas said when he
mocked him, but sheweth a great drinker of water, extreme pains, and
therewith also a sharp and sour nature.

But Cicero oftentimes fell from pleasant taunts, unto plain
scurrility: and turning all his pleadings of matters of importance, to
sport and laughter, having a grace in it, many times he did forget the
comeliness that became a man of his calling. As in his oration for
Cælius, where he saith, It is no marvel if in so great abundance of
wealth and fineness he give himself a little to take his pleasure:
and that it was a folly not to use pleasures lawful and tolerable,
sith the famousest philosophers that ever were, did place the chief
felicity of man, to be in pleasure. And it is reported also that
Marcus Cato having accused Murena, Cicero being Consul, defended his
cause, and in his oration pleasantly girded all the sect of the Stoic
philosophers for Cato's sake, for the strange opinions they hold,
which they call paradoxes: insomuch as he made all the people and
judges also fall a-laughing a good. And Cato himself also smiling a
little, said unto them that sat by him: What a laughing and mocking
Consul have we, my lords? but letting that pass, it seemeth that
Cicero was of a pleasant and merry nature: for his face shewed ever
great life and mirth in it. Whereas in Demosthenes' countenance on the
other side, they might discern a marvellous diligence and care, and a
pensive man, never weary with pain: insomuch that his enemies, (as he
reporteth himself) called him a perverse and froward man.

Furthermore, in their writings is discerned, that the one speaketh
modestly in his own praise, so as no man can justly be offended with
him: and yet not always, but when necessity enforceth him for some
matter of great importance, but otherwise very discreet and modest to
speak of himself. Cicero in contrary manner, using too often
repetition of one self thing in all his orations, shewed an extreme
ambition of glory, when incessantly he cried out:

    Let spear and shield give place to gown,
    And give the tongue the laurel crown.

Yea furthermore, he did not only praise his own acts and deeds, but
the orations also which he had written or pleaded, as if he should
have contended against Isocrates, or Anaximenes, a master that taught
rhetoric, and not to go about to reform the people of Rome.

    Which were both fierce and stout in arms,
    And fit to work their enemies harms.

For, as it is requisite for a governor of a commonwealth to seek
authority by his eloquence: so, to cover the praise of his own
glorious tongue, or as it were to beg it, that sheweth a base mind.
And therefore in this point we must confess that Demosthenes is far
graver, and of a nobler mind: who declared himself, That all his
eloquence came only but by practice, the which also required the
favour of his auditory: and further, he thought them fools and madmen
(as indeed they be no less) that therefore would make any boast of
themselves. In this they were both alike, that both of them had great
credit and authority in their orations to the people, and for
obtaining that they would propound: insomuch as captains, and they
that had armies in their hands, stood in need of their eloquence. As
Chares, Diopithes, and Leosthenes, they all were holpen of
Demosthenes: and Pompey, and Octavius Cæsar the young man, of Cicero:
as Cæsar himself confesseth in his commentaries he wrote unto Agrippa,
and Mæcenas. But nothing sheweth a man's nature and condition more,
(as it is reported, and so is it true) that when one is in authority:
for that bewrayeth his humour, and the affections of his mind, and
layeth open all his secret vices in him.

Demosthenes could never deliver any such proof of himself, because he
never bare any office, nor was called forward. For he was not general
of the army, which he himself had prepared against King Philip. Cicero
on the other side being sent Treasurer into Sicily, and Pro-consul
into Cilicia and Cappadocia,[94] in such a time as covetousness
reigned most: (insomuch that the captains and governors whom they sent
to govern their provinces, thinking it villainy and dastardliness to
rob, did violently take things by force, at what time also to take
bribes was reckoned no shame, but to handle it discreetly, he was the
better thought of, and beloved for it) he shewed plainly that he
regarded not money, and gave forth many proofs of his courtesy and
goodness. Furthermore, Cicero being created Consul by name, but
Dictator in deed, having absolute power and authority over all things
to suppress the rebellion and conspirators of Catiline: he proved
Plato's prophecy true, which was: That the cities are safe from
danger, when the chief magistrates and governors (by some good divine
fortune) do govern with wisdom and justice. Demosthenes was reproved
for his corruption, and selling of his eloquence: because secretly he
wrote one oration for Phormio, and another in the self same manner for
Apollodorus, they being both adversaries. Further, he was defamed also
for receiving money of the king of Persia, and therewithal condemned
for the money which he had taken of Harpalus. And though some
peradventure would object, that the reports thereof (which are many)
do lie: yet they cannot possibly deny this, that Demosthenes had no
power to refrain from looking on the presents which divers kings did
offer him, praying him to accept them in good part for their sakes:
neither was that the part of a man that did take usury by traffick on
the sea, the extremest yet of all other.

In contrary manner (as we have said before) it is certain that Cicero
being Treasurer, refused the gifts which the Sicilians offered him,
there: and the presents also which the king of the Cappadocians
offered him whilst he was Pro-consul in Cilicia, and those especially
which his friends pressed upon him to take of them, being a great sum
of money, when he went as a banished man out of Rome. Furthermore, the
banishment of the one was infamous to him, because by judgement he was
banished as a thief. The banishment of the other was for as honourable
an act as ever he did, being banished for ridding his country of
wicked men. And therefore of Demosthenes, there was no speech after he
was gone: but for Cicero, all the Senate changed their apparel into
black, and determined that they would pass no decree by their
authority, before Cicero's banishment was revoked by the people.
Indeed Cicero idly passed his time of banishment, and did nothing all
the while he was in Macedon: and one of the chiefest acts that
Demosthenes did, in all the time that he dealt in the affairs of the
commonwealth, was in his banishment. For he went into every city, and
did assist the ambassadors of the Grecians, and refused the
ambassadors of the Macedonians. In the which he showed himself a
better citizen, than either Themistocles, or Alcibiades, in their like
fortune and exile. So when he was called home, and returned, he fell
again to his old trade which he practiced before, and was ever against
Antipater,[95] and the Macedonians. Where Lælius in open Senate
sharply took up Cicero, for that he sat still and said nothing, when
that Octavius Cæsar the young man made petition against the law, that
he might sue for the Consulship, and being so young, that he had never
a hair on his face. And Brutus self also doth reprove Cicero in his
letters, for that he had maintained and nourished a more grievous and
greater tyranny, than that which they had put down. And last of all,
me thinketh the death of Cicero most pitiful, to see an old man
carried up and down, (with tender love of his servants) seeking all
the ways that might be to fly death, which did not long prevent his
natural course: and in the end, old as he was, to see his head so
pitifully cut off. Whereas Demosthenes, though he yielded a little,
entreating him that came to take him: yet for that he had prepared the
poison long before, that he had kept it long, and also used it as he
did, he cannot but be marvellously commended for it. For sith the god
Neptune denied him the benefit of his sanctuary, he betook him to a
greater, and that was death: whereby he saved himself out of the
soldiers' hands of the tyrant, and also scorned the bloody cruelty of


[Footnote 92: Plutarch is read for his matter, rather than for his
style. In style as well as for the time in which he lived, he does not
belong to the classical writers of Greece. For this reason he may be
read in English almost as satisfactorily as in his own language. He is
described by Mahaffy as a pure and elevating writer, full of precious
information and lofty in his moral tone.]

[Footnote 93: From "The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans,
Compared together by that Grave, Learned Philosopher and
Historiographer Plutarch of Chæronea." Translated by Sir Thomas North.
North was born about 1535, his translation being first published in
1579. Written throughout in the best prose of the Elizabethan period,
North's version will always have another and very special interest as
the store house from which Shakespeare obtained his knowledge of
antiquity. It has been asserted that to this book we really owe the
existence of "Julius Cæsar," "Coriolanus," and "Antony and Cleopatra."
In "Coriolanus" whole speeches have been taken bodily from North,
while in "Antony and Cleopatra" North's diction has been closely
followed. North did not translate from the original Greek, but from an
old French version by James Amyot, Bishop of Auxerre in the times of
Henry II of England. The selections here given are printed with the
original punctuation, etc., preserved as specimens of the style of the

[Footnote 94: This and the province of Cilicia lay in the eastern part
of Asia Minor.]

[Footnote 95: Antipater was a general of Macedonia under Philip and
Alexander the Great and became Regent in 334.]



(44 B.C.)

But Brutus in many other things tasted of the benefit of Cæsar's favor
in anything he requested.[97] For if he had listed, he might have been
one of Cæsar's chiefest friends, and of greater authority and credit
about him. Howbeit Cassius' friends did dissuade him from it[98] (for
Cassius and he were not yet reconciled together sithence their first
contention and strife for the Prætorship), and prayed him to beware of
Cæsar's sweet enticements, and to fly his tyrannical favors: the which
they said Cæsar gave him, not to honor his virtue, but to weaken his
constant mind, framing it to the bent of his bow. Now Cæsar on the
other side did not trust him overmuch, nor was not without tales
brought unto him against him: howbeit he feared his great mind,
authority, and friends. Yet on the other side also, he trusted his
good-nature, and fair conditions. For, intelligence being brought him
one day, that Mark Antony and Dolabella did conspire against him: he
answered, That these fat long-haired men made him not afraid, but the
lean and whitely-faced fellows, meaning that, by Brutus and Cassius.

At another time also when one accused Brutus unto him, and bade him
beware of him: What, said he again, clapping his hand on his breast:
think ye that Brutus will not tarry till this body die? Meaning that
none but Brutus after him was meet to have such power as he had. And
surely, in my opinion, I am persuaded that Brutus might indeed have
come to have been the chiefest man of Rome, if he could have contented
himself for a time to have been next unto Cæsar, and to have suffered
his glory and authority which he had gotten by his great victories, to
consume with time. But Cassius being a choleric man, and hating Cæsar
privately, more than he did the tyranny openly: he incensed Brutus
against him....

But for Brutus, his friends and countrymen, both by divers
procurements, and sundry rumours of the city, and by many bills also,
did openly call and procure him to do that he did. For, under the
image of his ancestor Junius Brutus, that drave the kings out of
Rome,[99] they wrote: Oh that it pleased the gods thou wert now alive,
Brutus: and again, that thou wert here among us now. His tribunal (or
chair) where he gave audience during the time he was Prætor, was full
of such bills: Brutus, thou art asleep, and art not Brutus indeed....

Therefore Cassius considering this matter with himself, did first of
all speak to Brutus, since they grew strange together for the suit
they had for the Prætorship. So when he was reconciled to him again,
and that they had embraced one another: Cassius asked him, If he were
determined to be in the Senate-house, the first day of the month of
March, because he heard say that Cæsar's friends should move the
council that day, that Cæsar should be called king by the Senate.
Brutus answered him, He would not be there. But if we be sent for said
Cassius: how then? For myself then said Brutus, I mean not to hold my
peace, but to withstand it, and rather die than lose my liberty.
Cassius being bold, and taking hold of this word: Why, quoth he, what
Roman is he alive that will suffer thee to die for the liberty? What,
knowest thou not that thou art Brutus? Thinkest thou that they be
cobblers, tapsters, or suchlike base mechanical people, that write
these bills and scrolls which are found daily in thy Prætor's chair,
and not the noblest men and best citizens that do it? No, be thou well
assured, that of other Prætors they look for gifts, common
distributions amongst the people, and for common plays, and to see
fencers fight at the sharp, to show the people pastime, but at thy
hands, they specially require (as a due debt unto them) the taking
away of the tyranny, being fully bent to suffer any extremity for thy
sake, so that thou wilt show thyself to be the man thou art taken for,
and that they hope thou art. Thereupon he kissed Brutus, and embraced
him. And so each taking leave of other, they went both to speak with
the friends about it....

Now Brutus, who knew very well that for his sake all the noblest,
valiantest, and most courageous men of Rome did venture their lives,
weighing with himself the greatness of the danger, when he was out of
his house, he did so frame and fashion his countenance and looks,
that no man could discern he had anything to trouble his mind. But
when night came that he was in his own house, then he was cleaned
changed. For, either care did wake him against his will when he could
have slept, or else oftentimes of himself he fell into such deep
thoughts of this enterprise, casting in his mind all the dangers that
might happen, that his wife lying by him, found that there was some
marvellous great matter that troubled his mind, not being wont to be
in that taking, and that he could not well determine with himself.

His wife Porcia[100] (as we have told you before) was the daughter of
Cato, whom Brutus married being his cousin, not a maiden, but a young
widow after the death of her first husband Bibulus, by whom she had
also a young son called Bibulus, who afterwards wrote a book of the
acts and gests of Brutus, extant at this present day. This young lady
being excellently well seen in philosophy, loving her husband well,
and being of a noble courage, as she was also wise; because she would
not ask her husband what he ailed before she had made some proof by
herself, she took a little razor such as barbers occupy to pare men's
nails, and causing her maids and women to go out of her chamber, gave
herself a great gash withal in her thigh, that she was straight all of
a gore-blood, and incontinently after, a vehement fever took her, by
reason of the pain of her wound.

Then perceiving her husband was marvellously out of quiet, and that he
could take no rest, even in her greatest pain of all, she spake in
this sort unto him, "I being, O Brutus," (said she) "the daughter of
Cato, was married unto thee, not to be thy bedfellow and companion in
bed and at board only, like a harlot, but to be partaker also with
thee, of thy good and evil fortune. Now for thyself, I can find no
cause of fault in thee touching our match, but for my part, how may I
show my duty towards thee, and how much I would do for thy sake, if I
cannot constantly bear a secret mischance or grief with thee, that
requireth secrecy and fidelity? I confess, that a woman's wit commonly
is too weak to keep a secret safely: but yet, Brutus, good education,
and the company of virtuous men, have some power to reform the defect
of nature. And for myself, I have this benefit, moreover, that I am
the daughter of Cato, and wife of Brutus. This notwithstanding, I did
not trust to any of these things before, until that now I have found
by experience, that no pain nor grief whatsoever can overcome me."
With those words she showed him her wound on her thigh, and told him
what she had done to prove herself. Brutus was amazed to hear what she
said unto him, and lifting up his hands to heaven, he besought the
gods to give him the grace he might bring his enterprise to so good
pass, that he might be found a husband worthy of so noble a wife as
Porcia, so he then did comfort her the best he could....

So when this day was come, Brutus went out of his house with a dagger
by his side under his long gown, that nobody saw nor knew, but his
wife only. The other conspirators were all assembled at Cassius'
house, to bring his son into the market-place, who on that day did put
on the man's gown, called _toga virilis_, and from thence they came
all in a troop together unto Pompey's porch, looking that Cæsar would
straight come thither. But here is to be noted, the wonderful assured
constancy of these conspirators, in so dangerous and weighty an
enterprise as they had undertaken. For many of them being Prætors, by
reason of their office, whose duty is to minister justice to
everybody: they did not only with great quietness and courtesy hear
them that spake unto them, or that plead matters before them, and gave
them attentive ear, as if they had had no other matter in their heads:
but moreover, they gave just sentence, and carefully despatched the
causes before them. So there was one among them, who being condemned
in a certain sum of money, refused to pay it, and cried out that he
did appeal unto Cæsar. Then Brutus casting his eyes upon the
conspirators said, Cæsar shall not let me to see the law executed.

Notwithstanding this, by chance there fell out many misfortunes unto
them, which was enough to have marred the enterprise. The first and
chiefest was, Cæsar's long tarrying, who came very late to the Senate:
for because the signs of the sacrifices appeared unlucky, his wife
Calpurnia[101] kept him at home, and the soothsayers bade him beware
he went not abroad. The second cause was, when one came unto Casca
being a conspirator, and taking him by the hand, said unto him: O
Casca, thou keepest it close from me, but Brutus hath told me all.
Casca being amazed at it, the other went on with his tale, and said:
Why, how now, how cometh it to pass thou art thus rich, that thou dost
sue to be Ædile? Thus Casca being deceived by the other's doubtful
words, he told them it was a thousand to one, he blabbed not out all
the conspiracy. Another Senator called Popilius Lænas, after he had
saluted Brutus and Cassius more friendly than he was wont to do: he
rounded softly in their ears, and told them, I pray the gods you may
go through with that you have taken in hand, but withal, despatch I
read you, for your enterprise is bewrayed. When he had said, he
presently departed from them, and left them both afraid that their
conspiracy would out.

Now in the meantime, there came one of Brutus' men post-haste unto
him, and told him his wife was a-dying. For Porcia being very careful
and pensive for that which was to come, and being too weak to away
with so great and inward grief of mind: she could hardly keep within,
but was frightened with every little noise and cry she heard, as those
that art taken and possessed with the fury of the Bacchants, asking
every man that came from the market-place, what Brutus did, and still
sent messenger after messenger, to know what news. At length Cæsar's
coming being prolonged as you have heard, Porcia's weakness was not
able to hold out any longer, and thereupon she suddenly swooned, that
she had no leisure to go to her chamber, but was taken in the midst of
her house, where her speech and senses failed her. Howbeit she soon
came to her self again, and so was laid in her bed, and tended by her
women. When Brutus heard these news, it grieved him, as it is to be
presupposed: yet he left not off the care of his country and
commonwealth, neither went home to his house for any news he heard.

Now, it was reported that Cæsar was coming in his litter: for he
determined not to stay in the Senate all that day (because he was
afraid of the unlucky signs of the sacrifices) but to adjourn matters
of importance unto the next session and council holden, feigning
himself not to be well at ease. When Cæsar came out of his litter:
Popilius Lænas, that had talked before with Brutus and Cassius, and
had prayed the gods they might bring this enterprise to pass: went
unto Cæsar, and kept him a long time with a talk. Cæsar gave good ear
unto him. Wherefore the conspirators (if so they should be called) not
hearing what he said to Cæsar, but conjecturing by that he had told
them a little before, that his talk was none other but the very
discovery of their conspiracy: they were afraid every man of them, and
one looking in another's face, it was easy to see that they all were
of a mind, that it was no tarrying for them till they were
apprehended, but rather that they should kill themselves with their
own hands. And when Cassius and certain others clapped their hands on
their swords under their gowns to draw them: Brutus marking the
countenance and gesture of Lænas, and considering that he did use
himself rather like an humble and earnest suitor, than like an
accuser: he said nothing to his companion (because there were many
amongst them that were not of the conspiracy) but with a pleasant
countenance encouraged Cassius. And immediately after, Lænas went from
Cæsar, and kissed his hand: which shewed plainly that it was for some
matter concerning himself, that he had held him so long in talk. Now
all the Senators being entered first into this place or chapter-house
where the council should be kept, all the other conspirators straight
stood about Cæsar's chair, as if they had had something to have said
unto him. And some say, that Cassius casting his eyes upon Pompey's
image, made his prayer unto it, as if it had been alive. Trebonius on
the other side, drew Mark Antony aside, as he came into the house
where the Senate sat, and held him with a long talk without.

When Cæsar was come into the house, all the Senate rose to honour him
at his coming in. So when he was set, the conspirators flocked about
him, and amongst them they presented one Metellus Cimber, who made
humble suit for the calling home again of his brother that was
banished. They all made as though they were intercessors for him, and
took him by the hands, and kissed his head and breast. Cæsar at the
first simply refused their kindness and entreaties: but afterwards,
perceiving they still pressed on him, he violently thrust them from
him. Then Cimber with both his hands plucked Cæsar's gown over his
shoulders, and Casca that stood behind him, drew his dagger first, and
struck Cæsar upon the shoulder, but gave him no great wound. Cæsar
feeling himself hurt, took him straight by the hand he held his dagger
in, and cried out in Latin: O traitor, Casca, what doest thou? Casca
on the other side cried in Greek, and called his brother to help him.
So divers running on a heap together to fly upon Cæsar, he looking
about him to have fled, saw Brutus with a sword drawn in his hand
ready to strike at him: then he let Casca's hand go, and casting his
gown over his face, suffered every man to strike at him that would.

Then the conspirators thronging one upon another because every man was
desirous to have a cut at him, so many swords and daggers lighting
upon one body, one of them hurt another, and among them Brutus caught
a blow on his hand, because he would make one in murthering of him,
and all the rest also were every man of them bloodied. Cæsar being
slain in this manner, Brutus standing in the midst of the house, would
have spoken, and stayed the other Senators that were not of the
conspiracy, to have told them the reason why they had done this fact.
But they as men both affrayed and amazed, fled one upon another's neck
in haste to get out at the door, and no man followed them. For it was
set down, and agreed between them, that they should kill no man but
Cæsar only, and should entreat all the rest to defend their liberty.

All the conspirators, but Brutus, determining upon this matter,
thought it good also to kill Mark Antony,[102] because he was a wicked
man, and that in nature favoured tyranny: besides also, for that he
was in great estimation with soldiers, having been conversant of long
time amongst them: and specially having a mind bent to great
enterprises, he was also of great authority at that time, being Consul
with Cæsar. But Brutus would not agree to it. First, for that he said
it was not honest: secondly, because he told them there was hope of
change in him. For he did not mistrust, but that Mark Antony being a
noble-minded and courageous man (when he should know that Cæsar was
dead) would willingly help his country to recover her liberty, having
them an example unto him, to follow their courage and virtue. So
Brutus by this means saved Mark Antony's life, who at that present
time disguised himself, and stole away. But Brutus and his consorts,
having their swords bloody in their hands, went straight to the
Capitol, persuading the Romans, as they went, to take their liberty


[Footnote 96: From the "Life of Julius Cæsar." Translated by North.]

[Footnote 97: Marcus Junius Brutus had originally been an adherent of
Pompey, but after the battle at Pharsalia in 48 B.C., went over to
Cæsar, and in 46 became governor of Cisalpine Gaul.]

[Footnote 98: Gaius Cassius Longinus, general and politician, had won
distinction in the Parthian war of 53-51 B.C.]

[Footnote 99: Lucius Junius Brutus under whose leadership the Tarquins
were expelled and the republic established in 510 B.C.]

[Footnote 100: Brutus first married Claudia, daughter of Appius
Claudius, who was Consul in 54 B.C. It was probably in 55 B.C.,
after Cato's death, that he put away Claudia (for which he was much
blamed), and married Porcia, daughter of Cato. Portia was the widow of
Bibulus, a colleague of Cæsar in the Consulship of 59 B.C.]

[Footnote 101: Daughter of Calpurnius Piso Cæsonius and married to
Cæsar in 59 B.C. She was his second wife, Pompeia, a relative of
Pompey the Great, being the first.]

[Footnote 102: Mark Antony was then about forty-four years old. He had
commanded the left wing of Cæsar at Pharsalia and became Consul in



Mark Antony being thus inclined, the last and extremest mischief of
all other (to wit, the love of Cleopatra) lighted on him, who did
waken and stir up many vices yet hidden in him, and were never seen to
any: and if any spark of goodness or hope of rising were left him,
Cleopatra quenched it straight, and made it worse than before. The
manner how he fell in love with her was this. Antony going to make war
with the Parthians, sent to command Cleopatra to appear personally
before him, when he came into Cilicia, to answer unto such accusations
as were laid against her, being this: that she had aided Cassius and
Brutus in their war against him. The messenger sent unto Cleopatra to
make this summons unto her, was called Dellius: who when he had
thoroughly considered her beauty, the excellent grace and sweetness of
her tongue, he nothing mistrusted that Antony would do any hurt to so
noble a lady, but rather assured himself, that within few days she
should be in great favour with him. Thereupon he did her great honour,
and persuaded her to come into Cilicia, as honourably furnished as she
could possible, and bade her not to be afraid at all of Antony, for he
was a more courteous lord, than any one that she had ever seen.

Cleopatra on the other side believing Dellius' words, and guessing by
the former access and credit she had with Julius Cæsar, and Cneius
Pompey (the son of Pompey the Great) only for her beauty: she began to
have good hope that she might more easily win Antony. For Cæsar and
Pompey knew her when she was but a young thing, and knew not then what
the world meant: but now she went to Mark Antony at the age when a
woman's beauty is at the prime, and she also of best judgement. So,
she furnished herself with a world of gifts, store of gold and silver,
and of riches and other sumptuous ornaments, as is credible enough she
might bring from so great a house, and from so wealthy and rich a
realm as Egypt was. But yet she carried nothing with her wherein she
trusted more than in her self, and in the charms and enchantment of
her passing beauty and grace.

Therefore when she was sent unto by divers letters, both from Antony
himself, and also from his friends, she made so light of it and mocked
Antony so much, that she disdained to set forward otherwise, but to
take her barge in the river of Cydnus, the poop whereof was of gold,
the sails of purple, and the oars of silver, which kept stroke in
rowing after the sound of the music of flutes, howboys, citherns,
viols, and such other instruments as they played upon in the barge.
And now for the person of her self: she was laid under a pavilion of
cloth of gold of tissue, apparelled and attired like the goddess
Venus, commonly drawn in picture: and hard by her, on either hand of
her, pretty fair boys apparelled as painters do set forth god Cupid,
with little fans in their hands, with the which they fanned wind upon
her. Her ladies and gentlewomen also, the fairest of them were
apparelled like the nymphs nereids (which are the mermaids of the
waters) and like the Graces, some steering the helm, others tending
the tackle and ropes of the barge, out of the which there came a
wonderful passing sweet savour of perfumes, that perfumed the wharf's
side, pestered with innumerable multitudes of people. Some of them
followed the barge all alongst the river-side: others also ran out of
the city to see her coming in. So that in the end, there ran such
multitudes of people one after another to see her, that Antony was
left post alone in the market-place, in his imperial seat to give
audience: and there went a rumour in the people's mouths, that the
goddess Venus was come to play with the god Bacchus, for the general
good of all Asia.[104] When Cleopatra landed, Antony sent to invite
her to supper to him. But she sent him word again, he should do better
rather to come and sup with her. Antony therefore to shew himself
courteous unto her at her arrival, was contented to obey her, and went
to supper to her: where he found such passing sumptuous fare, that no
tongue can express it.


[Footnote 103: From the "Life of Mark Antony." Translated by Sir
Thomas North.]

[Footnote 104: The following description of Cleopatra's barge, taken
from Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra," when compared with the
foregoing paragraph, will illustrate to the reader the closeness with
which Shakespeare followed North:

    "The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne,
    Burn'd on the water. The poop was beaten gold;
    Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
    The winds were love-sick with them. The oars were silver,
    Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
    The water which they beat to follow faster,
    As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
    It beggar'd all description: she did lie
    In her pavilion--cloth-of-gold of tissue--
    O'er-picturing that Venus where we see
    The fancy outwork nature. On each side her
    Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
    With diverse colour'd fans, whose wind did seem
    To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
    And what they undid did.

    "Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides,
    So many mermaids, tended her i' the eyes,
    And made their bends adornings. At the helm
    A seeming mermaid steers; the silken tackle
    Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands,
    That yarely frame the office. From the barge
    A strange invisible perfume hits the sense
    Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast
    Her people out upon her; and Antony
    Enthron'd i' the market-place, did sit alone,
    Whistling to the air, which, but for vacancy,
    Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too
    And made a gap in nature."]



When Mark Antony saw that his men did forsake him, and yielded unto
Cæsar,[106] and that his footmen were broken and overthrown: he then
fled into the city, crying out that Cleopatra had betrayed him unto
them, with whom he had made war for her sake. Then she being afraid of
his fury, fled into the tomb which she had caused to be made, and
there locked the doors unto her, and shut all the springs of the locks
with great bolts, and in the meantime sent unto Antony to tell him
that she was dead. Antony believing it, said unto himself: What dost
thou look for further, Antony, sith spiteful fortune had taken from
thee the only joy thou hadst, for whom thou yet reservedst thy life?
when he had said these words, he went into a chamber and unarmed
himself, and being naked said thus: O Cleopatra, it grieveth me not
that I have lost thy company, for I will not be long from thee: but I
am sorry, that having been so great a captain and emperor, I am indeed
condemned to be judged of less courage and noble mind, than a woman.

Now he had a man of his called Eros, whom he loved and trusted much,
and whom he had long before caused to swear unto him, that he should
kill him when he did command him: and then he willed him to keep his
promise. His man drawing his sword, lift it up as though he had meant
to have stricken his master: but turning his head at one side he
thrust his sword into himself, and fell down dead at his master's
foot. Then said Antony, O noble Eros, I thank thee for this, and it is
valiantly done of thee, to shew me what I should do to my self, which
thou couldst not do for me. Therewithal he took his sword, and thrust
it into his belly, and so fell down upon a little bed. The wound he
had killed him not presently, for the blood stinted a little when he
was laid: and when he came somewhat to himself again, he prayed them
that were about him to despatch him. But they all fled out of the
chamber, and left him crying out and tormenting himself: until at last
there came a secretary unto him called Diomedes, who was commanded to
bring him unto the tomb or monument where Cleopatra was.

When he heard that she was alive, he very earnestly prayed his men to
carry his body thither, and so he was carried in his men's arms into
the entry of the monument. Notwithstanding, Cleopatra would not open
the gates, but came to the high windows, and cast out certain chains
and ropes, in the which Antony was trussed: and Cleopatra her own
self, with two women only, which she had suffered to come with her
into these monuments, triced Antony up. They that were present to
behold it, said they never saw so pitiful a sight. For, they plucked
up poor Antony all bloody as he was, and drawing on with pangs of
death, who holding up his hands to Cleopatra raised up himself as well
as he could. It was a hard thing for these women to do, to lift him
up: but Cleopatra stooping down with her head, putting to all her
strength to her uttermost power, did lift him up with much ado, and
never let go her hold, with the help of the women beneath that bade
her be of good courage, and were as sorry to see her labour so, as she
her self.

So when she had gotten him in after that sort, and laid him on a bed:
she rent her garments upon him, clapping her breast, and scratching
her face and stomach. Then she dried up his blood that had berayed his
face, and called him her lord, her husband, and emperor, forgetting
her own misery and calamity, for the pity and compassion she took of
him. Antony made her cease her lamenting, and called for wine, either
because he was athirst, or else for that he thought thereby to hasten
his death. When he had drunk, he earnestly prayed her, and persuaded
her, that she would seek to save her life, if she could possible,
without reproach and dishonour: and that chiefly she should trust
Proculeius above any man else about Cæsar. And as for himself, that
she should not lament nor sorrow for the miserable change of his
fortune at the end of his days: but rather that she should think him
the more fortunate, for the former triumphs and honours he had
received, considering that while he lived he was the noblest and
greatest prince of the world, and that now he was overcome, not
cowardly, but valiantly, a Roman by another Roman.

As Antony gave the last gasp, Proculeius came that was sent from
Cæsar. For after Antony had thrust his sword in himself, as they
carried him into the tombs and monuments of Cleopatra, one of his
guard called Dercetæus, took his sword with the which he had stricken
himself, and hid it: then he secretly stole away, and brought Octavius
Cæsar the first news of his death, and shewed him his sword that was
bloodied. Cæsar hearing these news, straight withdrew himself into a
secret place of his tent, and there burst out with tears, lamenting
his hard and miserable fortune, that had been his friend and
brother-in-law,[107] his equal in the empire, and companion with him
in sundry great exploits and battels. Then he called for all his
friends, and shewed them the letters Antony had written to him, and
his answers also sent him again, during their quarrel and strife: and
how fiercely and proudly the other answered him, to all just and
reasonable matters he wrote unto him.

After this, he sent Proculeius, and commanded him to do what he could
possible to get Cleopatra alive, fearing lest otherwise all the
treasure would be lost: and furthermore, he thought that if he could
take Cleopatra, and bring her alive to Rome, she would marvellously
beautify and set out his triumph. But Cleopatra would never put her
self into Proculeius' hands, although they spake together. For
Proculeius came to the gates that were very thick and strong, and
surely barred, but yet there were some crannies through the which her
voice might be heard, and so they without understood, that Cleopatra
demanded the kingdom of Egypt for her sons: and that Proculeius
answered her, That she should be of good cheer, and not be affrayed to
refer all unto Cæsar. After he had viewed the place very well, he came
and reported her answer unto Cæsar. Who immediately sent Gallus to
speak once again with her, and bade him purposely hold her with talk,
whilst Proculeius did set up a ladder against that high window, by the
which Antony was triced up, and came down into the monument with two
of his men hard by the gate, where Cleopatra stood to hear what Gallus
said unto her.

One of her women which was shut in her monuments with her, saw
Proculeius by chance as he came down, and shrieked out: O poor
Cleopatra, thou art taken. Then when she saw Proculeius behind her as
she came from the gate, she thought to have stabbed her self in with a
short dagger she wore of purpose by her side. But Proculeius came
suddenly upon her, and taking her by both the hands, said unto her:
Cleopatra, first thou shalt do thy self great wrong, and secondly unto
Cæsar: to deprive him of the occasion and opportunity, openly to shew
his bounty and mercy, and to give his enemies cause to accuse the most
courteous and noble prince that ever was, and to appeach him, as
though he were a cruel and merciless man, that were not to be trusted.
So even as he spake the word, he took her dagger from her, and shook
her clothes for fear of any poison hidden about her. Afterwards Cæsar
sent one of his enfranchised men called Epaphroditus, whom he
straightly charged to look well unto her, and to beware in any case
that she made not her self away: and for the rest, to use her with all
the courtesy possible.

And for himself, he in the meantime entered the city of Alexandria,
and as he went, talked with the philosopher Arrius, and held him by
the hand, to the end that his countrymen should reverence him the
more, because they saw Cæsar so highly esteem and honour him. Then he
went into the shew-place of exercises, and so up to his chair of state
which was prepared for him of a great height: and there according to
his commandment, all the people of Alexandria were assembled, who
quaking for fear, fell down on their knees before him, and craved
mercy. Cæsar bade them all stand up, and told them openly that he
forgave the people, and pardoned the felonies and offences they had
committed against him in this war. First, for the founder sake of the
same city, which was Alexander the Great: secondly, for the beauty of
the city, which he much esteemed and wondered at: thirdly, for the
love he bare unto his very friend Arrius. Thus did Cæsar honour
Arrius, who craved pardon for himself and many others, and especially
for Philostratus, the eloquentest man of all the sophisters and
orators of his time, for present and sudden speech: howbeit he falsely
named himself an academic philosopher. Therefore, Cæsar that hated his
nature and conditions, would not hear his suit. Thereupon he let his
grey beard grow long, and followed Arrius step by step in a long
mourning gown, still buzzing in his ears this Greek verse:

    A wise man if that he be wise indeed,
    May by a wise man have the better speed.

Cæsar understanding this, not for the desire he had to deliver
Philostratus of his fear, as to rid Arrius of malice and envy that
might have fallen out against him: he pardoned him.

Now touching Antony's sons, Antyllus, his eldest son by Fulvia was
slain, because his schoolmaster Theodorus did betray him unto the
soldiers, who strake off his head. And the villain took a precious
stone of great value from his neck, the which he did sew in his
girdle, and afterwards denied that he had it: but it was found about
him, and so Cæsar trussed him up for it. For Cleopatra's children,
they were very honourably kept, with their governors and train that
waited on them. But for Cæsarion, who was said to be Julius Cæsar's
son:[108] his mother Cleopatra had sent him unto the Indians through
Ethiopia, with a great sum of money. But one of his governors also
called Rhodon, even such another as Theodorus, persuaded him to return
into his country, and told him that Cæsar sent for him to give him his
mother's kingdom. So, as Cæsar was determining with himself what he
should do, Arrius said unto him:

    Too many Cæsars is not good.

Alluding unto a certain verse of Homer that saith:

    Too many lords doth not well.

Therefore Cæsar did put Cæsarion to death, after the death of his
mother Cleopatra. Many princes, great kings and captains did crave
Antony's body of Octavius Cæsar, to give him honourable burial: but
Cæsar would never take it from Cleopatra, who did sumptuously and
royally bury him with her own hands, whom Cæsar suffered to take as
much as she would to bestow upon his funerals.

Now was she altogether overcome with sorrow and passion of mind, for
she had knocked her breast so pitifully, that she had martyred it, and
in divers places had raised ulcers and inflammations, so that she fell
into a fever withal: whereof she was very glad, hoping thereby to have
good colour to abstain from meat, and that so she might have died
easily without any trouble. She had a physician called Olympus, whom
she made privy of her intent, to the end he should help her rid her
out of her life: as Olympus writeth himself, who wrote a book of all
these things. But Cæsar mistrusted the matter, by many conjectures he
had, and therefore did put her in fear, and threatened her to put her
children to shameful death. With these threats, Cleopatra for fear
yielded straight, as she would have yielded unto strokes: and
afterwards suffered her self to be cured and dieted as they listed.

Shortly after, Cæsar came himself in person to see her, and to comfort
her. Cleopatra being laid upon a little low bed in poor state, when
she saw Cæsar come into her chamber, she suddenly rose up, naked in
her smock, and fell down at his feet marvellously disfigured: both for
that she had plucked her hair from her head, as also for that she had
martyred all her face with her nails, and besides, her voice was small
and trembling, her eyes sunk into her head with continual blubbering
and moreover, they might see the most part of her stomach torn in
sunder. To be short, her body was not much better than her mind: yet
her good grace and comeliness, and the force of her beauty was not
altogether defaced. But notwithstanding this ugly and pitiful state of
hers, yet she shewed her self within, by her outward looks and

When Cæsar had made her lie down again, and sat by her bedside:
Cleopatra began to clear and excuse her self for that she had done,
laying all to the fear she had of Antony; Cæsar, in contrary manner,
reproved her in every point. Then she suddenly altered her speech, and
prayed him to pardon her, as though she were affrayed to die, and
desirous to live. At length, she gave him a brief and memorial of all
the ready money and treasure she had. But by chance there stood
Seleucus by, one of her treasurers, who to seem a good servant, came
straight to Cæsar to disprove Cleopatra, that she had had not set in
all, but kept many things back of purpose. Cleopatra was in such a
rage with him, that she flew upon him, and took him by the hair of the
head, and boxed him well-favouredly. Cæsar fell a-laughing and parted
the fray. Alas, said she, O Cæsar: is not this a great shame and
reproach, that thou having vouchsafed to take the pains to come unto
me, and has done me this honour, poor wretch, and caitiff creature,
brought into this pitiful and miserable state: and that mine own
servants should come now to accuse me, though it may be I have
reserved some jewels and trifles meet for women, but not for me (poor
soul) to set out my self withal, but meaning to give some pretty
presents and gifts unto Octavia and Livia, that they making means and
intercessions for me to thee, thou mightest yet extend thy favour and
mercy upon me? Cæsar was glad to hear her say so, persuading himself
thereby that she had yet a desire to save her life. So he made her
answer, That he did not only give her that to dispose of at her
pleasure, which she had kept back, but further promised to use her
more honourably and bountifully that she would think for: and so he
took his leave of her, supposing he had deceived her, but indeed he
was deceived himself.

There was a young gentleman Cornelius Dolabella,[109] that was of
Cæsar's very great familiars, and besides did bear no evil will unto
Cleopatra. He sent her word secretly as she had requested him, that
Cæsar determined to take his journey through Syria, and that within
three days he would send her away before with her children. When this
was told Cleopatra, she requested Cæsar that it would please him to
suffer her to offer the last oblations of the dead, unto the soul of
Antony. This being granted her, she was carried to the place where his
tomb was, and there falling down on her knees, embracing the tomb with
her women, the tears running down her cheeks, she began to speak in
this sort:

"O my dearn lord Antony, not long sithence I buried thee here, being a
freewoman: and now I offer unto thee the funeral springlings and
oblations, being a captive and prisoner, and yet I am forbidden and
kept from tearing and murdering this captive body of mine with blows,
which they carefully guard and keep, only to triumph of thee: look
therefore henceforth for no other honours, offerings, nor sacrifices
from me, for these are the last which Cleopatra can give thee, sith
now they carry her away. Whilst we lived together, nothing could sever
our companies: but now at our death, I fear me they will make us
change our countries. For as thou being a Roman, has been buried in
Egypt: even so wretched creature I, an Egyptian, shall be buried in
Italy, which shall be all the good that I have received by thy
country. If therefore the gods where thou art now have any power and
authority, sith our gods here have forsaken us: suffer not thy true
friend and lover to be carried away alive, that in me, they triumph of
thee: but receive me with thee, and let me be buried in one self tomb
with thee. For though my griefs and miseries be infinite, yet none
hath grieved me more, nor that I could less bear withal: than this
small time, which I have been driven to live alone without thee."

Then having ended these doleful plaints, and crowned the tomb with
garlands and sundry nosegays, and marvellous lovingly embraced the
same: she commanded they should prepare her bath, and when she had
bathed and washed her self, she fell to her meat, and was sumptuously
served. Now whilst she was at dinner, there came a countryman, and
brought her a basket. The soldiers that warded at the gate, asked him
straight what he had in his basket. He opened the basket, and took out
the leaves that covered the figs, and shewed them that they were figs
he brought. They all of them marvelled to see so goodly figs. The
countryman laughed to hear them, and bade them take some if they
would. They believed he told them truly, and so bade him carry them
in. After Cleopatra had dined, she sent a certain table written and
sealed unto Cæsar, and commanded them all to go out of the tombs where
she was, but the two women, then she shut the doors to her. Cæsar when
he received this table, and began to read her lamentation and
petition, requesting him that he would let her be buried with Antony,
found straight what she meant, and thought to have gone thither
himself: howbeit he sent one before in all haste that might be, to see
what it was.

Her death was very sodain. For those whom Cæsar sent unto her ran
thither in all haste possible, and found the soldiers standing at the
gate, mistrusting nothing, nor understanding of her death. But when
they had opened the doors, they found Cleopatra stark dead, laid upon
a bed of gold, attired and arrayed in her royal robes, and one of her
two women, which was called Iras, dead at her feet: and her other
woman called Charmion half-dead, and trembling, trimming the diadem
which Cleopatra wore upon her head. One of the soldiers seeing her,
angrily said unto her: Is that well done Charmion? Very well said she
again, and meet for a princess descended from the race of so many
noble kings. She said no more, but fell down dead hard by the bed.


[Footnote 105: From the "Life of Mark Antony." Translated by Sir
Thomas North.]

[Footnote 106: That is Octavius, afterward the Emperor Augustus.]

[Footnote 107: Antony's mother was Julia, sister of Julius Cæsar; his
wife was Octavia, sister of Octavius, the Emperor Augustus.]

[Footnote 108: Cæsarion was born in 47 B.C., and is believed to have
gone to Rome with his mother Cleopatra in the following year. It has
been pointed out that there could be no reason for putting Cæsarion to
death as a possible competitor with Octavius at Rome, for tho Octavius
was only the nephew of Julius Cæsar, Cæsarion, his son, was not a
Roman citizen. Inasmuch, however, as it was the object of Octavius to
retain Egypt, Cæsarion might have been an obstacle to him there.]

[Footnote 109: A son of the elder Dolabella by his first marriage.
Dolabella the elder married Cicero's daughter Tullia, and became one
of Cæsar's murderers.]


     Born, about the middle of the first century, A.D., in
     Hierapolis, Phrygia; originally a slave, but became a
     freedman of Epaphroditus, a favorite of the emperor Nero; a
     pupil of Musonius Rufus; taught philosophy at Rome; banished
     with other philosophers by Domitian and settled in
     Nicopolis, Epirus, where he taught philosophy, his doctrines
     being compiled by his pupil Arrian, the historian; he wrote
     nothing himself.



He is free who lives as he likes; who is not subject to compulsion, to
restraint, or to violence; whose pursuits are unhindered, his desires
successful, his aversions unincurred. Who, then, would wish to lead a
wrong course of life? "No one." Who would live deceived, erring,
unjust, dissolute, discontented, dejected? "No one." No wicked man,
then, lives as he likes; therefore no such man is free. And who would
live in sorrow, fear, envy, pity, with disappointed desires and
unavailing aversions? "No one." Do we then find any of the wicked
exempt from these evils? "Not one." Consequently, then, they are not

If some person who has been twice Consul should hear this, he will
forgive you, provided you add, "but you are wise, and this has no
reference to you." But if you tell him the truth, that, in point of
slavery, he does not necessarily differ from those who have been
thrice sold, what but chastisement can you expect? "For how," he says,
"am I a slave? My father was free, my mother free. Besides, I am a
senator, too, and the friend of Cæsar, and have been twice Consul, and
have myself many slaves." In the first place, most worthy sir, perhaps
your father too was a slave of the same kind; and your mother, and
your grandfather, and all your series of ancestors. But even were they
ever so free, what is that to you? For what if they were of a
generous, you of a mean spirit; they brave, and you a coward; they
sober, and you dissolute?

"But what," he says, "has this to do with my being a slave?" Is it no
part of slavery to act against your will, under compulsion, and
lamenting? "Be it so. But who can compel me but the master of all,
Cæsar?" By your own confession, then, you have one master; and let not
his being, as you say, master of all, give you any comfort; for then
you are merely a slave in a large family. Thus the Nicopolitans, too,
frequently cry out, "By the genius of Cæsar we are free!"

For the present, however, if you please, we will let Cæsar alone. But
tell me this. Have you never been in love with any one, either of a
servile or liberal condition? "Why, what has that to do with being
slave or free?" Were you never commanded anything by your mistress
that you did not choose? Have you never flattered your fair slave?
Have you never kissed her feet? And yet if you were commanded to kiss
Cæsar's feet, you would think it an outrage and an excess of tyranny.
What else is this than slavery? Have you never gone out by night where
you did not desire? Have you never spent more than you chose? Have you
not sometimes uttered your words with sighs and groans? Have you never
borne to be reviled and shut out-of-doors? But if you are ashamed to
confess your own follies, see what Thrasonides says and does; who,
after having fought more battles perhaps than you, went out by night,
when [his slave] Geta would not dare to go; nay, had he been compelled
to do it, would have gone bewailing and lamenting the bitterness of
servitude. And what says he afterward? "A contemptible girl has
enslaved me, whom no enemy ever enslaved." Wretch! to be the slave of
a girl and a contemptible girl too! Why, then, do you still call
yourself free? Why do you boast your military expeditions? Then he
calls for a sword, and is angry with the person who, out of kindness,
denies it; and sends presents to her who hates him; and begs, and
weeps, and then again is elated on every little success. But what
elation? Is he raised above desire or fear?

Consider what is our idea of freedom in animals. Some keep tame lions,
and feed them and even lead them about; and who will say that any such
lion is free? Nay, does he not live the more slavishly the more he
lives at ease? And who that had sense and reason would wish to be one
of those lions? Again, how much will caged birds suffer in trying to
escape? Nay, some of them starve themselves rather than undergo such a
life; others are saved only with difficulty and in a pining condition;
and the moment they find any opening, out they go. Such a desire have
they for their natural freedom, and to be at their own disposal, and
unrestrained. "And what harm can this confinement do you?" "What say
you? I was born to fly where I please, to live in the open air, to
sing when I please. You deprive me of all this, and then ask what harm
I suffer?"

Hence we will allow those only to be free who will not endure
captivity, but, so soon as they are taken, die and escape. Thus
Diogenes somewhere says that the only way to freedom is to die with
ease. And he writes to the Persian king, "You can no more enslave the
Athenians than you can fish." "How? Can I not get possession of them?"
"If you do," said he, "they will leave you and be gone like fish. For
catch a fish, and it dies. And if the Athenians, too, die as soon as
you have caught them, of what use are your warlike preparations?" This
is the voice of a free man who had examined the matter in earnest,
and, as it might be expected, found it all out. But if you seek it
where it is not, what wonder if you never find it?

A slave wishes to be immediately set free. Think you it is because he
is desirous to pay his fee [of manumission] to the officer? No, but
because he fancies that, for want of acquiring his freedom, he has
hitherto lived under restraint and unprosperously. "If I am once set
free," he says, "it is all prosperity; I care for no one; I can speak
to all as being their equal and on a level with them. I go where I
will, I come when and how I will." He is at last made free, and
presently having nowhere to eat he seeks whom he may flatter, with
whom he may sup. He then either submits to the basest and most
infamous degradation, and if he can obtain admission to some great
man's table, falls into a slavery much worse than the former; or
perhaps, if the ignorant fellow should grow rich, he dotes upon some
girl, laments, and is unhappy, and wishes for slavery again. "For what
harm did it do me? Another clothed me, another shod me, another fed
me, another took care of me when I was sick. It was but in a few
things, by way of return, I used to serve him. But now, miserable
wretch! what do I suffer, in being a slave to many, instead of one!
Yet, if I can be promoted to equestrian rank, I shall live in the
utmost prosperity and happiness." In order to obtain this, he first
deservedly suffers; and as soon as he has obtained it, it is all the
same again. "But then," he says, "if I do but get a military command,
I shall be delivered from all my troubles." He gets a military
command. He suffers as much as the vilest rogue of a slave; and,
nevertheless, he asks for a second command and a third; and when he
has put the finishing touch, and is made a senator, then he is a slave
indeed. When he comes into the public assembly, it is then that he
undergoes his finest and most splendid slavery.

[It is needful] not to be foolish, but to learn what Socrates taught,
the nature of things; and not rashly to apply general principles to
particulars. For the cause of all human evils is the not being able
to apply general principles to special cases. But different people
have different grounds of complaint; one, for instance, that he is
sick. That is not the trouble; it is in his principles. Another, that
he is poor; another, that he has a harsh father and mother; another,
that he is not in the good graces of Cæsar. This is nothing else but
not understanding how to apply our principles. For who has not an idea
of evil, that it is hurtful; that it is to be avoided; that it is by
all means to be prudently guarded against? One principle does not
contradict another, except when it comes to be applied. What, then, is
this evil--thus hurtful and to be avoided? "Not to be the friend of
Cæsar," says some one. He is gone; he has failed in applying his
principles; he is embarrassed; he seeks what is nothing to the
purpose. For if he comes to be Cæsar's friend, he is still no nearer
to what he sought. For what is it that every man seeks? To be secure,
to be happy, to do what he pleases without restraint and without
compulsion. When he becomes the friend of Cæsar, then does he cease to
be restrained; to be compelled? Is he secure? Is he happy? Whom shall
we ask? Whom can we better credit than this very man who has been his
friend? Come forth and tell us whether you sleep more quietly now than
before you were the friend of Cæsar. You presently hear him cry,
"Leave off, for Heaven's sake! and do not insult me. You know not the
miseries I suffer; there is no sleep for me; but one comes and says
that Cæsar is already awake; another, that he is just going out. Then
follow perturbations, then cares." Well, and when did you use to sup
the more pleasantly--formerly, or now? Hear what he says about this
too. When he is not invited, he is distracted; and if he is, he sups
like a slave with his master, solicitous all the while not to say or
do anything foolish. And what think you? Is he afraid of being whipt
like a slave! No such easy penalty. No; but rather, as becomes so
great a man, Cæsar's friend, of losing his head. And when did you
bathe the more quietly; when did you perform your exercises the more
at your leisure; in short, which life would you rather wish to
live--your present, or the former? I could swear there is no one so
stupid and insensible as not to deplore his miseries, in proportion as
he is the more the friend of Cæsar.

Since, then, neither they who are called kings nor the friends of
kings live as they like, who, then, after all, is free?...


[Footnote 110: From the "Discourses." Translated by Thomas Wentworth
Higginson. Copyright, 1865 and 1890, by Little, Brown & Co. Epictetus
has been valued not alone as an exposition of the Stoic philosophy,
but as a specimen of Greek of the later or Silver Age. Marcus
Aurelius, who in a later generation wrote in Greek himself, is said to
have ranked Epictetus with Socrates as a teacher. Origen, the early
Christian father, asserted that his writings had been of more value to
the world's morals than those of Plato.]



To whatever objects a person devotes his attention, these objects he
probably loves. Do men ever devote their attention, then, to [what
they think] evils? By no means. Or even to things indifferent? No, nor
this. It remains, then, that good must be the sole object of their
attention; and if of their attention, of their love too. Whoever,
therefore, understands good, is capable likewise of love; and he who
can not distinguish good from evil, and things indifferent from both,
how is it possible that he can love? The wise person alone, then, is
capable of loving.

"How so? I am not this wise person, yet I love my child."

I protest it surprizes me that you should, in the first place, confess
yourself unwise. For in what are you deficient? Have not you the use
of your senses? Do you not distinguish the semblances of things? Do
you not provide such food and clothing and habitation as are suitable
to you? Why then do you confess that you want wisdom? In truth,
because you are often struck and disconcerted by semblances, and their
speciousness gets the better of you; and hence you sometimes suppose
the very same things to be good, then evil, and lastly, neither; and,
in a word, you grieve, you fear, you envy, you are disconcerted, you
change. Is it from this that you confess yourself unwise? And are you
not changeable too in love? Riches, pleasure, in short, the very same
things, you sometimes esteem good, and at other times evil. And do you
not esteem the same persons too alternately as good and bad, at one
time treating them with kindness, at another with enmity; at one time
commending, and at another time censuring them?

"Yes. This too is the case with me."

Well, then; can he who is deceived in another be his friend, think

"No, surely."

Or does he who loves him with a changeable affection bear him genuine

"Nor he, neither."

Or he who now vilifies, then admires him?

"Nor he."

Do you not often see little dogs caressing and playing with each
other, so that you would say nothing could be more friendly? But to
learn what this friendship is, throw a bit of meat between them, and
you will see. Do you too throw a bit of an estate betwixt you and your
son, and you will see that he will quickly wish you under ground, and
you him; and then you, no doubt, on the other hand will exclaim, What
a son have I brought up! He would bury me alive! Throw in a pretty
girl, and the old fellow and the young one will both fall in love with
her; or let fame or danger intervene, the words of the father of
Admetus will be yours:

    "You love to see the light. Doth not your father?
    You fain would still behold it. Would not he?"

Do you suppose that he did not love his own child when it was little;
that he was not in agonies when it had a fever, and often wished to
undergo that fever in its stead? But, after all, when the trial comes
home, you see what expressions he uses. Were not Eteocles and
Polynices born of the same mother and of the same father? Were they
not brought up, and did they not live and eat and sleep, together? Did
not they kiss and fondle each other? So that any one, who saw them,
would have laughed at all the paradoxes which philosophers utter about
love. And yet when a kingdom, like a bit of meat, was thrown betwixt
them, see what they say--

_Polynices._ Where wilt thou stand before the towers?

_Eteocles._ Why askest thou this of me?

_Polynices._ I will oppose myself to thee, to slay thee.

_Eteocles._ Me too the desire of this seizes.

Such are the prayers they offer. Be not therefore deceived. No living
being is held by anything so strongly as by its own needs. Whatever
therefore appears a hindrance to these, be it brother or father or
child or mistress or friend, is hated, abhorred, execrated; for by
nature it loves nothing like its own needs. This motive is father and
brother and family and country and God. Whenever, therefore, the gods
seem to hinder this, we vilify even them, and throw down their
statues, and burn their temples; as Alexander ordered the temple of
Æsculapius to be burnt, because he had lost the man he loved.

When, therefore, any one identifies his interest with those of
sanctity, virtue, country, parents, and friends, all these are
secured; but whenever he places his interest in anything else than
friends, country, family and justice, then these all give way, borne
down by the weight of self-interest. For wherever I and mine are
placed, thither must every living being gravitate. If in body, that
will sway us; if in our own will, that; if in externals, these. If,
therefore, I rest my personality in the will, then only shall I be a
friend, a son, or a father, such as I ought. For in that case it will
be for my interest to preserve the faithful, the modest, the patient,
the abstinent, the beneficent character; to keep the relations of life
inviolate. But if I place my personality in one thing, and virtue in
another, the doctrine of Epicurus will stand its ground, that virtue
is nothing, or mere opinion.

From this ignorance it was that the Athenians and Lacedæmonians
quarreled with each other, and the Thebans with both; the Persian king
with Greece, and the Macedonians with both; and now the Romans with
the Getes.[112] And in still remoter times the Trojan war arose from
the same cause. Alexander [Paris] was the guest of Menelaus; and
whoever had seen the mutual proofs of good-will that passed between
them would never have believed that they were not friends. But a
tempting bait, a pretty woman, was thrown in between them; and thence
came war. At present, therefore, when you see that dear brothers have,
in appearance, but one soul, do not immediately pronounce upon their
love; not tho they should swear it, and affirm it was impossible to
live asunder. For the governing faculty of a bad man is faithless,
unsettled, undiscriminating, successively vanquished by different
semblances. But inquire, not as others do, whether they were born of
the same parents, and brought up together, and under the same
preceptor; but this thing only, in what they place their interest--in
externals or in their own wills. If in externals, you can no more
pronounce them friends, than you can call them faithful, or constant,
or brave, or free; nay, nor even truly men, if you are wise. For it is
no principle of humanity that makes them bite and vilify each other,
and take possession of public assemblies, as wild beasts do of
solitudes and mountains; and convert courts of justice into dens of
robbers; that prompts them to be intemperate, adulterers, seducers; or
leads them into other offenses that men commit against each other--all
from that one single error, by which they risk themselves and their
own concerns on things uncontrollable by will.

But if you hear that these men in reality suppose good to be placed
only in the will, and in a right use of things as they appear, no
longer take the trouble of inquiring if they are father and son, or
old companions and acquaintances; but boldly pronounce that they are
friends, and also that they are faithful and just. For where else can
friendship be met, but joined with fidelity and modesty, and the
intercommunication of virtue alone?

"Well; but such a one paid me the utmost regard for so long a time,
and did he not love me?"

How can you tell, foolish man, if that regard be any other than he
pays to his shoes, or his horse, when he cleans them? And how do you
know but that when you cease to be a necessary utensil, he may throw
you away, like a broken stool?

"Well; but it is my wife, and we have lived together many years."

And how many did Eriphyle live with Amphiaraus, and was the mother of
children not a few? But a bauble came between them. What was this
bauble? A false conviction concerning certain things. This turned her
into a savage animal; this cut asunder all love, and suffered neither
the wife nor the mother to continue such.

Whoever, therefore, among you studies either to be or to gain a
friend, let him cut up all false convictions by the root, hate them,
drive them utterly out of his soul. Thus, in the first place, he will
be secure from inward reproaches and contests, from vacillation and
self-torment. Then, with respect to others, to every like-minded
person he will be without disguise; to such as are unlike he will be
patient, mild, gentle, and ready to forgive them, as failing in points
of the greatest importance; but severe to none, being fully convinced
of Plato's doctrine, that the soul is never willingly deprived of
truth. Without all this, you may, in many respects, live as friends
do; and drink and lodge and travel together, and even be born of the
same parents; and so may serpents too; but neither they nor you can
ever be really friends, while your accustomed principles remain brutal
and execrable.


[Footnote 111: From the "Discourses." Translated by Thomas Wentworth
Higginson. Copyright, 1890, by Little, Brown & Co.]

[Footnote 112: The Getes were a Thracian people who dwelt north of the
Danube, at one time in what is now Bulgaria, and at another in what is



The first difference between one of the crowd and a philosopher is
this: the one says, "I am undone on the account of my child, my
brother, my father"; but the other, if ever he be obliged to say, "I
am undone!" reflects, and adds, "on account of myself." For the Will
can not be restrained or hurt by anything to which the Will does not
extend, but only by itself. If, therefore, we always would incline
this way, and whenever we are unsuccessful, would lay the fault on
ourselves, and remember that there is no cause of perturbation and
inconstancy but wrong principles, I pledge myself to you that we
should make some proficiency. But we set out in a very different way
from the very beginning. In infancy, for example, if we happen to
stumble, our nurse does not chide us, but beats the stone. Why, what
harm has the stone done? Was it to move out of its place for the folly
of your child? Again, if we do not find something to eat when we come
out of the bath, our tutor does not try to moderate our appetite, but
beats the cook. Why, did we appoint you tutor of the cook, man? No;
but of our child. It is he whom you are to correct and improve. By
these means even when we are grown up, we appear children. For an
unmusical person is a child in music; an illiterate person, a child in
learning; and an untaught one, a child in life.


[Footnote 113: From the "Discourses." Translated by Thomas Wentworth
Higginson. Copyright, 1890, by Little, Brown & Co.]


     Born at Samosata, Syria, about 120 A.D.; died about 200;
     apprenticed to his maternal uncle, who was a sculptor, but
     ran away in dislike of the art; becoming interested in the
     Rhetoricians, began to write himself; his works, as
     collected in English, comprize four volumes, among them
     "Dialogues of the Gods," "Dialogues of the Dead," "Zeus, the
     Tragedian," "The Ferryboat," and "Toxaris."[114]



Dawn was approaching when we went down to the river to embark; he had
provided a boat, victims, hydromel, and all necessaries for our mystic
enterprise. We put all aboard, and then, Troubled at heart, with
welling tears, we went. For some distance we floated down stream,
until we entered the marshy lake in which the Euphrates disappears.
Beyond this we came to a desolate, wooded, sunless spot; there we
landed, Mithrobarzanes leading the way, and proceeded to dig a pit,
slay our sheep, and sprinkle their blood round the edge. Meanwhile the
Mage, with a lighted torch in his hand, abandoning his customary
whisper, shouted at the top of his voice an invocation to all spirits,
particularly the Poenæ and Erinyes,

    Hecate's dark might, and dread Persephone,

with a string of other names, outlandish, unintelligible, and

As he ended, there was a great commotion, earth was burst open by the
incantation, the barking of Cerberus was heard far off, and all was
overcast and lowering:

    Quaked in his dark abyss the King of Shades;

for almost all was now unveiled to us, the lake, and Phlegethon, and
the abode of Pluto. Undeterred, we made our way down the chasm, and
came upon Rhadamanthus half dead with fear. Cerberus barked and looked
like getting up; but I quickly touched my lyre, and the first note
sufficed to lull him. Reaching the lake, we nearly missed our passage
for that time, the ferry-boat being already full; there was incessant
lamentation, and all the passengers had wounds upon them; mangled
legs, mangled heads, mangled everything; no doubt there was a war
going on. Nevertheless, when good Charon saw the lion's skin, taking
me for Heracles, he made room, was delighted to give me a passage, and
showed us our direction when we got off.

We were now in darkness; so Mithrobarzanes led the way, and I followed
holding on to him, until we reached a great meadow of asphodel, where
the shades of the dead, with their thin voices, came flitting round
us. Working gradually on, we reached the court of Minos; he was
sitting on a high throne, with the Poenæ, Avengers, and Erinyes
standing at the sides. From another direction was being brought a long
row of persons chained together; I heard that they were adulterers,
procurers, publicans, sycophants, informers, and all the filth that
pollutes the stream of life. Separate from them came the rich and
usurers, pale, pot-bellied, and gouty, each with a hundredweight of
spiked collar upon him. There we stood looking at the proceedings and
listening to the pleas they put in; their accusers were orators of a
strange and novel species.

We left the court at last, and came to the place of punishment. Many a
piteous sight and sound was there--cracking of whips, shrieks of the
burning, rack and gibbet and wheel; Chimera tearing, Cerberus
devouring; all tortured together, kings and slaves, governors and
paupers, rich and beggars, and all repenting their sins. A few of
them, the lately dead, we recognized. These would turn away and shrink
from observation; or if they met our eyes, it would be with a slavish
cringing glance--how different from the arrogance and contempt that
had marked them in life! The poor were allowed half-time in their
tortures, respite and punishment alternating. Those with whom legend
is so busy I saw with my eyes--Ixion,[116] Sisyphus, the Phrygian
Tantalus in all his misery, and the giant Tityus--how vast, his bulk
covering a whole field!

Leaving these, we entered the Acherusian plain, and there found the
demigods, men and women both, and the common dead, dwelling in their
nations and tribes, some of them ancient and moldering "strengthless
heads," as Homer has it, others fresh, with substance yet in them,
Egyptians chiefly, these--so long last their embalming drugs. But to
know one from another was no easy task; all men are so like when the
bones are bared; yet with pains and long scrutiny we could make them
out. They lay pell-mell in undistinguished heaps, with none of their
earthly beauties left. With all those anatomies piled together as like
as could be, eyes glaring ghastly and vacant, teeth gleaming bare, I
knew not how to tell Thersites[117] from Nireus the beauty, beggar
Irus from the Phæacian king, or cook Pyrrhias from Agamemnon's self.
Their ancient marks were gone, and their bones alike--uncertain,
unlabeled, indistinguishable.

When I saw all this, the life of man came before me under the
likeness of a great pageant, arranged and marshaled by Chance, who
distributed infinitely varied costumes to the performers. She would
take one and array him like a king, with tiara, body-guard, and crown
complete; another she drest like a slave; one was adorned with beauty,
another got up as a ridiculous hunchback: there must be all kinds in
the show. Often before the procession was over she made individuals
exchange characters; they could not be allowed to keep the same to the
end; Croesus must double parts and appear as slave and captive;
Mæandrius, starting as slave, would take over Polycrates'[118]
despotism, and be allowed to keep his new clothes for a little while.
And when the procession is done, every one disrobes, gives up his
character with his body, and appears, as he originally was, just like
his neighbor. Some, when Chance comes round collecting the properties,
are silly enough to sulk and protest, as tho they were being robbed of
their own instead of only returning loans. You know the kind of thing
on the stage--tragic actors shifting as the play requires from Creon
to Priam, from Priam to Agamemnon; the same man, very likely, whom you
saw just now in all the majesty of Cecrops or Erechtheus, treads the
boards next as a slave, because the author tells him to. The play
over, each of them throws off his gold-spangled robe and his mask,
descends from the buskin's height, and moves a mean ordinary creature;
his name is not now Agamemnon son of Atreus, or Creon son of
Menoeceus, but Polus son of Charicles of Sunium, or Satyrus son of
Theogiton of Marathon. Such is the condition of mankind, or so that
sight presented it to me.

_Philip._ Now, if a man occupies a costly towering sepulcher, or
leaves monuments, statues, inscriptions behind him on earth, does not
this place him in a class above the common dead?

_Menippus._ Nonsense, my good man; if you had looked on Mausolus[119]
himself--the Carian so famous for his tomb--I assure you, you would
never have stopt laughing; he was a miserable unconsidered unit among
the general mass of the dead, flung aside in a dusty hole, with no
profit of his sepulcher but its extra weight upon him. No, friend,
when Æacus gives a man his allowance of space--and it never exceeds a
foot's breadth, he must be content to pack himself into its limits.
You might have laughed still more if you had beheld the kings and
governors of earth begging in Hades, selling salt fish for a living,
it might be, or giving elementary lessons, insulted by any one who met
them, and cuffed like the most worthless of slaves. When I saw Philip
of Macedon,[120] I could not contain myself; some one showed him to me
cobbling old shoes for money in a corner. Many others were to be seen
begging--people like Xerxes, Darius, or Polycrates.

_Philip._ These royal downfalls are extraordinary--almost incredible.
But what of Socrates, Diogenes, and such wise men?

_Menippus._ Socrates still goes about proving everybody wrong, the
same as ever; Palamedes, Odysseus, Nestor, and a few other
conversational shades, keep him company. His legs, by the way, were
still puffy and swollen from the poison. Good Diogenes pitches close
to Sardanapalus, Midas, and other specimens of magnificence. The sound
of their lamentations and better-day memories keeps him in laughter
and spirits; he is generally stretched on his back roaring out a noisy
song which drowns lamentations; it annoys them, and they are looking
out for a new pitch where he may not molest them.


[Footnote 114: Lucian lived under four Roman emperors and possibly
five,--Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus, Commodus and
Pertinax. The Fowlers, whose translation is used in these specimens,
regard Lucian as "a linguistic miracle," stating the case as follows:
"A Syrian writes in Greek, and not in the Greek of his own time, but
in that of five or six centuries before, and he does it, if not with
absolute correctness, yet with the easy mastery that we expect from
one in a million of those who write in their mother tongue and takes
place as an immortal classic. The miracle may be repeated; an
English-educated Hindu may produce masterpieces of Elizabethan English
that will rank him with Bacon and Ben Jonson; but it will surprize us
when it does happen."]

[Footnote 115: From "Menippus: A Necromantic Experiment." Translated
by H. W. and F. G. Fowler. Menippus was a Cynic philosopher,
originally a slave, born in Syria. He lived about 60 B.C., and wrote
much, but all his works have been lost.]

[Footnote 116: Ixion, of whom the familiar legend is that he was
punished in the lower world by being chained to an ever-revolving
wheel, was King of the Lapithæ. Sisyphus, whose punishment was to roll
a stone up a hill and then see it roll back again, being condemned
perpetually to attempt rolling it completely to the top, belonged to a
period anterior to Homer, and was the founder of Corinth. Homer
describes him as the craftiest of men. Tantalus, one of the kings of
Lydia, was condemned to stand in water, but whenever he sought to
quench his thirst the water retreated from him.]

[Footnote 117: Thersites is represented as the most insolent and
hateful of the Greeks who went to Troy.]

[Footnote 118: Polycrates was tyrant of Samos from 536 to 522 B.C.,
but was put to death.]

[Footnote 119: Mausolus was King of Caria, a country lying on the
Ægean Sea in Asia Minor. Its chief town was Helicarnassus. Mausolus
died about 353 B.C. His sister-wife, Artemisia, erected above his
body the famous tomb named after him the Mausoleum, which was one of
the "seven wonders of the world."]

[Footnote 120: The father of Alexander the Great, and the king against
whom several of the orations of Demosthenes were delivered.]



_Socrates._ Stone the miscreant; stone him with many stones; clod him
with clods; pot him with pots; let the culprit feel your sticks; leave
him no way out. At him, Plato! come, Chrysippus, let him have it!
Shoulder to shoulder, close the ranks;

    Let wallet succor wallet, staff aid staff!

We are all parties in this war; not one of us but he has assailed.
You, Diogenes, now if ever is the time for that stick of yours; stand
firm, all of you. Let him reap the fruits of his revilings. What,
Epicurus, Aristippus, tired already? 'tis too soon; ye sages,

    Be men; resume that erstwhile furious wrath.

Aristotle, one more sprint. There! the brute is caught; we have you,
villain. You shall soon know a little more about the characters you
have assailed. Now, what shall we do with him? it must be rather an
elaborate execution, to meet all our claims upon him; he owes a
separate death to every one of us.

_First Philosopher._ Impale him, say I.

_Second Philosopher._ Yes, but scourge him first.

_Third Philosopher._ Tear out his eyes.

_Fourth Philosopher._ Ah, but first out with the offending tongue.

_Socrates._ What say you, Empedocles?

_Empedocles._ Oh, fling him into a crater; that will teach him to
vilify his betters.

_Plato._ 'Twere best for him, Orpheus or Pentheus like, to

    Find death, dashed all to pieces on the rock;

so each might have taken a piece home with him....

_Lucian._ Believe me, good gentlemen, I have been at much pains on
your behalf; to slay me is to slay one who should rather be selected
for commendation; a kindred spirit, a well-wisher, a man after your
own heart, a promoter, if I may be bold to say it, of your pursuits.
See to it that you catch not the tone of our latter-day philosophers,
and be thankless, petulant and hard of heart, to him that deserves
better of you.

_Plato._ Talk of a brazen front! So to abuse us is to oblige us. I
believe you are under the delusion that you are really talking to
slaves; after the insolent excesses of your tongue, do you propose to
chop gratitude with us?

_Lucian._ How or when was I ever insolent to you? I have always been
an admirer of philosophy, your panegyrist, and a student of the
writings you left. All that comes from my pen is but what you give me;
I deflower you, like a bee, for the behoof of mankind; and then there
is praise and recognition; they know the flowers, whence and whose the
honey was, and the manner of my gathering; their surface feeling is
for my selective art, but deeper down it is for you and your meadow,
where you put forth such bright blooms and myriad dyes, if one knows
but how to sort and mix and match, that one be not in discord with
another. Could he that had found you such have the heart to abuse
these benefactors to whom his little fame was due? then he must be a
Thamyris or Eurytus, defying the Muses who gave his gift of song, or
challenging Apollo with the bow, forgetful from whom he had his

_Plato._ All this, good sir, is quite according to the principles of
rhetoric; that is to say, it is clean contrary to the facts; your
unscrupulousness is only emphasized by this adding of insult to
injury; you confess that your arrows are from our quiver, and you use
them against us; your one aim is to abuse us. This is our reward for
showing you that meadow, letting you pluck freely, fill your bosom,
and depart. For this alone you richly deserve death.

_Lucian._ There; your ears are partial; they are deaf to the right.
Why, I would never have believed that personal feeling could affect a
Plato, a Chrysippus,[122] an Aristotle; with you, of all men, I
thought there was dry light. But, dear sirs, do not condemn me
unheard; give me trial first....

_Plato._ Pythagoras,[123] Socrates, what do you think? perhaps the
man's appeal to law is not unreasonable.

_Socrates._ No; come along, form the court, fetch Philosophy, and see
what he has to say for himself. To condemn unheard is a sadly crude
proceeding, not for us; leave that to the hasty people with whom might
is right. We shall give occasion to the enemy to blaspheme if we stone
a man without a hearing, profest lovers of justice as we are. We shall
have to keep quiet about Anytus and Meletus, my accusers, and the jury
on that occasion, if we can not spare an hour to hear this fellow
before he suffers.

_Plato._ Very true, Socrates. We will go and fetch Philosophy. The
decision shall be hers, and we will accept it, whatever it is....

_Philosophy._ Well, well. Here we are at the appointed place. We will
hold the trial in the forecourt of Athene Polias.[124] Priestess,
arrange our seats, while we salute the goddess.

_Lucian._ Polias, come to my aid against these pretenders, mindful of
the daily perjuries thou hearest from them. Their deeds too are
revealed to thee alone, in virtue of thy charge. Thou hast now thine
hour of vengeance. If thou see me in evil case, if blacks be more than
whites, then cast thou thy vote and save me!

_Philosophy._ So. Now we are seated, ready to hear your words. Choose
one of your number, the best accuser you may, make your charge, and
bring your proofs. Were all to speak, there would be no end. And you,
Parrhesiades, shall afterward make your defense....

_Parrhesiades._ Philosophy, Diogenes has been far indeed from
exhausting his material; the greater part of it, and the more strongly
exprest, he has passed by, for reasons best known to himself. I refer
to statements of mine which I am as far from denying that I made as
from having provided myself with any elaborate defense of them. Any of
these that have been omitted by him, and not previously emphasized by
myself, I propose now to quote; this will be the best way to show you
who were the persons that I sold by auction and inveighed against as
pretenders and impostors; please to concentrate your vigilance on the
truth or falsehood of my descriptions. If what I say is injurious or
severe, your censure will be more fairly directed at the perpetrators
than at the discoverer of such iniquities. I had no sooner realized
the odious practises which his profession imposes on an advocate--the
deceit, falsehood, bluster, clamor, pushing, and all the long hateful
list, than I fled as a matter of course from these, betook myself to
your dear service, Philosophy, and pleased myself with the thought of
a remainder of life spent far from the tossing waves in a calm haven
beneath your shadow.

At my first peep into your realm, how could I but admire yourself and
all these your disciples? There they were, legislating for the perfect
life, holding out hands of help to those that would reach it,
commending all that was fairest and best; fairest and best--but a man
must keep straight on for it and never slip, must set his eyes
unwaveringly on the laws that you have laid down, must tune and test
his life thereby; and that, Zeus be my witness, there are few enough
in these days of ours to do.

So I saw how many were in love, not with Philosophy, but with the
credit it brings; in the vulgar externals, so easy for any one to ape,
they showed a striking resemblance to the real article, perfect in
beard and walk and attire; but in life and conduct they belied their
looks, read your lessons backwards, and degraded their profession.
Then I was wroth; methought it was as tho some soft womanish actor on
the tragic stage should give us Achilles or Theseus or Heracles
himself; he can not stride nor speak out as a hero should, but minces
along under his enormous mask; Helen or Polyxena would find him too
realistically feminine to pass for them; and what shall an invincible
Heracles say? Will he not swiftly pound man and mask together into
nothingness with his club, for womanizing and disgracing him?

Well, these people were about as fit to represent you, and the
degradation of it all was too much for me. Apes daring to masquerade
as heroes! emulators of the ass at Cyme! The Cymeans, you know, had
never seen ass or lion; so the ass came the lion over them, with the
aid of a borrowed skin and his most awe-inspiring bray; however, a
stranger who had often seen both brought the truth to light with a
stick. But what most distrest me, Philosophy, was this: when one of
these people was detected in rascality, impropriety, or immorality,
every one put it down to philosophy, and to the particular philosopher
whose name the delinquent took in vain without ever acting on his
principles; the living rascal disgraced you, the long dead; for you
were not there in the flesh to point the contrast; so, as it was clear
enough that his life was vile and disgusting, your case was given away
by association with his, and you had to share his disgrace.

This spectacle, I say, was too much for me; I began exposing them, and
distinguishing between them and you; and for this good work you now
arraign me. So then, if I find one of the Initiated betraying and
parodying the Mysteries of the two Goddesses, and if I protest and
denounce him, the transgression will be mine? There is something wrong
there; why, at the Games, if an actor who has to present Athene or
Poseidon or Zeus plays his part badly, derogating from the divine
dignity, the stewards have him whipt; well, the gods are not angry
with them for having the officers whip the man who wears their mask
and their attire; I imagine they approve of the punishment. To play a
slave or a messenger badly is a trifling offense, but to represent
Zeus or Heracles to the spectators in an unworthy manner--that is a
crime and a sacrilege.

I can indeed conceive nothing more extraordinary than that so many of
them should get themselves absolutely perfect in your words, and then
live precisely as if the sole object of reading and studying them had
been to reverse them in practise. All their professions of despising
wealth and appearances, of admiring nothing but what is noble, of
superiority to passion, of being proof against splendor, and
associating with its owners only on equal terms--how fair and wise and
laudable they all are! But they take pay for imparting them, they are
abashed in presence of the rich, their lips water at sight of coin;
they are dogs for temper, hares for cowardice, apes for imitativeness,
asses for lust, cats for thievery, cocks for jealousy. They are a
perfect laughingstock with their strivings after vile ends, their
jostling of each other at rich men's doors, their attendance at
crowded dinners, and their vulgar obsequiousness at table. They swill
more than they should and would like to swill more than they do, they
spoil the wine with unwelcome and untimely disquisitions, and they can
not carry their liquor. The ordinary people who are present naturally
flout them, and are revolted by the philosophy which breeds such

What is so monstrous is that every man of them says he has no needs,
proclaims aloud that wisdom is the only wealth, and directly afterward
comes begging and makes a fuss if he is refused; it would hardly be
stranger to see one in kingly attire, with tall tiara, crown, and all the
attributes of royalty, asking his inferiors for a little something more.
When they want to get something, we hear a great deal, to be sure, about
community of goods--how wealth is a thing indifferent--and what is gold
and silver?--neither more nor less worth than pebbles on the beach. But
when an old comrade and tried friend needs help and comes to them with his
modest requirements, ah, then there is silence and searchings of heart,
unlearning of tenets and flat renunciation of doctrines. All their fine
talk of friendship, with Virtue and The Good, have vanished and flown, who
knows whither? they were winged words in sad truth, empty fantoms, only
meant for daily conversational use.

These men are excellent friends so long as there is no gold or silver
for them to dispute the possession of; exhibit but a copper or two,
and peace is broken, truce void, armistice ended; their books are
blank, their virtue fled, and they so many dogs; some one has flung a
bone into the pack, and up they spring to bite each other and snarl at
the one which has pounced successfully. There is a story of an
Egyptian king who taught some apes the sword-dance; the imitative
creatures very soon picked it up; and used to perform in purple robes
and masks; for some time the show was a great success, till at last an
ingenious spectator brought some nuts in with him and threw them down.
The apes forgot their dancing at the sight, dropt their humanity,
resumed their ape-hood, and, smashing masks and tearing dresses, had a
free fight for the provender. Alas for the _corps de ballet_ and the
gravity of the audience!

These people are just those apes; it is they that I reviled; and I
shall never cease exposing and ridiculing them; but about you and your
like--for there are, in spite of all, some true lovers of philosophy
and keepers of your laws--about you or them may I never be mad enough
to utter an injurious or rude word! Why, what could I find to say?
what is there in your lives that lends itself to such treatment? but
those pretenders deserve my detestation, as they have that of heaven.
Why, tell me, all of you, what have such creatures to do with you? Is
there a trace in their lives of kindred and affinity? Does oil mix
with water? If they grow their beards and call themselves philosophers
and look solemn, do these things make them like you? I could have
contained myself if there had been any touch of plausibility in their
acting; but the vulture is more like the nightingale than they like
philosophers. And now I have pleaded my cause to the best of my
ability. Truth, I rely upon you to confirm my words.

_Philosophy._ Parrhesiades, retire to a further distance. Well, and
our verdict? How think you the man has spoken?

_Truth._ Ah, Philosophy, while he was speaking I was ready to sink
through the ground; it was all so true. As I listened, I could
identify every offender, and I was fitting caps all the time--this is
so-and-so, that is the other man, all over. I tell you they were all
as plain as in a picture--speaking likenesses not of their bodies
only, but of their very souls.

_Temperance._ Yes, Truth, I could not help blushing at it.

_Philosophy._ What say you, gentlemen?

_Res._ Why, of course, that he is acquitted of the charge, and stands
recorded as our friend and benefactor. Our case is just that of the
Trojans, who entertained the tragic actor only to find him reciting
their own calamities. Well, recite away, our tragedian, with these
pests of ours for dramatis personæ.

_Diogenes._ I too, Philosophy, give him my meed of praise; I withdraw
my charges, and count him a worthy friend.

_Philosophy._ I congratulate you, Parrhesiades; you are unanimously
acquitted, and are henceforth one of us.


[Footnote 121: From the "Fisher: A Resurrection Piece." Translated by
H. W. and F. G. Fowler.]

[Footnote 122: Famous as a mathematician as well as philosopher; born
in Samos about 582 B.C. He founded a famous school of philosophy at
Crotona in Southern Italy.]

[Footnote 123: After Zeno the most eminent of the Stoic philosophers;
born in 280 B.C.]

[Footnote 124: The guardian of the city of Athens. A famous statue of
Athenia Polias of the fifth century B.C. is preserved in the Villa
Albani at Rome.]



_Tychiades._ Philocles, what is it that makes most men so fond of a
lie? Can you explain it? Their delight in romancing themselves is only
equaled by the earnest attention with which they receive other
people's efforts in the same direction.

_Philocles._ Why, in some cases there is no lack of motives for
lying--motives of self-interest.

_Tychiades._ Ah, but that is neither here nor there. I am not speaking
of men who lie with an object. There is some excuse for that: indeed,
it is sometimes to their credit, when they deceive their country's
enemies, for instance, or when mendacity is but the medicine to heal
their sickness. Odysseus, seeking to preserve his life and bring his
companions safe home, was a liar of that kind. The men I mean are
innocent of any ulterior motive: they prefer a lie to truth, simply on
its own merits; they like lying, it is their favorite occupation;
there is no necessity in the case. Now what good can they get out of

_Philocles._ Why, have you ever known any one with such a strong
natural turn for lying?

_Tychiades._ Any number of them.

_Philocles._ Then I can only say they must be fools, if they really
prefer evil to good.

_Tychiades._ Oh, that is not it. I could point you out plenty of men
of first-rate ability, sensible enough in all other respects, who have
somehow picked up this vice of romancing. It makes me quite angry:
what satisfaction can there be to men of their good qualities in
deceiving themselves and their neighbors? There are instances among
the ancients with which you must be more familiar than I. Look at
Herodotus, or Ctesias of Cnidus;[126] or, to go further back, take the
poets--Homer himself: here are men of world-wide celebrity,
perpetuating their mendacity in black and white; not content with
deceiving their hearers, they must send their lies down to posterity,
under the protection of the most admirable verse. Many a time I have
blushed for them, as I read of the mutilation of Uranus, the fetters
of Prometheus, the revolt of the giants, the torments of hell;
enamored Zeus taking the shape of bull or swan; women turning into
birds and bears; Pegasuses, Chimæras, Gorgons, Cyclopes, and the rest
of it; monstrous medley! fit only to charm the imaginations of
children for whom Mormo and Lamia have still their terrors. However,
poets, I suppose, will be poets. But when it comes to national lies,
when one finds whole cities bouncing collectively like one man, how is
one to keep one's countenance? A Cretan will look you in the face, and
tell you that yonder is Zeus' tomb. In Athens, you are informed that
Erichthonius sprang out of the earth, and that the first Athenians
grew up from the soil like so many cabbages; and this story assumes
quite a sober aspect when compared with that of the Sparti, for whom
the Thebans claim descent from a dragon's teeth. If you presume to
doubt these stories, if you choose to exert your common sense, and
leave Triptolemus' winged aerial car, and Pan's Marathonian exploits,
and Orithyia's mishap, to the stronger digestions of a Coroebus and
a Margites, you are a fool and a blasphemer, for questioning such
palpable truths. Such is the power of lies!

_Philocles._ I must say I think there is some excuse, Tychiades, both
for your national liars and for the poets. The latter are quite right
in throwing in a little mythology: it has a very pleasing effect, and
is just the thing to secure the attention of their hearers. On the
other hand, the Athenians and the Thebans and the rest are only trying
to add to the luster of their respective cities. Take away the
legendary treasures of Greece, and you condemn the whole race of
ciceroni to starvation: sightseers do not want the truth; they would
not take it at a gift. However, I surrender to your ridicule any one
who has no such motive, and yet rejoices in lies.

_Tychiades._ Very well: now I have just been with the great Eucrates,
who treated me to a whole string of old wives' tales. I came away in
the middle of it; he was too much for me altogether; Furies could not
have driven me out more effectually than his marvel-working tongue.

_Philocles._ What, Eucrates, of all credible witnesses? That venerably
bearded sexagenarian, with his philosophic leanings? I could never
have believed that he would lend his countenance to other people's
lies, much less that he was capable of such things himself.

_Tychiades._ My dear sir, you should have heard the stuff he told me;
the way in which he vouched for the truth of it all too, solemnly
staking the lives of his children on his veracity! I stared at him in
amazement, not knowing what to make of it: one moment I thought he
must be out of his mind; the next I concluded he had been a humbug all
along, an ape in a lion's skin. Oh, it was monstrous....

"When I was a young man," said he, "I passed some time in Egypt, my
father having sent me to that country for my education. I took it into
my head to sail up the Nile to Coptus, and thence pay a visit to the
statue of Memnon,[127] and hear the curious sound that proceeds from
it at sunrise. In this respect, I was more fortunate than most people,
who hear nothing but an indistinct voice: Memnon actually opened his
lips, and delivered me an oracle in seven hexameters; it is foreign to
my present purpose, or I would quote you the very lines."


[Footnote 125: From "The Liar." Translated by H. W. and F. G. Fowler.]

[Footnote 126: Ctesias who died after 398 B.C., and wrote a history
of Persia in twenty-four books and a treatise on India. Parts only of
both are now extant.]

[Footnote 127: A legendary king of Ethiopia, who was slain at Troy by
Achilles--a fable, says Rawlinson, which is "one of those in which it
is difficult to determine any germs of truth." His name was given by
the Greeks to one of the Colossi at Thebes in Egypt, from which, when
touched by the rays of the rising sun, there was said to proceed a
strange sound.]

       *       *       *       *       *

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