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Plutarch's Lives

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live in weak and depraved minds.

The commanders thus disputing, and Pelopidas being in a great perplexity,
a mare colt, breaking from the herd, ran through the camp, and when she
came to the place where they were, stood still; and whilst some admired
her bright chestnut color, others her mettle, or the strength and fury of
her neighing, Theocritus, the augur, took thought, and cried out to
Pelopidas, "O good friend! look, the sacrifice is come; expect no other
virgin, but use that which the gods have sent thee." With that they took
the colt, and, leading her to the maidens' sepulchres, with the usual
solemnity and prayers, offered her with joy, and spread through the whole
army the account of Pelopidas's dream, and how they had given the
required sacrifice.

In the battle, Epaminondas, bending his phalanx to the left, that, as
much as possible, he might divide the right wing, composed of Spartans,
from the other Greeks, and distress Cleombrotus, by a fierce charge in
column on that wing, the enemies perceived the design, and began to
change their order, to open and extend their right wing, and, as they far
exceeded him in number, to encompass Epaminondas. But Pelopidas with the
three hundred came rapidly up, before Cleombrotus could extend his line,
and close up his divisions, and so fell upon the Spartans while in
disorder; though the Lacedaemonians, the expertest and most practiced
soldiers of all mankind, used to train and accustom themselves to nothing
so much as to keep themselves from confusion upon any change of position,
and to follow any leader, or right hand man, and form in order, and fight
on what part soever dangers press. In this battle, however, Epaminondas
with his phalanx, neglecting the other Greeks, and charging them alone,
and Pelopidas coming up with such incredible speed and fury, so broke
their courage, and baffled their art, that there began such a flight and
slaughter amongst the Spartans, as was never before known. And so
Pelopidas, though in no high office, but only captain of a small band,
got as much reputation by the victory, as Epaminondas, who was general
and chief captain of Boeotia.

Into Peloponnesus, however, they both advanced together as colleagues in
supreme command, and gained the greater part of the nations there from
the Spartan confederacy; Elis, Argo, all Arcadia, and much of Laconia
itself. It was the dead of winter, and but few of the last days of the
month remained, and, in the beginning of the next, new officers were to
succeed, and whoever failed to deliver up his charge, forfeited his head.
Therefore, the other chief captains fearing the law, and to avoid the
sharpness of the winter, advised a retreat. But Pelopidas joined with
Epaminondas, and, encouraging his countrymen, led them against Sparta,
and, passing the Eurotas, took many of the towns, and wasted the country
as far as the sea. This army consisted of seventy thousand Greeks, of
which number the Thebans could not make the twelfth part; but the
reputation of the men made all their allies contented to follow them as
leaders, though no articles to that effect had been made. For, indeed,
it seems the first and paramount law, that he that wants a defender, is
naturally a subject to him that is able to defend: as mariners, though
in a calm or in the port they grow insolent, and brave the pilot, yet
when a storm comes, and danger is at hand, they all attend, and put their
hopes in him. So the Argives, Eleans, and Arcadians, in their
congresses, would contend with the Thebans for superiority in command,
yet in a battle, or any hazardous undertaking, of their own will followed
their Theban captains. In this expedition, they united all Arcadia into
one body, and, expelling the Spartans that inhabited Messenia, they
called back the old Messenians, and established them in Ithome in one
body; -- and, returning through Cenchreae, they dispersed the Athenians, who
designed to set upon them in the straits, and hinder their march.

For these exploits, all the other Greeks loved their courage, and admired
their success; but among their own citizens, envy, still increasing with
their glory, prepared them no pleasing nor agreeable reception. Both
were tried for their lives, because they did not deliver up their command
in the first month, Bucatius, as the law required, but kept it four
months longer, in which time they did these memorable actions in
Messenia, Arcadia, and Laconia. Pelopidas was first tried, and therefore
in greatest danger, but both were acquitted. Epaminondas bore the
accusation and trial very patiently, esteeming it a great and essential
part of courage and generosity, not to resent injuries in political life.
But Pelopidas, being a man of a fiercer temper, and stirred on by his
friends to revenge the affront, took the following occasion. Meneclidas,
the orator, was one of those that had met with Melon and Pelopidas at
Charon's house; but not receiving equal honor, and being powerful in his
speech, but loose in his manners, and ill-natured, he abused his natural
endowments, even after this trial, to accuse and calumniate his betters.
He excluded Epaminondas from the chief captaincy, and for a long time
kept the upper hand of him; but he was not powerful enough to bring
Pelopidas out of the people's favor, and therefore endeavored to raise a
quarrel between him and Charon. And since it is some comfort to the
envious, to make those men, whom themselves cannot excel, appear worse
than others, he studiously enlarged upon Charon's actions in his speeches
to the people, and made panegyrics on his expeditions and victories; and,
of the victory which the horsemen won at Plataea, before the battle at
Leuctra, under Charon's command, he endeavored to make the following
sacred memorial. Androcydes, the Cyzicenian, had undertaken to paint a
previous battle for the city, and was at work in Thebes; and when the
revolt began, and the war came on, the Thebans kept the picture that was
then almost finished. This picture Meneclidas persuaded them to
dedicate, inscribed with Charon's name, designing by that means to
obscure the glory of Epaminondas and Pelopidas. This was a ludicrous
piece of pretension; to set a single victory, where only one Gerandas, an
obscure Spartan, and forty more were slain, above such numerous and
important battles. This motion Pelopidas opposed, as contrary to law,
alleging that it was not the custom of the Thebans to honor any single
man, but to attribute the victory to their country; yet in all the
contest, he extremely commended Charon, and confined himself to showing
Meneclidas to be a troublesome and envious fellow, asking the Thebans, if
they had done nothing that was excellent, .... insomuch that
Meneclidas was severely fined; and he, being unable to pay, endeavored
afterwards to disturb the government. These things give us some light
into Pelopidas's life.

Now when Alexander, the tyrant of Pherae, made open war against some of
the Thessalians, and had designs against all, the cities sent an embassy
to Thebes, to desire succors and a general; and Pelopidas, knowing that
Epaminondas was detained by the Peloponnesian affairs, offered himself to
lead the Thessalians, being unwilling to let his courage and skill lie
idle, and thinking it unfit that Epaminondas should be withdrawn from his
present duties. When he came into Thessaly with his army, he presently
took Larissa, and endeavored to reclaim Alexander, who submitted, and
bring him, from being a tyrant, to govern gently, and according to law;
but finding him untractable and brutish, and hearing great complaints of
his lust and cruelty, Pelopidas began to be severe, and used him roughly,
insomuch that the tyrant stole away privately with his guard. But
Pelopidas, leaving the Thessalians fearless of the tyrant, and friends
amongst themselves, marched into Macedonia, where Ptolemy was then at war
with Alexander, the king of Macedon; both parties having sent for him to
hear and determine their differences, and assist the one that appeared
injured. When he came, he reconciled them, called back the exiles, and,
receiving for hostages Philip the king's brother, and thirty children of
the nobles, he brought them to Thebes; showing the other Greeks how wide
a reputation the Thebans had gained for honesty and courage. This was
that Philip who afterward endeavored to enslave the Greeks: then he was
a boy, and lived with Pammenes in Thebes; and hence some conjecture, that
he took Epaminondas's actions for the rule of his own; and perhaps,
indeed, he did take example from his activity and skill in war, which,
however, was but a small portion of his virtues; of his temperance,
justice, generosity, and mildness, in which he was truly great, Philip
enjoyed no share, either by nature or imitation.

After this, upon a second complaint of the Thessalians against Alexander
of Pherae, as a disturber of the cities, Pelopidas was joined with
Ismenias, in an embassy to him; but led no forces from Thebes, not
expecting any war, and therefore was necessitated to make use of the
Thessalians upon the emergency. At the same time, also, Macedon was in
confusion again, as Ptolemy had murdered the king, and seized the
government: but the king's friends sent for Pelopidas, and he, being
willing to interpose in the matter, but having no soldiers of his own,
enlisted some mercenaries in the country, and with them marched against
Ptolemy. When they faced one another, Ptolemy corrupted these
mercenaries with a sum of money, and persuaded them to revolt to him; but
yet, fearing the very name and reputation of Pelopidas, he came to him as
his superior, submitted, begged his pardon, and protested that he kept
the government only for the brothers of the dead king, and would prove a
friend to the friends, and an enemy to the enemies of Thebes; and, to
confirm this, he gave his son, Philoxenus, and fifty of his companions,
for hostages. These Pelopidas sent to Thebes; but he himself, being
vexed at the treachery of the mercenaries, and understanding that most of
their goods, their wives and children, lay at Pharsalus, so that if he
could take them, the injury would be sufficiently revenged, got together
some of the Thessalians, and marched to Pharsalus. When he had just
entered the city, Alexander, the tyrant, appeared before it with an army;
but Pelopidas and his friends, thinking that he came to clear himself
from those crimes that were laid to his charge, went to him; and though
they knew very well that he was profligate and cruel, yet they imagined
that the authority of Thebes, and their own dignity and reputation, would
secure them from violence. But the tyrant, seeing them come unarmed and
alone, seized them, and made himself master of Pharsalus. Upon this his
subjects were much intimidated, thinking that after so great and so bold
an iniquity, he would spare none, but behave himself toward all, and in
all matters, as one despairing of his life. The Thebans, when they heard
of this, were very much enraged, and dispatched an army, Epaminondas
being then in disgrace, under the command of other leaders. When the
tyrant brought Pelopidas to Pherae, at first he permitted those that
desired it to speak with him, imagining that this disaster would break
his spirit, and make him appear contemptible. But when Pelopidas advised
the complaining Pheraeans to be comforted, as if the tyrant was now
certain in a short time to smart for his injuries, and sent to tell him,
"That it was absurd daily to torment and murder his wretched innocent
subjects, and yet spare him, who, he well knew, if ever he got his
liberty, would be bitterly revenged;" the tyrant, wondering at his
boldness and freedom of speech, replied, "And why is Pelopidas in haste
to die?" He, hearing of it, rejoined, "That you may be the sooner
ruined, being then more hated by the gods than now." From that time he
forbade any to converse with him; but Thebe, the daughter of Jason and
wife to Alexander, hearing from the keepers of the bravery and noble
behavior of Pelopidas, had a great desire to see and speak with him. Now
when she came into the prison, and, as a woman, could not at once discern
his greatness in his calamity, only, judging by the meanness of his
attire and general appearance, that he was used basely and not befitting
a man of his reputation, she wept. Pelopidas, at first not knowing who
she was, stood amazed; but when he understood, saluted her by her
father's name -- Jason and he having been friends and familiars -- and
she saying, "I pity your wife, Sir," he replied, "And I you, that though
not in chains, can endure Alexander." This touched the woman, who
already hated Alexander for his cruelty and injustice, for his general
debaucheries, and for his abuse of her youngest brother. She, therefore,
often went to Pelopidas, and, speaking freely of the indignities she
suffered, grew more enraged, and more exasperated against Alexander.

The Theban generals that were sent into Thessaly did nothing, but, being
either unskillful or unfortunate, made a dishonorable retreat, for which
the city fined each of them ten thousand drachmas, and sent Epaminondas
with their forces. The Thessalians, inspirited by the fame of this
general, at once began to stir, and the tyrant's affairs were at the
verge of destruction; so great was the fear that possessed his captains
and his friends, and so eager the desire of his subjects to revolt, in
hope of his speedy punishment. But Epaminondas, more solicitous for the
safety of Pelopidas than his own glory, and fearing that if things came
to extremity, Alexander would grow desperate, and, like a wild beast,
turn and worry him, did not prosecute the war to the utmost; but,
hovering still over him with his army, he so handled the tyrant as not to
leave him any confidence, and yet not to drive him to despair and fury.
He was aware of his savageness, and the little value he had for right and
justice, insomuch that sometimes he buried men alive, and sometimes
dressed them in bear's and boar's skins, and then baited them with dogs,
or shot at them for his divertisement. At Meliboea and Scotussa, two
cities, his allies, he called all the inhabitants to an assembly, and
then surrounded them and cut them to pieces with his guards. He
consecrated the spear with which he killed his uncle Polyphron, and,
crowning it with garlands, sacrificed to it as a god, and called it
Tychon. And once seeing a tragedian act Euripides's Troades, he left the
theater; but sending for the actor, bade him not to be concerned at his
departure, but act as he had been used to do, as it was not in contempt
of him that he departed, but because he was ashamed that his citizens
should see him, who never pitied any man that he murdered, weep at the
sufferings of Hecuba and Andromache. This tyrant, however, alarmed at
the very name, report, and appearance of an expedition under the conduct
of Epaminondas, presently

Dropped like a craven cock his conquered wing,

and sent an embassy to entreat and offer satisfaction. Epaminondas
refused to admit such a man as an ally to the Thebans, but granted him a
truce of thirty days, and, Pelopidas and Ismenias being delivered up,
returned home.

Now the Thebans, understanding that the Spartans and Athenians had sent
an embassy to the Persians for assistance, themselves, likewise, sent
Pelopidas; an excellent design to increase his glory, no man having ever
before passed through the dominions of the king with greater fame and
reputation. For the glory that he won against the Spartans, did not
creep slowly or obscurely; but, after the fame of the first battle at
Leuctra was gone abroad, the report of new victories continually
following, exceedingly increased, and spread his celebrity far and near.
Whatever satraps or generals or commanders he met, he was the object of
their wonder and discourse; "This is the man," they said, "who hath
beaten the Lacedaemonians from sea and land, and confined that Sparta
within Taygetus and Eurotas, which, but a little before, under the
conduct of Agesilaus, was entering upon a war with the great king about
Susa and Ecbatana." This pleased Artaxerxes, and he was the more
inclined to show Pelopidas attention and honor, being desirous to seem
reverenced, and attended by the greatest. But when he saw him and heard
his discourse, more solid than the Athenians, and not so haughty as the
Spartans, his regard was heightened, and, truly acting like a king, he
openly showed the respect that he felt for him; and this the other
ambassadors perceived. Of all other Greeks he had been thought to have
done Antalcidas, the Spartan, the greatest honor, by sending him that
garland dipped in an unguent, which he himself had worn at an
entertainment. Indeed, he did not deal so delicately with Pelopidas,
but, according to the custom, gave him the most splendid and considerable
presents, and granted him his desires, that the Grecians should be free,
Messenia inhabited, and the Thebans accounted the king's hereditary
friends. With these answers, but not accepting one of the presents,
except what was a pledge of kindness and good-will, he returned. This
behavior of Pelopidas ruined the other ambassadors: the Athenians
condemned and executed their Timagoras, and, indeed, if they did it for
receiving so many presents from the king, their sentence was just and
good; as he not only took gold and silver, but a rich bed, and slaves to
make it, as if the Greeks were unskillful in that art; besides eighty
cows and herdsmen, professing he needed cow's milk for some distemper;
and, lastly, he was carried in a litter to the seaside, with a present of
four talents for his attendants. But the Athenians, perhaps, were not so
much irritated at his greediness for the presents. For Epicrates the
baggage-carrier not only confessed to the people that he had received
gifts from the king, but made a motion, that instead of nine archons,
they should yearly choose nine poor citizens to be sent ambassadors to
the king, and enriched by his presents, and the people only laughed at
the joke. But they were vexed that the Thebans obtained their desires,
never considering that Pelopidas's fame was more powerful than all their
rhetorical discourse, with a man who still inclined to the victorious in
arms. This embassy, having obtained the restitution of Messenia, and the
freedom of the other Greeks, got Pelopidas a great deal of good-will at
his return.

At this time, Alexander the Pheraean falling back to his old nature, and
having seized many of the Thessalian cities, and put garrisons upon the
Achaeans of Phthiotis, and the Magnesians, the cities, hearing that
Pelopidas was returned, sent an embassy to Thebes, requesting succors,
and him for their leader. The Thebans willingly granted their desire;
and now when all things were prepared, and the general beginning to
march, the sun was eclipsed, and darkness spread over the city at
noonday. Now when Pelopidas saw them startled at the prodigy, he did not
think it fit to force on men who were afraid and out of heart, nor to
hazard seven thousand of his citizens; and therefore with only three
hundred horse volunteers, set forward himself to Thessaly, much against
the will of the augurs and his fellow-citizens in general, who all
imagined this marked portent to have reference to this great man. But he
was heated against Alexander for the injuries he had received, and hoped
likewise, from the discourse which formerly he had with Thebe, that his
family by this time was divided and in disorder. But the glory of the
expedition chiefly excited him; for he was extremely desirous at this
time, when the Lacedaemonians were sending out military officers to
assist Dionysius the Sicilian tyrant, and the Athenians took Alexander's
pay, and honored him with a brazen statue as a benefactor, that the
Thebans should be seen, alone, of all the Greeks, undertaking the cause
of those who were oppressed by tyrants, and destroying the violent and
illegal forms of government in Greece.

When Pelopidas was come to Pharsalus, he formed an army, and presently
marched against Alexander; and Alexander understanding that Pelopidas had
few Thebans with him, and that his own infantry was double the number of
the Thessalians, faced him at Thetidium. Some one told Pelopidas, "The
tyrant meets us with a great army;" "So much the better," he replied,
"for then we shall overcome the more." Between the two armies lay some
steep high hills about Cynoscephalae, which both parties endeavored to
take by their foot. Pelopidas commanded his horse, which were good and
many, to charge that of the enemies; they routed and pursued them through
the plain. But Alexander, meantime, took the hills, and charging the
Thessalian foot that came up later, and strove to climb the steep and
craggy ascent, killed the foremost, and the others, much distressed,
could do the enemies no harm. Pelopidas, observing this, sounded a
retreat to his horse, and gave orders that they should charge the enemies
that kept their ground; and he himself, taking his shield, quickly
joined those that fought about the hills, and, advancing to the front,
filled his men with such courage and alacrity, that the enemies imagined
they came with other spirits and other bodies to the onset. They stood
two or three charges, but finding these come on stoutly, and the horse,
also, returning from the pursuit, gave ground, and retreated in order.
Pelopidas now perceiving, from the rising ground, that the enemy's army
was, though not yet routed, full of disorder and confusion, stood and
looked about for Alexander; and when he saw him in the right wing,
encouraging and ordering his mercenaries, he could not moderate his
anger, but inflamed at the sight, and blindly following his passion,
regardless alike of his own life and his command, advanced far before his
soldiers, crying out and challenging the tyrant who did not dare to
receive him, but retreating, hid himself amongst his guard. The foremost
of the mercenaries that came hand to hand were driven back by Pelopidas,
and some killed; but many at a distance shot through his armor and
wounded him, till the Thessalians, in anxiety for the result, ran down
from the hill to his relief, but found him already slain. The horse came
up, also, and routed the phalanx, and, following the pursuit a great way,
filled the whole country with the slain, which were above three thousand.

No one can wonder that the Thebans then present, should show great grief
at the death of Pelopidas, calling him their father, deliverer, and
instructor in all that was good and commendable. But the Thessalians and
the allies out-doing in their public edicts all the just honors that
could be paid to human courage, gave, in their display of feeling, yet
stronger demonstrations of the kindness they had for him. It is stated,
that none of the soldiers, when they heard of his death, would put off
their armor, unbridle their horses, or dress their wounds, but, still hot
and with their arms on, ran to the corpse, and, as if he had been yet
alive and could see what they did, heaped up spoils about his body. They
cut off their horses' manes and their own hair, many kindled no fire in
their tents, took no supper, and silence and sadness was spread over all
the army; as if they had not gained the greatest and most glorious
victory, but were overcome by the tyrant, and enslaved. As soon as it
was known in the cities, the magistrates, youths, children, and priests,
came out to meet the body, and brought trophies, crowns, and suits of
golden armor; and, when he was to be interred, the elders of the
Thessalians came and begged the Thebans, that they might give the
funeral; and one of them said, "Friends, we ask a favor of you, that will
prove both an honor and comfort to us in this our great misfortune. The
Thessalians shall never again wait on the living Pelopidas, never give
honors, of which he can be sensible, but if we may have his body, adorn
his funeral, and inter him, we shall hope to show that we esteem his
death a greater loss to the Thessalians than to the Thebans. You have
lost only a good general, we both a general and our liberty. For how
shall we dare to desire from you another captain, since we cannot restore

The Thebans granted their request, and there was never a more splendid
funeral in the opinion of those, who do not think the glory of such
solemnities consists only in gold, ivory, and purple; as Philistus did,
who extravagantly celebrates the funeral of Dionysius, in which his
tyranny concluded like the pompous exit of some great tragedy. Alexander
the Great, at the death of Hephaestion, not only cut off the manes of his
horses and his mules, but took down the battlements from the city walls,
that even the towns might seem mourners, and, instead of their former
beauteous appearance, look bald at his funeral. But such honors, being
commanded and forced from the mourners, attended with feelings of
jealousy towards those who received them, and of hatred towards those who
exacted them, were no testimonies of love and respect, but of the
barbaric pride, luxury, and insolence of those who lavished their wealth
in these vain and undesirable displays. But that a man of common rank,
dying in a strange country, neither his wife, children, nor kinsmen
present, none either asking or compelling it, should be attended, buried,
and crowned by so many cities that strove to exceed one another in the
demonstrations of their love, seems to be the sum and completion of happy
fortune. For the death of happy men is not, as Aesop observes, most
grievous, but most blessed, since it secures their felicity, and puts it
out of fortune's power. And that Spartan advised well, who, embracing
Diagoras, that had himself been crowned in the Olympic Games, and saw his
sons and grandchildren victors, said, "Die, Diagoras, for thou canst not
be a god." And yet who would compare all the victories in the Pythian
and Olympian Games put together, with one of those enterprises of
Pelopidas, of which he successfully performed so many? Having spent his
life in brave and glorious actions, he died at last in the chief command,
for the thirteenth time, of the Boeotians, fighting bravely and in the
act of slaying a tyrant, in defense of the liberty of the Thessalians.

His death, as it brought grief, so likewise it produced advantage to the
allies; for the Thebans, as soon as they heard of his fall, delayed not
their revenge, but presently sent seven thousand foot and seven hundred
horse, under the command of Malcitas and Diogiton. And they, finding
Alexander weak and without forces, compelled him to restore the cities he
had taken, to withdraw his garrisons from the Magnesians and Achaeans of
Phthiotis, and swear to assist the Thebans against whatsoever enemies
they should require. This contented the Thebans, but punishment overtook
the tyrant for his wickedness, and the death of Pelopidas was revenged by
Heaven in the following manner. Pelopidas, as I have already mentioned,
had taught his wife Thebe not to fear the outward splendor and show of
the tyrant's defenses, since she was admitted within them. She, of
herself, too, dreaded his inconstancy, and hated his cruelty; and,
therefore, conspiring with her three brothers, Tisiphonus, Pytholaus, and
Lycophron, made the following attempt upon him. All the other apartments
were full of the tyrant's night guards, but their bed-chamber was an
upper room, and before the door lay a chained dog to guard it, which
would fly at all but the tyrant and his wife and one servant that fed
him. When Thebe, therefore, designed to kill her husband, she hid her
brothers all day in a room hard by, and she, going in alone, according to
her usual custom, to Alexander who was asleep already, in a little time
came out again, and commanded the servant to lead away the dog, for
Alexander wished to rest quietly. She covered the stairs with wool, that
the young men might make no noise as they came up; and then, bringing up
her brothers with their weapons, and leaving them at the chamber door,
she went in, and brought away the tyrant's sword that hung over his head
and showed it them for a confirmation that he was fast asleep. The young
men appearing fearful, and unwilling to do the murder, she chid them, and
angrily vowed she would wake Alexander, and discover the conspiracy; and
so, with a lamp in her hand, she conducted them in, they being both
ashamed and afraid, and brought them to the bed; when one of them caught
him by the feet, the other pulled him backward by the hair, and the third
ran him through. The death was more speedy, perhaps, than was fit; but,
in that he was the first tyrant that was killed by the contrivance of his
wife, and as his corpse was abused, thrown out, and trodden under foot by
the Pheraeans, he seems to have suffered what his villainies deserved.


They say that Marcus Claudius, who was five times consul of the Romans,
was the son of Marcus; and that he was the first of his family called
Marcellus; that is, martial, as Posidonius affirms. He was, indeed, by
long experience skillful in the art of war, of a strong body, valiant of
hand, and by natural inclination addicted to war. This high temper and
heat he showed conspicuously in battle; in other respects he was modest
and obliging, and so far studious of Greek learning and discipline, as to
honor and admire those that excelled in it, though he did not himself
attain a proficiency in them equal to his desire, by reason of his
employments. For if ever there were any men, whom, as Homer says,

From their first youth unto their utmost age
Appointed the laborious wars to wage,

certainly they were the chief Romans of that time; who in their youth had
war with the Carthaginians in Sicily, in their middle age with the Gauls
in the defense of Italy itself; and, at last, when now grown old,
struggled again with Hannibal and the Carthaginians, and wanted in their
latest years what is granted to most men, exemption from military toils;
their rank and their great qualities still making them be called upon to
undertake the command.

Marcellus, ignorant or unskillful of no kind of fighting, in single
combat surpassed himself; he never declined a challenge, and never
accepted without killing his challenger. In Sicily, he protected and
saved his brother Otacilius when surrounded in battle, and slew the
enemies that pressed upon him; for which act he was by the generals,
while he was yet but young, presented with crowns and other honorable
rewards; and, his good qualities more and more displaying themselves, he
was created Curule Aedile by the people, and by the high-priests Augur;
which is that priesthood to which chiefly the law assigns the observation
of auguries. In his aedileship, a certain mischance brought him to the
necessity of bringing an impeachment into the senate. He had a son named
Marcus, of great beauty, in the flower of his age, and no less admired
for the goodness of his character. This youth, Capitolinus, a bold and
ill-mannered man, Marcellus's colleague, sought to abuse. The boy at
first himself repelled him; but when the other again persecuted him, told
his father. Marcellus, highly indignant, accused the man in the senate,
where he, having appealed to the tribunes of the people, endeavored by
various shifts and exceptions to elude the impeachment; and, when the
tribunes refused their protection, by flat denial rejected the charge.
As there was no witness of the fact, the senate thought fit to call the
youth himself before them; on witnessing whose blushes and tears, and
shame mixed with the highest indignation, seeking no further evidence of
the crime, they condemned Capitolinus, and set a fine upon him; of the
money of which, Marcellus caused silver vessels for libation to be made,
which he dedicated to the gods.

After the end of the first Punic war, which lasted one and twenty years,
the seeds of Gallic tumults sprang up, and began again to trouble Rome.
The Insubrians, a people inhabiting the subalpine region of Italy, strong
in their own forces, raised from among the other Gauls aids of mercenary
soldiers, called Gaesatae. And it was a sort of miracle, and special
good fortune for Rome, that the Gallic war was not coincident with the
Punic, but that the Gauls had with fidelity stood quiet as spectators,
while the Punic war continued, as though they had been under engagements
to await and attack the victors, and now only were at liberty to come
forward. Still the position itself, and the ancient renown of the Gauls,
struck no little fear into the minds of the Romans, who were about to
undertake a war so near home and upon their own borders; and regarded the
Gauls, because they had once taken their city, with more apprehension
than any people, as is apparent from the enactment which from that time
forth provided, that the high-priests should enjoy an exemption from all
military duty, except only in Gallic insurrections.

The great preparations, also, made by the Romans for war, (for it is not
reported that the people of Rome ever had at one time so many legions in
arms, either before or since,) and their extraordinary sacrifices, were
plain arguments of their fear. For though they were most averse to
barbarous and cruel rites, and entertained more than any nation the same
pious and reverent sentiments of the gods with the Greeks; yet, when this
war was coming upon them, they then, from some prophecies in the Sibyls'
books, put alive under ground a pair of Greeks, one male, the other
female; and likewise two Gauls, one of each sex, in the market called the
beast-market: continuing even to this day to offer to these Greeks and
Gauls certain secret ceremonial observances in the month of November.

In the beginning of this war, in which the Romans sometimes obtained
remarkable victories, sometimes were shamefully beaten, nothing was done
toward the determination of the contest, until Flaminius and Furius,
being consuls, led large forces against the Insubrians. At the time of
their departure, the river that runs through the country of Picenum was
seen flowing with blood; there was a report, that three moons had been
seen at once at Ariminum; and, in the consular assembly, the augurs
declared, that the consuls had been unduly and inauspiciously created.
The senate, therefore, immediately sent letters to the camp, recalling
the consuls to Rome with all possible speed, and commanding them to
forbear from acting against the enemies, and to abdicate the consulship
on the first opportunity. These letters being brought to Flaminius, he
deferred to open them till, having defeated and put to flight the enemy's
forces, he wasted and ravaged their borders. The people, therefore, did
not go forth to meet him when he returned with huge spoils; nay, because
he had not instantly obeyed the command in the letters, by which he was
recalled, but slighted and contemned them, they were very near denying
him the honor of a triumph. Nor was the triumph sooner passed than they
deposed him, with his colleague, from the magistracy, and reduced them to
the state of private citizens. So much were all things at Rome made to
depend upon religion; they would not allow any contempt of the omens and
the ancient rites, even though attended with the highest success;
thinking it to be of more importance to the public safety, that the
magistrates should reverence the gods, than that they should overcome
their enemies. Thus Tiberius Sempronius, whom for his probity and virtue
the citizens highly esteemed, created Scipio Nasica and Caius Marcius,
consuls to succeed him: and when they were gone into their provinces,
lit upon books concerning the religious observances, where he found
something he had not known before; which was this. When the consul took
his auspices, he sat without the city in a house, or tent, hired for that
occasion; but, if it happened that he, for any urgent cause, returned
into the city, without having yet seen any certain signs, he was obliged
to leave that first building, or tent, and to seek another to repeat the
survey from. Tiberius, it appears, in ignorance of this, had twice used
the same building before announcing the new consuls. Now, understanding
his error, he referred the matter to the senate: nor did the senate
neglect this minute fault, but soon wrote expressly of it to Scipio
Nasica and Caius Marcius; who, leaving their provinces and without delay
returning to Rome, laid down their magistracy. This happened at a later
period. About the same time, too, the priesthood was taken away from two
men of very great honor, Cornelius Cethegus and Quintus Sulpicius: from
the former, because he had not rightly held out the entrails of a beast
slain for sacrifice; from the latter, because, while he was immolating,
the tufted cap which the Flamens wear had fallen from his head.
Minucius, the dictator, who had already named Caius Flaminius master of
the horse, they deposed from his command, because the squeak of a mouse
was heard, and put others into their places. And yet, notwithstanding,
by observing so anxiously these little niceties they did not run into any
superstition, because they never varied from nor exceeded the observances
of their ancestors.

So soon as Flaminius with his colleague had resigned the consulate,
Marcellus was declared consul by the presiding officers called
Interrexes; and, entering into the magistracy, chose Cnaeus Cornelius his
colleague. There was a report that, the Gauls proposing a pacification,
and the senate also inclining to peace, Marcellus inflamed the people to
war; but a peace appears to have been agreed upon, which the Gaesatae
broke; who, passing the Alps, stirred up the Insubrians, (they being
thirty thousand in number, and the Insubrians more numerous by far) and,
proud of their strength, marched directly to Acerrae, a city seated on
the north of the river Po. From thence Britomartus, king of the
Gaesatae, taking with him ten thousand soldiers, harassed the country
round about. News of which being brought to Marcellus, leaving his
colleague at Acerrae with the foot and all the heavy arms and a third
part of the horse, and carrying with him the rest of the horse and six
hundred light armed foot, marching night and day without remission, he
staid not till he came up to these ten thousand near a Gaulish village
called Clastidium, which not long before had been reduced under the Roman
jurisdiction. Nor had he time to refresh his soldiers, or to give them
rest. For the barbarians, that were then present, immediately observed
his approach, and contemned him, because he had very few foot with him.
The Gauls were singularly skillful in horsemanship, and thought to excel
in it; and as at present they also exceeded Marcellus in number, they
made no account of him. They, therefore, with their king at their head,
instantly charged upon him, as if they would trample him under their
horses' feet, threatening all kind of cruelties. Marcellus, because his
men were few, that they might not be encompassed and charged on all sides
by the enemy, extended his wings of horse, and, riding about, drew out
his wings of foot in length, till he came near to the enemy. Just as he
was in the act of turning round to face the enemy, it so happened that
his horse, startled with their fierce look and their cries, gave back,
and carried him forcibly aside. Fearing lest this accident, if converted
into an omen, might discourage his soldiers, he quickly brought his horse
round to confront the enemy, and made a gesture of adoration to the sun,
as if he had wheeled about not by chance, but for a purpose of devotion.
For it was customary to the Romans, when they offered worship to the
gods, to turn round; and in this moment of meeting the enemy, he is said
to have vowed the best of the arms to Jupiter Feretrius.

The king of the Gauls beholding Marcellus, and from the badges of his
authority conjecturing him to be the general, advanced some way before
his embattled army, and with a loud voice challenged him, and,
brandishing his lance, fiercely ran in full career at him; exceeding the
rest of the Gauls in stature, and with his armor, that was adorned with
gold and silver and various colors, shining like lightning. These arms
seeming to Marcellus, while he viewed the enemy's army drawn up in
battalia, to be the best and fairest, and thinking them to be those he
had vowed to Jupiter, he instantly ran upon the king, and pierced through
his breastplate with his lance; then pressing upon him with the weight of
his horse, threw him to the ground, and with two or three strokes more,
slew him. Immediately he leapt from his horse, laid his hand upon the
dead king's arms, and, looking up toward Heaven, thus spoke: "O Jupiter
Feretrius, arbiter of the exploits of captains, and of the acts of
commanders in war and battles, be thou witness that I, a general, have
slain a general; I, a consul, have slain a king with my own hand, third
of all the Romans; and that to thee I consecrate these first and most
excellent of the spoils. Grant to us to dispatch the relics of the war,
with the same course of fortune." Then the Roman horse joining battle
not only with the enemy's horse, but also with the foot who attacked
them, obtained a singular and unheard of victory. For never before or
since have so few horse defeated such numerous forces of horse and foot
together. The enemies being to a great number slain, and the spoils
collected, he returned to his colleague, who was conducting the war, with
ill success, against the enemies near the greatest and most populous of
the Gallic cities, Milan. This was their capital, and, therefore,
fighting valiantly in defense of it, they were not so much besieged by
Cornelius, as they besieged him. But Marcellus having returned, and the
Gaesatae retiring as soon as they were certified of the death of the king
and the defeat of his army, Milan was taken. The rest of their towns,
and all they had, the Gauls delivered up of their own accord to the
Romans, and had peace upon equitable conditions granted to them.

Marcellus alone, by a decree of the senate, triumphed. The triumph was in
magnificence, opulence, spoils, and the gigantic bodies of the captives,
most remarkable. But the most grateful and most rare spectacle of all
was the general himself, carrying the arms of the barbarian king to the
god to whom he had vowed them. He had taken a tall and straight stock of
an oak, and had lopped and formed it to a trophy. Upon this he fastened
and hung round about the arms of the king, arranging all the pieces in
their suitable places. The procession advancing solemnly, he, carrying
this trophy, ascended the chariot; and thus, himself the fairest and most
glorious triumphant image, was conveyed into the city. The army adorned
with shining armor followed in order, and with verses composed for the
occasion and with songs of victory celebrated the praises of Jupiter and
of their general. Then entering the temple of Jupiter Feretrius, he
dedicated his gift; the third, and to our memory the last, that ever did
so. The first was Romulus, after having slain Acron, king of the
Caeninenses: the second, Cornelius Cossus, who slew Tolumnius the
Etruscan: after them Marcellus, having killed Britomartus king of the
Gauls; after Marcellus, no man. The god to whom these spoils were
consecrated is called Jupiter Feretrius, from the trophy carried on the
feretrum, one of the Greek words which at that time still existed in
great numbers in Latin: or, as others say, it is the surname of the
Thundering Jupiter, derived from ferire, to strike. Others there are who
would have the name to be deduced from the strokes that are given in
fight; since even now in battles, when they press upon their enemies,
they constantly call out to each other, strike, in Latin, feri. Spoils
in general they call Spolia, and these in particular Opima; though,
indeed, they say that Numa Pompilius in his commentaries, makes mention
of first, second, and third Spolia Opima; and that he prescribes that the
first taken be consecrated to Jupiter Feretrius, the second to Mars, the
third to Quirinus; as also that the reward of the first be three hundred
asses; of the second, two hundred; of the third, one hundred. The
general account, however, prevails, that those spoils only are Opima,
which the general first takes in set battle, and takes from the enemy's
chief captain whom he has slain with his own hand. But of this enough.
The victory and the ending of the war was so welcome to the people of
Rome, that they sent to Apollo of Delphi, in testimony of their
gratitude, a present of a golden cup of a hundred pound weight, and gave
a great part of the spoil to their associate cities, and took care that
many presents should be sent also to Hiero, king of the Syracusans, their
friend and ally.

When Hannibal invaded Italy, Marcellus was dispatched with a fleet into
Sicily. And when the army had been defeated at Cannae, and many
thousands of them perished, and few had saved themselves by flying to
Canusium, and all feared lest Hannibal, who had destroyed the strength of
the Roman army, should advance at once with his victorious troops to
Rome, Marcellus first sent for the protection of the city fifteen hundred
solders, from the fleet. Then, by decree of the senate, going to
Canusium, having heard that many of the soldiers had come together in
that place, he led them out of the fortifications to prevent the enemy
from ravaging the country. The chief Roman commanders had most of them
fallen in battles; and the citizens complained, that the extreme caution
of Fabius Maximus, whose integrity and wisdom gave him the highest
authority, verged upon timidity and inaction. They confided in him to
keep them out of danger, but could not expect that he would enable them
to retaliate. Fixing, therefore, their thoughts upon Marcellus, and
hoping to combine his boldness, confidence, and promptitude with Fabius's
caution and prudence, and to temper the one by the other, they sent,
sometimes both with consular command, sometimes one as consul, the other
as proconsul, against the enemy. Posidonius writes, that Fabius was
called the buckler, Marcellus the sword of Rome. Certainly, Hannibal
himself confessed that he feared Fabius as a schoolmaster, Marcellus as
an adversary: the former, lest he should be hindered from doing
mischief; the latter, lest he should receive harm himself.

And first, when among Hannibal's soldiers, proud of their victory,
carelessness and boldness had grown to a great height, Marcellus,
attacking all their stragglers and plundering parties, cut them off, and
by little and little diminished their forces. Then carrying aid to the
Neapolitans and Nolans, he confirmed the minds of the former, who,
indeed, were of their own accord faithful enough to the Romans; but in
Nola he found a state of discord, the senate not being able to rule and
keep in the common people, who were generally favorers of Hannibal.
There was in the town one Bantius, a man renowned for his high birth and
courage. This man, after he had fought most fiercely at Cannae, and had
killed many of the enemies, at last was found lying in a heap of dead
bodies, covered with darts, and was brought to Hannibal, who so honored
him, that he not only dismissed him without ransom, but also contracted
friendship with him, and made him his guest. In gratitude for this great
favor, he became one of the strongest of the partisans of Hannibal, and
urged the people to revolt. Marcellus could not be induced to put to
death a man of such eminence, and who had endured such dangers in
fighting on the Roman side; but, knowing himself able, by the general
kindliness of his disposition and in particular by the attractiveness of
his address, to gain over a character whose passion was for honor, one
day when Bantius saluted him, he asked him who he was; not that he knew
him not before, but seeking an occasion of further conference. When
Bantius had told who he was, Marcellus, seeming surprised with joy and
wonder, replied: "Are you that Bantius, whom the Romans commend above
the rest that fought at Cannae, and praise as the one man that not only
did not forsake the consul Paulus Aemilius, but received in his own body
many darts thrown at him?" Bantius owning himself to be that very man,
and showing his scars: "Why then," said Marcellus, "did not you, having
such proofs to show of your affection to us, come to me at my first
arrival here? Do you think that we are unwilling to requite with favor
those who have well deserved, and who are honored even by our enemies?"
He followed up his courtesies by a present of a war-horse, and five
hundred drachmas in money. From that time Bantius became the most
faithful assistant and ally of Marcellus, and a most keen discoverer of
those that attempted innovation and sedition.

These were many, and had entered into a conspiracy to plunder the baggage
of the Romans, when they should make an irruption against the enemy.
Marcellus, therefore, having marshaled his army within the city, placed
the baggage near to the gates, and, by an edict, forbade the Nolans to go
to the walls. Thus, outside the city, no arms could be seen; by which
prudent device he allured Hannibal to move with his army in some disorder
to the city, thinking that things were in a tumult there. Then
Marcellus, the nearest gate being, as he had commanded, thrown open,
issuing forth with the flower of his horse in front, charged the enemy.
By and by the foot, sallying out of another gate, with a loud shout
joined in the battle. And while Hannibal opposes part of his forces to
these, the third gate also is opened, out of which the rest break forth,
and on all quarters fall upon the enemies, who were dismayed at this
unexpected encounter, and did but feebly resist those with whom they had
been first engaged, because of their attack by these others that sallied
out later. Here Hannibal's soldiers, with much bloodshed and many
wounds, were beaten back to their camp, and for the first time turned
their backs to the Romans. There fell in this action, as it is related,
more than five thousand of them; of the Romans, not above five hundred.
Livy does not affirm, that either the victory, or the slaughter of the
enemy was so great; but certain it is, that the adventure brought great
glory to Marcellus, and to the Romans, after their calamities, a great
revival of confidence, as they began now to entertain a hope, that the
enemy with whom they contended was not invincible, but liable like
themselves to defeats.

Therefore, the other consul being deceased, the people recalled
Marcellus, that they might put him into his place; and, in spite of the
magistrates, succeeded in postponing the election till his arrival, when
he was by all the suffrages created consul. But because it happened to
thunder, the augurs accounting that he was not legitimately created, and
yet not daring, for fear of the people, to declare their sentence openly,
Marcellus voluntarily resigned the consulate, retaining however his
command. Being created proconsul, and returning to the camp at Nola, he
proceeded to harass those that followed the party of the Carthaginian; on
whose coming with speed to succor them, Marcellus declined a challenge to
a set battle, but when Hannibal had sent out a party to plunder, and now
expected no fight, he broke out upon him with his army. He had
distributed to the foot long lances, such as are commonly used in naval
fights; and instructed them to throw them with great force at convenient
distance against the enemies who were inexperienced in that way of
darting, and used to fight with short darts hand to hand. This seems to
have been the cause of the total rout and open flight of all the
Carthaginians who were then engaged: there fell of them five thousand;
four elephants were killed, and two taken; but, what was of greatest
moment, on the third day after, more than three hundred horse, Spaniards
and Numidians mixed, deserted to him, a disaster that had never to that
day happened to Hannibal, who had long kept together in harmony an army
of barbarians, collected out of many various and discordant nations.
Marcellus and his successors in all this war made good use of the
faithful service of these horsemen.

He now was a third time created consul, and sailed over into Sicily. For
the success of Hannibal had excited the Carthaginians to lay claim to
that whole island; chiefly because after the murder of the tyrant
Hieronymus, all things had been in tumult and confusion at Syracuse. For
which reason the Romans also had sent before to that city a force under
the conduct of Appius, as praetor. While Marcellus was receiving that
army, a number of Roman soldiers cast themselves at his feet, upon
occasion of the following calamity. Of those that survived the battle at
Cannae, some had escaped by flight, and some were taken alive by the
enemy; so great a multitude, that it was thought there were not remaining
Romans enough to defend the walls of the city. And yet the magnanimity
and constancy of the city was such, that it would not redeem the captives
from Hannibal, though it might have done so for a small ransom; a decree
of the senate forbade it, and chose rather to leave them to be killed by
the enemy, or sold out of Italy; and commanded that all who had saved
themselves by flight should be transported into Sicily, and not permitted
to return into Italy, until the war with Hannibal should be ended.
These, therefore, when Marcellus was arrived in Sicily, addressed
themselves to him in great numbers; and casting themselves at his feet,
with much lamentation and tears humbly besought him to admit them to
honorable service; and promised to make it appear by their future
fidelity and exertions, that that defeat had been received rather by
misfortune than by cowardice. Marcellus, pitying them, petitioned the
senate by letters, that he might have leave at all times to recruit his
legions out of them. After much debate about the thing, the senate
decreed they were of opinion that the commonwealth did not require the
service of cowardly soldiers; if Marcellus perhaps thought otherwise, he
might make use of them, provided no one of them be honored on any
occasion with a crown or military gift, as a reward of his virtue or
courage. This decree stung Marcellus; and on his return to Rome, after
the Sicilian war was ended, he upbraided the senate, that they had denied
to him, who had so highly deserved of the republic, liberty to relieve so
great a number of citizens in great calamity.

At this time Marcellus, first incensed by injures done him by
Hippocrates, commander of the Syracusans, (who, to give proof of his good
affection to the Carthaginians, and to acquire the tyranny to himself,
had killed a number of Romans at Leontini,) besieged and took by force
the city of Leontini; yet violated none of the townsmen; only deserters,
as many as he took, he subjected to the punishment of the rods and axe.
But Hippocrates, sending a report to Syracuse, that Marcellus had put all
the adult population to the sword, and then coming upon the Syracusans,
who had risen in tumult upon that false report, made himself master of
the city. Upon this Marcellus moved with his whole army to Syracuse,
and, encamping near the wall, sent ambassadors into the city to relate to
the Syracusans the truth of what had been done in Leontini. When these
could not prevail by treaty, the whole power being now in the hands of
Hippocrates, he proceeded to attack the city both by land and by sea. The
land forces were conducted by Appius Marcellus, with sixty galleys, each
with five rows of oars, furnished with all sorts of arms and missiles,
and a huge bridge of planks laid upon eight ships chained together, upon
which was carried the engine to cast stones and darts, assaulted the
walls, relying on the abundance and magnificence of his preparations, and
on his own previous glory; all which, however, were, it would seem, but
trifles for Archimedes and his machines.

These machines he had designed and contrived, not as matters of any
importance, but as mere amusements in geometry; in compliance with king
Hiero's desire and request, some little time before, that he should
reduce to practice some part of his admirable speculations in science,
and by accommodating the theoretic truth to sensation and ordinary use,
bring it more within the appreciation of people in general. Eudoxus and
Archytas had been the first originators of this far-famed and highly
prized art of mechanics, which they employed as an elegant illustration
of geometrical truths, and as a means of sustaining experimentally, to
the satisfaction of the senses, conclusions too intricate for proof by
words and diagrams. As, for example, to solve the problem, so often
required in constructing geometrical figures, given the two extreme, to
find the two mean lines of a proportion, both these mathematicians had
recourse to the aid of instruments, adapting to their purpose certain
curves and sections of lines. But what with Plato's indignation at it,
and his invectives against it as the mere corruption and annihilation of
the one good of geometry, -- which was thus shamefully turning its back
upon the unembodied objects of pure intelligence to recur to sensation,
and to ask help (not to be obtained without base subservience and
depravation) from matter; so it was that mechanics came to be separated
from geometry, and, repudiated and neglected by philosophers, took its
place as a military art. Archimedes, however, in writing to king Hiero,
whose friend and near relation he was, had stated, that given the force,
any given weight might be moved, and even boasted, we are told, relying
on the strength of demonstration, that if there were another earth, by
going into it he could remove this. Hiero being struck with amazement at
this, and entreating him to make good this problem by actual experiment,
and show some great weight moved by a small engine, he fixed accordingly
upon a ship of burden out of the king's arsenal, which could not be drawn
out of the dock without great labor and many men; and, loading her with
many passengers and a full freight, sitting himself the while far off,
with no great endeavor, but only holding the head of the pulley in his
hand and drawing the cord by degrees, he drew the ship in a straight
line, as smoothly and evenly, as if she had been in the sea. The king,
astonished at this, and convinced of the power of the art, prevailed upon
Archimedes to make him engines accommodated to all the purposes,
offensive and defensive, of a siege. These the king himself never made
use of, because he spent almost all his life in a profound quiet, and the
highest affluence. But the apparatus was, in a most opportune time, ready
at hand for the Syracusans, and with it also the engineer himself.

When, therefore, the Romans assaulted the walls in two places at once,
fear and consternation stupefied the Syracusans, believing that nothing
was able to resist that violence and those forces. But when Archimedes
began to ply his engines, he at once shot against the land forces all
sorts of missile weapons, and immense masses of stone that came down with
incredible noise and violence, against which no man could stand; for they
knocked down those upon whom they fell, in heaps, breaking all their
ranks and files. In the meantime huge poles thrust out from the walls
over the ships, sunk some by the great weights which they let down from
on high upon them; others they lifted up into the air by an iron hand or
beak like a crane's beak, and, when they had drawn them up by the prow,
and set them on end upon the poop, they plunged them to the bottom of the
sea; or else the ships, drawn by engines within, and whirled about, were
dashed against steep rocks that stood jutting out under the walls, with
great destruction of the soldiers that were aboard them. A ship was
frequently lifted up to a great height in the air (a dreadful thing to
behold), and was rolled to and fro, and kept swinging, until the mariners
were all thrown out, when at length it was dashed against the rocks, or
let fall. At the engine that Marcellus brought upon the bridge of ships,
which was called Sambuca from some resemblance it had to an instrument of
music, while it was as yet approaching the wall, there was discharged a
piece of a rock of ten talents' weight, then a second and a third, which,
striking upon it with immense force and with a noise like thunder, broke
all its foundation to pieces, shook out all its fastenings, and
completely dislodged it from the bridge. So Marcellus, doubtful what
counsel to pursue, drew off his ships to a safer distance, and sounded a
retreat to his forces on land. They then took a resolution of coming up
under the walls, if it were possible, in the night; thinking that as
Archimedes used ropes stretched at length in playing his engines, the
soldiers would now be under the shot, and the darts would, for want of
sufficient distance to throw them, fly over their heads without effect.
But he, it appeared, had long before framed for such occasion engines
accommodated to any distance, and shorter weapons; and had made numerous
small openings in the walls, through which, with engines of a shorter
range, unexpected blows were inflicted on the assailants. Thus, when
they who thought to deceive the defenders came close up to the walls,
instantly a shower of darts and other missile weapons was again cast upon
them. And when stones came tumbling down perpendicularly upon their
heads, and, as it were, the whole wall shot out arrows at them, they
retired. And now, again, as they were going off, arrows and darts of a
longer range indicted a great slaughter among them, and their ships were
driven one against another; while they themselves were not able to
retaliate in any way. For Archimedes had provided and fixed most of his
engines immediately under the wall; whence the Romans, seeing that
infinite mischiefs overwhelmed them from no visible means, began to think
they were fighting with the gods.

Yet Marcellus escaped unhurt, and, deriding his own artificers and
engineers, "What," said he, "must we give up fighting with this
geometrical Briareus, who plays pitch and toss with our ships, and, with
the multitude of darts which he showers at a single moment upon us,
really outdoes the hundred-handed giants of mythology?" And, doubtless,
the rest of the Syracusans were but the body of Archimedes' designs, one
soul moving and governing all; for, laying aside all other arms, with his
alone they infested the Romans, and protected themselves. In fine, when
such terror had seized upon the Romans, that, if they did but see a
little rope or a piece of wood from the wall, instantly crying out, that
there it was again, Archimedes was about to let fly some engine at them,
they turned their backs and fled, Marcellus desisted from conflicts and
assaults, putting all his hope in a long siege. Yet Archimedes possessed
so high a spirit, so profound a soul, and such treasures of scientific
knowledge, that though these inventions had now obtained him the renown
of more than human sagacity, he yet would not deign to leave behind him
any commentary or writing on such subjects; but, repudiating as sordid
and ignoble the whole trade of engineering, and every sort of art that
lends itself to mere use and profit, he placed his whole affection and
ambition in those purer speculations where there can be no reference to
the vulgar needs of life; studies, the superiority of which to all others
is unquestioned, and in which the only doubt can be, whether the beauty
and grandeur of the subjects examined, or the precision and cogency of
the methods and means of proof, most deserve our admiration. It is not
possible to find in all geometry more difficult and intricate questions,
or more simple and lucid explanations. Some ascribe this to his natural
genius; while others think that incredible effort and toil produced
these, to all appearance, easy and unlabored results. No amount of
investigation of yours would succeed in attaining the proof, and yet,
once seen, you immediately believe you would have discovered it; by so
smooth and so rapid a path he leads you to the conclusion required. And
thus it ceases to be incredible that (as is commonly told of him), the
charm of his familiar and domestic Siren made him forget his food and
neglect his person, to that degree that when he was occasionally carried
by absolute violence to bathe, or have his body anointed, he used to
trace geometrical figures in the ashes of the fire, and diagrams in the
oil on his body, being in a state of entire preoccupation, and, in the
truest sense, divine possession with his love and delight in science.
His discoveries were numerous and admirable; but he is said to have
requested his friends and relations that when he was dead, they would
place over his tomb a sphere containing a cylinder, inscribing it with
the ratio which the containing solid bears to the contained.

Such was Archimedes, who now showed himself, and, so far as lay in him,
the city also, invincible. While the siege continued, Marcellus took
Megara, one of the earliest founded of the Greek cities in Sicily, and
capturing also the camp of Hippocrates at Acilae, killed above eight
thousand men, having attacked them whilst they were engaged in forming
their fortifications. He overran a great part of Sicily; gained over
many towns from the Carthaginians, and overcame all that dared to
encounter him. As the siege went on, one Damippus, a Lacedaemonian,
putting to sea in a ship from Syracuse, was taken. When the Syracusans
much desired to redeem this man, and there were many meetings and
treaties about the matter betwixt them and Marcellus, he had opportunity
to notice a tower into which a body of men might be secretly introduced,
as the wall near to it was not difficult to surmount, and it was itself
carelessly guarded. Coming often thither, and entertaining conferences
about the release of Damippus, he had pretty well calculated the height
of the tower, and got ladders prepared. The Syracusans celebrated a
feast to Diana; this juncture of time, when they were given up entirely
to wine and sport, Marcellus laid hold of, and, before the citizens
perceived it, not only possessed himself of the tower, but, before the
break of day, filled the wall around with soldiers, and made his way into
the Hexapylum. The Syracusans now beginning to stir, and to be alarmed
at the tumult, he ordered the trumpets everywhere to sound, and thus
frightened them all into flight, as if all parts of the city were already
won, though the most fortified, and the fairest, and most ample quarter
was still ungained. It is called Acradina, and was divided by a wall
from the outer city, one part of which they call Neapolis, the other
Tycha. Possessing himself of these, Marcellus, about break of day,
entered through the Hexapylum, all his officers congratulating him. But
looking down from the higher places upon the beautiful and spacious city
below, he is said to have wept much, commiserating the calamity that hung
over it, when his thoughts represented to him, how dismal and foul the
face of the city would in a few hours be, when plundered and sacked by
the soldiers. For among the officers of his army there was not one man
that durst deny the plunder of the city to the soldiers' demands; nay,
many were instant that it should be set on fire and laid level to the
ground: but this Marcellus would not listen to. Yet he granted, but
with great unwillingness and reluctance, that the money and slaves should
be made prey; giving orders, at the same time, that none should violate
any free person, nor kill, misuse, or make a slave of any of the
Syracusans. Though he had used this moderation, he still esteemed the
condition of that city to be pitiable, and, even amidst the
congratulations and joy, showed his strong feelings of sympathy and
commiseration at seeing all the riches accumulated during a long
felicity, now dissipated in an hour. For it is related, that no less
prey and plunder was taken here, than afterward in Carthage. For not
long after, they obtained also the plunder of the other parts of the city,
which were taken by treachery; leaving nothing untouched but the king's
money, which was brought into the public treasury. But nothing afflicted
Marcellus so much as the death of Archimedes; who was then, as fate would
have it, intent upon working out some problem by a diagram, and having
fixed his mind alike and his eyes upon the subject of his speculation, he
never noticed the incursion of the Romans, nor that the city was taken.
In this transport of study and contemplation, a soldier, unexpectedly
coming up to him, commanded him to follow to Marcellus; which he
declining to do before he had worked out his problem to a demonstration,
the soldier, enraged, drew his sword and ran him through. Others write,
that a Roman soldier, running upon him with a drawn sword, offered to
kill him; and that Archimedes, looking back, earnestly besought him to
hold his hand a little while, that he might not leave what he was then at
work upon inconclusive and imperfect; but the soldier, nothing moved by
his entreaty, instantly killed him. Others again relate, that as
Archimedes was carrying to Marcellus mathematical instruments, dials,
spheres, and angles, by which the magnitude of the sun might be measured
to the sight, some soldiers seeing him, and thinking that he carried gold
in a vessel, slew him. Certain it is, that his death was very afflicting
to Marcellus; and that Marcellus ever after regarded him that killed him
as a murderer; and that he sought for his kindred and honored them with
signal favors.

Indeed, foreign nations had held the Romans to be excellent soldiers and
formidable in battle; but they had hitherto given no memorable example of
gentleness, or humanity, or civil virtue; and Marcellus seems first to
have shown to the Greeks, that his countrymen were most illustrious for
their justice. For such was his moderation to all with whom he had
anything to do, and such his benignity also to many cities and private
men, that, if anything hard or severe was decreed concerning the people of
Enna, Megara, or Syracuse, the blame was thought to belong rather to
those upon whom the storm fell, than to those who brought it upon them.
One example of many I will commemorate. In Sicily there is a town called
Engyium, not indeed great, but very ancient and ennobled by the presence
of the goddesses, called the Mothers. The temple, they say, was built by
the Cretans; and they show some spears and brazen helmets, inscribed with
the names of Meriones, and (with the same spelling as in Latin) of
Ulysses, who consecrated them to the goddesses. This city highly
favoring the party of the Carthaginians, Nicias, the most eminent of the
citizens, counseled them to go over to the Romans; to that end acting
freely and openly in harangues to their assemblies, arguing the
imprudence and madness of the opposite course. They, fearing his power
and authority, resolved to deliver him in bonds to the Carthaginians.
Nicias, detecting the design, and seeing that his person was secretly
kept in watch, proceeded to speak irreligiously to the vulgar of the
Mothers, and showed many signs of disrespect, as if he denied and
contemned the received opinion of the presence of those goddesses; his
enemies the while rejoicing, that he, of his own accord, sought the
destruction hanging over his head. When they were just now about to lay
hands upon him, an assembly was held, and here Nicias, making a speech to
the people concerning some affair then under deliberation, in the midst
of his address, cast himself upon the ground; and soon after, while
amazement (as usually happens on such surprising occasions) held the
assembly immovable, raising and turning his head round, he began in a
trembling and deep tone, but by degrees raised and sharpened his voice.
When he saw the whole theater struck with horror and silence, throwing
off his mantle and rending his tunic, he leaps up half naked, and runs
towards the door, crying out aloud that he was driven by the wrath of the
Mothers. When no man durst, out of religious fear, lay hands upon him or
stop him, but all gave way before him, he ran out of the gate, not
omitting any shriek or gesture of men possessed and mad. His wife,
conscious of his counterfeiting, and privy to his design, taking her
children with her, first cast herself as a suppliant before the temple of
the goddesses; then, pretending to seek her wandering husband, no man
hindering her, went out of the town in safety; and by this means they all
escaped to Marcellus at Syracuse. After many other such affronts offered
him by the men of Engyium, Marcellus, having taken them all prisoners and
cast them into bonds, was preparing to inflict upon them the last
punishment; when Nicias, with tears in his eyes, addressed himself to
him. In fine, casting himself at Marcellus's feet, and deprecating for
his citizens, he begged most earnestly their lives, chiefly those of his
enemies. Marcellus, relenting, set them all at liberty, and rewarded
Nicias with ample lands and rich presents. This history is recorded by
Posidonius the philosopher.

Marcellus, at length recalled by the people of Rome to the immediate war
at home, to illustrate his triumph, and adorn the city, carried away with
him a great number of the most beautiful ornaments of Syracuse. For,
before that, Rome neither had, nor had seen, any of those fine and
exquisite rarities; nor was any pleasure taken in graceful and elegant
pieces of workmanship. Stuffed with barbarous arms and spoils stained
with blood, and everywhere crowned with triumphal memorials and trophies,
she was no pleasant or delightful spectacle for the eyes of peaceful or
refined spectators: but, as Epaminondas named the fields of Boeotia the
stage of Mars; and Xenophon called Ephesus the workhouse of war; so, in
my judgment, may you call Rome, at that time, (to use the words of
Pindar,) "the precinct of the peaceless Mars." Whence Marcellus was more
popular with the people in general, because he had adorned the city with
beautiful objects that had all the charms of Grecian grace and symmetry;
but Fabius Maximus, who neither touched nor brought away anything of
this kind from Tarentum, when he had taken it, was more approved of by
the elder men. He carried off the money and valuables, but forbade the
statues to be moved; adding, as it is commonly related, "Let us leave to
the Tarentines these offended gods." They blamed Marcellus, first, for
placing the city in an invidious position, as it seemed now to celebrate
victories and lead processions of triumph, not only over men, but also
over the gods as captives; then, that he had diverted to idleness, and
vain talk about curious arts and artificers, the common people, which,
bred up in wars and agriculture, had never tasted of luxury and sloth,
and, as Euripides said of Hercules, had been

Rude, unrefined, only for great things good,

so that now they misspent much of their time in examining and criticizing
trifles. And yet, notwithstanding this reprimand, Marcellus made it his
glory to the Greeks themselves, that he had taught his ignorant
countrymen to esteem and admire the elegant and wonderful productions of

But when the envious opposed his being brought triumphant into the city,
because there were some relics of the war in Sicily, and a third triumph
would be looked upon with jealousy, he gave way. He triumphed upon the
Alban mount, and thence entered the city in ovation, as it is called in
Latin, in Greek eua; but in this ovation he was neither carried in a
chariot, nor crowned with laurel, nor ushered by trumpets sounding; but
went afoot with shoes on, many flutes or pipes sounding in concert, while
he passed along, wearing a garland of myrtle, in a peaceable aspect,
exciting rather love and respect than fear. Whence I am, by conjecture,
led to think that, originally, the difference observed betwixt ovation
and triumph, did not depend upon the greatness of the achievements, but
the manner of performing them. For they who, having fought a set battle,
and slain the enemy, returned victors, led that martial, terrible
triumph, and, as the ordinary custom then was, in lustrating the army,
adorned the arms and the soldiers with a great deal of laurel. But they
who, without force, by colloquy, persuasion, and reasoning, had done the
business, to these captains custom gave the honor of the unmilitary and
festive ovation. For the pipe is the badge of peace, and myrtle the
plant of Venus, who more than the rest of the gods and goddesses abhors
force and war. It is called ovation, not, as most think, from the Greek
euasmus, because they act it with shouting and cries of Eau: for so do
they also the proper triumphs. The Greeks have wrested the word to their
own language, thinking that this honor, also, must have some connection
with Bacchus, who in Greek has the titles of Euius and Thriambus. But
the thing is otherwise. For it was the custom for commanders, in their
triumph, to immolate an ox, but in their ovation, a sheep: hence they
named it Ovation, from the Latin ovis. It is worth observing, how
exactly opposite the sacrifices appointed by the Spartan legislator are,
to those of the Romans. For at Lacedaemon, a captain, who had performed
the work he undertook by cunning, or courteous treaty, on laying down his
command immolated an ox; he that did the business by battle, offered a
cock; the Lacedaemonians, though most warlike, thinking an exploit
performed by reason and wisdom, to be more excellent and more congruous
to man, than one effected by mere force and courage. Which of the two is
to be preferred, I leave to the determination of others.

Marcellus being the fourth time consul, his enemies suborned the
Syracusans to come to Rome to accuse him, and to complain that they had
suffered indignities and wrongs, contrary to the conditions granted them.
It happened that Marcellus was in the capitol offering sacrifice when the
Syracusans petitioned the senate, yet sitting, that they might have leave
to accuse him and present their grievances. Marcellus's colleague, eager
to protect him in his absence, put them out of the court. But Marcellus
himself came as soon as he heard of it. And first, in his curule chair
as consul, he referred to the senate the cognizance of other matters; but
when these were transacted, rising from his seat, he passed as a private
man into the place where the accused were wont to make their defense, and
gave free liberty to the Syracusans to impeach him. But they, struck
with consternation by his majesty and confidence, stood astonished, and
the power of his presence now, in his robe of state, appeared far more
terrible and severe than it had done when he was arrayed in armor. Yet
reanimated at length by Marcellus's rivals, they began their impeachment,
and made an oration in which pleas of justice mingled with lamentation
and complaint; the sum of which was, that being allies and friends of the
people of Rome, they had, notwithstanding, suffered things which other
commanders had abstained from inflicting upon enemies. To this Marcellus
answered; that they had committed many acts of hostility against the
people of Rome, and had suffered nothing but what enemies conquered and
captured in war cannot possibly be protected from suffering: that it
was their own fault they had been made captives, because they refused to
give ear to his frequent attempts to persuade them by gentle means:
neither were they forced into war by the power of tyrants, but had rather
chosen the tyrants themselves for the express object that they might make
war. The orations ended, and the Syracusans, according to the custom,
having retired, Marcellus left his colleague to ask the sentences, and
withdrawing with the Syracusans, staid expecting at the doors of the
senate-house; not in the least discomposed in spirit, either with alarm
at the accusation, or by anger against the Syracusans; but with perfect
calmness and serenity attending the issue of the cause. The sentences at
length being all asked, and a decree of the senate made in vindication of
Marcellus, the Syracusans, with tears flowing from their eyes, cast
themselves at his knees, beseeching him to forgive themselves there
present, and to be moved by the misery of the rest of their city, which
would ever be mindful of, and grateful for, his benefits. Thus
Marcellus, softened by their tears and distress, was not only reconciled
to the deputies, but ever afterwards continued to find opportunity of
doing kindness to the Syracusans. The liberty which he had restored to
them, and their rights, laws, and goods that were left, the senate
confirmed. Upon which account the Syracusans, besides other signal
honors, made a law, that if Marcellus should at anytime come into Sicily,
or any of his posterity, the Syracusans should wear garlands and offer
public sacrifice to the gods.

After this he moved against Hannibal. And whereas the other consuls and
commanders, since the defeat received at Cannae, had all made use of the
same policy against Hannibal, namely, to decline coming to a battle with
him; and none had had the courage to encounter him in the field, and put
themselves to the decision by the sword; Marcellus entered upon the
opposite course, thinking that Italy would be destroyed by the very delay
by which they looked to wear out Hannibal; and that Fabius, who, adhering
to his cautious policy, waited to see the war extinguished, while Rome
itself meantime wasted away, (like timid physicians, who, dreading to
administer remedies, stay waiting, and believe that what is the decay of
the patient's strength is the decline of the disease,) was not taking a
right course to heal the sickness of his country. And first, the great
cities of the Samnites, which had revolted, came into his power; in which
he found a large quantity of corn and money, and three thousand of
Hannibal's soldiers, that were left for the defense. After this, the
proconsul Cnaeus Fulvius with eleven tribunes of the soldiers being slain
in Apulia, and the greatest part of the army also at the same time cut
off, he dispatched letters to Rome, and bade the people be of good
courage, for that he was now upon the march against Hannibal, to turn his
triumph into sadness. On these letters being read, Livy writes, that the
people were not only not encouraged, but more discouraged, than before.
For the danger, they thought, was but the greater in proportion as
Marcellus was of more value than Fulvius. He, as he had written,
advancing into the territories of the Lucanians, came up to him at
Numistro, and, the enemy keeping himself upon the hills, pitched his camp
in a level plain, and the next day drew forth his army in order for
fight. Nor did Hannibal refuse the challenge. They fought long and
obstinately on both sides, victory yet seeming undecided, when, after
three hours conflict, night hardly parted them. The next day, as soon as
the sun was risen, Marcellus again brought forth his troops, and ranged
them among the dead bodies of the slain, challenging Hannibal to solve
the question by another trial. When he dislodged and drew off,
Marcellus, gathering up the spoils of the enemies, and burying the bodies
of his slain soldiers, closely followed him. And though Hannibal often
used stratagems, and laid ambushes to entrap Marcellus, yet he could
never circumvent him. By skirmishes, meantime, in all of which he was
superior, Marcellus gained himself such high repute, that, when the time
of the Comitia at Rome was near at hand, the senate thought fit rather to
recall the other consul from Sicily, than to withdraw Marcellus from his
conflict with Hannibal; and on his arrival they bid him name Quintus
Fulvius dictator. For the dictator is created neither by the people, nor
by the senate; but the consul or the praetor, before the popular
assembly, pronounces him to be dictator, whom he himself chooses. Hence
he is called dictator, dicere meaning to name. Others say, that he is
named dictator, because his word is a law, and he orders what he pleases,
without submitting it to the vote. For the Romans call the orders of
magistrates, Edicts.

And now because Marcellus's colleague, who was recalled from Sicily, had
a mind to name another man dictator, and would not be forced to change
his opinion, he sailed away by night back to Sicily. So the common
people made an order, that Quintus Fulvius should be chosen dictator:
and the senate, by an express, commanded Marcellus to nominate him. He
obeying proclaimed him dictator according to the order of the people; but
the office of proconsul was continued to himself for a year. And having
arranged with Fabius Maximus, that while he besieged Tarentum, he himself
would, by following Hannibal and drawing him up and down, detain him from
coming to the relief of the Tarentines, he overtook him at Canusium: and
as Hannibal often shifted his camp, and still declined the combat, he
everywhere sought to engage him. At last pressing upon him while
encamping, by light skirmishes he provoked him to a battle; but night
again divided them in the very heat of the conflict. The next day
Marcellus again showed himself in arms, and brought up his forces in
array. Hannibal, in extreme grief, called his Carthaginians together to
an harangue; and vehemently prayed them, to fight today worthily of all
their former successes; "For you see," said he, "how, after such great
victories, we have not liberty to respire, nor to repose ourselves,
though victors; unless we drive this man back." Then the two armies
joining battle, fought fiercely; when the event of an untimely movement
showed Marcellus to have been guilty of an error. The right wing being
hard pressed upon, he commanded one of the legions to be brought up to
the front. This change disturbing the array and posture of the legions,
gave the victory to the enemies; and there fell two thousand seven
hundred Romans. Marcellus, after he had retreated into his camp, called
his soldiers together; "I see," said he, "many Roman arms and bodies, but
I see not so much as one Roman." To their entreaties for his pardon, he
returned a refusal while they remained beaten, but promised to give it so
soon as they should overcome; and he resolved to bring them into the
field again the next day, that the fame of their victory might arrive at
Rome before that of their flight. Dismissing the assembly, he commanded
barley instead of wheat to be given to those companies that had turned
their backs. These rebukes were so bitter to the soldiers, that though a
great number of them were grievously wounded, yet they relate there was
not one to whom the general's oration was not more painful and smarting
than his wounds.

The day breaking, a scarlet toga, the sign of instant battle, was
displayed. The companies marked with ignominy, begged they might be
posted in the foremost place, and obtained their request. Then the
tribunes bring forth the rest of the forces, and draw them up. On news
of which, "O strange!" said Hannibal, "what will you do with this man,
who can bear neither good nor bad fortune? He is the only man who
neither suffers us to rest when he is victor, nor rests himself when he
is overcome. We shall have, it seems, perpetually to fight with him; as
in good success his confidence, and in ill success his shame, still urges
him to some further enterprise?" Then the armies engaged. When the
fight was doubtful, Hannibal commanded the elephants to be brought into
the first battalion, and to be driven upon the van of the Romans. When
the beasts, trampling upon many, soon caused disorder, Flavius, a tribune
of soldiers, snatching an ensign, meets them, and wounding the first
elephant with the spike at the bottom of the ensign staff, puts him to
flight. The beast turned round upon the next, and drove back both him
and the rest that followed. Marcellus, seeing this, pours in his horse
with great force upon the elephants, and upon the enemy disordered by
their flight. The horse, making a fierce impression, pursued the
Carthaginians home to their camp, while the elephants, wounded, and
running upon their own party, caused a considerable slaughter. It is
said, more than eight thousand were slain; of the Roman army three
thousand, and almost all wounded. This gave Hannibal opportunity to
retire in the silence of the night, and to remove to greater distance
from Marcellus; who was kept from pursuing by the number of his wounded
men, and removed, by gentle marches, into Campania, and spent the summer
at Sinuessa, engaged in restoring them.

But as Hannibal, having disentangled himself from Marcellus, ranged with
his army round about the country, and wasted Italy free from all fear, at
Rome Marcellus was evil spoken of. His detractors induced Publicius
Bibulus, tribune of the people, an eloquent and violent man, to undertake
his accusation. He, by assiduous harangues, prevailed upon the people to
withdraw from Marcellus the command of the army; "Seeing that Marcellus,"
said he, "after brief exercise in the war, has withdrawn as it might be
from the wrestling ground to the warm baths to refresh himself."
Marcellus, on hearing this, appointed lieutenants over his camp, and
hasted to Rome to refute the charges against him: and there found ready
drawn up an impeachment consisting of these calumnies. At the day
prefixed, in the Flaminian circus, into which place the people had
assembled themselves, Bibulus rose and accused him. Marcellus himself
answered, briefly and simply: but the first and most approved men of the
city spoke largely and in high terms, very freely advising the people not
to show themselves worse judges than the enemy, condemning Marcellus of
timidity, from whom alone of all their captains the enemy fled, and as
perpetually endeavored to avoid fighting with him, as to fight with
others. When they made an end of speaking, the accuser's hope to obtain
judgment so far deceived him, that Marcellus was not only absolved, but
the fifth time created consul.

No sooner had he entered upon this consulate, but he suppressed a great
commotion in Etruria, that had proceeded near to revolt, and visited and
quieted the cities. Then, when the dedication of the temple, which he had
vowed out of his Sicilian spoils to Honor and Virtue, was objected to by
the priests, because they denied that one temple could be lawfully
dedicated to two gods, he began to adjoin another to it, resenting the
priests' opposition, and almost converting the thing into an omen. And,
truly, many other prodigies also affrighted him; some temples had been
struck with lightning, and in Jupiter's temple mice had gnawed the gold;
it was reported also, that an ox had spoke, and that a boy had been born
with a head like an elephant's. All which prodigies had indeed been
attended to, but due reconciliation had not been obtained from the gods.
The aruspices therefore detained him at Rome, glowing and burning with
desire to return to the war. For no man was ever inflamed with so great
desire of any thing, as was he to fight a battle with Hannibal. It was
the subject of his dreams in the night, the topic of all his
consultations with his friends and familiars, nor did he present to the
gods any other wish, but that he might meet Hannibal in the field. And I
think, that he would most gladly have set upon him, with both armies
environed within a single camp. Had he not been even loaded with honors,
and had he not given proofs in many ways of his maturity of judgment and
of prudence equal to that of any commander, you might have said, that he
was agitated by a youthful ambition, above what became a man of that age:
for he had passed the sixtieth year of his life when he began his fifth

The sacrifices having been offered, and all that belonged to the
propitiation of the gods performed, according to the prescription of the
diviners, he at last with his colleague went forth to carry on the war.
He tried all possible means to provoke Hannibal, who at that time had a
standing camp betwixt Bantia and Venusia. Hannibal declined an engagement,
but having obtained intelligence that some troops were on their way to
the town of Locri Epizephyrii, placing an ambush under the little hill of
Petelia, he slew two thousand five hundred soldiers. This incensed
Marcellus to revenge; and he therefore moved nearer Hannibal. Betwixt
the two camps was a little hill, a tolerably secure post, covered with
wood; it had steep descents on either side, and there were springs of
water seen trickling down. This place was so fit and advantageous, that
the Romans wondered that Hannibal, who had come thither before them, had
not seized upon it, but had left it to the enemies. But to him the place
had seemed commodious indeed for a camp, but yet more commodious for an
ambuscade; and to that use he chose to put it. So in the wood and the
hollows he hid a number of archers and spearmen, confident that the
commodiousness of the place would allure the Romans. Nor was he deceived
in his expectation. For presently in the Roman camp they talked and
disputed, as if they had all been captains, how the place ought to be
seized, and what great advantage they should thereby gain upon the
enemies, chiefly if they transferred their camp thither, at any rate, if
they strengthened the place with a fort. Marcellus resolved to go, with
a few horse, to view it. Having called a diviner he proceeded to
sacrifice. In the first victim the aruspex showed him the liver without
a head; in the second the head appeared of unusual size, and all the
other indications highly promising. When these seemed sufficient to free
them from the dread of the former, the diviners declared, that they were
all the more terrified by the latter: because entrails too fair and
promising, when they appear after others that are maimed and monstrous,
render the change doubtful and suspicious But

Nor fire nor brazen wall can keep out fate;

as Pindar observes. Marcellus, therefore, taking with him his colleague
Crispinus, and his son, a tribune of soldiers, with two hundred and
twenty horse at most, (among whom there was not one Roman, but all were
Etruscans, except forty Fregellans, of whose courage and fidelity he had
on all occasions received full proof,) goes to view the place. The hill
was covered with woods all over; on the top of it sat a scout concealed
from the sight of the enemy, but having the Roman camp exposed to his
view. Upon signs received from him, the men that were placed in ambush,
stirred not till Marcellus came near; and then all starting up in an
instant, and encompassing him from all sides, attacked him with darts,
struck about and wounded the backs of those that fled, and pressed upon
those who resisted. These were the forty Fregellans. For though the
Etruscans fled in the very beginning of the fight, the Fregellans formed
themselves into a ring, bravely defending the consuls, till Crispinus,
struck with two darts, turned his horse to fly away; and Marcellus's side
was run through with a lance with a broad head. Then the Fregellans,
also, the few that remained alive, leaving the fallen consul, and
rescuing young Marcellus, who also was wounded, got into the camp by
flight. There were slain not much above forty; five lictors and eighteen
horsemen came alive into the enemy's hands. Crispinus also died of his
wounds a few days after. Such a disaster as the loss of both consuls in
a single engagement, was one that had never before befallen the Romans.

Hannibal, little valuing the other events, so soon as he was told of
Marcellus's death, immediately hasted to the hilt. Viewing the body, and
continuing for some time to observe its strength and shape, he allowed
not a word to fall from him expressive of the least pride or arrogancy,
nor did he show in his countenance any sign of gladness, as another
perhaps would have done, when his fierce and troublesome enemy had been
taken away; but amazed by so sudden and unexpected an end, taking off
nothing but his ring, gave order to have the body properly clad and
adorned, and honorably burned. The relics, put into a silver urn, with a
crown of gold to cover it, he sent back to his son. But some of the
Numidians setting upon those that were carrying the urn, took it from
them by force, and cast away the bones; which being told to Hannibal, "It
is impossible, it seems then," he said, "to do anything against the will
of God!" He punished the Numidians; but took no further care of sending
or recollecting the bones; conceiving that Marcellus so fell, and so lay
unburied, by a certain fate. So Cornelius Nepos and Valerius Maximus
have left upon record: but Livy and Augustus Caesar affirm, that the urn
was brought to his son, and honored with a magnificent funeral. Besides
the monuments raised for him at Rome, there was dedicated to his memory
at Catana in Sicily, an ample wrestling place called after him; statues
and pictures, out of those he took from Syracuse, were set up in
Samothrace, in the temple of the gods, named Cabiri, and in that of
Minerva at Lindus, where also there was a statue of him, says Posidonius,
with the following inscription:

This was, O stranger, once Rome's star divine,
Claudius Marcellus of an ancient line;
To fight her wars seven times her consul made,
Low in the dust her enemies he laid.

The writer of the inscription has added to Marcellus's five consulates,
his two proconsulates. His progeny continued in high honor even down to
Marcellus, son of Octavia, sister of Augustus, whom she bore to her
husband Caius Marcellus; and who died, a bridegroom, in the year of his
aedileship, having not long before married Caesar's daughter. His
mother, Octavia, dedicated the library to his honor and memory, and
Caesar, the theater which bears his name.


These are the memorable things I have found in historians, concerning
Marcellus and Pelopidas. Betwixt which two great men, though in natural
character and manners they nearly resembled each other, because both were
valiant and diligent, daring and high-spirited, there was yet some
diversity in the one point, that Marcellus in many cities which he
reduced under his power, committed great slaughter; but Epaminondas and
Pelopidas never after any victory put men to death, or reduced citizens
to slavery. And we are told, too, that the Thebans would not, had these
been present, have taken the measures they did, against the Orchomenians.
Marcellus's exploits against the Gauls are admirable and ample; when,
accompanied by a few horse, he defeated and put to fight a vast number of
horse and foot together, (an action you cannot easily in historians find
to have been done by any other captain,) and took their king prisoner.
To which honor Pelopidas aspired, but did not attain; he was killed by
the tyrant in the attempt. But to these you may perhaps oppose those two
most glorious battles at Leuctra and Tegyrae; and we have no statement of
any achievement of Marcellus, by stealth or ambuscade, such as were those
of Pelopidas, when he returned from exile, and killed the tyrants at
Thebes; which, indeed, may claim to be called the first in rank of all
achievements ever performed by secrecy and cunning. Hannibal was,
indeed, a most formidable enemy for the Romans but so for that matter
were the Lacedaemonians for the Thebans. And that these were, in the
fights of Leuctra and Tegyrae, beaten and put to fight by Pelopidas, is
confessed; whereas, Polybius writes, that Hannibal was never so much as
once vanquished by Marcellus, but remained invincible in all encounters,
till Scipio came. I myself, indeed, have followed rather Livy, Caesar,
Cornelius Nepos, and, among the Greeks, king Juba, in stating that the
troops of Hannibal were in some encounters routed and put to flight by
Marcellus; but certainly these defeats conduced little to the sum of the
war. It would seem as if they had been merely feints of some sort on the
part of the Carthaginian. What was indeed truly and really admirable
was, that the Romans, after the defeat of so many armies, the slaughter
of so many captains, and, in fine, the confusion of almost the whole
Roman empire, still showed a courage equal to their losses, and were as
willing as their enemies to engage in new battles. And Marcellus was the
one man who overcame the great and inveterate fear and dread, and
revived, raised, and confirmed the spirits of the soldiers to that degree
of emulation and bravery, that would not let them easily yield the
victory, but made them contend for it to the last. For the same men,
whom continual defeats had accustomed to think themselves happy, if they
could but save themselves by running from Hannibal, were by him taught to
esteem it base and ignominious to return safe but unsuccessful; to be
ashamed to confess that they had yielded one step in the terrors of the
fight; and to grieve to extremity if they were not victorious.

In short, as Pelopidas was never overcome in any battle, where himself
was present and commanded in chief, and as Marcellus gained more
victories than any of his contemporaries, truly he that could not be
easily overcome, considering his many successes, may fairly be compared
with him who was undefeated. Marcellus took Syracuse; whereas Pelopidas
was frustrated of his hope of capturing Sparta. But in my judgment, it
was more difficult to advance his standard even to the walls of Sparta,
and to be the first of mortals that ever passed the river Eurotas in
arms, than it was to reduce Sicily; unless, indeed, we say that that
adventure is with more of right to be attributed to Epaminondas, as was
also the Leuctrian battle; whereas Marcellus's renown, and the glory of
his brave actions came entire and undiminished to him alone. For he
alone took Syracuse; and without his colleague's help defeated the Gauls,
and, when all others declined, alone, without one companion, ventured to
engage with Hannibal; and changing the aspect of the war first showed the
example of daring to attack him.

I cannot commend the death of either of these great men; the suddenness
and strangeness of their ends gives me a feeling rather of pain and
distress. Hannibal has my admiration, who, in so many severe conflicts,
more than can be reckoned in one day, never received so much as one
wound. I honor Chrysantes also, (in Xenophon's Cyropaedia,) who, having
raised his sword in the act of striking his enemy, so soon as a retreat
was sounded, left him, and retired sedately and modestly. Yet the anger
which provoked Pelopidas to pursue revenge in the heat of fight, may
excuse him.

The first thing for a captain is to gain
Safe victory; the next to be with honor slain,

as Euripides says. For then he cannot be said to suffer death; it is
rather to be called an action. The very object, too, of Pelopidas's
victory, which consisted in the slaughter of the tyrant, presenting
itself to his eyes, did not wholly carry him away unadvisedly: he could
not easily expect again to have another equally glorious occasion for the
exercise of his courage, in a noble and honorable cause. But Marcellus,
when it made little to his advantage, and when no such violent ardor as
present danger naturally calls out transported him to passion, throwing
himself into danger, fell into an unexplored ambush; he, namely, who had
borne five consulates, led three triumphs, won the spoils and glories of
kings and victories, to act the part of a mere scout or sentinel, and to
expose all his achievements to be trod under foot by the mercenary
Spaniards and Numidians, who sold themselves and their lives to the
Carthaginians; so that even they themselves felt unworthy, and almost
grudged themselves the unhoped for success of having cut off, among a few
Fregellan scouts, the most valiant, the most potent, and most renowned of
the Romans. Let no man think that we have thus spoken out of a design to
accuse these noble men; it is merely an expression of frank indignation
in their own behalf, at seeing them thus wasting all their other virtues
upon that of bravery, and throwing away their lives, as if the loss would
be only felt by themselves, and not by their country, allies, and

After Pelopidas's death, his friends, for whom he died, made a funeral
for him; the enemies, by whom he had been killed, made one for Marcellus.
A noble and happy lot indeed the former, yet there is something higher
and greater in the admiration rendered by enemies to the virtue that had
been their own obstacle, than in the grateful acknowledgments of friends.
Since, in the one case, it is virtue alone that challenges itself the
honor; while, in the other, it may be rather men's personal profit and
advantage that is the real origin of what they do.


Aristides, the son of Lysimachus, was of the tribe Antiochis, and
township of Alopece. As to his wealth, statements differ; some say
he passed his life in extreme poverty, and left behind him two
daughters whose indigence long kept them unmarried: but Demetrius,
the Phalerian, in opposition to this general report, professes in his
Socrates, to know a farm at Phalerum going by Aristides's name, where
he was interred; and, as marks of his opulence, adduces first, the
office of archon eponymus, which he obtained by the lot of the bean;
which was confined to the highest assessed families, called the
Pentacosiomedimni; second, the ostracism, which was not usually
inflicted on the poorer citizens, but on those of great houses, whose
elation exposed them to envy; third and last, that he left certain
tripods in the temple of Bacchus, offerings for his victory in
conducting the representation of dramatic performances, which were
even in our age still to be seen, retaining this inscription upon
them, "The tribe Antiochis obtained the victory: Aristides defrayed
the charges: Archestratus's play was acted." But this argument,
though in appearance the strongest, is of the least moment of any.
For Epaminondas, who all the world knows was educated, and lived his
whole life, in much poverty, and also Plato, the philosopher,
exhibited magnificent shows, the one an entertainment of flute-players
the other of dithyrambic singers; Dion, the Syracusan, supplying the
expenses of the latter, and Pelopidas those of Epaminondas. For good
men do not allow themselves in any inveterate and irreconcilable
hostility to receiving presents from their friends, but while looking
upon those that are accepted to be hoarded up and with avaricious
intentions, as sordid and mean, they do not refuse such as, apart from
all profit, gratify the pure love of honor and magnificence.
Panaetius, again, shows that Demetrius was deceived concerning the
tripod by an identity of name. For, from the Persian war to the end
of the Peloponnesian, there are upon record only two of the name of
Aristides, who defrayed the expense of representing plays and gained
the prize neither of which was the same with the son of Lysimachus;
but the father of the one was Xenophilus, and the other lived at a
much later time, as the way of writing, which is that in use since the
time of Euclides, and the addition of the name of Archestratus prove,
a name which, in the time of the Persian war, no writer mentions, but
which several, during the Peloponnesian war, record as that of a
dramatic poet. The argument of Panaetius requires to be more closely
considered. But as for the ostracism, everyone was liable to it,
whom his reputation, birth, or eloquence raised above the common
level; insomuch that even Damon, preceptor to Pericles, was thus
banished, because he seemed a man of more than ordinary sense. And,
moreover, Idomeneus says, that Aristides was not made archon by the
lot of the bean, but the free election of the people. And if he held
the office after the battle of Plataea, as Demetrius himself has
written, it is very probable that his great reputation and success in
the war, made him be preferred for his virtue to an office which
others received in consideration of their wealth. But Demetrius
manifestly is eager not only to exempt Aristides but Socrates
likewise, from poverty, as from a great evil; telling us that the
latter had not only a house of his own, but also seventy minae put out
at interest with Crito.

Aristides being the friend and supporter of that Clisthenes, who
settled the government after the expulsion of the tyrants, and
emulating and admiring Lycurgus the Lacedaemonian above all
politicians, adhered to the aristocratical principles of government;
and had Themistocles, son to Neocles, his adversary on the side of the
populace. Some say that, being boys and bred up together from their
infancy, they were always at variance with each other in all their
words and actions as well serious as playful, and that in this their
early contention they soon made proof of their natural inclinations;
the one being ready, adventurous, and subtle, engaging readily and
eagerly in everything; the other of a staid and settled temper,
intent on the exercise of justice, not admitting any degree of
falsity, indecorum, or trickery, no, not so much as at his play.
Ariston of Chios says the first origin of the enmity which rose to so
great a height, was a love affair; they were rivals for the affection
of the beautiful Stesilaus of Ceos, and were passionate beyond all
moderation, and did not lay aside their animosity when the beauty that
had excited it passed away; but, as if it had only exercised them in
it, immediately carried their heats and differences into public

Themistocles, therefore, joining an association of partisans,
fortified himself with considerable strength; insomuch that when some
one told him that were he impartial, he would make a good magistrate;
"I wish," replied he, "I may never sit on that tribunal where my
friends shall not plead a greater privilege than strangers." But
Aristides walked, so to say, alone on his own path in politics, being
unwilling, in the first place, to go along with his associates in ill
doing, or to cause them vexation by not gratifying their wishes; and,
secondly, observing that many were encouraged by the support they had
in their friends to act injuriously, he was cautious; being of opinion
that the integrity of his words and actions was the only right
security for a good citizen.

However, Themistocles making many dangerous alterations, and
withstanding and interrupting him in the whole series of his actions,
Aristides also was necessitated to set himself against all
Themistocles did, partly in self-defense, and partly to impede his
power from still increasing by the favor of the multitude; esteeming
it better to let slip some public conveniences, rather than that he by
prevailing should become powerful in all things. In fine, when he
once had opposed Themistocles in some measures that were expedient,
and had got the better of him, he could not refrain from saying, when
he left the assembly, that unless they sent Themistocles and himself
to the barathrum, there could be no safety for Athens. Another time,
when urging some proposal upon the people, though there were much
opposition and stirring against it, he yet was gaining the day; but
just as the president of the assembly was about to put it to the vote,
perceiving by what had been said in debate the inexpediency of his
advice, he let it fall. Also he often brought in his bills by other
persons, lest Themistocles, through party spirit against him, should
be any hindrance to the good of the public.

In all the vicissitudes of public affairs, the constancy he showed was
admirable, not being elated with honors, and demeaning himself
tranquilly and sedately in adversity; holding the opinion that he
ought to offer himself to the service of his country without mercenary
news and irrespectively of any reward, not only of riches, but even of
glory itself. Hence it came, probably, that at the recital of these
verses of Aeschylus in the theater, relating to Amphiaraus,

For not at seeming just, but being so
He aims; and from his depth of soil below,
Harvests of wise and prudent counsels grow,

the eyes of all the spectators turned on Aristides, as if this virtue,
in an especial manner, belonged to him.

He was a most determined champion for justice, not only against
feelings of friendship and favor, but wrath and malice. Thus it is
reported of him that when prosecuting the law against one who was his
enemy, on the judges after accusation refusing to hear the criminal,
and proceeding immediately to pass sentence upon him, he rose in haste
from his seat and joined in petition with him for a hearing, and that
he might enjoy the privilege of the law. Another time, when judging
between two private persons, on the one declaring his adversary had
very much injured Aristides; "Tell me rather, good friend," he said,
"what wrong he has done you: for it is your cause, not my own, which
I now sit judge of." Being chosen to the charge of the public
revenue, he made it appear that not only those of his time, but the
preceding officers, had alienated much treasure, and especially

Well known he was an able man to be,
But with his fingers apt to be too flee.

Therefore, Themistocles associating several persons against
Aristides, and impeaching him when he gave in his accounts, caused him
to be condemned of robbing the public; so Idomeneus states; but the
best and chiefest men of the city much resenting it, he was not only
exempted from the fine imposed upon him, but likewise again called to
the same employment. Pretending now to repent him of his former
practice, and carrying himself with more remissness, he became
acceptable to such as pillaged the treasury, by not detecting or
calling them to an exact account. So that those who had their fill of
the public money began highly to applaud Aristides, and sued to the
people, making interest to have him once more chosen treasurer. But
when they were upon the point of election, he reproved the Athenians.
"When I discharged my office well and faithfully," said he, "I was
insulted and abused; but now that I have allowed the public thieves in
a variety of malpractices, I am considered an admirable patriot. I am
more ashamed, therefore, of this present honor than of the former
sentence; and I commiserate your condition, with whom it is more
praiseworthy to oblige ill men than to conserve the revenue of the
public." Saying thus, and proceeding to expose the thefts that had
been committed, he stopped the mouths of those who cried him up and
vouched for him, but gained real and true commendation from the best

When Datis, being sent by Darius under pretense of punishing the
Athenians for their burning of Sardis, but in reality to reduce the
Greeks under his dominion, landed at Marathon and laid waste the
country, among the ten commanders appointed by the Athenians for the
war, Militiades was of the greatest name; but the second place, both
for reputation and power, was possessed by Aristides: and when his
opinion to join battle was added to that of Miltiades, it did much to
incline the balance. Every leader by his day having the command in
chief when it came to Aristides' turn, he delivered it into the hands
of Miltiades, showing his fellow officers, that it is not dishonorable
to obey and follow wise and able men, but, on the contrary, noble and
prudent. So appeasing their rivalry, and bringing them to acquiesce
in one and the best advice, he confirmed Miltiades in the strength of
an undivided and unmolested authority. For now everyone, yielding
his day of command, looked for orders only to him. During the fight
the main body of the Athenians being the hardest put to it, the
barbarians, for a long time, making opposition there against the
tribes Leontis and Antiochis, Themistocles and Aristides being ranged
together, fought valiantly; the one being of the tribe Leontis, the
other of the Antiochis. But after they had beaten the barbarians back
to their ships, and perceived that they sailed not for the isles, but
were driven in by the force of sea and wind towards the country of
Attica; fearing lest they should take the city, unprovided of defense,
they hurried away thither with nine tribes, and reached it the same
day. Aristides, being left with his tribe at Marathon to guard the
plunder and prisoners, did not disappoint the opinion they had of him.
Amidst the profusion of gold and silver, all sorts of apparel, and
other property, more than can be mentioned, that were in the tents and
the vessels which they had taken, he neither felt the desire to meddle
with anything himself, nor suffered others to do it; unless it might
be some who took away anything unknown to him; as Callias, the
torchbearer, did. One of the barbarians, it seems, prostrated
himself before this man, supposing him to be a king by his hair and
fillet; and, when he had so done, taking him by the hand, showed him a
great quantity of gold hid in a ditch. But Callias, most cruel and
impious of men, took away the treasure, but slew the man, lest he
should tell of him. Hence, they say, the comic poets gave his family
the name of Laccopluti, or enriched by the ditch, alluding to the
place where Callias found the gold. Aristides, immediately after
this, was archon; although Demetrius, the Phalerian, says he held the
office a little before he died, after the battle of Plataea. But in
the records of the successors of Xanthippides, in whose year Mardonius
was overthrown at Plataea, amongst very many there mentioned, there is
not so much as one of the same name as Aristides: while immediately
after Phaenippus, during whose term of office they obtained the
victory of Marathon, Aristides is registered.

Of all his virtues, the common people were most affected with his
justice, because of its continual and common use; and thus, although
of mean fortune and ordinary birth, he possessed himself of the most
kingly and divine appellation of Just; which kings, however, and
tyrants have never sought after; but have taken delight to be surnamed
besiegers of cities, thunderers, conquerors, or eagles again, and
hawks ; affecting, it seems, the reputation which proceeds from power
and violence, rather than that of virtue. Although the divinity, to
whom they desire to compare and assimilate themselves, excels, it is
supposed, in three things, immortality, power, and virtue; of which
three, the noblest and divinest is virtue. For the elements and
vacuum have an everlasting existence; earthquakes, thunders, storms,
and torrents have great power; but in justice and equity nothing
participates except by means of reason and the knowledge of that which
is divine. And thus, taking the three varieties of feeling commonly
entertained towards the deity, the sense of his happiness, fear, and
honor of him, people would seem to think him blest and happy for his
exemption from death and corruption, to fear and dread him for his
power and dominion, but to love, honor, and adore him for his justice.
Yet though thus disposed, they covet that immortality which our nature
is not capable of, and that power the greatest part of which is at the
disposal of fortune; but give virtue, the only divine good really in
our reach, the last place, most unwisely; since justice makes the life
of such as are in prosperity, power, and authority the life of a god,
and injustice turns it to that of a beast.

Aristides, therefore, had at first the fortune to be beloved for this
surname, but at length envied. Especially when Themistocles spread a
rumor amongst the people, that, by determining and judging all matters
privately, he had destroyed the courts of judicature, and was secretly
making way for a monarchy in his own person, without the assistance of
guards. Moreover, the spirit of the people, now grown high, and
confident with their late victory, naturally entertained feelings of
dislike to all of more than common fame and reputation. Coming
together, therefore, from all parts into the city, they banished
Aristides by the ostracism, giving their jealousy of his reputation
the name of fear of tyranny. For ostracism was not the punishment of
any criminal act, but was speciously said to be the mere depression
and humiliation of excessive greatness and power; and was in fact a
gentle relief and mitigation of envious feeling, which was thus
allowed to vent itself in inflicting no intolerable injury, only a ten
years' banishment. But after it came to be exercised upon base and
villainous fellows, they desisted from it; Hyperbolus, being the last
whom they banished by the ostracism.

The cause of Hyperbolus's banishment is said to have been this.
Alcibiades and Nicias, men that bore the greatest sway in the city,
were of different factions. As the people, therefore, were about to
vote the ostracism, and obviously to decree it against one of them,
consulting together and uniting their parties, they contrived the
banishment of Hyperbolus. Upon which the people, being offended, as
if some contempt or affront was put upon the thing, left off and quite
abolished it. It was performed, to be short, in this manner. Every
one taking an ostracon, a sherd, that is, or piece of earthenware,
wrote upon it the citizen's name he would have banished, and carried
it to a certain part of the market-place surrounded with wooden rails.
First, the magistrates numbered all the sherds in gross (for if there
were less than six thousand, the ostracism was imperfect); then,
laying every name by itself, they pronounced him whose name was
written by the larger number, banished for ten years, with the
enjoyment of his estate. As, therefore, they were writing the names
on the sherds, it is reported that an illiterate clownish fellow,
giving Aristides his sherd, supposing him a common citizen, begged him
to write Aristides upon it; and he being surprised and asking if
Aristides had ever done him any injury, "None at all," said he,
"neither know I the man; but I am tired of hearing him everywhere
called the Just." Aristides, hearing this, is said to have made no
reply, but returned the sherd with his own name inscribed. At his
departure from the city, lifting up his hands to heaven, he made a
prayer, (the reverse, it would seem, of that of Achilles,) that the
Athenians might never have any occasion which should constrain them to
remember Aristides.

Nevertheless, three years after, when Xerxes marched through Thessaly
and Boeotia into the country of Attica, repealing the law, they
decreed the return of the banished: chiefly fearing Aristides, lest,
joining himself to the enemy, he should corrupt and bring over many of
his fellow-citizens to the party of the barbarians; much mistaking the
man, who, already before the decree, was exerting himself to excite
and encourage the Greeks to the defense of their liberty. And
afterwards, when Themistocles was general with absolute power, he
assisted him in all ways both in action and counsel; rendering, in
consideration of the common security, the greatest enemy he had the
most glorious of men. For when Eurybiades was deliberating to desert
the isle of Salamis, and the gallies of the barbarians putting out by
night to sea surrounded and beset the narrow passage and islands, and
nobody was aware how they were environed, Aristides, with great
hazard, sailed from Aegina through the enemy's fleet; and coming by
night to Themistocles's tent, and calling him out by himself; "If we
have any discretion," said he, "Themistocles, laying aside at this
time our vain and childish contention, let us enter upon a safe and
honorable dispute, vying with each other for the preservation of
Greece; you in the ruling and commanding, I in the subservient and
advising part; even, indeed, as I now understand you to be alone
adhering to the best advice, in counseling without any delay to engage
in the straits. And in this, though our own party oppose, the enemy
seems to assist you. For the sea behind, and all around us, is
covered with their fleet; so that we are under a necessity of
approving ourselves men of courage, and fighting, whether we will or
no; for there is no room left us for flight." To which Themistocles
answered, "I would not willingly, Aristides, be overcome by you on
this occasion; and shall endeavor, in emulation of this good
beginning, to outdo it in my actions." Also relating to him the
stratagem he had framed against the barbarians, he entreated him to
persuade Eurybiades and show him how it was impossible they should
save themselves without an engagement; as he was the more likely to be
believed. Whence, in the council of war, Cleocritus, the Corinthian,
telling Themistocles that Aristides did not like his advice, as he was
present and said nothing, Aristides answered, That he should not have
held his peace if Themistocles had not been giving the best advice;
and that he was now silent not out of any good-will to the person, but
in approbation of his counsel.

Thus the Greek captains were employed. But Aristides perceiving
Psyttalea, a small island that lies within the straits over against
Salamis, to be filled by a body of the enemy, put aboard his small
boats the most forward and courageous of his countrymen, and went
ashore upon it; and, joining battle with the barbarians, slew them
all, except such more remarkable persons as were taken alive. Amongst
these were three children of Sandauce, the king's sister, whom he
immediately sent away to Themistocles, and it is stated that in
accordance with a certain oracle, they were, by the command of
Euphrantides, the seer, sacrificed to Bacchus, called Omestes, or the
devourer. But Aristides, placing armed men all around the island, lay
in wait for such as were cast upon it, to the intent that none of his
friends should perish, nor any of his enemies escape. For the closest
engagement of the ships, and the main fury of the whole battle, seems
to have been about this place; for which reason a trophy was erected
in Psyttalea.

After the fight, Themistocles, to sound Aristides, told him they had
performed a good piece of service, but there was a better yet to be
done, the keeping Asia in Europe, by sailing forthwith to the
Hellespont, and cutting in sunder the bridge. But Aristides, with an
exclamation, bid him think no more of it, but deliberate and find out
means for removing the Mede, as quickly as possible, out of Greece;
lest being enclosed, through want of means to escape, necessity should
compel him to force his way with so great an army. So Themistocles
once more dispatched Arnaces, the eunuch, his prisoner, giving him in
command privately to advertise the king that he had diverted the
Greeks from their intention of setting sail for the bridges, out of
the desire he felt to preserve him.

Xerxes, being much terrified with this, immediately hasted to the
Hellespont. But Mardonius was left with the most serviceable part of
the army, about three hundred thousand men, and was a formidable
enemy, confident in his infantry, and writing messages of defiance to
the Greeks: "You have overcome by sea men accustomed to fight on
land, and unskilled at the oar; but there lies now the open country of
Thessaly; and the plains of Boeotia offer a broad and worthy field for
brave men, either horse or foot, to contend in." But he sent
privately to the Athenians, both by letter and word of mouth from the
king, promising to rebuild their city, to give them a vast sum of
money, and constitute them lords of all Greece on condition they were
not engaged in the war. The Lacedaemonians, receiving news of this,
and fearing, dispatched an embassy to the Athenians, entreating that
they would send their wives and children to Sparta, and receive
support from them for their superannuated. For, being despoiled both
of their city and country, the people were suffering extreme distress.
Having given audience to the ambassadors, they returned an answer,
upon the motion of Aristides, worthy of the highest admiration;
declaring, that they forgave their enemies if they thought all things
purchasable by wealth, than which they knew nothing of greater value;
but that they felt offended at the Lacedaemonians, for looking only to
their present poverty and exigence, without any remembrance of their
valor and magnanimity, offering them their victuals, to fight in the
cause of Greece. Aristides, making this proposal and bringing back
the ambassadors into the assembly, charged them to tell the
Lacedaemonians that all the treasure on the earth or under it, was of
less value with the people of Athens, than the liberty of Greece.
And, showing the sun to those who came from Mardonius, "as long as
that retains the same course, so long," said he, "shall the citizens
of Athens wage war with the Persians for the country which has been
wasted, and the temples that have been profaned and burnt by them."
Moreover, he proposed a decree, that the priests should anathematize
him who sent any herald to the Medes, or deserted the alliance of

When Mardonius made a second incursion into the country of Attica, the
people passed over again into the isle of Salamis. Aristides, being
sent to Lacedaemon, reproved them for their delay and neglect in
abandoning Athens once more to the barbarians; and demanded their
assistance for that part of Greece, which was not yet lost. The
Ephori, hearing this, made show of sporting all day, and of carelessly
keeping holy day, (for they were then celebrating the Hyacinthian
festival,) but in the night, selecting five thousand Spartans, each of
whom was attended by seven Helots, they sent them forth unknown to
those from Athens. And when Aristides again reprehended them, they
told him in derision that he either doted or dreamed, for the army was
already at Oresteum, in their march towards the strangers; as they
called the Persians. Aristides answered that they jested
unseasonably, deluding their friends, instead of their enemies. Thus
says Idomeneus. But in the decree of Aristides, not himself, but
Cimon, Xanthippus, and Myronides are appointed ambassadors.

Being chosen general for the war, he repaired to Plattea, with eight
thousand Athenians, where Pausanias, generalissimo of all Greece,
joined him with the Spartans; and the forces of the other Greeks came
in to them. The whole encampment of the barbarians extended all along
the bank of the river Asopus, their numbers being so great, there was
no enclosing them all, but their baggage and most valuable things were
surrounded with a square bulwark, each side of which was the length of
ten furlongs.

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