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Plutarch's Lives

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right heir to the kingdom of the other line, to venture to return
home from Messene; but after his being slain, by not doing
anything to revenge his death, confirmed the suspicion that he was
privy to it himself. Lycurgus, whose example he professed to
imitate, after he had voluntarily settled his kingdom upon
Charillus, his brother's son, fearing lest, if the youth should
chance to die by accident, he might be suspected for it, traveled
a long time, and would not return again to Sparta until Charillus
had a son, and an heir to his kingdom. But we have indeed no
other Grecian who is worthy to be compared with Lycurgus, and it
is clear enough that in the public measures of Cleomenes various
acts of considerable audacity and lawlessness may be found.

Those, therefore, who incline to blame their characters, may
observe, that the two Grecians were disturbers even from their
youth, lovers of contest, and aspirants to despotic power; that
Tiberius and Caius by nature had an excessive desire after glory
and honors. Beyond this, their enemies could find nothing to
bring against them; but as soon as the contention began with their
adversaries, their heat and passions would so far prevail beyond
their natural temper, that by them, as by ill winds, they were
driven afterwards to all their rash undertakings. What could be
more just and honorable than their first design, had not the power
and the faction of the rich, by endeavoring to abrogate that law,
engaged them both in those fatal quarrels, the one, for his own
preservation, the other, to revenge his brother's death, who was
murdered without any law or justice?

From the account, therefore, which has been given, you yourself
may perceive the difference; which if it were to be pronounced of
every one singly, I should affirm Tiberius to have excelled them
all in virtue; that young Agis had been guilty of the fewest
misdeeds; and that in action and boldness Caius came far short of


Whoever it was, Sosius, that wrote the poem in honor of
Alcibiades, upon his winning the chariot race at the Olympian
Games, whether it were Euripides, as is most commonly thought,
or some other person, he tells us, that to a man's being happy
it is in the first place requisite he should be born in "some
famous city." But for him that would attain to true happiness,
which for the most part is placed in the qualities and
disposition of the mind, it is, in my opinion, of no other
disadvantage to be of a mean, obscure country, than to be born
of a small or plain-looking woman. For it were ridiculous to
think that Iulis, a little part of Ceos, which itself is no
great island, and Aegina, which an Athenian once said ought to
be removed, like a small eye-sore, from the port of Piraeus,
should breed good actors and poets, and yet should never be
able to produce a just, temperate, wise, and high-minded man.
Other arts, whose end it is to acquire riches or honor, are
likely enough to wither and decay in poor and undistinguished
towns; but virtue, like a strong and durable plant, may take
root and thrive in any place where it can lay hold of an
ingenuous nature, and a mind that is industrious. I, for my
part, shall desire that for any deficiency of mine in right
judgment or action, I myself may be, as in fairness, held
accountable, and shall not attribute it to the obscurity of my

But if any man undertake to write a history, that has to be
collected from materials gathered by observation and the reading
of works not easy to be got in all places, nor written always in
his own language, but many of them foreign and dispersed in
other hands, for him, undoubtedly, it is in the first place and
above all things most necessary, to reside in some city of good
note, addicted to liberal arts, and populous; where he may have
plenty of all sorts of books, and upon inquiry may hear and
inform himself of such particulars as, having escaped the pens
of writers, are more faithfully preserved in the memories of
men, lest his work be deficient in many things, even those which
it can least dispense with.

But for me, I live in a little town, where I am willing to
continue, lest it should grow less; and having had no leisure,
while I was in Rome and other parts of Italy, to exercise myself
in the Roman language, on account of public business and of
those who came to be instructed by me in philosophy, it was very
late, and in the decline of my age, before I applied myself to
the reading of Latin authors. Upon which that which happened to
me, may seem strange, though it be true; for it was not so much
by the knowledge of words, that I came to the understanding of
things, as by my experience of things I was enabled to follow
the meaning of words. But to appreciate the graceful and ready
pronunciation of the Roman tongue, to understand the various
figures and connection of words, and such other ornaments, in
which the beauty of speaking consists, is, I doubt not, an
admirable and delightful accomplishment; but it requires a
degree of practice and study, which is not easy, and will better
suit those who have more leisure, and time enough yet before
them for the occupation.

And so in this fifth book of my Parallel Lives, in giving an
account of Demosthenes and Cicero, my comparison of their
natural dispositions and their characters will be formed upon
their actions and their lives as statesmen, and I shall not
pretend to criticize their orations one against the other, to
show which of the two was the more charming or the more powerful
speaker. For there, as Ion says,

We are but like a fish upon dry land;

a proverb which Caecilius perhaps forgot, when he employed his
always adventurous talents in so ambitious an attempt as a
comparison of Demosthenes and Cicero: and, possibly, if it were
a thing obvious and easy for every man to know himself, the
precept had not passed for an oracle.

The divine power seems originally to have designed Demosthenes
and Cicero upon the same plan, giving them many similarities in
their natural characters, as their passion for distinction and
their love of liberty in civil life, and their want of courage
in dangers and war, and at the same time also to have added many
accidental resemblances. I think there can hardly be found two
other orators, who, from small and obscure beginnings, became so
great and mighty; who both contested with kings and tyrants;
both lost their daughters, were driven out of their country, and
returned with honor; who, flying from thence again, were both
seized upon by their enemies, and at last ended their lives with
the liberty of their countrymen. So that if we were to suppose
there had been a trial of skill between nature and fortune, as
there is sometimes between artists, it would be hard to judge,
whether that succeeded best in making them alike in their
dispositions and manners, or this, in the coincidences of their
lives. We will speak of the eldest first.

Demosthenes, the father of Demosthenes, was a citizen of good
rank and quality, as Theopompus informs us, surnamed the
Sword-maker, because he had a large workhouse, and kept servants
skillful in that art at work. But of that which Aeschines, the
orator, said of his mother, that she was descended of one Gylon,
who fled his country upon an accusation of treason, and of a
barbarian woman, I can affirm nothing, whether he spoke true, or
slandered and maligned her. This is certain, that Demosthenes,
being as yet but seven years old, was left by his father in
affluent circumstances, the whole value of his estate being
little short of fifteen talents, and that he was wronged by his
guardians, part of his fortune being embezzled by them, and the
rest neglected; insomuch that even his teachers were defrauded
of their salaries. This was the reason that he did not obtain
the liberal education that he should have had; besides that on
account of weakness and delicate health, his mother would not
let him exert himself, and his teachers forbore to urge him. He
was meager and sickly from the first, and hence had his nickname
of Batalus, given him, it is said, by the boys, in derision of
his appearance; Batalus being, as some tell us, a certain
enervated flute-player, in ridicule of whom Antiphanes wrote a
play. Others speak of Batalus as a writer of wanton verses and
drinking songs. And it would seem that some part of the body,
not decent to be named, was at that time called batalus by the
Athenians. But the name of Argas, which also they say was a
nickname of Demosthenes, was given him for his behavior, as
being savage and spiteful, argas being one of the poetical words
for a snake; or for his disagreeable way of speaking, Argas
being the name of a poet, who composed very harshly and
disagreeably. So much, as Plato says, for such matters.

The first occasion of his eager inclination to oratory they say,
was this. Callistratus, the orator, being to plead in open
court for Oropus, the expectation of the issue of that cause was
very great, as well for the ability of the orator, who was then
at the height of his reputation, as also for the fame of the
action itself. Therefore, Demosthenes, having heard the tutors
and schoolmasters agreeing among themselves to be present at
this trial, with much importunity persuades his tutor to take
him along with him to the hearing; who, having some acquaintance
with the doorkeepers, procured a place where the boy might sit
unseen, and hear what was said. Callistratus having got the
day, and being much admired, the boy began to look upon his
glory with a kind of emulation, observing how he was courted on
all hands, and attended on his way by the multitude; but his
wonder was more than all excited by the power of his eloquence,
which seemed able to subdue and win over anything. From this
time, therefore, bidding farewell to other sorts of learning and
study, he now began to exercise himself, and to take pains in
declaiming, as one that meant to be himself also an orator. He
made use of Isaeus as his guide to the art of speaking, though
Isocrates at that time was giving lessons; whether, as some say,
because he was an orphan, and was not able to pay Isocrates his
appointed fee of ten minae, or because he preferred Isaeus's
speaking, as being more business-like and effective in actual
use. Hermippus says, that he met with certain memoirs without
any author's name, in which it was written that Demosthenes was
a scholar to Plato, and learnt much of his eloquence from him;
and he also mentions Ctesibius, as reporting from Callias of
Syracuse and some others, that Demosthenes secretly obtained a
knowledge of the systems of Isocrates and Alcidamas, and
mastered them thoroughly.

As soon, therefore, as he was grown up to man's estate, he began
to go to law with his guardians, and to write orations against
them; who, in the meantime, had recourse to various subterfuges
and pleas for new trials, and Demosthenes, though he was thus,
as Thucydides says, taught his business in dangers, and by his
own exertions was successful in his suit, was yet unable for all
this to recover so much as a small fraction of his patrimony.
He only attained some degree of confidence in speaking, and some
competent experience in it. And having got a taste of the honor
and power which are acquired by pleadings, he now ventured to
come forth, and to undertake public business. And, as it is
said of Laomedon, the Orchomenian, that by advice of his
physician, he used to run long distances to keep off some
disease of his spleen, and by that means having, through labor
and exercise, framed the habit of his body, he betook himself to
the great garland games, and became one of the best runners at
the long race; so it happened to Demosthenes, who, first
venturing upon oratory for the recovery of his own private
property, by this acquired ability in speaking, and at length,
in public business, as it were in the great games, came to have
the preeminence of all competitors in the assembly. But when he
first addressed himself to the people, he met with great
discouragements, and was derided for his strange and uncouth
style, which was cumbered with long sentences and tortured with
formal arguments to a most harsh and disagreeable excess.
Besides, he had, it seems, a weakness in his voice, a perplexed
and indistinct utterance and a shortness of breath, which, by
breaking and disjointing his sentences much obscured the sense
and meaning of what he spoke. So that in the end, being quite
disheartened, he forsook the assembly; and as he was walking
carelessly and sauntering about the Piraeus, Eunomus, the
Thriasian, then a very old man, seeing him, upbraided him,
saying that his diction was very much like that of Pericles, and
that he was wanting to himself through cowardice and meanness of
spirit, neither bearing up with courage against popular outcry,
nor fitting his body for action, but suffering it to languish
through mere sloth and negligence.

Another time, when the assembly had refused to hear him, and he
was going home with his head muffled up, taking it very heavily,
they relate that Satyrus, the actor, followed him, and being his
familiar acquaintance, entered into conversation with him. To
whom, when Demosthenes bemoaned himself, that having been the
most industrious of all the pleaders, and having almost spent
the whole strength and vigor of his body in that employment, he
could not yet find any acceptance with the people, that drunken
sots, mariners, and illiterate fellows were heard, and had the
hustings for their own, while he himself was despised, "You say
true, Demosthenes," replied Satyrus, "but I will quickly remedy
the cause of all this, if you will repeat to me some passage out
of Euripides or Sophocles." Which when Demosthenes had
pronounced, Satyrus presently taking it up after him gave the
same passage, in his rendering of it, such a new form, by
accompanying it with the proper mien and gesture, that to
Demosthenes it seemed quite another thing. By this being
convinced how much grace and ornament language acquires from
action, he began to esteem it a small matter, and as good as
nothing for a man to exercise himself in declaiming, if he
neglected enunciation and delivery. Hereupon he built himself a
place to study in underground, (which was still remaining in our
time,) and hither he would come constantly every day to form his
action, and to exercise his voice; and here he would continue,
oftentimes without intermission, two or three months together,
shaving one half of his head, that so for shame he might not go
abroad, though he desired it ever so much.

Nor was this all, but he also made his conversation with people
abroad, his common speech, and his business, subservient to his
studies, taking from hence occasions and arguments as matter to
work upon. For as soon as he was parted from his company, down
he would go at once into his study, and run over everything in
order that had passed, and the reasons that might be alleged for
and against it. Any speeches, also, that he was present at, he
would go over again with himself, and reduce into periods; and
whatever others spoke to him, or he to them, he would correct,
transform, and vary several ways. Hence it was, that he was
looked upon as a person of no great natural genius, but one who
owed all the power and ability he had in speaking to labor and
industry. Of the truth of which it was thought to be no small
sign, that he was very rarely heard to speak upon the occasion,
but though he were by name frequently called upon by the people,
as he sat in the assembly, yet he would not rise unless he had
previously considered the subject, and came prepared for it. So
that many of the popular pleaders used to make it a jest against
him; and Pytheas once, scoffing at him, said that his arguments
smelt of the lamp. To which Demosthenes gave the sharp answer,
"It is true, indeed, Pytheas, that your lamp and mine are not
conscious of the same things." To others, however, he would not
much deny it, but would admit frankly enough, that he neither
entirely wrote his speeches beforehand, nor yet spoke wholly
extempore. And he would affirm, that it was the more truly
popular act to use premeditation, such preparation being a kind
of respect to the people; whereas, to slight and take no care
how what is said is likely to be received by the audience, shows
something of an oligarchical temper, and is the course of one
that intends force rather than persuasion. Of his want of
courage and assurance to speak off-hand, they make it also
another argument, that when he was at a loss, and discomposed,
Demades would often rise up on the sudden to support him, but he
was never observed to do the same for Demades.

Whence then, may some say, was it, that Aeschines speaks of him
as a person so much to be wondered at for his boldness in
speaking? Or, how could it be, when Python, the Byzantine,
"with so much confidence and such a torrent of words inveighed
against" the Athenians, that Demosthenes alone stood up to
oppose him? Or, when Lamachus, the Myrinaean, had written a
panegyric upon king Philip and Alexander, in which he uttered
many things in reproach of the Thebans and Olynthians, and at
the Olympic Games recited it publicly, how was it, that he,
rising up, and recounting historically and demonstratively what
benefits and advantages all Greece had received from the Thebans
and Chalcidians, and on the contrary, what mischiefs the
flatterers of the Macedonians had brought upon it, so turned the
minds of all that were present that the sophist, in alarm at the
outcry against him, secretly made his way out of the assembly?
But Demosthenes, it should seem, regarded other points in the
character of Pericles to be unsuited to him; but his reserve and
his sustained manner, and his forbearing to speak on the sudden,
or upon every occasion, as being the things to which principally
he owed his greatness, these he followed, and endeavored to
imitate, neither wholly neglecting the glory which present
occasion offered, nor yet willing too often to expose his
faculty to the mercy of chance. For, in fact, the orations
which were spoken by him had much more of boldness and
confidence in them than those that he wrote, if we may believe
Eratosthenes, Demetrius the Phalerian, and the Comedians.
Eratosthenes says that often in his speaking he would be
transported into a kind of ecstasy, and Demetrius, that he
uttered the famous metrical adjuration to the people,

By the earth, the springs, the rivers, and the streams,

as a man inspired, and beside himself. One of the comedians
calls him a rhopoperperethras, and another scoffs at him for
his use of antithesis: --

And what he took, took back; a phrase to please
The very fancy of Demosthenes.

Unless, indeed, this also is meant by Antiphanes for a jest upon
the speech on Halonesus, which Demosthenes advised the Athenians
not to take at Philip's hands, but to take back.

All, however, used to consider Demades, in the mere use of his
natural gifts, an orator impossible to surpass, and that in what
he spoke on the sudden, he excelled all the study and
preparation of Demosthenes. And Ariston the Chian, has recorded
a judgment which Theophrastus passed upon the orators; for being
asked what kind of orator he accounted Demosthenes, he answered,
"Worthy of the city of Athens;" and then, what he thought of
Demades, he answered, "Above it." And the same philosopher
reports, that Polyeuctus, the Sphettian, one of the Athenian
politicians about that time, was wont to say that Demosthenes
was the greatest orator, but Phocion the ablest, as he expressed
the most sense in the fewest words. And, indeed, it is related,
that Demosthenes himself, as often as Phocion stood up to plead
against him, would say to his acquaintance, "Here comes the
knife to my speech." Yet it does not appear whether he had this
feeling for his powers of speaking, or for his life and
character, and meant to say that one word or nod from a man who
was really trusted, would go further than a thousand lengthy
periods from others.

Demetrius, the Phalerian, tells us, that he was informed by
Demosthenes himself, now grown old, that the ways he made use of
to remedy his natural bodily infirmities and defects were such
as these; his inarticulate and stammering pronunciation he
overcame and rendered more distinct by speaking with pebbles in
his mouth; his voice he disciplined by declaiming and reciting
speeches or verses when he was out of breath, while running or
going up steep places; and that in his house he had a large
looking-glass, before which he would stand and go through his
exercises. It is told that someone once came to request his
assistance as a pleader, and related how he had been assaulted
and beaten. "Certainly," said Demosthenes, "nothing of the kind
can have happened to you." Upon which the other, raising his
voice, exclaimed loudly, "What, Demosthenes, nothing has been
done to me?" "Ah," replied Demosthenes, "now I hear the voice
of one that has been injured and beaten." Of so great
consequence towards the gaining of belief did he esteem the tone
and action of the speaker. The action which he used himself was
wonderfully pleasing to the common people; but by well-educated
people, as, for example, by Demetrius, the Phalerian, it was
looked upon as mean, humiliating, and unmanly. And Hermippus
says of Aesion, that, being asked his opinion concerning the
ancient orators and those of his own time, he answered that it
was admirable to see with what composure and in what high style
they addressed themselves to the people; but that the orations
of Demosthenes, when they are read, certainly appear to be
superior in point of construction, and more effective. His
written speeches, beyond all question, are characterized by
austere tone and by their severity. In his extempore retorts
and rejoinders, he allowed himself the use of jest and mockery.
When Demades said, "Demosthenes teach me! So might the sow
teach Minerva!" he replied, "Was it this Minerva, that was
lately found playing the harlot in Collytus?" When a thief,
who had the nickname of the Brazen, was attempting to upbraid
him for sitting up late, and writing by candlelight, "I know
very well," said he, "that you had rather have all lights out;
and wonder not, O ye men of Athens, at the many robberies which
are committed, since we have thieves of brass and walls of
clay." But on these points, though we have much more to
mention, we will add nothing at present. We will proceed to
take an estimate of his character from his actions and his life
as a statesman.

His first entering into public business was much about the time
of the Phocian war, as himself affirms, and may be collected
from his Philippic orations. For of these, some were made after
that action was over, and the earliest of them refer to its
concluding events. It is certain that he engaged in the
accusation of Midias when he was but two and thirty years old,
having as yet no interest or reputation as a politician. And
this it was, I consider, that induced him to withdraw the
action, and accept a sum of money as a compromise. For of

He was no easy or good-natured man,

but of a determined disposition, and resolute to see himself
righted; however, finding it a hard matter and above his
strength to deal with Midias, a man so well secured on all sides
with money, eloquence, and friends, he yielded to the entreaties
of those who interceded for him. But had he seen any hopes or
possibility of prevailing, I cannot believe that three thousand
drachmas could have taken off the edge of his revenge. The
object which he chose for himself in the commonwealth was noble
and just, the defense of the Grecians against Philip; and in
this he behaved himself so worthily that he soon grew famous,
and excited attention everywhere for his eloquence and courage
in speaking. He was admired through all Greece, the king of
Persia courted him, and by Philip himself he was more esteemed
than all the other orators. His very enemies were forced to
confess that they had to do with a man of mark; for such a
character even Aeschines and Hyperides give him, where they
accuse and speak against him.

So that I cannot imagine what ground Theopompus had to say, that
Demosthenes was of a fickle, unsettled disposition, and could
not long continue firm either to the same men or the same
affairs; whereas the contrary is most apparent, for the same
party and post in politics which he held from the beginning, to
these he kept constant to the end; and was so far from leaving
them while he lived, that he chose rather to forsake his life
than his purpose. He was never heard to apologize for shifting
sides like Demades, who would say, he often spoke against
himself, but never against the city; nor as Melanopus, who,
being generally against Callistratus, but being often bribed off
with money, was wont to tell the people, "The man indeed is my
enemy, but we must submit for the good of our country;" nor
again as Nicodemus, the Messenian, who having first appeared on
Cassander's side, and afterwards taken part with Demetrius, said
the two things were not in themselves contrary, it being always
most advisable to obey the conqueror. We have nothing of this
kind to say against Demosthenes, as one who would turn aside or
prevaricate, either in word or deed. There could not have been
less variation in his public acts if they had all been played,
so to say, from first to last, from the same score. Panaetius,
the philosopher, said, that most of his orations are so written,
as if they were to prove this one conclusion, that what is
honest and virtuous is for itself only to be chosen; as that of
the Crown, that against Aristocrates, that for the Immunities,
and the Philippics; in all which he persuades his
fellow-citizens to pursue not that which seems most pleasant,
easy, or profitable; but declares over and over again, that they
ought in the first place to prefer that which is just and
honorable, before their own safety and preservation. So that if
he had kept his hands clean, if his courage for the wars had
been answerable to the generosity of his principles, and the
dignity of his orations, he might deservedly have his name
placed, not in the number of such orators as Moerocles,
Polyeuctus, and Hyperides, but in the highest rank with Cimon,
Thucydides, and Pericles.

Certainly amongst those who were contemporary with him, Phocion,
though he appeared on the less commendable side in the
commonwealth, and was counted as one of the Macedonian party,
nevertheless, by his courage and his honesty, procured himself a
name not inferior to those of Ephialtes, Aristides, and Cimon.
But Demosthenes, being neither fit to be relied on for courage
in arms, as Demetrius says, nor on all sides inaccessible to
bribery (for how invincible soever he was against the gifts of
Philip and the Macedonians, yet elsewhere he lay open to
assault, and was overpowered by the gold which came down from
Susa and Ecbatana), was therefore esteemed better able to
recommend than to imitate the virtues of past times. And yet
(excepting only Phocion), even in his life and manners, he far
surpassed the other orators of his time. None of them addressed
the people so boldly; he attacked the faults, and opposed
himself to the unreasonable desires of the multitude, as may be
seen in his orations. Theopompus writes, that the Athenians
having by name selected Demosthenes, and called upon him to
accuse a certain person, he refused to do it; upon which the
assembly being all in an uproar, he rose up and said, "Your
counselor, whether you will or no, O ye men of Athens, you shall
always have me; but a sycophant or false accuser, though you
would have me, I shall never be." And his conduct in the case
of Antiphon was perfectly aristocratical; whom, after he had
been acquitted in the assembly, he took and brought before the
court of Areopagus, and, setting at naught the displeasure of
the people, convicted him there of having promised Philip to
burn the arsenal; whereupon the man was condemned by that
court, and suffered for it. He accused, also, Theoris, the
priestess, amongst other misdemeanors, of having instructed and
taught the slaves to deceive and cheat their masters, for which
the sentence of death passed upon her, and she was executed.

The oration which Apollodorus made use of, and by it carried the
cause against Timotheus, the general, in an action of debt, it
is said was written for him by Demosthenes; as also those
against Phormion and Stephanus, in which latter case he was
thought to have acted dishonorably, for the speech which
Phormion used against Apollodorus was also of his making; he, as
it were, having simply furnished two adversaries out of the same
shop with weapons to wound one another. Of his orations
addressed to the public assemblies, that against Androtion, and
those against Timocrates and Aristocrates, were written for
others, before he had come forward himself as a politician.
They were composed, it seems, when he was but seven or eight and
twenty years old. That against Aristogiton, and that for the
Immunities, he spoke himself, at the request, as he says, of
Ctesippus, the son of Chabrias, but, as some say, out of
courtship to the young man's mother. Though, in fact, he did
not marry her, for his wife was a woman of Samos, as Demetrius,
the Magnesian, writes, in his book on Persons of the same Name.
It is not certain whether his oration against Aeschines, for
Misconduct as Ambassador, was ever spoken; although Idomeneus
says that Aeschines wanted only thirty voices to condemn him.
But this seems not to be correct, at least so far as may be
conjectured from both their orations concerning the Crown; for
in these, neither of them speaks clearly or directly of it, as a
cause that ever came to trial. But let others decide this

It was evident, even in time of peace, what course Demosthenes
would steer in the commonwealth; for whatever was done by the
Macedonian, he criticized and found fault with, and upon all
occasions was stirring up the people of Athens, and inflaming
them against him. Therefore, in the court of Philip, no man was
so much talked of, or of so great account as he; and when he
came thither, one of the ten ambassadors who were sent into
Macedonia, though all had audience given them, yet his speech
was answered with most care and exactness. But in other
respects, Philip entertained him not so honorably as the rest,
neither did he show him the same kindness and civility with
which he applied himself to the party of Aeschines and
Philocrates. So that, when the others commended Philip for his
able speaking, his beautiful person, nay, and also for his good
companionship in drinking, Demosthenes could not refrain from
caviling at these praises; the first, he said, was a quality
which might well enough become a rhetorician, the second a
woman, and the last was only the property of a sponge; no one of
them was the proper commendation of a prince.

But when things came at last to war, Philip on the one side
being not able to live in peace, and the Athenians, on the other
side, being stirred up by Demosthenes, the first action he put
them upon was the reducing of Euboea, which, by the treachery of
the tyrants, was brought under subjection to Philip. And on his
proposition, the decree was voted, and they crossed over thither
and chased the Macedonians out of the island. The next, was the
relief of the Byzantines and Perinthians, whom the Macedonians
at that time were attacking. He persuaded the people to lay
aside their enmity against these cities, to forget the offenses
committed by them in the Confederate War, and to send them such
succors as eventually saved and secured them. Not long after,
he undertook an embassy through the States of Greece, which he
solicited and so far incensed against Philip, that, a few only
excepted, he brought them all into a general league. So that,
besides the forces composed of the citizens themselves, there
was an army consisting of fifteen thousand foot and two thousand
horse, and the money to pay these strangers was levied and
brought in with great cheerfulness. On which occasion it was,
says Theophrastus, on the allies requesting that their
contributions for the war might be ascertained and stated,
Crobylus, the orator, made use of the saying, "War can't be fed
at so much a day." Now was all Greece up in arms, and in great
expectation what would be the event. The Euboeans, the
Achaeans, the Corinthians, the Megarians, the Leucadians, and
Corcyraeans, their people and their cities, were all joined
together in a league. But the hardest task was yet behind, left
for Demosthenes, to draw the Thebans into this confederacy with
the rest. Their country bordered next upon Attica, they had
great forces for the war, and at that time they were accounted
the best soldiers of all Greece, but it was no easy matter to
make them break with Philip, who, by many good offices, had so
lately obliged them in the Phocian war; especially considering
how the subjects of dispute and variance between the two cities
were continually renewed and exasperated by petty quarrels,
arising out of the proximity of their frontiers.

But after Philip, being now grown high and puffed up with his
good success at Amphissa, on a sudden surprised Elatea and
possessed himself of Phocis, and the Athenians were in a great
consternation, none durst venture to rise up to speak, no one
knew what to say, all were at a loss, and the whole assembly in
silence and perplexity, in this extremity of affairs,
Demosthenes was the only man who appeared, his counsel to them
being alliance with the Thebans. And having in other ways
encouraged the people, and, as his manner was, raised their
spirits up with hopes, he, with some others, was sent ambassador
to Thebes. To oppose him, as Marsyas says, Philip also sent
thither his envoys, Amyntas and Clearellus, two Macedonians,
besides Daochus, a Thessalian, and Thrasydaeus. Now the
Thebans, in their consultations, were well enough aware what
suited best with their own interest, but everyone had before
his eyes the terrors of war, and their losses in the Phocian
troubles were still recent: but such was the force and power of
the orator, fanning up, as Theopompus says, their courage, and
firing their emulation, that casting away every thought of
prudence, fear, or obligation, in a sort of divine possession,
they chose the path of honor, to which his words invited them.
And this success, thus accomplished by an orator, was thought to
be so glorious and of such consequence, that Philip immediately
sent heralds to treat and petition for a peace: all Greece was
aroused, and up in arms to help. And the commanders-in-chief,
not only of Attica, but of Boeotia, applied themselves to
Demosthenes, and observed his directions. He managed all the
assemblies of the Thebans, no less than those of the Athenians;
he was beloved both by the one and by the other, and exercised
the same supreme authority with both; and that not by unfair
means, or without just cause, as Theopompus professes, but
indeed it was no more than was due to his merit.

But there was, it should seem, some divinely-ordered fortune,
commissioned, in the revolution of things, to put a period at
this time to the liberty of Greece, which opposed and thwarted
all their actions, and by many signs foretold what should
happen. Such were the sad predictions uttered by the Pythian
priestess, and this old oracle cited out of the Sibyl's verses,

The battle on Thermodon that shall be
Safe at a distance I desire to see,
Far, like an eagle, watching in the air.
Conquered shall weep, and conqueror perish there.

This Thermodon, they say, is a little rivulet here in our
country in Chaeronea, running into the Cephisus. But we know of
none that is so called at the present time; and can only
conjecture that the streamlet which is now called Haemon, and
runs by the Temple of Hercules, where the Grecians were
encamped, might perhaps in those days be called Thermodon, and
after the fight, being filled with blood and dead bodies, upon
this occasion, as we guess, might change its old name for that
which it now bears. Yet Duris says that this Thermodon was no
river, but that some of the soldiers, as they were pitching
their tents and digging trenches about them, found a small stone
statue, which, by the inscription, appeared to be the figure of
Thermodon, carrying a wounded Amazon in his arms; and that there
was another oracle current about it, as follows: --

The battle on Thermodon that shall be,
Fail not, black raven, to attend and see;
The flesh of men shall there abound for thee.

In fine, it is not easy to determine what is the truth. But of
Demosthenes it is said, that he had such great confidence in the
Grecian forces, and was so excited by the sight of the courage
and resolution of so many brave men ready to engage the enemy,
that he would by no means endure they should give any heed to
oracles, or hearken to prophecies, but gave out that he
suspected even the prophetess herself, as if she had been
tampered with to speak in favor of Philip. The Thebans he put
in mind of Epaminondas, the Athenians, of Pericles, who always
took their own measures and governed their actions by reason,
looking upon things of this kind as mere pretexts for cowardice.
Thus far, therefore, Demosthenes acquitted himself like a brave
man. But in the fight he did nothing honorable, nor was his
performance answerable to his speeches. For he fled, deserting
his place disgracefully, and throwing away his arms, not
ashamed, as Pytheas observed, to belie the inscription written
on his shield, in letters of gold, "With good fortune."

In the meantime Philip, in the first moment of victory, was so
transported with joy, that he grew extravagant, and going out,
after he had drunk largely, to visit the dead bodies, he chanted
the first words of the decree that had been passed on the motion
of Demosthenes,

The motion of Demosthenes, Demosthenes's son,

dividing it metrically into feet, and marking the beats.

But when he came to himself, and had well considered the danger
he was lately under, he could not forbear from shuddering at the
wonderful ability and power of an orator who had made him hazard
his life and empire on the issue of a few brief hours. The fame
of it also reached even to the court of Persia, and the king
sent letters to his lieutenants, commanding them to supply
Demosthenes with money, and to pay every attention to him, as
the only man of all the Grecians who was able to give Philip
occupation and find employment for his forces near home, in the
troubles of Greece. This afterwards came to the knowledge of
Alexander, by certain letters of Demosthenes which he found at
Sardis, and by other papers of the Persian officers, stating the
large sums which had been given him.

At this time, however, upon the ill success which now happened
to the Grecians, those of the contrary faction in the
commonwealth fell foul upon Demosthenes, and took the
opportunity to frame several informations and indictments
against him. But the people not only acquitted him of these
accusations, but continued towards him their former respect, and
still invited him, as a man that meant well, to take a part in
public affairs. Insomuch that when the bones of those who had
been slain at Chaeronea were brought home to be solemnly
interred, Demosthenes was the man they chose to make the funeral
oration. They did not show, under the misfortunes which befell
them, a base or ignoble mind, as Theopompus writes in his
exaggerated style, but, on the contrary, by the honor and
respect paid to their counselor, they made it appear that they
were noway dissatisfied with the counsels he had given them.
The speech, therefore, was spoken by Demosthenes. But the
subsequent decrees he would not allow to be passed in his own
name, but made use of those of his friends, one after another,
looking upon his own as unfortunate and inauspicious; till at
length he took courage again after the death of Philip, who did
not long outlive his victory at Chaeronea. And this, it seems,
was that which was foretold in the last verse of the oracle,

Conquered shall weep, and conqueror perish there.

Demosthenes had secret intelligence of the death of Philip, and
laying hold of this opportunity to prepossess the people with
courage and better hopes for the future, he came into the
assembly with a cheerful countenance, pretending to have had a
dream that presaged some great good fortune for Athens; and, not
long after, arrived the messengers who brought the news of
Philip's death. No sooner had the people received it but
immediately they offered sacrifice to the gods, and decreed that
Pausanias should be presented with a crown. Demosthenes
appeared publicly in a rich dress, with a chaplet on his head,
though it were but the seventh day since the death of his
daughter, as is said by Aeschines, who upbraids him upon this
account, and rails at him as one void of natural affection
towards his children. Whereas, indeed, he rather betrays
himself to be of a poor, low spirit, and effeminate mind, if he
really means to make wailings and lamentation the only signs of
a gentle and affectionate nature, and to condemn those who bear
such accidents with more temper and less passion. For my own
part, I cannot say that the behavior of the Athenians on this
occasion was wise or honorable, to crown themselves with
garlands and to sacrifice to the Gods for the death of a Prince
who, in the midst of his success and victories, when they were a
conquered people, had used them with so much clemency and
humanity. For besides provoking fortune, it was a base thing,
and unworthy in itself, to make him a citizen of Athens, and pay
him honors while he lived, and yet as soon as he fell by
another's hand, to set no bounds to their jollity, to insult
over him dead, and to sing triumphant songs of victory, as if by
their own valor they had vanquished him. I must at the same
time commend the behavior of Demosthenes, who, leaving tears and
lamentations and domestic sorrows to the women, made it his
business to attend to the interests of the commonwealth. And I
think it the duty of him who would be accounted to have a soul
truly valiant, and fit for government, that, standing always
firm to the common good, and letting private griefs and troubles
find their compensation in public blessings, he should maintain
the dignity of his character and station, much more than actors
who represent the persons of kings and tyrants, who, we see,
when they either laugh or weep on the stage, follow, not their
own private inclinations, but the course consistent with the
subject and with their position. And if, moreover, when our
neighbor is in misfortune, it is not our duty to forbear
offering any consolation, but rather to say whatever may tend to
cheer him, and to invite his attention to any agreeable objects,
just as we tell people who are troubled with sore eyes, to
withdraw their sight from bright and offensive colors to green,
and those of a softer mixture, from whence can a man seek, in
his own case, better arguments of consolation for afflictions in
his family, than from the prosperity of his country, by making
public and domestic chances count, so to say, together, and the
better fortune of the state obscure and conceal the less happy
circumstances of the individual. I have been induced to say so
much, because I have known many readers melted by Aeschines's
language into a soft and unmanly tenderness.

But now to return to my narrative. The cities of Greece were
inspirited once more by the efforts of Demosthenes to form a
league together. The Thebans, whom he had provided with arms,
set upon their garrison, and slew many of them; the Athenians
made preparations to join their forces with them; Demosthenes
ruled supreme in the popular assembly, and wrote letters to the
Persian officers who commanded under the king in Asia, inciting
them to make war upon the Macedonian, calling him child and
simpleton. But as soon as Alexander had settled matters in his
own country, and came in person with his army into Boeotia, down
fell the courage of the Athenians, and Demosthenes was hushed;
the Thebans, deserted by them, fought by themselves, and lost
their city. After which, the people of Athens, all in distress
and great perplexity, resolved to send ambassadors to Alexander,
and amongst others, made choice of Demosthenes for one; but his
heart failing him for fear of the king's anger, he returned back
from Cithaeron, and left the embassy. In the meantime,
Alexander sent to Athens, requiring ten of their orators to be
delivered up to him, as Idomeneus and Duris have reported, but
as the most and best historians say, he demanded these eight
only: Demosthenes, Polyeuctus, Ephialtes, Lycurgus, Moerocles,
Demon, Callisthenes, and Charidemus. It was upon this occasion
that Demosthenes related to them the fable in which the sheep
are said to deliver up their dogs to the wolves; himself and
those who with him contended for the people's safety, being, in
his comparison, the dogs that defended the flock, and Alexander
"the Macedonian arch wolf." He further told them, "As we see
corn-masters sell their whole stock by a few grains of wheat
which they carry about with them in a dish, as a sample of the
rest, so you, by delivering up us, who are but a few, do at the
same time unawares surrender up yourselves all together with
us;" so we find it related in the history of Aristobulus, the
Cassandrian. The Athenians were deliberating, and at a loss
what to do, when Demades, having agreed with the persons whom
Alexander had demanded, for five talents, undertook to go
ambassador, and to intercede with the king for them; and,
whether it was that he relied on his friendship and kindness, or
that he hoped to find him satiated, as a lion glutted with
slaughter, he certainly went, and prevailed with him both to
pardon the men, and to be reconciled to the city.

So he and his friends, when Alexander went away, were great men,
and Demosthenes was quite put aside. Yet when Agis, the
Spartan, made his insurrection, he also for a short time
attempted a movement in his favor; but he soon shrunk back
again, as the Athenians would not take any part in it, and, Agis
being slain, the Lacedaemonians were vanquished. During this
time it was that the indictment against Ctesiphon, concerning
the Crown, was brought to trial. The action was commenced a
little before the battle in Chaeronea, when Chaerondas was
archon, but it was not proceeded with till about ten years
after, Aristophon being then archon. Never was any public cause
more celebrated than this, alike for the fame of the orators,
and for the generous courage of the judges, who, though at that
time the accusers of Demosthenes were in the height of power,
and supported by all the favor of the Macedonians, yet would not
give judgment against him, but acquitted him so honorably, that
Aeschines did not obtain the fifth part of their suffrages on
his side, so that, immediately after, he left the city, and
spent the rest of his life in teaching rhetoric about the island
of Rhodes, and upon the continent in Ionia.

It was not long after that Harpalus fled from Alexander, and
came to Athens out of Asia; knowing himself guilty of many
misdeeds into which his love of luxury had led him, and fearing
the king, who was now grown terrible even to his best friends.
Yet this man had no sooner addressed himself to the people, and
delivered up his goods, his ships, and himself to their
disposal, but the other orators of the town had their eyes
quickly fixed upon his money, and came in to his assistance,
persuading the Athenians to receive and protect their suppliant.
Demosthenes at first gave advice to chase him out of the
country, and to beware lest they involved their city in a war
upon an unnecessary and unjust occasion. But some few days
after, as they were taking an account of the treasure, Harpalus,
perceiving how much he was pleased with a cup of Persian
manufacture, and how curiously he surveyed the sculpture and
fashion of it, desired him to poise it in his hand, and consider
the weight of the gold. Demosthenes, being amazed to feel how
heavy it was, asked him what weight it came to. "To you," said
Harpalus, smiling, "it shall come with twenty talents." And
presently after, when night drew on, he sent him the cup with so
many talents. Harpalus, it seems, was a person of singular
skill to discern a man's covetousness by the air of his
countenance, and the look and movements of his eyes. For
Demosthenes could not resist the temptation, but admitting the
present, like an armed garrison, into the citadel of his house,
he surrendered himself up to the interest of Harpalus. The next
day, he came into the assembly with his neck swathed about with
wool and rollers, and when they called on him to rise up and
speak, he made signs as if he had lost his voice. But the wits,
turning the matter to ridicule, said that certainly the orator
had been seized that night with no other than a silver quinsy.
And soon after, the people, becoming aware of the bribery, grew
angry, and would not suffer him to speak, or make any apology
for himself, but ran him down with noise; and one man stood up,
and cried out, "What, ye men of Athens, will you not hear the
cup-bearer?" So at length they banished Harpalus out of the
city; and fearing lest they should be called to account for the
treasure which the orators had purloined, they made a strict
inquiry, going from house to house; only Callicles, the son of
Arrhenidas, who was newly married, they would not suffer to be
searched, out of respect, as Theopompus writes, to the bride,
who was within.

Demosthenes resisted the inquisition, and proposed a decree to
refer the business to the court of Areopagus, and to punish
those whom that court should find guilty. But being himself one
of the first whom the court condemned, when he came to the bar,
he was fined fifty talents, and committed to prison; where, out
of shame of the crime for which he was condemned, and through
the weakness of his body, growing incapable of supporting the
confinement, he made his escape, by the carelessness of some and
by the connivance of others of the citizens. We are told, at
least, that he had not fled far from the city, when, finding
that he was pursued by some of those who had been his
adversaries, he endeavored to hide himself. But when they
called him by his name, and coming up nearer to him, desired he
would accept from them some money which they had brought from
home as a provision for his journey, and to that purpose only
had followed him, when they entreated him to take courage, and
to bear up against his misfortune, he burst out into much
greater lamentation, saying, "But how is it possible to support
myself under so heavy an affliction, since I leave a city in
which I have such enemies, as in any other it is not easy to
find friends." He did not show much fortitude in his
banishment, spending his time for the most part in Aegina and
Troezen, and, with tears in his eyes, looking towards the
country of Attica. And there remain upon record some sayings of
his, little resembling those sentiments of generosity and
bravery which he used to express when he had the management of
the commonwealth. For, as he was departing out of the city, it
is reported, he lifted up his hands towards the Acropolis, and
said, "O Lady Minerva, how is it that thou takest delight in
three such fierce untractable beast, the owl, the snake, and the
people?" The young men that came to visit and converse with
him, he deterred from meddling with state affairs, telling them,
that if at first two ways had been proposed to him, the one
leading to the speaker's stand and the assembly, the other going
direct to destruction, and he could have foreseen the many evils
which attend those who deal in public business, such as fears,
envies, calumnies, and contentions, he would certainly have
taken that which led straight on to his death.

But now happened the death of Alexander, while Demosthenes was
in this banishment which we have been speaking of. And the
Grecians were once again up in arms, encouraged by the brave
attempts of Leosthenes, who was then drawing a circumvallation
about Antipater, whom he held close besieged in Lamia. Pytheas,
therefore, the orator, and Callimedon, called the Crab, fled
from Athens, and taking sides with Antipater, went about with
his friends and ambassadors to keep the Grecians from revolting
and taking part with the Athenians. But, on the other side,
Demosthenes, associating himself with the ambassadors that came
from Athens, used his utmost endeavors and gave them his best
assistance in persuading the cities to fall unanimously upon the
Macedonians, and to drive them out of Greece. Phylarchus says
that in Arcadia there happened a rencounter between Pytheas and
Demosthenes, which came at last to downright railing, while the
one pleaded for the Macedonians, and the other for the Grecians.
Pytheas said, that as we always suppose there is some disease in
the family to which they bring asses' milk, so wherever there
comes an embassy from Athens, that city must needs be
indisposed. And Demosthenes answered him, retorting the
comparison: "Asses' milk is brought to restore health, and the
Athenians come for the safety and recovery of the sick." With
this conduct the people of Athens were so well pleased, that
they decreed the recall of Demosthenes from banishment. The
decree was brought in by Demon the Paeanian, cousin to
Demosthenes. So they sent him a ship to Aegina, and he landed at
the port of Piraeus, where he was met and joyfully received by
all the citizens, not so much as an Archon or a priest staying
behind. And Demetrius, the Magnesian, says, that he lifted up
his hands towards heaven, and blessed this day of his happy
return, as far more honorable than that of Alcibiades; since he
was recalled by his countrymen, not through any force or
constraint put upon them, but by their own good-will and free
inclinations. There remained only his pecuniary fine, which,
according to law, could not be remitted by the people. But they
found out a way to elude the law. It was a custom with them to
allow a certain quantity of silver to those who were to furnish
and adorn the altar for the sacrifice of Jupiter Soter. This
office, for that turn, they bestowed on Demosthenes, and for the
performance of it ordered him fifty talents, the very sum in
which he was condemned.

Yet it was no long time that he enjoyed his country after his
return, the attempts of the Greeks being soon all utterly
defeated. For the battle at Cranon happened in Metagitnion, in
Boedromion the garrison entered into Munychia, and in the
Pyanepsion following died Demosthenes after this manner.

Upon the report that Antipater and Craterus were coming to
Athens, Demosthenes with his party took their opportunity to
escape privily out of the city; but sentence of death was, upon
the motion of Demades, passed upon them by the people. They
dispersed themselves, flying some to one place, some to another;
and Antipater sent about his soldiers into all quarters to
apprehend them. Archias was their captain, and was thence
called the exile-hunter. He was a Thurian born, and is reported
to have been an actor of tragedies, and they say that Polus, of
Aegina, the best actor of his time, was his scholar; but
Hermippus reckons Archias among the disciples of Lacritus, the
orator, and Demetrius says, he spent some time with Anaximenes.
This Archias finding Hyperides the orator, Aristonicus of
Marathon, and Himeraeus, the brother of Demetrius the Phalerian,
in Aegina, took them by force out of the temple of Aeacus,
whither they were fled for safety, and sent them to Antipater,
then at Cleonae, where they were all put to death; and
Hyperides, they say, had his tongue cut out.

Demosthenes, he heard, had taken sanctuary at the temple of
Neptune in Calauria, and, crossing over thither in some light
vessels, as soon as he had landed himself, and the Thracian
spear-men that came with him, he endeavored to persuade
Demosthenes to accompany him to Antipater, as if he should meet
with no hard usage from him. But Demosthenes, in his sleep the
night before, had a strange dream. It seemed to him that he was
acting a tragedy, and contended with Archias for the victory;
and though he acquitted himself well, and gave good satisfaction
to the spectators, yet for want of better furniture and
provision for the stage, he lost the day. And so, while Archias
was discoursing to him with many expressions of kindness, he
sat still in the same posture, and looking up steadfastly upon
him, "O Archias," said he, "I am as little affected by your
promises now as I used formerly to be by your acting." Archias
at this beginning to grow angry and to threaten him, "Now," said
Demosthenes, "you speak like the genuine Macedonian oracle;
before you were but acting a part. Therefore forbear only a
little, while I write a word or two home to my family." Having
thus spoken, he withdrew into the temple, and taking a scroll,
as if he meant to write, he put the reed into his mouth, and
biting it, as he was wont to do when he was thoughtful or
writing, he held it there for some time. Then he bowed down his
head and covered it. The soldiers that stood at the door,
supposing all this to proceed from want of courage and fear of
death, in derision called him effeminate, and faint-hearted, and
coward. And Archias, drawing near, desired him to rise up, and
repeating the same kind things he had spoken before, he once
more promised him to make his peace with Antipater. But
Demosthenes, perceiving that now the poison had pierced and
seized his vitals, uncovered his head, and fixing his eyes upon
Archias, "Now," said he, "as soon as you please you may commence
the part of Creon in the tragedy, and cast out this body of mine
unburied. But, O gracious Neptune, I, for my part, while I am
yet alive, arise up and depart out of this sacred place; though
Antipater and the Macedonians have not left so much as thy
temple unpolluted." After he had thus spoken and desired to be
held up, because already he began to tremble and stagger, as he
was going forward, and passing by the altar, he fell down, and
with a groan gave up the ghost.

Ariston says that he took the poison out of a reed, as we have
shown before. But Pappus, a certain historian whose history was
recovered by Hermippus, says, that as he fell near the altar,
there was found in his scroll this beginning only of a letter,
and nothing more, "Demosthenes to Antipater." And that when his
sudden death was much wondered at, the Thracians who guarded the
doors reported that he took the poison into his hand out of a
rag, and put it in his mouth, and that they imagined it had been
gold which he swallowed; but the maid that served him, being
examined by the followers of Archias, affirmed that he had worn
it in a bracelet for a long time, as an amulet. And
Eratosthenes also says that he kept the poison in a hollow ring,
and that that ring was the bracelet which he wore about his arm.
There are various other statements made by the many authors who
have related the story, but there is no need to enter into their
discrepancies; yet I must not omit what is said by Demochares,
the relation of Demosthenes, who is of opinion, it was not by
the help of poison that he met with so sudden and so easy a
death, but that by the singular favor and providence of the gods
he was thus rescued from the cruelty of the Macedonians. He died
on the sixteenth of Pyanepsion, the most sad and solemn day of
the Thesmophoria, which the women observe by fasting in the
temple of the goddess.

Soon after his death, the people of Athens bestowed on him such
honors as he had deserved. They erected his statue of brass;
they decreed that the eldest of his family should be maintained
in the Prytaneum; and on the base of his statue was engraven the
famous inscription, --

Had you for Greece been strong, as wise you were,
The Macedonian had not conquered her.

For it is simply ridiculous to say, as some have related, that
Demosthenes made these verses himself in Calauria, as he was
about to take the poison.

A little before we went to Athens, the following incident was
said to have happened. A soldier, being summoned to appear
before his superior officer, and answer to an accusation brought
against him, put that little gold which he had into the hands of
Demosthenes's statue. The fingers of this statue were folded
one within another, and near it grew a small plane-tree, from
which many leaves, either accidentally blown thither by the
wind, or placed so on purpose by the man himself falling
together, and lying round about the gold, concealed it for a
long time. In the end, the soldier returned, and found his
treasure entire, and the fame of this incident was spread
abroad. And many ingenious persons of the city competed with
each other, on this occasion, to vindicate the integrity of
Demosthenes, in several epigrams which they made on the subject.

As for Demades, he did not long enjoy the new honors he now came
in for, divine vengeance for the death of Demosthenes pursuing
him into Macedonia, where he was justly put to death by those
whom he had basely flattered. They were weary of him before,
but at this time the guilt he lay under was manifest and
undeniable. For some of his letters were intercepted, in which
he had encouraged Perdiccas to fall upon Macedonia, and to save
the Grecians, who, he said, hung only by an old rotten thread,
meaning Antipater. Of this he was accused by Dinarchus, the
Corinthian, and Cassander was so enraged, that he first slew his
son in his bosom, and then gave orders to execute him; who
might-now at last, by his own extreme misfortunes, learn the
lesson, that traitors, who make sale of their country, sell
themselves first; a truth which Demosthenes had often foretold
him, and he would never believe. Thus, Sosius, you have the
life of Demosthenes, from such accounts as we have either read
or heard concerning him.


It is generally said, that Helvia, the mother of Cicero, was
both well born and lived a fair life; but of his father nothing
is reported but in extremes. For whilst some would have him the
son of a fuller, and educated in that trade, others carry back
the origin of his family to Tullus Attius, an illustrious king
of the Volscians, who waged war not without honor against the
Romans. However, he who first of that house was surnamed Cicero
seems to have been a person worthy to be remembered; since those
who succeeded him not only did not reject, but were fond of that
name, though vulgarly made a matter of reproach. For the Latins
call a vetch Cicer, and a nick or dent at the tip of his nose,
which resembled the opening in a vetch, gave him the surname of

Cicero, whose story I am writing, is said to have replied with
spirit to some of his friends, who recommended him to lay aside
or change the name when he first stood for office and engaged in
politics, that he would make it his endeavor to render the name
of Cicero more glorious than that of the Scauri and Catuli. And
when he was quaestor in Sicily, and was making an offering of
silver plate to the gods, and had inscribed his two names,
Marcus and Tullius, instead of the third he jestingly told the
artificer to engrave the figure of a vetch by them. Thus much
is told us about his name.

Of his birth it is reported, that his mother was delivered
without pain or labor, on the third of the new Calends, the
same day on which now the magistrates of Rome pray and sacrifice
for the emperor. It is said, also, that a vision appeared to
his nurse, and foretold the child she then suckled should
afterwards become a great benefit to the Roman States. To such
presages, which might in general be thought mere fancies and
idle talk, he himself erelong gave the credit of true
prophecies. For as soon as he was of an age to begin to have
lessons, he became so distinguished for his talent, and got such
a name and reputation amongst the boys, that their fathers would
often visit the school, that they might see young Cicero, and
might be able to say that they themselves had witnessed the
quickness and readiness in learning for which he was renowned.
And the more rude among them used to be angry with their
children, to see them, as they walked together, receiving Cicero
with respect into the middle place. And being, as Plato would
have, the scholar-like and philosophical temper, eager for every
kind of learning, and indisposed to no description of knowledge
or instruction, he showed, however, a more peculiar propensity
to poetry; and there is a poem now extant, made by him when a
boy, in tetrameter verse, called Pontius Glaucus. And
afterwards, when he applied himself more curiously to these
accomplishments, he had the name of being not only the best
orator, but also the best poet of Rome. And the glory of his
rhetoric still remains, notwithstanding the many new modes in
speaking since his time; but his verses are forgotten and out of
all repute, so many ingenious poets having followed him.

Leaving his juvenile studies, he became an auditor of Philo the
Academic, whom the Romans, above all the other scholars of
Clitomachus, admired for his eloquence and loved for his
character. He also sought the company of the Mucii, who were
eminent statesmen and leaders in the senate, and acquired from
them a knowledge of the laws. For some short time he served in
arms under Sylla, in the Marsian war. But perceiving the
commonwealth running into factions, and from faction all things
tending to an absolute monarchy, he betook himself to a retired
and contemplative life, and conversing with the learned Greeks,
devoted himself to study, till Sylla had obtained the
government, and the commonwealth was in some kind of settlement.

At this time, Chrysogonus, Sylla's emancipated slave, having
laid an information about an estate belonging to one who was
said to have been put to death by proscription, had bought it
himself for two thousand drachmas. And when Roscius, the son
and heir of the dead, complained, and demonstrated the estate to
be worth two hundred and fifty talents, Sylla took it angrily to
have his actions questioned, and preferred a process against
Roscius for the murder of his father, Chrysogonus managing the
evidence. None of the advocates durst assist him, but fearing
the cruelty of Sylla, avoided the cause. The young man, being
thus deserted, came for refuge to Cicero. Cicero's friends
encouraged him, saying he was not likely ever to have a fairer
and more honorable introduction to public life; he therefore
undertook the defense, carried the cause, and got much renown
for it.

But fearing Sylla, he traveled into Greece, and gave it out that
he did so for the benefit of his health. And indeed he was lean
and meager, and had such a weakness in his stomach, that he
could take nothing but a spare and thin diet, and that not till
late in the evening. His voice was loud and good, but so harsh
and unmanaged that in vehemence and heat of speaking he always
raised it to so high a tone, that there seemed to be reason to
fear about his health.

When he came to Athens, he was a hearer of Antiochus of Ascalon,
with whose fluency and elegance of diction he was much taken,
although he did not approve of his innovations in doctrine. For
Antiochus had now fallen off from the New Academy, as they call
it, and forsaken the sect of Carneades, whether that he was
moved by the argument of manifestness and the senses, or, as
some say, had been led by feelings of rivalry and opposition to
the followers of Clitomachus and Philo to change his opinions,
and in most things to embrace the doctrine of the Stoics. But
Cicero rather affected and adhered to the doctrines of the New
Academy; and purposed with himself, if he should be disappointed
of any employment in the commonwealth, to retire hither from
pleading and political affairs, and to pass his life with quiet
in the study of philosophy.

But after he had received the news of Sylla's death, and his
body, strengthened again by exercise, was come to a vigorous
habit, his voice managed and rendered sweet and full to the ear
and pretty well brought into keeping with his general
constitution, his friends at Rome earnestly soliciting him by
letters, and Antiochus also urging him to return to public
affairs, he again prepared for use his orator's instrument of
rhetoric, and summoned into action his political faculties,
diligently exercising himself in declamations, and attending the
most celebrated rhetoricians of the time. He sailed from Athens
for Asia and Rhodes. Amongst the Asian masters, he conversed
with Xenocles of Adramyttium, Dionysius of Magnesia, and
Menippus of Caria; at Rhodes, he studied oratory with
Apollonius, the son of Molon, and philosophy with Posidonius.
Apollonius, we are told, not understanding Latin, requested
Cicero to declaim in Greek. He complied willingly, thinking
that his faults would thus be better pointed out to him. And
after he finished, all his other hearers were astonished, and
contended who should praise him most, but Apollonius, who had
shown no signs of excitement whilst he was hearing him, so also
now, when it was over, sat musing for some considerable time,
without any remark. And when Cicero was discomposed at this, he
said, "You have my praise and admiration, Cicero, and Greece my
pity and commiseration, since those arts and that eloquence
which are the only glories that remain to her, will now be
transferred by you to Rome."

And now when Cicero, full of expectation, was again bent upon
political affairs, a certain oracle blunted the edge of his
inclination; for consulting the god of Delphi how he should
attain most glory, the Pythoness answered, by making his own
genius and not the opinion of the people the guide of his life;
and therefore at first he passed his time in Rome cautiously,
and was very backward in pretending to public offices, so that
he was at that time in little esteem, and had got the names, so
readily given by low and ignorant people in Rome, of Greek and
Scholar. But when his own desire of fame and the eagerness of
his father and relations had made him take in earnest to
pleading, he made no slow or gentle advance to the first place,
but shone out in full luster at once, and far surpassed all the
advocates of the bar. At first, it is said, he, as well as
Demosthenes, was defective in his delivery, and on that account
paid much attention to the instructions, sometimes of Roscius
the comedian, and sometimes of Aesop the tragedian. They tell
of this Aesop, that whilst he was representing on the theater
Atreus deliberating the revenge of Thyestes, he was so
transported beyond himself in the heat of action, that he struck
with his scepter one of the servants, who was running across the
stage, so violently, that he laid him dead upon the place. And
such afterwards was Cicero's delivery, that it did not a little
contribute to render his eloquence persuasive. He used to
ridicule loud speakers, saying that they shouted because they
could not speak, like lame men who get on horseback because they
cannot walk. And his readiness and address in sarcasm, and
generally in witty sayings, was thought to suit a pleader very
well, and to be highly attractive, but his using it to excess
offended many, and gave him the repute of ill nature.

He was appointed quaestor in a great scarcity of corn, and had
Sicily for his province, where, though at first he displeased
many, by compelling them to send in their provisions to Rome,
yet after they had had experience of his care, justice, and
clemency, they honored him more than ever they did any of their
governors before. It happened, also, that some young Romans of
good and noble families, charged with neglect of discipline and
misconduct in military service, were brought before the praetor
in Sicily. Cicero undertook their defense, which he conducted
admirably, and got them acquitted. So returning to Rome with a
great opinion of himself for these things, a ludicrous incident
befell him, as he tells us himself. Meeting an eminent citizen
in Campania, whom he accounted his friend, he asked him what the
Romans said and thought of his actions, as if the whole city had
been filled with the glory of what he had done. His friend
asked him in reply, "Where is it you have been, Cicero?" This
for the time utterly mortified and cast him down, to perceive
that the report of his actions had sunk into the city of Rome as
into an immense ocean, without any visible effect or result in
reputation. And afterwards considering with himself that the
glory he contended for was an infinite thing, and that there was
no fixed end nor measure in its pursuit, he abated much of his
ambitious thoughts. Nevertheless, he was always excessively
pleased with his own praise, and continued to the very last to
be passionately fond of glory; which often interfered with the
prosecution of his wisest resolutions.

On beginning to apply himself more resolutely to public
business, he remarked it as an unreasonable and absurd thing
that artificers, using vessels and instruments inanimate, should
know the name, place, and use of every one of them, and yet the
statesman, whose instruments for carrying out public measures
are men, should be negligent and careless in the knowledge of
persons. And so he not only acquainted himself with the names,
but also knew the particular place where every one of the more
eminent citizens dwelt, what lands he possessed, the friends he
made use of, and those that were of his neighborhood, and when
he traveled on any road in Italy, he could readily name and show
the estates and seats of his friends and acquaintance. Having
so small an estate, though a sufficient competency for his own
expenses, it was much wondered at that he took neither fees nor
gifts from his clients, and more especially, that he did not do
so when he undertook the prosecution of Verres. This Verres,
who had been praetor of Sicily, and stood charged by the
Sicilians of many evil practices during his government there,
Cicero succeeded in getting condemned, not by speaking, but in a
manner by holding his tongue. For the praetors, favoring
Verres, had deferred the trial by several adjournments to the
last day, in which it was evident there could not be sufficient
time for the advocates to be heard, and the cause brought to an
issue. Cicero, therefore, came forward, and said there was no
need of speeches; and after producing and examining witnesses,
he required the judges to proceed to sentence. However, many
witty sayings are on record, as having been used by Cicero on
the occasion. When a man named Caecilius, one of the freed
slaves, who was said to be given to Jewish practices, would have
put by the Sicilians, and undertaken the prosecution of Verres
himself, Cicero asked, "What has a Jew to do with swine?"
verres being the Roman word for a boar. And when Verres began
to reproach Cicero with effeminate living, "You ought," replied
he, "to use this language at home, to your sons;" Verres having
a son who had fallen into disgraceful courses. Hortensius the
orator, not daring directly to undertake the defense of Verres,
was yet persuaded to appear for him at the laying on of the
fine, and received an ivory sphinx for his reward; and when
Cicero, in some passage of his speech, obliquely reflected on
him, and Hortensius told him he was not skillful in solving
riddles, "No," said Cicero, "and yet you have the Sphinx in your

Verres was thus convicted; though Cicero, who set the fine at
seventy-five myriads, lay under the suspicion of being
corrupted by bribery to lessen the sum. But the Sicilians, in
testimony of their gratitude, came and brought him all sorts of
presents from the island, when he was aedile; of which he made
no private profit himself, but used their generosity only to
reduce the public price of provisions.

He had a very pleasant seat at Arpi, he had also a farm near
Naples, and another about Pompeii, but neither of any great
value. The portion of his wife, Terentia, amounted to ten
myriads, and he had a bequest valued at nine myriads of denarii;
upon these he lived in a liberal but temperate style, with the
learned Greeks and Romans that were his familiars. He rarely,
if at any time, sat down to meat till sunset, and that not so
much on account of business, as for his health and the weakness
of his stomach. He was otherwise in the care of his body nice
and delicate, appointing himself, for example, a set number of
walks and rubbings. And after this manner managing the habit
of his body, he brought it in time to be healthful, and capable
of supporting many great fatigues and trials. His father's
house he made over to his brother, living himself near the
Palatine hill, that he might not give the trouble of long
journeys to those that made suit to him. And, indeed, there
were not fewer daily appearing at his door, to do their court to
him, than there were that came to Crassus for his riches, or to
Pompey for his power amongst the soldiers, these being at that
time the two men of the greatest repute and influence in Rome.
Nay, even Pompey himself used to pay court to Cicero, and
Cicero's public actions did much to establish Pompey's authority
and reputation in the state.

Numerous distinguished competitors stood with him for the
praetor's office; but he was chosen before them all, and managed
the decision of causes with justice and integrity. It is
related that Licinius Macer, a man himself of great power in the
city, and supported also by the assistance of Crassus, was
accused before him of extortion, and that, in confidence on his
own interest and the diligence of his friends, whilst the judges
were debating about the sentence, he went to his house, where
hastily trimming his hair and putting on a clean gown, as
already acquitted, he was setting off again to go to the Forum;
but at his hall door meeting Crassus, who told him that he was
condemned by all the votes, he went in again, threw himself upon
his bed, and died immediately. This verdict was considered very
creditable to Cicero, as showing his careful management of the
courts of justice. On another occasion, Vatinius, a man of rude
manners and often insolent in court to the magistrates, who had
large swellings on his neck, came before his tribunal and made
some request, and on Cicero's desiring further time to consider
it, told him that he himself would have made no question about
it, had he been praetor. Cicero, turning quickly upon him,
answered, "But I, you see, have not the neck that you have."

When there were but two or three days remaining in his office,
Manilius was brought before him, and charged with peculation.
Manilius had the good opinion and favor of the common people,
and was thought to be prosecuted only for Pompey's sake, whose
particular friend he was. And therefore, when he asked a space
of time before his trial, and Cicero allowed him but one day,
and that the next only, the common people grew highly offended,
because it had been the custom of the praetors to allow ten days
at least to the accused: and the tribunes of the people having
called him before the people, and accused him, he, desiring to
be heard, said, that as he had always treated the accused with
equity and humanity, as far as the law allowed, so he thought it
hard to deny the same to Manilius, and that he had studiously
appointed that day of which alone, as praetor, he was master,
and that it was not the part of those that were desirous to help
him, to cast the judgment of his cause upon another praetor.
These things being said made a wonderful change in the people,
and, commending him much for it, they desired that he himself
would undertake the defense of Manilius; which he willingly
consented to, and that principally for the sake of Pompey, who
was absent. And, accordingly, taking his place before the
people again, he delivered a bold invective upon the
oligarchical party and on those who were jealous of Pompey.

Yet he was preferred to the consulship no less by the nobles
than the common people, for the good of the city; and both
parties jointly assisted his promotion, upon the following
reasons. The change of government made by Sylla, which at first
seemed a senseless one, by time and usage had now come to be
considered by the people no unsatisfactory settlement. But
there were some that endeavored to alter and subvert the whole
present state of affairs not from any good motives, but for
their own private gain; and Pompey being at this time employed
in the wars with the kings of Pontus and Armenia, there was no
sufficient force at Rome to suppress any attempts at a
revolution. These people had for their head a man of bold,
daring, and restless character, Lucius Catiline, who was
accused, besides other great offenses, of deflowering his virgin
daughter, and killing his own brother; for which latter crime,
fearing to be prosecuted at law, he persuaded Sylla to set him
down, as though he were yet alive, amongst those that were to be
put to death by proscription. This man the profligate citizens
choosing for their captain, gave faith to one another, amongst
other pledges, by sacrificing a man and eating of his flesh; and
a great part of the young men of the city were corrupted by him,
he providing for everyone pleasures, drink, and women, and
profusely supplying the expense of these debauches. Etruria,
moreover, had all been excited to revolt, as well as a great
part of Gaul within the Alps. But Rome itself was in the most
dangerous inclination to change, on account of the unequal
distribution of wealth and property, those of highest rank and
greatest spirit having impoverished themselves by shows,
entertainments, ambition of offices, and sumptuous buildings,
and the riches of the city having thus fallen into the hands of
mean and low-born persons. So that there wanted but a slight
impetus to set all in motion, it being in the power of every
daring man to overturn a sickly commonwealth.

Catiline, however, being desirous of procuring a strong position
to carry out his designs, stood for the consulship, and had
great hopes of success, thinking he should be appointed, with
Caius Antonius as his colleague, who was a man fit to lead
neither in a good cause nor in a bad one, but might be a
valuable accession to another's power. These things the
greatest part of the good and honest citizens apprehending, put
Cicero upon standing for the consulship; whom the people readily
receiving, Catiline was put by, so that he and Caius Antonius
were chosen, although amongst the competitors he was the only
man descended from a father of the equestrian, and not of the
senatorial order.

Though the designs of Catiline were not yet publicly known, yet
considerable preliminary troubles immediately followed upon
Cicero's entrance upon the consulship. For, on the one side,
those who were disqualified by the laws of Sylla from holding
any public offices, being neither inconsiderable in power nor in
number, came forward as candidates and caressed the people for
them; speaking many things truly and justly against the tyranny
of Sylla, only that they disturbed the government at an improper
and unseasonable time; on the other hand, the tribunes of the
people proposed laws to the same purpose, constituting a
commission of ten persons, with unlimited powers, in whom as
supreme governors should be vested the right of selling the
public lands of all Italy and Syria and Pompey's new conquests,
of judging and banishing whom they pleased, of planting
colonies, of taking moneys out of the treasury, and of levying
and paying what soldiers should be thought needful. And several
of the nobility favored this law, but especially Caius Antonius,
Cicero's colleague, in hopes of being one of the ten. But what
gave the greatest fear to the nobles was, that he was thought
privy to the conspiracy of Catiline, and not to dislike it,
because of his great debts.

Cicero, endeavoring in the first place to provide a remedy
against this danger, procured a decree assigning to him the
province of Macedonia, he himself declining that of Gaul, which
was offered to him. And this piece of favor so completely won
over Antonius, that he was ready to second and respond to, like
a hired player, whatever Cicero said for the good of the
country. And now, having made his colleague thus tame and
tractable, he could with greater courage attack the
conspirators. And, therefore, in the senate, making an oration
against the law of the ten commissioners, he so confounded those
who proposed it, that they had nothing to reply. And when they
again endeavored, and, having prepared things beforehand, had
called the consuls before the assembly of the people, Cicero,
fearing nothing, went first out, and commanded the senate to
follow him, and not only succeeded in throwing out the law, but
so entirely overpowered the tribunes by his oratory, that they
abandoned all thought of their other projects.

For Cicero, it may be said, was the one man, above all others,
who made the Romans feel how great a charm eloquence lends to
what is good, and how invincible justice is, if it be well
spoken; and that it is necessary for him who would dexterously
govern a commonwealth, in action, always to prefer that which
is honest before that which is popular, and in speaking, to free
the right and useful measure from everything that may occasion
offense. An incident occurred in the theater, during his
consulship, which showed what his speaking could do. For
whereas formerly the knights of Rome were mingled in the theater
with the common people, and took their places amongst them as it
happened, Marcus Otho, when he was praetor, was the first who
distinguished them from the other citizens, and appointed them a
proper seat, which they still enjoy as their special place in
the theater. This the common people took as an indignity done
to them, and, therefore, when Otho appeared in the theater, they
hissed him; the knights, on the contrary, received him with loud
clapping. The people repeated and increased their hissing; the
knights continued their clapping. Upon this, turning upon one
another, they broke out into insulting words, so that the
theater was in great disorder. Cicero, being informed of it,
came himself to the theater, and summoning the people into the
temple of Bellona, he so effectually chid and chastised them for
it, that, again returning into the theater, they received Otho
with loud applause, contending with the knights who should give
him the greatest demonstrations of honor and respect.

The conspirators with Catiline, at first cowed and disheartened,
began presently to take courage again. And assembling
themselves together, they exhorted one another boldly to
undertake the design before Pompey's return, who, as it was
said, was now on his march with his forces for Rome. But the
old soldiers of Sylla were Catiline's chief stimulus to action.
They had been disbanded all about Italy, but the greatest number
and the fiercest of them lay scattered among the cities of
Etruria, entertaining themselves with dreams of new plunder and
rapine amongst the hoarded riches of Italy. These, having for
their leader Manlius, who had served with distinction in the
wars under Sylla, joined themselves to Catiline, and came to
Rome to assist him with their suffrages at the election. For he
again pretended to the consulship, having resolved to kill
Cicero in a tumult at the elections. Also, the divine powers
seemed to give intimation of the coming troubles, by
earthquakes, thunderbolts, and strange appearances. Nor was
human evidence wanting, certain enough in itself, though not
sufficient for the conviction of the noble and powerful
Catiline. Therefore Cicero, deferring the day of election,
summoned Catiline into the senate, and questioned him as to the
charges made against him. Catiline, believing there were many
in the senate desirous of change, and to give a specimen of
himself to the conspirators present, returned an audacious
answer, "What harm," said he, "when I see two bodies, the one
lean and consumptive with a head, the other great and strong
without one, if I put a head to that body which wants one?"
This covert representation of the senate and the people excited
yet greater apprehensions in Cicero. He put on armor, and was
attended from his house by the noble citizens in a body; and a
number of the young men went with him into the Plain. Here,
designedly letting his tunic slip partly off from his shoulders,
he showed his armor underneath, and discovered his danger to the
spectators; who, being much moved at it, gathered round about
him for his defense. At length, Catiline was by a general
suffrage again put by, and Silanus and Murena chosen consuls.

Not long after this, Catiline's soldiers got together in a body
in Etruria, and began to form themselves into companies, the day
appointed for the design being near at hand. About midnight,
some of the principal and most powerful citizens of Rome, Marcus
Crassus, Marcus Marcellus, and Scipio Metellus went to Cicero's
house, where, knocking at the gate, and calling up the porter,
they commended him to awake Cicero, and tell him they were
there. The business was this: Crassus's porter after supper
had delivered to him letters brought by an unknown person. Some
of them were directed to others, but one to Crassus, without a
name; this only Crassus read, which informed him that there was
a great slaughter intended by Catiline, and advised him to leave
the city. The others he did not open, but went with them
immediately to Cicero, being affrighted at the danger, and to
free himself of the suspicion he lay under for his familiarity
with Catiline. Cicero, considering the matter, summoned the
senate at break of day. The letters he brought with him, and
delivered them to those to whom they were directed, commanding
them to read them publicly; they all alike contained an account
of the conspiracy. And when Quintus Arrius, a man of praetorian
dignity, recounted to them, how soldiers were collecting in
companies in Etruria, and Manlius stated to be in motion with a
large force, hovering about those cities, in expectation of
intelligence from Rome, the senate made a decree, to place all
in the hands of the consuls, who should undertake the conduct of
everything, and do their best to save the state. This was not
a common thing, but only done by the senate in case of imminent

After Cicero had received this power, he committed all affairs
outside to Quintus Metellus, but the management of the city he
kept in his own hands. Such a numerous attendance guarded him
every day when he went abroad, that the greatest part of the
market-place was filled with his train when he entered it.
Catiline, impatient of further delay, resolved himself to break
forth and go to Manlius, but he commanded Marcius and Cethegus
to take their swords, and go early in the morning to Cicero's
gates, as if only intending to salute him, and then to fall upon
him and slay him. This a noble lady, Fulvia, coming by night,
discovered to Cicero, bidding him beware of Cethegus and
Marcius. They came by break of day, and being denied entrance,
made an outcry and disturbance at the gates, which excited all
the more suspicion. But Cicero, going forth, summoned the
senate into the temple of Jupiter Stator, which stands at the
end of the Sacred Street, going up to the Palatine. And when
Catiline with others of his party also came, as intending to
make his defense, none of the senators would sit by him, but all
of them left the bench where he had placed himself. And when he
began to speak, they interrupted him with outcries. At length
Cicero, standing up, commanded him to leave the city, for since
one governed the commonwealth with words, the other with arms,
it was necessary there should be a wall betwixt them. Catiline,
therefore, immediately left the town, with three hundred armed
men; and assuming, as if he had been a magistrate, the rods,
axes, and military ensigns, he went to Manlius, and having got
together a body of near twenty thousand men, with these he
marched to the several cities, endeavoring to persuade or force
them to revolt. So it being now come to open war, Antonius was
sent forth to fight him.

The remainder of those in the city whom he had corrupted,
Cornelius Lentulus kept together and encouraged. He had the
surname Sura, and was a man of a noble family, but a dissolute
liver, who for his debauchery was formerly turned out of the
senate, and was now holding the office of praetor for the second
time, as the custom is with those who desire to regain the
dignity of senator. It is said that he got the surname Sura
upon this occasion; being quaestor in the time of Sylla, he had
lavished away and consumed a great quantity of the public
moneys, at which Sylla being provoked, called him to give an
account in the senate; he appeared with great coolness and
contempt, and said he had no account to give, but they might
take this, holding up the calf of his leg, as boys do at ball,
when they have missed. Upon which he was surnamed Sura, sura
being the Roman word for the calf of the leg. Being at another
time prosecuted at law, and having bribed some of the judges, he
escaped only by two votes, and complained of the needless
expense he had gone to in paying for a second, as one would have
sufficed to acquit him. This man, such in his own nature, and
now inflamed by Catiline, false prophets and fortune-tellers had
also corrupted with vain hopes, quoting to him fictitious verses
and oracles, and proving from the Sibylline prophecies that
there were three of the name Cornelius designed by fate to be
monarchs of Rome; two of whom, Cinna and Sylla, had already
fulfilled the decree, and that divine fortune was now advancing
with the gift of monarchy for the remaining third Cornelius; and
that therefore he ought by all means to accept it, and not lose
opportunity by delay, as Catiline had done.

Lentulus, therefore, designed no mean or trivial matter, for he
had resolved to kill the whole senate, and as many other
citizens as he could, to fire the city, and spare nobody, except
only Pompey's children, intending to seize and keep them as
pledges of his reconciliation with Pompey. For there was then a
common and strong report that Pompey was on his way homeward
from his great expedition. The night appointed for the design
was one of the Saturnalia; swords, flax, and sulfur they carried
and hid in the house of Cethegus; and providing one hundred men,
and dividing the city into as many parts, they had allotted to
every one singly his proper place, so that in a moment many
kindling the fire, the city might be in a flame all together.
Others were appointed to stop up the aqueducts, and to kill
those who should endeavor to carry water to put it out. Whilst
these plans were preparing, it happened there were two
ambassadors from the Allobroges staying in Rome; a nation at
that time in a distressed condition, and very uneasy under the
Roman government. These Lentulus and his party judging useful
instruments to move and seduce Gaul to revolt, admitted into the
conspiracy, and they gave them letters to their own magistrates,
and letters to Catiline; in those they promised liberty, in
these they exhorted Catiline to set all slaves free, and to
bring them along with him to Rome. They sent also to accompany
them to Catiline, one Titus, a native of Croton, who was to
carry those letters to him.

These counsels of inconsidering men, who conversed together over
wine and with women, Cicero watched with sober industry and
forethought, and with most admirable sagacity, having several
emissaries abroad, who observed and traced with him all that was
done, and keeping also a secret correspondence with many who
pretended to join in the conspiracy. He thus knew all the
discourse which passed betwixt them and the strangers; and lying
in wait for them by night, he took the Crotonian with his
letters, the ambassadors of the Allobroges acting secretly in
concert with him.

By break of day, he summoned the senate into the temple of
Concord, where he read the letters and examined the informers.
Junius Silanus further stated, that several persons had heard
Cethegus say, that three consuls and four praetors were to be
slain; Piso, also, a person of consular dignity, testified other
matters of the like nature; and Caius Sulpicius, one of the
praetors, being sent to Cethegus's house, found there a quantity
of darts and of armor, and a still greater number of swords and
daggers, all recently whetted. At length, the senate decreeing
indemnity to the Crotonian upon his confession of the whole
matter, Lentulus was convicted, abjured his office (for he was
then praetor), and put off his robe edged with purple in the
senate, changing it for another garment more agreeable to his
present circumstances. He, thereupon, with the rest of his
confederates present, was committed to the charge of the
praetors in free custody.

It being evening, and the common people in crowds expecting
without, Cicero went forth to them, and told them what was done,
and then, attended by them, went to the house of a friend and
near neighbor; for his own was taken up by the women, who were
celebrating with secret rites the feast of the goddess whom the
Romans call the Good, and the Greeks, the Women's goddess. For
a sacrifice is annually performed to her in the consul's house,
either by his wife or mother, in the presence of the vestal
virgins. And having got into his friend's house privately, a
few only being present, he began to deliberate how he should
treat these men. The severest, and the only punishment fit for
such heinous crimes, he was somewhat shy and fearful of
inflicting, as well from the clemency of his nature, as also
lest he should be thought to exercise his authority too
insolently, and to treat too harshly men of the noblest birth
and most powerful friendships in the city; and yet, if he should
use them more mildly, he had a dreadful prospect of danger from
them. For there was no likelihood, if they suffered less than
death, they would be reconciled, but rather, adding new rage to
their former wickedness, they would rush into every kind of
audacity, while he himself, whose character for courage already
did not stand very high with the multitude, would be thought
guilty of the greatest cowardice and want of manliness.

Whilst Cicero was doubting what course to take, a portent
happened to the women in their sacrificing. For on the altar,
where the fire seemed wholly extinguished, a great and bright
flame issued forth from the ashes of the burnt wood; at which
others were affrighted, but the holy virgins called to Terentia,
Cicero's wife, and bade her haste to her husband, and command
him to execute what he had resolved for the good of his country,
for the goddess had sent a great light to the increase of his
safety and glory. Terentia, therefore, as she was otherwise in
her own nature neither tender-hearted nor timorous, but a woman
eager for distinction (who, as Cicero himself says, would rather
thrust herself into his public affairs, than communicate her
domestic matters to him), told him these things, and excited him
against the conspirators. So also did Quintus his brother, and
Publius Nigidius, one of his philosophical friends, whom he
often made use of in his greatest and most weighty affairs of

The next day, a debate arising in the senate about the
punishment of the men, Silanus, being the first who was asked
his opinion, said, it was fit they should be all sent to the
prison, and there suffer the utmost penalty. To him all
consented in order till it came to Caius Caesar, who was
afterwards dictator. He was then but a young man, and only at
the outset of his career, but had already directed his hopes and
policy to that course by which he afterwards changed the Roman
state into a monarchy. Of this others foresaw nothing; but
Cicero had seen reason for strong suspicion, though without
obtaining any sufficient means of proof. And there were some
indeed that said that he was very near being discovered, and
only just escaped him; others are of opinion that Cicero
voluntarily overlooked and neglected the evidence against him,
for fear of his friends and power; for it was very evident to
everybody, that if Caesar was to be accused with the
conspirators, they were more likely to be saved with him, than
he to be punished with them.

When, therefore, it came to Caesar's turn to give his opinion,
he stood up and proposed that the conspirators should not be put
to death, but their estates confiscated, and their persons
confined in such cities in Italy as Cicero should approve, there
to be kept in custody till Catiline was conquered. To this
sentence, as it was the most moderate, and he that delivered it
a most powerful speaker, Cicero himself gave no small weight,
for he stood up and, turning the scale on either side, spoke in
favor partly of the former, partly of Caesar's sentence. And
all Cicero's friends, judging Caesar's sentence most expedient
for Cicero, because he would incur the less blame if the
conspirators were not put to death, chose rather the latter; so
that Silanus, also, changing his mind, retracted his opinion,
and said he had not declared for capital, but only the utmost
punishment, which to a Roman senator is imprisonment. The first
man who spoke against Caesar's motion was Catulus Lutatius.
Cato followed, and so vehemently urged in his speech the strong
suspicion about Caesar himself, and so filled the senate with
anger and resolution, that a decree was passed for the execution
of the conspirators. But Caesar opposed the confiscation of
their goods, not thinking it fair that those who had rejected
the mildest part of his sentence should avail themselves of the
severest. And when many insisted upon it, he appealed to the
tribunes, but they would do nothing; till Cicero himself
yielding, remitted that part of the sentence.

After this, Cicero went out with the senate to the conspirators;
they were not all together in one place, but the several
praetors had them, some one, some another, in custody. And
first he took Lentulus from the Palatine, and brought him by the
Sacred Street, through the middle of the marketplace, a circle
of the most eminent citizens encompassing and protecting him.
The people, affrighted at what was doing, passed along in
silence, especially the young men; as if, with fear and
trembling; they were undergoing a rite of initiation into some
ancient, sacred mysteries of aristocratic power. Thus passing
from the market-place, and coming to the gaol, he delivered
Lentulus to the officer, and commanded him to execute him; and
after him Cethegus, and so all the rest in order, he brought and
delivered up to execution. And when he saw many of the
conspirators in the market-place, still standing together in
companies, ignorant of what was done, and waiting for the night,
supposing the men were still alive and in a possibility of being
rescued, he called out in a loud voice, and said, "They did
live;" for so the Romans, to avoid inauspicious language, name
those that are dead.

It was now evening, when he returned from the market-place to
his own house, the citizens no longer attending him with
silence, nor in order, but receiving him, as he passed, with
acclamations and applauses, and saluting him as the savior and
founder of his country. A bright light shone through the
streets from the lamps and torches set up at the doors, and the
women showed lights from the tops of the houses, to honor
Cicero, and to behold him returning home with a splendid train
of the most principal citizens; amongst whom were many who had
conducted great wars, celebrated triumphs, and added to the
possessions of the Roman empire, both by sea and land. These,
as they passed along with him, acknowledged to one another, that
though the Roman people were indebted to several officers and
commanders of that age for riches, spoils, and power, yet to
Cicero alone they owed the safety and security of all these, for
delivering them from so great and imminent a danger. For though
it might seem no wonderful thing to prevent the design, and
punish the conspirators, yet to defeat the greatest of all
conspiracies with so little disturbance, trouble, and commotion,
was very extraordinary. For the greater part of those who had
flocked in to Catiline, as soon as they heard the fate of
Lentulus and Cethegus, left and forsook him, and he himself,
with his remaining forces, joining battle with Antonius, was
destroyed with his army.

And yet there were some who were very ready both to speak ill of
Cicero, and to do him hurt for these actions; and they had for
their leaders some of the magistrates of the ensuing year, as
Caesar, who was one of the praetors, and Metellus and Bestia,
the tribunes. These, entering upon their office some few days
before Cicero's consulate expired, would not permit him to make
any address to the people, but, throwing the benches before the
Rostra, hindered his speaking, telling him he might, if he
pleased, make the oath of withdrawal from office, and then come
down again. Cicero, accordingly, accepting the conditions, came
forward to make his withdrawal; and silence being made, he
recited his oath, not in the usual, but in a new and peculiar
form, namely, that he had saved his country, and preserved the
empire; the truth of which oath all the people confirmed with
theirs. Caesar and the tribunes, all the more exasperated by
this, endeavored to create him further trouble, and for this
purpose proposed a law for calling Pompey home with his army, to
put an end to Cicero's usurpation. But it was a very great
advantage for Cicero and the whole commonwealth that Cato was at
that time one of the tribunes. For he, being of equal power
with the rest, and of greater reputation, could oppose their
designs. He easily defeated their other projects, and, in an
oration to the people, so highly extolled Cicero's consulate,
that the greatest honors were decreed him, and he was publicly
declared the Father of his Country, which title he seems to have
obtained, the first man who did so, when Cato gave it him in
this address to the people.

At this time, therefore, his authority was very great in the
city; but he created himself much envy, and offended very many,
not by any evil action, but because he was always lauding and
magnifying himself. For neither senate, nor assembly of the
people, nor court of judicature could meet, in which he was not
heard to talk of Catiline and Lentulus. Indeed, he also filled
his books and writings with his own praises, to such an excess
as to render a style, in itself most pleasant and delightful,
nauseous and irksome to his hearers; this ungrateful humor, like
a disease, always cleaving to him. Nevertheless, though he was
intemperately fond of his own glory, he was very free from
envying others, and was, on the contrary, most liberally profuse
in commending both the ancients and his contemporaries, as
anyone may see in his writings. And many such sayings of his are
also remembered; as that he called Aristotle a river of flowing
gold, and said of Plato's Dialogues, that if Jupiter were to
speak, it would be in language like theirs. He used to call
Theophrastus his special luxury. And being asked which of
Demosthenes's orations he liked best, he answered, the longest.
And yet some affected imitators of Demosthenes have complained
of some words that occur in one of his letters, to the effect
that Demosthenes sometimes falls asleep in his speeches;
forgetting the many high encomiums he continually passes upon
him, and the compliment he paid him when he named the most
elaborate of all his orations, those he wrote against Antony,
Philippics. And as for the eminent men of his own time, either
in eloquence or philosophy, there was not one of them whom he
did not, by writing or speaking favorably of him, render more
illustrious. He obtained of Caesar, when in power, the Roman
citizenship for Cratippus, the Peripatetic, and got the court of
Areopagus, by public decree, to request his stay at Athens, for
the instruction of their youth, and the honor of their city.
There are letters extant from Cicero to Herodes, and others to
his son, in which he recommends the study of philosophy under
Cratippus. There is one in which he blames Gorgias, the
rhetorician, for enticing his son into luxury and drinking, and,
therefore, forbids him his company. And this, and one other to
Pelops, the Byzantine, are the only two of his Greek epistles
which seem to be written in anger. In the first, he justly
reflects on Gorgias, if he were what he was thought to be, a
dissolute and profligate character; but in the other, he rather
meanly expostulates and complains with Pelops, for neglecting to
procure him a decree of certain honors from the Byzantines.

Another illustration of his love of praise is the way in which
sometimes, to make his orations more striking, he neglected
decorum and dignity. When Munatius, who had escaped conviction
by his advocacy, immediately prosecuted his friend Sabinus, he
said in the warmth of his resentment, "Do you suppose you were
acquitted for your own meets, Munatius, and was it not that I so
darkened the case, that the court could not see your guilt?"
When from the Rostra he had made an eulogy on Marcus Crassus,
with much applause, and within a few days after again as
publicly reproached him, Crassus called to him, and said, "Did
not you yourself two days ago, in this same place, commend me?"
"Yes," said Cicero, "I exercised my eloquence in declaiming upon
a bad subject." At another time, Crassus had said that no one
of his family had ever lived beyond sixty years of age, and
afterwards denied it, and asked, "What should put it into my
head to say so?" "It was to gain the people's favor," answered
Cicero; "you knew how glad they would be to hear it." When
Crassus expressed admiration of the Stoic doctrine, that the
good man is always rich, "Do you not mean," said Cicero, "their
doctrine that all things belong to the wise?" Crassus being
generally accused of covetousness. One of Crassus's sons, who
was thought so exceedingly like a man of the name of Axius as to
throw some suspicion on his mother's honor, made a successful
speech in the senate. Cicero on being asked how he liked it,
replied with the Greek words, Axios Crassou.

When Crassus was about to go into Syria, he desired to leave
Cicero rather his friend than his enemy, and, therefore, one day
saluting him, told him he would come and sup with him, which the
other as courteously received. Within a few days after, on some
of Cicero's acquaintances interceding for Vatinius, as desirous
of reconciliation and friendship, for he was then his enemy,
"What," he replied, "does Vatinius also wish to come and sup
with me?" Such was his way with Crassus. When Vatinius, who
had swellings in his neck, was pleading a cause, he called him
the tumid orator; and having been told by someone that Vatinius
was dead, on hearing presently after that he was alive, "May the
rascal perish," said he, "for his news not being true."

Upon Caesar's bringing forward a law for the division of the
lands in Campania amongst the soldiers, many in the senate
opposed it; amongst the rest, Lucius Gellius, one of the oldest
men in the house, said it should never pass whilst he lived.
"Let us postpone it," said Cicero, "Gellius does not ask us to
wait long." There was a man of the name of Octavius, suspected
to be of African descent. He once said, when Cicero was
pleading, that he could not hear him; "Yet there are holes,"
said Cicero, "in your ears." When Metellus Nepos told him,
that he had ruined more as a witness, than he had saved as an
advocate, "I admit," said Cicero, "that I have more truth than
eloquence." To a young man who was suspected of having given a
poisoned cake to his father, and who talked largely of the
invectives he meant to deliver against Cicero, "Better these,"
replied he, "than your cakes." Publius Sextius, having amongst
others retained Cicero as his advocate in a certain cause, was
yet desirous to say all for himself, and would not allow anybody
to speak for him; when he was about to receive his acquittal
from the judges, and the ballots were passing, Cicero called to
him, "Make haste, Sextius, and use your time; tomorrow you will
be nobody." He cited Publius Cotta to bear testimony in a
certain cause, one who affected to be thought a lawyer, though
ignorant and unlearned; to whom, when he had said, "I know
nothing of the matter," he answered, "You think, perhaps, we ask
you about a point of law." To Metellus Nepos, who, in a dispute
between them, repeated several times, "Who was your father,
Cicero?" he replied, "Your mother has made the answer to such a
question in your case more difficult;" Nepos's mother having
been of ill repute. The son, also, was of a giddy, uncertain
temper. At one time, he suddenly threw up his office of
tribune, and sailed off into Syria to Pompey; and immediately
after, with as little reason, came back again. He gave his
tutor, Philagrus, a funeral with more than necessary attention,
and then set up the stone figure of a crow over his tomb.
"This," said Cicero, "is really appropriate; as he did not teach
you to speak, but to fly about." When Marcus Appius, in the
opening of some speech in a court of justice, said that his
friend had desired him to employ industry, eloquence, and
fidelity in that cause, Cicero answered, "And how have you had
the heart not to accede to any one of his requests?"

To use this sharp raillery against opponents and antagonists in
judicial pleading seems allowable rhetoric. But he excited much
ill feeling by his readiness to attack anyone for the sake of a
jest. A few anecdotes of this kind may be added. Marcus
Aquinius, who had two sons-in-law in exile, received from him
the name of king Adrastus. Lucius Cotta, an intemperate lover
of wine, was censor when Cicero stood for the consulship.
Cicero, being thirsty at the election, his friends stood round
about him while he was drinking. "You have reason to be
afraid," he said, "lest the censor should be angry with me for

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