XII. A controversy arose between the Athenians and the men of Tegea about their respective places in the line of battle. The Tegeans argued that if the Lacedaemonians had the right wing, they ought to be posted on the left; and they spoke at great length about the achievements of their ancestors, as entitling them to that honour. The Athenians were vexed at their pretensions, but Aristeides said: "The present time is not suitable for disputing with the Tegeans about bravery; but to you, men of Sparta, and to the rest of the Greeks, we say that a particular post neither confers courage nor takes it away, but, that in whatever part of the line you may think fit to place us, we will endeavour so to array our ranks and fight the enemy as not to impair the honour which we have gained in former battles. We did not come hither to quarrel with our allies, but to fight the enemy; not to boast about our ancestors, but to fight bravely for Greece. The coming struggle will clearly show to all the Greeks the real worth and value of each city, each general, and each single citizen." When the council of generals heard this speech, they allowed the claim of the Athenians, and gave up the left wing to them.
XIII. While the cause of Greece was thus trembling in the balance, and Athens was especially in danger, certain Athenians of noble birth, who had lost their former wealth during the war, and with it their influence in the city, being unable to bear to see others exalted at their expense, met in secret in a house in Plataea and entered into a plot to overturn the free constitution of Athens. If they could not succeed in this, they pledged themselves to ruin, the city and betray it to the Persians. While these men were plotting in the camp, and bringing many over to their side, Aristeides discovered the whole conspiracy. Afraid at such a crisis to take any decisive step, he determined, while carefully watching the conspirators, yet not at once to seize them all, not knowing how far he might have to proceed if he acted according to strict justice. From all the conspirators he arrested eight. Two of these, who would have been the first to be put on their trial, AEschines of Lampra, and Agesias of Acharna, made their escape out of the camp, and Aristeides pardoned the others, as he wished to give an opportunity to those who believed themselves unsuspected, to take courage and repent. He also hinted to them that the war afforded them a means of clearing themselves from any suspicion of disloyalty by fighting for their country like good men and true.
XIV. After this, Mardonius made trial of Grecian courage, by sending the whole of his cavalry, in which he was much the stronger, to attack them where they were, all except the Megarians, encamped at the foot of Mount Kithaeron, in an easily-defended rocky country. These men, three thousand in number, were encamped nearer the plain, and suffered much from the attacks of the horsemen, who surrounded them on all sides. They sent a messenger in great haste to Pausanias, begging him to send assistance, as they could not by themselves resist the great numbers of the barbarians. Pausanias, hearing this, and seeing the camp of the Megarians overwhelmed with darts and arrows, while the defenders were huddled together in a narrow compass, knew not what to do. He did not venture to attack cavalry with the heavy-armed Lacedaemonian infantry, but offered it as an opportunity for winning praise and honour, to the generals who were with him, that they should volunteer to go to help the Megarians in their extremity. All hesitated, but Aristeides claimed the honour for the Athenians, and sent the bravest of his captains, Olympiodorus, with three hundred picked men, besides some archers. As they quickly got into array and charged at a run, Masistius, the leader of the enemy, a man of great bodily strength and beauty, seeing them, wheeled round his horse, and rode to attack them. They sustained his attack and closed with his horsemen, and a sharp struggle took place, both parties fighting as though the issue of the war depended on their exertions. The horse of Masistius was at length wounded by an arrow and threw his rider. Encumbered by his armour, Masistius was too heavy for his own men to carry him away, but also was protected by it from the stabs of the Athenians who fell upon him, for not only his head and breast, but his limbs also were protected by brass and iron. Some one, however, drove the spike at the lower end of his spear through the eye-hole of the helmet, and then the rest of the Persians abandoned the body and fled. The Greeks discovered the importance of their exploit, not from the number of the dead, for but few had fallen, but from the lamentations of the enemy. They cut off their own hair, and the manes of their horses and mules, in sign of mourning for Masistius, and filled the whole plain with weeping and wailing, having lost a man who for courage and high position, was second only to Mardonius himself.
XV. After this cavalry action, both the parties remained quiet for a long time, for the soothsayers foretold victory both to the Greeks and to the Persians if they fought in self-defence, but foretold defeat if they attacked. At length Mardonius, as he only had provisions for a few days longer, and as the Greek army kept growing stronger by the continual reinforcements which it received, determined, sorely against his will, to delay no longer, but to cross the Asopus at daybreak and fall upon the Greeks unexpectedly. In the evening he gave orders to his captains to this effect. About midnight a solitary horseman rode up straight to the Greek camp. He bade the guard send for Aristeides the Athenian, who was at once brought, when the stranger spoke as follows:
"I am Alexander of Macedon, and I have come hither at the greatest risk to myself to do you a service, for fear you should be taken by surprise. Mardonius will attack to-morrow, not because he has any new hope of success, but because he is destitute of provisions, although the soothsayers all forbid him to fight because the sacrifices and oracles are unfavourable, and the army is disheartened. Thus he is forced to put all on a venture, or else to starve if he remains quiet." When he had said this, Alexander begged Aristeides to keep the secret to himself, and communicate it to no one else. Aristeides, however, answered that it would not be right for him to conceal it from Pausanias, who was commander-in-chief. Before the battle he said that he would keep it secret from every one else, but that if Greece was victorious, all men then should know the good service so bravely rendered by Alexander. After these words the king of Macedon rode away, and Aristeides, proceeding to the tent of Pausanias, told him the whole matter; they then sent for the other generals, and ordered them to keep the troops under arms, as a battle was expected.
XVI. At this time, Herodotus tells us, Pausanias asked Aristeides to remove the Athenians from the left to the right wing, so as to be opposite to the native Persian troops, on the ground that they would be better able to contend with them, because they understood their mode of fighting, and were confident because they had beaten them once before, while he with the Spartans would take the left wing of the army, where he would be opposed to those Greeks who had taken the Persian side. Most of the Athenian generals thought this a silly and insolent proceeding of Pausanias, that he should leave all the other Greeks in their place, and march them backwards and forward like helots, only to place them opposite the bravest troops of the enemy. Aristeides, however, said that they were entirely mistaken, for a few days before they had been wrangling with the Tegeans for the honour of being posted on the left wing, and had been delighted when they obtained it; but now, when the Lacedaemonians of their own free will yielded the right wing to them, and in some sort offered them the post of honour in the whole army, they were not delighted at it, and did not consider what an advantage it was to have to fight against foreign barbarians, and not against men of their own race and nation. After these words, the Athenians cheerfully exchanged places with the Lacedaemonians, and much talk went on among them as each man reminded his comrades that the Persians who would come to attack them were no braver, nor better armed than those whom they had defeated at Marathon, but that they had the same bows and arrows, the same embroidered robes and gold ornaments on their effeminate bodies, while we, they said, have arms and bodies such as we had then, and greater confidence because of our victories. We also fight, not merely as other Greeks do, in defence of our city and territory, but for the trophies of Marathon and Salamis, lest the battle of Marathon should be thought to have been won more by Miltiades and Fortune, than by the valour of the Athenians. With such encouraging talk as this the Athenians took up their new position; but the Thebans discovered what had been done from deserters and told Mardonius. He at once, either from fear of the Athenians, or from a chivalrous wish to fight the Spartans himself, led the native Persian troops to his right wing, and ordered the renegade Greeks to take ground opposite the Athenians. When these changes were being observed, Pausanias returned to his original position on the right. Mardonius then returned to the left as before, and the day passed without an engagement. The Greeks now determined in a council of war, to remove their camp to a place farther away and better supplied with water, because they were prevented from using the springs near where they were by the enemy's great superiority in cavalry.
XVII. When night fell the generals began to lead the army to the place selected for a new camp. The soldiers were very unwilling to follow them thither and keep together in a body, but as soon as they quitted their first entrenchments, most of them made for the city of Plataea; and there was much confusion as they wandered about and pitched their tents here and there. The Lacedaemonians, much against their will, chanced to be left behind, and quite separated from the rest. One Amompharetus, a spirited and daring man, who had long been eager to fight, and chafed much at the long delays and countermarches which had taken place, now cried aloud that this change of position was no better than a cowardly flight. He refused to leave his post, and said that he and his company would stand where they were, and withstand Mardonius alone. When Pausanias came and assured him that the Greeks in council had decided upon this measure, Amompharetus heaved up a huge stone with both his hands and flinging it down at the feet of Pausanias, said, "With this pebble I give my vote for battle, and for disregarding the cowardly counsels of other Greeks." Pausanias, not knowing what to do, sent to the Athenians, who were already on the march, begging them to wait and support them, while he set off with the rest of the Spartans in the direction of Plataea, hoping thus to make Amompharetus move.
While these movements were being executed day broke, and Mardonius, who had perceived that the Greeks were leaving their camp, at once marched in order of battle to attack the Lacedaemonians, the Persians shouting and clattering their arms as though they were not going to fight, but to destroy the Greeks as they retreated, which indeed they very nearly succeeded in doing; for Pausanias, when he saw what was taking place, halted his own men, and placed them in battle array, but either because of his anger at Amompharetus, or his excitement at the suddenness of the attack, forgot to send any orders to the main body of the Greeks.
For this reason they came up not in a regular body, but straggling, and after the Lacedaemonians wore already engaged. Pausanias was busy sacrificing to the gods, and as the sacrifices were unfavourable, he ordered the Lacedaemonians to hold their shields quietly rested on the ground at their feet and await his orders, without attempting any resistance, while he sacrificed again. The enemy's cavalry was now close at hand, their arrows reached the Lacedaemonians and killed several of them. It was at this moment that Kallikrates, the tallest and handsomest man in the whole Greek army, is said to have been mortally wounded by an arrow. When dying, he said that he did not lament his death, for he left his home meaning to lay down his life for Greece, but that he was grieved that he had never exchanged blows with the enemy before he died. At this time the Lacedaemonians were offering no resistance to the assaults of the enemy, but were standing still in their ranks, shot at by the arrows of the enemy, awaiting the time when it should be the will of the gods and their general that they should fight. Some writers tell us that while Pausanias was offering sacrifice and prayer a little beyond the ranks, some Lydians suddenly fell upon him, and began to plunder the sacrificial vessels, but that Pausanias, and those with him, having no arms, drove them away with sticks and whips; in memory of which they beat young men on the altar at Sparta at the present day, and afterwards lead what is called the Lydian procession.
XVIII. Pausanias was deeply grieved at what was taking place, seeing the priests offering sacrifice after sacrifice, not one of which pleased the gods; at last he turned his eyes towards the temple of Hera and wept. Holding up his hands he besought Hera of Mount Kithaeron and all the other gods of the land of Plataea that if it were not the will of the gods that the Greeks should conquer, they might at any rate do some valorous deed before they died, and let their conquerors know that they had fought with brave and experienced warriors. When Pausanias prayed thus, the sacrifices at once became favourable and the soothsayers prophesied victory. The word was given to sot themselves in order of battle, and then at once the Lacedaemonian force resembled some fierce beast turning to bay and setting up his bristles, while the barbarians saw that they had to deal with men who were prepared to fight to the death. Wherefore they set up their great wicker shields in front of them, and from this shelter shot their arrows at the Lacedaemonians. But the latter advanced without breaking their ranks, overturned the line of wicker shields, and with, terrible thrusts of their spears at the faces and breasts of the Persians, laid many of them low by their fierce and well-disciplined charge. The Persians too fought bravely, and resisted for a long while, laying hold of the spears with their bare hands and breaking most of them in that manner, fighting hand to hand, with their scimitars and axes, and tearing the Lacedaemonians' shields out of their hands by force.
Meanwhile the Athenians had for a long time stood quietly awaiting the Lacedaemonians. When, however, they heard the shouting and noise of the battle, and a messenger, it is said, reached them from Pausanias, they marched with all speed to help him. As they were hurrying over the plain to where the shouts were heard, the Greeks who had taken the Persian side attacked them. At first when Aristeides saw them, he ran out far before the rest and besought them in a loud voice in the name of the gods of Greece not to hinder the Athenians when they were going to assist those who were venturing their lives on behalf of Greece. But when he saw that they took no notice of his appeal, he no longer attempted to help the Lacedaemonians, but attacked these troops, who numbered about fifty thousand. Of these the greater part gave way at once and retreated, because they saw their barbarian allies retreating, but a fierce battle is said to have raged where the Thebans were, because the best and noblest men of that state had eagerly taken the Persian side from the beginning, while the common people followed them, not of their free will, but being accustomed to obey the nobles.
XIX. Thus was the battle divided into two parts. The Lacedaemonians were the first to rout the Persians. A Spartan, named Arimnestus, killed Mardonius by a blow on the head with a stone, as the oracle in the temple of Amphiaraus had foretold to him. For Mardonius sent a Lydian thither, and another man, a Karian, to the oracle in the cave of Trophonius. This latter was spoken to in the Karian language by the prophet, but the other slept in the sacred enclosure round the temple of Amphiaraus, and in his dreams saw a servant of the god standing beside him and bidding him begone. When he refused to go, the figure cast a great stone at his head, so that he dreamed that he died of the stroke. This is the story which is told of Mardonius. The Persian fugitives were now driven to take shelter within their wooden fortification. Shortly after these events took place, the Athenians defeated the Thebans, who lost three hundred of their noblest citizens in that battle. After this there came a messenger to them, telling them that the Persians were being besieged in their fortified camp. Hearing this, the Athenians allowed the renegade Greeks to escape, and marched at once to the assault of the camp. Here they found the Lacedaemonians, who were not pressing the enemy, because they had no experience in sieges and attacks on fortified places. The Athenians forced their way in and took the camp with an immense slaughter of the enemy. It is said that out of three hundred thousand only forty thousand under Artabazus escaped. On the side of the Greeks fell only thirteen hundred and sixty men. Of these there were fifty-two Athenians of the Aiantid tribe, which, we are told by Kleidemus, distinguished itself beyond all others on that day. For this reason, the Aiantid tribe offered the sacrifice to the nymphs Sphragitides, ordered by the oracle for the victory, at the public expense. Of the Lacedaemonians, there fell ninety-one, and of the Tegeans sixteen. It is hard, therefore, to understand Herodotus when he says that these alone came to blows with the enemy, and that no other Greeks were engaged at all; for both the number of the slain and the tombs of the fallen prove that the victory was won by all the Greeks together. If only three cities had fought, and the rest had done nothing, they never would have inscribed on the altar:
"The Greeks in battle drove the Persian forth By force of arms, and bravely Greece set free, To Zeus Protector they this altar reared, Where all might thank him for their victory."
This battle was fought on the day of the month Boedromion, according to the Athenian calendar; and on the twenty-sixth of the month Panemus according to that of the Boeotians, on which day the Hellenic meeting still takes place at Plataea, and sacrifice is offered to Zeus, the Protector of Liberty, in memory of this victory. The discrepancy of the dates is no marvel, seeing that even at the present day, when astronomy is more accurately understood, different cities still begin and end their months on different days.
XX. After the battle, as the Athenians would not assign the prize of valour to the Lacedaemonians, nor suffer them to set up a trophy, the common cause of Greece was within a little of being ruined by the quarrels of the two armies, had not Aristeides by argument and entreaty prevailed upon his colleagues, especially Leokrates and Myronides, to submit the dispute to the decision of all the Greeks. Upon this a council was held, at which Theogeiton of Megara said that the prize for valour ought to be given to another city, and not either to Athens or Sparta, if they did not wish to bring about a civil war. To this Kleokritus of Corinth made answer. All men expected that he would demand the honour for Corinth, which city had acquitted itself best, next to Athens and Sparta; but he made a very excellent and conciliatory speech, demanding that the prize should be bestowed on the Plataeans, by which means neither of the claimants would be aggrieved. This proposal was agreed to by Aristeides on behalf of the Athenians, and by Pausanias on behalf of the Lacedaemonians. Having thus settled their differences, they set apart from the plunder eighty talents for the Plataeans, with which they built the temple of Athena, and the shrine, and also decorated the temple with paintings, which even to this present day retain their lustre. The Lacedaemonians set up a trophy for themselves, and the Athenians another one apart. When they enquired at Delphi what sacrifice was to be offered, the oracle bade them set up an altar to Zeus the Protector of the Free, and not to sacrifice upon it until they had first put out all fires throughout the country, because it had been defiled by the presence of the barbarian, and had then fetched a new fire pure from pollution, from the hearth at Delphi, which is common to all Greece. The chiefs of the Greeks at once proceeded throughout the Plataean territory, forcing every one to extinguish his fire, even in the case of funeral piles, while Euchidas of Plataea, who promised that he would fetch fire as quickly as possible, proceeded to Delphi. There he purified his body, and having been besprinkled with holy water and crowned with laurel, took fire from the altar, set off running back to Plataea, and arrived there about sunset, having run a distance of a hundred and twenty-five miles in one day. He embraced his fellow citizens, handed the fire to them, fell down, and in a few moments died. The Plataeans, to show their admiration of him, buried him in the temple of Artemis Eukleia, with this inscription on his tomb:
"Euchidas ran to Delphi and back again in one day."
As for Eukleia, most persons believe her to be Artemis, and worship her as that goddess; but some say that she was a daughter of Herakles and Myrto, the daughter of Menoetius, who was the sister of Patroklus, and who, dying a virgin, is worshipped by the Boeotians and Lokrians. An altar and image of her stands in every market-place in these countries, and those who are about to marry, sacrifice to her.
XXI. After this Aristeides proposed at a general assembly of all the Greeks, that all the cities of Greece should every year send deputies and religious representatives to the city of Plataea, and that every fifth year Eleutheria, or a festival in honour of Freedom, should be celebrated there. Also he proposed that there should be a general levy throughout Greece, for the war against the Persians, of ten thousand heavy armed troops, a thousand horse, and a hundred ships of war; and that the Plataeans should be held inviolable, and consecrated to the service of the gods, to whom they offered sacrifice on behalf of all Greece. These things were ratified, and the people of Plataea undertook to make yearly sacrifices in honour of those who had fallen fighting for Greece, and whose bodies were buried there. This they perform even at the present day in the following fashion. On the sixteenth day of the month Maimakterion, which in the Boeotian calendar is called Alalkomenius, they make a procession headed by a trumpeter sounding the charge. After him follow waggons full of myrtle and garlands of flowers, a black bull, libations of wine and milk in jars, and earthenware vessels full of oil and perfume. These are carried by young men of noble birth, for no slave is allowed to take any part in the proceedings, because the men in whose honour the sacrifice is made, died fighting for liberty. Last of all comes the chief magistrate of Plataea, who, during the rest of his term of office, is not allowed to touch iron, or to wear clothes of any colour but white. On this day, however, he wears a scarlet tunic, takes an urn from the public record office in one hand, and a sword in the other, and proceeds through the middle of the city to the sepulchres. There he with his own hands draws water from the well, washes the head-stones of the graves, and anoints them with oil. After this he cuts the throat of the bull, places his bones on a funeral pile, and with prayer to Zeus, and Hermes who conducts men's souls into the nether world, he calls on the brave men who died for Greece, to come to the feast and drink the libations of blood. Next he mixes a large bowl of wine and water, pours out a cup for himself, and says, "I drink to those who died in defence of the freedom of Greece." This custom is observed even to this day by the Plataeans.
XXII. After the return of the Athenians to their own city, Aristeides observed that they desired to adopt a democratic form of government. As he considered that the people had by their bravery deserved a share in the management of affairs, and likewise thought that it would be hard to turn them from their purpose as they had arms in their hands, and were confident in their strength because of the victories which they had won, he carried a decree that every citizen should have a share in the government, and that the archons should be chosen out of the whole body of Athenians.
When Themistokles told the Athenian assembly that he had in his mind a proposition most valuable to the state, which nevertheless could not be openly discussed, the people bade Aristeides alone listen to what it was and give his opinion upon it. Then Themistokles told Aristeides, that he meditated burning the entire fleet of the Greeks, as they lay drawn up on the beach, as by this means Athens would become the greatest state in Greece, and mistress of all the others. Aristeides, on hearing this, came forward to the assembly and said that the proposal of Themistokles, although most advantageous, was yet most wicked and unjust. When the people heard this, they forbade Themistokles to prosecute his design. So highly did the Athenians prize justice, and so well and faithfully did Aristeides serve them.
XXIII. Being sent as general, with Kimon as his colleague, to the war with Persia, he perceived that Pausanias and the other Spartan generals were harsh and insolent to their allies; and he himself, by treating them with kindness and consideration, aided by the gentle and kindly temper shown by Kimon in the campaign, gradually obtained supreme authority over them, not having won it by arms or fleets, but by courtesy and wise policy. The Athenians, already beloved by the Greeks, on account of the justice of Aristeides and the kindliness of Kimon, were much more endeared to them by the insolent brutality of Pausanias, who always spoke roughly and angrily to the chiefs of the various contingents of allies, and used to punish the common men by stripes, or by forcing them to stand all day with a heavy iron anchor on their shoulders. No one was permitted to obtain straw or forage for their horses, or to draw water from a well before the Spartans had helped themselves, and servants were placed with whips to drive away any who attempted to do so. Aristeides once endeavoured to complain of this to Pausanias, but he knitting his brows, rudely told him that he was not at leisure, and took no notice of his words. At this the generals and admirals of the Greek states, especially those from Chios, Samos, and Lesbos, besought Aristeides to make himself commander-in-chief, and rally round him all the allied cities, who had long desired to get rid of the Spartan supremacy and to take the side of Athens. He answered that he admitted the justice and even the necessity of their proposals, but that they must prove themselves to be in earnest by some act which would make it impossible for the great body of them to draw back. Upon this, Ouliades of Samos, and Antagoras of Chios conspired together, and off Byzantium, they ran on board of the ship of Pausanias, which was sailing before the rest. He on seeing this, rose up in a rage and threatened that in a short time he would let them know that they had not endangered his ship, but their own native cities. They in answer bade him go his way and be thankful for the victory at Plataea won under his command, for that it was which alone restrained the Greeks from dealing with him as he deserved. Finally they left him, and sailed away to join the Athenian ships. On this occasion the magnanimous conduct of the Lacedaemonians deserves high praise. When they perceived that the heads of their generals were being turned by the greatness of their power, they of their own accord withdrew from the supreme power, and no longer sent any generals to the wars, choosing rather to have moderate citizens who would abide by their laws at home, than to bear rule over the whole of Greece.
Even while the Lacedaemonians remained in command, the Greeks paid a certain contribution to pay the expenses of the war; and as they wished each city to be assessed to pay a reasonable sum, they asked the Athenians to appoint Aristeides to visit each city, learn the extent of its territory and revenues, and fix upon the amount which each was capable of contributing according to its means. Although he was in possession of such a power as this—the whole of Greece having as it were given itself up to be dealt with at his discretion—yet he laid down his office a poorer man than when he accepted it, but having completed his assessment to the satisfaction of all. As the ancients used to tell of the blessedness of the golden age, even so did the states of Greece honour the assessment made by Aristeides, calling the time when it was made, fortunate and blessed for Greece, especially when no long time afterwards it was doubled, and subsequently trebled. The money which Aristeides proposed to raise amounted to four hundred and sixty talents; to which Perikles added nearly a third part, for Thucydides tells us that at the commencement of the Peloponnesian war, the Athenians received six hundred talents a year from their allies. After the death of Perikles, the popular orators gradually raised the sum total to thirteen hundred talents. It was not so much that the money was required for the expenses of a long and costly war, as that these men had accustomed the people to largesses of money, dramatic representations, and the erection of statues and temples. Themistokles was the only man who had sneered at the great reputation which Aristeides had won by his assessment of the Greek states, saying that the praise which was lavished on him was not suitable to a man, but to a chest which kept money safe. This he said as a retort to a saying of Aristeides, who once, when Themistokles said that he thought it the most valuable quality for a general to be able to divine beforehand what the enemy would do, answered, "That, Themistokles, is very true, but it is also the part of an honourable general to keep his hands clean."
XXV. Aristeides, moreover, bound all the Greeks by an oath to keep the league against the Persians, and himself swore on behalf of Athens, throwing wedges of red hot iron into the sea after the oath was taken, and praying that the gods might so deal with those that broke their faith. But afterwards, when circumstances forced the Athenians to govern with a stronger hand, he bade the Athenians act as they pleased, for he would take upon himself any guilt of perjury which they might incur. And throughout his life Theophrastus observes that Aristeides, though scrupulously just in his dealings with his fellow-citizens, yet sometimes in dealing with other states was guided rather by advantage than by equity. For instance, when the Athenians were debating a proposal of the Samians, that the treasure of the league should be removed from Delos to Athens, a thing distinctly contrary to the articles of the alliance, Aristeides said that it was not just, but that it was expedient to do so. He himself, at the end of his life, after raising his city to be the ruler of so many people, remained in his original poverty, and took no less pride in his poverty than in the victories which he had won. This is proved by the following anecdote. Kallias, the torch-bearer in the Eleusinian mysteries, a relation of his, was being prosecuted on a capital charge by his private enemies. After speaking with great moderation upon the subject of the indictment, they used the following argument to the jury: "Gentlemen, you all know Aristeides the son of Lysimachus, whose name is renowned throughout Greece. How think you that man fares at home, when you see him appearing in public with such a worn-out cloak? May we not suppose when we see him shivering out of doors, that he has but little to eat at home, and is in want of common necessaries? Yet Kallias, the richest man in Athens, allows this man, who is his own cousin, to be in want, he and his wife and children, though he has often benefited by him and profited by his influence with you." Kallias, perceiving that the jury were especially wrought upon by this appeal and that it was likely to tell against him, called Aristeides into the court, and begged of him to bear witness to the jury that although he had often offered him money and begged him to accept it he had always refused, answering that he prided himself more upon his poverty than Kallias did upon his wealth; for one may see many persons making both a good and a bad use of riches, but it is hard to meet with a man who bears poverty with honour. Those only should be ashamed of poverty who are poor against their wills. When Aristeides bore witness to the truth of this, on behalf of Kallias, there was no one who heard him but left the court wishing rather to be poor like Aristeides than rich like Kallias. This story is preserved by AEschines, the companion of Sokrates.
Plato considers that this man alone, of all the great men of Athens, is worthy of mention by him. Themistokles, and Kimon, and Perikles, did indeed fill the city with public buildings, and money, and folly, but Aristeides in his political acts cared for nothing but virtue. One great proof of this is his kindly treatment of Themistokles. Though this man was his enemy throughout, and was the cause of his banishment by ostracism, yet when Themistokles gave him an opportunity of revenging himself in a similar manner he never remembered the injuries which he had received at his hands, but while Kimon, and Alkmaeon, and many others, were endeavouring to drive him into exile and bringing all kinds of accusations against him, Aristeides alone never did or said anything against him, and did not rejoice over the spectacle of his enemy's ruin, just as he never envied his previous prosperity.
XXVI. Some writers say that Aristeides died in Pontus, to which country he had been sent on matters of state: while others say that he died of old age at Athens, respected and honoured by all his countrymen there. Kraterus of Macedonia tells us the following particulars about his end. After Themistokles went into exile the common people grew insolent and produced a numerous brood of informers, who constantly assailed the noblest and most powerful citizens through envy of their prosperity and influence. One of these men, Diophantus of Amphitrope by name, obtained a verdict against Aristeides on a charge of receiving bribes. It was stated that when he was regulating the assessment of the Ionians he received money from them to tax them more lightly. As he was unable to pay the fine of fifty minae, which the court laid upon him, he left Athens and died somewhere in Ionia. But Kraterus offers no documentary evidence of this, neither of the sentence of his condemnation nor the decree of the people, although in general it is his habit to quote his authority for statements of this kind. And almost all others who have spoken of the harsh treatment of generals by the people mention the banishment of Themistokles, the imprisonment of Miltiades, the fine imposed on Perikles, and the suicide of Paches in court when sentence was pronounced against him, but although they speak of the banishment of Aristeides, they never allude to this trial and sentence upon him.
XXVII. Moreover, there is his tomb at Phalerum, which is said to have been constructed at the public expense, because he did not leave enough money to defray his funeral expenses. It is also related that his daughters were publicly married at the charges of the state, which provided them each with a dowry of three thousand drachmas. At the instance of Alkibiades, his son Lysimachus was also presented with a hundred silver mines, and as many acres of planted land, and in addition to this, an allowance of four drachmas a day. Kallisthenes also tells us that this Lysimachus leaving a daughter named Polykrite, she was assigned by the Athenians the same daily allowance of food as is bestowed upon the victors in the Olympian games. But Demetrius of Phalerum, Hieronymus of Rhodes, Aristoxenus the musician, and Aristotle, (if we are to believe the 'Treatise on Nobility' to be a genuine work of his) say, that Myrto, the granddaughter of Aristeides, lived in the house of Sokrates the philosopher, who was indeed married to another woman, but who took her into his house because she was a widow and destitute of the necessaries of life. These authors are sufficiently confuted by Panaetius in his writings on Sokrates. Demetrius of Phalerum says, in his book about Sokrates, that he knew one Lysimachus, a very poor man, who dwelt near the Temple of Iacchus and made his living by the interpretation of dreams. Demetrius further states that he carried a bill before the Assembly by which this man's mother and sister were provided with a pension of three obols daily at the public expense. Demetrius, however, when himself a legislator, appointed that each of these women should receive a drachma instead of three obols a day. And we need not wonder at the people taking such care of the resident citizens, when we read that, hearing that the granddaughter of Aristogeiton was living in poverty at Lemnos, so poor that no one would marry her, they brought her back to Athens, gave her in marriage to a man of high birth, and bestowed upon her a farm at Potamus for a marriage portion. The city of Athens has shown many instances of this kindness and goodness of heart even down to our times, and is justly praised and admired for it.
[Footnote 17: The Attic medimnus contained 12 imperial gallons, or 11/2 bushels.]
[Footnote 18: A circular or cyclic chorus was strictly one which danced and sang round an altar, but especially refers to the dithyrambic choruses appropriated to Bacchus.]
[Footnote 19: The barathrum at Athens was a deep pit, with hooks on the sides, into which criminals were cast.]
[Footnote 20: Alluding to the letter which he had sent to Xerxes. See 'Life of Themistokles.']
[Footnote 21: See 'Life of Themistokles.']
[Footnote 22: So in Latin "hostis" originally meant both a stranger and an enemy.]
[Footnote 23: These men traced their descent to the Homeric Ajax.]
[Footnote 24: This was always given before the equal division of the plunder took place. Cf. Virg. AEn. IX. 268, sqq.]
[Footnote 25: Whether a cinerary urn for the ashes of the dead, or a water-pot for drawing water is meant, I am unable to determine. Clough takes the latter meaning, which is borne out by the context. On the other hand the Greek word is used by Plutarch ('Life of Philopoemen,' ch. xxi) in the sense of an urn to contain the ashes of the dead.]
LIFE OF MARCUS CATO.
I. Marcus Cato is said to have been born at Tusculum, but to have been brought up and spent his time upon a farm belonging to his father in the Sabine territory, before he began to take part in war or politics. We know nothing of his ancestry, except that he himself tells us that his father, Marcus, was a good man and brave soldier, and that his grandfather, Cato, received several military rewards for his services, and that having had five horses killed under him, he received the value of them from the public treasury, as an acknowledgment of his gallantry.
It was the Roman custom to call those who had no ancestry to recommend them, but who rose by their own merits, new men. This name was applied to Cato, who said that he was indeed new to honours and posts of importance, but that, in respect of his brave and virtuous ancestry, he was a man of ancient family. His third name originally was not Cato, but Priscus, and was changed to Cato on account of his wisdom, for in Latin catus means "clever." In appearance he was rather red-haired, and grey-eyed, peculiarities which are ill-naturedly dwelt upon by the writer of the epigram—
"Red-haired, grey-eyed, and savage-tusked as well, Porcius will find no welcome e'en in hell."
Accustomed as he was to hard exercise, temperate living, and frequent campaigns, his body was always both healthy and strong; while he also practised the power of speech, thinking it a necessary instrument for a man who does not intend to live an obscure and inactive life. He consequently improved his talents in this respect by pleading causes in the neighbouring villages and towns, so that he was soon admitted to be a capable speaker, and afterwards to be a good orator. From this time all who conversed with him perceived a gravity and wisdom in his mind which qualified him to undertake the most important duties of a statesman. Not only was he so disinterested as to plead without receiving money from his clients, but he also did not think the glory which he gained in these contests to be that after which a man ought to strive, in comparison with that which is gained in battle and campaigns, in which he was so eager to distinguish himself that when quite a lad his body was covered with wounds, all in front. He himself tells us that he made his first campaign at the age of seventeen, when Hannibal was ranging through Italy uncontrolled. In battle he was prompt, stedfast, and undismayed, and was wont to address the enemy with threats and rough language, and to encourage the others to do so, as he rightly pointed out that this often cows the enemy's spirit as effectually as blows. When on the march he used to carry his own arms, and be followed by one servant who carried his provisions. It is said that he never spoke harshly to this man, no matter what food he placed before him, but that he would often help him to do his work when he was at leisure from military duty. He drank only water when campaigning, except that when suffering from parching thirst he would ask for some vinegar, and sometimes when his strength fairly failed he would drink a little wine.
II. Near his estate was a cottage which had once belonged to Manius Curius, who three times received the honour of a triumph. Cato used frequently to walk over and look at this cottage, and, as he observed the smallness of the plot of ground attached to it, and the simplicity of the dwelling itself, he would reflect upon how Curius, after having made himself the first man in Rome, after conquering the most warlike nations, and driving King Pyrrhus out of Italy, used to dig this little plot of ground with his own hands, and dwelt in this little cottage, after having thrice triumphed. It was there that the ambassadors of the Samnites found him sitting by the hearth, cooking turnips, and offered him much gold; but he sent them away, saying, "that a man who was contented with such a supper, had no need of gold, and that it was more honourable for him to conquer those who possessed gold, than to possess it himself." Cato, after leaving the cottage, full of these memories, returned to his own house and farm, and after viewing its extent and the number of slaves upon it, he increased the amount of his own daily labour, and retrenched his superfluous expenses.
When Fabius Maximus took the city of Tarentum, Cato, who was a very young lad at the time, was serving in his army. He became intimate there with one Nearchus, a philosopher of the Pythagorean school, and listened with much interest to his discourses. Hearing this man, like Plato, describe pleasure as the greatest temptation to evil, and the body as the chief hindrance to the soul, which can only free and purify itself by such a course of reasoning as removes it from and sets it above all bodily passions and feelings, he was yet more encouraged in his love of simplicity and frugality. In other respects he is said to have studied Hellenic literature late in life, and not to have read Greek books till extreme old age, when he greatly improved his style of oratory, partly by the study of Thucydides, but chiefly by that of Demosthenes. Be this as it may, his writings are full of Greek ideas and Greek anecdotes: and many of his apophthegms and maxims are literally translated from the Greek.
III. The estate adjoining that of Cato belonged to one of the most powerful and highly born patricians of Rome, Valerius Flaccus, a man who had a keen eye for rising merit, and generously fostered it until it received public recognition. This man heard accounts of Cato's life from his servants, how he would proceed to the court early in the morning, and plead the causes of all who required his services, and then on returning to his farm would work with his servants, in winter wearing a coarse coat without sleeves, in summer nothing but his tunic, and how he used to sit at meals with his servants, eating the same loaf and drinking the same wine. Many other stories of his goodness and simplicity and sententious remarks were related to Valerius, who became interested in his neighbour, and invited him to dinner. They became intimate, and Valerius, observing his quiet and ingenuous disposition, like a plant that requires careful treatment and an extensive space in which to develop itself, encouraged and urged him to take part in the political life of Rome. On going to Rome he at once gained admirers and friends by his able pleadings in the law courts, while he obtained considerable preferment by the interest of Valerius, being appointed first military tribune, and then quaestor. After this he became so distinguished a man as to be able to compete with Valerius himself for the highest offices in the state, and they were elected together, first as consuls, and afterwards as censors. Of the older Romans, Cato attached himself particularly to Fabius Maximus, a man of the greatest renown and power, although it was his disposition and mode of life which Cato especially desired to imitate. Wherefore he did not hesitate to oppose Scipio the Great, who was then a young man, but a rival and opponent of Fabius. Cato was appointed to act as his quaestor in the war in Africa, and on perceiving that Scipio was living with his usual lavish expenditure, and supplying his soldiery with extravagant pay, he sharply rebuked him, saying, "that it was not the waste of the public money that vexed him so much as the ruin of the old frugal habits of the soldiers, who were led to indulge in pleasure and luxury by receiving more pay than was necessary to supply their daily wants." When Scipio answered that he did not require an economist for his quaestor, at a time when he was preparing to wage war on a grand scale, and reminded him that he would have to give an account to the Roman people of battles won, not of money expended, Cato left the army of Scipio, which was then being assembled in Sicily. He proceeded at once to Rome, and by adding his voice to that of Fabius in the Senate, in blame of Scipio's unspeakable waste of money, and his childish and unsoldierly love of the public games and the theatre, conduct more worthy of the president of a public festival than of the commander-in-chief of an army, prevailed upon the people to send tribunes to enquire into the charges against him, and if they proved true, to bring him back to Rome. When they arrived in Sicily, however, Scipio pointed out to them that the preparations which he had made would ensure him the victory, and that although he loved pleasant society in his hours of leisure, yet that he had never allowed his pleasures to interfere with his serious duties. The tribunes were perfectly satisfied with this explanation, and Scipio sailed for Africa.
IV. Cato, however, gained considerable credit by his speeches on this occasion, and the Romans generally called him the new Demosthenes; yet his manner of life was more admired than his eloquence. Cleverness of speech was a quality which nearly all the young men of the time sought to attain, but Cato was singular in his keeping up the severe traditions of his ancestors in labouring with his own hands, eating a simple dinner, lighting no fire to cook his breakfast, wearing a plain dress, living in a mean house, and neither coveting superfluities nor courting their possessors. The Romans were at this period extending their empire so much as to lose much of their own original simplicity of living, as each new conquest brought them into contact with foreign customs and new modes of life. They therefore naturally looked with admiration upon Cato, observing that while they became enervated by pleasures and broke down under labours, he on the other hand seemed unaffected by either, and that too, not only while he was young and eager for fame: but even when he was an old grey-headed man, after he had been consul and had triumphed, he yet, like a victorious athlete, still kept himself in training, and never relaxed his severe discipline. He himself tells us that he never wore a garment worth more than a hundred drachmas, that when he was general and consul he still drank the same wine as his servants, that his dinner never cost him more than thirty ases in the market, and that he only indulged himself to this extent for the good of the state, that he might be strong and able to serve his country in the field. When he was left a piece of Babylonian tapestry he at once disposed of it; none of his rooms were whitewashed, and he never bought a slave for more than fifteen hundred drachmas, seeing that he required, not effeminate and handsome servants, but hardworking and strong men, to tend his horses and herd his cattle: and these, too, when they grew old and past work he thought it best to sell, and not feed them at his expense when they were useless. His rule was that nothing is cheap which one does not want, but that superfluities are dearly purchased even if they cost but one penny: and that it is better to buy land which can be ploughed, or where cattle can graze, than beds of flowers which require watering, and paths which have to be swept and kept in order.
V. These habits some ascribed to narrowness of mind, while others thought that he carried parsimony and avarice to excess in himself in order by his example to reform and restrain others. Be this as it may, I for my own part consider that his conduct in treating his slaves like beasts of burden, and selling them when old and worn out, is the mark of an excessively harsh disposition, which disregards the claims of our common human nature, and merely considers the question of profit and loss. Kindness, indeed, is of wider application than mere justice; for we naturally treat men alone according to justice and the laws, while kindness and gratitude, as though from a plenteous spring, often extend even to irrational animals. It is right for a good man to feed horses which have been worn out in his service, and not merely to train dogs when they are young, but to take care of them when they are old. When the Athenian people built the Parthenon, they set free the mules which had done the hardest work in drawing the stones up to the acropolis, and let them graze where they pleased unmolested. It is said that one of them came of its own accord to where the works were going on, and used to walk up to the acropolis with the beasts who were drawing up their loads, as if to encourage them and show them the way. This mule was, by a decree of the people of Athens, maintained at the public expense for the rest of its life. The racehorses of Kimon also, who won an Olympic victory, are buried close to the monument of their master. Many persons, too, have made friends and companions of dogs, as did Xanthippus in old times, whose dog swam all the way to Salamis beside his master's ship when the Athenians left their city, and which he buried on the promontory which to this day is called the Dog's Tomb. We ought not to treat living things as we do our clothes and our shoes, and throw them away after we have worn them out; but we ought to accustom ourselves to show kindness in these cases, if only in order to teach ourselves our duty towards one another. For my own part I would not even sell an ox that had laboured for me because he was old, much less would I turn an old man out of his accustomed haunts and mode of life, which is as great an affliction to him as sending him into a foreign land, merely that I might gain a few miserable coins by selling one who must be as useless to his buyer as he was to his seller.
Cato, however, as if taking a perverse pleasure in flaunting his meannesses, relates that he left behind him in Spain the horse which he rode when consul there, in order to save the state the cost of carrying him over to Italy. Whether those acts of his are to be ascribed to magnanimity or narrow-mindedness the reader must decide for himself.
VI. He was a man of wonderful temperance, in all other respects also. For example, when he was general, he only drew from the public stock three Attic bushels of wheat a month for himself and his servants, and less than three half-bushels of barley a day for his horses. When he was Governor of Sardinia, where former governors had been in the habit of charging their tents, bedding, and wearing-apparel to the province, and likewise making it pay large sums for their entertainment and that of their friends, he introduced an unheard-of system of economy. He charged nothing to the province, and visited the various cities without a carriage, walking on foot alone, attended by one single public servant carrying his robe of state and the vessel to make libations at a sacrifice. With all this he showed himself so affable and simple to those under his rule, so severe and inexorable in the administration of justice, and so vigilant and careful in seeing that his orders were duly executed, that the government of Rome never was more feared or more loved in Sardinia than when he governed that island.
VII. His conversation seems also to have had this character, for he was cheerful and harsh all at once, pleasant and yet severe as a companion, fond of jokes, but morose at the same time, just as Plato tells us that Sokrates, if judged merely from his outside, appeared to be only a silly man with a face like a satyr, who was rude to all he met, though his inner nature was earnest and full of thoughts that moved his hearers to tears and touched their hearts. For this reason I cannot understand how any persons can see a likeness between the orations of Lysias and those of Cato; however, this point must be decided by those who are more skilled than myself in the comparison of oratorical styles. I shall now relate a few of his more remarkable sayings, believing that a man's real character can be better judged of by his words than by his looks, although some people hold the contrary opinion.
VIII. Once when he wished to restrain the Romans from distributing a large quantity of corn as a largesse to the people, he began his speech: "It is difficult, my fellow-citizens, to make the stomach hear reason, because it has no ears." When desiring to blame the extravagance of the Romans, he said that a city could not be safe in which a fish sold dearer than an ox. He said, too, that the Romans were like sheep, who never form opinions of their own, but follow where the others lead them. "Just so," said he, "when you are assembled together you are led by men whose advice you would scorn to take about your own private affairs." With regard to female influence he once said, "All mankind rule their wives, we rule all mankind, and we are ruled by our wives." This remark, however, is borrowed from Themistokles. He one day, when his child was instigating its mother to lay many commands upon him, said, "Wife, remember that the Athenians rule the Greeks, I rule the Athenians, you rule me, and your child rules you; wherefore let him not abuse his power, which, though he knows it not, is greater than that of anyone else in Greece." Cato also said that the Romans fixed the price, not only of different dyes, but of different professions. "Just as the dyers," said he, "dye stuff of whatever colour they see people pleased with, so do our young men only study and apply themselves to those subjects which are praised and commended by you." He used also to beg of them, if they had become great by virtue and self-restraint, not to degenerate; and if, on the other hand, their empire had been won by licentiousness and vice, to reform themselves, since by the latter means they had become so great as not to need any further assistance from them. Those who were always seeking office, he said, were like men who could not find their way, who always wished to walk with lictors before them to show them the road. He blamed his countrymen for often electing the same men to public offices. "You will appear," said he, "either to think that the office is not worth much, or else that there are not many worthy to fill it." Alluding to one of his enemies who led a dissolute and discreditable life, he said: "That man's mother takes it as a curse rather than a blessing if any one hopes that her son will survive her." When a certain man sold his ancestral estate, which was situated by the seashore, Cato pretended to admire him, as being more powerful than the sea itself, "for this man," said he, has "drunk up the fields which the sea itself could not swallow." When King Eumenes came to Rome the Senate received him with special honours, and he was much courted and run after. Cato, however, held himself aloof and would not go near him, and when some one said "Yet he is an excellent man, and a good friend to Rome," he answered, "It may be so, but a king is by nature an animal that lives on human flesh." None of those who had borne the title of king, according to Cato, were to be compared with Epameinondas, or Perikles, or Themistokles, or with Manius Curius or Hamilcar Barcas. He used to say that his enemies hated him because he began his day's work while it was still dark, and because he neglected his own affairs to attend to those of the public. He also was wont to say that he had rather his good actions should go unrewarded than that his bad ones should be unpunished; and that he pardoned all who did wrong except himself.
IX. When the Romans sent three ambassadors to Bithynia, one of whom was crippled by the gout, another had been trepanned and had a piece taken out of his head, and the third was thought to be a simpleton, Cato remarked that the Romans had sent an embassy which had neither feet, head, nor heart. When, for the sake of Polybius the historian, Scipio entreated Cato to exert his influence on behalf of the Achaean exiles, after a long debate in the Senate, where some advised that they should be sent back to their own country, and some that they should still be detained at Rome, he got up and said, "Have we nothing better to do than to sit all day discussing whether a parcel of old Greeks shall be buried here or in Achaia?" A few days after the Senate had decreed the restoration of the exiles, Polybius proposed to make another application, that they should be restored to all the offices which they formerly held in Achaia. He asked Cato whether he thought that he should succeed in this second appeal to the Senate; to which Cato answered with a smile, that he was imitating Ulysses, when he returned again into the cave of the Cyclops to fetch the hat and girdle which he had left behind and forgotten. He said that wise men gained more advantage from fools, than fools from wise men; for the wise men avoid the errors of fools, but fools cannot imitate the example of wise men. He said that he loved young men to have red cheeks rather than pale ones, and that he did not care for a soldier who used his hands while he marched and his feet while he fought, or one who snored louder in bed than he shouted in battle. When reproaching a very fat man he said, "How can this man's body be useful to his country, when all parts between the neck and the groin are possessed by the belly?" Once when an epicure wished to become his friend, he said that he could not live with a man whose palate was more sensitive than his heart. He said also that the soul of a lover inhabits the body of his beloved. He himself tells us, that in his whole life he repented of three things only:—First, that he had trusted a woman with a secret. Secondly, that he had gone by water when he might have gone by land. Thirdly, that he had passed one day without having made his will. To an old man who was acting wrongly he said, "My good sir, old age is ugly enough without your adding the deformity of wickedness to it." When a certain tribune, who was suspected of being a poisoner, was endeavouring to carry a bad law, Cato remarked, "Young man, I do not know which is the worst for us, to drink what you mix, or to enact what you propose." Once when he was abused by a man of vicious life, he answered, "We are not contending upon equal terms; you are accustomed to hearing and using bad language, while I am both unused to hearing it and unwilling to use it."
X. When he was elected consul, together with his friend and neighbour Valerius Flaccus, the province which fell to his lot was that which the Romans call Hither Spain. While he was there engaged in establishing order, partly by persuasion, and partly by force, he was attacked by a large army of the natives, and was in danger of being disgracefully defeated by their overwhelming numbers. Consequently he applied for aid to the neighbouring tribe of the Celtiberians, who demanded as the price of their assistance the sum of two hundred talents. At this every one protested that it was unworthy of Romans to pay barbarians for their alliance, but Cato said that he saw no evil in the practice, since, if the Romans were victorious, they would pay them from the spoils of the enemy, while if they were defeated there would be no one to demand the money and no one to pay it. He won a pitched battle on this occasion, and was very successful in his whole campaign. Polybius indeed tells us that in one day at his command all the cities on this side of the river Guadalquiver pulled down their walls; and yet they were very numerous, and filled with a warlike population. Cato himself tells us that he took more cities than he spent days in Spain; nor is this a vain boast, if the number captured really, as is stated, amounted to four hundred. His soldiers enriched themselves considerably during the campaign; and at the termination of it he distributed a pound of silver to each man, saying that it was better that many Romans should return to Rome with silver in their pockets than that a few should return with gold. He himself states that he received no part of the plunder except what he ate or drank. "I do not," said he, "blame those who endeavour to enrich themselves by such means, but I had rather vie with the noblest in virtue than with the richest in wealth, or with the most covetous in covetousness." He not only kept his own hands clean, but those of his followers also. He took five servants to the war with him. One of these, Paccius by name, bought three boys at a sale of captives; but when Cato heard of it, Paccius, rather than come into his presence, hanged himself. Cato sold the boys, and paid the price into the public treasury.
XI. While he was still in Spain, Scipio the Great, who was his personal enemy, desiring to check his career of success, and to obtain the management of Spanish affairs for himself, contrived to get himself appointed to succeed Cato in his government. He at once hurried to Spain and brought Cato's rule to an end. Cato, however, at once marched to meet Scipio with an escort of five companies of infantry and five hundred horsemen. On his way he conquered the tribe of the Lacetani; and finding among them six hundred deserters from the Roman army, he put them to death. When Scipio expressed his dissatisfaction with this, Cato sarcastically answered, that Rome would be greatest if those of high birth and station, and those of plebeian origin like himself, would only contend with one another in virtue. However, as the Senate decreed that nothing that Cato had settled in the province should be altered or rearranged, Scipio found that it was he rather than Cato that was disgraced, as he had to pass his time in inglorious idleness, while Cato, after enjoying a triumph, did not retire into a life of luxury and leisure, as is done by so many men whose object is display rather than true virtue, after they have risen to the highest honours in the state by being elected consuls and enjoying the honour of a triumph. He did not impair the glorious example which he had given, by withdrawing his attention from the affairs of his country, but offered his services to his friends and fellow-countrymen, both in the courts of law and in the field, as willingly as those who have just begun their public career, and are keenly eager to be elected to some new office in which they may win fresh distinction.
XII. He went with the consul Tiberius Sempronius as legate, and assisted him in regulating the country about the Danube and Thrace; and he also served as military tribune under Manius Acilius during his campaign in Greece against Antiochus the Great, who caused more terror to the Romans than any one man since the time of Hannibal. Antiochus had originally inherited nearly the whole of Asia, that is, as much as Seleukus Nikator had possessed, and having added many warlike tribes to his empire, was so elated by his conquests as to attack the Romans, whom he regarded as the only nation remaining in the whole world which was worthy to be his antagonist. He put forward as a plausible reason for beginning the war that he intended to liberate the Greeks, who did not require his interference, as they had just been made free and independent by the Romans, who had delivered them from the tyranny of Philip and the Macedonians. Antiochus crossed over into Greece, which at once became unsettled, and a prey to hopes and fears suggested by her political leaders. Manius at once sent ambassadors to the various cities. Titus Flamininus, as has been related in his Life, restrained the greater part of them from revolutionary proceedings, and kept them to their allegiance, but Cato won over Corinth, Patrae, and AEgium. Most of his time was spent in Athens; and there is said to be still extant a speech which he made to the people there in Greek, in which he speaks with admiration of the virtue of the Athenians of old, and dwells upon his own pleasure in viewing so great and beautiful a city. This, however, is a fabrication, for we know that he conversed with the Athenians through an interpreter, though he was able to speak their language, because he wished to keep to the ways of his fathers, and administer a rebuke to those who extravagantly admired the Greeks. Thus he laughed at Postumius Albinus, who wrote a history in Greek and begged that his mistakes might be pardoned, saying that it would be right to pardon them if he wrote his history by a decree of the council of Amphiktyons. He himself says that the Athenians were surprised it the shortness and pregnant nature of his talk; for what he said in a few words, his interpreter translated by a great many: and in general he concludes that the Greeks talk from the lips, and the Romans from the heart.
XIII. When Antiochus occupied the pass of Thermopylae with his army, and, after adding to the natural strength of the place by artificial defences, established himself there as if in an impregnable position, the Romans decided that to attack him in front was altogether impossible, but Cato, remembering how the Persians under Xerxes had turned the Greek forces by a circuitous march over the mountains, took a part of the force and set off by night. When they had gone for some distance over the mountains, the prisoner who served as their guide lost his way, and wandered about in that precipitous and pathless wilderness so as to cause great discouragement to the soldiers. Seeing this, Cato ordered every one to halt and await his orders, and himself, with one companion, one Lucius Manlius, an experienced mountaineer, laboriously and daringly plunged along through intense darkness, for there was no moon, while the trees and rocks added to their difficulties by preventing their seeing distinctly whither they were going, until they came to a path, which, as they thought, led directly down upon the camp of the enemy. Hereupon they set up marks to guide them upon some conspicuous crags of Mount Kallidromus, and returning to the army, led it to these marks, and started along the paths which they had descried. But before they had proceeded far the path ended in a precipice, at which they were both surprised and disheartened; for they could not tell, either by sight or hearing, that they were close to the enemy. It was now about daybreak, and they thought that they heard voices near at hand, and soon were able to see a Greek camp and an outpost at the foot of the precipice. Cato hereupon halted his army, and ordered the Firmiani, in whom he reposed especial confidence, to come forward alone. When they had assembled round him, he said, "I wish to take one of the enemy prisoner, and learn from him of what troops this outpost is formed, what their numbers are, how the rest of the army are placed, and what preparations they have made to resist us. You must dash upon them as quickly and boldly as lions do upon their defenceless prey." At these words of Cato's the Firmiani at once rushed down and attacked the outpost. The suddenness of their onset threw the enemy into complete confusion, and they soon caught one of them and brought him before Cato. Learning from this man that all the rest of the army was with King Antiochus himself, guarding the pass of Thermopylae, and that only a body of six hundred picked AEtolians were watching the path over the mountains, Cato despising so small and contemptible a force, at once drew his sword, and led on his troops with shouts and trumpets sounding the charge. The AEtolians, as soon as they saw the Romans descending from the hills, fled to the main body, and filled it with confusion and terror.
XIV. Meanwhile Manius on the lower ground had attacked the fortifications in the pass with his entire force. Antiochus was struck on the mouth with a stone which knocked out several of his teeth, and the pain of his wound compelled him to wheel round his horse and retreat. His troops nowhere withstood the Romans, but, although they had endless means of escape by roads where they could scarcely be followed, yet they crowded through the narrow pass with deep marshy ground on the one hand and inaccessible rocks upon the other, and there trampled each other to death for fear of the swords of the Romans.
Cato never seems to have been sparing of his own praise, and thought that great deeds required to be told in boastful language. He gives a very pompous account of this battle, and says that all those who saw him pursuing and cutting down the enemy felt that Cato did not owe so much to the Romans, as the Romans owed to Cato. He also says that the consul Manius immediately after the victory was won, enfolded him for a long time in a close embrace, and loudly declared that neither he nor all the Roman people could ever do as much for Cato as he had that day done for them. He was sent immediately after the battle to bear the news of the victory to Rome, and reached Brundusium after a prosperous voyage.
From that place he drove in one day to Tarentum, and in four more days reached Rome with the news, on the fifth day after his landing. His arrival filled the whole city with feasting and rejoicing, and made the Roman people believe that there was no nation in the world which could resist their arms.
XV. Of Cato's warlike exploits these which we have related are the most remarkable. In his political life he seems to have thought one of his most important duties to be the impeachment and prosecution of those whom he thought to be bad citizens. He himself attacked many persons, and aided and encouraged others in doing so, a notable example being his conduct towards Scipio in the affair of Petillius. However, as Scipio was a man of noble birth and great spirit, he treated the attack made upon him with contempt, and Cato, perceiving that he could not succeed in getting him condemned to death, desisted from annoying him. But he was active in obtaining the condemnation of Scipio's brother Lucius, who was adjudged to pay a heavy fine, which was beyond his means to provide, so that he had nearly been cast into prison, but was set free by the intervention of the tribunes of the people.
It is related of him that he once met in the forum a young man who had just succeeded in obtaining the disfranchisement, by an action at law, of an enemy of his father, who was dead. Cato took him by the hand and said, "Thus ought men to honour their parents when they die, not with the blood of lambs and kids, but with the tears and condemnation of their enemies." He himself is said to have been the defendant in nearly fifty actions, the last of which was tried when he was eighty-six years of age: on which occasion he uttered that well-known saying, that it was hard for a man who had lived in one generation to be obliged to defend himself before another. And this was not the end of his litigations, for four years later, when at the age of ninety, he impeached Servius Galba. Indeed his life, like that of Nestor, seems to havo reached over three generations. He, as had been related, was a bitter political opponent of Scipio Africanus the Great, and he continued his enmity to Scipio's adopted son, called Scipio the Younger, who was really the son of AEmilius Paulus, the conqueror of Perseus and the Macedonians.
XVI. Ten years after his consulship, Cato became a candidate for the office of censor. This is the highest dignity to which a Roman can aspire, and may be regarded as the goal of political life. Its powers are very extensive, and it is especially concerned with the regulation of public morals, and the mode of life of the citizens of Rome. The Romans thought that none of a man's actions, his marriage, his family, his mode of life, his very entertainments, ought to be uncontrolled, and managed according to his own will and pleasure. They considered that a man's true character was much more clearly shown by his private life than by his public behaviour, and were wont to choose two citizens, one a patrician, and the other a plebeian, whose duty it was to watch over the morals of the people, and check any tendency to licentiousness or extravagance. These officers they called censors, and they had power to deprive a Roman knight of his horse, and to expel men of loose and disorderly life from the Senate. They also took a census of property, and kept a register of the various tribes and classes of the citizens; and they likewise exercised various other important powers. Cato's candidature was opposed by nearly all the most distinguished members of the Senate, for the patricians viewed him with especial dislike, regarding it as an insult to the nobility that men of obscure birth should attain to the highest honours in the state, while all those who were conscious of any private vices or departures from the ways of their fathers, feared the severities of one who, they knew, would be harsh and inexorable when in power.
These classes consequently combined together against Cato, and put up no less than seven candidates to contest the censorship with him, and endeavoured to soothe the people by holding out to them hopes of a lenient censor, as though that were what they required. Cato on the other hand would not relax his severity in the least, but threatened evil doers in his speeches from the rostra, and insisted that the city required a most searching reformation. He told the people that if they were wise, they would choose not the most agreeable, but the most thorough physicians to perform this operation for them, and that these would be himself and Valerius Flaccus; for with him as a colleague he imagined that he might make some progress in the work of destroying, by knife and cautery, the hydra of luxury and effeminacy. Of the other candidates he said that he saw that each one was eager to get the office and fill it badly, because he was afraid of those who could fill it well. The Roman people on this occasion showed itself so truly great and worthy to be courted by great men, as not to be alarmed at the earnest severity of Cato; but, setting aside all those plausible candidates who promised merely to consult their pleasure, elected Cato and Valerius censors. It seemed, indeed, as if Cato, inatead of being a candidate for election, was already in office and issuing his commands to the people, which were at once obeyed.
XVII. As soon as he was elected, Cato appointed his friend and colleague, Lucius Valerius Flaccus, chief of the Senate. He expelled several senators, amongst whom was Lucius Quintius, who had been consul seven years before, and, which was even a greater distinction than the consulship, was the brother of Titus Quintius Flamininus, the conqueror of Philip. He was expelled from the Senate for the following reason. Lucius had a favourite boy who never left his person, and followed him even on his campaigns. This boy had more power and received greater attention than the most trusty of his friends and relatives. Now, when Lucius was governor of a province as proconsul, this boy once, at a drinking party, was flattering him over his wine, saying that "Although there was going to be a show of gladiators at Rome, yet I did not stay to see it, but came out here to you, although I longed to see a man killed." Lucius, to please him, answered in the same tone, "If that be all, do not lie there and fret, for I will soon gratify your wish." He at once ordered a condemned criminal to be brought into the banqueting hall, and one of his servants to stand by him with an axe, and then again asked his favourite whether he wished to see a man struck dead. When the boy said that he did, he bade the servant cut off the man's head. This is the account which most writers give of the transaction, and it is that which Cicero introduces Cato as relating in his dialogue "On Old Age;" but Livy says that the man who was put to death was a Gaulish deserter, and that Lucius did not employ a servant, but slew him with his own hand, and this is the version which Cato has followed in his written account of the matter. When Cato discussed what took place at this wine party, Lucius endeavoured to deny it, but on being challenged to state exactly what happened he refused to answer. He was most justly condemned to lose his right as a senator; but afterwards, when some spectacle was being witnessed in the theatre, he walked past the place reserved for men of consular rank, and sat down in the humblest seat of all, which so moved the people to compassion, that they forced him by their clamour to resume his former seat, thus as far as they were able reversing the sentence upon him and condoning his offence.
Cato expelled another senator, who was thought likely to be soon elected consul, named Manilius, because he had kissed his wife in the daytime in the presence of his daughter. He himself said that his own wife never embraced him except when it thundered loudly, and added by way of joke, that he was happy when Jupiter was pleased to thunder.
XVIII. His conduct in depriving of his horse Lucius Scipio, the brother of Scipio Africanus, a man who had been decreed a triumph, was censured, as being merely prompted by private spite; as he seemed merely to do it in order to insult Scipio Africanus after his death. But what caused the greatest dissatisfaction were his restrictions on luxury. This he could not attack openly, because it had taken such deep root among the people, but he caused all clothes, carriages, women's ornaments, and furniture, which exceeded fifteen hundred drachmas in value to be rated at ten times their value and taxed accordingly, as he thought that those who possessed the most valuable property ought to contribute most largely to the revenues of the state. In addition to this he imposed a tax on all citizens of three copper ases for every thousand, in order that those who were burdened with an excessive taxation on objects of luxury, when they saw persons of frugal and simple habits paying so small a tax on the same income, might cease from their extravagance. This measure gained him the hatred of those who were taxed so heavily for their luxuries, and of those who, to avoid excessive taxation, were obliged to give up their luxuries. Most persons are as much irritated at losing the means of displaying their wealth as at losing their wealth itself, and it is in superfluities, not in necessaries, that wealth can be displayed. This is what is said to have so much surprised Ariston the Philosopher, that men should consider those persons fortunate who possess what is superfluous, rather than those who possess what is necessary and useful. Skopas the Thessalian also, when one of his friends asked him for something which was not particularly useful to him, and added, that he did not ask for anything necessary or useful, answered, "Indeed, it is in these useless and superfluous things that my wealth chiefly consists." For the desire of wealth is not connected with any of our physical necessities, and is an artificial want arising from too much regard for the opinion of the vulgar.
XIX. Cato paid no attention to those who blamed his conduct, and proceeded to measures of still greater severity. He cut off the water-pipes, by which water was conveyed from the public fountains into private houses and gardens, destroyed all houses that encroached upon the public streets, lowered the price of contracts for public works, and farmed out the public revenues for the highest possible rents. All this made him still more unpopular. Titus Flamininus and his friends attacked him, and prevailed upon the Senate to annul the contracts which he had made for the building of temples and the construction of public works, on the ground that they were disadvantageous to the state. They also encouraged the boldest of the tribunes to prosecute him before the people, and to fine him two talents. He likewise received violent opposition in the matter of the basilica, or public hall, which he built at the public expense in the forum below the senate house, and which was called the Basilica Porcia.
In spite of all this, his censorship seems to have been wonderfully popular with the Roman people. When they placed his statue in the Temple of Hygieia, they did not enumerate his campaigns or triumphs in the inscription on the base, but wrote what we may translate as follows: "This statue was erected to Cato because, when Censor, finding the state of Rome corrupt and degenerate, he, by introducing wise regulations and virtuous discipline, restored it."
At one time Cato affected to despise those who took pleasure in receiving honours of this kind, and used to say that while they plumed themselves on being represented in brass or marble, they forgot that the fairest image was that of himself which every citizen bore in his heart. When any one expressed surprise at his not having a statue, when so many obscure men had obtained that honour, he answered, "I had rather that men should ask why I have no statue, than that they should ask why I have one." A good citizen, he said, ought not even to allow himself to be praised, unless the state were benefited thereby. He has glorified himself by recording that when men were detected in any fault, they would excuse themselves by saying that they must be pardoned if they did anything amiss, for they were not Catos: and that those who endeavoured clumsily to imitate his proceedings were called left-handed Catos. Also he states that the Senate looked to him in great emergencies as men in a storm look to the pilot, and that when he was not present, they frequently postponed their more important business. This indeed is confirmed by other writers: for he had great influence in Rome on account of his virtuous life, his eloquence, and his great age.
XX. He was a good father and a good husband, and was in his private life an economist of no ordinary kind, as he did not despise money-making or regard it as unworthy of his abilities. For this reason I think I ought to relate how well he managed his private affairs. He married a wife who was well born, though not rich; for he thought that though all classes might possess equally good sense, yet that a woman of noble birth would be more ashamed of doing wrong, and therefore more likely to encourage her husband to do right. He used to say that a man who beat his wife or his children laid sacrilegious hands on the holiest of things. He also said that he had rather be a good husband than a great statesman, and that what he especially admired in Sokrates the Philosopher was his patience and kindness in bearing with his ill-tempered wife and his stupid children. When his son was born, he thought that nothing except the most important business of state ought to prevent his being present while his wife washed the child and wrapped it in swaddling clothes. His wife suckled the child herself; nay, she often gave her breast to the children of her slaves, and so taught them to have a brotherly regard for her own son.
As soon as he was able to learn, Cato himself taught him his letters, although he had a clever slave named Chilon, who taught many children to read. He himself declares that he did not wish a slave to reprove his son or pull his ears because he was slow at learning. He taught the boy to read, and instructed him also in the Roman law and in bodily exercises; not confining himself to teaching him to hurl the javelin, to fight in complete armour, and to ride, but also to use his fists in boxing, to endure the extremes of heat and cold, and to swim through swiftly-flowing and eddying rivers. He tells us that he himself wrote books on history with his own hands in large letters, that the boy might start in life with a useful knowledge of what his forefathers had done, and he was as careful not to use an indecenr expression before his son as he would have been before the vestal virgins. He never bathed with him; which indeed seems to have been customary at Rome, as even fathers-in-law scrupled to bathe naked before their sons-in-law. In later times, however, the Romans learned from the Greeks the habit of bathing naked, and have taught the Greeks to do so even in the presence of women.
While Cato was engaged in this great work of forming his son's character and completing his education he found him eager to learn, and able to make great progress from his natural ability: but he appeared so weak and delicate that his father was obliged to relax the stern simplicity of his own life in his favour, and allow him some indulgences in diet. The young man, although so weakly, yet proved himself a good soldier in the wars, and distinfuished himself greatly in the battle in which AEmilius Paulus defeated King Perseus. Afterwards, upon the same day, he either had his sword struck from his hand or let it fall from weakness, and in his grief at the loss got together some of his friends and prevailed upon them again to charge the enemy. With great exertions they succeeded in clearing a space, and at length discovered his sword under a great heap of arms and corpses of friends and foes alike which were piled upon it. Paulus, the commander-in-chief, was much pleased with the youth's eagerness to regain his sword, and sent a letter to Cato in which he spoke in the highest terms of the courage and honourable feeling which he had shown. He afterwards married Tertia, the sister of Scipio, and had the gratification of pleasing his father as much as himself by thus allying himself with one of the noblest families in Rome. Thus was Cato rewarded for the care which he had bestowed upon his son's education.
XXI. He possessed a large number of slaves, and when captives were for sale he always purchased those who were young, and who, like colts or puppies, could be taught and trained to their duties. None of them ever entered any house but his own, unless sent thither by Cato or by his wife: and if they were asked what Cato was doing, they always answered that they did not know. His rule was, that a slave ought either to be doing his business or to be asleep; and he greatly preferred good sleepers, as he thought that they were more easy tempered than wakeful persons, and also that men who had slept well were better able to work than those who had lain awake. Knowing that love affairs lead slaves into mischief more than anything else, he permitted them to consort with his own female slaves at a fixed price, but forbade them to have anything to do with other women.
Cato in his earlier days, being a poor man, and always employed in service in the field, never complained of any thing that he ate, and thought it most disgraceful to quarrel with his servant for not having pleased his palate. Subsequently, however, as he became richer, he used to invite his friends and colleagues to dinner, and after the repast was wont to punish with the scourge those servants who had made mistakes or cooked the food badly. He always endeavoured to establish some quarrel amongst his slaves, so that they might plot against one another, instead of combining against himself; and when any of them appeared to have committed any crime deserving to be punished by death, the offender was formally tried, and if found guilty, was put to death in the presence of all his fellow-servants.
As Cato grew more eager to make money, he declared that farming was more an amusement than a source of income, and preferred investing his money in remunerative undertakings, such as marshes that required draining, hot springs, establishments for washing and cleaning clothes, land which would produce an income by pasturage or by the sale of wood, and the like, which afforded him a considerable revenue, and one which, as he said, not Jupiter himself could injure, meaning that he was not dependent upon the weather for his income, as farmers are. He also used to deal in marine assurance, which is thought to be a most dangerous form of investment, which he managed in the following manner. For the sake of security he made those who wished to borrow money form themselves into an association of fifty persons, representing as many ships, and held one share in the undertaking himself, which was managed by his freedman Quintio, who himself used to sail in the ships of the association and transact their mercantile business.
He used to lend money to his slaves, if they desired it. They used with the money to buy young slaves, teach them a trade at Cato's expense for a year, and then dispose of them. Many of these Cato retained in his own service, paying the price offered by the highest bidder, and deducting from it the original cost of the slave. When endeavouring to encourage his son to act in a similar manner, he used to say that it was not the part of a man, but of a lone woman, to diminish one's capital; and once, with an excessive exaggeration, he said that the most glorious and godlike man was he who on his death was found to have earned more than he inherited.
XXII. When he was an old man, Karneades the academic, and Diogenes the stoic philosopher, came as ambassadors to Rome on the part of the Athenians, to beg that they might not be forced to pay a fine of five hundred talents which had been imposed upon them in consequence of an action at law, brought against the Athenians by the people of Oropus, before the people of Sikyon as judges, having been allowed to go against them by default. Such of the Roman youths as had any taste for literature frequented the society of these men, and took great interest in hearing their discussions. They were especially delighted with Karneades, a man of great and recognised ability, who obtained large and enthusiastic audiences at his lectures, and filled the whole city with his fame. Nothing was talked of except how a single Greek with wonderful powers of eloquence and persuasion had so bewitched the youth of Rome that they forsook all other pleasures, and plunged wildly into philosophic speculations. The greater part of the citizens were well pleased with this, and looked on with great satisfaction at their sons' study of Greek literature, and their intimacy with such celebrated men; but Cato, when the taste for philosophy first sprang up in Rome, was vexed at it, and feared that the young men might become more eager to gain distinction by fluent speaking than by warlike exploits. However, when the fame of the philosophers increased, and a distinguished man, Caius Acilius, at the general request, translated their first lectures to the Senate, Cato decided that the philosophers must at once be conducted with all due honours out of the city. He came to the Senate and made a speech, in which he blamed them for having allowed an embassy to remain so long at Rome without accomplishing its purpose, although nothing was easier than for it to gain its point. He called upon them therefore, to decide as soon as possible and come to a vote upon the matter about which this embassy was come, in order that these philosophers might return to their schools and instruct the young men of Greece, while those of Rome might, as before, give their attention to the laws and the magistrates.