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Plutarch's Lives

Part 33 out of 35

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After these things, they began to consider of Caesar's will, and
the ordering of his funeral. Antony desired that the will might
be read, and that the body should not have a private or
dishonorable interment, lest that should further exasperate the
people. This Cassius violently opposed, but Brutus yielded to
it, and gave leave; in which he seems to have a second time
committed a fault. For as before in sparing the life of Antony
he could not be without some blame from his party, as thereby
setting up against the conspiracy a dangerous and difficult
enemy, so now, in suffering him to have the ordering of the
funeral, he fell into a total and irrecoverable error. For
first, it appearing by the will that Caesar had bequeathed to
the Roman people seventy-five drachmas a man, and given to the
public his gardens beyond Tiber (where now the temple of Fortune
stands), the whole city was fired with a wonderful affection for
him, and a passionate sense of the loss of him. And when the
body was brought forth into the forum, Antony, as the custom
was, making a funeral oration in the praise of Caesar, and
finding the multitude moved with his speech, passing into the
pathetic tone, unfolded the bloody garment of Caesar, showed
them in how many places it was pierced, and the number of his
wounds. Now there was nothing to be seen but confusion; some
cried out to kill the murderers, others (as was formerly done
when Clodius led the people) tore away the benches and tables
out of the shops round about, and, heaping them all together,
built a great funeral pile, and, having put the body of Caesar
upon it, set it on fire, the spot where this was done being
moreover surrounded with a great many temples and other
consecrated places, so that they seemed to burn the body in a
kind of sacred solemnity. As soon as the fire flamed out, the
multitude, flocking in some from one part and some from another,
snatched the brands that were half burnt out of the pile, and
ran about the city to fire the houses of the murderers of
Caesar. But they, having beforehand well fortified themselves,
repelled this danger.

There was however a kind of poet, one Cinna, not at all
concerned in the guilt of the conspiracy, but on the contrary
one of Caesar's friends. This man dreamed that he was invited
to supper by Caesar, and that he declined to go, but that Caesar
entreated and pressed him to it very earnestly; and at last,
taking him by the hand, led him into a very deep and dark place,
whither he was forced against his will to follow in great
consternation and amazement. After this vision, he had a fever
the most part of the night; nevertheless in the morning, hearing
that the body of Caesar was to be carried forth to be interred,
he was ashamed not to be present at the solemnity, and came
abroad and joined the people, when they were already infuriated
by the speech of Antony. And perceiving him, and taking him not
for that Cinna who indeed he was, but for him that a little
before in a speech to the people had reproached and inveighed
against Caesar, they fell upon him and tore him to pieces.

This action chiefly, and the alteration that Antony had wrought,
so alarmed Brutus and his party, that for their safety they
retired from the city. The first stay they made was at Antium,
with a design to return again as soon as the fury of the people
had spent itself and was abated, which they expected would soon
and easily come to pass in an unsettled multitude, apt to be
carried away with any sudden and impetuous passion, especially
since they had the senate favorable to them; which, though it
took no notice of those that had torn Cinna to pieces, yet made
a strict search and apprehended in order to punishment those
that had assaulted the houses of the friends of Brutus and
Cassius. By this time, also, the people began to be
dissatisfied with Antony, who they perceived was setting up a
kind of monarchy for himself; they longed for the return of
Brutus, whose presence they expected and hoped for at the games
and spectacles which he, as praetor, was to exhibit to the
public. But he, having intelligence that many of the old
soldiers that had borne arms under Caesar, by whom they had had
lands and cities given them, lay in wait for him, and by small
parties at a time had stolen into the city, would not venture to
come himself; however, in his absence there were most
magnificent and costly shows exhibited to the people; for,
having bought up a great number of all sorts of wild beasts, he
gave order that not any of them should be returned or saved, but
that all should be spent freely at the public spectacles. He
himself made a journey to Naples to procure a considerable
number of players, and hearing of one Canutius, that was very
much praised for his acting upon the stage, he wrote to his
friends to use all their entreaties to bring him to Rome (for,
being a Grecian, he could not be compelled); he wrote also to
Cicero, begging him by no means to omit being present at the

This was the posture of affairs when another sudden alteration
was made upon the young Caesar's coming to Rome. He was son to
the niece of Caesar, who adopted him, and left him his heir by
his will. At the time when Caesar was killed, he was following
his studies at Apollonia, where he was expecting also to meet
Caesar on his way to the expedition which he had determined on
against the Parthians; but, hearing of his death, he immediately
came to Rome, and, to ingratiate himself with the people, taking
upon himself the name of Caesar, and punctually distributing
among the citizens the money that was left them by the will, he
soon got the better of Antony; and by money and largesses, which
he liberally dispersed amongst the soldiers, he gathered
together and brought over to his party a great number of those
that had served under Caesar. Cicero himself, out of the hatred
which he bore to Antony, sided with young Caesar; which Brutus
took so ill that he treated with him very sharply in his
letters, telling him, that he perceived Cicero could well enough
endure a tyrant, but was afraid that he who hated him should be
the man; that in writing and speaking so well of Caesar, he
showed that his aim was to have an easy slavery. "But our
forefathers," said Brutus, "could not brook even gentle
masters." Further he added, that for his own part he had not as
yet fully resolved whether he should make war or peace; but that
as to one point he was fixed and settled, which was, never to be
a slave; that he wondered Cicero should fear the dangers of a
civil war, and not be much more afraid of a dishonorable and
infamous peace; that the very reward that was to be given him
for subverting Antony's tyranny was the privilege of
establishing Caesar as tyrant in his place. This is the tone of
Brutus's first letters to Cicero.

The city being now divided into two factions, some betaking
themselves to Caesar and others to Antony, the soldiers selling
themselves, as it were, by public outcry, and going over to him
that would give them most, Brutus began to despair of any good
event of such proceedings, and, resolving to leave Italy, passed
by land through Lucania and came to Elea by the seaside. From
hence it was thought convenient that Porcia should return to
Rome. She was overcome with grief to part from Brutus, but
strove as much as was possible to conceal it; but, in spite of
all her constancy, a picture which she found there accidentally
betrayed it. It was a Greek subject, Hector parting from
Andromache when he went to engage the Greeks, giving his young
son Astyanax into her arms, and she fixing her eyes upon him.
When she looked at this piece, the resemblance it bore to her
own condition made her burst into tears, and several times a day
she went to see the picture, and wept before it. Upon this
occasion, when Acilius, one of Brutus's friends, repeated out of
Homer the verses, where Andromache speaks to Hector: --

But Hector, you
To me are father and are mother too,
My brother, and my loving husband true.

Brutus, smiling, replied, "But I must not answer Porcia, as
Hector did Andromache,

'Mind you your loom, and to your maids give law.'

For though the natural weakness of her body hinders her from
doing what only the strength of men can perform, yet she has a
mind as valiant and as active for the good of her country as the
best of us." This narrative is in the memoirs of Brutus written
by Bibulus, Porcia's son.

Brutus took ship from hence, and sailed to Athens where he was
received by the people with great demonstrations of kindness,
expressed in their acclamations and the honors that were decreed
him. He lived there with a private friend, and was a constant
auditor of Theomnestus the Academic and Cratippus the
Peripatetic, with whom he so engaged in philosophical pursuits,
that he seemed to have laid aside all thoughts of public
business, and to be wholly at leisure for study. But all this
while, being unsuspected, he was secretly making preparation for
war; in order to which he sent Herostratus into Macedonia to
secure the commanders there to his side, and he himself won over
and kept at his disposal all the young Romans that were then
students at Athens. Of this number was Cicero's son, whom he
everywhere highly extols, and says that whether sleeping or
waking he could not choose but admire a young man of so great a
spirit and such a hater of tyranny.

At length he began to act openly, and to appear in public
business, and, being informed that there were several Roman
ships full of treasure that in their course from Asia were to
come that way, and that they were commanded by one of his
friends, he went to meet him about Carystus. Finding him there,
and having persuaded him to deliver up the ships, he made a more
than usually splendid entertainment, for it happened also to be
his birthday. Now when they came to drink, and were filling
their cups with hopes for victory to Brutus and liberty to Rome,
Brutus, to animate them the more, called for a larger bowl, and
holding it in his hand, on a sudden upon no occasion or
forethought pronounced aloud this verse: --

But fate my death and Leto's son have wrought.

And some writers add that in the last battle which he fought at
Philippi the word that he gave to his soldiers was Apollo, and
from thence conclude that this sudden unaccountable exclamation
of his was a presage of the overthrow that he suffered there.

Antistius, the commander of these ships, at his parting gave him
fifty thousand myriads of the money that he was conveying to
Italy; and all the soldiers yet remaining of Pompey's army, who
after their general's defeat wandered about Thessaly, readily
and joyfully flocked together to join him. Besides this, he
took from Cinna five hundred horse that he was carrying to
Dolabella into Asia. After that, he sailed to Demetrias, and
there seized a great quantity of arms, that had been provided by
the command of the deceased Caesar for the Parthian war, and
were now to be sent to Antony. Then Macedonia was put into his
hands and delivered up by Hortensius the praetor, and all the
kings and potentates round about came and offered their
services. So when news was brought that Caius, the brother of
Antony, having passed over from Italy, was marching on directly
to join the forces that Vatinius commanded in Dyrrhachium and
Apollonia, Brutus resolved to anticipate him, and to seize them
first, and in all haste moved forwards with those that he had
about him. His march was very difficult, through rugged places
and in a great snow, but so swift that he left those that were
to bring his provisions for the morning meal a great way behind.
And now, being very near to Dyrrhachium, with fatigue and cold
he fell into the distemper called Bulimia. This is a disease
that seizes both men and cattle after much labor, and especially
in a great snow; whether it is caused by the natural heat, when
the body is seized with cold, being forced all inwards, and
consuming at once all the nourishment laid in, or whether the
sharp and subtle vapor which comes from the snow as it
dissolves, cuts the body, as it were, and destroys the heat
which issues through the pores; for the sweatings seem to arise
from the heat meeting with the cold, and being quenched by it on
the surface of the body. But this I have in another place
discussed more at large.

Brutus growing very faint, and there being none in the whole
army that had anything for him to eat, his servants were forced
to have recourse to the enemy, and, going as far as to the gates
of the city, begged bread of the sentinels that were upon duty.
As soon as they heard of the condition of Brutus, they came
themselves, and brought both meat and drink along with them; in
return for which, Brutus, when he took the city, showed the
greatest kindness, not to them only, but to all the inhabitants,
for their sakes. Caius Antonius, in the meantime, coming to
Apollonia, summoned all the soldiers that were near that city to
join him there; but finding that they nevertheless went all to
Brutus, and suspecting that even those of Apollonia were
inclined to the same party, he quitted that city, and came to
Buthrotum, having first lost three cohorts of his men, that in
their march thither were cut to pieces by Brutus. After this,
attempting to make himself master of some strong places about
Byllis which the enemy had first seized, he was overcome in a
set battle by young Cicero, to whom Brutus gave the command, and
whose conduct he made use of often and with much success. Caius
himself was surprised in a marshy place, at a distance from his
supports; and Brutus, having him in his power, would not suffer
his soldiers to attack, but maneuvering about the enemy with his
horse, gave command that none of them should be killed, for that
in a little time they would all be of his side; which
accordingly came to pass, for they surrendered both themselves
and their general. So that Brutus had by this time a very great
and considerable army. He showed all marks of honor and esteem
to Caius for a long time, and left him the use of the ensigns of
his office, though, as some report, he had several letters from
Rome, and particularly from Cicero, advising him to put him to
death. But at last, perceiving that he began to corrupt his
officers, and was trying to raise a mutiny amongst the soldiers,
he put him aboard a ship and kept him close prisoner. In the
meantime the soldiers that had been corrupted by Caius retired
to Apollonia, and sent word to Brutus, desiring him to come to
them thither. He answered that this was not the custom of the
Romans, but that it became those who had offended to come
themselves to their general and beg forgiveness of their
offences; which they did, and accordingly received their pardon.

As he was preparing to pass into Asia, tidings reached him of
the alteration that had happened at Rome; where the young
Caesar, assisted by the senate, in opposition to Antony, and
having driven his competitor out of Italy, had begun himself to
be very formidable, suing for the consulship contrary to law,
and maintaining large bodies of troops of which the commonwealth
had no manner of need. And then, perceiving that the senate,
dissatisfied with his proceedings, began to cast their eyes
abroad upon Brutus, and decreed and confirmed the government of
several provinces to him, he had taken the alarm. Therefore
dispatching messengers to Antony, he desired that there might be
a reconciliation, and a friendship between them. Then, drawing
all his forces about the city, he made himself be chosen consul,
though he was but a boy, being scarce twenty years old, as he
himself writes in his memoirs. At his first entry upon the
consulship he immediately ordered a judicial process to be
issued out against Brutus and his accomplices for having
murdered a principal man of the city, holding the highest
magistracies of Rome, without being heard or condemned; and
appointed Lucius Cornificius to accuse Brutus, and Marcus
Agrippa to accuse Cassius. None appearing to the accusation,
the judges were forced to pass sentence and condemn them both.
It is reported, that when the crier from the tribunal, as the
custom was, with a loud voice cited Brutus to appear, the people
groaned audibly, and the noble citizens hung down their heads
for grief. Publius Silicius was seen to burst out into tears,
which was the cause that not long after he was put down in the
list of those that were proscribed. After this, the three men,
Caesar, Antony, and Lepidus, being perfectly reconciled, shared
the provinces among themselves, and made up the catalogue of
proscription, wherein were set those that were designed for
slaughter, amounting to two hundred men, in which number Cicero
was slain.

This news being brought to Brutus in Macedonia, he was under a
compulsion, and sent orders to Hortensius that he should kill
Caius Antonius in revenge of the death of Cicero his friend, and
Brutus his kinsman, who also was proscribed and slain. Upon
this account it was that Antony, having afterwards taken
Hortensius in the battle of Philippi, slew him upon his
brother's tomb. But Brutus expresses himself as more ashamed
for the cause of Cicero's death than grieved for the misfortune
of it, and says he cannot help accusing his friends at Rome,
that they were slaves more through their own doing than that of
those who now were their tyrants; they could be present and see
and yet suffer those things which even to hear related ought to
them to have been insufferable.

Having made his army, that was already very considerable, pass
into Asia, he ordered a fleet to be prepared in Bithynia and
about Cyzicus. But going himself through the country by land,
he made it his business to settle and confirm all the cities,
and gave audience to the princes of the parts through which he
passed. And he sent orders into Syria to Cassius to come to
him, and leave his intended journey into Egypt; letting him
understand, that it was not to gain an empire for themselves,
but to free their country, that they went thus wandering about
and had got an army together whose business it was to destroy
the tyrants; that therefore, if they remembered and resolved to
persevere in their first purpose, they ought not to be too far
from Italy, but make what haste they could thither, and endeavor
to relieve their fellow-citizens from oppression.

Cassius obeyed his summons, and returned, and Brutus went to
meet him; and at Smyrna they met, which was the first time they
had seen one another since they parted at the Piraeus in Athens,
one for Syria, and the other for Macedonia. They were both
extremely joyful and had great confidence of their success at
the sight of the forces that each of them had got together,
since they who had fled from Italy, like the most despicable
exiles, without money, without arms, without a ship or a soldier
or a city to rely on, in a little time after had met together so
well furnished with shipping and money, and an army both of
horse and foot, that they were in a condition to contend for the
empire of Rome.

Cassius was desirous to show no less respect and honor to Brutus
than Brutus did to him; but Brutus was still beforehand with
him, coming for the most part to him, both because he was the
elder man, and of a weaker constitution than himself. Men
generally reckoned Cassius a very expert soldier, but of a harsh
and angry nature, and one that desired to command rather by fear
than love; though, on the other side, among his familiar
acquaintance he would easily give way to jesting, and play the
buffoon. But Brutus, for his virtue, was esteemed by the
people, beloved by his friends, admired by the best men, and
hated not by his enemies themselves. For he was a man of a
singularly gentle nature, of a great spirit, insensible of the
passions of anger or pleasure or covetousness; steady and
inflexible to maintain his purpose for what he thought right and
honest. And that which gained him the greatest affection and
reputation was the entire faith in his intentions. For it had
not ever been supposed that Pompey the Great himself, if he had
overcome Caesar, would have submitted his power to the laws,
instead of taking the management of the state upon himself,
soothing the people with the specious name of consul or
dictator, or some other milder title than king. And they were
well persuaded that Cassius, being a man governed by anger and
passion and carried often, for his interest's sake, beyond the
bounce of justice, endured all these hardships of war and travel
and danger most assuredly to obtain dominion to himself, and not
liberty to the people. And as for the former disturbers of the
peace of Rome, whether a Cinna, a Marius, or a Carbo, it is
manifest that they, having set their country as a stake for him
that should win, did almost own in express terms that they
fought for empire. But even the enemies of Brutus did not, they
tell us, lay this accusation to his charge; nay, many heard
Antony himself say that Brutus was the only man that conspired
against Caesar out of a sense of the glory and the apparent
justice of the action, but that all the rest rose up against the
man himself, from private envy and malice of their own. And it
is plain by what he writes himself, that Brutus did not so
much rely upon his forces, as upon his own virtue. For thus he
speaks in a letter to Atticus, shortly before he was to engage
with the enemy: that his affairs were in the best state of
fortune that he could wish; for that either he should overcome,
and restore liberty to the people of Rome, or die, and be
himself out of the reach of slavery; that other things being
certain and beyond all hazard, one thing was yet in doubt,
whether they should live or die free men. He adds further, that
Mark Antony had received a just punishment for his folly, who,
when he might have been numbered with Brutus and Cassius and
Cato, would join himself to Octavius; that though they should
not now be both overcome, they soon would fight between them
selves. And in this he seems to have been no ill prophet.

Now when they were at Smyrna, Brutus desired of Cassius that he
might have part of the great treasure that he had heaped up,
because all his own was expended in furnishing out such a fleet
of ships as was sufficient to keep the whole interior sea in
their power. But Cassius's friends dissuaded him from this;
"for," said they, "it is not just that the money which you with
so much parsimony keep and with so much envy have got, should be
given to him to be disposed of in making himself popular, and
gaining the favor of the soldiers." Notwithstanding this,
Cassius gave him a third part of all that he had; and then they
parted each to their several commands. Cassius, having taken
Rhodes, behaved himself there with no clemency; though at his
first entry, when some had called him lord and king, he
answered, that he was neither king nor lord, but the destroyer
and punisher of a king and lord. Brutus, on the other part,
sent to the Lycians to demand from them a supply of money and
men; but Naucrates, their popular leader, persuaded the cities
to resist, and they occupied several little mountains and hills,
with a design to hinder Brutus's passage. Brutus at first sent
out a party of horse, which, surprising them as they were
eating, killed six hundred of them; and afterwards, having taken
all their small towns and villages round about, he set all his
prisoners free without ransom, hoping to win the whole nation by
good-will. But they continued obstinate, taking in anger what
they had suffered, and despising his goodness and humanity;
until, having forced the most warlike of them into the city of
Xanthus, he besieged them there. They endeavored to make their
escape by swimming and diving through the river that flows by
the town, but were taken by nets let down for that purpose in
the channel, which had little bells at the top, which gave
present notice of any that were taken in them. After that, they
made a sally in the night, and seizing several of the battering
engines, set them on fire; but being perceived by the Romans,
were beaten back to their walls, and, there being a strong wind,
it carried the flames to the battlements of the city with such
fierceness, that several of the adjoining houses took fire.
Brutus, fearing lest the whole city should be destroyed,
commanded his own soldiers to assist, and quench the fire.

But the Lycians were on a sudden possessed with a strange and
incredible desperation; such a frenzy as cannot be better
expressed than by calling it a violent appetite to die, for both
women and children, the bondmen and the free, those of all ages
and of all conditions strove to force away the soldiers that
came in to their assistance, from the walls; and themselves
gathering together reeds and wood, and whatever combustible
matter they found, spread the fire over the whole city, feeding
it with whatever fuel they could, and by all possible means
exciting its fury, so that the flame, having dispersed itself
and encircled the whole city, blazed out in so terrible a
manner, that Brutus, being extremely afflicted at their
calamity, got on horseback and rode round the walls, earnestly
desirous to preserve the city, and, stretching forth his hands
to the Xanthians, begged of them that they would spare
themselves and save their town. Yet none regarded his
entreaties, but by all manner of ways strove to destroy
themselves; not only men and women, but even boys and little
children, with a hideous outcry, leaped, some into the fire,
others from the walls, others fell upon their parents' swords,
baring their throats and desiring to be struck. After the
destruction of the city, there was found a woman who had hanged
herself with her young child hanging from her neck, and the
torch in her hand, with which she had fired her own house. It
was so tragical a sight, that Brutus could not endure to see it,
but wept at the very relation of it, and proclaimed a reward to
any soldier that could save a Xanthian. And it is said that one
hundred and fifty only were found, to have their lives saved
against their wills. Thus the Xanthians, after a long space of
years, the fated period of their destruction having, as it were,
run its course, repeated by their desperate deed the former
calamity of their forefathers, who after the very same manner in
the Persian war had fired their city and destroyed themselves.

Brutus, after this, finding the Patareans resolved to make
resistance and hold out their city against him, was very
unwilling to besiege it, and was in great perplexity lest the
same frenzy might seize them too. But having in his power some
of their women, who were his prisoners, he dismissed them all
without any ransom; who, returning and giving an account to
their husbands and fathers, who were of the greatest rank, what
an excellent man Brutus was how temperate and how just,
persuaded them to yield themselves and put their city into his
hands. From this time all the cities round about came into his
power, submitting themselves to him, and found him good and
merciful even beyond their hopes. For though Cassius at the
same time had compelled the Rhodians to bring in all the silver
and gold that each of them privately was possessed of, by which
he raised a sum of eight thousand talents, and besides this had
condemned the public to pay the sum of five hundred talents
more, Brutus, not having taken above a hundred and fifty talents
from the Lycians, and having done them no other manner of
injury, parted from thence with his army to go into Ionia.

Through the whole course of this expedition, Brutus did many
memorable acts of justice in dispensing rewards and punishments
to such as had deserved either; but one in particular I will
relate, because he himself, and all the noblest Romans, were
gratified with it above all the rest. When Pompey the Great,
being overthrown from his great power by Caesar, had fled to
Egypt, and landed near Pelusium, the protectors of the young
king consulted among themselves what was fit to be done on that
occasion, nor could they all agree in the same opinion, some
being for receiving him, others for driving him from Egypt. But
Theodotus, a Chian by birth, and then attending upon the king as
a paid teacher of rhetoric, and for want of better men admitted
into the council, undertook to prove to them, that both parties
were in the wrong, those that counseled to receive Pompey, and
those that advised to send him away; that in their present case
one thing only was truly expedient, to seize him and to kill
him; and ended his argument with the proverb, that "dead men
don't bite." The council agreed to his opinion, and Pompey the
Great (an example of incredible and unforeseen events) was
slain, as the sophister himself had the impudence to boast,
through the rhetoric and cleverness of Theodotus. Not long
after, when Caesar came to Egypt, some of the murderers received
their just reward and suffered the evil death they deserved.
But Theodotus, though he had borrowed on from fortune a little
further time for a poor despicable and wandering life, yet did
not lie hid from Brutus as he passed through Asia; but being
seized by him and executed, had his death made more memorable
than was his life.

About this time, Brutus sent to Cassius to come to him at the
city of Sardis, and, when he was on his journey, went forth with
his friends to meet him; and the whole army in array saluted
each of them with the name of Imperator. Now (as it usually
happens in business of great concern and where many friends and
many commanders are engaged), several jealousies of each other
and matters of private accusation having passed between Brutus
and Cassius, they resolved, before they entered upon any other
business, immediately to withdraw into some apartment; where,
the door being shut and they two alone, they began first to
expostulate, then to dispute hotly, and accuse each other; and
finally were so transported into passion as to fall to hard
words, and at last burst out into tears. Their friends who
stood without were amazed, hearing them loud and angry, and
feared lest some mischief might follow, but yet durst not
interrupt them, being commanded not to enter the room. However,
Marcus Favonius, who had been an ardent admirer of Cato, and,
not so much by his learning or wisdom as by his wild, vehement
manner, maintained the character of a philosopher, was rushing
in upon them, but was hindered by the attendants. But it was a
hard matter to stop Favonius, wherever his wildness hurried him;
for he was fierce in all his behavior, and ready to do anything
to get his will. And though he was a senator, yet, thinking
that one of the least of his excellences, he valued himself more
upon a sort of cynical liberty of speaking what he pleased,
which sometimes, indeed, did away with the rudeness and
unseasonableness of his addresses with those that would
interpret it in jest. This Favonius, breaking by force through
those that kept the doors, entered into the chamber, and with a
set voice declaimed the verses that Homer makes Nestor use, --

Be ruled, for I am older than ye both.

At this Cassius laughed; but Brutus thrust him our, calling him
impudent dog and counterfeit Cynic; but yet for the present they
let it put an end to their dispute, and parted. Cassius made a
supper that night, and Brutus invited the guests; and when they
were set down, Favonius, having bathed, came in among them.
Brutus called out aloud and told him he was not invited, and
bade him go to the upper couch; but he violently thrust himself
in, and lay down on the middle one; and the entertainment
passed in sportive talk, not wanting either wit or philosophy.

The next day after, upon the accusation of the Sardians, Brutus
publicly disgraced and condemned Lucius Pella, one that had been
censor of Rome, and employed in offices of trust by himself, for
having embezzled the public money. This action did not a little
vex Cassius; for but a few days before, two of his own friends
being accused of the same crime, he only admonished them in
private, but in public absolved them, and continued them in his
service; and upon this occasion he accused Brutus of too much
rigor and severity of justice in a time which required them to
use more policy and favor. But Brutus bade him remember the
Ides of March, the day when they killed Caesar, who himself
neither plundered nor pillaged mankind, but was only the support
and strength of those that did; and bade him consider, that if
there was any color for justice to be neglected, it had been
better to suffer the injustice of Caesar's friends than to give
impunity to their own; "for then," said he, "we could have been
accused of cowardice only; whereas now we are liable to the
accusation of injustice, after all our pain and dangers which we
endure." By which we may perceive what was Brutus's purpose,
and the rule of his actions.

About the time that they were going to pass out of Asia into
Europe, it is said that a wonderful sign was seen by Brutus. He
was naturally given to much watching, and by practice and
moderation in his diet had reduced his allowance of sleep to a
very small amount of time. He never slept in the daytime, and
in the night then only when all his business was finished, and
when, everyone else being gone to rest, he had nobody to
discourse with him. But at this time, the war being begun,
having the whole state of it to consider and being solicitous of
the event, after his first sleep, which he let himself take
after his supper, he spent all the rest of the night in settling
his most urgent affairs; which if he could dispatch early and so
make a saving of any leisure, he employed himself in reading
until the third watch, at which time the centurions and tribunes
were used to come to him for orders. Thus one night before he
passed out of Asia, he was very late all alone in his tent, with
a dim light burning by him, all the rest of the camp being
hushed and silent; and reasoning about something with himself
and very thoughtful, he fancied someone came in, and, looking
up towards the door, he saw a terrible and strange appearance of
an unnatural and frightful body standing by him without
speaking. Brutus boldly asked it, "What are you, of men or
gods, and upon what business come to me?" The figure answered,
"I am your evil genius, Brutus; you shall see me at Philippi."
To which Brutus, not at all disturbed, replied, "Then I shall
see you."

As soon as the apparition vanished, he called his servants to
him, who all told him that they had neither heard any voice nor
seen any vision. So then he continued watching till the
morning, when he went to Cassius, and told him of what he had
seen. He, who followed the principles of Epicurus's philosophy,
and often used to dispute with Brutus concerning matters of this
nature, spoke to him thus upon this occasion: "It is the opinion
of our sect, Brutus, that not all that we feel or see is real
and true; but that the sense is a most slippery and deceitful
thing, and the mind yet more quick and subtle to put the sense
in motion and affect it with every kind of change upon no real
occasion of fact; just as an impression is made upon wax; and
the soul of man, which has in itself both what imprints and what
is imprinted on, may most easily, by its own operations, produce
and assume every variety of shape and figure. This is evident
from the sudden changes of our dreams; in which the imaginative
principle, once started by anything matter, goes through a
whole series of most diverse emotions and appearances. It is
its nature to be ever in motion, and its motion is fantasy or
conception. But besides all this, in your case, the body, being
tired and distressed with continual toil, naturally works upon
the mind, and keeps it in an excited and unusual condition. But
that there should be any such thing as supernatural beings, or,
if there were, that they should have human shape or voice or
power that can reach to us, there is no reason for believing;
though I confess I could wish that there were such beings, that
we might not rely upon our arms only, and our horses and our
navy, all which are so numerous and powerful, but might be
confident of the assistance of gods also, in this our most
sacred and honorable attempt." With such discourses as these
Cassius soothed the mind of Brutus. But just as the troops were
going on board, two eagles flew and lighted on the first two
ensigns, and crossed over the water with them, and never ceased
following the soldiers and being fed by them till they came to
Philippi, and there, but one day before the fight, they both
flew away.

Brutus had already reduced most of the places and people of
these parts; but they now marched on as far as to the coast
opposite Thasos, and, if there were any city or man of power
that yet stood out, brought them all to subjection. At this
point Norbanus was encamped, in a place called the Straits, near
Symbolum. Him they surrounded in such sort that they forced him
to dislodge and quit the place; and Norbanus narrowly escaped
losing his whole army, Caesar by reason of sickness being too
far behind; only Antony came to his relief with such wonderful
swiftness that Brutus and those with him did not believe when
they heard he was come. Caesar came up ten days after, and
encamped over against Brutus, and Antony over against Cassius.

The space between the two armies is called by the Romans the
Campi Philippi. Never had two such large Roman armies come
together to engage each other. That of Brutus was somewhat less
in number than that of Caesar, but in the splendidness of the
men's arms and richness of their equipage it wonderfully
exceeded; for most of their arms were of gold and silver, which
Brutus had lavishly bestowed among them. For though in other
things he had accustomed his commanders to use all frugality and
self-control, yet he thought that the riches which soldiers
carried about them in their hands and on their bodies would add
something of spirit to those that were desirous of glory, and
would make those that were covetous and lovers of gain fight the
more valiantly to preserve the arms which were their estate.

Caesar made a view and lustration of his army within his
trenches, and distributed only a little corn and but five
drachmas to each soldier for the sacrifice they were to make.
But Brutus, either pitying this poverty, or disdaining this
meanness of spirit in Caesar, first, as the custom was, made a
general muster and lustration of the army in the open field, and
then distributed a great number of beasts for sacrifice to every
regiment, and fifty drachmas to every soldier; so that in the
love of his soldiers and their readiness to fight for him Brutus
had much the advantage. But at the time of lustration it is
reported that an unlucky omen happened to Cassius; for his
lictor, presenting him with a garland that he was to wear at
sacrifice, gave it him the wrong way up. Further, it is said
that some time before, at a certain solemn procession, a golden
image of Victory, which was carried before Cassius, fell down by
a slip of him that carried it. Besides this there appeared many
birds of prey daily about the camp, and swarms of bees were seen
in a place within the trenches, which place the soothsayers
ordered to be shut out from the camp, to remove the superstition
which insensibly began to infect even Cassius himself and shake
him in his Epicurean philosophy, and had wholly seized and
subdued the soldiers; from whence it was that Cassius was
reluctant to put all to the hazard of a present battle, but
advised rather to draw out the war until further time,
considering that they were stronger in money and provisions, but
in numbers of men and arms inferior. But Brutus, on the
contrary, was still, as formerly, desirous to come with all
speed to the decision of a battle; that so he might either
restore his country to her liberty, or else deliver from their
misery all those numbers of people whom they harassed with the
expenses and the service and exactions of the war. And finding
also his light-horse in several skirmishes still to have had the
better, he was the more encouraged and resolved; and some of the
soldiers having deserted and gone to the enemy, and others
beginning to accuse and suspect one another, many of Cassius's
friends in the council changed their opinions to that of Brutus.
But there was one of Brutus's party, named Atellius, who opposed
his resolution, advising rather that they should tarry over the
winter. And when Brutus asked him in how much better a
condition he hoped to be a year after, his answer was, "If I
gain nothing else, yet I shall live so much the longer."
Cassius was much displeased at this answer; and among the rest,
Atellius was had in much disesteem for it. And so it was
presently resolved to give battle the next day.

Brutus that night at supper showed himself very cheerful and
full of hope, and reasoned on subjects of philosophy with his
friends, and afterwards went to his rest. But Messala says that
Cassius supped privately with a few of his nearest acquaintance,
and appeared thoughtful and silent, contrary to his temper and
custom; that after supper he took him earnestly by the hand, and
speaking to him, as his manner was when he wished to show
affection, in Greek, said, "Bear witness for me, Messala, that I
am brought into the same necessity as Pompey the Great was
before me, of hazarding the liberty of my country upon one
battle; yet ought we to be of courage, relying on our good
fortune, which it were unfair to mistrust, though we take evil
counsels." These, Messala says, were the last words that
Cassius spoke before he bade him farewell; and that he was
invited to sup with him the next night, being his birthday.

As soon as it was morning, the signal of battle, the scarlet
coat, was set out in Brutus's and Cassius's camps, and they
themselves met in the middle space between their two armies.
There Cassius spoke thus to Brutus: "Be it as we hope, O Brutus,
that this day we may overcome, and all the rest of our time may
live a happy life together; but since the greatest of human
concerns are the most uncertain, and since it may be difficult
for us ever to see one another again, if the battle should go
against us, tell me, what is your resolution concerning flight
and death?" Brutus answered, "When I was young, Cassius, and
unskillful in affairs, I was led, I know not how, into uttering
a bold sentence in philosophy, and blamed Cato for killing
himself, as thinking it an irreligious act, and not a valiant
one among men, to try to evade the divine course of things, and
not fearlessly to receive and undergo the evil that shall
happen, but run away from it. But now in my own fortunes I am
of another mind; for if Providence shall not dispose what we now
undertake according to our wishes, I resolve to put no further
hopes or warlike preparations to the proof, but will die
contented with my fortune. For I already have given up my life
to my country on the Ides of March; and have lived since then a
second life for her sake, with liberty and honor." Cassius at
these words smiled, and, embracing Brutus said, "With these
resolutions let us go on upon the enemy; for either we ourselves
shall conquer, or have no cause to fear those that do." After
this they discoursed among their friends about the ordering of
the battle; and Brutus desired of Cassius that he might command
the right wing, though it was thought that this was more fit for
Cassius, in regard both of his age and his experience. Yet even
in this Cassius complied with Brutus, and placed Messala with
the valiantest of all his legions in the same wing, so Brutus
immediately drew out his horse, excellently well equipped, and
was not long in bringing up his foot after them.

Antony's soldiers were casting trenches from the marsh by which
they were encamped, across the plain, to cut off Cassius's
communications with the sea. Caesar was to be at hand with his
troops to support them, but he was not able to be present
himself, by reason of his sickness; and his soldiers, not much
expecting that the enemy would come to a set battle, but only
make some excursions with their darts and light arms to disturb
the men at work in the trenches, and not taking notice of the
boons drawn up against them ready to give battle, were amazed
when they heard the confused and great outcry that came from the
trenches. In the meanwhile Brutus had sent his tickets, in
which was the word of battle, to the officers; and himself
riding about to all the troops, encouraged the soldiers; but
there were but few of them that understood the word before they
engaged; the most of them, not staying to have it delivered to
them, with one impulse and cry ran upon the enemy. This
disorder caused an unevenness in the line, and the legions got
severed and divided one from another; that of Messala first, and
afterwards the other adjoining, went beyond the left wing of
Caesar; and having just touched the extremity, without
slaughtering any great number, passing round that wing, fell
directly into Caesar's camp. Caesar himself, as his own memoirs
tell us, had but just before been conveyed away, Marcus
Artorius, one of his friends, having had a dream bidding Caesar
be carried out of the camp. And it was believed that he was
slain; for the soldiers had pierced his litter, which was left
empty, in many places with their darts and pikes. There was a
great slaughter in the camp that was taken, and two thousand
Lacedaemonians that were newly come to the assistance of Caesar
were all cut off together.

The rest of the army, that had not gone round but had engaged
the front, easily overthrew them, finding them in great
disorder, and slew upon the place three legions; and being
carried on with the stream of victory, pursuing those that fled,
fell into the camp with them, Brutus himself being there. But
they that were conquered took the advantage in their extremity
of what the conquerors did not consider. For they fell upon
that part of the main body which had been left exposed and
separated, where the right wing had broke off from them and
hurried away in the pursuit; yet they could not break into the
midst of their battle, but were received with strong resistance
and obstinacy. Yet they put to flight the left wing, where
Cassius commanded, being in great disorder, and ignorant of what
had passed on the other wing; and, pursuing them to their camp,
they pillaged and destroyed it, neither of their generals being
present; for Antony, they say, to avoid the fury of the first
onset, had retired into the marsh that was hard by; and Caesar
was nowhere to be found after his being conveyed out of the
tents; though some of the soldiers showed Brutus their swords
bloody, and declared that they had killed him, describing his
person and his age. By this time also the center of Brutus's
battle had driven back their opponents with great slaughter; and
Brutus was everywhere plainly conqueror, as on the other side
Cassius was conquered. And this one mistake was the ruin of
their affairs, that Brutus did not come to the relief of
Cassius, thinking that he, as well as himself, was conqueror;
and that Cassius did not expect the relief of Brutus, thinking
that he too was overcome. For as a proof that the victory was
on Brutus's side, Messala urges his taking three eagles and many
ensigns of the enemy without losing any of his own. But now,
returning from the pursuit after having plundered Caesar's camp,
Brutus wondered that he could not see Cassius's tent standing
high, as it was wont, and appearing above the rest, nor other
things appearing as they had been; for they had been immediately
pulled down and pillaged by the enemy upon their first falling
into the camp. But some that had a quicker and longer sight
than the rest acquainted Brutus that they saw a great deal of
shining armor and silver targets moving to and fro in Cassius's
camp, and that they thought, by their number and the fashion of
their armor, they could not be those that they left to guard the
camp; but yet that there did not appear so great a number of
dead bodies thereabouts as it was probable there would have been
after the actual defeat of so many legions. This first made
Brutus suspect Cassius's misfortune, and, leaving a guard in the
enemy's camp, he called back those that were in the pursuit, and
rallied them together to lead them to the relief of Cassius,
whose fortune had been as follows.

First, he had been angry at the onset that Brutus's soldiers
made, without the word of battle or command to charge. Then,
after they had overcome, he was as much displeased to see them
rush on to the plunder and spoil, and neglect to surround and
encompass the rest of the enemy. Besides this, letting himself
act by delay and expectation, rather than command boldly and
with a clear purpose, he got hemmed in by the right wing of the
enemy, and, his horse making with all haste their escape and
flying towards the sea, the foot also began to give way, which
he perceiving labored as much as ever he could to hinder their
flight and bring them back; and, snatching an ensign out of the
hand of one that fled, he stuck it at his feet, though he could
hardly keep even his own personal guard together. So that at
last he was forced to fly with a few about him to a little hill
that overlooked the plain. But he himself, being weak-sighted,
discovered nothing, only the destruction of his camp, and that
with difficulty. But they that were with him saw a great body
of horse moving towards him, the same whom Brutus had sent.
Cassius believed these were enemies, and in pursuit of him;
however, he sent away Titinius, one of those that were with him,
to learn what they were. As soon as Brutus's horse saw him
coming, and knew him to be a friend and a faithful servant of
Cassius, those of them that were his more familiar acquaintance,
shouting out for joy and alighting from their horses, shook
hands and embraced him, and the rest rode round about him
singing and shouting, through their excess of gladness at the
sight of him. But this was the occasion of the greatest
mischief that could be. For Cassius really thought that
Titinius had been taken by the enemy, and cried out, "Through
too much fondness of life, I have lived to endure the sight of
my friend taken by the enemy before my face." After which words
he retired into an empty tent, taking along with him only
Pindarus, one of his freedmen, whom he had reserved for such an
occasion ever since the disasters in the expedition against the
Parthians, when Crassus was slain. From the Parthians he came
away in safety; but now, pulling up his mantle over his head, he
made his neck bare, and held it forth to Pindarus, commanding
him to strike. The head was certainly found lying severed from
the body. But no man ever saw Pindarus after, from which some
suspected that he had killed his master without his command.
Soon after they perceived who the horsemen were, and saw
Titinius, crowned with garlands, making what haste he could
towards Cassius. But as soon as he understood by the cries and
lamentations of his afflicted friends the unfortunate error and
death of his general, he drew his sword, and having very much
accused and upbraided his own long stay, that had caused it, he
slew himself.

Brutus, as soon as he was assured of the defeat of Cassius, made
haste to him; but heard nothing of his death till he came near
his camp. Then having lamented over his body, calling him "the
last of the Romans," it being impossible that the city should
ever produce another man of so great a spirit, he sent away the
body to be buried at Thasos, lest celebrating his funeral within
the camp might breed some disorder. He then gathered the
soldiers together and comforted them; and, seeing them destitute
of all things necessary, he promised to every man two thousand
drachmas in recompense of what he had lost. They at these words
took courage, and were astonished at the magnificence of the
gift; and waited upon him at his parting with shouts and
praises, magnifying him for the only general of all the four who
was not overcome in the battle. And indeed the action itself
testified that it was not without reason he believed he should
conquer; for with a few legions he overthrew all that resisted
him; and if all his soldiers had fought, and the most of them
had not passed beyond the enemy in pursuit of the plunder, it is
very likely that he had utterly defeated every part of them.

There fell of his side eight thousand men, reckoning the
servants of the army, whom Brutus calls Briges; and on the other
side, Messala says his opinion is that there were slain above
twice that number. For which reason they were more out of heart
than Brutus, until a servant of Cassius, named Demetrius, came
in the evening to Antony, and brought to him the garment which
he had taken from the dead body, and his sword; at the sight of
which they were so encouraged, that, as soon as it was morning,
they drew out their whole force into the field, and stood in
battle array. But Brutus found both his camps wavering and in
disorder; for his own, being filled with prisoners, required a
guard more strict than ordinary over them; and that of Cassius
was uneasy at the change of general, besides some envy and
rancor, which those that were conquered bore to that part of the
army which had been conquerors. Wherefore he thought it
convenient to put his army in array, but to abstain from
fighting. All the slaves that were taken prisoners, of whom
there was a great number that were mixed up, not without
suspicion, among the soldiers, he commanded to be slain; but of
the freemen and citizens, some he dismissed, saying that among
the enemy they were rather prisoners than with him, for with
them they were captives and slaves, but with him freemen and
citizens of Rome. But he was forced to hide and help them to
escape privately, perceiving that his friends and officers were
bent upon revenge against them. Among the captives there was
one Volumnius, a player, and Sacculio, a buffoon; of these
Brutus took no manner of notice, but his friends brought them
before him, and accused them that even then in that condition
they did not refrain from their jests and scurrilous language.
Brutus, having his mind taken up with other affairs, said
nothing to their accusation; but the judgment of Messala
Corvinus was, that they should be whipped publicly upon a stage,
and so sent naked to the captains of the enemy, to show them
what sort of fellow drinkers and companions they took with them
on their campaigns. At this some that were present laughed; and
Publius Casca, he that gave the first wound to Caesar, said, "We
do ill to jest and make merry at the funeral of Cassius. But
you, O Brutus," he added, "will show what esteem you have for
the memory of that general, according as you punish or preserve
alive those who will scoff and speak shamefully of him." To
this Brutus, in great discomposure replied, "Why then, Casca, do
you ask me about it, and not do yourselves what you think
fitting?" This answer of Brutus was taken for his consent to
the death of these wretched men; so they were carried away and

After this he gave the soldiers the reward that he had promised
them; and having slightly reproved them for having fallen upon
the enemy in disorder without the word of battle or command, he
promised them, that if they behaved themselves bravely in the
next engagement, he would give them up two cities to spoil and
plunder, Thessalonica and Lacedaemon. This is the one
indefensible thing of all that is found fault with in the life
of Brutus; though true it may be that Antony and Caesar were
much more cruel in the rewards that they gave their soldiers
after victory; for they drove out, one might almost say, all the
old inhabitants of Italy, to put their soldiers in possession of
other men's lands and cities. But indeed their only design and
end in undertaking the war was to obtain dominion and empire,
whereas Brutus, for the reputation of his virtue, could not be
permitted either to overcome or save himself but with justice
and honor, especially after the death of Cassius, who was
generally accused of having been his adviser to some things that
he had done with less clemency. But now, as in a ship, when the
rudder is broken by a storm, the mariners fit and nail on some
other piece of wood instead of it, striving against the danger
not well, but as well as in that necessity they can, so Brutus,
being at the head of so great an army, in a time of such
uncertainty, having no commander equal to his need, was forced
to make use of those that he had, and to do and to say many
things according to their advice; which was, in effect, whatever
might conduce to the bringing of Cassius's soldiers into better
order. For they were very headstrong and intractable, bold and
insolent in the camp for want of their general, but in the field
cowardly and fearful, remembering that they had been beaten.

Neither were the affairs of Caesar and Antony in any better
posture; for they were straitened for provision, and, the camp
being in a low ground, they expected to pass a very hard winter.
For being driven close upon the marshes, and a great quantity of
rain, as is usual in autumn, having fallen after the battle,
their tents were all filled with mire and water, which through
the coldness of the weather immediately froze. And while they
were in this condition, there was news brought to them of their
loss at sea. For Brutus's fleet fell upon their ships, which
were bringing a great supply of soldiers out of Italy, and so
entirely defeated them, that but very few of the men escaped
being slain, and they too were forced by famine to feed upon the
sails and tackle of the ship. As soon as they heard this, they
made what haste they could to come to the decision of a battle,
before Brutus should have notice of his good success. For it
had so happened that the fight both by sea and land was on the
same day, but by some misfortune, rather than the fault of his
commanders, Brutus knew not of his victory twenty days after.
For had he been informed of this, he would not have been brought
to a second battle, since he had sufficient provisions for his
army for a long time, and was very advantageously posted, his
camp being well sheltered from the cold weather, and almost
inaccessible to the enemy, and his being absolute master of the
sea, and having at land overcome on that side wherein he himself
was engaged, would have made him full of hope and confidence.
But it seems, the state of Rome not enduring any longer to be
governed by many, but necessarily requiring a monarchy, the
divine power, that it might remove out of the way the only man
that was able to resist him that could control the empire, cut
off his good fortune from coming to the ears of Brutus; though
it came but a very little too late, for the very evening before
the fight, Clodius, a deserter from the enemy, came and
announced that Caesar had received advice of the loss of his
fleet, and for that reason was in such haste to come to a
battle. But his story met with no credit, nor was he so much as
seen by Brutus, being simply set down as one that had had no
good information, or invented lies to bring himself into favor.

The same night, they say, the vision appeared again to Brutus,
in the same shape that it did before, but vanished without
speaking. But Publius Volumnius, a philosopher, and one that
had from the beginning borne arms with Brutus, makes no mention
of this apparition, but says that the first eagle was covered
with a swarm of bees, and that there was one of the captains
whose arm of itself sweated oil of roses, and, though they often
dried and wiped it, yet it would not cease; and that immediately
before the battle, two eagles falling upon each other fought in
the space between the two armies, that the whole field kept
incredible silence and all were intent upon the spectacle, until
at last that which was on Brutus's side yielded and fled. But
the story of the Ethiopian is very famous, who meeting the
standard-bearer at the opening the gate of the camp, was cut to
pieces by the soldiers, that took it for an ill omen.

Brutus, having brought his army into the field and set them in
array against the enemy, paused a long while before he would
fight; for, as he was reviewing the troops, suspicions were
excited, and informations laid against some of them. Besides,
he saw his horse not very eager to begin the action, and waiting
to see what the foot would do. Then suddenly Camulatus, a very
good soldier, and one whom for his valor he highly esteemed,
riding hard by Brutus himself, went over to the enemy, the sight
of which grieved Brutus exceedingly. So that partly out of
anger, and partly out of fear of some greater treason and
desertion, he immediately drew on his forces upon the enemy, the
sun now declining, about three of the clock in the afternoon.
Brutus on his side had the better, and pressed hard on the left
wing, which gave way and retreated; and the horse too fell in
together with the foot, when they saw the enemy in disorder.
But the other wing, when the officers extended the line to avoid
its being encompassed, the numbers being inferior, got drawn out
too thin in the center, and was so weak here that they could not
withstand the charge, but at the first onset fled. After
defeating these, the enemy at once took Brutus in the rear, who
all the while performed all that was possible for an expert
general and valiant soldier, doing everything in the peril, by
counsel and by hand, that might recover the victory. But that
which had been his superiority in the former fight was to his
prejudice in this second. For in the first fight, that part of
the enemy which was beaten was killed on the spot; but of
Cassius's soldiers that fled few had been slain, and those that
escaped, daunted with their defeat, infected the other and
larger part of the army with their want of spirit and their
disorder. Here Marcus, the son of Cato, was slain, fighting and
behaving himself with great bravery in the midst of the youth of
the highest rank and greatest valor. He would neither fly nor
give the least ground, but, still fighting and declaring who he
was and naming his father's name, he fell upon a heap of dead
bodies of the enemy. And of the rest, the bravest were slain in
defending Brutus.

There was in the field one Lucilius, an excellent man and a
friend of Brutus, who, seeing some barbarian horse taking no
notice of any other in the pursuit, but galloping at full speed
after Brutus, resolved to stop them, though with the hazard of
his life; and, letting himself fall a little behind, he told
them that he was Brutus. They believed him the rather, because
he prayed to be carried to Antony, as if he feared Caesar, but
durst trust him. They, overjoyed with their prey, and thinking
themselves wonderfully fortunate, carried him along with them in
the night, having first sent messengers to Antony of their
coming. He was much pleased, and came to meet them; and all the
rest that heard that Brutus was taken and brought alive, flocked
together to see him, some pitying his fortune, others accusing;
him of a meanness unbecoming his former glory, that out of too
much love of life he would be a prey to barbarians. When they
came near together, Antony stood still, considering with himself
in what manner he should receive Brutus. But Lucilius, being
brought up to him, with great confidence said: "Be assured,
Antony, that no enemy either has taken or ever shall take Marcus
Brutus alive (forbid it, heaven, that fortune should ever so
much prevail above virtue), but he shall be found, alive or
dead, as becomes himself. As for me, I am come hither by a
cheat that I put upon your soldiers, and am ready, upon this
occasion, to suffer any severities you will inflict." All were
amazed to hear Lucilius speak these words. But Antony, turning
himself to those that brought him, said: "I perceive, my
fellow-soldiers, that you are concerned and take it ill that you
have been thus deceived, and think yourselves abused and injured
by it; but know that you have met with a booty better than that
you sought. For you were in search of an enemy, but you have
brought me here a friend. For indeed I am uncertain how I
should have used Brutus, if you had brought him alive; but of
this I am sure, that it is better to have such men as Lucilius
our friends than our enemies." Having said this, he embraced
Lucilius, and for the present commended him to the care of one
of his friends, and ever after found him a steady and a faithful

Brutus had now passed a little brook, running among trees and
under steep rocks, and, it being night, would go no further, but
sat down in a hollow place with a great rock projecting before
it, with a few of his officers and friends about him. At first,
looking up to heaven, that was then full of stars, he repeated
two verses, one of which, Volumnius writes, was this: --

Punish, great Jove, the author of these ills.

The other he says he has forgot. Soon after, naming severally
all his friends that had been slain before his face in the
battle, he groaned heavily, especially at the mentioning of
Flavius and Labeo, the latter his lieutenant, and the other
chief officer of his engineers. In the meantime, one of his
companions, that was very thirsty and saw Brutus in the same
condition, took his helmet and ran to the brook for water, when,
a noise being heard from the other side of the river, Volumnius,
taking Dardanus, Brutus's armor-bearer, with him, went out to
see what it was. They returned in a short space, and inquired
about the water. Brutus, smiling with much meaning, said to
Volumnius, "It is all drunk; but you shall have some more
fetched." But he that had brought the first water, being sent
again, was in great danger of being taken by the enemy, and,
having received a wound, with much difficulty escaped.

Now Brutus guessing that not many of his men were slain in the
fight, Statyllius undertook to dash through the enemy (for there
was no other way), and to see what was become of their camp; and
promised, if he found all things there safe, to hold up a torch
for a signal, and then return. The torch was held up, for
Statyllius got safe to the camp; but when after a long time he
did not return, Brutus said, "If Statyllius be alive, he will
come back." But it happened that in his return he fell into the
enemy's hands, and was slain.

The night now being far spent, Brutus, as he was sitting, leaned
his head towards his servant Clitus and spoke to him; he
answered him not, but fell a weeping. After that, he drew
aside his armor-bearer, Dardanus, and had some discourse with
him in private. At last, speaking to Volumnius in Greek, he
reminded him of their common studies and former discipline, and
begged that he would take hold of his sword with him, and help
him to thrust it through him. Volumnius put away his request,
and several others did the like; and someone saying, that there
was no staying there, but they needs must fly, Brutus, rising
up, said, "Yes, indeed, we must fly, but not with our feet, but
with our hands." Then giving each of them his right hand, with
a countenance full of pleasure, he said, that he found an
infinite satisfaction in this, that none of his friends had been
false to him; that as for fortune, he was angry with that only
for his country's sake; as for himself, he thought himself much
more happy than they who had overcome, not only as he had been a
little time ago, but even now in his present condition; since he
was leaving behind him such a reputation of his virtue as none
of the conquerors with all their arms and riches should ever be
able to acquire, no more than they could hinder posterity from
believing and saying, that, being unjust and wicked men, they
had destroyed the just and the good, and usurped a power to
which they had no right. After this, having exhorted and
entreated all about him to provide for their own safety, he
withdrew from them with two or three only of his peculiar
friends; Strato was one of these, with whom he had contracted an
acquaintance when they studied rhetoric together. Him he placed
next to himself, and, taking hold of the hilt of his sword and
directing it with both his hands, he fell upon it, and killed
himself. But others say, that not he himself, but Strato, at
the earnest entreaty of Brutus, turning aside his head, held the
sword, upon which he violently throwing himself, it pierced his
breast, and he immediately died. This same Strato, Messala, a
friend of Brutus, being, after reconciled to Caesar, brought to
him once at his leisure, and with tears in his eyes said, "This,
O Caesar, is the man that did the last friendly office to my
beloved Brutus." Upon which Caesar received him kindly; and had
good use of him in his labors and his battles at Actium, being
one of the Greeks that proved their bravery in his service. It
is reported of Messala himself, that, when Caesar once gave him
this commendation, that though he was his fiercest enemy at
Philippi in the cause of Brutus, yet he had shown himself his
most entire friend in the fight of Actium, he answered, "You
have always found me, Caesar, on the best and justest side."

Brutus's dead body was found by Antony, who commanded the
richest purple mantle that he had to be thrown over it, and
afterwards the mantle being stolen, he found the thief, and had
him put to death. He sent the ashes of Brutus to his mother
Servilia. As for Porcia his wife, Nicolaus the philosopher and
Valerius Maximus write, that, being desirous to die, but being
hindered by her friends, who continually watched her, she
snatched some burning charcoal out of the fire, and, shutting it
close in her mouth, stifled herself, and died. Though there is
a letter current from Brutus to his friends, in which he laments
the death of Porcia, and accuses them for neglecting her so that
she desired to die rather than languish with her disease. So
that it seems Nicolaus was mistaken in the time; for this
epistle (if it indeed is authentic, and truly Brutus's) gives us
to understand the malady and love of Porcia, and the way in
which her death occurred.


There are noble points in abundance in the characters of these
two men, and one to be first mentioned is their attaining such a
height of greatness upon such inconsiderable means; and on this
score Dion has by far the advantage. For he had no partner to
contest his glory, as Brutus had in Cassius, who was not,
indeed, his equal in proved virtue and honor, yet contributed
quite as much to the service of the war by his boldness, skill,
and activity; and some there be who impute to him the rise and
beginning of the whole enterprise, saying that it was he who
roused Brutus, till then indisposed to stir, into action against
Caesar. Whereas Dion seems of himself to have provided not only
arms, ships, and soldiers, but likewise friends and partners for
the enterprise. Neither did he, as Brutus, collect money and
forces from the war itself, but, on the contrary, laid out of
his own substance, and employed the very means of his private
sustenance in exile for the liberty of his country. Besides
this, Brutus and Cassius, when they fled from Rome, could not
live safe or quiet, being condemned to death and pursued, and
were thus of necessity forced to take arms and hazard their
lives in their own defense, to save themselves, rather than
their country. On the other hand, Dion enjoyed more ease, was
more safe, and his life more pleasant in his banishment, than
was the tyrant's who had banished him, when he flew to action,
and ran the risk of all to save Sicily.

Take notice, too, that it was not the same thing for the
Sicilians to be freed from Dionysius, and for the Romans to be
freed from Caesar. The former owned himself a tyrant, and vexed
Sicily with a thousand oppressions; whereas Caesar's supremacy,
certainly, in the process for attaining it, had inflicted no
little trouble on its opponents, but, once established and
victorious, it had indeed the name and appearance, but fact that
was cruel or tyrannical there was none. On the contrary, in the
malady of the times and the need of a monarchical government, he
might be thought to have been sent, as the gentlest physician,
by no other than a divine intervention. And thus the common
people instantly regretted Caesar, and grew enraged and
implacable against those that killed him. Whereas Dion's chief
offense in the eyes of his fellow-citizens was his having let
Dionysius escape, and not having demolished the former tyrant's

In the actual conduct of war, Dion was a commander without
fault, improving to the utmost those counsels which he himself
gave, and, where others led him into disaster, correcting and
turning everything to the best. But Brutus seems to have shown
little wisdom in engaging in the final battle, which was to
decide everything, and, when he failed, not to have done his
business in seeking a remedy ; he gave all up, and abandoned his
hopes, not venturing against fortune even as far as Pompey did,
when he had still means enough to rely on in his troops, and was
clearly master of all the seas with his ships.

The greatest thing charged on Brutus is, that he, being saved by
Caesar's kindness, having saved all the friends whom he chose to
ask for, he moreover accounted a friend, and preferred above
many, did yet lay violent hands upon his preserver. Nothing
like this could be objected against Dion; quite the contrary,
whilst he was of Dionysius's family and his friend, he did good
service, and was useful to him; but driven from his country,
wronged in his wife, and his estate lost, he openly entered upon
a war just and lawful. Does not, however, the matter turn the
other way? For the chief glory of both was their hatred of
tyranny, and abhorrence of wickedness. This was unmixed and
sincere in Brutus; for he had no private quarrel with Caesar,
but went into the risk singly for the liberty of his country.
The other, had he not been privately injured, had not fought.
This is plain from Plato's epistles, where it is shown that he
was turned out, and did not forsake the court to wage war upon
Dionysius. Moreover, the public good made Brutus Pompey's
friend (instead of his enemy as he had been) and Caesar's enemy;
since he proposed for his hatred and his friendship no other end
and standard but justice. Dion was very serviceable to
Dionysius whilst in favor; when no longer trusted, he grew angry
and fell to arms. And, for this reason, not even were his own
friends all of them satisfied with his undertaking, or quite
assured that, having overcome Dionysius, he might not settle the
government on himself, deceiving his fellow-citizens by some
less obnoxious name than tyranny. But the very enemies of
Brutus would say that he had no other end or aim, from first to
last, save only to restore to the Roman people their ancient

And apart from what has just been said, the adventure against
Dionysius was nothing equal with that against Caesar. For none
that was familiarly conversant with Dionysius but scorned him
for his life of idle amusement with wine, women, and dice;
whereas it required an heroic soul and a truly intrepid and
unquailing spirit so much as to entertain the thought of
crushing Caesar so formidable for his ability, his power, and
his fortune, whose very name disturbed the slumbers of the
Parthian and Indian kings. Dion was no sooner seen in Sicily
but thousands ran in to him and joined him against Dionysius;
whereas the renown of Caesar, even when dead, gave strength to
his friends; and his very name so heightened the person that
took it, that from a simple boy he presently became the chief of
the Romans; and he could use it for a spell against the enmity
and power of Antony. If any object that it cost Dion great
trouble and difficulties to overcome the tyrant, whereas Brutus
slew Caesar naked and unprovided, yet this itself was the result
of the most consummate policy and conduct, to bring it about
that a man so guarded around, and so fortified at all points,
should be taken naked and unprovided. For it was not on the
sudden, nor alone, nor with a few, that he fell upon and killed
Caesar; but after long concerting the plot, and placing
confidence in a great many men, not one of whom deceived him.
For he either at once discerned the best men, or by confiding in
them made them good. But Dion, either making a wrong judgment,
trusted himself with ill men, or else by his employing them made
ill men of good; either of the two would be a reflection on a
wise man. Plato also is severe upon him, for choosing such for
friends as betrayed him.

Besides, when Dion was killed, none appeared to revenge his
death. Whereas Brutus, even amongst his enemies, had Antony
that buried him splendidly; and Caesar also took care his honors
should be preserved. There stood at Milan in Gaul, within the
Alps, a brazen statue, which Caesar in after-times noticed
(being a real likeness, and a fine work of art), and passing by
it, presently stopped short, and in the hearing of many
commended the magistrates to come before him. He told them
their town had broken their league, harboring an enemy. The
magistrates at first simply denied the thing, and, not knowing
what he meant, looked one upon another, when Caesar, turning
towards the statue and gathering his brows, said, "Pray, is not
that our enemy who stands there?" They were all in confusion,
and had nothing to answer; but he, smiling, much commended the
Gauls, as who had been firm to their friends, though in
adversity, and ordered that the statue should remain standing as
he found it.


The philosopher Chrysippus, O Polycrates, quotes an ancient
proverb, not as really it should be, apprehending, I suppose,
that it sounded too harshly, but so as he thought it would run
best, in these words,

Who praise their father but the generous sons?

But Dionysodorus the Troezenian proves him to be wrong, and
restores the true reading, which is this, --

Who praise their fathers but degenerate sons?

telling us that the proverb is meant to stop the mouth of those
who, having no merit of their own, take refuge in the virtues of
their ancestors, and make their advantage of praising them.
But, as Pindar hath it,

He that by nature doth inherit
From ancestors a noble spirit,

as you do, who make your life the copy of the fairest originals
of your family, -- such, I say, may take great satisfaction in
being reminded, both by hearing others speak and speaking
themselves, of the best of their progenitors. For they assume
not the glory of praises earned by others out of any want of
worth of their own, but, affiliating their own deeds to those of
their ancestor, give them honor as the authors both of their
descent and manners.

Therefore I have sent to you the life which I have written of
your fellow-citizen and forefather Aratus, to whom you are no
discredit in point either of reputation or of authority, not as
though you had not been most diligently careful to inform
yourself from the beginning concerning his actions, but that
your sons, Polycrates and Pythocles, may both by hearing and
reading become familiar with those family examples which it
behooves them to follow and imitate. It is a piece of
self-love, and not of the love of virtue, to imagine one has
already attained to what is best.

The city of Sicyon, from the time that it first fell off from
the pure and Doric aristocracy (its harmony being destroyed, and
a mere series of seditions and personal contests of popular
leaders ensuing), continued to be distempered and unsettled,
changing from one tyrant to another, until, Cleon being slain,
Timoclides and Clinias, men of the most repute and power amongst
the citizens, were chosen to the magistracy. And the
commonwealth now seeming to be in a pretty settled condition,
Timoclides died, and Abantidas, the son of Paseas, to possess
himself of the tyranny, killed Clinias, and, of his kindred and
friends, slew some and banished others. He sought also to kill
his son Aratus, whom he left behind him, being but seven years
old. This boy in the general disorder getting out of the house
with those that fled, and wandering about the city helpless and
in great fear, by chance got undiscovered into the house of a
woman who was Abantidas's sister, but married to Prophantus, the
brother of Clinias, her name being Soso. She, being of a
generous temper, and believing the boy had by some supernatural
guidance fled to her for shelter, hid him in the house, and at
night sent him away to Argos.

Aratus, being thus delivered and secured from this danger,
conceived from the first and ever after nourished a vehement and
burning hatred against tyrants, which strengthened with his
years. Being therefore bred up amongst his father's
acquaintance and friends at Argos with a liberal education, and
perceiving his body to promise good health and stature, he
addicted himself to the exercises of the palaestra, to that
degree that he competed in the five games, and gained some
crowns; and indeed in his statues one may observe a certain kind
of athletic cast, and the sagacity and majesty of his
countenance does not dissemble his full diet and the use of the
hoe. Whence it came to pass that he less studied eloquence than
perhaps became a statesman, and yet he was more accomplished in
speaking than many believe, judging by the commentaries which he
left behind him, written carelessly and by the way, as fast as
he could do it, and in such words as first came to his mind.

In the course of time, Dinias and Aristoteles the logician
killed Abantidas, who used to be present in the marketplace at
their discussions, and to make one in them; till they, taking
the occasion, insensibly accustomed him to the practice, and so
had opportunity to contrive and execute a plot against him.
After him Paseas, the father of Abantidas, taking upon him the
government, was assassinated by Nicocles, who himself set up for
tyrant. Of him it is related that he was strikingly like
Periander the son of Cypselus, just as it is said that Orontes
the Persian bore a great resemblance to Alcmaeon the son of
Amphiaraus, and that Lacedaemonian youth, whom Myrsilus relates
to have been trodden to pieces by the crowd of those that came
to see him upon that report, to Hector.

This Nicocles governed four months, in which, after he had done
all kinds of mischief to the city, he very nearly let it fall
into the hands of the Aetolians. By this time Aratus, being
grown a youth, was in much esteem, both for his noble birth and
his spirit and disposition, which, while neither insignificant
nor wanting in energy, were solid, and tempered with a
steadiness of judgment beyond his years. For which reason the
exiles had their eyes most upon him, nor did Nicocles less
observe his motions, but secretly spied and watched him, not out
of apprehension of any such considerable or utterly audacious
attempt, but suspecting he held correspondence with the kings,
who were his father's friends and acquaintance. And, indeed,
Aratus first attempted this way; but finding that Antigonus, who
had promised fair, neglected him and delayed the time, and that
his hopes from Egypt and Ptolemy were long to wait for, he
determined to cut off the tyrant by himself.

And first he broke his mind to Aristomachus and Ecdelus, the one
an exile of Sicyon, the other, Ecdelus, an Arcadian of
Megalopolis, a philosopher, and a man of action, having been the
familiar friend of Arcesilaus the Academic at Athens. These
readily consenting, he communicated with the other exiles,
whereof some few, being ashamed to seem to despair of success,
engaged in the design; but most of them endeavored to divert him
from his purpose, as one that for want of experience was too
rash and daring.

Whilst he was consulting to seize upon some post in Sicyonia,
from whence he might make war upon the tyrant, there came to
Argos a certain Sicyonian, newly escaped out of prison, brother
to Xenocles, one of the exiles, who being by him presented to
Aratus informed him, that that part of the wall over which he
escaped was, inside, almost level with the ground, adjoining a
rocky and elevated place, and that from the outside it might be
scaled with ladders. Aratus, hearing this, dispatches away
Xenocles with two of his own servants, Seuthas and Technon, to
view the wall, resolving, if possible, secretly and with one
risk to hazard all on a single trial, rather than carry on a
contest as a private man against a tyrant by long war and open
force. Xenocles, therefore, with his companions, returning
having taken the height of the wall, and declaring the place not
to be impossible or indeed difficult to get over, but that it
was not easy to approach it undiscovered, by reason of some
small but uncommonly savage and noisy dogs belonging to a
gardener hard by, he immediately undertook the business.

Now the preparation of arms gave no jealousy, because robberies
and petty forays were at that time common everywhere between one
set of people and another; and for the ladders, Euphranor, the
machine-maker, made them openly, his trade rendering him
unsuspected, though one of the exiles. As for men, each of his
friends in Argos furnished him with ten apiece out of those few
they had, and he armed thirty of his own servants, and hired
some few soldiers of Xenophilus, the chief of the robber
captains, to whom it was given out that they were to march into
the territory of Sicyon to seize the king's stud; most of them
were sent before, in small parties, to the tower of Polygnotus,
with orders to wait there; Caphisias also was dispatched
beforehand lightly armed, with four others, who were, as soon as
it was dark, to come to the gardener's house, pretending to be
travelers, and, procuring their lodging there, to shut up him
and his dogs; for there was no other way of getting past. And
for the ladders, they had been made to take in pieces, and were
put into chests, and sent before hidden upon wagons. In the
meantime, some of the spies of Nicocles appearing in Argos, and
being said to go privately about watching Aratus, he came early
in the morning into the market-place, showing him self openly
and conversing with his friends; then he anointed himself in the
exercise ground, and, taking with him thence some of the young
men that used to drink and spend their time with him, he went
home; and presently after several of his servants were seen
about the marketplace, one carrying garlands, another buying
flambeaus, and a third speaking to the women that used to sing
and play at banquets, all which things the spies observing were
deceived, and said laughing to one another, "Certainly nothing
can be more timorous than a tyrant, if Nicocles, being master of
so great a city and so numerous a force, stands in fear of a
youth that spends what he has to subsist upon in his banishment
in pleasures and day-debauches;" and, being thus imposed upon,
they returned home.

But Aratus, departing immediately after his morning meal, and
coming to his soldiers at Polygnotus's tower, led them to Nemea;
where he disclosed, to most of them for the first time; his true
design, making them large promises and fair speeches, and
marched towards the city, giving for the word Apollo victorious,
proportioning his march to the motion of the moon, so as to have
the benefit of her light upon the way, and to be in the garden,
which was close to the wall, just as she was setting. Here
Caphisias came to him, who had not secured the dogs, which had
run away before he could catch them, but had only made sure of
the gardener. Upon which most of the company being out of heart
and desiring to retreat, Aratus encouraged them to go on,
promising to retire in case the dogs were too troublesome;
and at the same time sending forward those that carried the
ladders, conducted by Ecdelus and Mnasitheus, he followed them
himself leisurely, the dogs already barking very loud and
following, the steps of Ecdelus and his companions. However,
they got to the wall, and reared the ladders with safety. But
as the foremost men were mounting them, the captain of the watch
that was to be relieved by the morning guard passed on his way
with the bell, and there were many lights, and a noise of people
coming up. Hearing which, they clapped themselves close to the
ladders, and so were unobserved; but as the other watch also was
coming up to meet this, they were in extreme danger of being
discovered. But when this also went by without observing them,
immediately Mnasitheus and Ecdelus got upon the wall, and,
possessing themselves of the approaches inside and out, sent
away Technon to Aratus, desiring him to make all the haste he

Now there was no great distance from the garden to the wall and
to the tower, in which latter a large hound was kept. The hound
did not hear their steps of himself, whether that he were
naturally drowsy, or overwearied the day before, but, the
gardener's curs awaking him, he first began to growl and grumble
in response, and then as they passed by to bark out aloud. And
the barking was now so great, that the sentinel opposite shouted
out to the dog's keeper to know why the dog kept such a barking,
and whether anything was the matter; who answered, that it was
nothing, but only that his dog had been set barking by the
lights of the watch and the noise of the bell. This reply much
encouraged Aratus's soldiers, who thought the dog's keeper was
privy to their design, and wished to conceal what was passing,
and that many others in the city were of the conspiracy. But
when they came to scale the wall, the attempt then appeared both
to require time and to be full of danger, for the ladders shook
and tottered extremely unless they mounted them leisurely and
one by one, and time pressed, for the cocks began to crow, and
the country people that used to bring things to the market would
be coming to the town directly. Therefore Aratus made haste to
get up himself, forty only of the company being already upon the
wall, and, staying but for a few more of those that were below,
he made straight to the tyrant's house and the general's office,
where the mercenary soldiers passed the night, and, coming
suddenly upon them, and taking them prisoners without killing
any one of them, he immediately sent to all his friends in their
houses to desire them to come to him, which they did from all
quarters. By this time the day began to break, and the theater
was filled with a multitude that were held in suspense by
uncertain reports and knew nothing distinctly of what had
happened, until a public crier came forward and proclaimed that
Aratus, the son of Clinias, invited the citizens to recover
their liberty.

Then at last assured that what they so long looked for was come
to pass, they pressed in throngs to the tyrant's gates to set
them on fire. And such a flame was kindled, the whole house
catching fire, that it was seen as far as Corinth; so that the
Corinthians, wondering what the matter could be, were upon the
point of coming to their assistance. Nicocles fled away
secretly out of the city by means of certain underground
passages, and the soldiers, helping the Sicyonians to quench the
fire, plundered the house. This Aratus hindered not, but
divided also the rest of the riches of the tyrants amongst the
citizens. In this exploit, not one of those engaged in it was
slain, nor any of the contrary party, fortune so ordering the
action as to be clear and free from civil bloodshed. He
restored eighty exiles who had been expelled by Nicocles, and no
less than five hundred who had been driven out by former tyrants
and had endured a long banishment, pretty nearly, by this time,
of fifty years' duration. These returning, most of them very
poor, were impatient to enter upon their former possessions,
and, proceeding to their several farms and houses, gave great
perplexity to Aratus, who considered that the city without was
envied for its liberty and aimed at by Antigonus, and within was
full of disorder and sedition. Wherefore, as things stood, he
thought it best to associate it to the Achaean community, and
so, although Dorians, they of their own will took upon them the
name and citizenship of the Achaeans, who at that time had
neither great repute nor much power. For the most of them lived
in small towns, and their territory was neither large nor
fruitful, and the neighboring sea was almost wholly without a
harbor, breaking direct upon a rocky shore. But yet these above
others made it appear that the Grecian courage was invincible,
whensoever it could only have order and concord within itself
and a prudent general to direct it. For though they had
scarcely been counted as any part of the ancient Grecian power,
and at this time did not equal the strength of one ordinary
city, yet by prudence and unanimity, and because they knew how
not to envy and malign, but to obey and follow him amongst them
that was most eminent for virtue, they not only preserved their
own liberty in the midst of so many great cities, military
powers, and monarchies, but went on steadily saving and
delivering from slavery great numbers of the Greeks.

As for Aratus, he was in his behavior a true statesman,
high-minded, and more intent upon the public than his private
concerns, a bitter hater of tyrants, making the common good the
rule and law of his friendships and enmities. So that indeed he
seems not to have been so faithful a friend, as he was a
reasonable and gentle enemy, ready, according to the needs of
the state, to suit himself on occasion to either side; concord
between nations, brotherhood between cities, the council and the
assembly unanimous in their votes, being the objects above all
other blessings to which he was passionately devoted; backward,
indeed, and diffident in the use of arms and open force, but in
effecting a purpose underhand, and outwitting cities and
potentates without observation, most politic and dexterous.
Therefore, though he succeeded beyond hope in many enterprises
which he undertook, yet he seems to have left quite as many
unattempted, though feasible enough, for want of assurance. For
it should seem, that, as the sight of certain beasts is strong
in the night but dim by day, the tenderness of the humors of
their eyes not bearing the contact of the light, so there is
also one kind of human skill and sagacity which is easily
daunted and disturbed in actions done in the open day and before
the world, and recovers all its self-possession in secret and
covert enterprises; which inequality is occasioned in noble
minds for want of philosophy, a mere wild and uncultivated fruit
of a virtue without true knowledge coming up; as might be made
out by examples.

Aratus, therefore, having associated himself and his city to the
Achaeans, served in the cavalry, and made himself much beloved
by his commanding officers for his exact obedience; for though
he had made so large an addition to the common strength as that
of his own credit and the power of his country, yet he was as
ready as the most ordinary person to be commanded by the Achaean
general of the time being, whether he were a man of Dymae, or of
Tritaea, or any yet meaner town than these. Having also a
present of five and twenty talents sent him from the king, he
took them, but gave them all to his fellow-citizens, who wanted
money, amongst other purposes, for the redemption of those who
had been taken prisoners.

But the exiles being by no means to be satisfied, disturbing
continually those that were in possession of their estates,
Sicyon was in great danger of falling into perfect desolation;
so that, having no hope left but in the kindness of Ptolemy, he
resolved to sail to him, and to beg so much money of him as
might reconcile all parties. So he set sail from Mothone beyond
Malea, designing to make the direct passage. But the pilot not
being able to keep the vessel up against a strong wind and high
waves that came in from the open sea, he was driven from his
course, and with much ado got to shore in Andros, an enemy's
land, possessed by Antigonus, who had a garrison there. To
avoid which he immediately landed, and, leaving the ship, went
up into the country a good way from the sea, having along with
him only one friend, called Timanthes; and throwing themselves
into some ground thickly covered with wood, they had but an ill
night's rest of it. Not long after, the commander of the troops
came, and, inquiring for Aratus, was deceived by his servants,
who had been instructed to say that he had fled at once over
into the island of Euboea. However, he declared the chip, the
property on board of her, and the servants, to be lawful prize,
and detained them accordingly. As for Aratus, after some few
days, in his extremity by good fortune a Roman ship happened to
put in just at the spot in which he made his abode, sometimes
peeping out to seek his opportunity, sometimes keeping close.
She was bound for Syria; but going aboard, he agreed with the
master to land him in Caria. In which voyage he met with no
less danger on the sea than before. From Caria being after much
time arrived in Egypt, he immediately went to the king, who had
a great kindness for him, and had received from him many
presents of drawings and paintings out of Greece. Aratus had a
very good judgment in them, and always took care to collect and
send him the most curious and finished works, especially those
of Pamphilus and Melanthus.

For the Sicyonian pieces were still in the height of their
reputation, as being the only ones whose colors were lasting; so
that Apelles himself, even after he had become well known and
admired, went thither, and gave a talent to be admitted into the
society of the painters there, not so much to partake of their
skill, which he wanted not, but of their credit. And
accordingly Aratus, when he freed the city, immediately took
down the representations of the rest of the tyrants, but
demurred a long time about that of Aristratus, who flourished in
the time of Philip. For this Aristratus was painted by
Melanthus and his scholars, standing by a chariot, in which a
figure of Victory was carried, Apelles himself having had a
hand in it, as Polemon the geographer reports. It was an
extraordinary piece, and therefore Aratus was fain to spare it
for the workmanship, and yet, instigated by the hatred he bore
the tyrants, commanded it to be taken down. But Nealces the
painter, one of Aratus's friends, entreated him, it is said,
with tears in his eyes, to spare it, and, finding he did not
prevail with him, told him at last he should carry on his war
with the tyrants, but with the tyrants alone: "Let therefore the
chariot and the Victory stand, and I will take means for the
removal of Aristratus;" to which Aratus consenting, Nealces
blotted out Aristratus, and in his place painted a palm-tree,
not daring to add anything else of his own invention. The feet
of the defaced figure of Aristratus are said to have escaped
notice, and to be hid under the chariot. By these means Aratus
got favor with the king, who, after he was more fully acquainted
with him, loved him so much the more, and gave him for the
relief of his city one hundred and fifty talents; forty of which
he immediately carried away with him, when he sailed to
Peloponnesus, but the rest the king divided into installments,
and sent them to him afterwards at different times.

Assuredly it was a great thing to procure for his
fellow-citizens a sum of money, a small portion of which had
been sufficient, when presented by a king to other captains and
popular leaders, to induce them to turn dishonest, and betray
and give away their native countries to him. But it was a much
greater, that by means of this money he effected a
reconciliation and good understanding between the rich and poor,
and created quiet and security for the whole people. His
moderation, also, amidst so great power was very admirable. For
being declared sole arbitrator and plenipotentiary for settling
the questions of property in the case of the exiles, he would
not accept the commission alone, but, associating with himself
fifteen of the citizens, with great pains and trouble he
succeeded in adjusting matters, and established peace and
good-will in the city, for which good service, not only all the
citizens in general bestowed extraordinary honors upon him, but
the exiles, apart by themselves, erecting his statue in brass,
inscribed on it these elegiac verses: --

Your counsels, deeds, and skill for Greece in war
Known beyond Hercules's pillars are;
But we this image, O Aratus, gave
Of you who saved us, to the gods who save,
By you from exile to our homes restored,
That virtue and that justice to record,
To which the blessing Sicyon owes this day
Of wealth that's shared alike, and laws that all obey.

By his success in effecting these things, Aratus secured himself
from the envy of his fellow-citizens, on account of the benefits
they felt he had done them; but king Antigonus being troubled in
his mind about him, and designing either wholly to bring him
over to his party, or else to make him suspected by Ptolemy,
besides other marks of his favor shown to him, who had little
mind to receive them, added this too, that, sacrificing to the
gods in Corinth, he sent portions to Aratus at Sicyon, and at
the feast, where were many guests, he said openly, "I thought
this Sicyonian youth had been only a lover of liberty and of his
fellow-citizens, but now I look upon him as a good judge of the
manners and actions of kings. For formerly he despised us, and,
placing his hopes further off, admired the Egyptian riches,
hearing so much of their elephants, fleets, and palaces. But
after seeing all these at a nearer distance, perceiving them to
be but mere stage show and pageantry, he is now come over to us.
And for my part I willingly receive him, and, resolving to make
great use of him myself, command you to look upon him as a
friend." These words were soon taken hold of by those that
envied and maligned him, who strove which of them should, in
their letters to Ptolemy, attack him with the worst calumnies,
so that Ptolemy sent to expostulate the matter with him; so much
envy and ill-will did there always attend the so much contended
for, and so ardently and passionately aspired to, friendships of
princes and great men.

But Aratus, being now for the first time chosen general of the
Achaeans, ravaged the country of Locris and Calydon, just over
against Achaea, and then went to assist the Boeotians with ten
thousand soldiers, but came not up to them until after the
battle near Chaeronea had been fought, in which they were beaten
by the Aetolians, with the loss of Aboeocritus the Boeotarch,
and a thousand men besides. A year after, being again elected
general, he resolved to attempt the capture of the
Acro-Corinthus, not so much for the advantage of the Sicyonians
or Achaeans, as considering that by expelling the Macedonian
garrison he should free all Greece alike from a tyranny which
oppressed every part of her. Chares the Athenian, having the
good fortune to get the better, in a certain battle, of the
king's generals, wrote to the people of Athens that this victory
was "sister to that at Marathon." And so may this action be
very safely termed sister to those of Pelopidas the Theban and
Thrasybulus the Athenian, in which they slew the tyrants;
except, perhaps, it exceed them upon this account, that it was
not against natural Grecians, but against a foreign and stranger
domination. The Isthmus, rising like a bank between the seas,
collects into a single spot and compresses together the whole
continent of Greece; and Acro-Corinthus, being a high mountain
springing up out of the very middle of what here is Greece,
whensoever it is held with a garrison, stands in the way and
cuts off all Peloponnesus from intercourse of every kind, free
passage of men and arms, and all traffic by sea and land, and
makes him lord of all, that is master of it. Wherefore the
younger Philip did not jest, but said very true, when he called
the city of Corinth "the fetters of Greece." So that this post
was always much contended for, especially by the kings and
tyrants; and so vehemently was it longed for by Antigonus, that
his passion for it came little short of that of frantic love; he
was continually occupied with devising how to take it by
surprise from those that were then masters of it, since he
despaired to do it by open force.

Therefore Alexander, who held the place, being dead, poisoned by
him, as is reported, and his wife Nicaea succeeding in the
government and the possession of Acro-Corinthus, he immediately
made use of his son, Demetrius, and, giving her pleasing hopes
of a royal marriage and of a happy life with a youth, whom a
woman now growing old might well find agreeable, with this lure
of his son he succeeded in taking her; but the place itself she
did not deliver up, but continued to hold it with a very strong
garrison, of which he seeming to take no notice, celebrated the
wedding in Corinth, entertaining them with shows and banquets
everyday, as one that has nothing else in his mind but to give
himself up for awhile to indulgence in pleasure and mirth. But
when the moment came, and Amoebeus began to sing in the theater,
he waited himself upon Nicaea to the play, she being carried in
a royally-decorated chair, extremely pleased with her new honor,
not dreaming of what was intended. As soon, therefore, as they
were come to the turning which led up to the citadel, he desired
her to go on before him to the theater, but for himself, bidding
farewell to the music, farewell to the wedding, he went on
faster than one would have thought his age would have admitted
to the Acro-Corinthus, and, finding the gate shut, knocked with
his staff, commanding them to open, which they within, being
amazed, did. And having thus made himself master of the place,
he could not contain himself for joy; but, though an old man,
and one that had seen so many turns of fortune, he must needs
revel it in the open streets and the midst of the market-place,
crowned with garlands and attended with flute-women, inviting
everybody he met to partake in his festivity. So much more does
joy without discretion transport and agitate the mind than
either fear or sorrow. Antigonus, therefore, having in this
manner possessed himself of Acro-Corinthus, put a garrison into
it of those he trusted most, making Persaeus the philosopher

Now Aratus, even in the lifetime of Alexander, had made an
attempt, but, a confederacy being made between Alexander and the
Achaeans, he desisted. But now he started afresh, with a new
plan of effecting the thing, which was this: there were in
Corinth four brothers, Syrians born, one of whom, called
Diocles, served as a soldier in the garrison, but the three
others, having stolen some gold of the king's, came to Sicyon,
to one Aegias, a banker, whom Aratus made use of in his
business. To him they immediately sold part of their gold, and
the rest one of them, called Erginus, coming often thither,
exchanged by parcels. Becoming, by this means, familiarly
acquainted with Aegias, and being by him led into discourses
concerning the fortress, he told him that in going up to his
brother he had observed, in the face of the rock, a side-cleft,
leading to that part of the wall of the castle which was lower
than the rest. At which Aegias joking with him and saying, "So,
you wise man, for the sake of a little gold you have broken into
the king's treasure; when you might, if you chose, get money in
abundance for a single hour's work, burglary, you know, and
treason being punished with the same death," Erginus laughed and
told him then, he would break the thing to Diocles (for he did
not altogether trust his other brothers), and, returning within
a few days, he bargained to conduct Aratus to that part of the
wall where it was no more than fifteen feet high, and to do what
else should be necessary, together with his brother Diocles.

Aratus, therefore, agreed to give them sixty talents if he
succeeded, but if he failed in his enterprise, and yet he and
they came off safe, then he would give each of them a house and
a talent. Now the threescore talents being to be deposited in
the hands of Aegias for Erginus and his partners, and Aratus
neither having so much by him, nor willing, by borrowing it from
others, to give anyone a suspicion of his design, he pawned his
plate and his wife's golden ornaments to Aegias for the money.
For so high was his temper, and so strong his passion for noble
actions, that, even as he had heard that Phocion and Epaminondas
were the best and justest of the Greeks, because they refused
the greatest presents and would not surrender their duty for
money, so he now chose to be at the expense of this enterprise
privately, and to advance all the cost out of his own property,
taking the whole hazard on himself for the sake of the rest that
did not so much as know what was doing. And who indeed can
withhold, even now, his admiration for and his sympathy with the
generous mind of one, who paid so largely to purchase so great a
risk, and lent out his richest possessions to have an
opportunity to expose his own life, by entering among his
enemies in the dead of the night, without desiring any other
security for them than the hope of a noble success.

Now the enterprise, though dangerous enough in itself, was made
much more so by an error happening through mistake in the very
beginning. For Technon, one of Aratus's servants, was sent away
to Diocles, that they might together view the wall. Now he had
never seen Diocles, but made no question of knowing him by the
marks Erginus had given him of him; namely, that he had curly
hair, a swarthy complexion, and no beard. Being come,
therefore, to the appointed place, he stayed waiting for Erginus
and Diocles outside the town, in front of the place called
Ornis. In the meantime, Dionysius, elder brother to Erginus and
Diocles, who knew nothing at all of the matter, but much
resembled Diocles, happened to pass by. Technon, upon this
likeness, all being in accordance with what he had been told,
asked him if he knew Erginus; and on his replying that he was
his brother, taking it for granted that he was speaking with
Diocles, not so much as asking his name or staying for any other
token, he gave him his hand, and began to discourse with him and
ask him questions about matters agreed upon with Erginus.
Dionysius, cunningly taking the advantage of his mistake, seemed
to understand him very well, and returning towards the city, led
him on, still talking, without any suspicion. And being now
near the gate, he was just about to seize on him, when by chance
again Erginus met them, and, apprehending the cheat and the
danger, beckoned to Technon to make his escape, and immediately
both of them, betaking themselves to their heels, ran away as
fast as they could to Aratus, who for all this despaired not,
but immediately sent away Erginus to Dionysius to bribe him to
hold his tongue. And he not only effected that, but also
brought him along with him to Aratus. But, when they had him,
they no longer left him at liberty, but binding him, they kept
him close shut up in a room, whilst they prepared for executing
their design.

All things being now ready, he commanded the rest of his forces
to pass the night by their arms, and taking with him four
hundred chosen men, few of whom knew what they were going about,
he led them to the gates by the temple of Juno. It was the
midst of summer, and the moon was at full, and the night so
clear without any clouds, that there was danger lest the arms
glistening in the moonlight should discover them. But as the
foremost of them came near the city, a mist came off from the
sea, and darkened the city itself and the outskirts about it.
Then the rest of them, sitting down, put off their shoes,
because men both make less noise and also climb surer, if they
go up ladders barefooted, but Erginus, taking with him seven
young men dressed like travelers, got unobserved to the gate,
and killed the sentry with the other guards. And at the same
time the ladders were clapped to the walls, and Aratus, having
in great haste got up a hundred men, commended the rest to
follow as they could, and immediately drawing up his ladders
after him, he marched through the city with his hundred men
towards the castle, being already overjoyed that he was
undiscovered, and not doubting of the success. But while still
they were some way off, a watch of four men came with a light,
who did not see them, because they were still in the shade of
the moon, but were seen plainly enough themselves as they came
on directly towards them. So withdrawing a little way amongst
some walls and plots for houses, they lay in wait for them; and
three of them they killed. But the fourth, being wounded in the
head with a sword, fled, crying out that the enemy was in the
city. And immediately the trumpets sounded, and all the city
was in an uproar at what had happened, and the streets were full
of people running up and down, and many lights were seen shining
both below in the town, and above in the castle, and a confused
noise was to be heard in all parts.

In the meantime, Aratus was hard at work struggling to get up
the rocks, at first slowly and with much difficulty, straying
continually from the path, which lay deep, and was overshadowed
with the crags, leading to the wall with many windings and
turnings; but the moon immediately and as if by miracle, it is
said, dispersing the clouds, shone out and gave light to the
most difficult part of the way, until he got to that part of the
wall he desired, and there she overshadowed and hid him, the
clouds coming together again. Those soldiers whom Aratus had
left outside the gate, near Juno's temple, to the number of
three hundred, entering the town, now full of tumult and lights,
and not knowing the way by which the former had gone, and
finding no track of them, slunk aside, and crowded together in
one body under a flank of the cliff that cast a strong shadow,
and there stood and waited in great distress and perplexity.
For, by this time, those that had gone with Aratus were attacked
with missiles from the citadel, and were busy fighting, and a
sound of cries of battle came down from above, and a loud noise,
echoed back and back from the mountain sides, and therefore
confused and uncertain whence it proceeded, was heard on all
sides. They being thus in doubt which way to turn themselves,
Archelaus, the commander of Antigonus's troops, having a great
number of soldiers with him, made up towards the castle with
great shouts and noise of trumpets to fall upon Aratus's people,
and passed by the three hundred, who, as if they had risen out
of an ambush, immediately charged him, killing the first they
encountered, and so affrighted the rest, together with
Archelaus, that they put them to flight and pursued them until

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