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´╗┐Title: The Boys' and Girls' Plutarch - Being Parts of the "Lives" of Plutarch, Edited for Boys and Girls
Author: Plutarch, 46-120?
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Boys' and Girls' Plutarch - Being Parts of the "Lives" of Plutarch, Edited for Boys and Girls" ***

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By Plutarch

Edited for Boys and Girls With Introductions By John S. White

Head-Master Berkeley School

Table of Contents

     Life of Theseus
     Life of Romulus
     Comparison of Theseus and Romulus
     Life of Lycurgus
     Life of Solon
     Life of Themistocles
     Life of Camillus
     Life of Pericles
     Life of Demosthenes
     Life of Cicero
     Comparison of Demosthenes and Cicero
     Life of Alcibiades
     Life of Coriolanus
     Comparison of Alcibiades and Coriolanus
     Life of Aristides
     Life of Cimon
     Life of Pompey
     The Engines of Archimedes; from the Life of Marcellus
     Description of Cleopatra; from the Life of Antony
     Anecdotes from the Life of Agesilaus
     The Brothers; from the Life of Timoleon
     The Wound of Philopoemen
     A Roman Triumph; from the Life of Paulus Aemilius
     The Noble Character of Caius Fabricius; from the Life of Pyrrhus
     From the Life of Quintus Fabius Maximus
     The Cruelty of Lucius Cornelius Sylla
     The Luxury of Lucullus
     From the Life of Sertorius the Roman, who endeavored to establish
     a separate Government for himself in Spain
     The Scroll; from the Life of Lysander
     The Character of Marcus Cato
     The Sacred Theban Band; from the Life of Pelopidas
     From the Life of Titus Flamininus, Conqueror of Philip
     Life of Alexander the Great
     The Death of Caesar


As geographers crowd into the edges of their maps parts of the world
which they do not know about, adding notes in the margin to the effect
that beyond this lies nothing but sandy deserts full of wild beasts,
unapproachable bogs, Seythian ice, or frozen sea, so, in this great work
of mine, in which I have compared the lives of the greatest men with one
another, after passing through those periods which probable reasoning
can reach to and real history find a footing in, I might very well
say of those that are farther off, Beyond this there is nothing but
prodigies and fictions; the only inhabitants are the poets and inventors
of fables; there is no credit, or certainty any farther. Yet, after
publishing an account of Lycurgus the lawgiver and Numa the king, I
thought I might, not without reason, ascend as high as to Romulus, being
brought by my history so near to his time. Considering therefore with

     Whom shall I set so great a man face to face?
     Or whom oppose? Who's equal to the place?

(as Aeschylus expresses it), I found none so fit as he who peopled the
beautiful and far-famed city of Athens, to be set in opposition with
the father of the invincible and renowned city of Rome. Let us hope that
Fable may, in what shall follow, so submit to the purifying processes of
Reason as to take the character of exact history. We shall beg that we
may meet with candid readers, and such as will receive with indulgence
the stories of antiquity.

Theseus seemed to me to resemble Romulus in many particulars. Both of
them had the repute of being sprung from the gods.

Both warriors; that by all the world's allowed.

Both of them united with strength of body an equal vigor of mind; and of
the two most famous cities of the world, the one built in Rome, and the
other made Athens be inhabited. Neither of them could avoid domestic
misfortunes nor jealousy at home; but toward the close of their
lives are both of them said to have incurred great odium with their
countrymen, if, that is, we may take the stories least like poetry as
our guide to truth.

Theseus was the son of Aegeus and Aethra. His lineage, by his father's
side, ascends as high as to Erechtheus and the first inhabitants of
Attica. By his mother's side, he was descended of Pelops, who was the
most powerful of all the kings of Peloponnesus.

When Aegeus went from the home of Aethra in Troezen to Athens, he left
a sword and a pair of shoes, hiding them under a great stone that had a
hollow in it exactly fitting them; and went away making her only privy
to it, and commanding her that, if, when their son came to man's estate,
he should be able to lift up the stone and take away what he had left
there, she should send him away to him with those things with all
secrecy, and with injunctions to him as much as possible to conceal his
journey from everyone; for he greatly feared the Pallantidae, who were
continually mutinying against him, and despised him for his want of
children, they themselves being fifty brothers, all sons of Pallas, the
brother of Aegeus.

When Aethra's son was born, some say that he was immediately named
Theseus, from the tokens which his father had put under the stone;
others that he received his name afterwards at Athens, when Aegeus
acknowledged him for his son. He was brought up under his grandfather
Pittheus, and had a tutor and attendant set over him named Connidas, to
whom the Athenians, even to this time, the day before the feast that is
dedicated to Theseus, sacrifice a ram, giving this honor to his memory
upon much juster grounds than to Silanio and Parrhasius, for making
pictures and statues of Theseus. There being then a custom for the
Grecian youth, upon their first coming to a man's estate, to go to
Delphi and offer firstfruits of their hair to the god, Theseus also went
thither, and a place there to this day is yet named Thesea, as it is
said, from him. He clipped only the fore part of his head, as Homer says
the Abantes did. And this sort of tonsure was from him named Theseis.
The Abantes first used it, not in imitation of the Arabians, as some
imagine, nor of the Mysians, but because they were a warlike people,
and used to close fighting, and above all other nations, accustomed to
engage hand to hand; as Archilochus testifies in these verses:

     Slings shall not whirl, nor many arrows fly,
     When on the plain the battle joins; but swords,
     Man against man, the deadly conflict try,
     As is the practice of Euboea's lords
     Skilled with the spear.--

Therefore, that they might not give their enemies a hold by their hair,
they cut it in this manner. They write also that this was the reason
why Alexander gave command to his captains that all the beards of the
Macedonians should be shaved, as being the readiest hold for an enemy.

Aethra for some time concealed the true parentage of Theseus, and a
report was given out by Pittheus that he was the son of Neptune; for the
Troezenians pay Neptune the highest veneration. He is their tutelar god,
to him they offer all their firstfruits, and in his honor stamp their
money with a trident.

Theseus displaying not only great strength of body, but equal bravery,
and a quickness alike and force of understanding, his mother Aethra,
conducting him to the stone, and informing him who was his true father,
commanded him to take from thence the tokens that Aegeus had left, and
to sail to Athens. He without any difficulty set himself to the stone
and lifted it up; but refused to take his journey by sea, though it was
much the safer way, and though his mother and grandfather begged him to
do so. For it was at that time very dangerous to go by land on the road
to Athens, no part of it being free from robbers and murderers. That
age produced a sort of men, in force of hand, and swiftness of foot, and
strength of body, excelling the ordinary rate, and wholly incapable of
fatigue; making use, however, of these gifts of nature to no good or
profitable purpose for mankind, but rejoicing and priding themselves
in insolence, and taking the benefit of their superior strength in
the exercise of inhumanity and cruelty, and in seizing, forcing, and
committing all manner of outrages upon everything that fell into their
hands; all respect for others, all justice, they thought, all equity and
humanity, though naturally lauded by common people, either out of
want of courage to commit injuries or fear to receive them, yet no way
concerned those who were strong enough to win for themselves. Some
of these Hercules destroyed and cut off in his passage through these
countries, but some, escaping his notice, while he was passing by, fled
and hid themselves, or else were spared by him in contempt of their
abject submission; and after that Hercules fell into misfortune, and,
having slain Iphitus, retired to Lydia, and for a long time was there
slave to Omphale, a punishment which he had imposed upon himself for
the murder. Then, indeed, Lydia enjoyed high peace and security, but in
Greece and the countries about it the like villainies again revived
and broke out, there being none to repress or chastise them. It was
therefore a very hazardous journey to travel by land from Athens to
Peloponnesus; and Pittheus, giving him an exact account of each of these
robbers and villains, their strength, and the cruelty they used to all
strangers, tried to persuade Theseus to go by sea. But he, it seems, had
long since been secretly fired by the glory of Hercules, held him in the
highest estimation, and was never more satisfied than in listening to
any that gave an account of him; especially those that had seen him,
or had been present at any action or saying of his. So that he was
altogether in the same state of feeling as, in after ages, Themistocles
was, when he said that he could not sleep for the trophy of Miltiades;
entertaining such admiration for the virtues of Hercules that in his
dreams were all of that hero's actions, and in the day a continual
emulation stirred him up to perform the like. Besides, they were
related, being born of own cousins. For Aethra was daughter of Pittheus,
and Alcmena of Lysidice; and Lysidice and Pittheus were brother and
sister, children of Hippodamia and Pelpos. He thought it therefore a
dishonorable thing, and not to be endured, that Hercules should go out
everywhere, and purge both land and sea from the wicked men, and he
should fly from the like adventures that actually came his way; not
showing his true father as good evidence of the greatness of his birth
by noble and worthy actions, as by the tokens that he brought with him,
the shoes and the sword.

With this mind and these thoughts, he set forward with a design to do
injury to nobody, but to repel and avenge himself of all those that
should offer any. And first of all, in a set combat he slew Periphtes,
in the neighborhood of Epidaurus, who used a club for his arms, and from
thence had the name of Corynetes, or the club-bearer; who seized upon
him, and forbade him to go forward in his journey. Being pleased with
the club, he took it, and made it his weapon, continuing to use it as
Hercules did the lion's skin, on whose shoulders that served to prove
how huge a beast he had killed; and to the same end Theseus carried
about him this club; overcome indeed by him, but now, in his hands,

Passing on further towards the Isthmus of Peloponnesus, he slew Sinnis,
often surnamed the Bender of Pines, after the same manner in which he
himself had destroyed many others before. And this he did without having
either practiced or ever learnt the art of bending these trees, to show
that natural strength is above all art. This Sinnis had a daughter of
remarkable beauty and stature, called Perigune, who, when her father
was killed, fled, and was sought after everywhere by Theseus; and coming
into a place overgrown with brushwood, shrubs, and asparagus-thorn,
there, in a childlike, innocent manner, prayed and begged them, as if
they understood her, to give shelter, with vows that if she escaped she
would never cut them down nor burn them. But Theseus calling upon her,
and giving her his promise that he would use her with respect, and
offer no injury, she came forth. Whence it is a family usage amongst the
people called Ioxids, from the name of her grandson, Ioxus, both male
and female, never to burn either shrubs or asparagus-thorn, but to
respect and honor them.

The Crommyonian sow, which they called Phaea, was a savage and
formidable wild beast, by no means an enemy to be despised. Theseus
killed her, going out of his way on purpose to meet and engage her, so
that he might not seem to perform all his great exploits out of mere
necessity; being also of opinion that it was the part of a brave man to
chastise villainous and wicked men when attacked by them, but to seek
out and overcome the more noble wild beasts. Others relate that Phaea
was a woman, a robber full of cruelty, that lived in Crommyon, and had
the name of Sow given her from the foulness of her life and manners, and
afterwards was killed by Theseus. He slew also Sciron, upon the borders
of Megara, casting him down from the rocks, being, as most report, a
notorious robber of all passengers, and, as others add, accustomed out
of insolence and wantonness, to stretch forth his feet to strangers,
commanding them to wash them, and then while they did it, with a kick to
send them down the rock into the sea.

In Eleusis he killed Cercyon, the Arcadian, in a wrestling match. And
going on a little farther, in Erineus, he slew Damastes, otherwise
called Procrustes, forcing his body to the size of his own bed, as he
himself was used to do with all strangers; this he did in imitation
of Hercules, who always returned upon his assailants the same sort of
violence that they offered to him; sacrificed Busiris, killed Antaeus
in wrestling, and Cycnus in single combat, and Termerus by breaking his
skull in pieces (whence, they say, comes the proverb of "a Termerian
mischief"), for it seems Termerus killed passengers that he met by
running with his head against them. And so also Theseus proceeded with
the same violence from which they had inflicted upon others, justly
suffering after the same manner of their own injustice.

As he went forward on his journey, and was come as far as the River
Cephisus, some of the race of the Phytalidae met him and saluted him,
and upon his desire to use the purifications, then in custom, they
performed them with all the usual ceremonies, and having offered
propitiatory sacrifices to the gods, invited him and entertained him at
their house, a kindness which, in all his journey hitherto, he had not

On the eighth day of Cronius, now called Hecatombaeon, he arrived at
Athens, where he found the public affairs full of all confusion, and
divided into parties and factions. Aegeus also, and his whole private
family, laboring under the same distemper; for Medea, having fled from
Corinth, was living with him. She was first aware of Theseus, whom as
yet Aegeus did not know, and he being in years, full of jealousies and
suspicions, and fearing everything by reason of the faction that was
then in the city, she easily persuaded him to kill him by poison at a
banquet, to which he was to be invited as a stranger. He, coming to
the entertainment, thought it not fit to discover himself at once, but,
willing to give his father the occasion of first finding him out, the
meat being on the table, he drew his sword as if he designed to cut with
it; Aegeus, at once recognizing the token, threw down the cup of poison,
and, questioning his son, embraced him, and, having gathered together
all his citizens, owned him publicly before them, who, on their part,
received him gladly for the fame of his greatness and bravery.

The sons of Pallas, who were quiet, upon expectation of recovering the
kingdom after Aegeus's death, who was without issue, as soon as Theseus
appeared and was acknowledged the successor, highly resenting that
Aegeus first, as adopted son only of Pandion, and not at all related to
the family of Erechtheus, should be holding the kingdom, and that after
him, Theseus, a visitor and stranger, should be destined to succeed
to it, broke out into open war. And, dividing themselves into two
companies, one part of them marched openly from Sphettus, with their
father, against the city; the other, hiding themselves in the village
of Gargettus, lay in ambush, with a design to set upon the enemy on both
sides. They had with them a crier of the township of Agnus, named
Leos, who discovered to Theseus all the designs of the Pallentidae. He
immediately fell upon those that lay in amuscade, and cut them all off;
upon tidings of which Pallas and his company fled and were dispersed.

From hence they say is derived the custom among the people of the
township of Pallene to have no marriages or any alliance with the people
of Agnus, nor to suffer the criers to pronounce in their proclamations
the words used in all other parts of the country, Acouete Leoi (Hear ye
people), hating the very sound of Leo, because of the treason of Leos.

Theseus, longing to be in action, and desirous also to make himself
popular, left Athens to fight with the bull of Marathon, which did no
small mischief to the inhabitants of Tetrapolis. And, having overcome
it, he brought it alive in triumph through the city, and afterwards
sacrificed it to the Delphian Apollo. The story of Hecale, also, of her
receiving and entertaining Theseus in this expedition, seems to be not
altogether void of truth; for the townships round about, meeting upon a
certain day, used to offer a sacrifice, which they called Hecalesia,
to Jupiter Hecaleius, and to pay honor to Hecale, whom, by a diminutive
name, they called Hecalene, because she, while entertaining Theseus,
who was quite a youth, addressed him, as old people do, with similar
endearing diminutives; and having made a vow to Jupiter that he was
going to the fight, that, if he returned in safety, she would offer
sacrifices in thanks of it, and dying before he came back, she had these
honors given her by way of return for her hospitality, by the command of
Theseus, as Philochorus tells us.

Not long afterwards came the third time from Crete the collectors of
the tribute which the Athenians paid them upon the following occasion.
Androgeus having been treacherously murdered in the confines of Attica,
not only Minos, his father, put the Athenians to extreme distress by a
perpetual war, but the gods also laid waste their country; both famine
and pestilence lay heavy upon them, and even their rivers were dried up.
Being told by the oracle that if they appeased and reconciled Minos,
the anger of the gods would cease and they should enjoy rest from
the miseries they labored under, they sent heralds, and with much
supplication were at last reconciled, entering into an agreement to
send to Crete every nine years a tribute of seven young men and as many
virgins, as most writers agree in stating; and the most poetical
story adds that the Minotaur destroyed them, or that, wandering in the
Labyrinth, and finding no possible means of getting out, they miserably
ended their lives there, and that this Minotaur was (as Euripides hath

     A mingled form, where two strange shapes combined,
     And different natures, bull and man, were joined.

Now when the time of the third tribute was come, and the fathers who
had any young men for their sons were to proceed by lot to the choice
of those that were to be sent, there arose fresh discontents and
accusations against Aegeus among the people, who were full of grief and
indignation that he, who was the cause of all their miseries, was the
only person exempt from the punishment; adopting and setting his kingdom
upon a foreign son, he took no thought, they said, of their destitution
and loss of their lawful children. These things sensibly affected
Theseus, who, thinking it but just not to disregard, but rather partake
of, the sufferings of his fellow citizens, offered himself for one
without any lot. All else were struck with admiration for the nobleness,
and with love for the goodness, of the act; and Aegeus, after prayers
and entreaties, finding him inflexible and not to be persuaded,
proceeded to the choosing of the rest by lot. Hellanicus, however, tells
us that the Athenians did not send the young men and virgins by lot,
but that Minos himself used to come and make his own choice, and pitched
upon Theseus before all others; according to the conditions agreed upon
between, namely, that the Athenians should furnish them with a ship, and
that the young men who were to sail with him should carry no weapon of
war; but that if the Minotaur was destroyed the tribute should cease.

On the two former occasions of the payment of the tribute, entertaining
no hopes of safety or return, they sent out the ship with a black sail,
as to unavoidable destruction; but now, Theseus encouraging his father
and speaking greatly of himself, as confident that he should kill the
Minotaur, he gave the pilot another sail, which was white, commanding
him, as he returned, if Theseus were safe, to make use of that; but
if not, to sail with the black one, and to hang out that sign of his
misfortune. Simonides says that the sail which Aegeus delivered to the
pilot was not white, but

     Scarlet, in the juicy bloom
     Of the living oak-tree steeped.

The lot being cast, and Theseus having received out of the Prytaneum
those upon whom it fell, he went to the Delphinium, and made an offering
for them to Apollo of his suppliant's badge, which was a bough of a
consecrated olive tree, with white wool tied about it.

Having thus performed his devotion, he went to sea, the sixth day of
Munychion, on which day even to this time the Athenians send their
virgins to the same temple to make supplication to the gods. It is
farther reported that he was commanded by the oracle at Delphi to make
Venus his guide, and to invoke her as the companion and conductress of
his voyage, and that, as he was sacrificing a she goat to her by the
seaside, it was suddenly changed into a he, and for this cause that
goddess had the name of Epitragia.

When he arrived at Crete, as most of the ancient historians as well as
poets tell us, having a clue of thread given him by Ariadne, who had
fallen in love with him, and being instructed by her now to use it so as
to conduct him through the windings of the Labyrinth, he escaped out of
it and slew the Minotaur, and sailed back, taking along with him Ariadne
and the young Athenian captives. Pherecydes adds that he bored holes
in the bottom of the Cretan ships to hinder their pursuit. Demon writes
that Taurus, the chief captain of Minos, was slain by Theseus at the
mouth of the port, in a naval combat, as he was sailing out for Athens.
But Philochorus gives us the story thus: That at the setting forth of
the yearly games by King Minos, Taurus was expected to carry away
the prize, as he had done before; and was much grudged the honor.
His character and manners made his power hateful, and he was accused,
moreover, of too near familiarity with Pasiphae, for which reason, when
Theseus desired the combat, Minos readily complied. And as it was a
custom in Crete that the women also should be admitted to the sight of
these games, Ariadne, being present, was struck with admiration of the
manly beauty of Theseus, and the vigor and address which he showed in
combat, overcoming all that encountered with him. Minos, too, being
extremely pleased with him, especially because he had overthrown and
disgraced Taurus, voluntarily gave up the young captives to Theseus, and
remitted the tribute to the Athenians.

There are yet many traditions about these things, and as many concerning
Ariadne, all inconsistent with each other. Some relate that she hung
herself, being deserted by Theseus. Others that she was carried away
by his sailors to the isle of Naxos, and married to Oenarus, priest of
Bacchus; and that Theseus left her because he fell in love with another,

     "For Aegle's love was burning in his breast."

Now Theseus, in his return from Crete, put in at Delos, and, having
sacrificed to the god of the island, dedicated to the temple the
image of Venus which Ariadne had given him, and danced with the young
Athenians a dance that, in memory of him, they say is still preserved
among the inhabitants of Delos, consisting in certain measured
turnings and returnings, imitative of the windings and twistings of the
Labyrinth. And this dance, as Dicaearchus writes, is called among the
Delians, the Crane. This he danced round the Ceratonian Altar, so called
from its consisting of horns taken from the left side of the head. They
also say that he instituted games in Delos, where he was the first that
began the of giving a palm to the victors.

When they were come near the coast of Attica, so great was the joy for
the happy success of their voyage, that neither Theseus himself nor the
pilot remembered to hang out the sail which should have been the token
of their safety to Aegeus, who, in despair at the sight, threw himself
headlong from a rock, and perished in the sea. But Theseus, being
arrived at the port of Phalerum, paid there the sacrifices which he had
vowed to the gods at his setting out to sea, and sent a herald to the
city to carry the news of his safe return. At his entrance, the herald
found the people for the most part full of grief for the loss of their
king, others, as may well be believed, as full of joy for the tidings
that he brought, and eager to welcome him and crown him with garlands
for his good news, which he indeed accepted of, but hung them upon his
herald's staff; and thus returning to the seaside before Theseus
had finished his libation to the gods, he stayed apart for fear of
disturbing the holy rites, but, as soon as the libation was ended, went
up and related the king's death, upon the hearing of which, with great
lamentations and a confused tumult of grief, they ran with all haste to
the city. And from hence, they say, it comes that at this day, in the
feast of Oschoporia, the herald is not crowned, but his staff, and all
who are present at the libation cry out "eleleu, iou, iou," the first of
which confused sounds is commonly used by men in haste, or at a triumph,
the other is proper to people in consternation or disorder of mind.

Theseus, after the funeral of his father, paid his vows to Apollo the
seventh day of Pyanepsion; for on that day the youth that returned with
him safe from Crete made their entry into the city. They say, also, that
the custom of boiling pulse at this feast is derived from hence; because
the young men that escaped put all that was left of their provision
together, and, boiling it in one common pot, feasted themselves with
it, and ate it all up together. Hence, also, they carry in procession
an olive branch bound about with wool (such as they then made use of in
their supplications), which they call Eiresione, crowned with all sorts
of fruits, to signify that scarcity and barrenness was ceased, singing
in their procession this song:

     Eiresione brings figs, and Eiresione brings loaves;
     Bring us honey in pints, and oil to rub on our bodies,
     And a strong flagon of wine, for all to go mellow to bed on.

The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned had thirty
oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of
Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed,
putting in new and stronger timber in their place, insomuch that this
ship became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical
question as to things that grow; one side holding that the ship remained
the same, and the other contending that it was not the same.

Now, after the death of his father Aegeus, forming in his mind a great
and wonderful design, he gathered together all the inhabitants of Attica
into one town, and made them one people of one city, whereas before they
lived dispersed, and were not easy to assemble upon any affair, for
the common interest. Nay, the differences and even wars often occurred
between them, which he by his persuasions appeased, going form township
to township, and from tribe to tribe. And those of a more private and
mean condition readily embracing such good advice, to those of greater
power he promised a commonwealth without monarchy, a democracy, or
people's government, in which he should only be continued as their
commander in war and the protector of their laws, all things else being
equally distributed among them;--and by this means brought a part
of them over to his proposal. The rest, fearing his power, which was
already grown very formidable, and knowing his courage and resolution,
chose rather to be persuaded than forced into a compliance. He then
dissolved all the distant state-houses, council halls, and magistracies,
and built one common state-house (the Prytaneum) and council hall on the
site of the present upper town, and gave the name of Athens to the
whole state, ordaining a common feast and sacrifice, which he called
Panathenaea, or the sacrifice of all the united Athenians. He instituted
also another sacrifice, called Metoecia, or Feast of Migration, which
is yet celebrated on the sixteenth day of Hecatombaeon. Then, as he
had promised, he laid down his regal power and proceeded to order a
commonwealth, entering upon this great work not without advice from the
gods. For having sent to consult the oracle of Delphi concerning the
fortune of his new government and city, he received this answer:

     Son of the Pitthean maid,
     To your town the terms and fates
     My father gives of many states.
     Be not anxious or afraid:
     The bladder will not fail to swim
     On the waves that compass him.

Which oracle, they say, one of the sibyls long after did in a manner
repeat to the Athenians, in this verse:

The bladder may be dipt, but not be drowned.

Farther yet designing to enlarge his city, he invited all strangers to
come and enjoy equal privileges with the natives, and it is said that
the common form, "Come hither all ye people," was the words that Theseus
proclaimed when he thus set up a commonwealth, in a manner, for all
nations. Yet he did not suffer his state, by the promiscuous multitude
that flowed in, to be turned into confusion and be left without any
order or degree, but was the first that divided the commonwealth into
three distinct ranks, the noblemen, the husbandmen, and artificers.
To the nobility he committed the care of religion, the choice of
magistrates, the teaching and dispensing of the laws, and interpretation
and direction in all sacred matters; the whole city being, as it were,
reduced to an exact equality, the nobles excelling the rest in honor,
the husbandmen in profit, and the artifices in number. And that Theseus
was the first, who, as Aristotle says, out of an inclination to popular
government, parted with the regal power, Homer also seems to testify,
in his catalogue of ships, where he gives the name of "People" to the
Athenians only.

He also coined money, and stamped it with the image of an ox, either
in memory of the Marathonian bull, or of Taurus, whom he vanquished, or
else to put his people in mind to follow husbandry; and from this coin
came the expression so frequent among the Greeks, as a thing being
worth ten or a hundred oxen. After this he joined Megara to Attica, and
erected that famous pillar on the isthmus, which bears an inscription of
two lines, showing the bounds of the two countries that meet there. On
the east side the inscription is,-"Peloponnesus there, Ionia here," And
on the west side,-"Peloponnesus here, Ionia there."

He also instituted the games, in emulation of Hercules, being ambitious
that as the Greeks, by that hero's appointment, celebrated the Olympian
games to the honor of Jupiter, so, by his institution, they should
celebrate the Isthmian to the honor of Neptune. At the same time he made
an agreement with the Corinthians, that they should allow those that
came from Athens to the celebration of the Isthmian games as much space
of honor before the rest to behold the spectacle in as the sail of the
ship that brought them thither, stretched to its full extent, could
cover; so Hellenicus and Andro of Halicarnassus have established.

Concerning his voyage into the Euxine Sea, Philochorus and some others
write that he made it with Hercules, offering him his service in the
war against the Amazons, and had Antiope given him for the reward of his
valor; but the greater number, of whom are Pherecides, Hellanicus,
and Herodorus, with a navy under his own command, and took the Amazon
prisoner,--the more probable story, for we do not read that any other,
of all those that accompanied him in this action, took any Amazon
prisoner. Bion adds, that, to take her, he had to use deceit and fly
away; for the Amazons, he says, being naturally lovers of men, were so
far from avoiding Theseus when he touched upon their coasts, that they
sent him presents to his ship; but he, having invited Antiope, who
brought them, to come aboard, immediately set sail and carried her
away. An author named Menecrates, that wrote the History of Nicaea in
Bithynia, adds, that Theseus, having Antiope aboard his vessel, cruised
for some time about those coasts, and that there were in the same ship
three young men of Athens, that accompanied him in his voyage, all
brothers, whose names were Euneos, Thoas, and Soloon. The last of these
fell desperately in love with Antiope; and escaping the notice of the
rest, revealed the secret only to one of his most intimate acquaintance,
and employed him to disclose his passion to Antiope. She rejected his
pretences with a very positive denial, yet treated the matter with much
gentleness and discretion, and made no complaint to Theseus of anything
that had happened; but Soloon, the thing being desperate, leaped into
a river near the seaside and drowned himself. As soon as Theseus was
aquainted with his death, and his unhappy love that was the cause of it,
he was extremely distressed, and, in the height of his grief, an oracle
which he had formerly received at Delphi came into his mind; for he had
been commanded by the priestess of Apollo Pythius, that, wherever in a
strange land he was most sorrowful and under the greatest affliction,
he should build a city there, and leave some of his followers to be
governors of the place. For this cause he there founded a city, which
he called, from the name of Apollo, Pythopolis, and, in honor of the
unfortunate youth, he named the river that runs by it Soloon, and left
the two surviving brothers intrusted with the care of the government and
laws, joining with them Hermus, one of the nobility of Athens, from whom
a place in the city is called the House of Hermus; though by an error
in the accent it has been taken for the House of Hermes, or Mercury, and
the honor that was designed to the hero, transferred to the god.

This was the origin and cause of the Amazonian invasion of Attica, which
would seem to have been no slight or womanish enterprise. For it is
impossible that they should have placed their camp in the very city,
and joined battle close by the Pnyx and the hill called Museum, unless,
having first conquered the country round about, they had thus with
impunity advanced to the city. That they made so long a journey by land,
and passed the Cimmerian Bosphorus when frozen, as Hellanicus writes,
is difficult to be believed. That they encamped all but in the city is
certain, and may be sufficiently confirmed by the names that the places
thereabout yet retain, and the graves and the monuments of those that
fell the battle. Both armies being in sight, there was a long pause and
doubt on each side which should give the first onset; at last Theseus,
having sacrificed to Fear, in obedience to the command of an oracle he
had received, gave them battle, in which action a great number of the
Amazons were slain. At length, after four months, a peace was concluded
between them by the mediation of Hippolyta (for so this historian calls
the Amazon whom Theseus married, and not Antiope), though others write
that she was slain with a dart by Molpadia, while fighting by Theseus's
side, and that the pillar which stands by the temple of Olympian Earth
was erected to her honor. Nor is it to be wondered at, that in events
of such antiquity, history should be in disorder. This is as much as is
worth telling concerning the Amazons.

The celebrated friendship between Theseus and Pirithous is said to have
been begun as follows: The fame of the strength and valor of Theseus
being spread through Greece, Pirithous was desirous to make a trial
and proof of it himself, and to this end seized a herd of oxen which
belonged to Theseus, and was driving them away from Marathon, and, when
news was brought that Theseus pursued him in arms, he did not fly, but
turned back and went to meet him. But as soon as they had viewed one
another, each so admired the gracefulness and beauty, and was seized
with such a respect for the courage of the other, that they forgot all
thoughts of fighting; and Pirithous, first stretching out his hand to
Theseus, bade him be judge in this case himself, and promised to submit
willingly to any penalty he should impose. But Theseus not only forgave
him all, but entreated him to be his friend and brother in arms; and
they ratified their friendship by oaths. After this Pirithous married
Deidamia, and invited Theseus to the wedding, entreating him to come and
see his country, and make acquaintance with the Lapithae; he had at the
same time invited the Centaurs to the feast, who, growing hot with
wine and beginning to be insolent and wild, the Lapithae took immediate
revenge upon them, slaying many of them upon the place, and afterwards,
having overcome them in battle, drove the whole race of them out of
their country, Theseus all along taking the part of the Lapithae, and
fighting on their side.

Theseus was now fifty years old, as Hellanicus states, when he carried
off Helen, who was yet too young to be married. Some writers, to take
away this accusation of one of the greatest crimes laid to his charge,
say that he did not steal away Helen himself, but that Idas and
Lynceus brought her to him, and committed her to his charge, and that,
therefore, he refused to restore her at the demand of Castor and Pollux;
or, indeed, they say her own father, Tyndarus, had sent her to be kept
by him, for fear of Enarophorus, the son of Hippocoon, who would
have carried her away by force when she was yet a child. But the most
probable account, and that which has witnesses on its side, is this:
Theseus and Pirithous went both together to Sparta, and, having seized
the young lady as she was dancing in the temple of Diana Orthia, fled
away with her. There were presently men in arms sent to pursue, but they
followed no farther than to Tegea; and Theseus and Pirithous being now
out of danger, having passed through Peloponnesus, made an agreement
between themselves, that he to whom the lot should fall should have
Helen to his wife, but should be obliged to assist in procuring another
for his friend. The lot fell upon Theseus, who conveyed her to Aphidnae,
not being yet marriageable, and delivered her to one of his allies,
called Aphidnus, and having sent his mother, Aethra, after to take care
of her, desired him to keep them so secretly that none might know
where they were; which done, to return the same service to his friend
Pirithous, he accompanied him in his journey to Epirus, in order to
steal away the king of the Molossians' daughter. The king, his own name
being Aidoneus, or Pluto, called his wife Proserpina, and his daughter
Cora, and a great dog which he kept Cerberus, with whom he ordered all
that came as suitors to his daughter to fight, and promised her to him
that should overcome the beast. But having been informed that the design
of Pirithous and his companion was not to court his daughter, but to
force her away, he caused them both to be seized, and threw Pirithous to
be torn to pieces by the dog, and put Theseus into prison, and kept him.

About this time Menetheus, the son of Peteus, grandson of Orneus, and
great-grandson to Erechtheus, the first man that is recorded to have
affected popularity and ingratiated himself with the multitude, stirred
up and exasperated the most eminent men of the city, who had long borne
a secret grudge to Theseus, conceiving that he had robbed them of their
several little kingdoms and lordships, and, having pent them all up in
one city, was using them as his subjects and slaves. He put also the
meaner people into commotion, telling them, that, deluded with a mere
dream of liberty, though indeed they were deprived both of that and
their proper homes and religious usages, instead of many good and
gracious kings of their own, they had given themselves up to be
lorded over by a newcomer and a stranger. Whilst he was thus busied
in infecting the minds of the citizens, the war that Castor and Pollux
brought against Athens came very opportunity to farther the sedition he
had been promoting, and some say that he by his persuasions was wholly
the cause of their invading the city. At their first approach they
committed no acts of hostility, but peaceably demanded their sister
Helen; but the Athenians returning answer that they neither had her nor
knew where she was disposed of, they prepared to assault the city, when
Academus, having, by whatever means, found it out, disclosed to them
that she was secretly kept at Aphidnea. For which reason he was
both highly honored during his life by Castor and Pollux, and the
Lacedaemonians, when often in after times they made excursions into
Attica, and destroyed all the country round about, spared the Academy
for the sake of Academus.

Hercules, passing by the Molossians, was entertained in his way by
Aidoneus the king, who, in conversation, accidentally spoke of the
journey of Theseus and Pirithous into his country, of what they had
designed to do, and what they were forced to suffer. Hercules was much
grieved for the inglorious death of the one and the miserable condition
of the other. As for Pirithous, he thought it useless to complain; but
begged to have Theseus released for his sake, and obtained that favor
from the king. Theseus, being thus set at liberty, returned to Athens,
where his friends were not wholly suppressed, and dedicated to Hercules
all the sacred places which the city had set apart for himself, changing
their names from Thesea to Herculea, four only excepted, as Philochorus
writes. And wishing immediately to resume the first place in the
commonwealth, and manage the state as before, he soon found himself
involved in factions and troubles; those who long had hated him had
now added to their hatred contempt; and the minds of the people were
so generally corrupted, that, instead of obeying commands with silence,
they expected to be flattered into their duty. He had some thoughts
to have reduced them by force, but was overpowered by demagogues and
factions. And at last, despairing of any good success of his affairs in
Athens, he sent away his children privately to Euboea, commending them
to the care of Elephenor, the son of Chalcodon; and he himself, having
solemnly cursed the people of Athens in the village of Gargettus, in
which there yet remains the place called Araterion, or the place of
cursing, sailed to Scyros, where he had lands left him by his father,
and friendship, as he thought, with those of the island. Lycomedes was
then king of Scyros. Theseus, therefore, addressed himself to him,
and desired to have his lands put into his possession, as designing
to settle and dwell there, though others say that he came to beg his
assistance against the Athenians. But Lycomedes, either jealous of the
glory of so great a man, or to gratify Menestheus, having led him up to
the highest cliff of the island, on pretense of showing him from thence
the lands that he desired, threw him headlong down from the rock and
killed him. Others say he fell down of himself by a slip of his foot,
as he was walking there, according to his custom, after supper. At that
time there was no notice taken, nor were any concerned for his death,
but Menestheus quietly possessed the kingdom of Athens. His sons were
brought up in a private condition, and accompanied Elephenor to the
Trojan war, but, after the decease of Menestheus in that expedition,
returned to Athens, and recovered the government. But in succeeding
ages, beside several other circumstances that moved the Athenians to
honor Theseus as a demigod, in the battle which was fought at Marathon
against the Medes, many of the soldiers believed they saw an apparition
of Theseus in arms, rushing on at the head of them against the
barbarians. And after the Median war, Phaedo being archon of Athens,
the Athenians, consulting the oracle at Delphi, were commanded to gather
together the bones of Theseus, and, laying them in some honorable place,
keep them as sacred in the city. But it was very difficult to recover
these relics, or so much as to find out the place where they lay, on
account of the inhospitable and savage temper of the barbarous people
that inhabited the island. Nevertheless, afterwards, when Cimon took the
island (as is related in his life), and had a great ambition to find
the place where Theseus was buried, he, by chance, spied an eagle upon
a rising ground pecking with her beak and tearing up the earth with her
talons, when on the sudden it came into his mind, as it were by some
divine inspiration, to dig there, and search for the bones of Theseus.
There were found in that place a coffin of a man of more than ordinary
size, and a brazen spear-head, and a sword lying by it, all which he
took aboard his galley and brought with him to Athens. Upon which the
Athenians, greatly delighted, went out to meet and receive the relics
with splendid procession and with sacrifices, as if it were Theseus
himself returning alive to the city. He lies interred in the middle of
the city, near the present gymnasium. His tomb is a sanctuary and
refuge for slaves, and all those of mean condition that fly from the
persecution of men in power, in memory that Theseus while he lived
was an assister and protector of the distressed, and never refused the
petitions of the afflicted that fled to him. The chief and most solemn
sacrifice which they celebrate to him is kept on the eighth day of
Pyanepsion, on which he returned with the Athenian young men from Crete.
Besides which, they sacrifice to him on the eighth day of every month,
either because he returned from Troezen the eighth day of Hecatombaeon,
as Diodorus the geographer writes, or else thinking that number to be
proper to him, because he was reputed to be born of Neptune, because
they sacrifice to Neptune on the eighth day of every month. The number
eight being the first cube of an even number, and the double of the
first square, seemed to be am emblem of the steadfast and immovable
power of this god, who from thence has the names of Asphalius and
Gaeiochus, that is, the establisher and stayer of the earth.


From whom, and for what reason, the city of Rome, a name so great in
glory, and famous in the mouths of all men, was so first called, authors
do not agree.

But the story which is most believed and has the greatest number of
vouchers in general outline runs thus: the kings of Alba reigned in
lineal descent from Aeneas, and the succession devolved at length upon
two brothers, Numitor and Amulius. Amulius proposed to divide things
into two equal shares, and set as equivalent to the kingdom the treasure
and gold that were brought from Troy. Numitor chose the kingdom; but
Amulius, having the money, and being able to do more with that than
Numitor, took his kingdom from with great ease, and, fearing lest his
daughter might have children who would supplant him, made her a Vestal,
bound in that condition forever to live a single and maiden life. This
lady some call Ilia, others Rhea, and others Silvia; however, not long
after, contrary to the established laws of the Vestals, she had two
sons of more than human size and beauty, whom Amulius, becoming yet more
alarmed, commanded a servant to take and cast away; this man some call
Faustulus, others say Faustulus was the man who brought them up. He put
the children, however, in a small trough, and went towards the river
with a design to cast them in; but seeing the waters much swollen
and coming violently down, was afraid to go nearer, and, dropping the
children near the bank, went away. The river overflowing, the flood at
last bore up the trough, and, gently wafting it, landed them on a
smooth piece of ground, which they now call Cermanus, formerly Germanus,
perhaps from "Germani," which signifies brothers.

While the infants lay here, history tells us, a she-wolf nursed them,
and a woodpecker constantly fed and watched them. These creatures
are esteemed holy to the god Mars; the woodpecker the Latins still
especially worship and honor. Which things, as much as any, gave credit
to what the mother of the children said, that their father was the god

Meantime Faustulus, Amulius's swineherd, brought up the children
without any man's knowledge; or, as those say who wish to keep closer to
probabilities, with the knowledge and secret assistance of Numitor; for
it is said, they went to school at Gabii, and were well instructed in
letters, and other accomplishments befitting their birth. And they were
called Romulus and Remus (from "ruma", the dug), because they were found
suckling the wolf. In their very infancy, the size and beauty of their
bodies intimated their natural superiority; and when they grew up, they
both proved brave and manly, attempting all enterprises that seemed
hazardous, and showing in them a courage altogether undaunted. But
Romulus seemed rather to act by counsel, and to show the sagacity of
a statesman, and in all his dealings with their neighbors, whether
relating to feeding of flocks or to hunting, gave the idea of being born
rather to rule than to obey. To their comrades and inferiors they were
therefore dear; but the king's servants, his bailiffs and overseers, as
being in nothing better men than themselves, they despised and slighted,
nor were the least concerned at their commands and menaces. They used
honest pastimes and liberal studies, not esteeming sloth and idleness
honest and liberal, but rather such exercises as hunting and running,
repelling robbers, taking of thieves, and delivering the wronged and
oppressed from injury. For doing such things, they became famous.

A quarrel occurring betwixt Numitor's and Amulius's cowherds, the
latter, not enduring the driving away of their cattle by the others,
fell upon them and put them to flight, and rescued the greatest part of
the prey. At which Numitor being highly incensed, they little regarded
it, but collected and took into their company a number of needy men and
runaway slaves,--acts which looked like the first stages of rebellion.
It so happened, that when Romulus was attending a sacrifice, being fond
of sacred rites and divination, Numitor's herdsmen, meeting with
Remus on a journey with few companions, fell upon him, and, after some
fighting, took him prisoner, carried him before Numitor, and there
accused him. Numitor would not punish him himself, fearing his brother's
anger, but went to Amulius and desired justice, as he was Amulius's
brother and was affronted by Amulius's servants. The men of Alba
likewise resenting the thing, and thinking he had been dishonorably
used, Amulius was induced to deliver Remus up into Numitor's hands, to
use him as he thought fit. He therefore took and carried him home,
and, being struck with admiration of the youth's person, in stature
and strength of body exceeding all men, and perceiving in his very
countenance the courage and force of his mind, which stood unsubdued and
unmoved by his present circumstances, and hearing further that all the
enterprises and actions of his life were answerable to what he saw of
him, but chiefly, as it seemed, a divine influence aiding and directing
the first steps that were to lead to great results, out of the mere
thought of his mind, and casually, as it were, he put his hand upon the
fact, and, in gentler terms and with a kind aspect, to inspire him with
confidence and hope, asked him who he was, and whence he was derived.
He, taking heart, spoke thus: "I will hide nothing from you, for you
seem to be of a more princely temper than Amulius, in that you give
a hearing and examine before you punish, while he condemns before the
cause is heard. Formerly, then, we (for we are twins) thought ourselves
the sons of Faustulus and Larentia, the king's servants; but since we
have been accused and aspersed with calumnies, and brought in peril of
our lives here before you, we hear great things of ourselves, the truth
of which my present danger is likely to bring to the test. Our birth is
said to have been secret, our fostering and nurture in our infancy still
more strange; by birds and beasts, to whom we were cast out, we were
fed--by the milk of a wolf, and the morsels of a woodpecker, as we lay
in a little trough by the side of the river. The trough is still in
being, and is preserved, with brass plates round it, and an inscription
in letters almost effaced, which may prove hereafter unavailing tokens
to our parents when we are dead and gone." Numitor, upon these words,
and computing the dates by the young man's looks, slighted not the hope
that flattered him, but considered how to come at his daughter privately
(for she was still kept under restraint), to talk with her concerning
these matters.

Faustulus, hearing Remus was taken and delivered up, called on Romulus
to assist in his rescue, informing him then plainly of the particulars
of his birth--not but he had before given hints of it--and told as much
as an attentive man might make no small conclusions from; he himself,
full of concern and fear of not coming in time, took the trough, and
ran instantly to Numitor; but giving a suspicion to some of the king's
sentry at his gate, and being gazed upon by them and perplexed with
their questions, he let it be seen that he was hiding the trough under
his cloak. By chance there was one among them who was at the exposing of
the children, and was one employed in the office; he, seeing the trough
and knowing it by its make and inscription, guessed at the business,
and, without further delay, telling the king of it, brought in the man
to be examined. Faustulus, hard beset, did not show himself altogether
proof against terror; nor yet was he wholly forced out of all: confessed
indeed the children were alive, but lived, he said, as shepherds, a
great way from Alba; he himself was going to carry the trough to Ilia,
who had often greatly desired and handle it, for a confirmation of her
hopes of her children. As men generally do who are troubled in mind and
act either in fear or passion, it so fell out Amulius now did; for he
sent in haste as a messenger, a man, otherwise honest and friendly to
Numitor, with commands to learn from Numitor whether any tidings were
come to him of the children's being alive. He, coming and seeing how
little Remus wanted of being received into the arms and embraces of
Numitor, both gave him surer confidence in his hope, and advised them,
with all expedition, to proceed to action; himself too joining and
assisting them, and indeed, had they wished it, the time would not have
let them demur. For Romulus was now come very near, and many of the
citizens, out of fear and hatred of Amulius, were running out to join
him; besides, he brought great forces with him, dividing into companies,
each of an hundred men, every captain carrying a small bundle of grass
and shrubs tied to a pole. The Latins call such bundles "manipuli," and
from hence it is that in their armies still they call their captains
"manipulares." Remus rousing the citizens within to revolt, and Romulus
making attacks from without, the tyrant, not knowing either what to do,
or what expedient to think of for his security, in this perplexity and
confusion was taken and put to death. This narrative, for the most part
given by Fabius and Diocles of Peparethos, who seem to be the earliest
historians of the foundation of Rome, is suspected by some because
of its dramatic and fictitious appearance; but it would not wholly be
disbelieved, if men would remember what a poet Fortune sometimes shows
herself, and consider that the Roman power would hardly have reached so
high a pitch without a divinely ordered origin, attended with great and
extraordinary circumstances.

Amulius now being dead and matters quietly disposed, the two brothers
would neither dwell in Alba without governing there, nor take the
government into their own hands during the life of their grandfather.
Having therefore delivered the dominion up into his hands, and paid
their mother befitting honor, they resolved to live by themselves, and
build a city in the same place where they were in their infancy brought
up. This seems the most honorable reason for their departure; though
perhaps it was necessary, having such a body of slaves and fugitives
collected about them, either to come to nothing by dispersing them, or
if not so, then to live with them elsewhere. For that the inhabitants of
Alba did not think fugitives worthy of being received and incorporated
as citizens among them plainly appears from the matter of the women, an
attempt made not wantonly, but of necessity, because they could not get
wives by good-will. For they certainly paid unusual respect and honor to
those whom they thus forcibly seized.

Not long after the first foundation of the city, they opened a sanctuary
of refuge for all fugitives, which they called the temple of the god
Asylaeus, where they received and protected all, delivering none back,
neither the servant to his master, the debtor to his creditor, nor the
murderer into the hands of the magistrate, saying it was a privileged
place, and they could so maintain it by an order of the holy oracle;
insomuch that the city grew presently very populous, for, they say,
it consisted at first of no more than a thousand houses. But of that

Their minds being fully bent upon building, there arose presently a
difference about the place where. Romulus chose what was called Roma
Quadrata, or the Square Rome, and would have the city there. Remus laid
out a piece of ground on the Aventine Mount, well fortified by nature,
which was from him called Remonium, but now Rignarium. Concluding at
last to decide the contest by a divination from a flight of birds, and
placing themselves apart at some distance, Remus, they say, saw six
vultures, and Romulus double the number; others say Remus did truly see
his number, and that Romulus feigned his, but, when Remus came to him,
that then he did, indeed, see twelve. Hence it is that the Romans,
in their divinations from birds, chiefly regard the vulture, though
Herodorus Ponticus relates that Hercules was always very joyful when
a vulture appeared to him upon any occasion. For it is a creature
the least hurtful of any, pernicious neither to corn, fruit-tree, nor
cattle; it preys only on carrion, and never kills or hurts any living
thing; and as for birds, it touches not them, though they are dead, as
being of its own species, whereas eagles, owls, and hawks mangle and
kill their own fellow-creatures; yet, as Aeschylus says,--

What bird is clean that preys on fellow bird?

Besides, all other birds are, so to say, never out of our eyes; they
let themselves be seen of us continually; but a vulture is a very rare
sight, and you can seldom meet with a man that has seen their young;
their rarity and infrequency has raised a strange opinion in some, that
they come to us from some other world; as soothsayers ascribe a
divine origination to all things not produced either of nature or of

When Remus knew the cheat, he was much displeased; and as Romulus was
casting up a ditch, where he designed the foundation of the city wall,
he turned some pieces of the work to ridicule, and obstructed others:
at last, as he was in contempt leaping over it, some say Romulus himself
struck him, others Celer, one of his companions; he fell, however,
and in the scuffle Faustulus also was slain, and Plistinus, who, being
Faustulus's brother, story tells us, helped to bring up Romulus. Celer
upon this fled instantly into Tuscany, and from him the Romans call all
men that are swift of foot Celeres; and because Quintus Metellus, at
his father's funeral, in a few days' time gave the people a show of
gladiators, admiring his expedition in getting it ready, they gave him
the name of Celer.

Romulus, having buried his brother Remus, together with his two
foster-fathers, on the mount Remonia, set to building his city; and sent
for men out of Tuscany, who directed him by sacred usages and written
rules in all the ceremonies to be observed, as in a religious rite.
First, they dug a round trench about that which is now the Comitium,
or Court of Assembly and into it solemnly threw the first-fruits of all
things either good by custom or necessary by nature; lastly, every man
taking a small piece of earth of the country from whence he came, they
all threw them in promiscuously together. This trench they call, as they
do the heavens, Mundus; making which their centre, they described the
city in a circle round it. Then the founder fitted to a plough, a bronze
ploughshare, and, yoking together a bull and a cow, drove himself a
deep line or furrow round the bounds; while the business of those that
followed after was to see that whatever earth was thrown up should
be turned all inwards towards the city, and not to let any clod lie
outside. With this line they described the wall, and called it, by a
contradiction, Pomoerium, that is, "post murum," after or beside the
wall; and where they designed to make a gate, there they took out the
share, carried the plough over, and left a space; for which reason they
consider the whole wall as holy, except where the gates are; for had
they adjudged them also sacred, they could not, without offence to
religion, have given free ingress and egress for the necessaries of
human life, some of which are in themselves unclean.

As for the day they began to build the city, it is universally agreed
to have been the twenty-first of April, and that day the Romans annually
keep holy, calling it their country's birthday. At first, they say, they
sacrificed no living creatures on this day, thinking it fit to preserve
the feast of their country's birthday pure and without stain of blood.
Yet before ever the city was built, there was a feast of herdsmen and
shepherds kept on this day, which went by the name of Palilia. The Roman
and Greek months have now little or no agreement; they say, however, the
day on which Romulus began to build was quite certainly the thirtieth
of the month, at which time there was an eclipse of the sun which they
conceive to be that seen by Antimachus, the Teian poet, in the third
year of the sixth Olympiad. In the times of Varro the philosopher, a
man deeply read in Roman history, lived one Tarrutius, his familiar
acquaintance, a good philosopher and mathematician, and one, too, that
out of curiosity had studied the way of drawing schemes and tables, and
was thought to be a proficient in the art; to him Varro propounded to
cast Romulus's nativity, even to the first day and hour, making his
deductions from the several events of the man's life which he should be
informed of, exactly as in working back a geometrical problem; for it
belonged, he said, to the same science both to foretell a man's life
by knowing the time of his birth, and also to find out his birth by the
knowledge of his life. This task Tarrutius undertook, and first looking
into the actions and casualties of the man, together with the time of
his life and manner of his death, and then comparing all these remarks
together, he very confidently and positively pronounced that Romulus was
born the twenty-first day of the month Thoth, about sun-rising; and
that the first stone of Rome was laid by him the ninth day of the month
Pharmuthi, between the second and third hour. For the fortunes of
cities as well as of men, they think, have their certain periods of time
prefixed, which may be collected and foreknown from the position of the
stars at their first foundation. But these and the like relations may
perhaps not so much take and delight the reader with their novelty and
curiosity as offend him by their extravagance.

The city now being built, Romulus enlisted all that were of age to bear
arms into military companies, each company consisting of three thousand
footmen and three hundred horse. These companies were called legions,
because they were the choicest and most select of the people for
fighting men. The rest of the multitude he called the people; an hundred
of the most eminent he chose for counselors; these he styled patricians,
and their assembly the senate, which signifies a council of elders.

In the fourth month after the city was built, as Fabius writes, the
adventure of stealing the women was attempted. It would seem that,
observing his city to be filled by a confluence of foreigners, few
of whom had wives, and that the multitude in general, consisting of a
mixture of mean and obscure men, fell under contempt, and seemed to be
of no long continuance together, and hoping farther, after the women
were appeased, to make this injury in some measure an occasion of
confederacy and mutual commerce with the Sabines, Romulus took in his
hand this exploit after this manner. First, he gave it out that he had
found an altar of a certain god hid under ground, perhaps the equestrian
Neptune, for the altar is kept covered in the Circus Maximus at all
other times, and only at horse-races is exposed to public view. Upon
discovery of this altar, Romulus, by proclamation, appointed a day for
a splendid sacrifice, and for public games and shows, to entertain all
sorts of people; many flocked thither, and he himself sat in front,
amidst his nobles, clad in purple. Now the signal for their falling on
was to be whenever he rose and gathered up his robe and threw it over
his body; his men stood all ready armed, with their eyes intent upon
him, and when the sign was given, drawing their swords and falling on
with a great shout, they stole away the daughters of the Sabines, the
men themselves flying without any let or hindrance. Some say there
were but thirty taken, and from Curiae or Fraternities were named; but
Valerius Antias says five hundred and twenty seven, Juba, six hundred
and eighty-three.

It continues a custom at this very day for the bride not of herself to
pass her husband's threshold, but to be lifted over, in memory that the
Sabine virgins were carried in by violence, and did not go in of their
own free will. Some say, too, the custom of parting the bride's hair
with the head of a spear was in token their marriages began at first by
war and acts of hostility.

The Sabines were a numerous and martial people, but lived in small,
unfortified villages, as it befitted, they thought, a colony of the
Lacedaemonians to be bold and fearless; nevertheless, seeing themselves
bound by such hostages to their good behavior, and being solicitous
for their daughters, they sent ambassadors to Romulus with fair and
equitable requests, that he would return their young women and recall
that act of violence, and afterwards, by persuasion and lawful means,
seek friendly correspondence between both nations. Romulus would not
part with the young women, yet proposed to the Sabines to enter into an
alliance with them; upon which point some consulted and demurred long,
but Acron, king of the Ceninenses, a man of high spirit and a good
warrior, who had all along a jealousy of Romulus's bold attempts, and
considering particularly from this exploit upon the women that he was
growing formidable to all people, and indeed insufferable, were he not
chastised, first rose up in arms, and with a powerful army advanced
against him. Romulus likewise prepared to receive him; but when they
came within sight and viewed each other, they made a challenge to fight
a single duel, the armies standing by under arms, without participation.
And Romulus, making a vow to Jupiter, if he should conquer, to carry
himself, and dedicate his adversary's armor to his honor, overcame him
in combat, and, a battle ensuing, routed his army also, and then took
his city; but did those he found in it no injury, only commanded them to
demolish the place and attend him to Rome, there to be admitted to
all the privileges of citizens. And indeed there was nothing did more
advance the greatness of Rome, than that she did always unite and
incorporate those whom she conquered into herself. Romulus, that he
might perform his vow in the most acceptable manner to Jupiter, and
withal make the pomp of it delightful to the eye of the city, cut down a
tall oak which he saw growing in the camp, which he trimmed to the shape
of a trophy, and fastened on it Acron's whole suit of armor disposed
in proper form; then he himself, girding his clothes about him, and
crowning his head with a laurel-garland, his hair gracefully flowing,
carried the trophy resting erect upon his right shoulder, and so marched
on, singing songs of triumph, and his whole army following after, the
citizens all receiving him with acclamations of joy and wonder. The
procession of this day was the origin and model of all after triumphs.
But the statues of Romulus in triumph are, as may be seen in Rome, all
on foot.

After the overthrow of the Ceninensians, the other Sabines still
protracting the time in preparations, the people of Fidenae,
Crustumerium, and Antemna, joined their forces against the Romans; they
in like manner were defeated in battle, and surrendered up to Romulus
their cities to be seized, their lands and territories to be divided,
and themselves to be transplanted to Rome. All the lands which Romulus
acquired he distributed among the citizens, except only what the parents
of the stolen virgins had; these he suffered to possess their own. The
rest of the Sabines, enraged thereat, choosing Tatius their captain,
marched straight against Rome. The city was almost inaccessible, having
for its fortress that which is now the Capitol, where a strong guard
was placed, and Tarpeius their captain. But Tarpeia, daughter to the
captain, coveting the golden bracelets she saw them wear, betrayed the
fort into the Sabines' hands, and asked, in reward of her treachery, the
things they wore on their left arms. Tatius conditioning thus with her,
in the night she opened one of the gates and received the Sabines in.
And truly Antigonus, it would seem, was not solitary in saying he
loved betrayers, but hated those who had betrayed; nor Caesar, who
told Rhymitalces the Thracian that he loved the treason, but hated the
traitor; but it is the general feeling of all who have occasion for
wicked men's services, as people have for the poison of venomous beasts;
they are glad of them while they are of use, and abhor their baseness
when it is over. And so did Tatius behave towards Tarpeia, for he
commanded the Sabines, in regard to their contract, not to refuse her
the least part of what they wore on their left arms; and he himself
first took his bracelet off his arm, and threw that, together with his
buckler, at her; and all the rest following, she, being borne down and
quite buried with the multitude of gold and their shields, died under
the weight and pressure of them; Tarpeius also himself, being prosecuted
by Romulus, was found guilty of treason, and that part of the Capitol
they still call the Tarpeian Rock, from which they used to cast down

The Sabines being possessed of the hill, Romulus, in great fury, bade
them battle, and Tatius was confident to accept it. There were many
brief conflicts, we may suppose, but the most memorable was the last, in
which Romulus having received a wound on his head by a stone, and being
almost felled to the ground by it, and disabled, the Romans gave way,
and, being driven out of the level ground, fled towards the Palatium.
Romulus, by this time recovering from his wound a little, turned
about to renew the battle, and, facing the fliers, with a loud voice
encouraged them to stand and fight. But being overborne with numbers,
and nobody daring to face about, stretching out his hands to heaven, he
prayed to Jupiter to stop the army, and not to neglect but maintain the
Roman cause, now in extreme danger. The prayer was no sooner made
than shame and respect for their king checked many; the fears of the
fugitives changed suddenly into confidence. The place they first
stood at was where now is the temple of Jupiter Stator (which may
be translated the Stayer); there they rallied again into ranks, and
repulsed the Sabines to the place called now Regia, and to the temple
of Vesta; where both parties, preparing to begin a second battle, were
prevented by a spectacle, strange to behold, and defying description.
For the daughters of the Sabines, who had been carried off, came
running, in great confusion, some on this side, some on that, with
miserable cries and lamentations, like creatures possessed, in the midst
of the army, and among the dead bodies, to come at their husbands and
their fathers, some with their young babes in their arms, others their
hair loose about their ears, but all calling, now upon the Sabines, now
upon the Romans, in the most tender and endearing words. Hereupon both
melted into compassion, and fell back, to make room for them betwixt
the armies. The sight of the women carried sorrow and commiseration upon
both sides into the hearts of all, but still more their words, which
began with expostulation and upbraiding, and ended with entreaty and

"Wherein," say they, "have we injured or offended you, as to deserve
such sufferings, past and present? We were ravished away unjustly and
violently by those whose now we are; that being done, we were so long
neglected by our fathers, our brothers, and countrymen, that time,
having now by the strictest bonds united us to those we once mortally
hated, has made it impossible for us not to tremble at the danger and
weep at the death of the very men who once used violence to us. You
did not come to vindicate our honor, while we were virgins, against our
assailants; but do come now to force away wives from their husbands
and mothers from their children, a succor more grievous to its wretched
objects than the former betrayal and neglect of them. Which shall we
call the worst, their love-making or your compassion? If you were making
war upon any other occasion, for our sakes you ought to withhold your
hands from those to whom we have made you fathers-in-law and grandsires.
If it be for our own cause, then take us, and with us your sons-in-law
and grandchildren. Restore to us our parents and kindred, but do not
rob us of our children and husbands. Make us not, we entreat you,
twice captives." Having spoken many such words as these, and earnestly
praying, a truce was made, and the chief officers came to a parley;
the women, in the meantime, brought and presented their husbands and
children to their fathers and brothers; gave those that wanted, meat
and drink, and carried the wounded home to be cured, and showed also how
much they governed within doors, and how indulgent their husbands were
to them, in demeaning themselves towards them with all kindness and
respect imaginable. Upon this, conditions were agreed upon, that what
women pleased might stay where they were, exempt from all drudgery and
labor but spinning; that the Romans and Sabines should inhabit the city
together; that the city should be called Rome, from Romulus; but the
Romans, Quirites, from the country of Tatius; and that they both should
govern and command in common. The place of the ratification is still
called Comitium, from "coire," to meet.

The city thus being doubled in number, an hundred of the Sabines were
elected senators, and the legions were increased to six thousand foot
and six hundred horse; then they divided the people into three tribes:
the first, from Romulus, named Ramnenses; the second, from Tatius,
Tatienses; the third, Luceres, from the "lucus," or grove, where the
Asylum stood, whither many fled for sanctuary, and were received into
the city. And that they were just three, the very name of "tribe" and
"tribune" seems to show. Then they constituted many things in honor to
the women, such as to give them the way wherever they met them; to
speak no ill word in their presence; that their children should wear
an ornament about their necks called the "bulla" (because it was like a
bubble), and the "praetexta," a gown edged with purple.

The princes did not immediately join in council together, but at first
each met with his own hundred; afterwards all assembled together. Tatius
dwelt where now the temple of Moneta stands, and Romulus, close by the
steps, as they call them, of the Fair Shore, near the descent from the
Mount Palatine to the Circus Maximus. There, they say, grew the
holy cornel tree, of which they report that Romulus once, to try his
strength, threw a dart from the Aventine Mount, the staff of which was
made of cornel, which struck so deep into the ground that no one of
many that tried could pluck it up; and the soil, being fertile, gave
nourishment to the wood, which sent forth branches, and produced a
cornel-stock of considerable bigness. This did posterity preserve and
worship as one of the most sacred things; and therefore, walled it
about; and if to any one it appeared not green nor flourishing, but
inclining to pine and wither, he immediately made outcry to all he met,
and they, like people hearing of a house on fire, with one accord would
cry for water, and run from all parts with bucketfuls to the place. But
when Gaius Caesar they say, was repairing the steps about it, some of
the laborers digging too close, the roots were destroyed, and the tree

The Sabines adopted the Roman months, of which whatever is remarkable is
mentioned in the Life of Numa. Romulus, on the other hand, adopted their
long shields, and changed his own armor and that of all the Romans, who
before wore round targets of the Argive pattern. Feasts and sacrifices
they partook of in common, not abolishing any which either nation
observed before, and instituting several new ones. This, too, is
observable as a singular thing in Romulus, that he appointed no
punishment for real parricide, but called all murder so, thinking the
one an accursed thing, but the other a thing impossible; and for a long
time, his judgement seemed to have been right; for in almost six hundred
years together, nobody committed the like in Rome; Lucius Hostius, after
the wars of Hannibal, is recorded to have been the first parricide. Let
thus much suffice concerning these matters.

In the fifth year of the reign of Tatius, some of his friends and
kinsmen, meeting ambassadors coming from Laurentum to Rome, attempted on
the road to take away their money by force, and, upon their resistance,
killed them. So great a villany having been committed, Romulus thought
the malefactors ought at once to be punished, but Tatius shuffled off
and deferred the execution of it; and this one thing was the beginning
of an open quarrel betwixt them; in all other respects they were very
careful of their conduct, and administered affairs together with
great unanimity. The relations of the slain, being debarred of lawful
satisfaction by reason of Tatius, fell upon him as he was sacrificing
with Romulus at Lavinium, and slew him; but escorted Romulus home,
commending and extolling him for just a prince. Romulus took the body of
Tatius, and buried it very splendidly in the Aventine Mount.

The Roman cause daily gathering strength, their weaker neighbors shrunk
away, and were thankful to be left untouched; but the stronger, out of
fear or envy, thought they ought not to give away to Romulus, but
to curb and put a stop to his growing greatness. The first were the
Veientes, a people of Tuscany, who had large possessions, and dwelt in a
spacious city; they took occasion to commence a war, by claiming Fidenae
as belonging to them. But being scornfully retorted upon by Romulus
in his answers, they divided themselves into two bodies; with one they
attacked the garrison of Fidenae, the other marched against Romulus;
that which went against Fidenae got the victory, and slew two thousand
Romans; the other was worsted by Romulus, with the loss of eight
thousand men. A fresh battle was fought near Fidenae, and here all men
acknowledge the day's success to have been chiefly the work of Romulus
himself, who showed the highest skill as well as courage, and seemed to
manifest a strength and swiftness more than human. But what some write,
that, of fourteen thousand that fell that day, above half were slain
by Romulus's own hand, verges too near to fable, and is, indeed, simply
incredible: since even the Messenians are thought to go too far in
saying that Aristomenes three times offered sacrifices for the death of
a hundred enemies, Lacedaemonians, slain by himself. The army being thus
routed, Romulus, suffering those that were left to make their escape,
led his forces against the city; they, having suffered such great
losses, did not venture to oppose, but, humbly suing him, made a league
and friendship for an hundred years; surrendering also a large district
of land called Septempagium, that is, the seven parts, as also their
salt-works upon the river, and fifty noblemen for hostages. He made his
triumph for this on the Ides of October, leading, among the rest of his
many captives, the general of the Veientes, an elderly man, but who
had not, it seemed, acted with the prudence of age; whence even now, in
sacrifices for victories, they led an old man through the market-place
to the Capitol, appareled in purple, with a bulla, or child's toy, tied
to it, and the crier cries, "Sardians to be sold;" for the Tuscans are
said to be a colony of the Sardians, and the Veientes are a city of

This was the last battle Romulus ever fought; afterwards he, as
most, nay all men, very few excepted, do, who are raised by great and
miraculous good-haps of fortune to power and greatness, so, I say, did
he: relying upon his own great actions and growing of a haughtier mind,
he forsook his popular behavior for kingly arrogance, odious to the
people; to whom in particular the state which he assumed was hateful.
For he dressed in scarlet, with the purple-bordered robe over it; he
gave audience on a couch of slate, having always about him some young
men called "Celeres," from their swiftness in doing commissions. He
suddenly disappeared on the Nones of July, as they call the month which
was then Quintilis, leaving nothing of certainty to be related of
his death; the senators suffered the people not to search, or busy
themselves about the matter, but commanded them to honor and worship
Romulus as one taken up to the gods, and about to be to them, in the
place of a good prince, now a propitious god. The multitude, hearing
this, went away believing and rejoicing in hopes of good things from
him; but there were some, who, canvassing the matter in a hostile
temper, accused the patricians, as men that persuaded the people to
believe ridiculous tales, when they were the murderers of the king.

Things being in this disorder, one, they say, of the patricians, of
noble family and approved good character, and a faithful and familiar
friend of Romulus himself, having come with him from Alba, Julius
Proculus by name, presented himself in the forum; and taking a most
sacred oath, protested before them all, that, as he was travelling on
the road, he had seen Romulus coming to meet him, looking taller and
comelier than ever, dressed in shining and flaming armor; and he, being
affrighted at the apparition, said, "Why, O king, or for what purpose,
have you abandoned us to unjust and wicked surmises, and the whole city
to bereavement and endless sorrow?" and that he made answer, "It pleased
the gods, O Proculus, that we, who came from them, should remain so
long a time amongst men as we did; and, having built a city to be the
greatest in the world for empire and glory, should again return to
heaven. But farewell; and tell the Romans, that, by the exercise of
temperance and fortitude, they shall attain the height of human power;
we will be to you the propitious god Quirinus." This seemed credible to
the Romans, upon the honesty and oath of the relator, and laying aside
all jealousies and detractions, they prayed to Quirinus and saluted him
as a god.

This is like some of the Greek fables of Aristeas the Proconnesian,
and Cleomedes the Astypalaean; for they say Aristeas died in a fuller's
workshop, and his friends, coming to look for him, found his body
vanished; and that some presently after, coming from abroad, said
they met him travelling towards Croton. And that Cleomedes, being
an extraordinarily strong and gigantic man, but also wild and mad,
committed many desperate freaks; and at last, in a schoolhouse, striking
a pillar that sustained the roof with his fist, broke it in the middle,
so that the house fell and destroyed the children in it; and being
pursued, he fled into a great chest, and, shutting to the lid, held it
so fast that many men, with their united strength, could not force it
open; afterwards, breaking the chest to pieces, they found no man in it
alive or dead.

And many such improbabilities do your fabulous writers relate, deifying
creatures naturally mortal; for though altogether to disown a divine
nature in human virtue were impious and base, so again to mix heaven
with earth is ridiculous. Let us believe with Pindar, that

     All human bodies yield to Death's decree:
     The soul survives to all eternity.

For that alone is derived from the gods, thence comes, and thither

It was in the fifty-fourth year of his age and the thirty-eighth of his
reign that Romulus, they tell us, left the world.


Both Theseus and Romulus were by nature meant for governors; yet neither
lived up to the true character of a king, but fell off, and ran, the
one into popularity, the other into tyranny, falling both into the same
fault out of different passions. For a ruler's first end is to maintain
his office, which is done no less by avoiding what is unfit than by
observing what is suitable. Whoever is either too remiss or too strict
is no more a king or a governor, but either a demagogue or a despot,
and so becomes either odious or contemptible to his subjects. Though
certainly the one seems to be the fault of easiness and good-nature, the
other of pride and severity.

But Romulus has, first of all, one great plea, that his performances
proceeded from very small beginnings; for both the brothers, being
thought servants and the sons of swineherds, before becoming freemen
themselves gave liberty to almost all the Latins, obtaining at once all
the most honorable titles, as, destroyers of their country's enemies,
preservers of their friends and kindred, princes of the people, founders
of cities; not removers, like Theseus, who raised and compiled only one
house out of many, demolishing many cities bearing the names of ancient
kings and heroes. Romulus, indeed, did the same afterwards, forcing
his enemies to deface and ruin their own dwellings, and to sojourn
with their conquerors; but at first, not by removal, or increase of
an existing city, but by foundation of a new one, he obtained himself
lands, a country, a kingdom, wives, children, and relations. And, in so
doing, he killed or destroyed nobody, but benefited those that wanted
houses and homes, and were willing to be of a society and become
citizens. Robbers and malefactors he slew not; but he subdued nations,
he overthrew cities, he triumphed over kings and commanders. As to
Remus, it is doubtful by whose hand he fell; it is generally imputed
to others. His mother he clearly retrieved from death, and placed his
grandfather, who was brought under base and dishonorable vassalage,
on the ancient throne of Aeneas, to whom he did voluntarily many good
offices, but never did him harm even inadvertently. But Theseus, in
his forgetfulness and neglect of the command concerning the flag, can
scarcely, methinks, by any excuses, or before the most indulgent
judges, avoid the imputation of parricide. And, indeed, one of the
Attic writers, perceiving it to be very hard to make an excuse for this,
feigns that Aegeus, at the approach of the ship, running hastily to the
Acropolis to see what news there was, slipped and fell down; as if he
had no servants, or none would attend him on his way to the shore.


Those authors who are most worthy of credit deduce the genealogy of
Lycurgus, the lawgiver of Sparta, as follows:

     Polydectes by his first wife. Lycurgus by Dionassa his second.

Sous certainly was the most renowned of all his ancestors, under whose
conduct the Spartans made slaves of the Helots, and added to their
dominions, by conquest, a good part of Arcadia. There goes a story of
this king Sous, that, being besieged by the Clitorians in a dry
and stony place so that he could come at no water, he was at last
constrained to agree with them upon these terms, that he would restore
to them all his conquests, provided that himself and all his men should
drink of the nearest spring. After the usual oaths and ratifications,
he called his soldiers together, and offered to him that would forbear
drinking, his kingdom for a reward; and when not a man of them was able
to forbear, in short, when they had all drunk their fill, at last comes
king Sous himself to the spring, and, having sprinkled his face only,
without swallowing one drop, marches off in the face of his enemies,
refusing to yield up his conquests, because himself and all his men had
not, according to the articles, drunk of their water.

Although he was justly had in admiration on this account, yet his family
was not surnamed from him, but from his son Eurypon (of whom they were
called Eurypontids); the reason of which was that Eurypon relaxed the
rigor of the monarchy, seeking favor and popularity with the many. They,
after this first step, grew bolder; and the succeeding kings partly
incurred hatred with their people by trying to use force, or, for
popularity's sake and through weakness, gave way; and anarchy and
confusion long prevailed in Sparta, causing, moreover, the death of the
father of Lycurgus. For as he was endeavoring to quell a riot, he was
stabbed with a butcher's knife, and left the title of king to his eldest
son Polydectes.

He, too, dying soon after, the right of succession (as every one
thought) rested in Lycurgus; and reign he did for a time, but declared
that the kingdom belonged to the child of his sister-in-law the queen,
and that he himself should exercise the regal jurisdiction only as his
guardian; the Spartan name for which office is prodicus. Soon after, an
overture was made to him by the queen, that she would herself in some
way destroy the infant, upon condition that he would marry her when he
came to the crown. Abhorring the woman's wickedness, he nevertheless
did not reject her proposal, but, making show of closing with her,
despatched the messenger with thanks and expressions of joy, with orders
that they should bring the boy baby to him, wheresoever he were, and
whatsoever doing. It so fell out that when he was at supper with the
principal magistrates, the queen's child was presented to him, and he,
taking him into his arms, said to those about him, "Men of Sparta,
here is a king born unto us;" this said, he laid him down in the king's
place, and named him Charilaus, that is, the joy of the people; because
that all were transported with joy and with wonder at his noble and just
spirit. His reign had lasted only eight months, but he was honored
on other accounts by the citizens, and there were more who obeyed him
because of his eminent virtues, than because he was regent to the king
and had the royal power in his hands. Some, however, envied and sought
to impede his growing influence while he was still young; chiefly the
kindred and friends of the queen-mother, who pretended to have been
dealt with injuriously. Her brother Leonidas, in a warm debate which
fell out betwixt him and Lycurgus, went so far as to tell him to his
face that he was well assured that ere long he should see him king;
suggesting suspicions and preparing the way for an accusation of him, as
though he had made away with his nephew, if the child should chance
to fail, though by a natural death. Words of the like import were
designedly cast abroad by the queen-mother and her adherents.

Troubled at this, and not knowing what it might come to, he thought
it his wisest course to avoid their envy by a voluntary exile, and to
travel from place to place until his nephew came to marriageable
years, and, by having a son, had secured the succession. Setting sail,
therefore, with this resolution, he first arrived at Crete, where,
having considered their several forms of government, and got an
acquaintance with the principal men amongst them, some of their laws
he very much approved of, and resolved to make use of them in his own
country; a good part he rejected as useless. Amongst the persons there
the most renowned for their learning and their wisdom in state matters
was one Thales, whom Lycurgus, by importunities and assurances of
friendship, persuaded to go over to Lacedaemon; where, though by his
outward appearance and his own profession he seemed to be no other than
a lyric poet, in reality he performed the part of one of the ablest
lawgivers in the world. The very songs which he composed were
exhortations to obedience and concord, and the very measure and cadence
of the verse, conveying impressions of order and tranquillity, had
so great an influence on the minds of the listeners that they were
insensibly softened and civilized, insomuch that they renounced their
private feuds and animosities, and were reunited in a common admiration
of virtue. So that it may truly be said that Thales prepared the way for
the discipline introduced by Lycurgus.

From Crete he sailed to Asia, with design, as is said, to examine the
difference betwixt the manners and rules of life of the Cretans, which
were very sober and temperate, and those of the Ionians, a people
of sumptuous and delicate habits, and so to form a judgment; just as
physicians do by comparing healthy and diseased bodies. Here he had
the first sight of Homer's works, in the hands, we may suppose, of
the posterity of Creophylus; and, having observed that the few loose
expressions and actions of ill example which are to be found in his
poems were much outweighed by serious lessons of state and rules of
morality, he set himself eagerly to transcribe and digest them into
order, as thinking they would be of good use in his own country. They
had, indeed, already obtained some slight repute amongst the Greeks,
and scattered portions, as chance conveyed them, were in the hands of
individuals; but Lycurgus first made them really known.

The Egyptians say that he took a voyage into Egypt, and that, being much
taken with their way of separating the soldiery from the rest of the
nation, he transferred it from them to Sparta; a removal from contact
with those employed in low and mechanical occupations giving high
refinement and beauty to the state. Some Greek writers also record
this. But as for his voyages into Spain, Africa, and the Indies, and his
conferences there with the Gymnosophists, the whole relation, as far as
I can find, rests on the single credit of the Spartan Aristocrates, the
son of Hipparchus.

Lycurgus was much missed at Sparta, and often sent for, "For kings
indeed we have," they said, "who wear the marks and assume the titles of
royalty, but as for the qualities of their minds, they have nothing by
which they are to be distinguished from their subjects;" adding that in
him alone was the true foundation of sovereignty to be seen, a nature
made to rule, and a genius to gain obedience. Nor were the kings
themselves averse to see him back, for they looked upon his presence as
a bulwark against the insolencies of the people.

Things being in this posture at his return, he applied himself, without
loss of time, to a thorough reformation, and resolved to change the
whole face of the commonwealth; for what could a few particular laws and
a partial alteration avail? He must act as wise physicians do, in the
case of one who labors under a complication of diseases,--by force of
medicines reduce and exhaust him, change his whole temperament, and
then set him upon a totally new regimen of diet. Having thus projected
things, away he goes to Delphi to consult Apollo there; which having
done, and offered his sacrifice, he returned with that renowned oracle,
in which he is called beloved of God, and rather God than man: that
his prayers were heard, that his laws should be the best, and the
commonwealth which observed them the most famous in the world.
Encouraged by these things, he set himself to bring over to his side the
leading men of Sparta, exhorting them to give him a helping hand in his
great undertaking: he broke it first to his particular friends, and then
by degrees gained others, and animated them all to put his design in
execution. When things were ripe for action, he gave order to thirty
of the principal men of Sparta to be ready armed at the market-place at
break of day, to the end that he might strike a terror into the opposite
party. Hermippus hath set down the names of twenty of the most eminent
of them: but the name of him whom Lycurgus most confided in, and who
was of most use to him both in making his laws and putting them in
execution, was Arthmiadas. Things growing to a tumult, king Charilaus,
apprehending that it was a conspiracy against his person, took sanctuary
in the temple of Athena of the Brazen House; but, being soon after
undeceived, and having taken an oath of them that they had no designs
against him, he quitted his refuge, and himself also entered into the
confederacy with them; of so gentle and flexible a disposition he
was, to which Archelaus, his brother-king, alluded, when, hearing him
extolled for his goodness, he said: "Who can say he is anything but
good? he is so even to the bad."

Amongst the many changes and alterations which Lycurgus made, the first
and of greatest importance was the establishment of the senate, which,
having a power equal to the kings' in matters of great consequence, and,
as Plato expresses it, allaying and qualifying the fiery genius of the
royal office, gave steadiness and safety to the commonwealth. For the
state, which before had no firm basis to stand upon, but leaned one
while towards an absolute monarchy, when the kings had the upper hand,
and another while towards a pure democracy, when the people had the
better, found in this establishment of the senate a central weight, like
ballast in a ship, which always kept things in a just equilibrium; the
twenty-eight always adhering to the kings so far as to resist democracy,
and, on the other hand, supporting the people against the establishment
of absolute monarchy. As for the determinate number of twenty-eight,
Aristotle states that it so fell out because two of the original
associates, for want of courage, fell off from the enterprise; but
Sphaerus assures us that there were but twenty-eight of the confederates
at first; perhaps there is some mystery in the number, which consists of
seven multiplied by four, and is the first of perfect numbers after
six, being, as that is, equal to all its parts. For my part, I believe
Lycurgus fixed upon the number of twenty-eight, that, the two kings
being reckoned amongst them, they might be thirty in all. So eagerly set
was he upon this establishment, that he took the trouble to obtain an
oracle about it from Delphi; and the Rhetra (or sacred ordinance) runs
thus: "After that you have built a temple to Jupiter Hellanius, and
to Minerva Hellania, and after that you have phyle'd the people into
phyles, and obe'd them into obes, you shall establish a council of
thirty elders, the leaders included, and shall, from time to time,
assemble the people betwixt Babyca and Cnacion, there propound and put
to the vote. The commons have the final voice and decision." By phyles
and obes are meant the divisions of the people; by the leaders, the two
kings; Aristotle says Cnacion is a river, and Babyca a bridge. Betwixt
this Babyca and Cnacion, their assemblies were held, for they had no
council-house or building to meet in. Lycurgus was of opinion that
ornaments were so far from advantaging them in their councils, that they
were rather an hindrance, by diverting their attention from the business
before them to statues and pictures, and roofs curiously fretted, the
usual embellishments of such places amongst the other Greeks. The people
then being thus assembled in the open air, it was not allowed to any one
of their order to give his advice, but only either to ratify or reject
what should be propounded to them by the king or senate.

After the creation of the thirty senators, his next task, and, indeed,
the most hazardous he ever undertook, was the making of a new division
of their lands. For there was an extreme inequality amongst them, and
their state was overloaded with a multitude of indigent and necessitous
persons, while its whole wealth had centred upon a very few. To the end,
therefore, that he might expel from the state arrogance and envy,
luxury and crime, and those yet more inveterate diseases of want and
superfluity, he obtained of them to renounce their properties, and to
consent to a new division of the land, and that they should live all
together on an equal footing; merit to be their only road to eminence,
and the disgrace of evil, and credit of worthy acts, their one measure
of difference between man and man.

Upon their consent to these proposals, proceeding at once to put them
into execution, he divided the country of Laconia in general into thirty
thousand equal shares, and the part attached to the city of Sparta into
nine thousand; these he distributed among the Spartans, as he did the
others to the country citizens. A lot was so much as to yield, one
year with another, about seventy bushels of grain for the master of the
family, and twelve for his wife, with a suitable proportion of oil and
wine. And this he thought sufficient to keep their bodies in good health
and strength; superfluities they were better without. It is reported,
that, as he returned from a journey shortly after the division of the
lands, in harvest time, the ground being newly reaped, seeing the stacks
all standing equal and alike, he smiled, and said to those about him,
"Methinks all Laconia looks like one family estate just divided among a
number of brothers."

Not contented with this, he resolved to make a division of their
movables too, that there might be no odious distinction or inequality
left amongst them; but finding that it would be very dangerous to go
about it openly, he took another course, and defeated their avarice
by the following stratagem: he commanded that all gold and silver coin
should be called in, and that only a sort of money made of iron should
be current, a great weight and quantity of which was worth but very
little; so that to lay up a hundred or two dollars there was required
a pretty large closet, and, to remove it, nothing less than a yoke of
oxen. With the diffusion of this money, at once a number of vices were
banished from Lacedaemon; for who would rob another of such a coin? Who
would unjustly detain or take by force, or accept as a bribe, a thing
which it was not easy to hide, nor a credit to have, nor indeed of any
use to cut in pieces? For when it was just red-hot, they quenched it in
vinegar, and by that means spoilt it, and made it almost incapable of
being worked.

In the next place, he declared an outlawry of all needless and
superfluous arts; but here he might almost have spared his proclamation;
for they of themselves would have gone with the gold and silver, the
money which remained being not so proper payment for curious work; for,
being of iron, it was scarcely portable, neither, if they should take
the pains to export it, would it pass amongst the other Greeks, who
ridiculed it so there was now no more means of purchasing foreign goods
and small wares; merchants sent no shiploads into Laconian ports; no
rhetoric-master, no itinerant fortune-teller, or gold or silversmith,
engraver, or jeweler, set foot in a country which had no money; so that
luxury, deprived little by little of that which fed and fomented
it, wasted to nothing, and died away of itself. For the rich had no
advantage here over the poor, as their wealth and abundance had no road
to come abroad by, but were shut up at home doing nothing. And in this
way they became excellent artists in common necessary things; bedsteads,
chairs, and tables, and such like staple utensils in a family, were
admirably well made there; their cup, particularly, was very much in
fashion, and eagerly sought for by soldiers, as Critias reports; for
its color was such as to prevent water, drunk upon necessity and
disagreeable to look at, from being noticed; and the shape of it was
such that the mud stuck to the sides, so that only the purer part
came to the drinker's mouth. For this, also, they had to thank their
lawgiver, who, by relieving the artisans of the trouble of making
useless things, set them to show their skill in giving beauty to those
of daily and indispensable use.

The third and most masterly stroke of this great lawgiver, by which
he struck a yet more effectual blow against luxury and the desire of
riches, was the ordinance he made that they should all eat in common,
of the same bread and same meat, and of kinds that were specified, and
should not spend their lives at home, laid on costly couches at splendid
tables, delivering themselves up into the hands of their tradesmen and
cooks, to fatten them in corners, like greedy brutes, and to ruin not
their minds only but their very bodies, which, enfeebled by indulgence
and excess, would stand in need of long sleep, warm bathing, freedom
from work, and, in a word, of as much care and attendance as if they
were continually sick. It was certainly an extraordinary thing to have
brought about such a result as this, but a greater yet to have taken
away from wealth, as Theophrastus observes, not merely the property of
being coveted, but its very nature of being wealth. For the rich, being
obliged to go to the same table with the poor, could not make use of or
enjoy their abundance, nor so much as please their vanity by looking at
or displaying it. So that the common proverb, that Plutus, the god of
riches, is blind, was nowhere in all the world literally verified but
in Sparta. There, indeed, he was not only blind, but, like a picture,
without either life or motion. Nor were they allowed to take food at
home first, and then attend the public tables, for everyone had an eye
upon those who did not eat and drink like the rest, and reproached them
with being dainty and effeminate.

This last ordinance in particular exasperated the wealthier men.
They collected in a body against Lycurgus, and from ill words came
to throwing stones, so that at length he was forced to run out of the
market-place, and make to sanctuary to save his life; by good-hap
he outran all excepting one Alcander, a young man otherwise not ill
accomplished, but hasty and violent, who came up so close to him, that,
when he turned to see who was near him, he struck him upon the face
with his stick, and put out one of his eyes. Lycurgus, so far from being
daunted and discouraged by this accident, stopped short and showed his
disfigured face and eye beat out to his countrymen; they, dismayed and
ashamed at the sight, delivered Alcander into his hands to be punished,
and escorted him home, with expressions of great concern for his ill
usage. Lycurgus, having thanked them for their care of his person,
dismissed them all, excepting only Alcander; and, taking him with
him into his house, neither did nor said anything severe to him, but
dismissing those whose place it was, bade Alcander to wait upon him
at table. The young man, who was of an ingenuous temper, did without
murmuring as he was commanded; and, being thus admitted to live with
Lycurgus, he had an opportunity to observe in him, beside his gentleness
and calmness of temper, an extraordinary sobriety and an indefatigable
industry, and so, from an enemy, became one of his most zealous
admirers, and told his friends and relations that Lycurgus was not that
morose and ill-natured man they had formerly taken him for, but the
one mild and gentle character of the world. And thus did Lycurgus, for
chastisement of his fault, make of a wild and passionate young man one
of the discreetest citizens of Sparta.

In memory of this accident, Lycurgus built a temple to Minerva. Some
authors, however, say that he was wounded, indeed, but did not lose his
eye from the blow; and that he built the temple in gratitude for the
cure. Be this as it will, certain it is, that, after this misadventure,
the Lacedaemonians made it a rule never to carry so much as a staff into
their public assemblies.

But to return to their public repasts. They met by companies of fifteen,
more or less, and each of them stood bound to bring in monthly a bushel
of meal, eight gallons of wine, five pounds of cheese, two pounds and
a half of figs, and some very small sum of money to buy flesh or fish
with. Besides this, when any of them made sacrifice to the gods, they
always sent a dole to the common hall; and, likewise, when any of them
had been a-hunting, he sent thither a part of the venison he had killed;
for these two occasions were the only excuses allowed for supping at
home. The custom of eating together was observed strictly for a
great while afterwards; insomuch that king Agis himself, after having
vanquished the Athenians, sending for his commons at his return home,
because he desired to eat privately with his queen, was refused them
by the polemarchs; and when he resented this refusal so much as to omit
next day the sacrifice due for a war happily ended, they made him pay a

They used to send their children to these tables as to schools of
temperance; here they were instructed in state affairs by listening to
experienced statesmen; here they learnt to converse with pleasantry, to
make jests without scurrility, and take them without ill humor. In this
point of good breeding, the Lacedaemonians excelled particularly, but
if any man were uneasy under it, upon the least hint given there was no
more to be said to him. It was customary also for the eldest man in
the company to say to each of them, as they came in, "Through this"
(pointing to the door), "no words go out." When any one had a desire to
be admitted into any of these little societies, he was to go through the
following probation: each man in the company took a little ball of soft
bread, which they were to throw into a deep basin, that a waiter carried
round upon his head; those that liked the person to be chosen dropped
their ball into the basin without altering its figure, and those who
disliked him pressed it betwixt their fingers, and made it flat; and
this signified as much as a negative voice. And if there were but one
of these flattened pieces in the basin, the suitor was rejected,
so desirous were they that all the members of the company should
be agreeable to each other. The basin was called caddichus, and the
rejected candidate had a name thence derived. Their most famous dish was
the black broth, which was so much valued that the elderly men fed only
upon that, leaving what flesh there was to the younger.

They say that a certain king of Pontus, having heard much of this black
broth of theirs, sent for a Lacedaemonian cook on purpose to make him
some, but had no sooner tasted it than he found it extremely bad, which
the cook observing, told him, "Sir, to make this broth relish, you
should have bathed yourself first in the river Eurotas."

After drinking moderately, every man went to his home without lights,
for the use of them was, on all occasions, forbid, to the end that they
might accustom themselves to march boldly in the dark. Such was the
common fashion of their meals.

Lycurgus would never reduce his laws into writing; nay, there is a
Rhetra expressly to forbid it. For he thought that the most material
points, and such as most directly tended to the public welfare, being
imprinted on the hearts of their youth by a good discipline, would be
sure to remain, and would find a stronger security, than any compulsion
would be, in the principles of action formed in them by their best
lawgiver, education.

One, then, of the Rhetras was, that their laws should not be written;
another is particularly leveled against luxury and expensiveness, for
by it it was ordained that the ceilings of their houses should only be
wrought by the axe, and their gates and doors smoothed only the saw.
Epaminondas's famous dictum about his own table, that "Treason and a
dinner like this do not keep company together," may be said to have been
anticipated by Lycurgus. Luxury and a house of this kind could not well
be companions. For a man must have a less than ordinary share of sense
that would furnish such plain and common rooms with silver-footed
couches and purple coverlets and gold and silver plate. Doubtless he
had good reason to think that they would proportion their beds to their
houses, and their coverlets to their beds, and the rest of their goods
and furniture to these. It is reported that King Leotychides, the first
of that name, was so little used to the sight of any other kind of
work, that, being entertained at Corinth in a stately room, he was much
surprised to see the timber and ceilings so finely carved and paneled,
and asked his host whether the trees grew so in his country.

A third ordinance or Rhetra was that they should not make war often, or
long, with the same enemy, lest they should train and instruct them
in war, by habituating them to defend themselves. And this is what
Agesilaus was much blamed for a long time after; it being thought that,
by his continual incursions into Boeotia, he made the Thebans a match
for the Lacedaemonians; and therefore Antalcidas, seeing him wounded
one day, said to him that he was very well paid for taking such pains
to make the Thebans good soldiers, whether they would or no. These laws
were called the Rhetras, to intimate that they were divine sanctions and

In order to the good education of their youth (which, as I said before,
he thought the most important and noblest work of a lawgiver), he took
in their case all the care that was possible; he ordered the maidens
to exercise themselves with wrestling, running, throwing the quoit, and
casting the dart, to the end that they might have strong and healthy

It was not in the power of the father to dispose of his child as he
thought fit; he was obliged to carry it before certain "triers" at a
place called Lesche; these were some of the elders of the tribe to which
the child belonged; their business it was carefully to view the infant,
and, if they found it stout and well made, they gave order for its
rearing, and allotted to it one of the nine thousand shares of land
above mentioned for its maintenance; but if they found it puny and
ill-shaped, ordered it to be taken to what was called the Apothetae, a
sort of chasm under Taygetus; as thinking it neither for the good of the
child itself, nor for the public interest, that it should be brought
up, if it did not, from the very outset, appear made to be healthy and
vigorous. Upon the same account, the women did not bathe the new-born
children with water, as is the custom in all other countries, but with
wine, to prove the temper and complexion of their bodies; from a notion
they had that epileptic and weakly children faint and waste away upon
their being thus bathed, while, on the contrary, those of a strong and
vigorous habit acquire firmness and get a temper by it like steel. There
was much care and art, too, used by the nurses; they had no swaddling
bands; the children grew up free and unconstrained in limb and form, and
not dainty and fanciful about their food; nor afraid in the dark, or of
being left alone; without any peevishness or ill humor or crying. Upon
this account, Spartan nurses were often bought up, or hired by people of
other countries.

Lycurgus was of another mind; he would not have masters bought out of
the market for his young Spartans, nor such as should sell their pains;
nor was it lawful, indeed, for the father himself to raise his children
after his own fancy; but as soon as they were seven years old they were
to be enrolled in certain companies and classes, where they all lived
under the same order and discipline, doing their exercises and taking
their play together. Of these he who showed the most conduct and courage
was made captain; they had their eyes always upon him, obeyed his
orders, and underwent patiently whatsoever punishment he inflicted; so
that the whole course of their education was one continued exercise of a
ready and perfect obedience. The old men, too, were spectators of their
performances, and often raised quarrels and disputes among them, to have
a good opportunity of finding out their different characters, and of
seeing which would be valiant, which a coward, when they should come
to more dangerous encounters. Reading and writing they gave them, just
enough to serve their turn; their chief care was to make them good
subjects, and to teach them to endure pain and conquer in battle. To
this end, as they grew in years, their discipline was proportionally
increased; their heads were close-clipped; they were accustomed to go
barefoot, and for the most part to play naked.

After they were twelve years old they were no longer allowed to wear any
under-garment; they had one coat to serve them a year; their bodies were
hard and dry, with but little acquaintance of baths and unguents; these
human indulgences they were allowed only on some few particular days
in the year. They lodged together in little bands upon beds made of the
rushes which grew by the banks of the river Eurotas, which they were
to break off with their hands without a knife; if it were winter, they
mingled some thistledown with their rushes, which it was thought had the
property of giving warmth.

Besides all this, there was always one of the best and most honest men
in the city appointed to undertake the charge and governance of them; he
again arranged them into their several bands, and set over each of
them for their captain the most temperate and bold of those they called
Irens, who were usually twenty years old, two years out of boyhood; and
the eldest of the boys, again, were Mell-Irens, as much as to say, "who
would shortly be men." This young man, therefore, was their captain when
they fought, and their master at home, using them for the offices of his
house; sending the oldest of them to fetch wood, and the weaker and less
able, to gather salads and herbs, and these they must either go without
or steal; which they did by creeping into the gardens, or conveying
themselves cunningly and closely into the eating-houses; if they were
taken in the act, they were whipped without mercy, for thieving so ill
and awkwardly. They stole, too, all other meat they could lay their
hands on, looking out and watching all opportunities, when people were
asleep or more careless than usual. If they were caught, they were not
only punished with whipping, but hunger, too, being reduced to their
ordinary allowance, which was but very slender, and so contrived on
purpose, that they might set about to help themselves, and be forced to
exercise their energy and address.

So seriously did the Lacedaemonian children go about their stealing,
that a youth, having stolen a young fox and hid it under his coat,
suffered it to tear out his very bowels with its teeth and claws, and
died upon the place, rather than let it be seen. What is practised to
this very day in Lacedaemon is enough to gain credit to this story, for
I myself have seen several of the youths endure whipping to death at the
foot of the altar of Diana surnamed Orthia.

The Iren, or under-master, used to stay a little with them after supper,
and one of them he bade to sing a song, to another he put a question
which required an advised and deliberate answer; for example, Who was
the best man in the city? What he thought of such an action of such
a man? They accustomed them thus early to pass a right judgment upon
persons and things, and to inform themselves of the abilities or defects
of their countrymen. If they had not an answer ready to the question,
Who was a good or who an ill-reputed citizen? they were looked upon as
of a dull and careless disposition, and to have little or no sense of
virtue and honor; besides this, they were to give a good reason for what
they said, and in as few words and as comprehensive as might be; he that
failed of this, or answered not to the purpose, had his thumb bit by his

They taught them, also, to speak with a natural and graceful raillery,
and to comprehend much matter of thought in few words. For Lycurgus,
who ordered, as we saw, that a great piece of money should be but of
an inconsiderable value, on the contrary would allow no discourse to be
current which did not contain in few words a great deal of useful and
curious sense; children in Sparta, by a habit of long silence, came to
give just and sententious answers; for, indeed, loose talkers seldom
originate many sensible words. King Agis, when some Athenian laughed at
their short swords, and said that the jugglers on the stage swallowed
them with ease, answered him, "We find them long enough to reach our
enemies with;" and as their swords were short and sharp, so, it seems to
me, were their sayings. They reach the point and arrest the attention of
the hearers better than any others. Lycurgus himself seems to have been
short and sententious, if we may trust the anecdotes of him; as
appears by his answer to one who by all means would set up democracy in
Lacedaemon. "Begin, friend," said he, "and set it up in your family."
Another asked him why he allowed of such mean and trivial sacrifices
to the gods. He replied, "That we may always have something to offer to
them." Being asked what sort of martial exercises or combats he approved
of, he answered, "All sorts, except that in which you stretch out your

Of their dislike to talkativeness, the following apophthegms are
evidence. King Leonidas said to one who held him in discourse upon some
useful matter, but not in due time and place, "Much to the purpose, sir,
elsewhere." King Charilaus, the nephew of Lycurgus, being asked why his
uncle had made so few laws, answered, "Men of few words require but few
laws." When one blamed Hecataeus the sophist because that, being
invited to the public table, he had not spoken one word all supper-time,
Archidamidas answered in his vindication, "He who knows how to speak,
knows also when."

The sharp, and yet not ungraceful, retorts which I mentioned may be
instanced as follows. Demaratus, being asked in a troublesome manner by
an importunate fellow, Who was the best man in Lacedaemon? answered at
last, "He, sir, that is the least like you." Some, in company where Agis
was, much extolled the Eleans for their just and honorable management of
the Olympic games; "Indeed," said Agis, "they are highly to be commended
if they can do justice one day in five years."

We may see their character, too, in their very jests. For they did not
throw them out at random, but the very wit of them was grounded upon
something or other worth thinking about. For instance, one, being asked
to go hear a man who exactly counterfeited the voice of a nightingale,
answered, "Sir, I have heard the nightingale itself." Another, having
read the following inscription upon a tomb,--

     Seeking to quench a cruel tyranny,
     They, at Selinus, did in battle die,

said, it served them right; for instead of trying to quench the tyranny
they should have let it burn out. A lad, being offered some game-cocks
that would die upon the spot, said he cared not for cocks that would
die, but for such as would live and kill others. In short, their answers
were so sententious and pertinent, that one said well that intellectual,
much more truly than athletic, exercise was the Spartan characteristic.

Nor was their instruction in music and verse less carefully attended to
than their habits of grace and good breeding in conversation. And their
very songs had a life and spirit in them that inflamed and possessed
men's minds with an enthusiasm and ardor for action; the style of them
was plain and without affectation; the subject always serious and moral;
most usually it was in praise of such men as had died in defence of
their country, or in derision of those that had been cowards; the former
they declared happy and glorified; the life of the latter they described
as most miserable and abject. There were also vaunts of what they would
do, and boasts of what they had done, varying with the various ages, as,
for example, they had three choirs in their solemn festivals, the
first of the old men, the second of the young men, and the last of the
children; the old men began thus:

     We once were young, and brave and strong;

the young men answered them, singing,

     And we're so now, come on and try;

the children came last and said,

     But we'll be strongest by and by.

Before they engaged in battle, the Lacedaemonians abated a little the
severity of their manners in favor of their young men, suffering them
to curl and adorn their hair, and to have costly arms, and fine clothes;
and were well pleased to see them, like proud horses, neighing and
pressing to the course. And therefore, as soon as they came to be well
grown, they took a great deal of care of their hair, to have it parted
and trimmed, especially against a day of battle, pursuant to a saying
recorded of their lawgiver, that a large head of hair added beauty to a
good face, and terror to an ugly one.

The senate, as I said before, consisted of those who were Lycurgus's
chief aiders and assistants in his plan. The vacancies he ordered to be
supplied out of the best and most deserving men past sixty years old.
The manner of their election was as follows: the people being called
together, some selected persons were locked up in a room near the place
of election, so contrived that they could neither see nor be seen, but
could only hear the noise of the assembly without; for they decided
this, as most other affairs of moment, by the shouts of the people. This
done, the competitors were not brought in and presented all together,
but one after another by lot, and passed in order through the assembly
without speaking a word. Those who were locked up had writing-tables
with them, in which they recorded and marked each shout by its loudness,
without knowing in favor of which candidate each of them was made, but
merely that they came first, second, third, and so forth. He who was
found to have the most and loudest acclamations was declared senator
duly elected.

When he perceived that his more important institutions had taken root in
the minds of his countrymen, that custom had rendered them familiar and
easy, that his commonwealth was now grown up and able to go alone, then,
as Plato somewhere tells us the Maker of the world, when first he saw it
existing and beginning its motion, felt joy, even so Lycurgus, viewing
with joy and satisfaction the greatness and beauty of his political
structure, now fairly at work and in motion, conceived the thought
to make it immortal too, and as far as human forecast could reach, to
deliver it down unchangeable to posterity. He called an extraordinary
assembly of all the people, and told them that he now thought everything
reasonably well established, both for the happiness and the virtue of
the state; but that there was one thing still behind, of the greatest
importance, which he thought not fit to impart until he had consulted
the oracle; in the meantime, his desire was that they would observe the
laws without even the least alteration until his return, and then he
would do as the god should direct him. They all consented readily, and
bade him hasten his journey; but, before he departed, he administered
an oath to the two kings, the senate, and the whole commons, to abide by
and maintain the established form of polity until Lycurgus should
come back. This done, he set out for Delphi, and, having sacrificed
to Apollo, asked him whether the laws he had established were good and
sufficient for a people's happiness and virtue. The oracle answered that
the laws were excellent, and that the people, while it observed them,
should live in the height of renown. Lycurgus took the oracle in
writing, and sent it over to Sparta, and, having sacrificed a second
time to Apollo, and taken leave of his friends and his son, he resolved
that the Spartans should not be released from the oath they had taken,
and that he would, of his own act, close his life where he was. He was
now about that age in which life was still tolerable, and yet might
be quitted without regret. Everything, moreover, about him was in a
sufficiently prosperous condition. He, therefore, made an end of himself
by a total abstinence from food; thinking it a statesman's duty to make
his very death, if possible, an act of service to the state, and even
in the end of his life to give some example of virtue and effect some
useful purpose. Nor was he deceived in his expectations, for the city of
Lacedaemon continued the chief city of all Greece for the space of five
hundred years, in strict observance of Lycurgus's laws; in all which
time there was no manner of alteration made, during the reign of
fourteen kings, down to the time of Agis, the son of Archidamus.

King Theopompus, when one said that Sparta held up so long because their
kings could command so well, replied, "Nay, rather because the people
know so well how to obey." For people do not obey, unless rulers know
how to command; obedience is a lesson taught by commanders. A true
leader himself creates the obedience of his own followers; as it is
the greatest attainment in the art of riding to make a horse gentle and
tractable, so is it of the science of government to inspire men with a
willingness to obey.

It is reported that when the bones were brought home to Sparta his tomb
was struck with lightning, an accident which befell no eminent person
but himself and Euripides. But Aristocrates, the son of Hipparchus, says
that he died in Crete, and that his Cretan friends, in accordance with
his own request, when they had burned his body, scattered the ashes
into the sea, for fear lest, if his relics should be transported to
Lacedaemon, the people might pretend to be released from their oaths,
and make innovations in the government.


SOLON, as Hermippus writes, when his father had ruined his estate in
doing benefits and kindnesses to other men, though he had friends enough
that were willing to contribute to his relief, yet was ashamed to
be beholden to others, since he was descended from a family who were
accustomed to do kindnesses rather than receive them; and therefore
applied himself to merchandise in his youth; though others assure us
that he traveled rather to get learning and experience than to make
money. It is certain that he was a lover of knowledge, for when he was
old he would say that he

Each day grew older, and learnt something new.

But that he accounted himself rather poor than rich is evident from the

     Some wicked men are rich, some good are poor,
     We will not change our virtue for their store;
     Virtue's a thing that none can take away,
     But money changes owners all the day.

It is stated that Anacharsis and Solon and Thales were familiarly
acquainted, and some have quoted parts of their discourse; for, they
say, Anacharsis, coming to Athens, knocked at Solon's door and told
him that he, being a stranger, was come to be his guest, and contract a
friendship with him; and Solon replying; "It is better to make friends
at home," Anacharsis replied, "Then you that are at home make friendship
with me." Solon, somewhat surprised at the readiness of the repartee,
received him kindly, and kept him some time with him, being already
engaged in public business and the compilation of his laws; which when
Anacharsis understood, he laughed at him for imagining the dishonesty
and covetousness of his countrymen could be restrained by written laws,
which were like spiders' webs, and would catch, it is true, the weak
and poor, but easily be broken by the mighty and rich. To this Solon
rejoined that men keep their promises when neither side can get anything
by the breaking of them; and he would so fit his laws to the citizens,
that all should understand it was more eligible to be just than to break
the laws. But the event rather agreed with the conjecture of Anacharsis
than Solon's hope. Anacharsis, being once at the assembly, expressed his
wonder that in Greece wise men spoke and fools decided.

Now, when the Athenians were tired with a tedious and difficult war that
they conducted against the Megarians for the island Salamis, and made
a law that is should be death for any man, by writing or speaking, to
assert that the city ought to endeavor to recover it, Solon, vexed at
the disgrace, and perceiving thousands of the youth wished for
somebody to begin, but did not dare to stir first for fear of the law,
counterfeited a distraction, and by his own family it was spread about
the city that he was mad. He then secretly composed some elegiac verses,
and getting them by heart, that it might seem extempore, ran out into
the market-place with a cap upon his head, and, the people gathering
about him, got upon the herald's stand, and sang that elegy which begins

     I am a herald come from Salamis the fair,
     My news from thence my verses shall declare.

The poem is called "Salamis"; it contains a hundred verses, very
elegantly written. When it had been sung, his friends commended it, and
especially Pisistratus exhorted the citizens to obey his directions;
insomuch that they recalled the law, and renewed the war under Solon's
conduct. The popular take is, that with Pisistratus he sailed to Colias,
and, finding the women, according to the custom of the country there,
sacrificing to Ceres, he sent a trusty friend to Salamis, who should
pretend himself a renegade, and advise them, if they desired to seize
the chief Athenian women, to come with him at once to Colias; the
Megarians presently sent off men in the vessel with him, and Solon,
seeing it put off from the island, commanded the women to be gone, and
some beardless youths, dressed in their clothes, their shoes, and caps,
and privately armed with daggers, to dance and play near the shore till
the enemies had landed and the vessel was in their power. Things being
thus ordered, the Megarians were allured with the appearance, and,
coming to the shore, jumped out, eager who should first seize a prize,
so that not one of them escaped; and the Athenians set sail for the
island and took it.

For this Solon grew famed and powerful; but his advice in favor of
defending the oracle at Delphi, to give aid, and not to suffer the
Cirrhaeans to profane it, but to maintain the honor of the god, got him
most repute among the Greeks: for upon his persuasion the Amphictyons
undertook the war.

Now the Cylonian pollution had a long time disturbed the commonwealth,
ever since the time when Megacles the archon persuaded the conspirators
with Cylon that took sanctuary in Athena's temple to come down and stand
to a fair trial. And they, tying a thread to the image, and holding one
end of it, went down to the tribunal; but when they came to the temple
of the Furies, the thread broke of its own accord, upon which, as if the
goddess had refused them protection, they were seized by Megacles and
the other magistrates; as many as were without the temples were stoned,
those that fled for sanctuary were butchered at the altar, and only
those escaped who made supplication to the wives of the magistrates.

The Athenians, now the Cylonian sedition was over and the polluted gone
into banishment, fell into their old quarrels about the government,
there being as many different parties as there were diversities in the
country. The Hill quarter favored democracy; the Plain, oligarchy; and
those that lived by the Sea-side stood for a mixed sort of government,
and so hindered either of the parties from prevailing. And the disparity
of fortune between the rich and the poor at that time also reached its
height; so that the city seemed to be in a truly dangerous condition,
and no other means for freeing it from disturbances and settling it to
be possible but a despotic power.

Then the wisest of the Athenians, perceiving Solon was of all men the
only one not implicated in the troubles, that he had not joined in the
exactions of the rich, and was not involved in the necessities of
the poor, pressed him to succor the commonwealth and compose the
differences. Solon, reluctantly at first, engaged in state affairs,
being afraid of the pride of one party and the greediness of the other;
he was chosen archon, however, after Philombrotus, and empowered to be
an arbitrator and lawgiver; the rich consenting because he was wealthy,
the poor because he was honest. There was a saying of his current before
the election, that when things are even there never can be war, and this
pleased both parties, the wealthy and the poor; the one conceiving him
to mean, when all have their fair proportion; the other, when all are
absolutely equal. Thus, there being great hopes on both sides, the chief
men pressed Solon to take the government into his own hands, and, when
he was once settled, manage the business freely and according to his
pleasure; and many of the commons, perceiving it would be a difficult
change to be effected by law and reason, were willing to have one wise
and just man set over the affairs; and some say that Solon had this
oracle from Apollo:

     Take the mid-seat, and be the vessel's guide;
     Many in Athens are upon your side.

From which it is manifest that he was a man of great reputation before
he gave his laws. The several mocks that were put upon him for refusing
the power, he records in these words:

Solon surely was a dreamer, and a man of simple mind; When the gods
would give him fortune, he of his own will declined; When the new was
full of fishes, over-heavy thinking it, He declined to haul it up,
through want of heart and want of wit. Had but I that chance of riches
and of kingship for one day, I would give my skin for flaying, and my
house to die away.

Thus he makes the many and the low people speak of him. Yet, though he
refused the government, he did not show himself mean and submissive to
the powerful, nor make his laws to pleasure those that chose him. For
the first thing which he settled was, that what debts remained should
be forgiven, and no man, for the future, should engage the body of his
debtor for security. Though some, as Androtion, affirm that the debts
were not canceled, but the interest only lessened, which sufficiently
pleased the people; so that they named this benefit the Seisacthea,
together with the enlarging of their measures, and raising the value of
their money; for he made a pound, which before passed for seventy-three
drachmas, go for a hundred; so that, though the number of pieces in
the payment was equal, the value was less; which proved a considerable
benefit to those that were to discharge great debts, and no loss to the

While he was designing this, a most vexatious thing happened; for when
he had resolved to take off the debts, and was considering the proper
form and fit beginning for it, he told some of his friends, Conon,
Clinias, and Hipponicus, in whom he had a great deal of confidence, that
he would not meddle with the lands, but only free the people from their
debts; upon which, they, using their advantage, made haste and borrowed
some considerable sums of money, and purchased some large farms; and
when the law was enacted, they kept the possessions, and would not
return the money; which brought Solon into great suspicion and
dislike, as if he himself had not been abused, but was concerned in the
contrivance. But he presently stopped this suspicion, by releasing his
own debtors of five talents (for he had lent so much), according to the
law; others, as Polyzelus the Rhodian, say fifteen.

Soon becoming sensible of the good that was done, the people laid by
their grudges, made a public sacrifice, and chose Solon to new-model
and make laws for the commonwealth, giving him the entire power over
everything, their magistracies, their assemblies, courts, and councils;
that he should appoint the number, times of meeting, and what estate
they must have that could be capable of these, and dissolve or continue
any of the present constitutions, according to his pleasure.

First, then, he repealed all Draco's laws, except those concerning
homicide, because they were too severe and the punishments too great;
for death was appointed for almost all offences, insomuch that those
that were convicted of idleness were to die, and those that stole a
cabbage or an apple to suffer even as villains that committed sacrilege
or murder. So that Demades, in after time, was thought to have said very
happily, that Draco's laws were written not with ink, but blood; and
he himself, being once asked why he made death the punishment of most
offences, replied: "Small ones deserve that, and I have no higher for
the greater crimes."

Next, Solon, being willing to continue the magistracies in the hands
of the rich men, and yet receive the people into the other part of the
government, took an account of the citizens' estates, and those that
were worth five hundred measures of fruits, dry and liquid, he placed
in the first rank; those that could keep a horse, or were worth three
hundred measures, were made the second class; those that had two hundred
measures, were in the third; and all the other were called Thetes, who
were not admitted to any office, but could come to the assembly, and
act as jurors; which at first seemed nothing, but afterward was found an
enormous privilege, as almost every matter of dispute came before them
in this latter capacity. Besides, it is said that he was obscure and
ambiguous in the wording of his laws, on purpose to increase the honor
of his courts; for since their differences could not be adjusted by the
letter, they would have to bring all their causes to the judges, who
thus were in a manner masters of the laws. Of this equalization he
himself makes mention in this manner:

     Such power I gave the people as might do,
     Abridged not what they had, now lavished new.
     Those that were great in wealth and high in place,
     My counsel likewise kept from all disgrace.
     Before them both I held my shield of might,
     And let not either touch the other's right.

When he had constituted the Areopagus of those who had been yearly
archons, of which he himself was a member therefore, observing that
the people, now free from their debts, were unsettled and imperious,
he formed another council of four hundred, a hundred out of each of
the four tribes, which was to inspect all matters before they were
propounded to the people, and to take care that nothing but what had
been first examined should be brought before the general assembly. The
upper council, or Areopagus, he made inspectors and keepers of the
laws, conceiving that the commonwealth, held by these two councils like
anchors, would be less liable to be tossed by tumults, and the people be
more at quiet. Such is the general statement that Solon instituted the

Amongst his other laws, one is very peculiar and surprising, which
disfranchises all who stand neuter in a sedition; for it seems he would
not have any one remain insensible and regardless of the public good,
but at once join with the good party and those that have the right upon
their side, assist and venture with them, rather than keep out of harm's
way and watch who would get the better.

Another commendable law of Solon's is that which forbids men to speak
evil of the dead.

Since the country has but few rivers, lakes, or large springs, and many
used wells which they had dug, there was a law made, that, where there
was a public well within a hippicon, that is, four furlongs, all should
draw at that; but then it was farther off, they should try and procure a
well of their own; and, if they had dug ten fathoms deep and could find
no water, they had liberty to fetch a pitcherful of four gallons and a
half in a day from their neighbors'; for he thought it prudent to make
provision against want, but not to supply laziness. He showed skill in
his orders about planting, for any one that would plant another tree was
not to set it within five feet of his neighbor's field; but if a fig or
an olive, not within nine, for their roots spread farther, nor can they
be planted near all sorts of trees without damage, for they draw away
the nourishment, and in some cases are noxious by their effluvia. He
that would dig a pit or a ditch was to dig it at the distance of its own
depth from his neighbor's ground; and he that would raise stocks of bees
was not to place them within three hundred feet of those which another
had already raised.

He permitted only oil to be exported, and those that exported any other
fruit, the archon was solemnly to curse, or else pay an hundred drachmas
(a drachma was about twenty cents.) himself; and this law was written in
his first table, and, therefore, let none think it incredible, as some
affirm, that the exportation of figs was once unlawful. He made a law
also, concerning hurts and injuries from beasts, in which he commands
the master of any dog that bit a man to deliver him up with a log about
his neck four and a half feet long-a happy device for men's security.

All his laws he established for an hundred years, and wrote them on
wooden tables or rollers, named axones, which might be turned round in
oblong cases; some of their relics were in my time still to be seen in
the Prytaneum, or common hall, at Athens. These, as Aristotle states,
were called cyrbes, and there is a passage of Cratinus the comedian,

     By Solon, and by Draco, if you please,
     Whose Cyrbes make the fires that parch our peas.

But some say those are properly cyrbes, which contain laws concerning
sacrifices and the rites of religion, and all the other axones. The
council all jointly swore to confirm the laws, and every one of the
Thesmothetae vowed for himself at the stone in the market-place, that,
if he broke any of the statutes, he would dedicate a golden statue, as
big as himself, at Delphi.

Now when these laws were enacted, and some came to Solon every day, to
commend or dispraise them, and to advise, if possible, to leave out, or
put in something, and many criticised, and desired him to explain,
and tell the meaning of such and such a passage, he, to escape all
displeasure, it being a hard thing, as he himself says,

     In great affairs to satisfy all sides,

As an excuse for traveling, bought a trading vessel and, having obtained
leave for ten years' absence, departed, hoping that by that time his
laws would have become familiar.

His first voyage was for Egypt, and he lived, as he himself says,

     Near Nilus' mouth, by fair Canopus' shore,

And spent some time in study with Psenophis of Heliopolis, and Sonchis
the Saite, the most learned of all the priests; from whom, as Plato
says, getting knowledge of the Atlantic story, he put it into a poem,
and proposed to bring it to the knowledge of the Greeks. From thence he
sailed to Cyprus, where he was made much of by Philocyprus, one of the
kings there, who had a small city built by Demophon, Theseus's son, near
the river Clarius, in a strong situation, but incommodious and uneasy
of access. Solon persuaded him, since there lay a fair plain below,
to remove, and build there a pleasanter and more spacious city. And he
stayed himself, and assisted in gathering inhabitants, and in fitting it
both for defence and convenience of living; insomuch that many flocked
to Philocyprus, and the other kings imitated the design; and, therefore,
to honor Solon, he called the city Soli.

That Solon should discourse with Croesus, some think not agreeable with
chronology; but I cannot reject so famous and well-attested a narrative,
and, what is more, so agreeable to Solon's temper, and so worthy his
wisdom and greatness of mind, because, forsooth, it does not agree with
some chronological canons, which thousands have endeavored to regulate,
and yet, to this day, could never bring their differing opinions to any
agreement. They say, therefore, that Solon, coming to Croesus at his
request, was in the same condition as an inland man when first he goes
to see the sea; for as he fancies every river he meets with to be the
ocean, so Solon, as he passed through the court, and saw a great many
nobles richly dressed, and proudly attended with a multitude of guards
and footboys, thought every one to be the king, till he was brought to
Croesus, who was decked with every possible rarity and curiosity, in
ornaments of jewels, purple, and gold, that could make a grand and
gorgeous spectacle of him. Now when Solon came before him, and seemed
not at all surprised, nor gave Croesus those compliments he expected,
but showed himself to all discerning eyes to be a man that despised the
gaudiness and petty ostentation of it, he commanded them to open all
his treasure houses, and carry him to see his sumptuous furniture and
luxuries, though Solon did not wish it; he could judge of him well
enough by the first sight of him; and, when he returned from viewing
all, Croesus asked him if ever he had known a happier man than he. And
when Solon answered that he had known one Tellus, a fellow-citizen of
his own, and told him that this Tellus had been an honest man, had had
good children, a competent estate, and died bravely in battle for his
country, Croesus took him for an ill-bred fellow and a fool, for not
measuring happiness by the abundance of gold and silver, and preferring
the life and death of a private and mean man before so much power and
empire. He asked him however, again, if, besides Tellus, he knew any
other man more happy. And Solon replying, Yes, Cleobis and Biton, who
were loving brothers, and extremely dutiful sons to their mother, and,
when the oxen delayed her, harnessed themselves to the wagon, and drew
her to Juno's temple, her neighbors all calling her happy, and she
herself rejoicing; then, after sacrificing and feasting, they went
to rest, and never rose again, but died in the midst of their honor a
painless and tranquil death. "What," said Croesus, angrily, "and dost
not thou reckon us amongst the happy men at all?" Solon, unwilling
either to flatter or exasperate him more, replied, "The gods, O king,
have given the Greeks all other gifts in moderate degree; and so our
wisdom, too, is a cheerful and a homely, not a noble and kingly, wisdom;
and this, observing the numerous misfortunes that attend all conditions,
forbids us to grow insolent upon our present enjoyments, or to admire
any man's happiness that may yet, in course of time, suffer change. For
the uncertain future has yet to come, with every possible variety of
fortune; and him only to whom the divinity has continued happiness unto
the end, we call happy; to salute as happy one that is still in the
midst of life and hazard, we think as little safe, and conclusive as to
crown and proclaim as victorious the wrestler that is yet in the ring."
After this, he was dismissed, having given Croesus some pain, but no

Aesop, who wrote the fables, being then at Sardis upon Croesus's
invitation, and very much esteemed, was concerned that Solon was so
ill-received, and gave him this advice: "Solon, let your converse with
kings be either short or seasonable." "Nay, rather," replied Solon,
"either short or reasonable." So at this time Croesus despised Solon;
but when he was overcome by Cyrus, had lost his city, was taken alive,
condemned to be burnt, and laid bound upon the pile before all the
Persians and Cyrus himself, he cried out as loud as he possibly could
three times, "O Solon!" and Cyrus being surprised, and sending some to
inquire what man or god this Solon was, whom alone he invoked in this
extremity, Croesus told him the whole story, saying, "He was one of the
wise men of Greece, whom I sent for, not to be instructed, or to learn
anything that I wanted, but that he should see and be a witness of my
happiness; the loss of which was, it seems, to be a greater evil than
the enjoyment was a good; for when I had them they were goods only in
opinion, but now the loss of them has brought upon me intolerable and
real evils. And he, conjecturing from what then was, this that now is,
bade me look to the end of my life, and not rely and grow proud upon
uncertainties." When this was told Cyrus, who was a wiser man than
Croesus, and saw in the present example Solon's maxim confirmed, he not
only freed Croesus from punishment, but honored him as long as he
lived; and Solon had the glory, by the same saying, to save one king and
instruct another.

When Solon was gone, the citizens began to quarrel; Lycurgus headed
the Plain; Megacles, the son of Alcmaeon, those of the Sea-side; and
Pisistratus the Hill-party, in which were the poorest people, the
Thetes, and greatest enemies to the rich; insomuch that, though the
city still used the new laws, yet all looked for and desired a change of
government, hoping severally that the change would be better for them,
and put them above the contrary faction. Affairs standing thus, Solon
returned, and was reverenced by all, and honored; but his old age would
not permit him to be as active, and to speak in public, as formerly;
yet, by privately conferring with the heads of the factions, he
endeavored to compose the differences, Pisistratus appearing the most
tractable; for he was extremely smooth and engaging in his language,
a great friend to the poor, and moderate in his resentments; and what
nature had not given him, he had the skill to imitate; so that he was
trusted more than the others, being accounted a prudent and orderly man,
one that loved equality, and would be an enemy to any that moved against
the present settlement. Thus he deceived the majority of people; but
Solon quickly discovered his character, and found out his design before
any one else; yet did not hate him upon this, but endeavored to humble
him, and bring him off from his ambition, and often told him and others,
that if any one could banish the passion for preeminence from his mind,
and cure him of his desire of absolute power, none would make a more
virtuous man or a more excellent citizen. Thespis, at this time,
beginning to act tragedies, and the thing, because it was new, taking
very much with the multitude, though it was not yet made a matter
of competition, Solon, being by nature fond of hearing and learning
something new, and now, in his old age, living idly, and enjoying
himself, indeed, with music and with wine, went to see Thespis himself,
as the ancient custom was, act; and after the play was done, he
addressed him, and asked him if he was not ashamed to tell so many lies
before such a number of people; and Thespis replying that it was no harm
to say or do so in play, Solon vehemently struck his staff against the
ground: "Ay," said he, "if we honor and commend such play as this, we
shall find it some day in our business."

Now when Pisistratus, having wounded himself, was brought into the
market-place in a chariot, and stirred up the people, as if he had been
thus treated by his opponents because of his political conduct, and a
great many were enraged and cried out, Solon, coming close to him, said,
"This, O son of Hippocrates, is a bad copy of Homer's Ulysses; you do,
to trick your countrymen, what he did to deceive his enemies." After
this, the people were eager to protect Pisistratus, and met in an
assembly, where one Ariston made a motion that they should allow
Pisistratus fifty clubmen for a guard to his person. Now, the people,
having passed the law, were not nice with Pisistratus about the number
of his clubmen, but took no notice of it, though he enlisted and kept as
many as he would, until he seized the Acropolis. When that was done, and
the city in an uproar, Megacles, with all his family, at once fled; But
Solon, though he was now very old, and had none to back him, yet came
into the market-place and made a speech to the citizens, partly blaming
their inadvertency and meanness of spirit, and in part urging and
exhorting them not thus tamely to lose their liberty; and likewise then
spoke that memorable saying, that, before, it was an easier task to
stop the rising tyranny, but now the greater and more glorious action
to destroy it, when it was begun already, and had gathered strength.
But all being afraid to side with him, he returned home, and, taking his
arms, he brought them out and laid them in the porch before his door,
with these words: "I have done my part to maintain my country and my
laws," and then be busied himself no more.

But Pisistratus, having got the command, so extremely courted Solon, so
honored him, obliged him, and sent to see him, that Solon gave him
his advice, and approved many of his actions; for he retained most of
Solon's laws, observed them himself, and compelled his friends to obey.
And he added other laws, one of which is that the maimed in the wars
should be maintained at the public charge, following Solon's example in
this, who had decreed it in the case of one Thersippus, that was maimed.

Solon lived after Pisistratus seized the government a long time. But
the story that his ashes were scattered about the island Salamis is too
strange to be easily believed, or be thought anything but a mere
fable; and yet it is given, among other good authors, by Aristotle the


The birth of Themistocles was somewhat too obscure to do him honor. His
father, Neocles, was not of the distinguished people of Athens, but of
the township of Phrearrhi; and by his mother's side, as it is reported,
he was low-born.

     "I am not of the noble Grecian race,
     I'm poor Abrotonon, and born in Trace;
     Let the Greek women scorn me, if they please,
     I was the mother of Themistocles."

From his youth he was of a vehement and impetuous nature, of a quick
apprehension, and a strong and aspiring bent for action and great
affairs, the holidays and intervals in his studies he did not spend in
play or idleness, as other children, but would be always inventing or
arranging some oration or declamation to himself, the subject of which
was generally the excusing of accusing of his companions, so that his
master would often say to him, "You, my boy, will be nothing small,
but great one way or other, for good and else for bad." he received
reluctantly and carelessly instructions given him to improve his manners
and behavior, or to teach him any pleasing or graceful accomplishment,
but whatever was said to improve him in sagacity, or in management of
affairs, he would give attention to beyond one of years, from confidence
in his natural capacities for such things.

In the first essays of his youth he was not regular nor happily
balanced; he allowed himself to follow mere natural character, which,
without the control of reason and instruction, is apt to hurry, upon
either side, into sudden and violent courses, and very often to break
away and determine upon the worst; as he afterwards owned himself,
saying that the wildest colts make the best horses, if they only get
properly trained and broken in.

Yet it is evident that his mind was early imbued with the keenest
interest in public affairs, and the most passionate ambition for
distinction. It is said that Themistocles was so transported with the
thoughts of glory, and so inflamed with the passion for great actions,
that, though he was still young when the battle of Marathon was
fought against the Persian, upon the skillful conduct of the general,
Miltiades, being everywhere talked about, he was observed to be
thoughtful and reserved; he passed the nights without sleep, and avoided
all his usual places of recreation, and to those how wondered at the
change, and inquired the reason of it, he gave the answer that "the
trophy of Miltiades would not let him sleep." And when others were
of opinion that the battle of Marathon would be an end to the war,
Themistocles thought that it was but the beginning of far greater
conflict, and for these, to the benefit of Greece, he kept himself in
continual readiness, and his city also in proper training, foreseeing
from far before what would happen.

And, first of all, the Athenians being accustomed to divide amongst
themselves the revenue proceeding from the silver mines at Laurium, he
was the only man that durst propose to the people that this distribution
should cease, and that with the money, ships should be built to make
war against the Aeginetans, who were the most flourishing people in all
Greece, and by the number of their ships held the sovereignty of the
sea; and Themistocles thus, little by little, turned and drew the city
down towards the sea, in the belief that, whereas by land they were not
a match for their next neighbors, with their ships they might be able to
repel the Persian and command Greece; thus, as Plato says, from steady
soldiers he turned them into mariners and seamen tossed about the sea,
and gave occasion for the reproach against him, that he took away from
the Athenians the spear and the shield, and bound them to the bench
and the oar. He was well liked by the common people, would salute every
particular citizen by his own name, and always showed himself a
just judge in questions of business between private men; he said to
Simonides, the poet of Ceos, who desired something of him when he was
commander of the army that was no reasonable, "Simonides, you would
be no good poet if you wrote false measure, nor should I be a good
magistrate if for favor I made false law."

Gradually growing to be great, and winning the favor of the people,
he at last gained the day with his faction over that of Aristides, and
procured his banishment by ostracism. When the kind of Persia was now
advancing against Greece, and sent messengers into Greece, with an
interpreter, to demand earth and water, as an acknowledgement of
subjection, Themistocles, by the consent of the people, seized upon
the interpreter, and put him to death, for presuming to publish the
barbarian orders and decrees in the Greek language; and having taken
upon himself the command of the Athenian forces, he immediately
endeavored to persuade the citizens to leave the city, and to embark
upon their galleys, and meet with the Persians at a great distance from

When the contingents met at the straits of Artemisium, the Greeks would
have the Lacedaemonians to command, and Eurybiades to be their admiral;
but the Athenians, who surpassed all the rest together in number of
vessels, would not submit to come after any other, till Themistocles,
perceiving the danger of this contest, yielded his own command to
Eurybiades, and got the Athenians to submit, persuading them that if in
this war they behaved themselves like men, he would answer for it after
that, that the Greeks, of their own will, would submit to their command.

Though the fights between the Greeks and Persians in the straits of
Euboea were not so important as to make any final decision of the
war, yet the experience which the Greeks obtained in them was of great
advantage; for thus, by actual trial and in real danger, they found
out, that neither number of ships, or riches and ornaments, nor boasting
shouts, nor barbarous songs of victory, were any way terrible to men
that knew how to fight, and were resolved to come hand to hand with
their enemies. This, Pindar appears to have seen, and says justly enough
of the fight at Artemisium, that

     There the sons of Athens set
     The stone that freedom stands on yet.

For the first step towards victory undoubtedly is to gain courage.
Artemisium is in Euboea, beyond the city of Histiaea, a sea-beach open
to the north; there is small temple there, dedicated to Diana, surnamed
of the Dawn, and trees about it, around which again stand pillars of
white marble; and if rub them with your hand, they send forth both the
smell and color of saffron.

But when news came from Thermopylae to Artemisium, informing that that
king Leonidas was slain, and that Xerxes had made himself master of
all the passages by land, they returned back to the interior of Greece.
Xerxes had already passed through Doris and invaded the country of
Phocis, and was burning and destroying the cities of the Phocians, yet
the Greeks sent them no relief; and, though the Athenians earnestly
desired them to meet the Persians in Boeotia, before they could come
into Attica, as they themselves had come forward by sea at Artemisium,
they gave no ear to their request, being wholly intent upon
Peloponnesus, and resolved to gather all their forces together within
the Isthmus, and to build a wall from sea to sea in that narrow neck of
land; so that the Athenians were enraged to see themselves betrayed, and
at the same time afflicted and dejected at their own destitution. For to
fight alone against such a numerous army was to no purpose, and the
only expedient now left them was to leave their city and cling to their
ships; which the people were very unwilling to submit to, imagining that
it would signify little now to gain a victory, and not understanding how
there could be deliverance any longer after they had once forsaken
the temples of their gods and exposed the tombs and monuments of their
ancestors to the fury of their enemies.

Themistocles, being at a loss, and not able to draw the people over
to his opinion by any human reason, set his machines to work, as in a
theatre, and employed prodigies and oracles. The serpent of Athena, kept
in the inner part of her temple, disappeared; the priests gave it out
to the people and declared, by the suggestion of Themistocles, that the
goddess had left the city, and taken her flight before them towards the
sea. And he often urged them with the oracle which bade them "trust to
walls of wood," showing them that walls of wood could signify nothing
else but ships; and that the island of Salamis was termed in it not
miserable or unhappy, but had the epithet of divine, for that it should
one day be associated with a great good fortune of the Greeks. At length
his opinion prevailed, and he obtained a decree that the city should be
committed to the protection of Athena, "queen of Athens"; that they
who were of age to bear arms should embark, and that each should see to
sending away his children, women, and slaves where he could. This decree
being confirmed, most of the Athenians removed their parents, wives, and
children to Troezen, where they were received with eager good-will by
the Troezenians, who passed a vote that they should be maintained at the
public charge.

Among the great actions of Themistocles at this crisis, the recall of
Aristides was not the least, for, before the war, he had been ostracized
by the party which Themistocles headed, and was in banishment; but now,
perceiving that the people regretted his absence, and were fearful that
he might go over to the Persians to revenge himself, and thereby ruin
the affairs of Greece, Themistocles proposed a decree that those who
were banished for a time might return again, to give assistance by word
and deed to the cause of Greece with the rest of their fellow citizens.

Eurybiades, by reason of the greatness of Sparta, was admiral of the
Greek fleet, but yet was faint-hearted in time of danger, and willing
to weigh anchor and set sail for the Isthmus of Corinth, near which the
land army lay encamped; which Themistocles, resisted; and this was
the occasion of the well-known words, when Eurybiades, to check his
impatience, told him that at the Olympic games they that start up before
the rest are lashed. "And they," replied Themistocles, "that are left
behind are not crowned." Some say that while Themistocles was thus
speaking things upon the deck, an owl was seen flying to the right hand
of the fleet, which came and sat upon the top of the mast; and this
happy omen so far disposed the Greeks to follow his advice, that they
presently prepared to fight. Yet, when the enemy's fleet was arrived at
the haven of Phalerum, upon the coast of Attica, and with the number of
their ships concealed all the shore, and when they saw the king himself
in person come down with his land army to the sea-side, with all his
forces united, then the good counsel of Themistocles was soon forgotten,
and the Peloponnesians cast their eyes again towards the Isthmus, and
took it very ill if any one spoke against their returning home; and,
resolving to depart that night, the pilots had order what course to

Themistocles, in great distress that the Greeks should return, and lost
the advantage of the narrow seas and strait passage, and slip home
very one to his own city, considered with himself, and contrived that
stratagem which was carried out by Sicinnus. This Sicinnus was a Persian
captive, but a great lover of Themistocles, and the attendant of his
children. Upon this occasion he sent him privately to Xerxes, commanding
him to tell the king that Themistocles, the admiral of the Athenians,
having espoused his interest, wished to be the first to inform him that
the Greeks were ready to make their escape, and that he counseled him to
hinder their flight, to set upon them while they were in this confusion
and at a distance from their land army, and thereby destroy all their
forces by sea. Xerxes was very joyful at this message, and received it
as from one who wished him all that was good, and immediately issued
instructions to the commanders of his ships that they should instantly
set out with two hundred galleys to encompass all the islands, and
enclose all the straits and passages, that none of the Greeks might
escape, and that they should afterward follow with the rest of their
fleet at leisure. This being done, Aristides, the son of Lysimachus, was
the first man that perceived it, and went to the test of Themistocles,
not out of any friendship, for he had been formerly banished by his
means, as has been related, but to inform him how they were encompassed
by their enemies. Themistocles, knowing the generosity of Aristides, and
much struck by his visit at that time, imparted to him all that he had
transacted by Sicinnus, and entreated him that, as he would be more
readily believed among the Greeks, he would make use of his credit to
help to induce them to stay and fight their enemies in the narrow seas.
Aristides applauded Themistocles, and went to the other commanders and
captains of the galleys and encouraged them to engage; yet they did not
perfectly assent to him till a galley of Tenos, which deserted from the
Persians, of which Panaetius was commander, came in, while they were
still doubting, and confirmed the news that all the straits and passages
were beset; and then their rage and fury, as well as their necessity,
provoked them all to fight.

As soon as it was day, Xerxes placed himself high up, to view his fleet,
as Acestodorus writes, in the confines of Megara, upon those hills
which are called the Horns, where he sat in a chair of gold, with many
secretaries about him to write down all that was done in the fight.

The number of the enemy's ships the poet Aeschylus gives in his tragedy
called the Persians, as on his certain knowledge, in the following

      Xerxes, I know, did into battle lead
      One thousand ships; of more than usual speed
      Seven and two hundred. So is it agreed.

The Athenians had a hundred and eighty; in every ship eighteen
men fought upon the deck, four of whom were archers and the rest

As Themistocles had fixed upon the most advantageous place, so, with no
less sagacity, he chose the best time of fighting; for he would not run
the prows of his galleys against the Persians, nor begin the fight till
the time of day was come when there regularly blows in a fresh breeze
from the open sea, and brings in with it a strong swell into the
channel; this was no inconvenience to the Greek ships, which were
low-built, and little above the water, but did much hurt to the
Persians, which had high sterns and lofty decks, and were heavy and
cumbrous in their movements, as it presented them broadside to the
quick charges of the Greeks, who kept their eyes upon the motions of
Themistocles, as their best example, and more particularly because,
opposed to his ship, Ariamenes, admiral to Xerxes, a brave man, and by
far the best and worthiest of the king's brothers, was seen throwing
darts and shooting arrows from his huge galley, as from the walls of a
castle. Aminias the Decelean and Sosicles the Pedian, who sailed in the
same vessel, upon the ships meeting stem to stem, and transfixing each
the other with their brazen prows, so that they were fastened together,
when Ariamenes attempted to board theirs, ran at them with their pikes,
and thrust him into the sea; his body, as it floated amongst other
shipwrecks, was discovered by Artemisia, and carried to Xerxes.

The first man that took a ship was Lycomedes the Athenian, captain of
a galley, who cut down its ensign, and dedicated it to Apollo the
Laurel-crowned. And as the Persians fought in a narrow sea, and could
bring but part of their fleet to fight, and fell foul of one another,
the Greeks thus equaled them in strength, and fought with them till the
evening, forced them back, and obtained, as says Simonides, that noble
and famous victory, than which neither amongst the Greeks nor barbarians
was ever known more glorious exploit on the seas; by the joint valor,
indeed, and zeal of all who fought, but most by the wisdom and sagacity
of Themistocles.

After this sea-fight, Xerxes, enraged at his ill-fortune, attempted,
by casting great heaps of earth and stones into the sea, to stop up the
channel and to make a dam, upon which he might lead his land forces over
into the island of Salamis.

Themistocles, being desirous to try the opinion of Aristides, told him
that he proposed to set sail for the Hellespont, to break the bridge
of ships, so as to shut up, he said, Aisa a prisoner within Europe; but
Aristides, disliking the design, said: "We have hitherto fought with an
enemy who has regarded little else but his pleasure and luxury; but if
we shut him up within Greece, and drive him to necessity, he that is
master of such great forces will no longer sit quietly with an umbrella
of gold over his head, looking upon the fight for his pleasure; but he
will be resolute, and attempt all things. Therefore, it is noways our
interest, Themistocles," he said, "to take away the bridge that is
already made, but rather to build another, if it were possible, that he
might make his retreat with the more expedition." To which Themistocles
answered: "If this be requisite, we must immediately use all diligence,
art, and industry, to rid ourselves of him as soon as may be;" and to
this purpose he found out among the captives one named Arnaces, whom he
sent to the king, to inform him that the Greeks, being now victorious
by sea, had decreed to sail to the Hellespont, where the boasts were
fastened together, and destroy the bridge; but that Themistocles, being
concerned for the king, revealed this to him, that he might hasten
toward the Asiatic seas, and pass over into his own dominions; and
in the meantime would cause delays, and hinder the confederates
from pursuing him. Xerxes no sooner heard this than, being very much
terrified, he proceeded to retreat out of Greece with all speed. The
prudence of Themistocles and Aristides in this was afterward more fully
understood at the battle of Plataea, where Mardonius, with a very small
fraction of the forces of Xerxes, put the Greeks in danger of losing

Herodotus writes that, of all the cities of Greece, Aegina was held to
have performed the best service in the war; while all single men
yielded to Themistocles, though, out of envy, unwillingly; and when they
returned to the entrance of Peloponnesus, where the several commanders
delivered their suffrages at the altar, to determine who was most
worthy, every one gave the first vote for himself and the second for
Themistocles. The Lacedaemonians carried him with them to Sparta, where,
giving the rewards of valor to Eurybiades, and of wisdom and conduct to
Themistocles, they crowned him with olive, presented him with the best
chariot in the city, and sent three hundred young men to accompany him
to the confines of their country. And at the next Olympic games, when
Themistocles entered the course, the spectators took no further notice
of those who were competing for the prizes, but spent the whole day
in looking upon him, showing him to the strangers, admiring him, and
applauding him by clapping their hands, and other expressions of joy, so
that he himself, much gratified, confessed to his friends that he then
reaped the fruit of all his labors for the Greeks.

He was, indeed, by nature, a great lover of honor, as is evident from
the anecdotes recorded of him. When chosen admiral by the Athenians, he
would not quite conclude any single matter of business, either public or
private, but deferred all till the day they were to set sail, that, by
dispatching a great quantity of business all at once, and having to met
a great variety of people, he might make an appearance of greatness
and power. Viewing the dead bodies cast up by the sea, he perceived
bracelets and necklaces of gold about them, yet passed on, only showing
them to a friend that followed him, saying, "Take you these things, for
you are not Themistocles." He aid to Antiphates, a handsome young
man, "Time, young man, has taught us both a lesson." He said that the
Athenians did not honor him or admire him, but made, as it were, a sort
of plane-tree of him; sheltered themselves under him in bad weather, and
as soon as it was fine, plucked his leaves and cut his branches. When a
Seriphian told him that he had not obtained this honor by himself, but
by the greatness of his city, he replied: "You speak truth; I should
never have been famous if I had been of Seriphus; nor you, had you been
of Athens." Laughing at his own son, who got his mother, and by his
mother's means, his father also to indulge him, he told him that he had
the most power of any one is Greece: "For the Athenians command the rest
of Greece, I command the Athenians, your mother commands me, and you
command your mother." Of the two who made love to his daughter, he
preferred the man of worth to the one who was rich, saying he desired a
man without riches, rather than riches without a man.

When the citizens of Athens began to listen willingly to those who
traduced and reproached him, he was forced, with somewhat obnoxious
frequency, to put them in mind of the great services he had performed.
And he yet more provoked the people by building a temple to Diana with
the epithet of Aristobule, or Diana of Best Counsel; intimating thereby
that he had given the best counsel, not only to the Athenians, but to
all Greece. At length the Athenians banished him, making use of the
ostracism to humble his eminence and authority, as they ordinarily
did with all whom they thought too powerful, or, by their greatness,
disproportionate to the equality thought requisite in a popular
government. For the ostracism was instituted, not so much to punish
the offender as to mitigate and pacify the violence of the envious, who
delighted to humble eminent men, and who, by fixing this disgrace upon
them, might vent some part of their rancor.

Themistocles being banished from Athens, while he stayed at Argos the
detection of Pausanias happened. And after Pausanias was put to death,
letters and writings were found which rendered Themistocles suspected,
and his enemies among the Athenians accused him. In answer to the
malicious detractions of his enemies, he merely wrote to the citizens
urging that he who was always ambitious to govern, and not of a
character or a disposition to serve, would never sell himself and his
country into slavery to a barbarous and hostile nation.

Notwithstanding this, the people, being persuaded by his accuser, set
officers to take him and bring him away to be tried before a council
of the Greeks; but, having timely notice of it, he passed over into the
island of Corcyra, where the state was under obligations to him;
for, being chosen as arbitrator in a difference between them and the
Corinthians, he decided the controversy by ordering the Corinthians to
pay down twenty talents, and declaring the town and island of Leucas a
joint colony from both cities. From thence he fled into Epirus, and, the
Athenians and Lacedaemonians still pursuing him, he threw himself upon
chances of safety that seemed all but desperate. For he fled fro refuge
to Admetus, kind of the Molossians, who had formerly made some request
to the Athenians when Themistocles was in the height of his authority,
and had been disdainfully used and insulted by him, and had let it
appear plain enough that could he lay hold of him he would take his
revenge. Yet in this misfortune, Themistocles, fearing the recent hatred
of his neighbors and fellow-citizens more than the old displeasure of
the king, put himself at his mercy, and became an humble suppliant to
Admetus, after a peculiar manner, different from the custom of other
countries. For taking the king's son, who was then a child, in his arms,
he laid himself down at his hearth, this being the most sacred and
only manner of supplication, among the Molossians, which was not to be

Thucydides says, that, passing over land to the Aegean Sea, he took shop
at Pydna in the bay of Thermae, not being known to any one in the ship,
till, being terrified to see the vessel driven by the winds near to
Naxos, which was then besieged by the Athenians, he made himself
known to the master and pilot, and, partly entreating them, partly
threatening, he compelled them to bear off and stand out to sea, and
sail forward toward the coast of Aisa.

When he arrived at Cyme, and understood that all along the coast many
laid in wait for him (the king of Persia having offered by public
proclamation two hundred talents to him that should take him), he fled
to Aegae, a small city of the Aeolians, where no one knew him but only
his host Nicogenes, who was the richest man in Aeolia, and well known to
the great men of Inner Asia. There Themistocles, going to bed, dreamed
that he saw a snake coil itself up upon his belly, and so creep to his
neck; then, as soon as it touched his face, it turned into an eagle,
which spread its wings over him, and took him up and flew away with him
a great distance; then there appeared a herald's golden wand, and
upon this at last it set him down securely, after infinite terror and

His departure was effected by Nicogenes by the following artifice: the
barbarous nations, and among them the Persians especially, are extremely
jealous, severe, and suspicious about their wives, whom they keep so
strictly that no one ever sees them abroad; they spend their lives shut
up within doors, and, when they take a journey, are carried in close
tenets, curtained in on all sides, and set upon a wagon. Such a
traveling carriage being prepared for Themistocles, they hid him in it,
and carried him on his journey, and told those whom they met or spoke
with upon the road that they were conveying a young Greek woman out of
Ionia to a nobleman at court.

When he was introduced to the king, and had paid his reverence to him,
he stood silent, till the king commanding the interpreter to ask him who
he was, he replied: "O king, I am Themistocles the Athenian, driven
into banishment by the Greeks. The evils I have done to the Persians are
numerous; but my benefits to them yet greater, in withholding the Greeks
from pursuit, so soon as the deliverance of my own country allowed me
to show kindness also to you. I come with a mind suited to my present
calamities; prepared alike for favors and for anger; to welcome your
gracious reconciliation, and to deprecate your wrath. Take my own
countrymen for witnesses of the services I have done for Persia, and
make use of this occasion to show the world your virtue, rather than to
satisfy your indignation. If you save me, you will save your suppliant;
if otherwise, you will destroy an enemy of the Greeks."

In the morning, calling together the chief of his court, he had
Themistocles brought before him, who expected no good of it. Yet, when
he came into the presence, and again fell down, the king saluted him,
and spake to him kindly, telling him he was now indebted to him two
hundred talents; for it was just and reasonable that he should receive
the reward which was proposed to whosoever should bring Themistocles;
and promising much more, and encouraging him, he commanded him to speak
freely what he would concerning the affairs of Greece. Themistocles
replied, that a man's discourse was like to a rich Persians carpet, the
beautiful figures and patterns of which can only be shown by spreading
and extending it out; when it is contracted and folded up, they are
obscured and lost; and, therefore, he desired time. The king being
pleased with the comparison, and bidding him take what time he would,
he desired a year; in which time, having learnt the Persian language
sufficiently, he spoke with the king by himself without the help of an
interpreter; the king invited him to partake of his own pastimes and
recreations both at home and abroad, carrying him with him a-hunting,
and made him his intimate so far that he permitted him to see the
queen-mother, and converse frequently with her. By the king's command,
he also was made acquainted with the Magian learning.

They relate, also, how Themistocles, when he was in great prosperity,
and courted by many, seeing himself splendidly served at his table,
turned to his children and said: "Children, we had been undone if we
had not been undone." Most writers say that he had three cities given
him--Magnesia, Myus and Lampsacus--to maintain him in bread, meat and
wine; and some add two more, the city of Palaescepsis, to provide him
with clothes, and Percote, with bedding and furniture for his house.

He lived quietly in his own house in Magnesia, where for a long time he
passed his days in great security, being courted by all, and enjoying
rich presents, and honored equally with the greatest persons in the
Persian empire; the king, at that time, not minding his concerns with
Greece, being taken up with the affairs of Inner Aisa.

But when Egypt revolted, being assisted by the Athenians, and the Greek
galleys roved about as far as Cyprus and Cilicia, and Cimon had made
himself master of the seas, the king turned his thoughts thither, and,
bending his mind chiefly to resist the Greeks, and to cheek the
growth of their power against him, began to raise forces, and send out
commanders, and to dispatch messengers to Themistocles at Magnesia, to
put him in mind of his promise, and to summon him to act against the
Greeks. Yet this did not increase his hatred nor exasperate him against
the Athenians, but, being ashamed to sully the glory of his former great
actions, and of his many victories and trophies, he determined to put a
conclusion to his life, agreeable to its previous course. He sacrificed
to the gods, and invited his friends; and having entertained them and
shaken hands with them, drank bull's blood, as is the usual story; as
others state, a poison, producing instant death; and ended his days in
the city of Magnesia, having lived sixty-five years, most of which he
had spent in politics and in the wars, in government and command. The
king, being informed of the cause and manner of his death, admired him
the more than ever, and continued to show kindness to his friends and

The Magnesians possess a splendid sepulchre of Themistocles, placed in
the middle of their market-place. And various honors and privileges were
granted to the kindred of Themistocles at Magnesia, which were observed
down to our times, and were enjoyed by another Themistocles of Athens,
with whom I had an intimate acquaintance and friendship in the house of
Ammonius the philosopher.


Among the many remarkable things that are related of Furius Camillus, it
seems singular that he, who continually was in the highest commands,
and obtained the greatest successes, was five times chosen dictator,
triumphed four times, and was styled a second founder of Rome, yet never
was so much as once consul. The reason of which was the state and temper
of the commonwealth at that time; for the people, being at dissension
with the senate, refused to return consuls, but they instead elected
other magistrates, called military tribunes, who acted, indeed, with
full consular power, but were thought to exercise a less obnoxious
amount of authority, because it was divided among a larger number.

The house of the Furii was not, at that time, of any considerable
distinction; he, by his own acts, first raised himself to honor, serving
under Postumius Tubertus, dictator, in the great battle against the
Aequians and Volscians. For, riding out from the rest of the army, and
in the charge receiving a would in his thigh, he for all that did not
quit the fight, but, letting the dart drag in the would, and engaging
with the bravest of the enemy, put them to flight; for which action,
among other rewards bestowed on him, he was created censor, an office in
those days of great repute and authority. During his censorship one
very good act of his is recorded, that, whereas the wars had made many
widows, he obliged such as had no wives, some by fair persuasion, others
by threatening to set fines on their heads, to take them in marriage;
another necessary one, in causing orphans to be rated, who before were
exempted from taxes, the frequent wars requiring more than ordinary
expenses to maintain them. What, however, pressed them most was the
siege of Veii. Some call this people Veientani. This was the head city
of Tuscany, not inferior to Rome either in number of arms or multitude
of soldiers, insomuch that, presuming on her wealth and luxury, and
priding herself upon her refinement and sumptuousness, she engaged in
many honorable contests with the Romans for glory and empire. But now
they had abandoned their former ambitious hopes, having been weakened by
great defeats, so that, having fortified themselves with high and strong
walls, and furnished the city with all sorts of weapons offensive and
defensive, as likewise with corn and all manner of provisions, they
cheerfully endured a siege, which, though tedious to them, was no less
troublesome and distressing to the besiegers. For the Romans, having
never been accustomed to stay away from home except in summer, and for
no great length of time, and constantly to winter at home, were then
first compelled by the tribunes to build forts in the enemy's country,
and, raising strong works about their camp, to join winter and summer
together. And now the seventh year of the war drawing to an end, the
commanders began to be suspected as too slow and remiss in driving on
the siege, insomuch that they were discharged and others chosen for the
war, among whom was Camillus, then second time tribune. But at present
he had no hand in the siege, the duties that fell by lot to him being to
make war upon the Faliscans and Capenates, who, taking advantage of
the Romans being occupied on all hands, had carried ravages into their
country, and through all the Tuscan war, given them much annoyance, but
were now reduced by Camillus, and with great loss shut up within their

And now, in the very heat of the war, a strange phenomenon in the
Alban lake, which, in the absence of any known cause and explanation by
natural reasons, seemed as great a prodigy as the most incredible that
are reported, occasioned great alarm. It was the beginning of autumn,
and the summer now ending had, to all observation, been neither rainy
nor much troubled with southern winds; and of the many lakes, brooks,
and springs of all sorts with which Italy abounds, some were wholly
dried up, others had very little water in them; all the rivers, as is
usual in summer, ran in a very low and hollow channel. But the Alban
lake, which is fed by no other waters but its own, and is on all sides
encircled with fruitful mountains, without any cause, unless it were
divine, began visibly to rise and swell, increasing to the feet of the
mountains, and by degrees reaching the level of the very tops of some of
them, and all this without any waves or agitation. At first it was the
wonder of shepherds and herdsmen; but when the earth, which, like a
great dam, held up the lake from falling into the lower grounds, through
the quantity and weight of water was broken down, and in a violent
stream it ran through the ploughed fields and plantations to discharge
itself in the sea, it not only struck terror into the Romans, but was
thought by all the inhabitants of Italy to portend some extraordinary
event. But the greatest talk of it was in the camp that besieged Veii,
so that in the town itself, also, the occurrence became known.

As in long sieges it commonly happens that both parties on both sides
meet often and converse with one another, so it chanced that a Roman had
gained much confidence and familiarity with one of the besieged, a man
versed in ancient prophecies, and of repute for more than ordinary skill
in divination. The Roman, observing him to be overjoyed at the story of
the lake, and to mock at the siege, told him that this was not the only
prodigy that of late had happened to the Romans; others more wonderful
yet than this had befallen them, which he was willing to communicate to
him, that he might the better provide for his private interests in these
public distempers. The man greedily embraced the proposal, expecting to
hear some wonderful secrets; but when, little by little, he had led him
on in conversation, and insensibly drawn him a good way from the gates
of the city, he snatched him up the middle, being stronger than he, and,
by the assistance of others who came running from the camp, seized and
delivered him to the commanders. The man, reduced to this necessity, and
sensible now that destiny was not to be avoided, discovered to them the
secret oracle of Veii, that it was not possible the city should be
taken until the Alban lake, which now broke forth and had found out new
passages, was drawn back from that course, and so diverted that it
could not mingle with the sea. The senate, having heard and satisfied
themselves about the matter, decreed to send to Delphi, to ask counsel
of the god. The messengers returned with the answer that the Alban
water, if possible, they should keep from the sea, and shut it up in its
ancient bounds; but if that was not to be done, then they should carry
it off by ditches and trenches into the lower grounds, and so dry it up;
which message being delivered, the priests performed what related to the
sacrifices, and the people went to work and turned the water.

And now the senate, in the tenth year of the war, taking away all other
commands, created Camillus dictator, who chose Cornelius Scipio for his
general of horse, and, having made vows, marched into the country of the
Faliscans, and in a great battle overthrew them and the Capenates, their
confederates; afterwards he turned to the siege of Veii, and finding
that to take it by assault would prove a difficult and hazardous
attempt, proceeded to cut mines under ground, the earth about the city
being easy to break up, and allowing such depth for the works as would
prevent their being discovered by the enemy. This design going on in a
hopeful way, he openly gave assaults to the enemy, to keep them to the
walls, until they that worked underground in the mines might, without
being perceived, arrive within the citadel, close to the temple of Juno,
which was the greatest and most honored in all the city. It is said that
the prince of the Tuscans was at that very time at sacrifice, and that
the priest, after he had looked into the entrails of the beast, cried
out with a loud voice that the gods would give the victory to those that
should complete those offerings; and that the Romans who were in the
mines, hearing the words, immediately pulled down the floor, and,
ascending with noise, and clashing of weapons, frightened away the
enemy, and, snatching up the entrails, carried them to Camillus. But
this may look like a fable. The city, however, being taken by storm, and
the soldiers busied in pillaging and gathering an infinite quantity of
riches and spoil, Camillus, from the high tower viewing what was done,
at first wept for pity; and when the bystanders congratulated him upon
his success, he lifted up his hands to heaven, and broke out into this
prayer: "O most mighty Jupiter, and ye gods that are judges of good and
evil actions, ye know that not without just cause, but constrained by
necessity, we have been forced to revenge ourselves on the city of our
unrighteous and wicked enemies. But if, the the vicissitude of things,
there by any calamity due, to counter-balance this great felicity, I beg
that it may be diverted from the city and army of the Romans, and fall,
with as little hurt as may be, upon my own head." Having said these
words, and just turning about (as the custom of the Romans is to turn
to the right after adoration or prayer), he stumbled and fell, to the
astonishment of all that were present. But, recovering himself presently
from the fall, he told them that he had received what he had prayed for,
a small mischance, in compensation for the greatest good fortune.

Camillus, however, whether puffed up with the greatness of his
achievement in conquering a city that was the rival of Rome, and held
out a ten years' siege, or exalted with the felicitations of those that
were about him, assumed to himself more than became a civil and legal
magistrate; among other things, in the pride and haughtiness of triumph,
driving through Rome in a chariot drawn with four white horses, which no
general either before or since ever did; for the Romans consider such a
mode of conveyance to be sacred and specially set apart to the king and
father of the gods. This alienated the hearts of his fellow-citizens,
who were not accustomed to such pomp and display.

The second pique they had against him was his opposing the law by which
the city was to be divided; for the tribunes of the people brought
forward a motion that the people and senate should be divided into two
parts, one of which should remain at home, the other, as the lot should
decide, remove to the new-taken city. By which means they should
not only have much more room, but, by the advantage of two great and
magnificent cities, be better able to maintain their territories and
their fortunes in general. The people, therefore, who were numerous and
indigent, greedily embraced it, and crowded continually to the forum,
with tumultuous demands to have it put to the vote. But the senate and
the noblest citizens, judging the proceedings of the tribunes to tend
rather to a destruction than a division of Rome, greatly averse to it,
went to Camillus for assistance, who, fearing the result if it came to a
direct contest, contrived to occupy the people with other business, and
so staved it off. He thus became unpopular.

And now the tribunes of the people again resuming their motion for the
division of the city, the war against the Faliscans luckily broke out,
giving liberty to the chief citizens to choose what magistrates they
pleased, and to appoint Camillus military tribune, with five colleagues;
affairs then requiring a commander of authority and reputation, as well
as experience. And when the people had ratified the election, he marched
with his forces into the territories of the Faliscans, and laid siege
to Falerii, a well-fortified city, and plentifully stored with all
necessaries of war. And although he perceived it would be so small work
to take it, and no little time would be required for it, yet he was
willing to exercise the citizens and keep them abroad, that they might
have no leisure, idling at home, to follow the tribunes in factions
and seditions: a very common remedy, indeed, with the Romans, who thus
carried off, like good physicians, the ill humors of their commonwealth.
The Falerians (The Falerians, in this narrative, are the people of the
town; the Faliscans, the nation in general.), trusting in the strength
of their city, which was well fortified on all sides, made so little
account of the siege, that all, with the exception of those that guarded
the walls, as in times of peace, walked about the streets in their
common dress; the boys went to school, and were led by their master
to play and exercise about the town walls; for the Falerians, like the
Greeks, used to have a single teacher for many pupils, wishing their
children to live and be brought up from the beginning in each others

This schoolmaster, designing to betray the Falerians by their children,
led them out every day under the town wall, at first but a little way,
and, when they had exercised, brought them home again. Afterwards by
degrees he drew them farther and farther, till by practice he had made
them bold and fearless, as if no danger was about them; and at last,
having got them all together, he brought them to the outposts of the
Romans, and delivered them up, demanding to be led to Camillus. Where
being come, and standing in the middle, he said that he was the master
and teacher of these children, but, preferring his favor before all
other obligations, he had come to deliver up his charge to him, and, in
that, the whole city. When Camillus had heard him out, he was astounded
at the treachery of the act, and, turning to the standers-by observed
that, "War, indeed, is of necessity attended with much injustice and
violence! Certain laws, however, all good men observe even in war
itself, nor is victory so great an object as to induce us to incur for
its sake obligations for base and impious acts. A great general should
rely on his own virtue, and not other men's vices." Which said, he
commanded the officers to tear off the man's clothes, and bind his hands
behind him and give the boys rods and scourges, to punish the traitor
and drive him back to the city. By this time the Falerians had
discovered the treachery of the schoolmaster, and the city, as was
likely, was full of lamentations and cries for their calamity, men and
women of worth running in distraction about the walls and gates; when,
behold, the boys came whipping their master on, naked and bound, calling
Camillus their preserver and god and father; so that it struck not only
the parents, but the rest of the citizens, with such admiration and love
of Camillus's justice, that, immediately meeting in assembly, they
sent ambassadors to him, to resign whatever they had to his disposal.
Camillus sent them to Rome, where, being brought into the senate,
they spoke to this purpose: that the Romans, preferring justice before
victory, had taught them rather to embrace submission than liberty; they
did not so much confess themselves to be inferior in strength as they
must acknowledge them to be superior in virtue. The senate remitted the
whole matter to Camillus, to judge and order as he thought fit; who,
taking a sum of money of the Falerians, and making a peace with the
whole nation of Faliscans, returned home.

But the soldiers, who had expected to have the pillage of the city,
when they came to Rome empty-handed railed against Camillus among their
fellow-citizens, as a hater of the people, and one that grudged
all advantage to the poor. The People were exasperated against him.
Gathering, therefore, together his friends and fellow-soldiers, and such
as had borne command with him, a considerable number in all, he besought
them that they would not suffer him to be unjustly overborne by shameful
accusations, and left the mock and scorn of his enemies. His friends,
having advised and consulted among themselves, made answer, that, as to
the sentence, they did not see how they could help him, but that they
would contribute to whatsoever fine should be set upon him. Not able to
endure so great an indignity, he resolved in his anger to leave the city
and go into exile; and so, having taken leave of his wife and son, he
went silently to the gate of the city, and, there stopping and turning
round, stretched out his hands to the Capitol, and prayed to the gods,
that if, without any fault of his own, but merely through the malice and
violence of the people, he was driven out into banishment, the Romans
might quickly repent of it; and that all mankind might witness their
need for the assistance, and desire for the return, of Camillus.

And there is not a Roman but believes that immediately upon the prayers
of Camillus a sudden judgment followed, and that he received a revenge
for the injustice done unto him, which was very remarkable, and noised
over the whole world: such a punishment visited the city of Rome, an era
of such loss and danger and disgrace so quickly succeeded; whether it
thus fell out by fortune, or it be the office of god not to see injured
virtue go unavenged.

The first token that seemed to threaten some mischief to ensure was the
death of the censor Julius; for the Romans have a religious reverence
for the office of a censor, and esteem it sacred. The second was, that,
just before Camillus went into exile, Marcus Caedicius, a person of no
great distinction, nor of the rank of senator, but esteemed a good and
respectable man, reported to the military tribunes a thing worthy their
consideration: that, going along the night before in the street called
the New Way, and being called by somebody in a loud voice, he turned
about, but could see no one, but heard a voice greater than human, which
said these words, "Go, Marcus Caedicius, and early in the morning tell
the military tribunes that they are shortly to expect the Gauls." But
the tribunes made a mock and sport with the story, and a little after
came Camillus's banishment.

The Gauls are of the Celtic race, and are reported to have been
compelled by their numbers to leave their country, which was
insufficient to sustain them all, and to have gone in search of other
homes. And being, many thousands of them, young men able to bear
arms, and carrying with them a still greater number of women and young
children, some of them, passing the Riphaean mountains, fell upon
the Northern Ocean, and possessed themselves of the farthest parts of
Europe; others, seating themselves between the Pyrenean mountains and
the Alps, lived there a considerable time, near to the Senones and
Celtorii; but, afterwards tasting wine, which was then first brought
them out of Italy, they were all so much taken with the liquor, and
transported with the hitherto unknown delight, that, snatching up their
arms and taking their families along with them, they marched directly to
the Alps, to find out the country which yielded such fruit, pronouncing
all others barren and useless. He that first brought wine among them and
was the chief instigator of their coming into Italy is said to have been
one Aruns, A Tuscan, a man of noble extraction.

At their first coming they at once possessed themselves of all that
country which anciently the Tuscans inhabited, reaching from the Alps
to both the seas, as the names themselves testify; for the North of
Adriatic Sea is named from the Tuscan city Adria, and that to the south
the Tuscan Sea simply. The whole country is rich in fruit trees, has
excellent pasture, and is well watered with river. It had eighteen large
and beautiful cities, well provided with all the means for industry and
wealth, and all the enjoyments and pleasures of life. The Gauls cast out
the Tuscans, and seated themselves in them.

The Gauls at this time were besieging Clusium, a Tuscan city. The
Clusinians sent to the Romans for succor, desiring them to interpose
with the barbarians by letters and ambassadors. The Romans, perceiving
that Brennus, the leader of the Gauls, was not to be treated with, went
into Clusium and encouraged the inhabitants to make a sally with them
upon the barbarians, which they did either to try their strength or to
show their own. The sally being made, and the fight growing hot about
the walls, one of the Fabii, Quintus Ambustus, who had come as an
ambassador, being well mounted, and setting spurs to his horse, made
full against a Gaul, a man of huge bulk and stature, whom he saw riding
out at a distance from the rest. At the first he was not recognized,
through the quickness of the conflict and the glittering of the armor,
that precluded any view of him; but when he had overthrown the Gaul, and
was going to gather the spoils, Brennus knew him; and invoking the gods
to be witnesses that, contrary to the known and common law of nations,
which is holily observed by all mankind, he who had come as an
ambassador had now engaged in hostility against him, he drew off his
men, and, bidding Clusium farewell, led his army directly against Rome.

Whilst the barbarians were hastening with all speed, the military
tribunes brought the Romans into the field to be ready to engage them,
being not inferior to the Gauls in number (for they were no less than
forty thousand foot), but most of them raw soldiers, and such as had
never handled a weapon before. Besides, they had wholly neglected
all religious usages, had not obtained favorable sacrifices, nor made
inquiries of the prophets, natural in danger and before battle. No less
did the multitude of commanders distract and confound their proceedings;
frequently before, upon less occasions, they had chosen a single leader,
with the title of dictator, being sensible of what great importance it
is in critical times to have the solders united under one general with
the entire and absolute control placed in his hands. Add to all, the
remembrance of Camillus's treatment, which made it now seem a dangerous
thing for officers to command without humoring their solders. In this
condition they left the city, and encamped by the river Allia, about
ten miles from Rome, and not far from the place where it falls into
the Tiber; and here the Gauls came upon them, and, after a disgraceful
resistance, devoid of order and discipline, they were miserably
defeated. The left wing was immediately driven into the river, and there
destroyed; the right had less damage by declining the shock, and from
the low ground getting to the tops of the hills, from whence most of
them afterwards dropped into the city; the rest, as many as escaped, the
enemy being weary of the slaughter, stole by night to Veii, giving up
Rome and all that was in it for lost.

This battle was fought about the summer solstice, the moon being at
full, the very same day in which the sad disaster of the Fabii had
happened, when three hundred of that name were at one time cut off by
the Tuscans.

And now, after the battle, had the Gauls immediately pursued those that
fled, there had been no remedy but Rome must have wholly been ruined,
and all those who remained in it utterly destroyed; such was the terror
that those who escaped the battle brought with them into the city,
and with such distraction and confusion were they themselves in
turn infected. But the Gauls, not imagining their victory to be so
considerable, and overtaken with the present joy, fell to feasting and
dividing the spoil, by which means they gave leisure to those who were
for leaving the city to make their escape, and to those that remained,
to anticipate and prepare for their coming.

On the third day after the battle, Brennus appeared with his army at
the city, and, finding the gates wide open and no guards upon the walls,
first began to suspect it was some design or stratagem, never dreaming
that the Romans were in so desperate a condition. But when he found it
to be so indeed, he entered at the Colline gate, and took Rome, in the
three hundred and sixtieth year, or a little more, after it was built.

Brennus having taken possession of Rome, set a strong guard about the
Capitol, and, going himself down into the forum, was there struck with
amazement at the sight of so many men sitting in such order and silence,
observing that they neither rose at his coming, nor so much as changed
color or countenance, but remained without fear or concern, leaning upon
their staves, and sitting quietly, looking at each other. The Gauls,
for a great while, stood wondering at the strangeness of the sight,
not daring to approach or touch them, taking them for an assembly of
superior beings. But when one, bolder than the rest, drew near to Marcus
Papirius, and, putting forth his hand, gently touched his chin and
stroked his long beard, Papirius with his staff struck him a severe blow
on the head; upon which the barbarian drew his sword and slew him.
This was the introduction to the slaughter; for the rest, following his
example, set upon them all and killed them, and dispatched all others
that came in their way; and so went on to the sacking and pillaging of
the houses, which they continued for many days ensuing.

Camillus then sojourned in the city of Ardea, having, ever since his
leaving Rome, sequestered himself from all business, and taken to a
private life; but now he began to rouse up himself, and consider not
how to avoid or escape the enemy, but to find out an opportunity to be
revenged upon them. And perceiving that the Ardeatians wanted not men,
but rather enterprise, through the inexperience and timidity of their
officers, he began to speak with the young men, first to the effect that
they ought not to ascribe the misfortune of the Romans to the courage of
their enemy, nor attribute the losses they sustained by rash counsel to
the conduct of men who had no title to victory: the event had been
only an evidence of the power of fortune. When he found the young men
embraced the thing, he went to the magistrates and council of the city,
and, having persuaded them also, he mustered all that could bear arms,
and drew them up within the the walls, that they might not be perceived
by the enemy, who was near; who, having scoured the country, and
now returned heavy laden with booty, lay encamped in the plains in a
careless and negligent posture, so that, with the night ensuing upon
debauch and drunkenness, silence prevailed through all the camp. When
Camillus learned this from his scouts, he drew out the Ardeatians, and
in the dead of the night, passing in silence over the ground that lay
between, came up to their works, and, commanding his trumpets to sound
and his men to shout and halloo, he struck terror into them from all
quarters; while drunkenness impeded and sleep retarded their movements.
A few whom fear had sobered, getting into some order, for awhile
resisted; and so died with their weapons in their hands. But the
greatest part of them, buried in wine and sleep, were surprised without
their arms, and dispatched; and as many of them as by the advantage of
the night got out of the camp were the next day found scattered abroad
and wandering in the fields, and were picked up by the horse that
pursued them.

The fame of this action soon flew through the neighboring cities,
and stirred up the young men from various quarters to come and join
themselves with him. But none were so much concerned as those Romans
who escaped in the battle of Allia, and were now at Veii, thus lamenting
with themselves, "O heavens, what a commander has Providence bereaved
Rome of, to honor Ardea with his actions! And that city, which brought
forth and nursed so great a man, is lost and gone, and we, destitute
of a leader and shut up within strange walls, sit idle, and see Italy
ruined before our eyes. Come, let us send to the Ardeatians to have back
our general, or else, with weapons in our hands, let us go thither to
him." To this they all agreed, and sent to Camillus to desire him to
take the command; but he answered that he would not until they that
were in the Capitol should legally appoint him. When this answer was
returned, they admired the modesty and tempter of Camillus; but they
could not tell how to find a messenger to carry the intelligence to the
Capitol, or rather, indeed, it seemed altogether impossible for any one
to get to the citadel whilst the enemy was in full possession of
the city. But among the young men there was one Pontius Cominius, of
ordinary birth, but ambitious of honor, who proffered himself to run the
hazard, and took no letters with him to those in the Capitol, lest, if
he were intercepted, the enemy might learn the intentions of Camillus;
but, putting on a poor dress and carrying corks under, he boldly
traveled the greatest part of the way by day, and came to the city when
it was dark; the bridge he could not pass, as it was guarded by the
barbarians; so that taking his clothes, which were neither many nor
heavy, and binding them about his head, he laid his body upon the
corks, and, swimming with them, got over to the city. And avoiding those
quarters where he perceived the enemy was awake, which he guessed at
by the lights and noise, he went to the Carmental gate, where there was
greatest silence, and where the hill of the Capitol is steepest, and
rises with craggy and broken rock. By this way he got up, though with
much difficulty, by the hollow of the cliff, and presented himself to
the guards, saluting them, and telling them his name; he was taken in,
and carried to the commanders. And a senate being immediately called,
he related to them in order the victory of Camillus, which they had not
heard of before, and the proceedings of the soldiers, urging them
to confirm Camillus in the command, as on him alone all their
fellow-countrymen outside the city would rely. Having heard and
consulted of the matter, the senate declared Camillus dictator, and sent
back Pontius the same way that he came, who, with the same success as
before, got through the enemy without being discovered, and delivered to
the Romans outside the decision of the senate, who joyfully received it.
Camillus, on his arrival, found twenty thousand of them ready in arms;
with which forces, and those confederates he brought along with him, he
prepared to set upon the enemy.

But at Rome some of the barbarians passing by chance near the place at
which Pontius by night had got into the Capitol, spied in several places
marks of feet and hands, where he had laid hold and clambered, and
places where the plants that grew to the rock had been rubbed off, and
the earth had slipped, and went accordingly and reported it to the king,
who, coming in person, and viewing it, for the present said nothing, but
in the evening, picking out such of the Gauls as were nimblest of body,
and by living in the mountains were accustomed to climb, he said to
them, "The enemy themselves have shown us a way how to come at them;
where it was easy for one man to get up, it will not be hard for many,
one after another; nay, when many shall undertake it, they will be aid
and strength to each other. Rewards and honors shall be bestowed on
every man as he shall acquit himself."

When the king had thus spoken, the Gauls cheerfully undertook to perform
it, and in the dead of night a good party of them together, with great
silence, began to climb the rock, clinging to the precipitous and
difficult ascent, which yet upon trial offered a way to them, and proved
less difficult than they had expected. So that the foremost of them
having gained the top of all, and put themselves into order, they
all but surprised the outworks, and mastered the watch, who were fast
asleep; for neither man nor dog perceived their coming. But there were
sacred geese kept near the temple of Juno, which at other times were
plentifully fed, but now, by reason that corn and all other provisions
were grown scarce for all, were in but a poor condition. The creature is
by nature of quick sense, and apprehensive of the least noise, so that
these, being moreover watchful through hunger, and restless, immediately
discovered the coming of the Gauls, and, running up and down with the
noise and cackling, they raised the whole camp; while the barbarians, on
the other side, perceiving themselves discovered, no longer endeavored
to conceal their attempt, but with shouting and violence advanced to the
assault. The Romans, every one in haste snatching up the first weapon
that came to hand, did what they could on the sudden occasion. Manlius,
a man of consular dignity, of strong body and great spirit, was the
first that made head against them, and, engaging with two of the enemy
at once, with his sword cut off the right arm of one just as he was
lifting up his blade to strike, and, running his target full in the face
of the other, tumbled him headlong down the steep rock; then mounting
the rampart, and there standing with others that came running to his
assistance, drove down the rest of them, who, indeed, to begin with, had
not been many, and did nothing worthy of so bold an attempt. The Romans,
having thus escaped this danger, early in the morning took the captain
of the watch and flung him down the rock upon the heads of their
enemies, and to Manlius for his victory voted a reward, intended more
for honor than advantage, bringing him, each man of them, as much as he
received for his daily allowance, which was half a pound of bread and
one eighth of a pint of wine.

Henceforward, the affairs of the Gauls were daily in a worse and worse
condition; they wanted provisions, being withheld from foraging through
fear of Camillus, and sickness also was amongst them, occasioned by the
number of carcasses that lay in heaps unburied. Neither, indeed,
were things on that account any better with the besieged, for famine
increased upon them, and despondency with not hearing anything of
Camillus, it being impossible to send any one to him, the city was so
guarded by the barbarians. Things being in this sad condition on both
sides, a motion of treaty was made at first by some of the outposts,
as they happened to speak with one another; which being embraced by the
leading men, Sulpicius, tribune of the Romans, came to a parley with
Brennus, in which it was agreed that the Romans laying down a thousand
weight of gold, the Gauls upon the receipt of it should immediately quit
the city and territories. The agreement being confirmed by oath on both
sides, and the gold brought forth, the Gauls used false dealing in
the weights, secretly at first, but afterwards openly pulled back and
disturbed the balance; at which the Romans indignantly complaining,
Brennus in a scoffing and insulting manner pulled off his sword and
belt, and threw them both into the scales; and when Sulpicius asked what
that meant, "What should it mean," says he, "but woe to the conquered?"
which afterwards became a proverbial saying.

Whilst this difference remained still unsettled, both amongst themselves
and with the Gauls, Camillus was at the gates with his army; and, having
learned what was going on, commanded the main body of his forces to
follow slowly after him in good order, and himself with the choicest of
his men hastening on, went at once to the Romans; where all giving
way to him, and receiving him as their sole magistrate, with profound
silence and order, he took the gold out of the scales, and delivered
it to his officers, and commanded the Gauls to take their weights and
scales and depart; saying that is was customary with the Romans to
deliver their country with iron, not with gold. And when Brennus began
to rage, and say that he was unjustly dealt with in such a breach of
contract, Camillus answered that it was never legally made, and the
agreement of no force or obligation; for that himself being declared
dictator, and there being no other magistrate by law, the engagement had
been made with men who had no power to enter into it; but now they might
say anything they had to urge, for he had come with full power by law
to grant pardon to such as should ask it, or inflict punishment on the
guilty, if they did not repent. At this, Brennus broke into violent
anger, and an immediate quarrel ensued; both sides drew their swords and
attacked, but in confusion, as could not otherwise be amongst houses,
and in narrow lanes and places where it was impossible to form any
order. But Brennus, presently recollecting himself, called off his
men, and, with the loss of a few only, brought them to their camp; and,
rising in the night with all his forces, left the city, and advancing
about eight miles, encamped upon the way to Gabii. As soon as day
appeared, Camillus came up with him, splendidly armed himself, and his
soldier full o courage and confidence; and there engaging with him in a
sharp conflict, which lasted a long while, overthrew his army with great
slaughter, and took their camp. Of those that fled, some were presently
cut off by the pursuers; other, and these were the greatest number,
dispersed hither and thither, and were despatched by the people that
came sallying out from the neighboring towns and villages.

Thus Rome was strangely taken, and more strangely recovered, having been
seven whole months in the possession of the barbarians, who entered her
a little after the Ides of July, and were driven out about the Ides of
February following. Camillus triumphed, as he deserved, having saved
his country that was lost, and brought the city so to say, back again
to itself. For those that had fled abroad, together with their wives and
children, accompanied him as he rode in; and those who had been shut up
in the capitol, and were reduced almost to the point of perishing with
hunger, went out to meet him, embracing each other as they met, and
weeping for joy, and, though the excess of the present pleasure,
scarcely believing in its truth.

It was a hard task, amidst so much rubbish, to discover and re-determine
the consecrated places; but by the zeal of Camillus, and the incessant
labor of the priest, it was at last accomplished. But when it came also
to rebuilding the city, which was wholly demolished, despondency seized
the multitude, and a backwardness to engage in a work for which they
had no materials. The senate, therefore, fearing a sedition, would not
suffer Camillus, though desirous, to lay down his authority within the
year, though no other dictator had ever held it above six months.

Camillus thought good to refer the matter of rebuilding to general
deliberation, and himself spoke largely and earnestly in behalf of his
country, as also may others. At last, calling to Lucius Lucretius, whose
place it was to speak first, he commanded him to give his sentence, and
the rest as they followed, in order. Silence being made, and Lucretius
just about to begin, by chance a centurion, passing by outside with
his company of the day-guard, called out with a loud voice to the
ensign-bearer to halt and fix his standard, for this was the best place
to stay in. This voice, coming in that moment of time, and that crisis
of uncertainty and anxiety for the future, was taken as a direction what
was to be done; so that Lucretius, assuming an attitude of devotion,
gave sentence in concurrence with the gods, as he said, as likewise did
all that followed. Even among the common people it created a wonderful
change of feeling: every one now cheered and encouraged his neighbor,
and set himself to the work, proceeding in it, however, not by any
regular lines or divisions, but every one pitching upon that plot of
ground which came next to hand, or best pleased his fancy; by which
haste and hurry in building they constructed their city in narrow and
ill-designed lanes, and with houses huddled together one upon another;
for it is said that within the compass of the year the whole city was
raised up anew, both in its public walls and private buildings.

And now they had scarcely got a breathing time from their trouble when
a new war came upon them; and the Aequians, and the Tuscans besieged
Sutrium, their confederate city. Camillus, being the third time chosen
dictator, armed not only those under, but also those over, the age
of service; and taking a large circuit around the mountain Maecius,
undiscovered by the enemy, lodged his army on their rear, and then by
many fires gave notice of his arrival. The besieged, encouraged by this,
prepared to sally forth and join battle; but the Latins and Volscians,
fearing this exposure to any enemy on both sides, drew themselves within
their works, and fortified their camp with a strong palisade of trees
on every side, resolving to wait for more supplies from home, and
expecting, also, the assistance of the Tuscans, their confederate.
Camillus, detecting their object, and fearing to be reduced to the same
position to which he had brought them, namely, to be besieged himself,
resolved to lose no time; and finding their rampart was all of timber,
and observing that a strong wind constantly at sun-rising blew off from
the mountains, after having prepared a quantity of combustibles, about
break of day he drew forth his forces, commanding a part with their
missiles to assault the enemy with noise and shouting on the other
quarter, whilst he, with those that were to fling in the fire, went to
that side of the enemy's camp to which the wind usually blew, and there
waited his opportunity. When the skirmish was begun, and the sun risen,
and a strong wind set in from the mountains, he gave the signal of
onset; and, heaping in an immense quantity of fiery matter, filled all
their rampart with it, so that the flame being fed by the close timber
and wooden palisades, went on and spread into all quarters. The Latins,
having nothing ready to keep it off or extinguish it, when the camp was
now almost full of fire, were driven back within a very small compass,
and at last forced by necessity to come into their enemy's hands, who
stood before the works ready armed and prepared to receive them; of
these very few escaped, while those that stayed in the camp were all a
prey to the fire, until the Romans, to gain the pillage, extinguished

These things performed, Camillus, leaving his son Lucius in the camp
to guard the prisoners and secure the booty, passed into the enemy's
country, where, having taken the city of the Aequians and reduced the
Volscians to obedience, he then immediately led his army to Sutrium, not
having heard what had befallen the Sutrians, but making haste to assist
them, as if they were still in danger and besieged by the Tuscans.
They, however, had already surrendered their city to their enemies,
and destitute of all things, with nothing left but their clothes, and
bewailing their misfortune. Camillus himself was struck with compassion,
and perceiving the soldiers weeping, and commiserating their case,
while the Sutrians hung about and clung to them, resolved not to defer
revenge, but that very day to lead his army to Sutrium; conjecturing
that the enemy, having just taken a rich and plentiful city, without
an enemy left within it, nor any from without to be expected, would be
found abandoned to enjoyment, and unguarded. Neither did his opinion
fail him: he not only passed through their country without discovery,
but came up to their very gates and possessed himself of the walls, not
a man being left to guard them, but their whole army scattered about
in the houses, drinking and making merry. Nay, when at last they did
perceive that the enemy had seized the city, they were so overloaded
with meat and wine that few were able so much as to endeavor to
escape, but either waited shamefully for their death within doors,or
surrendered themselves to the conqueror. Thus the city of the Sutrians
was twice taken in one day; and they who were in possession lost it, and
they who had lost regained it, alike by the means of Camillus. For all
which actions he received a triumph which brought him no less honor and
reputation than the two former ones; for those citizens who before most
regarded him with an evil eye, and ascribed his successes to a certain
luck rather than real merit, were compelled by these last acts of his to
allow the whole honor to his great abilities and energy.

Of all he adversaries and enviers of his glory, Marcus Manlius was the
most distinguished, he who first drove back the Gauls when they made
their night attack upon the Capitol, and who for that reason had
been named Capitolinus. This man, affecting the first place in the
commonwealth, and not able by noble ways to outdo Camillus's reputation,
took that ordinary course toward usurpation of absolute power, namely,
to gain the multitude, those of them especially that were in debt;
defending some by pleading their causes against their creditors,
rescuing others by force, and not suffering the law to proceed against
them; insomuch that in a short time he got great numbers of indigent
people about him, whose tumults and uproars in the forum struck terror
into the principal citizens. After that Quintius Capitolinus, who was
made dictator to suppress these disorders, had committed Manlius to
prison, the people immediately changed their apparel, a thing never done
but in great and public calamities, and the senate, fearing some tumult,
ordered him to be released. He, however, when set at liberty, changed not
his course, but was rather the more insolent in his proceedings,filling
the whole city with faction and sedition. They chose, therefore,
Camillus again military tribune; and a day being appointed for Manlius
to answer to his charge, the prospect from the place where his trial was
held proved a great impediment to his accusers; for the very spot where
Manlius by night fought with the Gauls overlooked the forum from the
Capitol, so that, stretching forth his hands that way, and weeping, he
called to their remembrance his past actions, raising compassion in all
that beheld him. Insomuch that the judges were at a loss what to do, and
several times adjourned the trial, unwilling to acquit him of the crime,
which was sufficiently proved, and yet unable to execute the law while
his noble action remained, as it were, before their eyes. Camillus,
considering this, transferred the court outside the gates to the
Peteline Grove, from whence there is no prospect of the Capitol Here
his accuser went on with his charge, and his judges were capable of
remembering the duly resenting his guilty deeds. He was convicted,
carried to the Capitol, and flung headlong from the rock; so that one
and same spot was thus the witness of his greatest glory, and monument
of his most unfortunate end. The Romans, besides, razed his house, and
built there a temple to the goddess they call Moneta, ordaining for
the future that none of the patrician order should ever dwell on the

And now Camillus, being called to his sixth tribuneship, desired to
be excused, as being aged, and perhaps not unfearful of the malice of
fortune, and those reverses which seem to ensue upon great prosperity.
But the most apparent pretence was the weakness of his body, for he
happened at that time to be sick; the people, however, would admit of no
excuses, but, crying that they wanted not his strength for horse or
for foot service, but only his counsel and conduct, constrained him to
undertake the command, and with one of his fellow-tribunes to lead the
army immediately against the enemy. These were the Praenestines and
Volscians, who, with large forces, were laying waste the territory of
the Roman confederates. Having marched out with his army, he sat down
and encamped near the enemy, meaning himself to protract the war, or if
there should come any necessity or occasion of fighting, in the meantime
to regain his strength, but Lucius Furius, his colleague, carried away
with the desire of glory, was not to e held in, but, impatient to
give battle, inflamed the inferior officers of the army with the same
eagerness; so that Camillus, fearing he might seem out of envy to be
wishing to rob the young man of the glory of a noble exploit, consented,
though unwillingly, that he should draw out the forces, whilst himself,
by reason of weakness, stayed behind with a few in the camp. Lucius,
engaging rashly, was discomfited, when Camillus, perceiving the Romans
to give ground and fly, could not contain himself, but, leaping from his
bed, with those he had about him ran to meet them at the gates of the
camp, making his way through the flyers to oppose the pursuers; so that
those who had got within the camp turned back at once and followed him,
and those that came flying from without made head again and gathered
about him, exhorting one another not to forsake their general. Thus the
enemy, for that time, was stopped in his pursuit. The next day Camillus,
drawing out his forces and joining battle with them, overthrew them by
main force, and, following close upon them, entered pell-mell with
them into their camp, and took it, slaying the greatest part of them.
Afterwards, having heard that the city of Satricum was taken by the
Tuscans, and the inhabitants, all Romans, put to the sword, he sent home
to Rome the main body of his forces and heaviest-armed, and, taking
with him the lightest and most vigorous soldiers, set suddenly upon
the Tuscans, who were in the possession of the city, and mastered them,
slaying some and expelling the rest; and so, returning to Rome with
great spoils, gave signal evidence of their superior wisdom, who, not
mistrusting the weakness and age of a commander endowed with courage
and conduct, had rather chosen him who was sickly and desirous to be
excused, than young men who were forward and ambitious to command.

When, therefore, the revolt of the Tusculans was reported, they
gave Camillus the charge of reducing them, choosing one of his five
colleagues to go with him. And when every one was eager for the place,
contrary to the expectation of all, he passed by the rest and chose
Lucius Furius, the very same man who lately, against the judgment of
Camillus, had rashly hazarded and nearly lost a battle; willing, at it
should seem, to dissemble that miscarriage, and free him from the shame
of it. The Tusculans, hearing of Camillus's coming against them, made
a cunning attempt at revoking their act of revolt; their fields, as
in times of highest peace, were full of ploughmen and shepherds; their
gates stood wide open, and their children were being taught in the
schools; of the people, such as were tradesmen, he found in their
workshops, busied about their several employments, and the better sort
of citizens walking in the public places in their ordinary dress; the
magistrates hurried about to provide quarters for the Romans, as if they
stood in fear of no danger and were conscious of no fault. Which arts,
though they could not dispossess Camillus of the conviction he had of
their treason, yet induced some compassion for their repentance; he
commanded them to go to the senate and deprecate their anger, and
joined himself as an intercessor in their behalf, so that their city was
acquitted of all guilt and admitted to Roman citizenship. These were the
most memorable actions of his sixth tribuneship.

After these things, Licinius Stolo raised a great sedition in the city,
and brought the people to dissension with the senate, contending, that
of two consuls one should be chosen out of the commons, and not both out
of the patricians. Tribunes of the people were chosen, but the election
of consuls was interrupted and prevented by the people. And as this
absence of any supreme magistrate was leading to yet further confusion,
Camillus was the fourth time created dictator by the senate, sorely
against the people's will, and not altogether in accordance with his
own; he had little desire for a conflict with men whose past services
entitles them to tell him that he had achieved far greater actions in
war along with them than in politics with the patricians, who, indeed,
had only put him forward now out of envy; that, if successful, he might
crush the people, or, failing, be crushed himself. However, to provide
as good a remedy as he could for the present, knowing the day on which
the tribunes of the people intended to prefer the law, he appointed it
by proclamation for a general muster, and called the people from the
forum into the Campus, threatening to set heavy fines upon such as
should not obey. On the other side, the tribunes of the people met
his threats by solemnly protesting they would fine him fifty thousand
drachmas of silver, if he persisted in obstructing the people from
giving their suffrages for the law. Whether it were, then, that he
feared another banishment or condemnation, which would ill become his
age and past great actions, or found himself unable to stem the current
of the multitude, which ran strong and violent, he betook himself,
for the present, to his house, and afterwards, for some days together,
professing sickness, finally laid down his dictatorship. The senate
created another dictator; who, choosing Stolo, leader of the sedition,
to be his general of horse, suffered that law to be enacted and
ratified, which was most grievous to the patricians, namely that no
person whatsoever should possess above five hundred acres of land. Stolo
was much distinguished by the victory he had gained; but, not long after
was found himself to possess more than he had allowed to others, and
suffered the penalties of his own law.

And now the contention about election of consuls coming on (which was
the main point and original cause of the dissension, and had throughout
furnished most matter of division between the senate and the people),
certain intelligence arrived, that the Gauls again, proceeding from the
Adriatic Sea, were marching in vast number upon Rome. On the very heels
of the report followed manifest acts also of hostility; the country
through which they marched was all wasted, and such as by flight could
not make their escape to Rome were dispersing and scattering among
the mountains. The terror of this war quieted the sedition; nobles and
commons, senate and people together, unanimously chose Camillus
the fifth time dictator; who, though very aged, not wanting much of
fourscore years, yet, considering the danger and necessity of his
country, did not, as before, pretend sickness, or depreciate his own
capacity, but at once undertook the charge, and enrolled soldiers. And,
knowing that the great force of the barbarians lay chiefly in their
swords, with which they laid about them in a rude and inartificial
manner, hacking and hewing the head and shoulders, he caused head-pieces
entire of iron to be made for most of his men, smoothing and polishing
the outside, that the enemy's swords, lighting upon them, might either
slide off or be broken; and fitted also their shields with a little rim
of brass, the wood itself not being sufficient to bear off the blows.
Besides, he taught his soldiers to use their long javelins in close
encounter, and, by bringing them under their enemy's swords, to receive
their strokes upon them.

When the Gauls drew near, about the river Anio, dragging a heavy camp
after them, and loaded with infinite spoil, Camillus drew forth his
forces, and planted himself upon a hill of easy ascent, and which had
many dips in it, with the object that the greatest part of his army
might lie concealed, and those who appeared might be thought to have
betaken themselves, through fear, to those upper grounds. And the
more to increase this opinion in them, he suffered them, without any
disturbance, to spoil and pillage even to his very trenches, keeping
himself quiet within his works, which were well fortified; till, at
last, perceiving that part of the enemy were scattered about the country
foraging, and that those that were in the camp did nothing day and night
but drink and revel, in the night time he drew up his lightest-armed
men, and sent them out before to impede the enemy while forming into
order, and to harass them when they should first issue out of the their
camp; and early in the morning brought down his main body, and set them
in battle array in the lower round, numerous and courageous army, not,
as the barbarians had supposed, an inconsiderable and fearful division.
The first thing that shook the courage of the Gauls was, that their
enemies had, contrary to their expectation, the honor of being
aggressors. In the next place, the light-armed men, falling upon them
before they could get into their usual order or range themselves in
their proper squadrons, so disturbed and pressed upon them, that they
were obliged to fight at random, without any order at all. But at last,
when Camillus brought on his heavy-armed legions, the barbarians, with
their swords drawn, went vigorously to engage them; the Romans, however,
opposing their javelins, and receiving the force of their blows on those
parts of the defences which were well guarded with steel, turned the
edge of their weapons, beingmade of a soft and ill-tempered metal, so
that their swords bent and doubled up in their hands; and their shields
were pierced through and through, and grew heavy with the javelins
that stuck upon them. And thus forced to quit their own weapons, they
endeavored to take advantage of those of their enemies, laid hold of the
javelins with their hands, and tried to pluck them away. But the Romans,
perceiving them now naked and defenceless, betook themselves to their
swords, which they so well used, that in a little time great slaughter
was made in the foremost ranks, while the rest fled over all parts of
the level country; the hills and upper grounds Camillus had secured
beforehand, and their camp they knew it would not be difficult for
the enemy to take, as, through confidence of victory, they had left
it unguarded. This fight, it is stated, was thirteen years after the
sacking of Rome; and from henceforward the Romans took courage, and
surmounted the apprehensions they had hitherto entertained of the
barbarians, whose previous defeat they had attributed rather to
pestilence and a concurrence of mischances than to their own superior
valor. And, indeed, this fear had been formerly so great, that they made
a law, that priests should be excused from service in war, unless in an
invasion from the Gauls.

This was the last military action that Camillus ever performed; for
the voluntary surrender of the city of the Velitrani was but a mere
accessory to it. But the greatest of all civil contests, and the hardest
to be managed, was still to be fought out against the people; who,
returning home full of victory and success, insisted, contrary to
established law, to have one of the consuls chosen out of their own
body. The senate strongly opposed it, and would not suffer Camillus
to lay down his dictatorship, thinking, that, under the shelter of his
great name and authority, they should be better able to contend for
the power of the aristocracy. But when Camillus was sitting upon the
tribunal, dispatching public affairs, an officer, sent by the tribunes
of the people, commanded him to rise and follow him, laying his and upon
him, as ready to seize and carry him away; upon which, such a noise and
tumult as was never heard before, filled the whole forum; some that were
about Camillus thrusting the officer from the bench, and the multitude
below calling out to him to bring Camillus down. Being at a loss what
to do in these difficulties, he yet laid not down his authority, but,
taking the senators along with him, he went to the senate-house;
but before he entered, besought the gods that they would bring these
troubles to a happy conclusion, solemnly vowing, when the tumult was
ended, to build a temple to Concord. A great conflict of opposite
opinions arose in the senate; but, at last, the most moderate and most
acceptable to the people prevailed, and consent was given, that of two
consuls, one should be chosen from the commonalty. When the dictator
proclaimed this determination of the senate to the people, at the moment
pleased and reconciled with the senate, as they could not well otherwise
be, they accompanied Camillus home with all expressions and acclamations
of joy; and the next day, assembling together, they voted a temple of
Concord to be built, according to Camillus's vow, facing the assembly
and the forum; and to the feasts, called the Latin holidays, they added
one day more, making four in all; and ordained that, on the present
occasion the whole people of Rome should sacrifice with garlands on
their heads.

In the election of consuls held by Camillus, Marcus Aemilius was chosen
of the patricians, and Lucius Sextius the first of the commonalty; and
this was the last of all Camillus's actions. In the year following, a
pestilential sickness infected Rome, which, besides an infinite number
of the common people, swept away most of the magistrates, among whom
was Camillus; whose death cannot be called premature, if we consider
his great age, or greater actions, yet was he more lamented than all the
rest put together that then died of that distemper.


We are inspired by acts of virtue with an emulation and eagerness that
may lead on to imitation. In other things there does not immediately
follow upon the admiration and liking of the thing done, any strong
desire of doing the like. Nay, many times, on the very contrary, when
we are pleased with the work, we slight and set little by the workman
or artist himself, as, for instance, in perfumes and purple dyes, we are
taken with the things themselves well enough, but do not think dyers and
perfumers otherwise than low and sordid people. It was not said amiss
by Antisthenes, when people told him that one Ismenias was an excellent
piper, "It may be so, but he is a wretched human being, otherwise he
would not have been an excellent piper." And King Philip, to the same
purpose, told his son Alexander, who once at a merry meeting played a
piece of music charmingly and skillfully, "Are you not ashamed, my son,
to play so well?" For it is enough for a king or prince to find leisure
sometimes to hear others sing, and he does the muses quite honor enough
when he pleases to be but present, while others engage in such exercises
and trials of skill.

He who busies himself in mean occupations produces, in the very pains he
takes about things of little or no use, an evidence against himself of
his negligence and indisposition to what is really good. Nor did any
generous and ingenuous young man, at the sight of the statue of Jupiter
at Pisa, ever desire to be a Phidias, or, on seeing that of Juno at
Argos, long to be a Polycletus, or feel induced by his pleasure in their
poems to wish to be an Anacreon or Pliletas or Archilochus. But virtue,
by the bare statement of its actions, can so affect men's minds as to
create at once both admiration of the things done and desire to imitate
the doers of them. The goods of fortune we would possess and would
enjoy; those of virtue we long to practice and exercise; we are
content to receive the former from others, the latter we wish others to
experience from us.

And so we have thought fit to spend our time and pains in writing of
the lives of famous persons; and have composed this tenth book upon that
subject, containing the life of Pericles, and that of Fabius Maximus,
who carried on the war against Hannibal, men alike, as in their other
virtues and good parts, so especially in their mild and upright temper
and demeanor, and in that capacity to bear the cross-grained humors of
their fellow-citizens and colleagues in office which made them both most
useful and serviceable to the interests of their countries. Whether we
take a right aim at our intended purpose, it is left to the reader to
judge by what he shall find here.

Pericles was of the tribe of Acamantis, and the township Cholargus, of
the noblest birth both on his father's and mother's side. Xanthippus,
his father, who defeated the king of Persia's generals in the battle at
Mycale, took to Wife Agariste, the grandchild of Clisthenes, who drove
out the sons of Pisistratus, and nobly put and end to their tyrannical
usurpation, and moreover made a body of laws, and settled a model of
government admirably tempered and suited for the harmony and safety of
the people.

Pericles in other respects was perfectly formed physically, only his
head was somewhat longish and out of proportion. For which reason almost
all the images and statues that were made of him have the head covered
with a helmet, the workmen not apparently being willing to expose him.
The poets of Athens called him "Schinocephalos," or squill-head, from
"schinos," a squill, or sea-onion.

Pericles was a hearer of Zeno, the Eliatic, who treated of natural
philosophy in the same manner as Parmenides did, but had also perfected
himself in an art of his own for refuting and silencing opponents in
argument; as Timon of Phlius describes it,--

     Also the two-edged tongue of mighty Zeno, who,
     Say what one would, could argue it untrue.

But he saw most of Pericles, and furnished him most especially with a
weight and grandeur of sense, superior to all arts of popularity, and
in general gave him his elevation and sublimity of purpose and of
character, was Anaxagoras of Clazomenae; whom the men of those times
called by the name of Nous, that is mind, or intelligence, whether in
admiration of the great and extraordinary gift he displayed for the
science of nature, or because he was the first of the philosophers who
did not refer the first ordering of the world to fortune or chance, nor
to necessity or compulsion, but to a pure, unadulterated intelligence,
which in all other existing mixed and compound things acts as a
principle of discrimination, and of combination of like with like.

For this man, Pericles entertained an extraordinary esteem and
admiration, and, filling himself with this lofty and, as they call it,
up-in-the-air sort of thought, derived hence not merely, as was natural,
elevation of purpose and dignity of language, raised far above the
base and dishonest buffooneries of mob-eloquence, but, besides this,
a composure of countenance, and a serenity and calmness in all his
movements, which no occurrence whilst he was speaking could disturb,
a sustained and even tone of voice, and various other advantages of a
similar kind, which produced the greatest effect on his hearers. Once,
after being reviled and ill-spoken of all day long in his own hearing by
some abandoned fellow in the open market-place where he was engaged in
the despatch of some urgent affair, he continued his business in perfect
silence, and in the evening returned home composedly, the man still
dogging him at the heels, and pelting him all the way with abuse and
foul language; and stopping into his house, it being by this time dark,
he ordered one of hi servants to take a light and to go along with the
man and see him safe home.

Nor were these the only advantages which Pericles derived from
Anaxagoras's acquaintance; he seems also to have become, by his
instructions, superior to that superstition with which an ignorant
wonder at appearances, for example, in the heavens, possesses the minds
of people unacquainted with their causes, eager for the supernatural,
and excitable through an inexperience which the knowledge of natural
causes removes, replacing wild and timid superstition by the good hope
and assurance of an intelligent piety.

There is a story that once Pericles had brought to him from a country
farm of his, a ram's head with one horn, and that Lampon, the diviner,
upon seeing the horn grow strong and solid out of the midst of the
forehead, gave it as his judgement that, there being at that time
two potent factions, parties, or interests in the city, the one of
Thucydides and the other of Pericles, the government would come about to
that one of them in whose ground or estate this token or indication
of fate had shown itself. But that Anaxagoras, cleaving the skull in
sunder, showed to the bystanders that the brain had not filled up its
natural place, but being oblong, like an egg, had collected from all
parts of the vessel which contained it, in a point to that place from
whence the root of the horn took its rise. And that, for the time,
Anaxagoras was much admired for his explanation by those that were
present; and Lampon no less a little while after, when Thucydides was
overpowered, and the whole affairs of the state and government came into
the hands of Pericles.

Pericles, while yet but a young man, stood in considerable apprehension
of the people, as he was thought in face and figure to be very like the
tyrant Pisitratus, and those of great age remarked upon the sweetness of
his voice, and his volubility and rapidity in speaking, and were struck
with amazement at the resemblance. But when Aristides was now dead, and
Themosticles driven out, and Cimon was for the most part kept abroad by
the expeditions he made in parts out of Greece, Pericles, seeing things
in this posture, now advanced and took his side, not with the rich and
few, but with the many and poor, contrary to his natural bent, which
was far from democratical; but, most likely, fearing he might fall under
suspicion of aiming at arbitrary power, and seeing Cimon on the side of
the aristocracy, and much beloved by the better and more distinguished
people, he joined the party of the people, with a view at once both to
secure himself and procure means against Cimon.

He immediately entered, also, on quite a new course of life and
management of his time. For he was never seen to walk in any street but
that which led to the market-place and the council-hall, and he
avoided invitations of friends to supper, and all friendly visits and
intercourse whatever; in all the time he had to do with the public,
which was not a little, he was never known to have gone to any of his
friends to a supper, except that once when his near kinsman Euryptolemus
married, he remained present till the ceremony of the drink-offering,
and then immediately rose from the table and went his way. For these
friendly meetings are very quick to defeat any assumed superiority, and
in intimate familiarity an exterior of gravity is hard to maintain. Real
excellence, indeed, is best recognized when most openly looked into; and
in really good men, nothing which meets the eyes of external observers
so truly deserves their admiration, as their daily common life does
that of their nearer friends. Pericles, however, to avoid any feeling of
commonness, or any satiety on the part of the people, presented himself
at intervals only, not speaking on every business, nor at all times
coming into the assembly, but, as Critoaus says, reserving himself,
like the Salaminian galley, for great occasions, while matters of
lesser importance were despatched by friends or other speakers under his
direction. And of this number we are told Ephialtes made one, who broke
the power of the council of Areopagus, giving the people, according to
Plato's expression, so copious and so strong a draught of liberty, that,
growing wild and unruly, like an unmanageable horse, it, as the comic
poets say,--

     "--got beyond all keeping in,
     Champing at Euboea, and among the islands leaping in."

The style of speaking most consonant to his form of life and the dignity
of his views he found, so to say, in the tones of that instrument with
which Anaxagoras had furnished him; of his teaching he continually
availed himself, and deepened the colors of rhetoric with the dye of
natural science.

A saying of Thucydides, the son of Melesias, stands on record, spoken by
him by way of pleasantry upon Pericles's dexterity. Thucydides was
one of the noble and distinguished citizens, and had been his greatest
opponent; and, when Archidamus, the king of the Lacedaemonians, asked
him whether he or Pericles were the better wrestler, he made this
answer: "When I," said he, "have thrown him and given him a fair fall,
he by persisting that he had no fall, gets the better of me, and makes
the bystanders, in spite of their own eyes, believe him."

The rule of Pericles has been described as an aristocratical government,
that went by the name of a democracy, but was, indeed, the supremacy of
a single great man; while many say, that by him the common people were
first encouraged and led on to such evils as appropriations of subject
territory, allowances for attending theatres, payments for performing
public duties, and by these bad habits were, under the influence of his
public measures, changed from a sober, thrifty people, that maintained
themselves by their own labors, to lovers of expense, intemperance, and

At the first, as has been said, when he set himself against Cimon's
great authority, he did caress the people. Finding himself come short
of his competitor in wealth and money, by which advantages the other was
enabled to take care of the poor, inviting every day some one or other
of the citizens that was in want to supper, and bestowing clothes on the
aged people, and breaking down the hedges and enclosures of his grounds,
that all that would might freely gather what fruit they pleased.
Pericles, thus outdone in popular arts, turned to the distribution of
the public moneys; and in a short time having bought the people over,
what with moneys allowed for shows and for service on juries, and what
with the other forms of pay and largess, he made use of them against the
council of Areopagus, and directed the exertions of his party against
this council with such success, that most of those causes and matters
which had been formerly tried there, were removed from its
cognizance; Cimon, also, was banished by ostracism as a favorer of the
Lacedaemonians and a hater of the people, though in wealth and noble
birth he was among the first, and had won several most glorious
victories over the barbarians, and had filled the city with money and
spoils of war. So vast an authority had Pericles obtained among the

The ostracism was limited by law to ten years; but the Lacedaemonians,
in the meantime, entering with a great army into the territory of
Tanagra, and the Athenians going out against the Cimon, coming from his
banishment before his time was out, put himself in arms and array with
those of his fellow-citizens that were of his own tribe, and desired by
his deeds to wipe off the suspicion of his favoring the Lacedaemonians,
by venturing his own person along with his countrymen. But Pericles's
friends, gathering in a body, forced him to retire as a banished man.
For which cause also Pericles seems to have exerted himself more than
in any other battle, and to have been conspicuous above all for his
exposure of himself to danger. All Cimon's friends, also, to a man, fell
together side by side, whom Pericles had accused with him of taking part
with the Lacedaemonians. Defeated in this battle on their own frontiers,
and expecting a new and perilous attack with return of spring, the
Athenians now felt regret and sorrow for the loss of Cimon, and
repentance for their expulsion of him. Pericles, being sensible of their
feelings, did not hesitate or delay to gratify it, and himself made the
motion for recalling him home. He, upon his return, concluded a peace
betwixt the two cities; for the Lacedaemonians entertained as kindly
feelings towards him as they did the reverse towards Pericles and the
other popular leaders.

Cimon, while he was admiral, ended his days in the Isle of Cyprus. And
the aristocratical party, seeing that Pericles was already before
this grown to be the greatest and foremost man of all the city, but
nevertheless wishing there should be somebody set up against him, to
blunt and turn the edge of his power, that it might not altogether prove
a monarchy, put forward Thucydides of Alopece, a discreet person, and a
near kinsman of Cimon's, to conduct the opposition against him. And so
Pericles, at that time more than at any other, let loose the reins
to the people, and made his policy subservient to their pleasure,
contriving continually to have some great public show or solemnity, some
banquet, or some procession or other in the town to please them, coaxing
his countrymen like children, with such delights and pleasures as
were not, however, unedifying. Besides that, every year he sent
out threescore galleys, on board of which there went numbers of the
citizens, who were in pay eight months, at the same time learning and
practicing the art of seamanship.

He sent, moreover, a thousand of them into the Chersonese as planters,
to share the land among them by lot, and five hundred more into the
isle of Naxos, and half that number to Andros, a thousand into Thrace to
dwell among the Bisaltae, and others into Italy, when the city Sybaris,
which now was called Thurii, was to be repeopled. And this he did
to ease and discharge the city of an idle, and, by reason of their
idleness, a busy, meddling crowd of people; and at the same time to meet
the necessities and restore the fortunes of the poor townsmen, and to
intimidate, also, and check their allies from attempting any change, by
posting such garrisons, as it were, in the midst of them.

That which gave most pleasure and ornament to the city of Athens, and
the greatest admiration and even astonishment to all strangers, and that
which now is Greece's only evidence that the power she boasts of and her
ancient wealth are no romance or idle story, was his construction of the
public and sacred buildings.

The materials were stone, brass, ivory, gold, ebony, and cypress-wood;
the artisans that wrought and fashioned them were smiths and carpenters,
moulders, founders and braziers, stone-cutters, dyers, goldsmiths,
ivory-workers, painters, embroiderers, turners; those again that
conveyed them to the town for use, merchants and mariners and
ship-masters by sea; and by land, cartwrights, cattle-breeders,
wagoners, rope-makers, flax-workers, shoe-makers and leather-dressers,
road-makers, miners. And every trade in the same nature, as a captain
in an army has his particular company of soldiers under him, had its own
hired company of journeymen and laborers belonging to it banded
together as in array, to be as it were the instrument and body for the
performance of the service of these public works distributed plenty
through every age and condition.

As then grew the works up, no less stately in size than exquisite in
form, the workmen striving to outvie the material and the design with
the beauty of their workmanship, yet the most wonderful thing of all was
the rapidity of their execution. Undertakings, any one of which singly
might have required, they thought, for their completion, several
successions and ages of men, were every one of them accomplished in the
height and prime of one man's political service. Although they say,
too, that Zeuxis once, having heard Agatharchus, the painter, boast of
despatching his work with speed and ease, replied, "I take a long
time." For ease and speed in doing a thing do not give the work lasting
solidity or exactness of beauty; the expenditure of time allowed to a
man's pains beforehand for the production of a thing is repaid by way of
interest with a vital force for its preservation when once produced.
For which reason Pericles's works are especially admired, as having been
made quickly, to last long. For every particular piece of his work was
immediately, even at that time, for its beauty and elegance, antique;
and yet in its vigor and freshness looks to this day as if it were just
executed. There is a sort of bloom of newness upon those works of his,
preserving them from the touch of time, as if they had some perennial
spirit and undying vitality mingled in the composition of them.

Phidias had the oversight of all the works, and was surveyor-general,
though upon the various portions other great masters and workmen were
employed. For Callicrates and Ictinus built the Parthenon; the chapel at
Eleusis, where the mysteries were celebrated, was begun by Coroebus, who
erected the pillars that stand upon the floor or pavement, and joined
them to the architraves; and after his death Metagenes of Xypete added
the frieze and the upper line of columns; Xenocles of Cholargus roofed
or arched the lantern on the top of the temple of Castor and Pollux; and
the long wall, which Socrates says he himself heard Pericles propose to
the people, was undertaken by Callicrates.

The Odeum, or music-room, which in its interior was full of seats and
ranges of pillars, and outside had its roof made to slope and descend
from one single point at the top, was constructed, we are told, in
imitation of the king of Persia's Pavilion; this likewise by Pericles's
order; which Cratinus again, in his comedy called The Thracian Women,
made an occasion of raillery,--

     So, we see here,
     Jupiter Long-pate Pericles appear,
     Since ostracism time he's laid aside his head,
     And wears the new Odeum in its stead.

Perils, also eager for distinction, then first obtained the decree for
a contest in musical skill to be held yearly at the Panathenaea, and he
himself, being chosen judge, arranged the order and method in which the
competitors should sing and play on the flute and the harp. And both at
that time, and at other times also, they sat in this music-room to see
and hear all such trials of skill.

The propylaea, or entrances to the Acropolis, were finished in five
years' time, Mnesicles being the principal architect. A strange accident
happened in the course of building, which showed that the goddess was
not averse to the work, but was aiding and co-operating to bring it to
perfection. One of the artificers, the quickest and the handiest workmen
among them all, with a slip of his foot, fell down from a great height,
and lay in a miserable condition, the physician having no hopes of his
recovery. When Pericles was in distress about this, Athenia appeared
to him at night in a dream, and ordered a course of treatment which he
applied, and in a short time, and with great ease, cured the man. And
upon this occasion it was that he set up a brass statue of Athena,
surnamed Health, in the citadel near the altar, which they say was there
before. But it was Phidias who wrought the goddess's image in gold,
and he has his name inscribed on the pedestal as the workman of it; and
indeed the whole work in a manner was under his charge, and he had, as
we have said already, the oversight over all the artists and workmen,
through Pericles's friendship for him.

When the orators, who sided with Thucydides and his party, were at
one time crying out, as their custom was, against Pericles, as one who
squandered away public money and made havoc of the state revenues, he
rose in the open assembly and put the question to the people, whether
they thought that he had laid out much; and saying, "Too much, a great
deal," "Then," said he, "since it is so, let the cost not go to your
account, but to mine; and let the inscription upon the buildings stand
in my name." When they heard him say thus, whether it were out of a
surprise to see the greatness of his spirit, or out of emulation of the
glory of the works, they cried aloud, bidding him to spend on, and lay
out what he thought fit from the public purse, and to spare no cost,
till all were finished.

At length, coming to a final contest with Thucydides, which of the two
should ostracize the other out of the country, and, having gone through
this peril, he threw his antagonist out, and broke up the confederacy
that had been organized against him. So that now all schism and division
being at an end, and the city brought to evenness and unity, he got
all Athens and all affairs that pertained to the Athenians into his own
hands, their tributes, their armies and their galleys, the islands, the
sea, and their wide-extended power, partly over other Greeks and partly
over barbarians, and all that empire which they possessed, founded and
fortified upon subject nations and royal friendships and alliances.

After this he was no longer the same man he had been before, nor as tame
and gentle and familiar as formerly with the populace, so as readily
to yield to their pleasures and to comply with the desires of the
multitude, as a steersman shifts with the winds. Quitting that loose,
remiss, and, in some cases, licentious court of the popular will,
he turned those soft and flowery modulations to the austerity of
aristocratical and regal rule; but, employing this uprightly and
undeviatingly for the country's best interests, he was able generally
to lead the people along, with their own will and consent, by persuading
and showing them what was to be done.

The source of this predominance was not barely his power of language,
but, as Thucydides the historian assures us, the reputation of his life,
and the confidence felt in his character; his manifest freedom from
every kind of corruption, and superiority to all considerations of
money. Notwithstanding he had made the city of Athens, which was great
of itself, as great and rich as can be imagined, and though he were
himself in power and interest more than equal to many kings and absolute
rulers, who some of them also bequeathed by will their power to their
children, he for his part, did not make the patrimony his father left
him greater than it was by one drachma.

Teleclides says the Athenians had surrendered to him--

  The tributes of the cities, and, with them, the cities, too, to do
       with them as he pleases, and undo;
  To build up, if he likes, stone walls around a town; and again, if
       so he likes, to pull them down;
  Their treaties and alliances, power, empire, peace, and war, their
       wealth and their success forevermore.

Nor was all this the luck of some happy occasion; nor was it the mere
bloom and grace of a policy that flourished for a season; but having for
fifty-five years together maintained the first place among statesmen, in
the exercise of one continuous unintermitted command in the office, to
which he was annually reelected, of General, he preserved his integrity
unspotted; though otherwise he was not altogether idle or careless in
looking after his pecuniary advantage; his paternal estate, which of
right belonged to him, he so ordered that it might neither through
negligence be wasted or lessened, nor yet, being so full of business as
he was, cost him any great trouble or time with taking care of it; and
put it into such a way of management as he thought to be most easy for
himself, and the most exact. All his yearly products and profits he sold
together in a lump, and supplied his household needs afterward by buying
everything that he or his family wanted out of the market. Upon which
account, his children, when they grew to age, were not well pleased with
his management; since there was not there, as is usual in a great family
and a plentiful estate, anything to spare, or over and above; but all
that went out or came in, all disbursements and all receipts, proceeded
as it were by number and measure. His manager in all this was a single
servant, Evangelus by name, a man either naturally gifted or instructed
by Pericles so as to excel every one in this art of domestic economy.

The Lacedaemonians beginning to show themselves troubled at the growth
of the Athenian power, Pericles, on the other hand, to elevate the
people's spirit yet more, and to raise them to the thought of great
actions, proposed a decree to summon all the Greeks in what part soever,
whether of Europe or Asia, every city, little as well as great, to send
their deputies to Athens to a general assembly or convention, there to
consult and advise concerning the Greek temples which the barbarians
had burnt down; and also concerning the navigation of the sea, that they
might henceforward all of them pass to and fro and trade securely, and
be at peace among themselves.

Nothing was effected, nor did the cities meet by their deputies, as
was desired; the Lacedaemonians, as it is said, crossing the design
underhand, and the attempt being disappointed and baffled first in
Peloponnesus. I thought fit, however, to introduce the mention of it, to
show the spirit of the man and the greatness of his thoughts.

In his military conduct he gained a great reputation for wariness;
he would not by his good-will engage in any fight which had much
uncertainty or hazard; he did not envy the glory of generals whose rash
adventures fortune favored with brilliant success, however they were
admired by others; nor did he think them worthy his imitation, but
always used to say to his citizens that, so far as lay in his power,
they should continue immortal, and live forever. Seeing Tolmides,
the son of Tolmaeus, upon the confidence of his former successes, and
flushed with the honor his military actions had procured him, making
preparation to attack the Boeotians in their own country, when there was
no likely opportunity, and that he had prevailed with the bravest and
most enterprising of the youth to enlist themselves as volunteers in the
service, who besides his other force made up a thousand, he endeavored
to withhold him, and advised him against it in the public assembly,
telling him in a memorable saying of which still goes about, that, if he
would not take Pericles's advice, yet he would not do amiss to wait
and be ruled by time, the wisest counselor of all. This saying, at that
time, was but slightly commended; but, within a few days after, when
news was brought that Tolmides himself had been defeated and slain in
battle near Coronea, and that many brave citizens had fallen with him,
it gained him great repute as well as good-will among the people, for
wisdom and for love of his countrymen.

But of all his expeditions, that to the Chersonese gave most
satisfaction and pleasure, having proved the safety of the Greeks who
inhabited there. For not only by carrying along with him a thousand
fresh citizens of Athens he gave new strength and vigor to the cities,
but also by belting the neck of land, which joins the peninsula to the
continent, with bulwarks and forts from sea to sea, he put a stop to the
inroads of the Thracians, who lay all about the Chersonese, and closed
the door against a continual and grievous war, with which that country
had been long harassed, lying exposed to the encroachments and influx
of barbarous neighbors, and groaning under the evils of a predatory
population both upon and within its borders.

Entering also the Euxine Sea with a large and finely equipped fleet,
he obtained for the Greek cities any new arrangements they wanted, and
entered into friendly relations with them; and to the barbarous nations,
and kings and chiefs round about them, displayed the greatness of the
power of the Athenians, their perfect ability and confidence to sail
wherever they had a mind, and to bring the whole sea under his control.
He left the Sinopians thirteen ships of war, with soldiers under the
command of Lamachus, to assist them against Timesileus the tyrant; and,
when he and his accomplices had been thrown out, obtained a decree that
six hundred of the Athenians that were willing should sail to Sinope and
plant themselves there with the Sinopians, sharing among them the houses
and land which the tyrant and his party had previously held.

But in other things he did not comply with the giddy impulses of the
citizens, nor quit his own resolutions to follow their fancies, when,
carried away with the thought of their strength and great success,
they were eager to interfere again in Egypt, and to disturb the king of
Persia's maritime dominions. Nay, there were a good many who were, even
then, possessed with that unblest and unauspicious passion for Sicily,
which afterward the orators of Alciabes's party blew up into a flame.
There were some also who dreamt of Tuscany and of Carthage, and not
without plausible reason in their present large dominion and the
prosperous course of their affairs.

But Pericles curbed this passion for foreign conquest, and unsparingly
pruned and cut down their ever-busy fancies for a multitude of
undertakings, and directed their power for the most part to securing
and consolidating what they had already got, supposing it would be quite
enough for them to do, if they could keep the Lacedaemonians in check;
to whom he entertained all along a sense of opposition; which, as upon
many other occasions, he particularly showed by what he did in the time
of the holy war. The Lacedaemonians, having gone with an army to
Delphi, restored Apollo's temple, which the Phocians had got into
their possession, to the Delphians; immediately after their departure,
Pericles, with another army, came and restored it to the Phocians. And
the Lacedaemonians having engraven the record of their privilege of
consulting the oracle before others, which the Delphians gave them, upon
the forehead of the brazen wolf which stands there, he, also, having
received from the Phocians the like privilege for the Athenians, had it
cut upon the same wolf of brass, on his right side.

When Pericles, in giving up his accounts, stated a disbursement of
ten talents, as laid out upon fit occasion, the people, without any
question, nor troubling themselves to investigate the mystery, freely
allowed it. And some historians, in which number is Theophtastus the
philosopher, have given it as a truth that Pericles every year used
to send privately the sum of ten talents to Sparta, with which he
complimented those in office, to keep off the war; not to purchase peace
either, but time, that he might prepare at leisure, and be the better
able to carry on war hereafter.

After this, having made a truce between the Athenians and Lacedaemonians
for thirty years, he ordered, by public decree, the expedition against
the Isle of Samos, on the ground, that, when they were bid to leave off
their war with the Milesians, they had not complied. For the two states
were at war for the possession of Priene; and the Samians, getting
the better, refused to lay down their arms and to have the controversy
betwixt them decided by arbitration before the Athenians. Pericles,
therefore, fitting out a fleet, went and broke up the oligarchal
government at Samos, and, taking fifty of the principal men of the town
as hostages, and as many of their children, sent them to the Isle of
Lemnos, there to be kept, though he had offers, as some relate, of a
talent apiece for himself from each one of the hostages, and of many
other presents from those who were anxious not to have a democracy.
Moreover, Pissuthnes the Persian, one of the king's lieutenants, bearing
some good-will to the Samians, sent him ten thousand pieces of gold to
excuse the city. Pericles, however, would receive none of all this; but
after he had taken that course with the Samians which he thought fit,
and set up a democracy among them, sailed back to Athens.

But they, however, immediately revolted, Pissuthnes having privily got
away their hostages for them, and provided them with means for war.
Whereupon Pericles came out with a fleet a second time against them, and
found them not idle nor slinking away, but manfully resolved to try for
the dominion of the sea. The issue was, that, after a sharp sea-fight
about the island called Tragia, Pericles obtained a decisive victory,
having with forty-four ships routed seventy of the enemy's, twenty of
which were carrying soldiers.

Together with his victory and pursuit, having made himself master of the
port, he laid siege to the Samians, and blocked them up, who yet, one
way or other, still ventured to make sallies, and fight under the city
walls. But after another greater fleet from Athens had arrived, and the
Samians were now shut up with a close leaguer on every side, Pericles,
taking with him sixty galleys, sailed out into the main sea, with the
intention, as most authors give the account, to meet a squadron of
Phoenician ships that were coming for the Samians' relief, and to
fight them at as great a distance as could be from the island; but, as
Stesimbrotus says, with a design of putting over to Cyprus; which does
not seem to be probable. But whichever of the two was his intent, it
seems to have been a miscalculation. For on his departure, Melissus, the
son of Ithagenes, a philosopher, being at that time general in Samos,
despising either the small number of ships that were left or the
inexperience of the commanders, prevailed with the citizens to attack
the Athenians. And the Samians having won the battle and taken several
of the men prisoners, and disabled several of the ships, were masters of
the sea, and brought into port all necessities they wanted for the war,
which they had not before. Aristotle says, too, that Pericles himself
had been once before this worsted by the Milissus in a sea-fight.

The Samians, that they might requite an affront which had before been
put upon them, branded the Athenians whom they took prisoners, in their
foreheads, with the figure of an owl. For so the Athenians had marked
them before with a Samaena, which is a sort of ship, low and flat in the
prow, so as to look snub-nosed, but wide and large and well-spread in
the hold, by which it both carries a large cargo and sails well. And so
it was called, because the first of that kind was seen at Samos, having
been built by order of Polycrates the tyrant. These brands upon the
Samians' foreheads, they say, are the allusion in the passage of
Aristophanes, where he says,--

     For, oh, the Samians are a lettered people.

Pericles, as soon as news was brought to him of the disaster that had
befallen his army, made all the haste he could to come in to their
relief, and having defeated Melissus, who bore up against him, and put
the enemy to flight, he immediately proceeded to hem them in with a
wall, resolving to master them and take the town, rather with some cost
and time than with the wounds and hazards of his citizens. But as it was
a hard matter to keep back the Athenians, who were vexed at the delay,
and were eagerly bent to fight, he divided the whole multitude into
eight parts, and arranged by lot that that part which had the white bean
should have leave to feast and take their ease, while the other seven
were fighting. And this is the reason, they say, that people, when at
any time they have been merry, and enjoyed themselves, call it white
day, in allusion to this white bean.

Ephorus, the historian, tells us besides, that Pericles made use of
engines of battery in this siege, being much taken with the curiousness
of the invention, with the aid and presence of Artemon himself, the
engineer, who, being lame, used to be carried about in a litter, where
the works required his attendance, and for that reason was called
Periphoretus. But Heraclides Ponticus disproves this out of Anacreon's
poems, where mention is made of this Artemon Periphoretus several ages
before the Samian war, or any of these occurrences. And he says that
Artemon, being a man who loved his ease, and had a great apprehension
of danger, for the most part kept close within doors, having two of his
servants to hold a brazen shield over his head, that nothing might fall
upon him from above; and if he were at any time forced upon necessity to
go abroad, that he was carried about in a little hanging-bed, close to
the very ground, and that for this reason he was called Periphoretus.

In the ninth month, the Samians surrendering themselves and delivering
up the town, Pericles pulled down their walls, and seized their
shipping, and set a fine of a large sum upon them, part of which they
paid down at once, and they agreed to bring in the rest by a certain
time, and gave hostages for security. Pericles, however, after the
reduction of Samos, returning back to Athens, took care that those who
died in the war should be honorably buried, and made a funeral harangue,
as the custom is, in their commendation at their graves, for which he
gained great admiration. As he came down from the stage on which he
spoke, all the women except Elpinice, the aged sister of Cimon, came
out and complimented him, taking him by the hand, and crowning him with
garlands and ribbons, like a victorious athlete in the games.

After this was over, the Peloponnesian war beginning to break out in
full tide, he advised the people to send help to the Corcyraeans, who
were attacked by the Corinthians, and to secure to themselves an island
possessed of great naval resources, since the Peloponnesians were
already all but in actual hostilities against them. Archidamus, the
king of the Lacedaemonians, endeavoring to bring the greater part of the
complaints and matters in dispute to a fair determination, and to pacify
and allay the heats of the allies, it is very likely that the war would
not upon any other grounds of quarrel have fallen upon the Athenians,
could they have been prevailed upon to be reconciled with the
inhabitants of Megara.

The true occasion of the quarrel is not easy to find out. The worst
motive of all, which is confirmed by most witnesses, is to the following
effect. Phidias the Moulder had, as has before been said, undertaken
to make the statue of Athena. Now he, being admitted to friendship
with Pericles, and a great favorite of his, had many enemies upon this
account, who envied and maligned him; and they, to make trial in a case
of his what kind of judges the commons would prove, should there be
occasion to bring Pericles himself before them, having tampered with
Menon, one who had been a workman with Phidias, stationed him in the
marketplace, with a petition desiring public security upon his discovery
and impeachment of Phidias. The people admitting the man to tell his
story, and, the prosecution proceeding in the assembly, there was
nothing of theft or cheat proved against him; for Phidias, from the very
first beginning, by the advice of Pericles, had so wrought and wrapt the
gold that was used in the work about the statue, that they might take it
all off and make out the just weight of it, which Pericles at that time
bade the accusers do. But the repudiation of his works was what brought
envy upon Phidias, especially that where he represents the fight of
the Amazons upon the goddesses' shield, he had introduced a likeness of
himself as a bald old man holding up a great stone with both hands,
and had put in a very fine representation of Pericles fighting with an
Amazon. And the position of the hand, which holds out the spear in front
of the face, was ingeniously contrived to conceal in some degree the
likeness, which, meantime, showed itself on either side.

Phidias then was carried away to Prison, and there died of a disease;
but, as some say, of poison administered by the enemies of Pericles, to
raise a slander, or a suspicion at least, as though he had procured it.
The informer Menon, upon Glycon's proposal, the people made free from
payment of taxes and customs, and ordered the generals to take care that
nobody should do him any hurt. And Pericles, finding that in Phidias's
case he had miscarried with the people, being afraid of impeachment,
kindled the war, which hitherto had lingered and smothered, and blew it
up into a flame; hoping, by that means, to disperse and scatter these
complaints and charges, and to allay their jealousy; the city usually
throwing herself upon him alone, and trusting to his sole conduct,
upon the urgency of great affairs and public dangers, by reason of his
authority and the sway he bore.

These are given out to have been the reasons which induced Pericles
not to suffer the people of Athens to yield to the proposals of the
Lacedaemonians; but their truth is uncertain.

The Lacedaemonians, therefore, and their allies, with a great army,
invaded the Athenian territories, under the conduct of king Archidamus,
and laying waste the country, marched on as far as Acharnae, and there
pitched their camp, presuming that the Athenians would never endure
that, but would come out and fight them for their country's and their
honor's sake. But Pericles looked upon it as dangerous to engage
in battle, to the risk of the city itself, against sixty thousand
men-at-arms of Peloponnesians and Boeotians; for so many they were in
number that made the inroad at first; and he endeavored to appease those
who were desirous to fight, and were grieved and discontented to see how
things went, and gave them good words, saying, that "trees, when they
are lopped and cut, grow up again in a short time, but men, being once
lost, cannot easily be recovered." He did not convene the people into
an assembly, for fear lest they should force him to act against his
judgement; and many of his enemies threatened and accursed him for doing
as he did, and many made songs and lampoons upon him, which were sung
about the town to his disgrace, reproaching him with the cowardly
exercise of his office of general, and the tame abandonment of
everything to the enemy's hands.

Cleon, also, already was among his assailants, making use of the feeling
against him as a step to the leadership of the people, as appears in the
anapaestic verses of Hermippus.

     Satyr-king, instead of swords,
     Will you always handle words?
     Very brave indeed we find them,
     But a Teles lurks behind them.

(Teles was apparently some notorious coward.)

     Yet to gnash your teeth you're seen,
     When the little dagger keen,
     Whetted every day anew,
     Of sharp Cleon touches you.

Pericles, however, was not at all moved by any attacks, but took all
patiently, and submitted in silence to the disgrace they threw upon him
and the ill-will they bore him; and, sending out a fleet of a hundred
galleys to Peloponnesus, he did not go along with it in person, but
stayed behind, that he might watch at home and keep the city under his
own control, till the Peloponnesians broke up their camp and were gone.
Yet to soothe the common people, jaded and distressed with the war,
he relieved them with distributions of public moneys, and ordained
new divisions of subject land. For having turned out all the people of
Aegina, he parted the island among the Athenians, according to lot. Some
comfort, also, and ease in their miseries, they might receive from what
their enemies endured. For the fleet, sailing round the Peloponnesus,
ravaged a great deal of the country, and pillaged and plundered the
towns and smaller cities; and by land he himself entered with an army
the Megarian country, and made havoc of it all. Whence it is clear that
the Peloponnesians, though they did the Athenians much mischief by
land, yet suffering as much themselves from them by sea, would not have
protracted the war to such a length, but would quickly have given it
over, as Pericles at first foretold they would, had not some divine
power crossed human purposes.

In the first place, the pestilential disease, or plague, seized upon the
city, and ate up all the flour and prime of their youth and strength.
Upon occasion of which the people, distempered and afflicted in their
souls, as well as in their bodies, were utterly enraged like madmen
against Pericles, and, like patients grown delirious, sought to lay
violent hands on their physician, or, as it were, their father.

Finding the Athenians ill affected and highly displeased with him, he
tried and endeavored what he could to appease and re-encourage them. But
he could not pacify or allay their anger nor persuade or prevail with
them anyway, til they freely passed their votes upon him, resumed their
power, took away his command from him, and fined him in a sum of money.

After this, public troubles were soon to leave him unmolested; the
people, so to say, discharged their passion in their stroke, and lost
their stings in the wound. But his domestic concerns were in an unhappy
condition, many of his friends and acquaintance having died in the
plague time, and those of his family having long since been in disorder
and in a kind of mutiny against him. For the eldest of his sons,
Xanthippus by name, being naturally prodigal, and marrying a young and
expensive wife, was highly offended at his father's economy in making
him but a scanty allowance, by little and little at a time. He sent
therefore, to a friend one day, and borrowed some money of him in his
father Pericles's name, pretending it was by his order. The man coming
afterward to demand the debt, Pericles was so far from yielding to pay
it, that he entered an action against him. Upon which the young man,
Xanthippus, thought himself so ill used and disobliged, that he openly
reviled his father; telling first, by way of ridicule, stories about his
conversations at home, and the discourses he had with the sophists and
scholars that came to his house. As for instance, how one who was a
practicer of the five games of skill, * having with a dart or javelin
unawares against his will struck and killed Epitimus the Pharsalian, his
father spent a whole day with Protagoras in a serious dispute, whether
the javelin, or the man that threw it, or the masters of the games
who appointed these sports, were, according to the strictest and best
reason, to be accounted the cause of this mischance. And in general,
this difference of the young man's with his father, in the breach
betwixt them, continued never to be healed or made up til his death.
For Xanthippus died in the plague time of the sickness. At which time
Pericles also lost his sister, and the greatest part of his relations
and friends, and those who had been most useful and serviceable to him
in managing the affairs of state. However, he did not shrink or give
in on these occasions, nor betray or lower his high spirit and even the
greatness of his mind under all his misfortunes; he was not even so much
as seen to weep or to mourn, or even attend the burial of his friends or
relations, till at last he lost his only remaining son. Subdued by this
blow, yet striving still, as far as he could, to maintain his principle,
and yet to preserve and keep up the greatness of his soul, when he came,
however, to perform the ceremony of putting a garland of flowers on the
head of the corpse, he was vanquished by his passion at the sight, so
that he burst into exclamations, and shed copious tears, having never
done any such thing in all his life before.

The city having made trial of other generals for the conduct of war, and
orators for business of state, when they found there was no one who was
of weight enough for such a charge, or of authority sufficient to be
trusted with so great a command, regretted the loss of him, and invited
him again to address and advise them, and to resume the office of
general. He, however, lay at home in dejection and mourning; but was
persuaded by Alcibiades and others of his friends to come abroad and
show himself to the people; who having, upon his appearance, made their
acknowledgements, and apologized for their untowardly treatment of him,
he undertook the public affairs once more.

About this time, it seems, the plague seized Pericles, not with sharp
and violent fits, as it did others that had it, but with a dull and
lingering distemper, attended with various changes and alterations,
leisurely, by little and little, wasting the strength of his body, and
undermining the noble faculties of his soul.

When he was now near his end, the best of citizens and those of his
friends who were left alive, sitting about him, were speaking of the
greatness of his merit, and his power, and reckoning up his famous
actions and the number of his victories; there were no less than nine
trophies which, as their chief commander and conqueror of their enemies,
he had set up, for the honor of the city. They talked thus among
themselves, as though he were unable to understand or mind what they
said, but had now lost his consciousness. He had listened, however, all
the while, and attended to all, and speaking out among them, said, that
he wondered they should commend and take notice of things which were
as much owing to fortune as to anything else, and had happened to
many other commanders, and, at the same time, should not speak or make
mention of that which was the most excellent and greatest thing of all.
"For," said he, "no Athenian through my means, ever wore mourning."

He was indeed a character deserving our high admiration, not only for
his equable and mild temper, which all along, in the many affairs of
his life, and the great animosities which he incurred, he constantly
maintained; but also for the high spirit and feeling which made him
regarded the noblest of all his honors, that, in the exercise of such
immense power, he never had gratified his envy or his passion, nor ever
had treated any enemy as irreconcilably opposed to him. And to me it
appears that this one thing gives an otherwise childish and arrogant
title a fitting and becoming significance; so dispassionate a temper,
a life so pure and unblemished, in the height of power and place, might
well be called "Olympian," in accordance with our conceptions of divine
beings, to whom, as the natural of all good and of nothing evil, we
ascribe the rule and government of the world.

The course of public affairs after his death produced a quick and speedy
sense of the loss of Pericles. Those who, while they live, resented
his great authority, as that which eclipsed themselves, presently
after quitting the stage, making trial of other orators and demagogues,
readily acknowledged that there never had been in nature such a
disposition as his was, more moderate and reasonable in the height
of that state he took upon him, or more grave and impressive in the
mildness which he used.


Whoever it was, Sosius, that wrote the poem in honor of Alcibiades,
upon his winning the chariot-race at the Olympian Games, whether it was
Euripedes, as is most commonly thought, or some other person he tells
us, that to a man's being happy it is pre-eminently requisite that he
should be born in "some famous city."

But if anybody undertakes to write a history, that has to be collected
from materials gathered by observation and the reading of works not easy
to be got in all places, nor written always in his own language, but
many of them foreign and dispersed in other hands, for him, undoubtedly,
it is above all things most necessary, to reside in some city of good
note, devoted to liberal arts, and populous; where he may have plenty of
all sorts of books, and upon inquiry may hear and inform himself of such
particulars as, having escaped the pens of writers, are more faithfully
preserved in the memories of men.

But for me, I live in a little town, where I am willing to continue,
lest it should grow less; and having had no leisure, while I was in Rome
and other parts of Italy, to practice myself in the Roman language, on
account of public business and of those who came to be instructed by me
in philosophy, it was very late, and in the decline of my age, before
I applied myself to the reading of Latin authors. But to appreciate the
graceful and ready pronunciation of the Roman tongue, to understand the
various figures and connection of words, and such other ornaments, in
which the beauty of speaking consists, is, I doubt not, an admirable
and delightful accomplishment; but it requires a degree of practice
and study which is not easy, and will better suit those who have more
leisure, and time enough yet before them for the occupation.

And so in this book of my Parallel Lives, in giving an account of
Demosthenes and Cicero, my comparison of their natural dispositions and
their characters will be formed upon their actions and their lives
as statesmen, and I shall not pretend to criticise their orations one
against the other, to show which of the two was the more charming or the
more powerful speaker. For there, as Ion says,

     We are but like a fish upon dry land.

The divine power seems originally to have designed Demosthenes and
Cicero upon the same plan, giving them many similarities in their
natural characters, as their passion for distinction and their love of
liberty in civil life, and their want of courage in dangers and war,
and at the same time also to have added many accidental resemblances. I
think there can hardly be found two other orators, who, from small and
obscure beginnings, became so great and mighty; who both contested with
kings and tyrants; both lost their daughters, were driven out of their
country, and returned with honor; who, flying from thence again, were
both seized upon by their enemies, and at last ended their lives with
the liberty of their countrymen. So that if we were to suppose that
there had been a trial of skill between nature and fortune, as there
is sometimes between artists, it would be hard to judge, whether that
succeeded best in making them alike in their dispositions and manners,
or this, in the coincidences of their lives. We will speak of the eldest

Demosthenes, the father of Demosthenes, was a citizen of good rank and
quality, as Theopompus informs us, surnamed the Sword-maker, because he
had a large workhouse, and kept servants skilful in that art at work.
Demosthenes, when only seven years old, was left by his father in
affluent circumstances, the whole value of his estate being little
short of fifteen talents, but was wronged by his guardians, part of his
fortune being embezzled by them, and the rest neglected; insomuch that
even his teachers were defrauded of their salaries. This was the reason
that he did not obtain the liberal education that he should have had;
besides that on account of weakness and delicate health, his mother
would not let him exert himself, and his teachers forebore to urge him.
He was meagre and sickly from the first, and hence had the nickname
of Batalus, given him, it is said, by the boys, in derision of his
appearance; Batalus being a certain enervated flute-player, in ridicule
of whom Antiphanes wrote a play.

The first occasion of his eager inclination to oratory, they say, was
this. Callistratus, the orator, was to plead in open court for Oropus,
and the expectation of the issue of that cause was very great, as
well for the ability of the orator, who was then at the height of
his reputation, as also for the fame of the action itself. Therefore,
Demosthenes, having heard the tutors and schoolmasters agreeing among
themselves to be present at this trial, with much importunity persuades
his tutor to take him along with him to the hearing; who, having some
acquaintance with the doorkeepers, procured a place where the boy might
sit unseen, and hear what was said. Callistratus having got the day, and
being much admired, the boy began to look upon his glory with emulation,
observing how he was courted on all hands, and attended on his way by
the multitude; but his wonder was more than all excited by the power of
his eloquence, which seemed able to subdue and win over any thing. From
this time, therefore, bidding farewell to other sorts of learning
and study, he now began to exercise himself, and to take pains in
declaiming, as one that meant to be himself also an orator. He made use
of Isaeus as his guide to the art of speaking, though Isocrates at that
time was giving lessons; whether, as some say, because he was an orphan,
and was not able to pay Isocrates his appointed fee of ten minae, or
because he preferred Isaeus's speaking, as being more business-like and
effective in actual use.

As soon, therefore, as he was grown up to man's estate, he began to go
to law with his guardians, and to write orations against them; who,
in the meantime, had recourse to various subterfuges and pleas for new
trials, and Demosthenes, though he was thus, as Thucydides says, taught
his business in dangers, and by his own exertions was successful in his
suit, was yet unable for all this to recover so much as a small
fraction of his patrimony. He only attained some degree of confidence in
speaking, and some competent experience in it. And having got a taste of
the honor and power which are acquired by pleadings, he now ventured
to come forth, and to undertake public business. And, as it is said of
Laomedon, the Orchomenian, that by advice of his physician, he used to
run long distances to keep off some disease of his spleen, and by that
means having, through labor and exercise, framed the habit of his body,
he betook himself to the great garland games, and became one of the
best runners at the long race; so it happened to Demosthenes, who, first
venturing upon oratory for the recovery of his own private property, by
this acquired ability in speaking, and at length, in public business,
as it were in the great games, came to have the pre-eminence of all
competitors in the assembly. But when he first addressed himself to
the people, he met with great discouragements, and was derided for his
strange and uncouth style, which was cumbered with long sentences and
tortured with formal arguments to a most harsh and disagreeable excess.
Besides, he had, it seems, a weakness in his voice, a perplexed and
indistinct utterance and a shortness of breath, which, by breaking and
disjointing his sentences, much obscured the sense and meaning of what
he spoke. So that in the end, being quite disheartened, he foresook
the assembly; and as he was walking carelessly and sauntering about
the Piraeus, Eunomus, the Thriasian, then a very old man, seeing him,
upbraided him, saying that his diction was very much like that of
Pericles, and that he was wanting to himself through cowardice and
meanness of spirit, neither bearing up with courage against popular
outcry, nor fitting his body for action, but suffering it to languish
through mere sloth and negligence.

Another time, when the assembly had refused to hear him, and he was
going home with his head muffled up, taking it very heavily, they
relate that Satyrus, the actor followed him, and being his familiar
acquaintance, entered into conversation with him. To whom Demosthenes
bemoaned, that although he had been the most industrious of all the
pleaders, and had spent almost the whole strength and vigor of his
body in that employment, he could not yet find any acceptance with the
people, while drunken sots, mariners, and illiterate fellows were heard,
and had the hustings for their own. "You say true, Demosthenes," replied
Satyrus, "but I will quickly remedy the cause of all this, if you
will repeat to me some passage out of Euripides or Sophocles." When
Demosthenes had pronounced one, Satyrus presently taking it up after
him, gave the same passage, in his rendering of it, such a new form, by
accompanying it with the proper mien and gesture, that to Demosthenes it
seemed quite another thing. By this being convinced how much grace and
ornament language acquires from action, he began to esteem it a
small matter, and as good as nothing for a man to exercise himself in
declaiming, if he neglected enunciation and delivery. Hereupon he built
himself a place under ground to study in (which was still remaining in
our time), and hither he would come constantly every day to form
his action, and to exercise his voice; and here he would continue,
oftentimes without intermission, two or three months together, shaving
one half of his head, so that for shame he might not go abroad, though
he desired it never so much.

Nor was this all, but he also made his conversation with people abroad,
his common speech, and his business, subservient to his studies, taking
from hence occasions and arguments as matter to work upon. For as soon
as he was parted from his company, down he would go at once into his
study, and run over everything in order that had passed, and the reasons
that might be alleged for and against it. Any speeches, also, that he
was present at, he would go over again with himself, and reduce into
periods; and whatever others spoke to him, or he to them, he would
correct, transform, and vary in several ways. Hence it was, that he was
looked upon as a person of no great natural genius, but one who owed all
the power and ability he had in speaking to labor and industry. He
was very rarely heard to speak off-hand, but though he were by name
frequently called upon by the people, as he sat in the assembly, yet he
would not rise unless he had previously considered the subject, and come
prepared for it. So that many of the popular pleaders used to make it
a jest against him; and Pytheas once, scoffing at him, said that his
arguments smelt of the lamp. To which Demosthenes gave the sharp answer,
"It is true, indeed, Pytheas, that your lamp and mine are not conscious
of the same things." To others, however, he would not deny it, but
would admit frankly enough, that he neither entirely wrote his speeches
beforehand, nor yet spoke wholly extempore. And he would affirm, that
it was the more truly popular act to use premeditation, such preparation
being a kind of respect to the people.

How then, some may say, was it, that Aeschines speaks of him as a person
much to be wondered at for his boldness in speaking? And, when Lamachus,
the Myrinaean, had written a panegyric upon king Philip and Alexander,
in which he uttered many things in reproach of the Thebans and
Olynthians, and at the Olympic Games recited it publicly, Demosthenes,
then rising up, and recounting historically and demonstratively what
benefits and advantages all Greece had received from the Thebans and
Chalcidians, and on the contrary, what mischiefs the flatterers of the
Macedonians had brought upon it, so turned the minds of all that were
present that the sophist, in alarm at the outcry against him, secretly
made his way out of the assembly. But Demosthenes, it would seem,
regarded the reserve and sustained manner of Pericles, and his
forbearing to speak on the sudden, or upon every occasion, as being the
things to which he principally owed his greatness, and this he followed,
and endeavored to imitate, neither wholly neglecting the glory which
present occasion offered, nor yet willing too often to expose his
faculty to the mercy of chance. For, in fact, the orations which were
spoken by him had much more of boldness and confidence in them than
those that he wrote. Eratosthenes says that often in his speaking he
would be transported into a kind of ecstasy, and Demetrius, that he
uttered the famous metrical adjuration to the people,

     By the earth, the springs, the rivers, and the streams,

as a man inspired, and beside himself. One of the comedians calls him
a rhopoperperethras--a loud declaimer about petty matters; from rhopos,
small wares, and perperos, a loud talker; and another scoffs at him for
the use of antithesis:--

     And what he took, took back; a phrase to please
     The very fancy of Demosthenes.

Unless, indeed, this also is meant by Antiphanes for a jest upon the
speech on Halonesus, which Demosthenes advised the Athenians not to take
at Philip's hands, but to take back.

All, however, used to consider Demades, in the mere use of his natural
gifts, an orator impossible to surpass, and that in what he spoke on the
sudden, he excelled all the study and preparation of Demosthenes. And
Ariston, the Chian, has recorded a judgment which Theophrastus passed
upon the orators; for being asked what kind of orator he accounted
Demosthenes, he answered, "Worthy of the city of Athens;" and then, what
he thought of Demades, he answered, "Above it." And the same philosopher
reports, that Polyeuctus, the Sphettian, one of the Athenian politicians
about that time, was wont to say that Demosthenes was the greatest
orator, but Phocion the ablest, as he expressed the most sense in the
fewest words. And, indeed, it is related, that Demosthenes himself,
as often as Phocion stood up to plead against him, would say to his
acquaintance, "Here comes the knife to my speech." Yet it does not
appear whether he had this feeling for his powers of speaking, or for
his life and character, and meant to say that one word or nod from a man
who was really trusted, would go further than a thousand lengthy periods
from others.

Demetrius, the Phalerian, tells us, that he was informed by Demosthenes
himself, when old, that the ways he made use of to remedy his natural
bodily infirmities and defects were such as these: his inarticulate
and stammering pronunciation he overcame and rendered more distinct
by speaking with pebbles in his mouth; his voice he disciplined by
declaiming and reciting speeches or verses when he was out of breath,
while running or going up steep places; and that in his house he had
a large looking-glass, before which he would stand and go through his
exercises. It is told that some one once came to request his assistance
as a pleader, and related how he had been assaulted and beaten. "I am
sure," said Demosthenes, "nothing of the kind can have happened to
you." Upon which the other, raising his voice, exclaimed loudly, "What,
Demosthenes, nothing has been done to me?" "Ah," replied Demosthenes,
"now I hear the voice of one that has been injured and beaten." Of so
great consequence towards the gaining of belief did he esteem the tone
and action of the speaker. When a thief, who had the nickname of the
Brazen, was attempting to upbraid him for sitting up late, and writing
by candlelight, "I know very well," said he, "that you had rather
have all lights out; and wonder not, O ye men of Athens, at the many
robberies which are committed, since we have thieves of brass and walls
of clay."

His first entering into public business was about the time of
the Phocian war. But the object which he chose for himself in the
commonwealth was noble and just, the defence of the Greek against
Philip; and in this he behaved himself so worthily that he soon grew
famous, and excited attention everywhere for his eloquence and courage
in speaking. He was admired through all Greece, the king of Persia
courted him, and by Philip himself he was more esteemed than all the
other orators. His very enemies were forced to confess that they had to
do with a man of mark; for such a character even Aeschines and Hyperides
give him, where they accuse and speak against him.

Demosthenes would never turn aside or prevaricate, either in word or
deed. Panaetius, the philosopher, said, that most of his orations were
written, as if they were to prove this one conclusion: that only what is
honest and virtuous is to be chosen; as that of the Crown, that against
Aristocrates, that for the Immunities, and the Philippics; in all which
he persuades his fellow-citizens to pursue not that which seems most
pleasant, easy, or profitable; but declares over and over again,
that they ought in the first place to prefer that which is just and
honorable, before their own safety and preservation.

Excepting only Phocion, he far surpassed, even in his life and manners,
the other orators of his time. None of them addressed the people so
boldly; he attacked the faults, and opposed himself to the unreasonable
desires of the multitude, as may be seen in his orations. Theopompus
writes, that the Athenians having by name selected Demosthenes, and
called upon him to accuse a certain person, he refused to do it; upon
which the assembly being all in an uproar, he rose up and said, "Your
counselor, whether you will or no, O ye men of Athens, you shall always
have me; but a sycophant or false accuser, I shall never be." And his
conduct in the case of Antiphon was perfectly aristocratical; whom,
after he had been acquitted in the assembly, he took and brought before
the court of Areopagus, and, setting at naught the displeasure of
the people, convicted him there of having promised Philip to burn the
arsenal; whereupon the man was condemned by that court, and suffered for
it. He accused, also, Theoris, the priestess, among other misdemeanors,
of having instructed and taught the slaves to deceive and cheat their
masters, for which the sentence of death was passed upon her, and she
was executed.

It was evident, even in time of peace, what course Demosthenes would
steer in the commonwealth; for whatever was done by the Macedonian, he
criticised and found fault with, and upon all occasions was stirring up
the people of Athens, and inflaming them against him. Therefore, in the
court of Philip, no man was so much talked of, or of so great account as
he; and when he came thither, as one of the ten ambassadors who was sent
into Macedonia, his speech was answered with most care and exactness.
But in other respects, Philip entertained him not so honorably as the
rest, neither did he show him the same kindness and civility with which
he applied himself to the party of Aeschines and Philocrates. So that,
when the others commended Philip for his able speaking, his beautiful
person, nay, and also for his good companionship in drinking,
Demosthenes could not refrain from cavilling at these praises;
the first, he said, was a quality which might well enough become a
rhetorician, the second a woman, and the last was only the property of a
sponge; no one of them was the proper commendation of a prince.

Not long after, he undertook an embassy through the States of Greece,
which he solicited and so far incensed against Philip, that a few only
excepted, he brought them all into a general league. So that, besides
the forces composed of the citizens themselves, there was an army
consisting of fifteen

thousand foot and two thousand horse, and the money to pay these
strangers was levied and brought in with great cheerfulness. On which
occasion it was, says Theophrastus, on the allies requesting that their
contributions for the war might be ascertained and stated, Crobylus, the
orator, made use of the saying, "War can't be fed at so much a day." Now
was all Greece up in arms, and in great expectation what would be the
event. The Euboeans, the Achaeans, the Corinthians, the Megarians, the
Leucadians, and Corcyraeans, their people and their cities, were all
joined together in a league. But the hardest task was yet behind, left
for Demosthenes, to draw the Thebans into this confederacy with the
rest. Their country bordered next upon Attica, they had great forces for
the war, and at that time they were accounted the best soldiers of all
Greece, but it was no easy matter to make them break with Philip, who
by many good offices, had so lately obliged them in the Phocian war;
especially considering how the subjects of dispute and variance between
the two cities were continually renewed and exasperated by petty
quarrels, arising out of the proximity of their frontiers.

But after Philip, puffed up with his good success at Amphissa, on a
sudden surprised Elatea and possessed himself of Phocis, the Athenians
were in a great consternation, none durst venture to rise up to
speak, all were at a loss, and the whole assembly was in silence and
perplexity. In this extremity of affairs, Demosthenes was the only man
who appeared, his counsel to them being alliance with the Thebans. And
having in other ways encouraged the people, and, as his manner was,
raised their spirits up with hopes, he, with some others was sent
ambassador to Thebes. To oppose him, as Marsyas says, Philip also sent
thither his envoys. Now the Thebans, in their consultations, were well
enough aware what suited best with their own interest, but every one
had before his eye the terrors of war, and their losses in the Phocian
troubles were still recent: but such was the force and power of the
orator, fanning up their courage, and firing their emulation, that,
casting away every thought of prudence, fear, or obligation, in a sort
of divine possession, they chose the path of honor, to which his words
invited them. And this success, thus accomplished by an orator,
was thought to be so glorious and of such consequence, that Philip
immediately sent heralds to treat and petition for a peace: all Greece
was aroused, and up in arms to help. And the commanders-in-chief, not
only of Attica, but of Boeotia, applied themselves to Demosthenes, and
observed his directions. He managed all the assemblies of the Thebans,
no less than those of the Athenians; he was beloved both by the one and
by the other, and exercised the same supreme authority with both; and
that not by unfair means, or without just cause, but it was no more than
was due to his merit.

But there was, it should seem, some divinely-ordered fortune,
commissioned, in the revolution of things, to put a period at this time
to the liberty of Greece, which opposed and thwarted all their actions,
and by many signs foretold what should happen. Such were the sad
predictions uttered by the Pythian priestess, and this old oracle cited
out of the Sibyl's verses:

     The battle on Thermodon that shall be
     Safe at a distance I desire to see,
     Far, like an eagle, watching in the air.
     Conquered shall weep, and conqueror perish there.

This Thermodon, they say, is a little rivulet here in our country in
Chaeronea, running into the Cephisus. But we know of none that is so
called at the present time; and can only conjecture that the streamlet
which is now called Haemon, and runs by the Temple of Hercules,
where the Greeks were encamped, might perhaps in those days be called

But of Demosthenes it is said, that he had such great confidence in
the Greek forces, and was so excited by the sight of the courage and
resolution of so many brave men ready to engage the enemy, that he would
by no means endure they should give any heed to oracles, or hearken to
prophecies, but gave out that he suspected even the prophetess herself,
as if she had been tampered with to speak in favor of Philip. He put the
Thebans in mind of Epaminondas, the Athenians of Pericles, who always
took their own measures and governed their actions by reason, looking
upon things of this kind as mere pretexts for cowardice. Thus far,
therefore, Demosthenes acquitted himself like a brave man. But in the
fight he did nothing honorable, nor was his performance answerable
to his speeches. For he fled, deserting his place disgracefully, and
throwing away his arms, not ashamed, as Pytheas observed, to belie
the inscription written on his shield, in letters of gold, "With good

In the meantime Philip, in the first moment of victory, was so
transported with joy, that he grew extravagant, and going out, after he
had drunk largely, to visit the dead bodies, he chanted the first words
of the decree that had been passed on the motion of Demosthenes,

     The motion of Demosthenes, Demosthenes's son,

     dividing it metrically into feet, and marking the beats.

But when he came to himself, and had well considered the danger he was
lately under, he could not forbear from shuddering at the wonderful
ability and power of an orator who had made him hazard his life and
empire on the issue of a few brief hours. The fame of it also
reached even to the court of Persia, and the king sent letters to his
lieutenants, commanding them to supply Demosthenes with money, and to
pay every attention to him, as the only man of all the Greeks who was
able to give Philip occupation and find employment for his forces near
home, in the troubles of Greece.

At this time, however, upon the ill success which now happened to the
Greeks, those of the contrary faction in the commonwealth turned upon
Demosthenes, and took the opportunity to frame several informations and
indictments against him. But the people not only acquitted him of these
accusations, but continued towards him their former respect, and when
the bones of those who had been slain at Chaeronea were brought home
to be solemnly interred, Demosthenes was the man they chose to make the
funeral oration. The speech, therefore, was spoken by Demosthenes. But
the subsequent decrees he would not allow to be passed in his own name,
but made use of those of his friends, one after another, looking upon
his own as unfortunate and inauspicious; till at length he took courage
again after the death of Philip, who did not long outlive his victory at
Chaeronea. And this, it seems, was that which was foretold in the last
verse of the oracle,

     Conquered shall weep, and conqueror perish there.

Demosthenes had secret intelligence of the death of Philip, and laying
hold of this opportunity to prepossess the people with courage and
better hopes for the future, he came into the assembly with a cheerful
countenance, pretending to have had a dream that presaged some great
good fortune for Athens; and, not long after, arrived the messengers who
brought the news of Philip's death. No sooner had the people received
it, but immediately they offered sacrifice to the gods, and decreed
that Pausanias should be presented with a crown. Demosthenes appeared
publicly in a rich dress, with a chaplet on his head, though it were
but the seventh day since the death of his daughter, as is said by
Aeschines, who upbraids him upon this account, and rails at him as
one void of natural affection towards his children. Whereas, Aeschines
rather betrays himself to be of a poor spirit, if he really means
to make wailings and lamentation the only signs of a gentle and
affectionate nature. I must commend the behavior of Demosthenes, who
leaving tears and lamentations and domestic sorrows to the women, made
it his business to attend to the interests of the commonwealth.

But now to return to my narrative. The cities of Greece were inspirited
once more by the efforts of Demosthenes to form a league together. The
Thebans, whom he had provided with arms, set upon their garrison, and
slew many of them; the Athenians made preparations to join their forces
with them; Demosthenes ruled supreme in the popular assembly, and wrote
letters to the Persian officers who commanded under the king in Asia,
inciting them to make war upon the Macedonian, calling him child and
simpleton. But as soon as Alexander had settled matters in his own
country, and come in person with his army into Boeotia, down fell the
courage of the Athenians, and Demosthenes was hushed; the Thebans,
deserted by them, fought by themselves, and lost their city. After
which, the people of Athens, all in distress and great perplexity,
resolved to send ambassadors to Alexander, and amongst others, made
choice of Demosthenes for one; but his heart failing him for fear of the
king's anger, he returned back from Cithaeron, and left the embassy. In
the mean time, Alexander sent to Athens, requiring eight of the
orators to be delivered up to him,--Demosthenes, Polyeuctus, Ephialtes,
Lycurgus, Moerocles, Demon, Callisthenes, and Charidemus. It was upon
this occasion that Demosthenes related to them the fable in which the
sheep are said to deliver up their dogs to the wolves; himself and
those who with him contended for the people's safety, being, in his
comparison, the dogs that defended the flock, and Alexander "the
Macedonian arch wolf." He further told them, "As we see corn-dealers
sell their whole stock by a few grains of wheat which they carry about
with them in a dish, as a sample of the rest, so you, by delivering
up us, who are but a few, do at the same time unawares surrender up
yourselves all together with us." The Athenians were deliberating, and
at a loss what to do, when Demades, having agreed with the persons whom
Alexander had demanded, for five talents, undertook to go ambassador,
and to intercede with the king for them; and, whether it was that he
relied on his friendship and kindness, or that he hoped to find him
satiated, as a lion glutted with slaughter, he certainly went, and
prevailed with him both to pardon the men, and to be reconciled to the

So he and his friends, when Alexander went away, were great men, and
Demosthenes was quite put aside. Yet when Agis, the Spartan, made his
insurrection, he also for a short time attempted a movement in his
favor; but he soon shrunk back again, as the Athenians would not
take any part in it, and, Agis being slain, the Lacedaemonians were
vanquished. During this time it was that the indictment against
Ctesiphon, concerning the Crown, was brought to trial. The action was
commenced a little before the battle in Chaeronea, when Chaerondas
was archon, but it was not proceeded with till about ten years after,
Aristophon being then archon. Never was any public cause more celebrated
than this, alike for the fame of the orators, and for the generous
courage of the judges, who, though at that time the accusers of
Demosthenes, were in the height of power, and supported by all the
favor of the Macedonians, yet would not give judgment against him, but
acquitted him so honorably, that Aeschines did not obtain the fifth part
of their suffrages on his side, so that, immediately after, he left
the city, and spent the rest of his life in teaching rhetoric about the
island of Rhodes, and upon the continent in Ionia.

It was not long after that Harpalus fled from Alexander, and came to
Athens out of Asia; knowing himself guilty of many misdeeds into which
his love of luxury had led him, and fearing the king, who was now grown
terrible even to his best friends. Yet this man had no sooner addressed
himself to the people, and delivered up his goods, his ships, and
himself to their disposal, but the other orators of the town had their
eyes quickly fixed upon his money, and came in to his assistance,
persuading the Athenians to receive and protect their suppliant.
Demosthenes at first gave advice to chase him out of the country, and
to beware lest they involved their city in a war upon an unnecessary and
unjust occasion. But some few days after, as they were taking an account
of the treasure, Harpalus, perceiving how much he was pleased with a cup
of Persian manufacture, and how curiously he surveyed the sculpture and
fashion of it, desired him to poise it in his hand, and consider the
weight of the gold. Demosthenes, being amazed to feel how heavy it was
asked him what weight it came to. "To you," said Harpalus, smiling, "it
shall come with twenty talents." And presently after, when night drew
on, he sent him the cup with so many talents. Harpalus, it seems, was a
person of singular skill to discern a man's covetousness by the air of
his countenance, and the look and movement of his eyes. For Demosthenes
could not resist the temptation, but admitting the present, like an
armed garrison, into the citadel of his house, he surrendered himself up
to the interest of Harpalus. The next day he came into the assembly with
his neck swathed about with wool and rollers, and when they called on
him to rise up and speak, he made signs as if he had lost his voice. But
the wits, turning the matter to ridicule, said that certainly the orator
had been seized that night with no other than a silver quinsy. And soon
after, the people, becoming aware of the bribery, grew angry, and would
not suffer him to speak, or make any apology for himself, but ran him
down with noise; and one man stood up and cried out, "What, ye men of
Athens, will you not hear the cup-bearer?" So at length they banished
Harpalus out of the city; and fearing lest they should be called to
account for the treasures which the orators had purloined, they made a
strict inquiry, going from house to house.

Demosthenes resisted the inquisition, and proposed a decree to refer the
business to the court of Areopagus, and to punish those whom that court
should find guilty. But being himself one of the first whom the court
condemned, when he came to the bar, he was fined fifty talents, and
committed to prison; where, out of shame of the crime for which he was
condemned, and through the weakness of his body, growing incapable of
supporting the confinement, he made his escape, by the carelessness of
some and by the connivance of others of the citizens. He did not show
much fortitude in his banishment, spending his time for the most part
in Aegina and Troezen, and, with tears in his eyes, looking towards the
country of Attica. The young men that came to visit and converse with
him, he deterred from meddling with state affairs, telling them, that
if at first two ways had been proposed to him, the one leading to the
speaker's stand and the assembly, the other going direct to destruction,
and he could have foreseen the many evils which attend those who deal in
public business, such as fears, envies, calumnies, and contentions, he
would certainly have taken that which led straight on to his death.

But now happened the death of Alexander, while Demosthenes was in this
banishment which we have been speaking of. And the Greeks were once
again up in arms, encouraged by the brave attempts of Leosthenes, who
was then drawing a circumvallation about Antipater, whom he held close
besieged in Lamia. Pytheas, therefore, the orator, and Callimedon,
called the Crab, fled from Athens, and taking sides with Antipater, went
about with his friends and ambassadors to keep the Greeks from revolting
and taking part with the Athenians. But, on the other side, Demosthenes,
associating himself with the ambassadors that came from Athens, used
his utmost endeavors and gave them his best assistance in persuading the
cities to fall unanimously upon the Macedonians, and to drive them out
of Greece. With this conduct the people of Athens were so well pleased,
that they decreed the recall of Demosthenes from banishment. The decree
was brought in by Demon the Paeanian, cousin to Demosthenes. So they
sent him a ship to Aegina, and he landed at the port of Piraeus, where
he was met and joyfully received by all the citizens, not so much as an
Archon or a priest staying behind. And Demetrius, the Magnesian, says,
that he lifted up his hands towards heaven, and blessed this day of his
happy return, as far more honorable than that of Alcibiades; since he
was recalled by his countrymen, not through any force or constraint
put upon them, but by their own good-will and free inclinations. There
remained only his pecuniary fine, which, according to law, could not be
remitted by the people. But they found out a way to elude the law. It
was a custom with them to allow a certain quantity of silver to those
who were to furnish and adorn the altar for the sacrifice of Jupiter
Soter. This office, for that turn, they bestowed on Demosthenes, and for
the performance of it ordered him fifty talents, the very sum in which
he was condemned.

Yet it was no long time that he enjoyed his country after his return,
the attempts of the Greeks being soon all utterly defeated. And in the
month of Pyanepsion following Demosthenes died after this manner.

Upon the report that Antipater was coming to Athens, Demosthenes with
his party took their opportunity to escape privily out of the city; but
sentence of death was, upon the motion of Demades, passed upon them by
the people. They dispersed themselves, flying some to one place, some
to another; and Antipater sent about his soldiers into all quarters to
apprehend them. Archias, formerly an actor, was their captain, and
was thence called the exile-hunter. This Archias finding Hyperides the
orator, Aristonicus and Himeraeus in Aegina, took them by force out of
the temple of Aeacus, whither they had fled for safety, and sent them to
Antipater, and put them all to death; and Hyperides, they say, had his
tongue cut out.

Demosthenes, he heard, had taken sanctuary at the temple of Neptune at
Calauria, and, crossing over thither in some light vessels, as soon as
he had landed himself, and the Thracian spear-men that came with him, he
endeavored to persuade Demosthenes to accompany him to Antipater, as
if he should meet with no hard usage from him. But Demosthenes, in his
sleep the night before, had a strange dream. It seemed to him that he
was acting a tragedy, and contended with Archias for the victory; and
though he acquitted himself well, and gave good satisfaction to the
spectators, yet for want of better furniture and provision for the
stage, he lost the day. And so, while Archias was discoursing to him
with many expressions of kindness, he sat still in the same posture,
and looking up steadfastly upon him, said: "O Archias, I am as little
affected by your promises now as I used formerly to be by your acting."
Archias at this beginning to grow angry and to threaten him, "Now," said
Demosthenes, "you speak like the genuine Macedonian oracle; before you
were but acting a part. Therefore forebear only a little, while I write
a word or two home to my family." Having thus spoken, he withdrew into
the temple, and taking a scroll, as if he meant to write, he put the
reed into his mouth, and biting it, as he was wont to do when he was
thoughtful or writing, he held it there for some time. Then he bowed
down his head and covered it. The soldiers that stood at the door,
supposing all this to proceed from want of courage and fear of death,
in derision called him effeminate, and faint-hearted, and coward. And
Archias, drawing near, desired him to rise up, and repeating the same
kind things he had spoken before, he once more promised him to make his
peace with Antipater. But Demosthenes, perceiving that now the poison
had pierced and seized his vitals, uncovered his head, and fixing
his eyes upon Archias, "Now," said he, "as soon as you please you may
commence the part of Creon in the tragedy, and cast out this body of
mine unburied. But, O gracious Neptune, I, for my part, while I am yet
alive, arise up and depart out of this sacred place; though Antipater
and the Macedonians have not left so much as thy temple unpolluted."
After he had thus spoken and desired to be held up, because already he
began to tremble and stagger, as he was going forward, and passing by
the altar, he fell down, and with a groan gave up the ghost.

Ariston says that he took the poison out of a reed, as we have shown
before. And Eratosthenes also says that he kept the poison in a hollow
ring, which he wore about his arm. There are various other statements
made by the many authors who have related the story, but there is no
need to enter into their discrepancies; yet I must not omit what is said
by Demochares, the relation of Demosthenes, who is of opinion, it was
not by the help of poison that he met with no sudden and so easy a
death, but that by the singular favor and providence of the gods he
was thus rescued from the cruelty of the Macedonians. He died on
the sixteenth of Pyanepsion, the most sad and solemn day of the
Thesmophoria, which the women observe by fasting in the temple of the

Soon after his death, the people of Athens bestowed on him such honors
as he had deserved. They erected his statue of brass; they decreed that
the eldest of his family should be maintained in the Prytaneum; and on
the base of his statue was engraven the famous inscription,--

     Had you for Greece been strong, as wise you were,
     The Macedonian had not conquered her.

A little before we went to Athens, the following incident was said to
have happened. A soldier, being summoned to appear before his superior
officer, and answer to an accusation brought against him, put a little
gold which he had into the hands of Demosthenes's statue. The fingers
of this statue were folded one within another, and near it grew a small
plane-tree, from which many leaves, either accidentally blown thither by
the wind, or placed so on purpose by the man himself, falling together,
and lying round about the gold, concealed it for a long time. In the
end, the soldier returned, and found his treasure entire, and the fame
of this incident was spread abroad. And many ingenious persons of
the city competed with each other, on this occasion, to vindicate the
integrity of Demosthenes, in several epigrams which they made on the

As for Demades, he did not long enjoy the new honors he now came in
for, divine vengeance for the death of Demosthenes pursuing him into
Macedonia, where he was justly put to death by those whom he had basely


It is generally said that Helvia, the mother of Cicero, was well born;
but of his father nothing is reported but in extremes. For whilst some
would have him the son of a fuller, and educated in that trade, others
carry back the origin of his family to Tullus Attius, an illustrious
king of the Volscians, who waged war not without honor against the
Romans. However, he who first of that house was surnamed Cicero seems
to have been a person worthy to be remembered; since those who succeeded
him not only did not reject, but were fond of that name, though vulgarly
made a matter of reproach. For the Latins call a vetch Cicer, and a nick
or dent at the tip of his nose, which resembled the opening in a vetch,
gave him the surname of Cicero.

Cicero, whose story I am writing, is said to have replied with spirit to
some of his friends, who recommended him to lay aside or change the name
when he first stood for office and engaged in politics, that he would
make it his endeavor to render the name of Cicero more glorious than
that of the Scauri and Catuli. And when he was quaestor in Sicily, and
was making an offering of silver plate to the gods, and had inscribed
his two names, Marcus and Tullius, instead of the third, he jestingly
told the artificer to engrave the figure of a vetch by them.

Cicero was born on the third of January, the same day on which now the
magistrates of Rome pray and sacrifice for the emperor. As soon as he
was of an age to begin to have lessons, he became so distinguished for
his talent, and got such a name and reputation amongst the boys, that
their fathers would often visit the school, that they might see young
Cicero, and might be able to say that they themselves had witnessed the
quickness and readiness in learning for which he was renowned. And the
more rude among them used to be angry with their children, to see them,
as they walked together, receiving Cicero with respect into the middle
place. And being, as Plato would have the scholar-like and philosophical
temper, eager for every kind of learning, and indisposed to no
description of knowledge or instruction, he showed, however, a more
peculiar propensity to poetry; and there is a poem now extant, made
by him when a boy, in tetrameter verse, called Pontius Glaucus.
And afterwards, when he applied himself more curiously to these
accomplishments, he had the name of being not only the best orator, but
also the best poet of Rome. And the glory of his rhetoric still remains,
notwithstanding the many new modes in speaking since his time; but his
verses are forgotten and out of all repute, so many ingenious poets have
followed him.

Leaving his juvenile studies, he became an auditor of Philo the
Academic, whom the Romans, above all the other scholars of Clitomachus,
admired for his eloquence and loved for his character. He also sought
the company of the Mucii, who were eminent statesmen and leaders in the
senate, and acquired from them a knowledge of the laws. For some short
time he served in arms under Sylla, in the Marsian war. But perceiving
the commonwealth running into factions, and from faction all things
tending to an absolute monarchy, he betook himself to a retired and
contemplative life, and conversing with the learned Greeks, devoted
himself to study, till Sylla had obtained the government.

At this time, Chrysogonus, Sylla's emancipated slave, having laid an
information about an estate belonging to one who was said to have been
put to death by proscription, had bought it himself for two thousand
drachmas. And when Roscius, the son and heir of the dead, complained,
and demonstrated the estate to be worth two hundred and fifty talents,
Sylla took it angrily to have his actions questioned, and preferred
a process against Roscius for the murder of his father, Chrysogonus
managing the evidence. None of the advocates durst assist him, but
fearing the cruelty of Sylla, avoided the cause. The young man, being
thus deserted, came for refuge to Cicero. Cicero's friends encouraged
him, saying he was not likely ever to have a fairer and more honorable
introduction to public life; he therefore undertook the defence, carried
the cause, and got much renown for it.

But fearing Sylla, he traveled into Greece, and gave it out that he did
so for the benefit of his health. And indeed he was lean and meagre,
and had such a weakness in his stomach that he could take nothing but
a spare and thin diet, and that not till late in the evening. His voice
was loud and good, but so harsh and ill-managed that in vehemence and
heat of speaking he always raised it to so high a tone, that there
seemed to be reason to fear for his health.

At Athens, he became a hearer of Antiochus of Ascalon, with whose
fluency and elegance of diction he was much taken, although he did not
approve of his innovations in doctrine. And Cicero made up his mind that
if he should be disappointed of any employment in the commonwealth,
to retire from pleading and politics, and pass his life quietly in the
study of philosophy.

But after he had received the news of Sylla's death, and his body,
strengthened again by exercise, had grown vigorous, and his voice
was rendered sweet and full to the ear, his friends at Rome earnestly
solicited him by letters to return to public affairs. He, therefore,
again prepared for use his orator's instrument of rhetoric, and summoned
into action his political faculties, diligently exercising himself in
declamations, and attending the most celebrated rhetoricians of the
time. He sailed from Athens for Asia and Rhodes. Among the Asian
masters, he conversed with Xenocles of Adramyttium, Dionysius of
Magnesia, and Menippus of Caria; at Rhodes, he studied oratory
with Apollonius, the son of Molon, and philosophy with Posidonius.
Apollonius, we are told, not understanding Latin, requested Cicero to
declaim in Greek. He complied willingly, thinking that his faults would
thus be better pointed out to him. After he finished, all his other
hearers were astonished, and vied with each other in praising him, but
Apollonius showed no signs of excitement while he was hearing him, and
now, when he had finished, sat musing for some time, without any remark.
And when Cicero was discomposed at this, he said, "You have my praise
and admiration, Cicero, and Greece my pity and commiseration, since
those arts and that eloquence which are the only glories that remain to
her, will now be transferred by you to Rome."

And now when Cicero, full of expectation, was again bent upon political
affairs, a certain oracle blunted the edge of his inclination; for
consulting the god of Delphi how he should attain most glory, the
Pythoness answered, "By making your own genius and not the opinion of
the people the guide of your life;" and therefore at first he passed his
time in Rome cautiously, and was very backward in pretending to public
offices, so that he was at that time in little esteem, and had got the
names, so readily given by low and ignorant people in Rome, of Greek and
Scholar. But when his own desire of fame and the eagerness of his father
and relations had made him take in earnest to pleading, he made no slow
or gentle advance to the first place, but shone out in full lustre at
once, and far surpassed all the advocates at the bar. At first, it is
said, he as well as Demosthenes, was defective in his delivery, and
on that account paid much attention to the instructions, sometimes of
Roscius, the comedian, and sometimes of Aesop, the tragedian. They
tell of this Aesop, that while representing in the theatre Atreus
deliberating the revenge of Thyestes, he was so transported beyond
himself in the heat of action, that he struck with his sceptre one of
the servants, who was running across the stage, so violently, that he
laid him dead upon the place. And such afterwards was Cicero's delivery,
that it did not a little contribute to render his eloquence persuasive.
He used to ridicule loud speakers, saying that they shouted because they
could not speak, like lame men who get on horseback because they cannot
walk. And his readiness and address in wit and sarcasm were thought to
suit a pleader well.

He was appointed quaestor in a great scarcity of corn, and had Sicily
for his province, where, at first, he displeased many, by compelling
them to send in their provisions to Rome, yet after they had had
experience of his care, justice, and clemency, they honored him more
than ever they did any of their governors before. It happened, also,
that some young Romans of good and noble families, charged with neglect
of discipline and misconduct in military service, were brought before
the praetor in Sicily. Cicero undertook their defence, which he
conducted admirably, and got them acquitted. So returning to Rome with
a great opinion of himself for these things, a ludicrous incident befell
him, as he tells us himself. Meeting an eminent citizen in Campania,
whom he accounted his friend, he asked him what the Romans said and
thought of his actions, as if the whole city had been filled with the
glory of what he had done. His friend asked him in reply, "Where is it
you have been, Cicero?" Utterly mortified and cast down, he perceived
that the report of his actions had sunk into the city of Rome as into an
immense ocean, without any visible effect or result in reputation.

On beginning to apply himself more resolutely to public business,
he remarked it as unreasonable that artificers, using vessels and
instruments inanimate, should know the name, place, and use of every
one of them, and yet the statesman, whose instruments for carrying
out public measures are men, should be negligent and careless in the
knowledge of persons. And so he not only acquainted himself with the
names, but also knew the very place where every one of the more eminent
citizens dwelt, what lands he possessed, his friends and his neighbors,
and when he traveled on any road in Italy, he could readily name
and show the estates and seats of his acquaintances. Having a small
competency for his own expenses, it was much wondered at that he took
neither fees nor gifts from his clients, and especially, that he did not
do so when he undertook the prosecution of Verres. This Verres, who had
been praetor of Sicily, and stood charged by the Sicilians with many
evil practices during his government there, Cicero succeeded in getting
condemned, not by speaking, but, as it were, by holding his tongue.
For the praetors, favoring Verres, had deferred the trial by several
adjournments to the last day, in which it was evident there could not be
sufficient time for the advocates to be heard, and the cause brought to
an issue. Cicero, therefore, came forward, and said there was no need of
speeches; and after producing and examining witnesses, he required the
judges to proceed to sentence. Many witty sayings are on record, as
having been used by Cicero on the occasion. When a man named Caecilius,
one of the freed slaves, who was said to be given to Jewish practices,
would have put by the Sicilians, and undertaken the prosecution of
Verres himself, Cicero asked, "What has a Jew to do with swine?" verres
being the Roman word for a boar. And when Verres began to reproach
Cicero with effeminate living, "You ought," replied he, "to use this
language at home, to your sons;" Verres having a son who had fallen
into disgraceful courses. Hortensius, the orator, not daring directly to
undertake the defence of Verres, was yet persuaded to appear for him at
the laying on of the fine, and received an ivory sphinx for his reward;
and when Cicero, in some passage of his speech, obliquely reflected
on him, and Hortensius told him he was not skilful in solving riddles,
"No," said Cicero, "and yet you have the Sphinx in your house!"

Verres was thus convicted; though Cicero, who set the fine at
seventy-five myriads, lay under the suspicion of being corrupted by
bribery to lessen the sum. But the Sicilians, in testimony of their
gratitude, came and brought him all sorts of presents from the island,
when he was aedile; of which he made no private profit himself, but used
their generosity only to reduce the public price of provisions.

He had a very pleasant seat at Arpi, he had also a farm near Naples, and
another near Pompeii, but none were of any great value. The portion of
his wife, Terentia, amounted to ten myriads, and he had a bequest
valued at nine myriads of denarii: upon these he lived in a liberal
but temperate style, with the learned Greeks and Romans that were his
familiars. He rarely, if at any time, sat down to meat till sunset,
and that not so much on account of business as for his health and the
weakness of his stomach. He was otherwise in the care of his body nice
and delicate, appointing himself, for example, a set number of walks
and rubbings. And after this manner managing the habit of his body, he
brought it in time to be healthful, and capable of supporting many great
fatigues and trials. His father's house he made over to his brother,
living himself near the Palatine Hill, that he might not give the
trouble of long journeys to those that made suit to him. And, indeed,
there were not fewer daily appearing at his door, to do their court to
him, than there were that came to Crassus for his riches, or to Pompey
for his power among the soldiers, these being at that time the two men
of the greatest repute and influence in Rome. Nay, even Pompey himself
used to pay court to Cicero, and Cicero's public actions did much to
establish Pompey's authority and reputation in the state.

Numerous distinguished competitors stood with him for the praetor's
office; but he was chosen before them all, and managed the decision of
causes with justice and integrity. It is related that Licinius Macer,
a man himself of great power in the city, and supported also by the
assistance of Crassus, was accused before him of extortion, and that, in
confidence on his own interest and the diligence of his friends, whilst
the judges were debating about the sentence, he went to his house,
where hastily trimming his hair and putting on a clean gown, as already
acquitted, he was setting off again to go to the Forum; but at his hall
door meeting Crassus, who told him that he was condemned by all
the votes, he went in again, threw himself upon his bed, and died
immediately. This verdict was considered very creditable to Cicero, as
showing his careful management of the courts of justice.

Yet he was preferred to the consulship no less by the nobles than
the common people for the good of the city; and both parties jointly
assisted his promotion, for the following reasons. The change of
government made by Sylla, which at first seemed a senseless one, by time
and usage had now come to be considered by the people no unsatisfactory
settlement. But there were some that endeavored to alter and subvert the
whole present state of affairs, not from any good motives, but for their
own private gain; and Pompey being at this time employed in the wars
with the kings of Pontus and Armenia, there was no sufficient force
at Rome to suppress any attempts at a revolution. These people had
for their head a man of bold, daring, and restless character, Lucius
Catiline, who was accused, besides other great offences, of killing his
own brother; and fearing to be prosecuted at law, he persuaded Sylla to
set his brother down, as though he were yet alive, amongst those
that were to be put to death by proscription. This man the profligate
citizens choosing for their captain, gave faith to one another, amongst
other pledges, by sacrificing a man and eating of his flesh; and a great
part of the young men of the city were corrupted by him, he providing
for every one pleasures and drink, and profusely supplying the expense
of their debauches. Etruria, moreover, had all been excited to revolt,
as well as a great part of Gaul within the Alps. But Rome itself was
in the most dangerous inclination to change on account of the unequal
distribution of wealth and property, those of highest rank and greatest
spirit having impoverished themselves by shows, entertainments, running
for office, and sumptuous buildings, and the riches of the city had thus
fallen into the hands of mean and low-born persons. So that it required
but a slight impetus to set all in motion, it being in the power of any
daring man to overturn a sickly commonwealth.

Catiline, however, being desirous of procuring a strong position to
carry out his designs, stood for the consulship, and had great hopes
of success, thinking he should be appointed, with Caius Antonius as his
colleague, who was a man fit to lead neither in a good cause nor in
a bad one, but might be a valuable accession to another's power. The
greater part of the good and honest citizens apprehending these things,
put Cicero upon standing for the consulship; whom the people readily
receiving, Catiline was put by, so that he and Caius Antonius were
chosen, although amongst the competitors he was the only man descended
from the father of the equestrian, and not of the senatorial, order.

Though the designs of Catiline were not yet publicly known, yet
considerable trouble immediately followed Cicero's entrance upon the
consulship. For, on the one side, those who were disqualified by
the laws of Sylla from holding any public offices, being neither
inconsiderable in power nor in number, came forward as candidates and
entreated the people; on the other hand, the tribunes of the people
proposed laws to the same purpose, constituting a commission of ten
persons, with unlimited powers, in whom as supreme governors should be
vested the right of selling the public lands of all Italy and Syria and
Pompey's new conquests, of judging and banishing whom they pleased, of
planting colonies, of taking money out of the treasury, and of levying
and paying what soldiers should be though needful. And several of the
nobility favored this law, but especially Caius Antonius, Cicero's
colleague, in hopes of being one of the ten. But what gave the greatest
fear to the nobles was, that he was thought privy to the conspiracy of
Catiline, and not to dislike it because of his great debts.

Cicero, endeavoring in the first place to provide a remedy against
this danger, procured a decree assigning to Antonius the province of
Macedonia, he himself declining that of Gaul, which was offered to him.
And this piece of favor so completely won over Antonius, that he was
ready to second, like a hired player, whatever Cicero said for the good
of the country. And now, having made his colleague tame and tractable,
he could with greater courage attack the conspirators. Therefore, in the
senate, making an oration against the law of the ten commissioners, he
so confounded those who proposed it, that they had nothing to reply.

For Cicero, it may be said, was the one man, above all others, who made
the Romans feel how great a charm eloquence lends to what is good, and
how invincible justice is if it be well presented. An incident occurred
in the theatre, during his consulship, which showed what his speaking
could do. Formerly the knights of Rome were mingled in the theatre
with the common people, and took their places amongst them just as it
happened; but when Marcus Otho became praetor he distinguished them from
the other citizens, and appointed them special seats, which they still
enjoy as their place in the theatre. This the common people took as
an indignity done to them, and, therefore, when Otho appeared in the
theatre they hissed him; the knights, on the contrary, received him
with loud clapping. The people repeated and increased their hissing; the
knights continued their clapping. Upon this, turning upon one another,
they broke out into insulting words, so that the theatre was in great
disorder. Cicero, being informed of it, came himself to the theatre, and
summoning the people into the temple of Bellona, he so effectually chid
and chastised them for it, that, again returning into the theatre, they
received Otho with loud applause, contending with the knights as to who
should give him the greatest demonstrations of honor and respect.

The conspirators with Catiline, at first cowed and disheartened, began
presently to take courage again. And assembling together, they exhorted
one another boldly to undertake the design before Pompey's return. But
the old soldiers of Sylla were Catiline's chief stimulus to action.
They had been disbanded all about Italy, but the greatest number and the
fiercest of them lay scattered among the cities of Etruria entertaining
themselves with dreams of new plunder and rapine among the hoarded
riches of Italy. These, having for their leader Manlius, who had served
with distinction in the wars under Sylla, joined themselves to Catiline,
and came to Rome to assist him with their suffrages at the election. For
he again aspired for the consulship, having resolved to kill Cicero in a
tumult at the elections. The divine powers seemed to give intimation
of the coming troubles, by earthquakes, thunderbolts and strange
appearances. Nor was human evidence wanting, certain enough in itself,
though not sufficient to convict the noble and powerful Catiline.
Therefore Cicero, deferring the day of election, summoned Catiline
into the senate, and questioned him as to the charges made against him.
Catiline, believing there were many in the senate desirous of change,
and to give a specimen of himself to the conspirators present, returned
an audacious answer. "What harm," said he, "when I see two bodies, the
one lean and consumptive with a head, the other one great and strong
without one, if I put a head to that body which wants one?" This
covert representation of the senate and the people excited yet greater
apprehensions in Cicero. He put on armor, and was attended from his
house by the noble citizens in a body; and a number of the young men
went with him into the Plain. Here, designedly letting his tunic slip
partly off from his shoulders, he showed his armor underneath, and
discovered his danger to the spectators, who, being much moved at it,
gathered around about him for his defence. At length, Catiline was by
general suffrage again put by, and Silanus and Murena chosen consuls.

Not long after this, Catiline's soldiers got together in a body in
Etruria, and began to form themselves into companies, the day appointed
for the design being near at hand. About midnight, some of the principal
and most powerful citizens of Rome, Marcus, Crassus, Marcus Marcellus,
and Scipio Metellus went to Cicero's house, where, knocking at the gate,
and calling up the porter, they commanded him to awake Cicero, and
tell him they were there. The business was this: Crassus's porter after
supper had delivered to him letters brought by an unknown person. Some
of them were directed to others, but one to Crassus, without a name;
this only Crassus read, which informed him that there was a great
slaughter intended by Catiline, and advised him to leave the city. The
others he did not open, but went with them immediately to Cicero, being
affrighted at the danger, and to free himself of the suspicion he lay
under for his familiarity with Catiline. Cicero, considering the matter,
summoned the senate at break of day. The letters he brought with him,
and delivered them to those to whom they were directed, commanding
them to read them publicly; they all alike contained an account of
the conspiracy. And when Quintus Arrius, a man of praetorian dignity,
recounted to them, how soldiers were collecting in companies in Etruria,
and Manlius was stated to be in motion with a large force, hovering
about those cities, in expectation of intelligence from Rome, the senate
made a decree to place all in the hands of the consuls, who should
undertake the conduct of everything, and do their best to save the
state. This was not a common thing, but only done by the senate in cases
of imminent danger.

After Cicero had received this power, he committed all affairs outside
to Quintus Metellus; but the management of the city he kept in his own
hands. Such a numerous attendance guarded him every day when he went
abroad that the greater part of the forum was filled with his train when
he entered it. Catiline, impatient of further delay, resolved himself to
break forth and go to Manlius; but he commanded Marcius and Cethegus to
take their swords and go early in the morning to Cicero's gates, as if
only intending to salute him, and then to fall upon him and slay him. A
noble lady, Fulvia, coming by night, discovered this to Cicero, bidding
him beware of Cethegus and Marcius. They came by break of day, and being
denied entrance, made an outcry and disturbance at the gates, which
excited all the more suspicion. But Cicero, going forth, summoned the
senate into the temple of Jupiter Stator, which stands at the end of the
Sacred Street, going up to the Palatine. And when Catiline with others
of his party also came, as though intending to make his defence, none of
the senators would sit by him, but all of them left the bench where he
had placed himself. And when he began to speak, they interrupted him
with outcries. At length, Cicero, standing up, commanded him to leave
the city; for, since one governed the commonwealth with words, the other
with arms, it was necessary that there should be a wall betwixt them.
Catiline, therefore, immediately left the town, with three hundred
armed men; and assuming, like a magistrate, the rods, axes, and military
ensigns, he went to Manlius, and having got together a body of near
twenty thousand men, with these he marched to the several cities,
endeavoring to persuade or force them to revolt. It being now come to
open war, Antonius was sent forth to fight him.

The remainder of those in the city whom he had corrupted, Cornelius
Lentulus kept together and encouraged. He had the surname Sura, and was
a man of a noble family, but a dissolute liver, who for his debauchery
was formerly turned out of the senate, and was now holding the office of
praetor for the second time, as the custom is with those who desire to
regain the dignity of senator. It is said that he got the surname Sura
upon this occasion; being quaestor in the time of Sylla, he had lavished
away and consumed a great quantity of the public moneys, at which Sylla,
being provoked, called him to give an account in the senate. He appeared
with great coolness and contempt, and said he had no account to give,
but they might take this, holding up the calf of his leg, as boys do at
ball, when they have missed. Upon which he was surnamed Sura, sura being
the Roman word for the calf of the leg. Being at another time prosecuted
at law, and having bribed some of the judges, he escaped by only two
votes, and complained of the needless expense he had gone to in paying
for a second, as one would have sufficed to acquit him. This man, such
in his own nature, and now inflamed by Catiline, false prophets and
fortune-tellers had also corrupted with vain hopes, quoting to him
fictitious verses and oracles, and proving from the Sibylline prophecies
that there were three of the name Cornelius designed by fate to be
monarchs of Rome; two of whom, Cinna and Sylla, had already fulfilled
the decree, and that divine fortune was now advancing with the gift of
monarchy for the remaining third Cornelius; and that therefore he
ought by all means to accept it, and not lose opportunity by delay, as
Catiline had done.

Lentulus, therefore, designed no mean or trivial matter, for he had
resolved to kill the whole senate, and as many other citizens as he
could, to fire the city, and spare nobody, except Pompey's children,
intending to seize and keep them as pledges of his reconciliation with
Pompey. For there was then a common report that Pompey was on his way
homeward from his great expedition. The night appointed for the design
was one of the Saturnalia; swords, flax, and sulphur they carried
and hid in the house of Cethegus; and providing one hundred men, and
dividing the city into as many parts, they had allotted to every one
singly his proper place, so that in a moment, many kindling the fire,
the city might be in a flame all together. Others were appointed to stop
up the aqueducts, and to kill those who should endeavor to carry water
to put it out. While these plans were preparing, it happened that there
were two ambassadors from the Allobroges staying in Rome; a nation at
that time in a distressed condition, and very uneasy under the Roman
government. These Lentulus and his party, judging useful instruments to
move Gaul to revolt, admitted into the conspiracy, and they gave them
letters to their own magistrates, and letters to Catiline; in those
they promised liberty, in these they exhorted Catiline to set all
slaves free, and to bring them along with him to Rome. They sent also
to accompany them to Catiline, one Titus, a native of Croton, who was to
carry those letters to him.

These counsels of inconsidering men, who conversed together over their
wine, Cicero watched with sober industry and forethought, and with most
admirable sagacity, having several emissaries abroad, who observed
and traced with him all that was done, and keeping also a secret
correspondence with many who pretended to join in the conspiracy. He
thus knew all the discourse which passed between them and the strangers;
and lying in wait for them by night, he took the Crotonian with his
letters, the ambassadors of the Allobroges acting secretly in concert
with him.

By break of day, he summoned the senate into the temple of Concord,
where he read the letters and examined the informers. Junius Silanus
further stated that several persons had heard Cethegus say that three
consuls and four praetors were to be slain; Piso, also, a person of
consular dignity, testified other matters of like nature; and Caius
Sulpicius, one of the praetors, being sent to Cethegus's house, found
there a quantity of darts and of armor, and a still greater number
of swords and daggers, all recently whetted. At length, the senate,
decreeing indemnity to the Crotonian upon his confession of the whole
matter, Lentulus was convicted, abjured his office (for he was then
praetor), and put off his robe edged with purple in the senate, changing
it for another garment more agreeable to his present circumstances. He,
thereupon, with the rest of his confederates present, was committed to
the charge of the praetors in free custody.

It being evening, and the common people in crowds expecting without,
Cicero went forth to them, and told them what was done, and then,
attended by them, went to the house of a friend and near neighbor; for
his own was taken up by the women, who were celebrating with secret
rites the feast of the goddess whom the Romans call the Good, and the
Greeks, the Women's goddess. For a sacrifice is annually performed to
her in the consul's house, either by his wife or mother, in the presence
of the vestal virgins. And having got into his friend's house privately,
a few only being present, he began to deliberate how he should treat
these men. The severest and the only punishment fit for such heinous
crimes, he was somewhat shy and fearful of inflicting, as well from the
clemency of his nature, as also lest he should be thought to exercise
his authority too insolently, and to treat too harshly men of the
noblest birth and most powerful friendships in the city; and yet, if he
should use them more mildly, he had a dreadful prospect of danger from
them. For there was no likelihood that, if they suffered less than
death, they would be reconciled, but, rather, adding new rage to their
former wickedness, they would rush into every kind of audacity, while
he himself, whose character for courage already did not stand very high
with the multitude, would be thought guilty of the greatest cowardice
and want of manliness.

While Cicero was in doubt what course to take, a portent happened to
the women in their sacrificing. For on the altar, where the fire seemed
wholly extinguished, a great and bright flame issued forth from the
ashes of the burnt wood; at which others were affrighted, but the holy
virgins called to Terentia, Cicero's wife, and bade her hasten to her
husband, and command him to execute what he had resolved for the good of
his country, for the goddess had sent a great light to the increase of
his safety and glory. Terentia, therefore, as she was otherwise in her
own nature neither tender-hearted nor timorous, but a woman eager for
distinction (who, as Cicero himself says, would rather thrust herself
into his public affairs than communicate her domestic matters to him),
told him these things, and excited him against the conspirators. So also
did Quintus his brother, and Publius Nigidius, one of his philosophical
friends, whom he often made use of in his most weighty affairs of state.

The next day, a debate arising in the senate about the punishment of the
men, Silanus, being the first who was asked his opinion, said, it was
fit that they should be all sent to prison, and there suffer the utmost
penalty. With him all agreed in order till it came to Caius Caesar, who
was afterwards dictator. He was then but a young man, and only at the
outset of his career, but had already directed his hopes and policy
to that course by which he afterwards changed the Roman state into a

When it came Caesar's turn to give his opinion, he stood up and proposed
that the conspirators should not be put to death, but their estates
confiscated, and their persons confined in such cities in Italy as
Cicero should approve, there to be kept in custody till Catiline was
conquered. To this sentence, as it was the most moderate, and he that
delivered it a most powerful speaker, Cicero himself gave no small
weight, for he stood up and, turning the scale on either side, spoke
in favor partly of the former, partly of Caesar's sentence. And all
Cicero's friends, judging Caesar's sentence most expedient for Cicero,
because he would incur the less blame if the conspirators were not put
to death, chose rather the latter; so that Silanus, also, changing his
mind, retracted his opinion, and said he had not declared for
capital, but only the utmost punishment, which to a Roman senator
is imprisonment. The first man who spoke against Caesar's motion was
Catulus Lutatius. Cato followed, and so vehemently urged in his speech
the strong suspicion about Caesar himself, and so filled the senate with
anger and resolution, that a decree was passed for the execution of the
conspirators. But Caesar opposed the confiscation of their goods, not
thinking it fair that those who had rejected the mildest part of his
sentence should avail themselves of the severest. And when many insisted
upon it, he appealed to the tribunes, but they would do nothing; till
Cicero himself yielding, remitted that part of the sentence.

After this, Cicero went out with the senate to the conspirators; they
were not all together in one place, but the several praetors had them,
some one, some another, in custody. And first he took Lentulus from the
Palatine, and brought him by the Sacred Street, through the middle of
the market-place, a circle of the most eminent citizens encompassing and
protecting him. The people, affrighted at what was doing, passed along
in silence, especially the young men; as if, with fear and trembling,
they were undergoing a rite of initiation into some ancient, sacred
mysteries of aristocratic power. Thus passing from the market-place, and
coming to the gaol, he delivered Lentulus to the officer, and commanded
him to execute him; and after him Cethegus, and so all the rest in
order, he brought and delivered up to execution. And when he saw many
of the conspirators in the market-place, still standing together
in companies, ignorant of what was done, and waiting for the night,
supposing the men were still alive and in a possibility of being
rescued, he called out in a loud voice, and said, "They did live"; for
so the Romans, to avoid inauspicious language, name those that are dead.

It was now evening, when he returned from the market-place to his own
house, the citizens no longer attending him with silence, nor in order,
but receiving him, as he passed, with acclamations and applauses, and
saluting him as the savior and founder of his country. A bright light
shone through the streets from the lamps and torches set up at the
doors, and the women showed lights from the tops of the houses, to honor
Cicero, and to behold him returning home with a splendid train of the
principal citizens; amongst whom were many who had conducted great wars,
celebrated triumphs, and added to the possessions of the Roman empire,
both by sea and land. These, as they passed along with him, acknowledged
to one another, that though the Roman people were indebted to several
officers and commanders of that age for riches, spoils, and power, yet
to Cicero alone they owed the safety and security of all these, for
delivering them from so great and imminent a danger. For though it
might seem no wonderful thing to prevent the design, and punish the
conspirators, yet to defeat the greatest of all conspiracies with so
little disturbance, trouble, and commotion, was very extraordinary. For
the greater part of those who had flocked in to Catiline, as soon as
they heard of the fate of Lentulus and Cethegus, forsook him, and he
himself, with his remaining forces, joining battle with Antonius, was
destroyed with his army.

And yet there were some who were very ready both to speak ill of Cicero,
and to do him hurt for these actions; and they had for their leaders
some of the magistrates of the ensuing year, as Caesar, who was one of
the praetors, and Metellus and Bestia, the tribunes. These, entering
upon their office some few days before Cicero's consulate expired, would
not permit him to make any address to the people, but, throwing the
benches before the Rostra, hindered his speaking, telling him he might,
if he pleased, make the oath of withdrawal from office, and then come
down again. Cicero, accordingly, accepting the conditions, came forward
to make his withdrawal; and silence being made, he recited his oath, not
in the usual, but in a new and peculiar form, namely, that he had saved
his country, and preserved the empire; the truth of which oath all the
people confirmed with theirs. Caesar and the tribunes, all the more
exasperated by this, endeavored to create him further trouble, and for
this purpose proposed a law for calling Pompey home with his army, to
put an end to Cicero's usurpation. But it was a very great advantage for
Cicero and the whole commonwealth that Cato was at that time one of the
tribunes. For he, being of equal power with the rest, and of greater
reputation, could oppose their designs. He easily defeated their other
projects, and, in an oration to the people, so highly extolled Cicero's
consulate, that the greatest honors were decreed him, and he was
publicly declared the Father of his Country, which title he seems to
have obtained, the first man who did so, when Cato applied it to him in
this address to the people.

At this time, therefore, his authority was very great in the city; but
he created himself much envy, and offended very many, not by any evil
action, but because he was always lauding and magnifying himself. For
neither senate, nor assembly of the people, nor court of judicature
could meet, in which he was not heard to talk of Catiline and Lentulus.
Indeed, he filled his books and writings with his own praises, to such
an excess as to render a style, in itself most pleasant and delightful,
nauseous and irksome to his hearers. This ungrateful humor, like a
disease, always clove to him. Still, though fond of his own glory,
he was very free from envying others, but was, on the contrary,
most liberally profuse in commending both the ancients and his
contemporaries, as any one may see in his writings. He called Aristotle
a river of flowing gold, and said of Plato's Dialogues, that if Jupiter
were to speak, it would be in language like theirs. He used to call
Theophrastus his special luxury. And being asked which of Demosthenes's
orations he liked best, he answered, "The longest." And as for the
eminent men of his own time, either in eloquence or philosophy, there
was not one of them whom he did not, by writing or speaking favorably of
him, render more illustrious.

An example of his love of praise is the way in which sometimes, to
make his orations more striking, he neglected decorum and dignity.
When Munatius, who had escaped conviction by his advocacy, immediately
prosecuted his friend Sabinus, he said in the warmth of his resentment,
"Do you suppose you were acquitted for your own merits, Munatius, or was
it not that I so darkened the case, that the court could not see your
guilt?" When from the Rostra he had made a eulogy on Marcus Crassus,
with much applause, and within a few days after again as publicly
reproached him, Crassus called to him, and said, "Did not you yourself
two days ago, in this same place, commend me?" "Yes," said Cicero, "I
exercised my eloquence in declaiming upon a bad subject." At another
time, Crassus had said that no one of his family had ever lived beyond
sixty years of age, and afterwards denied it, and asked, "What should
put it into my head to say so?" "It was to gain the people's favor,"
answered Cicero; "you knew how glad they would be to hear it." When
Vatinius, who had swellings in his neck, was pleading a cause, he called
him the tumid orator; and having been told by some one that Vatinius was
dead, on hearing soon after that he was alive, he said, "may the rascal
perish, for his news not being true."

Upon Caesar's bringing forward a law for the division of the lands in
Campania amongst the soldiers, many in the senate opposed it; amongst
the rest, Lucius Gellius, one of the oldest men in the house, said it
should never pass whilst he lived. "Let us postpone it," said Cicero,
"Gellius does not ask us to wait long." There was a man of the name of
Octavius, suspected to be of African descent. He once said, when Cicero
was pleading, that he could not hear him; "yet there are holes," said
Cicero, "in your ears." When Metellus Nepos told him that he had ruined
more as a witness than he had saved as an advocate, "I admit," said
Cicero, "that I have more truth than eloquence." To a young man who was
suspected of having given a poisoned cake to his father, and who talked
largely of the invectives he meant to deliver against Cicero, "Better
these," replied he, "than your cakes." Publius Sextius, having amongst
others retained Cicero as his advocate in a certain cause, was yet
desirous to say all for himself, and would not allow anybody to speak
for him; when he was about to receive his acquittal from the judges, and
the ballots were passing, Cicero called to him, "make haste, Sextius,
and use your time; to-morrow you will be nobody." He cited Publius Cotta
to bear testimony in a certain cause, one who affected to be thought a
lawyer, though ignorant and unlearned; but when Cotta had said, "I know
nothing at all about the matter," Cicero answered: "You think, perhaps,
we are asking you about a point of law." When Marcus Appius, in the
opening of some speech in a court of justice, said that his friend had
desired him to employ industry, eloquence, and fidelity in that cause,
Cicero asked, "And how have you had the heart not to accede to any one
of his requests?"

One Clodius, whom Cicero had vehemently opposed in an important trial,
having got himself chosen one of the tribunes, immediately attacked
Cicero, endeavoring to incite everybody against him. The common people
he gained over with popular laws; to each of the consuls he decreed
large provinces, to Piso, Macedonia, and to Gabinius, Syria. Of the
three men then in greatest power, Crassus was Cicero's open enemy,
Pompey indifferently made advances to both, and Caesar was going with
an army into Gaul. To him, though not his friend, Cicero applied,
requesting an appointment as one of his lieutenants in the province.
Caesar accepted him, and Clodius, perceiving that Cicero would thus
escape his tribunician authority, professed to be inclinable to a
reconciliation, made always a favorable mention of him, and addressed
him with kind expressions, as one who felt no hatred or ill-will, but
who merely wished to urge his complaints in a moderate and friendly
way. By these artifices, he so freed Cicero of all his fears, that
he resigned his appointment to Caesar, and betook himself again to
political affairs. At which Caesar being exasperated, joined the party
of Clodius against him, and wholly alienated Pompey from him; he also
himself declared in a public assembly of the people, that he did not
think Lentulus and Cethegus, with their accomplices, were fairly and
legally put to death without being brought to trial. And this, indeed,
was the crime charged upon Cicero, and this impeachment he was summoned
to answer. And so, as an accused man, and in danger for the result, he
changed his dress, and went round with his hair untrimmed, in the attire
of a suppliant, to beg the people's grace. But Clodius met him in every
corner, having a band of abusive and daring fellows about him, who
derided Cicero for his change of dress and his humiliation, and often,
by throwing dirt and stones at him, interrupted his supplication to the

However, first of all, almost the whole equestrian order changed
their dress with him, and no less than twenty thousand young gentlemen
followed him with their hair untrimmed, and supplicating with him to the
people. And then the senate met, to pass a decree that the people should
change their dress as in time of public sorrow. But the consuls opposing
it, and Clodius with armed men besetting the senate-house, many of the
senators ran out, crying aloud and tearing their clothes. But this sight
moved neither shame nor pity; Cicero must either fly or determine it by
the sword with Clodius. He entreated Pompey to aid him, who on purpose
had gone out of the way, and was staying at his country-house in the
Alban hills; and first he sent his son-in-law Piso to intercede with
him, and afterwards set out to go himself. But Pompey being informed,
would not stay to see him, being ashamed at the remembrance of the many
conflicts in the commonwealth which Cicero had undergone in his behalf,
and how much of his policy he had directed for his advantage. But being
now Caesar's son-in-law, at his instance he had set aside all former
kindness, and, slipping out at another door, avoided the interview.
Thus being forsaken by Pompey, and left alone to himself, he fled to
the consuls. Gabinius was rough with him, as usual, but Piso spoke more
courteously, desiring him to yield for a while to the fury of Clodius,
and to await a change of times, and to be now, as before, his country's
savior from the peril of these troubles and commotions which Clodius was

Cicero, receiving this answer, consulted with his friends. Lucullus
advised him to stay, as being sure to prevail at last; others to fly,
because the people would soon desire him again, when they should have
enough of the rage and madness of Clodius. This last Cicero approved.
But first he took a statue of Minerva, which had been long set up and
greatly honored in his house, and carrying it to the capitol, there
dedicated it, with the inscription, "To Minerva, Patroness of Rome." And
receiving an escort from his friends, about the middle of the night
he left the city, and went by land through Lucania, intending to reach

But as soon as it was publicly known that he was fled, Clodius proposed
to the people a decree of exile, and by his own order interdicted him
fire and water, prohibiting any within five hundred miles in Italy to
receive him into their houses. Most people, out of respect for Cicero,
paid no regard to this edict, offering him every attention, and
escorting him on his way. But at Hipponium, a city of Lucania, now
called Vibo, one Vibius, a Sicilian by birth, who, amongst may other
instances of Cicero's friendship, had been made head of the state
engineers when he was consul, would not receive him into his house,
sending him word that he would appoint a place in the country for his
reception. Caius Vergilius, the praetor of Sicily, who had been on
the most intimate terms with him, wrote to him to forbear coming
into Sicily. Cicero, thoroughly disheartened at these things, went to
Brundusium, whence he put forth with a prosperous wind, but a contrary
gale blowing from the sea carried him back to Italy the next day. He
put again to sea, and having reached Dyrrachium, on his coming to shore
there, it is reported that an earthquake and a convulsion in the sea
happened at the same time, signs which the diviners said intimated
that his exile would not be long, for these were prognostics of change.
Although many visited him with respect, and the cities of Greece
contended with each other in honoring him, he yet continued
disconsolate, like an unfortunate lover, often casting his looks back
upon Italy; and, indeed, he had become more humiliated and dejected
by his misfortunes than any one could have expected in a man who had
devoted so much of his life to study and learning. And yet he often
desired his friends not to call him orator, but philosopher, because
he had made philosophy his business, and had only used rhetoric as an
instrument for attaining his objects in public life.

Clodius, having thus driven away Cicero, fell to burning his
farm-buildings and villas, and afterwards his city house, and built on
the site of it a temple to Liberty. The rest of his property he exposed
for sale by daily proclamation, but nobody came to buy. By this course
he became formidable to the noble citizens, and, being followed by the
commonalty, whom he had filled with insolence and licentiousness,
he began at last to try his strength against Pompey, some of whose
arrangements in the countries he conquered, he attacked. The disgrace
of this made Pompey begin to reproach himself for his cowardice in
deserting Cicero, and, changing his mind, he now wholly set himself with
his friends to contrive his return. And when Clodius opposed it, the
senate made a vote that no public measure should be ratified or passed
by them till Cicero was recalled. But when Lentulus was consul, the
commotions grew so high upon this matter, that the tribunes were wounded
in the Forum, and Quintus, Cicero's brother, was left as dead, lying
unobserved amongst the slain. The people began to change in their
feelings; and Annius Milo, one of their tribunes, was the first who had
the courage to summon Clodius to trial for acts of violence. Many of
the common people in Rome and the neighboring cities formed a party with
Pompey, who headed them in person, drove Clodius out of the Forum, and
summoned the people to pass their vote. And, it is said, the people
never passed any suffrage more unanimously than this. The senate, also,
striving to outdo the people, sent letters of thanks to those cities
which had received Cicero with respect in his exile, and decreed that
his house and his country-places, which Clodius had destroyed, should be
rebuilt at the public charge.

Thus Cicero returned sixteen months after his exile, and the cities were
so glad, and the people so zealous to meet him, that his boast, that
Italy had brought him on her shoulders home to Rome, was rather less
than the truth. And Crassus himself, who had been his enemy before his
exile, went voluntarily to meet him, and was reconciled, as he said, to
please his son Publius, who was Cicero's affectionate admirer.

Cicero had not been long at Rome, when, taking the opportunity of
Clodius's absence, he went, with a great company, to the capitol, and
there tore and defaced the tribunician tables, in which were recorded
the acts done in the time of Clodius. And on Clodius calling him in
question for this, he answered, that he, being of the patrician order,
had obtained the office of tribune against the law, and, therefore,
nothing done by him was valid. Cato was displeased at this, and opposed
Cicero, not that he commended Clodius, but rather disapproved of his
whole administration; yet, he contended, that it was an irregular and
violent course for the senate to vote the illegality of so many decrees
and acts, including those of Cato's own government in Cyprus and at
Byzantium. This occasioned a breach between Cato and Cicero, which,
though it did not come to open enmity, made a more reserved friendship
between them.

After this, Milo killed Clodius, and, being arraigned for the murder,
he procured Cicero for his advocate. The senate, fearing lest the
questioning of so eminent and high-spirited a citizen as Milo might
disturb the peace of the city, committed the superintendence of this
and of the other trials to Pompey, who should undertake to maintain
the security alike of the city and of the courts of justice. Pompey,
therefore, went in the night, and occupying the high grounds about it,
surrounded the Forum with soldiers. Milo, fearing lest Cicero, being
disturbed by such an unusual sight, should conduct his cause the less
successfully, persuaded him to come in a litter into the Forum, and
there rest till the judges had taken their seats, and the court was
filled. For Cicero, it seems, not only wanted courage in arms, but, in
his speaking also, began with timidity, and in many cases scarcely left
off trembling and shaking when he had got thoroughly into the current
and the substance of his speech. Once when he had to defend Licinius
Murena against the prosecution of Cato, being eager to outdo Hortensius,
who had made his plea with great applause, he took so little rest the
night before, and was so disordered with thought and over-watching, that
he spoke much worse than usual. And so now, on quitting his litter to
commence the cause of Milo, at the sight of Pompey, encamped, as it
were, with his troops, and seeing arms shining round about the Forum,
he was so confounded that he could hardly begin his speech, for the
trembling of his body and hesitancy of his tongue; whereas Milo,
meantime, was so bold and intrepid in his demeanor, that he disdained
either to let his hair grow, or to put on the mourning habit. And this,
indeed, seems to have been the principal cause of his condemnation. And
Cicero was thought not so much to have shown timidity for himself, as
anxiety about his friend.

When the outbreak between Caesar and Pompey came, Cicero wavered
painfully between both, for he writes in his epistles, "To which side
should I turn? Pompey has the fair and honorable plea for war; and
Caesar, on the other hand, has managed his affairs better, and is more
able to secure himself and his friends. So that I know whom I should
fly from, not whom I should fly to." But when Trebatius, one of Caesar's
friends, by letter signified to him that Caesar thought it was his most
desirable course to join his side, but if he considered himself too
old a man for this, he would do better to retire into Greece, and stay
quietly there, out of the way of either party, Cicero, wondering that
Caesar had not written himself, replied angrily that he should do
nothing unbecoming his past life.

But as soon as Caesar had marched into Spain, he immediately sailed away
to join Pompey. And he was welcomed by all but Cato; who, taking him
privately aside, chid him for coming to Pompey. As for himself, he said,
it would have been indecent to forsake that part in the commonwealth
which he had chosen from the beginning; but Cicero might have been
more useful to his country and friends, if, remaining neutral, he had
attended and used his influence to moderate the result, instead of
coming hither to make himself, without reason or necessity, an enemy to
Caesar, and a partner in such great dangers. By this language, Cicero's
feelings were altered, and partly, also, because Pompey made no great
use of him. Although he was himself really the cause of it, by his
not denying that he was sorry he had come, by his deprecating Pompey's
resources, finding fault underhand with his counsels, and continually
indulging in jests and sarcastic remarks on his fellow-soldiers.

After the battle of Pharsalia was over, at which he was not present for
want of health, and Pompey had fled, Cato, having considerable
forces and a great fleet at Dyrrachium, would have had Cicero
commander-in-chief, according to law, and the precedence of his consular
dignity. But on his refusing the command, and wholly declining to take
part in their plans for continuing the war, he was in the greatest
danger of being killed, young Pompey and his friends calling him
traitor, and drawing their swords upon him; only that Cato interposed,
and with difficulty rescued and brought him out of the camp.

Afterwards, arriving at Brundusium, he tarried there some time in
expectation of Caesar, who was delayed by his affairs in Asia and Egypt.
And when it was told him that he had arrived at Tarentum, and was coming
thence by land to Brundusium, he hastened towards him, not altogether
without hope, and yet in some fear of making experiment of the temper of
an enemy and conqueror in the presence of many witnesses. But there was
no necessity for him either to speak or do anything unworthy of himself;
for Caesar, as soon as he saw him coming a good way before the rest of
the company, went forward to meet him, saluted him, and, leading the
way, conversed with him alone for some furlongs. And from that time on
he continued to treat him with honor and respect, so that, when Cicero
wrote an oration in praise of Cato, Caesar, in writing an answer to it,
took occasion to commend Cicero's own life and eloquence, comparing him
to Pericles and Teramenes. Cicero's oration was called "Cato"; Caesar's,

So also, it is related that when Quintus Ligarius was prosecuted for
having been in arms against Caesar, and Cicero had undertaken his
defence, Caesar said to his friends, "Ligarius, without question, is a
wicked man and an enemy. But why might we not as well once more hear
a speech from Cicero?" yet when Cicero began to speak, he wonderfully
moved him, and proceeded in his speech with such varied pathos, and
such a charm of language, that the color of Caesar's countenance often
changed, and it was evident that all the passions of his soul were in
commotion. And when at length, the orator touched upon the Pharsalian
battle, he was so affected that his whole frame trembled and some of the
papers he held dropped out of his hands. And thus he was overpowered,
and acquitted Ligarius.

Henceforth, the commonwealth being changed into a monarchy, Cicero
withdrew himself from public affairs, and employed his leisure in
instructing those young men that wished, in philosophy; and by the near
intercourse he thus had with some of the noblest and highest in rank,
he again began to possess great influence in the city. The work which he
set himself to do was to compose and translate philosophical dialogues
and to render logical and physical terms into the Roman idiom. For he
it was, as it is said, who first or principally gave Latin names to
technical Greek terms, which, either by metaphors or other means of
accommodation, he succeeded in making intelligible to the Romans. For
his recreation, he exercised his dexterity in poetry, and when he was
set to it, would make five hundred verses in a night. He spent the
greatest part of his time at his country-house near Tusculum.

He had a design, it is said, of writing the history of his country,
combining with it much of that of Greece, and incorporating in it all
the stories and legends of the past that he had collected. But his
purposes were interfered with by various public and various private
unhappy occurrences and misfortunes; for most of which he was himself in
fault. For first of all, he put away his wife, Terentia, by whom he
had been neglected in the time of the war, and sent away destitute
of necessaries for his journey; neither did he find her kind when he
returned into Italy, for she did not join him at Brundusium, where he
staid a long time, and would not allow her young daughter, who undertook
so long a journey, decent attendance, or the requisite expenses;
besides, she left him a naked and empty house, and yet had involved him
in many and great debts. These were alleged as the fairest reasons
for the divorce. But Terentia, who denied them all, had the most
unmistakable defence furnished her by her husband himself, who not long
after married a young maiden for the love of her beauty, as Terentia
upbraided him; or as Tiro, his emancipated slave, has written, for her
riches, to discharge his debts. For the young woman was very rich, and
Cicero had the custody of her estate, being left guardian in trust; and
being in debt many myriads of money, he was persuaded by his friends and
relations to marry her, notwithstanding their disparity of age, and
to use her money to satisfy his creditors. Antony, who mentions this
marriage in his answer to the Phillippics, reproaches him for putting
away a wife with whom he had lived to old age; adding some happy strokes
of sarcasm on Cicero's domestic, inactive, unsoldier-like habits. Not
long after this marriage, his daughter died at Lentulus's house, to whom
she had been married after the death of Piso, her former husband. The
philosophers from all parts came to comfort Cicero; for his grief was so
excessive, that he put away his newly-married wife, because she seemed
to be pleased at the death of Tullia.

He had no concern in the design that was now forming to kill Caesar,
although, in general, he was Brutus's confidant.

But as soon as the act was committed by Brutus and Cassius, and the
friends of Caesar had assembled, so that there was danger of another
civil war, Antony, being consul, convened the senate, and made a short
address recommending concord. And Cicero, following with various remarks
such as the occasion called for, persuaded the senate to imitate the
Athenians, and decree an amnesty for what had been done in Caesar's
case, and to bestow provinces on Brutus and Cassius. But neither of
these things took effect. For as soon as the common people, who were
naturally inclined to pity, saw the dead body of Caesar borne through
the market-place, and Antony showing his clothes stained with blood, and
pierced through in every part with swords, they were enraged to such a
degree of frenzy, that they made a search for the murderers, and with
firebrands in their hands ran to their houses to burn them.

Antony at this was in exultation, and every one was alarmed at the
prospect that he would make himself sole ruler, and Cicero more than any
one else. For Antony, seeing his influence reviving in the commonwealth,
and knowing how closely he was connected with Brutus, was ill-pleased
to have him in the city. Besides, there had been some former jealousy
between them, occasioned by the difference of their manners. Cicero,
fearing the event, was inclined to go as lieutenant with Dolabella into
Syria. But Hirtius and Pansa, consuls-elect as successors of Antony,
good men and lovers of Cicero, entreated him not to leave them,
undertaking to put down Antony if he would stay in Rome. And he, neither
distrusting wholly, nor trusting them, let Dolabella go without him,
promising Hirtius that he would go and spend his summer at Athens,
and return again when he entered upon his office. So he set out on his
journey; but some delay occurring in his passage, new intelligence,
as often happens, came suddenly from Rome, that Antony had made an
astonishing change, and was managing the public affairs in harmony with
the will of the senate, and that there wanted nothing but his presence
to bring things to a happy settlement. Therefore, blaming himself for
his cowardice, he returned to Rome, and was not deceived in his hopes
at the beginning. For such multitudes flocked out to meet him, that the
compliments and civilities which were paid him at the gates, and at this
entrance into the city, took up almost a whole day's time.

On the morrow, Antony convened the senate, and summoned Cicero thither.
But he kept his bed, pretending to be ill from his journey; but the
true reason seemed to be the fear of some design against him, upon a
suspicion and intimation given him on his way to Rome. Antony, however,
showed great offence at the affront, and sent soldiers, commanding them
to bring him or burn his house; but many interceding and supplicating
for him, he was contented to accept sureties. Ever after when they met,
they passed one another in silence, and continued on their guard, till
the younger Caesar (Augustus), coming from Apollonia, entered on the
first Caesar's inheritance, and was engaged in a dispute with Antony
about two thousand five hundred myriads of money, which Antony detained
from the estate.

Upon this, Philippus, who married the mother, and Marcellus, who married
the sister of young Caesar, came with the young man to Cicero, and
agreed with him that Cicero should give them the aid of his eloquence
and political influence with the senate and people, and Caesar give
Cicero the defence of his riches and arms. For the young man had
already a great party of the soldiers of Caesar about him. And Cicero's
readiness to join him was founded, it is said, on some yet stronger
motives; for it seems, while Pompey and Caesar were yet alive, Cicero,
in his sleep, had fancied himself engaged in calling some of the sons
of the senators into the capitol, Jupiter, according to the dream, being
about to declare one of them the chief ruler of Rome. The citizens,
running up with curiosity, stood about the temple, and the youths,
sitting in their purple-bordered robes, kept silence. On a sudden the
doors opened, and the youths, arising one by one in order, passed round
the god, who reviewed them all, and, to their sorrow, dismissed them;
but when this one was passing by, the god stretched forth his right hand
and said, "O ye Romans, this young man, when he shall be lord of Rome,
shall put an end to all your civil wars." It is said that Cicero formed
from his dream a distinct image of the youth, and retained it afterwards
perfectly, but did not know who it was. The next day, going down into
the Campus Martius, he met the boys returning from their gymnastic
exercises, and the first was he, just as he had appeared to him in his
dream. Being astonished at it, he asked him who were his parents. And
it proved to be this young Caesar, whose father was a man of no great
eminence, Octavius, and his mother, Attia, Caesar's sister's daughter;
for which reason, Caesar, who had no children, made him by will the
heir of his house and property. From that time, it is said that Cicero
studiously noticed the youth whenever he met him, and he as kindly
received the civility; and by fortune he happened to be born when Cicero
was consul.

These were the reasons spoken of; but it was principally Cicero's hatred
of Antony, and a temper unable to resist honor, which fastened him to
Caesar, with the purpose of getting the support of Caesar's power for
his own public designs. For the young man went so far in his court
to him, that he called him Father; at which Brutus was so highly
displeased, that, in his epistles to Atticus he reflected on Cicero
saying, it was manifest, by his courting Caesar for fear of Antony,
he did not intend liberty to his country, but an indulgent master
to himself. Notwithstanding, Brutus took Cicero's son, then studying
philosophy at Athens, gave him a command, and employed him in various
ways, with a good result. Cicero's own power at this time was at the
greatest height in the city, and he did whatsoever he pleased; he
completely overpowered and drove out Antony, and sent the two consuls,
Hirtius and Pansa, with an army, to reduce him; and, on the other
hand, persuaded the senate to allow Caesar the lictors and ensigns of a
praetor, as though he were his country's defender. But after Antony was
defeated in battle, and the two consuls slain, the armies united, and
ranged themselves with Caesar. And the senate, fearing the young man,
and his extraordinary fortune, endeavored by honors and gifts, to call
off the soldiers from him, and to lessen his power; professing there was
no further need of arms, now Antony was put to flight.

This gave Caesar a fright, and he privately sent friends to entreat
Cicero to procure the consular dignity for them both together; saying
that he should manage the affair as he pleased, should have the supreme
power, and govern the young man who was only desirous of name and glory.

And now, more than at any other time, Cicero let himself be carried away
and deceived, though an old man, by the persuasions of a boy. He joined
him in soliciting votes, and procured the good-will of the senate, not
without blame at the time on the part of his friends; and he, too, soon
enough after, saw that he had ruined himself, and betrayed the liberty
of his country. For the young man, once established, and possessed of
the office of consul, bade Cicero farewell; and reconciling himself
with Antony and Lepidus, joined his power with theirs, and divided the
government, like a piece of property, with them. Thus united, they made
a schedule of above two hundred persons who were to be put to death.
But the greatest contention in all their debates was on the question of
Cicero's case. Antony would come to no conditions, unless he should be
the first man to be killed. Lepidus held with Antony, and Caesar opposed
them both. They met secretly and by themselves, for three days together,
near the town of Bononia. The spot was not far from the camp, with a
river surrounding it. Caesar, it is said, contended earnestly for Cicero
the first two days; but on the third day he yielded, and gave him up.
The terms of their mutual concessions were these; that Caesar should
desert Cicero, Lepidus his brother Paulus, and Antony, Lucius Caesar,
his uncle by his mother's side. Thus they let their anger and fury take
from them the sense of humanity, and demonstrated that no beast is more
savage than man, when possessed with power proportioned to his rage.

While these things were contriving, Cicero was with his brother at his
country-house near Tusculum; whence, hearing of the proscriptions, they
determined to pass to Astura, a villa of Cicero's near the sea, and to
take shipping from there for Macedonia to Brutus, of whose strength in
that province news had already been heard. They traveled together in
their separate litters, overwhelmed with sorrow; and often stopping on
the way till their litters came together, condoled with one another.
But Quintus was the more disheartened, when he reflected on his want of
means for his journey; for, as he said, he had brought nothing with him
from home. And even Cicero himself had but a slender provision. It was
judged therefore most expedient that Cicero should make what haste he
could to fly, and Quintus return home to provide necessaries, and thus
resolved, they mutually embraced, and parted with many tears.

Quintus, within a few days after, was betrayed by his servants to those
who came to search for him, and slain, together with his young son. But
Cicero was carried to Astura, where, finding a vessel, he immediately
went on board of her, and sailed as far as Circaeum with a prosperous
gale; but when the pilots resolved immediately to set sail from there,
whether he feared the sea, or did not wholly lose faith in Caesar, he
went on shore, and passed by land a hundred furlongs, as if he was going
to Rome. But losing resolution and changing his mind, he again returned
to the sea, and there spent the night in fear and perplexity. Sometimes
he resolved to go into Caesar's house privately, and there kill himself
upon the altar of his household gods, to bring divine vengeance upon
him; but the fear of torture restrained him. And after passing through a
variety of confused and uncertain counsels, at last he let his servants
carry him by sea to Capitae, where he had a house, an agreeable place to
retire to in the heat of summer, when the Etesian winds are so pleasant.

There was at that place a chapel of Apollo, not far from the sea-side,
from which a flight of crows rose with a great noise, and made towards
Cicero's vessel as it rowed to land, and lighting on both sides of the
yard, some croaked, others pecked the ends of the ropes. This was looked
upon by all as an evil omen; and, therefore, Cicero went again ashore,
and entering his house, lay down upon his bed to compose himself at
rest. Many of the crows settled about the window, making a dismal
cawing; but one of them alighted upon the bed where Cicero lay covered
up, and with its bill, little by little pecked off the clothes from his
face. His servants, seeing this, blamed themselves that they should
stay to be spectators of their master's murder, and do nothing in his
defence, while the brute creatures came to assist and take care of him
in his undeserved affliction; and therefore, partly by entreaty, partly
by force, they took him up, and carried him in his litter toward the

But in the meantime the assassins had come with a band of
soldiers--Herennius, a centurion, and Popillius, a tribune, whom Cicero
had formerly defended when prosecuted for the murder of his father.
Finding the door shut, they broke them open, and when Cicero did not
appear and those within said they did not know where he was, it is
stated that a youth, who had been educated by Cicero in the liberal arts
and sciences, an emancipated slave of his brother Quintus, Philologus
by name, informed the tribune that the litter was on its way to the sea
through the close and shady walks. The tribune, taking a few with
him, ran to the place where he was to come out. And Cicero, perceiving
Herennius running in the walks, commanded his servants to set down the
litter; and stroking his chin, as he used to do, with his left hand, he
looked steadfastly upon his murderers, his person covered with dust, his
beard and hair untrimmed, and his face worn with his troubles. So that
the greatest part of those that stood by covered their faces whilst
Herennius slew him. And thus was he murdered, stretching forth his neck
out of the litter, being now in his sixty-fourth year. Herennius cut
off his head, and, by Antony's command, his hands also, by which his
Philippics were written; for so Cicero styled those orations he wrote
against Antony, and so they are called to this day.

When these members of Cicero were brought to Rome, Antony was holding
an assembly for the choice of public officers; and when he heard it, and
saw them, he cried out, "Now let there be an end of our proscriptions."
He commanded his head and hands to be fastened up over the Rostra, where
the orators spoke; a sight which the Roman people shuddered to behold,
and they believed they saw there not the face of Cicero, but the image
of Antony's own soul.

A long time after, Augustus, when visiting one of his daughter's
sons, found him with a book of Cicero's in his hand. The boy for fear
endeavored to hide it under his gown; but Caesar took it from him, and
turning over a great part of the book standing, gave it to him again,
and said, "My child, this was a learned man, and a lover of his
country." And immediately after he had vanquished Antony, being then
consul, he made Cicero's son his colleague in the office; and, under
that consulship, the senate took down all the statues of Antony, and
abolished all the other honors that had been given him, and decreed that
none of that family should thereafter bear the name of Marcus; and thus
the final acts of the punishment of Antony were, by the divine powers,
devolved upon the family of Cicero.


These are the most memorable circumstances recorded in history of
Demosthenes and Cicero which have come to our knowledge. But, omitting
an exact comparison of their respective faculties in speaking, yet this
seems fit to be said: That Demosthenes, to make himself a master in
rhetoric, applied all the faculties he had, natural or acquired, wholly
that way; that he far surpassed in force and strength of eloquence in
political and judicial speaking all his contemporaries, in grandeur and
majesty all the panegyrical orators, and in accuracy and science all the
logicians and rhetoricians of his day; that Cicero was highly educated,
and by his diligent study became a most accomplished general scholar
in all these branches, having left behind him numerous philosophical
treatises of his own on Academic principles; as, indeed, even in his
written speeches, both political and judicial, we see him continually
trying to show his learning by the way. And one may discover the
different temper of each of them in their speeches. For Demosthenes's
oratory was, without all embellishment and jesting, wholly composed
for real effect and seriousness; not smelling of the lamp, as Pytheas
scoffingly said, but of the temperance, thoughtfulness, austerity, and
grave earnestness of his temper. Whereas, Cicero's love of mockery
often ran him into scurrility; and in his love of laughing away serious
arguments in judicial cases by jests and facetious remarks, with a view
to the advantage of his clients, he paid too little regard to what was
decent. We are told that Cicero, being consul, undertook the defence of
Murena against Cato's prosecution; and, by way of bantering Cato, made
a long series of jokes upon the absurd paradoxes, as they are called, of
the Stoic sect. When loud laughter passed from the crowd to the judges,
Cato, with a quiet smile, said to those that sat next to him, "My
friends, what an amusing consul we have."

And, indeed, Cicero was by natural temper very much disposed to
mirth and pleasantry, and always appeared with a smiling and serene
countenance. But Demosthenes had constant care and thoughtfulness in his
look, and a serious anxiety which he seldom, if ever, laid aside; and,
therefore, was accounted by his enemies, as he himself confessed, morose
and ill-mannered.

Also, it is very evident, out of their several writings, that
Demosthenes never touched upon his own praises but decently and without
offence when there was need of it, and for some weightier end. But
Cicero's immeasurable boasting of himself in his orations argues him
guilty of an uncontrollable appetite for distinction, his cry being
evermore that "Arms should give place to the gown, and the soldier's
laurel to the tongue." And at last we find him extolling not only
his deeds and actions, but his orations, as well those that were only
spoken, as those that were published.

It is necessary for a political leader to be an able speaker; but it is
an ignoble thing for any man to admire the glory of his own eloquence.
And, in this matter, Demosthenes had a more than ordinary gravity and
magnificence of mind, for he considered his talent in speaking nothing
more than a mere accomplishment and matter of practice, the success of
which must depend greatly on the good-will and candor of his hearers,
and regarded those who pride themselves on such accounts to be men of a
low and petty disposition.

The power of persuading and governing the people did, indeed, equally
belong to both, so that those who had armies and camps at command stood
in need of their assistance; as Chares, Diopithes, and Leosthenes did
that of Demosthenes, and Pompey and young Caesar of Cicero's, as the
latter himself admits in his Memoirs addressed to Agrippa and Maecenas.
But what are thought and commonly said most to demonstrate and try the
tempers of men, namely, authority and place, by moving every passion,
and discovering every frailty, these are things which Demosthenes never
received; nor was he ever in a position to give such proof of himself,
having never obtained any eminent office, nor led any of those armies
into the field against Philip which he raised by his eloquence. Cicero,
on the other hand, was sent quaestor into Sicily, and proconsul into
Cilicia and Cappadocia, at a time when avarice was at the height, and
the commanders and governors who were employed abroad, as though they
thought it a mean thing to steal, set themselves to seize by open force;
so that it seemed no heinous matter to take bribes, but he that did it
most moderately was in good esteem. And yet he, at this time, gave the
most abundant proofs alike of his contempt of riches and of his humanity
and good-nature. And at Rome, when he was created consul in name, but
indeed received sovereign and dictatorial authority against Catiline and
his conspirators, he attested the truth of Plato's prediction, that then
only would the miseries of states be at an end, when by a happy fortune
supreme power, wisdom, and justice should be united in one.

It is said, to the reproach of Demosthenes, that his eloquence was
mercenary; that he privately made orations for Phormion and Apollodorus,
though adversaries in the same cause; that he was charged with moneys
received from the king of Persia, and condemned for bribes from
Harpalus. And should we grant that all those (and they are not few) who
have made these statements against him have spoken what is untrue, yet
we cannot assert that Demosthenes was not the character to look without
desire on the presents offered him out of respect and gratitude by
royal persons. But that Cicero refused, from the Sicilians when he was
quaestor, from the king of Cappadocia when he was proconsul, and from
his friends at Rome when he was in exile, many presents, though urged to
receive them, has been said already.

Moreover, Demosthenes's banishment was infamous, upon conviction for
bribery; Cicero's very honorable, for ridding his country of a set of
villains. Therefore, when Demosthenes fled from his country, no man
regarded it; for Cicero's sake the senate changed their habit, and put
on mourning, and would not be persuaded to make any act before Cicero's
return was decreed. Cicero, however, passed his exile idly in Macedonia.
But the very exile of Demosthenes made up a great part of the services
he did for his country; for he went through the cities of Greece, and
everywhere, as we have said, joined in the conflict on behalf of the
Greeks, driving out the Macedonian ambassadors, and approving himself
a much better citizen than Themistocles and Alcibiades did in a similar
fortune. And, after his return, he again devoted himself to the same
public service, and continued firm in his opposition to Antipater and
the Macedonians. Whereas Laelius reproached Cicero in the senate for
sitting silent when Caesar, a beardless youth, asked leave to come
forward, contrary to the law, as a candidate for the consulship; and
Brutus, in his epistles, charges him with nursing and rearing a greater
and more heavy tyranny than that they had removed.

Finally, Cicero's death excites our pity; for an old man to be miserably
carried up and down by his servants, flying and hiding himself from that
death which was, in the course of nature, so near at hand; and yet
at last to be murdered. Demosthenes, though he seemed to supplicate a
little at first, yet, by his preparing and keeping the poison by him,
demands our admiration; and still more admirable was his using it.
When the temple of the god no longer afforded him a sanctuary, he took
refuge, as it were, at a mightier altar, freeing himself from arms and
soldiers, and laughing to scorn the cruelty of Antipater.


Alcibiades, it is supposed, was descended from Ajax, by his father's
side; and by his mother's side from Alcmaeon. Dinomache, his mother,
was the daughter of Megacles. His father (Clinias) having fitted out
a galley at his own expense, gained great honor in the seafight at
Artemisium, and was afterwards slain in the battle of Coronea, fighting
against the Boeotians. The friendship which Socrates felt for him has
much contributed to his fame; and though we have no account from any
writer concerning the mother of Nicias or Demosthenes, of Lamachus or
Phormion, of Thrasybulus or Theramenes, notwithstanding these were
all illustrious men of the same period, yet we know even the nurse of
Alcibiades, that her country was Lacedaemon, and her name Amycla; and
that Zopyrus was his teacher and attendant; the one being recorded by
Antisthenes, and the other by Plato.

It is not, perhaps, material to say anything of the beauty of
Alcibiades, only that it bloomed with him in all the ages of his life,
in his infancy, in his youth, and in his manhood; and, in the peculiar
character becoming to each of these periods, gave him, in every one of
them a grace and a charm. What Euripides says, that "Of all fair things
the autumn, too, is fair," is by no means universally true. But it
happened so with Alcibiades, amongst few others, by reason of his happy
constitution and natural vigor of body. It is said that his lisping,
when he spoke, became him well, and gave a grace and persuasiveness to
his rapid speech. Aristophanes takes notice of it in the verses in which
he jests at Theorus: "How like a colax he is," says Alcibiades, meaning
a corax*; on which it is remarked,

     "How very happily he lisped the truth,"

     (*This fashionable Attic lisp, or careless articulation,
     turned the sound r into l. Colax, a flatterer; corax, a

His conduct displayed many inconsistencies, not unnaturally, in
accordance with the many wonderful vicissitudes of his fortunes; but,
among the many strong passions of his real character, the most powerful
of all was his ambition for superiority, which appears in several
anecdotes told of him while he was a child. Once being hard pressed in
wrestling, and fearing to be thrown, he got the hand of his antagonist
to his mouth, and bit it with all his force; and when the other loosed
his hold presently, and said, "You bite, Alcibiades, like a woman."
"No," replied he, "like a lion." Another time, when playing at dice in
the street, being then only a child, a loaded cart came that way, just
as it was his turn to throw; at first he called to the driver to stop,
because he was about to throw in the way over which the cart would pass;
but when the man paid him no attention, and was driving on, the rest of
the boys divided and sprang away; but Alcibiades threw himself on his
face before the cart, and, stretching himself out, bade the carter pass
on now if we would. The man was so startled that he put back his horses,
while all that saw it were terrified, and, crying out, ran to assist
Alcibiades. When he began to study, he obeyed all his other masters
fairly well, but refused to learn upon the flute, as a thing unbecoming
a free citizen; saying that to play upon the lute or the harp does not
in any way disfigure a man's body or face, but one is hardly to be known
by his most intimate friends, when playing on the flute. Besides, one
who plays on the harp may speak or sing at the same time; but the use
of the flute stops the mouth, intercepts the voice, and prevents all
articulation. "Therefore," said he, "let the Theban youths pipe, who do
not know how to speak, but we Athenians, as our ancestors have told us,
have Athena for our patroness, and Apollo for our protector, one of whom
threw away the flute, and the other stripped the Flute-player of his
skin." Thus, between raillery and good earnest, Alcibiades kept not only
himself but others from learning, as it presently became the talk of the
young boys, how Alcibiades despised playing on the flute, and ridiculed
those who studied it. In consequence of which, it ceased to be reckoned
amongst the liberal accomplishments, and became generally neglected.

It was manifest that the many well-born persons who were continually
seeking his company, and making court to him, were attracted and
captivated by his extraordinary beauty only. But the affection which
Socrates entertained for him is a great evidence of the natural noble
qualities and good disposition of the boy, which Socrates, detected
under his personal beauty; and fearing that his wealth and station,
and the great number both of strangers and Athenians who flattered
and caressed him, might at last corrupt him, resolved, if possible, to
interpose, and preserve so hopeful a plant from perishing in the flower,
before its fruit came to perfection. For never did fortune surround a
man with so many of those things which we vulgarly call goods, or so
protect him from every weapon of philosophy, and fence him from every
access of free and searching words, as she did Alcibiades; who, from the
beginning, was exposed to the flatteries of those who sought merely
his gratification, such as might well unnerve him, and indispose him to
listen to any real adviser or instructor. Yet such was the happiness of
his genius, that he selected Socrates from the rest, and admitted him,
while he drove away the wealthy and the noble who made court to him.
In a little time, they grew intimate and Alcibiades, listening now to
language entirely free from every thought of unmanly fondness and silly
displays of affection, found himself with one who sought to la open
to him the deficiencies of his mind and repress his vain and foolish
arrogance, and "Dropped like the craven cock his conquered wing." He
esteemed these endeavors of Socrates as most truly a means which the
gods made use of for the care and preservation of youth, and it was a
matter of general wonder, when people saw him joining Socrates in his
meals and his exercises, living with him in the same tent, while he was
reserved and rough to all others who made their addresses to him.

He behaved in the same manner to all others who courted him, except one
stranger, who, as the story is told, having but a small estate, sold it
all for about a hundred staters, which he presented to Alcibiades, and
besought him to accept. Alcibiades, smiling and well pleased at the
thing, invited him to supper, and, after a very kind entertainment, gave
him his gold again, requiring him, moreover, not to fail to be present
the next day, when the public revenue was offered to farm, and to outbid
all others. The man would have excused himself, because the contract was
so large, and would cost many talents; but Alcibiades, who at that time
a private pique against the existing farmers of the revenue threatened
to have him beaten if he refused. The next morning, the stranger, coming
to the market-place, offered a talent more that the existing rate; upon
which the farmers, enraged and consulting together, called upon him to
name his sureties, concluding that he could find none. The poor man,
being startled at the proposal, began to retire; but ALCIBAIDES,
standing at a distance, cried out to the magistrates, "Set my name down,
he is a friend of mine; I will be security for him." When the other
bidders heard this, they perceived that all their contrivance was
defeated; for their way was, with the profits for the second year to pay
the rent for the year preceding; so that, not seeing any other way to
extricate themselves out of the difficulty, they began to treat with the
stranger, and offered him a sum of money. Alcibiades would not suffer
him to accept of less than a talent; but when that was paid down, he
commanded him to relinquish the bargain, having by this device relieved
his necessity.

Though Socrates had many power rivals, yet the natural good qualities
of Alcibiades gave his affection the mastery. His words overcame him so
much, as to draw tears from his eyes, and to disturb his very soul. Yet
sometimes he would abandon himself to flatteries, when they proposed to
him varieties of pleasure, and would desert Socrates; who, then, would
pursue him, as if he had been a fugitive slave. He despised every one
else, and had no reverence or awe for any but him. But as iron which
is softened by the fire grows hard with the cold, and all its parts are
closed again; so, as often as Socrates observed Alcibiades to be misled
by luxury or pride he reduced and corrected him by his addresses, and
made him humble and modest, by showing him in how many things he was
deficient, and how very far from perfection in virtue.

When he was past his childhood, he went once to a grammar-school, and
asked the master for one of Homer's books; and when he made answer that
he had nothing of Homer's, Alcibiades gave him a blow with his fist, and
went away. Another schoolmaster telling him that he had a copy of Homer
corrected by himself; "Why?" said Alcibiades, "do you employ your time
in teaching children to read? You, who are able to amend Homer, may well
undertake to instruct men."

When he was very young, he was a soldier in the expedition against
Potidaea, where Socrates lodged in the same tent with him, and stood
next to him in battle. Once there happened a sharp skirmish, in which
they both behaved with signal bravery; but Alcibiades receiving a wound,
Socrates threw himself before him to defend him, and beyond any question
saved him and his arms from the enemy, and so in all justice might
have challenged the prize of valor. But the generals appearing eager
to adjudge the honor to Alcibiades, because of his rank, Socrates, who
desired to increase his thirst after glory of a noble kind, was the
first to give evidence for him, and pressed them to crown, and to decree
to him the complete suit of armor. Afterwards, in the battle of Delium,
when the Athenians were routed and Socrates with a few others was
retreating on foot, Alcibiades, who was on horseback, observed it,
and would not pass on, but stayed to shelter him from the danger, and
brought him safely off, though the enemy pressed hard upon them, and cut
off many.

He gave a box on the ear to Hipponicus, the father of Callias, whose
birth and wealth made him a person of great influence and repute. And
this he did unprovoked by any passion or quarrel between them, but only
because, in a frolic, he had agreed with his companions to do it. People
were justly offended at this insolence, when it became known through
the city; but early the next morning, Alcibiades went to his house and
knocked at the door, and, being admitted to him, took off his outer
garment, and presenting his naked body, desired him to scourge and
chastise him as he pleased. Upon this Hipponicus forgot all his
resentment, and not only pardoned him, but soon after gave him his
daughter Hipparete in marriage.

Alcibiades had a dog which cost him seventy minas, and was very large
and handsome. His tail, which was his principal ornament, he caused to
be cut off, and an acquaintance exclaiming at him for it, and telling
him that all Athens was sorry for the dog, and cried out against him
for this action, he laughed and said, "Just what I wanted has happened,
then, I wished the Athenians to talk about this, that they might not say
something worse of me."

It is said that the first time he came into the assembly was upon
occasion of a largess of money which he made to the people. This was not
done by design, but as he passed along he heard a shout, and inquired
the cause; and having learned that there was a gift-making to the
people, he went in among them and gave money also. The multitude
thereupon applauding him, and shouting, he was so transported at it,
that he forgot a quail which he had under his robe, and the bird, being
frightened at the noise, flew off; upon which the people made louder
acclamations than before, and many of them started up to pursue the
bird; and Antiochus, a pilot, caught it and restored it to him, for
which he was ever after a favorite with Alcibiades.

He had great advantages for entering public life; his noble birth, his
riches, the personal courage he had shown in divers battles, and the
multitude of his friends and dependents, threw open, so to say, folding
doors for his admittance. But he did not consent to let his power with
the people rest on any thing, rather than on his own gift of eloquence.
That he was a master in the art of speaking, the comic poets bear
him witness; and the most eloquent of public speakers, in his oration
against Midias, allows that Alcibiades, among other perfections, was a
most accomplished orator.

His expenses in horses kept for the public games, and in the number of
his chariots, were matters of great observation; never did any one
but he, either private person king, send seven chariots to the Olympic
games. And to have carried away at once the first, the second, and the
fourth prize, as Thucydides says, or the third, as Euripides relates it,
outdoes every distinction that was ever thought of in that kind.

The emulation displayed by the deputations of various states, in
the presents which they made to him, rendered this success yet
more illustrious. The Ephesians erected a tent for him, adorned
magnificently; the city of Chios furnished him with provender for his
horses and with great numbers of beasts for sacrifice; and the Lesbians
sent him wine and other provisions for the many entertainments which he

As soon as he began to intermeddle in the government, which was when he
was very young, he quickly lessened the credit of all who aspired to
the confidence of the people, except Phaeax and Nicias, who alone could
contest with him. Nicias was arrived at a mature age, and was esteemed
their first general. Phaeax was but a rising statesman like Alcibiades;
he was descended from noble ancestors, but was his inferior in many
other things, but principally in eloquence.

Alcibiades was not less disturbed at the distinction which Nicias gained
among the enemies of Athens, than at the honors which the Athenians
themselves paid to him. It was commonly said in Greece, that the war in
the Peloponnesus was begun by Pericles, and that Nicias made an end of
it, and the peace was generally called the peace of Nicias. Alcibiades
was extremely annoyed at this, and being full of envy, set himself to
break the league. First, therefore observing that the Argives as well
out of fear as hatred to the Lacedaemonians, sought for protection
against them, he gave them a secret assurance of alliance with Athens.
He exclaimed fiercely against Nicias, and accused him of many things,
which seemed probable enough: as that, when he was general, he made no
attempt himself to capture their enemies that were shut up in the isle
of Sphacteria, but, when they were afterwards made prisoners by others,
he procured their release and sent them back to the Lacedaemonians, only
to get favor with them.

It happened, at the very time when Nicias was by these arts brought into
disgrace with the people, that ambassadors arrived from Lacedaemon, who,
at their first coming, said what seemed very satisfactory, declaring
that they had full powers to arrange all matters in dispute upon fair
and equal terms. The council received their propositions, and the people
was to assemble on the morrow to give them audience. Alcibiades grew
very apprehensive of this, and contrived to gain a secret conference
with the ambassadors. When they were met, he said: "What is it you
intend, you men of Sparta? If you expect to obtain equal terms from the
Athenians, and would not have things extorted from you contrary to
your inclinations, begin to treat with he people upon some reasonable
articles, not avowing yourselves plenipotentiaries; and I will be ready
to assist you, out of good-will to the Lacedaemonians." When he had said
this, he gave them his oath for the performance of what he promised,
and by this way drew them from Nicias to rely entirely upon himself, and
left them full of admiration of the discernment and sagacity they
had seen in him. The next day, when the people were assembled and
the ambassadors introduced, Alcibiades, with great apparent courtesy,
demanded of them: With what powers they had come? They made answer that
they had not come as plenipotentiaries.

Instantly upon that, Alcibiades, with a loud voice, as though he
had received and not done the wrong, began to call them dishonest
prevaricators, and to urge that such men could not possibly come with
a purpose to say or do anything that was sincere. The council was
incensed, the people were in a rage, and Nicias, who knew nothing of
the deceit and the imposture, was in the greatest confusion, equally
surprised and ashamed at such a change in the men. So thus the
Lacedaemonian ambassadors were utterly rejected, and Alcibiades was
declared general, who presently united the Argives, the Eleans, and the
people of Mantinea, into a confederacy with the Athenians.

No man commended the method by which Alcibiades effected all this,
yet it was a great political feat thus to divide and shake almost
all Peloponnesus, and to combine so many men in arms against the
Lacedaemonians in one day before Mantinea; and, moreover, to remove the
war and the danger so far from the frontier of the Athenians, that even
success would profit the enemy but little, should they be conquerors,
whereas, if they were defeated, Sparta itself was hardly safe.

But with all these words and deeds, and with all this sagacity and
eloquence, he intermingled exorbitant luxury and wantonness in his
eating and drinking and dissolute living; wore long purple robes like
a woman, which dragged after him as he went through the market-place;
caused the planks of his galley to be cut away, that so he might lie the
softer, his bed not being placed on the boards, but hanging upon girths.
His shield, again, which was richly gilded, had not the usual ensigns
of the Athenians, but a Cupid, holding a thunderbolt in his hand, was
painted upon it. The sight of all this made the people of good repute
in the city feel disgust and abhorrence and apprehension also, at his
free-living, and his contempt of law, as things monstrous in themselves,
and indicating designs of usurpation. Aristophanes has well expressed
the people's feeling towards him:--

 "They love, and hate, and cannot do without him."

And still more strongly, under a figurative expression,

 "Best rear no lion in your state, 't is true;
  But treat him like a lion if you do."

The truth is, his liberalities, his public shows, and other munificence
to the people, which were such as nothing could exceed, the glory of
his ancestors, the force of his eloquence, the grace of his person,
his strength of body, joined with his great courage and knowledge in
military affairs, prevailed upon the Athenians to endure patiently his
excesses, to indulge him in many things, and, according to their habit,
to give the softest names to his faults, attributing them to youth
and good nature. As, for example, he kept Agatharcus, the painter, a
prisoner till he had painted his whole house, but then dismissed him
with a reward. He publicly struck Taureas, who exhibited certain
shows in opposition to him, and contended with him for the prize. When
Aristophon, the artist, had drawn Nemea sitting and holding Alcibiades
in her arms, the multitude seemed pleased with the piece, and thronged
to see it, but elder people did not relish it, but looked on these
things as enormities, and movements toward tyranny. So that it was
not said amiss by Archestratus, that Greece could not support a second
Alcibiades. Once, when Alcibiades succeeded well in an oration which he
made, and the whole assembly attended upon him to do him honor, Timon,
the misanthrope, did not pass slightly by him, nor avoid him, as he did
others, but purposely met him, and, taking him by the hand, said, "Go
on boldly, my son, and increase in credit with the people, for thou wilt
one day bring them calamities enough." Some that were present laughed at
the saying, and some reviled Timon; but there were others upon whom it
made a deep impression.

The Athenians, even in the lifetime of Pericles, had already cast a
longing eye upon Sicily; but did not attempt any thing till after his
death. Then, under pretence of aiding their confederates, they sent
succor upon all occasions to those who were oppressed by the Syracusans,
preparing the way for sending over a greater force. But Alcibiades
was the person who inflamed this desire of theirs to the height, and
prevailed with them no longer to proceed secretly, and little by little,
in their design, but to sail out with a great fleet, and undertake at
once to make themselves masters of the island. He possessed the people
with great hopes, and he himself entertained yet greater; and the
conquest of Sicily, which was the utmost bound of their ambition, was
but the mere outset of his expectation. Nicias endeavored to divert the
people from the expedition, by representing to them that the taking of
Syracuse would be a work of great difficulty; but Alcibiades dreamed
of nothing less than the conquest of Carthage and Libya and by the
accession of these conceiving himself at once made master of Italy
and of Peloponnesus, seemed to look upon Sicily as little more than a
magazine for the war. The young men were soon elevated with these hopes,
and listened gladly to those of riper years, who talked wonders of
the countries they were going to; so that you might see great numbers
sitting in the wrestling grounds and public places, drawing on the
ground the figure of the island and the situation of Libya and Carthage.

Together with Alcibiades, Nicias, much against his will, was appointed
general: and he endeavored to avoid the command, not the less on account
of his colleague. But the Athenians thought the war would proceed more
prosperously, if they did not send Alcibiades free from all restraint,
but tempered his heat with the caution of Nicias. This they chose the
rather to do, because Lamachus, the third general, though he was of
mature years, yet in several battles had appeared no less hot and rash
than Alcibiades himself. When all things were fitted for the voyage,
many unlucky omens appeared. The mutilation of the images of Mercury,
most of which, in one night, had their faces all disfigured, terrified
many persons who were wont to despise most things of that nature. Alike
enraged and terrified at the thing, looking upon it to proceed from a
conspiracy of persons who designed some commotions in the state,
the council, as well as the assembly of the people, which was held
frequently in a few days' space, examined diligently every thing
that might administer ground for suspicion. During this examination,
Androcles, one of the demagogues, produced slaves and strangers before
them, who accused Alcibiades and some of his friends of defacing other
images in the same manner, and of having profanely acted the sacred
mysteries at a drunken meeting. The people were highly exasperated
and incensed against Alcibiades upon this accusation. But when they
perceived that all the seamen designed for Sicily were for him, and
the soldiers declared that they had undertaken this distant maritime
expedition for the sake of Alcibiades, and that, if he was ill-used,
they would all go home; they let him set sail at once, and decided
that when the war should be at an end, he might then in person make his
defence according to the laws.

Alcibiades perceived the malice of this postponement, and, appearing in
the assembly, represented that it was monstrous for him to be sent with
the command of so large an army, when he lay under such accusations and
calumnies. But he could not prevail with the people, who commanded him
to sail immediately. So he departed, together with the other generals,
having with them near 140 galleys, 5,100 men at arms, and about 1,300
archers, slingers, and light-armed men, and all the other provisions

Arriving on the coast of Italy, he landed at Rhegium, and there stated
his views of the manner in which they ought to conduct the war. He was
opposed by Nicias; but Lamachus being of his opinion, they sailed for
Sicily forthwith, and took Catana. This was all that was done while he
was there, for he was soon after recalled by the Athenians to abide
his trial. At first, as we before said, there were only some slight
suspicions advanced against Alcibiades. But afterwards, in his absence,
his enemies attacked him more violently, and confounded together the
breaking the images with the profanation of the mysteries, as though
both had been committed in pursuance of the same conspiracy for changing
the government. The truth is, his accusers alleged nothing against him
which could be positively proved. One of them, being asked how he knew
the men who defaced the images, replied, that he saw them by the light
of the moon, making a palpable misstatement, for it was just new moon
when the act was committed. This made all men of understanding cry out
upon the thing; but the people were as eager as ever to receive
further accusations. And, in conclusion, they sent the galley named the
Salaminian to recall Alcibiades. But they expressly commanded those that
were sent, to use no violence, nor seize upon his person, but address
themselves to him in the mildest terms, requiring him to follow them to
Athens in order to abide his trial, and clear himself before the people.
For they feared mutiny and sedition in the army in an enemy's country,
which indeed it would have been easy for Alcibiades to effect, if he
had wished it. For the soldiers were dispirited upon his departure,
expecting for the future tedious delays, and that the war would be drawn
out into a lazy length by Nicias, when Alcibiades, who was the spur to
action, was taken away. For though Lamachus was a soldier, and a man
of courage, poverty deprived him of authority and respect in the army.
Alcibiades, just upon his departure, prevented Messena from falling into
the hands of the Athenians. There were some in that city who were
upon the point of delivering it up, but he, knowing the persons, gave
information to some friends of the Syracusans, and so defeated the whole
contrivance. When he arrived at Thurii, he went on shore, and concealing
himself there, escaped those who searched after him. But to one who knew
him, and asked him if he durst not trust his own native country, he made
answer, "In every thing else, yes; but in a matter that touches my life,
I would not even my own mother, lest she might by mistake throw in the
black ball instead of the white." When, afterwards, he was told that the
assembly had pronounced judgment of death against him, all he said was
"I will make them feel that I am alive."

The information against him was framed in this form:--"Thessalus lays
information that Alcibiades has committed a crime against the goddesses
Ceres and Proserpine, by representing in derision the holy mysteries,
and showing them to his companions in his own house."

He was condemned as contumacious upon his not appearing, his property
confiscated, and it was decreed that all the priests and priestesses
should solemnly curse him.

Alcibiades, lying under these heavy decrees and sentences, when he fled
from Thurii, passed over into Peloponnesus, and remained some time at
Argos. But being there in fear of his enemies and seeing himself utterly
hopeless of return to his native country, he sent to Sparta, desiring
safe conduct, and assuring them that he would make them amends by his
future services for all the mischief he had done them while he was their
enemy. The Spartans giving him the security he desired, he went eagerly,
was well received, and, at his very first coming, succeeded in
inducing them, without any further caution or delay, to send aid to
the Syracusans; and so roused and excited them, that they forthwith
despatched Gylippus into Sicily, to crush the forces which the Athenians
had in Sicily. A second point was, to renew the war upon the Athenians
at home. But the third thing, and the most important of all, was to
make them fortify Decelea, which above everything reduced and wasted the
resources of the Athenians.

The renown which he earned by these public services was equaled by the
admiration he attracted to his private life; he captivated and won
over everybody by his conformity to Spartan habits. People who saw him
wearing his hair close cut, bathing in cold water, eating coarse meal,
and dining on black broth, doubted, or rather could not believe, that he
ever had a cook in his house, or had ever seen a perfumer, or had worn a
mantle of Milesian purple. For he had, as it was observed, this peculiar
talent for gaining men's affections, that he could at once comply with
and really enter into their habits and ways of life, and change faster
than the chameleon. One color, indeed, they say the chameleon cannot
assume; it cannot make itself appear white; but Alcibiades, whether with
good men or with bad, could adapt himself to his company, and equally
wear the appearance of virtue or vice. At Sparta, he was devoted to
athletic exercises, was frugal and reserved; in Ionia, luxurious,
gay, and indolent; in Thrace, always drinking; in Thessaly, ever on
horseback; and when he lived with Tissaphernes, the Persian satrap, he
exceeded the Persians, themselves in magnificence and pomp. Not that his
natural disposition changed so easily, nor that his real character was
so very variable, but whenever he was sensible that by pursuing his own
inclinations he might give offence to those with whom he had occasion to
converse, he transformed himself into any shape and adopted any fashion,
that he observed to be most agreeable to them. So that to have seen
him at Lacedaemon, a man, judging by the outward appearance, would
have said, "'T is not Achilles' son, but he himself, the very man" that
Lycurgus designed to form.

After the defeat which the Athenians received in Sicily, ambassadors
were despatched to Sparta at once from Chios and Lesbos and Cyzicus,
to signify their purpose of revolting from the Athenians. But the
Lacedaemonians, at the persuasion of Alcibiades, chose to assist Chios
before all others. He himself, also, went instantly to sea, procured
the immediate revolt of almost all Ionia, and, co-operating with the
Lacedaemonian generals, did great mischief to the Athenians. But
King Agis was his enemy, and impatient of his glory, as almost every
enterprise and every success was ascribed to Alcibiades. Others, also,
of the most powerful and ambitious amongst the Spartans, were possessed
with jealousy of him, and, at last, prevailed with the magistrates in
the city to send orders into Ionia that he should be killed. Alcibiades,
however, had secret intelligence of this, and, in apprehension of the
result, while he communicated all affairs to the Lacedaemonians, yet
took care not to put himself into their power. At last he retired to
Tissaphernes, the satrap of the king of Persia, for his security, and
immediately became the first and most influential person about him.
For this barbarian, not being himself sincere, but a lover of guile and
wickedness, admired his address and wonderful subtlety. And, indeed, the
charm of daily intercourse with him was more than any character could
resist or any disposition escape. Even those who feared and envied him
could not but have a sort of kindness for him, when they saw him and
were in his company. So that Tissaphernes, otherwise a cruel character,
and, above all other Persians, a hater of the Greeks, was yet so won by
the flatteries of Alcibiades, that he set himself even to exceed him
in responding to them. The most beautiful of his parks, containing
salubrious streams and meadows, where he had built pavilions, and places
of retirement royally and exquisitely adorned, received by his direction
the name of Alcibiades, and was always so called and so spoken of.

Thus Alcibiades, quitting the interests of the Spartans, whom he could
no longer trust, because he stood in fear of Agis, endeavored to do them
ill offices, and render them odious to Tissaphernes, who, by his means,
was hindered from assisting them vigorously, and from finally ruining
the Athenians. For his advice was to furnish them but sparingly with
money, and so wear them out, and consume them insensibly; when they had
wasted their strength upon one another, they would both become ready to
submit to the king.

At that time the whole strength of the Athenians was in Samos. Their
fleet maintained itself here, and issued from these head-quarters to
reduce such as had revolted, and protect the rest of their territories;
in one way or other still contriving to be a match for their enemies
at sea. What they stood in fear of, was Tissaphernes and the Phoenician
fleet of one hundred and fifty galleys, which was said to be already
under sail; if those came, there remained then no hopes for the
commonwealth of Athens. Understanding this, Alcibiades sent secretly
to the chief men of the Athenians, who were then at Samos, giving them
hopes, that he would make Tissaphernes their friend; he was willing, he
implied, to do some favor, not to the people, nor in reliance upon them,
but to the better citizens, if only, like brave men, they would make
the attempt to put down the insolence of the people, and, by taking upon
them the government, would endeavor to save the city from ruin. All
of them gave a ready ear to the proposal made by Alcibiades, except
Phrynichus of the township of Dirades, despatched Pisander to Athens
to attempt a change of government, and to encourage the aristocratical
citizens to take upon themselves the government, and overthrow the
democracy, representing to them, that, upon these terms, Alcibiades
would procure them the friendship and alliance of Tissaphernes.

Those who were at Samos set sail for the Piraeus; and, sending for
Alcibiades declared him general. He, however, in that juncture did not,
as it might have been thought a man would, on being suddenly exalted by
the favor of a multitude, think himself under an obligation to gratify
and submit to all the wishes of those who, from a fugitive and an exile,
had created him general of so great an army and given him the command of
such a fleet. But, as became a great captain, he opposed himself to
the precipitate resolutions which their rage led them to, and, by
restraining them from the great error they were about to commit,
unequivocally saved the commonwealth. For if they had then sailed to
Athens, all Ionia and the islands and the Hellespont would have fallen
into the enemies' hands without opposition, while the Athenians,
involved in civil war, would have been fighting with one another within
the circuit of their own walls. It was Alcibiades alone, or, at least,
principally, who prevented all this mischief; for he not only used
persuasion to the whole army, and showed them the danger, but applied
himself to them, one by one, entreating some, and constraining others.
He was much assisted, however, by Thrasybulus of Stiria, who, having the
loudest voice, as we are told, of all the Athenians, went along with
him and cried out to those who were ready to go. A second great service
which Alcibiades did for them was his undertaking that the Phoenician
fleet, which the Lacedaemonians expected to be sent to them by the king
of Persia, should either come in aid of the Athenians, or otherwise
should not come at all. And now the people in the city not only desired,
but commanded Alcibiades to return home from his exile. He, however,
desired not to owe his return to the mere grace and commiseration of the
people, and resolved to come back, not with empty hands, but with glory
and after some service done. To this end, he sailed from Samos with a
few ships, and cruised on the sea of Cnidos and about the isle of Cos;
but receiving intelligence there that Mindarus, the Spartan admiral, had
sailed with his whole army into the Hellespont, and that the Athenians
had followed him, he hurried back to succor the Athenian commanders,
and, by good fortune, arrived with eighteen galleys at a critical time.
For both the fleets having engaged near Abydos, the fight between them
had lasted till night, the one side having the advantage on one quarter,
and the other on another. Upon his first appearance, both sides formed a
false impression; the enemy was encouraged, and the Athenians terrified.
But Alcibiades suddenly raised the Athenian ensign in the admiral
ship, and fell upon those galleys of the Peloponnesians which had the
advantage and were in pursuit. He soon put these to flight, and followed
them so close that he forced them on shore, and broke the ships in
pieces, the sailors abandoning them and swimming away, in spite of all
the efforts of Pharnabazus, who had come down to their assistance by
land, and did what he could to protect them from the shore. In fine, the
Athenians, having taken thirty of the enemy's ships, and recovered all
their own, erected a trophy. After the gaining of so glorious a victory
his vanity made him eager to show himself to Tissaphernes, and, having
furnished himself with gifts and presents, and an equipage suitable to
his dignity, he set out to visit him. But the thing did not succeed
as he had imagined, for Tissaphernes had long been suspected by the
Lacedaemonians, and was afraid to fall into disgrace with his king
upon that account, therefore thinking that Alcibiades had arrived
very opportunely, he immediately caused him to be seized and sent away
prisoner to Sardis; fancying, by this act of injustice, to clear himself
from all former imputations.

But about thirty days after, Alcibiades escaped from his keepers, and,
having got a horse, fled to Clazomenae, where he procured Tissaphernes
additional disgrace by professing that he was a party to his escape.
From there he sailed to the Athenian camp, and, being informed that
Mindarus and Pharnabazus were together at Cyzicus, he made a speech to
the soldiers, telling them that sea-fighting, land-fighting, and, by the
gods, fighting against fortified cities too, must be all one for them,
as, unless they conquered everywhere, there was no money for them. As
soon as he got them on ship-board, he hastened to Proconnesus and gave
command to seize all the small vessels they met, and guard them safely
in the interior of the fleet, that the enemy might have no notice of
his coming; and a great storm of rain, accompanied with thunder and
darkness, which happened at the same time, contributed much to the
concealment of his enterprise. Indeed, it was not only undiscovered
by the enemy, but the Athenians themselves were ignorant of it, for he
commanded them suddenly on board, and set sail when they had abandoned
all intention of it. As the darkness presently passed away, the
Peloponnesian fleet were seen riding out at sea in front of the harbor
of Cyzicus. Fearing, if they discovered the number of his ships, they
might endeavor to save themselves by land, he commanded the rest of the
captains to slacken, and follow him slowly, whilst he, advancing with
forty ships, showed himself to the enemy and provoked them to fight. The
enemy, being deceived as to their numbers, despised them, and, supposing
they were to contend with those only, made ready and began the fight.
But as soon as they were engaged, they perceived the other part of the
fleet coming down upon them, at which they were so terrified that they
fled immediately. Upon that, Alcibiades, breaking through the midst of
them with twenty of his best ships, hastened to the shore, disembarked,
and pursued those who abandoned their ships and fled to land, and made
a great slaughter of them. Mindarus and Pharnabazus, coming to their
succor were utterly defeated. Mindarus was slain fighting valiantly;
Pharnabazus saved himself by flight. The Athenians slew great numbers of
their enemies, won much spoil, and took all their ships. They also made
themselves masters of Cyzicus, which was deserted by Pharnabazus, and
destroyed its Peloponnesian garrison, and thereby not only secured to
themselves the Hellespont, but by force drove the Lacedaemonians out of
all the rest of the sea. They intercepted some letters written to the
ephors, which gave an account of this fatal overthrow, after their
short, Iaconic manner. "Our hopes are at an end. Mindarus is slain. The
men are starving. We know not what to do."

And now Alcibiades began to desire to see his native country again,
or rather to show his fellow-citizens a person who had gained so many
victories for them. He set sail for Athens, the ships that accompanied
him being adorned with great numbers of shields and other spoils, and
towing after them many galleys taken from the enemy, and the ensigns and
ornaments of many others which he had sunk and destroyed; all of them
together amounting to two hundred. Little credit, perhaps, can be given
to what Duris the Samian, who professed to be descended from Alcibiades,
adds, that Chrysogonus, who had gained a victory at the Pythian games,
played upon his flute for the galleys, whilst the oars kept time with
the music; and that Callippides, the tragedian, attired in his buskins,
his purple robes, and other ornaments used in the theatre, gave the word
to the rowers, and that the admiral's galley entered into the port with
a purple sail. It is not credible, that one who had returned from so
long an exile, and such a variety of misfortunes, should come to his
countrymen in the style of revelers breaking up from a drinking-party.
On the contrary, he entered the harbor full of fear, nor would he
venture to go on shore, till, standing on the deck, he saw Euryptolemus,
his cousin, and others of his friends and acquaintance, who were ready
to receive him, and invited him to land. As soon as he was landed, the
multitude who came out to meet him scarcely appeared to see any of the
other captains, but came in throngs about Alcibiades, and saluted him
with loud acclamations, and followed him; those who could press near him
crowned him with garlands, and they who could not come up so close yet
stayed to behold him afar off, and the old men pointed him out to the
young ones. Nevertheless, this public joy was mixed with some tears, and
the present happiness was diminished by the remembrance of the miseries
they had endured. They made reflections, that they could not have so
unfortunately miscarried in Sicily, if they had left the management of
their affairs and the command of their forces, to Alcibiades, since,
upon his undertaking the administration, when they were absolutely
driven from the sea, and could scarcely defend the suburbs of their city
by land, and at the same time, were miserably distracted with intestine
factions, he had raised them up from this low and deplorable condition,
and had not only restored them to their ancient dominion of the sea, but
had also made them everywhere victorious over their enemies on land.

The people being summoned to an assembly, Alcibiades came in among them,
and first bewailed and lamented his own sufferings, and, in general
terms complaining of the usage he had received, imputed all to his hard
fortune, and some ill genius that attended him: then he spoke at large
of their prospects, and exhorted them to courage and good hope. The
people crowned him with crowns of gold, and created him general, both
at land and sea, with absolute power. They also made a decree that his
estate should be restored to him, and that the Eumolpiadae and the
holy heralds should absolve him from the curses which they had solemnly
pronounced against him by the sentence of the people. All the rest
obeyed, but Theodorus, the high-priest, excused himself, "For," said he,
"if he is innocent, I never cursed him."

Certainly, if ever man was ruined by his own glory, it was Alcibiades.
For his continual success had produced such an idea of his courage and
conduct, that, if he failed in anything he undertook, it was imputed to
his neglect, and no one would believe it was through want of power. For
they thought nothing was too hard for him, if he went about it in good
earnest. Now, having departed with a fleet of one hundred ships for the
reduction of Chios, and of the rest of Ionia, the people grew impatient
that things were not effected as fast and as rapidly as they could wish
for them. They never considered how extremely money was wanting, and
that, having to carry on war with an enemy who had supplies of all
things from a great king, he was often forced to quit his armament,
in order to procure money and provisions for the subsistence of his
soldiers. This very thing gave occasion for the last accusation which
was made against him. For Lysander, being sent from Lacedaemon with a
commission to be admiral of their fleet, and being furnished by Cyrus
with a great sum of money, gave every sailor four obols a day, whereas
before thy had but three. Alcibiades could hardly allow his men three
obols, and therefore was obliged to go into Caria to furnish himself
with money. He left the care of the fleet, in his absence, to Antiochus,
an experienced seaman, but rash and inconsiderate, who had express
orders from Alcibiades not to engage, though the enemy provoked him.
But he slighted and disregarded these directions to such a degree that,
having made ready his own galley and another, he stood for Ephesus,
where the enemy lay, and, as he sailed before the heads of their
galleys, used every provocation possible, both in words and deeds.
Lysander manned out a few ships and pursued him. But all the Athenian
ships coming in to his assistance, Lysander, also, brought up his whole
fleet, which gained an entire victory. He slew Antiochus himself, took
many men and ships, and erected a trophy.

As soon as Alcibiades heard this news, he returned to Samos, and loosing
from thence with his whole fleet, came and offered battle to Lysander.
But Lysander, content with the victory he had gained, would not stir.
Amongst others in the army who hated Alcibiades, Thrasybulus, the son
of Thrason, was his particular enemy, and went purposely to Athens
to accuse him, and to exasperate his enemies in the city against him.
Addressing the people, he represented that Alcibiades had ruined their
affairs and lost their ships by mere self-conceited neglect of his
duties, committing the government of the army, in his absence, to men
who gained his favor by drinking and scurrilous talking, whilst he
wandered up and down at pleasure to raise money, giving himself up to
every sort of luxury in Abydos and Ionia, at a time when the enemy's
navy were on the watch close at hand. It was also objected to him, that
he had fortified a castle near Bisanthe in Thrace, for a safe retreat
for himself, as one that either could not, or would not, live in his own
country. The Athenians gave credit to these informations, and showed
the resentment and displeasure which they had conceived against him, by
choosing other generals.

As soon as Alcibiades heard of this, he immediately forsook the army,
afraid of what might follow; and, collecting a body of mercenary
soldiers, made war upon his own account against those Thracians who
called themselves free, and acknowledged no king. By this means he
amassed for himself considerable treasure, and, at the same time,
secured the bordering Greeks from the incursions of the barbarians.
Tydeus, Menander, and Adimantus, the newly made generals, were at that
time posted at Aegospotami, with all the ships which the Athenians
had left. Whence they used to go out every morning, offer battle to
Lysander, who lay near Lampsacus, and, returning back again, lie all the
rest of the day, carelessly and without order, in contempt of the enemy.
Alcibiades, who was not far off, did not think so lightly of their
danger, nor neglect to let them know it, but, mounting his horse, came
to the generals, and represented to them that they had chosen a very
inconvenient station, where there was no safe harbor, and where they
were distant from any town; so that they were constrained to send for
their necessary provisions as far as Sestos. He also pointed out to them
their carelessness in suffering the soldiers, when they went ashore,
disperse and wander up and down at their pleasure, while the enemy's
fleet under the command of one general, and strictly obedient to
discipline, lay so very near them. He advised them to remove the fleet
to Sestos. But the admirals not only disregarded what he said, but
Tydeus, with insulting expressions, commanded him to be gone saying,
that now not he, but others, had the command of the forces. The event,
soon made it evident how rightly he had judged of the errors which the
Athenians were committing. For Lysander fell upon them on a sudden, when
they least suspected it, with such fury that Conon alone, with eight
galleys, escaped him; all the rest, about two hundred, he took and
carried away, together with three thousand prisoners, whom he put to
death. And within a short time after, he took Athens itself, burnt
all the ships which he found there, demolished their long walls, and
established the rule of the Thirty Tyrants.

After this, Alcibiades, standing in dread of the Lacedaemonians, who
were now masters both at sea and land, retired into Bithynia. He sent
there great treasure before him, took much with him, but left much more
in the castle where he had before resided. But he lost a great part
of his wealth in Bithynia, being robbed by some Thracians who lived in
those parts, and thereupon determined to go to the court of Artaxerxes,
not doubting but that the king, if he would make trial of his abilities,
would find him not inferior to Themistocles, besides being recommended
by a more honorable cause. For he went, not as Themistocles did,
to offer his service against his fellow-citizens, but against their
enemies, and to implore the king's aid for the defence of his country.
The Athenians, in the meantime, miserably afflicted at their loss of
empire and liberty, acknowledged and bewailed their former errors and
follies, and judged this second ill-usage of Alcibiades to be of all the
most inexcusable. For he was rejected, without any fault committed by
himself; and only because they were incensed against his subordinate
for having shamefully lost a few ships, they were much more shamefully
deprived the commonwealth of its most valiant and accomplished general.

Critias finally represented to Lysander that the Lacedaemonians could
never securely enjoy the dominion of Greece, till the Athenian democracy
was absolutely destroyed; and though now the people of Athens seemed
quietly and patiently to submit to so small a number of governors, yet
so long as Alcibiades lived, the knowledge of this fact would never
suffer them to acquiesce in their present circumstances.

Yet Lysander could not be prevailed upon by these representation, till
at last he received secret orders from the magistrates of Lacedaemon,
expressly requiring him to get Alcibiades despatched: whether it
was that they feared his energy and boldness in undertaking what was
hazardous, or that it was done to gratify king Agis. Upon receipt of
this order, Lysander sent a messenger away to Pharnabazus, desiring
him to put it in execution. Alcibiades resided at that time in a small
village in Phrygia. Those who were sent to assassinate him had not
courage enough to enter the house, but surrounded it first, and set it
on fire. Alcibiades, as soon as he perceived it, wrapped his cloak about
his left arm, and holding his naked sword in his right, cast himself
into the middle of the fire, and escaped securely through it, before his
clothes were burnt. The barbarians, as soon as they saw him, retreated,
and none of them durst engage with him, but standing at a distance, they
slew him with their darts and arrows.


The patrician house of the Marcii in Rome produced many men of
distinction, and among the rest, Ancus Marcius, grandson to Numa by his
daughter, and king after Tulus Hostillus. Of the same family were also
Publius and Quintus Marcius, which two conveyed into the city the best
and most abundant supply of water they have at Rome. But Caius Marcius,
of whom I now write, being left an orphan, and brought up under the
widowhood of his mother, has shown us by experience, that, although the
early loss of a father may be attended with other disadvantages, yet it
can hinder none from being either virtuous or eminent in the world, and
that it is no obstacle to true goodness and excellence. Those who saw
with admiration how proof his nature was against pleasure, hardships,
and the allurements of gain, while allowing to that universal firmness
of his the respective names of temperance, fortitude, and justice, yet,
in the life of the citizen and the statesman, could not but be
offended at the severity and ruggedness of his deportment, and with his
overbearing, haughty, and imperious temper.

Those were times at Rome in which that kind of worth was most esteemed
which displayed itself in military achievements; one evidence of which
we find in the Latin word for virtue, which is properly equivalent to
many courage. But Marcius, having a more passionate inclination than any
of that age for feats of war, began from his very childhood to handle
arms; and feeling that adventitious implements and artificial arms would
be of small use to such as have not their natural weapons well prepared
for services, he so exercised and inured his body to all sorts of
activity and accouter, that, besides the lightness of a racer, he had a
weight in close seizures and wrestlings with an enemy, from which it was
hard for anybody to disengage himself; so that his competitors at
home in displays of bravery, loath to own themselves inferior in that
respect, were wont to ascribe their deficiencies to his strength of
body, which they said no resistance and no fatigue could exhaust.

The first time he went out to the wards, being yet a stripling, was
when Tarquinius Superbus, who had been king of Rome and was afterwards
expelled, after many unsuccessful attempts now entered upon his last
effort, and proceeded to hazard all as it were upon a single throw.
A great number of the Latins and other people of Italy joined their
forces, and were marching with him toward the city, to procure his
restoration; not, however, so much out of a desire to serve and oblige
Tarquin, as to gratify their own fear and envy at the increase of the
Roman greatness, which they were anxious to check. The armies met and
engaged in a decisive battle, in the vicissitudes of which, Marcius,
while fighting bravely in the dictator's presence, saw a Roman soldier
struck down at a little distance, and immediately stepped in before him,
and slew his assailant. The general, after having gained the victory,
crowned him for this act with a garland of oak branches; it being the
Roman custom thus to adorn those who had saved the life of a citizen;
whether the law intended some special honor to the oak, in memory of
the Arcadians, a people the oracle had made famous by the name of
acorn-eaters; or, the oak wreath, being sacred to Jupiter, the guardian
of the city, might, therefore be thought a proper ornament for one who
preserved a citizen. And the oak, in truth, is the tree which bears the
most and the prettiest of any that grow wild, and is the strongest of
all that are under cultivation; its acorns were the principal diet of
the first mortals, and the honey found in it gave them drink.

In this battle it is stated that Castor and Pollux appeared, and,
immediately after the battle, were seen at Rome just by the fountain
where their temple now stands, with their horses foaming with sweat, and
told the news of the victory of the people in the Forum. The fifteenth
of July, being the day of this conquest, became consequently a solemn
holiday sacred to the Twin Brothers.

It may be observed, in general, that when young men arrive early at fame
and repute, if they are of a nature but slightly touched with emulation,
this early attainment is apt to extinguish their thirst and satiate
their small appetite; whereas the first distinctions of more solid and
weighty characters only stimulate and quicken them, and take them away,
like a wind, in the pursuit of honor; they look upon these marks and
testimonies to their virtue not as a recompense received for what they
have already done, but as a pledge given by themselves of what they will
perform hereafter, ashamed now to forsake or underlive the credit they
have won, or, rather, not to exceed and obscure all that is gone before
by the lustre of their following actions. Marcius, having a spirit
of this noble make, was ambitious always to surpass himself, and did
nothing, how extraordinary soever, but he thought he was bound to outdo
it at the next occasion; and ever desiring to give continual fresh
instances of his prowess, he added one exploit to another, and heaped up
trophies upon trophies, so as to make it a matter of contest also among
his commanders, the latter still vying with the earlier, which should
pay him the greatest honor and speak highest in his commendation. Of all
the numerous wars and conflicts in those days, there was not one from
which he returned without laurels and rewards. And, whereas others made
glory the end of their daring, the end of his glory was his mother's
gladness; the delight we took to hear him praised and to see him
crowned, and her weeping for joy in his embraces, rendered him, in
his own thoughts, the most honored and most happy person in the world.
Epaminondas is similarly said to have acknowledged his feeling, that it
was the greatest felicity of his whole life that his father and mother
survived to hear of his successful generalship and his victory at
Leuctra. And he had the advantage, indeed, to have both his parents
partake with him, and enjoy the pleasure of his good fortune. But
Marcius, believing himself bound to pay his mother Volumnia all that
gratitude and duty which would have belonged to his father, had he also
been alive, could never satiate himself in his tenderness and respect to
her. He took a wife, also, at her request and wish, and continued,
even after he had children, to live with his mother, without parting

The repute of his integrity and courage had, by this time, gained him
considerable influence and authority in Rome, when the senate, favoring
the wealthier citizens, began to be at variance with the common people,
who made sad complaints of the rigorous and inhuman usage they received
from the money-lenders.

There had been frequent assemblies of the whole senate within a small
compass of time about this difficulty, but without any definite result;
the poor commonality, therefore, perceiving there was likely to be no
redress of their grievances, collected in a body, and, encouraging each
other in their resolution, forsook the city with one accord, and seizing
the hill which is now called the Holy Mount, sat down by the river Anio,
without committing any sort of violence or seditious outrage, but merely
exclaiming, as they went along, that they had this long time past been
expelled from the city by the cruelty of the rich; that Italy would
everywhere afford them the benefit of air and water and a place of
burial, which was all they could expect in the city, unless it were
perhaps, the privilege of being wounded and killed in time of war
for the defence of their creditors. The senate apprehending the
consequences, sent the most moderate and popular men of their own order
to treat with them.

Menenius Agrippa, their chief spokesman, after much entreaty to the
people, concluded, at length, with this celebrated fable: "It once
happened, that all the other members of a man mutinied against the
stomach, which they accused as the only idle, uncontributing part in the
whole body, while the rest were put to hardships and the expense of
much labor to minister to its appetites. The stomach, however, merely
ridiculed the silliness of the members, who appeared not to be aware
that the stomach certainly does receive the general nourishment, but
only to return it again, and redistribute it amongst the rest. Such is
the case," he said, "citizens, between you and the senate. The counsels
and plans that are there duly digested, secure to all of you, your
proper benefit and support."

A reconciliation ensued, the senate acceding to the request of the
people for the annual election of five protectors for those in need of
succor, the same that are now called the tribunes of the people; and the
first two they pitched upon were Junius Brutus and Sicinnius Vellutus,
their leaders in the secession.

The city being thus united, the commons stood presently to their arms,
and followed their commanders.

The Romans were now at war with the Volscian nation, whose principal
city was Corioli; when, therefore, Cominius the consul had invested this
important place, the rest of the Volscians, fearing it would be taken,
mustered up whatever force they could from all parts, to relieve it,
designing to give the Romans battle before the city, and so attack them
on both sides. Cominius, to avoid this inconvenience, divided his army,
marching himself with one body to encounter the Volscians on their
approach from without, and leaving Titus Lartius, one of the bravest
Romans of his time, to command the other and continue the siege. Those
within Corioli, despising now the smallness of their number, made a
sally upon them, and prevailed at first, and pursued the Romans into
their trenches. Here it was that Marcius, flying out with a slender
company, and cutting those in pieces that first enraged him, obliged
the other assailants to slacken their speed; and then, with loud cries,
called upon the Romans to renew the battle. For he had, what Cato
thought a great point in a soldier, not only strength of hand and
stroke, but also a voice and look that of themselves were a terror to
an enemy. Some of his own party now rallying and making up to him, the
enemies soon retreated; but Marcius, not content to see them draw off
and retire, pressed hard upon the rear, and drove them, as they fled
away in haste, to the very gates of their city; where, perceiving the
Romans to fall back from their pursuit, beaten off by the multitude of
darts poured in upon them from the walls, and that none of his followers
had the hardiness to think of falling in pell-mell among the fugitives
and so entering a city full of enemies in arms, he, nevertheless, stood
and urged them to the attempt, crying out, that fortune had not opened
Corioli, not so much to shelter the vanquished, as to receive the
conquerors. Seconded by a few that were willing to venture with him, he
bore along through the crowd, made good his passage, and thrust himself
into the gate through the midst of them, nobody at first daring to
resist him. But when the citizens, on looking about, saw that a very
small number had entered, they now took courage, and came up and
attacked them. A combat ensued of the most extraordinary description,
in which Marcius, by strength of hand, swiftness of foot, and daring of
soul, overpowered every one that he assailed, succeeded in driving the
enemy to seek refuge, for the most part, in the interior of the town,
while the remainder submitted, and threw down their arms; thus affording
Lartius abundant opportunity to bring in the rest of the Romans with
ease and safety.

Corioli being thus surprised and taken, the greater part of the
soldiers employed themselves in spoiling and pillaging it, while Marcius
indignantly reproached them, and exclaimed that it was a dishonorable
and unworthy thing, when the consul and their fellow-citizens had now
perhaps encountered the other Volscians, and were hazarding their lives
in battle, basely to mis-spend the time in running up and down for
booty, and, under a pretence of enriching themselves, keep out of
danger. Few paid him any attention, but, putting himself at the head of
these, he took the road by which the consul's army had marched before
him, encouraging his companions, and beseeching them, as they went
along, not to give up, and praying often to the gods, too, that he might
be so happy as to arrive before the fight was over, and come seasonably
up to assist Cominius, and partake in the peril of the action.

It was customary with the Romans of that age, when they were moving into
battle array, and were on the point of taking up their bucklers, and
girding their coats about them, to make at the same time an unwritten
will, or verbal testament, and to name who should be their heirs, in
the hearing of three or four witnesses. In this precise posture Marcius
found them at his arrival, the enemy having advanced within view.

They were not a little disturbed by his first appearance, seeing him
covered with blood and sweat, and attended with a small train; but when
he hastily made up to the consul with gladness in his looks, giving him
his hand, and recounting to him how the city had been taken, and when
they saw Cominius also embrace and salute him, every one took fresh
heart; those that were near enough hearing, and those that were at a
distance guessing, what had happened; and all cried out to be led to
battle. First, however, Marcius desired to know of him how the Volscians
had arrayed their army, and where they had placed their best men, and on
his answering that he took the troops of the Activates in the centre to
be their prime warriors, than would yield to none in bravery, "Let me
then demand and obtain of you," said Marcius, "that we may be posted
against them." The consul granted the request, with much admiration of
his gallantry. And when the conflict began by the soldiers darting
at each other, and Marcius sallied out before the rest the Volscians
opposed to him were not able to make head against him; wherever he fell
in, he broke their ranks, and made a lane through them; but the parties
turning again, and enclosing him on each side with their weapons,
the consul, who observed the danger he was in, despatched some of the
choicest men he had for his rescue. The conflict then growing warm and
sharp about Marcius, and many falling dead in a little space, the Romans
bore so hard upon the enemies, and pressed them with such violence,
that they forced them at length to abandon their ground, and to quit the
field. And, going now to prosecute the victory, they besought Marcius,
tired out with his toils, and faint and heavy through the loss of blood,
that he would retire to the camp. He replied, however, that weariness
was not for conquerors, and joined with them in the pursuit. The rest of
the Volscian army was in like manner defeated, great numbers killed, and
no less taken captive.

The day after, when Marcius, with the rest of the army, presented
themselves at the consul's tent, Cominius rose, and having rendered
all due acknowledgment to the gods for the success of that enterprise,
turned next to Marcius, and first of all delivered the strongest
encomium upon his rare exploits, of which he had partly been an
eye-witness himself, in the late battle, and had partly learned from the
testimony of Lartius. And then he required him to choose a tenth part
of all the treasure and horses and captives that had fallen into their
hands, before any division should be made to others; besides which, he
made him the special present of a horse with trappings and ornaments,
in honor of his actions. The whole army applauded; Marcius, however,
stepped forth, and declaring his thankful acceptance of the horse and
his gratification at the praises of his general, said, that all other
things which he could only regard rather as mercenary advantages than
any significations of honor, he must waive, and should be content with
the ordinary proportion of such rewards. "I have only," said he "one
special grace to beg, and this I hope you will not deny me. There was a
certain hospitable friend of mine among the Volscians, a man of probity
and virtue, who is become a prisoner, and from former wealth and
freedom is now reduced to servitude. Among his many misfortunes let my
intercession redeem him from the one of being sold as a common slave."
Such a refusal and such a request on the part of Marcius were followed
with yet louder acclamations; and he had many more admirers of this
generous superiority to avarice, than of the bravery he had shown in
battle. The very persons who conceived some envy and despite to see him
so specially honored, could not but acknowledge, that one who so nobly
could refuse reward, was beyond others worth to receive it; and were
more charmed with that virtue which made him despise advantage, than
with any of those former actions that had gained him his title to it. It
is a higher accomplishment to use money well than to use arms; but not
to need it is more noble than to use it.

When the noise of approbation and applause ceased, Cominius, resuming,
said, "It is idle, fellow-soldiers, to force those other gifts of ours
on one who is unwilling to accept them; let us, therefore, give him
one of such a kind that he cannot well reject it; let us pass a vote,
I mean, that he shall hereafter be called Coriolanus, unless you
think that his performance at Corioli has itself anticipated any such
resolution." Hence, therefore, he had his third name of Coriolanus,
making it all the plainer that Gaius was a personal proper name, and
the second, or surname, Marcius, one common to his house and family; the
third being a subsequent addition which used to be imposed either from
particular act or fortune, bodily characteristic, or good quality of the

Not long after Marcius stood for the consulship. It was usual for
candidates for office to solicit personally the citizens, presenting
themselves in the forum with the toga on alone, and no tunic under it;
either to promote their supplications by the humility of their dress, or
that such as had received wounds might more readily display those marks
of their fortitude.

Marcius, therefore, as the fashion of candidates was, showing the scars
and gashes that were still visible on his body, from the many conflicts
in which he had signalized himself during a service of seventeen years
together, the people were affected at this display of merit, and told
one another that they ought in common modesty to create him consul. But
when the day of election had come, and Marcius appeared in the forum
with a pompous train of senators attending him, and the patricians all
seemed to be exerting greater effort than they had ever done before on a
similar occasion, the commons then fell off again from the kindness they
had conceived for him, and in the place of their late benevolence, began
to feel something of indignation and envy; passions assisted by the
fear they entertained, that if a man of such aristocratic temper, and
so influential among the patricians, should be invested with the power
which that office would give him, he might employ it to deprive the
people of all that liberty which was yet left them. In conclusion,
they rejected Marcius. Two other names were announced, to the great
mortification of the senators, who felt as if the indignity reflected
rather upon themselves than on Marcius. He, for his part, could not bear
the affront with any patience. He had always indulged his temper, and
had regarded the proud and contentious element of human nature as a sort
of nobleness and magnanimity; reason and discipline had not imbued
him with that solidity and equanimity which enter so largely into the
virtues for the statesman. He had never learned how essential it is
for any one who undertakes public business, and desires to deal with
mankind, to avoid above all things that self-will, which, as Plato says,
belongs to the family of solitude; and to pursue, above all things,
that capacity so generally ridiculed, of submission to ill-treatment.
Marcius, straightforward and direct, stand together, and come in to
their assistance. The assembly met, and soon became tumultuous. The sum
of what Marcius had spoken, having been reported to the people, excited
them to such fury, that they were ready to break in upon the senate. The
tribunes prevented this, by laying all the blame on Coriolanus, and they
accordingly cited him to come before them, and defend himself.

He came, therefore, as it were, to make his apology, and clear himself;
in which belief the people kept silence, and gave him a quiet hearing.
But when instead of the submissive and deprecatory language expected
from him, he began to use not only an offensive kind of freedom, seeming
rather to accuse than apologize, but as well by the tone of his voice as
the expression of his countenance, displayed a security that was not
far from disdain and contempt of them, the whole multitude then became
angry, and gave evident signs of impatience and disgust; and Sicinnius,
the most violent of the tribunes, after a little private conference with
his colleagues, proceeded solemnly to pronounce before them all, that
Marcius was condemned to die by the tribunes of the people, and bid
the Aediles take him to the Tarpeian rock, and without delay throw him
headlong from the precipice. When they, however, in compliance with the
order, came to seize upon his body, many, even of the plebeian party,
felt it to be a horrible and extravagant act; the patricians, meantime,
wholly beside themselves with distress and horror, hurried with cries
to the rescue; and persuaded them not to despatch him by any sudden
violence, but refer the cause to the general suffrage of the people.
But when the people met together, the tribunes, contrary to all former
practice, extorted first, that votes should be taken, not by centuries,
but tribes; a change, by which the rabble, that had no respect for
honesty and justice, would be sure to carry it against those who were
rich and well known, and accustomed to serve the state in war. In the
next place, whereas they had engaged to prosecute Marcius upon no other
head but that of tyranny, which could never be made out against him,
they relinquished this plea, and urged instead, his language in the
senate against an abatement of the price of corn, and for the overthrow
of the tribunician power; adding further, as a new impeachment, the
distribution that was made by him of the spoil and booty he had taken
from the Antiates, when he overran their country, which he had divided
among those that had followed him, whereas it ought rather to have been
brought into the public treasure; which last accusation did, they say,
more discompose Marcius than all the rest, as he had not anticipated
he should ever be questioned on that subject, and, therefore, was less
provided with any satisfactory answer to it on the sudden. And when,
by way of excuse, he began to magnify the merits of those who had been
partakers with him in the action, those that had stayed at home, being
more numerous than the other, interrupted him with the outcries. In
conclusion, when they came to vote, a majority of three tribes condemned
him; the penalty being perpetual banishment.

Marcius himself, was neither stunned nor humiliated. In mien, carriage,
and countenance, he bore the appearance of entire composure, and while
all his friends were full of distress, seemed the only man that was
not touched with his misfortune. On his return home, after saluting his
mother and his wife, who were in tears and full of loud lamentations,
and exhorting them to moderate the sense they had of his calamity, he
proceeded at once to the city gates, whither all the nobility came to
attend him; and not taking anything with him, or making any request to
the company, he departed from them, having only three or four clients
with him. He continued solitary for a few days in a place in the
country, distracted with a variety of counsels, such as rage and
indignation suggested to him; and proposing to himself no honorable
or useful end, but only how he might best satisfy his revenge on the
Romans, he resolved at length to arouse a heavy war against them from
their nearest neighbors. He determined, first to make trial of the
Volscians, whom he knew to be still vigorous and flourishing, both in
men and treasure, and he imagined their force and power was not so much
abated, as their spite and anger increased, by the late overthrows they
had received from the Romans.

There was a man of Antium, called Tullus Aufidius, who, for his
wealth and bravery and the splendor of his family, had the respect and
privilege of a king among the Volscians, but whom Marcius knew to have
a particular hostility to himself, above all other Romans. Frequent
menaces and challenges had passed in battle between them, and those
exchanges of defiance to which their hot and eager emulation is apt
to prompt young soldiers had added private animosity to their national
feelings of opposition. Yet for all this, considering Tullus to have a
certain generosity of temper, and knowing that no Volscian, so much as
he, desired an occasion to requite upon the Romans the evils they had
done, he put on a dress which completely disguised him and thus, like

     He entered the town of his mortal foes.

His arrival at Antium was about evening, and though several met him in
the streets, yet he passed along without recognition, and went directly
to the house of Tullus, and entering undiscovered, went up to the
fire-hearth, and seated himself there without speaking a work, covering
up his head. Those of the family could not but wonder, and yet they were
afraid either to raise or question him, for there was a certain air of
majesty both in his posture and silence, but they recounted to Tullus,
then at supper, the strangeness of this accident. He immediately rose
from table and came in, and asked him who he was, and for what business
he came there; and then Marcius, unmuffling himself, and pausing awhile
said, "If you cannot yet call me to mind, Tullus, or do not believe your
eyes concerning me, I must of necessity be my own accuser. I am Gaius
Marcius, the author of so much mischief to the Volscians; of which, were
I seeking to deny it, the surname of Coriolanus I now bear would be a
sufficient evidence against me. The one recompense I received for
all the hardships and perils I have gone through, was the title that
proclaims my enmity to your nation, and this is the only thing which
is still left me. Of all other advantages, I have been stripped
and deprived by the envy of the Roman people, and the cowardice and
treachery of the magistrates and those of my own order. I am driven out
as an exile, and become an humble suppliant at your hearth, not so much
for safety and protection (should I have come hither, had I been afraid
to die?), as to seek vengeance against those that expelled me; which,
methinks, I have already obtained, by putting myself into your hands.
If, therefore, you have really a mind to attack your enemies, make use
of that affliction you see me in to assist the enterprise, and convert
my personal infelicity into a common blessing to the Volscians; as I am
likely to be more serviceable in fighting for than against you, with the
advantage, which I now possess, of knowing all the secrets of the enemy
that I am attacking."

Tullus, on hearing this, was extremely rejoiced, and giving him his
right hand, exclaimed, "rise, Marcius, and be of good courage; it is
a great happiness you bring to Antium, in the present you make us of
yourself; expect everything that is good from the Volscians." he then
proceeded to feast and entertain him with every display of kindness, and
for several days after they were in close deliberation together on the
prospects of a war.

Although the Volscians had sworn to a truce of arms for the space of
two years, the Romans themselves soon furnished them with a pretence,
by making proclamation, out of some jealousy or slanderous report, at
an exhibition of games, that all the Volscians who had come to see them
should depart from the city before sunset. Some affirm that this was a
contrivance of Marcius, who sent a man privately to the consuls, falsely
to accuse the Volscians of intending to fall upon the Romans during the
games, and to set the city on fire. This public affront aroused their
hostility to the Romans; and Tullus, perceiving it, took advantage of
it, aggravating the fact, and working on their indignation, till he
persuaded them, at last, to despatch ambassadors to Rome, requiring the
Romans to restore that part of their country and those towns which they
had taken from the Volscian in the late war. When the Romans heard the
message, they indignantly replied, that the Volscians were the first
that took up arms, but the Romans would be the last to lay them down.
This answer being brought back, Tullus called a general assembly of the
Volscians; and the voted passing for a war, he then proposed that they
should call in Marcius, laying aside the remembrance of former grudges,
and assuring themselves that the services they should now receive from
him as friend and associate, would abundantly outweigh any harm or
damage he had done them when he was their enemy. Marcius was accordingly
summoned, and having made his entrance, and spoken tot he people, won
their good opinion of his capacity, his skill, counsel, and boldness,
not less by his present words than by his past actions. They joined him
in commission with Tullus, to have full power as general of their forces
in all that related to the war. And he, fearing lest the time that would
be requisite to bring all the Volscians together in full preparation
might be so long as to lose him the opportunity of action, left order
with the chief persons and magistrates for the city to provide other
things, while he himself, prevailing upon the readiest to assemble and
march out with him as volunteers without staying to be enrolled, made
a sudden inroad into the Roman confines, when nobody expected him, and
possessed himself of so much booty, that the Volscians found they had
more than they could either carry away or use in the camp. The abundance
of provision which he gained, and the waste and havoc of the country
which he made, were, however, the smallest results of that invasion;
the great mischief he intended, and his special object in all, was to
increase at Rome the suspicions entertained of the patricians, and
to make them upon worse terms with the people. With this view, while
despoiling all the fields and destroying the property of other men, he
took special care to preserve their farms and lands untouched, and would
not allow his soldiers to ravage there, or seize upon any thing which
belonged to them. Hence the quarrels broke out afresh, and rose to
a greater height than ever; the senators reproaching those of the
commonalty with their late injustice to Marcius; while the plebeians, on
their side, did not hesitate to accuse them of having, out of spite and
revenge, solicited him to this enterprise, and thus, when others
were involved in the miseries of a war by their means, they sat like
unconcerned spectators furnished with a guardian abroad of their
fortunes, in the very person of the public enemy. After this incursion
and exploit, which was of great advantage to the Volscians, since they
learned by it to be more courageous and to despise their enemy, Marcius
drew them off, and returned in safety.

But when the whole strength of the Volscians was brought together into
the field, with great expedition, it appeared so considerable a body,
that they agreed to leave part in garrison, for the security of their
towns, and with the other part to march against the Romans. Marcius
now desired Tullus to choose which of the two charges would be most
agreeable to him. Tullus answered, that since he knew Marcius to be
equally valiant with himself, and far more fortunate, he would have him
take the command of those that were going out to the war, while he made
it his care to defend their cities at home, and provide all conveniences
for the army abroad. Marcius thus reinforced, and much stronger than
before, moved first towards the city called Circaeum, a Roman colony.
He received its surrender, and did the inhabitants no injury; passing
thence, he entered and laid waste the country of the Latins, where
he expected the Romans would meet him, as the Latins were their
confederates and allies, and had often sent to demand succor from them.
the people, however, on their part, showing little inclination for the
service, and the consuls themselves being unwilling to run the hazard of
a battle, when the time of their office was almost ready to expire, they
dismissed the Latin ambassadors without any effect; so that Marcius,
finding no army to oppose him, marched up to their cities, and, having
taken by force Toleria, Lavici, Peda, and Bols, all of which offered
resistance, not only plundered their houses, but made a prey likewise
of their persons. Meantime, he showed particular regard for all such
as came over to his party, and, for fear they might sustain any damage
against his will, encamped them at the greatest distance he could, and
wholly abstained from their property.

After, however, he had made himself master of Bols, a town not above ten
miles from Rome, where he found great treasure, and put almost all
the adults to the sword; the other Volscians that were ordered to
stay behind and protect their cities, hearing of his achievements
and success, had not patience to remain any longer at home, but came
hastening in their arms to Marcius, saying that he alone was their
general and the sole commander they would own; with all this, his name
and renown spread throughout all Italy, and universal wonder prevailed
at the sudden and mighty revolution in the fortunes for two nations
which the loss and the accession of a single man had effected.

All at Rome was in great disorder; they were utterly averse from
fighting, and spent their whole time in cabals and disputes and
reproaches against each other; until news was brought that the enemy had
laid close siege to Lavinium, where were the images and sacred things of
their tutelar gods, and whence they derived the origin of their nations,
that being the first city which Aeneas built in Italy. These tidings
produced a change as universal as it was extraordinary in the thoughts
and inclinations of the people, but occasioned a yet stranger revulsion
of feeling among the patricians. The people now were for repealing the
sentence against Marcius, and calling him back into the city; whereas
the senate, being assembled to consider the decree, opposed and finally
rejected the proposal, either out of the mere humor of opposing the
people in whatever they should desire, or because they were unwilling,
perhaps, that he should owe his restoration to their kindness. When
Marcius heard of this, he was more exasperated than ever, and, quitting
the siege of Lavinium, marched furiously towards Rome, and encamped at
a place called the Cluilian ditches, about five miles from the city.
The nearness of his approach did, indeed, create much terror and
disturbance, yet it also ended their dissensions for the present; as
nobody now, whether consul or senator, durst any longer contradict the
people in their design of recalling Marcius.

It was therefore, unanimously agreed by all parties, that ambassadors
should be despatched, offering him return to his country, and desiring
him to free them from the terrors and distresses of the war. The persons
sent by the senate with this message were chosen out of his kindred
and acquaintance, who naturally expected a very kind reception at their
first interview; in which, however, they were much mistaken. Being led
through the enemy's camp, they found him sitting in state amid the chief
men of the Volscians, looking insupportably proud and arrogant. He
bade them declare the cause of their coming, which they did in the most
gently terms, and with a behavior suitable to their language. When they
had made an end of speaking, he returned them a sharp answer, full of
bitterness and angry resentment, as to what concerned himself, and the
ill usage he had received from them; but as general of the Volscians, he
demanded restitution of the cities and the lands which had been seized
upon during the late war, and that the same rights and franchises should
be granted them at Rome, which had been before accorded to the Latins;
since there could be no assurance that a peace would be firm and lasting
without just conditions on both sides. He allowed them thirty days to
consider and resolve.

The ambassadors having departed; he withdrew his forces from the Roman
territory. Those of the Volscians who had long envied his reputation,
and could not endure to see the influence he had with the people, laid
hold of this as a matter of complaint against him. Among them was Tullus
himself, not for any wrong done him personally by Marcius, but through
the weakness incident to human nature. He could not help feeling
mortified to find his own glory totally obscured, and himself overlooked
and neglected now by the Volscians, who had so great an opinion of their
new leader. Yet Marcius spent no part of the time idly, but attacked the
confederates of the enemy, ravaged their land, and took from them
seven great and populous cities in that interval. The Romans, in the
meanwhile, durst not venture out to their relief; but were utterly
fearful, and showed no more disposition or capacity for action, than if
their bodies had been struck with a palsy, and become destitute of sense
and motion. But when the thirty days were expired, and Marcius appeared
again with his whole army, they sent another embassy to beseech him that
he would moderate his displeasure, and would withdraw the Volscian army,
and then make any proposals he thought best for both parties, but if it
were his opinion that the Volscians ought to have any favor shown them,
upon laying down their arms they might obtain all they could in reason

The reply of Marcius was, that he should make no answer to this as a
general of the Volscians, but in the quality still for a roman citizen,
he would advise them to return to him before three days were at an end,
with a ratification of his previous demands.

When the ambassadors came back, and acquainted the senate with the
answer, seeing the whole state now threatened as it were by a tempest, a
decree was made, that the whole order of their priests should go in full
procession to Marcius with their pontifical array, and the dress and
habit which they respectively used in their several functions, and
should urge him, as before, to withdraw his forces, and then treat with
his countrymen in favor of the Volscians. He granted nothing at all, nor
so much as expressed himself more mildly; but without capitulating or
receding, bade them once for all choose whether they would yield or
fight, since the old terms were the only terms of peace. In this great
perplexity, the roman women went, some to other temples, but the
greater part, and the ladies of highest rank, tot he altar of Jupiter
Capitolinus. Among these suppliants was Valeria, sister to the great
Poplicola, who happily lighting, not without divine guidance, on the
right expedient, rose, and bade the others rise, and went directly with
them to the house of Volumnia, the mother of Marcius. And coming in
and finding her sitting with her daughter-in-law, and with her little
grandchildren on her lap, Valeria, then surrounded by her companions,
spoke in the name of them all:--

"We, O Volumnia, and Vergilia, are come as women to women, to request a
thing on which our own and the common safety depends, and which, if you
consent to it, will raise our glory above that of the daughters of
the Sabines, who won over their fathers and their husbands from mortal
enmity to peace and friendship. Arise and come with us to Marcius; join
in our supplication, for your country's sake."

The words of Valeria were seconded by the acclamations of the other
women, to which Volumnia made answer:--"I and Vergilia, my countrywomen,
have an equal share with you all in the common miseries, and we have the
additional sorrow, which is wholly ours, that we have lost the merit and
good fame of Marcius, and see his person confined, rather than protected
by the arms of the enemy. Make use, however, of our service; and lead
us, if you please, to him; we are able, if nothing more, at least to
spend our last breath in making suit to him for our country."

Having spoken thus, she took Vergilia by the hand, and the young
children, and so accompanied them to the Volscian camp. So lamentable
a sight much affected the enemies themselves, who viewed them in
respectful silence. Marcius, seeing the party of women advance, came
down hastily to meet them, saluting his mother first, and embracing her
a long time, and then his wife and children, sparing neither tears nor
cares, but suffering himself to be borne away and carried headlong, as
it were, but the impetuous violence of his passion.

when he had satisfied himself, and observed that his mother Volumnia was
desirous to say something, the Volscian council being first called in,
he heard her to the following effect: "Our dress and our very persons,
my son, might tell you, though we should say nothing ourselves, in how
forlorn a condition we have lived at home since your banishment and
absence from us; and now consider with yourself, whether we may not pass
for the most unfortunate of all women, to have that sight, which should
be the sweetest that we could see, converted, through I know not
what fatality, to one of all others the most formidable and
dreadful,--Volumnia to behold her son, and Vergilia her husband, in arms
against the walls of Rome. As for myself, if I cannot prevail with you
to prefer amity and concord to quarrel and hostility, and to be the
benefactor to both parties, rather than the destroyer of one of them,
be assured of this, that you shall not be able to reach your country,
unless you trample first upon the corpse of her that brought you into
life. For it will be ill in me to loiter in the world till the day com
wherein I shall see a child of mine, either led in triumph by his own
countrymen, or triumphing over them."

Marcius listened to his mother while she spoke, without answering her a
word; and Volumnia, seeing him stand mute also for a long time after she
had ceased, resumed: "O my son, what is the meaning of this silence? Is
it wrong to gratify a mother in a request like this? You have punished
your country already; you have not yet paid your debt to me." Having
said this, she threw herself down at his feet, as did also his wife and
children; upon which Marcius, crying out, "O mother! what is it you have
done to me?" raised her from the ground, and pressing her right hand
with more than ordinary vehemence said, "You have gained a victory,
fortunate enough for the Romans, but destructive to your son; whom you,
though none else, have defeated." And after a little private conference
with his mother and his wife, he went them back again to Rome, as they
desired of him.

the next morning, he broke up his camp, and led the Volscians homeward,
variously affected with what he had done. None, however, opposed
his commands; they all obediently followed him, though rather from
admiration of his virtue, than any regard they now had to his authority.
The Roman people, meantime began to crown themselves with garlands and
prepare for sacrifice, as they were wont to do upon tidings brought
of an signal victory. But the joy and transport of the whole city was
chiefly remarkable in the honors and marks of affection paid to the
women, as well by the senate as the people in general; every one
declaring that they were, beyond all question, the instruments of the
public safety. And the senate having passed a decree that whatsoever
they would ask in the way of an a favor or honor should be allowed and
done for them by the magistrates, they demanded simply that a temple
might be erected to the Goddess Fortuna, the expense of which they
offered to defray out of their own contributions, if the city would be
at the cost of sacrifices, and other matters pertaining to the due honor
of the gods, out of the common treasury. The senate, much commending
their public spirit, caused the temple to be built and a statue set
up in it at the public charge; they however, made up a sum among
themselves, for a second image of Fortune, which the Romans say utter
these words as they were putt it up "Blessed of the gods, O women, is
your gift."

When Marcius came back to Antium, Tullus, who thoroughly hated
and greatly feared him, proceeded at once to contrive how he might
immediately despatch him; as, if he escaped now, he was never likely
to give him such another advantage. Having, therefore, got together and
suborned several partisans against him, he required Marcius to resign
his charge, and give the Volscians an account of his administration.

An assembly was called, and popular speakers, as had been concerted,
came forward to exasperate and incense the multitude; but when Marcius
stood up to answer, even the most tumultuous part of the people became
quiet on a sudden, and out of reverence allowed him to speak without
the least disturbance; while all the better people, and such as were
satisfied with a peace, made it evident by their whole behavior,
that they would give him a favorable hearing, and judge and pronounce
according to equity.

For these reasons, the conspirators judged it prudent not to test the
general feeling; but the boldest of their faction fell upon Marcius in
a body, and slew him there, none of those that were present offering
to defend him. But it quickly appeared that the action was in nowise
approved of by the majority of the Volscians, who hurried out of
their several cities to show respect to his corpse; to which they gave
honorable interment, adorning his sepulchre with arms and trophies, as
the monument of a noble hero and a famous general. When the Romans heard
tidings of his death, they gave no other signification either of honor
or of anger toward him, but simply granted the request of the women,
that they might put themselves into mourning and bewail him for ten
months, as the usage was upon the loss of a father or a son or a
brother; that being the period fixed for the longest lamentation by the
laws of Numa Pompilius.

Marcius was no sooner deceased, than the Volscians felt the need of his
assistance. They quarreled first with the Aequians, their confederates
and friends, about the appointment of the general of their joint forces,
and carried their dispute to the length of bloodshed and slaughter; and
were then defeated by the Romans in a pitched battle, where not only
Tullus lost his life, but the flower of their whole army was cut to
pieces; so that they were forced to submit and accept of peace upon very
dishonorable terms, becoming subjects of Rome, and pledging themselves
to submission.


Having described all their actions that seem to deserve commemoration,
their military ones, we may say, incline the balance very decidedly upon
neither side. They both, in pretty equal measure, displayed on numerous
occasions the daring and courage of the soldier, and the skill and
foresight of the general; unless, indeed, the fact that Alcibiades was
victorious and successful in many contests both by sea and land, ought
to gain him the title of a more complete commander. That so long as they
remained and held command in their respective countries, they eminently
sustained, and when they were driven into exile, yet more eminently
damaged the fortunes of those countries, is common to both. All the
sober citizens felt disgust at the petulance, the low flattery, and
base seductions which Alcibiades, in his public life, allowed himself
to employ with the view of winning the people's favor; and the
ungraciousness, pride, and oligarchical haughtiness which Marcius,
on the other hand, displayed in his, were the abhorrence of the Roman

Marcius, according to our common conceptions of his character, was
undoubtedly simple and straightforward; Alcibiades, unscrupulous as a
public man, and false. He is more especially blamed for the dishonorable
and treacherous way in which, as Thucydides relates, he imposed upon the
Lacedaemonian ambassadors, and disturbed the continuance of the peace.
yet this policy, which engaged the city again in way, nevertheless
placed it in a powerful and formidable position, by the accession, which
Alcibiades obtained for it, of the alliance of Argos and Mantinea. And
Coriolanus also, Dionysius relates, used unfair means to excite war
between the Romans and the Volscians, in the false report which he
spread about the visitors at the Games; and the motive of this action
seems to make it the worse for the two; since it was not done, like
the other, out of ordinary political jealousy, strife and competition.
simply to gratify anger, from which as Ion says, no one ever yet got any
return, he threw whole districts of Italy into confusion, and sacrificed
to his passion against his country numerous innocent cities. It is true,
indeed, that Alcibiades, by his resentment, was the occasion of great
disasters to his country, but he relented as soon as he found their
feelings to be changed; and after he was driven out a second time,
so far from taking pleasure in the errors and inadvertencies of their
commanders, or being indifferent to the danger they were thus incurring,
he did the very thing that Aristides is so highly commended for doing to
Themistocles: he came to the generals who were his enemies, and pointed
out to them what they ought to do. Coriolanus, on the other hand, first
all attacked the whole body of his countrymen, though only one portion
of them had done him any wrong, while the other, the better and nobler
portion, had actually suffered, as well as sympathized, with him. And,
secondly, by the obduracy with which he resisted numerous embassies and
supplications, addressed in propitiation of his person anger, he showed
that it had been to destroy and overthrow, not to recover and regain his
country, that he had excited bitter and implacable hostilities against.
There is, indeed, one distinction that may be drawn. Alcibiades, it may
be said, was not safe among the Spartans, and had the inducements at
once of fear and of hatred to lead him again to Athens; whereas Marcius
could not honorably have left the Volscians, when they were behaving
so well to him: he, in the command of their forces and the enjoyment
of their entire confidence, was in a very different position from
Alcibiades, whom the Lacedaemonians did not so much wish to adopt into
their service, as to use, and then abandon. Driven about from house to
house in the city, and from general to general in the camp, the latter
had no resort but to place himself in the hands of Tissaphernes; unless
we are to suppose that his object in courting favor with him was to
avert the entire destruction of his native city, whither he wished
himself to return.

As regards money, Alcibiades, we are told, was often guilty of procuring
it by accepting bribes, and spent it in luxury and dissipation.
Coriolanus declined to receive it, even when pressed upon him by his
commanders as an honor; and one great reason for the odium he incurred
with the populace in the discussions about their debts was, that he
trampled upon the poor, not for money's sake, but out of pride and

Antipater, in a letter written upon the death of Aristotle the
philosopher, observes, "Amongst his other gifts he had that of
persuasiveness," and the absence of this in the character of Marcius
made all his great actions and noble qualities unacceptable to those
whom they benefited: pride, and self-will, the consort, as Plato calls
it, of solitude, made him insufferable. With the skill which Alcibiades,
on the contrary, professed to treat every one in the way most agreeable
to him, we cannot wonder that all his successes were attended with
the most exuberant favor and honor; his very errors, at times, being
accompanied by something of grace and felicity. And so, in spite of
great and frequent hurt that he had done the city, he was repeatedly
appointed to office and command; while Coriolanus stood in vain for a
place which his great services had made his due.

Alcibiades never professed to deny that it was pleasant to him to be
honored and distasteful to him to be overlooked; and, accordingly, he
always tried to place himself upon good terms with all that he met;
Coriolanus' pride forbade him to pay attentions to those who could have
promoted his advancement, and yet his love of distinction made him feel
hurt and angry when he was disregarded. Such are the faulty parts of
his character, which in all other respects was a noble one. For his
temperance, continence, and probity, he might claim to be compared
with the best and purest of the Greeks; not in any sort of kind with
Alcibiades, the least scrupulous and most entirely careless of human
beings in all these points.


Aristides, the son of Lysimachus, was of the tribe Antiochis, and
township of Alopece. Being the friend and supporter of that Clisthenes,
who settled the government after the expulsion of the tyrants, and
emulating and admiring Lycurgus the Lacedaemonian above all politicians,
he adhered to the aristocratical principles of government; and had
Themistocles, son to Neocles, his adversary on the side of the populace.
Some say that, when boys together, they were always at variance in all
their words and actions, serious as well as playful. One was ready,
venturesome, and subtle, engaging readily and eagerly in everything; the
other of a staid and settled temper, intent on the exercise of justice,
not admitting any degree of falsity, indecorum, or trickery, even at his
play. Ariston of Ceos says that the first origin of enmity which rose to
so great a height, was a love affair; they were rivals for the
affection of the beautiful Stesilaus of Ceos, and were passionate beyond
moderation, and did not lay aside their animosity when the beauty that
had excited it passed away; but carried their heats and differences into
public business.

Themistocles joined an association of partisans, and fortified himself
with considerable strength; so that when some one told him that if he
were impartial, he would make a good magistrate, "I wish," replied he,
"I may never sit on that tribunal where my friends shall not plead a
greater privilege than strangers."

But Aristides walked alone on his path in politics being unwilling to
go with associates in ill doing, or to cause them vexation by not
gratifying their wishes.

When he had once opposed Themistocles in some measures that were
expedient, and had got the better of him, he could not refrain from
saying, when he left the assembly, that unless they sent Themistocles
and himself to the barathrum,(a pit into which the dead bodies of
malefactors were thrown) there could be no safety for Athens. Another
time, when urging some proposal upon the people, although there was much
opposition to it, yet he was gaining the day; but just as the president
of the assembly was about to put it to the vote, perceiving by what had
been said in debate the inexpediency of his advice, he let it fall. He
often brought in his bills by other persons, lest Themistocles, thought
party spirit against him, should be any hindrance to the good of the

In all the vicissitudes of public affairs, the constancy he showed was
admirable, not being elated with honors, and demeaning himself sedately
in adversity. Once, at the recital of these verses of Aeshcylus in the
theatre, relating to Amphiaraus,

     For not at seeming just, but being so
     He aims; and from his depth of soil below,
     Harvest of wise and prudent counsels grow,

the eyes of all the spectators were turned upon Aristides, as if this
virtue in an especial manner belonged to him.

He was a most determined champion of justice, not only against feelings
of friendship and favor, but wrath and malice.

Thus it is reported of him that prosecuting one who was his enemy,
when the judges after accusation refused to hear the criminal, and were
proceeding immediately to pass sentence upon him, he rose in haste from
his seat and joined in petition with him for a hearing, and that he
might enjoy the privilege of the law. Another time, judging between
two private persons, when the one declared his adversary had very much
injured Aristides; "Tell me rather, good friend," he said, "what wrong
he has done you: for it is your cause, not my own, which I now sit
judge of." Being chosen to the charge of the public revenue, he made it
appear, that not only those of his time, but the preceding officers, had
alienated much treasure, and especially Themistocles:

     Well known he was an able man to be,
     But with his fingers apt to be too free.

Therefore, Themistocles associating several persons against Aristides,
and impeaching him when he gave in his accounts, caused him to be
condemned of robbing of the public; so Idomeneus states; but the best
and chief men of the city much resented it, so that he was not only
exempted from the fine imposed upon him, but again called to the
same employment. Pretending now to repent of his former practice, and
carrying himself with more remissness, he became acceptable to such
as pillaged the treasury, by not detecting or calling them to an exact
account. So that those who had their fill of the public money began
highly to applaud Aristides, and sued to the people, to have him once
more chosen treasurer. But when they were upon the point of election, he
reproved the Athenians in these words: "When I discharged my office
well and faithfully, I was insulted and abused; but now that I have
countenanced the public thieves in a variety of malpractices, I am
considered an admirable patriot. I am more ashamed, therefore, of this
present honor than of the former sentence; and I pity your condition,
with whom is more praiseworthy to oblige bad men than to preserve the
revenue of public."

When Datis was sent by Darius under pretense of punishing the Athenians
for their burning of Sardis, but in reality to reduce the Greeks under
his dominion, and had landed at Marathon and laid waste the country,
among the ten commanders appointed by the Athenians for the war,
Miltiades was of the greatest name; but the second place, both for
reputation and power, was possessed by Aristides: and when his opinion
to join battle was added to that of Miltiades, it did much to incline
the balance. Every leader by his day having the command in chief, when
it came to Aristides' turn, he delivered it into the hands of Miltiades,
showing his fellow officers, that it is not dishonorable to obey and
follow wise and able men, but, on the contrary, noble and prudent. So
appeasing their rivalry, and bringing them to acquiesce in the best
advice, he confirmed Miltiades in the strength of undivided and
unmolested authority. And now every one, yielding his day of command,
looked for orders only to him. During the fight the main body of the
Athenians being the hardest pressed, the barbarians, for a long time,
making opposition there against the tribes Leontis and Antiochis,
Themistocles and Aristides being ranged together, fought valiantly; the
one being of the tribe Leontis, the other of the Antiochis. But, after
they had beaten the barbarians back to their ships, and perceived that
they did sail for the isles, but were driven in by the force of sea and
wind towards the country of Attica, fearing lest they should take the
city, they hurried away thither with nine tribes, and reached it the
same day.

Of all the virtues of Aristides, the common people were most affected
with his justice, because of its continual and common use; and thus,
although of mean fortune and ordinary birth, he possessed himself of the
most kingly and divine appellation of Just; which kings, however, and
tyrants have never sought after; but have taken delight to be surnamed
besiegers of cities, thunderers, conquerors, eagles and hawks;
affecting, it seems, the reputation which proceeds from power and
violence, rather than that of virtue.

Aristides, therefore, had at first the fortune to be beloved for this
surname, but at length envied. Especially when Themistocles spread a
rumor amongst the people, that, by determining and judging all matters
privately, he had destroyed the courts of judicature, and was secretly
making way for a monarchy in his own person, without the assistance
of guards. Moreover, the spirit of the people, now grown high, and
confident with their late victory, naturally entertained feelings of
dislike to all of more than common fame and reputation. Coming together,
therefore, from all parts into the city, they banished Aristides by the
ostracism, giving their jealousy of his reputation the name of fear of
tyranny. For ostracism was not the punishment of any criminal act,
but was speciously said to be the mere depression and humiliation of
excessive greatness and power; and was in fact a gentle relief and
mitigation of envious feeling, which was thus allowed to vent itself
in inflicting no intolerable injury, only a ten years' banishment.
But after it came be exercised upon base and villainous fellows, they
desisted from it; Hyperbolus, being the last whom they banished by the

The cause of Hyperbolus's banishment is said to have been this.
Alcibiades and Nicias, men that bore the greatest sway in the city, were
of different factions. As the people, therefore, were about to vote the
ostracism, and obviously to decree it against one of them, consulting
together and uniting their parties, they contrived the banishment of
Hyperbolus. Upon which the people, being offended, as if some contempt
or affront was put upon the thing, left off and quite abolished it.
It was performed, to be short, in this manner. Every one taking an
ostracon, that is, a sherd, a piece of earthenware, wrote upon it the
citizen's he would have banished, and carried it to a certain part of
the market-place surrounded with wooden rails. First, the magistrates
numbered all the sherds in gross (for if there were less than six
thousand, the ostracism was imperfect); then, laying every name by
itself, they pronounced him whose name was written by the largest
number, banished for ten years, with the enjoyment of his estate. As,
therefore, they were writing the names on the sherds, it is reported
that an illiterate clownish fellow, giving Aristides his sherd,
supposing him a common citizen, begged him write Aristides upon it; and
he being surprised and asking if Aristides had ever done him any injury,
"None at all," said he, "neither know I the man; but I am tired of
hearing him everywhere called the Just." Aristides, hearing this, is
said to have made no reply, but returned the sherd with his own name
inscribed. At his departure from the city, lifting up his hands to
heaven, he made a prayer (the reverse, it would seem, of that of
Achilles), that the Athenians might never have any occasion which should
constrain them to remember Aristides.

But three years afterwards, when Xerxes was marching through Thessaly
and Boeotia into the country of Attica, they repealed the law, and
decreed the return of the banished: chiefly fearing lest Aristides might
join himself to the enemy, and bring over many of his fellow-citizens to
the party of the barbarians; much mistaking the man, who, already before
the decree, was exerting himself to excite and encourage the Greeks to
the defense of their liberty.

After the battle of Salamis, Xerxes, much terrified, immediately
hastened to the Hellespont. But Mardonius was left with the most
serviceable part of the army, about three hundred thousand men, and was
a formidable enemy, confident in his infantry, and writing messages
of defiance to the Greeks: "You have overcome by sea men accustomed
to fight on land and unskilled at the oar; but there lies now the open
country of Thessaly; and the plains of Boeotia offer a broad and worthy
field for brave men, either horse or foot, to contend in."

But he sent privately to the Athenians, both by letter and word of mouth
from the king, promising to rebuild their city, to give them a vast
sum of money, and constitute them lords of all Greece on condition they
would not engage in the war. The Lacedaemonians receiving news of this,
and fearing, dispatched an embassy to the Athenians, entreating that
they would send their wives and children to Sparta, and receive support
from them for their superannuated. For, being despoiled both of their
city and country, the people were suffering extreme distress. Having
given audience to the ambassadors, they returned an answer, upon the
motion of Aristides, worthy of the highest admiration; declaring, that
they forgave their enemies if they thought all things purchasable by
wealth, than which they knew nothing of greater value; but that they
felt offended at the Lacaemonians, for looking only to their present
poverty, without any remembrance of their valor and magnanimity, and
offering them their victuals, to fight in the cause of Greece. Aristides
made this proposal, brought back the ambassadors into the assembly, and
charged them to tell the Lacaemonians that all the treasure on earth or
under it was of less value with the people of Athens than the liberty of
Greece. And, showing the sun to those who came from Mardonius, "as long
as that retains the same course, so long," said he, "shall the citizens
of Athens wage war with the Persians for the country which has been
wasted, and the temples that have been profaned and burnt by them."
Moreover, he proposed a decree, that the priests should anathematize him
who sent any herald to the Medes, or deserted the alliance of Greece.

When Mardonius made a second incursion into the country of Attica, the
people passed over again into the isle of Salamis. Aristides himself
went to Lacedaemon, and reproved them for the delay and neglect in
abandoning Athens once more to the barbarians; and demanded their
assistance for that part of Greece which was not yet lost. The Ephori,
hearing this, made show of sporting all day, and of carelessly keeping
holy day (for they were then celebrating the Hyacinthian festival),
but in the night, selecting five thousand Spartans, each of whom was
attended by seven Helots, they sent them forth unknown to those from
Athens. And when Aristides again reprehended them, they told him in
derision that he either doted or dreamed, for the army was already
at Oresteum, in their march towards the strangers; as they called the
Persians. Aristides answered that they jested unreasonably, deluding
their friends, instead of their enemies.

Being chosen general for the war, he repaired to Plataea, with eight
thousand Athenians, where Pausanias, generalissimo of all Greece,
joined him with the Spartans; and the forces of the other Greeks came in
to them. The encampment of the barbarians extended all along the bank of
the river Asopus, their numbers being so great, there was no enclosing
them all, but their baggage and most valuable things were surrounded
with a square bulwark, each side of which was the length of ten

The Tegeatans, contesting the post of honor with the Athenians,
demanded, that according to custom, the Lacedaemonians being ranged on
the right wing of the battle, they might have the left, alleging
several matters in commendation of their ancestors. The Athenians being
indignant at the claim, Aristides came forward and said: "To contend
with the Tegeatans for noble descent and valor, the present time permits
not: but this we say to you, O you Spartans, and you the rest of the
Greeks, that place neither takes away nor contributes courage: we shall
endeavor by maintaining the post you assign us, to reflect no dishonor
on our former performances. For we are come, not to differ with our
friends, but to fight our enemies; not to extol our ancestors, but to
behave as valiant men. This battle will manifest how much each city,
captain, and private soldier is worth to Greece." The council of war,
upon this address, decided for the Athenians, and gave them the other
wing of the battle.

At this juncture, Mardonius made trial of the Grecian courage, by
sending his whole number of horse, in which he thought himself much
the stronger, against them, while they were all, except the Megarians,
encamped at the foot of Mount Cithaeron, in strong and rocky places.
They being three thousand in number, had pitched their tents on the
plain, where the cavalry charged and made inroads upon them from all
sides. They sent, therefore, in haste to Pausanias, demanding relief,
not being able alone to sustain the great numbers of the barbarians.
Pausanias, hearing this, and perceiving the tents of the Megarians
almost hidden by the multitude of darts and arrows, and themselves
driven together into a narrow space, was at a loss how to aid them with
his battalions of heavy-armed Lacedaemonians. He asked, therefore, as
a test of emulation and love of distinction, to the commanders and
captains who were around him, if any would voluntarily take upon the
defense and succor of the Megarians.

The rest being backward, Aristides undertook the enterprise for the
Athenians, and sent Olympiodorus, the most valiant of his inferior
officers, with three hundred chosen men and some archers under his
command. These were soon in readiness, and running upon the enemy, as
soon as it was perceived by Masistius, who commanded the cavalry of the
barbarians, a man of wonderful courage and of extraordinary bulk and
comeliness of person, he turned his steed and made towards them. They
sustained the shock and joined battle with him, as though by this
encounter they were to try the success of the whole war. But after
Masistius's horse received a wound, and flung him, and he falling, could
hardly raise himself through the weight of his armor, the Athenians
pressed upon him with blows, but could not easily get at his person,
armed as he was, breast, head, and limbs all over, with gold and brass
and iron; but one of them at last, running a javelin under the visor of
his helmet, slew him; and the rest of the Persians, leaving the body,
fled. The greatness of the Greek success was known, not by the multitude
of the slain, (for an inconsiderable number were killed), but by the
sorrow the barbarians expressed. For they shaved themselves, their
horses, and mules for the death of Masistius, and filled the plain with
howling and lamentation; having lost a person, who, next to Mardonius
himself, was by far the chief among them, both for valor and authority.

After this skirmish of the horse, they kept from fighting a long time;
for the soothsayers, by the sacrifices, foretold the victory both to
Greeks and Persians, if they stood upon the defensive part only, but if
they became aggressors, the contrary. At length Mardonious, when he
had but a few days' provision, and the Greek forces were increasing
continually, impatient of delay, determined to lie still no longer, but
passing Asopus by daybreak, to fall unexpectedly upon the Greeks. This
he signified the night before to the captains of his host. But about
midnight, a certain horseman stole into the Greek camp, and coming to
the watch, desired them to summon Aristides, the Athenian, to him.
He came speedily, and the stranger said: "I am Alexander, king of the
Macedonians, and have come here through the greatest danger in the world
for the goodwill I bear you, lest a sudden onset should dismay you, so
as to behave in the fight worse than usual. For to-morrow Mardonius will
give you battle, urged, not by any hope of success or courage, but by
want of victuals: for the prophets prohibit him from the battle, the
sacrifices and oracles being unfavorable; but the army is in despondency
and consternation; and necessity forces him to try his fortune, or sit
still and endure the last extremity of want." Alexander, thus saying,
entreated Aristides to take notice and remember him, but not tell any
other. But he replied that it was not fair conceal to the matter from
Pausanias (because he was general); as for any others he would keep it
secret from them till the battle was fought; but if the Greeks obtained
the victory, that then no one should be ignorant of Alexander's goodwill
and kindness towards them. After this, the king of the Macedonians rode
back again, and Aristides went to Pausanias's tent and told him; and
they sent for the rest of the captains and gave orders that the army
should be in battle array.

Meantime, day came upon them; and Mardonious having his army in array,
fell upon the Lacedaemonians with great shouting and noise of barbarous
people, as if they were not about to join battle, but crush the Greeks
in their flight--a thing which very nearly came to pass. For Pausanius,
perceiving what was done, made a halt, and commanded every one to put
themselves in order for the battle; but through the disturbance he was
in, on account of the sudden approach of the enemy, he forgot to give
the signal to the Greeks in general. Whence it was, that they did
not come immediately, or in a body, to their assistance, but by small
companies and straggling, when the fight was already begun. Pausanias,
offering sacrifice, could not procure favorable omens, and so commanded
the Lacedaemonians to set down their shields at their feet and wait
quietly await for his directions, making no resistance to any of their
enemies. At this time, Callicrates, who, we are told, was the most
comely man in the army, being shot with an arrow and upon the point of
expiring, said that he did not lament his death (for he came from home
to lay down his life in defense of Greece) but that he died without
action. While Pausanias was thus in the act of supplication, the
sacrifices appeared propitious, and the soothsayers foretold victory.
The word being given, the Lacedaemonian battalion of foot seemed, on the
sudden, like some fierce animal, setting up his bristles, and
betaking himself to the combat; and the barbarians perceived that they
encountered with men who would fight to the death. Therefore, holding
their wicker shields before them, they shot their arrows amongst the
Lacedaemonians. But they, keeping together in the order of a phalanx,
and falling upon their enemies forced their shields out of their hands,
and, striking with their pikes at the breasts and faces of the Persians,
overthrew many of them; they, however, fell neither unrevenged nor
without courage. For taking hold of the spears with their bare hands,
they broke many of them, and betook themselves with effect to the
sword; and making use of their falchions and scimitars, and wresting the
Lacedaemonians' shields from them, and grappling with them, for a long
time stood their ground.

Meanwhile, the Athenians were standing still, waiting for the
Lacedaemonians to come up. But when they heard a great noise as of men
engaged in fight, and a messenger came from Pausanias to inform them
of what was going on, they made haste to their assistance. And as they
passed through the plain to the place where the noise was, the recreant
Greeks, who took part with the enemy, came upon them. Aristides, as soon
as he saw them, going a considerable space before the rest, cried out to
them, by the guardian gods of Greece, not to enter the fight, and be no
impediment to those who were going to succor the defenders of Greece.
But when he perceived that they gave no attention to him, and had
prepared themselves for the battle, then turning from the present relief
of the Lacedaemonians, he engaged with them, being five thousand in
number. But the greatest part soon gave way and retreated, as the
barbarians were also put to flight.

The battle being thus divided, the Lacedaemonians first beat off the
Persians; and a Spartan, named Arimnestus, slew Mardonius by a blow on
the head with a stone, as the oracle in the temple of Amphiaraus had
foretold to him. For Mardonius sent a Lydian thither, and another
person, a Carian, to the cave of Trophonius. The latter, the priest of
the oracle answered in his own language. But to the Lydian sleeping
in the temple of Amphiaraus, it seemed that a minister of the divinity
stood before him and commanded him to be gone; and on his refusing to
do it, flung a great stone at his head, so that he thought himself slain
with the blow. Such is the story.

Of three hundred thousand of the enemy, forty thousand only are said to
have escaped with Artabazus; while on the Greeks' side there perished in
all thirteen hundred and sixty; of whom fifty-two were Athenians, all of
the tribe Aeantis, that fought, says Clidemus, with the greatest
courage of all; and for this reason the men of this tribe used to offer
sacrifice for the victory, as enjoined by the oracle, at the public
expense; ninety-one were Lacedaemonians, and sixteen Tegeatans. They
engraved upon the altar this inscription:

     The Greeks, when by their courage and their might,
     They had repelled the Persian in the fight,
     The common altar of freed Greece to be,
     Reared this to Jupiter who guards the free.

The battle of Plataea was fought on the fourth day of the month
Boedromion, on which day there is still a convention of the Greeks
at Plataea, and the Plateans still offer sacrifice for the victory to
"Jupiter of freedom."

After this, the Athenians, not yielding the honor of the day to the
Lacedaemonians, nor consenting that they should erect a trophy, peace
was well-nigh destroyed by a dissension among the armed Greeks; but
Aristides, by soothing and counseling the commanders, especially
Leocrates and Myronides, pacified and persuaded them to leave the thing
to the decision of the Greeks. Cleocritus of Corinth rising up, made
people think he would ask the palm for the Corinthians (for next to
Sparta and Athens, Corinth was in greatest estimation); but he delivered
his opinion, to the general admiration, in favor of the Plataeans; and
counseled to take away all contention by giving them the reward and
the glory of the victory, whose being honored could be distasteful to
neither party. This being said, first Aristides gave consent in the name
of the Athenians, and Pausanias then, for the Lacedaemonians. So, being
reconciled, they set apart eighty talents for the Plateans, with which
they built the temple and dedicated the image to Minerva, and adorned
the temple with pictures, which even to this very day retain their
lustre. But the Lacedaemonians and Athenians each erected a trophy apart
by themselves. On their consulting the oracle about offering sacrifice,
Apollo answered that they should dedicate an altar to Jupiter of
freedom, but should not sacrifice till they had extinguished the fires
throughout the country, as having been defiled by the barbarians,
and had kindled unpolluted fire at the common altar at Delphi. The
magistrates of Greece, therefore, went forthwith and compelled such as
had fire to put it out; and Euchidas, a Plataean, promising to fetch
fire with all possible speed, from the altar of the god, ran to Delphi,
and having sprinkled and purified his body, crowned himself with laurel;
and taking the fire from the altar ran back to Plataea, arriving before
sunset, and performing in one day a journey of a thousand furlongs;
and saluting his fellow-citizens and delivering them the fire,
he immediately fell down and a short time after expired. Then the
Plataeans, taking him up, interred him in the temple of Diana Euclia,
setting this inscription over him: "Euchidas ran to Delphi and back
again in one day."

A general assembly of all the Greeks being called, Aristides proposed
a decree, that the deputies and religious representatives of the
Greek states should assemble annually at Plataea, and every fifth year
celebrate the Eleutheria, or games of freedom. And that there should
be a levy upon all Greece, for the war against the barbarians, of ten
thousand spearmen, one thousand horse, and a hundred sail of ships;
but the Plateans to be exempt, and sacred to the service of the gods,
offering sacrifice for the welfare of Greece. These things being
ratified, the Plateans undertook the performance of annual sacrifice to
such as were slain and buried in that place; which they still perform
in the following manner. On the sixteenth day of Maemacterion they
make their procession, which, beginning by break of day, is led by a
trumpeter sounding for onset; then follow chariots loaded with myrrh and
garlands; and then a black bull; then come the young men of free birth
carrying libations of wine and milk in large two-handed vessels, and
jars of oil and precious ointments, none of servile condition being
permitted to have any hand in this ministration, because the men died in
defense of freedom; after all comes the chief magistrate of Plataea (for
whom it is unlawful at other times for him either to touch iron, or wear
any other colored garment but white), at that time appareled in a purple
robe; and taking a water-pot out of the city record-office, he proceeds,
bearing a sword in his hand, through the middle of the town to the
sepulchres. Then drawing water out of a spring, he washes and anoints
the monuments, and sacrificing the bull upon a pile of wood, and making
supplication to Jupiter and Mercury of the earth, invites those valiant
men who perished in the defense of Greece, to the banquet and the
libations of blood. After this, mixing a bowl of wine, and pouring out
for himself, he says, "I drink to those who lost their lives for the
liberty of Greece." These solemnities the Plataeans observe to this day.

Theophrastus tells us that Aristides was, in his own private affairs,
and those of his own fellow-citizens, rigorously just, but that in
public matters he acted often in accordance with his country's policy,
which demanded, sometimes, not a little injustice. It is reported of him
that he said in a debate, upon the motion of the Samians for removing
the treasure from Delos to Athens, contrary to the league, that the
thing indeed was not just, but was expedient.

In fine, having established the dominion of his city over so many
people, he himself remained indigent; and always delighted as much in
the glory of being poor, as in that of his trophies; as is evident from
the following story. Callias, the torch-bearer was related to him: and
was prosecuted by his enemies in a capital cause, in which, after
they had slightly argued the matters on which they indicted him, they
proceeded, beside the point, to address the judges: "You know," said
they, "Aristides, the son of Lysimachus, who is the admiration of all
Greece. In what a condition do you think his family is at his house,
when you see him appear in public in such a threadbare cloak? Is it not
probable that one, who, out of doors, goes thus exposed to the cold,
must want food and other necessaries at home? Callias, the wealthiest
of the Athenians, does nothing to relieve either him or his wife and
children in their poverty, though he is his own cousin, and has made use
of him in many cases, and often reaped advantage by his interest with
you." But Callias, perceiving that the judges were particularly moved
by this, and were exasperated against him, called in Aristides, who
testified that when Callias offered him divers presents, and entreated
him to accept them, he had refused, answering, that it became him better
to be proud of his poverty than Callias of his wealth. On Aristides
deposing these facts in favor of Callias, there was not one who heard
them that went way desirous rather to be poor like Aristides, than rich
as Callias. Thus Aeschines, the scholar of Socrates, writes. But Plato
declares, that of all the great and renowned men in the city of Athens,
he was the only one worthy of consideration; for while Themistocles,
Cimon, and Pericles filled the city with porticoes, treasure, and many
other vain things, Aristides guided his public life by the rule of
justice. He showed his moderation very plainly in his conduct toward
Themistocles himself. For though Themistocles had been his adversary in
all his undertakings, and was the cause of his banishment, yet when he
afforded a similar opportunity of revenge, being accused by the city,
Aristides bore him no malice; but while Alcmaeon, Cimon, and many others
were prosecuting and impeaching him, Aristides alone, neither did, nor
said any evil against him, and no more triumphed over his enemy in his
adversity, than he had envied him his prosperity.

Some say Aristides died in Pontus, during a voyage upon the affairs of
the public. Others say that he died of old age at Athens, being in great
honor and veneration among his fellow-citizens.

His monument is to be seen at Phalerum, which they say was built for him
by the city, he not having left enough even to defray funeral charges.
And it is stated, that his two daughters were publicly married out of
the prytaneum, or state-house, by the city, which decreed each of
them three thousand drachmas for her portion; and that upon his son
Lysimachus, the people bestowed a hundred minas of money, and as many
acres of planted land, and ordered him besides, upon the motion of
Alcibiades, four drachmas a day.


Cimon was the son of Miltiades and Hegesipyle, who was by birth a
Thracian, and daughter to the king Olorus. By this means the historian
Thucydides was his kinsman by the mother's side; for his father's name
also, in remembrance of this common ancestor, was Olorus, and he was
the owner of the gold mines in Thrace, and met his death, it is said, by
violence, in Scapte Hyle, a district of Thrace. Cimon was left an orphan
very young, with his sister Elpinice, who was also young and unmarried.
And at first he had but an indifferent reputation, being looked upon
as disorderly in his habits, fond of drinking, and resembling his
grandfather, also called Cimon, in character, whose simplicity got him
the surname of Coalemus the simpleton. Stesimbrotus of Thasos, who
lived about the same time with Cimon, reports of him that he had little
acquaintance either with music, or any of the other liberal studies
and accomplishments, then common among the Greeks; that he had nothing
whatever of the quickness and the ready speech of his countrymen in
Attica; that he had great nobleness and candor in his disposition, and
in his character in general, resembled rather a native of Peloponnesus,
than of Athens; as Euripides describes Hercules:--

     ----Rude And unrefined, for great things, well-endued;

for this may fairly be added to the character which Stesimbrotus has
given of him.

Almost all the points of Cimon's character were noble and good. He was
as daring as Miltiades, and not inferior to Themistocles in judgment,
and was incomparably more just and honest than either of them. Fully
their equal in all military virtues, in the ordinary duties of a citizen
at home he was immeasurably their superior. And this, too, when he
was very young, his years not strengthened by any experience. For when
Themistocles, upon the Median invasion, advised the Athenians to forsake
their city and their country, and to carry all their arms on shipboard,
and fight the enemy by sea, in the straits of Salamis; when all the
people stood amazed at the confidence and rashness of this advice, Cimon
was seen, the first of all men, passing with a cheerful countenance
through the Ceramics, on his way with his companions to the citadel,
carrying a bridle in his hand to offer to the goddess, intimating that
there was no more need of horsemen now, but of mariners. There, after
he had paid his devotions to the goddess, and offered up the bridle, he
took down one of the bucklers that hung upon the walls of the temple,
and went down to the port; by this example giving confidence to many of
the citizens. He was also of a fairly handsome person, according to the
poet Ion, tall and large, and let his thick and curly hair grow long.
After he had acquitted himself gallantly in this battle of Salamis,
he obtained great repute among the Athenians, and was regarded with
affection, as well as admiration. He had many who followed after him,
and bade him aspire to actions not less famous than his father's battle
of Marathon. And when he came forward in political life, the people
welcomed him gladly, being now weary of Themistocles; in opposition to
whom, and because of the frankness and easiness of his temper, which was
agreeable to every one, they advanced Cimon to the highest employments
in the government. The man that contributed most to his promotion was
Aristides, who early discerned in his character his natural capacity,
and purposely raised him, that he might be a counterpoise to the craft
and boldness of Themistocles. After the Medes had been driven out of
Greece, Cimon was sent out as admiral, when the Athenians had not yet
attained their dominion by sea, but still followed Pausanias and the
Lacedaemonians; and his fellow-citizens under his command were highly
distinguished, both for the excellence of their discipline, and for
their extraordinary zeal and readiness. And further, perceiving that
Pausanias was carrying on secret communications with the barbarians, and
writing letters to the king of Persia to betray Greece, and, puffed
up with authority and success, was treating the allies haughtily, and
committing many wanton injustices, Cimon, taking advantage, by acts of
kindness to those who were suffering wrong, and by his general humane
bearing, robbed him of the command of the Greeks, before he was aware,
not by arms, but by his mere language and character. Cimon, strengthened
with the accession of the allies, went as general into Thrace. For he
was told that some great men among the Persians, of the king's kindred,
being in possession of Eion, a city situated upon the river Strymon,
infested the neighboring Greeks. First he defeated these Persians in
battle, and shut them up within the walls of their town. Then he fell
upon the Thracians of the country beyond the Strymon, because they
supplied Eion with victuals, and driving them entirely out of the
country, took possession of it as conqueror, by which means he reduced
the besieged to such straits, that Butes, who commanded there for the
king, in desperation set fire to the town, and burned himself, his
goods, and all his relations, in one common flame. By this means,
Cimon got the town, but no great booty; as the barbarians had not only
consumed themselves in the fire, but the richest of their effects.
However, he put the country into the hands of the Athenians, a most
advantageous and desirable situation for a settlement. For this action,
the people permitted him to erect the stone Mercuries, upon the first of
which was this inscription:--

Of bold and patient spirit, too, were those Who, where the Strymon under
Eion flows, With famine and the sword, to utmost need Reduced at last
the children of the Mede.

Upon the second stood this:--

The Athenians to their leaders this reward For great and useful service
did accord; Others hereafter, shall, from their applause, Learn to be
valiant in their country's cause.

And upon the third, the following:--

With Atreus' sons, this city sent of yore Divine Menestheus to the
Trojan shore; Of all the Greeks, so Homer's verses say, The ablest man
an army to array; So old the title of her sons the name Of chiefs and
champions in the field to claim.

Though the name of Cimon is not mentioned in these inscriptions, yet his
contemporaries considered them to be the very highest honors to him;
as neither Miltiades nor Themistocles ever received the like. When
Miltiades claimed a garland, Sochares of Decelea stood up in the midst
of the assembly and opposed it, using words which, though ungracious,
were received with applause by the people. "When you have gained a
victory by yourself, Miltiades, then you may ask to triumph so too."

One mark of Cimon's great favor with the people, was the judgment,
afterwards so famous upon the tragic poets. Sophocles, still a young
man, had just brought forward his first plays; opinions were much
divided, and the spectators had taken sides with some heat. So, to
determine the case, Apsephion, who was at that time Archon, would
not cast lots who should be judges; but when Cimon, and his brother
commanders with him, came into the theatre, after they had performed
the usual rites to the god of the festival, he would not allow them to
retire, but came forward and made them swear, being ten in all, one from
each tribe, the usual oath; and so being sworn judges, he made them sit
down to give sentence. The eagerness for victory grew all the warmer,
from the ambition to get the suffrages of such honorable judges. And the
victory was at last adjudged to Sophocles, which Aeschylus is said to
have taken so ill, that he left Athens shortly after, and went in anger
to Sicily, where he died, and was buried near the city of Gela.

Ion relates that when he was a young man, and had recently come from
Chios to Athens, he chanced to sup with Cimon, at Laomedon's house.
After supper, when they had, according to custom, poured out wine to the
honor of the gods, Cimon was desired by the company to give them a song,
which he did with sufficient success, and received the commendations of
the company, who remarked on his superiority to Themistocles, who, on a
like occasion, had declared he had never learnt to sing, or to play, and
only knew how to make a city rich and powerful. After talking of things
incident to such entertainments, they entered upon the particulars of
the several actions for which Cimon had been famous. And when they were
mentioning the most signal, he told them they had omitted one, upon
which he valued himself most for address and good contrivance. He gave
this account of it. When the allies had taken a great number of
the barbarians prisoners in Sestos and Byzantium, they gave him the
preference to divide the booty; he accordingly put the prisoners in one
lot, and the spoils of their rich attire and jewels in the other. This
the allies complained of as an unequal division; but he gave them their
choice to take which lot they would, saying that the Athenians should be
content with that which they refused. Herophytus of Samos advised them
to take the ornaments for their share, and leave the slaves to the
Athenians; and Cimon went away, and was much laughed at for his
ridiculous division. For the allies carried away the golden bracelets,
and armlets, and collars, and purple robes, and the Athenians had only
the naked bodies of the captives, which they could make no advantage of,
being unused to labor. But a little while after, the friends and kinsmen
of the prisoners coming from Lydia and Phrygia, redeemed every one his
relations at a high ransom; so that by this means Cimon got so much
treasure that he maintained his whole fleet of galleys with the money
for four months; and yet there was some left to lay up in the treasury
at Athens.

Cimon now grew rich, and what he gained from the barbarians with honor,
he spent yet more honorably upon the citizens. For he pulled down all
the enclosures of his gardens and grounds, that strangers, and the needy
of his fellow-citizens, might gather of its fruits freely. At home, he
kept a table, plain, but sufficient for a considerable number, to which
any poor townsman had free access, and so might support himself without
labor, with his whole time left free for public duties. Aristotle
states, however, that this reception did not extend to all the
Athenians, but only to his own fellow townsmen, the Laciadae.* Besides
this, he always went attended by two or three young companions, very
well clad; and if he met with an elderly citizen in a poor habit, one
of these would change clothes with the decayed citizen, which was
looked upon as very nobly done. He enjoined them, likewise, to carry
a considerable quantity of coin about them, which they were to convey
silently into the hands of the better class of poor men, as they stood
by them in the market-place. This, Cratinus, the poet, speaks of in one
of his comedies, the Archilochi:--

     For I, Metrobius too, the scrivener poor,
     Of ease and comfort in my age secure,
     By Greece's noblest son in life's decline,
     Cimon, the generous-hearted, the divine,
     Well-fed and feasted hoped till death to be,
     Death which, alas! has taken him ere me.

Gorgias the Leontine gives him this character, that he got riches that
he might use them, and used them that he might get honor by them. And
Critias, one of the thirty tyrants, makes it, in his elegies, his wish
to have

     The Scopads' wealth, and Cimon's nobleness,
     And king Agesilaus's success.

Lichas, we know, became famous in Greece, only because on the days of
the sports, when the young boys ran naked, he used to entertain the
strangers that came to see these diversions. But Cimon's generosity
outdid all the old Athenian hospitality and good-nature. For though
it is the city's just boast that their forefathers taught the rest of
Greece to sow corn, and how to use springs of water, and to kindle fire,
yet Cimon, by keeping open house for his fellow-citizens, and giving
travelers liberty to eat the fruits which the several seasons produced
in his land, seemed to restore to the world that community of goods,
which mythology says existed in the reign of Saturn. Those who object to
him that he did this to be popular, and gain the applause of the vulgar,
are confuted by the constant tenor of the rest of his actions, which all
ended to uphold the interests of the nobility and the Spartan policy,
of which he gave instances, when, together with Aristides, he opposed
Themistocles, who was advancing the authority of the people beyond its
just limits, and resisted Ephialtes, who to please the multitude, was
for abolishing the jurisdiction of the court of Areopagus. And when all
the men of his time, except Aristides and Ephialtes, enriched themselves
out of the public money, he still kept his hands clean and untainted,
and to his last day never acted or spoke for his own private gain or
emolument. They tell us that Rhoesaces, a Persian, who had traitorously
revolted from the king his master, fled to Athens, and there, being
harassed by sycophants who were still accusing him to the people, he
applied himself to Cimon for redress, and to gain his favor, laid down
in his doorway two cups, the one full of gold, and the other of silver
Darics. Cimon smiled and asked him whether he wished to have Cimon's
hired service or his friendship. He replied, his friendship. "If so,"
said he, "take away these pieces, for being your friend, when I shall
have occasion for them, I will send and ask for them."

The allies of the Athenians began now to be weary of war and military
service, willing to have repose, and to look after their husbandry and
traffic. For they saw their enemies driven out of the country, and did
not fear any new vexations from them. They still paid the tax they were
assessed at, but did not send men and galleys, as they had done before.
This the other Athenian generals wished to constrain them to, and
by judicial proceedings against defaulters, and penalties which they
inflicted on them, made the government uneasy, and even odious. But
Cimon practiced a contrary method; he forced no man to go that was not
willing, but of those that desired to be excused from service he took
money and vessels unmanned, and let them yield to the temptation of
staying at home, to attend to their private business. Thus they lost
their military habits, and luxury and their own folly quickly changed
them into unwarlike husbandmen and traders; while Cimon, continually
embarking large numbers of Athenians on board his galleys, thoroughly
disciplined them in his expeditions, and ere long made them the lords of
their own paymasters. The allies, whose indolence maintained them, while
they thus went sailing about everywhere, and incessantly bearing
arms and acquiring skill, began to fear and flatter them, and found
themselves after a while allies no longer, but unwittingly become
tributaries and slaves.

Nor did any man ever do more than Cimon did to humble the pride of
the Persian king. He was not content with ridding Greece of him; but
following close at his heels, before the barbarians could take breath
and recover themselves, what with his devastations, and his forcible
reduction of some places and the revolts and voluntary accession of
others, in the end, from Ionia to Pamphylia, all Asia was clear of
Persian soldiers. Word being brought him that the royal commanders were
lying in wait upon the coast of Pamphylia, with a numerous land army,
and a large fleet, he determined to make the whole sea on this side the
Chelidonian islands so formidable to them that they should never dare
to show themselves in it; and setting off from Cnidos and the Triopian
headland, with two hundred galleys, which had been originally built with
particular care by Themistocles, for speed and rapid evolutions, and
to which he now gave greater width and roomier decks along the sides
to move to and fro upon, so as to allow a great number of full-armed
soldiers to take part in the engagements and fight from them, he shaped
his course first of all against the town of Phaselis, which, though
inhabited by Greeks, yet would not quit the interests of Persia, but
denied his galleys entrance into their port. Upon this he wasted the
country, and drew up his army to their very walls; but the soldiers of
Chios, who were then serving under him, being ancient friends to the
Phaselites, endeavoring to propitiate the general in their behalf, at
the same time shot arrows into the town, to which were fastened letters
conveying intelligence. At length he concluded peace with them, upon the
conditions that they should pay down ten talents, and follow him against
the barbarians. The Persian admiral lay waiting for him with the whole
fleet at the mouth of the river Eurymedon, with no design to fight, but
expecting a reinforcement of eighty Phoenician ships on their way from
Cyprus. Cimon, aware of this, put out to sea, resolved, if they would
not fight a battle willingly, to force them to it. The barbarians,
seeing this, retired within the mouth of the river to avoid
being attacked; but when they saw the Athenians come upon them,
notwithstanding their retreat, they met them with six hundred ships,
as Phanodemus relates, but according to Ephorus, with three hundred
and fifty. However, they did nothing worthy such mighty forces, but
immediately turned the prows of their galleys toward the shore, where
those that came first threw themselves upon the land, and fled to their
army drawn up thereabout, while the rest perished with their vessels, or
were taken. By this, one may guess at their number, for though a great
many escaped out of the fight, and a great many others were sunk, yet
two hundred galleys were taken by the Athenians.

When their land army drew toward the seaside, Cimon was in suspense
whether he should venture to try and force his way on shore; as he
should thus expose his Greeks, wearied with slaughter in the first
engagement, to the swords of the barbarians, who were all fresh men, and
many times their number. But seeing his men resolute, and flushed with
victory, he bade them land, though they were not yet cool from their
first battle. As soon as they touched ground, they set up a shout and
ran upon the enemy, who stood firm and sustained the first shock
with great courage, so that the fight was a hard one, and some of
the principal men of the Athenians in rank and courage were slain. At
length, though with much ado, they routed the barbarians, and killing
some, took others prisoners, and plundered all their tents and
pavilions, which were full of rich spoil. Cimon, liked a skilled athlete
at the games, having in one day carried off two victories, wherein
he surpassed that of Salamis by sea, and that of Plataea by land, was
encouraged to try for yet another success. News being brought that the
Phoenician succors, in number eighty sail, had come in sight at Hydrum,
he set off with all speed to find them, while they as yet had not
received any certain account of the larger fleet, and were in doubt what
to think; so that thus surprised, they lost all their vessels, and most
of their men with them. This success of Cimon so daunted the king
of Persia, that he presently made that celebrated peace, by which he
engaged that his armies should come no nearer the Grecian sea than the
length of a horse's course; and that none of his galleys or vessels
of war should appear between the Cyanean and Chelidonian isles. In the
collection which Craterus made of the public acts of the people, there
is a draft of this treaty given.

The people of Athens raised so much money from the spoils of this war,
which were publicly sold, that, besides other expenses, and raising the
south wall of the citadel, they laid the foundation of the long walls,
not, indeed, finished till at a later time, which were called the Legs.
And the place where they built them being soft and marshy ground, they
were forced to sink great weights of stone and rubble to secure the
foundation, and did all this out of the money Cimon supplied them with.

It was he, likewise, who first embellished the upper city with those
fine and ornamental places of exercise and resort, which they afterward
so much frequented and delighted in. He set the market-place with plane
trees; and the Academy, which was before a bare, dry, and dirty spot, he
converted into a well-watered grove, with shady alleys to walk in, and
open courses for races.

When the Persians who had made themselves masters of the Chersonese, so
far from quitting it, called in the people of the interior of Thrace
to help them against Cimon, whom they despised for the smallness of his
forces, he set upon them with only four galleys, and took thirteen of
theirs; and having driven out the Persians, and subdued the Thracians,
he made the hole Chersonese the property of Athens. Next, he attacked
the people of Thasos, who had revolted from the Athenians; and, having
defeated them in a fight at sea, where he captured thirty-three of their
vessels, he took their own by siege, and acquired for the Athenians all
the mines of gold on the opposite coast, and the territory dependent on

This opened him a fair passage into Macedon, so that he might, it was
thought, have acquired a good portion of that country, and because he
neglected the opportunity, he was suspected of corruption, and of
having been bribed off by king Alexander. So, by the combination of
his adversaries, he was accused of being false to his country. In his
defence he told the judges, that he had always shown himself in his
public life the friend, not, like other men, of rich Ionians and
Thessalonians, to be courted, and to receive presents, but of the
Lacedaemonians; for as he admired, so he wished to imitate, the
plainness of their habits, their temperance, and simplicity of living,
which he preferred to any sort of riches; but that he always had
been, and still was proud to enrich his country with the spoils of her
enemies. Pericles proved the mildest of his prosecutors, and rose up but
once all the while, almost as a matter of form, to plead against him.
Cimon was acquitted.

In his public life after this, he continued, while at home, to control
the common people, who would have trampled upon the nobility, and drawn
all the power and sovereignty to themselves. But when he afterwards was
sent out to war, the multitude broke loose, as it were, and overthrew
all the ancient laws and customs they had hitherto observed, and,
chiefly at the instigation of Ephialtes, withdrew the cognizance of
almost all causes from the Areopagus; so that all jurisdiction now being
transferred to them, the government was reduced to a perfect democracy,
and this by the help of Pericles, who was already powerful, and had
pronounced in favor of the common people.

He was indeed a favorer of the Lacedaemonians even from his youth, and
gave the names of Lacedaemonius and Eleus to his two sons, twins.

Cimon was countenanced by the Lacedaemonians in opposition to
Themistocles, whom they disliked; and while he was yet very young,
they endeavored to raise and increase his credit in Athens. This
the Athenians perceived at first with pleasure, and the favor the
Lacedaemonians showed him was in various ways advantageous to them and
their affairs; as at that time they were just rising to power, and were
occupied in winning the allies to their side. So they seemed not at all
offended with the honor and kindness showed to Cimon, who then had the
chief management of all the affairs of Greece, and was acceptable to
the Lacedaemonians, and courteous to the allies. But afterwards the
Athenians, grown more powerful, when they saw Cimon so entirely devoted
to the Lacedaemonians, began to be angry, for he would always in
speeches prefer them to the Athenians, and upon every occasion, when he
would reprimand them for a fault, or incite them to emulation, he
would exclaim, "The Lacedaemonians would not do thus." This raised the
discontent, and got him in some degree the hatred of the citizens; but
that which ministered chiefly to the accusation against him fell out
upon the following occasion.

In the fourth year of the reign of Archidamus, the son of Zeuxidamus,
king of Sparta, there happened in the country of Lacedaemon, the
greatest earthquake that was known in the memory of ma; the earth opened
into chasms, and the mountain Taygetus was so shaken that some of the
rocky points of it fell down, and except five houses, all the town of
Sparta was shattered to pieces. They say that a little before any
motion was perceived, as the young men and the boys just grown up were
exercising themselves together in the middle of the portico, a hare,
of a sudden, started out just by them, which the young men, though all
naked and daubed with oil, ran after for sport. No sooner were they
gone from the place, than the gymnasium fell down upon the boys who had
stayed behind, and killed them all. Their tomb is to this day called
Sismatias.* Archidamus, by the present danger made apprehensive of what
might follow, and seeing the citizens intent upon removing the most
valuable of their goods out of their houses, commanded an alarm to be
sounded, as if an enemy were coming upon them, in order that they should
collect about him in a body, with arms. It was this alone that saved
Sparta at that time, for the Helots had come together from the country
about, with design of surprising the Spartans, and overpowering
those whom the earthquake had spared. But finding them armed and well
prepared, they retired into the towns and openly made war with them,
gaining over a number of the Laconians of the country districts; while
at the same time the Messenians, also, made an attack upon the Spartans,
who therefore despatched Periclidas to Athens to solicit succor, of whom
Aristophanes says in mockery that he came and

     In a red jacket, at the altars seated,
     With a white face, for men and arms entreated.

This Ephialtes opposed, protesting that they ought not to raise up or
assist a city that was a rival to Athens; but that being down, it
were best to keep her so, and let the pride and arrogance of Sparta
be trodden under. But Cimon, as Critias says, preferring the safety of
Lacedaemon to the aggrandizement of his own country, so persuaded the
people, that he soon marched out with a large army to their relief. Ion
records, also, the most successful expression which he used to move the
Athenians. "They ought not to suffer Greece to be lamed, nor their own
city to be deprived of her yoke fellow."

In his return from aiding the Lacedaemonians, he passed with his army
through the territory of Corinth; whereupon Lachartus reproached him for
bringing his army into the country, without first asking leave of the
people. For he that knocks at another man's door ought not to enter
the house till the master gives him leave. "But you, Corinthians, O
Lachartus," said Cimon, "did not knock at the gates of the Cleonaeans
and Megarians, but broke them down and entered by force, thinking that
all places should be open to the stronger." And having thus rallied
the Corinthian, he passed on with his army. Some time after this, the
Lacedaemonians sent a second time to desire succor of the Athenians
against the Messenians and Helots, who had seized upon Ithome. But when
they came, fearing their boldness and gallantry, of all that came to
their assistance, they sent them only back, alleging that they were
designing innovations. The Athenians returned home, enraged at this
usage, and vented their anger upon all those who were favorers of the
Lacedaemonians; and seizing some slight occasion, they banished Cimon
for ten years, which is the time prescribed to those that are banished
by the ostracism. In the mean time, the Lacedaemonians, on their return
after freeing Delphi from the Phocians, encamped their army at Tanagra,
whither the Athenians presently marched with design to fight them.

Cimon also, came thither armed and ranged himself among those of his own
tribe, which was the Oeneis, desirous of fighting with the rest against
the Spartans; but the council of five hundred being informed of this,
and frightened at it, his adversaries crying out that he would disorder
the army, and bring the Lacedaemonians to Athens, commanded the officers
not to receive him. Wherefore Cimon left the army, conjuring Euthippus,
the Anaphylstian, and the rest of his companions, who were most
suspected as favoring the Lacedaemonians, to behave themselves bravely
against their enemies, and by their actions make their innocence evident
to their countrymen. These, being in all a hundred, took the arms of
Cimon, and followed his advice; and making a body by themselves, fought
so desperately with the enemy, that they were all cut off, leaving the
Athenians deep regret for the loss of such brave men, and repentance for
having so unjustly suspected them. Accordingly, they did not long retain
their severity toward Cimon, partly upon remembrance of his former
services, and partly, perhaps, induced by the juncture of the times.
For being defeated at Tanagra in a great battle, and fearing the
Peloponnesians would come upon them at the opening of the spring, they
recalled Cimon by a decree, of which Pericles himself was author. So
reasonable were men's resentments in those times, and so moderate their
anger, that it always gave way to the public good. Even ambition,
the least governable of all human passions, could then yield to the
necessities of the State.

Cimon, as soon as he returned, put an end to the war, and reconciled the
two cities. Peace thus established, seeing the Athenians impatient of
being idle, and eager for the honor and aggrandizement of war, lest they
should set upon the Greeks themselves, or with so many ships cruising
about the isles and Peloponnesus, they should give occasions for
intestine wars, or complaints of their allies against them, he equipped
two hundred galleys, with design to make an attempt upon Egypt and
Cyprus; purposing, by this means, to accustom the Athenians to fight
against the barbarians, and enrich themselves honestly by despoiling
those who were the natural enemies to Greece. But when all things were
prepared, and the army ready to embark, Cimon had this dream. It seemed
to him that there was a furious female dog barking at him, and, mixed
with the barking, a kind of human voice uttered these words:

     Come on, for thou shalt shortly be
     A pleasure to my whelps and me.

This dream was hard to interpret, yet Astyphilus of Posidonia, a man
skilled in divinations, and intimate with Cimon, told him that his death
was presaged by this vision, which he thus explained. A dog is enemy
to him he barks at; and one is always most a pleasure to one's enemies,
when one is dead; the mixture of human voice with barking signifies the
Medes, for the army of the Medes is mixed up of Greeks and barbarians.
After this dream, as he was sacrificing to Bacchus, and the priest
cutting up the victim, a number of ants, taking up the congealed
particles of the blood, laid them about Cimon's great toes. This was not
observed for a good while, but at the very time when Cimon spied it, the
priest came and showed him the liver of the sacrifice imperfect, wanting
that part of it called the head. But he could not then recede from the
enterprise, so he set sail. Sixty of his ships he sent toward Egypt;
with the rest he went and fought the king of Persia's fleet, composed
of Phoenician and Cilician galleys, recovered all the cities thereabout,
and threatened Egypt; designing no less than the entire ruin of the
Persian empire. And the more because he was informed that Themistocles
was in great repute among the barbarians, having promised the king
to lead his army, whenever he should make war upon Greece. But
Themistocles, it is said, abandoning all hopes of compassing his
designs, very much out of the despair of overcoming the valor and
good-fortune of Cimon, died a voluntary death. Cimon, intent on great
designs, which he was now to enter upon, keeping his navy about the isle
of Cyprus, sent messengers to consult the oracle of Jupiter Ammon upon
some secret matter. For it is not known about what they were sent, and
the god would give them no answer, but commanded them to return again,
for Cimon was already with him. Hearing this, they returned to sea, and
as soon as they came to the Grecian army, which was then about Egypt,
they understood that Cimon was dead; and computing the time of the
oracle, they found that his death had been signified, he being then
already with the gods.

He died, some say, of sickness, while besieging Citium, in Cyprus;
according to others, of a wound he received in a skirmish with the
barbarians. When he perceived that he was going to die, he commanded
those under his charge to return, and by no means to let the news of his
death be known by the way; this they did with such secrecy that they all
came home safe, and neither their enemies nor the allies knew what had
happened. Thus, as Phanodemus relates, the Grecian army was, as it were,
conducted by Cimon thirty days after he was dead. But after his
death there was not one commander among the Greeks that did any thing
considerable against the barbarians, and instead of uniting against
their common enemies, the popular leaders and partisans of war animated
them against one another to such a degree, that none could interpose
their good offices to reconcile them. And while, by their mutual
discord, they ruined the power of Greece, they gave the Persians time
to recover breath, and repair all their losses. It is true, indeed,
Agesilaus carried the arms of Greece into Asia, but it was a long time
afterwards; there were some brief appearances of a war against the
king's lieutenants in the maritime provinces, but they all quickly
vanished; before he could perform any thing of moment, he was recalled
by fresh civil dissensions and disturbances at home. So that he was
forced to leave the Persian king's officers to impose what tribute they
pleased on the Greek cities in Asia, the confederates and allies of
the Lacedaemonians. Whereas, in the time of Cimon, not so much as a
letter-carrier, or a single horseman, was ever seen to come within four
hundred furlongs of the sea.

The monuments, called Cimonian to this day, in Athens, show that his
remains were conveyed home, yet the inhabitants of the city Citium pay
particular honor to a certain tomb which they call the tomb of Cimon,
according to Nausicrates the rhetorician, who states that in a time
of famine, when the crops of their land all failed, they sent to the
oracle, which commanded them not to forget Cimon, but give him the
honors of a superior being.


The people of Rome appear, from the first, to have been affected towards
Pompey, much in the same manner as Prometheus, in Aeschylus, was towards
Hercules, when after that hero had delivered him from his chains, he

     The sire I hated, but the son I loved.

For never did the Romans entertain a stronger and more rancorous hatred
for any general than for Strabo, the father of Pompey. While he lived,
indeed, they were afraid of his abilities as a soldier, for he had
great talents for war; but upon his death, which happened by a stroke
of lightning, they dragged his corpse from the bier, on the way to the
funeral pile, and treated it with the greatest indignity. On the other
hand, no man ever experienced from the same Romans an attachment more
early begun, more disinterested in all the stages of his prosperity, or
more constant and faithful in the decline of his fortune, than Pompey.

The sole cause of their aversion to the father was his insatiable
avarice; but there were many causes of their affection for the son;
his temperate way of living, his application to martial exercises, his
eloquent and persuasive address, his strict honor and fidelity, and the
easiness of access to him upon all occasions; for no man was ever less
importunate in asking favors, or more gracious in conferring them. When
he gave, it was without arrogance; and when he received, it was with

In his youth he had a very engaging countenance, which spoke for him
before he opened his lips. Yet that grace of aspect was not attended
with dignity, and amidst his youthful bloom there was a venerable and
princely air. His hair naturally curled a little before; which, together
with the shining moisture and quick turn of his eye, produced a stronger
likeness to Alexander the Great than that which appeared in the statues
of that prince.

As to the simplicity of his diet, there is a remarkable saying of his
upon record. In a great illness, when his appetite was almost gone, the
physician ordered him a thrush. His servants, upon inquiry, found there
was not one to be had for money, for the season was passed. They
were informed, however, that Lucullus had them all the year in his
menageries. This being reported to Pompey, he said, "Does Pompey's life
depend upon the luxury of Lucullus?" Then, without any regard to the
physician, he ate something that was easy to be had.

After the death of Cinna, Carbo, a tyrant still more savage, took the
reins of government. It was not long, however, before Sylla returned to
Italy, to the great satisfaction of most of the Romans, who, in their
present unhappy circumstances, thought the change of their master no
small advantage.

Pompey, at the age of twenty-three, without a commission from any
superior authority, erected himself into a general; and having placed
his tribunal in the most public part of the great city of Auximum,
enlisted soldiers and appointed tribunes, centurions, and other
officers, according to the established custom. He did the same in all
the neighboring cities; for the partisans of Carbo retired and gave
place to him; and the rest were glad to range themselves under his
banners. So that in a little time he raised three complete legions,
and furnished himself with provisions, beasts of burden, carriages; in
short, with the whole apparatus of war.

In this form he moved towards Sylla, not by hasty marches, nor as if
he wanted to conceal himself; for he stopped by the way to harass the
enemy; and attempted to draw off from Carbo all the parts of Italy
through which he passed. At last, three generals of the opposite party,
Carinna, Caelius, and Brutus, came against him all at once, not in
front, or in one body, but they hemmed him in with their three armies,
in hopes to demolish him entirely.

Pompey, far from being terrified, assembled all his forces, and charged
the army of Brutus at the head of his cavalry. The Gaulish horse on the
enemy's side sustained the first shock; but Pompey attacked the foremost
of them, who was a man of prodigious strength, and brought him down with
a push of his spear. The rest immediately fled and threw the infantry
into such disorder that the whole was soon put to flight. This produced
so great a quarrel among the three generals, that they parted and took
separate routes. In consequence of which, the cities, concluding that
the fears of the enemy had made them part, adopted the interest of

Not long after, Scipio the consul advanced to engage him. But before the
infantry were near enough to discharge their lances, Scipio's soldiers
saluted those of Pompey, and came over to them. Scipio, therefore,
was forced to fly. At last, Carbo sent a large body of cavalry against
Pompey, near the river Arsis. He gave them so warm a reception, that
they were soon broken, and in the pursuit drove them upon impracticable
ground; so that finding it impossible to escape, they surrendered
themselves with their arms and horses.

Sylla had not yet been informed of these transactions; but upon the
first news of Pompey's being engaged with so many adversaries, and such
respectable generals, he dreaded the consequence, and marched with
all expedition to his assistance. Pompey, having intelligence of his
approach, ordered his officers to see that the troops were armed and
drawn up in such a manner as to make the handsomest and most gallant
appearance before the commander-in-chief. For he expected great honours
from him, and he obtained greater. Sylla no sooner saw Pompey advancing
to meet him, with an army in excellent condition, both as to age and
size of the men, and the spirits which success had given them, than he
alighted; and upon being saluted of course by Pompey as Imperator, he
returned his salutation with the same title: though no one imagined that
he would have honoured a young man not yet admitted into the senate with
a title for which he was contending with the Scipios and the Marii. The
rest of his behavior was as respectable as that in the first interview.
He used to rise up and uncover his head, whenever Pompey came to him;
which he was rarely observed to do for any other, though he had a number
of persons of distinction about him.

While Pompey was in Sicily, he received a decree of the senate, and
letters from Sylla, in which he was commanded to cross over to Africa
and to carry on the war with the utmost vigor against Domitius, who had
assembled a much more powerful army than that which Marius carried not
long before from Africa to Italy, when he made himself master of
Rome, and from a fugitive became a tyrant. Pompey soon finished his
preparation for this expedition; and leaving the command in Sicily to
Memmius, his sister's husband, he set sail with one hundred and twenty
armed vessels, and eight hundred store-ships, laden with provisions,
arms, money, and machines of war. Part of his fleet landed at Utica, and
part at Carthage: immediately after which seven thousand of the enemy
came over to him; and he had brought with him six legions complete.

On his arrival he met with a whimsical adventure. Some of his soldiers,
it seems, found a treasure, and rest of the troops concluded that the
place was full of money, which the Carthaginians had hid there in some
time of public distress. Pompey, therefore could make no use of them for
several days, as they were searching for treasures; and he had nothing
to do but walk about and amuse himself with the sight of so many
thousands digging and turning up the ground. At last, they gave up
the point, and bade him lead them wherever be pleased, for they were
sufficiently punished for their folly.

Domitius advanced to meet him, and put his troops in order of battle.
There happened to be a channel between them, craggy and difficult to
pass. Moreover, in the morning it began to rain, and the wind blew
violently; insomuch that Domitius, not imagining there would be any
action that day, ordered his army to retire. But Pompey looked upon this
as his opportunity, and he passed the defile with the utmost expedition.
The enemy stood upon their defence, but it was in a disorderly and
tumultuous manner, and the resistance they made was neither general
nor uniform. Besides the wind and rain beat in their faces. The storm
incommoded the Romans, too, for they could not well distinguish each
other. Nay, Pompey himself was in danger of being killed by a soldier,
who asked him the pass-word, and did not receive a speedy answer. At
length, however, he routed the enemy with great slaughter; not above
three thousand of them escaping out of twenty thousand. The soldiers
then saluted Pompey, Imperator, but he said he would not accept that
title while the enemy's camp stood untouched; therefore, if they chose
to confer such an honor upon him, they must first make themselves
masters of the intrenchments.

At that instant they advanced with great fury against them. Pompey
fought without his helmet, for fear of such an accident as he had just
escaped. The camp was taken, and Domitius slain; in consequence of
which most of the cities immediately submitted, and rest were taken by
assault. He took Iarbas, one of the confederates of Domitius, prisoner,
and bestowed his crown on Hiempsal. Advancing with the same tide of
fortune, and while his army had all the spirits inspired by success, he
entered Numidia, in which he continued his march for several days, and
subdued all that came in his way. Thus he revived the terror of the
Roman name, which the barbarians had begun to disregard. Nay, he chose
not to leave the savage beasts in the deserts without giving them a
specimen of the Roman valor and success. Accordingly he spent a few days
in hunting lions and elephants. The whole time he passed in Africa,
they tell us, was not above forty days; in which he defeated the enemy,
reduced the whole country, and brought the affairs of its kings under
proper regulations, though he was only in his twenty-fourth year.

Upon his return to Utica, he received letters from Sylla, in which he
was ordered to send home the rest of his army, and to wait there
with one legion only for a successor. This gave him a great deal of
uneasiness, which he kept to himself, but the army expressed their
indignation aloud; insomuch that when he entreated them to return to
Italy, they launched out into abusive terms against Sylla, and declared
they would never abandon Pompey, or suffer him to trust a tyrant. At
first, he endeavored to pacify them with mild representations; and
when he found those had no effect, he descended from the tribunal, and
retired to his tent in tears. However, they went and took him thence,
and paced him again upon the tribunal, where they spent a great part of
the day; they insisting that he should stay and keep the command, and he
in persuading them to obey Sylla's orders, and to form no new faction.
At last, seeing no end of their clamors and importunity, he assured
them, with an oath, that he would kill himself, if they attempted to
force him. And even this hardly brought them to desist.

The first news that Sylla heard was, that Pompey had revolted; upon
which he said to his friends, "Then it is my fate to have to contend
with boys in my old age." This he said, because Marius, who was very
young, had brought him into so much trouble and danger. But when he
received true information of the affair, and observed that all the
people flocked out to receive Pompey to conduct him home with marks of
great regard, he resolved to exceed them in his regards, if possible.
He, therefore, hastened to meet him, and embracing him in the most
affectionate manner, saluted him aloud by the surname of Magnus, or The
Great; at the same time he ordered all about him to give him the same
appellation. Others say, it was given him by the whole army in Africa,
but did not generally obtain till it was authorized by Sylla. It is
certain, he was the last to take it himself, and he did not make use of
it till a long time after, when he was sent into Spain with the dignity
of pro-consul against Sertorius. Then he began to write himself in
his letters in all his edicts, Pompey the Great; for the world was
accustomed to the name, and it was no longer invidious. In this respect
we may justly admire the wisdom of the ancient Romans, who bestowed on
their great men such honorable names and titles, not only for military
achievements, but for the great qualities and arts which adorn civil

When Pompey arrived at Rome, he demanded a triumph, in which he was
opposed by Sylla. The latter alleged that the laws did not allow that
honor to any person who was not either consul or praetor. Hence it was
that the first Scipio, when he returned victorious from greater wars and
conflicts with the Carthaginians in Spain, did not demand a triumph; for
he was neither consul nor praetor. He added, that if Pompey, who was
yet little better than a beardless youth, and who was not of age to be
admitted into the senate, should enter the city in triumph, it would
bring an odium both upon the dictator's power, and those honors of his
friend. These arguments Sylla insisted on, to show him that he would not
allow of his triumph, and that, in case he persisted, he would chastise
his obstinacy.

Pompey, not in the least intimidated, bade him consider, that more
worshiped the rising than the setting sun; intimating that his power was
increasing, and Sylla's upon the decline. Sylla did not hear well what
he said, but perceiving by the looks and gestures of the company that
they were struck with the expression, he asked what it was. When he was
told it, he admired the spirit of Pompey and cried, "Let him triumph!
Let him triumph!"

There is no doubt that he might then have been easily admitted a
senator, if he had desired it; but his ambition was to pursue honor in
a more uncommon track. It would have been nothing strange, if Pompey
had been a senator before the age fixed for it; but it was a very
extraordinary instance of honor to lead up a triumph before he was a
senator. And it contributed not a little to gain him the affections of
the multitude; the people were delighted to see him, after his triumph,
class with the equestrian order.

The power of the pirates had its foundation in Cilicia. Their progress
was the more dangerous, because at first it was little taken notice
of. In the Mithridatic war they assumed new confidence and courage, on
account of some services they had rendered the king. After this, the
Romans being engaged in civil wars at the very gates of their capital,
the sea was left unguarded, and the pirates by degrees attempted higher
things; they not only attacked ships, but islands, and maritime towns.
Many persons, distinguished for their wealth, their birth, and their
capacity, embarked with them, and assisted in the depredations, as if
their employment had been worthy the ambition of men of honor. They
had in various places arsenals, ports, and watch-towers, all strongly
fortified. Their fleets were not only extremely well manned, supplied
with skillful pilots, and fitted for their business by their lightness
and celerity; but there was a parade of vanity about them more
mortifying than their strength, in gilded sterns, purpose canopies, and
plated oars; as if they took a pride and triumphed in their villainy.
Music resounded, and drunken revels were exhibited on every coast. Here
generals were made prisoners; there the cities the pirates had taken
were paying their ransom; all to the great disgrace of the Roman power.
The number of their galleys amounted to one thousand, and the cities
they were masters of to four hundred.

Temples which had stood inviolably sacred till that time, they
plundered. They ruined the temple of Apollo at Claros, that of the
Cabiri in Samothrace, of Ceres at Hermione, of Aesculapius at Epidaurus,
those of Neptune in the Isthmus, at Taenarus and in Calauria, those
of Apollo at Actium and in the isle of Leucas, those of Juno at Samos,
Argos, and the promontory of Lacinium.

They likewise offered strange sacrifices; those of Olympus I mean; and
they celebrated certain secret mysteries, among which those of Mithra
continue to this day, being originally instituted by them. They not only
insulted the Romans at sea but infested the great roads, and plundered
the villas near the coast; they carried off Sextilius and Bellinus, two
praetors, in their purple robes, which all their servants and lictors.
They seized the daughter of Antony, a man who had been honored with a
triumph, as she was going to her country house, and he was forced to pay
a large ransom for her.

But the most contemptible circumstance of all was, that when they had
taken a prisoner, and he cried out that he was a Roman, and told them
his name, they pretended to be struck with terror, smote their thighs,
and fell upon their knees to ask him pardon. The poor man, seeing them
thus humble themselves before him, thought them in earnest, and said he
would forgive them; for some were so officious as to put on his shoes,
and others to help him on with his gown, that his quality might no more
be mistaken. When they had carried on this farce, and enjoyed it for
some time, they let a ladder down into the sea, and bade him go in
peace; and if he refused to do it, they pushed him off the deck, and
drowned him.

Their power extended over the whole Tuscan sea, so that the Romans found
their trade and navigation entirely cut off. The consequence of which
was, that their markets were not supplied, and they had reason to
apprehend a famine. This at last led them to send Pompey to clear the
sea of pirates. Gabinius, one of Pompey's intimate friends, proposed
the decree, which created him not admiral, but monarch, and invested him
with absolute power. The decree gave him the empire of the sea as far
as the Pillars of Hercules, and of the land for 400 furlongs from the
coasts. There were few parts of the Roman empire which this commission
did not take in; and the most considerable of the barbarous nations, and
most powerful kings, were moreover comprehended in it. Besides this he
was empowered to choose out of the senators fifteen lieutenants, to
act under him in such districts, and with such authority as he should
appoint. He was to take from the quaestors, and other public receivers,
what money he pleased, and equip a fleet of two hundred sail. The number
of marine forces, of mariners and rowers, was left entirely to his

When this decree was read in the assembly, the people received it with
inconceivable pleasure. The most respectable part of the senate saw,
indeed, that such an absolute and unlimited power was above envy, but
they considered it as a real object of fear. They therefore all, except
Caesar, opposed its passing into a law. He was for it, not out of regard
for Pompey, but to insinuate himself into the good graces of the people,
which he had long been courting. The rest were very severe in the
expressions against Pompey; and one of the consuls venturing to say,
"If he imitates Romulus, he will not escape his fate," was in danger of
being pulled in pieces by the populace.

It is true, when Catulus rose up to speak against the law, out of
reverence for his person they listened to him with great attention.
After he had freely given Pompey the honor that was his due, and said
much in his praise, he advised them to spare him, and not to expose such
a man to so many dangers; "for where will you find another," said he,
"if you lose him?" They answered with one voice, "Yourself." Finding his
arguments had no effect, he retired. Then Roscius mounted the rostrum,
but not a man would give ear to him. However he made signs to them with
his fingers, that they should not appoint Pompey alone, but give him a
colleague. Incensed at the proposal, they set up such a shout, that a
crow, which was flying over the forum, was stunned with the force of it,
and fell down among the crowd. Hence we may conclude, that when birds
fall on such occasions, it is not because the air is so divided with the
shock as to leave a vacuum, but rather because the sound strikes them
like a blow, when it ascends with force, and produces so violent an

The assembly broke up that day without coming to any resolution. When
the day came that they were to give their suffrages, Pompey retired into
the country; and, on receiving information that the decree was passed,
he returned to the city by night, to prevent the envy which the
multitudes of people coming to meet him would have excited. Next morning
at break of day he made his appearance, and attended the sacrifice.
After which, he summoned an assembly, and obtained a grant of almost as
much more as the first decree had given him. He was empowered to fit
out 500 galleys, and to raise an army of 120,000 foot, and 5,000
horse. Twenty-four senators were selected, who had all been generals or
praetors, and were appointed his lieutenants; and he had two quaestors
given him. As the price of provisions fell immediately, the people were
greatly pleased, and it gave them occasion to say that the very name of
Pompey had terminated the war.

However, in pursuance of his charge, he divided the whole Mediterranean
into thirteen parts, appointing a lieutenant for each, and assigning him
a squadron. By thus stationing his fleet in all quarters, he enclosed
the pirates as it were in a net, took great numbers of them, and brought
them into harbor. Such of their vessels as had dispersed and made off
in time, or could escape the general chase, retired to Cilicia, like
so many bees into a hive. Against these he proposed to go himself, with
sixty of his best galleys; but first he resolved to clear the Tuscan
sea, and the coasts of Africa, Sardinia, Corsica, and Sicily, of all
piratical adventurers; which he effected in forty days, by his own
indefatigable endeavors and those of his lieutenants. But, as the consul
Piso was indulging his malignity at home, in wasting his stores and
discharging his seamen, he sent his fleet round to Brundusium, and went
himself by land through Tuscany to Rome.

As soon as the people were informed of his approach, they went in crowds
to receive him, in the same manner as they had done a few days before,
to conduct him on his way. Their extraordinary joy was owing to the
speed with which he had executed his commission, so far beyond all
expectation, and to the superabundant plenty which reigned in the
markets. For this reason Piso was in danger of being deposed from the
consulship, and Gabinius had a decree ready drawn up for that purpose;
but Pompey would not suffer him to propose it. On the contrary, his
speech to the people was full of candor and moderation; and when he had
provided such things as he wanted, he went to Brundusium, and put to sea
again. Though he was straightened for time, and in his haste sailed by
many cities without calling, yet he stopped at Athens. He entered the
town and sacrificed to the gods; after which he addressed the people,
and then prepared to reembark immediately. As he went out of the gate he
observed two inscriptions, each comprised in one line.

That within the gate was:

     But know thyself a man, and be a god.

That without:

     We wish'd, we saw; we loved, and we adored.

Some of the pirates, who yet traversed the seas, made their submission;
and as he treated them in a humane manner, when he had them and their
ships in his power, others entertained hope of mercy, and avoiding the
other officers, surrendered themselves to Pompey, together with their
wives and children. He spared them all; and it was principally by
their means that he found out and took a number who were guilty of
unpardonable crimes, and therefore had concealed themselves.

Still, however, there remained a great number, and indeed the most
powerful part of these corsairs, who sent their families, treasures, and
all useless hands, into castles and fortified towns upon Mount Taurus.
Then they manned their ships, and waited for Pompey at Coracesium, in
Cilicia. A battle ensued, and the pirates were defeated; after which
they retired into the fort. But they had not been long besieged before
they capitulated, and surrendered themselves, together with the cities
and islands which they had conquered and fortified, and which by their
works as well as situation were almost impregnable. Thus the war was
finished, and whole force of the pirates destroyed, within three months
at the farthest.

Besides the other vessels, Pompey took ninety ships with beaks of brass;
and the prisoners amounted to 20,000. He did not choose to put them
to death, and at the same time he thought it wrong to suffer them
to disperse, because they were not only numerous, but warlike and
necessitous, and therefore would probably knit again and give future
trouble. He reflected, that man by nature is neither a savage nor an
unsocial creature; and when he becomes so, it is by vices contrary
to nature; yet even then he may be humanized by changing his place of
abode, and accustoming him to a new manner of life; as beasts that are
naturally wild put off their fierceness when they are kept in a domestic
way. For this reason he determined to remove the pirates to a great
distance from the sea, and bring them to taste the sweets of civil life,
by living in cities, and by the culture of the ground. He placed some
of them in the little towns of Cilicia, which were almost desolate, and
which received them with pleasure, because at the same time he gave them
an additional proportion of lands. He repaired the city of Soli, which
had lately been dismantled and deprived of its inhabitants by Tigranes,
king of Armenia, and peopled it with a number of these corsairs. The
remainder, which was a considerable body, he planted in Dyma, a city of
Achaia, which, though it had a large and fruitful territory, was in want
of inhabitants.

Pompey, having secured the sea from Phoenicia to the Bosphorus, marched
in quest of Mithridates, who had an army of 30,000 foot and 2,000 horse,
but durst not stand an engagement. That prince was in possession of a
strong and secure post upon a mountain, which he quitted upon Pompey's
approach, because it was destitute of water. Pompey encamped in the same
place; and conjecturing, from the nature of the plants and the crevices
in the mountain, that springs might be found, he ordered a number of
wells to be dug, and the camp was in a short time plentifully supplied
with water. He was not a little surprised that this did not occur to
Mithridates during the whole time of his encampment there.

After this, Pompey followed him to his new camp, and drew a line of
circumvallation round him. Mithridates stood a siege of forty-five days,
after which he found means to steal off with his best troops, having
first killed all the sick, and such as could be of no service. Pompey
overtook him near the Euphrates, and encamped over against him; but
fearing he might pass the river unperceived, he drew out his troops
at midnight. At that time Mithridates is said to have had a dream
prefigurative of what was to befall him. He thought he was upon
the Pontic Sea, sailing with a favorable wind, and in sight of the
Bosphorus; so that he felicitated his friends in the ship, like a man
perfectly safe, and already in harbor. But suddenly he beheld himself in
the most destitute condition, swimming upon a piece of wreck. While he
was in all the agitation which this dream produced, his friends awaked
him, and told him that Pompey was at hand. He was now under a necessity
of fighting for his camp, and his generals drew up the forces with all
possible expedition.

Pompey, seeing them prepared, was loth to risk a battle in the dark. He
thought it sufficient to surround them, so as to prevent their
flight; and what inclined him still more to wait for daylight, was
the consideration that his troops were much better than the enemy's.
However, the oldest of his officers entreated him to proceed immediately
to the attack, and at last prevailed. It was not indeed very dark; for
the moon, though near her setting, gave light enough to distinguish
objects. But it was a great disadvantage to the king's troops, that the
moon was so low, and on the backs of the Romans; because she projected
their shadows so far before them, that the enemy could form no just
estimate of the distances, but thinking them at hand, threw their
javelins before they could do the least execution.

The Romans, perceiving their mistake, advanced to the charge with all
the alarm of voices. The enemy were in such a consternation, that they
made not the least stand, and, in their flight, vast numbers were
slain. They lost above 10,000 men, and their camp was taken. As for
Mithridates, he broke through the Romans with 800 horses, in the
beginning of the engagement. That corps, however, did not follow him far
before they dispersed, and left him with only three of his people.

The pursuit of Mithridates was attended with great difficulties; for he
concealed himself among the nations settled about the Bosphorus and the
Palus Maeotis. Besides, news was brought to Pompey that the Albanians
had revolted, and taken up arms again. The desire of revenge determined
him to march back, and chastise them. But it was with infinite trouble
and danger that he passed the Cyrnus again, the barbarians having fenced
it on their side with palisades all along the banks. And when he was
over, he had a large country to traverse, which afforded no water.
This last difficulty he provided against by filling 10,000 bottles;
and pursuing his march, he found the enemy drawn up on the banks of the
river Abas, to the number of 60,000 foot and 12,000 horse, but many
of them ill-armed, and provided with nothing of the defensive kind but
skins of beasts.

They were commanded by the king's brother, named Cosis; who, at the
beginning of the battle, singled out Pompey, and rushing in upon him,
struck his javelin into the joints of his breastplate. Pompey in return
run him through with his spear, and laid him dead on the spot. It is
said that the Amazons came to the assistance of the barbarians from
the mountains near the river Thermodon, and fought in this battle. The
Romans, among the plunder of the field, did, indeed, meet with bucklers
in the form of a half-moon, and such buskins as the Amazons wore; but
there was not the body of a woman found among the dead. They inhabit
that part of Mount Caucasus which stretches toward the Hyrcanian Sea,
and are not next neighbors to the Albanians; for Gelae and Leges lie
between; but they meet that people, and spend two months with them every
year on the banks of the Thermodon; after which they retire to their own

Pompey had advanced near to Petra, and encamped, and was taking some
exercise on horseback without the trenches, when messengers arrived from
Pontus; and it was plain they brought good news, because the points
of their spears were crowned with laurel. The soldiers seeing this,
gathered about Pompey, who was inclined to finish his exercise before
he opened the packet; but they were so earnest in their entreaties, that
they prevailed upon him to alight and take it. He entered the camp with
it in his hand; and as there was no tribunal ready, and the soldiers
were too impatient to raise one of turf, which the common method, they
piled a number of pack-saddles one upon the other, upon which Pompey
mounted, and gave them this information: "Mithridates is dead. He killed
himself upon the revolt of his son Pharnaces. And Pharnaces has seized
all that belonged to his father; which he declares he has done for
himself and Romans."

At this news the army, as might be expected, gave a loose rein to their
joy, which they expressed in sacrifices to the gods, and in reciprocal
entertainments, as if 10,000 of their enemies had been slain in
Mithridates. Pompey having thus brought the campaign and the whole
war to a conclusion so happy, and so far beyond his hopes, immediately
quitted Arabia, traverses the provinces between that and Galatia with
great rapidity, and soon arrived at Amisus. There he found many presents
from Pharnaces, and several corpses of the royal family, among which was
that of Mithridates. As for Pompey, he would not see the body, but to
propitiate the avenging Nemesis, sent it to Sinope. However, he looked
upon and admired the magnificence of his habit, and the size and beauty
of his arms. The scabbard of his sword cost four hundred talents, and
the diadem was of most exquisite workmanship.

Pompey having thoroughly settled the affairs of Asia, hoped to return to
Italy the greatest and happiest of men.

People talked variously at Rome concerning his intentions. Many
disturbed themselves at the thought that he would march with his army
immediately to Rome and make himself sole and absolute master there.
Crassus took his children and money, and withdrew; whether it was that
he had some real apprehensions, or rather that he chose to countenance
the calumny, and add force to the sting of envy; the latter seems the
more probable. But Pompey had no sooner set foot in Italy, than he
called an assembly of his soldiers, and, after a kind and suitable
address, ordered them to disperse in their respective cities, and attend
to their own affairs till his triumph, on which occasion they were to
repair to him again.

Pompey's triumph was so great, that though it was divided into two days,
the time was far from being sufficient for displaying what was prepared
to be carried in procession; there remained still enough to adorn
another triumph. At the head of the show appeared the titles of the
conquered nations: Pontus, Armenia, Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, Media,
Colchis, the Iberians, the Albanians, Syria, Cilicia, Mesopotamia,
Phoenicia, Palestine, Judaea, Arabia, the pirates subdued both by sea
and land. In these countries, it was mentioned that there were not less
than 1,000 castles and 900 cities captured, 800 galleys taken from the
pirates, and 39 desolate cities repeopled. On the face of the tablets it
appeared besides, that whereas the revenues of the Roman empire
before these conquests amounted but to 50,000,000 drachmas, by the
new acquisitions they were advanced to 85,000,000; and that Pompey
had brought into the public treasury in money, and in gold and silver
vessels, the value of 20,000 talents; besides what he had distributed
among the soldiers, of whom he that received least had 1,500 drachmas
to his share. The captives who walked in the procession (not the mention
the chiefs of the pirates) were the son of Tigranes, king of Armenia,
together with his wife and daughter; Zosima, the wife of Tigranes
himself; Aristobulus, king of Judaea; the sister of Mithridates, with
her five sons, and some Scythian women. The hostages of the Albanians
and Iberians, and of the king of Commagene also appeared in the train;
and as many trophies were exhibited as Pompey had gained victories,
either in person or by his lieutenants, the number of which was not

But the most honorable circumstance, and what no other Roman could
boast, was that his third triumph was over the third quarter of the
world, after his former triumphs had been over the other two. Others
before him had been honored with three triumphs; but his first triumph
was over Africa, his second over Europe, and his third over Asia; so
that the three seemed to declare him conqueror of the world.

Those who desire to make the parallel between him and Alexander agree
in all respects, tell us he was at this time not quite thirty-four,
whereas, in fact, he was entering upon his fortieth year. (It should be
the forty-sixth year. Pompey was born in the beginning of the month of
August, in the year of Rome 647, and his triumph was in the same month
in the year of Rome 692.) Happy it had been for him, if he had ended his
days while he was blessed with Alexander's good fortune! The rest of
his life, every instance of success brought its proportion of envy, and
every misfortune was irretrievable.

In the meantime the wars in Gaul lifted Caesar to the first sphere of
greatness. The scene of action was at a great distance from Rome, and he
seemed to be wholly engaged with the Belgae, the Suevi, and the Britons;
but his genius all the while was privately at work among the people of
Rome, and he was undermining Pompey in his most essential interests. His
war with the barbarians was not his principal object. He exercised his
army, indeed, in those expeditions, as he would have done his own body,
in hunting and other diversions of the field, by which he prepared
them for higher conflicts, and rendered them not only formidable but

The gold and silver, and other rich spoils which he took from the enemy
in great abundance, he sent to Rome; and by distributing them freely
among the aediles, praetors, consuls, and their wives, he gained a great
party. Consequently when he passed the Alps and wintered at Lucca, among
the crowd of men and women, who hastened to pay their respects to him,
there were two hundred senators, Pompey and Crassus of the number; and
there were no fewer than one hundred and twenty proconsuls and praetors,
whose faces were to be seen at the gates of Caesar. He made it his
business in general to give them hopes of great things, and his money
was at their devotion; but he entered into a treaty with Crassus
and Pompey, by which it was agreed that they should apply for the
consulship, and that Caesar should assist them, by sending a great
number of his soldiers to vote at the election. As soon as they were
chosen, they were to share the provinces, and take the command of
armies, according to their pleasure, only confirming Caesar in the
possession of what he had for five years more.

Crassus, upon the expiration of his consulship, repaired to his
province. Pompey remaining at Rome, opened his theatre; and to make the
dedication more magnificent, exhibited a variety of gymnastic games,
entertainments of music, and battles with wild beasts, in which
were killed 500 lions; but the battle of elephants afforded the most
astonishing spectacle. (Dio says the elephants fought with armed men.
There were no less than eighteen of them; and he adds, that some of them
seemed to appeal, with piteous cries to the people; who, in compassion,
saved their lives. If we may believe him, an oath had been taken before
they left Africa, that no injury should be done them.) These things
gained him the love and admiration of the public; but he incurred their
displeasure again, by leaving his provinces and armies entirely to his
friends and lieutenants, and roving about Italy with his wife from
one villa to another. The strong attachment of Julia appeared on the
occasion of an election of aediles. The people came to blows, and some
were killed so near Pompey that he was covered with blood, and forced to
change his clothes. There was a great crowd and tumult about his door,
when his servants went home with a bloody robe; and Julia, happening
to see it, fainted away and was with difficulty restored. Shortly after
Julia died, and the alliance which had rather covered than restrained
the ambition of the two great competitors for power was now no more.
To add to the misfortune, news was brought soon after that Crassus was
slain by the Parthians; and in him another great obstacle to a civil war
was removed. Out of fear of him, they had both kept some measures with
each other. But when fortune had carried off the champion who could take
up the conqueror, we may say with the comic poet--

     High spirits of emprise
     Elates each chief; they oil their brawny limbs,
          and dip their hands in dust.

So little able is fortune to fill the capacities of the human mind; when
such a weight of power, and extent of command, could not satisfy the
ambition of two men. They had heard and read that the gods had divided
the universe into three shares,

(Plutarch alludes here to a passage in the fifteenth book of the Iliad,
where Neptune says to Iris--

     Assign'd by lot our triple rule we know;
     Infernal Pluto sways the shades below;
     O'er the wide clouds, and o'er the starry plain,
     Ethereal Jove extends his high domain;
     My court beneath the hoary waves I keep,
     And hush the roarings of the sacred deep.)

and each was content with that which fell to his lot, and yet these
men could not think the Roman empire sufficient for two of them. Such
anarchy and confusion took place that numbers began to talk boldly of
setting up a dictator. Cato, now fearing he should be overborne, was of
opinion that it were better to give Pompey some office whose authority
was limited by law, than to intrust him with absolute power. Bibulus,
though Pompey's declared enemy, moved in full senate, that he should be
appointed sole consul. "For by that means," said he, "the commonwealth
will either recover from her disorder, or, if she must serve, will
serve a man of the greatest merit." The whole house was surprised at
the motion; and when Cato rose up, it was expected he would oppose it.
A profound silence ensued, and he said, he should never have been the
first to propose such an expedient, but as it was proposed by another,
he thought it advisable to embrace it; for he thought any kind of
government better than anarchy, and knew no man fitter to rule than
Pompey, in a time of so much trouble. The senate came into his opinion,
and a decree was issued, that Pompey should be appointed sole consul,
and that if he should have need of a colleague, he might choose one
himself, provided it were not before the expiration of two months.

Pompey being declared sole consul by the Interrex Sulpitius, made his
compliments to Cato, acknowledged himself much indebted to his support,
and desired his advice and assistance in the cabinet, as to the measures
to be pursued in his administration. Cato made answer, that Pompey was
not under the least obligation to him; for what he had said was not out
of regard to him, but to his country. "If you apply to me," continued
he, "I shall give you my advice in private; if not, I shall inform
you of my sentiments in public." Such was Cato, and the same on all

Pompey then went into the city, and married Cornelia, the daughter of
Metellus Scipio. She was a widow, having been married, when very young,
to Publius the son of Crassus, who was lately killed in the Parthian
expedition. This woman had many charms beside her beauty. She was well
versed in polite literature; she played upon the lyre, and understood
geometry; and she had made considerable improvements by the precepts
of philosophy. What is more, she had nothing of that petulance and
affectation which such studies are apt to produce in women of her age.
And her father's family and reputation were unexceptionable.

Pompey's confidence made him so extremely negligent, that he laughed at
those who seemed to fear the war. And when they said if Caesar should
advance in a hostile manner to Rome, they did not see what forces they
had to oppose him, he bade them, with an open and smiling countenance,
give themselves no pain: "For, if in Italy," said he, "I do but stamp
upon the ground, an army will appear."

Meantime Caesar was exerting himself greatly. He was now at no great
distance from Italy, and not only sent his soldiers to vote in the
elections, but by private pecuniary applications, corrupted many of
the magistrates. Paulus the consul was of the number, and he had one
thousand five hundred talents for changing sides. So also was Curio, one
of the tribunes of the people, for whom he paid off an immense debt, and
Mark Antony, who, out of friendship for Curio, had stood engaged with
him for the debt.

It is said, that when one of Caesar's officers, who stood before the
senate-house, waiting the issue of the debates, was informed that they
would not give Caesar a longer term in his command, he laid his hand
on his sword, and said, "But this shall give it." Indeed, all the
preparations of his general tended that way; though Curio's demands in
behalf of Caesar seemed more plausible. He proposed, that either Pompey
should likewise be obliged to dismiss his forces, or Caesar suffered
to keep his. "If they are both reduced to a private station," said
he, "they will agree upon reasonable terms; or, if each retains his
respective power, they will be satisfied. But he who weakens the one,
without doing the same by the other, must double that force which he
fears will subvert the government."

But now news was brought that Caesar was marching directly towards Rome
with all his forces. The last circumstance, indeed, was not true. He
advanced with only three hundred horse and five thousand foot; the rest
of his forces were on the other side of the Alps, and he would not
wait for them, choosing rather to put his adversaries in confusion by a
sudden and unexpected attack, than to fight them when better prepared.
When he came to the river Rubicon, which was the boundary of his
province, he stood silent a long time, weighing with himself the
greatness of his enterprise. At last, like one who plunges down from the
top of a precipice into a gulf of immense depth, he silenced his reason,
and shut his eyes against the danger; and crying out in the Greek
language, "The die is cast," he marched over with his army.

Upon the first report of this at Rome, the city was in greater disorder
and astonishment than had ever been known.

All Italy was in motion, with the stir of the coming storm. Those who
lived out of Rome fled to it from all quarters, and those who lived
in it abandoned it as fast. These saw, that in such a tempestuous and
disorderly state of affairs, the well disposed part of the city wanted
strength, and that the ill disposed were so refractory that they could
not be managed by the magistrates. The terrors of the people could not
be removed, and no one would suffer Pompey to lay a plan of action for
himself. According to the passion wherewith each was actuated, whether
fear, sorrow, or doubt, they endeavored to inspire him with the same;
insomuch that he adopted different measures the same day. He could
gain no certain intelligence of the enemy's motions, because every man
brought him the report he happened to take up, and was angry if it did
not meet with credit.

Pompey at last caused it to be declared by a formal edict, that the
commonwealth was in danger, and no peace was to be expected. After
which, he signified that he should look upon those who remained in the
city as the partisans of Caesar; and then quitted it in the dusk of the
evening. The consuls also fled, without offering the sacrifices which
their customs required before a war. However, in this great extremity,
Pompey could not but be considered as happy in the affections of his
countrymen. Though many blamed the war, there was not a man who
hated the general. Nay, the number of those who followed him, out of
attachment to his person, was greater than that of the adventurers in
the cause of liberty.

A few days after, Caesar arrived at Rome. When he was in possession
of the city, he behaved with great moderation in many respects, and
composed in a good measure the minds of its remaining inhabitants.

Pompey, who was the master of Brundusium, and had a sufficient number of
transports, desired the consuls to embark without loss of time, and sent
them before him with thirty cohorts to Dyrrhachium. But at the same
time he sent his father-in-law Scipio and his son Cnaeus into Syria,
to provide ships of war. He had well secured the gates of the city, and
planted the lightest of his slingers and archers upon the walls; and
having now ordered the Brundusians to keep within doors, he caused a
number of trenches to be cut, and sharp stakes to be driven into them,
and then covered with earth, in all the streets, except two which
led down to the sea. In three days all his other troops were embarked
without interruption; and then he suddenly gave the signal to those who
guarded the walls; in consequence of which, they ran swiftly down to the
harbor, and got on board. Thus having his whole complement, he set sail,
and crossed the sea to Dyrrhachium.

When Caesar came and saw the walls left destitute of defence, he
concluded that Pompey had taken to flight, and in his eagerness to
pursue, would certainly have fallen upon the sharp stakes in the
trenches, had not the Brundusians informed him of them. He then avoided
the streets, and took a circuit round the town, by which he discovered
that all the vessels had weighed anchor, except two that had not many
soldiers aboard.

This manoeuvre of Pompey was commonly reckoned among the greatest act
of generalship. Caesar, however, could not help wondering, that his
adversary, who was in possession of a fortified town, and expected his
forces from Spain, and at the same time was master of them, should give
up Italy in such a manner.

Caesar thus made himself master of all Italy in sixty days without the
least bloodshed, and he would have been glad to have gone immediately
in pursuit of Pompey. But as he was in want of shipping, he gave up that
design for the present, and marched to Spain, with an intent to gain
Pompey's forces there.

In the meantime Pompey assembled a great army; and at sea he was
altogether invincible. For he had five hundred ships of war, and the
number of his lighter vessels was still greater. As for his land forces,
he had seven thousand horse, the flower of Rome and Italy, all men
of family, fortune, and courage. His infantry, though numerous, was
a mixture of raw, undisciplined soldiers; he therefore exercised them
during his stay at Beroea, where he was by no means idle, but went
through the exercises of a soldier, as if he had been in the flower of
his age. It inspired his troops with new courage, when they saw Pompey
the Great, at the age of fifty-eight, going through the whole military
discipline, in heavy armor, on foot; and then mounting his horse,
drawing his sword with ease when at full speed, and as dexterously
sheathing it again. As to the javelin, he threw it not only with great
exactness, but with such force that few of the young men could dart it
to a greater distance.

Many kings and princes repaired to his camp; and the number of Roman
officers who had commanded armies was so great, that it was sufficient
to make up a complete senate. Labienus, who had been honored with
Caesar's friendship, and served under him in Gaul, now joined Pompey.

Caesar had now made himself master of Pompey's forces in Spain, and
though it was not without a battle, he dismissed the officers, and
incorporated the troops with his own. After this, he passed the Alps
again, and marched through Italy to Brundusium, where he arrived at the
time of the winter solstice. There he crossed the sea, and landed at
Oricum; from whence he dispatched Vibullius, one of Pompey's friends,
whom he had brought prisoner thither, with proposals of a conference
between him and Pompey, in which they should agree to disband their
armies within three days, renew their friendship, confirm it with solemn
oath, and then both return to Italy. Pompey took this overture for
another snare, and therefore drew down in haste to the sea, and secured
all the forts and places of strength for land forces, as well as all the
ports and other commodious stations for shipping; so that there was not
a wind that blew, which did not bring him either provisions, or troops,
or money. On the other hand, Caesar was reduced to such straits, both
by sea and land, that he was under the necessity of seeking a battle.
Accordingly, he attacked Pompey's intrenchments, and bade him defiance
daily. In most of these attacks and skirmishes he had the advantage; but
one day was in danger of losing his whole army. Pompey fought with
so much valor, that he put Caesar's whole detachment to flight, after
having killed two thousand men upon the spot; but was either unable or
afraid to pursue his blow, and enter their camp with them. Caesar said
to his friends on this occasion, "This day the victory had been the
enemy's had their general known how to conquer."

Pompey's troops, elated with this success, were in great haste to come
to a decisive battle. Nay, Pompey himself seemed to give in to their
opinions by writing to the kings, the generals, and cities, in his
interest, in the style of a conqueror. Yet all this while he dreaded the
issue of a general action, believing it much better, by length of time,
by famine and fatigue, to tire out men who had been ever invincible in
arms, and long accustomed to conquer when they fought together. Besides,
he knew the infirmities of age had made them unfit for the other
operations of war, for long marches and countermarches, for digging
trenches and building forts, and that, therefore, they wished for
nothing so much as a battle. Pompey, with all these arguments, found it
no easy matter to keep his army quiet.

After this last engagement, Caesar was in such want of provisions, that
he was forced to decamp, and he took his way through Athamania into
Thessaly. This added so much to the high opinion Pompey's soldiers had
of themselves, that it was impossible to keep them within bounds. They
cried out with one voice, "Caesar is fled." Some called upon the general
to pursue; some to pass over into Italy. Others sent their friends and
servants to Rome, to engage homes near the forum, for the convenience of
soliciting the great offices of state. And not a few went of their
own accord to Cornelia, who had been privately lodged in Lesbos, to
congratulate her upon the conclusion of the war.

While he thus softly followed the enemy's steps, a complaint was raised
against him, and urged with much clamor, that he was not exercising his
generalship upon Caesar, but upon the Senate and the whole commonwealth,
in order that he might forever keep the command in his hands, and have
those for his guards and servants who had a right to govern the world.
Domitius Aenobarbus, to increase the odium, always called him Agamemnon,
or king of kings. Favonius piqued him no less with a jest, than others
by their unseasonable severity; he went about crying, "My friends, we
shall eat no figs in Tusculum this year."

These and many other like sallies of ridicule had such an effect upon
Pompey, who was ambitious of being spoken well of by the world, and had
too much deference for the opinions of his friends, that he gave up his
own better judgment, to follow them in the career of their false hopes
and prospects. A thing which would have been unpardonable in the pilot
or master of a ship, much more in the commander-in-chief of so many
nations and such numerous armies. He had often commended the physician
who gives no indulgence to the whimsical longings of his patients, and
yet he humored the sickly cravings of his army, and was afraid to give
them pain, though necessary for the preservation of their life and
being. For who can say that army was in a sound and healthy state, when
some of the officers went about the camp canvassing for the offices of
consul and praetor; and others, namely, Spinther, Domitius, and Scipio,
were engaged in quarrels and cabals about Caesar's high-priesthood, as
if their adversary had been only a Tigranes, a king of Armenia, or a
prince of the Nabathaeans; and not that Caesar and that army who had
stormed one thousand cities, subdued above three hundred nations,
gained numberless battles of the Germans and Gauls, taken one million
prisoners, and killed as many fairly in the field. Notwithstanding all
this, they continued loud and tumultuous in their demands of a battle;
and when they came to the plains of Pharsalia, forced Pompey to call a
council of war. Lebienus, who had the command of the cavalry, rose up
first, and took an oath, that he would not return from the battle, till
he had put the enemy to flight. All the other officers swore the same.

The night following, Pompey had this dream. He thought he entered
his own theatre, and was received with loud plaudits; after which,
he adorned the temple of Venus the Victorious with many spoils. This
vision, on one side, encouraged him, and on the other alarmed him.
He was afraid that Caesar, who was a descendant of Venus, would be
aggrandized at his expense. Besides, a panic (A Panic was so called,
from the terror which the god Pan is said to have struck the enemies of
Greece with, at the battle of Marathon.) fear ran through the camp, the
noise of which awakened him. And about the morning watch, over Caesar's
camp, where everything was perfectly quiet, there suddenly appeared a
great light, from which a stream of fire issued in the form of a torch,
and fell upon that of Pompey. Caesar himself says he saw it as he was
going his rounds.

Caesar was preparing, at break of day, to march to Scotusa; his soldiers
were striking their tents, and the servants and beasts of burden were
already in motion, when his scouts brought intelligence that they had
seen arms handed about in the enemy's camp, and perceived a noise and
bustle, which indicated an approaching battle. After these, others came
and assured him that the first ranks were drawn up.

Upon this Caesar said: "The long-wished day is come, on which we shall
fight with men, and not with want and famine." Then he immediately
ordered the red mantle to be put up before his pavilion, which, among
the Romans, is the signal of a battle. The soldiers no sooner beheld
it, than they left their tents as they were, and ran to arms with loud
shouts, and every expression of joy. And when the officers began to put
them in order of battle, each man fell into his proper rank as quietly,
and with as much skill and ease, as a chorus in a tragedy.

Pompey placed himself in his right wing over against Antony, and his
father-in-law, Scipio, in the centre, opposite Domitius Calvinus.
His left wing was commanded by Lucius Domitius, and supported by the
cavalry; for they were almost all ranged on that side, in order to break
in upon Caesar, and cut off the tenth legion, which was accounted the
bravest in his army, and in which he used to fight in person. Caesar,
seeing the enemy's left wing so well guarded with horse, and fearing the
excellence of their armor, sent for a detachment of six cohorts from
the body of the reserve, and placed them behind the tenth legion, with
orders not to stir before the attack, lest they should be discovered by
the enemy; but when the enemy's cavalry had charged, to make up through
the foremost ranks, and then not to discharge their javelins at a
distance, as brave men generally do in their eagerness to come to sword
in hand, but to reserve them till they came to close fighting, and to
push them forward into the eyes and faces of the enemy. "For those fair
young dancers," said he, "will never stand the steel aimed at their
eyes, but will fly to save their handsome faces."

While Caesar was thus employed, Pompey took a view on horseback of the
order of both armies; and finding that they enemy kept their ranks with
the utmost exactness, and quietly waited for the signal of battle, while
his own men, for want of experience, were fluctuating and unsteady,
he was afraid they would be broken up on the first onset. He therefore
commanded the vanguard to stand firm in their ranks, and in that close
order to receive the enemy's charge. Caesar condemned this measure,
as not only tending to lessen the vigor of the blows, which is always
greatest in the assailants, but also to damp the fire and spirit of the
men; whereas those who advance with impetuosity, and animate each other
with shouts, are filled with an enthusiastic valor and superior ardor.

Caesar's army consisted of twenty-two thousand men, and Pompey's was
something more than twice that number. When the signal was given on both
sides, and the trumpets sounded a charge, each common man attended only
to his own concern. But some of the principal Romans and Greeks, who
only stood and looked on, when the dreadful moment of action approached,
could not help considering to what the avarice and ambition of two men
had brought the Roman Empire. The same arms on both sides, the troops
marshalled in the same manner, the same standards; in short, the
strength and flower of one and the same city turned upon itself! What
could be a stronger proof of the blindness and infatuation of human
nature, when carried away by its passions? Had they been willing to
enjoy the fruits of their labors in peace and tranquillity, the greatest
and best part of the world was their own. Or, if they must have indulged
their thirst of victories and triumphs, the Parthians and Germans were
yet to be subdued. Scythia and India yet remained; together with a very
plausible color for their lust of new acquisitions, the pretence of
civilizing barbarians. And what Scythian horse, what Parthian arrows,
what Indian treasures, could have resisted seventy thousand Romans, led
on by Pompey and Caesar, with whose names those nations had long been
acquainted! Into such a variety of wild and savage countries had these
two generals carried their victorious arms! Whereas now they stood
threatening each other with destruction; not sparing even their own
glory, though to it they sacrificed their country, but prepared, one of
them, to lose the reputation of being invincible, which hitherto they
had both maintained. So that the alliance which they had contracted by
Pompey's marriage to Julia, was from the first only an artful expedient;
and her charms were to form a self-interested compact, instead of being
the pledge of a sincere friendship.

The plain of Pharsalia was now covered with men, and horses and arms;
and the signal of battle being given on both sides, the first on
Caesar's side who advanced to the charge was Caius Crastinus, who
commanded a corps of one hundred and twenty men, and was determined to
make good his promise to his general. He was the first man Caesar saw
when he went out of the trenches in the morning; and upon Caesar's
asking him what he thought of the battle, he stretched out his hand, and
answered in a cheerful tone, "You will gain a glorious victory, and I
shall have your praise this day, either alive or dead." In pursuance of
this promise, he advanced the foremost, and many following to support
him, he charged into the midst of the enemy. They soon took to their
swords, and numbers were slain; but as Crastinus was making his way
forward, and cutting down all before him, one of Pompey's men stood to
receive him, and pushed his sword in at his mouth with such force, that
it went through the nape of his neck. Crastinus thus killed, the fight
was maintained with equal advantage on both sides.

Pompey did not immediately lead on his right wing, but often directed
his eyes to the left, and lost time in waiting to see what execution his
cavalry would do there. Meanwhile they had extended their squadrons to
surround Caesar, and prepared to drive the few horse he had placed in
front, back upon the foot. At that instant Caesar gave the signal;
upon which his cavalry retreated a little; and the six cohorts, which
consisted of 3000 men, and had been placed behind the tenth legion,
advanced to surround Pompey's cavalry; and coming close up to them,
raised the points of their javelins, as they had been taught, and aimed
them at the face. Their adversaries, who were not experienced in any
kind of fighting, and had not the least previous idea of this, could not
parry or endure the blows upon their faces, but turned their backs, or
covered their eyes with their hands, and soon fled with great dishonor.
Caesar's men took no care to pursue them, but turned their force upon
the enemy's infantry, particularly upon that wing, which, now stripped
of its horse, lay open to the attack on all sides. The six cohorts,
therefore, took them in flank, while the tenth legion charged them in
front; and they, who had hoped to surround the enemy, and now, instead
of that, saw themselves surrounded, made but a short resistance, and
then took to a precipitate flight.

By the great dust that was raised, Pompey conjectured the fate of his
cavalry; and it is hard to say what passed in his mind at that
moment. He appeared like a man moonstruck and distracted; and without
considering that he was Pompey the Great, or speaking to any one, he
quitted the ranks, and retired step by step toward his camp--a scene
which cannot be better painted than in these verses of Homer: (In the
eleventh book of the Iliad, where he is speaking of the flight of Ajax
before Hector.)

     But partial Jove, espousing Hector's part,
     Shot heaven-bred horror through the Grecian's heart;
     Confused, unnerv'd in Hector's presence grown,
     Amazed he stood with terrors not his own.
     O'er his broad back his moony shield he threw,
     And, glaring round, by tardy steps withdrew.

In this condition he entered his tent, where he sat down, and uttered
not a word, till at last, upon finding that some of the enemy entered
the camp with the fugitives, he said, "What! Into my camp, too!" After
this short exclamation, he rose up, and dressing himself in a manner
suitable to his fortune, privately withdrew. All the other legions fled;
and a great slaughter was made in the camp, of the servants and others
who had the care of the tents. But Asinius Pollio, who then fought on
Caesar's side, assures us, that of the regular troops there were not
above six thousand men killed. (Caesar says, that in all there were
fifteen thousand killed, and twenty-four thousand taken prisoners.)

Upon the taking of the camp, there was a spectacle which showed, in
strong colors, the vanity and folly of Pompey's troops. All the tents
were crowned with myrtle; the beds were strewn with flowers; the tables
covered with cups, and bowls of wine set out. In short, everything had
the appearance of preparations for feasts and sacrifices, rather than
for men going out to battle. To such a degree had their vain hopes
corrupted them, and with such a senseless confidence they took to the

When Pompey had got at a little distance from the camp, he quitted
his horse. He had very few people about him; and, as he saw he was
not pursued, he went softly on, wrapped up in such thoughts as we
may suppose a man to have, who had been used for thirty-four years to
conquer and carry all before him, and now in his old age first came to
know what it was to be defeated and to fly. We may easily conjecture
what his thoughts must be, when in one short hour he had lost the
glory and the power which had been growing up amidst so many wars and
conflicts; and he who was lately guarded with such armies of horse and
foot, and such great and powerful fleets, was reduced to so mean and
contemptible an equipage, that his enemies, who were in search of him,
could not know him.

He passed by Larissa, and came to Tempe, where, burning with thirst, he
threw himself upon his face, and drank out of the river; after which,
he passed through the valley, and went down to the sea-coast. There
he spent the remainder of the night in a poor fisherman's cabin. Next
morning, about break of day, he went on board a small river-boat, taking
with him such of his company as were freemen. The slaves he dismissed,
bidding them go to Caesar, and fear nothing.

As he was coasting along, he saw a whip of burden just ready to sail;
the master of which was Peticius, a Roman citizen, who, though not
acquainted with Pompey, knew him by sight. Therefore, without waiting
for any further application, he took him up, and such of his companions
as he thought proper, and then hoisted sail. The persons Pompey took
with him, were the two Lentuli and Favonius; and a little after, they
saw king Deiotarus beckoning to them with great earnestness from the
shore, and took him up likewise. The master of the ship provided them
with the best supper he could, and when it was almost ready, Pompey, for
want of a servant, was going to wash himself, but Favonius, seeing it,
stepped up, and both washed and anointed him. All the time he was on
board, he continued to wait upon him in all the offices of a servant,
even to the washing of his feet and providing his supper; insomuch, that
one who saw the unaffected simplicity and sincere attachment with which
Favonius performed these offices, cried out--

     The generous mind adds dignity
     To every act, and nothing misbecomes it.

Pompey, in the course of his voyage, sailed by Amphipolis, and from
thence steered for Mitylene, to take up Cornelia and his son. As soon
as he reached the island, he sent a messenger to the town with news far
different from what Cornelia expected. For, by the flattering accounts
which many officious persons had given her, she understood that the
dispute was decided at Dyrrhachium, and that nothing but the pursuit of
Caesar remained to be attended to. The messenger, finding her possessed
with such hopes, had not power to make the usual salutations; but
expressing the greatness of Pompey's misfortunes by his tears rather
than words, only told her she must make haste if she had a mind to see
Pompey with one ship only, and that not his own.

At this news Cornelia threw herself upon the ground, where she lay a
long time insensible and speechless. At last, coming to herself, she
perceived there was no time to be lost in tears and lamentations, and
therefore hastened through the town to the sea. Pompey ran to meet her,
and received her to his arms as she was just going to fall. While she
hung upon his neck, she thus addressed him: "I see, my dear husband,
your present unhappy condition is the effect of my ill fortune, and not
yours. Alas! how are you reduced to one poor vessel, who, before your
marriage with Cornelia, traversed the sea with 500 galleys! Why did you
come to see me, and not rather leave me to my evil destiny, who have
loaded you, too, with such a weight of calamities? How happy had it been
for me to have died before I heard that Publius, my first husband, was
killed by the Parthians! How wise, had I followed him to the grave, as
I once intended! What have I lived for since, but to bring misfortunes
upon Pompey the Great?"

Such, we are assured, was the speech of Cornelia; and Pompey answered:
"Till this moment, Cornelia, you have experienced nothing but the smiles
of fortune; and it was she who deceived you, because she stayed with me
longer than she commonly does with her favorites. But, fated as we are,
we must bear this reverse, and make another trial of her. For it is no
more improbable that we may emerge from this poor condition and rise to
great things again, than it was that we should fall from great things
into this poor condition."

Cornelia then sent to the city for her most valuable movables and her

As soon as his wife and his friends were embarked, he set sail, and
continued his course without touching at any port, except for water and
provisions, till he came to Attalia, a city of Pamphylia. There he
was joined by some Cilician galleys; and beside picking up a number of
soldiers, he found in a little time sixty senators about him. When he
was informed that his fleet was still entire, and that Cato was gone
to Africa with a considerable body of men which he had collected after
their flight, he lamented to his friends his great error, in suffering
himself to be forced into an engagement on land, and making no use of
those forces, in which he was confessedly stronger; nor even taking care
to fight near his fleet, that, in case of his meeting with a check
on land, he might have been supplied from the sea with another army,
capable of making head against the enemy. Indeed, we find no greater
mistake in Pompey's whole conduct, nor a more remarkable instance of
Caesar's generalship, than in removing the scene of action to such a
distance from the naval force.

However, as it was necessary to undertake something with the small means
he had left, he sent to some cities, and sailed to others himself, to
raise money, and to get a supply of men for his ships. But knowing the
extraordinary celerity of the enemy's motions, he was afraid he might be
beforehand with him, and seize all that he was preparing. He, therefore,
began to think of retiring to some asylum, and proposed the matter in
council. They could not think of any province in the Roman empire
that would afford a safe retreat; and when they cast their eyes on the
foreign kingdoms, Pompey mentioned Parthia as the most likely to receive
and protect them in their present weak condition, and afterwards to send
them back with a force sufficient to retrieve their affairs. Others were
of opinion it was proper to apply to Africa, and to Juba in particular.
But Theophanes of Lesbos observed it was madness to leave Egypt, which
was distant but three days' sail. Besides, Ptolemy, who was growing
towards manhood, had particular obligations to Pompey on his father's
account. As so it was determined that they should seek for refuge in
Egypt. Being informed that Ptolemy was with his army at Pelusium, where
he was engaged in war with his sister, he proceeded thither, and sent a
messenger before him to announce his arrival, and to entreat the king's

Ptolemy was very young, fourteen years of age, and Photinus, his prime
minister, called a council of his ablest officers; though their advice
had no more weight than he was pleased to allow it. He ordered each,
however, to give his opinion. But who can, without indignation, consider
that the fate of Pompey the Great was to be determined by the wretch
Photinus, by Theodotus, a man of Chios, who was hired to teach the
prince rhetoric, and by Achillas, an Egyptian? For among the king's
chamberlains and tutors these had the greatest influence over him
and were the persons he most consulted. Pompey lay at anchor at some
distance from the place waiting the determination of this respectable
board; while he thought it beneath him to be indebted to Caesar for his
safety. The council were divided in their opinions, some advising the
prince to give him an honorable reception, and others to send him an
order to depart. But Theodotus, to display his eloquence, insisted that
both were wrong. "If you receive him," said he, "you will have Caesar
for your enemy, and Pompey for your master. If you order him off, Pompey
may one day revenge the affront and Caesar resent your not having put
him in his hands: the best method, therefore, is to send for him and put
him to death. By this means you will do Caesar a favor, and have nothing
to fear from Pompey." He added with a smile, "Dead men do not bite."

This advice being approved of, the execution of it was committed to
Achillas. In consequence of which he took with him Septimius, who had
formerly been one of Pompey's officers, and Salvius, who had also acted
under him as a centurion, with three or four assistants, and made up to
Pompey's ship, where his principal friends and officers had assembled
to see how the affair went on. When they perceived there was nothing
magnificent in their reception, nor suitable to the hopes which
Theophanes had conceived, but that a few men only in a fishing-boat
came to wait upon them, such want of respect appeared a suspicious
circumstance, and they advised Pompey, while he was out of the reach of
missive weapons, to get out to the main sea.

Meantime, the boat approaching, Septimius spoke first, addressing Pompey
in Latin by the title of Imperator. Then Achillas saluted him in Greek,
and desired him to come into the boat, because the water was very
shallow towards the shore, and a galley must strike upon the sands. At
the same time they saw several of the king's ships getting ready, and
the shore covered with troops, so that if they would have changed their
minds it was then too late; besides, their distrust would have furnished
the assassins with a pretence for their injustice. He therefore embraced
Cornelia, who lamented his sad exit before it happened; and ordered two
centurions, one of his enfranchised slaves, named Philip, and a servant
called Scenes, to get into the boat before him. When Achillas had hold
of his hand, and he was going to step in himself, he turned to his wife
and son, and repeated that verse of Sophocles--

     Seek'st thou a tyrant's door?
     Then farewell freedom!
     Though FREE as air before.

These were the last words he spoke to them.

As there was a considerable distance between the galley and the
shore, and he observed that not a man in the boat showed him the least
civility, or even spoke to him, he looked at Septimius, and said,
"Methinks, I remember you to have been my fellow-soldier;" but he
answered only with a nod, without testifying any regard or friendship.
A profound silence again taking place, Pompey took out a paper, in which
he had written a speech in Greek that he designed to make to Ptolemy,
and amused himself with reading it.

When they approached the shore, Cornelia, with her friends in the
galley, watched the event with great anxiety. She was a little
encouraged, when she saw a number of the king's great officers coming
down to the strand, in all appearance to receive her husband and do him
honor. But the moment Pompey was taking hold of Philip's hand, to raise
him with more ease, Septimius came behind, and ran him through the body;
after which Salvius and Achillas also drew their swords. Pompey took his
robe in both hands and covered his face, and without saying or doing
the least thing unworthy of him, submitted to his fate, only uttering
a groan, while they despatched him with many blows. He was then just
fifty-nine years old, for he was killed the day after his birthday.

Cornelia, and her friends in the galley, upon seeing him murdered, gave
a shriek that was heard to the shore, and weighed anchor immediately.
Their flight was assisted by a brisk gale, as they got out more to
sea; so that the Egyptians gave up their design of pursuing them. The
murderers having cut off Pompey's head, threw the body out of the boat
naked, and left it exposed to all who were desirous of such a sight.
Philip stayed till their curiosity was satisfied, and then washed the
body with sea-water, and wrapped it in one of his own garments, because
he had nothing else at hand. The next thing was to look out for wood for
the funeral pile; and casting his eyes over the shore, he spied the
old remains of a fishing-boat; which, though not large, would make a
sufficient pile for a poor naked body that was not quite entire.

While he was collecting the pieces of plank and putting them together,
an old Roman, who had made some of his first campaigns under Pompey,
came up and said to Philip, "Who are you that are preparing the funeral
of Pompey the Great?" Philip answered, "I am his freedman." "But you
shall not," said the old Roman, "have this honor entirely to yourself.
As a work of piety offers itself, let me have a share in it; that I
may not absolutely repent my having passed so many years in a foreign
country; but, to compensate many misfortunes, may have the consolation
of doing some of the last honors to the greatest general Rome ever
produced." In this manner was the funeral of Pompey conducted.

Such was the end of Pompey the Great. As for Caesar, he arrived not
long after in Egypt, which he found in great disorder. When they came to
present the head, he turned from it, and the person that brought it,
as a sight of horror. He received the seal, but it was with tears.
The device was a lion holding a sword. The two assassins, Achillas
and Photinus, he put to death; and the king, being defeated in battle,
perished in the river. Theodotus, the rhetorician, escaped the vengeance
of Caesar, by leaving Egypt; but he wandered about a miserable fugitive,
and was hated wherever he went. At last, Marcus Brutus, who killed
Caesar, found the wretch, in his province of Asia, and put him to death,
after having made him suffer the most exquisite tortures. The ashes of
Pompey were carried to Cornelia, who buried them in his lands near Alba.
(Langhorne has well remarked that Pompey has, in all appearance, and
in all consideration of his character, had less justice done him by
historians than any other man of his time. His popular humanity,
his military and political skills, his prudence (which he sometimes
unfortunately gave up), his natural bravery and generosity, his conjugal
virtues, which (though sometimes impeached) were both naturally
and morally great; his cause, which was certainly, in its original
interests, the cause of Rome; all these circumstances entitled him to
a more distinguished and more respectable character than any of his
historians have thought proper to afford him.)


Marcellus now moved with his whole army to Syracuse, and, camping near
the wall, proceeded to attack the city both by land and by sea. The land
forces were conducted by Appius: Marcellus, with sixty galleys, each
with five rows of oars, furnished with all sorts of arms and missiles,
and a huge bridge of planks laid upon eight ships chained together, upon
which was carried the engine to cast stones and darts, assaulted the
walls, relying on the abundance and magnificence of his preparations,
and on his own previous glory; all which, however, were, it would seem,
but trifles for Archimedes and his machines.

These machines he had designed and contrived, not as matters of any
importance, but as mere amusements in geometry; in compliance with King
Hiero's desire and request, some little time before, that he should
reduce to practice some part of his admirable speculations in science,
and by accommodating the theoretical truth to sensation and ordinary
use, bring it more within the appreciation of people in general. Eudoxus
and Archytas had been the originators of this far-famed and highly
prized art of mechanics, which they employed as an elegant illustration
of geometrical truths, and as a means of sustaining experimentally, to
the satisfaction of the senses, conclusions too intricate for proof
by words and diagrams. As, for example, to solve the problem, so often
required in constructing geometrical figures, given the two extreme, to
find the two mean lines of a proportion, both these mathematicians had
recourse to the aid of instruments, adapting to their purpose certain
curves and sections of lines. (The 'mesolabes or mesalabium, was the
name by which this instrument was commonly known.) But what with Plato's
indignation at it, and his invectives against it as the mere corruption
and annihilation of the one good of geometry,--which was thus shamefully
turning its back upon the unembodied objects of pure intelligence to
recur to sensation, and to ask help (not to be obtained without haste
subservience and depravation) from matter; so it was that mechanics came
to be separated from geometry, and, being repudiated and neglected by
philosophers, took its place as a military art. Archimedes, however,
in writing to King Hiero, whose friend and near relation he was, had
stated, that given the force, any weight might be moved, and even
boasted, we are told, relying on the strength of demonstration, that if
there were another earth, by going into it he could remove this. Hiero
being struck with amazement at this, and entreating him to make good
this problem by actual experiment, and show some great weight moved by
a small engine, he fixed accordingly upon a ship of burden out of the
king's arsenal, which could not be drawn out of the dock without great
labor and many men; and, loading her with many passengers and a full
freight, sitting himself the while far off, with no great endeavor, but
only holding the head of the pulley in his hand and drawing the cord by
degrees, he drew the ship in a straight line, as smoothly and evenly as
if she had been in the sea. The king, astonished at this, and convinced
of the power of the art, prevailed upon Archimedes to make him engines
accommodated to all the purposes, offensive and defensive, of a siege.
These the king himself never made use of, because he spent almost
all his life in a profound quiet, and the highest influence. But
the apparatus was, in a most opportune time, ready at hand for the
Syracusans, and with it also the engineer himself.

When, therefore, the Romans assaulted the walls in two places at once,
fear and consternation stupefied the Syracusans, believing that nothing
was able to resist that violence and those forces. But when Archimedes
began to ply his engines, he at once shot against the land forces all
sorts of missile weapons, and immense masses of stone that came down
with incredible noise and violence, against which no man could stand;
for they knocked down those upon whom they fell, in heaps, breaking all
their ranks and files. In the mean time huge poles thrust out from the
walls over the ships, sunk some by the great weights which they let down
from on high upon them; others they lifted up into the air by an iron
hand or beak like a crane's beak, and, when they had drawn them up by
the prow, and set them on end upon the poop, they plunged them to the
bottom of the sea; or else the ships, drawn by engines within, and
whirled about, were dashed against steep rocks that stood jutting out
under the walls, with great destruction of the soldiers that were aboard
them. A ship was frequently lifted up to a great height in the air (a
dreadful thing to behold), and was rolled to and fro, and kept swinging,
until the mariners were all thrown out, when at length it was dashed
against the rocks, or let fall. In the meantime, Marcellus himself
brought up his engine upon the bridge of ships, which was called
"Sambuca," from some resemblance it had to an instrument of music, but
while it was as yet approaching the wall, there was discharged at it a
piece of rock of ten talents' weight, then a second and a third, which,
striking upon it with immense force and with a noise like thunder,
broke all its foundations to pieces, shook out all its fastenings, and
completely dislodged it from the bridge. So Marcellus, doubtful what
counsel to pursue, drew off his ships to a safer distance, and sounded a
retreat to his forces on land. They then took a resolution of coming
up under the walls, if it were possible, in the night; thinking that as
Archimedes used ropes stretched at length in playing his engines, the
soldiers would now be under the shot, and the darts would, for want of
sufficient distance to throw them, fly over their heads without effect.
But he, it appeared, had long before framed for such occasion engines
accommodated to any distance, and shorter weapons; and had made numerous
small openings in the walls, through which, with engines of a shorter
range, unexpected blows were inflicted on the assailants. Thus, when
they who thought to deceive the defenders came close up to the walls,
instantly a shower of darts and other missile weapons was again cast
upon them. And when stones came tumbling down perpendicularly upon their
heads, and, as it were, the whole wall shot out arrows at them, they
retired. And now, again, as they were going off, arrows and darts of
a longer range inflicted a great slaughter among them, and their ships
were driven one against another; while they themselves were not able
to retaliate in any way; for Archimedes had fixed most of his engines
immediately under the wall. The Romans, seeing that infinite mischiefs
overwhelmed them from no visible means, began to think they were
fighting with the gods.

Yet Marcellus escaped unhurt, and, deriding his own artificers
and engineers, exclaimed "What! Must we give up fighting with this
geometrical Briareus, who plays pitch and toss with our ships, and,
with the multitude of darts which he showers at a single moment upon us,
really outdoes the hundred-handed giants of mythology?" The rest of the
Syracusans were but the body of Archimedes' designs, one soul moving
and governing all; for, laying aside all other arms, with his alone they
infested the Romans, and protected themselves. In fine, when such terror
had seized upon the Romans, that, if they did but see a little rope or
a piece of wood from the wall, they instantly cried out, "There it is
again! Archimedes is about to let fly another engine at us," and turned
their backs and fled, Marcellus desisted from conflicts and assaults,
putting all his hope in a long siege. Yet Archimedes possessed so high a
spirit, so profound a soul, and such treasures of scientific knowledge,
that though these inventions had now obtained him the renown of more
than human sagacity, he yet would not deign to leave behind him any
commentary or writing on such subjects; but, repudiating as sordid and
ignoble the whole trade of engineering, and every sort of art that
lends itself to mere use and profit, he placed his whole affection and
ambition in those purer speculations where there can be no reference
to the vulgar needs of life; studies, the superiority of which to all
others is unquestioned, and in which the only doubt can be, whether
the beauty and grandeur of the subjects examined, or the precision and
cogency of the methods and means of proof, most deserve our admiration.
It is not possible to find in all geometry more difficult and intricate
questions, or more simple and lucid explanations. Some ascribe this to
his natural genius; while others think that incredible effort and toil
produced these apparently easy and unlabored results. No amount of
investigation of yours would succeed in attaining the proof, and yet,
once seen, you immediately believe you would have discovered it; by so
smooth and so rapid a path he leads you to the conclusion required. And
thus it ceases to be incredible that (as is commonly told of him), the
charm of his familiar and domestic Siren made him forget his food and
neglect his person, to such a degree that when he was occasionally
carried by absolute violence to bathe, or have his body anointed, he
used to trace geometrical figures in the ashes of the fire, and diagrams
in the oil on his body, being in a state of entire preoccupation, and,
in the truest sense, divinely possessed with his love and delight in
science. His discoveries were numerous and admirable; and he is said
to have requested his friends and relations that when he was dead, they
would place over his tomb a cylinder containing a sphere, inscribing it
with the ratio of three to two which the containing solid bears to the


When Antony was making preparation for the Parthian war, he sent to
command Cleopatra to make her personal appearance in Cilicia, to answer
the accusation, that she had given great assistance, in the late wars,
to Cassius. Dellius, who was sent on this message, had no sooner seen
her face, and remarked her adroitness and subtlety in speech, than he
felt convinced that Antony would not so much as think of giving any
molestation to a woman like this; on the contrary, she would be the
first in favor with him. So he set himself at once to pay his court to
the Egyptia, and gave her his advice, "to go," in the Homeric style, to
Cilicia, "in her best attire," and bade her fear nothing from Antony,
the gentlest and the kindest of soldiers. She had some faith in the
words of Dellius, but more in her own attractions, which, having
formerly recommended her to Caesar and the young Gnaeus Pompey, she
did not doubt might prove yet more successful with Antony. Their
acquaintance was with her when a girl, young, and ignorant of the world,
but she was to meet Antony in the time of life when women's beauty is
most splendid, and their intellects are in full maturity, for she was
now about twenty-eight years of age. She made great preparation for her
journey, of money, gifts, and ornaments of value, such as so wealthy a
kingdom might afford, but she brought with her her surest hopes in her
own magic arts and charms.

She received several letters, both from Antony and from his friends, to
summon her, but she paid no attention to these orders; and at last, as
if in mockery of them, she came sailing up the river Cydnus, in a barge
with gilded stern and outspread sails of purple, while oars of silver
beat time to the music of flutes and fifes and harps. She herself lay
stretched along under a canopy of cloth of gold, dressed as Venus in a
picture, and beautiful young boys, like painted Cupids, stood on each
side to fan her. Her maids were dressed like Sea Nymphs and Graces, some
steering at the rudder, some working at the ropes. The perfumes
diffused themselves from the vessel to the shore, which was covered with
multitudes, part following the galley up the river on either bank, part
running out of the city to see the sight. The market-place was quite
emptied, and Antony at last was left alone sitting upon the tribunal;
while the word went through all the multitude, that Venus had come to
feast with Bacchus, for the common good of Asia. On her arrival, Antony
sent to invite her to supper. She thought it fitter he should come to
her; so, willing to show his good-humor and courtesy, he complied,
and went. He found the preparations to receive him magnificent beyond
expression, but nothing so admirable as the great number of lights;
for on a sudden there were let down all together so great numbers of
branches with lights in them so ingeniously disposed, some in squares,
and some in circles, that the whole thing was a spectacle that has
seldom been equaled for beauty.

The next day, Antony invited her to supper, and was very desirous to
outdo her as well in magnificence as contrivance; but he found he was
altogether beaten in both, and was so well convinced of it, that he was
himself the first to jest and mock at his poverty of wit, and his rustic
awkwardness. She, perceiving that his raillery was broad and gross,
and savored more of the soldier than the courtier, rejoined in the
same taste, and fell into it at once, without any sort of reluctance
or reserve. For her actual beauty, it is said, was not in itself so
remarkable that none could be compared with her, or that no one could
see her without being struck by it, but the contact of her presence,
if you lived with her, was irresistible; the attraction of her person,
joining with the charm of her conversation, and the character that
attended all she said or did, was something bewitching. It was a
pleasure merely to hear the sound of her voice, with which, like an
instrument of many strings, she could pass from one language to another;
so that there were few of the barbarian nations that she answered by an
interpreter; to most of them she spoke herself, as to the Aethiopians,
Troglodytes, Hebrews, Arabians, Syrians, Medes, Parthians, and
many others, whose language she had learnt; which was all the more
surprising, because most of the kings her predecessors scarcely gave
themselves the trouble to acquire the Egyptian tongue, and several of
them quite abandoned the Macedonian.

Antony was so captivated by her that, leaving his troops assembled in
Mesopotamia, and ready to enter Syria, he suffered himself to be carried
away by her to Alexandria, there to keep holiday, like a boy, in play
and diversion, squandering and fooling away in enjoyments that most
costly, as Antiphon says, of all valuable, time. They had a sort of
company, to which they gave a particular name, calling it that of the
"Inimitable Livers." The members entertained one another daily in turn,
with an extravagance of expenditure beyond measure or belief. Philotas,
a physician of Amphissa, who was at that time a student of medicine in
Alexandria, used to tell my grandfather, Lamprias, that, having some
acquaintance with one of the royal cooks, he was invited by him, being a
young man, to come and see the sumptuous preparations for supper. So he
was taken into the kitchen, where he admired the prodigious variety of
all things; but particularly, seeing eight wild boars roasting whole, he
exclaimed, "Surely you have a great number of guests." The cook laughed
at his simplicity, and told him there were not more than twelve to sup,
but that every dish was to be served up just roasted to a turn, and if
anything was but one minute ill-timed, it was spoiled; "And," said he,
"maybe Antony will sup just now, maybe not this hour, maybe he will call
for wine, or begin to talk, and will put it off. So that," he continued,
"not one, but many suppers must be had in readiness, as it impossible to
guess at his hour."

Plato admits four sorts of flattery, but Cleopatra had a thousand. Were
Antony serious or disposed to mirth, she had at any moment some new
delight or charm to meet his wishes. She played at dice with him, drank
with him, hunted with him; and when he exercised in arms, she was there
to see. At night she would go rambling with him to disturb and torment
people at their doors and windows, dressed like a servant-woman, for
Antony also went in servant's disguise, and from these expeditions
he often came home very scurvily answered, and sometimes even beaten
severely, though most people guessed who it was. It would be trifling
without end to be particular in his follies, but his fishing must not
be forgotten. He went out one day to angle with Cleopatra, and, being
so unfortunate as to catch nothing in the presence of the queen, he gave
secret orders to the fishermen to dive under water, and put fishes that
had been already taken upon his hooks; and these he drew so fast that
the Egyptian perceived it. But, feigning great admiration, she told
everybody how dexterous Antony was, and invited them next day to come
and see him again. So, when a number of them had come on board the
fishing boats, as soon as he had let down his hook, one of her servants
was beforehand with his divers, and fixed upon his hook a salted fish
from Pontus. Antony, feeling his line give, drew up the prey, and when,
as may be imagined, great laughter ensued, Cleopatra said, "Leave the
fishing-rod, general, to us poor sovereigns of Pharos and Canopus; your
game is cities, provinces, and kingdoms."


Agesilaus is said to have been a little man, of a contemptible presence;
but the goodness of his humor, and his constant cheerfulness and
playfulness of temper, always free from anything of moroseness or
haughtiness, made him more attractive, even to his old age, than the
most beautiful and youthful men of the nation. Theophrastus writes,
that the Ephors laid a fine upon Archidamus for marrying a little wife,
"For," said they, "she will bring us a race of kinglets, instead of

Agesilaus was excessively fond of his children; and it is to him the
story belongs, that when they were little ones, he used to make a horse
of a stick, and ride with them; and being caught at this sport by a
friend, he desired him not to mention it, till he himself should be the
father of children.

When the Mantineans revolted from Thebes to Sparta, and Epaminondas
understood that Agesilaus had come to their assistance with a powerful
army, he privately in the night quitted his quarters at Tegea, and
unknown to the Mantineans, passing by Agesilaus, marched toward Sparta,
insomuch that he failed very little of taking it empty and unarmed.
Agesilaus had intelligence sent him by Euthynus, the Thespian, as
Callisthenes says, but Xenophon says by a Cretan, and immediately
despatched a horseman to Lacedaemon, to apprise them of it, and to let
them know that he was hastening to them. Shortly after his arrival the
Thebans crossed the Eurotas. They made an assault upon the town, and
were received by Agesilaus with great courage, and with exertions beyond
what was to be expected at his years. For he did not now fight with that
caution and cunning which he formerly made use of, but put all upon a
desperate push; which, though not his usual method, succeeded so well,
that he rescued the city out of the very hands of Epaminondas, and
forced him to retire, and, at the erection of a trophy, was able, in the
presence of their wives and children, to declare that the Lacedaemonians
had nobly paid their debt to their country, and particularly his son
Archidamus, who had that day made himself illustrious, both by his
courage and agility of body, rapidly passing about by the short lanes to
every endangered point, and everywhere maintaining the town against the
enemy with but few to help him. Isadas, too, the son of Phoebidas,
must have been, I think, the admiration of the enemy as well as of his
friends. He was a youth of remarkable beauty and stature, in the very
flower of the most attractive time of life, when the boy is just rising
into the man. He had no arms upon him, and scarcely clothes; he had just
anointed himself at home, when, upon the alarm, without further waiting,
in that undress, he snatched a spear in one hand, and a sword in the
other, and broke his way through the combatants to the enemies, striking
at all he met. He received no wound, whether it were that a special
divine care rewarded his valor with an extraordinary protection,
or whether his shape being so large and beautiful, and his dress
so unusual, they thought him more than a man. The Ephors gave him a
garland; but as soon as they had done so, they fined him a thousand
drachma, for going out to battle unarmed.


Timoleon had an older brother, whose name was Timophanes, who was
every way unlike him, being indiscreet and rash and infected by the
suggestions of some friends and foreign soldiers, whom he kept always
about him, with a passion for absolute power. He seemed to have a
certain force and vehemence in all military service, and even to delight
in dangers, and thus he took much with the people, and was advanced
to the highest charges as a vigorous and effective warrior; in the
obtaining of which offices and promotions Timoleon much assisted him,
helping to conceal or at least to extenuate his errors, embellishing
by his praise whatever was commendable in him, and setting off his good
qualities to the best advantage.

It happened once in the battle fought by the Corinthians against the
forces of Argos and Cleonae, that Timoleon served among the infantry,
when Timophanes, commanding their cavalry, was brought into extreme
danger; for his horse being wounded fell forward, and threw him headlong
amidst the enemies, while part of his companions dispersed at once in
a panic, and the small number that remained, bearing up against a great
multitude, had much ado to maintain any resistance. As soon, therefore,
as Timoleon was aware of the accident, he ran hastily to his brother's
rescue, and covering the fallen Timophanes with his buckler, after
having received an abundance of darts and several strokes by the sword
upon his body and his armor, he at length with much difficulty obliged
the enemies to retire, and brought off his brother alive and safe. But
when the Corinthians, for fear of losing their city a second time,
as they had once before, by admitting their allies, made a decree to
maintain four hundred mercenaries for its security, and gave Timophanes
the command over them, he, abandoning all regard for honor and equity,
at once proceeded to put into execution his plans for making himself
absolute, and bringing the place under his own power; and having cut off
many principal citizens, uncondemned and without trial, who were most
likely to hinder his design, he declared himself tyrant of Corinth; a
procedure that infinitely afflicted Timoleon, to whom the wickedness
of such a brother appeared to be his own reproach and calamity. He
undertook to persuade him by reasoning to desist from that wild and
unhappy ambition, and bethink himself how he could make the Corinthians
some amends, and find out an expedient to remedy the evils he had done
them. When his single admonition was rejected and contemned by him, he
made a second attempt, taking with him Aeschylus his kinsman, brother to
the wife of Timophanes, and a certain diviner, that was his friend,
whom Theopompus in his history calls Satyrus. This company coming to his
brother, all three of them surrounded and earnestly importuned him upon
the same subject, that now at length he would listen to reason and be
of another mind. But when Timophanes began first to laugh at the men's
simplicity, and presently broke out into rage and indignation against
them, Timoleon stepped aside from him and stood weeping with his face
covered, while the other two, drawing out their swords, despatched him
in a moment.

When the rumor of this act was spread about, the better and more
generous of the Corinthians highly applauded Timoleon for the hatred of
wrong and the greatness of soul that had made him, though of a gentle
disposition and full of love and kindness for his family, think the
obligations to his country stronger than the ties of consanguinity, and
prefer that which is good and just before gain and interest and his own
particular advantage. For the same brother, who with so much bravery had
been saved by him when he fought valiantly in the cause of Corinth, he
had now as nobly sacrificed for enslaving her afterward by a base and
treacherous usurpation. But when he came to understand how heavily his
mother took it, and that she likewise uttered the saddest complaints and
most terrible imprecations against him, he went to satisfy and comfort
her, but he found that she would not endure so much as to look upon him,
but caused her doors to be shut that he might have no admission into
her presence, and with grief at this he grew so disordered in mind and
disconsolate, that he determined to put an end to his perplexity with
his life, by abstaining from all manner of sustenance. But through the
care and diligence of his friends, who were very persistent with him,
and added force to their entreaties, he promised at last that he
would endure living, provided it might be in solitude, and remote from
company; so that, quitting all civil transactions and commerce with the
world, for a long while after his first retirement he never came into
Corinth, but wandered up and down the fields, full of anxious and
tormenting thoughts, and for almost twenty years did not offer to
concern himself in any honorable or public action.


Cleomenes, king of the Lacedaemonians, surprised Megalopolis by night,
forced the guards, broke in, and seized the market-place.

Awhile after, king Antigonus coming down to succor the Achaeans, they
marched with their united forces against Cleomenes; who, having seized
the avenues, lay advantageously posted on the hills of Sellasia.
Antigonus drew up close by him, with a resolution to force him in his
strength. Philopoemen, with his citizens, was that day placed among the
horse, next to the Illyrian foot, a numerous body of bold fighters, who
completed the line of battle, forming, together with the Achaeans, the
reserve. Their orders were to keep their ground, and not engage till
they should see a red coat lifted up on the point of a spear from the
other wing, where the king fought in person. The Achaeans obeyed their
order and stood fast; but the Illyrians were led on by their commanders
to the attack. Euclidas, the brother of Cleomenes; seeing the foot
thus severed from the horse, detached the best of his light-armed men,
commanding them to wheel about and charge the unprotected Illyrians
in the rear. This charge put things into confusion, and Philopoemen,
considering that those light-armed men could be easily repelled, went
first to the king's officers to make them sensible of what the occasion
required. But when they did not mind what he said, slighting him as a
hare-brained fellow (as indeed he was not yet of any repute sufficient
to give credit to a proposal of such importance). he charged with his
own citizens, and at the first encounter disordered, and soon after put
the troops to flight with great slaughter. Then, to encourage the
king's army further, to bring them all upon the enemy while he was in
confusion, he quitted his horse, and fighting with extreme difficulty
in his heavy horseman's dress, in rough, uneven ground, full of
water-courses and hollows, had both his thighs struck through with a
thonged javelin. It was thrown with great force, so that the head came
out on the other side, and made a severe though not a mortal wound.
There he stood awhile, as if he had been shackled, unable to move. The
fastening which joined the thong to the javelin made it difficult to
get it drawn out, nor would anybody about him venture to do it. But the
fight being now at the hottest, and likely to be quickly decided, he
was transported with the desire of partaking in it, and struggled and
strained so violently, setting one leg forward, the other back, that
at last he broke the shaft in two, and thus got the pieces pulled out.
Being in this manner set at liberty he caught up his sword, and running
through the midst of those who were fighting in the first ranks,
animated his men, and set them afire with emulation. Antigonus, after
the victory, asked the Macedonians, to try them, how it happened that
the cavalry had charged without orders before the signal? and when they
answered that they were forced to it against their wills by a young man
of Megalopolis, who had fallen in before it was time, Antigonus replied,
smiling, "That young man acted like an experienced commander."


Paulus Aemilius, advanced in years, being nearly threescore, yet
vigorous in his own person, and rich in valiant sons and sons-in-law,
besides a great number of influential relations and friends, all of whom
joined in urging him to yield to the desires of the people, who called
him to the consulship. He at first manifested some shyness of the
people, and withdrew himself from their importunity, professing
reluctance to hold office; but, when they daily came to his doors,
urging him to come forth to the place of election, and pressing him with
noise and clamor, he acceded to their request. When he appeared amongst
the candidates, it did not look as if it were to sue for the consulship,
but to bring victory and success, that he came down into the Campus;
with such hopes and such gladness did they all receive him there,
unanimously choosing him a second time consul; nor would they suffer the
lots to be cast, as was usual, to determine which province should fall
to his share, but immediately decreed him the command of the Macedonian
war. It is told, that when he had been proclaimed general against
Perseus, and was honorably accompanied home by great numbers of people,
he found his daughter Tertia, a very little girl, weeping, and taking
her to him asked her why she was crying. She, catching him about the
neck and kissing him, said, "O father, do you not know that Perseus is
dead?" meaning a little dog of that name who had been brought up in the
house with her; to which Aemilius replied, "Good fortune, my daughter;
I embrace the omen." Thus Cicero, the orator, relates in his book on

* * * * *

The triumph of Aemilius over Perseus was performed in this manner.

The people erected scaffolds in the Forum, in the circuses, as they call
their buildings, for horse-races, and in all other parts of the city
where they could best behold the show. The spectators were clad in white
garments; all the temples were open, and full of garlands and perfumes;
the ways were cleared and kept open by numerous officers, who drove back
all who crowded into or ran across the main avenue. This triumph lasted
three days. On the first, which was scarcely long enough for the sight,
were to be seen the statues, pictures, and colossal images, which were
taken from the enemy, drawn upon two hundred and fifty chariots. On the
second, was carried in a great many wagons the finest and richest armor
of the Macedonians, both of brass and steel, all newly polished and
glittering; the pieces of which were piled up and arranged purposely
with the greatest art, so as to seem to be tumbled in heaps carelessly
and by chance; helmets were thrown upon shields, coats of mail upon
greaves; Cretan targets, and Thracian bucklers and quivers of arrows,
lay huddled amongst horses' bits, and through these there appeared the
points of naked swords, intermixed with long Macedonian sarissas. All
these arms were fastened together with just so much looseness that they
struck against one another as they were drawn along, and made a harsh
and alarming noise, so that, even as spoils of a conquered enemy, they
could not be beheld without dread. After these wagons loaded with
armor, there followed three thousand men who carried the silver that was
coined, in seven hundred and fifty vessels, each of which weighed three
talents, and was carried by four men. Others brought silver bowls and
goblets and cups, all disposed in such order as to make the best show,
and all curious as well for their size as the solidity of their embossed

On the third day, early in the morning, first came the trumpeters, who
did not sound as they were wont in a procession or solemn entry, but
such a charge as the Romans use when they encourage the soldiers to
fight. Next followed young men wearing frocks with ornamented borders,
who led to the sacrifice a hundred and twenty stalled oxen, with their
horns gilded, and their heads adorned with ribbons and garlands; and
with these were boys that carried basins for libation, of silver and
gold. After this was brought the gold coin, which was divided into
vessels that weighed three talents, like those that contained the
silver; they were in number seventy-seven. These were followed by those
that brought the consecrated bowl which Aemilius had caused to be made,
that weighed ten talents, and was set with precious stones. Then were
exposed to view the cups of Antigonus and Seleucus, and those of the
Thericlean make (Thericles, according to the more probable supposition,
was a Corinthian potter: the first maker of a particular kind of cup,
which long continued to bear his name.) and all the gold plate that was
used at Perseus' table. Next to these came Perseus' chariot, in which
his armor was placed, and on that his diadem. And, after a little
intermission, the king's children were led captives, and with them a
train of their attendants, masters, and teachers, all shedding tears,
and stretching out their hands to the spectators, and making the
children themselves also beg and entreat their compassion. There were
two sons and a daughter whose tender age made them but little sensible
of the greatness of their misery, which very insensibility of their
condition rendered it the more deplorable; insomuch that Perseus himself
was scarcely regarded as he went along, whilst pity fixed the eyes of
the Romans upon the infants; many of them could not forbear tears, and
all beheld the sight with a mixture of sorrow and pleasure, until the
children had passed.

After his children and their attendants came Perseus himself, clad all
in black, and wearing the boots of his country; and looking like one
altogether stunned and deprived of reason, through the greatness of his
misfortunes. Next followed a great company of his friends and familiars,
whose countenances were disfigured with grief, and who let the
spectators see, by their tears and their continual looking upon Perseus,
that it was his fortune they so much lamented, and that they were
regardless of their own. Perseus sent to Aemilius to entreat that he
might not be led in pomp, but be left out of the triumph; who, deriding,
as was but just, his cowardice and fondness of life, sent him this
answer, that as for that, it had been before, and was now, in his own
power; giving him to understand that the disgrace could be avoided by
death; which the faint-hearted man not having the spirit for, and made
effeminate by I know not what hopes, allowed himself to appear as a part
of his own spoils. After these were carried four hundred crowns, all
made of gold, sent from the cities by their respective deputations to
Aemilius, in honor of his victory. Then he himself came, seated on a
chariot magnificently adorned (a man well worthy to be looked at, even
without these ensigns of power), dressed in a robe of purple, interwoven
with gold, and holding a laurel branch in his right hand. All the army,
in like manner, with boughs of laurel in their hands, divided into
their bands and companies, followed the chariot of their commander; some
singing verses, according to the usual custom, mingled with raillery;
others, songs of triumph, and the praise of Aemilius's deeds; who,
indeed, was admired and accounted happy by all men, and unenvied by
every one that was good; except so far as it seems the province of some
god to lessen that happiness which is too great and inordinate, and so
to mingle the affairs of human life that no one should be entirely free
from calamities; but, as we read in Homer*, only those should think
themselves truly blessed to whom fortune has given an equal share of
good and evil.

     * "Grief is useless; cease to lament," Achilles to Priam,
     his suppliant for the body of Hecor. "For thus have the gods
     appointed for mortal men; that they should live in vexation,
     while the gods themselves are untroubled. Two vessels are
     set upon the threshold of Zeus, of the gifts that he
     dispenses; one of evil things, the other of good; he who
     receives from both at the hand of thundering Zeus, meets at
     one time with evil, and at another with good; he who
     receives from only one, is a miserable wretch."


Caius Fabricius, a man of highest consideration among the Romans as an
honest man and a good soldier, but extremely poor, went upon an embassy
to Pyrrhus to treat about prisoners that had been taken. Pyrrhus
received him with much kindness, and privately would have persuaded
him to accept of his gold, not for any evil purpose, but as a mark of
respect and hospitable kindness. Upon Fabricius's refusal, he pressed
him no further, but the next day, having a mind to discompose him, as
he had never seen an elephant before, he commanded one of the largest,
completely armed, to be placed behind the hangings, as they were talking
together. This being done, at a given signal the hanging was drawn
aside, and the elephant, raising his trunk over the head of Fabricius,
made a horrid and ugly noise. He gently turned about and, smiling, said
to Pyrrhus, "neither your money yesterday, nor this beast today make any
impression upon me." At supper, amongst all sorts of things that were
discoursed of, but more particularly Greece and the philosophers there,
Cineas, by accident, had occasion to speak of Epicurus, and explained
the opinions his followers hold about the gods and the commonwealth, and
the object of life, who place the chief happiness of man in pleasure,
and decline public affairs as an injury and disturbance of a happy life,
and remove the gods afar off both from kindness or anger, or any
concern for us at all, to a life wholly without business and flowing in
pleasures. Before he had done speaking, Fabricius cried out to Pyrrhus,
"O Hercules! may Pyrrhus and the Samnites entertain themselves with this
sort of opinions as long as they are at war with us." Pyrrhus, admiring
the wisdom and gravity of the man, was the more transported with desire
to make friendship instead of war with the city, and entreated him,
personally, after the peace should be concluded, to accept of living
with him as the chief of his ministers and generals. Fabricius answered
quietly, "Sir, this will not be for your advantage, for they who now
honor and admire you, when they have had experience of me, will rather
choose to be governed by me, than by you." And Pyrrhus received his
answer without any resentment or tyrannic passion; nay, among his
friends he highly commended the great mind of Fabricius, and intrusted
the prisoners to him alone, on condition that if the senate should not
vote a peace, after they had conversed with their friends and celebrated
the festival of Saturn, they should be remanded. And, accordingly, they
were sent back after the holidays; death being decreed for any that
stayed behind.

After this, when Fabricius had taken the consulate, a person came with
a letter to the camp written by the king's principal physician, offering
to take Pyrrhus off by poison, and so end the war without further hazard
to the Romans, if he might have a reward proportional to his service.
Fabricius, despising the villany of the man, and disposing the other
consul to the same opinion, sent despatches immediately to Pyrrhus to
caution him against the treason. His letter was to this effect: "Caius
Fabricius and Quintus Aemilius, consuls of the Romans, to Pyrrhus the
king, health. You seem to have made a bad judgement both of your friends
and your enemies; you will understand by reading this letter sent to us,
that you are at war with honest men, and trust villains and knaves. Nor
do we disclose this out of any favor to you, but lest your ruin might
bring a reproach upon us, as if we had ended the war by treachery
because not able to do it by force." When Pyrrhus had read the letter,
and made inquiry into the treason, he punished the physician, and as an
acknowledgement to the Romans sent to Rome the prisoners without ransom.
But they, regarding it as at once too great a kindness from an enemy,
and too great a reward for not doing a mean act to accept their
prisoners so, released in return an equal number of the Tarentines
and Samnites, but would admit of no debate of alliance or peace until
Pyrrhus had removed his arms and forces out of Italy, and sailed back to
Epirus with the same ships that brought him over.


Hannibal was within five miles of Tarentum, when he was informed that
the town had been taken by Fabius. He said openly, "Rome, then, has also
got a Hannibal; as we won Tarentum, so have we lost it." And, in private
with some of his confidants, he told them, for the first time, that he
always thought it difficult, but now he held it impossible, with the
forces he then had, to master Italy.

Upon this success, Fabius had a triumph decreed him at Rome, much more
splendid than his first; they looked upon him now as a champion who had
learned to cope with his antagonist, and could now easily foil his arts
and prove his best skill ineffectual. And, indeed the army of Hannibal
was at this time partly worn out with continual action, and partly
weakened and become dissolute with over abundance and luxury. Marcus
Livius, who was governor of Tarentum when it was betrayed to Hannibal,
and had then retired into the citadel, which he kept till the town
was retaken, was annoyed at these honors and distinctions, and, on one
occasion, openly declared in the senate, that by his resistance, more
than by any actions of Fabius, Tarentum had been recovered; on which
Fabius laughingly replied: "What you say is very true, for if Marcus
Livius had not lost Tarentum, Fabius Maximus had never recovered it."
The people, among other marks of gratitude, gave his son the consulship
of the next year; shortly after whose entrance upon his office, there
being some business on foot about provision for the war, his father,
either on account of age and infirmity, or perhaps out of design to try
his son, came up to him on horseback. While he was still at a distance,
the young consul observed it, and bade one of his lictors command his
father to alight, and tell him that, if he had any business with the
consul, he should come on foot. The bystanders seemed offended at the
imperiousness of the son towards a father so venerable for his age and
his authority, and turned their eyes in silence towards Fabius. He,
however, instantly alighted from his horse, and with open arms came up,
almost running, and embracing him said, "Yes, my son, you do well, and
understand what authority you have received, and over whom you are to
use it. This was the way by which we and our forefathers advanced
the dignity of Rome, preferring ever her honor and service to our own
fathers and children."

And, in fact, it is told that the great-grandfather of Fabius, who was
undoubtedly the greatest man of Rome in his time, both in reputation
and authority, who had been five times consul, and had been honored with
several triumphs for victories obtained by him, took pleasure in serving
as lieutenant under his own son, when he went as consul to his command.
And when afterwards his son had a triumph bestowed upon him for his good
service, the old man followed his triumphant chariot, on horseback, as
one of his attendants; and made it his glory, that while he really
was, and was acknowledged to be, the greatest man in Rome, and held a
father's full power over his son, he yet submitted himself to the law
and the magistrate.


Sylla's general personal appearance may be known by his statues; only
his blue eyes, of themselves extremely keen and glaring, were rendered
all the more forbidding and terrible by the complexion of his face, in
which white was mixed with rough blotches of fiery red. Hence, it is
said, he was surnamed Sylla, and in allusion to it one of the scurrilous
jesters at Athens made the verse upon him,

     Sylla is a mulberry sprinkled o'er with meal.

Sylla being wholly bent upon slaughter, filled the city with executions
without number or limit, many wholly uninterested persons falling a
sacrifice to private enmity, through his permission and indulgence to
his friends. At last Caius Metellus, one of the younger men, made bold
in the senate to ask him what end there was of these evils, and at what
point he might be expected to stop? "We do ask you," said he, "to pardon
any whom you have resolved to destroy, but to free from doubt those whom
you are pleased to save." Sylla answering, that he knew not as yet whom
to spare, he asked: "Will you then tell us whom you will punish?" This
Sylla said he would do. These last words, some authors say, were spoken
not by Metellus, but by Afidius, one of Sylla's fawning companions.
Immediately upon this, without communicating with any magistrates, Sylla
proscribed eighty persons, and notwithstanding the general indignation,
after one day's respite, he posted two hundred and twenty more, and on
the third again, as many. In an address to the people on this occasion,
he told them he had put up as many names as he could think of; those
which had escaped his memory, he would publish at a future time. He
issued an edict likewise, making death the punishment of humanity,
proscribing any who should dare to receive and cherish a proscribed
person, without exception to brother, son, or parents. And to him who
should slay any one proscribed person, he ordained two talents' reward,
even were it a slave who had killed his master, or a son his father.
And what was thought most unjust of all, he caused the attainder to
pass upon their sons, and sons' sons, and made open sale of all their
property. Nor did the proscription prevail only at Rome, but throughout
all the cities of Italy the effusion of blood was such that neither
sanctuary of the gods nor hearth of hospitality nor ancestral home
escaped. Men were butchered in the embraces of their wives, children in
the arms of their mothers. Those who perished through public animosity,
or private enmity, were nothing in comparison to the numbers of those
who suffered for their riches. Even the murderers began to say, that
"his fine house killed this man, a garden that, a third, his hot baths."
Quintus Aurelius, a quiet, peaceable man, and one who thought all his
part in the common calamity consisted in condoling with the misfortunes
of others, coming into the forum to read the list, and finding himself
among the proscribed, cried out, "Woe is me, my Alban farm has informed
against me." He had not gone far, before he was despatched by a ruffian,
sent on that errand.

In the meantime, Marius, on the point of being taken, killed himself;
and Sylla, coming to Praeneste, at first proceeded judicially against
each particular person, till at last, finding it a work of too much
time, he cooped them up together in one place, to the number of twelve
thousand men, and gave order for the execution of them all, save his own
host (The friend, that is, with whom he always stayed when he happened
to be at Praeneste, his 'xenos;' a relationship much regarded to the
Greek and Roman world) alone excepted. But he, brave man, telling him
he could not accept the obligation of life from the hands of one who
had been the ruin of his country, went in among the rest, and submitted
willingly to the stroke.


Lucullus' life, like the Old comedy, presents us at the commencement
with acts of policy and of war, and at the end offers nothing but good
eating and drinking, feastings, and revelings, and mere play. For I give
no higher name to his sumptuous buildings, porticos and baths, still
less to his paintings and sculptures, and all his industry about these
curiosities, which he collected with vast expense, lavishly bestowing
all the wealth and treasure which he got in the war upon them, insomuch
that even now, with all the advance of luxury, the Lucullean gardens are
counted the noblest the emperor has. Tubero, the stoic, when he saw his
buildings at Naples, where he suspended the hills upon vast tunnels,
brought in the sea for moats and fish-ponds round his house, and
pleasure-houses in the waters, called him Xerxes in a gown. He had also
fine seats in Tusculum, belvederes, and large open balconies for men's
apartments, and porticos to walk in, where Pompey coming to see him,
blamed him for making a house which would be pleasant in summer, but
uninhabitable in winter; whom he answered with a smile, "You think me,
then, less provident than cranes and storks, not to change my home with
the season." When a praetor, with great expense and pains, was preparing
a spectacle for the people, and asked him to lend him some purple robes
for the performers in a chorus, he told him he would go home and see,
and if he had any, would let him take them; and the next day asking how
many he wanted, and being told that a hundred would suffice, bade him
take twice as many: on which the poet Horace observes, that a house is
indeed a poor one, where the valuables unseen and unthought of do not
exceed all those that meet the eye.

Lucullus' daily entertainments were ostentatiously extravagant, not
only in purple coverlets, and plate adorned with precious stones, and
dancings, and interludes, but with the greatest diversity of dishes and
the most elaborate cookery, for the vulgar to admire and envy. It was a
happy thought of Pompey in his sickness, when his physician prescribed
a thrush for his dinner, and his servants told him that in summer time
thrushes were not to be found anywhere but in Lucullus' fattening coops,
that he would not suffer them to fetch one thence, but observed to
his physician, "So if Lucullus had not been an epicure, Pompey had
not lived," and ordered something else that could easily be got to be
prepared for him. Cato was his friend and connection, but, nevertheless,
so hated his life and habits, that when a young man in the senate made a
long and tedious speech in praise of frugality and temperance, Cato
got up and said, "How long do you mean to go making money like Crassus,
living like Lucullus, and talking like Cato?"

It is plain from the anecdotes on record of him, that Lucullus was not
only pleased with, but even gloried in his way of living. For he is said
to have feasted several Greeks upon their coming to Rome day after day,
who, out of a true Grecian principle, being ashamed, and declining the
invitation, where so great an expense was every day incurred for them,
he with a smile said to them, "Some of this, indeed, my Grecian friends,
is for your sakes, but more for that of Lucullus." Once when he supped
alone, there being only one course, and that but moderately furnished,
he called his steward and reproved him, who, professing to have supposed
that there would be no need of any great entertainment, when nobody
was invited, was answered, "What, did you not know, then, that today
Lucullus was to dine with Lucullus?" This being much spoken of about
the city, Cicero and Pompey one day met him loitering in the forum, the
former his intimate friend and familiar, and, though there had been some
ill-will between Pompey and him about the command in the war, still
they used to see each other and converse on easy terms together. Cicero
accordingly saluted him, and asked him whether today was a good time for
asking a favor of him, and on his answering, "Very much so," and begging
to hear what it was, Cicero said, "then we should like to dine with you
today, just on the dinner that is prepared for yourself." Lucullus being
surprised, and requesting a day's time, they refused to grant it, and
would not allow him to talk with his servants, for fear he should give
orders for more than was appointed before. But this they consented to,
that before their faces he might tell his servant, that today he would
sup in "the Apollo" (for so one of his best dining-rooms was called),
and by this evasion he outwitted his guests. For every room, as it
seems, had its own assessment of expenditure, dinner at such a price,
and all else in accordance; so that the servants, on knowing where he
would dine, knew also how much was to be expended, and in what style
and form dinner was to be served. The expense for the Apollo was fifty
thousand drachmas, and such a sum being that day laid out, the greatness
of the cost did not so much amaze Pompey and Cicero, as the rapidity
of the outlay. One might believe that Lucullus thought his money really
captive and barbarian, so wantonly and contumeliously did he treat it.

His furnishing of a library, however, deserves praise and record, for he
collected very many choice manuscripts; and the use they were put to was
even more magnificent than the purchase, the library being always open,
and the walks and reading rooms about it free to all Greeks, whose
delight it was to leave their other occupations and hasten thither as
to the habitation of the Muses, there walking about, and diverting one
another. He himself often passed his hours there, disputing with the
learned in the walks, and giving his advice to statesmen who required
it, insomuch that his house was altogether a home, and in a manner, a
Greek prytaneum for those that visited Rome.


(The Roman who endeavored to establish a separate government for himself
in Spain.)

Sertorius was highly honored for his introducing discipline and good
order among the Spaniards, for he altered their furious and savage
manner of fighting, and brought them to make use of the Roman armor,
taught them to keep their ranks, and observe signals and watchwords;
and out of a confused horde of thieves and robbers, he constituted a
regular, well-disciplined army. He bestowed silver and gold upon them
liberally to gild and adorn their helmets, he had their shields worked
with various figures and designs, he brought them into the mode of
wearing flowered and embroidered cloaks and coats, and by supplying
money for these purposes, and joining with them in all improvements, he
won the hearts of all. That, however, which delighted them most, was the
care that he took of their children. He sent for all the boys of noblest
parentage out of all their tribes, and placed them in the great city
of Osca, where he appointed masters to instruct them in the Grecian
and Roman learning, that when they came to be men, they might, as he
professed, be fitted to share with him in authority, and in conducting
the government, although under this pretext he really made them
hostages. However, their fathers were wonderfully pleased to see their
children going daily to the schools in good order, handsomely dressed
in gowns edged with purple, and that Sertorius paid for their lessons,
examined them often, distributed rewards to the most deserving, and
gave them the golden bosses to hang around their necks, which the Romans
called "bullae."

All the cities on this side of the river Ebro finally united their
forces under his command, and his army grew very great, for they
flocked together and flowed in upon him from all quarters. But when they
continually cried out to attack the enemy, and were impatient of delay,
their inexperienced, disorderly rashness caused Sertorius much trouble,
who at first strove to restrain them with reason and good counsel, but
when he perceived them refractory and unseasonably violent, he gave way
to their impetuous desires, and permitted them to engage with the enemy,
in such a way that they might be repulsed, yet not totally routed, and
so become more obedient to his commands for the future. This happening
as he had anticipated, he soon rescued them, and brought them safe into
his camp. And after a few days, being willing to encourage them again,
when he had called all his army together, he caused two horses to be
brought into the field, one an old, feeble, lean animal, the other a
lusty, strong horse, with a remarkably thick and long tail. Near the
lean one he placed a tall, strong man, and near the strong, young horse
a weak, despicable-looking fellow; and at a given signal the strong man
took hold of the weak horse's tail with both his hands, and drew it to
him with his whole force, as if he would pull it off; the other, the
weak man, in the meantime, set to work to pluck off hair by hair the
great horse's tail. And when the strong man had given trouble enough
to himself in vain, and sufficient diversion to the company, and had
abandoned his attempt, whilst the weak, pitiful fellow in a short time
and with little pains had left not a hair on the great horse's tail,
Sertorius arose and said to his army, "You see, fellow-soldiers, that
perseverance is more prevailing than violence, and that many things
which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield readily when
taken little by little. Assiduity and persistence are irresistible,
and in time overthrow and destroy the greatest powers. Time being the
favorable friend and assistant of those who use their judgment to await
his occasions, and the destructive enemy of those who are unseasonably
urging and pressing forward."

Of all his remarkable exploits, none raised greater admiration than that
which he put in practice against the Characitanians. These are a people
beyond the river Tagus, who inhabit neither cities nor towns, but live
in a vast, high hill, within the deep dens and caves of the rocks, the
mouths of which all open towards the north. The country below is of a
soil resembling a light clay, so loose as easily to break into powder,
and is not firm enough to bear any one that treads upon it, and if you
touch it in the least, it flies about like ashes or unslaked lime. In
any danger of war, these people enter their caves, and carrying in their
booty and prey along with them, stay quietly within, secure from every
attack. And when Sertorius, leaving Metellus some distance off,
had placed his camp near this hill, they slighted and despised him,
imagining that he retired into these parts to escape being overthrown
by the Romans. And whether out of anger and resentment, or out of
his unwillingness to be thought to fly from his enemies, early in the
morning he rode up to view the situation of the place. But finding there
was no way to come at it, as he rode about, threatening them in vain and
disconcerted, he took notice that the wind raised the dust and carried
it up towards the caves of the Characitanians, and the northerly wind,
which some call Caecias, prevailing most in those parts, coming up out
of moist plains or mountains covered with snow, at this particular
time, in the heat of summer, being further supplied and increased by
the melting of the ice in the northern regions, blew a delightful, fresh
gale, cooling and refreshing the Characitanians and their cattle all the
day long. Sertorius, considering well all circumstances in which either
the information of the inhabitants, or his own experience had instructed
him, commanded his soldiers to shovel up a great quantity of this light,
dusty earth, to heap it together, and make a mound of it over against
the hill in which these barbarous people lived, who, imagining that all
this preparation was for raising a mound to get at them, only mocked
and laughed at it. However, he continued the work till the evening, and
brought his soldiers back into their camp. The next morning a gentle
breeze at first arose, and moved the lightest parts of the earth, and
dispersed it about as the chaff before the wind; but when the sun got
higher, and the strong, northerly wind had covered the hills with the
dust, the soldiers came and turned this mound of earth over and over,
and broke the hard clods in pieces, whilst others on horseback rode
through it backward and forward, and raised a cloud of dust into the
air; then with the wind the whole of it was carried away and blown into
the dwellings of the Characitanians, all lying open to the north. And
there being no other vent or breathing-place than that through which the
Caecias rushed in upon them, it quickly blinded their eyes, and filled
their lungs, and all but choked them, whilst they strove to draw in the
rough air mingled with dust and powdered earth. Nor were they able, with
all they could do, to hold out more than two days, but surrendered
on the third, adding, by their defeat, not so much to the power of
Sertorius, as to his renown, in proving that he was able to conquer
places by art, which were impregnable by the force of arms.


The scroll is made up thus: when the Ephors send an admiral or general
on his way, they take two round pieces of wood, both exactly of a length
and thickness, and cut even to one another; they keep one themselves,
and the other the give to the person they send forth; and these pieces
of wood they call Scytales. When, therefore, they have occasion to
communicate any secret or important matter, making a scroll of parchment
long and narrow like a leathern thong, they roll it about their own
staff of wood, leaving no space void between, but covering the surface
of the staff with the scroll all over. When they have done this, they
write what they please on the scroll, as it is wrapped about the staff;
and when they have written, they take off the scroll, and send it to the
general without the wood. He, when he has received it, can read nothing
of the writing, because the words and letters are not connected, but
all broken up; but taking his own staff, he winds the slip of the scroll
about it, so that this folding, restoring all the parts into the same
order that they were in before, and putting what comes first into
connection with what follows, brings the whole consecutive contents to
view round the outside. And this scroll is called a _staff_, after the
name of the wood, as a thing measured is by the name of the measure.


Marcus Cato grew so powerful by his eloquence that he was commonly
called the Roman Demosthenes; but his manner of life was yet more famous
and talked of. For oratorical skill was, as an accomplishment, commonly
studied and sought after by all young men; but he was a rare man who
would cultivate the old habits of bodily labor, or prefer a light
supper, and a breakfast which never saw the fire; or be in love with
poor clothes and a homely lodging, or could set his ambition rather
on doing without luxuries than on possessing them. For now the state,
unable to keep its purity by reason of its greatness, and having so many
affairs, and people from all parts under its government, was fain to
admit many mixed customs, and new examples of living. With reason,
therefore, everybody admired Cato, when they saw others sink under
labors, and grow effeminate by pleasures, but beheld him unconquered by
either; and that, too, not only when he was young and desirous of honor,
but also when old and gray-headed, after a consulship and triumph;
like some famous victor in the games, persevering in his exercise and
maintaining his character to the very last. He himself says, that he
never wore a suit of clothes which cost more than a hundred drachmas;
and that, when he was general and consul, he drank the same wine which
his workmen did; and that the meat or fish which was bought in the
market for his dinner, did not cost above thirty 'asses.' All which was
for the sake of the commonwealth, that his body might be the hardier for
the war. Having a piece of embroidered Babylonian tapestry left him, he
sold it; because none of his farm-houses were so much as plastered. Nor
did he ever buy a slave for above fifteen hundred drachmas; as he did
not seek for effeminate and handsome ones, but able, sturdy workmen,
horse-keepers, and cow-herds; and these he thought ought to be sold
again, when they grew old, and no useless servants fed in a house. In
short, he reckoned nothing a good bargain, which was superfluous; but
whatever it was, though sold for a farthing, he would think it a great
price, if you had no need of it.

Yet, in my judgment, it marks an over-rigid temper for a man to take the
work out of his servants as out of brute beasts, turning them off
and selling them in their old age. A kind-natured man will keep even
worn-out horses and dogs, and not only take care of them when they are
foals and whelps, but also when they are grown old. The Athenians, when
they built their Hecatompedon,* (*The Parthenon; built on the site of
an older temple which had borne the name of Hecatompedon, or a "hundred
feet long." The name was retained for the new building.) turned those
mules loose to feed freely, which they had observed to have done the
hardest labor. One of these came once of itself to offer its service,
and ran along with, nay, went before, the teams which drew the wagons up
to the Acropolis, as if it would incite and encourage them to draw more
stoutly; upon which a vote was passed that the creature should be kept
at the public charge till it died. The graves of Cimon's horses, which
thrice won the Olympian races, are yet to be seen close by his own
monument. Old Xanthippus, too, the father of Pericles, entombed his
dogs which swam after his galley to Salamis, when the people fled from
Athens, on the top of a cliff, which they call the dogs' tomb to this

For his general temperance, however, and self-control, Cato really
deserves the highest admiration. For when he commanded the army, he
never took for himself, and those that belonged to him, more than three
bushels of wheat for a month, and somewhat less than a bushel and a half
a day of barley for his baggage-cattle. And when he entered upon the
government of Sardinia, where his predecessors had been used to require
tents, bedding, and clothes upon the public account, and to charge the
state heavily with the cost of provisions and entertainments for a great
train of servants and friends, the difference he showed in his economy
was something incredible. There was nothing of any sort for which he put
the public to expense; he would walk, instead of taking a carriage to
visit the cities, with only one of the common town officers, who carried
his dress, and a cup to offer libation with. Yet on the other hand,
he showed most inflexible severity and strictness, in what related to
public justice, and was rigorous, and precise in what concerned the
ordinances of the commonwealth; so that the Roman government never
seemed more terrible, nor yet more mild, than under his administration.

His very manner of speaking seemed to have such a kind of idea with
it; for it was courteous, and yet forcible; pleasant, yet overwhelming;
facetious, yet austere; sententious, and yet vehement: like Socrates, in
the description of Plato, who seemed outwardly to those about him to be
but a simple, talkative, blunt fellow; whilst at the bottom he was full
of such gravity and matter, as would even move tears, and touch the very
hearts of his auditors. Reproving on one occasion the sumptuous habits
of the Romans, he said: "It is hard to preserve a city, where a fish is
sold for more than an ox." He had a saying, also, that the Roman people
were like sheep; for they, when single, do not obey, but when altogether
in a flock, they follow their leaders: "So you," said he, "when you have
got together in a body let yourselves be guided by those whom singly you
would never think of being advised by."

The Romans having sent three ambassadors to Bithnia, of whom one was
gouty, another had his skull trepanned, and the other seemed little
better than a fool; Cato, laughing, gave out that the Romans had sent an
embassy, which had neither feet, head, nor heart.* (*Both the Romans and
the Greeks conceived of the region of the heart, the chest, as the seat
not of emotion, nor of will and courage merely, but more especially of
judgment, deliberation, and practical sense. Thus the Greeks derived
their word for moral wisdom from Phren, the diaphragm, and the Romans by
'egregie cordatus homo' meant a wise statesman.)

Cato also said that in his whole life he most repented of three things;
one was, that he had trusted a secret to a woman; another that he
went by water when he might have gone by land; the third, that he had
remained one whole day without doing any business of moment.

He was a good father, an excellent husband to his wife, and an
extraordinary economist; and as he did not manage his affairs of this
kind carelessly, and as things of little moment, I think I ought to
record a little further whatever was commendable in him in these points.
He married a wife more noble than rich; being of opinion that the rich
and the high-born are equally haughty and proud; but that those of
noble blood would be more ashamed of base things, and consequently more
obedient to their husbands in all that was fit and right. A man who beat
his wife or child, laid violent hands, he said, on what was most sacred;
and a good husband he reckoned worthy of more praise than a great
senator; and he admired the ancient Socrates for nothing so much, as for
having lived a temperate and contented life with a wife who was a scold,
and children who were half-witted.

When his son began to come to years of discretion, Cato himself would
teach him to read, although he had a servant, a very good grammarian,
called Chilo, who taught many others; but he thought not fit, as he
himself said, to have his son reprimanded by a slave, or pulled, it may
be, by the ears when found tardy in his lesson: nor would he have him
owe to a servant the obligation of so great a thing as his learning; he
himself, therefore, taught him his grammar, his law, and his gymnastic
exercises. Nor did he only show him, too, how to throw a dart, to fight
in armor, and to ride, but to box also and to endure both heat and cold,
and to swim over the most rapid and rough rivers. He says, likewise,
that he wrote histories, in large characters, with his own hand, that
so his son, without stirring out of the house, might learn to know about
his countrymen and forefathers: nor did he less abstain from speaking
any thing improper before his son, than if it had been in the presence
of the sacred virgins, called vestals. Nor would he ever go into the
bath with him; which seems indeed to have been the common custom of the

Thus, like an excellent work, Cato formed and fashioned his son to


Gorgidas, according to some, first formed the Sacred Band of three
hundred chosen men, to whom, as being a guard for the citadel, the State
allowed provision, and all things necessary for exercise: and hence
they were called the city band, as citadels of old were usually called
cities. Others say that it was composed of young men attached to each
other by personal affection, and a pleasant saying of Pammenes is
current, that Homer's Nestor was not well skilled in ordering an army,
when he advised the Greeks to rank tribe and tribe, and family and
family together, that

     "So tribe might tribe, and kinsmen kinsmen aid,"

but that he should have joined lovers and their beloved. For men of the
same tribe or family little value one another when dangers press; but a
band cemented by friendship grounded upon love, is never to be broken,
and invincible; since all, ashamed to be base in sight of their beloved,
willingly rush into danger for the relief of one another. Nor can that
be wondered at; since they have more regard for their absent loving
friends than for others present; as in the instance of the man who,
when his enemy was going to kill him, earnestly requested him to run him
through the breast, that his lover might not blush to see him wounded in
the back. It is a tradition likewise, that Iolaus, who assisted Hercules
in his labors and fought at his side, was beloved of him; and Aristotle
observes, that even in his time, lovers plighted their faith at Iolaus'
tomb. It is likely, therefore, that this band was called sacred on this
account; as Plato calls a lover a divine friend. It is stated that it
was never beaten till the battle at Chaeronea: and when Philip, after
the fight, took a view of the slain, and came to the place where the
three hundred that fought his phalanx lay dead together, he was filled
with wonder, and understanding that it was the band of lovers, he shed
tears and said, "Perish any man who suspects that these men either did
or suffered any thing that was base."


Among the songs written after the battle of Cynos Cephalas (the
Dog-heads), was the following epigram, composed by Alcaeus in mockery of
Philip, exaggerating the number of the slain:

     Naked and tombless see, O passer-by
     The thirty thousand men of Thessaly,
     Slain by the Aetolians and the Latin band,
     That came with Titus from Italia's land:
     Alas for mighty Macedon! that day,
     Swift as a roe, king Philip fled away.

Titus himself thought more highly of his liberation of Greece than of
any other of his actions, as appears by the inscription upon some silver
targets, dedicated together with his own shield, to Apollo at Delphi:

     Ye Spartan Tyndarids, twin sons of Jove,
     Who in swift horsemanship have placed your love,
     Titus, of great Aeneas' race, leaves this
     In honor of the liberty of Greece.

And a golden crown, also offered to Apollo, bore this inscription:

     This golden crown upon thy locks divine,
     O blest Latona's son, was set to shine
     By the great captain of the Aenean name
     O Phoebus, grant the noble Titus fame!

When the ambassadors of Antiochus were recounting to those of Achaea,
the various multitudes composing their royal master's forces, and ran
over a long catalogue of hard names, "I supped once," said Titus, "with
a friend, and could not forbear expostulating with him at the number
of dishes he had provided, and said I wondered where he had furnished
himself with such a variety; 'Sir,' replied he, 'to confess the truth,
it is all hog's flesh differently cooked.' And so, men of Achaea, when
you are told of Antiochus' lancers, and pikemen, and foot-guards, I
advise you not to be surprised; since in fact they are all Syrians
differently armed."

The Chalcidians, who owed their lives to Titus, dedicated to him all the
best and most magnificent of their sacred buildings, inscriptions upon
which, like the following, may be seen to this day: THE PEOPLE DEDICATE
remarkable, even in our time, a priest of Titus was formally elected
and declared; and after sacrifice and libation, they sang a set song, of
which these are the closing verses:--

     The Roman Faith, whose aid of yore,
     Our vows were offered to implore,
     We worship now and evermore.
     To Rome, to Titus, and to Jove,
     O maidens, in the dances move.
     Dances and Io-Paeans too
     Unto the Roman Faith are due
     O Savior Titus, and to you.


It must be borne in mind that my design has been not to write histories,
but lives. And the most glorious exploits do not always furnish us with
the clearest discoveries of virtue or vice in men; sometimes a matter
of less moment, an expression or a jest, informs us better of their
characters and inclinations, than the most famous sieges, the
greatest armaments, or the bloodiest battles whatsoever. Therefore as
portrait-painters are more exact in the lines and features of the face,
in which the character is seen, than in the other parts of the body, so
I must be allowed to give my more particular attention to the marks and
indications of the souls of men, in my portrayal of their lives.

It is agreed on by all hands, that on the father's side, Alexander
descended from Hercules by Caranus, and from Aeacus by Neoptolemus on
the mother's side. His father Philip, being in Samothrace, when he was
quite young, fell in love there with Olympias, in company with whom he
was initiated in the religious ceremonies of the country, and her father
and mother being both dead, soon after, with the consent of her brother
Arymbas, he married her.

Alexander was born on the sixth of Hecatombaeon, the same day that the
temple of Diana at Ephesus was burnt. The statues that gave the best
representation of Alexander's person, were those of Lysippus, those
peculiarities which many of his successors afterwards and his friends
used to affect to imitate,--the inclination of his head a little on
one side towards his left shoulder, and his melting eye,--having been
expressed by this artist with great exactness. But Apelles, who drew him
with thunderbolts in his hand, made his complexion browner and darker
than it was naturally; for he was fair and of a light color, passing
into ruddiness in his face and upon his breast. His temperance, as to
all pleasures, was apparent in him in his very childhood, as he was
with much difficulty incited to them, and always used them with great
moderation; though in other things he was extremely eager and vehement,
and in his love of glory and the pursuit of it, he showed a solidity of
high spirit and magnanimity far above his age. For he neither sought nor
valued it upon every occasion, as his father Philip did (who affected to
show his eloquence almost to a degree of pedantry, and took care to have
the victories of his racing chariots at the Olympic games engraved on
his coin), but when he was asked by some about him, whether he would run
a race in the Olympic games, as he was very swift-footed, he answered,
that he would, if he might have kings to run with him.

While he was yet very young, he entertained the ambassadors from the
king of Persia, in the absence of his father, and entering much into
conversation with them, gained so much upon them by his affability,
and the questions he asked them, which were far from being childish or
trifling (for he inquired of them the length of the ways, the nature of
the road into inner Asia, the character of their king, how he carried
himself toward his enemies, and what forces he was able to bring into
the field), that they were struck with admiration of him, and looked
upon the ability so much famed of Philip, to be nothing in comparison
with the forwardness and high purpose that appeared thus early in his
son. Whenever he heard that Philip had taken any town of importance, or
won any signal victory, instead of rejoicing at it altogether, he would
tell his companions that his father would anticipate every thing, and
leave him and them no opportunities of performing great and illustrious
actions. For being more bent upon action and glory than upon either
pleasure or riches, he esteemed all that he should receive from his
father as a diminution of his own future achievements; and would have
chosen rather to succeed to a kingdom involved in troubles and wars,
which would have afforded him frequent exercise of his courage, and a
large field of honor, than to one already flourishing and settled, where
his inheritance would be an inactive life, and the mere enjoyment of
wealth and luxury.

The care of his education, as it might be presumed, was committed to a
great many attendants, preceptors, and teachers, over the whole of
whom Leonidas, a near kinsman of Olympias, a man of an austere temper,
presided, who did not indeed himself decline the name of what in reality
is a noble and honorable office, but in general his dignity, and
his near relationship, obtained him from other people the title of
Alexander's fosterfather and governor. But he who took upon him
the actual place and style of his "pedagogue," was Lysimachus the

Philonicus the Thessalian brought the horse Bucephalas to Philip,
offering to sell him for thirteen talents; but when they went into the
field to try him, they found him so very vicious and unmanageable, that
he reared up when they endeavored to mount him, and would not so much as
endure the voice of any of Philip's attendants. Upon which, as they were
leading him away as wholly useless and untractable, Alexander, who stood
by, said, "What a magnificent horse they lose, for want of address and
boldness to manage him!" Philip at first took no notice of what he said,
but when he heard him repeat the same thing several times, and perceived
that he was much vexed to see the horse sent away, he said to him, "Do
you reproach those who are older than yourself, as if you knew more, and
were better able to manage him than they?" "I could manage this horse,"
replied he, "better than others do." "And if you fail," said Philip,
"what will you forfeit for your rashness?" "I will pay," answered
Alexander, "the whole price of the horse." At this the whole company
fell to laughing; and as soon as the wager was settled amongst them, he
immediately ran to the horse, and taking hold of the bridle, turned
him directly towards the sun, having, it seems, observed that he was
disturbed at and afraid of the motion of his own shadow; then letting
him go forward a little, still keeping the reins in his hand, and
stroking him gently when he found him beginning to grow eager and fiery,
he let fall his upper garment softly, and with one nimble leap securely
mounted him, and when he was seated, little by little drew in the
bridle, and curbed him without either striking or spurring him.
Presently, when he found him free from all rebelliousness, and only
impatient for the course, he let him go at full speed, inciting him now
with a commanding voice, and urging him also with his heel. Philip and
his friends looked on at first in silence and anxiety for the result,
till seeing him turn at the end of his career, and come back rejoicing
and triumphing for what he had performed, they all burst out into
acclamations of applause; and his father, shedding tears, it is
said, for joy, kissed him as he came down from his horse, and in his
transport, said, "O my son, seek out a kingdom worthy of thyself, for
Macedonia is too little for thee."

After this, considering him to be of a temper easy to be led to his
duty by reason, but by no means to be compelled, he always endeavored
to persuade rather than to command or force him to any thing; and now
looking upon the instruction and tuition of his youth to be of greater
difficulty and importance, than to be wholly trusted to the ordinary
masters in music and poetry, and the common school subjects, and to
require, as Sophocles says,

     The bridle and the rudder too,

he sent for Aristotle, the most learned and most celebrated philosopher
of his time, and rewarded him with a munificence proportionable to and
becoming the care he took to instruct his son. For he repeopled his
native city Stagira, which he had caused to be demolished a little
before, and restored all the citizens who were in exile or slavery,
to their habitations. As a place for the pursuit of their studies and
exercises, he assigned the temple of the Nymphs, near Mieza, where,
to this very day, they show you Aristotle's stone seats, and the shady
walks which he was wont to frequent. It would appear that Alexander
received from him not only his doctrines of Morals, and of Politics, but
also something of those more abstruse and profound theories which these
philosophers, by the very names they gave them, professed to reserve for
oral communication to the initiated, and did not allow many to become
acquainted with. For when he was in Asia, and heard Aristotle had
published some treatises of that kind, he wrote to him, using very
plain language to him in behalf of philosophy, the following letter:
"Alexander to Aristotle greeting. You have not done well to publish your
books of oral doctrine, for what is there now that we excel others in,
if those things which we have been particularly instructed in be laid
open to all? For my part, I assure you, I had rather excel others in
the knowledge of what is excellent, than in the extent of my power
and dominion. Farewell." And Aristotle, soothing this passion for
pre-eminence, speaks, in his excuse for himself, of these doctrines, as
in fact both published and not published. To tell the truth, his books
on metaphysics are written in a style which makes them useless for
ordinary teaching, and instructive only in the way of memoranda, for
those who have been already conversant with that sort of learning.

Doubtless also it was to Aristotle, that he owed the inclination he had,
not to the theory only, but also to the practice of the art of medicine.
For when any of his friends were sick, he would often prescribe for them
their course of diet, and medicines proper to their disease, as we may
find in his epistles. He was naturally a great lover of all kinds of
learning and reading; and Onesicritus informs us, that he constantly
laid Homer's Iliads, according to the copy corrected by Aristotle,
called "The casket copy," with his dagger under his pillow, declaring
that he esteemed it a perfect portable treasure of all military virtue
and knowledge. When he was in the upper Asia, being destitute of other
books, he ordered Harpalus to send him some; who furnished him with
Philistus's History, a great many of the plays of Euripides, Sophocles,
and Aeschylus, and some dithyrambic odes, composed by Telestes and

While Philip went on his expedition against the Byzantines, he left
Alexander, then sixteen years old, his lieutenant in Macedonia,
committing the charge of his seal to him; who, not to sit idle, reduced
the rebellious Maedi, and having taken their chief town by storm, drove
out the barbarous inhabitants, and planting a colony of several nations
in their room, called the place after his own name, Alexandropolis. At
the battle of Chaeronea, which his father fought against the Greeks,
he is said to have been the first man that charged the Thebans' sacred
band. And even in my remembrance, there stood an old oak near the river
Cephisus, which people called Alexander's oak, because his tent was
pitched under it. And not far off are to be seen the graves of the
Macedonians who fell in that battle. This early bravery made Philip so
fond of him, that nothing pleased him more than to hear his subjects
call himself their general and Alexander their king.

But later on, through an unfortunate marriage of Philip with Cleopatra,
the niece of Attalus, an estrangement grew up between them. And not long
after the brother of Alexander, Pausanias, having had an insult done to
him at the instance of Attalus and Cleopatra, when he found he could
get no reparation for his disgrace at Philip's hands, watched his
opportunity and murdered him.

Alexander was but twenty years old when his father was murdered, and
succeeded to a kingdom beset on all sides with great dangers, and
rancorous enemies. Hearing the Thebans were in revolt, and the Athenians
in correspondence with them, he immediately marched through the pass
of Thermopylae, saying that to Demosthenes, who had called him a child
while he was in Illyria, and a youth when he was in Thessaly, he would
appear a man before the walls of Athens.

When he came to Thebes, to show how willing he was to accept of their
repentance for what was past, he only demanded of them Phoenix and
Prothytes, the authors of the rebellion, and proclaimed a general
pardon to those who would come over to him. But when the Thebans merely
retorted by demanding Philotas and Antipater to be delivered into their
hands, he applied himself to make them feel the last extremities of war.
The Thebans defended themselves with a zeal and courage beyond their
strength, being much outnumbered by their enemies. But when the
Macedonian garrison sallied out upon them from the citadel, they were
so hemmed in on all sides, that the greater part of them fell in the
battle; the city itself being taken by storm, was sacked and razed,
Alexander's hope being that so severe an example might terrify the rest
of Greece into obedience. So that, except the priests, and a few who
had heretofore been the friends and connections of the Macedonians, the
family of the poet Pindar, and those who were known to have opposed the
public vote for the war, all the rest, to the number of thirty thousand,
were publicly sold for slaves; and it is computed that upwards of six
thousand were put to the sword. Among the other calamities that befell
the city, it happened that some Thracian soldiers having broken into
the house of a matron of high character and repute named Timoclea, their
captain, to satisfy his avarice, asked her if she knew of any money
concealed; to which she readily answered that she did, and bade him
follow her into a garden, where she showed him a well, into which, she
told him, upon the taking of the city she had thrown what she had of
most value. The greedy Thracian presently stooping down to view the
place where he thought the treasure lay, she came behind him, and pushed
him into the well, and then flung great stones in upon him, till she
had killed him. After which, when the soldiers led her away bound to
Alexander, her very mien and gait showed her to be a woman of dignity
and high mind, not betraying the least sign of fear or astonishment.
And when the king asked her who she was, she said, "I am the sister
of Theagenes, who fought at the battle of Chaeronea with your father,
Philip, and fell there in command for the liberty of Greece." Alexander
was so surprised, both at what she had done, and what she said, that
he could not chose but give her and her children their freedom to go
whither they pleased.

After this he received the Athenians into favor. Whether it were, like
the lion, that his passion was now satisfied, or that after an example
of extreme cruelty, he had a mind to appear merciful, it happened well
for the Athenians. Certain it is, too, that in after-time he often
repented of his severity to the Thebans, and his remorse had such
influence on his temper as to make him ever after less rigorous to all
others. And it was observed that whatsoever any Theban, who had the
good fortune to survive this victory, asked of him, he was sure to grant
without the least difficulty.

Soon after, the Greeks being assembled at the Isthmus, declared their
resolution of joining with Alexander in the war against the Persians,
and proclaimed him their general. While he stayed here, many public
ministers and philosophers came from all parts to visit him, and
congratulated him on his election, but contrary to his expectation,
Diogenes of Sinope, who then was living at Corinth, thought so little
of him, that instead of coming to compliment him, he never so much as
stirred out of the suburb called the Cranium, where Alexander ran across
him lying at full length in the sun. When he saw so much company near
him, he raised himself a little, and vouchsafed to look upon Alexander;
and when he kindly asked him whether he wanted any thing, "Yes," said
he, "I would have you stand from between me and the sun." Alexander was
so struck at this answer, and surprised at the greatness of the man,
who had taken so little notice of him, that as he went away, he told his
followers who were laughing at the moroseness of the philosopher, that
if he were not Alexander, he would choose to be Diogenes.

His army consisted of about thirty thousand foot, and four thousand
horse; and Aristobulus says, he had not a fund of over seventy talents
for their pay, nor more than thirty days' provision, if we may believe
Duris. However narrow the beginnings of so vast an undertaking might
seem to be, yet he would not embark his army until he had informed
himself particularly what means his friends had to enable them to follow
him, and supplied what they wanted, by giving good farms to some,
a village to one, and the revenue of some hamlet or harbor town to
another. So that at last he had portioned out or engaged almost all the
royal property; which giving Perdiccas an occasion to ask him what he
would leave himself, he answered, "My hopes." "Your soldiers," replied
Perdiccas, "will be your partners in those," and refused to accept of
the estate he had assigned him.

With such vigorous resolutions, and his mind thus disposed, he passed
the Hellespont, and at Troy sacrificed to Minerva, and honored the
memory of the heroes who were buried there, with solemn libations;
especially Achilles, whose gravestone he anointed, and with his friends,
as the ancient custom is, ran naked about his sepulchre, and crowned it
with garlands, declaring how happy he esteemed him, in having, while he
lived, so faithful a friend, and when he was dead, so famous a poet to
proclaim his actions. While he was viewing the rest of the antiquities
and curiosities of the place, being told he might see Paris's harp, if
he pleased, he said, he thought it not worth looking at, but he should
be glad to see that of Achilles, to which he used to sing the glories
and great actions of brave men.

In the meantime Darius's captains having collected large forces, were
encamped on the further bank of the river Granicus, and it was necessary
to fight, as it were, in the gate of Asia for an entrance into it. And
when Parmenio advised him not to attempt anything that day, because it
was late, he told him that he should disgrace the Hellespont, should he
fear the Granicus. And so without saying more, he immediately took the
river with thirteen troops of horse, and advanced against whole showers
of darts thrown from the steep opposite side, which was covered with
armed multitudes of the enemy's horse and foot, notwithstanding the
disadvantage of the ground and the rapidity of the stream; so that the
action seemed to have more of frenzy and desperation in it, than of
prudent conduct. However, he persisted obstinately to gain the passage,
and at last with much ado making his way up the banks, which were
extremely muddy and slippery, he had instantly to join in a mere
confused hand-to-hand combat with the enemy, before he could draw up his
men, who were still passing over, into any order. For the enemy pressed
upon him with loud and warlike outcries; and charging horse against
horse, with their lances, after they had broken and spent these, they
fell to it with their swords. And Alexander, being easily known by his
buckler, and a large plume of white feathers on each side of his helmet,
was attacked on all sides, yet escaped without a wound, though his
cuirass was pierced by a javelin in one of the joinings. And Rhoesaces
and Spithridates, two Persian commanders, falling upon him at once, he
avoided one of them, and struck at Rhoesaces, who had a good cuirass
on, with such force, that his spear breaking in his hand, he was glad to
betake himself to his dagger. While they were thus engaged, Spithridates
came up on the other side of him, and raising himself upon his horse,
gave him such a blow with his battle-axe on the helmet, that he cut off
the crest of it, with one of his plumes, and the helmet was only just so
far strong enough to save him, that the edge of the weapon touched the
hair of his head. But as he was about to repeat his stroke, Clitus,
called the black Clitus, prevented him, by running him through the body
with his spear. At the same time Alexander despatched Rhoesaces with
his sword. While the horse were thus dangerously engaged, the Macedonian
phalanx passed the river, and the foot on each side advanced to fight.
But the enemy hardly sustaining the first onset, soon gave ground and
fled, all but the mercenary Greeks, who, making a stand upon a rising
ground, desired quarter, which Alexander, guided rather by passion than
judgment, refused to grant, and charging them himself first, had his
horse (not Bucephalas, but another) killed under him. And this obstinacy
of his to cut off these experienced, desperate men, cost him the lives
of more of his own soldiers than all the battle before, besides those
who were wounded. The Persians lost in this battle twenty thousand foot,
and two thousand five hundred horse. On Alexander's side, Aristobulus
says there were not over four and thirty missing, of whom nine were
foot-soldiers; and in memory of them he caused as many statues of
brass, of Lysippus's making, to be erected. And that the Greeks might
participate in the honor of his victory, he sent a portion of the spoils
home to them, particularly to the Athenians three hundred bucklers, and
upon all the rest he ordered this inscription to be set: "Alexander the
son of Philip, and the Greeks, except the Lacedaemonians, won these from
the barbarians who inhabit Asia." All the plate and purple garments, and
other things of the same kind that he took from the Persians, except a
very small quantity which he reserved for himself, he sent as a present
to his mother.

This battle presently made a great change of affairs to Alexander's
advantage. For Sardis itself, the chief seat of the barbarians' power
in the maritime provinces, and many other considerable places, were
surrendered to him; only Halicarnassus and Miletus stood out, which he
took by force, together with the territory about them. After which
he was a little unsettled in his opinion how to proceed. Sometimes he
thought it best to find out Darius as soon as he could, and put all
to the hazard of a battle; at another time he looked upon it as a more
prudent course to make an entire reduction of the sea-coast, and not
to seek the enemy till he had first exercised his power here and made
himself secure of the resources of these provinces. While he was thus
deliberating what to do, it happened that a spring of water near the
city of Xanthus in Lycia, of its own accord swelled over its banks,
and threw up a copper plate upon the margin, in which was engraven in
ancient characters, that the time would come, when the Persian empire
should be destroyed by the Greeks. Encouraged by this incident, he
proceeded to reduce the maritime parts of Cilicia and Phoenicia, and
passed his army along the sea-coasts of Pamphylia with such expedition
that many historians have described and extolled it with a height of
admiration, as if it were no less than a miracle, and an extraordinary
effect of divine favor, that the waves which usually come rolling in
violently from the main, and hardly ever leave so much as a narrow beach
under the steep, broken cliffs at any time uncovered, should on a sudden
retire to afford him passage. Menander, in one of his comedies, alludes
to this marvel when he says,

      Was Alexander ever favored more?
      Each man I wish for meets me at the door,
      And should I ask for passage through the sea,
      The sea, I doubt not, would retire for me.

Then he subdued the Pisidians who made head against him, and conquered
the Phrygians, at whose chief city Gordium, which is said to be the seat
of the ancient Midas, he saw the famous chariot fastened with cords
made of the rind of the cornel-tree, about which the inhabitants had a
tradition, that for him who should untie it, was reserved the empire
of the world. Most authors tell the story of Alexander, finding himself
unable to untie the knot, the ends of which were secretly twisted round
and folded up within it, cut it asunder with his sword. But Aristobulus
tells us it was easy for him to undo it, by only pulling the pin out
of the pole, to which the yoke was tied, and afterwards drawing off the
yoke itself from below.

Darius was by this time upon his march from Susa, very confident, in the
number of his men, which amounted to six hundred thousand. But Alexander
was detained in Cilicia by a sickness, which some say he contracted from
his fatigues, others from bathing in the river Cydnus, whose waters were
exceedingly cold. None of his physicians would venture to give him any
remedies, they thought his case so desperate, and were so afraid of the
suspicions and ill-will of the Macedonians if they should fail in the
cure; till Philip, the Acarnanian, seeing how critical his case was, but
relying on his own well-known friendship for him, resolved to try the
last efforts of his art, and rather hazard his own credit and life,
than suffer him to perish for want of physic, which he confidently
administered to him, encouraging him to take it boldly, if he desired
a speedy recovery, in order to prosecute the war. At this very time,
Parmenio wrote to Alexander from the camp, bidding him have a care of
Philip, as one who was bribed by Darius to kill him, with great sums of
money, and a promise of his daughter in marriage. When he had perused
the letter, he put it under his pillow, without so much as showing it
to any of his most intimate friends, and when Philip came in with the
potion, he took it with great cheerfulness and assurance, giving him
meantime the letter to read. This was a spectacle well worth being
present at, to see Alexander take the draught, and Philip read the
letter at the same time, and then turn and look upon one another, but
with different sentiments; for Alexander's looks were cheerful and open,
to show his kindness to and confidence in his physician, while the other
was full of surprise and alarm at the accusation, appealing to the gods
to witness his innocence, sometimes lifting up his hands to heaven, and
then throwing himself down by the bedside, and beseeching Alexander to
lay aside all fear, and follow his directions without apprehension. For
the medicine at first worked so strongly as to drive, as it were, the
vital forces into the interior; he lost his speech, and falling into a
swoon, had scarcely any sense or pulse left. However, in a very short
time, by Philip's means, his health and strength returned, and he showed
himself in public to the Macedonians, who were in continual fear and
dejection until they saw him abroad again.

Darius, in the meantime marched into Cilicia, at the same time that
Alexander advanced into Syria to meet him; and missing one another in
the night, they both turned back again. Alexander, greatly pleased with
the event, made all the haste he could to fight in the defiles, and
Darius to recover his former ground, and draw his army out of so
disadvantageous a place. For now he began to see his error in engaging
himself too far in a country in which the sea, the mountains, and the
river Pinarus running through the midst of it, would force him to divide
his forces, render his horse almost unserviceable, and only cover and
support the weakness of the enemy. Fortune was not kinder to Alexander
in the choice of the ground, than he was careful to improve it to his
advantage. For being much inferior in numbers, so far from allowing
himself to be outflanked, he stretched his right wing much further out
than the left wing of his enemies, and fighting there himself in the
very foremost ranks, put the barbarians to flight. In this battle he was
wounded in the thigh, Chares says by Darius, with whom he fought hand to
hand. But in the account which he gave Antipater of the battle,
though he owns he was wounded in the thigh with a sword, though not
dangerously, he does not mention who it was that wounded him.

Nothing was wanting to complete this victory, in which he overthrew
above a hundred and ten thousand of his enemies, but the taking of the
person of Darius, who escaped very narrowly by flight. However, having
captured his chariot and his bow, he returned from pursuing him, and
found his own men busy in pillaging the barbarians' camp, which
(though to disburden themselves, they had left most of their baggage
at Damascus) was exceedingly rich. But Darius's tent, which was full of
splendid furniture, and quantities of gold and silver, they reserved
for Alexander himself, who after he had put off his arms, went to bathe
himself, saying, "Let us now cleanse ourselves from the toils of war
in the bath of Darius." "Not so," replied one of his followers, "but in
Alexander's rather; for the property of the conquered is, and should be
called, the conqueror's." Here, when he beheld the bathing vessels, the
water-pots, the pans, and the ointment boxes, all of gold, curiously
wrought, and smelt the fragrant odors with which the whole place was
exquisitely perfumed, and from thence passed into a pavilion of great
size and height, where the couches and tables and preparations for an
entertainment were perfectly magnificent, he turned to those about him
and said, "This, it seems, is royalty."

But as he was going to supper, word was brought him that Darius's mother
and wife and two unmarried daughters, being taken among the rest of the
prisoners, were all in mourning and sorrow upon the sight of his chariot
and bow, imagining him to be dead. After a little he sent Leonnatus to
them, to let them know Darius was not dead, and that they need not fear
any harm from Alexander, who made war upon him only for dominion. But
the noblest and most royal part of their usage was, that he treated
these illustrious prisoners according to their virtue and character, not
suffering them to hear, or receive, or so much as to apprehend any thing
that was unbecoming. So that they seemed rather lodged in some temple,
or some holy chambers, where they enjoyed their privacy sacred and
uninterrupted, than in the camp of an enemy. Yet Darius's wife was
accounted the most beautiful princess then living, as her husband the
tallest and handsomest man of his time, and the daughters were not
unworthy of their parents.

In his diet Alexander was most temperate, as appears, omitting many
other circumstances, by what he said to Ada, whom he adopted, with the
title of mother, and afterwards created queen of Caria. For when she out
of kindness sent him every day many curious dishes, and sweetmeats,
and would have furnished him with some cooks and pastry-men, who were
thought to have great skill, he told her he wanted none of them, his
preceptor, Leonidas, having already given him the best, which were "a
night march to prepare for breakfast, and a moderate breakfast to create
an appetite for supper." Leonidas also, he added, used to open and
search the furniture of his chamber, and his wardrobe, to see if his
mother had left him any thing that was delicate or superfluous. He was
much less addicted to wine than was generally believed; that which gave
people occasion to think so of him was, that when he had nothing else to
do, he loved to sit long and talk, rather than drink, and over every cup
hold a long conversation. For when his affairs called upon him, he would
not be detained, as other generals often were, either by wine, or sleep,
nuptial solemnities, spectacles, or any other diversion whatsoever; a
convincing argument of which is, that in the short time he lived,
he accomplished so many and so great actions. When he was free from
employment, after he was up, and had sacrificed to the gods, he used to
sit down to breakfast, and then spend the rest of the day in hunting,
or writing memoirs, giving decisions on some military questions, or
reading. In marches that required no great haste, he would practice
shooting as he went along, or to mount a chariot, and alight from it
in full speed. Sometimes, for sport's sake, as his journals tell us, he
would hunt foxes and go fowling. When he came in for the evening, after
he had bathed and was anointed, he would call for his bakers and chief
cooks, to know if they had his dinner ready. He never cared to dine
till it was pretty late and beginning to be dark, and as wonderfully
circumspect at meals that every one who sat with him should be served
alike and with proper attention; and his love of talking, as was said
before, made him delight to sit long at his wine. And no prince's
conversation was ever so agreeable, yet he would at times fall into a
temper of ostentation and soldierly boasting, which gave his flatterers
a great advantage to ride him, and made his better friends very uneasy.
After such an entertainment, he was wont to bathe, and then perhaps
he would sleep till noon, and sometimes all day long. He was so very
temperate in his eating, that when any rare fish or fruits were sent
him, he would distribute them among his friends, and often reserve
nothing for himself. His table, however, was always magnificent, the
expense of it still increasing with his good fortune, till it amounted
to ten thousand drachmas a day, to which sum he limited it, and beyond
this he would suffer none to lay out in any entertainment where he
himself was the guest.

Among the treasures and other booty that was taken from Darius, there
was a very precious casket, which being brought to Alexander for a great
rarity, he asked those about him what they thought fittest to be laid up
in it; and when they had delivered their various opinions, he told them
he should keep Homer's Iliad in it. Nor did Homer prove an unprofitable
companion to him in his expeditions. For, after he had become master of
Egypt he determined to found a great and populous city, and give to it
his own name. And when he had measured and staked out the ground with
the advice of the best architects, he chanced one night in his sleep to
see a wonderful vision; a gray-headed old man, of a venerable aspect,
appeared to stand by him, and pronounce these verses:

     An island lies, where loud the billows roar,
     Pharos they call it, on the Egyptian shore.

Alexander upon this immediately rose up and went to Pharos, which, at
that time, was an island lying a little above the Canobic mouth of the
river Nile, though it has now been joined to the main land by a mole.
As soon as he saw the commodious situation of the place, it being a
long neck of land, stretching like an isthmus between large lagoons and
shallow waters on one side, and the sea on the other, the latter at the
end of it making a spacious harbor, he said, Homer, besides his other
excellences, was a very good architect, and ordered the plan of a city
to be drawn out answerable to the place. To do which, for want of chalk,
the soil being black, they laid out their lines with flour, taking in
a pretty large compass of ground in a semicircular figure, and drawing
into the inside of the circumference equal straight lines from each end,
thus giving it something of the form of a cloak or cape. While he was
pleasing himself with his design, on a sudden an infinite number of
great birds of several kinds, rising like a black cloud out of the river
and the lake, came and devoured every morsel of the flour that had been
used in setting out the lines; at which omen even Alexander himself was
troubled, till the augurs restored his confidence again by telling him
it was a sign that the city he was about to build would not only abound
in all things within itself, but also be the nurse and feeder of many

The great battle of all that was fought with Darius, was not, as most
writers tell us, at Arbela, but at Gaugamela, which, in their language,
signifies the camel's house, forasmuch as one of their ancient kings
having escaped the pursuit of his enemies on a swift camel, in gratitude
to his beast settled him at this place, with an allowance of certain
villages and rents for his maintenance. It came to pass that in the
month Boedromion, about the beginning of the Feast of Mysteries at
Athens, there was an eclipse of the moon, the eleventh night after
which, the two armies being now in view of one another, Darius kept
his men in arms, and by torchlight took a general review of them. But
Alexander, while his soldiers slept, spent the night before his tent
with his diviner Aristander, performing certain mysterious ceremonies,
and sacrificing to the god Fear.

In the meanwhile the oldest of his commanders, and chiefly Parmenio,
when they beheld all the plain between Niphates and the Gordyaean
mountains shining with the lights and fires which were made by the
barbarians, and heard the uncertain and confused sound of voices out of
their camp, like the distant roaring of a vast ocean, were so amazed
at the thoughts of such a multitude, that after some conference among
themselves, they concluded it an enterprise too difficult and hazardous
for them to engage so numerous an enemy in the day, and therefore
meeting the king as he came from sacrificing, besought him to attack
Darius by night, that the darkness might conceal the danger of the
ensuing battle. To this he gave them the celebrated answer, "I will not
steal a victory," which, though some at the time thought it a boyish and
inconsiderate speech, as if he played with danger, others regarded as an
evidence that the confided in his present condition, and acted on a true
judgment of the future, not wishing to leave Darius, in case he were
worsted, the pretext of trying his fortune again, which he might suppose
himself to have, if he could impute his overthrow to the disadvantage of
the night, as he did before to the mountains, the narrow passages, and
the sea. For while he had such numerous forces and large dominions still
remaining, it was not any want of men or arms that could induce him
to give up the war, but only the loss of all courage and hope upon the
conviction of an undeniable and manifest defeat.

After they were gone from him with this answer, he laid himself down
in his tent and slept the rest of the night more soundly than was usual
with him, to the astonishment of the commanders. Not only before the
battle, but in the height of the danger, he showed himself great, and
manifested the self-possession of a just foresight and confidence. For
the battle for some time fluctuated and was dubious. The left wing,
where Parmenio commanded, was so impetuously charged by the Bactrian
horse that it was disordered and forced to give ground, at the same time
that Mazaeus had sent a detachment around to fall upon those who guarded
the baggage, which so disturbed Parmenio, that he sent messengers to
acquaint Alexander that the camp and baggage would be all lost unless he
immediately relieved the rear by a considerable reinforcement drawn out
of the front. This message being brought him just as he was giving the
signal to those about him for the onset, he bade them tell Parmenio that
he must have surely lost the use of his reason, and had forgotten,
in his alarm, that soldiers, if victorious, become masters of their
enemies' baggage; and if defeated, instead of taking care of their
wealth or their slaves, have nothing more to do but to fight gallantly
and die with honor. When he had said this, he put on his helmet, having
the rest of his arms on before he came out of his tent, which were
a coat of the Sicilian make, girt close about him, and over that a
breastpiece of thickly quilted linen, which was taken among other booty
at the battle of Issus. The helmet, which was made by Theophilus, though
of iron, was so well wrought and polished, that it was as bright as the
most refined silver. To this was fitted a gorget of the same metal, set
with precious stones His sword, which was the weapon he most used
in fight, was given him by the king of the Citieans, and was of an
admirable temper and lightness. The belt which he also wore in all
engagements, was of much richer workmanship than the rest of his armor.
It was the work of the ancient Helicon, and had been presented to him
by the Rhodians, as a mark of their respect to him. So long as he
was engaged in drawing up his men, or riding about to give orders or
directions, or to view them, he spared Bucephalas, who was now growing
old, and made use of another horse; but when he was actually to fight,
he sent for him again, and as soon as he was mounted, commenced the

He made the longest address that day to the Thessalians and other
Greeks, who answered him with loud shouts desiring him to lead them on
against the barbarians, upon which he shifted his javelin into his left
hand, and with his right lifted up towards heaven, besought the gods,
as Callisthenes tells us, that if he was of a truth the son of Jupiter,
they would be pleased to assist and strengthen the Grecians. At the same
time the augur Aristander, who had a white mantle about him, and a crown
of gold on his head, rode by and showed them an eagle that soared just
over Alexander, and directed his flight towards the enemy; which
so animated the beholders, that after mutual encouragements and
exhortations, the cavalry charged at full speed, and were followed in a
mass by the whole phalanx of the foot. But before they could well come
to blows with the first ranks, the barbarians shrunk back, and were
hotly pursued by Alexander, who drove those that fled before him into
the middle of the battle, where Darius himself was in person, whom he
saw from a distance over the foremost ranks, conspicuous in the midst
of his lifeguard, a tall and fine-looking man, drawn in a lofty chariot,
defended by an abundance of the best cavalry who stood close in order
about it, ready to receive the enemy. But Alexander's approach was so
terrible, forcing those who gave back upon those who yet maintained
their ground, that he beat down and dispersed them almost all. Only a
few of the bravest and valiantest opposed the pursuit, who were slain
in their king's presence, falling in heaps upon one another, and in the
very pangs of death striving to catch hold of the horses. Darius now
seeing all was lost, that those who were placed in front to defend
him were broken and beaten back upon him, that he could not turn or
disengage his chariot without great difficulty, the wheels being clogged
and entangled among the dead bodies, which lay in such heaps as not only
stopped, but almost covered the horses, and made them rear and grow so
unruly, that the frighted charioteer could govern them no longer, in
this extremity was glad to quit his chariot and his arms, and mounting,
it is said, upon a mare that had been taken from her foal, betook
himself to flight.

This battle being thus over, seemed to put a period to the Persian
empire; and Alexander, who was now proclaimed king of Asia, returned
thanks to the gods in magnificent sacrifices, and rewarded his friends
and followers with great sums of money, and places, and governments of

From here he marched through the province of Babylon, which immediately
submitted to him, and was much surprised at the sight in one place where
fire issues in a continuous stream, like a spring of water, out of a
cleft in the earth, and the stream of naphtha, which, not far from this
spot, flows out so abundantly as to form a sort of lake. This naphtha,
in other respects resembling bitumen, is so subject to take fire, that
before it touches the flame, it will kindle at the very light that
surrounds it, and often inflame the intermediate air also. The
barbarians, to show the power and nature of it, sprinkled the street
that led to the king's lodgings with little drops of it, and when it was
almost night, stood at the further end with torches, which being applied
to the moistened places, the first at once taking fire, instantly, as
quick as a man could think of it, it caught from one end to another, in
such a manner that the whole street was one continuous flame.

Alexander, in his own letters, has given us an account of his war with
Porus. He says that two armies were separated by the river Hydaspes,
on whose opposite bank Porus continually kept his elephants in order of
battle, with their heads towards their enemies, to guard the passage;
that he, on the other hand, made every day a great noise and clamor in
his camp, to dissipate the apprehensions of the barbarians; that one
stormy, dark night he passed the river, at a distance from the place
where the enemy lay, into a little island, with part of his foot, and
the best of his horse. Here there fell a most violent storm of rain
accompanied with lightning and whirlwinds, and although he saw some of
his men burnt and dying with the lightning, he nevertheless quitted the
island and made over to the other side. Here, apprehending the multitude
of the enemy, and to avoid the shock of their elephants, he divided his
forces, and attacked their left wing himself, commanding Coenus to fall
upon the right, which was performed with good success. By this means
both wings being broken, the enemies fell back in their retreat upon the
centre, and crowded in upon their elephants. There rallying, they fought
a hand to hand battle, and it was the eighth hour of the day before they
were entirely defeated.

Almost all the historians agree in relating that Porus was four cubits
and a span high, and that when he was upon his elephant, which was
of the largest size, his stature and bulk were so answerable, that he
appeared to be proportionably mounted, as a horseman on his horse. This
elephant, during the whole battle, gave many singular proofs of sagacity
and of particular care of the king, whom as long as he was strong and in
a condition to fight, he defended with great courage, repelling those
who set upon him; and as soon as he perceived him overpowered with his
numerous wounds and the multitude of darts that were thrown at him, to
prevent his falling off, he softly knelt down and began to draw out the
darts with his proboscis. When Porus was taken prisoner, and Alexander
asked him how he expected to be used, he answered, "As a king." And
Alexander, accordingly, not only suffered him to govern his own kingdom
as satrap under himself, but gave him also the additional territory of
various independent tribes whom he subdued.

Some little time after the battle with Porus, Bucephalas died, as most
of the authorities state, under cure of his wounds, or as Onesicritus
says, of fatigue and age, being thirty years old. Alexander was no
less concerned at his death, than if he had lost an old companion or an
intimate friend, and built a city, which he named Bucephalia, in memory
of him, on the bank of the river Hydaspes.

Aristobulus tells us that Alexander died of a raging fever, having, in a
violent thirst, taken a copious draught of wine, upon which he fell into
delirium, and died on the thirtieth day of the month Daesius.

But the journals give the following record. On the eighteenth of the
month, he slept in the bathing-room on account of his fever. The next
day he bathed and removed into his chamber, and spent his time in
playing at dice with Medius. In the evening he bathed and sacrificed,
and ate freely, and had the fever on him through the night. On the
twenty-fourth he was much worse, and was carried out of his bed to
assist at the sacrifices, and gave order that the general officers
should wait within the court, whilst the inferior officers kept watch
without doors. On the twenty-fifth he was removed to his palace on the
other side the river, where he slept a little, but his fever did not
abate, and when the generals came into his chamber, he was speechless,
and continued so the following day. The Macedonians, therefore,
supposing he was dead, came with great clamors to the gates, and menaced
his friends so that they were forced to admit them, and let them all
pass through unarmed along by his bedside. The same day Python and
Seleucus were despatched to the temple of Serapis to inquire if they
should bring Alexander thither, and were answered by the god, that they
should not remove him. On the twenty-eighth, in the evening, he died.


The place destined for the scene of this murder, in which the senate met
that day, was the same in which Pompey's statue stood, and was one of
the edifices which Pompey had raised and dedicated with his theatre to
the use of the public, plainly showing that there was something of a
supernatural influence which guided the action, and ordered it to that
particular place. Cassius, just before the act, is said to have looked
towards Pompey's statue, and silently implored his assistance, though
he had been inclined to the doctrines of Epicurus. But this occasion
and the instant danger, carried him away out of all his reasonings, and
filled him for the time with a sort of inspiration. As for Antony, who
was firm to Caesar, and a strong man, Brutus Albinus kept him outside
the house, and delayed him with a long conversation contrived on
purpose. When Caesar entered, the senate stood up to show their respect
to him, and of Brutus's confederates, some came about his chair and
stood behind it, others met him, pretending to add their petitions to
those of Tillius Cimber, in behalf of his brother, who was in exile;
and they followed him with their joint supplications till he came to his
seat. When he had sat down, he refused to comply with their requests,
and upon their urging him further, began to reproach them severally for
their importunities, when Tillius, laying hold of his robe with both
his hands, pulled it down from his neck, which was the signal for the
assault. Casca gave him the first cut, in the neck, which was not mortal
nor dangerous, coming, as it did, from one who at the beginning of
such a bold action was probably very much disturbed. Caesar immediately
turned about, and laid his hand upon the dagger and kept hold of it. And
both of them at the same time cried out, he that received the blow, in
Latin, "Vile Casca, what does this mean?" and he that gave it, in Greek,
to his brother, "Brother, help!" Upon this first onset, those who were
not privy to the design were astounded, and their horror and amazement
at what they saw were so great, that they durst not fly nor assist
Caesar, nor so much as speak a word. But those who came prepared for the
business inclosed him on every side, with their naked daggers in their
hands. Which way soever he turned, he met with blows, and saw their
swords leveled at his face and eyes, and was encompassed, like a wild
beast in the toils, on every side. For it had been agreed that they
should each make a thrust at him, and flesh themselves with his blood;
for which reason Brutus also gave him one stab in the groin. Some say
that he fought and resisted all the rest, shifting his body to avoid
the blows, and calling out for help, but that when he saw Brutus's sword
drawn, he covered his face with his robe and submitted, letting himself
fall, whether it were by chance, or that he was pushed in that direction
by his murderers, at the foot of the pedestal on which Pompey's statue
stood, and which was thus wet with his blood. So that Pompey himself
seemed to have presided, as it were, over the revenge done upon his
adversary, who lay here at his feet, and breathed out his soul through
his multitude of wounds, for they say he received three and twenty. And
the conspirators themselves were many of them wounded by each other,
whilst they all leveled their blows at the same person.

When Caesar's will was opened, and it was found that he had left a
considerable legacy to each one of the Roman citizens, and when his body
was seen carried through the marketplace all mangled with wounds,
the multitude could no longer contain themselves within the bounds of
tranquility and order, but heaped together a pile of benches, bars, and
tables, upon which they placed the corpse, and setting fire to it, burnt
it on them. Then they took brands from the pile, and ran some to fire
the conspirators, others up and down the city, to find out the men and
tear them to pieces, but met, however, with none of them, they having
taken effectual care to secure themselves.

Caesar died in his fifty-sixth year, not having survived Pompey above
four years. That empire and power which he had pursued through the
whole course of his life with so much hazard, he did at last with much
difficulty compass, but reaped no other fruits from it than the empty
name and invidious glory. But the great genius which attended him
through his lifetime, even after his death remained as the avenger
of his murder, pursuing through every sea and land all those who were
concerned in it, and suffering none to escape, but reaching all who in
any sort or kind were either actually engaged in the fact, or by their
counsels any way promoted it.

The most remarkable of mere human coincidences was that which befell
Cassius, who, when he was defeated at Philippi, killed himself with the
same dagger which he had made use of against Caesar. The most signal
preternatural appearances were the great comet, which shone very bright
for seven nights after Caesar's death, and then disappeared, and the
dimness of the sun, whose orb continued pale and dull for the whole of
that year, never showing its ordinary radiance at its rising, and giving
but a feeble heat. The air consequently was damp and gross, for want of
stronger rays to open and rarefy it. The fruits, for that reason, never
properly ripened, and began to wither and fall off for want of heat,
before they were fully formed.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Boys' and Girls' Plutarch - Being Parts of the "Lives" of Plutarch, Edited for Boys and Girls" ***

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