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Plutarch's Lives

Part 7 out of 35

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To bid the herald three times claim
The olive for one victor's name."

The emulation displayed by the deputations of various states, in the
presents which they made to him, rendered this success yet more
illustrious. The Ephesians erected a tent for him, adorned
magnificently; the city of Chios furnished him with provender for his
horses and with great numbers of beasts for sacrifice; and the Lesbians
sent him wine and other provisions for the many great entertainments
which he made. Yet in the midst of all this he escaped not without
censure, occasioned either by the ill-nature of his enemies or by his
own misconduct. For it is said, that one Diomedes, all Athenian, a
worthy man and a friend to Alcibiades, passionately desiring to obtain
the victory at the Olympic games, and having heard much of a chariot
which belonged to the state at Argos, where he knew that Alcibiades had
great power and many friends, prevailed with him to undertake to buy the
chariot. Alcibiades did indeed buy it, but then claimed it for his own,
leaving Diomedes to rage at him, and to call upon the gods and men to
bear witness to the injustice. It would seem there was a suit at law
commenced upon this occasion, and there is yet extant an oration
concerning the chariot, written by Isocrates in defense of the son of
Alcibiades. But the plaintiff in this action is named Tisias, and not

As soon as he began to intermeddle in the government, which was when he
was very young, he quickly lessened the credit of all who aspired to the
confidence of the people, except Phaeax, the son of Erasistratus, and
Nicias, the son of Niceratus, who alone could contest it with him.
Nicias was arrived at a mature age, and was esteemed their first
general. Phaeax was but a rising statesman like Alcibiades; he was
descended from noble ancestors, but was his inferior, as in many other
things, so, principally, in eloquence. He possessed rather the art of
persuading in private conversation than of debate before the people, and
was, as Eupolis said of him,

"The best of talkers, and of speakers worst."

There is extant an oration written by Phaeax against Alcibiades, in
which, amongst other things, it is said, that Alcibiades made daily use
at his table of many gold and silver vessels, which belonged to the
commonwealth, as if they had been his own.

There was a certain Hyperbolus, of the township of Perithoedae, whom
Thucydides also speaks of as a man of bad character, a general butt for
the mockery of all the comic writers of the time, but quite unconcerned
at the worst things they could say, and, being careless of glory, also
insensible of shame; a temper which some people call boldness and
courage, whereas it is indeed impudence and recklessness. He was liked
by nobody, yet the people made frequent use of him, when they had a mind
to disgrace or calumniate any persons in authority. At this time, the
people, by his persuasions, were ready to proceed to pronounce the
sentence of ten years' banishment, called ostracism. This they made use
of to humiliate and drive out of the city such citizens as outdid the
rest in credit and power, indulging not so much perhaps their
apprehensions as their jealousies in this way. And when, at this time,
there was no doubt but that the ostracism would fall upon one of those
three, Alcibiades contrived to form a coalition of parties, and,
communicating his project to Nicias, turned the sentence upon Hyperbolus
himself. Others say, that it was not with Nicias, but Phaeax, that he
consulted, and, by help of his party, procured the banishment of
Hyperbolus, when he suspected nothing less. For, before that time, no
mean or obscure person had ever fallen under that punishment, so that
Plato, the comic poet, speaking of Hyperbolus, might well say,

"The man deserved the fate; deny 't who can?
Yes, but the fate did not deserve the man;
Not for the like of him and his slave-brands
Did Athens put the sherd into our hands."

But we have given elsewhere a fuller statement of what is known to us of
the matter.

Alcibiades was not less disturbed at the distinctions which Nicias
gained amongst the enemies of Athens, than at the honors which the
Athenians themselves paid to him. For though Alcibiades was the proper
appointed person to receive all Lacedaemonians when they came to
Athens, and had taken particular care of those that were made prisoners
at Pylos, yet, after they had obtained the peace and restitution of the
captives, by the procurement chiefly of Nicias, they paid him very
special attentions. And it was commonly said in Greece, that the war
was begun by Pericles, and that Nicias made an end of it, and the peace
was generally called the peace of Nicias. Alcibiades was extremely
annoyed at this, and, being full of envy, set himself to break the
league. First, therefore, observing that the Argives, as well out of
fear as hatred to the Lacedaemonians, sought for protection against
them, he gave them a secret assurance of alliance with Athens. And
communicating, as well in person as by letters, with the chief advisers
of the people there, he encouraged them not to fear the Lacedaemonians,
nor make concessions to them, but to wait a little, and keep their eyes
on the Athenians, who, already, were all but sorry they had made peace,
and would soon give it up. And, afterwards, when the Lacedaemonians had
made a league with the Boeotians, and had not delivered up Panactum
entire, as they ought to have done by the treaty, but only after first
destroying it, which gave great offense to the people of Athens,
Alcibiades laid hold of that opportunity to exasperate them more highly.
He exclaimed fiercely against Nicias, and accused him of many things,
which seemed probable enough: as that, when he was general, he made no
attempt himself to capture their enemies that were shut up in the isle
of Sphacteria, but, when they were afterwards made prisoners by others,
he procured their release and sent them back to the Lacedaemonians, only
to get favor with them; that he would not make use of his credit with
them, to prevent their entering into this confederacy with the Boeotians
and Corinthians, and yet, on the other side, that he sought to stand in
the way of those Greeks who were inclined to make an alliance and
friendship with Athens, if the Lacedaemonians did not like it.

It happened, at the very time when Nicias was by these arts brought into
disgrace with the people, that ambassadors arrived from Lacedaemon, who,
at their first coming, said what seemed very satisfactory, declaring
that they had full powers to arrange all matters in dispute upon fair
and equal terms. The council received their propositions, and the
people was to assemble on the morrow to give them audience. Alcibiades
grew very apprehensive of this, and contrived to gain a secret
conference with the ambassadors. When they were met, he said: "What is
it you intend, you men of Sparta? Can you be ignorant that the council
always act with moderation and respect towards ambassadors, but that the
people are full of ambition and great designs? So that, if you let them
know what full powers your commission gives you, they will urge and
press you to unreasonable conditions. Quit therefore, this indiscreet
simplicity, if you expect to obtain equal terms from the Athenians, and
would not have things extorted from you contrary to your inclinations,
and begin to treat with the people upon some reasonable articles, not
avowing yourselves plenipotentiaries; and I will be ready to assist you,
out of good-will to the Lacedaemonians." When he had said thus, he gave
them his oath for the performance of what he promised, and by this way
drew them from Nicias to rely entirely upon himself, and left them full
of admiration of the discernment and sagacity they had seen in him. The
next day, when the people were assembled and the ambassadors introduced,
Alcibiades, with great apparent courtesy, demanded of them, With what
powers they were come? They made answer that they were not come as

Instantly upon that, Alcibiades, with a loud voice, as though he had
received and not done the wrong, began to call them dishonest
prevaricators, and to urge that such men could not possibly come with a
purpose to say or do anything that was sincere. The council was
incensed, the people were in a rage, and Nicias, who knew nothing of the
deceit and the imposture, was in the greatest confusion, equally
surprised and ashamed at such a change in the men. So thus the
Lacedaemonian ambassadors were utterly rejected, and Alcibiades was
declared general, who presently united the Argives, the Eleans, and the
people of Mantinea, into a confederacy with the Athenians.

No man commended the method by which Alcibiades effected all this, yet
it was a great political feat thus to divide and shake almost all
Peloponnesus, and to combine so many men in arms against the
Lacedaemonians in one day before Mantinea; and, moreover, to remove the
war and the danger so far from the frontier of the Athenians, that even
success would profit the enemy but little, should they be conquerors,
whereas, if they were defeated, Sparta itself was hardly safe.

After this battle at Mantinea, the select thousand of the army of the
Argives attempted to overthrow the government of the people in Argos,
and make themselves masters of the city; and the Lacedaemonians came to
their aid and abolished the democracy. But the people took arms again,
and gained the advantage, and Alcibiades came in to their aid and
completed the victory, and persuaded them to build long walls, and by
that means to join their city to the sea, and so to bring it wholly
within the reach of the Athenian power. To this purpose, he procured
them builders and masons from Athens, and displayed the greatest zeal
for their service, and gained no less honor and power to himself than to
the commonwealth of Athens. He also persuaded the people of Patrae to
join their city to the sea, by building long walls; and when some one
told them, by way of warning, that the Athenians would swallow them up
at last Alcibiades made answer, "Possibly it may be so, but it will be
by little and little, and beginning at the feet, whereas the
Lacedaemonians will begin at the head and devour you all at once." Nor
did he neglect either to advise the Athenians to look to their interests
by land, and often put the young men in mind of the oath which they had
made at Agraulos, to the effect that they would account wheat and
barley, and vines and olives, to be the limits of Attica; by which they
were taught to claim a title to all land that was cultivated and

But with all these words and deeds, and with all this sagacity and
eloquence, he intermingled exorbitant luxury and wantonness in his
eating and drinking and dissolute living; wore long purple robes like a
woman, which dragged after him as he went through the market-place;
caused the planks of his galley to be cut away, that so he might lie the
softer, his bed not being placed on the boards, but hanging upon girths.
His shield, again, which was richly gilded, had not the usual ensigns of
the Athenians, but a Cupid, holding a thunderbolt in his hand, was
painted upon it. The sight of all this made the people of good repute
in the city feel disgust and abhorrence, and apprehension also, at his
free-living, and his contempt of law, as things monstrous in themselves,
and indicating designs of usurpation. Aristophanes has well expressed
the people's feeling towards him:--

"They love, and hate, and cannot do without him."

And still more strongly, under a figurative expression,

"Best rear no lion in your state, 'tis true;
But treat him like a lion if you do."

The truth is, his liberalities, his public shows, and other munificence
to the people, which were such as nothing could exceed, the glory of his
ancestors, the force of his eloquence, the grace of his person, his
strength of body, joined with his great courage and knowledge in
military affairs, prevailed upon the Athenians to endure patiently his
excesses, to indulge many things to him, and, according to their habit,
to give the softest names to his faults, attributing them to youth and
good nature. As, for example, he kept Agatharcus, the painter, a
prisoner till he had painted his whole house, but then dismissed him
with a reward. He publicly struck Taureas, who exhibited certain shows
in opposition to him and contended with him for the prize. He selected
for himself one of the captive Melian women, and had a son by her, whom
he took care to educate. This the Athenians styled great humanity; and
yet he was the principal cause of the slaughter of all the inhabitants
of the isle of Melos who were of age to bear arms, having spoken in
favor of that decree. When Aristophon, the painter, had drawn Nemea
sitting and holding Alcibiades in her arms, the multitude seemed pleased
with the piece, and thronged to see it, but older people disliked and
disrelished it, and looked on these things as enormities, and movements
towards tyranny. So that it was not said amiss by Archestratus, that
Greece could not support a second Alcibiades. Once, when Alcibiades
succeeded well in an oration which he made, and the whole assembly
attended upon him to do him honor, Timon the misanthrope did not pass
slightly by him, nor avoid him, as he did others, but purposely met him,
and, taking him by the hand, said, "Go on boldly, my son, and increase
in credit with the people, for thou wilt one day bring them calamities
enough." Some that were present laughed at the saying, and some reviled
Timon; but there were others upon whom it made a deep impression; so
various was the judgment which was made of him, and so irregular his own

The Athenians, even in the lifetime of Pericles, had already cast a
longing eye upon Sicily; but did not attempt any thing till after his
death. Then, under pretense of aiding their confederates, they sent
succors upon all occasions to those who were oppressed by the
Syracusans, preparing the way for sending over a greater force. But
Alcibiades was the person who inflamed this desire of theirs to the
height, and prevailed with them no longer to proceed secretly, and by
little and little, in their design, but to sail out with a great fleet,
and undertake at once to make themselves masters of the island. He
possessed the people with great hopes, and he himself entertained yet
greater; and the conquest of Sicily, which was the utmost bound of their
ambition, was but the mere outset of his expectation. Nicias endeavored
to divert the people from the expedition, by representing to them that
the taking of Syracuse would be a work of great difficulty; but
Alcibiades dreamed of nothing less than the conquest of Carthage and
Libya, and by the accession of these conceiving himself at once made
master of Italy and of Peloponnesus, seemed to look upon Sicily as
little more than a magazine for the war. The young men were soon
elevated with these hopes, and listened gladly to those of riper years,
who talked wonders of the countries they were going to; so that you
might see great numbers sitting in the wrestling grounds and public
places, drawing on the ground the figure of the island and the situation
of Libya and Carthage. Socrates the philosopher and Meton the
astrologer are said, however, never to have hoped for any good to the
commonwealth from this war; the one, it is to be supposed, presaging
what would ensue, by the intervention of his attendant Genius; and the
other, either upon rational consideration of the project, or by use of
the art of divination, conceived fears for its issue, and, feigning
madness, caught up a burning torch, and seemed as if he would have set
his own house on fire. Others report, that he did not take upon him to
act the madman, but secretly in the night set his house on fire, and the
next morning besought the people, that for his comfort, after such a
calamity, they would spare his son from the expedition. By which
artifice, he deceived his fellow-citizens, and obtained of them what he

Together with Alcibiades, Nicias, much against his will, was appointed
general: and he endeavored to avoid the command, not the less on
account of his colleague. But the Athenians thought the war would
proceed more prosperously, if they did not send Alcibiades free from
all restraint, but tempered his heat with the caution of Nicias. This
they chose the rather to do, because Lamachus, the third general, though
he was of mature years, yet in several battles had appeared no less hot
and rash than Alcibiades himself. When they began to deliberate of the
number of forces, and of the manner of making the necessary provisions,
Nicias made another attempt to oppose the design, and to prevent the
war; but Alcibiades contradicted him, and carried his point with the
people. And one Demostratus, an orator, proposing to give the generals
absolute power over the preparations and the whole management of the
war, it was presently decreed so. When all things were fitted for the
voyage, many unlucky omens appeared. At that very time the feast of
Adonis happened, in which the women were used to expose, in all parts of
the city, images resembling dead men carried out to their burial, and to
represent funeral solemnities by lamentations and mournful songs. The
mutilation, however, of the images of Mercury, most of which, in one
night, had their faces all disfigured, terrified many persons who were
wont to despise most things of that nature. It was given out that it
was done by the Corinthians, for the sake of the Syracusans, who were
their colony, in hopes that the Athenians, by such prodigies, might be
induced to delay or abandon the war. But the report gained no credit
with the people, nor yet the opinion of those who would not believe that
there was anything ominous in the matter, but that it was only an
extravagant action, committed, in that sort of sport which runs into
license, by wild young men coming from a debauch. Alike enraged and
terrified at the thing, looking upon it to proceed from a conspiracy of
persons who designed some commotions in the state, the council, as well
as the assembly of the people, which was held frequently in a few days'
space, examined diligently everything that might administer ground for
suspicion. During this examination, Androcles, one of the demagogues,
produced certain slaves and strangers before them, who accused
Alcibiades and some of his friends of defacing other images in the same
manner, and of having profanely acted the sacred mysteries at a drunken
meeting, where one Theodorus represented the herald, Polytion the torch-
bearer, and Alcibiades the chief priest, while the rest of the party
appeared as candidates for initiation, and received the title of
Initiates. These were the matters contained in the articles of
information, which Thessalus, the son of Cimon, exhibited against
Alcibiades, for his impious mockery of the goddesses, Ceres and
Proserpine. The people were highly exasperated and incensed against
Alcibiades upon this accusation, which, being aggravated by Androcles,
the most malicious of all his enemies, at first disturbed his friends
exceedingly. But when they perceived that all the sea-men designed for
Sicily were for him, and the soldiers also, and when the Argive and
Mantinean auxiliaries, a thousand men at arms, openly declared that they
had undertaken this distant maritime expedition for the sake of
Alcibiades, and that, if he was ill-used, they would all go home, they
recovered their courage, and became eager to make use of the present
opportunity for justifying him. At this his enemies were again
discouraged, fearing lest the people should be more gentle to him in
their sentence, because of the occasion they had for his service.
Therefore, to obviate this, they contrived that some other orators, who
did not appear to be enemies to Alcibiades, but really hated him no less
than those who avowed it, should stand up in the assembly and say, that
it was a very absurd thing that one who was created general of such an
army with absolute power, after his troops were assembled, and the
confederates were come, should lose the opportunity, whilst the people
were choosing his judges by lot, and appointing times for the hearing of
the cause. And, therefore, let him set sail at once; good fortune
attend him; and when the war should be at an end, he might then in
person make his defense according to the laws.

Alcibiades perceived the malice of this postponement, and, appearing in
the assembly represented that it was monstrous for him to be sent with
the command of so large an army, when he lay under such accusations and
calumnies; that he deserved to die, if he could not clear himself of the
crimes objected to him; but when he had so done, and had proved his
innocence, he should then cheerfully apply himself to the war, as
standing no longer in fear of false accusers. But he could not prevail
with the people, who commanded him to sail immediately. So he departed,
together with the other generals, having with them near 140 galleys,
5,100 men at arms, and about 1,300 archers, slingers, and light-armed
men, and all the other provisions corresponding.

Arriving on the coast of Italy, he landed at Rhegium, and there stated
his views of the manner in which they ought to conduct the war. He was
opposed by Nicias, but Lamachus being of his opinion, they sailed for
Sicily forthwith, and took Catana. This was all that was done while he
was there, for he was soon after recalled by the Athenians to abide his
trial. At first, as we before said, there were only some slight
suspicions advanced against Alcibiades, and accusations by certain
slaves and strangers. But afterwards, in his absence, his enemies
attacked him more violently, and confounded together the breaking the
images with the profanation of the mysteries, as though both had been
committed in pursuance of the same conspiracy for changing the
government. The people proceeded to imprison all that were accused,
without distinction, and without hearing them, and repented now,
considering the importance of the charge, that they had not immediately
brought Alcibiades to his trial, and given judgment against him. Any of
his friends or acquaintance who fell into the people's hands, whilst
they were in this fury, did not fail to meet with very severe usage.
Thucydides has omitted to name the informers, but others mention
Dioclides and Teucer. Amongst whom is Phrynichus, the comic poet, in
whom we find the following:--

"O dearest Hermes! only do take care,
And mind you do not miss your footing there;
Should you get hurt, occasion may arise
For a new Dioclides to tell lies."

To which he makes Mercury return this answer:--

"I will so, for I feel no inclination
To reward Teucer for more information."

The truth is, his accusers alleged nothing that was certain or solid
against him. One of them, being asked how he knew the men who defaced
the images, replying, that he saw them by the light of the moon, made a
palpable misstatement, for it was just new moon when the fact was
committed. This made all men of understanding cry out upon the thing;
but the people were as eager as ever to receive further accusations, nor
was their first heat at all abated, but they instantly seized and
imprisoned every one that was accused. Amongst those who were detained
in prison for their trials was Andocides the orator, whose descent the
historian Hellanicus deduces from Ulysses. He was always supposed to
hate popular government, and to support oligarchy. The chief ground of
his being suspected of defacing the images was because the great
Mercury, which stood near his house, and was an ancient monument of the
tribe Aegeis, was almost the only statue of all the remarkable ones,
which remained entire. For this cause, it is now called the Mercury of
Andocides, all men giving it that name, though the inscription is
evidence to the contrary. It happened that Andocides, amongst the rest
who were prisoners upon the same account, contracted particular
acquaintance and intimacy with one Timaeus, a person inferior to him in
repute, but of remarkable dexterity and boldness. He persuaded
Andocides to accuse himself and some few others of this crime, urging
to him that, upon his confession, he would be, by the decree of the
people, secure of his pardon, whereas the event of judgment is uncertain
to all men, but to great persons, such as he was, most formidable. So
that it was better for him, if he regarded himself, to save his life by
a falsity, than to suffer an infamous death, as really guilty of the
crime. And if he had regard to the public good, it was commendable to
sacrifice a few suspected men, by that means to rescue many excellent
persons from the fury of the people. Andocides was prevailed upon, and
accused himself and some others, and, by the terms of the decree,
obtained his pardon, while all the persons named by him, except some few
who had saved themselves by flight, suffered death. To gain the greater
credit to his information, he accused his own servants amongst others.
But notwithstanding this, the people's anger was not wholly appeased;
and being now no longer diverted by the mutilators, they were at leisure
to pour out their whole rage upon Alcibiades. And, in conclusion, they
sent the galley named the Salaminian, to recall him. But they expressly
commanded those that were sent, to use no violence, nor seize upon his
person, but address themselves to him in the mildest terms, requiring
him to follow them to Athens in order to abide his trial, and clear
himself before the people. For they feared mutiny and sedition in the
army in an enemy's country, which indeed it would have been easy for
Alcibiades to effect, if he had wished it. For the soldiers were
dispirited upon his departure, expecting for the future tedious delays,
and that the war would be drawn out into a lazy length by Nicias, when
Alcibiades, who was the spur to action, was taken away. For though
Lamachus was a soldier, and a man of courage, poverty deprived him of
authority and respect in the army. Alcibiades, just upon his departure,
prevented Messena from falling into the hands of the Athenians. There
were some in that city who were upon the point of delivering it up, but
he, knowing the persons, gave information to some friends of the
Syracusans, and so defeated the whole contrivance. When he arrived at
Thurii, he went on shore, and, concealing himself there, escaped those
who searched after him. But to one who knew him, and asked him if he
durst not trust his own native country, he made answer, "In everything
else, yes; but in a matter that touches my life, I would not even my own
mother, lest she might by mistake throw in the black ball instead of the
white." When, afterwards, he was told that the assembly had pronounced
judgment of death against him, all he said was, "I will make them feel
that I am alive."

The information against him was conceived in this form:--

"Thessalus, the son of Cimon, of the township of Lacia, lays information
that Alcibiades, the son of Clinias, of the township of the Scambonidae,
has committed a crime against the goddesses Ceres and Proserpine, by
representing in derision the holy mysteries, and showing them to his
companions in his own house. Where, being habited in such robes as are
used by the chief priest when he shows the holy things, he named himself
the chief priest, Polytion the torch-bearer, and Theodorus, of the
township of Phegaea, the herald; and saluted the rest of his company as
Initiates and Novices. All which was done contrary to the laws and
institutions of the Eumolpidae, and the heralds and priests of the
temple at Eleusis."

He was condemned as contumacious upon his not appearing, his property
confiscated, and it was decreed that all the priests and priestesses
should solemnly curse him. But one of them, Theano, the daughter of
Menon, of the township of Agraule, is said to have opposed that part of
the decree, saying that her holy office obliged her to make prayers, but
not execrations.

Alcibiades, lying under these heavy decrees and sentences, when first he
fled from Thurii, passed over into Peloponnesus and remained some time
at Argos. But being there in fear of his enemies and seeing himself
utterly hopeless of return to his native country, he sent to Sparta,
desiring safe conduct, and assuring them that he would make them amends
by his future services for all the mischief he had done them while he
was their enemy. The Spartans giving him the security he desired, he
went eagerly, was well received, and, at his very first coming,
succeeded in inducing them, without any further caution or delay, to
send aid to the Syracusans; and so roused and excited them, that they
forthwith dispatched Gylippus into Sicily, to crush the forces which the
Athenians had in Sicily. A second point was, to renew the war upon the
Athenians at home. But the third thing, and the most important of all,
was to make them fortify Decelea, which above everything reduced and
wasted the resources of the Athenians.

The renown which he earned by these public services was equaled by the
admiration he attracted to his private life; he captivated and won over
everybody by his conformity to Spartan habits. People who saw him
wearing his hair close cut, bathing in cold water, eating coarse meal,
and dining on black broth, doubted, or rather could not believe, that he
ever had a cook in his house, or had ever seen a perfumer, or had worn a
mantle of Milesian purple. For he had, as it was observed, this
peculiar talent and artifice for gaining men's affections, that he could
at once comply with and really embrace and enter into their habits and
ways of life, and change faster than the chameleon. One color, indeed,
they say the chameleon cannot assume; it cannot make itself appear
white; but Alcibiades, whether with good men or with bad, could adapt
himself to his company, and equally wear the appearance of virtue or
vice. At Sparta, he was devoted to athletic exercises, was frugal and
reserved; in Ionia, luxurious, gay, and indolent; in Thrace, always
drinking; in Thessaly, ever on horseback; and when he lived with
Tisaphernes, the Persian satrap, he exceeded the Persians themselves in
magnificence and pomp. Not that his natural disposition changed so
easily, nor that his real character was so very variable, but, whenever
he was sensible that by pursuing his own inclinations he might give
offense to those with whom he had occasion to converse, he transformed
himself into any shape, and adopted any fashion, that he observed to be
most agreeable to them. So that to have seen him at Lacedaemon, a man,
judging by the outward appearance, would have said, "'Tis not Achilles's
son, but he himself, the very man" that Lycurgus designed to form; while
his real feelings and acts would have rather provoked the exclamation,
"'Tis the same woman still." For while king Agis was absent, and abroad
with the army, he corrupted his wife Timaea, and had a child born by
her. Nor did she even deny it, but when she was brought to bed of a
son, called him in public Leotychides, but, amongst her confidants and
attendants, would whisper that his name was Alcibiades. To such a
degree was she transported by her passion for him. He, on the other
side, would say, in his vain way, he had not done this thing out of mere
wantonness of insult, nor to gratify a passion, but that his race might
one day be kings over the Lacedaemonians.

There were many who told Agis that this was so, but time itself gave the
greatest confirmation to the story. For Agis, alarmed by an earthquake,
had quitted his wife, and, for ten months after, was never with her;
Leotychides, therefore, being born after those ten months, he would not
acknowledge him for his son; which was the reason that afterwards he was
not admitted to the succession.

After the defeat which the Athenians received in Sicily, ambassadors
were dispatched to Sparta at once from Chios and Lesbos and Cyzicus, to
signify their purpose of revolting from the Athenians. The Boeotians
interposed in favor of the Lesbians, and Pharnabazus of the Cyzicenes,
but the Lacedaemonians, at the persuasion of Alcibiades, chose to assist
Chios before all others. He himself, also, went instantly to sea,
procured the immediate revolt of almost all Ionia, and, cooperating with
the Lacedaemonian generals, did great mischief to the Athenians. But
Agis was his enemy, hating him for having dishonored his wife, and also
impatient of his glory, as almost every enterprise and every success was
ascribed to Alcibiades. Others, also, of the most powerful and
ambitious amongst the Spartans, were possessed with jealousy of him,
and, at last, prevailed with the magistrates in the city to send orders
into Ionia that he should be killed. Alcibiades, however, had secret
intelligence of this, and, in apprehension of the result, while he
communicated all affairs to the Lacedaemonians, yet took care not to put
himself into their power. At last he retired to Tisaphernes, the king
of Persia's satrap, for his security, and immediately became the first
and most influential person about him. For this barbarian, not being
himself sincere, but a lover of guile and wickedness, admired his
address and wonderful subtlety. And, indeed, the charm of daily
intercourse with him was more than any character could resist or any
disposition escape. Even those who feared and envied him could not but
take delight, and have a sort of kindness for him, when they saw him and
were in his company. So that Tisaphernes, otherwise a cruel character,
and, above all other Persians, a hater of the Greeks, was yet so won by
the flatteries of Alcibiades, that he set himself even to exceed him in
responding to them. The most beautiful of his parks, containing
salubrious streams and meadows, where he had built pavilions, and places
of retirement royally and exquisitely adorned, received by his direction
the name of Alcibiades, and was always so called and so spoken of.

Thus Alcibiades, quitting the interests of the Spartans, whom he could
no longer trust, because he stood in fear of Agis, endeavored to do them
ill offices, and render them odious to Tisaphernes, who, by his means,
was hindered from assisting them vigorously, and from finally ruining
the Athenians. For his advice was to furnish them but sparingly with
money, and so wear them out, and consume them insensibly; when they had
wasted their strength upon one another, they would both become ready to
submit to the king. Tisaphernes readily pursued his counsel, and so
openly expressed the liking and admiration which he had for him, that
Alcibiades was looked up to by the Greeks of both parties, and the
Athenians, now in their misfortunes, repented them of their severe
sentence against him. And he, on the other side, began to be troubled
for them, and to fear lest, if that commonwealth were utterly destroyed,
he should fall into the hands of the Lacedaemonians, his enemies.

At that time the whole strength of the Athenians was in Samos. Their
fleet maintained itself here, and issued from these head-quarters to
reduce such as had revolted, and protect the rest of their territories;
in one way or other still contriving to be a match for their enemies at
sea. What they stood in fear of, was Tisaphernes and the Phoenician
fleet of one hundred and fifty galleys, which was said to be already
under sail; if those came, there remained then no hopes for the
commonwealth of Athens. Understanding this, Alcibiades sent secretly to
the chief men of the Athenians, who were then at Samos, giving them
hopes that he would make Tisaphernes their friend; he was willing, he
implied, to do some favor, not to the people, nor in reliance upon them,
but to the better citizens, if only, like brave men, they would make the
attempt to put down the insolence of the people, and, by taking upon
them the government, would endeavor to save the city from ruin. All of
them gave a ready ear to the proposal made by Alcibiades, except only
Phrynichus of the township of Dirades, one of the generals, who
suspected, as the truth was, that Alcibiades concerned not himself
whether the government were in the people or the better citizens, but
only sought by any means to make way for his return into his native
country, and to that end inveighed against the people, thereby to gain
the others, and to insinuate himself into their good opinion. But when
Phrynichus found his counsel to be rejected, and that he was himself
become a declared enemy of Alcibiades, he gave secret intelligence to
Astyochus, the enemy's admiral, cautioning him to beware of Alcibiades,
and to seize him as a double dealer, unaware that one traitor was making
discoveries to another. For Astyochus, who was eager to gain the favor
of Tisaphernes, observing the credit Alcibiades had with him, revealed
to Alcibiades all that Phrynichus had said against him. Alcibiades at
once dispatched messengers to Samos, to accuse Phrynichus of the
treachery. Upon this, all the commanders were enraged with Phrynichus,
and set themselves against him, and he, seeing no other way to extricate
himself from the present danger, attempted to remedy one evil by a
greater. He sent to Astyochus to reproach him for betraying him, and to
make an offer to him at the same time, to deliver into his hands both
the army and the navy of the Athenians. This occasioned no damage to
the Athenians, because Astyochus repeated his treachery, and revealed
also this proposal to Alcibiades. But this again was foreseen by
Phrynichus, who, expecting a second accusation from Alcibiades, to
anticipate him, advertised the Athenians beforehand that the enemy was
ready to sail in order to surprise them, and therefore advised them to
fortify their camp, and to be in a readiness to go aboard their ships.
While the Athenians were intent upon doing these things, they received
other letters from Alcibiades, admonishing them to beware of Phrynichus,
as one who designed to betray their fleet to the enemy, to which they
then gave no credit at all, conceiving that Alcibiades, who knew
perfectly the counsels and preparations of the enemy, was merely making
use of that knowledge, in order to impose upon them in this false
accusation of Phrynichus. Yet, afterwards, when Phrynichus was stabbed
with a dagger in the market-place by Hermon, one of the guard, the
Athenians, entering into an examination of the cause, solemnly condemned
Phrynichus of treason, and decreed crowns to Hermon and his associates.
And now the friends of Alcibiades, carrying all before them at Samos,
dispatched Pisander to Athens, to attempt a change of government, and to
encourage the aristocratical citizens to take upon themselves the
government, and overthrow the democracy, representing to them, that,
upon these terms, Alcibiades would procure them the friendship and
alliance of Tisaphernes.

This was the color and pretense made use of by those who desired to
change the government of Athens to an oligarchy. But as soon as they
prevailed, and had got the administration of affairs into their hands,
under the name of the Five Thousand (whereas, indeed, they were but four
hundred), they slighted Alcibiades altogether, and prosecuted the war
with less vigor; partly because they durst not yet trust the citizens,
who secretly detested this change, and partly because they thought the
Lacedaemonians, who always befriended the government of the few, would
be inclined to give them favorable terms.

The people in the city were terrified into submission, many of those who
had dared openly to oppose the four hundred having been put to death.
But those who were at Samos, indignant when they heard this news, were
eager to set sail instantly for the Piraeus; and, sending for
Alcibiades, they declared him general, requiring him to lead them on to
put down the tyrants. He, however, in that juncture, did not, as it
might have been thought a man would, on being suddenly exalted by the
favor of a multitude, think himself under an obligation to gratify and
submit to all the wishes of those who, from a fugitive and an exile, had
created him general of so great an army, and given him the command of
such a fleet. But, as became a great captain, he opposed himself to the
precipitate resolutions which their rage led them to, and, by
restraining them from the great error they were about to commit,
unequivocally saved the commonwealth. For if they then had sailed to
Athens, all Ionia and the islands and the Hellespont would have fallen
into the enemies' hands without opposition, while the Athenians,
involved in civil war, would have been fighting with one another within
the circuit of their own walls. It was Alcibiades alone, or, at least,
principally, who prevented all this mischief; for he not only used
persuasion to the whole army, and showed them the danger, but applied
himself to them, one by one, entreating some, and constraining others.
He was much assisted, however, by Thrasybulus of Stiria, who, having the
loudest voice, as we are told of all the Athenians, went along with him,
and cried out to those who were ready to be gone. A second great
service which Alcibiades did for them was, his undertaking that the
Phoenician fleet, which the Lacedaemonians expected to be sent to them
by the king of Persia, should either come in aid of the Athenians, or
otherwise should not come at all. He sailed off with all expedition in
order to perform this, and the ships, which had already been seen as
near as Aspendus, were not brought any further by Tisaphernes, who thus
deceived the Lacedaemonians; and it was by both sides believed that they
had been diverted by the procurement of Alcibiades. The Lacedaemonians,
in particular, accused him, that he had advised the Barbarian to stand
still, and suffer the Greeks to waste and destroy one another, as it was
evident that the accession of so great a force to either party would
enable them to take away the entire dominion of the sea from the other

Soon after this, the four hundred usurpers were driven out, the friends
of Alcibiades vigorously assisting those who were for the popular
government. And now the people in the city not only desired, but
commanded Alcibiades to return home from his exile. He, however,
desired not to owe his return to the mere grace and commiseration of the
people, and resolved to come back, not with empty hands, but with glory,
and after some service done. To this end, he sailed from Samos with a
few ships, and cruised on the sea of Cnidos, and about the isle of Cos;
but receiving intelligence there that Mindarus, the Spartan admiral, had
sailed with his whole army into the Hellespont, and that the Athenians
had followed him, he hurried back to succor the Athenian commanders,
and, by good fortune, arrived with eighteen galleys at a critical time.
For both the fleets having engaged near Abydos, the fight between them
had lasted till night, the one side having the advantage on one quarter,
and the other on another. Upon his first appearance, both sides formed
a false impression; the enemy was encouraged, and the Athenians
terrified. But Alcibiades suddenly raised the Athenian ensign in the
admiral ship, and fell upon those galleys of the Peloponnesians which
had the advantage and were in pursuit. He soon put these to flight, and
followed them so close that he forced them on shore, and broke the ships
in pieces, the sailors abandoning them and swimming away, in spite of
all the efforts of Pharnabazus, who had come down to their assistance by
land, and did what he could to protect them from the shore. In fine,
the Athenians, having taken thirty of the enemy's ships, and recovered
all their own, erected a trophy. After the gaining of so glorious a
victory, his vanity made him eager to show himself to Tisaphernes, and,
having furnished himself with gifts and presents, and an equipage
suitable to his dignity, he set out to visit him. But the thing did not
succeed as he had imagined, for Tisaphernes had been long suspected by
the Lacedaemonians, and was afraid to fall into disgrace with his king,
upon that account, and therefore thought that Alcibiades arrived very
opportunely, and immediately caused him to be seized, and sent away
prisoner to Sardis; fancying, by this act of injustice, to clear himself
from all former imputations.

But about thirty days after, Alcibiades escaped from his keepers, and,
having got a horse, fled to Clazomenae, where he procured Tisaphernes'
additional disgrace by professing he was a party to his escape. From
there he sailed to the Athenian camp, and, being informed there that
Mindarus and Pharnabazus were together at Cyzicus, he made a speech to
the soldiers, telling them that sea-fighting, land-fighting, and, by the
gods, fighting against fortified cities too, must be all one for them,
as, unless they conquered everywhere, there was no money for them. As
soon as ever he got them on shipboard, he hasted to Proconnesus, and
gave command to seize all the small vessels they met, and guard them
safely in the interior of the fleet, that the enemy might have no notice
of his coming; and a great storm of rain, accompanied with thunder and
darkness, which happened at the same time, contributed much to the
concealment of his enterprise. Indeed, it was not only undiscovered by
the enemy, but the Athenians themselves were ignorant of it, for he
commanded them suddenly on board, and set sail when they had abandoned
all intention of it. As the darkness presently passed away, the
Peloponnesian fleet were seen riding out at sea in front of the harbor
of Cyzicus. Fearing, if they discovered the number of his ships, they
might endeavor to save themselves by land, he commanded the rest of the
captains to slacken, and follow him slowly, whilst he, advancing with
forty ships, showed himself to the enemy, and provoked them to fight.
The enemy, being deceived as to their numbers; despised them, and,
supposing they were to contend with those only, made themselves ready
and began the fight. But as soon as they were engaged, they perceived
the other part of the fleet coming down upon them, at which they were so
terrified that they fled immediately. Upon that, Alcibiades, breaking
through the midst of them with twenty of his best ships, hastened to the
shore, disembarked, and pursued those who abandoned their ships and fled
to land, and made a great slaughter of them. Mindarus and Pharnabazus,
coming to their succor, were utterly defeated. Mindarus was slain upon
the place, fighting valiantly; Pharnabazus saved himself by flight. The
Athenians slew great numbers of their enemies, won much spoil, and took
all their ships. They also made themselves masters of Cyzicus, which
was deserted by Pharnabazus, and destroyed its Peloponnesian garrison,
and thereby not only secured to themselves the Hellespont, but by force
drove the Lacedaemonians from out of all the rest of the sea. They
intercepted some letters written to the ephors, which gave an account of
this fatal overthrow, after their short laconic manner. "Our hopes are
at an end. Mindarus is slain. The men starve. We know not what to

The soldiers who followed Alcibiades in this last fight were so exalted
with their success, and felt that degree of pride, that, looking on
themselves as invincible, they disdained to mix with the other soldiers,
who had been often overcome. For it happened not long before,
Thrasyllus had received a defeat near Ephesus, and, upon that occasion,
the Ephesians erected their brazen trophy to the disgrace of the
Athenians. The soldiers of Alcibiades reproached those who were under
the command of Thrasyllus with this misfortune, at the same time
magnifying themselves and their own commander, and it went so far that
they would not exercise with them, nor lodge in the same quarters. But
soon after, Pharnabazus, with a great force of horse and foot, falling
upon the soldiers of Thrasyllus, as they were laying waste the territory
of Abydos, Alcibiades came to their aid, routed Pharnabazus, and,
together with Thrasyllus, pursued him till it was night; and in this
action the troops united, and returned together to the camp, rejoicing
and congratulating one another. The next day he erected a trophy, and
then proceeded to lay waste with fire and sword the whole province which
was under Pharnabazus, where none ventured to resist; and he took divers
priests and priestesses, but released them without ransom. He prepared
next to attack the Chalcedonians, who had revolted from the Athenians,
and had received a Lacedaemonian governor and garrison. But having
intelligence that they had removed their corn and cattle out of the
fields, and were conveying it all to the Bithynians, who were their
friends, he drew down his army to the frontier of the Bithynians, and
then sent a herald to charge them with this proceeding. The Bithynians,
terrified at his approach, delivered up to him the booty, and entered
into alliance with him.

Afterwards he proceeded to the siege of Chalcedon, and enclosed it with
a wall from sea to sea. Pharnabazus advanced with his forces to raise
the siege, and Hippocrates, the governor of the town, at the same time,
gathering together all the strength he had, made a sally upon the
Athenians. Alcibiades divided his army so as to engage them both at
once, and not only forced Pharnabazus to a dishonorable flight, but
defeated Hippocrates, and killed him and a number of the soldiers with
him. After this he sailed into the Hellespont, in order to raise
supplies of money, and took the city of Selymbria, in which action,
through his precipitation, he exposed himself to great danger. For some
within the town had undertaken to betray it into his hands, and, by
agreement, were to give him a signal by a lighted torch about midnight.
But one of the conspirators beginning to repent himself of the design,
the rest, for fear of being discovered, were driven to give the signal
before the appointed hour. Alcibiades, as soon as he saw the torch
lifted up in the air, though his army was not in readiness to march, ran
instantly towards the walls, taking with him about thirty men only, and
commanding the rest of the army to follow him with all possible speed.
When he came thither, he found the gate opened for him, and entered with
his thirty men, and about twenty more light-armed men, who were come up
to them. They were no sooner in the city, but he perceived the
Selymbrians all armed, coming down upon him; so that there was no hope
of escaping if he stayed to receive them; and, on the other hand, having
been always successful till that day, wherever he commanded, he could
not endure to be defeated and fly. So, requiring silence by sound of a
trumpet, he commanded one of his men to make proclamation that the
Selymbrians should not take arms against the Athenians. This cooled
such of the inhabitants as were fiercest for the fight, for they
supposed that all their enemies were within the walls, and it raised the
hopes of others who were disposed to an accommodation. Whilst they were
parleying, and propositions making on one side and the other,
Alcibiades's whole army came up to the town. And now, conjecturing
rightly, that the Selymbrians were well inclined to peace, and fearing
lest the city might be sacked by the Thracians, who came in great
numbers to his army to serve as volunteers, out of kindness for him, he
commanded them all to retreat without the walls. And upon the
submission of the Selymbrians, he saved them from being pillaged, only
taking of them a sum of money, and, after placing an Athenian garrison
in the town, departed.

During this action, the Athenian captains who besieged Chalcedon
concluded a treaty with Pharnabazus upon these articles: that he should
give them a sum of money; that the Chalcedonians should return to the
subjection of Athens; and that the Athenians should make no inroad into
the province whereof Pharnabazus was governor; and Pharnabazus was also
to provide safe conducts for the Athenian ambassadors to the king of
Persia. Afterwards, when Alcibiades returned thither, Pharnabazus
required that he also should be sworn to the treaty; but he refused it,
unless Pharnabazus would swear at the same time. When the treaty was
sworn to on both sides Alcibiades went against the Byzantines, who had
revolted from the Athenians, and drew a line of circumvallation about
the city. But Anaxilaus and Lycurgus, together with some others, having
undertaken to betray the city to him upon his engagement to preserve the
lives and property of the inhabitants, he caused a report to be spread
abroad, as if, by reason of some unexpected movement in Ionia, he should
be obliged to raise the siege. And, accordingly, that day he made a
show to depart with his whole fleet; but returned the same night, and
went ashore with all his men at arms, and, silently and undiscovered,
marched up to the walls. At the same time, his ships rowed into the
harbor with all possible violence, coming on with much fury, and with
great shouts and outcries. The Byzantines, thus surprised and
astonished, while they all hurried to the defense of their port and
shipping, gave opportunity to those who favored the Athenians, securely
to receive Alcibiades into the city. Yet the enterprise was not
accomplished without fighting, for the Peloponnesians, Boeotians, and
Megarians not only repulsed those who came out of the ships, and forced
them on board again, but, hearing that the Athenians were entered on
the other side, drew up in order, and went to meet them. Alcibiades,
however, gained the victory after some sharp fighting, in which he
himself had the command of the right wing, and Theramenes of the left,
and took about three hundred, who survived of the enemy, prisoners of
war. After the battle, not one of the Byzantines was slain, or driven
out of the city, according to the terms upon which the city was put into
his hands, that they should receive no prejudice in life or property.
And thus Anaxilaus, being afterwards accused at Lacedaemon for this
treason, neither disowned nor professed to be ashamed of the action; for
he urged that he was not a Lacedaemonian, but a Byzantine and saw not
Sparta, but Byzantium, in extreme danger; the city so blockaded that it
was not possible to bring in any new provisions, and the Peloponnesians
and Boeotians, who were in garrison, devouring the old stores, whilst
the Byzantines, with their wives and children, were starving; that he
had not, therefore, betrayed his country to enemies, but had delivered
it from the calamities of war, and had but followed the example of the
most worthy Lacedaemonians, who esteemed nothing to be honorable and
just, but what was profitable for their country. The Lacedaemonians,
upon hearing his defense, respected it, and discharged all that were

And now Alcibiades began to desire to see his native country again, or
rather to show his fellow-citizens a person who had gained so many
victories for them. He set sail for Athens, the ships that accompanied
him being adorned with great numbers of shields and other spoils, and
towing after them many galleys taken from the enemy, and the ensigns and
ornaments of many others which he had sunk and destroyed; all of them
together amounting to two hundred. Little credit, perhaps, can be given
to what Duris the Samian, who professed to be descended from Alcibiades,
adds, that Chrysogonus, who had gained a victory at the Pythian games,
played upon his flute for the galleys, whilst the oars kept time with
the music; and that Callippides, the tragedian, attired in his buskins,
his purple robes, and other ornaments used in the theater, gave the word
to the rowers, and that the admiral galley entered into the port with a
purple sail. Neither Theopompus, nor Ephorus, nor Xenophon, mention
them. Nor, indeed, is it credible, that one who returned from so long
an exile, and such variety of misfortunes, should come home to his
countrymen in the style of revelers breaking up from a drinking-party.
On the contrary, he entered the harbor full of fear, nor would he
venture to go on shore, till, standing on the deck, he saw Euryptolemus,
his cousin, and others of his friends and acquaintance, who were ready
to receive him, and invited him to land. As soon as he was landed, the
multitude who came out to meet him scarcely seemed so much as to see any
of the other captains, but came in throngs about Alcibiades, and saluted
him with loud acclamations, and still followed him; those who could
press near him crowned him with garlands, and they who could not come up
so close yet stayed to behold him afar off, and the old men pointed him
out, and showed him to the young ones. Nevertheless, this public joy
was mixed with some tears, and the present happiness was allayed by the
remembrance of the miseries they had endured. They made reflections,
that they could not have so unfortunately miscarried in Sicily, or been
defeated in any of their other expectations, if they had left the
management of their affairs formerly, and the command of their forces,
to Alcibiades, since, upon his undertaking the administration, when they
were in a manner driven from the sea, and could scarce defend the
suburbs of their city by land, and, at the same time, were miserably
distracted with intestine factions, he had raised them up from this low
and deplorable condition, and had not only restored them to their
ancient dominion of the sea, but had also made them everywhere
victorious over their enemies on land.

There had been a decree for recalling him from his banishment already
passed by the people, at the instance of Critias, the son of
Callaeschrus, as appears by his elegies, in which he puts Alcibiades in
mind of this service:--

From my proposal did that edict come,
Which from your tedious exile brought you home;
The public vote at first was moved by me,
And my voice put the seal to the decree.

The people being summoned to an assembly, Alcibiades came in amongst
them, and first bewailed and lamented his own sufferings, and, in gentle
terms complaining of the usage he had received, imputed all to his hard
fortune, and some ill genius that attended him: then he spoke at large
of their prospects, and exhorted them to courage and good hope. The
people crowned him with crowns of gold, and created him general, both at
land and sea, with absolute power. They also made a decree that his
estate should be restored to him, and that the Eumolpidae and the holy
heralds should absolve him from the curses which they had solemnly
pronounced against him by sentence of the people. Which when all the
rest obeyed, Theodorus, the high-priest, excused himself, "For," said
he, "if he is innocent, I never cursed him."

But notwithstanding the affairs of Alcibiades went so prosperously, and
so much to his glory, yet many were still somewhat disturbed, and looked
upon the time of his arrival to be ominous. For on the day that he came
into the port, the feast of the goddess Minerva, which they call the
Plynteria, was kept. It is the twenty-fifth day of Thargelion, when the
Praxiergidae solemnize their secret rites, taking all the ornaments from
off her image, and keeping the part of the temple where it stands close
covered. Hence the Athenians esteem this day most inauspicious and
never undertake any thing of importance upon it; and, therefore, they
imagined that the goddess did not receive Alcibiades graciously and
propitiously, thus hiding her face and rejecting him. Yet,
notwithstanding, everything succeeded according to his wish. When the
one hundred galleys, that were to return with him, were fitted out and
ready to sail, an honorable zeal detained him till the celebration of
the mysteries was over. For ever since Decelea had been occupied, as
the enemy commanded the roads leading from Athens to Eleusis, the
procession, being conducted by sea, had not been performed with any
proper solemnity; they were forced to omit the sacrifices and dances and
other holy ceremonies, which had usually been performed in the way, when
they led forth Iacchus. Alcibiades, therefore, judged it would be a
glorious action, which would do honor to the gods and gain him esteem
with men, if he restored the ancient splendor to these rites, escorting
the procession again by land, and protecting it with his army in the
face of the enemy. For either, if Agis stood still and did not oppose,
it would very much diminish and obscure his reputation, or, in the other
alternative, Alcibiades would engage in a holy war, in the cause of the
gods, and in defense of the most sacred and solemn ceremonies; and this
in the sight of his country, where he should have all his fellow-
citizens witnesses of his valor. As soon as he had resolved upon this
design, and had communicated it to the Eumolpidae and heralds, he placed
sentinels on the tops of the hills, and at the break of day sent forth
his scouts. And then taking with him the priests and Initiates and the
Initiators, and encompassing them with his soldiers, he conducted them
with great order and profound silence; an august and venerable
procession, wherein all who did not envy him said, he performed at once
the office of a high-priest and of a general. The enemy did not dare to
attempt any thing against them, and thus he brought them back in safety
to the city. Upon which, as he was exalted in his own thought, so the
opinion which the people had of his conduct was raised to that degree,
that they looked upon their armies as irresistible and invincible while
he commanded them; and he so won, indeed, upon the lower and meaner sort
of people, that they passionately desired to have him "tyrant" over
them, and some of them did not scruple to tell him so, and to advise him
to put himself out of the reach of envy, by abolishing the laws and
ordinances of the people, and suppressing the idle talkers that were
ruining the state, that so he might act and take upon him the management
of affairs, without standing in fear of being called to an account.

How far his own inclinations led him to usurp sovereign power, is
uncertain, but the most considerable persons in the city were so much
afraid of it, that they hastened him on ship-board as speedily as they
could, appointing the colleagues whom he chose, and allowing him all
other things as he desired. Thereupon he set sail with a fleet of one
hundred ships, and, arriving at Andros, he there fought with and
defeated as well the inhabitants as the Lacedaemonians who assisted
them. He did not, however, take the city; which gave the first occasion
to his enemies for all their accusations against him. Certainly, if
ever man was ruined by his own glory, it was Alcibiades. For his
continual success had produced such an idea of his courage and conduct,
that, if he failed in anything he undertook, it was imputed to his
neglect, and no one would believe it was through want of power. For
they thought nothing was too hard for him, if he went about it in good
earnest. They fancied, every day, that they should hear news of the
reduction of Chios, and of the rest of Ionia, and grew impatient that
things were not effected as fast and as rapidly as they could wish for
them. They never considered how extremely money was wanting, and that,
having to carry on war with an enemy who had supplies of all things from
a great king, he was often forced to quit his armament, in order to
procure money and provisions for the subsistence of his soldiers. This
it was which gave occasion for the last accusation which was made
against him. For Lysander, being sent from Lacedaemon with a commission
to be admiral of their fleet, and being furnished by Cyrus with a great
sum of money, gave every sailor four obols a day, whereas before they
had but three. Alcibiades could hardly allow his men three obols, and
therefore was constrained to go into Caria to furnish himself with
money. He left the care of the fleet, in his absence, to Antiochus, an
experienced seaman, but rash and inconsiderate, who had express orders
from Alcibiades not to engage, though the enemy provoked him. But he
slighted and disregarded these directions to that degree, that, having
made ready his own galley and another, he stood for Ephesus, where the
enemy lay, and, as he sailed before the heads of their galleys, used
every provocation possible, both in words and deeds. Lysander at first
manned out a few ships, and pursued him. But all the Athenian ships
coming in to his assistance, Lysander, also, brought up his whole fleet,
which gained an entire victory. He slew Antiochus himself, took many
men and ships, and erected a trophy.

As soon as Alcibiades heard this news, he returned to Samos, and loosing
from thence with his whole fleet, came and offered battle to Lysander.
But Lysander, content with the victory he had gained, would not stir.
Amongst others in the army who hated Alcibiades, Thrasybulus, the son of
Thrason, was his particular enemy, and went purposely to Athens to
accuse him, and to exasperate his enemies in the city against him.
Addressing the people, he represented that Alcibiades had ruined their
affairs and lost their ships by mere self-conceited neglect of his
duties, committing the government of the army, in his absence, to men
who gained his favor by drinking and scurrilous talking, whilst he
wandered up and down at pleasure to raise money, giving himself up to
every sort of luxury and excess amongst the courtesans of Abydos and
Ionia, at a time when the enemy's navy were on the watch close at hand.
It was also objected to him, that he had fortified a castle near
Bisanthe in Thrace, for a safe retreat for himself, as one that either
could not, or would not, live in his own country. The Athenians gave
credit to these informations, and showed the resentment and displeasure
which they had conceived against him, by choosing other generals.

As soon as Alcibiades heard of this, he immediately forsook the army,
afraid of what might follow; and, collecting a body of mercenary
soldiers, made war upon his own account against those Thracians who
called themselves free, and acknowledged no king. By this means he
amassed to himself a considerable treasure, and, at the same time,
secured the bordering Greeks from the incursions of the barbarians.

Tydeus, Menander, and Adimantus, the new-made generals, were at that
time posted at Aegospotami, with all the ships which the Athenians had
left. From whence they were used to go out to sea every morning, and
offer battle to Lysander, who lay near Lampsacus; and when they had done
so, returning back again, lay, all the rest of the day, carelessly and
without order, in contempt of the enemy. Alcibiades, who was not far
off, did not think so slightly of their danger, nor neglect to let them
know it, but, mounting his horse, came to the generals, and represented
to them that they had chosen a very inconvenient station, where there
was no safe harbor, and where they were distant from any town; so that
they were constrained to send for their necessary provisions as far as
Sestos. He also pointed out to them their carelessness in suffering the
soldiers, when they went ashore, to disperse and wander up and down at
their pleasure, while the enemy's fleet, under the command of one
general, and strictly obedient to discipline, lay so very near them. He
advised them to remove the fleet to Sestos. But the admirals not only
disregarded what he said, but Tydeus, with insulting expressions;
commanded him to be gone, saying, that now not he, but others, had the
command of the forces. Alcibiades, suspecting something of treachery in
them, departed, and told his friends, who accompanied him out of the
camp, that if the generals had not used him with such insupportable
contempt, he would within a few days have forced the Lacedaemonians,
however unwilling, either to have fought the Athenians at sea, or to
have deserted their ships. Some looked upon this as a piece of
ostentation only; others said, the thing was probable, for that he might
have brought down by land great numbers of the Thracian cavalry and
archers, to assault and disorder them in their camp. The event
however, soon made it evident how rightly he had judged of the errors
which the Athenians committed. For Lysander fell upon them on a sudden,
when they least suspected it, with such fury that Conon alone, with
eight galleys, escaped him; all the rest, which were about two hundred,
he took and carried away, together with three thousand prisoners, whom
he put to death. And within a short time after, he took Athens itself,
burnt all the ships which he found there, and demolished their long

After this, Alcibiades, standing in dread of the Lacedaemonians, who
were now masters both at sea and land, retired into Bithynia. He sent
thither great treasure before him, took much with him, but left much
more in the castle where he had before resided. But he lost great part
of his wealth in Bithynia, being robbed by some Thracians who lived in
those parts, and thereupon determined to go to the court of Artaxerxes,
not doubting but that the king, if he would make trial of his abilities,
would find him not inferior to Themistocles, besides that he was
recommended by a more honorable cause. For he went, not as Themistocles
did, to offer his service against his fellow-citizens, but against their
enemies, and to implore the king's aid for the defense of his country.
He concluded that Pharnabazus would most readily procure him a safe
conduct, and therefore went into Phrygia to him, and continued to dwell
there some time, paying him great respect, and being honorably treated
by him. The Athenians, in the meantime, were miserably afflicted at
their loss of empire, but when they were deprived of liberty also, and
Lysander set up thirty despotic rulers in the city, in their ruin now
they began to turn to those thoughts which, while safety was yet
possible, they would not entertain; they acknowledged and bewailed their
former errors and follies, and judged this second ill-usage of
Alcibiades to be of all the most inexcusable. For he was rejected,
without any fault committed by himself; and only because they were
incensed against his subordinate for having shamefully lost a few ships,
they much more shamefully deprived the commonwealth of its most valiant
and accomplished general. Yet in this sad state of affairs, they had
still some faint hopes left them, nor would they utterly despair of the
Athenian commonwealth, while Alcibiades was safe. For they persuaded
themselves that if before, when he was an exile, he could not content
himself to live idly and at ease, much less now, if he could find any
favorable opportunity, would he endure the insolence of the
Lacedaemonians, and the outrages of the Thirty. Nor was it an absurd
thing in the people to entertain such imaginations, when the Thirty
themselves were so very solicitous to be informed and to get
intelligence of all his actions and designs. In fine, Critias
represented to Lysander that the Lacedaemonians could never securely
enjoy the dominion of Greece, till the Athenian democracy was absolutely
destroyed; and though now the people of Athens seemed quietly and
patiently to submit to so small a number of governors, yet so long as
Alcibiades lived, the knowledge of this fact would never suffer them to
acquiesce in their present circumstances.

Yet Lysander would not be prevailed upon by these representations, till
at last he received secret orders from the magistrates of Lacedaemon,
expressly requiring him to get Alcibiades dispatched: whether it was
that they feared his energy and boldness in enterprising what was
hazardous, or that it was done to gratify king Agis. Upon receipt of
this order, Lysander sent away a messenger to Pharnabazus, desiring him
to put it in execution. Pharnabazus committed the affair to Magaeus,
his brother, and to his uncle Susamithres. Alcibiades resided at that
time in a small village in Phrygia, together with Timandra, a mistress
of his. As he slept, he had this dream: he thought himself attired in
his mistress's habit, and that she, holding him in her arms, dressed his
head and painted his face as if he had been a woman; others say, he
dreamed that he saw Magaeus cut off his head and burn his body; at any
rate, it was but a little while before his death that he had these
visions. Those who were sent to assassinate him had not courage enough
to enter the house, but surrounded it first, and set it on fire.
Alcibiades, as soon as he perceived it, getting together great
quantities of clothes and furniture, threw them upon the fire to choke
it, and, having wrapped his cloak about his left arm, and holding his
naked sword in his right, he cast himself into the middle of the fire,
and escaped securely through it, before his clothes were burnt. The
barbarians, as soon as they saw him, retreated, and none of them durst
stay to expect him, or to engage with him, but, standing at a distance,
they slew him with their darts and arrows. When he was dead, the
barbarians departed, and Timandra took up his dead body, and, covering
and wrapping it up in her own robes, she buried it as decently and as
honorably as her circumstances would allow. It is said, that the famous
Lais, who was called the Corinthian, though she was a native of Hyccara,
a small town in Sicily, from whence she was brought a captive, was the
daughter of this Timandra. There are some who agree with this account
of Alcibiades's death in all points, except that they impute the cause
of it neither to Pharnabazus, nor Lysander, nor the Lacedaemonians:
but, they say, he was keeping with him a young lady of a noble house,
whom he had debauched, and that her brothers, not being able to endure
the indignity, set fire by night to the house where he was living, and,
as he endeavored to save himself from the flames, slew him with their
darts, in the manner just related.


The patrician house of the Marcii in Rome produced many men of
distinction, and among the rest, Ancus Marcius, grandson to Numa by his
daughter, and king after Tullus Hostilius. Of the same family were also
Publius and Quintus Marcius, which two conveyed into the city the best
and most abundant supply of water they have at Rome. As likewise
Censorinus, who, having been twice chosen censor by the people,
afterwards himself induced them to make a law that nobody should bear
that office twice. But Caius Marcius, of whom I now write, being left
an orphan, and brought up under the widowhood of his mother, has shown
us by experience, that, although the early loss of a father may be
attended with other disadvantages, yet it can hinder none from being
either virtuous or eminent in the world, and that it is no obstacle to
true goodness and excellence; however bad men may be pleased to lay the
blame of their corruptions upon that misfortune and the neglect of them
in their minority. Nor is he less an evidence to the truth of their
opinion, who conceive that a generous and worthy nature without proper
discipline, like a rich soil without culture, is apt, with its better
fruits, to produce also much that is bad and faulty. While the force
and vigor of his soul, and a persevering constancy in all he undertook,
led him successfully into many noble achievements, yet, on the other
side, also, by indulging the vehemence of his passion, and through all
obstinate reluctance to yield or accommodate his humors and sentiments
to those of people about him, he rendered himself incapable of acting
and associating with others. Those who saw with admiration how proof
his nature was against all the softnesses of pleasure, the hardships of
service, and the allurements of gain, while allowing to that universal
firmness of his the respective names of temperance, fortitude, and
justice, yet, in the life of the citizen and the statesman, could not
choose but be disgusted at the severity and ruggedness of his
deportment, and with his overbearing, haughty, and imperious temper.
Education and study, and the favors of the muses, confer no greater
benefit on those that seek them, than these humanizing and civilizing
lessons, which teach our natural qualities to submit to the limitations
prescribed by reason, and to avoid the wildness of extremes.

Those were times at Rome in which that kind of worth was most esteemed
which displayed itself in military achievements; one evidence of which
we find in the Latin word for virtue, which is properly equivalent to
manly courage. As if valor and all virtue had been the same thing, they
used as the common term the name of the particular excellence. But
Marcius, having a more passionate inclination than any of that age for
feats of war, began at once, from his very childhood, to handle arms;
and feeling that adventitious implements and artificial arms would
effect little, and be of small use to such as have not their native and
natural weapons well fixed and prepared for service, he so exercised and
inured his body to all sorts of activity and encounter, that, besides
the lightness of a racer, he had a weight in close seizures and
wrestlings with an enemy, from which it was hard for any to disengage
himself; so that his competitors at home in displays of bravery, loath
to own themselves inferior in that respect, were wont to ascribe their
deficiencies to his strength of body, which they said no resistance and
no fatigue could exhaust.

The first time he went out to the wars, being yet a stripling, was when
Tarquinius Superbus, who had been king of Rome and was afterwards
expelled, after many unsuccessful attempts, now entered upon his last
effort, and proceeded to hazard all as it were upon a single throw. A
great number of the Latins and other people of Italy joined their
forces, and were marching with him toward the city, to procure his
restoration; not, however, so much out of a desire to serve and
oblige Tarquin, as to gratify their own fear and envy at the increase of
the Roman greatness, which they were anxious to check and reduce. The
armies met and engaged in a decisive battle, in the vicissitudes of
which, Marcius, while fighting bravely in the dictator's presence, saw a
Roman soldier struck down at a little distance, and immediately stepped
in and stood before him, and slew his assailant. The general, after
having gained the victory, crowned him for this act, one of the first,
with a garland of oaken branches; it being the Roman custom thus to
adorn those who had saved the life of a citizen; whether that the law
intended some special honor to the oak, in memory of the Arcadians, a
people the oracle had made famous by the name of acorn-eaters; or
whether the reason of it was because they might easily, and in all
places where they fought, have plenty of oak for that purpose; or,
finally, whether the oaken wreath, being sacred to Jupiter, the guardian
of the city, might, therefore, be thought a propel ornament for one who
preserved a citizen. And the oak, in truth, is the tree which bears the
most and the prettiest fruit of any that grow wild, and is the strongest
of all that are under cultivation; its acorns were the principal diet of
the first mortals, and the honey found in it gave them drink. I may
say, too, it furnished fowl and other creatures as dainties, in
producing mistletoe for birdlime to ensnare them. In this battle,
meantime, it is stated that Castor and Pollux appeared, and, immediately
after the battle, were seen at Rome just by the fountain where their
temple now stands, with their horses foaming with sweat, and told the
news of the victory to the people in the Forum. The fifteenth of July,
being the day of this conquest, became consequently a solemn holiday
sacred to the Twin Brothers.

It may be observed in general, that when young men arrive early at fame
and repute, if they are of a nature but slightly touched with emulation,
this early attainment is apt to extinguish their thirst and satiate
their small appetite; whereas the first distinctions of more solid and
weighty characters do but stimulate and quicken them and take them away,
like a wind, in the pursuit of honor; they look upon these marks and
testimonies to their virtue not as a recompense received for what they
have already done, but as a pledge given by themselves of what they will
perform hereafter, ashamed now to forsake or underlive the credit they
have won, or, rather, not to exceed and obscure all that is gone before
by the luster of their following actions. Marcius, having a spirit of
this noble make, was ambitious always to surpass himself, and did
nothing, how extraordinary soever, but he thought he was bound to outdo
it at the next occasion; and ever desiring to give continual fresh
instances of his prowess he added one exploit to another, and heaped up
trophies upon trophies, so as to make it a matter of contest also among
his commanders, the later still vying with the earlier, which should
pay him the greatest honor and speak highest in his commendation. Of
all the numerous wars and conflicts in those days, there was not one
from which he returned without laurels and rewards. And, whereas others
made glory the end of their daring, the end of his glory was his
mother's gladness; the delight she took to hear him praised and to see
him crowned, and her weeping for joy in his embraces, rendered him, in
his own thoughts, the most honored and most happy person in the world.
Epaminondas is similarly said to have acknowledged his feeling, that it
was the greatest felicity of his whole life that his father and mother
survived to hear of his successful generalship and his victory at
Leuctra. And he had the advantage, indeed, to have both his parents
partake with him, and enjoy the pleasure of his good fortune. But
Marcius, believing himself bound to pay his mother Volumnia all that
gratitude and duty which would have belonged to his father, had he also
been alive, could never satiate himself in his tenderness and respect to
her. He took a wife, also, at her request and wish, and continued, even
after he had children, to live still with his mother, without parting

The repute of his integrity and courage had, by this time, gained him a
considerable influence and authority in Rome, when the senate, favoring
the wealthier citizens, began to be at variance with the common people,
who made sad complaints of the rigorous and inhuman usage they received
from the money-lenders. For as many as were behind with them, and had
any sort of property, they stripped of all they had, by the way of
pledges and sales; and such as through former exactions were reduced
already to extreme indigence, and had nothing more to be deprived of,
these they led away in person and put their bodies under constraint,
notwithstanding the scars and wounds that they could show in attestation
of their public services in numerous campaigns; the last of which had
been against the Sabines, which they undertook upon a promise made by
their rich creditors that they would treat them with more gentleness for
the future, Marcus Valerius, the consul, having, by order from the
senate, engaged also for the performance of it. But when, after they
had fought courageously and beaten the enemy, there was, nevertheless,
no moderation or forbearance used, and the senate also professed to
remember nothing of that agreement, and sat without testifying the least
concern to see them dragged away like slaves and their goods seized upon
as formerly, there began now to be open disorders and dangerous meetings
in the city; and the enemy, also, aware of the popular confusion,
invaded and laid waste the country. And when the consuls now gave
notice, that all who were of an age to bear arms should make their
personal appearance, but found no one regard the summons, the members of
the government, then coming to consult what course should be taken,
were themselves again divided in opinion: some thought it most
advisable to comply a little in favor of the poor, by relaxing their
overstrained rights, and mitigating the extreme rigor of the law, while
others withstood this proposal; Marcius in particular, with more
vehemence than the rest, alleging that the business of money on either
side was not the main thing in question, urged that this disorderly
proceeding was but the first insolent step towards open revolt against
the laws, which it would become the wisdom of the government to check at
the earliest moment.

There had been frequent assemblies of the whole senate, within a small
compass of time, about this difficulty, but without any certain issue;
the poor commonalty, therefore, perceiving there was likely to be no
redress of their grievances, on a sudden collected in a body, and,
encouraging each other in their resolution, forsook the city with one
accord and seizing the hill which is now called the Holy Mount, sat down
by the river Anio, without committing any sort of violence or seditious
outrage, but merely exclaiming, as they went along, that they had this
long time past been, in fact, expelled and excluded from the city by the
cruelty of the rich; that Italy would everywhere afford them the benefit
of air and water and a place of burial, which was all they could expect
in the city, unless it were, perhaps, the privilege of being wounded and
killed in time of war for the defense of their creditors. The senate,
apprehending the consequences, sent the most moderate and popular men of
their own order to treat with them.

Menenius Agrippa, their chief spokesman, after much entreaty to the
people, and much plain speaking on behalf of the senate, concluded, at
length, with the celebrated fable. "It once happened," he said, "that
all the other members of a man mutinied against the stomach, which they
accused as the only idle, uncontributing part in the whole body, while
the rest were put to hardships and the expense of much labor to supply
and minister to its appetites. The stomach, however, merely ridiculed
the silliness of the members, who appeared not to be aware that the
stomach certainly does receive the general nourishment, but only to
return it again, and redistribute it amongst the rest. Such is the
case," he said, "ye citizens, between you and the senate. The counsels
and plans that are there duly digested, convey and secure to all of you,
your proper benefit and support."

A reconciliation ensued, the senate acceding to the request of the
people for the annual election of five protectors for those in need of
succor, the same that are now called the tribunes of the people; and the
first two they pitched upon were Junius Brutus and Sicinnius Vellutus,
their leaders in the secession.

The city being thus united, the commons stood presently to their arms,
and followed their commanders to the war with great alacrity. As for
Marcius, though he was not a little vexed himself to see the populace
prevail so far and gain ground of the senators, and might observe many
other patricians have the same dislike of the late concessions, he yet
besought them not to yield at least to the common people in the zeal and
forwardness they now allowed for their country's service, but to prove
that they were superior to them, not so much in power and riches as in
merit and worth.

The Romans were now at war with the Volscian nation, whose principal
city was Corioli; when, therefore, Cominius the consul had invested this
important place, the rest of the Volscians, fearing it would be taken,
mustered up whatever force they could from all parts, to relieve it,
designing to give the Romans battle before the city, and so attack them
on both sides. Cominius, to avoid this inconvenience, divided his army,
marching himself with one body to encounter the Volscians on their
approach from without, and leaving Titus Lartius, one of the bravest
Romans of his time, to command the other and continue the siege. Those
within Corioli, despising now the smallness of their number, made a
sally upon them, and prevailed at first, and pursued the Romans into
their trenches. Here it was that Marcius, flying out with a slender
company, and cutting those in pieces that first engaged him, obliged the
other assailants to slacken their speed; and then, with loud cries,
called upon the Romans to renew the battle. For he had, what Cato
thought a great point in a soldier, not only strength of hand and
stroke, but also a voice and look that of themselves were a terror to an
enemy. Divers of his own party now rallying and making up to him, the
enemies soon retreated; but Marcius, not content to see them draw off
and retire, pressed hard upon the rear, and drove them, as they fled
away in haste, to the very gates of their city; where, perceiving the
Romans to fall back from their pursuit, beaten off by the multitude of
darts poured in upon them from the walls, and that none of his followers
had the hardiness to think of falling in pellmell among the fugitives
and so entering a city full of enemies in arms, he, nevertheless, stood
and urged them to the attempt, crying out, that fortune had now set open
Corioli, not so much to shelter the vanquished, as to receive the
conquerors. Seconded by a few that were willing to venture with him, he
bore along through the crowd, made good his passage, and thrust himself
into the gate through the midst of them, nobody at first daring to
resist him. But when the citizens, on looking about, saw that a very
small number had entered, they now took courage, and came up and
attacked them. A combat ensued of the most extraordinary description,
in which Marcius, by strength of hand, and swiftness of foot, and daring
of soul, overpowering every one that he assailed, succeeded in driving
the enemy to seek refuge, for the most part, in the interior of the
town, while the remainder submitted, and threw down their arms; thus
affording Lartius abundant opportunity to bring in the rest of the
Romans with ease and safety.

Corioli being thus surprised and taken, the greater part of the soldiers
employed themselves in spoiling and pillaging it, while Marcius
indignantly reproached them, and exclaimed that it was a dishonorable
and unworthy thing, when the consul and their fellow-citizens had now
perhaps encountered the other Volscians, and were hazarding their lives
in battle, basely to misspend the time in running up and down for booty,
and, under a pretense of enriching themselves, keep out of danger. Few
paid him any attention, but, putting himself at the head of these, he
took the road by which the consul's army had marched before him,
encouraging his companions, and beseeching them, as they went along, not
to give up, and praying often to the gods, too, that he might be so happy
as to arrive before the fight was over, and come seasonably up to assist
Cominius, and partake in the peril of the action.

It was customary with the Romans of that age, when they were moving into
battle array, and were on the point of taking up their bucklers, and
girding their coats about them, to make at the same time an unwritten
will, or verbal testament, and to name who should be their heirs, in the
hearing of three or four witnesses. In this precise posture Marcius
found them at his arrival, the enemy being advanced within view.

They were not a little disturbed by his first appearance, seeing him
covered with blood and sweat, and attended with a small train; but when
he hastily made up to the consul with gladness in his looks, giving him
his hand, and recounting to him how the city had been taken, and when
they saw Cominius also embrace and salute him, every one took fresh
heart; those that were near enough hearing, and those that were at a
distance guessing, what had happened; and all cried out to be led to
battle. First, however, Marcius desired to know of him how the
Volscians had arrayed their army, and where they had placed their best
men, and on his answering that he took the troops of the Antiates in the
center to be their prime warriors, that would yield to none in bravery,
"Let me then demand and obtain of you," said Marcius, "that we may be
posted against them." The consul granted the request, with much
admiration of his gallantry. And when the conflict began by the
soldiers darting at each other, and Marcius sallied out before the rest,
the Volscians opposed to him were not able to make head against him;
wherever he fell in, he broke their ranks, and made a lane through them;
but the parties turning again, and enclosing him on each side with their
weapons, the consul, who observed the danger he was in, dispatched some
of the choicest men he had for his rescue. The conflict then growing
warm and sharp about Marcius, and many falling dead in a little space,
the Romans bore so hard upon the enemies, and pressed them with such
violence, that they forced them at length to abandon their ground, and
to quit the field. And, going now to prosecute the victory, they
besought Marcius, tired out with his toils, and faint and heavy through
the loss of blood, that he would retire to the camp. He replied,
however, that weariness was not for conquerors, and joined with them in
the pursuit. The rest of the Volscian army was in like manner defeated,
great numbers killed, and no less taken captive.

The day after, when Marcius, with the rest of the army, presented
themselves at the consul's tent, Cominius rose, and having rendered all
due acknowledgment to the gods for the success of that enterprise,
turned next to Marcius, and first of all delivered the strongest
encomium upon his rare exploits, which he had partly been an eyewitness
of himself, in the late battle, and had partly learned from the
testimony of Lartius. And then he required him to choose a tenth part
of all the treasure and horses and captives that had fallen into their
hands, before any division should be made to others; besides which, he
made him the special present of a horse with trappings and ornaments, in
honor of his actions. The whole army applauded; Marcius, however,
stepped forth, and declaring his thankful acceptance of the horse, and
his gratification at the praises of his general, said, that all other
things, which he could only regard rather as mercenary advantages than
any significations of honor, he must waive, and should be content with
the ordinary proportion of such rewards. "I have only," said he; "one
special grace to beg, and this I hope you will not deny me. There was a
certain hospitable friend of mine among the Volscians, a man of probity
and virtue, who is become a prisoner, and from former wealth and freedom
is now reduced to servitude. Among his many misfortunes let my
intercession redeem him from the one of being sold as a common slave."
Such a refusal and such a request on the part of Marcius were followed
with yet louder acclamations; and he had many more admirers of this
generous superiority to avarice, than of the bravery he had shown in
battle. The very persons who conceived some envy and despite to see him
so specially honored, could not but acknowledge, that one who so nobly
could refuse reward, was beyond others worthy to receive it; and were
more charmed with that virtue which made him despise advantage, than
with any of those former actions that had gained him his title to it.
It is the hither accomplishment to use money well than to use arms; but
not to need it is more noble than to use it.

When the noise of approbation and applause ceased, Cominius, resuming,
said, "It is idle, fellow-soldiers, to force and obtrude those other
gifts of ours on one who is unwilling to accept them ; let us,
therefore, give him one of such a kind that he cannot well reject it;
let us pass a vote, I mean, that he shall hereafter be called
Coriolanus, unless you think that his performance at Corioli has itself
anticipated any such resolution." Hence, therefore, he had his third
name of Coriolanus, making it all the plainer that Caius was a personal
proper name, and the second, or surname, Marcius, one common to his
house and family; the third being a subsequent addition which used to be
imposed either from some particular act or fortune, bodily
characteristic, or good quality of the bearer. Just as the Greeks, too,
gave additional names in old time, in some cases from some achievement,
Soter, for example, and Callinicus; or personal appearance, as Physcon
and Grypus; good qualities, Euergetes and Philadelphus; good fortune,
Eudaemon, the title of the second Battus. Several monarchs have also
had names given them in mockery, as Antigonus was called Doson, and
Ptolemy, Lathyrus. This sort of title was yet more common among the
Romans. One of the Metelli was surnamed Diadematus, because he walked
about for a long time with a bandage on his head, to conceal a scar; and
another, of the same family, got the name of Celer, from the rapidity he
displayed in giving a funeral entertainment of gladiators within a few
days after his father's death, his speed and energy in doing which was
thought extraordinary. There are some, too, who even at this day take
names from certain casual incidents at their nativity; a child that is
born when his father is away from home is called Proculus; or Postumus,
if after his decease; and when twins come into the world, and one dies
at the birth, the survivor has the name of Vopiscus. From bodily
peculiarities they derive not only their Syllas and Nigers, but their
Caeci and Claudii; wisely endeavoring to accustom their people not to
reckon either the loss of sight, or any other bodily misfortune, as a
matter of disgrace to them, but to answer to such names without shame,
as if they were really their own. But this discussion better befits
another place.

The war against the Volscians was no sooner at an end, than the popular
orators revived domestic troubles, and raised another sedition, without
any new cause of complaint or just grievance to proceed upon, but
merely turning the very mischiefs that unavoidably ensued from their
former contests into a pretext against the patricians. The greatest
part of their arable land had been left unsown and without tillage, and
the time of war allowing them no means or leisure to import provision
from other countries, there was an extreme scarcity. The movers of the
people then observing, that there was no corn to be bought, and that, if
there had been, they had no money to buy it, began to calumniate the
wealthy with false stories, and whisper it about, as if they, out of
malice, had purposely contrived the famine. Meanwhile, there came an
embassy from the Velitrani, proposing to deliver up their city to the
Romans, and desiring they would send some new inhabitants to people it,
as a late pestilential disease had swept away so many of the natives,
that there was hardly a tenth part remaining of their whole community.
This necessity of the Velitrani was considered by all more prudent
people as most opportune in the present state of affairs; since the
dearth made it needful to ease the city of its superfluous members, and
they were in hope also, at the same time, to dissipate the gathering
sedition by ridding themselves of the more violent and heated partisans,
and discharging, so to say, the elements of disease and disorder in the
state. The consuls, therefore, singled out such citizens to supply the
desolation at Velitrae, and gave notice to others, that they should be
ready to march against the Volscians, with the politic design of
preventing intestine broils by employment abroad, and in the hope, that
when rich as well as poor, plebeians and patricians, should be mingled
again in the same army and the same camp, and engage in one common
service for the public, it would mutually dispose them to reconciliation
and friendship.

But Sicinnius and Brutus, the popular orators, interposed, crying out,
that the consuls disguised the most cruel and barbarous action in the
world under that mild and plausible name of a colony, and were simply
precipitating so many poor citizens into a mere pit of destruction,
bidding them settle down in a country where the air was charged with
disease, and the ground covered with dead bodies, and expose themselves
to the evil influence of a strange and angered deity. And then, as if
it would not satisfy their hatred to destroy some by hunger, and offer
others to the mercy of a plague, they must proceed to involve them also
in a needless war of their own making, that no calamity might be
wanting to complete the punishment of the citizens for refusing to
submit to that of slavery to the rich.

By such addresses, the people were so possessed, that none of them would
appear upon the consular summons to be enlisted for the war; and they
showed entire aversion to the proposal for a new plantation; so that the
senate was at a loss what to say or do. But Marcius, who began now to
bear himself higher and to feel confidence in his past actions,
conscious, too, of the admiration of the best and greatest men of Rome,
openly took the lead in opposing the favorers of the people. The colony
was dispatched to Velitrae, those that were chosen by lot being
compelled to depart upon high penalties; and when they obstinately
persisted in refusing to enroll themselves for the Volscian service, he
mustered up his own clients, and as many others as could be wrought upon
by persuasion, and with these made an inroad into the territories of the
Antiates, where, finding a considerable quantity of corn, and collecting
much booty, both of cattle and prisoners, he reserved nothing for
himself in private, but returned safe to Rome, while those that ventured
out with him were seen laden with pillage, and driving their prey before
them. This sight filled those that had stayed at home with regret for
their perverseness, with envy at their fortunate fellow-citizens, and
with feelings of dislike to Marcius, and hostility to his growing
reputation and power, which might probably be used against the popular

Not long after he stood for the consulship; when, however, the people
began to relent and incline to favor him, being sensible what a shame it
would be to repulse and affront a man of his birth and merit, after he
had done them so many signal services. It was usual for those who stood
for offices among them to solicit and address themselves personally to
the citizens, presenting themselves in the forum with the toga on alone,
and no tunic under it; either to promote their supplications by the
humility of their dress, or that such as had received wounds might more
readily display those marks of their fortitude. Certainly, it was not
out of suspicion of bribery and corruption that they required all such
petitioners for their favor to appear ungirt and open, without any close
garment; as it was much later, and many ages after this, that buying and
selling crept in at their elections, and money became an ingredient in
the public suffrages; proceeding thence to attempt their tribunals, and
even attack their camps, till, by hiring the valiant, and enslaving iron
to silver, it grew master of the state, and turned their commonwealth
into a monarchy. For it was well and truly said that the first
destroyer of the liberties of a people is he who first gave them
bounties and largesses. At Rome the mischief seems to have stolen
secretly in, and by little and little, not being at once discerned and
taken notice of. It is not certainly known who the man was that did
there first either bribe the citizens, or corrupt the courts; whereas,
in Athens, Anytus, the son of Anthemion, is said to have been the first
that gave money to the judges, when on his trial, toward the latter end
of the Peloponnesian war, for letting the fort of Pylos fall into the
hands of the enemy; in a period while the pure and golden race of men
were still in possession of the Roman forum.

Marcius, therefore, as the fashion of candidates was showing the scars
and gashes that were still visible on his body, from the many conflicts
in which he had signalized himself during a service of seventeen years
together they were, so to say, put out of countenance at this display of
merit, and told one another that they ought in common modesty to create
him consul. But when the day of election was now come, and Marcius
appeared in the forum, with a pompous train of senators attending him;
and the patricians all manifested greater concern, and seemed to be
exerting greater efforts, than they had ever done before on the like
occasion, the commons then fell off again from the kindness they had
conceived for him, and in the place of their late benevolence, began to
feel something of indignation and envy; passions assisted by the fear
they entertained, that if a man of such aristocratic temper, and so
influential among the patricians, should be invested with the power
which that office would give him, he might employ it to deprive the
people of all that liberty which was yet left them. In conclusion, they
rejected Marcius. Two other names were announced, to the great
mortification of the senators, who felt as if the indignity reflected
rather upon themselves than on Marcius. He, for his part, could not
bear the affront with any patience. He had always indulged his temper,
and had regarded the proud and contentious element of human nature as a
sort of nobleness and magnanimity; reason and discipline had not imbued
him with that solidity and equanimity which enters so largely into the
virtues of the statesman. He had never learned how essential it is for
any one who undertakes public business, and desires to deal with
mankind, to avoid above all things that self-will, which, as Plato says,
belongs to the family of solitude; and to pursue, above all things, that
capacity so generally ridiculed, of submission to ill treatment.
Marcius, straightforward and direct, and possessed with the idea that to
vanquish and overbear all apposition is the true part of bravery, and
never imagining that it was the weakness and womanishness of his nature
that broke out, so to say, in these ulcerations of anger, retired, full
of fury and bitterness against the people. The young patricians, too,
all that were proudest and most conscious of their noble birth, had
always been devoted to his interest, and, adhering to him now, with a
fidelity that did him no good, aggravated his resentment with the
expression of their indignation and condolence. He had been their
captain, and their willing instructor in the arts of war, when out upon
expeditions, and their model in that true emulation and love of
excellence which makes men extol, without envy or jealousy, each other's
brave achievements.

In the midst of these distempers, a large quantity of corn reached Rome,
a great part bought up in Italy, but an equal amount sent as a present
from Syracuse, from Gelo, then reigning there. Many began now to hope
well of their affairs, supposing the city, by this means, would be
delivered at once, both of its want and discord. A council, therefore,
being presently held, the people came flocking about the senate-house,
eagerly awaiting the issue of that deliberation, expecting that the
market prices would now be less cruel, and that what had come as a gift
would be distributed as such. There were some within who so advised the
senate; but Marcius, standing up, sharply inveighed against those who
spoke in favor of the multitude, calling them flatterers of the rabble
traitors to the nobility, and alleging, that, by such gratifications,
they did but cherish those ill seeds of boldness and petulance that had
been sown among the people, to their own prejudice, which they should
have done well to observe and stifle at their first appearance, and not
have suffered the plebeians to grow so strong, by granting them
magistrates of such authority as the tribunes. They were, indeed, even
now formidable to the state, since everything they desired was granted
them; no constraint was put on their will; they refused obedience to the
consuls, and, overthrowing all law and magistracy, gave the title of
magistrate to their private factious leaders. "When things are come to
such a pass, for us to sit here and decree largesses and bounties for
them, like those Greeks where the populace is supreme and absolute, what
would it be else," said he, "but to take their disobedience into pay,
and maintain it for the common ruin of us all? They certainly cannot
look upon these liberalities as a reward of public service, which they
know they have so often deserted; nor yet of those secessions, by which
they openly renounced their country; much less of the calumnies and
slanders they have been always so ready to entertain against the senate;
but will rather conclude that a bounty which seems to have no other
visible cause or reason, must needs be the effect of our fear and
flattery; and will, therefore, set no limit to their disobedience, nor
ever cease from disturbances and sedition. Concession is mere madness;
if we have any wisdom and resolution at all, we shall, on the contrary,
never rest till we have recovered from them that tribunician power they
have extorted from us; as being a plain subversion of the consulship,
and a perpetual ground of separation in our city, that is no longer one,
as heretofore, but has in this received such a wound and rupture, as is
never likely to close and unite again, or suffer us to be of one mind,
and to give over inflaming our distempers, and being a torment to each

Marcius, with much more to this purpose, succeeded, to an extraordinary
degree, in inspiring the younger men with the same furious sentiments,
and had almost all the wealthy on his side, who cried him up as the only
person their city had, superior alike to force and flattery; some of the
older men, however, opposed him, suspecting the consequences. As,
indeed, there came no good of it; for the tribunes, who were present,
perceiving how the proposal of Marcius took, ran out into the crowd with
exclamations, calling on the plebeians to stand together, and come in to
their assistance. The assembly met, and soon became tumultuous. The
sum of what Marcius had spoken, having been reported to the people,
excited them to such fury, that they were ready to break in upon the
senate. The tribunes prevented this, by laying all the blame on
Coriolanus, whom, therefore, they cited by their messengers to come
before them, and defend himself. And when he contemptuously repulsed
the officers who brought him the summons, they came themselves, with the
Aediles, or overseers of the market, proposing to carry him away by
force, and, accordingly, began to lay hold on his person. The
patricians, however, coming to his rescue, not only thrust off the
tribunes, but also beat the Aediles, that were their seconds in the
quarrel; night, approaching, put an end to the contest. But, as soon as
it was day, the consuls, observing the people to be highly exasperated,
and that they ran from all quarters and gathered in the forum, were
afraid for the whole city, so that, convening the senate afresh, they
desired them to advise how they might best compose and pacify the
incensed multitude by equitable language and indulgent decrees; since,
if they wisely considered the state of things, they would find that it
was no time to stand upon terms of honor, and a mere point of glory;
such a critical conjuncture called for gentle methods, and for temperate
and humane counsels. The majority, therefore, of the senators giving
way, the consuls proceeded to pacify the people in the best manner they
were able, answering gently to such imputations and charges as had been
cast upon the senate, and using much tenderness and moderation in the
admonitions and reproof they gave them. On the point of the price of
provisions, they said, there should be no difference at all between
them. When a great part of the commonalty was grown cool, and it
appeared from their orderly and peaceful behavior that they had been
very much appeased by what they had heard, the tribunes, standing up,
declared, in the name of the people, that since the senate was pleased
to act soberly and do them reason, they, likewise, should be ready to
yield in all that was fair and equitable on their side; they must
insist, however, that Marcius should give in his answer to the several
charges as follows: first, could he deny that he instigated the senate
to overthrow the government and annul the privileges of the people? and,
in the next place, when called to account for it, did he not disobey
their summons? and, lastly, by the blows and other public affronts to
the Aediles, had he not done all he could to commence a civil war?

These articles were brought in against him, with a design either to
humble Marcius, and show his submission if, contrary to his nature, he
should now court and sue the people; or, if he should follow his natural
disposition, which they rather expected from their judgment of his
character, then that he might thus make the breach final between himself
and the people.

He came, therefore, as it were, to make his apology, and clear himself;
in which belief the people kept silence, and gave him a quiet hearing.
But when, instead of the submissive and deprecatory language expected
from him, he began to use not only an offensive kind of freedom, seeming
rather to accuse than apologize, but, as well by the tone of his voice
as the air of his countenance, displayed a security that was not far
from disdain and contempt of them, the whole multitude then became
angry, and gave evident signs of impatience and disgust; and Sicinnius,
the most violent of the tribunes, after a little private conference with
his colleagues, proceeded solemnly to pronounce before them all, that
Marcius was condemned to die by the tribunes of the people, and bid the
Aediles take him to the Tarpeian rock, and without delay throw him
headlong from the precipice. When they, however, in compliance with the
order, came to seize upon his body, many, even of the plebeian party,
felt it to be a horrible and extravagant act; the patricians, meantime,
wholly beside themselves with distress and horror, hurried up with cries
to the rescue; and while some made actual use of their hands to hinder
the arrest, and, surrounding Marcius, got him in among them, others, as
in so great a tumult no good could be done by words, stretched out
theirs, beseeching the multitude that they would not proceed to such
furious extremities; and at length, the friends and acquaintance of the
tribunes, wisely perceiving how impossible it would be to carry off
Marcius to punishment without much bloodshed and slaughter of the
nobility, persuaded them to forbear everything unusual and odious; not
to dispatch him by any sudden violence, or without regular process, but
refer the cause to the general suffrage of the people. Sicinnius then,
after a little pause, turning to the patricians, demanded what their
meaning was, thus forcibly to rescue Marcius out of the people's hands,
as they were going to punish him; when it was replied by them, on the
other side, and the question put, "Rather, how came it into your minds,
and what is it you design, thus to drag one of the worthiest men of
Rome, without trial, to a barbarous and illegal execution?" "Very
well," said Sicinnius, "you shall have no ground in this respect for
quarrel or complaint against the people. The people grant your request,
and your partisan shall be tried. We appoint you, Marcius," directing
his speech to him, "the third market-day ensuing, to appear and defend
yourself, and to try if you can satisfy the Roman citizens of your
innocence, who will then judge your case by vote." The patricians were
content with such a truce and respite for that time, and gladly returned
home, having for the present brought off Marcius in safety.

During the interval before the appointed time (for the Romans hold their
sessions every ninth day, which from that cause are called nundinae in
Latin), a war fell out with the Antiates, likely to be of some
continuance, which gave them hope they might one way or other elude the
judgment. The people, they presumed, would become tractable, and their
indignation lessen and languish by degrees in so long a space, if
occupation and war did not wholly put it out of their mind. But when,
contrary to expectation, they made a speedy agreement with the people of
Antium, and the army came back to Rome, the patricians were again in
great perplexity, and had frequent meetings to consider how things might
be arranged, without either abandoning Marcius, or yet giving occasion
to the popular orators to create new disorders. Appius Claudius, whom
they counted among the senators most averse to the popular interest,
made a solemn declaration, and told them beforehand, that the senate
would utterly destroy itself and betray the government, if they should
once suffer the people to assume the authority of pronouncing sentence
upon any of the patricians; but the oldest senators and most favorable
to the people maintained, on the other side, that the people would not
be so harsh and severe upon them, as some were pleased to imagine, but
rather become more gentle and humane upon the concession of that power,
since it was not contempt of the senate, but the impression of being
contemned by it, which made them pretend to such a prerogative. Let
that be once allowed them as a mark of respect and kind feeling, and the
mere possession of this power of voting would at once dispossess them of
their animosity.

When, therefore, Marcius saw that the senate was in pain and suspense
upon his account, divided, as it were, betwixt their kindness for him
and their apprehensions from the people, he desired to know of the
tribunes what the crimes were they intended to charge him with, and what
the heads of the indictment they would oblige him to plead to before the
people; and being told by them that he was to be impeached for
attempting usurpation, and that they would prove him guilty of designing
to establish arbitrary government, stepping forth upon this, "Let me go
then," he said, "to clear myself from that imputation before an assembly
of them; I freely offer myself to any sort of trial, nor do I refuse any
kind of punishment whatsoever; only," he continued, "let what you now
mention be really made my accusation, and do not you play false with the
senate." On their consenting to these terms, he came to his trial. But
when the people met together, the tribunes, contrary to all former
practice, extorted first, that votes should be taken, not by centuries,
but tribes; a change, by which the indigent and factious rabble, that
had no respect for honesty and justice, would be sure to carry it
against those who were rich and well known, and accustomed to serve the
state in war. In the next place, whereas they had engaged to prosecute
Marcius upon no other head but that of tyranny, which could never be
made out against him, they relinquished this plea, and urged instead,
his language in the senate against an abatement of the price of corn,
and for the overthrow of the tribunician power; adding further, as a new
impeachment, the distribution that was made by him of the spoil and
booty he had taken from the Antiates, when he overran their country,
which he had divided among those that had followed him, whereas it ought
rather to have been brought into the public treasury; which last
accusation did, they say, more discompose Marcius than all the rest, as
he had not anticipated he should ever be questioned on that subject,
and, therefore, was less provided with any satisfactory answer to it on
the sudden. And when, by way of excuse, he began to magnify the merits
of those who had been partakers with him in the action, those that had
stayed at home, being more numerous than the other, interrupted him with
outcries. In conclusion, when they came to vote, a majority of three
tribes condemned him; the penalty being perpetual banishment. The
sentence of his condemnation being pronounced, the people went away with
greater triumph and exultation than they had ever shown for any victory
over enemies; while the senate was in grief and deep dejection,
repenting now and vexed to the soul that they had not done and suffered
all things rather than give way to the insolence of the people, and
permit them to assume and abuse so great an authority. There was no need
then to look at men's dresses, or other marks of distinction, to know
one from another: any one who was glad was, beyond all doubt, a
plebeian; any one who looked sorrowful, a patrician.

Marcius alone, himself, was neither stunned nor humiliated. In mien,
carriage, and countenance, he bore the appearance of entire composure,
and while all his friends were full of distress, seemed the only man
that was not touched with his misfortune. Not that either reflection
taught him, or gentleness of temper made it natural for him, to submit:
he was wholly possessed, on the contrary, with a profound and deep-
seated fury, which passes with many for no pain at all. And pain, it is
true, transmuted, so to say, by its own fiery heat into anger, loses
every appearance of depression and feebleness; the angry man makes a
show of energy, as the man in a high fever does of natural heat, while,
in fact, all this action of the soul is but mere diseased palpitation,
distention, and inflammation. That such was his distempered state
appeared presently plainly enough in his actions. On his return home,
after saluting his mother and his wife, who were all in tears and full
of loud lamentations, and exhorting them to moderate the sense they had
of his calamity, he proceeded at once to the city gates, whither all the
nobility came to attend him; and so, not so much as taking anything
with him, or making any request to the company, he departed from them,
having only three or four clients with him. He continued solitary for a
few days in a place in the country, distracted with a variety of
counsels, such as rage and indignation suggested to him; and proposing
to himself no honorable or useful end, but only how he might best
satisfy his revenge on the Romans, he resolved at length to raise up a
heavy war against them from their nearest neighbors. He determined,
first to make trial of the Volscians, whom he knew to be still vigorous
and flourishing, both in men and treasure, and he imagined their force
and power was not so much abated, as their spite and auger increased, by
the late overthrows they had received from the Romans.

There was a man of Antium, called Tullus Aufidius, who, for his wealth
and bravery and the splendor of his family, had the respect and
privilege of a king among the Volscians, but whom Marcius knew to have a
particular hostility to himself, above all other Romans. Frequent
menaces and challenges had passed in battle between them, and those
exchanges of defiance to which their hot and eager emulation is apt to
prompt young soldiers had added private animosity to their national
feelings of opposition. Yet for all this, considering Tullus to have a
certain generosity of temper, and knowing that no Volscian, so much as
he, desired an occasion to requite upon the Romans the evils they had
done, he did what much confirms the saying, that

Hard and unequal is with wrath the strife,
Which makes us buy its pleasure with our life.

Putting on such a dress as would make him appear to any whom he might
meet most unlike what he really was, thus, like Ulysses, --

The town he entered of his mortal foes.

His arrival at Antium was about evening, and though several met him in
the streets, yet he passed along without being known to any, and went
directly to the house of Tullus, and, entering undiscovered, went up to
the fire-hearth, and seated himself there without speaking a word,
covering up his head. Those of the family could not but wonder, and yet
they were afraid either to raise or question him, for there was a
certain air of majesty both in his posture and silence, but they
recounted to Tullus, being then at supper, the strangeness of this
accident. He immediately rose from table and came in, and asked him who
he was, and for what business he came thither; and then Marcius,
unmuffling himself, and pausing awhile, "If," said he, "you cannot yet
call me to mind, Tullus, or do not believe your eyes concerning me, I
must of necessity be my own accuser. I am Caius Marcius, the author of
so much mischief to the Volscians; of which, were I seeking to deny it,
the surname of Coriolanus I now bear would be a sufficient evidence
against me. The one recompense I received for all the hardships and
perils I have gone through, was the title that proclaims my enmity to
your nation, and this is the only thing which is still left me. Of all
other advantages, I have been stripped and deprived by the envy and
outrage of the Roman people, and the cowardice and treachery of the
magistrates and those of my own order. I am driven out as an exile, and
become an humble suppliant at your hearth, not so much for safety and
protection (should I have come hither, had I been afraid to die?), as to
seek vengeance against those that expelled me; which, methinks, I have
already obtained, by putting myself into your hands. If, therefore, you
have really a mind to attack your enemies, come then, make use of that
affliction you see me in to assist the enterprise, and convert my
personal infelicity into a common blessing to the Volscians; as, indeed,
I am likely to be more serviceable in fighting for than against you,
with the advantage, which I now possess, of knowing all the secrets of
the enemy that I am attacking. But if you decline to make any further
attempts, I am neither desirous to live myself, nor will it be well in
you to preserve a person who has been your rival and adversary of old,
and now, when he offers you his service, appears unprofitable and
useless to you."

Tullus, on hearing this, was extremely rejoiced, and giving him his
right hand, exclaimed, "Rise, Marcius, and be of good courage; it is a
great happiness you bring to Antium, in the present you make us of
yourself; expect everything that is good from the Volscians." He then
proceeded to feast and entertain him with every display of kindness, and
for several days after they were in close deliberation together on the
prospects of a war.

While this design was forming, there were great troubles and commotions
at Rome, from the animosity of the senators against the people,
heightened just now by the late condemnation of Marcius. Besides that,
their soothsayers and priests, and even private persons, reported
signs and prodigies not to be neglected; one of which is stated to have
occurred as follows: Titus Latinus, a man of ordinary condition, but
of a quiet and virtuous character, free from all superstitious fancies,
and yet more from vanity and exaggeration, had an apparition in his
sleep, as if Jupiter came and bade him tell the senate, that it was with
a bad and unacceptable dancer that they had headed his procession.
Having beheld the vision, he said, he did not much attend to it at the
first appearance; but after he had seen and slighted it a second and
third time, he had lost a hopeful son, and was himself struck with
palsy. He was brought into the senate on a litter to tell this, and the
story goes, that he had no sooner delivered his message there, but he at
once felt his strength return, and got upon his legs, and went home
alone, without need of any support. The senators, in wonder and
surprise, made a diligent search into the matter. That which his dream
alluded to was this: some citizen had, for some heinous offense, given
up a servant of his to the rest of his fellows, with charge to whip him
first through the market, and then to kill him; and while they were
executing this command, and scourging the wretch, who screwed and turned
himself into all manner of shapes and unseemly motions, through the pain
he was in, the solemn procession in honor of Jupiter chanced to follow
at their heels. Several of the attendants on which were, indeed,
scandalized at the sight, yet no one of them interfered, or acted
further in the matter than merely to utter some common reproaches and
execrations on a master who inflicted so cruel a punishment. For the
Romans treated their slaves with great humanity in these times, when,
working and laboring themselves, and living together among them, they
naturally were more gentle and familiar with them. It was one of the
severest punishments for a slave who had committed a fault, to have to
take the piece of wood which supports the pole of a wagon, and carry it
about through the neighborhood; a slave who had once undergone the shame
of this, and been thus seen by the household and the neighbors, had no
longer any trust or credit among them, and had the name of furcifer;
furca being the Latin word for a prop, or support.

When, therefore, Latinus had related his dream, and the senators were
considering who this disagreeable and ungainly dancer could be, some of
the company, having been struck with the strangeness of the punishment,
called to mind and mentioned the miserable slave who was lashed through
the streets and afterward put to death. The priests, when consulted,
confirmed the conjecture; the master was punished; and orders given for
a new celebration of the procession and the spectacles in honor of the
god. Numa, in other respects also a wise arranger of religious offices,
would seem to have been especially judicious in his direction, with a
view to the attentiveness of the people, that, when the magistrates or

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