Plutarch's Lives, Volume II
by Aubrey Stewart & George Long
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VIII. By a decree of the Senate Marcellus alone triumphed. His procession was glorious, as few others have been, with the splendour and value of the booty exhibited, and the great stature of the captives; but the strangest and most interesting sight of all was the general himself, as he appeared carrying the suit of armour of the Gaul to offer it to the god. He had cut and trimmed the trunk of a tall young oak tree, and had tied and hung the spoils upon it, each put in its proper place. When the procession began, he himself mounted his chariot and four, and carried in state through the city, this the most glorious of all his trophies of victory. The army marched after him with their finest armour, singing as they went songs and paeans of victory in honour of the gods and their leader. Thus he proceeded till he reached the temple of Jupiter Feretrius. Here he dismounted, and dedicated his spoils, being the third, and, up to our day, the last who ever did so: first comes Romulus, with the spoils of Acron of Caeninum; second, Cornelius Cossus offered the spoils of Tolumnius the Etruscan; third, Marcellus offered these spoils of Britomartus, the king of the Gauls; after Marcellus, no man.

The god to whom they are offered is called Jupiter Feretrius, according to some, from the trophy being carried upon a feretrum, or bier, as it is called in the Greek tongue, which then was much mixed with the Latin; but according to others, it is an attribute of Jupiter the Thunderer, for the Romans call striking ferire. Others say that the name comes from striking the enemy; for even now in battle when they are pursuing the enemy they keep shouting, "Feri," that is, "Strike," to one another. The word for ordinary spoils is spolia, but for these spolia opima. Yet it is said that Numa Pompilius speaks of first, second, and third degrees of spolia opima, ordering the first to be offered to Jupiter Feretrius, the second to Mars, and the third to Quirinus; and that for the first the prize is three hundred ases, two hundred for the second, and one hundred for the third. But the most common story runs that those spoils alone are spolia opima which are taken at a pitched battle, and first of all, and by the general of the one side from the general of the other. But of these things enough.

The Roman people were so overjoyed at that victory and the end of the war that they made from the money paid to ransom captives, a golden statue, and sent it to Apollo at Delphi as a thank-offering, and gave a magnificent share of the booty to their allies, and even sent many presents to Hiero the king of Syracuse, their friend and ally.

IX. When Hannibal invaded Italy, Marcellus was sent with an army to Sicily: but when the disaster at Cannae took place, where many thousand Romans perished, and only a few fugitives collected at Canusium, it was expected that Hannibal would at once march to attack Rome, as he had cut off the greater part of the army. Marcellus at once sent a garrison of fifteen hundred men to guard the city, and afterwards, in obedience to a senatus-consultum, went to Canusium, and taking command of the fugitives collected there, led them out of their fortified camp, to show that he would not deliver up the country to the enemy. The Romans had lost many of their most capable leaders in the wars, and Fabius Maximus, who had the greatest reputation, was blamed by them for sloth and want of enterprise because of his excessive caution in avoiding a defeat. Thinking, therefore, that he was an excellent general for defence, not for attack, they cast their eyes upon Marcellus, and in order to combine his vigour and daring with the cautious and far-seeing tactics of the other, they at one time elected them both consuls, at another made the one consul with the other serving as proconsul. Poseidonius tells us that Fabius was called the shield of the state, and Marcellus the sword. And Hannibal himself said that he feared Fabius as a schoolmaster, but regarded Marcellus as an antagonist, for the former prevented his doing any mischief, while the latter might make him suffer some.

X. At first Hannibal's soldiers, elated with their victory, roamed with careless confidence out of their camp and plundered the country; where Marcellus fell upon them, and by a series of defeats considerably weakened them. Next, he went to Naples and Nola. At Naples he encouraged the citizens, who of their own accord wished well to the Roman cause; but at Nola he found the city in a state of faction, as the senate were unable to restrain the populace, who favoured Hannibal. There was one Bandius, a man of the first nobility of the city, and renowned for bravery. This man had fought at Cannae with conspicuous valour, and had slain many Carthaginians. When after the battle he was found in a heap of slain with his body pierced with darts, Hannibal, in admiration of his courage, not only dismissed him without ransom, but gave him presents and made him a personal friend. Bandius, out of gratitude, was one of the most eager partisans of Hannibal, and, having great influence with the people, was urging them to revolt. Marcellus thought that it would be a crime to put to death a man of such glorious antecedents, and who had taken part in one of the greatest struggles of the Romans; and, besides his natural kindliness, being able by his conversation to win over any man of noble nature, he on one occasion when greeted by Bandius inquired who he might be, though he knew very well, but merely wanted a pretext and opportunity for conversation with him. For, when he answered, "Lucius Bandius," Marcellus, as though surprised and pleased, said, "Are you indeed that Bandius, of whom all those who fought at Cannae told us at Rome, the only man who did not desert Paulus AEmilius the consul, but who received upon his own body the greater part of the darts which were aimed at him?" Bandius admitted that he was the man, and endeavoured to speak lightly of his wounds, but Marcellus went on: "Then, as you bear about you such marks of your devotion to our cause, why did you not at once come to me? Do you think us slow to requite the valour of our friends, when it is honoured even by the enemy." Having spoken to him thus courteously, he embraced him, and presented him with a war-horse and five hundred silver drachmas.

XI. After this Bandius became the firmest partisan and ally of Marcellus, and a terrible denouncer and assailant of the opposite party. This was a numerous one; and their design was, when the Romans should march out of the town against the enemy, to attack their baggage. Marcellus, therefore, having marshalled his troops within the city, brought the baggage to the gates, and by proclamation forbade the people of Nola to approach the walls. Thus no force was visible, and he induced Hannibal to march up to the city in disorderly array, as he supposed that within it all was confusion. Then Marcellus ordered the gate nearest him to be thrown open, and with the best equipped of his cavalry charged out of it and fell upon the enemy hand to hand. Presently the infantry poured out of another gate, running with loud shouts; and while Hannibal was dividing his forces to deal with them a third gate opened, and from it issued the remainder of the army, and from all sides attacked the Carthaginians, who were bewildered at the unexpectedness of the attack, and fought without spirit against their immediate assailants, because of the others who they saw would soon beset them.

There first did Hannibal's troops give way before the Romans, and were chased with great loss into their camp. It is said that more than five thousand perished, and that no more than five hundred Romans fell. But Livy does not consider that a great defeat took place, or that so many of the enemy fell, but he points out that Marcellus gained much glory by that battle, and that the Roman people took courage after their misfortunes, thinking that it was not against an unconquerable and invulnerable foe that they were fighting, but one who could be made to suffer as well as themselves.

XII. For this reason, as one of the consuls was dead, the people called for Marcellus, though he was absent, to become his successor; and in spite of the efforts of the government they put off the day of election until he came to Rome from the army. He was elected consul by the votes of all the tribes, but it thundered at the time, and as the priests declared this an unpropitious omen, but did not dare openly to oppose his election for fear of the people, he himself voluntarily resigned his office. But he did not avoid military service, but was created proconsul, and returning to Nola and his army he harassed those who had chosen the side of Hannibal. When the latter hastily marched to the assistance of his friends, and offered to fight a pitched battle with Marcellus, he declined; but subsequently, when the greater part of the Carthaginian army was scattered in search of plunder, and no longer expecting an attack, he fell upon it. He had distributed long lances, such as are used on ship-board, among his infantry, and instructed them to watch their opportunity and hurl these from a distance at the Carthaginians, who had no javelin-men, and whose heavy spears were only used to thrust with at close quarters. In consequence, it seems, of this, all who engaged with the Romans that day turned their backs and shamefully fled, losing five thousand killed, six hundred prisoners; while of their elephants, four were killed and two taken alive. And, what was of the greatest importance of all, on the third day after the above battle, three hundred Spanish and Numidian cavalry deserted to the Romans, a thing which never had happened to Hannibal before, as, although his army was composed of so many different nations, he had been able for a very long time to inspire it with the same spirit. These men faithfully served Marcellus and the generals who succeeded him.

XIII. Marcellus, when elected consul for the third time, sailed to Sicily; for Hannibal's successes in the war had encouraged the Carthaginians to recover that island, especially as Syracusan politics were in a disturbed state in consequence of the death of the despot Hieronymus; and on this account a Roman army under Appius had already been sent there. When Marcellus had taken the command of this army, he received a large accession of Roman soldiers, whose misfortune was as follows. Of the troops who fought with Hannibal at Cannae, some fled, and some were taken alive, in such numbers that the Romans scarcely thought that they had left sufficient citizens to man the city walls, but this remnant was so full of pride and so great of soul, that, though Hannibal offered to release the captives for a small ransom, they would not take them, but refused by a decree of the Senate, and endured to see some of them put to death, and others sold out of Italy as slaves. The mass of those who had saved themselves by flight they sent to Sicily, with orders not to set foot on the soil of Italy until the war with Hannibal was over. So when Marcellus went to Sicily, these men came in a body into his presence, and falling on the ground before him besought him to permit them to serve as honourable soldiers, promising with cries and tears that they would prove by their actions that it was more by their bad fortune than their cowardice that the defeat at Cannae took place. Marcellus was touched with compassion, and wrote to the Senate asking to be allowed to fill up from these men the vacancies which would occur in the ranks of his army. Much discussion followed; and at last the Senate decreed that Rome did not require the services of cowardly citizens, but, if Marcellus nevertheless wished to make use of them, they must not receive any of the crowns and other rewards which are commonly bestowed by generals as the prizes of valour. This decree vexed Marcellus, and after the war in Sicily he returned to Rome and blamed the Senate that, in spite of all that he had done for them, they would not allow him to relieve so many citizens from such a miserable position.

XIV. In Sicily, at this time, he had just cause of complaint against Hippokrates the Syracusan general, who, favouring the Carthaginian side, and wishing to establish himself as despot, put to death many Romans at Leontini. Marcellus took Leontini by storm, and did no harm to the inhabitants, but flogged and executed all the deserters whom he found. Hippokrates first sent to Syracuse a story that Marcellus was exterminating the people of Leontini, and when this report had thrown the city into confusion he fell upon it and made himself master of it. Marcellus hereupon proceeded to Syracuse with his whole army, and encamping near the city sent ambassadors to tell them what had really happened in Leontini. By this, however, he gained nothing, as the Syracusans would not listen to him (for the party of Hippokrates was in the ascendant). He now attacked the city both by sea and land, Appius commanding the land forces, while Marcellus directed a fleet of sixty quinqueremes[15] full of armed men and missile weapons. He raised a vast engine upon a raft made by lashing eight ships together, and sailed with it to attack the wall, trusting to the numbers and excellence of his siege engines, and to his own personal prestige. But Archimedes and his machines cared nothing for this, though he did not speak of any of these engines as being constructed by serious labour, but as the mere holiday sports of a geometrician. He would not indeed have constructed them but at the earnest request of King Hiero, who entreated him to leave the abstract for the concrete, and to bring his ideas within the comprehension of the people by embodying them in tangible forms.

Eudoxus and Archytas were the first who began to treat of this renowned science of mechanics, cleverly illustrating it, and proving such problems as were hard to understand, by means of solid and actual instruments, as, for instance, both of them resorted to mechanical means to find a mean proportional, which is necessary for the solution of many other geometrical questions. This they did by the construction, from various curves and sections, of certain instruments called mesographs. Plato was much vexed at this, and inveighed against them for destroying the real excellence of geometry by making it leave the region of pure intellect and come within that of the senses, and become mixed up with bodies which require much base servile labour. So mechanics became separated from geometry, and, long regarded with contempt by philosophy, was reckoned among the military arts. However Archimedes, who was a relative and friend of Hiero, wrote that with a given power he could move any given weight whatever, and, as it were rejoicing in the strength of his demonstration, he is said to have declared that if he were given another world to stand upon, he could move this upon which we live. Hiero wondered at this, and begged him to put this theory into practice, and show him something great moved by a small force. Archimedes took a three-masted ship, a transport in the king's navy, which had just been dragged up on land with great labour and many men; in this he placed her usual complement of men and cargo, and then sitting at some distance, without any trouble, by gently pulling with his hand the end of a system of pullies, he dragged it towards him with as smooth and even a motion as if it were passing over the sea. The king wondered greatly at this, and perceiving the value of his arts, prevailed upon Archimedes to construct for him a number of machines, some for the attack and some for the defence of a city, of which he himself did not make use, as he spent most of his life in unwarlike and literary leisure, but now these engines were ready for use in Syracuse, and also, the inventor was present to direct their working.

XV. So when the Romans attacked by sea and land at once, the Syracusans were at first terrified and silent, dreading that nothing could resist such an armament. But Archimedes opened fire from his machines, throwing upon the land forces all manner of darts and great stones, with an incredible noise and violence, which no man could withstand; but those upon whom they fell were struck down in heaps, and their ranks thrown into confusion, while some of the ships were suddenly seized by iron hooks, and by a counter-balancing weight were drawn up and then plunged to the bottom. Others they caught by irons like hands or claws suspended from cranes, and first pulled them up by their bows till they stood upright upon their sterns, and then cast down into the water, or by means of windlasses and tackles worked inside the city, dashed them against the cliffs and rocks at the base of the walls, with terrible destruction to their crews. Often was seen the fearful sight of a ship lifted out of the sea into the air, swaying and balancing about, until the men were all thrown out or overwhelmed with stones from slings, when the empty vessel would either be dashed against the fortifications, or dropped into the sea by the claws being let go. The great engine which Marcellus was bringing up on the raft, called the Harp, from some resemblance to that instrument, was, while still at a distance, struck by a stone of ten talents weight, and then another and another, which fell with a terrible crash, breaking the platform on which the machine stood, loosening its bolts, and tearing asunder the hulks which supported it. Marcellus, despairing of success, drew off his ships as fast as possible, and sent orders to the land forces to retreat. In a council of war, it was determined to make another assault by night; for they argued that the straining cords which Archimedes used to propel his missiles required a long distance to work in, and would make the shot fly over them at close quarters, and be practically useless, as they required a long stroke. But he, it appears, had long before prepared engines suited for short as well as long distances, and short darts to use in them; and from many small loop-holes pierced through the wall small scorpions, as they are called, stood ready to shoot the enemy, though invisible to them.

XVI. When then they attacked, expecting that they would not be seen, they again encountered a storm of blows from stones which fell perpendicularly upon their heads and darts which were poured from all parts of the wall. They were forced to retire, and when they came within range of the larger machines missiles were showered upon them as they retreated, destroying many men and throwing the ships into great disorder, without their being able to retaliate. For most of the engines on the walls had been devised by Archimedes, and the Romans thought that they were fighting against gods and not men, as destruction fell upon them from invisible hands.

XVII. However, Marcellus escaped unhurt, and sarcastically said to his own engineers: "Are we to give in to this Briareus of a geometrician, who sits at his ease by the seashore and plays at upsetting our ships, to our lasting disgrace, and surpasses the hundred-handed giant of fable by hurling so many weapons at us at once?" For indeed all the other Syracusans were merely the limbs of Archimedes, and his mind alone directed and guided everything. All other arms were laid aside and the city trusted to his weapons solely for defence and safety. At length Marcellus, seeing that the Romans had become so scared that if only a rope or small beam were seen over the wall they would turn and fly, crying out that Archimedes was bringing some engine to bear upon them, ceased assaulting the place, and trusted to time alone to reduce it. Yet Archimedes had so great a mind and such immense philosophic speculations that although by inventing these engines he had acquired the glory of a more than human intellect, he would not condescend to leave behind him any writings upon the subject, regarding the whole business of mechanics and the useful arts as base and vulgar, but placed his whole study and delight in those speculations in which absolute beauty and excellence appear unhampered by the necessities of life, and argument is made to soar above its subject matter, since by the latter only bulk and outward appearance, but by the other accuracy of reasoning and wondrous power, can be attained: for it is impossible in the whole science of geometry to find more difficult hypotheses explained on clearer or more simple principles than in his works. Some attribute this to his natural genius, others say that his indefatigable industry made his work seem as though it had been done without labour, though it cost much. For no man by himself could find out the solution of his problems, but as he reads, he begins to think that he could have discovered it himself, by so smooth and easy a road does he lead one up to the point to be proved. One cannot therefore disbelieve the stories which are told of him: how he seemed ever bewitched by the song of some indwelling syren of his own so as to forget to eat his food, and to neglect his person, and how, when dragged forcibly to the baths and perfumers, he would draw geometrical figures with the ashes on the hearth, and when his body was anointed would trace lines on it with his finger, absolutely possessed and inspired by the joy he felt in his art. He discovered many beautiful problems, and is said to have begged his relatives and friends to place upon his tomb when he died a cylinder enclosing a sphere, and to write on it the proof of the ratio of the containing solid to the contained.

XVIII. Such was Archimedes, who at this time rendered himself, and as far as lay in him, the city, invincible.

During the blockade Marcellus took Megara, one of the most ancient of the Greek cities in Sicily, and also captured Hippokrates' camp at Acrillae, with a destruction of more than eight thousand of his men, attacking them just as they were planting the palisades of the rampart. He overran a great part of Sicily, induced cities to revolt from Carthage, and beat all forces that opposed him. As time went on, he took prisoner one Damippus, a Spartan, as he was sailing out of the harbour of Syracuse. The Syracusans desired to ransom this man, and Marcellus, in the course of many negotiations and conferences about him, noticed that a certain tower was carelessly guarded, and that men might be introduced into it secretly, as the wall near it was easy to climb. Having, from his frequent journeys to confer with the besieged near this tower, gained a good idea of its height, he prepared scaling-ladders, and waited till the Syracusans were engaged in celebrating the feast of Artemis, and given up to drinking and amusement. Not only did he gain the tower unobserved, but was able to occupy the whole circuit of wall with his troops, and to break into the Hexapylon.[16] When the Syracusans began to discover their position and muster for their defence, he ordered trumpets to sound on all sides, which produced great terror and tumult, as they imagined that no part of the walls remained untaken. Yet the strongest, and that too the largest and finest part of the city, was still left, called Achradina, because it is fortified on the side near the outer town, part of which is called Neapolis, and part Tyche.

XIX. These parts of the city were captured, and at daybreak Marcellus moved down through the Hexapylon, amidst the congratulations of his officers. It is said that when, from the high ground he surveyed that great and fair city, he burst into tears, thinking how sadly it would soon be changed in appearance when sacked by his soldiers. For none of his officers dared to oppose the soldiers when they demanded the privilege of plunder, and many encouraged them to burn and destroy. But Marcellus would not so much as entertain the idea of this, but, much against his will, was forced to permit them to carry off the movable property and slaves, though he forbade them to touch freemen, and gave strict orders that none of the citizens of Syracuse should be slain, dishonoured, or enslaved. Yet even after moderating their license to this extent he thought that the city was sadly ill-treated, and even in such a moment of triumph he showed great sorrow and sympathy for it, as he saw such great wealth and comfort swept away in a few hours; for the treasure was said to be not less than that which was afterwards taken in Carthage itself. The rest of the city was taken after a short time by treachery, and the soldiers insisted upon plundering it, with the exception of the royal treasury, which was confiscated to the state.

Marcellus was especially grieved at the fate of Archimedes. He was studying something by himself upon a figure which he had drawn, to which he had so utterly given up his thoughts and his sight that he did not notice the assault of the Romans and the capture of the city, and when a soldier suddenly appeared before him and ordered him to follow him into the presence of Marcellus, he refused to do so before he had finished his problem and its solution. The man hereupon in a rage drew his sword and killed him. Others say that the Roman fell upon him at once with a sword to kill him, but he, seeing him, begged him to wait for a little while, that he might not leave his theorem imperfect, and that while he was reflecting upon it, he was slain. A third story is that as he was carrying into Marcellus's presence his mathematical instruments, sundials, spheres, and quadrants, by which the eye might measure the magnitude of the sun, some soldiers met with him, and supposing that there was gold in the boxes, slew him. But all agree that Marcellus was much grieved, that he turned away from his murderer as though he were an object of abhorrence to gods and men, and that he sought out his family and treated them well.

XX. The Romans up to this time had given foreign nations great proofs of their skill in war and their courage in battle, but had not shown any evidences of kindness of heart, clemency, or any social virtue. Marcellus seems to have been the first who exhibited the Romans in a more amiable light to the Greeks. For he so dealt with his adversaries, and treated so many individuals and cities with kindness that even if any harsh treatment did befall Enna, or Megara, or Syracuse, it was thought to be more by the fault of the vanquished than of the victors. I will mention one instance out of many. There is a city in Sicily called Engyion, of no great size, but very ancient, and renowned for the appearance there of the goddesses called 'Mothers.' The foundation of the temple is ascribed to the Cretans, and they used to show certain lances and helmets inscribed, some with the name of Meriones, some of Ulixes, that is, Odysseus, which were dedicated to these goddesses. This city was eager to espouse the Carthaginian side, but was prevailed upon by one Nikias, the leading man of the city, to join the Romans, by freely speaking his mind in the public assembly and proving that his opponents did not consult the true interests of the state. These men, fearing his power and high reputation, determined to kidnap him, and deliver him up to the Carthaginians. Nikias, discovering this plot, quietly took measures for his own security, but publicly made unseemly speeches about the "Mothers," and spoke of the received tradition of their appearance with doubt and contempt, to the delight of his enemies, as he seemed to be by these actions justifying the treatment which they meant to inflict upon him. When all their preparations for seizing him were complete there was a public assembly of the citizens, and Nikias, in the midst of a speech upon state policy, suddenly fell to the ground, and after a short time, as all men were, naturally, silent with surprise, he raised his head, and turning it round he began to speak in deep and trembling tones, which he gradually made shriller and more intense, until, seeing the whole theatre, where the meeting was, silent with horror, he threw off his cloak, tore his tunic, and, half naked, rushed to the gate of the theatre, crying out that he was pursued by the "Mothers." As no one dared to touch or stop him, from fear of the gods, but all made way for him, he passed out of the city gate, not omitting any of the cries and trembling of body of a person under demoniacal possession. His wife, who was in the secret, and her husband's confederate, first brought her children and prostrated herself as a suppliant before the goddesses, and then under pretence of seeking her wandering husband managed to leave the city without opposition. Thus they safely reached Marcellus at Syracuse; and when, after enduring many affronts and insolent proceeding from the people of Engyion Marcellus took them all prisoners, and imprisoned them, meaning to put them all to death, Nikias at first stood by weeping, but at length, embracing Marcellus as a suppliant, he begged for the lives of his countrymen, beginning with his own personal enemies, until he relented, and set them all at liberty. Nor did he touch their city, but gave Nikias ample lands and rich presents. This story is told by Poseidonius the philosopher.

XXI. When the Romans recalled Marcellus, to conduct the war in their own country, he removed most of the beautiful ornaments of the city of Syracuse, to be admired at his triumphal procession, and to adorn Rome. For at that time Rome neither possessed nor knew of any works of art, nor had she any delicacy of taste in such matters. Filled with the blood-stained arms and spoils of barbarians, and crowded with trophies of war and memorials of triumphs, she was no pleasant or delightful spectacle, fit to feed the eyes of unwarlike and luxurious spectators, but, as Epameinondas called the plain of Boeotia "the Stage of Ares," and Xenophon called Ephesus "the Workshop of War," so, in my opinion, you might call Rome at that time, in the words of Pindar, "the Domain of Ares, who revels in war." Wherefore Marcellus gained the greater credit with the vulgar, because he enriched the city with statues possessing the Hellenic grace and truth to nature, while Fabius Maximus was more esteemed by the elders. He neither touched nor removed anything of the kind from the city of Tarentum, which he took, but carried off all the money and other property, and let the statues remain, quoting the proverb: "Let us," said he, "leave the Tarentines their angry gods." They blamed Marcellus's proceedings as being invidious for Rome, because he had led not only men, but also gods as captives in his triumph, and also because the people, who before this were accustomed either to fight or to till the ground, and were ignorant of luxury and indolent pleasures, like the Herakles of Euripides,

"Unpolished, rough, but skilled in useful arts,"

were made by Marcellus into idle, babbling connoisseurs of the fine arts, and wasted the greater part of the day in talk about them. He, however, prided himself upon this even before Greeks, saying that he had taught the ignorant Romans to prize and admire the glories of Greek art.

XXII. Marcellus, whose enemies opposed his claim to a triumph, on the ground that the campaign in Sicily was not completely finished, and that he did not deserve a third triumph, so far gave way as to lead the greater triumphal procession as far as the Alban Mount, and only to enter the city in the lesser form which the Greeks call euan, and the Romans an ovation. The general conducts this, not, as in the triumph, riding in a chariot and four with a crown of laurel, and with trumpets sounding before him, but walking on foot in low shoes surrounded by flute players, and crowned with myrtle, so as to look unwarlike and joyous rather than terrible. And this is a great proof to me that in old times it was the manner and not the importance of the things achieved that settled the form of triumph. Those generals who had gained their point by battle and slaughter probably made their entry in that martial and terrible fashion, having, as is customary in lustrations of armies, crowned the men and wreathed their arms with abundance of laurel: whereas the generals who without an appeal to arms had settled matters satisfactorily by negotiation and persuasive eloquence, were given by custom this peaceful and festive entry into the city. For the flute is a peaceful instrument, and the myrtle is the favorite plant of Aphrodite, who above all the gods hates violence and war. This form of triumph is called ovation, not from the cry of "Evan," as most people think, for the other also is accompanied with shouts and songs, but the word had been twisted by the Greeks into one that has a meaning in their language, and also they are convinced that some honour is paid to Dionysus in this ceremony, which God we name Evius and Thriambos. It is curious to observe that the great Laconian lawgiver arranged the sacrifices differently to those of Rome. In Sparta those ex-generals who have accomplished their purpose by persuasion or fraud sacrifice an ox, while those who have done it by battle offer a cock. For, though warlike to excess, they thought that a victory gained by clever negotiation was greater and more befitting human beings than one gained by force and courage. Which is to be preferred, I leave to my readers' consideration.

XXIII. When Marcellus entered upon his fourth consulship, his enemies induced the Syracusans to send a deputation to Rome, to complain loudly to the Senate of the cruel and unjust treatment which they had received from him. Marcellus chanced to be performing some sacrifice in the Capitol; so when the Syracusans came to the assembled Senate, begging for a hearing that justice might be done them, the other consul stopped them, feeling that Marcellus ought not to be attacked in his absence. But Marcellus as soon as he heard of it, came to the Senate-house, seated himself as consul, on the curule chair, and despatched business; then, when this was finished, he came down and placed himself as a private person in the place where men on their trial usually stood, and called on the Syracusans to prove their charges against him. They were abashed at his majestic confidence of demeanour, and he who had been invincible in arms seemed to them yet more terrible and unapproachable in his consular purple. Nevertheless, encouraged by the enemies of Marcellus, they began their impeachment, and pleaded their cause in a piteous fashion, their chief point being that they, who were friends and allies of the Romans, had been treated in a way in which many other generals had forborne to treat hostile cities. Marcellus answered that they had done the Romans much harm, for which they had received no punishment, except such as could not be prevented in war, because victorious soldiers cannot be restrained from sacking a town which they have won, and their city, he said, was taken because they had refused his frequent offers of terms of agreement. They could not urge that they had been forced into war by their despots, for they had themselves chosen those very despots with the intention of going to war. After both parties had been heard, the Syracusans, according to custom, left the Senate-house. Marcellus came out with them, leaving his colleague to preside over the assembly, and stood outside the doors, without altering his usual demeanour, either from fear of the result or anger against the Syracusans, but serenely awaiting the verdict of the Senate.

When the question was voted upon, and he was announced successful, the Syracusans prostrated themselves before him, beseeching him with tears to put away his anger against themselves, and to show pity on the city, which was sensible to kindness, and would be grateful to him. Marcellus was touched by their appeal; he became reconciled to them, and was a constant benefactor to their city. He restored them their freedom, their laws, and what remained of their property, and the Senate confirmed his acts. In return for this, besides many other honours they passed a law that whenever Marcellus or any of his descendants should land in Sicily, the Syracusans should wear garlands of flowers and hold a festival with sacrifices to the gods.

XXIV. Next he proceeded against Hannibal; and whereas nearly all the other consuls and generals, after the disaster at Cannae had thought of nothing but avoiding battles with him, and no one had dared to measure himself with him in the field, he adopted the opposite course, arguing that while they fancied that they were wearing out Hannibal's army they did not perceive that Italy was being consumed by it. Fabius, he urged, thought too much of safety, and by his policy of waiting, Rome, already drooping under its burdens, would at the end of the war perish as well as Hannibal. He was, he said, like those timid surgeons who shrink from using decisive remedies, and who mistake the sinking strength of the patient for the abatement of disease. His first act was to take some important Samnite towns which had revolted. Here he found great stores of corn and money, and took three thousand of Hannibal's soldiers who were there as garrison. Next, when Hannibal defeated and killed Cnaeus Fulvius, the proconsul in Apulia, with a loss of eleven military tribunes and the greater part of his army, Marcellus sent despatches to Rome, bidding the citizens be of good courage, for he was already on the march, and would abate Hannibal's exultation. Livy tells us that these despatches when read did not diminish the grief of the Romans, but added to their fear, as they reflected that the risk they were about to run was so much more serious than the defeat they had sustained, as Marcellus was superior to Fulvius.

According to his despatch, he instantly marched against Hannibal into Lucania, and finding him entrenched on some strong hills near the city of Numistro, he himself encamped in the plain. On the following day he was the first to draw out his army in battle array. Hannibal descended from his position, and fought a great and well-contested battle, for it began at the third hour, and was scarcely over by dark, but without any decisive result. At daybreak he again led out his army and defied Hannibal to fight. But Hannibal retired; and Marcellus, after stripping the corpses of the enemy, and burying his own dead, pursued. His skill and good fortune were greatly admired in this campaign, as he did not fall into any of the numerous ambuscades which were prepared for him by Hannibal, and in all his skirmishes came off victorious. For this reason, as the comitia were impending, the Senate thought that it would be better to call the other consul away from Sicily than to recall Marcellus just as he was thoroughly engaged with Hannibal. When the other consul arrived, they bade him name Quintus Fulvius dictator. For a dictator is not chosen by the people or by the Senate, but one of the consuls or praetors comes forward publicly and names whom he pleases dictator. And this is the reason that the man so named is called dictator; for dicere in Latin means to name. But some think that the dictator is so called because he does not require any vote or show of hands, but on his own responsibility dictates his orders; indeed, the orders of magistrates which are called by the Greeks diatagmata, are called edicts by the Romans.

XXV. When Marcellus's colleague came to Rome from Sicily, he wished to name another person dictator, and, that he might not be forced to act against his inclination, he sailed away by night back to Sicily. Under these circumstances the people nominated Quintus Fulvius dictator, and the Senate wrote to Marcellus bidding him vote for this person. He did so, confirming the choice of the people, and was himself elected proconsul for the following year. After a conference with Fabius Maximus, at which it was arranged that the latter should make an attempt on Tarentum, while Marcellus should constantly engage Hannibal and so prevent his affording the town any assistance, he set out, and came upon Hannibal near Canusium. Hannibal frequently shifted his camp, and tried to avoid a battle, but Marcellus was not to be shaken off, and at length attacked his position, and by skirmishing provoked him to fight. Marcellus sustained his attack, and the battle was put an end to by night. Next morning his troops were again beheld under arms, so that Hannibal in great anxiety called together the Carthaginians and besought them to fight as they had never done before. "You see," said he, "that even after our great victories, we cannot rest in peace, unless we drive away this fellow." The armies met; and Marcellus seems to have lost the day by an unseasonable manoeuvre. His right wing was suffering, and he ordered up one of the legions to support it; but this change produced confusion in the ranks, and gave the victory to the enemy, with a loss of two thousand seven hundred men to the Romans. Marcellus, after retiring to his fortified camp, called together his soldiers, and reproached them, saying that he saw before him the arms and bodies of many Romans, but not one true Roman. They begged forgiveness, but he answered that he could not forgive them when defeated, but would forgive them if victorious. On the morrow he said that he would renew the battle, in order that the Romans might hear of their victory before they heard of their defeat. After these words he gave orders that the troops which had given way should be supplied with rations of barley instead of corn; which had such an effect upon them, that although many were suffering from the hurts in the battle, yet, there was not one who did not suffer more from the reproaches of Marcellus than from his wounds.

XXVI. At daybreak the scarlet robe, the well known signal of battle, was displayed from the general's tent. The disgraced troops, at their own request, were placed in the first rank; the rest of the army followed under their officers. Hannibal hearing of this exclaimed: "Hercules! What can one do with a man who knows not how to bear either good or bad fortune. This is the only general who, when victorious allows his foe no rest, and when defeated takes none himself. We shall always, it seems, have to be fighting this man, who is equally excited to attack by his confidence when victor, and his shame when vanquished."

In the battle the men on each side were fighting on equal terms, when Hannibal ordered his elephants to be brought into the front rank and to attack the Roman lines. Great tumult and disturbance was produced by this, but one of the tribunes, by name Flavius, seizing a standard, stood his ground, and struck the first elephant with the spiked end of the staff, till he forced him to turn back. He then attacked the next one, and those that followed. Marcellus, seeing this, ordered his cavalry to ride as fast as they could to the scene of the confusion and complete the rout of the enemy. They charged briskly and pursued the flying Carthaginians, cutting them down up to their very camp. Great havoc was wrought by the wounded elephants among them; and in all, over eight thousand are said to have perished. Of the Roman force three thousand were killed, and almost all the survivors were wounded, which circumstance enabled Hannibal to leave his camp by night unmolested, and remove himself from the neighbourhood of Marcellus; for Marcellus could not pursue, because of the number of wounded, but marched in a leisurely manner towards Campania, and passed the summer at Sinuessa, recruiting the health of his soldiers.

XXVII. Hannibal, after he had thus torn himself free from Marcellus, sent his army to plunder Italy as recklessly as though it were disbanded; and in Rome Marcellus was ill spoken of. His enemies induced Publius Bibulus, a clever and violent partisan, to attack him. This man frequently addressed assemblies of the people and urged them to transfer the command to another general, since "Marcellus," he said, "after a little sparring with the enemy had gone to the hot baths to refresh himself as if after a gymnastic contest." Marcellus, hearing of this, left the army in charge of his legates, and went to Rome to clear his reputation from these slanders; but, in consequence of them he found that he was to undergo a trial. A day was fixed; the people assembled in the Circus Flaminius; Bibulus rose and impeached him. Marcellus spoke shortly and simply in his own defence, but the highest and noblest citizens spoke at great length in his praise, calling on the people not to show themselves by their vote worse judges of war than Hannibal, who was always as eager to avoid fighting with Marcellus, as he was to fight with other generals. After these speeches had been delivered the accuser was proved to be so far wrong in his impeachment, that Marcellus was not only honourably acquitted, but actually elected consul for the fifth time.

XXVIII. On assuming his office, he first put down an insurrectionary movement in Etruria, by visiting the various towns and using conciliatory language; after this, he wished to consecrate a temple, which he had built out of the spoils of Sicily, to Glory and Valour, but being prevented by the priests on the ground that two gods could not be included in one temple, he began to build another one, being very much vexed at the opposition he encountered, but influenced by omens: for he was disturbed at this time by many portentous occurrences, such as several temples being struck by lightning, and the gold in the temple of Jupiter being gnawed by the mice. It was also reported that an ox had spoken with a human voice, and that a child had been born with the head of an elephant—so the priests kept him in Rome to conduct the expiatory rites and atonements for these, though he was fretting and eager to take the field; for no man ever was so passionately desirous of anything as he was to measure himself with Hannibal in battle. His one dream by night, his only talk to his friends and colleagues, his sole prayer to the gods was that he might meet Hannibal in a fair field. I believe that he would most willingly have enclosed both armies within a wall or palisade, and there have fought out the quarrel. Had it not been that he was now loaded with honours, and had given proofs of his superiority in wisdom and conduct to any other general, men would have said that he showed a more boyish ambition than befitted a man of his age; for he was over sixty years old when he entered upon his fifth consulship.

XXIX. However, when he had completed the necessary sacrifices and purifications enjoined by the soothsayers, he took the field with his colleague, and harassed Hannibal much in the country between the towns of Bantia and Venusia. Hannibal declined battle, but, learning that a force was detached from the Roman army to attack the Epizephyrian Lokrians, he laid an ambuscade on the mountain near Petelia, and defeated them with a loss of two thousand five hundred men. This excited Marcellus, and he led his forces nearer to those of Hannibal. There was between the two camps a hill of some strength as a military post, overgrown with wood. Its sloping sides afforded a view of either camp, and upon them appeared the sources of several mountain streams.

The Romans were surprised at Hannibal, that, having had the first choice of so excellent a position as this, he had not occupied it, but left it to the enemy. It seems that he indeed thought it a good place to encamp in, but much better to lay an ambuscade in; and, wishing to use it rather for this purpose, he filled the woods and glens with javelin-men and spearmen, persuaded that the place itself would, from its excellent qualities, attract the Romans into it. Nor was he deceived in this expectation; for at once there was much talk in the Roman army about the necessity of occupying the hill, and men pointed out the advantages which would be gained over the enemy by encamping on it, or if necessary, by fortifying it. Now Marcellus determined to ride forward with a few horsemen and reconnoitre it, so he sent for a soothsayer and offered sacrifice. When the first victim was slain, the soothsayer showed him that the liver had no head. On sacrificing for the second time the head appeared of unusual size, while all the other organs were excellent, and this seemed to set at rest the fear which had been caused by the former. Yet the soothsayers said that they were even more disturbed and alarmed at this; for when after very bad and menacing victims unusually excellent ones appear, the sudden change is itself suspicious. But

"Not fire, not walls of iron can hinder fate,"

as Pindar says. Marcellus rode forth with his colleague Crispinus and his son, who was military tribune, in all two hundred and twenty horsemen. Of these none were Romans; they were Etruscans, with the exception of twenty men from Fregellae, who had given constant proofs of their courage and devotion to Marcellus. On the overhanging crest of the woody hill, a man, unseen by the Romans, was watching their army. He signalled to the men in ambush what was going on, so that they permitted Marcellus to ride close to them, and then suddenly burst out upon him, and surrounding his little force on all sides, struck and threw their darts, pursued such as ran away, and fought with those who stood their ground. These were the twenty Fregellans. The Etruscans at the outset ran away panic-stricken; but these men forming together defended the consuls until Crispinus, struck by two darts, galloped away, and Marcellus was pierced through the side with a lance. Then even the few survivors of the Fregellans left him lying there, and snatching up his son, who was wounded, made their way back to the camp. The loss amounted to little over forty killed, and five lictors and eighteen horsemen taken. Crispinus, after a few days, died of his wounds. Such a misfortune as this, losing both consuls in one battle, never before befel the Romans.

XXX. Hannibal heard of the fate of all the rest with indifference, but when he was told that Marcellus had fallen he himself hastened to the place, and stood for a long time beside the corpse, admiring its strength and beauty. He made no boastful speech, and showed no joy in his countenance, as a man who had slain a troublesome and dangerous enemy, but, wondering at the strangeness of his ending, he drew the ring from the dead man's finger, and had the corpse decently attired and burned. The relics he gathered into a silver urn, upon which he placed a golden crown, and sent it to Marcellus's son. But on the way some Numidians fell in with the party who were escorting the urn, and while they tried to take it away and the others struggled to retain it, the bones were scattered on the ground. Hannibal, on hearing of this, said, "Nothing can be done against the will of heaven." He ordered the Numidians to be punished, but took no further thought about collecting or sending away the relics of Marcellus, concluding that some god had decreed the strange death and strange lack of burial which had befallen him. This is the story related by Cornelius Nepos and Valerius Maximus, but Livy and Augustus Caesar declare that the urn was brought to his son, and that it was splendidly buried. Besides his monuments at Rome there was a gymnasium at Katana in Sicily which bore his name, and statues and votive tablets from the plunder of Syracuse were set tip in Samothrace in the temple of the gods called Kabeiri, and in Lindus (in Rhodes) in the temple of Athena.

On his statue there, according to Poseidonius, these verses are written:

"This monument, O stranger, doth enshrine Marcellus, of the famous Claudian line, Who seven times was consul, and in fight His country's foes o'erthrew and put to flight."

For the writer of this epitaph counted his two proconsulates as well as his five consulates. His family remained one of the chief in Rome down to the time of Marcellus, the nephew of Augustus, who was the son of Octavia, Augustus's sister, and Caius Marcellus. He died in the office of aedile while yet a bridegroom, having just married Augustus's daughter Julia. In honour of his memory his mother Octavia established a library, and Augustus built a theatre, both of which bore his name.


[Footnote 12: Il. xiv. 86.]

[Footnote 13: Civica corona. The civic crown was made of oak leaves, and was given only to him who had saved the life of a fellow-citizen in war.]

[Footnote 14: Interreges were appointed when there were no consuls, to hold comitia for the election of new ones.]

[Footnote 15: Vessels of five banks of oars.]

[Footnote 16: Hexapylon, the place with six gates.]


I. The particulars which we thought worth extracting from the histories of Pelopidas and Marcellus are related above. Their dispositions and habits were so nearly identical (for both were brave, laborious, and high-spirited) that the only point in which they differ appears to be that Marcellus put the inhabitants of several captured cities to the sword, whereas Epameinondas and Pelopidas never slew any one after they had conquered him, nor enslaved any captured city; indeed, had they been alive, it is said that the Thebans never would have so treated the town of Orchomenus. As to their exploits, that of Marcellus against the Gauls was great and wonderful, when he drove before him with his little band of horsemen so great a multitude of horse and foot together, the like of which one cannot easily find to have been done by any other general, and the killing of the chief of the enemy. The same thing was attempted by Pelopidas, but the despot was too quick for him, and he perished without succeeding in his effort. Yet with these we may compare his deeds at Leuktra and Tegyra, the most important and glorious of all his feats of arms, while we have no exploit of Marcellus which corresponds to his management of the ambuscade by which he brought back the exiled popular party to Thebes, and destroyed the despots. Indeed, of all deeds performed by secrecy and stratagem, this takes the van. Hannibal, no doubt, was a terrible enemy to Rome, as were the Lacedaemonians to Thebes; yet it is an established fact that at Tegyra and at Leuktra they gave way before Pelopidas, whereas Marcellus, according to Polybius, never once defeated Hannibal, but that general appears to have remained undefeated until the time of Scipio. But we believe, following Livy, Caesar, Cornelius Nepos, and, among Greek historians, king Juba, that Hannibal suffered some defeats at the hands of Marcellus; yet they never produced any signal result, and we may suspect that the African sometimes only pretended to have lost the day. But what Marcellus is so justly admired for, is that after such great armies had been routed, their generals killed, and the whole military system of Rome thrown into confusion, he inspired his troops with a confidence that enabled them to hold their own against the enemy. He roused his men from their former timid and disheartened condition, making them eager to distinguish themselves in battle, and, what is more, never to yield the victory without a determined struggle. And all this, as far as any single man could, was effected by Marcellus; for whereas his troops had been accustomed to be well satisfied if they escaped with their lives from Hannibal, he taught them to be ashamed of surviving defeat, to blush to give way ever so little, and to grieve if they were not victorious.

II. Since, then, Pelopidas never was defeated when he was in command, and Marcellus gained more victories than any Roman of his time; perhaps he who was so hard to conquer may, in consideration of his many successes, be held equal to him who never suffered a reverse. Moreover, the one took Syracuse, while the other failed before Lacedaemon. But I hold it a greater feat than taking Sicily, to have marched upon Sparta, and been the first man to cross the Eurotas, unless indeed it should be said that the credit of this exploit belongs more to Epameinondas than to Pelopidas, as also does the battle of Leuktra, whereas the glory of Marcellus's achievements is all his own. For he took Syracuse alone, and beat the Gauls without his colleague, and, with no one to assist him, but every one hanging back, he measured himself with Hannibal and changed the whole complexion of the war, by being the first to introduce a daring policy.

III. As for their deaths, I can praise neither one nor the other, but I am grieved at the unworthy manner of their end. It is strange, that Hannibal was never even wounded in a number of battles which it would weary one to recount; and I admire the conduct of Chrysantas in Xenophon's 'Cyropaedia,' who, when standing with his weapon drawn, about to strike an enemy, heard the trumpet sound the recall, and leaving his man, quietly and orderly retreated. Yet Pelopidas may be excused by his excitement during a battle, and his courage, which urged him to avenge himself on the enemy, for the best thing is for the general to be victorious and to survive, and the next, for him to die "breathing forth his life in valour" as Euripides says. Thus his death becomes no accident, but a premeditated act. And besides Pelopidas's spirit, the assured victory which he saw within his grasp, could he but kill the despot, not unreasonably made him make his desperate attack; for it would have been hard for him to obtain another opportunity of distinguishing himself so gloriously. But Marcellus, without any necessity, without the excitement which sometimes in perilous circumstances overpowers men's reason, pushed heedlessly into danger, and died the death of a spy rather than a general, risking his five consulships, his three triumphs, his spoils and trophies won from kings against the worthless lives of Iberian and Numidian mercenaries. They themselves must have felt ashamed at their success, that the bravest, most powerful, and most celebrated of the Romans should have fallen among a reconnoitring party of Fregellans. Still, let not this be regarded as a reproach to these great men, but rather a complaint addressed on their own behalf to them, especially to that courage, to which they sacrificed all their other virtues, disregarding their lives, as though their loss would fall upon themselves only, and not upon their friends and native country. After his death, Pelopidas was buried by his allies, fighting for whom he died; but Marcellus was buried by the enemy at whose hands he fell. The first was an enviable end, but the other is greater, as the spectacle of an enemy honouring the valour by which he has suffered is greater than that of a friend showing gratitude to a friend. In the one case it is the man's glory alone that is respected, in the other, his usefulness and value are as much thought of as his courage.


Aristeides, the son of Lysimachus, was of the tribe Antiochis, and the township of Alopekae. There are various reports current about his property, some saying that he lived in poverty, and that on his death he left two daughters, who remained a long while unmarried because of their poverty; while this general opinion is contradicted by Demetrius of Phalerum in his book on Sokrates, where he mentions an estate at Phalerum which he knew had belonged to Aristeides, in which he was buried, and also adduces other grounds for supposing him to have been a wealthy man. First, he points out that Aristeides was Archon Eponymus, an office for which men were chosen by lot from the richest class, that of the Pentakosiomedimni, or citizens who possessed a yearly income of five hundred medimni[17] of dry or liquid produce. Secondly, he mentions the fact that he was ostracised: now, ostracism never was used against poor men, but against those who descended from great and wealthy houses, and whose pride made them feared and disliked by their fellow citizens. Thirdly, and lastly, he writes that Aristeides placed in the temple of Dionysus tripods dedicated to the god by a victorious chorus, which even in my own time are still to be seen, and which bear the inscription: "The tribe Antiochis won the prize; Aristeides was choragus; Archestratus taught the chorus." Now this, which seems to be the strongest argument of all, is really the weakest. Epameinondas, whom all men know to have been born and to have passed his life in the greatest possible poverty, and Plato the philosopher, both exhibited excellent choruses, the former bearing the expense of a chorus of men playing on the flute, while the latter exhibited a cyclic[18] chorus of boys. Plato's expenses were borne by Dionysius of Syracuse, and those of Epameinondas by Pelopidas and his friends. Good men do not always refuse to receive presents from their friends, but, though they would scorn to make money by them, they willingly receive them to further an honourable ambition. Panaetius, moreover, proves that Demetrius is wrong in the matter of the tripods, because from the time of the Persian war to the end of the Peloponnesian war there are only two Aristeides recorded as victors, neither of whom can be identified with the son of Lysimachus, as the father of one of them was Xenophilus, and the other was a much more modern personage, as is proved by his name being written in the characters which came into use after the archonship of Eukleides, and from the name of the poet or teacher of the chorus, Archestratus, whose name we never meet with in the time of the Persian war, but who taught several choruses (that is, wrote several successful plays) during the Peloponnesian war. These remarks of Panaetius must, however, be received with caution. As to ostracism, any man of unusual talent, nobility of birth, or remarkable eloquence, was liable to suffer from it, for Damon, the tutor of Perikles, was ostracised, because he was thought to be a man of superior intellect. Idomeneus tells us that Aristeides obtained the office of archon, not by lot, but by the universal voice of the people. Now, if he was archon after the battle of Plataea, as Demetrius himself admits, it is highly probable that his great reputation after such glorious successes may have obtained for him an office usually reserved for men of wealth. Indeed, Demetrius evidently tries to redeem both Aristeides and Sokrates from the reproach of poverty, as though he imagined it to be a great misfortune, for he tells us that Sokrates not only possessed a house, but also seventy minae which were borrowed by Krito.

II. Aristeides became much attached to Kleisthenes, who established the democratic government after the expulsion of the sons of Peisistratus; but his reverence and admiration for Lykurgus the Lacedaemonian led him to prefer an aristocratic form of government, in which he always met with an opponent in Themistokles, the son of Neokles, the champion of democracy. Some say that even as children they always took opposite sides, both in play and in serious matters, and so betrayed their several dispositions: Themistokles being unscrupulous, daring, and careless by what means he obtained success, while the character of Aristeides was solid and just, incapable of deceit or artifice even in sport. Ariston of Keos tells us that their hatred of one another arose from a love affair. Stesilaus of Keos, the most beautiful youth of his time, was passionately adored by both of them with an affection which passed all bounds. Nor did they cease their rivalry when this boy's youthful bloom had passed away, but, as if this had merely been a preliminary trial, they each plunged into politics with great vigour and with utterly different views. Themistokles obtained a large following, and thus became an important power in the state, so that, when some one said to him that he would make a very good governor of Athens, provided he were just and impartial with all, he answered, "Never may I bear rule if my friends are to reap no more benefit from it than any one else."

Aristeides, on the other hand, pursued his way through political life unattended, because, in the first place, he neither wished to do wrong in order to please his friends, nor to vex them by refusing to gratify their wishes; and also because he observed that many men when they were supported by a strong party of friends were led into the commission of wrong and illegal acts. He, therefore, conceived that a good citizen ought to trust entirely to his own rectitude, both in word and in deed.

III. In spite of this, however, when Themistokles was using every kind of political manoeuvre to thwart him, he was forced to retaliate by similar measures, partly in order to defend himself, and partly to check the power of his opponent, which depended on the favour shown him by the people. He thought it better that he should occasionally do the people some slight wrong than that Themistokles should obtain unlimited power. At last, when Themistokles even proposed some useful measure, he opposed it and threw it out. On this occasion he could not refrain from saying, as he left the public assembly, that the Athenians could not be saved unless they threw both himself and Themistokles into the barathrum.[19] Another time he brought forward a bill, which was vehemently debated upon, but was at length carried. But just before the votes of the people were given, he, perceiving from what had been said that it would prove a bad law, withdrew it. Frequently he made use of other persons to bring forward propositions, lest the public should suffer from the contest which would otherwise take place between Themistokles and himself. Indeed, his evenness of temper was the more remarkable when contrasted with the changefulness of other politicians, for he was never unduly excited by the honours which were bestowed upon him, and bore misfortune with a quiet cheerfulness, thinking it to be his duty to serve his country, not merely without being paid for it in money, but without even gaining honour for so doing. This was the reason, I suppose, that when AEschylus's verses on Amphiaraus wore being recited in the theatre;

"Not just to seem, but just he loves to be; And deep he ploughs his noble mind with thought, To reap a harvest thence of great designs,"

all men turned and looked towards Aristeides, thinking that he came nearest to this ideal virtue.

IV. He stood up vigorously for justice, not merely when it was his interest and that of his friends, but when it was in favour of his enemies and contrary to his own personal feelings to do so. It is said that once when arguing a cause against one of his enemies in a court of law, the judges refused to hear the other party speak in his own defence, after listening to the speech of Aristeides, but were about to condemn him unheard. At this Aristeides came forward and vigorously supported his antagonist's claim to be allowed his legal right of reply. Again, when acting as arbitrator between two persons, one of them said that his adversary had done much wrong to Aristeides. "My good man," said he, "do not tell me of this, but tell me whether he has wronged you or not, for I am judging your cause, not my own."

When elected to administer the revenues of the state he proved that not only his own colleagues, but those who had previously held office, had embezzled large sums, especially Themistokles,

"A clever man, but with an itching palm."

For this cause Themistokles, when Aristeides' accounts were audited, prosecuted him on a charge of malversation, and, according to Idomeneus, obtained a verdict.

However, the better class of citizens being grieved at this, not only remitted the fine, but at once elected him to the same office. He now pretended to regret his former rigour, and was much more remiss in performing his duties, which rendered him very popular with those who were in the habit of embezzling the public money, so that they were loud in his praise, and canvassed the people on his behalf, trusting that he might be re-elected archon. But when the voting was about to begin, he rose and rebuked the Athenians. "When," he said, "I did you true and honourable service, I was disgraced by you; now, when I have permitted much of the public money to be stolen, I am thought to be an excellent citizen. But I myself am more ashamed of the honour which you now pay me, than I am of my former conviction, and I am sorry for you, because among you it is esteemed more honourable to abet evil-doers than to guard the national property."

By speaking thus and exposing the peculation which was being practised, he closed the mouths of all those who were so loudly commending him as an honest man, but gained the applause of all true and honourable men.

V. When Datis was sent by Darius, nominally to punish the Athenians for the burning of Sardis, but really to enslave the whole of Greece, he landed at Marathon, and commenced laying waste the country. Of the ten generals appointed by the Athenians for the conduct of the war, Miltiades had the highest reputation, while Aristeides held the second place. He used his influence in the council of war to support the proposition of Miltiades to fight the enemy at once, and also, as each general had sole command for one day, when his day came round, he gave it to Miltiades, thus teaching his colleagues that obedience to those who know how to command is not any disgrace, but a noble and useful act. By this means he was enabled to put an end to the rivalries between the generals, and to strengthen Miltiades by concentrating in him the power which had before been passed from hand to hand. In the battle the Athenian centre was hard pressed, as the Persians resisted longest in that part of their line which was opposed to the tribes Leontis and Antiochis. Here Themistokles and Aristeides each showed conspicuous valour, fighting side by side, for the former was of the tribe Leontis, the latter of the tribe Antiochis. After the victory was won, and the Persians forced into their ships, they were observed not to sail towards the Archipelago, but to be proceeding in the direction of Athens. Fearing that they might catch the city defenceless, the Athenians determined to hurry back with nine tribes to protect it, and they accomplished their march in one day. Aristeides, with his own tribe, was left to guard the prisoners and the plunder, and well maintained his reputation. Although gold and silver was lying about in heaps, with all kinds of rich tapestry and other countless treasures, he would neither touch them himself nor allow the others to do so, though some helped themselves without his knowledge. Among these was Kallias, the torch-bearer in the Eleusinian mysteries. One of the prisoners, taking him for a king because of his long hair and fillet, fell on his knees before him, and having received his hand as a pledge for his safety pointed out to him a great store of gold concealed in a pit. Kallias now acted most cruelly and wickedly. He took the gold, and killed the poor man for fear that he should tell it to the others. It is said that ever afterwards the descendants of Kallias were jeered at by the comic poets, as being of the family of the man who found the gold in the pit.

Immediately after those events, Aristeides was chosen as Archon Eponymus, that is, the archon who gives his name to the year. Demetrius of Phalerum says that he filled this office shortly before his death, and after the battle of Plataea. But in the public records of Athens one cannot find any archon of the name of Aristeides among the many who filled the office after Xanthippides, in whose archonship Mardonius was defeated at Plataea, whereas the name of Aristeides does occur next to that of Phanippus, in whose archonship the victory at Marathon was won.

VI. Of all the virtues of Aristeides his justice was that which chiefly commended itself to the people, being that which is of most value in ordinary life. Hence it was that he, although a poor man of mean birth, yet gained for himself the truly imperial title of the Just; a title which has never been emulated by kings and despots, who delight in being called the City-taker, the Thunderbolt, or the Victorious, while some are known as the Eagle or the Hawk, because apparently they prefer strength and lawless violence to justice and goodness. Yet for all this, the gods, to whom they so presumptuously liken themselves, excel mankind chiefly in three attributes, namely in immortality, in power, and in goodness, whereof goodness is by far the most glorious and divine quality. Mere empty space, and all the elements possess immortality, while earthquakes, thunderbolts, violent winds and rushing waters have great power, but justice and equity belong to the gods alone, because of the reason and intelligence which they possess. Now most men regard the gods with admiration, with fear, and with reverence; with admiration, because they are eternal and unchangeable; with fear, because of their power and dominion, with reverence and love because of their justice. Yet men covet immortality, which no flesh can attain to; and also power, which depends mostly upon fortune; while they disregard virtue, the only godlike attribute which it is in our power to obtain; not reflecting that when a man is in a position of great power and authority he will appear like a god if he acts justly, and like a wild beast if he does not.

VII. The character of Aristeides for justice at first made him beloved by the people, but afterwards it gained him their ill-will, chiefly because Themistokles circulated reports that Aristeides had practically closed the public courts of justice by the fact of all cases being referred to him as arbitrator, and that he was virtually king of Athens, although he had not yet surrounded himself with a body-guard. By this time too the common people, elated with their victory at Marathon, and thinking themselves capable of the greatest exploits, were ill pleased at any private citizen being exalted above the rest by his character and virtues. They flocked into the city from all parts of the country and ostracised Aristeides, veiling their envy of his glory under the pretence that they feared he would make himself king. This custom of ostracism was not intended as a punishment for crime, but was called, in order to give it a plausible title, a check to excessive power. In reality, it was nothing more than a safety-valve, providing a vent for the dislike felt by the people for those whose greatness offended them. It did no irreparable injury to those who fell under its operation, but only banished them for a space of ten years. In later times mean and contemptible persons were subjected to ostracism, until at last, after the ostracism of Hyperbolus the practice was discontinued. The ostracism of Hyperbolus is said to have been brought about in the following manner. Alkibiades and Nikias, the two most powerful citizens in the state, were at the head of two rival parties. The people determined to apply the ostracism to them, and would certainly have banished one or the other of them. They, however, came to terms with one another, combined their several factions, and agreed to have Hyperbolus banished. The people, enraged at this, and thinking that they had been treated with contempt, abolished the practice of ostracism. The way in which it was conducted was as follows. Each man took an oyster-shell, wrote upon it the name of the citizen whom he wished to be banished, and then carried it to a place in the market-place which was fenced off with palings. The archons now first of all counted the whole number of shells; for if the whole number of voters were less than six thousand, the ostracism was null and void. After this, they counted the number of times each name occurred, and that man against whom most votes were recorded they sent into exile for ten years, allowing him the use of his property during that time. Now while the shells were being written upon, on the occasion of which we have been speaking, a very ignorant country fellow is said to have brought his shell to Aristeides, who was one of the bystanders, and to have asked him to write upon it the name of Aristeides. Aristeides was surprised, and asked him whether Aristeides had ever done him any harm. "No," answered the man, "nor do I know him by sight, but I am tired of always hearing him called 'The Just.'" When Aristeides heard this he made no answer, but wrote his name on the man's shell and gave it back to him. When he was leaving the city he raised his hands to heaven, and prayed exactly the opposite prayer to that of Achilles, that no crisis might befall the Athenians which would compel them to remember Aristeides.

VIII. However, three years afterwards, when Xerxes was advancing upon Attica through Thessaly and Boeotia, the Athenians annulled their decree, and permitted all exiles to return, being especially afraid of Aristeides, lest he should join the enemy and lead many of the citizens to desert with him. In this they took a very false view of his character, for even before this decree he had never ceased to encourage the Greeks to defend their liberty, and after his return, when Themistokles was in sole command of the forces of Athens, he assisted him in every way by word and deed, cheerfully raising his bitterest enemy to the highest position in the state, because the state was benefited thereby.

When Eurybiades and his party were meditating a retreat from Salamis, the Persian ships put to sea at night and hemmed them in, surrounding both the strait and the islands. No one knew that escape was impossible, but Aristeides sailed from AEgina, passed safely through the enemy's fleet by a miracle, and while it was still night proceeded straight to the tent of Themistokles. Here he called him out, and when they were alone together, he said: "We two, Themistokles, if we are wise, must cease our vain and silly rivalry with one another, and begin a more generous contest to preserve our country, you acting as general and chief, while I help and advise you. Already I perceive that you alone take a right view of the crisis, end desire to fight a battle in the narrow waters as quickly as possible. Now, while your allies have been opposing you, the enemy have been playing your game, for the sea, both in our front and rear, is full of their ships, so that the Greeks even against their will must play the man and fight; for no way of escape is left for them." To this Themistokles answered, "I would not willingly, Aristeides, be overcome by you in generosity on this occasion; and I shall endeavour, in emulation of this good beginning which you have made, to surpass it by the glory of my exploits." At the same time he explained the trick[20] which he had played on the barbarian, and begged Aristeides to argue with Eurybiades, and point out how impossible it was for the Greeks to be saved without fighting; for he thought that the opinion of Aristeides would have more weight than his own. Consequently, when in the assembly of the generals Kleokritus the Corinthian attacked Themistokles, and said that even Aristeides did not approve of his plans, because he was present and said nothing, Aristeides answered that he would not have been silent if Themistokles had not spoken to the purpose, but that as it was he held his peace, not for any love he bore him, but because his counsel was the best.

IX. While the Greek admirals were engaged in these discussions, Aristeides, perceiving that Psyttaleia, a small island in the straits near Salamis, was full of the enemy, placed some of the boldest Athenians on board of small boats, attacked the Persians, and slew them to a man, except a few of the chiefs, who wore taken alive. Among these were the three children of Sandauke the sister of the Persian king, whom he at once sent to Themistokles, and it is said that in accordance with some oracle they were sacrificed to Dionysus Omestes,[21] at the instance of the prophet Euphrantides. Aristeides now lined the shores of the islet with soldiers, ready to receive any vessel which might be cast upon it, in order that neither any of his friends might be lost, nor any of the enemy take refuge upon it. Indeed, the severest encounter between the two fleets and the main shock of the battle seems to have taken place at that spot; wherefore the trophy that marks the victory stands on the isle of Psyttaleia.

After the battle was won, Themistokles, wishing to feel Aristeides's opinion, said to him that they had done a good work, but that a greater one remained, which was to shut up Asia in Europe by sailing as quickly as possible to the Hellespont, and destroying the bridge of boats there. Aristeides answered that he must never propose such a plan, but must take measures to drive the Persians out of Greece as quickly as possible, for fear that so great a multitude, shut up there without the means of retreat, should turn to bay and attack them with the courage of despair. Upon this, Themistokles again sent the eunuch Arnakes, a prisoner, on a secret errand to tell the Persian king that when all the Greeks wished to sail to the Hellespont and destroy the bridge of boats, he had dissuaded them from doing so, wishing to save the king's life.

X. At this Xerxes became terrified, and at once hurried back to the Hellespont. Mardonius, with about three hundred thousand of the best troops remained behind, and was a formidable enemy, trusting in his land force, and sending defiant proclamations to the Greeks. "You," he said, "with your ships have beaten landsmen that knew not how to handle an oar; but the land of Thessaly is wide, and the plain of Boeotia is a fair place for good horsemen and heavy armed soldiers to fight upon."

To the Athenians he sent privately proposals from the Great King, who offered to rebuild their city, present them with a large sum of money, and make them lords over all Greece, if they would desist from the war. The Lacedaemonians, hearing this, were much alarmed, and sent ambassadors to beg the Athenians to send their wives and children to Sparta, and offering to support their old people, as the Athenians were in great distress for food, having lost their city and their country. However, after listening to the Lacedaemonian ambassadors, at the instance of Aristeides they returned a spirited answer, saying that they could forgive their enemies, who knew no better, for supposing that everything could be bought with money, but that they were angry with the Lacedaemonians for only regarding the present poverty and distress of the Athenians, and that forgetting how bravely they had fought, they should now offer them food to bribe them to fight for Greece. Having passed this motion Aristeides called the ambassadors back into the assembly, and bade them tell the Lacedaemonians that there was not as much gold in the world, either above or under-ground, as the Athenians would require to tempt them to betray Greece.

In answer to the herald sent from Mardonius he pointed to the sun, and said: "As long as yonder sun shall continue its course the Athenians will be enemies to the Persians, because of their ravaged lands and desecrated temples." Further, he made the priests imprecate curses on any one who had dealings with the Persians or deserted the Greek cause.

When Mardonius invaded Attica a second time, the Athenians again took refuge in Salamis. Aristeides was sent to Lacedaemon and upbraided the Spartans with their slowness and indifference, for allowing the enemy to take Athens a second time, and begged them to help what remained of Greece. The Ephors, on hearing this, pretended to pass the rest of the day in feasting and idleness, for it was the festival of the Hyacinthia; but at nightfall they chose five thousand Spartans, each attended by seven Helots, and sent them off without the knowledge of the Athenian embassy. So when Aristeides next day resumed his reproachful strain, they answered with mocking laughter, that he was talking nonsense and was asleep, for that the army was by this time at the tomb of Orestes in its march against the strangers[22] (by strangers they meant the Persians). To this Aristeides answered that it was a sorry jest to have deceived their friends instead of their enemies. These particulars are related by Idomeneus, but in the decree of Aristeides for sending ambassadors it is not his name, but those of Kimon, Xanthippus, and Myronides that are mentioned.

XI. He was elected general with unlimited powers, and proceeded to Plataea with eight thousand Athenians. Here he was met by Pausanias, the commander-in-chief of the Greek forces, with the Spartan contingent, and the rest of the Greek troops joined them there. The Persian army was encamped along the course of the river Asopus. On account of its enormous size it was not contained in a fortified camp, but a quadrangular wall was constructed round the baggage and most valuable material. Each side of this square was ten furlongs in length.

Tisamenus of Elis, the prophet, now told Pausanias and all the Greeks that they would win the victory if they stood on the defensive and did not attack. Aristeides sent to Delphi, and received a response from the oracle, that the Athenians would conquer if they prayed to Zeus, to Hera of Kithaeron, and to Pan and the nymphs Sphragitides, and if they sacrificed to the heroes Androkrates, Leukon, Peisander, Damokrates, Hypsion, Aktaion, and Polyidus, and if they would fight in their own territory, in the plain of Demeter of Eleusis and her daughter.

This oracle greatly disturbed Aristeides. The heroes to whom he was bidden to sacrifice are the original founders of the city of Plataea, and the cave of the nymphs called Sphragitides, is on one of the peaks of Kithaeron, looking towards the point where the sun sets in summer. It is said that there was formerly an oracle there, and that many of the people became possessed, and were called "nympholeptae." But as to the plain of the Eleusinian Demeter, and the promise of victory to the Athenians if they fought in their own country, this meant no less than to recall them to Attica and forbid their taking any further part in the war. Whilst Aristeides was thus perplexed, Arimnestus, the general of the Plataeans, saw a vision in his sleep. In his dreams he thought that Zeus the Preserver appeared and enquired of him what the Greeks had decided to do, and that he answered, "Lord, to-morrow we shall lead away the army to Eleusis, and fight the Persians there, according to the oracle." Upon this the god answered, that they had missed the meaning of the oracle, for the places mentioned were near Plataea, where they themselves were encamped, and if they sought they would find them. Arimnestus, after this distinct vision, awoke. He at once sent for the oldest and most learned of the citizens of Plataea, and after debating the matter with them, discovered that near Hysiae, under Mount Kithaeron, stood a very ancient temple, dedicated to the Eleusinian Demeter and her daughter. He immediately took Aristeides with him and proceeded to the spot, which was excellently placed for the array of an infantry force in the presence of an overwhelming cavalry, because the spurs of Mount Kithaeron, where they run down into the plain by the temple, render the ground impassable for cavalry. Close by is the chapel of the hero Androkrates, in the midst of a thick matted grove of trees. In order, however, that the oracle might in no way be defective in its promise of victory, Arimnestus proposed, and the Plataeans decreed, that the boundary marks of their territory on the side towards Attica should be removed, and the country given to the Athenians, so that they might fight in their own land for Greece, according to the oracle. This noble act of the Plataeans became so famous in later times, that, many years afterwards, Alexander the Great himself, when he had conquered all Asia, caused the walls of Plataea to be rebuilt, and made proclamation at the Olympian games by a herald, "that the king bestowed this honour upon the Plataeans in memory of their magnanimous conduct in giving up their territory, and venturing their lives on behalf of the Greeks in the Persian war."

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