Plutarch's Lives, Volume II
by Aubrey Stewart & George Long
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[Footnote 422: The Caspian Lake was sometimes so called from the Hyrkani, who occupied the country on the south-east side of this great lake.]

[Footnote 423: See the Life of Crassus.]

[Footnote 424: This Caius Memmius was tribune of the Plebs in the year B.C. 66, in which year Lucullus returned to Rome. Memmius was not satisfied with prosecuting M. Lucullus; he revenged himself for his failure by debauching his wife, to which Cicero alludes in the following passage (Ad Attic. i. 18): "C. Memmius has initiated the wife of M. Lucullus in his own sacred rites. Menelaus (M. Lucullus) did not like this, and has divorced his wife. Though that shepherd of Ida insulted Menelaus only; this Paris of ours has not considered either that Menelaus or Agamemnon should be free." Cicero is here alluding to the opposition which Memmius made to the triumph of L. Lucullus. Memmius was a man of ability, but of dissolute habits. He was accused of bribery at the consular election, and being convicted, retired to Athens. Several letters of Cicero to him are still extant. Lucretius dedicated his poem to Memmius. See the Note of Manutius on Cicero, Ad Familiares, xiii. 1.

Orelli (Onomastic. C. Memmius Gemillus) refers to Cicero, Pro Balbo, c. 2, to show that this Memmius was quaestor under Pompeius in his Spanish campaign. But according to Plutarch, a Memmius fell in battle in this war (Life of Sertorius, c. 21).]

[Footnote 425: Lucullus triumphed B.C. 63, in the consulship of Cicero. (Cicero, Academ. Prior, ii. 1.)]

[Footnote 426: Servilia was the half sister of M. Porcius Cato the younger. Livia, the daughter of M. Livius Drusus, who was consul B.C. 112 and the sister of the tribune M. Livius Drusus B.C. 91, was married to M. Porcius Cato, by whom she became the mother of M. Porcius Cato the younger, or of Utica. She was divorced from Cato, and then married Q. Servilius Caepio, the brother of the Caepio who was defeated by the Cimbri. Some critics made Caepio her first husband. She had by Caepio a daughter Servilia, who married L. Lucullus, and another Servilia, who married M. Junius Brutus and was the mother of M. Junius Brutus, one of the assassins of C. Julius Caesar. Plutarch in various passages clearly distinguishes these two women, though some critics think there was only one Servilia. Caesar was a lover of the mother of Brutus, and he gave her an estate at Naples. (Cicero, Ad Attic, xiv. 21.)]

[Footnote 427: This is the word of Plutarch ([Greek: tes aristokratias]), which he seems to use here like the Roman "Nobilitas" to express the body of the Nobiles or Optimates, as they were called by a term which resembled the Greek [Greek: aristoi]. (See Tiberius Gracchus, c. 10, notes.)]

[Footnote 428: The original is made somewhat obscure by the words [Greek: hosper ou], which introduce the concluding sentence; it is not always easy to see in such cases whose is the opinion that is expressed. Plutarch means to say that Lucullus thought that luxury was more suitable to his years than war or affairs of state, and that Pompeius and Crassus differed from him on this point. Compare the Life of Pompeius, c. 48.]

[Footnote 429: These gardens in the reign of Claudius belonged to Valerius Asiaticus. Messalina the wife of Claudius, coveted the gardens, and Valerius, after being charged with various offences was graciously allowed by the emperor to choose his own way of dying. In these same gardens Messalina was put to death. (Tacitus, Ann. xi. 1. 37.)]

[Footnote 430: There is the tunnel near Naples, called Posilipo, which is a Roman work, and is described by Strabo (p. 246); but its date is unknown.]

[Footnote 431: Tubero the Stoic was Q. AElius Tubero, who was Tribune of the Plebs B.C. 133 and opposed Tiberius Gracchus. He was also an opponent of Caius (Cicero, Brutus, c. 31, and Meyer's notes). But this cannot be the contemporary of Lucullus, and Plutarch either means Q. AElius Tubero the historian, or he has mistaken the period of Tubero the Stoic. Ruhnken proposes to read in the text of Plutarch "historian" for "stoic," but it is better to suppose that Plutarch was mistaken, about the age of the Stoic. The ownership of good sayings is seldom undisputed. Velleius Paterculus (ii. 83) attributes this to Pompeius Magnus. The allusion is to Xerxes the Persian, who dug a canal through the flat isthmus which connects the rocky peninsula of Athos with the mainland (Herodotus, vii. 22), which still exists.]

[Footnote 432: There is some corruption in the text; but the general meaning is clear enough.]

[Footnote 433: This is the story which Q. Horatius Flaccus tells in his Epistolae, Lib. i. Ep. 6.]

[Footnote 434: This is one of many like indications in Plutarch of his good opinion of his countrymen. Compare the life of Crassus, c. 8, where he is speaking of Spartacus.]

[Footnote 435: Plutarch's allusion would be intelligible to a Greek, but hardly so to a Roman, unless he was an educated man. A prytaneum in a Greek city was a building belonging to the community, on the altar of which was kept the ever-burning fire. In the prytaneum of Athens, entertainments were given both to foreign ambassadors and to citizens who had merited the distinction of dining in the prytaneum, a privilege that was given sometimes for life, and sometimes for a limited period. As the town-hall of any community is in a manner the common home of the citizens, so Plutarch compares the house of Lucullus, which was open to all strangers, with the public hall of a man's own city.]

[Footnote 436: Plato established his school in the Academia, a grove near Athens; whence the name of the place, Academia, was used to signify the opinions of the school of Plato and of those schools which were derived from his. Speusippus, the nephew of Plato, was his successor in the Academy, and he was followed by Xenokrates, and other teachers who belong to the Old Academy, as it is called, among whom were Polemo, Krates, and Krantor. The New Academy, that is, the philosophical sect so called, was established by Arcesilaus; who was succeeded by several teachers of little note. Karneades, a native of Cyrene, the man mentioned by Plutarch, was he who gave to the New Academy its chief repute. Philo was not the immediate pupil of Karneades. He was a native of Larissa, and during the war with Mithridates he came to Rome, where he delivered lectures. Cicero was one of his hearers, and often mentions him. Philo according to Cicero (Academ. i. i) denies that there were two Academies. Antiochus, of Askalon, was a pupil of Philo, but after he had founded a school of his own he attempted to reconcile the doctrines of the Old Academy with those of the Peripatetics and Stoics; and he became an opponent of the New Academy. Antiochus was with Lucullus in Egypt. (Cicero, Academ. Prior. ii. c. 4.) The usual division of the Academy is into the Old and New; but other divisions also were made. The first and oldest was the school of Plato, the second or middle was that of Arkesilaus, and the third was that of Karneades and Kleitomachus. Some make a fourth, the school of Philo and Charmidas; and a fifth, which was that of Antiochus. (Sextus Empiricus, Pyrrh. Hypot. i. 220.)]

[Footnote 437: This is the Second Book of the Academica Priora, in which Lucullus, Catulus, Cicero, and Hortensius arr represented as discussing the doctrines of the Academy in the villa of Hortensius at Bauli.]

[Footnote 438: Plutarch's word is [Greek: katalepsis], the word that was used by the Academics. Cicero translates [Greek: katalepsis] by the Latin word Comprehensio. The doctrine which Lucullus maintains is that the sensuous perception is true. "If all perceptions are such, as the New Academy maintained them to be, that they may be false or cannot be distinguished from what are true, how, it is asked, can we say of anyone that he has come to a conclusion or discovered anything?" (Academ. Prior, ii. c. 9.) The doctrine as to the impossibility of knowing anything, as taught by Karneades, is explained by Sextus Empiricus (Advers. Mathematicos, vii. 159). The doctrine of the incomprehensible nature of things, that there is nothing certain to be collected either from the sense or the understanding, that there is no [Greek: katalepsis] (comprehensio), comprehension, may be collected from the passages given in Ritter and Preller, Historia Philosophiae Graeco-Romanae, p. 396, Academic Novi.]

[Footnote 439: Dion Cassius (37, c. 49) states that during the consulship of Lucius Afranius and Q. Metellus Celer B.C. 60, Pompeius, who had brought about their election, attempted to carry a law for the distribution of lauds among his soldiers and the ratification of all his acts during his command. This is the Agrarian Law which was proposed by the tribune Flavius, but opposed by the Senate. (Cicero, Ad Attic. i. 19.) Afranius was, if we may trust Cicero, a contemptible fellow; and Metellus now quarrelled with Pompeius, because Pompeius had divorced Mucia, the sister of Metellus, as Dion calls her, for incontinence during his absence. Cicero says that the divorce was much approved. Mucia was not the sister of Metellus; but she was probably a kinswoman. The divorce, however, could only have been considered a slight affair; for Mucia was incontinent, and divorces were no rare things at Rome. The real ground of the opposition of Metellus to Pompeius was fear of his assumption of still further power. From this time Horatius (Carm. ii. 1, "Motum ex Metello Consule civicum") dates the beginning of the Civil Wars of his period. See Life of Pompeius, c. 46, and of Cato the Younger, c. 31.]

[Footnote 440: It is Brettius in the text of Plutarch, which is evidently a mistake for Bettius, that is, Vettius. This affair of Vettius cannot be cleared up. He had been an informer in the matter of Catiline's conspiracy, and he had attempted to implicate C. Julius Caesar in it: which of the two parties caused him to be assassinated is doubtful. This affair of Vettius is spoken of by Cicero, Ad Attic. ii. 24, Dion Cassius, 38, c. 9, Appian, Civil Wars, ii. 12. The history of this affair of Vettius is given by Drumann, Geschichte Roms, ii. 334, P. Clodius.]

[Footnote 441: Kaltwasser translates it "he put himself to death:" perhaps the words may have either meaning.]

[Footnote 442: See the Life of Cicero, c. 31, and Life of Cato, c. 34.

Cicero was banished B.C. 58, and Cato was sent to Cyprus in the same year. Lucullus probably did not survive beyond the year B.C. 56. He was older than Cn. Pompeius Magnus, who was born B.C. 106.

The character of Lucullus may be collected from Plutarch. He was a man of talent and of taste, a brave soldier, a skilful general and a man of letters. Cicero in the first chapter of the second book of the Academica Priora has passed a high eulogium on him. He was fond of wealth and luxury, but humane and of a mild temper. He was no match for the cunning of Pompeius, or the daring temper of Caesar; and he was not cruel enough to have acted with the decision which the troublesome times required that he just lived to see. The loss of his History of the Marsic War is much to be lamented. It is singular that Sulla's Memoirs which he revised, and his own work, have not been preserved, for we must suppose that copies of them were abundant; and they were extant in Plutarch's time.

The history of the campaigns of Lucullus in Asia would have been interesting. It is worth recording that we are indebted to him for the cherry, which he brought from Cerasus (Plin. Hist. Nat. xv. 30) into Europe; the name of the fruit still records the place from which it was brought. As a collector of books, a lover of ornamental gardening and parks stocked with animals, and a friend to all the arts and sciences, Lucullus was of all the luxurious Romans the most magnificent and the most refined. He left a son by Servilia, whose name was probably Lucius. This son joined the party of Cato and M. Brutus. After the battle of Philippi B.C. 42, he was overtaken in the pursuit, and put to death at the command of M. Antonius. No children of this son are mentioned.

Marcus, the brother of Plutarch's Lucius Licinius, was consul B.C. 73. It is not known how long he survived his brother, but he died before the commencement of the second Civil War (Vell. Paterc. ii. 49), that which broke out between Caesar and Pompeius B.C. 50.]


Lucullus may be accounted especially fortunate in having died when he did, so that he did not witness the ruin of his country by the civil wars, but departed this life while Rome, though corrupt, was yet a free state. And in this he resembles Kimon more than in any other point; for Kimon also died while the Greeks were at the height of their prosperity, and before they had begun to fight against one another. Indeed, Kimon died in his camp, while acting as commander-in-chief of his country's forces, at the siege of Kitium in Cyprus; not retired home, as if worn out with hard service, nor yet indulging in feasting and wine-drinking, as though that were the end and reward of his military achievements; like that life of eternal drunkenness which Plato sneers at the Orphic school for promising to their disciples as their reward hereafter.

A peaceful retirement, and a life of literary leisure, is no doubt a great comfort to a man who has withdrawn himself from taking any active part in politics; but to perform notable exploits with no object in view except to obtain the means of enjoyment, and to pass from the command of armies and the conduct of great wars to a life of voluptuous indolence and luxury seems unworthy of a philosopher of the Academy, or of any who profess to follow the doctrine of Xenokrates, and to be rather fit for a disciple of Epikurus. It is a remarkable circumstance that the youth of Kimon seems to have been licentious and extravagant, while that of Lucullus was spent in a sober and virtuous fashion. Clearly he is the better man that changes for the better; for that nature must be the more excellent in which vice decays, and virtue gains strength. Moreover, both Kimon and Lucullus were wealthy; but they made a very different use of their wealth. We cannot compare the building of the south wall of the Acropolis of Athens, which was completed with the money won by Kimon in the wars, with the luxurious pavilions and villas washed by the sea which Lucullus erected in Neapolis with the spoils he had taken from the barbarian enemies of Rome. Still less can we compare the generous and popular hospitality of Kimon with the Eastern profusion and extravagance of Lucullus's table; for Kimon, at a small expense, fed many of his countrymen daily, while the other spent enormous sums to provide luxuries for a small circle of friends. Yet this difference in their habits may have been caused by the times in which they lived; and no one can tell whether Kimon, if he had returned home and spent an old age of indolence and unwarlike repose, might not have even exceeded Lucullus in riotous luxury; for he was fond of wine and of society, and, as has been told in his life, was greatly addicted to women. But success in war or in politics so delights ambitious natures that they have no time for pursuing minor pleasures. Had Lucullus died at the head of his army, I suppose that the most captious critic could scarcely have found anything to blame in his life. So much, then, for their mode of living.

II. Now with regard to their warlike operations, there can be no doubt that both proved themselves to be consummate commanders, both by land and by sea; yet, as we are accustomed to call those athletes who have in one day been successful both in wrestling and in the pankratium by the name of notable victors, so Kimon, who in one day won a victory both by sea and by land, thus gaining a double triumph for Greece, deserves to be given some place above all other generals. Moreover, Lucullus was given the chief command by his country, but Kimon won for his country the honour of commanding the other Greek states. Lucullus found his country in command of allies, and by their aid overthrew the enemy, but Kimon found his country acting under the command of others, and by his own force of character both made Athens the leading state in Greece and overcame the enemy, for he drove the Persians from the sea, and persuaded the Lacedaemonians to resign their claims to supremacy. If we are to believe it to be the greatest proof of ability in a general to be loved and willingly obeyed by his soldiers, then we see that Lucullus was despised by his soldiers, while Kimon was esteemed and looked up to by his allies, for the soldiers of Lucullus revolted from him, while the Greek states revolted from Sparta in order to join Kimon. Thus the former was sent out in chief command, and returned home deserted by his men, while the other, though sent out to act as a subordinate under the command of others, ended by returning as commander-in-chief of them all, having succeeded, in spite of the greatest difficulties, in obtaining three great advantages for his countrymen, namely, having delivered them from the fear of their enemies, having given them authority over their confederates, and established a lasting friendship between them and the Lacedaemonians. Both commanders attempted an enormous task, the conquest of Asia; and both were forced to leave their work unfinished. Kimon was prevented by death, for he died at the head of an army and in the full tide of success; while one cannot altogether think that Lucullus was not to blame for not having tried to satisfy the complaints of his soldiers, which caused them to hate him so bitterly. In this point Lucullus and Kimon are alike; for Kimon was often impeached by his countrymen, who at last banished him by ostracism, in order that, as Plato said, they might not hear his voice for ten years. It seldom happens that men born to command can please the people, or have anything in common with them; because they cause pain by their attempts to rule and reform them, just as the bandages of a surgeon cause pain to the patient, when by their means he is endeavouring to force back dislocated limbs into their proper position. For this reason, methinks, neither Kimon nor Lucullus deserve blame.

III. Lucullus accomplished by far the greater exploits of the two, as he marched beyond the Mount Taurus with an army, being the first Roman who ever did so, and also crossed the river Tigris, and took and burned the royal cities of Asia, Tigranocerta, Kabeira, Sinope, and Nisibis, in the sight of their kings. Towards the north, he went as far as the river Phasis; towards the east as far as Media; and southwards as far as the Red Sea and the kingdom of Arabia, subduing it all to the Roman Empire. He destroyed the power of two mighty kings, and left them in possession of nothing but their lives, forcing them to hide themselves like hunted beasts, in trackless wastes and impassable forests. A great proof of the completeness of Lucullus's success is to be found in the fact that the Persians soon after Kimon's death, attacked the Greeks as vigorously as if they had never been defeated by Kimon at all, and defeated a large Greek army in Egypt; while Tigranes and Mithridates never recovered from the overthrow they sustained from Lucullus. Mithridates was so crushed and broken in strength that he never dared to march out of his entrenchments and fight with Pompeius, but retired to Bosporus and died there; while Tigranes of his own accord came into the presence of Pompeius naked and unarmed, and cast down his royal diadem at his feet, not flattering him for the victories which he had won, but for those for which Lucullus had triumphed. He was well pleased to be allowed to resume the ensigns of royalty, and thereby admitted that he had before been deprived of them. He, therefore, is to be held the better general, as he is the better wrestler, who leaves his enemy weakest for his successor to deal with. Moreover, Kimon found the power of the Persians impaired, and their spirit broken by the series of defeats which they had sustained from Themistokles, Pausanias, and Leotychides, and was easily able to conquer men whose hearts were already vanquished: whereas Lucullus met Tigranes when he was full of courage, and in the midst of an unbroken career of victory. As for numbers, one cannot compare the multitudes who were opposed to Lucullus with the troops who were defeated by Kimon. Thus it appears that from whatever point of view we regard them, it is hard to say which was the better man, especially as heaven seems to have dealt so kindly with them both, in telling the one what to do, and the other what to avoid: so that it seems to appear by the testimony of the gods themselves, that they were both men of a noble and godlike nature.



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