Meanwhile, the Athenians were standing still, waiting for the Lacedaemonians to come up. But when they heard a great noise as of men engaged in fight, and a messenger came from Pausanias to inform them of what was going on, they made haste to their assistance. And as they passed through the plain to the place where the noise was, the recreant Greeks, who took part with the enemy, came upon them. Aristides, as soon as he saw them, going a considerable space before the rest, cried out to them, by the guardian gods of Greece, not to enter the fight, and be no impediment to those who were going to succor the defenders of Greece. But when he perceived that they gave no attention to him, and had prepared themselves for the battle, then turning from the present relief of the Lacedaemonians, he engaged with them, being five thousand in number. But the greatest part soon gave way and retreated, as the barbarians were also put to flight.
The battle being thus divided, the Lacedaemonians first beat off the Persians; and a Spartan, named Arimnestus, slew Mardonius by a blow on the head with a stone, as the oracle in the temple of Amphiaraus had foretold to him. For Mardonius sent a Lydian thither, and another person, a Carian, to the cave of Trophonius. The latter, the priest of the oracle answered in his own language. But to the Lydian sleeping in the temple of Amphiaraus, it seemed that a minister of the divinity stood before him and commanded him to be gone; and on his refusing to do it, flung a great stone at his head, so that he thought himself slain with the blow. Such is the story.
Of three hundred thousand of the enemy, forty thousand only are said to have escaped with Artabazus; while on the Greeks' side there perished in all thirteen hundred and sixty; of whom fifty-two were Athenians, all of the tribe Aeantis, that fought, says Clidemus, with the greatest courage of all; and for this reason the men of this tribe used to offer sacrifice for the victory, as enjoined by the oracle, at the public expense; ninety-one were Lacedaemonians, and sixteen Tegeatans. They engraved upon the altar this inscription:
The Greeks, when by their courage and their might, They had repelled the Persian in the fight, The common altar of freed Greece to be, Reared this to Jupiter who guards the free.
The battle of Plataea was fought on the fourth day of the month Boedromion, on which day there is still a convention of the Greeks at Plataea, and the Plateans still offer sacrifice for the victory to "Jupiter of freedom."
After this, the Athenians, not yielding the honor of the day to the Lacedaemonians, nor consenting that they should erect a trophy, peace was well-nigh destroyed by a dissension among the armed Greeks; but Aristides, by soothing and counseling the commanders, especially Leocrates and Myronides, pacified and persuaded them to leave the thing to the decision of the Greeks. Cleocritus of Corinth rising up, made people think he would ask the palm for the Corinthians (for next to Sparta and Athens, Corinth was in greatest estimation); but he delivered his opinion, to the general admiration, in favor of the Plataeans; and counseled to take away all contention by giving them the reward and the glory of the victory, whose being honored could be distasteful to neither party. This being said, first Aristides gave consent in the name of the Athenians, and Pausanias then, for the Lacedaemonians. So, being reconciled, they set apart eighty talents for the Plateans, with which they built the temple and dedicated the image to Minerva, and adorned the temple with pictures, which even to this very day retain their lustre. But the Lacedaemonians and Athenians each erected a trophy apart by themselves. On their consulting the oracle about offering sacrifice, Apollo answered that they should dedicate an altar to Jupiter of freedom, but should not sacrifice till they had extinguished the fires throughout the country, as having been defiled by the barbarians, and had kindled unpolluted fire at the common altar at Delphi. The magistrates of Greece, therefore, went forthwith and compelled such as had fire to put it out; and Euchidas, a Plataean, promising to fetch fire with all possible speed, from the altar of the god, ran to Delphi, and having sprinkled and purified his body, crowned himself with laurel; and taking the fire from the altar ran back to Plataea, arriving before sunset, and performing in one day a journey of a thousand furlongs; and saluting his fellow-citizens and delivering them the fire, he immediately fell down and a short time after expired. Then the Plataeans, taking him up, interred him in the temple of Diana Euclia, setting this inscription over him: "Euchidas ran to Delphi and back again in one day."
A general assembly of all the Greeks being called, Aristides proposed a decree, that the deputies and religious representatives of the Greek states should assemble annually at Plataea, and every fifth year celebrate the Eleutheria, or games of freedom. And that there should be a levy upon all Greece, for the war against the barbarians, of ten thousand spearmen, one thousand horse, and a hundred sail of ships; but the Plateans to be exempt, and sacred to the service of the gods, offering sacrifice for the welfare of Greece. These things being ratified, the Plateans undertook the performance of annual sacrifice to such as were slain and buried in that place; which they still perform in the following manner. On the sixteenth day of Maemacterion they make their procession, which, beginning by break of day, is led by a trumpeter sounding for onset; then follow chariots loaded with myrrh and garlands; and then a black bull; then come the young men of free birth carrying libations of wine and milk in large two-handed vessels, and jars of oil and precious ointments, none of servile condition being permitted to have any hand in this ministration, because the men died in defense of freedom; after all comes the chief magistrate of Plataea (for whom it is unlawful at other times for him either to touch iron, or wear any other colored garment but white), at that time appareled in a purple robe; and taking a water-pot out of the city record-office, he proceeds, bearing a sword in his hand, through the middle of the town to the sepulchres. Then drawing water out of a spring, he washes and anoints the monuments, and sacrificing the bull upon a pile of wood, and making supplication to Jupiter and Mercury of the earth, invites those valiant men who perished in the defense of Greece, to the banquet and the libations of blood. After this, mixing a bowl of wine, and pouring out for himself, he says, "I drink to those who lost their lives for the liberty of Greece." These solemnities the Plataeans observe to this day.
Theophrastus tells us that Aristides was, in his own private affairs, and those of his own fellow-citizens, rigorously just, but that in public matters he acted often in accordance with his country's policy, which demanded, sometimes, not a little injustice. It is reported of him that he said in a debate, upon the motion of the Samians for removing the treasure from Delos to Athens, contrary to the league, that the thing indeed was not just, but was expedient.
In fine, having established the dominion of his city over so many people, he himself remained indigent; and always delighted as much in the glory of being poor, as in that of his trophies; as is evident from the following story. Callias, the torch-bearer was related to him: and was prosecuted by his enemies in a capital cause, in which, after they had slightly argued the matters on which they indicted him, they proceeded, beside the point, to address the judges: "You know," said they, "Aristides, the son of Lysimachus, who is the admiration of all Greece. In what a condition do you think his family is at his house, when you see him appear in public in such a threadbare cloak? Is it not probable that one, who, out of doors, goes thus exposed to the cold, must want food and other necessaries at home? Callias, the wealthiest of the Athenians, does nothing to relieve either him or his wife and children in their poverty, though he is his own cousin, and has made use of him in many cases, and often reaped advantage by his interest with you." But Callias, perceiving that the judges were particularly moved by this, and were exasperated against him, called in Aristides, who testified that when Callias offered him divers presents, and entreated him to accept them, he had refused, answering, that it became him better to be proud of his poverty than Callias of his wealth. On Aristides deposing these facts in favor of Callias, there was not one who heard them that went way desirous rather to be poor like Aristides, than rich as Callias. Thus Aeschines, the scholar of Socrates, writes. But Plato declares, that of all the great and renowned men in the city of Athens, he was the only one worthy of consideration; for while Themistocles, Cimon, and Pericles filled the city with porticoes, treasure, and many other vain things, Aristides guided his public life by the rule of justice. He showed his moderation very plainly in his conduct toward Themistocles himself. For though Themistocles had been his adversary in all his undertakings, and was the cause of his banishment, yet when he afforded a similar opportunity of revenge, being accused by the city, Aristides bore him no malice; but while Alcmaeon, Cimon, and many others were prosecuting and impeaching him, Aristides alone, neither did, nor said any evil against him, and no more triumphed over his enemy in his adversity, than he had envied him his prosperity.
Some say Aristides died in Pontus, during a voyage upon the affairs of the public. Others say that he died of old age at Athens, being in great honor and veneration among his fellow-citizens.
His monument is to be seen at Phalerum, which they say was built for him by the city, he not having left enough even to defray funeral charges. And it is stated, that his two daughters were publicly married out of the prytaneum, or state-house, by the city, which decreed each of them three thousand drachmas for her portion; and that upon his son Lysimachus, the people bestowed a hundred minas of money, and as many acres of planted land, and ordered him besides, upon the motion of Alcibiades, four drachmas a day.
Cimon was the son of Miltiades and Hegesipyle, who was by birth a Thracian, and daughter to the king Olorus. By this means the historian Thucydides was his kinsman by the mother's side; for his father's name also, in remembrance of this common ancestor, was Olorus, and he was the owner of the gold mines in Thrace, and met his death, it is said, by violence, in Scapte Hyle, a district of Thrace. Cimon was left an orphan very young, with his sister Elpinice, who was also young and unmarried. And at first he had but an indifferent reputation, being looked upon as disorderly in his habits, fond of drinking, and resembling his grandfather, also called Cimon, in character, whose simplicity got him the surname of Coalemus the simpleton. Stesimbrotus of Thasos, who lived about the same time with Cimon, reports of him that he had little acquaintance either with music, or any of the other liberal studies and accomplishments, then common among the Greeks; that he had nothing whatever of the quickness and the ready speech of his countrymen in Attica; that he had great nobleness and candor in his disposition, and in his character in general, resembled rather a native of Peloponnesus, than of Athens; as Euripides describes Hercules:—
——Rude And unrefined, for great things, well-endued;
for this may fairly be added to the character which Stesimbrotus has given of him.
Almost all the points of Cimon's character were noble and good. He was as daring as Miltiades, and not inferior to Themistocles in judgment, and was incomparably more just and honest than either of them. Fully their equal in all military virtues, in the ordinary duties of a citizen at home he was immeasurably their superior. And this, too, when he was very young, his years not strengthened by any experience. For when Themistocles, upon the Median invasion, advised the Athenians to forsake their city and their country, and to carry all their arms on shipboard, and fight the enemy by sea, in the straits of Salamis; when all the people stood amazed at the confidence and rashness of this advice, Cimon was seen, the first of all men, passing with a cheerful countenance through the Ceramics, on his way with his companions to the citadel, carrying a bridle in his hand to offer to the goddess, intimating that there was no more need of horsemen now, but of mariners. There, after he had paid his devotions to the goddess, and offered up the bridle, he took down one of the bucklers that hung upon the walls of the temple, and went down to the port; by this example giving confidence to many of the citizens. He was also of a fairly handsome person, according to the poet Ion, tall and large, and let his thick and curly hair grow long. After he had acquitted himself gallantly in this battle of Salamis, he obtained great repute among the Athenians, and was regarded with affection, as well as admiration. He had many who followed after him, and bade him aspire to actions not less famous than his father's battle of Marathon. And when he came forward in political life, the people welcomed him gladly, being now weary of Themistocles; in opposition to whom, and because of the frankness and easiness of his temper, which was agreeable to every one, they advanced Cimon to the highest employments in the government. The man that contributed most to his promotion was Aristides, who early discerned in his character his natural capacity, and purposely raised him, that he might be a counterpoise to the craft and boldness of Themistocles. After the Medes had been driven out of Greece, Cimon was sent out as admiral, when the Athenians had not yet attained their dominion by sea, but still followed Pausanias and the Lacedaemonians; and his fellow-citizens under his command were highly distinguished, both for the excellence of their discipline, and for their extraordinary zeal and readiness. And further, perceiving that Pausanias was carrying on secret communications with the barbarians, and writing letters to the king of Persia to betray Greece, and, puffed up with authority and success, was treating the allies haughtily, and committing many wanton injustices, Cimon, taking advantage, by acts of kindness to those who were suffering wrong, and by his general humane bearing, robbed him of the command of the Greeks, before he was aware, not by arms, but by his mere language and character. Cimon, strengthened with the accession of the allies, went as general into Thrace. For he was told that some great men among the Persians, of the king's kindred, being in possession of Eion, a city situated upon the river Strymon, infested the neighboring Greeks. First he defeated these Persians in battle, and shut them up within the walls of their town. Then he fell upon the Thracians of the country beyond the Strymon, because they supplied Eion with victuals, and driving them entirely out of the country, took possession of it as conqueror, by which means he reduced the besieged to such straits, that Butes, who commanded there for the king, in desperation set fire to the town, and burned himself, his goods, and all his relations, in one common flame. By this means, Cimon got the town, but no great booty; as the barbarians had not only consumed themselves in the fire, but the richest of their effects. However, he put the country into the hands of the Athenians, a most advantageous and desirable situation for a settlement. For this action, the people permitted him to erect the stone Mercuries, upon the first of which was this inscription:—
Of bold and patient spirit, too, were those Who, where the Strymon under Eion flows, With famine and the sword, to utmost need Reduced at last the children of the Mede.
Upon the second stood this:—
The Athenians to their leaders this reward For great and useful service did accord; Others hereafter, shall, from their applause, Learn to be valiant in their country's cause.
And upon the third, the following:—
With Atreus' sons, this city sent of yore Divine Menestheus to the Trojan shore; Of all the Greeks, so Homer's verses say, The ablest man an army to array; So old the title of her sons the name Of chiefs and champions in the field to claim.
Though the name of Cimon is not mentioned in these inscriptions, yet his contemporaries considered them to be the very highest honors to him; as neither Miltiades nor Themistocles ever received the like. When Miltiades claimed a garland, Sochares of Decelea stood up in the midst of the assembly and opposed it, using words which, though ungracious, were received with applause by the people. "When you have gained a victory by yourself, Miltiades, then you may ask to triumph so too."
One mark of Cimon's great favor with the people, was the judgment, afterwards so famous upon the tragic poets. Sophocles, still a young man, had just brought forward his first plays; opinions were much divided, and the spectators had taken sides with some heat. So, to determine the case, Apsephion, who was at that time Archon, would not cast lots who should be judges; but when Cimon, and his brother commanders with him, came into the theatre, after they had performed the usual rites to the god of the festival, he would not allow them to retire, but came forward and made them swear, being ten in all, one from each tribe, the usual oath; and so being sworn judges, he made them sit down to give sentence. The eagerness for victory grew all the warmer, from the ambition to get the suffrages of such honorable judges. And the victory was at last adjudged to Sophocles, which Aeschylus is said to have taken so ill, that he left Athens shortly after, and went in anger to Sicily, where he died, and was buried near the city of Gela.
Ion relates that when he was a young man, and had recently come from Chios to Athens, he chanced to sup with Cimon, at Laomedon's house. After supper, when they had, according to custom, poured out wine to the honor of the gods, Cimon was desired by the company to give them a song, which he did with sufficient success, and received the commendations of the company, who remarked on his superiority to Themistocles, who, on a like occasion, had declared he had never learnt to sing, or to play, and only knew how to make a city rich and powerful. After talking of things incident to such entertainments, they entered upon the particulars of the several actions for which Cimon had been famous. And when they were mentioning the most signal, he told them they had omitted one, upon which he valued himself most for address and good contrivance. He gave this account of it. When the allies had taken a great number of the barbarians prisoners in Sestos and Byzantium, they gave him the preference to divide the booty; he accordingly put the prisoners in one lot, and the spoils of their rich attire and jewels in the other. This the allies complained of as an unequal division; but he gave them their choice to take which lot they would, saying that the Athenians should be content with that which they refused. Herophytus of Samos advised them to take the ornaments for their share, and leave the slaves to the Athenians; and Cimon went away, and was much laughed at for his ridiculous division. For the allies carried away the golden bracelets, and armlets, and collars, and purple robes, and the Athenians had only the naked bodies of the captives, which they could make no advantage of, being unused to labor. But a little while after, the friends and kinsmen of the prisoners coming from Lydia and Phrygia, redeemed every one his relations at a high ransom; so that by this means Cimon got so much treasure that he maintained his whole fleet of galleys with the money for four months; and yet there was some left to lay up in the treasury at Athens.
Cimon now grew rich, and what he gained from the barbarians with honor, he spent yet more honorably upon the citizens. For he pulled down all the enclosures of his gardens and grounds, that strangers, and the needy of his fellow-citizens, might gather of its fruits freely. At home, he kept a table, plain, but sufficient for a considerable number, to which any poor townsman had free access, and so might support himself without labor, with his whole time left free for public duties. Aristotle states, however, that this reception did not extend to all the Athenians, but only to his own fellow townsmen, the Laciadae.* Besides this, he always went attended by two or three young companions, very well clad; and if he met with an elderly citizen in a poor habit, one of these would change clothes with the decayed citizen, which was looked upon as very nobly done. He enjoined them, likewise, to carry a considerable quantity of coin about them, which they were to convey silently into the hands of the better class of poor men, as they stood by them in the market-place. This, Cratinus, the poet, speaks of in one of his comedies, the Archilochi:—
For I, Metrobius too, the scrivener poor, Of ease and comfort in my age secure, By Greece's noblest son in life's decline, Cimon, the generous-hearted, the divine, Well-fed and feasted hoped till death to be, Death which, alas! has taken him ere me.
Gorgias the Leontine gives him this character, that he got riches that he might use them, and used them that he might get honor by them. And Critias, one of the thirty tyrants, makes it, in his elegies, his wish to have
The Scopads' wealth, and Cimon's nobleness, And king Agesilaus's success.
Lichas, we know, became famous in Greece, only because on the days of the sports, when the young boys ran naked, he used to entertain the strangers that came to see these diversions. But Cimon's generosity outdid all the old Athenian hospitality and good-nature. For though it is the city's just boast that their forefathers taught the rest of Greece to sow corn, and how to use springs of water, and to kindle fire, yet Cimon, by keeping open house for his fellow-citizens, and giving travelers liberty to eat the fruits which the several seasons produced in his land, seemed to restore to the world that community of goods, which mythology says existed in the reign of Saturn. Those who object to him that he did this to be popular, and gain the applause of the vulgar, are confuted by the constant tenor of the rest of his actions, which all ended to uphold the interests of the nobility and the Spartan policy, of which he gave instances, when, together with Aristides, he opposed Themistocles, who was advancing the authority of the people beyond its just limits, and resisted Ephialtes, who to please the multitude, was for abolishing the jurisdiction of the court of Areopagus. And when all the men of his time, except Aristides and Ephialtes, enriched themselves out of the public money, he still kept his hands clean and untainted, and to his last day never acted or spoke for his own private gain or emolument. They tell us that Rhoesaces, a Persian, who had traitorously revolted from the king his master, fled to Athens, and there, being harassed by sycophants who were still accusing him to the people, he applied himself to Cimon for redress, and to gain his favor, laid down in his doorway two cups, the one full of gold, and the other of silver Darics. Cimon smiled and asked him whether he wished to have Cimon's hired service or his friendship. He replied, his friendship. "If so," said he, "take away these pieces, for being your friend, when I shall have occasion for them, I will send and ask for them."
The allies of the Athenians began now to be weary of war and military service, willing to have repose, and to look after their husbandry and traffic. For they saw their enemies driven out of the country, and did not fear any new vexations from them. They still paid the tax they were assessed at, but did not send men and galleys, as they had done before. This the other Athenian generals wished to constrain them to, and by judicial proceedings against defaulters, and penalties which they inflicted on them, made the government uneasy, and even odious. But Cimon practiced a contrary method; he forced no man to go that was not willing, but of those that desired to be excused from service he took money and vessels unmanned, and let them yield to the temptation of staying at home, to attend to their private business. Thus they lost their military habits, and luxury and their own folly quickly changed them into unwarlike husbandmen and traders; while Cimon, continually embarking large numbers of Athenians on board his galleys, thoroughly disciplined them in his expeditions, and ere long made them the lords of their own paymasters. The allies, whose indolence maintained them, while they thus went sailing about everywhere, and incessantly bearing arms and acquiring skill, began to fear and flatter them, and found themselves after a while allies no longer, but unwittingly become tributaries and slaves.
Nor did any man ever do more than Cimon did to humble the pride of the Persian king. He was not content with ridding Greece of him; but following close at his heels, before the barbarians could take breath and recover themselves, what with his devastations, and his forcible reduction of some places and the revolts and voluntary accession of others, in the end, from Ionia to Pamphylia, all Asia was clear of Persian soldiers. Word being brought him that the royal commanders were lying in wait upon the coast of Pamphylia, with a numerous land army, and a large fleet, he determined to make the whole sea on this side the Chelidonian islands so formidable to them that they should never dare to show themselves in it; and setting off from Cnidos and the Triopian headland, with two hundred galleys, which had been originally built with particular care by Themistocles, for speed and rapid evolutions, and to which he now gave greater width and roomier decks along the sides to move to and fro upon, so as to allow a great number of full-armed soldiers to take part in the engagements and fight from them, he shaped his course first of all against the town of Phaselis, which, though inhabited by Greeks, yet would not quit the interests of Persia, but denied his galleys entrance into their port. Upon this he wasted the country, and drew up his army to their very walls; but the soldiers of Chios, who were then serving under him, being ancient friends to the Phaselites, endeavoring to propitiate the general in their behalf, at the same time shot arrows into the town, to which were fastened letters conveying intelligence. At length he concluded peace with them, upon the conditions that they should pay down ten talents, and follow him against the barbarians. The Persian admiral lay waiting for him with the whole fleet at the mouth of the river Eurymedon, with no design to fight, but expecting a reinforcement of eighty Phoenician ships on their way from Cyprus. Cimon, aware of this, put out to sea, resolved, if they would not fight a battle willingly, to force them to it. The barbarians, seeing this, retired within the mouth of the river to avoid being attacked; but when they saw the Athenians come upon them, notwithstanding their retreat, they met them with six hundred ships, as Phanodemus relates, but according to Ephorus, with three hundred and fifty. However, they did nothing worthy such mighty forces, but immediately turned the prows of their galleys toward the shore, where those that came first threw themselves upon the land, and fled to their army drawn up thereabout, while the rest perished with their vessels, or were taken. By this, one may guess at their number, for though a great many escaped out of the fight, and a great many others were sunk, yet two hundred galleys were taken by the Athenians.
When their land army drew toward the seaside, Cimon was in suspense whether he should venture to try and force his way on shore; as he should thus expose his Greeks, wearied with slaughter in the first engagement, to the swords of the barbarians, who were all fresh men, and many times their number. But seeing his men resolute, and flushed with victory, he bade them land, though they were not yet cool from their first battle. As soon as they touched ground, they set up a shout and ran upon the enemy, who stood firm and sustained the first shock with great courage, so that the fight was a hard one, and some of the principal men of the Athenians in rank and courage were slain. At length, though with much ado, they routed the barbarians, and killing some, took others prisoners, and plundered all their tents and pavilions, which were full of rich spoil. Cimon, liked a skilled athlete at the games, having in one day carried off two victories, wherein he surpassed that of Salamis by sea, and that of Plataea by land, was encouraged to try for yet another success. News being brought that the Phoenician succors, in number eighty sail, had come in sight at Hydrum, he set off with all speed to find them, while they as yet had not received any certain account of the larger fleet, and were in doubt what to think; so that thus surprised, they lost all their vessels, and most of their men with them. This success of Cimon so daunted the king of Persia, that he presently made that celebrated peace, by which he engaged that his armies should come no nearer the Grecian sea than the length of a horse's course; and that none of his galleys or vessels of war should appear between the Cyanean and Chelidonian isles. In the collection which Craterus made of the public acts of the people, there is a draft of this treaty given.
The people of Athens raised so much money from the spoils of this war, which were publicly sold, that, besides other expenses, and raising the south wall of the citadel, they laid the foundation of the long walls, not, indeed, finished till at a later time, which were called the Legs. And the place where they built them being soft and marshy ground, they were forced to sink great weights of stone and rubble to secure the foundation, and did all this out of the money Cimon supplied them with.
It was he, likewise, who first embellished the upper city with those fine and ornamental places of exercise and resort, which they afterward so much frequented and delighted in. He set the market-place with plane trees; and the Academy, which was before a bare, dry, and dirty spot, he converted into a well-watered grove, with shady alleys to walk in, and open courses for races.
When the Persians who had made themselves masters of the Chersonese, so far from quitting it, called in the people of the interior of Thrace to help them against Cimon, whom they despised for the smallness of his forces, he set upon them with only four galleys, and took thirteen of theirs; and having driven out the Persians, and subdued the Thracians, he made the hole Chersonese the property of Athens. Next, he attacked the people of Thasos, who had revolted from the Athenians; and, having defeated them in a fight at sea, where he captured thirty-three of their vessels, he took their own by siege, and acquired for the Athenians all the mines of gold on the opposite coast, and the territory dependent on Thasos.
This opened him a fair passage into Macedon, so that he might, it was thought, have acquired a good portion of that country, and because he neglected the opportunity, he was suspected of corruption, and of having been bribed off by king Alexander. So, by the combination of his adversaries, he was accused of being false to his country. In his defence he told the judges, that he had always shown himself in his public life the friend, not, like other men, of rich Ionians and Thessalonians, to be courted, and to receive presents, but of the Lacedaemonians; for as he admired, so he wished to imitate, the plainness of their habits, their temperance, and simplicity of living, which he preferred to any sort of riches; but that he always had been, and still was proud to enrich his country with the spoils of her enemies. Pericles proved the mildest of his prosecutors, and rose up but once all the while, almost as a matter of form, to plead against him. Cimon was acquitted.
In his public life after this, he continued, while at home, to control the common people, who would have trampled upon the nobility, and drawn all the power and sovereignty to themselves. But when he afterwards was sent out to war, the multitude broke loose, as it were, and overthrew all the ancient laws and customs they had hitherto observed, and, chiefly at the instigation of Ephialtes, withdrew the cognizance of almost all causes from the Areopagus; so that all jurisdiction now being transferred to them, the government was reduced to a perfect democracy, and this by the help of Pericles, who was already powerful, and had pronounced in favor of the common people.
He was indeed a favorer of the Lacedaemonians even from his youth, and gave the names of Lacedaemonius and Eleus to his two sons, twins.
Cimon was countenanced by the Lacedaemonians in opposition to Themistocles, whom they disliked; and while he was yet very young, they endeavored to raise and increase his credit in Athens. This the Athenians perceived at first with pleasure, and the favor the Lacedaemonians showed him was in various ways advantageous to them and their affairs; as at that time they were just rising to power, and were occupied in winning the allies to their side. So they seemed not at all offended with the honor and kindness showed to Cimon, who then had the chief management of all the affairs of Greece, and was acceptable to the Lacedaemonians, and courteous to the allies. But afterwards the Athenians, grown more powerful, when they saw Cimon so entirely devoted to the Lacedaemonians, began to be angry, for he would always in speeches prefer them to the Athenians, and upon every occasion, when he would reprimand them for a fault, or incite them to emulation, he would exclaim, "The Lacedaemonians would not do thus." This raised the discontent, and got him in some degree the hatred of the citizens; but that which ministered chiefly to the accusation against him fell out upon the following occasion.
In the fourth year of the reign of Archidamus, the son of Zeuxidamus, king of Sparta, there happened in the country of Lacedaemon, the greatest earthquake that was known in the memory of ma; the earth opened into chasms, and the mountain Taygetus was so shaken that some of the rocky points of it fell down, and except five houses, all the town of Sparta was shattered to pieces. They say that a little before any motion was perceived, as the young men and the boys just grown up were exercising themselves together in the middle of the portico, a hare, of a sudden, started out just by them, which the young men, though all naked and daubed with oil, ran after for sport. No sooner were they gone from the place, than the gymnasium fell down upon the boys who had stayed behind, and killed them all. Their tomb is to this day called Sismatias.* Archidamus, by the present danger made apprehensive of what might follow, and seeing the citizens intent upon removing the most valuable of their goods out of their houses, commanded an alarm to be sounded, as if an enemy were coming upon them, in order that they should collect about him in a body, with arms. It was this alone that saved Sparta at that time, for the Helots had come together from the country about, with design of surprising the Spartans, and overpowering those whom the earthquake had spared. But finding them armed and well prepared, they retired into the towns and openly made war with them, gaining over a number of the Laconians of the country districts; while at the same time the Messenians, also, made an attack upon the Spartans, who therefore despatched Periclidas to Athens to solicit succor, of whom Aristophanes says in mockery that he came and
In a red jacket, at the altars seated, With a white face, for men and arms entreated.
This Ephialtes opposed, protesting that they ought not to raise up or assist a city that was a rival to Athens; but that being down, it were best to keep her so, and let the pride and arrogance of Sparta be trodden under. But Cimon, as Critias says, preferring the safety of Lacedaemon to the aggrandizement of his own country, so persuaded the people, that he soon marched out with a large army to their relief. Ion records, also, the most successful expression which he used to move the Athenians. "They ought not to suffer Greece to be lamed, nor their own city to be deprived of her yoke fellow."
In his return from aiding the Lacedaemonians, he passed with his army through the territory of Corinth; whereupon Lachartus reproached him for bringing his army into the country, without first asking leave of the people. For he that knocks at another man's door ought not to enter the house till the master gives him leave. "But you, Corinthians, O Lachartus," said Cimon, "did not knock at the gates of the Cleonaeans and Megarians, but broke them down and entered by force, thinking that all places should be open to the stronger." And having thus rallied the Corinthian, he passed on with his army. Some time after this, the Lacedaemonians sent a second time to desire succor of the Athenians against the Messenians and Helots, who had seized upon Ithome. But when they came, fearing their boldness and gallantry, of all that came to their assistance, they sent them only back, alleging that they were designing innovations. The Athenians returned home, enraged at this usage, and vented their anger upon all those who were favorers of the Lacedaemonians; and seizing some slight occasion, they banished Cimon for ten years, which is the time prescribed to those that are banished by the ostracism. In the mean time, the Lacedaemonians, on their return after freeing Delphi from the Phocians, encamped their army at Tanagra, whither the Athenians presently marched with design to fight them.
Cimon also, came thither armed and ranged himself among those of his own tribe, which was the Oeneis, desirous of fighting with the rest against the Spartans; but the council of five hundred being informed of this, and frightened at it, his adversaries crying out that he would disorder the army, and bring the Lacedaemonians to Athens, commanded the officers not to receive him. Wherefore Cimon left the army, conjuring Euthippus, the Anaphylstian, and the rest of his companions, who were most suspected as favoring the Lacedaemonians, to behave themselves bravely against their enemies, and by their actions make their innocence evident to their countrymen. These, being in all a hundred, took the arms of Cimon, and followed his advice; and making a body by themselves, fought so desperately with the enemy, that they were all cut off, leaving the Athenians deep regret for the loss of such brave men, and repentance for having so unjustly suspected them. Accordingly, they did not long retain their severity toward Cimon, partly upon remembrance of his former services, and partly, perhaps, induced by the juncture of the times. For being defeated at Tanagra in a great battle, and fearing the Peloponnesians would come upon them at the opening of the spring, they recalled Cimon by a decree, of which Pericles himself was author. So reasonable were men's resentments in those times, and so moderate their anger, that it always gave way to the public good. Even ambition, the least governable of all human passions, could then yield to the necessities of the State.
Cimon, as soon as he returned, put an end to the war, and reconciled the two cities. Peace thus established, seeing the Athenians impatient of being idle, and eager for the honor and aggrandizement of war, lest they should set upon the Greeks themselves, or with so many ships cruising about the isles and Peloponnesus, they should give occasions for intestine wars, or complaints of their allies against them, he equipped two hundred galleys, with design to make an attempt upon Egypt and Cyprus; purposing, by this means, to accustom the Athenians to fight against the barbarians, and enrich themselves honestly by despoiling those who were the natural enemies to Greece. But when all things were prepared, and the army ready to embark, Cimon had this dream. It seemed to him that there was a furious female dog barking at him, and, mixed with the barking, a kind of human voice uttered these words:
Come on, for thou shalt shortly be A pleasure to my whelps and me.
This dream was hard to interpret, yet Astyphilus of Posidonia, a man skilled in divinations, and intimate with Cimon, told him that his death was presaged by this vision, which he thus explained. A dog is enemy to him he barks at; and one is always most a pleasure to one's enemies, when one is dead; the mixture of human voice with barking signifies the Medes, for the army of the Medes is mixed up of Greeks and barbarians. After this dream, as he was sacrificing to Bacchus, and the priest cutting up the victim, a number of ants, taking up the congealed particles of the blood, laid them about Cimon's great toes. This was not observed for a good while, but at the very time when Cimon spied it, the priest came and showed him the liver of the sacrifice imperfect, wanting that part of it called the head. But he could not then recede from the enterprise, so he set sail. Sixty of his ships he sent toward Egypt; with the rest he went and fought the king of Persia's fleet, composed of Phoenician and Cilician galleys, recovered all the cities thereabout, and threatened Egypt; designing no less than the entire ruin of the Persian empire. And the more because he was informed that Themistocles was in great repute among the barbarians, having promised the king to lead his army, whenever he should make war upon Greece. But Themistocles, it is said, abandoning all hopes of compassing his designs, very much out of the despair of overcoming the valor and good-fortune of Cimon, died a voluntary death. Cimon, intent on great designs, which he was now to enter upon, keeping his navy about the isle of Cyprus, sent messengers to consult the oracle of Jupiter Ammon upon some secret matter. For it is not known about what they were sent, and the god would give them no answer, but commanded them to return again, for Cimon was already with him. Hearing this, they returned to sea, and as soon as they came to the Grecian army, which was then about Egypt, they understood that Cimon was dead; and computing the time of the oracle, they found that his death had been signified, he being then already with the gods.
He died, some say, of sickness, while besieging Citium, in Cyprus; according to others, of a wound he received in a skirmish with the barbarians. When he perceived that he was going to die, he commanded those under his charge to return, and by no means to let the news of his death be known by the way; this they did with such secrecy that they all came home safe, and neither their enemies nor the allies knew what had happened. Thus, as Phanodemus relates, the Grecian army was, as it were, conducted by Cimon thirty days after he was dead. But after his death there was not one commander among the Greeks that did any thing considerable against the barbarians, and instead of uniting against their common enemies, the popular leaders and partisans of war animated them against one another to such a degree, that none could interpose their good offices to reconcile them. And while, by their mutual discord, they ruined the power of Greece, they gave the Persians time to recover breath, and repair all their losses. It is true, indeed, Agesilaus carried the arms of Greece into Asia, but it was a long time afterwards; there were some brief appearances of a war against the king's lieutenants in the maritime provinces, but they all quickly vanished; before he could perform any thing of moment, he was recalled by fresh civil dissensions and disturbances at home. So that he was forced to leave the Persian king's officers to impose what tribute they pleased on the Greek cities in Asia, the confederates and allies of the Lacedaemonians. Whereas, in the time of Cimon, not so much as a letter-carrier, or a single horseman, was ever seen to come within four hundred furlongs of the sea.
The monuments, called Cimonian to this day, in Athens, show that his remains were conveyed home, yet the inhabitants of the city Citium pay particular honor to a certain tomb which they call the tomb of Cimon, according to Nausicrates the rhetorician, who states that in a time of famine, when the crops of their land all failed, they sent to the oracle, which commanded them not to forget Cimon, but give him the honors of a superior being.
The people of Rome appear, from the first, to have been affected towards Pompey, much in the same manner as Prometheus, in Aeschylus, was towards Hercules, when after that hero had delivered him from his chains, he says—
The sire I hated, but the son I loved.
For never did the Romans entertain a stronger and more rancorous hatred for any general than for Strabo, the father of Pompey. While he lived, indeed, they were afraid of his abilities as a soldier, for he had great talents for war; but upon his death, which happened by a stroke of lightning, they dragged his corpse from the bier, on the way to the funeral pile, and treated it with the greatest indignity. On the other hand, no man ever experienced from the same Romans an attachment more early begun, more disinterested in all the stages of his prosperity, or more constant and faithful in the decline of his fortune, than Pompey.
The sole cause of their aversion to the father was his insatiable avarice; but there were many causes of their affection for the son; his temperate way of living, his application to martial exercises, his eloquent and persuasive address, his strict honor and fidelity, and the easiness of access to him upon all occasions; for no man was ever less importunate in asking favors, or more gracious in conferring them. When he gave, it was without arrogance; and when he received, it was with dignity.
In his youth he had a very engaging countenance, which spoke for him before he opened his lips. Yet that grace of aspect was not attended with dignity, and amidst his youthful bloom there was a venerable and princely air. His hair naturally curled a little before; which, together with the shining moisture and quick turn of his eye, produced a stronger likeness to Alexander the Great than that which appeared in the statues of that prince.
As to the simplicity of his diet, there is a remarkable saying of his upon record. In a great illness, when his appetite was almost gone, the physician ordered him a thrush. His servants, upon inquiry, found there was not one to be had for money, for the season was passed. They were informed, however, that Lucullus had them all the year in his menageries. This being reported to Pompey, he said, "Does Pompey's life depend upon the luxury of Lucullus?" Then, without any regard to the physician, he ate something that was easy to be had.
After the death of Cinna, Carbo, a tyrant still more savage, took the reins of government. It was not long, however, before Sylla returned to Italy, to the great satisfaction of most of the Romans, who, in their present unhappy circumstances, thought the change of their master no small advantage.
Pompey, at the age of twenty-three, without a commission from any superior authority, erected himself into a general; and having placed his tribunal in the most public part of the great city of Auximum, enlisted soldiers and appointed tribunes, centurions, and other officers, according to the established custom. He did the same in all the neighboring cities; for the partisans of Carbo retired and gave place to him; and the rest were glad to range themselves under his banners. So that in a little time he raised three complete legions, and furnished himself with provisions, beasts of burden, carriages; in short, with the whole apparatus of war.
In this form he moved towards Sylla, not by hasty marches, nor as if he wanted to conceal himself; for he stopped by the way to harass the enemy; and attempted to draw off from Carbo all the parts of Italy through which he passed. At last, three generals of the opposite party, Carinna, Caelius, and Brutus, came against him all at once, not in front, or in one body, but they hemmed him in with their three armies, in hopes to demolish him entirely.
Pompey, far from being terrified, assembled all his forces, and charged the army of Brutus at the head of his cavalry. The Gaulish horse on the enemy's side sustained the first shock; but Pompey attacked the foremost of them, who was a man of prodigious strength, and brought him down with a push of his spear. The rest immediately fled and threw the infantry into such disorder that the whole was soon put to flight. This produced so great a quarrel among the three generals, that they parted and took separate routes. In consequence of which, the cities, concluding that the fears of the enemy had made them part, adopted the interest of Pompey.
Not long after, Scipio the consul advanced to engage him. But before the infantry were near enough to discharge their lances, Scipio's soldiers saluted those of Pompey, and came over to them. Scipio, therefore, was forced to fly. At last, Carbo sent a large body of cavalry against Pompey, near the river Arsis. He gave them so warm a reception, that they were soon broken, and in the pursuit drove them upon impracticable ground; so that finding it impossible to escape, they surrendered themselves with their arms and horses.
Sylla had not yet been informed of these transactions; but upon the first news of Pompey's being engaged with so many adversaries, and such respectable generals, he dreaded the consequence, and marched with all expedition to his assistance. Pompey, having intelligence of his approach, ordered his officers to see that the troops were armed and drawn up in such a manner as to make the handsomest and most gallant appearance before the commander-in-chief. For he expected great honours from him, and he obtained greater. Sylla no sooner saw Pompey advancing to meet him, with an army in excellent condition, both as to age and size of the men, and the spirits which success had given them, than he alighted; and upon being saluted of course by Pompey as Imperator, he returned his salutation with the same title: though no one imagined that he would have honoured a young man not yet admitted into the senate with a title for which he was contending with the Scipios and the Marii. The rest of his behavior was as respectable as that in the first interview. He used to rise up and uncover his head, whenever Pompey came to him; which he was rarely observed to do for any other, though he had a number of persons of distinction about him.
While Pompey was in Sicily, he received a decree of the senate, and letters from Sylla, in which he was commanded to cross over to Africa and to carry on the war with the utmost vigor against Domitius, who had assembled a much more powerful army than that which Marius carried not long before from Africa to Italy, when he made himself master of Rome, and from a fugitive became a tyrant. Pompey soon finished his preparation for this expedition; and leaving the command in Sicily to Memmius, his sister's husband, he set sail with one hundred and twenty armed vessels, and eight hundred store-ships, laden with provisions, arms, money, and machines of war. Part of his fleet landed at Utica, and part at Carthage: immediately after which seven thousand of the enemy came over to him; and he had brought with him six legions complete.
On his arrival he met with a whimsical adventure. Some of his soldiers, it seems, found a treasure, and rest of the troops concluded that the place was full of money, which the Carthaginians had hid there in some time of public distress. Pompey, therefore could make no use of them for several days, as they were searching for treasures; and he had nothing to do but walk about and amuse himself with the sight of so many thousands digging and turning up the ground. At last, they gave up the point, and bade him lead them wherever be pleased, for they were sufficiently punished for their folly.
Domitius advanced to meet him, and put his troops in order of battle. There happened to be a channel between them, craggy and difficult to pass. Moreover, in the morning it began to rain, and the wind blew violently; insomuch that Domitius, not imagining there would be any action that day, ordered his army to retire. But Pompey looked upon this as his opportunity, and he passed the defile with the utmost expedition. The enemy stood upon their defence, but it was in a disorderly and tumultuous manner, and the resistance they made was neither general nor uniform. Besides the wind and rain beat in their faces. The storm incommoded the Romans, too, for they could not well distinguish each other. Nay, Pompey himself was in danger of being killed by a soldier, who asked him the pass-word, and did not receive a speedy answer. At length, however, he routed the enemy with great slaughter; not above three thousand of them escaping out of twenty thousand. The soldiers then saluted Pompey, Imperator, but he said he would not accept that title while the enemy's camp stood untouched; therefore, if they chose to confer such an honor upon him, they must first make themselves masters of the intrenchments.
At that instant they advanced with great fury against them. Pompey fought without his helmet, for fear of such an accident as he had just escaped. The camp was taken, and Domitius slain; in consequence of which most of the cities immediately submitted, and rest were taken by assault. He took Iarbas, one of the confederates of Domitius, prisoner, and bestowed his crown on Hiempsal. Advancing with the same tide of fortune, and while his army had all the spirits inspired by success, he entered Numidia, in which he continued his march for several days, and subdued all that came in his way. Thus he revived the terror of the Roman name, which the barbarians had begun to disregard. Nay, he chose not to leave the savage beasts in the deserts without giving them a specimen of the Roman valor and success. Accordingly he spent a few days in hunting lions and elephants. The whole time he passed in Africa, they tell us, was not above forty days; in which he defeated the enemy, reduced the whole country, and brought the affairs of its kings under proper regulations, though he was only in his twenty-fourth year.
Upon his return to Utica, he received letters from Sylla, in which he was ordered to send home the rest of his army, and to wait there with one legion only for a successor. This gave him a great deal of uneasiness, which he kept to himself, but the army expressed their indignation aloud; insomuch that when he entreated them to return to Italy, they launched out into abusive terms against Sylla, and declared they would never abandon Pompey, or suffer him to trust a tyrant. At first, he endeavored to pacify them with mild representations; and when he found those had no effect, he descended from the tribunal, and retired to his tent in tears. However, they went and took him thence, and paced him again upon the tribunal, where they spent a great part of the day; they insisting that he should stay and keep the command, and he in persuading them to obey Sylla's orders, and to form no new faction. At last, seeing no end of their clamors and importunity, he assured them, with an oath, that he would kill himself, if they attempted to force him. And even this hardly brought them to desist.
The first news that Sylla heard was, that Pompey had revolted; upon which he said to his friends, "Then it is my fate to have to contend with boys in my old age." This he said, because Marius, who was very young, had brought him into so much trouble and danger. But when he received true information of the affair, and observed that all the people flocked out to receive Pompey to conduct him home with marks of great regard, he resolved to exceed them in his regards, if possible. He, therefore, hastened to meet him, and embracing him in the most affectionate manner, saluted him aloud by the surname of Magnus, or The Great; at the same time he ordered all about him to give him the same appellation. Others say, it was given him by the whole army in Africa, but did not generally obtain till it was authorized by Sylla. It is certain, he was the last to take it himself, and he did not make use of it till a long time after, when he was sent into Spain with the dignity of pro-consul against Sertorius. Then he began to write himself in his letters in all his edicts, Pompey the Great; for the world was accustomed to the name, and it was no longer invidious. In this respect we may justly admire the wisdom of the ancient Romans, who bestowed on their great men such honorable names and titles, not only for military achievements, but for the great qualities and arts which adorn civil life.
When Pompey arrived at Rome, he demanded a triumph, in which he was opposed by Sylla. The latter alleged that the laws did not allow that honor to any person who was not either consul or praetor. Hence it was that the first Scipio, when he returned victorious from greater wars and conflicts with the Carthaginians in Spain, did not demand a triumph; for he was neither consul nor praetor. He added, that if Pompey, who was yet little better than a beardless youth, and who was not of age to be admitted into the senate, should enter the city in triumph, it would bring an odium both upon the dictator's power, and those honors of his friend. These arguments Sylla insisted on, to show him that he would not allow of his triumph, and that, in case he persisted, he would chastise his obstinacy.
Pompey, not in the least intimidated, bade him consider, that more worshiped the rising than the setting sun; intimating that his power was increasing, and Sylla's upon the decline. Sylla did not hear well what he said, but perceiving by the looks and gestures of the company that they were struck with the expression, he asked what it was. When he was told it, he admired the spirit of Pompey and cried, "Let him triumph! Let him triumph!"
There is no doubt that he might then have been easily admitted a senator, if he had desired it; but his ambition was to pursue honor in a more uncommon track. It would have been nothing strange, if Pompey had been a senator before the age fixed for it; but it was a very extraordinary instance of honor to lead up a triumph before he was a senator. And it contributed not a little to gain him the affections of the multitude; the people were delighted to see him, after his triumph, class with the equestrian order.
The power of the pirates had its foundation in Cilicia. Their progress was the more dangerous, because at first it was little taken notice of. In the Mithridatic war they assumed new confidence and courage, on account of some services they had rendered the king. After this, the Romans being engaged in civil wars at the very gates of their capital, the sea was left unguarded, and the pirates by degrees attempted higher things; they not only attacked ships, but islands, and maritime towns. Many persons, distinguished for their wealth, their birth, and their capacity, embarked with them, and assisted in the depredations, as if their employment had been worthy the ambition of men of honor. They had in various places arsenals, ports, and watch-towers, all strongly fortified. Their fleets were not only extremely well manned, supplied with skillful pilots, and fitted for their business by their lightness and celerity; but there was a parade of vanity about them more mortifying than their strength, in gilded sterns, purpose canopies, and plated oars; as if they took a pride and triumphed in their villainy. Music resounded, and drunken revels were exhibited on every coast. Here generals were made prisoners; there the cities the pirates had taken were paying their ransom; all to the great disgrace of the Roman power. The number of their galleys amounted to one thousand, and the cities they were masters of to four hundred.
Temples which had stood inviolably sacred till that time, they plundered. They ruined the temple of Apollo at Claros, that of the Cabiri in Samothrace, of Ceres at Hermione, of Aesculapius at Epidaurus, those of Neptune in the Isthmus, at Taenarus and in Calauria, those of Apollo at Actium and in the isle of Leucas, those of Juno at Samos, Argos, and the promontory of Lacinium.
They likewise offered strange sacrifices; those of Olympus I mean; and they celebrated certain secret mysteries, among which those of Mithra continue to this day, being originally instituted by them. They not only insulted the Romans at sea but infested the great roads, and plundered the villas near the coast; they carried off Sextilius and Bellinus, two praetors, in their purple robes, which all their servants and lictors. They seized the daughter of Antony, a man who had been honored with a triumph, as she was going to her country house, and he was forced to pay a large ransom for her.
But the most contemptible circumstance of all was, that when they had taken a prisoner, and he cried out that he was a Roman, and told them his name, they pretended to be struck with terror, smote their thighs, and fell upon their knees to ask him pardon. The poor man, seeing them thus humble themselves before him, thought them in earnest, and said he would forgive them; for some were so officious as to put on his shoes, and others to help him on with his gown, that his quality might no more be mistaken. When they had carried on this farce, and enjoyed it for some time, they let a ladder down into the sea, and bade him go in peace; and if he refused to do it, they pushed him off the deck, and drowned him.
Their power extended over the whole Tuscan sea, so that the Romans found their trade and navigation entirely cut off. The consequence of which was, that their markets were not supplied, and they had reason to apprehend a famine. This at last led them to send Pompey to clear the sea of pirates. Gabinius, one of Pompey's intimate friends, proposed the decree, which created him not admiral, but monarch, and invested him with absolute power. The decree gave him the empire of the sea as far as the Pillars of Hercules, and of the land for 400 furlongs from the coasts. There were few parts of the Roman empire which this commission did not take in; and the most considerable of the barbarous nations, and most powerful kings, were moreover comprehended in it. Besides this he was empowered to choose out of the senators fifteen lieutenants, to act under him in such districts, and with such authority as he should appoint. He was to take from the quaestors, and other public receivers, what money he pleased, and equip a fleet of two hundred sail. The number of marine forces, of mariners and rowers, was left entirely to his discretion.
When this decree was read in the assembly, the people received it with inconceivable pleasure. The most respectable part of the senate saw, indeed, that such an absolute and unlimited power was above envy, but they considered it as a real object of fear. They therefore all, except Caesar, opposed its passing into a law. He was for it, not out of regard for Pompey, but to insinuate himself into the good graces of the people, which he had long been courting. The rest were very severe in the expressions against Pompey; and one of the consuls venturing to say, "If he imitates Romulus, he will not escape his fate," was in danger of being pulled in pieces by the populace.
It is true, when Catulus rose up to speak against the law, out of reverence for his person they listened to him with great attention. After he had freely given Pompey the honor that was his due, and said much in his praise, he advised them to spare him, and not to expose such a man to so many dangers; "for where will you find another," said he, "if you lose him?" They answered with one voice, "Yourself." Finding his arguments had no effect, he retired. Then Roscius mounted the rostrum, but not a man would give ear to him. However he made signs to them with his fingers, that they should not appoint Pompey alone, but give him a colleague. Incensed at the proposal, they set up such a shout, that a crow, which was flying over the forum, was stunned with the force of it, and fell down among the crowd. Hence we may conclude, that when birds fall on such occasions, it is not because the air is so divided with the shock as to leave a vacuum, but rather because the sound strikes them like a blow, when it ascends with force, and produces so violent an agitation.
The assembly broke up that day without coming to any resolution. When the day came that they were to give their suffrages, Pompey retired into the country; and, on receiving information that the decree was passed, he returned to the city by night, to prevent the envy which the multitudes of people coming to meet him would have excited. Next morning at break of day he made his appearance, and attended the sacrifice. After which, he summoned an assembly, and obtained a grant of almost as much more as the first decree had given him. He was empowered to fit out 500 galleys, and to raise an army of 120,000 foot, and 5,000 horse. Twenty-four senators were selected, who had all been generals or praetors, and were appointed his lieutenants; and he had two quaestors given him. As the price of provisions fell immediately, the people were greatly pleased, and it gave them occasion to say that the very name of Pompey had terminated the war.
However, in pursuance of his charge, he divided the whole Mediterranean into thirteen parts, appointing a lieutenant for each, and assigning him a squadron. By thus stationing his fleet in all quarters, he enclosed the pirates as it were in a net, took great numbers of them, and brought them into harbor. Such of their vessels as had dispersed and made off in time, or could escape the general chase, retired to Cilicia, like so many bees into a hive. Against these he proposed to go himself, with sixty of his best galleys; but first he resolved to clear the Tuscan sea, and the coasts of Africa, Sardinia, Corsica, and Sicily, of all piratical adventurers; which he effected in forty days, by his own indefatigable endeavors and those of his lieutenants. But, as the consul Piso was indulging his malignity at home, in wasting his stores and discharging his seamen, he sent his fleet round to Brundusium, and went himself by land through Tuscany to Rome.
As soon as the people were informed of his approach, they went in crowds to receive him, in the same manner as they had done a few days before, to conduct him on his way. Their extraordinary joy was owing to the speed with which he had executed his commission, so far beyond all expectation, and to the superabundant plenty which reigned in the markets. For this reason Piso was in danger of being deposed from the consulship, and Gabinius had a decree ready drawn up for that purpose; but Pompey would not suffer him to propose it. On the contrary, his speech to the people was full of candor and moderation; and when he had provided such things as he wanted, he went to Brundusium, and put to sea again. Though he was straightened for time, and in his haste sailed by many cities without calling, yet he stopped at Athens. He entered the town and sacrificed to the gods; after which he addressed the people, and then prepared to reembark immediately. As he went out of the gate he observed two inscriptions, each comprised in one line.
That within the gate was:
But know thyself a man, and be a god.
We wish'd, we saw; we loved, and we adored.
Some of the pirates, who yet traversed the seas, made their submission; and as he treated them in a humane manner, when he had them and their ships in his power, others entertained hope of mercy, and avoiding the other officers, surrendered themselves to Pompey, together with their wives and children. He spared them all; and it was principally by their means that he found out and took a number who were guilty of unpardonable crimes, and therefore had concealed themselves.
Still, however, there remained a great number, and indeed the most powerful part of these corsairs, who sent their families, treasures, and all useless hands, into castles and fortified towns upon Mount Taurus. Then they manned their ships, and waited for Pompey at Coracesium, in Cilicia. A battle ensued, and the pirates were defeated; after which they retired into the fort. But they had not been long besieged before they capitulated, and surrendered themselves, together with the cities and islands which they had conquered and fortified, and which by their works as well as situation were almost impregnable. Thus the war was finished, and whole force of the pirates destroyed, within three months at the farthest.
Besides the other vessels, Pompey took ninety ships with beaks of brass; and the prisoners amounted to 20,000. He did not choose to put them to death, and at the same time he thought it wrong to suffer them to disperse, because they were not only numerous, but warlike and necessitous, and therefore would probably knit again and give future trouble. He reflected, that man by nature is neither a savage nor an unsocial creature; and when he becomes so, it is by vices contrary to nature; yet even then he may be humanized by changing his place of abode, and accustoming him to a new manner of life; as beasts that are naturally wild put off their fierceness when they are kept in a domestic way. For this reason he determined to remove the pirates to a great distance from the sea, and bring them to taste the sweets of civil life, by living in cities, and by the culture of the ground. He placed some of them in the little towns of Cilicia, which were almost desolate, and which received them with pleasure, because at the same time he gave them an additional proportion of lands. He repaired the city of Soli, which had lately been dismantled and deprived of its inhabitants by Tigranes, king of Armenia, and peopled it with a number of these corsairs. The remainder, which was a considerable body, he planted in Dyma, a city of Achaia, which, though it had a large and fruitful territory, was in want of inhabitants.
Pompey, having secured the sea from Phoenicia to the Bosphorus, marched in quest of Mithridates, who had an army of 30,000 foot and 2,000 horse, but durst not stand an engagement. That prince was in possession of a strong and secure post upon a mountain, which he quitted upon Pompey's approach, because it was destitute of water. Pompey encamped in the same place; and conjecturing, from the nature of the plants and the crevices in the mountain, that springs might be found, he ordered a number of wells to be dug, and the camp was in a short time plentifully supplied with water. He was not a little surprised that this did not occur to Mithridates during the whole time of his encampment there.
After this, Pompey followed him to his new camp, and drew a line of circumvallation round him. Mithridates stood a siege of forty-five days, after which he found means to steal off with his best troops, having first killed all the sick, and such as could be of no service. Pompey overtook him near the Euphrates, and encamped over against him; but fearing he might pass the river unperceived, he drew out his troops at midnight. At that time Mithridates is said to have had a dream prefigurative of what was to befall him. He thought he was upon the Pontic Sea, sailing with a favorable wind, and in sight of the Bosphorus; so that he felicitated his friends in the ship, like a man perfectly safe, and already in harbor. But suddenly he beheld himself in the most destitute condition, swimming upon a piece of wreck. While he was in all the agitation which this dream produced, his friends awaked him, and told him that Pompey was at hand. He was now under a necessity of fighting for his camp, and his generals drew up the forces with all possible expedition.
Pompey, seeing them prepared, was loth to risk a battle in the dark. He thought it sufficient to surround them, so as to prevent their flight; and what inclined him still more to wait for daylight, was the consideration that his troops were much better than the enemy's. However, the oldest of his officers entreated him to proceed immediately to the attack, and at last prevailed. It was not indeed very dark; for the moon, though near her setting, gave light enough to distinguish objects. But it was a great disadvantage to the king's troops, that the moon was so low, and on the backs of the Romans; because she projected their shadows so far before them, that the enemy could form no just estimate of the distances, but thinking them at hand, threw their javelins before they could do the least execution.
The Romans, perceiving their mistake, advanced to the charge with all the alarm of voices. The enemy were in such a consternation, that they made not the least stand, and, in their flight, vast numbers were slain. They lost above 10,000 men, and their camp was taken. As for Mithridates, he broke through the Romans with 800 horses, in the beginning of the engagement. That corps, however, did not follow him far before they dispersed, and left him with only three of his people.
The pursuit of Mithridates was attended with great difficulties; for he concealed himself among the nations settled about the Bosphorus and the Palus Maeotis. Besides, news was brought to Pompey that the Albanians had revolted, and taken up arms again. The desire of revenge determined him to march back, and chastise them. But it was with infinite trouble and danger that he passed the Cyrnus again, the barbarians having fenced it on their side with palisades all along the banks. And when he was over, he had a large country to traverse, which afforded no water. This last difficulty he provided against by filling 10,000 bottles; and pursuing his march, he found the enemy drawn up on the banks of the river Abas, to the number of 60,000 foot and 12,000 horse, but many of them ill-armed, and provided with nothing of the defensive kind but skins of beasts.
They were commanded by the king's brother, named Cosis; who, at the beginning of the battle, singled out Pompey, and rushing in upon him, struck his javelin into the joints of his breastplate. Pompey in return run him through with his spear, and laid him dead on the spot. It is said that the Amazons came to the assistance of the barbarians from the mountains near the river Thermodon, and fought in this battle. The Romans, among the plunder of the field, did, indeed, meet with bucklers in the form of a half-moon, and such buskins as the Amazons wore; but there was not the body of a woman found among the dead. They inhabit that part of Mount Caucasus which stretches toward the Hyrcanian Sea, and are not next neighbors to the Albanians; for Gelae and Leges lie between; but they meet that people, and spend two months with them every year on the banks of the Thermodon; after which they retire to their own country.
Pompey had advanced near to Petra, and encamped, and was taking some exercise on horseback without the trenches, when messengers arrived from Pontus; and it was plain they brought good news, because the points of their spears were crowned with laurel. The soldiers seeing this, gathered about Pompey, who was inclined to finish his exercise before he opened the packet; but they were so earnest in their entreaties, that they prevailed upon him to alight and take it. He entered the camp with it in his hand; and as there was no tribunal ready, and the soldiers were too impatient to raise one of turf, which the common method, they piled a number of pack-saddles one upon the other, upon which Pompey mounted, and gave them this information: "Mithridates is dead. He killed himself upon the revolt of his son Pharnaces. And Pharnaces has seized all that belonged to his father; which he declares he has done for himself and Romans."
At this news the army, as might be expected, gave a loose rein to their joy, which they expressed in sacrifices to the gods, and in reciprocal entertainments, as if 10,000 of their enemies had been slain in Mithridates. Pompey having thus brought the campaign and the whole war to a conclusion so happy, and so far beyond his hopes, immediately quitted Arabia, traverses the provinces between that and Galatia with great rapidity, and soon arrived at Amisus. There he found many presents from Pharnaces, and several corpses of the royal family, among which was that of Mithridates. As for Pompey, he would not see the body, but to propitiate the avenging Nemesis, sent it to Sinope. However, he looked upon and admired the magnificence of his habit, and the size and beauty of his arms. The scabbard of his sword cost four hundred talents, and the diadem was of most exquisite workmanship.
Pompey having thoroughly settled the affairs of Asia, hoped to return to Italy the greatest and happiest of men.
People talked variously at Rome concerning his intentions. Many disturbed themselves at the thought that he would march with his army immediately to Rome and make himself sole and absolute master there. Crassus took his children and money, and withdrew; whether it was that he had some real apprehensions, or rather that he chose to countenance the calumny, and add force to the sting of envy; the latter seems the more probable. But Pompey had no sooner set foot in Italy, than he called an assembly of his soldiers, and, after a kind and suitable address, ordered them to disperse in their respective cities, and attend to their own affairs till his triumph, on which occasion they were to repair to him again.
Pompey's triumph was so great, that though it was divided into two days, the time was far from being sufficient for displaying what was prepared to be carried in procession; there remained still enough to adorn another triumph. At the head of the show appeared the titles of the conquered nations: Pontus, Armenia, Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, Media, Colchis, the Iberians, the Albanians, Syria, Cilicia, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Palestine, Judaea, Arabia, the pirates subdued both by sea and land. In these countries, it was mentioned that there were not less than 1,000 castles and 900 cities captured, 800 galleys taken from the pirates, and 39 desolate cities repeopled. On the face of the tablets it appeared besides, that whereas the revenues of the Roman empire before these conquests amounted but to 50,000,000 drachmas, by the new acquisitions they were advanced to 85,000,000; and that Pompey had brought into the public treasury in money, and in gold and silver vessels, the value of 20,000 talents; besides what he had distributed among the soldiers, of whom he that received least had 1,500 drachmas to his share. The captives who walked in the procession (not the mention the chiefs of the pirates) were the son of Tigranes, king of Armenia, together with his wife and daughter; Zosima, the wife of Tigranes himself; Aristobulus, king of Judaea; the sister of Mithridates, with her five sons, and some Scythian women. The hostages of the Albanians and Iberians, and of the king of Commagene also appeared in the train; and as many trophies were exhibited as Pompey had gained victories, either in person or by his lieutenants, the number of which was not small.
But the most honorable circumstance, and what no other Roman could boast, was that his third triumph was over the third quarter of the world, after his former triumphs had been over the other two. Others before him had been honored with three triumphs; but his first triumph was over Africa, his second over Europe, and his third over Asia; so that the three seemed to declare him conqueror of the world.
Those who desire to make the parallel between him and Alexander agree in all respects, tell us he was at this time not quite thirty-four, whereas, in fact, he was entering upon his fortieth year. (It should be the forty-sixth year. Pompey was born in the beginning of the month of August, in the year of Rome 647, and his triumph was in the same month in the year of Rome 692.) Happy it had been for him, if he had ended his days while he was blessed with Alexander's good fortune! The rest of his life, every instance of success brought its proportion of envy, and every misfortune was irretrievable.
In the meantime the wars in Gaul lifted Caesar to the first sphere of greatness. The scene of action was at a great distance from Rome, and he seemed to be wholly engaged with the Belgae, the Suevi, and the Britons; but his genius all the while was privately at work among the people of Rome, and he was undermining Pompey in his most essential interests. His war with the barbarians was not his principal object. He exercised his army, indeed, in those expeditions, as he would have done his own body, in hunting and other diversions of the field, by which he prepared them for higher conflicts, and rendered them not only formidable but invincible.
The gold and silver, and other rich spoils which he took from the enemy in great abundance, he sent to Rome; and by distributing them freely among the aediles, praetors, consuls, and their wives, he gained a great party. Consequently when he passed the Alps and wintered at Lucca, among the crowd of men and women, who hastened to pay their respects to him, there were two hundred senators, Pompey and Crassus of the number; and there were no fewer than one hundred and twenty proconsuls and praetors, whose faces were to be seen at the gates of Caesar. He made it his business in general to give them hopes of great things, and his money was at their devotion; but he entered into a treaty with Crassus and Pompey, by which it was agreed that they should apply for the consulship, and that Caesar should assist them, by sending a great number of his soldiers to vote at the election. As soon as they were chosen, they were to share the provinces, and take the command of armies, according to their pleasure, only confirming Caesar in the possession of what he had for five years more.
Crassus, upon the expiration of his consulship, repaired to his province. Pompey remaining at Rome, opened his theatre; and to make the dedication more magnificent, exhibited a variety of gymnastic games, entertainments of music, and battles with wild beasts, in which were killed 500 lions; but the battle of elephants afforded the most astonishing spectacle. (Dio says the elephants fought with armed men. There were no less than eighteen of them; and he adds, that some of them seemed to appeal, with piteous cries to the people; who, in compassion, saved their lives. If we may believe him, an oath had been taken before they left Africa, that no injury should be done them.) These things gained him the love and admiration of the public; but he incurred their displeasure again, by leaving his provinces and armies entirely to his friends and lieutenants, and roving about Italy with his wife from one villa to another. The strong attachment of Julia appeared on the occasion of an election of aediles. The people came to blows, and some were killed so near Pompey that he was covered with blood, and forced to change his clothes. There was a great crowd and tumult about his door, when his servants went home with a bloody robe; and Julia, happening to see it, fainted away and was with difficulty restored. Shortly after Julia died, and the alliance which had rather covered than restrained the ambition of the two great competitors for power was now no more. To add to the misfortune, news was brought soon after that Crassus was slain by the Parthians; and in him another great obstacle to a civil war was removed. Out of fear of him, they had both kept some measures with each other. But when fortune had carried off the champion who could take up the conqueror, we may say with the comic poet—
High spirits of emprise Elates each chief; they oil their brawny limbs, and dip their hands in dust.
So little able is fortune to fill the capacities of the human mind; when such a weight of power, and extent of command, could not satisfy the ambition of two men. They had heard and read that the gods had divided the universe into three shares,
(Plutarch alludes here to a passage in the fifteenth book of the Iliad, where Neptune says to Iris—
Assign'd by lot our triple rule we know; Infernal Pluto sways the shades below; O'er the wide clouds, and o'er the starry plain, Ethereal Jove extends his high domain; My court beneath the hoary waves I keep, And hush the roarings of the sacred deep.)
and each was content with that which fell to his lot, and yet these men could not think the Roman empire sufficient for two of them. Such anarchy and confusion took place that numbers began to talk boldly of setting up a dictator. Cato, now fearing he should be overborne, was of opinion that it were better to give Pompey some office whose authority was limited by law, than to intrust him with absolute power. Bibulus, though Pompey's declared enemy, moved in full senate, that he should be appointed sole consul. "For by that means," said he, "the commonwealth will either recover from her disorder, or, if she must serve, will serve a man of the greatest merit." The whole house was surprised at the motion; and when Cato rose up, it was expected he would oppose it. A profound silence ensued, and he said, he should never have been the first to propose such an expedient, but as it was proposed by another, he thought it advisable to embrace it; for he thought any kind of government better than anarchy, and knew no man fitter to rule than Pompey, in a time of so much trouble. The senate came into his opinion, and a decree was issued, that Pompey should be appointed sole consul, and that if he should have need of a colleague, he might choose one himself, provided it were not before the expiration of two months.
Pompey being declared sole consul by the Interrex Sulpitius, made his compliments to Cato, acknowledged himself much indebted to his support, and desired his advice and assistance in the cabinet, as to the measures to be pursued in his administration. Cato made answer, that Pompey was not under the least obligation to him; for what he had said was not out of regard to him, but to his country. "If you apply to me," continued he, "I shall give you my advice in private; if not, I shall inform you of my sentiments in public." Such was Cato, and the same on all occasions.
Pompey then went into the city, and married Cornelia, the daughter of Metellus Scipio. She was a widow, having been married, when very young, to Publius the son of Crassus, who was lately killed in the Parthian expedition. This woman had many charms beside her beauty. She was well versed in polite literature; she played upon the lyre, and understood geometry; and she had made considerable improvements by the precepts of philosophy. What is more, she had nothing of that petulance and affectation which such studies are apt to produce in women of her age. And her father's family and reputation were unexceptionable.
Pompey's confidence made him so extremely negligent, that he laughed at those who seemed to fear the war. And when they said if Caesar should advance in a hostile manner to Rome, they did not see what forces they had to oppose him, he bade them, with an open and smiling countenance, give themselves no pain: "For, if in Italy," said he, "I do but stamp upon the ground, an army will appear."
Meantime Caesar was exerting himself greatly. He was now at no great distance from Italy, and not only sent his soldiers to vote in the elections, but by private pecuniary applications, corrupted many of the magistrates. Paulus the consul was of the number, and he had one thousand five hundred talents for changing sides. So also was Curio, one of the tribunes of the people, for whom he paid off an immense debt, and Mark Antony, who, out of friendship for Curio, had stood engaged with him for the debt.
It is said, that when one of Caesar's officers, who stood before the senate-house, waiting the issue of the debates, was informed that they would not give Caesar a longer term in his command, he laid his hand on his sword, and said, "But this shall give it." Indeed, all the preparations of his general tended that way; though Curio's demands in behalf of Caesar seemed more plausible. He proposed, that either Pompey should likewise be obliged to dismiss his forces, or Caesar suffered to keep his. "If they are both reduced to a private station," said he, "they will agree upon reasonable terms; or, if each retains his respective power, they will be satisfied. But he who weakens the one, without doing the same by the other, must double that force which he fears will subvert the government."