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Plutarch's Lives

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which was, to behold so many cities flourish, and so many thousands
of people live happy through his means.

As, however, not only, as Simonides says, "On every lark must grow a
crest," but also in every democracy there must spring up a false
accuser, so was it at Syracuse: two of their popular spokesmen,
Laphystius and Demaenetus by name, fell to slander Timoleon. The
former of whom requiring him to put in sureties that he would answer
to an indictment that would be brought against him, Timoleon would
not suffer the citizens, who were incensed at this demand, to oppose
it or hinder the proceeding, since he of his own accord had been, he
said, at all that trouble, and run so many dangerous risks for this
very end and purpose, that every one who wished to try matters by law
should freely have recourse to it. And when Demaenetus, in a full
audience of the people, laid several things to his charge which had
been done while he was general, he made no other reply to him, but
only said he was much indebted to the gods for granting the request
he had so often made them, namely, that he might live to see the
Syracusans enjoy that liberty of speech which they now seemed to be
masters of.

Timoleon, therefore, having by confession of all done the greatest
and the noblest things of any Greek of his age, and alone
distinguished himself in those actions to which their orators and
philosophers, in their harangues and panegyrics at their solemn
national assemblies, used to exhort and incite the Greeks, and being
withdrawn beforehand by happy fortune, unspotted and without blood,
from the calamities of civil war, in which ancient Greece was soon
after involved; having also given full proof, as of his sage conduct
and manly courage to the barbarians and tyrants, so of his justice
and gentleness to the Greeks, and his friends in general; having
raised, too, the greater part of those trophies he won in battle,
without any tears shed or any mourning worn by the citizens either of
Syracuse or Corinth, and within less than eight years' space
delivered Sicily from its inveterate grievances and intestine
distempers, and given it up free to the native inhabitants, began, as
he was now growing old, to find his eyes fail, and awhile after
became perfectly blind. Not that he had done anything himself which
might occasion this defect, or was deprived of his sight by any
outrage of fortune; it seems rather to have been some inbred and
hereditary weakness that was founded in natural causes, which by
length of time came to discover itself. For it is said, that several
of his kindred and family were subject to the like gradual decay, and
lost all use of their eyes, as he did, in their declining years.
Athanis the historian tells us, that even during the war against
Hippo and Mamercus, while he was in his camp at Mylae, there appeared
a white speck within his eye, from whence all could foresee the
deprivation that was coming on him; this, however, did not hinder him
then from continuing the siege, and prosecuting the war, till he got
both the tyrants into his power; but upon his coming back to
Syracuse, he presently resigned the authority of sole commander, and
besought the citizens to excuse him from any further service, since
things were already brought to so fair an issue. Nor is it so much
to be wondered, that he himself should bear the misfortune without
any marks of trouble; but the respect and gratitude which the
Syracusans showed him when he was entirely blind, may justly deserve
our admiration. They used to go themselves to visit him in troops,
and brought all the strangers that traveled through their country to
his house and manor, that they also might have the pleasure to see
their noble benefactor; making it the great matter of their joy and
exultation, that when, after so many brave and happy exploits, he
might have returned with triumph into Greece, he should disregard all
the glorious preparations that were there made to receive him, and
choose rather to stay here and end his days among them. Of the
various things decreed and done in honor of Timoleon, I consider one
most signal testimony to have been the vote which they passed, that,
whenever they should be at war with any foreign nation, they should
make use of none but a Corinthian general. The method, also, of
their proceeding in council, was a noble demonstration of the same
deference for his person. For, determining matters of less
consequence themselves, they always called him to advise in the more
difficult cases, and such as were of greater moment. He was, on
these occasions, carried through the market-place in a litter, and
brought in, sitting, into the theater, where the people with one
voice saluted him by his name; and then, after returning the
courtesy, and pausing for a time, till the noise of their
gratulations and blessings began to cease, he heard the business in
debate, and delivered his opinion. This being confirmed by a general
suffrage, his servants went back with the litter through the midst of
the assembly, the people waiting on him out with acclamations and
applauses, and then returning to consider other public matters, which
they could dispatch in his absence. Being thus cherished in his old
age, with all the respect and tenderness due to a common father, he
was seized with a very slight indisposition, which however was
sufficient, with the aid of time, to put a period to his life. There
was an allotment then of certain days given, within the space of
which the Syracusans were to provide whatever should be necessary for
his burial, and all the neighboring country people and strangers were
to make their appearance in a body; so that the funeral pomp was set
out with great splendor and magnificence in all other respects, and
the bier, decked with ornaments and trophies, was borne by a select
body of young men over that ground where the palace and castle of
Dionysius stood, before they were demolished by Timoleon. There
attended on the solemnity several thousands of men and women, all
crowned with flowers, and arrayed in fresh and clean attire, which
made it look like the procession of a public festival; while the
language of all, and their tears mingling with their praise and
benediction of the dead Timoleon, manifestly showed that it was not
any superficial honor, or commanded homage, which they paid him, but
the testimony of a just sorrow for his death, and the expression of
true affection. The bier at length being placed upon the pile of
wood that was kindled to consume his corpse, Demetrius, one of their
loudest criers, proceeded to read a proclamation to the following
purpose: "The people of Syracuse has made a special decree to inter
Timoleon, the son of Timodemus, the Corinthian, at the common expense
of two hundred minas, and to honor his memory forever, by the
establishment of annual prizes to be competed for in music, and horse
races, and all sorts of bodily exercise; and this, because he
suppressed the tyrants, overthrew the barbarians, replenished the
principal cities, that were desolate, with new inhabitants, and then
restored the Sicilian Greeks to the privilege of living by their own
laws." Besides this, they made a tomb for him in the marketplace,
which they afterwards built round with colonnades, and attached to it
places of exercise for the young men, and gave it the name of the
Timoleonteum. And keeping to that form and order of civil policy and
observing those laws and constitutions which he left them, they lived
themselves a long time in great prosperity.


Almost all historians agree that the Aemilii were one of the ancient and
patrician houses in Rome; and those authors who affirm that king Numa was
pupil to Pythagoras, tell us that the first who gave the name to his
posterity was Mamercus, the son of Pythagoras, who, for his grace and
address in speaking, was called Aemilius. Most of this race that have
risen through their merit to reputation, also enjoyed good fortune; and
even the misfortune of Lucius Paulus at the battle of Cannae, gave
testimony to his wisdom and valor. For, not being able to persuade his
colleague not to hazard the battle, he, though against his judgment,
joined with him in the contest, but was no companion in his flight: on
the contrary, when he that was so resolute to engage deserted him in the
midst of danger, he kept the field, and died fighting. This Aemilius had
a daughter named Aemilia, who was married to Scipio the Great, and a son
Paulus, who is the subject of my present history.

In his early manhood, which fell at a time when Rome was flourishing with
illustrious characters, he was distinguished for not attaching himself to
the studies usual with the young men of mark of that age, nor treading
the same paths to fame. For he did not practice oratory with a view to
pleading causes, nor would he stoop to salute, embrace, and entertain the
vulgar, which were the usual insinuating arts by which many grew popular.
Not that he was incapable of either, but he chose to purchase a much more
lasting glory by his valor, justice, and integrity, and in these virtues
he soon outstripped all his equals.

The first honorable office he aspired to was that of aedile, which he
carried against twelve competitors of such merit, that all of them in
process of time were consuls. Being afterwards chosen into the number of
priests called augurs, appointed amongst the Romans to observe and
register divinations made by the flight of birds or prodigies in the air,
he so carefully studied the ancient customs of his country, and so
thoroughly understood the religion of his ancestors, that this office,
which was before only esteemed a title of honor and merely upon that
account sought after, by his means rose to the rank of one of the highest
arts, and gave a confirmation to the correctness of the definition which
some philosophers have given of religion, that it is the science of
worshiping the gods. When he performed any part of his duty, he did it
with great skill and utmost care, making it, when he was engaged in it,
his only business, not omitting any one ceremony, or adding the least
circumstance, but always insisting, with his companions of the same
order, even on points that might seem inconsiderable, and urging upon
them, that though they might think the deity was easily pacified, and
ready to forgive faults of inadvertency, yet any such laxity was a very
dangerous thing for a commonwealth to allow: because no man ever began
the disturbance of his country's peace by a notorious breach of its laws;
and those who are careless in trifles, give a precedent for remissness in
important duties. Nor was he less severe, in requiring and observing the
ancient Roman discipline in military affairs; not endeavoring, when he
had the command, to ingratiate himself with his soldiers by popular
flattery, though this custom prevailed at that time amongst many, who, by
favor and gentleness to those that were under them in their first
employment, sought to be promoted to a second; but, by instructing them
in the laws of military discipline with the same care and exactness a
priest would use in teaching ceremonies and dreadful mysteries, and by
severity to such as transgressed and contemned those laws, he maintained
his country in its former greatness, esteeming victory over enemies
itself but as an accessory to the proper training and disciplining of the

Whilst the Romans were engaged in war with Antiochus the Great, against
whom their most experienced commanders were employed, there arose another
war in the west, and they were all up in arms in Spain. Thither they
sent Aemilius, in the quality of praetor, not with six axes, which number
other praetors were accustomed to have carried before them, but with
twelve; so that in his praetorship he was honored with the dignity of a
consul. He twice overcame the barbarians in battle, thirty thousand of
whom were slain: successes chiefly to be ascribed to the wisdom and
conduct of the commander, who by his great skill in choosing the
advantage of the ground, and making the onset at the passage of a river,
gave his soldiers an easy victory. Having made himself master of two
hundred and fifty cities, whose inhabitants voluntarily yielded, and
bound themselves by oath to fidelity, he left the province in peace, and
returned to Rome, not enriching himself a drachma by the war. And,
indeed, in general, he was but remiss in making money; though he always
lived freely and generously on what he had, which was so far from being
excessive, that after his death there was but barely enough left to
answer his wife's dowry.

His first wife was Papiria, the daughter of Maso, who had formerly been
consul. With her he lived a considerable time in wedlock, and then
divorced her, though she had made him the father of noble children; being
mother of the renowned Scipio, and Fabius Maximus. The reason of this
separation has not come to our knowledge; but there seems to be a truth
conveyed in the account of another Roman's being divorced from his wife,
which may be applicable here. This person being highly blamed by his
friends, who demanded, Was she not chaste? was she not fair? was she
not fruitful? holding out his shoe, asked them, Whether it was not new?
and well made? Yet, added he, none of you can tell where it pinches
me. Certain it is, that great and open faults have often led to no
separation; while mere petty repeated annoyances, arising from
unpleasantness or incongruity of character, have been the occasion of
such estrangement as to make it impossible for man and wife to live
together with any content.

Aemilius, having thus put away Papiria, married a second wife, by whom he
had two sons, whom he brought up in his own house, transferring the two
former into the greatest and most noble families of Rome. The elder was
adopted into the house of Fabius Maximus, who was five times consul; the
younger, by the son of Scipio Africanus, his cousin-german, and was by
him named Scipio.

Of the daughters of Aemilius, one was married to the son of Cato, the
other to Aelius Tubero, a most worthy man, and the one Roman who best
succeeded in combining liberal habits with poverty. For there were
sixteen near relations, all of them of the family of the Aelii, possessed
of but one farm, which sufficed them all, whilst one small house, or
rather cottage, contained them, their numerous offspring, and their
wives; amongst whom was the daughter of our Aemilius, who, although her
father had been twice consul, and had twice triumphed, was not ashamed
of her husband's poverty, but proud of his virtue that kept him poor.
Far otherwise it is with the brothers and relations of this age, who,
unless whole tracts of land, or at least walls and rivers, part their
inheritances, and keep them at a distance, never cease from mutual
quarrels. History suggests a variety of good counsel of this sort, by
the way, to those who desire to learn and improve.

To proceed: Aemilius, being chosen consul, waged war with the Ligurians,
or Ligustines, a people near the Alps. They were a bold and warlike
nation, and their neighborhood to the Romans had begun to give them skill
in the arts of war. They occupy the further parts of Italy ending under
the Alps, and those parts of the Alps themselves which are washed by the
Tuscan sea and face towards Africa, mingled there with Gauls and Iberians
of the coast. Besides, at that time they had turned their thoughts to
the sea, and sailing as far as the Pillars of Hercules in light vessels
fitted for that purpose, robbed and destroyed all that trafficked in
those parts. They, with an army of forty thousand, waited the coming of
Aemilius, who brought with him not above eight thousand, so that the
enemy was five to one when they engaged; yet he vanquished and put them
to flight, forcing them to retire into their walled towns, and in this
condition offered them fair conditions of accommodation; it being the
policy of the Romans not utterly to destroy the Ligurians, because they
were a sort of guard and bulwark against the frequent attempts of the
Gauls to overrun Italy. Trusting wholly therefore to Aemilius, they
delivered up their towns and shipping into his hands. He, at the utmost,
razed only the fortifications, and delivered their towns to them again,
but took away all their shipping with him, leaving them no vessels bigger
than those of three oars, and set at liberty great numbers of prisoners
they had taken both by sea and land, strangers as well as Romans. These
were the acts most worthy of remark in his first consulship.

Afterwards he frequently intimated his desire of being a second time
consul, and was once candidate; but, meeting with a repulse and being
passed by, he gave up all thought of it, and devoted himself to his
duties as augur, and to the education of his children, whom he not only
brought up, as he himself had been, in the Roman and ancient discipline,
but also with unusual zeal in that of Greece. To this purpose he not
only procured masters to teach them grammar, logic, and rhetoric, but had
for them also preceptors in modeling and drawing, managers of horses and
dogs, and instructors in field sports, all from Greece. And, if he was
not hindered by public affairs, he himself would be with them at their
studies, and see them perform their exercises, being the most
affectionate father in Rome.

This was the time, in public matters, when the Romans were engaged in war
with Perseus, king of the Macedonians, and great complaints were made of
their commanders, who, either through their want of skill or courage,
were conducting matters so shamefully, that they did less hurt to the
enemy than they received from him. They that not long before had forced
Antiochus the Great to quit the rest of Asia, to retire beyond Mount
Taurus, and confine himself to Syria, glad to buy his peace with fifteen
thousand talents; they that not long since had vanquished king Philip in
Thessaly, and freed the Greeks from the Macedonian yoke; nay, had
overcome Hannibal himself, who far surpassed all kings in daring and
power,—thought it scorn that Perseus should think himself an enemy fit to
match the Romans, and to be able to wage war with them so long on equal
terms, with the remainder only of his father's routed forces; not being
aware that Philip after his defeat had greatly improved both the strength
and discipline of the Macedonian army. To make which appear, I shall
briefly recount the story from the beginning.

Antigonus, the most powerful amongst the captains and successors of
Alexander, having obtained for himself and his posterity the title of
king, had a son named Demetrius, father to Antigonus, called Gonatas, and
he had a son Demetrius, who, reigning some short time, died and left a
young son called Philip. The chief men of Macedon, fearing great
confusion might arise in his minority, called in Antigonus, cousin-german
to the late king, and married him to the widow, the mother of Philip. At
first they only styled him regent and general, but, when they found by
experience that he governed the kingdom with moderation and to general
advantage, gave him the title of king. This was he that was surnamed
Doson, as if he was a great promiser, and a bad performer. To him
succeeded Philip, who in his youth gave great hopes of equaling the best
of kings, and that he one day would restore Macedon to its former state
and dignity, and prove himself the one man able to check the power of the
Romans, now rising and extending over the whole world. But, being
vanquished in a pitched battle by Titus Flamininus near Scotussa, his
resolution failed, and he yielded himself and all that he had to the
mercy of the Romans, well contented that he could escape with paying a
small tribute. Yet afterwards, recollecting himself, he bore it with
great impatience, and thought he lived rather like a slave that was
pleased with ease, than a man of sense and courage, whilst he held his
kingdom at the pleasure of his conquerors; which made him turn his whole
mind to war, and prepare himself with as much cunning and privacy as
possible. To this end, he left his cities on the high roads and
sea-coast ungarrisoned, and almost desolate, that they might seem
inconsiderable; in the mean time, collecting large forces up the country,
and furnishing his inland posts, strongholds, and towns, with arms,
money, and men fit for service, he thus provided himself for war, and yet
kept his preparations close. He had in his armory arms for thirty
thousand men; in granaries in places of strength, eight millions of
bushels of corn, and as much ready money as would defray the charge of
maintaining ten thousand mercenary soldiers for ten years in defense of
the country. But before he could put these things into motion, and carry
his designs into effect, he died for grief and anguish of mind, being
sensible he had put his innocent son Demetrius to death, upon the
calumnies of one that was far more guilty. Perseus, his son that
survived, inherited his hatred to the Romans as well as his kingdom, but
was incompetent to carry out his designs, through want of courage, and
the viciousness of a character in which, among faults and diseases of
various sorts, covetousness bore the chief place. There is a statement
also of his not being true born; that the wife of king Philip took him
from his mother Gnathaenion (a woman of Argos, that earned her living as
a seamstress), as soon as he was born, and passed him upon her husband as
her own. And this might be the chief cause of his contriving the death
of Demetrius; as he might well fear, that so long as there was a lawful
successor in the family, there was no security that his spurious birth
might not be revealed.

Notwithstanding all this, and though his spirit was so mean, and temper
so sordid, yet, trusting to the strength of his resources, he engaged in
a war with the Romans, and for a long time maintained it; repulsing and
even vanquishing some generals of consular dignity, and some great armies
and fleets. He routed Publius Licinius, who was the first that invaded
Macedonia, in a cavalry battle, slew twenty-five hundred practiced
soldiers, and took six hundred prisoners; and, surprising their fleet as
they rode at anchor before Oreus, he took twenty ships of burden with all
their lading, sunk the rest that were freighted with corn, and, besides
this, made himself master of four galleys with five banks of oars. He
fought a second battle with Hostilius, a consular officer, as he was
making his way into the country at Elimiae, and forced him to retreat;
and, when he afterwards by stealth designed an invasion through Thessaly,
challenged him to fight, which the other feared to accept. Nay more, to
show his contempt of the Romans, and that he wanted employment, as a war
by the by, he made an expedition against the Dardanians, in which he slew
ten thousand of those barbarian people, and brought a great spoil away.
He privately, moreover, solicited the Gauls (also called Basternae), a
warlike nation, and famous for horsemen, dwelling near the Danube; and
incited the Illyrians, by the means of Genthius their king, to join with
him in the war. It was also reported, that the barbarians, allured by
promise of rewards, were to make an irruption into Italy, through the
lower Gaul by the shore of the Adriatic Sea.

The Romans, being advertised of these things, thought it necessary no
longer to choose their commanders by favor or solicitation, but of their
own motion to select a general of wisdom and capacity for the management
of great affairs. And such was Paulus Aemilius, advanced in years, being
nearly threescore, yet vigorous in his own person, and rich in valiant
sons and sons-in-law, besides a great number of influential relations and
friends, all of whom joined in urging him to yield to the desires of the
people, who called him to the consulship. He at first manifested some
shyness of the people, and withdrew himself from their importunity,
professing reluctance to hold office; but, when they daily came to his
doors, urging him to come forth to the place of election, and pressing
him with noise and clamor, he acceded to their request. When he appeared
amongst the candidates, it did not look as if it were to sue for the
consulship, but to bring victory and success, that he came down into the
Campus; they all received him there with such hopes and such gladness,
unanimously choosing him a second time consul; nor would they suffer the
lots to be cast, as was usual, to determine which province should fall to
his share, but immediately decreed him the command of the Macedonian war.
It is told, that when he had been proclaimed general against Perseus, and
was honorably accompanied home by great numbers of people, he found his
daughter Tertia, a very little girl, weeping, and taking her to him asked
her why she was crying. She, catching him about the neck and kissing
him, said, "O father, do you not know that Perseus is dead?" meaning a
little dog of that name that was brought up in the house with her; to
which Aemilius replied, "Good fortune, my daughter; I embrace the omen."
This Cicero, the orator, relates in his book on divination.

It was the custom for such as were chosen consuls, from a stage designed
for such purposes, to address the people, and return them thanks for
their favor. Aemilius, therefore, having gathered an assembly, spoke and
said, that he sued for the first consulship, because he himself stood in
need of such honor; but for the second, because they wanted a general;
upon which account he thought there was no thanks due: if they judged
they could manage the war by any other to more advantage, he would
willingly yield up his charge; but, if they confided in him, they were
not to make themselves his colleagues in his office, or raise reports,
and criticize his actions, but, without talking, supply him with means
and assistance necessary to the carrying on of the war; for, if they
proposed to command their own commander, they would render this
expedition more ridiculous than the former. By this speech he inspired
great reverence for him amongst the citizens, and great expectations of
future success; all were well pleased, that they had passed by such as
sought to be preferred by flattery, and fixed upon a commander endued
with wisdom and courage to tell them the truth. So entirely did the
people of Rome, that they might rule, and become masters of the world,
yield obedience and service to reason and superior virtue.

That Aemilius, setting forward to the war, by a prosperous voyage and
successful journey, arrived with speed and safety at his camp, I
attribute to good fortune; but, when I see how the war under his command
was brought to a happy issue, partly by his own daring boldness, partly
by his good counsel, partly by the ready administration of his friends,
partly by his presence of mind and skill to embrace the most proper
advice in the extremity of danger, I cannot ascribe any of his remarkable
and famous actions (as I can those of other commanders) to his so much
celebrated good fortune; unless you will say that the covetousness of
Perseus was the good fortune of Aemilius. The truth is, Perseus' fear of
spending his money was the destruction and utter ruin of all those
splendid and great preparations with which the Macedonians were in high
hopes to carry on the war with success. For there came at his request
ten thousand horsemen of the Basternae, and as many foot, who were to
keep pace with them, and supply their places in case of failure; all of
them professed soldiers, men skilled neither in tilling of land, nor in
navigation of ships, nor able to get their livings by grazing, but whose
only business and single art and trade it was to fight and conquer all
that resisted them. When these came into the district of Maedica, and
encamped and mixed with the king's soldiers, being men of great stature,
admirable at their exercises, great boasters, and loud in their threats
against their enemies, they gave new courage to the Macedonians, who were
ready to think the Romans would not be able to confront them, but would
be struck with terror at their looks and motions, they were so strange
and so formidable to behold. When Perseus had thus encouraged his men,
and elevated them with these great hopes, as soon as a thousand gold
pieces were demanded for each captain, he was so amazed and beside
himself at the vastness of the amount, that out of mere stinginess he
drew back and let himself lose their assistance, as if he had been some
steward, not the enemy of the Romans, and would have to give an exact
account of the expenses of the war, to those with whom he waged it. Nay,
when he had his foes as tutors, to instruct him what he had to do, who,
besides their other preparations, had a hundred thousand men drawn
together and in readiness for their service; yet he that was to engage
against so considerable a force, and in a war that was maintaining such
numbers as this, nevertheless doled out his money, and put seals on his
bags, and was as fearful of touching it, as if it had belonged to some
one else. And all this was done by one, not descended from Lydians or
Phoenicians, but who could pretend to some share of the virtues of
Alexander and Philip, whom he was allied to by birth; men who conquered
the world by judging that empire was to be purchased by money, not money
by empire. Certainly it became a proverb, that not Philip, but his gold
took the cities of Greece. And Alexander, when he undertook his
expedition against the Indians, and found his Macedonians encumbered, and
appear to march heavily with their Persian spoils, first set fire to his
own carriages, and thence persuaded the rest to imitate his example, that
thus freed they might proceed to the war without hindrance. Whereas
Perseus, abounding in wealth, would not preserve himself; his children,
and his kingdom, at the expense of a small part of his treasure; but
chose rather to be carried away with numbers of his subjects with the
name of the wealthy captive, and show the Romans what great riches he had
husbanded and preserved for them. For he not only played false with the
Gauls, and sent them away, but also, after alluring Genthius, king of the
Illyrians, by the hopes of three hundred talents, to assist him in the
war, he caused the money to be counted out in the presence of his
messengers, and to be sealed up. Upon which Genthius, thinking himself
possessed of what he desired, committed a wicked and shameful act: he
seized and imprisoned the ambassadors sent to him from the Romans.
Whence Perseus, concluding that there was now no need of money to make
Genthius an enemy to the Romans, but that he had given a lasting earnest
of his enmity, and by his flagrant injustice sufficiently involved
himself in the war, defrauded the unfortunate king of his three hundred
talents, and without any concern beheld him, his wife, and children, in a
short time after, carried out of their kingdom, as from their nest, by
Lucius Anicius, who was sent against him with an army.

Aemilius, coming against such an adversary, made light indeed of him, but
admired his preparation and power. For he had four thousand horse, and
not much fewer than forty thousand full-armed foot of the phalanx; and
planting himself along the seaside, at the foot of Mount Olympus, in
ground with no access on any side, and on all sides fortified with fences
and bulwarks of wood, remained in great security, thinking by delay and
expense to weary out Aemilius. But he, in the meantime, busy in
thought, weighed all counsels and all means of attack, and perceiving his
soldiers, from their former want of discipline, to be impatient of delay,
and ready on all occasions to teach their general his duty, rebuked them,
and bade them not meddle with what was not their concern, but only take
care that they and their arms were in readiness, and to use their swords
like Romans when their commander should think fit to employ them.
Further he ordered, that the sentinels by night should watch without
javelins, that thus they might be more careful and surer to resist sleep,
having no arms to defend themselves against any attacks of an enemy.

What most annoyed the army was the want of water; for only a little, and
that foul, flowed out, or rather came by drops from a spring adjoining
the sea; but Aemilius, considering that he was at the foot of the high
and woody mountain Olympus, and conjecturing by the flourishing growth of
the trees that there were springs that had their course under ground, dug
a great many holes and wells along the foot of the mountain, which were
presently filled with pure water escaping from its confinement into the
vacuum they afforded. Although there are some, indeed, who deny that
there are reservoirs of water lying ready provided out of sight, in the
places from whence springs flow, and that when they appear, they merely
issue and run out; on the contrary, they say, they are then formed and
come into existence for the first time, by the liquefaction of the
surrounding matter; and that this change is caused by density and cold,
when the moist vapor, by being closely pressed together, becomes fluid.
As women's breasts are not like vessels full of milk always prepared and
ready to flow from them; but their nourishment being changed in their
breasts, is there made milk, and from thence is pressed out. In like
manner, places of the earth that are cold and full of springs, do not
contain any hidden waters or receptacles which are capable, as from a
source always ready and furnished, of supplying all the brooks and deep
rivers; but, by compressing and condensing the vapors and air, they turn
them into that substance. And thus places that are dug open flow by that
pressure, and afford the more water (as the breasts of women do milk by
their being sucked), the vapor thus moistening and becoming fluid;
whereas ground that remains idle and undug is not capable of producing
any water, whilst it wants that motion which is the cause of
liquefaction. But those that assert this opinion, give occasion to the
doubtful to argue, that on the same ground there should be no blood in
living creatures, but that it must be formed by the wound, some sort of
spirit or flesh being changed into a liquid and flowing matter.
Moreover, they are refuted by the fact that men who dig mines, either in
sieges or for metals, meet with rivers, which are not collected by little
and little (as must necessarily be, if they had their being at the very
instant the earth was opened), but break out at once with violence; and
upon the cutting through a rock, there often gush out great quantities of
water, which then as suddenly cease. But of this enough.

Aemilius lay still for some days, and it is said, that there were never
two great armies so nigh, that enjoyed so much quiet. When he had tried
and considered all things, he was informed that there was yet one passage
left unguarded, through Perrhaebia by the temple of Apollo and the Rock.
Gathering, therefore, more hope from the place being left defenseless
than fear from the roughness and difficulty of the passage, he proposed
it for consultation. Amongst those that were present at the council,
Scipio, surnamed Nasica, son-in-law to Scipio Africanus, who afterwards
was so powerful in the senate-house, was the first that offered himself
to command those that should be sent to encompass the enemy. Next to
him, Fabius Maximus, eldest son of Aemilius, although yet very young,
offered himself with great zeal. Aemilius, rejoicing, gave them, not so
many as Polybius states, but, as Nasica himself tells us in a brief
letter which he wrote to one of the kings with an account of the
expedition, three thousand Italians that were not Romans, and his left
wing consisting of five thousand. Taking with him, besides these, one
hundred and twenty horsemen, and two hundred Thracians and Cretans
intermixed that Harpalus had sent, he began his journey towards the sea,
and encamped near the temple of Hercules, as if he designed to embark,
and so to sail round and environ the enemy. But when the soldiers had
supped and it was dark, he made the captains acquainted with his real
intentions, and marching all night in the opposite direction, away from
the sea, till he came under the temple of Apollo, there rested his army.
At this place Mount Olympus rises in height more than ten furlongs, as
appears by the epigram made by the man that measured it:

The summit of Olympus, at the site
Where stands Apollo's temple, has a height
Of full ten furlongs by the line, and more,
Ten furlongs, and one hundred feet, less four.
Eumelus' son Xenagoras, reached the place.
Adieu, O king, and do thy pilgrim grace.

It is allowed, say the geometricians, that no mountain in height or sea
in depth exceeds ten furlongs, and yet it seems probable that Xenagoras
did not take his admeasurement carelessly, but according to the rules of
art, and with instruments for the purpose. Here it was that Nasica
passed the night.

A Cretan deserter, who fled to the enemy during the march, discovered to
Perseus the design which the Romans had to encompass him: for he, seeing
that Aemilius lay still, had not suspected any such attempt. He was
startled at the news, yet did not put his army in motion, but sent ten
thousand mercenary soldiers and two thousand Macedonians, under command
of Milo, with order to hasten and possess themselves of the passes.
Polybius relates that the Romans found these men asleep when they
attacked them; but Nasica says there was a sharp and severe conflict on
the top of the mountain, that he himself encountered a mercenary
Thracian, pierced him through with his javelin, and slew him; and that
the enemy being forced to retreat, Milo stripped to his coat and fled
shamefully without his armor, while he followed without danger, and
conveyed the whole army down into the country.

After this event, Perseus, now grown fearful, and fallen from his hopes,
removed his camp in all haste; he was under the necessity either to stop
before Pydna, and there run the hazard of a battle, or disperse his army
into cities, and there expect the event of the war, which, having once
made its way into his country, could not be driven out without great
slaughter and bloodshed. But Perseus, being told by his friends that he
was much superior in number, and that men fighting in the defense of
their wives and children must needs feel all the more courage, especially
when all was done in the sight of their king, who himself was engaged in
equal danger, was thus again encouraged; and, pitching his camp, prepared
himself to fight, viewed the country, and gave out the commands, as if he
designed to set upon the Romans as soon as they approached. The place
was a field fit for the action of a phalanx, which requires smooth
standing and even ground, and also had divers little hills, one joining
another, fit for the motions whether in retreat or advance of light
troops and skirmishers. Through the middle ran the rivers Aeson and
Leucus, which, though not very deep, it being the latter end of summer,
yet were likely enough to give the Romans some trouble.

As soon as Aemilius had rejoined Nasica, he advanced in battle array
against the enemy; but when he found how they were drawn up, and the
number of their forces, he regarded them with admiration and surprise,
and halted, considering within himself. The young commanders, eager to
fight, riding along, by his side, pressed him not to delay, and most of
all Nasica, flushed with his late success on Olympus. To whom Aemilius
answered with a smile: "So would I do, were I of your age; but many
victories have taught me the ways in which men are defeated, and forbid
me to engage soldiers weary with a long march, against an army drawn up
and prepared for battle."

Then he gave command that the front of his army, and such as were in
sight of the enemy, should form as if ready to engage, and those in the
rear should cast up the trenches and fortify the camp; so that the
hindmost in succession wheeling off by degrees and withdrawing, their
whole order was insensibly broken up, and the army encamped without noise
or trouble.

When it was night, and, supper being over, all were turning to sleep and
rest, on a sudden the moon, which was then at full and high in the
heavens, grew dark, and by degrees losing her light, passed through
various colors, and at length was totally eclipsed. The Romans,
according to their custom, clattering brass pans and lifting up
firebrands and torches into the air, invoked the return of her light; the
Macedonians behaved far otherwise: terror and amazement seized their
whole army, and a rumor crept by degrees into their camp that this
eclipse portended even that of their king. Aemilius was no novice in
these things, nor was ignorant of the nature of the seeming
irregularities of eclipses, that in a certain revolution of time, the
moon in her course enters the shadow of the earth and is there obscured,
till, passing the region of darkness, she is again enlightened by the
Sun. Yet being a devout man, a religious observer of sacrifices and the
art of divination, as soon as he perceived the moon beginning to regain
her former lustre, he offered up to her eleven heifers. At the break of
day he sacrificed as many as twenty in succession to Hercules, without
any token that his offering was accepted; but at the one and twentieth,
the signs promised victory to defenders. He then vowed a hecatomb and
solemn sports to Hercules, and commanded his captains to make ready for
battle, staying only till the sun should decline and come round to the
west, lest, being in their faces in the morning, it should dazzle the
eyes of his soldiers. Thus he whiled away the time in his tent, which
was open towards the plain where his enemies were encamped.

When it grew towards evening, some tell us, Aemilius himself used a
stratagem to induce the enemy to begin the fight; that he turned loose a
horse without a bridle, and sent some of the Romans to catch him, upon
whose following the beast, the battle began. Others relate that the
Thracians, under the command of one Alexander, set upon the Roman beasts
of burden that were bringing forage to the camp; that to oppose these, a
party of seven hundred Ligurians were immediately detached; and that,
relief coming still from both armies, the main bodies at last engaged.
Aemilius, like a wise pilot, foreseeing by the present waves and motion
of the armies, the greatness of the following storm, came out of his
tent, went through the legions, and encouraged his soldiers. Nasica, in
the mean time, who had ridden out to the skirmishers, saw the whole force
of the enemy on the point of engaging. First marched the Thracians, who,
he himself tells us, inspired him with most terror; they were of great
stature, with bright and glittering shields and black frocks under them,
their legs armed with greaves, and they brandished, as they moved,
straight and heavily-ironed spears over their right shoulders. Next the
Thracians marched the mercenary soldiers, armed after different fashions;
with these the Paeonians were mingled. These were succeeded by a third
division, of picked men, native Macedonians, the choicest for courage and
strength, in the prime of life, gleaming with gilt armor and scarlet
coats. As these were taking their places they were followed from the
camp by the troops in phalanx called the Brazen Shields, so that the
whole plain seemed alive with the flashing of steel and the glistening of
brass; and the hills also with their shouts, as they cheered each other
on. In this order they marched, and with such boldness and speed, that
those that were first slain died at but two furlongs distance from the
Roman camp.

The battle being begun, Aemilius came in and found that the foremost of
the Macedonians had already fixed the ends of their spears into the
shields of his Romans, so that it was impossible to come near them with
their swords. When he saw this, and observed that the rest of the
Macedonians took the targets that hung on their left shoulders, and
brought them round before them, and all at once stooped their pikes
against their enemies' shields, and considered the great strength of this
wall of shields, and the formidable appearance of a front thus bristling
with arms, he was seized with amazement and alarm; nothing he had ever
seen before had been equal to it; and in after times he frequently used
to speak both of the sight and of his own sensations. These, however, he
dissembled, and rode through his army without either breast-plate or
helmet, with a serene and cheerful countenance.

On the contrary, as Polybius relates, no sooner was the battle begun, but
the Macedonian king basely withdrew to the city Pydna, under a pretence
of sacrificing to Hercules: a God that is not wont to regard the faint
offerings of cowards, or to fulfill unsanctioned vows. For truly it can
hardly be a thing that heaven would sanction, that he that never shoots
should carry away the prize; he triumph that slinks from the battle; he
that takes no pains meet with success, or the wicked man prosper. But to
Aemilius's petitions the god listened; he prayed for victory with his
sword in his hand, and fought while entreating divine assistance.

A certain Posidonius, who has at some length written a history of
Perseus, and professes to have lived at the time, and to have been
himself engaged in these events, denies that Perseus left the field
either through fear or pretence of sacrificing, but that, the very day
before the fight, he received a kick from a horse on his thigh; that
though very much disabled, and dissuaded by all his friends, he commanded
one of his riding-horses to be brought, and entered the field unarmed;
that amongst an infinite number of darts that flew about on all sides,
one of iron lighted on him, and though not with the point, yet by a
glance struck him with such force on his left side, that it tore his
clothes and so bruised his flesh that the mark remained a long time
after. This is what Posidonius says in defense of Perseus.

The Romans not being able to make a breach in the phalanx, one Salius, a
commander of the Pelignians, snatched the ensign of his company and
threw it amongst the enemies; on seeing which, the Pelignians (as amongst
the Italians it is always thought the greatest breach of honor to abandon
a standard) rushed with great violence towards the place, where the
conflict grew very fierce, and the slaughter terrible on both sides. For
these endeavored to cut the spears asunder with their swords, or to beat
them back with their shields, or put them by with their hands; and, on
the other side, the Macedonians held their long sarissas in both hands,
and pierced those that came in their way quite through their armor, no
shield or corslet being able to resist the force of that weapon. The
Pelignians and Marrucinians were thrown headlong to the ground, having
without consideration, with mere animal fury, rushed upon a certain
death. Their first ranks being slain, those that were behind were forced
to give back; it cannot be said they fled, but they retreated towards
Mount Olocrus. When Aemilius saw this, Posidonius relates, he rent his
clothes, some of his men being ready to fly, and the rest not willing to
engage with a phalanx into which they could not hope to make any
entrance, a sort of palisade, as it were, impregnable and unapproachable,
with its close array of long spears everywhere meeting the assailant.
Nevertheless, the unequalness of the ground would not permit a widely
extended front to be so exactly drawn up as to have their shields
everywhere joined; and Aemilius perceived that there were a great many
interstices and breaches in the Macedonian phalanx; as it usually happens
in all great armies, according to the different efforts of the
combatants, who in one part press forward with eagerness, and in another
are forced to fall back. Taking, therefore, this occasion, with all
speed he broke up his men into their cohorts, and gave them order to fall
into the intervals and openings of the enemy's body, and not to make one
general attack upon them all, but to engage, as they were divided, in
several partial battles. These commands Aemilius gave to his captains,
and they to their soldiers; and no sooner had they entered the spaces and
separated their enemies, but they charged them, some on their side where
they were naked and exposed, and others, making a circuit, behind; and
thus destroyed the force of the phalanx, which consisted in common action
and close union. And now, come to fight man to man, or in small parties,
the Macedonians smote in vain upon firm and long shields with their
little swords, whilst their slight bucklers were not able to sustain the
weight and force of the Roman swords, which pierced through all their
armor to their bodies; they turned, in fine, and fled.

The conflict was obstinate. And here Marcus, the son of Cato, and son-
in-law of Aemilius, whilst he showed all possible courage, let fall his
sword. Being a young man, carefully brought up and disciplined, and, as
son of so renowned a father, bound to give proof of more than ordinary
virtue, he thought his life but a burden, should he live and permit his
enemies to enjoy this spoil. He hurried hither and thither, and wherever
he espied a friend or companion, declared his misfortune, and begged
their assistance; a considerable number of brave men being thus
collected, with one accord they made their way through their fellows
after their leader, and fell upon the enemy; whom, after a sharp
conflict, many wounds, and much slaughter, they repulsed, possessed the
place that was now deserted and free, and set themselves to search for
the sword, which at last they found covered with a great heap of arms and
dead bodies. Overjoyed with this success, they raised the song of
triumph, and with more eagerness than ever, charged the foes that yet
remained firm and unbroken. In the end, three thousand of the chosen
men, who kept their ground and fought valiantly to the last, were all cut
in pieces, while the slaughter of such as fled was also very great. The
plain and the lower part of the hills were filled with dead bodies, and
the water of the river Leucus, which the Romans did not pass till the
next day after the battle, was then mingled with blood. For it is said
there fell more than twenty-five thousand of the enemy; of the Romans, as
Posidonius relates, a hundred; as Nasica, only fourscore. This battle,
though so great, was very quickly decided, it being three in the
afternoon when they first engaged, and not four when the enemy was
vanquished; the rest of the day was spent in the pursuit of the
fugitives, whom they followed about thirteen or fourteen miles, so that
it was far in the night when they returned.

All the others were met by their servants with torches, and brought back
with joy and great triumph to their tents, which were set out with
lights, and decked with wreaths of ivy and laurel. But the general
himself was in great grief. Of the two sons that served under him in the
war, the youngest was missing, whom he held most dear, and whose courage
and good qualities he perceived much to excel those of his brothers.
Bold and eager for distinction, and still a mere child in age, he
concluded that he had perished, whilst for want of experience he had
engaged himself too far amongst his enemies. His sorrow and fears became
known to the army; the soldiers, quitting their suppers, ran about with
lights, some to Aemilius's tent, some out of the trenches, to seek him
amongst such as were slain in the first onset. There was nothing but
grief in the camp, and the plain was filled with the cries of men calling
out for Scipio; for, from his very youth, he was an object of admiration;
endowed above any of his equals with the good qualities requisite either
for command or counsel. At length, when it was late, and they almost
despaired, he returned from the pursuit with only two or three of his
companions, all covered with the fresh blood of his enemies, having been,
like some dog of noble breed, carried away by the pleasure, greater than
he could control, of his first victory. This was that Scipio
that afterwards destroyed Carthage and Numantia, and was, without
dispute, the first of the Romans in merit, and had the greatest authority
amongst them. Thus Fortune, deferring her displeasure and jealousy of
such great success to some other time, let Aemilius at present enjoy this
victory, without any detraction or diminution.

As for Perseus, from Pydna he fled to Pella with his cavalry, which was
as yet almost entire. But when the foot came up with them, and,
upbraiding them as cowards and traitors, tried to pull them off their
horses, and fell to blows, Perseus, fearing the tumult, forsook the
common road, and, lest he should be known, pulled off his purple, and
carried it before him, and took his crown in his hand, and, that he might
the better converse with his friends, alighted from his horse and led
him. Of those that were about him, one stopped, pretending to tie his
shoe that was loose, another to water his horse, a third to drink
himself; and thus lagging behind, by degrees left him, they having not so
much reason to fear their enemies, as his cruelty; for he, disordered by
his misfortune, sought to clear himself by laying the cause of the
overthrow upon everybody else. He arrived at Pella in the night, where
Euctus and Eudaeus, two of his treasurers, came to him, and, what with
their reflecting on his former faults, and their free and ill-timed
admonitions and counsels, so exasperated him, that he killed them both,
stabbing them with his own dagger. After this, nobody stuck to him but
Evander the Cretan, Archedemus the Aetolian, and Neon the Boeotian. Of
the common soldiers there followed him only those from Crete, not out of
any good-will, but because they were as constant to his riches as the
bees to their hive. For he carried a great treasure with him, out of
which he had suffered them to take cups, bowls, and other vessels of
silver and gold, to the value of fifty talents. But when he was come to
Amphipolis, and afterwards to Galepsus, and his fears were a little
abated, he relapsed into his old and constitutional disease of
covetousness, and lamented to his friends that he had, through
inadvertency, allowed some gold plate which had belonged to Alexander the
Great to go into the hands of the Cretans, and besought those that had
it, with tears in his eyes, to exchange with him again for money. Those
that understood him thoroughly knew very well he only played the Cretan
with the Cretans, but those that believed him, and restored what they
had, were cheated; as he not only did not pay the money, but by craft got
thirty talents more of his friends into his hands (which in a short time
after fell to the enemy), and with them sailed to Samothrace, and there
fled to the temple of Castor and Pollux for refuge.

The Macedonians were always accounted great lovers of their kings, but
now, as if their chief prop was broken, they all gave way together, and
submitted to Aemilius, and in two days made him master of their whole
country. This seems to confirm the opinion which ascribes whatever he
did to good fortune. The omen, also, that happened at Amphipolis, has a
supernatural character. When he was sacrificing there, and the holy
rites were just begun, on a sudden, lightning fell upon the altar, set
the wood on fire, and completed the immolation of the sacrifice. The
most signal manifestation, however, of preternatural agency appears in
the story of the rumor of his success. For on the fourth day after
Perseus was vanquished at Pydna, whilst the people at Rome were seeing
the horse-races, a report suddenly arose at the entrance of the theater
that Aemilius had defeated Perseus in a great battle, and was reducing
all Macedonia under his power; and from thence it spread amongst the
people, and created general joy, with shoutings and acclamations for that
whole day through the city. But when no certain author was found of the
news, and every one alike had taken it at random, it was abandoned for
the present and thought no more of, until, a few days after, certain
intelligence came, and then the first was looked upon as no less than a
miracle, having, under an appearance of fiction, contained what was real
and true. It is reported, also, that the news of the battle fought in
Italy, near the river Sagra, was conveyed into Peloponnesus the same day,
and of that at Mycale against the Medes, to Plataea. When the Romans had
defeated the Tarquins, who were combined with the Latins, a little after,
there were seen at Rome two tall and comely men, who professed to bring
the news from the camp. They were conjectured to be Castor and Pollux.
The first man that spoke to them in the forum, near the fountain where
they were cooling their horses, which were all of a foam, expressed
surprise at the report of the victory, when, it is said, they smiled, and
gently touched his beard with their hands, the hair of which from being
black was, on the spot, changed to yellow. This gave credit to what they
said, and fixed the name of Ahenobarbus, or Brazen-beard, on the man.
And a thing which happened in our own time will make all these credible.
For when Antonius rebelled against Domitian, and Rome was in
consternation, expecting great wars from the quarter of Germany, all on a
sudden, and nobody knows upon what account, the people spontaneously gave
out a rumor of victory, and the news ran current through the city, that
Antonius himself was slain, his whole army destroyed, and not so much as
a part of it escaped; nay, this belief was so strong and positive, that
many of the magistrates offered up sacrifice. But when, at length, the
author was sought for, and none was to be found, it vanished by degrees,
every one shifting it off from himself to another, and, at last, was lost
in the numberless crowd, as in a vast ocean, and, having no solid ground
to support its credit, was, in a short time, not so much as named in the
city. Nevertheless, when Domitian marched out with his forces to the
war, he met with messengers and letters that gave him a relation of the
victory; and the rumor, it was found, had come the very day it was
gained, though the distance between the places was more than twenty-five
hundred miles. The truth of this no man of our time is ignorant of.

But to proceed. Cnaeus Octavius, who was joined in command with
Aemilius, came to an anchor with his fleet under Samothrace, where, out
of respect to the gods, he permitted Perseus to enjoy the benefit of
refuge, but took care that he should not escape by sea. Notwithstanding,
Perseus secretly persuaded Oroandes of Crete, master of a small vessel,
to convey him and his treasure away. He, however, playing the true
Cretan, took in the treasure, and bade him come, in the night, with his
children and most necessary attendants, to the port by the temple of
Ceres; but, as soon as it was evening, set sail without him. It had been
sad enough for Perseus to be forced to let down himself, his wife and
children, through a narrow window by a wall, -- people altogether
unaccustomed to hardship and flying; but that which drew a far sadder
sigh from his heart was, when he was told by a man, as he wandered on the
shore, that he had seen Oroandes under sail in the main sea; it being now
about daybreak. So, there being no hopes left of escaping, he fled back
again to the wall, which he and his wife recovered, though they were seen
by the Romans, before they could reach them. His children he
himself had delivered into the hands of Ion, one that had been his
favorite, but now proved his betrayer, and was the chief cause that
forced him (beasts themselves will do so when their young ones are taken)
to come and yield himself up to those that had them in their power. His
greatest confidence was in Nasica, and it was for him he called, but he
not being there, he bewailed his misfortune, and, seeing there was no
possible remedy, surrendered himself to Octavius. And here, in
particular, he made it manifest that he was possessed with a vice more
sordid than covetousness itself, namely, the fondness of life; by which
he deprived himself even of pity, the only thing that fortune never takes
away from the most wretched. He desired to be brought to Aemilius, who
arose from his seat, and accompanied with his friends went to receive
him, with tears in his eyes, as a great man fallen by the anger of the
gods and his own ill fortune; when Perseus -- the most shameful of sights
-- threw himself at his feet, embraced his knees, and uttered unmanly
cries and petitions, such as Aemilius was not able to bear, nor would
vouchsafe to hear: but looking on him with a sad and angry countenance
he said, "Why, unhappy man, do you thus take pains to exonerate fortune
of your heaviest charge against her, by conduct that will make it seem
that you are not unjustly in calamity, and that it is not your present
condition, but your former happiness, that was more than your deserts?
And why depreciate also my victory, and make my conquests insignificant,
by proving yourself a coward, and a foe beneath a Roman? Distressed
valor challenges great respect, even from enemies; but cowardice, though
never so successful, from the Romans has always met with scorn." Yet for
all this he took him up, gave him his hand, and delivered him into the
custody of Tubero. Meantime, he himself carried his sons, his
son-in-law, and others of chief rank, especially of the younger sort,
back with him into his tent, where for a long time he sat down without
speaking one word, insomuch that they all wondered at him. At last, he
began to discourse of fortune and human affairs. "Is it meet," said he,
"for him that knows he is but man, in his greatest prosperity to pride
himself, and be exalted at the conquest of a city, nation, or kingdom,
and not rather well to weigh this change of fortune, in which all
warriors may see an example of their common frailty, and learn a lesson
that there is nothing durable or constant? For what time can men select
to think themselves secure, when that of victory itself forces us more
than any to dread our own fortune? and a very little consideration on
the law of things, and how all are hurried round, and each man's station
changed, will introduce sadness in the midst of the greatest joy. Or can
you, when you see before your eyes the succession of Alexander himself,
who arrived at the height of power and ruled the greatest empire, in the
short space of an hour trodden under foot, -- when you behold a king, that
was but even now surrounded with so numerous an army, receiving
nourishment to support his life from the hands of his conquerors, -- can
you, I say, believe there is any certainty in what we now possess, whilst
there is such a thing as chance? No, young men, cast off that vain
pride and empty boast of victory; sit down with humility, looking always
for what is yet to come, and the possible future reverses which the
divine displeasure may eventually make the end of our present happiness."
It is said that Aemilius, having spoken much more to the same purpose,
dismissed the young men properly humbled, and with their vain-glory and
insolence thoroughly chastened and curbed by his address.

When this was done, he put his army into garrisons, to refresh
themselves, and went himself to visit Greece, and to spend a short time
in relaxations equally honorable and humane. For, as he passed, he eased
the people's grievances, reformed their governments, and bestowed gifts
upon them; to some, corn, to others, oil out of the king's storehouses,
in which, they report, there were such vast quantities laid up, that
receivers and petitioners were lacking before they could be exhausted.
In Delphi he found a great square pillar of white marble, designed for
the pedestal of king Perseus' golden statue, on which he commanded his
own to be placed, alleging that it was but just that the conquered should
give place to the conquerors. In Olympia he is said to have uttered the
saying everybody has heard, that Phidias had carved Homer's Jupiter.
When the ten commissioners arrived from Rome, he delivered up again to
the Macedonians their cities and country, granting them to live at
liberty, and according to their own laws, only paying the Romans the
tribute of a hundred talents, double which sum they had been wont to pay
to their kings. Then he celebrated all manner of shows and games, and
sacrifices to the gods, and made great entertainments and feasts; the
charge of all which he liberally defrayed out of the king's treasury; and
showed that he understood the ordering and placing of his guests, and how
every man should be received, answerably to their rank and quality, with
such nice exactness, that the Greeks were full of wonder, finding the
care of these matters of pleasure did not escape him, and that though
involved in such important business, he could observe correctness in
these bides. Nor was it least gratifying to him, that, amidst all the
magnificent and splendid preparations, he himself was always the most
grateful sight, and greatest pleasure to those he entertained. And he
told those that seemed to wonder at his diligence, that there was the
same spirit shown in marshaling a banquet as an army; in rendering the
one formidable to the enemy, the other acceptable to the guests. Nor did
men less praise his liberality, and the greatness of his soul, than his
other virtues; for he would not so much as see those great quantities of
silver and gold, which were heaped together out of the king's palaces,
but delivered them to the quaestors, to be put into the public treasury.
He only permitted his own sons, who were great lovers of learning, to
take the king's books; and when he distributed rewards due to
extraordinary valor, he gave his son-in-law, Aelius Tubero, a bowl that
weighed five pounds. This is that Tubero we have already mentioned, who
was one of sixteen relations that lived together, and were all maintained
out of one little farm; and it is said, that this was the first plate
that ever entered the house of the Aelii, brought thither as an honor and
reward of virtue; before this time, neither they nor their wives ever
made use either of silver or gold.

Having thus settled everything well, taking his leave of the Greeks, and
exhorting the Macedonians, that, mindful of the liberty they had received
from the Romans, they should endeavor to maintain it by their obedience
to the laws, and concord amongst themselves, he departed for Epirus,
having orders from the senate, to give the soldiers that followed him in
the war against Perseus the pillage of the cities of that country. That
he might set upon them all at once by surprise and unawares, he summoned
ten of the principal men out of each, whom he commanded, on such an
appointed day, to bring all the gold and silver they had either in their
private houses or temples; and, with every one of these, as if it were
for this very purpose, and under a presence of searching for and
receiving the gold, he sent a centurion and a guard of soldiers; who, the
set day being come, rose all at once, and at the very self-same time fell
upon them, and proceeded to ransack the cities; so that in one hour a
hundred and fifty thousand persons were made slaves, and threescore and
ten cities sacked. Yet what was given to each soldier, out of so vast a
destruction and utter ruin, amounted to no more than eleven drachmas; so
that men could only shudder at the issue of a war, where the wealth of a
whole nation, thus divided, turned to so little advantage and profit to
each particular man.

When Aemilius had done this, -- an action perfectly contrary to his gentle
and mild nature, -- he went down to Oricus, where he embarked his army for
Italy. He sailed up the river Tiber in the king's galley, that had
sixteen banks of oars, and was richly adorned with captured arms and with
cloths of purple and scarlet; so that, the vessel rowing slowly against
the stream, the Romans that crowded on the shore to meet him had a
foretaste of his following triumph. But the soldiers, who had cast a
covetous eye on the treasures of Perseus, when they did not obtain as
much as they thought they deserved, were secretly enraged and angry with
Aemilius for this, but openly complained that he had been a severe and
tyrannical commander over them; nor were they ready to show their desire
of his triumph. When Servius Galba, who was Aemilius's enemy, though he
commanded as tribune under him, understood this, he had the boldness
plainly to affirm that a triumph was not to be allowed him; and sowed
various calumnies amongst the soldiers, which yet further increased their
ill-will. Nay more, he desired the tribunes of the people, because the
four hours that were remaining of the day could not suffice for the
accusation, to let him put it off till another. But when the tribunes
commanded him to speak then, if he had anything to say, he began a long
oration, filled with all manner of reproaches, in which he spent the
remaining part of the time, and the tribunes, when it was dark, dismissed
the assembly. The soldiers, growing more vehement on this, thronged all
to Galba, and entering into a conspiracy, early in the morning beset the
capitol, where the tribunes had appointed the following assembly to be

As soon as it was day, it was put to the vote, and the first tribe was
proceeding to refuse the triumph; and the news spread amongst the people
and to the senate. The people were indeed much grieved that Aemilius
should meet with such ignominy; but this was only in words, which had no
effect. The chief of the senate exclaimed against it as a base action,
and excited one another to repress the boldness and insolence of the
soldiers, which would erelong become altogether ungovernable and violent,
were they now permitted to deprive Aemilius of his triumph. Forcing a
passage through the crowd, they came up in great numbers, and desired the
tribunes to defer polling, till they had spoken what they had to say to
the people. All things thus suspended, and silence being made, Marcus
Servilius stood up, a man of consular dignity, and who had killed
twenty-three of his enemies that had challenged him in single combat.
"It is now more than ever," said he, "clear to my mind how great a
commander our Aemilius Paulus is, when I see he was able to perform such
famous and great exploits with an army so full of sedition and baseness;
nor can I sufficiently wonder, that a people that seemed to glory in the
triumphs over Illyrians and Ligurians, should now through envy refuse to
see the Macedonian king led alive, and all the glory of Philip and
Alexander in captivity to the Roman power. For is it not a strange thing
for you who, upon a slight rumor of victory that came by chance into the
city, did offer sacrifices and put up your requests unto the gods that
you might see the report verified, now, when the general is returned with
an undoubted conquest, to defraud the gods of honor, and yourselves of
joy, as if you feared to behold the greatness of his warlike deed, or
were resolved to spare your enemy? And of the two, much better were it
to put a stop to the triumph, out of pity to him, than out of envy to
your general; yet to such a height of power is malice arrived amongst
you, that a man without one scar to show on his skin, that is smooth and
sleek with ease and home-keeping habits, will undertake to define the
office and duties of a general before us, who with our own wounds have
been taught how to judge of the valor or the cowardice of commanders."
And, at the same time, putting aside his garment, he showed an infinite
number of scars upon his breast, and, turning about, he exposed some
parts of his person which it is usual to conceal; and, addressing Galba,
said: "You deride me for these, in which I glory before my
fellow-citizens, for it is in their service, in which I have ridden night
and day, that I received them; but go collect the votes, whilst I follow
after, and note the base and ungrateful, and such as choose rather to be
flattered and courted than commanded by their general." It is said, this
speech so stopped the soldiers' mouths, and altered their minds, that all
the tribes decreed a triumph for Aemilius; which was performed after this

The people erected scaffolds in the Forum, in the circuses, as they call
their buildings for horse-races, and in all other parts of the city where
they could best behold the show. The spectators were clad in white
garments; all the temples were open, and full of garlands and perfumes;
the ways were cleared and kept open by numerous officers, who drove back
all who crowded into or ran across the main avenue. This triumph lasted
three days. On the first, which was scarcely long enough for the sight,
were to be seen the statues, pictures, and colossal images, which were
taken from the enemy, drawn upon two hundred and fifty chariots. On the
second, was carried in a great many wagons the finest and richest armor
of the Macedonians, both of brass and steel, all newly polished and
glittering; the pieces of which were piled up and arranged purposely with
the greatest art, so as to seem to be tumbled in heaps carelessly and by
chance; helmets were thrown upon shields, coats of mail upon greaves;
Cretan targets, and Thracian bucklers and quivers of arrows, lay huddled
amongst horses' bits, and through these there appeared the points of
naked swords, intermixed with long Macedonian sarissas. All these arms
were fastened together with just so much looseness that they struck
against one another as they were drawn along, and made a harsh and
alarming noise, so that, even as spoils of a conquered enemy, they could
not be beheld without dread. After these wagons loaded with armor, there
followed three thousand men who carried the silver that was coined, in
seven hundred and fifty vessels, each of which weighed three talents, and
was carried by four men. Others brought silver bowls and goblets and
cups, all disposed in such order as to make the best show, and all
curious as well for their size as the solidity of their embossed work.

On the third day, early in the morning, first came the trumpeters, who
did not sound as they were wont in a procession or solemn entry, but such
a charge as the Romans use when they encourage the soldiers to fight.
Next followed young men wearing frocks with ornamented borders, who led
to the sacrifice a hundred and twenty stalled oxen, with their horns
gilded, and their heads adorned with ribbons and garlands; and with these
were boys that carried basins for libation, of silver and gold. After
this was brought the gold coin, which was divided into vessels that
weighed three talents, like those that contained the silver; they were in
number seventy-seven. These were followed by those that brought the
consecrated bowl which Aemilius had caused to be made, that weighed ten
talents, and was set with precious stones. Then were exposed to view the
cups of Antigonus and Seleucus, and those of the Thericlean make, and
all the gold plate that was used at Perseus' table. Next to these came
Perseus' chariot, in which his armor was placed, and on that his diadem.
And, after a little intermission, the king's children were led captives,
and with them a train of their attendants, masters, and teachers, all
shedding tears, and stretching out hands to the spectators, and making
the children themselves also beg and entreat their compassion. There
were two sons and a daughter, whose tender age made them but little
sensible of the greatness of their misery, which very insensibility of
their condition rendered it the more deplorable; insomuch that Perseus
himself was scarcely regarded as he went along, whilst pity fixed the
eyes of the Romans upon the infants; and many of them could not forbear
tears, and all beheld the sight with a mixture of sorrow and pleasure,
until the children were passed.

After his children and their attendants came Perseus himself, clad all in
black, and wearing the boots of his country; and looking like one
altogether stunned and deprived of reason, through the greatness of his
misfortunes. Next followed a great company of his friends and familiars,
whose countenances were disfigured with grief, and who let the spectators
see, by their tears and their continual looking upon Perseus, that it was
his fortune they so much lamented, and that they were regardless of their
own. Perseus sent to Aemilius to entreat that he might not be led in
pomp, but be left out of the triumph; who, deriding, as was but just, his
cowardice and fondness of life, sent him this answer, that as for that,
it had been before, and was now, in his own power; giving him to
understand that the disgrace could be avoided by death; which the
fainthearted man not having the spirit for, and made effeminate by I know
not what hopes, allowed himself to appear as a part of his own spoils.
After these were carried four hundred crowns, all made of gold, sent from
the cities by their respective deputations to Aemilius, in honor of his
victory. Then he himself came, seated on a chariot magnificently adorned
(a man well worthy to be looked at, even without these ensigns of power),
dressed in a robe of purple, interwoven with gold, and holding a laurel
branch in his right hand. All the army, in like manner, with boughs of
laurel in their hands, divided into their bands and companies, followed
the chariot of their commander; some singing verses, according to the
usual custom, mingled with raillery; others, songs of triumph, and the
praise of Aemilius's deeds; who, indeed, was admired and accounted happy
by all men, and unenvied by every one that was good; except so far as it
seems the province of some god to lessen that happiness which is too
great and inordinate, and so to mingle the affairs of human life that no
one should be entirely free and exempt from calamities; but, as we read
in Homer, that those should think themselves truly blessed to whom
fortune has given an equal share of good and evil.

Aemilius had four sons, of whom Scipio and Fabius, as is already related,
were adopted into other families; the other two, whom he had by a second
wife, and who were yet but young, he brought up in his own house. One of
these died at fourteen years of age, five days before his father's
triumph; the other at twelve, three days after: so that there was no
Roman without a deep sense of his suffering, and who did not shudder at
the cruelty of fortune, that had not scrupled to bring so much sorrow
into a house replenished with happiness, rejoicing, and sacrifices, and
to intermingle tears and laments with songs of victory and triumph.

Aemilius, however, reasoning justly that courage and resolution was not
merely to resist armor and spears, but all the shocks of ill fortune, so
met and so adapted himself to these mingled and contrasting
circumstances, as to outbalance the evil with the good, and his private
concerns with those of the public; and thus did not allow anything
either to take away from the grandeur, or sully the dignity of his
victory. For as soon as he had buried the first of his sons, (as we have
already said,) he triumphed; and the second dying almost as soon as his
triumph was over, he gathered together an assembly of the people, and
made an oration to them, not like a man that stood in need of comfort
from others, but one that undertook to support his fellow-citizens in
their grief for the sufferings he himself underwent.

"I," he said, "who never yet feared anything that was human, have,
amongst such as were divine, always had a dread of fortune as faithless
and inconstant; and, for the very reason that in this war she had been as
a favorable gale in all my affairs, I still expected some change and
reflux of things. In one day I passed the Ionian sea, and reached
Corcyra from Brundisium; thence in five more I sacrificed at Delphi, and
in other five days came to my forces in Macedonia, where, after I had
finished the usual sacrifices for the purifying of the army, I entered on
my duties, and, in the space of fifteen days, put an honorable period to
the war. Still retaining a jealousy of fortune, even from the smooth
current of my affairs, and seeing myself secure and free from the danger
of any enemy, I chiefly dreaded the change of the goddess at sea, whilst
conveying home my victorious army, vast spoils, and a captive king. Nay,
indeed, after I was returned to you safe, and saw the city full of joy,
congratulating, and sacrifices, yet still I distrusted, well knowing that
fortune never conferred any great benefits that were unmixed and
unattended with probabilities of reverse. Nor could my mind, that was
still as it were in labor, and always foreseeing something to befall this
city, free itself from this fear, until this great misfortune befell me
in my own family, and till, in the midst of those days set apart for
triumph, I carried two of the best of sons, my only destined successors,
one after another to their funerals. Now, therefore, I am myself safe
from danger, at least as to what was my greatest care; and I trust and am
verily persuaded, that for the time to come Fortune will prove constant
and harmless unto you; since she has sufficiently wreaked her jealousy at
our great successes on me and mine, and has made the conqueror as marked
an example of human instability as the captive whom he led in triumph,
with this only difference, that Perseus, though conquered, does yet enjoy
his children, while the conqueror, Aemilius, is deprived of his." This
was the generous and magnanimous oration Aemilius is said to have spoken
to the people, from a heart truly sincere and free from all artifice.

Although he very much pitied the condition of Perseus, and studied to
befriend him in what he was able, yet he could procure no other favor,
than his removal from the common prison, the Carcer, into a more cleanly
and humane place of security, where, whilst he was guarded, it is said,
he starved himself to death. Others state his death to have been of the
strangest and most unusual character: that the soldiers who were his
guard, having conceived a spite and hatred against him for some reason,
and finding no other way to grieve and afflict him, kept him from sleep,
took pains to disturb him when he was disposed to rest, and found out
contrivances to keep him continually awake, by which means at length he
was utterly worn out, and expired. Two of his children, also, died soon
after him; the third, who was named Alexander, they say proved an
exquisite artist in turning and graving small figures, and learned so
perfectly to speak and write the Roman language, that he became clerk to
the magistrates, and behaved himself in his office with great skill and

They ascribe to Aemilius's conquest of Macedonia, this most acceptable
benefit to the people, that he brought so vast a quantity of money into
the public treasury, that they never paid any taxes, until Hirtius and
Pansa were consuls, which was in the first war between Antony and Caesar.
This also was peculiar and remarkable in Aemilius, that though he was
extremely beloved and honored by the people, yet he always sided with the
nobles; nor would he either say or do anything to ingratiate himself
with the multitude, but constantly adhered to the nobility, in all
political matters, which in after-times was cast in Scipio Africanus's
teeth by Appius; these two being in their time the most considerable men
in the city, and standing in competition for the office of censor. The
one had on his side the nobles and the senate, to which party the Appii
were always attached; the other, although his own interest was great, yet
made use of the favor and love of the people. When, therefore, Appius
saw Scipio come to the market-place, surrounded with men of mean rank,
and such as were but newly made free, yet were very fit to manage a
debate, to gather together the rabble, and to carry whatsoever they
designed by importunity and noise, crying out with a loud voice: "Groan
now," said he, "O Aemilius Paulus, if you have knowledge in your grave of
what is done above, that your son aspires to be censor, by the help of
Aemilius, the common crier, and Licinius Philonicus." Scipio always had
the good-will of the people, because he was constantly heaping favors on
them; but Aemilius, although he still took part with the nobles, yet was
as much the people's favorite as those who most sought popularity and
used every art to obtain it. This they made manifest, when, amongst
other dignities, they thought him worthy of the office of censor, a trust
accounted most sacred and of great authority, as well in other things, as
in the strict examination into men's lives. For the censors had power to
expel a senator, and enroll whom they judged most fit in his room, and to
disgrace such young men as lived licentiously, by taking away their
horses. Besides this, they were to value and assess each man's estate,
and register the number of the people. There were numbered by Aemilius,
337,452 men. He declared Marcus Aemilius Lepidus first senator, who had
already four times held that honor, and he removed from their office
three of the senators of the least note. The same moderation he and his
fellow censor, Marcius Philippus, used at the muster of the knights.

Whilst he was thus busy about many and weighty affairs, he fell sick of a
disease, which at first seemed hazardous; and although after awhile it
proved without danger, yet was troublesome and difficult to be cured: so
that by the advice of his physicians he sailed to Velia, in South Italy,
and there dwelt a long time near the sea, where he enjoyed all possible
quietness. The Romans, in the meanwhile, longed for his return, and
oftentimes by their expressions in the theaters, gave public testimony of
their great desire and impatience to see him. When, therefore, the time
drew nigh that a solemn sacrifice was of necessity to be offered, and he
found, as he thought, his body strong enough, he came back again to Rome,
and there performed the holy rites with the rest of the priests, the
people in the mean time crowding about him, and congratulating his
return. The next day he sacrificed again to the gods for his recovery;
and, having finished the sacrifice, returned to his house and sat down to
dinner, when, all on a sudden and when no change was expected, he fell
into a fit of delirium, and, being quite deprived of his senses, the
third day after ended a life, in which he had wanted no manner of thing
which is thought to conduce to happiness. Nay, his very funeral pomp had
something in it remarkable and to be admired, and his virtue was graced
with the most solemn and happy rites at his burial; consisting, not in
gold and ivory, or in the usual sumptuousness and splendor of such
preparations, but in the good-will, honor, and love, not only of his
fellow-citizens, but of his enemies themselves. For as many Spaniards,
Ligurians, and Macedonians, as happened to be present at the solemnity,
that were young and of vigorous bodies, took up the bier and carried it
whilst the more aged followed, calling Aemilius the benefactor and
preserver of their countries. For not only at the time of his conquest
had he acted to all with kindness and clemency, but, through the whole
course of his life, he continued to do them good and look after their
concerns, as if they had been his familiars and relations. They report,
that the whole of his estate scarce amounted to three hundred and seventy
thousand drachmas; to which he left his two sons coheirs; but Scipio, who
was the youngest, being adopted into the more wealthy family of
Africanus, gave it all to his brother. Such are said to have been the
life and manners of Aemilius.


Such being the story of these two great men's lives, without doubt in the
comparison very little difference will be found between them. They made
war with two powerful enemies: the one against the Macedonians, and the
other with the Carthaginians; and the success was in both cases glorious.
One conquered Macedon from the seventh succeeding heir of Antigonus; the
other freed Sicily from usurping tyrants, and restored the island to its
former liberty. Unless, indeed, it be made a point on Aemilius's side,
that he engaged with Perseus when his forces were entire, and composed of
men that had often successfully fought with the Romans; whereas, Timoleon
found Dionysius in a despairing condition, his affairs being reduced to
the last extremity: or, on the contrary, it be urged in favor of
Timoleon, that he vanquished several tyrants, and a powerful Carthaginian
army, with an inconsiderable number of men gathered together from all
parts, not with such an army as Aemilius had, of well disciplined
soldiers, experienced in war, and accustomed to obey; but with such as
through the hopes of gain resorted to him, unskilled in fighting and
ungovernable. And when actions are equally glorious, and the means to
compass them unequal, the greatest esteem is certainly due to that
general who conquers with the smaller power.

Both have the reputation of having behaved themselves with an uncorrupted
integrity, in all the affairs they managed: but Aemilius had the
advantage of being, from his infancy, by the laws and customs of his
country, brought up to the proper management of public affairs, which
Timoleon brought himself to by his own efforts. And this is plain; for
at that time all the Romans were uniformly orderly and obedient,
respectful to the laws and to their fellow-citizens: whereas it is
remarkable, that not one of the Greek generals commanding in Sicily,
could keep himself uncorrupted, except Dion, and of him many entertained
a jealousy that he would establish a monarchy there, after the
Lacedaemonian manner. Timaeus writes, that the Syracusans sent even
Gylippus home dishonorably, and with a reputation lost by the unsatiable
covetousness he displayed when he commanded the army. And numerous
historians tell us of the wicked and perfidious acts committed by Pharax
the Spartan, and Callippus the Athenian, with the view of making
themselves kings of Sicily. Yet what were these men, and what strength
had they, to entertain such a thought? The first of them was a follower
of Dionysius, when he was expelled from Syracuse, and the other a hired
captain of foot under Dion, and came into Sicily with him. But Timoleon
at the request and prayers of the Syracusans, was sent to be their
general, and had no need to seek for power, but had a perfect title,
founded on their own offers, to hold it; and yet no sooner had he freed
Sicily from her oppressors, but he willingly surrendered it.

It is truly worthy our admiration in Aemilius, that, though he conquered
so great and so rich a realm as that of Macedon, yet he would not touch,
nor see any of the money, nor did he advantage himself one farthing by
it, though he was very generous of his own to others. I would not intend
any reflection on Timoleon, for accepting of a house and handsome estate
in the country, which the Syracusans presented him with; there is no
dishonor in accepting; but yet there is greater glory in a refusal, and
the supremest virtue is shown in not wanting what it might fairly take.
And as that body is, without doubt, the most strong and healthful, which
can the easiest support extreme cold and excessive heat in the change of
seasons, and that the most firm and collected mind which is not puffed up
with prosperity, nor dejected with adversity; so the virtue of Aemilius
was eminently seen in his countenance and behavior continuing as noble
and lofty upon the loss of two dear sons, as when he achieved his
greatest victories and triumphs. But Timoleon, after he had justly
punished his brother, a truly heroic action, let his reason yield to a
causeless sorrow, and, humiliated with grief and remorse, forbore for
twenty years to appear in any public place, or meddle with any affairs of
the commonwealth. It is truly very commendable to abhor and shun the
doing any base action; but to stand in fear of every kind of censure or
disrepute, may argue a gentle and open-hearted, but not a heroic temper.


Cato Major, hearing some commend one that was rash, and inconsiderately
daring in a battle, said, "There is a difference between a man's prizing
valor at a great rate, and valuing life at little;" a very just remark.
Antigonus, we know, at least, had a soldier, a venturous fellow, but of
wretched health and constitution; the reason of whose ill looks he took
the trouble to inquire into; and, on understanding from him that it was a
disease, commanded his physicians to employ their utmost skill, and if
possible recover him; which brave hero, when once cured, never afterwards
sought danger or showed himself venturous in battle; and, when Antigonus
wondered and upbraided him with his change, made no secret of the reason,
and said, "Sir, you are the cause of my cowardice, by freeing me from
those miseries which made me care little for life." With the same
feeling, the Sybarite seems to have said of the Spartans, that it was no
commendable thing in them to be so ready to die in the wars, since by
that they were freed from such hard labor, and miserable living. In
truth, the Sybarites, a soft and dissolute people, might very well
imagine they hated life, because in their eager pursuit of virtue and
glory, they were not afraid to die: but, in fact, the Lacedaemonians
found their virtue secured them happiness alike in living or in dying; as
we see in the epitaph that says:

They died, but not as lavish of their blood,
Or thinking death itself was simply good;
Their wishes neither were to live nor die,
But to do both alike commendably.

An endeavor to avoid death is not blamable, if we do not basely desire to
live; nor a willingness to die good and virtuous, if it proceeds from a
contempt of life. And therefore Homer always takes care to bring his
bravest and most daring heroes well armed into battle; and the Greek
lawgivers punished those that threw away their shields, but not him that
lost his sword or spear; intimating that self-defense is more a man's
business than offense. This is especially true of a governor of a city,
or a general; for if, as Iphicrates divides it out, the light-armed are
the hands; the horse the feet; the infantry the breast; and the general
the head; he, when he puts himself upon danger, not only ventures his own
person, but all those whose safety depends on his; and so on the
contrary. Callicratidas, therefore, though otherwise a great man, was
wrong in his answer to the augur who advised him, the sacrifice being
unlucky, to be careful of his life; "Sparta," said he, "will not miss one
man." It was true, Callicratidas, when simply serving in any engagement
either at sea or land, was but a single person, but as general, he united
in his life the lives of all, and could hardly be called one, when his
death involved the ruin of so many. The saying of old Antigonus was
better, who, when he was to fight at Andros, and one told him, "The
enemy's ships are more than ours;" replied, "For how many then wilt thou
reckon me?" intimating that a brave and experienced commander is to be
highly valued, one of the first duties of whose office indeed it is to
save him on whose safety depends that of others. And therefore I applaud
Timotheus, who, when Chares showed the wounds he had received, and his
shield pierced by a dart, told him, "Yet how ashamed I was, at the siege
of Samos, when a dart fell near me, for exposing myself, more like a boy
than like a general in command of a large army. "Indeed, where the
general's hazarding himself will go far to decide the result, there he
must fight and venture his person, and not mind their maxims, who would
have a general die, if not of, at least in old age; but when the
advantage will be but small if he gets the better, and the loss
considerable if he falls, who then would desire, at the risk of the
commander's life, a piece of success which a common soldier might obtain?
This I thought fit to premise before the lives of Pelopidas and
Marcellus, who were both great men, but who both fell by their own
rashness. For, being gallant men, and having gained their respective
countries great glory and reputation by their conduct in war against
terrible enemies, the one, as history relates, overthrowing Hannibal, who
was till then invincible; the other, in a set battle beating the
Lacedaemonians, then supreme both at sea and land; they ventured at last
too far, and were heedlessly prodigal of their lives, when there was the
greatest need of men and commanders such as they. And this agreement in
their characters and their deaths, is the reason why I compare their

Pelopidas, the son of Hippoclus, was descended, as likewise Epaminondas
was, from an honorable family in Thebes; and, being brought up to
opulence, and having a fair estate left him whilst he was young, he made
it his business to relieve the good and deserving amongst the poor, that
he might show himself lord and not slave of his estate. For amongst men,
as Aristotle observes, some are too narrow-minded to use their wealth,
and some are loose and abuse it; and these live perpetual slaves to their
pleasures, as the others to their gain. Others permitted themselves to
be obliged by Pelopidas, and thankfully made use of his liberality and
kindness; but amongst all his friends, he could never persuade
Epaminondas to be a sharer in his wealth. He, however, stepped down into
his poverty, and took pleasure in the same poor attire, spare diet,
unwearied endurance of hardships, and unshrinking boldness in war: like
Capaneus in Euripides, who had

Abundant wealth and in that wealth no pride;

he was ashamed any one should think that he spent more upon his person
than the meanest Theban. Epaminondas made his familiar and hereditary
poverty more light and easy, by his philosophy and single life; but
Pelopidas married a woman of good family, and had children; yet still
thinking little of his private interests, and devoting all his time to
the public, he ruined his estate: and, when his friends admonished and
told him how necessary that money which he neglected was; "Yes," he
replied, "necessary to Nicodemus," pointing to a blind cripple.

Both seemed equally fitted by nature for all sorts of excellence; but
bodily exercises chiefly delighted Pelopidas, learning Epaminondas; and
the one spent his spare hours in hunting, and the Palaestra, the other in
hearing lectures or philosophizing. And, amongst a thousand points for
praise in both, the judicious esteem nothing equal to that constant
benevolence and friendship, which they inviolably preserved in all their
expeditions, public actions, and administration of the commonwealth. For
if any one looks on the administrations of Aristides and Themistocles, of
Cimon and Pericles, of Nicias and Alcibiades, what confusion, what envy,
what mutual jealousy appears? And if he then casts his eye on the
kindness and reverence that Pelopidas showed Epaminondas, he must needs
confess, that these are more truly and more justly styled colleagues in
government and command than the others, who strove rather to overcome one
another, than their enemies The true cause of this was their virtue;
whence it came that they did not make their actions aim at wealth and
glory, an endeavor sure to lead to bitter and contentious jealousy; but
both from the beginning being inflamed with a divine desire of seeing
their country glorious by their exertions, they used to that end one
another's excellences as their own. Many, indeed, think this strict and
entire affection is to be dated from the battle at Mantinea, where they
both fought, being part of the succors that were sent from Thebes to the
Lacedaemonians, their then friends and allies. For, being placed
together amongst the infantry, and engaging the Arcadians, when the
Lacedaemonian wing, in which they fought, gave ground, and many fled,
they closed their shields together and resisted the assailants.
Pelopidas, having received seven wounds in the forepart of his body, fell
upon a heap of slain friends and enemies; but Epaminondas, though he
thought him past recovery, advanced to defend his arms and body, and
singly fought a multitude, resolving rather to die than forsake his
helpless Pelopidas. And now, he being much distressed, being wounded in
the breast by a spear, and in the arm by a sword, Agesipolis, the king of
the Spartans, came to his succor from the other wing, and beyond hope
delivered both.

After this the Lacedaemonians pretended to be friends to Thebes, but in
truth looked with jealous suspicions on the designs and power of the
city, and chiefly hated the party of Ismenias and Androclides, in which
Pelopidas also was an associate, as tending to liberty, and the
advancement of the commonalty. Therefore Archias, Leontidas, and Philip,
all rich men, and of oligarchical principles, and immoderately ambitious,
urged Phoebidas the Spartan, as he was on his way past the city with a
considerable force, to surprise the Cadmea, and, banishing the contrary
faction, to establish an oligarchy, and by that means subject the city to
the supremacy of the Spartans. He, accepting the proposal, at the
festival of Ceres unexpectedly fell on the Thebans, and made himself
master of the citadel. Ismenias was taken, carried to Sparta, and in a
short time murdered; but Pelopidas, Pherenicus, Androclides, and many
more that fled were publicly proclaimed outlaws. Epaminondas stayed at
home, being not much looked after, as one whom philosophy had made
inactive, and poverty incapable.

The Lacedaemonians cashiered Phoebidas, and fined him one hundred
thousand drachmas, yet still kept a garrison in the Cadmea; which made
all Greece wonder at their inconsistency, since they punished the doer,
but approved the deed. And though the Thebans, having lost their polity,
and being enslaved by Archias and Leontidas, had no hopes to get free
from this tyranny, which they saw guarded by the whole military power of
the Spartans, and had no means to break the yoke, unless these could be
deposed from their command of sea and land; yet Leontidas and his
associates, understanding that the exiles lived at Athens in favor with
the people, and with honor from all the good and virtuous, formed secret
designs against their lives, and, suborning some unknown fellows,
dispatched Androclides, but were not successful on the rest. Letters,
besides, were sent from Sparta to the Athenians, warning them neither to
receive nor countenance the exiles, but expel them as declared common
enemies of the confederacy. But the Athenians, from their natural
hereditary inclination to be kind, and also to make a grateful return to
the Thebans, who had very much assisted them in restoring their
democracy, and had publicly enacted, that if any Athenian would march
armed through Boeotia against the tyrants, that no Boeotian should either
see or hear it, did the Thebans no harm.

Pelopidas, though one of the youngest, was active in privately exciting
each single exile; and often told them at their meetings, that it was
both dishonorable and impious to neglect their enslaved and engarrisoned
country, and, lazily contented with their own lives and safety, depend on
the decrees of the Athenians, and through fear fawn on every
smooth-tongued orator that was able to work upon the people: now they
must venture for this great prize, taking Thrasybulus' bold courage for
example, and as he advanced from Thebes and broke the power of the
Athenian tyrants, so they should march from Athens and free Thebes. When
by this method he had persuaded them, they privately dispatched some
persons to those friends they had left at Thebes, and acquainted them
with their designs. Their plans being approved, Charon, a man of the
greatest distinction, offered his house for their reception; Phillidas
contrived to get himself made secretary to Archias and Philip, who then
held the office of polemarch or chief captain; and Epaminondas had
already inflamed the youth. For, in their exercises, he had encouraged
them to challenge and wrestle with the Spartans, and again, when he saw
them puffed up with victory and success, sharply told them, it was the
greater shame to be such cowards as to serve those whom in strength they
so much excelled.

The day for action being fixed, it was agreed upon by the exiles, that
Pherenicus with the rest should stay in the Thriasian plain, while some
few of the younger men tried the first danger, by endeavoring to get into
the city; and, if they were surprised by their enemies, the others should
take care to provide for their children and parents. Pelopidas first
offered to undertake the business; then Melon, Damoclides, and
Theopompus, men of noble families, who, in other things loving and
faithful to one another, were constant rivals only in glory and
courageous exploits. They were twelve in all, and having taken leave of
those that stayed behind, and sent a messenger to Charon, they went
forward, clad in short coats, and carrying hounds and hunting poles with
them, that they might be taken for hunters beating over the fields, and
prevent all suspicion in those that met them on the way. When the
messenger came to Charon, and told him they were approaching, he did not
change his resolution at the sight of danger, but, being a man of his
word, offered them his house. But one Hipposthenidas, a man of no ill
principles, a lover of his country, and a friend to the exiles, but not
of as much resolution as the shortness of time and the character of the
action required, being as it were dizzied at the greatness of the
approaching enterprise; and beginning now for the first time to
comprehend that, relying on that weak assistance which could be expected
from the exiles, they were undertaking no less a task than to shake the
government, and overthrow the whole power of Sparta; went privately to
his house, and sent a friend to Melon and Pelopidas, desiring them to
forbear for the present, to return to Athens and expect a better
opportunity. The messenger's name was Chlidon, who, going home in haste
and bringing out his horse, asked for the bridle; but, his wife not
knowing where it was, and, when it could not be found, telling him she
had lent it to a friend, first they began to chide, then to curse one
another, and his wife wished the journey might prove ill to him, and
those that sent him; insomuch that Chlidon's passion made him waste a
great part of the day in this quarreling, and then, looking on this
chance as an omen, he laid aside all thoughts of his journey, and went
away to some other business. So nearly had these great and glorious
designs, even in their very birth, lost their opportunity.

But Pelopidas and his companions, dressing themselves like countrymen,
divided, and, whilst it was yet day, entered at different quarters of the
city. It was, besides, a windy day, and it now just began to snow, which
contributed much to their concealment, because most people were gone in
doors to avoid the weather. Those, however, that were concerned in the
design, received them as they came, and conducted them to Charon's house,
where the exiles and the others made up forty-eight in number. The
tyrants' affairs stood thus: the secretary, Phillidas, as I have already
observed, was an accomplice in, and privy to all the contrivance of the
exiles, and he a while before had invited Archias, with others, to an
entertainment on that day, to drink freely, and meet some women of the
town, on purpose that when they were drunk, and given up to their
pleasures, he might deliver them over to the conspirators. But before
Archias was thoroughly heated, notice was given him that the exiles were
privately in the town; a true report indeed, but obscure, and not well
confirmed: nevertheless, though Phillidas endeavored to divert the
discourse, Archias sent one of his guard to Charon, and commanded him to
attend immediately. It was evening, and Pelopidas and his friends with
him in the house, were putting themselves into a fit posture for action,
having their breastplates on already, and their swords girt: but at the
sudden knocking at the door, one stepping forth to inquire the matter,
and learning from the officer that Charon was sent for by the polemarchs,
returned in great confusion and acquainted those within; and all
immediately conjectured that the whole plot was discovered, and they
should be cut in pieces, before so much as achieving any action to do
credit to their bravery; yet all agreed that Charon should obey, and
attend the polemarchs, to prevent suspicion. Charon was, indeed, a man
of courage and resolution in all dangers, yet in this case he was
extremely concerned, lest any should suspect that he was the traitor, and
the death of so many brave citizens be laid on him. And, therefore, when
he was ready to depart, he brought his son out of the women's
apartment, a little boy as yet, but one of the best looking and strongest
of all those of his age, and delivered him to Pelopidas with these words:
"If you find me a traitor, treat this boy as an enemy without any mercy."
The concern which Charon showed, drew tears from many; but all protested
vehemently against his supposing any one of them so mean-spirited and
base, at the appearance of approaching danger, as to suspect or blame
him; and therefore, desired him not to involve his son, but to set him
out of harm's way; that so he, perhaps, escaping the tyrant's power,
might live to revenge the city and his friends. Charon, however, refused
to remove him, and asked, "What life, what safety could be more
honorable, than to die bravely with his father, and such generous
companions?" Thus, imploring the protection of the gods, and saluting
and encouraging them all, he departed, considering with himself, and
composing his voice and countenance, that he might look as little like as
possible to what in fact he really was.

When he was come to the door, Archias with Phillidas came out to him, and
said, "I have heard, Charon, that there are some men just come, and
lurking in the town, and that some of the citizens are resorting to
them." Charon was at first disturbed, but asking, "Who are they? and who
conceals them?" and finding Archias did not thoroughly understand the
matter, he concluded that none of those privy to the design had given
this information, and replied, "Do not disturb yourselves for an empty
rumor: I will look into it, however, for no report in such a case is to
be neglected." Phillidas, who stood by, commended him, and leading back
Archias, got him deep in drink, still prolonging the entertainment with
the hopes of the women's company at last. But when Charon returned, and
found the men prepared, not as if they hoped for safety and success, but
to die bravely and with the slaughter of their enemies, he told Pelopidas
and his friends the truth, but pretended to others in the house that
Archias talked to him about something else, inventing a story for the
occasion. This storm was just blowing over, when fortune brought
another; for a messenger came with a letter from one Archias, the
Hierophant at Athens, to his namesake Archias, who was his friend and
guest. This did not merely contain a vague conjectural suspicion, but,
as appeared afterwards, disclosed every particular of the design. The
messenger being brought in to Archias, who was now pretty well drunk, and
delivering the letter, said to him, "The writer of this desired it might
be read at once; it is on urgent business." Archias, with a smile,
replied, "Urgent business tomorrow," and so receiving the letter, he put
it under his pillow, and returned to what he had been speaking of with
Phillidas; and these words of his are a proverb to this day amongst the

Now when the opportunity seemed convenient for action, they set out in
two companies; Pelopidas and Damoclides with their party went against
Leontidas and Hypates, that lived near together; Charon and Melon against
Archias and Philip, having put on women's apparel over their
breastplates, and thick garlands of fir and pine to shade their faces;
and so, as soon as they came to the door, the guests clapped and gave a
huzza, supposing them to be the women they expected. But when the
conspirators had looked about the room, and carefully marked all that
were at the entertainment, they drew their swords, and making at Archias
and Philip amongst the tables, disclosed who they were. Phillidas
persuaded some few of his guests to sit still, and those that got up and
endeavored to assist the polemarchs, being drunk were easily dispatched.
But Pelopidas and his party met with a harder task; as they attempted
Leontidas, a sober and formidable man, and when they came to his house
found his doors shut, he being already gone to bed. They knocked a long
time before any one would answer, but, at last, a servant that heard
them, coming out and unbarring the door, as soon as the gate gave way,
they rushed in, and, overturning the man, made all haste to Leontidas's
chamber. But Leontidas, guessing at the matter by the noise and running,
leaped from his bed and drew his dagger, but forgot to put out the
lights, and by that means make them fall foul on one another in the dark.
As it was, being easily seen by reason of the light, he received them at
his chamber door, and stabbed Cephisodorus, the first man that entered:
on his falling, the next that he engaged was Pelopidas; and the passage
being narrow and Cephisodorus's body lying in the way, there was a fierce
and dangerous conflict. At last Pelopidas prevailed, and having killed
Leontidas, he and his companions went in pursuit of Hypates, and after
the same manner broke into his house. He perceived the design, and fled
to his neighbors; but they closely followed, and caught and killed him.

This done they joined Melon, and sent to hasten the exiles they had left
in Attica: and called upon the citizens to maintain their liberty, and
taking down the spoils from the porches, and breaking open all the
armorers' shops that were near, equipped those that came to their
assistance. Epaminondas and Gorgidas came in already armed, with a
gallant train of young men, and the best of the old. Now the city was in
a great excitement and confusion, a great noise and hurry, lights set up
in every house, men running here and there; however, the people did not
as yet gather into a body, but, amazed at the proceedings, and not
clearly understanding the matter waited for the day. And, therefore, the
Spartan officers were thought to have been in fault for not falling on at
once, since their garrison consisted of about fifteen hundred men, and
many of the citizens ran to them; but, alarmed with the noise, the fires,
and the confused running of the people, they kept quietly within the
Cadmea. As soon as day appeared, the exiles from Attica came in armed,
and there was a general assembly of the people. Epaminondas and Gorgidas
brought forth Pelopidas and his party, encompassed by the priests, who
held out garlands, and exhorted the people to fight for their country and
their gods. The assembly, at their appearance, rose up in a body, and
with shouts and acclamations received the men as their deliverers and

Then Pelopidas, being chosen chief captain of Boeotia, together with
Melon and Charon, proceeded at once to blockade the citadel, and stormed
it on all sides, being extremely desirous to expel the Lacedaemonians,
and free the Cadmea, before an army could come from Sparta to their
relief. And he just so narrowly succeeded, that they, having surrendered
on terms and departed, on their way home met Cleombrotus at Megara
marching towards Thebes with a considerable force. The Spartans
condemned and executed Herippidas and Arcissus, two of their governors@
at Thebes, and Lysanoridas the third being severely fined, fled
Peloponnesus. This action so closely resembling that of Thrasybulus, in
the courage of the actors, the danger, the encounters, and equally
crowned with success, was called the sister of it by the Greeks. For we
can scarcely find any other examples where so small and weak a party of
men by bold courage overcame such numerous and powerful enemies, or
brought greater blessings to their country by so doing. But the
subsequent change of affairs made this action the more famous; for the
war which forever ruined the pretensions of Sparta to command, and put an
end to the supremacy she then exercised alike by sea and by land,
proceeded from that night, in which Pelopidas not surprising any fort, or
castle, or citadel, but coming, the twelfth man, to a private house,
loosed and broke, if we may speak truth in metaphor, the chains of the
Spartan sway, which before seemed of adamant and indissoluble.

But now the Lacedaemonians invading Boeotia with a great army, the
Athenians, affrighted at the danger, declared themselves no allies to
Thebes, and prosecuting those that stood for the Boeotian interest,
executed some, and banished and fined others: and the cause of Thebes,
destitute of allies, seemed in a desperate condition. But Pelopidas and
Gorgidas, holding the office of captains of Boeotia, designing to breed a
quarrel between the Lacedaemonians and Athenians, made this contrivance.
One Sphodrias, a Spartan, a man famous indeed for courage in battle, but
of no sound judgment, full of ungrounded hopes and foolish ambition, was
left with an army at Thespiae, to receive and succor the Theban
renegades. To him Pelopidas and his colleagues privately sent a
merchant, one of their friends, with money, and, what proved more
efficient, advice, -- that it more became a man of his worth to set upon
some great enterprise, and that he should, making a sudden incursion on
the unprotected Athenians, surprise the Piraeus; since nothing could be
so grateful to Sparta, as to take Athens; and the Thebans, of course,
would not stir to the assistance of men whom they now hated and looked
upon as traitors. Sphodrias, being at last wrought upon, marched into
Attica by night with his army, and advanced as far as Eleusis; but there
his soldiers' hearts failing, after exposing his project and involving
the Spartans in a dangerous war, he retreated to Thespiae. After this,
the Athenians zealously sent supplies to Thebes, and putting to sea,
sailed to many places, and offered support and protection to all those of
the Greeks who were willing to revolt.

The Thebans, meantime, singly, having many skirmishes with the Spartans
in Boeotia, and fighting some battles, not great indeed, but important as
training and instructing them, thus had their minds raised, and their
bodies inured to labor, and gained both experience and courage by these
frequent encounters; insomuch that we have it related that Antalcidas,
the Spartan, said to Agesilaus, returning wounded from Boeotia, "Indeed,
the Thebans have paid you handsomely for instructing them in the art of
war, against their wills." In real truth, however, Agesilaus was not
their master in this, but those that prudently and opportunely, as men do
young dogs, set them on their enemies, and brought them safely off after
they had tasted the sweets of victory and resolution. Of all those
leaders, Pelopidas deserves the most honor: as after they had once
chosen him general, he was every year in command as long as he lived;
either captain of the sacred band, or, what was most frequent, chief
captain of Boeotia. About Plataea and Thespiae the Spartans were
routed and put to flight, and Phoebidas, that surprised the Cadmea,
slain; and at Tanagra a considerable force was worsted, and the leader
Panthoides killed. But these encounters, though they raised the victor's
spirits, did not thoroughly dishearten the unsuccessful; for there was no
set battle, or regular fighting, but mere incursions on advantage, in
which, according to occasion, they charged, retired again, or pursued.
But the battle at Tegyrae, which seemed a prelude to Leuctra, won
Pelopidas a great reputation; for none of the other commanders could
claim any hand in the design, nor the enemies any show of victory. The
city of the Orchomenians siding with the Spartans, and having received
two companies for its guard, he kept a constant eye upon it, and
watched his opportunity. Hearing that the garrison had moved into
Locris, and hoping to find Orchomenus defenseless, he marched with his
sacred band, and some few horsemen. But when he approached the city, and
found that a reinforcement of the garrison was on its march from Sparta,
he made a circuit round the foot of the mountains, and retreated with his
little army through Tegyrae, that being the only way he could pass. For
the river Melas, almost as soon as it rises, spreads itself into marshes
and navigable pools, and makes all the plain between impassable. A
little below the marshes stands the temple and oracle of Apollo
Tegyraeus, forsaken not long before that time, having flourished till the
Median wars, Echecrates then being priest. Here they profess that the god
was born; the neighboring mountain is called Delos, and there the river
Melas comes again into a channel; behind the temple rise two springs,
admirable for the sweetness, abundance, and coolness of the streams; one
they call Phoenix, the other Elaea, even to the present time, as if
Lucina had not been delivered between two trees, but fountains. A place
hard by, called Ptoum, is shown, where they say she was affrighted by the
appearance of a boar; and the stories of the Python and Tityus are in
like manner appropriated by these localities. I omit many of the points
that are used as arguments. For our tradition does not rank this god
amongst those that were born, and then made immortal, as Hercules and
Bacchus, whom their virtue raised above a mortal and passable condition;
but Apollo is one of the eternal unbegotten deities, if we may collect
any certainty concerning these things, from the statements of the oldest
and wisest in such subjects.

As Thebans were retreating from Orchomenus towards Tegyrae, the
Spartans, at the same time marching from Locris, met them. As soon as
they came in view, advancing through the straits, one told Pelopidas, "We
are fallen into our enemy's hands;" he replied, "And why not they into
ours?" and immediately commanded his horse to come up from the rear and
charge, while he himself drew his infantry, being three hundred in
number, into a close body, hoping by that means, at whatsoever point he
made the attack, to break his way through his more numerous enemies. The
Spartans had two companies, (the company consisting, as Ephorus states,
of five hundred; Callisthenes says seven hundred; others, as Polybius,
nine hundred) and their leaders, Gorgoleon and Theopompus, confident of
success, advanced upon the Thebans. The charge being made with much
fury, chiefly where the commanders were posted, the Spartan captains that
engaged Pelopidas were first killed; and those immediately around them
suffering severely, the whole army was thus disheartened, and opened a
lane for the Thebans, as if they desired to pass through and escape. But
when Pelopidas entered, and turning against those that stood their
ground, still went on with a bloody slaughter, an open fight ensued
amongst the Spartans. The pursuit was carried but a little way, because
they feared the neighboring Orchomenians, and the reinforcement from
Lacedaemon; they had succeeded, however, in fighting a way through their
enemies, and overpowering their whole force; and, therefore, erecting a
trophy, and spoiling the slain, they returned home extremely encouraged
with their achievements. For in all the great wars there had ever been
against Greeks or barbarians, the Spartans were never before beaten by a
smaller company than their own; nor, indeed, in a set battle, when their
number was equal. Hence their courage was thought irresistible, and
their high repute before the battle made a conquest already of enemies,
who thought themselves no match for the men of Sparta even on equal
terms. But this battle first taught the other Greeks, that not only
Eurotas, or the country between Babyce and Cnacion, breeds men of courage
and resolution; but that where the youth are ashamed of baseness, and
ready to venture in a good cause, where they fly disgrace more than
danger, there, wherever it be, are found the bravest and most formidable

Gorgidas, according to some, first formed the Sacred Band of three
hundred chosen men, to whom, as being a guard for the citadel, the State
allowed provision, and all things necessary for exercise: and hence they
were called the city band, as citadels of old were usually called cities.
Others say that it was composed of young men attached to each other by
personal affection, and a pleasant saying of Pammenes is current, that
Homer's Nestor was not well skilled in ordering an army, when he advised
the Greeks to rank tribe and tribe, and family and family together, that

So tribe might tribe, and kinsmen kinsmen aid,

but that he should have joined lovers and their beloved. For men of the
same tribe or family little value one another when dangers press; but a
band cemented by friendship grounded upon love, is never to be broken,
and invincible; since the lovers, ashamed to be base in sight of their
beloved, and the beloved before their lovers, willingly rush into danger
for the relief of one another. Nor can that be wondered at; since they
have more regard for their absent lovers than for others present; as in
the instance of the man, who, when his enemy was going to kill him,
earnestly requested him to run him through the breast, that his lover
might not blush to see him wounded in the back. It is a tradition
likewise, that Iolaus, who assisted Hercules in his labors and fought at
his side, was beloved of him; and Aristotle observes, that even in his
time, lovers plighted their faith at Iolaus's tomb. It is likely,
therefore, that this band was called sacred on this account; as Plato
calls a lover a divine friend. It is stated that it was never beaten
till the battle at Chaeronea: and when Philip, after the fight, took a
view of the slain, and came to the place where the three hundred that
fought his phalanx lay dead together, he wondered, and understanding that
it was the band of lovers, he shed tears and said, "Perish any man who
suspects that these men either did or suffered anything that was base."

It was not the disaster of Laius, as the poets imagine, that first gave
rise to this form of attachment amongst the Thebans, but their
law-givers, designing to soften, whilst they were young, their natural
fierceness, brought, for example, the pipe into great esteem, both in
serious and sportive occasions, and gave great encouragement to these
friendships in the Palaestra, to temper the manners and characters of the
youth. With a view to this they did well, again, to make Harmony, the
daughter of Mars and Venus, their tutelar deity; since, where force and
courage is joined with gracefulness and winning behavior a harmony ensues
that combines all the elements of society in perfect consonance and
order. -- Gorgidas distributed this Sacred Band all through the front
ranks of the infantry and thus made their gallantry less conspicuous; not
being united in one body, but mingled with so many others of inferior
resolution, they had no fair opportunity of showing what they could do.
But Pelopidas, having sufficiently tried their bravery at Tegyrae, where
they had fought alone, and around his own person, never afterward
divided them, but keeping them entire, and as one man, gave them the
first duty in the greatest battles. For as horses run brisker in a
chariot than singly, not that their joint force divides the air with
greater ease, but because being matched one against the other, emulation
kindles and inflames their courage; thus he thought, brave men, provoking
one another to noble actions, would prove most serviceable and most
resolute, where all were united together.

Now when the Lacedaemonians had made peace with the other Greeks, and
united all their strength against the Thebans only, and their king,
Cleombrotus, had passed the frontier with ten thousand foot and one
thousand horse, and not only subjection, as heretofore, but total
dispersion and annihilation threatened, and Boeotia was in a greater fear
than ever, -- Pelopidas, leaving his house, when his wife followed him on
his way, and with tears begged him to be careful of his life, made
answer, "Private men, my wife, should be advised to look to themselves,
generals to save others." And when he came to the camp, and found the
chief captains disagreeing, he, first, joined the side of Epaminondas,
who advised to fight the enemy; though Pelopidas himself was not then in
office as chief captain of Boeotia, but in command of the Sacred Band,
and trusted as it was fit a man should be, who had given his country such
proofs of his zeal for its freedom. And so, when a battle was agreed on,
and they encamped in front of the Spartans at Leuctra, Pelopidas saw a
vision, which much discomposed him. In that plain lie the bodies of the
daughters of one Scedasus, called from the place Leuctridae, having been
buried there, after having been ravished by some Spartan strangers. When
this base and lawless deed was done, and their father could get no
satisfaction at Lacedaemon, with bitter imprecations on the Spartans, he
killed himself at his daughters' tombs: and, from that time, the
prophecies and oracles still warned them to have a great care of the
divine vengeance at Leuctra. Many, however, did not understand the
meaning, being uncertain about the place, because there was a little
maritime town of Laconia called Leuctron, and near Megalopolis in Arcadia
a place of the same name; and the villainy was committed long before this

Now Pelopidas, being asleep in the camp, thought he saw the maidens
weeping about their tombs, and cursing the Spartans, and Scedasus
commanding, if they desired the victory, to sacrifice a virgin with
chestnut hair to his daughters. Pelopidas looked on this as an harsh and
impious injunction, but rose and told it to the prophets and commanders
of the army, some of whom contended, that it was fit to obey, and adduced
as examples from the ancients, Menoeceus, son of Creon; Macaria, daughter
of Hercules; and from later times, Pherecydes the philosopher, slain by
the Lacedaemonians, and his skin, as the oracles advised, still kept by
their kings. Leonidas, again, warned by the oracle, did as it were
sacrifice himself for the good of Greece; Themistocles offered human
victims to Bacchus Omestes, before the engagement at Salamis; and success
showed their actions to be good. On the contrary, Agesilaus going from
the same place, and against the same enemies that Agamemnon did, and,
being commanded in a dream at Aulis to sacrifice his daughter, was so
weak as to disobey; the consequence of which was, that his expedition was
unsuccessful and inglorious. But some on the other side urged, that such
a barbarous and impious oblation could not be pleasing to any Superior
Beings: that typhons and giants did not preside over the world, but the
general father of gods and men; that it was absurd to imagine any
divinities or powers delighted in slaughter and sacrifices of men; or, if
there were an, such, they were to be neglected, as weak and unable to
assist; such unreasonable and cruel desires could only proceed from, and

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