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Plutarch's Lives

Part 6 out of 35

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When Pericles, in giving up his accounts of this expedition, stated a
disbursement of ten talents, as laid out upon fit occasion, the people,
without any question, nor troubling themselves to investigate the
mystery, freely allowed of it. And some historians, in which number is
Theophrastus the philosopher, have given it as a truth that Pericles
every year used to send privately the sum of ten talents to Sparta, with
which he complimented those in office, to keep off the war; not to
purchase peace neither, but time, that he might prepare at leisure, and
be the better able to carry on war hereafter.

Immediately after this, turning his forces against the revolters, and
passing over into the island of Euboea with fifty sail of ships and five
thousand men in arms, he reduced their cities, and drove out the
citizens of the Chalcidians, called Hippobotae, horse-feeders, the
chief persons for wealth and reputation among them; and removing all the
Histiaeans out of the country, brought in a plantation of Athenians in
their room; making them his one example of severity, because they had
captured an Attic ship and killed all on board.

After this, having made a truce between the Athenians and Lacedaemonians
for thirty years, he ordered, by public decree, the expedition against
the Isle of Samos, on the ground, that, when they were bid to leave off
their war with the Milesians, they had not complied. And as these
measures against the Samians are thought to have been taken to please
Aspasia, this may be a fit point for inquiry about the woman, what art
or charming faculty she had that enabled her to captivate, as she did,
the greatest statesmen, and to give the philosophers occasion to speak
so much about her, and that, too, not to her disparagement. That she
was a Milesian by birth, the daughter of Axiochus, is a thing
acknowledged. And they say it was in emulation of Thargelia, a
courtesan of the old Ionian times, that she made her addresses to men of
great power. Thargelia was a great beauty, extremely charming, and at
the same time sagacious; she had numerous suitors among the Greeks, and
brought all who had to do with her over to the Persian interest, and by
their means, being men of the greatest power and station, sowed the
seeds of the Median faction up and down in several cities. Aspasia,
some say, was courted and caressed by Pericles upon account of her
knowledge and skill in politics. Socrates himself would sometimes go to
visit her, and some of his acquaintance with him; and those who
frequented her company would carry their wives with them to listen to
her. Her occupation was any thing but creditable, her house being a
home for young courtesans. Aeschines tells us also, that Lysicles, a
sheep-dealer, a man of low birth and character, by keeping Aspasia
company after Pericles's death, came to be a chief man in Athens. And
in Plato's Menexenus, though we do not take the introduction as quite
serious, still thus much seems to be historical, that she had the repute
of being resorted to by many of the Athenians for instruction in the art
of speaking. Pericles's inclination for her seems, however, to have
rather proceeded from the passion of love. He had a wife that was near
of kin to him, who had been married first to Hipponicus, by whom she had
Callias, surnamed the Rich; and also she brought Pericles, while she
lived with him, two sons, Xanthippus and Paralus. Afterwards, when they
did not well agree nor like to live together, he parted with her, with
her own consent, to another man, and himself took Aspasia, and loved her
with wonderful affection; every day, both as he went out and as he came
in from the marketplace, he saluted and kissed her.

In the comedies she goes by the nicknames of the new Omphale and
Deianira, and again is styled Juno. Cratinus, in downright terms, calls
her a harlot.

To find him a Juno the goddess of lust
Bore that harlot past shame,
Aspasia by name.

It should seem, also, that he had a son by her; Eupolis, in his Demi,
introduced Pericles asking after his safety, and Myronides replying,

"My son?" "He lives; a man he had been long,
But that the harlot-mother did him wrong."

Aspasia, they say, became so celebrated and renowned, that Cyrus also,
who made war against Artaxerxes for the Persian monarchy, gave her whom
he loved the best of all his concubines the name of Aspasia, who before
that was called Milto. She was a Phocaean by birth, the daughter of one
Hermotimus, and, when Cyrus fell in battle, was carried to the king, and
had great influence at court. These things coming into my memory as I
am writing this story, it would be unnatural for me to omit them.

Pericles, however, was particularly charged with having proposed to the
assembly the war against the Samians, from favor to the Milesians, upon
the entreaty of Aspasia. For the two states were at war for the
possession of Priene; and the Samians, getting the better, refused to
lay down their arms and to have the controversy betwixt them decided by
arbitration before the Athenians. Pericles, therefore, fitting out a
fleet, went and broke up the oligarchical government at Samos, and,
taking fifty of the principal men of the town as hostages, and as many
of their children, sent them to the isle of Lemnos, there to be kept,
though he had offers, as some relate, of a talent a piece for himself
from each one of the hostages, and of many other presents from those who
were anxious not to have a democracy. Moreover, Pissuthnes the Persian,
one of the king's lieutenants, bearing some good-will to the Samians,
sent him ten thousand pieces of gold to excuse the city. Pericles,
however, would receive none of all this; but after he had taken that
course with the Samians which he thought fit, and set up a democracy
among them, sailed back to Athens.

But they, however, immediately revolted, Pissuthnes having privily got
away their hostages for them, and provided them with means for the war.
Whereupon Pericles came out with a fleet a second time against them, and
found them not idle nor slinking away, but manfully resolved to try for
the dominion of the sea. The issue was, that, after a sharp sea-fight
about the island called Tragia, Pericles obtained a decisive victory,
having with forty-four ships routed seventy of the enemy's, twenty of
which were carrying soldiers.

Together with his victory and pursuit, having made himself master of the
port, he laid siege to the Samians, and blocked them up, who yet, one
way or other, still ventured to make sallies, and fight under the city
walls. But after that another greater fleet from Athens was arrived,
and that the Samians were now shut up with a close leaguer on every
side, Pericles, taking with him sixty galleys, sailed out into the main
sea, with the intention, as most authors give the account, to meet a
squadron of Phoenician ships that were coming for the Samians' relief,
and to fight them at as great distance as could be from the island;
but, as Stesimbrotus says, with a design of putting over to Cyprus;
which does not seem to be probable. But whichever of the two was his
intent, it seems to have been a miscalculation. For on his departure,
Melissus, the son of Ithagenes, a philosopher, being at that time
general in Samos, despising either the small number of the ships that
were left or the inexperience of the commanders, prevailed with the
citizens to attack the Athenians. And the Samians having won the
battle, and taken several of the men prisoners, and disabled several of
the ships, were masters of the sea, and brought into port all
necessaries they wanted for the war, which they had not before.
Aristotle says, too, that Pericles himself had been once before this
worsted by this Melissus in a sea-fight.

The Samians, that they might requite an affront which had before been
put upon them, branded the Athenians, whom they took prisoners, in their
foreheads, with the figure of an owl. For so the Athenians had marked
them before with a Samaena, which is a sort of ship, low and flat in the
prow, so as to look snub-nosed, but wide and large and well-spread in
the hold, by which it both carries a large cargo and sails well. And it
was so called, because the first of that kind was seen at Samos, having
been built by order of Polycrates the tyrant. These brands upon the
Samians' foreheads, they say, are the allusion in the passage of
Aristophanes, where he says, --

For, oh, the Samians are a lettered people.

Pericles, as soon as news was brought him of the disaster that had
befallen his army, made all the haste he could to come in to their
relief, and having defeated Melissus, who bore up against him, and put
the enemy to flight, he immediately proceeded to hem them in with a wall,
resolving to master them and take the town, rather with some cost and
time, than with the wounds and hazards of his citizens. But as it was a
hard matter to keep back the Athenians, who were vexed at the delay, and
were eagerly bent to fight, he divided the whole multitude into eight
parts, and arranged by lot that that part which had the white bean
should have leave to feast and take their ease, while the other seven
were fighting. And this is the reason, they say, that people, when at
any time they have been merry, and enjoyed themselves, call it white
day, in allusion to this white bean.

Ephorus the historian tells us besides, that Pericles made use of
engines of battery in this siege, being much taken with the curiousness
of the invention, with the aid and presence of Artemon himself, the
engineer, who, being lame, used to be carried about in a litter, where
the works required his attendance, and for that reason was called
Periphoretus. But Heraclides Ponticus disproves this out of Anacreon's
poems, where mention is made of this Artemon Periphoretus several ages
before the Samian war, or any of these occurrences. And he says that
Artemon, being a man who loved his ease, and had a great apprehension of
danger, for the most part kept close within doors, having two of his
servants to hold a brazen shield over his head, that nothing might fall
upon him from above; and if he were at any time forced upon necessity to
go abroad, that he was carried about in a little hanging bed, close to
the very ground, and that for this reason he was called Periphoretus.

In the ninth month, the Samians surrendering themselves and delivering
up the town, Pericles pulled down their walls, and seized their
shipping, and set a fine of a large sum of money upon them, part of
which they paid down at once, and they agreed to bring in the rest by a
certain time, and gave hostages for security. Duris the Samian makes a
tragical drama out of these events, charging the Athenians and Pericles
with a great deal of cruelty, which neither Thucydides, nor Ephorus, nor
Aristotle have given any relation of, and probably with little regard to
truth; how, for example, he brought the captains and soldiers of the
galleys into the market-place at Miletus, and there having bound them
fast to boards for ten days, then, when they were already all but half
dead, gave order to have them killed by beating out their brains with
clubs, and their dead bodies to be flung out into the open streets and
fields, unburied. Duris, however, who even where he has no private
feeling concerned, is not wont to keep his narrative within the limits
of truth, is the more likely upon this occasion to have exaggerated the
calamities which befell his country, to create odium against the
Athenians. Pericles, however, after the reduction of Samos, returning
back to Athens, took care that those who died in the war should be
honorably buried, and made a funeral harangue, as the custom is, in
their commendation at their graves, for which he gained great
admiration. As he came down from the stage on which he spoke, the rest
of the women came and complimented him, taking him by the hand, and
crownings him with garlands and ribbons, like a victorious athlete in
the games; but Elpinice, coming near to him, said, "These are brave
deeds, Pericles, that you have done, and such as deserve our chaplets;
who have lost us many a worthy citizen, not in a war with Phoenicians or
Medes, like my brother Cimon, but for the overthrow of an allied and
kindred city." As Elpinice spoke these words, he, smiling quietly, as
it is said, returned her answer with this verse, --

Old women should not seek to be perfumed.

Ion says of him, that, upon this exploit of his, conquering the Samians,
he indulged very high and proud thoughts of himself: whereas Agamemnon
was ten years taking a barbarous city, he had in nine months' time
vanquished and taken the greatest and most powerful of the Ionians. And
indeed it was not without reason that he assumed this glory to himself,
for, in real truth, there was much uncertainty and great hazard in this
war, if so be, as Thucydides tells us, the Samian state were within a
very little of wresting the whole power and dominion of the sea out of
the Athenians' hands.

After this was over, the Peloponnesian war beginning to break out in
full tide, he advised the people to send help to the Corcyrseans, who
were attacked by the Corinthians, and to secure to themselves an island
possessed of great naval resources, since the Peloponnesians were
already all but in actual hostilities against them. The people readily
consenting to the motion, and voting an aid and succor for them, he
dispatched Lacedaemonius, Cimon's son, having only ten ships with him,
as it were out of a design to affront him; for there was a great
kindness and friendship betwixt Cimon's family and the Lacedaemonians;
so, in order that Lacedaemonius might lie the more open to a charge, or
suspicion at least, of favoring the Lacedaemonians and playing false, if
he performed no considerable exploit in this service, he allowed him a
small number of ships, and sent him out against his will; and indeed he
made it somewhat his business to hinder Cimon's sons from rising in the
state, professing that by their very names they were not to be looked
upon as native and true Athenians, but foreigners and strangers, one
being called Lacedaemonius, another Thessalus, and the third Eleus; and
they were all three of them, it was thought, born of an Arcadian woman.
Being, however, ill spoken of on account of these ten galleys, as having
afforded but a small supply to the people that were in need, and yet
given a great advantage to those who might complain of the act of
intervention, Pericles sent out a larger force afterward to Corcyra,
which arrived after the fight was over. And when now the Corinthians,
angry and indignant with the Athenians, accused them publicly at
Lacedaemon, the Megarians joined with them, complaining that they were,
contrary to common right and the articles of peace sworn to among the
Greeks, kept out and driven away from every market and from all ports
under the control of the Athenians. The Aeginetans, also, professing to
be ill-used and treated with violence, made supplications in private to
the Lacedaemonians for redress, though not daring openly to call the
Athenians in question. In the meantime, also, the city Potidaea, under
the dominion of the Athenians, but a colony formerly of the Corinthians,
had revolted, and was beset with a formal siege, and was a further
occasion of precipitating the war.

Yet notwithstanding all this, there being embassies sent to Athens, and
Archidamus, the king of the Lacedaemonians, endeavoring to bring the
greater part of the complaints and matters in dispute to a fair
determination, and to pacify and allay the heats of the allies, it is
very likely that the war would not upon any other grounds of quarrel
have fallen upon the Athenians, could they have been prevailed with to
repeal the ordinance against the Megarians, and to be reconciled to
them. Upon which account, since Pericles was the man who mainly opposed
it, and stirred up the people's passions to persist in their contention
with the Megarians, he was regarded as the sole cause of the war.

They say, moreover, that ambassadors went, by order from Lacedaemon to
Athens about this very business, and that when Pericles was urging a
certain law which made it illegal to take down or withdraw the tablet of
the decree, one of the ambassadors, Polyalces by name, said, "Well, do
not take it down then, but turn it; there is no law, I suppose, which
forbids that;" which, though prettily said, did not move Pericles from
his resolution. There may have been, in all likelihood, something of a
secret grudge and private animosity which he had against the Megarians.
Yet, upon a public and open charge against them, that they had
appropriated part of the sacred land on the frontier, he proposed a
decree that a herald should be sent to them, and the same also to the
Lacedaemonians, with an accusation of the Megarians; an order which
certainly shows equitable and friendly proceeding enough. And after
that the herald who was sent, by name Anthemocritus, died, and it was
believed that the Megarians had contrived his death, then Charinus
proposed a decree against them, that there should be an irreconcilable
and implacable enmity thenceforward betwixt the two commonwealths; and
that if any one of the Megarians should but set his foot in Attica, he
should be put to death; and that the commanders, when they take the
usual oath, should, over and above that, swear that they will twice
every year make an inroad into the Megarian country; and that
Anthemocritus should be buried near the Thriasian Gates, which are now
called the Dipylon, or Double Gate.

On the other hand, the Megarians, utterly denying and disowning the
murder of Anthemocritus, throw the whole matter upon Aspasia and
Pericles, availing themselves of the famous verses in the Acharnians,

To Megara some of our madcaps ran,
And stole Simaetha thence, their courtesan.
Which exploit the Megarians to outdo,
Came to Aspasia's house, and took off two.

The true occasion of the quarrel is not so easy to find out. But of
inducing the refusal to annul the decree, all alike charge Pericles.
Some say he met the request with a positive refusal, out of high spirit
and a view of the state's best interests, accounting that the demand
made in those embassies was designed for a trial of their compliance,
and that a concession would be taken for a confession of weakness, as if
they durst not do otherwise; while other some there are who say that it
was rather out of arrogance and a willful spirit of contention, to show
his own strength, that he took occasion to slight the Lacedaemonians.
The worst motive of all, which is confirmed by most witnesses, is to the
following effect. Phidias the Molder had, as has before been said,
undertaken to make the statue of Minerva. Now he, being admitted to
friendship with Pericles, and a great favorite of his, had many enemies
upon this account, who envied and maligned him; who also, to make trial
in a case of his, what kind of judges the commons would prove, should
there be occasion to bring Pericles himself before them, having tampered
with Menon, one who had been a workman with Phidias, stationed him ill
the market-place, with a petition desiring public security upon his
discovery and impeachment of Phidias. The people admitting the man to
tell his story, and the prosecution proceeding in the assembly, there
was nothing of theft or cheat proved against him; for Phidias, from the
very first beginning, by the advice of Pericles, had so wrought and
wrapt the gold that was used in the work about the statue, that they
might take it all off and make out the just weight of it, which Pericles
at that time bade the accusers do. But the reputation of his works was
what brought envy upon Phidias, especially that where he represents the
fight of the Amazons upon the goddesses' shield, he had introduced a
likeness of himself as a bald old man holding up a great stone with both
hands, and had put in a very fine representation of Pericles fighting
with an Amazon. And the position of the hand, which holds out the spear
in front of the face, was ingeniously contrived to conceal in some
degree the likeness, which, meantime, showed itself on either side.

Phidias then was carried away to prison, and there died of a disease;
but, as some say, of poison, administered by the enemies of Pericles, to
raise a slander, or a suspicion, at least, as though he had procured it.
The informer Menon, upon Glycon's proposal, the people made free from
payment of taxes and customs, and ordered the generals to take care that
nobody should do him any hurt. About the same time, Aspasia was
indicted of impiety, upon the complaint of Hermippus the comedian, who
also laid further to her charge that she received into her house
freeborn women for the uses of Pericles. And Diopithes proposed a
decree, that public accusation should be laid against persons who
neglected religion, or taught new doctrines about things above,
directing suspicion, by means of Anaxagoras, against Pericles himself.
The people receiving and admitting these accusations and complaints, at
length, by this means, they came to enact a decree, at the motion of
Dracontides, that Pericles should bring in the accounts of the moneys he
had expended, and lodge them with the Prytanes; and that the judges,
carrying their suffrage from the altar in the Acropolis, should examine
and determine the business in the city. This last clause Hagnon took
out of the decree, and moved that the causes should be tried before
fifteen hundred jurors, whether they should be styled prosecutions for
robbery, or bribery, or any kind of malversation. Aspasia, Pericles
begged off, shedding, as Aeschines says, many tears at the trial, and
personally entreating the jurors. But fearing how it might go with
Anaxagoras, he sent him out of the city. And finding that in Phidias's
case he had miscarried with the people, being afraid of impeachment, he
kindled the war, which hitherto had lingered and smothered, and blew it
up into a flame; hoping, by that means, to disperse and scatter these
complaints and charges, and to allay their jealousy; the city usually
throwing herself upon him alone, and trusting to his sole conduct, upon
the urgency of great affairs and public dangers, by reason of his
authority and the sway he bore.

These are given out to have been the reasons which induced Pericles not
to suffer the people of Athens to yield to the proposals of the
Lacedaemonians; but their truth is uncertain.

The Lacedaemonians, for their part, feeling sure that if they could once
remove him, they might be at what terms they pleased with the Athenians,
sent them word that they should expel the "Pollution" with which
Pericles on the mother's side was tainted, as Thucydides tells us. But
the issue proved quite contrary to what those who sent the message
expected; instead of bringing Pericles under suspicion and reproach,
they raised him into yet greater credit and esteem with the citizens, as
a man whom their enemies most hated and feared. In the same way, also,
before Archidamus, who was at the head of the Peloponnesians, made his
invasion into Attica, he told the Athenians beforehand, that if
Archidamus, while he laid waste the rest of the country, should forbear
and spare his estate, either on the ground of friendship or right of
hospitality that was betwixt them, or on purpose to give his enemies an
occasion of traducing him, that then he did freely bestow upon the state
all that his land and the buildings upon it for the public use. The
Lacedaemonians, therefore, and their allies, with a great army, invaded
the Athenian territories, under the conduct of king Archidamus, and
laying waste the country, marched on as far as Acharnae, and there
pitched their camp, presuming that the Athenians would never endure
that, but would come out and fight them for their country's and their
honor's sake. But Pericles looked upon it as dangerous to engage in
battle, to the risk of the city itself, against sixty thousand men-at-
arms of Peloponnesians and Boeotians; for so many they were in number
that made the inroad at first; and he endeavored to appease those who
were desirous to fight, and were grieved and discontented to see how
things went, and gave them good words, saying, that "trees, when they
are lopped and cut, grow up again in a short time but men, being once
lost, cannot easily be recovered." He did not convene the people into
an assembly, for fear lest they should force him to act against his
judgment; but, like a skillful steersman or pilot of a ship, who, when a
sudden squall comes on, out at sea, makes all his arrangements, sees
that all is tight and fast, and then follows the dictates of his skill,
and minds the business of the ship, taking no notice of the tears and
entreaties of the sea-sick and fearful passengers, so he, having shut up
the city gates, and placed guards at all posts for security, followed
his own reason and judgment, little regarding those that cried out
against him and were angry at his management, although there were a
great many of his friends that urged him with requests, and many of his
enemies threatened and accused him for doing as he did, and many made
songs and lampoons upon him, which were sung about the town to his
disgrace, reproaching him with the cowardly exercise of his office of
general, and the tame abandonment of everything to the enemy's hands.

Cleon, also, already was among his assailants, making use of the feeling
against him as a step to the leadership of the people, as appears in the
anapaestic verses of Hermippus.

Satyr-king, instead of swords,
Will you always handle words?
Very brave indeed we find them,
But a Teles lurks behind them.

Yet to gnash your teeth you're seen,
When the little dagger keen,
Whetted every day anew,
Of sharp Cleon touches you.

Pericles, however, was not at all moved by any attacks, but took all
patiently, and submitted in silence to the disgrace they threw upon him
and the ill-will they bore him; and, sending out a fleet of a hundred
galleys to Peloponnesus, he did not go along with it in person, but
stayed behind, that he might watch at home and keep the city under his
own control, till the Peloponnesians broke up their camp and were gone.
Yet to soothe the common people, jaded and distressed with the war, he
relieved them with distributions of public moneys, and ordained new
divisions of subject land. For having turned out all the people of
Aegina, he parted the island among the Athenians, according to lot.
Some comfort, also, and ease in their miseries, they might receive from
what their enemies endured. For the fleet, sailing round the
Peloponnese, ravaged a great deal of the country, and pillaged and
plundered the towns and smaller cities; and by land he himself entered
with an army the Megarian country, and made havoc of it all. Whence it
is clear that the Peloponnesians, though they did the Athenians much
mischief by land, yet suffering as much themselves from them by sea,
would not have protracted the war to such a length, but would quickly
have given it over, as Pericles at first foretold they would, had not
some divine power crossed human purposes.

In the first place, the pestilential disease, or plague, seized upon the
city, and ate up all the flower and prime of their youth and strength.
Upon occasion of which, the people, distempered and afflicted in their
souls, as well as in their bodies, were utterly enraged like madmen
against Pericles, and, like patients grown delirious, sought to lay
violent hands on their physician, or, as it were, their father. They
had been possessed, by his enemies, with the belief that the occasion of
the plague was the crowding of the country people together into the
town, forced as they were now, in the heat of the summer-weather, to
dwell many of them together even as they could, in small tenements and
stifling hovels, and to be tied to a lazy course of life within doors,
whereas before they lived in a pure, open, and free air. The cause and
author of all this, said they, is he who on account of the war has
poured a multitude of people from the country in upon us within the
walls, and uses all these many men that he has here upon no employ or
service, but keeps them pent up like cattle, to be overrun with
infection from one another, affording them neither shift of quarters nor
any refreshment.

With the design to remedy these evils, and do the enemy some
inconvenience, Pericles got a hundred and fifty galleys ready, and
having embarked many tried soldiers, both foot and horse, was about to
sail out, giving great hope to his citizens, and no less alarm to his
enemies, upon the sight of so great a force. And now the vessels having
their complement of men, and Pericles being gone aboard his own galley,
it happened that the sun was eclipsed, and it grew dark on a sudden, to
the affright of all, for this was looked upon as extremely ominous.
Pericles, therefore, perceiving the steersman seized with fear and at a
loss what to do, took his cloak and held it up before the man's face,
and, screening him with it so that he could not see, asked him whether
he imagined there was any great hurt, or the sign of any great hurt in
this, and he answering No, "Why," said he, "and what does that differ
from this, only that what has caused that darkness there, is something
greater than a cloak?" This is a story which philosophers tell their
scholars. Pericles, however after putting out to sea, seems not to have
done any other exploit befitting such preparations, and when he had laid
siege to the holy city Epidaurus, which gave him some hope of surrender,
miscarried in his design by reason of the sickness. For it not only
seized upon the Athenians, but upon all others, too, that held any sort
of communication with the army. Finding after this the Athenians ill
affected and highly displeased with him, he tried and endeavored what he
could to appease and re-encourage them. But he could not pacify or
allay their anger, nor persuade or prevail with them any way, till they
freely passed their votes upon him, resumed their power, took away his
command from him, and fined him in a sum of money; which, by their
account that say least, was fifteen talents, while they who reckon most,
name fifty. The name prefixed to the accusation was Cleon, as Idomeneus
tells us; Simmias, according to Theophrastus; and Heraclides Ponticus
gives it as Lacratidas.

After this, public troubles were soon to leave him unmolested; the
people, so to say, discharged their passion in their stroke, and lost
their stings in the wound. But his domestic concerns were in an unhappy
condition many of his friends and acquaintance having died in the plague
time, and those of his family having long since been in disorder and in
a kind of mutiny against him. For the eldest of his lawfully begotten
sons, Xanthippus by name, being naturally prodigal, and marrying a young
and expensive wife, the daughter of Tisander, son of Epilycus, was
highly offended at his father's economy in making him but a scanty
allowance, by little and little at a time. He sent, therefore, to a
friend one day, and borrowed some money of him in his father Pericles's
name, pretending it was by his order. The man coming afterward to
demand the debt, Pericles was so far from yielding to pay it, that he
entered an action against him. Upon which the young man, Xanthippus,
thought himself so ill used and disobliged, that he openly reviled his
father; telling first, by way of ridicule, stories about his
conversations at home, and the discourses he had with the sophists and
scholars that came to his house. As for instance, how one who was a
practicer of the five games of skill, having with a dart or javelin
unawares against his will struck and killed Epitimus the Pharsalian, his
father spent a whole day with Protagoras in a serious dispute, whether
the javelin, or the man that threw it, or the masters of the games who
appointed these sports, were, according to the strictest and best
reason, to be accounted the cause of this mischance. Besides this,
Stesimbrotus tells us that it was Xanthippus who spread abroad among the
people the infamous story concerning his own wife; and in general that
this difference of the young man's with his father, and the breach
betwixt them, continued never to be healed or made up till his death.
For Xanthippus died in the plague time of the sickness. At which time
Pericles also lost his sister, and the greatest part of his relations
and friends, and those who had been most useful and serviceable to him
in managing the affairs of state. However, he did not shrink or give in
upon these occasions, nor betray or lower his high spirit and the
greatness of his mind under all his misfortunes; he was not even so much
as seen to weep or to mourn, or even attend the burial of any of his
friends or relations, till at last he lost his only remaining legitimate
son. Subdued by this blow and yet striving still, as far as he could,
to maintain his principle and to preserve and keep up the greatness of
his soul when he came, however, to perform the ceremony of putting a
garland of flowers upon the head of the corpse, he was vanquished by his
passion at the sight, so that he burst into exclamations, and shed
copious tears, having never done any such thing in all his life before.

The city having made trial of other generals for the conduct of war, and
orators for business of state, when they found there was no one who was
of weight enough for such a charge, or of authority sufficient to be
trusted with so great a command, regretted the loss of him, and invited
him again to address and advise them, and to reassume the office of
general. He, however, lay at home in dejection and mourning; but was
persuaded by Alcibiades and others of his friends to come abroad and
show himself to the people; who having, upon his appearance, made their
acknowledgments, and apologized for their untowardly treatment of him,
he undertook the public affairs once more; and, being chosen general,
requested that the statute concerning base-born children, which he
himself had formerly caused to be made, might be suspended; that so the
name and race of his family might not, for absolute want of a lawful
heir to succeed, be wholly lost and extinguished. The case of the
statute was thus: Pericles, when long ago at the height of his power in
the state, having then, as has been said, children lawfully begotten,
proposed a law that those only should be reputed true citizens of Athens
who were born of such parents as were both Athenians. After this, the
king of Egypt having sent to the people, by way of present, forty
thousand bushels of wheat, which were to be shared out among the
citizens, a great many actions and suits about legitimacy occurred, by
virtue of that edict; cases which, till that time, had not been known
nor taken notice of; and several persons suffered by false accusations.
There were little less than five thousand who were convicted and sold
for slaves; those who, enduring the test, remained in the government and
passed muster for true Athenians were found upon the poll to be fourteen
thousand and forty persons in number.

It looked strange, that a law, which had been carried so far against so
many people, should be canceled again by the same man that made it; yet
the present calamity and distress which Pericles labored under in his
family broke through all objections, and prevailed with the Athenians to
pity him, as one whose losses and misfortunes had sufficiently punished
his former arrogance and haughtiness. His sufferings deserved, they
thought, their pity, and even indignation, and his request was such as
became a man to ask and men to grant; they gave him permission to enroll
his son in the register of his fraternity, giving him his own name.
This son afterward, after having defeated the Peloponnesians at
Arginusae, was, with his fellow-generals, put to death by the people.

About the time when his son was enrolled, it should seem, the plague
seized Pericles, not with sharp and violent fits, as it did others that
had it, but with a dull and lingering distemper, attended with various
changes and alterations, leisurely, by little and little, wasting the
strength of his body, and undermining the noble faculties of his soul.
So that Theophrastus, in his Morals, when discussing whether men's
characters change with their circumstances, and their moral habits,
disturbed by the ailings of their bodies, start aside from the rules of
virtue, has left it upon record, that Pericles, when he was sick, showed
one of his friends that came to visit him, an amulet or charm that the
women had hung about his neck; as much as to say, that he was very sick
indeed when he would admit of such a foolery as that was.

When he was now near his end, the best of the citizens and those of his
friends who were left alive, sitting about him, were speaking of the
greatness of his merit, and his power, and reckoning up his famous
actions and the number of his victories; for there were no less than
nine trophies, which, as their chief commander and conqueror of their
enemies, he had set up, for the honor of the city. They talked thus
together among themselves, as though he were unable to understand or
mind what they said, but had now lost his consciousness. He had
listened, however, all the while, and attended to all, and speaking out
among them, said, that he wondered they should commend and take notice
of things which were as much owing to fortune as to anything else, and
had happened to many other commanders, and, at the same time, should not
speak or make mention of that which was the most excellent and greatest
thing of all. "For," said he, "no Athenian, through my means, ever wore

He was indeed a character deserving our high admiration, not only for
his equitable and mild temper, which all along in the many affairs of
his life, and the great animosities which he incurred, he constantly
maintained; but also for the high spirit and feeling which made him
regard it the noblest of all his honors that, in the exercise of such
immense power, he never had gratified his envy or his passion, nor ever
had treated any enemy as irreconcilably opposed to him. And to me it
appears that this one thing gives that otherwise childish and arrogant
title a fitting and becoming significance; so dispassionate a temper, a
life so pure and unblemished, in the height of power and place, might
well be called Olympian, in accordance with our conceptions of the
divine beings, to whom, as the natural authors of all good and of
nothing evil, we ascribe the rule and government of the world. Not as
the poets represent, who, while confounding us with their ignorant
fancies, are themselves confuted by their own poems and fictions, and
call the place, indeed, where they say the gods make their abode, a
secure and quiet seat, free from all hazards and commotions, untroubled
with winds or with clouds, and equally through all time illumined with a
soft serenity and a pure light, as though such were a home most
agreeable for a blessed and immortal nature; and yet, in the meanwhile,
affirm that the gods themselves are full of trouble and enmity and anger
and other passions, which no way become or belong to even men that have
any understanding. But this will, perhaps, seem a subject fitter for
some other consideration, and that ought to be treated of in some other

The course of public affairs after his death produced a quick and speedy
sense of the loss of Pericles. Those who, while he lived, resented his
great authority, as that which eclipsed themselves, presently after his
quitting the stage, making trial of other orators and demagogues,
readily acknowledged that there never had been in nature such a
disposition as his was, more moderate and reasonable in the height of
that state he took upon him, or more grave and impressive in the
mildness which he used. And that invidious arbitrary power, to which
formerly they gave the name of monarchy and tyranny, did then appear to
have been the chief bulwark of public safety; so great a corruption and
such a flood of mischief and vice followed, which he, by keeping weak
and low, had withheld from notice, and had prevented from attaining
incurable height through a licentious impunity.


Having related the memorable actions of Pericles, our history now
proceeds to the life of Fabius. A son of Hercules and a nymph, or some
woman of that country, who brought him forth on the banks of Tiber, was,
it is said, the first Fabius, the founder of the numerous and
distinguished family of the name. Others will have it that they were
first called Fodii, because the first of the race delighted in digging
pitfalls for wild beasts, fodere being still the Latin for to dig, and
fossa for a ditch, and that in process of time, by the change of the two
letters they grew to be called Fabii. But be these things true or
false, certain it is that this family for a long time yielded a great
number of eminent persons. Our Fabius, who was fourth in descent from
that Fabius Rullus who first brought the honorable surname of Maximus
into his family, was also, by way of personal nickname, called
Verrucosus, from a wart on his upper lip; and in his childhood they in
like manner named him Ovicula, or The Lamb, on account of his extreme
mildness of temper. His slowness in speaking, his long labor and pains
in learning, his deliberation in entering into the sports of other
children, his easy submission to everybody, as if he had no will of his
own, made those who judged superficially of him, the greater number,
esteem him insensible and stupid; and few only saw that this tardiness
proceeded from stability, and discerned the greatness of his mind, and
the lionlikeness of his temper. But as soon as he came into
employments, his virtues exerted and showed themselves; his reputed want
of energy then was recognized by people in general, as a freedom of
passion; his slowness in words and actions, the effect of a true
prudence; his want of rapidity, and his sluggishness, as constancy and

Living in a great commonwealth, surrounded by many enemies, he saw the
wisdom of inuring his body (nature's own weapon) to warlike exercises,
and disciplining his tongue for public oratory in a style comformable
to his life and character. His eloquence, indeed, had not much of
popular ornament, nor empty artifice, but there was in it great weight
of sense; it was strong and sententious, much after the way of
Thucydides. We have yet extant his funeral oration upon the death of
his son, who died consul, which he recited before the people.

He was five times consul, and in his first consulship had the honor of a
triumph for the victory he gained over the Ligurians, whom he defeated
in a set battle, and drove them to take shelter in the Alps, from whence
they never after made any inroad nor depredation upon their neighbors.
After this, Hannibal came into Italy, who, at his first entrance, having
gained a great battle near the river Trebia, traversed all Tuscany with
his victorious army, and, desolating the country round about, filled
Rome itself with astonishment and terror. Besides the more common signs
of thunder and lightning then happening, the report of several unheard
of and utterly strange portents much increased the popular
consternation. For it was said that some targets sweated blood; that at
Antium, when they reaped their corn, many of the ears were filled with
blood; that it had rained redhot stones; that the Falerians had seen the
heavens open and several scrolls falling down, in one of which was
plainly written, "Mars himself stirs his arms." But these prodigies had
no effect upon the impetuous and fiery temper of the consul Flaminius,
whose natural promptness had been much heightened by his late unexpected
victory over the Gauls, when he fought them contrary to the order of the
senate and the advice of his colleague. Fabius, on the other side,
thought it not seasonable to engage with the enemy; not that he much
regarded the prodigies, which he thought too strange to be easily
understood, though many were alarmed by them; but in regard that the
Carthaginians were but few, and in want of money and supplies, he deemed
it best not to meet in the field a general whose army had been tried in
many encounters, and whose object was a battle, but to send aid to their
allies, control the movements of the various subject cities, and let the
force and vigor of Hannibal waste away and expire, like a flame, for want
of aliment.

These weighty reasons did not prevail with Flaminius, who protested he
would never suffer the advance of the enemy to the city, nor be reduced,
like Camillus in former time, to fight for Rome within the walls of
Rome. Accordingly he ordered the tribunes to draw out the army into the
field; and though he himself, leaping on horseback to go out, was no
sooner mounted but the beast, without any apparent cause, fell into so
violent a fit of trembling and bounding that he cast his rider headlong
on the ground, he was no ways deterred; but proceeded as he had begun,
and marched forward up to Hannibal, who was posted near the Lake
Thrasymene in Tuscany. At the moment of this engagement, there happened
so great an earthquake, that it destroyed several towns, altered the
course of rivers, and carried off parts of high cliffs, yet such was the
eagerness of the combatants, that they were entirely insensible of it.

In this battle Flaminius fell, after many proofs of his strength and
courage, and round about him all the bravest of the army, in the whole,
fifteen thousand were killed, and as many made prisoners. Hannibal,
desirous to bestow funeral honors upon the body of Flaminius, made
diligent search after it, but could not find it among the dead, nor was
it ever known what became of it. Upon the former engagement near
Trebia, neither the general who wrote, nor the express who told the
news, used straightforward and direct terms, nor related it otherwise
than as a drawn battle, with equal loss on either side; but on this
occasion, as soon as Pomponius the praetor had the intelligence, he
caused the people to assemble, and, without disguising or dissembling
the matter, told them plainly, "We are beaten, O Romans, in a great
battle; the consul Flaminius is killed; think, therefore, what is to be
done for your safety." Letting loose his news like a gale of wind upon
an open sea, he threw the city into utter confusion: in such
consternation, their thoughts found no support or stay. The danger at
hand at last awakened their judgments into a resolution to choose a
dictator, who, by the sovereign authority of his office and by his
personal wisdom and courage, might be able to manage the public affairs.
Their choice unanimously fell upon Fabius, whose character seemed equal
to the greatness of the office; whose age was so far advanced as to give
him experience, without taking from him the vigor of action; his body
could execute what his soul designed; and his temper was a happy
compound of confidence and cautiousness.

Fabius, being thus installed in the office of dictator, in the first
place gave the command of the horse to Lucius Minucius; and next asked
leave of the senate for himself, that in time of battle he might serve
on horseback, which by an ancient law amongst the Romans was forbid to
their generals; whether it were, that, placing their greatest strength
in their foot, they would have their commanders-in-chief posted amongst
them, or else to let them know, that, how great and absolute soever
their authority were, the people and senate were still their masters, of
whom they must ask leave. Fabius, however, to make the authority of his
charge more observable, and to render the people more submissive and
obedient to him, caused himself to be accompanied with the full body of
four and twenty lictors; and, when the surviving consul came to visit
him, sent him word to dismiss his lictors with their fasces, the ensigns
of authority, and appear before him as a private person.

The first solemn action of his dictatorship was very fitly a religious
one: an admonition to the people, that their late overthrow had not
befallen them through want of courage in their soldiers, but through the
neglect of divine ceremonies in the general. He therefore exhorted them
not to fear the enemy, but by extraordinary honor to propitiate the
gods. This he did, not to fill their minds with superstition, but by
religious feeling to raise their courage, and lessen their fear of the
enemy by inspiring the belief that Heaven was on their side. With this
view, the secret prophecies called the Sibylline Books were consulted;
sundry predictions found in them were said to refer to the fortunes and
events of the time; but none except the consulter was informed.
Presenting himself to the people, the dictator made a vow before them to
offer in sacrifice the whole product of the next season, all Italy over,
of the cows, goats, swine, sheep, both in the mountains and the plains;
and to celebrate musical festivities with an expenditure of the precise
sum of 333 sestertia and 333 denarii, with one third of a denarius over.
The sum total of which is, in our money, 83,583 drachmas and 2 obols.
What the mystery might be in that exact number is not easy to determine,
unless it were in honor of the perfection of the number three, as being
the first of odd numbers, the first that contains in itself
multiplication, with all other properties whatsoever belonging to
numbers in general.

In this manner Fabius having given the people better heart for the
future, by making them believe that the gods took their side, for his
own part placed his whole confidence in himself, believing that the gods
bestowed victory and good fortune by the instrumentality of valor and of
prudence; and thus prepared he set forth to oppose Hannibal, not with
intention to fight him, but with the purpose of wearing out and wasting
the vigor of his arms by lapse of time, of meeting his want of resources
by superior means, by large numbers the smallness of his forces. With
this design, he always encamped on the highest grounds, where the
enemy's horse could have no access to him. Still he kept pace with
them; when they marched he followed them, when they encamped he did the
same, but at such a distance as not to be compelled to an engagement,
and always keeping upon the hills, free from the insults of their horse;
by which means he gave them no rest, but kept them in a continual alarm.

But this his dilatory way gave occasion in his own camp for suspicion of
want of courage; and this opinion prevailed yet more in Hannibal's army.
Hannibal was himself the only man who was not deceived, who discerned
his skill and detected his tactics, and saw, unless he could by art or
force bring him to battle, that the Carthaginians, unable to use the
arms in which they were superior, and suffering the continual drain of
lives and treasure in which they were inferior, would in the end come to
nothing. He resolved, therefore, with all the arts and subtilties of
war to break his measures, and to bring Fabius to an engagement; like a
cunning wrestler, watching every opportunity to get good hold and close
with his adversary. He at one time attacked, and sought to distract his
attention, tried to draw him off in various directions, endeavored in
all ways to tempt him from his safe policy. All this artifice, though
it had no effect upon the firm judgment and conviction of the dictator.
yet upon the common soldier and even upon the general of the horse
himself, it had too great an operation: Minucius, unseasonably eager
for action, bold and confident, humored the soldiery, and himself
contributed to fill them with wild eagerness and empty hopes, which they
vented in reproaches upon Fabius, calling him Hannibal's pedagogue,
since he did nothing else but follow him up and down and wait upon him.
At the same time, they cried up Minucius for the only captain worthy to
command the Romans; whose vanity and presumption rose so high in
consequence, that he insolently jested at Fabius's encampments upon the
mountains, saying that he seated them there as on a theater, to behold
the flames and desolation of their country. And he would sometimes ask
the friends of the general, whether it were not his meaning, by thus
leading them from mountain to mountain, to carry them at last (having no
hopes on earth) up into heaven, or to hide them in the clouds from
Hannibal's army? When his friends reported these things to the
dictator, persuading him that, to avoid the general obloquy, he should
engage the enemy, his answer was, "I should be more fainthearted than
they make me, if, through fear of idle reproaches, I should abandon my
own convictions. It is no inglorious thing to have fear for the safety
of our country, but to be turned from one's course by men's opinions, by
blame, and by misrepresentation, shows a man unfit to hold an office
such as this, which, by such conduct, he makes the slave of those whose
errors it is his business to control."

An oversight of Hannibal occurred soon after. Desirous to refresh his
horse in some good pasture-grounds, and to draw off his army, he ordered
his guides to conduct him to the district of Casinum. They, mistaking
his bad pronunciation, led him and his army to the town of Casilinum, on
the frontier of Campania which the river Lothronus, called by the Romans
Vulturnus, divides in two parts. The country around is enclosed by
mountains, with a valley opening towards the sea, in which the river
overflowing forms a quantity of marsh land with deep banks of sand, and
discharges itself into the sea on a very unsafe and rough shore. While
Hannibal was proceeding hither, Fabius, by his knowledge of the roads,
succeeded in making his way around before him, and dispatched four
thousand choice men to seize the exit from it and stop him up, and
lodged the rest of his army upon the neighboring hills in the most
advantageous places; at the same time detaching a party of his lightest
armed men to fall upon Hannibal's rear; which they did with such
success, that they cut off eight hundred of them, and put the whole army
in disorder. Hannibal, finding the error and the danger he was fallen
into, immediately crucified the guides; but considered the enemy to be
so advantageously posted, that there was no hopes of breaking through
them; while his soldiers began to be despondent and terrified, and to
think themselves surrounded with embarrassments too difficult to be

Thus reduced, Hannibal had recourse to stratagem; he caused two thousand
head of oxen which he had in his camp, to have torches or dry fagots
well fastened to their horns, and lighting them in the beginning of the
night, ordered the beasts to be driven on towards the heights commanding
the passages out of the valley and the enemy's posts; when this was
done, he made his army in the dark leisurely march after them. The oxen
at first kept a slow, orderly pace, and with their lighted heads
resembled an army marching by night, astonishing the shepherds and herds
men of the hills about. But when the fire had burnt down the horns of
the beasts to the quick, they no longer observed their sober pace, but,
unruly and wild with their pain, ran dispersed about, tossing their
heads and scattering the fire round about them upon each other and
setting light as they passed to the trees. This was a surprising
spectacle to the Romans on guard upon the heights. Seeing flames which
appeared to come from men advancing with torches, they were possessed
with the alarm that the enemy was approaching in various quarters, and
that they were being surrounded; and, quitting their post, abandoned the
pass, and precipitately retired to their camp on the hills. They were
no sooner gone, but the light-armed of Hannibal's men, according to his
order, immediately seized the heights, and soon after the whole army,
with all the baggage, came up and safely marched through the passes.

Fabius, before the night was over, quickly found out the trick; for some
of the beasts fell into his hands; but for fear of an ambush in the
dark, he kept his men all night to their arms in the camp. As soon as
it was day, he attacked the enemy in the rear, where, after a good deal
of skirmishing in the uneven ground, the disorder might have become
general, but that Hannibal detached from his van a body of Spaniards,
who, of themselves active and nimble, were accustomed to the climbing of
mountains. These briskly attacked the Roman troops who were in heavy
armor, killed a good many, and left Fabius no longer in condition to
follow the enemy. This action brought the extreme of obloquy and
contempt upon the dictator; they said it was now manifest that he was
not only inferior to his adversary, as they had always thought, in
courage, but even in that conduct, foresight, and generalship, by which
he had proposed to bring the war to an end.

And Hannibal, to enhance their anger against him, marched with his army
close to the lands and possessions of Fabius, and, giving orders to his
soldiers to burn and destroy all the country about, forbade them to do
the least damage in the estates of the Roman general, and placed guards
for their security. This, when reported at Rome, had the effect with
the people which Hannibal desired. Their tribunes raised a thousand
stories against him, chiefly at the instigation of Metilius, who, not so
much out of hatred to him as out of friendship to Minucius, whose
kinsman he was, thought by depressing Fabius to raise his friend. The
senate on their part were also offended with him, for the bargain he had
made with Hannibal about the exchange of prisoners, the conditions of
which were, that, after exchange made of man for man, if any on either
side remained, they should be redeemed at the price of two hundred and
fifty drachmas a head. Upon the whole account, there remained two
hundred and forty Romans unexchanged, and the senate now not only
refused to allow money for the ransoms, but also reproached Fabius for
making a contract, contrary to the honor and interest of the
commonwealth, for redeeming men whose cowardice had put them in the
hands of the enemy. Fabius heard and endured all this with invincible
patience; and, having no money by him, and on the other side being
resolved to keep his word with Hannibal and not to abandon the captives,
he dispatched his son to Rome to sell land, and to bring with him the
price, sufficient to discharge the ransoms; which was punctually
performed by his son, and delivery accordingly made to him of the
prisoners, amongst whom many, when they were released, made proposals to
repay the money; which Fabius in all cases declined.

About this time, he was called to Rome by the priests, to assist,
according to the duty of his office, at certain sacrifices, and was thus
forced to leave the command of the army with Minucius; but before he
parted, not only charged him as his commander-in-chief, but besought and
entreated him, not to come, in his absence, to a battle with Hannibal.
His commands, entreaties, and advice were lost upon Minucius; for his
back was no sooner turned but the new general immediately sought
occasions to attack the enemy. And notice being brought him that
Hannibal had sent out a great part of his army to forage, he fell upon a
detachment of the remainder, doing great execution, and driving them to
their very camp, with no little terror to the rest, who apprehended
their breaking in upon them; and when Hannibal had recalled his
scattered forces to the camp, he, nevertheless, without any loss, made
his retreat, a success which aggravated his boldness and presumption,
and filled the soldiers with rash confidence. The news spread to Rome,
where Fabius, on being told it, said that what he most feared was
Minucius's success: but the people, highly elated, hurried to the forum
to listen to an address from Metilius the tribune, in which he
infinitely extolled the valor of Minucius, and fell bitterly upon
Fabius, accusing him for want not merely of courage, but even of
loyalty; and not only him, but also many other eminent and considerable
persons; saying that it was they that had brought the Carthaginians into
Italy, with the design to destroy the liberty of the people; for which
end they had at once put the supreme authority into the hands of a
single person, who by his slowness and delays might give Hannibal
leisure to establish himself in Italy, and the people of Carthage time
and opportunity to supply him with fresh succors to complete his

Fabius came forward with no intention to answer the tribune, but only
said, that they should expedite the sacrifices, that so he might
speedily return to the army to punish Minucius, who had presumed to
fight contrary to his orders; words which immediately possessed the
people with the belief that Minucius stood in danger of his life. For
it was in the power of the dictator to imprison and to put to death, and
they feared that Fabius, of a mild temper in general, would be as hard
to be appeased when once irritated, as he was slow to be provoked.
Nobody dared to raise his voice in opposition. Metilius alone, whose
office of tribune gave him security to say what he pleased (for in the
time of a dictatorship that magistrate alone preserves his authority),
boldly applied himself to the people in the behalf of Minucius: that
they should not suffer him to be made a sacrifice to the enmity of
Fabius, nor permit him to be destroyed, like the son of Manlius
Torquatus, who was beheaded by his father for a victory fought and
triumphantly won against order; he exhorted them to take away from
Fabius that absolute power of a dictator, and to put it into more worthy
hands, better able and more inclined to use it for the public good.
These impressions very much prevailed upon the people, though not so far
as wholly to dispossess Fabius of the dictatorship. But they decreed
that Minucius should have an equal authority with the dictator in the
conduct of the war; which was a thing then without precedent, though a
little later it was again practiced after the disaster at Cannae; when
the dictator, Marcus Junius, being with the army, they chose at Rome
Fabius Buteo dictator, that he might create new senators, to supply the
numerous places of those who were killed. But as soon as, once acting
in public, he had filled those vacant places with a sufficient number,
he immediately dismissed his lictors, and withdrew from all his
attendance, and, mingling like a common person with the rest of the
people, quietly went about his own affairs in the forum.

The enemies of Fabius thought they had sufficiently humiliated and
subdued him by raising Minucius to be his equal in authority; but they
mistook the temper of the man, who looked upon their folly as not his
loss, but like Diogenes, who, being told that some persons derided him,
made answer, "But I am not derided," meaning that only those were really
insulted on whom such insults made an impression, so Fabius, with great
tranquillity and unconcern, submitted to what happened, and contributed
a proof to the argument of the philosophers that a just and good man is
not capable of being dishonored. His only vexation arose from his fear
lest this ill counsel, by supplying opportunities to the diseased
military ambition of his subordinate, should damage the public cause.
Lest the rashness of Minucius should now at once run headlong into some
disaster, he returned back with all privacy and speed to the army; where
he found Minucius so elevated with his new dignity, that, a
joint-authority not contenting him, he required by turns to have the
command of the army every other day. This Fabius rejected, but was
contented that the army should be divided; thinking each general singly
would better command his part, than partially command the whole. The
first and fourth legion he took for his own division, the second and
third he delivered to Minucius; so also of the auxiliary forces each
had an equal share.

Minucius, thus exalted, could not contain himself from boasting of his
success in humiliating the high and powerful office of the dictatorship.
Fabius quietly reminded him that it was, in all wisdom, Hannibal, and
not Fabius, whom he had to combat; but if he must needs contend with his
colleague, it had best be in diligence and care for the preservation of
Rome; that it might not be said, a man so favored by the people served
them worse than he who had been ill-treated and disgraced by them.

The young general, despising these admonitions as the false humility of
age, immediately removed with the body of his army, and encamped by
himself. Hannibal, who was not ignorant of all these passages, lay
watching his advantage from them. It happened that between his army and
that of Minucius there was a certain eminence, which seemed a very
advantageous and not difficult post to encamp upon; the level field
around it appeared, from a distance, to be all smooth and even, though
it had many inconsiderable ditches and dips in it, not discernible to
the eye. Hannibal, had he pleased, could easily have possessed himself
of this ground; but he had reserved it for a bait, or train, in proper
season, to draw the Romans to an engagement. Now that Minucius and
Fabius were divided, he thought the opportunity fair for his purpose;
and, therefore, having in the night time lodged a convenient number of
his men in these ditches and hollow places, early in the morning he sent
forth a small detachment, who, in the sight of Minucius, proceeded to
possess themselves of the rising ground. According to his expectation,
Minucius swallowed the bait, and first sends out his light troops, and
after them some horse, to dislodge the enemy; and, at last, when he saw
Hannibal in person advancing to the assistance of his men, marched down
with his whole army drawn up. He engaged with the troops on the
eminence, and sustained their missiles; the combat for some time was
equal; but as soon as Hannibal perceived that the whole army was now
sufficiently advanced within the toils he had set for them, so that
their backs were open to his men whom he had posted in the hollows, he
gave the signal; upon which they rushed forth from various quarters, and
with loud cries furiously attacked Minucius in the rear. The surprise
and the slaughter was great, and struck universal alarm and disorder
through the whole army. Minucius himself lost all his confidence; he
looked from officer to officer, and found all alike unprepared to face
the danger, and yielding to a flight, which, however, could not end in
safety. The Numidian horsemen were already in full victory riding about
the plain, cutting down the fugitives.

Fabius was not ignorant of this danger of his countrymen; he foresaw
what would happen from the rashness of Minucius, and the cunning of
Hannibal; and, therefore, kept his men to their arms, in readiness to
wait the event; nor would he trust to the reports of others, but he
himself, in front of his camp, viewed all that passed. When, therefore,
he saw the army of Minucius encompassed by the enemy, and that by their
countenance and shifting their ground, they appeared more disposed to
flight than to resistance, with a great sigh, striking his hand upon his
thigh, he said to those about him, "O Hercules! how much sooner than I
expected, though later than he seemed to desire, hath Minucius destroyed
himself!" He then commanded the ensigns to be led forward and the army
to follow, telling them, "We must make haste to rescue Minucius, who is
a valiant man, and a lover of his country; and if he hath been too
forward to engage the enemy, at another time we will tell him of it."
Thus, at the head of his men, Fabius marched up to the enemy, and first
cleared the plain of the Numidians; and next fell upon those who were
charging the Romans in the rear, cutting down all that made opposition,
and obliging the rest to save themselves by a hasty retreat, lest they
should be environed as the Romans had been. Hannibal, seeing so sudden
a change of affairs, and Fabius, beyond the force of his age, opening
his way through the ranks up the hill-side, that he might join Minucius,
warily forbore, sounded a retreat, and drew off his men into their camp;
while the Romans on their part were no less contented to retire in
safety. It is reported that upon this occasion Hannibal said jestingly
to his friends: "Did not I tell you, that this cloud which always
hovered upon the mountains would, at some time or other, come down with
a storm upon us?"

Fabius, after his men had picked up the spoils of the field, retired to
his own camp, without saying any harsh or reproachful thing to his
colleague; who also on his part, gathering his army together, spoke and
said to them: "To conduct great matters and never commit a fault is
above the force of human nature; but to learn and improve by the faults
we have committed, is that which becomes a good and sensible man. Some
reasons I may have to accuse fortune, but I have many more to thank her;
for in a few hours she hath cured a long mistake, and taught me that I
am not the man who should command others, but have need of another to
command me; and that we are not to contend for victory over those to
whom it is our advantage to yield. Therefore in everything else
henceforth the dictator must be your commander; only in showing
gratitude towards him I will still be your leader, and always be the
first to obey his orders." Having said this, he commanded the Roman
eagles to move forward, and all his men to follow him to the camp of
Fabius. The soldiers, then, as he entered, stood amazed at the novelty
of the sight, and were anxious and doubtful what the meaning might be.
When he came near the dictator's tent, Fabius went forth to meet him, on
which he at once laid his standards at his feet, calling him with a loud
voice his father; while the soldiers with him saluted the soldiers here
as their patrons, the term employed by freedmen to those who gave them
their liberty. After silence was obtained, Minucius said, "You have
this day, O dictator, obtained two victories; one by your valor and
conduct over Hannibal, and another by your wisdom and goodness over your
colleague; by one victory you preserved, and by the other instructed us;
and when we were already suffering one shameful defeat from Hannibal, by
another welcome one from you we were restored to honor and safety. I
can address you by no nobler name than that of a kind father, though a
father's beneficence falls short of that I have received from you. From
a father I individually received the gift of life; to you I owe its
preservation not for myself only, but for all these who are under me."
After this, he threw himself into the arms of the dictator; and in the
same manner the soldiers of each army embraced one another with gladness
and tears of joy.

Not long after, Fabius laid down the dictatorship, and consuls were
again created. Those who immediately succeeded, observed the same
method in managing the war, and avoided all occasions of fighting
Hannibal in a pitched battle; they only succored their allies, and
preserved the towns from falling off to the enemy. but afterwards, when
Terentius Varro, a man of obscure birth, but very popular and bold, had
obtained the consulship, he soon made it appear that by his rashness and
ignorance he would stake the whole commonwealth on the hazard. For it
was his custom to declaim in all assemblies, that, as long as Rome
employed generals like Fabius there never would be an end of the war;
vaunting that whenever he should get sight of the enemy, he would that
same day free Italy from the strangers. With these promises he so
prevailed, that he raised a greater army than had ever yet been sent out
of Rome. There were enlisted eighty-eight thousand fighting men; but
what gave confidence to the populace, only terrified the wise and
experienced, and none more than Fabius; since if so great a body, and
the flower of the Roman youth, should be cut off, they could not see any
new resource for the safety of Rome. They addressed themselves,
therefore, to the other consul, Aemilius Paulus, a man of great
experience in war, but unpopular, and fearful also of the people, who
once before upon some impeachment had condemned him; so that he needed
encouragement to withstand his colleague's temerity. Fabius told him,
if he would profitably serve his country, he must no less oppose Varro's
ignorant eagerness than Hannibal's conscious readiness, since both alike
conspired to decide the fate of Rome by a battle. "It is more
reasonable," he said to him, "that you should believe me than Varro, in
matters relating to Hannibal, when I tell you, that if for this year you
abstain from fighting with him, either his army will perish of itself,
or else he will be glad to depart of his own will. This evidently
appears, inasmuch as, notwithstanding his victories, none of the
countries or towns of Italy come in to him, and his army is not now the
third part of what it was at first." To this Paulus is said to have
replied, "Did I only consider myself, I should rather choose to be
exposed to the weapons of Hannibal than once more to the suffrages of my
fellow-citizens, who are urgent for what you disapprove; yet since the
cause of Rome is at stake, I will rather seek in my conduct to please
and obey Fabius than all the world besides."

These good measures were defeated by the importunity of Varro; whom,
when they were both come to the army, nothing would content but a
separate command, that each consul should have his day; and when his
turn came, he posted his army close to Hannibal, at a village called
Cannae, by the river Aufidus. It was no sooner day, but he set up the
scarlet coat flying over his tent, which was the signal of battle. This
boldness of the consul, and the numerousness of his army, double theirs,
startled the Carthaginians; but Hannibal commanded them to their arms,
and with a small train rode out to take a full prospect of the enemy as
they were now forming in their ranks, from a rising ground not far
distant. One of his followers, called Gisco, a Carthaginian of equal
rank with himself, told him that the numbers of the enemy were
astonishing; to which Hannibal replied, with a serious countenance,
"There is one thing, Gisco, yet more astonishing, which you take no
notice of;" and when Gisco inquired what, answered, that "in all those
great numbers before us, there is not one man called Gisco." This
unexpected jest of their general made all the company laugh, and as they
came down from the hill, they told it to those whom they met, which
caused a general laughter amongst them all, from which they were hardly
able to recover themselves. The army, seeing Hannibal's attendants come
back from viewing the enemy in such a laughing condition, concluded that
it must be profound contempt of the enemy, that made their general at
this moment indulge in such hilarity.

According to his usual manner, Hannibal employed stratagems to advantage
himself. In the first place, he so drew up his men that the wind was at
their backs, which at that time blew with a perfect storm of violence,
and, sweeping over the great plains of sand, carried before it a cloud
of dust over the Carthaginian army into the faces of the Romans, which
much disturbed them in the fight. In the next place, all his best men
he put into his wings; and in the body, which was somewhat more advanced
than the wings, placed the worst and the weakest of his army. He
commanded those in the wings, that, when the enemy had made a thorough
charge upon that middle advanced body, which he knew would recoil, as
not being able to withstand their shock, and when the Romans, in their
pursuit, should be far enough engaged within the two wings, they should,
both on the right and the left, charge them in the flank, and endeavor
to encompass them. This appears to have been the chief cause of the
Roman loss. Pressing upon Hannibal's front, which gave ground, they
reduced the form of his army into a perfect half-moon, and gave ample
opportunity to the captains of the chosen troops to charge them right
and left on their flanks, and to cut off and destroy all who did not
fall back before the Carthaginian wings united in their rear. To this
general calamity, it is also said, that a strange mistake among the
cavalry much contributed. For the horse of Aemilius receiving a hurt
and throwing his master, those about him immediately alighted to aid the
consul; and the Roman troops, seeing their commanders thus quitting
their horses, took it for a sign that they should all dismount and
charge the enemy on foot. At the sight of this, Hannibal was heard to
say, "This pleases me better than if they had been delivered to me bound
hand and foot." For the particulars of this engagement, we refer our
reader to those authors who have written at large upon the subject.

The consul Varro, with a thin company, fled to Venusia; Aemilius Paulus,
unable any longer to oppose the flight of his men, or the pursuit of the
enemy, his body all covered with wounds, and his soul no less wounded
with grief, sat himself down upon a stone, expecting the kindness of a
dispatching blow. His face was so disfigured, and all his person so
stained with blood, that his very friends and domestics passing by knew
him not. At last Cornelius Lentulus, a young man of patrician race,
perceiving who he was, alighted from his horse, and, tendering it to
him, desired him to get up and save a life so necessary to the safety of
the commonwealth, which, at this time, would dearly want so great a
captain. But nothing could prevail upon him to accept of the offer; he
obliged young Lentulus, with tears in his eyes, to remount his horse;
then standing up, he gave him his hand, and commanded him to tell Fabius
Maximus that Aemilius Paulus had followed his directions to his very
last, and had not in the least deviated from those measures which were
agreed between them; but that it was his hard fate to be overpowered by
Varro in the first place, and secondly by Hannibal. Having dispatched
Lentulus with this commission, he marked where the slaughter was
greatest, and there threw himself upon the swords of the enemy. In this
battle it is reported that fifty thousand Romans were slain, four
thousand prisoners taken in the field, and ten thousand in the camp of
both consuls.

The friends of Hannibal earnestly persuaded him to follow up his
victory, and pursue the flying Romans into the very gates of Rome,
assuring him that in five days' time he might sup in the capitol; nor is
it easy to imagine what consideration hindered him from it. It would
seem rather that some supernatural or divine intervention caused the
hesitation and timidity which he now displayed, and which made Barcas, a
Carthaginian, tell him with indignation, "You know, Hannibal, how to
gain a victory, but not how to use it." Yet it produced a marvelous
revolution in his affairs; he, who hitherto had not one town, market, or
seaport in his possession, who had nothing for the subsistence of his
men but what he pillaged from day to day, who had no place of retreat or
basis of operation, but was roving, as it were, with a huge troop of
banditti, now became master of the best provinces and towns of Italy,
and of Capua itself, next to Rome the most flourishing and opulent city,
all which came over to him, and submitted to his authority.

It is the saying of Euripides, that "a man is in ill-case when he must
try a friend," and so neither, it would seem, is a state in a good one,
when it needs an able general. And so it was with the Romans; the
counsels and actions of Fabius, which, before the battle, they had
branded as cowardice and fear, now, in the other extreme they accounted
to have been more than human wisdom; as though nothing but a divine
power of intellect could have seen so far, and foretold, contrary to the
judgment of all others, a result which, even now it had arrived, was
hardly credible. In him, therefore, they placed their whole remaining
hopes; his wisdom was the sacred altar and temple to which they fled for
refuge, and his counsels, more than anything, preserved them from
dispersing and deserting their city, as in the time when the Gauls took
possession of Rome. He, whom they esteemed fearful and pusillanimous
when they were, as they thought, in a prosperous condition, was now the
only man, in this general and unbounded dejection and confusion, who
showed no fear, but walked the streets with an assured and serene
countenance, addressed his fellow-citizens, checked the women's
lamentations, and the public gatherings of those who wanted thus to vent
their sorrows. He caused the senate to meet, he heartened up the
magistrates, and was himself as the soul and life of every office.

He placed guards at the gates of the city to stop the frighted multitude
from flying; he regulated and controlled their mournings for their slain
friends, both as to time and place; ordering that each family should
perform such observances within private walls, and that they should
continue only the space of one month, and then the whole city should be
purified. The feast of Ceres happening to fall within this time, it was
decreed that the solemnity should be intermitted, lest the fewness, and
the sorrowful countenance of those who should celebrate it, might too
much expose to the people the greatness of their loss; besides that, the
worship most acceptable to the gods is that which comes from cheerful
hearts. But those rites which were proper for appeasing their anger,
and procuring auspicious signs and presages, were by the direction of
the augurs carefully performed. Fabius Pictor, a near kinsman to
Maximus, was sent to consult the oracle of Delphi; and about the same
time, two vestals having been detected to have been violated, the one
killed herself, and the other, according to custom, was buried alive.

Above all, let us admire the high spirit and equanimity of this Roman
commonwealth; that when the consul Varro came beaten and flying home,
full of shame and humiliation, after he had so disgracefully and
calamitously managed their affairs, yet the whole senate and people went
forth to meet him at the gates of the city, and received him with honor
and respect. And, silence being commanded, the magistrates and chief of
the senate, Fabius amongst them, commended him before the people,
because he did not despair of the safety of the commonwealth, after so
great a loss, but was come to take the government into his hands, to
execute the laws, and aid his fellow-citizens in their prospect of
future deliverance.

When word was brought to Rome that Hannibal, after the fight, had
marched with his army into other parts of Italy, the hearts of the
Romans began to revive, and they proceeded to send out generals and
armies. The most distinguished commands were held by Fabius Maximus and
Claudius Marcellus, both generals of great fame, though upon opposite
grounds. For Marcellus, as we have set forth in his life, was a man of
action and high spirit, ready and bold with his own hand, and, as Homer
describes his warriors, fierce, and delighting in fights. Boldness,
enterprise, and daring, to match those of Hannibal, constituted his
tactics, and marked his engagements. But Fabius adhered to his former
principles, still persuaded that, by following close and not fighting
him, Hannibal and his army would at last be tired out and consumed, like
a wrestler in too high condition, whose very excess of strength makes
him the more likely suddenly to give way and lose it. Posidonius tells
us that the Romans called Marcellus their sword, and Fabius their
buckler; and that the vigor of the one, mixed with the steadiness of the
other, made a happy compound that proved the salvation of Rome. So that
Hannibal found by experience that, encountering the one, he met with a
rapid, impetuous river, which drove him back, and still made some breach
upon him; and by the other, though silently and quietly passing by him,
he was insensibly washed away and consumed; and, at last, was brought to
this, that he dreaded Marcellus when he was in motion, and Fabius when
he sat still. During the whole course of this war, he had still to do
with one or both of these generals; for each of them was five times
consul, and, as praetors or proconsuls or consuls, they had always a
part in the government of the army, till, at last, Marcellus fell into
the trap which Hannibal had laid for him, and was killed in his fifth
consulship. But all his craft and subtlety were unsuccessful upon
Fabius, who only once was in some danger of being caught, when
counterfeit letters came to him from the principal inhabitants of
Metapontum, with promises to deliver up their town if he would come
before it with his army, and intimations that they should expect him,
This train had almost drawn him in; he resolved to march to them with
part of his army, and was diverted only by consulting the omens of the
birds, which he found to be inauspicious; and not long after it was
discovered that the letters had been forged by Hannibal, who, for his
reception, had laid an ambush to entertain him. This, perhaps, we must
rather attribute to the favor of the gods than to the prudence of

In preserving the towns and allies from revolt by fair and gentle
treatment, and in not using rigor, or showing a suspicion upon every
light suggestion, his conduct was remarkable. It is told of him, that,
being informed of a certain Marsian, eminent for courage and good birth,
who had been speaking underhand with some of the soldiers about
deserting, Fabius was so far from using severity against him, that he
called for him, and told him he was sensible of the neglect that had
been shown to his merit and good service, which, he said, was a great
fault in the commanders who reward more by favor than by desert; "but
henceforward, whenever you are aggrieved," said Fabius, "I shall
consider it your fault, if you apply yourself to any but to me;" and
when he had so spoken, he bestowed an excellent horse and other presents
upon him; and, from that time forwards, there was not a faithfuller and
more trusty man in the whole army. With good reason he judged, that, if
those who have the government of horses and dogs endeavor by gentle
usage to cure their angry and untractable tempers, rather than by
cruelty and beating, much more should those who have the command of men
try to bring them to order and discipline by the mildest and fairest
means, and not treat them worse than gardeners do those wild plants,
which, with care and attention, lose gradually the savageness of their
nature, and bear excellent fruit.

At another time, some of his officers informed him that one of their men
was very often absent from his place, and out at nights; he asked them
what kind of man he was; they all answered, that the whole army had not
a better man, that he was a native of Lucania, and proceeded to speak of
several actions which they had seen him perform. Fabius made strict
inquiry, and discovered at last that these frequent excursions which he
ventured upon were to visit a young girl, with whom he was in love.
Upon which he gave private order to some of his men to find out the
woman and secretly convey her into his own tent; and then sent for the
Lucanian, and, calling him aside, told him, that he very well knew how
often he had been out away from the camp at night, which was a capital
transgression against military discipline and the Roman laws, but he
knew also how brave he was, and the good services he had done;
therefore, in consideration of them, he was willing to forgive him his
fault; but to keep him in good order, he was resolved to place one over
him to be his keeper, who should be accountable for his good behavior.
Having said this, he produced the woman, and told the soldier, terrified
and amazed at the adventure, "This is the person who must answer for
you; and by your future behavior we shall see whether your night rambles
were on account of love, or for any other worse design."

Another passage there was, something of the same kind, which gained him
possession of Tarentum. There was a young Tarentine in the army that
had a sister in Tarentum, then in possession of the enemy, who entirely
loved her brother, and wholly depended upon him. He, being informed
that a certain Bruttian, whom Hannibal had made a commander of the
garrison, was deeply in love with his sister, conceived hopes that he
might possibly turn it to the advantage of the Romans. And having first
communicated his design to Fabius, he left the army as a deserter in
show, and went over to Tarentum. The first days passed, and the
Bruttian abstained from visiting the sister; for neither of them knew
that the brother had notice of the amour between them. The young
Tarentine, however, took an occasion to tell his sister how he had heard
that a man of station and authority had made his addresses to her; and
desired her, therefore, to tell him who it was; "for," said he, "if he
be a man that has bravery and reputation, it matters not what countryman
he is, since at this time the sword mingles all nations, and makes them
equal; compulsion makes all things honorable; and in a time when right
is weak, we may be thankful if might assumes a form of gentleness."
Upon this the woman sends for her friend, and makes the brother and him
acquainted; and whereas she henceforth showed more countenance to her
lover than formerly, in the same degrees that her kindness increased,
his friendship, also, with the brother advanced. So that at last our
Tarentine thought this Bruttian officer well enough prepared to receive
the offers he had to make him; and that it would be easy for a mercenary
man, who was in love, to accept, upon the terms proposed, the large
rewards promised by Fabius. In conclusion, the bargain was struck, and
the promise made of delivering the town. This is the common tradition,
though some relate the story otherwise, and say, that this woman, by
whom the Bruttian was inveigled, to betray the town, was not a native of
Tarentum, but a Bruttian born, and was kept by Fabius as his concubine;
and being a countrywoman and an acquaintance of the Bruttian governor,
he privately sent her to him to corrupt him.

Whilst these matters were thus in process, to draw off Hannibal from
scenting the design, Fabius sends orders to the garrison in Rhegium,
that they should waste and spoil the Bruttian country, and should also
lay siege to Caulonia, and storm the place with all their might. These
were a body of eight thousand men, the worst of the Roman army, who had
most of them been runaways, and had been brought home by Marcellus from
Sicily, in dishonor, so that the loss of them would not be any great
grief to the Romans. Fabius, therefore, threw out these men as a bait
for Hannibal, to divert him from Tarentum; who instantly caught at it,
and led his forces to Caulonia; in the meantime, Fabius sat down before
Tarentum. On the sixth day of the siege, the young Tarentine slips by
night out of the town, and, having carefully observed the place where
the Bruttian commander, according to agreement, was to admit the Romans,
gave an account of the whole matter to Fabius; who thought it not safe
to rely wholly upon the plot, but, while proceeding with secrecy to the
post, gave order for a general assault to be made on the other side of
the town, both by land and sea. This being accordingly executed, while
the Tarentines hurried to defend the town on the side attacked, Fabius
received the signal from the Bruttian, scaled the walls, and entered the
town unopposed.

Here, we must confess, ambition seems to have overcome him. To make it
appear to the world that he had taken Tarentum by force and his own
prowess, and not by treachery, he commanded his men to kill the
Bruttians before all others; yet he did not succeed in establishing the
impression he desired, but merely gained the character of perfidy and
cruelty. Many of the Tarentines were also killed, and thirty thousand
of them were sold for slaves; the army had the plunder of the town, and
there was brought into the treasury three thousand talents. Whilst they
were carrying off everything else as plunder, the officer who took the
inventory asked what should be done with their gods, meaning the
pictures and statues; Fabius answered, "Let us leave their angry gods to
the Tarentines." Nevertheless, he removed the colossal statue of
Hercules, and had it set up in the capitol, with one of himself on
horseback, in brass, near it; proceedings very different from those of
Marcellus on a like occasion, and which, indeed, very much set off in
the eyes of the world his clemency and humanity, as appears in the
account of his life.

Hannibal, it is said, was within five miles of Tarentum, when he was
informed that the town was taken. He said openly, "Rome, then, has also
got a Hannibal; as we won Tarentum, so have we lost it." And, in
private with some of his confidants, he told them, for the first time,
that he always thought it difficult, but now he held it impossible, with
the forces he then had, to master Italy.

Upon this success, Fabius had a triumph decreed him at Rome, much more
splendid than his first; they looked upon him now as a champion who had
learned to cope with his antagonist, and could now easily foil his arts
and prove his best skill ineffectual. And, indeed, the army of Hannibal
was at this time partly worn away with continual action, and partly
weakened and become dissolute with overabundance and luxury. Marcus
Livius, who was governor of Tarentum when it was betrayed to Hannibal,
and then retired into the citadel, which he kept till the town was
retaken, was annoyed at these honors and distinctions, and, on one
occasion, openly declared in the senate, that by his resistance, more
than by any action of Fabius, Tarentum had been recovered; on which
Fabius laughingly replied: "You say very true, for if Marcus Livius had
not lost Tarentum, Fabius Maximus had never recovered it." The people,
amongst other marks of gratitude, gave his son the consulship of the
next year; shortly after whose entrance upon his office, there being
some business on foot about provision for the war, his father, either by
reason of age and infirmity, or perhaps out of design to try his son,
came up to him on horseback. While he was still at a distance, the
young consul observed it, and bade one of his lictors command his father
to alight, and tell him that, if be had any business with the consul, he
should come on foot. The standers by seemed offended at the
imperiousness of the son towards a father so venerable for his age and
his authority, and turned their eyes in silence towards Fabius. He,
however, instantly alighted from his horse, and with open arms came up,
almost running, and embraced his son, saying, "Yes, my son, you do well,
and understand well what authority you have received, and over whom you
are to use it. This was the way by which we and our forefathers
advanced the dignity of Rome, preferring ever her honor and service to
our own fathers and children."

And, in fact, it is told that the great-grandfather of our Fabius, who
was undoubtedly the greatest man of Rome in his time, both in reputation
and authority, who had been five times consul, and had been honored with
several triumphs for victories obtained by him, took pleasure in serving
as lieutenant under his own son, when he went as consul to his command.
And when afterwards his son had a triumph bestowed upon him for his good
service, the old man followed, on horseback, his triumphant chariot, as
one of his attendants; and made it his glory, that while he really was,
and was acknowledged to be, the greatest man in Rome, and held a
father's full power over his son, he yet submitted himself to the laws
and the magistrate.

But the praises of our Fabius are not bounded here. He afterwards lost
this son, and was remarkable for bearing the loss with the moderation
becoming a pious father and a wise man, and, as it was the custom
amongst the Romans, upon the death of any illustrious person, to have a
funeral oration recited by some of the nearest relations, he took upon
himself that office, and delivered a speech in the forum, which he
committed afterwards to writing.

After Cornelius Scipio, who was sent into Spain, had driven the
Carthaginians, defeated by him in many battles, out of the country, and
had gained over to Rome many towns and nations with large resources, he
was received at his coming home with unexampled joy and acclamation of
the people; who, to show their gratitude, elected him consul for the
year ensuing. Knowing what high expectation they had of him, he thought
the occupation of contesting Italy with Hannibal a mere old man's
employment, and proposed no less a task to himself than to make Carthage
the seat of the war, fill Africa with arms and devastation, and so
oblige Hannibal, instead of invading the countries of others, to draw
back and defend his own. And to this end he proceeded to exert all the
influence he had with the people. Fabius, on the other side, opposed
the undertaking with all his might, alarming the city, and telling them
that nothing but the temerity of a hot young man could inspire them with
such dangerous counsels, and sparing no means, by word or deed, to
prevent it. He prevailed with the senate to espouse his sentiments; but
the common people thought that he envied the fame of Scipio, and that he
was afraid lest this young conqueror should achieve some great and noble
exploit, and have the glory, perhaps, of driving Hannibal out of Italy,
or even of ending the war, which had for so many years continued and
been protracted under his management.

To say the truth, when Fabius first opposed this project of Scipio, he
probably did it out of caution and prudence, in consideration only of
the public safety, and of the danger which the commonwealth might incur;
but when he found Scipio every day increasing in the esteem of the
people, rivalry and ambition led him further, and made him violent and
personal in his opposition. For he even applied to Crassus, the
colleague of Scipio, and urged him not to yield the command to Scipio,
but that, if his inclinations were for it, he should himself in person
lead the army to Carthage. He also hindered the giving money to Scipio
for the war; so that he was forced to raise it upon his own credit and
interest from the cities of Etruria, which were extremely attached to
him. On the other side, Crassus would not stir against him, nor remove
out of Italy, being, in his own nature, averse to all contention, and
also having, by his office of high priest, religious duties to retain
him. Fabius, therefore, tried other ways to oppose the design; he
impeded the levies, and he declaimed, both in the senate and to the
people, that Scipio was not only himself flying from Hannibal, but was
also endeavoring to drain Italy of all its forces, and to spirit away
the youth of the country to a foreign war, leaving behind them their
parents, wives, and children, and the city itself, a defenseless prey to
the conquering and undefeated enemy at their doors. With this he so far
alarmed the people, that at last they would only allow Scipio for the
war the legions which were in Sicily, and three hundred, whom he
particularly trusted, of those men who had served with him in Spain. In
these transactions, Fabius seems to have followed the dictates of his
own wary temper.

But, after that Scipio was gone over into Africa, when news almost
immediately came to Rome of wonderful exploits and victories, of which
the fame was confirmed by the spoils he sent home; of a Numidian king
taken prisoner; of a vast slaughter of their men; of two camps of the
enemy burnt and destroyed, and in them a great quantity of arms and
horses; and when, hereupon, the Carthaginians were compelled to send
envoys to Hannibal to call him home, and leave his idle hopes in Italy,
to defend Carthage; when, for such eminent and transcending services,
the whole people of Rome cried up and extolled the actions of Scipio;
even then, Fabius contended that a successor should be sent in his
place, alleging for it only the old reason of the mutability of fortune,
as if she would be weary of long favoring the same person. With this
language many did begin to feel offended; it seemed to be morosity and
ill-will, the pusillanimity of old age, or a fear, that had now become
exaggerated, of the skill of Hannibal. Nay, when Hannibal had put his
army on shipboard, and taken his leave of Italy, Fabius still could not
forbear to oppose and disturb the universal joy of Rome, expressing his
fears and apprehensions, telling them that the commonwealth was never in
more danger than now, and that Hannibal was a more formidable enemy
under the walls of Carthage than ever he had been in Italy; that it
would be fatal to Rome, whenever Scipio should encounter his victorious
army, still warm with the blood of so many Roman generals, dictators,
and consuls slain. And the people were, in some degree, startled with
these declamations, and were brought to believe, that the further off
Hannibal was, the nearer was their danger. Scipio, however, shortly
afterwards fought Hannibal, and utterly defeated him, humbled the pride
of Carthage beneath his feet, gave his countrymen joy and exultation
beyond all their hopes, and

"Long shaken on the seas restored the state."

Fabius Maximus, however, did not live to see the prosperous end of this
war, and the final overthrow of Hannibal, nor to rejoice in the
reestablished happiness and security of the commonwealth; for about the
time that Hannibal left Italy, he fell sick and died. At Thebes,
Epaminondas died so poor that he was buried at the public charge; one
small iron coin was all, it is said, that was found in his house.
Fabius did not need this, but the people, as a mark of their affection,
defrayed the expenses of his funeral by a private contribution from each
citizen of the smallest piece of coin; thus owning him their common
father, and making his end no less honorable than his life.


We have here had two lives rich in examples, both of civil and military
excellence. Let us first compare the two men in their warlike capacity.
Pericles presided in his commonwealth when it was in its most
flourishing and opulent condition, great and growing in power; so that
it may be thought it was rather the common success and fortune that kept
him from any fall or disaster. But the task of Fabius, who undertook
the government in the worst and most difficult times, was not to
preserve and maintain the well-established felicity of a prosperous
state, but to raise and uphold a sinking and ruinous commonwealth.
Besides, the victories of Cimon, the trophies of Myronides and
Leocrates, with the many famous exploits of Tolmides, were employed by
Pericles rather to fill the city with festive entertainments and
solemnities than to enlarge and secure its empire. Whereas Fabius, when
he took upon him the government, had the frightful object before his
eyes of Roman armies destroyed, of their generals and consuls slain, of
lakes and plains and forests strewed with the dead bodies, and rivers
stained with the blood of his fellow-citizens; and yet, with his mature
and solid cousels, with the firmness of his resolution, he, as it were,
put his shoulder to the falling commonwealth, and kept it up from
foundering through the failings and weakness of others. Perhaps it may
be more easy to govern a city broken and tamed with calamities and
adversity, and compelled by danger and necessity to listen to wisdom,
than to set a bridle on wantonness and temerity, and rule a people
pampered and restive with long prosperity as were the Athenians when
Pericles held the reins of government. But then again, not to be
daunted nor discomposed with the vast heap of calamities under which the
people of Rome at that time groaned and succumbed, argues a courage in
Fabius and a strength of purpose more than ordinary.

We may set Tarentum retaken against Samos won by Pericles, and the
conquest of Euboea we may well balance with the towns of Campania;
though Capua itself was reduced by the consuls Fulvius and Appius. I do
not find that Fabius won any set battle but that against the Ligurians,
for which he had his triumph; whereas Pericles erected nine trophies for
as many victories obtained by land and by sea. But no action of
Pericles can be compared to that memorable rescue of Minucius, when
Fabius redeemed both him and his army from utter destruction; a noble
act, combining the highest valor, wisdom, and humanity. On the other
side, it does not appear that Pericles was ever so overreached as Fabius
was by Hannibal with his flaming oxen. His enemy there had, without his
agency, put himself accidentally into his power, yet Fabius let him slip
in the night, and, when day came, was worsted by him, was anticipated in
the moment of success, and mastered by his prisoner. If it is the part
of a good general, not only to provide for the present, but also to have
a clear foresight of things to come, in this point Pericles is the
superior; for he admonished the Athenians, and told them beforehand the
ruin the war would bring upon them, by their grasping more than they
were able to manage. But Fabius was not so good a prophet, when he
denounced to the Romans that the undertaking of Scipio would be the
destruction of the commonwealth. So that Pericles was a good prophet of
bad success, and Fabius was a bad prophet of success that was good.
And, indeed, to lose an advantage through diffidence is no less blamable
in a general than to fall into danger for want of foresight; for both
these faults, though of a contrary nature, spring from the same root,
want of judgment and experience.

As for their civil policy, it is imputed to Pericles that he occasioned
the war, since no terms of peace, offered by the Lacedaemonians, would
content him. It is true, I presume, that Fabius, also, was not for
yielding any point to the Carthaginians, but was ready to hazard all,
rather than lessen the empire of Rome. The mildness of Fabius towards
his colleague Minucius does, by way of comparison, rebuke and condemn
the exertions of Pericles to banish Cimon and Thucydides, noble,
aristocratic men, who by his means suffered ostracism. The authority of
Pericles in Athens was much greater than that of Fabius in Rome. Hence
it was more easy for him to prevent miscarriages arising from the
mistakes and insufficiency of other officers; only Tolmides broke loose
from him, and, contrary to his persuasions, unadvisedly fought with the
Boeotians, and was slain. The greatness of his influence made all
others submit and conform themselves to his judgment. Whereas Fabius,
sure and unerring himself, for want of that general power, had not the
means to obviate the miscarriages of others; but it had been happy for
the Romans if his authority had been greater, for so, we may presume,
their disasters had been fewer.

As to liberality and public spirit, Pericles was eminent in never taking
any gifts, and Fabius, for giving his own money to ransom his soldiers,
though the sum did not exceed six talents. Than Pericles, meantime, no
man had ever greater opportunities to enrich himself, having had
presents offered him from so many kings and princes and allies, yet no
man was ever more free from corruption. And for the beauty and
magnificence of temples and public edifices with which he adorned his
country, it must be confessed, that all the ornaments and structures of
Rome, to the time of the Caesars, had nothing to compare, either in
greatness of design or of expense, with the luster of those which
Pericles only erected at Athens.


Alcibiades, as it is supposed, was anciently descended from Eurysaces,
the son of Ajax, by his father's side; and by his mother's side from
Alcmaeon. Dinomache, his mother, was the daughter of Megacles. His
father Clinias, having fitted out a galley at his own expense, gained
great honor in the sea-fight at Artemisium, and was afterwards slain in
the battle of Coronea, fighting against the Boeotians. Pericles and
Ariphron, the sons of Xanthippus, nearly related to him, became the
guardians of Alcibiades. It has been said not untruly that the
friendship which Socrates felt for him has much contributed to his fame;
and certain it is, that, though we have no account from any writer
concerning the mother of Nicias or Demosthenes, of Lamachus or Phormion,
of Thrasybulus or Theramenes, notwithstanding these were all illustrious
men of the same period, yet we know even the nurse of Alcibiades, that
her country was Lacedaemon, and her name Amycla; and that Zopyrus was
his teacher and attendant; the one being recorded by Antisthenes, and
the other by Plato.

It is not, perhaps, material to say anything of the beauty of
Alcibiades, only that it bloomed with him in all the ages of his life,
in his infancy, in his youth, and in his manhood; and, in the peculiar
character becoming to each of these periods, gave him, in every one of
them, a grace and a charm. What Euripides says, that

"Of all fair things the autumn, too, is fair,"

is by no means universally true. But it happened so with Alcibiades,
amongst few others, by reason of his happy constitution and natural
vigor of body. It is said that his lisping, when he spoke, became him
well, and gave a grace and persuasiveness to his rapid speech.
Aristophanes takes notice of it in the verses in which he jests at
Theorus; "How like a colax he is," says Alcibiades, meaning a corax;
on which it is remarked,

"How very happily he lisped the truth."

Archippus also alludes to it in a passage where he ridicules the son of

"That people may believe him like his father,
He walks like one dissolved in luxury,
Lets his robe trail behind him on the ground,
Carelessly leans his head, and in his talk affects to lisp."

His conduct displayed many great inconsistencies and variations, not
unnaturally, in accordance with the many and wonderful vicissitudes of
his fortunes; but among the many strong passions of his real character,
the one most prevailing of all was his ambition and desire of
superiority, which appears in several anecdotes told of his sayings
whilst he was a child. Once being hard pressed in wrestling, and
fearing to be thrown, he got the hand of his antagonist to his mouth,
and bit it with all his force; and when the other loosed his hold
presently, and said, "You bite, Alcibiades, like a woman." "No,"
replied he, "like a lion." Another time as he played at dice in the
street, being then but a child, a loaded cart came that way, when it was
his turn to throw; at first he called to the driver to stop, because he
was to throw in the way over which the cart was to pass; but the man
giving him no attention and driving on, when the rest of the boys
divided and gave way, Alcibiades threw himself on his face before the
cart, and, stretching himself out, bade the carter pass on now if he
would; which so startled the man, that he put back his horses, while all
that saw it were terrified, and, crying out, ran to assist Alcibiades.
When he began to study, he obeyed all his other masters fairly well, but
refused to learn upon the flute, as a sordid thing, and not becoming a
free citizen; saying, that to play on the lute or the harp does not in
any way disfigure a man's body or face, but one is hardly to be known by
the most intimate friends, when playing on the flute. Besides, one who
plays on the harp may speak or sing at the same time; but the use of the
flute stops the mouth, intercepts the voice, and prevents all
articulation. "Therefore," said he, "let the Theban youths pipe, who do
not know how to speak, but we Athenians, as our ancestors have told us,
have Minerva for our patroness, and Apollo for our protector, one of
whom threw away the flute, and the other stripped the Flute-player of
his skin." Thus, between raillery and good earnest, Alcibiades kept not
only himself but others from learning, as it presently became the talk
of the young boys, how Alcibiades despised playing on the flute, and
ridiculed those who studied it. In consequence of which, it ceased to
be reckoned amongst the liberal accomplishments, and became generally

It is stated in the invective which Antiphon wrote against Alcibiades,
that once, when he was a boy, he ran away to the house of Democrates,
one of those who made a favorite of him, and that Ariphron had
determined to cause proclamation to be made for him, had not Pericles
diverted him from it, by saying, that if he were dead, the proclaiming
of him could only cause it to be discovered one day sooner, and if he
were safe, it would be a reproach to him as long as he lived. Antiphon
also says, that he killed one of his own servants with the blow of a
staff in Sibyrtius's wrestling ground. But it is unreasonable to give
credit to all that is objected by an enemy, who makes open profession of
his design to defame him.

It was manifest that the many well-born persons who were continually
seeking his company, and making their court to him, were attracted and
captivated by his brilliant and extraordinary beauty only. But the
affection which Socrates entertained for him is a great evidence of the
natural noble qualities and good disposition of the boy, which Socrates,
indeed, detected both in and under his personal beauty; and, fearing
that his wealth and station, and the great number both of strangers and
Athenians who flattered and caressed him, might at last corrupt him,
resolved, if possible, to interpose, and preserve so hopeful a plant
from perishing in the flower, before its fruit came to perfection. For
never did fortune surround and enclose a man with so many of those
things which we vulgarly call goods, or so protect him from every weapon
of philosophy, and fence him from every access of free and searching
words, as she did Alcibiades; who, from the beginning, was exposed to
the flatteries of those who sought merely his gratification, such as
might well unnerve him, and indispose him to listen to any real adviser
or instructor. Yet such was the happiness of his genius, that he
discerned Socrates from the rest, and admitted him, whilst he drove away
the wealthy and the noble who made court to him. And, in a little time,
they grew intimate, and Alcibiades, listening now to language entirely
free from every thought of unmanly fondness and silly displays of
affection, finding himself with one who sought to lay open to him the
deficiencies of his mind, and repress his vain and foolish arrogance,

"Dropped like the craven cock his conquered wing."

He esteemed these endeavors of Socrates as most truly a means which the
gods made use of for the care and preservation of youth, and began to
think meanly of himself, and to admire him; to be pleased with his
kindness, and to stand in awe of his virtue; and, unawares to himself,
there became formed in his mind that reflex image and reciprocation of
Love, or Anteros,@ that Plato talks of. It was a matter of general
wonder, when people saw him joining Socrates in his meals and his
exercises, living with him in the same tent, whilst he was reserved and
rough to all others who made their addresses to him, and acted, indeed,
with great insolence to some of them. As in particular to Anytus, the
son of Anthemion, one who was very fond of him, and invited him to an
entertainment which he had prepared for some strangers. Alcibiades
refused the invitation; but, having drunk to excess at his own house
with some of his companions, went thither with them to play some frolic;
and, standing at the door of the room where the guests were enjoying
themselves, and seeing the tables covered with gold and silver cups, he
commanded his servants to take away the one half of them, and carry them
to his own house; and then, disdaining so much as to enter into the room
himself, as soon as he had done this, went away. The company was
indignant, and exclaimed at his rude and insulting conduct; Anytus,
however, said, on the contrary he had shown great consideration and
tenderness in taking only a part, when he might have taken all.

He behaved in the same manner to all others who courted him, except only
one stranger, who, as the story is told, having but a small estate, sold
it all for about a hundred staters, which he presented to Alcibiades,
and besought him to accept. Alcibiades, smiling and well pleased at the
thing, invited him to supper, and, after a very kind entertainment, gave
him his gold again, requiring him, moreover, not to fail to be present
the next day, when the public revenue was offered to farm, and to outbid
all others. The man would have excused himself, because the contract
was so large, and would cost many talents; but Alcibiades, who had at
that time a private pique against the existing farmers of the revenue,
threatened to have him beaten if he refused. The next morning, the
stranger, coming to the marketplace, offered a talent more than the
existing rate; upon which the farmers, enraged and consulting together,
called upon him to name his sureties, concluding that he could find
none. The poor man, being startled at the proposal, began to retire;
but Alcibiades, standing at a distance, cried out to the magistrates,
"Set my name down, he is a friend of mine; I will be security for him."
When the other bidders heard this, they perceived that all their
contrivance was defeated; for their way was, with the profits of the
second year to pay the rent for the year preceding; so that, not seeing
any other way to extricate themselves out of the difficulty, they began
to entreat the stranger, and offered him a sum of money. Alcibiades
would not suffer him to accept of less than a talent; but when that was
paid down, he commanded him to relinquish the bargain, having by this
device relieved his necessity.

Though Socrates had many and powerful rivals, yet the natural good
qualities of Alcibiades gave his affection the mastery. His words
overcame him so much, as to draw tears from his eyes, and to disturb his
very soul. Yet sometimes he would abandon himself to flatterers, when
they proposed to him varieties of pleasure, and would desert Socrates;
who, then, would pursue him, as if he had been a fugitive slave. He
despised everyone else, and had no reverence or awe for any but him.
Cleanthes the philosopher; speaking of one to whom he was attached, says
his only hold on him was by his ears, while his rivals had all the
others offered them; and there is no question that Alcibiades was very
easily caught by pleasures; and the expression used by Thucydides about
the excesses of his habitual course of living gives occasion to believe
so. But those who endeavored to corrupt Alcibiades, took advantage
chiefly of his vanity and ambition, and thrust him on unseasonably to
undertake great enterprises, persuading him, that as soon as he began to
concern himself in public affairs, he would not only obscure the rest of
the generals and statesmen, but outdo the authority and the reputation
which Pericles himself had gained in Greece. But in the same manner as
iron which is softened by the fire grows hard with the cold, and all its
parts are closed again; so, as often as Socrates observed Alcibiades to
be misled by luxury or pride, he reduced and corrected him by his
addresses, and made him humble and modest, by showing him in how many
things he was deficient, and how very far from perfection in virtue.

When he was past his childhood, he went once to a grammar-school, and
asked the master for one of Homer's books; and he making answer that he
had nothing of Homer's, Alcibiades gave him a blow with his fist, and
went away. Another schoolmaster telling him that he had Homer corrected
by himself; "How," said Alcibiades, "and do you employ your time in
teaching children to read? You, who are able to amend Homer, may well
undertake to instruct men." Being once desirous to speak with Pericles,
he went to his house and was told there that he was not at leisure, but
busied in considering how to give up his accounts to the Athenians;
Alcibiades, as he went away, said, "It were better for him to consider
how he might avoid giving up his accounts at all."

Whilst he was very young, he was a soldier in the expedition against
Potidaea, where Socrates lodged in the same tent with him, and stood
next him in battle. Once there happened a sharp skirmish, in which
they both behaved with signal bravery; but Alcibiades receiving a wound,
Socrates threw himself before him to defend him, and beyond any question
saved him and his arms from the enemy, and so in all justice might have
challenged the prize of valor. But the generals appearing eager to
adjudge the honor to Alcibiades, because of his rank, Socrates, who
desired to increase his thirst after glory of a noble kind, was the
first to give evidence for him, and pressed them to crown him, and to
decree to him the complete suit of armor. Afterwards, in the battle of
Delium, when the Athenians were routed and Socrates with a few others
was retreating on foot, Alcibiades, who was on horseback, observing it,
would not pass on, but stayed to shelter him from the danger, and
brought him safe off, though the enemy pressed hard upon them, and cut
off many. But this happened some time after.

He gave a box on the ear to Hipponicus, the father of Callias, whose
birth and wealth made him a person of great influence and repute. And
this he did unprovoked by any passion or quarrel between them, but only
because, in a frolic, he had agreed with his companions to do it.
People were justly offended at this insolence, when it became known
through the city; but early the next morning, Alcibiades went to his
house and knocked at the door, and, being admitted to him, took off his
outer garment, and, presenting his naked body, desired him to scourge
and chastise him as he pleased. Upon this Hipponicus forgot all his
resentment, and not only pardoned him, but soon after gave him his
daughter Hipparete in marriage. Some say that it was not Hipponicus,
but his son Callias, who gave Hipparete to Alcibiades, together with a
portion of ten talents, and that after, when she had a child, Alcibiades
forced him to give ten talents more, upon pretense that such was the
agreement if she brought him any children. Afterwards, Callias, for
fear of coming to his death by his means, declared, in a full assembly
of the people, that if he should happen to die without children, the
state should inherit his house and all his goods. Hipparete was a
virtuous and dutiful wife, but, at last, growing impatient of the
outrages done to her by her husband's continual entertaining of
courtesans, as well strangers as Athenians, she departed from him and
retired to her brother's house. Alcibiades seemed not at all concerned
at this, and lived on still in the same luxury; but the law requiring
that she should deliver to the archon in person, and not by proxy, the
instrument by which she claimed a divorce, when, in obedience to the
law, she presented herself before him to perform this, Alcibiades came
in, caught her up, and carried her home through the marketplace, no one
daring to oppose him, nor to take her from him. She continued with him
till her death, which happened not long after, when Alcibiades had gone
to Ephesus. Nor is this violence to be thought so very enormous or
unmanly. For the law, in making her who desires to be divorced appear
in public, seems to design to give her husband an opportunity of
treating with her, and of endeavoring to retain her.

Alcibiades had a dog which cost him seventy minas, and was a very large
one, and very handsome. His tail, which was his principal ornament, he
caused to be cut off, and his acquaintance exclaiming at him for it, and
telling him that all Athens was sorry for the dog, and cried out upon
him for this action, he laughed, and said, "Just what I wanted has
happened, then. I wished the Athenians to talk about this, that they
might not say something worse of me."

It is said that the first time he came into the assembly was upon
occasion of a largess of money which he made to the people. This was
not done by design, but as he passed along he heard a shout, and
inquiring the cause, and having learned that there was a donative making
to the people, he went in amongst them and gave money also. The
multitude thereupon applauding him, and shouting, he was so transported
at it, that he forgot a quail which he had under his robe, and the bird,
being frighted with the noise, flew off; upon which the people made
louder acclamations than before, and many of them started up to pursue
the bird; and one Antiochus, a pilot, caught it and restored it to him,
for which he was ever after a favorite with Alcibiades.

He had great advantages for entering public life; his noble birth, his
riches, the personal courage he had shown in divers battles, and the
multitude of his friends and dependents, threw open, so to say, folding
doors for his admittance. But he did not consent to let his power with
the people rest on any thing, rather than on his own gift of eloquence.
That he was a master in the art of speaking, the comic poets bear him
witness; and the most eloquent of public speakers, in his oration
against Midias, allows that Alcibiades, among other perfections, was a
most accomplished orator. If, however, we give credit to Theophrastus,
who of all philosophers was the most curious inquirer, and the greatest
lover of history, we are to understand that Alcibiades had the highest
capacity for inventing, for discerning what was the right thing to be
said for any purpose, and on any occasion; but, aiming not only at
saying what was required, but also at saying it well, in respect, that
is, of words and phrases, when these did not readily occur, he would
often pause in the middle of his discourse for want of the apt word, and
would be silent and stop till he could recollect himself, and had
considered what to say.

His expenses in horses kept for the public games, and in the number of
his chariots, were matter of great observation; never did anyone but
he, either private person or king, send seven chariots to the Olympic
games. And to have carried away at once the first, the second, and the
fourth prize, as Thucydides says, or the third, as Euripides relates it,
outdoes far away every distinction that ever was known or thought of in
that kind. Euripides celebrates his success in this manner:--

"--But my song to you, Son of Clinias, is due.
Victory is noble; how much more
To do as never Greek before;
To obtain in the great chariot race
The first, the second, and third place;
With easy step advanced to fame,

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