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Plutarch's Lives

Part 27 out of 35

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this above everything made Cleomenes's misfortune to be
pitied; for if he had gone on retreating and had forborne
fighting two days longer, there had been no need of hazarding
a battle; since upon the departure of the Macedonians, he
might have had what conditions he pleased from the Achaeans.
But now, as was said before, for want of money, being
necessitated to trust everything to arms, he was forced with
twenty thousand (such is Polybius's account) to engage thirty
thousand. And approving himself an admirable commander in
this difficulty, his citizens showing an extraordinary
courage, and his mercenaries bravery enough, he was overborne
by the different way of fighting, and the weight of the
heavy-armed phalanx. Phylarchus also affirms, that the
treachery of some about him was the chief cause of
Cleomenes's ruin.

For Antigonus gave orders, that the Illyrians and Acarnanians
should march round by a secret way, and encompass the other
wing, which Euclidas, Cleomenes's brother, commanded; and
then drew out the rest of his forces to the battle. And
Cleomenes, from a convenient rising, viewing his order, and
not seeing any of the Illyrians and Acarnanians, began to
suspect that Antigonus had sent them upon some such design,
and calling for Damoteles, who was at the head of those
specially appointed to such ambush duty, he bade him
carefully to look after and discover the enemy's designs upon
his rear. But Damoteles, for some say Antigonus had bribed
him, telling him that he should not be solicitous about that
matter, for all was well enough, but mind and fight those
that met him in the front, he was satisfied, and advanced
against Antigonus; and by the vigorous charge of his
Spartans, made the Macedonian phalanx give ground, and
pressed upon them with great advantage about half a mile; but
then making a stand, and seeing the danger which the
surrounded wing, commanded by his brother Euclidas, was in,
he cried out, "Thou art lost, dear brother, thou art lost,
thou brave example to our Spartan youth, and theme of our
matrons' songs." And Euclidas's wing being cut in pieces,
and the conquerors from that part falling upon him, he
perceived his soldiers to be disordered, and unable to
maintain the fight, and therefore provided for his own
safety. There fell, we are told, in the battle, besides many
of the mercenary soldiers, all the Spartans, six thousand in
number, except two hundred.

When Cleomenes came into the city, he advised those citizens
that he met to receive Antigonus; and as for himself, he
said, which should appear most advantageous to Sparta,
whether his life or death, that he would choose. Seeing the
women running out to those that had fled with him, taking
their arms, and bringing drink to them, he entered into his
own house, and his servant, who was a freeborn woman, taken
from Megalopolis after his wife's death, offering, as usual,
to do the service he needed on returning from war, though he
was very thirsty, he refused to drink, and though very weary,
to sit down; but in his corselet as he was, he laid his arm
sideways against a pillar, and leaning his forehead upon his
elbow, he rested his body a little while, and ran over in his
thoughts all the courses he could take; and then with his
friends set on at once for Gythium; where finding ships which
had been got ready for this very purpose, they embarked.
Antigonus, taking the city, treated the Lacedaemonians
courteously, and in no way offering any insult or offense to
the dignity of Sparta, but permitting them to enjoy their own
laws and polity, and sacrificing to the gods, dislodged the
third day. For he heard that there was a great war in
Macedonia, and that the country was devastated by the
barbarians. Besides, his malady had now thoroughly settled
into a consumption and continual catarrh. Yet he still kept
up, and managed to return and deliver his country, and meet
there a more glorious death in a great defeat and vast
slaughter of the barbarians. As Phylarchus says, and as is
probable in itself, he broke a blood vessel by shouting in
the battle itself. In the schools we used to be told, that
after the victory was won, he cried out for joy, "O glorious
day!" and presently bringing up a quantity of blood, fell
into a fever, which never left him till his death. And thus
much concerning Antigonus.

Cleomenes, sailing from Cythera, touched at another island
called Aegialia, whence as he was about to depart for Cyrene,
one of his friends, Therycion by name, a man of a noble
spirit in all enterprises, and bold and lofty in his talk,
came privately to him, and said thus: "Sir, death in battle,
which is the most glorious, we have let go; though all heard
us say that Antigonus should never tread over the king of
Sparta, unless dead. And now that course which is next in
honor and virtue, is presented to us. Whither do we madly
sail, flying the evil which is near, to seek that which is at
a distance? For if it is not dishonorable for the race of
Hercules to serve the successors of Philip and Alexander, we
shall save a long voyage by delivering ourselves up to
Antigonus, who, probably, is as much better than Ptolemy, as
the Macedonians are better than the Egyptians; but if we
think it mean to submit to those whose arms have conquered
us, why should we choose him for our master, by whom we have
not yet been beaten? Is it to acknowledge two superiors
instead of one, whilst we run away from Antigonus, and
flatter Ptolemy? Or, is it for your mother's sake that you
retreat to Egypt? It will indeed be a very fine and very
desirable sight for her, to show her son to Ptolemy's women,
now changed from a prince into an exile and a slave. Are we
not still masters of our own swords? And whilst we have
Laconia in view, shall we not here free ourselves from this
disgraceful misery, and clear ourselves to those who at
Sellasia died for the honor and defense of Sparta? Or, shall
we sit lazily in Egypt, inquiring what news from Sparta, and
whom Antigonus hath been pleased to make governor of
Lacedaemon?" Thus spoke Therycion; and this was Cleomenes's
reply: "By seeking death, you coward, the most easy and most
ready refuge, you fancy that you shall appear courageous and
brave, though this flight is baser than the former. Better
men than we have given way to their enemies, having been
betrayed by fortune, or oppressed by multitude; but he that
gives way under labor or distresses, under the ill opinions
or reports of men, yields the victory to his own effeminacy.
For a voluntary death ought not to be chosen as a relief from
action, but as an exemplary action itself; and it is base
either to live or to die only to ourselves. That death to
which you now invite us, is proposed only as a release from
our present miseries, but carries nothing of nobleness or
profit in it. And I think it becomes both me and you not to
despair of our country; but when there are no hopes of that
left, those that have an inclination may quickly die." To
this Therycion returned no answer but as soon as he had an
opportunity of leaving Cleomenes's company, went aside on the
sea-shore, and ran himself through.

But Cleomenes sailed from Aegialia, landed in Libya, and
being honorably conducted through the king's country, came to
Alexandria. When he was first brought to Ptolemy, no more
than common civilities and usual attentions were paid him;
but when, upon trial, he found him a man of deep sense and
great reason, and that his plain Laconic way of conversation
carried with it a noble and becoming grace, that he did
nothing unbecoming his birth, nor bent under fortune, and was
evidently a more faithful counselor than those who made it
their business to please and flatter, he was ashamed, and
repented that he had neglected so great a man, and suffered
Antigonus to get so much power and reputation by ruining him.
He now offered him many marks of respect and kindness, and
gave him hopes that he would furnish him with ships and money
to return to Greece, and would reinstate him in his kingdom.
He granted him a yearly pension of four and twenty talents; a
little part of which sum supplied his and his friends'
thrifty temperance; and the rest was employed in doing good
offices to, and in relieving the necessities of the refugees
that had fled from Greece, and retired into Egypt.

But the elder Ptolemy dying before Cleomenes's affairs had
received a full dispatch, and the successor being a loose,
voluptuous, and effeminate prince, under the power of his
pleasures and his women, his business was neglected. For the
king was so besotted with his women and his wine, that the
employments of his most busy and serious hours consisted at
the utmost in celebrating religious feasts in his palace,
carrying a timbrel, and taking part in the show; while the
greatest affairs of state were managed by Agathoclea, the
king's mistress, her mother, and the pimp Oenanthes. At the
first, indeed, they seemed to stand in need of Cleomenes; for
Ptolemy, being afraid of his brother Magas, who by his
mother's means had a great interest amongst the soldiers,
gave Cleomenes a place in his secret councils, and acquainted
him with the design of taking off his brother. He, though
all were for it, declared his opinion to the contrary,
saying, "The king, if it were possible, should have more
brothers for the better security and stability of his
affairs." And Sosibius, the greatest favorite, replying,
that they were not secure of the mercenaries whilst Magas was
alive, Cleomenes returned, that he need not trouble himself
about that matter; for amongst the mercenaries there were
above three thousand Peloponnesians, who were his fast
friends, and whom he could command at any time with a nod.
This discourse made Cleomenes for the present to be looked
upon as a man of great influence and assured fidelity; but
afterwards, Ptolemy's weakness increasing his fear, and he,
as it usually happens, where there is no judgment and wisdom,
placing his security in general distrust and suspicion, it
rendered Cleomenes suspected to the courtiers, as having too
much interest with the mercenaries; and many had this saying
in their mouths, that he was a lion amidst a flock of sheep.
For, in fact, such he seemed to be in the court, quietly
watching, and keeping his eye upon all that went on.

He, therefore, gave up all thought of asking for ships and
soldiers from the king. But receiving news that Antigonus
was dead, that the Achaeans were engaged in a war with the
Aetolians, and that the affairs of Peloponnesus, being now in
very great distraction and disorder, required and invited his
assistance, he desired leave to depart only with his friends,
but could not obtain that, the king not so much as hearing
his petition, being shut up amongst his women, and wasting
his hours in bacchanalian rites and drinking parties. But
Sosibius, the chief minister and counselor of state, thought
that Cleomenes, being detained against his will, would grow
ungovernable and dangerous, and yet that it was not safe to
let him go, being an aspiring, daring man, and well
acquainted with the diseases and weakness of the kingdom.
For neither could presents and gifts conciliate or content
him; but even as Apis, while living in all possible plenty
and apparent delight, yet desires to live as nature would
provide for him, to range at liberty, and bound about the
fields, and can scarce endure to be under the priests'
keeping, so he could not brook their courtship and soft
entertainment, but sat like Achilles,

and languished far,
Desiring battle and the shout of war.

His affairs standing in this condition, Nicagoras, the
Messenian, came to Alexandria, a man that deeply hated
Cleomenes, yet pretended to be his friend; for he had
formerly sold Cleomenes a fair estate, but never received the
money, because Cleomenes was either unable, as it may be, or
else, by reason of his engagement in the wars and other
distractions, had no opportunity to pay him. Cleomenes,
seeing him landing, for he was then walking upon the quay,
kindly saluted him, and asked what business brought him to
Egypt. Nicagoras returned his compliment, and told him, that
he came to bring some excellent war-horses to the king. And
Cleomenes, with a smile, subjoined, "I could wish you had
rather brought young boys and music-girls; for those now are
the king's chief occupation." Nicagoras at the moment smiled
at the conceit; but a few days after, he put Cleomenes in
mind of the estate that he had bought of him, and desired his
money, protesting, that he would not have troubled him, if
his merchandise had turned out as profitable as he had
thought it would. Cleomenes replied, that he had nothing
left of all that had been given him. At which answer,
Nicagoras, being nettled, told Sosibius Cleomenes's scoff
upon the king. He was delighted to receive the information;
but desiring to have some greater reason to excite the king
against Cleomenes, persuaded Nicagoras to leave a letter
written against Cleomenes, importing that he had a design, if
he could have gotten ships and soldiers, to surprise Cyrene.
Nicagoras wrote such a letter and left Egypt. Four days
after, Sosibius brought the letter to Ptolemy, pretending it
was just then delivered him, and excited the young man's fear
and anger; upon which it was agreed, that Cleomenes should be
invited into a large house, and treated as formerly, but not
suffered to go out again.

This usage was grievous to Cleomenes, and another incident
that occurred, made him feel his hopes to be yet more
entirely overcast. Ptolemy, the son of Chrysermas, a
favorite of the king's, had always shown civility to
Cleomenes; there was a considerable intimacy between them,
and they had been used to talk freely together about the
state. He, upon Cleomenes's desire, came to him, and spoke
to him in fair terms, softening down his suspicions and
excusing the king's conduct. But as he went out again, not
knowing that Cleomenes followed him to the door, he severely
reprimanded the keepers for their carelessness in looking
after "so great and so furious a wild beast." This Cleomenes
himself heard, and retiring before Ptolemy perceived it, told
his friends what had been said. Upon this they cast off all
their former hopes, and determined for violent proceedings,
resolving to be revenged on Ptolemy for his base and unjust
dealing, to have satisfaction for the affronts, to die as it
became Spartans, and not stay till, like fatted sacrifices,
they were butchered. For it was both grievous and
dishonorable for Cleomenes, who had scorned to come to terms
with Antigonus, a brave warrior, and a man of action, to wait
an effeminate king's leisure, till he should lay aside his
timbrel and end his dance, and then kill him.

These courses being resolved on, and Ptolemy happening at the
same time to make a progress to Canopus, they first spread
abroad a report, that his freedom was ordered by the king,
and, it being the custom for the king to send presents and an
entertainment to those whom he would free, Cleomenes's
friends made that provision, and sent it into the prison,
thus imposing upon the keepers, who thought it had been sent
by the king. For he sacrificed, and gave them large
portions, and with a garland upon his head, feasted and made
merry with his friends. It is said that he began the action
sooner than he designed, having understood that a servant who
was privy to the plot, had gone out to visit a mistress that
he loved. This made him afraid of a discovery; and
therefore, as soon as it was full noon, and all the keepers
sleeping off their wine, he put on his coat, and opening the
seam to bare his right shoulder, with his drawn sword in his
hand, he issued forth, together with his friends, provided in
the same manner, making thirteen in all. One of them, by
name Hippitas, was lame, and followed the first onset very
well, but when he presently perceived that they were more
slow in their advances for his sake, he desired them to run
him through, and not ruin their enterprise by staying for an
useless, unprofitable man. By chance an Alexandrian was then
riding by the door; him they threw off, and setting Hippitas
on horseback, ran through the streets, and proclaimed liberty
to the people. But they, it seems, had courage enough to
praise and admire Cleomenes's daring, but not one had the
heart to follow and assist him. Three of them fell on
Ptolemy, the son of Chrysermas, as he was coming out of the
palace, and killed him. Another Ptolemy, the officer in
charge of the city, advancing against them in a chariot, they
set upon, dispersed his guards and attendants, and pulling
him out of the chariot, killed him upon the place. Then they
made toward the castle, designing to break open the prison,
release those who were confined, and avail themselves of
their numbers; but the keepers were too quick for them, and
secured the passages. Being baffled in this attempt,
Cleomenes with his company roamed about the city, none
joining with him, but all retreating from and flying his
approach. Therefore, despairing of success, and saying to
his friends, that it was no wonder that women ruled over men
that were afraid of liberty, he bade them all die as bravely
as became his followers and their own past actions. This
said, Hippitas was first, as he desired, run through by one
of the younger men, and then each of them readily and
resolutely fell upon his own sword, except Panteus, the same
who first surprised Megalopolis. This man, being; of a very
handsome person, and a great lover of the Spartan discipline,
the king had made his dearest friend; and he now bade him,
when he had seen him and the rest fallen, die by their
example. Panteus walked over them as they lay, and pricked
everyone with his dagger, to try whether any was alive, when
he pricked Cleomenes in the ankle, and saw him turn upon his
back, he kissed him, sat down by him, and when he was quite
dead, covered up the body, and then killed himself over it.

Thus fell Cleomenes, after the life which we have narrated,
having been king of Sparta sixteen years. The news of their
fall being noised through the city, Cratesiclea, though a
woman of a great spirit, could not bear up against the weight
of this affliction; but embracing Cleomenes's children, broke
out into lamentations. But the eldest boy, none suspecting
such a spirit in a child, threw himself headlong from the top
of the house. He was bruised very much, but not killed by
the fall, and was taken up crying, and expressing his
resentment for not being permitted to destroy himself.
Ptolemy, as soon as an account of the action was brought him,
gave order that Cleomenes's body should be flayed and hung
up, and that his children, mother, and the women that were
with her, should be killed. Amongst these was Panteus's
wife, a beautiful and noble-looking woman, who had been but
lately married, and suffered these disasters in the height of
her love. Her parents would not have her embark with
Panteus, so shortly after they were married, though she
eagerly desired it, but shut her up, and kept her forcibly at
home. But a few days after, she procured a horse and a
little money, and escaping by night, made speed to Taenarus,
where she embarked for Egypt, came to her husband, and with
him cheerfully endured to live in a foreign country. She
gave her hand to Cratesiclea, as she was going with the
soldiers to execution, held up her robe, and begged her to be
courageous; who of herself was not in the least afraid of
death, and desired nothing else but only to be killed before
the children. When they were come to the place of execution,
the children were first killed before Cratesiclea's eyes, and
afterward she herself, with only these words in her mouth, "O
children, whither are you gone?" But Panteus's wife,
fastening her dress close about her, and being a strong
woman, in silence and perfect composure, looked after every
one that was slain, and laid them decently out as far as
circumstances would permit; and after all were killed,
rearraying her dress, and drawing her clothes close about
her, and suffering none to come near or be an eyewitness of
her fall, besides the executioner, she courageously submitted
to the stroke, and wanted nobody to look after her or wind
her up after she was dead. Thus in her death the modesty of
her mind appeared, and set that guard upon her body which she
always kept when alive. And she, in the declining age of the
Spartans, showed that women were no unequal rivals of the
men, and was an instance of a courage superior to the
affronts of fortune.

A few days after, those that watched the hanging body of
Cleomenes, saw a large snake winding about his head, and
covering his face, so that no bird of prey would fly at it.
This made the king superstitiously afraid, and set the women
upon several expiations, as if he had been some extraordinary
being, and one beloved by the gods, that had been slain. And
the Alexandrians made processions to the place, and gave
Cleomenes the title of hero, and son of the gods, till the
philosophers satisfied them by saying, that as oxen breed
bees, putrefying horses breed wasps, and beetles rise from
the carcasses of dead asses, so the humors and juices of the
marrow of a man's body, coagulating, produce serpents. And
this the ancients observing, appropriated a serpent, rather
than any other creature to heroes.


Having completed the first two narratives, we now may proceed
to take a view of misfortunes, not less remarkable, in the
Roman couple, and with the lives of Agis and Cleomenes,
compare these of Tiberius and Caius. They were the sons of
Tiberius Gracchus, who, though he had been once censor, twice
consul, and twice had triumphed, yet was more renowned and
esteemed for his virtue than his honors. Upon this account,
after the death of Scipio who overthrew Hannibal, he was
thought worthy to match with his daughter Cornelia, though
there had been no friendship or familiarity between Scipio
and him, but rather the contrary. There is a story told,
that he once found in his bedchamber a couple of snakes, and
that the soothsayers, being consulted concerning the prodigy,
advised, that he should neither kill them both nor let them
both escape; adding, that if the male serpent was killed,
Tiberius should die, and if the female, Cornelia. And that,
therefore, Tiberius, who extremely loved his wife, and
thought, besides, that it was much more his part, who was an
old man, to die, than it was hers, who as yet was but a young
woman, killed the male serpent, and let the female escape;
and soon after himself died, leaving behind him twelve
children borne to him by Cornelia.

Cornelia, taking upon herself all the care of the household
and the education of her children, approved herself so
discreet a matron, so affectionate a mother, and so constant
and noble-spirited a widow, that Tiberius seemed to all men
to have done nothing unreasonable, in choosing to die for
such a woman; who, when king Ptolemy himself proffered her
his crown, and would have married her, refused it, and chose
rather to live a widow. In this state she continued, and
lost all her children, except one daughter, who was married
to Scipio the younger, and two sons, Tiberius and Caius,
whose lives we are now writing.

These she brought up with such care, that though they were
without dispute in natural endowments and dispositions the
first among the Romans of their time, yet they seemed to owe
their virtues even more to their education than to their
birth. And as, in the statues and pictures made of Castor
and Pollux, though the brothers resemble one another, yet
there is a difference to be perceived in their countenances,
between the one, who delighted in the cestus, and the other,
that was famous in the course, so between these two noble
youths, though there was a strong general likeness in their
common love of fortitude and temperance, in their liberality,
their eloquence, and their greatness of mind, yet in their
actions and administrations of public affairs, a considerable
variation showed itself. It will not be amiss, before we
proceed, to mark the difference between them.

Tiberius, in the form and expression of his countenance, and
in his gesture and motion, was gentle and composed; but
Caius, earnest and vehement. And so, in their public
speeches to the people, the one spoke in a quiet orderly
manner, standing throughout on the same spot; the other would
walk about on the hustings, and in the heat of his orations,
pull his gown off his shoulders, and was the first of all the
Romans that used such gestures; as Cleon is said to have been
the first orator among the Athenians that pulled off his
cloak and smote his thigh, when addressing the people.
Caius's oratory was impetuous and passionate, making
everything tell to the utmost, whereas Tiberius was gentle,
rather, and persuasive, awakening emotions of pity. His
diction was pure, and carefully correct, while that of Caius
was vehement and rich. So likewise in their way of living,
and at their tables, Tiberius was frugal and plain, Caius,
compared with other men temperate and even austere, but
contrasting with his brother in a fondness for new fashions
and rarities, as appears in Drusus's charge against him, that
he had bought some silver dolphins, to the value of twelve
hundred and fifty drachmas for every pound weight.

The same difference that appeared in their diction, was
observable also in their tempers. The one was mild and
reasonable, the other rough and passionate, and to that
degree, that often, in the midst of speaking, he was so
hurried away by his passion, against his judgment, that his
voice lost its tone, and he began to pass into mere abusive
talking, spoiling his whole speech. As a remedy to this
excess, he made use of an ingenious servant of his, one
Licinius, who stood constantly behind him with a sort of
pitch-pipe, or instrument to regulate the voice by, and
whenever he perceived his master's tone alter, and break with
anger, he struck a soft note with his pipe, on hearing which,
Caius immediately checked the vehemence of his passion and
his voice, grew quieter, and allowed himself to be recalled
to temper. Such are the differences between the two
brothers; but their valor in war against their country's
enemies, their justice in the government of its subjects,
their care and industry in office, and their self-command in
all that regarded their pleasures were equally remarkable in

Tiberius was the elder by nine years; owing to which their
actions as public men were divided by the difference of the
times in which those of the one and those of the other were
performed. And one of the principal causes of the failure of
their enterprises was this interval between their careers,
and the want of combination of their efforts. The power they
would have exercised, had they flourished both together,
could scarcely have failed to overcome all resistance. We
must therefore give an account of each of them singly, and
first of the eldest.

Tiberius, immediately on his attaining manhood, had such a
reputation, that he was admitted into the college of the
augurs, and that in consideration more of his early virtue
than of his noble birth. This appeared by what Appius
Claudius did, who, though he had been consul and censor, and
was now the head of the Roman senate, and had the highest
sense of his own place and merit, at a public feast of the
augurs, addressed himself openly to Tiberius, and with great
expressions of kindness, offered him his daughter in
marriage. And when Tiberius gladly accepted, and the
agreement had thus been completed, Appius, returning home, no
sooner had reached his door, but he called to his wife and
cried out in a loud voice, "O Antistia, I have contracted our
daughter Claudia to a husband." She, being amazed, answered,
"But why so suddenly, or what means this haste? Unless you
have provided Tiberius Gracchus for her husband." I am not
ignorant that some apply this story to Tiberius, the father
of the Gracchi, and Scipio Africanus; but most relate it as
we have done. And Polybius writes, that after the death of
Scipio Africanus, the nearest relations of Cornelia,
preferring Tiberius to all other competitors, gave her to him
in marriage, not having been engaged or promised to anyone
by her father.

This young Tiberius, accordingly, serving in Africa under the
younger Scipio, who had married his sister, and living there
under the same tent with him, soon learned to estimate the
noble spirit of his commander, which was so fit to inspire
strong feelings of emulation in virtue and desire to prove
merit in action, and in a short time he excelled all the
young men of the army in obedience and courage; and he was
the first that mounted the enemy's wall, as Fannius says, who
writes, that he himself climbed up with him, and was partaker
in the achievement. He was regarded, while he continued with
the army, with great affection; and left behind him on his
departure a strong desire for his return.

After that expedition, being chosen paymaster, it was his
fortune to serve in the war against the Numantines, under the
command of Caius Mancinus, the consul, a person of no bad
character, but the most unfortunate of all the Roman
generals. Notwithstanding, amidst the greatest misfortunes,
and in the most unsuccessful enterprises, not only the
discretion and valor of Tiberius, but also, which was still
more to be admired, the great respect and honor which he
showed for his general, were most eminently remarkable;
though the general himself, when reduced to straits, forgot
his own dignity and office. For being beaten in various
great battles, he endeavored to dislodge by night, and leave
his camp; which the Numantines perceiving, immediately
possessed themselves of his camp, and pursuing that part of
the forces which was in flight, slew those that were in the
rear, hedged the whole army in on every side, and forced them
into difficult ground, whence there could be no possibility
of an escape. Mancinus, despairing to make his way through
by force, sent a messenger to desire a truce, and conditions
of peace. But they refused to give their confidence to any
one except Tiberius, and required that he should be sent to
treat with them. This was not only in regard to the young
man's own character, for he had a great reputation amongst
the soldiers, but also in remembrance of his father Tiberius,
who, in his command against the Spaniards, had reduced great
numbers of them to subjection, but granted a peace to the
Numantines, and prevailed upon the Romans to keep it
punctually and inviolably.

Tiberius was accordingly dispatched to the enemy, whom he
persuaded to accept of several conditions, and he himself
complied with others; and by this means it is beyond a
question, that he saved twenty thousand of the Roman
citizens, besides attendants and camp followers. However,
the Numantines retained possession of all the property they
had found and plundered in the encampment; and amongst other
things were Tiberius's books of accounts, containing the
whole transactions of his quaestorship, which he was
extremely anxious to recover. And therefore, when the army
were already upon their march, he returned to Numantia,
accompanied with only three or four of his friends; and
making his application to the officers of the Numantines, he
entreated that they would return him his books, lest his
enemies should have it in their power to reproach him with
not being able to give an account of the monies entrusted to
him. The Numantines joyfully embraced this opportunity of
obliging him, and invited him into the city; as he stood
hesitating, they came up and took him by the hands, and
begged that he would no longer look upon them as enemies, but
believe them to be his friends, and treat them as such.
Tiberius thought it well to consent, desirous as he was to
have his books returned, and was afraid lest he should
disoblige them by showing any distrust. As soon as he
entered into the city, they first offered him food, and made
every kind of entreaty that he would sit down and eat
something in their company. Afterwards they returned his
books, and gave him the liberty to take whatever he wished
for in the remaining spoils. He, on the other hand, would
accept of nothing but some frankincense, which he used in his
public sacrifices, and, bidding them farewell with every
expression of kindness, departed.

When he returned to Rome, he found the whole transaction
censured and reproached, as a proceeding that was base, and
scandalous to the Romans. But the relations and friends of
the soldiers, forming a large body among the people, came
flocking to Tiberius, whom they acknowledged as the preserver
of so many citizens, imputing to the general all the
miscarriages which had happened. Those who cried out against
what had been done, urged for imitation the example of their
ancestors, who stripped and handed over to the Samnites not
only the generals who had consented to the terms of release,
but also all the quaestors, for example, and tribunes, who
had in any way implicated themselves in the agreement, laying
the guilt of perjury and breach of conditions on their heads.
But, in this affair, the populace, showing an extraordinary
kindness and affection for Tiberius, indeed voted that the
consul should be stripped and put in irons, and so delivered
to the Numantines; but for the sake of Tiberius, spared all
the other officers. It may be probable, also, that Scipio,
who at that time was the greatest and most powerful man among
the Romans, contributed to save him, though indeed he was
also censured for not protecting Mancinus too, and that he
did not exert himself to maintain the observance of the
articles of peace which had been agreed upon by his kinsman
and friend Tiberius. But it may be presumed that the
difference between them was for the most part due to
ambitious feelings, and to the friends and reasoners who
urged on Tiberius, and, as it was, it never amounted to any
thing that might not have been remedied, or that was really
bad. Nor can I think that Tiberius would ever have met with
his misfortunes, if Scipio had been concerned in dealing with
his measures; but he was away fighting at Numantia, when
Tiberius, upon the following occasion, first came forward as
a legislator.

Of the land which the Romans gained by conquest from their
neighbors, part they sold publicly, and turned the remainder
into common; this common land they assigned to such of the
citizens as were poor and indigent, for which they were to
pay only a small acknowledgment into the public treasury.
But when the wealthy men began to offer larger rents, and
drive the poorer people out, it was enacted by law, that no
person whatever should enjoy more than five hundred acres of
ground. This act for some time checked the avarice of the
richer, and was of great assistance to the poorer people, who
retained under it their respective proportions of ground, as
they had been formerly rented by them. Afterwards the rich
men of the neighborhood contrived to get these lands again
into their possession, under other people's names, and at
last would not stick to claim most of them publicly in their
own. The poor, who were thus deprived of their farms, were
no longer either ready, as they had formerly been, to serve
in war, or careful in the education of their children;
insomuch that in a short time there were comparatively few
freemen remaining in all Italy, which swarmed with workhouses
full of foreign-born slaves. These the rich men employed in
cultivating their ground, of which they dispossessed the
citizens. Caius Laelius, the intimate friend of Scipio,
undertook to reform this abuse; but meeting with opposition
from men of authority, and fearing a disturbance, he soon
desisted, and received the name of the Wise or the Prudent,
both which meanings belong to the Latin word Sapiens.

But Tiberius, being elected tribune of the people, entered
upon that design without delay, at the instigation, as is
most commonly stated, of Diophanes, the rhetorician, and
Blossius, the philosopher. Diophanes was a refugee from
Mitylene, the other was an Italian, of the city of Cuma, and
was educated there under Antipater of Tarsus, who afterwards
did him the honor to dedicate some of his philosophical
lectures to him. Some have also charged Cornelia, the mother
of Tiberius, with contributing towards it, because she
frequently upbraided her sons, that the Romans as yet rather
called her the daughter of Scipio, than the mother of the
Gracchi. Others again say Spurius Postumius was the chief
occasion. He was a man of the same age with Tiberius, and
his rival for reputation as a public speaker; and when
Tiberius, at his return from the campaign, found him to have
got far beyond him in fame and influence, and to be much
looked up to, he thought to outdo him, by attempting a
popular enterprise of this difficulty, and of such great
consequence. But his brother Caius has left it us in
writing, that when Tiberius went through Tuscany to Numantia,
and found the country almost depopulated, there being hardly
any free husbandmen or shepherds, but for the most part only
barbarian, imported slaves, he then first conceived the
course of policy which in the sequel proved so fatal to his
family. Though it is also most certain that the people
themselves chiefly excited his zeal and determination in the
prosecution of it, by setting up writings upon the porches,
walls, and monuments, calling upon him to reinstate the poor
citizens in their former possessions.

However, he did not draw up his law without the advice and
assistance of those citizens that were then most eminent for
their virtue and authority; amongst whom were Crassus, the
high-priest, Mucius Scaevola, the lawyer, who at that time
was consul, and Claudius Appius, his father-in-law. Never
did any law appear more moderate and gentle, especially being
enacted against such great oppression and avarice. For they
who ought to have been severely punished for transgressing
the former laws, and should at least have lost all their
titles to such lands which they had unjustly usurped, were
notwithstanding to receive a price for quitting their
unlawful claims, and giving up their lands to those fit
owners who stood in need of help. But though this
reformation was managed with so much tenderness, that, all
the former transactions being passed over, the people were
only thankful to prevent abuses of the like nature for the
future, yet, on the other hand, the moneyed men, and those of
great estates were exasperated, through their covetous
feelings against the law itself, and against the law giver,
through anger and party spirit. They therefore endeavored to
seduce the people, declaring that Tiberius was designing a
general redivision of lands, to overthrow the government, and
put all things into confusion.

But they had no success. For Tiberius, maintaining an
honorable and just cause, and possessed of eloquence
sufficient to have made a less creditable action appear
plausible, was no safe or easy antagonist, when, with the
people crowding around the hustings, he took his place, and
spoke in behalf of the poor. "The savage beasts," said he,
"in Italy, have their particular dens, they have their places
of repose and refuge; but the men who bear arms, and expose
their lives for the safety of their country, enjoy in the
meantime nothing more in it but the air and light; and
having no houses or settlements of their own, are constrained
to wander from place to place with their wives and children."
He told them that the commanders were guilty of a ridiculous
error, when, at the head of their armies, they exhorted the
common soldiers to fight for their sepulchres and altars;
when not any amongst so many Romans is possessed of either
altar or monument, neither have they any houses of their own,
or hearths of their ancestors to defend. They fought indeed,
and were slain, but it was to maintain the luxury and the
wealth of other men. They were styled the masters of the
world, but in the meantime had not one foot of ground which
they could call their own. A harangue of this nature,
spoken to an enthusiastic and sympathizing audience, by a
person of commanding spirit and genuine feeling, no
adversaries at that time were competent to oppose.
Forbearing, therefore, all discussion and debate, they
addressed themselves to Marcus Octavius, his fellow-tribune,
who, being a young man of a steady, orderly character, and an
intimate friend of Tiberius, upon this account declined at
first the task of opposing him; but at length, over-persuaded
with the repeated importunities of numerous considerable
persons, he was prevailed upon to do so, and hindered the
passing of the law; it being the rule that any tribune has a
power to hinder an act, and that all the rest can effect
nothing, if only one of them dissents. Tiberius, irritated
at these proceedings, presently laid aside this milder bill,
but at the same time preferred another; which, as it was more
grateful to the common people, so it was much more severe
against the wrongdoers, commanding them to make an immediate
surrender of all lands which, contrary to former laws, had
come into their possession. Hence there arose daily
contentions between him and Octavius in their orations.
However, though they expressed themselves with the utmost
heat and determination, they yet were never known to descend
to any personal reproaches, or in their passion to let slip
any indecent expressions, so as to derogate from one another.

For not alone

In revelings and Bacchic play,

but also in contentions and political animosities, a noble
nature and a temperate education stay and compose the mind.
Observing, however, that Octavius himself was an offender
against this law, and detained a great quantity of ground
from the commonalty, Tiberius desired him to forbear opposing
him any further, and proffered, for the public good, though
he himself had but an indifferent estate, to pay a price for
Octavius's share at his own cost and charges. But upon the
refusal of this proffer by Octavius, he then interposed an
edict, prohibiting all magistrates to exercise their
respective functions, till such time as the law was either
ratified or rejected by public votes. He further sealed up
the gates of Saturn's temple, so that the treasurers could
neither take any money out from thence, or put any in. He
threatened to impose a severe fine upon those of the praetors
who presumed to disobey his commands, insomuch that all the
officers, for fear of this penalty, intermitted the exercise
of their several jurisdictions. Upon this, the rich
proprietors put themselves into mourning, went up and down
melancholy and dejected; they entered also into a conspiracy
against Tiberius, and procured men to murder him; so that he
also, with all men's knowledge, whenever he went abroad, took
with him a sword-staff, such as robbers use, called in Latin
a dolo.

When the day appointed was come, and the people summoned to
give their votes, the rich men seized upon the voting urns,
and carried them away by force; thus all things were in
confusion. But when Tiberius's party appeared strong enough
to oppose the contrary faction, and drew together in a body,
with the resolution to do so, Manlius and Fulvius, two of the
consular quality, threw themselves before Tiberius, took him
by the hand, and with tears in their eyes, begged of him to
desist. Tiberius, considering the mischiefs that were all
but now occurring, and having a great respect for two such
eminent persons, demanded of them what they would advise him
to do. They acknowledged themselves unfit to advise in a
matter of so great importance, but earnestly entreated him to
leave it to the determination of the senate. But when the
senate assembled, and could not bring the business to any
result, through the prevalence of the rich faction, he then
was driven to a course neither legal nor fair, and proposed
to deprive Octavius of his tribuneship, it being impossible
for him in any other way to get the law brought to the vote.
At first he addressed him publicly, with entreaties couched
in the kindest terms, and taking him by his hands, besought
him, that now, in the presence of all the people, he would
take this opportunity to oblige them, in granting only that
request which was in itself so just and reasonable, being but
a small recompense in regard of those many dangers and
hardships which they had undergone for the public safety.
Octavius, however, would by no means be persuaded to
compliance; upon which Tiberius declared openly, that seeing
they two were united in the same office, and of equal
authority, it would be a difficult matter to compose their
difference on so weighty a matter without a civil war; and
that the only remedy which he knew, must be the deposing one
of them from their office. He desired, therefore, that
Octavius would summon the people to pass their verdict upon
him first, averring that he would willingly relinquish his
authority if the citizens desired it. Octavius refused; and
Tiberius then said he would himself put to the people the
question of Octavius's deposition, if upon mature
deliberation he did not alter his mind; and after this
declaration, he adjourned the assembly till the next day.

When the people were met together again, Tiberius placed
himself in the rostra, and endeavored a second time to
persuade Octavius. But all being to no purpose, he referred
the whole matter to the people, calling on them to vote at
once, whether Octavius should be deposed or not; and when
seventeen of the thirty-five tribes had already voted against
him, and there wanted only the votes of one tribe more for
his final deprivation, Tiberius put a short stop to the
proceedings, and once more renewed his importunities; he
embraced and kissed him before all the assembly, begging,
with all the earnestness imaginable, that he would neither
suffer himself to incur the dishonor, nor him to be reputed
the author and promoter of so odious a measure. Octavius, we
are told, did seem a little softened and moved with these
entreaties; his eyes filled with tears, and he continued
silent for a considerable time. But presently looking
towards the rich men and proprietors of estates, who stood
gathered in a body together, partly for shame, and partly for
fear of disgracing himself with them, he boldly bade Tiberius
use any severity he pleased. The law for his deprivation
being thus voted, Tiberius ordered one of his servants, whom
he had made a freeman, to remove Octavius from the rostra,
employing his own domestic freed servants in the stead of the
public officers. And it made the action seem all the sadder,
that Octavius was dragged out in such an ignominious manner.
The people immediately assaulted him, whilst the rich men ran
in to his assistance. Octavius, with some difficulty, was
snatched away, and safely conveyed out of the crowd; though a
trusty servant of his, who had placed himself in front of his
master that he might assist his escape, in keeping off the
multitude, had his eyes struck out, much to the displeasure
of Tiberius, who ran with all haste, when he perceived the
disturbance, to appease the rioters.

This being done, the law concerning the lands was ratified
and confirmed, and three commissioners were appointed, to
make a survey of the grounds and see the same equally
divided. These were Tiberius himself, Claudius Appius, his
father-in-law, and his brother, Caius Gracchus, who at this
time was not at Rome, but in the army under the command of
Scipio Africanus before Numantia. These things were
transacted by Tiberius without any disturbance, none daring
to offer any resistance to him, besides which, he gave the
appointment as tribune in Octavius's place, not to any person
of distinction, but to a certain Mucius, one of his own
clients. The great men of the city were therefore utterly
offended, and, fearing lest he should grow yet more popular,
they took all opportunities of affronting him publicly in the
senate house. For when he requested, as was usual, to have a
tent provided at the public charge for his use, while
dividing the lands, though it was a favor commonly granted to
persons employed in business of much less importance, it was
peremptorily refused to him; and the allowance made him for
his daily expenses was fixed to nine obols only. The chief
promoter of these affronts was Publius Nasica, who openly
abandoned himself to his feelings of hatred against Tiberius,
being a large holder of the public lands, and not a little
resenting now to be turned out of them by force. The people,
on the other hand, were still more and more excited, insomuch
that a little after this, it happening that one of Tiberius's
friends died suddenly, and his body being marked with
malignant-looking spots, they ran, in tumultuous manner, to
his funeral, crying aloud that the man was poisoned. They
took the bier upon their shoulders, and stood over it, while
it was placed on the pile, and really seemed to have fair
grounds for their suspicion of foul play. For the body burst
open, and such a quantity of corrupt humors issued out, that
the funeral fire was extinguished, and when it was again
kindled, the wood still would not burn; insomuch that they
were constrained to carry the corpse to another place, where
with much difficulty it took fire. Besides this, Tiberius,
that he might incense the people yet more, put himself into
mourning, brought his children amongst the crowd, and
entreated the people to provide for them and their mother, as
if he now despaired of his own security.

About this time, king Attalus, surnamed Philometor, died, and
Eudemus, a Pergamenian, brought his last will to Rome, by
which he had made the Roman people his heirs. Tiberius, to
please the people, immediately proposed making a law, that
all the money which Attalus left, should be distributed
amongst such poor citizens as were to be sharers of the
public lands, for the better enabling them to proceed in
stocking and cultivating their ground; and as for the cities
that were in the territories of Attalus, he declared that the
disposal of them did not at all belong to the senate, but to
the people, and that he himself would ask their pleasure
herein. By this he offended the senate more than ever he had
done before, and Pompeius stood up, and acquainted them that
he was the next neighbor to Tiberius, and so had the
opportunity of knowing that Eudemus, the Pergamenian, had
presented Tiberius with a royal diadem and a purple robe, as
before long he was to be king of Rome. Quintus Metellus also
upbraided him, saying, that when his father was censor, the
Romans, whenever he happened to be going home from a supper,
used to put out all their lights, lest they should be seen to
have indulged themselves in feastings and drinking at
unseasonable hours, whereas, now, the most indigent and
audacious of the people were found with their torches at
night, following Tiberius home. Titus Annius, a man of no
great repute for either justice or temperance, but famous for
his skill in putting and answering questions, challenged
Tiberius to the proof by wager, declaring him to have deposed
a magistrate who by law was sacred and inviolable. Loud
clamor ensued, and Tiberius, quitting the senate hastily,
called together the people, and summoning Annius to appear,
was proceeding to accuse him. But Annius, being no great
speaker, nor of any repute compared to him, sheltered himself
in his own particular art, and desired that he might propose
one or two questions to Tiberius, before he entered upon the
chief argument. This liberty being granted, and silence
proclaimed, Annius proposed his question. "If you," said he,
"had a design to disgrace and defame me, and I should apply
myself to one of your colleagues for redress, and he should
come forward to my assistance, would you for that reason fall
into a passion, and depose him?" Tiberius, they say, was so
much disconcerted at this question, that, though at other
times his assurance as well as his readiness of speech was
always remarkable, yet now he was silent and made no reply.

For the present he dismissed the assembly. But beginning to
understand that the course he had taken with Octavius had
created offense even among the populace as well as the
nobility, because the dignity of the tribunes seemed to be
violated, which had always continued till that day sacred and
honorable, he made a speech to the people in justification of
himself; out of which it may not be improper to collect some
particulars, to give an impression of his force and
persuasiveness in speaking. "A tribune," he said, "of the
people, is sacred indeed, and ought to be inviolable, because
in a manner consecrated to be the guardian and protector of
them; but if he degenerate so far as to oppress the people,
abridge their powers, and take away their liberty of voting,
he stands deprived by his own act of his honors and
immunities, by the neglect of the duty, for which the honor
was bestowed upon him. Otherwise we should be under the
obligation to let a tribune do his pleasure, though he should
proceed to destroy the capitol or set fire to the arsenal.
He who should make these attempts, would be a bad tribune.
He who assails the power of the people, is no longer a
tribune at all. Is it not inconceivable, that a tribune
should have power to imprison a consul, and the people have
no authority to degrade him when he uses that honor which he
received from them, to their detriment? For the tribunes, as
well as the consuls, hold office by the people's votes. The
kingly government, which comprehends all sorts of authority
in itself alone, is morever elevated by the greatest and most
religious solemnity imaginable into a condition of sanctity.
But the citizens, notwithstanding this, deposed Tarquin, when
he acted wrongfully; and for the crime of one single man, the
ancient government under which Rome was built, was abolished
forever. What is there in all Rome so sacred and venerable
as the vestal virgins, to whose care alone the preservation
of the eternal fire is committed? yet if one of these
transgress, she is buried alive; the sanctity which for the
gods' sakes is allowed them, is forfeited when they offend
against the gods. So likewise a tribune retains not his
inviolability, which for the people's sake was accorded to
him, when he offends against the people, and attacks the
foundations of that authority from whence he derived his own.
We esteem him to be legally chosen tribune who is elected
only by the majority of votes; and is not therefore the same
person much more lawfully degraded, when by a general consent
of them all, they agree to depose him? Nothing is so sacred
as religious offerings; yet the people were never prohibited
to make use of them, but suffered to remove and carry them
wherever they pleased; so likewise, as it were some sacred
present, they have lawful power to transfer the tribuneship
from one man's hands to another's. Nor can that authority be
thought inviolable and irremovable which many of those who
have held it, have of their own act surrendered, and desired
to be discharged from."

These were the principal heads of Tiberius's apology. But
his friends, apprehending the dangers which seemed to
threaten him, and the conspiracy that was gathering head
against him, were of opinion, that the safest way would be
for him to petition that he might be continued tribune for
the year ensuing. Upon this consideration, he again
endeavored to secure the people's good-will with fresh laws,
making the years of serving in the war fewer than formerly,
granting liberty of appeal from the judges to the people, and
joining to the senators, who were judges at that time, an
equal number of citizens of the horsemen's degree,
endeavoring as much as in him lay to lessen the power of the
senate, rather from passion and partisanship than from any
rational regard to equity and the public good. And when it
came to the question, whether these laws should be passed,
and they perceived that the opposite party were strongest,
the people as yet being not got together in a full body, they
began first of all to gain time by speeches in accusation of
some of their fellow-magistrates, and at length adjourned the
assembly till the day following.

Tiberius then went down into the marketplace amongst the
people, and made his addresses to them humbly and with tears
in his eyes; and told them, he had just reason to suspect,
that his adversaries would attempt in the night time to break
open his house, and murder him. This worked so strongly with
the multitude, that several of them pitched tents round about
his house, and kept guard all night for the security of his
person. By break of day came one of the soothsayers, who
prognosticate good or bad success by the pecking of fowls,
and threw them something to eat. The soothsayer used his
utmost endeavors to fright the fowls out of their coop; but
none of them except one would venture out, which fluttered
with its left wing, and stretched out its leg, and ran back
again into the coop, without eating anything. This put
Tiberius in mind of another ill omen which had formerly
happened to him. He had a very costly headpiece, which he
made use of when he engaged in any battle, and into this
piece of armor two serpents crawled, laid eggs, and brought
forth young ones. The remembrance of which made Tiberius
more concerned now, than otherwise he would have been.
However, he went towards the capitol, as soon as he
understood that the people were assembled there; but before
he got out of the house, he stumbled upon the threshold with
such violence, that he broke the nail of his great toe,
insomuch that blood gushed out of his shoe. He was not gone
very far before he saw two ravens fighting on the top of a
house which stood on his left hand as he passed along; and
though he was surrounded with a number of people, a stone,
struck from its place by one of the ravens, fell just at his
foot. This even the boldest men about him felt as a check.
But Blossius of Cuma, who was present, told him, that it
would be a shame, and an ignominious thing, for Tiberius, who
was the son of Gracchus, the grandson of Scipio Africanus,
and the protector of the Roman people, to refuse, for fear of
a silly bird, to answer, when his countrymen called to him;
and that his adversaries would represent it not as a mere
matter for their ridicule, but would declaim about it to the
people as the mark of a tyrannical temper, which felt a pride
in taking liberties with the people. At the same time
several messengers came also from his friends, to desire his
presence at the capitol, saying that all things went there
according to expectation. And indeed Tiberius's first
entrance there was in every way successful; as soon as ever
he appeared, the people welcomed him with loud acclamations,
and as he went up to his place, they repeated their
expressions of joy, and gathered in a body around him, so
that no one who was not well known to be his friend, might
approach. Mucius then began to put the business again to the
vote; but nothing could be performed in the usual course and
order, because of the disturbance caused by those who were on
the outside of the crowd, where there was a struggle going on
with those of the opposite party, who were pushing on and
trying to force their way in and establish themselves among

Whilst things were in this confusion, Flavius Flaccus, a
senator, standing in a place where he could be seen, but at
such a distance from Tiberius that he could not make him
hear, signified to him by motions of his hand, that he wished
to impart something of consequence to him in private.
Tiberius ordered the multitude to make way for him, by which
means, though not without some difficulty, Flavius got to
him, and informed him, that the rich men, in a sitting of the
senate, seeing they could not prevail upon the consul to
espouse their quarrel, had come to a final determination
amongst themselves, that he should be assassinated, and to
that purpose had a great number of their friends and servants
ready armed to accomplish it. Tiberius no sooner
communicated this confederacy to those about him, but they
immediately tucked up their gowns, broke the halberts which
the officers used to keep the crowd off into pieces, and
distributed them among themselves, resolving to resist the
attack with these. Those who stood at a distance wondered,
and asked what was the occasion; Tiberius, knowing that they
could not hear him at that distance, lifted his hand to his
head, wishing to intimate the great danger which he
apprehended himself to be in. His adversaries, taking notice
of that action, ran off at once to the senate house, and
declared, that Tiberius desired the people to bestow a crown
upon him, as if this were the meaning of his touching his
head. This news created general confusion in the senators,
and Nasica at once called upon the consul to punish this
tyrant, and defend the government. The consul mildly
replied, that he would not be the first to do any violence;
and as he would not suffer any freeman to be put to death,
before sentence had lawfully passed upon him, so neither
would he allow any measure to be carried into effect, if by
persuasion or compulsion on the part of Tiberius the people
had been induced to pass any unlawful vote. But Nasica,
rising from his seat, "Since the consul," said he, "regards
not the safety of the commonwealth, let everyone who will
defend the laws, follow me." He, then, casting the skirt of
his gown over his head, hastened to the capitol; those who
bore him company, wrapped their gowns also about their arms.
and forced their way after him. And as they were persons of
the greatest authority in the city, the common people did not
venture to obstruct their passing, but were rather so eager
to clear the way for them, that they tumbled over one another
in haste. The attendants they brought with them, had
furnished themselves with clubs and staves from their houses,
and they themselves picked up the feet and other fragments of
stools and chairs, which were broken by the hasty flight of
the common people. Thus armed, they made towards Tiberius,
knocking down those whom they found in front of him, and
those were soon wholly dispersed, and many of them slain.
Tiberius tried to save himself by flight. As he was running,
he was stopped by one who caught hold of him by the gown; but
he threw it off, and fled in his under-garments only. And
stumbling over those who before had been knocked down, as he
was endeavoring to get up again, Publius Satureius, a
tribune, one of his colleagues, was observed to give him the
first fatal stroke, by hitting him upon the head with the
foot of a stool. The second blow was claimed, as though it
had been a deed to be proud of, by Lucius Rufus. And of the
rest there fell above three hundred, killed by clubs and
staves only, none by an iron weapon.

This, we are told, was the first sedition amongst the Romans,
since the abrogation of kingly government, that ended in the
effusion of blood. All former quarrels which were neither
small nor about trivial matters, were always amicably
composed, by mutual concessions on either side, the senate
yielding for fear of the commons, and the commons out of
respect to the senate. And it is probable indeed that
Tiberius himself might then have been easily induced, by mere
persuasion, to give way, and certainly, if attacked at all,
must have yielded without any recourse to violence and
bloodshed, as he had not at that time above three thousand
men to support him. But it is evident, that this conspiracy
was fomented against him, more out of the hatred and malice
which the rich men had to his person, than for the reasons
which they commonly pretended against him. In testimony of
which, we may adduce the cruelty and unnatural insults which
they used to his dead body. For they would not suffer his
own brother, though he earnestly begged the favor, to bury
him in the night, but threw him, together with the other
corpses, into the river. Neither did their animosity stop
here; for they banished some of his friends without legal
process, and slew as many of the others us they could lay
their hands on; amongst whom Diophanes, the orator, was
slain, and one Caius Villius cruelly murdered by being shut
up in a large tun with vipers and serpents. Blossius of
Cuma, indeed, was carried before the consuls, and examined
touching what had happened, and freely confessed, that he
had done, without scruple, whatever Tiberius bade him.
"What," replied Nasica, "then if Tiberius had bidden you burn
the capitol, would you have burnt it?" His first answer was,
that Tiberius never would have ordered any such thing; but
being pressed with the same question by several others, he
declared, "If Tiberius had commanded it, it would have been
right for me to do it; for he never would have commanded it,
if it had not been for the people's good." Blossius at this
time was pardoned, and afterwards went away to Aristonicus in
Asia, and when Aristonicus was overthrown and ruined, killed

The senate, to soothe the people after these transactions,
did not oppose the division of the public lands, and
permitted them to choose another commissioner in the room of
Tiberius. So they elected Publius Crassus, who was
Gracchus's near connection, as his daughter Licinia was
married to Caius Gracchus; although Cornelius Nepos says,
that it was not Crassus's daughter whom Caius married, but
Brutus's, who triumphed for his victories over the
Lusitanians; but most writers state it as we have done. The
people, however, showed evident marks of their anger at
Tiberius's death; and were clearly waiting only for the
opportunity to be revenged, and Nasica was already threatened
with an impeachment. The senate, therefore, fearing lest
some mischief should befall him, sent him ambassador into
Asia, though there was no occasion for his going thither.
For the people did not conceal their indignation, even in the
open streets, but railed at him, whenever they met him
abroad, calling him a murderer and a tyrant, one who had
polluted the most holy and religious spot in Rome with the
blood of a sacred and inviolable magistrate. And so Nasica
left Italy, although be was bound, being the chief priest, to
officiate in all principal sacrifices. Thus wandering
wretchedly and ignominiously from one place to another, he
died in a short time after, not far from Pergamus. It is no
wonder that the people had such an aversion to Nasica, when
even Scipio Africanus, though so much and so deservedly
beloved by the Romans, was in danger of quite losing the good
opinion which the people had of him, only for repeating, when
the news of Tiberius's death was first brought to Numantia,
the verse out of Homer

Even so perish all who do the same.

And afterwards, being asked by Caius and Fulvius, in a great
assembly, what he thought of Tiberius's death, he gave an
answer adverse to Tiberius's public actions. Upon which
account, the people thenceforth used to interrupt him when he
spoke, which, until that time, they had never done, and he,
on the other hand, was induced to speak ill of the people.
But of this the particulars are given in the life of Scipio.


Caius Gracchus, at first, either for fear of his brother's enemies,
or designing to render them more odious to the people, absented
himself from the public assemblies, and lived quietly in his own
house, as if he were not only reduced for the present to live
unambitiously, but was disposed in general to pass his life in
inaction. And some, indeed, went so far as to say that he
disliked his brother's measures, and had wholly abandoned the
defense of them. However, he was now but very young, being not so
old as Tiberius by nine years; and he was not yet thirty when he
was slain.

In some little time, however, he quietly let his temper appear,
which was one of an utter antipathy to a lazy retirement and
effeminacy, and not the least likely to be contented with a life
of eating, drinking, and money getting. He gave great pains to
the study of eloquence, as wings upon which he might aspire to
public business; and it was very apparent that he did not intend
to pass his days in obscurity. When Vettius, a friend of his, was
on his trial, he defended his cause, and the people were in an
ecstasy, and transported with joy, finding him master of such
eloquence that the other orators seemed like children in
comparison, and jealousies and fears on the other hand began to be
felt by the powerful citizens; and it was generally spoken of
amongst them that they must hinder Caius from being made tribune.

But soon after, it happened that he was elected quaestor, and
obliged to attend Orestes, the consul, into Sardinia. This, as it
pleased his enemies, so it was not ungrateful to him, being
naturally of a warlike character, and as well trained in the art
of war as in that of pleading. And, besides, as yet he very much
dreaded meddling with state affairs, and appearing publicly in the
rostra, which, because of the importunity of the people and his
friends, he could no otherwise avoid, than by taking this journey.
He was therefore most thankful for the opportunity of absenting
himself. Notwithstanding which, it is the prevailing opinion that
Caius was a far more thorough demagogue, and more ambitious than
ever Tiberius had been, of popular applause; yet it is certain
that he was borne rather by a sort of necessity than by any
purpose of his own into public business. And Cicero, the orator,
relates, that when he declined all such concerns, and would have
lived privately, his brother appeared to him in a dream, and
calling him by his name, said, "why do you tarry, Caius? There is
no escape; one life and one death is appointed for us both, to
spend the one and to meet the other, in the service of the

Caius was no sooner arrived in Sardinia, but he gave exemplary
proofs of his high merit; he not only excelled all the young men
of his age in his actions against his enemies, in doing justice to
his inferiors, and in showing all obedience and respect to his
superior officer; but likewise in temperance, frugality, and
industry, he surpassed even those who were much older than
himself. It happened to be a sharp and sickly winter in Sardinia,
insomuch that the general was forced to lay an imposition upon
several towns to supply the soldiers with necessary clothes. The
cities sent to Rome, petitioning to be excused from that burden;
the senate found their request reasonable, and ordered the general
to find some other way of new clothing the army. While he was at
a loss what course to take in this affair, the soldiers were
reduced to great distress; but Caius went from one city to
another, and by his mere representations, he prevailed with them,
that of their own accord they clothed the Roman army. This again
being reported to Rome, and seeming to be only an intimation of
what was to be expected of him as a popular leader hereafter,
raised new jealousies amongst the senators. And, besides, there
came ambassadors out of Africa from king Micipsa, to acquaint the
senate, that their master, out of respect to Caius Gracchus, had
sent a considerable quantity of corn to the general in Sardinia;
at which the senators were so much offended, that they turned the
ambassadors out of the senate house, and made an order that the
soldiers should be relieved by sending others in their room; but
that Orestes should continue at his post, with whom Caius, also,
as they presumed, being his quaestor, would remain. But he,
finding how things were carried, immediately in anger took ship
for Rome, where his unexpected appearance obtained him the censure
not only of his enemies, but also of the people; who thought it
strange that a quaestor should leave before his commander.
Nevertheless, when some accusation upon this ground was made
against him to the censors, he desired leave to defend himself,
and did it so effectually, that, when he ended, he was regarded as
one who had been very much injured. He made it then appear, that
he had served twelve years in the army, whereas others are obliged
to serve only ten; that he had continued quaestor to the general
three years, whereas he might by law have returned at the end of
one year; and alone of all who went on the expedition, he had
carried out a full, and had brought home an empty purse, while
others, after drinking up the wine they had carried out with them,
brought back the wine-jars filled again with gold and silver from
the war.

After this, they brought other accusations and writs against him,
for exciting insurrection amongst the allies, and being engaged
in the conspiracy that was discovered about Fregellae. But having
cleared himself of every suspicion, and proved his entire
innocence, he now at once came forward to ask for the tribuneship;
in which, though he was universally opposed by all persons of
distinction, yet there came such infinite numbers of people from
all parts of Italy to vote for Caius, that lodgings for them could
not be supplied in the city; and the Field being not large enough
to contain the assembly, there were numbers who climbed upon the
roofs and the tilings of the houses to use their voices in his
favor. However, the nobility so far forced the people to their
pleasure and disappointed Caius's hope, that he was not returned
the first, as was expected, but the fourth tribune. But when he
came to the execution of his office, it was seen presently who was
really first tribune, as he was a better orator than any of his
contemporaries, and the passion with which he still lamented his
brother's death, made him the bolder in speaking. He used on all
occasions to remind the people of what had happened in that
tumult, and laid before them the examples of their ancestors, how
they declared war against the Faliscans, only for giving
scurrilous language to one Genucius, a tribune of the people; and
sentenced Caius Veturius to death, for refusing to give way in the
forum to a tribune; "Whereas," said he, "these men did, in the
presence of you all, murder Tiberius with clubs, and dragged the
slaughtered body through the middle of the city, to be cast into
the river. Even his friends, as many as could be taken, were put
to death immediately, without any trial, notwithstanding that just
and ancient custom, which has always been observed in our city,
that whenever anyone is accused of a capital crime, and does not
make his personal appearance in court, a trumpeter is sent in the
morning to his lodging, to summon him by sound of trumpet to
appear; and before this ceremony is performed, the judges do not
proceed to the vote; so cautious and reserved were our ancestors
about business of life and death."

Having moved the people's passion with such addresses (and his
voice was of the loudest and strongest), he proposed two laws.
The first was, that whoever was turned out of any public office by
the people, should be thereby rendered incapable of bearing any
office afterwards; the second, that if any magistrate condemn a
Roman to be banished, without a legal trial, the people be
authorized to take cognizance thereof.

One of these laws was manifestly leveled at Marcus Octavius, who,
at the instigation of Tiberius, had been deprived of his
tribuneship. The other touched Popilius, who, in his praetorship,
had banished all Tiberius's friends; whereupon Popilius, being
unwilling to stand the hazard of a trial, fled out of Italy. As
for the former law, it was withdrawn by Caius himself, who said he
yielded in the case of Octavius, at the request of his mother
Cornelia. This was very acceptable and pleasing to the people,
who had a great veneration for Cornelia, not more for the sake of
her father than for that of her children; and they afterwards
erected a statue of brass in honor of her, with this inscription,
Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi. There are several
expressions recorded, in which he used her name perhaps with too
much rhetoric, and too little self-respect, in his attacks upon
his adversaries. "How," said he, "dare you presume to reflect
upon Cornelia, the mother of Tiberius?" And because the person
who made the redactions had been suspected of effeminate courses,
"With what face," said he, "can you compare Cornelia with
yourself? Have you brought forth children as she has done? And
yet all Rome knows, that she has refrained from the conversation
of men longer than you yourself have done." Such was the
bitterness he used in his language; and numerous similar
expressions might be adduced from his written remains.

Of the laws which he now proposed, with the object of gratifying
the people and abridging the power of the senate, the first was
concerning the public lands, which were to be divided amongst the
poor citizens; another was concerning the common soldiers, that
they should be clothed at the public charge, without any
diminution of their pay, and that none should be obliged to serve
in the army who was not full seventeen years old; another gave the
same right to all the Italians in general, of voting at elections,
as was enjoyed by the citizens of Rome; a fourth related to the
price of corn, which was to be sold at a lower rate than formerly
to the poor; and a fifth regulated the courts of justice, greatly
reducing the power of the senators. For hitherto, in all causes
senators only sat as judges, and were therefore much dreaded by
the Roman knights and the people. But Caius joined three hundred
ordinary citizens of equestrian rank with the senators, who were
three hundred likewise in number, and ordained that the judicial
authority should be equally invested in the six hundred. While he
was arguing for the ratification of this law, his behavior was
observed to show in many respects unusual earnestness, and whereas
other popular leaders had always hitherto, when speaking, turned
their faces towards the senate house, and the place called the
comitium, he, on the contrary, was the first man that in his
harangue to the people turned himself the other way, towards them,
and continued after that time to do so. An insignificant movement
and change of posture, yet it marked no small revolution in state
affairs, the conversion, in a manner, of the whole government from
an aristocracy to a democracy; his action intimating that public
speakers should address themselves to the people, not the senate.

When the commonalty ratified this law, and gave him power to
select those of the knights whom he approved of, to be judges, he
was invested with a sort of kingly power, and the senate itself
submitted to receive his advice in matters of difficulty; nor did
he advise anything that might derogate from the honor of that
body. As, for example, his resolution about the corn which Fabius
the propraetor sent from Spain, was very just and honorable; for
he persuaded the senate to sell the corn, and return the money to
the same provinces which had furnished them with it; and also that
Fabius should be censured for rendering the Roman government
odious and insupportable. This got him extraordinary respect and
favor among the provinces. Besides all this, he proposed measures
for the colonization of several cities, for making roads, and for
building public granaries; of all which works he himself undertook
the management and superintendence, and was never wanting to give
necessary orders for the dispatch of all these different and great
undertakings; and that with such wonderful expedition and
diligence, as if he had been but engaged upon one of them;
insomuch that all persons, even those who hated or feared him,
stood amazed to see what a capacity he had for effecting and
completing all he undertook. As for the people themselves, they
were transported at the very sight, when they saw him surrounded
with a crowd of contractors, artificers, public deputies, military
officers, soldiers, and scholars. All these he treated with an
easy familiarity, yet without abandoning his dignity in his
gentleness; and so accommodated his nature to the wants and
occasions of everyone who addressed him, that those were looked
upon as no better than envious detractors, who had represented him
as a terrible, assuming, and violent character. He was even a
greater master of the popular leader's art in his common talk and
his actions, than he was in his public addresses.

His most especial exertions were given to constructing the roads,
which he was careful to make beautiful and pleasant, as well as
convenient. They were drawn by his directions through the fields,
exactly in a straight line, partly paved with hewn stone, and
partly laid with solid masses of gravel. When he met with any
valleys or deep watercourses crossing the line, he either caused
them to be filled up with rubbish, or bridges to be built over
them, so well leveled, that all being of an equal height on both
sides, the work presented one uniform and beautiful prospect.
Besides this, he caused the roads to be all divided into miles
(each mile containing little less than eight furlongs, and erected
pillars of stone to signify the distance from one place to
another. He likewise placed other stones at small distances from
one another, on both sides of the way, by the help of which
travelers might get easily on horseback without wanting a groom.

For these reasons, the people highly extolled him, and were ready
upon all occasions to express their affection towards him. One
day, in an oration to them, he declared that he had only one favor
to request, which if they granted, he should think the greatest
obligation in the world; yet if it were denied, he would never
blame them for the refusal. This expression made the world
believe that his ambition was to be consul; and it was generally
expected that he wished to be both consul and tribune at the same
time. When the day for election of consuls was at hand, and all
in great expectation, he appeared in the Field with Caius Fannius,
canvassing together with his friends for his election. This was
of great effect in Fannius's favor. He was chosen consul, and
Caius elected tribune the second time, without his own seeking or
petitioning for it, but at the voluntary motion of the people.
But when he understood that the senators were his declared
enemies, and that Fannius himself was none of the most zealous of
friends, he began again to rouse the people with other new laws.
He proposed that a colony of Roman citizens might be sent to
re-people Tarentum and Capua, and that the Latins should enjoy the
same privileges with the citizens of Rome. But the senate,
apprehending that he would at last grow too powerful and
dangerous, took a new and unusual course to alienate the people's
affections from him, by playing the demagogue in opposition to
him, and offering favors contrary to all good policy. Livius
Drusus was fellow-tribune with Caius, a person of as good a family
and as well educated as any amongst the Romans, and noways
inferior to those who for their eloquence and riches were the most
honored and most powerful men of that time. To him, therefore,
the chief senators made their application, exhorting him to attack
Caius, and join in their confederacy against him; which they
designed to carry on, not by using any force, or opposing the
common people, but by gratifying and obliging them with such
unreasonable things as otherwise they would have felt it honorable
for them to incur the greatest unpopularity in resisting.

Livius offered to serve the senate with his authority in this
business; and proceeded accordingly to bring forward such laws as
were in reality neither honorable nor advantageous for the public;
his whole design being to outdo Caius in pleasing and cajoling the
populace (as if it had been in some comedy), with obsequious
flattery and every kind of gratifications; the senate thus letting
it be seen plainly, that they were not angry with Caius's public
measures, but only desirous to ruin him utterly, or at least to
lessen his reputation. For when Caius proposed the settlement of
only two colonies, and mentioned the better class of citizens for
that purpose, they accused him of abusing the people; and yet, on
the contrary, were pleased with Drusus, when he proposed the
sending out of twelve colonies, each to consist of three thousand
persons, and those, too, the most needy that he could find. When
Caius divided the public land amongst the poor citizens, and
charged them with a small rent, annually, to be paid into the
exchequer, they were angry at him, as one who sought to gratify
the people only for his own interest; yet afterwards they
commended Livius, though he exempted them from paying even that
little acknowledgment. They were displeased with Caius, for
offering the Latins an equal right with the Romans of voting at
the election of magistrates; but when Livius proposed that it
might not be lawful for a Roman captain to scourge a Latin
soldier, they promoted the passing of that law. And Livius, in
all his speeches to the people, always told them, that he proposed
no laws but such as were agreeable to the senate, who had a
particular regard to the people's advantage. And this truly was
the only point in all his proceedings which was of any real
service, as it created more kindly feelings towards the senate in
the people; and whereas they formerly suspected and hated the
principal senators, Livius appeased and mitigated this
perverseness and animosity, by his profession that he had done
nothing in favor and for the benefit of the commons, without their
advice and approbation.

But the greatest credit which Drusus got for kindness and justice
towards the people was, that he never seemed to propose any law
for his own sake, or his own advantage; he committed the charge of
seeing the colonies rightly settled to other commissioners;
neither did he ever concern himself with the distribution of the
moneys; whereas Caius always took the principal part in any
important transactions of this kind. Rubrius, another tribune of
the people, had proposed to have Carthage again inhabited, which
had been demolished by Scipio, and it fell to Caius's lot to see
this performed, and for that purpose he sailed to Africa. Drusus
took this opportunity of his absence to insinuate himself still
more into the peoples' affections, which he did chiefly by
accusing Fulvius, who was a particular friend to Caius, and was
appointed a commissioner with him for the division of the lands.
Fulvius was a man of a turbulent spirit, and notoriously hated by
the senate; and besides, he was suspected by others to have
fomented the differences between the citizens and their
confederates, and underhand to be inciting the Italians to rebel;
though there was little other evidence of the truth of these
accusations, than his being an unsettled character, and of a
well-known seditious temper. This was one principal cause of
Caius's ruin; for part of the envy which fell upon Fulvius, was
extended to him. And when Scipio Africanus died suddenly, and no
cause of such an unexpected death could be assigned, only some
marks of blows upon his body seemed to intimate that he had
suffered violence, as is related in the history of his life, the
greatest part of the odium attached to Fulvius, because he was his
enemy, and that very day had reflected upon Scipio in a public
address to the people. Nor was Caius himself clear from
suspicion. However, this great outrage, committed too upon the
person of the greatest and most considerable man in Rome, was
never either punished or inquired into thoroughly, for the
populace opposed and hindered any judicial investigation, for fear
that Caius should be implicated in the charge if proceedings were
carried on. This, however, had happened some time before.

But in Africa, where at present Caius was engaged in the
repeopling of Carthage, which he named Junonia, many ominous
appearances, which presaged mischief, are reported to have been
sent from the gods. For a sudden gust of wind falling upon the
first standard, and the standard-bearer holding it fast, the staff
broke; another sudden storm blew away the sacrifices, which were
laid upon the altars, and carried them beyond the bounds laid out
for the city; and the wolves came and carried away the very marks
that were set up to show the boundary. Caius, notwithstanding all
this, ordered and dispatched the whole business in the space of
seventy days, and then returned to Rome, understanding how Fulvius
was prosecuted by Drusus, and that the present juncture of affairs
would not suffer him to be absent. For Lucius Opimius, one who
sided with the nobility, and was of no small authority in the
senate, who had formerly sued to be consul, but was repulsed by
Caius's interest, at the time when Fannius was elected, was in a
fair way now of being chosen consul, having a numerous company of
supporters. And it was generally believed, if he did obtain it,
that he would wholly ruin Caius, whose power was already in a
declining condition; and the people were not so apt to admire his
actions as formerly, because there were so many others who every
day contrived new ways to please them, with which the senate
readily complied.

After his return to Rome, he quitted his house on the Palatine
Mount, and went to live near the market-place, endeavoring to make
himself more popular in those parts, where most of the humbler and
poorer citizens lived. He then brought forward the remainder of
his proposed laws, as intending to have them ratified by the
popular vote; to support which a vast number of people collected
from all quarters. But the senate persuaded Fannius, the consul,
to command all persons who were not born Romans, to depart the
city. A new and unusual proclamation was thereupon made,
prohibiting any of the Allies or Confederates to appear at Rome
during that time. Caius, on the contrary, published an edict,
accusing the consul for what he had done, and setting forth to the
Confederates, that if they would continue upon the place, they
might be assured of his assistance and protection. However, he
was not so good as his word; for though he saw one of his own
familiar friends and companions dragged to prison by Fannius's
officers, he notwithstanding passed by, without assisting him;
either because he was afraid to stand the test of his power, which
was already decreased, or because, as he himself reported, he was
unwilling to give his enemies an opportunity, which they very much
desired, of coming to actual violence and fighting. About that
time there happened likewise a difference between him and his
fellow-officers upon this occasion. A show of gladiators was to
be exhibited before the people in the marketplace, and most of the
magistrates erected scaffolds round about, with an intention of
letting them for advantage. Caius commanded them to take down
their scaffolds, that the poor people might see the sport without
paying anything. But nobody obeying these orders of his, he
gathered together a body of laborers, who worked for him, and
overthrew all the scaffolds, the very night before the contest was
to take place. So that by the next morning the market-place was
cleared, and the common people had an opportunity of seeing the
pastime. In this, the populace thought he had acted the part of a
man; but he much disobliged the tribunes, his colleagues, who
regarded it as a piece of violent and presumptuous interference.

This was thought to be the chief reason that he failed of being a
third time elected tribune; not but that he had the most votes,
but because his colleagues out of revenge caused false returns to
be made. But as to this matter there was a controversy. Certain
it is, he very much resented this repulse, and behaved with
unusual arrogance towards some of his adversaries who were joyful
at his defeat, telling them, that all this was but a false,
sardonic mirth, as they little knew how much his actions threw
them into obscurity.

As soon as Opimius also was chosen consul, they presently canceled
several of Caius's laws, and especially called in question his
proceedings at Carthage, omitting nothing that was likely to
irritate him, that from some effect of his passion they might find
out a colorable pretense to put him to death. Caius at first bore
these things very patiently; but afterwards, at the instigation of
his friends, especially Fulvius, he resolved to put himself at the
head of a body of supporters, to oppose the consul by force. They
say also that on this occasion his mother, Cornelia, joined in the
sedition, and assisted him by sending privately several strangers
into Rome, under pretense as if they came to be hired there for
harvestmen; for that intimations of this are given in her letters
to him. However, it is confidently affirmed by others, that
Cornelia did not in the least approve of these actions.

When the day came in which Opimius designed to abrogate the laws
of Caius, both parties met very early at the capitol; and the
consul having performed all the rites usual in their sacrifices,
one Quintus Antyllius, an attendant on the consul, carrying out
the entrails of the victim, spoke to Fulvius, and his friends who
stood about him, "Ye factious citizens, make way for honest men."
Some report, that besides this provoking language, he extended his
naked arm towards them, as a piece of scorn and contempt. Upon
this he was presently killed with the strong stiles which are
commonly used in writing, though some say that on this occasion
they had been manufactured for this purpose only. This murder
caused a sudden consternation in the whole assembly, and the heads
of each faction had their different sentiments about it. As for
Caius he was much grieved, and severely reprimanded his own party,
because they had given their adversaries a reasonable pretense to
proceed against them, which they had so long hoped for. Opimius,
immediately seizing the occasion thus offered, was in great
delight, and urged the people to revenge; but there happening a
great shower of rain on a sudden, it put an end to the business of
that day.

Early the next morning, the consul summoned the senate, and whilst
he advised with the senators in the senate-house, the corpse of
Antyllius was laid upon a bier, and brought through the
market-place, being there exposed to open view, just before the
senate-house, with a great deal of crying and lamentation.
Opimius was not at all ignorant that this was designed to be done;
however, he seemed to be surprised, and wondered what the meaning
of it should be; the senators, therefore, presently went out to
know the occasion of it and, standing about the corpse, uttered
exclamations against the inhuman and barbarous act. The people
meantime could not but feel resentment and hatred for the
senators, remembering how they themselves had not only
assassinated Tiberius Gracchus, as he was executing his office in
the very capitol, but had also thrown his mangled body into the
river; yet now they could honor with their presence and their
public lamentations in the forum the corpse of an ordinary hired
attendant, (who, though he might perhaps die wrongfully, was,
however, in a great measure the occasion of it himself,) by these
means hoping to undermine him who was the only remaining defender
and safeguard of the people.

The senators, after some time, withdrew, and presently ordered
that Opimius, the consul, should be invested with extraordinary
power to protect the commonwealth and suppress all tyrants. This
being decreed, he presently commanded the senators to arm
themselves, and the Roman knights to be in readiness very early
the next morning, and every one of them to be attended with two
servants well armed. Fulvius, on the other side, made his
preparations and collected the populace. Caius at that time
returning from the market-place, made a stop just before his
father's statue, and fixing his eyes for some time upon it,
remained in a deep contemplation; at length he sighed, shed tears,
and departed. This made no small impression upon those who saw
it, and they began to upbraid themselves, that they should desert
and betray so worthy a man as Caius. They therefore went
directly to his house, remaining there as a guard about it all
night, though in a different manner from those who were a guard to
Fulvius; for they passed away the night with shouting and
drinking, and Fulvius himself, being the first to get drunk,
spoke and acted many things very unbecoming a man of his age and
character. On the other side, the party which guarded Caius, were
quiet and diligent, relieving one another by turns, and
forecasting, as in a public calamity, what the issue of things
might be. As soon as daylight appeared, they roused Fulvius, who
had not yet slept off the effects of his drinking; and having
armed themselves with the weapons hung up in his house, that were
formerly taken from the Gauls, whom he conquered in the time of
his consulship, they presently, with threats and loud
acclamations, made their way towards the Aventine Mount.

Caius could not be persuaded to arm himself, but put on his gown,
as if he had been going to the assembly of the people, only with
this difference, that under it he had then a short dagger by his
side. As he was going out, his wife came running to him at the
gate, holding him with one hand, and with her other a young child
of his. She thus bespoke him: "Alas, Caius, I do not now part
with you to let you address the people, either as a tribune or a
lawgiver, nor as if you were going to some honorable war, when
though you might perhaps have encountered that fate which all must
sometime or other submit to, yet you had left me this mitigation
of my sorrow, that my mourning was respected and honored. You go
now to expose your person to the murderers of Tiberius, unarmed,
indeed, and rightly so, choosing rather to suffer the worst of
injuries, than do the least yourself. But even your very death at
this time will not be serviceable to the public good. Faction
prevails; power and arms are now the only measures of justice.
Had your brother fallen before Numantia, the enemy would have
given back what then had remained of Tiberius; but such is my hard
fate, that I probably must be an humble suppliant to the floods or
the waves, that they would somewhere restore to me your relics;
for since Tiberius was not spared, what trust can we place either
on the laws, or in the gods?" Licinia, thus bewailing, Caius, by
degrees getting loose from her embraces, silently withdrew
himself, being accompanied by his friends; she, endeavoring to
catch him by the gown, fell prostrate upon the earth, lying there
for some time speechless. Her servants took her up for dead, and
conveyed her to her brother Crassus.

Fulvius, when the people were gathered together in a full body, by
the advice of Caius, sent his youngest son into the market-place,
with a herald's rod in his hand. He, being a very handsome youth,
and modestly addressing himself, with tears in his eyes and a
becoming bashfulness, offered proposals of agreement to the consul
and the whole senate. The greatest part of the assembly were
inclinable to accept of the proposals; but Opimius said, that it
did not become them to send messengers and capitulate with the
senate, but to surrender at discretion to the laws, like loyal
citizens, and endeavor to merit their pardon by submission. He
commanded the youth not to return, unless they would comply with
these conditions. Caius, as it is reported, was very forward to
go and clear himself before the senate; but none of his friends
consenting to it, Fulvius sent his son a second time to intercede
for them, as before. But Opimius, who was resolved that a
battle should ensue, caused the youth to be apprehended, and
committed into custody; and then, with a company of his
foot-soldiers and some Cretan archers, set upon the party under
Fulvius. These archers did such execution, and inflicted so many
wounds, that a rout and flight quickly ensued. Fulvius fled into
an obscure bathing-house; but shortly after being discovered, he
and his eldest son were slain together. Caius was not observed to
use any violence against anyone; but, extremely disliking all
these outrages, retired to Diana's temple. There he attempted to
kill himself, but was hindered by his faithful friends, Pomponius
and Licinius, they took his sword away from him, and were very
urgent that he would endeavor to make his escape. It is reported,
that falling upon his knee and lifting up his hands, he prayed the
goddess that the Roman people, as a punishment for their
ingratitude and treachery, might always remain in slavery. For as
soon as a proclamation was made of a pardon, the greater part
openly deserted him.

Caius, therefore, endeavored now to make his escape, but was
pursued so close by his enemies, as far as the wooden bridge, that
from thence he narrowly escaped. There his two trusty friends
begged of him to preserve his own person by flight, whilst they in
the meantime would keep their post, and maintain the passage;
neither could their enemies, until they were both slain, pass the
bridge. Caius had no other companion in his flight but one
Philocrates, a servant of his. As he ran along, everybody
encouraged him, and wished him success, as standers-by may do to
those who are engaged in a race, but nobody either lent him any
assistance, or would furnish him with a horse, though he asked for
one; for his enemies had gained ground, and got very near him.
However, he had still time enough to hide himself in a little
grove, consecrated to the Furies. In that place, his servant
Philocrates having first slain him, presently afterwards killed
himself also, and fell dead upon his master. Though some affirm
it for a truth, that they were both taken alive by their enemies,
and that Philocrates embraced his master so close, that they could
not wound Caius until his servant was slain.

They say that when Caius's head was cut off, and carried away by
one of his murderers, Septimuleius, Opimius's friend met him, and
forced it from him; because, before the battle began, they had
made proclamation, that whoever should bring the head either of
Caius or Fulvius, should, as a reward, receive its weight in gold.
Septimuleius, therefore, having fixed Caius's head upon the top of
his spear, came and presented it to Opimius. They presently
brought the scales, and it was found to weigh above seventeen
pounds. But in this affair, Septimuleius gave as great signs of
his knavery, as he had done before of his cruelty; for having
taken out the brains, he had filled the skull with lead. There
were others who brought the head of Fulvius too, but, being mean,
inconsiderable persons, were turned away without the promised
reward. The bodies of these two persons, as well as of the rest
who were slain, to the number of three thousand men, were all
thrown into the river; their goods were confiscated, and their
widows forbidden to put themselves into mourning. They dealt even
more severely with Licinia, Caius's wife, and deprived her even of
her jointure; and as an addition still to all their inhumanity,
they barbarously murdered Fulvius's youngest son; his only crime
being, not that he took up arms against them, or that he was
present in the battle, but merely that he had come with articles
of agreement; for this he was first imprisoned, then slain.

But that which angered the common people beyond all these things
was, because at this time, in memory of his success, Opimius built
the temple of Concord, as if he gloried and triumphed in the
slaughter of so many citizens. Somebody in the night time, under
the inscription of the temple, added this verse:--

Folly and Discord Concord's temple built.

Yet this Opimius, the first who, being consul, presumed to usurp
the power of a dictator, condemning, without any trial, with three
thousand other citizens, Caius Gracchus and Fulvius Flaccus, one
of whom had triumphed, and been consul, the other far excelled all
his contemporaries in virtue and honor, afterwards was found
incapable of keeping his hands from thieving; and when he was sent
ambassador to Jugurtha, king of Numidia, he was there corrupted by
presents, and at his return being shamefully convicted of it, lost
all his honors, and grew old amidst the hatred and the insults of
the people, who, though humbled, and affrighted at the time, did
not fail before long to let everybody see what respect and
veneration they had for the memory of the Gracchi. They ordered
their statues to be made and set up in public view; they
consecrated the places where they were slain, and thither brought
the first-fruits of everything, according to the season of the
year, to make their offerings. Many came likewise thither to
their devotions, and daily worshipped there, as at the temples of
the gods.

It is reported, that as Cornelia, their mother, bore the loss of
her two sons with a noble and undaunted spirit, so, in reference
to the holy places in which they were slain, she said, their dead
bodies were well worthy of such sepulchres. She removed
afterwards, and dwelt near the place called Misenum, not at all
altering her former way of living. She had many friends, and
hospitably received many strangers at her house; many Greeks and
learned men were continually about her; nor was there any foreign
prince but received gifts from her and presented her again. Those
who were conversant with her, were much interested, when she
pleased to entertain them with her recollections of her father
Scipio Africanus, and of his habits and way of living. But it was
most admirable to hear her make mention of her sons, without any
tears or sign of grief, and give the full account of all their
deeds and misfortunes, as if she had been relating the history of
some ancient heroes. This made some imagine, that age, or the
greatness of her afflictions, had made her senseless and devoid of
natural feelings. But they who so thought, were themselves more
truly insensible, not to see how much a noble nature and education
avail to conquer any affliction; and though fortune may often be
more successful, and may defeat the efforts of virtue to avert
misfortunes, it cannot, when we incur them, prevent our bearing
them reasonably.


Having given an account severally of these persons, it remains
only that we should take a view of them in comparison with one

As for the Gracchi, the greatest detractors and their worst
enemies could not but allow, that they had a genius to virtue
beyond all other Romans, which was improved also by a generous
education. Agis and Cleomenes may be supposed to have had
stronger natural gifts, since, though they wanted all the
advantages of good education, and were bred up in those very
customs, manners, and habits of living, which had for a long time
corrupted others, yet they were public examples of temperance and
frugality. Besides, the Gracchi, happening to live when Rome had
her greatest repute for honor and virtuous actions, might justly
have been ashamed, if they had not also left to the next
generation the noble inheritance of the virtues of their
ancestors. Whereas the other two had parents of different morals;
and though they found their country in a sinking condition, and
debauched, yet that did not quench their forward zeal to what was
just and honorable.

The integrity of the two Romans, and their superiority to money,
was chiefly remarkable in this; that in office and the
administration of public affairs, they kept themselves from the
imputation of unjust gain; whereas Agis might justly be offended,
if he had only that mean commendation given him, that he took
nothing wrongfully from any man, seeing he distributed his own
fortunes, which, in ready money only, amounted to the value of
six hundred talents, amongst his fellow-citizens. Extortion
would have appeared a crime of a strange nature to him, who
esteemed it a piece of covetousness to possess, though never so
justly gotten, greater riches than his neighbors.

Their political actions, also, and the state revolutions they
attempted, were very different in magnitude. The chief things in
general that the two Romans commonly aimed at, were the settlement
of cities and mending of highways; and, in particular, the boldest
design which Tiberius is famed for, was the recovery of the public
lands; and Caius gained his greatest reputation by the addition,
for the exercise of judicial powers, of three hundred of the order
of knights to the same number of senators. Whereas the alteration
which Agis and Cleomenes made, was in a quite different kind.
They did not set about removing partial evils and curing petty
incidents of disease, which would have been (as Plato says), like
cutting off one of the Hydra's heads, the very means to increase
the number; but they instituted a thorough reformation, such as
would free the country at once from all its grievances, or rather,
to speak more truly, they reversed that former change which had
been the cause of all their calamities, and so restored their city
to its ancient state.

However, this must be confessed in the behalf of the Gracchi, that
their undertakings were always opposed by men of the greatest
influence. On the other side, those things which were first
attempted by Agis, and afterwards consummated by Cleomenes, were
supported by the great and glorious precedent of those ancient
laws concerning frugality and leveling which they had themselves
received upon the authority of Lycurgus, and he had instituted on
that of Apollo. It is also further observable, that from the
actions of the Gracchi, Rome received no additions to her former
greatness; whereas, under the conduct of Cleomenes, Greece
presently saw Sparta exert her sovereign power over all
Peloponnesus, and contest the supreme command with the most
powerful princes of the time; success in which would have freed
Greece from Illyrian and Gaulish violence, and placed her once
again under the orderly rule of the sons of Hercules.

From the circumstances of their deaths, also, we may infer some
difference in the quality of their courage. The Gracchi, fighting
with their fellow-citizens, were both slain, as they endeavored to
make their escape; Agis willingly submitted to his fate, rather
than any citizen should be in danger of his life. Cleomenes,
being shamefully and unjustly treated, made an effort toward
revenge, but failing of that, generously fell by his own hand.

On the other side it must be said, that Agis never did a great
action worthy a commander, being prevented by an untimely death.
And as for those heroic actions of Cleomenes, we may justly
compare with them that of Tiberius, when he was the first who
attempted to scale the walls of Carthage, which was no mean
exploit. We may add the peace which he concluded with the
Numantines, by which he saved the lives of twenty thousand Romans,
who otherwise had certainly been cut off. And Caius, not only at
home, but in war in Sardinia, displayed distinguished courage. So
that their early actions were no small argument, that afterwards
they might have rivaled the best of the Roman commanders, if they
had not died so young.

In civil life, Agis showed a lack of determination; he let himself
be baffled by the craft of Agesilaus; disappointed the
expectations of the citizens as to the division of the lands, and
generally left all the designs which he had deliberately formed
and publicly announced, unperformed and unfulfilled, through a
young man's want of resolution. Cleomenes, on the other hand,
proceeded to effect the revolution with only too much boldness and
violence, and unjustly slew the Ephors, whom he might, by
superiority in arms, have gained over to his party, or else might
easily have banished, as he did several others of the city. For
to use the knife, unless in the extremest necessity, is neither
good surgery nor wise policy, but in both cases mere
unskillfulness; and in the latter, unjust as well as unfeeling.
Of the Gracchi, neither the one nor the other was the first to
shed the blood of his fellow-citizens; and Caius is reported to
have avoided all manner of resistance, even when his life was
aimed at, showing himself always valiant against a foreign enemy,
but wholly inactive in a sedition. This was the reason that he
went from his own house unarmed, and withdrew when the battle
began, and in all respects showed himself anxious rather not to do
any harm to others, than not to suffer any himself. Even the very
flight of the Gracchi must not be looked upon as an argument of
their mean spirit, but an honorable retreat from endangering of
others. For if they had stayed, they must either have yielded to
those who assailed them, or else have fought them in their own

The greatest crime that can be laid to Tiberius's charge, was the
deposing of his fellow tribune, and seeking afterwards a second
tribuneship for himself. As for the death of Antyllius, it is
falsely and unjustly attributed to Caius, for he was slain unknown
to him, and much to his grief. On the contrary, Cleomenes (not to
mention the murder of the Ephors) set all the slaves at liberty,
and governed by himself alone in reality, having a partner only
for show; having made choice of his brother Euclidas, who was one
of the same family. He prevailed upon Archidamus, who was the

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