But now news was brought that Caesar was marching directly towards Rome with all his forces. The last circumstance, indeed, was not true. He advanced with only three hundred horse and five thousand foot; the rest of his forces were on the other side of the Alps, and he would not wait for them, choosing rather to put his adversaries in confusion by a sudden and unexpected attack, than to fight them when better prepared. When he came to the river Rubicon, which was the boundary of his province, he stood silent a long time, weighing with himself the greatness of his enterprise. At last, like one who plunges down from the top of a precipice into a gulf of immense depth, he silenced his reason, and shut his eyes against the danger; and crying out in the Greek language, "The die is cast," he marched over with his army.
Upon the first report of this at Rome, the city was in greater disorder and astonishment than had ever been known.
All Italy was in motion, with the stir of the coming storm. Those who lived out of Rome fled to it from all quarters, and those who lived in it abandoned it as fast. These saw, that in such a tempestuous and disorderly state of affairs, the well disposed part of the city wanted strength, and that the ill disposed were so refractory that they could not be managed by the magistrates. The terrors of the people could not be removed, and no one would suffer Pompey to lay a plan of action for himself. According to the passion wherewith each was actuated, whether fear, sorrow, or doubt, they endeavored to inspire him with the same; insomuch that he adopted different measures the same day. He could gain no certain intelligence of the enemy's motions, because every man brought him the report he happened to take up, and was angry if it did not meet with credit.
Pompey at last caused it to be declared by a formal edict, that the commonwealth was in danger, and no peace was to be expected. After which, he signified that he should look upon those who remained in the city as the partisans of Caesar; and then quitted it in the dusk of the evening. The consuls also fled, without offering the sacrifices which their customs required before a war. However, in this great extremity, Pompey could not but be considered as happy in the affections of his countrymen. Though many blamed the war, there was not a man who hated the general. Nay, the number of those who followed him, out of attachment to his person, was greater than that of the adventurers in the cause of liberty.
A few days after, Caesar arrived at Rome. When he was in possession of the city, he behaved with great moderation in many respects, and composed in a good measure the minds of its remaining inhabitants.
Pompey, who was the master of Brundusium, and had a sufficient number of transports, desired the consuls to embark without loss of time, and sent them before him with thirty cohorts to Dyrrhachium. But at the same time he sent his father-in-law Scipio and his son Cnaeus into Syria, to provide ships of war. He had well secured the gates of the city, and planted the lightest of his slingers and archers upon the walls; and having now ordered the Brundusians to keep within doors, he caused a number of trenches to be cut, and sharp stakes to be driven into them, and then covered with earth, in all the streets, except two which led down to the sea. In three days all his other troops were embarked without interruption; and then he suddenly gave the signal to those who guarded the walls; in consequence of which, they ran swiftly down to the harbor, and got on board. Thus having his whole complement, he set sail, and crossed the sea to Dyrrhachium.
When Caesar came and saw the walls left destitute of defence, he concluded that Pompey had taken to flight, and in his eagerness to pursue, would certainly have fallen upon the sharp stakes in the trenches, had not the Brundusians informed him of them. He then avoided the streets, and took a circuit round the town, by which he discovered that all the vessels had weighed anchor, except two that had not many soldiers aboard.
This manoeuvre of Pompey was commonly reckoned among the greatest act of generalship. Caesar, however, could not help wondering, that his adversary, who was in possession of a fortified town, and expected his forces from Spain, and at the same time was master of them, should give up Italy in such a manner.
Caesar thus made himself master of all Italy in sixty days without the least bloodshed, and he would have been glad to have gone immediately in pursuit of Pompey. But as he was in want of shipping, he gave up that design for the present, and marched to Spain, with an intent to gain Pompey's forces there.
In the meantime Pompey assembled a great army; and at sea he was altogether invincible. For he had five hundred ships of war, and the number of his lighter vessels was still greater. As for his land forces, he had seven thousand horse, the flower of Rome and Italy, all men of family, fortune, and courage. His infantry, though numerous, was a mixture of raw, undisciplined soldiers; he therefore exercised them during his stay at Beroea, where he was by no means idle, but went through the exercises of a soldier, as if he had been in the flower of his age. It inspired his troops with new courage, when they saw Pompey the Great, at the age of fifty-eight, going through the whole military discipline, in heavy armor, on foot; and then mounting his horse, drawing his sword with ease when at full speed, and as dexterously sheathing it again. As to the javelin, he threw it not only with great exactness, but with such force that few of the young men could dart it to a greater distance.
Many kings and princes repaired to his camp; and the number of Roman officers who had commanded armies was so great, that it was sufficient to make up a complete senate. Labienus, who had been honored with Caesar's friendship, and served under him in Gaul, now joined Pompey.
Caesar had now made himself master of Pompey's forces in Spain, and though it was not without a battle, he dismissed the officers, and incorporated the troops with his own. After this, he passed the Alps again, and marched through Italy to Brundusium, where he arrived at the time of the winter solstice. There he crossed the sea, and landed at Oricum; from whence he dispatched Vibullius, one of Pompey's friends, whom he had brought prisoner thither, with proposals of a conference between him and Pompey, in which they should agree to disband their armies within three days, renew their friendship, confirm it with solemn oath, and then both return to Italy. Pompey took this overture for another snare, and therefore drew down in haste to the sea, and secured all the forts and places of strength for land forces, as well as all the ports and other commodious stations for shipping; so that there was not a wind that blew, which did not bring him either provisions, or troops, or money. On the other hand, Caesar was reduced to such straits, both by sea and land, that he was under the necessity of seeking a battle. Accordingly, he attacked Pompey's intrenchments, and bade him defiance daily. In most of these attacks and skirmishes he had the advantage; but one day was in danger of losing his whole army. Pompey fought with so much valor, that he put Caesar's whole detachment to flight, after having killed two thousand men upon the spot; but was either unable or afraid to pursue his blow, and enter their camp with them. Caesar said to his friends on this occasion, "This day the victory had been the enemy's had their general known how to conquer."
Pompey's troops, elated with this success, were in great haste to come to a decisive battle. Nay, Pompey himself seemed to give in to their opinions by writing to the kings, the generals, and cities, in his interest, in the style of a conqueror. Yet all this while he dreaded the issue of a general action, believing it much better, by length of time, by famine and fatigue, to tire out men who had been ever invincible in arms, and long accustomed to conquer when they fought together. Besides, he knew the infirmities of age had made them unfit for the other operations of war, for long marches and countermarches, for digging trenches and building forts, and that, therefore, they wished for nothing so much as a battle. Pompey, with all these arguments, found it no easy matter to keep his army quiet.
After this last engagement, Caesar was in such want of provisions, that he was forced to decamp, and he took his way through Athamania into Thessaly. This added so much to the high opinion Pompey's soldiers had of themselves, that it was impossible to keep them within bounds. They cried out with one voice, "Caesar is fled." Some called upon the general to pursue; some to pass over into Italy. Others sent their friends and servants to Rome, to engage homes near the forum, for the convenience of soliciting the great offices of state. And not a few went of their own accord to Cornelia, who had been privately lodged in Lesbos, to congratulate her upon the conclusion of the war.
While he thus softly followed the enemy's steps, a complaint was raised against him, and urged with much clamor, that he was not exercising his generalship upon Caesar, but upon the Senate and the whole commonwealth, in order that he might forever keep the command in his hands, and have those for his guards and servants who had a right to govern the world. Domitius Aenobarbus, to increase the odium, always called him Agamemnon, or king of kings. Favonius piqued him no less with a jest, than others by their unseasonable severity; he went about crying, "My friends, we shall eat no figs in Tusculum this year."
These and many other like sallies of ridicule had such an effect upon Pompey, who was ambitious of being spoken well of by the world, and had too much deference for the opinions of his friends, that he gave up his own better judgment, to follow them in the career of their false hopes and prospects. A thing which would have been unpardonable in the pilot or master of a ship, much more in the commander-in-chief of so many nations and such numerous armies. He had often commended the physician who gives no indulgence to the whimsical longings of his patients, and yet he humored the sickly cravings of his army, and was afraid to give them pain, though necessary for the preservation of their life and being. For who can say that army was in a sound and healthy state, when some of the officers went about the camp canvassing for the offices of consul and praetor; and others, namely, Spinther, Domitius, and Scipio, were engaged in quarrels and cabals about Caesar's high-priesthood, as if their adversary had been only a Tigranes, a king of Armenia, or a prince of the Nabathaeans; and not that Caesar and that army who had stormed one thousand cities, subdued above three hundred nations, gained numberless battles of the Germans and Gauls, taken one million prisoners, and killed as many fairly in the field. Notwithstanding all this, they continued loud and tumultuous in their demands of a battle; and when they came to the plains of Pharsalia, forced Pompey to call a council of war. Lebienus, who had the command of the cavalry, rose up first, and took an oath, that he would not return from the battle, till he had put the enemy to flight. All the other officers swore the same.
The night following, Pompey had this dream. He thought he entered his own theatre, and was received with loud plaudits; after which, he adorned the temple of Venus the Victorious with many spoils. This vision, on one side, encouraged him, and on the other alarmed him. He was afraid that Caesar, who was a descendant of Venus, would be aggrandized at his expense. Besides, a panic (A Panic was so called, from the terror which the god Pan is said to have struck the enemies of Greece with, at the battle of Marathon.) fear ran through the camp, the noise of which awakened him. And about the morning watch, over Caesar's camp, where everything was perfectly quiet, there suddenly appeared a great light, from which a stream of fire issued in the form of a torch, and fell upon that of Pompey. Caesar himself says he saw it as he was going his rounds.
Caesar was preparing, at break of day, to march to Scotusa; his soldiers were striking their tents, and the servants and beasts of burden were already in motion, when his scouts brought intelligence that they had seen arms handed about in the enemy's camp, and perceived a noise and bustle, which indicated an approaching battle. After these, others came and assured him that the first ranks were drawn up.
Upon this Caesar said: "The long-wished day is come, on which we shall fight with men, and not with want and famine." Then he immediately ordered the red mantle to be put up before his pavilion, which, among the Romans, is the signal of a battle. The soldiers no sooner beheld it, than they left their tents as they were, and ran to arms with loud shouts, and every expression of joy. And when the officers began to put them in order of battle, each man fell into his proper rank as quietly, and with as much skill and ease, as a chorus in a tragedy.
Pompey placed himself in his right wing over against Antony, and his father-in-law, Scipio, in the centre, opposite Domitius Calvinus. His left wing was commanded by Lucius Domitius, and supported by the cavalry; for they were almost all ranged on that side, in order to break in upon Caesar, and cut off the tenth legion, which was accounted the bravest in his army, and in which he used to fight in person. Caesar, seeing the enemy's left wing so well guarded with horse, and fearing the excellence of their armor, sent for a detachment of six cohorts from the body of the reserve, and placed them behind the tenth legion, with orders not to stir before the attack, lest they should be discovered by the enemy; but when the enemy's cavalry had charged, to make up through the foremost ranks, and then not to discharge their javelins at a distance, as brave men generally do in their eagerness to come to sword in hand, but to reserve them till they came to close fighting, and to push them forward into the eyes and faces of the enemy. "For those fair young dancers," said he, "will never stand the steel aimed at their eyes, but will fly to save their handsome faces."
While Caesar was thus employed, Pompey took a view on horseback of the order of both armies; and finding that they enemy kept their ranks with the utmost exactness, and quietly waited for the signal of battle, while his own men, for want of experience, were fluctuating and unsteady, he was afraid they would be broken up on the first onset. He therefore commanded the vanguard to stand firm in their ranks, and in that close order to receive the enemy's charge. Caesar condemned this measure, as not only tending to lessen the vigor of the blows, which is always greatest in the assailants, but also to damp the fire and spirit of the men; whereas those who advance with impetuosity, and animate each other with shouts, are filled with an enthusiastic valor and superior ardor.
Caesar's army consisted of twenty-two thousand men, and Pompey's was something more than twice that number. When the signal was given on both sides, and the trumpets sounded a charge, each common man attended only to his own concern. But some of the principal Romans and Greeks, who only stood and looked on, when the dreadful moment of action approached, could not help considering to what the avarice and ambition of two men had brought the Roman Empire. The same arms on both sides, the troops marshalled in the same manner, the same standards; in short, the strength and flower of one and the same city turned upon itself! What could be a stronger proof of the blindness and infatuation of human nature, when carried away by its passions? Had they been willing to enjoy the fruits of their labors in peace and tranquillity, the greatest and best part of the world was their own. Or, if they must have indulged their thirst of victories and triumphs, the Parthians and Germans were yet to be subdued. Scythia and India yet remained; together with a very plausible color for their lust of new acquisitions, the pretence of civilizing barbarians. And what Scythian horse, what Parthian arrows, what Indian treasures, could have resisted seventy thousand Romans, led on by Pompey and Caesar, with whose names those nations had long been acquainted! Into such a variety of wild and savage countries had these two generals carried their victorious arms! Whereas now they stood threatening each other with destruction; not sparing even their own glory, though to it they sacrificed their country, but prepared, one of them, to lose the reputation of being invincible, which hitherto they had both maintained. So that the alliance which they had contracted by Pompey's marriage to Julia, was from the first only an artful expedient; and her charms were to form a self-interested compact, instead of being the pledge of a sincere friendship.
The plain of Pharsalia was now covered with men, and horses and arms; and the signal of battle being given on both sides, the first on Caesar's side who advanced to the charge was Caius Crastinus, who commanded a corps of one hundred and twenty men, and was determined to make good his promise to his general. He was the first man Caesar saw when he went out of the trenches in the morning; and upon Caesar's asking him what he thought of the battle, he stretched out his hand, and answered in a cheerful tone, "You will gain a glorious victory, and I shall have your praise this day, either alive or dead." In pursuance of this promise, he advanced the foremost, and many following to support him, he charged into the midst of the enemy. They soon took to their swords, and numbers were slain; but as Crastinus was making his way forward, and cutting down all before him, one of Pompey's men stood to receive him, and pushed his sword in at his mouth with such force, that it went through the nape of his neck. Crastinus thus killed, the fight was maintained with equal advantage on both sides.
Pompey did not immediately lead on his right wing, but often directed his eyes to the left, and lost time in waiting to see what execution his cavalry would do there. Meanwhile they had extended their squadrons to surround Caesar, and prepared to drive the few horse he had placed in front, back upon the foot. At that instant Caesar gave the signal; upon which his cavalry retreated a little; and the six cohorts, which consisted of 3000 men, and had been placed behind the tenth legion, advanced to surround Pompey's cavalry; and coming close up to them, raised the points of their javelins, as they had been taught, and aimed them at the face. Their adversaries, who were not experienced in any kind of fighting, and had not the least previous idea of this, could not parry or endure the blows upon their faces, but turned their backs, or covered their eyes with their hands, and soon fled with great dishonor. Caesar's men took no care to pursue them, but turned their force upon the enemy's infantry, particularly upon that wing, which, now stripped of its horse, lay open to the attack on all sides. The six cohorts, therefore, took them in flank, while the tenth legion charged them in front; and they, who had hoped to surround the enemy, and now, instead of that, saw themselves surrounded, made but a short resistance, and then took to a precipitate flight.
By the great dust that was raised, Pompey conjectured the fate of his cavalry; and it is hard to say what passed in his mind at that moment. He appeared like a man moonstruck and distracted; and without considering that he was Pompey the Great, or speaking to any one, he quitted the ranks, and retired step by step toward his camp—a scene which cannot be better painted than in these verses of Homer: (In the eleventh book of the Iliad, where he is speaking of the flight of Ajax before Hector.)
But partial Jove, espousing Hector's part, Shot heaven-bred horror through the Grecian's heart; Confused, unnerv'd in Hector's presence grown, Amazed he stood with terrors not his own. O'er his broad back his moony shield he threw, And, glaring round, by tardy steps withdrew.
In this condition he entered his tent, where he sat down, and uttered not a word, till at last, upon finding that some of the enemy entered the camp with the fugitives, he said, "What! Into my camp, too!" After this short exclamation, he rose up, and dressing himself in a manner suitable to his fortune, privately withdrew. All the other legions fled; and a great slaughter was made in the camp, of the servants and others who had the care of the tents. But Asinius Pollio, who then fought on Caesar's side, assures us, that of the regular troops there were not above six thousand men killed. (Caesar says, that in all there were fifteen thousand killed, and twenty-four thousand taken prisoners.)
Upon the taking of the camp, there was a spectacle which showed, in strong colors, the vanity and folly of Pompey's troops. All the tents were crowned with myrtle; the beds were strewn with flowers; the tables covered with cups, and bowls of wine set out. In short, everything had the appearance of preparations for feasts and sacrifices, rather than for men going out to battle. To such a degree had their vain hopes corrupted them, and with such a senseless confidence they took to the field!
When Pompey had got at a little distance from the camp, he quitted his horse. He had very few people about him; and, as he saw he was not pursued, he went softly on, wrapped up in such thoughts as we may suppose a man to have, who had been used for thirty-four years to conquer and carry all before him, and now in his old age first came to know what it was to be defeated and to fly. We may easily conjecture what his thoughts must be, when in one short hour he had lost the glory and the power which had been growing up amidst so many wars and conflicts; and he who was lately guarded with such armies of horse and foot, and such great and powerful fleets, was reduced to so mean and contemptible an equipage, that his enemies, who were in search of him, could not know him.
He passed by Larissa, and came to Tempe, where, burning with thirst, he threw himself upon his face, and drank out of the river; after which, he passed through the valley, and went down to the sea-coast. There he spent the remainder of the night in a poor fisherman's cabin. Next morning, about break of day, he went on board a small river-boat, taking with him such of his company as were freemen. The slaves he dismissed, bidding them go to Caesar, and fear nothing.
As he was coasting along, he saw a whip of burden just ready to sail; the master of which was Peticius, a Roman citizen, who, though not acquainted with Pompey, knew him by sight. Therefore, without waiting for any further application, he took him up, and such of his companions as he thought proper, and then hoisted sail. The persons Pompey took with him, were the two Lentuli and Favonius; and a little after, they saw king Deiotarus beckoning to them with great earnestness from the shore, and took him up likewise. The master of the ship provided them with the best supper he could, and when it was almost ready, Pompey, for want of a servant, was going to wash himself, but Favonius, seeing it, stepped up, and both washed and anointed him. All the time he was on board, he continued to wait upon him in all the offices of a servant, even to the washing of his feet and providing his supper; insomuch, that one who saw the unaffected simplicity and sincere attachment with which Favonius performed these offices, cried out—
The generous mind adds dignity To every act, and nothing misbecomes it.
Pompey, in the course of his voyage, sailed by Amphipolis, and from thence steered for Mitylene, to take up Cornelia and his son. As soon as he reached the island, he sent a messenger to the town with news far different from what Cornelia expected. For, by the flattering accounts which many officious persons had given her, she understood that the dispute was decided at Dyrrhachium, and that nothing but the pursuit of Caesar remained to be attended to. The messenger, finding her possessed with such hopes, had not power to make the usual salutations; but expressing the greatness of Pompey's misfortunes by his tears rather than words, only told her she must make haste if she had a mind to see Pompey with one ship only, and that not his own.
At this news Cornelia threw herself upon the ground, where she lay a long time insensible and speechless. At last, coming to herself, she perceived there was no time to be lost in tears and lamentations, and therefore hastened through the town to the sea. Pompey ran to meet her, and received her to his arms as she was just going to fall. While she hung upon his neck, she thus addressed him: "I see, my dear husband, your present unhappy condition is the effect of my ill fortune, and not yours. Alas! how are you reduced to one poor vessel, who, before your marriage with Cornelia, traversed the sea with 500 galleys! Why did you come to see me, and not rather leave me to my evil destiny, who have loaded you, too, with such a weight of calamities? How happy had it been for me to have died before I heard that Publius, my first husband, was killed by the Parthians! How wise, had I followed him to the grave, as I once intended! What have I lived for since, but to bring misfortunes upon Pompey the Great?"
Such, we are assured, was the speech of Cornelia; and Pompey answered: "Till this moment, Cornelia, you have experienced nothing but the smiles of fortune; and it was she who deceived you, because she stayed with me longer than she commonly does with her favorites. But, fated as we are, we must bear this reverse, and make another trial of her. For it is no more improbable that we may emerge from this poor condition and rise to great things again, than it was that we should fall from great things into this poor condition."
Cornelia then sent to the city for her most valuable movables and her servants.
As soon as his wife and his friends were embarked, he set sail, and continued his course without touching at any port, except for water and provisions, till he came to Attalia, a city of Pamphylia. There he was joined by some Cilician galleys; and beside picking up a number of soldiers, he found in a little time sixty senators about him. When he was informed that his fleet was still entire, and that Cato was gone to Africa with a considerable body of men which he had collected after their flight, he lamented to his friends his great error, in suffering himself to be forced into an engagement on land, and making no use of those forces, in which he was confessedly stronger; nor even taking care to fight near his fleet, that, in case of his meeting with a check on land, he might have been supplied from the sea with another army, capable of making head against the enemy. Indeed, we find no greater mistake in Pompey's whole conduct, nor a more remarkable instance of Caesar's generalship, than in removing the scene of action to such a distance from the naval force.
However, as it was necessary to undertake something with the small means he had left, he sent to some cities, and sailed to others himself, to raise money, and to get a supply of men for his ships. But knowing the extraordinary celerity of the enemy's motions, he was afraid he might be beforehand with him, and seize all that he was preparing. He, therefore, began to think of retiring to some asylum, and proposed the matter in council. They could not think of any province in the Roman empire that would afford a safe retreat; and when they cast their eyes on the foreign kingdoms, Pompey mentioned Parthia as the most likely to receive and protect them in their present weak condition, and afterwards to send them back with a force sufficient to retrieve their affairs. Others were of opinion it was proper to apply to Africa, and to Juba in particular. But Theophanes of Lesbos observed it was madness to leave Egypt, which was distant but three days' sail. Besides, Ptolemy, who was growing towards manhood, had particular obligations to Pompey on his father's account. As so it was determined that they should seek for refuge in Egypt. Being informed that Ptolemy was with his army at Pelusium, where he was engaged in war with his sister, he proceeded thither, and sent a messenger before him to announce his arrival, and to entreat the king's protection.
Ptolemy was very young, fourteen years of age, and Photinus, his prime minister, called a council of his ablest officers; though their advice had no more weight than he was pleased to allow it. He ordered each, however, to give his opinion. But who can, without indignation, consider that the fate of Pompey the Great was to be determined by the wretch Photinus, by Theodotus, a man of Chios, who was hired to teach the prince rhetoric, and by Achillas, an Egyptian? For among the king's chamberlains and tutors these had the greatest influence over him and were the persons he most consulted. Pompey lay at anchor at some distance from the place waiting the determination of this respectable board; while he thought it beneath him to be indebted to Caesar for his safety. The council were divided in their opinions, some advising the prince to give him an honorable reception, and others to send him an order to depart. But Theodotus, to display his eloquence, insisted that both were wrong. "If you receive him," said he, "you will have Caesar for your enemy, and Pompey for your master. If you order him off, Pompey may one day revenge the affront and Caesar resent your not having put him in his hands: the best method, therefore, is to send for him and put him to death. By this means you will do Caesar a favor, and have nothing to fear from Pompey." He added with a smile, "Dead men do not bite."
This advice being approved of, the execution of it was committed to Achillas. In consequence of which he took with him Septimius, who had formerly been one of Pompey's officers, and Salvius, who had also acted under him as a centurion, with three or four assistants, and made up to Pompey's ship, where his principal friends and officers had assembled to see how the affair went on. When they perceived there was nothing magnificent in their reception, nor suitable to the hopes which Theophanes had conceived, but that a few men only in a fishing-boat came to wait upon them, such want of respect appeared a suspicious circumstance, and they advised Pompey, while he was out of the reach of missive weapons, to get out to the main sea.
Meantime, the boat approaching, Septimius spoke first, addressing Pompey in Latin by the title of Imperator. Then Achillas saluted him in Greek, and desired him to come into the boat, because the water was very shallow towards the shore, and a galley must strike upon the sands. At the same time they saw several of the king's ships getting ready, and the shore covered with troops, so that if they would have changed their minds it was then too late; besides, their distrust would have furnished the assassins with a pretence for their injustice. He therefore embraced Cornelia, who lamented his sad exit before it happened; and ordered two centurions, one of his enfranchised slaves, named Philip, and a servant called Scenes, to get into the boat before him. When Achillas had hold of his hand, and he was going to step in himself, he turned to his wife and son, and repeated that verse of Sophocles—
Seek'st thou a tyrant's door? Then farewell freedom! Though FREE as air before.
These were the last words he spoke to them.
As there was a considerable distance between the galley and the shore, and he observed that not a man in the boat showed him the least civility, or even spoke to him, he looked at Septimius, and said, "Methinks, I remember you to have been my fellow-soldier;" but he answered only with a nod, without testifying any regard or friendship. A profound silence again taking place, Pompey took out a paper, in which he had written a speech in Greek that he designed to make to Ptolemy, and amused himself with reading it.
When they approached the shore, Cornelia, with her friends in the galley, watched the event with great anxiety. She was a little encouraged, when she saw a number of the king's great officers coming down to the strand, in all appearance to receive her husband and do him honor. But the moment Pompey was taking hold of Philip's hand, to raise him with more ease, Septimius came behind, and ran him through the body; after which Salvius and Achillas also drew their swords. Pompey took his robe in both hands and covered his face, and without saying or doing the least thing unworthy of him, submitted to his fate, only uttering a groan, while they despatched him with many blows. He was then just fifty-nine years old, for he was killed the day after his birthday.
Cornelia, and her friends in the galley, upon seeing him murdered, gave a shriek that was heard to the shore, and weighed anchor immediately. Their flight was assisted by a brisk gale, as they got out more to sea; so that the Egyptians gave up their design of pursuing them. The murderers having cut off Pompey's head, threw the body out of the boat naked, and left it exposed to all who were desirous of such a sight. Philip stayed till their curiosity was satisfied, and then washed the body with sea-water, and wrapped it in one of his own garments, because he had nothing else at hand. The next thing was to look out for wood for the funeral pile; and casting his eyes over the shore, he spied the old remains of a fishing-boat; which, though not large, would make a sufficient pile for a poor naked body that was not quite entire.
While he was collecting the pieces of plank and putting them together, an old Roman, who had made some of his first campaigns under Pompey, came up and said to Philip, "Who are you that are preparing the funeral of Pompey the Great?" Philip answered, "I am his freedman." "But you shall not," said the old Roman, "have this honor entirely to yourself. As a work of piety offers itself, let me have a share in it; that I may not absolutely repent my having passed so many years in a foreign country; but, to compensate many misfortunes, may have the consolation of doing some of the last honors to the greatest general Rome ever produced." In this manner was the funeral of Pompey conducted.
Such was the end of Pompey the Great. As for Caesar, he arrived not long after in Egypt, which he found in great disorder. When they came to present the head, he turned from it, and the person that brought it, as a sight of horror. He received the seal, but it was with tears. The device was a lion holding a sword. The two assassins, Achillas and Photinus, he put to death; and the king, being defeated in battle, perished in the river. Theodotus, the rhetorician, escaped the vengeance of Caesar, by leaving Egypt; but he wandered about a miserable fugitive, and was hated wherever he went. At last, Marcus Brutus, who killed Caesar, found the wretch, in his province of Asia, and put him to death, after having made him suffer the most exquisite tortures. The ashes of Pompey were carried to Cornelia, who buried them in his lands near Alba. (Langhorne has well remarked that Pompey has, in all appearance, and in all consideration of his character, had less justice done him by historians than any other man of his time. His popular humanity, his military and political skills, his prudence (which he sometimes unfortunately gave up), his natural bravery and generosity, his conjugal virtues, which (though sometimes impeached) were both naturally and morally great; his cause, which was certainly, in its original interests, the cause of Rome; all these circumstances entitled him to a more distinguished and more respectable character than any of his historians have thought proper to afford him.)
THE ENGINES OF ARCHIMEDES FROM THE LIFE OF MARCELLUS
Marcellus now moved with his whole army to Syracuse, and, camping near the wall, proceeded to attack the city both by land and by sea. The land forces were conducted by Appius: Marcellus, with sixty galleys, each with five rows of oars, furnished with all sorts of arms and missiles, and a huge bridge of planks laid upon eight ships chained together, upon which was carried the engine to cast stones and darts, assaulted the walls, relying on the abundance and magnificence of his preparations, and on his own previous glory; all which, however, were, it would seem, but trifles for Archimedes and his machines.
These machines he had designed and contrived, not as matters of any importance, but as mere amusements in geometry; in compliance with King Hiero's desire and request, some little time before, that he should reduce to practice some part of his admirable speculations in science, and by accommodating the theoretical truth to sensation and ordinary use, bring it more within the appreciation of people in general. Eudoxus and Archytas had been the originators of this far-famed and highly prized art of mechanics, which they employed as an elegant illustration of geometrical truths, and as a means of sustaining experimentally, to the satisfaction of the senses, conclusions too intricate for proof by words and diagrams. As, for example, to solve the problem, so often required in constructing geometrical figures, given the two extreme, to find the two mean lines of a proportion, both these mathematicians had recourse to the aid of instruments, adapting to their purpose certain curves and sections of lines. (The 'mesolabes or mesalabium, was the name by which this instrument was commonly known.) But what with Plato's indignation at it, and his invectives against it as the mere corruption and annihilation of the one good of geometry,—which was thus shamefully turning its back upon the unembodied objects of pure intelligence to recur to sensation, and to ask help (not to be obtained without haste subservience and depravation) from matter; so it was that mechanics came to be separated from geometry, and, being repudiated and neglected by philosophers, took its place as a military art. Archimedes, however, in writing to King Hiero, whose friend and near relation he was, had stated, that given the force, any weight might be moved, and even boasted, we are told, relying on the strength of demonstration, that if there were another earth, by going into it he could remove this. Hiero being struck with amazement at this, and entreating him to make good this problem by actual experiment, and show some great weight moved by a small engine, he fixed accordingly upon a ship of burden out of the king's arsenal, which could not be drawn out of the dock without great labor and many men; and, loading her with many passengers and a full freight, sitting himself the while far off, with no great endeavor, but only holding the head of the pulley in his hand and drawing the cord by degrees, he drew the ship in a straight line, as smoothly and evenly as if she had been in the sea. The king, astonished at this, and convinced of the power of the art, prevailed upon Archimedes to make him engines accommodated to all the purposes, offensive and defensive, of a siege. These the king himself never made use of, because he spent almost all his life in a profound quiet, and the highest influence. But the apparatus was, in a most opportune time, ready at hand for the Syracusans, and with it also the engineer himself.
When, therefore, the Romans assaulted the walls in two places at once, fear and consternation stupefied the Syracusans, believing that nothing was able to resist that violence and those forces. But when Archimedes began to ply his engines, he at once shot against the land forces all sorts of missile weapons, and immense masses of stone that came down with incredible noise and violence, against which no man could stand; for they knocked down those upon whom they fell, in heaps, breaking all their ranks and files. In the mean time huge poles thrust out from the walls over the ships, sunk some by the great weights which they let down from on high upon them; others they lifted up into the air by an iron hand or beak like a crane's beak, and, when they had drawn them up by the prow, and set them on end upon the poop, they plunged them to the bottom of the sea; or else the ships, drawn by engines within, and whirled about, were dashed against steep rocks that stood jutting out under the walls, with great destruction of the soldiers that were aboard them. A ship was frequently lifted up to a great height in the air (a dreadful thing to behold), and was rolled to and fro, and kept swinging, until the mariners were all thrown out, when at length it was dashed against the rocks, or let fall. In the meantime, Marcellus himself brought up his engine upon the bridge of ships, which was called "Sambuca," from some resemblance it had to an instrument of music, but while it was as yet approaching the wall, there was discharged at it a piece of rock of ten talents' weight, then a second and a third, which, striking upon it with immense force and with a noise like thunder, broke all its foundations to pieces, shook out all its fastenings, and completely dislodged it from the bridge. So Marcellus, doubtful what counsel to pursue, drew off his ships to a safer distance, and sounded a retreat to his forces on land. They then took a resolution of coming up under the walls, if it were possible, in the night; thinking that as Archimedes used ropes stretched at length in playing his engines, the soldiers would now be under the shot, and the darts would, for want of sufficient distance to throw them, fly over their heads without effect. But he, it appeared, had long before framed for such occasion engines accommodated to any distance, and shorter weapons; and had made numerous small openings in the walls, through which, with engines of a shorter range, unexpected blows were inflicted on the assailants. Thus, when they who thought to deceive the defenders came close up to the walls, instantly a shower of darts and other missile weapons was again cast upon them. And when stones came tumbling down perpendicularly upon their heads, and, as it were, the whole wall shot out arrows at them, they retired. And now, again, as they were going off, arrows and darts of a longer range inflicted a great slaughter among them, and their ships were driven one against another; while they themselves were not able to retaliate in any way; for Archimedes had fixed most of his engines immediately under the wall. The Romans, seeing that infinite mischiefs overwhelmed them from no visible means, began to think they were fighting with the gods.
Yet Marcellus escaped unhurt, and, deriding his own artificers and engineers, exclaimed "What! Must we give up fighting with this geometrical Briareus, who plays pitch and toss with our ships, and, with the multitude of darts which he showers at a single moment upon us, really outdoes the hundred-handed giants of mythology?" The rest of the Syracusans were but the body of Archimedes' designs, one soul moving and governing all; for, laying aside all other arms, with his alone they infested the Romans, and protected themselves. In fine, when such terror had seized upon the Romans, that, if they did but see a little rope or a piece of wood from the wall, they instantly cried out, "There it is again! Archimedes is about to let fly another engine at us," and turned their backs and fled, Marcellus desisted from conflicts and assaults, putting all his hope in a long siege. Yet Archimedes possessed so high a spirit, so profound a soul, and such treasures of scientific knowledge, that though these inventions had now obtained him the renown of more than human sagacity, he yet would not deign to leave behind him any commentary or writing on such subjects; but, repudiating as sordid and ignoble the whole trade of engineering, and every sort of art that lends itself to mere use and profit, he placed his whole affection and ambition in those purer speculations where there can be no reference to the vulgar needs of life; studies, the superiority of which to all others is unquestioned, and in which the only doubt can be, whether the beauty and grandeur of the subjects examined, or the precision and cogency of the methods and means of proof, most deserve our admiration. It is not possible to find in all geometry more difficult and intricate questions, or more simple and lucid explanations. Some ascribe this to his natural genius; while others think that incredible effort and toil produced these apparently easy and unlabored results. No amount of investigation of yours would succeed in attaining the proof, and yet, once seen, you immediately believe you would have discovered it; by so smooth and so rapid a path he leads you to the conclusion required. And thus it ceases to be incredible that (as is commonly told of him), the charm of his familiar and domestic Siren made him forget his food and neglect his person, to such a degree that when he was occasionally carried by absolute violence to bathe, or have his body anointed, he used to trace geometrical figures in the ashes of the fire, and diagrams in the oil on his body, being in a state of entire preoccupation, and, in the truest sense, divinely possessed with his love and delight in science. His discoveries were numerous and admirable; and he is said to have requested his friends and relations that when he was dead, they would place over his tomb a cylinder containing a sphere, inscribing it with the ratio of three to two which the containing solid bears to the contained.
DESCRIPTION OF CLEOPATRA FROM THE LIFE OF ANTONY
When Antony was making preparation for the Parthian war, he sent to command Cleopatra to make her personal appearance in Cilicia, to answer the accusation, that she had given great assistance, in the late wars, to Cassius. Dellius, who was sent on this message, had no sooner seen her face, and remarked her adroitness and subtlety in speech, than he felt convinced that Antony would not so much as think of giving any molestation to a woman like this; on the contrary, she would be the first in favor with him. So he set himself at once to pay his court to the Egyptia, and gave her his advice, "to go," in the Homeric style, to Cilicia, "in her best attire," and bade her fear nothing from Antony, the gentlest and the kindest of soldiers. She had some faith in the words of Dellius, but more in her own attractions, which, having formerly recommended her to Caesar and the young Gnaeus Pompey, she did not doubt might prove yet more successful with Antony. Their acquaintance was with her when a girl, young, and ignorant of the world, but she was to meet Antony in the time of life when women's beauty is most splendid, and their intellects are in full maturity, for she was now about twenty-eight years of age. She made great preparation for her journey, of money, gifts, and ornaments of value, such as so wealthy a kingdom might afford, but she brought with her her surest hopes in her own magic arts and charms.
She received several letters, both from Antony and from his friends, to summon her, but she paid no attention to these orders; and at last, as if in mockery of them, she came sailing up the river Cydnus, in a barge with gilded stern and outspread sails of purple, while oars of silver beat time to the music of flutes and fifes and harps. She herself lay stretched along under a canopy of cloth of gold, dressed as Venus in a picture, and beautiful young boys, like painted Cupids, stood on each side to fan her. Her maids were dressed like Sea Nymphs and Graces, some steering at the rudder, some working at the ropes. The perfumes diffused themselves from the vessel to the shore, which was covered with multitudes, part following the galley up the river on either bank, part running out of the city to see the sight. The market-place was quite emptied, and Antony at last was left alone sitting upon the tribunal; while the word went through all the multitude, that Venus had come to feast with Bacchus, for the common good of Asia. On her arrival, Antony sent to invite her to supper. She thought it fitter he should come to her; so, willing to show his good-humor and courtesy, he complied, and went. He found the preparations to receive him magnificent beyond expression, but nothing so admirable as the great number of lights; for on a sudden there were let down all together so great numbers of branches with lights in them so ingeniously disposed, some in squares, and some in circles, that the whole thing was a spectacle that has seldom been equaled for beauty.
The next day, Antony invited her to supper, and was very desirous to outdo her as well in magnificence as contrivance; but he found he was altogether beaten in both, and was so well convinced of it, that he was himself the first to jest and mock at his poverty of wit, and his rustic awkwardness. She, perceiving that his raillery was broad and gross, and savored more of the soldier than the courtier, rejoined in the same taste, and fell into it at once, without any sort of reluctance or reserve. For her actual beauty, it is said, was not in itself so remarkable that none could be compared with her, or that no one could see her without being struck by it, but the contact of her presence, if you lived with her, was irresistible; the attraction of her person, joining with the charm of her conversation, and the character that attended all she said or did, was something bewitching. It was a pleasure merely to hear the sound of her voice, with which, like an instrument of many strings, she could pass from one language to another; so that there were few of the barbarian nations that she answered by an interpreter; to most of them she spoke herself, as to the Aethiopians, Troglodytes, Hebrews, Arabians, Syrians, Medes, Parthians, and many others, whose language she had learnt; which was all the more surprising, because most of the kings her predecessors scarcely gave themselves the trouble to acquire the Egyptian tongue, and several of them quite abandoned the Macedonian.
Antony was so captivated by her that, leaving his troops assembled in Mesopotamia, and ready to enter Syria, he suffered himself to be carried away by her to Alexandria, there to keep holiday, like a boy, in play and diversion, squandering and fooling away in enjoyments that most costly, as Antiphon says, of all valuable, time. They had a sort of company, to which they gave a particular name, calling it that of the "Inimitable Livers." The members entertained one another daily in turn, with an extravagance of expenditure beyond measure or belief. Philotas, a physician of Amphissa, who was at that time a student of medicine in Alexandria, used to tell my grandfather, Lamprias, that, having some acquaintance with one of the royal cooks, he was invited by him, being a young man, to come and see the sumptuous preparations for supper. So he was taken into the kitchen, where he admired the prodigious variety of all things; but particularly, seeing eight wild boars roasting whole, he exclaimed, "Surely you have a great number of guests." The cook laughed at his simplicity, and told him there were not more than twelve to sup, but that every dish was to be served up just roasted to a turn, and if anything was but one minute ill-timed, it was spoiled; "And," said he, "maybe Antony will sup just now, maybe not this hour, maybe he will call for wine, or begin to talk, and will put it off. So that," he continued, "not one, but many suppers must be had in readiness, as it impossible to guess at his hour."
Plato admits four sorts of flattery, but Cleopatra had a thousand. Were Antony serious or disposed to mirth, she had at any moment some new delight or charm to meet his wishes. She played at dice with him, drank with him, hunted with him; and when he exercised in arms, she was there to see. At night she would go rambling with him to disturb and torment people at their doors and windows, dressed like a servant-woman, for Antony also went in servant's disguise, and from these expeditions he often came home very scurvily answered, and sometimes even beaten severely, though most people guessed who it was. It would be trifling without end to be particular in his follies, but his fishing must not be forgotten. He went out one day to angle with Cleopatra, and, being so unfortunate as to catch nothing in the presence of the queen, he gave secret orders to the fishermen to dive under water, and put fishes that had been already taken upon his hooks; and these he drew so fast that the Egyptian perceived it. But, feigning great admiration, she told everybody how dexterous Antony was, and invited them next day to come and see him again. So, when a number of them had come on board the fishing boats, as soon as he had let down his hook, one of her servants was beforehand with his divers, and fixed upon his hook a salted fish from Pontus. Antony, feeling his line give, drew up the prey, and when, as may be imagined, great laughter ensued, Cleopatra said, "Leave the fishing-rod, general, to us poor sovereigns of Pharos and Canopus; your game is cities, provinces, and kingdoms."
ANECDOTES FROM THE LIFE OF AGESILAUS, KING OF SPARTA
Agesilaus is said to have been a little man, of a contemptible presence; but the goodness of his humor, and his constant cheerfulness and playfulness of temper, always free from anything of moroseness or haughtiness, made him more attractive, even to his old age, than the most beautiful and youthful men of the nation. Theophrastus writes, that the Ephors laid a fine upon Archidamus for marrying a little wife, "For," said they, "she will bring us a race of kinglets, instead of kings."
Agesilaus was excessively fond of his children; and it is to him the story belongs, that when they were little ones, he used to make a horse of a stick, and ride with them; and being caught at this sport by a friend, he desired him not to mention it, till he himself should be the father of children.
When the Mantineans revolted from Thebes to Sparta, and Epaminondas understood that Agesilaus had come to their assistance with a powerful army, he privately in the night quitted his quarters at Tegea, and unknown to the Mantineans, passing by Agesilaus, marched toward Sparta, insomuch that he failed very little of taking it empty and unarmed. Agesilaus had intelligence sent him by Euthynus, the Thespian, as Callisthenes says, but Xenophon says by a Cretan, and immediately despatched a horseman to Lacedaemon, to apprise them of it, and to let them know that he was hastening to them. Shortly after his arrival the Thebans crossed the Eurotas. They made an assault upon the town, and were received by Agesilaus with great courage, and with exertions beyond what was to be expected at his years. For he did not now fight with that caution and cunning which he formerly made use of, but put all upon a desperate push; which, though not his usual method, succeeded so well, that he rescued the city out of the very hands of Epaminondas, and forced him to retire, and, at the erection of a trophy, was able, in the presence of their wives and children, to declare that the Lacedaemonians had nobly paid their debt to their country, and particularly his son Archidamus, who had that day made himself illustrious, both by his courage and agility of body, rapidly passing about by the short lanes to every endangered point, and everywhere maintaining the town against the enemy with but few to help him. Isadas, too, the son of Phoebidas, must have been, I think, the admiration of the enemy as well as of his friends. He was a youth of remarkable beauty and stature, in the very flower of the most attractive time of life, when the boy is just rising into the man. He had no arms upon him, and scarcely clothes; he had just anointed himself at home, when, upon the alarm, without further waiting, in that undress, he snatched a spear in one hand, and a sword in the other, and broke his way through the combatants to the enemies, striking at all he met. He received no wound, whether it were that a special divine care rewarded his valor with an extraordinary protection, or whether his shape being so large and beautiful, and his dress so unusual, they thought him more than a man. The Ephors gave him a garland; but as soon as they had done so, they fined him a thousand drachma, for going out to battle unarmed.
THE BROTHERS FROM THE LIFE OF TIMOLEON
Timoleon had an older brother, whose name was Timophanes, who was every way unlike him, being indiscreet and rash and infected by the suggestions of some friends and foreign soldiers, whom he kept always about him, with a passion for absolute power. He seemed to have a certain force and vehemence in all military service, and even to delight in dangers, and thus he took much with the people, and was advanced to the highest charges as a vigorous and effective warrior; in the obtaining of which offices and promotions Timoleon much assisted him, helping to conceal or at least to extenuate his errors, embellishing by his praise whatever was commendable in him, and setting off his good qualities to the best advantage.
It happened once in the battle fought by the Corinthians against the forces of Argos and Cleonae, that Timoleon served among the infantry, when Timophanes, commanding their cavalry, was brought into extreme danger; for his horse being wounded fell forward, and threw him headlong amidst the enemies, while part of his companions dispersed at once in a panic, and the small number that remained, bearing up against a great multitude, had much ado to maintain any resistance. As soon, therefore, as Timoleon was aware of the accident, he ran hastily to his brother's rescue, and covering the fallen Timophanes with his buckler, after having received an abundance of darts and several strokes by the sword upon his body and his armor, he at length with much difficulty obliged the enemies to retire, and brought off his brother alive and safe. But when the Corinthians, for fear of losing their city a second time, as they had once before, by admitting their allies, made a decree to maintain four hundred mercenaries for its security, and gave Timophanes the command over them, he, abandoning all regard for honor and equity, at once proceeded to put into execution his plans for making himself absolute, and bringing the place under his own power; and having cut off many principal citizens, uncondemned and without trial, who were most likely to hinder his design, he declared himself tyrant of Corinth; a procedure that infinitely afflicted Timoleon, to whom the wickedness of such a brother appeared to be his own reproach and calamity. He undertook to persuade him by reasoning to desist from that wild and unhappy ambition, and bethink himself how he could make the Corinthians some amends, and find out an expedient to remedy the evils he had done them. When his single admonition was rejected and contemned by him, he made a second attempt, taking with him Aeschylus his kinsman, brother to the wife of Timophanes, and a certain diviner, that was his friend, whom Theopompus in his history calls Satyrus. This company coming to his brother, all three of them surrounded and earnestly importuned him upon the same subject, that now at length he would listen to reason and be of another mind. But when Timophanes began first to laugh at the men's simplicity, and presently broke out into rage and indignation against them, Timoleon stepped aside from him and stood weeping with his face covered, while the other two, drawing out their swords, despatched him in a moment.
When the rumor of this act was spread about, the better and more generous of the Corinthians highly applauded Timoleon for the hatred of wrong and the greatness of soul that had made him, though of a gentle disposition and full of love and kindness for his family, think the obligations to his country stronger than the ties of consanguinity, and prefer that which is good and just before gain and interest and his own particular advantage. For the same brother, who with so much bravery had been saved by him when he fought valiantly in the cause of Corinth, he had now as nobly sacrificed for enslaving her afterward by a base and treacherous usurpation. But when he came to understand how heavily his mother took it, and that she likewise uttered the saddest complaints and most terrible imprecations against him, he went to satisfy and comfort her, but he found that she would not endure so much as to look upon him, but caused her doors to be shut that he might have no admission into her presence, and with grief at this he grew so disordered in mind and disconsolate, that he determined to put an end to his perplexity with his life, by abstaining from all manner of sustenance. But through the care and diligence of his friends, who were very persistent with him, and added force to their entreaties, he promised at last that he would endure living, provided it might be in solitude, and remote from company; so that, quitting all civil transactions and commerce with the world, for a long while after his first retirement he never came into Corinth, but wandered up and down the fields, full of anxious and tormenting thoughts, and for almost twenty years did not offer to concern himself in any honorable or public action.
THE WOUND OF PHILOPOEMEN
Cleomenes, king of the Lacedaemonians, surprised Megalopolis by night, forced the guards, broke in, and seized the market-place.
Awhile after, king Antigonus coming down to succor the Achaeans, they marched with their united forces against Cleomenes; who, having seized the avenues, lay advantageously posted on the hills of Sellasia. Antigonus drew up close by him, with a resolution to force him in his strength. Philopoemen, with his citizens, was that day placed among the horse, next to the Illyrian foot, a numerous body of bold fighters, who completed the line of battle, forming, together with the Achaeans, the reserve. Their orders were to keep their ground, and not engage till they should see a red coat lifted up on the point of a spear from the other wing, where the king fought in person. The Achaeans obeyed their order and stood fast; but the Illyrians were led on by their commanders to the attack. Euclidas, the brother of Cleomenes; seeing the foot thus severed from the horse, detached the best of his light-armed men, commanding them to wheel about and charge the unprotected Illyrians in the rear. This charge put things into confusion, and Philopoemen, considering that those light-armed men could be easily repelled, went first to the king's officers to make them sensible of what the occasion required. But when they did not mind what he said, slighting him as a hare-brained fellow (as indeed he was not yet of any repute sufficient to give credit to a proposal of such importance). he charged with his own citizens, and at the first encounter disordered, and soon after put the troops to flight with great slaughter. Then, to encourage the king's army further, to bring them all upon the enemy while he was in confusion, he quitted his horse, and fighting with extreme difficulty in his heavy horseman's dress, in rough, uneven ground, full of water-courses and hollows, had both his thighs struck through with a thonged javelin. It was thrown with great force, so that the head came out on the other side, and made a severe though not a mortal wound. There he stood awhile, as if he had been shackled, unable to move. The fastening which joined the thong to the javelin made it difficult to get it drawn out, nor would anybody about him venture to do it. But the fight being now at the hottest, and likely to be quickly decided, he was transported with the desire of partaking in it, and struggled and strained so violently, setting one leg forward, the other back, that at last he broke the shaft in two, and thus got the pieces pulled out. Being in this manner set at liberty he caught up his sword, and running through the midst of those who were fighting in the first ranks, animated his men, and set them afire with emulation. Antigonus, after the victory, asked the Macedonians, to try them, how it happened that the cavalry had charged without orders before the signal? and when they answered that they were forced to it against their wills by a young man of Megalopolis, who had fallen in before it was time, Antigonus replied, smiling, "That young man acted like an experienced commander."
A ROMAN TRIUMPH FROM THE LIFE OF PAULUS AEMILIUS
Paulus Aemilius, advanced in years, being nearly threescore, yet vigorous in his own person, and rich in valiant sons and sons-in-law, besides a great number of influential relations and friends, all of whom joined in urging him to yield to the desires of the people, who called him to the consulship. He at first manifested some shyness of the people, and withdrew himself from their importunity, professing reluctance to hold office; but, when they daily came to his doors, urging him to come forth to the place of election, and pressing him with noise and clamor, he acceded to their request. When he appeared amongst the candidates, it did not look as if it were to sue for the consulship, but to bring victory and success, that he came down into the Campus; with such hopes and such gladness did they all receive him there, unanimously choosing him a second time consul; nor would they suffer the lots to be cast, as was usual, to determine which province should fall to his share, but immediately decreed him the command of the Macedonian war. It is told, that when he had been proclaimed general against Perseus, and was honorably accompanied home by great numbers of people, he found his daughter Tertia, a very little girl, weeping, and taking her to him asked her why she was crying. She, catching him about the neck and kissing him, said, "O father, do you not know that Perseus is dead?" meaning a little dog of that name who had been brought up in the house with her; to which Aemilius replied, "Good fortune, my daughter; I embrace the omen." Thus Cicero, the orator, relates in his book on divination.
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The triumph of Aemilius over Perseus was performed in this manner.
The people erected scaffolds in the Forum, in the circuses, as they call their buildings, for horse-races, and in all other parts of the city where they could best behold the show. The spectators were clad in white garments; all the temples were open, and full of garlands and perfumes; the ways were cleared and kept open by numerous officers, who drove back all who crowded into or ran across the main avenue. This triumph lasted three days. On the first, which was scarcely long enough for the sight, were to be seen the statues, pictures, and colossal images, which were taken from the enemy, drawn upon two hundred and fifty chariots. On the second, was carried in a great many wagons the finest and richest armor of the Macedonians, both of brass and steel, all newly polished and glittering; the pieces of which were piled up and arranged purposely with the greatest art, so as to seem to be tumbled in heaps carelessly and by chance; helmets were thrown upon shields, coats of mail upon greaves; Cretan targets, and Thracian bucklers and quivers of arrows, lay huddled amongst horses' bits, and through these there appeared the points of naked swords, intermixed with long Macedonian sarissas. All these arms were fastened together with just so much looseness that they struck against one another as they were drawn along, and made a harsh and alarming noise, so that, even as spoils of a conquered enemy, they could not be beheld without dread. After these wagons loaded with armor, there followed three thousand men who carried the silver that was coined, in seven hundred and fifty vessels, each of which weighed three talents, and was carried by four men. Others brought silver bowls and goblets and cups, all disposed in such order as to make the best show, and all curious as well for their size as the solidity of their embossed work.
On the third day, early in the morning, first came the trumpeters, who did not sound as they were wont in a procession or solemn entry, but such a charge as the Romans use when they encourage the soldiers to fight. Next followed young men wearing frocks with ornamented borders, who led to the sacrifice a hundred and twenty stalled oxen, with their horns gilded, and their heads adorned with ribbons and garlands; and with these were boys that carried basins for libation, of silver and gold. After this was brought the gold coin, which was divided into vessels that weighed three talents, like those that contained the silver; they were in number seventy-seven. These were followed by those that brought the consecrated bowl which Aemilius had caused to be made, that weighed ten talents, and was set with precious stones. Then were exposed to view the cups of Antigonus and Seleucus, and those of the Thericlean make (Thericles, according to the more probable supposition, was a Corinthian potter: the first maker of a particular kind of cup, which long continued to bear his name.) and all the gold plate that was used at Perseus' table. Next to these came Perseus' chariot, in which his armor was placed, and on that his diadem. And, after a little intermission, the king's children were led captives, and with them a train of their attendants, masters, and teachers, all shedding tears, and stretching out their hands to the spectators, and making the children themselves also beg and entreat their compassion. There were two sons and a daughter whose tender age made them but little sensible of the greatness of their misery, which very insensibility of their condition rendered it the more deplorable; insomuch that Perseus himself was scarcely regarded as he went along, whilst pity fixed the eyes of the Romans upon the infants; many of them could not forbear tears, and all beheld the sight with a mixture of sorrow and pleasure, until the children had passed.
After his children and their attendants came Perseus himself, clad all in black, and wearing the boots of his country; and looking like one altogether stunned and deprived of reason, through the greatness of his misfortunes. Next followed a great company of his friends and familiars, whose countenances were disfigured with grief, and who let the spectators see, by their tears and their continual looking upon Perseus, that it was his fortune they so much lamented, and that they were regardless of their own. Perseus sent to Aemilius to entreat that he might not be led in pomp, but be left out of the triumph; who, deriding, as was but just, his cowardice and fondness of life, sent him this answer, that as for that, it had been before, and was now, in his own power; giving him to understand that the disgrace could be avoided by death; which the faint-hearted man not having the spirit for, and made effeminate by I know not what hopes, allowed himself to appear as a part of his own spoils. After these were carried four hundred crowns, all made of gold, sent from the cities by their respective deputations to Aemilius, in honor of his victory. Then he himself came, seated on a chariot magnificently adorned (a man well worthy to be looked at, even without these ensigns of power), dressed in a robe of purple, interwoven with gold, and holding a laurel branch in his right hand. All the army, in like manner, with boughs of laurel in their hands, divided into their bands and companies, followed the chariot of their commander; some singing verses, according to the usual custom, mingled with raillery; others, songs of triumph, and the praise of Aemilius's deeds; who, indeed, was admired and accounted happy by all men, and unenvied by every one that was good; except so far as it seems the province of some god to lessen that happiness which is too great and inordinate, and so to mingle the affairs of human life that no one should be entirely free from calamities; but, as we read in Homer*, only those should think themselves truly blessed to whom fortune has given an equal share of good and evil.
* "Grief is useless; cease to lament," Achilles to Priam, his suppliant for the body of Hecor. "For thus have the gods appointed for mortal men; that they should live in vexation, while the gods themselves are untroubled. Two vessels are set upon the threshold of Zeus, of the gifts that he dispenses; one of evil things, the other of good; he who receives from both at the hand of thundering Zeus, meets at one time with evil, and at another with good; he who receives from only one, is a miserable wretch."
THE NOBLE CHARACTER OF CAIUS FABRICIUS FROM THE LIFE OF PYRRHUS
Caius Fabricius, a man of highest consideration among the Romans as an honest man and a good soldier, but extremely poor, went upon an embassy to Pyrrhus to treat about prisoners that had been taken. Pyrrhus received him with much kindness, and privately would have persuaded him to accept of his gold, not for any evil purpose, but as a mark of respect and hospitable kindness. Upon Fabricius's refusal, he pressed him no further, but the next day, having a mind to discompose him, as he had never seen an elephant before, he commanded one of the largest, completely armed, to be placed behind the hangings, as they were talking together. This being done, at a given signal the hanging was drawn aside, and the elephant, raising his trunk over the head of Fabricius, made a horrid and ugly noise. He gently turned about and, smiling, said to Pyrrhus, "neither your money yesterday, nor this beast today make any impression upon me." At supper, amongst all sorts of things that were discoursed of, but more particularly Greece and the philosophers there, Cineas, by accident, had occasion to speak of Epicurus, and explained the opinions his followers hold about the gods and the commonwealth, and the object of life, who place the chief happiness of man in pleasure, and decline public affairs as an injury and disturbance of a happy life, and remove the gods afar off both from kindness or anger, or any concern for us at all, to a life wholly without business and flowing in pleasures. Before he had done speaking, Fabricius cried out to Pyrrhus, "O Hercules! may Pyrrhus and the Samnites entertain themselves with this sort of opinions as long as they are at war with us." Pyrrhus, admiring the wisdom and gravity of the man, was the more transported with desire to make friendship instead of war with the city, and entreated him, personally, after the peace should be concluded, to accept of living with him as the chief of his ministers and generals. Fabricius answered quietly, "Sir, this will not be for your advantage, for they who now honor and admire you, when they have had experience of me, will rather choose to be governed by me, than by you." And Pyrrhus received his answer without any resentment or tyrannic passion; nay, among his friends he highly commended the great mind of Fabricius, and intrusted the prisoners to him alone, on condition that if the senate should not vote a peace, after they had conversed with their friends and celebrated the festival of Saturn, they should be remanded. And, accordingly, they were sent back after the holidays; death being decreed for any that stayed behind.
After this, when Fabricius had taken the consulate, a person came with a letter to the camp written by the king's principal physician, offering to take Pyrrhus off by poison, and so end the war without further hazard to the Romans, if he might have a reward proportional to his service. Fabricius, despising the villany of the man, and disposing the other consul to the same opinion, sent despatches immediately to Pyrrhus to caution him against the treason. His letter was to this effect: "Caius Fabricius and Quintus Aemilius, consuls of the Romans, to Pyrrhus the king, health. You seem to have made a bad judgement both of your friends and your enemies; you will understand by reading this letter sent to us, that you are at war with honest men, and trust villains and knaves. Nor do we disclose this out of any favor to you, but lest your ruin might bring a reproach upon us, as if we had ended the war by treachery because not able to do it by force." When Pyrrhus had read the letter, and made inquiry into the treason, he punished the physician, and as an acknowledgement to the Romans sent to Rome the prisoners without ransom. But they, regarding it as at once too great a kindness from an enemy, and too great a reward for not doing a mean act to accept their prisoners so, released in return an equal number of the Tarentines and Samnites, but would admit of no debate of alliance or peace until Pyrrhus had removed his arms and forces out of Italy, and sailed back to Epirus with the same ships that brought him over.
FROM THE LIFE OF QUINTUS FABIUS MAXIMUS
Hannibal was within five miles of Tarentum, when he was informed that the town had been taken by Fabius. He said openly, "Rome, then, has also got a Hannibal; as we won Tarentum, so have we lost it." And, in private with some of his confidants, he told them, for the first time, that he always thought it difficult, but now he held it impossible, with the forces he then had, to master Italy.
Upon this success, Fabius had a triumph decreed him at Rome, much more splendid than his first; they looked upon him now as a champion who had learned to cope with his antagonist, and could now easily foil his arts and prove his best skill ineffectual. And, indeed the army of Hannibal was at this time partly worn out with continual action, and partly weakened and become dissolute with over abundance and luxury. Marcus Livius, who was governor of Tarentum when it was betrayed to Hannibal, and had then retired into the citadel, which he kept till the town was retaken, was annoyed at these honors and distinctions, and, on one occasion, openly declared in the senate, that by his resistance, more than by any actions of Fabius, Tarentum had been recovered; on which Fabius laughingly replied: "What you say is very true, for if Marcus Livius had not lost Tarentum, Fabius Maximus had never recovered it." The people, among other marks of gratitude, gave his son the consulship of the next year; shortly after whose entrance upon his office, there being some business on foot about provision for the war, his father, either on account of age and infirmity, or perhaps out of design to try his son, came up to him on horseback. While he was still at a distance, the young consul observed it, and bade one of his lictors command his father to alight, and tell him that, if he had any business with the consul, he should come on foot. The bystanders seemed offended at the imperiousness of the son towards a father so venerable for his age and his authority, and turned their eyes in silence towards Fabius. He, however, instantly alighted from his horse, and with open arms came up, almost running, and embracing him said, "Yes, my son, you do well, and understand what authority you have received, and over whom you are to use it. This was the way by which we and our forefathers advanced the dignity of Rome, preferring ever her honor and service to our own fathers and children."
And, in fact, it is told that the great-grandfather of Fabius, who was undoubtedly the greatest man of Rome in his time, both in reputation and authority, who had been five times consul, and had been honored with several triumphs for victories obtained by him, took pleasure in serving as lieutenant under his own son, when he went as consul to his command. And when afterwards his son had a triumph bestowed upon him for his good service, the old man followed his triumphant chariot, on horseback, as one of his attendants; and made it his glory, that while he really was, and was acknowledged to be, the greatest man in Rome, and held a father's full power over his son, he yet submitted himself to the law and the magistrate.
THE CRUELTY OF LUCIUS CORNELIUS SYLLA
Sylla's general personal appearance may be known by his statues; only his blue eyes, of themselves extremely keen and glaring, were rendered all the more forbidding and terrible by the complexion of his face, in which white was mixed with rough blotches of fiery red. Hence, it is said, he was surnamed Sylla, and in allusion to it one of the scurrilous jesters at Athens made the verse upon him,
Sylla is a mulberry sprinkled o'er with meal.
Sylla being wholly bent upon slaughter, filled the city with executions without number or limit, many wholly uninterested persons falling a sacrifice to private enmity, through his permission and indulgence to his friends. At last Caius Metellus, one of the younger men, made bold in the senate to ask him what end there was of these evils, and at what point he might be expected to stop? "We do ask you," said he, "to pardon any whom you have resolved to destroy, but to free from doubt those whom you are pleased to save." Sylla answering, that he knew not as yet whom to spare, he asked: "Will you then tell us whom you will punish?" This Sylla said he would do. These last words, some authors say, were spoken not by Metellus, but by Afidius, one of Sylla's fawning companions. Immediately upon this, without communicating with any magistrates, Sylla proscribed eighty persons, and notwithstanding the general indignation, after one day's respite, he posted two hundred and twenty more, and on the third again, as many. In an address to the people on this occasion, he told them he had put up as many names as he could think of; those which had escaped his memory, he would publish at a future time. He issued an edict likewise, making death the punishment of humanity, proscribing any who should dare to receive and cherish a proscribed person, without exception to brother, son, or parents. And to him who should slay any one proscribed person, he ordained two talents' reward, even were it a slave who had killed his master, or a son his father. And what was thought most unjust of all, he caused the attainder to pass upon their sons, and sons' sons, and made open sale of all their property. Nor did the proscription prevail only at Rome, but throughout all the cities of Italy the effusion of blood was such that neither sanctuary of the gods nor hearth of hospitality nor ancestral home escaped. Men were butchered in the embraces of their wives, children in the arms of their mothers. Those who perished through public animosity, or private enmity, were nothing in comparison to the numbers of those who suffered for their riches. Even the murderers began to say, that "his fine house killed this man, a garden that, a third, his hot baths." Quintus Aurelius, a quiet, peaceable man, and one who thought all his part in the common calamity consisted in condoling with the misfortunes of others, coming into the forum to read the list, and finding himself among the proscribed, cried out, "Woe is me, my Alban farm has informed against me." He had not gone far, before he was despatched by a ruffian, sent on that errand.
In the meantime, Marius, on the point of being taken, killed himself; and Sylla, coming to Praeneste, at first proceeded judicially against each particular person, till at last, finding it a work of too much time, he cooped them up together in one place, to the number of twelve thousand men, and gave order for the execution of them all, save his own host (The friend, that is, with whom he always stayed when he happened to be at Praeneste, his 'xenos;' a relationship much regarded to the Greek and Roman world) alone excepted. But he, brave man, telling him he could not accept the obligation of life from the hands of one who had been the ruin of his country, went in among the rest, and submitted willingly to the stroke.
THE LUXURY OF LUCULLUS
Lucullus' life, like the Old comedy, presents us at the commencement with acts of policy and of war, and at the end offers nothing but good eating and drinking, feastings, and revelings, and mere play. For I give no higher name to his sumptuous buildings, porticos and baths, still less to his paintings and sculptures, and all his industry about these curiosities, which he collected with vast expense, lavishly bestowing all the wealth and treasure which he got in the war upon them, insomuch that even now, with all the advance of luxury, the Lucullean gardens are counted the noblest the emperor has. Tubero, the stoic, when he saw his buildings at Naples, where he suspended the hills upon vast tunnels, brought in the sea for moats and fish-ponds round his house, and pleasure-houses in the waters, called him Xerxes in a gown. He had also fine seats in Tusculum, belvederes, and large open balconies for men's apartments, and porticos to walk in, where Pompey coming to see him, blamed him for making a house which would be pleasant in summer, but uninhabitable in winter; whom he answered with a smile, "You think me, then, less provident than cranes and storks, not to change my home with the season." When a praetor, with great expense and pains, was preparing a spectacle for the people, and asked him to lend him some purple robes for the performers in a chorus, he told him he would go home and see, and if he had any, would let him take them; and the next day asking how many he wanted, and being told that a hundred would suffice, bade him take twice as many: on which the poet Horace observes, that a house is indeed a poor one, where the valuables unseen and unthought of do not exceed all those that meet the eye.
Lucullus' daily entertainments were ostentatiously extravagant, not only in purple coverlets, and plate adorned with precious stones, and dancings, and interludes, but with the greatest diversity of dishes and the most elaborate cookery, for the vulgar to admire and envy. It was a happy thought of Pompey in his sickness, when his physician prescribed a thrush for his dinner, and his servants told him that in summer time thrushes were not to be found anywhere but in Lucullus' fattening coops, that he would not suffer them to fetch one thence, but observed to his physician, "So if Lucullus had not been an epicure, Pompey had not lived," and ordered something else that could easily be got to be prepared for him. Cato was his friend and connection, but, nevertheless, so hated his life and habits, that when a young man in the senate made a long and tedious speech in praise of frugality and temperance, Cato got up and said, "How long do you mean to go making money like Crassus, living like Lucullus, and talking like Cato?"
It is plain from the anecdotes on record of him, that Lucullus was not only pleased with, but even gloried in his way of living. For he is said to have feasted several Greeks upon their coming to Rome day after day, who, out of a true Grecian principle, being ashamed, and declining the invitation, where so great an expense was every day incurred for them, he with a smile said to them, "Some of this, indeed, my Grecian friends, is for your sakes, but more for that of Lucullus." Once when he supped alone, there being only one course, and that but moderately furnished, he called his steward and reproved him, who, professing to have supposed that there would be no need of any great entertainment, when nobody was invited, was answered, "What, did you not know, then, that today Lucullus was to dine with Lucullus?" This being much spoken of about the city, Cicero and Pompey one day met him loitering in the forum, the former his intimate friend and familiar, and, though there had been some ill-will between Pompey and him about the command in the war, still they used to see each other and converse on easy terms together. Cicero accordingly saluted him, and asked him whether today was a good time for asking a favor of him, and on his answering, "Very much so," and begging to hear what it was, Cicero said, "then we should like to dine with you today, just on the dinner that is prepared for yourself." Lucullus being surprised, and requesting a day's time, they refused to grant it, and would not allow him to talk with his servants, for fear he should give orders for more than was appointed before. But this they consented to, that before their faces he might tell his servant, that today he would sup in "the Apollo" (for so one of his best dining-rooms was called), and by this evasion he outwitted his guests. For every room, as it seems, had its own assessment of expenditure, dinner at such a price, and all else in accordance; so that the servants, on knowing where he would dine, knew also how much was to be expended, and in what style and form dinner was to be served. The expense for the Apollo was fifty thousand drachmas, and such a sum being that day laid out, the greatness of the cost did not so much amaze Pompey and Cicero, as the rapidity of the outlay. One might believe that Lucullus thought his money really captive and barbarian, so wantonly and contumeliously did he treat it.
His furnishing of a library, however, deserves praise and record, for he collected very many choice manuscripts; and the use they were put to was even more magnificent than the purchase, the library being always open, and the walks and reading rooms about it free to all Greeks, whose delight it was to leave their other occupations and hasten thither as to the habitation of the Muses, there walking about, and diverting one another. He himself often passed his hours there, disputing with the learned in the walks, and giving his advice to statesmen who required it, insomuch that his house was altogether a home, and in a manner, a Greek prytaneum for those that visited Rome.
FROM THE LIFE OF SERTORIUS
(The Roman who endeavored to establish a separate government for himself in Spain.)
Sertorius was highly honored for his introducing discipline and good order among the Spaniards, for he altered their furious and savage manner of fighting, and brought them to make use of the Roman armor, taught them to keep their ranks, and observe signals and watchwords; and out of a confused horde of thieves and robbers, he constituted a regular, well-disciplined army. He bestowed silver and gold upon them liberally to gild and adorn their helmets, he had their shields worked with various figures and designs, he brought them into the mode of wearing flowered and embroidered cloaks and coats, and by supplying money for these purposes, and joining with them in all improvements, he won the hearts of all. That, however, which delighted them most, was the care that he took of their children. He sent for all the boys of noblest parentage out of all their tribes, and placed them in the great city of Osca, where he appointed masters to instruct them in the Grecian and Roman learning, that when they came to be men, they might, as he professed, be fitted to share with him in authority, and in conducting the government, although under this pretext he really made them hostages. However, their fathers were wonderfully pleased to see their children going daily to the schools in good order, handsomely dressed in gowns edged with purple, and that Sertorius paid for their lessons, examined them often, distributed rewards to the most deserving, and gave them the golden bosses to hang around their necks, which the Romans called "bullae."
All the cities on this side of the river Ebro finally united their forces under his command, and his army grew very great, for they flocked together and flowed in upon him from all quarters. But when they continually cried out to attack the enemy, and were impatient of delay, their inexperienced, disorderly rashness caused Sertorius much trouble, who at first strove to restrain them with reason and good counsel, but when he perceived them refractory and unseasonably violent, he gave way to their impetuous desires, and permitted them to engage with the enemy, in such a way that they might be repulsed, yet not totally routed, and so become more obedient to his commands for the future. This happening as he had anticipated, he soon rescued them, and brought them safe into his camp. And after a few days, being willing to encourage them again, when he had called all his army together, he caused two horses to be brought into the field, one an old, feeble, lean animal, the other a lusty, strong horse, with a remarkably thick and long tail. Near the lean one he placed a tall, strong man, and near the strong, young horse a weak, despicable-looking fellow; and at a given signal the strong man took hold of the weak horse's tail with both his hands, and drew it to him with his whole force, as if he would pull it off; the other, the weak man, in the meantime, set to work to pluck off hair by hair the great horse's tail. And when the strong man had given trouble enough to himself in vain, and sufficient diversion to the company, and had abandoned his attempt, whilst the weak, pitiful fellow in a short time and with little pains had left not a hair on the great horse's tail, Sertorius arose and said to his army, "You see, fellow-soldiers, that perseverance is more prevailing than violence, and that many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield readily when taken little by little. Assiduity and persistence are irresistible, and in time overthrow and destroy the greatest powers. Time being the favorable friend and assistant of those who use their judgment to await his occasions, and the destructive enemy of those who are unseasonably urging and pressing forward."