Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Plutarch's Lives

Part 24 out of 35

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 4.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

all to pieces upon the onset of so immense a force of cavalry.
When they were ready on both sides to give the signal for
battle, Pompey commended his foot who were in the front to stand
their ground, and without breaking their order, receive quietly
the enemy's first attack, till they came within javelin's cast.
Caesar, in this respect, also, blames Pompey's generalship, as
if he had not been aware how the first encounter, when made with
an impetus and upon the run, gives weight and force to the
strokes, and fires the men's spirits into a flame, which the
general concurrence fans to full heat. He himself was just
putting the troops into motion and advancing to the action, when
he found one of his captains, a trusty and experienced soldier,
encouraging his men to exert their utmost. Caesar called him by
his name, and said, "What hopes, Caius Crassinius, and what
grounds for encouragement?" Crassinius stretched out his hand,
and cried in a loud voice, "We shall conquer nobly, Caesar; and
I this day will deserve your praises, either alive or dead." So
he said, and was the first man to run in upon the enemy,
followed by the hundred and twenty soldiers about him, and
breaking through the first rank, still pressed on forwards with
much slaughter of the enemy, till at last he was struck back by
the wound of a sword, which went in at his mouth with such force
that it came out at his neck behind.

Whilst the foot was thus sharply engaged in the main battle, on
the flank Pompey's horse rode up confidently, and opened their
ranks very wide, that they might surround the Fight wing of
Caesar. But before they engaged, Caesar's cohorts rushed out
and attacked them, and did not dart their javelins at a
distance, nor strike at the thighs and legs, as they usually did
in close battle, but aimed at their faces. For thus Caesar had
instructed them, in hopes that young gentlemen, who had not
known much of battles and wounds, but came wearing their hair
long, in the flower of their age and height of their beauty,
would be more apprehensive of such blows, and not care for
hazarding both a danger at present and a blemish for the future.
And so it proved, for they were so far from bearing the stroke
of the javelins, that they could not stand the sight of them,
but turned about, and covered their faces to secure them. Once
in disorder, presently they turned about to fly; and so most
shamefully ruined all. For those who had beat them back, at
once outflanked the infantry, and falling on their rear, cut
them to pieces. Pompey, who commanded the other wing of the
army, when he saw his cavalry thus broken and flying, was no
longer himself, nor did he now remember that he was Pompey the
Great, but like one whom some god had deprived of his senses,
retired to his tent without speaking; a word, and there sat to
expect the event, till the whole army was routed, and the enemy
appeared upon the works which were thrown up before the camp,
where they closely engaged with his men, who were posted there
to defend it. Then first he seemed to have recovered his
senses, and uttering, it is said, only these words, "What, into
the camp too?" he laid aside his general's habit, and putting on
such clothes as might best favor his flight, stole off. What
fortune he met with afterwards, how he took shelter in Egypt,
and was murdered there, we tell you in his Life.

Caesar, when he came to view Pompey's camp, and saw some of his
opponents dead upon the ground, others dying, said, with a
groan, "This they would have; they brought me to this necessity.
I, Caius Caesar, after succeeding in so many wars, had been
condemned, had I dismissed my army." These words, Pollio says,
Caesar spoke in Latin at that time, and that he himself wrote
them in Greek; adding, that those who were killed at the taking
of the camp, were most of them servants; and that not above six
thousand soldiers fell. Caesar incorporated most of the foot
whom he took prisoners, with his own legions, and gave a free
pardon to many of the distinguished persons, and amongst the
rest, to Brutus, who afterwards killed him. He did not
immediately appear after the battle was over, which put Caesar,
it is said, into great anxiety for him; nor was his pleasure
less when he saw him present himself alive.

There were many prodigies that foreshowed this victory, but the
most remarkable that we are told of, was that at Tralles. In
the temple of Victory stood Caesar's statue. The ground on
which it stood was naturally hard and solid, and the stone with
which it was paved still harder; yet it is said that a palm-tree
shot itself up near the pedestal of this statue. In the city of
Padua, one Caius Cornelius, who had the character of a good
augur, the fellow-citizen and acquaintance of Livy, the
historian, happened to be making some augural observations that
very day when the battle was fought. And first, as Livy tells
us, he pointed out the time of the fight, and said to those who
were by him, that just then the battle was begun, and the men
engaged. When he looked a second time, and observed the omens,
he leaped up as if he had been inspired, and cried out, "Caesar,
you are victorious." This much surprised the standers by, but
he took the garland which he had on from his head, and swore he
would never wear it again till the event should give authority
to his art. This Livy positively states for a truth.

Caesar, as a memorial of his victory, gave the Thessalians
their freedom, and then went in pursuit of Pompey. When he was
come into Asia, to gratify Theopompus, the author of the
collection of fables, he enfranchised the Cnidians, and remitted
one third of their tribute to all the people of the province of
Asia. When he came to Alexandria, where Pompey was already
murdered, he would not look upon Theodotus, who presented him
with his head, but taking only his signet, shed tears. Those of
Pompey's friends who had been arrested by the king of Egypt, as
they were wandering in those parts, he relieved, and offered
them his own friendship. In his letter to his friends at Rome,
he told them that the greatest and most signal pleasure his
victory had given him, was to be able continually to save the
lives of fellow-citizens who had fought against him. As to the
war in Egypt, some say it was at once dangerous and
dishonorable, and noways necessary, but occasioned only by his
passion for Cleopatra. Others blame the ministers of the king,
and especially the eunuch Pothinus, who was the chief favorite,
and had lately killed Pompey, who had banished Cleopatra, and
was now secretly plotting Caesar's destruction, (to prevent
which, Caesar from that time began to sit up whole nights, under
pretense of drinking, for the security of his person,) while
openly he was intolerable in his affronts to Caesar, both by his
words and actions. For when Caesar's soldiers had musty and
unwholesome corn measured out to them, Pothinus told them they
must be content with it, since they were fed at another's cost.
He ordered that his table should be served with wooden and
earthen dishes, and said Caesar had carried off all the gold and
silver plate, under pretense of arrears of debt. For the
present king's father owed Caesar one thousand seven hundred and
fifty myriads of money; Caesar had formerly remitted to his
children the rest, but thought fit to demand the thousand
myriads at that time, to maintain his army. Pothinus told him
that he had better go now and attend to his other affairs of
greater consequence, and that he should receive his money at
another time with thanks. Caesar replied that he did not want
Egyptians to be his counselors, and soon after, privately sent
for Cleopatra from her retirement.

She took a small boat, and one only of her confidents,
Apollodorus, the Sicilian, along with her, and in the dusk of
the evening landed near the palace. She was at a loss how to
get in undiscovered, till she thought of putting herself into
the coverlet of a bed and lying at length, whilst Apollodorus
tied up the bedding and carried it on his back through the gates
to Caesar's apartment. Caesar was first captivated by this
proof of Cleopatra's bold wit, and was afterwards so overcome by
the charm of her society, that he made a reconciliation between
her and her brother, on condition that she should rule as his
colleague in the kingdom. A festival was kept to celebrate this
reconciliation, where Caesar's barber, a busy, listening fellow,
whose excessive timidity made him inquisitive into everything,
discovered that there was a plot carrying on against Caesar by
Achillas, general of the king's forces, and Pothinus, the
eunuch. Caesar, upon the first intelligence of it, set a guard
upon the hall where the feast was kept, and killed Pothinus.
Achillas escaped to the army, and raised a troublesome and
embarrassing war against Caesar, which it was not easy for him
to manage with his few soldiers against so powerful a city and
so large an army. The first difficulty he met with was want of
water, for the enemies had turned the canals. Another was, when
the enemy endeavored to cut off his communication by sea, he was
forced to divert that danger by setting fire to his own ships,
which, after burning the docks, thence spread on and destroyed
the great library. A third was, when in an engagement near
Pharos, he leaped from the mole into a small boat, to assist his
soldiers who were in danger, and when the Egyptians pressed him
on every side, he threw himself into the sea, and with much
difficulty swam off. This was the time when, according to the
story, he had a number of manuscripts in his hand, which, though
he was continually darted at, and forced to keep his head often
under water, yet he did not let go, but held them up safe from
wetting in one hand, whilst he swam with the other. His boat,
in the meantime, was quickly sunk. At last, the king having
gone off to Achillas and his party, Caesar engaged and conquered
them. Many fell in that battle, and the king himself was never
seen after. Upon this, he left Cleopatra queen of Egypt, who
soon after had a son by him, whom the Alexandrians called
Caesarion, and then departed for Syria.

Thence he passed to Asia, where he heard that Domitius was
beaten by Pharnaces, son of Mithridates, and had fled out of
Pontus with a handful of men; and that Pharnaces pursued the
victory so eagerly, that though he was already master of
Bithynia and Cappadocia, he had a further design of attempting
the Lesser Armenia, and was inviting all the kings and tetrarchs
there to rise. Caesar immediately marched against him with
three legions, fought him near Zela, drove him out of Pontus,
and totally defeated his army. When he gave Amantius, a friend
of his at Rome, an account of this action, to express the
promptness and rapidity of it, he used three words, I came, saw,
and conquered, which in Latin having all the same cadence,
carry with them a very suitable air of brevity.

Hence he crossed into Italy, and came to Rome at the end of that
year, for which he had been a second time chosen dictator,
though that office had never before lasted a whole year, and was
elected consul for the next. He was ill spoken of, because upon
a mutiny of some soldiers, who killed Cosconius and Galba, who
had been praetors, he gave them only the slight reprimand of
calling them Citizens, instead of Fellow-Soldiers, and
afterwards assigned to each man a thousand drachmas, besides a
share of lands in Italy. He was also reflected on for
Dolabella's extravagance, Amantius's covetousness, Antony's
debauchery, and Corfinius's profuseness, who pulled down
Pompey's house, and rebuilt it, as not magnificent enough; for
the Romans were much displeased with all these. But Caesar, for
the prosecution of his own scheme of government, though he knew
their characters and disapproved them, was forced to make use of
those who would serve him.

After the battle of Pharsalia, Cato and Scipio fled into Africa,
and there, with the assistance of king Juba, got together a
considerable force, which Caesar resolved to engage. He,
accordingly, passed into Sicily about the winter-solstice, and
to remove from his officers' minds all hopes of delay there,
encamped by the sea-shore, and as soon as ever he had a fair
wind, put to sea with three thousand foot and a few horse. When
he had landed them, he went back secretly, under some
apprehensions for the larger part of his army, but met them upon
the sea, and brought them all to the same camp. There he was
informed that the enemies relied much upon an ancient oracle,
that the family of the Scipios should be always victorious in
Africa. There was in his army a man, otherwise mean and
contemptible, but of the house of the Africani, and his name
Scipio Sallutio. This man Caesar, (whether in raillery, to
ridicule Scipio, who commended the enemy, or seriously to bring
over the omen to his side, it were hard to say,) put at the head
of his troops, as if he were general, in all the frequent
battles which he was compelled to fight. For he was in such
want both of victualing for his men, and forage for his horses,
that he was forced to feed the horses with sea-weed, which he
washed thoroughly to take off its saltiness, and mixed with a
little grass, to give it a more agreeable taste. The Numidians,
in great numbers, and well horsed, whenever he went, came up and
commanded the country. Caesar's cavalry being one day
unemployed, diverted themselves with seeing an African, who
entertained them with dancing and at the same time playing upon
the pipe to admiration. They were so taken with this, that they
alighted, and gave their horses to some boys, when on a sudden
the enemy surrounded them, killed some, pursued the rest, and
fell in with them into their camp; and had not Caesar himself
and Asinius Pollio come to their assistance, and put a stop to
their flight, the war had been then at an end. In another
engagement, also, the enemy had again the better, when Caesar,
it is said, seized a standard-bearer, who was running away, by
the neck, and forcing him to face about, said, "Look, that is
the way to the enemy."

Scipio, flushed with this success at first, had a mind to come to
one decisive action. He therefore left Afranius and Juba in two
distinct bodies not far distant, and marched himself towards
Thapsus, where he proceeded to build a fortified camp above a
lake, to serve as a center-point for their operations, and also
as a place of refuge. Whilst Scipio was thus employed, Caesar
with incredible dispatch made his way through thick woods, and a
country supposed to be impassable, cut off one party of the
enemy, and attacked another in the front. Having routed these,
he followed up his opportunity and the current of his good
fortune, and on the first onset carried Afranius's camp, and
ravaged that of the Numidians, Juba, their king, being glad to
save himself by flight; so that in a small part of a single day
he made himself master of three camps, and killed fifty thousand
of the enemy, with the loss only of fifty of his own men. This
is the account some give of that fight. Others say, he was not
in the action, but that he was taken with his usual distemper
just as he was setting his army in order. He perceived the
approaches of it, and before it had too far disordered his
senses, when he was already beginning to shake under its
influence, withdrew into a neighboring fort, where he reposed
himself. Of the men of consular and praetorian dignity that
were taken after the fight, several Caesar put to death, others
anticipated him by killing themselves.

Cato had undertaken to defend Utica, and for that reason was not
in the battle. The desire which Caesar had to take him alive,
made him hasten thither; and upon the intelligence that he had
dispatched himself, he was much discomposed, for what reason is
not so well agreed. He certainly said, "Cato, I must grudge you
your death, as you grudged me the honor of saving your life."
Yet the discourse he wrote against Cato after his death, is no
great sign of his kindness, or that he was inclined to be
reconciled to him. For how is it probable that he would have
been tender of his life, when he was so bitter against his
memory? But from his clemency to Cicero, Brutus, and many
others who fought against him, it may be divined that Caesar's
book was not written so much out of animosity to Cato, as in his
own vindication. Cicero had written an encomium upon Cato, and
called it by his name. A composition by so great a master upon
so excellent a subject, was sure to be in everyone's hands.
This touched Caesar, who looked upon a panegyric on his enemy,
as no better than an invective against himself; and therefore he
made in his Anti-Cato, a collection of whatever could be said in
his derogation. The two compositions, like Cato and Caesar
themselves, have each of them their several admirers.

Caesar, upon his return to Rome, did not omit to pronounce
before the people a magnificent account of his victory, telling
them that he had subdued a country which would supply the public
every year with two hundred thousand attic bushels of corn, and
three million pounds weight of oil. He then led three triumphs
for Egypt, Pontus, and Africa, the last for the victory over,
not Scipio, but king Juba, as it was professed, whose little son
was then carried in the triumph, the happiest captive that ever
was, who of a barbarian Numidian, came by this means to obtain a
place among the most learned historians of Greece. After the
triumphs, he distributed rewards to his soldiers, and treated
the people with feasting and shows. He entertained the whole
people together at one feast, where twenty-two thousand dining
couches were laid out; and he made a display of gladiators, and
of battles by sea, in honor, as he said, of his daughter Julia,
though she had been long since dead. When these shows were
over, an account was taken of the people, who from three hundred
and twenty thousand, were now reduced to one hundred and fifty
thousand. So great a waste had the civil war made in Rome
alone, not to mention what the other parts of Italy and the
provinces suffered.

He was now chosen a fourth time consul, and went into Spain
against Pompey's sons. They were but young, yet had gathered
together a very numerous army, and showed they had courage and
conduct to command it, so that Caesar was in extreme danger.
The great battle was near the town of Munda, in which Caesar
seeing his men hard pressed, and making but a weak resistance,
ran through the ranks among the soldiers, and crying out, asked
them whether they were not ashamed to deliver him into the hands
of boys? At last, with great difficulty, and the best efforts
he could make, he forced back the enemy, killing thirty thousand
of them, though with the loss of one thousand of his best men.
When he came back from the fight, he told his friends that he
had often fought for victory, but this was the first time that
he had ever fought for life. This battle was won on the feast
of Bacchus, the very day in which Pompey, four years before.
had set out for the war. The younger of Pompey's sons escaped;
but Didius, some days after the fight, brought the head of the
elder to Caesar. This was the last war he was engaged in. The
triumph which he celebrated for this victory, displeased the
Romans beyond any thing. For he had not defeated foreign
generals, or barbarian kings, but had destroyed the children and
family of one of the greatest men of Rome, though unfortunate;
and it did not look well to lead a procession in celebration of
the calamities of his country, and to rejoice in those things
for which no other apology could be made either to gods or men,
than their being absolutely necessary. Besides that, hitherto
he had never sent letters or messengers to announce any victory
over his fellow-citizens, but had seemed rather to be ashamed of
the action, than to expect honor from it.

Nevertheless his countrymen, conceding all to his fortune, and
accepting the bit, in the hope that the government of a single
person would give them time to breathe after so many civil wars
and calamities, made him dictator for life. This was indeed a
tyranny avowed, since his power now was not only absolute, but
perpetual too. Cicero made the first proposals to the senate
for conferring honors upon him, which might in some sort be said
not to exceed the limits of ordinary human moderation. But
others, striving which should deserve most, carried them so
excessively high, that they made Caesar odious to the most
indifferent and moderate sort of men, by the pretension and the
extravagance of the titles which they decreed him. His enemies,
too, are thought to have had some share in this, as well as his
flatterers. It gave them advantage against him, and would be
their justification for any attempt they should make upon him;
for since the civil wars were ended, he had nothing else that he
could be charged with. And they had good reason to decree a
temple to Clemency, in token of their thanks for the mild use he
made of his victory. For he not only pardoned many of those who
fought against him, but, further, to some gave honors and
offices; as particularly to Brutus and Cassius, who both of them
were praetors. Pompey's images that were thrown down, he set up
again, upon which Cicero also said that by raising Pompey's
statues he had fixed his own. When his friends advised him to
have a guard, and several offered their service, he would not
hear of it; but said it was better to suffer death once, than
always to live in fear of it. He looked upon the affections of
the people to be the best and surest guard, and entertained them
again with public feasting, and general distributions of corn;
and to gratify his army, he sent out colonies to several places,
of which the most remarkable were Carthage and Corinth; which as
before they had been ruined at the same time, so now were
restored and repeopled together.

As for the men of high rank, he promised to some of them future
consulships and praetorships, some he consoled with other
offices and honors, and to all held out hopes of favor by the
solicitude he showed to rule with the general good-will;
insomuch that upon the death of Maximus one day before his
consulship was ended, he made Caninius Revilius consul for that
day. And when many went to pay the usual compliments and
attentions to the new consul, "Let us make haste," said Cicero,
"lest the man be gone out of his office before we come."

Caesar was born to do great things, and had a passion after
honor, and the many noble exploits he had done did not now serve
as an inducement to him to sit still and reap the fruit of his
past labors, but were incentives and encouragments to go on, and
raised in him ideas of still greater actions, and a desire of
new glory, as if the present were all spent. It was in fact a
sort of emulous struggle with himself, as it had been with
another, how he might outdo his past actions by his future. In
pursuit of these thoughts, he resolved to make war upon the
Parthians, and when he had subdued them, to pass through
Hyrcania; thence to march along by the Caspian Sea to Mount
Caucasus, and so on about Pontus, till he came into Scythia;
then to overrun all the countries bordering upon Germany, and
Germany itself; and so to return through Gaul into Italy, after
completing the whole circle of his intended empire, and bounding
it on every side by the ocean. While preparations were making
for this expedition, he proposed to dig through the isthmus on
which Corinth stands; and appointed Anienus to superintend the
work. He had also a design of diverting the Tiber, and carrying
it by a deep channel directly from Rome to Circeii, and so into
the sea near Tarracina, that there might be a safe and easy
passage for all merchants who traded to Rome. Besides this, he
intended to drain all the marshes by Pomentium and Setia, and
gain ground enough from the water to employ many thousands of
men in tillage. He proposed further to make great mounds on the
shore nearest Rome, to hinder the sea from breaking in upon the
land, to clear the coast at Ostia of all the hidden rocks and
shoals that made it unsafe for shipping, and to form ports and
harbors fit to receive the large number of vessels that would
frequent them.

These things were designed without being carried into effect;
but his reformation of the calendar, in order to rectify the
irregularity of time, was not only projected with great
scientific ingenuity, but was brought to its completion, and
proved of very great use. For it was not only in ancient times
that the Romans had wanted a certain rule to make the
revolutions of their months fall in with the course of the year,
so that their festivals and solemn days for sacrifice were
removed by little and little, till at last they came to be kept
at seasons quite the contrary to what was at first intended, but
even at this time the people had no way of computing the solar
year; only the priests could say the time, and they, at their
pleasure, without giving any notice, slipped in the intercalary
month, which they called Mercedonius. Numa was the first who
put in this month, but his expedient was but a poor one and
quite inadequate to correct all the errors that arose in the
returns of the annual cycles, as we have shown in his life.
Caesar called in the best philosophers and mathematicians of his
time to settle the point, and out of the systems he had before
him, formed a new and more exact method of correcting the
calendar, which the Romans use to this day, and seem to succeed
better than any nation in avoiding the errors occasioned by the
inequality of the cycles. Yet even this gave offense to those
who looked with an evil eye on his position, and felt oppressed
by his power. Cicero, the orator, when someone in his company
chanced to say, the next morning Lyra would rise, replied, "Yes,
in accordance with the edict," as if even this were a matter of

But that which brought upon him the most apparent and mortal
hatred, was his desire of being king; which gave the common
people the first occasion to quarrel with him, and proved the
most specious pretense to those who had been his secret enemies
all along. Those, who would have procured him that title, gave
it out, that it was foretold in the Sybils' books that the
Romans should conquer the Parthians when they fought against
them under the conduct of a king, but not before. And one day,
as Caesar was coming down from Alba to Rome, some were so bold
as to salute him by the name of king; but he finding the people
disrelish it, seemed to resent it himself, and said his name was
Caesar, not king. Upon this, there was a general silence, and
he passed on looking not very well pleased or contented.
Another time, when the senate had conferred on him some
extravagant honors, he chanced to receive the message as he was
sitting on the rostra, where, though the consuls and praetors
themselves waited on him, attended by the whole body of the
senate, he did not rise, but behaved himself to them as if they
had been private men, and told them his honors wanted rather to
be retrenched than increased. This treatment offended not only
the senate, but the commonalty too, as if they thought the
affront upon the senate equally reflected upon the whole
republic; so that all who could decently leave him went off,
looking much discomposed. Caesar, perceiving the false step he
had made, immediately retired home; and laying his throat bare,
told his friends that he was ready to offer this to anyone who
would give the stroke. But afterwards he made the malady from
which he suffered, the excuse for his sitting, saying that those
who are attacked by it, lose their presence of mind, if they
talk much standing; that they presently grow giddy, fall into
convulsions, and quite lose their reason. But this was not the
reality, for he would willingly have stood up to the senate, had
not Cornelius Balbus, one of his friends, or rather flatterers,
hindered him. "Will you not remember," said he, "you are
Caesar, and claim the honor which is due to your merit?"

He gave a fresh occasion of resentment by his affront to the
tribunes. The Lupercalia were then celebrated, a feast at the
first institution belonging, as some writers say, to the
shepherds, and having some connection with the Arcadian Lycaea.
Many young noblemen and magistrates run up and down the city
with their upper garments off, striking all they meet with
thongs of hide, by way of sport; and many women, even of the
highest rank, place themselves in the way, and hold out their
hands to the lash, as boys in a school do to the master, out of
a belief that it procures an easy labor to those who are with
child, and makes those conceive who are barren. Caesar, dressed
in a triumphal robe, seated himself in a golden chair at the
rostra, to view this ceremony. Antony, as consul, was one of
those who ran this course, and when he came into the forum, and
the people made way for him, he went up and reached to Caesar a
diadem wreathed with laurel. Upon this, there was a shout, but
only a slight one, made by the few who were planted there for
that purpose; but when Caesar refused it, there was universal
applause. Upon the second offer, very few, and upon the second
refusal, all again applauded. Caesar finding it would not take,
rose up, and ordered the crown to be carried into the capitol.
Caesar's statues were afterwards found with royal diadems on
their heads. Flavius and Marullus, two tribunes of the people,
went presently and pulled them off, and having apprehended those
who first saluted Caesar as king, committed them to prison. The
people followed them with acclamations, and called them by the
name of Brutus, because Brutus was the first who ended the
succession of kings, and transferred the power which before was
lodged in one man into the hands of the senate and people.
Caesar so far resented this, that he displaced Marullus and
Flavius; and in urging his charges against them, at the same
time ridiculed the people, by himself giving the men more than
once the names of Bruti, and Cumaei.

This made the multitude turn their thoughts to Marcus Brutus,
who, by his father's side, was thought to be descended from that
first Brutus, and by his mother's side from the Servilii,
another noble family, being besides nephew and son-in-law to
Cato. But the honors and favors he had received from Caesar,
took off the edge from the desires he might himself have felt
for overthrowing the new monarchy. For he had not only been
pardoned himself after Pompey's defeat at Pharsalia, and had
procured the same grace for many of his friends, but was one in
whom Caesar had a particular confidence. He had at that time
the most honorable praetorship of the year, and was named for
the consulship four years after, being preferred before Cassius,
his competitor. Upon the question as to the choice, Caesar, it
is related, said that Cassius had the fairer pretensions, but
that he could not pass by Brutus. Nor would he afterwards
listen to some who spoke against Brutus, when the conspiracy
against him was already afoot, but laying his hand on his body,
said to the informers, "Brutus will wait for this skin of mine,"
intimating that he was worthy to bear rule on account of his
virtue, but would not be base and ungrateful to gain it. Those
who desired a change, and looked on him as the only, or at least
the most proper, person to effect it, did not venture to speak
with him; but in the night time laid papers about his chair of
state, where he used to sit and determine causes, with such
sentences in them as, "You are asleep, Brutus," "You are no
longer Brutus." Cassius, when he perceived his ambition a
little raised upon this, was more instant than before to work
him yet further, having himself a private grudge against Caesar,
for some reasons that we have mentioned in the Life of Brutus.
Nor was Caesar without suspicions of him, and said once to his
friends, "What do you think Cassius is aiming at? I don't like
him, he looks so pale." And when it was told him that Antony
and Dolabella were in a plot against him, he said he did not
fear such fat, luxurious men, but rather the pale, lean fellows,
meaning Cassius and Brutus.

Fate, however, is to all appearance more unavoidable than
unexpected. For many strange prodigies and apparitions are said
to have been observed shortly before the event. As to the
lights in the heavens, the noises heard in the night, and the
wild birds which perched in the forum, these are not perhaps
worth taking notice of in so great a case as this. Strabo, the
philosopher, tells us that a number of men were seen, looking as
if they were heated through with fire, contending with each
other; that a quantity of flame issued from the hand of a
soldier's servant, so that they who saw it thought he must be
burnt, but that after all he had no hurt. As Caesar was
sacrificing, the victim's heart was missing, a very bad omen,
because no living creature can subsist without a heart. One
finds it also related by many, that a soothsayer bade him
prepare for some great danger on the ides of March. When the
day was come, Caesar, as he went to the senate, met this
soothsayer, and said to him by way of raillery, "The ides of
March are come;" who answered him calmly, "Yes, they are come,
but they are not past." The day before this assassination, he
supped with Marcus Lepidus; and as he was signing some letters,
according to his custom, as he reclined at table, there arose a
question what sort of death was the best. At which he
immediately, before anyone could speak, said, "A sudden one."

After this, as he was in bed with his wife, all the doors and
windows of the house flew open together; he was startled at the
noise, and the light which broke into the room, and sat up in
his bed, where by the moonshine he perceived Calpurnia fast
asleep, but heard her utter in her dream some indistinct words
and inarticulate groans. She fancied at that time she was
weeping over Caesar, and holding him butchered in her arms.
Others say this was not her dream, but that she dreamed that a
pinnacle which the senate, as Livy relates, had ordered to be
raised on Caesar's house by way of ornament and grandeur, was
tumbling down, which was the occasion of her tears and
ejaculations. When it was day, she begged of Caesar, if it were
possible, not to stir out, but to adjourn the senate to another
time; and if he slighted her dreams, that he would be pleased to
consult his fate by sacrifices, and other kinds of divination.
Nor was he himself without some suspicion and fears; for he
never before discovered any womanish superstition in Calpurnia,
whom he now saw in such great alarm. Upon the report which the
priests made to him, that they had killed several sacrifices,
and still found them inauspicious, he resolved to send Antony to
dismiss the senate.

In this juncture, Decimus Brutus, surnamed Albinus, one whom
Caesar had such confidence in that he made him his second heir,
who nevertheless was engaged in the conspiracy with the other
Brutus and Cassius, fearing lest if Caesar should put off the
senate to another day, the business might get wind, spoke
scoffingly and in mockery of the diviners, and blamed Caesar for
giving the senate so fair an occasion of saying he had put a
slight upon them, for that they were met upon his summons, and
were ready to vote unanimously, that he should be declared king
of all the provinces out of Italy, and might wear a diadem in
any other place but Italy, by sea or land. If anyone should be
sent to tell them they might break up for the present, and meet
again when Calpurnia should chance to have better dreams, what
would his enemies say? Or who would with any patience hear his
friends, if they should presume to defend his government as not
arbitrary and tyrannical? But if he was possessed so far as to
think this day unfortunate, yet it were more decent to go
himself to the senate, and to adjourn it in his own person.
Brutus, as he spoke these words, took Caesar by the hand, and
conducted him forth. He was not gone far from the door, when a
servant of some other person's made towards him, but not being
able to come up to him, on account of the crowd of those who
pressed about him, he made his way into the house, and committed
himself to Calpurnia, begging of her to secure him till Caesar
returned, because he had matters of great importance to
communicate to him.

Artemidorus, a Cnidian, a teacher of Greek logic, and by that
means so far acquainted with Brutus and his friends as to have
got into the secret, brought Caesar in a small written memorial,
the heads of what he had to depose. He had observed that
Caesar, as he received any papers, presently gave them to the
servants who attended on him; and therefore came as near to him
as he could, and said, "Read this, Caesar, alone, and quickly,
for it contains matter of great importance which nearly concerns
you." Caesar received it, and tried several times to read it,
but was still hindered by the crowd of those who came to speak
to him. However, he kept it in his hand by itself till he came
into the senate. Some say it was another who gave Caesar this
note, and that Artemidorus could not get to him, being all along
kept off by the crowd.

All these things might happen by chance. But the place which
was destined for the scene of this murder, in which the senate
met that day, was the same in which Pompey's statue stood, and
was one of the edifices which Pompey had raised and dedicated
with his theater to the use of the public, plainly showing that
there was something of a supernatural influence which guided the
action, and ordered it to that particular place. Cassius, just
before the act, is said to have looked towards Pompey's statue,
and silently implored his assistance, though he had been
inclined to the doctrines of Epicurus. But this occasion, and
the instant danger, carried him away out of all his reasonings,
and filled him for the time with a sort of inspiration. As for
Antony, who was firm to Caesar, and a strong man, Brutus Albinus
kept him outside the house, and delayed him with a long
conversation contrived on purpose. When Caesar entered, the
senate stood up to show their respect to him, and of Brutus's
confederates, some came about his chair and stood behind it,
others met him, pretending to add their petitions to those of
Tillius Cimber, in behalf of his brother, who was in exile; and
they followed him with their joint supplications till he came to
his seat. When he was sat down, he refused to comply with their
requests, and upon their urging him further, began to reproach
them severally for their importunities, when Tillius, laying
hold of his robe with both his hands, pulled it down from his
neck, which was the signal for the assault. Casca gave him the
first cut, in the neck, which was not mortal nor dangerous, as
coming from one who at the beginning of such a bold action was
probably very much disturbed. Caesar immediately turned about,
and laid his hand upon the dagger and kept hold of it. And both
of them at the same time cried out, he that received the blow,
in Latin, "Vile Casca, what does this mean?" and he that gave
it, in Greek, to his brother, "Brother, help!" Upon this first
onset, those who were not privy to the design were astonished
and their horror and amazement at what they saw were so great,
that they durst not fly nor assist Caesar, nor so much as speak
a word. But those who came prepared for the business enclosed
him on every side, with their naked daggers in their hands.
Which way soever he turned, he met with blows, and saw their
swords leveled at his face and eyes, and was encompassed, like a
wild beast in the toils, on every side. For it had been agreed
they should each of them make a thrust at him, and flesh
themselves with his blood; for which reason Brutus also gave him
one stab in the groin. Some say that he fought and resisted all
the rest, shifting his body to avoid the blows, and calling out
for help, but that when he saw Brutus's sword drawn, he covered
his face with his robe and submitted, letting himself fall,
whether it were by chance, or that he was pushed in that
direction by his murderers, at the foot of the pedestal on which
Pompey's statue stood, and which was thus wetted with his blood.
So that Pompey himself seemed to have presided, as it were, over
the revenge done upon his adversary, who lay here at his feet,
and breathed out his soul through his multitude of wounds, for
they say he received three and twenty. And the conspirators
themselves were many of them wounded by each other, whilst they
all leveled their blows at the same person.

When Caesar was dispatched, Brutus stood forth to give a reason
for what they had done, but the senate would not hear him, but
flew out of doors in all haste, and filled the people with so
much alarm and distraction, that some shut up their houses,
others left their counters and shops. All ran one way or the
other, some to the place to see the sad spectacle, others back
again after they had seen it. Antony and Lepidus, Caesar's
most faithful friends, got off privately, and hid themselves in
some friends' houses. Brutus and his followers, being yet hot
from the deed, marched in a body from the senate-house to the
capitol with their drawn swords, not like persons who thought of
escaping, but with an air of confidence and assurance, and as
they went along, called to the people to resume their liberty,
and invited the company of any more distinguished people whom
they met. And some of these joined the procession and went up
along with them, as if they also had been of the conspiracy, and
could claim a share in the honor of what had been done. As, for
example, Caius Octavius and Lentulus Spinther, who suffered
afterwards for their vanity, being taken off by Antony and the
young Caesar, and lost the honor they desired, as well as their
lives, which it cost them, since no one believed they had any
share in the action. For neither did those who punished them
profess to revenge the fact, but the ill-will. The day after,
Brutus with the rest came down from the capitol, and made a
speech to the people, who listened without expressing either any
pleasure or resentment, but showed by their silence that they
pitied Caesar, and respected Brutus. The senate passed acts of
oblivion for what was past, and took measures to reconcile all
parties. They ordered that Caesar should be worshipped as a
divinity, and nothing, even of the slightest consequence, should
be revoked, which he had enacted during his government. At the
same time they gave Brutus and his followers the command of
provinces, and other considerable posts. So that all people now
thought things were well settled, and brought to the happiest

But when Caesar's will was opened, and it was found that he had
left a considerable legacy to each one of the Roman citizens,
and when his body was seen carried through the market-place all
mangled with wounds, the multitude could no longer contain
themselves within the bounds of tranquillity and order, but
heaped together a pile of benches, bars, and tables, which they
placed the corpse on, and setting fire to it, burnt it on them.
Then they took brands from the pile, and ran some to fire the
houses of the conspirators, others up and down the city, to find
out the men and tear them to pieces, but met, however, with none
of them, they having taken effectual care to secure themselves.

One Cinna, a friend of Caesar's, chanced the night before to
have an odd dream. He fancied that Caesar invited him to
supper, and that upon his refusal to go with him, Caesar took
him by the hand and forced him, though he hung back. Upon
hearing the report that Caesar's body was burning in the
market-place, he got up and went thither, out of respect to his
memory, though his dream gave him some ill apprehensions, and
though he was suffering from a fever. One of the crowd who saw
him there, asked another who that was, and having learned his
name, told it to his next neighbor. It presently passed for a
certainty that he was one of Caesar's murderers, as, indeed,
there was another Cinna, a conspirator, and they, taking this to
be the man, immediately seized him, and tore him limb from limb
upon the spot.

Brutus and Cassius, frightened at this, within a few days
retired out of the city. What they afterwards did and suffered,
and how they died, is written in the Life of Brutus. Caesar
died in his fifty-sixth year, not having survived Pompey above
four years. That empire and power which he had pursued through
the whole course of his life with so much hazard, he did at last
with much difficulty compass, but reaped no other fruits from it
than the empty name and invidious glory. But the great genius
which attended him through his lifetime, even after his death
remained as the avenger of his murder, pursuing through every
sea and land all those who were concerned in it, and suffering
none to escape, but reaching all who in any sort or kind were
either actually engaged in the fact, or by their counsels any
way promoted it.

The most remarkable of mere human coincidences was that which
befell Cassius, who, when he was defeated at Philippi, killed
himself with the same dagger which he had made use of against
Caesar. The most signal preternatural appearances were the
great comet, which shone very bright for seven nights after
Caesar's death, and then disappeared, and the dimness of the
sun, whose orb continued pale and dull for the whole of that
year, never showing its ordinary radiance at its rising, and
giving but a weak and feeble heat. The air consequently was
damp and gross, for want of stronger rays to open and rarify it.
The fruits, for that reason, never properly ripened, and began
to wither and fall off for want of heat, before they were fully
formed. But above all, the phantom which appeared to Brutus
showed the murder was not pleasing to the gods. The story of it
is this.

Brutus being to pass his army from Abydos to the continent on
the other side, laid himself down one night, as he used to do,
in his tent, and was not asleep, but thinking of his affairs,
and what events he might expect. For he is related to have been
the least inclined to sleep of all men who have commanded
armies, and to have had the greatest natural capacity for
continuing awake, and employing himself without need of rest.
He thought he heard a noise at the door of his tent, and looking
that way, by the light of his lamp, which was almost out, saw a
terrible figure, like that of a man, but of unusual stature and
severe countenance. He was somewhat frightened at first, but
seeing it neither did nor spoke anything to him, only stood
silently by his bed-side, he asked who it was. The specter
answered him, "Thy evil genius, Brutus, thou shalt see me at
Philippi." Brutus answered courageously, "Well, I shall see
you," and immediately the appearance vanished. When the time
was come, he drew up his army near Philippi against Antony and
Caesar, and in the first battle won the day, routed the enemy,
and plundered Caesar's camp. The night before the second
battle, the same phantom appeared to him again, but spoke not a
word. He presently understood his destiny was at hand, and
exposed himself to all the danger of the battle. Yet he did not
die in the fight, but seeing his men defeated, got up to the top
of a rock, and there presenting his sword to his naked breast,
and assisted, as they say, by a friend, who helped him to give
the thrust, met his death.


Demades, the orator, when in the height of the power which he
obtained at Athens by advising the state in the interest of
Antipater and the Macedonians, being necessitated to write and
speak many things below the dignity, and contrary to the
character, of the city, was wont to excuse himself by saying he
steered only the shipwrecks of the commonwealth. This hardy
saying of his might have some appearance of truth, if applied to
Phocion's government. For Demades indeed was himself the mere
wreck of his country, living and ruling so dissolutely, that
Antipater took occasion to say of him, when he was now grown old,
that he was like a sacrificed beast, all consumed except the
tongue and the belly. But Phocion's was a real virtue, only
overmatched in the unequal contest with an adverse time, and
rendered by the ill fortunes of Greece inglorious and obscure. We
must not, indeed, allow ourselves to concur with Sophocles in so
far diminishing the force of virtue as to say that,

When fortune fails, the sense we had before
Deserts us also, and is ours no more.

Yet thus much, indeed, must be allowed to happen in the conflicts
between good men and ill fortune, that instead of due returns of
honor and gratitude, obloquy and unjust surmises may often
prevail, to weaken, in a considerable degree, the credit of their

It is commonly said that public bodies are most insulting and
contumelious to a good man, when they are puffed up with
prosperity and success. But the contrary often happens;
afflictions and public calamities naturally embittering and
souring the minds and tempers of men, and disposing them to such
peevishness and irritability, that hardly any word or sentiment of
common vigor can be addressed to them, but they will be apt to
take offense. He that remonstrates with them on their errors, is
presumed to be insulting over their misfortunes, and any free
spoken expostulation is construed into contempt. Honey itself is
searching in sore and ulcerated parts; and the wisest and most
judicious counsels prove provoking to distempered minds, unless
offered with those soothing and compliant approaches which made
the poet, for instance, characterize agreeable things in general,
by a word expressive of a grateful and easy touch, exciting
nothing of offense or resistance. Inflamed eyes require a retreat
into dusky places, amongst colors of the deepest shades, and are
unable to endure the brilliancy of light. So fares it in the body
politic, in times of distress and humiliation; a certain
sensitiveness and soreness of humor prevail, with a weak
incapacity of enduring any free and open advice, even when the
necessity of affairs most requires such plain-dealing, and when
the consequences of any single error may be beyond retrieving. At
such times the conduct of public affairs is on all hands most
hazardous. Those who humor the people are swallowed up in the
common ruin; those who endeavor to lead them aright, perish the
first in their attempt.

Astronomers tell us, the sun's motion is neither exactly parallel
with that of the heavens in general, nor yet directly and
diametrically opposite, but describing an oblique line, with
insensible declination he steers his course in such a gentle, easy
curve, as to dispense his light and influence, in his annual
revolution, at several seasons, in just proportions to the whole
creation. So it happens in political affairs; if the motions of
rulers be constantly opposite and cross to the tempers and
inclination of the people, they will be resented as arbitrary and
harsh; as, on the other side, too much deference, or
encouragement, as too often it has been, to popular faults and
errors, is full of danger and ruinous consequences. But where
concession is the response to willing obedience, and a statesman
gratifies his people, that he may the more imperatively recall
them to a sense of the common interest, then, indeed, human
beings, who are ready enough to serve well and submit to much, if
they are not always ordered about and roughly handled, like
slaves, may be said to be guided and governed upon the method that
leads to safety. Though it must be confessed, it is a nice point
and extremely difficult, so to temper this lenity as to preserve
the authority of the government. But if such a blessed mixture
and temperament may be obtained, it seems to be of all concords
and harmonies the most concordant and most harmonious. For thus
we are taught even God governs the world, not by irresistible
force, but persuasive argument and reason, controlling it into
compliance with his eternal purposes.

Cato the younger is a similar instance. His manners were little
agreeable or acceptable to the people, and he received very
slender marks of their favor; witness his repulse when he sued for
the consulship, which he lost, as Cicero says, for acting rather
like a citizen in Plato's commonwealth, than among the dregs of
Romulus's posterity, the same thing happening to him, in my
opinion, as we observe in fruits ripe before their season, which
we rather take pleasure in looking at and admiring, than actually
use; so much was his old-fashioned virtue out of the present mode,
among the depraved customs which time and luxury had introduced,
that it appeared indeed remarkable and wonderful, but was too
great and too good to suit the present exigencies, being so out of
all proportion to the times. Yet his circumstances were not
altogether like Phocion's, who came to the helm when the ship of
the state was just upon sinking. Cato's time was, indeed, stormy
and tempestuous, yet so as he was able to assist in managing the
sails, and lend his helping hand to those who, which he was not
allowed to do, commanded at the helm. Others were to blame for
the result; yet his courage and virtue made it in spite of all a
hard task for fortune to ruin the commonwealth, and it was only
with long time and effort and by slow degrees, when he himself had
all but succeeded in averting it, that the catastrophe was at last

Phocion and he may be well compared together, not for any mere
general resemblances, as though we should say, both were good men
and great statesmen. For assuredly there is difference enough among
virtues of the same denomination, as between the bravery of
Alcibiades and that of Epaminondas, the prudence of Themistocles
and that of Aristides, the justice of Numa and that of Agesilaus.
But these men's virtues, even looking to the most minute points of
difference, bear the same color, stamp, and character impressed
upon them, so as not to be distinguishable. The mixture is still
made in the same exact proportions, whether we look at the
combination to be found in them both of lenity on the one hand,
with austerity on the other; their boldness upon some occasions,
and caution on others; their extreme solicitude for the public,
and perfect neglect of themselves; their fixed and immovable bent
to all virtuous and honest actions, accompanied with an extreme
tenderness and scrupulosity as to doing anything which might
appear mean or unworthy; so that we should need a very nice and
subtle logic of discrimination to detect and establish the
distinctions between them.

As to Cato's extraction, it is confessed by all to have been
illustrious, as will be said hereafter, nor was Phocion's, I feel
assured, obscure or ignoble. For had he been the son of a turner,
as Idomeneus reports, it had certainly not been forgotten to his
disparagement by Glaucippus, the son of Hyperides, when heaping up
a thousand spiteful things to say against him. Nor, indeed, had
it been possible for him, in such circumstances, to have had such
a liberal breeding and education in his youth, as to be first
Plato's, and afterwards Xenocrates's scholar in the Academy, and
to have devoted himself from the first to the pursuit of the
noblest studies and practices. His countenance was so composed,
that scarcely was he ever seen by any Athenian either laughing, or
in tears. He was rarely known, so Duris has recorded, to appear
in the public baths, or was observed with his hand exposed outside
his cloak, when he wore one. Abroad, and in the camp, he was so
hardy in going always thin clad and barefoot, except in a time of
excessive and intolerable cold, that the soldiers used to say in
merriment, that it was like to be a hard winter when Phocion wore
his coat.

Although he was most gentle and humane in his disposition, his
aspect was stern and forbidding, so that he was seldom accosted
alone by any who were not intimate with him. When Chares once
made some remark on his frowning looks, and the Athenians laughed
at the jest. "My sullenness," said Phocion, "never yet made any
of you sad, but these men's jollities have given you sorrow
enough." In like manner Phocion's language, also, was full of
instruction, abounding in happy maxims and wise thoughts, but
admitted no embellishment to its austere and commanding brevity.
Zeno said a philosopher should never speak till his words had been
steeped in meaning; and such, it may be said, were Phocion's,
crowding the greatest amount of significance into the smallest
allowance of space. And to this, probably, Polyeuctus, the
Sphettian, referred, when he said that Demosthenes was, indeed,
the best orator of his time, but Phocion the most powerful
speaker. His oratory, like small coin of great value, was to be
estimated, not by its bulk, but its intrinsic worth. He was once
observed, it is said, when the theater was filling with the
audience, to walk musing alone behind the scenes, which one of his
friends taking notice of, said, "Phocion, you seem to be
thoughtful." "Yes," replied he, "I am considering how I may
shorten what I am going to say to the Athenians." Even
Demosthenes himself, who used to despise the rest of the
haranguers, when Phocion stood up, was wont to say quietly to
those about him, "Here is the pruning-knife of my periods." This
however, might refer, perhaps, not so much to his eloquence, as to
the influence of his character, since not only a word, but even a
nod from a person who is esteemed, is of more force than a
thousand arguments or studied sentences from others.

In his youth he followed Chabrias, the general, from whom he
gained many lessons in military knowledge, and in return did
something to correct his unequal and capricious humor. For
whereas at other times Chabrias was heavy and phlegmatic, in the
heat of battle he used to be so fired and transported, that he
threw himself headlong into danger beyond the forwardest, which,
indeed, in the end, cost him his life in the island of Chios, he
having pressed his own ship foremost to force a landing. But
Phocion, being a man of temper as well as courage, had the
dexterity at some times to rouse the general, when in his
procrastinating mood, to action, and at others to moderate and
cool the impetuousness of his unseasonable fury. Upon which
account Chabrias, who was a good-natured, kindly-tempered man,
loved him much, and procured him commands and opportunities for
action, giving him means to make himself known in Greece, and
using his assistance in all his affairs of moment. Particularly
the sea-fight at Naxos added not a little to Phocion's reputation,
when he had the left squadron committed to him by Chabrias, as in
this quarter the battle was sharply contested, and was decided by
a speedy victory. And this being the first prosperous sea-battle
the city had engaged in with its own force since its captivity,
Chabrias won great popularity by it, and Phocion, also, got the
reputation of a good commander. The victory was gained at the
time of the Great Mysteries, and Chabrias used to keep the
commemoration of it, by distributing wine among the Athenians,
yearly, on the sixteenth day of Boedromion.

After this, Chabrias sent Phocion to demand their quota of the
charges of the war from the islanders, and offered him a guard of
twenty ships. Phocion told him, if he intended him to go against
them as enemies, that force was insignificant; if as to friends
and allies, one vessel was sufficient. So he took his own single
galley, and having visited the cities, and treated with the
magistrates in an equitable and open manner, he brought back a
number of ships, sent by the confederates to Athens, to convey the
supplies. Neither did his friendship and attention close with
Chabrias's life, but after his decease he carefully maintained it
to all that were related to him, and chiefly to his son Ctesippus,
whom he labored to bring to some good, and although he was a
stupid and intractable young fellow, always endeavored, so far as
in him lay, to correct and cover his faults and follies. Once,
however, when the youngster was very impertinent and troublesome
to him in the camp, interrupting him with idle questions, and
putting forward his opinions and suggestions of how the war should
be conducted, he could not forbear exclaiming, "O Chabrias,
Chabrias, how grateful I show myself for your friendship, in
submitting to endure your son."

Upon looking into public matters, and the way in which they were
now conducted, he observed that the administration of affairs was
cut and parceled out, like so much land by allotment, between the
military men and the public speakers, so that neither these nor
those should interfere with the claims of the others. As the one
were to address the assemblies, to draw up votes and prepare
motions, men, for example, like Eubulus, Aristophon, Demosthenes,
Lycurgus, and Hyperides, and were to push their interests here;
so, in the meantime, Diopithes, Menestheus, Leosthenes, and
Chares, were to make their profit by war and in military commands.
Phocion, on the other hand, was desirous to restore and carry out
the old system, more complete in itself, and more harmonious and
uniform, which prevailed in the times of Pericles, Aristides, and
Solon; when statesmen showed themselves, to use Archilochus's
words, --

Mars' and the Muses' friends alike designed,
To arts and arms indifferently inclined,

and the presiding goddess of his country was, he did not fail to
see, the patroness and protectress of both civil and military
wisdom. With these views, while his advice at home was always for
peace and quietness, he nevertheless held the office of general
more frequently than any of the statesmen, not only of his own
times, but of those preceding, never, indeed, promoting or
encouraging military expeditions, yet never, on the other hand,
shunning or declining, when he was called upon by the public
voice. Thus much is well known, that he was no less than
forty-five several times chosen general, he being never on any one
of those occasions present at the election, but having the
command, in his absence, by common suffrage, conferred on him, and
he sent for on purpose to undertake it. Insomuch that it amazed
those who did not well consider, to see the people always prefer
Phocion, who was so far from humoring them or courting their
favor, that he always thwarted and opposed them. But so it was,
as great men and princes are said to call in their flatterers when
dinner has been served, so the Athenians, upon slight occasions,
entertained and diverted themselves with their spruce speakers and
trim orators, but when it came to action, they were sober and
considerate enough to single out the austerest and wisest for
public employment, however much he might be opposed to their
wishes and sentiments. This, indeed, he made no scruple to admit,
when the oracle from Delphi was read, which informed them that the
Athenians were all of one mind, a single dissentient only
excepted, frankly coming forward and declaring that they need look
no further; he was the man, there was no one but he who was
dissatisfied with everything they did. And when once he gave his
opinion to the people, and was met with the general approbation
and applause of the assembly, turning to some of his friends, he
asked them, "Have I inadvertently said something foolish?"

Upon occasion of a public festivity, being solicited for his
contribution by the example of others, and the people pressing him
much, he bade them apply themselves to the wealthy; for his part
he should blush to make a present here, rather than a repayment
there, turning and, pointing to Callicles, the money-lender.
Being still clamored upon and importuned, he told them this tale.
A certain cowardly fellow setting out for the wars, hearing the
ravens croak in his passage, threw down his arms, resolving to
wait. Presently he took them and ventured out again, but hearing
the same music, once more made a stop. "For," said he, "you may
croak till you are tired, but you shall make no dinner upon me."

The Athenians urging him at an unseasonable time to lead them out
against the enemy, he peremptorily refused, and being upbraided by
them with cowardice and pusillanimity, he told them, "Just now, do
what you will, I shall not be brave; and do what I will, you will
not be cowards. Nevertheless, we know well enough what we are."
And when again, in a time of great danger, the people were very
harsh upon him, demanding a strict account how the public money
had been employed, and the like, he bade them, "First, good
friends, make sure you are safe." After a war, during which they
had been very tractable and timorous, when, upon peace being made,
they began again to be confident and overbearing, and to cry out
upon Phocion, as having lost them the honor of victory, to all
their clamor he made only this answer, "My friends, you are
fortunate in having a leader who knows you; otherwise, you had
long since been undone."

Having a controversy with the Boeotians about boundaries, which he
counseled them to decide by negotiation, they inclined to blows.
"You had better," said he, "carry on the contest with the weapons
in which you excel, (your tongues,) and not by war, in which you
are inferior." Once, when he was addressing them, and they would
not hear him or let him go on, said he, "You may compel me to act
against my wishes, but you shall never force me to speak against
my judgment." Among the many public speakers who opposed him,
Demosthenes, for example, once told him, "The Athenians, Phocion,
will kill you some day when they once are in a rage." "And you,"
said he, "if they once are in their senses." Polyeuctus, the
Sphettian, once on a hot day was urging war with Philip, and being
a corpulent man, and out of breath and in a great heat with
speaking, took numerous draughts of water as he went on. "Here,
indeed," said Phocion, "is a fit man to lead us into a war! What
think you he will do when he is carrying his corslet and his
shield to meet the enemy, if even here, delivering a prepared
speech to you has almost killed him with exhaustion?" When
Lycurgus in the assembly made many reflections on his past
conduct, upbraiding him above all for having advised them to
deliver up the ten citizens whom Alexander had demanded, he
replied that he had been the author of much safe and wholesome
counsel, which had not been followed.

There was a man called Archibiades, nicknamed the Lacedaemonian,
who used to go about with a huge overgrown beard, wearing an old
threadbare cloak, and affecting a very stern countenance. Phocion
once, when attacked in council by the rest, appealed to this man
for his support and testimony. And when he got up and began to
speak on the popular side, putting his hand to his beard, "O
Archibiades," said he, "it is time you should shave."
Aristogiton, a common accuser, was a terrible man of war within
the assembly, always inflaming the people to battle, but when the
muster-roll came to be produced, he appeared limping on a crutch,
with a bandage on his leg; Phocion descried him afar off, coming
in, and cried out to the clerk, "Put down Aristogiton, too, as
lame and worthless."

So that it is a little wonderful, how a man so severe and harsh
upon all occasions should, notwithstanding, obtain the name of the
Good. Yet, though difficult, it is not, I suppose, impossible for
men's tempers, any more than for wines, to be at the same time
harsh and agreeable to the taste; just as on the other hand many
that are sweet at the first taste, are found, on further use,
extremely disagreeable and very unwholesome. Hyperides, we are
told, once said to the people, "Do not ask yourselves, men of
Athens, whether or not I am bitter, but whether or not I am paid
for being so," as though a covetous purpose were the only thing
that should make a harsh temper insupportable, and as if men might
not even more justly render themselves obnoxious to popular
dislike and censure, by using their power and influence in the
indulgence of their own private passions of pride and jealousy,
anger and animosity. Phocion never allowed himself from any
feeling of personal hostility to do hurt to any fellow-citizen,
nor, indeed, reputed any man his enemy, except so far as he could
not but contend sharply with such as opposed the measures he urged
for the public good; in which argument he was, indeed, a rude,
obstinate, and uncompromising adversary. For his general
conversation, it was easy, courteous, and obliging to all, to that
point that he would befriend his very opponents in their distress,
and espouse the cause of those who differed most from him, when
they needed his patronage. His friends reproaching him for
pleading in behalf of a man of indifferent character, he told them
the innocent had no need of an advocate. Aristogiton, the
sycophant, whom we mentioned before, having after sentence passed
upon him, sent earnestly to Phocion to speak with him in the
prison, his friends dissuaded him from going; "Nay, by your
favor," said he, "where should I rather choose to pay Aristogiton
a visit?"

As for the allies of the Athenians, and the islanders, whenever
any admiral besides Phocion was sent, they treated him as an enemy
suspect, barricaded their gates, blocked up their havens, brought
in from the country their cattle, slaves, wives, and children, and
put them in garrison; but upon Phocion's arrival, they went out to
welcome him in their private boats and barges, with streamers
and garlands, and received him at landing with every demonstration
of joy and pleasure.

When king Philip was effecting his entry into Euboea, and was
bringing over troops from Macedonia, and making himself master of
the cities, by means of the tyrants who ruled in them, Plutarch of
Eretria sent to request aid of the Athenians for the relief of the
island, which was in imminent danger of falling wholly into the
hands of the Macedonians. Phocion was sent thither with a handful
of men in comparison, in expectation that the Euboeans themselves
would flock in and join him. But when he came, he found all
things in confusion, the country all betrayed, the whole ground,
as it were, undermined under his feet, by the secret pensioners of
king Philip, so that he was in the greatest risk imaginable. To
secure himself as far as he could, he seized a small rising
ground, which was divided from the level plains about Tamynae by a
deep watercourse, and here he enclosed and fortified the choicest
of his army. As for the idle talkers and disorderly bad citizens
who ran off from his camp and made their way back, he bade his
officers not regard them, since here they would have been not only
useless and ungovernable themselves, but an actual hindrance to
the rest; and further, being conscious to themselves of the
neglect of their duty, they would be less ready to misrepresent
the action, or raise a cry against them at their return home.
When the enemy drew nigh, he bade his men stand to their arms,
until he had finished the sacrifice, in which he spent a
considerable time, either by some difficulty of the thing itself,
or on purpose to invite the enemy nearer. Plutarch, interpreting
this tardiness as a failure in his courage, fell on alone with the
mercenaries, which the cavalry perceiving, could not be contained,
but issuing also out of the camp, confusedly and in disorder,
spurred up to the enemy. The first who came up were defeated, the
rest were put to the rout, Plutarch himself took to flight, and a
body of the enemy advanced in the hope of carrying the camp,
supposing themselves to have secured the victory. But by this
time, the sacrifice being over, the Athenians within the camp came
forward, and falling upon them put them to flight, and killed the
greater number as they fled among the entrenchments, while
Phocion ordering his infantry to keep on the watch and rally those
who came in from the previous flight, himself, with a body of his
best men, engaged the enemy in a sharp and bloody fight, in which
all of them behaved with signal courage and gallantry. Thallus,
the son of Cineas, and Glaucus, of Polymedes, who fought near the
general, gained the honors of the day. Cleophanes, also, did good
service in the battle. Recovering the cavalry from its defeat,
and with his shouts and encouragement bringing them up to succor
the general, who was in danger, he confirmed the victory obtained
by the infantry. Phocion now expelled Plutarch from Eretria, and
possessed himself of the very important fort of Zaretra, situated
where the island is pinched in, as it were, by the seas on each
side, and its breadth most reduced to a narrow girth. He released
all the Greeks whom he took out of fear of the public speakers at
Athens, thinking they might very likely persuade the people in
their anger into committing some act of cruelty.

This affair thus dispatched and settled, Phocion set sail
homewards, and the allies had soon as good reason to regret the
loss of his just and humane dealing, as the Athenians that of his
experience and courage. Molossus, the commander who took his
place, had no better success than to fall alive into the enemy's
hands. Philip, full of great thoughts and designs, now advanced
with all his forces into the Hellespont, to seize the Chersonesus
and Perinthus, and after them, Byzantium. The Athenians raised a
force to relieve them, but the popular leaders made it their
business to prefer Chares to be general, who, sailing thither,
effected nothing worthy of the means placed in his hands. The
cities were afraid, and would not receive his ships into their
harbors, so that he did nothing but wander about, raising money
from their friends, and despised by their enemies. And when the
people, chafed by the orators, were extremely indignant, and
repented having ever sent any help to the Byzantines, Phocion rose
and told them they ought not to be angry with the allies for
distrusting, but with their generals for being distrusted. "They
make you suspected," he said, "even by those who cannot possibly
subsist without your succor." The assembly being moved with this
speech of his, changed their minds on the sudden, and commanded
him immediately to raise another force, and go himself to assist
their confederates in the Hellespont; an appointment which, in
effect, contributed more than anything to the relief of

For Phocion's name was already honorably known; and an old
acquaintance of his, who had been his fellow-student in the
Academy, Leon, a man of high renown for virtue among the
Byzantines, having vouched for Phocion to the city, they opened
their gates to receive him, not permitting him, though he desired
it, to encamp without the walls, but entertained him and all the
Athenians with perfect reliance, while they, to requite their
confidence, behaved among their new hosts soberly and
inoffensively, and exerted themselves on all occasions with the
greatest zeal and resolution for their defense. Thus king Philip
was driven out of the Hellespont, and was despised to boot, whom
till now, it had been thought impossible to match, or even to
oppose. Phocion also took some of his ships, and recaptured some
of the places he had garrisoned, making besides several inroads
into the country, which he plundered and overran, until he
received a wound from some of the enemy who came to the defense,
and, thereupon, sailed away home.

The Megarians at this time privately praying aid of the Athenians,
Phocion, fearing lest the Boeotians should hear of it, and
anticipate them, called an assembly at sunrise, and brought
forward the petition of the Megarians, and immediately after the
vote had been put, and carried in their favor, he sounded the
trumpet, and led the Athenians straight from the assembly, to arm
and put themselves in posture. The Megarians received them
joyfully, and he proceeded to fortify Nisea, and built two new
long walls from the city to the arsenal, and so joined it to the
sea, so that having now little reason to regard the enemies on the
land side, it placed its dependence entirely on the Athenians.

When final hostilities with Philip were now certain, and in
Phocion's absence other generals had been nominated, he on his
arrival from the islands, dealt earnestly with the Athenians, that
since Philip showed peaceable inclinations towards them, and
greatly apprehended the danger, they would consent to a treaty.
Being contradicted in this by one of the ordinary frequenters of
the courts of justice, a common accuser, who asked him if he durst
presume to persuade the Athenians to peace, now their arms were in
their hands, "Yes," said he, "though I know that if there be war,
I shall be in office over you, and if peace, you over me." But
when he could not prevail, and Demosthenes's opinion carried it,
advising them to make war as far off from home as possible, and
fight the battle out of Attica, "Good friend," said Phocion, "let
us not ask where we shall fight, but how we may conquer in the
war. That will be the way to keep it at a distance. If we are
beaten, it will be quickly at our doors." After the defeat, when
the clamorers and incendiaries in the town would have brought up
Charidemus to the hustings, to be nominated to the command, the
best of the citizens were in a panic, and supporting themselves
with the aid of the council of the Areopagus, with entreaties and
tears hardly prevailed upon the people to have Phocion entrusted
with the care of the city. He was of opinion, in general, that
the fair terms to be expected from Philip should be accepted, yet
after Demades had made a motion that the city should receive the
common conditions of peace in concurrence with the rest of the
states of Greece, he opposed it, till it were known what the
particulars were which Philip demanded. He was overborne in this
advice, under the pressure of the time, but almost immediately
after, the Athenians repented it, when they understood that by
these articles, they were obliged to furnish Philip both with
horse and shipping. "It was the fear of this," said Phocion,
"that occasioned my opposition. But since the thing is done, let
us make the best of it, and not be discouraged. Our forefathers
were sometimes in command, and sometimes under it; and by doing
their duty, whether as rulers or as subjects, saved their own
country and the rest of Greece."

Upon the news of Philip's death, he opposed himself to any public
demonstrations of joy and jubilee, saying it would be ignoble to
show malice upon such an occasion, and that the army that had
fought them at Chaeronea, was only diminished by a single man.

When Demosthenes made his invectives against Alexander, now on his
way to attack Thebes, he repeated those verses of Homer, --

"Unwise one, wherefore to a second stroke
His anger be foolhardy to provoke?"

and asked, "Why stimulate his already eager passion for glory?
Why take pains to expose the city to the terrible conflagration
now so near? We, who accepted office to save our fellow-citizens,
will not, however they desire it, be consenting to their

After Thebes was lost, and Alexander had demanded Demosthenes,
Lycurgus, Hyperides, and Charidemus to be delivered up, the whole
assembly turning their eyes to him, and calling on him by name to
deliver his opinion, at last he rose up, and showing them one of
his most intimate friends, whom he loved and confided in above all
others, told them, "You have brought things amongst you to that
pass, that for my part, should he demand this my friend Nicocles,
I would not refuse to give him up. For as for myself, to have it
in my power to sacrifice my own life and fortune for the common
safety, I should think the greatest of good fortune. Truly," he
added, "it pierces my heart to see those who are fled hither for
succor from the desolation of Thebes. Yet it is enough for Greece
to have Thebes to deplore. It will be more for the interest of
all that we should deprecate the conqueror's anger, and intercede
for both, than run the hazard of another battle."

When this was decreed by the people, Alexander is said to have
rejected their first address when it was presented, throwing it
from him scornfully, and turning his back upon the deputation, who
left him in affright. But the second, which was presented by
Phocion, he received, understanding from the older Macedonians how
much Philip had admired and esteemed him. And he not only gave
him audience and listened to his memorial and petition, but also
permitted him to advise him, which he did to this effect, that if
his designs were for quietness, he should make peace at once; if
glory were his aim, he should make war, not upon Greece, but on
the barbarians. And with various counsels and suggestions,
happily designed to meet the genius and feelings of Alexander, he
so won upon him, and softened his temper, that he bade the
Athenians not forget their position, as if anything went wrong
with him, the supremacy belonged to them. And to Phocion himself,
whom he adopted as his friend and guest, he showed a respect, and
admitted him to distinctions, which few of those who were
continually near his person ever received. Duris, at any rate,
tells us, that when he became great, and had conquered Darius, in
the heading of all his letters he left off the word Greeting,
except in those he wrote to Phocion. To him, and to Antipater
alone, he condescended to use it. This, also, is stated by

As for his munificence to him, it is well known he sent him a
present at one time of one hundred talents; and this being brought
to Athens, Phocion asked of the bearers, how it came to pass, that
among all the Athenians, he alone should be the object of this
bounty. And being told that Alexander esteemed him alone a person
of honor and worth, "Let him, then," said he, "permit me to
continue so, and be still so reputed." Following him to his
house, and observing his simple and plain way of living, his wife
employed in kneading bread with her own hands, himself drawing
water to wash his feet, they pressed him to accept it, with some
indignation, being ashamed, as they said, that Alexander's friend
should live so poorly and pitifully. So Phocion pointing out to
them a poor old fellow, in a dirty worn-out coat, passing by,
asked them if they thought him in worse condition than this man.
They bade him not mention such a comparison. "Yet," said Phocion,
"he with less to live upon than I, finds it sufficient, and in
brief," he continued, "if I do not use this money, what good is
there in my having it; and if I do use it, I shall procure an ill
name, both for myself and for Alexander, among my countrymen." So
the treasure went back again from Athens, to prove to Greece, by a
signal example, that he who could afford to give so magnificent a
present, was yet not so rich as he who could afford to refuse it.
And when Alexander was displeased, and wrote back to him to say
that he could not esteem those his friends, who would not be
obliged by him, not even would this induce Phocion to accept the
money, but he begged leave to intercede with him in behalf of
Echecratides, the sophist, and Athenodorus, the Imbrian, as also
for Demaratus and Sparton, two Rhodians, who had been arrested
upon some charges, and were in custody at Sardis. This was
instantly granted by Alexander, and they were set at liberty.
Afterwards, when sending Craterus into Macedonia, he commanded him
to make him an offer of four cities in Asia, Cius, Gergithus,
Mylasa, and Elaea, any one of which, at his choice, should be
delivered to him; insisting yet more positively with him, and
declaring he should resent it, should he continue obstinate in his
refusal. But Phocion was not to be prevailed with at all, and,
shortly after, Alexander died.

Phocion's house is shown to this day in Melita, ornamented with
small plates of copper, but otherwise plain and homely.
Concerning his wives, of the first of them there is little said,
except that she was sister of Cephisodotus, the statuary. The
other was a matron of no less reputation for her virtues and
simple living among the Athenians, than Phocion was for his
probity. It happened once when the people were entertained with a
new tragedy, that the actor, just as he was to enter the stage to
perform the part of a queen, demanded to have a number of
attendants sumptuously dressed, to follow in his train, and on
their not being provided, was sullen and refused to act, keeping
the audience waiting, till at last Melanthius, who had to furnish
the chorus, pushed him on the stage, crying out, "What, don't you
know that Phocion's wife is never attended by more than a single
waiting woman, but you must needs be grand, and fill our women's
heads with vanity?" This speech of his, spoken loud enough to be
heard, was received with great applause, and clapped all round the
theater. She herself, when once entertaining a visitor out of
Ionia, who showed her all her rich ornaments, made of gold and set
with jewels, her wreaths, necklaces, and the like, "For my part,"
said she, "all my ornament is my husband Phocion, now for the
twentieth year in office as general at Athens."

He had a son named Phocus, who wished to take part in the games at
the great feast of Minerva. He permitted him so to do, in the
contest of leaping, not with any view to the victory, but in the
hope that the training and discipline for it would make him a
better man, the youth being in a general way a lover of drinking,
and ill-regulated in his habits. On his having succeeded in the
sports, many were eager for the honor of his company at banquets
in celebration of the victory. Phocion declined all these
invitations but one, and when he came to this entertainment and
saw the costly preparations, even the water brought to wash the
guests' feet being mingled with wine and spices, he reprimanded
his son, asking him why he would so far permit his friend to sully
the honor of his victory. And in the hope of wholly weaning the
young man from such habits and company, he sent him to Lacedaemon,
and placed him among the youths then under the course of the
Spartan discipline. This the Athenians took offense at, as though
he slighted and contemned the education at home; and Demades
twitted him with it publicly, "Suppose, Phocion, you and I advise
the Athenians to adopt the Spartan constitution. If you like, I
am ready to introduce a bill to that effect, and to speak in its
favor." "Indeed," said Phocion, "you with that strong scent of
perfumes about you, and with that mantle on your shoulders, are
just the very man to speak in honor of Lycurgus, and recommend the
Spartan table."

When Alexander wrote to demand a supply of galleys, and the public
speakers objected to sending them, Phocion, on the council
requesting his opinion, told them freely, "Sirs, I would either
have you victorious yourselves, or friends of those who are so."
He took up Pytheas, who about this time first began to address the
assembly, and already showed himself a confident, talking fellow,
by saying that a young slave whom the people had but bought
yesterday, ought to have the manners to hold his tongue. And
when Harpalus, who had fled from Alexander out of Asia, carrying
off a large sum of money, came to Attica, and there was a perfect
race among the ordinary public men of the assembly who should be
the first to take his pay, he distributed amongst these some
trifling sums by way of a bait and provocative, but to Phocion he
made an offer of no less than seven hundred talents and all manner
of other advantages he pleased to demand; with the compliment that
he would entirely commit himself and all his affairs to his
disposal. Phocion answered sharply, Harpalus should repent of it,
if he did not quickly leave off corrupting and debauching the
city, which for the time silenced him, and checked his
proceedings. But afterwards, when the Athenians were deliberating
in council about him, he found those that had received money from
him to be his greatest enemies, urging and aggravating matters
against him, to prevent themselves being discovered, whereas
Phocion, who had never touched his pay, now, so far as the public
interest would admit of it, showed some regard to his particular
security. This encouraged him once more to try his inclinations,
and upon further survey, finding that he himself was a fortress,
inaccessible on every quarter to the approaches of corruption, he
professed a particular friendship to Phocion's son-in-law,
Charicles. And admitting him into his confidence in all his
affairs, and continually requesting his assistance, he brought him
into some suspicion. Upon the occasion, for example, of the death
of Pythonice, who was Harpalus's mistress, for whom he had a great
fondness, and had a child by her, he resolved to build her a
sumptuous monument, and committed the care of it to his friend
Charicles. This commission, disreputable enough in itself, was
yet further disparaged by the figure the piece of workmanship made
after it was finished. It is yet to be seen in the Hermeum. as
you go from Athens to Eleusis, with nothing in its appearance
answerable to the sum of thirty talents, with which Charicles is
said to have charged Harpalus for its erection. After Harpalus's
own decease, his daughter was educated by Phocion and Charicles
with great care. But when Charicles was called to account for his
dealings with Harpalus, and entreated his father-in-law's
protection, begging that he would appear for him in the court,
Phocion refused, telling him, "I did not choose you for my
son-in-law for any but honorable purposes."

Asclepiades, the son of Hipparchus, brought the first tidings of
Alexander's death to Athens, which Demades told them was not to be
credited; for, were it true, the whole world would ere this have
stunk with the dead body. But Phocion seeing the people eager for
an instant revolution, did his best to quiet and repress them.
And when numbers of them rushed up to the hustings to speak, and
cried out that the news was true, and Alexander was dead, "If he
is dead today," said he, "he will be so tomorrow and the day
after tomorrow equally. So that there is no need to take counsel
hastily or before it is safe."

When Leosthenes now had embarked the city in the Lamian war,
greatly against Phocion's wishes, to raise a laugh against
Phocion, he asked him scoffingly, what the State had been
benefited by his having now so many years been general. "It is
not a little," said Phocion, "that the citizens have been buried
in their own sepulchers." And when Leosthenes continued to speak
boldly and boastfully in the assembly, "Young man," he said, "your
speeches are like cypress trees, stately and tall, and no fruit to
come of them." And when he was then attacked by Hyperides, who
asked him when the time would come, that he would advise the
Athenians to make war, "As soon," said he, "as I find the young
men keep their ranks, the rich men contribute their money, and the
Orators leave off robbing the treasury." Afterwards, when many
admired the forces raised, and the preparations for war that were
made by Leosthenes, they asked Phocion how he approved of the new
levies. "Very well," said he, "for the short course; but what I
fear, is the long race. Since however late the war may last, the
city has neither money, ships, nor soldiers, but these." And the
event justified his prognostics. At first all things appeared
fair and promising. Leosthenes gained great reputation by
worsting the Boeotians in battle, and driving Antipater within
the walls of Lamia, and the citizens were so transported with the
first successes, that they kept solemn festivities for them, and
offered public sacrifices to the gods. So that some, thinking
Phocion must now be convinced of his error, asked him whether he
would not willingly have been author of these successful actions.
"Yes," said he, "most gladly, but also of the former counsel."
And when one express after another came from the camp, confirming
and magnifying the victories, "When," said he, "will the end of
them come?"

Leosthenes, soon after, was killed, and now those who feared lest
if Phocion obtained the command, he would put an end to the war,
arranged with an obscure person in the assembly, who should stand
up and profess himself to be a friend and old confidant of
Phocion's, and persuade the people to spare him at this time, and
reserve him (with whom none could compare) for a more pressing
occasion, and now to give Antiphilus the command of the army.
This pleased the generality, but Phocion made it appear he was so
far from having any friendship with him of old standing, that he
had not so much as the least familiarity with him; "Yet now, sir,"
says he, "give me leave to put you down among the number of my
friends and well-wishers, as you have given a piece of advice so
much to my advantage."

And when the people were eager to make an expedition against the
Boeotians, he at first opposed it; and on his friends telling him
the people would kill him, for always running counter to them,
"That will be unjust of them," he said, "if I give them honest
advice, if not, it will be just of them.'' But when he found them
persisting and shouting to him to lead them out, he commanded the
crier to make proclamation, that all the Athenians under sixty
should instantly provide themselves with five days' provision, and
follow him from the assembly. This caused a great tumult. Those
in years were startled, and clamored against the order; he
demanded wherein he injured them, "For I," says he, "am now
fourscore, and am ready to lead you." This succeeded in pacifying
them for the present.

But when Micion, with a large force of Macedonians and
mercenaries, began to pillage the sea-coast, having made a descent
upon Rhamnus, and overrun the neighboring country, Phocion led out
the Athenians to attack him. And when sundry private persons
came, intermeddling with his dispositions, and telling him that he
ought to occupy such or such a hill, detach the cavalry in this or
that direction, engage the enemy on this point or that, "O
Hercules," said he, "how many generals have we here, and how few
soldiers!" Afterwards, having formed the battle, one who wished
to show his bravery, advanced out of his post before the rest, but
on the enemy's approaching, lost heart, and retired back into his
rank. "Young man," said Phocion, "are you not ashamed twice in
one day to desert your station, first that on which I had placed
you, and secondly, that on which you had placed yourself?"
However, he entirely routed the enemy, killing Micion and many
more on the spot. The Grecian army, also, in Thessaly, after
Leonnatus and the Macedonians who came with him out of Asia, had
arrived and joined Antipater, fought and beat them in a battle.
Leonnatus was killed in the fight, Antiphilus commanding the foot,
and Menon, the Thessalian, the horse.

But not long after, Craterus crossed from Asia with numerous
forces; a pitched battle was fought at Cranon; the Greeks were
beaten; though not, indeed, in a signal defeat, nor with any great
loss of men. But what with their want of obedience to their
commanders, who were young and over-indulgent with them, and what
with Antipater's tampering and treating with their separate
cities, one by one, the end of it was that the army was dissolved,
and the Greeks shamefully surrendered the liberty of their

Upon the news of Antipater's now advancing at once against Athens
with all his force, Demosthenes and Hyperides deserted the city,
and Demades, who was altogether insolvent for any part of the
fines that had been laid upon him by the city, for he had been
condemned no less than seven times for introducing bills contrary
to the laws, and who had been disfranchised, and was no longer
competent to vote in the assembly, laid hold of this season of
impunity, to bring in a bill for sending ambassadors with
plenipotentiary power to Antipater, to treat about a peace. But
the people distrusted him, and called upon Phocion to give his
opinion, as the person they only and entirely confided in. He
told them, "If my former counsels had been prevalent with you, we
had not been reduced to deliberate on the question at all."
However, the vote passed; and a decree was made, and he with
others deputed to go to Antipater, who lay now encamped in the
Theban territories, but intended to dislodge immediately, and pass
into Attica. Phocion's first request was, that he would make the
treaty without moving his camp. And when Craterus declared that
it was not fair to ask them to be burdensome to the country of
their friends and allies by their stay, when they might rather use
that of their enemies for provisions and the support of their
army, Antipater taking him by the hand, said, "We must grant this
favor to Phocion." For the rest, he bade them return to their
principals, and acquaint them that he could only offer them the
same terms, namely, to surrender at discretion, which Leosthenes
had offered to him when he was shut up in Lamia.

When Phocion had returned to the city, and acquainted them with
this answer, they made a virtue of necessity, and complied, since
it would be no better. So Phocion returned to Thebes with the
other ambassadors, and among the rest, Xenocrates, the
philosopher, the reputation of whose virtue and wisdom was so
great and famous everywhere, that they conceived there could not
be any pride, cruelty, or anger arising in the heart of man, which
would not at the mere sight of him be subdued into something of
reverence and admiration. But the result, as it happened, was the
very opposite, Antipater showed such a want of feeling, and such a
dislike of goodness. He saluted everyone else, but would not so
much as notice Xenocrates. Xenocrates, they tell us, observed
upon it, that Antipater when meditating such cruelty to Athens,
did well to be ashamed of seeing him. When he began to speak, he
would not hear him, but broke in and rudely interrupted him, until
at last he was obliged to he silent. But when Phocion had
declared the purport of their embassy, he replied shortly, that he
would make peace with the Athenians on these conditions, and no
others; that Demosthenes and Hyperides should be delivered up to
him; that they should retain their ancient form of government, the
franchise being determined by a property qualification; that they
should receive a garrison into Munychia, and pay a certain sum for
the cost of the war. As things stood, these terms were judged
tolerable by the rest of the ambassadors; Xenocrates only said,
that if Antipater considered the Athenians slaves, he was treating
them fairly, but if free, severely. Phocion pressed him only to
spare them the garrison, and used many arguments and entreaties.
Antipater replied, "Phocion, we are ready to do you any favor,
which will not bring ruin both on ourselves and on you." Others
report it differently; that Antipater asked Phocion, supposing he
remitted the garrison to the Athenians, would he, Phocion, stand
surety for the city's observing the terms and attempting no
revolution? And when he hesitated, and did not at once reply,
Callimedon, the Carabus, a hot partisan and professed enemy of
free states, cried out, "And if he should talk so idly, Antipater,
will you be so much abused as to believe him and not carry out
your own purpose?" So the Athenians received the garrison, and
Menyllus for the governor, a fair-dealing man, and one of
Phocion's acquaintance.

But the proceeding seemed sufficiently imperious and arbitrary,
indeed rather a spiteful and insulting ostentation of power, than
that the possession of the fortress would be of any great
importance. The resentment felt upon it was heightened by the
time it happened in, for the garrison was brought in on the
twentieth of the month of Boedromion, just at the time of the
great festival, when they carry forth Iacchus with solemn pomp
from the city to Eleusis; so that the solemnity being disturbed,
many began to call to mind instances, both ancient and modern, of
divine interventions and intimations. For in old time, upon the
occasions of their happiest successes, the presence of the shapes
and voices of the mystic ceremonies had been vouchsafed to them,
striking terror and amazement into their enemies; but now, at the
very season of their celebration, the gods themselves stood
witnesses of the saddest oppressions of Greece, the most holy time
being profaned, and their greatest jubilee made the unlucky date
of their most extreme calamity. Not many years before, they had a
warning from the oracle at Dodona, that they should carefully
guard the summits of Diana, lest haply strangers should seize
them. And about this very time, when they dyed the ribbons and
garlands with which they adorn the couches and cars of the
procession, instead of a purple they received only a faint yellow
color; and to make the omen yet greater, all the things that were
dyed for common use, took the natural color. While a candidate
for initiation was washing a young pig in the haven of Cantharus,
a shark seized him, bit off all his lower parts up to the belly,
and devoured them, by which the god gave them manifestly to
understand, that having lost the lower town and the sea-coast,
they should keep only the upper city.

Menyllus was sufficient security that the garrison should behave
itself inoffensively. But those who were now excluded from the
franchise by poverty, amounted to more than twelve thousand; so
that both those that remained in the city thought themselves
oppressed and shamefully used, and those who on this account left
their homes and went away into Thrace, where Antipater offered
them a town and some territory to inhabit, regarded themselves
only as a colony of slaves and exiles. And when to this was added
the deaths of Demosthenes at Calauria, and of Hyperides at
Cleonae, as we have elsewhere related, the citizens began to think
with regret of Philip and Alexander, and almost to wish the return
of those times. And as, after Antigonus was slain, when those
that had taken him off were afflicting and oppressing the people,
a countryman in Phrygia, digging in the fields, was asked what he
was doing, "I am," said he, fetching a deep sigh, "searching for
Antigonus;" so said many that remembered those days, and the
contests they had with those kings, whose anger, however great,
was yet generous and placable; whereas Antipater, with the
counterfeit humility of appearing like a private man, in the
meanness of his dress and his homely fare, merely belied his
real love of that arbitrary power, which he exercised, as a cruel
master and despot, to distress those under his command. Yet
Phocion had interest with him to recall many from banishment by
his intercession, and prevailed also for those who were driven
out, that they might not, like others, be hurried beyond Taenarus,
and the mountains of Ceraunia, but remain in Greece, and plant
themselves in Peloponnesus, of which number was Agnonides, the
sycophant. He was no less studious to manage the affairs within
the city with equity and moderation, preferring constantly those
that were men of worth and good education to the magistracies, and
recommending the busy and turbulent talkers, to whom it was a
mortal blow to be excluded from office and public debating, to
learn to stay at home, and be content to till their land. And
observing that Xenocrates paid his alien-tax as a foreigner, he
offered him the freedom of the city, which he refused, saying he
could not accept a franchise which he had been sent, as an
ambassador, to deprecate.

Menyllus wished to give Phocion a considerable present of money,
who, thanking him, said, neither was Menyllus greater than
Alexander, nor his own occasions more urgent to receive it now,
than when he refused it from him.. And on his pressing him to
permit his son Phocus to receive it, he replied, "If my son
returns to a right mind, his patrimony is sufficient; if not, all
supplies will be insufficient." But to Antipater he answered more
sharply, who would have him engaged in something dishonorable.
"Antipater," said he, "cannot have me both as his friend and his
flatterer." And, indeed, Antipater was wont to say, he had two
friends at Athens, Phocion and Demades; the one would never suffer
him to gratify him at all, the other would never be satisfied.
Phocion might well think that poverty a virtue, in which, after
having so often been general of the Athenians, and admitted to the
friendship of potentates and princes, he had now grown old.
Demades, meantime, delighted in lavishing his wealth even in
positive transgressions of the law. For there having been an
order that no foreigner should be hired to dance in any chorus on
the penalty of a fine of one thousand drachmas on the exhibitor,
he had the vanity to exhibit an entire chorus of a hundred
foreigners, and paid down the penalty of a thousand drachmas a
head upon the stage itself. Marrying his son Demeas, he told him
with the like vanity, "My son, when I married your mother, it was
done so privately it was not known to the next neighbors, but
kings and princes give presents at your nuptials."

The garrison in Munychia continued to be felt as a great
grievance, and the Athenians did not cease to be importunate upon
Phocion, to prevail with Antipater for its removal; but whether he
despaired of effecting it, or perhaps observed the people to be
more orderly, and public matters more reasonably conducted by the
awe that was thus created, he constantly declined the office, and
contented himself with obtaining from Antipater the postponement
for the present of the payment of the sum of money in which the
city was fined. So the people, leaving him off, applied
themselves to Demades, who readily undertook the employment, and
took along with him his son also into Macedonia; and some superior
power, as it seems, so ordering it, he came just at that nick of
time, when Antipater was already seized with his sickness, and
Cassander, taking upon himself the command, had found a letter of
Demades's, formerly written by him to Antigonus in Asia,
recommending him to come and possess himself of the empire of
Greece and Macedon, now hanging, he said, (a scoff at Antipater,)
"by an old and rotten thread." So when Cassander saw him come, he
seized him; and first brought out the son and killed him so close
before his face, that the blood ran all over his clothes and
person, and then, after bitterly taunting and upbraiding him with
his ingratitude and treachery, dispatched him himself.

Antipater being dead, after nominating Polysperchon
general-in-chief, and Cassander commander of the cavalry,
Cassander at once set up for himself and immediately dispatched
Nicanor to Menyllus, to succeed him in the command of the
garrison, commanding him to possess himself of Munychia before the
news of Antipater's death should be heard; which being done, and
some days after the Athenians hearing the report of it, Phocion
was taxed as privy to it before, and censured heavily for
dissembling it, out of friendship for Nicanor. But he slighted
their talk, and making it his duty to visit and confer
continually with Nicanor, he succeeded in procuring his good-will
and kindness for the Athenians, and induced him even to put
himself to trouble and expense to seek popularity with them, by
undertaking the office of presiding at the games.

In the meantime Polysperchon, who was entrusted with the charge
of the king, to countermine Cassander, sent a letter to the city,
declaring in the name of the king, that he restored them their
democracy, and that the whole Athenian people were at liberty to
conduct their commonwealth according to their ancient customs and
constitutions. The object of these pretenses was merely the
overthrow of Phocion's influence, as the event manifested. For
Polysperchon's design being to possess himself of the city, he
despaired altogether of bringing it to pass, whilst Phocion
retained his credit; and the most certain way to ruin him, would
be again to fill the city with a crowd of disfranchised citizens,
and let loose the tongues of the demagogues and common accusers.

With this prospect, the Athenians were all in excitement, and
Nicanor, wishing to confer with them on the subject, at a meeting
of the Council in Piraeus, came himself, trusting for the safety
of his person to Phocion. And when Dercyllus, who commanded the
guard there, made an attempt to seize him, upon notice of it
beforehand, he made his escape, and there was little doubt he
would now lose no time in righting himself upon the city for the
affront; and when Phocion was found fault with for letting him get
off and not securing him, he defended himself by saying that he
had no mistrust of Nicanor, nor the least reason to expect any
mischief from him, but should it prove otherwise, for his part he
would have them all know, he would rather receive than do the
wrong. And so far as he spoke for himself alone, the answer was
honorable and high-minded enough, but he who hazards his country's
safety, and that, too, when he is her magistrate and chief
commander, can scarcely he acquitted, I fear, of transgressing a
higher and more sacred obligation of justice, which he owed to his
fellow citizens. For it will not even do to say, that he dreaded
the involving the city in war, by seizing Nicanor, and hoped by
professions of confidence and just-dealing, to retain him in the
observance of the like; but it was, indeed, his credulity and
confidence in him, and an overweening opinion of his sincerity,
that imposed upon him. So that notwithstanding the sundry
intimations he had of his making preparations to attack Piraeus,
sending soldiers over into Salamis, and tampering with, and
endeavoring to corrupt various residents in Piraeus, he would,
notwithstanding all this evidence, never be persuaded to believe
it. And even when Philomedes of Lampra had got a decree passed,
that all the Athenians should stand to their arms, and be ready to
follow Phocion their general, he yet sat still and did nothing,
until Nicanor actually led his troops out from Munychia, and drew
trenches about Piraeus; upon which, when Phocion at last would
have led out the Athenians, they cried out against him, and
slighted his orders.

Alexander, the son of Polysperchon, was at hand with a
considerable force, and professed to come to give them succor
against Nicanor, but intended nothing less, if possible, than to
surprise the city, whilst they were in tumult and divided among
themselves. For all that had previously been expelled from the
city, now coming back with him, made their way into it, and were
joined by a mixed multitude of foreigners and disfranchised
persons, and of these a motley and irregular public assembly came
together, in which they presently divested Phocion of all power,
and chose other generals; and if, by chance Alexander had not
been spied from the walls, alone in close conference with Nicanor,
and had not this, which was often repeated, given the Athenians
cause of suspicion, the city had not escaped the snare. The
orator Agnonides, however, at once fell foul upon Phocion, and
impeached him of treason; Callimedon and Charicles, fearing the
worst, consulted their own security by flying from the city;
Phocion, with a few of his friends that stayed with him, went over
to Polysperchon, and out of respect for him, Solon of Plataea,
and Dinarchus of Corinth, who were reputed friends and confidants
of Polysperchon, accompanied him. But on account of Dinarchus
falling ill, they remained several days in Elatea, during which
time, upon the persuasion of Agnonides and on the motion of
Archestratus a decree passed that the people should send delegates
thither to accuse Phocion. So both parties reached Polysperchon
at the same time, who was going through the country with the king,
and was then at a small village of Phocis, Pharygae, under the
mountain now called Galate, but then Acrurium.

There Polysperchon, having set up the golden canopy, and seated
the king and his company under it, ordered Dinarchus at once to be
taken, and tortured, and put to death; and that done, gave
audience to the Athenians, who filled the place with noise and
tumult, accusing and recriminating on one another, till at last
Agnonides came forward, and requested they might all be shut up
together in one cage, and conveyed to Athens, there to decide the
controversy. At that the king could not forbear smiling, but the
company that attended, for their own amusement, Macedonians and
strangers, were eager to hear the altercation, and made signs to
the delegates to go on with their case at once. But it was no
sort of fair hearing. Polysperchon frequently interrupted
Phocion, till at last Phocion struck his staff on the ground, and
declined to speak further. And when Hegemon said, Polysperchon
himself could bear witness to his affection for the people,
Polysperchon called out fiercely, "Give over slandering me to the
king," and the king starting up was about to have run him through
with his javelin, but Polysperchon interposed and hindered him; so
that the assembly dissolved.

Phocion, then, and those about him, were seized; those of his
friends that were not immediately by him, on seeing this, hid
their faces, and saved themselves by flight. The rest Clitus took
and brought to Athens, to be submitted to trial; but, in truth, as
men already sentenced to die. The manner of conveying them was
indeed extremely moving; they were carried in chariots through the
Ceramicus, straight to the place of judicature, where Clitus
secured them till they had convoked an assembly of the people,
which was open to all comers, neither foreigners, nor slaves, nor
those who had been punished with disfranchisement, being refused
admittance, but all alike, both men and women, being allowed to
come into the court, and even upon the place of speaking. So
having read the king's letters, in which he declared he was
satisfied himself that these men were traitors, however, they
being a free city, he willingly accorded them the grace of trying
and judging them according to their own laws, Clitus brought in
his prisoners. Every respectable citizen, at the sight of
Phocion, covered up his face, and stooped down to conceal his
tears. And one of them had the courage to say, that since the
king had committed so important a cause to the judgment of the
people, it would be well that the strangers, and those of servile
condition, should withdraw. But the populace would not endure it,
crying out they were oligarchs, and enemies to the liberty of the
people, and deserved to be stoned; after which no man durst offer
anything further in Phocion's behalf. He was himself with
difficulty heard at all, when he put the question, "Do you wish to
put us to death lawfully, or unlawfully?" Some answered,
"According to law." He replied, "How can you, except we have a
fair hearing?" But when they were deaf to all he said,
approaching nearer, "As to myself," said he, "I admit my guilt,
and pronounce my public conduct to have deserved sentence of
death. But why, O men of Athens, kill others who have offended in
nothing?" The rabble cried out, they were his friends, that was
enough. Phocion therefore drew back, and said no more.

Then Agnonides read the bill, in accordance with which the people
should decide by show of hands whether they judged them guilty,
and if so it should be found, the penalty should be death. When
this had been read out, some desired it might be added to the
sentence, that Phocion should be tortured also, and that the rack
should be produced with the executioners. But Agnonides
perceiving even Clitus to dislike this, and himself thinking it
horrid and barbarous, said, "When we catch that slave, Callimedon,
men of Athens, we will put him to the rack, but I shall make no
motion of the kind in Phocion's case." Upon which one of the
better citizens remarked, he was quite right; "If we should
torture Phocion, what could we do to you?" So the form of the
bill was approved of, and the show of hands called for; upon
which, not one man retaining his seat, but all rising up, and some
with garlands on their heads, they condemned them all to death.

There were present with Phocion, Nicocles, Thudippus, Hegemon, and
Pythocles. Demetrius the Phalerian, Callimedon, Charicles, and
some others, were included in the condemnation, being absent.

After the assembly was dismissed, they were carried to the prison;
the rest with cries and lamentations, their friends and relatives
following; and clinging about them, but Phocion looking (as men
observed with astonishment at his calmness and magnanimity) just
the same as when he had been used to return to his home attended,
as general, from the assembly. His enemies ran along by his side,
reviling and abusing him. And one of them coming up to him, spat
in his face; at which Phocion, turning to the officers, only said,
"You should stop this indecency." Thudippus, on their reaching
the prison, when he observed the executioner tempering the poison
and preparing it for them, gave way to his passion, and began to
bemoan his condition and the hard measure he received, thus
unjustly to suffer with Phocion. "You cannot be contented," said

Book of the day: