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Plutarch's Lives

Part 18 out of 35

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fell a ready victim to his subtlety. When Ariamnes had thus
worked upon him, he drew him from the river into vast plains, by a
way that at first was pleasant and easy, but afterwards very
troublesome by reason of the depth of the sand; no tree, nor any
water, and no end of this to be seen; so that they were not only
spent with thirst, and the difficulty of the passage, but were
dismayed with the uncomfortable prospect of not a bough, not a
stream, not a hillock, not a green herb, but in fact a sea of
sand, which encompassed the army with its waves. They began to
suspect some treachery, and at the same time came messengers from
Artavasdes, that he was fiercely attacked by Hyrodes, who had
invaded his country, so that now it was impossible for him to send
any succors, and that he therefore advised Crassus to turn back,
and with joint forces to give Hyrodes battle, or at least that he
should march and encamp where horses could not easily come, and
keep to the mountains. Crassus, out of anger and perverseness,
wrote him no answer, but told them, at present he was not at
leisure to mind the Armenians, but he would call upon them another
time, and revenge himself upon Artavasdes for his treachery.
Cassius and his friends began again to complain, but when they
perceived that it merely displeased Crassus, they gave over, but
privately railed at the barbarian, "What evil genius, O thou worst
of men, brought thee to our camp, and with what charms and potions
hast thou bewitched Crassus, that he should march his army through
a vast and deep desert, through ways which are rather fit for a
captain of Arabian robbers, than for the general of a Roman army?"
But the barbarian being a wily fellow, very submissively exhorted
them, and encouraged them to sustain it a little further, and ran
about the camp, and, professing to cheer up the soldiers, asked
them, jokingly, "What, do you think you march through Campania,
expecting everywhere to find springs, and shady trees, and baths,
and inns of entertainment? Consider you now travel through the
confines of Arabia and Assyria." Thus he managed them like
children, and before the cheat was discovered, he rode away; not
but that Crassus was aware of his going, but he had persuaded him
that he would go and contrive how to disorder the affairs of the

It is related that Crassus came abroad that day not in his scarlet
robe, which Roman generals usually wear, but in a black one,
which, as soon as he perceived, he changed. And the
standard-bearers had much ado to take up their eagles, which
seemed to be fixed to the place. Crassus laughed at it, and
hastened their march, and compelled his infantry to keep pace with
his cavalry, till some few of the scouts returned and told them
that their fellows were slain and they hardly escaped, that the
enemy was at hand in full force, and resolved to give them battle.
On this all was in an uproar; Crassus was struck with amazement,
and for haste could scarcely put his army in good order. First,
as Cassius advised, he opened their ranks and files that they
might take up as much space as could be, to prevent their being
surrounded, and distributed the horse upon the wings, but
afterwards changing his mind, he drew up his army in a square, and
made a front every way, each of which consisted of twelve cohorts,
to every one of which he allotted a troop of horse, that no part
might be destitute of the assistance that the horse might give,
and that they might be ready to assist everywhere, as need should
require. Cassius commanded one of the wings, young Crassus the
other, and he himself was in the middle. Thus they marched on
till they came to a little river named Balissus, a very
inconsiderable one in itself, but very grateful to the soldiers,
who had suffered so much by drought and heat all along their
march. Most of the commanders were of the opinion that they ought
to remain there that night, and to inform themselves as much as
possible of the number of the enemies, and their order, and so
march against them at break of day; but Crassus was so carried
away by the eagerness of his son, and the horsemen that were with
him, who desired and urged him to lead them on and engage, that he
commanded those that had a mind to it to eat and drink as they
stood in their ranks, and before they had all well done, he led
them on, not leisurely and with halts to take breath, as if he was
going to battle, but kept on his pace as if he had been in haste,
till they saw the enemy, contrary to their expectation, neither so
many nor so magnificently armed as the Romans expected. For
Surena had hid his main force behind the first ranks, and ordered
them to hide the glittering of their armor with coats and skins.
But when they approached and the general gave the signal,
immediately all the field rung with a hideous noise and terrible
clamor. For the Parthians do not encourage themselves to war with
cornets and trumpets, but with a kind of kettle-drum, which they
strike all at once in various quarters. With these they make a
dead hollow noise like the bellowing of beasts, mixed with sounds
resembling thunder, having, it would seem, very correctly
observed, that of all our senses hearing most confounds and
disorders us, and that the feelings excited through it most
quickly disturb, and most entirely overpower the understanding.

When they had sufficiently terrified the Romans with their noise,
they threw off the covering of their armor, and shone like
lightning in their breastplates and helmets of polished Margianian
steel, and with their horses covered with brass and steel
trappings. Surena was the tallest and finest looking man himself,
but the delicacy of his looks and effeminacy of his dress did not
promise so much manhood as he really was master of; for his face
was painted, and his hair parted after the fashion of the Medes,
whereas the other Parthians made a more terrible appearance, with
their shaggy hair gathered in a mass upon their foreheads after
the Scythian mode. Their first design was with their lances to
beat down and force back the first ranks of the Romans, but when
they perceived the depth of their battle, and that the soldiers
firmly kept their ground, they made a retreat, and pretending to
break their order and disperse, they encompassed the Roman square
before they were aware of it. Crassus commanded his light-armed
soldiers to charge, but they had not gone far before they were
received with such a shower of arrows that they were glad to
retire amongst the heavy-armed, with whom this was the first
occasion of disorder and terror, when they perceived the strength
and force of their darts, which pierced their arms, and passed
through every kind of covering, hard and soft alike. The
Parthians now placing themselves at distances began to shoot from
all sides, not aiming at any particular mark, (for, indeed, the
order of the Romans was so close, that they could not miss if they
would,) but simply sent their arrows with great force out of
strong bent bows, the strokes from which came with extreme
violence. The position of the Romans was a very bad one from the
first; for if they kept their ranks, they were wounded, and if
they tried to charge, they hurt the enemy none the more, and
themselves suffered none the less. For the Parthians threw their
darts as they fled, an art in which none but the Scythians excel
them, and it is, indeed, a cunning practice, for while they thus
fight to make their escape, they avoid the dishonor of a flight.

However, the Romans had some comfort to think that when they had
spent all their arrows, they would either give over or come to
blows; but when they presently understood that there were numerous
camels loaded with arrows, and that when the first ranks had
discharged those they had, they wheeled off and took more, Crassus
seeing no end of it, was out of all heart, and sent to his son
that he should endeavor to fall in upon them before he was quite
surrounded; for the enemy advanced most upon that quarter, and
seemed to be trying to ride round and come upon the rear.
Therefore the young man, taking with him thirteen hundred horse,
one thousand of which he had from Caesar, five hundred archers,
and eight cohorts of the full-armed soldiers that stood next him,
led them up with design to charge the Parthians. Whether it was
that they found themselves in a piece of marshy ground, as some
think, or else designing to entice young Crassus as far as they
could from his father, they turned and began to fly; whereupon he
crying out that they durst not stand, pursued them, and with him
Censorinus and Megabacchus, both famous, the latter for his
courage and prowess, the other for being of a senator's family,
and an excellent orator, both intimates of Crassus, and of about
the same age. The horse thus pushing on, the infantry stayed
little behind, being exalted with hopes and joy, for they supposed
they had already conquered, and now were only pursuing; till when
they were gone too far, they perceived the deceit, for they that
seemed to fly, now turned again, and a great many fresh ones came
on. Upon this they made an halt, for they doubted not but now the
enemy would attack them, because they were so few. But they
merely placed their cuirassiers to face the Romans, and with the
rest of their horse rode about scouring the field, and thus
stirring up the sand, they raised such a dust that the Romans
could neither see nor speak to one another, and being driven in
upon one another in one close body, they were thus hit and killed,
dying, not by a quick and easy death, but with miserable pains and
convulsions; for writhing upon the darts in their bodies, they
broke them in their wounds, and when they would by force pluck out
the barbed points, they caught the nerves and veins, so that they
tore and tortured themselves. Many of them died thus, and those
that survived were disabled for any service, and when Publius
exhorted them to charge the cuirassiers, they showed him their
hands nailed to their shields, and their feet stuck to the ground,
so that they could neither fly nor fight. He charged in himself
boldly, however, with his horse, and came to close quarters with
them, but was very unequal, whether as to the offensive or
defensive part; for with his weak and little javelins, he struck
against targets that were of tough raw hides and iron, whereas the
lightly clad bodies of his Gaulish horsemen were exposed to the
strong spears of the enemy. For upon these he mostly depended,
and with them he wrought wonders; for they would catch hold of the
great spears, and close upon the enemy, and so pull them off from
their horses, where they could scarce stir by reason of the
heaviness of their armor, and many of the Gauls quitting their own
horses, would creep under those of the enemy, and stick them in
the belly; which, growing unruly with the pain, trampled upon
their riders and upon the enemies promiscuously. The Gauls were
chiefly tormented by the heat and drought being not accustomed to
either, and most of their horses were slain by being spurred on
against the spears, so that they were forced to retire among the
foot, bearing off Publius grievously wounded. Observing a sandy
hillock not far off, they made to it, and tying their horses to
one another, and placing them in the midst, and joining all their
shields together before them, they thought they might make some
defense against the barbarians. But it fell out quite contrary,
for when they were drawn up in a plain, the front in some measure
secured those that were behind; but when they were upon the hill,
one being of necessity higher up than another, none were in
shelter, but all alike stood equally exposed, bewailing their
inglorious and useless fate. There were with Publius two Greeks
that lived near there at Carrhae, Hieronymus and Nicomachus; these
men urged him to retire with them and fly to Ichnae, a town not
far from thence, and friendly to the Romans. "No," said he,
"there is no death so terrible, for the fear of which Publius
would leave his friends that die upon his account;" and bidding
them to take care of themselves, he embraced them and sent them
away, and, because he could not use his arm, for he was run
through with a dart, he opened his side to his armor-bearer, and
commanded him to run him through. It is said that Censorinus fell
in the same manner. Megabacchus slew himself, as did also the
rest of best note. The Parthians coming upon the rest with their
lances, killed them fighting, nor were there above five hundred
taken prisoners. Cutting off the head of Publius, they rode off
directly towards Crassus.

His condition was thus. When he had commanded his son to fall
upon the enemy, and word was brought him that they fled and that
there was a distant pursuit, and perceiving also that the enemy
did not press upon him so hard as formerly, for they were mostly
gone to fall upon Publius, he began to take heart a little; and
drawing his army towards some sloping ground, expected when his
son would return from the pursuit. Of the messengers whom Publius
sent to him, (as soon as he saw his danger,) the first were
intercepted by the enemy, and slain; the last hardly escaping,
came and declared that Publius was lost, unless he had speedy
succors. Crassus was terribly distracted, not knowing what
counsel to take, and indeed no longer capable of taking any;
overpowered now by fear for the whole army, now by desire to help
his son. At last he resolved to move with his forces. Just upon
this, up came the enemy with their shouts and noises more terrible
than before, their drums sounding again in the ears of the Romans,
who now feared a fresh engagement. And they who brought Publius's
head upon the point of a spear, riding up near enough that it
could be known, scoffingly inquired where were his parents and
what family he was of, for it was impossible that so brave and
gallant a warrior should be the son of so pitiful a coward as
Crassus. This sight above all the rest dismayed the Romans, for
it did not incite them to anger as it might have done, but to
horror and trembling, though they say Crassus outdid himself in
this calamity, for he passed through the ranks and cried out to
them, "This, O my countrymen, is my own peculiar loss, but the
fortune and the glory of Rome is safe and untainted so long as you
are safe. But if any one be concerned for my loss of the best of
sons, let him show it in revenging him upon the enemy. Take away
their joy, revenge their cruelty, nor be dismayed at what is past;
for whoever tries for great objects must suffer something.
Neither did Lucullus overthrow Tigranes without bloodshed, nor
Scipio Antiochus; our ancestors lost one thousand ships about
Sicily, and how many generals and captains in Italy? no one of
which losses hindered them from overthrowing their conquerors; for
the State of Rome did not arrive to this height by fortune, but by
perseverance and virtue in confronting danger."

While Crassus thus spoke exhorting them, he saw but few that gave
much heed to him, and when he ordered them to shout for the
battle, he could no longer mistake the despondency of his army,
which made but a faint and unsteady noise, while the shout of the
enemy was clear and bold. And when they came to the business, the
Parthian servants and dependents riding about shot their arrows,
and the horsemen in the foremost ranks with their spears drove the
Romans close together, except those who rushed upon them for fear
of being killed by their arrows. Neither did these do much
execution, being quickly dispatched; for the strong thick spear
made large and mortal wounds, and often run through two men at
once. As they were thus fighting, the night coming on parted
them, the Parthians boasting that they would indulge Crassus with
one night to mourn his son, unless upon better consideration he
would rather go to Arsaces, than be carried to him. These,
therefore, took up their quarters near them, being flushed with
their victory. But the Romans had a sad night of it; for neither
taking care for the burial of their dead, nor the cure of the
wounded, nor the groans of the expiring, everyone bewailed his
own fate. For there was no means of escaping, whether they should
stay for the light, or venture to retreat into the vast desert in
the dark. And now the wounded men gave them new trouble, since to
take them with them would retard their flight, and if they should
leave them, they might serve as guides to the enemy by their
cries. However, they were all desirous to see and hear Crassus,
though they were sensible that he was the cause of all their
mischief. But he wrapped his cloak around him, and hid himself,
where he lay as an example, to ordinary minds, of the caprice of
fortune, but to the wise, of inconsiderateness and ambition; who,
not content to be superior to so many millions of men, being
inferior to two, esteemed himself as the lowest of all. Then came
Octavius, his lieutenant, and Cassius, to comfort him, but he
being altogether past helping, they themselves called together the
centurions and tribunes, and agreeing that the best way was to fly,
they ordered the army out, without sound of trumpet, and at first
with silence. But before long, when the disabled men found they
were left behind, strange confusion and disorder, with an outcry
and lamentation, seized the camp, and a trembling and dread
presently fell upon them, as if the enemy were at their heels. By
which means, now and then fuming out of their way, now and then
standing to their ranks, sometimes taking up the wounded that
followed, sometimes laying them down, they wasted the time, except
three hundred horse, whom Egnatius brought safe to Carrhae about
midnight; where calling, in the Roman tongue, to the watch, as
soon as they heard him, he bade them tell Coponius, the governor,
that Crassus had fought a very great battle with the Parthians;
and having said but this, and not so much as telling his name, he
rode away at full speed to Zeugma. And by this means he saved
himself and his men, but lost his reputation by deserting his
general. However, his message to Coponius was for the advantage
of Crassus; for he, suspecting by this hasty and confused delivery
of the message that all was not well, immediately ordered the
garrison to be in arms, and as soon as he understood that Crassus
was upon the way towards him, he went out to meet him, and
received him with his army into the town.

The Parthians, although they perceived their dislodgement in the
night, yet did not pursue them, but as soon as it was day, they
came upon those that were left in the camp, and put no less than
four thousand to the sword, and with their light; horse picked up
a great many stragglers. Varguntinus, the lieutenant, while it
was yet dark, had broken off from the main body with four cohorts
which had strayed out of the way; and the Parthians, encompassing
these on a small hill, slew every man of them excepting twenty,
who with their drawn swords forced their way through the thickest,
and they admiring their courage, opened their ranks to the right
and left, and let them pass without molestation to Carrhae.

Soon after a false report was brought to Surena, that Crassus,
with his principal officers, had escaped, and that those who were
got into Carrhae were but a confused rout of insignificant people,
not worth further pursuit. Supposing, therefore, that he had lost
the very crown and glory of his victory, and yet being uncertain
whether it were so or not, and anxious to ascertain the fact, that
so he should either stay and besiege Carrhae or follow Crassus, he
sent one of his interpreters to the walls, commanding him in Latin
to call for Crassus or Cassius, for that the general, Surena,
desired a conference. As soon as Crassus heard this, he embraced
the proposal, and soon after there came up a band of Arabians, who
very well knew the faces of Crassus and Cassius, as having been
frequently in the Roman camp before the battle. They having
espied Cassius from the wall, told him that Surena desired a
peace, and would give them safe convoy, if they would make a
treaty with the king his master, and withdraw all their troops out
of Mesopotamia; and this he thought most advisable for them both,
before things came to the last extremity; Cassius, embracing the
proposal, desired that a time and place might be appointed where
Crassus and Surena might have an interview. The Arabians, having
charged themselves with the message, went back to Surena, who wee
not a little rejoiced that Crassus was there to be besieged.

Next day, therefore, he came up with his army, insulting over the
Romans, and haughtily demanding of them Crassus and Cassius bound,
if they expected any mercy. The Romans, seeing themselves deluded
and mocked, were much troubled at it, but advising Crassus to lay
aside his distant and empty hopes of aid from the Armenians,
resolved to fly for it; and this design ought to have been kept
private, till they were upon their way, and not have been told to
any of the people of Carrhae. But Crassus let this also be known
to Andromachus, the most faithless of men, nay he was so
infatuated as to choose him for his guide. The Parthians then, to
be sure, had punctual intelligence of all that passed; but it
being contrary to their usage, and also difficult for them to
fight by night, and Crassus having chosen that time to set out,
Andromachus, lest he should get the start too far of his pursuers,
led him hither and thither, and at last conveyed him into the
midst of morasses and places full of ditches, so that the Romans
had a troublesome and perplexing journey of it, and some there
were who, supposing by these windings and turnings of Andromachus
that no good was intended, resolved to follow him no further. And
at last Cassius himself returned to Carrhae, and his guides, the
Arabians, advising him to tarry there till the moon was got out of
Scorpio, he told them that he was most afraid of Sagittarius, and
so with five hundred horse went off to Syria. Others there were,
who having got honest guides, took their way by the mountains
called Sinnaca, and got into places of security by daybreak; these
were five thousand under the command of Octavius, a very gallant
man. But Crassus fared worse; day overtook him still deceived by
Andromachus, and entangled in the fens and the difficult country.
There were with him four cohorts of legionary soldiers, a very few
horsemen, and five lictors, with whom having with great difficulty
got into the way, and not being a mile and a half from Octavius,
instead of going to join him, although the enemy were already upon
him, he retreated to another hill, neither so defensible nor
impassable for the horse, but lying under the hills of Sinnaca,
and continued so as to join them in a long ridge through the
plain. Octavius could see in what danger the general was, and
himself, at first but slenderly followed, hurried to the rescue.
Soon after, the rest, upbraiding one another with baseness in
forsaking their officers, marched down, and falling upon the
Parthians, drove them from the hill, and compassing Crassus about,
and fencing him with their shields, declared proudly, that no
arrow in Parthia should ever touch their general, so long as there
was a man of them left alive to protect him.

Surena, therefore, perceiving his soldiers less inclined to expose
themselves, and knowing that if the Romans should prolong the
battle till night, they might then gain the mountains and be out
of his reach, betook himself to his usual craft. Some of the
prisoners were set free, who had, as it was contrived, been in
hearing, while some of the barbarians spoke of a set purpose in
the camp to the effect that the king did not design the war to be
pursued to extremity against the Romans, but rather desired, by
his gentle treatment of Crassus, to make a step towards
reconciliation. And the barbarians desisted from fighting, and
Surena himself, with his chief officers, riding gently to the
hill, unbent his bow and held out his hand, inviting Crassus to an
agreement, and saying that it was beside the king's intentions,
that they had thus had experience of the courage and the strength
of his soldiers; that now he desired no other contention but that
of kindness and friendship, by making a truce, and permitting them
to go away in safety. These words of Surena the rest received
joyfully, and were eager to accept the offer; but Crassus, who had
had sufficient experience of their perfidiousness, and was unable
to see any reason for the sudden change, would give no ear to
them, and only took time to consider. But the soldiers cried out
and advised him to treat, and then went on to upbraid and affront
him, saying that it was very unreasonable that he should bring
them to fight with such men armed, whom himself, without their
arms, durst not look in the face. He tried first to prevail with
them by entreaties, and told them that if they would have patience
till evening, they might get into the mountains and passes,
inaccessible for horse, and be out of danger, and withal he
pointed out the way with his hand, entreating them not to abandon
their preservation, now close before them. But when they mutinied
and clashed their targets in a threatening manner, he was
overpowered and forced to go, and only turning about at parting,
said, "You, Octavius and Petronius, and the rest of the officers
who are present, see the necessity of going which I lie under, and
cannot but be sensible of the indignities and violence offered to
me. Tell all men when you have escaped, that Crassus perished
rather by the subtlety of his enemies, than by the disobedience of
his countrymen."

Octavius, however, would not stay there, but with Petronius went
down from the hill; as for the lictors, Crassus bade them be gone.
The first that met him were two half-blood Greeks, who, leaping
from their horses, made a profound reverence to Crassus, and
desired him, in Greek, to send some before him, who might see that
Surena himself was coming towards them, his retinue disarmed, and
not having so much as their wearing swords along with them. But
Crassus answered, that if he had the least concern for his life,
he would never have entrusted himself in their hands, but sent two
brothers of the name of Roscius, to inquire on what terms, and in
what numbers they should meet. These Surena ordered immediately
to be seized, and himself with his principal officers came up on
horseback, and greetings him, said, "How is this, then? A Roman
commander is on foot, whilst I and my train are mounted." But
Crassus replied, that there was no error committed on either side,
for they both met according to the custom of their own country.
Surena told him that from that time there was a league between the
king his master and the Romans, but that Crassus must go with him
to the river to sign it, "for you Romans," said he, "have not good
memories for conditions," and so saying, reached out his hand to
him. Crassus, therefore, gave order that one of his horses should
be brought; but Surena told him there was no need, "the king, my
master, presents you with this;" and immediately a horse with a
golden bit was brought up to him, and himself was forcibly put
into the saddle by the grooms, who ran by the side and struck the
horse to make the more haste. But Octavius running up, got hold
of the bridle, and soon after one of the officers, Petronius, and
the rest of the company came up, striving to stop the horse, and
pulling back those who on both sides of him forced Crassus
forward. Thus from pulling and thrusting one another, they came
to a tumult, and soon after to blows. Octavius, drawing his
sword, killed a groom of one of the barbarians, and one of them,
getting behind Octavius, killed him. Petronius was not armed, but
being struck on the breastplate, fell down from his horse, though
without hurt. Crassus was killed by a Parthian, called
Pomaxathres; others say, by a different man, and that Pomaxathres
only cut off his head and right hand after he had fallen. But
this is conjecture rather than certain knowledge, for those that
were by had not leisure to observe particulars, and were either
killed fighting about Crassus, or ran off at once to get to their
comrades on the hill. But the Parthians coming up to them, and
saying that Crassus had the punishment he justly deserved, and
that Surena bade the rest come down from the hill without fear,
some of them came down and surrendered themselves, others were
scattered up and down in the night, a very few of whom got safe
home, and others the Arabians, beating through the country, hunted
down and put to death. It is generally said, that in all twenty
thousand men were slain, and ten thousand taken prisoners.

Surena sent the head and hand of Crassus to Hyrodes, the king,
into Armenia, but himself by his messengers scattering a report
that he was bringing Crassus alive to Seleucia, made a ridiculous
procession, which by way of scorn, he called a triumph. For one
Caius Paccianus, who of all the prisoners was most like Crassus,
being put into a woman's dress of the fashion of the barbarians,
and instructed to answer to the title of Crassus and Imperator,
was brought sitting upon his horse, while before him went a parcel
of trumpeters and lictors upon camels. Purses were hung at the
end of the bundles of rods, and the heads of the slain fresh
bleeding at the end of their axes. After them followed the
Seleucian singing women, repeating scurrilous and abusive songs
upon the effeminacy and cowardliness of Crassus. This show was
seen by everybody; but Surena, calling together the senate of
Seleucia, laid before them certain wanton books, of the writings
of Aristides, the Milesian; neither, indeed, was this any
forgery, for they had been found among the baggage of Rustius, and
were a good subject to supply Surena with insulting remarks upon
the Romans, who were not able even in the time of war to forget
such writings and practices. But the people of Seleucia had
reason to commend the wisdom of Aesop's fable of the wallet,
seeing their general Surena carrying a bag full of loose Milesian
stories before him, but keeping behind him a whole Parthian
Sybaris in his many wagons full of concubines; like the vipers and
asps people talk of, all the foremost and more visible parts
fierce and terrible with spears and arrows and horsemen, but the
rear terminating in loose women and castanets, music of the lute,
and midnight revellings. Rustius, indeed, is not to be excused,
but the Parthians had forgot, when they mocked at the Milesian
stories, that many of the royal line of their Arsacidae had been
born of Milesian and Ionian mistresses.

Whilst these things were doing, Hyrodes had struck up a peace with
the king of Armenia, and made a match between his son Pacorus and
the king of Armenia's sister. Their feastings and entertainments
in consequence were very sumptuous, and various Grecian
compositions, suitable to the occasion, were recited before them.
For Hyrodes was not ignorant of the Greek language and literature,
and Artavasdes was so expert in it, that he wrote tragedies and
orations and histories, some of which are still extant. When the
head of Crassus was brought to the door, the tables were just
taken away, and one Jason, a tragic actor, of the town of Tralles,
was singing the scene in the Bacchae of Euripides concerning
Agave. He was receiving much applause, when Sillaces coming to
the room, and having made obeisance to the king, threw down the
head of Crassus into the midst of the company. The Parthians
receiving it with joy and acclamations, Sillaces, by the king's
command, was made to sit down, while Jason handed over the
costume of Pentheus to one of the dancers in the chorus, and
taking up the head of Crassus, and acting the part of a bacchante
in her frenzy, in a rapturous impassioned manner, sang the lyric

We've hunted down a mighty chase to-day,
And from the mountain bring the noble prey;

to the great delight of all the company; but when the verses of
the dialogue followed,

What happy hand the glorious victim slew?
I claim that honor to my courage due;

Pomaxathres, who happened to be there at the supper, started up
and would have got the head into his own hands, "for it is my
due," said he, "and no man's else." The king was greatly pleased,
and gave presents, according to the custom of the Parthians, to
them, and to Jason, the actor, a talent. Such was the burlesque
that was played, they tell us, as the afterpiece to the tragedy of
Crassus's expedition. But divine justice failed not to punish
both Hyrodes, for his cruelty, and Surena for his perjury; for
Surena not long after was put to death by Hyrodes, out of mere
envy to his glory; and Hyrodes himself, having lost his son
Pacorus, who was beaten in a battle with the Romans, falling into
a disease which turned to a dropsy, had aconite given him by his
second son, Phraates; but the poison working only upon the
disease, and carrying away the dropsical matter with itself, the
king began suddenly to recover, so that Phraates at length was
forced to take the shortest course, and strangled him.


In the comparison of these two, first, if we compare the estate
of Nicias with that of Crassus, we must acknowledge Nicias's to
have been more honestly got. In itself, indeed, one cannot much
approve of gaining riches by working mines, the greatest part of
which is done by malefactors and barbarians, some of them, too,
bound, and perishing in those close and unwholesome places. But
if we compare this with the sequestrations of Sylla, and the
contracts for houses ruined by fire, we shall then think Nicias
came very honestly by his money. For Crassus publicly and
avowedly made use of these arts, as other men do of husbandry,
and putting out money to interest; while as for other matters
which he used to deny, when taxed with them, as, namely, selling
his voice in the senate for gain's sake, and injuring allies,
and courting women, and conniving at criminals, these are things
which Nicias was never so much as falsely accused of; nay, he
was rather laughed at for giving money to those who made a trade
of impeachments, merely out of timorousness, a course, indeed,
that would by no means become Pericles and Aristides, but
necessary for him who by nature was wanting in assurance, even
as Lycurgus, the orator, frankly acknowledged to the people; for
when he was accused for buying off an evidence, he said that he
was very much pleased that having administered their affairs for
some time, he was at last accused, rather for giving, than
receiving. Again, Nicias, in his expenses, was of a more public
spirit than Crassus, priding himself much on the dedication of
gifts in temples, on presiding at gymnastic games, and
furnishing choruses for the plays, and adorning processions,
while the expenses of Crassus, in feasting and afterwards
providing food for so many myriads of people, were much greater
than all that Nicias possessed as well as spent, put together.
So that one might wonder at anyone's failing to see that vice
is a certain inconsistency and incongruity of habit, after such
an example of money dishonorably obtained, and wastefully
lavished away.

Let so much be said of their estates; as for their management of
public affairs, I see not that any dishonesty, injustice, or
arbitrary action can be objected to Nicias, who was rather the
victim of Alcibiades's tricks, and was always careful and
scrupulous in his dealings with the people. But Crassus is very
generally blamed for his changeableness in his friendships and
enmities, for his unfaithfulness, and his mean and underhand
proceedings; since he himself could not deny that to compass the
consulship, he hired men to lay violent hands upon Domitius and
Cato. Then at the assembly held for assigning the provinces,
many were wounded and four actually killed, and he himself,
which I had omitted in the narrative of his life, struck with
his fist one Lucius Analius, a senator, for contradicting him,
so that he left the place bleeding. But as Crassus was to be
blamed for his violent and arbitrary courses, so is Nicias no
less to be blamed for his timorousness and meanness of spirit,
which made him submit and give in to the basest people, whereas
in this respect Crassus showed himself lofty spirited and
magnanimous, who having to do not with such as Cleon or
Hyperbolus, but with the splendid acts of Caesar and the three
triumphs of Pompey, would not stoop, but bravely bore up against
their joint interests, and in obtaining the office of censor,
surpassed even Pompey himself For a statesman ought not to
regard how invidious the thing is, but how noble, and by his
greatness to overpower envy; but if he will be always aiming at
security and quiet, and dread Alcibiades upon the hustings, and
the Lacedaemonians at Pylos, and Perdiccas in Thrace, there is
room and opportunity enough for retirement, and he may sit out
of the noise of business, and weave himself, as one of the
sophists says, his triumphal garland of inactivity. His desire
of peace, indeed, and of finishing the war, was a divine and
truly Grecian ambition, nor in this respect would Crassus
deserve to be compared to him, though he had enlarged the Roman
empire to the Caspian Sea or the Indian Ocean.

In a State where there is a sense of virtue, a powerful man
ought not to give way to the ill-affected, or expose the
government to those that are incapable of it, nor suffer high
trusts to be committed to those who want common honesty. Yet
Nicias, by his connivance, raised Cleon, a fellow remarkable for
nothing but his loud voice and brazen face, to the command of an
army. Indeed, I do not commend Crassus, who in the war with
Spartacus was more forward to fight than became a discreet
general, though he was urged into it by a point of honor, lest
Pompey by his coming should rob him of the glory of the action,
as Mummius did Metellus at the taking of Corinth, but Nicias's
proceedings are inexcusable. For he did not yield up a mere
opportunity of getting honor and advantage to his competitor,
but believing that the expedition would be very hazardous, was
thankful to take care of himself, and left the Commonwealth to
shift for itself. And whereas Themistocles, lest a mean and
incapable fellow should ruin the State by holding command in the
Persian war, bought him off, and Cato, in a most dangerous and
critical conjuncture, stood for the tribuneship for the sake of
his country, Nicias, reserving himself for trifling expeditions
against Minoa and Cythera, and the miserable Melians, if there
be occasion to come to blows with the Lacedaemonians, slips off
his general's cloak and hands over to the unskillfulness and
rashness of Cleon, fleet, men, and arms, and the whole command,
where the utmost possible skill was called for. Such conduct, I
say, is not to be thought so much carelessness of his own fame,
as of the interest and preservation of his country. By this
means it came to pass he was compelled to the Sicilian war, men
generally believing that he was not so much honestly convinced
of the difficulty of the enterprise, as ready out of mere love
of ease and cowardice to lose the city the conquest of Sicily.
But yet it is a great sign of his integrity, that though he was
always averse from war, and unwilling to command, yet they
always continued to appoint him as the best experienced and
ablest general they had. On the other hand Crassus, though
always ambitious of command, never attained to it, except by
mere necessity in the servile war, Pompey and Metellus and the
two brothers Lucullus being absent, although at that time he was
at his highest pitch of interest and reputation. Even those who
thought most of him seem to have thought him, as the comic poet

A brave man anywhere but in the field.

There was no help, however, for the Romans, against his passion
for command and for distinction. The Athenians sent out Nicias
against his will to the war, and Crassus led out the Romans
against theirs; Crassus brought misfortune on Rome, as Athens
brought it on Nicias.

Still this is rather ground for praising Nicias, than for
finding fault with Crassus. His experience and sound judgment
as a general saved him from being carried away by the delusive
hopes of his fellow-citizens, and made him refuse to entertain
any prospect of conquering Sicily. Crassus, on the other hand,
mistook, in entering on a Parthian war as an easy matter. He
was eager, while Caesar was subduing the west, Gaul, Germany,
and Britain, to advance for his part to the east and the Indian
Sea, by the conquest of Asia, to complete the incursions of
Pompey and the attempts of Lucullus, men of prudent temper and
of unimpeachable worth, who, nevertheless, entertained the same
projects as Crassus, and acted under the same convictions. When
Pompey was appointed to the like command, the senate was opposed
to it; and after Caesar had routed three hundred thousand
Germans, Cato recommended that he should be surrendered to the
defeated enemy, to expiate in his own person the guilt of breach
of faith. The people, meantime, (their service to Cato!) kept
holiday for fifteen days, and were overjoyed. What would have
been their feelings, and how many holidays would they have
celebrated, if Crassus had sent news from Babylon of victory,
and thence marching onward had converted Media and Persia, the
Hyrcanians, Susa, and Bactra, into Roman provinces?

If wrong we must do, as Euripides says, and cannot be content
with peace and present good things, let it not be for such
results as destroying Mende or Scandea, or beating up the exiled
Aeginetans in the coverts to which like hunted birds they had
fled, when expelled from their homes, but let it be for some
really great remuneration; nor let us part with justice, like a
cheap and common thing, for a small and trifling price. Those
who praise Alexander's enterprise and blame that of Crassus,
judge of the beginning unfairly by the results.

In actual service, Nicias did much that deserves high praise.
He frequently defeated the enemy in battle, and was on the very
point of capturing Syracuse; nor should he bear the whole blame
of the disaster, which may fairly be ascribed in part to his
want of health and to the jealousy entertained of him at home.
Crassus, on the other hand, committed so many errors as not to
leave fortune room to show him favor. It is no surprise to find
such imbecility fall a victim to the power of Parthia; the only
wonder is to see it prevailing over the wonted good-fortune of
Rome. One scrupulously observed, the other entirely slighted
the arts of divination; and as both equally perished, it is
difficult to see what inference we should draw. Yet the fault
of over-caution, supported by old and general opinion, better
deserves forgiveness than that of self-willed and lawless

In his death, however, Crassus has the advantage, as he did not
surrender himself, nor submit to bondage, or let himself be
taken in by trickery, but was the victim only of the entreaties
of his friends and the perfidy of his enemies; whereas Nicias
enhanced the shame of his death by yielding himself up in the
hope of a disgraceful and inglorious escape.


It is no great wonder if in long process of time, while fortune
takes her course hither and thither, numerous coincidences
should spontaneously occur. If the number and variety of
subjects to be wrought upon be infinite, it is all the more
easy for fortune, with such an abundance of material, to effect
this similarity of results. Or if, on the other hand, events
are limited to the combinations of some finite number, then of
necessity the same must often recur, and in the same sequence.
There are people who take a pleasure in making collections of
all such fortuitous occurrences that they have heard or read
of, as look like works of a rational power and design; they
observe, for example, that two eminent persons, whose names
were Attis, the one a Syrian, the other of Arcadia, were both
slain by a wild boar; that of two whose names were Actaeon, the
one was torn in pieces by his dogs, the other by his lovers;
that of two famous Scipios, the one overthrew the Carthaginians
in war, the other totally ruined and destroyed them; the city
of Troy was the first time taken by Hercules for the horses
promised him by Laomedon, the second time by Agamemnon, by
means of the celebrated great wooden horse, and the third time
by Charidemus, by occasion of a horse falling down at the gate,
which hindered the Trojans, so that they could not shut them
soon enough; and of two cities which take their names from the
most agreeable odoriferous plants, Ios and Smyrna, the one from
a violet, the other from myrrh, the poet Homer is reported to
have been born in the one, and to have died in the other. And
so to these instances let us further add, that the most warlike
commanders, and most remarkable for exploits of skillful
stratagem, have had but one eye; as Philip, Antigonus,
Hannibal, and Sertorius, whose life and actions we describe at
present; of whom, indeed, we might truly say, that he was more
continent than Philip, more faithful to his friend than
Antigonus, and more merciful to his enemies than Hannibal; and
that for prudence and judgment he gave place to none of them,
but in fortune was inferior to them all. Yet though he had
continually in her a far more difficult adversary to contend
against than his open enemies, he nevertheless maintained his
ground, with the military skill of Metellus, the boldness of
Pompey, the success of Sylla, and the power of the Roman
people, all to be encountered by one who was a banished man and
a stranger at the head of a body of barbarians. Among Greek
commanders, Eumenes of Cardia may be best compared with him;
they were both of them men born for command, for warfare, and
for stratagem; both banished from their countries, and holding
command over strangers; both had fortune for their adversary,
in their last days so harshly so, that they were both betrayed
and murdered by those who served them, and with whom they had
formerly overcome their enemies.

Quintus Sertorius was of a noble family, born in the city of
Nursia, in the country of the Sabines; his father died when he
was young, and he was carefully and decently educated by his
mother, whose name was Rhea, and whom he appears to have
extremely loved and honored. He paid some attention to the
study of oratory and pleading in his youth, and acquired some
reputation and influence in Rome by his eloquence; but the
splendor of his actions in arms, and his successful
achievements in the wars, drew off his ambition in that

At his first beginning, he served under Caepio, when the Cimbri
and Teutones invaded Gaul; where the Romans fighting
unsuccessfully, and being put to flight, he was wounded in many
parts of his body, and lost his horse, yet, nevertheless, swam
across the river Rhone in his armor, with his breastplate and
shield, bearing himself up against the violence of the current;
so strong and so well inured to hardship was his body.

The second time that the Cimbri and Teutones came down with
some hundreds of thousands, threatening death and destruction
to all, when it was no small piece of service for a Roman
soldier to keep his ranks and obey his commander, Sertorius
undertook, while Marius led the army, to spy out the enemy's
camp. Procuring a Celtic dress, and acquainting himself with
the ordinary expressions of their language requisite for common
intercourse, he threw himself in amongst the barbarians; where
having carefully seen with his own eyes, or having been fully
informed by persons upon the place of all their most important
concerns, he returned to Marius, from whose hands he received
the rewards of valor; and afterwards giving frequent proofs
both of conduct and courage in all the following war, he was
advanced to places of honor and trust under his general. After
the wars with the Cimbri and Teutones, he was sent into Spain,
having the command of a thousand men under Didius, the Roman
general, and wintered in the country of the Celtiberians, in
the city of Castulo, where the soldiers enjoying great plenty,
and growing insolent, and continually drinking, the inhabitants
despised them and sent for aid by night to the Gyrisoenians,
their near neighbors, who fell upon the Romans in their
lodgings and slew a great number of them. Sertorius, with a
few of his soldiers, made his way out, and rallying together
the rest who escaped, he marched round about the walls, and
finding the gate open, by which the Gyrisoenians had made their
secret entrance, he gave not them the same opportunity, but
placing a guard at the gate, and seizing upon all quarters of
the city, he slew all who were of age to bear arms, and then
ordering his soldiers to lay aside their weapons and put off
their own clothes, and put on the accoutrements of the
barbarians, he commanded them to follow him to the city, from
whence the men came who had made this night attack upon the
Romans. And thus deceiving the Gyrisoenians with the sight of
their own armor, he found the gates of their city open, and
took a great number prisoners, who came out thinking to meet
their friends and fellow-citizens come home from a successful
expedition. Most of them were thus slain by the Romans at
their own gates, and the rest within yielded up themselves and
were sold for slaves.

This action made Sertorius highly renowned throughout all
Spain, and as soon as he returned to Rome he was appointed
quaestor of Cisalpine Gaul, at a very seasonable moment for his
country, the Marsian war being on the point of breaking out.
Sertorius was ordered to raise soldiers and provide arms, which
he performed with a diligence and alacrity, so contrasting with
the feebleness and slothfulness of other officers of his age,
that he got the repute of a man whose life would be one of
action. Nor did he relinquish the part of a soldier, now that
he had arrived at the dignity of a commander, but performed
wonders with his own hands, and never sparing himself, but
exposing his body freely in all conflicts, he lost one of his
eyes. This he always esteemed an honor to him; observing that
others do not continually carry about with them the marks and
testimonies of their valor, but must often lay aside their
chains of gold, their spears and crowns; whereas his ensigns of
honor, and the manifestations of his courage always remained
with him, and those who beheld his misfortune, must at the same
time recognize his merits. The people also paid him the
respect he deserved, and when he came into the theater,
received him with plaudits and joyful acclamations, an honor
rarely bestowed even on persons of advanced standing and
established reputation. Yet, notwithstanding this popularity,
when he stood to be tribune of the people, he was disappointed,
and lost the place, being opposed by the party of Sylla, which
seems to have been the principal cause of his subsequent enmity
to Sylla.

After that Marius was overcome by Sylla and fled into Africa,
and Sylla had left Italy to go to the wars against Mithridates,
and of the two consuls Octavius and Cinna, Octavius remained
steadfast to the policy of Sylla, but Cinna, desirous of a new
revolution, attempted to recall the lost interest of Marius,
Sertorius joined Cinna's party, more particularly as he saw
that Octavius was not very capable, and was also suspicious of
anyone that was a friend to Marius. When a great battle was
fought between the two consuls in the forum, Octavius overcame,
and Cinna and Sertorius, having lost not less than ten
thousand men, left the city, and gaining over most part of the
troops who were dispersed about and remained still in many
parts of Italy, they in a short time mustered up a force
against Octavius sufficient to give him battle again, and
Marius, also, now coming by sea out of Africa, proffered
himself to serve under Cinna, as a private soldier under his
consul and commander.

Most were for the immediate reception of Marius, but Sertorius
openly declared against it, whether he thought that Cinna would
not now pay as much attention to himself, when a man of higher
military repute was present, or feared that the violence of
Marius would bring all things to confusion, by his boundless
wrath and vengeance after victory. He insisted upon it with
Cinna that they were already victorious, that there remained
little to be done, and that, if they admitted Marius, he would
deprive them of the glory and advantage of the war, as there
was no man less easy to deal with, or less to be trusted in, as
a partner in power. Cinna answered, that Sertorius rightly
judged the affair, but that he himself was at a loss, and
ashamed, and knew not how to reject him, after he had sent for
him to share in his fortunes. To which Sertorius immediately
replied, that he had thought that Marius came into Italy of his
own accord, and therefore had deliberated as to what might be
most expedient, but that Cinna ought not so much as to have
questioned whether he should accept him whom he had already
invited, but should have honorably received and employed him,
for his word once past left no room for debate. Thus Marius
being sent for by Cinna, and their forces being divided into
three parts, under Cinna, Marius, and Sertorius, the war was
brought to a successful conclusion; but those about Cinna and
Marius committing all manner of insolence and cruelty, made the
Romans think the evils of war a golden time in comparison. On
the contrary, it is reported of Sertorius, that he never slew
any man in his anger, to satisfy his own private revenge, nor
ever insulted over anyone whom he had overcome, but was much
offended with Marius, and often privately entreated Cinna to
use his power more moderately. And in the end, when the slaves
whom Marius had freed at his landing to increase his army,
being made not only his fellow-soldiers in the war, but also
now his guard in his usurpation, enriched and powerful by his
favor, either by the command or permission of Marius, or by
their own lawless violence, committed all sorts of crimes,
killed their masters, ravished their masters' wives, and abused
their children, their conduct appeared so intolerable to
Sertorius that he slew the whole body of them, four thousand in
number, commanding his soldiers to shoot them down with their
javelins, as they lay encamped together.

Afterwards, when Marius died, and Cinna shortly after was
slain, when the younger Marius made himself consul against
Sertorius's wishes and contrary to law, when Carbo, Norbanus,
and Scipio fought unsuccessfully against Sylla, now advancing
to Rome, when much was lost by the cowardice and remissness of
the commanders, but more by the treachery of their party, when
with the want of prudence in the chief leaders, all went so ill
that his presence could do no good, in the end when Sylla had
placed his camp near to Scipio, and by pretending friendship,
and putting him in hopes of a peace, corrupted his army, and
Scipio could not be made sensible of this, although often
forewarned of it by Sertorius, at last he utterly despaired of
Rome, and hasted into Spain, that by taking possession there
beforehand, he might secure refuge to his friends, from their
misfortunes at home. Having bad weather in his journey, and
traveling through mountainous countries, and the inhabitants
stopping the way, and demanding a toll and money for passage,
those who were with him were out of all patience at the
indignity and shame it would be for a proconsul of Rome to pay
tribute to a crew of wretched barbarians. But he little
regarded their censure, and slighting that which had only the
appearance of an indecency, told them he must buy time, the
most precious of all things to those who go upon great
enterprises; and pacifying the barbarous people with money, he
hastened his journey, and took possession of Spain, a country
flourishing and populous, abounding with young men fit to bear
arms; but on account of the insolence and covetousness of the
governors from time to time sent thither from Rome, they had
generally an aversion to the Roman supremacy. He, however,
soon gained the affection of their nobles by intercourse with
them, and the good opinion of the people by remitting their
taxes. But that which won him most popularity, was his
exempting them from finding lodgings for the soldiers, when he
commanded his army to take up their winter quarters outside the
cities, and to pitch their camp in the suburbs; and when he
himself, first of all, caused his own tent to be raised without
the walls. Yet not being willing to rely totally upon the good
inclination of the inhabitants, he armed all the Romans who
lived in those countries that were of military age, and
undertook the building of ships and the making of all sorts of
warlike engines, by which means he kept the cities in due
obedience, showing himself gentle in all peaceful business, and
at the same time formidable to his enemies by his great
preparations for war.

As soon as he was informed that Sylla had made himself master
of Rome, and that the party which sided with Marius and Carbo
was going to destruction, he expected that some commander with
a considerable army would speedily come against him, and
therefore sent away Julius Salinator immediately, with six
thousand men fully armed, to fortify and defend the passes of
the Pyrenees. And Caius Annius not long after being sent out
by Sylla, finding Julius unassailable, sat down short at the
foot of the mountains in perplexity. But a certain Calpurnius,
surnamed Lanarius, having treacherously slain Julius, and his
soldiers then forsaking the heights of the Pyrenees, Caius
Annius advanced with large numbers and drove before him all who
endeavored to hinder his march. Sertorius, also, not being
strong enough to give him battle, retreated with three thousand
men into New Carthage, where he took shipping, and crossed the
seas into Africa. And coming near the coast of Mauritania, his
men went on shore to water, and straggling about negligently,
the natives fell upon them and slew a great number. This new
misfortune forced him to sail back again into Spain, whence he
was also repulsed, and, some Cilician pirate ships joining with
him, they made for the island of Pityussa, where they landed
and overpowered the garrison placed there by Annius, who,
however, came not long after with a great fleet of ships, and
five thousand soldiers. And Sertorius made ready to fight him
by sea, although his ships were not built for strength, but for
lightness and swift sailing; but a violent west wind raised
such a sea that many of them were run aground and shipwrecked,
and he himself, with a few vessels, being kept from putting
further out to sea by the fury of the weather, and from landing
by the power of his enemies, was tossed about painfully for ten
days together, amidst the boisterous and adverse waves.

He escaped with difficulty, and after the wind ceased, ran for
certain desert islands scattered in those seas, affording no
water, and after passing a night there, making out to sea
again, he went through the straits of Cadiz, and sailing
outward keeping the Spanish shore on his right hand, he landed
a little above the mouth of the river Baetis, where it falls
into the Atlantic sea, and gives the name to that part of
Spain. Here he met with seamen recently arrived from the
Atlantic islands, two in number, divided from one another only
by a narrow channel, and distant from the coast of Africa ten
thousand furlongs. These are called the Islands of the Blest;
rains fall there seldom, and in moderate showers, but for the
most part they have gentle breezes, bringing along with them
soft dews, which render the soil not only rich for plowing and
planting, but so abundantly fruitful that it produces
spontaneously an abundance of delicate fruits, sufficient to
feed the inhabitants, who may here enjoy all things without
trouble or labor. The seasons of the year are temperate, and
the transitions from one to another so moderate, that the air
is almost always serene and pleasant. The rough northerly and
easterly winds which blow from the coasts of Europe and Africa,
dissipated in the vast open space, utterly lose their force
before they reach the islands. The soft western and southerly
winds which breathe upon them sometimes produce gentle
sprinkling showers, which they convey along with them from the
sea, but more usually bring days of moist bright weather,
cooling and gently fertilizing the soil, so that the firm
belief prevails even among the barbarians, that this is the
seat of the blessed, and that these are the Elysian Fields
celebrated by Homer.

When Sertorius heard this account, he was seized with a
wonderful passion for these islands, and had an extreme desire
to go and live there in peace and quietness, and safe from
oppression and unending wars; but his inclinations being
perceived by the Cilician pirates, who desired not peace nor
quiet, but riches and spoils, they immediately forsook him, and
sailed away into Africa to assist Ascalis, the son of Iphtha,
and to help to restore him to his kingdom of Mauritania. Their
sudden departure noways discouraged Sertorius; he presently
resolved to assist the enemies of Ascalis, and by this new
adventure trusted to keep his soldiers together, who from this
might conceive new hopes, and a prospect of a new scene of
action. His arrival in Mauritania being very acceptable to the
Moors, he lost no time, but immediately giving battle to
Ascalis, beat him out of the field and besieged him; and
Paccianus being sent by Sylla, with a powerful supply, to raise
the siege, Sertorius slew him in the field, gained over all his
forces, and took the city of Tingis, into which Ascalis and his
brothers were fled for refuge. The Africans tell that Antaeus
was buried in this city, and Sertorius had the grave opened,
doubting the story because of the prodigious size, and finding
there his body, in effect, it is said, full sixty cubits long,
he was infinitely astonished, offered sacrifice, and heaped up
the tomb again, gave his confirmation to the story, and added
new honors to the memory of Antaeus. The Africans tell that
after the death of Antaeus, his wife Tinga lived with Hercules,
and had a son by him called Sophax, who was king of these
countries, and gave his mother's name to this city, whose son,
also, was Diodorus, a great conqueror, who brought the greatest
part of the Libyan tribes under his subjection, with an army of
Greeks, raised out of the colonies of the Olbians and Myceneans
placed here by Hercules. Thus much I may mention for the sake
of king Juba, of all monarchs the greatest student of history,
whose ancestors are said to have sprung from Diodorus and

When Sertorius had made himself absolute master of the whole
country, he acted with great fairness to those who had confided
in him, and who yielded to his mercy; he restored to them their
property, cities, and government, accepting only of such
acknowledgments as they themselves freely offered. And whilst
he considered which way next to turn his arms, the Lusitanians
sent ambassadors to desire him to be their general; for being
terrified with the Roman power, and finding the necessity of
having a commander of great authority and experience in war,
being also sufficiently assured of his worth and valor by those
who had formerly known him, they were desirous to commit
themselves especially to his care. And in fact Sertorius is said
to have been of a temper unassailable either by fear or
pleasure, in adversity and dangers undaunted, and noways puffed
up with prosperity. In straightforward fighting, no commander
in his time was more bold and daring, and in whatever was to be
performed in war by stratagem, secrecy, or surprise, if any
strong place was to be secured, any pass to be gained speedily,
for deceiving and overreaching an enemy, there was no man equal
to him in subtlety and skill. In bestowing rewards and
conferring honors upon those who had performed good service in
the wars he was bountiful and magnificent, and was no less
sparing and moderate in inflicting punishment. It is true that
that piece of harshness and cruelty which he executed in the
latter part of his days upon the Spanish hostages, seems to
argue that his clemency was not natural to him, but only worn
as a dress, and employed upon calculation, as his occasion or
necessity required. As to my own opinion, I am persuaded that
pure virtue, established by reason and judgment, can never be
totally perverted or changed into its opposite, by any
misfortune whatever. Yet I think it at the same time possible,
that virtuous inclinations and natural good qualities may, when
unworthily oppressed by calamities, show, with change of
fortune, some change and alteration of their temper; and thus I
conceive it happened to Sertorius, who when prosperity failed
him, became exasperated by his disasters against those who had
done him wrong.

The Lusitanians having sent for Sertorius, he left Africa, and
being made general with absolute authority, he put all in order
amongst them, and brought the neighboring parts of Spain
under subjection. Most of the tribes voluntarily submitted
themselves, won by the fame of his clemency and of his courage,
and, to some extent, also, he availed himself of cunning
artifices of his own devising to impose upon them and gain
influence over them. Amongst which, certainly, that of the
hind was not the least. Spanus, a countryman who lived in
those parts, meeting by chance a hind that had recently calved,
flying from the hunters, let the dam go, and pursuing the fawn,
took it, being wonderfully pleased with the rarity of the
color, which was all milk white. And as at that time Sertorius
was living in the neighborhood, and accepted gladly any
presents of fruit, fowl, or venison, that the country afforded,
and rewarded liberally those who presented them, the countryman
brought him his young hind, which he took and was well pleased
with at the first sight, but when in time he had made it so
tame and gentle that it would come when he called, and follow
him wheresoever he went, and could endure the noise and tumult
of the camp, knowing well that uncivilized people are naturally
prone to superstition, by little and little he raised it into
something preternatural, saying that it was given him by the
goddess Diana, and that it revealed to him many secrets. He
added, also, further contrivances. If he had received at any
time private intelligence that the enemies had made an
incursion into any part of the districts under his command, or
had solicited any city to revolt, he pretended that the hind
had informed him of it in his sleep, and charged him to keep
his forces in readiness. Or if again he had notice that any of
the commanders under him had got a victory, he would hide the
messengers and bring forth the hind crowned with flowers, for
joy of the good news that was to come, and would encourage them
to rejoice and sacrifice to the gods for the good account they
should soon receive of their prosperous success.

By such practices, he brought them to be more tractable and
obedient in all things; for now they thought themselves no
longer to be led by a stranger, but rather conducted by a god,
and the more so, as the facts themselves seemed to bear witness
to it, his power, contrary to all expectation or probability,
continually increasing. For with two thousand six hundred men,
whom for honor's sake he called Romans, combined with seven
hundred Africans, who landed with him when he first entered
Lusitania, together with four thousand targeteers, and seven
hundred horse of the Lusitanians themselves, he made war
against four Roman generals, who commanded a hundred and twenty
thousand foot, six thousand horse, two thousand archers and
slingers, and had cities innumerable in their power; whereas at
the first he had not above twenty cities in all. And from this
weak and slender beginning, he raised himself to the command of
large nations of men, and the possession of numerous cities;
and of the Roman commanders who were sent against him, he
overthrew Cotta in a sea-fight, in the channel near the town of
Mellaria; he routed Fufidius, the governor of Baetica, with the
loss of two thousand Romans, near the banks of the river
Baetis; Lucius Domitius, proconsul of the other province of
Spain, was overthrown by one of his lieutenants; Thoranius,
another commander sent against him by Metellus with a great
force, was slain, and Metellus, one of the greatest and most
approved Roman generals then living, by a series of defeats,
was reduced to such extremities, that Lucius Manlius came to
his assistance out of Gallia Narbonensis, and Pompey the Great,
was sent from Rome, itself, in all haste, with considerable
forces. Nor did Metellus know which way to turn himself, in a
war with such a bold and ready commander, who was continually
molesting him, and yet could not be brought to a set battle,
but by the swiftness and dexterity of his Spanish soldiery, was
enabled to shift and adapt himself to any change of
circumstances. Metellus had had experience in battles fought
by regular legions of soldiers, fully armed and drawn up in due
order into a heavy standing phalanx, admirably trained for
encountering and overpowering an enemy who came to close
combat, hand to hand, but entirely unfit for climbing among the
hills, and competing incessantly with the swift attacks and
retreats of a set of fleet mountaineers, or to endure hunger
and thirst, and live exposed like them to the wind and weather,
without fire or covering.

Besides, being now in years, and having been formerly engaged
in many fights and dangerous conflicts, he had grown inclined
to a more remiss, easy, and luxurious life, and was the less
able to contend with Sertorius, who was in the prime of his
strength and vigor, and had a body wonderfully fitted for war,
being strong, active, and temperate, continually accustomed to
endure hard labor, to take long tedious journeys, to pass many
nights together without sleep, to eat little, and to be
satisfied with very coarse fare, and who was never stained with
the least excess in wine, even when he was most at leisure.
What leisure time he allowed himself, he spent in hunting and
riding about, and so made himself thoroughly acquainted with
every passage for escape when he would fly, and for overtaking
and intercepting in pursuit, and gained a perfect knowledge of
where he could and where he could not go. Insomuch that
Metellus suffered all the inconveniences of defeat, although he
earnestly desired to fight, and Sertorius, though he refused
the field, reaped all the advantages of a conqueror. For he
hindered them from foraging, and cut them off from water; if
they advanced, he was nowhere to be found; if they stayed in
any place and encamped, he continually molested and alarmed
them; if they besieged any town, he presently appeared and
besieged them again, and put them to extremities for want of
necessaries. And thus he so wearied out the Roman army, that
when Sertorius challenged Metellus to fight singly with him,
they commended it, and cried out, it was a fair offer, a Roman
to fight against a Roman, and a general against a general; and
when Metellus refused the challenge, they reproached him.
Metellus derided and contemned this, and rightly so; for, as
Theophrastus observes, a general should die like a general, and
not like a skirmisher. But perceiving that the town of the
Langobritae, who gave great assistance to Sertorius, might
easily be taken for want of water, as there was but one well
within the walls, and the besieger would be master of the
springs and fountains in the suburbs, he advanced against the
place, expecting to carry it in two days' time, there being no
more water, and gave command to his soldiers to take five days'
provision only. Sertorius, however, resolving to send speedy
relief, ordered two thousand skins to be filled with water,
naming a considerable sum of money for the carriage of every
skin; and many Spaniards and Moors undertaking the work, he
chose out those who were the strongest and swiftest of foot,
and sent them through the mountains, with order that when they
had delivered the water, they should convey away privately all
those who would be least serviceable in the siege, that there
might be water sufficient for the defendants. As soon as
Metellus understood this, he was disturbed, as he had already
consumed most part of the necessary provisions for his army,
but he sent out Aquinus with six thousand soldiers to fetch in
fresh supplies. But Sertorius having notice of it, laid an
ambush for him, and having sent out beforehand three thousand
men to take post in a thickly wooded watercourse, with these he
attacked the rear of Aquinus in his return, while he himself,
charging him in the front, destroyed part of his army, and took
the rest prisoners, Aquinus only escaping, after the loss of
both his horse and his armor. And Metellus, being forced
shamefully to raise the siege, withdrew amidst the laughter and
contempt of the Spaniards; while Sertorius became yet more the
object of their esteem and admiration.

He was also highly honored for his introducing discipline and
good order amongst them, for he altered their furious 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 number 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 about their necks, which the Romans
called bullae.

There being a custom in Spain, that when a commander was slain
in battle, those who attended his person fought it out till
they all died with him, which the inhabitants of those
countries called an offering, or libation, there were few
commanders that had any considerable guard or number of
attendants; but Sertorius was followed by many thousands who
offered themselves, and vowed to spend their blood with his.
And it is told that when his army was defeated near a city in
Spain, and the enemy pressed hard upon them, the Spaniards,
with no care for themselves, but being totally solicitous to
save Sertorius, took him up on their shoulders and passed him
from one to another, till they carried him into the city, and
only when they had thus placed their general in safety,
provided afterwards each man for his own security.

Nor were the Spaniards alone ambitious to serve him, but the
Roman soldiers, also, that came out of Italy, were impatient to
be under his command; and when Perpenna Vento, who was of the
same faction with Sertorius, came into Spain with a quantity of
money and a large number of troops, and designed to make war
against Metellus on his own account, his own soldiers opposed
it, and talked continually of Sertorius, much to the
mortification of Perpenna, who was puffed up with the grandeur
of his family and his riches. And when they afterwards
received tidings that Pompey was passing the Pyrenees, they
took up their arms, laid hold on their ensigns, called upon
Perpenna to lead them to Sertorius, and threatened him that if
he refused they would go without him, and place themselves
under a commander who was able to defend himself and those that
served him. And so Perpenna was obliged to yield to their
desires, and joining Sertorius, added to his army three and
fifty cohorts.

And when now all the cities on this side of the river Ebro also
united their forces together under his command, his army grew
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 sort that they might, being repulsed,
yet not totally routed, become more obedient to his commands
for the future. Which 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 sign given, 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
mean time, set to work to pluck off hair by hair from 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 rose up and spoke 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 themselves up when taken
little by little. Assiduity and persistence are irresistible,
and in time overthrow and destroy the greatest powers whatever.
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." With a frequent use of such words and such devices,
he soothed the fierceness of the barbarous people, and taught
them to attend and watch for their opportunities.

Of all his remarkable exploits, none raised greater admiration
than that which he put in practice against the Characitanians.
These are a people beyond the river Tagus, who inhabit neither
cities nor towns, but live in a vast high hill, within the deep
dens and caves of the rocks, the mouths of which open all
towards the north. The country below is of a soil resembling a
light clay, so loose as easily to break into powder, and is not
firm enough to bear anyone that treads upon it, and if you
touch it in the least, it flies about like ashes or unslaked
lime. In any danger of war, these people descend into their
caves, and carrying in their booty and prey along with them,
stay quietly within, secure from every attack. And when
Sertorius, leaving Metellus some distance off had placed his
camp near this hill, they slighted and despised him, imagining,
that he retired into these parts, being overthrown by the
Romans. And whether out of anger and resentment, or out of his
unwillingness to be thought to fly from his enemies, early in
the morning he rode up to view the situation of the place. But
finding there was no way to come at it, as he rode about,
threatening them in vain and disconcerted, he took notice that
the wind raised the dust and carried it up towards the caves of
the Characitanians, the mouths of which, as I said before,
opened towards the north; and the northerly wind, which some
call Caecias, prevailing most in those parts, coming up out of
moist plains or mountains covered with snow, at this particular
time, in the heat of summer, being further supplied and
increased by the melting of the ice in the northern regions,
blew a delightful fresh gale, cooling and refreshing the
Characitanians and their cattle all the day long. Sertorius,
considering well all circumstances in which either the
information of the inhabitants, or his own experience had
instructed him, commanded his soldiers to shovel up a great
quantity of this light, dusty earth, to heap it up together,
and make a mount of it over against the hill in which these
barbarous people resided, who, imagining that all this
preparation was for raising a mound to get at them, only mocked
and laughed at it. However, he continued the work till the
evening, and brought his soldiers back into their camp. The
next morning a gentle breeze at first arose, and moved the
lightest parts of the earth, and dispersed it about as the
chaff before the wind; but when the sun coming to be higher,
the strong northerly wind had covered the hills with the dust,
the soldiers came and turned this mound of earth over and over,
and broke the hard clods in pieces, whilst others on horseback
rode through it backward and forward, and raised a cloud of
dust into the air: there with the wind the whole of it was
carried away and blown into the dwellings of the
Characitanians, all lying open to the north. And there being
no other vent or breathing-place than that through which the
Caecias rushed in upon them, it quickly blinded their eyes, and
filled their lungs, and all but choked them, whilst they strove
to draw in the rough air mingled with dust and powdered earth.
Nor were they able, with all they could do, to hold out above
two days, but yielded up themselves on the third, adding, by
their defeat, not so much to the power of Sertorius, as to his
renown, in proving that he was able to conquer places by art,
which were impregnable by the force of arms.

So long as he had to do with Metellus, he was thought to owe
his successes to his opponent's age and slow temper, which were
ill-suited for coping with the daring and activity of one who
commanded a light army more like a band of robbers than regular
soldiers. But when Pompey also passed over the Pyrenees, and
Sertorius pitched his camp near him, and offered and himself
accepted every occasion by which military skill could be put to
the proof, and in this contest of dexterity was found to have
the better, both in baffling his enemy's designs and in
counter-scheming himself, the fame of him now spread even to
Rome itself, as the most expert commander of his time. For the
renown of Pompey was not small, who had already won much honor
by his achievements in the wars of Sylla, from whom he received
the title of Magnus, and was called Pompey the Great; and who
had risen to the honor of a triumph before the beard had grown
on his face. And many cities which were under Sertorius were
on the very eve of revolting and going over to Pompey, when
they were deterred from it by that great action, amongst
others, which he performed near the city of Lauron, contrary to
the expectation of all.

For Sertorius had laid siege to Lauron, and Pompey came with
his whole army to relieve it; and there being a hill near this
city very advantageously situated, they both made haste to take
it. Sertorius was beforehand, and took possession of it first,
and Pompey, having drawn down his forces, was not sorry that it
had thus happened, imagining that he had hereby enclosed his
enemy between his own army and the city, and sent in a
messenger to the citizens of Lauron, to bid them be of good
courage, and to come upon their walls, where they might see
their besieger besieged. Sertorius, perceiving their
intentions, smiled, and said, he would now teach Sylla's
scholar, for so he called Pompey in derision, that it was the
part of a general to look as well behind him as before him, and
at the same time showed them six thousand soldiers, whom he had
left in his former camp, from whence he marched out to take the
hill, where if Pompey should assault him, they might fall upon
his rear. Pompey discovered this too late, and not daring to
give battle, for fear of being encompassed, and yet being
ashamed to desert his friends and confederates in their extreme
danger, was thus forced to sit still, and see them ruined
before his face. For the besieged despaired of relief, and
delivered up themselves to Sertorius, who spared their lives
and granted them their liberty, but burnt their city, not out
of anger or cruelty, for of all commanders that ever were,
Sertorius seems least of all to have indulged these passions,
but only for the greater shame and confusion of the admirers of
Pompey, and that it might be reported amongst the Spaniards,
that though he had been so close to the fire which burnt down
the city of his confederates as actually to feel the heat of
it, he still had not dared to make any opposition.

Sertorius, however, sustained many losses; but he always
maintained himself and those immediately with him undefeated,
and it was by other commanders under him that he suffered; and
he was more admired for being able to repair his losses, and
for recovering the victory, than the Roman generals against him
for gaining these advantages; as at the battle of the Sucro
against Pompey, and at the battle near Tuttia, against him and
Metellus together. The battle near the Sucro was fought, it is
said, through the impatience of Pompey, lest Metellus should
share with him in the victory, Sertorius being also willing to
engage Pompey before the arrival of Metellus. Sertorius
delayed the time till the evening, considering that the
darkness of the night would be a disadvantage to his enemies,
whether flying or pursuing, being strangers, and having no
knowledge of the country. When the fight began, it happened
that Sertorius was not placed directly against Pompey, but
against Afranius, who had command of the left wing of the Roman
army, as he commanded the right wing of his own; but when he
understood that his left wing began to give way, and yield to
the assault of Pompey, he committed the care of his right wing
to other commanders, and made haste to relieve those in
distress; and rallying some that were flying, and encouraging
others that still kept their ranks, he renewed the fight, and
attacked the enemy in their pursuit so effectively as to cause
a considerable rout, and brought Pompey into great danger of
his life. For after being wounded and losing his horse, he
escaped unexpectedly. For the Africans with Sertorius, who
took Pompey's horse, set out with gold, and covered with rich
trappings, fell out with one another; and upon the dividing of
the spoil, gave over the pursuit. Afranius, in the meantime,
as soon as Sertorius had left his right wing, to assist the
other part of his army, overthrew all that opposed him; and
pursuing them to their camp, fell in together with them, and
plundered them till it was dark night; knowing nothing of
Pompey's overthrow, nor being able to restrain his soldiers
from pillaging; when Sertorius, returning with victory, fell
upon him and upon his men, who were all in disorder, and slew
many of them. And the next morning he came into the field
again, well armed, and offered battle, but perceiving that
Metellus was near, he drew off, and returned to his camp,
saying, "If this old woman had not come up, I would have
whipped that boy soundly and sent him to Rome."

He was much concerned that his white hind could nowhere be
found; as he was thus destitute of an admirable contrivance to
encourage the barbarous people, at a time when he most stood in
need of it. Some men, however, wandering in the night, chanced
to meet her, and knowing her by her color, took her; to whom
Sertorius promised a good reward, if they would tell no one of
it; and immediately shut her up. A few days after, he appeared
in public with a very cheerful look, and declared to the chief
men of the country, that the gods had foretold him in a dream
that some great good fortune should shortly attend him; and,
taking his seat, proceeded to answer the petitions of those who
applied themselves to him. The keepers of the hind, who were
not far off, now let her loose, and she no sooner espied
Sertorius, but she came leaping with great joy to his feet,
laid her head upon his knees, and licked his hands, as she
formerly used to do. And Sertorius stroking her, and making
much of her again, with that tenderness that the tears stood in
his eyes, all that were present were immediately filled with
wonder and astonishment, and accompanying him to his house with
loud shouts for joy, looked upon him as a person above the rank
of mortal men, and highly beloved by the gods; and were in
great courage and hope for the future.

When he had reduced his enemies to the last extremity for want
of provision, he was forced to give them battle, in the plains
near Saguntum, to hinder them from foraying, and plundering the
country. Both parties fought gloriously. Memmius, the best
commander in Pompey's army, was slain in the heat of the
battle. Sertorius over threw all before him, and with great
slaughter of his enemies pressed forward towards Metellus.
This old commander, making a resistance beyond what could be
expected from one of his years, was wounded with a lance; an
occurrence which filled all who either saw it or heard of it,
with shame, to be thought to have left their general in
distress, but at the same time it provoked them to revenge and
fury against their enemies; they covered Metellus with their
shields, and brought him off in safety, and then valiantly
repulsed the Spaniards; and so victory changed sides, and
Sertorius, that he might afford a more secure retreat to his
army, and that fresh forces might more easily be raised,
retired into a strong city in the mountains. And though it was
the least of his intention to sustain a long siege, yet he
began to repair the walls, and to fortify the gates, thus
deluding his enemies, who came and sat down before the town,
hoping to take it without much resistance; and meantime gave
over the pursuit of the Spaniards, and allowed opportunity for
raising new forces for Sertorius, to which purpose he had sent
commanders to all their cities, with orders, when they had
sufficiently increased their numbers, to send him word of it.
This news he no sooner received, but he sallied out and forced
his way through his enemies, and easily joined them with the
rest of his army. And having received this considerable
reinforcement, he set upon the Romans again, and by rapidly
assaulting them, by alarming them on all sides, by ensnaring,
circumventing, and laying ambushes for them, he cut off all
provisions by land, while with his piratical vessels, he kept
all the coast in awe, and hindered their supplies by sea. He
thus forced the Roman generals to dislodge, and to separate
from one another: Metellus departed into Gaul, and Pompey
wintered among the Vaccaeans, in a wretched condition, where,
being in extreme want of money, he wrote a letter to the
senate, to let them know that if they did not speedily supply
him, he must draw off his army; for he had already spent his
own money in the defense of Italy. To these extremities, the
chiefest and the most powerful commanders of the age were
reduced by the skill of Sertorius; and it was the common
opinion in Rome, that he would be in Italy before Pompey.

How far Metellus was terrified, and at what rate he esteemed
him, he plainly declared, when he offered by proclamation a
hundred talents, and twenty thousand acres of land, to any
Roman that should kill him, and leave, if he were banished, to
return; attempting villainously to buy his life by treachery,
when he despaired of ever being able to overcome him in open
war. And when once he gained the advantage in a battle against
Sertorius, he was so pleased and transported with his good
fortune, that he caused himself to be publicly proclaimed
imperator; and all the cities which he visited received him
with altars and sacrifices; he allowed himself, it is said, to
have garlands placed on his head, and accepted sumptuous
entertainments, at which he sat drinking in triumphal robes,
while images and figures of victory were introduced by the
motion of machines, bringing in with them crowns and trophies
of gold to present to him, and companies of young men and women
danced before him, and sang to him songs of joy and triumph.
By all which he rendered himself deservedly ridiculous, for
being so excessively delighted and puffed up with the thoughts
of having followed one who was retiring of his own accord, and
for having once had the better of him whom he used to call
Sylla's runaway slave, and his forces, the remnant of the
defeated troops of Carbo.

Sertorius, meantime, showed the loftiness of his temper in
calling together all the Roman senators who had fled from Rome,
and had come and resided with him, and giving them the name of
a senate; and out of these he chose praetors and quaestors, and
adorned his government with all the Roman laws and
institutions. And though he made use of the arms, riches, and
cities of the Spaniards, yet he would never, even in word,
remit to them the imperial authority, but set Roman officers
and commanders over them, intimating his purpose to restore
liberty to the Romans, not to raise up the Spaniard's power
against them. For he was a sincere lover of his country, and
had a great desire to return home; but in his adverse fortune
he showed undaunted courage, and behaved himself towards his
enemies in a manner free from all dejection and
mean-spiritedness; and when he was in his prosperity, and in
the height of his victories, he sent word to Metellus and
Pompey, that he was ready to lay down his arms, and live a
private life, if he were allowed to return home, declaring that
he had rather live as the meanest citizen in Rome, than, exiled
from it, be supreme commander of all other cities together.
And it is thought that his great desire for his country was in
no small measure promoted by the tenderness he had for his
mother, under whom he was brought up after the death of his
father, and upon whom he had placed his entire affection. And
after that his friends had sent for him into Spain to be their
general, as soon as he heard of his mother's death, he had
almost cast away himself and died for grief; for he lay seven
days together continually in his tent, without giving the word,
or being seen by the nearest of his friends; and when the chief
commanders of the army, and persons of the greatest note came
about his tent, with great difficulty they prevailed with him
at last to come abroad, and speak to his soldiers, and to take
upon him the management of affairs, which were in a prosperous
condition. And thus, to many men's judgment, he seemed to have
been in himself of a mild and compassionate temper, and
naturally given to ease and quietness, and to have accepted of
the command of military forces contrary to his own inclination,
and not being able to live in safety otherwise, to have been
driven by his enemies to have recourse to arms, and to espouse
the wars as a necessary guard for the defense of his person.

His negotiations with king Mithridates further argue the
greatness of his mind. For when Mithridates, recovering
himself from his overthrow by Sylla, like a strong wrestler
that gets up to try another fall, was again endeavoring to
reestablish his power in Asia, at this time the great fame of
Sertorius was celebrated in all places and when the merchants
who came out of the western parts of Europe, bringing these, as
it were, among their other foreign wares, had filled the
kingdom of Pontus with their stories of his exploits in war,
Mithridates was extremely desirous to send an embassy to him,
being also highly encouraged to it by the boastings of his
flattering courtiers, who, comparing Mithridates to Pyrrhus,
and Sertorius to Hannibal, professed that the Romans would
never be able to make any considerable resistance against such
great forces, and such admirable commanders, when they should
be set upon on both sides at once, on one by the most warlike
general, and on the other by the most powerful prince in

Accordingly, Mithridates sends ambassadors into Spain to
Sertorius with letters and instructions, and commission to
promise ships and money towards the charge of the war, if
Sertorius would confirm his pretensions upon Asia, and
authorize him to possess all that he had surrendered to the
Romans in his treaty with Sylla. Sertorius summoned a full
council which he called a senate, where, when others joyfully
approved of the conditions, and were desirous immediately to
accept of his offer, seeing that he desired nothing of them but
a name, and an empty title to places not in their power to
dispose of, in recompense of which they should be supplied with
what they then stood most in need of, Sertorius would by no
means agree to it; declaring that he was willing that king
Mithridates should exercise all royal power and authority over
Bithynia and Cappadocia, countries accustomed to a monarchical
government, and not belonging to Rome, but he could never
consent that he should seize or detain a province, which, by
the justest right and title, was possessed by the Romans, which
Mithridates had formerly taken away from them, and had
afterwards lost in open war to Fimbria, and quitted upon a
treaty of peace with Sylla. For he looked upon it as his duty
to enlarge the Roman possessions by his conquering arms, and
not to increase his own power by the diminution of the Roman
territories. Since a noble-minded man, though he willingly
accepts of victory when it comes with honor, will never so much
as endeavor to save his own life upon any dishonorable terms.

When this was related to Mithridates, he was struck with
amazement, and said to his intimate friends, "What will
Sertorius enjoin us to do when he comes to be seated in the
Palatium in Rome, who at present, when he is driven out to the
borders of the Atlantic sea, sets bounds to our kingdoms in the
east, and threatens us with war, if we attempt the recovery of
Asia?" However, they solemnly, upon oath, concluded a league
between them, upon these terms: that Mithridates should enjoy
the free possession of Cappadocia and Bithynia, and that
Sertorius should send him soldiers, and a general for his army,
in recompense of which the king was to supply him with three
thousand talents and forty ships. Marcus Marius, a Roman
senator who had quitted Rome to follow Sertorius, was sent
general into Asia, in company with whom when Mithridates had
reduced divers of the Asian cities, Marius made his entrance
with rods and axes carried before him, and Mithridates followed
in the second place, voluntarily waiting upon him. Some of
these cities he set at liberty, and others he freed from taxes,
signifying to them that these privileges were granted to them
by the favor of Sertorius, and hereby Asia, which had been
miserably tormented by the revenue-farmers, and oppressed by
the insolent pride and covetousness of the soldiers, began to
rise again to new hopes, and to look forward with joy to the
expected change of government.

But in Spain, the senators about Sertorius, and others of the
nobility, finding themselves strong enough for their enemies,
no sooner laid aside fear, but their minds were possessed by
envy and irrational jealousies of Sertorius's power. And
chiefly Perpenna, elevated by the thoughts of his noble birth,
and carried away with a fond ambition of commanding the army,
threw out villainous discourses in private amongst his
acquaintance. "What evil genius," he would say, "hurries us
perpetually from worse to worse? We who disdained to obey the
dictates of Sylla, the ruler of sea and land, and thus to live
at home in peace and quiet, are come hither to our destruction,
hoping to enjoy our liberty, and have made ourselves slaves of
our own accord, and are become the contemptible guards and
attendants of the banished Sertorius, who, that he may expose
us the further, gives us name that renders us ridiculous to all
that hear it, and calls us the Senate, when at the same time he
makes us undergo as much hard labor, and forces us to be as
subject to his haughty commands and insolences, as any
Spaniards and Lusitanians." With these mutinous discourses, he
seduced them; and though the greater number could not be led
into open rebellion against Sertorius, fearing his power, they
were prevailed with to endeavor to destroy his interest
secretly. For by abusing the Lusitanians and Spaniards, by
inflicting severe punishments upon them, by raising exorbitant
taxes, and by pretending that all this was done by the strict
command of Sertorius, they caused great troubles, and made many
cities to revolt; and those who were sent to mitigate and heal
these differences, did rather exasperate them, and increase the
number of his enemies, and left them at their return more
obstinate and rebellious than they found them. And Sertorius,
incensed with all this, now so far forgot his former clemency
and goodness, as to lay hands on the sons of the Spaniards,
educated in the city of Oscar and, contrary to all justice, he
cruelly put some of them to death, and sold others.

In the meantime, Perpenna, having increased the number of his
conspirators, drew in Manlius, a commander in the army, who, at
that time being attached to a youth, to gain his affections the
more, discovered the confederacy to him, bidding him neglect
others, and be constant to him alone; who, in a few days, was
to be a person of great power and authority. But the youth
having a greater inclination for Aufidius, disclosed all to
him, which much surprised and amazed him. For he was also one
of the confederacy, but knew not that Manlius was anyways
engaged in it; but when the youth began to name Perpenna,
Gracinus, and others, whom he knew very well to be sworn
conspirators, he was very much terrified and astonished; but
made light of it to the youth, and bade him not regard what
Manlius said, a vain boasting fellow. However, he went
presently to Perpenna, and giving him notice of the danger they
were in, and of the shortness of their time, desired him
immediately to put their designs in execution. And when all
the confederates had consented to it, they provided a messenger
who brought feigned letters to Sertorius, in which he had
notice of a victory obtained, it said, by one of his
lieutenants, and of the great slaughter of his enemies; and as
Sertorius, being extremely well pleased, was sacrificing and
giving thanks to the gods for his prosperous success, Perpenna
invited him, and those with him, who were also of the
conspiracy, to an entertainment, and being very importunate,
prevailed with him to come. At all suppers and entertainments
where Sertorius was present, great order and decency was wont
to be observed, for he would not endure to hear or see any
thing that was rude or unhandsome, but made it the habit of all
who kept his company, to entertain themselves with quiet and
inoffensive amusements. But in the middle of this
entertainment, those who sought occasion to quarrel, fell into
dissolute discourse openly, and making as if they were very
drunk, committed many insolences on purpose to provoke him.
Sertorius, being offended with their ill behavior, or
perceiving the state of their minds by their way of speaking
and their unusually disrespectful manner, changed the posture
of his lying, and leaned backward, as one that neither heard
nor regarded them. Perpenna now took a cup full of wine, and,
as he was drinking, let it fall out of his hand and make a
noise, which was the sign agreed upon amongst them; and
Antonius, who was next to Sertorius, immediately wounded him
with his sword. And whilst Sertorius, upon receiving the
wound, turned himself, and strove to get up, Antonius threw
himself upon his breast, and held both his hands, so that he
died by a number of blows, without being able even to defend

Upon the first news of his death, most of the Spaniards left the
conspirators, and sent ambassadors to Pompey and Metellus, and
yielded themselves up to them. Perpenna attempted to do something
with those that remained, but he made only so much use of
Sertorius's arms and preparations for war, as to disgrace himself
in them, and to let it be evident to all, that he understood no
more how to command, than he knew how to obey; and when he came
against Pompey, he was soon overthrown, and taken prisoner.
Neither did he bear this last affliction with any bravery, but
having Sertorius's papers and writings in his hands, he offered to
show Pompey letters from persons of consular dignity, and of the
highest quality in Rome, written with their own hands, expressly
to call Sertorius into Italy, and to let him know what great
numbers there were that earnestly desired to alter the present
state of affairs, and to introduce another manner of government.
Upon this occasion, Pompey behaved not like a youth, or one of
a light inconsiderate mind, but as a man of a confirmed, mature,
and solid judgment; and so freed Rome from great fears and dangers
of change. For he put all Sertorius's writings and letters
together and read not one of them, nor suffered anyone else to
read them, but burnt them all, and caused Perpenna immediately to
be put to death, lest by discovering their names, further troubles
and revolutions might ensue.

Of the rest of the conspirators with Perpenna, some were taken
and slain by the command of Pompey, others fled into Africa,
and were set upon by the Moors, and run through with their
darts; and in a short time, not one of them was left alive,
except only Aufidius, the rival of Manlius, who, hiding
himself, or not being much inquired after, died an old man, in
an obscure village in Spain, in extreme poverty, and hated by


Duris reports that Eumenes, the Cardian, was the son of a poor
wagoner in the Thracian Chersonesus, yet liberally educated, both
as a scholar and a soldier; and that while he was but young,
Philip, passing through Cardia, diverted himself with a sight of
the wrestling-matches and other exercises of the youth of that
place, among whom Eumenes performing with success, and showing
signs of intelligence and bravery, Philip was so pleased with
him, as to take him into his service. But they seem to speak
more probably, who tell us that Philip advanced Eumenes for the
friendship he bore to his father, whose guest he had sometime
been. After the death of Philip, he continued in the service of
Alexander, with the title of his principal secretary, but in as
great favor as the most intimate of his familiars, being esteemed
as wise and faithful as any person about him, so that he went
with troops under his immediate command as general in the
expedition against India, and succeeded to the post of Perdiccas,
when Perdiccas was advanced to that of Hephaestion, then newly
deceased. And therefore, after the death of Alexander, when
Neoptolemus, who had been captain of his lifeguard, said that he
had followed Alexander with shield and spear, but Eumenes only
with pen and paper, the Macedonians laughed at him, as knowing
very well that, besides other marks of favor, the king had done
him the honor to make him a kind of kinsman to himself by
marriage. For Alexander's first mistress in Asia, by whom he had
his son Hercules, was Barsine the daughter of Artabazus; and in
the distribution of the Persian ladies amongst his captains,
Alexander gave Apame, one of her sisters, to Ptolemy, and
another, also called Barsine, to Eumenes.

Notwithstanding, he frequently incurred Alexander's displeasure,
and put himself into some danger, through Hephaestion. The
quarters that had been taken up for Eumenes, Hephaestion assigned
to Euius, the flute-player. Upon which, in great anger, Eumenes
and Mentor came to Alexander, and loudly complained, saying that
the way to be regarded was to throw away their arms, and turn
flute-players or tragedians; so much so that Alexander took their
part and chid Hephaestion; but soon after changed his mind again,
and was angry with Eumenes, and accounted the freedom he had
taken to be rather an affront to the king, than a reflection upon
Hephaestion. Afterwards, when Nearchus, with a fleet, was to be
sent to the Southern Sea, Alexander borrowed money of his
friends, his own treasury being exhausted, and would have had
three hundred talents of Eumenes, but he sent a hundred only,
pretending; that it was not without great difficulty he had
raised so much from his stewards. Alexander neither complained
nor took the money, but gave private order to set Eumenes's tent
on fire, designing to take him in a manifest lie, when his money
was carried out. But before that could be done, the tent was
consumed, and Alexander repented of his orders, all his papers
being burnt; the gold and silver, however, which was melted down
in the fire, being afterwards collected, was found to be more
than one thousand talents; yet Alexander took none of it, and
only wrote to the several governors and generals to send new
copies of the papers that were burnt, and ordered them to be
delivered to Eumenes.

Another difference happened between him and Hephaestion
concerning a gift, and a great deal of ill language passed
between them, yet Eumenes still continued in favor. But
Hephaestion dying soon after, the king, in his grief, presuming
all those that differed with Hephaestion in his lifetime were now
rejoicing at his death, showed much harshness and severity in his
behavior with them, especially towards Eumenes, whom he often
upbraided with his quarrels and ill language to Hephaestion. But
he, being a wise and dexterous courtier, made advantage of what
had done him prejudice, and struck in with the king's passion for
glorifying his friend's memory, suggesting various plans to do
him honor, and contributing largely and readily towards erecting
his monument.

After Alexander's death, when the quarrel broke out between the
troops of the phalanx and the officers, his companions, Eumenes,
though in his judgment he inclined to the latter, yet in his
professions stood neuter, as if he thought it unbecoming him, who
was a stranger, to interpose in the private quarrels of the
Macedonians. And when the rest of Alexander's friends left
Babylon, he stayed behind, and did much to pacify the
foot-soldiers, and to dispose them towards an accommodation. And
when the officers had agreed among themselves, and, recovering
from the first disorder, proceeded to share out the several
commands and provinces, they made Eumenes governor of Cappadocia
and Paphlagonia, and all the coast upon the Pontic Sea as far as
Trebizond, which at that time was not subject to the Macedonians,
for Ariarathes kept it as king, but Leonnatus and Antigonus, with
a large army, were to put him in possession of it. Antigonus,
already filled with hopes of his own, and despising all men, took
no notice of Perdiccas's letters; but Leonnatus with his army
came down into Phrygia to the service of Eumenes. But being
visited by Hecataeus, the tyrant of the Cardians, and requested
rather to relieve Antipater and the Macedonians that were
besieged in Lamia, he resolved upon that expedition, inviting
Eumenes to a share in it, and endeavoring to reconcile him to
Hecataeus. For there was an hereditary feud between them,
arising out of political differences, and Eumenes had more than
once been known to denounce Hecataeus as a tyrant, and to exhort
Alexander to restore the Cardians their liberty. Therefore at
this time, also, he declined the expedition proposed, pretending
that he feared lest Antipater, who already hated him, should for
that reason and to gratify Hecataeus, kill him. Leonnatus so far
believed, as to impart to Eumenes his whole design, which, as he
had pretended and given out, was to aid Antipater, but in truth
was to seize the kingdom of Macedon; and he showed him letters
from Cleopatra, in which, it appeared, she invited him to Pella,
with promises to marry him. But Eumenes, whether fearing
Antipater, or looking upon Leonnatus as a rash, headstrong, and
unsafe man, stole away from him by night, taking with him all his
men, namely, three hundred horse, and two hundred of his own
servants armed, and all his gold, to the value of five thousand
talents of silver, and fled to Perdiccas, discovered to him
Leonnatus's design, and thus gained great interest with him, and
was made of the council. Soon after, Perdiccas, with a great
army, which he led himself, conducted Eumenes into Cappadocia,
and, having taken Ariarathes prisoner, and subdued the whole
country, declared him governor of it. He accordingly proceeded
to dispose of the chief cities among his own friends, and made
captains of garrisons, judges, receivers, and other officers, of
such as he thought fit himself, Perdiccas not at all interposing.
Eumenes, however, still continued to attend upon Perdiccas, both
out of respect to him, and a desire not to be absent from the
royal family.

But Perdiccas, believing he was able enough to attain his own
further objects without assistance, and that the country he left
behind him might stand in need of an active and faithful
governor, when he came into Cilicia, dismissed Eumenes, under
color of sending him to his command, but in truth to secure
Armenia, which was on its frontier, and was unsettled through the
practices of Neoptolemus. Him, a proud and vain man, Eumenes
exerted himself to gain by personal attentions; but to balance
the Macedonian foot, whom he found insolent and self-willed, he
contrived to raise an army of horse, excusing from tax and
contribution all those of the country that were able to serve on
horseback, and buying up a number of horses, which he distributed
among such of his own men as he most confided in, stimulating the
courage of his new soldiers by gifts and honors, and inuring
their bodies to service, by frequent marching and exercising; so
that the Macedonians were some of them astonished, others
overjoyed, to see that in so short a time he had got together a
body of no less than six thousand three hundred horsemen.

But when Craterus and Antipater, having subdued the Greeks,
advanced into Asia, with intentions to quell the power of
Perdiccas, and were reported to design an invasion of Cappadocia,
Perdiccas, resolving himself to march against Ptolemy, made
Eumenes commander-in-chief of all the forces of Armenia and
Cappadocia, and to that purpose wrote letters, requiring Alcetas
and Neoptolemus to be obedient to Eumenes, and giving full
commission to Eumenes to dispose and order all things as he
thought fit. Alcetas flatly refused to serve, because his
Macedonians, he said, were ashamed to fight against Antipater,
and loved Craterus so well, they were ready to receive him for
their commander. Neoptolemus designed treachery against Eumenes,
but was discovered; and being summoned, refused to obey, and put
himself in a posture of defense. Here Eumenes first found the
benefit of his own foresight and contrivance, for his foot being
beaten, he routed Neoptolemus with his horse, and took all his
baggage; and coming up with his whole force upon the phalanx
while broken and disordered in its flight, obliged the men to lay
down their arms, and take an oath to serve under him.
Neoptolemus, with some few stragglers whom he rallied, fled to
Craterus and Antipater. From them had come an embassy to
Eumenes, inviting him over to their side, offering to secure him
in his present government and to give him additional command,
both of men and of territory, with the advantage of gaining his
enemy Antipater to become his friend, and keeping Craterus his
friend from turning to be his enemy. To which Eumenes replied,
that he could not so suddenly be reconciled to his old enemy
Antipater, especially at a time when he saw him use his friends
like enemies, but was ready to reconcile Craterus to Perdiccas,
upon any just and equitable terms; but in case of any aggression,
he would resist the injustice to his last breath, and would
rather lose his life than betray his word.

Antipater, receiving this answer, took time to consider upon the
whole matter; when Neoptolemus arrived from his defeat, and
acquainted them with the ill success of his arms, and urged them
to give him assistance, to come, both of them, if possible, but
Craterus at any rate, for the Macedonians loved him so
excessively, that if they saw but his hat, or heard his voice,

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