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Plutarch's Lives

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danger, and implored his aid, he would not admit him into his
presence, but shutting up his gates against those that came to
mediate for him, slips out at a back door, whereupon Cicero
fearing the result of his trial, departed privately from Rome.

About that time Caesar, returning from military service,
started a course of policy which brought him great present
favor, and much increased his power for the future, and proved
extremely destructive both to Pompey and the commonwealth. For
now he stood candidate for his first consulship, and well
observing the enmity betwixt Pompey and Crassus, and finding
that by joining with one he should make the other his enemy, he
endeavored by all means to reconcile them, an object in itself
honorable and tending to the public good, but as he undertook
it, a mischievous and subtle intrigue. For he well knew that
opposite parties or factions in a commonwealth, like passengers
in a boat, serve to trim and balance the unready motions of
power there; whereas if they combine and come all over to one
side, they cause a shock which will be sure to overset the
vessel and carry down everything. And therefore Cato wisely
told those who charged all the calamities of Rome upon the
disagreement betwixt Pompey and Caesar, that they were in error
in charging all the crime upon the last cause; for it was not
their discord and enmity, but their unanimity and I friendship,
that gave the first and greatest blow to the commonwealth.

Caesar being thus elected consul, began at once to make an
interest with the poor and meaner sort, by preferring and
establishing laws for planting colonies and dividing lands,
lowering the dignity of his office, and turning his consulship
into a sort of tribuneship rather. And when Bibulus, his
colleague, opposed him, and Cato was prepared to second
Bibulus, and assist him vigorously, Caesar brought Pompey upon
the hustings, and addressing him in the sight of the people,
demanded his opinion upon the laws that were proposed. Pompey
gave his approbation. "Then," said Caesar, "in case any man
should offer violence to these laws, will you be reedy to give
assistance to the people?" "Yes," replied Pompey, "I shall be
ready, and against those that threaten the sword, I will appear
with sword and buckler." Nothing ever was said or done by
Pompey up to that day, that seemed more insolent or
overbearing; so that his friends endeavored to apologize for it
as a word spoken inadvertently; but by his actions afterwards
it appeared plainly that he was totally devoted to Caesar's
service. For on a sudden, contrary to all expectation, he
married Julia, the daughter of Caesar, who had been affianced
before and was to be married within a few days to Caepio. And
to appease Caepio's wrath, he gave him his own daughter in
marriage, who had been espoused before to Faustus, the son of
Sylla. Caesar himself married Calpurnia, the daughter of Piso.

Upon this Pompey, filling the city with soldiers, carried all
things by force as he pleased. As Bibulus, the consul, was
going to the forum, accompanied by Lucullus and Cato, they fell
upon him on a sudden and broke his rods; and somebody threw a
vessel of ordure upon the head of Bibulus himself; and two
tribunes of the people, who escorted him, were desperately
wounded in the fray. And thus having cleared the forum of all
their adversaries, they got their bill for the division of
lands established and passed into an act; and not only so, but
the whole populace being taken with this bait, became totally
at their devotion, inquiring into nothing and without a word
giving their suffrages to whatever they propounded. Thus they
confirmed all those acts and decrees of Pompey, which were
questioned and contested by Lucullus; and to Caesar they
granted the provinces of Gaul, both within and without the
Alps, together with Illyricum, for five years, and likewise an
army of four entire legions; then they created consuls for the
year ensuing, Piso, the father-in-law of Caesar, and Gabinius,
the most extravagant of Pompey's flatterers.

During all these transactions, Bibulus kept close within doors,
nor did he appear publicly in person for the space of eight
months together, notwithstanding he was consul, but sent out
proclamations full of bitter invectives and accusations against
them both. Cato turned prophet, and, as if he had been
possessed with a spirit of divination, did nothing else in the
senate but foretell what evils should befall the Commonwealth
and Pompey. Lucullus pleaded old age, and retired to take his
ease, as superannuated for affairs of State; which gave
occasion to the saying of Pompey, that the fatigues of luxury
were not more seasonable for an old man than those of
government. Which in truth proved a reflection upon himself;
for he not long after let his fondness for his young wife
seduce him also into effeminate habits. He gave all his time
to her, and passed his days in her company in country-houses
and gardens, paying no heed to what was going on in the forum.
Insomuch that Clodius, who was then tribune of the people,
began to despise him, and engage in the most audacious
attempts. For when he had banished Cicero, and sent away Cato
into Cyprus under pretence of military duty, and when Caesar
was gone upon his expedition to Gaul, finding the populace now
looking to him as the leader who did everything according to
their pleasure, he attempted forthwith to repeal some of
Pompey's decrees; he took Tigranes, the captive, out of prison,
and kept him about him as his companion; and commenced actions
against several of Pompey's friends, thus designing to try the
extent of his power. At last, upon a time when Pompey was
present at the hearing of a certain cause, Clodius, accompanied
with a crowd of profligate and impudent ruffians, standing up
in a place above the rest, put questions to the populace as
follows: "Who is the dissolute general? who is the man that
seeks another man? who scratches his head with one finger?"
and the rabble, upon the signal of his shaking his gown, with a
great shout to every question, like singers making, responses
in a chorus, made answer, "Pompey."

This indeed was no small annoyance to Pompey, who was quite
unaccustomed to hear anything ill of himself, and
unexperienced altogether in such encounters; and he was yet
more vexed, when he saw that the senate rejoiced at this foul
usage, and regarded it as a just punishment upon him for his
treachery to Cicero. But when it came even to blows and wounds
in the forum, and that one of Clodius's bondslaves was
apprehended, creeping through the crowd towards Pompey with a
sword in his hand, Pompey laid hold of this pretence, though
perhaps otherwise apprehensive of Clodius's insolence and bad
language, and never appeared again in the forum during all the
time he was tribune, but kept close at home, and passed his
time in consulting with his friends, by what means he might
best allay the displeasure of the senate and nobles against
him. Among other expedients, Culleo advised the divorce of
Julia, and to abandon Caesar's friendship to gain that of the
senate; this he would not hearken to. Others again advised him
to call home Cicero from banishment, a man who was always the
great adversary of Clodius, and as great a favorite of the
senate; to this he was easily persuaded. And therefore he
brought Cicero's brother into the forum, attended with a strong
party, to petition for his return; where, after a warm dispute,
in which several were wounded and some slain, he got the
victory over Clodius. No sooner was Cicero returned home upon
this decree, but immediately he used his efforts to reconcile
the senate to Pompey; and by speaking in favor of the law upon
the importation of corn, did again, in effect, make Pompey
sovereign lord of all the Roman possessions by sea and land.
For by that law, there were placed under his control all ports,
markets, and storehouses, and in short, all the concerns both
of the merchants and the husbandmen; which gave occasion to the
charge brought against it by Clodius, that the law was not made
because of the scarcity of corn, but the scarcity of corn was
made, that they might pass a law, whereby that power of his,
which was now grown feeble and consumptive, might be revived
again, and Pompey reinstated in a new empire. Others look upon
it as a politic device of Spinther, the consul, whose design it
was to secure Pompey in a greater authority, that he himself
might be sent in assistance to king Ptolemy. However, it is
certain that Canidius, the tribune, preferred a law to dispatch
Pompey in the character of an ambassador, without an army,
attended only with two lictors, as a mediator betwixt the king
and his subjects of Alexandria. Neither did this proposal seem
unacceptable to Pompey, though the senate cast it out upon the
specious pretence, that they were unwilling to hazard his
person. However, there were found several writings scattered
about the forum and near the senate-house, intimating how
grateful it would be to Ptolemy to have Pompey appointed for
his general instead of Spinther. And Timagenes even asserts
that Ptolemy went away and left Egypt, not out of necessity,
but purely upon the persuasion of Theophanes, who was anxious
to give Pompey the opportunity for holding a new command, and
gaining further wealth. But Theophanes's want of honesty does
not go so far to make this story credible as does Pompey's own
nature, which was averse, with all its ambition, to such base
and disingenuous acts, to render it improbable.

Thus Pompey being appointed chief purveyor, and having within
his administration and management all the corn trade, sent
abroad his factors and agents into all quarters, and he himself
sailing into Sicily, Sardinia, and Africa, collected vast
stores of corn. He was just ready to set sail upon his voyage
home, when a great storm arose upon the sea, and the ships'
commanders doubted whether it were safe. Upon which Pompey
himself went first aboard, and bid the mariners weigh anchor,
declaring with a loud voice, that there was a necessity to
sail, but no necessity to live. So that with this spirit and
courage, and having met with favorable fortune, he made a
prosperous return, and filled the markets with corn, and the
sea with ships. So much so that this great plenty and
abundance of provisions yielded a sufficient supply, not only
to the city of Rome, but even to other places too, dispersing
itself; like waters from a spring, into all quarters.

Meantime Caesar grew great and famous with his wars in Gaul,
and while in appearance he seemed far distant from Rome,
entangled in the affairs of the Belgians, Suevians, and
Britons, in truth he was working craftily by secret practices
in the midst of the people, and countermining Pompey in all
political matters of most importance. He himself with his army
close about him, as if it had been his own body, not with mere
views of conquest over the barbarians, but as though his
contests with them were but mere sports and exercises of the
chase, did his utmost with this training and discipline to make
it invincible and alarming. And in the meantime his gold and
silver and other spoils and treasure which he took from the
enemy in his conquests, he sent to Rome in presents, tempting
people with his gifts, and aiding aediles, praetors, and
consuls, as also their wives, in their expenses, and thus
purchasing himself numerous friends. Insomuch, that when he
passed back again over the Alps, and took up his winter
quarters in the city of Luca, there flocked to him an infinite
number of men and women, striving who should get first to him,
two hundred senators included, among whom were Pompey and
Crassus; so that there were to be seen at once before Caesar's
door no less than six score rods of proconsuls and praetors.
The rest of his addressers he sent all away full fraught with
hopes and money; but with Crassus and Pompey, he entered into
special articles of agreement, that they should stand
candidates for the consulship next year; that Caesar on his
part should send a number of his soldiers to give their votes
at the election; that as soon as they were elected, they should
use their interest to have the command of some provinces and
legions assigned to themselves, and that Caesar should have
his present charge confirmed to him for five years more. When
these arrangements came to be generally known, great
indignation was excited among the chief men in Rome; and
Marcellinus, in an open assembly of the people, demanded of
them both, whether they designed to sue for the consulship or
no. And being urged by the people for their answer, Pompey
spoke first, and told them, perhaps he would sue for it,
perhaps he would not. Crassus was more temperate, and said,
that he would do what should be judged most agreeable with the
interest of the Commonwealth; and when Marcellinus persisted in
his attack on Pompey, and spoke, as it was thought, with some
vehemence, Pompey remarked that Marcellinus was certainly the
unfairest of men, to show him no gratitude for having thus made
him an orator out of a mute, and converted him from a hungry
starveling into a man so full-fed that he could not contain

Most of the candidates nevertheless abandoned their canvass for
the consulship; Cato alone persuaded and encouraged Lucius
Domitius not to desist, "since," said he, "the contest now is
not for office, but for liberty against tyrants and usurpers."
Therefore those of Pompey's party, fearing this inflexible
constancy in Cato, by which he kept with him the whole senate,
lest by this he should likewise pervert and draw after him all
the well-affected part of the commonalty, resolved to withstand
Domitius at once, and to prevent his entrance into the forum.
To this end, therefore, they sent in a band of armed men, who
slew the torchbearer of Domitius, as he was leading the way
before him, and put all the rest to flight; last of all, Cato
himself retired, having received a wound in his right arm while
defending Domitius. Thus by these means and practices they
obtained the consulship; neither did they behave themselves
with more decency in their further proceedings; but in the
first place, when the people were choosing Cato praetor, and
just ready with their votes for the poll, Pompey broke up the
assembly, upon a pretext of some inauspicious appearance, and
having gained the tribes by money, they publicly proclaimed
Vatinius praetor. Then, in pursuance of their covenants with
Caesar, they introduced several laws by Trebonius, the tribune,
continuing Caesar's commission to another five years' charge of
his province; to Crassus there were appointed Syria, and the
Parthian war; and to Pompey himself, all Africa, together with
both Spains, and four legions of soldiers, two of which he lent
to Caesar upon his request, for the wars in Gaul.

Crassus, upon the expiration of his consulship, departed
forthwith into his province; but Pompey spent some time in
Rome, upon the opening or dedication of his theater, where he
treated the people with all sorts of games, shows, and
exercises, in gymnastics alike and in music. There was
likewise the hunting or baiting of wild beasts, and combats
with them, in which five hundred lions were slain; but above
all, the battle of elephants was a spectacle full of horror and

These entertainments brought him great honor and popularity;
but on the other side he created no less envy to himself, in
that he committed the government of his provinces and legions
into the hands of friends as his lieutenants, whilst he himself
was going about and spending his time with his wife in all the
places of amusement in Italy; whether it were he was so fond of
her himself, or she so fond of him, and he unable to distress
her by going away, for this also is stated. And the love
displayed by this young wife for her elderly husband was a
matter of general note, to be attributed, it would seem, to his
constancy in married life, and to his dignity of manner, which
in familiar intercourse was tempered with grace and gentleness,
and was particularly attractive to women, as even Flora, the
courtesan, may be thought good enough evidence to prove. It
once happened in a public assembly, as they were at an election
of the aediles, that the people came to blows, and several
about Pompey were slain, so that he, finding himself all
bloody, ordered a change of apparel; but the
servants who brought home his clothes, making a
great bustle and hurry about the house, it chanced
that the young lady, who was then with child, saw his
gown all stained with blood; upon which she dropped immediately
into a swoon, and was hardly brought to life again; however,
what with her fright and suffering, she fell into labor and
miscarried; even those who chiefly censured Pompey for his
friendship to Caesar, could not reprove him for his affection
to so attached a wife. Afterwards she was great again, and
brought to bed of a daughter, but died in childbed; neither did
the infant outlive her mother many days. Pompey had prepared
all things for the interment of her corpse at his house near
Alba, but the people seized upon it by force, and performed the
solemnities in the field of Mars, rather in compassion for the
young lady, than in favor either for Pompey or Caesar; and yet
of these two, the people seemed at that time to pay Caesar a
greater share of honor in his absence, than to Pompey, though
he was present.

For the city now at once began to roll and swell, so to say,
with the stir of the coming storm. Things everywhere were in a
state of agitation, and everybody's discourse tended to
division, now that death had put an end to that relation which
hitherto had been a disguise rather than restraint to the
ambition of these men. Besides, not long after came messengers
from Parthia with intelligence of the death of Crassus there,
by which another safeguard against civil war was removed, since
both Caesar and Pompey kept their eyes on Crassus, and awe of
him held them together more or less within the bounds of
fair-dealing all his lifetime. But when fortune had taken away
this second, whose province it might have been to revenge the
quarrel of the conquered, you might then say with the comic

The combatants are waiting to begin,
Smearing their hands with dust and oiling each his skin.

So inconsiderable a thing is fortune in respect of human
nature, and so insufficient to give content to a covetous mind,
that an empire of that mighty extent and sway could not satisfy
the ambition of two men; and though they knew and had read,

The gods, when they divided out 'twixt three,
This massive universe, heaven, hell, and sea,
Each one sat down contented on his throne,
And undisturbed each god enjoys his own,

yet they thought the whole Roman empire not sufficient to
contain them, though they were but two.

Pompey once in an oration to the people, told them, that he had
always come into office before he expected he should, and that
he had always left it sooner than they expected he would; and,
indeed, the disbanding of all his armies witnessed as much.
Yet when he perceived that Caesar would not so willingly
discharge his forces, he endeavored to strengthen himself
against him by offices and commands in the city; but beyond
this he showed no desire for any change, and would not seem to
distrust, but rather to disregard and contemn him. And when he
saw how they bestowed the places of government quite contrary
to his wishes, because the citizens were bribed in their
elections, he let things take their course, and allowed the
city to be left without any government at all. Hereupon there
was mention straightaway made of appointing a dictator.
Lucilius, a tribune of the people, was the man who first
adventured to propose it, urging the people to make Pompey
dictator. But the tribune was in danger of being turned out of
his office, by the opposition that Cato made against it. And
for Pompey, many of his friends appeared and excused him,
alleging that he never was desirous of that government, neither
would he accept of it. And when Cato therefore made a speech
in commendation of Pompey, and exhorted him to support the
cause of good order in the Commonwealth, he could not for shame
but yield to it, and so for the present Domitius and Messala
were elected consuls. But shortly afterwards, when there was
another anarchy, or vacancy in the government, and the talk of
a dictator was much louder and more general than before, those
of Cato's party, fearing lest they should be forced to appoint
Pompey, thought it policy to keep him from that arbitrary and
tyrannical power, by giving him an office of more legal
authority. Bibulus himself, who was Pompey's enemy, first gave
his vote in the senate, that Pompey should be created consul
alone; alleging, that by these means either the Commonwealth
would be freed from its present confusion, or that its bondage
should be lessened by serving the worthiest. This was looked
upon as a very strange opinion, considering the man that spoke
it; and therefore on Cato's standing up, everybody expected
that he would have opposed it; but after silence made, he said
that he would never have been the author of that advice
himself, but since it was propounded by another, his advice was
to follow it, adding, that any form of government was better
than none at all; and that in a time so full of distraction, he
thought no man fitter to govern than Pompey. This counsel was
unanimously approved of, and a decree passed that Pompey should
be made sole consul, with this clause, that if he thought it
necessary to have a colleague, he might choose whom he pleased,
provided it were not till after two months expired.

Thus was Pompey created and declared sole consul by Sulpicius,
regent in this vacancy; upon which he made very cordial
acknowledgments to Cato, professing himself much his debtor,
and requesting his good advice in conducting the government; to
this Cato replied, that Pompey had no reason to thank him, for
all that he had said was for the service of the commonwealth,
not of Pompey; but that he would be always ready to give his
advice privately, if he were asked for it; and if not, he
should not fail to say what he thought in public. Such was
Cato's conduct on all occasions.

On his return into the city Pompey married Cornelia, the
daughter of Metellus Scipio, not a maiden, but lately left a
widow by Publius, the son of Crassus, her first husband, who
had been killed in Parthia. The young lady had other
attractions besides those of youth and beauty; for she was
highly educated, played well upon the lute, understood
geometry, and had been accustomed to listen with profit to
lectures on philosophy; all this, too, without in any degree
becoming unamiable or pretentious, as sometimes young women do
when they pursue such studies. Nor could any fault be found
either with her father's family or reputation. The disparity
of their ages was however not liked by everybody; Cornelia
being in this respect a fitter match for Pompey's son. And
wiser judges thought it rather a slight upon the commonwealth
when he, to whom alone they had committed their broken
fortunes, and from whom alone, as from their physician, they
expected a cure to these distractions, went about crowned with
garlands and celebrating his nuptial feasts; never considering,
that his very consulship was a public calamity, which would
never have been given him, contrary to the rules of law, had
his country been in a flourishing state. Afterwards, however,
he took cognizance of the cases of those that had obtained
offices by gifts and bribery, and enacted laws and ordinances,
setting forth the rules of judgment by which they should be
arraigned; and regulating all things with gravity and justice,
he restored security, order, and silence to their courts of
judicature, himself giving his presence there with a band of
soldiers. But when his father-in-law Scipio was accused, he
sent for the three hundred and sixty judges to his house, and
entreated them to be favorable to him; whereupon his accuser,
seeing Scipio come into the court, accompanied by the judges
themselves, withdrew the prosecution. Upon this Pompey was
very ill spoken of, and much worse in the case of Plancus; for
whereas he himself had made a law, putting a stop to the
practice of making speeches in praise of persons under trial,
yet notwithstanding this prohibition, he came into court, and
spoke openly in commendation of Plancus, insomuch that Cato,
who happened to be one of the judges at that time, stopping his
ears with his hands, told him, he could not in conscience
listen to commendations contrary to law. Cato upon this was
refused, and set aside from being a judge, before sentence was
given, but Plancus was condemned by the rest of the judges, to
Pompey's dishonor. Shortly after, Hypsaeus, a man of consular
dignity, who was under accusation, waited for Pompey's return
from his bath to his supper, and falling down at his feet,
implored his favor; but he disdainfully passed him by, saying,
that he did nothing else but spoil his supper. Such partiality
was looked upon as a great fault in Pompey, and highly
condemned; however, he managed all things else discreetly, and
having put the government in very good order, he chose his
father-in-law to be his colleague in the consulship for the
last five months. His provinces were continued to him for the
term of four years longer, with a commission to take one
thousand talents yearly out of the treasury for the payment of
his army.

This gave occasion to some of Caesar's friends to think it
reasonable, that some consideration should be had of him too,
who had done such signal services in war, and fought so many
battles for the empire, alleging, that he deserved at least a
second consulship, or to have the government of his province
continued, that so he might command and enjoy in peace what he
had obtained in war, and no successor come in to reap the
fruits of his labor, and carry off the glory of his actions.
There arising some debate about this matter, Pompey took upon
him, as it were out of kindness to Caesar, to plead his cause,
and allay any jealousy that was conceived against him, telling
them, that he had letters from Caesar, expressing his desire
for a successor, and his own discharge from the command; but it
would be only right that they should give him leave to stand
for the consulship though in his absence. But those of Cato's
party withstood this, saying, that if he expected any favor
from the citizens, he ought to leave his army, and come in a
private capacity to canvas for it. And Pompey's making no
rejoinder, but letting it pass as a matter in which he was
overruled, increased the suspicion of his real feelings towards
Caesar. Presently, also, under presence of a war with Parthia,
he sent for his two legions which he had lent him. However,
Caesar, though he well knew why they were asked for, sent them
home very liberally rewarded.

About that time Pompey recovered of a dangerous fit of sickness
which seized him at Naples, where the whole city, upon the
suggestion of Praxagoras, made sacrifices of thanksgiving to
the gods for his recovery. The neighboring towns likewise
happening to follow their example, the thing then went its
course throughout all Italy, so that there was not a city
either great or small, that did not feast and rejoice for many
days together. And the company of those that came from all
parts to meet him was so numerous, that no place was able to
contain them, but the villages, seaport towns, and the very
highways, were all full of people, feasting and sacrificing to
the gods. Nay, many went to meet him with garlands on their
heads, and flambeaux in their hands, casting flowers and
nosegays upon him as he went along; so that this progress of
his, and reception, was one of the noblest and most glorious
sights imaginable. And yet it is thought that this very thing
was not one of the least causes and occasions of the civil war.
For Pompey, yielding to a feeling of exultation, which in the
greatness of the present display of joy lost sight of more
solid grounds of consideration, and abandoning that prudent
temper which had guided him hitherto to a safe use of all his
good fortune and his successes, gave himself up to an
extravagant confidence in his own, and contempt of Caesar's
power; insomuch that he thought neither force of arms nor care
necessary against him, but that he could pull him down much
easier than he had set him up. Besides this, Appius, under
whose command those legions which Pompey lent to Caesar were
returned, coming lately out of Gaul, spoke slightingly of
Caesar's actions there, and spread scandalous reports about
him, at the same time telling Pompey, that he was unacquainted
with his own strength and reputation, if he made use of any
other forces against Caesar than Caesar's own; for such was the
soldiers' hatred to Caesar, and their love to Pompey so great,
that they would all come over to him upon his first appearance.
By these flatteries Pompey was so puffed up, and led on into
such a careless security, that he could not choose but laugh at
those who seemed to fear a war; and when some were saying, that
if Caesar should march against the city, they could not see
what forces there were to resist him, he replied with a smile,
bidding them be in no concern, "for," said he, "whenever I
stamp with my foot in any part of Italy, there will rise up
forces enough in an instant, both horse and foot."

Caesar, on the other side, was more and more vigorous in his
proceedings, himself always at hand about the frontiers of
Italy, and sending his soldiers continually into the city to
attend all elections with their votes. Besides, he corrupted
several of the magistrates, and kept them in his pay; among
others, Paulus, the consul, who was brought over by a bribe of
one thousand and five hundred talents; and Curio, tribune of
the people, by a discharge of the debts with which he was
overwhelmed; together with Mark Antony, who, out of friendship
to Curio, had become bound with him in the same obligations
for them all. And it was stated as a fact, that a centurion of
Caesar's waiting at the senate-house, and hearing that the
senate refused to give him a longer term of his government,
clapped his hand upon his sword, and said, "But this shall give
it." And indeed all his practices and preparations seemed to
bear this appearance. Curio's demands, however, and requests
in favor of Caesar, were more popular in appearance; for he
desired one of these two things, either that Pompey also should
be called upon to resign his army, or that Caesar's should not
be taken away from him; for if both of them became private
persons, both would be satisfied with simple justice; or if
both retained their present power, each being a match for the
other, they would be contented with what they already had; but
he that weakens one, does at the same time strengthen the
other, and so doubles that very strength and power which he
stood in fear of before. Marcellus, the consul, replied
nothing to all this, but that Caesar was a robber, and should
be proclaimed an enemy to the state, if he did not disband his
army. However, Curio, with the assistance of Antony and Piso,
prevailed, that the matter in debate should be put to the
question, and decided by vote in the senate. So that it being
ordered upon the question for those to withdraw, who were of
opinion that Caesar only should lay down his army and Pompey
command, the majority withdrew. But when it was ordered again
for those to withdraw, whose vote was that both should lay
down their arms and neither command, there were but twenty-two
for Pompey, all the rest remained on Curio's side. Whereupon
he, as one proud of his conquest, leaped out in triumph among
the people, who received him with as great tokens of joy,
clapping their hands, and crowning him with garlands and
flowers. Pompey was not then present in the senate, because it
is not lawful for generals in command of an army to come into
the city. But Marcellus rising up, said, that he would not sit
there hearing speeches, when he saw ten legions already passing
the Alps on their march toward the city, but on his own
authority would send someone to oppose them in defense of the

Upon this the city went into mourning, as in a public calamity,
and Marcellus, accompanied by the senate, went solemnly through
the forum to meet Pompey, and made him this address. "I hereby
give you orders, O Pompey, to defend your country, to employ
the troops you now command, and to levy more." Lentulus,
consul elect for the year following, spoke to the same purpose.
Antony, however, contrary to the will of the senate, having in
a public assembly read a letter of Caesar's, containing various
plausible overtures such as were likely to gain the common
people, proposing, namely, that both Pompey and he quitting
their governments, and dismissing their armies, should submit
to the judgment of the people, and give an account of their
actions before them, the consequence was that when Pompey began
to make his levies, he found himself disappointed in his
expectations. Some few, indeed, came in, but those very
unwillingly; others would not answer to their names, and the
generality cried out for peace. Lentulus, notwithstanding he
was now entered upon his consulship, would not assemble the
senate; but Cicero, who was lately returned from Cilicia,
labored for a reconciliation, proposing that Caesar should
leave his province of Gaul and army, reserving two legions
only, together with the government of Illyricum, and should
thus be put in nomination for a second consulship. Pompey
disliking this motion, Caesar's friends were contented that he
should surrender one of the two; but Lentulus still opposing,
and Cato crying out that Pompey did ill to be deceived again,
the reconciliation did not take effect.

In the meantime, news was brought that Caesar had occupied
Ariminum, a great city in Italy, and was marching directly
towards Rome with all his forces. But this latter was
altogether false, for he had no more with him at that time than
three hundred horse and five thousand foot; and he did not mean
to tarry for the body of his army, which lay beyond the Alps,
choosing rather to fall in on a sudden upon his enemies, while
they were in confusion, and did not expect him, than to give
them time, and fight them after they had made preparations.
For when he came to the banks of the Rubicon, a river that
made the bounds of his province, there he made a halt, pausing
a little, and considering, we may suppose, with himself the
greatness of the enterprise which he had undertaken; then, at
last, like men that are throwing themselves headlong from some
precipice into a vast abyss, having shut, as it were, his
mind's eyes and put away from his sight the idea of danger, he
merely uttered to those near him in Greek the words,
"Anerriphtho kubos," (let the die be cast,) and led his army
through it. No sooner was the news arrived, but there was an
uproar throughout all the city, and a consternation in the
people even to astonishment, such as never was known in Rome
before; all the senate ran immediately to Pompey, and the
magistrates followed. And when Tullus made inquiry about his
legions and forces, Pompey seemed to pause a little, and
answered with some hesitation, that he had those two legions
ready that Caesar sent back, and that out of the men who had
been previously enrolled he believed he could shortly make up a
body of thirty thousand men. On which Tullus crying out aloud,
"O Pompey, you have deceived us," gave his advice to send off a
deputation to Caesar. Favonius, a man of fair character,
except that he used to suppose his own petulance and abusive
talking a copy of Cato's straight-forwardness, bade Pompey
stamp upon the ground, and call forth the forces he had
promised. But Pompey bore patiently with this unseasonable
raillery; and on Cato putting him in mind of what he had
foretold from the very beginning about Caesar, made this answer
only, that Cato indeed had spoken more like a prophet, but he
had acted more like a friend. Cato then advised them to choose
Pompey general with absolute power and authority, saying that
the same men who do great evils, know best how to cure them.
He himself went his way forthwith into Sicily, the province
that was allotted him, and all the rest of the senators
likewise departed every one to his respective government.

Thus all Italy in a manner being up in arms, no one could say
what was best to be done. For those that were without, came
from all parts flocking into the city; and they who were
within, seeing the confusion and disorder so great there, all
good things impotent, and disobedience and insubordination
grown too strong to be controlled by the magistrates, were
quitting it as fast as the others came in. Nay, it was so far
from being possible to allay their fears, that they would not
suffer Pompey to follow out his own judgment, but every man
pressed and urged him according to his particular fancy,
whether it proceeded from doubt, fear, grief, or any meaner
passion; so that even in the same day quite contrary counsels
were acted upon. Then, again, it was as impossible to have any
good intelligence of the enemy; for what each man heard by
chance upon a flying rumor, he would report for truth, and
exclaim against Pompey if he did not believe it. Pompey, at
length, seeing such a confusion in Rome, determined with
himself to put an end to their clamors by his departure, and
therefore commanding all the senate to follow him, and
declaring, that whosoever tarried behind, should be judged a
confederate of Caesar's, about the dusk of the evening he went
out and left the city. The consuls also followed after in a
hurry, without offering the sacrifices to the gods, usual
before a war. But in all this, Pompey himself had the glory,
that in the midst of such calamities, he had so much of men's
love and good-will. For though many found fault with the
conduct of the war, yet no man hated the general; and there
were more to be found of those that went out of Rome, because
that they could not forsake Pompey, than of those that fled for
love of liberty.

Some few days after Pompey was gone out, Caesar came into the
city, and made himself master of it, treating everyone with a
great deal of courtesy, and appeasing their fears, except only
Metellus, one of the tribunes; on whose refusing to let him
take any money out of the treasury, Caesar threatened him with
death, adding words yet harsher than the threat, that it was
far easier for him to do it than say it. By this means
removing Metellus, and taking what moneys were of use for his
occasions, he set forwards in pursuit of Pompey, endeavoring
with all speed to drive him out of Italy before his army, that
was in Spain, could join him.

But Pompey arriving at Brundusium, and having plenty of ships
there, bade the two consuls embark immediately, and with them
shipped thirty cohorts of foot, bound before him for
Dyrrhachium. He sent likewise his father-in-law Scipio, and
Cnaeus his son, into Syria, to provide and fit out a fleet
there; himself in the meantime having blocked up the gates,
placed his lightest soldiers as guards upon the walls; and
giving express orders that the citizens should keep within
doors, he dug up all the ground inside the city, cutting
trenches, and fixing stakes and palisades throughout all the
streets of the city, except only two that led down to the
sea-side. Thus in three days space having with ease put all
the rest of his army on shipboard, he suddenly gave the signal
to those that guarded the walls, who nimbly repairing to the
ships, were received on board and carried off. Caesar meantime
perceiving their departure by seeing the walls unguarded,
hastened after, and in the heat of pursuit was all but
entangled himself among the stakes and trenches. But the
Brundusians discovering the danger to him, and showing him the
way, he wheeled about, and taking a circuit round the city,
made towards the haven, where he found all the ships on their
way, excepting only two vessels that had but a few soldiers

Most are of opinion, that this departure of Pompey's is to be
counted among the best of his military performances, but Caesar
himself could not but wonder that he, who was thus ingarrisoned
in a city well fortified, who was in expectation of his forces
from Spain, and was master of the sea besides, should leave and
abandon Italy. Cicero accuses him of imitating the conduct of
Themistocles, rather than of Pericles, when the circumstances
were more like those of Pericles than they were like those of
Themistocles. However, it appeared plainly, and Caesar showed
it by his actions, that he was in great fear of delay, for when
he had taken Numerius, a friend of Pompey's, prisoner, he sent
him as an ambassador to Brundusium, with offers of peace and
reconciliation upon equal terms; but Numerius sailed away with
Pompey. And now Caesar having become master of all Italy in
sixty days, without a drop of blood shed, had a great desire
forthwith to follow Pompey; but being destitute of shipping, he
was forced to divert his course, and march into Spain,
designing to bring over Pompey's forces there to his own.

In the meantime Pompey raised a mighty army both by sea and
land. As for his navy, it was irresistible. For there were
five hundred men of war, besides an infinite company of light
vessels, Liburnians, and others; and for his land forces, the
cavalry made up a body of seven thousand horse, the very flower
of Rome and Italy, men of family, wealth, and high spirit; but
the infantry was a mixture of unexperienced soldiers drawn from
different quarters, and these he exercised and trained near
Beroea, where he quartered his army; himself noways slothful,
but performing all his exercises as if he had been in the flower
of his youth, conduct which raised the spirits of his soldiers
extremely. For it was no small encouragement for them to see
Pompey the Great, sixty years of age wanting two, at one time
handling his arms among the foot, then again mounted among the
horse, drawing out his sword with ease in full career, and
sheathing it up as easily; and in darting the javelin, showing
not only skill and dexterity in hitting the mark, but also
strength and activity in throwing it so far that few of the
young men went beyond him.

Several kings and princes of nations came thither to him, and
there was a concourse of Roman citizens who had held the
magistracies, so numerous that they made up a complete senate.
Labienus forsook his old friend Caesar, whom he had served
throughout all his wars in Gaul, and came over to Pompey; and
Brutus, son to that Brutus that was put to death in Gaul, a man
of a high spirit, and one that to that day had never so much as
saluted or spoke to Pompey, looking upon him as the murderer of
his father, came then and submitted himself to him as the
defender of their liberty. Cicero likewise, though he had
written and advised otherwise, yet was ashamed not to be
accounted in the number of those that would hazard their lives
and fortunes for the safeguard of their country. There came to
him also into Macedonia, Tidius Sextius, a man extremely old,
and lame of one leg; so that others indeed mocked and laughed
at the spectacle, but Pompey, as soon as he saw him, rose and
ran to meet him, esteeming it no small testimony in his favor,
when men of such age and infirmities should rather choose to be
with him in danger, than in safety at home. Afterwards in a
meeting of their senate they passed a decree, on the motion of
Cato, that no Roman citizen should be put to death but in
battle, and that they should not sack or plunder any city that
was subject to the Roman empire, a resolution which gained
Pompey's party still greater reputation, insomuch that those
who were noways at all concerned in the war, either because
they dwelt afar off, or were thought incapable of giving help,
were yet, in their good wishes, upon his side, and in all their
words, so far as that went, supported the good or just cause,
as they called it; esteeming those as enemies to the gods and
men, that wished not victory to Pompey.

Neither was Pompey's clemency such, but that Caesar likewise
showed himself as merciful a conqueror; for when he had taken
and overthrown all Pompey's forces in Spain, he gave them easy
terms, leaving the commanders at their liberty, and taking the
common soldiers into his own pay. Then repassing the Alps, and
making a running march through Italy, he came to Brundusium
about the winter solstice, and crossing the sea there, landed
at the port of Oricum. And having Jubius, an intimate friend
of Pompey's, with him as his prisoner, he dispatched him to
Pompey with an invitation, that they, meeting together in a
conference, should disband both their armies within three days,
and renewing their former friendship with solemn oaths, should
return together into Italy. Pompey looked upon this again as
some new stratagem, and therefore marching down in all haste to
the sea-coast, possessed himself of all forts and places of
strength suitable to encamp in, and to secure his laud forces,
as likewise of all ports and harbors commodious to receive any
that came by sea, so that what wind soever blew, it must needs
in some way or other be favorable to him, bringing in either
provision, men, or money; while Caesar, on the contrary, was so
hemmed in both by sea and land, that he was forced to desire
battle, daily provoking the enemy, and assailing them in their
very forts; and in these light skirmishes for the most part had
the better. Once only he was dangerously overthrown, and was
within a little of losing his whole army, Pompey having fought
nobly, routing the whole force, and killing two thousand on the
spot. But either he was not able, or was afraid, to go on and
force his way into their camp with them, so that Caesar made
the remark, that "Today the victory had been the enemy's, had
there been anyone among them to gain it." Pompey's soldiers
were so encouraged by this victory that they were eager now to
have all put to the decision of a battle; but Pompey himself,
though he wrote to distant kings, generals, and states in
confederacy with him, as a conqueror, yet was afraid to hazard
the success of a battle, choosing rather by delays, and
distress of provisions, to tire out a body of men, who had
never yet been conquered by force of arms, and had long been
used to fight and conquer together; while their time of life,
now an advanced one, which made them quickly weary of those
other hardships of war, such as were long marches, and frequent
decampings, making trenches, and building fortifications, made
them eager to come to close combat and venture a battle with
all speed.

Pompey had all along hitherto by his persuasions pretty well
quieted his soldiers; but after this last engagement, when
Caesar for want of provisions was forced to raise his camp, and
passed through Athamania into Thessaly, it was impossible to
curb or allay the heat of their spirits any longer. For all
crying out with a general voice, that Caesar was fled, some
were for pursuing and pressing upon him, others for returning
into Italy; some there were that sent their friends and
servants beforehand to Rome, to hire houses near the forum,
that they might be in readiness to sue for offices; several of
their own motion sailed off at once to Lesbos to carry to
Cornelia, (whom Pompey had conveyed thither to be in safety,)
the joyful news, that the war was ended. And a senate being
called, and the matter being under debate, Afranius was of
opinion, that Italy should first be regained, for that it was
the grand prize and crown of all the war; and they who were
masters of that, would quickly have at their devotion all the
provinces of Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Spain, and Gaul; but
what was of greatest weight and moment to Pompey, it was his
own native country that lay near, reaching out her hand for his
help; and certainly it could not be consistent with his honor
to leave her thus exposed to all indignities, and in bondage
under slaves and the flatterers of a tyrant. But Pompey
himself, on the contrary, thought it neither honorable to fly a
second time before Caesar, and be pursued, when fortune had
given him the advantage of a pursuit; nor indeed lawful before
the gods to forsake Scipio and divers other men of consular
dignity dispersed throughout Greece and Thessaly, who must
necessarily fall into Caesar's hands, together with large sums
of money and numerous forces; and as to his care for the city
of Rome, that would most eminently appear, by removing the
scene of war to a greater distance, and leaving her, without
feeling the distress or even hearing the sound of these evils,
to await in peace the return of whichever should be the victor.

With this determination, Pompey marched forwards in pursuit of
Caesar, firmly resolved with himself not to give him battle,
but rather to besiege and distress him, by keeping close at his
heels, and cutting him short. There were other reasons that
made him continue this resolution, but especially because a
saying that was current among the Romans serving in the cavalry
came to his ear, to the effect, that they ought to beat Caesar
as soon as possible, and then humble Pompey too. And some
report, it was for this reason that Pompey never employed Cato
in any matter of consequence during the whole war, but now when
he pursued Caesar, left him to guard his baggage by sea,
fearing lest, if Caesar should be taken off, he himself also by
Cato's means not long after should be forced to give up his

Whilst he was thus slowly attending the motions of the enemy,
he was exposed on all sides to outcries, and imputations of
using his generalship to defeat, not Caesar, but his country
and the senate, that he might always continue in authority, and
never cease to keep those for his guards and servants, who
themselves claimed to govern the world. Domitius Aenobarbus,
continually calling him Agamemnon, and king of kings, excited
jealousy against him; and Favonius, by his unseasonable
raillery, did him no less injury than those who openly attacked
him, as when he cried out, "Good friends, you must not expect
to gather any figs in Tusculum this year." But Lucius
Afranius, who had lain under an imputation of treachery for the
loss of the army in Spain, when he saw Pompey purposely
declining an engagement, declared openly, that he could not but
admire, why those who were so ready to accuse him, did not go
themselves and fight this buyer and seller of their provinces.

With these and many such speeches they wrought upon Pompey, who
never could bear reproach, or resist the expectations of his
friends; and thus they forced him to break his measures, so
that he forsook his own prudent resolution to follow their vain
hopes and desires: weakness that would have been blamable ill
the pilot of a ship, how much more in the sovereign commander
of such an army, and so many nations. But he, though he had
often commended those physicians who did not comply with the
capricious appetites of their patients, yet himself could not
but yield to the malady and disease of his companions and
advisers in the war, rather than use some severity in their
cure. Truly who could have said that health was not disordered
and a cure not required in the case of men who went up and down
the camp, suing already for the consulship and office of
praetor, while Spinther, Domitius, and Scipio made friends,
raised factions, and quarrelled among themselves, who should
succeed Caesar in the dignity of his high-priesthood, esteeming
all as lightly, as if they were to engage only with Tigranes,
king of Armenia, or some petty Nabathaean king, not with that
Caesar and his army that had stormed a thousand towns, and
subdued more than three hundred several nations; that had
fought innumerable battles with the Germans and Gauls, and
always carried the victory; that had taken a million of men
prisoners, and slain as many upon the spot in pitched battles?

But they went on soliciting and clamoring, and on reaching the
plain of Pharsalia, they forced Pompey by their pressure and
importunities to call a council of war, where Labienus, general
of the horse, stood up first and swore that he would not return
out of the battle if he did not rout the enemies; and a]l the
rest took the same oath. That night Pompey dreamed that as he
went into the theater, the people received him with great
applause, and that he himself adorned the temple of Venus the
Victorious, with many spoils. This vision partly encouraged,
but partly also disheartened him, fearing lest that splendor
and ornament to Venus should be made with spoils furnished by
himself to Caesar, who derived his family from that goddess.
Besides there were some panic fears and alarms that ran through
the camp, with such a noise that it awaked him out of his
sleep. And about the time of renewing the watch towards
morning, there appeared a great light over Caesar's camp,
whilst they were all at rest, and from thence a ball of flaming
fire was carried into Pompey's camp, which Caesar himself says
he saw, as he was walking his rounds.

Now Caesar having designed to raise his camp with the morning
and move to Scotussa, whilst the soldiers were busy in pulling
down their tents, and sending on their cattle and servants
before them with their baggage, there came in scouts who
brought word that they saw arms carried to and fro in the
enemy's camp, and heard a noise and running up and down, as of
men preparing for battle; not long after there came in other
scouts with further intelligence, that the first ranks were
already set in battle array. Thereupon Caesar, when he had
told them that the wished for day was come at last, when they
should fight with men, not with hunger and famine, instantly
gave orders for the red colors to be set up before his tent,
that being the ordinary signal of battle among the Romans. As
soon as the soldiers saw that, they left their tents, and with
great shouts of joy ran to their arms; the officers, likewise,
on their parts drawing up their companies in order of battle,
every man fell into his proper rank without any trouble or
noise, as quietly and orderly as if they had been in a dance.

Pompey himself led the right wing of his army against Antony,
and placed his father-in-law Scipio in the middle against
Lucius Calvinus. The left wing was commanded by Lucius
Domitius; and supported by the great mass of the horse. For
almost the whole cavalry was posted there, in the hope of
crushing Caesar, and cutting off the tenth legion, which was
spoken of as the stoutest in all the army, and in which Caesar
himself usually fought in person. Caesar observing the left
wing of the enemy to be lined and fortified with such a mighty
guard of horse, and alarmed at the gallantry of their
appearance, sent for a detachment of six cohorts out of the
reserves, and placed them in the rear of the tenth legion,
commanding them not to stir, lest they should be discovered by
the enemy; but when the enemy's horse should begin to charge,
and press upon them, that they should make up with all speed to
the front through the foremost ranks, and not throw their
javelins at a distance, as is usual with brave soldiers, that
they may come to a close fight with their swords the sooner,
but that they should strike them upwards into the eyes and
faces of the enemy; telling them that those fine young dancers
would never endure the steel shining in their eyes, but would
fly to save their handsome faces. This was Caesar's employment
at that time. But while he was thus instructing his soldiers,
Pompey on horseback was viewing the order of both armies, and
when he saw how well the enemy kept their ranks, expecting
quietly the signal of battle; and, on the contrary, how
impatient and unsteady his own men were, waving up and down in
disorder for want of experience, he was very much afraid that
their ranks would be broken upon the first onset; and therefore
he gave out orders that the van should make a stand, and
keeping close in their ranks, should receive the enemy's
charge. Caesar much condemns this command; which he says not
only took off from the strength of the blows, which would
otherwise have been made with a spring; but also lost the men
the impetus, which, more than anything, in the moment of their
coming upon the enemy, fills soldiers with impulse and
inspiration, the very shouts and rapid pace adding to their
fury; of which Pompey deprived his men, arresting them in their
course and cooling down their heat.

Caesar's army consisted of twenty-two thousand, and Pompey's of
somewhat above twice as many. When the signal of battle was
given on both sides, and the trumpets began to sound a charge,
most men of course were fully occupied with their own matters;
only some few of the noblest Romans, together with certain
Greeks there present, standing as spectators without the
battle, seeing the armies now ready to join, could not but
consider in themselves to what a pass private ambition and
emulation had brought the empire. Common arms, and kindred
ranks drawn up under the self-same standards, the whole flower
and strength of the same single city here meeting in collision
with itself, offered plain proof how blind and how mad a thing
human nature is, when once possessed with any passion; for if
they had been desirous only to rule, and enjoy in peace what
they had conquered in war, the greatest and best part of the
world was subject to them both by sea and land. But if there
was yet a thirst in their ambition, that must still be fed with
new trophies and triumphs, the Parthian and German wars would
yield matter enough to satisfy the most covetous of honor.
Scythia, moreover, was yet unconquered, and the Indians too,
where their ambition might be colored over with the specious
pretext of civilizing barbarous nations. And what Scythian
horse, Parthian arrows, or Indian riches, could be able to
resist seventy thousand Roman soldiers, well appointed in arms,
under the command of two such generals as Pompey and Caesar,
whose names they had heard of before that of the Romans, and
whose prowess, by their conquests of such wild, remote, savage,
and brutish nations, was spread further than the fame of the
Romans themselves? Today they met in conflict, and could no
longer be induced to spare their country, even out of regard
for their own glory or the fear of losing the name which till
this day both had held, of having never yet been defeated. As
for their former private ties, and the charms of Julia, and the
marriage that had made them near connections, these could now
only be looked upon as tricks of state, the mere securities of
a treaty made to serve the needs of an occasion, not the
pledges of any real friendship.

Now, therefore, as soon as the plains of Pharsalia were covered
with men, horse, and armor, and that the signal of battle was
raised on either side, Caius Crassianus, a centurion, who
commanded a company of one hundred and twenty men, was the
first that advanced out of Caesar's army, to give the charge,
and acquit himself of a solemn engagement that he had made to
Caesar. He had been the first man that Caesar had seen going
out of the camp in the morning, and Caesar, after saluting him,
had asked him what he thought of the coming battle. To which
he, stretching out his right hand, replied aloud, "Thine is the
victory, O Caesar, thou shalt conquer gloriously, and I myself
this day will be the subject of thy praise either alive or
dead." In pursuance of this promise he hastened forward, and
being followed by many more, charged into the midst of the
enemy. There they came at once to a close fight with their
swords, and made a great slaughter; but as he was still
pressing forward, and breaking the ranks of the vanguard, one
of Pompey's soldiers ran him in at the mouth, so that the point
of the sword came out behind at his neck; and Crassianus being
thus slain, the fight became doubtful, and continued equal on
that part of the battle.

Pompey had not yet brought on the right wing, but stayed and
looked about, waiting to see what execution his cavalry would
do on the left. They had already drawn out their squadrons in
form, designing to turn Caesar's flank, and force those few
horse, which he had placed in the front, to give back upon the
battalion of foot. But Caesar, on the other side, having given
the signal, his horse retreated back a little, and gave way to
those six subsidiary cohorts, which had been posted in the
rear, as a reserve to cover the flank; and which now came out,
three thousand men in number, and met the enemy; and when they
came up, standing by the horses, struck their javelins upwards,
according to their instructions, and hit the horsemen full in
their faces. They, unskillful in any manner of fight, and
least of all expecting or understanding such a kind as this,
had not courage enough to endure the blows upon their faces,
but turning their backs, and covering their eyes with their
hands, shamefully took to flight. Caesar's men, however, did
not follow them, but marched upon the foot, and attacked the
wing, which the flight of the cavalry had left unprotected, and
liable to be turned and taken in the rear, so that this wing
now being attacked in the flank by these, and charged in the
front by the tenth legion, was not able to abide the charge, or
make any longer resistance, especially when they saw themselves
surrounded and circumvented in the very way in which they had
designed to invest the enemy. Thus these being likewise routed
and put to flight, when Pompey, by the dust flying in the air,
conjectured the fate of his horse, it were very hard to say
what his thoughts or intentions were, but looking like one
distracted and beside himself, and without any recollection or
reflection that he was Pompey the Great, he retired slowly
towards his camp, without speaking a word to any man, exactly
according to the description in the verses,

But Jove from heaven struck Ajax with a fear;
Ajax the bold then stood astonished there,
Flung o'er his back the mighty sevenfold shield,
And trembling gazed and spied about the field.

In this state and condition he went into his own tent, and sat
down, speechless still, until some of the enemy fell in
together with his men that were flying into the camp, and then
he let fall only this one word, "What? into the very camp?"
and said no more; but rose up, and putting on a dress suitable
to his present fortune, made his way secretly out.

By this time the rest of the army was put to flight, and there
was a great slaughter in the camp among the servants and those
that guarded the tents, but of the soldiers themselves there
were not above six thousand slain, as is stated by Asinius
Pollio, who himself fought in this battle on Caesar's side.
When Caesar's soldiers had taken the camp, they saw clearly the
folly and vanity of the enemy; for all their tents and
pavilions were richly set out with garlands of myrtle,
embroidered carpets and hangings, and tables laid and covered
with goblets. There were large bowls of wine ready, and
everything prepared and put in array, in the manner rather of
people who had offered sacrifice and were going to celebrate a
holiday, than of soldiers who had armed themselves to go out to
battle, so possessed with the expectation of success and so
full of empty confidence had they gone out that morning.

When Pompey had got a little way from the camp, he dismounted
and forsook his horse, having but a small retinue with him; and
finding that no man pursued him, walked on softly afoot, taken
up altogether with thoughts, such as probably might possess a
man that for the space of thirty-four years together had been
accustomed to conquest and victory, and was then at last, in
his old age, learning for the first time what defeat and flight
were. And it was no small affliction to consider, that he had
lost in one hour all that glory and power, which he had been
getting in so many wars, and bloody battles; and that he who
but a little before was guarded with such an army of foot, so
many squadrons of horse, and such a mighty fleet, was now
flying in so mean a condition, and with such a slender retinue,
that his very enemies who fought him could not know him. Thus,
when he had passed by the city of Larissa, and came into the
pass of Tempe, being very thirsty, he kneeled down and drank
out of the river; then rising up again, he passed through
Tempe, until he came to the seaside, and there he betook
himself to a poor fisherman's cottage, where he rested the
remainder of the night. The next morning about break of day he
went into one of the river boats, and taking none of those that
followed him except such as were free, dismissed his servants,
advising them to go boldly to Caesar, and not be afraid. As he
was rowing up and down near the shore, he chanced to spy a
large merchant-ship, lying off, just ready to set sail; the
master of which was a Roman citizen, named Peticius, who,
though he was not familiarly acquainted with Pompey, yet knew
him well by sight. Now it happened that this Peticius dreamed,
the night before, that he saw Pompey, not like the man he had
often seen him, but in a humble and dejected condition, and in
that posture discoursing with him. He was then telling his
dream to the people on board, as men do when at leisure, and
especially dreams of that consequence, when of a sudden one of
the mariners told him, he saw a river boat with oars putting
off from shore, and that some of the men there shook their
garments, and held out their hands, with signs to take them in;
thereupon Peticius looking attentively, at once recognized
Pompey, just as he appeared in his dream, and smiting his hand
on his head, ordered the mariners to let down the ship's boat,
he himself waving his hand, and calling to him by his name,
already assured of his change and the change of his fortune by
that of his garb. So that without waiting for any further
entreaty or discourse, he took him into his ship, together with
as many of his company as he thought fit, and hoisted sail.
There were with him the two Lentuli, and Favonius; and a little
after they spied king Deiotarus, making up towards them from
the shore; so they stayed and took him in along with them. At
supper time, the master of the ship having made ready such
provisions as he had aboard, Pompey, for want of his servants,
began to undo his shoes himself; which Favonius noticing ran to
him and undid them, and helped him to anoint himself, and
always after continued to wait upon, and attend him in all
things, as servants do their masters, even to the washing of
his feet, and preparing his supper. Insomuch that anyone
there present, observing the free and unaffected courtesy of
these services, might have well exclaimed,

O heavens, in those that noble are,
Whate'er they do is fit and fair.

Pompey, sailing by the city of Amphipolis, crossed over from
thence to Mitylene, with a design to take in Cornelia and his
son; and as soon as he arrived at the port in that island, he
dispatched a messenger into the city, with news very different
from Cornelia's expectation. For she, by all the former
messages and letters sent to please her, had been put in hopes
that the war was ended at Dyrrhachium, and that there was
nothing more remaining for Pompey, but the pursuit of Caesar.
The messenger finding her in the same hopes still, was not able
to salute or speak to her, but declaring the greatness of her
misfortune by his tears rather than by his words, desired her
to make haste if she would see Pompey, with one ship only, and
that not of his own. The young lady hearing this, fell down in
a swoon, and continued a long time senseless and speechless.
And when with some trouble she was brought to her senses again,
being conscious to herself that this was no time for
lamentation and tears, she started up and ran through the city
towards the seaside, where Pompey meeting and embracing her, as
she sank down, supported by his arms, "This, sir," she
exclaimed, "is the effect of my fortune, not of yours, that I
see you thus reduced to one poor vessel, who before your
marriage with Cornelia, were wont to sail in these seas with a
fleet of five hundred ships. Why therefore should you come to
see me, or why not rather have left to her evil genius one who
has brought upon you her own ill-fortune? How happy a woman
had I been, if I had breathed out my last, before the news came
from Parthia of the death of Publius, the husband of my youth,
and how prudent if I had followed his destiny, as I designed!
But I was reserved for a greater mischief, even the ruin of
Pompey the Great."

Thus, they say, Cornelia spoke to him, and this was Pompey's
reply: "You have had, Cornelia, but one season of a better
fortune, which it may be, gave you unfounded hopes, by
attending me a longer time than is usual. It behoves us, who
are mortals born, to endure these events, and to try fortune
yet again; neither is it any less possible to recover our
former state, than it was to fall from that into this."
Thereupon Cornelia sent for her servants and baggage out of the
city. The citizens also of Mitylene came out to salute and
invite Pompey into the city, but he refused, advising them to
be obedient to the conqueror, and fear not, for that Caesar was
a man of great goodness and clemency. Then turning to
Cratippus, the philosopher, who came among the rest out of the
city to visit him, he began to find some fault, and briefly
argued with him upon Providence, but Cratippus modestly
declined the dispute, putting him in better hopes only, lest by
opposing, he might seem too austere or unseasonable. For he
might have put Pompey a question in his turn, in defense of
Providence; and might have demonstrated the necessity there was
that the commonwealth should be turned into a monarchy, because
of their ill government in the state; and could have asked,
"How, O Pompey, and by what token or assurance can we
ascertain, that if the victory had been yours, you would have
used your fortune better than Caesar? We must leave the divine
power to act as we find it do."

Pompey having taken his wife and friends aboard, set sail,
making no port, nor touching anywhere, but when he was
necessitated to take in provisions, or fresh water. The first
city he entered was Attalia, in Pamphylia, and whilst he was
there, there came some galleys thither to him out of Cilicia,
together with a small body of soldiers, and he had almost sixty
senators with him again; then hearing that his navy was safe
too, and that Cato had rallied a considerable body of soldiers
after their overthrow, and was crossing with them over into
Africa, he began to complain and blame himself to his friends
that he had allowed himself to be driven into engaging by land,
without making use of his other forces, in which he was
irresistibly the stronger, and had not kept near enough to his
fleet, that failing by land, he might have reinforced himself
from the sea, and would have been again at the head of a power
quite sufficient to encounter the enemy on equal terms. And in
truth, neither did Pompey during all the war commit a greater
oversight, nor Caesar use a more subtle stratagem, than in
drawing the fight so far off from the naval forces.

As it now was, however, since he must come to some decision,
and try some plan within his present ability, he dispatched his
agents to the neighboring cities, and himself sailed about in
person to others, requiring their aid in money and men for his
ships. But, fearing lest the rapid approach of the enemy might
cut off all his preparations, he began to consider what place
would yield him the safest refuge and retreat at present. A
consultation was held, and it was generally agreed that no
province of the Romans was secure enough. As for foreign
kingdoms, he himself was of opinion, that Parthia would be the
fittest to receive and defend them in their present weakness,
and best able to furnish them with new means and send them out
again with large forces. Others of the council were for going
into Africa, and to king Juba. But Theophanes the Lesbian,
thought it madness to leave Egypt, that was but at a distance
of three days' sailing, and make no use of Ptolemy, who was
still a boy, and was highly indebted to Pompey for the
friendship and favor he had shown to his father, only to put
himself under the Parthian, and trust the most treacherous
nation in the world; and rather than make any trial of the
clemency of a Roman, and his own near connection, to whom if he
would but yield to be second, he might be the first and chief
over all the rest, to go and place himself at the mercy of
Arsaces, which even Crassus had not submitted to, while alive;
and, moreover, to expose his young wife, of the family of the
Scipios, among a barbarous people, who govern by their lusts,
and measure their greatness by their power to commit affronts
and insolencies; from whom, though she suffered no dishonor,
yet it might be thought she did, being in the hands of those
who had the power to do it. This argument alone, they say, was
persuasive enough to divert his course, that was designed
towards Euphrates, if it were so indeed that any counsel of
Pompey's, and not some superior power, made him take this other

As soon, therefore, as it was resolved upon, that he should fly
into Egypt, setting sail from Cyprus in a galley of Seleucia,
together with Cornelia, while the rest of his company sailed
along near him, some in ships of war, and others in merchant
vessels, he passed over sea without danger. But on hearing
that king Ptolemy was posted with his army at the city of
Pelusium, making war against his sister, he steered his course
that way, and sent a messenger before to acquaint the king with
his arrival, and to crave his protection. Ptolemy himself was
quite young, and therefore Pothinus, who had the principal
administration of all affairs, called a council of the chief
men, those being the greatest whom he pleased to make so, and
commanded them every man to deliver his opinion touching the
reception of Pompey. It was, indeed, a miserable thing, that
the fate of the great Pompey should be left to the
determinations of Pothinus the eunuch, Theodotus of Chios, the
paid rhetoric master, and Achillas the Egyptian. For these,
among the chamberlains and menial domestics, that made up the
rest of the council, were the chief and leading men. Pompey,
who thought it dishonorable for him to owe his safety to
Caesar, riding at anchor at a distance from shore, was forced
to wait the sentence of this tribunal. It seems they were so
far different in their opinions that some were for sending the
man away, and others again for inviting and receiving him; but
Theodotus, to show his cleverness and the cogency of his
rhetoric, undertook to demonstrate, that neither the one nor
the other was safe in that juncture of affairs. For if they
entertained him, they would be sure to make Caesar their enemy,
and Pompey their master; or if they dismissed him, they might
render themselves hereafter obnoxious to Pompey, for that
inhospitable expulsion, and to Caesar, for the escape; so that
the most expedient course would be to send for him and take
away his life, for by that means they would ingratiate
themselves with the one, and have no reason to fear the other;
adding, it is related, with a smile, that "a dead man cannot

This advice being approved of, they committed the execution of
it to Achillas. He, therefore, taking with him as his
accomplices one Septimius, a man that had formerly held a
command under Pompey, and Salvius, another centurion, with
three or four attendants, made up towards Pompey's galley. In
the meantime, all the chiefest of those who accompanied Pompey
in this voyage, were come into his ship to learn the event of
their embassy. But when they saw the manner of their
reception, that in appearance it was neither princely nor
honorable, nor indeed in any way answerable to the hopes of
Theophanes, or their expectation, (for there came but a few men
in a fisherman's boat to meet them,) they began to suspect the
meanness of their entertainment, and gave warning to Pompey
that he should row back his galley, whilst he was out of their
reach, and make for the sea. By this time, the Egyptian boat
drew near, and Septimius standing up first, saluted Pompey in
the Latin tongue, by the title of imperator. Then Achillas,
saluting him in the Greek language, desired him to come aboard
his vessel, telling him, that the sea was very shallow towards
the shore, and that a galley of that burden could not avoid
striking upon the sands. At the same time they saw several of
the king's galleys getting their men on board, and all the
shore covered with soldiers; so that even if they changed their
minds, it seemed impossible for them to escape, and besides,
their distrust would have given the assassins a pretence for
their cruelty. Pompey, therefore, taking his leave of
Cornelia, who was already lamenting his death before it came,
bade two centurions, with Philip, one of his freedmen, and a
slave called Scythes, go on board the boat before him. And as
some of the crew with Achillas were reaching out their hands to
help him, he turned about towards his wife and son, and
repeated those iambics of Sophocles,

He that once enters at a tyrant's door,
Becomes a slave, though he were free before.

These were the last words he spoke to his friends, and so he
went aboard. Observing presently that notwithstanding there
was a considerable distance betwixt his galley and the shore,
yet none of the company addressed any words of friendliness or
welcome to him all the way, he looked earnestly upon Septimius,
and said, "I am not mistaken, surely, in believing you to have
been formerly my fellow-soldier." But he only nodded with his
head, making no reply at all, nor showing any other courtesy.
Since, therefore, they continued silent, Pompey took a little
book in his hand, in which was written out an address in Greek,
which he intended to make to king Ptolemy, and began to read
it. When they drew near to the shore, Cornelia, together with
the rest of his friends in the galley, was very impatient to
see the event, and began to take courage at last, when she saw
several of the royal escort coming to meet him, apparently to
give him a more honorable reception; but in the meantime, as
Pompey took Philip by the hand to rise up more easily,
Septimius first stabbed him from behind with his sword; and
after him likewise Salvius and Achillas drew out their swords.
He, therefore, taking up his gown with both hands, drew it over
his face, and neither saying nor doing anything unworthy of
himself, only groaning a little, endured the wounds they gave
him, and so ended his life, in the fifty-ninth year of his age,
the very next day after the day of his birth.

Cornelia, with her company from the galley, seeing him
murdered, gave such a cry that it was heard to the shore, and
weighing anchor with all speed, they hoisted sail, and fled. A
strong breeze from the shore assisted their flight into the
open sea, so that the Egyptians, though desirous to overtake
them, desisted from the pursuit. But they cut off Pompey's
head, and threw the rest of his body overboard, leaving it
naked upon the shore, to be viewed by any that had the
curiosity to see so sad a spectacle. Philip stayed by and
watched till they had glutted their eyes in viewing it; and
then washing it with sea-water, having nothing else, he wrapped
it up in a shirt of his own for a winding-sheet. Then seeking
up and down about the sands, at last he found some rotten
planks of a little fisher-boat, not much, but yet enough to
make up a funeral pile for a naked body, and that not quite
entire. As Philip was busy in gathering and putting these old
planks together, an old Roman citizen, who in his youth had
served in the wars under Pompey, came up to him and demanded,
who he was that was preparing the funeral of Pompey the Great.
And Philip making answer, that he was his freedman, "Nay,
then," said he, "you shall not have this honor alone; let even
me, too, I pray you, have my share in such a pious office.
that I may not altogether repent me of this pilgrimage in a
strange land, but in compensation of many misfortunes, may
obtain this happiness at last, even with mine own hands to
touch the body of Pompey, and do the last duties to the
greatest general among the Romans." And in this manner were
the obsequies of Pompey performed. The next day Lucius
Lentulus, not knowing what had passed, came sailing from Cyprus
along the shore of that coast, and seeing a funeral pile, and
Philip standing by, exclaimed, before he was yet seen by any
one, "Who is this that has found his end here?" adding, after
a short pause, with a sigh, "Possibly even thou, Pompeius
Magnus!" and so going ashore, he was presently apprehended and
slain. This was the end of Pompey.

Not long after, Caesar arrived in the country that was polluted
with this foul act, and when one of the Egyptians was sent to
present him with Pompey's head, he turned away from him with
abhorrence as from a murderer; and on receiving his seal, on
which was engraved a lion holding a sword in his paw, he burst
into tears. Achillas and Pothinus he put to death; and king
Ptolemy himself, being overthrown in battle upon the banks of
the Nile, fled away and was never heard of afterwards.
Theodotus, the rhetorician, flying out of Egypt, escaped the
hands of Caesar's justice, but lived a vagabond in banishment;
wandering up and down, despised and hated of all men, till at
last Marcus Brutus, after he had killed Caesar, finding him in
his province of Asia, put him to death, with every kind of
ignominy. The ashes of Pompey were carried to his wife
Cornelia, who deposited them at his country house near Alba.


Thus having drawn out the history of the lives of Agesilaus and
Pompey, the next thing is to compare them; and in order to this, to
take a cursory view, and bring together the points in which they
chiefly disagree; which are these. In the first place, Pompey
attained to all his greatness and glory by the fairest and justest
means, owing his advancement to his own efforts, and to the frequent
and important aid which he rendered Sylla, in delivering Italy from
its tyrants. But Agesilaus appears to have obtained his kingdom,
not without offense both towards gods and towards men, towards
these, by procuring judgment of bastardy against Leotychides, whom
his brother had declared his lawful son, and towards those, by
putting a false gloss upon the oracle, and eluding its sentence
against his lameness. Secondly, Pompey never ceased to display his
respect for Sylla during his lifetime, and expressed it also after
his death, by enforcing the honorable interment of his corpse, in
despite of Lepidus, and by giving his daughter in marriage to his
son Faustus. But Agesilaus, upon a slight presence, cast off
Lysander with reproach and dishonor. Yet Sylla in fact had owed to
Pompey's services, as much as Pompey ever received from him, whereas
Lysander made Agesilaus king of Sparta, and general of all Greece.
Thirdly, Pompey's transgressions of right and justice in his
political life were occasioned chiefly by his relations with other
people, and most of his errors had some affinity, as well as
himself, to Caesar and Scipio, his fathers-in-law. But Agesilaus,
to gratify the fondness of his son, saved the life of Sphodrias by a
sort of violence, when he deserved death for the wrong he had done
to the Athenians; and when Phoebidas treacherously broke the peace
with Thebes, zealously abetted him for the sake, it was clear, of
the unjust act itself. In short, what mischief soever Pompey might
be said to have brought on Rome through compliance with the wishes
of his friends or through inadvertency, Agesilaus may be said to
have brought on Sparta out of obstinacy and malice, by kindling the
Boeotian war. And if, moreover, we are to attribute any part of
these disasters to some personal ill-fortune attaching to the men
themselves, in the case of Pompey, certainly, the Romans had no
reason to anticipate it. Whereas Agesilaus would not suffer the
Lacedaemonians to avoid what they foresaw and were forewarned must
attend the "lame sovereignty." For had Leotychides been chargeable
ten thousand times as foreign and spurious, yet the race of the
Eurypontidae was still in being, and could easily have furnished
Sparta with a lawful king, that was sound in his limbs, had not
Lysander darkened and disguised the true sense of the oracle in
favor of Agesilaus.

Such a politic piece of sophistry as was devised by Agesilaus, in
that great perplexity of the people as to the treatment to be given
to those who had played the coward at the battle of Leuctra, when
after that unhappy defeat, he decreed, that the laws should sleep
for that day, it would be hard to find any parallel to; neither
indeed have we the fellow of it in all Pompey's story. But on the
contrary, Pompey for a friend thought it no sin to break those very
laws which he himself had made; as if to show at once the force of
his friendship, and the greatness of his power; whereas Agesilaus,
under the necessity, as it seemed, of either rescinding the laws, or
not saving the citizens, contrived an expedient by the help of which
the laws should not touch these citizens, and yet should not, to
avoid it, be overthrown. Then I must commend it as an incomparable
act of civil virtue and obedience in Agesilaus, that immediately
upon the receipt of the scytala, he left the wars in Asia, and
returned into his country. For he did not like Pompey merely
advance his country's interest by acts that contributed at the same
time to promote his own greatness, but looking to his country's
good, for its sake laid aside as great authority and honor as ever
any man had before or since, except Alexander the Great.

But now to take another point of view, if we sum up Pompey's
military expeditions and exploits of war, the number of his
trophies, and the greatness of the powers which he subdued, and the
multitude of battles in which he triumphed, I am persuaded even
Xenophon himself would not put the victories of Agesilaus in balance
with his, though Xenophon has this privilege allowed him, as a sort
of special reward for his other excellences, that he may write and
speak, in favor of his hero, whatever he pleases. Methinks, too,
there is a great deal of difference betwixt these men, in their
clemency and moderation towards their enemies. For Agesilaus, while
attempting to enslave Thebes and exterminate Messene, the latter,
his country's ancient associate, and Thebes, the mother-city of his
own royal house, almost lost Sparta itself, and did really lose the
government of Greece; whereas Pompey gave cities to those of the
pirates who were willing to change their manner of life; and when it
was in his power to lead Tigranes, king of Armenia, in triumph, he
chose rather to make him a confederate of the Romans, saying, that a
single day was worth less than all future time. But if the
preeminence in that which relates to the office and virtues of a
general, should be determined by the greatest and most important
acts and counsels of war, the Lacedaemonian would not a little
exceed the Roman. For Agesilaus never deserted his city, though it
was besieged by an army of seventy thousand men, when there were
very few soldiers within to defend it, and those had been defeated
too, but a little before, at the battle of Leuctra. But Pompey,
when Caesar with a body only of fifty-three hundred men, had taken
but one town in Italy, departed in a panic out of Rome, either
through cowardice, when there were so few, or at least through a
false and mistaken belief that there were more; and having conveyed
away his wife and children, he left all the rest of the citizens
defenseless, and fled; whereas he ought either to have conquered in
fight for the defense of his country, or yielded upon terms to the
conqueror, who was moreover his fellow-citizen, and allied to him;
but now to the same man to whom he refused a prolongation of the
term of his government, and thought it intolerable to grant
another consulship, to him he gave the power, by letting him take
the city, to tell Metellus, together with all the rest, that they
were his prisoners.

That which is chiefly the office of a general, to force the enemy
into fighting when he finds himself the stronger, and to avoid being
driven into it himself when he is the weaker, this excellence
Agesilaus always displayed, and by it kept himself invincible;
whereas in contending with Pompey, Caesar, who was the weaker,
successfully declined the danger, and his own strength being in his
land forces. drove him into putting the conflict to issue with
these, and thus made himself master of the treasure, stores, and the
sea too, which were all in his enemy's hands, and by the help of
which the victory could have been secured without fighting. And
what is alleged as an apology in vindication of Pompey, is to a
general of his age and standing the greatest of disgraces. For,
granting that a young commander might by clamor and outcry be
deprived of his fortitude and strength of mind, and weakly forsake
his better judgment, and the thing be neither strange nor altogether
unpardonable, yet for Pompey the Great, whose camp the Romans called
their country, and his tent the senate, styling the consuls,
praetors, and all other magistrates who were conducting, the
government at Rome, by no better title than that of rebels and
traitors, for him, whom they well knew never to have been under the
command of any but himself, having served all his campaigns under
himself as sole general, for him upon so small a provocation as the
scoffs of Favonius and Domitius, and lest he should bear the
nickname of Agamemnon, to be wrought upon, and even forced to hazard
the whole empire and liberty of Rome upon the cast of a die, was
surely indeed intolerable. Who, if he had so much regarded a
present infamy, should have guarded the city at first with his arms,
and fought the battle in defense of Rome, not have left it as he
did; nor while declaring his flight from Italy an artifice in the
manner of Themistocles, nevertheless be ashamed in Thessaly of a
prudent delay before engaging. Heaven had not appointed the
Pharsalian fields to be the stage and theater upon which they should
contend for the empire of Rome, neither was he summoned thither by
any herald upon challenge, with intimation that he must either
undergo the combat, or surrender the prize to another. There were
many other fields, thousands of cities, and even the whole earth
placed at his command, by the advantage of his fleet, and his
superiority at sea, if he would but have followed the examples of
Maximus, Marius, Lucullus, and even Agesilaus himself, who endured
no less tumults within the city of Sparta, when the Thebans provoked
him to come out and fight in defense of the land, and sustained in
Egypt also numerous calumnies, slanders, and suspicions on the part
of the king, whom he counseled to abstain from a battle. And thus
following always what he had determined in his own judgment upon
mature advice, by that means he not only preserved the Egyptians,
against their wills, not only kept Sparta, in those desperate
convulsions, by his sole act, safe from overthrow, but even was able
to set up trophies likewise in the city over the Thebans, having
given his countrymen an occasion of being victorious afterwards by
not at first leading them out, as they tried to force him to do to
their own destruction. The consequence was that in the end
Agesilaus was commended by the very men, when they found themselves
saved, upon whom he had put this compulsion, whereas Pompey, whose
error had been occasioned by others, found those his accusers whose
advice had misled him. Some indeed profess that he was deceived by
his father-in-law Scipio, who, designing to conceal and keep to
himself the greatest part of that treasure which he had brought out
of Asia, pressed Pompey to battle, upon the pretence that there
would be a want of money. Yet admitting he was deceived, one in his
place ought not to have been so, nor should have allowed so slight
an artifice to cause the hazard of such mighty interests. And thus
we have taken a view of each, by comparing together their conduct,
and actions in war.

As to their voyages into Egypt, one steered his course thither out
of necessity in flight; the other neither honorably, nor of
necessity, but as a mercenary soldier, having enlisted himself into
the service of a barbarous nation for pay, that he might be able
afterwards to wage war upon the Greeks. And secondly, what we
charge upon the Egyptians in the name of Pompey, the Egyptians lay
to the charge of Agesilaus. Pompey trusted them and was betrayed
and murdered by them; Agesilaus accepted their confidence and
deserted them, transferring his aid to the very enemies who were now
attacking those whom be had been brought over to assist.


It being my purpose to write the lives of Alexander the king, and
of Caesar, by whom Pompey was destroyed, the multitude of their
great actions affords so large a field that I were to blame if I
should not by way of apology forewarn my reader that I have chosen
rather to epitomize the most celebrated parts of their story, than
to insist at large on every particular circumstance of it. It
must be borne in mind that my design is not to write histories,
but lives. And the most glorious exploits do not always furnish
us with the clearest discoveries of virtue or vice in men;
sometimes a matter of less moment, an expression or a jest,
informs us better of their characters and inclinations, than the
most famous sieges, the greatest armaments, or the bloodiest
battles whatsoever. Therefore as portrait-painters are more exact
in the lines and features of the face in which the character is
seen, than in the other parts of the body, so I must be allowed to
give my more particular attention to the marks and indications of
the souls of men, and while I endeavor by these to portray their
lives, may be free to leave more weighty matters and great battles
to be treated of by others.

It is agreed on by all hands, that on the father's side, Alexander
descended from Hercules by Caranus, and from Aeacus by Neoptolemus
on the mother's side. His father Philip, being in Samothrace,
when he was quite young, fell in love there with Olympias, in
company with whom he was initiated in the religious ceremonies of
the country, and her father and mother being both dead, soon
after, with the consent of her brother Arymbas, he married her.
The night before the consummation of their marriage, she dreamed
that a thunderbolt fell upon her body, which kindled a great fire,
whose divided flames dispersed themselves all about, and then were
extinguished. And Philip some time after he was married, dreamt
that he sealed up his wife's body with a seal, whose impression,
as he fancied, was the figure of a lion. Some of the diviners
interpreted this as a warning to Philip to look narrowly to his
wife; but Aristander of Telmessus, considering how unusual it was
to seal up anything that was empty, assured him the meaning of
his dream was, that the queen was with child of a boy, who would
one day prove as stout and courageous as a lion. Once, moreover,
a serpent was found lying by Olympias as she slept, which more
than anything else, it is said, abated Philip's passion for her;
and whether he feared her as an enchantress, or thought she had
commerce with some god, and so looked on himself as excluded, he
was ever after less fond of her conversation. Others say, that
the women of this country having always been extremely addicted
to the enthusiastic Orphic rites, and the wild worship of Bacchus,
(upon which account they were called Clodones, and Mimallones,)
imitated in many things the practices of the Edonian and Thracian
women about Mount Haemus, from whom the word threskeuein, seems
to have been derived, as a special term for superfluous and
over-curious forms of adoration; and that Olympias, zealously
affecting these fanatical and enthusiastic inspirations, to
perform them with more barbaric dread, was wont in the dances
proper to these ceremonies to have great tame serpents about her,
which sometimes creeping out of the ivy and the mystic fans,
sometimes winding themselves about the sacred spears, and the
women's chaplets, made a spectacle which the men could not look
upon without terror.

Philip, after this vision, sent Chaeron of Megalopolis to consult
the oracle of Apollo at Delphi, by which he was commanded to
perform sacrifice, and henceforth pay particular honor, above all
other gods, to Ammon; and was told he should one day lose that eye
with which he presumed to peep through the chink of the door, when
he saw the god, under the form of a serpent, in the company of his
wife. Eratosthenes says that Olympias, when she attended
Alexander on his way to the army in his first expedition, told him
the secret of his birth, and bade him behave himself with courage
suitable to his divine extraction. Others again affirm that she
wholly disclaimed any pretensions of the kind, and was wont to
say, "When will Alexander leave off slandering me to Juno?"

Alexander was born the sixth of Hecatombaeon, which month the
Macedonians call Lous, the same day that the temple of Diana at
Ephesus was burnt; which Hegesias of Magnesia makes the occasion
of a conceit, frigid enough to have stopped the conflagration.
The temple, he says, took fire and was burnt while its mistress
was absent, assisting at the birth of Alexander. And all the
Eastern soothsayers who happened to be then at Ephesus, looking
upon the ruin of this temple to be the forerunner of some other
calamity, ran about the town, beating their faces, and crying,
that this day had brought forth something that would prove fatal
and destructive to all Asia.

Just after Philip had taken Potidaea, he received these three
messages at one time, that Parmenio had overthrown the Illyrians
in a great battle, that his race-horse had won the course at the
Olympic games, and that his wife had given birth to Alexander;
with which being naturally well pleased, as an addition to his
satisfaction, he was assured by the diviners that a son, whose
birth was accompanied with three such successes, could not fail of
being invincible.

The statues that gave the best representation of Alexander's
person, were those of Lysippus, (by whom alone he would suffer his
image to be made,) those peculiarities which many of his
successors afterwards and his friends used to affect to imitate,
the inclination of his head a little on one side towards his left
shoulder, and his melting eye, having been expressed by this
artist with great exactness. But Apelles, who drew him with
thunderbolts in his hand, made his complexion browner and darker
than it was naturally; for he was fair and of a light color,
passing into ruddiness in his face and upon his breast.
Aristoxenus in his Memoirs tells us that a most agreeable odor
exhaled from his skin, and that his breath and body all over was
so fragrant as to perfume the clothes which he wore next him; the
cause of which might probably be the hot and adjust temperament of
his body. For sweet smells, Theophrastus conceives, are produced
by the concoction of moist humors by heat, which is the reason
that those parts of the world which are driest and most burnt up,
afford spices of the best kind, and in the greatest quantity; for
the heat of the sun exhausts all the superfluous moisture which
lies in the surface of bodies, ready to generate putrefaction.
And this hot constitution, it may be, rendered Alexander so
addicted to drinking, and so choleric. His temperance, as to the
pleasures of the body, was apparent in him in his very childhood,
as he was with much difficulty incited to them, and always used
them with great moderation; though in other things he was
extremely eager and vehement, and in his love of glory, and the
pursuit of it, he showed a solidity of high spirit and magnanimity
far above his age. For he neither sought nor valued it upon every
occasion, as his father Philip did, (who affected to show his
eloquence almost to a degree of pedantry, and took care to have
the victories of his racing chariots at the Olympic games
engraved on his coin,) but when he was asked by some about him,
whether he would run a race in the Olympic games, as he was very
swift-footed, he answered, he would, if he might have kings to run
with him. Indeed, he seems in general to have looked with
indifference, if not with dislike, upon the professed athletes.
He often appointed prizes, for which not only tragedians and
musicians, pipers and harpers, but rhapsodists also, strove to
outvie one another; and delighted in all manner of hunting and
cudgel-playing, but never gave any encouragement to contests
either of boxing or of the pancratium.

While he was yet very young, he entertained the ambassadors from
the king of Persia, in the absence of his father, and entering
much into conversation with them, gained so much upon them by his
affability, and the questions he asked them, which were far from
being childish or trifling, (for he inquired of them the length of
the ways, the nature of the road into inner Asia, the character of
their king, how he carried himself to his enemies, and what forces
he was able to bring, into the field,) that they were struck with
admiration of him, and looked upon the ability so much famed of
Philip, to be nothing in comparison with the forwardness and high
purpose that appeared thus early in his son. Whenever he heard
Philip had taken any town of importance, or won any signal
victory, instead of rejoicing at it altogether, he would tell his
companions that his father would anticipate everything, and leave
him and them no opportunities of performing great and illustrious
actions. For being more bent upon action and glory than either
upon pleasure or riches, he esteemed all that he should receive
from his father as a diminution and prevention of his own future
achievements; and would have chosen rather to succeed to a kingdom
involved in troubles and wars, which would have afforded him
frequent exercise of his courage, and a large field of honor, than
to one already flourishing and settled, where his inheritance
would be an inactive life, and the mere enjoyment of wealth and

The care of his education, as it might be presumed, was committed
to a great many attendants, preceptors, and teachers, over the
whole of whom Leonidas, a near kinsman of Olympias, a man of an
austere temper, presided, who did not indeed himself decline the
name of what in reality is a noble and honorable office, but in
general his dignity, and his near relationship, obtained him from
other people the title of Alexander's foster father and governor.
But he who took upon him the actual place and style of his
pedagogue, was Lysimachus the Acarnanian, who, though he had
nothing specially to recommend him, but his lucky fancy of calling
himself Phoenix, Alexander Achilles, and Philip Peleus, was
therefore well enough esteemed, and ranked in the next degree
after Leonidas.

Philonicus the Thessalian brought the horse Bucephalas to Philip,
offering to sell him for thirteen talents; but when they went into
the field to try him, they found him so very vicious and
unmanageable, that he reared up when they endeavored to mount him,
and would not so much as endure the voice of any of Philip's
attendants. Upon which, as they were leading him away as wholly
useless and untractable, Alexander, who stood by, said, "What an
excellent horse do they lose, for want of address and boldness to
manage him!" Philip at first took no notice of what he said; but
when he heard him repeat the same thing several times, and saw he
was much vexed to see the horse sent away, "Do you reproach," said
he to him, "those who are older than yourself, as if you knew
more, and were better able to manage him than they?" "I could
manage this horse," replied he, "better than others do." "And if
you do not," said Philip, "what will you forfeit for your
rashness?" "I will pay," answered Alexander, "the whole price of
the horse." At this the whole company fell a laughing; and as
soon as the wager was settled amongst them, he immediately ran to
the horse, and taking hold of the bridle, turned him directly
towards the sun, having, it seems, observed that he was disturbed
at and afraid of the motion of his own shadow; then letting him go
forward a little, still keeping the reins in his hand, and
stroking him gently when he found him begin to grow eager and
fiery, he let fall his upper garment softly, and with one nimble
leap securely mounted him, and when he was seated, by little and
little drew in the bridle, and curbed him without either striking
or spurring him. Presently, when he found him free from all
rebelliousness, and on]y impatient for the course, he let him go
at full speed, inciting him now with a commanding voice, and
urging him also with his heel. Philip and his friends looked on
at first in silence and anxiety for the result, till seeing him
turn at the end of his career, and come back rejoicing and
triumphing for what he had performed, they all burst out into
acclamations of applause; and his father, shedding tears, it is
said, for joy, kissed him as he came down from his horse, and in
his transport, said, "O my son, look thee out a kingdom equal to
and worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee."

After this, considering him to be of a temper easy to be led to
his duty by reason, but by no means to be compelled, he always
endeavored to persuade rather than to command or force him to
anything; and now looking upon the instruction and tuition of his
youth to be of greater difficulty and importance, than to be
wholly trusted to the ordinary masters in music and poetry, and
the common school subjects, and to require, as Sophocles says,

The bridle and the rudder too,

he sent for Aristotle, the most learned and most cerebrated
philosopher of his time, and rewarded him with a munificence
proportionable to and becoming the care he took to instruct his
son. For he repeopled his native city Stagira, which he had
caused to be demolished a little before, and restored all the
citizens who were in exile or slavery, to their habitations. As a
place for the pursuit of their studies and exercises, he assigned
the temple of the Nymphs, near Mieza, where, to this very day,
they show you Aristotle's stone seats, and the shady walks which
he was wont to frequent. It would appear that Alexander received
from him not only his doctrines of Morals, and of Politics, but
also something of those more abstruse and profound theories which
these philosophers, by the very names they gave them, professed
to reserve for oral communication to the initiated, and did not
allow many to become acquainted with. For when he was in Asia,
and heard Aristotle had published some treatises of that kind, he
wrote to him, using very plain language to him in behalf of
philosophy, the following letter. "Alexander to Aristotle
greeting. You have not done well to publish your books of oral
doctrine; for what is there now that we excel others in, if those
things which we have been particularly instructed in be laid open
to all? For my part, I assure you, I had rather excel others in
the knowledge of what is excellent, than in the extent of my power
and dominion. Farewell." And Aristotle, soothing this passion
for preeminence, speaks, in his excuse for himself, of these
doctrines, as in fact both published and not published: as
indeed, to say the truth, his books on metaphysics are written in
a style which makes them useless for ordinary teaching, and
instructive only, in the way of memoranda, for those who have been
already conversant in that sort of learning.

Doubtless also it was to Aristotle, that he owed the inclination
he had, not to the theory only, but likewise to the practice of
the art of medicine. For when any of his friends were sick, he
would often prescribe them their course of diet, and medicines
proper to their disease, as we may find in his epistles. He was
naturally a great lover of all kinds of learning and reading; and
Onesicritus informs us, that he constantly laid Homer's Iliads,
according to the copy corrected by Aristotle, called the casket
copy, with his dagger under his pillow, declaring that he esteemed
it a perfect portable treasure of all military virtue and
knowledge. When he was in the upper Asia, being destitute of
other books, he ordered Harpalus to send him some; who furnished
him with Philistus's History, a great many of the plays of
Euripides, Sophocles, and Aeschylus, and some dithyrambic odes,
composed by Telestes and Philoxenus. For awhile he loved and
cherished Aristotle no less, as he was wont to say himself, than
if he had been his father, giving this reason for it, that as he
had received life from the one, so the other had taught him to
live well. But afterwards, upon some mistrust of him, yet not so
great as to make him do him any hurt, his familiarity and friendly
kindness to him abated so much of its former force and
affectionateness, as to make it evident he was alienated from him.
However, his violent thirst after and passion for learning, which
were once implanted, still grew up with him, and never decayed; as
appears by his veneration of Anaxarchus, by the present of fifty
talents which he sent to Xenocrates, and his particular care and
esteem of Dandamis and Calanus.

While Philip went on his expedition against the Byzantines, he
left Alexander, then sixteen years old, his lieutenant in
Macedonia, committing the charge of his seal to him; who, not to
sit idle, reduced the rebellious Maedi, and having taken their
chief town by storm, drove out the barbarous inhabitants, and
planting a colony of several nations in their room, called the
place after his own name, Alexandropolis. At the battle of
Chaeronea, which his father fought against the Grecians, he is
said to have been the first man that charged the Thebans' sacred
band. And even in my remembrance, there stood an old oak near the
river Cephisus, which people called Alexander's oak, because his
tent was pitched under it. And not far off are to be seen the
graves of the Macedonians who fell in that battle. This early
bravery made Philip so fond of him, that nothing pleased him more
than to hear his subjects call himself their general and Alexander
their king.

But the disorders of his family, chiefly caused by his new
marriages and attachments, (the troubles that began in the women's
chambers spreading, so to say, to the whole kingdom,) raised
various complaints and differences between them, which the
violence of Olympias, a woman of a jealous and implacable temper,
made wider, by exasperating Alexander against his father. Among
the rest, this accident contributed most to their falling out. At
the wedding of Cleopatra, whom Philip fell in love with and
married, she being much too young for him, her uncle Attalus in
his drink desired the Macedonians would implore the gods to give
them a lawful successor to the kingdom by his niece. This so
irritated Alexander, that throwing one of the cups at his head,
"You villain," said he, "what, am I then a bastard?" Then Philip
taking Attalus's part, rose up and would have run his son through;
but by good fortune for them both, either his over-hasty rage, or
the wine he had drunk, made his foot slip, so that he fell down on
the floor. At which Alexander reproachfully insulted over him:
"See there," said he, "the man, who makes preparations to pass out
of Europe into Asia, overturned in passing from one seat to
another." After this debauch, he and his mother Olympias withdrew
from Philip's company, and when he had placed her in Epirus, he
himself retired into Illyria.

About this time, Demaratus the Corinthian, an old friend of the
family, who had the freedom to say anything among them without
offense, coming to visit Philip, after the first compliments and
embraces were over, Philip asked him, whether the Grecians were at
amity with one another. "It ill becomes you," replied Demaratus,
"to be so solicitous about Greece, when you have involved your own
house in so many dissensions and calamities." He was so convinced
by this seasonable reproach, that he immediately sent for his son
home, and by Demartatus's mediation prevailed with him to return.
But this reconciliation lasted not long; for when Pixodorus,
viceroy of Caria, sent Aristocritus to treat for a match between
his eldest daughter and Philip's son Arrhidaeus, hoping by this
alliance to secure his assistance upon occasion, Alexander's
mother, and some who pretended to be his friends, presently filled
his head with tales and calumnies, as if Philip, by a splendid
marriage and important alliance, were preparing the way for
settling the kingdom upon Arrhidaeus. In alarm at this, he
dispatched Thessalus, the tragic actor, into Caria, to dispose
Pixodorus to slight Arrhidaeus, both as illegitimate and a fool,
and rather to accept of himself for his son-in-law. This
proposition was much more agreeable to Pixodorus than the former.
But Philip, as soon as he was made acquainted with this
transaction, went to his son's apartment, taking with him
Philotas, the son of Parmenio, one of Alexander's intimate friends
and companions, and there reproved him severely, and reproached
him bitterly, that he should be so degenerate, and unworthy of the
power he was to leave him, as to desire the alliance of a mean
Carian, who was at best but the slave of a barbarous prince. Nor
did this satisfy his resentment, for he wrote to the Corinthians,
to send Thessalus to him in chains, and banished Harpalus,
Nearchus, Erigyius, and Ptolemy, his son's friends and favorites,
whom Alexander afterwards recalled, and raised to great honor and

Not long after this, Pausanias, having had an outrage done to him
at the instance of Attalus and Cleopatra, when he found he could
get no reparation for his disgrace at Philip's hands, watched his
opportunity and murdered him. The guilt of which fact was laid
for the most part upon Olympias, who was said to have encouraged
and exasperated the enraged youth to revenge; and some sort of
suspicion attached even to Alexander himself, who, it was said,
when Pausanias came and complained to him of the injury he had
received, repeated the verse out of Euripides's Medea: --

On husband, and on father, and on bride.

However, he took care to find out and punish the accomplices of
the conspiracy severely, and was very angry with Olympias for
treating Cleopatra inhumanly in his absence.

Alexander was but twenty years old when his father was murdered,
and succeeded to a kingdom beset on all sides with great dangers,
and rancorous enemies. For not only the barbarous nations that
bordered on Macedonia, were impatient of being governed by any but
their own native princes; but Philip likewise, though he had been
victorious over the Grecians, yet, as the time had not been
sufficient for him to complete his conquest and accustom them to
his sway, had simply left all things in a general disorder and
confusion. It seemed to the Macedonians a very critical time; and
some would have persuaded Alexander to give up all thought of

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