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Plutarch's Lives

Part 31 out of 35

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too close when they met them foraging, but to suffer them to
carry off some provision; moreover, that they should praise
their valor, and declare that it was not without just reason
that their king looked upon the Romans as the bravest men in the
world. This done, upon further opportunity they rode nearer in,
and, drawing up their horses by the men, began to revile Antony
for his obstinacy; that whereas Phraates desired nothing more
than peace, and an occasion to show how ready he was to save the
lives of so many brave soldiers, he, on the contrary, gave no
opening to any friendly offers, but sat awaiting the arrival of
the two fiercest and worst enemies, winter and famine, from whom
it would be hard for them to make their escape, even with all
the good-will of the Parthians to help them. Antony, having
these reports from many hands, began to indulge the hope;
nevertheless, he would not send any message to the Parthian till
he had put the question to these friendly talkers, whether what
they said was said by order of their king. Receiving answer
that it was, together with new encouragement to believe them, he
sent some of his friends to demand once more the standards and
prisoners, lest, if he should ask nothing, he might be supposed
to be too thankful to have leave to retreat in quiet. The
Parthian king made answer, that as for the standards and
prisoners, he need not trouble himself; but if he thought fit to
retreat, he might do it when he pleased, in peace and safety.
Some few days, therefore, being spent in collecting the baggage,
he set out upon his march. On which occasion, though there was
no man of his time like him for addressing a multitude, or for
carrying soldiers with him by the force of words, out of shame
and sadness he could not find in his heart to speak himself, but
employed Domitius Aenobarbus. And some of the soldiers resented
it, as an undervaluing of them; but the greater number saw the
true cause, and pitied it, and thought it rather a reason why
they on their side should treat their general with more respect
and obedience than ordinary.

Antony had resolved to return by the same way he came, which was
through a level country clear of all trees, but a certain
Mardian came to him (one that was very conversant with the
manners of the Parthians, and whose fidelity to the Romans had
been tried at the battle where the machines were lost), and
advised him to keep the mountains close on his right hand, and
not to expose his men, heavily armed, in a broad, open, riding
country, to the attacks of a numerous army of light-horse and
archers; that Phraates with fair promises had persuaded him from
the siege on purpose that he might with more ease cut him off in
his retreat; but, if so he pleased, he would conduct him by a
nearer route, on which moreover he should find the necessaries
for his army in greater abundance. Antony upon this began to
consider what was best to be done; he was unwilling to seem to
have any mistrust of the Parthians after their treaty; but,
holding it to be really best to march his army the shorter and
more inhabited way, he demanded of the Mardian some assurance of
his faith, who offered himself to be bound until the army came
safe into Armenia. Two days he conducted the army bound, and,
on the third, when Antony had given up all thought of the
enemy, and was marching at his ease in no very good order, the
Mardian, perceiving the bank of a river broken down, and the
water let out and overflowing the road by which they were to
pass, saw at once that this was the handiwork of the Parthians,
done out of mischief, and to hinder their march; so he advised
Antony to be upon his guard, for that the enemy was nigh at
hand. And no sooner had he begun to put his men in order,
disposing the slingers and dart men in convenient intervals for
sallying out, but the Parthians came pouring in on all sides,
fully expecting to encompass them, and throw the whole army into
disorder. They were at once attacked by the light troops, whom
they galled a good deal with their arrows; but, being themselves
as warmly entertained with the slings and darts, and many
wounded, they made their retreat. Soon after, rallying up
afresh, they were beat back by a battalion of Gallic horse, and
appeared no more that day.

By their manner of attack Antony seeing what to do, not only
placed the slings and darts as a rear guard, but also lined both
flanks with them, and so marched in a square battle, giving
order to the horse to charge and beat off the enemy, but not to
follow them far as they retired. So that the Parthians, not
doing more mischief for the four ensuing days than they
received, began to abate in their zeal, and, complaining that
the winter season was much advanced, pressed for returning home.

But, on the fifth day, Flavius Gallus, a brave and active
officer, who had a considerable command in the army, came to
Antony, desiring of him some light-infantry out of the rear, and
some horse out of the front, with which he would undertake to do
some considerable service. Which when he had obtained, he beat
the enemy back, not withdrawing, as was usual, at the same time,
and retreating upon the mass of the heavy infantry, but
maintaining his own ground, and engaging boldly. The officers
who commanded in the rear, perceiving how far he was getting
from the body of the army, sent to warn him back, but he took no
notice of them. It is said that Titius the quaestor snatched
the standards and turned them round, upbraiding Gallus with thus
leading so many brave men to destruction. But when he on the
other side reviled him again, and commanded the men that were
about him to stand firm, Titius made his retreat, and Gallus,
charging the enemies in the front, was encompassed by a party
that fell upon his rear, which at length perceiving, he sent a
messenger to demand succor. But the commanders of the heavy
infantry, Canidius amongst others, a particular favorite of
Antony's, seem here to have committed a great oversight. For,
instead of facing about with the whole body, they sent small
parties, and, when they were defeated, they still sent out small
parties, so that by their bad management the rout would have
spread through the whole army, if Antony himself had not marched
from the van at the head of the third legion, and, passing this
through among the fugitives, faced the enemies, and hindered
them from any further pursuit.

In this engagement were killed three thousand, five thousand
were carried back to the camp wounded, amongst the rest Gallus,
shot through the body with four arrows, of which wounds he died.
Antony went from tent to tent to visit and comfort the rest of
them, and was not able to see his men without tears and a
passion of grief. They, however, seized his hand with joyful
faces, bidding him go and see to himself and not be concerned
about them, calling him their emperor and their general, and
saying that if he did well they were safe. For in short, never
in all these times can history make mention of a general at the
head of a more splendid army; whether you consider strength and
youth, or patience and sufferance in labors and fatigues; but as
for the obedience and affectionate respect they bore their
general, and the unanimous feeling amongst small and great
alike, officers and common soldiers, to prefer his good opinion
of them to their very lives and being, in this part of military
excellence it was not possible that they could have been
surpassed by the very Romans of old. For this devotion, as I
have said before, there were many reasons, as the nobility of
his family, his eloquence, his frank and open manners, his
liberal and magnificent habits, his familiarity in talking with
everybody, and, at this time particularly, his kindness in
assisting and pitying the sick, joining in all their pains, and
furnishing them with all things necessary, so that the sick and
wounded were even more eager to serve than those that were whole
and strong.

Nevertheless, this last victory had so encouraged the enemy,
that, instead of their former impatience and weariness, they
began soon to feel contempt for the Romans, staying all night
near the camp, in expectation of plundering their tents and
baggage, which they concluded they must abandon; and in the
morning new forces arrived in large masses, so that their number
was grown to be not less, it is said, than forty thousand horse;
and the king had sent the very guards that attended upon his own
person, as to a sure and unquestioned victory. For he himself
was never present in any fight. Antony, designing to harangue
the soldiers, called for a mourning habit, that he might move
them the more, but was dissuaded by his friends; so he came
forward in the general's scarlet cloak, and addressed them,
praising those that had gained the victory, and reproaching
those that had fled, the former answering him with promises of
success, and the latter excusing themselves, and telling him
they were ready to undergo decimation, or any other punishment
he should please to inflict upon them, only entreating that he
would forget and not discompose himself with their faults. At
which he lifted up his hands to heaven, and prayed the gods,
that if to balance the great favors he had received of them any
judgment lay in store, they would pour it upon his head alone,
and grant his soldiers victory.

The next day they took better order for their march, and the
Parthians, who thought they were marching rather to plunder than
to fight, were much taken aback, when they came up and were
received with a shower of missiles, to find the enemy not
disheartened, but fresh and resolute. So that they themselves
began to lose courage. But at the descent of a hill where the
Romans were obliged to pass, they got together, and let fly
their arrows upon them as they moved slowly down. But the
full-armed infantry, facing round, received the light troops
within; and those in the first rank knelt on one knee, holding
their shields before them, the next rank holding theirs over the
first, and so again others over these, much like the tiling of a
house, or the rows of seats in a theater, the whole affording
sure defense against arrows, which glance upon them without
doing any harm. The Parthians, seeing the Romans down upon
their knees, could not imagine but that it must proceed from
weariness; so that they laid down their bows, and, taking their
spears, made a fierce onset, when the Romans, with a great cry,
leapt upon their feet, striking hand to hand with their
javelins, slew the foremost, and put the rest to flight. After
this rate it was every day, and the trouble they gave made the
marches short; in addition to which famine began to be felt in
the camp, for they could get but little corn, and that which
they got they were forced to fight for; and, besides this, they
were in want of implements to grind it and make bread. For they
had left almost all behind, the baggage horses being dead or
otherwise employed in carrying the sick and wounded. Provision
was so scarce in the army that an Attic quart of wheat sold for
fifty drachmas, and barley loaves for their weight in silver.
And when they tried vegetables and roots, they found such as
are commonly eaten very scarce, so that they were constrained to
venture upon any they could get, and, among others, they chanced
upon an herb that was mortal, first taking away all sense and
understanding. He that had eaten of it remembered nothing in
the world, and employed himself only in moving great stones from
one place to another, which he did with as much earnestness and
industry as if it had been a business of the greatest
consequence. Through all the camp there was nothing to be seen
but men grubbing upon the ground at stones, which they carried
from place to place. But in the end they threw up bile and
died, as wine, moreover, which was the one antidote, failed.
When Antony saw them die so fast, and the Parthian still in
pursuit, he was heard to exclaim several times over, "O, the Ten
Thousand!" as if in admiration of the retreat of the Greeks with
Xenophon, who, when they had a longer journey to make from
Babylonia, and a more powerful enemy to deal with, nevertheless
came home safe.

The Parthians, finding that they could not divide the Roman
army, nor break the order of their battle, and that withal they
had been so often worsted, once more began to treat the foragers
with professions of humanity; they came up to them with their
bows unbended, telling them that they were going home to their
houses; that this was the end of their retaliation, and that
only some Median troops would follow for two or three days, not
with any design to annoy them, but for the defense of some of
the villages further on. And, saying this, they saluted them
and embraced them with a great show of friendship. This made
the Romans full of confidence again, and Antony, on hearing of
it, was more disposed to take the road through the level
country, being told that no water was to be hoped for on that
through the mountains. But while he was preparing thus to do,
Mithridates came into the camp, a cousin to Monaeses, of whom we
related that he sought refuge with the Romans, and received in
gift from Antony the three cities. Upon his arrival, he desired
somebody might be brought to him that could speak Syriac or
Parthian. One Alexander, of Antioch, a friend of Antony's, was
brought to him, to whom the stranger, giving his name, and
mentioning Monaeses as the person who desired to do the
kindness, put the question, did he see that high range of hills,
pointing at some distance. He told him, yes. "It is there,"
said he, "the whole Parthian army lie in wait for your passage;
for the great plains come immediately up to them, and they
expect that, confiding in their promises, you will leave the
way of the mountains, and take the level route. It is true that
in passing over the mountains you will suffer the want of water,
and the fatigue to which you have become familiar, but if you
pass through the plains, Antony must expect the fortune of

This said, he departed. Antony, in alarm, calling his friends
in council, sent for the Mardian guide, who was of the same
opinion. He told them that, with or without enemies, the want
of any certain track in the plain, and the likelihood of their
losing their way, were quite objection enough; the other route
was rough and without water, but then it was but for a day.
Antony, therefore, changing his mind, marched away upon this
road that night, commanding that everyone should carry water
sufficient for his own use; but most of them being unprovided
with vessels, they made shift with their helmets, and some with
skins. As soon as they started, the news of it was carried to
the Parthians, who followed them, contrary to their custom,
through the night, and at sunrise attacked the rear, which was
tired with marching and want of sleep, and not in condition to
make any considerable defense. For they had got through two
hundred and forty furlongs that night, and at the end of such a
march to find the enemy at their heels, put them out of heart.
Besides, having to fight for every step of the way increased
their distress from thirst. Those that were in the van came up
to a river, the water of which was extremely cool and clear, but
brackish and medicinal, and, on being drunk, produced immediate
pains in the bowels and a renewed thirst. Of this the Mardian
had forewarned them, but they could not forbear, and, beating
back those that opposed them, they drank of it. Antony ran from
one place to another, begging they would have a little patience,
that not far off there was a river of wholesome water, and that
the rest of the way was so difficult for the horse, that the
enemy could pursue them no further; and, saying this, he ordered
to sound a retreat to call those back that were engaged, and
commanded the tents should be set up, that the soldiers might at
any rate refresh themselves in the shade.

But the tents were scarce well put up, and the Parthians
beginning, according to their custom, to withdraw, when
Mithridates came again to them, and informed Alexander, with
whom he had before spoken, that he would do well to advise
Antony to stay where he was no longer than needs he must, that,
after having refreshed his troops, he should endeavor with all
diligence to gain the next river, that the Parthians would not
cross it, but so far they were resolved to follow them.
Alexander made his report to Antony, who ordered a quantity of
gold plate to be carried to Mithridates, who, taking as much as
be could well hide under his clothes, went his way. And, upon
this advice, Antony, while it was yet day, broke up his camp,
and the whole army marched forward without receiving any
molestation from the Parthians, though that night by their own
doing was in effect the most wretched and terrible that they
passed. For some of the men began to kill and plunder those
whom they suspected to have any money, ransacked the baggage,
and seized the money there. In the end, they laid hands on
Antony's own equipage, and broke all his rich tables and cups,
dividing the fragments amongst them. Antony, hearing such a
noise and such a stirring to and fro all through the army, the
belief prevailing that the enemy had routed and cut off a
portion of the troops, called for one of his freedmen, then
serving as one of his guards, Rhamnus by name, and made him take
an oath that, whenever he should give him orders, he would run
his sword through his body and cut off his head, that he might
not fall alive into the hands of the Parthians, nor, when dead,
be recognized as the general. While he was in this
consternation, and all his friends about him in tears, the
Mardian came up, and gave them all new life. He convinced
them, by the coolness and humidity of the air, which they could
feel in breathing it, that the river which he had spoken of was
now not far off, and the calculation of the time that had been
required to reach it came, he said, to the same result, for the
night was almost spent. And, at the same time, others came with
information that all the confusion in the camp proceeded only
from their own violence and robbery among themselves. To
compose this tumult, and bring them again into some order after
their distraction, he commanded the signal to be given for a

Day began to break, and quiet and regularity were just
reappearing, when the Parthian arrows began to fly among the
rear, and the light armed troops were ordered out to battle.
And, being seconded by the heavy infantry, who covered one
another as before described with their shields, they bravely
received the enemy, who did not think convenient to advance any
further, while the van of the army, marching forward leisurely
in this manner came in sight of the river, and Antony, drawing
up the cavalry on the banks to confront the enemy, first passed
over the sick and wounded. And, by this time, even those who
were engaged with the enemy had opportunity to drink at their
ease; for the Parthians, on seeing the river, unbent their bows,
and told the Romans they might pass over freely, and made them
great compliments in praise of their valor. Having crossed
without molestation, they rested themselves awhile, and
presently went forward, not giving perfect credit to the fair
words of their enemies. Six days after this last battle, they
arrived at the river Araxes, which divides Media and Armenia,
and seemed, both by its deepness and the violence of the
current, to be very dangerous to pass. A report, also, had
crept in amongst them, that the enemy was in ambush, ready to
set upon them as soon as they should be occupied with their
passage. But when they were got over on the other side, and
found themselves in Armenia, just as if land was now sighted
after a storm at sea, they kissed the ground for joy, shedding
tears and embracing each other in their delight. But taking
their journey through a land that abounded in all sorts of
plenty, they ate, after their long want, with that excess of
everything they met with, that they suffered from dropsies and

Here Antony, making a review of his army, found that he had lost
twenty thousand foot and four thousand horse, of which the
better half perished, not by the enemy, but by diseases. Their
march was of twenty-seven days from Phraata, during which they
had beaten the Parthians in eighteen battles, though with little
effect or lasting result, because of their being so unable to
pursue. By which it is manifest that it was Artavasdes who lost
Antony the benefit of the expedition. For had the sixteen
thousand horsemen whom he led away out of Media, armed in the
same style as the Parthians and accustomed to their manner of
fight, been there to follow the pursuit when the Romans put them
to flight, it is impossible they could have rallied so often
after their defeats, and reappeared again as they did to renew
their attacks. For this reason, the whole army was very earnest
with Antony to march into Armenia to take revenge. But he, with
more reflection, forbore to notice the desertion, and continued
all his former courtesies, feeling that the army was wearied
out, and in want of all manner of necessaries. Afterwards,
however, entering Armenia, with invitations and fair promises he
prevailed upon Artavasdes to meet him, when he seized him, bound
him, and carried him to Alexandria, and there led him in a
triumph; one of the things which most offended the Romans, who
felt as if all the honors and solemn observances of their
country were, for Cleopatra's sake, handed over to the

This, however, was at an after time. For the present, marching
his army in great haste in the depth of winter through continual
storms of snow, he lost eight thousand of his men, and came with
much diminished numbers to a place called the White Village,
between Sidon and Berytus, on the seacoast, where he waited for
the arrival of Cleopatra. And, being impatient of the delay she
made, he bethought himself of shortening the time in wine and
drunkenness, and yet could not endure the tediousness of a meal,
but would start from table and run to see if she were coming.
Till at last she came into port, and brought with her clothes
and money for the soldiers. Though some say that Antony only
received the clothes from her, and distributed his own money in
her name.

A quarrel presently happened between the king of Media and
Phraates of Parthia, beginning, it is said, about the division
of the booty that was taken from the Romans, and creating great
apprehension in the Median lest he should lose his kingdom. He
sent, therefore, ambassadors to Antony, with offers of entering
into a confederate war against Phraates. And Antony, full of
hopes at being thus asked, as a favor, to accept that one thing,
horse and archers, the want of which had hindered his beating
the Parthians before, began at once to prepare for a return to
Armenia, there to join the Medes on the Araxes, and begin the
war afresh. But Octavia, in Rome, being desirous to see Antony,
asked Caesar's leave to go to him; which he gave her, not so
much, say most authors, to gratify his sister, as to obtain a
fair pretense to begin the war upon her dishonorable reception.
She no sooner arrived at Athens, but by letters from Antony she
was informed of his new expedition, and his will that she should
await him there. And, though she were much displeased, not
being ignorant of the real reason of this usage, yet she wrote
to him to know to what place he would be pleased she should send
the things she had brought with her for his use; for she had
brought clothes for his soldiers, baggage, cattle, money, and
presents for his friends and officers, and two thousand chosen
soldiers sumptuously armed, to form praetorian cohorts. This
message was brought from Octavia to Antony by Niger, one of his
friends, who added to it the praises she deserved so well.
Cleopatra, feeling her rival already, as it were, at hand, was
seized with fear, lest if to her noble life and her high
alliance, she once could add the charm of daily habit and
affectionate intercourse, she should become irresistible, and be
his absolute mistress for ever. So she feigned to be dying for
love of Antony, bringing her body down by slender diet; when he
entered the room, she fixed her eyes upon him in a rapture, and
when he left, seemed to languish and half faint away. She took
great pains that he should see her in tears, and, as soon as he
noticed it, hastily dried them up and turned away, as if it were
her wish that he should know nothing of it. All this was acting
while he prepared for Media; and Cleopatra's creatures were not
slow to forward the design, upbraiding Antony with his
unfeeling, hard-hearted temper, thus letting a woman perish
whose soul depended upon him and him alone. Octavia, it was
true, was his wife, and had been married to him because it was
found convenient for the affairs of her brother that it should
be so, and she had the honor of the title; but Cleopatra, the
sovereign queen of many nations, had been contented with the
name of his mistress, nor did she shun or despise the character
whilst she might see him, might live with him, and enjoy him; if
she were bereaved of this, she would not survive the loss. In
fine, they so melted and unmanned him, that, fully believing she
would die if he forsook her, he put off the war and returned to
Alexandria, deferring his Median expedition until next summer,
though news came of the Parthians being all in confusion with
intestine disputes. Nevertheless, he did some time after go
into that country, and made an alliance with the king of Media,
by marriage of a son of his by Cleopatra to the king's daughter,
who was yet very young; and so returned, with his thoughts taken
up about the civil war.

When Octavia returned from Athens, Caesar, who considered she
had been injuriously treated, commanded her to live in a
separate house; but she refused to leave the house of her
husband, and entreated him, unless he had already resolved, upon
other motives, to make war with Antony, that he would on her
account let it alone; it would be intolerable to have it said of
the two greatest commanders in the world, that they had
involved the Roman people in a civil war, the one out of passion
for; the other out of resentment about, a woman. And her
behavior proved her words to be sincere. She remained in
Antony's house as if he were at home in it, and took the noblest
and most generous care, not only of his children by her, but of
those by Fulvia also. She received all the friends of Antony
that came to Rome to seek office or upon any business, and did
her utmost to prefer their requests to Caesar; yet this her
honorable deportment did but, without her meaning it, damage the
reputation of Antony; the wrong he did to such a woman made him
hated. Nor was the division he made among his sons at
Alexandria less unpopular; it seemed a theatrical piece of
insolence and contempt of his country. For, assembling the
people in the exercise ground, and causing two golden thrones to
be placed on a platform of silver, the one for him and the other
for Cleopatra, and at their feet lower thrones for their
children, he proclaimed Cleopatra queen of Egypt, Cyprus, Libya,
and Coele-Syria, and with her conjointly Caesarion, the reputed
son of the former Caesar, who left Cleopatra with child. His
own sons by Cleopatra were to have the style of kings of kings;
to Alexander he gave Armenia and Media, with Parthia, so soon as
it should be overcome; to Ptolemy, Phoenicia, Syria, and
Cilicia. Alexander was brought out before the people in the
Median costume, the tiara and upright peak, and Ptolemy, in
boots and mantle and Macedonian cap done about with the diadem;
for this was the habit of the successors of Alexander, as the
other was of the Medes and Armenians. And, as soon as they had
saluted their parents, the one was received by a guard of
Macedonians, the other by one of Armenians. Cleopatra was then,
as at other times when she appeared in public, dressed in the
habit of the goddess Isis, and gave audience to the people under
the name of the New Isis.

Caesar, relating these things in the senate, and often
complaining to the people, excited men's minds against Antony.
And Antony also sent messages of accusation against Caesar. The
principal of his charges were these: first, that he had not made
any division with him of Sicily, which was lately taken from
Pompey; secondly, that he had retained the ships he had lent him
for the war; thirdly, that after deposing Lepidus, their
colleague, he had taken for himself the army, governments, and
revenues formerly appropriated to him; and, lastly, that he had
parceled out almost all Italy amongst his own soldiers, and left
nothing for his. Caesar's answer was as follows: that he had
put Lepidus out of government because of his own misconduct;
that what he had got in war he would divide with Antony, so soon
as Antony gave him a share of Armenia; that Antony's soldiers
had no claims in Italy, being in possession of Media and
Parthia, the acquisitions which their brave actions under their
general had added to the Roman empire.

Antony was in Armenia when this answer came to him, and
immediately sent Canidius with sixteen legions towards the sea;
but he, in the company of Cleopatra, went to Ephesus, whither
ships were coming in from all quarters to form the navy,
consisting, vessels of burden included, of eight hundred
vessels, of which Cleopatra furnished two hundred, together with
twenty thousand talents, and provision for the whole army during
the war. Antony, on the advice of Domitius and some others,
bade Cleopatra return into Egypt, there to expect the event of
the war; but she, dreading some new reconciliation by Octavia's
means, prevailed with Canidius, by a large sum of money, to
speak in her favor with Antony, pointing out to him that it was
not just that one that bore so great a part in the charge of the
war should be robbed of her share of glory in the carrying it
on: nor would it be politic to disoblige the Egyptians, who were
so considerable a part of his naval forces; nor did he see how
she was inferior in prudence to any one of the kings that were
serving with him; she had long governed a great kingdom by
herself alone, and long lived with him, and gained experience in
public affairs. These arguments (so the fate that destined all
to Caesar would have it), prevailed; and when all their forces
had met, they sailed together to Samos, and held high
festivities. For, as it was ordered that all kings, princes,
and governors, all nations and cities within the limits of
Syria, the Maeotid Lake, Armenia, and Illyria, should bring or
cause to be brought all munitions necessary for war, so was it
also proclaimed that all stage-players should make their
appearance at Samos; so that, while pretty nearly the whole
world was filled with groans and lamentations, this one island
for some days resounded with piping and harping, theaters
filling, and choruses playing. Every city sent an ox as its
contribution to the sacrifice, and the kings that accompanied
Antony competed who should make the most magnificent feasts and
the greatest presents; and men began to ask themselves, what
would be done to celebrate the victory, when they went to such
an expense of festivity at the opening of the war.

This over, he gave Priene to his players for a habitation, and
set sail for Athens, where fresh sports and play-acting employed
him. Cleopatra, jealous of the honors Octavia had received at
Athens (for Octavia was much beloved by the Athenians), courted
the favor of the people with all sorts of attentions. The
Athenians, in requital, having decreed her public honors,
deputed several of the citizens to wait upon her at her house;
amongst whom went Antony as one, he being an Athenian citizen,
and he it was that made the speech. He sent orders to Rome to
have Octavia removed out of his house. She left it, we are
told, accompanied by all his children, except the eldest by
Fulvia, who was then with his father, weeping and grieving that
she must be looked upon as one of the causes of the war. But
the Romans pitied, not so much her, as Antony himself, and more
particularly those who had seen Cleopatra, whom they could
report to have no way the advantage of Octavia either in youth
or in beauty.

The speed and extent of Antony's preparations alarmed Caesar,
who feared he might be forced to fight the decisive battle that
summer. For he wanted many necessaries, and the people grudged
very much to pay the taxes; freemen being called upon to pay a
fourth part of their incomes, and freed slaves an eighth of
their property, so that there were loud outcries against him,
and disturbances throughout all Italy. And this is looked upon
as one of the greatest of Antony's oversights, that he did not
then press the war. For he allowed time at once for Caesar to
make his preparations, and for the commotions to pass over. For
while people were having their money called for, they were
mutinous and violent; but, having paid it, they held their
peace. Titius and Plancus, men of consular dignity and friends
to Antony, having been ill used by Cleopatra, whom they had most
resisted in her design of being present in the war, came over to
Caesar, and gave information of the contents of Antony's will,
with which they were acquainted. It was deposited in the hands
of the vestal virgins, who refused to deliver it up, and sent
Caesar word, if he pleased, he should come and seize it himself,
which he did. And, reading it over to himself, he noted those
places that were most for his purpose, and, having summoned the
senate, read them publicly. Many were scandalized at the
proceeding, thinking it out of reason and equity to call a man
to account for what was not to be until after his death. Caesar
specially pressed what Antony said in his will about his burial;
for he had ordered that even if he died in the city of Rome, his
body, after being carried in state through the forum, should be
sent to Cleopatra at Alexandria. Calvisius, a dependent of
Caesar's, urged other charges in connection with Cleopatra
against Antony; that he had given her the library of Pergamus,
containing two hundred thousand distinct volumes; that at a
great banquet, in the presence of many guests, he had risen up
and rubbed her feet, to fulfill some wager or promise; that he
had suffered the Ephesians to salute her as their queen; that he
had frequently at the public audience of kings and princes
received amorous messages written in tablets made of onyx and
crystal, and read them openly on the tribunal; that when
Furnius, a man of great authority and eloquence among the
Romans, was pleading, Cleopatra happening to pass by in her
chair, Antony started up and left them in the middle of their
cause, to follow at her side and attend her home.

Calvisius, however, was looked upon as the inventor of most of
these stories. Antony's friends went up and down the city to
gain him credit, and sent one of themselves, Geminius, to him,
to beg him to take heed and not allow himself to be deprived by
vote of his authority, and proclaimed a public enemy to the
Roman state. But Geminius no sooner arrived in Greece but he
was looked upon as one of Octavia's spies; at their suppers he
was made a continual butt for mockery, and was put to sit in the
least honorable places; all which he bore very well, seeking
only an occasion of speaking with Antony. So, at supper, being
told to say what business he came about, he answered he would
keep the rest for a soberer hour, but one thing he had to say,
whether full or fasting, that all would go well if Cleopatra
would return to Egypt. And on Antony showing his anger at it,
"You have done well, Geminius," said Cleopatra, "to tell your
secret without being put to the rack." So Geminius, after a few
days, took occasion to make his escape and go to Rome. Many
more of Antony's friends were driven from him by the insolent
usage they had from Cleopatra's flatterers, amongst whom were
Marcus Silanus and Dellius the historian. And Dellius says he
was afraid of his life, and that Glaucus, the physician,
informed him of Cleopatra's design against him. She was angry
with him for having said that Antony's friends were served with
sour wine, while at Rome Sarmentus, Caesar's little page (his
delicia, as the Romans call it), drank Falernian.

As soon as Caesar had completed his preparations, he had a
decree made, declaring war on Cleopatra, and depriving Antony of
the authority which he had let a woman exercise in his place.
Caesar added that he had drunk potions that had bereaved him of
his senses, and that the generals they would have to fight with
would be Mardion the eunuch, Pothinus, Iras, Cleopatra's
hairdressing girl, and Charmion, who were Antony's chief

These prodigies are said to have announced the war. Pisaurum,
where Antony had settled a colony, on the Adriatic sea, was
swallowed up by an earthquake; sweat ran from one of the marble
statues of Antony at Alba for many days together, and, though
frequently wiped off, did not stop. When he himself was in the
city of Patrae, the temple of Hercules was struck by lightning,
and, at Athens, the figure of Bacchus was torn by a violent wind
out of the Battle of the Giants, and laid flat upon the
theater; with both which deities Antony claimed connection,
professing to be descended from Hercules, and from his imitating
Bacchus in his way of living having received the name of Young
Bacchus. The same whirlwind at Athens also brought down, from
amongst many others which were not disturbed, the colossal
statues of Eumenes and Attalus, which were inscribed with
Antony's name. And in Cleopatra's admiral-galley, which was
called the Antonias, a most inauspicious omen occurred. Some
swallows had built in the stern of the galley, but other
swallows came, beat the first away, and destroyed their nests.

When the armaments gathered for the war, Antony had no less than
five hundred ships of war, including numerous galleys of eight
and ten banks of oars, as richly ornamented as if they were
meant for a triumph. He had a hundred thousand foot and twelve
thousand horse. He had vassal kings attending, Bocchus of
Libya, Tarcondemus of the Upper Cilicia, Archelaus of
Cappadocia, Philadelphus of Paphlagonia, Mithridates of
Commagene, and Sadalas of Thrace; all these were with him in
person. Out of Pontus Polemon sent him considerable forces, as
did also Malchus from Arabia, Herod the Jew, and Amyntas, king
of Lycaonia and Galatia; also the Median king sent some troops
to join him. Caesar had two hundred and fifty galleys of war,
eighty thousand foot, and horse about equal to the enemy.
Antony's empire extended from Euphrates and Armenia to the
Ionian sea and the Illyrians; Caesar's, from Illyria to the
westward ocean, and from the ocean all along the Tuscan and
Sicilian sea. Of Africa, Caesar had all the coast opposite to
Italy, Gaul, and Spain, as far as the Pillars of Hercules, and
Antony the provinces from Cyrene to Ethiopia.

But so wholly was he now the mere appendage to the person of
Cleopatra, that, although he was much superior to the enemy in
land-forces, yet, out of complaisance to his mistress, he wished
the victory to be gained by sea, and that, too, when he could
not but see how, for want of sailors, his captains, all through
unhappy Greece, were pressing every description of men, common
travelers and ass-drivers, harvest laborers and boys, and for
all this the vessels had not their complements, but remained,
most of them, ill-manned and badly rowed. Caesar, on the other
side, had ships that were built not for size or show, but for
service, not pompous galleys, but light, swift, and perfectly
manned; and from his head-quarters at Tarentum and Brundusium he
sent messages to Antony not to protract the war, but come out
with his forces; he would give him secure roadsteads and ports
for his fleet, and, for his land army to disembark and pitch
their camp, he would leave him as much ground in Italy, inland
from the sea, as a horse could traverse in a single course.
Antony, on the other side, with the like bold language,
challenged him to a single combat, though he were much the
older; and, that being refused, proposed to meet him in the
Pharsalian fields, where Caesar and Pompey had fought before.
But whilst Antony lay with his fleet near Actium, where now
stands Nicopolis, Caesar seized his opportunity, and crossed the
Ionian sea, securing himself at a place in Epirus called the
Ladle. And when those about Antony were much disturbed, their
land-forces being a good way off, "Indeed," said Cleopatra, in
mockery, "we may well be frightened if Caesar has got hold of
the Ladle!"

On the morrow, Antony, seeing the enemy sailing up, and fearing
lest his ships might be taken for want of the soldiers to go on
board of them, armed all the rowers, and made a show upon the
decks of being in readiness to fight; the oars were mounted as
if waiting to be put in motion, and the vessels themselves drawn
up to face the enemy on either side of the channel of Actium, as
though they were properly manned, and ready for an engagement
And Caesar, deceived by this stratagem, retired. He was also
thought to have shown considerable skill in cutting off the
water from the enemy by some lines of trenches and forts, water
not being plentiful anywhere else, nor very good. And again,
his conduct to Domitius was generous, much against the will of
Cleopatra. For when he had made his escape in a little boat to
Caesar, having then a fever upon him, although Antony could not
but resent it highly, yet he sent after him his whole equipage,
with his friends and servants; and Domitius, as if he would give
a testimony to the world how repentant he had become on his
desertion and treachery being thus manifest, died soon after.
Among the kings, also, Amyntas and Deiotarus went over to
Caesar. And the fleet was so unfortunate in everything that
was undertaken, and so unready on every occasion, that Antony
was driven again to put his confidence in the land-forces.
Canidius, too, who commanded the legions, when he saw how things
stood, changed his opinion, and now was of advice that Cleopatra
should be sent back, and that, retiring into Thrace or
Macedonia, the quarrel should be decided in a land fight. For
Dicomes, also, the king of the Getae, promised to come and join
him with a great army, and it would not be any kind of
disparagement to him to yield the sea to Caesar, who, in the
Sicilian wars, had had such long practice in ship-fighting; on
the contrary, it would be simply ridiculous for Antony, who was
by land the most experienced commander living, to make no use of
his well-disciplined and numerous infantry, scattering and
wasting his forces by parceling them out in the ships. But for
all this, Cleopatra prevailed that a sea-fight should determine
all, having already an eye to flight, and ordering all her
affairs, not so as to assist in gaining a victory, but to escape
with the greatest safety from the first commencement of a

There were two long walls, extending from the camp to the
station of the ships, between which Antony used to pass to and
fro without suspecting any danger. But Caesar, upon the
suggestion of a servant that it would not be difficult to
surprise him, laid an ambush, which, rising up somewhat too
hastily, seized the man that came just before him, he himself
escaping narrowly by flight.

When it was resolved to stand to a fight at sea, they set fire
to all the Egyptian ships except sixty; and of these the best
and largest, from ten banks down to three, he manned with twenty
thousand full-armed men, and two thousand archers. Here it is
related that a foot captain, one that had fought often under
Antony, and had his body all mangled with wounds, exclaimed, "O,
my general, what have our wounds and swords done to displease
you, that you should give your confidence to rotten timbers?
Let Egyptians and Phoenicians contend at sea, give us the land,
where we know well how to die upon the spot or gain the
victory." To which he answered nothing, but, by his look and
motion of his hand seeming to bid him be of good courage, passed
forwards, having already, it would seem, no very sure hopes,
since when the masters proposed leaving the sails behind them,
he commanded they should be put aboard, "For we must not," said
he, "let one enemy escape."

That day and the three following the sea was so rough they could
not engage. But on the fifth there was a calm, and they fought;
Antony commanding with Publicola the right, and Coelius the left
squadron, Marcus Octavius and Marcus Insteius the center.
Caesar gave the charge of the left to Agrippa, commanding in
person on the right. As for the land-forces, Canidius was
general for Antony, Taurus for Caesar; both armies remaining
drawn up in order along the shore. Antony in a small boat went
from one ship to another, encouraging his soldiers, and bidding
them stand firm, and fight as steadily on their large ships as
if they were on land. The masters he ordered that they should
receive the enemy lying still as if they were at anchor, and
maintain the entrance of the port, which was a narrow and
difficult passage. Of Caesar they relate, that, leaving his
tent and going round, while it was yet dark, to visit the ships,
he met a man driving an ass, and asked him his name. He
answered him that his own name was "Fortunate, and my ass," says
he, "is called Conqueror." And afterwards, when he disposed
the beaks of the ships in that place in token of his victory,
the statue of this man and his ass in bronze were placed amongst
them. After examining the rest of his fleet, he went in a boat
to the right wing, and looked with much admiration at the enemy
lying perfectly still in the straits, in all appearance as if
they had been at anchor. For some considerable length of time
he actually thought they were so, and kept his own ships at
rest, at a distance of about eight furlongs from them. But
about noon a breeze sprang up from the sea, and Antony's men,
weary of expecting the enemy so long, and trusting to their
large tall vessels, as if they had been invincible, began to
advance the left squadron. Caesar was overjoyed to see them
move, and ordered his own right squadron to retire, that he
might entice them out to sea as far as he could, his design
being to sail round and round, and so with his light and
well-manned galleys to attack these huge vessels, which their
size and their want of men made slow to move and difficult to

When they engaged, there was no charging or striking of one ship
by another, because Antony's, by reason of their great bulk,
were incapable of the rapidity required to make the stroke
effectual, and, on the other side, Caesar's durst not charge
head to head on Antony's, which were all armed with solid masses
and spikes of brass; nor did they like even to run in on their
sides, which were so strongly built with great squared pieces of
timber, fastened together with iron bolts, that their vessels'
beaks would easily have been shattered upon them. So that the
engagement resembled a land fight, or, to speak yet more
properly, the attack and defense of a fortified place; for there
were always three or four vessels of Caesar's about one of
Antony's, pressing them with spears, javelins, poles, and
several inventions of fire, which they flung among them,
Antony's men using catapults also, to pour down missiles from
wooden towers. Agrippa drawing out the squadron under his
command to outflank the enemy, Publicola was obliged to observe
his motions, and gradually to break off from the middle
squadron, where some confusion and alarm ensued, while
Arruntius engaged them. But the fortune of the day was still
undecided, and the battle equal, when on a sudden Cleopatra's
sixty ships were seen hoisting sail and making out to sea in
full flight, right through the ships that were engaged. For
they were placed behind the great ships, which, in breaking
through, they put into disorder. The enemy was astonished to
see them sailing off with a fair wind towards Peloponnesus.
Here it was that Antony showed to all the world that he was no
longer actuated by the thoughts and motives of a commander or a
man, or indeed by his own judgment at all, and what was once
said as a jest, that the soul of a lover lives in some one
else's body, he proved to be a serious truth. For, as if he had
been born part of her, and must move with her wheresoever she
went, as soon as he saw her ship sailing away, he abandoned all
that were fighting and spending their lives for him, and put
himself aboard a galley of five ranks of oars, taking with him
only Alexander of Syria and Scellias, to follow her that had so
well begun his ruin and would hereafter accomplish it.

She, perceiving him to follow, gave the signal to come aboard.
So, as soon as he came up with them, he was taken into the ship.
But without seeing her or letting himself be seen by her, he
went forward by himself, and sat alone, without a word, in the
ship's prow, covering his face with his two hands. In the
meanwhile, some of Caesar's light Liburnian ships, that were in
pursuit, came in sight. But on Antony's commanding to face
about, they all gave back except Eurycles the Laconian, who
pressed on, shaking a lance from the deck, as if he meant to
hurl it at him. Antony, standing at the prow, demanded of him,
"Who is this that pursues Antony?" "I am," said he, "Eurycles,
the son of Lachares, armed with Caesar's fortune to revenge my
father's death." Lachares had been condemned for a robbery, and
beheaded by Antony's orders. However, Eurycles did not attack
Antony, but ran with his full force upon the other
admiral-galley (for there were two of them), and with the blow
turned her round, and took both her and another ship, in which
was a quantity of rich plate and furniture. So soon as Eurycles
was gone, Antony returned to his posture, and sat silent, and
thus he remained for three days, either in anger with Cleopatra,
or wishing not to upbraid her, at the end of which they touched
at Taenarus. Here the women of their company succeeded first in
bringing them to speak, and afterwards to eat and sleep
together. And, by this time, several of the ships of burden and
some of his friends began to come in to him from the rout,
bringing news of his fleet's being quite destroyed, but that the
land-forces, they thought, still stood firm. So that he sent
messengers to Canidius to march the army with all speed through
Macedonia into Asia. And, designing himself to go from Taenarus
into Africa, he gave one of the merchant ships, laden with a
large sum of money, and vessels of silver and gold of great
value, belonging to the royal collections, to his friends,
desiring them to share it amongst them, and provide for their
own safety. They refusing his kindness with tears in their
eyes, he comforted them with all the goodness and humanity
imaginable, entreating them to leave him, and wrote letters in
their behalf to Theophilus, his steward, at Corinth, that he
would provide for their security, and keep them concealed till
such time as they could make their peace with Caesar. This
Theophilus was the father of Hipparchus, who had such interest
with Antony, who was the first of all his freedmen that went
over to Caesar, and who settled afterwards at Corinth. In this
posture were affairs with Antony.

But at Actium, his fleet, after a long resistance to Caesar, and
suffering the most damage from a heavy sea that set in right
ahead, scarcely, at four in the afternoon, gave up the contest,
with the loss of not more than five thousand men killed, but of
three hundred ships taken, as Caesar himself has recorded. Only
few had known of Antony's flight; and those who were told of it
could not at first give any belief to so incredible a thing, as
that a general who had nineteen entire legions and twelve
thousand horse upon the sea-shore, could abandon all and fly
away; and he, above all, who had so often experienced both good
and evil fortune, and had in a thousand wars and battles been
inured to changes. His soldiers, howsoever would not give up
their desires and expectations, still fancying he would appear
from some part or other, and showed such a generous fidelity to
his service, that, when they were thoroughly assured that he was
fled in earnest, they kept themselves in a body seven days,
making no account of the messages that Caesar sent to them. But
at last, seeing that Canidius himself, who commanded them, was
fled from the camp by night, and that all their officers had
quite abandoned them, they gave way, and made their submission
to the conqueror. After this, Caesar set sail for Athens, where
he made a settlement with Greece, and distributed what remained
of the provision of corn that Antony had made for his army among
the cities, which were in a miserable condition, despoiled of
their money, their slaves, their horses, and beasts of service.
My great-grandfather Nicarchus used to relate, that the whole
body of the people of our city were put in requisition to carry
each one a certain measure of corn upon their shoulders to the
sea-side near Anticyra, men standing by to quicken them with the
lash. They had made one journey of the kind, but when they had
just measured out the corn and were putting it on their backs
for a second, news came of Antony's defeat, and so saved
Chaeronea, for all Antony's purveyors and soldiers fled upon the
news, and left them to divide the corn among themselves.

When Antony came into Africa, he sent on Cleopatra from
Paraetonium into Egypt, and stayed himself in the most entire
solitude that he could desire, roaming and wandering about with
only two friends, one a Greek, Aristocrates, a rhetorician, and
the other a Roman, Lucilius, of whom we have elsewhere spoken,
how, at Philippi, to give Brutus time to escape, he suffered
himself to be taken by the pursuers, pretending he was Brutus.
Antony gave him his life, and on this account he remained true
and faithful to him to the last.

But when also the officer who commanded for him in Africa, to
whose care he had committed all his forces there, took them over
to Caesar, he resolved to kill himself, but was hindered by his
friends. And coming to Alexandria, he found Cleopatra busied in
a most bold and wonderful enterprise. Over the small space of
land which divides the Red Sea from the sea near Egypt, which
may be considered also the boundary between Asia and Africa, and
in the narrowest place is not much above three hundred furlongs
across, over this neck of land Cleopatra had formed a project of
dragging her fleet, and setting it afloat in the Arabian Gulf,
thus with her soldiers and her treasure to secure herself a home
on the other side, where she might live in peace, far away from
war and slavery. But the first galleys which were carried over
being burnt by the Arabians of Petra, and Antony not knowing but
that the army before Actium still held together, she desisted
from her enterprise, and gave orders for the fortifying all the
approaches to Egypt. But Antony, leaving the city and the
conversation of his friends, built him a dwelling-place in the
water, near Pharos, upon a little mole which he cast up in the
sea, and there, secluding himself from the company of mankind,
said he desired nothing but to live the life of Timon; as,
indeed, his case was the same, and the ingratitude and injuries
which he suffered from those he had esteemed his friends, made
him hate and mistrust all mankind.

This Timon was a citizen of Athens, and lived much about the
Peloponnesian war, as may be seen by the comedies of
Aristophanes and Plato, in which he is ridiculed as the hater
and enemy of mankind. He avoided and repelled the approaches of
everyone, but embraced with kisses and the greatest show of
affection Alcibiades, then in his hot youth. And when Apemantus
was astonished, and demanded the reason, he replied that he knew
this young man would one day do infinite mischief to the
Athenians. He never admitted anyone into his company, except
at times this Apemantus, who was of the same sort of temper, and
was an imitator of his way of life. At the celebration of the
festival of flagons, these two kept the feast together, and
Apemantus saying to him, "What a pleasant party, Timon!" "It
would be," he answered, "if you were away." One day he got up
in a full assembly on the speaker's place, and when there was a
dead silence and great wonder at so unusual a sight, he said,
"Ye men of Athens, I have a little plot of ground, and in it
grows a fig-tree, on which many citizens have been pleased to
hang themselves; and now, having resolved to build in that
place, I wished to announce it publicly that any of you who may
be desirous may go and hang yourselves before I cut it down."
He died and was buried at Halae, near the sea, where it so
happened that, after his burial, a land-slip took place on the
point of the shore, and the sea, flowing in, surrounded his
tomb, and made it inaccessible to the foot of man. It bore this
inscription: --

Here am I laid, my life of misery done.
Ask not my name, I curse you every one.

And this epitaph was made by himself while yet alive; that which
is more generally known is by Callimachus: --

Timon, the misanthrope, am I below.
Go, and revile me, traveler, only go.

Thus much of Timon, of whom much more might be said. Canidius
now came, bringing word in person of the loss of the army before
Actium. Then he received news that Herod of Judaea was gone
over to Caesar with some legions and cohorts, and that the other
kings and princes were in like manner deserting him, and that,
out of Egypt, nothing stood by him. All this, however, seemed
not to disturb him, but, as if he were glad to put away all
hope, that with it he might be rid of all care, and leaving his
habitation by the sea, which he called the Timoneum, he was
received by Cleopatra in the palace, and set the whole city into
a course of feasting, drinking, and presents. The son of Caesar
and Cleopatra was registered among the youths, and Antyllus, his
own son by Fulvia, received the gown without the purple border,
given to those that are come of age; in honor of which the
citizens of Alexandria did nothing but feast and revel for many
days. They themselves broke up the Order of the Inimitable
Livers, and constituted another in its place, not inferior in
splendor, luxury, and sumptuosity, calling it that of the Diers
together. For all those that said they would die with Antony
and Cleopatra gave in their names, for the present passing their
time in all manner of pleasures and a regular succession of
banquets. But Cleopatra was busied in making a collection of
all varieties of poisonous drugs, and, in order to see which of
them were the least painful in the operation, she had them tried
upon prisoners condemned to die. But, finding that the quick
poisons always worked with sharp pains, and that the less
painful were slow, she next tried venomous animals, and watched
with her own eyes whilst they were applied, one creature to the
body of another. This was her daily practice, and she pretty
well satisfied herself that nothing was comparable to the bite
of the asp, which, without convulsion or groaning, brought on a
heavy drowsiness and lethargy, with a gentle sweat on the face,
the senses being stupefied by degrees; the patient, in
appearance, being sensible of no pain, but rather troubled to be
disturbed or awakened, like those that are in a profound natural

At the same time, they sent ambassadors to Caesar into Asia,
Cleopatra asking for the kingdom of Egypt for her children, and
Antony, that he might have leave to live as a private man in
Egypt, or, if that were thought too much, that he might retire
to Athens. In lack of friends, so many having deserted, and
others not being trusted, Euphronius, his son's tutor, was sent
on this embassy. For Alexas of Laodicea, who, by the
recommendation of Timagenes, became acquainted with Antony at
Rome, and had been more powerful with him than any Greek, and
was, of all the instruments which Cleopatra made use of to
persuade Antony, the most violent, and the chief subverter of
any good thoughts that, from time to time, might rise in his
mind in Octavia's favor, had been sent before to dissuade Herod
from desertion; but, betraying his master, stayed with him, and,
confiding in Herod's interest, had the boldness to come into
Caesar's presence. Herod, however, was not able to help him,
for he was immediately put in chains, and sent into his own
country, where, by Caesar's order, he was put to death. This
reward of his treason Alexas received while Antony was yet

Caesar would not listen to any proposals for Antony, but he made
answer to Cleopatra, that there was no reasonable favor which
she might not expect, if she put Antony to death, or expelled
him from Egypt. He sent back with the ambassadors his own
freedman Thyrsus, a man of understanding, and not at all
ill-qualified for conveying the messages of a youthful general
to a woman so proud of her charms and possessed with the opinion
of the power of her beauty. But by the long audiences he
received from her, and the special honors which she paid him,
Antony's jealousy began to be awakened; he had him seized,
whipped, and sent back; writing Caesar word that the man's busy,
impertinent ways had provoked him; in his circumstances he could
not be expected to be very patient: "But if it offend you," he
added, "you have got my freedman, Hipparchus, with you; hang him
up and scourge him to make us even." But Cleopatra, after this,
to clear herself, and to allay his jealousies, paid him all the
attentions imaginable. When her own birthday came, she kept it
as was suitable to their fallen fortunes; but his was observed
with the utmost prodigality of splendor and magnificence, so
that many of the guests sat down in want, and went home wealthy
men. Meantime, continual letters came to Caesar from Agrippa,
telling him his presence was extremely required at Rome.

And so the war was deferred for a season. But, the winter being
over, he began his march; he himself by Syria, and his captains
through Africa. Pelusium being taken, there went a report as if
it had been delivered up to Caesar by Seleucus not without the
consent of Cleopatra; but she, to justify herself, gave up into
Antony's hands the wife and children of Seleucus to be put to
death. She had caused to be built, joining to the temple of Isis,
several tombs and monuments of wonderful height, and very
remarkable for the workmanship; thither she removed her
treasure, her gold, silver, emeralds, pearls, ebony, ivory,
cinnamon, and, after all, a great quantity of torchwood and tow.
Upon which Caesar began to fear lest she should, in a desperate
fit, set all these riches on fire; and, therefore, while he was
marching towards the city with his army, he omitted no occasion
of giving her new assurances of his good intentions. He took up
his position in the Hippodrome, where Antony made a fierce sally
upon him, routed the horse, and beat them back into their
trenches, and so returned with great satisfaction to the palace,
where, meeting Cleopatra, armed as he was, he kissed her, and
commended to her favor one of his men, who had most signalized
himself in the fight, to whom she made a present of a
breastplate and helmet of gold; which he having received, went
that very night and deserted to Caesar.

After this, Antony sent a new challenge to Caesar, to fight him
hand to hand; who made him answer that he might find several
other ways to end his life; and he, considering with himself
that he could not die more honorably than in battle, resolved to
make an effort both by land and sea. At supper, it is said, he
bade his servants help him freely, and pour him out wine
plentifully, since tomorrow, perhaps, they should not do the
same, but be servants to a new master, whilst he should lie on
the ground, a dead corpse, and nothing. His friends that were
about him wept to hear him talk so; which he perceiving, told
them he would not lead them to a battle in which he expected
rather an honorable death than either safety or victory. That
night, it is related, about the middle of it, when the whole
city was in a deep silence and general sadness, expecting the
event of the next day, on a sudden was heard the sound of all
sorts of instruments, and voices singing in tune, and the cry of
a crowd of people shouting and dancing, like a troop of
bacchanals on its way. This tumultuous procession seemed to
take its course right through the middle of the city to the gate
nearest the enemy; here it became loudest, and suddenly passed
out. People who reflected considered this to signify that
Bacchus, the god whom Antony had always made it his study to
copy and imitate, had now forsaken him.

As soon as it was light, he marched his infantry out of the
city, and posted them upon a rising ground, from whence he saw
his fleet make up to the enemy. There he stood in expectation
of the event; but, as soon as the fleets came near to one
another, his men saluted Caesar's with their oars; and, on their
responding, the whole body of the ships, forming into a single
fleet, rowed up direct to the city. Antony had no sooner seen
this, but the horse deserted him, and went over to Caesar; and
his foot being defeated, he retired into the city, crying out
that Cleopatra had betrayed him to the enemies he had made for
her sake. She, being afraid lest in his fury and despair he
might do her a mischief, fled to her monument, and letting down
the falling doors, which were strong with bars and bolts, she
sent messengers who should tell Antony she was dead. He,
believing it, cried out, "Now, Antony, why delay longer? Fate
has snatched away the only pretext for which you could say you
desired yet to live." Going into his chamber, and there
loosening and opening his coat of armor, "I am not," said he,
"troubled, Cleopatra, to be at present bereaved of you, for I
shall soon be with you; but it distresses me that so great a
general should be found of a tardier courage than a woman." He
had a faithful servant, whose name was Eros; he had engaged him
formerly to kill him when he should think it necessary, and now
he put him to his promise. Eros drew his sword, as designing to
kill him, but, suddenly turning round, he slew himself. And as
he fell dead at his feet, "It is well done, Eros," said Antony;
"you show your master how to do what you had not the heart to do
yourself;" and so he ran himself into the belly, and laid
himself upon the couch. The wound, however, was not immediately
mortal; and the flow of blood ceasing when he lay down,
presently he came to himself, and entreated those that were
about him to put him out of his pain; but they all fled out of
the chamber, and left him crying out and struggling, until
Diomede, Cleopatra's secretary, came to him, having orders from
her to bring him into the monument.

When he understood she was alive, he eagerly gave order to the
servants to take him up, and in their arms was carried to the
door of the building. Cleopatra would not open the door, but,
looking from a sort of window, she let down ropes and cords, to
which Antony was fastened; and she and her two women, the only
persons she had allowed to enter the monument, drew him up.
Those that were present say that nothing was ever more sad than
this spectacle, to see Antony, covered all over with blood and
just expiring, thus drawn up, still holding up his hands to her,
and lifting up his body with the little force he had left. As,
indeed, it was no easy task for the women; and Cleopatra, with
all her force, clinging to the rope, and straining with her head
to the ground, with difficulty pulled him up, while those below
encouraged her with their cries, and joined in all her effort
and anxiety. When she had got him up, she laid him on the bed,
tearing all her clothes, which she spread upon him; and, beating
her breasts with her hands, lacerating herself, and disfiguring
her own face with the blood from his wounds, she called him her
lord, her husband, her emperor, and seemed to have pretty nearly
forgotten all her own evils, she was so intent upon his
misfortunes. Antony, stopping her lamentations as well as he
could, called for wine to drink, either that he was thirsty; or
that he imagined that it might put him the sooner out of pain.
When he had drunk, he advised her to bring her own affairs, so
far as might be honorably done, to a safe conclusion, and that,
among all the friends of Caesar, she should rely on Proculeius;
that she should not pity him in this last turn of fate, but
rather rejoice for him in remembrance of his past happiness, who
had been of all men the most illustrious and powerful, and, in
the end, had fallen not ignobly, a Roman by a Roman overcome.

Just as he breathed his last, Proculeius arrived from Caesar;
for when Antony gave himself his wound, and was carried in to
Cleopatra, one of his guards, Dercetaeus, took up Antony's sword
and hid it; and, when he saw his opportunity, stole away to
Caesar, and brought him the first news of Antony's death, and
withal showed him the bloody sword. Caesar, upon this, retired
into the inner part of his tent, and, giving some tears to the
death of one that had been nearly allied to him in marriage, his
colleague in empire, and companion in so many wars and dangers,
he came out to his friends, and, bringing with him many letters,
he read to them with how much reason and moderation he had
always addressed himself to Antony, and in return what
overbearing and arrogant answers he received. Then he sent
Proculeius to use his utmost endeavors to get Cleopatra alive
into his power; for he was afraid of losing a great treasure,
and, besides, she would be no small addition to the glory of his
triumph. She, however, was careful not to put herself in
Proculeius's power; but from within her monument, he standing on
the outside of a door, on the level of the ground, which was
strongly barred, but so that they might well enough hear one
another's voice, she held a conference with him; she demanding
that her kingdom might be given to her children, and he bidding
her be of good courage, and trust Caesar for everything.

Having taken particular notice of the place, he returned to
Caesar, and Gallus was sent to parley with her the second time;
who, being come to the door, on purpose prolonged the
conference, while Proculeius fixed his scaling-ladders in the
window through which the women had pulled up Antony. And so
entering, with two men to follow him, he went straight down to
the door where Cleopatra was discoursing with Gallus. One of
the two women who were shut up in the monument with her cried
out, "Miserable Cleopatra, you are taken prisoner!" Upon which
she turned quick, and, looking at Proculeius, drew out her
dagger, which she had with her to stab herself. But Proculeius
ran up quickly, and, seizing her with both his hands, "For
shame," said he, "Cleopatra; you wrong yourself and Caesar much,
who would rob him of so fair an occasion of showing his
clemency, and would make the world believe the most gentle of
commanders to be a faithless and implacable enemy." And so,
taking the dagger out of her hand, he also shook her dress to
see if there were any poison hid in it. After this, Caesar sent
Epaphroditus, one of his freedmen, with orders to treat her with
all the gentleness and civility possible, but to take the
strictest precautions to keep her alive.

In the meanwhile, Caesar made his entry into Alexandria, with
Areius the philosopher at his side, holding him by the hand and
talking with him; desiring that all his fellow-citizens should
see what honor was paid to him, and should look up to him
accordingly from the very first moment. Then, entering the
exercise-ground, he mounted a platform erected for the purpose,
and from thence commanded the citizens (who, in great fear and
consternation, fell prostrate at his feet) to stand up, and told
them, that he freely acquitted the people of all blame, first,
for the sake of Alexander, who built their city; then, for the
city's sake itself, which was so large and beautiful; and,
thirdly, to gratify his friend Areius.

Such great honor did Areius receive from Caesar; and by his
intercession many lives were saved, amongst the rest that of
Philostratus, a man, of all the professors of logic that ever
were, the most ready in extempore speaking, but quite destitute
of any right to call himself one of the philosophers of the
Academy. Caesar, out of disgust at his character, refused all
attention to his entreaties. So, growing a long, white beard,
and dressing himself in black, he followed behind Areius,
shouting out the verse,

The wise, if they are wise, will save the wise.

Which Caesar hearing, gave him his pardon, to prevent rather any
odium that might attach to Areius, than any harm that
Philostratus might suffer.

Of Antony's children, Antyllus, his son by Fulvia, being
betrayed by his tutor, Theodorus, was put to death; and while
the soldiers were cutting off his head, his tutor contrived to
steal a precious jewel which he wore about his neck, and put it
into his pocket, and afterwards denied the fact, but was
convicted and crucified. Cleopatra's children, with their
attendants, had a guard set on them, and were treated very
honorably. Caesarion, who was reputed to be the son of Caesar
the Dictator, was sent by his mother, with a great sum of money,
through Ethiopia, to pass into India; but his tutor, a man named
Rhodon, about as honest as Theodorus, persuaded him to turn
back, for that Caesar designed to make him king. Caesar
consulting what was best to be done with him, Areius, we are
told, said,

Too many Caesars are not well.

So, afterwards, when Cleopatra was dead, he was killed.

Many kings and great commanders made petition to Caesar for the
body of Antony, to give him his funeral rites; but he would not
take away his corpse from Cleopatra, by whose hands he was
buried with royal splendor and magnificence, it being granted to
her to employ what she pleased on his funeral. In this
extremity of grief and sorrow, and having inflamed and ulcerated
her breasts with beating them, she fell into a high fever, and
was very glad of the occasion, hoping, under this pretext, to
abstain from food, and so to die in quiet without interference.
She had her own physician, Olympus, to whom she told the truth,
and asked his advice and help to put an end to herself, as
Olympus himself has told us, in a narrative which he wrote of
these events. But Caesar, suspecting her purpose, took to
menacing language about her children, and excited her fears for
them, before which engines her purpose shook and gave way, so
that she suffered those about her to give her what meat or
medicine they pleased.

Some few days after, Caesar himself came to make her a visit and
comfort her. She lay then upon her pallet-bed in undress,
and, on his entering in, sprang up from off her bed, having
nothing on but the one garment next her body, and flung herself
at his feet, her hair and face looking wild and disfigured, her
voice quivering, and her eyes sunk in her head. The marks of
the blows she had given herself were visible about her bosom,
and altogether her whole person seemed no less afflicted than
her soul. But, for all this, her old charm, and the boldness of
her youthful beauty had not wholly left her, and, in spite of
her present condition, still sparkled from within, and let
itself appear in all the movements of her countenance. Caesar,
desiring her to repose herself, sat down by her; and, on this
opportunity, she said something to justify her actions,
attributing what she had done to the necessity she was under,
and to her fear of Antony; and when Caesar, on each point, made
his objections, and she found herself confuted, she broke off at
once into language of entreaty and deprecation, as if she
desired nothing more than to prolong her life. And at last,
having by her a list of her treasure, she gave it into his
hands; and when Seleucus, one of her stewards, who was by,
pointed out that various articles were omitted, and charged her
with secreting them, she flew up and caught him by the hair, and
struck him several blows on the face. Caesar smiling and
withholding her, "Is it not very hard, Caesar," said she, "when
you do me the honor to visit me in this condition I am in, that
I should be accused by one of my own servants of laying by some
women's toys, not meant to adorn, be sure, my unhappy self, but
that I might have some little present by me to make your Octavia
and your Livia, that by their intercession I might hope to find
you in some measure disposed to mercy?" Caesar was pleased to
hear her talk thus, being now assured that she was desirous to
live. And, therefore, letting her know that the things she had
laid by she might dispose of as she pleased, and his usage of
her should be honorable above her expectation, he went away,
well satisfied that he had overreached her, but, in fact, was
himself deceived.

There was a young man of distinction among Caesar's companions,
named Cornelius Dolabella. He was not without a certain
tenderness for Cleopatra, and sent her word privately, as she
had besought him to do, that Caesar was about to return through
Syria, and that she and her children were to be sent on within
three days. When she understood this, she made her request to
Caesar that he would be pleased to permit her to make oblations
to the departed Antony; which being granted, she ordered herself
to be carried to the place where he was buried, and there,
accompanied by her women, she embraced his tomb with tears in
her eyes, and spoke in this manner: "O, dearest Antony," said
she, "it is not long since that with these hands I buried you;
then they were free, now I am a captive, and pay these last
duties to you with a guard upon me, for fear that my just griefs
and sorrows should impair my servile body, and make it less fit
to appear in their triumph over you. No further offerings or
libations expect from me; these are the last honors that
Cleopatra can pay your memory, for she is to be hurried away far
from you. Nothing could part us whilst we lived, but death
seems to threaten to divide us. You, a Roman born, have found a
grave in Egypt; I, an Egyptian, am to seek that favor, and none
but that, in your country. But if the gods below, with whom
you now are, either can or will do anything (since those above
have betrayed us), suffer not your living wife to be abandoned;
let me not be led in triumph to your shame, but hide me and bury
me here with you, since, amongst all my bitter misfortunes,
nothing has afflicted me like this brief time that I have lived
away from you."

Having made these lamentations, crowning the tomb with garlands
and kissing it, she gave orders to prepare her a bath, and,
coming out of the bath, she lay down and made a sumptuous meal.
And a country fellow brought her a little basket, which the
guards intercepting and asking what it was, the fellow put the
leaves which lay uppermost aside, and showed them it was full of
figs; and on their admiring the largeness and beauty of the
figs, he laughed, and invited them to take some, which they
refused, and, suspecting nothing, bade him carry them in. After
her repast, Cleopatra sent to Caesar a letter which she had
written and sealed; and, putting everybody out of the monument
but her two women, she shut the doors. Caesar, opening her
letter, and finding pathetic prayers and entreaties that she
might be buried in the same tomb with Antony, soon guessed what
was doing. At first he was going himself in all haste, but,
changing his mind, he sent others to see. The thing had been
quickly done. The messengers came at full speed, and found the
guards apprehensive of nothing; but on opening the doors, they
saw her stone-dead, lying upon a bed of gold, set out in all her
royal ornaments. Iras, one of her women, lay dying at her feet,
and Charmion, just ready to fall, scarce able to hold up her
head, was adjusting her mistress's diadem. And when one that
came in said angrily, "Was this well done of your lady,
Charmion?" "Extremely well," she answered, "and as became the
descendant of so many kings"; and as she said this, she fell
down dead by the bedside.

Some relate that an asp was brought in amongst those figs and
covered with the leaves, and that Cleopatra had arranged that it
might settle on her before she knew, but, when she took away
some of the figs and saw it, she said, "So here it is," and held
out her bare arm to be bitten. Others say that it was kept in a
vase, and that she vexed and pricked it with a golden spindle
till it seized her arm. But what really took place is known to
no one. Since it was also said that she carried poison in a
hollow bodkin, about which she wound her hair; yet there was not
so much as a spot found, or any symptom of poison upon her body,
nor was the asp seen within the monument; only something like
the trail of it was said to have been noticed on the sand by the
sea, on the part towards which the building faced and where the
windows were. Some relate that two faint puncture-marks were
found on Cleopatra's arm, and to this account Caesar seems to
have given credit; for in his triumph there was carried a figure
of Cleopatra, with an asp clinging to her. Such are the various
accounts. But Caesar, though much disappointed by her death,
yet could not but admire the greatness of her spirit, and gave
order that her body should he buried by Antony with royal
splendor and magnificence. Her women, also, received honorable
burial by his directions. Cleopatra had lived nine and thirty
years, during twenty-two of which she had reigned as queen, and
for fourteen had been Antony's partner in his empire. Antony,
according to some authorities, was fifty-three, according to
others, fifty-six years old. His statues were all thrown down,
but those of Cleopatra were left untouched; for Archibius, one
of her friends, gave Caesar two thousand talents to save them
from the fate of Antony's.

Antony left by his three wives seven children, of whom only
Antyllus, the eldest, was put to death by Caesar; Octavia took
the rest, and brought them up with her own. Cleopatra, his
daughter by Cleopatra, was given in marriage to Juba, the most
accomplished of kings; and Antony, his son by Fulvia, attained
such high favor, that whereas Agrippa was considered to hold the
first place with Caesar, and the sons of Livia the second, the
third, without dispute, was possessed by Antony. Octavia, also,
having had by her first husband, Marcellus, two daughters, and
one son named Marcellus, this son Caesar adopted, and gave him
his daughter in marriage; as did Octavia one of the daughters to
Agrippa. But Marcellus dying almost immediately after his
marriage, she, perceiving that her brother was at a loss to find
elsewhere any sure friend to be his son-in-law, was the first to
recommend that Agrippa should put away her daughter and marry
Julia. To this Caesar first, and then Agrippa himself, gave
assent; so Agrippa married Julia, and Octavia, receiving her
daughter, married her to the young Antony. Of the two daughters
whom Octavia had borne to Antony, the one was married to
Domitius Ahenobarbus; and the other, Antonia, famous for her
beauty and discretion, was married to Drusus, the son of Livia,
and step-son to Caesar. Of these parents were born Germanicus
and Claudius. Claudius reigned later; and of the children of
Germanicus, Caius, after a reign of distinction, was killed with
his wife and child; Agrippina, after bearing a son, Lucius
Domitius, to Ahenobarbus, was married to Claudius Caesar, who
adopted Domitius, giving him the name of Nero Germanicus. He
was emperor in our time, and put his mother to death, and with
his madness and folly came not far from ruining the Roman
empire, being Antony's descendant in the fifth generation.


As both are great examples of the vicissitudes of fortune, let
us first consider in what way they attained their power and
glory. Demetrius heired a kingdom already won for him by
Antigonus, the most powerful of the Successors, who, before
Demetrius grew to be a man, traversed with his armies and
subdued the greater part of Asia. Antony's father was well
enough in other respects, but was no warrior, and could bequeath
no great legacy of reputation to his son, who had the boldness,
nevertheless, to take upon him the government, to which birth
gave him no claim, which had been held by Caesar, and became the
inheritor of his great labors. And such power did he attain,
with only himself to thank for it, that, in a division of the
whole empire into two portions, he took and received the nobler
one; and, absent himself, by his mere subalterns and lieutenants
often defeated the Parthians, and drove the barbarous nations of
the Caucasus back to the Caspian Sea. Those very things that
procured him ill-repute bear witness to his greatness.
Antigonus considered Antipater's daughter Phila, in spite of the
disparity of her years, an advantageous match for Demetrius.
Antony was thought disgraced by his marriage with Cleopatra, a
queen superior in power and glory to all, except Arsaces, who
were kings in her time. Antony was so great as to be thought by
others worthy of higher things than his own desires.

As regards the right and justice of their aims at empire,
Demetrius need not be blamed for seeking to rule a people that
had always had a king to rule them. Antony, who enslaved the
Roman people, just liberated from the rule of Caesar, followed a
cruel and tyrannical object. His greatest and most illustrious
work, his successful war with Brutus and Cassius, was done to
crush the liberties of his country and of his fellow-citizens.
Demetrius, till he was driven to extremity, went on, without
intermission, maintaining liberty in Greece, and expelling the
foreign garrisons from the cities; not like Antony, whose boast
was to have slain in Macedonia those who had set up liberty in
Rome. As for the profusion and magnificence of his gifts,
one point for which Antony is lauded, Demetrius so far outdid
them, that what he gave to his enemies was far more than Antony
ever gave to his friends. Antony was renowned for giving Brutus
honorable burial; Demetrius did so to all the enemy's dead, and
sent the prisoners back to Ptolemy with money and presents.

Both were insolent in prosperity, and abandoned themselves to
luxuries and enjoyments. Yet it cannot be said that Demetrius,
in his revelings and dissipations, ever let slip the time for
action; pleasures with him attended only the superabundance of
his ease, and his Lamia, like that of the fable, belonged only
to his playful, half-waking, half-sleeping hours. When war
demanded his attention, his spear was not wreathed with ivy, nor
his helmet redolent of unguents; he did not come out to battle
from the women's chamber, but, hushing the bacchanal shouts and
putting an end to the orgies, he became at once, as Euripides
calls it, "the minister of the unpriestly Mars;" and, in short,
he never once incurred disaster through indolence or
self-indulgence. Whereas Antony, like Hercules in the picture
where Omphale is seen removing his club and stripping him of his
lion's skin, was over and over again disarmed by Cleopatra, and
beguiled away, while great actions and enterprises of the first
necessity fell, as it were, from his hands, to go with her to
the seashore of Canopus and Taphosiris, and play about. And in
the end, like another Paris, he left the battle to fly to her
arms; or rather, to say the truth, Paris fled when he was
already beaten; Antony fled first, and, to follow Cleopatra,
abandoned his victory.

There was no law to prevent Demetrius from marrying several
wives; from the time of Philip and Alexander, it had become
usual with Macedonian kings, and he did no more than was done by
Lysimachus and Ptolemy. And those he married he treated
honorably. But Antony, first of all, in marrying two wives at
once, did a thing which no Roman had ever allowed himself; and
then he drove away his lawful Roman wife to please the foreign
and unlawful woman. And so Demetrius incurred no harm at all;
Antony procured his ruin by his marriage. On the other hand, no
licentious act of Antony's can be charged with that impiety
which marks those of Demetrius. Historical writers tell us that
the very dogs are excluded from the whole Acropolis, because of
their gross, uncleanly habits. The very Parthenon itself saw
Demetrius consorting with harlots and debauching free women of
Athens. The vice of cruelty, also, remote as it seems from the
indulgence of voluptuous desires, must be attributed to him,
who, in the pursuit of his pleasures, allowed, or to say more
truly, compelled the death of the most beautiful and most chaste
of the Athenians, who found no way but this to escape his
violence. In one word, Antony himself suffered by his excesses,
and other people by those of Demetrius.

In his conduct to his parents, Demetrius was irreproachable.
Antony gave up his mother's brother, in order that he might have
leave to kill Cicero, this itself being so cruel and shocking an
act, that Antony would hardly be forgiven if Cicero's death had
been the price of this uncle's safety. In respect of breaches
of oaths and treaties, the seizure of Artabazes, and the
assassination of Alexander, Antony may urge the plea which no
one denies to be true, that Artabazes first abandoned and
betrayed him in Media; Demetrius is alleged by many to have
invented false pretexts for his act, and not to have retaliated
for injuries, but to have accused one whom he injured himself.

The achievements of Demetrius are all his own work. Antony's
noblest and greatest victories were won in his absence by his
lieutenants. For their final disasters they have both only to
thank themselves; not, however, in an equal degree. Demetrius
was deserted, the Macedonians revolted from him: Antony deserted
others, and ran away while men were fighting for him at the risk
of their lives. The fault to be found with the one is that he
had thus entirely alienated the affections of his soldiers; the
other's condemnation is that he abandoned so much love and faith
as he still possessed. We cannot admire the death of either,
but that of Demetrius excites our greater contempt. He let
himself become a prisoner, and was thankful to gain a three
years' accession of life in captivity. He was tamed like a wild
beast by his belly, and by wine; Antony took himself out of the
world in a cowardly, pitiful, and ignoble manner, but, still in
time to prevent the enemy having his person in their power.


If it be true, Sosius Senecio, that, as Simonides tells us,

"Of the Corinthians Troy does not complain"

for having taken part with the Achaeans in the siege, because
the Trojans also had Corinthians (Glaucus, who sprang from
Corinth,) fighting bravely on their side, so also it may be
fairly said that neither Romans nor Greeks can quarrel with the
Academy, each nation being equally represented in the following
pair of lives, which will give an account of Brutus and of Dion,
-- Dion, who was Plato's own hearer, and Brutus, who was brought
up in his philosophy. They came from one and the selfsame
school, where they had been trained alike, to run the race of
honor; nor need we wonder that in the performance of actions
often most nearly allied and akin, they both bore evidence to
the truth of what their guide and teacher had said, that,
without the concurrence of power and success with justice and
prudence, public actions do not attain their proper, great, and
noble character. For as Hippomachus the wrestling-master
affirmed, he could distinguish his scholars at a distance.
though they were but carrying meat from the shambles, so it is
very probable that the principles of those who have had the same
good education should appear with a resemblance in all their
actions, creating in them a certain harmony and proportion, at
once agreeable and becoming.

We may also draw a close parallel of the lives of the two men
from their fortunes, wherein chance, even more than their own
designs, made them nearly alike. For they were both cut off by
an untimely death, not being able to accomplish those ends which
through many risks and difficulties they aimed at. But, above
all, this is most wonderful; that by preternatural interposition
both of them had notice given of their approaching death by an
unpropitious form, which visibly appeared to them. Although
there are people who utterly deny any such thing, and say that
no man in his right senses ever yet saw any supernatural phantom
or apparition, but that children only, and silly women, or men
disordered by sickness, in some aberration of the mind or
distemperature of the body, have had empty and extravagant
imaginations, whilst the real evil genius, superstition, was in
themselves. Yet if Dion and Brutus, men of solid understanding,
and philosophers, not to be easily deluded by fancy or
discomposed by any sudden apprehension, were thus affected by
visions, that they forthwith declared to their friends what they
had seen, I know not how we can avoid admitting again the
utterly exploded opinion of the oldest times, that evil and
beguiling spirits, out of an envy to good men, and a desire of
impeding their good deeds, make efforts to excite in them
feelings of terror and distraction, to make them shake and
totter in their virtue, lest by a steady and unbiased
perseverance they should obtain a happier condition than these
beings after death. But I shall leave these things for another
opportunity, and, in this twelfth book of the lives of great men
compared one with another, begin with his who was the elder.

Dionysius the First, having possessed himself of the government,
at once took to wife the daughter of Hermocrates, the Syracusan.
She, in an outbreak which the citizens made before the new power
was well settled, was abused in such a barbarous and outrageous
manner, that for shame she put an end to her own life. But
Dionysius, when he was reestablished and confirmed in his
supremacy, married two wives together, one named Doris, of
Locri, the other, Aristomache, a native of Sicily, and daughter
of Hipparinus, a man of the first quality in Syracuse, and
colleague with Dionysius when he was first chosen general with
unlimited powers for the war. It is said he married them both
in one day, and no one ever knew which of the two he first made
his wife; and ever after he divided his kindness equally between
them, both accompanying him together at his table, and in his
bed by turns. Indeed, the Syracusans were urgent that their own
countrywoman might be preferred before the stranger; but Doris,
to compensate for her foreign extraction; had the good fortune
to be the mother of the son and heir of the family, whilst
Aristomache continued a long time without issue, though
Dionysius was very desirous to have children by her, and,
indeed, caused Doris's mother to be put to death, laying to her
charge that she had given drugs to Aristomache, to prevent her
being with child.

Dion, Aristomache's brother, at first found an honorable
reception for his sister's sake; but his own worth and parts
soon procured him a nearer place in his brother-in-law's
affection, who, among other favors, gave special command to his
treasurers to furnish Dion with whatever money he demanded, only
telling him on the same day what they had delivered out. Now,
though Dion was before reputed a person of lofty character; of a
noble mind, and daring courage, yet these excellent
qualifications all received a great development from the happy
chance which conducted Plato into Sicily; not assuredly by any
human device or calculation, but some supernatural power,
designing that this remote cause should hereafter occasion the
recovery of the Sicilians' lost liberty and the subversion of
the tyrannical government, brought the philosopher out of Italy
to Syracuse, and made acquaintance between him and Dion. Dion
was, indeed, at this time extremely young in years, but of all
the scholars that attended Plato he was the quickest and aptest
to learn, and the most prompt and eager to practice, the lessons
of virtue, as Plato himself reports of him, and his own actions
sufficiently testify. For though he had been bred up under a
tyrant in habits of submission, accustomed to a life, on the one
hand of servility and intimidation, and yet on the other of
vulgar display and luxury, the mistaken happiness of people that
knew no better thing than pleasure and self-indulgence, yet, at
the first taste of reason and a philosophy that demands
obedience to virtue, his soul was set in a flame, and in the
simple innocence of youth, concluding, from his own disposition,
that the same reasons would work the same effects upon
Dionysius, he made it his business, and at length obtained the
favor of him, at a leisure hour, to hear Plato.

At this their meeting, the subject-matter of their discourse in
general was human virtue, but, more particularly, they disputed
concerning fortitude, which Plato proved tyrants, of all men,
had the least pretense to; and thence proceeding to treat of
justice, asserted the happy estate of the just, and the
miserable condition of the unjust; arguments which Dionysius
would not hear out, but, feeling himself, as it were, convicted
by his words, and much displeased to see the rest of the
auditors full of admiration for the speaker and captivated with
his doctrine, at last, exceedingly exasperated, he asked the
philosopher in a rage, what business he had in Sicily. To which
Plato answered, "I came to seek a virtuous man." "It seems
then," replied Dionysius, "you have lost your labor." Dion,
supposing, that this was all, and that nothing further could
come of his anger, at Plato's request, conveyed him aboard a
galley, which was conveying Pollis, the Spartan, into Greece.
But Dionysius privately dealt with Pollis, by all means to kill
Plato in the voyage; if not, to be sure to sell him for a slave:
he would, of course, take no harm of it, being the same just man
as before; he would enjoy that happiness, though he lost his
liberty. Pollis, therefore, it is stated, carried Plato to
Aegina, and there sold him; the Aeginetans, then at war with
Athens, having made a decree that whatever Athenian was taken on
their coasts should forthwith be exposed to sale.
Notwithstanding, Dion was not in less favor and credit with
Dionysius than formerly, but was entrusted with the most
considerable employments, and sent on important embassies to
Carthage, in the management of which he gained very great
reputation. Besides, the usurper bore with the liberty he took
to speak his mind freely, he being the only man who upon any
occasion durst boldly say what he thought, as, for example, in
the rebuke he gave him about Gelon. Dionysius was ridiculing
Gelon's government, and, alluding to his name, said, he had been
the laughing-stock of Sicily. While others seemed to admire
and applaud the quibble, Dion very warmly replied,
"Nevertheless, it is certain that you are sole governor here,
because you were trusted for Gelon's sake; but for your sake no
man will ever hereafter be trusted again." For, indeed, Gelon
had made a monarchy appear the best, whereas Dionysius had
convinced men that it was the worst, of governments.

Dionysius had three children by Doris, and by Aristomache four,
two of which were daughters, Sophrosyne and Arete. Sophrosyne
was married to his son Dionysius; Arete, to his brother
Thearides, after whose death, Dion received his niece Arete to
wife. Now when Dionysius was sick and like to die, Dion
endeavored to speak with him in behalf of the children he had by
Aristomache, but was still prevented by the physicians, who
wanted to ingratiate themselves with the next successor, who
also, as Timaeus reports, gave him a sleeping potion which he
asked for, which produced an insensibility only followed by his

Nevertheless, at the first council which the young Dionysius
held with his friends, Dion discoursed so well of the present
state of affairs, that he made all the rest appear in their
politics but children, and in their votes rather slaves than
counselors, who timorously and disingenuously advised what would
please the young man, rather than what would advance his
interest. But that which startled them most was the proposal he
made to avert the imminent danger they feared of a war with the
Carthaginians, undertaking, if Dionysius wanted peace, to sail
immediately over into Africa, and conclude it there upon
honorable terms; but, if he rather preferred war, then he would
fit out and maintain at his own cost and charges fifty galleys
ready for the service.

Dionysius wondered much at his greatness of mind, and received
his offer with satisfaction. But the other courtiers, thinking
his generosity reflected upon them, and jealous of being
lessened by his greatness, from hence took all occasions by
private slanders to render him obnoxious to the young man's
displeasure; as if he designed by his power at sea to surprise
the government, and by the help of those naval forces confer the
supreme authority upon his sister Aristomache's children. But,
indeed, the most apparent and the strongest grounds for dislike
and hostility existed already in the difference of his habits,
and his reserved and separate way of living. For they, who,
from the beginning, by flatteries and all unworthy artifices,
courted the favor and familiarity of the prince, youthful and
voluptuously bred, ministered to his pleasures, and sought how
to find him daily some new amours and occupy him in vain
amusements, with wine or with women, and in other dissipations;
by which means, the tyranny, like iron softened in the fire,
seemed, indeed, to the subject to be more moderate and gentle,
and to abate somewhat of its extreme severity; the edge of it
being blunted, not by the clemency, but rather the sloth and
degeneracy of the sovereign, whose dissoluteness, gaining ground
daily, and growing upon him, soon weakened and broke those
"adamantine chains," with which his father, Dionysius, said he
had left the monarchy fastened and secured. It is reported of
him, that, having begun a drunken debauch, he continued it
ninety days without intermission; in all which time no person
on business was allowed to appear, nor was any serious
conversation heard at court, but drinking, singing, dancing.
and buffoonery reigned there without control.

It is likely then they had little kindness for Dion, who never
indulged himself in any youthful pleasure or diversion. And so
his very virtues were the matter of their calumnies, and were
represented under one or other plausible name as vices; they
called his gravity pride, his plain-dealing self-will, the good
advice he gave was all construed into reprimand, and he was
censured for neglecting and scorning those in whose misdemeanors
he declined to participate. And to say the truth, there was in
his natural character something stately, austere, reserved, and
unsociable in conversation, which made his company unpleasant
and disagreeable not only to the young tyrant, whose ears had
been corrupted by flatteries; many also of Dion's own intimate
friends, though they loved the integrity and generosity of his
temper, yet blamed his manner, and thought he treated those with
whom he had to do, less courteously and affably than became a
man engaged in civil business. Of which Plato also afterwards
wrote to him; and, as it were, prophetically advised him
carefully to avoid an arbitrary temper, whose proper helpmate
was a solitary life. And, indeed, at this very time, though
circumstances made him so important, and, in the danger of the
tottering government, he was recognized as the only or the
ablest support of it, yet he well understood that he owed not
his high position to any good-will or kindness, but to the mere
necessities of the usurper.

And, supposing the cause of this to be ignorance and want of
education, he endeavored to induce the young man into a course
of liberal studies, and to give him some knowledge of moral
truths and reasonings, hoping he might thus lose his fear of
virtuous living, and learn to take pleasure in laudable actions.
Dionysius, in his own nature, was not one of the worst kind of
tyrants, but his father, fearing that if he should come to
understand himself better, and converse with wise and reasonable
men, he might enter into some design against him, and dispossess
him of his power, kept him closely shut up at home; where, for
want of other company, and ignorant how to spend his time
better, he busied himself in making little chariots,
candlesticks, stools, tables, and other things of wood. For the
elder Dionysius was so diffident and suspicious, and so
continually on his guard against all men, that he would not so
much as let his hair be trimmed with any barber's or
hair-cutter's instruments, but made one of his artificers singe
him with a live coal. Neither were his brother or his son
allowed to come into his apartment in the dress they wore, but
they, as all others, were stripped to their skins by some of the
guard, and, after being seen naked, put on other clothes before
they were admitted into the presence. When his brother Leptines
was once describing the situation of a place, and took a javelin
from one of the guard to draw the plan of it, he was extremely
angry with him, and had the soldier who gave him the weapon put
to death. He declared, the more judicious his friends were, the
more he suspected them; because he knew, that were it in their
choice, they would rather be tyrants themselves than the
subjects of a tyrant. He slew Marsyas, one of his captains whom
he had preferred to a considerable command, for dreaming that he
killed him: without some previous waking thought and purpose of
the kind, he could not, he supposed, have had that fancy in
his sleep. So timorous was he, and so miserable a slave to his
fears, yet very angry with Plato, because he would not allow him
to be the valiantest man alive.

Dion, as we said before, seeing the son thus deformed and spoilt
in character for want of teaching, exhorted him to study, and to
use all his entreaties to persuade Plato, the first of
philosophers, to visit him in Sicily, and; when he came, to
submit himself to his direction and advice: by whose
instructions he might conform his nature to the truths of
virtue, and, living after the likeness of the Divine and
glorious Model of Being, out of obedience to whose control the
general confusion is changed into the beautiful order of the
universe, so he in like manner might be the cause of great
happiness to himself and to all his subjects, who, obliged by
his justice and moderation, would then willingly pay him
obedience as their father, which now grudgingly, and upon
necessity, they are forced to yield him as their master. Their
usurping tyrant he would then no longer be, but their lawful
king. For fear and force, a great navy and standing army of ten
thousand hired barbarians are not, as his father had said, the
adamantine chains which secure the regal power, but the love,
zeal, and affection inspired by clemency and justice; which,
though they seem more pliant than the stiff and hard bonds of
severity, are nevertheless the strongest and most durable ties
to sustain a lasting government. Moreover, it is mean and
dishonorable that a ruler, while careful to be splendid in his
dress, and luxurious and magnificent in his habitation, should,
in reason and power of speech, make no better show than the
commonest of his subjects, nor have the princely palace of his
mind adorned according to his royal dignity.

Dion frequently entertaining the king upon this subject, and, as
occasion offered, repeating some of the philosopher's sayings,
Dionysius grew impatiently desirous to have Plato's company, and
to hear him discourse. Forthwith, therefore, he sent letter
upon letter to him to Athens, to which Dion added his
entreaties; also several philosophers of the Pythagorean sect
from Italy sent their recommendations, urging him to come and
obtain a hold upon this pliant, youthful soul, which his solid
and weighty reasonings might steady, as it were, upon the seas
of absolute power and authority. Plato, as he tells us himself,
out of shame more than any other feeling, lest it should seem
that he was all mere theory, and that of his own good-will he
would never venture into action, hoping withal, that if he could
work a cure upon one man, the head and guide of the rest, he
might remedy the distempers of the whole island of Sicily,
yielded to their requests.

But Dion's enemies, fearing an alteration in Dionysius,
persuaded him to recall from banishment Philistus, a man of
learned education, and at the same time of great experience in
the ways of tyrants, and who might serve as a counterpoise to
Plato and his philosophy. For Philistus from the beginning had
been a great instrument in establishing the tyranny, and for a
long time had held the office of captain of the citadel. There
was a report, that he had been intimate with the mother of
Dionysius the first, and not without his privity. And when
Leptines, having two daughters by a married woman whom he had
debauched, gave one of them in marriage to Philistus, without
acquainting Dionysius, he, in great anger, put Leptines's
mistress in prison, and banished Philistus from Sicily.
Whereupon, he fled to some of his friends on the Adriatic coast,
in which retirement and leisure it is probable he wrote the
greatest part of his history; for he returned not into his
country during the reign of that Dionysius.

But after his death, as is just related, Dion's enemies
occasioned him to be recalled home, as fitter for their purpose,
and a firm friend to the arbitrary government. And this,
indeed, immediately upon his return he set himself to maintain;
and at the same time various calumnies and accusations against
Dion were by others brought to the king: as that he held
correspondence with Theodotes and Heraclides, to subvert the
government; as, doubtless, it is likely enough, that Dion had
entertained hopes, by the coming of Plato, to mitigate the rigid
and despotic severity of the tyranny, and to give Dionysius the
character of a fair and lawful governor; and had determined, if
he should continue averse to that, and were not to be reclaimed,
to depose him, and restore the commonwealth to the Syracusans;
not that he approved a democratic government, but thought it
altogether preferable to a tyranny, when a sound and good
aristocracy could not be procured.

This was the state of affairs when Plato came into Sicily, who,
at his first arrival, was received with wonderful demonstration
of kindness and respect. For one of the royal chariots, richly
ornamented, was in attendance to receive him when he came on
shore; Dionysius himself sacrificed to the gods in thankful
acknowledgment for the great happiness which had befallen his
government. The citizens, also, began to entertain marvelous
hopes of a speedy reformation, when they observed the modesty
which now ruled in the banquets, and the general decorum which
prevailed in all the court, their tyrant himself also behaving
with gentleness and humanity in all their matters of business
that came before him. There was a general passion for
reasoning: and philosophy, insomuch that the very palace, it is
reported, was filled with dust by the concourse of the students
in mathematics who were working their problems there. Some few
days after, it was the time of one of the Syracusan sacrifices,
and when the priest, as he was wont, prayed for the long and
safe continuance of the tyranny, Dionysius, it is said, as he
stood by, cried out, "Leave off praying for evil upon us." This
sensibly vexed Philistus and his party, who conjectured, that if
Plato, upon such brief acquaintance, had so far transformed and
altered the young man's mind, longer converse and greater
intimacy would give him such influence and authority, that it
would he impossible to withstand him.

Therefore, no longer privately and apart, but jointly and in
public, all of them, they began to slander Dion, noising it
about that he had charmed and bewitched Dionysius by Plato's
sophistry, to the end that when he was persuaded voluntarily to
part with his power, and lay down his authority, Dion might take
it up, and settle it upon his sister Aristomache's children.
Others professed to be indignant that the Athenians, who
formerly had come to Sicily with a great fleet and a numerous
land-army, and perished miserably without being able to take the
city of Syracuse, should now, by means of one sophister,
overturn the sovereignty of Dionysius; inveigling him to
cashier his guard of ten thousand lances, dismiss a navy of four
hundred galleys, disband an army of ten thousand horse and many
times over that number of foot, and go seek in the schools an
unknown and imaginary bliss, and learn by the mathematics how to
be happy; while, in the meantime, the substantial enjoyments of
absolute power, riches, and pleasure would be handed over to
Dion and his sister's children.

By these means, Dion began to incur at first suspicion, and by
degrees more apparent displeasure and hostility. A letter,
also, was intercepted and brought to the young prince, which
Dion had written to the Carthaginian agents, advising them,
that, when they treated with Dionysius concerning the peace,
they should not come to their audience without communicating
with him: they would not fail to obtain by this means all that
they wanted. When Dionysius had shown this to Philistus, and
consulted with him, as Timaeus relates, about it, he overreached
Dion by a feigned reconciliation, professing, after some fair
and reasonable expression of his feelings, that he was at
friends with him, and thus, leading him alone to the sea-side,
under the castle wall, he showed him the letter, and taxed him
with conspiring with the Carthaginians against him. And when
Dion essayed to speak in his own defense, Dionysius suffered him
not; but immediately forced him aboard a boat, which lay there
for that purpose, and commanded the sailors to set him ashore on
the coast of Italy.

When this was publicly known, and was thought very hard usage,
there was much lamentation in the tyrant's own household on
account of the women, but the citizens of Syracuse encouraged
themselves, expecting that for his sake some disturbance would
ensue; which, together with the mistrust others would now feel,
might occasion a general change and revolution in the state.
Dionysius, seeing this, took alarm, and endeavored to pacify the
women and others of Dion's kindred and friends; assuring them
that he had not banished, but only sent him out of the way for a
time, for fear of his own passion, which might be provoked some
day by Dion's self-will into some act which he should be sorry
for. He gave also two ships to his relations, with liberty to
send into Peloponnesus for him whatever of his property or

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