The Project Gutenberg EBook of Plutarch's Lives, Volume IV, by 
Aubrey Stewart and George Long

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Title: Plutarch's Lives, Volume IV
       Translated from the Greek. With Notes and a Life of Plutarch

Author: Aubrey Stewart
        George Long

Release Date: November 30, 2013 [EBook #44315]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Turgut Dincer and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at

Transcriber’s note:

Chapter numbers in the Index with question marks do not exist in the previous volumes.

The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.


Translated from the Greek





Late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge,



Formerly Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge,










Life of Agis1
Life of Kleomenes19
Life of Tiberius Gracchus (by G. Long )53
Life of Caius Gracchus (by G. Long )90

Comparison of Tiberius and Caius Gracchus with Agis and Kleomenes

Life of Demosthenes119
Life of Cicero (by G. Long )146
Comparison of Demosthenes and Cicero211
Life of Demetrius215
Life of Antonius (by G. Long )263
Comparison of Demetrius and Antonius348
Life of Dion352
Life of Brutus (by G. Long )398
Comparison of Dion and Brutus454
Life of Artaxerxes458
Life of Aratus485
Life of Galba530
Life of Otho556




I. Many writers have very naturally conceived that the myth of Ixion, who is fabled to have embraced a cloud instead of Hera, and so to have begotten the centaurs, is really typical of ambitious men; for, although they aim at obtaining glory, and set before themselves a lofty ideal of virtue, yet they never succeed in producing any very distinct result, because all their actions are coloured by various human passions and prejudices, just as the herdsmen with their flocks say in Sophokles’s play:—

“We needs must serve them, though their lords we be,
And to their mute commands obedience pay.”

These verses really represent the state of those who, in order to obtain the empty title of statesmen and popular leaders, govern a country by following the caprices and impulses of the people. Just as the men stationed in the bows of a ship see what is coming before the steersmen, but yet look up to them as their chiefs and execute their orders; so they who govern with a view solely to their own popularity, although they may be called rulers, are, in truth, nothing more than slaves of the people.

II. An absolutely perfect man would not even wish for popularity, except so far as it enabled him to take part in politics, and caused him to be trusted by the people; yet a young and ambitious man must be excused if he feels pride in the glory and reputation which he gains by 2 brilliant exploits. For, as Theophrastus says, the virtue which buds and sprouts in youthful minds is confirmed by praise, and the high spirit thus formed leads it to attempt greater things. On the other hand, an excessive love of praise is dangerous in all cases, but, in statesmen, utterly ruinous; for when it takes hold of men in the possession of great power it drives them to commit acts of sheer madness, because they forget that honourable conduct must increase their popularity, and think that any measure that increases their popularity must necessarily be a good one. We ought to tell the people that they cannot have the same man to lead them and to follow them, just as Phokion is said to have replied to Antipater, when he demanded some disgraceful service from him, “I cannot be Antipater’s friend and his toady at the same time.” One might also quote the fable of the serpent’s tail which murmured against the head and desired sometimes to take the lead, and not always follow the head, but which when allowed to lead the way took the wrong path and caused the head to be miserably crushed, because it allowed itself to be guided by that which could neither see nor hear. This has been the fate of many of those politicians who court the favour of the people; for, after they have once shared their blind impulses, they lose the power of checking their folly, and of restoring good discipline and order. These reflections upon the favour of the people occurred to me when I thought of its power, as shown in the case of Tiberius and Caius Gracchus, men who were well born, well educated, and began their political career with great promise, and yet were ruined, not so much by an excessive craving for popular applause as by a very pardonable fear of disgrace. They both received at the outset great proofs of their countrymen’s goodwill, but felt ashamed to remain as it were in their debt, and they ever strove to wipe out their obligations to the people by legislation on their behalf, and by their beneficent measures continually increased their popularity, until, in the heat of the rivalry thus created, they found themselves pledged to a line of policy in which they could not even pause with honour, and which they could not desist from without disgrace. The reader, however, will be able to form his own opinion 3 about them from their history, and I shall now write, as a parallel to them, the lives of that pair of Laconian reformers, Agis and Kleomenes, kings of Sparta, who, like the Gracchi, increased the power of the people, and endeavoured to restore an admirable and just constitution which had fallen into desuetude; but who, like them, incurred the hatred of the governing class, who were unwilling to relinquish their encroachments and privileges. These Lacedæmonians were not indeed brothers, yet they pursued a kindred policy, with the same objects in view.

III. After the desire for silver and gold had penetrated into Sparta, the acquisition of wealth produced greed and meanness, while the use and enjoyment of riches was followed by luxury, effeminacy, and extravagance. Thus it fell out that Sparta lost her high and honoured position in Greece, and remained in obscurity and disgrace until the reign of Agis and Leonidas. Agis was of the Eurypontid line, the son of Eudamidas, and the sixth in descent from king Agesilaus, who invaded Asia, and became the most powerful man in Greece. This Agesilaus had a son named Archidamus, who fell in battle against the Messapians at the battle of Mandurium1 in Italy. He was succeeded by his eldest son Agis, who, being killed by Antipater near Megalopolis, and leaving no issue, was succeeded by his brother, Eudamidas; he, by a son named Archidamus; and Archidamus by another Eudamidas, the father of Agis, the subject of this memoir.

Leonidas, the son of Kleonymus, was of the other royal family, that of the Agiadæ, and was eighth in descent from Pausanias who conquered Mardonius at the battle of Plataea. Pausanias had a son named Pleistoanax, whose 4 son was again named Pausanias. This Pausanias2 fled for his life from Sparta to Tegea, and was succeeded by his eldest son Agesipolis; and he, dying childless, by his younger brother Kleombrotus. Kleombrotus left two sons, Agesipolis and Kleomenes, of whom Agesipolis reigned but a short time, and left no children. Kleomenes succeeded his brother Agesipolis on the throne. Of his two sons, the elder, Akrotatus, died during his father’s lifetime, and the younger, Kleonymus, never reigned, as the throne was occupied by Areus3 the grandson of Kleomenes, and the son of Akrotatus. Areus perished in battle before Corinth, and was succeeded by his son Akrotatus. This Akrotatus was defeated and slain near the city of Megalopolis by the despot Aristodemus, leaving his wife pregnant. When she bore a son, Leonidas the son of Kleonymus was appointed his guardian, and, as the child died before reaching manhood, he succeeded to the throne although he was far from being an acceptable personage to his countrymen; for, though the Spartans at this period had all abandoned their original severe simplicity of living, yet they found the manners of Leonidas in offensive contrast to their own. Indeed, Leonidas, who had spent much of his life at the courts of Asiatic potentates, and had been especially attached to that of Seleukus, seemed inclined to outrage the political feeling of the Greeks by introducing the arrogant tone of an Oriental despot into the constitutional monarchy of Sparta.

IV. On the other hand, the goodness of heart and intellectual power of Agis proved so greatly superior not only to that of Leonidas, but of every king since Agesilaus the Great, that before he arrived at his twentieth year, in spite of his having been brought up in the greatest luxury by his mother Agesistrata and his grandmother Archidamia, the two richest women in Sparta, he abjured all frivolous indulgence, laid aside all personal ornament, avoided extravagance of every kind, prided himself on practising the old Laconian habits of dress, food, and bathing, and was wont to say that he would not care to 5 be king unless he could use his position to restore the ancient customs and discipline of his country.

V. The corruption of the Lacedæmonians began at the time when, after having overthrown the Athenian empire, they were able to satiate themselves with the possession of gold and silver. Nevertheless, as the number of houses instituted by Lykurgus was still maintained, and each father still transmitted his estate to his son, the original equal division of property continued to exist and preserved the state from disorder. But a certain powerful and self-willed man, named Epitadeus, who was one of the Ephors, having quarrelled with his son, proposed a rhetra permitting a man to give his house and land to whomsoever he pleased, either during his life, or by his will after his death. This man proposed the law in order to gratify his own private grudge; but the other Spartans through covetousness eagerly confirmed it, and ruined the admirable constitution of Lykurgus. They now began to acquire land without limit, as the powerful men kept their relatives out of their rightful inheritance; and as the wealth of the country soon got into the hands of a few, the city became impoverished, and the rich began to be viewed with dislike and hatred. There were left at that time no more than seven hundred Spartans, and of these about one hundred possessed an inheritance in land, while the rest, without money, and excluded from all the privileges of citizenship, fought in a languid and spiritless fashion in the wars, and were ever on the watch for some opportunity to subvert the existing condition of affairs at home.

VI.. Agis, therefore, thinking that it would be an honourable enterprise, as indeed it was, to restore these citizens to the state and to re-establish equality for all, began to sound the people themselves as to their opinion about such a measure. The younger men quickly rallied round him, and, with an enthusiasm which he had hardly counted upon, began to make ready for the contest; but most of the elder men, who had become more thoroughly tainted by the prevailing corruption, feared to be brought back to the discipline of Lykurgus as much as a runaway slave fears to be brought back to his master, and they 6 bitterly reviled Agis when he lamented over the condition of affairs and sighed for the ancient glories of Sparta. His enthusiastic aspirations, however, were sympathised with by Lysander the son of Libys, Mandrokleidas the son of Ekphanes, and Agesilaus. Lysander was the most influential of all the Spartans, while Mandrokleidas was thought to be the ablest politician in Greece, as he could both plot with subtlety and execute with boldness. Agesilaus was the uncle of King Agis and a fluent speaker, but of a weak and covetous disposition. It was commonly supposed that he was stirred to action by the influence of his son Hippomedon, who had gained great glory in the wars and was exceedingly popular among the younger citizens; but what really determined him to join the reformers was the amount of his debts, which he hoped would be wiped out by a revolution. As soon as Agis had won over this important adherent, he began to try to bring over his mother to his views, who was Agesilaus’s sister, and who, from the number of her friends, debtors, and dependants, was very powerful in the state, and took a large share in the management of public affairs.

VII. When she first heard of Agis’s designs she was much startled, and dissuaded the youth from an enterprise which she thought neither practicable nor desirable. However, when Agesilaus pointed out to her what a notable design it was, and how greatly to the advantage of all, while the young king himself besought his mother to part with her wealth in order to gain him glory, arguing that he could not vie with other kings in riches, as the servants of Persian satraps, and the very slaves of the intendants of Ptolemy and Seleukus possessed more money than all the kings that ever reigned in Sparta; but that, if he could prove himself superior to those vanities by his temperance, simplicity of life, and true greatness of mind, and could succeed in restoring equality among his fellow-countrymen, he would be honoured and renowned as a truly great king. By this means the youth entirely changed his mother’s mind, and so fired her with his own ambition, as if by an inspiration from heaven, that she began to encourage Agis and urge him 7 on, and invited her friends to join them, while she also communicated their design to the other women, because she knew that the Lacedæmonians were in all things ruled by their women, and that they had more power in the state than the men possessed in their private households. Most of the wealth of Lacedæmon had fallen into female hands at this time, and this fact proved a great hindrance to the accomplishment of Agis’s schemes of reform; for the women offered a vehement opposition to him, not merely through a vulgar love for their idolised luxury, but also because they saw that they would lose all the influence and power which they derived from their wealth. They betook themselves to Leonidas, and besought him, as being the elder man, to restrain Agis, and check the development of his designs. Leonidas was willing enough to assist the richer class, but he feared the people, who were eager for reform, and would not openly oppose Agis, although he endeavoured secretly to ruin his scheme, and to prejudice the Ephors against him, by imputing to him the design of hiring the poor to make him despot with the plunder of the rich, and insinuating that by his redistribution of lands and remission of debts he meant to obtain more adherents for himself instead of more citizens for Sparta.

VIII. In spite of all this, Agis contrived to get Lysander appointed one of the Ephors, and immediately brought him to propose a rhetra before the Gerusia, or Senate, the main points of which were that all debts should be cancelled; that the land4 should be divided, that between the valley of Pellene and Mount Taygetus, Malea, and Sellasia into four thousand five hundred lots, and the outlying districts into fifteen thousand: that the latter district should be distributed among the Periœki of military age, and the former among the pure Spartans: that the number of these should be made up by an extension of the franchise to Periœki or even foreigners of free birth, liberal education, and fitting personal qualifications: and that these citizens should be divided into fifteen companies some of four hundred, and some of two hundred, for the public meals, and should conform in every respect to the discipline of their forefathers.


IX. When, this rhetra was proposed, as the Senate could not agree whether it should become law, Lysander convoked a popular assembly and himself addressed the people. Mandrokleidas and Agesilaus also besought them not to allow a few selfish voluptuaries to destroy the glorious name of Sparta, but to remember the ancient oracles, warning them against the sin of covetousness, which would prove the ruin of Sparta, and also of the responses which they had recently received from the oracle of Pasiphae. The temple and oracle of Pasiphae at Thalamae was of peculiar sanctity. Pasiphae is said by some writers to have been one of the daughters of Atlas, and to have become the mother of Ammon by Zeus, while others say that Kassandra the daughter of Priam died there, and was called Pasiphae because her prophecies were plain to all men. Phylarchus again tells us that Daphne the daughter of Amyklas, while endeavouring to escape from the violence of Apollo, was transformed into the laurel,5 which bears her name, and was honoured by the god and endowed by him with the gift of prophecy. Be this as it may, the oracular responses which were brought from this shrine bade the Spartans all become equal according as Lykurgus had originally ordained. After these speeches had been delivered, King Agis himself came forward, and, after a few introductory words, said that he was giving the strongest possible pledges of his loyalty to the new constitution; for he declared his intention of surrendering to the state, before any one else, his own property, consisting of a vast extent of land, both arable and pasture, besides six thousand talents of money; and he assured the people that his mother and her friends, the richest people in Sparta, would do the same.

X. The people were astounded at the magnanimity of the youth, and were filled with joy, thinking that at last, after an interval of three hundred years, there had appeared a king worthy of Sparta. Leonidas, on the other hand, opposed him as vigorously as he could, reflecting that he would be forced to follow his example, and divest himself of all his property, and that Agis, not he, would get the credit of the act. He therefore inquired of Agis whether 9 he thought Lykurgus to have been a just and well-meaning man. Receiving an affirmative reply, he again demanded, “Where, then, do we find that Lykurgus approved of the cancelling of debts, or of the admission of foreigners to the franchise, seeing that he did not think that the state could prosper without a periodical expulsion of foreigners?” To this Agis answered, that it was not to be wondered at if Leonidas, who had lived in a foreign country, and had a family by the daughter of a Persian satrap, should be ignorant that Lykurgus, together with coined money, had banished borrowing and lending from Sparta, and that he had no hatred for foreigners, but only for those whose profession and mode of life made them unfit to associate with his countrymen. These men Lykurgus expelled, not from any hatred of their persons, but because he feared that their manners and habits would infect the citizens with a love of luxury, effeminacy, and avarice. Terpander, Thales, and Pherekydes were all foreigners, but, since they sang and taught what Lykurgus approved, they lived in Sparta, and were treated with especial honour. “Do you,” asked he, “praise Ekprepus, who when Ephor cut off with a hatchet the two additional strings which Phrynis the musician had added to the original seven strings of the lyre, and those who cut the same strings off the harp of Timotheus, and yet do you blame us when we are endeavouring to get rid of luxury, extravagance, and frivolity, just as if those great men did not merely mean thereby to guard against vain refinements of music, which would lead to the introduction of extravagant and licentious manners, and cause the city to be at discord and variance with itself?”

XI. After this the people espoused the cause of Agis, while the rich begged Leonidas not to desert them, and by their entreaties prevailed upon the senators, who had the power of originating all laws, to throw out the rhetra by a majority of only one vote. Lysander, who was still one of the Ephors, now proceeded to attack Leonidas, by means of a certain ancient law, which forbade any descendant of Herakles to beget children by a foreign wife, and which bade the Spartans put to death any citizen who left his country to dwell in a foreign land. He 10 instructed his adherents to revive the memory of this law, and threaten Leonidas with its penalties, while he himself with the other Ephors watched for the sign from heaven. This ceremony is conducted as follows:—Every ninth year the Ephors choose a clear moonless night, and sit in silence watching the heavens. If a star shoots across the sky, they conclude that the kings must have committed some act of impiety, and they suspend them from their office, until they were absolved by a favourable oracle from Delphi or Olympia. Lysander now declared that he had beheld this sign, and impeached Leonidas, bringing forward witnesses to prove that he had two children born to him by an Asiatic wife, the daughter of one of the lieutenants of Seleukus, and that having quarrelled with his wife and become hated by her he had unexpectedly returned home, and in default of a direct heir, had succeeded to the throne. At the same time Lysander urged Kleombrotus, the son-in-law of Leonidas, who was also of the royal family, to claim the throne for himself. Leonidas, terrified at this, took sanctuary in the temple of Athena of the Brazen House, and was joined there by his daughter, who left her husband Kleombrotus. When the trial came on, Leonidas did not appear in court, he was removed from the throne, and Kleombrotus was appointed in his stead.

XII. At this crisis Lysander was forced to lay down his office, as the year for which he had been elected had expired. The Ephors at once took Leonidas under their protection, restored him to the throne, and impeached Lysander, and Mandrokleidas as the authors of illegal measures in the cancelling of debts and the redistribution of the land. As these men were now in danger of their lives, they prevailed upon the two kings to act together and overrule the decision of the Ephors; for this, they declared, was the ancient rule of the constitution, that if the kings were at variance, the Ephors were entitled to support the one whom they judged to be in the right against the other, but their function was merely to act as arbitrators and judges between the kings when they disagreed, and not to interfere with them when they were of one mind. Both the kings agreed to act upon this advice, 11 and came with their friends into the assembly, turned the Ephors out of their chairs of office, and elected others in their room, one of whom was Agesilaus. They now armed many of the younger citizens, released the prisoners, and terrified their opponents by threatening a general massacre. No one, however, was killed by them; for although Agesilaus desired to kill Leonidas, and when he withdrew from Sparta to Tegea, sent men to waylay and murder him on the road, Agis, hearing of his intention, sent others on whom he could rely, who escorted Leonidas safely as far as Tegea.

XIII. Thus far all had gone well, and no one remained to hinder the accomplishment of the reforms; but now Agesilaus alone upset and ruined the whole of this noble and truly Spartan scheme by his detestable vice of covetousness. He possessed a large quantity of the best land in the country, and also owed a great sum of money, and as he desired neither to pay his debts nor to part with his land, he persuaded Agis that it would be too revolutionary a proceeding to carry both measures at once, and that, if the moneyed class were first propitiated by the cancelling of debts, they would afterwards be inclined to submit quietly to the redistribution of lands. Lysander and the rest were deceived by Agesilaus into consenting to this, and they brought all the written securities for money which had been given by debtors, which are called by them klaria, into the market-place, collected them into one heap, and burned them. As the flames rose up, the rich and those who had lent money went away in great distress, but Agesilaus, as if exulting at their misfortune, declared that he had never seen a brighter blaze or a purer fire. As the people at once demanded the division of the land, and called upon the kings to distribute it among them, Agesilaus put them off with various excuses, and managed to spin out the time till Agis was sent out of the country on military service, as the Achæans, who were allies, had demanded a reinforcement from Sparta, because the Ætolians threatened to invade Peloponnesus through the territory of Megara, and Aratus, the general of the Achæans, who was collecting an army to resist them, sent to Sparta demanding assistance.


XIV. The Spartans at once despatched Agis at the head of an army, whose high spirits and devotion to his person filled him with delight. The men were nearly all young and poor; and as they were now relieved from the pressure of their debts, and expected that on their return the land would be distributed amongst them, they behaved with the most admirable discipline. They marched through Peloponnesus without doing the least damage, without offending any one, almost without noise; so that all the cities were astonished at the spectacle thus afforded them, and men began to wonder what a Lacedæmonian army must have been like when led by Agesilaus or Lysander the Great, or by the ancient hero Leonidas, if such awe and reverence was paid by the soldiers to one who was nearly the youngest of them all. Their youthful leader himself was worthy of admiration, and was looked up to by the men because of his simple hard-working habits, and the pride which he took in wearing the same dress and using the same arms as the common soldiers. The revolution which he had effected, however, was very distasteful to the rich, who feared lest it might be taken as an example by the people in other states and lead to further disturbances.

XV. Agis joined Aratus at Corinth, while the question of how to repel the invasion was still being debated. His advice was spirited, without being rash or foolhardy. He gave it as his opinion that it was their duty to fight, and not abandon the gate of Peloponnesus and let the enemy into the country, but that he would defer to the decision of Aratus, who was an older man than himself, and was the general of the Achæans, and that he had not come to give them advice or to take the command of them, but to reinforce them and serve as their ally. The historian Baton of Sinope declares that Agis declined to fight although Aratus wished him to do so; but he is mistaken, and clearly has not read the justification which Aratus has written of his conduct, namely, that as the farmers had nearly all finished gathering in their harvest, he thought it better to allow the enemy to enter the country than to hazard everything upon the issue of a single battle. As Aratus decided not to fight, and dismissed his allies with thanks, 13 Agis returned home, greatly honoured by those under his orders, and found the internal affairs of Sparta in great turmoil and confusion.

XVI. Agesilaus, who was now Ephor, and who was no longer restrained by the presence of those of whom he had formerly stood in awe, was using the most disgraceful expedients to extort money from the people, and had even intercalated a thirteenth month in the year, although the state of the calendar did not require it, and caused taxes to be paid for it. As he feared those whom he had wronged, and was an object of universal hatred, he had taken a body-guard of swordsmen into his pay, and walked through the city accompanied by them. As for the kings, he regarded Kleombrotus with contempt, and though he still paid some respect to Agis, he wished it to be thought that he did so because he was nearly related to himself, not because he was king. He also gave out that he intended to remain in office as Ephor for the next year as well. In consequence of this his enemies determined to bring matters to a crisis. They assembled in force, brought back Leonidas publicly from Tegea, and reinstated him as king, to the great joy of most of the citizens, who were angry with the other party because they had been deceived by them about the redistribution of the land. Agesilaus was able to leave the country in safety, owing to the intercession of his son Hippomedon, who was very popular with all classes on account of his bravery. Of the two kings, Agis fled to the temple of Athena of the Brazen House, while Kleombrotus took sanctuary in the temple of Poseidon.6 It appeared that Leonidas hated Kleombrotus most of the two; for he passed by Agis, but marched in pursuit of Kleombrotus with an armed force, and angrily reproached him that being his own son-in-law he had conspired against him, dethroned him, and driven him into exile.

XVII. Kleombrotus could find nothing to say in his defence, and sat silent and helpless; but Chilonis, the daughter of Leonidas, who formerly had taken offence at her father’s injurious treatment, and when Kleombrotus 14 usurped the throne had left him, and showed her sympathy with Leonidas in his misfortune by accompanying him in the temple where he took sanctuary, and after he left the country by mourning for him and remaining at variance with her husband Kleombrotus, now changed sides with his changing fortunes, and appeared sitting by her husband’s side as a suppliant to the god with him, with her arms cast round him, and her two children on each side of her. All stood amazed and were moved to tears by her noble and affectionate conduct, and she, pointing to her mean dress and dishevelled hair, said, “Father, I have not adopted this posture and this dress out of pity for Kleombrotus, but I have so long been in mourning for your misfortunes and your banishment that it has become customary with me. Am I now to remain in mourning while you are victorious and reign in Sparta, or am I to dress myself in fine clothes as becomes a princess, while I see my husband murdered by your hand? Unless he can move you to compassion, and obtain your pity by the tears of his wife and children, he will suffer a more terrible penalty for his misconduct than you wish to impose, by seeing me his dearest wife die before him; for how can I endure to live among other women, if I prove unable to move either my husband or my father to compassion? Both as a wife and as a daughter I have been fated to suffer with my own kin and to be despised with them. If there is anything which can be urged on behalf of my husband’s conduct, I have made it impossible to plead it for him by the part which I have taken in protesting against his conduct to you; but you yourself suggest a sufficient apology for his crime, by showing that you think royalty so great and precious a thing, that to obtain it you are willing to murder your son-in-law and neglect your own child.”

XVIII. Chilonis, after speaking thus, nestled her face against that of her husband, and glanced round at the spectators with red and tearful eyes. Leonidas, after a short consultation with his friends, bade Kleombrotus rise and leave the country, but besought his daughter to remain with him, and not to leave him who loved her so dearly, and had just spared her husband’s life in consequence of 15 her entreaties. He could not, however, prevail upon her to stay, but she rose up with her husband, took one child in her arms, and led the other, and so, after kneeling before the altar, followed her husband, who, if his mind was not entirely corrupted by vain ambition, must have thought exile with such a wife preferable to royalty. After driving Kleombrotus from the throne, ejecting the Ephors from office and substituting others chosen by himself, Leonidas addressed himself to Agis. At first he tried to persuade him to come out of sanctuary and reign as his colleague, saying that the citizens had forgiven him, because they knew that he was young and impetuous, and had been deceived by Agesilaus. However, as Agis saw through these devices and remained where he was, Leonidas left off making these hypocritical offers. Amphares, Damochares, and Arkesilaus were in the habit of going to the temple and conversing with him; and once he came out of the temple in their company to take a bath, and after bathing was conducted back again by them in safety. All three were on intimate terms with him, but Amphares, who had lately borrowed some rich clothing and valuable plate from Agesistrata, was inclined to plot against the king and the royal ladies, that he might not be obliged to restore them. He, therefore, we are told, lent a ready ear to Leonidas’s plans, and excited the zeal of the Ephors, one of whom he was.

XIX. Since Agis lived entirely in the temple, and only left it in order to bathe, they determined to seize him when he came out for this purpose. Having one day watched him bathing they came up and greeted him in a friendly way, and walked along with him talking and jesting as young men who are on intimate terms are wont to do. When they reached the place where a road branches off to the public prison, Amphares, in virtue of his Ephorship, laid hold of Agis and said: “Agis, I must lead you before the Ephors to give an account of your conduct.” At the same time Damochares, a tall and strong man, threw his cloak round Agis’s neck and dragged him along by it. Others now appeared by previous arrangement, and pushed him from behind, and as no one came to 16 help him, he was forced into the prison. Hereupon, Leonidas appeared with a band of mercenaries, and surrounded the prison. The Ephors now went in to Agis, and sent for all the senators of their way of thinking to come to the prison in order to go through the form of a trial. Agis laughed at their hypocrisy, but Amphares told him that it was no laughing matter, and that he would soon pay a bitter penalty for his rashness. Another of the Ephors, wishing to offer a means of escape to Agis, inquired of him whether he had acted on his own responsibility, or had been compelled to do so by Agesilaus and Lysander. Agis answered that no man had compelled him, but that he admired and imitated Lykurgus, and had aimed at reviving his institutions. Upon this the same Ephor asked him whether he repented of what he had done. When the brave youth answered that he never would repent of his glorious designs, whatever tortures he might have to suffer for them, the assembly at once condemned him to death, and bade the prison officials at once remove him to the place called Dechas, which is a part of the prison in which criminals are strangled. Seeing that the servants would not lay hands upon Agis, and that even those mercenaries who were present shrunk from such work, because it was held to be unlawful and impious to lay hands upon the person of the king, Damochares, after threatening and abusing them, dragged Agis with his own hands to the place of execution. Many of the citizens had by this time heard of his arrest, and many men had assembled with torches in their hands and were clamouring at the gate of the prison. The mother and grandmother of Agis were also present, and loudly demanded that the king of Sparta should have a fair trial in the presence of his countrymen. For this reason they within hurried on the execution, as they feared that if a larger crowd collected Agis would be rescued during the night.

XX. While Agis was being led to execution, he saw one of the servants of the prison weeping and in great distress. “My man,” said he, “do not weep for me, for I am a better man than those who are murdering me in this cruel and illegal fashion.” With these words he, of 17 his own accord, put the noose round his neck. Meanwhile Amphares proceeded to the prison gate. Here Agesistrata fell at his feet, believing him still to be her friend. Amphares raised her, saying that Agis would suffer no violent treatment, and bade her, if she wished, go in and see her son. As she asked to be accompanied by her mother, Amphares said that there was no objection to that, and after receiving them both within the walls, ordered the prison gates to be closed. He first sent Archidamia, who was now very old, and greatly respected by her countrywomen, to the place of execution, and when she was dead, bade Agesistrata enter. When she saw the corpse of her son lying on the ground, and her mother hanging by a halter, she herself assisted the servants to take her down, laid her body beside that of Agis, and arranged and covered up the two corpses. She then knelt and kissed the face of her son, saying, “My child, thy great piety, goodness, and clemency has brought thee and us to this death.” Upon this Amphares, who was watching and listening at the door, came into the room, and said angrily to Agesistrata, “If you approve of your son’s deeds, you shall suffer with him.” At these words Agesistrata rose and offered her neck to the halter, saying, “I only pray that this may be for the good of Sparta.”

XXI. When the sad news was known throughout the city, and the three corpses brought out of the prison, the terror which was inspired did not prevent the citizens from manifesting their sorrow at the deed, and their hatred of Leonidas and Amphares. No such wicked or cruel deed, they declared, had been committed in Sparta since the Dorians settled in Peloponnesus. The very enemies of the Lacedæmonians generally seemed unwilling to lay violent hands on their kings when they met them in battle, and turned aside through reverence of their exalted position. For this reason, in all the battles which the Lacedæmonians had fought against the Greeks before the era of Philip of Macedon, only one king, Kleombrotus, had fallen on the field of Leuktra; for though the Messenians aver that Theopompus, a king of Lacedæmon, was slain by Aristomenes, the Lacedæmonians deny it, 18 and say that he was only wounded. This matter is doubtful, but Agis was the first king who was put to death by the Ephors in Lacedæmon, because he had conceived a noble design and one which was worthy of Sparta. He was of an age when men’s shortcomings deserve to be pardoned; and deserves to be blamed by his friends more than by his enemies, because with an ill-judged clemency he spared the life of Leonidas, and trusted in the professions of the rest of his political enemies.



I. After the death of Agis, as has been related, Leonidas was not able to seize the person of his brother Archidamus, who at once fled out of the country, but he brought the wife of Agis with her newly-born child out of her house, and forcibly married her to his own son Kleomenes, who was scarcely come to an age for marriage, because he was unwilling for her to marry any one else. Indeed Agiatis was the daughter of Gylippus, and heiress to a great estate. She was thought to be the most beautiful woman of her time in all Greece, and was of a noble disposition. It is said that she made many entreaties not to be forced into a second marriage, but that after her union with Kleomenes, although she continued to hate his father Leonidas, she made a good and affectionate wife to the young man, who became passionately fond of her, and sympathised with her loving remembrance of Agis, so that he would often ask her to tell him about her late husband, and used to listen with rapt attention while she explained the designs and projects of Agis. For Kleomenes was as eager for honour, and had as noble a mind as Agis himself, and was equally moderate and simple in his way of life; but he lacked the other’s discreet and gentle temper, and was of a stirring and vehement nature, eager to embark on any honourable enterprise. He thought it the most glorious position of all to rule over an obedient people; but he took pride also in bending disobedient subjects to his will, and forcibly compelling them to move in the path of honour.

II. He was far from satisfied with the state of things at Sparta, where the citizens had given themselves up to luxurious repose, while the king Leonidas cared nothing 20 for public affairs, so long as he was able to gratify his own love of extravagance and self-indulgence. Public virtue was entirely gone, and no man cared to profit his country, but only himself. As for discipline, orderly training of the young, hardiness of body, and equality, all these things had perished with Agis, and it was not safe even to speak of them. We are told that while yet a lad Kleomenes was instructed in the principles of the Stoic philosophy by Sphærus of Borysthenes,7 who visited Lacedæmon and gave excellent instruction there to the young. This Sphærus was one of the aptest pupils of Zeno of Kitium,8 and he seems to have admired the manly spirit of Kleomenes and to have encouraged him in the pursuit of honour. The ancient hero Leonidas, when asked what he thought of Tyrtæus, is said to have answered, “He is good at exciting the minds of the youth.” Indeed they became filled with enthusiasm by the poems of Tyrtæus, and fought with reckless daring in battle: and so also the Stoic philosophy often renders brave and fiery natures over-daring and venturesome, and yields the best fruit when applied to a grave and gentle nature.

III. When after the death of Leonidas, Kleomenes succeeded to the throne, he found the state utterly disorganised, for the rich took no part in politics, and cared for nothing but their own pleasure and profit, while the miserable condition of the poor caused them to fight without spirit in the wars, and to neglect the proper training of their children. He himself was a king only in name, as the Ephors had engrossed all real power. Under these circumstances he at once began to revolve schemes of reform in his mind, and began to sound the opinion of his intimate friend Xenares, by enquiring of him what sort of a king Agis had been, and in what manner, and with what associates he had made his attempts at reform. Xenares at first very willingly gave 21 him a complete narrative of the whole transaction; but as he saw that Kleomenes listened with intense interest, and was deeply excited by the recital of Agis’s designs, to which he was never weary of listening, Xenares at last angrily reproached him with not being in his right mind, and at last broke off all intercourse with him. He did not, however, tell any one the reason of their being at variance, but declared that Kleomenes knew well what it was. Kleomenes, after meeting with this rebuff from Xenares, imagining that every one else would be of the same mind, determined to concert his own measures alone. As he thought that there was more chance of effecting reforms during war than in time of peace, he involved Sparta in a war with the Achæans, for which they themselves furnished the pretext. Aratus, the chief of the Achæans, had always desired to unite the whole of the Peloponnesus in one confederacy, and in all his long political career had steadily kept this object in view, as he thought that thus, and thus alone, the people of Peloponnesus would be able to defend themselves against external foes. Nearly all the tribes of Peloponnesus joined his confederacy except the Lacedæmonians, the people of Elis, and such of the Arcadians as were under Lacedæmonian influence. On the death of Leonidas, Aratus began to make plundering expeditions into the territory of the Arcadians, especially those near the Achæan frontier, in order to see what steps the Lacedæmonians would take; for he despised Kleomenes as a young and inexperienced man.

IV. Upon this the Ephors first sent Kleomenes to occupy the temple of Athena, near Belbina. This place was situated in a mountain pass leading into Laconia, and it was claimed by the citizens of Megalopolis as belonging to their territory. Kleomenes seized the pass and fortified it, to which Aratus offered no objection, but endeavoured by a night march to surprise the cities of Tegea and Orchomenes. However, the hearts of the traitors within the walls failed them, and so Aratus led his army back, hoping that his object had not been discovered. Kleomenes, by way of jest, now wrote him a letter affecting to enquire of him in the most friendly 22 terms where he had been to in the night. He answered that he had heard that Kleomenes was about to erect fortifications at Belbina, and had marched to prevent his doing so. To this Kleomenes answered that he was satisfied that this had been Aratus’s intention. “But,” he continued, “if you do not mind, please tell me why you brought scaling ladders and torches with you.” Aratus laughed at this home-thrust, and enquired what sort of a youth Kleomenes might be. Damochares, the Lacedæmonian exile, answered, “If you mean to do anything against the Lacedæmonians, you must make haste and do it before this young gamecock’s spurs are grown.” After this the Ephors ordered Kleomenes, who was encamped in Arcadia with a few horsemen and three hundred foot, to retire, as they feared to go to war. But since, as soon as he had withdrawn, Aratus captured the city of Kaphyæ, they sent him back again. He captured Methydrium, and overran Argolis, upon which the Achæans sent an army of twenty thousand foot and a thousand horse, under the command of Aristomachus, to attack him. Kleomenes met them near Pallantium, and was eager to fight, but Aratus, alarmed at his daring, would not permit the Achæan general to fight, and drew off his forces, incurring thereby the anger of the Achæans, and the ridicule and contempt of the Lacedæmonians, who only amounted to one-fifth of the enemy’s numbers. This affair gave Kleomenes great self-confidence, and parodying a saying of one of the ancient kings, he said to his countrymen that it was useless nowadays for the Lacedæmonians to ask either how many their enemies were, or where they were.9

V. Shortly after, as the Achæans were making war against the Eleans, Kleomenes was sent to aid the latter, and met with the army of the Achæans returning home, near the mountain called Lykæum. He attacked their forces, and utterly routed them, killing many and capturing numbers of prisoners, so that a report spread throughout Greece that Aratus himself had perished. But Aratus, turning the disaster to good account, immediately after 23 the defeat marched to Mantinea, and as no one expected him, captured the city and placed a strong garrison in it. This completely disheartened the Lacedæmonians, who desired to recall Kleomenes and put an end to the war. Kleomenes now sent to Messene and invited back Archidamus, the brother of Agis, who ought to have been on the throne as the representative of the other royal family, imagining that if there were two kings reigning at Sparta at the same time, the power of the Ephors would be weakened. However, the party who had previously murdered Agis perceived this, and as they feared that if Archidamus returned to Sparta he would make them pay the penalty of their crimes, they welcomed him back and assisted him to make a secret entry into the city, but immediately afterwards assassinated him, either against the will of Kleomenes, as we are told by Phylarchus, or else with his connivance, in consequence of the representations of his friends. They indeed bore the chief blame in the matter, as they were thought to have forced Kleomenes into consenting to the murder.

VI.. Kleomenes, determined to carry out his designs of reform, now proceeded to bribe the Ephors into sending him out on a new military expedition. He also won over a considerable number of supporters among the citizens by means of the lavish expenditure and influence of his mother Kratesiklea, who, though averse to a second marriage, is said to have married one of the leading men in Sparta in order to further her son’s interests.

Kleomenes now took the field at the head of his army, and captured a small town within the territory of Megalopolis, named Leuktra.10 The Achæans under Aratus promptly came up, and a battle was fought under the walls of the town, in which part of the army of Kleomenes was defeated. Aratus however refused to follow up his advantage, and kept the main body of the Achæans motionless behind the bed of a torrent. Enraged at his inaction, Lydiades of Megalopolis charged at the head of the cavalry under his own command, but got entangled in the pursuit of the enemy in ground which was cut up by walls and watercourses. Seeing him thrown into disorder, 24 Kleomenes sent his Tarentine and Cretan troops to attack him, by whom Lydiades, fighting bravely, was overpowered and slain. The Lacedæmonians now recovered their spirits, and with loud shouts attacked the Achæans and completely defeated them. Many were slain, and their corpses were given up to the enemy for burial, with the exception of that of Lydiades, which Kleomenes ordered to be brought to himself. He then attired it in a purple robe, placed a garland upon its head, and sent it to the city of Megalopolis. This was that Lydiades who had been despot of Megalopolis, but who abdicated his throne, restored liberty to his countrymen, and brought the city to join the Achæan league.

VII. After this victory Kleomenes became inspired with fresh confidence, and was convinced that if he only were allowed undisputed management he would easily conquer the Achæans. He explained to his step-father Megistonous that the time had at length come for the abolition of the Ephors, the redistribution of property, and the establishment of equality among the citizens, after which Sparta might again aspire to recover her ancient ascendancy in Greece. Megistonous agreed, and communicated his intentions to two or three of his friends. It chanced that at this time one of the Ephors who was sleeping in the temple of Pasiphæ dreamed an extraordinary dream, that in the place where the Ephors sat for the dispatch of business he saw four chairs removed, and one alone remaining, while as he wondered he heard a voice from the shrine say “This is best for Sparta.” When the Ephor related this dream to Kleomenes, he was at first much alarmed, and feared that the man had conceived some suspicion of his designs, but finding that he was really in earnest recovered his confidence. Taking with him all those citizens whom he suspected to be opposed to his enterprise, he captured Heræa and Alsæa, cities belonging to the Achæan league, revictualled Orchomenus, and threatened Mantinea. By long marches and counter-marches he so wearied the Lacedæmonians that at last at their own request he left the greater part of them in Arcadia, while he with the mercenaries returned to Sparta. During his homeward march he revealed his intentions to25 those whom he considered to be most devoted to his person, and regulated his march so as to be able to fall upon the Ephors while they were at their evening meal.

VIII. When he drew near to the city, he sent Eurykleidas into the dining-room of the Ephors, on the pretence of bringing a message from the army. After Eurykleidas followed Phoebis and Therukion, two of the foster-brothers of Kleomenes, called mothakes11 by the Lacedæmonians, with a few soldiers. While Eurykleidas was parleying with the Ephors, these men rushed in with drawn swords and cut them down. The president, Agylæus, fell at the first blow and appeared to be dead, but contrived to crawl out of the building unobserved into a small temple, sacred to Fear, the door of which was usually closed, but which then chanced to be open. In this he took refuge and shut the door. The other four were slain, and some few persons, not more than ten, who came to assist them. No one who remained quiet was put to death, nor was any one prevented from leaving the city. Even Agylæus, when he came out of his sanctuary on the following day, was not molested.

IX. The Lacedæmonians have temples dedicated not only to Fear, but to Death, and Laughter, and the like. They honour Fear, not as a malevolent divinity to be shunned, but because they think that the constitutions of states are mainly upheld by Fear. For this reason, Aristotle tells us that the Ephors, when they enter upon their office, issue a proclamation ordering the citizens to shave the moustache and obey the laws, that the laws might not be hard upon them. The injunction about shaving the moustache is inserted, I imagine, in order to accustom the young to obedience even in the most trivial matters. It seems to me that the ancient Spartans did not regard bravery as consisting in the absence of fear, but in the fear of shame and dread of dishonour; for those who fear the laws most are the bravest in battle; and 26those who most fear disgrace care least for their own personal safety. The poet was right who said

“Where there is fear, is reverence too;”

and Homer makes Helen call Priam

“My father-in-law dear,
Whom most of all I reverence and fear;”

while he speaks of the Greek army as obeying

“Its chiefs commands in silence and with fear.”

Human nature, indeed, leads most men to reverence those whom they fear; and this is why the Lacedæmonians placed the temple of Fear close to the dining-hall of the Ephors, because they invested that office with almost royal authority.

X. On the following morning Kleomenes published a list containing the names of eighty citizens, whom he required to leave the country, and removed the chairs of the Ephors, except one, which he intended to occupy himself. He now convoked an assembly, and made a speech justifying his recent acts. In the time of Lykurgus, he said, the kings and the senate shared between them the supreme authority in the State; and for a long time the government was carried on in this manner without any alteration being required, until, during the long wars with Messene, as the kings had no leisure to attend to public affairs, they chose some of their friends to sit as judges in their stead, and these persons acted at first merely as the servants of the kings, but gradually got all power into their own hands, and thus insensibly established a new power in the State. A proof of the truth of this is to be found in the custom which still prevails, that when the Ephors send for the king, he refuses to attend at the first and second summons, but rises and goes to them at the third. Asteropus, who first consolidated the power of the Ephors, and raised it to the highest point, flourished in comparatively recent times, many generations after the original establishment of the office. If, he went on to say, the Ephors would have behaved with moderation, it would have been better to allow them to remain in existence;27 but when they began to use their ill-gotten power to destroy the constitution of Sparta, when they banished one king, put another to death without trial, and kept down by terror all those who wished for the introduction of the noblest and most admirable reforms, they could no longer be borne. Had he been able without shedding a drop of blood to drive out of Lacedæmon all those foreign pests of luxury, extravagance, debt, money-lending, and those two more ancient evils, poverty and riches, he should have accounted himself the most fortunate of kings, because, like a skilful physician, he had painlessly performed so important an operation upon his country: as it was, the use of force was sanctioned by the example of Lykurgus, who, though only a private man, appeared in arms in the market-place, and so terrified King Charilaus, that he fled for refuge to the altar of Athena. He, however, being an honest and patriotic man, soon joined Lykurgus, and acquiesced in the reforms which he introduced, while the acts of Lykurgus prove that it is hard to effect a revolution without armed force, of which he declared that he had made a most sparing use, and had only put out of the way those who were opposed to the best interests of Lacedæmon. He announced to the rest of the citizens that the land should be divided among them, that they should be relieved from all their debts, and that all resident aliens should be submitted to an examination, in order that the best of them might be selected to become full citizens of Sparta, and help to defend the city from falling a prey to Ætolians and Illyrians for want of men to defend her.

XI. After this he himself first threw his inheritance into the common stock, and his example was followed by his father-in-law Megistonous, his friends, and the rest of the citizens. The land was now divided, and one lot was assigned to each of those whom he had banished, all of whom he said it was his intention to bring back as soon as order was restored. He recruited the numbers of the citizens by the admission of the most eligible of the Periœki to the franchise, and organised them into a body of four thousand heavy armed infantry, whom he taught to use the sarissa, or Macedonian pike which was grasped28 with both hands, instead of the spear, and to sling their shields by a strap instead of using a handle. He next turned his attention to the education and discipline of the youth, in which task he was assisted by Sphærus. The gymnasia and the common meals were soon re-established, and the citizens, for the most part willingly, resumed their simple Laconian habits of living. Kleomenes, fearing to be called a despot, appointed his own brother, Eukleidas, as his colleague. Then for the first time were two kings of the same family seen at once in Sparta.

XII. As Kleomenes perceived that Aratus and the Achæans thought that while Sparta was passing through so perilous a crisis her troops were not likely to leave the country, he thought that it would be both a spirited and a useful act to display the enthusiasm of his army to the enemy. He invaded the territory of Megalopolis, carried off a large booty, and laid waste a large extent of country. Finding a company of players on their road from Messene, he took them prisoners, caused a theatre to be erected in the enemy’s country, and offered them forty minæ for a performance for one day, at which he himself attended as a spectator, not that he cared for the performance, but because he wished to mock at his enemies, and to show by this studied insult the enormous superiority of which he was conscious. At this period his was the only army, Greek or foreign, which was not attended by actors, jugglers, dancing-girls, and singers; but he kept it free from all licentiousness and buffoonery, as the younger men were nearly always being practised in martial exercises, while the elders acted as their instructors; and when they were at leisure they amused themselves with witty retorts and sententious Laconian pleasantries. The great value of this kind of discipline is described at greater length in the life of Lykurgus.

XIII. In everything Kleomenes himself acted as their teacher, and example, offering his own simple, frugal life, so entirely free from vulgar superfluities, as a model of sobriety for them all to copy; and this added greatly to his influence in Greece. For when men attended the29 courts of the other kings of that period they were not so much impressed by their wealth and lavish expenditure as they were disgusted by their arrogant, overbearing manners; but when they met Kleomenes, who was every inch a king, and saw that he wore no purple robes, did not lounge on couches and litters, and was not surrounded by a crowd of messengers, doorkeepers, and secretaries, so as to be difficult of access, but that he himself, dressed in plain clothes, came and shook them by the hand, and conversed with them in a kindly and encouraging tone, they were completely fascinated and charmed by him, and declared that he alone was a true descendant of Herakles. His dinner was usually served upon a very small Laconian table with three couches,12 but if he were entertaining ambassadors or foreigners two additional couches were added, and his servants somewhat improved his dinner, not by adding to it made-dishes and pastry, but by serving a greater abundance of food and a more liberal allowance of wine. Indeed he blamed one of his friends, when he heard that when entertaining foreigners at dinner he had placed before them black broth and barley cakes: for he said that in such matters, and when entertaining strangers, it was not well to be too rigidly Spartan. After the table was removed a tripod was brought in which supported a bronze bowl full of wine, two silver pateræ, that held each about a pint, and a number of very small silver cups, from which any one drank who wished, for Kleomenes never forced men to drink against their will. No recitations were performed for the amusement of the guests; for he himself would lead the conversation and entertain them over their wine, partly by asking questions of them and partly by relating anecdotes to them: for he well knew both how to make serious subjects interesting, and to be pleasant and witty without giving offence. He was of opinion that the habit of other princes, of tempting men into their service by presents and bribes, was both clumsy and wicked; but he thought it peculiarly befitting a king to influence and captivate men’s minds by the charm of his conversation, 30 and was wont to say that a friend differed only from a mercenary soldier in that a man wins the one by the influence of his character and his conversation, and the other by his money.

XIV. First of all the people of Mantinea made overtures to him. They admitted him to their city by night, aided him to drive out the Achæan garrison, and placed themselves unreservedly in his hands. He, however, restored them to the enjoyment of their own laws and original constitution, and marched away the same day to Tegea. Shortly afterwards by a circuitous march through Arcadia he arrived before the Achæan city of Pheræ, desiring either to fight a battle with the Achæans, or to make Aratus incur the disgrace of retreating and leaving him in possession of the country: for although Hyperbates was nominally in command, all real power over the Achæans was in the hands of Aratus. The Achæans took the field with their entire force, and encamped at Dymæ, near the temple called Hekatombæon. When Kleomenes arrived here he was unwilling to establish himself between the hostile city of Dymæ and the army of the Achæans, and challenged them, forced them to fight, and completely routed their phalanx. He killed many, took a large number of prisoners, and then, marching to Langon, drove out the Achæan garrison, and restored the city to the Eleans.

XV. As the Achæan power was now quite broken, Aratus, who was usually elected general every other year, refused to take office, and excused himself when they besought him to do so: a dishonourable act, when the times became more stormy, to desert the helm, and give up his power to another. Kleomenes at first used very moderate language to the Achæan ambassadors, but sent others ordering them to acknowledge him for their sovereign, and promising that if they did so he would do them no further hurt, and would at once restore the prisoners and fortresses which he had taken. As the Achæans were willing to accept these terms they invited Kleomenes to a conference at Lerna. It happened, however, that Kleomenes, after a long march, drank a quantity of cold water, which caused him to bring up much blood,31 and to lose his voice. In consequence of this, although he sent back the most distinguished of his prisoners, he was obliged to postpone the conference, and went home to Lacedæmon.

XVI. This mischance ruined Greece, which even now might have recovered herself, and avoided falling into the hands of the insolent and rapacious Macedonians. For Aratus, either because he distrusted and feared Kleomenes, or else because he grudged him his success, and thought that after he had for thirty-three years been chief of the Achæans, it was not to be endured that a young man should overthrow him, and enter into the fruit of his labours, at first tried to oppose the Achæans when they offered to come to terms with the Lacedæmonians; but as they would not listen to him, because they were cowed by the boldness of Kleomenes, and also admitted the justice of the Lacedæmonian claim to be the leading state in Peloponnesus, as their ancestral right, he adopted a course which was a disgraceful one for any Greek, but especially so for him, and one which was most unworthy of his former political life. He determined to invite Antigonus into Greece, and to fill the Pelopennesus with those very Macedonians whom he himself when a lad had chased out of the country by his capture of the Acro-Corinthus, although he was regarded with suspicion by all the kings, and was at variance with them all, and though he had already accused this very Antigonus himself of every conceivable crime in his “Memoirs,” which are still extant. Yet he himself has stated that he suffered much, and risked much to free Athens from a Macedonian garrison; though now he led these very men with arms in their hands into his own native country, and up to his own paternal hearth. He thought that Kleomenes, a descendant of Herakles, a king of Sparta, who had restored the simple ancient Dorian constitution of Lykurgus, as one tightens the relaxed strings of a lyre, to bring it into tune, was unworthy to be accounted the ruler of Sikyon and Tritæa; and in his eagerness to avoid the rough Spartan cloak, and the Spartan barley bread, and that with which he especially charged Kleomenes, the destruction of wealth and the encouragement of poverty, threw himself and32 all Achæa with him, into the arms of the Macedonians, with all their diadems and their purple robes and their habits of oriental despotism. That he might avoid acting under the orders of Kleomenes, he was content to offer sacrifice at festivals in honour of Antigonus, and himself to place a garland upon his head, and to lead the pæan in praise of a man wasted and emaciated by consumption. And this I write, not from any desire to depreciate Aratus, for in many respects he proved himself a truly great and patriotic man, but rather out of pity for the weakness of human nature, which will not allow even the most eminent persons to present us with the spectacle of an entirely unblemished virtue.

XVII. When the Achæans again assembled at Argos to hold a conference there, and Kleomenes started to go thither from Tegea, men’s minds were full of hope that peace would be finally established. But Aratus, who had already settled the main points of his treaty with Antigonus, and feared that Kleomenes would either by persuasion or force bring the assembly over to his views, sent to him demanding either that he should take three hundred hostages for his safety and come to the conference alone, or else meet them with his army outside the walls at the gymnasium called the Kyllarabium. Kleomenes on hearing this said that he had not been properly treated; for Aratus ought to have warned him of this at once, not have waited till he was almost at the gates of Argos and then expressed suspicions of his honesty of purpose and driven him away. He sent a letter to the assembled Achæans, containing bitter invectives against Aratus, and as Aratus replied by maligning him in a public oration, he broke up his camp and sent a herald with a declaration of war, not to Argos, according to Aratus, but to Ægium, in order to take the Achæans by surprise. The Achæan cities were all ripe for revolt, as the populace hoped for a redistribution of the land and cancelling of debts if they joined the Spartans, while the leading men were all jealous of the power and influence of Aratus, and some of them hated him as the traitor who was bringing the Macedonians into Peloponnesus. Relying upon the prevalence of this feeling Kleomenes invaded33 Achaia, took Pellene by surprise, and drove out the garrison and the Achæan inhabitants. Soon afterwards he captured the cities of Pheneus and Penteleum.

The Achæans of Corinth and Sikyon now began to fear that his partisans were plotting to deliver up those cities to him, and in consequence sent their cavalry and foreign mercenaries away from Argos to guard those towns, while they themselves proceeded to Argos to hold the Nemean festival there. Kleomenes, rightly judging that his appearance at a time when the city was full of a disorderly crowd of people who were come to attend the feasts and games would produce great confusion, marched up to the walls by night, seized the place called the ‘Shield,’ which is just above the theatre, and is very difficult of access, and so terrified the citizens that no one attempted to offer any resistance. They willingly agreed to admit a Spartan garrison, to give twenty of their chief men as hostages for their loyalty, and to become the allies of the Lacedæmonians, acknowledging their supremacy.

XVIII. This exploit added not a little to the reputation and power of Kleomenes. None of the ancient kings of Sparta could ever make themselves masters of Argos, although they often attempted to do so; and even that most brilliant general King Pyrrhus, though he forced his way into the city, could not take it, but perished, and with him a great part of his army. For these reasons, the skill and audacity of Kleomenes were the more admired: and those who had before ridiculed his attempts to bring back the days of Solon and Lykurgus by the cancelling of debts and redistribution of land, now became entirely convinced that these measures had been the cause of the revival of Sparta. The Spartans before this had been so feeble and helpless, that the Aetolians invaded Laconia and carried off a booty of fifty thousand slaves, on which occasion it is said that an old Spartan observed that the enemy had greatly benefited Laconia by relieving it from its burdens. Yet a short time after this, by the restoration of their former constitution, and by re-establishing the ancient system of training, they made as magnificent a display of discipline and valour as if Lykurgus himself were alive and at the head of affairs,34 for they gained for Sparta the first place in Greece, and won the whole of Peloponnesus by the sword.

XIX. The submission of Argos to Kleomenes was soon followed by that of Phlius and Kleonæ. During these events Aratus was at Corinth, busily engaged in searching for the partisans of the Lacedæmonians. When the news of the fall of these cities reached Corinth, as he observed that the city of Corinth was eager to join Kleomenes and leave the Achæan league, he summoned the citizens to meet in the public assembly, and himself made his way unperceived to the gate. He had already sent his horse thither, and mounting, fled to Sikyon. The Corinthians now hurried to Argos to surrender their city to Kleomenes; in such haste, writes Aratus in his ‘Memoirs,’ that they foundered all their horses. Kleomenes reproached them for allowing Aratus to escape, but shortly afterwards sent Megistonous to him, asking him to hand over the citadel of Corinth, which was in possession of an Achæan garrison, and offering him a large sum of money. He answered that the course of affairs was not in his power, but that he was rather in theirs. These particulars we have extracted from Aratus’s own writings. Kleomenes now marched from Argos to Corinth, receiving on the way the submission of Trœzene, Epidaurus, and Hermione. As the garrison refused to surrender the citadel, he built a rampart round it, and sending for the friends and representatives of Aratus, bade them take charge of his house and property during his absence. He now sent the Messenian Tritymallus to Aratus, with instructions to propose to him that the garrison of Acro-Corinthus should be composed partly of Spartan and partly of Achæan troops, while he himself privately offered him double the amount of the pension which he received from King Ptolemy of Egypt. However, as Aratus refused to listen to his overtures, but sent his own son with the other hostages to Antigonus, and persuaded the Achæans to pass a decree to hand over the Acro-Corinthus to Antigonus, Kleomenes invaded the territory of Sikyon and laid it waste, and also took the property of Aratus when it was publicly presented to him by the people of Corinth.


XX. When Antigonus crossed the Geranean mountains with a large force, Kleomenes did not think it necessary to guard the isthmus, but determined to fortify the mountains called Onea, and by holding that strong position, to protract the war and wear out the Macedonian force, rather than fight a pitched battle with their phalanx. By this line of policy he reduced Antigonus to great straits; for he had made no preparations for feeding his troops for more than a short time, and yet to force his way in over the isthmus was a difficult operation while Kleomenes barred the way. An attempt which he made to steal through by Lechæum13 at night was repulsed with considerable loss; so that Kleomenes and his friends, elated by their victory, supped merrily together, while Antigonus was at his wit’s end to know what to do. He even began to meditate marching to the promontory of Heræum, and conveying his forces over the Corinthian gulf to Sikyon, an operation which would have required much time and many ships. However, late in the evening there arrived certain friends of Aratus by sea from Argos, inviting him to come thither, as the Argives intended to revolt from Kleomenes. The prime mover in this revolt was one Aristoteles, who easily prevailed upon the people to rise, because they were disappointed with Kleomenes, who had not cancelled all their debts as they hoped he would. Aratus now took fifteen hundred of Antigonus’s soldiers and proceeded by sea to Epidaurus. Aristoteles however did not wait for his arrival, but led the citizens to attack the garrison in the citadel, assisted by Timoxenus with a body of Achæans from Sikyon.

XXI. Intelligence of this movement reached Kleomenes about the second watch of the night. He at once sent for Megistonous, and angrily ordered him at once to go to the assistance of the garrison of Argos; for it was he who had so confidently assured Kleomenes of the loyalty of the Argives, and had dissuaded him from banishing those whom he suspected from the city. Having detached Megistonous with two thousand men on this service, he himself turned his attention to Antigonus, and pacified the people of Corinth by assuring them that nothing had 36happened at Argos except a slight disturbance which would be easily suppressed. However, as Megistonous was killed while forcing his way into the city, and the garrison were hard pressed, and kept sending messengers to Kleomenes begging for assistance, he, fearing that if the enemy gained Argos they might cut him off from Laconia, and sack the defenceless city of Sparta, withdrew his army from Corinth. He lost this city at once, for Antigonus instantly entered it and placed a garrison in it. He now proceeded to assault the city wall of Argos, and concentrated his troops for this purpose. He broke through the vaults supporting the part of the city called the ‘Shield,’ forced his way in, and joined his garrison, who were still holding out against the Achæans. He now, by the use of scaling ladders, captured some of the strong places in the city, and cleared the streets of the enemy by means of his Cretan archers. When however he saw Antigonus marching down from the mountains to the plain with his phalanx in battle array, and saw the Macedonian cavalry pouring along towards the city, he despaired of success, and collecting all his troops into one mass, led them safely out of the city. He had in a wonderfully short time effected great things, and had all but made himself master of the whole of Peloponnesus: but now he lost it all as quickly as he had won it, for some of his allies at once deserted him, and many shortly afterwards surrendered their cities to Antigonus.

XXII. As Kleomenes was marching into the city of Tegea at nightfall, on his return from this disastrous campaign, he was met by messengers bearing the news of a still greater calamity, the death of his wife Agiatis, of whom he was so fond that even when in the full tide of success he never would remain continuously with his army, but used constantly to return to Sparta to see her. He was terribly grieved and cast down, as one would expect a young man to be on losing so beautiful and excellent a wife, yet he did not allow his noble spirit to be crushed by his sorrow, but without showing any outward signs of grief in his voice or countenance, continued to give his orders to his officers, and to take measures for placing Tegea in a posture of defence. At daybreak next morning 37 he returned to Lacedæmon, and after lamenting his misfortune with his mother and his children, began to consider by what policy he might save his country.

Ptolemy, the king of Egypt, now offered him assistance on the condition of receiving his mother and children as hostages. For a long time he shrank from mentioning this proposal to his mother, and often conversed with her without having the courage to allude to it, until she suspected that he had something on his mind, and inquired of his friends whether there was not some subject about which he hesitated to speak to her. At last Kleomenes brought himself to mention Ptolemy’s proposal to her. On hearing it, she laughed loudly, and said, “This, then, is that which you have so long been fearing to tell me. Pray place me and the children on board ship as soon as possible, and send us to any place where this body of mine may be useful to Sparta, before it be uselessly consumed by old age at home.”

When all was prepared for her voyage, Kratesiklea proceeded to Tænarus escorted by Kleomenes with all his troops under arms. Before embarking she retired alone with him into the temple of Poseidon, where, after embracing him as he sorrowed at her departure, she said, “Now, king of the Lacedæmonians, take care when we come out that no one sees us weeping or doing anything unworthy of Sparta. This lies in our own power; but good or evil fortune befalls us according to the will of Heaven.”

Saying thus, she fixed her eyes upon the ship, walked swiftly to it carrying the child, and bade the pilot start at once. When she reached Egypt, as she heard that Ptolemy had received an embassy from Antigonus, and was told that although the Achæans wished to come to terms with him, he had feared on her account to make peace with them without consulting Ptolemy, she wrote to him bidding him act worthily of Sparta, and consult her interests, and not fear to displease Ptolemy because of what he might do to an old woman and an infant. So great a spirit is she said to have shown in her misfortunes.

XXIII. Antigonus now advanced, took Tegea, and allowed his troops to plunder Orchomenus and Mantinea. Kleomenes, who was confined to the territory of Lacedæmon, 38 proceeded to emancipate all helots who could pay a sum of five Attic minæ for their freedom, by which means he raised a sum of five hundred talents. He also organised a special corps of two thousand men, armed after the Macedonian fashion, with which he hoped to be able to meet the Leukaspids,14 or white-shielded troops of Antigonus, and proceeded to attempt a wonderful and surprising feat of arms.

The city of Megalopolis at that time was itself quite as large and as powerful as Sparta, and had close at hand the army of the Achæans, and that of Antigonus himself, whom the people of Megalopolis had been especially eager to invite into Peloponnesus. This city Kleomenes determined to pounce upon: (no other word expresses the speed with which he surprised it). He ordered his troops to provision themselves for five days, and led them to Sellasia, as though he intended to invade Argolis. From Sellasia he marched into the territory of Megalopolis, halted at Rhœteum for supper, and thence proceeded along the road by Helikus straight towards Megalopolis. When he was close to it he detached Panteus with two regiments to attack a part of the wall lying between two towers, which he had heard was often left unguarded, while he moved slowly forward with the main body. Panteus not only found that spot, but a great extent of the city wall unguarded. While he was engaged in throwing down the wall and killing those who attempted to defend it, Kleomenes came up, and was within the city with his army before the people of Megalopolis knew of his arrival.

XXIV. When at last the inhabitants discovered the extent of their misfortune, some snatched up what they could and fled at once, while others got under arms and endeavoured to drive out the enemy. In this they could not succeed, but they enabled the fugitives to escape 39unmolested, so that no more than a thousand souls remained in the city, as all the rest got safe with their wives and children to Messene. Of those who offered resistance but a few were slain, and a very small number were taken prisoners, amongst whom were Lysandridas and Thearidas, the two most important persons in Megalopolis. On this account the soldiers who took them brought them at once to Kleomenes. Lysandridas, as soon as he saw Kleomenes at a distance, called out loudly to him, “King of the Lacedæmonians, now you have an opportunity to add to your glory by a deed even more noble and more worthy of a king than that which you have achieved!” Kleomenes, suspecting what he meant, asked, “What do you mean, Lysandridas? do you bid me give you back your city?” “That is what I bid you to do,” answered Lysandridas; “and I advise you not to ruin so great a city, but to fill it with friends and trusty allies, by restoring it to the people of Megalopolis, and becoming their saviour.” To this Kleomenes, after a short silence, replied, “It is hard to believe this; but let us ever prefer honour to profit.” Saying this he sent his prisoners to Messene, and a herald with them, who offered to restore the city to the people of Megalopolis, on the condition that they should desert the Achæans and become the friends and allies of the Spartans. However, Philopimen would not allow his countrymen to break their faith with the Achæans and accept this wise and generous offer. He declared that Kleomenes did not intend to give them back their city, but wanted to get possession of them as well as of their city, and with violent abuse drove Thearidas and Lysandridas out of the Messenian country. This was that Philopœmen who afterwards became the general of the Achæans and won great distinction, as will be found in the life of him which I have written.

XXV. When this answer was brought back to Kleomenes, who had hitherto carefully kept the city unharmed, and had not allowed any one to appropriate the most trifling article, he became furious with disappointment. He plundered the city, sent all the statues and pictures to Sparta, utterly destroyed all the best part of40 the city, and returned home, for he feared Antigonus and the Achæans. They, however, did not offer to attack him: for they were engaged in holding a conference at Ægium. Here Aratus ascended the tribune, and for a long time wept with his face hidden in his gown. At last, as the others in wonder bade him tell them the cause of his grief, he said that Megalopolis had been ruined by Kleomenes. On hearing this the assembly at once broke up. The Achæans were terror-stricken at the suddenness and importance of the blow, and Antigonus determined to proceed to the assistance of the people of Megalopolis, but as it took a long time to assemble his troops from their winter-quarters, he ordered them to stay where they were, and himself with a small force marched to Argos. Kleomenes now engaged in a second enterprise, which appeared completely insane, but which is said by the historian Polybius to show consummate generalship. As he knew that all the Macedonian troops were scattered over the country in winter-quarters, and that Antigonus with a few mercenary troops was spending the winter at Argos with his friends, he invaded the Argive territory, thinking that either he should shame Antigonus into a battle, and beat him, or else that if he did not dare to fight, the Argives would be disgusted with him. And so it fell out. The Argives, seeing their country spoiled by Kleomenes, were greatly enraged, and gathering together before the house in which Antigonus was lodging, excitedly called upon him either to fight or to resign his post as commander-in-chief in favour of a better man. But Antigonus, like a prudent general as he was, thought it more disgraceful to run foolish risks and incur unnecessary danger than to hear himself called hard names by the mob, and refused to leave the city, but stood constant in his original policy. Kleomenes, after marching up to the gates of Argos, ostentatiously ravaged the country, and returned home unmolested.

XXVI. Shortly afterwards, hearing that Antigonus had again advanced to Tegea, intending to invade Laconia by that route, Kleomenes quickly assembled his army, marched by a different road, avoiding Antigonus, and at daybreak appeared near the city of Argos, where he41 ravaged the plain country, not reaping the corn, as invaders usually do, with sickles and swords, but beating down with great clubs, so that his soldiers in sheer sport as they marched along were able to destroy the whole crop without trouble. When they reached the gymnasium of Kyllarabis some of the officers proposed to set it on fire; but Kleomenes forbade it, saying that even in destroying Megalopolis he had been guided by anger rather than by honour. Antigonus at first retired directly towards Argos, but afterwards occupied all the passes by which the Lacedæmonians could retreat. Kleomenes affected to set him at defiance, and sent a herald to Argos to demand the keys of the temple of Hera (between Argos and Mycenæ), in order that he might offer sacrifice there before retiring. After insulting the Argives by this ironical request, he offered sacrifice outside the temple, for the doors remained locked, and led away his army to Phlius. From thence he marched to Mount Oligyrtus, where he defeated the Macedonian troops who guarded the pass, and returned home by way of Orchomenus, having inspired his countrymen with hope and confidence, and having proved to his enemies that he was a consummate general, capable of conducting the most important operations. It was indeed no small feat for him, with only the resources of one small state at his disposal, to make war against the power of Macedonia and all the cities of the Peloponnesus, with Antigonus for their paymaster, and not only to prevent the enemy’s setting foot in Laconia, but to lay waste their country, and take such large and important cities from them.

XXVII. However, he who first called money the sinews of war must have had this war in his mind. So also Demades, when the Athenians wished to man a fleet at a time when they had no money, observed that they must make bread before they could make a voyage. Archidamus, too, who was king of Sparta at the opening of the Peloponnesian war, when his allies asked him to fix the limit of their several contributions, answered that the consumption of war is unlimited. For just as trained athletes in time overpower their antagonist in spite of his strength and skill, so Antigonus, having vast resources42 to draw upon, wearied out and overpowered Kleomenes, who had the greatest difficulty in paying his mercenary troops and feeding his countrymen. In other respects the long duration of the contest was in Kleomenes’s favour, as Antigonus had troubles at home which made the contest a more equal one. The barbarians, in his absence, always overran and plundered the outskirts of the kingdom of Macedonia, and at this period an army of Illyrians had invaded the country from the north, against whose depredations the Macedonians besought Antigonus to return and protect them. The letter calling upon him to return was very nearly delivered to him before the decisive battle of the war; and had he received it, he would no doubt have returned home at once and taken a long farewell of the Achæans. However, fortune, who delights to show that the most important events are decided by the merest trifles, caused the embassy with the letters for the recall of Antigonus to reach him just after the battle of Sellasia, in which Kleomenes lost his army and his country. This makes the misfortune of Kleomenes yet more pitiable; for if he had avoided a battle for two days longer, he never need have fought at all, as the Macedonians would have retreated, and left him to make what terms he pleased with the Achæans: whereas, as has been explained, his want of money forced him to fight, and that too when, according to Polybius, he had only twenty thousand men to oppose to thirty thousand.

XXVIII. In the battle he acted like a great general, and the Spartans fought with desperate courage, while the mercenary troops also behaved well; but he was overpowered by the Macedonian armament and by the irresistible weight of their phalanx. The historian Phylarchus says that Kleomenes was ruined by treachery, for Antigonus sent his Illyrians and Akarnanians to make a flank march and attack one of the enemy’s wings, which was commanded by Eukleidas, the brother of Kleomenes, and there placed the rest of his army in battle array. Kleomenes, who was watching the enemy from an eminence, could not see the Illyrian and Akarnanian troops, and suspected some manœuvre of the kind. He sent for43 Damoteles, the chief of the Spartan secret-service,15 and ordered him to explore the ground on both flanks, and see that no attack was meditated in that direction. As Damoteles, who is said to have been bribed by Antigonus, answered that all was well on the flanks, and that he had better give his entire attention to the enemy in front, Kleomenes believed him, and at once charged the army of Antigonus. The furious attack of the Spartans drove back the Macedonian phalanx, and Kleomenes forced it to retreat before him for a distance of about five stadia. Then, as he found that his brother Eukleidas on the other wing was surrounded by the enemy, he halted, and looking towards him, said, “You are gone, my dearest brother; you have fought bravely, and are a noble model to the Spartan youth, a noble theme for Spartan maidens’ songs.” Then, as the entire division under Eukleidas was cut to pieces, and the victors attacked his own men, who were thrown into confusion and could no longer stand their ground, he escaped from the field as best he could. It is said that many of the mercenaries were slain, and that of the Lacedæmonians, who were six thousand in all, only two hundred remained alive.

XXIX. Kleomenes, when he reached Sparta, advised the citizens whom he met to submit to Antigonus, and declared that he himself, whether he lived or died, would do what was best for Sparta. As he saw the women running up to those who had accompanied him in his flight, taking their arms from them and offering them drink, he retired into his own house, where his mistress, a girl of a good family of Megalopolis, whom he had taken to live with him after his wife’s death, came up to him as usual, and wished to attend upon him on his return from the wars. But he would neither drink, although excessively thirsty, nor sit down, weary though he was, but in his armour as he was took hold of one of the columns with his hand, leaned his face upon his elbow, and after resting 44a short time in this posture while he revolved in his mind every kind of plan, proceeded with his friends to Grythium. Here they embarked on a ship which had been prepared in case of such a disaster, and sailed away.

XXX. After the battle Antigonus advanced upon Sparta, and made himself master of the city. He treated the Lacedæmonians with kindness, and offered no kind of insult to their glorious city, but permitted them to retain their laws and constitution, sacrificed to the gods, and on the third day withdrew, as he had learned that a terrible war was raging in Macedonia, and that his kingdom was being ravaged by the barbarians. His health was already affected by a disease, which ended in consumption. However, he bore up against it, and was able to die gloriously after having recovered his kingdom, won a great victory over the barbarians, and killed a great number of them. Phylarchus tells us that he ruptured his lungs by shouting in the battle itself, and this seems the most probable account, but the common report at the time was that while shouting aloud after the victory, “O happy day!” he brought up a vast quantity of blood and fell sick of a fever, of which he died. Such was the fate of Antigonus.

XXXI. Kleomenes sailed from Kythera to another island, named Ægialea. As he was about to cross over from this place to Cyrene, one of his friends named Therykion, a brilliant warrior and a man of lofty, unbending spirit, said to him in private, “My king, we have lost the opportunity of falling by the noblest of deaths in the battle, although we publicly declared that Antigonus should never enter Sparta unless he first passed over the dead body of the king. However, the course which is next to this in honour is still open to us. Why should we recklessly embark on this voyage merely in order to exchange our misfortunes at home for others in a distant country? If it be not disgraceful for the sons of Herakles to submit to the successors of Philip and Alexander, we shall save ourselves a long voyage by delivering ourselves up to Antigonus, who is probably as much better than Ptolemy as the Macedonians are better than the Egyptians. If, on the other hand, we scorn to become the subjects of our conqueror, why should we become subject to one who45 has not conquered us, and so prove ourselves inferior to two men instead of one, by becoming the courtiers of Ptolemy as well as fleeing before Antigonus? Is it on account of your mother that we are going to Egypt? If so, you will indeed make a glorious appearance before her, and you will be much to be envied when she shows her son to the ladies of Ptolemy’s court, an exile instead of a king. While we are still masters of our own swords, and are still in sight of Laconia, let us put ourselves beyond the reach of further misfortunes, and make amends to those who died for Sparta at Sellasia, rather than settle ourselves in Egypt, and inquire whom Antigonus has been pleased to appoint satrap of Lacedæmon?”16

To these remarks of Therykion Kleomenes answered, “Wretch, do you think that by suicide, the easiest way out of all difficulties, and one which is within every man’s reach, you will gain a reputation for bravery, and will not rather be flying before the enemy more disgracefully than at Sellasia? More powerful men than ourselves have ere now been defeated, either by their own evil fortune or by the excessive numbers of their enemy: but the man who refuses to bear fatigue and misery, and the scorn of men, is conquered by his own cowardice. A self-inflicted death ought to be an honourable action, not a dishonourable means of escape from the necessity for action. It is disgraceful either to live or to die for oneself alone: yet this is the course which you recommend, namely, that I should fly from my present misery without ever again performing any useful or honourable action. I think that it is both your duty and mine, not to despair of our country: for when all hope fails us, we can easily find means to die.” To this Therykion made no answer, but as soon as he had an opportunity left Kleomenes, sought a retired spot upon the beach, and killed himself.

XXXII. Kleomenes sailed from Ægialea to Libya, where he was received with royal honours and conducted to Alexandria. At his first interview Ptolemy17 treated him with mere ordinary politeness, but when by46 converation with him he discovered his great abilities, and in the familiar intercourse of daily life observed the noble Spartan simplicity of his habits, and saw with how proud and unbroken a spirit he bore his misfortunes, he thought him a much more trustworthy friend than any of the venal throng of courtiers by whom he was surrounded. Ptolemy felt real regret at having neglected so great a man, and allowed Antigonus to gain so much glory and power at his expense. He showed Kleomenes great kindness and honour, and encouraged him by promising that he would place a fleet and a sum of money at his disposal, which would enable him to return to Greece and recover his throne. He settled upon him a yearly allowance of twenty-four talents, the most part of which he and his friends, who still retained their simple Spartan habits, distributed in charity among the Greek refugees who had found an asylum in Egypt.

XXXIII. The elder Ptolemy died before he could accomplish his promise of attempting to restore Kleomenes to his throne; and amidst the drunken licence of the court of his successor, the affairs of Kleomenes were entirely neglected. The young king18 was so given up to wine and women, that his soberest moments were spent in organising religious ceremonies in the palace, and in carrying a kettledrum in honour of the mother of the gods. The whole of the public business of the kingdom was managed by Agathoklea, the king’s mistress, her mother, and the brothel-keeper Œnanthes. Yet even here it seems that the assistance of Kleomenes was needed, for the king, fearing his brother Magas, who through his mother had great influence with the army, attached himself in a special manner to Kleomenes, and made him a member of his own secret council, desiring to make use of him to kill his brother. Kleomenes, although every one in the court bade him do this, refused, saying that it would rather be his duty, if it were possible, to raise up more brothers for the king, to strengthen and confirm his throne. When Sosibius, the most powerful of the king’s favourites, said that the mercenary troops were not to be 47depended upon while Magas was alive, Kleomenes answered that he might be quite easy on that score, for more than three thousand of the mercenaries were Peloponnesians, and at the slightest sign from him would seize their arms and rally round him. This speech was thought at the time to be a great proof of the loyalty of Kleomenes, and gave the courtiers a great idea of his power; but afterwards, as Ptolemy’s weakness of character produced cowardice, and after the manner of empty-headed men he began to think it safest to suspect every one, these words made the courtiers fear Kleomenes, as having a dangerous power over the mercenaries; and many of them were wont to say, “This man moves among us like a lion among a flock of sheep.” Indeed the demeanour of Kleomenes in the Egyptian palace, as he calmly and quietly watched the course of events, naturally suggested this simile.

XXXIV. Kleomenes gave up asking for a fleet and an army; but hearing that Antigonus was dead, and that the Achæans were involved in a war with the Ætolians, while his presence was imperatively demanded at home, as all Peloponnesus seemed to be going to ruin, he desired to be sent home alone with his friends. However, he could persuade no one to accede to this request, as the king thought of nothing but his concubines and his revels, and Sosibius, upon whom devolved the whole conduct of affairs, although he knew that Kleomenes would be dangerous and hard to manage if kept in Egypt against his will, yet feared to set at large so daring and enterprising a man, who had gained a thorough insight into the utter rottenness of the Ptolemaic dynasty. For Kleomenes could not be bribed into remaining quiet, but as the bull19 sacred to Apis, although he is abundantly fed and supplied with every luxury, yet longs to frisk and range about as 48nature intended, so he cared for none of their effeminate pleasures,

“but wore his soul away”

like Achilles,

“Idling at home, though eager for the fray.”

XXXV. While his affairs were in this posture, there arrived at Alexandria one Nikagoras, a Messenian, who pretended to be a friend to Kleomenes, but really hated him bitterly, because he had once sold him a fair estate, but had never received the money, either because Kleomenes intended to cheat him, or because he was unable to pay him on account of the wars. As this man was disembarking from his ship, Kleomenes, who happened to be walking upon the quay, saw him, and at once warmly greeted him, and inquired what business had brought him to Egypt. Nikagoras returned his salutation with equal friendliness, and said that he had brought over some fine horses for the king’s use in the wars. At this Kleomenes laughed, and said, “I had rather you had brought singing-girls or beautiful boys, for they are what please the king best.” Nikagoras listened to this remark with a smile, but a few days afterwards he reminded Kleomenes of the estate which he had bought, and asked him to pay the price, saying that he would not have pressed for it if he had not sustained losses on his cargo. As Kleomenes replied that all his pension from the king was spent, Nikagoras in a rage repeated to Sosibius the sarcasm which he had used. Sosibius was much pleased to hear of it, but as he wished to have some graver matter of which to accuse him to the king, he persuaded Nikagoras to write a letter before he left Egypt, accusing Kleomenes of a design to make himself master of Cyrene, if the king put him in possession of a fleet and army. Nikagoras wrote the letter, and sailed away to Greece; and after forty days Sosibius took the letter and showed it to Ptolemy, as though he had just received it. By this means he so wrought upon the young king’s mind, that he confined Kleomenes in a large house, and placed a guard before all the doors, although he continued to allow him his pension as before.

XXXVI. This treatment was in itself 49sufficiently grievous to Kleomenes, and made him fear that something worse was in store. Now Ptolemy, the son of Chrysermes, who was a friend of the king’s, had always been on good terms with Kleomenes, and they had been in the habit of conversing familiarly together. This man now, at Kleomenes’s own request, came to see him, and talked amicably with him, explaining away all which had appeared suspicious about the king’s conduct. As he was leaving the house, without noticing that Kleomenes had followed him to the door, he harshly reproved the guard for keeping such careless watch over so great and savage a monster. Kleomenes himself heard him say this, and before Ptolemy observed him, retired and told his friends what he had heard. They at once abandoned all hope, and fiercely determined to avenge themselves on Ptolemy for his wickedness and arrogance, and die as became Spartans, not wait to be butchered like fat cattle. They thought that it was intolerable that Kleomenes should have disdained to make terms with Antigonus, who was a soldier and a man of action, and should sit waiting for the pleasure of a timbrel-playing king, who as soon as he was at leisure from his kettle-drummings and revellings, intended to murder him.

XXXVII. As soon as they had formed this resolution, as it happened that Ptolemy had gone to Canopus, they spread a report that the king had given orders for the guard to be removed. Next, observing the custom of the kings of Egypt, which was to send a dinner and various presents to those who are about to be released from confinement, the friends of Kleomenes prepared many presents of this kind and sent them to him, deceiving the guard, who believed that they had been sent by the king. Kleomenes offered sacrifice, and gave the soldiers on guard an ample share of the meat, while he himself put on a garland and feasted with his friends. It is said that they proceeded to action sooner than had been originally intended, because Kleomenes perceived that one of the servants who was in the plot had left the house, though he had only gone to visit his mistress. Fearing that he meant to denounce them, as soon as it was noon, and the guard were sleeping off their wine, Kleomenes put on 50his tunic, slit up the seam over the right shoulder, seized his naked sword, and sallied forth with his friends similarly arrayed, thirteen in all. One of them named Hippitas, who was lame, came boldly out with the rest, but finding that they proceeded slowly to enable him to keep up with them, begged them to kill him, and not spoil their plot by waiting for a useless man. It happened that one of the Alexandrians was leading a horse past the door; they at once took it, placed Hippitas on its back, and ran quickly through the streets, calling upon the populace to rise and set itself free. The people, it appears, had spirit enough to admire Kleomenes, but no one dared to follow or help him. Three of the conspirators met Ptolemy, the son of Chrysermes, coming out of the palace, and killed him: and when another Ptolemy, the governor of the city, drove towards them in a chariot, they rushed to meet him, scattered his body-guard, dragged him out of the chariot and killed him. They now made their way to the citadel, intending to break open the prison and make use of the prisoners to swell their numbers; but the guardians of the prison had closed the gates effectually before they arrived, and Kleomenes, failing in this attempt, roamed through the city without finding any one to join him, as all fled in terror at his approach. At last he stopped, and said to his friends, “No wonder women bear rule in a city where men fear to be free.” He now bade them all end their lives worthily of him and of themselves. First of all Hippitas, at his own request, was struck dead by one of the younger men; after which, each man deliberately and fearlessly inflicted upon himself a mortal stab, with the exception of Panteus, who had been the first to break into the city of Megalopolis. This man, the handsomest and best warrior of all the Spartan youth, was especially loved by the king, and was ordered by him to wait till all the rest were dead, and then to put an end to his life. When they had all fallen, Panteus pricked each man with his dagger, to make certain that none of them were alive. When he pricked Kleomenes in the ankle he saw his face contract. He kissed him and sat down beside him until he was quite dead, and then, embracing the corpse, killed himself upon it.


XXXVIII. Thus perished Kleomenes, after having reigned over Sparta for thirteen years, as described above. The news of his death was soon bruited abroad, and Kratesiklea, although a woman of high spirit, was so overcome by her misfortune that she embraced the children and wept for Kleomenes. Upon this the eldest boy leaped up, and before any one knew what he was going to do, threw himself headlong from the roof of the house. He was much hurt, but not killed, and was taken up, crying out and reproaching his friends because they would not allow him to die. When Ptolemy heard the news, he ordered the corpse of Kleomenes to be flayed and exposed on a gibbet, and his children, his mother, and her attendants to be put to death. Among these was the wife of Panteus, the fairest and noblest-looking of them all. She and her husband had only recently been married when their misfortunes began. When Panteus left Sparta she wished to accompany him, but her parents would not allow her to do so, and locked her up in their house. But she shortly afterwards procured a horse and a little money, and made her escape by night. She rode all the way to Taenarum, where she found a ship about to sail to Egypt, on board of which she crossed the sea, joined her husband, and cheerfully shared his exile. She now, when the soldiers came to lead away Kratesiklea, took her by the hand, held up the train of her dress, and bade her be of good courage; although Kratesiklea herself was not afraid to die, but only asked one favour, that she might die before her children. When they arrived at the place of execution, the children were first killed before the eyes of Kratesiklea, and then she herself. All she said was: “My children, whither have you come?” The wife of Panteus, being a tall and robust woman, girded up her robe, and arranged each of the corpses as decently as her means permitted. After she had paid the last offices to each of them she prepared herself for death, bared her neck, allowed no one to approach her but the executioner, and died like a heroine, without requiring any one to arrange her corpse. Thus the modesty which she had observed throughout her life, did not desert her even when she was dead.


XXXIX. Thus gloriously, even during its last days, did Lacedæmon, whose women are taught to vie with men in courage, prove that virtue is superior to Fortune. A few days afterwards, those who were watching the body of Kleomenes as it hung upon the gibbet, observed a large snake which wound its body round his head and covered his face, so that no ravenous bird could alight upon it. On hearing this, the king was struck with superstitious terror, fearing that he had offended the gods by the murder of one who was evidently a favourite of Heaven, and something more than mortal. All the ladies of his court began to offer sacrifices of atonement for his sin, and the people of Alexandria went to the place and worshipped Kleomenes as a hero and child of the gods, until they were restrained by the learned, who explained that as from the corrupted bodies of oxen are bred bees, from horses wasps, and from asses beetles, so human bodies, by the melting and gathering together of the juices of the marrow, produce serpents. This was observed by the ancients, who therefore considered that of all animals the serpent was peculiarly appropriated to heroes.



I. Having finished the first History,20 it remains to contemplate equal calamities in the pair of Roman Lives, in a comparison of Tiberius and Caius Gracchus with Agis and Kleomenes.21 Tiberius and Caius were the sons of54 Tiberius Gracchus,22 who was censor and twice consul, and celebrated two triumphs, but was still more55 distinguished for his personal character, to which he owed the honour of having for his wife Cornelia, the daughter of Scipio,23 the conqueror of Hannibal, whom he married after Scipio’s death, though Tiberius had not been a friend of Scipio, but rather a political opponent. A story is told that Tiberius once caught a couple of snakes24 in his bed, and the diviners, after consulting on the matter, told him that he must not kill both nor yet let both go; as to the male, they said, if it were killed, the death of Tiberius would follow, and if the female were killed, Cornelia would die. Now Tiberius, who loved his wife and thought it would be more suitable for him to die first, as he was an elderly man and his wife was still young, killed the male snake and let the female go; and he died 56no long time after, leaving twelve children by Cornelia, Cornelia undertook the care of her family and her husband’s property, and showed herself so prudent, so fond of her children, and of so exalted a character, that Tiberius was judged to have done well in dying in place of such a wife. And though Ptolemæus,25 the king of Egypt, invited Cornelia to share his crown, and wooed her for his wife, she refused the offer and continued a widow. All her children died before her, except one daughter, who married the younger Scipio,26 and two sons, of whom I am 57going to speak, Tiberius and Caius, who were brought up by their mother so carefully that they became, beyond dispute, the most accomplished of all the Roman youth, which they owed, perhaps, more to their excellent education than even to their natural good qualities.

II. Now as the figures of the Dioscuri,27 whether sculptured or painted, though resembling one another, still present such an amount of difference as appears when we contrast a boxer with a runner, so in these two youths, with all their resemblance in courage, temperance, generous temper, eloquence, and magnanimity, yet great contrasts also in their actions and polity blossomed forth, so to speak, and displayed themselves, which I think it well to set forth. First in the character and expression of his countenance, and in his movements, Tiberius was mild and sedate; Caius was animated and impetuous. When Tiberius harangued the people, he would stand composedly on one spot; but Caius was the first Roman who moved about on the rostra28 and pulled his toga from his shoulder while he was speaking, as Kleon29 the58 Athenian is said to have been the first popular orator at Athens who threw his cloak from him and struck his thigh. The manner of Caius was awe-striking and vehemently impassioned; the manner of Tiberius was more pleasing and calculated to stir the sympathies: the language of Tiberius was pure and elaborated to great nicety; that of Caius was persuasive and exuberant. In like manner, in his mode of life and his table, Tiberius was frugal and simple; compared with others, Caius was moderate and austere, but, contrasted with his brother, luxurious and curious, as we see by Drusus charging him with buying silver dolphins30 at the price of twelve hundred and fifty drachmæ for every pound that they weighed. The differences in their character corresponded to their respective styles of speaking: Tiberius was moderate and mild; Caius was rough and impetuous, and it often happened that in his harangues he was carried away by passion, contrary to his judgment, and his voice became shrill, and he fell to abuse, and grew confused in his discourse. To remedy this fault, he employed Licinius, a well-educated slave, who used to stand behind him when he was speaking, with a musical instrument,31 such as is 59used as an accompaniment to singing, and whenever he observed that the voice of Caius was becoming harsh and broken through passion, he would produce a soft note, upon which Caius would immediately moderate his vehemence and his voice, and become calm.

III. Such were the contrasts between the two brothers, but in courage against the enemy, in justice to the subject nations, in vigilance in the discharge of public duties, and in self-control over indulgence, they were both alike. Tiberius was the elder by nine years, a circumstance which caused their political career to be separated by an interval, and greatly contributed to the failure of their measures, for they did not rise to eminence at the same time nor unite their strength in one effort, which from their union, would have been powerful and irresistible. I must accordingly speak of each separately, and of the elder first.

IV. Immediately on attaining man’s estate, Tiberius had so great a reputation that he was elected a member of the college of augurs,32 rather for his excellent qualities than his noble birth. Appius Claudius,33 a man of consular and censorian rank, who in consideration of 60his dignity was appointed Princeps Senatus,34 and in loftiness of character surpassed all his contemporaries, showed his opinion of Tiberius; for when the augurs were feasting together, Appius addressed Tiberius with many expressions of friendship, and solicited him to take his daughter to wife. Tiberius gladly accepted the proposal, and the agreement was forthwith made. As Appius was entering the door on his return home, he called out to his wife in a loud voice, “Antistia, I have given our daughter Claudia to wife.” Antistia in surprise replied, “What is the need or the hurry, unless you have got Tiberius Gracchus for her husband?” I am aware that some writers tell this story of Tiberius the father of the Gracchi and of Scipio Africanus; but the majority have the story as I give it, and Polybius35 says that after the death of Scipio Africanus, his kinsmen selected Tiberius to be the husband of Cornelia, and that she had neither been given in marriage nor betrothed by her father in his lifetime. Now the younger Tiberius served in the army in Africa36 61with the second Scipio,37 who had married his sister, and by living in the general’s tent he soon learned his character, which exhibited many and great qualities for virtuous emulation and practical imitation. Tiberius, also, soon surpassed all the young soldiers in attention to discipline and in courage; and he was the first to mount the enemy’s wall, as Fannius38 says, who also asserts that he mounted the wall with Tiberius and shared the honour with him. While he was in the army Tiberius won the affection of all the soldiers, and was regretted when he went away.

V. After that expedition he was elected quæstor,39 and it fell to his lot to serve in that capacity under the consul Caius Mancinus,40 no bad man, but the most unlucky of62 Roman generals. Accordingly in adverse fortune and critical affairs the prudence and courage of Tiberius became the more conspicuous, and not only his prudence and courage, but what was truly admirable, his consideration and respect for his general, whose reverses almost made him forget who he was. Having been defeated in several great battles, Mancinus attempted to leave his camp by night and make a retreat. The Numantines, however, perceived his movements, and immediately seizing the camp, fell on the Romans in their flight and killed those in the rear; and at last, when they were surrounding the whole army and driving them to unfavourable ground, from which escape was impossible, Mancinus, despairing of all chance of saving himself by resistance, sent to treat for a truce and terms of peace. But the Numantines declared that they would trust nobody except Tiberius, and they bade Mancinus send him. The Numantines had come to this resolution as well from a knowledge of the young man’s character, for there was much talk about him in this campaign, as from the remembrance of his father Tiberius, who, after carrying on war against the Iberians and subduing many of them, made peace with the Numantines, and always kept the Roman people to a fair and just observance of it. Accordingly Tiberius was sent, and had a conference with the Numantines, in which he got some favourable conditions, and, by making some concessions, obtained a truce, and thus saved twenty thousand Roman citizens, besides the slaves and camp-followers.

VI.. All the property that was taken in the camp became the booty of the Numantines; and among it were the tablets of Tiberius, which contained the entries and accounts of his administration as quæstor. Being very anxious to recover them, though the army had already advanced some distance, he returned to the city with three or four companions, and calling forth the magistrates of Numantia, he begged to have back his tablets, in order that his enemies might not have an opportunity of calumniating him if he should not be able to give an account 63of his administration of the public money. The Numantines were pleased at the opportunity of doing him a service, and invited him to enter the city; and when he stood hesitating, they came near and clung to his hands, and were urgent in entreating him not to consider them as enemies any longer, but as friends, and to trust them. Tiberius determined to do so, as he was very anxious to get the tablets, and feared to irritate the Numantines if he should seem to distrust them. When he had entered the city, the first thing they did was to prepare an entertainment, and to urge him most importunately to sit down and eat with them. They afterwards gave him back the tablets, and bade him take anything else he liked. Tiberius, however, would have nothing except the frankincense which he wanted for the public sacrifices, and after a friendly embrace he took his leave of them.

VII. On his return to Rome, the whole transaction was greatly blamed as dishonourable and disgraceful to Rome. The kinsfolk and friends of the soldiers, who were a large part of the people, crowded about Tiberius, charging the general with the disgraceful part of what had happened, and declaring that Tiberius had been the saviour of so many citizens. Those who were the most vexed at the events in Iberia,41 recommended that they should 64follow the example of their ancestors; for in former times the Romans stripped of their clothes and delivered up to the Samnites42 those who had purchased their safety on 65dishonourable terms, both the generals and all who had any share or participation in the treaty, quæstors and tribunes all alike, and on their heads they turned the violation of the oaths and the infraction of the agreement. It was on this occasion particularly, that the people showed their affection and zeal towards Tiberius: for they decided to deliver up the consul, stripped and in chains, to the Numantines, but they spared all the rest on account of Tiberius. It appears that Scipio also, who was then the most powerful man in Rome, gave his assistance in this matter, but nevertheless he was blamed for not saving Mancinus, and not making any exertion to ratify the treaty with the Numantines, which had been concluded by his relation and friend Tiberius. But whatever difference there was between Scipio and Tiberius on this occasion, perhaps originated mainly in jealousy and was owing to the friends of Tiberius and the sophists, who endeavoured to prejudice him against Scipio. There was, however, no irreconcilable breach made between them, and no bad result from this affair; indeed, it seems to me that Tiberius would never have been involved in those political measures which cost him his life, if Scipio Africanus had been at Rome while they were going on. But it was while Scipio was carrying on the war at Numantia43 that Tiberius commenced his legislation, to which he was led from the following motives.

VIII. Whatever territory the Romans acquired from their neighbours in war, they sold part, and retaining the other part as public property,44 they gave it to the 66poorer citizens to cultivate, on the payment of a small sum to the treasury. But as the rich began to outbid the poor, and so to drive them out, a law was passed which forbade any one to have more than five hundred jugera of land. This law restrained the greediness of the rich for a short time, and was a relief to the poor, who remained on the land which they had hired, and cultivated the several portions which they originally had. But in course of 67time their rich neighbours contrived to transfer the holdings to themselves in the names of other persons, and at last openly got possession of the greater part of the public lands in their own names, and the poor, being expelled, were not willing to take military service and were careless about bringing up families, in consequence of which there was speedily a diminution in the number of freemen all through Italy, and the country was filled with ergastula45 of barbarian slaves, with whom the rich cultivated the lands from which they had expelled the citizens. Now Caius Lælius,46 the friend of Scipio, attempted to remedy this mischief, but he desisted through fear of the disturbances that were threatened by the opposition of the rich, whence he got the name of wise or prudent, for such is the signification of the Roman word “sapiens.” Tiberius, on being elected tribune,47 immediately undertook the same measures, as most say, at the instigation of the orator Diophanes and the philosopher Blossius.48 Diophanes 68was an exile from Mitylene: Blossius was an Italian from Cumæ, and had been an intimate at Rome with Antipater of Tarsus, who had done him the honour of dedicating to him some of his philosophical writings. Some give part of the blame to Cornelia also, the mother of Tiberius, who frequently reproached her sons that the Romans still called her the mother-in-law of Scipio, but not yet the mother of the Gracchi. Others say that jealousy of one Spurius Postumius,49 a contemporary of Tiberius, and a rival of his reputation as an orator, was the immediate motive: for it is said that when Tiberius returned to Rome from his military service, he found that Postumius had far out-stripped him in reputation and influence, and seeing the distinction that Postumius had attained, he determined to get the advantage over him by engaging in measures which were attended with hazard, but promised great results. But his brother Caius in a certain book has recorded, that as Tiberius was passing through Tyrrhenia (Tuscany), on his road to Numantia, he observed the deserted state of the country, and that the cultivators and shepherds were foreign slaves and barbarians; and that he then for the first time conceived those political measures which to them were the beginning of infinite calamities. But the energy and ambition of Tiberius were mainly excited by the people, who urged him by writing on the porticoes, the walls, and on the tombs, to recover the public land for the poor.

IX. He did not, however, draw up the law without assistance, but took the advice of the citizens most eminent 69for character and reputation, among whom were Crassus50 the pontifex maximus, Mucius Scævola,51 the jurist, who was then consul, and Claudius Appius, his father-in-law. Never was a measure directed against such wrong and aggression conceived in more moderate and gentle terms; for though the rich well deserved to be punished for their violation of law and to be compelled to surrender under penalties the land which they had been illegally enjoying, the law merely declared that they should give up their unjust acquisitions upon being paid the value of them, and should allow the lands to be occupied by the citizens who were in want of this relief. Though the reform of this abuse was so moderate and reasonable, the people were satisfied to take no notice of the past and to secure themselves against wrong for the future. But the 70rich and those who had possessions detested the proposed law because of their greediness, and the proposer of it was the object of their indignation and jealousy; and accordingly they attempted to divert the people from the measure, by insinuating that Tiberius was proposing a division of land merely to disturb the state and to bring about a revolution. But they failed altogether; for Tiberius, supporting a measure in itself honourable and just, with an eloquence52 calculated to set off even a meaner subject, showed his power and his superiority over his opponents, whenever the people were crowded round the rostra and he addressed them about the poor. “The wild beasts of Italy,” he would say, “had their dens and holes and hiding-places, while the men who fought and died in defence of Italy enjoyed, indeed, the air and the light, but nothing else: houseless and without a spot of ground to rest upon, they wander about with their wives and children, while their commanders, with a lie in their mouth, exhort the soldiers in battle to defend their tombs and temples against the enemy, for out of so many Romans not one has a family altar or ancestral tomb, but they fight to maintain the luxury and wealth of others, and they die with the title of lords of the earth,53 without possessing a single clod to call their own.”

X. Such language as this, proceeding from a lofty spirit and genuine feeling, and delivered to the people, who were vehemently excited and roused, none of the 71enemies of Tiberius attempted to refute. Abandoning, therefore, all idea of opposing him by words, they addressed themselves to Marcus Octavius,54 one of the tribunes, a young man of sober and orderly disposition, and a companion and friend of Tiberius. At first Octavius, from regard to Tiberius, evaded the proposals, but being urged and importuned by many of the powerful nobles,55 72and as it were, driven to it, he set himself in opposition to Tiberius, and prevented the passing of the law. Now 73all the power is virtually in the hands of the dissentient tribune, for the rest can do nothing if a single tribune 74oppose them. Irritated at this, Tiberius withdrew his moderate measure and introduced another, more agreeable 75to the people and more severe against the illegal possessors of land; this new measure ejected persons out of the lands which they had got possession of contrary to existing laws. There was a daily contest between him and Octavius at the rostra, but though they opposed one another with great earnestness and rivalry, it is said they never uttered a disparaging word against one another, and that no unbecoming expression ever escaped either of them against the other. It is not, then, in bacchanalian revelries56 only, as it seems, but also in ambitious rivalry and passion, that to be of noble nature and to have been well brought up, restrains and governs the mind. Tiberius, observing that Octavius himself was obnoxious to the law and possessed a considerable tract of the public land, begged him to desist from his opposition, offering to pay him the value of the land out of his own purse, though he was by no means in affluent circumstances. Upon Octavius rejecting the proposal, Tiberius by an edict forbade all the other magistrates to transact any public business until the people had voted upon his law; and he placed his private seals on the temple of Saturn,57 that the quæstors might not be able to take anything out of it or pay anything in, and he gave public notice that a penalty would be imposed on the prætors if they76 disobeyed; in consequence of which all the magistrates were afraid and ceased from discharging their several functions. Upon this the possessors changed their dress and went about the Forum in a piteous and humble guise, but in secret they plotted against Tiberius and endeavoured to procure assassins to take him off; in consequence of which, Tiberius, as everybody knew, wore under his dress a short sword, such as robbers use, which the Romans call dolo.58

XI. When the day came and Tiberius was calling the people to the vote, the voting-urns59 were seized by the 77rich and the proceedings were put into great confusion. However, as the partisans of Tiberius, who had the superiority in numbers, were collecting in order to make resistance, Manlius60 and Fulvius, both consular men, falling down at the knees of Tiberius, and clinging to his hands with tears, begged him to desist. Tiberius, seeing that matters were near coming to extremities, and from regard to the men also, asked them what they would have him do; to which they replied, that they were not competent to advise on so important a matter, and they urged him to refer it to the senate, and at last he consented. The senate met, but did nothing, owing to the opposition of the rich, who had great influence in the body; upon which Tiberius had recourse to the unconstitutional and violent measure of depriving Octavius of his office, finding it impossible to put his proposed law to the vote in any other way. In the first place, he publicly entreated Octavius, addressing him affectionately and clinging to his hands, to yield to and gratify the people, who asked for nothing but their rights, and would only get a small matter in return for great dangers and sufferings. Octavius rejected this proposition; upon which Tiberius reminded him that both of them were magistrates and were contending with equal power on a weighty matter, and that it was not possible for this struggle to continue without coming to open hostility; that he saw no remedy except for one of them to give up his office; and he bade Octavius put it to the people to vote on his case first, and said that he would immediately descend to the station of a private man, if the 78citizens should desire it. As Octavius refused this proposal also, Tiberius said that he would put the question about Octavius retiring from the tribunate to the people, if Octavius did not change his resolution.

XII. Thus ended the assembly of that day. On the following day Tiberius mounted the rostra and again endeavoured to persuade Octavius; but as he would not yield, Tiberius proposed a law by which Octavius should be deprived of his tribunate, and he forthwith summoned the citizens to vote upon it. Now, there were five and thirty tribes,61 and when seventeen of them had already given their vote, and the addition of one more tribe would reduce Octavius to a private condition, Tiberius stopped the voting, and again entreated Octavius, embracing him in the presence of the people and urgently praying him not to be careless about being deprived of his office, and not to bring on him the blame of so severe and odious a measure. It is said that Octavius was not entirely untouched or unmoved by these entreaties, and his eyes were filled with tears and he was silent for some time. But when he looked to the rich and the possessors, who were standing together in one body, through fear of losing their good opinion, as it seems, he boldly determined to run every risk, and he told Tiberius to do what he pleased. Accordingly the law was passed, and Tiberius ordered one of his freedmen to drag Octavius from the rostra, for Tiberius employed his own freedmen as officers; a circumstance which made the spectacle of Octavius dragged from the rostra with contumely still more deplorable. At the same time the people made an assault on Octavius, and though the rich all ran to his assistance and disengaged him from their hands, it was not without difficulty that he was rescued and made his escape from the mob. But one of his faithful slaves, who had placed himself in front of his master to defend him, had his eyes torn out. This violence was 79quite contrary to the wishes of Tiberius, who, on seeing what was going on, speedily made his way to the disturbance.

XIII. The law about the land was now immediately carried, and triumviri62 were appointed for ascertaining its bounds and distributing it; the triumviri were Tiberius, and his father-in-law Claudius Appius, and Caius Gracchus, his brother, who, however, was not at Rome, but serving under Scipio against Numantia. All this Tiberius accomplished quietly without any opposition, and he also procured to be elected tribune in the room of Octavius, not a person of rank, but one Mucius63 a client64 of his own. The nobles, who were vexed at all these measures and feared the growing power of Tiberius, treated him in the senate with contumely; and upon his asking, according to custom, for a tent from the treasury for his use while he was distributing the land, they refused it to him, though others had often had one allowed them on less important occasions; and they only gave him for his expenses nine oboli65 a day, which was done on the motion of Publius Nasica,66 who entered violently into the opposition against Tiberius, for he was in possession of a very large amount of public land, and was greatly annoyed at being forcibly ejected from it. But the people now became still more violent. A friend of Tiberius happened to die suddenly, and suspicious marks immediately showed themselves on the body. The people cried out that he was poisoned, and collecting in great numbers at the funeral, they carried the bier and stood by while the body was burnt. And the suspicion of poison appeared to have some reason, for the 80body burst on the pile and sent forth such a quantity of corrupt humours as to quench the flame; and though a light was again applied, the body would not burn till it was removed to another place, where, after much trouble, the fire at last laid hold of it. Upon this Tiberius, with the view of exciting the people still more, changed his dress, and showing his children to the people, begged that they would protect them and their mother, for he now despaired of his own safety.

XIV. On the death of Attalus67 Philometor, Eudemus of Pergamum brought his will to Rome, in which the Roman people were made the king’s heir. In order to please the people, Tiberius promulgated a law to the effect that as soon as the king’s treasures were received, they should be distributed among those who had assignments of land, in order to enable them to stock the farms and to assist them in their cultivation. With respect to the cities included within the kingdom of Attalus, he said that the senate had no right to decide about them, but he would bring the subject before the popular assembly. This measure gave violent offence to the senate, and Pompeius68 getting up, said that he lived near Tiberius, and so knew that Eudemus of Pergamum had given a diadem out of the royal treasures and a purple robe to Tiberius, who designed to make himself king in Rome. Quintus Metellus69 reproached Tiberius by reminding him, that whenever his father, during his censorship, was returning home from supper, the citizens used to put out the lights 81for fear it might be supposed that they were indulging too much in entertainments and drinking, but that the most insolent and needy of the citizens accompanied Tiberius with lights at night. Titus Annius,70 who was not a man of good repute or sober behaviour, but in any contest of words by way of question and answer was considered to be unequalled, challenged Tiberius to answer definitely whether he had or had not branded with infamy his brother tribune, though by the law he was sacred and inviolable. As the question was received with signs of approbation, Tiberius, hastily quitting the senate-house, convoked the people and ordered Annius to be brought before them, with the intention of accusing him. But Annius, who was much inferior to Tiberius both in eloquence and reputation, had recourse to his tricks, and called on Tiberius to answer a few questions before he began his speech. Tiberius assented, and as soon as there was silence, Annius said, “If you intend to deprive me of my rank, and disgrace me, and I appeal to one of your brother tribunes, and he shall come to my aid, and you shall then fall into a passion, will you deprive him of his office?” On this question being put, it is said that Tiberius, though no man was readier in words or bolder in action, was so confused that he made no reply.

XV. For the present Tiberius71 dissolved the assembly, seeing that his proceedings with respect to Octavius were 82not liked either by the nobles or the people, for they considered that the high and honourable dignity of the tribunate, which had been kept unimpaired up to that time, had been destroyed and trampled upon. He made an harangue to the people, a few of the arguments of which it will not be out of place to mention, for the purpose of showing the persuasive eloquence and the subtlety of the man. He said that a tribune was sacred and inviolate, only because he was dedicated to the people and was the guardian of the people. If then a tribune should deviate from his duty and wrong the people, abridge their power and deprive them of the opportunity of voting, he had by his own act deprived himself of his rank, by not fulfilling the conditions on which he received it. Now we must consider a tribune to be still a tribune, though he should dig down the Capitol and burn the naval arsenal. If he should commit such excesses as these, he is a bad tribune; but if he should attempt to deprive the people of their power, he is not a tribune at all. And is it not a monstrous thing if a tribune shall have power to order a consul to be put in prison, and the people shall not be able to deprive a tribune of his power when he is using it against the people who gave it to him? for both tribune and consul are equally chosen by the people. Now the kingly office, besides comprehending within it all civil power, is consecrated to the divinity by the discharge of the chief ceremonials of religion; and yet the state ejected Tarquinius for his wrong-doing, and for the violence of one man the ancient power which established Rome was overthrown. And what is there at Rome so sacred, so venerated as the virgins who guard the ever-burning fire? but if any of them offends, she is buried alive; for when they sin against the gods, they no longer retain that inviolable sanctity which they have by being devoted to the gods. In like manner, neither has a tribune when he is wronging the people any right to retain the inviolable character which he receives from the people, for he is destroying the very power which is the origin of his own power. And indeed, if he has legally received the tribunitian power by the votes of a majority of the tribes, how is it that he cannot even 83still more legally be deposed by the vote of all the tribes? Now, nothing is so sacred and inviolable as things dedicated to the gods; but yet no one has ever hindered the people from using such things, moving them, and changing their places as they please. It is therefore legal for the people to transfer the tribunate, as a consecrated thing, from one man to another. And that the tribunate is not an inviolable thing, nor an office of which a man cannot be divested, is clear from this that many magistrates have abdicated their office and prayed to be excused from it of their own free will.

XVI. Such were the heads of the justification of Tiberius. His friends, seeing the threats of his enemies and their combination, thought that he ought to be a candidate for the tribunate for the next year; and Tiberius attempted to strengthen his popularity by promising to carry new measures,72 such as a diminution of the period of military service, an appeal to the people from the judices, an intermixture of an equal number of the Equites with the Senators, from whom alone the judices were then taken; and in every way he attempted to abridge the power of the Senate, influenced rather by passion and ambition, than justice and the interests of the state. While the voting was going on, the friends of Tiberius, seeing that their enemies were gaining the advantage, for all the people were not present,73 at first attempted to prolong the time by abusing the other tribunes, and next they dissolved the meeting and appointed it for the following day. Tiberius, going down to the Forum, supplicated the citizens in humble manner and with tears in his eyes; he then said that he feared his enemies would break into his house by night and kill him, 84and thus he induced a great number of the citizens to take their station about his house and watch there all night.

XVII. At daybreak the man came to bring the birds which the Romans use in their auspices, and he threw them food. But the birds would not come out of the basket74 with the exception of one, though the man shook it hard; and even this one would not touch the food, but after raising its left wing and stretching out a leg it ran back to the basket. This reminded Tiberius of another omen that had happened. He had a helmet which he wore in battle, elaborately worked and splendid. Some snakes had got into the helmet unobserved, and laid their eggs and hatched them there. This made Tiberius still more uneasy about the signs from the fowls. Nevertheless he advanced up the city on hearing that the people was assembled about the Capitol; but before he got out of the house he stumbled over the threshold, and the blow was so violent that the nail of his great toe was broken, and the blood ran out through his shoe. He had not got far before some crows were seen fighting on the roof of a house on the left hand, and though a great crowd was passing by, as was natural on such an occasion, a stone which was pushed off by one of the crows fell by the feet of Tiberius. This made even the boldest of his adherents hesitate; but Blossius of Cumæ, who was present, said it would be a shame and a great disgrace if Tiberius, a son of Gracchus and a grandson of Scipio Africanus, and a defender of the Roman people should 85not obey the summons of the people for fear of a crow, and that his enemies would not treat this cowardly act as a matter of ridicule, but would make it the ground of calumniating him to the people as playing the tyrant and treating them with contempt. At the same time many persons ran up to Tiberius with a message from his friends in the Capitol, to hasten there, as all was going on favourably. And indeed everything promised well at first, for as soon as he appeared he was greeted with friendly cheers, and as he ascended the Capitol he was joyfully received, and the people crowded about him to prevent any stranger from approaching.

XVIII. Now, Mucius began to summon the tribes again, but nothing could be conducted with the usual forms on account of the confusion that prevailed among those who were on the outskirts of the assembly, where they were struggling with their opponents, who were attempting to force their way in and mingle with the rest. At this juncture Flavius Flaccus,75 a senator, posted himself in a conspicuous place, and as it was not possible to make his voice heard so far, he made a signal with his hand that he wished to say something in private to Tiberius. Tiberius bade the crowd let Flaccus pass, who, with great difficulty making his way up to Tiberius, told him that the Senate was sitting, that as they could not prevail on the consul, the rich were resolving to kill Tiberius themselves, and that they had armed many of their slaves and friends for this purpose.

XIX. Upon Tiberius reporting this to those who were standing about him, they forthwith tucked up their dress, and breaking the staves which the officers use to keep the crowd back, distributed the fragments among them and made ready to defend themselves against their assailants. While those at a distance were wondering at what was going on, and asking what it meant, Tiberius touched his head with his hand, since his voice could not be heard, intending thereby to signify to the people that his life was in danger. His enemies on seeing this ran to 86the Senate and told them that Tiberius was asking for a crown, and that his touching his head was a proof of it. On this the whole body was greatly disturbed; Nasica entreated the consul76 to protect the state and put down the tyrant. The consul however answered mildly that he would not be the first to use violence, and that he would not take any citizen’s life without a regular trial; if however, he said, the people should come to an illegal vote at the instigation of Tiberius, or from compulsion, he would not respect any such decision. Upon this Nasica springing up exclaimed, “Well then, as the consul betrays the state, do you who wish to maintain the laws follow me.” As he uttered these words he drew the skirt of his dress over his head, and hastened to the Capitol; and the senators who followed him, wrapping their dress about them with one hand, pushed all the people they met out of the way, no one opposing them, from respect to their rank, but taking to flight and trampling down one another. The followers of the senators had clubs and sticks which they had brought from home; but the senators seizing the fragments and legs of the benches which were broken by the people in their hurry to escape, made right to Tiberius, and struck all those who were in their road. The people were all put to flight or killed. As Tiberius was attempting to make his escape, some one laid hold of his dress, on which he dropped his toga and fled in his tunic; but he stumbled over some persons who were lying on the ground and was thrown down. While he was endeavouring to rise, he received the first blow, as it is universally admitted, from Publius Satyreius, one of his colleagues, who struck him on the head with the leg of a bench. Lucius Rufus claimed the credit of giving him the second blow, as if that were a thing to be proud of. Above three hundred persons lost their lives by sticks and stones, but none by the sword.


XX. This is said to have been the first disturbance at Rome since the abolition of the kingly power, which ended in bloodshed and the death of citizens. All previous disputes, though they were neither trifling nor about trifling matters, were settled by mutual concession: the nobles yielded through fear of the people, and the people yielded from respect to the Senate. Even on this occasion it is probable that Tiberius would have given way to persuasion without any difficulty, and still more readily if his assailants had not come to bloodshed and blows, for those about him were not above three thousand in number. But the combination against him seems to have proceeded rather from the passion and hatred of the rich citizens, than from the reasons which they alleged; and the brutal and indecent treatment of his dead body is a proof of this. For they would not listen to his brother’s request77 to take up the body and bury it at night, but it was thrown into the Tiber with the other bodies. And this was not all; they banished some of his friends without trial, and others they seized and put to death, among whom was Diophanes the orator. One Caius Villius78 they shut up in a vessel with snakes and vipers, and thus he died. Blossius of Cumæ, being brought before the consuls and questioned about what had passed, admitted that he had done everything at the bidding of Tiberius. On Nasica asking79 him, “What if Tiberius had told you to burn the Capitol?” Blossius said, that Tiberius would never have given him any such order. The same question being often put to him, and by several persons, he said, “If he had commanded me to burn the Capitol, it would have been a good deed for me to do; for Tiberius would not have given such an order unless it were for the interest of the people.” Blossius, however, was set at liberty, and afterwards went to Aristonikus80 in Asia, on the ruin of whose affairs he killed himself.


XXI. The Senate, under present circumstances, endeavoured to soothe the people; they made no opposition to the distribution of the public land, and they allowed the people to elect another commissioner in place of Tiberius. Having come to a vote, they elected Publius Crassus81 a relation of Gracchus, for his daughter Licinia was the wife of Caius Gracchus. Cornelius Nepos,82 indeed, says that Caius did not marry the daughter of Crassus, but the daughter of Brutus83 who triumphed over the Lusitanians: however, the majority of writers state the matter as I have done. Now, as the people were sore about the death of Tiberius, and were manifestly waiting for an opportunity to be revenged, and Nasica84 was threatened with prosecutions, the Senate, fearing for his safety, made a decree for sending him to Asia, though they had nothing for him to do there. For when men met Nasica they did not conceal their hostility, but broke out into violence, and abused him wherever they fell in with him, calling him accursed, and tyrant, who had stained with the blood of an inviolable and sacred functionary the most sacred and revered of all the holy places in the city. Accordingly, Nasica left Italy, 89though bound by the most sacred functions, for he was Pontifex Maximus; and, rambling about despised from place to place, he died no long time after in the neighbourhood of Pergamum. It is no wonder if Nasica was so much hated by the people, when even Scipio Africanus, whom the Romans considered inferior to no man in integrity, and loved as well as any, narrowly escaped losing the popular favour, because, on receiving the news of the death of Tiberius, at Numantia, he exclaimed in the verse of Homer,

So perish85 all who do the like again.

Subsequently, when Caius and Fulvius asked him, before an assembly of the people, what he thought of the death of Tiberius, he showed by his answer that he was not pleased with the measures of Tiberius. This made the people interrupt him with their shouts when he was speaking, as they had never done before; and Scipio was so far transported with passion as to break out into invectives against them. But of this I have spoken more particularly in the Life of Scipio.86



I. Caius Gracchus at first, either through fear of his enemies or with the view of making them odious, withdrew from the Forum87 and kept quiet at home, like a man humbled for the present, and intending for the future to keep aloof from public affairs; which gave occasion for some people to say that he disliked the measures of Tiberius, and had abandoned them. He was also still quite a youth, for he was nine years younger than his brother, and Tiberius was not thirty88 when he was killed. But in the course of time, as his character gradually displayed itself in his aversion to indolence, luxury, wine, and all matters of private profit, and it was clear, from his application to the study of eloquence, that he was preparing, as it were, his pinions for public life, and that he would not remain quiet; and further, when he showed by his defence of Vettius, one of his friends, who was under prosecution, the people all around him being wild and frantic with delight, that the rest of the 91orators were mere children, the nobles were again alarmed, and there was much talk among them that they would not allow Caius to obtain the tribunate. It happened without any set design that the lot fell on him to go as quæstor to Sardinia,89 under Orestes90 the consul, which pleased his enemies, and was not disagreeable to Caius. For he was fond of war, and equally disciplined for military service and speaking in the courts of justice; but he still shrunk from public affairs and the Rostra, and as he could not resist the invitations of the people and his friends, he was well pleased with this opportunity of leaving Rome. It is true it is a common opinion that Caius was a pure demagogue, and much more greedy of popular favour than Tiberius. But it was not so in fact, and Caius seems to have been involved in public affairs rather through a kind of necessity than choice. Cicero the orator also says that Caius declined all offices, and had determined to live in retirement, but that his brother appeared to him in a dream,91 and said, “Caius, why do you linger? There is no escape: one life for both of us, and one death in defence of the people is our fate.”

II. Now, Caius during his stay in Sardinia exhibited his excellent qualities in every way; he far surpassed all the young men in military courage, in upright conduct to the subject people, in loyalty and respect to the commander; and in temperance, frugality, and attention to his duties he excelled even his elders. The winter having been severe and unhealthy in Sardinia, the general demanded clothing for his soldiers from the cities, upon which they sent to Rome to pray to be relieved from this imposition. The Senate granted their petition, and ordered the general to get supplies for the troops by other means; but as the general was unable to do this, and the soldiers were suffering, Caius went round to the cities and induced them voluntarily to send clothing and to assist the Romans. This, being reported to Rome, made the Senate uneasy, for 92they viewed it as a preliminary to popular agitation. Ambassadors also arrived at Rome from Libya, with a message from King Micipsa,92 that the king had sent corn to the commander in Sardinia, out of respect for Caius Gracchus. The Senate, taking offence at the message, would not receive the ambassadors, and they passed a decree that fresh troops should be sent out to replace those in Sardinia, but that Orestes should stay; intending by this measure to keep Caius there also, in respect of his office. On this being done, Caius immediately set sail in a passion, and appearing at Rome contrary to all expectation, was not only blamed by his enemies, but even the people considered it a strange thing for the quæstor to leave his general behind. However, when the matter was brought before the Censors,93 he asked for permission to make his defence, and he produced such a change in the opinions of his audience, that he was acquitted, and considered to have been exceedingly ill used: he said that he 93had served in the army for twelve years, while others were only required to serve ten years, and that he had exercised the functions of quæstor to the commander for three years, though the law allowed him to return after one year’s service; he added that he was the only soldier who took out a full purse with him and brought it back empty, while the rest took out with them only jars of wine, which they had emptied in Sardinia, and brought them back full of gold and silver.

III. After this, his enemies brought fresh charges against him, and harassed him with prosecutions on the ground of causing the defection of the allies and having participated in the conspiracy which had been detected at Fregellæ.94 But he cleared himself of all suspicion, and having established his innocence, immediately set about canvassing for the tribunate. All the men of distinction, without exception, opposed him; and so great a multitude flocked to Rome from all parts of Italy, to the Comitia, that many of them could not find lodgings, and the Campus Martius95 being unable to contain the numbers, they shouted from the house-tops and tilings. However, the nobility so far prevailed against the people as to disappoint the hopes of Caius, inasmuch as he was not returned first, as he expected, but only fourth. But upon entering on his office he soon made himself first, for he surpassed every Roman in eloquence,96 and his misfortunes gave him a 94licence for speaking freely when lamenting the fate of his brother. He took every opportunity of directing the thoughts of the people to this subject, reminding them of former times, and contrasting the conduct of their ancestors, who went to war with the Falisci on behalf of Gemicius, a tribune, who had been insulted by them, and condemned Caius Veturius to death because he was the only man that did not make way for a tribune as he was passing through the Forum. “But before your eyes,” he exclaimed, “these men beat Tiberius to death with staves, and his body was dragged through the midst of the city to be thrown into the Tiber; and all his friends who were caught were put to death without trial. And yet it is an old usage among us, if a man is accused of a capital charge and does not appear, for a trumpeter to come to the door of his house in the morning and summon him by the sound of the trumpet, and the judices cannot vote upon the charge till this has been done. So circumspect and careful were the Romans of old in the trials of persons accused.”

IV. Having first stirred up the people by such harangues as these (and he had a very loud voice, and was most vigorous in speech), he promulgated two laws:97 one, to the 95effect that if the people had deprived any magistrate of his office, he should be incapacitated from holding office a second time; and the other, which rendered a magistrate liable to a public prosecution if he had banished any citizen without trial. One of these rogations had the direct effect of branding with infamy Marcus Octavius, who had been deprived of the tribunate by Tiberius; and Popillius98 came within the penalties of the other, for during his prætorship he had banished the friends of Tiberius. Popillius did not stand his trial, and he fled from Italy; but the other law Caius himself withdrew, saying that he refrained from touching Octavius at the request of his mother Cornelia. The people admired his conduct on this occasion, and gave their consent, for they respected Cornelia no less for the sake of her sons than her father; and afterwards they set up a bronze statue99 of her, with the inscription—Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi. There are recorded several things that Caius said in defence of his mother in a rhetorical and coarse way, in reply to one of his enemies. “What,” said he, “do you abuse Cornelia, the mother of Tiberius?” And as the man laboured under the imputation of being a dissolute fellow, he added, “How can you have the impudence to compare yourself with Cornelia? Have you been a mother, as she has?”—and more to the like effect, but still coarser. Such was the bitterness of his language, and many like things occur in his writings.

V. Of the laws100 which he promulgated with the view 96of gaining the popular favour and weakening the Senate, one was for the establishment of colonies and the distribution 97 of Public Land among the poor; another provided for supplying the soldiers with clothing at the public expense, without any deduction on this account being made from their pay, and exempted youths under seventeen years of age from being drafted for the army; a third was in favour of the allies, and put the Italians on the same footing as the citizens with respect to the suffrage; another related to grain, and had for its object the lowering of the 98price for the poor; the last related to the judices, a measure which most of all encroached on the privileges of the senate—for the senate alone supplied judices for the trials, and this privilege rendered that body formidable both to the people and the equites. The law of Gracchus added three hundred equites to the senate, who were also three hundred in number, and it made the judices eligible out of the whole six hundred. In his endeavours to carry this law he is said to have made every exertion; and in particular it is recorded that all the popular leaders who preceded him turned their faces to the senate and the comitium while they were speaking, but he was the first who turned his face the other way to the Forum while haranguing the people, and he continued to do so; and by a small deviation and alteration in attitude he stirred a great question, and in a manner transformed the government from an aristocratical to a democratical form, by this new attitude intimating that the orators should direct their speeches to the many and not to the senate.

VI. The people not only passed this law, but empowered Gracchus to select from the equites those who were to act as judices, which conferred on him a kind of monarchical authority, and even the senate now assented to the measures which he proposed in their body. But all the measures which he proposed were honourable to the senate; such, for instance, was the very equitable and just decree about the grain which Fabius the proprætor sent from Iberia. Gracchus induced the senate to sell the grain and to return the money which it produced to the Iberian cities, and further to censure Fabius for making the Roman dominion heavy and intolerable to the subject nations; this measure brought him great reputation and popularity in the provinces. He also introduced measures for sending out colonies, the construction of roads, and the building of public granaries; and he made himself director and superintendent for the carrying all these measures into effect. Though engaged in so many great undertakings, he was never wearied, but with wonderful activity and labour he effected every single object as if he had for the time no other occupation, so that even those who thoroughly hated and feared him were struck with amazement at the 99rapidity and perfect execution of all that he undertook. But the people looked with admiration on the man himself, seeing him attended by crowds of building-contractors, artificers, ambassadors, magistrates, soldiers, and learned men, to all of whom he was easy of access; and while he maintained his dignity, he was affable to all, and adapted his behaviour to the condition of every individual, and so proved the falsehood of those who called him tyrannical or arrogant or violent. He thus showed himself more skilful as a popular leader in his dealings with men, and in his conduct, than in his harangues from the Rostra.

VII. But Caius busied himself most about the construction of roads,101 having in view utility, convenience, and ornament. The roads were made in a straight line, right through the country, partly of quarried stone and partly with tight-rammed masses of earth. By filling up the depressions, and throwing bridges across those parts which were traversed by winter torrents or deep ravines, and raising the road on both sides to the same uniform height, the whole line was made level and presented an agreeable appearance. He also measured all the roads by miles (the Roman mile is not quite eight Greek stadia), and fixed stone blocks to mark the distances. He placed other stones at less distances from one another on each side of the road, that persons might thus easily mount their horses without assistance.

VIII. As the people extolled him for all these services, and were ready to show their good will towards him in any way, he said on one occasion when he was addressing them, that he would ask a favour, which he would value above everything if it was granted, but if it were refused, 100he should not complain. It was accordingly expected that he would ask for the consulship, and everybody supposed that he would be a candidate for the consulship and the tribunate at the same time. When the consular comitia were near, and all were at the highest point of expectation, Caius appeared conducting Caius Fannius into the Campus Martius, and canvassing with his friends for Fannius.102 This gave Fannius a great advantage. Fannius was elected consul, and Caius tribune for the second time, though he was neither a candidate nor canvassed, but his election was entirely due to the zeal of the people. Perceiving, however, that the senate was clearly opposed to him, and that the kind feeling of Fannius towards him cooled, he forthwith endeavoured to attach the people by other measures, by proposing to send colonies to Tarentum and Capua, and by inviting the Latins to a participation in the Roman franchise. The senate, fearing that Gracchus would become irresistible, attempted a new and unusual method of diverting the people from him, by opposing popular measures to his, and by gratifying the people, contrary to sound policy. Livius Drusus was one of the colleagues of Caius, a man by birth and education inferior to none in Rome, and in character, eloquence, and wealth equal to any who enjoyed either honour or power by the aid of these advantages. To him accordingly the chief nobles applied, and they urged him to attack Caius, and to unite with them against him, not by adopting violent measures, nor coming into collision with the many, but by a course of administration adapted to please, and by making such concessions as it would have been honourable to refuse, even at the risk of unpopularity.

IX. Livius, having agreed to employ his tribunitian authority on the side of the senate, framed measures which had neither any honourable nor any useful object: he only had in view to outbid Caius in the popular favour, just as it is in a comedy, by making himself busy and vying with his rival. This showed most clearly that the senate were 101not displeased with the measures of Caius, but only wished to destroy him or completely humble him. When Caius proposed to send out ten colonies consisting of citizens of the best character, the senate accused him of truckling to the people; but they co-operated with Livius, who proposed twelve colonies, each of which was to consist of three thousand needy citizens. They set themselves in opposition to Caius when he proposed to distribute land among the poor, subject to a yearly payment to the treasury from each, on the ground that he was trying to gain the popular favour; but they were satisfied when Livius proposed to relieve the colonists even from this payment. Further, Caius gave them offence by proposing to confer on the Latins the Roman suffrage; but when Livius brought forward a measure which forbade any Latin to be beaten with rods even while serving in the army, they supported it. And indeed Livius himself, in his harangues to the people, always said that he only proposed what was agreeable to the senate, who had a regard for the many; which indeed was the only good that resulted from his measures. For the people became more pacifically disposed towards the senate; and though the most distinguished of them were formerly suspected and hated by the people, Livius did away with and softened their recollection of past grievances and their ill feeling, by giving out that it was in accordance with the wish of the senate that he had entered upon his popular career and framed measures to please the many.

X. But the best proof to the people of the good intentions and honesty of Livius was, that he proposed nothing for himself or in behalf of his own interests; for he appointed other persons to superintend the establishment of the colonies, and he did not meddle with the administration of the money, while Caius had assigned to himself most of such functions, and the most important of them. It happened that Rubrius, one of the tribunes, had proposed a measure for the colonisation of Carthage, which had been destroyed by Scipio; and as the lot fell on Caius, he set sail to Libya to found the colony. In his absence, Drusus, making still further advances, insinuated himself into the favour of the people, and gained them over mainly 102by calumniating Fulvius.103 This Fulvius was a friend of Caius and a joint commissioner for the distribution of lands; but he was a noisy fellow, and specially disliked by the senate; he was also suspected by others of stirring up the allies, and secretly encouraging the Italians to revolt; and though this was said without proof or inquiry, Fulvius himself gave it credit by his unwise and revolutionary policy. This more than anything else destroyed the popularity of Caius, who came in for his share of the odium against Fulvius. And when Scipio104 Africanus died without any obvious cause, and certain signs of blows and violence were supposed to be visible on the body, as I told in the Life of Scipio, the suspicion fell chiefly on Fulvius, who was his enemy, and on that day had abused Scipio from the Rostra. Suspicion attached to Caius also. So abominable a crime committed against the first and greatest of the Romans went unpunished, and there was not even an inquiry; for the many opposed it and stopped the investigation through fear for Caius, lest he should be discovered to be implicated in the murder. These events, indeed, belong to an earlier period.

XI. In Libya, as to the foundation of Carthage,105 which103 Caius named Junonia, which is the same as Heraea, it is said there were many supernatural hindrances. For the first standard was seized and broken by a violent gust of wind, though the standard-bearer stuck to it vigorously; and the victims which were lying on the altars were dispersed by a tempest, and scattered beyond the stakes which marked the limits of the city, and the stakes were torn up by the wolves and carried a long way off. However Caius, after settling and arranging everything in seventy days, returned to Rome upon hearing that Fulvius was hard pressed by Drusus, and that affairs required his presence. Lucius Opimius, a man who belonged to the faction of the oligarchs,106 and had great influence in the senate, failed on a former occasion when he was a candidate for the consulship, at the time when Caius brought forward Fannius and canvassed against Opimius; but now, being supported by a powerful party, it was expected that Opimius would be elected consul and would put down Caius, whose influence was already in some degree on the wane, and the people also were tired of such measures as his, for there were many who sought their favour, and the senate easily gave way.

XII. On his return from Libya, Caius removed from the Palatium to the neighbourhood of the Forum, as being a more popular place of residence, for it happened that most of the lowest classes of the poor lived there; he next promulgated the rest of his measures, intending to take the vote of the people upon them. As crowds were collecting 104from all parts to support Caius, the senate prevailed on the consul Fannius to drive out of the city all who were not Romans. Accordingly a strange and unusual proclamation was made, to the effect that none of the allies or friends of the Roman state should appear in Rome during those days; on which Caius published a counter edict, in which he criminated the consul and promised his support to the allies if they remained in Rome. But he did not keep his promise; for though he saw one of them, who was his own friend and intimate, dragged off by the officers of Fannius, he passed by without helping him, whether it was that he feared to put to the test his power which was now on the decline, or that he did not choose, as he said, to give his enemies the opportunity which they were seeking of coming to a collision and a struggle. It also chanced that he had incurred the ill-will of his fellow-colleagues, in the following manner:—The people were going to see an exhibition of gladiators in the Forum, and most of the magistrates had constructed seats round the place, with the intention of letting them for hire. But Caius urged them to remove the seats, that the poor might be able to see the show without paying. As no one took any notice of what he said, he waited till the night before the show, when he went with the workmen whom he had under him, and removed the seats, and at daybreak he pointed out to the people that the place was clear; for which the many considered him a man, but he offended his colleagues, who viewed him as an audacious and violent person. Owing to this circumstance, it is supposed, he lost his third tribunate, though he had most votes, for it is said that his colleagues acted illegally and fraudulently in the proclamation and return. This, however, was disputed. Caius did not bear his failure well: and to his enemies, who were exulting over him, he is said to have observed, with more arrogance than was befitting, that their laugh was a sardonic laugh,107 for they knew not 105what a darkness his political measures had spread all around them.

XIII. After effecting the election of Opimius to the consulship, the enemies of Caius began to repeal many of his laws and to disturb the settlement of Carthage, for the purpose of irritating Caius, in order that he might give them some cause of quarrel, and so be got rid of. He endured this for some time, but his friends, and especially Fulvius, beginning to urge him on, he again attempted to combine his partisans against the consul. On this occasion it is said that his mother also helped him, by hiring men from remote parts and sending them to Rome in the disguise of reapers, for it is supposed that these matters are obscurely alluded to in her letters108 to her son. Others, on the contrary, say that this was done quite contrary to the wishes of Cornelia. On the day on which the party of Opimius intended to repeal the laws of Caius, the Capitol had been occupied by the opposite faction early in the morning. The consul had offered the sacrifices, and one of his officers, named Quintus Antyllius,109 was carrying the viscera to another part, when he said to the partisans of Fulvius, “Make way for honest men, you rascals.” Some say that as he uttered these words he also held out his bare arm with insulting gestures. However this may be, Antyllius was killed on the spot, being pierced with large styles110 said to have been made expressly for the purpose. The 106people were greatly disturbed at the murder, but it produced exactly opposite effects on the leaders of the two parties. Caius was deeply grieved at what had happened, and abused his party for having given a handle to their enemies, who had long been looking for it; but Opimius, as if he had got the opportunity which he wanted, was highly elated, and urged the people to avenge the murder.

XIV. A torrent of rain happened to fall just then, and the meeting was dissolved. Early on the following day Opimius summoned the senate to transact business. In the mean time the naked body of Antyllius was placed on a bier, and, according to arrangement, carried through the Forum past the senate-house with loud cries and lamentations. Opimius, though he knew what was going on, pretended to be surprised at the noise, and the senators went out to see what was the matter. When the bier had been set down in the midst of the crowd, the senators began to express their indignation at so horrible and monstrous a crime; but this only moved the people to hate and execrate the oligarchs, who, after murdering Tiberius Gracchus in the Capitol, a tribune, had treated his body with insult; while Antyllius, a mere servant, who perhaps had not deserved his fate, yet was mainly to blame for what happened, was laid out in the Forum, and surrounded by the Roman senate lamenting and assisting at the funeral of a hireling; and all this merely to accomplish the ruin of the only remaining guardian of the people’s liberties. On returning to the senate-house, the senators passed a decree111 by which the consul Opimius was directed to save the state in such way as he could, and to put down the tyrants. Opimius gave 107notice to the senators to arm, and each eques was commanded to bring in the morning two armed slaves. On the other side, Fulvius also made preparation and got together a rabble; but Caius as he left the Forum stood opposite his father’s statue, and looking at it for some time without speaking, at last burst into tears, and fetching a deep sigh, walked away. The sight of this moved many of the spectators to compassion, and blaming themselves for deserting the man and betraying him, they came to the house of Caius and passed the night at his door; but not in the same manner as those who watched about the house of Fulvius, for they spent the night in tumult and shouting, drinking, and bragging what they would do. Fulvius himself, who was the first to get drunk, spoke and acted in a way quite unseemly for a man of his age. The followers of Caius, viewing the state of affairs as a public calamity, kept quiet, thinking of the future, and they passed the night watching and sleeping in turns.

XV. At daybreak Fulvius was with difficulty roused from his drunken sleep, and his partisans, arming themselves with the warlike spoils in his house, which he had taken in his victory over the Gauls during his consulship, with loud threats and shouts went to seize the Aventine Hill.112 Caius would not arm, but went out in his toga just as if he was proceeding to the Forum, with only a short dagger at his side. As he was going out at the door, his wife met him, and throwing one arm round him, while she held in the other their little child, said, “Caius, not as in time past do I take my leave of you going to the Rostra as tribune and as legislator, nor yet going to a glorious war, where, if you died in the service of your country, you would still leave me an honoured grief; but you are going to expose yourself to the murderers of Tiberius: ’tis right indeed to go unarmed, and to suffer rather than do wrong, but you will perish without benefiting the state. The worst has now prevailed; force and the sword determine all controversies. If your brother had died at Numantia, his body would have been restored to us on the 108usual terms of war; but now perchance I too shall have to supplicate some river or the sea to render up to me your corpse from its keeping. What faith can we put in the laws or in the deities since the murder of Tiberius?” While Licinia was thus giving vent to sorrow, Gracchus gently freed himself from his wife’s embrace, and went off in silence with his friends. Licinia, as she attempted to lay hold of his dress, fell down on the floor, and lay there some time speechless, until her slaves took her up fainting, and carried her to her brother Crassus.

XVI. When they were all assembled, Fulvius, at the request of Caius, sent his younger son with a caduceus113 to the Forum. He was a most beautiful youth, and with great decorum and modesty, and with tears in his eyes he addressed to the consul and the senate the message of conciliation. The majority who were present were not disinclined to come to terms; but Opimius replied, that Fulvius and Gracchus must not attempt to bring the senate to an accommodation through the medium of a messenger; they must consider themselves as citizens who had to account for their conduct, and come down and surrender, and then beg for mercy; he further told the youth that these were the terms on which he must come a second time, or not at all. Now Caius, it is said, wished to go and clear himself before the senate, but as no one else assented, Fulvius again sent his son to address the senate on their behalf in the same terms as before. But Opimius, who was eager to come to blows, forthwith ordered the youth to be seized and put in prison, and advanced against the party of Fulvius with many legionary soldiers and Cretan bowmen114 who mainly contributed to put them into confusion by discharging their arrows and wounding them. The partisans of Fulvius being put to flight, he made his escape into a bath that was not used where he was soon discovered and put to death with his elder son. Caius was not observed to take any part in the contest, but greatly troubled at what was taking place, he retired 109to the temple of Diana, and was going to kill himself there, but was prevented by his faithful friends Pomponius and Licinius, who took the sword away and induced him to fly. It is said that he went down on his knees in the temple, and stretching out his hands to the statue of the goddess, prayed that the Roman people, for their ingratitude and treachery to him, might always be slaves; for the greater part of them had openly gone over to the other side upon an amnesty115 being proclaimed.

XVII. In his flight Caius was followed by his enemies, who were near overtaking him at the wooden bridge,116 but his two friends, bidding him make his escape, opposed the pursuers and allowed no man to pass the head of the bridge till they were killed. Caius was accompanied by a single slave, named Philocrates,117 and though all the spectators urged him to fly, just as if they were shouting at a race, yet no one, though he prayed for it, would come to his aid or lend him a horse: for the pursuers were close upon him. He just escaped into a sacred grove of the Furies,118 and there he fell by the hand of Philocrates, who killed himself on the body of his master. Some say both of them were taken alive by their enemies, and that the slave embraced his master so closely, that Caius could 110not be struck until the slave had been dispatched first, and with many blows. It is said that a man cut off the head of Caius and was carrying it away, but it was taken from him by a friend of Opimius named Septimuleius; for proclamation had been made at the beginning of the contest, that those who brought the heads of Caius and Fulvius should have their weight in gold. The head of Caius was brought to Opimius by Septimuleius stuck on a spear, and it weighed seventeen pounds and two-thirds in the scales. Septimuleius was a scoundrel and a knave119 here also, for he had taken out the brain and dropped melted lead in its place. Those who brought the head of Fulvius got nothing, for they belonged to the lower class. The bodies of Caius and Fulvius and their partisans were thrown into the river, the number of dead being three thousand: their property was sold and the produce paid into the treasury. They also forbade the women to lament for their relatives, and Licinia was deprived of her marriage portion. But their conduct was most cruel to the younger son of Fulvius, who had neither raised up his hand against them nor been among the combatants; for he was seized before the battle, when he came to treat of terms, and was put to death after the battle. But what most of all vexed the people was the circumstance of Opimius erecting a temple to Concord, which was viewed as an evidence of his insolence and arrogance, and as a kind of triumph for the slaughter of so many citizens. Accordingly by night some person wrote under the inscription on the temple the following line:—

The work of Discord120 makes the temple of Concord.


XVIII. This Opimius,121 the first man that ever exercised the dictatorial power in the office of consul, and who had condemned without trial three thousand citizens, and among them Caius Gracchus and Fulvius Flaccus122—Flaccus, a consular, who had enjoyed a triumph; Gracchus, the first man of his age in character and reputation—this Opimius did not keep himself free from corruption. Being sent as a commissioner to Jugurtha, the Numidian, he was bribed by him, and being convicted of most shameful corruption, he spent the last years of his life in infamy, hated and insulted by the people, who, though humbled and depressed for the time, soon showed how much they desired and regretted the Gracchi. For they had statues of the two brothers made and set up in public places, and the spots on which they fell were declared sacred ground, to which people brought all the first fruits of the seasons, and many persons daily offered sacrifices there and worshipped, just as at the temples of the gods.

XIX. Cornelia is said to have borne her misfortunes with a noble and elevated spirit, and to have said of the sacred ground on which her sons were murdered, that they had a tomb worthy of them. She resided in the neighbourhood of Misenum, without making any change in her usual mode of life. She had many friends, and her hospitable table was always crowded with guests; Greeks and learned men were constantly about her, and kings sent and received presents from her. To all her visitors and friends she was a most agreeable companion: [Pg 112]
[Pg 113]
[Pg 114]
she would tell them of the life and habits of her father Africanus, and, what is most surprising, would speak of her sons without showing sorrow or shedding a tear, relating their sufferings and their deeds to her inquiring friends as if she was speaking of the men of olden time. This made some think that her understanding had been impaired by old age or the greatness of her sorrows, and that she was dull to all sense of her misfortunes, while in fact such people themselves were too dull to see what a support it is against grief to have a noble nature, and to be of honourable lineage and honourably bred; and that though fortune has often the advantage over virtue in its attempts to guard against evils, yet she cannot take away from virtue the power of enduring them with fortitude.123



I. Now that we have completed the narrative of these men’s lives, it remains for us to compare them with one another. As for the Gracchi, not even their bitterest enemies could deny that they were the most virtuous of all the Romans, or that they were excellently well nurtured and educated; while Agis and Kleomenes appear to have excelled them in strength of mind, because they both, after having been brought up in the same fashion by which their elders had been corrupted, became the restorers of temperance and simplicity of life. Furthermore, the Gracchi, who lived at a period when Rome was at the height of its greatness and renown, felt ashamed to fall short of the glorious achievements of their forefathers; while the virtuous impulses of the others were not checked by their fathers having pursued the opposite course of policy, or by the miserable and distracted condition of their country. The greatest proof of the unselfishness and indifference to money of the Gracchi is that they filled various offices in the state, and yet kept their hands clean from dishonest gains; while it would be an insult to Agis to praise him for not having taken other men’s money, as he gave up to his countrymen his own private property, which alone was worth six hundred talents. If then he thought it discreditable for him to be richer than any of his countrymen, even though his riches were lawfully acquired, what must have been his abhorrence of those who obtain money wrongfully.

II. There was also a great difference in the boldness and extent of their schemes of reform. The Gracchi were chiefly engaged in the construction of roads and the founding 116 of cities, and Tiberius’s most important measure of reform was the division of the public lands among the people, while the best act of his brother Caius was the establishment of a mixed tribunal by adding to the three hundred Senators three hundred Roman Knights. The revolution effected by Agis and Kleomenes was of quite a different kind. They thought, in Plato’s words, that to proceed by slow degrees was merely cutting off the heads of the hydra,124 and therefore they by one comprehensive measure swept away all abuses at once: although it would be nearer the truth to say that they swept all abuses out of the state by restoring to it its original constitution. It may also be observed that the reforms of the Gracchi were opposed by some of the most powerful men in Rome, whereas the legislation which was begun by Agis, and completed by Kleomenes, followed a famous and ancient precedent, the rhetras on sobriety and equality which had been communicated to their ancestors by Lykurgus with the sanction of the Pythian Apollo. It is also most important to notice that the reforms of the Gracchi made Rome no greater than she was before, while the acts of Kleomenes enabled him in a short time to make Sparta mistress of the whole of Peloponnesus, and to engage in a contest with the most powerful man of his time, with the object of ridding Greece from Illyrian and Gaulish mercenary troops, and of renewing its ancient glories under the rule of the Herakleidæ.

III. I think too that the deaths of these men show a certain difference in their courage. The Gracchi fought with their countrymen, and were slain by them while flying, while of the other two, Agis may almost be said to have died voluntarily, because he would not put a citizen to death, while Kleomenes, when insulted and ill-treated, fiercely attempted to avenge himself, and as circumstances prevented his succeeding, bravely killed himself. It may be said on the other side that Agis never distinguished himself in the field, and we may set against the many 117brilliant victories of Kleomenes the scaling of the wall of Carthage by Tiberius Gracchus, no slight achievement, and the peace which he made with the Numantines, by which he saved the lives of twenty thousand Roman soldiers, who could not otherwise have hoped to survive; while Caius, in several campaigns both in Italy and Sardinia, showed great military skill; so that they both might have rivalled the fame of the greatest generals of Rome, had they not been cut off so soon.

IV. In political matters Agis appears to have shown weakness, as he allowed Agesilaus to cheat the citizens out of their promised redistribution of lands, and in a feeble and vacillating manner announced his intention and then abandoned it. The cause of his irresolution was his extreme youth; while Kleomenes on the other hand effected his revolution with too great promptitude and daring, putting the Ephors to death without a trial, when it would have been easy for him to have won them over to his side, and banishing many of the citizens. It is not the part either of a wise physician or of a good politician to use the knife except in the last extremity, but it shows a want of skill in both, and in the latter case it is unjust as well as cruel. Of the Gracchi, neither would begin a civil war, and Caius is said not even to have defended himself when struck, but though forward enough in battle he was loth to fight in a party quarrel; for he appeared in public unarmed, and retired when fighting began, and evidently took more pains not to do any harm than not to suffer any. For this reason we must regard the flight of both the Gracchi as a proof, not of cowardice, but of caution; for they must either have retreated when attacked or have retaliated upon their opponents.

V. The heaviest charge that can be brought against Tiberius is that he deposed his colleague from the tribuneship, and afterwards sought a second tribuneship for himself. As for the murder of Antyllius, Caius Gracchus was most falsely and unjustly accused of it, for he did not wish him to die, and was grieved at his death. Again Kleomenes, not to speak of his massacre of the Ephors, set all the slaves at liberty, and practically made himself despot of the kingdom, although for form’s sake he 118associated his brother with him, who was of the same family. And when Archidamus, who was the next heir to the throne of the other royal house, was persuaded by him to return from Messene to Sparta, as Kleomenes did not avenge his death, he caused men to suspect that he himself had some share in it. Yet Lykurgus, whom he affected to imitate, abdicated the throne of his own free will in favour of his nephew Charilaus, and fearing that if the child died by any mischance he might be thought guilty of having caused its death, he travelled abroad for a long time and did not return until Charilaus had begotten a son to succeed him. However, no Greek can bear comparison with Lykurgus; yet we have proved that Kleomenes effected greater reforms, and showed less respect to the laws than any of the others. Both the Greeks have been blamed for having from the very outset aimed at being nothing more than warlike despots; while the worst enemies of the Romans only charge them with an immoderate ambition, and admit that they became so excited by the contest with their political opponents that the natural heat of their temper drove them in spite of themselves like a baleful gust of wind to advocate extreme measures. What indeed can be more just or honourable than the objects with which they started; for their troubles were brought upon them by the opposition which the rich offered to their laws, so that the one was forced to fight to save his own life, while the other endeavoured to avenge his brother, who was slain without law or justice? From what has been said the reader can himself form an opinion about their respective merits, but if I must say what I think of each, I should give the highest place in respect of virtue to Tiberius Gracchus; I think that the young Agis committed the fewest crimes; while in daring and action Caius fell far short of Kleomenes.



I. The writer of the Ode to Alkibiades on the occasion of his winning the chariot-race at Olympia, whether he was Euripides, as is commonly supposed, or some other poet, my friend Sossius, tells us that the first thing necessary for a perfectly happy man is that he should be born a citizen of some famous city. But for my own part I believe that for the enjoyment of true happiness, which depends chiefly upon a man’s character and disposition, it makes no difference whether he be born in an obscure state or of an ill-favoured mother, or not. It would indeed be absurd if one were to suppose that the town of Iulis, which is only a small part of the little island of Keos or Ægina, which some Athenian bade his countrymen clear away because it was an eyesore to Peiræus, should be able to produce good actors and poets, and yet be unable to bring forth a just, virtuous, sensible and high-minded man. We may reasonably expect that those arts by which men gain glory or profit should be neglected and fall into decay in small and obscure towns; but virtue, like a hardy plant, can take root in any country where it meets with noble natures and industrious disposition. I myself therefore must lay the blame of my intellectual and moral shortcomings, not upon the insignificance of my native city, but upon myself.

II. However, when a man is engaged in compiling a history from materials which are not ready to his hand, but for the most part are to be found scattered through other foreign towns, it becomes really of the first importance that he should live in some famous, cultivated, and populous city, where he can have unlimited access to books of all kinds, and where he can also personally 120collect and inquire into the truth of those stories which, though not reduced to writing, are all the more likely to be true because they rest upon universal popular tradition. The work of a historian who is deprived of these advantages must necessarily be defective in many essential particulars. Now I, who belong to a small city, and who love to live in it lest it should become even smaller, when I was at Rome, and during my travels in Italy, found my time so taken up with political business and with the care of my pupils in philosophy, that I had no leisure to learn the Roman language, and have only applied myself to Latin literature at a very advanced period of life. In this reading of Latin books, singular as it may appear, I did not find that the words assisted me to discover the meaning, but rather that my knowledge of the history enabled me to find out the meaning of the words. I think that to speak the Latin language with elegance, to understand it readily, and to use its various idioms and phrases correctly, is for a literary man both useful and interesting; but the amount of study and practice which it requires is considerable and should only be undertaken by those who are younger than myself, and who have more leisure time to devote to the acquisition of such accomplishments.

III. In consequence of these considerations, in this my fifth book of Parallel Lives, which deals with the lives of Demosthenes and Cicero, I intend to describe their several characters, and to compare them with one another by means of their political acts, but I do not mean to examine minutely into their respective speeches, or to decide which of the two was the more pleasing or the more able orator. Were I to attempt such a task, I should be forgetting Ion’s proverb about a “fish out of water,” like the all-accomplished Cæcilius, who has boldly taken upon himself to write a comparison of Demosthenes with Cicero. Perhaps, however, we might begin to doubt the divine origin of the commandment “know thyself,” if we found men always ready to apply it. Indeed Heaven appears to have originally intended to form the characters of Demosthenes and Cicero on the same model, and in some instances to have implanted in them precisely the same qualities, such as great personal ambition, love of freedom,121 and want of courage in the wars, yet to have left much to chance. I think it would be difficult to find an instance of any two other orators who both rose from a humble station to great power and influence, who both opposed absolute monarchs, both lost favourite daughters, were both exiled and brought back with honour, who both when flying from their country a second time fell into the hands of their enemies, and with whose deaths the liberties of their countrymen were finally extinguished; so that it is hard to say whether their resemblance is due more to nature, which originally moulded their characters alike, or to fortune, which placed then in exactly similar circumstances. First, then, I will relate the life of the elder of the two.

IV. The father of Demosthenes was also named Demosthenes, and belonged, according to Theopompus, to the best class of Athenian citizens. He was commonly called “the sword cutler,” because he possessed a large workshop and many slaves skilled in cutlery. As for the accusation which the orator Æschines brings against his mother, that she was the daughter of one Gylon, who was banished for treason, by a foreign woman, we cannot tell whether it is true or only a calumnious imputation. Demosthenes was left an orphan at the age of seven years, and was the heir to considerable property, amounting in all to no less than fifteen talents. He was scandalously ill-used by his guardians, who appropriated much of his income, and neglected the rest so much that he was unable to pay his teachers. He grew up ignorant of much that a boy of good birth is expected to learn, partly for this reason, and partly on account of his weak health, which caused his mother to keep him away from school. He was a sickly child, and it is said that the opprobrious nickname of Batalus was bestowed upon him by his school-fellows because of his bodily weakness. Batalus, according to some writers, was an effeminate flute-player, whose habits were satirized in a comic drama written by Antiphanes. Others assert that Batalus was a poet who wrote in a drunken licentious style; and there seems also some foundation for the belief that this word was used for a certain part of the human body by the Athenians 122of that time. The other nickname of Demosthenes, Argas, either alludes to his savage and harsh temper, for some poets use the word to mean a snake; or else it refers to his speeches, as wearying those who heard them; for Argas was the name of a poet whose verses were bad and tiresome. And, as Plato says, so much for this.

V. We are told that he was first led to turn his attention, to oratory by the following incident. When Kallistratus was going to make a speech in court about the affair of Oropus125 great interest was taken in the trial because of the ability of the orator, who at that time was at the height of his reputation, and also because of the important character of the law suit. Demosthenes, hearing his teachers and attendants making arrangement to be present at the trial, persuaded his own servant by great entreaties to take him to hear the speeches. The man, who was intimate with the doorkeepers of the court, managed to obtain a place for Demosthenes, in which the boy could sit unseen by the public and hear all that was said. Kallisthenes spoke very brilliantly and was much admired. He excited the envy of Demosthenes by the honours which he received, as he was escorted home by a long train of friends who congratulated him upon his success; but the boy was even more impressed by the power of his eloquence, which enabled him to deal with everything just as he pleased. In consequence of this Demosthenes neglected all other branches of learning, neglected all the sports of childhood, and laboriously practised and exercised himself in the art of oratory, meaning some day to become an orator himself. He studied rhetoric under Isaeus, although Isokrates was giving lessons at the same time, either, according to some writers, because, being an orphan, he was unable to raise the sum of ten minæ which Isokrates demanded as a fee, or because he thought that the vigorous invective of Isaeus was more what he required to learn. Hermippus informs us that he read in some anonymous work that Demosthenes was a scholar of Plato, and learned much of the art of speaking from him, while he mentions having heard from Ktesibius that Demosthenes had been lent the 123works of Isokrates and Alkidamas by one Kallias, a Syracusan, and some others, and that he used to read and practise himself in them in secret.

VI.. When he came of age he at once brought a series of actions against his guardians for malversation of his property, while they resorted to every species of legal subtlety and chicanery to avoid making restitution. By publicly pleading his cause, as Thucydides says, “he learned his trade by dangers,” and succeeded in recovering some of his paternal estate, though but a small part of that to which he was entitled. He gained, however, confidence and practice as a public speaker, and the fascinating excitement and sense of power which he experienced in these contests emboldened him to become a professional orator and to deal with political matters. We are told that Laomedon of Orchomenus, by the advice of his physicians, used to run long distances as a remedy for a disease of the spleen from which he suffered, until he not only overcame his disorder, but was able to enter for races at the games, and became one of the best long-distance runners of his time. Even so Demosthenes, who was forced by his private misfortunes to make his first appearance as a speaker, gained such skill and power by his success in the law-courts that he soon took the lead among the speakers in the public assembly. Yet when he first addressed the people he was violently coughed down, interrupted and ridiculed, because his speech was found dull and tiresome, being confused in style and strained and artificial in argument. It is said that his voice was weak, and his pronunciation indistinct, and that, as he was frequently obliged to pause for want of breath, it was difficult to follow the meaning of his sentences. At last he left the public assembly and wandered about Peiræus in despair. Here he was met by an old man named Eunomus of Thriasia,126 who reproved him and told him that he did himself great wrong, because, having a manner of speech extremely like that of Perikles, he permitted himself to be disheartened by failure, and did not face the clamour of the rabble boldly, and did not train his body to be strong enough to support the strain of such contests, but 124allowed himself to fall into a weakly and effeminate condition.

VII. After a second failure, as he was going home overwhelmed with shame hiding his face in his cloak, Satyrus the actor is said to have followed him and joined him. Demosthenes told him with tears in his eyes that although he had taken more pains than any other speaker, and had devoted all his energes to the study of eloquence, yet he could not gain the ear of the people, but that ignorant drunken sailors were listened to when they mounted the tribune, while he was treated with scorn. On hearing this Satyrus answered, “Demosthenes, what you say is very true, but I will soon apply a remedy, if you will recite to me one of the long speeches from the plays of Sophokles or Euripides.” After Demosthenes had recited a speech, Satyrus recited the same speech in turn, and so altered it and gave it so much more grace, by throwing into it the expression which the verses required, that it appeared to Demosthenes to be quite different. Having thus learned how much a speech gains by a really artistic delivery, Demosthenes perceived that it was of but little use for him to study the matter of a speech, unless he also paid attention to the form in which it was to be presented to his audience. He now built for himself an underground study, which remained entire down to the present day, where he daily practised himself in gesture and declamation, and exercised his voice, and where he sometimes spent two or three months at a time with half of his head shaved, so that even if he wished he could not go out of doors.

VIII. He took, however, his themes and subjects for declamation from the various topics of the day, which he learned from those who came to visit him. As soon as they left him he used to return to his study, and repeated aloud in the form of a speech all the news which he had heard, and made comments upon it. He also used to work up any conversations which he heard, into sentences and periods for his orations, and would alter, correct and paraphrase both his own remarks and those of his friends. This gave rise to the opinion that he was not really a man of ability, but that his power and skill 125as an orator was obtained by laborious study. A great proof of this was thought to be that Demosthenes seldom spoke on the spur of the moment, but often when he was present in the assembly and was called upon by the people to speak, he would remain silent unless he had prepared and meditated over his speech. Many of the other orators ridiculed him for this, and Pytheas in derision said that his arguments smelt of the lamp. To this Demosthenes made the bitter retort, “My lamp, Pytheas, sees very different work from yours.” In conversation with others, however, he did not altogether deny the practice, but said that although he never spoke without having made notes, yet that he often spoke without having written down everything that he was going to say. He used to say that this careful preparation of his speeches showed that he was a true lover of the people, and felt a due reverence for them; while, on the contrary, to speak without caring how the people take one’s words proves a man to be of an overbearing oligarchical disposition, who would use force rather than persuasion. Many writers allege, as a proof that Demosthenes dared not speak on the spur of the moment, that when he attacked Demades he was always immediately answered by him, but that he never so answered Demades.

IX. How then, one might ask, was it that Æschines in his orations speaks of Demosthenes as a man of unbounded impudence? or how was it that when Python of Byzantium was pouring forth a flood of invective against Athens, Demosthenes alone rose and answered him? Moreover, when Lamachus of Mytilene, who had written an encomium upon the Kings of Macedon, Philip and Alexander, which was full of abuse of the Thebans and Olynthians, read his composition in public at the Olympic festival, Demosthenes came up to him and in a fine speech proved from history how great things the Thebans and inhabitants of Chalkidike had done for Greece, and what evils had arisen from the baseness of those who flattered the Macedonians, till the audience were so much wrought upon by his eloquence that Lamachus was forced to flee for his life. The answer to this appears to be that Demosthenes, although he did not copy Perikles in 126all respects, imitated his reserve and dignity of manner, and his reluctance to speak upon every trivial occasion; and that he was not so much attracted by the credit which he might gain by engaging in these encounters, as he was unwilling rashly to place his power and reputation at the mercy of fortune. Indeed, his spoken orations had more fire and daring than the written ones, if we may trust Eratosthenes, Demetrius of Phalerum, and the comic poets. Eratosthenes tells us that in his speeches he used to rave like a Bacchanal, while Demetrius says that once, as if inspired, he recited the metrical oath:

“By earth, by fountains, and by waterfloods.”

One of the comic poets also calls him “the random talker,” while another mocks at his fondness for antithesis in the following verses:

1st Citizen. He got it as he got it back.
2nd Citizen. Demosthenes would willingly have spoken words like these.”

Unless indeed Antiphanes meant by this to allude to the oration on Halonesus, in which Demosthenes advised the Athenians not to take that island, but to take it back from Philip.

X. Yet all admitted that Demades, by his own natural wit, without art, was invincible; and that he often, speaking on the spur of the moment, would demolish the carefully studied orations of Demosthenes. Ariston of Chios has preserved the opinion of Theophrastus about these two orators. Theophrastus, when asked what kind of orator he thought Demosthenes to be, replied, “an orator worthy of Athens.” When again asked his opinion of Demades, he replied that he thought him “Too great for Athens.” The same philosopher relates that Polyeuktus of Sphettus, one of the chief Athenian statesmen of the time, used to declare that Demosthenes was the best orator, but that Phokion was the most powerful speaker, because his speeches contained the greatest possible amount of meaning in the fewest words. Demosthenes himself, whenever Phokion rose to answer him, was wont to whisper to his friends, “Here comes 127the cleaver of my harangues.” It is not clear whether by this Demosthenes alluded to Phokion’s oratorical skill, or to his blameless life and high reputation, meaning that the slightest sign given by a man in whom the people felt such confidence carried more weight than the longest oration by anyone else.

XI. Demetrius of Phalerum has recorded the devices by which Demosthenes overcame his bodily defects, which he says he heard from Demosthenes’s own lips when he was an old man. He corrected the indistinctness of his articulation and his tendency to lisp by declaiming long speeches with pebbles in his mouth, while he strengthened his voice by running or walking up hill, talking the while, and repeating orations or verses. He also had a large mirror in his house, and used to stand before it and study oratorical gestures. We are told that once a man called upon him and asked him to act as his counsel in a lawsuit against a man by whom he had been beaten. “But,” said Demosthenes, “you have not suffered any of this ill-treatment which you complain of.” At this the man raised his voice and excitedly exclaimed, “Do you say, Demosthenes, that I have not been ill-treated?” “Yes,” answered he, “now I hear the voice of one who has really been ill-used.” So important did he think the action and the tone of voice of a speaker to be in carrying conviction to the minds of his hearers. His manner in speaking marvellously pleased the common people, though men of taste, such as Demetrius of Phalerum, thought it vulgar and affected. Hermippus informs us that Aesion,127 when asked to give his opinion about the orators of former times and those of his own day, said that the ancient orators used to address the people in a surprisingly decorous and dignified manner, but that the speeches of Demosthenes when read aloud, appeared to him to be much more carefully constructed and more forcible. It is indeed unnecessary to say that the written speeches of Demosthenes are bitter and angry compositions; but in his impromptu repartees, he often was genuinely witty and pleasant. As for example, when Demades exclaimed, “Demosthenes teach me! Will a sow teach Athena?128

Demosthenes answered, “This Athena was caught in adultery in Kollytus128 the other day.” And when the thief who was surnamed Chalkus, that is, Brazen-face, attempted to sneer at him for sitting up late at night writing, Demosthenes answered, “I know that my habit of burning a lamp at night must disconcert you. But, men of Athens, need we wonder at the thefts which take place, when we see that our thieves are brazen, and our walls are only made of clay.” However, although I could relate several more anecdotes of this kind, I must now stop, as we ought to discover what remains of the disposition and character of Demosthenes from a survey of his political acts.

XII. He first began to take an active part in public affairs during the Phokian war, as we learn from his own words, and as we may also gather from his Philippic orations, some of which were pronounced after that war was ended, while the earlier ones touch on those matters most nearly connected with it. It is evident that when he prepared the oration against Meidias he was thirty-two years of age, and had not as yet acquired any fame or reputation. This appears to me to be the chief reason for his having made up his quarrel with Meidias for a sum of money, for he was far from being a “mild-mannered” man, but keen and savage in avenging the injuries which he received. It must have been because he saw, that to ruin a man who was so rich, so able a speaker, and so well-befriended as Meidias, was too difficult a task for a man of his political power, and so yielded to the entreaties of those who begged him to let the action drop; for I do not believe that the bribe of three thousand drachmae which he received would by itself have caused Demosthenes to lay aside the rancorous hatred which he bore to Meidias, if he had entertained any hopes of obtaining a verdict against him.

In the defence of the liberties of Greece against the encroachments of Philip, Demosthenes found a noble theme for political oratory, which he treated in a manner worthy of the subject, and soon acquired such renown by his able and fearless speeches, that he was courted by the king of


Persia himself, and was more talked about in the court of Philip than any of the other statesmen of the time, while even his bitterest antagonists admitted that they had to deal with no mean adversary; for both Æschines and Hypereides own as much in their invectives against him.

XIII. I cannot, therefore, understand what Theopompus meant by saying that he was of an inconstant disposition, and not able to remain long associated with any party or any line of policy. It appears rather that he remained throughout the consistent advocate of the same principles, and a member of the same political party to which he originally belonged, and that he not only never changed his politics in his life, but even lost his life because he would not change them. He was not like Demades, who to excuse himself for changing sides pleaded that he had oftentimes gone against his own words, but never against the interests of the state. Still less can he be compared with Melanopus, the political opponent of Kallistratus, who was often bribed by him to allow some measure to pass, and on these occasions would say to the people, “The man is my personal enemy, but I postpone my personal feelings to the good of my country.” Nikodemus of Messene, who first took up with Kassander, and afterwards became the advocate of Demetrius, used to declare that he never was inconsistent, because it was always best to obey the strongest party. But in the case of Demosthenes, unlike these men, we can say that he never deviated either in word or deed from the one direct line of policy which he unswervingly pursued to the end. The philosopher Panætius declares that in most of his orations, as in that about the Crown, that against Aristokrates, that on behalf of the persons exempted from taxation (against Leptines), and in the Philippics, we can trace the principle that honour ought to be pursued for its own sake; for in all these he urges his countrymen not to adopt the most pleasant, the most easy, or the most profitable line of policy, but often thinks that caution and even safety should be regarded as of less importance than honourable conduct; so that if to his noble principles and high-minded eloquence he had joined warlike courage 130and clean hands from bribery, he would have been worthy to rank, not with Mœrokles, Polyeuktus, and Hypereides, but with Kimon, Thucydides, Perikles, and other great men of old.

XIV. Indeed, of his contemporaries, Phokion, although we cannot approve of the strong Macedonian bias of his policy, was nowise inferior to Ephialtes, Aristeides, or Kimon, either in courage or in just dealing; while Demosthenes, who could not be trusted, as we are told by Demetrius, to stand his ground in battle, and who was not altogether proof against the seductions of money—for though he never would receive a bribe from Philip or from Macedonia, yet he was overwhelmed by the torrent of gold which poured from Susa and Ekbatana—was better able than any one else to praise the great deeds of his ancestors, but was not equally capable of imitating them. Yet in spite of these shortcomings, his life was more virtuous than that of any statesman of his time, with the exception of Phokion. He used plainer language to the people than any one else, opposed their wishes, and sharply reproved them for their mistakes, as we learn from his orations. Theopompus has recorded that once when the Athenians called upon him to impeach some person, and became riotous when he refused, he rose and said, “Men of Athens, I will always give you my advice, whether you bid me or not; but I will not accuse men falsely because you bid me.” His mode of dealing with Antiphon also was by no means like that of a man who courts the favour of the people, for when the public assembly acquitted Antiphon, Demosthenes dragged him before the court of the Areopagus, and in defiance of the expressed opinion of the people, proved him guilty of having promised Philip that he would set fire to the dockyard. The wretched man was condemned by the court and executed. He also impeached the priestess Theoris for various evil practices, and especially for teaching slaves to cheat their masters. He obtained a verdict against her, and caused her also to be put to death.

XV. It is stated that the speech by which Apollodorus obtained sentence against the general Timotheus, and had him condemned to pay a large fine, was written for 131him by Demosthenes: and he also wrote the speeches against Phormio and Stephanus, which, as may be supposed, brought great disgrace upon him. For Phormio actually used a speech written by Demosthenes to combat Apollodorus, which was just as if out of one armourer’s shop he had sold them each daggers to kill one another with. Of his public speeches, those against Androtion, Timokrates and Aristokrates were written for other persons, as he had not at the time of their composition began to speak in public, being only twenty-seven or twenty-eight years of age. The oration against Aristogeiton, he himself pronounced, as he did also that against Leptines, out of regard for Ktesippus the son of Chabrias, according to his own account of the matter, though some say that he was paying his addresses to the young man’s mother at the time. He did not, however, marry her, but married a Samian woman, as we learn from the treatise of Demetrius of Magnesia on Synonyms. It is not clear whether the oration against Æschines for the dishonest embassage was ever spoken; although we are told by Idomeneus that Æschines was only acquitted by thirty votes. This, however, cannot be true, judging from the speeches of Demosthenes and Æschines “on the Crown:” for neither of them distinctly alludes to that affair as having ever come into court. This point, therefore, I shall leave for others to determine.

XVI. Before the war broke out no one could doubt which side Demosthenes would take, as he never allowed any act of the King of Macedonia to pass unnoticed, but seized every opportunity of rousing and exciting his countrymen to oppose him. In consequence of this his name became well known at the court of Philip, and when he was sent with nine others to Macedonia on an embassy, Philip listened to the speeches of them all, but replied to his speech with the greatest care. He did not, however, pay so much attention to Demosthenes in the entertainment which he provided for the ambassadors, but took especial pains to win the favour of Æschines and Philokrates. Hence, when these men praised Philip as being more eloquent, more handsome, and to crown all, able to drink more than any one else, Demosthenes sneeringly 132 replied that the first of these qualities was excellent in a sophist, the second in a woman, and the third in a sponge, but that they were none of them such as became a king.

XVII. When war finally broke out, as Philip was unable to remain quiet, while the Athenians were urged on by Demosthenes, his first measure was to prevail upon the Athenians to recover Eubœa, which had been handed over to Philip by its local rulers. In pursuance of a decree which bore the name of Demosthenes, the Athenians crossed into the island and drove out the Macedonians. Next, as Philip was besieging Byzantium and Perinthus, Demosthenes prevailed upon his countrymen to lay aside their anger and forget the wrongs which they had received from the people of those cities in the social war, and to send them a reinforcement by which they were saved. After this he travelled through Greece, exciting a spirit of resistance to Philip by his speeches, until he succeeded in forming nearly all the Greek cities into a confederacy against Philip, organised an army of fifteen thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry, besides the local forces of each city, and induced them to subscribe cheerfully for the maintenance of the mercenaries and the expenses of the war. At this time, we are told by Theophrastus that, when the allies demanded that their contributions should be limited to some fixed sum, Krobylus the Athenian orator answered that war feeds not by a fixed allowance.129 Greece was now in a flutter of expectation, and the people of Eubœa, Achaia, Corinth, Megara, Leukas and Korkyra were all in arms. Yet the hardest task of all still remained for Demosthenes to accomplish, namely, to induce the Thebans to join the alliance, because their territory bordered upon that of Athens, and their army was very important, for at that time Thebes was the most warlike state in Greece. It was no easy matter to win over the Thebans, who had just received signal assistance from Philip in their war against the Phokians, and so were inclined to take his side, besides which, their being such near neighbours to the Athenians caused perpetual jealousies and quarrels between 133the two countries, which were renewed upon the most trifling occasions.

XVIII. Yet when Philip, excited by his success at Amphissa, suddenly marched to Elatea and made himself master of Phokis, when all the Athenians were panic-stricken, and no one dared to ascend the bema, or knew what to say, Demosthenes alone came forward and advised them to stand by the Thebans; and after having, after his wont, encouraged and comforted the people, he was sent with some others as ambassador to Thebes. We learn from the historian Marsyas that Philip, too, sent the Macedonians Amyntas and Klearchus, the Thessalian Daochus, and Thrasydaeus to Thebes to argue on his behalf. The Thebans on this occasion saw clearly enough on which side their interests lay, for the sufferings they had just endured in the Phokian war were still fresh in their memories; but we read in the history of Theopompus that the eloquence of Demosthenes so roused and inflamed their courage that all cold-blooded calculation of the chances, fear of the enemy, and considerations of expediency were entirely lost sight of in the honourable enthusiasm created by his speech. So powerful did his oratory prove, that Philip at once sent an embassy to ask for terms of peace, while Greece stood erect and watchful. Not only the Athenian generals, but even the Boeotarchs took their orders from Demosthenes, and he was as powerful in the public assembly of the Thebans as in that of Athens, being beloved by both nations and possessed of a power which was not beyond his deserts, as Theopompus says, but which he well deserved.

XIX. But some fatal destiny seemed now to have brought round the hour for the extinction of the liberties of Greece, and both counteracted his efforts, and also gave many ominous indications of what was to come. The Pythia at Delphi uttered terrible predictions, and an old oracle of the Sibyls was in every one’s mouth, which ran as follows:—

“Far from the battle, on that fatal day
Beside Thermodon may I flee away,
Or view it as an eagle from the sky;
There shall the vanquished weep, the victor die.”


It is said that the Thermodon is a little rivulet near my own town of Chæronea which runs into the Kephisus. We Chæroneans nowadays do not know of any rivulet which is so called, but we suppose that the stream which we call Hæmon was at that period called the Thermodon; for it runs past the temple of Herakles, where the Greek army encamped: and we imagine that when the battle took place this stream was filled with blood and corpses, and became known by its present name. Yet the historian Douris writes that the Thermodon was not a river at all, but that some men while digging a trench round their tent found a small stone image, with an inscription saying that it represented a man named Thermodon carrying a wounded Amazon in his arms. Concerning this there was another oracle current, as follows:—

“Watch for Thermodon’s field, thou sable crow,
There shalt thou feed on human flesh enow.”

XX. It is hard in these matters to determine the exact truth: but, be this as it may, Demosthenes was greatly encouraged to see such a force of armed Greeks at his disposal, and, elated by their confidence and eagerness for battle would not allow them to pay any attention to oracles and predictions, but hinted that the Pythia was in Philip’s pay, and reminded the Thebans of Epameinondas, and the Athenians of Perikles, both of whom regarded such considerations as mere pretexts for cowardice. Up to this point he behaved as a brave man should; but in the battle130 itself he performed no honourable exploit worthy of his speeches, but left his place in the ranks and ran away in a most shameful manner, throwing away his arms that he might run faster, and not hesitating to disgrace the motto of “Good Luck,” which Pytheas tells us was written in golden letters upon his shield. Immediately after the victory Philip, in insolent delight at his success, danced in a drunken revel among the corpses and sang the opening words of a decree of Demosthenes, which happened to form an iambic verse, as follows:—

“Demosthenes Pæanian, son of Demosthenes,” &c.


When, however, he came to himself, and comprehended how great his danger had been, he trembled at the ability and power of an orator who had been able to force him in a few hours of one day to risk both his empire and his life. The fame of Demosthenes reached even to the King of Persia, and he sent letters to the Satraps who governed the provinces near the sea, bidding them offer money to Demosthenes, and pay him more attention than any other Greek, because he was able to effect a diversion in favour of Persia by keeping the King of Macedonia’s hands full. This was afterwards discovered by Alexander, who found at Sardis letters from Demosthenes and papers belonging to the King’s lieutenant, containing an account of the various sums of money which they had transmitted to him.

XXI. When this great misfortune befell Greece, the political opponents of Demosthenes at once impeached him for his conduct; but the people not only acquitted him of the charges which they brought against him, but continued to treat him with great honour, and to ask for his advice. When the remains of those who had fallen at Chæronea were brought home and buried, they chose him to make the funeral oration over them, and generally they bore their misfortunes with a noble spirit, not being excessively humbled and cast down, as Theopompus relates in his history, with a view to dramatic effect, but by showing especial honour and esteem for their principal adviser they proved that they did not repent of the policy which they had followed. Demosthenes pronounced the funeral oration over the fallen, but he never again proposed a decree in the popular assembly in his own name, but always in that of some one of his friends, in order to avoid the evil omen of his own unlucky name, until he again took courage at the death of Philip, which took place shortly after his victory at Chæronea. This, it seems, was the meaning of the last verse of the oracle,

“There shall the vanquished weep, the victor die.”

XXII. Demosthenes had secret intelligence of Philip’s death, before it was publicly known. In order to inspirit the Athenians, he went with a cheerful countenance into the senate, and declared that he had dreamed that 136some great good fortune was in store for them. Not long afterwards messengers arrived with the news of Philip’s death. Upon this the Athenians made sacrifices of thanksgiving to the gods, and decreed a crown to Pausanias who slew Philip. Demosthenes also came abroad in a gay dress, and wearing a garland of flowers on his head, although his daughter had only been dead seven days. This circumstance is reported by Æschines, who reviles him for his conduct, and calls him an unnatural father, though he only proves the weakness and vulgarity of his own nature by supposing that noisy demonstrations of grief show tenderness of heart, and blaming those who bear their sorrows with dignity and composure. Yet I will not say that the Athenians did right to wear garlands and make merry at the death of a king who, after his victory, had dealt so gently with them when they were at his mercy; for it deserved the anger of the gods, and was a thoroughly low-minded act to honour a man while he lived and elect him a citizen of Athens, and then when he fell by the hand of a stranger not to be able to contain themselves for joy, but to dance over his corpse and to sing pæans of victory, as if they themselves had done some great feat of arms. On the other hand, I praise Demosthenes for leaving his own home troubles to be wept for by the women of his household, and himself coming forward and doing what he imagined was best for his country. This shows a manly and patriotic spirit, which ever looks to the good of the community at large; and I think that in forcing his private grief to give way to the public joy he acted well, and even outdid those actors who represent kings and autocrats on the stage, and who laugh or wail not as their own feelings bid them, but as the argument of the play requires. Apart from these considerations, it is our duty not to forsake a man when he is in sorrow, but to administer consolation to him and to turn his thoughts to pleasanter subjects, as physicians bid weak-eyed patients turn their eyes away from a distressing glare of light and direct them to green and soothing colours; and what better means of consolation could one possibly find when one’s country is fortunate, than to bid one’s friend merge his private grief in the public joy? I have 137been led to make these reflections by observing that this speech of Æschines has had undue influence with many persons, because it makes a mistaken appeal to their tenderer feelings.

XXIII. Now Demosthenes a second time began to rouse the states of Greece and reorganise the confederacy. The Thebans attacked their Macedonian garrison, and killed many of them, with arms furnished by Demosthenes, and the Athenians began to prepare to fight as their allies. Demosthenes reigned supreme in the popular assembly, and wrote to the Persian generals in Asia endeavouring to induce them to attack Alexander, whom he scoffed at as a child, and nicknamed Margites.131 But when Alexander, after settling the affairs of his kingdom, marched with his army into Bœotia, the courage of the Athenians deserted them. Demosthenes himself quailed in terror, and the Thebans, forsaken by their allies, fought against Alexander alone, and were utterly ruined. Upon this the Athenians, in an agony of terror, sent Demosthenes and several other orators on an embassy to Alexander; but he, fearing Alexander’s fury, went no further than Mount Kithæron, and then returned home. Alexander now at once sent to Athens to demand that ten of her chief orators should be given up to him, according to the historians Idomeneus and Douris, though most of the more trustworthy writers say that he only asked for the eight following:—Demosthenes, Polyeuktus, Ephialtes, Lykurgus, Mœrokles, Demon, Kallisthenes and Charidemus. On this occasion Demosthenes told the people the fable of the sheep who gave up their watch-dogs to the wolves, explaining that he and the other orators were the watch-dogs who guarded the people, and calling Alexander the “great wolf of Macedon.” “Moreover,” said he, “by delivering us up you really deliver up yourselves also, just as you see merchants selling whole cargoes of corn by small samples of a few grains which they carry about in a cup.” This we learn from Aristobulus of Kassandrea.132 As the Athenians 138 were quite at their wit’s end, and knew not what to do, Demades at last agreed with the orators whose extradition was demanded, that in consideration of a sum of five talents he would himself go to the king of Macedonia and intercede for them, either because he trusted in the friendship which existed between him and Alexander, or because he thought that he should find him like a lion that has been satiated with slaughter. Demades succeeded in saving their lives, and arranged terms of peace between the Athenians and Alexander.

XXIV. After Alexander’s departure Demades and his party were all powerful at Athens, and Demosthenes was completely humbled. He made an effort to assist the abortive attempts of Agis133 King of Sparta, but as the Athenians would not take part in the proposed rising, and the Lacedæmonians were crushed, he again retired into obscurity. At this time also the action bought by Æschines against Ktesiphon about the Crown came on for trial. This action had been formally begun during the archonship of Chærondas, a short time before the battle of Chæronea, but it was not decided until ten years later, in the archonship of Aristophon. This, although a private action, attracted greater interest than any public one, both on account of the eloquence of the speakers on both sides and the spirited behaviour of the judges, who refused to truckle to the party in power, which had banished Demosthenes and which was slavishly subservient to Macedonia, but acquitted Demosthenes by such a splendid majority that Æschines did not obtain the fifth part of the votes. He in consequence at once left the city, and spent the remainder of his life at Rhodes and the other cities of the Ionian coast as a sophist and teacher of rhetoric.

XXV. Shortly after this, Harpalus arrived in Athens from Asia, fleeing from Alexander, whom he feared to meet, both because he had grossly misconducted himself 139while in command of a province, and because Alexander had now become a capricious tyrant, terrible even to his friends. When he sought refuge with the Athenians, and placed himself, his ships, and his treasure in their hands, the other orators, casting longing glances at his wealth, at once pleaded for him, and advised the Athenians to receive and protect the suppliant. Demosthenes at first advised them to send Harpalus away, and take care not to involve the city in war by such unjust and uncalled-for proceedings: but a few days afterwards when an inventory was being taken of Harpalus’s property, he, seeing that Demosthenes was admiring a golden Persian drinking cup and examining the sculptures with which it was enriched, bade him take it in his hands and observe the weight of the gold. Demosthenes was surprised at the weight, and asked how much it would fetch. Harpalus answered with a smile, “It will fetch you twenty talents:” and as soon as it was dark he sent the cup and the twenty talents to the house of Demosthenes. Harpalus had very cleverly fathomed the character of Demosthenes by observing the loving and eager glances with which he eyed this cup; for he received the bribe and went over to the side of Harpalus, just as if he were a city which had received a foreign garrison. Next morning he carefully bandaged his throat with woollen wrappers, and proceeded to the assembly, where, when called upon to rise and speak, he made signs that he had lost his voice. Witty men said that the orator had not caught a sore throat, but a silver quinsy during the night. Soon the whole people learned that he had been bribed, and as they would not listen to him when he rose to explain his conduct, but hooted and groaned, some one rose and said, “Men of Athens, will you not listen to a man who has such a golden tongue?” The people thereupon sent Harpalus away, and fearing that inquiry might be made after the treasure which the orators had received, they instituted a vigorous search through every man’s house, except that of Kallikles the son of Arrhenides, which they would not allow to be searched because his newly-married wife was there. These particulars we learn from the history of Theopompus.


XXVI. Demosthenes, wishing to put a good face on the matter, passed a decree in the assembly, that the senate of the Areopagus should enquire into the matter, and punish those who were found guilty. However he was one of the first whom the senate found guilty: and, although he came into court and pleaded his cause, he was condemned to pay a fine of fifty talents, and was imprisoned in default. Overwhelmed with shame at this disgrace, and being also in weak health, he could not bear to remain in prison, and made his escape with the secret assistance of his keepers. We read that after he had got a short distance from Athens he saw that he was being pursued by several of his political opponents, and tried to hide from them. When, however, they came up to him, addressed him by his name, and begged him to receive money for his journey from them, assuring him that they had brought it to give to him and had pursued him for no other reason, Demosthenes burst into tears and exclaimed: “I may well be sorry to leave a home where my very enemies treat me with more kindness than any friends I am likely to find abroad will do.” Demosthenes was much depressed by his banishment, and spent most of his time in Troezene or Aegina, looking towards Attica with tears in his eyes. He is said during his exile to have uttered many unmanly sentiments, very unworthy of his bold speeches when in power. On leaving the city he stretched out his hands towards the Acropolis and exclaimed: “Athena, patroness of Athens, why dost thou delight in those three savage creatures, the owl, the snake, and the people?” He used to dissuade the young men whom he met and conversed with during his travels from taking part in political life, and would say that such were the miseries, the fears, the jealousies, backbitings, and ceaseless struggles by which a public man is beset, that if at the outset of his life he had known them, and had been offered his choice between two courses, one leading to the bema and the public assembly, and the other to utter annihilation, he would unhesitatingly have chosen the latter.

XXVII. While he was in exile Alexander died, and the Hellenic confederacy was again revived under Leosthenes, a brave general, who shut up Antipater in Lauria 141and besieged him there. Now, Pytheas the orator and Kallimedon, surnamed the “crab,” who were exiled from Athens, joined Antipater, and travelled about Greece in company with his friends and ambassadors, urging the cities not to join the Athenians and revolt from Macedonia. Demosthenes, on the other hand, joined the embassy sent out by Athens and co-operated with them, striving to induce the Greeks to rise against the Macedonians and drive them out of Greece. In Arcadia, Phylarchus tells us that a wordy battle took place between Pytheas and Demosthenes at a public meeting in which Pytheas was advocating the cause of Macedonia, and Demosthenes that of Greece. Pytheas said that we may always know that there is sickness in a house if we see asses’ milk carried into it, and that a city must be in a bad way if it received an embassy from Athens. To this Demosthenes answered by turning his own illustration against him, for, he said, asses’ milk is brought into houses to cure the sick, and Athenians come into other cities to save them from ruin. The people of Athens were so delighted with the conduct of Demosthenes in this matter that they decreed his restoration. The decree was proposed by Demon, one of the township of Paeania, and a cousin of Demosthenes; and a trireme was sent to Aegina to fetch him home. When he landed at Peiræus he was met by the whole people, and by all the priests and archons, all of whom greeted him warmly. On this occasion, Demetrius of Magnesia relates that he raised his hands to heaven and congratulated himself on having returned home more gloriously than Alkibiades, because he had persuaded, not forced, his countrymen to receive him back. As the fine imposed upon him still remained in force, for the people could not alter a verdict at their pleasure, they made use of a legal fiction. It was the custom at the festival of Zeus the Preserver to pay a sum of money to those who ornamented the altar for the sacrifice: they charged Demosthenes with this office, and ordered him to execute it for the sum of fifty talents, which was the amount of his fine.

XXVIII. He did not, however, long enjoy his restoration, for the Greeks were soon utterly ruined. In 142the month of Metageitnion134 the battle of Krannon took place, in Bœdromion a Macedonian garrison entered Munychia, and in Pyanepsion Demosthenes was put to death in the following manner:—As soon as it became known that Antipater and Kraterus were marching upon Athens, Demosthenes and his party escaped out of the city, and the people, at the instance of Demades, condemned them to death. As they had dispersed to all quarters of Greece, Antipater sent men in pursuit of them, the chief of whom was Archias, who was surnamed the Exile-hunter. This man, who was a citizen of Thurii, is said once to have been a tragic actor, and to have studied his art under the celebrated Polus of Ægina. Hermippus reckons Archias among the pupils of the orator Lakritus, while Demetrius tells us that he was a student of philosophy of the school of Anaximenes. This Archias tore away from the shrine of Æakus at Ægina the orator Hypereides, Aristonikus of Marathon, and Himeræus, the brother of Demetrius of Phalerum, who had taken sanctuary there, and sent them to Antipater at Kleonæ, where they were put to death. It is even said that Hypereides had his tongue cut out.

XXIX. Hearing that Demosthenes was sitting as a suppliant in the temple of Poseidon at Kalauria,135 Archias crossed over thither in some small boats with a guard of Thracian mercenaries, and tried to persuade Demosthenes to leave the temple and accompany him to Antipater, promising that he should not be ill-treated. Demosthenes had a strange dream the night before that he was contending with Archias in acting a play, and that although he acted well and delighted his audience, yet he was beaten by Archias, who was better furnished with stage properties and appliances. Wherefore, when Archias tried to cajole him, Demosthenes looked him full in the face, and, without rising, said, “Archias, your acting never 143affected me on the stage, nor will your promises now.” Upon this Archias became angry, and savagely threatened him. “Now,” said Demosthenes, “you speak like the true Macedonian that you are; but just now you were acting a part. So now wait for a little while until I have sent a letter home.” Saying this, he retired into the inner part of the temple, took his tablets as though about to write, placed his pen in his mouth and bit it, as he was wont to do when meditating what he should write, and after remaining so for some time, covered his head with his robe and leaned it on his arms. The soldiers standing at the door of the temple jeered at him for a coward, and Archias walked up to him and bade him rise, repeating his assurance that he would make Antipater his friend. Demosthenes, as soon as he perceived that the poison was beginning to work upon him, uncovered his head, and, looking steadfastly at Archias, said, “Now, as soon as you please, you may play the part of Kreon in the play, and throw my body to the dogs without burial. But I, good Poseidon, leave thy temple while I am yet alive, and will not profane the sanctuary by my death there, though Antipater and his Macedonians have not feared to pollute it with murder.” Having spoken these words, he asked them to support him by the arms, as his strength was fast failing him, and as they were assisting him to walk past the altar he fell with a groan and died there.

XXX. As for the poison, Ariston says that it was contained in his pen,136 as has been related. But one Pappas, from whom Hermippus has borrowed his account of the scene, says that when Demosthenes fell before the altar, in his tablets were found written the opening words of a letter, “Demosthenes to Antipater,” and nothing more. All were surprised at the suddenness of his death, but the Thracian mercenaries at the door declared that they saw him take the poison out of a little cloth and put it into his mouth. They imagined that what he swallowed was gold; but a maid-servant that waited on him told Archias, in answer to his inquiries, that Demosthenes 144had for a long time carried about a packet containing poison, to be used in case of need. Eratosthenes himself writes that Demosthenes carried the poison in a hollow bracelet which he wore on his arm. It would be tedious to notice all the discrepancies to be found in the numerous accounts which have been written of the death of Demosthenes; but I will mention that Demochares, a relative of Demosthenes, states his belief that he did not die by poison, but by the provident care of the gods, who rescued him from the cruelty of the Macedonians by a swift and painless death. He perished on the sixteenth day of the month Pyanepsion, which is observed as a day of the strictest fasting and humiliation by the women who celebrate the festival of the Thesmophoria.137 The people of Athens soon afterwards bestowed on Demosthenes the honours which he deserved, by erecting a brazen statue in memory of him, and decreeing that the eldest of his family should be maintained in the Prytaneum for ever. On the base of the statue was inscribed the celebrated couplet:

“Could’st thou have fought as well as thou could’st speak,
The Macedonian ne’er had ruled the Greek.”

It is a complete mistake to suppose, as some writers do, that Demosthenes himself composed this couplet in Kalauria just before he took the poison.

XXXI. A short time before my own first visit to Athens, the following incident is said to have taken place. A soldier, being summoned by his commanding officer to be tried for some offence, placed all his money in the hands of the statue of Demosthenes, which are represented as clasped together. Beside the statue grew a small plane-tree, and several leaves of this tree, either blown there by chance, or placed there on purpose by the soldier, concealed and covered up the money, so that it remained there a long while. At last the soldier returned and found it, and as the circumstance became widely known, many literary men seized the opportunity of 145making epigrams on this striking proof of the incorruptible honesty of Demosthenes.

Demades did not long enjoy the honour which he had won, for the gods, in order to avenge Demosthenes, led him to Macedonia, where he perished miserably by the hands of those whose favour he had so basely courted. He had long been disliked by the Macedonian court, and at last a clear proof of his treasonable practices was discovered in an intercepted letter of his to Perdikkas, in which he urged him to seize the throne of Macedonia and save the Greeks, who were now hanging by an old and rotten thread (meaning Antipater). On the evidence of this letter, Deinarchus of Corinth charged him with treason, and Kassander was so infuriated at his perfidy that he first stabbed Demades’s own son while in his father’s arms, and then ordered him to be put to death. Thus, by inflicting on him the greatest misery which a man could suffer, he proved to him the truth of that saying of Demosthenes which he had never before believed, that traitors first of all betray themselves. You now, my friend Sossius, know all that I have either read or heard concerning the life of Demosthenes.



I. They say that Cicero’s mother Helvia138 was of good family and conversation, but as to his father the accounts are in opposite extremes. For some say that the man was born and brought up in a fuller’s workshop; but others carry back his pedigree to Tullus Attius,139 who reigned with distinction among the Volsci and fought against the Romans with no small vigour. However, the 147first of the family who got the cognomen of Cicero140 must have been a man of note, and this was the reason why his descendants did not reject the name, but were well pleased with it, though it was a matter of jeering to many: for the Latins call a vetch Cicer, and the first Cicero had at the end of his nose a cleft or split, slightly marked as we may suppose, like the cleft in a vetch, whence he got the cognomen. Indeed Cicero himself, the subject of this Life, on his friends advising him when he was first a candidate for office and began to engage in public life, to get rid of the name and take another, is reported to have boldly replied that he would strive to make the name of Cicero more glorious than that of Scaurus and Catulus. While he was quæstor in Sicily, and causing a silver offering to the gods to be made, he had inscribed on it his first two names, Marcus and Tullius, but in place of the third he jocosely ordered the artist to cut the figure of a vetch by the side of the characters. This then is what is recorded about the name.

II. They say that Cicero’s mother gave birth141 to him, 148after a painless and easy labor, on the third day of the new calends, on which the magistrates now offer up prayers and sacrifices on behalf of the Emperor. It is said that a vision appeared to his nurse and foretold her that she was nurturing a great blessing for all Romans. Such things as these are generally considered to be mere dreams and idle talk, but in his case Cicero soon showed that it was a real prophecy when he was of age to be taught, for he was conspicuous for his natural talent and got a name and reputation among the boys, so that their fathers used to visit the schools out of desire to see Cicero, and to inquire of his famed quickness and capacity for learning; but the ill-educated part were angry with their sons when they saw them giving Cicero a place in the midst of them in the public roads by way of honour. Cicero, who had a talent, such as Plato142 requires in a nature that loves learning and loves wisdom, for embracing all knowledge and undervaluing no kind of learning and discipline, happened to show a strong inclination to poetry: and indeed a small poem of his is still preserved, which was written when he was a boy: it is entitled Pontius Glaucus,143 and is in tetrameter verse. In the course of time he applied himself to the Muse of such arts with still more versatility, and got the reputation of being not only the first orator, but also the best poet144 among the Romans. Now his oratorical reputation continues 149 to the present day, though there has been no small innovation in matters that concern eloquence; but as to his poetical reputation, owing to many poets of genius who have come after him, its fate has been to die away altogether unknown to fame and unhonoured.

III. After being released from his youthful studies, he heard Philo145 of the Academy, whom of all the scholars of Kleitomachus, the Romans admired most for his eloquence and loved most for his manners. At the same time by his intimacy with the Mucii,146 who were statesmen and leaders in the Senate, he was aided in getting some knowledge of the law; and for a time, also, he served in the army under Sulla in the Marsic war.147 But seeing that matters were coming to a civil war, and from a civil war to a pure monarchy, betaking himself to a life of quiet and contemplation, he kept company with learned Greeks and applied himself to the sciences, until Sulla had got the mastery, and the state seemed to have received a settlement. During this time Chrysogonus,148 a freedman of Sulla, having laid an information about a man’s property as being one of those who were put to death during the proscriptions, bought it for two thousand drachmæ. Roscius, the son and heir of the dead man, complained of this, and showed that the property was of 150the value of two hundred and fifty talents, on which Sulla, being convicted, was angry, and with the assistance of Chrysogonus instituted a prosecution against Roscius for parricide. No one gave Roscius help, but all were deterred through fear of the severity of Sulla, on which the young man in his desolate condition had recourse to Cicero, who was also importuned by his friends, who urged that he would never again have a more splendid opportunity of gaining a reputation nor a more honourable. Accordingly Cicero undertook the defence, and gained credit by his success; but, being afraid of Sulla, he went into Greece,149 giving out that his bodily health required care. And indeed he was lean and had little flesh, and owing to weakness of stomach, he took little food, and that of a light kind late in the day; his voice was full and good, but hard and unmanageable, and owing to the vehemence and passion of his language being continually carried through the higher notes it gave him alarm about his health.

IV. On his arrival at Athens150 he became a hearer of Antiochus of Askalon, being pleased with the easy flow of his speech and his graceful manner, but he did not like his doctrinal innovations. For Antiochus was now seceding from what is called the New Academy, and deserting the sect of Karneades; whether it was that he was influenced by the evidence and by the senses, or as some say, through rivalry and differences with the followers of Kleitomachus and the partisans of Philo, he was changing to be a cultivator of the Stoic principle in most things. But Cicero liked the other doctrines better, 151and attached himself to them in preference, intending, if he should altogether be excluded from public affairs, to remove himself to Athens from the Forum and public life and live there in tranquillity with philosophy. But when news came that Sulla was dead, and his body being strengthened by discipline was attaining a vigorous habit, and his voice being now brought under management had become pleasant to the ear and powerful, and was suitably adapted to his habit of body, and his friends from Rome were sending him many letters and exhortations, and Antiochus strongly urged him to engage in public affairs, he began anew to fashion his oratorical power, as if it were an instrument, and to rouse afresh his political capacity, by exercising himself in the proper discipline and attending the rhetoricians of repute. Accordingly he sailed to Asia and Rhodes;151 and among the Asiatic orators he attended the instruction of Xenokles of Adramyttium, and Dionysius of Magnesia, and Menippus of Caria; and in Rhodes, the rhetorician Apollonius, the son of Molo, and the philosopher Poseidonius. It is said that Apollonius, who did not understand the Latin language, requested Cicero to perform his exercises in Greek; and that Cicero readily complied, thinking that his faults would thus be better corrected. When he had finished his exercise, all the rest were amazed, and vied with one another in their praises, but Apollonius, while he was listening to Cicero, showed no approbation, and when Cicero had finished he sat for a long time wrapped in thought; and as Cicero showed his dissatisfaction, he said, “You indeed, Cicero, I commend and admire, but I pity the fortune of Greece, seeing that the only excellent things which were left to us have been transferred to the Romans by you, learning and eloquence.”

V. Now Cicero, full of hope in his course to a political career, had his ardour dulled by an oracular answer. For 152on consulting the god at Delphi152 how he might get most fame, the Pythia bade him make his own nature, and not the opinion of the many, his guide in life. At first he lived with reserve at Rome, and was slow in offering himself for magistracies, and was undervalued, being called Greek and pedant, names current among and familiar to the lowest citizens. But as he was naturally ambitious and was urged on by his father and friends, he devoted himself to assisting persons in their causes, and he did not approach the highest distinction by gradual steps, but at once blazed forth in reputation, and was far superior to those who exerted themselves in the Forum. It is said that he was as defective as Demosthenes in action, and that accordingly he carefully devoted himself first to Roscius153 the comedian, and then to Æsopus the tragedian. Of this Æsopus it is told, that when he was representing on the stage Atreus deliberating how he should revenge himself on Thyestes, and one of the servants suddenly ran past him, being transported out of his reason by his feelings he struck the man with his sceptre and killed him. Cicero derived no small power of persuasion from his action.154 He used scoffingly to say of the orators who bawled loud,155 that because of their weakness 153 they had recourse to shouting, like lame men leaping on horses. His readiness at sarcasm and other sharp sayings was considered well adapted to courts of justice and clever, but by over use of it he gave offence to many and got the character of an ill-disposed person.

VI. Being elected quæstor156 at a time of scarcity of corn, and having got Sicily as his province, he gave offence to the people at first by compelling them to send corn to Rome. But afterwards, when they had proof of his care and justice and mildness, they respected him as they never had any governor before. And when many young Romans of good repute and noble birth, who were under a charge of neglect of discipline and bad behaviour in the war, were sent up to the prætor of Sicily, Cicero pleaded for them in a remarkable manner, and gained their acquittal. Being accordingly greatly elated at all this, on his journey to Rome, as he tells us, a ludicrous incident happened to him. In Campania157 falling in with a man of rank, whom he considered to be a friend of his, he asked him what the Romans said about his conduct in Sicily, and what they thought of it, supposing that the city was full of his name and of his measures, and upon the man replying, “But where have you been all this time Cicero?” he was completely dispirited that his fame was lost in the city as in a boundless sea and had produced no glorious result to his reputation; but on reflection he abated much of his ambition, considering that he was striving for fame as for a thing indefinite and one which had no attainable limit. However all along there abided in him an exceeding love of praise and a strong passion 154for fame, which, often disturbed much of his sound judgment.

VII. But when he began to engage more actively in public concerns, he thought it a shame that artisans, who make use of inanimate instruments and tools, should be acquainted with the name of each and its place and use, and that the political man, whose public acts are effected by the agency of men, should be indolent and indifferent about the knowledge of his fellow-citizens. Accordingly he not only accustomed himself to remember persons’ names, but he also knew the place in which every man of note dwelt, and the spot where he had his property, and the friends with whom he was familiar and his neighbours; and whatever road in Italy he was traversing, Cicero could easily tell and point out the lands and houses of his friends. As he had only a small property, though sufficient and adequate to his expenses, he obtained credit by accepting neither pay nor presents for his services as an advocate, and most particularly by his undertaking the prosecution against Verres,158 who had been prætor of Sicily. Verres, who had been guilty of great malversation, was prosecuted by the Sicilians, and Cicero caused his conviction, not by speeches, but in a manner, as one may say, by not speaking at all. For as the prætors favoured Verres, and were putting off the trial to the last day by adjournments and tricks, and it was clear that the 155space of one day would not be sufficient for the speeches and the trial would not be brought to a conclusion, Cicero got up and said that the case required no speeches, and bringing forward the witnesses and taking their evidence he told the judices to give their vote. Yet many lively sayings of his at that trial are recorded. The Romans call a castrated hog “verres.” Now when a man of the class of libertini named Cæcilius, who was under the imputation of Judaism, wished to put aside the Siceliots and be the prosecutor of Verres, Cicero said “What has a Jew to do with a verres?” Verres also had a son grown up, who was reputed not to have regard to his youthful beauty as a person of free birth ought to have. Accordingly when Cicero was reviled for his effeminacy by Verres, he replied, “A man should find fault with his sons at home.”159 The orator Hortensius did not venture directly to defend the cause of Verres, yet he was induced to give him his assistance when the damages were assessed, for which he had received an ivory sphinx as his reward. Upon Cicero saying something to him in an oblique way, and Hortensius replying that he had no skill in solving ænigmas, Cicero answered, “And yet you have the sphinx160 at home.”

VIII. Verres being convicted, Cicero laid the damages at seventy-five ten thousands, and yet he fell under suspicion of having lowered the damages161 for a bribe. 156However the Siceliots were grateful, and during his ædileship162 they came and brought many things from the island, from none of which did Cicero make any gain, but he availed himself of the men’s desire to honour him so far as to cheapen the market. He possessed a fine place at Arpi,163 and he had an estate near Naples, and another near Pompeii,164 neither of them large: he had also the marriage portion of his wife Terentia165 to the amount of ten ten thousands, and a bequest which amounted to nine ten thousands of denarii. With these means he lived honourably and moderately, enjoying the company of the Greeks who were familiar with him, and of the Romans of learning: he rarely, if ever, lay down to table before sunset, and not so much because of his occupations, as because of his health, which suffered much from the stomach. He was also exact and careful in other matters that concerned the care of his body, and he employed both friction and walking a fixed number of times. By thus regulating his habit of body he maintained it free from disease, and equal to undergo many and great trials and labours. He gave up his father’s house to his brother, and he fixed his own residence on the Palatine, in order that those who paid their respects to him might not be troubled by coming a great distance; and people used to come daily to his doors to pay their respects, no fewer than those who waited on Crassus because of his wealth, and on Pompeius because of his influence with the soldiers, which two were at that time highest in repute and chief of the Romans. Pompeius 157also courted Cicero, and Cicero’s policy contributed greatly to the power and credit of Pompeius.

IX. Though there were many candidates with him for the prætorship,166 and men of note, he was proclaimed first of all; and he was considered to have discharged his judicial functions with integrity and skill. It is said that Licinius Macer, a man who of himself had great weight in the city, and who was also supported by Crassus, being tried before Cicero for peculation, was so confident in his power and the exertions made on his behalf, that while the judices were giving their votes he went home, and after cutting his hair with all speed, and putting on a clean dress, as if he had been acquitted, he was about to return to the Forum; but on Crassus meeting him near the hall door and telling him that he was condemned by all the votes, he turned back, took to his bed and died. And the circumstance brought Cicero credit for his careful administration of justice. Vatinius167 was a man whose manner was somewhat rough and contemptuous towards the magistrates when he was pleading before them, and his neck was full of swellings: on one occasion when he was before Cicero, he made a certain demand, and as Cicero did not grant it forthwith, but deliberated some time, Vatinius said that he should not hesitate about it if he were prætor, on which Cicero quickly answered, “But I have not such a neck as you.”


While Cicero had still two or three days in his office, some person brought Manilius168 before him on a charge of peculation; but Manilius had the goodwill of the people and their zeal in his favour, as it was considered that he was attacked on account of Pompeius, whose friend he was. On Manilius asking for time Cicero gave him only one day, which was the next; and the people were angry, inasmuch as the prætors were accustomed to allow ten days at least to those who were accused. The tribunes also brought Cicero to the Rostra and found fault with him, but he prayed to be heard, and he said that as he had always behaved to accused persons with forbearance and kindness, so far as the laws allowed, he thought it would be harsh not to do so in the case of Manilius, and accordingly he had purposely limited him to the only day which was at his disposal as prætor, for that to throw the trial into the period of another prætor’s jurisdiction was not the part of one who was willing to help another. These words wrought a wonderful change in the people, and with many expressions of goodwill they prayed him to undertake the defence of Manilius. Cicero readily undertook it, and chiefly for the sake of Pompeius who was absent, and coming before the people he again harangued them, in bold terms censuring the oligarchal faction and the enviers of Pompeius.

X. Cicero was invited to the consulship169 no less by the aristocratical party than by the many who for the interest of the state gave him their aid, and for the following reason. The changes which Sulla had introduced into the constitution at first appeared unseasonable, 159but now they seemed to the many by length of time and usage to have received a kind of settlement, and not a bad one; but there were those who sought to shake and change the present condition of affairs for the sake of their own gain and not for the public good, while Pompeius was still fighting with the kings in Pontus and Armenia, and there was no power in Rome able to resist those who were for change. These men had for their head a bold man and an ambitious and one of versatile temper, Lucius Catilina, who in addition to other great crimes had once laboured under the imputation of unlawful commerce with his virgin daughter, and of murdering his own brother,170 and being afraid of being punished for this he persuaded Sulla to proscribe his brother among those who were doomed to die, as if he were still alive. Him the evil-minded took for their leader, and they gave various pledges to one another, and among these they sacrificed a man and ate of his flesh.171 Catilina had corrupted a large part of the youth in the city by supplying every one of them with pleasure and banquets, and amours with women, and furnishing unsparingly the expense for all this. All Etruria was roused to revolt, and the greater part of Gaul within the Alps: and Rome was exposed to the greatest hazard of change, on account of the inequality in properties, for those who had most reputation and lofty bearing had impoverished themselves by theatrical expenses and entertainments, and love of magistracies and building, and the wealth had all come into the hands of men of mean birth and low persons, so that things needed only a slight inclination, and it was in the power of every man who had courage for the thing to unsettle the state, which of itself was in a diseased condition.

XI. However Catilina, wishing to secure a stronghold, was a candidate for the consulship, and he was high in hope that he should be the colleague of Caius Antonius, a man who of himself was not calculated to be a leader 160either for good or bad, but one who would add force to another who was a leader. It was from seeing this that the majority of the honourable and the good encouraged Cicero to the consulship, and as the people readily seconded them, Catilina was rejected, and Cicero and Caius Antonius were elected. And yet Cicero alone of the candidates was the son of an eques, not of a senator.

XII. Now the designs of Catilina still remained unknown to the many, but great struggles awaited the consulship of Cicero. For in the first place, those who by the laws of Sulla were excluded from magistracies, being neither weak nor few, became candidates and attempted to gain popular favour, and they made many charges against the tyranny of Sulla which were indeed true and just, but yet they were disturbing the state of affairs at an unfit time and out of season; and in the next place the tribunes brought forward measures to the same purpose, in which they proposed an administration composed of ten men172 with full powers, whose instructions were to have authority to sell the public property in all Italy and in all Syria, and all that had lately been acquired by Pompeius, to try whom they pleased, to send them into exile, to colonise cities, to take money from the treasury, and to maintain and raise as many soldiers as they might require. Accordingly others of the nobles were in favour of the law, and especially Antonius, the colleague of Cicero, who expected to be one of the ten. It was supposed also that he was acquainted with the designs of Catilina, and was not averse to them on account of the magnitude of his debts, which chiefly gave alarm to the nobles. And this was the first object that Cicero directed his attention to, and he caused the province of Macedonia173 to be given to Antonius, and Gaul, which was 161offered to himself, he declined; and by these favours he gained over Antonius like a hired actor to play a second part to himself on behalf of his country. Now when Antonius was gained and had become tractable, Cicero, being emboldened, opposed himself to those who were for making change. Accordingly, in the Senate, he made an attack upon the law, and so alarmed the promoters of it that they had nothing to say against him. When they made a second attempt, and being fully prepared invited the consuls to appear before the people, Cicero, nothing alarmed, bade the Senate follow him, and coming forward, he not only caused the rejection of the law, but made the tribunes give up even the rest of their measures and to yield to his overpowering eloquence.

XIII. For this man most of all showed the Romans what a charm eloquence adds to a good thing, and that justice is invincible if it be rightly expressed in words, and that it befits him who duly directs political affairs, always in his acts to choose the good instead of that which merely pleases, and in his speech to deprive what is useful of that which gives pain. And a sample of his persuasive eloquence was what happened in his consulship with respect to the public exhibitions. In former times those of the equestrian class were mingled with the crowd in the theatres and were spectators among the people, just as chance would have it; but Marcus162 Otho174 in his prætorship was the first who, for the sake of distinction, separated the equites from the rest of the citizens, and gave them a particular place, which they still retain. The people took this as a disparagement of themselves, and when Otho appeared in the theatre, they hissed for the purpose of insulting him, but the equites received him with loud applause. Again the people began to hiss louder, and the equites to make still greater plaudits. Upon this they fell to abusing one another, and kept the theatre in confusion. When Cicero heard of this he came, and summoning the people to the temple of Bellona both rebuked and admonished them, on which they went back to the theatre and loudly applauded Otho, and vied with the equites in doing honour to the man and showing their respect.

XIV. The conspirators with Catilina175 at first crouched and were afraid, but they recovered heart, and assembling together urged one another to take matters in hand with more courage before Pompeius returned, who was said to be now coming home with his force. Catilina was chiefly stirred up by the old soldiers of Sulla, who were planted all through Italy, but the greatest number and the most warlike of them were distributed in the Tuscan cities, and were again forming visions of robbery and plunder of the wealth that existed. These men, with Manlius176 for their leader, one of those who had served 163with, distinction under Sulla, were on the side of Catilina, and came to Rome to assist at the Comitia; for Catilina was again a candidate for the consulship, and had resolved to kill Cicero in the tumult of the elections. The dæmon also seemed to pre-signify what was going on by earthquakes and lightnings and sights. The information from human testimony was indeed clear, but not sufficient for conviction of a man of reputation and great power, like Catilina. Wherefore Cicero deferred the day of election, and summoning Catilina to the Senate questioned him about what was reported. Catilina, thinking that there were many in the Senate who were desirous of change, and at the same time wishing to make a display before the conspirators, gave Cicero an insane answer: “What am I doing so strange, if when there are two bodies, one lean and wasted, but with a head, and the other headless, but strong and large, I myself furnish it with a head?”177 This allusion of his was to the Senate and to the people, which made Cicero more alarmed, and putting on his armour he was conducted by all the nobles from his house and by many of the young men to the Campus Martius. And he purposely let the people have a glimpse of his armour by loosing his tunic from his shoulders, and he showed the spectators there was danger. The people were enraged and rallied round him, and at last by their votes they again rejected Catilina, and chose Silanus178 and Murena consuls.

XV. Not long after the men in Etruria came together to support Catilina, and were forming themselves into companies; and the appointed day for executing their 164plan was near, when there came to Cicero’s house about midnight men who were among the first and most powerful in Rome, Marcus Crassus, and Marcus Marcellus,179 and Scipio Metellus; and knocking at the door and calling the doorkeeper, they bade him rouse Cicero and tell him that they were there. And the matter was thus: after Crassus had supped, the doorkeeper gave him letters brought by some unknown man, which were addressed to different persons, and one to Crassus himself without a signature. Crassus, having read this letter only, and seeing that the letter intimated that there would be great bloodshed caused by Catilina and that it urged him to quit the city, did not open the rest, but went forthwith to Cicero in alarm at the danger, and desiring to acquit himself somewhat of the blame which he bore on account of his friendship with Catilina. Accordingly Cicero after deliberating convened the Senate at daybreak, and taking the letters gave them to the persons to whom they were directed, and bade them read the letters aloud: and all the letters alike gave notice of a conspiracy. When Quintus Arrius, a man of prætorian rank, reported the forming of armed companies in Etruria, and news arrived that Manlius with a large force was hovering about those cities expecting every moment something new from Rome, a decree of the Senate was made to put affairs in the hands of the consuls, and that the consuls on receiving this commission should administer the state as they best could, and save it. The Senate is not used to do this frequently, but only when they apprehend great danger.

XVI. Cicero upon receiving this authority intrusted affairs out of the city to Quintus Metellus; he undertook the care of the city himself, and he daily went forth guarded by so large a body of men, that when he entered the Forum those who accompanied him occupied a large part of the ground, whereupon Catilina, no longer enduring delay, resolved to make his escape to Manlius, and he commissioned 165 Marcius180 and Cethegus to arm themselves with swords, and going to Cicero’s door in the morning on pretence of paying their respects, to fall on him and kill him. Fulvia,181 a woman of rank, reported this to Cicero by night, and exhorted him to be on his guard against Cethegus and his associate. The men came at daybreak, and as they were not permitted to enter, they fell to railing and abuse at the doors, which made them still more suspected. Cicero going out called the Senate to the temple of Jupiter the Stayer, whom the Romans call Stator, which is situated at the commencement of the Sacred Road as you go up to the Palatine. Catilina also came there with the rest to make his defence, but none of the senators would sit down with him, and all moved from the bench. Catilina began to speak, but he was interrupted by cries, and at last Cicero got up and bade him leave the city; for he said it was fit that as he was administering affairs with words and Catilina with arms, there should be a wall182 between them. Accordingly Catilina immediately left the city with three hundred armed men, and surrounding himself with fasces and axes as if he were a magistrate, and raising standards he marched to Manlius; and as about twenty thousand men altogether were collected, he visited the cities and endeavoured to persuade them to revolt, so that there was166 open war, and Antonius was sent to fight with the now rebels.

XVII. Those who remained in the city of the persons who had been corrupted by Catilina were assembled and encouraged by Cornelius Lentulus Sura,183 a man of illustrious birth, but who had lived a bad life and been already expelled from the Senate on account of his licentious habits. He was then prætor for the second time, as is the custom for those who recover the senatorial dignity. It is said that he got the name Sura from the following circumstance. In the times of Sulla he was quæstor, and lost and wasted much of the public money. Sulla was angry at this, and called him to account before the Senate; but Lentulus, coming forward in a very indifferent and contemptuous way, said that he had no account to give, but he offered his leg, as boys were wont to do when they had made a miss in playing at ball. From this he got the nickname of Sura, for the Romans call the leg ‘sura.’ Again, being brought to trial he bribed some of the judices, and was acquitted by two votes only, whereon he said that what he had given to one of the judices was fairly wasted, for it was enough to be acquitted by a single vote. Such being the character of the man, and being stirred up by Catilina, he was further corrupted by the vain hopes held out by false prophets and jugglers, who recited forged verses and predictions, alleged to be from the Sibylline books, which declared that it was the law of fate that three Cornelii should be monarchs in Rome, two of whom had fulfilled their destiny, Cinna184 and Sulla, and that the dæmon was come and had brought the monarchy to him the third of the Cornelii, and he ought by all means to accept it, and not to spoil the critical opportunity by delay like Catilina.

XVIII. Accordingly Lentulus designed nothing small or trivial, but he determined to kill all the senators, and167 as many of the rest of the citizens as he could, and to burn the city, and spare nobody except the children of Pompeius, whom they intended to seize and keep in their power as securities for coming to terms with Pompeius, for already there was strong and sure report of his returning to Rome from his great expedition. A night had been fixed for the attempt, one of the Saturnalia,185 and they took and hid in the house of Cethegus swords and tow and brimstone. They also appointed a hundred men, and assigned by lot as many parts of Rome to each, in order that by means of many incendiaries the city might be in a blaze in a short time on all sides.186 Others were to stop up the water conduits and to kill those who attempted to get water. While this was going on, there happened to be at Rome two ambassadors of the Allobroges,187 a nation which especially at that time was in a bad condition and oppressed by the supremacy of Rome. The partizans of Lentulus, considering them suitable persons for stiring up Gaul to revolt, made them privy to the conspiracy. They gave these men letters to their Senate and letters to Catilina, promising liberty to the Senate, and urging Catilina to free the slaves and to march upon Rome. They also sent with them to Catilina one Titus188 of Croton to carry the letters. But inasmuch as the conspirators were unsteady men, who for the most part met one another over wine and in company with women, and Cicero followed up their designs with labour and sober consideration and unusual prudence, and had many men out of their body to keep watch and to help him in tracking out their doings, and as he had secret conversation with many of those who168 were considered to be in the conspiracy and whom he trusted, he became acquainted with their communication with the strangers, and laying an ambuscade by night he seized the man of Croton and the letters, with the secret assistance of the Allobroges.

XIX. At daybreak189 Cicero, assembling the Senate at the temple of Concord, read the letters and examined the informers. Silanus Junius also said that some persons had heard Cethegus say, that three consuls and four prætors were going to be killed. Piso, a man of consular rank, gave evidence to the same effect. Caius Sulpicius, one of the prætors, being sent to the house of Cethegus, found there many missiles and arms, and a great quantity of swords and knives newly sharpened. At length the Senate having by a vote promised a pardon to the man of Croton on condition of his giving information, Lentulus being convicted abdicated his office, for he happened to be prætor, and laying down his robe with the purple hem before the Senate assumed a dress suitable to the occasion. Lentulus and his associates were delivered up to the prætors to be kept in custody, but without chains. It was now evening, and the people in crowds were waiting about the temple, when Cicero came forth and told the circumstance to the citizens, by whom he was conducted to the house of a neighbouring friend, for his own house was occupied by the women who were celebrating the mysterious rites to a goddess whom the Romans called Bona,190 and the Greeks call Gynæceia. A sacrifice is made to the goddess annually in the house of the consul by his wife or his mother in the presence of the Vestal Virgins. Cicero, going into the house, deliberated with a very few persons what he should do with the men: for he had some scruples about inflicting the extreme punishment and that which was due to such great crimes; and he hesitated about it both from the humanity of his disposition, and because he feared that he might seem to be too much elated with his power and to be handling severely men who were of the highest rank and had powerful friends169 in the State; and if he treated them leniently, he dreaded danger from them. For he considered that they would not be well content if they were punished short of death, but would break forth in all extravagance of audacity and add fresh indignation to their old villainy; and that he should be judged a coward and a weak man, especially as the many had by no means a good opinion of his courage.

XX. While Cicero was thus doubting, there was a sign to the women who were sacrificing: for though the fire seemed to have gone out, the altar sent forth from the ashes and burnt bark a large and brilliant blaze.191 This alarmed the women, except the sacred virgins, who urged Terentia, the wife of Cicero, to go with all speed to her husband and tell him to take in hand what he had resolved on behalf of his country, for the goddess was displaying a great light to lead him to safety and honour. Terentia, who generally was not a woman of a mild temper nor naturally without courage, but an ambitious woman, and as Cicero himself says,192 more ready to share in his political perplexities than to communicate to him her domestic matters, reported this to her husband and stimulated him against the conspirators: in like manner too his brother Quintus and Publius Nigidius, one of his philosophical companions, whose advice he used in the most and chiefest of his political measures. On the following day193 there was a discussion in the Senate about the punishment of the conspirators, when Silanus, who was first asked his opinion, said that they ought to be taken to prison and suffer the extreme punishment: and170 all who spoke in succession acceded to this opinion, till it came to the turn of Caius Cæsar, who was afterwards Dictator. Cæsar, who was then a young man and in the very beginning of his rise to power, and already in his policy and his hopes had entered on that road by which he changed the state of Rome into a monarchy, though he eluded the penetration of the rest, caused great suspicion to Cicero, without however giving him any hold for complete proof; but there were some heard to say that he came near being caught and yet had escaped from Cicero. However, some say that Cicero purposely overlooked and neglected the information against Cæsar through fear of his friends and his power, for it was plain to every man, that the conspirators would rather become an appendage194 to Cæsar’s acquittal, than Cæsar would become an appendage to their punishment.

XXI. When, then, it came to Cæsar’s195 turn to deliver his opinion, he rose and expressed it against putting the men to death, but he proposed to confiscate their property and remove them to the cities of Italy of which Cicero might approve, and there keep them confined till Catilina was defeated. The proposal was merciful and the speaker most eloquent, and Cicero added to it no small weight, for when Cicero rose196 he handled the matter both ways, partly171 arguing in favour of the first opinion and partly in favour of Cæsar’s; and all his friends thinking that Cæsar’s opinion was for the advantage of Cicero, for he would be subject to less blame if he did not condemn the men to death, chose the second opinion rather, so that even Silanus himself changed and made his explanation, saying that neither had he delivered his opinion for death, for that the extreme punishment to a Roman senator was the prison. After the opinion was given, Catulus Lutatius was the first to oppose it; and he was followed by Cato, who in his speech vehemently urged suspicion against Cæsar, and so filled the Senate with passion and resolution that they passed a vote of death against the men. With respect to the confiscation of their property Cæsar made opposition, for he did not think it fair that they should reject the merciful part of his proposition and adopt the most severe part. As many of them made violent resistance, he invoked the tribunes, who however paid no attention to the call, but Cicero himself gave way and remitted that part of the vote which was for confiscation.

XXII. Cicero went with the Senate to the conspirators, who were not all in the same place, but kept by the different prætors. He first took Lentulus197 from the Palatine and led him through the Sacred Road and the middle of the Forum, with the men of highest rank in a body around him as his guards, the people the while shuddering at what was doing and passing by in silence, and chiefly the youth, who felt as if they were being initiated with fear and trembling in certain national rites172 of a certain aristocratical power. When Cicero had passed through the Forum and come to the prison, he delivered Lentulus to the executioner and told him to put him to death; he then took down Cethegus and every one of the rest in order and had them put to death. Seeing that there were still many members of the conspiracy standing together in the Forum, who did not know what had been done and were waiting for the night, supposing that the men were still alive and might be rescued, Cicero said to them in a loud voice, “They have lived.” In these terms the Romans are used to speak of death when they do not choose to use words of bad omen. It was now evening, and Cicero went up from the Forum to his house, the citizens no longer accompanying him in silence or in order, but receiving him with shouts and clapping as he passed along and calling him the saviour and founder of his country. And numerous lights illuminated the streets, for people placed lamps and torches at their doors. The women too showed lights from the roofs to honour the man and in order to see him going home, honourably attended by the nobles; most of whom, having brought to an end great wars and entered the city in triumph, and added to the Roman possessions no small extent of land and sea, walked along confessing to one another that the Roman people were indebted for wealth and spoils and power to many living commanders and generals, but for their security and safety to Cicero alone, who had removed from them so great a danger. For it was not the preventing of what was in preparation and the punishing of the doers which appeared worthy of admiration, but that he had quenched the greatest of dangers that ever threatened the State with the least evils, and without disturbance and tumult. For most of those who had flocked to Catilina198 as soon as they heard of the fate of Lentulus and Cethegus left him and went away: and Catilina, after173 fighting a battle with those who remained with him against Antonius, perished and his army with him.

XXIII. However there were some who were ready to abuse Cicero for this and to do him harm, and they had for their leader among those who were going to hold magistracies, Cæsar as prætor, and Metellus199 and Bestia as tribunes. Upon entering on office, while Cicero had still a few days in authority, they would not let him address the people, and placing their seats above the Rostra they would not permit him to come forward to speak; they told him that he might, if he chose, take the oath usual on giving up office and then go down. Upon this Cicero came forward as if he were going to take the oath, and when he had procured silence, he swore not the usual oath, but one of his own and a new oath, to the effect that he had saved his country and preserved the supremacy of Rome: and the whole people confirmed the truth of his oath. At this Cæsar and the tribunes, being still more vexed, contrived other cavils against Cicero, and a law was brought forward by them that Pompeius and his army should be recalled on the pretext of putting down the power of Cicero. But Cato, who was then tribune, was a great help to Cicero and to the whole State, and he opposed himself to Cæsar’s measures with equal authority and greater good opinion. For he easily stopped other measures, and he so extolled the consulship of Cicero in a speech to the people, that they voted to him the greatest honours that had ever been conferred and called him the father of his country; for it seems that Cicero was the first on whom this title was conferred, upon Cato having so entitled him before the people.


XXIV. Cicero, who had at that time the chief power in the State, made himself generally odious, not by any ill acts, but by always praising and glorifying himself to the great annoyance of many people. For there was neither assembly of Senate nor people nor court of justice in which a man had not to hear Catilina talked of and Lentulus. Finally, he filled his books and writings with his own praises, and though his oratory was most agreeable and had the greatest charm, he made it wearisome and odious to the hearers by his unseemly habit, which stuck to him like a fatality. However, though he had such unmingled ambition, he was far removed from envying others, for he was most bountiful in his praises of those before him and those of his own time, as we may see from his writings. There are also many sayings of his recorded; for instance, he said of Aristotle, that he was a river of flowing gold, and of the dialogues of Plato, that Jupiter, if it were his nature to use language, would speak like him. Theophrastus he was used to call his own special luxury. Being asked about the speeches of Demosthenes,200 which he thought the best, he answered, the longest. Yet some of those who pretend to be imitators of Demosthenes, dwell on an expression of Cicero, which is used in a letter to one of his friends, that Demosthenes sometimes nodded in his speeches; but the great and admirable praise which he often bestows on the man, and that he entitled his own orations on which he bestowed most labour, those against Antonius, Philippics, they say nothing about. Of the men of his own time who gained a reputation for eloquence and learning, there is not one whose reputation he did not increase either by speaking or writing in favourable terms of him. When Cæsar was in power he obtained from him the Roman citizenship for Kratippus201 the Peripatetic, and175 he prevailed on the Areopagus to pass a vote and to request him to stay in Athens and instruct the young, as being an ornament to the city. There are letters from Cicero to Herodes,202 and others to his son, in which he exhorts to the study of philosophy under Kratippus. He charged Gorgias203 the rhetorician with leading the young man to pleasure and drinking, and banished him from his society. This and a letter to Pelops of Byzantium are almost the only Greek letters of his which are written with any passion, in which he properly rebukes Gorgias, if he was worthless and intemperate, as he was considered to be; but his letter to Pelops is in a mean and complaining tone, and charges Pelops with having neglected to procure for him certain honours and public testimonials from the Byzantines.

XXV. All this proceeded from his ambition, and also the circumstance that he was often carried away by the impetuosity of his oratory to disregard propriety. He once spoke in favour of Munatius,204 who after being acquitted prosecuted Sabinus, a friend of Cicero, who is said to have been so transported with passion as to say, “Do you suppose, Munatius, that you were acquitted on your trial for your own merits, and not because I spread much darkness over the court when there was light?” He gained applause by a panegyric on Marcus Crassus from the Rostra, and a few days after he abused him, on which Crassus observed, “Did you not lately praise me in the same place?” to which Cicero replied, “Yes, for practice sake, exercising my eloquence on a mean subject.” Crassus having remarked on one occasion that none of the Crassi had lived in Rome to be more than sixty years of age, and afterwards denying that he had said so, and observing, What could have led him to say this? Cicero replied, “You know that the Romans would be glad to hear it and176 so you wished to get their favour.” When Crassus observed that he liked the Stoics, because they proved that the good man was rich,205 “Consider,” said Cicero, “if they do not rather prove that the wise man possesses everything.” Now Crassus was charged with being fond of money. One of the sons of Crassus who was considered to resemble a certain Axius, and so to attach ill fame to his mother in respect to Axius, had made a speech in the Senate with applause, and Cicero being asked what he thought of him said, He is Axius Crassus.206

XXVI. When Crassus207 was about to set out for Syria, he wished Cicero to be his friend rather than his enemy, and he said in a friendly manner that he wished to sup with him, and Cicero received him readily. A few days after when some of his friends spoke with him about Vatinius, and said that Vatinius sought a recollection and to be on good terms with him, for he was then at enmity with Cicero. “Surely,” said Cicero, “Vatinius too does not want to sup with me.” Such was his behaviour to Crassus. As to Vatinius, who had tumours in his neck, and was on one occasion pleading a cause, Cicero called him a tumid orator. Hearing that Vatinius was dead, and being shortly after certainly informed that he was still living, “Ill betide the man,” said he, “who lied so ill.” Many of the senators were dissatisfied with Cæsar’s carrying a measure for the distribution of the land in Campania among the soldiers, and Lucius Gellius,208 who was also one of the oldest of them, said, that it should177 never take place while he lived. “Let us wait,” said Cicero, “for Gellius asks for no long delay.” There was a certain Octavius209 who had the ill-repute of being a native of Libya, and on the occasion of a certain trial he said that he could not hear Cicero. “And yet,” said Cicero, “your ear is not without a hole in it.” Metellus Nepos observing that Cicero by giving testimony against persons had caused more to be condemned than he had caused to be acquitted by undertaking their cause, “Well,” said he, “I admit that I have more credit than eloquence.” A certain youth who was charged with giving poison to his father in a cake, spoke with great confidence, and said that he would abuse Cicero; “I would rather have this from you,” said Cicero, “than a cake.” Publius Sextius210 had Cicero with others as his advocate in a cause, but he chose to say everything himself and would let nobody else speak, and when it was plain that he would be acquitted and the judices were giving their votes, Cicero said, “Make the most of your opportunity to-day, for to-morrow you will be a mere nobody.” One Publius Consta,211 who set up for a lawyer, but was an ignorant and stupid fellow, was called as a witness by Cicero on a trial. On Consta saying that he knew nothing, “Perhaps,” said Cicero, “you suppose that you are asked about legal matters.” Metellus Nepos during a dispute178 with Cicero often repeated, “Who is your father?” on which Cicero said, “As for yourself, your mother has made this answer rather difficult for you.” Now the mother of Nepos was considered to be an unchaste woman, and himself a fickle kind of man. On one occasion he suddenly deserted his office of tribune and sailed off to join Pompeius212 in Syria, whence he returned with just as little reason. Nepos had buried his teacher Philagrus with more than usual respect, and set upon his tomb a raven of stone: “In this,” said Cicero, “you have acted wiser than your wont, for he taught you to fly rather than to speak.” Marcus Appius in a certain trial prefaced his speech with saying that his friend had prayed him to exhibit vigilance and judgment and fidelity: “Are you then,” said Cicero, “so iron-hearted as to exhibit not one of such great qualities as your friend prayed you to do?”

XXVII. Now the use of bitterish taunts against enemies or opposing advocates may be considered as belonging to the orator’s business; but the attacking of any persons whom he fell in with, for the purpose of making them ridiculous, brought great odium upon him. I will record a few instances of this also. He called Marcus Aquinius,213 Adrastus,214 because he had two sons-in-law who were in exile. Lucius Cotta,215 who held the office of censor, was very fond of wine, and it happened that Cicero during179 his canvass for the consulship was athirst, and as his friends stood around him while he was drinking, “You have good reason to be afraid,” said he, “lest the censor should deal harshly with me for drinking water.” Meeting Voconius,216 who was conducting three very ugly daughters, he said aloud:

“‘Gainst Phœbus’ will his children he begat.”

Marcus Gellius,217 who was supposed not to be the son of free parents, was once reading some letters to the Senate with a clear and loud voice, when Cicero said, “Don’t be surprised; he too is one of those who have practised their voices.” When Faustus,218 the son of Sulla who had been dictator in Rome and proscribed many to the death, having got into debt and squandered most of his substance, advertised his household stuff for sale, Cicero said that he liked this proscription better than his father’s.

XXVIII.219 He thus became odious to many, and the partizans of Clodius combined against him on the following occasion. Clodius was a man of noble birth, young in years, but bold and impudent in his designs. Being in love with Pompeia, Cæsar’s wife, he got into his house secretly by assuming the dress and the guise of a lute-player; for the women were celebrating in Cæsar’s house those mysterious rites which the men were not allowed to see; and as there was no man there, Clodius being still a youth and not yet bearded hoped to slip through to Pompeia with the women. But as it was night when he got into a large house, he was perplexed by the passages; and as180 he was rambling about a female slave of Aurelia, Cæsar’s mother, saw him and asked him his name. Being compelled to speak, he said that he was looking for a servant of Pompeia, named Abra, but the woman perceiving that it was not a female voice cried out and called the women together. They shut the doors and searching every place found Clodius, who had hid himself in the chamber of the girl with whom he came into the house. The affair being noised abroad Cæsar put away Pompeia, and a prosecution220 for an offence against religion was instituted against Clodius.

XXIX. Now Cicero was a friend of Clodius, and in the affair of Catilina found him a most zealous assistant and guardian of his person; but as Clodius in answer to the charge relied on not having been in Rome at the time, and maintained that he was staying in places at a very great distance, Cicero bore testimony that Clodius had come to his house221 and spoken with him on certain matters; which was true. However people did not suppose that Cicero gave his testimony from regard to truth, but by way of justifying himself to his wife Terentia.222 For Terentia had a grudge against Clodius on account of his sister Clodia, who was supposed to wish to marry Cicero, and to be contriving this by the aid of one Tullus, who was one of the nearest companions and intimates of Cicero, and as Tullus was going to Clodia, who lived near, and paying attention to her, he excited181 suspicion in Terentia. Now as Terentia was of a sour temper and governed Cicero, she urged him to join in the attack on Clodius and to give testimony against him. Many men also of the highest character charged Clodius by their testimony with perjury, disorderly conduct, bribing of the masses, and debauching of women. Lucullus also produced female slaves to testify that Clodius had sexual commerce with his youngest sister when she was the wife of Lucullus. There was also a general opinion that Clodius debauched his other two sisters, of whom Marcius Rex had Terentia and Metellus Celer had Clodia to wife, who was called Quadrantaria, because one of her lovers put copper coins for her in a purse pretending they were silver and sent them to her; now the smallest copper coin the Romans called Quadrans. It was with regard to this sister that Clodius was most suspected. However as the people on that occasion set themselves against those who bore testimony and combined against Clodius, the judices being afraid procured a guard for their protection, and most of them gave in their tablets with the writing on them confused.223 It turned out that those who were for acquitting him were the majority, and some bribery was also said to have been used. This led Catulus to say when he met the judices, “Indeed you did ask for a guard to protect you, for you were afraid that some one should take your money from you.” Upon Clodius saying to Cicero that his evidence had no credit with the judices, Cicero replied, “However, five-and-twenty224 of the judices gave me credit, for so many of them voted against you; but thirty of them gave you no credit, for they did not vote for your acquittal till they had received their money.” Cæsar, however, when called, gave no evidence against Clodius, and he denied that he had convicted his wife of adultery, but that he had put her away, because Cæsar’s wife ought not only to be free from a shameful act, but even the report of it.


XXX. Clodius,225 having escaped the danger, as soon as he was elected tribune commenced his attack on Cicero, drawing together and agitating against him every thing and all persons. For he gained the favour of the people by popular laws, and caused great provinces to be assigned to each of the consuls, Macedonia to Piso and Syria to Gabinius, and he contrived to associate many of the poor citizens in his designs and kept armed slaves about him. Of the three men who then had the chief power, Crassus was openly at enmity with Cicero, and Pompeius was playing an affected part towards both; and as Cæsar was about to march into Gaul226 with his army, Cicero paying court to him, though he was not his friend, but an object of suspicion owing to the affair of Catilina, asked to accompany him as a legatus. Cæsar accepted the proposal, but Clodius, seeing that Cicero was escaping from his tribunitian power, pretended to be disposed to come to terms with him, and by laying most blame on Terentia, and always speaking of Cicero in moderate terms and using words which imported a favourable disposition, as a man who had no hatred or ill feeling towards him, but had certain reasonable grounds of complaint to be urged in a friendly way, he completely stopped Cicero’s fears, so that he declined a legation under Cæsar and again applied himself to public affairs. At which Cæsar, being irritated, encouraged Clodius against Cicero, and completely alienated Pompeius from him, and he himself declared before the people that he did not consider it right or lawful for men to be put to death without trial, like Lentulus and Cethegus. For this was the charge, and to this Cicero was called to answer. Being therefore in danger and under prosecution he changed his dress and with his hair unshorn went about supplicating the people. But Clodius met him everywhere in the streets with violent183 and audacious men about him, who, with many insolent jeers at Cicero’s reverse and attire, and after pelting him with mud and stones, hindered his suppliant applications.

XXXI. However at first nearly all the body of equites changed their dress when Cicero did, and not less than twenty thousand young men accompanied him with their hair uncut and joined in his suppliant entreaties. When the Senate had met in order to pass a vote that the people should change their dress as a public calamity,227 and the consuls opposed it, and Clodius was in arms about the Senate-house, no small number of the senators ran out tearing their clothes and calling aloud. But as this sight neither procured respect nor pity, and Cicero must either go into exile or try force and the sword against Clodius, he entreated Pompeius to aid him, who had purposely gone out of the way and was staying on his estate at the Alban hills. And first he sent his son-in-law Piso228 to entreat for him, and then he went himself. Pompeius hearing of his coming did not wait to see him, for he had a strong feeling of shame towards a man who had made great efforts on his behalf, and had carried many public measures to please him, but as he was Cæsar’s son-in-law, he gave up old obligations at his request, and slipping out by a different door evaded meeting with Cicero. Cicero being thus betrayed by him and left deserted, fled for refuge to the consuls. Gabinius still maintained his hostility, but Piso spoke229 more kindly, and advised him to go out of the way and to yield to the impetuosity of Clodius and to submit to the change in circumstances, and again to be the saviour of his country, which was involved in civil commotion and misfortune through Clodius. Having got184 this answer Cicero consulted with his friends, of whom Lucullus advised him to stay and said that he would gain the superiority; but others advised him to fly, inasmuch as the people would soon long for him when they were satiated with the madness and desperation of Clodius. This was Cicero’s own judgment; and he carried to the Capitol the statue of Athene,230 which for a long time had stood in his house, and to which he paid especial honour, and dedicated it with the inscription, “To Athene the guardian of Rome;” and receiving from his friends persons to conduct him safely, he left the city about midnight and went by land through Lucania, designing to stay in Sicily.

XXXII. When it was known that he had fled, Clodius put to the vote the question of his banishment, and issued an edict to exclude him from fire and water, and that no one should furnish him with a shelter within five hundred miles231 of Italy. Now others paid not the slightest regard to the edict, for they respected Cicero, and showed him all manner of kindness and set him on his way: but in Hipponium, a city of Lucania, which the Romans call Vibo,232 Vibius, a Sicilian, who had derived many advantages from Cicero’s friendship and had been præfect of the Fabri during his consulship, would not receive Cicero in his house, but sent him word that he would assign him a spot of ground; and Caius Vergilius,233 the prætor of Sicily, who had been most intimate with Cicero, wrote to tell185 him to keep away from Sicily. Whereat desponding he set out for Brundusium, and thence attempted to pass over to Dyrrachium234 with a fair wind; but as it began to blow against him when he was out at sea, he came back the day after, and again set sail. It is said that when he had reached Dyrrachium and was going to land, there was a shaking of the earth and a violent motion in the sea at the same time; from which the diviners prognosticated that his flight would not be lasting, for these were signs of change. And though many men visited him from good will and the Greek cities vied in sending deputations to him, yet he passed his time in despondency235 and exceeding grief, for the most part looking to Italy, like those who are desperately in love, and in his bearing became very mean and humbled by reason of his calamity, and so downcast as no one would have expected from a man who had spent his life in such philosophical pursuits. And yet he often asked his friends to call him not an orator, but a philosopher,236 for he said that he had chosen philosophy as his occupation, but that he employed oratory as an instrument for his purposes in his public life. But opinion is powerful to wash out reason from the mind as if it were dye, and to imprint the affects of the many237 by the force of186 intercourse and familiarity on those who engage in public life, unless a man be strictly on his guard and come in contact with things external in such wise as to have communion with the things themselves, not with the affects towards the things.

XXXIII. Clodius, after driving out Cicero, burnt his villas, and burnt his house, and built on the ground a temple to Liberty: the rest of Cicero’s property238 he offered for sale, and announced it daily, but nobody would buy. In consequence of these measures being formidable to the aristocratical party, and dragging along with him the people, who were let loose to great violence and daring, he made an attack on Pompeius, ripping up some of the things that were settled by him in his military command. By which Pompeius losing some of his reputation blamed himself for giving up Cicero; and changing again he used every effort in conjunction with Cicero’s friends to effect his return. As Clodius resisted this, the Senate resolved to ratify nothing in the mean time and to do no public business, unless Cicero was restored. When Lentulus239 was 187consul, and the disorder went on increasing so that tribunes were wounded in the Forum, and Quintus the brother of Cicero only escaped by lying among the bodies as if he were dead, the people began to undergo a change of opinion, and one of the tribunes, Annius Milo, was the first to venture to bring Clodius to trial for violence, and many sided with Pompeius both from among the people and the neighbouring cities. Coming forward with them and driving Clodius from the Forum, he called the citizens to the vote: and it is said that the people never confirmed any measure with so much unanimity. The Senate vying with the people passed a decree in honour of those cities which had served Cicero in his exile, and for the restoration240 at the public expense of his house and villas, which Clodius had destroyed. Cicero was restored in the sixteenth month241 after his exile, and so great was the joy of the cities and the zeal of all men to meet him, that what was afterwards said by Cicero fell short of the truth: for he said that Italy bore him on her shoulders and carried him into Rome. On which occasion Crassus also, who was his enemy before his exile, readily met him, and was reconciled to him, to please his son Publius, as he said, who was an admirer of Cicero.

XXXIV. After the lapse of no long time, watching the opportunity when Clodius was away, Cicero went with a number of persons to the Capitol and pulled down and broke the tribunitian tablets242 which contained the records of the administration. When Clodius made this a charge against him, Cicero said that Clodius had illegally passed 188from the patrician body to the tribunate, and that none of his acts were valid, at which Cato took offence and spoke against him, not indeed in commendation of Clodius, but expressing his mortification at his measures; however he showed that it was an unusual and violent measure for the Senate to vote for the rescinding of so many decrees and acts, among which was his own administration at Cyprus and Byzantium. This led to a collision between him and Cicero, which did not proceed to anything open, but the consequence was that their friendly disposition to one another was weakened.

XXXV. After this Clodius243 was killed by Milo, who being prosecuted for murder got Cicero for his advocate. But the Senate, being afraid lest there should be some disturbance in the city on the trial of Milo, who was a man of high repute and bold spirit, intrusted to Pompeius the superintendence of this and other trials, and commissioned him to provide for the security of the city and of the courts of justice. Pompeius in the night surrounded the Forum with soldiers on the heights, and Milo, fearing that Cicero might be disturbed at the unusual sight and manage his case worse, persuaded him to be carried in a litter to the Forum and to rest there till the judices met and the court was formed. But Cicero, as it appears, was not only without courage in arms, but was timid even when he commenced speaking, and hardly ceased shaking and trembling in many trials till his eloquence had reached its height and attained steadiness. When he was the advocate of Murena, on his prosecution by Cato, he was ambitious to surpass Hortensius, who spoke with great applause, and he took no rest the night before, in consequence of which exceeding anxiety and wakefulness, his powers were impaired and he was considered to have fallen short of his fame. On this occasion when he came


out of the litter to the trial of Milo and saw Pompeius seated on an elevated place as in a camp and arms flashing all around the Forum, he was confounded and scarcely commenced his speech for trembling and hesitation, though Milo himself bravely and courageously assisted at the trial and would not deign to let his hair grow or to change his dress for a dark one, which seems in no small degree to have contributed to his condemnation. But Cicero in all this was considered rather to have shown his attachment to his friend than any cowardice.

XXXVI. Cicero became also one of the priests, whom the Romans called Augurs,244 in place of the younger Crassus after his death among the Parthians. The province of Cilicia245 being allotted to him and an army of twelve thousand legionary soldiers and two thousand six hundred horse, he set sail with instructions to keep Cappadocia friendly and obedient to Ariobarzanes.246 He accomplished this, and arranged it without any blame and 190without war; and as he observed that the Cilicians were inclined to a rising on occasion of the defeat of the Romans by the Parthians and the movements in Syria, he pacified them by a mild administration. Nor would he receive any presents when the kings offered them, and he relieved the provincials from giving entertainments: and he himself daily received those who were agreeable to him at banquets, not in a costly way, but liberally. And there was no doorkeeper to his house, nor was he ever seen by any one lying down, but in the morning he would be standing or walking about in front of his chamber, where he received those who paid their respects247 to him. It is said that he neither punished any one with rods nor allowed any man’s garment to be rent, nor vented abuse in passion, nor inflicted any penalty accompanied with contumelious treatment. By discovering that much of the public property was embezzled he enriched the cities, and he maintained in their civil rights those who made restoration, without letting them suffer anything further. He engaged also in a war in which he defeated the robbers of Mount Amanus, for which he was saluted by his soldiers with the title of Imperator.248 When Cæcilius249 the orator requested Cicero to send him panthers from Cilicia to Rome for a certain spectacle, Cicero, who was proud of his exploits, wrote in reply that there were no panthers in Cilicia, for they had fled into Caria, indignant 191that they were the only things warred upon, while all others were enjoying peace. On his voyage back from his province he first put in at Rhodes, and next tarried at Athens with gladness out of the pleasant recollection of his former residence. After associating with men the first for wisdom, and visiting his old friends and intimates and receiving due honours from Greece, he returned to Rome at a time when affairs, as if from violent inflammation, were bursting out into the Civil War.

XXXVII. In the Senate, when they were proposing to vote him a triumph, he said that he would more gladly follow Cæsar in his triumph, if a settlement could be effected; and he privately gave much advice by writing to Cæsar, and much by entreating Pompeius, and attempting to mollify and pacify both of them. But when things were past remedy, and Cæsar was advancing, and Pompeius did not stay, but quitted the city with many men of character, Cicero did not join in this flight, and it was supposed that he was attaching himself to Cæsar. And it is plain that in his resolves he was much perplexed both ways and suffered much; for he says in his letters250 that he did not know which way to turn himself, and that Pompeius had an honourable and good cause to fight for, but that Cæsar managed things better and was better able to save himself and the citizens, so that he knew whom to fly from, but not whom to fly to. Trebatius, one of Cæsar’s friends, wrote to the purport, that Cæsar thought that before all things Cicero ought to put himself on Cæsar’s 192side and to share his hopes, but if he declined by reason of his age, he advised him to go to Greece and there to seat himself quietly out of the way of both; but Cicero, being surprised that Cæsar himself did not write, replied in passion that he would do nothing unworthy of his political life. What appears in his letters is to this effect.

XXXVIII. When Cæsar had set out to Iberia, Cicero immediately sailed to Pompeius. The rest were well pleased that he was come, but Cato on seeing him rated him in private greatly for joining Pompeius: he said it was not seemly in himself to desert that line of policy which he had chosen from the first; but that Cicero, though he could do more good to his country and his friends if he remained at Rome an indifferent spectator and shaped his conduct by the result, without any reason or necessity had become an enemy of Cæsar and had come there to share in great danger. These words disturbed the resolve of Cicero, and also that Pompeius did not employ him in anything of weight. But he was the cause of this himself, inasmuch as he made no secret of repenting of what he had done, and depreciated the resources of Pompeius, and privately showed his dissatisfaction at his plans, and abstained not from scoffing and saying any sharp thing of the allies, though he himself always went about in the camp without a smile and with sorrowful countenance; but he gave cause of laughter to others who had no occasion for it. It is better to mention a few of these things. Domitius251 was placing in a post of command a man of no warlike turn, and said, How modest he is in his manner and how prudent; “Why then,” said Cicero, “do you not keep him to take care of your children?” When some were commending Theophanes252 the Lesbian, who was a Præfectus of Fabri in the camp, for his excellent consolation of the Rhodians on the loss of their fleet, “What a huge blessing it is,” he said, “to have a Greek Præfect!” When Cæsar was successful in most things and in a manner was blockading them, he replied to the remark of Lentulus that he heard that Cæsar’s friends were dispirited, “You mean to say that they are ill-193disposed253 to Cæsar?” One Marcius, who had just arrived from Rome, said that a report prevailed in Rome that Pompeius was blockaded. “I suppose you sailed hither then,” said Cicero, “that you might see it with your own eyes and believe.” After the defeat Nonnius observed that they ought to have good hopes, for that seven eagles were left in the camp of Pompeius, “Your advice would be good,” said Cicero, “if we were fighting with jack-daws.” When Labienus was relying on certain oracular answers, and saying that Pompeius must get the victory, “Yes,” said Cicero, “it is by availing ourselves of such generalship as this that we have lost the camp.”

XXXIX. After the battle at Pharsalus, in which he was not present by reason of illness, and when Pompeius had fled, Cato, who had a large army at Dyrrachium and a great fleet, asked Cicero to take the command according to custom, and as he had the superior dignity of the consulship. But as Cicero rejected the command and altogether was averse to joining the armament, he narrowly escaped being killed, for the young Pompeius and his friends called him a traitor and drew their swords, but Cato stood in the gap and with difficulty rescued Cicero and let him go from the army. Having put in at Brundusium he stayed there waiting for Cæsar, who was delayed by affairs in Asia and in Egypt. But when news came that Cæsar was landed at Tarentum254; and was coming round by land to Brundusium, Cicero went to him, not being altogether without hope, but feeling shame in the presence of many persons to make trial of a man who was his enemy and victorious. However there was no need for him to do or say anything unworthy of himself; for when Cæsar saw Cicero coming to meet him at 194a great distance before all the rest, he got down, and embraced him and talking with him alone walked several stadia. From this time he continued to show respect to Cicero and friendly behaviour, so that even in his reply to Cicero, who had written a panegyric on Cato, he commended his eloquence and his life, as most resembling those of Perikles and Theramenes.255 Cicero’s discourse was called Cato, and Cæsar’s was entitled Anticato. It is said also that when Quintus Ligarius256 was under prosecution, because he had been one of Cæsar’s enemies and Cicero was his advocate, Cæsar said to his friends, “What hinders us listening after so long an interval to Cicero’s speech, since the man has long been adjudged a villain and an enemy?” But when Cicero had begun to speak and was making a wonderful sensation, and his speech as he proceeded was in feeling varied and in grace admirable, the colour often changed in Cæsar’s face, and it was manifest that he was undergoing divers emotions in his mind; but at last when the orator touched upon the battle at Pharsalus, he was so affected that his body shook and he dropped some of the writings from his hands. Accordingly he acquitted the man of the charge perforce.

XL. After this, as the constitution was changed to a monarchy, Cicero257 detaching himself from public affairs applied himself to philosophy with such young men as were disposed; and mainly from his intimacy with the noblest born and the first in rank, he again got very great power in the state. His occupation was to compose philosophical dialogues and to translate and to transfer into the Roman language every dialectical or physical 195term; for it is he, as they say, who first or mainly formed for the Romans the terms Phantasia, Syncatathesis, Epoche, and Catalepsis, and also Atom, and Indivisible, and Vacuum, and many other like terms, some of which by metaphor, and others by other modes of assimilation he contrived to make intelligible and to bring into common use: and he employed his ready turn for poetry to amuse himself. For it is said that when he was disposed that way, he would make five hundred verses in a night. The greatest part of his time he now spent in his lands at Tusculum, and he used to write to his friends that he was living the life of Laertes,258 whether it was that he said this in jest, as his manner was, or whether from ambition he was bursting with desire to participate in public affairs and was dissatisfied with matters as they were. He seldom went down to the city, and when he did, it was to pay court to Cæsar, and he was foremost among those who spoke in favour of the honours given to him and were eager always to be saying something new about the man and his acts. Of this kind is what he said about the statues of Pompeius, which Cæsar ordered to be set up after they had been taken away and thrown down, and they were set up again. For Cicero said that by this mild behaviour Cæsar placed the statues of Pompeius, but firmly fixed his own.

XLI. His intention being, as it is said, to comprehend in one work the history of his country and to combine with it much of Greek affairs and in fine to place there the stories and myths which he had collected, he was prevented by public and many private affairs contrary to his wish, and by troubles, most of which seem to have been of his own causing. For first of all, he divorced his wife Terentia,259 because he had been neglected by her 196during the war, so that he set out in want even of necessaries for his journey, and did not even on his return to Italy find her well-disposed to him. For she did not go to him, though he was staying some time in Brundusium, and when her daughter, who was a young woman, was going so long a journey, she did not supply her with suitable attendance, nor any means, but she even made Cicero’s house void of everything and empty, besides incurring many great debts. These are the most decent reasons for the separation which are mentioned. But Terentia denied that these were the reasons, and Cicero made her defence a complete one by marrying no long time after a maid;260 197 as Terentia charged it, through passion for her beauty, but as Tiro261 the freedman of Cicero has recorded it, to get means for paying his debts. For the young woman was very rich and Cicero had the care of her property, being left fiduciary heir. Being in debt to the amount of many ten thousands he was persuaded by his friends and relatives to marry the girl, notwithstanding the disparity of age, and to get rid of his creditors by making use of her property. But Antonius, who made mention of the marriage in reply to the Philippics, says that he put out of doors his wife with whom he had grown old, and at the same time he made some cutting jibes on the housekeeping habits of Cicero as a man unfit for action and for arms. No long time after his marriage Cicero’s daughter died in child-birth, for she had married Lentulus after the death of her former husband Piso. The philosophers from all quarters came together to console Cicero, but he bore his misfortune very ill, and even divorced his wife because he thought that she was pleased at the death of Tullia.262198

XLII.263 Such were Cicero’s domestic affairs. He had no share in the design that was forming against Cæsar, though he was one of the most intimate friends of Brutus and was supposed to be annoyed at the present state of affairs and so long for the old state more than anybody else. But the men feared his temper as being deficient in daring, and the occasion was one in which courage fails even the strongest natures. When the deed was accomplished by the partisans of Brutus and Cassius, and Cæsar’s friends were combining against the conspirators, and there was fear of the city again being involved in civil wars, Antonius, who was consul, brought the Senate together and said a few words about concord; and Cicero, after speaking at length and suitably to the occasion, persuaded the Senate to imitate the Athenians and decree an amnesty264 for what had been done to Cæsar, and to give provinces to Brutus and Cassius. But none of these things came to a conclusion. For the people of themselves being transported to pity, when they saw the corpse carried through the Forum, and Antonius showed them the garments filled with blood and slashed in every part by the swords, maddened by passion sought for the men in the Forum and ran with fire in their hands to their houses to burn them. The conspirators escaped the 199danger by being prepared for it, but as they expected other great dangers, they quitted the city.

XLIII. Antonius was forthwith elated, and was formidable to all, as about to become sole ruler; but to Cicero most formidable. For Antonius seeing that Cicero’s power was recovering strength in the State, and knowing that he was closely allied with Brutus, was annoyed at his presence. And there existed even before this some ill-will between them on account of the unlikeness and difference in their lives. Cicero fearing these things, first made an attempt to go with Dolabella265 to Syria as legatus: but the consuls for the next year, Irtius and Pansa,266 who were good men and admirers of Cicero, prayed him not to desert them, and they undertook if he were present to put down Antonius. Cicero, neither distrusting altogether nor trusting gave up his design as to Dolabella, and agreed with Irtius to spend the summer in Athens, and when they had entered on their office, to come back, and he sailed off by himself. But as there was some delay about the voyage, and new reports, as the wont is, reached him from Rome that Antonius had undergone a wonderful change, and was doing and administering everything conformably to the pleasure of the Senate, and that matters only required his presence to be brought to the best arrangement, himself blaming his excessive 200caution turned back to Rome. And he was not deceived in his first expectations, so great a crowd of people through joy and longing for him poured forth to meet him, and near a whole day was taken up at the gates and upon his entrance with greetings and friendly reception. On the following day Antonius summoned a Senate and invited Cicero, who did not come, but was lying down pretending to be indisposed from fatigue. But the truth appeared to be that he was afraid of some design against him, in consequence of certain suspicions and of information which reached him on the road. Antonius was irritated at the calumny and sent soldiers with orders to bring Cicero or burn his house, but as many persons opposed Antonius and urged him by entreaties he took securities only and desisted. And henceforward they continued to pass by without noticing one another and to be mutually on their guard, till the young Cæsar267 having arrived from Apollonia took possession of the inheritance of the elder Cæsar, and came to a quarrel with Antonius about the two thousand five hundred ten thousands268 which Antonius detained of his substance.

XLIV. Upon this, Philippus269 who was married to young 201Cæsar’s mother, and Marcellus, who was married to his sister, came with the young man to Cicero, and made a compact that Cicero should lend to Cæsar both in the Senate and before the people the power that he derived from his eloquence and his political position, and that Cæsar should give to Cicero the security that could be derived from money and from arms. For the young man had about him many of those who had served under Cæsar.270 There appeared also to have been some stronger reason for Cicero readily accepting the friendship of Cæsar. For, as the story goes, while Pompeius and Cæsar were living, Cicero dreamed271 that some one summoned the sons of the senators to the Capitol, as Jupiter was going to appoint one of them chief of Rome, and that the citizens ran eagerly and placed themselves around the temple and the youths seated themselves in their prætextæ in silence. The doors opened suddenly and one by one the youths rising walked round before the god, who looked at them all and dismissed them sorrowing. But when young Cæsar was advancing towards him, the god stretched out his hand and said, “Romans, there is an end202 to civil wars when this youth becomes your leader.” They say that Cicero having had such a dream as this had imprinted on his memory the appearance of the youth and retained it distinctly, but he did not know him. The following day as he was going down to the Campus Martius, the boys who had taken their exercise were returning, and the youth was then seen by Cicero for the first time just as he appeared to him in his dream, and being struck with surprise Cicero asked who were his parents. Now his father was Octavius, not a man of very illustrious station, but his mother was Attia, a niece of Cæsar. Accordingly Cæsar, who had no children of his own, gave the youth his property and family name by his will. After this they say that Cicero took pains to notice the youth when he met him, and the youth received well his friendly attentions; for it had also happened that he was born in Cicero’s consulship.

XLV. These were the reasons which were mentioned; but his hatred of Antonius in the chief place, and then his disposition, which was governed by ambition, attached him to Cæsar in the expectation of adding to his own political influence Cæsar’s power. For the young man went so far in paying his court to Cicero as to call him father.272 At which Brutus being much annoyed blamed Cicero in his letters to Atticus, that through fear of Antonius he was courting Cæsar and was thus manifestly not procuring liberty for his country, but wooing for himself a kind master. However Cicero’s son,273 who was studying philosophy at Athens, was engaged by Brutus and employed in command in many things which he did successfully. Cicero’s power in the city was then at its 203height, and as he could do what he liked, he drove Antonius out and raised a faction against him and sent out the two consuls Irtius and Pansa274 to fight against him, and he persuaded the Senate by a vote to give Cæsar lictors and the insignia of a prætor, as if he were fighting in defence of their country. But when Antonius had been defeated and on the death of the two consuls after the battle the forces joined Cæsar, and the Senate through fear of a youth who had enjoyed splendid success was attempting by honours and gifts to call away from him the armies, and to divide his power, on the ground that there was no need of troops to defend the state now that Antonius was fled, under these circumstances Cæsar being alarmed secretly sent messengers to Cicero, to entreat and urge Cicero to get the consulship for the two, but to manage matters as he thought best, and to have the power, and to direct the young man who was only desirous of a name and reputation. And Cæsar himself admitted that it was through fear of his troops being disbanded and the danger of being left alone, that he had availed himself in a time of need of Cicero’s love of power by urging him to take the consulship, and promising that he would act with him and assist in the canvass at the same time.

XLVI. In this way indeed Cicero being very greatly pushed on, he an old man by a young one, and cajoled, assisted at the canvass of Cæsar275 and got the Senate in his favour, for which he was blamed by his friends at the time, and he shortly after saw that he had ruined himself and betrayed the liberty of the people. For when the 204youth was strengthened and had got the consulship, he gave himself no concern about Cicero, but making friends with Antonius and Lepidus276 and uniting his forces with theirs, he divided the chief power with them, just as if it were a piece of property. And a list of above two hundred men was made out, who were doomed to die. The proscription of Cicero caused most dispute among them in their discussions, for Antonius was not inclined to come to any terms unless Cicero was the first to be doomed to death, and Lepidus sided with Antonius, but Cæsar held out against both. They held their meeting by themselves in secret near the city Bononia277 for three days, and they met in a place at some distance from the camps which was surrounded by a river. It is said that during the first two days Cæsar struggled in behalf of Cicero, but that he yielded on the third and gave up the man. And the matter of their mutual surrender was thus. Cæsar was to give up Cicero, and Lepidus his brother Paulus,278 and Antonius was to give up Lucius Cæsar, who was his 205uncle on the mother’s side. So far did they through resentment and rage throw away all human feeling, or rather they showed that no animal is more savage than man when he has gotten power added to passion.

XLVII.279 While this was going on, Cicero was on his lands at Tusculum, and his brother with him; and on hearing of the proscriptions they determined to remove to Astura,280 a place belonging to Cicero on the sea-coast, and thence to sail to Macedonia to Brutus, for there was already a rumour about him that he had a force. They were conveyed in litters, being worn out by grief; and halting by the way and placing their litters side by side they lamented to one another. Quintus281 was the more desponding, and he began to reflect on his needy condition, for he said that he had brought nothing from home; and indeed Cicero was but scantily provided for his journey; it was better then, he said, for Cicero to hurry on in his flight, and for him to hasten back and to provide himself from home with what he wanted. This was agreed, and embracing one another with tears they separated. Now Quintus, not many days after, was betrayed by his slaves to those who were in search of him and put to death with his son. Cicero arrived at Astura, and finding a vessel he immediately embarked, and sailed along the coast to Circæum,282 the wind in his favour.


When the sailors were wishing to set sail immediately from thence, whether it was that he feared the sea, or had not quite despaired of all trust in Cæsar, he landed, and went on foot about a hundred stadia on the road to Rome. But again perplexed and changing his mind he went down to the sea of Astura; and there he spent the night in dreadful and desperate reflections, so that he even formed a design to get secretly into Cæsar’s house, and by killing himself on the hearth to fasten on him an avenging dæmon. But the fear of tortures drove him from this measure also; and after perplexing himself with other schemes and shifting from one to another, he put himself in the hands of his slaves to convey him by sea to Capitæ,283 for he had lands there and a place of retreat which was very agreeable in summer, when the Etesian winds blow most softly. The place has also a temple of Apollo, a little above the sea. A flock of crows winging their flight from thence with loud cawing approached the vessel of Cicero as it was rowing to land, and settling at each end of the sail-yard some made a noise, and others gnawed the end of the ropes, and all were of opinion that the omen was bad. Cicero landed, and going to the villa he lay down to rest. But most of the crows perched themselves on different parts of the window, cawing clamorously; and one of them, going down to the couch where Cicero lay wrapped up, by degrees removed with its beak the covering from his face. The slaves seeing this, and considering it a reproach to them if they should wait to be spectators of their master’s murder, while even brute beasts came to his aid and207 cared for him in his unmerited misfortune, but they themselves were giving no help, partly by entreaty, partly using force, took him up and carried him in a litter towards the sea.

XLVIII. In the meantime the murderers with their helpers came on, Herennius284 a centurion, and Popilius a tribune, who had once been prosecuted for parricide and Cicero was his advocate. Finding the doors closed they broke them open, and as Cicero was not seen and those who were within denied that they knew where he was, it is said that a youth who had been brought up by Cicero in liberal studies and learning, and was a freedman of Cicero’s brother Quintus, Philologus by name, told the tribune that the litter was being conveyed through the wooded and shady paths to the sea. Accordingly the tribune, taking a few men with him, ran round to the outlet. And as Herennius was running along the paths, Cicero saw him and bade the slaves place down the litter there; and, as his wont was, holding his chin with his left hand he looked steadily on the murderers, being all squalid and unshorn, and his countenance wasted by care, so that most of them covered their faces while Herennius was killing him. He stretched his neck285 out of the litter and was killed, being then in his sixty-fourth year. Herennius cut off his head and the hands, pursuant to the command of Antonius, with which he wrote the Philippics. For Cicero himself entitled Philippics the speeches which he wrote against Antonius, and to the present day they are called Philippics.

XLIX. When the head and hands286 were brought to 208Rome, Antonius happened to be holding an election of magistrates, and when he heard the news and saw what had been done, he called out that the proscriptions were now at an end. He ordered the head and hands to be placed above the Rostra on the place whence the orators spoke, a sight that made the Romans shudder, who thought that they saw, not the face of Cicero, but an image of the soul of Antonius. Still he showed herein one sentiment of just dealing, for he delivered up Philologus to Pomponia the wife of Quintus, who having got him into her power, inflicted terrible vengeance upon him, and among other things compelled him to cut off his flesh bit by bit, and to roast and eat it. Thus some of the historians have told the story, but Tiro, who was Cicero’s freedman, makes no mention at all of the treachery of Philologus.287 I have heard that Cæsar a long time after once went to see one of his daughter’s sons,288 and as the youth had in his hands one of Cicero’s writings, he was afraid and hid it in his vest; the which Cæsar observing took the book and read a good part of it while he was standing, and then returning the book to the boy said, “A wise man, my boy, a wise man and a lover of his country.” As soon as Cæsar had finally defeated Antonius, he took Cicero’s son289 to be his colleague [Pg 209]
[Pg 210]
in the consulship, in whose magistracy the Senate threw down the statues of Antonius and destroyed all other testimonials in honour of him, and further decreed that no Antonius should bear the name of Marcus. That the dæmon reserved for the family of Cicero the final vengeance on Antonius.



I. The above is all I have been able to find out that is worth being recorded about Demosthenes and Cicero. Without attempting to compare their different styles of oratory, I think it necessary to remark that Demosthenes devoted all his powers, natural and acquired, to the study of eloquence alone, so that he surpassed all his rivals in the law courts and public assembly in perspicuity and ability, all the writers of declamations in splendour and pomp of diction, and all the professional sophists in accuracy and scientific method. Cicero, on the other hand, was a man of great learning and various literary accomplishments. He wrote a considerable number of philosophic treatises modelled on the works of the Academic school, and in all his forensic and political speeches we can detect a desire to let his audience know that he was a man of letters. In their speeches, too, we can discern the impress of their respective characters. The eloquence of Demosthenes never stoops to jest, and is utterly without ornament, but has a terrible concentrated earnestness, which does not smell of the lamp, as Pytheas sneeringly said, but which reminds us of the ungenial, painstaking, acrimonious nature of the man: while Cicero often is carried by his love of jesting to the verge of buffoonery, and in his pleadings treats serious matters in a tone of most unbecoming levity and flippancy, as in the oration for Cæcilius he argues that in an age of such luxury and extravagance there can be nothing to wonder at if a man takes his pleasure; for not to help oneself to the pleasures which are within one’s reach is the part of a madman, seeing that the most eminent philosophers have declared the chief felicity of man to consist 212in pleasure. It is related that when Cato prosecuted Murena, Cicero, who was consul at the time, defended him, and cracked many jokes on Cato as an adherent of the Stoic philosophy, and on the absurdity of the paradoxes which it maintains. The audience, and even the judges, laughed heartily; but Cato merely remarked to those near him, with a quiet smile, “Gentlemen, what a witty consul we have.” Cicero, indeed, seems to have been fond of laughter and mirth, and his countenance was calm and smiling; while that of Demosthenes always bore the marks of gloomy, anxious thought, which caused his enemies, as he himself tells us, to call him disagreeable and ill-natured.

II. In their speeches we may observe that Demosthenes praises himself with great moderation, in a manner which can offend no one, and only when he has some more important object in view, while he is usually modest and cautious in his language; whereas Cicero’s show a ridiculous amount of egotism and craving for applause, when, he demands that “arms shall yield to the toga, and the triumphal laurel290 give place to his tongue.” At last he took to praising not only his own deeds, but even his spoken and written291 orations, as though he were engaged in some contest with professional rhetoricians like Isokrates or Anaximenes, rather than endeavouring to lead and reform the Roman people—

“Savage and rude, whose sole delight
Was with their foes to strive in fight.”

A politician must of necessity be a powerful speaker, but it is a contemptible thing for him to be too greedy and covetous of applause for his fine speeches. Wherefore, in this respect Demosthenes appears far graver, and of a nobler nature; for he himself declared that his eloquence came only by practice, and depended on the favour of his audience, and that he regarded those who boasted of their oratorical powers as vulgar and despicable characters.

III. They were both alike in their power and influence 213with the people, which caused even the commanders of armies in the field to look to them for support; for Demosthenes was courted by Chares, Diopeithes, and Leosthenes, as was Cicero by Pompeius and the younger Cæsar,292 as Cæsar himself admits in his memoirs addressed to Mæcenas and Agrippa. We cannot judge of Demosthenes by that which is said to afford the most certain test of a man’s true character—his conduct when in power—for he has not afforded us any opportunity of doing so, as he would not even take the command of the confederacy which he himself organised to oppose Philip. Now Cicero was sent to Sicily as quæstor, and to Cilicia and Cappadocia as proconsul, at a period when the love of wealth was at its height, and when the Roman generals and governors, thinking it beneath them to steal money, used to resort to open robbery. It was not thought discreditable to plunder a province, but he who did so with moderation was esteemed as an excellent governor. Cicero on these occasions gained great credit by the many proofs which he gave of indifference to money, and of goodness and kindness of heart. At Rome itself also, he was elected nominally consul, but really dictator with unlimited powers to deal with Catilina’s conspiracy, and he then proved the truth of Plato’s aphorism, that a state finds rest from its misfortunes when by good luck a powerful and able man is found to rule it with justice. Demosthenes again is said to have made money dishonourably by writing speeches for other men, as in the case of the speeches with which he secretly furnished Phormio and Apollodorus, when they were opposed to one another. He also was suspected of receiving bribes from the King of Persia, and was caught in the act of taking a bribe from Harpalus. Even if we suppose these charges, supported as they are by the testimony of so many writers, to be false, yet it is impossible to deny that Demosthenes, who trafficked in that peculiarly discreditable form of usury, marine insurances,293 would not have been able to refuse a present offered in all honour by a king, while we have already related how Cicero refused to take money 214from the Sicilians when he was quæstor,294 and from the Cappadocians when he was proconsul, and even from his friends, who pressed him to accept large sums when he was exiled from Rome.

IV. Moreover, Demosthenes was exiled in great disgrace, after he had been convicted of having received a bribe, while Cicero’s banishment was the consequence of the noblest action of his life, the ridding his country of wicked men. Wherefore, no one could plead for Demosthenes when he left the country, but the Senate publicly put on mourning for Cicero, grieved for his absence, and refused to transact any business before voting that he should be restored to Rome. Yet Cicero spent his exile idly in Macedonia, while Demosthenes carried out an important part of his policy while in exile; for, as has been related, he accompanied the Athenian embassy to the various states of Greece, discomfited the Macedonian ambassadors, and proved himself a far better citizen than Themistokles or Alkibiades under similar circumstances: moreover, after his restoration to Athens, he continued to pursue the same policy of unceasing opposition to Antipater and the Macedonians, while Lælius reproached Cicero for sitting silent in the senate-house when young Octavius Cæsar, before his beard was grown, petitioned to be allowed to sue for the consulship in spite of the law. Brutus also blamed him for having fostered a greater and harsher tyranny than that which he put down.

V. In conclusion, we must regard the death of Cicero as most pitiable, that an old man, through cowardice, should be carried hither and thither by his slaves, seeking to escape death, and hiding himself from his foes, although he could in any case have but a short time to live, and then be murdered after all; while Demosthenes, though he did beg somewhat for his life, must be admired for his forethought in providing himself with the poison, and also for the use which he made of it, to escape from the cruelty of Antipater even when surrounded by his soldiers, and to betake himself to a greater sanctuary, as that of the god was unable to protect him.



I. He who first compared the arts to our senses seems to me to have especially alluded to the power which they both exhibit of dealing with objects of completely contrary qualities. In this respect they coincide; but they differ in respect of the use and purpose of the object of which they take cognisance. Our senses are influenced indifferently by things white or black, sweet or bitter, soft or hard, for the proper function of each sense is merely to receive all these impressions and to convey them to the mind. But the arts, which have been invented in order to cultivate the qualities proper to their own nature and to eschew those which are foreign to it, view some with especial favour, as partaking of their own essence, and avoid others as mere untoward accidents. Thus the art of medicine deals with diseases and the art of music deals with discord merely with a view to produce their respective opposites; while self-control, justice and wisdom, which are the most perfect of all arts, because they decide not only what is honourable, righteous and useful but likewise what is hurtful, shameful, and unjust, do not praise innocency which prides itself upon inexperience of evil, but think it to be folly and ignorance of what all who intend to live as becomes them ought to know. The ancient Spartans at their feasts used to compel their helots to drink a large quantity of wine, and then brought them into the banqueting-hall, in order to show the young Spartans what drunkenness was like. I think that to instruct one class of men by the ruin of another is neither humane nor politic, yet I conceive that it may be useful to insert among my Parallel Lives some examples of men who have been careless of their 216own reputation, and who have used their great place and power only to make themselves notorious for evil. The description of such men’s lives is not indeed an agreeable task, or a pleasant mode of employing my leisure, still, as Ismenias the Theban, when instructing his scholars how to play the flute, used to say, “Thus you should play;” and again, “Thus you should not play,” while Antigenides even thought that the young would take more pleasure in listening to good flute-players, if they had first heard bad ones, so I think that we shall be more inclined both to admire and to imitate the lives of good men, if we are well acquainted with those of bad ones. This book, then, will contain the lives of Demetrius, surnamed the City-taker, and of Antonius the Triumvir, men who bear signal witness to the truth of Plato’s remark, that great men have great vices as well as great virtues. Both alike loved passionately, drank deep, and fought bravely; both were freehanded, extravagant and arrogant. Fortune served them both alike, not only in their lives, for each of them had great successes and great disasters, each won great empire and lost it again, each unexpectedly fell and rose again; but also in their deaths, as the one was captured by his enemies, and the same fate all but befell the other.

II. Antigonus295 had two sons by Stratonike the daughter of Korragus, one of whom he named Demetrius after his brother, and the other Philip after his father. This is the account given by most historians, though some say that Demetrius was not the son, but the nephew, of Antigonus; but that, as his father died while he was still an infant and his mother at once married Antigonus, he was commonly regarded as his son. His brother Philip, who was a few years younger than himself, died soon, but Demetrius grew up to be a tall man, though not so tall as his father. His face and figure were of extraordinary beauty, which baffled all the attempts of painters and sculptors to do it justice. His expression was at once sweet, commanding and terrible; and his countenance 217showed all the eagerness and fire of youth combined with the calm dignity of a hero and a king. In like manner his disposition was one which was equally capable of inspiring terror or love. He was the pleasantest of companions, more given to wine-drinking and the enjoyment of luxurious idleness than any other king of his age, and yet he displayed remarkable energy and persistence in action; so that he emulated the fame of the god Dionysus,296 being like him a famous warrior, and when the war was over most capable of thoroughly enjoying the arts of peace.

III. He was remarkably fond of his father; and the love and respect which he paid to his father and mother seem to have been prompted by true affection, not by a wish to stand well with those in power. Once when Antigonus was receiving an embassy from some foreign state, Demetrius, who had been out hunting, came up to his father, kissed him, and sat down beside him just as he was, with his javelins still in his hand. When the ambassadors had transacted their business and were about to leave his presence, Antigonus said to them in a loud voice, “And, gentlemen, you may carry home this news about me and my son, that these are the terms on which we live,” thinking that so great a proof of his trust in his son’s loyalty would add considerable strength to his throne. So much mistrust and suspicion is bred by absolute power, and so hard a thing is it for a king to have a companion, that the eldest and greatest of the successors of Alexander publicly boasted that he was not afraid to have his own son sitting by his side with a spear in his hand. Indeed, this was the only royal family which through many generations remained unpolluted by this species of crime, for of all the successors of Antigonus only one, Philip, assassinated his son. All the records of other dynasties are full of murders of sons, mothers and wives; for the murder of brothers had grown to be considered, like an axiom in mathematics, as a necessary precaution to be taken by all kings on ascending to the throne.

IV. The following anecdote seems to prove that Demetrius when young was of a kind and loving nature. 218 Mithridates, the son of Ariobarzanes, was his friend and companion, and was a good subject of Antigonus, of thorough and unsuspected loyalty, but at length incurred the suspicion of Antigonus in consequence of a dream. Antigonus dreamed that he walked over a large and fair plain, sowing it with gold dust; and that shortly afterwards, returning that way again, he found nothing but stubble left. While grieving over this he heard some men say that Mithridates had gone away to Pontus on the Euxine, after having gathered the golden harvest. Antigonus was much disturbed at this vision, and after having compelled his son to swear that he would keep silence about it, told him of the vision, and added that he had made up his mind to make away with the man. Demetrius was greatly grieved at hearing this, and when the young man, as he was wont to do, again joined him, and spent the day with him, Demetrius dared not tell him by word of mouth what danger he was in, because of the oath; but he drew him aside into a quiet place, and there, as soon as they were alone together, he wrote on the ground with the but-end of his spear, in sight of the other, the words “Fly, Mithridates!” Mithridates understood his meaning, and ran away that very night to Cappadocia. Not long afterwards, he showed Antigonus what was the real meaning of his dream; for he made himself master of an extensive territory, and became the founder of the dynasty of the kings of Pontus, which was overthrown by the Romans in about the eighth generation after him. By this example we may perceive the noble and loyal nature of Demetrius.

V. As the elements, because of their mutual attraction and repulsion, are, according to Empedokles, always at variance with one another, and especially with those with which they happen to be in contact, so, while all the successors of Alexander were always at war, circumstances from time to time caused hostilities between two or more of them to take an especially active form. At this time Antigonus was at war with Ptolemy, and, hearing that Ptolemy had left the island of Cyprus, had landed in Syria and was ravaging that country, he himself remained in Phrygia, but sent his son Demetrius to oppose him.219 Demetrius was now two and twenty years of age, and was now for the first time entrusted with the sole management of an important campaign. As might be expected of so young and untried a commander, when pitted against a man trained to war under Alexander, and who had since his death waged many wars with success, Demetrius was defeated near the city of Gaza with a loss of fifteen thousand killed and eight thousand prisoners. He also lost his own tent, his property, and all his personal attendants. These, however, were restored to him, with all his captured friends, by Ptolemy, who sent him a kindly-worded message to the effect that they ought not to fight as mortal foes, but only for honour and empire.

Demetrius, after receiving this message and his property, prayed to the gods that he might not long remain in Ptolemy’s debt, but that he might soon recompense him in like manner. He did not behave himself like a youth who has received a check at the outset of his first campaign, but repaired his failure like an old and wary commander, enrolling fresh soldiers, providing new supplies of arms, keeping a firm hold over the cities near him and carefully drilling his new levies.

VI. Antigonus when he heard of the defeat remarked that Ptolemy had conquered beardless boys, but that he would have to fight his next battle with grown men. He yielded however to his son’s entreaty to be allowed to repair his fault by himself, and, as he did not wish to damp his spirits, left him in sole command. Soon after this Killes, Ptolemy’s lieutenant, arrived in Syria with a large force, meaning to chase Demetrius, whom he supposed to be disheartened by his defeat, quite out of Syria. But Demetrius by a sudden attack surprised his army and struck it with panic. He captured the enemy’s camp and their general, and took eight thousand prisoners and a great quantity of booty. He was overjoyed at this, not because he meant to keep what he had won, but to give it back, and did not so much value the glory and wealth which he had gained as the opportunity now offered him for repaying the courtesy of Ptolemy. He did not presume to do this on his own responsibility, but wrote first 220 to his father. On receiving permission from him to deal as he pleased with the fruits of his victory, he gave costly presents to Killes and his friends, and sent them back to Ptolemy. This battle forced Ptolemy to retire from Syria, and brought Antigonus from Kelænæ rejoicing at the victory and eager to see his son.

VII. After this Demetrius was sent to subdue the Nabathean Arabs, in performing which service he incurred great danger by journeying through waterless deserts; but his intrepid courage overawed the barbarians, and he returned loaded with plunder, having captured seven hundred camels.

Seleukus had once lost his capital city, Babylon, which Antigonus took from him; but he had since recovered it by his own arms, and at this time was marching with an army to attempt the conquest of the nations bordering upon India, and the provinces near mount Caucasus. Demetrius, hoping that he might find Mesopotamia in a defenceless condition, suddenly crossed the Euphrates, took Babylon by surprise, and made himself master of one of its two citadels, driving out the garrison placed there by Seleukus. Demetrius placed seven thousand of his own troops in the citadel, ordered his troops to enrich themselves by the plunder of the surrounding country, and then returned to the sea-coast, leaving Seleukus more firmly established on his throne than before; for by plundering the country he seemed to admit that he had no claim to it. As Ptolemy was now besieging Halikarnassus, he quickly marched thither and succeeded in saving the city.

VIII. As the glory which he won by this action was very great, he and his father Antigonus conceived a strong desire to liberate the whole of Greece from the tyranny of Ptolemy and Kassander. None of the successors of Alexander ever waged a more just or honourable war than this; for Demetrius and Antigonus, to gain themselves honour by freeing the Greeks, spent upon them the treasure which they had won in their victories over the barbarians. They determined first of all to attack Athens, and when one of the friends of Antigonus advised him, if he captured that city, to keep it in his own hands because it was the key of Greece, Antigonus 221 replied that the best key to a country was the goodwill of its people, and that Athens was the watch-tower of the world, from whence the glory of his deeds should shine like a beacon-light to all mankind.

Demetrius now set sail for Athens with five thousand talents of silver, and a fleet of two hundred and fifty vessels. At this time Demetrius of Phalerum governed the city as Kassander’s lieutenant, and a garrison was placed in Munychia. By good fortune and good management the fleet arrived on the twenty-fifth day of the month Thargelion, without anyone being aware of its coming. When the ships were seen, they were thought to form part of Ptolemy’s fleet, and preparations were made to give them a friendly reception. At last the officers in command discovered their mistake, and a scene of great confusion ensued, as they hastily made preparations to resist the enemy, who were already in the act of disembarking; for Demetrius, finding the mouths of the harbours open, sailed straight in, and could be seen distinctly by all standing on the deck of the ship, and making signs to the Athenians to be quiet and keep silence. When this was done, he bade a herald proclaim that his father Antigonus had sent him thither in an auspicious hour to liberate the Athenians, drive out their Macedonian garrison, and restore to them their own laws and ancient constitution.

IX. Upon hearing this proclamation the greater part of the people laid down their shields at their feet, clapped their hands, and shouted to Demetrius to come ashore, calling him their saviour and benefactor; while Demetrius of Phalerum thought it necessary to admit so powerful a man to the city, even though he might have no intention of performing any of his promises. He therefore sent ambassadors to make their submission. Demetrius received them graciously and sent back with them Aristodemus of Miletus, one of his father’s friends. As the Phalerean, in consequence of this sudden turn of fortune, was more afraid of his own countrymen than of the enemy, Demetrius, who admired his courage and public spirit, took care to have him conveyed in safety to Thebes, to which town he himself wished to go. Demetrius himself now declared that, although he was very eager to view the city, 222he would not do so until he had completely set it free and expelled its garrison. He therefore surrounded Munychia with a ditch and rampart, cutting it off from the rest of the city, and then sailed to attack Megara, which town was held by a garrison of Kassander’s troops.

As he heard that Kratesipolis, the wife of Alexander the son of Polysperchon, a celebrated beauty, was at Patræ, and was not unwilling to grant him an interview, he left his army encamped in the territory of Megara and proceeded thither with only a few lightly equipped followers. When he was near the place, he pitched his own tent apart from his men, that the lady might not be seen when she came to visit him. Some of the enemy discovered this, and made a sudden attack upon him. He only escaped by putting on a mean cloak and running away alone; so that his licentiousness very nearly exposed him to ignominious capture. When Megara was taken the soldiers were about to plunder the city, but the Athenians with great difficulty prevailed upon Demetrius to spare it. He drove out the Macedonian garrison and made the city independent. While he was doing this he remembered Stilpon the philosopher, who was reputed to have chosen for himself a life of retirement and study. Demetrius sent for him, and inquired whether anything had been stolen from him. “Nothing,” replied Stilpon. “I saw no one taking away any knowledge.” As, however, nearly all the slaves were stolen, after Demetrius had talked graciously to Stilpon and at length dismissed him with the words, “My Stilpon, I leave you a free city;” “Quite true,” replied Stilpon, “for you have not left us a single slave.”

X. Demetrius now returned to Munychia, encamped before it, dislodged the garrison, and demolished the fort. And now at the invitation of the Athenians he proceeded into the city, where he assembled the people and re-established the ancient constitution. He also promised that his father Antigonus would send them one hundred and fifty thousand bushels of wheat and timber enough to build a fleet of one hundred ships of war. Thus did the Athenians recover their democratic constitution fifteen years after it had been dissolved; for during the 223period between the Lamian war and the battle of Krannon their government had nominally been an oligarchy, but practically had been a despotism, on account of the great power of Demetrius of Phalerum.

The benefits which Demetrius conferred upon the Athenians rendered him indeed great and glorious; but they rendered his fame invidious by the extravagant honours which they conferred upon him. They were the first of all men who bestowed upon Antigonus and Demetrius the title of Kings, a name which they greatly disliked because of its association, and which moreover belonged at that time in an especial manner to the descendants of Philip and Alexander, being the only one of their ensigns of royalty which had not been adopted by other princes. The Athenians too were the only people who styled Antigonus and Demetrius their saviour gods, and they even abolished the ancient office of the archon from whom the year received its name, and elected in his place every year a priest to minister at the altar of the saviour gods. They also decreed that their images should be woven into the sacred peplus of Athena,297 with those of the gods. They consecrated the spot where Demetrius first set his foot on the ground when he alighted from his chariot, and built an altar upon it which was called the altar of “The Descending Demetrius.” They added two to the number of their tribes, and called them Demetrias and Antigonis; and consequently they raised the number of the senators from five to six hundred, because each tribe supplied it with fifty members.

XI. But the most outrageous of these devices of Stratokles, for it was he who invented all these new extravagancies of adulation, was a decree that ambassadors sent to Antigonus or to Demetrius should wear the same holy title which had hitherto been given to the envoys who conducted the public sacrifices to the great festivals at Olympia and at Delphi. Indeed, in all other respects Stratokles was a man of shameless effrontery and debauched life, who appeared to imitate the scurrility of Kleon in ancient times by the reckless contempt with 224which he treated the people. He publicly kept a courtesan named Phylakion; and one day when she had bought some necks and brains in the market, he said to her, “Why, you have bought us the same things for dinner which we politicians play at ball with.”

When the Athenians were defeated in the great sea-fight at Amorgos, he reached Athens before the news of the disaster, and drove though the Kerameikus with a garland on his head, telling all the people that a victory had been won. He decreed a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and had meat publicly distributed among the tribes for entertainments. Shortly afterwards the scattered ships began to arrive, coming home as well as they could after the defeat. When the people angrily turned upon him, resenting the trick which he had played them, he met their clamour with the utmost impudence, and said, “What harm have I done you, in giving you two days of happiness?” Such was the audacity of Stratokles.

XII. There were, however, other marks of servility, “hotter than fire,” as Aristophanes calls it. One Athenian surpassed Stratokles himself by passing a decree that Demetrius, whenever he visited Athens, should be received with the same divine honours which were paid to Demeter and Dionysius, and that money should be granted from the public treasury to the person who should celebrate the festival of the reception with the greatest magnificence, in order that with it he might erect some memorial of his success. At last the name of the month Munychion was changed to Demetrion, and the first day of it named Demetrias, while the name of the festival of the Dionysia was changed to Demetria.

Most of these acts produced manifest signs of the displeasure of the gods. The peplus, upon which, according to the decree, the images of Zeus and Athena were woven together with those of Antigonus and Demetrius, was rent in two by a violent gust of wind as it was being conveyed in procession through the Kerameikus, while a great quantity of hemlock grew up round the altars which were erected in their honour, although it was not a common plant in the neighbourhood. On the day of the festival of Dionysius the procession was put a 225stop to by excessive cold, which came entirely out of season, and a severe frost not only destroyed all the fig-trees and vines, but even cut off a great part of the corn in the blade. In consequence of this, Philippides, who was an enemy of Stratokles, made the following allusion to him in one of his comedies:

“Who was it caused the peplus to be rent?
Who was it caused the frost to blight our vines?
The wretch, who worships mortals like to gods,
His crimes destroy us, not my harmless rhymes?”

This Philippides was a friend of Lysimachus, who for his sake conferred many benefits on the Athenians. Lysimachus imagined that the sight of Philippides before any campaign or expedition was a certain omen of good luck; while Philippides was beloved by him on other grounds, because he gave no trouble and never veiled his thoughts in courtly periphrases. Once Lysimachus, meaning to be very civil to him said, “Philippides, which of my possessions shall I bestow upon you?” “Whichever you please,” answered he, “except your secrets.” I have mentioned these incidents in the life of Philippides, in order to mark the distinction between the comic poet and the mob-orator.

XIII. The most extraordinary of all the honours conferred upon Demetrius was the proposal made by Demokleides of Sphettus to go and ask for an oracular response from him about the consecration of the shields at Delphi. I will write down the exact words of the law as it was proposed. “In a happy hour the people decree that one man shall be chosen from the citizens of Athens, who shall go to our saviour, and after he has done sacrifice unto him, shall ask Demetrius, our saviour, in what manner the people may, with greatest holiness and without delay, make consecration of their offerings; and whatever oracle it shall please him to give them, the people shall perform it.” By this absurd flattery the intellect of Demetrius, at no time very powerful, was thrown completely off its balance.

XIV. While he was living at Athens he married Eurydike, a descendant of the ancient hero Miltiades, 226 who was the widow of Opheltas, King of Cyrene, and had returned to Athens after her husband’s death. The Athenians were greatly delighted at this marriage, which they regarded as an honour to their city; though Demetrius made no sort of difficulty about marriage, and had many wives at the same time. The chief of his wives, and the one whom he most respected, was Phila, the daughter of Antipater, and the widow of Kraterus, who was the most popular with the Macedonians of all the successors of Alexander during his life, and the most lamented by them after his death. Demetrius when very young was forced by his father to marry this woman, who was too old to be a suitable match for him. It is said that when Demetrius expressed his unwillingness to marry her, his father whispered in his ear the line of Euripides:

“To gain a fortune, marriage must be dared.”

substituting the word “marriage” for “bondage,” which occurs in the original. However, the respect which Demetrius paid to her and to his other wives did not prevent his intriguing with various courtesans and mistresses, but he had a worse reputation in this respect than any other king of his age.

XV. His father now ordered him to proceed to Cyprus, and to attack Ptolemy, who was in possession of that island. He was forced to obey this summons, but as he was very unwilling to desist from the war in defence of the liberties of Greece, a much more noble and glorious struggle, he first endeavoured to bribe Ptolemy’s lieutenant in command of the garrison of Sikyon and Corinth to evacuate those cities and render them independent. As this attempt failed he quickly set sail, collected a large force, and proceeded to Cyprus. Here he fought a battle with Menelaus, Ptolemy’s brother, and at once defeated him. Shortly afterwards Ptolemy himself came to Cyprus with an immense fleet and army. The two commanders now interchanged messages of scornful defiance. Ptolemy bade Demetrius put to sea before his own host assembled and overwhelmed him, while Demetrius offered to 227permit Ptolemy to withdraw from Cyprus on condition that he would give up Corinth and Sikyon. The battle which ensued was one of the deepest interest, not merely to the combatants themselves, but to all the other princes, since its issue would determine not only the fate of Cyprus and Syria, but would at once render the victor the most powerful man in all the world.

XVI. Ptolemy advanced with a fleet of one hundred and fifty sail, and ordered Menelaus, when the battle was at its hottest, to sally out from Salamis with his sixty ships and throw the fleet of Demetrius into disorder by attacking it in the rear. Demetrius sent ten ships to oppose these sixty, for the mouth of the harbour (of Salamis) was so narrow that this number sufficed to close it. He himself now got his land force under arms, disposed it upon several neighbouring promontories, and put to sea with one hundred and eighty ships. He bore straight down upon the enemy’s fleet, and completely defeated it. Ptolemy himself, when all was lost, escaped with only eight ships, the sole survivors of his fleet. All the rest were sunk, except seventy which were captured with their crews on board. All his numerous train of servants, friends and wives, all his arms, money and military engines, which were stationed near the fleet in transports, were captured by Demetrius, who at once conveyed them to his own camp.

Among the spoil was the celebrated Lamia, who had at first been brought into notice by her musical skill, for she was an admirable flute-player, and who had afterwards become notorious by her amours. Her beauty was at this time somewhat faded, yet, although Demetrius was much younger than herself, she so fascinated and enslaved him by her charms, that, though many other women wished for his love, he cared only for her.

After the sea-fight, Menelaus held out no longer, but surrendered Salamis to Demetrius, with all his ships, and a land army of twelve hundred cavalry and twelve thousand heavy-armed infantry.

XVII. Demetrius added to the glory of this brilliant victory by his generous and humane conduct in burying the enemy’s dead with great honour, and in setting 228free all his prisoners. He sent a present to the Athenians of twelve hundred complete suits of armour from the spoils which he had taken. He also sent Aristodemus of Miletus to bear the news of the victory to his father. Of all his courtiers, this man was the boldest flatterer, and on this occasion he surpassed himself. After his passage from Cyprus, he would not allow his ship to approach the land, but cast anchor, bade all the crew remain on board, and himself rowed ashore in a small boat. He now walked up to the palace of Antigonus, who was in a state of great excitement and impatience to learn the issue of the battle, as may easily be imagined, considering the importance of the stake. When he heard that Aristodemus was come, his anxiety reached its highest pitch. He could scarcely keep himself indoors, and sent messenger after messenger, both servants and his own friends, to learn from Aristodemus what had taken place. Aristodemus returned no answer to any of them, but walked leisurely on with immovable countenance. Antigonus could bear the suspense no longer, but came to the door of his palace to meet Aristodemus, who was now accompanied by a large crowd. When he came near, he stretched forth his right hand, and in a loud voice exclaimed, “Hail, King Antigonus. We have defeated Ptolemy in a sea-fight. We are masters of Cyprus, and have taken sixteen thousand eight hundred prisoners.” To this Antigonus answered, “Hail to you, also; but you shall pay the penalty of having tortured us so long: you shall wait long before you receive the reward for your good news.”

XVIII. After this success, the people for the first time saluted Antigonus and Demetrius with the title of kings. The friends of Antigonus at once placed a diadem upon his head, and he sent one to Demetrius, with a letter in which he addressed him as king. The Egyptians, when they heard of this, also proclaimed Ptolemy king, that they might not appear to be dispirited by their defeat. Their example was soon followed by the other successors of Alexander, out of rivalry, for Lysimachus and Seleukus now began to wear the diadem in the presence of Greeks, though Seleukus had long before adopted the royal style 229 in his dealings with Asiatics. Kassander, however, although every one both in interviews and letters addressed him as king, never used the title in his own letters, but signed them simply with his own name as he had been wont to do.

The assumption of this title produced more important results than a mere empty change of name and style. It caused its bearers to be more exalted in their ideas, more extensive in their ambition, and more pompous and stately in their demeanour, just as actors when they put on royal robes adopt also the lofty port and the haughty voice and carriage of a king. They also became more severe in their administration of justice, because they now laid aside that dissimulation by which they had hitherto concealed their power, and which had rendered them so much more lenient and gentle in their treatment of their subjects. So great was the power of the voice of one flatterer, and such great changes did it effect in the entire world.

XIX. Antigonus, elated by the successes of Demetrius at Cyprus, at once marched to attack Ptolemy. He himself led the land force, while Demetrius accompanied him along the coast with an enormous fleet. But Medius, a friend of Antigonus, was warned in a dream of what was destined to be the issue of the campaign. He dreamed that Antigonus with all his army was running a race in the circus. At first he appeared to be running strongly and fast, but soon his strength seemed to be ebbing away, and at last when he turned round the extreme point of the course and began to return, he was so weak and out of breath that he could hardly recover himself.

Indeed Antigonus by land met with many disasters, while Demetrius at sea met with a terrible storm, and narrowly escaped being driven ashore upon an iron-bound coast. He lost many ships, and returned without having accomplished anything. Antigonus was now very near eighty years of age, and was incapacitated for active service by his size and unwieldiness rather than by his age. He consequently entrusted the management of the war to Demetrius, who had already by his good fortune and skill conducted several most important campaigns with success.


Antigonus was not alarmed at his amours, his extravagancies, or his carousals, for he knew that, although in time of peace Demetrius used to indulge unrestrainedly in these pleasures, yet that in war he was as sober as though it were natural to him to be so. It is said that, in allusion to the empire which Lamia had now gained over Demetrius, once when he affectionately embraced his father on his return from a journey, Antigonus said, “My boy, you seem to think that you are caressing Lamia.” Another time, when Demetrius spent several days in drinking, and excused himself by saying that he had been laid up with a severe cold, Antigonus answered, “So I understood, but was the cold Chian or Thasian?” Once Antigonus heard that Demetrius had a fever, and went to see him. At the door he met one of his favourites coming out. He went in, sat down by his bedside, and took him by the hand. When Demetrius said that the fever had just left him, Antigonus answered, “Yes, I met it just now at the door.” So gently did he deal with the vices of Demetrius, because of his many other good qualities. The Scythians have a custom of twanging their bows while they are drinking and carousing, as though to recall their courage while it is melting away in pleasure; but Demetrius used to give up his whole thoughts at one time to pleasure, and at another to serious work, concentrating his entire attention upon the matter in hand, so that his amusements never interfered with his preparations for war.

XX. He appears indeed to have been better able to make preparations for war than to use them, for he always liked to be more than sufficiently provided with stores of every kind, and always wished to construct larger ships, and more powerful battering engines, in the working of which he took an especial delight. He was intelligent and clever, and did not waste his mechanical ingenuity in mere pastime, like other princes, who have amused themselves by playing on the flute, painting, or working in metal. Æropus, king of Macedonia, used to employ his leisure time in making little tables and lamps; while Attalus, surnamed Philometor, amused himself by cultivating poisonous herbs, not merely hyoscyamus and hellebore, 231 but even hemlock, aconite and dorycnium.298 These he used to plant and tend with his own hands in the royal gardens, and made it his business to know their various juices and fruit, and to gather it in due season. The kings of Parthia, too, used to pride themselves upon sharpening the points of their own javelins. But the mechanics of Demetrius were always upon a royal scale, and his engines were of enormous size, showing by their admirable and ingenious construction the grand ideas of their inventor; for they appeared worthy not only of the genius and wealth, but of the hand of a king. Their size astonished his friends, while their beauty charmed even his enemies, and this praise is far from being as exaggerated as it sounds; for his enemies actually stood in crowds along the sea-shore to admire his ships of fifteen and sixteen banks of oars, while his “city-takers”299 were regarded as wonders even by the towns against which they were employed, as we may see in a notable example. Lysimachus, who of all the kings of his time was the bitterest enemy of Demetrius, when he was endeavouring to force Demetrius to raise the siege of Soli in Cilicia, sent a message to him asking to be allowed to see his siege engines and his ships of war. Demetrius indulged his curiosity, and after viewing them he retired home. The Rhodians also, after they had stood a long siege, when they came to terms with Demetrius, begged for some of his machines, which they wished to keep both as a memorial of his power and of their own courage.

XXI. Demetrius went to war with the Rhodians because they were the allies of Ptolemy, and brought up to their walls his largest “city-taker,” a machine with a square base, each side of which measured eight-and-forty cubits at the bottom. It was sixty-six cubits in height, and its upper part was much narrower than the base. Within, it was divided into many separate storeys and chambers, with windows on each storey opening towards the enemy, through which missiles of every kind could be shot, as it 232was full of soldiers armed with every kind of weapon. It never shook nor trembled, but rolled steadily onwards, upright and firm, with a regular, equable motion, which filled all spectators with terror and delight. Two steel corslets were brought from Cyprus for Demetrius to use in this war, each of which weighed forty minæ.300 The maker, Zoilus, in order to show their strength and power of resisting a blow, bade Demetrius shoot a dart out of a catapult at one of them at a distance of twenty paces. Where it struck, the iron remained unbroken, and only showed a trifling scratch, such as might be made by a stilus, or iron pen for writing on wax. This corslet Demetrius wore himself. He gave the other to Alkimus of Epirus, the bravest and most warlike man in all his army, who wore a suit of armour weighing two talents,301 while that of all the rest weighed only one talent. This man fell during the siege of Rhodes, in a battle near the theatre.

XXII. The Rhodians defended themselves with great spirit, and Demetrius was unable to accomplish anything against them; but he still continued the siege out of anger, because they had captured a ship in which his wife Phila had sent him letters, clothes and bedding, and had sent it at once to Ptolemy, just as it was. In this they were far from imitating the courtesy of the Athenians, who, when Philip was at war with them, captured a messenger and read all the letters which he carried except one written by Olympias, which they did not open, but sent it on to him with the seal unbroken. However, although Demetrius was much nettled by the conduct of the Rhodians, he did not stoop to retaliation upon them, although he soon had an opportunity of doing so. Protogenes of Kaunus happened at that time to be painting a picture of Ialysus302 for the Rhodians, and Demetrius found the picture very nearly completed in one of the suburbs of 233the city. The Rhodians sent a herald and begged him to spare the work, and not destroy it, to which he answered, that he would rather burn his father’s statues than such a precious work of art. Apelles tells us that when he saw this picture, the sight at first took Òaway his breath; and that at last he said, “Indeed this is a wonderful piece of work, and must have cost great labour.” Yet it has not that grace which gives so divine a charm to the works of Apelles himself. This picture shared the common lot of all Greek works of art, being taken to Rome, where it was destroyed by fire. As the Rhodians gallantly held their own in the war, Demetrius became weary of the siege, and gladly accepted the offer of the Athenians to act as mediators. They made peace between them on condition that the Rhodians should act as the allies of Antigonus and Demetrius, except against Ptolemy.

XXIII. The Athenians now invited Demetrius to come to their aid, as Kassander was besieging Athens. Demetrius arrived with three hundred and thirty ships, and a large land force. He not only drove Kassander out of Attica, but pursued him as far as Thermopylæ, where he defeated him in a battle, and gained possession of the city of Heraklea, which voluntarily surrendered to him. A body of six thousand Macedonians also deserted from Kassander and joined him. On his return he freed the Greeks south of Thermopylæ from Macedonian domination, formed an alliance with the Boeotians and took Kenchreæ. He destroyed the forts at Phyle and Panaktum in Attica, which had been garrisoned by Kassander’s troops, and restored them to the Athenians. They, although they appeared to have exhausted every possible form of adulation during his former visit, yet contrived to flatter him by the invention of fresh honours. They assigned the interior of the Parthenon to him for his lodging; and there he dwelt with the title of “the guest of Athena,” though he was a very ill-behaved guest to be quartered in the house of a virgin goddess. Yet once, when his father heard that his brother Philip was staying in a house where there were three young women, he said nothing to Philip, but in his presence sent for the quartermaster and said to him, “Will 234you be so good as to find some less crowded quarters for my son.”

XXIV. Demetrius, however, without paying the least respect to Athena, although he was wont to call her his elder sister, filled the Acropolis with such a series of outrages on well-born youths and women of the upper classes that the place became comparatively decent when he contented himself with holding an orgie in the society of the celebrated courtesans, Chrysis, Lamia, Demo and Antikyra. For the sake of the city I will say no more about his other debaucheries, but I cannot refrain from mentioning the virtue and chastity shown by Demokles. He was very young, and his beauty did not escape the notice of Demetrius; indeed his nickname betrayed him, for he was always spoken of as Demokles the Handsome. He turned a deaf ear to all advances, presents, or threats, and at last ceased to frequent the gymnasium and the palæstra, and used only a private bath. Demetrius watched his opportunity, and surprised him there alone. The boy, when he saw that he was caught where no one could help him, rather than suffer violence, took off the lid of the copper, leaped into the boiling water, and destroyed himself. He deserved a better fate, but the spirit which prompted the act was worthy of his country and of his beauty, and was very different to that of Kleaenetus the son of Kleomedon, who, when his father was condemned to pay a fine of fifty talents, obtained a remission of it from Demetrius, and showed a letter from Demetrius to the Athenian people signifying his pleasure in the matter; by which conduct Kleaenetus not only disgraced himself, but threw the whole city into a ferment. Kleomedon’s fine was remitted, but the people decreed that no citizen should ever again bring them a letter from Demetrius. However, as Demetrius was greatly incensed at this, and did not conceal his displeasure, the Athenians in terror not only reversed the decree, but put to death some of those who had advocated it, and banished others. Moreover, they actually decreed that “the entire people of Athens should regard anything which King Demetrius might be pleased to command as both righteous in respect of the gods, 235and legal as regards men.” When one of the better class of citizens observed that Stratokles must be mad to propose such a decree, Demochares303 of Leukonoe answered “He would be mad not to be mad,”304 for Stratokles made a great fortune by his flattery of Demetrius. This speech was reported to Stratokles, and Demochares was forced to go into exile. Such was the conduct of the Athenians when they were relieved of their Macedonian garrison and were thought to have become a free people.

XXV. Demetrius now proceeded to Peloponnesus, where he met with no resistance, as the enemy fled before him, and surrendered their cities to him. He made himself master of the district known as Akte, and of the whole of Arcadia, except Mantinea, while he set free Argos, Sikyon and Corinth, by bribing their garrisons to evacuate them with a hundred talents. At Argos he acted as president of the games at the festival of Hera, which took place whilst he was there. On this occasion he held a solemn assembly of all the Greeks, and publicly married Deidameia, a daughter of Æakides, king of the Molossi, and sister of Pyrrhus. He remarked to the people of Sikyon that they lived out of their proper city, and prevailed upon them to remove to the spot which they now inhabit. He changed the name as well as the situation of the city, and instead of Sikyon named it Demetrias.

At a largely attended meeting held at the Isthmus, Demetrius was proclaimed chief of Greece, as Philip and Alexander had been in former days; though Demetrius considered himself to be not a little superior to either of them, being elated by his good fortune and the immense force at his disposal. Alexander never deprived a king of his title, nor did he ever call himself king of kings, though he raised many to the dignity and style of kings; but Demetrius scoffed at those who called any one king, except himself and his father, and was much pleased at his carousals to hear toasts drunk to the health of Demetrius the King, Seleukus the Commander of the Elephants,


Ptolemy the Admiral, Lysimachus the Treasurer, and Agathokles of Sicily the Lord of the Isles. The other princes laughed at these sallies of Demetrius, and only Lysimachus was angry that Demetrius should think him a eunuch; for it was a pretty general custom to appoint eunuchs to the post of treasurer. Indeed Lysimachus hated him more bitterly than all of the rest, and, sneering at his passion for Lamia, used to declare that he had never before seen a whore act in a tragedy: to which Demetrius retorted that his whore was a more respectable woman than Lysimachus’s Penelope.

XXVI. Demetrius now set out for Athens, and sent a letter to the Athenians informing them that he desired to be initiated, and that he wished to go through the whole course, including both the lesser and the greater mysteries. This is not lawful, and never took place before, as the minor initiation used to take place in the month Anthesterion, and the greater in Bœdromion. When the letter was read, no one ventured to offer any opposition except Pythodorus the torchbearer,305 and he effected nothing; for, at the instance of Stratokles, the Athenians decreed that the month Munychion should be called Anthesterion, and in it celebrated the mysteries of Demeter which are held at Agræ.306 After this the name of the month Munychion was changed again from Anthesterion to Bœdromion, and Demetrius was admitted to the second degree, and allowed the privileges of an “epoptes.” In allusion to this Philippides rails at Stratokles in his verses as the man

“Who crowds into one month the entire year.”

And, in allusion to the lodging of Demetrius in the Parthenon, he wrote

“Who treats Acropolis as t’were an inn
And makes the Virgin’s shrine a house of sin.”

XXVII. But of all the outrages and illegal acts of which Demetrius was guilty at this period, nothing seems to have enraged the Athenians so much as his ordering 237them speedily to levy a sum of two hundred and fifty talents, which, when it had been raised by a most harsh and pitiless series of exactions, was publicly presented by Demetrius to Lamia and her sisterhood to furnish their toilet-tables. It was the disgrace of the whole business and the scorn which it brought upon them, which stung them to the quick, more than the loss of the money. Some writers say that it was the people of Thessaly, not the Athenians, whom he treated in this manner. However, besides this, Lamia extorted money from many citizens on pretence of providing a supper for the king. This supper was so famous on account of the enormous sum which it cost, that a history of it was written by Lynkeus of Samos. For this reason one of the comic poets very cleverly called Lamia a “city-taker.” Demochares of Soli called Demetrius himself “Mythus,” or “Fable,” because he too had his Lamia.307

Indeed the passion of Demetrius for Lamia caused not only his wives but his friends to dislike her and be jealous of her. Some of them went on an embassy to Lysimachus, and he when at leisure showed them on his thighs and arms the scars of deep wounds caused by a lion’s claws, telling them of how King Alexander had fastened him in the same cage with the beast, and the battle he had fought with it. On hearing this they laughingly said that their master also frequently showed upon his neck the marks of a savage beast called Lamia, which he kept. The wonder was that Demetrius, who had objected to Phila as being past her first youth, should yet be so captivated by Lamia, who was now far advanced in years. Once when Lamia was playing on the flute at a banquet, Demetrius asked the courtesan Demo, who was surnamed Mania, what she thought of her. “I think her an old woman, my king,” replied she. Again when the sweetmeats were placed on the table, Demetrius said to Demo, “Do you see what fine things Lamia sends me?” “My mother,” answered Demo, “will send you many more if only you will sleep with her.” A saying of Lamia’s about the well-known judgment of Bocchoris has been recorded.


A certain Egyptian became enamoured of the courtesan Thonis, but she set too high a price upon her favours for him. Afterwards he dreamed that he had enjoyed her, and his passion for her cooled. Upon this Thonis sued him in court for the money, and Bocchoris, having heard the case argued, ordered the man to place the exact sum which she demanded in a glass vessel, and to wave it backwards and forwards while she clutched at the shadow, because the young man’s dream had been a shadow of the reality.308 Lamia said that she did not think this decision a just one, because the woman’s desire for the gold was not satisfied by the shadow, as the young man’s passion had been by his dream.

XXVIII. But now the fortunes and deeds of the subject of our narrative force us to pass from a comic to a tragic scene, for all the other kings conspired against Antigonus, and united their forces together. Demetrius hereupon sailed away from Greece and joined his father, who was making wonderful exertions for a man of his age, and who was greatly encouraged by his son’s arrival. Yet it appears as though Antigonus, if only he would have made some small concessions and restrained his excessive love of power, might have enjoyed his supreme dignity to the end of his life, and might have bequeathed to his son his position of chief of all the successors of Alexander. Being, however, by nature haughty and disdainful, and even harsher in word than in deed, he alienated from himself and exasperated many young and powerful men; and even now he boasted that he would scatter the confederacy by which he was menaced as easily as a man scares a flock of birds away from a field. He took the field with more than seventy thousand infantry, ten thousand cavalry, and seventy-five elephants, while his enemies’ army numbered sixty-four thousand infantry, five hundred more cavalry than his own, four hundred elephants, and one hundred and twenty war-chariots. When they drew near he became less hopeful rather than less determined. He was always wont to show a lofty and boastful spirit in the hour of danger, speaking in a 239loud tone, using confident language, and after making some jest when in the presence of the enemy, to show his own assurance of success and contempt for his opponents. Now, however, he was thoughtful and silent, and presented his son to the army as his successor. But what astonished every one most of all was that he held council with Demetrius alone in the tent, although he never before had shared his secret thoughts even with his son, but had always privately formed his own plans, and publicly carried them out on his own responsibility. It is said that Demetrius, when still very young, once asked him at what hour he proposed to march, to which Antigonus angrily answered, “Do you fear, that you alone will not hear the sound of the trumpet?”

XXIX. On this occasion it appears that they were also disheartened by sinister omens. Demetrius dreamed that Alexander appeared before him in shining armour, and inquired what would be their watchword for the battle. When Demetrius answered “Zeus and victory,” Alexander replied, “I will go away now, and tell this to the enemy; for I am going over to them.” Antigonus, too, as he stepped out of his tent to see his line formed stumbled and fell heavily upon his face. When he rose, he lifted his hands to heaven and prayed to the gods that they would either grant him victory or a painless death before his army was routed.

When the battle began, Demetrius with the flower of the cavalry charged Antiochus the son of Seleukus, and brilliantly routed the enemy, but he lost the day by his headstrong eagerness to pursue too far. He was unable to rejoin the infantry, for the enemy’s elephants interposed between him and the phalanx, which was thus left without any cavalry to cover its flanks. Seeing this, Seleukus kept the rest of his cavalry ever threatening to charge, but never actually doing so, hovering near the phalanx and both terrifying it and giving the men an opportunity of changing sides, which indeed took place; for a great mass of Antigonus’s infantry came over to Seleukus, and the rest fled. Many enemies now beset Antigonus, and one of his attendants said to him, “My king, it is you whom they are making for.” “Why,” replied he, “what 240other mark could they have but me? But Demetrius will soon be here to the rescue.” While he looked round hoping in vain to see his son, a shower of darts fell, and laid him low. All his friends and attendants now fled, except one named Thorax, a native of Larissa, who remained by the corpse.

XXX. After this battle the victorious kings proceeded to divide the empire of Antigonus and Demetrius amongst them, each annexing the portion which lay nearest to his own dominions, as though they were cutting slices out of some huge slaughtered beast. Demetrius fled with five thousand infantry and four thousand cavalry, and directed his march with the utmost speed towards Ephesus. All imagined that in his distress for money he would not spare the rich temple there, and he himself, fearing lest his soldiers should do so, set sail as quickly as possible for Greece, as his chief hopes now lay in Athens. Indeed he had left there a part of his fleet, some treasure and his wife Deidameia, and imagined that he could find no surer refuge in his adversity than Athens, where he felt assured of the loyalty of the people. But while he was passing the Cyclades he met an embassy from Athens begging him not to approach that city, since the people had decreed that none of the kings should be admitted within its walls. The ambassadors added that his wife Deidameia had been escorted with due honour and respect to Megara. On hearing this, Demetrius, who had borne the rest of his misfortunes with the utmost serenity, and had never hitherto allowed an unworthy expression to escape him, became transported with anger. He was, in truth, bitterly grieved at being thus unexpectedly betrayed by the Athenians, and at finding that their apparent enthusiasm in his cause had all the while been unreal and fictitious. Apparently the bestowal of excessive honours upon kings and potentates by the people is but a poor test of their real loyalty, for the essence of these honours lies in their being freely offered, and they are worthless if prompted by fear; and men fawn upon those they fear just as they do upon those whom they really love. For this reason sensible men know how to value the erection of their statues, flattering decrees, and other public honours,241 by reflecting upon what they themselves have done for their admirers; for by this means they can discern whether these are really genuine expressions of respect, or are extorted by terror; for peoples frequently confer these very distinctions upon men whom they hate and abhor, but whom they are forced to honour against their will.

XXXI. Demetrius, although he considered that he had been very badly treated by the Athenians, was powerless to resent their conduct. He sent an embassy to Athens, gently complaining of their conduct, and requesting that they would restore his ships, one of which was a vessel of thirteen banks of oars. Having received them he coasted along as far as the Isthmus, where he found that all his garrisons had been driven out of the cities, and that the whole country had gone over to his enemies. He now left Pyrrhus to act as his lieutenant in Greece, and himself sailed to the Chersonese.309 Here he enriched his troops at the expense of Lysimachus by plundering the country, and soon found means again to collect a very considerable army. The other kings paid no regard to Lysimachus, thinking that he was no better a man than Demetrius, and more to be feared because he was more powerful.

Not long after this Seleukus sent an embassy to Demetrius to make proposals for the hand of Stratonike, the daughter of Demetrius by his wife Phila. Seleukus already had one son named Antiochus by his wife Apama, a Persian lady, but he thought that his empire would suffice for more than one heir, and he desired to form an alliance with Demetrius, because Lysimachus had recently married one of Ptolemy’s daughters himself, and taken the other for his son Agathokles. To Demetrius this offer of marriage from Seleukus was a most unexpected piece of good fortune. He placed his daughter on board ship, and sailed with his entire fleet to Syria. On his way he was forced to land several times to obtain supplies, especially on the coast of Cilicia, which province, after the battle in which Antigonus fell, had been bestowed upon Pleistarchus, the brother of Kassander. Pleistarchus took umbrage at the intrusion of Demetrius into his 242territory, and retired to Macedonia to complain to his brother that Seleukus was betraying the other kings by making terms with the common enemy of them all.

XXXII. Demetrius, when he discovered the intentions of Pleistarchus, proceeded at once to Quinda, where he found the sum of twelve hundred talents still remaining. Having made himself master of this, he quickly reembarked and put to sea. He was now joined by his wife Phila, and met Seleukus at Rhossas. Here the two princes conversed together in a truly royal style, without the least suspicion or fear of treachery. First Seleukus feasted Demetrius in his tent in the midst of his camp, and afterwards Demetrius entertained him at a banquet on board his great thirteen-banked ship. They also talked freely together for a long time, spending several days in friendly intercourse without any body-guard or arms, till at length Seleukus took Stratonike, and escorted her with great pomp to Antiocheia.310 Demetrius now made himself master of Cilicia, and sent his wife Phila to her brother, Kassander, to answer the accusations brought against him by Pleistarchus. During this time Deidameia sailed from Greece and joined Demetrius, but not long after her arrival she sickened and died. By the good offices of Seleukus, Demetrius was now reconciled with Ptolemy, and arranged to take Ptolemäis, Ptolemy’s daughter, for his wife. So far Seleukus behaved very well; but he could not prevail upon Demetrius to give up Cilicia to him for a sum of money, and when he angrily demanded the surrender of Tyre and Sidon, his conduct appears very overbearing and ungenerous, as though he, who had made himself master of all the country between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, were so poor and needy as to be obliged to squabble with his father-in-law about two cities, at a time, too, when the latter was suffering from a great reverse of fortune. How strongly does this bear out the truth of Plato’s maxim, that he who wishes to be really rich ought to lessen his desires rather than increase his property, because if a man places no bounds to his covetousness, he never will be free from want and misery.


XXXIII. Demetrius on this occasion showed no want of spirit. He declared that not if he had lost ten thousand fields like Ipsus would he consent to buy Seleukus for his son-in-law. He strengthened the garrisons of the cities,311 and hearing that Lachares, taking advantage of the factions into which the Athenians were divided, had made himself despot of that city, he thought that if he only were to show himself before Athens he might easily obtain possession of it. He crossed the sea in safety with a large fleet, but when off the coast of Attica he encountered a violent storm, in which he lost most of his ships and a great number of his men. He himself escaped unhurt, and at once began to make war against the Athenians. As, however, he could not effect anything, he sent his lieutenants to collect another fleet, and meanwhile proceeded to Peloponnesus. Here he laid siege to Messene, and during an assault nearly lost his life, for he was struck full in the face by a dart from a catapult, which pierced through his jaw into his mouth. He recovered from his wound, received the submission of several insurgent cities, and returned to Attica, where he made himself master of Eleusis and Rhamnus, and ravaged the country. He captured a ship loaded with wheat bound for Athens, and hanged the captain and pilot, which measure terrified the other merchants so much that they avoided Athens, and a terrible famine took place there, and the want of food brought about a scarcity of everything else. A medimnus312 of salt was sold for forty drachmas, and a modius313 of corn sold for three hundred drachmas.

The Athenians gained a short respite from their sufferings by the appearance near Ægina of a fleet of a hundred and fifty sail, which was sent by Ptolemy to aid them. Soon, however, Demetrius collected from Peloponnesus and Cyprus a fleet of three hundred ships, before which those of Ptolemy were forced to retire. Upon this the despot Lachares made his escape and abandoned the city to its fate.

XXXIV. The Athenians, although they had decreed that anyone who proposed to make peace and come to 244terms with Demetrius should be put to death, now at once opened their nearest gates and sent an embassy to him; not that they expected to be well treated by him, but acting under the pressure of starvation. It was said that, among other painful incidents, it happened that a father and a son were sitting in the same room, without any hopes of surviving, when a dead mouse fell from the roof, upon which they both started up and began to fight for it. We are told that during this time the philosopher Epikurus kept his disciples alive by counting out to them a fixed allowance of beans every day. This was the condition of the city when Demetrius made his entry into it. He ordered all the Athenians to assemble in the theatre, occupied the stage with armed men, placing his own body-guard round the part usually reserved for the actors, and made his appearance, like a tragic actor, through the entrance at the back.314 The Athenians were greatly terrified at these proceedings, but the first words of his address put an end to their fears. He spoke in a mild and conciliatory tone, briefly and gently, complained of their conduct towards him, and announced his forgiveness of them. He distributed among them one hundred thousand medimni of wheat, and appointed the most popular men in the city to the vacant magistracies. Dromokleides the orator, seeing that the people could scarcely find enough means to express their delight, and that they were eager to outdo the panegyrics which were being lavished upon Demetrius from the bema, proposed that the ports of Peiræus and Munychia should be handed over to King Demetrius. When this was agreed to, Demetrius himself placed a garrison in the Museum, by which he intended to curb the people in case they should grow restive and take off his attention from his other enterprises.

XXXV. Being now master of Athens, Demetrius at once began to attack Lacedæmon. He met the King of Sparta, Archidamus, near Mantinea, defeated him, and invaded Laconia, driving the beaten army before him. He fought a second battle before the walls of Sparta itself, 245in which he killed two hundred Spartans, and took five hundred prisoners; and he very nearly took the city itself, which up to that time had never been taken. Fortune, however, seems to have introduced greater and more sudden vicissitudes into the life of Demetrius than into that of any other prince, for he was constantly rising from the most abject poverty to the highest pinnacles of wealth and power, and then being as suddenly cast down again. He himself is said, when his fortunes were at their lowest, to have quoted the verse of Æschylus,

“Thou raisest up, and thou dost bring me down.”

So at this time, when everything seemed to be succeeding, and his empire and power constantly increasing, Demetrius received the news that Lysimachus had taken all the cities in Asia which had belonged to him, and that Ptolemy had made himself master of Cyprus with the exception of Salamis, which he was besieging, in which city was the mother and the children of Demetrius. Yet, like the woman spoken of by the poet Archilochus, who deceitfully offers water in one hand, while she holds a firebrand in the other, the fortune of Demetrius, after soaring him away from the conquest of Sparta by these terrifying pieces of intelligence, at once offered him hopes of accomplishing a new and mighty enterprise, in the following manner.

XXXVI. After the death of Kassander, his eldest son Philip ascended the throne, but not long afterwards died. Upon this Kassander’s two younger sons each aspired to the crown. One of them, Antipater, murdered his mother Thessalonike, upon which the other315 invited Pyrrhus to come from Epirus, and Demetrius from Peloponnesus, to support his claims. Pyrrhus was the first to arrive, and demanded so large a portion of the kingdom of Macedonia as the price of his assistance, that he soon became an object of terror to Alexander. When Demetrius, in answer to the appeal of Alexander, arrived with his army, Alexander was even more terrified, because of his great renown. He met Demetrius near Dium, and welcomed him as an honoured guest, but gave him to understand that he no 246longer stood in need of his services. Upon this each began to suspect the other, and Demetrius, when he was proceeding to a banquet to which he had been invited by the young prince, was warned that his host intended to assassinate him while they were drinking after dinner. Demetrius was not in the least disturbed at this intelligence, but merely delayed going to the banquet for a short time, while he ordered his officers to keep their men under arms, and bade his personal followers and pages, who far out-numbered the retinue of Alexander, to enter the banqueting hall with him, and to remain there until he left the table. Alarmed by these precautions, Alexander did not venture to offer him any violence; and Demetrius soon left the room, excusing himself on the ground that his health would not permit him to drink wine. On the following day Demetrius made preparations for departure, announcing that he had received news which made this necessary. He begged Alexander to pardon him for so sudden a retreat, and promised that when he was more at leisure he would pay him another visit. Alexander was delighted at this, thinking that Demetrius was leaving the country of his own free-will, and not as an enemy; and he escorted him as far as the borders of Thessaly. When they reached Larissa, each again invited the other to a banquet, each intending to murder the other. This decided the fall of Alexander, who fell into his own trap, being loth to show any distrust of Demetrius, lest Demetrius should distrust him. He accepted Demetrius’s invitation to a banquet, during which Demetrius suddenly rose. Alexander in alarm also started to his feet, and followed Demetrius towards the door. Demetrius as he passed the door said to his body-guard, “Kill the man who follows me,” and walked on. Alexander, who followed him, was cut down by the guard, as were his friends, who rushed to his assistance. One of these men when dying is said to have remarked that Demetrius had got the start of them by one day.

XXXVII. The night was spent in tumult and alarm. At daybreak the Macedonians, who had feared an attack from the army of Demetrius, became reassured, as nothing of the kind took place; and when Demetrius 247intimated to them his wish to address them and to explain his conduct, they received him in a friendly manner. When he appeared, he had no need to make a long speech, for the Macedonians, who hated Antipater for having murdered his mother, and who knew not where to look for a better sovereign, saluted Demetrius as King of the Macedonians, and at once conducted him into Macedonia. The new reign was not displeasing to the remainder of the Macedonians, who had never forgotten the disgraceful conduct of Kassander after the death of Alexander. If any remembrance of the moderation of their old governor Antipater still remained amongst them, Demetrius reaped the benefit of it, as his wife Phila was the daughter of Antipater, and his son,316 by her, who was nearly grown up, and accompanied his father on this campaign, was now the heir to the throne.

XXXVIII. After this brilliant piece of good fortune, Demetrius received the news that his mother and children had been set at liberty by Ptolemy, who had given them presents and treated them with respect; while he also heard that his daughter, who had been given in marriage to Seleukus, was living with his son Antiochus, with the title of “queen of the native tribes of the interior.” It appears that Antiochus fell violently in love with Stratonike, who was quite a young girl, though she had already borne a child to Seleukus. After making many fruitless efforts to resist his passion, he reflected upon the wickedness of indulging a love which he was unable to restrain, and decided that he would put an end to his life. Under pretence of illness he refused to take nourishment, neglected his person, and was quietly sinking. Erasistratus, his physician, had without much difficulty perceived that he was in love, but could not guess with whom. He consequently spent the entire day in the same room with Antiochus, and whenever any young persons came to visit him, narrowly watched his countenance and those parts by which emotion is especially betrayed. He found that his condition was unaltered except when Stratonike came to see him, either alone or with her husband, Seleukus, and that then all the symptoms mentioned by


Sappho were visible in him, such as stammering, fiery blushes, failure of eyesight, violent perspiration, disturbed and quickened pulse, and at length, as his passions gained the mastery over him, pallor and bewilderment. Erasistratus, after making these observations, reflected that it was not probable that the king’s son would starve himself to death in silence for love of any other woman than his mother-in-law. He judged it to be a perilous enterprise to explain the real state of the case, but, nevertheless, trusting to the love of Seleukus for his son, he one day ventured to tell him that love was really the disorder from which young Antiochus was suffering, and that it was a hopeless and incurable passion. “How incurable?” inquired Seleukus. “Because,” answered Erasistratus, “he is in love with my wife.” “Well, then,” said Seleukus, “will you not give her up, Erasistratus, and marry her to my son, who is your friend, especially as that is the only way out of this trouble for us?” “No,” said Erasistratus, “I will not. Why, you yourself, although you are his father, would not do this, if Antiochus were enamoured of Stratonike.” To this Seleukus replied, “My friend, I would that by any means, human or divine, his passion could be directed to her; for I would willingly even give up my crown if I could thereby save Antiochus.”

When Seleukus, in a tone of deep feeling and with tears in his eyes, made this avowal, Erasistratus took him by the hand, in token of good faith, and declared that his own services were quite useless, for that Seleukus himself was best able to heal the disorders which had arisen in his household. After this Seleukus convoked a general assembly of his people, and declared to them that he had determined to nominate Antiochus king, and Stratonike queen of all the nations of the interior, and that they were to be married. He believed, he said, that his son, who had always been accustomed to obey him, would raise no objection to the marriage; and that if his wife was discontented with it on the ground of its illegality, he begged his friends to argue with her and persuade her to regard everything as legal and honourable which the king decided upon as expedient. In this manner it is said to have come to pass that Antiochus was married to Stratonike.


XXXIX. After obtaining Macedonia, Demetrius made himself master of Thessaly also. As he possessed the greater part of Peloponnesus, besides Megara and Athens, he now marched against Bœotia. At first the Bœotians came to terms, and formed an alliance with him, but afterwards, when Kleonymus of Sparta came to Thebes with an army, and Pisis, the most influential citizen of Thespiæ, encouraged them to recover their liberty, they revolted from Demetrius. Upon this, Demetrius brought up his famous siege train to attack their cities.317 Kleonymus was so terrified that he secretly withdrew, and the Bœotians were scared into submission. Demetrius, though he garrisoned all their cities with his own troops, levied a large sum of money, and left Hieronymus318 the historian as governor of the province, was thought to have dealt very mildly with the Bœotians, especially because of his treatment of Pisis; for he not only dismissed him unharmed when brought before him as a prisoner, but conversed with him in a friendly manner, and nominated him polemarch of Thespiæ.

Not long after these events, Lysimachus was taken prisoner by Dromichætus. Upon this, Demetrius at once hurriedly marched towards Thrace, hoping to find it unguarded. The Bœotians seized the opportunity of his absence to revolt, while news was brought to Demetrius that Lysimachus had been dismissed by his captors. Enraged at this, he speedily returned, and finding that the Bœotians had been defeated in a pitched battle by his son Antigonus, he a second time laid siege to Thebes.

XL. However, as Pyrrhus was now overrunning Thessaly, and had pushed even as far as Thermopylæ, Demetrius left Antigonus to prosecute the siege, and himself marched to attack Pyrrhus. Pyrrhus beat a hasty retreat, and Demetrius, leaving ten thousand infantry and a thousand cavalry in Thessaly, returned to press the siege of Thebes. He now brought up his great machine, called the “City-taker,” which was moved by levers with great difficulty on account of its enormous weight; so that it 250is said that in two months it hardly moved two furlongs, The Bœotians made a vigorous defence, and Demetrius frequently forced his soldiers to engage in battle with them, more out of arrogance than through any real necessity for fighting. After one of these battles, Antigonus, grieved at the number of men who had fallen, said, “My father, why do we allow all these men to perish, when there is no occasion for it?” Demetrius sharply answered, “Why do you take offence at this? Do you have to pay the dead?” Yet Demetrius, not wishing it to be thought that he was lavish of other men’s blood and not of his own, but being anxious to fight among the foremost, was wounded by a dart thrown from a catapult, which pierced through his neck. He suffered much from this wound, but still continued the siege, and at length took Thebes for the second time. When he entered the city, he inspired the citizens with the most intense terror, as they expected to be treated with the greatest severity. He was satisfied, however, with putting to death thirteen of the citizens, and banishing a few others. Thus was Thebes taken twice within less than ten years since it was first rebuilt.

As the time for the Pythian games had now come round, Demetrius took upon himself to make a most startling innovation. As the passes leading to Delphi were held by the Ætolians, he celebrated the games in Athens, declaring that it was right that especial honour should be paid there to Apollo, who is the tutelary god of the Athenians, and is said to have been the founder of their race.

XLI. Demetrius now returned to Macedonia. As he could not bear a life of repose, and found that his subjects were more easily governed on a campaign, since they were troublesome and turbulent when at home, he marched against the Ætolians. After laying waste their country he left Pantauchus there with a large portion of his army, and with the rest marched to attack Pyrrhus. Pyrrhus was equally eager to meet him, but they missed each other, so that Demetrius invaded and ravaged Epirus, while Pyrrhus319 fell in with Pantauchus and 251fought with him. He himself exchanged blows with Pantauchus and put him to flight, killing many of his followers, and taking five thousand prisoners. This did more damage to the cause of Demetrius than anything else; for Pyrrhus was not so much disliked for the harm which he had done them, as he was admired for his personal prowess. His fame became great in Macedonia after this battle, and many Macedonians were heard to say that he alone, of all the princes of the time, revived the image of Alexander’s daring courage, while the rest, and especially Demetrius, only imitated his demeanour by their theatrical pomp and trappings of royalty. Indeed, Demetrius gave himself the most extravagant airs, wearing magnificent purple robes and hats with a double crown, and even wore shoes of purple felt embroidered with gold. There was a cloak which was for a long time being embroidered for his use, a most extravagantly showy piece of work, upon which was depicted a figure of the world and of the heavenly bodies. This cloak was left unfinished when Demetrius lost his crown, and none of his successors on the throne of Macedonia ever presumed to wear it, although some of them were very ostentatious princes.

XLII. The spectacle of this unusual pomp irritated the Macedonians, who were not accustomed to see their kings thus attired, while the luxury and extravagance of Demetrius’s mode of life also gave offence to them. They were especially enraged at his haughty reserve, and the difficulty of obtaining access to him; for he either refused to grant an interview, or else treated those who were admitted to his presence with harshness and insolence. He kept an embassy of the Athenians, whom he respected beyond all other Greeks, waiting for two years for an audience; and when one ambassador arrived from Lacedæmon, he construed it as a mark of disrespect, and was angry. But when Demetrius said to the ambassador:—“What is this that you tell me? the Lacedæmonians have sent one ambassador!” “Yes,” answered he cleverly and laconically, “one ambassador to one king.”

One day when Demetrius came out of his palace he appeared to be in a more affable humour than usual, 252and willing to converse with his subjects. Upon this, many persons ran to present him with written statements of their grievances. As he received them all and placed them in the folds of his cloak, the petitioners were greatly delighted, and accompanied him; but when he came to the bridge over the Axius, he emptied them all out of his cloak into the river. This conduct greatly exasperated the Macedonians, who declared that they were insulted instead of being governed by him, and who remembered or were told by older men how gentle and easy of access Philip was always wont to be.

Once an old woman met him when he was walking, and begged repeatedly for a hearing. When he replied that he had no leisure to attend to her, she loudly cried out, “Then be king no more.” Stung by this taunt he returned to his palace, and gave audiences to all who wished it, beginning with the old woman, and so continued for many days. Indeed nothing becomes a king so much as to do justice to his subjects. As Timotheus the poet has it, Ares is a despot, but Pindar tells us that law is lord of all. Homer also says that kings have been entrusted by Zeus, not with City-takers or brazen-bound ships, but with justice, which they must keep and respect; and that Zeus does not love the most warlike or the most unjust of kings, but the most righteous, and calls him his friend and disciple. Demetrius however rejoiced in being called by a name most unlike that of the Lord of Heaven, for his title is “The Preserver of Cities,” while Demetrius was known as “The Besieger.” Thus through the worship of mere brute force, the bad gradually overcame the good side of his character, and his fame became sullied by the unworthy acts with which it was associated.

XLIII. While Demetrius lay dangerously ill at Pella, he very nearly lost his kingdom, as Pyrrhus invaded the country and briskly overran it as far as Edessa. However, on his recovery, Demetrius easily drove Pyrrhus out of Macedonia, and then made terms with him, because he did not wish to be entangled in a border warfare, which would interfere with the realisation of his more important projects. He meditated a colossal enterprise indeed, nothing less than the recovery of the whole of his father253’s empire. His preparations were on a commensurate scale, for he had collected a force of ninety-eight thousand foot soldiers and nearly twelve thousand horse, while at Peiræus, Corinth, Chalkis, and the ports near Pella he was engaged in the construction of a fleet of five hundred ships. He himself personally superintended the works, visiting each dockyard and giving directions to the artificers; and all men were astounded not only at the number, but at the size of the vessels which were being built. Before his time no one had ever seen a ship of fifteen or sixteen banks of oars, although in later times Ptolemy Philopator built a ship of forty banks of oars, which measured two hundred and eighty cubits in length, and forty-eight cubits in height. This ship was navigated by four hundred sailors, four thousand rowers, and, besides all these, had room upon its decks for nearly three thousand soldiers. But this ship was merely for show, and differed little from a fixed building, being totally useless, and only moved with great risk and labour; whereas the beauty of the ships of Demetrius did not render them less serviceable, nor was their equipment so elaborate as to interfere with their use, but they were no less admirable for speed and strength as for greatness of size.

XLIV. When this great armament, the largest ever collected since the death of Alexander, began to menace Asia, the three princes, Ptolemy, Seleukus, and Lysimachus, formed a confederation to oppose it. They next sent a joint letter to Pyrrhus, in which they urged him to attack Macedonia, and not to pay any regard to a peace by which Demetrius had not made any engagement not to go to war with him, but had merely obtained time to attack the others first. Pyrrhus agreed to this proposal, and Demetrius, before his preparations were completed, found himself involved in a war of considerable magnitude: for Ptolemy sailed to Greece with a large fleet and caused it to revolt from Demetrius, while Lysimachus from Thrace and Pyrrhus from Epirus invaded Macedonia and ravaged the country. Demetrius left his son to command in Greece, and himself marched to attack Lysimachus, in order to free Macedonia from the enemy. He shortly, however, received the news that Pyrrhus had taken 254the city of Berœa, and when the Macedonians heard this, there was an end to all discipline, for the camp was full of tears and lamentations, and abuse of Demetrius. The men no longer cared to remain with him, but became eager to go away, nominally to their homes, but really to desert to Lysimachus. Demetrius upon this determined to place the greatest possible distance between Lysimachus and himself, and accordingly marched to attack Pyrrhus; reasoning that Lysimachus was a native of Macedonia, and was popular with many of the Macedonians because he had been a companion of Alexander, while he thought that the Macedonians would not prefer a foreigner like Pyrrhus to himself. However, in this expectation he was greatly deceived: for as soon as he encamped near Pyrrhus, his soldiers had a constant opportunity of admiring his personal prowess in battle, and they had from the most ancient times been accustomed to think that the best warrior is the best king. When besides this they learned how leniently Pyrrhus had dealt with the captives, as they had long been determined to transfer their allegiance from Demetrius to some one else, they now gladly agreed that it should be to Pyrrhus. At first they deserted to him secretly and few at a time; but soon the whole camp became excited and disturbed, and at last some had the audacity to present themselves before Demetrius, and bid him seek safety in flight, for the Macedonians were tired of fighting to maintain his extravagance. Compared with the harsh language held by many other Macedonians, this appeared to Demetrius to be very reasonable advice, and so proceeding to his tent, as though he were really a play-actor and not a king, he changed his theatrical cloak for one of a dark colour, and made his way out of the camp unobserved. Most of his soldiery at once betook themselves to plundering, and while they were quarrelling with one another over the spoils of the royal tent, Pyrrhus appeared, encountered no resistance, and made himself master of the camp. Pyrrhus and Lysimachus now divided between them the kingdom of Macedonia, which had for seven consecutive years been ruled by Demetrius.

XLV. After this great disaster, Demetrius retired 255to Kassandreia. His wife Phila was greatly grieved at his fall, and could not bear to see Demetrius a miserable fugitive and exile after having been a king. Despairing of ever seeing better days, and bitterly reflecting how far her husband’s good luck was outweighed by his misfortunes, she ended her life by poison. Now Demetrius, anxious to save what he could from the wreck of his fortunes, proceeded to Greece, and there collected his generals and forces. The verses spoken by Menelaus in Sophokles’s play—

“But ever whirling on the wheel of fate
My fortune changes, like the changing moon
That never keeps her form two nights the same.
At first she comes with flattering countenance
And fills her orb; but when she is most bright
She wanes again, and loses all her light,”

seems to express very well the strange waxing and waning of the fortunes of Demetrius, who, as in the present instance, sometimes appeared to be quite extinguished, and then burst forth again as brilliant as ever, as little by little his power increased until he was able to carry out his plans. At first he visited the various cities of Greece dressed as a private man, without any of the insignia of royalty. One of the Thebans seeing him in this guise, cleverly applied to him the verses of Euripides:

“A god no more, but dressed in mortal guise,
He comes to where the springs of Dirké rise.”

XLVI. When he again hoped to regain the style of royalty, and began to gather around him the form and substance of an empire, he permitted the Thebans to remain independent. The Athenians, however, revolted from him. They erased the name of Diphilus, who was inscribed upon the rolls as “priest of the Saviours,”320 and decreed that archons should be elected after their ancestral custom; and they also sent to Macedonia to invite Pyrrhus to come and help them, as they perceived that Demetrius was becoming more powerful than they had expected. Demetrius indeed angrily marched upon Athens, and began to besiege the city, but the philosopher Krates, an able


Õand eloquent man, who was sent to make terms with him by the Athenian people, partly by entreaties, and partly by pointing out in what quarter his true interests lay, prevailed upon him to raise the siege. Demetrius now collected what ships he could, and with eleven thousand infantry and a few cavalry soldiers sailed to Asia, intending to detach the provinces of Lydia and Karia from Lysimachus’s dominions. At Miletus he was met by Eurydike,321 the sister of Phila, who brought him her daughter Ptolemäis, who had been long before promised to him in the treaty concluded by the mediation of Seleukus. Demetrius married her, and immediately after the wedding betook himself to gaining over the cities of Ionia, some of which joined him of their own accord, while others were forced to yield to his arms. He also captured Sardis, and several of the officers of Lysimachus deserted to him, bringing him both soldiers and money. When, however, Lysimachus’s son Agathokles came to attack him with a large force, he withdrew into Phrygia, meaning if possible to gain possession of Armenia, stir up Media to revolt, and make himself master of the provinces in the interior, among which a fugitive could easily find an abundance of places of refuge. Agathokles pressed him hard, and Demetrius, although victorious in all the skirmishes which took place, was reduced to great straits, as he was cut off from his supplies of provisions and forage, while his soldiers began to suspect him of meaning to lead them to Armenia and Media. Famine now began to distress his army, and he also lost a large body of men, who were swept away in crossing the river Lykus through mistaking the ford. Yet the men did not cease to joke; and one of them wrote before the tent of Demetrius the first verses of the play of [Oe]dipus at Kolonus, slightly altered:

“Child of Antigonus, the blind old man,
What place is this, at which we have arrived?”

XLVII. At last famine, as usually happens, produced a pestilence, because the men ate whatever they could find; and Demetrius, after losing no less than eight thousand, 257gave up his project, and led back the remainder. He proceeded to Tarsus, and would, if possible, have abstained from living on the neighbouring country which belonged to Seleukus, and so giving him an excuse for attacking him. However, this was impossible, as his soldiers were reduced to the last extremities of want, and Agathokles had fortified the passes of the Taurus range of mountains. Demetrius now wrote a letter to Seleukus, containing a long and piteous account of his misfortunes, and begging Seleukus as a relative to take pity on one who had suffered enough to make even his enemies feel compassion for him. Seleukus seems to have been touched by this appeal. He wrote to his generals, ordering them to show Demetrius the respect due to royalty, and to supply his troops with provisions; but now Patrokles, who was thought to be a man of great wisdom, and who was a friend of Seleukus, pointed out to him that the expense of feeding the troops of Demetrius was not a matter of great importance, but that it was a grievous error to allow Demetrius himself to remain in his territory. He reminded him that Demetrius had always been the most turbulent and enterprising of princes, and that he was now in a position which would urge the most moderate and peaceable of men to deeds of reckless daring and treachery. Struck by this reasoning, Seleukus started for Cilicia in person, at the head of a large army. Demetrius, astonished and alarmed at this rapid change in Seleukus’s attitude, retreated to a strong position at the foot of the Taurus mountains, and in a second letter requested Seleukus to allow him to conquer some native territory occupied by independent tribes, in which he might repose after his wanderings, or at least to let him maintain his forces in Cilicia during the winter, and not to drive him out of the country and expose him to his enemies in a destitute condition.

XLVIII. Seleukus viewed all these proposals with suspicion, and offered to let him pass two months of the winter in Cataonia, but demanded his chief officers as hostages, and at the same time began to secure the passes leading into Syria. Demetrius, who was now shut up like a wild beast in a trap, was driven to use force, overran the country, and fought several slight actions 258successfully with Seleukus. On one occasion he withstood a charge of scythed chariots, and routed the enemy, and he also drove away the garrison of one of the passes, and gained the command of the road to Syria. He now became elated by success, and perceiving that his soldiers had recovered their confidence, he determined to fight Seleukus for his kingdom. Seleukus himself was now in difficulties. He had refused Lysimachus’s offer of assistance, through suspicion, and he feared to engage with Demetrius in battle, dreading the effects of his despair and the sudden turns of his fortune. However, at this crisis Demetrius was seized by a disorder which nearly carried him off, and utterly ruined his prospects; for some of his soldiers deserted to the enemy, and some dispersed to their own homes. After forty days he was able to place himself at the head of the remaining troops, and with them marched so as to lead the enemy to suppose that he meant to return to Cilicia; but as soon as it was dark he started without any sound of trumpet in the opposite direction, crossed the pass of Amanus, and began to plunder the plain of Kyrrhestis.

XLIX. Shortly afterwards Seleukus made his appearance, and pitched his camp hard by. Demetrius now got his men under arms in the night and started to surprise Seleukus, whose army expected no attack, and was for the most part asleep. When he was informed of his danger by some deserters he leaped up in terror, and began putting on his boots and shouting to his friends that a savage beast was coming to attack them. Demetrius, observing from the noise which filled the enemy’s camp that they had notice of his attempt, quickly marched back again. He was attacked at daybreak by Seleukus, and gained some advantage by a flank attack. But now Seleukus himself dismounted, took off his helmet, and with only a small shield in his hand went up to the mercenary troops of Demetrius, showing himself to them and inviting them to join him. They knew that he had for a long time refrained from attacking them out of a wish to spare their lives, and not for the sake of Demetrius; and they all greeted him, saluted him as King, and joined his army. Demetrius, who had seen so many turns of good and ill fortune, 259felt that this blow was final. He fled towards the pass of Amanus, and with a few friends and attendants took refuge in a thick wood for the night, hoping to be able to gain the road to Kaunus and so to reach the sea, where he hoped to find his fleet assembled. But when he found that his party had not enough money to procure them provisions even for one day, he was forced to adopt other plans. Soon, however, he was joined by Sosigenes, one of his friends, who had four hundred gold pieces in his belt, and with this treasure they hoped to be able to reach the sea, and started as soon as it grew dark to make their way over the mountains. But when they saw the enemy’s watch-fires blazing all along the heights, they despaired of effecting their passage by that route, and returned to the place whence they had set out, diminished in numbers, for some had deserted, and greatly disheartened. When one of them ventured to hint that Demetrius ought to surrender himself to Seleukus, Demetrius seized his sword and would have made away with himself, but his friends stood round him, and at length talked him over into giving himself up. He sent a messenger to Seleukus, putting himself unreservedly in his hands.

L. Seleukus, when he heard what had happened, said that it was his own good fortune, not that of Demetrius, which had saved Demetrius’s life, and had given himself an opportunity of displaying his clemency and goodness as well as his other virtues. He at once sent for his servants and bade them construct a royal tent, and make every preparation for the reception of Demetrius in a magnificent fashion. There was one Apollonides at the court of Seleukus, who had been an intimate friend of Demetrius, and Seleukus at once sent him to Demetrius, to bid him be of good cheer, and not fear to meet his friend and relative Seleukus. When the King’s pleasure became known, a few at first, but afterwards the greater part of his followers, eagerly flocked to pay their court to Demetrius, who they imagined would become the second man in the kingdom. This ill-judged zeal of theirs turned the compassion of Seleukus into jealousy, and enabled mischief-makers to defeat his kindly intentions by warning him that as soon as Demetrius was seen in his camp all his troops 260would rise in mutiny against him. Apollonides had just reached Demetrius in high spirits, and others were arriving with wonderful stories about the goodness of Seleukus. Demetrius himself was just recovering his spirits after his disaster, was beginning to think that he had been wrong in his reluctance to surrender himself, and was full of hope for the future, when Pausanias appeared with about a thousand horse and foot-soldiers. He suddenly surrounded Demetrius with these troops, separated him from his friends, and, instead of bringing him into the presence of Seleukus, conducted him to the Syrian Chersonese, where, though strongly guarded, he was supplied by Seleukus with suitable lodging and entertainment, and allowed to take the air and hunt in the royal park which adjoined his dwelling. He was permitted to associate with any of the companions of his exile whom he wished to see, and many polite messages were sent to him from Seleukus to the effect that as soon as Antiochus and Stratonike arrived, they would come to some amicable arrangement.

LI. Demetrius now despatched letters to his son, and to the commanders of his garrisons at Athens and Corinth, warning them not to pay any attention to any despatches which they might receive in his name, or even to his royal signet, but to regard him as practically dead, and to hold the cities in trust for his heir Antigonus. His son was much grieved at hearing of his father’s capture, put on mourning, and sent letters to all the other kings, and to Seleukus himself, begging for his father’s liberation. He offered to give up all the places which he still held, and even proposed to surrender himself as a hostage in place of his father. Many cities and princes supported his request, except Lysimachus, who offered to give Seleukus a large sum of money if he would put Demetrius to death. But Seleukus, who had always disliked Lysimachus, now regarded him with abhorrence as a savage villain, and still continued to keep Demetrius in captivity, under the pretext that he was waiting for the arrival of his son Antiochus and Stratonike, that they might have the pleasure of restoring him to liberty.

LII. Demetrius at first bore up manfully against his misfortunes, and learned to endure captivity, taking exercise 261 as well as he could, by hunting in the park, and by running; but, little by little, he neglected these amusements, addicted himself to drinking and dicing, and thus spent most of his time; either in order to escape from the thoughts of his present condition by intoxication, or else because he felt that this was the life which he had always wished to lead, and that he had caused great suffering both to himself and to others by fighting by sea and land in order to obtain that comfort which he had now unexpectedly discovered in repose and quiet. What, indeed, is the object of the wars and dangers which bad kings endure, in their folly, unless it be this? although they not only strive after luxury and pleasure, instead of virtue and honour, but do not even understand in what real luxury and enjoyment consist. Be that as it may, Demetrius, after living in confinement in the Chersonese for three years, died of laziness, surfeit and over-indulgence in wine, in the fifty-fourth year of his age.322 Seleukus was greatly blamed for the suspicions which he had entertained about Demetrius, and greatly repented that he had not imitated the wild Thracian Dromichætes, who dealt so kindly and royally with Lysimachus when he had taken him prisoner.

LIII. Even the funeral of Demetrius had an air of tragedy and theatrical display. His son Antigonus, as soon as he heard that the ashes of his father were being brought to him, collected all his fleet and met the vessels of Seleukus near the Cyclades. Here he received the relics in a golden urn on board of his own flagship, the largest of his fleet. At every port at which they touched the citizens laid garlands upon the urn, and sent deputies in mourning to attend the funeral. When the fleet arrived at Corinth, the urn was beheld in a conspicuous place upon the stern of the ship, adorned with a royal robe and diadem, and surrounded by-armed soldiers of the king’s body-guard. Near it was seated the celebrated flute-player Xenophantus, playing a sacred hymn; and the measured dip of the oars, keeping time to the music, sounded like the refrain of a dirge. The crowds who thronged the sea-shore were especially touched by the sight of Antigonus 262himself, towed down with grief and with his eyes full of tears. After due honours had been paid to the relics at Corinth, he finally deposited them, in the city of Demetrias, which was named after his father, and which had been formed by amalgamating the small villages in the neighbourhood of Iolkos. Demetrius, by his wife Phila, left one son, Antigonus, and one daughter, Stratonike. He also had two sons named Demetrius, one, known as Leptus, by an Illyrian woman, and the other, who became ruler of Cyrene, by Ptolemais. By Deidameia he had a son named Alexander, who spent his life in Egypt. It is said, too, that he had a son named Korrhagus by Eurydike. His family retained the throne of Macedonia for many generations, until it ended in Perseus, during whose reign the Romans conquered that country. So now that we have brought the career of the Macedonian hero to a close, it is time for us to bring the Roman upon the stage.



I. The grandfather of Antonius was the orator Antonius,323 who belonged to the party of Sulla and was put to death by Marius. His father was Antonius, surnamed Creticus,324 not a man of any great note or distinction in political affairs, but of good judgment and integrity, and also liberal in his donations, as one may know from a single instance. He had no large property and for this reason he was prevented by his wife from indulging his generous disposition. On one occasion when an intimate friend came to him who was in want of money, and Antonius had none, he ordered a young slave to put some water into a silver vessel and to bring it; and when it was brought, he moistened his chin as if he were going to shave himself. The slave being sent away on some other business, Antonius gave the cup to his friend and bade him make use of it; but as a strict inquiry was made among the slaves, and Antonius saw that his wife was vexed and intended to torture them one by one, he acknowledged what he had done and begged her pardon.

II. His wife was Julia of the family of the Cæsars, a 264woman who could compare with the noblest and most virtuous of that day. She brought up her son Antonius, having married after his father’s death Cornelius Lentulus,325 who was one of the conspirators with Catilina and was put to death by Cicero. This appears to be the reason and the foundation of the violent enmity between Antonius and Cicero. Now Antonius says that even the corpse of Lentulus was not given up to them until his mother begged it of the wife of Cicero. But this is manifestly false, for no one of those who were then punished by Cicero was deprived of interment. Antonius was of distinguished appearance in his youth, but his friendship and intimacy with Curio326 fell upon him, as they say, like some pestilence, for Curio himself was intemperate in his pleasures, and he hurried Antonius, in order to make him more manageable, into drinking and the company of women and extravagant and licentious expenditure. All this brought on him a heavy debt, and out of all bounds for his age, of two hundred and fifty talents. Curio became security for all this, and when his father heard of it he banished Antonius from the house. Antonius for a short time mixed himself up with the violence of Clodius, the most daring and scandalous of the demagogues of the day, which was throwing every thing into confusion; but becoming soon satiated with that madness and being afraid of those who were combining against Clodius, he left Italy for Greece and spent some time there, exercising his body for military contests and practising oratory. He adopted what was called the Asiatic style of oratory, which flourished most at that time, and bore a great resemblance to his mode of life, which was boastful and swaggering and full of empty pride and irregular aspiration after distinction.

III. When Gabinius,327 a man of consular rank, was sailing for Syria, he endeavoured to persuade Antonius to join the expedition. Antonius said that he would not go out with 265him as a private individual, but on being appointed commander of the cavalry, he did go with him. In the first place he was sent against Aristobulus,328 who was stirring the Jews to revolt, and he was the first man to mount the largest of the fortifications; and he drove Aristobulus from all of them. He next joined battle with him and with the few men that he had put to flight the forces of Aristobulus, which were much more numerous, and killed all but a few; and Aristobulus was captured with his son. After this Ptolemæus329 attempted to persuade Gabinius for ten thousand talents to join him in an invasion of Egypt and to recover the kingdom for him; but most of the officers opposed the proposal, and Gabinius himself was somewhat afraid of the war, though he was hugely taken with the ten thousand talents; but Antonius, who was eager after great exploits and wished to gratify the request of Ptolemæus, persuaded Gabinius and urged him to the expedition. They feared more than the war the march to Pelusium, which was through deep sand where there was no water along the Ecregma330 and the Serbonian marsh, which the Egyptians call the blasts of Typhon331, but which really appears to be left behind by the Red Sea332 and to be caused by the filtration of the waters at the part where it is separated by the narrowest part of the isthmus from 266the internal sea. Antonius being sent with the cavalry not only occupied the straits, but taking Pelusium also, a large city, and the soldiers in it, he at the same time made the road safe for the army and gave the general sure hopes of victory. Even his enemies reaped advantage from his love of distinction; for when Ptolemæus entered Pelusium, and through his passion and hatred was moved to massacre the Egyptians, Antonius stood in the way and stopped him. And in the battles and the contests which were great and frequent, he displayed many deeds of daring and prudent generalship, but most signally in encircling and surrounding the enemy in the rear, whereby he secured the victory to those in front, and received the rewards of courage and fitting honours. Nor did the many fail to notice his humanity towards Archelaus333 after his death; for Antonius, who had been his intimate and friend, fought against him during his lifetime of necessity, but when he found the body of Archelaus, who had fallen, he interred it with all honours and in kingly fashion. He thus left among the people of Alexandria the highest reputation, and was judged by the Roman soldiers to be a most illustrious man.

IV. With these advantages he possessed a noble dignity of person; and his well-grown beard, his broad forehead and hooked nose334 appeared to express the manly character which is observed in the paintings and sculptures of Hercules. And there was an old tradition that the Antonii were Herakleidæ, being sprung from Anton, a son of Hercules. This tradition Antonius thought that he strengthened by the character of his person, as it has been observed, and by his dress. For on all occasions, when he was going to appear before a number of persons, he had his tunic girded up to his thigh, and a large sword hung by his side, and a thick cloak thrown round him. Besides, that 267which appeared to others to be offensive, his great boasting and jesting and display of his cups, and his sitting by the soldiers when they were eating, and his eating himself as he stood by the soldiers’ table—it is wonderful how much affection and attachment for him it bred in the soldiers. His amorous propensities, too, had in them something that was not without a charm, but even by these he won the favour of many, helping them in their love affairs and submitting to be joked with good humour about his own amours. His liberality and his habit of gratifying the soldiers and his friends in nothing with a stinted or sparing hand, both gave him a brilliant foundation for power, and, when he had become great, raised his power still higher, though it was in danger of being subverted by ten thousand other faults. I will relate one instance of his profusion. He ordered five-and-twenty ten thousands to be given to one of his friends; this sum the Romans express by Decies.335 But as his steward wondered thereat, and to show him how much it was, placed the money out, he asked as he was passing by, What that was. The steward replying that this was what he had ordered to be given, Antonius, who conjectured his trickery, said, “I thought a Decies was more: this is a small matter; and therefore add to it as much more.”

V. Now these things belong to a later period. But when matters at Rome came to a split, the aristocratical party joining Pompeius who was present, and the popular party inviting Cæsar from Gaul, who was in arms, Curio, the friend of Antonius,336 changing sides in favour of Cæsar, 268brought Antonius over; and as he had great influence among the many by his eloquence, and spent money lavishly, which was supplied by Cæsar, he got Antonius appointed tribune, and then one of the priests over the birds, whom the Romans call Augurs. As soon as Antonius entered on his office, he was of no small assistance to those who were directing public affairs on Cæsar’s behalf. In the first place, when Marcellus the consul attempted to give to Pompeius the troops that were already levied, and to empower him to raise others, Antonius opposed him by proposing an order, that the collected force should sail to Syria and assist Bibulus, who was warring with the Parthians, and that the troops which Pompeius was levying should not pay any regard to him: and, in the second place, when the Senate would not receive Cæsar’s letters, nor allow them to be read, Antonius, whose office gave him power, did read them, and he changed the disposition of many, who judged from Cæsar’s letters that he only asked what was just and reasonable. Finally, when two questions were proposed in the Senate, of which one was, whether Pompeius should disband his troops, and the other, whether Cæsar should do it, and there were a few in favour of Pompeius laying down his arms, and all but a few were for Cæsar doing so, Antonius arose and put the question, Whether the Senate was of opinion that Pompeius and Cæsar at the same time should lay down their arms and disband their forces. All eagerly accepted this proposal, and with shouts praising Antonius, they urged to put the question to the vote. But as the consuls would not consent, the friends of Cæsar again made other proposals, which were considered reasonable, which Cato resisted, and Lentulus, who was consul, ejected Antonius from the Senate. Antonius went out uttering many imprecations against them, and assuming the dress of a slave, and in conjunction with Cassius Quintus337 hiring a chariot269 he hurried to Cæsar; and as soon as they were in sight, they called out that affairs at Rome were no longer in any order, since even tribunes had no liberty of speech, but every one was driven away and in danger who spoke on the side of justice.

VI. Upon this Cæsar with his army entered Italy. Accordingly Cicero, in his Philippica, said that Helen338 was the beginning of the Trojan war, and Antonius of the civil war, wherein he is manifestly stating a falsehood. For Caius Cæsar was not such a light person, or so easy to be moved from his sound judgment by passion, if he had not long ago determined to do this, as to have made war on his country all of a sudden, because he saw Antonius in a mean dress and Cassius making their escape to him in a hired chariot; but this gave a ground and specious reason for the war to a man who had long been wanting a pretext. He was led to war against the whole world, as Alexander before him and Cyrus of old had been, by an insatiable love of power and a frantic passion to be first and greatest: and this he could not obtain, if Pompeius was not put down. He came then and got possession of Rome, and drove Pompeius out of Italy; and determining to turn first against the forces of Pompeius in Iberia, and then, when he had got ready a fleet, to cross over to attack Pompeius, he entrusted Rome to Lepidus, who was prætor, and the forces and Italy to Antonius, who was tribune. Antonius forthwith gained the favour of the soldiers by taking his exercises with them, and by generally living with them, and making them presents out of his means; but to everybody else he was odious. For owing to his carelessness he paid no attention to those who were wronged, and listened with ill-temper to those who addressed him, and had a bad repute about other men’s wives. In fine, Cæsar’s friends brought odium on Cæsar’s power, which, so far as concerned Cæsar’s acts, appeared to be anything rather than 270a tyranny: and of those friends Antonius, who had the chief power and committed the greatest excesses, had most of the blame.

VII. However, upon his return from Iberia, Cæsar339 overlooked the charges against him, and employing him in war because of his energy, his courage, and his military skill, he was never disappointed in him. Now Cæsar, after crossing the Ionian Gulf from Brundusium with a few men, sent his ships back, with orders to Gabinius340 and Antonius to put the troops on board and carry them over quickly to Macedonia. Gabinius was afraid of the voyage, which was hazardous in the winter season, and led his army by land a long way about; but Antonius being alarmed for Cæsar, who was hemmed in by many enemies, repulsed Libo,341 who was blockading the mouth of the harbour, by surrounding his gallies with many light boats, and embarking in his vessels eight thousand legionary soldiers he set sail. Being discovered by the enemy and pursued, he escaped all danger from them in consequence of a strong south wind bringing a great swell and tempestuous sea upon his gallies; but as he was carried in his ships towards precipices and cliffs with deep water under them, he had no hope of safety. But all at once there blew from the bay a violent south-west wind and the swell ran from the land to the sea, and Antonius getting off the land and sailing in gallant style saw the 271shore full of wrecks. For thither the wind had cast up the gallies that were in pursuit of him and no small number of them was destroyed; and Antonius made many prisoners and much booty, and he took Lissus, and he gave Cæsar great confidence by coming at a critical time with so great a force.

VIII. There were many and continuous fights, in all of which Antonius was distinguished: and twice he met and turned back the soldiers of Cæsar, who were flying in disorder, and by compelling them to stand and to fight again with their pursuers he gained the victory. There was accordingly more talk of him in the camp than of any one else after Cæsar. And Cæsar showed what opinion he had of him; for when he was going to fight the last battle and that which decided everything at Pharsalus,342 he had the right wing himself, but he gave the command of the left to Antonius as being the most skilful and bravest officer that he had. After the battle Cæsar was proclaimed dictator, and he set out in pursuit of Pompeius, but he appointed Antonius master of the horse and sent him to Rome: this is the second office in rank when the dictator is present; but if he is not, it is the first and almost the only one. For the tribuneship continues, but they put down all the other functionaries when a dictator is chosen.

IX. However Dolabella,343 who was then a tribune, a young man who aimed at change, introduced a measure for the 272annulling of debts, and he persuaded Antonius,344 who was a friend of his and always wished to please the many, to work with him and to take a part in this political measure. But Asinius and Trebellius gave him the contrary advice, and it happened that a strong suspicion came on Antonius, that he was wronged in the matter of his wife by Dolabella. And as he was much annoyed thereat, he not only drove his wife from his house, who was his cousin, for she was the daughter of Caius Antonius who was consul with Cicero, but he joined Asinius and resisted Dolabella. Dolabella occupied the Forum with the design of carrying the law by force, but Antonius, after the Senate had declared by a vote that it was needful to oppose Dolabella with arms, came upon him and joining battle killed some of the men of Dolabella and lost some of his own. This brought on Antonius the hatred of the many, and he was not liked by the honest and sober on account of his habits of life, as Cicero says, but was detested; for people were disgusted at his drunkenness at unseasonable hours, and his heavy expenditure, and his intercourse with women, and his sleeping by day, and walking about with head confused and loaded with drink, and by night his revellings and theatres and his presence at the nuptials of mimi and jesters. It is said indeed that after being present at the entertainment on the marriage of Hippias the mime, and drinking all night, when the people summoned him early in the morning to the Forum, he came there still full of food and vomited, and one of his friends placed his vest under to serve him. Sergius the mime was one of those who had the greatest influence over him, and Cytheris345 from the same school, a woman whom he loved, and whom when he visited the cities he took round with him in a litter; and there were as many attendants to follow the litter as that of his mother. People were also vexed at the sight of golden cups carried about in his excursions as in processions, 273 and fixing of tents in the ways, and the laying out of costly feasts near groves and rivers, and lions yoked to chariots, and houses of orderly men and women used as quarters for prostitutes and lute-players. For it was considered past all endurance that, while Cæsar was lodging in the open field out of Italy, clearing up the remnant of war with great labour and danger, others, through means of Cæsar’s power, were indulging in luxury and insulting the citizens.

X. These things appear also to have increased the disorder and to have given the soldiers licence to commit shameful violence and robbery. Wherefore, when Cæsar returned, he pardoned Dolabella; and being elected consul for the third time he chose not Antonius, but Lepidus for his colleague. Antonius bought the house of Pompeius when it was sold, but he was vexed when he was asked for the money; and he says himself that this was the reason why he did not join Cæsar in his Libyan expedition, having had no reward for his former successes. However Cæsar is considered to have cured him of the chief part of his folly and extravagance by not allowing his excesses to pass unnoticed. For he gave up that course of life and turned his thoughts to wedlock, taking for his wife Fulvia, who had been the wife of the demagogue Clodius, a woman who troubled herself not about domestic industry or housekeeping, nor one who aspired to rule a private man, but her wish was to rule a ruler and command a general: so that Cleopatra was indebted to Fulvia346 for training Antonius to woman-rule, inasmuch as Cleopatra received him quite tamed and disciplined from the commencement to obey women. However Antonius attempted by sportive ways and youthful sallies to make Fulvia somewhat merrier; as for example, on the occasion when many went to meet Cæsar after his victory in Iberia,


Antonius also went; but as a report suddenly reached Italy that Cæsar was dead and the enemy were advancing, he returned to Rome, and taking a slave’s dress he came to the house by night, and saying that he brought a letter from Antonius to Fulvia, he was introduced to her wrapped up in his dress. Fulvia, who was in a state of anxiety, asked, before she took the letter, whether Antonius was alive; but without speaking a word he held out the letter to her, and when she was beginning to open and read it, he embraced and kissed her. These few out of many things I have produced by way of instance.

XI. When Cæsar was returning from Iberia347 all the first people went several days’ journey to meet him; but Antonius was specially honoured by Cæsar. For in his passage through Italy he had Antonius in the chariot with him, and behind him Brutus Albinus and Octavianus the son of his niece, who was afterwards named Cæsar and ruled the Romans for a very long time. When Cæsar was appointed consul for the fifth time, he immediately chose Antonius for his colleague, and it was his design to abdicate the consulship and give it to Dolabella; and this he proposed to the Senate. But as Antonius violently opposed this, and vented much abuse of Dolabella and received as much in return, Cæsar, being ashamed of these unseemly proceedings, went away. Afterwards when he came to proclaim Dolabella, upon Antonius calling out that the birds were opposed to it, Cæsar yielded and gave up Dolabella, who was much annoyed. But it appeared that Cæsar abominated Dolabella as much as he did Antonius; for it is said, that when some person was endeavouring to excite his suspicions against both, Cæsar said that he was not afraid of those fat and long-haired fellows, but those pale and thin ones, meaning Brutus and Cassius, who afterwards conspired against him and slew him.

XII. And Antonius without designing it gave them a most specious pretext. It was the feast of the Lykæa 275among the Romans, which they call Lupercalia,348 and Cæsar dressed in a triumphal robe and sitting on the Rostra in the Forum viewed the runners. Now many youths of noble birth run the race, and many of the magistrates, anointed with oil, and with strips of hide they strike by way of sport those whom they meet. Antonius running among them paid no regard to the ancient usage, but wrapping a crown of bay round a diadem he ran to the Rostra, and being raised up by his companions in the race he placed it on Cæsar’s head, intimating that he ought to be King. But as Cæsar affected to refuse it and put his head aside, the people were pleased and clapped their hands; then Antonius again offered the crown, and Cæsar again rejected it. This contest went on for some time, only a few of the friends of Antonius encouraging him in his pressing the offer, but all the people shouted and clapped when Cæsar refused; which indeed was surprising, that while in reality they submitted to be ruled over with kingly power they eschewed the name of King as if it were the destruction of their freedom. Accordingly Cæsar rose from the Rostra much annoyed, and taking the robe from his neck called out that he offered his throat to any one who would have it. The crown which was placed on one of his statues certain tribunes tore off, and the people followed them with loud expressions of goodwill and clapping of hands; but Cæsar deprived them of their office.

XIII. This confirmed Brutus and Cassius, and when they were enumerating the friends whom they could trust in the undertaking, they deliberated about Antonius. The rest were for adding Antonius to their number, but Trebonius opposed it; for he said that at the time when they went to meet Cæsar on his return from Iberia, and Antonius was in the same tent with him and journeyed with him, he tried his disposition in a quiet way and with caution, and he said that Antonius understood him, though he did not respond to the proposal, nor yet did he report it to Cæsar, but faithfully kept the words secret. Upon this they again deliberated whether they should kill Antonius after they had killed Cæsar; but Brutus opposed this, urging that the act which was adventured 276in defence of the laws and of justice must be pure and free from injustice. But as they were afraid of the strength of Antonius and the credit that his office gave him, they appointed some of the conspirators to look after him in order that when Cæsar entered the Senate house and the deed was going to be done, they might detain him on the outside in conversation about some matter and on the pretence of urgent business.

XIV. This being accomplished according as it was planned and Cæsar having fallen in the Senate house, Antonius immediately put on a slave’s attire and hid himself. But when he learned that the men were not attacking any one, but were assembled in the Capitol, he persuaded them to come down after giving them his son as a hostage; and he entertained Cassius at supper, and Brutus entertained Lepidus. Antonius having summoned the Senate spoke about an amnesty and a distribution of provinces among Brutus and Cassius and their partizans, and the Senate ratified these proposals, and decreed not to alter anything that had been done by Cæsar.349 Antonius went out of the Senate the most distinguished of men, being considered to have prevented a civil war and to have managed most prudently and in a most statesmanlike manner circumstances which involved difficulties and no ordinary causes of confusion. But from such considerations as these he was soon disturbed by the opinion that he derived from the multitude, that he would certainly be the first man in Rome, if Brutus were put down. Now it happened that when Cæsar’s corpse was carried forth, as the custom was, he pronounced an oration over it in the Forum;350 and seeing that the people were powerfully led and affected, he mingled with the praises of Cæsar commiseration 277 and mighty passion over the sad event, and at the close of his speech, shaking the garments of the dead, which were blood-stained and hacked with the swords, and calling those who had done these things villains and murderers, he inspired so much indignation in the men that they burnt the body of Cæsar in the Forum, heaping together the benches and the tables; and snatching burning faggots from the pile they ran to the houses of the assassins and assaulted them.

XV. For this reason Brutus and his party left the city, and the friends of Cæsar joined Antonius; and Cæsar’s wife Calpurnia trusting to him had the chief part of the treasures transferred to Antonius from her house, to the amount in all of four thousand talents. He received also the writings of Cæsar, in which there were entries made of what he had determined and decreed; and Antonius inserting entries in them, named many to offices just as he pleased, and many he named senators, and he restored some who were in exile and released others who were in prison, as if Cæsar had determined all this. Wherefore the Romans by way of mockery named all these persons Charonitæ,351 because when they were put to the proof they had to take refuge in the memoranda of the deceased. And Antonius managed everything else as if he had full power, being consul himself, and having his brothers also in office, Gaius as prætor and Lucius as tribune.

XVI. While affairs were in this state, young Cæsar352 arrived at Rome, being the son of the niece of the deceased,278 as it has been told, and left the heir of his substance; and he was staying in Apollonia at the time of Cæsar’s assassination. He went forthwith to pay his respects to Antonius, as being his father’s friend, and reminded him of the money deposited with him; for he had to pay to every Roman seventy-five drachmæ, which Cæsar had given by his will. Antonius, at first despising his youth, said that he was not in his senses, and that being destitute of all sound reason and friends he was taking up the succession of Cæsar, which was a burden too great for him to bear; but as Cæsar did not yield to these arguments and demanded the money, Antonius went on saying and doing many things to insult him. For he opposed him in seeking a tribuneship, and when he was preparing to set up a golden chair of his father, as it had been voted by the Senate, he threatened to carry him off to prison, if he did not stop his attempts to win the popular favour. But when the youth, by giving himself up to Cicero and the rest who hated Antonius, by means of them made the Senate his friends, and he himself got the favour of the people and mustered the soldiers from the colonies,353 Antonius being alarmed came to a conference with him in the Capitol, and they were reconciled. Antonius in his sleep that night had a strange dream; he thought that his right hand was struck by lightning; and a few days after a report reached him that Cæsar was plotting against him. Cæsar indeed made an explanation, but he did not convince Antonius; and their enmity was again in full activity, and both of them roaming about Italy endeavoured to stir up by large pay the soldiers who were planted in the colonies, and to anticipate one another in gaining over those who were still under arms.

XVII. Of those in the city Cicero had the greatest influence; and by inciting everybody against Antonius he finally persuaded the Senate to vote Antonius to be an enemy, and to send Cæsar lictors and the insignia of a prætor, and to despatch Pansa and Hirtius354 to drive Antonius out of Italy. They were consuls for that year; 279and engaging with Antonius near the city of Mutina, on which occasion Cæsar was present and fought with them, they defeated the enemy, but fell themselves. Many great difficulties befell Antonius in his flight; but the greatest was famine. But it was the nature of Antonius to show his best qualities in difficulties, and in his misfortune he was as like as may be to a good man; for it is common to those who are hard pressed by straits to perceive what virtue is, but all have not strength enough in reverses to imitate what they admire and to avoid what they do not approve; but some rather give way to their habits through weakness and let their judgment be destroyed. Now Antonius in these circumstances was a powerful pattern to the soldiers, for though he was fresh from the enjoyment of so much luxury and expense, he drank foul water without complaining, and ate wild fruits and roots. Bark too was eaten, as it was said, and in their passage over the Alps they fed on animals that had never been eaten before.

XVIII. His design was to fall in with the troops there which Lepidus355 commanded, who was considered to be a friend of Antonius and to have derived through him much advantage from the friendship of Cæsar. Having arrived there and encamped near, he found no friendly signs, on which he resolved to try a bold stroke. Antonius had neglected his hair and he had allowed his beard to grow long immediately after his defeat; and putting on a dark garment he approached the lines of Lepidus and began to speak. As many of the soldiers were moved at the sight and affected by his words, Lepidus in alarm ordered the trumpets to sound all at once and so to prevent Antonius from being heard. But the soldiers pitied the more, and held communication with him by means of Lælius and Clodius, whom they secretly sent to him in the dress of women who followed the camp, and the messengers urged


Antonius boldly to attack the lines, for there were many, they said, would undertake even to kill Lepidus, if he wished. Antonius would not consent to their touching Lepidus, but on the next day he began to cross the river with his army. Antonius entered the river first and advanced to the opposite bank, for he saw already many of the soldiers of Lepidus stretching out their hands to him and tearing down the ramparts. When he had entered and made himself master of all, he approached Lepidus with the greatest kindness, for he embraced him and called him father; and in fact he was master of all, but he continued to preserve to Lepidus the name and honour of an Imperator. This caused also Plancus Munatius to join him, for Plancus was at no great distance with a large force. Being thus raised anew to great power he crossed the Alps into Italy at the head of seventeen legions of infantry and ten thousand cavalry; besides this he left to guard Gaul six legions with Varius, one of his intimates and boon companions, whom they called Cotylon.356

XIX. Now Cæsar no longer cared for Cicero when he saw that he clung to liberty, but he invited Antonius through the mediation of his friends to come to terms. The three met together in a small island357 in the middle of a river and sat together for three days. All the rest was easily agreed on, and they distributed the empire358 among them as if it were a paternal inheritance, but the discussion about the men who were destined to perish caused them most trouble, each claiming to get rid of his enemies and to save his relations. But at length surrendering to their passion against those whom they hated both the honour due to their kinsmen and their goodwill to their friends, Cæsar surrendered Cicero to Antonius, and Antonius surrendered to him Lucius Cæsar, who was his uncle on the mother’s side; Lepidus also was allowed to put to death his brother Paulus; but others say that


Lepidus gave up his brother to Cæsar and Antonius, who required his death. I think nothing could be more cruel or savage than this exchange; for by exchanging murder for murder they equally destroyed those whom they surrendered and those whom they put to death, but they acted more unjustly to their friends, whom they caused to die even without bearing them any hatred.

XX. After this settlement, the soldiers, who were around them, required that Cæsar should strengthen their friendship by marriage, and should take to wife Clodia,359 the daughter of Fulvia, the wife of Antonius. This also being agreed to, three hundred persons were by proscription put to death by them.360 When Cicero was murdered, Antonius ordered the head to be cut off and the right hand, with which Cicero wrote the speeches against him. When they were brought, Antonius looked on them with delight and broke out a laughing several times through joy; then being satiated with the sight he ordered them to be placed above the Rostra in the Forum, as if he were insulting the dead, and not showing his own arrogance in his good fortune and abusing his power. His uncle Cæsar being sought and pursued fled for refuge to his sister, who, when the assassins were standing by and trying to force their way into her chamber, fixing herself at the door and spreading out her arms, called out repeatedly, “You shall not kill Cæsar Lucius, unless you kill me first, me the mother of the Imperator.” By such her conduct she rescued and saved her brother.

XXI. The dominion of the three was in most respects hateful to the Romans; but Antonius had most of the 282blame, as he was older than Cæsar, and had more influence than Lepidus, and threw himself without restraint into his former luxurious and intemperate habits as soon as he had shaken off all trouble about affairs. There was added to his general bad repute the hatred against him on account of the house that he inhabited, which had been the house of Pompeius Magnus, a man no less admired for his temperance and his orderly and citizenlike mode of life than for his three triumphs. For they were vexed to see his house generally closed to commanders, magistrates and ambassadors, who were insolently thrust from the doors, while it was filled with mimi and jugglers and drunken flatterers, upon whom was expended most of the money which was got by the most violent and harsh means. For the three not only sold the substance of those who were murdered, bringing false charges against their kinsmen and wives, and tried all kinds of imposts; but hearing that there were deposits361 with the Vestal Virgins made both by strangers and citizens, they went and seized them. Now as nothing was enough for Antonius, Cæsar claimed to share the money with him; and they also distributed the army between them, and both went together into Macedonia to oppose Brutus and Cassius; and they intrusted Rome to Lepidus.

XXII. Crossing over the sea they commenced the campaign and encamped by the enemy, Antonius being opposed to Cassius, and Cæsar to Brutus,362 wherein no great deed was performed on the part of Cæsar, but it was Antonius who gained all the victory and had all the success. In the first battle, Cæsar, being completely routed by Brutus, lost his camp and narrowly escaped from his pursuers; but, as he says in his Memoirs, he retired before the battle in consequence of one of his friends having had a dream. But Antonius defeated Cassius; though some have written that Antonius was not in the battle, but 283came up after the battle to join in the pursuit. Pindarus, one of the faithful freedmen of Cassius, killed him at his request and order, for Cassius did not know that Brutus was victorious. After an interval of a few days they fought a second battle, in which Brutus being defeated killed himself, and Antonius carried off the chief credit of the victory, inasmuch as Cæsar was sick. Standing over the corpse of Brutus he upbraided it gently for the death of his brother Caius,363 for Brutus had put Caius to death in Macedonia to revenge Cicero; but declaring that he blamed Hortensius more than Brutus for the murder of his brother, Antonius ordered him to be massacred on his tomb; and he threw over the body of Brutus his own purple cloak, which was of great value, and commanded one of his freedmen to look after the interment. He afterwards found out that this fellow did not burn the cloak with the corpse and that he had purloined a large part of the expenditure destined for the interment, whereon he put him to death.

XXIII. After this Cæsar went back to Rome, and it was supposed that he would not live long on account of his illness. Antonius crossed over into Greece with a large army, intending to levy money in all the eastern provinces; for as they had promised to every soldier five thousand drachmæ, they required more vigorous measures for raising money and collecting contributions. Towards the Greeks his conduct was neither unusual nor oppressive at first, but his love of amusement led him to listen to the discourses of the learned and to the sight of games and religious solemnities; and in his decisions he was equitable, and was delighted at being called a Philhellen, but still more in being addressed as Philathenæus; and he made rich gifts to the city. The people of Megara also wishing to show him something fine, by way of rivalry with Athens, and requesting him to see the Senate-house, he went up and looked at it, and on their asking what he thought of it: “Small, it is true,” he said, “and yet all in decay.” He also caused the temple of the Pythian Apollo to be surveyed, as if he intended to repair it; for he made this promise to the Senate.


XXIV.364 Leaving Lucius Censorinus365 over the affairs of Greece he crossed to Asia; and when he had touched the wealth there, and kings used to come to his door, and wives of kings vying with one another in their presents and their beauty let themselves be corrupted in order to win his favour, and while Cæsar at Rome was worn out with civil commotions and war, he enjoying perfect leisure and tranquillity was carried back by his passions to his usual habits of life, and Anaxenor366 a lute-player and Xuthus a piper and Metrodorus a dancer, and other such rout of Asiatic theatrical folks who surpassed in impudence and shamelessness the pests from Italy, had crept in and managed his residence—it was past all bearing, for everything was wasted on these extravagancies. For all Asia, like that city in Sophocles,367 at the same time was filled with incense burning,

“With pæans too ’twas filled and heavy groans.”

Thus, when he was entering Ephesus, women clothed like Bacchæ, and men and boys equipped like Satyrs and Pans led the way; and the city was filled with ivy and thyrsi and psalteries and pipes and flutes, the people calling him Dionysus, Giver of Joy and Beneficent. He was this, it is true, to some; but to the many Omestes368 and Agrionius. For he took their property from well-born men and gave it to worthless men and flatterers; and certain persons got the substance of many who were still alive by asking for it as if they were dead. He gave the house of a citizen of Magnesia to a cook, who, as it is said, 285had distinguished himself by a single entertainment. Finally, when he was imposing a second contribution on the citizens, Hybreas369 was bold enough in speaking on behalf of Asia to use these words, which were indeed such as the common folks would have in their mouths, but were not ill adapted to flatter370 the vanity of Antonius, “If thou canst take contributions twice in one year, thou canst also make for us summer twice and harvest-time twice;” but he concluded with these practical and bold words, that Asia had given twenty ten thousands of talents; and “if thou hast not had them, demand them of those who have received the money; but if thou hast received and hast them not, we are undone.” By these words he made a strong impression on Antonius, for he was ignorant of the greater part of what was going on; and not so much because he was indolent, as because in his simplicity he trusted those about him. For there was in his character simplicity and slow perception; but when he did perceive his errors, there was strong repentance, and acknowledgment to those who had been wronged, and excess both in the restitution that he made and the punishment that he inflicted. Yet he was considered to surpass the bounds of moderation rather in conferring favours than in punishing. His rudeness in mirth and bantering carried its own remedy with it; for a man might return him as good as he gave; and he took as much pleasure in being laughed at as in laughing at others. And this did him mischief in most things; for he could not believe that those who 286spoke so freely in jest, could flatter him in earnest, and as he was easily caught by praise, not knowing that some persons by mingling freedom of expression, like a sharpish sauce, with flattery, took away from flattery its nauseating insipidity, by their boldness and babbling over their cups striving to make their yielding in matters of business and their assent appear, not the way of persons who keep about a man merely to please him, but of those who are overpowered by superior wisdom.

XXV. Such was the disposition of Antonius, upon which a crowning evil the love for Cleopatra supervening, and stirring up and maddening many of the passions that were still concealed in him and lying quiet, caused to vanish and utterly destroyed whatever of goodness and of a saving nature still made resistance in him. And he was captured in this fashion. When he was preparing for the Parthian war, he sent her orders to meet him in Cilicia to give an account of the charges made against her of supplying Cassius with much money and contributions for the war. Dellius,371 who was sent, observing her person and marking her cleverness in speaking and her versatility, soon perceived that Antonius would never even think of doing such a woman any harm, but that she would have the greatest influence with him; and he applied himself to paying his court to her, and he encouraged the Egyptian, in the words of Homer,372 to go to Cilicia bedecked in her best fashion and not to be afraid of Antonius, who was the most pleasant and kindest of generals. Being persuaded by Dellius, and collecting from the proofs of her charms upon Caius Cæsar and Cnæus the son of Pompeius, she had hopes that she should more easily win over Antonius. For they knew her when she was yet a girl and inexperienced in affairs, but she was going to visit Antonius at an age in which women have the most brilliant beauty and their understanding has attained its perfection. Accordingly she got together many presents and money and ornaments, such as one might suppose that she could bring 287from the greatness of her estate and the wealth of her kingdom, but she went to Cilicia relying chiefly on herself and the seductions and charms of her own person.

XXVI. Though Cleopatra373 received many letters of summons both from Antonius374 and his friends, she so despised and mocked the man, that she sailed up the Cydnus in a vessel with a gilded stern, with purple sails spread, and rowers working with silver oars to the sound of the flute in harmony with pipes and lutes. Cleopatra reclined under an awning spangled with gold, dressed as Venus is painted, and youths representing the Cupids in pictures stood on each side fanning her. In like manner the handsomest of her female slaves in the dress of Nereids and Graces, were stationed some at the rudders and others at the ropes. And odours of wondrous kind from much incense filled the banks. Some of the people accompanied her immediately from the entrance of the river on both sides, and others went down from the city to see the sight. As the crowd from the Agora also poured forth, Antonius was finally left on the tribunal sitting alone. A rumour went abroad that Venus was coming to revel with Bacchus for the good of Asia. Now Antonius sent to invite Cleopatra to supper, but she on her part said that he should rather come to her. Antonius accordingly, wishing to display some good nature and kindness, obeyed and came. He found a preparation greater than he expected, but he was most surprised at the number of the lights: for it is said that so many lights were hung down and shewn on all sides at once and arranged and put together in such inclinations and positions with respect to one another in the form of squares and circles, that of the few things that are beautiful and worthy of being seen this sight was one.


XXVII. On the following day when Antonius feasted her in turn he was ambitious to surpass her splendour and taste, but he was left behind and inferior in both, and in these very things he was the first to scoff at the coarseness and rusticity of his own entertainment. Cleopatra, observing in the jests of Antonius much of the soldier and the unpolished man, adopted the same manner towards him freely and boldly. Now her beauty, as they say, was not in itself altogether incomparable nor such as to strike those who saw her; but familiarity with her had an irresistible charm, and her form, combined with her persuasive speech and with the peculiar character which in a manner was diffused about her behaviour, produced a certain piquancy. There was a sweetness also in the sound of her voice when she spoke; and as she could easily turn her tongue, like a many-stringed instrument, to any language that she pleased, she had very seldom need of an interpreter for her communication with barbarians, but she answered most by herself, as Ethiopians,375 Troglodytes, Hebrews, Arabs, Syrians, Medes, Parthians. She is said also to have learned the language of many other peoples, though the kings her predecessors had not even taken the pains to learn the Egyptian language, and some of them had even given up the Macedonian dialect.

XXVIII. Now she so captivated Antonius, that though his wife Fulvia was carrying on war at Rome against Cæsar on behalf of the interests of Antonius, and a Parthian army was hovering about Mesopotamia, of which the king’s generals had named Labienus376 Parthian 289governor, and they were about to enter Syria, he allowed himself to be carried off by her to Alexandria; and there staying and amusing himself like a young man who had leisure, he consumed and expended upon pleasure the most costly of all things, as Antiphon said, Time. They had a kind of company called Inimitable Livers; and they daily feasted one another, making an incredible profusion in their expenditure. Now Philotas of Amphissa,377 a physician, used to relate to my grandfather Lamprias, that he was then in Alexandria learning his profession, and having got acquainted with one of the royal cooks, he was persuaded by him, as was natural in a young man, to view the costliness and the preparation for the table. Accordingly he was introduced into the kitchen, where he saw everything in great abundance, and eight wild boars roasting, which made him wonder at the number of the guests. Hereupon the cook laughed and said, the party at supper was not large, only about twelve; but it was necessary that everything which was served up should be in perfection, which a moment of time would spoil. He said it might happen that Antonius should wish to sup immediately, and if it so happened, he might defer it by asking for a cup or by falling into some conversation; and accordingly, he continued, not one supper is prepared, but many, for the exact time is difficult to conjecture. This is what Philotas used to tell; and in the course of time, as he related, he was among those who attended on the eldest son of Antonius, whom he had by Fulvia, and he290 supped with him with the rest of his companions, as a general rule, when he did not sup with his father. On one occasion there was a physician present who was bragging greatly and much annoying the company at supper, but Philotas stopped him by a sophism of this kind: “If a man has fever in some degree, we must give him cold water; but every man who has fever has fever in some degree; we must therefore give cold water to every man who has fever.” The man was confounded and put to silence, whereat the youth being pleased, laughed and said, “All this, Philotas, I give you,” pointing to a table full of many large cups. Philotas acknowledged his intended kindness, though he was far from thinking that a boy of his age had authority to make such a present; but after awhile one of the young slaves took hold of the cups and bringing them in a vessel bade him put a seal on it. As Philotas made objections and was afraid to take the things. “Why, you fool,” said the man, “do you hesitate? Don’t you know that the giver is the son of Antonius, and that he has permission to give so many things of gold? If however you take my advice, you will exchange the whole with us for a sum of money; for perchance the youth’s father might call for some of the vessels, which are old and valued for their workmanship.” Such anecdotes as these my grandfather used to say that Philotas would occasionally tell.

XXIX. But Cleopatra, by distributing flattery not, as Plato378 says, in four ways, but in many ways, and by always adding some new pleasure and charm to whatever was either serious or mirthful, completely ruled Antonius, never leaving him by night nor by day. For she played at dice with him, and drank with him, and hunted with him, and was a spectator when he was exercising in arms, and by night when he was standing at the doors and windows of the common people and jesting with those within, she accompanied him in his rambles and freaks, in the dress of a female slave; for Antonius also used to dress himself in this style. Accordingly he would return home always well loaded with coarse abuse and sometimes with blows. With the greater part he was in no good 291credit; however the Alexandrines took delight in his extravagances, and joined in his follies without any lack of cleverness or humour, being pleased therewith and saying that Antonius put on the tragic mask to the Romans, but the comic mask to them. Now to relate the greater part of his follies would be mere trifling. However on one occasion when he was fishing and was vexed at his bad sport, Cleopatra also being present, he ordered the fisherman to dive under the water and secretly to fasten to the hook some fishes that had been already caught; and he pulled up two or three times, but not without being detected by the Egyptian. Pretending to admire, she spoke to her friends and invited them to come as spectators on the following day. A number of them got into the fishing boats, and when Antonius had let down his line, she ordered one of her own men to anticipate him by diving to the hook and to fasten to it a Pontic salted fish.379 Antonius thinking that he had caught something pulled up, on which there was, as was natural, great laughter, whereat Cleopatra said, “Give up the fishing-rod, Imperator, to us the kings of Pharos and Canopus; your sport is cities and kings and continents.”

XXX.380 While Antonius was spending his time in such trifles and extravagances, he was surprised by intelligence from two different quarters; from Rome, that Lucius his brother and Fulvia his wife, having first been at variance with one another and then having warred with Cæsar, were completely defeated and flying from Italy; the other intelligence was in no wise more favourable, which was that Labienus at the head of the Parthians had subdued


Asia from the Euphrates and Syria as far as Lydia and Ionia. With difficulty then, like a man roused from sleep and a drunken debauch, he set out to oppose the Parthians, and advanced as far as Phœnice, but as Fulvia sent him letters full of lamentations he turned towards Italy, with two hundred ships. On this voyage he took up his friends who had fled from Italy, and learned from them that Fulvia had been the cause of the war, for she was naturally a busy and bold woman; but her hope was to draw away Antonius from Cleopatra, if their should be any disturbance in Italy. It happened that Fulvia, who was sailing to meet him, died at Sikyon of some disease, which rendered a reconciliation with Cæsar more easy. For when Antonius approached Italy, and Cæsar was evidently not intending to make any charge against him, and Antonius was ready to fix on Fulvia the blame of what he was charged with, their friends would not let them come to any explanation of these grounds, but brought them both to terms and distributed the empire, making the Ionian gulf the boundary, and giving the eastern parts to Antonius and the western to Cæsar; Lepidus was allowed to keep Libya; and it was settled that the friends of each in turns should be consuls, when it did not please themselves to be.

XXXI. This arrangement seemed to be good, but it required a stronger security, and fortune offered one. Octavia381 was a sister of Cæsar, older than Cæsar, but not by the same mother; for she was the daughter of Ancharia, but he was born afterwards of Atia. Cæsar was very greatly attached to his sister, and it is said she was a most admirable woman. Octavia was now a widow, for her husband Caius Marcellus had not long been dead. As Fulvia was dead, Antonius also was considered to be a widower; he did not deny that he had Cleopatra, but he did not admit that he had her as a wife, and he was still struggling in his judgment on this point against his love for the Egyptian. Everybody was proposing this marriage in the hope that Octavia, who in addition to great beauty possessed dignity of character and good sense, if she were united to Antonius and were beloved by him, as it was 293reasonable to suppose that such a woman must be, would be the conservation and cause of union between them in all respects. This being arranged between them, they went up to Rome where the marriage of Octavia was celebrated, though the law did not allow a woman to marry till ten months after her husband’s decease, but the Senate in this case remitted the time by a decree.

XXXII. As Sextus382 Pompeius was still in possession of Sicily and was ravaging Italy, and with his numerous piratical ships, of which Menas the pirate and Menekrates were commanders, had rendered the sea unsafe to vessels, and as he seemed to be in a friendly disposition towards Antonius, for he had received his mother when she had fled from Rome with Fulvia, it was resolved to come to terms with him also. They met at the promontory of Misenum and the mound, the fleet of Pompeius being anchored close by them, while the forces of Antonius and Cæsar were arranged by the side of them. Having agreed that Pompeius should have Sardinia and Sicily on condition of keeping the sea clear of pirates and sending to Rome a certain quantity of grain, they invited one another to an entertainment. They cast lots on the occasion, and it was the lot of Pompeius to feast them first. Upon Antonius asking him where they should sup, “There,” said he, pointing to the commander’s ship of six banks of oars, “for this is all the paternal residence that is left for Pompeius.” This he said to reproach Antonius, who had the house that had belonged to the father of Sextus. Fixing his ship at anchor and making a kind of bridge from the promontory, he received them with a hearty welcome. When the banquet was at its height and jokes against Cleopatra and Antonius were plentiful, Menas the pirate approaching Pompeius said to him, so that the rest could not hear, “Will 294you let me cut off the anchors of the ship and make you master not of Sicily and Sardinia, but of the Roman empire?” Pompeius, on hearing this, considered with himself for a short time, and said, “You ought to have done it, Menas, without mentioning it to me: but now let us be satisfied with things as they are; perjury is not for me.” Pompeius, after being feasted by Cæsar and Antonius in turn, sailed back to Sicily.

XXXIII. After the settlement of affairs, Antonius sent forward Ventidius383 into Asia to prevent the Parthians from advancing further, and, in order to please Cæsar, he was appointed priest of the former Cæsar; and everything else that concerned public affairs they transacted in common and in a friendly way. But their games of amusement caused annoyance to Antonius, as he always carried off therein less than Cæsar. Now there was with Antonius a man skilled in divinations, an Egyptian, one of those who cast nativities, who, whether it was to please Cleopatra, or whether he said it in good faith, spoke freely to Antonius, saying that his fortune, though most splendid and great, was obscured by that of Cæsar, and he advised him to remove as far as possible from the young man: “For thy dæmon,” he said, “is afraid of the dæmon of Cæsar, and though it is proud and erect when it is by itself, it is humbled by his dæmon when it is near, and becomes cowed.” And indeed the things which were happening seemed to confirm the Egyptian; for it is said that when they were casting lots by way of amusement, in whatever they might happen to be engaged, and throwing dice, Antonius came off with disadvantage. They frequently 295matched cocks,384 and fighting quails, and those of Cæsar were always victorious. Whereat Antonius being annoyed, though he did not show it, and paying more regard to the Egyptian, departed from Italy, leaving the management of his affairs to Cæsar; and he took with him Octavia as far as Greece, there having been a daughter born to them. While he was spending the winter in Athens, he received intelligence of the first successes of Ventidius, who had defeated the Parthians in a battle, in which Labienus lost his life and Pharnapates, the most skilful of the generals of King Hyrodes.385 On the occasion of this victory Antonius feasted the Greeks; and he acted as gymnasiarch for the Athenians, and leaving at home the insignia of his rank, he went forth with the rods of a gymnasiarch386 and the dress and white shoes; and he took the youths by the neck when he separated them.

XXXIV. As he was going to set out for the war, he took a crown from the sacred olive,387 and in conformity to a certain oracle, he filled a vessel with water from the Clepsydra, and carried it with him. In the mean time 296Pacorus,388 the king’s son, with a large Parthian army again advanced against Syria, but Ventidius engaged with him in Cyrrhestica and put his army to flight with great loss; Pacorus himself fell among the first. This exploit, which was one of the most celebrated, gave the Romans full satisfaction for the defeat of Crassus, and again confined the Parthians within Media and Mesopotamia, after being defeated in three successive battles. Ventidius gave up all intention of pursuing the Parthians further, because he feared the jealousy of Antonius, but he visited those who had revolted and brought them into subjection, and besieged Antiochus of Commagene389 in the city Samosata. The king proposed to pay a thousand talents and to obey the order of Antonius, but Ventidius told him to send his proposal to Antonius; for he had now advanced near, and he would not allow Ventidius to make peace with Antiochus, because he wished that this single exploit at least should bear his name, and that everything should not be accomplished by Ventidius. As, however, the siege was protracted, and the citizens, after despairing of coming to terms, betook themselves to a vigorous defence, Antonius, who was making no progress, but was ashamed and repented of his conduct, was glad to make peace with Antiochus and to take three hundred talents; and after settling some trifling matters in Syria, he returned to Athens, and sent Ventidius to enjoy a triumph after bestowing on him the suitable decorations. Ventidius is the only Roman to the present time who has had a triumph over the Parthians; and he was a man of obscure birth, but the friendship of Antonius gave him the opportunity of doing great deeds, of which he made the best use, and so confirmed what was generally said of Antonius and Cæsar, that they were more successful as generals through 297others than of themselves. For Sossius390 also, a legatus of Antonius, had great success in Syria; and Canidius,391 who was left by Antonius in Armenia, defeated the Armenians and the kings of the Iberians and Albanians, and advanced as far as the Caucasus. All this success increased the name and the fame of the power of Antonius among the barbarians.

XXXV. Antonius being again irritated against Cæsar by certain calumnies, sailed to Italy with three hundred vessels; but as the people of Brundusium would not receive his fleet, he sailed round and anchored at Tarentum.392 There he sent Octavia, for she accompanied him from Greece, at her request, to her brother: she was then pregnant, and had already borne him two daughters. She met Cæsar on the way, and after gaining over his friends Agrippa and Mæcenas,393 she prayed him with much urgency and much entreaty not to let her become a most wretched woman after being most happy. For now, she said, all men turned their eyes upon her, who was the wife of one Imperator and the sister of another; “but if the worse should prevail,” she continued, “and there should be war, it is uncertain which of you must be the victor and which the vanquished; but I shall be unfortunate both ways.” Cæsar, being moved by these words, came in a friendly manner to Tarentum, and those who were present saw a most noble spectacle, a large army on land tranquil, and many ships quietly holding on the shore, and the meeting and friendly salutations of the two Imperators and their friends. Antonius gave an entertainment first, which Cæsar consented to for his sister’s sake. It being agreed that Cæsar should give Antonius two legions for the Parthian war, 298 and that Antonius should give Cæsar a hundred brazen-beaked vessels. Octavia, independently of what had been agreed, asked for her brother twenty light ships394 from her husband, and for her husband a thousand soldiers from her brother. Accordingly, separating from one another, the one immediately engaged in the war against Pompeius,395 being desirous to get Sicily; and Antonius, entrusting to Cæsar Octavia and his children by her and by Fulvia, crossed over to Asia.

XXXVI. That great evil, which had long slept, the passion for Cleopatra, which appeared to be put to rest and to have been tranquillised by better considerations, blazed forth again and recovered strength as Antonius approached Syria. And finally (as Plato396 says of the stubborn and ungovernable beast of the soul), kicking away everything that was good and wholesome, he sent Fonteius Capito to bring Cleopatra to Syria. On her arrival he gave and added to her dominions nothing small or trifling, but Phœnice, Cœle Syria, Cyprus, a large part of Cilicia, and further, that part of Judæa which produces the balsam, and all the part, of Arabia Nabathæa which was turned towards the external sea.397 These donations caused the Romans the greatest vexation; though he gave tetrarchies and kingdoms of great nations to many private persons, and took kingdoms from many, as for instance Antigonus398 the Jew, whom he brought out and beheaded, though no king before had been punished in this way. But the 299scandal of the thing was that which gave more offence than all the honours conferred on Cleopatra. The evil report was increased by his acknowledging his twin children by Cleopatra, one of whom he called Alexander and the other Cleopatra; and he gave to one the surname of Sun, and the other of Moon. However, he had some dexterity in putting a good face on bad things, for he said that the greatness of the Roman power was shown not in what they received, but in what they gave; and that noble families were extended by a succession and progeny of many kings. Thus, for instance, he said, that his own ancestor was begotten by Hercules, who did not deposit his successors in a single womb, nor did he fear laws like Solon’s399 and penalties for conception, but gave nature her course to leave many beginnings and foundations of families.

XXXVII. When Phraates400 had killed his father Hyrodes and got possession of the kingdom, other Parthians fled, not few in number; and among them Monæses, a man of illustrious rank and great power, fled to Antonius, who likening the fortune of Monæses to that of Themistocles401 and comparing his own means and magnanimity to those of the Persian kings, gave him three cities, Larissa and Arethusa and Hierapolis, which was before called Bambyce. Upon the Parthian king sending to Monæses a right hand,402 Antonius gladly despatched Monæses to him, having resolved to deceive Phraates with a pretence of peace, but claiming the restoration of the standards taken in the time of Crassus and such of the prisoners as still survived. Antonius having sent Cleopatra back to Egypt, marched through Arabia403 and Armenia to a place where he reviewed 300his army, which had assembled there, and also the troops of the confederate kings; and they were many, but the greatest of all was Artavasdes,404 king of Armenia, who supplied six thousand horse and seven thousand foot soldiers. There were of the Romans sixty thousand foot soldiers, and the cavalry which was classed with the Romans was ten thousand Iberians405 and Celts; and of the other nations there were thirty thousand together with cavalry and light-armed troops. Yet so great a preparation and power, which alarmed even the Indians beyond Bactria and shook all Asia, it is said, was made of no avail to him by reason of Cleopatra. For through his eagerness to spend the winter with her, he opened the campaign before the fit time and conducted everything in a disorderly way, not having the mastery over his own judgment, but through the influence of some drugs or magic always anxiously looking towards her, and thinking more of his speedy return than of conquering the enemy.

XXXVIII. Now, in the first place, though it was his business to winter there in Armenia and to give his army rest, which was worn out by a march of eight thousand stadia, and before the Parthians moved from their winter-quarters in the commencement of spring, to occupy Media, he did not wait for the time, but immediately led forward his army, leaving Armenia on the left and touching on Atropatene,406 which he ravaged. In the next place, the engines which were necessary for sieges were carried along with the army in three hundred waggons, and among them was a ram eighty feet long; and it was not possible for any one of them, if it was damaged, to be repaired when it was wanted, because the upper country only produced wood of insufficient length and hardness: accordingly in his hurry he left all the engines behind as encumbrances to his speed, after appointing a watch and Statianus as commander over the waggons; and he commenced 301 the siege of Phraata,407 a large city, in which were the children and wives of the king of Media. But the difficulties soon proved what an error he had committed in leaving behind the engines; and as he wished to come to close quarters with the enemy, he commenced erecting a mound against the city, which rose slowly and with much labour. In the meantime Phraates came down with a great force, hearing of the waggons being left behind that carried the machines, and sent many horsemen against them, by whom Statianus was hemmed in and killed and ten thousand men with him. The barbarians took possession of the engines and destroyed them. They also took many prisoners, among whom was king Polemon.408

XXXIX. This misfortune greatly annoyed, as we may suppose, all the soldiers of Antonius, who at the commencement of the war had received this unexpected blow; and the Armenian Artavasdes despairing of the success of the Romans went off with his troops, though he had been the chief cause of the war. The Parthians now showed themselves to the besiegers in gallant array and insultingly threatened them, on which Antonius, not wishing to let despondency and dejection abide in his army by their being quiet and to increase, took ten legions and three prætorian cohorts of heavy-armed men and all the cavalry, and led them out to forage in the hope that the enemy would thus be drawn on, and that a regular battle would ensue. After advancing one day’s march, he saw that the Parthians were spreading themselves around him and seeking to attack him on the march, on which he hung out in the camp the sign of battle, but at the same time he ordered the tents to be taken down, as if his intention were not to fight but to lead off his troops; and he passed along the line of the barbarians, which was in the form of a crescent, having given orders, as soon as the first ranks of the enemy should be within reach of the 302heavy-armed soldiers, for the cavalry to ride at them. To the Parthians who stood opposed to the Romans, their discipline appeared to be something indescribable; and they observed the Romans as they marched past at equal intervals without disorder and in silence, brandishing their spears. But when the standard was raised and the cavalry facing about rushed upon the enemy, the Parthians received their onset and repelled it, though the Romans were all at once too close to allow them to use their arrows; but when the heavy-armed soldiers joined in the conflict at the same time with shouts and the clatter of arms, the Parthian horses were frightened and gave way and the Parthians fled before they came to close quarters. Antonius pressed on the pursuit, and had great hopes that he had finished the whole war or the chief part in that battle. But when the infantry had followed up the pursuit for fifty stadia and the cavalry for three times that distance, looking at those of the enemy who had fallen and were captured, they found only thirty captives and eighty corpses, which caused dismay and despondency in all the army, when they reflected that though victorious they had killed so few, and that when defeated they must sustain such a loss as they had near the waggons. On the following day they broke up their encampment and took the road towards Phraata and the camp. On their march they fell in at first with a few of the enemy, and then a greater number, and finally with all, who, as if they were unvanquished and fresh, challenged them and fell upon them from all sides, so that with difficulty and much labour they got safe to their camp. As the Medes made a sally against the mound and terrified those who were defending it, Antonius being enraged put in practice what is called decimation409 against the cowards; for he divided the whole number into tens, and put to death one out of each ten who was chosen by lot; and to the rest he ordered barley to be measured out, instead of wheat.

XL. The war was attended with great hardship to both sides, and the future was still more alarming, as Antonius was expecting famine, for it was no longer possible to get forage without many of the soldiers being wounded and 303killed. Phraates knowing that the Parthians were able to bear anything rather than to endure hardship in the winter and to encamp in the open air, was afraid lest, if the Romans held out and abided there, his troops would leave him, as the atmosphere was beginning to grow heavy after the autumnal equinox. Accordingly he planned such a stratagem as this. The chiefs of the Parthians,410 both in the forages and on other occasions when they met the Romans, made less vigorous resistance, both allowing them to take some things and commending their valour in that they were most courageous men, and were justly admired by their king. After this, riding up nearer to them, and quietly placing their horses near the Romans, they would abuse Antonius, saying that though Phraates wished to come to terms and to spare so many brave men, Antonius would not give him the opportunity, but sat there awaiting those dangerous and powerful enemies, hunger and winter, from whom it would be difficult for them to escape, even under convoy of the Parthians. Many persons reported this to Antonius, and though he was softened by hope, still he did not send heralds to the Parthians until he inquired from the barbarians who assumed this friendly demeanour, whether what they said really expressed the king’s meaning. On their saying that it was so, and urging him not to fear or distrust, he sent some of his companions to demand back the standards and the captives, that it might not be supposed that he was so eager to make his escape and get away. The Parthian told him not to trouble himself about that matter, but promised him peace and security if he would depart forthwith; whereupon in a few days Antonius got his baggage together and broke up his camp. Though Antonius had great powers of persuasion before a popular assembly, and was skilled above every man of the age in leading an army by his words, he was unable through shame and depression of spirits to encourage the soldiers, and he bade Domitius Ænobarbus411 do this. Some of the soldiers took this amiss, 304considering it as a token of contempt towards them, but the majority were affected by it, and perceived the reason, and they thought that they ought on this account the more to show their respect and obedience to the commander.

XLI. As Antonius was intending to lead the troops back by the same road, which was through a plain country without trees, a man, by nation a Mardian,412 who was well acquainted with the Parthian habits, and had already shown himself faithful to the Romans in the battle at the waggons, came up to Antonius and advised him in his flight to keep to the mountains on his right, and not to expose a force, in heavy armour and encumbered, to so numerous a cavalry and to the arrows in bare and open tracts, which was the very thing that Phraates designed when he induced him by friendly terms to raise the siege; and that he would lead them a shorter road, where he would find a better supply of necessaries. Antonius on hearing this deliberated; he did not wish to appear to distrust the Parthians after the truce, yet as he approved of the shorter road, and the line of march being along inhabited villages, he asked the Mardian for a pledge of his fidelity. The Mardian offered himself to be put in chains until he should place the army in Armenia; and he was put in chains, and he conducted them for two days without their meeting with any opposition. On the third day, when Antonius had completely ceased to think of the Parthians, and was advancing in a careless way by reason of his confidence, the Mardian observed that an embankment against the overflowing of a river had been recently305 broken, and that the stream was flowing in a great current on the road by which they had to pass, and he knew that the Parthians had done this with the intention of making the river an obstacle to the Roman march by the difficulty and delay that it would occasion; and he bade Antonius look out and be on his guard, as the enemy was near. Just while he was placing the heavy-armed men in order, and taking measures for the javelin-men and slingers to make an attack through their ranks upon the enemy, the Parthians appeared and rode round them with the design of encircling the Romans and putting them in disorder on all sides. The light-armed troops made a sally against them, and the Parthians, after inflicting some wounds with their arrows and receiving as many from the leaden bullets413 and javelins of the Romans, retreated. The Parthians then commenced a second attack, which continued until the Celtæ in a mass drove their horses against them and dispersed them; and the Parthians showed themselves no more on that day.

XLII. From this experience Antonius, learning what he ought to do, covered not only the rear, but also both flanks with many javelin men and slingers, and led his army in the form of a quadrangle; and the cavalry received orders to repel the attack of the enemy, but when they had repulsed them, not to pursue far, in consequence of which the Parthians during the four following days sustained as much damage as they inflicted, and their ardour being dulled they thought of retiring, as an excuse for which they alleged the approach of winter. On the fifth day Flavius Gallus, a man of military talent and great activity, who held a command, came and asked Antonius for more light-armed troops for the rear,414 and for some of the cavalry from the van, in the expectation of having great success. Antonius gave him the troops, and when the enemy made his attack, he fell upon them, not as on former occasions, at the same time withdrawing towards the heavy-armed soldiers and retreating, but resisting them and engaging with the enemy in a desperate way. The commanders of 306the rear seeing that he was being separated from them, sent and called him back, but he would not listen to them. They say that Titius the quæstor, seizing the standards, turned them round and abused Gallus for throwing away the lives of many brave men. But as Gallus abused him in turn, and urged those about him to remain, Titius retreated. While Gallus was pushing forwards against the enemy in front, a large body of those in the rear got round him before he perceived it. Being now attacked on all sides he sent for aid; but the commanders of the heavy-armed troops, among whom was Canidius, a man who had the greatest influence with Antonius, are considered to have committed a great mistake. For when they ought to have moved the whole line against the enemy, they sent a few at a time to help against them; and again when these were being worsted, they sent others, and thus these came near filling the whole army with defeat and flight before they were aware of it; but Antonius himself quickly came with the heavy-armed men from the van to meet the enemy, and the third legion quickly pushing through the fugitives against the enemy stopped their further pursuit.

XLIII. There fell no fewer than three thousand; and there were carried to the tents five thousand wounded, and among them Gallus, who was pierced with five arrows in front. Gallus did not recover from his wounds; but Antonius, going about, visited the rest of the wounded, and he encouraged them with tears in his eyes and deep sympathy. The men, cheerfully grasping his right hand, begged him to go and take care of his health and not to trouble himself about them, calling him Imperator, and saying that they were all secure if he was only safe. For altogether it seems that no Imperator of that age got together an army more distinguished by courage or endurance or strength; but the respect towards the commander himself, and the obedience combined with affection, and the circumstance that all alike, those of good reputation, those of bad, commanders, private soldiers, preferred honour and favour from Antonius to their own lives and safety, left nothing even for the ancient Romans to surpass, and of this there were several reasons, as we have said before; noble birth,307 powerful eloquence, simplicity, generosity and munificence, affability in his pleasures and conversation. On that occasion, by the pains that he took and his sympathy with the wounded, and by sharing with them whatever they wanted, he made the sick and wounded more full of alacrity than those who were whole.

XLIV. However the victory so elated the enemy, who were already worn out and exhausted, and they despised the Romans so much that they even passed the night415 close to the camp, expecting that they should soon plunder the deserted tents and the baggage of the Romans skulking away. At daybreak the enemy crowded upon them in still greater numbers, and there are said to have been not fewer than forty thousand horseman, as the king had sent even those who were always placed around himself, as to certain and secure success; for the king himself was never present in any battle. But Antonius, wishing to harangue the soldiers, asked for a dark garment that he might appear more piteous. But as his friends opposed him, he came forward in the purple dress of a general and addressed the troops, praising those who had been victorious, and upbraiding those who had fled. The former exhorted him to be of good cheer, and the others making their apology offered themselves to him either to be decimated or to be punished in any other way; only they prayed him to cease being troubled and grieved. Hereupon, raising his hands, he prayed to the gods, that if any reverse of fortune should follow on account of his former prosperity, it might come upon him, but that they would give safety and victory to the rest of the army.

XLV. On the following day they advanced under better protection; and when the Parthians made their attack, the result was very contrary to their expectations. For they expected to advance to plunder and booty, and not to battle; but as they were assailed by many missiles, and saw that the Romans were encouraged and fresh with alacrity, they were again completely wearied of the contest. However the Parthians again fell upon them as they were descending some steep hills, and galled them with arrows as they were slowly retreating, whereon the shield-bearers416 faced about 308and placing the light-armed troops within their ranks, dropped down on one knee and held their shields before them; those behind held their shields before the front rank, and those who were behind the second rank did the same. This form, which very much resembles a roof,417 presents a theatrical appearance, and is the safest of bulwarks against the arrows, which thus glance off. But the Parthians, who thought that the Romans bending on one knee was a sign of exhaustion and fatigue, laid aside their bows, and grasping their spears by the middle, came to close quarters. But the Romans with one shout all at once sprang up, and pushing with their javelins which they held in their hands, killed the foremost and put all the rest to flight. This took place also on the following days, the Romans making only small way. Famine also attacked the army, which could get little grain and that with fighting, and they had few implements for grinding; for the greater part were left behind, owing to some of the beasts dying, and others being employed in carrying the sick and wounded. It is said that an Attic chœnix418 of wheat was sold for fifty drachmæ; and they sold barley loaves for their weight in silver. Then they betook themselves to vegetables and roots; but they found few of the kind that they were accustomed to, and being compelled to make trial of what they had never tasted before, they ate of one herb that caused madness and then death. For he who had eaten of it recollected nothing, and understood nothing, and busied himself about nothing except one sole thing, which was to move and turn every stone, as if he were doing something of great importance. The plain was full of men stooping to the ground and digging round stones309 and moving them; and finally they vomited bile and died, for wine, which was the only remedy, failed them. As many were dying and the Parthians did not desist from their attack, they say that Antonius often cried out “O the ten thousand!”419 whereby he expressed his admiration of the ten thousand, that though they marched even a greater distance, from Babylonia, and fought with many more enemies, yet they made good their retreat.

XLVI. The Parthians, not being able to break through the Roman army nor yet to separate their ranks, and being already often defeated and put to flight, again mingled in a friendly way with those who went out for grass or corn, and pointing to the strings of their bows which were unstrung, said, that they were going back and this was the end of their attack; but that a few of the Medes would follow still one or two days’ journey without annoying them at all, and for the purpose of protecting the more distant villages. To these words were added embraces and signs of friendship, so that the Romans were again of good cheer; and Antonius hearing this resolved to keep nearer to the plains, as the road through the mountains was said to be waterless. While he was intending to do this, there came to the camp a man from the enemy, named Mithridates, a cousin of Monæses, of him who had been with Antonius and had received the three cities as a present. And he asked for some one to come near to him who could speak the Parthian or the Syrian language. Alexander of Antioch came to him, and he was an intimate friend of Antonius, whereupon Mithridates, saying who he was, and intimating that they must thank Monæses for what he was going to say, asked Alexander, if he saw in the distance a continuous range of lofty mountains. On Alexander saying that he saw them, he replied, “Under those mountains the Parthians with all their forces lie in ambush for you. For the great plains border on these mountains, and they expect that you will be deceived by them and will turn in that direction and leave the road through the mountains. The way over the mountains is attended with 310thirst and labour to which you are accustomed, but if Antonius goes by the plain, let him be assured that the fate of Crassus awaits him.”

XLVII. Having said this, he went away; and Antonius, who was troubled at these words, called together his friends and the Mardian who was their guide, and had exactly the same opinion. For even if there were no enemy, he knew that the want of roads in the plains and the mistakes in the track which they might make there were matters of hazard and difficulty; but he declared that the road over the mountains presented no other risk than the want of water for a single day. Accordingly Antonius turned aside and led his army by this route by night, having given orders to the men to take water with them. But the greater part had no vessels, and accordingly they filled their helmets with water and carried them, and others took it in skins. As soon as Antonius began to advance, the Parthians had intelligence of it, and contrary to their custom they commenced the pursuit while it was still night. Just as the sun was rising, they came up with the rear, which was in weak condition through want of sleep and fatigue: for they had accomplished two hundred and forty stadia in the night; and the enemy coming upon them so suddenly when they did not expect it, dispirited them. The contest increased their thirst, for they still advanced while they were defending themselves. Those who were in the first ranks, as they were marching onwards, came to a river,420 the water of which was cool and pellucid, but salt and of a medicinal nature; and this water, when drank of immoderately, caused pains with purging and augmentation of the thirst: and though the Mardian had warned them of this, the soldiers nevertheless forced away those who tried to hinder them and drank of the water. Antonius went round to the men and prayed them to hold out for a short time, and he said there was another river not far off, and besides this, the rest of the route was impracticable for 311horses and rough, so that the enemy must certainly turn back. At the same time he summoned those who were engaged in the fight and gave the signal for pitching the tents, that the soldiers might at least enjoy the shade a little.

XLVIII. While then the tents were being fixed and the Parthians as usual were immediately retiring, Mithridates came again, and upon Alexander going up to him, he advised him to put the army in motion after it had rested a little and to hasten to the river: for he said that the Parthians would not cross it, but would follow up the pursuit as far as the river. Alexander reported this to Antonius, and then brought out from him numerous gold cups and goblets, of which Mithridates taking as many as he could hide in his dress, rode off. As it was still daylight, they broke up their tents and advanced, without being annoyed by the enemy; but they made that night of all others the most painful and frightful to themselves. For they killed and plundered those who had silver or gold, and took the things that were carried by the beasts; and finally falling upon the baggage of Antonius, they cut in pieces and divided among them cups and costly tables, there being great disturbance and confusion through the whole army; for they thought that the enemy had fallen upon them and that flight and dispersion had ensued, Antonius called one of the freedmen, who was on his guard, named Rhamnus, and bound him by oath when he gave him the order, to push his sword through him and to cut off his head, that he might neither be taken alive by the enemy nor be recognised when dead. His friends broke out in tears, but the Mardian encouraged Antonius by telling him that the river was near; for a moist breeze blowing and a cooler air meeting them made their respiration more agreeable; and he said that the time they had been on the march confirmed his estimate of the distance, for what now remained of the night was not much. At the same time others reported that the disorder was owing to their own wrongful deeds and rapacity. Accordingly Antonius, wishing to bring the army into order from their state of disorder and confusion, commanded the signal to be given for pitching the tents.

XLIX. Day was now dawning, and as the army 312was beginning to get into certain order and tranquillity, the arrows of the Parthians fell upon the rear, and the signal for battle was given to the light-armed troops. The heavy-armed troops again covering one another in like manner as before with their shields, stood the assault of the missiles, the enemy not venturing to come near. The first ranks advancing slowly in this form, the river was seen; and Antonius drawing up his cavalry on the banks in face of the enemy, took across the weak first. Those who were fighting were now relieved from apprehension, and had the opportunity of drinking; for when the Parthians saw the river, they unstrung their bows and bade the Romans pass over in confidence, with great encomiums on their valour. Accordingly, they crossed, and recruited themselves quietly; and then they marched forwards, but yet not with full confidence in the Parthians. On the sixth day after the last battle they reached the river Araxes,421 which is the boundary between Media and Armenia. It appeared dangerous both for its depth and roughness, and a rumour went through the army that the enemy was in ambush there, and would fall on them as they were crossing. When they had safely crossed and had set foot in Armenia, as if they had just got sight of that land from the sea, they saluted it and fell to shedding of tears and embracing of one another for joy. In their progress through a fertile country, during which they used everything freely after having suffered great want, they were subject to dropsical and bowel complaints.

L. Antonius there made a review of his men, and he found that twenty thousand infantry and four thousand cavalry had perished; not all by the enemy, but above half by disease. They marched from Phraata twenty-313seven days, and they defeated the Parthians in eighteen battles; but these victories brought neither strength nor security, because their pursuits were short and ineffectual. And this mainly showed that it was Artavasdes422 the Armenian who had deprived Antonius of the means of bringing that war to an end. For if the sixteen thousand horsemen whom he drew out of Media had been present, who were equipped like the Parthians, and were accustomed to fight against them, and if, while the Romans put to flight the fighting enemy, they had overtaken the fugitives, it would not have been in their power after a defeat to recover themselves and venture again so often. All the army accordingly in passion endeavoured to incite Antonius to punish the Armenian. But Antonius upon considerations of prudence neither reproached him for his treachery nor abated of his usual friendly behaviour and respect towards him, being weak in numbers and in want of supplies. Afterwards, however, when he again broke into Armenia, and by many promises and invitations, persuaded Artavasdes to come into his hands, he seized him and took him in chains to Alexandria, where he was led in triumph. And herein chiefly he offended the Romans, by giving to the Egyptians for the sake of Cleopatra the honourable and solemn ceremonial of his native country. This however took place later.

LI. Antonius now pressed on his march, the winter having already set in with severity, through incessant snow-storms, in which he lost eight thousand men on the route. Going down to the sea-coast with a very small body of men, he waited for Cleopatra423 in a place between Berytus and Sidon, called “White village”; and as she was slow in coming, he became uneasy and restless, soon giving himself up to drinking and intoxication, but yet being unable to continue at table; for while his companions were drinking he would rise and often spring up to look out, till Cleopatra arrived there by sea bringing a quantify of 314clothes and supplies for the soldiers. There are some who say that Antonius received the clothes from her, but that the money was his own, though he distributed it as if it were a present to him from Cleopatra.

LII. A quarrel arose between the king of the Medes and Phraortes424 the Parthian, which originated, as they say, about the Roman spoils, but caused the Mede to have suspicions and fear of being deprived of his dominions. For this reason he sent to invite Antonius, and proffered to join him in a war with his own forces. Antonius accordingly being put in great hope—for the only thing as he thought which had been the cause of his failing to subdue the Parthians, his having gone against them without many horsemen and bowmen, he now saw was offered to him in such way that his part was rather to do a favour by accepting than to ask for one—was preparing again to march into the upper country through Armenia, and after joining the Mede near the Araxes, then to recommence the war.

LIII. At Rome Octavia425 was desirous of going to Antonius, and Cæsar gave her permission; as the greater part say, not with the design of pleasing her, but in order that if she were greatly insulted and neglected, he might have a specious pretext for the war. On reaching Athens she received letters from Antonius, in which he told her to stay there, and informed her of his intended expedition. Though Octavia was annoyed, and saw that this was only a pretext, she wrote to him to ask to what place he would have the things sent which she was bringing to him. And she was taking a great quantity of clothing for the army, many beasts, and money and presents for his officers and friends; and besides this, two thousand picked soldiers equipped as prætorian cohorts, with splendid armour. A certain Niger, a friend of Antonius, who was sent by Octavia, reported this to him, and he added commendation of Octavia such as she merited and was just. But Cleopatra, seeing that Octavia was entering into a contest with her, and fearing that if to the dignity of her behaviour and the power of Cæsar she added the pleasure of social 315intercourse and attention to Antonius, she would be invincible and get complete mastery over her husband, pretended to be desperately in love with Antonius, and she wasted her body by spare diet; and she put on the expression of strong passion when he approached her, and of sorrow and depression when he went away. She also contrived to be often seen in tears, which she would all at once wipe away and affect to conceal, as if she did not wish Antonius to observe it. She practised these arts while Antonius was preparing for his expedition from Syria against the Mede.426 Flatterers, too, who were busy in her behalf, abused Antonius as a hard and unfeeling man, who was causing the death of a woman who was devoted to him alone. As to Octavia, she came to meet Antonius upon business on her brother’s account, and enjoyed the name of wife of Antonius; but Cleopatra, who was the queen of so many people, was only called the beloved of Antonius, and she did not shun nor disdain this name, so long as she could see Antonius and live with him; but if she were driven away from him, she would not survive. At last they so melted and softened the man, that through fear that Cleopatra might destroy herself, he returned to Alexandria, and put off the Mede to the summer season, though the affairs of Parthia were said to be in a state of anarchy. However, he went up into the country, and brought over the king to friendly terms, and after betrothing to one of his sons by Cleopatra one of the daughters of the king, who was still a young child, he returned, being now engaged in preparing for the civil war.

LIV. When Octavia returned from Athens, as Cæsar conceived her to have been insulted, he ordered her to dwell in her own house. But she refused to leave her husband’s house, and she advised her brother, if he had not for other reasons determined to go to war with Antonius, to let her affairs alone, for it was not even decent to be said, that of the greatest Imperators, one through 316love for a woman, and the other through jealousy, brought the Romans to civil war. This she said, and she confirmed what she said by her acts; for she lived in her husband’s house, just as if he were at home, and she took care of the children, both her own and those of Fulvia, in an honourable and liberal way; she also received the friends of Antonius who were sent to Rome to get offices or on business, and assisted them in obtaining from Cæsar what they wanted. She thus unintentionally damaged Antonius, for he was hated for wronging such a woman. He was also hated for the division which he made among his children at Alexandria, which appeared to be tragical427 and arrogant, and to show hatred of the Romans. For he filled the gymnasium with a crowd, and caused to be placed on a tribunal of silver two thrones of gold, one for himself, and the other for Cleopatra, and for the children other thrones which were lower; and first of all he declared Cleopatra Queen of Egypt and Cyprus and Libya and Cœle Syria, with Cæsarion as co-regent, who was believed to be the son of the former Cæsar, who left Cleopatra pregnant; in the next place he proclaimed his sons and Cleopatra’s to be Kings of Kings; and to Alexander he gave Armenia, and Media, and Parthia, when he should have subdued it, and to Ptolemæus he gave Phœnice and Syria and Cilicia. At the same time also he led forth Alexander, dressed in a Median vest with a tiara and cittaris428 upright, and Ptolemæus in boots, and a chlamys, and a causia with a diadem attached to it; for this was the dress of the kings who followed Alexander, and the other was the dress of the Medes and Armenians. After the children had embraced their parents, a guard of Armenians was placed around the one, and of Macedonians around the other. Cleopatra, both on that occasion and on other occasions when she went out before the people, used to put on a 317dress sacred to Isis, different from her ordinary dress, and she was called the new Isis.

LV. By bringing these matters before the Senate, and often complaining of them before the people, Cæsar excited the multitude against Antonius. Antonius also sent and made recriminations against Cæsar. The chief charges which Antonius made against him were, in the first place, that though he had taken Sicily from Pompeius, he did not give him a part of the island; second, that Cæsar had borrowed ships from him for the war and had kept them; third, that after ejecting his colleague Lepidus from his authority and degrading him, Cæsar kept the army and territory and revenues that were assigned to Lepidus;429 and, finally, that he had distributed nearly all Italy in allotments among his own soldiers, and had left nothing for the soldiers of Antonius. To these charges Cæsar replied, that he had deprived Lepidus of his authority because he was abusing it, and as to what he had acquired in war, he would share it with Antonius, when Antonius should share Armenia with him. He further said that the soldiers of Antonius had no claim to any share of Italy, for that they had Media and Parthia, which they had added to the Roman possessions by their brave conduct in war under their Imperator.

LVI. Antonius heard of this while he was tarrying in Armenia; and he immediately gave orders to Canidius to take sixteen legions and to go down to the sea. Himself taking Cleopatra with him went to Ephesus. Here the navy collected from all quarters, eight hundred ships, including merchant vessels, of which Cleopatra furnished two hundred, and twenty thousand talents and supplies for the war for all the army. Antonius, being persuaded by Domitius and some others, told Cleopatra to sail to Egypt and there to wait the result of the war. But as Cleopatra feared that there would again be a reconciliation through Octavia, she persuaded Canidius by a large bribe 318to speak to Antonius about her, and to say, that it was neither just for a woman to be kept away from the war, who supplied so many large contributions, nor was it to the interest of Antonius to dispirit the Egyptians, who composed a large part of the naval force; and besides this, he did not see to which of the kings who joined the expedition Cleopatra was inferior in understanding, she who for a long time by herself had governed so large a kingdom, and had long enjoyed his company, and had learned to manage great affairs. These arguments prevailed, for it was fated that all the power should come into Cæsar’s hands; and after the forces had come together, they sailed to Samos and enjoyed themselves there. For as orders had been given to kings and rulers and tetrarchs and nations and all the cities between Syria and the Mæotis and Armenia and the Illyrians430 to send and bring their supplies for the war, so all the persons who assisted at theatrical entertainments were required to meet Antonius at Samos; and while nearly all the world around was lamenting and groaning, one island for many days resounded with pipes and stringed instruments, and the theatres were filled and the chori were vying with one another. Every city also joined in the celebration by sending an ox, and kings rivalled one another in giving entertainments and presents. So that it went abroad and was said, how will persons behave in the rejoicings after a victory, who make such costly banquets to celebrate the preparations for war?

LVII. After these amusements were over, Antonius gave to the theatrical company Priene for their dwelling; and sailing to Athens he again gave himself up to pleasure and theatres. Cleopatra, who was jealous of the honours that had been paid to Octavia in the city, for Octavia was very much beloved by the Athenians, attempted to gain the popular favour by many acts of liberality. The Athenians after voting to her honorable distinctions, sent a deputation to her residence to carry the record of the vote, and Antonius was one of them, as being an Athenian citizen; and coming before her he went through an 319harangue on behalf of the city. He sent persons to Rome to eject Octavia from his house; and it is said that when she left it, she took all the children of Antonius with her except the eldest of the children by Fulvia, for he was with his father, and that she wept and lamented that she too would be considered one of the causes of the war. And the Romans pitied not her, but they pitied Antonius, and those chiefly who had seen Cleopatra, a woman who had not the advantage over Octavia either in beauty or in youth.

LVIII. Cæsar was alarmed when he heard of the rapidity and the greatness of the preparation431 of Antonius, lest he should be compelled to come to a decisive battle during that summer. For he was deficient in many things, and the exaction of taxes vexed people; for the free men, being compelled to contribute a fourth432 of their income, and the class of freedmen to contribute an eighth part of their property, cried out against Cæsar, and tumults arising from these causes prevailed over all Italy. Accordingly the delay in the war is reckoned among the greatest faults of Antonius; for it gave time to Cæsar to make preparation, and it put an end to the disturbances among the people; for while the money was being exacted from them they were irritated, but when it had been exacted and they had paid it they remained quiet.433 Titius and Plancus, friends of Antonius and men of consular rank, being insulted by Cleopatra, for they made the most opposition to her joining the expedition, escaped to Cæsar, and they gave him information about the will of Antonius, as they were acquainted with the contents of it. The will was placed with the Vestal Virgins,434 and when Cæsar asked for it, they would not give it to him, but they told him, if he wished to have it, to come and take it himself. And he did go and take it; and first of all he read it over by 320himself, and marked certain passages which furnished ready matter of accusation; in the next place he assembled the Senate and read the will, to the dissatisfaction of the greater part; for they considered it to be altogether unusual and a hard matter for a man to be called to account in his lifetime for what he wished to be done after his death. Cæsar dwelt most on that part of the will which related to the interment; for Antonius directed that his body, even if he should die in Rome, should be carried in procession through the Forum and sent to Alexandria to Cleopatra. Calvisius, an intimate friend of Cæsar, brought forward also these charges against Antonius in reference to Cleopatra: that he had given her the libraries435 from Pergamum, in which there were two hundred thousand single books; and that at an entertainment in the presence of many people he stood up and rubbed her feet436 in compliance with a certain arrangement and agreement; and that he allowed the Ephesians in his presence to salute Cleopatra as mistress; and that frequently when he was administering justice to tetrarchs and kings on his tribunal, he would receive from her love-billets written on onyx or crystal and read them. Furnius437 also, who was a man of distinction and the most powerful orator among the Romans, said that Cleopatra was being carried in a litter through the Forum, and that Antonius when he saw her, sprung up and left the judgment-seat and accompanied her hanging on the litter.

LIX. In most of these matters Calvisius438 was supposed to be lying. But the friends of Antonius going about in 321Rome entreated the people for his sake, and they sent Geminius, one of their body, to entreat Antonius not to be regardless about being deprived of his authority by a vote and declared an enemy of the Romans. Geminius having sailed to Greece became suspected by Cleopatra of acting on the behalf of Octavia, and, though he was continually ridiculed at supper and insulted by having unsuitable places at the feast assigned to him, he submitted to this and waited for an opportunity of an interview; and when he was told at supper to say what he had come about, he replied that all his communication was to be made when he was sober, except one thing, which he knew whether he was sober or drunk; and it was this, that all would be well if Cleopatra would go off to Egypt. Antonius was irritated at this, but Cleopatra said, “You have done well, Geminius, in having confessed the truth without tortures.” After a few days accordingly Geminius made his escape to Rome. The flatterers of Cleopatra drove away also many of the other friends of Antonius, who could not endure their excesses over wine and their coarse behaviour; and among these were Marcus Silanus and Dellius the historian. Dellius says that he was also afraid of some design from Cleopatra, of which he had been informed by Glaucus the physician. He had offended Cleopatra at supper by saying that they had to drink vinegar, while Sarmentus439 at Rome was drinking Falernian. Now Sarmentus was a youth, one of Cæsar’s favourites, such as the Romans call Deliciæ.

LX. When Cæsar had made preparation sufficient, he got a vote passed for war against Cleopatra440 and for depriving Antonius of the authority which he had surrendered to Cleopatra. Cæsar also said that Antonius, owing to draughts that had been administered to him, was not in his senses, and those whom the Romans had to fight against were Mardion the eunuch, and Potheinus, and Iras 322the tire-woman of Cleopatra, and Charmion, by whom all the chief matters of administration were directed. These signs, it is said, happened before the war. Pisaurum,441 a city that had been colonised by Antonius, which was situated near the Adriatic, was swallowed up by the opening of chasms in the earth. From one of the stone statues of Antonius at Alba sweat oozed for many days, and it did not cease, though there were persons who wiped it off. While he was staying at Patræ, the Herakleium was destroyed by lightning; at Athens the Dionysius, one of the figures in the Battle of the Giants,442 was blown down by the winds and carried into the theatre. Now Antonius claimed kinship with Hercules by descent and with Dionysius by imitating his manner of life, as it has been said, and he was called young Dionysius. The same tempest also fell on the colossal statues of Eumenes and Attalus, on which the name of Antonius had been inscribed, and threw them down alone out of a large number. The admiral’s ship of Cleopatra was called Antonias, and a bad omen appeared as to it: some swallows had made their nest under the stern, but other swallows attacked and drove them out and destroyed the young.

LXI. They were now coming together for the war; and the fighting ships of Antonius were not fewer than five hundred, among which were many vessels of eight and ten banks of oars fitted out in proud and pompous style; of the land forces there were one hundred thousand, and twelve thousand horsemen. There were on his side of subject kings, Bocchus the king of the Libyans, and Tarcondemus the king of Upper Cilicia, and Archelaus, king of Cappadocia, and Philadelphus of Paphlagonia, and Mithridates of Commagene, and Sadalas of Thrace. These were with him. From Pontus Polemon sent a force, and Malchus from Arabia, and Herodes, the Jew; and besides these, Amyntas, the king of the Lycaonians and Galatians.443 There was also help sent from the king of the Medes. Cæsar had two hundred and fifty ships of war, and eighty 323thousand infantry, and about the same number of horsemen as the enemy. The dominion of Antonius extended over the country from the Euphrates to the Ionian sea and the Illyrians; and that of Cæsar from the Illyrians over the country that reached to the Western Ocean, and over the country from the ocean to the Tuscan and Sicilian sea. Of Libya Cæsar had the part which extended opposite to Italy and Gaul and Iberia as far as the pillars of Hercules; and Antonius had the part from Cyrene to Ethiopia.

LXII. Antonius was so mere an appendage to Cleopatra that though he had a great superiority in land forces, he wished the decision of the affair to depend on the navy, to please Cleopatra: and this, though he saw that through want of a crew, men were being seized by the trierarchs out of Greece, which had indeed suffered much, travellers, ass-drivers, reapers, youths, and that even by these means the ships were not manned, but the greater part were deficient and were ill manœuvred. Cæsar’s navy consisted of ships not built to a great height nor yet for the purpose of making a show, but adapted for easy and quick movement and well manned; and he kept his fleet together in Tarentum and Brundusium, and sent to Antonius to ask him not to waste the time, but to come with his forces, and that he would provide his armament with naval stations free from all hindrance, and harbours, and that he would retreat with his land forces a day’s journey for a horseman from the sea, until Antonius had safely landed and encamped. Antonius replied in like strain to this bragging language by challenging Cæsar to single combat, though he was older than Cæsar; and if Cæsar declined this, he proposed that they should decide the matter with their armies at Pharsalus, as Cæsar and Pompeius had done before. While Antonius was taking his station near Actium,444 where Nicopolis is now built, Cæsar contrived to 324cross the Ionian sea and to get possession of a place in Epirus, called Torune; and as the friends of Antonius were uneasy, because their land force had not yet come up, Cleopatra, jesting, said, “What is the harm if Cæsar is sitting by a torune?”445

LXIII. At daybreak the advance of the enemy’s fleet alarmed Antonius, lest they should seize the ships which were without crews, and accordingly he armed the rowers and placed them on the decks to make a show, and raising the ships’ oars and making them ready for plying, he kept his ships on each side in the channel near Actium, prow to prow, as if they were fit to be put in motion and prepared to fight. Cæsar, being frustrated by this manœuvre, retired. Antonius also by some well contrived works shut in the water and deprived his enemies of it; and the surrounding spots had only little water, and that was bad. He behaved with magnanimity to Domitius also, and contrary to the judgment of Cleopatra. Domitius, who was already suffering from fever, got into a small boat and went over to Cæsar, on which Antonius, though much annoyed, sent him all his baggage together with his friends and slaves. Domitius indeed, as if he were repenting after the discovery of his faithlessness and treachery, died immediately. There were also defections among the kings, for Amyntas and Deiotarus went over to Cæsar. Now as the navy was in all things unlucky and always too late to give any help, Antonius was again compelled to turn his thoughts to his land forces. Canidius also, who commanded the land forces, changed his opinion at the sight of the danger, and he advised Antonius to send Cleopatra away, and to retreat to Thrace or Macedonia, and then to decide the matter by a battle. For Dicomes, the king of the Getæ, promised to help him with a large force; and Canidius urged that there would be no disgrace, if they should give up the sea to Cæsar, who had been disciplined in the Sicilian war, but it would be a strange thing if Antonius, who was excellently versed in military operations, should not avail himself of his strength and his resources of so many heavy-armed soldiers, and 325should instead thereof distribute his troops among vessels and fritter them away. Notwithstanding this the advice of Cleopatra prevailed that the war should be decided by a naval battle, though she was already contemplating flight and making arrangements for her own position, not with a view to contribute to the victory, but to have the best place to retreat from if their cause should be ruined. Now there were long lines which extended from the camp to the naval station, and Antonius was accustomed to pass without suspecting any danger; and as a slave of Cæsar told him that it would be possible to seize Antonius as he went down through the lines, Cæsar sent men to lie in ambush for him. They came so near accomplishing their purpose as this, that by rising up too soon they seized the man who was advancing in front of Antonius; and Antonius escaped with difficulty by running.

LXIV. When it had been resolved to make a sea fight, Antonius burned all the Egyptian ships except sixty; but he manned the best and largest, from three to ten banks of oars, with twenty thousand heavy-armed soldiers and two thousand bowmen. Hereupon it is said that one of the centurions, who had already fought many battles for Antonius and was covered with wounds, wept as Antonius was passing by, and said; “Imperator, why do you distrust these wounds or this sword and rest your hopes in miserable logs of wood? Let Egyptians and Phœnicians fight on sea, but give us land, on which we are accustomed to stand and to die or to vanquish our enemies.” Without making any reply, but merely by a motion of his hand and the expression of his countenance encouraging the man to be of good cheer, Antonius passed by, without however having any good hopes himself, inasmuch as when the masters of the vessels were desirous to leave the sails behind, he ordered them to be put on board and taken with them, observing that not a single fugitive of the enemy should be allowed to escape.

LXV.446 Now on that day and the three following days 326the sea was agitated by a strong wind which prevented an engagement, but on the fifth, there being no wind and the sea being quite calm, they came to an engagement. Antonius and Publicola commanded the right wing, and Cœlius the left; and in the centre were Marcus Octavius and Marcus Insteius. Cæsar placed Agrippa on the left, and reserved the right wing for himself. Canidius drew up the army of Antonius, and Taurus that of Cæsar on the shore, and remained without moving. As to the two commanders-in-chief, Antonius visited all his vessels in a row-boat and exhorted his soldiers to trust to the weight of their ships and to fight as if they were on land, without changing their position, and he urged the masters of the ships to receive the shock of the enemy with their vessels as if they were quietly at anchor, and to avoid the difficult spots about the entrance of the bay: and Cæsar, it is said, while it was still dark, left his tent, and as he was going round to the ships, he met a man driving an ass, who being asked his name and knowing Cæsar, replied, “My name is Goodluck, and my ass’s name is Victor.” For this reason when Cæsar afterwards ornamented the place with the beaks of ships, he set up a bronze figure of an ass and a man. After observing the arrangement of the other part of his fleet, he went in a boat to the right wing and was surprised to see the enemy resting quietly in the straits; for the vessels had the appearance of being moored at their anchors; and as he was for a long time convinced of this, he kept his own ships at the distance of eight stadia from the enemy. It was now the sixth hour, and a wind beginning to rise from the sea, the soldiers of Antonius were impatient at the delay, and, trusting to the height and magnitude of their ships as making them unassailable, they put the left wing in motion. Cæsar, delighted to see this, ordered his right wing to row backwards with the design of drawing the enemy still further out of the gulf and the straits, and by surrounding them with his own light vessels to come to close quarters with the enemy’s ships, which, owing to their size and the insufficiency of their crews, were cumbersome and slow.

LXVI. Though the two fleets were beginning to come together, they did not drive the ships against, nor 327strive to crush one another, for the ships of Antonius, owing to their weight, were unable to move forwards with any force, which mainly gives effect to the blows of the beaks, and those of Cæsar not only avoided meeting front to front the strong and rough brass work of the enemy, but did not even venture to strike against them on the flank. For the beaks would easily have been broken off by coming in contact with the hulls447 of the enemy’s vessels, which were protected by large square pieces of timber fastened to one another with iron. The battle therefore was like a land fight, or, to speak more exactly, like the assailing of a fortress; for three and four of Cæsar’s ships at the same time were engaged about one of the ships of Antonius, and the men fought with light shields and spears and poles and fiery missiles; the soldiers of Antonius assailed them also with catapults from wooden towers. While Agrippa was extending the left wing with a view to surround the enemy, Publicola, being compelled to advance to meet him, was separated from the centre, which fell into confusion, and was also closely engaged with Arruntius. While the sea fight was still undecided and equally favourable to both sides, all at once the sixty ships of Cleopatra were seen raising their sails for the purpose of making off, and flying through the centre of the combatants; for they were stationed behind the large vessels and they caused confusion by making their way through them. The enemy looked on with wonder, seeing them take advantage of the wind and shape their course towards the Peloponnesus. On this occasion Antonius clearly showed that he was not governed by the considerations that befit either a commander or a man, or even by his own judgment, but, as some one observed in jest, that the soul of the lover lives in another person’s body, so was he dragged along by the woman as if he had grown to her and moved together with her. For no sooner did he see her ship sailing away, than, forgetting everything, and deserting and skulking away from those who were fighting and dying in his cause, he got into a five-oared galley with only Alexas the Syrian and Skellius to attend him, and followed 328after her who had already ruined him and was destined to complete his ruin.

LXVII. Cleopatra, having recognised the vessel of Antonius, raised a signal; and Antonius accordingly, coming up to her and being taken into her ship, neither saw Cleopatra nor was seen by her, but advancing close to the prow he sat down by himself in silence holding his head with both his hands. In the meantime there were seen Liburnian ships448 from Cæsar’s fleet in pursuit; but Antonius, by ordering his men to turn his vessel’s head towards them, kept them all in check, except the ship of Eurykles, the Lacedæmonian, who proudly pressed on, brandishing a spear on the deck, as if to hurl it at Antonius. Standing on the prow of his vessel Antonius asked who it was that was pursuing Antonius? The reply was, “I am Eurykles, the son of Lachares, and by the help of Cæsar’s fortune I am avenging my father’s death.” Now Lachares had been beheaded by Antonius in consequence of being involved in a charge of robbery. However Eurykles did not fall upon the ship of Antonius, but he dashed against the other of the admiral-ships (for there were two) with the brazen beak, and made it spin round, and as the ship fell off from its course he took it, and also another ship which contained costly vessels for table use. When this assailant had retired, Antonius, again settling down in the same posture, remained without moving, and, after spending three days at the prow by himself, either because of his passion or that he was ashamed to see Cleopatra, he put in at Tænarus.449 Here the women who were in attendance on Cleopatra first of all brought them to speak to one another, and next they persuaded them to sup and sleep together. And already not a few of the transport ships and some of their friends after the defeat began to collect around them; and they brought intelligence of the destruction of the navy, but 329they supposed that the army still kept together. Antonius sent messengers to Canidius with orders for him to retreat quickly through Macedonia with his army into Asia; and as it was his intention to cross over from Tænarus to Libya, he selected one of the store-ships which conveyed much money and many royal utensils in silver and in gold of great value, and gave them to his friends, telling them to divide the things among them and to look after their safety. As they refused and wept, he comforted them with much affection and kindness, and by his entreaties induced them to depart; and he wrote to Theophilus, his steward in Corinth, to provide for the safety of the men and to conceal them until they should be able to make their peace with Cæsar. This Theophilus was the father of Hipparchus, who had the greatest influence with Antonius, and was the first of his freedmen who went over to Cæsar, and he afterwards lived in Corinth.

LXVIII. Such was the condition of affairs with Antonius. At Actium the naval force, after resisting Cæsar a long time and being very greatly damaged by the heavy sea that set against them ahead, hardly gave up the contest at the tenth hour. The dead were said not to be more than five thousand, but there were taken three hundred ships, as Cæsar has recorded. There were not many who knew that Antonius had fled, and those who heard of it could not at first believe that he had gone and left them, when he had nineteen legions of unvanquished soldiers and twelve thousand horsemen; as if he had not often experienced fortune both ways, and were not exercised in the reverses of innumerable contests and wars. The soldiers longed and expected to see him, hoping that he would soon show himself from some quarter or other; and they displayed so much fidelity and courage that, even when his flight was well known, they kept together seven days and paid no regard to Cæsar’s messages to them. But at last, when their general Canidius had stolen away by night and left the camp, being now deserted of all and betrayed by their commanders, they went over to the conqueror. Upon this Cæsar450 sailed to Athens, and having come to terms with the Greeks, he distributed the grain that remained over 330after the war among the cities, which were in a wretched condition and stripped of money, slaves and beasts of burden. Now my great-grandfather Nikarchus used to relate that all the citizens451 were compelled to carry down on their shoulders a certain quantity of wheat to the sea at Antikyra, and that their speed was quickened by the whip; they had carried, he said, one supply in this manner, and had just measured out another and were about to set out, when news came that Antonius was defeated, and this saved the city; for the agents and soldiers of Antonius immediately fled, and they divided the corn among themselves.

LXIX. When Antonius had reached the coast of Libya, and had sent Cleopatra forwards to Egypt from Parætonium,452 he had his fill of solitude, wandering and rambling about with two friends, one a Greek, Aristokrates, a rhetorician, and the other a Roman, Lucilius,453 about whom I have said elsewhere that at Philippi, in order that Brutus might escape, he had surrendered to the pursuers, pretending that he was Brutus, and his life being spared by Antonius on that account, he remained faithful to him and firm to the last critical times. When the general454 to whom he had intrusted the troops in Libya had caused their defection, Antonius made an effort to kill himself, but he was prevented by his friends and conveyed to Alexandria, where he found Cleopatra contemplating a hazardous and great undertaking. The isthmus which separates the Red Sea331 from the sea of Egypt455 and is considered to be the boundary between Asia and Libya, in the part where it is most contracted by the sea, and the width is least, is about three hundred stadia across; and here Cleopatra undertook to raise her ships out of the water and to drag them across the neck of land, and so bringing her ships into the Arabian gulf with much money and a large force, to settle beyond the limits of Egypt and to escape from slavery and war. But as the Arabs of Petra456 burnt the first ships which were drawn up, and Antonius thought that the army at Actium still kept together, Cleopatra desisted from her design and guarded the approaches to Egypt. Antonius now leaving the city and the company of his friends, built for himself a dwelling in the sea, near the Pharos,457 by throwing forward a mole into the water; and here he lived a fugitive from men, and he said that he was content with Timon’s life and admired it, considering himself in like plight with Timon; for he too had been wronged by his friends and had experienced their ingratitude, and that therefore he distrusted and disliked all men.

LXX. Timon458 was an Athenian, who lived about the time of the Peloponnesian war, as we may conclude from the plays of Aristophanes and Plato; for he is brought forward in them as peevish and misanthropical. Though he avoided and rejected all intercourse with men, yet he received in a friendly manner Alkibiades, who was a young 332audacious fellow, and showed him great affection. And when Apemantus wondered at this and asked the reason, he said that he liked the young man because he knew that he would be the cause of much ill to the Athenians. Apemantus was the only person whom he sometimes allowed to approach him, because he was like himself and imitated his mode of life. On one occasion, during the festival called Choes,459 when the two were feasting together, Apemantus said, “How delightful the entertainment is, Timon;” “Yes, if you were not here,” was the reply. It is said that when the Athenians were in public assembly, Timon ascended the bema and called for silence, which raised great expectation on account of the unusual nature of the circumstance: he then said, “I have a small plot of building-ground, men of Athens, and there is a fig-tree growing on it, on which many of the citizens have already hanged themselves. Now as I intend to build on the ground, I wished to give public notice that, if any of you choose, they may hang themselves before the fig-tree is cut down.” After his death he was buried at Halæ, near the sea; but the shore in front of the place slipped down, and the sea surrounding the tomb made it inaccessible and unapproachable. The inscription on the tomb was:

Here from the load of life released I lie:
Ask not my name: but take my curse, and die.

And they say that he wrote this inscription during his lifetime; but that which is commonly circulated as the inscription is by Callimachus:

Timon misanthropist I am. Away!
Curse, an’ thou will’t, but only do not stay.

LXXI. These are a few things out of many about Timon. Canidius himself brought intelligence to Antonius of the loss of his forces at Actium, and he heard that Herodes,460 333the Jew, who had certain legions and cohorts, had gone over to Cæsar, and that the rest of the princes in like manner were revolting, and that none of his troops out of Egypt still kept together. However, none of these things disturbed him; but, as if he gladly laid aside hope as he did care, he left that dwelling on the sea, which he called Timoneium, and being taken by Cleopatra into the palace, he turned the city to feasting and drinking and distribution of money, registering the son of Cleopatra and Cæsar among the young men, and putting on Antyllus, his son by Fulvia,461 the vest without the purple hem, which marked the attainment of full age, on which occasion banquets and revellings and feasts engaged Alexandria for many days. They themselves put an end to that famed company of the Inimitable Livers, and they formed another, not at all inferior to that in refinement and luxury and expense, which they called the company of those who would die together. For the friends of Antonius registered themselves as intending to die together, and they continued enjoying themselves in a succession of banquets. Cleopatra got together all kinds of deadly poisons, and she tried the painless character of each by giving them to those who were in prison under sentence of death. When she discovered that the quick poisons brought on a speedy death with pain, and the less painful were not quick, she made trial of animals,462 which in her presence were set upon one another. And she did this daily; and among nearly all she found that the bite of the asp alone brought on without spasms and groans a sleepy numbness and drowsiness, with a gentle perspiration on the face, and dulling of the perceptive faculties, which were softly deprived of their 334power, and made resistance to all attempts to awake and arouse them, as is the case with those who are in a deep sleep.

LXXII. At the same time they sent also ambassadors to Cæsar into Asia, Cleopatra requesting the dominion of Egypt for her children, and Antonius asking to be allowed to live as a private person at Athens, if he could not be permitted to stay in Egypt. Through the want of friends and their distrust owing to the desertions, Euphronius, the instructor of the children, was sent on the embassy. For Alexas,463 of Laodiceia, who at Rome had become known to Antonius through Timagenes, and possessed most influence of all the Greeks, who also had been the most active of the instruments of Cleopatra against Antonius, and had overthrown all the reflections which rose in his mind about Octavia, had been sent to King Herodes to keep him from changing; and having stayed there and betrayed Antonius, he had the impudence to go into the presence of Cæsar, relying on Herodes. But Herodes helped him not, but being forthwith confined and carried in chains to his own country, he was put to death there by order of Cæsar. Such was the penalty for his infidelity that Alexas paid to Antonius in his lifetime.

LXXIII. Cæsar would not listen to what was said on behalf of Antonius; but as to Cleopatra, he replied that she should not fail to obtain anything that was reasonable if she would kill Antonius or drive him away. He also sent with the ambassadors of Antonius and Cleopatra one Thyrsus,464 a freedman of his, a man not devoid of judgment, nor, as coming from a young general, one who would fail in persuasive address to a haughty woman who was wonderfully proud of her beauty. This man, having longer interviews 335 with Cleopatra than the rest, and being specially honoured, caused Antonius to have suspicions, and he seized and whipped him; and he then sent him back to Cæsar with a letter to the effect that Thyrsus, by giving himself airs and by his insolent behaviour, had irritated him, who was easily irritated by reason of his misfortunes. “But you,” he said, “if you do not like the thing, have my freedman Hipparchus. Hang him up and whip him, that we may be on equal terms.” Upon this Cleopatra, with the view of doing away with his cause of complaint and suspicions, paid more than usual court to Antonius: she kept her own birthday in a mean manner and a way suitable to her condition, but she celebrated the birthday of Antonius with an excess of splendour and cost, so that many of those who were invited to the feast came poor and went away rich. Agrippa465 in the meantime called Cæsar back, frequently writing to him from Rome, and urging that affairs there required his presence.

LXXIV. Accordingly for the time the war was suspended; but when the winter was over, Cæsar advanced through Syria and his generals through Libya. Pelusium was taken, and it was said that Seleukus gave it up, not without the consent of Cleopatra. But Cleopatra surrendered to Antonius the wife and children of Seleukus to be put to death; and as she had a tomb and a monument constructed of unusual beauty and height, which she had built close to the temple of Isis, she collected there the most precious of the royal treasures, gold, silver, emeralds, pearls, ebony, ivory, and cinnamon, and also a great quantity of fire-wood and tow; so that Cæsar, being afraid about the money, lest Cleopatra becoming desperate should destroy and burn the wealth, kept continually forwarding to her hopes of friendly treatment while he was advancing with his army against the city. When Cæsar had taken his position near the hippodrome, Antonius sallied forth 336and fought gallantly, and he put Cæsar’s cavalry to flight and pursued them to the camp. Elated with his victory, he entered the palace and embraced Cleopatra in his armour, and presented to her one of the soldiers who had fought most bravely. Cleopatra gave the soldier as a reward of his courage a golden breastplate and a helmet. The man took them, and in the night deserted to Cæsar.

LXXV. Again, Antonius sent to Cæsar and challenged him to single combat. Cæsar replied that Antonius had many ways of dying, on which Antonius, reflecting that there was no better mode of death for him than in battle, determined to try a land battle and a naval battle at the same time. And at supper, it is said, he bade the slaves to pour out and feast him cheerfully, for it was uncertain whether they would do that on the morrow or would be serving other masters, while he should lie a corpse and should be a nothing. Seeing that his friends shed tears at his words, he said that he would not lead them out to a battle from which he would seek for himself a glorious death rather than safety and victory. During this night, it is said, about the middle thereof, while the city was quiet and depressed through fear and expectation of the future, all at once certain harmonious sounds from all kinds of instruments were heard, and shouts of a crowd with Evoes466 and satyric leapings, as if some company of revellers not without noise were going out of the city; and the course of the procession seemed to be through the middle of the city to the gate leading outwards in the direction of the enemy, and at this point the tumult made its way out, being loudest there. And those who reflected on the sign were of opinion that the god to whom Antonius all along most likened himself and most claimed kinship with was deserting him.

LXXVI.467 At daybreak Antonius posted his troops on the hills in front of the city, and watched his ships, which were 337put in motion and advancing against those of the enemy; and as he expected to see something great done by them, he remained quiet. But when the men of Antonius came near, they saluted with their oars Cæsar’s men, and as they returned the salute, the men of Antonius changed sides, and the fleet becoming one by the junction of all the ships, sailed with the vessels’ heads turned against the city. As soon as Antonius saw this, he was deserted by the cavalry, who changed sides, and being defeated with his infantry he retired into the city, crying out that he was betrayed by Cleopatra to those with whom he was warring on her account. Cleopatra, fearing his anger and despair, fled to the tomb and let down the folding doors which were strengthened with bars and bolts; and she sent persons to Antonius to inform him that she was dead. Antonius, believing the intelligence, said to himself, “Why dost thou still delay, Antonius? fortune has taken away the sole remaining excuse for clinging to life.” He then entered his chamber, and loosing his body armour and taking it in pieces, he said: “Cleopatra, I am not grieved at being deprived of thee, for I shall soon come to the same place with thee; but I am grieved that I, such an Imperator, am shown to be inferior to a woman in courage.” Now Antonius had a faithful slave named Eros, whom he had long before exhorted, if the necessity should arise, to kill him; and he now claimed the performance of the promise. Eros drew his sword and held it out as if he were going to strike his master, but he turned away his face and killed himself. As Eros fell at his master’s feet Antonius said, “Well done, Eros, though you are not able to do this for me, you teach me what I ought to do;” and piercing himself through the belly he threw himself on the bed. But the wound was not immediately mortal; and accordingly, as the flow of blood ceased when he lay down, he came to himself and requested the bystanders to finish him. But they fled from the chamber while he was calling out and writhing in pain, till Diomedes the secretary came from Cleopatra with orders to convey him to her to the tomb.

LXXVII.468 When he learned that she was alive, he eagerly commanded his slaves to take him up, and he was 338carried in their arms to the doors of the chamber. Cleopatra did not open the doors, but she appeared at a window, from which she let down cords and ropes; and when the slaves below had fastened Antonius to them, she drew him up with the aid of the two women whom alone she had admitted into the tomb with her. Those who were present say that there never was a more piteous sight; for stained with blood and struggling with death he was hauled up, stretching out his hands to her, while he was suspended in the air. For the labour was not light for women, and Cleopatra with difficulty, holding with her hands and straining the muscles of her face, pulled up the rope, while those who were below encouraged her and shared in her agony. When she had thus got him in and laid him down, she rent her garments over him, and beating her breasts and scratching them with her hands, and wiping the blood off him with her face, she called him master and husband and Imperator; and she almost forgot her own misfortunes through pity for his. Antonius, stopping her lamentations, asked for wine to drink, whether it was that he was thirsty or that he expected to be released more speedily. When he had drunk it, he advised her, if it could be done with decency, to look after the preservation of her own interests, and to trust to Procleius469 most of the companions of Cæsar; and not to lament him for his last reverses, but to think him happy for the good things that he had obtained, having become the most illustrious of men and had the greatest power, and now not ignobly a Roman by a Roman vanquished.

LXXVIII. Just as Antonius died, Procleius came from Cæsar;470 for after Antonius had wounded himself and was carried to Cleopatra, Derketæus, one of his guards, taking his dagger and concealing it, secretly made his way from the palace, and running to Cæsar, was the first to report the death of Antonius, and he showed the blood-stained dagger. When Cæsar heard the news, he retired within 339his tent and wept for a man who had been related to him by marriage, and his colleague in command, and his companion in many struggles and affairs. He then took the letters that had passed between him and Antonius, and calling his friends, read them, in order to show in what a reasonable and fair tone he had written himself, and how arrogant and insolent Antonius had always been in his answers. Upon this he sent Procleius with orders, if possible, above all things to secure Cleopatra alive; for he was afraid about the money, and he thought it a great thing for the glory of his triumph to lead her in the procession. However Cleopatra would not put herself in the hands of Procleius; but they talked together while he was standing on the outside close to the building near a door on a level with the ground, which was firmly secured, but allowed a passage for the voice. In their conversation Cleopatra entreated that her children might have the kingdom, and Procleius bade her be of good cheer and trust to Cæsar in all things.

LXXIX. After Procleius had inspected the place and reported to Cæsar, Gallus471 was sent to have another interview with her; and having come to the door he purposely prolonged the conversation. In the meantime Procleius applied a ladder and got through the window by which the women took in Antonius; and he immediately went down with two slaves to the door at which Cleopatra stood with her attention directed to Gallus. One of the women who were shut up with Cleopatra called out, “Wretched Cleopatra, you are taken alive,” on which she turned round, and seeing Procleius, attempted to stab herself, for she happened to have by her side a dagger such as robbers wear: but Procleius, quickly running up to her and holding her with both his hands, said, “You wrong yourself, Cleopatra, and Cæsar too by attempting to deprive him of the opportunity of a noble display of magnanimity and to fix on the mildest of commanders the 340stigma of faithlessness and implacability.” At the same time he took away her dagger and shook her dress to see if she concealed any poison. There was also sent from Cæsar one of his freedmen, Epaphroditus, whose orders were to watch over her life with great care, but as to the rest to give way in all things that would make her most easy and be most agreeable to her.

LXXX. Cæsar entered the city talking with Areius the philosopher, and he had given Areius472 his right hand, that he might forthwith be conspicuous among the citizens and be admired on account of the special respect that he received from Cæsar. Entering the gymnasium and ascending a tribunal that was made for him, the people the while being terror-struck and falling down before him, he bade them get up, and he said that he acquitted the people of all blame, first on account of the founder Alexander, second because he admired the beauty and magnitude of the city, and third, to please his friend Areius. Such honour Areius obtained from Cæsar, and he got the pardon of many others; and among them was Philostratus,473 a man of all sophists the most competent to speak on the sudden, but one who claimed to be of the Academy without just grounds. Wherefore Cæsar, who abominated his habits, would not listen to his entreaties. But Philostratus, letting his white beard grow and putting on a dark vest, followed behind Areius, continually uttering this verse:

Wise save the wise, if wise indeed they be.

Cæsar hearing of this, pardoned Philostratus, wishing rather to release Areius from odium than Philostratus from fear.

LXXXI. Of the children of Antonius, Antyllus,474 the son of Fulvia, was given up by his pædagogus Theodorus and put to death; and when the soldiers had cut off his head, 341the pædagogus took the most precious stone which he wore about his neck and sewed it in his belt; and though he denied the fact, he was convicted of it and crucified. The children of Cleopatra were guarded together with those who had charge of them, and they had a liberal treatment; but as to Cæsarion, who was said to be Cleopatra’s son by Cæsar, her mother sent him to India with much treasure by way of Ethiopia; but another pædagogus like Theodorus, named Rhodon, persuaded him to return, saying that Cæsar invited him to take the kingdom. While Cæsar was deliberating about Cæsarion, it is said that Areius observed: “Tis no good thing, a multitude of Cæsars.”475

LXXXII. Now Cæsar put Cæsarion to death after the death of Cleopatra. Though many asked for the body of Antonius to bury it, both kings and commanders, Cæsar did not take it from Cleopatra, but it was interred by her own hands sumptuously and royally, and she received for that purpose all that she wished. In consequence of so much grief and pain, for her breasts were inflamed by the blows that she had inflicted and were sore, and a fever coming on, she gladly availed herself of this pretext for abstaining from food and with the design of releasing herself from life without hindrance. There was a physician with whom she was familiar, Olympus, to whom she told the truth, and she had him for her adviser and assistant in accomplishing her death, as Olympus said in a history of these transactions which he published. Cæsar suspecting her design, plied her with threats and alarms about her children, by which Cleopatra was thrown down as by engines of war, and she gave up her body to be treated and nourished as it was wished.

LXXXIII. Cæsar himself came a few days after to see her and pacify her.476 Cleopatra happened to be lying on a 342mattress meanly dressed, and as he entered she sprang up in a single vest and fell at his feet with her head and face in the greatest disorder, her voice trembling and her eyes weakened by weeping. There were also visible many marks of the blows inflicted on her breast; and in fine her body seemed in no respect to be in better plight than her mind. Yet that charm and that saucy confidence in her beauty were not completely extinguished, but, though she was in such a condition, shone forth from within and showed themselves in the expression of her countenance. When Cæsar had bid her lie down and had seated himself near her, she began to touch upon a kind of justification, and endeavoured to turn all that had happened upon necessity and fear of Antonius; but as Cæsar on each point met her with an answer, being confuted, she all at once changed her manner to move him by pity and by prayers, as a person would do who clung most closely to life. Finally she handed to him a list of all the treasures that she had; and when Seleukus, one of her stewards, declared that she was hiding and secreting some things, she sprang up and laying hold of his hair, belaboured him with many blows on the face. As Cæsar smiled and stopped her, she said, “But is it not scandalous, Cæsar, that you have condescended to come to me and speak to me in my wretched condition, and my slaves make it a matter of charge against me if I have reserved some female ornaments, not for myself forsooth, wretch that I am, but that I may give a few things to Octavia and your wife Livia, and so through their means make you more favourable to me and more mild.” Cæsar was pleased with these words, being fully assured that she wished to live. Accordingly, after saying that he left these matters to her care and that in everything else he would behave to her better than she expected, he went away, thinking that he had deceived her; but he had deceived himself.

LXXXIV. Now there was Cornelius Dolabella,477 a343 youth of rank, and one of the companions478 of Cæsar. He was not without a certain liking towards Cleopatra; and now, in order to gratify her request, he secretly sent and informed her that Cæsar himself was going to march with his troops through Syria, and that he had determined to send off her with her children on the third day. On hearing this, Cleopatra first entreated Cæsar to permit her to pour libations on the tomb of Antonius; and when Cæsar permitted it, she went to the tomb, and embracing the coffin in company with the women who were usually about her, said, “Dear Antonius, I buried thee recently with hands still free, but now I pour out libations as a captive and so watched that I cannot either with blows or sorrow disfigure this body of mine now made a slave and preserved to form a part in the triumph over thee. But expect not other honours or libations, for these are the last which Cleopatra brings. Living, nothing kept us asunder, but there is a risk of our changing places in death; thou a Roman, lying buried here, and I, wretched woman, in Italy, getting only as much of thy country as will make me a grave. But if indeed there is any help and power in the gods there (for the gods of this country have deserted us), do not deliver thy wife up alive, and let not thyself be triumphed over in me, but hide me here with thee and bury thee with me; for though I have ten thousand ills, not one of them is so great and grievous as this short time which I have lived apart from thee!”

LXXXV. After making this lamentation and crowning and embracing the coffin, she ordered a bath to be prepared for her. After bathing, she lay down and enjoyed a splendid banquet. And there came one from the country bringing a basket; and on the guards asking what he brought, the man opened it, and taking off the leaves showed the vessel full of figs. The soldiers admiring their beauty and size, the man smiled and told them to take some, whereon, without having any suspicion, they bade him carry them in. After feasting, Cleopatra took 344a tablet, which was already written, and sent it sealed to Cæsar, and, causing all the rest of her attendants to withdraw except those two women, she closed the door. As soon as Cæsar479 opened the tablet and found in it the prayers and lamentations of Cleopatra, who begged him to bury her with Antonius, he saw what had taken place. At first he was for setting out himself to give help, but the next thing that he did was to send persons with all speed to inquire. But the tragedy had been speedy; for, though they ran thither and found the guards quite ignorant of everything, as soon as they opened the door they saw Cleopatra lying dead on a golden couch in royal attire. Of her two women, Eiras was dying at her feet, and Charmion, already staggering and drooping her head, was arranging the diadem on the forehead of Cleopatra. One of them saying in passion, “A good deed this, Charmion;” “Yes, most goodly,” she replied, “and befitting the descendant of so many kings.” She spake not another word, but fell there by the side of the couch.

LXXXVI. Now it is said that the asp was brought with 345those figs and leaves, and was covered with them; for that Cleopatra had so ordered, that the reptile might fasten on her body without her being aware of it. But when she had taken up some of the figs and saw it, she said, “Here then it is,” and baring her arm, she offered it to the serpent to bite. Others say that the asp was kept in a water-pitcher, and that Cleopatra drew it out with a golden distaff and irritated it till the reptile sprang upon her arm and clung to it. But the real truth nobody knows; for it was also said that she carried poison about her in a hollow comb, which she concealed in her hair; however, no spots broke out on her body, nor any other sign of poison. Nor yet was the reptile seen within the palace; but some said that they observed certain marks of its trail near the sea, in that part towards which the chamber looked and the windows were. Some also say that the arm of Cleopatra was observed to have two small indistinct punctures; and it seems that Cæsar believed this, for in the triumph a figure of Cleopatra was carried with the asp clinging to her. Such is the way in which these events are told. Though Cæsar was vexed at the death of Cleopatra, he admired her nobleness of mind, and he ordered the body to be interred with that of Antonius in splendid and royal style. The women of Cleopatra also received honourable interment by his orders. Cleopatra at the time of her death was forty years of age save one, and she had reigned as queen two-and-twenty years, and governed together with Antonius more than fourteen. Antonius, according to some, was six years, according to others, three years above fifty. Now the statues of Antonius were thrown down, but those of Cleopatra remained standing, for Archibius, one of her friends, gave Cæsar two thousand talents that they might not share the same fate as those of Antonius.

LXXXVII. Antonius by his three wives left seven children, of whom Antyllus, the eldest, was the only one[Pg 346]
[Pg 347]
who was put to death by Cæsar; the rest Octavia480 took and brought them up with her own children. Cleopatra, the daughter of Cleopatra, she married to Juba, the most accomplished of kings; and Antonius, the son of Fulvia, she raised so high that, while Agrippa held the first place in Cæsar’s estimation, and the sons of Livia the second, Antonius had and was considered to have the third. Octavia had by Marcellus two daughters, and one son, Marcellus, whom Cæsar made both his son and son-in-law, and he gave one of the daughters to Agrippa. But as Marcellus died very soon after his marriage, and it was not easy for Cæsar to choose from the rest of his friends a son-in-law whom he could trust, Octavia proposed to him that Agrippa should take Cæsar’s daughter and put away her daughter. Cæsar was first persuaded and then Agrippa, whereupon Octavia took her own daughter back and married her to Antonius; and Agrippa married Cæsar’s daughter. There were two daughters of Antonius and Octavia, of whom Domitius Ænobarbus took one to wife; and the other, who was famed for her virtues and her beauty, Antonia, was married to Drusus, the son of Livia, and step-son of Cæsar. From the marriage of Drusus and Antonia came Germanicus and Claudius, of whom Claudius afterwards ruled; and of the children of Germanicus, Caius, who ruled with distinction for no long time, was destroyed together with his child and wife; and Agrippina, who had by Ænobarbus a son, Lucius Domitius, married Claudius Cæsar; and Claudius adopting her son, named him Nero Germanicus. Nero, who ruled in my time, slew his mother, and through his violence and madness came very near subverting the supremacy of Rome, being the fifth from Antonius in the order of succession.



I. Since, then, great changes of fortune took place in each of their lives, let us first consider their power and renown. The position of Demetrius was inherited and already made for him, as Antigonus was the most powerful of the successors of Alexander, and, before Demetrius came of age, had overrun and conquered the greater part of Asia: while Antonius, whose father, though an excellent man, was no soldier, and left him no renown, yet dared to seize upon the empire of Cæsar, with which he was in no way connected, and constituted himself the heir of what Cæsar had won by the sword. Starting as a mere private person, he raised himself to such a height of power as to be able to divide the world into two, and to select and obtain the fairer half for his own, while, without his being even present, his lieutenants and agents inflicted several defeats upon the Parthians, and conquered all the nations of Asia as far as the Caspian Sea. Even that for which he is especially reproached proves the greatness of his power. Demetrius’s father was well pleased at getting Phila, the daughter of Antipater, as a wife for his son, in spite of the disparity of their ages, because he regarded her as his son’s superior; while it was thought to be a disgrace for Antonius to ally himself with Cleopatra, a woman who excelled in power and renown all the Kings of her age, except Arsakes himself. Antonius had made himself so great that men thought him entitled to more even than he himself desired.

II. Demetrius, however, cannot be blamed for attempting to make himself king over a people accustomed to servitude, while it appeared harsh and tyrannical for Antonius to try to enslave the people of Rome just 349after they had been set free from the rule of Cæsar: and the greatest of his exploits, the war against Brutus and Cassius, was waged with the intention of depriving his countrymen of their liberty. Demetrius, before he became involved in difficulties, used always to act as a liberator towards Greece, and to drive out the foreign garrisons from her cities, and did not act like Antonius, who boasted that he had slain the would-be liberators of Rome in Macedonia. And though Antonius is especially commended for his magnificent generosity, yet Demetrius so far surpassed him as to bestow more upon his enemies than Antonius would upon his friends. It is true that Antonius gained great credit for having caused Brutus to be honourably buried; but Demetrius buried all his enemy’s slain, gave money and presents to his prisoners, and sent them back to Ptolemy.

III. Both were arrogant when in prosperity, and set no bounds to their luxury and pleasures. Yet it cannot be said that Demetrius was ever so immersed in enjoyments as to let slip the time for action, but he only dedicated the superfluity of his leisure to enjoyment, and used his Lamia, like the mythical nightmare, only when he was half asleep or at play. When he was preparing for war, no ivy wreathed his spear, no perfume scented his helmet, nor did he go forth from his bed-chamber to battle covered with finery, but, as Euripides says, he laid the Bacchic wand aside, and served the unhallowed god of war, and, indeed, never suffered any reverse through his own carelessness or love of pleasure. But just as in pictures we often see Omphale stealing the club and stripping off the lion’s skin from Herakles, so Cleopatra frequently would disarm Antonius and turn his mind to pleasure, persuading him to give up mighty enterprises and even necessary campaigns to wander and sport with her on the shores of Canopus and beside the tomb of Osiris. At last, like Paris, he fled from battle to nestle on her breast, though Paris only took refuge in his chamber after he had been defeated in battle, while Antonius, by his pursuit of Cleopatra, gave up his chance of victory.

IV. Moreover, in marrying several wives, Demetrius did not break through any custom, for he only did 350what had been usual for the kings of Macedonia since the days of Philip and Alexander, and what was done by Lysimachus and Ptolemy in his own time; and he showed due respect to all his wives; while Antonius, in the first place, married two wives at the same time, which no Roman had ever dared to do before, and then drove away his own countrywoman and his legitimate wife to please a foreigner, and one to whom he was not legally married. Yet with all his excesses Antonius was never led by his vices into such sacrilegious impiety as is recorded of Demetrius. We are told that no dogs are allowed to enter the Acropolis,481 because these animals copulate more openly than any others; but Demetrius consorted with harlots in the very temple of the virgin goddess, and debauched many of the Athenian citizens, while, although one would have imagined that a man of such a temperament would be especially averse to cruelty, Demetrius must be charged with this in allowing, or rather compelling, the most beautiful and modest of the Athenians to suffer death in order to avoid outrage. To sum up, the vices of Antonius were ruinous to himself, while those of Demetrius were ruinous to others.

V. Yet Demetrius always behaved well to his parents, whereas Antonius allowed his mother’s brother to perish in order that he might compass the death of Cicero, which was of itself so odious a crime that we should scarcely think Antonius justified if by Cicero’s death he had saved his uncle’s life. With regard to the perjuries and breaking of their words which they both committed, the one in seizing Artabazus, and the other in murdering Alexander, Antonius has a satisfactory defence; for he himself was first deserted and betrayed by Artabazus in Media: while many writers say that Demetrius himself invented false pretexts for his treatment of Alexander, and accused a man whom he had wronged with a design on his life, instead of defending himself against one who was already his enemy. Again, the exploits of Demetrius were all accomplished by himself in person; while, on the other hand, Antonius won some of his most important battles by his lieutenants, without himself being present.


VI. The ruin of both was due to themselves, though in a different manner, for the Macedonians deserted from Demetrius, while Antonious deserted his own troops when they were risking their lives in his defence; so that we must blame the former for having rendered his army so hostile to him, and the latter for betraying so much loyalty and devotion. In their manner of death neither can be praised, but that of Demetrius seems the less creditable of the two, for he endured to be taken prisoner, and when in confinement willingly spent three years in drinking and gluttony, like a wild beast that has been tamed; while Antonius, though he killed himself like a coward, and in a piteous and dishonourable fashion, nevertheless died before he fell into the hands of his enemy.



I. We are told by the poet Simonides, Sossius Senecio, that the Trojans bore no malice against the Corinthians for joining the rest of the Greeks in the siege of Troy, because Glaukus, who was himself of Corinthian extraction, fought heartily on their side. In the same manner we may expect that neither Greeks nor Romans will be able to blame the doctrines of the academy, as each nation derives equal credit from their practice in this book of mine, which contains the lives of Brutus and Dion, of whom the latter was Plato’s intimate friend, while the former was educated by his writings: so that they were both, as it were, sent forth from the same school to contend for the greatest prizes. It is not surprising, therefore, that there should be a great similarity between their respective achievements, or that they should have proved the truth of that maxim of their teacher, that nothing great or noble can be effected in politics except when a wise and just man is possessed of absolute power combined with good fortune. Just as Hippomachus the gymnastic trainer used to declare that he could always tell by their carriage those who had been his pupils, even though he only saw them from a distance when they were carrying meat home for their dinner, so we may imagine that philosophy accompanies those who have been brought up in its precepts in every action of their lives, adding a happy grace and fitness to all that they do.

II. Their lives resemble one another even more in their misfortunes than in the objects at which they aimed. Both of them perished by an untimely fate, unable, with all their mighty efforts, to accomplish the object which they had in view. The most remarkable point of all is 353that they both received a supernatural warning of their death by the appearance to them of an evil spirit in a dream. Yet it is a common argument with those who deny the truth of such matters that no man of sense ever could see a ghost or spirit but that it is only children and women and men who are wandering in their mind through sickness, who through disorder of the brain or distemperature of the body are subject to these vain and ominous fancies, which really arise from the evil spirit of superstition within themselves. If, however, Dion and Brutus, both of whom were serious and philosophic men, not at all liable to be mistaken or easy to be deceived about such matters, did really experience a supernatural visitation so distinctly that they told other persons about it, I do not know whether we may not be obliged to adopt that strangest of all the theories of the ancients that evil and malignant spirits feel a spite against good men, and try to oppose their actions, throwing confusion and terror in their way in order to shake them in their allegiance to virtue; because they fear lest if they passed their lives entirely pure and without spot of sin, they might after death obtain a higher place than themselves. This, however, I must reserve for discussion in another place; and now, in this my twelfth book of parallel lives, I will first proceed to deal with the elder man of the two.

III. Dionysius the elder, as soon as he had raised himself to the throne, married the daughter of Hermokrates of Syracuse. However, as his power was not yet firmly established, the people of Syracuse rose in revolt, and committed such shocking outrages upon the person of Dionysius’s wife, that she voluntarily put herself to death. Dionysius, after recovering and confirming his power, now married two wives at the same time, one of whom was a Lokrian, named Doris, and the other a native of Syracuse, named Aristomache, the daughter of Hipparinus, one of the first men in Syracuse, who had acted as colleague with Dionysius himself when he was appointed to the command of the army with unlimited powers. It is said that he married them both upon the same day, and that no man knew which he visited first; and of the remainder of his life he spent an equal share of his time with each,354 as he always supped in company with both of them, and spent the night with each in turn. The populace of Syracuse would fain have hoped that their countrywoman would be preferred to the stranger; but it was the stranger who first bore a son and heir to Dionysius, to counterbalance her foreign parentage; while Aristomache remained childless for a long time, although Dionysius was anxious to have a family by her, and even put to death the mother of his Lokrian wife on a charge of having bewitched her.

IV. Dion was the brother of Aristomache, and at first was treated with respect for the sake of his sister, but afterwards, when he had given proofs of his ability, he gained the favour of the despot by his own good qualities. Besides many other privileges, Dionysius ordered his treasurers to give Dion anything that he might ask for, letting him know on the same day what they had given him. He was naturally of a high minded and manly disposition, and he was greatly encouraged in the path of virtue by the providential accident of Plato’s visit to Sicily. This never could have been calculated upon according to human ideas of probability; but it seems as though some divinity, who had long been meditating how to put liberty within the reach of the Syracusans and to free them from despotism, must have brought Plato from Italy to Syracuse, and caused Dion to become his disciple. Dion at this time was very young, but was by far the most apt of Plato’s scholars, and the readiest to follow out his master’s instructions in virtue. This we learn from Plato’s own account of him, and from the circumstances of the case. Brought up as Dion had been in the humble position of a subject under a despotic ruler, his life had been full of sudden alarms and violent alternations of fortune; yet, though he was at this time accustomed to live in a state of parvenu splendour, and to regard pleasure and power as the only objects of desire, he, as soon as he had become acquainted with philosophic reasoning and exhortation to virtue, became passionately interested in it. With the guileless innocence of youth he imagined that the discourses which he had heard would produce an equally deep impression upon the mind 355of Dionysius, and took considerable pains to bring Dionysius to meet Plato and listen to his arguments.

V. When the meeting took place, Plato chose for his subject human virtue, and discussed more particularly the virtue of manly courage, proving that despots are the most cowardly of men. From this he went on to speak of justice, and as he pointed out that the life of the just is happy, and that of the unjust miserable, Dionysius, who considered the lecture as a reproach to himself, was much exasperated, especially when he observed how all the audience admired Plato and were enchanted by his rhetoric. At last in a rage he asked him why he had come to Sicily: and when Plato answered that he had come in order to find a good man, Dionysius caught up his words, and said, “You seem hitherto not to have found one.”

Dion and his friends imagined that this outburst marked the end of Dionysius’s indignation; and as Plato was now anxious to leave Sicily they obtained a passage for him on board of a trireme which was about to convey home Pollis, the Lacedæmonian envoy. Dionysius however secretly besought Pollis to put Plato to death during the voyage, or at any rate to sell him for a slave, because, he said, Plato, according to his own showing, would be none the worse off for being a slave, but would be just as happy, provided that he was just. In consequence of this we are told that Pollis took Plato to Ægina and there sold him, because the people of Ægina were at that time at war with the Athenians, and had passed a decree that any Athenian found in Ægina should be sold for a slave.482 Yet Dion was no less honoured and trusted by Dionysius in consequence of this, but was entrusted with the management of the most important negotiations, and was himself sent as ambassador to Carthage, in which capacity he gained great credit. Indeed he was almost the only person whom Dionysius allowed freely to speak his mind, as is proved by the reproof which he gave Dionysius about Gelon. It appeals that Dionysius was sneering at Gelon and his kingdom, and saying that he was the laughing-stock of 356Sicily. All the other courtiers pretended to approve of this jest, but Dion harshly answered, “Yet you have been allowed to become our despot because of the good example set by Gelon; but your example will not encourage any state to imitate us.” In truth Gelon’s conduct as an absolute monarch seems to have been just as admirable as that of Dionysius was detestable.

VI. Dionysius had three children by his Lokrian wife, and four by Aristomache. Of his two daughters, Sophrosyne married her half-brother, and Arete married Thearides, the brother of Dionysius, but on the death of Thearides Dion took Arete, who was his own niece, for his wife. In Dionysius’s last illness, when his life was despaired of, Dion wished to ask him what was to become of the children of Aristomache, but the physicians, who wished to pay their court to the heir to the throne, would not allow Dion an opportunity of doing so. Timæus even states that when Dionysius asked for a sleeping draught they gave him one which rendered him completely insensible, so that he passed from sleep into death. However, as soon as the young Dionysius assembled his friends in council, Dion made such an admirable speech upon the political situation that all the others appeared by his side to be mere children in intellect, and their words seemed to be those of slaves and grovelling flatterers of the despot when compared with his bold and fearless utterances. He impressed upon their minds the greatness of the danger by which they were menaced by Carthage, and promised that if Dionysius wished for peace he himself would at once set sail for Africa and obtain the best terms he could; or that, if he preferred to fight, he would place at his disposal a force of fifty triremes, which he would maintain at his own expense.

VII. Dionysius greatly admired his magnanimity and approved of his zeal; but the others, who thought that they were eclipsed by Dion, and were jealous of his power, at once set to work to effect his ruin, and lost no opportunity of exasperating the young despot against him by pointing out that he was plotting to obtain the supreme throne by means of the fleet, and that his object in making the offer of the ships was to place all real power in the hands 357of the children of Aristomache. Their hate and jealousy of Dion was chiefly owing to the proud reserve of his life, so different to their own: for they at once began to court the friendship of their young and ill-trained monarch by offering him all kinds of flatteries and pleasures, endeavouring to amuse his leisure by vagrant amours, drinking parties, and the like dissolute pastimes, which blunted the excessive sharpness of his tyranny, and made his subjects regard it as milder and less ferocious than before, although the alteration was due only to the laziness and not to the real goodness of their ruler. By slow degrees the extravagance and licentious life of the young monarch relaxed and broke those “chains of adamant” by which the elder Dionysius boasted that he had secured his power. We are told that he once continued drinking for ninety days in succession, and that during the whole of this time his court was a place which no respectable person could enter, and where no business could be transacted, as it was a constant scene of singing, jesting, dancing, drunkenness and debauchery.

VIII. As may easily be imagined, Dion soon lost the favour of the monarch, as he never relaxed the austerity of his life. For this reason the calumnies of infamous men were more easily believed by Dionysius, when they attacked the virtues of Dion, calling his pride arrogance, and his boldness of speech churlishness. When he gave good advice he was thought to reproach them, and because he refused to join in their excesses, he seemed to despise them. Indeed, his disposition was naturally inclined to haughtiness, and his manners harsh and forbidding. It was not only to a young man whose ears were accustomed to flatteries that he appeared so ungracious and harsh-tempered, but even those who were sincerely attached to him, and who admired the noble simplicity of his character, used to blame his discourtesy and rudeness towards those with whom he was brought in contact upon political business. Indeed, not long after this, Plato, as if prophetically, wrote to him, warning him against a stubborn and arrogant temper, the consort of a lonely life. Yet, even at that time, though Dion was regarded as the most able man in the state, and was thought to be the only 358person who could save the kingdom from the dangers by which it was menaced, he knew well that his honourable and powerful position was not due to any love which the monarch bore him, but merely to the fact that he could not do without him.

IX. As Dion imagined that this must be caused by Dionysius’s want of education, he endeavoured to interest him in literature, and to form his character by the study of philosophy and science. Indeed Dionysius was far from being a stupid ruler, but his father, fearing that if he were educated, and frequented the society of intellectual men, he would certainly plot against him and seize his throne, used to keep him shut up at home, where, through want of companionship and ignorance, he was forced, we are told, to amuse himself by making little waggons and lamps, and wooden chairs and tables; for the elder Dionysius was so distrustful and suspicious of all men, and was driven by his fears to take such precautions against assassination, that he would not even allow his hair to be cut with a barber’s tools, but a workman used to come and singe his hair with a live coal. Neither his brother nor his son was allowed to enter his house in their ordinary dress, but were obliged to take off their clothes and put on others, so that they might be seen naked by the guard. Once when his brother Leptines, describing the situation of some place, took a spear from one of the life-guards and with it drew a map upon the floor, Dionysius was furiously angry with him, and put to death the man who gave him the spear. He used to say that he suspected all his friends, because he knew that they were sensible men, who would prefer to be despots themselves rather than live under the rule of a despot. He put to death one Marsyas, whom he had himself promoted to a responsible post, because he dreamed that he was killing him; for Dionysius argued that his dream must have been suggested by some thoughts or talk in his waking hours. To such a condition of terror and misery was he reduced by his cowardice, although he was angry with Plato for not declaring him to be the bravest of men.

X. Dion, perceiving, as has been said before, that the character of the young Dionysius had been ruined by 359his want of education, begged him to educate himself, to offer all possible inducements to the first of philosophers to visit Sicily, and when he came, to place himself in his hands, in order that his character might be exalted by the contemplation of virtue, and formed upon the noblest of models, which alone can produce order out of chaos; by which means he would not only gain great happiness for himself, but would bestow great happiness upon the citizens by his mild and just paternal rule, thus becoming a true king instead of a despot. He pointed out that the “adamantine chains” by which Dionysius’s father boasted that his dominion was secured, were not terror and force, the numbers of his ships of war, or the thousands of his barbarian mercenaries, but rather the goodwill, loyalty, and gratitude engendered by virtue and justice, which, though softer than those rough defences, would nevertheless establish his rule far more securely than they. Besides these considerations he urged that it was a sorry thing, and showed a want of proper ambition for a ruler to be splendidly dressed and luxuriously lodged, but yet to be no more intellectual in his conversation and arguments than any ordinary man, and to neglect to adorn the palace of his soul as became a king.

XI. As Dion frequently urged these considerations, and quoted several of Plato’s discourses, Dionysius became passionately desirous of seeing and conversing with Plato. Many letters were at once sent to Athens by Dionysius, while Plato also received many injunctions from Dion and from several of the Pythagorean philosophers in Italy, bidding him go to Syracuse, undertake the guidance of the mind of this young and powerful ruler, and fill it with serious thoughts. Plato obeyed their invitation, chiefly, he tells us, because he feared to appear a mere man of words, unwilling to take in hand any real work, and also because he hoped that if he could purify the mind of the chief, he might through him influence for good the whole of the corrupt people of Sicily. The opponents of Dion, who feared the results of any change in the character of Dionysius, prevailed upon him to recall from exile Philistus, a man of intellectual culture and an experienced courtier, in order 360to make use of him as a counterpoise to Plato and his philosophy. Indeed, Philistus had zealously assisted in the establishment of the despotism, and for a long time had acted as chief of the garrison of the citadel. There was also a report that he had been the favoured lover of the mother of the elder Dionysius, and that, too, not altogether without the knowledge of the despot; for when Leptines, without telling Dionysius of it, gave Philistus for his wife one of the two daughters which had been born to him by a woman whom he had seduced while she was married to another man, and who afterwards lived with him, Dionysius was very angry, caused the wife of Leptines to be imprisoned in chains, and forced Philistus to leave Sicily and take refuge with some friends of his at Adria, where he is thought to have found leisure to write the greater part of his history; for he never returned to Syracuse during the life of the elder Dionysius, but it was after that prince’s death, as has been told, that the opposition to Dion brought him back as being a person more likely to agree with their views and more likely to support the monarchy.

XII. Philistus on his return at once became closely connected with the monarchy; while Dion was assailed by misrepresentations and slanders reported by others to the despot, charging him with having discussed the extinction of despotism with Theodotes and Herakleides. Dion appears to have hoped by the influence of Plato to remove from Dionysius all the arbitrary harshness of a despot, and to make him into an orderly constitutional ruler. If he resisted, and refused to be thus softened and refined, Dion had determined to set him aside, and to restore to the Syracusans their free constitution; not that he was an admirer of democracy, but because he thought that at any rate it was better than a despotism for states which were not ruled by a wise and stable oligarchy.

XIII. While affairs were in this posture, Plato arrived at Sicily and received a most kindly and magnificent welcome. One of the royal carriages, splendidly equipped, stood ready to receive him as he landed, and Dionysius offered sacrifice, as though some great good fortune 361had befallen his rule. The sobriety of the royal banquets, the refined tone of the court and the gentle manners of Dionysius himself in transacting business, all inspired the Syracusans with great hope of a change for the better. It became the fashion to take interest in philosophical matters, and it is said that so many began to study geometry that the palace was filled with the dust in which they drew their figures. In a few days’ time a hereditary sacrifice was celebrated in the palace; and when the herald, according to custom, prayed that the despotism might remain unshaken for many years, it is said that Dionysius, who stood near him, exclaimed: “Will you not cease from imprecating curses upon us?” This greatly grieved the party of Philistus, who feared that Plato’s power over Dionysius would become unassailable, if he were allowed time to become intimate with him, if after so short an acquaintance he had already wrought so great a change in the young man’s ideas.

XIV. They now no longer singly and in secret, but in a body openly assailed Dion, declaring that they could easily see through his motives in bewitching Dionysius with the eloquence of Plato, in order that Dionysius might be induced to voluntarily abdicate his throne, and hand it over to the children of Aristomache, whose uncle Dion was. Some of them even pretended to be angry that, though in former times a great Athenian naval and military force sailed thither and perished before it could effect the conquest of Syracuse, yet now the Athenians should be able, by means of one single sophist, to destroy the throne of Dionysius, and persuade him to desert his ten thousand life-guards, leave his four hundred ships of war, his ten thousand cavalry and many thousands more of infantry soldiers, in order to seek in the Academy for the ineffable good, and find real pleasure in geometry, leaving the pleasures of power, wealth and luxury to be enjoyed by Dion and Dion’s nephews. This led at first to Dion’s being regarded with suspicion, and then, when Dionysius began to show his dislike openly, he received a letter which Dion had secretly despatched to the Carthaginian commanders, warning them, when they came to treat for peace with Dionysius, not to conduct 362 the interview without his being present, as he would see that the whole matter was permanently settled. We are told by Timaeus that Dionysius, after reading this letter to Philistus and having taken counsel with him, deceived Dion by making false offers of reconciliation with him. After much friendly talk, he declared that their differences were at an end, and then, leading him alone towards the sea-shore under the walls of the citadel, showed him the letter, and upbraided him with plotting with the Carthaginians against himself. He would not listen to Dion when he tried to excuse himself, but at once placed him on board of a small vessel and ordered the sailors to land him on the coast of Italy.

XV. Upon this, as Dionysius appeared to have acted very harshly, the whole palace was plunged in grief by the women, while the city of Syracuse became much excited, expecting that the exile of Dion and the mistrust with which others regarded the despot would soon lead to some revolution. Dionysius, perceiving and fearing this, encouraged the women and friends of Dion, speaking of Dion as though he were not banished, but had left the country of his own free will, for fear that if he remained at home his quick temper might betray him into some violent collision with himself. He placed two ships at the disposal of Dion’s relatives, and bade them embark with as much of his property and servants as they pleased and go to rejoin him in Peloponnesus. Dion’s property was very extensive, and his whole household was on a magnificent, almost a royal, scale. Everything was now carried away by his friends, and much more was sent to him by his female relatives and his friends, so that his wealth and magnificence became famous throughout Greece, and the power of the despot became enhanced by the sight of the riches of the exile.

XVI. Dionysius at once removed Plato into the citadel, where, under pretence of showing him kindly respect, he was kept in an honourable captivity, in order that he might not sail away with Dion, a witness of his unjust treatment. By degrees, like a wild animal who gradually becomes used to the touch of human beings, so Dionysius accustomed himself to the society and discourses of Plato,363 and, after the manner of despots, conceived a violent passion for him. He was especially anxious that Plato should return his affection and should approve of his acts, and was even willing to entrust the government and the crown itself to him if he would only not prefer Dion’s friendship to his own. This passion of his caused great annoyance to Plato, for like all true lovers he was furiously jealous and had frequent quarrels and reconciliations with him, being very eager to hear his discourses, and engage in the study of philosophy, and yet being influenced by those who advised him to keep away from Plato, as he would be corrupted by his teaching. Meanwhile, as some war broke out, he sent Plato away, promising that in a year’s time he would recall Dion. This promise he broke at once, but he remitted to Dion the revenues of his estate, and besought Plato to pardon his breach of faith about the time, because of the war; for, as soon as peace should be made, he promised that he would at once send for Dion. He also asked Plato to beg Dion to remain quiet, and not to engage in any revolutionary schemes, and not to traduce his character to the Greeks.

XVII. Plato endeavoured to effect this, and turned Dion’s attention to philosophy, and kept him in the Academy. Dion lived at this time in the city of Athens, in the house of Kallippus, one of his friends, though he also bought an estate in the country for recreation, which, when he subsequently set sail for Sicily, he presented to Speusippus, who, of all the Athenians, was his most intimate friend. This intimacy was brought about by Plato, who hoped that the harshness of Dion’s character might be somewhat softened by the society of a well-bred and cheerful man. Such a person as this was Speusippus, whom we find spoken of in Timon’s Silli as being “good at a jest.” When Plato himself exhibited a chorus of boys, Dion both trained the chorus and defrayed all the expenses, and Plato permitted him to gain this distinction although it was likely to obtain popularity for Dion at his own expense. Dion also visited other cities, where he associated with the best and most statesmanlike of the citizens, and attended their solemn festivals, without ever betraying anything repulsive, affected, or imperious in his manner,364 but acting with manliness and discretion, and discoursing with elegance on philosophy as well as ordinary topics. By this conduct he everywhere gained good opinions, and public honours were decreed to him by various cities, The Lacedæmonians even adopted him as a Spartan, disregarding the anger of Dionysius, though he at the time was zealously assisting them in a war against the Thebans. We are told that once Dion wished to see Ptoiodorus, of Megara, and went to his house. Ptoiodorus, it seems, was a rich and powerful man; and when Dion observed the crowds at his door and the busy throng and saw how hard it was to gain an audience of him, he turned to his friends, who were vexed at this, and said: “Why should we find fault with this man? for we ourselves used to do just the same thing at Syracuse?”

XVIII. As time went on, Dionysius, feeling jealous of Dion, and fearing the popularity which he was obtaining among the Greeks, left off forwarding his revenues to him and confiscated his property. Being desirous of effacing the bad impression which he had made upon all philosophers by his treatment of Plato, he collected round him many men who had a reputation for learning. As he wished to surpass them all in argument, he was forced to make use, often improperly, of what he had very imperfectly learned from Plato. He now again began to wish for Plato, and blamed himself for not having made use of him when he was present, and for not having listened to all his noble language. Frantic in his desires, and impatient to obtain whatever he wished, as despots are, he at once set his heart upon Plato and tried every means to attract him. He induced Archytas and the other successors of the original Pythagorean philosophers to invite Plato; for it was by means of Plato that Dionysius had at first become their friend. They sent Archedemus to Plato, and Dionysius also despatched a trireme and several of his friends to entreat Plato to come: while he himself wrote a letter in which he distinctly stated that Dion would never get his rights if Plato refused to come to Sicily, but that if he would, Dion should receive them all. Many letters also reached Dion from his sister and his wife, urging him to beg Plato to accede to the 365request of Dionysius, and not afford him grounds for ill-treating them. Thus, they say, it was that Plato came to sail a third time into the straits of Scylla.

“Again the dread Charybdis to explore.”

XIX. His arrival afforded unbounded delight to Dionysius, and again filled Sicily with great hopes; for all men prayed and were eager that Plato and philosophy should get the better of Philistus and despotism. He was treated with great respect by the ladies,483 and received from Dionysius a mark of confidence which was accorded to no one else, in being allowed to come into his presence without his clothes being searched. As Dionysius frequently offered valuable presents to Plato, who never would receive them, Aristippus of Cyrene, who was present, observed that Dionysius exercised a very cheap generosity; for he gave small presents to himself and to others who wished for more, and offered great ones to Plato, who would not accept of any. When, however, after the first welcome was over, Plato began to speak of Dion, Dionysius at first put off discussing the subject, and subsequently reproaches and quarrels took place between them, of which no one else was aware, since Dionysius kept them secret, and by showing Plato assiduous attentions and marks of respect tried to win him over from his friendship for Dion. Plato, too, at first would not publish what he knew of the treachery and falsehood of Dionysius, but affected not to perceive it and endured it in silence. While they were on these terms, though they believed that no one knew it, Helikon of Kyzikus, an intimate friend of Plato, foretold an eclipse of the sun; and as it happened according to his prediction, the despot was much impressed, and gave him a talent of silver. Aristippus now in joke said to the other philosophers that he too had a remarkable event to predict; and when they begged him to tell them what it was, he said, “I predict that before long Plato and Dionysius will become foes.” At last Dionysius sold Dion’s property and kept the money, and even removed Plato from the lodgings in the gardens near his own palace, where he had hitherto dwelt, and 366quartered him among the mercenary troops, who had long disliked Plato and wished to make away with him, because they believed him to be counselling Dionysius to abdicate and to live without a body-guard.

XX. Archytas and his friends, when they heard of the danger to which Plato was exposed, at once sent a thirty-oared vessel with an embassy to Dionysius, demanding Plato from him, and alleging that he had originally come to Syracuse at their request, and that they were responsible for his safety. Dionysius concealed his dislike of Plato by feasting him and treating him kindly on his departure, but could not help saying to him, “I suppose, Plato, you will abuse me terribly to your fellow-philosophers,” or something to that effect. At this Plato smiled, and replied, “I trust that we shall never be so ill off in the Academy for subjects to discuss, as for any one to make mention of you.” Such, they say, were the terms upon which they parted; though this does not entirely agree with Plato’s own account of the matter.

XXI. Dion was much angered by these proceedings of Dionysius, and shortly afterwards was converted into an open enemy on hearing of the treatment of his wife, on which subject Plato wrote in enigmas to Dionysius. This happened as follows:—After the expulsion of Dion, Dionysius, when he sent Plato away, bade him secretly make inquiries as to whether there was anything to prevent Dion’s wife being bestowed upon another man; for there was a rumour, which may have been true or merely invented by Dion’s enemies, that the marriage had been forced upon Dion against his will, and that he and his wife had not lived happily together. Plato, as soon as he arrived at Athens conversed freely with Dion, and then wrote a letter to the despot, some of which was clearly expressed, but which in one part intimated to him, in a manner which he alone could understand, that the writer had spoken about the matter to Dion, and that he would certainly be furious if Dionysius attempted anything of the kind. At that time, as there were still great hopes of arranging their quarrel, Dionysius did nothing further, but allowed his sister to remain living with her child by Dion. When, however, they became irreconcilable 367enemies and Plato, after his second visit, was sent away bitterly disliked by Dionysius, he proceeded to give Arete in marriage, sorely against her will, to one of his friends, named Timokrates, not imitating in this respect the gentle conduct of his father; for the elder Dionysius also had for an enemy Polyxenus the husband of his sister Theste. Polyxenus, fearing for his life, escaped from Syracuse and left Sicily. Upon this Dionysius sent for his sister and blamed her for having known of her husband’s intention to take flight, and not having told him of it; but she, undismayed, answered him fearlessly, “Dionysius, do you think me so bad and cowardly a wife that, if I had known of the intention of my husband to flee, I should not have accompanied him? Indeed, I did not know of it; for it would have been more creditable to me to have been spoken of as the wife of Polyxenus the exile than as the sister of Dionysius the despot.” It is said that when Theste used this bold language the despot regarded her with admiration, and she was also so much admired by the people of Syracuse for her courage and goodness that after the fall of the dynasty they still continued to treat her with the honours due to royalty, and, when she died, all the citizens came in procession to her funeral. These circumstances have required a digression which is not without value.

XXII. Dion after this at once prepared for war. Plato would take no part in his attempts, both out of respect for Dionysius and because of his own advanced age; but Speusippus and his other companions joined Dion, and encouraged him to set free Sicily, which they said was stretching out its hands to him for help and would eagerly welcome him. It seems, indeed, that when Plato was at Syracuse, Speusippus and his friends, who mixed more with the people, discovered their real feelings. At first they were afraid to speak plainly, fearing that the despot was experimenting upon them, but at length they took courage. All told the same story, begging and encouraging Dion to come, not with ships of war and horse and foot soldiers, but to embark in an open boat, and lend merely his person and his name to the Sicilians in their struggle against Dionysius. Encouraged by these reports, which he received 368from Speusippus and his friends, Dion secretly levied a force of mercenaries, but not in his own name, and without disclosing his intention. Many statesmen and philosophers assisted him, among the later Eudemus of Cyprus, in whose honour, after his death, Aristotle composed his dialogue upon the soul, and Timonides of Leukas. They brought over to him also Miltas of Thessaly, a soothsayer and former student of the Academy. Yet, of all those men who had been banished by the despot, who were not less than a thousand in number, five-and-twenty alone took part in the expedition, and all the rest shrank from doing so. Their starting-point was the island of Zakynthus, where was assembled a force numbering less than eight hundred soldiers, all of whom, however, were men of distinction who had served in many great campaigns, and were in admirable bodily condition, and such bold and skilful warriors as would be able to excite and inspire with courage the multitude which Dion hoped would rally round him in Sicily.

XXIII. These men, when they heard that the expedition was directed against Sicily and Dionysius, were at first scared and refused to go, declaring that only the frenzy excited by some personal quarrel, or the failure of all reasonable hopes of success, could have led Dion to embark upon such a desperate enterprise, and they were incensed with their own officers and those who had enlisted them for not having at the outset informed them of the object of the war. When, however, Dion addressed them, pointing out the rottenness of the monarchy, and informing them that he was taking them, not so much as soldiers as in order to use them as leaders for the Syracusans and other peoples of Sicily, who had long been ripe for revolt, and when, after Dion’s speech, Alkimenes, one of the expedition, who was one of the most celebrated of the Achæans both by birth and merit, spoke to the same effect, they consented to go. The time was midsummer and the Etesian484 winds were blowing over the sea. The moon was at the full. Dion prepared a magnificent sacrifice to Apollo and marched in solemn procession to the temple with his soldiers, all arrayed in 369complete armour. After the sacrifice he feasted them in the stadium or race-course of the people of Zakynthus, where they had an opportunity of admiring the splendour of his gold and silver plate, and reflected that a man past middle life, as he was, and possessed of such wealth, would never attempt an extravagant enterprise without reasonable expectation of success, or unless his friends upon the spot had promised to furnish him with abundant resources.

XXIV. Just after the libations485 and customary prayers, the moon became eclipsed. Dion and his friends saw nothing remarkable in this, as they could calculate the periods of eclipses, and knew how the shadow was produced upon the moon by the interposition of the earth between it and the sun. As, however, the soldiers were alarmed at the portent and required some encouragement, Miltas the soothsayer came into the midst of them and addressed them, bidding them be of good cheer and expect the most complete success; for the gods, he declared, foretold by this sign that something brilliant would be extinguished. Now there was nothing more brilliant than the monarchy of Dionysius, whose light was fated to be quenched by them as soon as they arrived at Sicily. This interpretation Miltas told to them all; but when a swarm of bees was seen to settle on the sterns of the ships, he privately told Dion and his friends that he feared lest this might portend that at first they would be very properous, but that after blooming for a short time their prosperity would wither away. It is said, too, that many ominous signs were vouchsafed by Heaven to Dionysius. An eagle snatched up a spear from one of the life-guards, soared aloft with it, and let it fall into the sea; and one day the sea-water which washes the walls of the citadel became quite sweet and drinkable, so that all men noticed it. Swine also were born without ears, though perfect in all other parts. This was interpreted by the soothsayers to be a sign of insurrection and disobedience, and to mean that the people would no longer hearken to the commands of the despot, while the 370portent of the sea-water meant that after bitter miseries sweet and pleasant times were in store for the people of Syracuse. The eagle, they said, is the servant of Zeus, and the spear is the symbol of power and sovereignty; wherefore the greatest of the gods must intend to sink and destroy the monarchy. These incidents we are told by Theopompus.

XXV. The soldiers of Dion were contained in two merchant-ships, which were accompanied by another small vessel and two galleys of thirty oars.486 Besides the arms carried by the soldiers, Dion took with him two thousand shields, many spears and missiles, and sufficient provisions to supply them during the whole voyage, which was to be performed entirely under canvass and over the open sea, because they feared to approach the land, and had learned that Philistus was cruising off the Iapygian Cape with a squadron to intercept them. Sailing with a light and gentle wind for twelve days, on the thirteenth they reached Pachynus, the southern extremity of Sicily. Here Protus their pilot bade them make haste to disembark, warning them that if they left the land and steered away from the cape, they would be obliged to spend many days 371and nights at sea during the summer season, when a southerly gale might be expected. Dion, however, feared to disembark so near his foes, and, wishing to land further away, sailed along the coast past Cape Pachynus. Hereupon a violent northerly wind, accompanied by a high sea, drove the ships away from Sicily, while at the rising of Arcturus a storm of thunder and lightning burst upon them with furious rain. At this the sailors became dismayed, and lost their reckoning, but suddenly found that the ships were being carried by the waves towards the rockiest and most precipitous cliffs of the island Kerkina,487 off the coast of Libya. They narrowly escaped being dashed to pieces upon the rocks, but struggled along, keeping themselves off the land with punting-poles,488 until at length the storm abated and they learned from a vessel which they fell in with that they were near what are called the “Heads” of the Great Syrtis. It now fell calm and they became disheartened and quarrelled with one another; but soon an off-shore wind sprang up from the south, though they, not expecting a southerly wind, could scarcely believe in the change. The wind gradually increased in force, and they, setting all the sail they were able, and commending themselves in prayer to the gods, crossed the open sea from Libya to Sicily before the wind. They made a quick passage, and on the fifth day came to an anchor at Minoa, a small city in that part of Sicily which belonged to the Carthaginians. The Carthaginian commander, Synalus, who was a friend of Dion, happened to be present in the town. Not knowing what the expedition was, or that Dion, was with it, he attempted to prevent the soldiers from landing; but they poured out of their ships fully armed, and though in accordance with Dion’s order they killed no one, because of his friendship with the Carthaginian leader, yet they routed the Minoans, entered their city with the fugitives, and captured it. When the two chiefs met, they embraced one another, and 372Dion restored the city to Synalus without doing it any hurt, while Synalus showed hospitality to the soldiers and provided Dion with the supplies which he needed.

XXVI. What specially encouraged them was the absence of Dionysius from Syracuse, although they had no hand in bringing it about; for he had just started on a voyage to the coast of Italy with a fleet of eighty ships. Although Dion begged his soldiers to wait and recruit their strength after the hardships of their long sea voyage, they would not remain there, but in their eagerness to seize this favourable opportunity bade Dion lead them to Syracuse. Dion now left behind his surplus arms and baggage at Minoa, and, begging Synalus to send them on to him when he should have need of them, set out on his march to Syracuse. On the road, he was first joined by two hundred horsemen, citizens of Agrigentum, dwelling near Eknomon. After these, some of the people of Gela also joined his army.

The news of Dion’s march soon reached Syracuse, and Timokrates, the husband of Dion’s late wife, the sister of Dionysius, who was left in charge of the garrison, sent a messenger in great haste to Dionysius with a letter telling of Dion’s arrival. He himself endeavoured to maintain order and put down all insurrections in the city, for all the people were excited at the news, but remained quiet as yet, through fear and doubt. Meantime a strange mischance befel the bearer of the letter to Dionysius. He crossed the straits to Italy, passed through the city of Rhegium, and as he hurried on towards Kaulonia, where Dionysius was, he fell in with one of his friends, carrying a newly slaughtered victim. He was given a piece of meat by the man, and went on in haste. He walked some part of the night, but being forced by fatigue to take a little sleep, he lay down, just as he was, in a wood by the road-side. While he slept, a wolf, attracted by the smell, snatched up the meat, which he had tied to his wallet, and ran off with it, carrying away with it the wallet in which the man had placed the letter. When the man woke and discovered his loss, after much vain searching, as he could not find it, he decided not to go to the despot without the letter, but to make off and keep out of the way.

XXVII. In consequence of this Dionysius only 373heard of the war in Sicily much later and from other persons, and meanwhile Dion had been joined on his march by the people of Kamarina, and by a considerable number of the Syracusans who lived in the country. The Leontines and Campanians, who formed the garrison of Epipolæ, in consequence of Dion’s sending them a false report that he intended to attack their city first, left Timokrates, and went away thither to defend their own property. When news of this reached Dion, who was encamped near Akræ, he aroused his soldiers while it was yet night and marched to the river Anapus, which is ten stadia distant from the city. There he halted and offered sacrifice beside the river, praying to the rising sun, and at the same time the soothsayers declared that the gods would give him the victory. Observing that Dion wore a garland because he was sacrificing, all those who were present at the sacrifice with one impulse crowned themselves with flowers. No less than five thousand men had joined him on his march. They were badly armed in a make-shift fashion, but their zeal supplied the deficiencies of their equipment, and when Dion led the way they all started at a run, shouting for joy, and encouraging one another to recover their freedom.

XXVIII. Of the Syracusans within the walls, the chief men and upper classes in their most splendid raiment met Dion at the gates, while the populace attacked the friends of the despot, and seized upon the spies, a wicked and hateful class of men, who used to live among the people of the city and report their opinions and conversations to the despot. These men were the first to suffer for their crimes, as they were beaten to death by any of the citizens who fell in with them. Timokrates, unable to reach the garrison of the citadel, mounted his horse and rode away from the city, spreading alarm and confusion everywhere as he fled by exaggerating the numbers of Dion’s army, that he might not be thought to have surrendered the city through fear to a small force.

Meanwhile Dion could already be seen plainly, as he marched first of all his men, clad in splendid armour. On one side of him was his brother Megakles, and on the other the Athenian Kallippus, both crowned with garlands. Next marched a hundred of the mercenary soldiers, as 374a body-guard for Dion, while the rest of the men were led on by their officers in battle array. The entire procession was looked upon and welcomed as though it were sacred by the citizens of Syracuse, who, after forty-two years of tyranny, saw liberty and a popular constitution restored to their city.

XXIX. When Dion had entered by the Temenitid489 gate, he caused his trumpet to sound to obtain silence; and then a herald made proclamation that Dion and Megakles were come to put down the monarchy, and that they set free from the despot both the Syracusans and the other Sicilian Greeks.

As Dion wished to address the people in person, he proceeded through Achradina, while the Syracusans placed animals for sacrifice, tables and bowls of wine on each side of the street,490 and each, as Dion passed them, strewed flowers in his path and addressed prayers to him as if to a god. In front of the citadel, with its Pentapyla, or Five Gates, stood a sundial, a conspicuous and lofty work, erected by Dionysius. Dion mounted upon this, and addressed the citizens, encouraging them to hold fast the freedom which they had obtained. The people, in joy and gratitude to them, elected them both generals, with unlimited powers, and at their earnest request chose twenty more as their colleagues, half of whom were taken from the exiles who had returned with Dion. The prophets considered it to be an excellent omen that Dion, while addressing the people, should have trodden under his feet the building which the despot had reared in his pride; but they augured ill from his having been chosen general while standing upon a sundial, lest his fortunes should soon experience some revolution. After this he captured Epipolae, released the citizens who were imprisoned there and cut off the citadel by a palisade.491 On the seventh 375day after this, Dionysius returned to the citadel by sea, and waggons arrived bringing to Dion the arms and armour which he had left with Synalus. These he distributed among the citizens, and of the others, each man equipped himself as well as he was able, and eagerly offered his services as a soldier.

XXX. Dionysius at first sent ambassadors privately to Dion to endeavour to corrupt him. Afterwards, as Dion bade him speak openly to the people of Syracuse, who were now free, Dionysius through his ambassadors made them attractive offers of moderate taxation and moderate military service, subject to their own vote of consent.492 These proposals were scornfully rejected by the Syracusans. Dion told the ambassadors that he and his party could have no dealings with Dionysius unless he abdicated; but that if he did so, he himself, remembering their relationship, would answer for his personal safety, and obtain as good terms for him as could be reasonably expected. These conditions were approved by Dionysius, who again sent ambassadors to demand that some of the Syracusans should come to the citadel and arrange the terms of the surrender upon a basis of mutual concessions. Commissioners, chosen by Dion, were at once sent to him, and a report spread from the citadel that Dionysius intended to abdicate and to make himself more popular even than Dion. However, the negotiations were all a trick of the despot to take the Syracusans at a disadvantage. He imprisoned the commissioners, and at daybreak, having excited his mercenary troops with wine, sent them at a run to attack the Syracusan wall across the isthmus. This attack was unexpected, and the foreign troops boldly and with loud shouts began to destroy the works and to attack the Syracusans. No one could withstand their onset except the mercenaries of Dion, who were the first to hear the noise of the conflict and to rush to the spot. But not even these men could perceive what was to be done or obey their orders, mixed up as they were with noisy crowds376 of panic-stricken Syracusan fugitives, before Dion, finding that no one heeded his words, and wishing to show by his actions what ought to be done, was the first man to attack the foreigners. Round him a fierce and terrible battle took place, as he was recognised as well by the enemy as by his friends, and all ran towards him with shouts. He was, indeed, somewhat advanced in years to engage in such a furious combat, but yet stoutly and bravely withstood and repulsed all who attacked him. He received a wound in the hand from a spear, and had to rely upon his breastplate for protection against showers of darts and blows in close combat, for his shield was pierced through by many spears and lances. When these were broken he fell to the ground, but was snatched away by his soldiers. He appointed Timonides to take his place, and himself rode through the city on horseback, rallied the Syracusan fugitives, brought out the garrison of mercenaries from Achradina, and led these fresh and confident troops against the wearied foreigners, who had already begun to despair of victory. They had imagined that by their first attack they would be able to overrun the whole city, but having unexpectedly fallen in with men who could deal hard blows they began to retire towards the citadel. As they gave way the Greeks pressed upon them still more, until at length they were driven in confusion into the citadel, after killing seventy-four of Dion’s party, and losing many of their own men.

XXXI. After this glorious victory the Syracusans presented the mercenaries with a hundred minae, and the mercenaries presented Dion with a golden crown. Heralds from Dionysius now came from the citadel bringing letters to Dion from his female relatives. One of these bore the superscription “From Hipparinus to his father;” for this was the name of Dion’s son, although Timæus says that he was named Aretaeus after his mother Arete. But I imagine we ought rather to believe Timonides in such matters as these, since he was a friend and comrade of Dion. The other letters, those from the women, which were full of piteous supplications, were read aloud to the Syracusans, but they were unwilling that the letter from the child should be opened before them. In spite of 377their opposition, Dion opened it and read it aloud. It was from Dionysius himself, addressed nominally to Dion, but really to the people of Syracuse, and though in it Dionysius seemed to appeal to Dion and to plead his own cause with him, yet in truth it was concocted with a view to rendering him suspected by the people; for it contained allusions to his former zeal on behalf of the monarchy, and also threatened him through the persons of those dearest to him, his sister, his child and his wife. There were in the letter also pitiful entreaties, and what especially moved him to anger, supplications to him not to destroy the monarchy and set free a people which hated him and would turn and rend him, but to become despot himself, and thus to save his relatives and friends.

XXXII. When these letters were read to them, the Syracusans, instead of admiring Dion for his magnanimity in adhering to the cause of honour and right, in spite of such touching appeals as these, they rather began to suspect him and to fear him, because he had such powerful reasons for sparing the despot, and they began to look around them for some other leader. They became particularly excited on hearing that Herakleides sailed into the harbour. This Herakleides was a Syracusan exile, a military man who had gained a great reputation by the commands which he had held in the service of Dionysius and his father, but of an unsettled disposition, fickle and least of all to be relied upon when associated with a colleague in any command of dignity and honour. This man had quarrelled with Dion in Peloponnesus, and determined to make an expedition of his own to attack Dionysius. He now arrived at Syracuse with seven triremes and three other vessels,493 and found Dionysius blockaded in his citadel and the people of Syracuse in an excited condition. He at once received the popular favour, being 378naturally plausible and well able to impose upon a people who were fond of flattery. He was the more easily enabled to do this, as the Syracusans were already disgusted with the haughty demeanour of Dion, which they considered to be offensive and unfit for a statesman, being themselves grown insubordinate and insolent after their victory and requiring a demagogue even before they had become a democracy.

XXXIII. Their first act was to assemble of their own accord and elect Herakleides as admiral. When, however, Dion came forward and complained that the appointment of Herakleides was a revocation of the powers granted to himself, since he would no longer be general with unlimited powers, if another commanded by sea, the Syracusans, much against their will, annulled the election. After this Dion sent for Herakleides privately and, after bitterly reproaching him with his want of honour and right feeling in raising disputes about precedence during so momentous and dangerous a crisis, again assembled the people, appointed Herakleides admiral and prevailed upon the citizens to grant him a body-guard such as that by which he himself was attended. Herakleides now in words and in manner acknowledged Dion as his superior, obeyed his orders with humility, and owned that he owed him a debt of gratitude; but in secret he encouraged the people to revolt against him, stirred up tumults and brought Dion into a most difficult position; for if he were to permit Dionysius to retire from the citadel under a flag of truce, he feared that he should be reproached with sparing the despot and saving him from the fate he deserved, while, if he did not push the siege through a wish not to drive him to extremities, he would appear to be purposely protracting the war in order that he might the longer remain in power and have the people under his orders.

XXXIV. There was one Sosis, a man who by villainy and audacity had gained a certain reputation at Syracuse, where the citizens thought that his licence in speech must be prompted by an excessive love of freedom. This man began to intrigue against Dion, and first of all rose in the assembly and violently abused the Syracusans for 379not perceiving that they had got a sober and vigilant despot instead of a drunken and imbecile one. After this, having avowed himself Dion’s open enemy, he withdrew from the market-place and next day was seen running naked through the city with his face and head covered with blood, as though he were fleeing from some pursuers. Rushing into the market-place in this condition, he said that his life had been attempted by Dion’s mercenaries, and showed his wounded head to the people. He at once gained an audience of sympathisers, who became furious with Dion, and declared that he was acting shamefully and despotically in restraining the freedom of speech of the citizens by threats and murders. However, though a disorderly assembly took place, Dion was able to speak in his own defence, pointing out that a brother of Sosis was one of the guards of Dionysius, and that this man must have persuaded him to rebel and throw the city into confusion, since Dionysius could have no hope of safety except in the dissensions of the besiegers. At the same time the physicians examined the wound of Sosis, and found that it was the result of a superficial scratch rather than of a downward cut; for wounds by swordstrokes are deepest in the middle, because of the weight of the blow, while this wound of Sosis was shallow throughout all its length and had several beginnings, as probably he had been forced by the pain to leave off cutting his head and then had begun again. Some of the more respectable citizens also came to the assembly with a razor, and said that while they were walking they met Sosis covered with blood, saying that he was fleeing from Dion’s mercenaries and had just been wounded by them. They at once proceeded to look for them, and found no man, but saw the razor hidden under a hollow stone at the place from which Sosis had been seen coming out.

XXXV. Matters now began to look ill for Sosis; and when his slaves, after torture, declared that he left the house while it was yet night carrying a razor, Dion’s accusers withdrew their charges against him, and the people became reconciled with Dion and condemned Sosis to death. Nevertheless, they viewed the mercenaries with suspicion, especially after the great battles which 380took place at sea, when Philistus came from Iapygia with many triremes to rescue Dionysius, upon which they imagined that the mercenaries, being heavy-infantry soldiers, would be of no further use in the war, and would soon become their enemies, as they were all seafaring people, whose strength lay in their ships. They were further excited by their success in a sea-fight, in which they defeated Philistus, and treated him with the utmost barbarity. Ephorus states that Philistus killed himself as soon as his ship was captured, but Timonides, who was present with Dion throughout the whole of these events, in a letter which he wrote to the philospher, Speusippus, informs him that Philistus was taken alive from his ship which ran ashore; and that the Syracusans first stripped him of his corslet and displayed him naked, jeering at him, he being then an old man; and that after this they cut off his head and gave up the body to the boys of the town, bidding them drag it through Achradina, and cast it into the stone quarries. Timæus declares that Philistus was treated with even greater indignity, his dead body being dragged by the boys through the city by the lame leg amidst the insults of all the people of Syracuse, who were pleased to see this treatment inflicted on the man who had told Dionysius that far from requiring a swift horse to escape from his throne, he ought to remain until he was dragged from it by the leg. Philistus, however, gave this advice to Dionysius, not as having been said by himself, but by some one else.

XXXVI. Philistus doubtless laid himself open to blame by his zealous adherence to the cause of the monarchy, but Timæus takes advantage of this to satisfy his own spite by abusing him. It might, perhaps, be pardoned if those who had been wronged by him were so transported by rage as even to insult his senseless corpse; but a historian, writing an account of his actions in a later age, without having been in any way personally injured by him, ought to be restrained by feelings of honour and decency from taunting him with his misfortunes, which, indeed, might equally have befallen the best of men Neither does Ephorus show a sound judgment in praising Philistus, for, in spite of his skill in inventing 381good motives for evil conduct and actions, and the care with which his words are chosen, he cannot, with all his art, gloss over the fact that Philistus was devotedly attached to the cause of despotism, and that he, more than any one else, was dazzled and attracted by wealth, power, luxury and marriages with the daughters of absolute princes. A historian would show better taste than either of these by neither praising Philistus for his conduct nor reproaching him with his misfortunes.

XXXVII. After the death of Philistus, Dionysius sent to Dion offering to deliver up to him the citadel, the arms which it contained, the mercenary troops and five months pay for them, and demanding to be allowed to retire unmolested to Italy and live there, and also to receive the revenues of a large and fertile tract belonging to Syracuse called Gyarta, which extended from the sea-side to the interior of the island. Dion would not receive the embassy, but bade Dionysius address himself to the people of Syracuse; and they, hoping to take Dionysius alive, drove away his ambassadors. Dionysius now handed over the citadel to Apollokrates, his eldest son, and himself placed what persons and property he chiefly valued on board ship, waited for a fair wind, and then sailed away, eluding the vigilance of the admiral Herakleides. Herakleides was fiercely reproached by the citizens for his neglect, but suborned one of the popular speakers to make proposals to the people for a division of lands, pointing out that equality is the source of freedom, and that poverty reduces men to slavery. Herakleides spoke on the same side, openly opposed Dion, who led the opposite faction, and prevailed upon the Syracusans to agree to this proposal, and further to refuse to pay the mercenary troops and to rid themselves of the haughty arrogance of Dion by electing new generals. Thus, like a man who attempts to rise and walk when weakened by a long illness, the Syracusans, after ridding themselves of their despotism, at once tried to adopt the institutions of free peoples, and both failed in their undertakings and disliked Dion, because he, like a careful physician, wished to impose a strict and temperate regimen upon them.

XXXVIII. When they assembled to choose their 382new commanders the time was about midsummer, and ominous thunderstorms and portents took place for fifteen days in succession, dispersing the people and preventing their election of any other generals. When the popular leaders, by waiting and watching, had obtained a fair still day for the election of chief magistrates, a draught ox, who was quite tame and accustomed to crowds, but who was enraged with his driver, broke from his yoke and ran towards the theatre. He scattered the people in the greatest confusion and panic, and ran on prancing and causing disorder through all that part of the city which afterwards fell into the hands of the enemy. Nevertheless, the Syracusans disregarded this omen, and elected five-and-twenty generals, one of whom was Herakleides. They also made secret overtures to Dion’s mercenaries, inviting them to desert, and offering them equal rights with the other citizens. They, however, would not listen to these proposals, but faithfully and promptly got under arms, formed column with Dion in their midst, and began to march out of the city, without harming any one, but bitterly reproaching all whom they met with their ingratitude and wickedness. But the Syracusans, who despised them for their small numbers and for not having been the first to attack, had now collected in crowds, far outnumbering the mercenaries, and set upon them, expecting that in a street-fight they would easily be able to overpower them and to kill them all.

XXXIX. In this terrible dilemma, as he was forced either to fight against his fellow-countrymen or to perish with his mercenaries, Dion stretched out his hands towards the Syracusans and implored them to desist, and pointed to the citadel, full of armed enemies, who were watching them from the battlements. As, however, the excited mob could not be turned from its purpose, for the speeches of the demagogues stirred up the people as the wind stirs up the waves of the sea, Dion ordered his troops not to charge them, but to march forward with a shout and martial clash of arms. At this none of the Syracusans stood their ground, but ran away along the streets unpursued; for Dion at once wheeled round his troops and marched away to Leontini. The new chiefs of the Syracusans, 383 ridiculed by the women, and wishing to wipe out their disgrace, now again got the citizens under arms and pursued Dion. They came up with him as he was crossing a stream, and rode up to his troops in skirmishing order. When, however, they perceived that Dion was no longer willing to deal gently and paternally with their follies, but that he angrily formed his troops in line and ordered them to attack, they fled more disgracefully than before back to their city, without losing many of their number.

XL. The people of Leontini received Dion with especial honours, provided his troops with pay, and made them free of the city. They also sent ambassadors to the Syracusans, calling upon them to do the soldiers justice; to which they replied by sending ambassadors to prefer charges against Dion. When, however, all the allies held a meeting at Leontini and discussed the matter, the Syracusans were held to be in fault. But the Syracusans refused to accept this decision, as they were now full of insolent importance, having no one to rule them, but being led by generals who were the merest slaves of the people.

XLI. After this a fleet of triremes sent by Dionysius arrived at the city, under the command of Nypsius, a Neapolitan, with supplies of corn and money for the besieged. In a sea-fight which took place the Syracusans were victorious, and took four of the ships, but were so elated by their victory, and, having none to rule them, celebrated their success with such reckless excesses of drinking and feasting, that while they imagined they had taken the citadel they really lost the city as well; for Nypsius, observing that discipline was everywhere at an end, as the populace were engaged in drinking to the sound of music from daylight until late at night, and that the generals were delighted at the festivity and were unwilling to summon the drunken men to their duty, seized his opportunity and attacked the Syracusan wall of investment. His attack succeeded; he broke through the works, and at once let loose his foreign mercenaries, bidding them deal as they pleased with all whom they met. The Syracusans, though they soon learned their misfortune, 384 yet were slow to assemble, being taken by surprise; for the city was being sacked, the men slaughtered, the walls thrown down and the women and children being forced weeping into the citadel, while the generals gave up all for lost, and could make no use of the citizens, who were everywhere confusedly mixed up with the enemy.

XLII. While the city was in this condition, and the danger began to menace Achradina also, all men thought of him who was their last and only hope, but no one spoke of Dion, as they were all ashamed of the folly and ingratitude with which they had treated him. Sheer necessity, however, forced some of the auxiliary troops and the knights494 to cry out that they must send for Dion and his Peloponnesians from Leontini. As soon as any were found bold enough to raise this cry, the Syracusans shouted aloud, and rejoiced with tears, for they prayed that Dion would come, they longed to see him, and they remembered his courage and strength in time of danger, in which he not only remained calm and unmoved, but gave them confidence by his demeanour and caused them fearlessly and bravely to attack their enemies. They therefore at once sent off to him Archonides and Telesides, as representatives of the allies, and Hellanikus, with four others, of the knights. These men rode at full gallop to Leontini, arriving there late in the afternoon. When they dismounted, the first person they met was Dion, and with tears in their eyes they told him of the misfortunes which had befallen the Syracusans. Soon some of the citizens of Leontini fell in with them, and many of the Peloponnesians gathered round Dion, suspecting from the earnest and supplicatory tones and gestures of the ambassadors that something important had happened. Dion at once led the way to the public assembly, where all the people soon met together. Archonides and Hellanikus in a few words informed them of the great misfortune which had befallen the Syracusans, and besought the 385stranger mercenaries to help them and not to bear malice for the treatment which they had received, since the Syracusans had been more terribly punished for their misconduct than even the soldiers could have wished them to be.

XLIII. After they had ceased speaking, there was a great silence; and when Dion rose and began to speak, tears choked his utterance. The Peloponnesians encouraged him, and showed sympathy with him, and at length he mastered his emotion and said: “Men of Peloponnesus and Allies, I have assembled you here to deliberate about your own affairs. As for myself, I cannot with honour deliberate while Syracuse is being destroyed, but if I cannot save my country, I will share her ruin and make her flames my own funeral pyre. As for you, if you can bring yourselves even now, after all that has passed, to help us, the most ill-advised and the most ill-fated of men, restore again by your own means alone the city of Syracuse. But if you hate the Syracusans and reject their appeal, then may you be rewarded by heaven for your former brave conduct and loyalty to me, and may you remember Dion, who would not desert you when you were wronged, and would not afterwards desert his fellow-countrymen when they were in trouble.” While Dion was still speaking, the Peloponnesians leaped up with a shout, bidding him lead them as quickly as possible to the rescue, and the ambassadors from Syracuse embraced him, calling upon heaven to bless both him and the troops. When order was restored, Dion immediately began to prepare for the march, and ordered his men to go and eat their dinners at once, and then to assemble under arms in that very place; for he intended to march to Syracuse by night.

XLIV. Meanwhile at Syracuse the generals of Dionysius worked great ruin in the city while it was day, but when darkness came on retired into the citadel, having lost but few men. The popular leaders now took courage, and, expecting that the enemy would attempt nothing further, again called upon the people to have nothing to do with Dion, and, if he came with his foreign troops, not to admit him into the city and own themselves inferior to his 386men in courage, but to reconquer their city and their liberty by their own exertions. More embassies were now sent to Dion, from the generals dissuading him from coming, and from the knights and leading citizens entreating him to come quickly. This caused him to march more slowly, yet with greater determination. When day broke, the party opposed to Dion occupied the gates, in order to shut him out of the city, while Nypsius a second time led out the mercenaries from the citadel, in greater numbers and far more confident than before. He at once levelled to the ground the whole of the works by which the citadel was cut off from the main land, and overran and pillaged the city. No longer men alone, but even women and children were slaughtered, and property of every kind mercilessly destroyed; for Dionysius, who now despaired of ultimate success, and bitterly hated the Syracusans, wished only, as it were, to bury the monarchy in the ruins of the city. In order to effect their purpose before Dion could come to the rescue, the soldiers destroyed the houses in the quickest way by setting them on fire, using torches for those near at hand, and shooting fiery arrows to those at a distance. As the Syracusans fled from their burning dwellings, some were caught and butchered in the streets, while others who took refuge in the houses perished in the flames, as now a large number of houses were burning, and kept falling upon the passers by.

XLV. This misfortune more than anything else caused all to be unanimous in opening the gates to Dion. He had been marching slowly, as he heard that the enemy were shut up in the citadel; but as the day went on, at first some of the knights rode up to him and told him of the second occupation of the city; and afterwards some even of the opposite faction arrived and begged him to hasten his march. As the danger became more pressing, Herakleides sent first his brother, and afterwards his uncle Theodotus, to beseech Dion to assist them, and to tell him that no one any longer could offer any resistance, that Herakleides himself was wounded, and that the whole city was within a little of being totally ruined and burned. When these messages reached Dion he was still sixty stadia distant from the gates of Syracuse. He 387explained to his troops the danger the city was in, spoke some words of encouragement to them, and then led them on, no longer at a walk, but at a run, while messenger after messenger continued to meet them and urge them to haste. At the head of his mercenaries, who displayed extraordinary speed and spirit, Dion made his way through the gates of Syracuse to the place called Hekatompedon. He at once sent his light-armed troops to attack the enemy, and to encourage the Syracusans by their presence, while he himself formed his own heavy infantry, and those of the citizens who rallied round him in separate columns under several commanders, in order to create greater terror by attacking the enemy at many points at once.

XLVI. When, after making these preparations, and offering prayer to the gods, he was beheld leading his troops through the city to attack the enemy, the Syracusans raised a shout of joy, with a confused murmur of prayers, entreaties and congratulations, addressing Dion as their saviour and their tutelary god, and calling the foreign soldiers their brethren and fellow-citizens. All of them, even the most selfish and cowardly, now appeared to hold Dion’s life dearer than his own or that of his fellow-citizens, as they saw him lead the way to danger through blood and fire, and over the corpses which lay in heaps in the streets. The enemy, too, presented a formidable appearance, for they were exasperated to fury, and had established themselves in a strong position, hard even to approach, amidst the ruins of the rampart by which the citadel had been cut off from the town; while the progress of the mercenary troops was rendered difficult and dangerous by the flames of the burning houses by which they were surrounded. They were forced to leap over heaps of blazing beams, and to run from under great masses of falling ruins, struggling forwards through thick smoke and choking dust, and yet striving to keep their ranks unbroken. When at length they reached the enemy, only a few could fight on either side, because of the narrowness of the path, but the Syracusans, pushing confidently forward with loud shouts, forced the troops of Nypsius to give way. Most of them escaped into the citadel, which was close at hand: but all the stragglers who were left outside, were pursued and put to death by the Peloponnesians. The 388Syracusans could not spare any time to enjoy their victory and to congratulate one another after such great successes, but betook themselves at once to extinguishing their burning houses, and with great exertions put out the fire during the night.

XLVII. As soon as day broke, all the popular leaders, conscious of their guilt, left the city, with the exception of Herakleides and Theodotus, who went of their own accord and delivered themselves up to Dion, admitting that they had done wrong, and begging that he would treat them better than they had treated him. They pointed out, also, how much he would enhance the lustre of his other incomparable virtues by showing himself superior even in the matter of temper to those by whom he had been wronged, who now came before him admitting that in their rivalry with him they had been overcome by his virtue. When Herakleides and his companion thus threw themselves upon the mercy of Dion, his friends advised him not to spare such envious and malignant wretches, but to deliver up Herakleides to his soldiers, and thus to put an end to mob rule, an evil quite as pestilent as despotism itself. Dion, however, calmed their anger, observing that other generals spent most of their time in practising war and the use of arms; but that he, during his long sojourn in the Academy, had learned to subdue his passions, and to show himself superior to jealousy of his rivals. True greatness of mind, he said, could be better shown by forgiving those by whom one has been wronged, than by doing good to one’s friends and benefactors; and he desired not so much to excel Herakleides in power and generalship, as in clemency and justice, the only qualities which are truly good: for our successes in war, even if won by ourselves alone, yet can only be won by the aid of Fortune. “If,” he continued, “Herakleides be jealous, treacherous and base, that is no reason for Dion to stain his glory by yielding to his anger; for though to revenge a wrong is held to be less culpable than to commit one, yet both alike spring from the weakness of human nature: while even though a man be wicked, yet he is seldom so hopelessly depraved as not to be touched by one who repeatedly returns good for evil.”

XLVIII. After expressing himself thus, Dion 389released Herakleides. He next turned his attention to the fortification by which the citadel was cut off, and ordered each Syracusan to cut a stake and bring it to the spot. He allowed the citizens to rest during the night, but kept his mercenary soldiers at work, and by the next morning had completed the palisade, so that both the enemy and his own countrymen were astonished at the speed with, which he had accomplished so great a work. He now buried the corpses of those citizens who had fallen in the battle, ransomed the prisoners, who amounted to no less than two thousand, and summoned an assembly, in which Herakleides proposed that Dion should be appointed absolute commander by land and by sea. All the better citizens approved of this, and wished it to be put to the vote, but it was thrown out by the interference of the mob of sailors and people of the lower classes, who were sorry that Herakleides had lost his post as admiral, and who thought that, although he might be worthless in all other respects, he was at any rate more of a friend to the people than Dion, and more easily managed by them. Dion conceded so much to them as to give Herakleides command of the fleet, but vexed them much by opposing their plans for a redistribution of land and houses, and by declaring void all that they had decided upon this subject. In consequence of this Herakleides, who at once entered upon his office of admiral, sailed to Messenia, and there by his harangues excited the sailors and soldiers under his command to mutiny against Dion, who, he declared, intended to make himself despot of Syracuse; while he, in the meanwhile, entered upon negotiations with Dionysius by means of the Spartan Pharax. When this was discovered by the Syracusan nobility, a violent quarrel arose in his camp, which led to the people of Syracuse being reduced to great want and scarcity, so that Dion was at his wit’s end, and was bitterly reproached by his friends for having placed such an unmanageable and villainous rival as Herakleides in possession of power which he used against his benefactor.

XLIX. Pharax was now encamped at Neapolis, in the territory of Agrigentum, and Dion, who led out the Syracusans to oppose him, wished to defer an engagement;390 but Herakleides and the sailors overwhelmed him with their clamour, saying that he did not wish to bring the war to an end by a battle, but to keep it constantly going on in order that he might remain the longer in command. He therefore fought and was beaten. The defeat was not a disastrous one, but was due more to the confusion produced by the quarrels of his own men than to the enemy. Dion therefore prepared to renew the engagement, drew out his men in battle array, and addressed them in encouraging terms. Towards evening, however, he heard that Herakleides had weighed anchor and sailed away to Syracuse with the fleet, with the intention of seizing the city and shutting its gates against Dion and the army. Dion at once took the strongest and bravest men with him, and rode all night, reaching the gates of Syracuse about the third hour of the next day, after a journey of seven hundred stadia. Herakleides, who in spite of the exertions of his fleet was beaten in the race, was at a loss what to do, and sailed away aimlessly. He chanced to fall in with the Spartan Gæsylus, who informed him that he was coming from Lacedæmon to take command of the Sicilian Greeks, as Gylippus had done in former times. Herakleides was delighted at having met this man, and displayed him to his troops, boasting that he had found a counterpoise to the power of Dion, he at once sent a herald to Syracuse, and ordered the citizens to receive the Spartan as their ruler. When Dion answered that the Syracusans had rulers enough, and that in case they should require a Spartan to command them, he himself was a Spartan by adoption, Gæsylus gave up all claims to command, but went to Dion and reconciled Herakleides to him, making Herakleides swear the greatest oaths and give the strongest pledges for his future good behaviour, while Gæsylus himself swore that he would avenge Dion and punish Herakleides in case the latter should misconduct himself.

L. After this the Syracusans disbanded their navy, which was quite useless; besides being very expensive to the crews, and giving opportunities for the formation of plots against the government; but they continued the siege of the citadel, and thoroughly completed the 391wall across the isthmus. As no assistance arrived for the besieged, while their provisions began to fail, and their troops became inclined to mutiny, the son of Dionysius despaired of success, arranged terms of capitulation with Dion, handed over the citadel to him together with all the arms and other war material which it contained, and himself, taking his mother and sisters and their property on board of five triremes, sailed away to his father. Dion, permitted him to leave in safety, and his departure was witnessed by every one of the Syracusans, who even called upon the names of those who were absent, and were unable to see this day when the sun rose upon a free Syracuse. Indeed the downfall of Dionysius is one of the most remarkable instances of the vicissitudes of fortune known in history; and what then must we suppose was the joy and pride of the Syracusans, when they reflected that with such slender means they had overthrown the most powerful dynasty at that time existing in the world?

LI. After Apollokrates had sailed away and Dion had entered the citadel, the women could endure no longer to wait indoors till he came to them, but ran to the gates, Aristomache leading Dion’s son, and Arete following behind her in tears, and at a loss to know how she should greet her husband after she had been married to another. After Dion had embraced his sister and his child, Aristomache led Arete forward, and said, “Dion, we were unhappy while you were an exile; but now that you have returned and conquered you have taken away our reproach from all but Arete here, whom I have had the misery to see forced to accept another husband while you were yet alive. Now, therefore, since fortune has placed us in your power, how do you propose to settle this difficulty? Is she to embrace you as her uncle or as her husband also?” Dion shed tears at these words of Aristomache, and affectionately embraced his wife. He placed his son in her hands, and bade her go to his own house, where he himself also continued to live; for he delivered up the citadel to the people of Syracuse.

LII. After he had thus accomplished his enterprise, he reaped no advantage from his success, except that he conferred favours on his friends and rewarded his allies;392 while he bestowed upon his own companions, both Syracusan and Peloponnesian, such signal marks of his gratitude that his generosity even outran his means. He himself continued to live simply and frugally, while not only Sicily and Carthage, but all Greece viewed with admiration the manner in which he bore his prosperity, considering his achievements to be the greatest, and himself to be the most splendid instance of successful daring known to that age. He remained as modest in his dress, his household, and his table, as though he were still the guest of Plato in the Academy, and not living among mercenary soldiers, who recompense themselves for the hardships and dangers of their lives by daily indulgence in sensual pleasures. Plato wrote a letter to him, in which he informed him that the eyes of all the world were fixed upon him; but Plato probably only alluded to one place in one city, namely the Academy, and meant that the critics and judges of Dion therein assembled did not admire his exertions or his victory, but only considered whether he bore himself discreetly and modestly in his success, and showed moderation now that he was all-powerful, Dion made a point of maintaining the same haughty demeanour in society, and of treating the people with the same severity as before, although the times demanded that he should unbend, and though Plato, as we have said before, wrote to him bidding him remember that an arrogant temper is the consort of a lonely life. However, Dion appears to have been naturally inclined to harshness, and besides was desirous of reforming the manners of the Syracusans, who were excessively licentious and corrupt.

LIII. Now Herakleides again opposed him. When Dion sent for him to attend at the council, he refused to come, declaring that he was a mere private man, and would go only to the public assembly with the other citizens. Next he reproached Dion for not having demolished the citadel, for having restrained the people when they wished to break open the tomb of Dionysius (the elder) and cast out his body, and for having insulted his own fellow-countrymen by sending to Corinth for counsellors and colleagues. Indeed, Dion had sent to Corinth for some commissioners from that city, hoping that 393their presence would assist him in effecting the reforms which he meditated. Like Plato, he regarded a pure democracy as not being a government at all, but rather a warehouse of all forms of government: and his intention was to establish a constitution, somewhat on the Lacedæmonian or Cretan model, by a judicious combination of monarchy and oligarchy: and he saw that the government of Corinth was more of an oligarchy than a democracy, and that few important measures were submitted to the people. As Dion expected that Herakleides would most vehemently oppose these projects, and was moreover a turbulent, fickle, and facetious personage, he gave him up to those who had long before desired to kill him, but whom he had formerly restrained from doing so. These men broke into the house of Herakleides and killed him. The Syracusans were deeply grieved at his death; yet, as Dion gave him a splendid funeral, followed the corpse at the head of his army, and afterwards made a speech to the people, they forgave him, reflecting that their city could never have obtained rest while Dion and Herakleides were both engaged in political life.

LIV. One of Dion’s companions was an Athenian named Kallippus, who, we are told by Plato, became intimate with him, not because of his learning, but because he happened to have initiated Dion into some religious mysteries. This man took part in Dion’s expedition, and received especial honours, being the first of all Dion’s comrades who marched into Syracuse with him, wearing a garland on his head, and he had always distinguished himself in the combats which took place since that time. Now, seeing that the noblest and best of Dion’s friends had fallen in the war, and that by the death of Herakleides the Syracusan people were deprived of their leader, while he had greater influence than any one else with Dion’s mercenary soldiers, Kallippus conceived a scheme of detestable villainy. No doubt he hoped to obtain the whole of Sicily as his reward for murdering Dion, though some writers state that he received a bribe of twenty talents from Dion’s personal enemies. He now drew several of the mercenary soldiers into a conspiracy against Dion, conducting his plot in a most ingenious and 394treacherous manner. He was in the habit of informing Dion of any treasonable speeches, whether true or invented by himself, which he said that he had heard from the mercenary troops, and by this means gained such entire confidence with him, that he was able to hold secret meetings and plot against Dion with whichever of the soldiers he pleased, having Dion’s express command to do so, in order that none of the disaffected party might escape his notice. By this means Kallippus was easily enabled to find out all the worst and most discontented of the mercenaries, and to organise a conspiracy amongst them; while, if any man refused to listen to his proposals and denounced him to Dion, he took no heed of it and showed no anger, believing that Kallippus was merely carrying out his own instructions.

LV. When the plot was formed, Dion beheld a great and portentous vision. Late in the evening he was sitting alone in the hall495 of his house, plunged in thought. Suddenly he heard a noise on the other side of the court, and, looking up, as it was not quite dark, saw a tall woman, with the face and dress of a Fury as represented upon the stage, sweeping the house with a kind of broom. He was terribly startled, and became so much alarmed that he sent for his friends, described the vision to them, and besought them to remain with him during the night, as he was beside himself with fright, and dreaded lest if he were alone the apparition might return. This, however, did not take place. A few days after this his son, now almost grown up, took offence at some trifling affront, and destroyed himself by throwing himself headlong from the roof of the house.

LVI. While Dion was thus alarmed and distressed, Kallippus all the more eagerly carried out his plot. He spread a rumour among the Syracusans that Dion, being childless, had determined to recall Apollokrates, the son of Dionysius, 395 and to make him his heir, since he was his wife’s nephew, and his sister’s grandson. By this time Dion and the women of his household began to entertain some suspicion of the plot, and information of it reached them from all quarters. Dion, however, grieved at the murder of Herakleides, as though that crime had stained his glory, had become low-spirited and miserable, and frequently said that he was willing to die, and would let any man cut his throat, if he were obliged to live amidst constant precautions against his friends as well as his enemies. Kallippus, who perceived that the women had discovered the whole plot, came to them in great alarm, denying that he had any share in it, shedding tears, and offering to give any pledge of his loyalty which they chose to ask for. They demanded that he should swear the great oath, which is as follows:—The person who is about to swear enters the precinct of the temple of Demeter and Persephone, and after certain religious ceremonies puts on the purple robe of the goddess Persephone, and swears, holding a lighted torch in his hand. All this was done by Kallippus, and after swearing the oath he was impious enough to wait for the festival of the goddess whose name he had taken in vain, and to commit the murder on the day which was specially dedicated to her, although, perhaps, he thought nothing about the profanation of that particular day, but considered that it would be wickedness enough to murder the man whom he had himself initiated into the mysteries, on whatever day he might do it.

LVII. Many were now in the plot; and when Dion was sitting with his friends in a room furnished with several couches, some of the conspirators surrounded the house, while others stood at the doors and windows. Those who intended to do the deed were Zakynthians, and entered the house in their tunics, without swords. Those who remained outside made fast the doors, while those within rushed upon Dion, and endeavoured to strangle him. As, however, they could not accomplish this, they asked for a sword; but no one ventured to open the doors, because within the house were many of Dion’s friends, but as each of these imagined that, if he gave up Dion, he himself might get away safe, no one would help him.396 After some delay, a Syracusan, named Lykon, handed a dagger through a window to the Zakynthians, with which, as if sacrificing a victim, they cut the throat of Dion, who had long before been overpowered and had given himself up for lost. His sister and his wife, who was pregnant, were at once cast into prison, where the unhappy woman was delivered of a male child. The women prevailed upon the keepers of the prison to spare the child’s life, and obtained their request the more readily because Kallippus was already in difficulties.

LVIII. After Kallippus had murdered Dion, he at once became a person of importance, and had the entire government of Syracuse in his hands. He even sent despatches to Athens, a city which, next to the gods, he ought, especially to have dreaded, after having brought such pollution and sacrilege upon himself. However, the saying appears to be true, that that city produces both the best of good and the worst of wicked men, just as the territory of Athens produces both the sweetest honey and the most poisonous hemlock. Kallippus did not long survive to mock the justice of heaven, lest the gods might have been thought to disregard a man who, by such a crime, had obtained so great wealth and power; but he soon paid the penalty of his wickedness. He set out to capture Katana, and in doing so lost Syracuse; upon which he is said to have remarked, that he had lost a city and gained a cheese-scraper. In an attack upon Messenia he lost most of his soldiers, among whom were the murderers of Dion. As no city in Sicily would receive him, but all hated him and attacked him, he proceeded to Rhegium, where, as he was quite ruined and could no longer maintain his mercenary soldiers, he was murdered by Leptines and Polyperchon, who chanced to use the self-same dagger with which Dion is said to have been slain. It was recognised by being very short, after the Laconian fashion, and by its workmanship, for it was admirably carved with figures in high relief. Such was the retribution which befel Kallippus; while Aristomache and Arete, when they were released from prison, fell into the power of Hiketes, a Syracusan, who had been one of Dion’s friends, and who treated them at first loyally and honourably, but afterwards, 397 at the instigation of some of the enemies of Dion, sent them on board of a ship, on the pretext of sending them to Peloponnesus, and gave orders to the people of the ship to put them to death and throw their bodies into the sea. They, however, are said to have thrown them alive into the sea, and the child with them. This man also paid a fitting penalty for his crimes, for he was taken and put to death by Timoleon, and the Syracusans put to death his two daughters to avenge the murder of Dion. All of this I have already described at length in the Life of Timoleon.



I. The ancestor of Marcus Brutus was Junius Brutus,496 whose statue of bronze the Romans of old set up in the Capitol, in the midst of the kings, with a drawn sword in his hand, thereby signifying that it was he who completely accomplished the putting down of the Tarquinii. Now that Brutus, like swords forged of cold iron, having a temper naturally hard and not softened by education, was carried on even to slaying of his sons through his passion against the tyrants: but this Brutus, about whom I am now writing, having tempered his natural disposition with discipline and philosophical training and roused his earnest and mild character by impulse to action, is considered to have been most aptly fashioned to virtue, so that even those who were his enemies on account of the conspiracy against Cæsar, attributed to Brutus whatever of good the act brought with it, and the worst of what happened they imputed to Cassius, who was a kinsman and friend of Brutus, but in his disposition not so simple and pure. His mother Servilia497 traced her descent from Ala 399Servilius,498 who when Mallius Spurius was contriving to establish a tyranny and was stirring up the people, put a dagger under his arm, and going into the Forum and taking his stand close to the man, as if he were going to have something to do with him and to address him, struck him as he bent forwards and killed him. Now this is agreed on; but those who showed hatred and enmity towards Brutus on account of Cæsar’s death, say that on the father’s side he was not descended from the expeller of the Tarquinii, for that Brutus after putting his sons to death left no descendants, but this Brutus was a plebeian, the son of one Brutus who was a bailiff,499 and had only recently attained to a magistracy. Poseidonius the philosopher says that the sons of Brutus, who had arrived at man’s estate, were put to death as the story is told, but there was left a third, an infant, from whom the race of Brutus descended; and that some of the illustrious men of his time who belonged to the family showed a personal resemblance to the statue of Brutus. So much about this.

II. Servilia the mother of Brutus was a sister of Cato the philosopher, whom most of all the Romans this Brutus took for his model, Cato being his uncle and afterwards his father-in-law. As to the Greek philosophers, there was not one, so to say, whom he did not hear or to whom he was averse, but he devoted himself especially to those of Plato’s school. The Academy500 called the New and the Middle he was not much disposed to, and he attached himself to the Old, and continued to be an admirer of Antiochus501 of Ascalon; but for his friend and companion he chose Antiochus’s brother Aristus, a man who in his manner of discourse was inferior to many philosophers, but in well-regulated habits and mildness a rival to the first. Empylus,502 whom both Brutus in his letters and his friends 400often mentioned as being in intimacy with him, was a rhetorician and left a small work, though not a mean one, on the assassination of Cæsar, which is inscribed Brutus. In the Latin language Brutus was sufficiently trained for oratory503 and the contests of the forum; but in the Greek, he practised the apophthegmatic and Laconic brevity which is sometimes conspicuous in his letters. For instance when he was now engaged in the war, he wrote to the people of Pergamum: “I hear that you have given money to Dolabella; if you gave it willingly, you admit your wrong; if you gave it unwillingly, make proof of this by giving to me willingly!” On another occasion, to the Samians: “Your counsels are trifling; your help is slow. What end do you expect of this?” And another about the people of Patara: “The Xanthians by rejecting my favours have made their country the tomb of their desperation. The people of Patara by trusting to me want nothing of liberty in the management of their affairs. It is therefore in your power also to choose the decision of the people of Patara or the fortune of the Xanthians.” Such is the character of the most remarkable of his letters.

III. While he was still a youth he went abroad with his uncle Cato, who was sent to Cyprus504 to Ptolemæus. After Ptolemæus had put an end to himself, Cato, being detained of necessity in Rhodes, happened to have sent Canidius, one of his friends, to look after the money, but as he feared that Canidius would not keep his hands from filching, he wrote to Brutus to sail as quick as he could to Cyprus from Pamphylia; for Brutus was staying there to recover from an illness. Brutus sailed very much against his will, both out of respect for Canidius, as being undeservedly deprived of his functions by Cato, and inasmuch as he was a young man and a student,505 considering such a piece of business and administration not at all fit for a free man or for himself. However, he exerted 401himself about these matters and was commended by Cato; and when the king’s substance was converted into money, he took the greatest part and sailed to Rome.

IV. But when matters came to a division, Pompeius and Cæsar having taken up arms, and the government being in confusion, it was expected that he would choose Cæsar’s side, for his father506 was put to death by Pompeius some time before; but as he thought it right to prefer the public interests to his own, and as he considered the ground of Pompeius for the war to be better than Cæsar’s, he joined Pompeius. And yet, hitherto, when he met Pompeius, he would not even speak to him, thinking it a great crime to talk with his father’s murderer; but now, placing himself under Pompeius as leader of his country, he sailed to Sicily as legatus with Sestius,507 who had got it for his province. But as there was nothing of importance to do there, and Pompeius and Cæsar had already met together to contend for the supremacy, he went to Macedonia as a volunteer to share the danger; on which occasion they say that Pompeius, being delighted and surprised at his coming, rose from his seat and embraced him as a superior man in the presence of all. During the campaign all the daytime when he was not with Pompeius he was employed about study and books; and not only at other times, but also before the great battle. It was the height of summer, and the heat was excessive, as they were encamped close to marshy ground; and those who carried the tent of Brutus did not come quickly. After being much harassed about these matters, and having scarcely by midday anointed himself and taken a little to eat, while 402the rest were either sleeping or engaged in thought and care about the future, he kept on writing till evening-time, making an epitome of Polybius.508

V. It is said that Cæsar, too, was not indifferent about the man, but gave orders to those who commanded under him not to kill Brutus in the battle, but to spare him; find if he yielded to bring him, and if he resisted being taken, to let him alone and not force him; and this, it is said, he did to please Servilia,509 the mother of Brutus. For when he was still a youth, he had, it seems, known Servilia, who was passionately in love with him, and as Brutus was born about the time when her love was most ardent, he had in some degree a persuasion that Brutus was his son. It is recorded that when the great affair of Catilina had engaged the Senate, which affair came very near overturning the State, Cato and Cæsar were standing up at the same time and disputing. While this was going on, a small letter was brought in and given to Cæsar, which he read silently, whereon Cato called out that Cæsar was doing a shameful thing in receiving communications and letters from their enemies. Many of the Senators hereon made a tumult, and Cæsar gave the letter just as it was to Cato, and it was a passionate letter from his sister Servilia, which he read and throwing it to Cæsar said, “Take it, drunkard;” and he again turned afresh to his argument and his speech. So notorious was the love of Servilia for Cæsar.


VI. After the defeat at Pharsalus and the escape of Pompeius to the sea, while the ramparts were blockaded, Brutus secretly got out of the gates which led to a marshy spot, full of water and reeds, and made his way by night to Larissa. From thence he wrote to Cæsar, who was pleased that he was alive and told him to come to him; and he not only pardoned Brutus, but had him about him and treated him with as much respect as any one else. No one could say where Pompeius had fled to, and there was much doubt about it; but Cæsar walking a short way alone with Brutus tried to find out his opinion on the matter; and as Brutus appeared, from certain considerations, to have come to the best conjecture about the flight of Pompeius, Cæsar leaving everything else hurried to Egypt. But Pompeius, who, as Brutus conjectured, had landed in Egypt, met his fate there; and Brutus mollified Cæsar even towards Cassius.510 When Brutus was speaking in defence of the King of the Libyans,511 he felt himself overpowered by the magnitude of the charges against him, but yet by his prayers and urgent entreaties he preserved for him a large part of his dommions. Cæsar is said, when he first heard Brutus speaking, to have remarked to his friends: “This youth, I know not what he wills, but what he does will, he wills with energy.” For the earnest character of Brutus, and his disposition not to listen unadvisedly nor to every one who asked a favour, but to act upon reflection and principle, made his efforts strong and effective towards accomplishing whatever ho turned to. But towards unreasonable prayers he was immovable by flattery, and to be overcome by those who impudently urged their suit, which some call to be shamed out of a thing, he considered to be most disgraceful to a great man, and he was wont to say that those who can refuse nothing, 404were in his opinion persons who had not well husbanded their youthful bloom. When Cæsar was going to cross over to Libya against Cato and Scipio, he intrusted Brutus with Gallia512 on this side of the Alps, to the great good fortune of the province; for while the other provinces, through the violence and rapacity of those who were intrusted with them, were harassed like conquered countries, Brutus was to the Gauls a relief and consolation for their former misfortunes; and he put all to Cæsar’s credit, so that when after his return Cæsar was going about Italy, the cities that had been under Brutus were a most pleasing sight, as well as Brutus himself, who was increasing his honour and associating with him as a friend.

VII. Now there were several prætorships, but that which conferred the chief dignity, and is called the Urban prætorship,513 it was expected that either Brutus or Cassius would have; and some say that Brutus and Cassius, who had before some slight causes of dispute, were still more at variance about this office, though they were kinsmen, for Cassius was the husband of Junia, the sister of Brutus. Others say that this rivalry was the work of Cæsar, who continued secretly to give both of them hopes, until, being thus urged on and irritated, they were brought into collision. Brutus relied on his good fame and virtues against the many splendid exploits of Cassius in his Parthian campaigns. Cæsar hearing this and consulting with his friends said: “What Cassius says has more justice, but Brutus must have the first office.” Cassius was appointed to another prætorship, but he had not so much gratitude for what he got, as anger for what he failed in getting. Brutus also shared Cæsar’s power in 405other respects as much as he chose. For if he had chosen, he might have been the first of his friends and had most power; but his intimacy with Cassius drew him that way and turned him from Cæsar, though he had not yet been reconciled to Cassius after their former rivalry; but he listened to his friends who urged him not to let himself be softened and soothed by Cæsar, and to fly from the friendly advances and the favours which a tyrant showed him, not because he respected the virtues of Brutus, but because he wished to curtail his vigour and to undermine his spirit.

VIII. Nor yet was Cæsar altogether without suspicions of Brutus, and matter of complaint against him; he feared the proud temper and the credit and friends of the man, but he trusted in his moral character. In the first place, when Antonius and Dolabella514 were said to be aiming at change, he said, it was not sleek and long-haired men who gave him trouble, but those pale and lean fellows, meaning Brutus and Cassius. Next, when some persons were making insinuations against the fidelity of Brutus and urging Cæsar to be on his guard, he touched his body with his hand and said, “What, think you that Brutus would not wait for this poor body?” thereby intimating that no person but Brutus had any pretensions to so much power after himself. And indeed it seems that Brutus might certainly have been the first man in the State, if he could have endured for a short time to be second to Cæsar, and if he had let Cæsar’s power pass its acme, and the fame got by his great exploits waste away. But Cassius, who was a violent-tempered man and rather on his individual account a hater of Cæsar than on the public account a hater of the tyrant, inflamed Brutus and urged him on. Brutus indeed is said to have been discontented with the dominion, but Cassius to have hated the dominator; and Cassius had various grievances against Cæsar and among others, the seizing of the lions, which Cassius had procured when he was going to be ædile, but Cæsar kept them after they had been found in Megara at the time when the city was taken by Calenus.515 It is said that these beasts were 406the cause of great calamity to the people of Megara: for when the enemy were getting possession of the city, the citizens forced open their dens and loosed their chains, that the beasts might oppose the enemy who were entering the city, but they rushed against the citizens themselves, and running among them rent those who were unarmed, so that the sight moved even the enemy to pity.

IX. Now they say that this was with Cassius the main cause of his conspiring; but they say so untruly. For there was from the beginning in the nature of Cassius a certain hostility and dislike to all the race of tyrants, as he showed when he was still a boy and went to the same school with Faustus,516 the son of Sulla. Faustus was one day bragging among the boys and exalting the monarchy of his father, on which Cassius got up and thumped him. The guardians of Faustus and his kinsmen were desirous to prosecute the matter and seek legal satisfaction; but Pompeius prevented this, and bringing both the boys together questioned them about the affair. Thereon it is reported that Cassius said, “Come, now, Faustus, say if you dare before Pompeius the words at which I was enraged, that I may break your mouth again.” Such was the character of Cassius. But many words from his friends and many oral and written expressions from the citizens called and urged Brutus to the deed. For they wrote on the statue of his ancestor Brutus, who had put down the dominion of the kings: “Would you were here, Brutus!” and “Would Brutus were now living!” And the tribunal of Brutus, who was prætor, was found every morning full of such writings as these: “Brutus, are you asleep?” and “You are not really Brutus!” But they who were the real cause of this were the flatterers of Cæsar, who devised various unpopular distinctions for him and placed diadems on his statues by night, as if their design was to lead on the many to salute him as king instead of dictator. But the contrary was the result, as it has been circumstantially told in the Life of Cæsar.517 407

X. When Cassius was trying to move his friends against Cæsar, they all assented, provided Brutus would take the lead; for they said that the undertaking required not hands nor yet daring, but the character of a man such as Brutus was, who should as it were begin the holy rite and confirm it by his presence: if this could not be, the conspirators would be more dispirited in the doing of the deed and more timid when they had done it, for it would be said that Brutus would not have rejected all share in the thing, if it had a good cause. Cassius, who saw the truth of this, now made the first advances to Brutus since their difference. And after their reconciliation and friendly greeting Cassius asked, if he intended to be present in the Senate on the new-moon of March, for he heard that Cæsar’s friends would then make a proposal about the kingly power. Brutus replied that he would not be present. “What then,” said Cassius, “if they summon us?” “It would be my business then,” said Brutus, “not to be silent, but to fight and die in defence of liberty.” Cassius being now encouraged said, “What Roman will endure that you die first? Brutus, do you not know yourself? Do you think it is the weavers and tavern-keepers who have written on your tribunal, and not the first and best who have done this, and who demand from the other prætors donations and shows and gladiators, but from you, as a debt that you owe your country, the destruction of the tyranny, and who are ready to suffer everything for you, if you show yourself to be such a man as they think you ought to be and they expect you to be.” Upon this he threw his arms around Brutus and embraced him, and thus separating each went to his friends.

XI. There was one Caius Ligarius,518 a friend of Pompeius, who had been accused on this ground and acquitted by Cæsar. This man, who had not gratitude for his acquittal of the charge, but was hostile to the power by 408reason of which he had been in danger, was an enemy of Cæsar, and one of the most intimate friends of Brutus. Brutus, who came to see him when he was sick, said, “Ligarius, at what a time you are sick!” Immediately supporting himself on his elbow, and laying hold of the hand of Brutus, Ligarius said, “But if you, Brutus, design anything worthy of yourself, I am well.”

XII. After this they secretly sounded their acquaintance whom they trusted, and communicated the design to them, and added them to their number; making choice not only among their intimates, but those whom they knew to be good darers and to despise death. It was for this reason that they concealed their design from Cicero, though both as to trustworthiness and goodwill he was esteemed by them among the first, lest to his natural defect of courage he should join by reason of his years senile caution, and so attempting by deliberation to bring everything singly to perfect security, should blunt their edge, which required the speed of ready action. Among his other companions Brutus omitted also Statilius519 the Epicurean, and Favonius, an admirer of Cato, because when Brutus, in conversation and philosophical disquisition, had remotely and in a circuitous way sounded them about such an attempt, Favonius answered that a civil war was worse than an illegal monarchy; and Statilius said that it was not befitting a wise man, and one who had understanding, to expose himself to danger and to trouble on account of the vile and foolish. Labeo,520 who was present, opposed both of them. Brutus, indeed, at the time kept silent, as if he considered that the matter was something hard and difficult to determine; but afterwards he communicated his design to Labeo. When Labeo had readily accepted the proposal, it was resolved to gain over 409the other Brutus, surnamed Albinus,521 who was not a man of action, nor courageous, but he was strengthened by a number of gladiators, whom he was keeping for a spectacle for the Romans, and he was also in the confidence of Cæsar. When Cassius and Labeo spoke to him he made no answer, but meeting privately with Brutus, and learning that he was the leader in the act, he agreed to co-operate zealously. The greater part, and the men of chief note among the rest of the conspirators, were also brought over by the reputation of Brutus. And without swearing any mutual oath, or taking or giving mutual pledges by sacrifice of victims, they all so kept the secret in themselves and were silent and carried it with them, that the act, though prognosticated by the gods through oracular answers and sights and victims, was considered past belief.

XIII. Brutus having now the first men in Rome, both for spirit and family and virtues, dependent upon himself, and having a view of the whole danger, in his public demeanour endeavoured to restrain within himself and to keep his designs under strict control; but at home and by night he was no longer the same man, for sometimes care roused him involuntarily from his sleep, and at other times he was sunk in thought and brooding over the difficulties; and it did not escape his wife, who was resting with him, that he was full of unusual trouble, and was revolving in himself some design hard to carry and difficult to unravel. Now Porcia,522 as it has been said, was the daughter of Cato, and Brutus, who was her cousin, had married her, not in her virgin state, but he took her after the death of her husband, while she was still a young woman, and had one little child by her husband, and the child’s name was Bibulus; and there is extant a small book of memoirs of Brutus, written by Bibulus. Porcia, who was a philosopher 410 and loved her husband, and was full of spirit and good sense, did not attempt to question her husband about his secrets before she had made trial of herself in manner following. She took a knife, such as barbers pare the nails with, and putting all her attendants out of the chamber, she inflicted a deep wound in her thigh, so that there was a large flow of blood, and, shortly after, violent pains and shivering fever came upon her in consequence of the wound. Brutus being agonised and full of trouble, Porcia spoke to him thus in the acme of her pain: “I, Brutus, Cato’s daughter, was given unto thy house, not like women, who serve as concubines, to share thy bed and board only, but to be a partner in thy happiness, and a partner in thy sorrows. Now, with respect to thy marriage, everything is blameless on thy part; but as to me, what evidence is there, or what affection, if I must neither share with thee a secret sorrow nor a care which demands confidence? I know that a woman’s nature is considered too weak to carry a secret, but, Brutus, there is a certain power towards making moral character in a good nurture and honest conversation; and I am Cato’s daughter and also Brutus’ wife, whereon hitherto I had less relied, but now I know that I am also invincible to pain.” Thus saying, she showed him the wound, and told him of the trial she had made of herself. Struck with astonishment and stretching forth his hands, Brutus prayed that the gods would permit him to succeed in the enterprise and to show himself a husband worthy of Porcia. He then consoled his wife.

XIV. When notice had been given of a meeting of the Senate, at which Cæsar was expected to be present, they resolved to make the attempt, for they would be then collected without raising any suspicion, and they would have together all the men of highest character and rank, who would be ready as soon as a great act was accomplished, forthwith to seize their freedom. The circumstance of the place, too, was considered to be a token from heaven and in their favour. For it was a portico, one belonging to the theatre,523 with an exhedra, in which there was a statue of Pompeius, which the city erected at 411the time when Pompeius adorned that site with porticoes and the theatre. Hither then the Senate was summoned about the middle of the month of March; the Romans call the day the Ides; so that some dæmon seemed to be bringing the man to the vengeance of Pompeius. When the day came, Brutus put a dagger under his vest, without any one being privy to it except his wife, and went forth; the rest assembled at the house of Cassius, to conduct down to the Forum Cassius’ son, who was going to assume the toga called virilis. From thence they all hurried to the portico of Pompeius, where they waited in expectation of Cæsar’s coming immediately to the Senate. Herein most of all would one have admired the impassiveness of the men and their presence of mind before the danger, if he had known what was going to take place—in that, being compelled by their duties of prætor to attend to the concerns of many persons, they not only listened patiently to those who came before them and had matter in dispute, like men who have plenty of leisure, but they also gave to each their decision in exact form and with judgment, carefully attending to the business. And when one person, who was unwilling to submit to the decision, was appealing to Cæsar, and calling out loud and protesting, Brutus, looking on the bystanders, said: “Cæsar does not hinder me from acting according to the laws, and he will not hinder me.”

XV. And yet many things chanced to fall out to cause them perplexity; first and chief, that Cæsar tarried while the day was getting on, and as the victims were not propitious, was kept at home by his wife, and was hindered by the priests from going abroad. In the next place, a person came up to Casca, who was one of the conspirators, and taking his hand said, “Casca, you have concealed the secret from us, but Brutus has disclosed all to me.” Casca was startled at this, whereon the other smiled and said, “How have you grown so rich all at once as to become a candidate for the ædileship?” So near did Casca come to betraying the secret, being deceived by the ambiguity of the man’s words. A senator also, Popilius Lænas,524 saluted Brutus and Cassius in a more lively way than usual, and 412whispering in a low tone, “You have my wishes,” he said, “for success in what you design, and I urge you not to tarry, for the matter is no secret.” Saying this he withdrew, putting them in great suspicion of the intended deed being known. In the meantime one came running from the house of Brutus and told him that his wife was dying. For Porcia, who was beside herself through thinking of what was going to be done, and unable to bear the weight of her anxiety, could scarce keep herself within doors, and at every noise and shout, like those possessed with bacchic frenzy, she would spring forth and question every one who came in from the Forum, what Brutus was doing, and was continually sending others out. At length, as the time began to be protracted, her bodily strength no longer held out, but she fainted and swooned away, her mind wandering by reason of her perplexity; and she could not reach her apartment before faintness and indescribable alarm seized her, where she was sitting in the midst of her attendants, and her colour changed and her voice was completely choked. Her maids at this sight shrieked aloud, and as the neighbours quickly ran to the door, a report went forth and was given out abroad, that she was dead. However she quickly recovered and was herself again, and her women took care of her. Brutus was troubled, as was natural, by this report coming upon him; yet he did not desert the public interest, nor allow himself to be carried away by his feelings to his own domestic affairs.

XVI. And now it was told that Cæsar was approaching, borne in a litter. For he had determined, in consequence of being dispirited by the sacrifices, to ratify nothing of importance at that time, but to put things off on the pretext of illness. When he had stepped out of the litter, Popilius Lænas hurried up to him, he who had a little before wished Brutus good luck and success, and he talked some time with Cæsar who was standing there and listening. The conspirators (for so we may call them) not hearing what he said, but conjecturing from their own suspicions that the conversation was a discovery of the plot, sunk in their spirits and looked at one another, by their countenances declaring to one another that they ought not to wait to 413be seized, but forthwith to die by their own hands. Cassius and some others had already laid their hands on the hilts of their daggers under their garments and were drawing them out, when Brutus observing in the attitude of Lænas the earnestness of a man who was asking a favour and not preferring an accusation, said nothing, because so many persons not of their party were mingled with them, but he encouraged Cassius by the cheering expression of his countenance. And soon after Lænas kissed Cæsar’s right hand and withdrew, by which it was plain that he had spoken with Cæsar about himself and some of his own concerns.

XVII.525 The Senate having advanced to the exhedra, the conspirators surrounded Cæsar’s chair, as if they designed to have a conference with him. And it is said that Cassius, turning his face to the statue of Pompeius, invoked him as if he could hear; and Trebonius having engaged Antonius in conversation at the door kept him out. As Cæsar entered, the Senate stood up, and as soon as he sat down, the conspirators in a body surrounded him, putting forward Tillius Cimber, one of their number, to supplicate for his brother who was an exile; and they all joined in the supplication, laying hold of Cæsar’s hands, and they kissed his breast and head. Cæsar at first repulsed their intreaties, and then, as they did not intermit, he made a sudden attempt to rise up, on which Tillius, with both his hands, pulled Cæsar’s garment down from the shoulders, and Casca first of all (for he stood behind him) drew his sword and drove it into Cæsar’s body near the shoulders, but to no great depth. Cæsar, laying hold of the handle, cried out aloud in the Roman language, “Villain Casca, what are you doing!” and Casca, addressing his brother in Greek, urged him to come to his aid. Cæsar being now assaulted by many, looked around with the intention of forcing his way through them, but when he saw Brutus drawing his sword against him, he let loose his hold of Casca’s hand, and wrapping his head in his garment he offered his body 414to the blows. The conspirators, who were all mingled in confusion, and using their numerous swords against Cæsar, wounded one another, so that even Brutus received a blow on the hand while he was taking part in the slaughter; and they were all drenched with blood.

XVIII. Cæsar having been thus killed, Brutus advanced into the midst wishing to speak, and he attempted to detain the Senate by encouraging them; but the senators, through fear, fled in disorder, and there was shoving and confusion about the door, though no one pursued or pressed upon them. For it had been firmly resolved to kill no other than Cæsar, but to invite all to freedom. Now the rest, when they were deliberating about the deed, were of opinion that they should kill Antonius at the same time with Cæsar, as he was a man who aspired to monarchical power and was a violent man, and had got strength by his intercourse and familiarity with the army; and chiefly that to his natural haughtiness and daring temper he had added the dignity of the consulship, being then Cæsar’s colleague. But Brutus opposed the design, first relying on grounds of justice, and next suggesting hopes of a change. For he did not despair that Antonius, a man of generous nature, a lover of honourable distinctions and fond of fame, when Cæsar was put out of the way, would join his country in seizing hold of freedom, and be led on by them through emulation to what was good. In this way Brutus saved Antonius; but in the then alarm Antonius changed his dress for plebeian attire and fled. Brutus and his partisans went to the Capitol, their hands stained with blood, and displaying their bare swords called the citizens to liberty. Now, at first, there were shouts, and the people running this way and that, as chance would have it, after the murder, increased the confusion; but as there was no more slaughter and no plundering of the things exposed for sale, both the senators and many of the plebeians took heart and went up to the conspirators to the Capitol. The multitude being assembled, Brutus spoke in a way to please the people and suitable to the circumstances; and as the people commended him and called out for them to come down, the conspirators confidently descended to the Forum, the rest following with one another; 415 but many of the persons of distinction putting Brutus in the midst of them, conducted him with great show from the Capitol, and placed him on the Rostra. At the sight of this the many, though a mingled body and prepared to raise a tumult, were afraid, and they awaited the result in order and silence. When Brutus came forward they all listened to what he said; but that the deed was not agreeable to all, they made evident when Cinna began to speak and to bring charges against Cæsar, by breaking out in passion and abusing Cinna, so that the conspirators returned to the Capitol. Brutus, fearing to be blockaded, then sent away the chief persons of those who had gone up with him, not thinking it right that, as they had no share in the blame, they should sustain a share in the danger.

XIX. However, on the following day when the Senate met in the temple of Earth, and Antonius and Plancus526 and Cicero had spoken about an amnesty and concord, it was resolved that the conspirators should not only have impunity, but that the consuls should also propose a measure for conferring honours on them. They voted these things, and then separated. After Antonius had sent his son to the Capitol as a hostage, Brutus and the conspirators came down, and there were salutations and pressing of hands among all of them together. Antonius received Cassius and feasted him, and Lepidus entertained Brutus; and the rest were entertained by others according to the intimacy or friendship that existed between them. At daybreak the senators met again, and in the first place they conferred honours on Antonius for having stopped the beginning of civil wars; in the second place, thanks were given to Brutus and his friends who were present, and finally distributions of provinces. For to Brutus they decreed Crete, and to Cassius Libya, and to Trebonius Asia, and to Cimber Bithynia, and to the other Brutus Gallia on the Eridanus.

XX. After this a discussion arising about the will of 416Cæsar and his interment, and Antonius demanding that the will should be read, and that the body should be carried forth not secretly nor without due honours, so that this, too, might not irritate the people, Cassius violently opposed it, but Brutus gave way, wherein he was considered to have made a second mistake. For in sparing Antonius he incurred the imputation of strengthening against the conspirators a dangerous and irresistible enemy; and as to the matter of the interment, in allowing it to take place in the way in which Antonius demanded, he was considered to have altogether made a mistake. For in the first place there being given by the will to every Roman seventy-five drachmæ,527 and to the people there being left the gardens beyond the river, where the temple of Fortuna now is, a wonderful degree of affection and regret for Cæsar seized the citizens: in the second place, when the body had been carried into the Forum, and Antonius according to custom had pronounced a funeral oration in honour of Cæsar, seeing that the masses were stirred by his speech, he changed their feeling into compassion, and taking the blood-stained vest of Cæsar he unfolded it and showed the rents and the number of the wounds. Upon this there was no longer any order kept; but some called out to kill the murderers, and others, as before in the case of Clodius528 the demagogue, tearing up the benches and tables from the workshops and bringing them together made a very large pile; and placing the corpse upon it in the midst of many temples and asyla and holy places burnt it. When the fire blazed forth, men from various quarters, approaching and plucking out half-burnt pieces of wood, ran about to the houses of Cæsar’s assassins, intending to fire them. But they were already well prepared and repelled the danger. Now there was one Cinna,529 a man given to poetry, who was under no imputation in the matter, and had even been a friend of Cæsar. He dreamed in a dream that he was invited by Cæsar to supper and he refused; but Cæsar urged and forced him, and at last, laying hold of his hand, 417led him to a vast and gloomy place, he following the while unwilling and alarmed. After having this vision, it happened that he had a fever in the night. Nevertheless, in the morning, when Cæsar’s body was being carried forth he felt ashamed not to be present, and went out to the rabble, who were now in a ferocious mood. Being seen and supposed to be not the Cinna that he was, but the Cinna who had lately reviled Cæsar before the assembly, he was torn in pieces.

XXI. It was mainly through fear on account of this unlucky affair, next after the change in Antonius, that Brutus and his partisans left the city. They stayed in Antium530 at first, with the design of returning to Rome when the popular fury should have passed its height and worn itself out. And this they expected to take place as a matter of course among numbers which were subject to unsteady and rapid movements, and because they had the Senate in their favour, who without taking any notice of those that had torn Cinna to pieces, sought out and seized those who had attacked the houses of the conspirators. The people, too, already annoyed at Antonius being nearly established in monarchical power, longed for Brutus, and it was expected that he would, in person, superintend the spectacles531 which as prætor it was his duty to exhibit. But when Brutus heard that many of those who had served under Cæsar and received lands and cities from him, were forming designs against him, and were dropping into the city a few at a time, he did not venture to go, and the people saw the spectacles, which, though Brutus was absent, were furnished without any thrift and in a profuse style. For he had purchased a great number of wild beasts, and he gave orders that none should be sold or left, but that all should be killed; and he himself went down to Neapolis and engaged most of the actors. With respect to a certain Canutius who was much in favour on the theatre, he wrote 418to his friends that they should get him on the stage by persuasion, for it was not fit that any Greek should be forced. He also wrote to Cicero and urged him by all means to be present at the spectacles.

XXII. While affairs were in this state, another change was brought about by the arrival of the young Cæsar.532 He was the son of Cæsar’s niece, but by Cæsar’s testament he was left his son and heir: and he was staying at Apollonia when Cæsar was killed, being engaged with philosophical studies and waiting for Cæsar, who had resolved to march forthwith against the Parthians. As soon as he heard of Cæsar’s death he came to Rome, and by assuming Cæsar’s name as a mode of beginning to get the popular favour, and by paying among the citizens the money that was left them, he made a strong party against Antonius, and by distributing money he got together and assembled many of those who had served under Cæsar. Now when Cicero took the side of Cæsar through hatred of Antonius, Brutus533 rebuked him strongly in his letters, saying that Cicero did not dislike a master, but feared a master who hated him, and that his policy was to choose a mild servitude, as he showed by writing and saying, “How good Cæsar is!” But our fathers, he said, did not endure even mild masters. He said that for his part at this crisis he had neither quite resolved to fight nor to remain quiet, but he was resolved on one thing only, not to be a slave; but he wondered at Cicero, that he was afraid of a civil war and one attended with danger, and was not afraid of a base and inglorious peace, and that he asked as a reward for ejecting Antonius from the tyranny, to be allowed to make Cæsar a tyrant.

XXIII. Now in his first letters Brutus thus expressed himself; but when people were separating themselves, some on the side of Cæsar and some on the side of Antonius, and the armies being venal were selling themselves as it were by auction to the highest bidder, Brutus, 419altogether despairing of affairs, resolved to leave Italy, and he went by land through Lucania to Velia534 to the sea. From this place Porcia, intending to turn back to Rome, endeavoured to conceal her excessive emotion, but a painting made her betray herself though she was a noble-spirited woman. It was a subject from Grecian story, Hector accompanied by Andromache,535 who was receiving her infant son from Hector and looking upon him. The sight of the picture, in which her own feelings were portrayed, melted Porcia to tears, and she went to it many times in the day and wept. Acilius, one of the friends of Brutus, having pronounced the words of Andromache to Hector:—

“Hector, thou art to me father and mother dear,
And brother too, and husband in thy bloom:”

Brutus, smiling, said, “But it is not for me to say to Porcia as Hector said:

“‘The loom and distaff, and command the maids;’

for owing to the natural weakness of her body she is unable to perform noble deeds equally with us, but in her mind she nobly dares as we do in defence of our country.” This is recorded by Bibulus, the son of Porcia.

XXIV. Having set out thence Brutus sailed towards Athens.536 The people received him gladly with expressions of good wishes and public honours, and he lodged 420with a friend. As he attended the discourses of Theomnestus the Academic, and Cratippus537 the Peripatetic, and associated with those philosophers, it was supposed that he was altogether inactive and was unbending himself. But he was busied about preparations for war, when no one suspected it; for he sent Herostratus into Macedonia with the view of gaining over those who were with the armies there, and he attached to himself and kept with him the young men from Rome who were residing at Athens for the sake of their studies. Among them was also a son of Cicero whom Brutus particularly commends, and says, that whether he is waking or sleeping, he admires him for his noble disposition and hatred of tyrants. Having now begun openly to attend to affairs, and hearing that Roman vessels full of money were sailing over from Asia, with a commander on board who was an honest man and an acquaintance of his, he met him near Carystus;538 and having fallen in with him and persuaded him and obtained a surrender of the vessels, he prepared for a magnificent entertainment, for it was the birthday of Brutus. When they had come to drinking and were pouring out wine with wishes for the success of Brutus and the liberty of the Romans, Brutus, wishing to encourage them still more, asked for a larger cup, and taking it up, without anything moving thereto, he uttered the following verse:

“Me evil fate and Leto’s son539 have slain.”

In addition to this they report that when he went out to fight the last battle at Philippi, Apollo was the word that he gave to his soldiers. Accordingly they consider that the utterance of that verse was a sign of what was to befall him.


XXV. After this Antistius gave Brutus fifty ten thousands out of the money which he was taking to Italy; and all the soldiers of Pompeius who were still rambling about Thessaly gladly flocked to Brutus; and he took five hundred horsemen from Cinna who was conducting them into Asia to Dolabella.540 He then sailed against Demetrias541 and got possession of a large quantity of arms, which were going to be carried away to Antonius, and had been made at the command of the elder Cæsar for the Parthian war. Hortensius,542 the governor, also surrendered Macedonia to him, and the kings and rulers all around began to side with him and to come over; but in the meantime news arrived that Caius, the brother of Antonius, had crossed over from Italy and was marching straight against the troops which Gabinius543 had under him in Epidamnus and Apollonia. Brutus, intending to anticipate and prevent him, immediately put in motion those who were with him, and marched through a difficult country in the midst of a snow-storm; and he was far in advance of those who conveyed the provisions. As he came near Epidamnus, he began to suffer from bulimy544 through exhaustion and cold. This malady chiefly attacks both beasts and men when they are worn out and in the midst of the snow, whether it is that the heat owing to the refrigeration and condensation, when everything is internally compressed, consumes the nourishment all at once, or that a sharp and subtle 422breath arising from the snow penetrating through, cuts the body and destroys the warmth which is dispersed outwards from it. For it seems that heat causes sweats through meeting with the cold and being quenched about the surface; whereof there has been further discussion in another place.

XXVI. As Brutus was fainting, and no one in the army had anything to eat, his attendants were compelled to fly for refuge to their enemies, and approaching the gates they asked bread of the watch, who hearing of the mishap of Brutus came and brought to eat and to drink. In return for which, when Brutus got possession of the city, he not only treated them kindly, but also all the rest for their sake. Caius Antonius now came up to Apollonia and summoned the soldiers who were there; but when they went over to Brutus, and he perceived that the people of Apollonia were in favour of Brutus, he left the city and marched to Buthrotum.545 And in the first place he lost three cohorts, which were cut to pieces by Brutus on the march; and in the next place, attempting to force the posts about Byblis, which were already occupied, he came to a battle with Cicero and was defeated; for Brutus employed Cicero in command and gained many successes through him. Brutus himself came upon Caius, who was in marshy ground and far separated from the rest of his troops, but he would not let his men make an attack, and he threw his cavalry around him with orders to spare the men, saying that in a short time they would be theirs; which in fact happened, for they surrendered themselves and their general, so that there was now a large force with Brutus. Now Brutus treated Caius respectfully for some time and did not deprive him of the insignia of his office, though, as they say, many persons, and Cicero among the rest, wrote to him from Rome and urged him to do it. But as Caius began to have secret 423conferences with the officers and attempted to excite a mutiny, he had him put in a ship and guarded. The soldiers who had been corrupted fled to Apollonia and invited Brutus there, but Brutus said that this was not the custom among the Romans, and that they must come to their general, and ask pardon for their offence. They came, and Brutus pardoned them at their prayer.

XXVII. As Brutus was going to set out for Asia, news arrived of the changes at Rome. The young Caesar had been strengthened by the Senate against Antonius, whom he had driven out of Italy, and he was now formidable, and was seeking for the consulship contrary to law, and maintaining large armies of which the State had no need. But when Caesar saw that the Senate was displeased at this, and was looking abroad towards Brutus and decreeing provinces546 for him and confirming them, he became alarmed. And he sent to Antonius and invited him to friendship, and placing his troops around the city he got the consulship, being yet hardly a young man, but in his twentieth year, as he said in his Memoirs. He immediately instituted a prosecution on a charge of murder against Brutus and his partisans, for having put to death without trial the first man in the state who was filling the highest offices; and he named as the accuser of Brutus, Lucius Cornificius, and Marcus Agrippa as the accuser of Cassius. Accordingly they were condemned for default of appearance, the judices being compelled to go to the vote. It is said that when the crier, according to custom, from the tribunal summoned Brutus into court, the mass gave a loud groan, and the nobles bent their heads to the ground and kept silence; but that Publius Silicius was seen to shed tears, and for this reason was shortly after one of those who were proscribed. After this, the three, Cæsar, Antonius and Lepidus, distributed the provinces among them, and caused the slaughter and proscription of two hundred men, among whom Cicero perished.

XXXVIII. When the news of these events reached Macedonia, Brutus,547 compelled by circumstances, wrote 424to Hortensius to put Caius Antonius to death, on the ground of avenging Brutus and Cicero, the one being his friend, and the other both a friend and kinsman. This was the reason why Antonius, when he afterwards took Hortensius at Philippi, put him to death on the tomb of his brother. Brutus says that he felt more shame at the cause of Cicero’s death than sympathy at his misfortune, and that he blamed his friends in Rome, for they were slain more through their own fault than that of the tyrants, and that they submitted to see and to witness what it should have been intolerable for them even to hear. Brutus having taken his army over to Asia, which was now a considerable force, set about fitting out a naval force in Bithynia548 and in the neighbourhood of Cyzicus; and himself moving about with his troops settled the cities and had interviews with the rulers; and he sent to Cassius549 into Syria to recall him from Egypt; for he said that it was not to get dominion, but to deliver their country that they were rambling about and collecting a force with which they would put down the tyrants; that they ought therefore, remembering and keeping in mind this purpose, not to hold themselves far from Italy, but to hasten thither and to aid the citizens. Cassius obeyed, and Brutus met him on his return; and they fell in with one another near Smyrna, for the first time since they had separated in Peiraeus and set out, the one for Syria, the other for Macedonia. They had accordingly great pleasure and confidence owing to the force which each had. For they had hurried from Italy like the most despicable fugitives, without money and without arms, without a single ship, a single soldier, or a city, and yet after no very long interval they had come together with ships and troops and horses and money, able to struggle for the supremacy of the Romans.


XXIX. Now Cassius was desirous to have and to allow an equal share of honour, but Brutus herein anticipated him by generally going to Cassius who, in age, was his superior, and in body was not able to sustain equal toil. The opinion was that Cassius was skilled in military matters, but was violent in passion and governed mainly by fear, while towards his intimates he was too much inclined to use ridicule and was too fond of jesting. As to Brutus, they say that he was esteemed by the many for his virtues, but loved by his friends, admired by the nobles, and not hated even by his enemies, because the man was extraordinarily mild and high-minded and unmoved by anger, pleasure or love of aggrandisement, and kept his judgment upright and unbending in the maintenance of honour and justice. That which got him most goodwill and reputation was the faith which men had in his motives. For neither that great Pompeius, if he had put down Cæsar, was confidently expected to give up his power to the laws, but to retain affairs in his hands, pacifying the people with the name of consulship and dictatorship or some other title with more pleasing name; and this Cassius, who was a violent and passionate man and was often carried away from justice in quest of gain, more than any one else they thought would carry on war, and ramble about and expose himself to danger for the purpose of getting power for himself, not liberty for the citizens. For as to the men of still earlier times, the Cinnas and Marii and Carbos, they viewed their country as a prize and booty for competition, and all but in express words fought to get a tyranny. But as to Brutus, they say that not even his enemies imputed to him such a change in his purpose, but that many persons had heard Antonius say, he thought Brutus was the only person who conspired against Cæsar because of being moved by the splendour and apparent noble nature of the deed, and that the rest combined against the man because they hated and envied him. Accordingly it appears from what Brutus says that he trusted not so much in his power as in his virtues. He wrote to Atticus when he was just approaching the danger, that his affairs were in the best plight as to fortune, for that he should either get the victory 426and free the Roman people, or should die and be released from slavery; and though everything else was safe and secure for them, one thing was uncertain, whether they should live and be free or die. He says that Marcus Antonius was paying a just penalty for his folly, for while he might have been numbered with the Bruti and Cassii and Catos, he made himself an appendage to Octavius, and if he should not be defeated with him, he would shortly after have to fight against him. Now he seems, in saying this, to have well divined what was to happen.

XXX. While they were then in Smyrna, Brutus claimed a share of the money which Cassius had collected to a great amount, for Brutus alleged that he had expended all his own resources in building so great a fleet with which they would command all the internal sea.550 But the friends of Cassius were not for letting him give up the money, saying, “What you save by economy and get with odium, it is not fair that he should take and apply to gaining popularity and gratifying the soldiers.” However, Cassius gave him a third part of all. Separating again to their several undertakings, Cassius, after taking Rhodes, did not conduct himself with moderation, but made this answer at his entrance to those who addressed him as king and lord: “I am neither king nor lord, but the executioner and punisher of lord and king.” Brutus demanded of the Lycians money and men. When Naucrates the demagogue persuaded the cities to revolt, and the people occupied certain heights to prevent Brutus from passing, in the first place he sent cavalry against them when they were eating, who killed six hundred of them; and in the next place taking possession of the posts and forts, he released all the people without ransom with the view of gaining over the nation by kindness. But the people were obstinate, being enraged at what they had suffered, and despising his moderation and humanity, till at last Brutus drove into Xanthas551 the most warlike of the Lycians, and blockaded them there. Some of them attempted to escape by swimming under the river which flowed by the city: but they were caught by nets which were sunk in the channel to the bottom, and the tops of the nets had bells attached to them which gave a signal as soon as any one was caught. The Xanthians, making a sally by night, threw fire on certain engines; and when they were driven back into the town by the Romans who perceived them, and a strong wind began to blow against the battlements the flame which was laying hold of the adjoining houses, Brutus, who feared for the city, ordered his soldiers to help to extinguish the fire.

XXXI. But the Lycians were all at once seized with a horrible impulse to despair surpassing all description, which might be best likened to a passion for death; for with their wives and children, both freemen and slaves, and people of every age, they threw missiles from the walls upon the enemy who were assisting to quench the flames, and carrying reeds and wood and everything combustible, they drew the fire to the city, offering to it all kinds of material and in every way exciting and feeding it. As the flames rushed onwards and engirdling the city blazed forth with violence, Brutus, in great affliction at what was going on, rode round the walls, being eager to save the people, and stretching out his hands to the Xanthians he prayed them to spare themselves and save the city; and yet no one regarded him, but in every way they sought to destroy themselves; and not only men and women, but even the little children; with cries and shouts, some leaped into the fire and others broke their necks from the walls, and others presented their throats to their fathers’ knives, baring them and bidding them strike. After the city was destroyed, there was found a woman suspended by a rope, with a dead child hung to her neck, and firing the house with a lighted torch. This tragical sight Brutus could not endure to see, and he wept at hearing of it; and he proclaimed that a reward should be given to every soldier who could save a Lycian. They say that there were only one hundred and 428427fifty who did not escape being saved. Now the Xanthians after a long interval, as if they were reproducing a fated period of destruction, renewed the fortune of their ancestors in their desperation; for their ancestors in like manner in the time of the Persians burnt their city and destroyed themselves.

XXXII. Brutus seeing that the city of Patara was preparing to resist him was unwilling to attack it, and was perplexed because he feared the same desperation; and as he had their women captive, he let them go without ransom. These women, who were the wives and daughters of distinguished men, reported of Brutus that he was a most moderate and just man, and they persuaded the citizens to yield and to surrender the city. Upon this all the rest of the Lycians surrendered and gave themselves up to him, and they found him to be honourable and merciful beyond their expectation; for while Cassius about the same time compelled all the Rhodians to bring in the gold and silver which was their private property, and a sum of eight thousand talents was thus collected, and mulcted the commonwealth of the city in five hundred talents besides, Brutus only demanded of the Lycians a hundred and fifty talents, and without doing them any other wrong set out for Ionia.

XXXIII. Now Brutus did many deeds worthy of remembrance both in rewarding and punishing according to desert; but that with which he himself was most pleased and the best of the Romans, I will relate. When Pompeius Magnus landed in Egypt at Pelusium, what time he fled after being completely defeated by Cæsar, the guardians of the king, who was still a youth, being in counsel with their friends, were not inclined the same way in their opinions. Some were for receiving and others for driving the man from Egypt. But one Theodotus552 of Chios, who was hired to teach the king rhetoric, and was then thought worthy of a place in the council for want of better men, attempted to show that both were in error, those who advised to receive and those who advised to send away Pompeius, for there was one thing in the present circumstances 429 that was useful, and that was to receive him and put him to death. And he added, at the end of his speech, that a corpse does not bite. The council assented to his opinion, and Pompeius Magnus fell, an instance of things passing belief and expectation, and the result of the rhetorical skill and eloquence of Theodotus, as the sophist himself used to say boastingly. When Cæsar arrived shortly after, some of them paid the penalty of their guilt and perished miserably; and Theodotus, who borrowed from fortune a short period for an inglorious and poor and rambling life, did not escape Brutus when he came into Asia, but he was carried before him and punished, and thus he gained a greater name by his death than by his life.

XXXIV. Brutus invited Cassius to Sardis553 and met him with his friends on his approach; and the whole force under arms saluted both of them as Imperatores. Now as it is wont to happen in the midst of great affairs, and among many friends and commanders, causes of difference had arisen between Brutus and Cassius, and suspicions; and before they did anything else, immediately on their arrival at Sardis they entered into a room by themselves and closed the door, and no one being present they began with blaming one another, and then fell to proofs and charges. From this they came to tears and passionate expressions without restraint, so that their friends, wondering at the roughness and violence of their anger, feared lest something should happen; but it was forbidden to approach them. But Marcus Favonius, who had been a lover of Cato, and was a philosopher not so much from reason as a certain impulse and mad passion, went in to them though the slaves attempted to hinder him. But it was a hard thing to check Favonius when he had put himself in motion towards any object, for he was impetuous in all things and impatient. He made no account of being a Roman senator, but by his cynical freedom of speech he often took away the harshness and unseasonableness of his behaviour, the hearers receiving all as jest. On this occasion forcing his way against those who tried to 430stop him, he entered, and with mock solemnity uttered the words which Homer554 has made Nestor use:

“Obey: ye both are younger far than I,”

and what follows. At which Cassius laughed, but Brutus turned him out, calling him true dog and false cynic. However, they forthwith became reconciled, and this was the end of their difference for the time. Cassius gave an entertainment to which Brutus invited his friends.555 As they were just reclining, Favonius came from the bath; and, on Brutus declaring that he came without invitation and bidding him withdraw to the highest couch,556 he forced his way to the central couch and reclined there; and they made merry over the banquet, and the mirth was not without its zest nor unseasoned with philosophy.

XXXV. On the following day Lucius Pella,557 a Roman who had been prætor and trusted by Brutus, was charged by the people of Sardis with taking money unlawfully, and he was publicly condemned and declared infamous by Brutus. This affair gave Cassius no small pain. For a few days before, two of his friends who were convicted of the same offence, he privately admonished and publicly acquitted, and he still continued to employ them. Accordingly he blamed Brutus as being too strict an observer of law and justice at a time which required politic conduct and conciliatory 431 measures. But Brutus told him to remember the Ides of March on which they lulled Cæsar, who was not himself oppressing and plundering everybody, but supported others who did it, so that if there was any specious pretext for overlooking justice, it would have been better to bear with Cæsar’s friends than to allow their own friends to do wrong. For they, he said,558 have the imputation of cowardice, but we of injustice, and that too joined to danger and toil. Such were the principles of Brutus.

XXXVI.559 When they were going to cross over from Asia, it is said that Brutus had a great sign. The man was naturally wakeful, and by discipline and temperance he contracted his sleep into a small space of time, never reposing in the daytime, and by night only so long as he was unable to do anything or to speak to any one because people were resting. But at that time when the war was on foot, having on his hands the general management of everything, and his thoughts being on the stretch with regard to the future, when he had taken a short repose after eating, he employed the rest of the night on affairs of urgency. And when he had finished and arranged everything that was necessary about such matters, he would read a book till the third watch, at which time the centurions and tribunes were used to come to him. Being then about to convoy his army over from Asia, it happened to be dead of night and the lamp in his tent was not very bright; and the whole camp was in deep silence. As Brutus was considering and reflecting with himself, he thought that he heard some one come in, and looking towards the entrance he saw a terrible and strange vision of a huge and frightful figure standing by him in silence. He had the courage to ask, “What man or god art thou, or with what purpose dost thou come to us?” The phantom replied to him, “I am thy evil dæmon, Brutus, and thou shalt see me at Philippi.” And Brutus without being disturbed, said, “I shall see.”

XXXVII.560 When the phantom disappeared, Brutus 432called the slaves, and as they said that they had neither heard any voice nor seen anything, Brutus still kept awake; and at daybreak he betook himself to Cassius and told him his vision. Cassius, who followed the doctrines of Epicurus,433 and was accustomed to dispute about them with Brutus, said, “Our opinion, Brutus, is this, that we do not in fact feel all things nor see them, but perception is a certain flexible and deceitful thing, and the intellect is still quicker to move and change it, without there being any real thing, into all forms. For the fashioning of the form is like unto wax, and as the soul of man possesses both the thing to be fashioned and that which fashions, being the same, it has of itself the power of most easily varying itself and assuming different forms. And this is shown by the changes of our dreams in sleep, which changes the phantastic power undergoes, from slight causes assuming every kind of effect and image. It is the nature of the phantastic power to be always in motion, and motion is to it a certain phantasy or perception. In you the body being troubled naturally excites and perverts the mind. But it is neither probable that there are dæmons, nor that, if there are, they have the form of men or the voice, or that their power reaches to us; and indeed I wish it were so, that we might not put trust only in arms and horses and so many ships, but also in the help of the gods being the leaders in most upright and noble undertakings.” By such arguments as these Cassius attempted to calm Brutus. When the soldiers were embarking, two eagles descended on the first standards and were carried along with them, and accompanied the soldiers, who fed them, as far as Philippi. And there, one day before the battle, they flew away.

XXXVIII. Now Brutus had subjected to him most of the nations that lay in his way: and if any city or ruler had been passed by, they then brought over all in their progress as far as the sea opposite to Thasos. In those parts Norbanus561 and his troops happened to be encamped 434in the Straits and about Symbolum; but Brutus and Cassius getting round them compelled them to withdraw and desert the posts. They also came very near taking his force, Cæsar staying behind on account of illness; and they would have done it, if Antonius had not come to their aid with such wonderful expedition that Brutus could scarce believe it. Cæsar arrived ten days later, and pitched his camp opposite to Brutus: Antonius took his station opposite to Cassius. The plain which lay between the armies, the Romans called the Campi Philippi; and it was on this occasion that the largest Roman armies were matched against one another. Now in numbers they were not a little inferior to those of Cæsar, but in show and splendour of arms the forces of Brutus outshone the enemy. For most of their armour was of gold, and silver had been unsparingly supplied, though in other respects Brutus accustomed his officers to a simple and severe habit. But he thought that the wealth which they had in their hands and about their bodies, would give courage to the more ambitious of honour and would make those who were fond of gain still more courageous, as if the weapons which they held were their property.

XXXIX. Now Cæsar made a lustration562 within his lines, and distributed among the soldiers a small allowance of grain and five drachmæ apiece for the sacrifice; but Brutus, who considered this either as proof of Cæsar’s poverty or his meanness, first of all performed a lustration for the army under the open sky, according to the custom, and then distributed a number of victims for every cohort, and fifty drachmæ to each man, by which he had the advantage over the enemy in the goodwill and zeal of his troops. Notwithstanding this a bad omen, as Cassius considered it, happened during the lustration; for the lictor brought him his crown reversed. It is said that on a former occasion, also during a certain spectacle and435 procession, a golden Victory belonging to Cassius, which was being carried, fell down owing to the bearer slipping. Besides this many birds of prey daily appeared in the camp and swarms of bees were seen collecting about a certain spot within the lines, which the diviners enclosed in order to get rid of the superstitious fear which was gradually withdrawing even Cassius himself from the principles of Epicurus, and had completely cowed the soldiers. Owing to this, Cassius was not eager that the matter should be decided at present by a battle, and he was of opinion that they should protract the war, being strong in resources, but in amount of arms and men inferior to the enemy. But Brutus even before this was eager to settle the matter by the speediest hazard, and thus either to recover freedom for his country, or to relieve from their sufferings all the people who were oppressed by cost and military service and requisitions. And now seeing that his cavalry was successful and victorious in the skirmishes and encounters of posts, his spirit was raised: and some desertions to the enemy which took place and imputations and suspicions against others caused many of the friends of Cassius in the council to go over to the opinion of Brutus. One of the friends of Brutus, Atillius, opposed the opinion of Brutus and advised that they should wait for the winter. On Brutus asking, Wherein he thought that he would be better after a year, he replied, If in nothing else, I shall live longer. Cassius was vexed at this, and Atillius gave no small offence to the rest. Accordingly it was resolved to fight on the next day.

XL. Brutus went to rest after having been in high spirits and engaged in philosophical discourse at supper. As to Cassius, Messala563 says that he supped by himself with a few of his intimates, and appeared thoughtful and silent, though he was not naturally so; and that after supper he pressed the hand of Messala strongly and said, 436as he was wont when he was in friendly mood, in the Greek language, “I call you to witness, Messala, that I am in the same situation as Pompeius Magnus, being compelled to cast the die for my country’s safety in a single battle. However, let us have a good heart, looking to fortune, which it is not right to distrust, though we may have resolved badly.” Messala says that these were the last words that Cassius spoke to him and thereon embraced him, and that he was invited564 by him to supper for the following day, which was his birthday. At daybreak there was hung out in the lines of Brutus and of Cassius the signal for the contest, a purple vest, and they met between the two camps, and Cassius said: “Brutus, I hope we may be victorious and live together happily all the rest of our lives; but as the chief of human events are the most uncertain, and if the battle results contrary to our expectation, it will not be easy for us to see one another, what do you intend with respect to flight or death?” Brutus replied, “When I was a young man, Cassius, and inexperienced in affairs, I know not how it happened that I neglected a weighty matter in philosophy. I blamed Cato for killing himself, considering that it was not right nor befitting a man to withdraw himself from his dæmon, and not to await what happens without fear, but to skulk away. But now I am of a different mind in the circumstances, and if the deity shall not determine in our favour, I do not want to try other hopes and means, but I will withdraw content with fortune, that on the Ides of March I gave to my country my life and have lived another life for her sake free and glorious.” Whereat Cassius smiled and, embracing Brutus, said, “With such thoughts let us go against the enemy; for we shall either conquer or we shall not fear the conquerors.” After this they discussed the order of battle in the presence of their friends. Brutus asked Cassius to allow him to command the right wing, which was supposed to be more appropriate for Cassius on account of his experience and his age. 437But Cassius granted even this, and he commanded Messala with the bravest of the legions to be posted on the right. Brutus immediately led forth the cavalry equipped in splendid style, and he brought up the infantry with equal expedition.

XLI. The soldiers of Antonius happened to be driving trenches from the marshes, around which they were encamped, into the plain and cutting off the approaches of Cassius to the sea. Cæsar was on the watch, not being present himself by reason of sickness, but his troops were there, which, however, did not expect that the enemy would fight, but would merely make sallies against the works and disturb the diggers with light missiles and shouts; and as they were paying no attention to those who were opposed to them, they were surprised at the shouts about the trenches, which were indistinct and loud. In the meantime billets came from Brutus to the officers in which the word was written, and as he was advancing on horseback before the legions and encouraging them, a few had time to hear the word as it was passed along, but the greater part without waiting, with one impulse and shout rushed against the enemy. Some irregularity arose in the lines and some separation of them through this disorder, and the legion of Messala first and those which were close upon it outflanked Cæsar’s left; and having slightly touched the soldiers on the extreme left and killed no great number, but completely outflanking them, fell on the camp. Cæsar, as he says in his Memoirs, inasmuch as one of his friends, Artorius Marcus,565 had seen a vision in his sleep which bade Cæsar get out of the way and leave the camp, had just before been conveyed out of it, and he was supposed to have lost his life; for the enemy pierced his empty litter with javelins and spears. And there was a slaughter in the camp of those who were captured, and two thousand Lacedæmonians, who had lately come as allies, were cut to pieces with them.


XLII. They who had not surrounded the soldiers of Cæsar, but had engaged with those in front, easily put to flight the enemy who were in confusion, and destroyed at close quarters three legions, and they rushed into the camp with the fugitives, carried along by the impetuosity of success and having Brutus with them; but what the victors did not see, that the critical time showed to the vanquished. For pushing forward to the parts of the opposite line which were exposed and broken where the right wing was drawn off in the pursuit, they did not force the centre but were engaged in a violent struggle; but they put to flight the left, which was in disorder and ignorant of what had happened, and pursuing it to the camp they plundered it, neither of the Imperatores being with them. For Antonius, as they say, having at the beginning avoided the attack, retreated to the marsh, and Cæsar could nowhere be seen, as he had fled from the camp; but some showed their bloody swords to Brutus supposing they had killed him, and describing his appearance and age. And now the centre had repelled their opponents with great slaughter; and Brutus thought that he was completely victorious as Cassius thought that he was defeated. And this was the only thing which ruined their cause, that Brutus did not aid Cassius because he thought that he was victorious, and that Cassius did not wait for Brutus because he thought that he had perished; for Messala considers it a proof of victory that Brutus had taken three eagles and many standards from the enemy, and the enemy had taken nothing. Brutus now retreating after he had destroyed Cæsar’s camp, was surprised not to see the tent of Cassius standing out conspicuous, as usual, nor the rest in their place, for most of the tents had immediately been thrown down and torn in pieces by the enemy when they broke in. But those who thought they could see better than their comrades said to Brutus that they saw many helmets glittering and many silver shields moving about in the camp of Cassius, and they said it did not appear to them that it was either the number or the armour of those were left to guard the camp, but yet there did not appear to be in that direction a number of corpses such as might be expected if so many legions had been defeated. This 439 was the first thing that gave Brutus an idea of the misfortune; and leaving a guard in the camp of the enemy he recalled the pursuers and got them together to aid Cassius.

XLIII. And it had fared thus with him. He was neither pleased at seeing the first onset of the soldiers of Brutus without signal and order, nor was he pleased that when they were victorious they rushed straight to plunder and profit, taking no pains to get round and encircle the enemy. Cassius, conducting his operations rather with delay and waste of time than with vigour and judgment, was surrounded by the right wing of the enemy; and when he saw that, as soon as the cavalry broke away in flight to the sea, the infantry also were giving way, he endeavoured to stop and recall them. He also seized the standard from one of the standard-bearers who was flying, and fixed it in the ground before his feet, though even those who were placed about his person no longer remained with any spirit. In these circumstances, being pressed, he retreated with a few men to a hill which had a view towards the plain. He saw nothing in the plain, or with difficulty the plunder of the camp, for he was weak of vision; but the horsemen around him saw many approaching whom Brutus sent. Cassius conjectured that they were enemies and were in pursuit of him; yet he sent Titinius, one of those who were with him, to see. The horsemen did not fail to observe him approaching, and when they saw a man who was a friend, and faithful to Cassius, they shouted for joy, and some of his friends leaping down from their horses embraced him and took his hand, and the rest riding round him with joyful shouts and clatter by their unmeasured rejoicing produced the greatest misfortune. For Cassius was quite sure that Titinius was caught by the enemy. With these words, “Through love of life have I waited to see a friend seized by the enemy,” he retired into an empty tent dragging after him one of his freed men, Pindarus, whom, in the unfortunate affair of Crassus, he had prepared for this extremity. Cassius escaped the Parthians, but now drawing his cloak over his head and baring his neck he presented it to be cut asunder; for the head was found separated from the body. But no man saw Pindarus after the 440death of Cassius, which made some persons think that he had killed Cassius without his order. Shortly after the horsemen appeared, and Titinius crowned by them went up to Cassius. But when, by the weeping and cries of his friends who were lamenting and bewailing, he knew of the fate of the general and of his error, he drew his sword and with much upbraiding of himself for his tardiness killed himself.

XLIV. Brutus, who was acquainted with the defeat of Cassius, was now approaching, and he heard of his death when he was near the camp. After lamenting over the body and calling Cassius the last of the Romans, as if he considered that such a spirit could never again be produced in Rome, he wrapped up the corpse and sent it to Thasos, that no disorder might be produced by its being interred there. He summoned the soldiers together and consoled them; and seeing that they were deprived of all necessaries he promised them two thousand drachmæ apiece in place of what they had lost. The soldiers were encouraged by his words and admired the magnitude of his present; and they accompanied him with shouts as he went away, magnifying him as the only one of the four Imperatores who was unvanquished in battle. And the result proved that he had good reason for trusting to success in the battle; for with a few legions he put to flight all those who opposed him. But if he had employed all his forces in the battle, and the greater part had not passed by the enemy and fallen on the enemy’s baggage, it is probable that he would have left no part of the enemy’s force unvanquished.

XLV. There fell on the side of Brutus eight thousand, with the slaves who were with them in the army, whom Brutus called Briges;566 and of the enemy Messala says that he thinks more than twice the number fell. For this reason the enemy was the more dispirited, till a slave of 441Cassius, named Demetrius, came to Antonius as soon as it was evening, having taken the cloaks from the corpse, and the sword; and when these were brought, they were so much encouraged that at daybreak they led forth their force prepared for battle. But as both his armies were in an unsettled and dangerous state (for his own army being full of captives required careful watching, and the army of Cassius was troubled at the loss of their general, and they felt somewhat of envy and dislike in consequence of their defeat towards the army that had been victorious), Brutus resolved to put his troops under arms, but he would not fight. Of the captives, he ordered the slaves to be killed, as they were moving about among the soldiers in a suspicious way; but of the freemen he released some, saying that they had rather been made captives by the enemy, and were captives and slaves there, but with him were free men and citizens; and when he saw that his friends and the officers were ill-disposed towards them, he saved them by concealing them and sending them away. There were a certain Volumnius,567 a mime, and Saculio, a jester, among the prisoners, whom Brutus cared not for, and his friends bringing these to him accused them of not abstaining even now from speaking and jeering to insult them. Brutus was silent, being occupied with other thoughts, but Messala Corvinus was of opinion that they should be flogged in a tent, and given up naked to the generals of the enemy, that they might know what kind of drinking companions and intimates they wanted in their campaigns. Some of those who were present laughed; but Publius Casca, who had struck Cæsar first, said, “We offer no fit sacrifice to Cassius who is dead, by making merry and jesting; but you, Brutus,” he said, “will show what remembrance you have of the general either by punishing or protecting those who will mock and revile him.” Upon this Brutus, greatly angered, said, “Why then do you ask me, Casca, and why don’t you do what you like?” This answer of Brutus they considered as an 442assent to the punishment of the unhappy men, whom they led away and put to death.

XLVI. After this Brutus gave the soldiers their present, and blaming them mildly for not having waited for the word, and having fallen on the enemy somewhat disorderly without waiting for the order, he promised them if they were victorious to give up to them for plunder and profit two cities, Thessalonica568 and Lacedæmon. This is the only thing in the life of Brutus which he is charged with that admits of no defence, though Antonius and Cæsar paid to their soldiers a much more terrible price as the reward of their victories, for they drove the old settlers out of nearly the whole of Italy, that their soldiers might have land and cities to which they had no claim. But with Antonius and Cæsar dominion and power was the end which they proposed to themselves in the war, while Brutus, owing to his reputation for virtue, was not allowed by the many either to conquer or to save his life otherwise than by honourable and just means; and especially now that Cassius was dead, who had the imputation of urging Brutus on to some of his more violent acts. But as at sea when the helm is broken, they attempt to nail on other 443pieces of wood, and to fit them, not skilfully indeed, but as well as they can under circumstances, fighting against the necessity, so Brutus with so great a force around him, and in so hazardous a state of affairs, having no commander of equal weight with himself, was compelled to employ those who were with him, and to do and say many things according to their pleasure. And he judged it fit to do whatever he thought would improve the disposition of the soldiers of Cassius, for they were difficult to manage: in the camp being unruly for want of discipline, and towards the enemy having a feeling of cowardice by reason of their defeat.

XLVII. Affairs were no better with Cæsar and Antonius, for they were scantily supplied with provisions, and owing to the camp being pitched in a hollow, they expected a bad winter. For being among marshes and the autumnal rains coming on after the battle, they had their tents filled with mud and with water which froze immediately through the cold. While they were in this condition, news arrived of the misfortune that had befallen their forces at sea. For the ships of Brutus569 fell upon them, and destroyed a large force that was coming to Cæsar from Italy, and only a very few of the men escaped, who were compelled by famine to eat the sails and ropes. On hearing this news they were eager to settle the matter by a battle before Brutus was aware of the great good fortune that had come to him; for it happened that in the same day the battle by land and the battle by sea were determined. But by some chance rather than through the fault of the commanders of the fleet, Brutus was ignorant of the success, though twenty days had elapsed. For otherwise he would not have gone out to a second battle when he was provided with all necessaries for his army for a long time and was posted in a good position, wherein he could have maintained his army in the winter free from all suffering and safe against the attacks of the enemy, and by being master of the sea, and having defeated by land the troops opposed to him, was in high hopes and spirits. But affairs, as it appears, being no longer governable by a 444number, and requiring a monarchy, the deity wishing to lead away and to remove the only person who stood in the way of him who was able to govern, cut off the news of that good fortune, though it came exceeding near to being communicated to Brutus. For the day before that on which he was going to fight, and late in the day, there came one Clodius, a deserter from the enemy, who reported, that Cæsar was eager to come to a decisive contest because he had heard of the destruction of his armament. The man got no credit for his report nor did he come into the presence of Brutus, being altogether despised as one who had heard no well-founded news, or reported falsehood to get favour.

XLVIII. In that night it is said that the phantom again appeared to Brutus, and displaying the same appearance said nothing and went away. But Publius Volumnius,570 a philosopher and one who accompanied Brutus in his campaign from the first, says that this was not the sign; but he says that the first eagle was covered with bees, and from the arm of one of the centurions an oil of roses spontaneously burst out, and though they often rubbed it off and wiped it away, it was all to no use. Further, before the battle, two eagles met and fought in the space between the armies, and a silence past belief filled the plain while all were looking on, but at last the eagle which was on the side of Brutus gave way and fled. The Ethiopian became notorious, he who met the eagle-bearer as soon as the gate was opened, and was cut down with their swords by the soldiers, who considered it a bad omen.

XLIX. After Brutus had made the line advance, and had placed it in front of the enemy, he paused some time, for suspicions reached him and information against certain persons while he was inspecting the army; and he observed that the cavalry were not very eager to begin the battle, but were still waiting for the infantry to commence the attack. All of a sudden, a man of military skill, who had been particularly distinguished for his courage, rode past Brutus himself and passed over to the enemy: his name was Camulatus. Brutus was greatly pained at seeing this, 445and partly through passion, partly through fear of greater change and treachery, he forthwith led his men against the enemy, the sun now going down, to the ninth hour. Brutus had the advantage with his own troops, and he pushed on, pressing upon the left wing of the enemy which gave way, and the cavalry supported him by charging together with the infantry the disordered ranks; but the other wing, which the commanders extended for fear of being surrounded, was inferior in numbers, and was drawn out in the centre, and thus becoming weak, did not resist the enemy, but fled first. The enemy, having broken this wing, immediately surrounded Brutus, who displayed all the virtues of a general and a soldier, both in his personal exertions, and his prudent measures in the midst of danger to secure victory; but he was damaged by that circumstance whereby he gained advantage in the former battle. For in that battle the part of the enemy which was defeated had perished; but few perished of the troops of Cassius, though they were put to flight, and those who escaped being very timid through their former defeat, filled the chief part of the army with despondency and confusion. On this occasion also, Marcus the son of Cato,571 fighting among the noblest and bravest of the youth, though hard pressed, did not yield nor flee, but laying about him and calling out who he was, and his father’s name, he fell on a heap of the enemy’s slain. There fell, too, the bravest of the men, exposing themselves in defence of Brutus.

L. Among the intimates of Brutus was one Lucilius,572 a good man. Observing that some barbarian horsemen in their pursuit paid no regard to the rest, but rode at full speed after Brutus, he resolved at his own risk to stop them. And being a little in the rear he said that he was Brutus, and he gained belief by praying them to take him to Antonius, because he feared Cæsar, but trusted in Antonius. The barbarians delighted at their success, and considering that they had surprising good luck, conducted the man, and as it was now growing dark, sent forward some of their number as messengers to Antonius. Antonius, much pleased, went to meet those who were conducting 446Lucilius; and those who heard that Brutus was being brought alive flocked together, some pitying him for his ill fortune, and others thinking it unworthy of his fame to let himself be taken by barbarians through love of life. When they were near, Antonius stopped, being doubtful how he should receive Brutus, but Lucilius, approaching with a cheerful countenance, said, “Antonius, no enemy has taken Marcus Brutus, nor will: may fortune never have such a victory over virtue. But he will be found, whether alive or dead, in a condition worthy of himself. But I who have deceived your soldiers am come to suffer, and I deprecate no punishment, however severe, for what I have done.” When Lucilius had said this, and all were in amaze, Antonius, looking on those who conducted Lucilius, said, “I suppose, fellow soldiers, you are vexed at your mistake, and think that you have been grossly tricked. But be assured that you have taken a better prey than that which you were in search of. For while you were seeking for an enemy, you have brought us a friend; for as to Brutus, I know not by the gods, what I should have done with him if he were alive, but such men as this, I pray that I may have as friends rather than as enemies.” Saying this he embraced Lucilius and for the time placed him with one of his friends, but he afterwards employed him, and found him in everything faithful and true.

LI. Brutus, having crossed a certain stream, the banks of which were lined with wood and steep, just when it began to be dark, did not advance far, but seating himself in a hollow spot where there was a large rock spread out, with a few of his officers and friends about him, first looked up to the heavens which were full of stars, and uttered two verses, one of which Volumnius has recorded:

“Forget not,573 Jove, the author of these ills;”


but the other he says that he forgot. After a while naming each of his companions who had fallen in battle before his eyes, he grieved most over the memory of Flavius and Labeo. Labeo was his lieutenant, and Flavius the chief of the engineers. In the meantime one who was thirsty himself and saw that Brutus was in the same plight, took a helmet and ran down to the river. As a noise from the opposite side reached their ears, Volumnius went forward to see, and Dardanus the shield-bearer with him. Returning after a while they asked about the water; and Brutus, smiling with a very friendly expression on Volumnius, said, “It is drunk up, but some more shall be brought for you.” The same person was sent, but he was in danger of being taken by the enemy and escaped with difficulty after being wounded. As Brutus conjectured that no great number of his men had fallen, Statyllius574 undertook to make his way secretly through the enemy, for it was not possible in any other way, and to inspect the camp, and after raising a fire-signal, if he should find all safe there, to come back to him. The fire-signal was raised, for Statyllius got to the camp, but as a long time elapsed and he did not return, Brutus said, “If Statyllius is alive he will come.” But it happened that, as he was returning, he fell among the enemy and was killed.

LII.575 In the course of the night, Brutus, as he sat on448 the ground, turned to his slave Kleitus and spoke to him. But as Kleitus kept silence and shed tears, Brutus drew 449to him his shield-bearer Dardanus, and privately said something to him. At last employing the Greek language he 450addressed Volumnius and reminded them of their philosophical studies and discipline, and he urged him to put 451his hand to his sword and to aid him in the thrust. Volumnius refusing, and the rest being in the same disposition, 452 and some one saying that they must not stay there, but fly, Brutus sprang up and said, “Certainly we must fly, yet not with the feet, but with the hands.” Offering his right hand to each with a cheerful countenance, he said that he felt great pleasure, that no one of his friends had deceived him, but he blamed fortune with respect to his country; as for himself, he considered that he was happier than the conquerors, in that not yesterday nor yet recently, but even now he left behind him a reputation for virtue, which those would not leave behind who gained the victory by arms or by money, nor would they make people think that unjust and vile men who had destroyed just and upright men did not rule unmeritedly. After entreating and urging them to save themselves, he retired a little farther with two or three, among whom was Strato who had become intimate with him from being his instructor in rhetoric. Putting Strato close to him, and pressing the bare sword with both hands on the handle, he fell upon it and died. Others say that it was not Brutus himself, but Strato who, at the earnest request of Brutus, held the sword under him, averting his eyes, and that Brutus throwing his breast upon it with violence, and piercing it through, quickly died.

LIII. Messala576 who was a friend of Brutus and became reconciled to Cæsar, once on a time when Cæsar was at leisure, brought this Strato to him, and with tears in his eyes said, “This, Cæsar, is the man who did the last service to my Brutus.” Cæsar received Strato and kept him about him, and Strato was one of the Greeks who showed themselves brave men in difficulties, and in the battle at Actium. They say that Messala himself being afterwards commended by Cæsar because, though he had been one of their greatest enemies at Philippi for the sake of Brutus, he had shown himself most zealous at Actium, replied, “Yes, Cæsar, I have always been on the better and453 juster side.” When Antonius found the body of Brutus,577 he ordered it to be wrapped in the most costly of his purple vests; and when he afterwards discovered that the purple vest was stolen, he put the thief to death. The ashes he sent to Servilia, the mother of Brutus. Nikolaus578 the philosopher and Valerius Maximus579 relate that Porcia the wife of Brutus being desirous to die, which none of her friends would allow, but kept close and watched her, snatched burning embers from the fire, and closing her mouth, so died. Yet there is extant a letter of Brutus580 to his friends in which he upbraids them and laments about Porcia, that she was neglected by them and had determined to die because of her sufferings from disease. Nikolaus therefore appears not to have known the time, since the letter, if it is genuine, informs us of the malady, and the love of the woman and the manner of her death.



I. Among the glories of these two men’s lives, it is especially to be noticed, that each of them started from small beginnings, and yet raised himself to the highest position in the state; and this fact is peculiarly honourable to Dion. Brutus owed much of his success to the help of Cassius, who, though less trustworthy than Brutus in matters of virtue and honour, gave equal proofs of courage, skill, and energy in war, while some writers go so far as to give him the entire credit of the plot against Cæsar, and say that Brutus had no share in it. Dion on the other hand was obliged to provide himself with friends and fellow conspirators, no less than with arms, ships, and soldiers. Furthermore, Dion did not, like Brutus, gain wealth and power by the revolution and war which he began, but even gave his own money to support the war, and spent the property on which he might have lived comfortably in exile in order to make his countrymen free. We must remember, also, that Brutus and Cassius could not have remained quiet after they left Rome, for they had been condemned to death, and were being pursued, so that they were forced to fight in their own defence. When they risked their lives in battle it was for themselves that they did so more than for their countrymen, whereas Dion lived in exile more happily than the despot who banished him, and nevertheless exposed himself to so terrible a hazard in order to set Sicily free,

II. Yet it was not the same thing to free the Syracusans from Dionysius and to rid the Romans of Cæsar. Dionysius never denied that he was a despot, and had inflicted countless miseries upon Sicily: while the government of Cæsar, though its creation gave great offence, yet when 455it had been accepted and had overcome all opposition seemed to be a despotism merely in name, for Cæsar did nothing cruel or arbitrary, and rather appeared to have been sent by heaven like a physician, to establish an absolute monarchy in as mild a form as possible, at a time when that remedy was necessary for Rome. In consequence of this the people of Rome were grieved at the death of Cæsar, and showed themselves harsh and inexorable to his murderers; while the severest charges which were brought against Dion by his countrymen were that he had allowed Dionysius to escape from Syracuse, and that he had not destroyed the tomb of the former despot.

III. In actual warfare Dion proved himself a faultless general, as he succeeded brilliantly in every enterprise planned by himself, and was able to remedy the failures caused by the misconduct of others; while Brutus seems not to have been wise in engaging in the last decisive battle, and when it was lost did not attempt to retrieve his fortunes, but gave himself up to despair, showing even less confidence than Pompeius. Yet, his position was far from hopeless, for he still retained a large part of his army, and a fleet which gave him entire command of the sea. Again, Dion cannot be accused of any crime like that which is the greatest blot upon the character of Brutus, who after his life had been saved by Cæsar’s goodness, and he had been allowed to save as many as he pleased of his fellow captives, after also he had been regarded by Cæsar as his friend, and had been promoted by Cæsar above many others, murdered his benefactor. On the contrary, Dion was the relative and friend of Dionysius, and assisted him in maintaining his government, and it was not until he was expelled from his country, his wife wronged, and his property confiscated, that he openly began a most just and lawful war against the despot. Is there not, however, another view of this question? That hatred of despotism and wrong which is so highly honoured, was possessed by Brutus pure and unalloyed by personal motives, for he had no private grudge against Cæsar, and yet risked his life on behalf of the liberty of the people: while Dion would never have made war against Dionysius, if he had not been wronged by him. This we learn distinctly from Plato’s letters,456 which prove that Dion did not begin his revolt until he was banished by Dionysius, after which, he deposed the tyrant. A common object made Brutus become the friend of Pompeius, who was Cæsar’s enemy both personally and politically, for Brutus made men his friends or his enemies solely according to what he thought right: while Dion assisted Dionysius much while he was on friendly terms with him, and only made war against him out of anger at his loyalty being suspected. For this reason many even of his own friends believed that after removing Dionysius from the throne he intended to succeed him, and to reign though under some title more plausible than that of despot; while even the enemies of Brutus admitted that he alone of all the conspirators against Cæsar kept one object consistently in view, which was to restore to the Romans their ancient constitution.

IV. Apart from these considerations the struggle against Dionysius was different from that against Cæsar. Dionysius was despised even by his own associates for wasting all his time with drink, dice, and women; whereas it shows a certain magnanimity, and a spirit undismayed by any danger, to have conceived the idea of dethroning Cæsar, and not to have been overawed by the wisdom, power, and good fortune of a man whose very name made the kings of Parthia and India uneasy in their sleep. As soon as Dion appeared in Sicily, thousands joined him to attack Dionysius, while the power of Cæsar’s name even after his death rallied his friends, and enabled a helpless child to become at once the first of the Romans by assuming it, as though it were a talisman to protect him against the might and hatred of Antonius. If it be said that Dion only drove out Dionysius after many fierce battles, whereas Brutus stabbed Cæsar when he was naked and unguarded, yet it was in itself a brilliant piece of generalship to have attacked so powerful a man when he was naked and unguarded: for he did not attack him on a sudden impulse, or alone, or even with a few associates; but the plot had been laid long before, and many were concerned in it, yet none betrayed him. Either he chose only the bravest men, or else the mere fact of their having been chosen and trusted by Brutus made them brave. Dion on the other hand 457trusted worthless men; and this is discreditable to his judgment, for they must either have been villains when he chose them for his followers, or else they must have been originally good, and have become worse during their connection with him. Plato indeed blames him for choosing such men for his friends, and at last he was murdered by them.

V. No one avenged the murder of Dion; but Antonius, though Brutus’s enemy, nevertheless buried him with honour, and Cæsar (Augustus) allowed the honours which were paid to his memory to remain untouched. A brazen statue of Brutus stands in the city of Milan, in Gaul, on this side of the Alps. When Augustus saw this, which was a good likeness and a capital piece of workmanship, he passed by it, but stopped shortly afterwards, and before a large audience called for the magistrates of the city, and told them that he had caught them in the act of breaking the peace by harbouring his enemy within their walls. They at first, as may be imagined, denied the charge, and looked at one another, not knowing to whom he alluded. Augustus now turned round towards the statue, and, knitting his brows, asked, “Is not this my enemy who stands here?” At this the magistrates were even more abashed, and remained silent. Augustus, however, smilingly commended the Gauls for remaining true to their friends in misfortune, and ordered the statue to be left where it stood.



I. The first Artaxerxes, who surpassed all the kings of Persia in mildness and magnanimity of character, was surnamed Longhand, because his right hand was larger than his left. He was the son of Xerxes; and Artaxerxes the Second, the subject of this memoir, who was surnamed Mnemon, was the son of the former’s daughter: for Darius and Parysatis had four children, of whom the eldest was named Artaxerxes, the next Cyrus, and the two younger ones Ostanes and Oxathres.

Cyrus was named after the ancient king of that name, who is said to have been taken from the sun; for the Persians are said to call the sun Cyrus. Artaxerxes was originally named Arsikas, although the historian Deinon states that he was named Oarses. Still Ktesias, although his writings are full of all kinds of absurd and incredible tales, must be supposed to know the name of the king at whose court he lived, acting as physician to him, his mother and his wife.

II. Cyrus from his earliest youth displayed a determined and vehement disposition, while his brother was gentler in all respects and less passionate in his desires. He married a fair and virtuous wife at his parents’ command, and kept her against their will, for the king killed her brother, and wished to put her also to death, but Arsikas, by tears and entreaties, prevailed upon his mother to spare her life, and not to separate her from him. His mother, however, always loved Cyrus more than Artaxerxes, and wished him to become king instead of his brother. For this reason, when Cyrus was sent for from the coast during his father’s last illness, he went to 459court with great expectations, imagining that she had managed to have him declared heir to the throne. Indeed, Parysatis had a good argument for doing so, which had formerly, at the suggestion of Demaratus, been acted upon by the old king Xerxes; namely, that when Arsikas was born, Darius was merely a private man, but that when Cyrus was born he was a king. However, Parysatis did not succeed in inducing the king to declare Cyrus his heir, but the eldest son was proclaimed king and his name changed to Artaxerxes, while Cyrus was appointed satrap of Lydia and ruler of the provinces on the sea coast.

III. Shortly before the death of Darius, the king Artaxerxes travelled to Pasargadæ, in order that he might be initiated into the royal mystic rites by the priests there. The temple is dedicated to a warlike goddess whom one might liken to Athena. The person to be initiated enters this temple, removes his own clothes, and puts on those which the ancient Cyrus wore before he became king. He then eats some of a cake made of preserved figs, tastes the fruit of the terebinth tree, and drinks a cup of sour milk. Whether besides this he does anything else is known only to the initiated. When Artaxerxes was about to do this Tissaphernes met him, bringing with him one of the priests, who, when both the princes were boys, had been Cyrus’s teacher in the usual course of study, had taught him to use incantations like a Magian, and had been especially grieved at Cyrus not being proclaimed king. For this reason he more easily obtained credit when he accused Cyrus; and the accusation he brought against him was that Cyrus intended to conceal himself in the temple, and when the king took off his clothes, to attack him and murder him. Some writers say that this was how Cyrus came to be apprehended, while others state that he actually got into the temple, and was there betrayed by the priest. When he was about to be put to death, his mother threw her arms round him, flung her hair over him, pressed his neck against her own, and by her tears and entreaties obtained his pardon, and got him sent back again to his government on the sea coast. He was not satisfied with this position nor was he grateful for his pardon, but remembered only how he had been taken into custody, 460and through anger at this became all the more eager to gain the throne for himself.

IV. Some writers say that he revolted because his revenues did not suffice for his daily expenses; but this is absurd, since, if he could have obtained it from no other source, his mother was always ready to supply him, and used to give as much as he wanted from her own income. His wealth also is proved by the large mercenary force which, we learn from Xenophon, was enlisted by his friends and guests in many different places: for he never collected it together, as he wished to conceal his preparations, but he kept many persons in different places who recruited soldiers for him on various pretexts. His mother, who was present at court, lulled the king’s suspicions, and Cyrus himself constantly wrote to him in dutiful terms, asking him to grant certain matters, and bringing accusations against Tissaphernes, as though it was Tissaphernes of whom he were jealous and with whom he had a quarrel. There was also a certain slowness in the disposition of the king, which was mistaken by the people for good nature. At the beginning of his reign, he seemed inclined to rival the gentleness of his namesake, as he made himself pleasant to all whom he met, distributed honours and favours even beyond men’s deserts, took no delight in insulting and torturing evil-doers, and showed himself as affable and courteous to those from whom he received favours as he was to those upon whom he bestowed them. No present was so trifling that he did not receive it gladly, but even when a man named Onisus brought him a pomegranate of unusual size, he said, “By Mithras, if this man were given the charge of a small city he would soon make it great!”

V. When during one of his journeys all men were bringing him presents, a labouring man, not finding anything else to give, ran to the river, took up some of the water in his two hands and offered it to him. Artaxerxes was pleased with the man, and sent him a gold drinking-cup and a thousand darics. When Eukleidas the Lacedæmonian had spoken his mind very freely to him, he bade his general say to him, “You may say what you please, but I may both say and do what I please.” Once 461when they were hunting, Teribazus pointed out to him that his coat was torn. Artaxerxes asked what was to be done, to which Teribazus answered, “Put on another coat, and give this one to me.” He replied, “I will give it to you, Teribazus, but I forbid you to wear it.” Teribazus, however, who was a loyal subject, but careless and flighty, immediately put on the coat, and ornamented himself with women’s necklaces belonging to the king, so that all men were disgusted with him, for it was not lawful to do so. The king, however, laughed, and said, “I allow you to wear the jewelry as a woman, and the coat as a fool.” Though no one eats at the same table with the king of Persia except his mother, who sits above him, or his wedded wife, who sits below him, Artaxerxes invited his younger brothers also, Ostanes and Oxathres, to sit at the same table. One of the sights which especially delighted the Persians was the carriage in which Statira, the wife of Artaxerxes, drove, with the curtains drawn back, for the queen allowed the people to greet her and approach her, and was much beloved by them in consequence.

VI. However, all turbulent and unsettled spirits thought that the empire required Cyrus at its head, since he was a brilliant and warlike prince, a staunch friend to his comrades, and a man of intellect and ambition, capable of wielding the enormous power of Persia. Cyrus, when he began the war, relied upon the attachment of the people of the interior of Asia as much as he did upon that of his own followers; and he wrote to the Lacedæmonians, begging them to help him and to send soldiers to him, declaring that if the soldiers came to him on foot, he would give them horses, and if they came on horseback, he would give them carriages and pairs, that if they possessed fields, he would give them villages, and if they possessed villages he would give them cities; and that his soldiers’ pay should be given them by measure, instead of being counted out to them. At the same time he boasted loudly about himself, averring that he had a greater heart than his brother, was a better philosopher, and was a more learned Magian, and also that he could drink and carry more wine than his brother, who, he declared, was so lazy and cowardly that he would not even mount a horse 462when hunting, or a throne in time of peril. The Lacedæmonians now sent a skytale581 to Klearchus, bidding him obey the bidding of Cyrus in all things. Cyrus marched against the King of Persia with a large force and nearly thirteen thousand Greek mercenary troops, whom he had engaged upon various pretences. His treason was not long undiscovered, for Tissaphernes went in person to tell the king of it, upon which there was a terrible scene of disorder in the palace, since Parysatis was blamed as being the chief instigator of the war, and her friends were all viewed with suspicion as traitors. Parysatis was especially enraged by the reproaches of Statira, who asked her loudly, “Where now are the pledges you gave us? What has come of the entreaties by which you begged off Cyrus when he plotted against his brother’s life, now that you have plunged us into war and misery?” In consequence of these reproaches Parysatis conceived a vehement hatred for Statira, and being of a fierce passionate unforgiving temper, she plotted her destruction. Deinon states that she effected her purpose during the war, but Ktesias says that she did the deed afterwards, and I shall adopt his account of the matter, for it is not probable that he, who was an eye-witness of these events, did not know the order in which they took place, or that in his history he should have had any reason for misrepresenting them, although he often departs from the exact truth with a view to dramatic effect.

VII. As Cyrus marched onwards, many rumours and reports were brought to him, that the king had determined not to fight at once, and was not anxious to meet him in battle, but that he intended to remain in Persia until his forces had assembled there from all parts of the empire. Indeed, although he had dug a trench across the plain ten fathoms wide, as many deep, and four hundred stadia long, yet he remained quiet and permitted Cyrus to cross it, and to march close to Babylon itself. Teribazus, we are told, was the first who ventured to tell the king that he ought not to avoid a battle, and retreat from Media and from Babylon, and even from Susa itself into Persia, when 463he possessed an army many times as great as that of the enemy, and numberless satraps and generals who were better generals and better soldiers than Cyrus. Upon hearing this advice, the king determined to fight as soon as possible. At first his sudden appearance with a splendidly equipped force of nine hundred thousand men caused great surprise and confusion among the rebels, who had gained such confidence that they were marching without their arms; and it was not without much shouting and disorder that Cyrus was able to rally them and place them in array. The king moved forward slowly and in silence, so that the Greeks were filled with admiration at the discipline of his army, for they had expected that in such a host there would be disorderly shouts and irregularity and intervals in the line. The strongest of the scythed chariots were judiciously posted by Artaxerxes in front of his line, in order that before the two armies engaged hand to hand they might break the enemy’s ranks by the force of their charge.

VIII. The battle582 has been described by many writers, and as Xenophon’s narrative is so clear that the reader seems almost to be present, and to see the different events in the act of taking place, it would be folly for me to do more than to mention some important particulars which he has omitted. The place where the two armies met is called Kunaxa, and is five hundred stadia distant from Babylon. Before the battle Klearchus is said to have advised Cyrus to post himself behind the ranks of the soldiers, and not to risk his life; to which Cyrus replied “What say you, Klearchus? Just when I am striving to win a kingdom, do you bid me prove myself unworthy of one?” In the action itself, though Cyrus made a great mistake in plunging so rashly into the midst of the enemy without regarding the risk that he ran, yet Klearchus was quite as much, if not more to blame for not arraying his Greeks opposite to the Persian king, and for resting his right wing upon the river for fear he should be surrounded. If he valued safety more than anything else, and cared only to avoid the slightest risk of loss, he had better have stayed 464at home; but after he had marched ten thousand stadia from the sea, under no compulsion, but solely in order to place Cyrus upon the throne of Persia, then to be solicitous, not for a post where he might win the victory for his chief and paymaster, but merely for one where he might fight without exposing himself, was to act like a man who, on the first appearance of danger, abandons the whole enterprise and gives up the object for which the expedition was made. It is abundantly clear from what took place, that if the Greeks had charged the troops who defended the king’s person, they would have met with no resistance, and if these men had been routed, and the king slain or forced to take flight, Cyrus’s victory would at once have placed him on the throne. It was, therefore, the overcaution of Klearchus more than the rashness of Cyrus which really caused the death of the latter and the ruin of his cause; for the Persian King himself could not, if he had wished, have placed the Greeks in a position where they could do him less harm, for they were so far away from him and his main body that he did not even perceive that they had routed their antagonists, and Cyrus was slain before Klearchus could reap any advantage from his victory. Yet Cyrus knew what was best, for he ordered Klearchus to post his men in the centre; but Klearchus, saying that he would manage as well as he could, ruined everything.

IX. The Greeks put the Persians to flight with the greatest ease, and pursued them for a long distance. Cyrus, as he rode forward, mounted upon a spirited, but hard-mouthed and unmanageable horse, which, we learn from Ktesias was named Pasakas, was met by Artagerses, the leader of the Kadousians, who shouted loudly, saying, “Most wicked and foolish of men, who hast disgraced the name of Cyrus, erst the noblest in Persia, and bringest thy base Greeks on a base errand, to plunder the good things of the Persians, and to slay thy brother and thy lord, who hath ten thousand times ten thousand slaves, each one better than thou art. Soon shalt thou find out the truth of this; for before thou seest the king’s face thou shalt lose thine own head.” Saying thus, he hurled his javelin against Cyrus, but his breastplate resisted the blow, 465and Cyrus was not wounded, although he reeled in his saddle from the violence of the stroke. As Artagerses wheeled round his horse, Cyrus struck him with a javelin, driving the point through his throat, beside the collar-bone. That Artagerses was slain by Cyrus nearly all historians agree, but as to the death of Cyrus himself, since Xenophon has described it very shortly, as he was not an eye-witness of it, we may as well give the accounts of it which Deinon and which Ktesias have written.

X. Deinon says that when Artagerses fell, Cyrus charged violently among the troops round the king, and wounded the king’s horse. Artaxerxes was thrown from his horse, but Teribazus quickly mounted him upon another horse, saying, “My king, remember this day, for you ought not to forget it.” Artaxerxes, he states, was again thrown from his horse by the vehement onset of Cyrus, and again mounted. At the third charge the king who was violently enraged, and cried out to those around him that it was better to die than be treated thus, rode straight against Cyrus, who rashly and heedlessly exposed himself to the missiles of his enemies. The king hurled a dart at Cyrus, and so did, all his followers. Cyrus fell, struck, some say by the king himself, but according to others he was slain by a Carian soldier, on whom the king afterwards, as a reward for this feat of arms, bestowed the honour of marching at the head of the army, carrying a golden cock upon a spear. Indeed the Persians call the Carians themselves cocks, because of the plumes with which they ornament their helmets.

XI. The story of Ktesias, reduced to a succinct form, is as follows:—Cyrus, after slaying Artagerses, rode towards the king himself, and the king rode towards him, both of them in silence. Ariaeus, the friend of Cyrus, struck the king first but did not wound him. The king hurled his spear and missed Cyrus, but struck Satiphernes, a man of noble birth and a trusted friend of Cyrus, and slew him. Cyrus hurled his javelin at the king, drove it through his breastplate, making a wound in his breast two fingers’ breadths deep, and cast him from his horse. Upon this there was much disorder, and many took to flight. The king rose, and with a few followers, among whom 466was Ktesias, took refuge on a hill hard by. Meanwhile Cyrus was carried by his horse a long distance forward into the midst of his enemies, and, as it was now growing dark, he was not recognised by his foes, and was being sought for in vain by his friends. Excited by his victory, and full of spirit and pride, he rode about through the ranks, crying, “Out of my way, wretches.” As Cyrus shouted these words in Persian, some made way for him, but the tiara fell from his head, and a young man named Mithridates, not knowing who he was, hurled a javelin and struck him on the temple near the eye. The wound bled profusely, and Cyrus became dizzy and faint, so that he fell from his horse. The horse rushed away from him and was lost, but the servant of the man who struck Cyrus took up his saddle-cloth, which fell from his horse, and which was drenched with blood.

When Cyrus began to recover from the effects of this blow, some few of his eunuchs tried to mount him upon another horse and get him safe away from the field. As, however, he could not mount, he proposed to walk, and the eunuchs supported him as he went, faint and weak in his body, but still imagining himself to be the victor as he heard the fugitives calling Cyrus their king and begging him for mercy. At this time certain men of Kaunus, of mean and low condition, who followed the king’s army to perform menial services, happened to join the party with Cyrus, supposing them to be friends. When, however, they managed to distinguish that the surcoats which they wore over their armour were purple, while all the king’s soldiers wore white ones, they perceived that they were enemies. One of them ventured to strike Cyrus from behind with a spear, not knowing who he was. The javelin struck Cyrus behind the knee, cutting the vein there, and in his fall he also struck his wounded temple against a stone, and so died. This is the story of Ktesias, in which he seems, as it were, to hack poor Cyrus to death with a blunt sword.

XII. When Cyrus was dead it happened that Artasyras, who was called the king’s eye,583 rode past. Recognising the eunuchs who were mourning over the body, he asked the most trusted of them, “Pariskas, who is this beside whom 467you sit weeping?” He answered, “Artasyras, do you not see that it is Cyrus, who is dead?” Artasyras was astonished at this news, bade the eunuch be of good courage and guard the body, and himself rode in haste to Artaxerxes, who had given up all hope of success, and was in great bodily suffering from his wound and from thirst. Artasyras, with great delight, told him that he had seen Cyrus lying dead. On hearing this Artaxerxes at first wished to go to see it himself, and bade Artasyras lead him to the spot; but as there was much talk and fear of the Greeks, who were said to be advancing and carrying all before them; he decided to send a party to view the body; and thirty men went carrying torches. Meanwhile, as the king himself was almost dying of thirst the eunuch Satibarzanes went in search of drink for him; for there was no water in the place where he was, nor indeed anywhere near the army. After much trouble the eunuch at length fell in with one of the low Kaunian camp followers, who had about four pints of putrid water in a skin, which he took from the man and carried it to the king. When the king had drunk it all, he asked him if he was not disgusted with the water; and the king swore by the gods that he never had drank either wine or the purest of water with such pleasure. “So,” added he, “if I be not able to find the man who gave you this water and reward him for it, I pray that the gods may make him rich and happy.”

XIII. While they were talking thus, the thirty men rode up in high spirits, announcing to him his unlooked-for good fortune. Artaxerxes now began to recover his courage from the number of men who began to assemble round him, and descended from the hill amidst the glare of many torches. When he reached the body, the head and right hand were cut off, in accordance with some Persian custom. He ordered the head to be brought to him, took hold of it by the long thick hair, and showed it to those who were still wavering or fleeing. They all were filled with amazement, and did homage to him, so that he soon collected a force of seventy thousand men, accompanied by whom he re-entered his camp. He had left it in the morning, according to Ktesias, with an army of four hundred thousand men; though Deinon and Xenophon 468 both estimate the forces actually engaged at a higher figure. Ktesias states that the number of the dead was returned to Artaxerxes as nine thousand, but that he himself thought that the corpses which he saw lying on the field must amount to more than twenty thousand. This point admits of discussion; but Ktesias tells an obvious untruth when he says that he was sent on an embassy to the Greeks, together with Phalinus of Zakynthus, and some other persons. Xenophon knew that Ktesias was at the king’s court, for he makes mention of him, and has evidently read his history; so that he never would have passed him over, and only mentioned Phalinus of Zakynthus, if Ktesias had really come as interpreter on a mission of such importance. But Ktesias, being a wonderfully vain man, and especially attached to the Lacedæmonians and to Klearchus, constantly in his history introduces himself, while he sings the praises of Lacedæmon and of Klearchus.

XIV. After the battle, Artaxerxes sent most splendid and valuable presents to Artagerses, the son of the man who had been slain by Cyrus, and handsomely rewarded Ktesias and the rest of his companions. He sought out the Kaunian from whom he had received the water-skin, who was a poor and humble man, and made him rich and honoured. He also took pains to appoint suitable punishments to those who had misconducted themselves. One Arbakes, a Mede, deserted to Cyrus during the battle, and when Cyrus fell again returned to his allegiance. Artaxerxes, perceiving that he had done so not from treachery but from sheer cowardice, ordered him to carry a naked courtesan about the market-place upon his shoulders for the whole of one day. Another deserter, who besides changing sides falsely boasted that he had slain two of the enemy, was condemned by the king to have his tongue pierced with three needles. As Artaxerxes believed, and wished all men to think that he had himself slain Cyrus, he sent presents to Mithridates, who was the first man that wounded Cyrus, and bade those who carried the presents say, “The king honours you with these presents, because you found Cyrus’s saddle-cloth and brought it to him.” And when the Carian, who 469had struck Cyrus under the knee, demanded a present, he bade those who carried the presents say, “The king gives you these for having been second to bring him the good news; for Artasyras first, and you next, brought him the news of the death of Cyrus.” Mithridates retired in silence, much vexed at this; but the unhappy Carian, as often happens, was ruined by his own folly. Excited by his good fortune into trying to obtain more than became him, he refused to take what was offered him for having brought good news, but remonstrated loudly, declaring that he, and no one else, slew Cyrus, and that he was most unjustly being deprived of the credit of the action. The king, when he heard this, was greatly angered, and ordered the man’s head to be struck off. His mother, Parysatis, who was present, said, “My king, do not thus rid yourself of this pestilent Carian. He shall receive from me a fitting punishment for what he has dared to say.” The king handed him over to her, and Parysatis ordered the executioners to torture him for ten days, and then to tear out his eyes and pour molten copper into his ears until he died.

XV. Mithridates also came to an evil end after a few days by his folly. He came dressed in the robe, and adorned with the ornaments which he had received from the king, to a banquet at which the eunuchs of the king and of the king’s mother were present. When they began to drink the most influential of the eunuchs of Parysatis said to him: “What a fine dress, Mithridates, and what fine necklaces and bracelet the king has given you! How valuable is your scimitar? Indeed, he has made you fortunate and envied by all men.” Mithridates, who was already in liquor, answered: “What are these things, Sparamixes? I proved myself on that day worth more than these to the king.” Sparamixes smiled and said, “I do not grudge you them, Mithridates, but come—as the Greeks say that there is truth in wine—tell us how it can be so great or brilliant an achievement to find a saddle-cloth that has fallen off a horse, and to bring it to the king.” This the eunuch said, not because he did not know the truth, but because he wished to lead Mithridates, whose tongue was loosened by wine, to expose his folly before the company. Mithridates could not 470restrain himself, and said: “You may say what you please about saddle-cloths and such nonsense; I tell you plainly, that it was by my hand that Cyrus fell. I did not hurl my javelin in vain, like Artagerses, but I just missed his eye, struck him through the temple, and felled him to the ground; and with that blow he died.” All the rest of the guests, foreseeing the miserable end to which Mithridates would certainly come, cast their eyes upon the ground; but the host said: “My good Mithridates, let us now eat and drink, adoring the fortune of the king, but let us not talk about subjects which are too high for us.”

XVI. After this, the eunuch told Parysatis what Mithridates had said, and she told the king, who was much enraged, because he was proved not to have spoken the truth, and had been deprived of the sweetest part of his victory; for he wished to persuade all men, Asiatics and Greeks alike, that in the skirmish when he and his brother met he himself had been wounded by Cyrus, but had struck him dead. He therefore condemned Mithridates to the punishment of the boat. This is as follows:—Two wooden boats are made, which fit together. The criminal is placed on his back in one of them, and then the other is placed over him, and the two are fastened so as to leave his head, feet, and hands outside, but covering all the rest of his body. They give him food, and if he refuses it, they force him to eat it by pricking his eyes. When he has eaten they pour a mixture of milk and honey into his mouth and over his face. They then keep turning his eyes towards the sun, his whole face becomes completely covered with flies. As all his evacuations are necessarily contained within the boat, worms and maggots are generated from the corruption, which eat into his body; for when the man is certainly dead, they take off the upper boat and find all his flesh eaten away, and swarms of these animals clinging to his bowels and devouring them. In this way Mithridates died, after enduring his misery for seventeen days.

XVII. The only remaining object of the vengeance of Parysatis was Masabates, the king’s eunuch who cut off the head and hand of Cyrus. As he gave no handle against himself, Parysatis devised the following plot against him.471 She was naturally a clever woman, and was fond of playing with the dice. Before the war, she had often played with dice with the king; and after the war when she became reconciled to him she took part in his amusements, played at games with him, encouraged his amours, and altogether permitted Statira to have but very little of his society; for Parysatis hated Statira more than any one else, and wished to have most influence with Artaxerxes herself. Finding Artaxerxes one day eager for amusement, as he had nothing to do, she challenged him to play for a thousand darics. She purposely allowed her son to win, and paid him the money: and then pretending to be vexed at her loss, called on him to cast the dice afresh for a eunuch. Artaxerxes agreed, and they agreed to play upon the condition that each of them should set apart five of their most trusty eunuchs, and that the winner was to have his choice of the rest. On these terms they played; and Parysatis, who gave the closest attention to her game, and was also favoured by fortune, won, and chose Masabates, who was not one of the excepted ones. Before the king suspected her purpose she had Masabates arrested, and delivered him to the executioners with orders to flay him alive, impale his body sideways upon three stakes, and hang up his skin separately. This was done; and as the king was greatly grieved at it and was angry with her, she smiled and said ironically: “How pleasant and well-mannered you are, to be angry about a miserable old eunuch, whereas I have lost a thousand darics at dice and say nothing about it.” The king, though he was sorry to have been so cheated, yet remained quiet; but Statira, who indeed often on other occasions openly braved Parysatis, was very indignant with her for so cruelly and unjustly putting the king’s faithful eunuch to death for Cyrus’s sake.

XVIII. When Tissaphernes betrayed Klearchus and the other generals, broke his plighted word, seized them and sent them away in chains, Ktesias tells us that Klearchus asked him to provide him with a comb. When Klearchus received it and combed his hair with it, he was so much pleased that he gave Ktesias his ring, to be a token to all Klearchus’s friends and relatives in Lacedæmon of his friendship for Ktesias. The device 472engraved upon the ring was a dance of Karyatides. At first the soldiers who were imprisoned with Klearchus took away the provisions which were sent to him and ate them themselves, giving him but a small part of them. Ktesias says that he remedied this also, by arranging that a larger portion should be sent to Klearchus, and that a separate allowance should be given to the soldiers. All these services Ktesias states that he rendered in consequence of the favour of Parysatis for the captives, and at her instigation. He says, also, that as he sent Klearchus a joint of meat daily in addition to his other provisions, Klearchus begged him and assured him that it was his duty to hide a small dagger in the meat, and send it to him, and not to allow him to be cruelly put to death by the king; but he was afraid, and did not dare to do it. Ktesias says that the king’s mother pleaded with him for the life of Klearchus, and that he agreed to spare him, and even swore to do so, but that he was again overruled by Statira, and put them all to death except Menon. It was in consequence of this, according to Ktesias, that Parysatis began to plot against Statira, and devised the plan for poisoning her, though it seems very unlikely that it was only for the sake of Klearchus that she dared to do such wickedness as to murder the lawful wife of her king, who was the mother of the heirs to the throne. But clearly all this was written merely for dramatic effect, to do honour to the memory of Klearchus. Ktesias writes, too, that when the generals were put to death the remains of the others were thrown away to be devoured by the dogs and fowls of the air; but that a violent storm of wind heaped much earth over the body of Klearchus, and that from some dates which were scattered around there soon sprung up a fair and shady grove above the place where he lay, so that the king sorely repented of what he had done, thinking that in Klearchus he had slain one who was a favourite of the gods.

XIX. Parysatis, who had long been jealous of Statira and hated her, and who saw that her own power depended merely on the respect with which she was regarded by the king, who loved and trusted Statira, now determined to destroy her, though at the most terrible risk to herself. She had a faithful maid-servant, named Gigis, who 473was high in her favour, whom Deinon accuses of having assisted to administer the poison, though Ktesias says that she was only privy to the plot, and that against her will. Ktesias says that the man who procured the poison was named Belitaris, but Deinon calls him Melantas. Now the two queens, leaving off their former hatred and suspicion, began again to visit one another and to dine together, but yet mistrusted each other so much that they only ate the same food from the same dishes. There is in Persia a small bird, which has no excrements, but all its entrails are filled with solid fat; it is supposed that it feeds upon air and dew; the name of it is rhyntakes. Ktesias states that Parysatis cut this bird in two with a small knife, one side of which was smeared over with the poison. As she cut it, she wiped the poison off the blade on to one piece of the bird, which she gave to Statira, while she ate the untouched portion herself. Deinon, however, says that it was not Parysatis, but Melantas, who cut off the poisoned part of the meat and gave it to Statira. As Statira perished in dreadful agonies and convulsions, she herself perceived that she had been poisoned, and directed the suspicions of the king against his mother, knowing, as he did, her fierce and rancorous disposition. He at once began to search for the author of the crime, seized all his mother’s servants and the attendants at her table, and put them to the torture, except Gigis, whom Parysatis kept for a long time at home with herself, and refused to deliver up, though afterwards, when Gigis begged to be sent to her own home, the king heard of it, laid an ambuscade, caught her, and condemned her to death. Poisoners are put to death in Persia in the following manner: their heads are placed upon a flat stone, and are then beaten with another stone until the face and skull is crushed. Gigis perished in this manner; but Artaxerxes said and did nothing to Parysatis, except that he sent her to Babylon, at her own request, saying that he himself should not see Babylon as long as she lived. Such were the domestic troubles of Artaxerxes.

XX. Though the king was as anxious to get the Greek troops, who accompanied Cyrus, into his power as he had been to conquer Cyrus himself and to save his throne, 474yet he could not do so: for though they had lost their leader, Cyrus, and all their generals, yet they got away safe after having penetrated almost as far as the king’s palace itself, proving clearly to the world that the Persian empire, in spite of all its gold and luxury and beautiful women, was mere empty bombast without any real strength. Upon this all Greece took courage and despised the Asiatics, while the Lacedæmonians felt that it would be a disgrace to them not to set free the enslaved Greeks of Asia Minor, and put a stop to the insolence of the Persians. Their army was at first commanded by Thimbron, and afterwards by Derkyllidas, but as neither of these effected anything of importance, they entrusted the conduct of the war to their king Agesilaus. He crossed over to Asia with the fleet, and at once began to act with vigour. He gained much glory, defeated Tissaphernes, and set free the Greek cities from the Persians. Artaxerxes, upon this, having carefully considered how it would be best for him to contend with the Greeks, sent Timokrates of Rhodes into Greece with a large sum of money, and ordered him to corrupt the most important persons in each city by offering bribes to them, and to stir up the Greeks to make war against Lacedæmon. Timokrates did so, and as the greatest states formed a league, and Peloponnesus was in great confusion, the government ordered Agesilaus to return from Asia. On his departure on this occasion he is said to have remarked to his friends that he was being driven out of Asia by the King of Persia with thirty thousand archers; for the Persian coins bear the device of an archer.

XXI. Artaxerxes also chased the Lacedæmonians from the sea, making use for this purpose of Konon, the Athenian, as his admiral in conjunction with Pharnabazus. Konon, after the battle of Ægospotami, had retired to Cyprus, where he remained, not so much in order to ensure his own safety as to watch for a favourable opportunity, as one waits for the turn of the tide. Observing that while he possessed skill without power, the King of Persia possessed power without an able man to direct it, he wrote a letter to the king expressing these ideas. He ordered the man who carried the letter to make it reach the king, if possible, by the hands of Zeno the Cretan, 475or of Polykritus of Mende. Of these men, Zeno was a dancer, and Polykritus a physician. If these men should be absent he ordered the man to give the letter to Ktesias the physician. It is said that Ktesias received the letter and that he added to what Konon had written a paragraph bidding the king send Ktesias to him, as he would be a useful person to superintend naval operations. Ktesias, however, says that the king of his own accord appointed him to this service. Artaxerxes, now, by means of Pharnabazus and Konon, gained the sea-fight of Knidos, deprived the Lacedæmonians of the empire of the sea, and established so great an ascendancy over the Greeks that he was able to conclude with them the celebrated peace which was known as the peace of Antalkidas. This Antalkidas was a Spartan, the son of Leon; and he being entirely in the interests of the King of Persia, prevailed upon the Lacedæmonians to allow him to possess all the Greek cities in Asia, and all the islands off the coast, as his subjects and tributaries, as the result of the peace, if that can be called a peace, which was really an insult and betrayal of Greece to the enemy; for no war could have ended more disgracefully for the vanquished.

XXII. It follows from this that Artaxerxes, who, we learn from Deinon, always disliked all other Spartans, and thought them the most insolent of mankind, when he visited Persia, showed especial favour to Antalkidas. Once, after dinner, he took a garland of flowers, dipped it in the most valuable perfume, and sent it to Antalkidas. All men wondered at this mark of favour; but, it appears, Antalkidas was just the man to receive such presents, and to be corrupted by the luxury of the Persians, as he did not scruple to disgrace the memory of Leonidas and Kalikratidas by his conduct among them. When some one said to Agesilaus, “Alas for Hellas, when the Lacedæmonians are Medising.” Agesilaus answered “Is it not rather the Medes that are Laconising.” Yet the cleverness of this retort did not take away the disgrace of the transaction, for, though the Lacedæmonians lost their empire at the battle of Leuktra by their bad generalship, yet the glory of Sparta was lost before, by that shameful treaty. While Sparta was the leading state in Greece,476 Artaxerxes made Antalkidas his guest, and spoke of him as his friend; but when after the defeat at Leuktra the Lacedæmonians were humbled to the dust, and were in such distress for money that they sent Agesilaus to Egypt to serve for hire, Antalkidas again came to the court of Artaxerxes to beg him to help the Lacedæmonians. But Artaxerxes treated him with such neglect, and so contemptuously refused his request, that Antalkidas, on his return, jeered at by his enemies, and afraid moreover of the anger of the Ephors, starved himself to death. There went also to the King of Persia Ismenias of Thebes, and Pelopidas who had just won the battle of Leuktra. Pelopidas would not disgrace himself by any show of servility; but Ismenias, when ordered to do reverence to the king, dropped his ring, and then stooped to pick it up, so that he appeared to bow to the earth before him. Artaxerxes was so much pleased with Timagoras of Athens, who gave some secret intelligence in a letter which he sent by a secretary named Beluris, that he gave him a thousand darics, and, as he was in weak health and required milk sent eighty milch cows to accompany him. He also sent him a bed with bed-clothes and attendants to make it, as though Greeks did not know how, and bearers to carry him in a litter down to the sea-coast, on account of his indisposition. When he was at court, also, the king sent him a magnificent banquet, so that the king’s brother, Ostanes, said to him, “Timagoras, remember this table; for it is not for slight services that it is so splendidly set out.” This he said rather to reproach him for his treachery than to remind him to be grateful. However, the Athenians put Timagoras to death for taking bribes from the king.

XXIII. Although many of the acts of Artaxerxes grieved the Greeks, yet they were delighted with one of them, for he put to death Tissaphernes, their bitterest enemy. This he did in consequence of an intrigue of Parysatis; for Artaxerxes did not long continue angry with his mother, but became reconciled with her, and sent for her to his court, as he felt that her understanding and spirit would help him to govern, while there remained no further causes of variance between them. Henceforth she endeavoured 477 in everything to please the king, and gained great influence with him by never opposing any of his wishes. She now perceived that he was violently enamoured of one of his own daughters, named Atossa, but that, chiefly on his mother’s account, he concealed his love and restrained himself, though some historians state that he had already had some secret commerce with the girl. When Parysatis suspected this, she caressed the girl more than ever, and was continually praising her beauty and good qualities to the king, saying that she was a noble lady and fit to be a queen. At last she persuaded him into marrying the girl and proclaiming her as his lawful wife, disregarding the opinions and customs of the Greeks, and declaring that he himself was a law to the Persians and able to decide for himself what was right and wrong. Some writers, however, amongst whom is Herakleides of Kyme, state that Artaxerxes, besides Atossa, married another of his daughters, named Amestris, of whom I shall shortly afterwards make mention. Atossa lived with her father as his wife, and was so much beloved by him, that when leprosy broke out over her body he was not at all disgusted with her, but prayed for her to Hera alone of all the goddesses, prostrating himself in her temple and grasping the earth with his hands, while he ordered his satraps and friends to send so many presents to the goddess, that all the space between the palace and the temple, a distance of sixteen stadia (two English miles) was filled with gold and silver, and horses, and purple dyed stuffs.

XXIV. He appointed Pharnabazus and Iphikrates to conduct a war against Egypt,584 which failed through the dissensions of the generals; and he himself led an army of three hundred thousand foot and ten thousand horse against the Kadousians.585 On this occasion he insensibly placed himself in a position of great peril as he entered a difficult and foggy country, which produces no crops that grow from seed, but is inhabited by a fierce and warlike race of men who feed upon apples, pears, and other fruits 478which are found upon trees. No provisions could be found in this country, nor yet be brought into it from without, and the army was reduced to slaughtering the beasts of burden, so that an ass’s head sold for more than sixty drachmas. The king’s own table was scantily furnished; and but few of the horses remained alive, all the rest having been eaten. At this crisis Teribazus, a man who had often made himself the first man in the state by his bravery, and as often fallen into disrepute by folly, and who was then in a very humble and despicable position, saved both the king and his army. The Kadousians had two kings, each of whom occupied a separate camp. Teribazus, after having explained to Artaxerxes what he was about to do, himself went to one of these camps, and sent his son to the other. Each of them deceived the king to whom he went, by saying that the other king was about to send an embassy to Artaxerxes, offering to make peace and contract an alliance with him for himself alone. “If, then, you are wise,” said they, “you will be beforehand with your rival, and I will manage the whole affair for you.” Both of the kings were imposed upon in this manner, and, in their eagerness to steal a march upon one another, one of them sent ambassadors to the Persians with Teribazus, and the other with his son. As Teribazus was a long while absent, Artaxerxes began to suspect his fidelity, and he fell into a very desponding condition, regretting that he had trusted Teribazus, and listening to his detractors. When, however, Teribazus arrived, and his son arrived also, each bringing ambassadors from the Kadousians, and a treaty of peace was concluded, Teribazus became again a great and important personage. In this campaign Artaxerxes proved that cowardice and effeminacy arise only from a depraved disposition and natural meanness of spirit, not, as the vulgar imagine, from wealth and luxury; for in spite of the splendid dress and ornaments, valued at twelve thousand talents, which he always wore, the king laboured as hard, and suffered as great privations, as any common soldier, never mounting his horse, but always leading the way on foot up steep and rugged mountain paths, with his quiver on his shoulder, and his shield on his left arm, so that 479all the rest were inspirited and encouraged by seeing his eagerness and vigour; for he accomplished every day a march of upwards of two hundred stadia.

XXV. When during cold weather the army, encamped in a royal domain, which was full of parks and fine trees, while all the rest of the country was bare and desert, he permitted the soldiers to gather wood from the royal park, and gave them leave to cut down the trees, without sparing either fir trees or cypresses. As they hesitated, and wished to spare the trees because of their size and beauty, he himself took an axe and cut down the largest and finest tree of all. After this they provided themselves with wood, lighted many fires, and passed a comfortable night.

On his return from this campaign he found that he had lost many brave men, and almost all his horses. He fancied that he was regarded with contempt because of his failure, and began to view all the great men of the kingdom with suspicion. Many of them he put to death in anger, but more because he feared them—for fear makes kings cruel, while cheerful confidence renders them gentle, merciful, and unsuspicious. For this reason, the beasts that start at the least noise are the most difficult to tame, while those which are of a more courageous spirit have more confidence and do not shrink from men’s advances.

XXVI. Artaxerxes, who was now very old, perceived that his sons were caballing with their friends and with the chief nobles of the kingdom to secure the succession. The more respectable of these thought that Artaxerxes ought to leave the crown to his eldest son Darius, as he himself had inherited it, but Ochus his younger son, who was of a vehement and fierce disposition, had a very considerable party, who were ready to support his claims, and hoped to be able to influence his father by means of Atossa; for he paid her especial attention, and gave out that he intended to marry her and make her his queen after his father’s death. It was even said that he intrigued with her during his father’s life. Artaxerxes knew nothing of this: but as he wished to cut off the hopes of Ochus at once, for fear that he might do as Cyrus 480had done, and again plunge the kingdom in wars and disorders, he proclaimed Darius his heir, and allowed him to wear his tiara erect. There is a custom among the Persians that whoever is declared heir to the throne may ask for anything that he pleases, and that the king who has nominated him must, if possible, grant his request. Darius, in accordance with this custom, asked for Aspasia, the favourite of Cyrus, who was at that time living in the harem of Artaxerxes. This lady was a native of the city of Phokæa in Ionia, born of free parents, and respectably brought up. When she was introduced to Cyrus at supper, with several other women, the others sat down beside him, permitted him to touch them and sport with them, and were not offended at his familiarities, but she stood in silence near the couch on which Cyrus reclined, and refused to come to him when he called her. When his chamberlains approached her, meaning to bring her to him by force, she said, “Whoever lays hands on me shall smart for it.” The company thought her very rude and ill-mannered, but Cyrus was pleased with her spirits, and said, with a smile, to the man who had brought her, “Do you not see that this is the only ladylike and respectable one of them all.” After this he became much attached to her, loved her above all other women, and used to call her “Aspasia the wise.” When Cyrus fell and his camp was plundered she was taken prisoner.

XXVII. Now, Darius vexed his father by asking for this lady; for the Persians are excessively jealous about their women; indeed, not only all who approach and speak to one of the king’s concubines, but even any one who drives past or crosses their litters on the high road, is punished with death. Yet, Artaxerxes, through sheer passion, had made Atossa his wife, and kept three hundred most beautiful concubines. However, when Darius made this request, he replied that Aspasia was a free woman, and said that if she was willing he might take her, but that he would not force her to go against her will. When she was sent for, as she, contrary to the king’s expectation, chose to go to Darius, the king let her go, for the law compelled him to do so, but he soon afterwards took her away from him again: for he 481appointed her priestess of the temple of Artemis, called Anäitis, at Ekbatana, in order that she might spend the rest of her life in chastity. This he considered to be not a harsh, but rather a playful way of reproving his son; but Darius was much enraged at it, either because he was so deeply enamoured of Aspasia, or because he thought that he was being wantonly insulted by his father. Teribazus, perceiving his anger, confirmed him in it, because he saw in the treatment which Darius had received the counterpart of that which had befallen himself. The king, who had several daughters, promised Apama to Pharnabazus, Rhodogoune to Orontes, and Amestris to Teribazus. He kept his word with the two former, but broke it to Teribazus by marrying Amestris himself, and betrothing his youngest daughter Atossa to him in her stead. When, as has been related, he fell in love with her also and married her, Teribazus became bitterly enraged against him, being of an unstable and fickle disposition, without any steady principles. For this reason he never could bear either bad or good fortune, but at one time he was honoured as one of the greatest men in the kingdom, and then swaggered insufferably, while when he was disgraced and reduced to poverty he could not bear his reverse of fortune with a good grace, but became insolent and offensive.

XXVIII. It may be imagined that the company of Teribazus was to Darius as fuel to fire, for Teribazus was constantly repeating to him that it was of no use for him to wear his tiara upright if he did not mean to advance his own interests, and that he was a fool if he imagined that he could inherit the crown without a struggle when his brother was bringing female influence to bear to secure his own succession, and when his father was in such a vacillating and uncertain frame of mind. He who could break the laws of the Persians—which may not be broken—out of his passion for a Greek girl, cannot be urged, be trusted, to keep the most important engagements. It was, moreover, a very different thing for Ochus not to obtain the crown, and for him to be deprived of it, for there was no reason why Ochus should not live happily in a private station, whereas he, having 482been appointed heir to the throne, must either become king or perish.

Generally speaking, perhaps we may say with Sophocles, “Swift runneth evil counsel to its goal,” for men find the path smooth and easy towards what they desire, and most men desire what is wrong, because of their ignorance and low mindedness. Yet, besides all these considerations, the greatness of the empire, and the fear with which Ochus inspired Darius, also afforded arguments to Teribazus. Nor was the goddess of Love entirely blameless in the matter, for Darius was already incensed at the loss of Aspasia.

XXIX. He, therefore, placed himself entirely in the hands of Teribazus; and many joined in their conspiracy. But the plot was betrayed to the king by a eunuch, who had a perfect knowledge of their plans, and knew that they had determined to break into the king’s chamber by night and murder him in his bed. When Artaxerxes heard this he was perplexed; for he felt that it would be wrong for him to neglect the information which he had received of so great a danger, and yet that it would be even worse to believe the eunuch’s story without any proofs of its truth. He therefore ordered the eunuch to join the conspirators, and to enter his chamber with them. Meanwhile he had a door made in the wall behind his bed, and concealed it with tapestry. When the appointed time arrived, of which he was warned by the eunuch, he lay upon his bed, and did not rise before he had seen the faces of the conspirators and clearly recognised each of them. But when he saw them draw their daggers and rush upon him, he quickly raised the tapestry, passed into the inner room, and slammed the door, crying aloud for help. The would-be murderers, having been seen by the king, but having effected nothing, rushed away through the gates of the palace, and especially warned Teribazus to fly, as he had been distinctly seen. The others dispersed and escaped, but Teribazus was surrounded, and after killing many of the king’s body guard with his own hand was at last despatched by a javelin hurled from a distance. Darius and his children were brought before a court formed of the royal judges, who were appointed by the king to 483try him. As the king himself did not appear but impeached him by proxy, he ordered clerks to write down the decision of each judge and to bring it to him. As all decided alike, and sentenced Darius to death, the officers of the court removed him into a prison hard by. The executioner now came, bearing in his hand the razor, with which the heads of criminals are cut off, but when he saw Darius he was dismayed, and ran back to the door with his face averted, declaring that he could not and dared not lay hands upon his king. As, however, he was met outside by the judges, who threatened him and ordered him to do his duty, he returned, took hold of Darius’s hair with his left hand, dragged down his head, and severed his neck with the razor. Some historians state that the king himself was present at the trial, and that Darius, when proved guilty, fell on his face and begged for mercy: at which the king sprung up in anger, drew his dagger, and stabbed him mortally. They add that Artaxerxes, after he had returned to his palace, came forward publicly, did obeisance to the sun, and then said aloud, “Men of Persia, be of good cheer, and go, tell the rest of my subjects that the great Oromasdes has executed judgment upon those who formed a wicked and treasonable plot.”

XXX. This was the end of the conspiracy; and now Ochus was encouraged by Atossa to form high hopes, though he still feared his remaining legitimate brother Ariaspes, and his natural brother Arsames. The Persians wished Ariaspes to be their king, not because he was older than Ochus, but because he was of a gentle and kind disposition; while Ochus observed that Arsames was of a keen intellect, and was especially beloved by his father. He, therefore, plotted against both of them, and as he was by nature both crafty and cruel, he indulged his cruelty in his treatment of Arsames, while he made use of his cunning to ruin Ariaspes. He kept sending to this latter eunuchs and friends of the king, who, with an affection of secrecy, continually told him frightful tales of how his father had determined to put him to death with every circumstance of cruelty and insult. These messengers, by daily communicating these fabrications to him, saying that the king was on the very eve of carrying them into operation,484 threw the unhappy man into such a terrible state of despair and excitement of mind that he ended his life by poison. The king, on hearing of the manner of his death, lamented for him, and had some suspicions about how he came by his end; but as he was unable to verify them and discover the truth, on account of his great age, he attached himself all the more warmly to Arsames, so that he was well known to trust and confide in him above all others. Yet, Ochus was not discouraged by this, but finding a suitable instrument in Arpates the son of Teribazus, induced him to assassinate Arsames. Artaxerxes, when this happened, was so old that his life hung by a mere thread; and when this last blow fell, he could bear up no longer, but sunk at once through grief and misery. He lived ninety-four years, and reigned sixty-two, and was thought to be a mild prince, and a lover of his subjects, though this was chiefly because of his successor, Ochus, who was the most savage and cruel tyrant that ever ruled in Persia.



I. It seems to me, my Polykrates, that it was in order to avoid the ill-omened sound of the old proverb, that the philosopher Chrysippus altered it into what he thought a better version:

“Who vaunt their fathers, save the best of sons?”

but Dionysodorus of Trœzene proves him to be wrong, and restores the proverb to its original form:

“Who vaunt their fathers, save the worst of sons?”

and explains that the proverb was intended to apply to those who are utterly worthless in themselves, but who shelter their own evil lives behind the virtues of their ancestors, and who pride themselves on their ancestors’ glory as though it were their own. Yet, in one who, like yourself, “by birth inherits glory from a noble race,” as Pindar has it, and who, as you do, imitates in his own life the noblest examples of his ancestry, may well take pleasure in discoursing upon the lives of well-born men, and in listening to the remarks of others about them. They do not depend for praise upon the lives of other men, because there is nothing to be admired in themselves, but they combine the glory of their ancestors with their own, and honour them both as having founded their families and as having set examples to be imitated. For this reason I have sent to you the life of Aratus, which I have compiled, not that I was not aware that you had carefully studied all his achievements and were well acquainted with them, but with the hope that your sons, Polykrates and Pythokles, might be brought up to imitate the glorious 486 example of their forefathers, and might learn to walk in their footsteps by reading and discussing the history of their exploits. Indeed, to imagine that one has already arrived at perfection, argues self-conceit rather than true greatness of character.

II. The city of Sikyon, as soon as it lost its original oligarchic Dorian constitution, became distracted by internal faction, and at last fell into the hands of a series of despotic rulers. After the last of these, named Kleon, had been put to death, the citizens placed the government in the hands of Timokleides and Kleinias, two of their most honourable and influential men. But as soon as a settled form of government began to be established, Timokleides died, and Abantidas, the son of Paseas, in order to obtain the supreme power for himself, assassinated Kleinias, and either banished or put to death all his relatives and friends. He endeavoured to kill Kleinias’s son, Aratus, who was left an orphan at the age of seven; however, during the confusion which prevailed in the house, the child wandered out into the city, and, terrified and helpless, made his way unnoticed into the house of Soso, Abantidas’s sister, whose husband was Prophantus, the brother of Kleinias. She was naturally a high-souled lady, and thought also that the child must have been directed by heaven to take refuge in her house. She hid him from his enemies, and that night sent him away to Argos.

III. This adventurous escape from so terrible a danger produced in the mind of Aratus the fiercest hatred of all despots. He was brought up by his father’s friends at Argos in a manner becoming his birth, and as he grew up tall and strong, he devoted himself to gymnastic exercises in the palaestra, and even gained a crown for success in the pentathlum. We can trace the effects of this training in his statues, which represent an intellectual and commanding countenance, and also the effects of the liberal diet and work586 with the spade practised by the professional athlete. For this reason he paid less attention to oratory than became a public man; yet he was a better 487speaker than some suppose, which is proved by the study of his hastily and plainly-written memoirs.

As time went on, Deinias and Aristotle the logician formed a plot against Abantidas, who was accustomed to come and spend his leisure time in the open market-place with them, listening to their discourse and arguing with them. They drew him into a discussion and assassinated him. He was succeeded by his father, Paseas, who was soon treacherously slain by Nikokles, who now declared himself despot of Sikyon. We are told that this man was singularly like Periander, the son of Kypselus, just as the Persian Orontes bore a striking resemblance to Alkmæon, the son of Amphiaraus, and a certain young Spartan so closely resembled Hector, that he was trampled to death by the multitudes who came to see him and satisfy their curiosity.

IV. Nikokles reigned four months, during which time he did the city much hurt, and very nearly lost it to the Aetolians, who had formed a plot to surprise it. Aratus was now nearly grown up, and possessed great influence, both on account of his noble birth, and because he was already well known to be possessed of an enterprising spirit, combined with a prudence beyond his years. In consequence of this, all the other Sikyonian exiles looked upon him as their leader, and Nikokles himself regarded him with apprehension, and quietly took precautions against him, never supposing that he would attempt so audacious an enterprise as he did, but thinking he would probably make overtures to some of the successors of Alexander, who had been guests587 and friends of his father. Indeed, Aratus did attempt to obtain assistance from some of them; but since Antigonus, though he promised his aid, temporised and hesitated to act, and his hopes from Egypt and Ptolemy were too remote, he determined to overthrow the despot alone.

V. The first persons to whom he communicated his design were Aristomachus and Ekdelus, of whom the former was an exile from Sikyon, while Ekdelus was an Arcadian of Megalopolis, a man of culture as well as of action, who had been an intimate friend of Arkesilaus, the 488Academic philosopher at Athens. As both these men readily accepted his proposals, Aratus began to discuss the project with the other exiles. Some few felt ashamed to abandon all hope of restoration to their country, and joined Aratus, but most of them tried to hinder him from making the attempt, alleging that his daring was the result of inexperience. While Aratus was meditating whether he could not seize some strong place within the territory of Sikyon, and make it the base of his operations against the despot, there came to Argos a certain Sikyonian who had escaped from prison. This man was the brother of Xenokles, one of the exiles; and when brought to Aratus by his brother, told him that the city wall, at the place where he himself climbed over it and made his escape, was very nearly level with the ground on the inside, as it was built up against high and rocky ground, while on the outside it was not so high as to be beyond the reach of scaling-ladders. Aratus, when he heard this, sent Xenokles with two of his own servants, named Seuthas and Technon, to reconnoitre the spot, for he was determined, if possible, to risk everything by one sudden and secret assault, rather than openly to engage in what might prove a long and tedious war, waged, as it would be by a private man against the despotic ruler of a state. Xenokles, on his return, reported that he had measured the height of the walls, and that the ground presented no difficulties for their attempt, but he said that it would be difficult to reach the place unobserved, because of the dogs of a gardener who dwelt near, which, though small, were peculiarly ferocious and savage. Upon hearing this, Aratus at once began to prepare for the attempt.

VI. The use of arms was, at that period, familiar to all men, because of the constant marauding incursions which each state continually made upon the territory of its neighbours. The scaling-ladders were made openly by Euphranor the carpenter, one of the exiles, whose trade enabled him to construct them without exciting suspicion.

The Argive friends of Aratus each contributed ten men from their own households; while he himself was able to arm thirty slaves of his own. He also hired from Xenokrilus, the well-known captain of robbers, a small band 489of soldiers, who were told that the object of the incursion into the Sikyonian territory was to carry off some horses belonging to King Antigonus. Most of the band were ordered to make their way in scattered parties to the tower of Polygnotus, and there to wait for their leaders. Kaphisias, in light marching order, with four others, was sent on in advance, with instructions to present himself at the house of the gardener about nightfall. Under the pretext of being wayfaring men seeking for hospitality, they were to obtain lodgings there for the night, and secure both the man and his dogs, for unless this was done it would be impossible to reach the walls. The scaling-ladders, which were made to take to pieces, were packed in chests, covered over, and sent forward in waggons. Meanwhile, as several spies sent by Nikokles had appeared in Argos, who were said to be quietly watching the movements of Aratus, he rose at daybreak, and spent the day in the open market-place, conversing with his friends. Towards evening he anointed himself in the palæstra, and then went home, taking with him several of the companions with whom he was accustomed to drink and amuse himself. Soon after this his servants were seen crossing the market-place, one carrying garlands, another buying torches, and another bargaining with the female musicians who were wont to attend at banquets. The spies, seeing all these preparations, were deceived and laughingly said to one another, “Surely there is nothing more cowardly than a tyrant, if Nikokles, with such a city and armed force at his disposal, really fears this youth, who wastes the income on which he has to subsist in exile, on amusements and on wine parties before it is even dark.”

VII. Thus the spies were thrown off their guard; but Aratus, immediately after supper, sallied forth, met his men at the tower of Polygnotus, and led them to Nemea where he explained, to most of them for the first time, what he was about to attempt. After promising them rewards in case of success, and addressing to them a few words of encouragement, he gave Propitious Apollo as the watchword, and proceeded towards the city, regulating his march according to the moon, so that he was able to make use of its light to march by, and when it was 490setting arrived at the garden outside the walls. Here Kaphisias met him, with the news that he had not been able to secure the dogs, which had run away, but that he had locked up the gardener in his house. On hearing this most of the conspirators became disheartened, and demanded to be led back again; but Aratus pacified them by promising that, if the dogs attacked them and gave the alarm, he would give up the attempt. He now sent forward a party with the scaling-ladders, under the command of Ekdelus and Mnesitheus, and himself proceeded at a leisurely pace. The dogs at once set upon the party under Ekdelus, and kept up a continuous barking; nevertheless they reached the wall and placed the ladders against it undisturbed. While the foremost were mounting, the officer who was being relieved by the morning guard passed that way carrying a bell, and there was a great flashing of lights and trampling of marching soldiers. The conspirators remained where they were, crouching upon their ladders, and without difficulty escaped the notice of this patrol, but they were terribly near being discovered by a second body of guards marching in the opposite direction. As soon as this also had passed by without noticing them, the leaders, Mnesitheus and Ekdelus, at once mounted upon the walls, secured the passage along the walls both on the right and on the left, and despatched Technon to Aratus, bidding him hasten to the spot.

VIII. At no great distance from the garden there stood a tower upon the walls, in which a great hound was kept for a watch. This hound had not noticed the approach of the escalading party, either because he was dull of hearing, or because he was tired with exercise the day before. When, however, the gardener’s little dogs roused him by their clamour at the foot of the wall, he at first set up a low growling, and then, as the party drew nearer, began to bark furiously. He made so much noise that the sentry on the next tower called out in a loud voice to the huntsman in charge of the dog, asking him at what the hound was barking so savagely, and whether anything was wrong. The huntsman replied from his tower that all was well, only that the hound had been disturbed by the lights of the patrol and the sound of their bell.491 This gave great encouragement to Aratus’s party, who imagined that the huntsman spoke thus because he had seen them and wished to screen them from observation and assist their plot, and that many others in the city might be willing to do the same. Yet, the scaling of the walls was a long and dangerous operation, as the ladders were too weak to bear the weight of more than one man mounting slowly at a time, yet time pressed, for the cocks had already begun to crow, and soon the country people might be expected to arrive, bringing their wares to market. So, now, Aratus, himself hastily mounted, after forty of his men had reached the top, and while the remainder were still mounting, he marched straight to the despot’s house, and the guard-room in which his mercenary troops passed the night. By a sudden assault he took them all prisoners without killing one of them, and at once sent messengers to summon his own friends from their houses. Day was breaking while they assembled, and soon the theatre was filled with an excited crowd without any distinct idea of what was happening, until a herald came forward and announced to the people that Aratus, the son of Kleinias, invited his fellow-citizens to regain their liberty.

IX. The people now, at last, believed that their long-looked-for deliverers had indeed come, and rushed in a body to set fire to the despot’s house. The burning house made such a prodigious blaze that it was seen as far as Corinth, where the citizens were so much astonished, that they were within a little of setting out to rescue Sikyon from the flames. Nikokles himself escaped by a subterranean passage, and got clear away from the city, and his soldiers, with the assistance of the citizens, put out the fire and plundered his house. Aratus did not attempt to stop this proceeding, and distributed the remainder of the despot’