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Plutarch's Lives

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Tisamenus, the Elean, had prophesied to Pausanias and all the Greeks,
and foretold them victory if they made no attempt upon the enemy, but
stood on their defense. But Aristides sending to Delphi, the god
answered, that the Athenians should overcome their enemies, in case
they made supplication to Jupiter and Juno of Cithaeron, Pan, and the
nymphs Sphragitides, and sacrificed to the heroes Androcrates, Leucon,
Pisander, Damocrates, Hypsion, Actaeon, and Polyidus; and if they
fought within their own territories in the plain of Ceres Eleusinia
and Proserpine. Aristides was perplexed upon the tidings of this
oracle: since the heroes to whom it commanded him to sacrifice had
been chieftains of the Plataeans, and the cave of the nymphs
Sphragitides was on the top of Mount Cithaeron, on the side facing the
setting sun of summer time; in which place, as the story goes, there
was formerly an oracle, and many that lived in the district were
inspired with it, whom they called Nympholepti, possessed with the
nymphs. But the plain of Ceres Eleusinia, and the offer of victory to
the Athenians, if they fought in their own territories, recalled them
again, and transferred the war into the country of Attica. In this
juncture, Arimnestus, who commanded the Plataeans, dreamed that
Jupiter, the Saviour, asked him what the Greeks had resolved upon; and
that he answered, "Tomorrow, my Lord, we march our army to Eleusis,
and there give the barbarians battle according to the directions of
the oracle of Apollo." And that the god replied, they were utterly
mistaken, for that the places spoken of by the oracle were within the
bounds of Plataea, and if they sought there they should find them.
This manifest vision having appeared to Arimnestus, when he awoke he
sent for the most aged and experienced of his countrymen, with whom
communicating and examining the matter, he found that near Hysiae, at
the foot of Mount Cithaeron, there was a very ancient temple called
the temple of Ceres Eleusinia and Proserpine. He therefore forthwith
took Aristides to the place, which was very convenient for drawing up
an army of foot, because the slopes at the bottom of the mountain
Cithaeron rendered the plain, where it comes up to the temple, unfit
for the movements of cavalry. Also, in the same place, there was the
fane of Androcrates, environed with a thick shady grove. And that the
oracle might be accomplished in all particulars for the hope of
victory, Arimnestus proposed, and the Plataeans decreed, that the
frontiers of their country towards Attica should be removed, and the
land given to the Athenians, that they might fight in defense of
Greece in their own proper territory. This zeal and liberality of the
Plataeans became so famous, that Alexander, many years after, when he
had obtained the dominion of all Asia, upon erecting the walls of
Plataea, caused proclamation to be made by the herald at the Olympic
games, that the king did the Plataeans this favor in consideration of
their nobleness and magnanimity, because, in the war with the Medes,
they freely gave up their land and zealously fought with the Greeks.

The Tegeatans, contesting the post of honor with the Athenians,
demanded, that, according to custom, the Lacedaemonians being ranged
on the right wing of the battle, they might have the left, alleging
several matters in commendation of their ancestors. The Athenians
being indignant at the claim, Aristides came forward; "To contend with
the Tegeatans," said he, "for noble descent and valor, the present
time permits not: but this we say to you, O you Spartans, and you the
rest of the Greeks, that place neither takes away nor contributes
courage: we shall endeavor by crediting and maintaining the post you
assign us, to reflect no dishonor on our former performances. For we
are come, not to differ with our friends, but to fight our enemies;
not to extol our ancestors, but ourselves to behave as valiant men.
This battle will manifest how much each city, captain, and private
soldier is worth to Greece." The council of war, upon this address,
decided for the Athenians, and gave them the other wing of the battle.

All Greece being in suspense, and especially the affairs of the
Athenians unsettled, certain persons of great families and possessions
having been impoverished by the war, and seeing all their authority
and reputation in the city vanished with their wealth, and others in
possession of their honors and places, convened privately at a house
in Plataea, and conspired for the dissolution of the democratic
government; and, if the plot should not succeed, to ruin the cause and
betray all to the barbarians. These matters being in agitation in the
camp, and many persons already corrupted, Aristides, perceiving the
design, and dreading the present juncture of time, determined neither
to let the business pass unanimadverted upon, nor yet altogether to
expose it; not knowing how many the accusation might reach, and
willing to set bounds to his justice with a view to the public
convenience. Therefore, of many that were concerned, he apprehended
eight only, two of whom, who were first proceeded against and most
guilty, Aeschines of Lampra, and Agesias of Acharnae, made their
escape out of the camp. The rest he dismissed; giving opportunity to
such as thought themselves concealed, to take courage and repent;
intimating that they had in the war a great tribunal, where they might
clear their guilt by manifesting their sincere and good intentions
towards their country.

After this, Mardonius made trial of the Grecian courage, by sending
his whole number of horse, in which he thought himself much the
stronger, against them, while they were all pitched at the foot of
Mount Cithaeron, in strong and rocky places, except the Megarians.
They, being three thousand in number, were encamped on the plain,
where they were damaged by the horse charging and making inroads upon
them on all hands. They sent, therefore, in haste to Pausanias,
demanding relief, as not being able alone to sustain the great numbers
of the barbarians. Pausanias, hearing this, and perceiving the tents
of the Megarians already hid by the multitude of darts and arrows, and
themselves driven together into a narrow space, was at a loss himself
how to aid them with his battalion of heavy-armed Lacedaemonians. He
proposed it, therefore, as a point of emulation in valor and love of
distinction, to the commanders and captains who were around him, if
any would voluntarily take upon them the defense and succor of the
Megarians. The rest being backward, Aristides undertook the
enterprise for the Athenians, and sent Olympiodorus, the most valiant
of his inferior officers, with three hundred chosen men and some
archers under his command. These being soon in readiness, and running
upon the enemy, as soon as Masistius, who commanded the barbarians'
horse, a man of wonderful courage and of extraordinary bulk and
comeliness of person, perceived it, turning his steed he made towards
them. And they sustaining the shock and joining battle with him,
there was a sharp conflict, as though by this encounter they were to
try the success of the whole war. But after Masistius's horse
received a wound, and flung him, and he falling could hardly raise
himself through the weight of his armor, the Athenians, pressing upon
him with blows, could not easily get at his person, armed as he was,
his breast, his head, and his limbs all over, with gold and brass and
iron; but one of them at last, running him in at the visor of his
helmet, slew him; and the rest of the Persians, leaving the body, fled.
The greatness of the Greek success was known, not by the multitude of
the slain, (for an inconsiderable number were killed,) but by the
sorrow the barbarians expressed. For they shaved themselves, their
horses, and mules for the death of Masistius, and filled the plain
with howling and lamentation; having lost a person, who, next to
Mardonius himself, was by many degrees the chief among them, both for
valor and authority.

After this skirmish of the horse, they kept from fighting a long time;
for the soothsayers, by the sacrifices, foretold the victory both to
Greeks and Persians, if they stood upon the defensive part only, but
if they became aggressors, the contrary. At length Mardonius, when he
had but a few days' provision, and the Greek forces increased
continually by some or other that came in to them, impatient of delay,
determined to lie still no longer, but, passing Asopus by daybreak, to
fall unexpectedly upon the Greeks; and signified the same over night
to the captains of his host. But about midnight, a certain horseman
stole into the Greek camp, and coming to the watch, desired them to
call Aristides, the Athenian, to him. He coming speedily; "I am,"
said the stranger, "Alexander, king of the Macedonians, and am arrived
here through the greatest danger in the world for the good-will I bear
you, lest a sudden onset should dismay you, so as to behave in the
fight worse than usual. For tomorrow Mardonius will give you battle,
urged, not by any hope of success or courage, but by want of victuals;
since, indeed, the prophets prohibit him the battle, the sacrifices
and oracles being unfavorable; and the army is in despondency and
consternation; but necessity forces him to try his fortune, or sit
still and endure the last extremity of want." Alexander, thus saying,
entreated Aristides to take notice and remember him, but not to tell
any other. But he told him, it was not convenient to conceal the
matter from Pausanias (because he was general); as for any other, he
would keep it secret from them till the battle was fought; but if the
Greeks obtained the victory, that then no one should be ignorant of
Alexander's good-will and kindness towards them. After this, the king
of the Macedonians rode back again, and Aristides went to Pausanias's
tent and told him; and they sent for the rest of the captains and gave
orders that the army should be in battle array.

Here, according to Herodotus, Pausanias spoke to Aristides, desiring
him to transfer the Athenians to the right wing of the army opposite
to the Persians, (as they would do better service against them, having
been experienced in their way of combat, and emboldened with former
victories,) and to give him the left, where the Medizing Greeks were
to make their assault. The rest of the Athenian captains regarded
this as an arrogant and interfering act on the part of Pausanias;
because, while permitting the rest of the army to keep their stations,
he removed them only from place to place, like so many Helots,
opposing them to the greatest strength of the enemy. But Aristides
said, they were altogether in the wrong. If so short a time ago they
contested the left wing with the Tegeatans, and gloried in being
preferred before them, now, when the Lacedaemonians give them place in
the right, and yield them in a manner the leading of the army, how is
it they are discontented with the honor that is done them, and do not
look upon it as an advantage to have to fight, not against their
countrymen and kindred, but barbarians, and such as were by nature
their enemies? After this, the Athenians very readily changed places
with the Lacedaemonians, and there went words amongst them as they
were encouraging each other, that the enemy approached with no better
arms or stouter hearts than those who fought the battle of Marathon;
but had the same bows and arrows, and the same embroidered coats and
gold, and the same delicate bodies and effeminate minds within; "while
we have the same weapons and bodies, and our courage augmented by our
victories; and fight not like others in defense of our country only,
but for the trophies of Salamis and Marathon; that they may not be
looked upon as due to Miltiades or fortune, but to the people of
Athens." Thus, therefore, were they making haste to change the order
of their battle. But the Thebans, understanding it by some deserters,
forthwith acquainted Mardonius; and he, either for fear of the
Athenians, or a desire to engage the Lacedaemonians, marched over his
Persians to the other wing, and commanded the Greeks of his party to
be posted opposite to the Athenians. But this change was observed on
the other side, and Pausanias, wheeling about again, ranged himself on
the right, and Mardonius, also, as at first, took the left wing over
against the Lacedaemonians. So the day passed without action.

After this, the Greeks determined in council to remove their camp some
distance, to possess themselves of a place convenient for watering;
because the springs near them were polluted and destroyed by the
barbarian cavalry. But night being come, and the captains setting out
towards the place designed for their encamping, the soldiers were not
very ready to follow, and keep in a body, but, as soon as they had
quitted their first entrenchments, made towards the city of Plataea;
and there was much tumult and disorder as they dispersed to various
quarters and proceeded to pitch their tents. The Lacedaemonians,
against their will, had the fortune to be left by the rest. For
Amompharetus, a brave and daring man, who had long been burning with
desire of the fight, and resented their many lingerings and delays,
calling the removal of the camp a mere running away and flight,
protested he would not desert his post, but would there remain with
his company, and sustain the charge of Mardonius. And when Pausanias
came to him and told him he did these things by the common vote and
determination of the Greeks, Amompharetus taking up a great stone and
flinging it at Pausanias' feet, and "by this token," said he, "do I
give my suffrage for the battle, nor have I any concern with the
cowardly consultations and decrees of other men." Pausanias, not
knowing what to do in the present juncture, sent to the Athenians, who
were drawing off, to stay to accompany him; and so he himself set off
with the rest of the army for Plataea, hoping thus to make
Amompharetus move.

Meantime, day came upon them; and Mardonius (for he was not ignorant
of their deserting their camp) having his army in array, fell upon the
Lacedaemonians with great shouting and noise of barbarous people, as
if they were not about to join battle, but crush the Greeks in their
flight. Which within a very little came to pass. For Pausanias,
perceiving what was done, made a halt, and commanded every one to put
themselves in order for the battle; but either through his anger with
Amompharetus, or the disturbance he was in by reason of the sudden
approach of the enemy, he forgot to give the signal to the Greeks in
general. Whence it was, that they did not come in immediately, or in
a body, to their assistance, but by small companies and straggling,
when the fight was already begun. Pausanias, offering sacrifice,
could not procure favorable omens, and so commanded the
Lacedaemonians, setting down their shields at their feet to abide
quietly and attend his directions, making no resistance to any of
their enemies. And, he sacrificing again a second time, the horse
charged, and some of the Lacedaemonians were wounded. At this time,
also, Callicrates, who, we are told, was the most comely man in the
army, being shot with an arrow and upon the point of expiring, said,
that he lamented not his death (for he came from home to lay down his
life in the defense of Greece) but that he died without action. The
case was indeed hard, and the forbearance of the men wonderful; for
they let the enemy charge without repelling them; and, expecting their
proper opportunity from the gods and their general, suffered
themselves to be wounded and slain in their ranks. And some say, that
while Pausanias was at sacrifice and prayers, some space out of the
battle-array, certain Lydians, falling suddenly upon him, plundered
and scattered the sacrifice: and that Pausanias and his company,
having no arms, beat them with staves and whips; and that in imitation
of this attack, the whipping the boys about the altar, and after it
the Lydian procession, are to this day practiced in Sparta.

Pausanias, therefore, being troubled at these things, while the priest
went on offering one sacrifice after another, turns himself towards
the temple with tears in his eyes, and, lifting up his hands to
heaven, besought Juno of Cithaeron, and the other tutelar gods of the
Plataeans, if it were not in the fates for the Greeks to obtain the
victory, that they might not perish, without performing some
remarkable thing, and by their actions demonstrating to their enemies,
that they waged war with men of courage, and soldiers. While
Pausanias was thus in the act of supplication, the sacrifices appeared
propitious, and the soothsayers foretold victory. The word being
given, the Lacedaemonian battalion of foot seemed, on the sudden, like
some one fierce animal, setting up his bristles, and betaking himself
to the combat; and the barbarians perceived that they encountered with
men who would fight it to the death. Therefore, holding their
wicker-shields before them, they shot their arrows amongst the
Lacedaemonians. But they, keeping together in the order of a phalanx,
and falling upon the enemies, forced their shields out of their hands,
and, striking with their pikes at the breasts and faces of the
Persians, overthrew many of them; who, however, fell not either
unrevenged or without courage. For taking hold of the spears with
their bare hands, they broke many of them, and betook themselves not
without effect to the sword; and making use of their falchions and
scimitars, and wresting the Lacedaemonians' shields from them, and
grappling with them, it was a long time that they made resistance.

Meanwhile, for some time, the Athenians stood still, waiting for the
Lacedaemonians to come up. But when they heard much noise as of men
engaged in fight, and a messenger, they say, came from Pausanias, to
advertise them of what was going on, they soon hasted to their
assistance. And as they passed through the plain to the place where
the noise was, the Greeks, who took part with the enemy, came upon
them. Aristides, as soon as he saw them, going a considerable space
before the rest, cried out to them, conjuring them by the guardian
gods of Greece to forbear the fight, and be no impediment or stop to
those, who were going to succor the defenders of Greece. But when he
perceived they gave no attention to him, and had prepared themselves
for the battle, then turning from the present relief of the
Lacedaemonians, he engaged them, being five thousand in number. But
the greatest part soon gave way and retreated, as the barbarians also
were put to flight. The sharpest conflict is said to have been
against the Thebans, the chiefest and most powerful persons among them
at that time siding zealously with the Medes, and leading the
multitude not according to their own inclinations, but as being
subjects of an oligarchy.

The battle being thus divided, the Lacedaemonians first beat off the
Persians; and a Spartan, named Arimnestus, slew Mardonius by a blow on
the head with a stone, as the oracle in the temple of Amphiaraus had
foretold to him. For Mardonius sent a Lydian thither, and another
person, a Carian, to the cave of Trophonius. This latter, the priest of
the oracle answered in his own language. But the Lydian sleeping in
the temple of Amphiaraus, it seemed to him that a minister of the
divinity stood before him and commanded him to be gone; and on his
refusing to do it, flung a great stone at his head, so that he thought
himself slain with the blow. Such is the story. -- They drove the
fliers within their walls of wood; and, a little time after, the
Athenians put the Thebans to flight, killing three hundred of the
chiefest and of greatest note among them in the actual fight itself.
For when they began to fly, news came that the army of the barbarians
was besieged within their palisade: and so giving the Greeks
opportunity to save themselves, they marched to assist at the
fortifications; and coming in to the Lacedaemonians, who were
altogether unhandy and inexperienced in storming, they took the camp
with great slaughter of the enemy. For of three hundred thousand,
forty thousand only are said to have escaped with Artabazus; while on
the Greeks' side there perished in all thirteen hundred and sixty: of
which fifty-two were Athenians, all of the tribe Aeantis, that fought,
says Clidemus, with the greatest courage of any; and for this reason
the men of this tribe used to offer sacrifice for the victory, as
enjoined by the oracle, to the nymphs Sphragitides at the expense of
the public: ninety-one were Lacedaemonians and sixteen Tegeatans. It
is strange, therefore, upon what grounds Herodotus can say, that they
only, and none other, encountered the enemy; for the number of the
slain and their monuments testify that the victory was obtained by all
in general; and if the rest had been standing still, while the
inhabitants of three cities only had been engaged in the fight, they
would not have set on the altar the inscription: --

The Greeks, when by their courage and their might,
They had repelled the Persian in the fight,
The common altar of freed Greece to be,
Reared this to Jupiter who guards the free.

They fought this battle on the fourth day of the month Boedromion,
according to the Athenians, but according to the Boeotians, on the
twenty-seventh of Panemus; -- on which day there is still a convention
of the Greeks at Plataea, and the Plataeans still offer sacrifice for
the victory to Jupiter of freedom. As for the difference of days, it
is not to be wondered at, since even at the present time, when there
is a far more accurate knowledge of astronomy, some begin the month at
one time, and some at another.

After this, the Athenians not yielding the honor of the day to the
Lacedaemonians, nor consenting they should erect a trophy, things were
not far from being ruined by dissension amongst the armed Greeks; had
not Aristides, by much soothing and counseling the commanders,
especially Leocrates and Myronides, pacified and persuaded them to
leave the thing to the decision of the Greeks. And on their
proceeding to discuss the matter, Theogiton, the Megarian, declared
the honor of the victory was to be given some other city, if they
would prevent a civil war; after him Cleocritus of Corinth rising up,
made people think he would ask the palm for the Corinthians, (for next
to Sparta and Athens, Corinth was in greatest estimation); but he
delivered his opinion, to the general admiration, in favor of the
Plataeans; and counseled to take away all contention by giving them
the reward and glory of the victory, whose being honored could be
distasteful to neither party. This being said, first Aristides gave
consent in the name of the Athenians, and Pausanias, then, for the
Lacedaemonians. So, being reconciled, they set apart eighty talents
for the Plataeans, with which they built the temple and dedicated the
image to Minerva, and adorned the temple with pictures, which even to
this very day retain their luster. But the Lacedaemonians and
Athenians each erected a trophy apart by themselves. On their
consulting the oracle about offering sacrifice, Apollo answered that
they should dedicate an altar to Jupiter of freedom, but should not
sacrifice till they had extinguished the fires throughout the country,
as having been defiled by the barbarians, and had kindled unpolluted
fire at the common altar at Delphi. The magistrates of Greece,
therefore, went forthwith and compelled such as had fire to put it
out; and Euchidas, a Plataean, promising to fetch fire, with all
possible speed, from the altar of the god, went to Delphi, and having
sprinkled and purified his body, crowned himself with laurel; and
taking the fire from the altar ran back to Plataea, and got back there
before sunset, performing in one day a journey of a thousand furlongs;
and saluting his fellow-citizens and delivering them the fire, he
immediately fell down, and in a short time after expired. But the
Plataeans, taking him up, interred him in the temple of Diana Euclia,
setting this inscription over him: "Euchidas ran to Delphi and back
again in one day." Most people believe that Euclia is Diana, and call
her by that name. But some say she was the daughter of Hercules, by
Myrto, the daughter of Menoetius, and sister of Patroclus, and, dying
a virgin, was worshipped by the Boeotians and Locrians. Her altar and
image are set up in all their marketplaces, and those of both sexes
that are about marrying, sacrifice to her before the nuptials.

A general assembly of all the Greeks being called, Aristides proposed
a decree, that the deputies and religious representatives of the Greek
states should assemble annually at Plataea, and every fifth year
celebrate the Eleutheria, or games of freedom. And that there should
be a levy upon all Greece, for the war against the barbarians, of ten
thousand spearmen, one thousand horse, and a hundred sail of ships;
but the Plataeans to be exempt, and sacred to the service of the gods,
offering sacrifice for the welfare of Greece. These things begin
ratified, the Plataeans undertook the performance of annual sacrifice
to such as were slain and buried in that place; which they still
perform in the following manner. On the sixteenth day of Maemacterion
(which with the Boeotians is Alalcomenus) they make their procession,
which, beginning by break of day, is led by a trumpeter sounding for
onset; then follow certain chariots loaded with myrrh and garlands;
and then a black bull; then come the young men of free birth carrying
libations of wine and milk in large two-handed vessels, and jars of
oil and precious ointments, none of servile condition being permitted
to have any hand in this ministration, because the men died in defense
of freedom; after all comes the chief magistrate of Plataea, (for whom
it is unlawful at other times either to touch iron, or wear any other
colored garment but white,) at that time appareled in a purple robe;
and, taking a water-pot out of the city record-office, he proceeds,
bearing a sword in his hand, through the middle of the town to the
sepulchres. Then drawing water out of a spring, he washes and anoints
the monument, and sacrificing the bull upon a pile of wood, and
making supplication to Jupiter and Mercury of the earth, invites those
valiant men who perished in the defense of Greece, to the banquet and
the libations of blood. After this, mixing a bowl of wine, and
pouring out for himself, he says, "I drink to those who lost their
lives for the liberty of Greece." These solemnities the Plataeans
observe to this day.

Aristides perceived that the Athenians, after their return into the
city, were eager for a democracy; and deeming the people to deserve
consideration on account of their valiant behavior, as also that it
was a matter of difficulty, they being well armed, powerful, and full
of spirit with their victories, to oppose them by force, he brought
forward a decree, that every one might share in the government, and
the archons be chosen out of the whole body of the Athenians. And on
Themistocles telling the people in assembly that he had some advice
for them, which could not be given in public, but was most important
for the advantage and security of the city, they appointed Aristides
alone to hear and consider it with him. And on his acquainting
Aristides that his intent was to set fire to the arsenal of the
Greeks, for by that means should the Athenians become supreme masters
of all Greece, Aristides, returning to the assembly, told them, that
nothing was more advantageous than what Themistocles designed, and
nothing more unjust. The Athenians, hearing this, gave Themistocles
order to desist; such was the love of justice felt by the people, and
such the credit and confidence they reposed in Aristides.

Being sent in joint commission with Cimon to the war, he took notice
that Pausanias and the other Spartan captains made themselves
offensive by imperiousness and harshness to the confederates; and by
being himself gentle and considerate with them and by the courtesy and
disinterested temper which Cimon, after his example, manifested in the
expeditions, he stole away the chief command from the Lacedaemonians,
neither by weapons, ships, or horses, but by equity and wise policy.
For the Athenians being endeared to the Greeks by the justice of
Aristides and by Cimon's moderation, the tyranny and selfishness of
Pausanias rendered them yet more desirable. He on all occasions
treated the commanders of the confederates haughtily and roughly; and
the common soldiers he punished with stripes, or standing under the
iron anchor for a whole day together; neither was it permitted for any
to provide straw for themselves to lie on, or forage for their horses,
or to come near the springs to water before the Spartans were
furnished, but servants with whips drove away such as approached. And
when Aristides once was about to complain and expostulate with
Pausanias, he told him, with an angry look, that he was not at
leisure, and gave no attention to him. The consequence was that the
sea captains and generals of the Greeks, in particular, the Chians,
Samians, and Lesbians, came to Aristides and requested him to be their
general, and to receive the confederates into his command, who had
long desired to relinquish the Spartans and come over to the
Athenians. But he answered, that he saw both equity and necessity in
what they said, but their fidelity required the test of some action,
the commission of which would make it impossible for the multitude to
change their minds again. Upon which Uliades, the Samian, and
Antagoras of Chios, conspiring together, ran in near Byzantium on
Pausanias's galley, getting her between them as she was sailing before
the rest. But when Pausanias, beholding them, rose up and furiously
threatened soon to make them know that they had been endangering not
his galley, but their own countries, they bid him go his way, and
thank Fortune that fought for him at Plataea; for hitherto, in
reverence to that, the Greeks had forborne from indicting on him the
punishment he deserved. In fine, they all went off and joined the
Athenians. And here the magnanimity of the Lacedaemonians was
wonderful. For when they perceived that their generals were becoming
corrupted by the greatness of their authority, they voluntarily laid
down the chief command, and left off sending any more of them to the
wars, choosing rather to have citizens of moderation and consistent in
the observance of their customs, than to possess the dominion of all

Even during the command of the Lacedaemonians, the Greeks paid a
certain contribution towards the maintenance of the war; and being
desirous to be rated city by city in their due proportion, they
desired Aristides of the Athenians, and gave him command, surveying
the country and revenue, to assess every one according to their
ability and what they were worth. But he, being so largely empowered,
Greece as it were submitting all her affairs to his sole management,
went out poor, and returned poorer; laying the tax not only without
corruption and injustice, but to the satisfaction and convenience of
all. For as the ancients celebrated the age of Saturn, so did the
confederates of Athens Aristides's taxation, terming it the happy time
of Greece; and that more especially, as the sum was in a short time
doubled, and afterwards trebled. For the assessment which Aristides
made, was four hundred and sixty talents. But to this Pericles added
very near one third part more; for Thucydides says, that in the
beginning of the Peloponnesian war, the Athenians had coming in from
their confederates six hundred talents. But after Pericles's death,
the demagogues, increasing by little and little, raised it to the sum
of thirteen hundred talents; not so much through the war's being so
expensive and chargeable either by its length or ill success, as by
their alluring the people to spend upon largesses and play-house
allowances, and in erecting statues and temples. Aristides,
therefore, having acquired a wonderful and great reputation by this
levy of the tribute, Themistocles is said to have derided him, as if
this had been not the commendation of a man, but a money-bag; a
retaliation, though not in the same kind, for some free words which
Aristides had used. For he, when Themistocles once was saying that he
thought the highest virtue of a general was to understand and foreknow
the measures the enemy would take, replied, "This, indeed,
Themistocles, is simply necessary, but the excellent thing in a
general is to keep his hands from taking money."

Aristides, moreover, made all the people of Greece swear to keep the
league, and himself took the oath in the name of the Athenians,
flinging wedges of red hot iron into the sea, after curses against
such as should make breach of their vow. But afterwards, it would
seem, when things were in such a state as constrained them to govern
with a stronger hand, he bade the Athenians to throw the perjury upon
him, and manage affairs as convenience required. And, in general,
Theophrastus tells us, that Aristides was, in his own private affairs,
and those of his fellow-citizens, rigorously just, but that in public
matters he acted often in accordance with his country's policy, which
demanded, sometimes, not a little injustice. It is reported of him
that he said in a debate, upon the motion of the Samians for removing
the treasure from Delos to Athens, contrary to the league, that the
thing indeed was not just, but was expedient.

In fine, having established the dominion of his city over so many
people, he himself remained indigent; and always delighted as much in
the glory of being poor, as in that of his trophies; as is evident
from the following story. Callias, the torchbearer, was related to
him: and was prosecuted by his enemies in a capital cause, in which,
after they had slightly argued the matters on which they indicted him,
they proceeded, beside the point, to address the judges: "You know,"
said they, "Aristides, the son of Lysimachus, who is the admiration of
all Greece. In what a condition do you think his family is in at his
house, when you see him appear in public in such a threadbare cloak?
Is it not probable that one who, out of doors, goes thus exposed to
the cold, must want food and other necessaries at home? Callias, the
wealthiest of the Athenians, does nothing to relieve either him or his
wife and children in their poverty, though he is his own cousin, and
has made use of him in many cases, and often reaped advantage by his
interest with you." But Callias, perceiving the judges were moved
more particularly by this, and were exasperated against him, called in
Aristides, requiring him to testify that when he frequently offered
him divers presents, and entreated him to accept them, he had refused,
answering, that it became him better to be proud of his poverty than
Callias of his wealth: since there are many to be seen that make a
good, or a bad use of riches, but it is difficult, comparatively, to
meet with one who supports poverty in a noble spirit; those only
should be ashamed of it who incurred it against their wills. On
Aristides deposing these facts in favor of Callias, there was none who
heard them, that went not away desirous rather to be poor like
Aristides, than rich as Callias. Thus Aeschines, the scholar of
Socrates, writes. But Plato declares, that of all the great and
renowned men in the city of Athens, he was the only one worthy of
consideration; for Themistocles, Cimon, and Pericles filled the city
with porticoes, treasure, and many other vain things, but Aristides
guided his public life by the rule of justice. He showed his
moderation very plainly in his conduct towards Themistocles himself.
For though Themistocles had been his adversary in all his
undertakings, and was the cause of his banishment, yet when he
afforded a similar opportunity of revenge, being accused to the city,
Aristides bore him no malice; but while Alcmaeon, Cimon, and many
others, were prosecuting and impeaching him, Aristides alone, neither
did, nor said any ill against him, and no more triumphed over his
enemy in his adversity, than he had envied him his prosperity.

Some say Aristides died in Pontus, during a voyage upon the affairs of
the public. Others that he died of old age at Athens, being in great
honor and veneration amongst his fellow-citizens. But Craterus, the
Macedonian, relates his death as follows. After the banishment of
Themistocles, he says, the people growing insolent, there sprung up a
number of false and frivolous accusers, impeaching the best and most
influential men and exposing them to the envy of the multitude, whom
their good fortune and power had filled with self-conceit. Amongst
these, Aristides was condemned of bribery, upon the accusation of
Diophantus of Amphitrope, for taking money from the Ionians when he
was collector of the tribute; and being unable to pay the fine, which
was fifty minae, sailed to Ionia, and died there. But of this
Craterus brings no written proof, neither the sentence of his
condemnation, nor the decree of the people; though in general it is
tolerably usual with him to set down such things and to cite his
authors. Almost all others who have spoken of the misdeeds of the
people towards their generals, collect them all together, and tell us
of the banishment of Themistocles, Miltiades's bonds, Pericles's fine,
and the death of Paches in the judgment hall, who, upon receiving
sentence, killed himself on the hustings, with many things of the like
nature. They add the banishment of Aristides; but of this his
condemnation, they make no mention.

Moreover, his monument is to be seen at Phalerum, which they say was
built him by the city, he not having left enough even to defray
funeral charges. And it is stated, that his two daughters were
publicly married out of the prytaneum, or state-house, by the city,
which decreed each of them three thousand drachmas for her portion;
and that upon his son Lysimachus, the people bestowed a hundred minas
of money, and as many acres of planted land, and ordered him besides,
upon the motion of Alcibiades, four drachmas a day. Furthermore,
Lysimachus leaving a daughter, named Polycrite, as Callisthenes says,
the people voted her, also, the same allowance for food with those
that obtained the victory in the Olympic Games. But Demetrius the
Phalerian, Hieronymus the Rhodian, Aristoxenus the musician, and
Aristotle, (if the Treatise of Nobility is to be reckoned among the
genuine pieces of Aristotle,) say that Myrto, Aristides's
granddaughter, lived with Socrates the philosopher, who indeed had
another wife, but took her into his house, being a widow, by reason of
her indigence, and want of the necessaries of life. But Panaetius
sufficiently confutes this in his books concerning Socrates.
Demetrius the Phalerian, in his Socrates, says, he knew one
Lysimachus, son to the daughter of Aristides, extremely poor, who used
to sit near what is called the Iaccheum, and sustained himself by a
table for interpreting dreams; and that, upon his proposal and
representations, a decree was passed by the people, to give the mother
and aunt of this man half a drachma a day. The same Demetrius, when
he was legislating himself, decreed each of these women a drachma per
diem. And it is not to be wondered at, that the people of Athens
should take such care of people living in the city, since hearing the
granddaughter of Aristogiton was in a low condition in the isle of
Lemnos, and so poor nobody would marry her they brought her back to
Athens, and, marrying her to a man of good birth, gave a farm at
Potamus as her marriage-portion; and of similar humanity and bounty
the city of Athens, even in our age, has given numerous proofs, and is
justly admired and respected in consequence.


Marcus Cato, we are told, was born at Tusculum, though (till he
betook himself to civil and military affairs) he lived and was bred
up in the country of the Sabines, where his father's estate lay. His
ancestors seeming almost entirely unknown, he himself praises his
father Marcus, as a worthy man and a brave soldier, and Cato, his
great grandfather too, as one who had often obtained military prizes,
and who, having lost five horses under him, received, on the account
of his valor, the worth of them out of the public exchequer. Now it
being the custom among the Romans to call those who, having no repute
by birth, made themselves eminent by their own exertions, new men or
upstarts, they called even Cato himself so, and so he confessed
himself to be as to any public distinction or employment, but yet
asserted that in the exploits and virtues of his ancestors he was
very ancient. His third name originally was not Cato, but Priscus,
though afterwards he had the surname of Cato, by reason of his
abilities; for the Romans call a skillful or experienced man, Catus.
He was of a ruddy complexion, and gray-eyed; as the writer, who, with
no good-will, made the following epigram upon him, lets us see:--

Porcius, who snarls at all in every place,
With his gray eyes, and with his fiery face,
Even after death will scarce admitted be
Into the infernal realms by Hecate.

He gained, in early life, a good habit of body by working with his
own hands, and living temperately, and serving in war; and seemed to
have an equal proportion troth of health and strength. And he
exerted and practiced his eloquence through all the neighborhood and
little villages; thinking it as requisite as a second body, and an
all but necessary organ to one who looks forward to something above a
mere humble and inactive life. He would never refuse to be counsel
for those who needed him, and was, indeed, early reckoned a good
lawyer, and, ere long, a capable orator.

Hence his solidity and depth of character showed itself gradually,
more and more to those with whom he was concerned, and claimed, as it
were, employment in great affairs, and places of public command. Nor
did he merely abstain from taking fees for his counsel and pleading,
but did not even seem to put any high price on the honor which
proceeded from such kind of combats, seeming much more desirous to
signalize himself in the camp and in real fights; and while yet but a
youth, had his breast covered with scars he had received from the
enemy; being (as he himself says) but seventeen years old, when he
made his first campaign; in the time when Hannibal, in the height of
his success, was burning and pillaging all Italy. In engagements he
would strike boldly, without flinching, stand firm to his ground, fix
a bold countenance upon his enemies, and with a harsh threatening
voice accost them, justly thinking himself and telling others, that
such a rugged kind of behavior sometimes terrifies the enemy more
than the sword itself. In his marches, he bore his own arms on foot,
whilst one servant only followed, to carry the provisions for his
table, with whom he is said never to have been angry or hasty, whilst
he made ready his dinner or supper, but would, for the most part,
when he was free from military duty, assist and help him himself to
dress it. When he was with the army, he used to drink only water;
unless, perhaps, when extremely thirsty, he might mingle it with a
little vinegar; or if he found his strength fail him, take a little

The little country house of Manius Curius, who had been thrice
carried in triumph, happened to be near his farm; so that often going
thither, and contemplating the small compass of the place, and
plainness of the dwelling, he formed an idea of the mind of the
person, who, being one of the greatest of the Romans, and having
subdued the most warlike nations, nay, had driven Pyrrhus out of
Italy, now, after three triumphs, was contented to dig in so small a
piece of ground, and live in such a cottage. Here it was that the
ambassadors of the Samnites, finding him boiling turnips in the
chimney corner, offered him a present of gold; but he sent them away
with this saying; that he, who was content with such a supper, had no
need of gold; and that he thought it more honorable to conquer those
who possessed the gold, than to possess the gold itself. Cato, after
reflecting upon these things, used to return, and reviewing his own
farm, his servants, and housekeeping, increase his labor, and
retrench all superfluous expenses.

When Fabius Maximus took Tarentum, Cato, being then but a youth, was
a soldier under him; and being lodged with one Nearchus, a
Pythagorean, desired to understand some of his doctrine, and hearing
from him the language, which Plato also uses, -- that pleasure is
evil's chief bait; the body the principal calamity of the soul; and
that those thoughts which most separate and take it off from the
affections of the body, most enfranchise and purify it; he fell in
love the more with frugality and temperance. With this exception, he
is said not to have studied Greek until when he was pretty old; and
rhetoric, to have then profited a little by Thucydides, but more by
Demosthenes: his writings, however, are considerably embellished
with Greek sayings and stories; nay, many of these, translated word
for word, are placed with his own apothegms and sentences.

There was a man of the highest rank, and very influential among the
Romans, called Valerius Flaccus, who was singularly skillful in
discerning excellence yet in the bud, and, also, much disposed to
nourish and advance it. He, it seems, had lands bordering upon
Cato's; nor could he but admire, when he understood from his servants
the manner of his living, how he labored with his own hands, went on
foot betimes in the morning to the courts to assist those who wanted
his counsel; how, returning home again, when it was winter, he would
throw a loose frock over his shoulders, and in the summer time
would work without anything on among his domestics, sit down with
them, eat of the same bread, and drink of the same wine. When they
spoke, also, of other good qualities, his fair dealing and
moderation, mentioning also some of his wise sayings, he ordered,
that he should be invited to supper; and thus becoming personally
assured of his fine temper and his superior character which, like a
plant, seemed only to require culture and a better situation, he
urged and persuaded him to apply himself to state affairs at Rome.
Thither, therefore, he went, and by his pleading soon gained many
friends and admirers; but, Valerius chiefly assisting his promotion,
he first of all got appointed tribune in the army, and afterwards was
made quaestor, or treasurer. And now becoming eminent and noted, he
passed, with Valerius himself, through the greatest commands, being
first his colleague as consul, and then censor. But among all the
ancient senators, he most attached himself to Fabius Maximus; not so
much for the honor of his person, and greatness of his power, as that
he might have before him his habit and manner of life, as the best
examples to follow: and so he did not hesitate to oppose Scipio the
Great, who, being then but a young man, seemed to set himself against
the power of Fabius, and to be envied by him. For being sent
together with him as treasurer, when he saw him, according to his
natural custom, make great expenses, and distribute among the
soldiers without sparing, he freely told him that the expense in
itself was not the greatest thing to be considered, but that he was
corrupting the ancient frugality of the soldiers, by giving them the
means to abandon themselves to unnecessary pleasures and luxuries.
Scipio answered, that he had no need for so accurate a treasurer,
(bearing on as he was, so to say, full sail to the war,) and that he
owed the people an account of his actions, and not of the money he
spent. Hereupon Cato returned from Sicily, and, together with
Fabius, made loud complaints in the open senate of Scipio's lavishing
unspeakable sums, and childishly loitering away his time in wrestling
matches and comedies, as if he were not to make war, but holiday; and
thus succeeded in getting some of the tribunes of the people sent to
call him back to Rome, in case the accusations should prove true.
But Scipio demonstrating, as it were, to them, by his preparations,
the coming victory, and, being found merely to be living pleasantly
with his friends, when there was nothing else to do, but in no
respect because of that easiness and liberality at all the more
negligent in things of consequence and moment, without impediment,
set sail towards the war.

Cato grew more and more powerful by his eloquence, so that he was
commonly called the Roman Demosthenes; but his manner of life was yet
more famous and talked of. For oratorical skill was, as an
accomplishment, commonly studied and sought after by all young men;
but he was very rare who would cultivate the old habits of bodily
labor, or prefer a light supper, and a breakfast which never saw the
fire; or be in love with poor clothes and a homely lodging, or could
set his ambition rather on doing without luxuries than on possessing
them. For now the state, unable to keep its purity by reason of its
greatness, and having so many affairs, and people from all parts
under its government, was fain to admit many mixed customs, and new
examples of living. With reason, therefore, everybody admired Cato,
when they saw others sink under labors, and grow effeminate by
pleasures; and yet beheld him unconquered by either, and that not
only when he was young and desirous of honor, but also when old and
greyheaded, after a consulship and triumph; like some famous victor
in the games, persevering in his exercise and maintaining his
character to the very last. He himself says, that he never wore a
suit of clothes which cost more than a hundred drachmas; and that,
when he was general and consul, he drank the same wine which his
workmen did; and that the meat or fish which was bought in the market
for his dinner, did not cost above thirty asses. All which was for
the sake of the commonwealth, that so his body might be the hardier
for the war. Having a piece of embroidered Babylonian tapestry left
him, he sold it; because none of his farm-houses were so much as
plastered. Nor did he ever buy a slave for above fifteen hundred
drachmas; as he did not seek for effeminate and handsome ones, but
able, sturdy workmen, horse-keepers and cow-herds: and these he
thought ought to be sold again, when they grew old, and no useless
servants fed in a house. In short, he reckoned nothing a good
bargain, which was superfluous; but whatever it was, though sold for
a farthing, he would think it a great price, if you had no need of it;
and was for the purchase of lands for sowing and feeding, rather than
grounds for sweeping and watering.

Some imputed these things to petty avarice, but others approved of
him, as if he had only the more strictly denied himself for the
rectifying and amending of others. Yet certainly, in my judgment, it
marks an over-rigid temper, for a man to take the work out of his
servants as out of brute beasts, turning them off and selling them in
their old age, and thinking there ought to be no further commerce
between man and man, than whilst there arises some profit by it. We
see that kindness or humanity has a larger field than bare justice to
exercise itself in; law and justice we cannot, in the nature of
things, employ on others than men; but we may extend our goodness and
charity even to irrational creatures; and such acts flow from a
gentle nature, as water from an abundant spring. It is doubtless the
part of a kind-natured man to keep even worn-out horses and dogs, and
not only take care of them when they are foals and whelps, but also
when they are grown old. The Athenians, when they built their
Hecatompedon, turned those mules loose to feed freely, which they
had observed to have done the hardest labor. One of these (they say)
came once of itself to offer its service, and ran along with, nay,
and went before, the teams which drew the wagons up to the acropolis,
as if it would incite and encourage them to draw more stoutly; upon
which there passed a vote, that the creature should be kept at the
public charge even till it died. The graves of Cimon's horses, which
thrice won the Olympian races, are yet to be seen close by his own
monument. Old Xanthippus, too, (amongst many others who buried the
dogs they had bred up,) entombed his which swam after his galley to
Salamis, when the people fled from Athens, on the top of a cliff,
which they call the dog's tomb to this day. Nor are we to use living
creatures like old shoes or dishes, and throw them away when they are
worn out or broken with service; but if it were for nothing else, but
by way of study and practice in humanity, a man ought always to
prehabituate himself in these things to be of a kind and sweet
disposition. As to myself, I would not so much as sell my draught ox
on the account of his age, much less for a small piece of money sell
a poor old man, and so chase him, as it were, from his own country,
by turning him not only out of the place where he has lived a long
while, but also out of the manner of living he has been accustomed
to, and that more especially when he would be as useless to the buyer
as to the seller. Yet Cato for all this glories that he left that
very horse in Spain, which he used in the wars when he was consul,
only because he would not put the public to the charge of his
freight. Whether these acts are to be ascribed to the greatness or
pettiness of his spirit, let every one argue as they please.

For his general temperance, however, and self-control, he really
deserves the highest admiration. For when he commanded the army, he
never took for himself, and those that belonged to him, above three
bushels of wheat for a month, and somewhat less than a bushel and a
half a day of barley for his baggage-cattle. And when he entered
upon the government of Sardinia, where his predecessors had been used
to require tents, bedding, and clothes upon the public account, and
to charge the state heavily with the cost of provisions and
entertainments for a great train of servants and friends, the
difference he showed in his economy was something incredible. There
was nothing of any sort for which he put the public to expense; he
would walk without a carriage to visit the cities, with one only of
the common town officers, who carried his dress, and a cup to offer
libation with. Yet, though he seemed thus easy and sparing to all
who were under his power, he, on the other hand, showed most
inflexible severity and strictness, in what related to public
justice, and was rigorous, and precise in what concerned the
ordinances of the commonwealth; so that the Roman government, never
seemed more terrible, nor yet more mild, than under his

His very manner of speaking seemed to have such a kind of idea with
it; for it was courteous, and yet forcible; pleasant, yet
overwhelming; facetious, yet austere; sententious, and yet vehement:
like Socrates, in the description of Plato, who seemed outwardly to
those about him to be but a simple, talkative, blunt fellow; whilst
at the bottom he was full of such gravity and matter, as would even
move tears, and touch the very hearts of his auditors. And,
therefore, I know not what has persuaded some to say, that Cato's
style was chiefly like that of Lysias. However, let us leave those
to judge of these things, who profess most to distinguish between the
several kinds of oratorical style in Latin; whilst we write down some
of his memorable sayings; being of the opinion that a man's character
appears much more by his words, than, as some think it does, by his

Being once desirous to dissuade the common people of Rome, from their
unseasonable and impetuous clamor for largesses and distributions of
corn, he began thus to harangue them: "It is a difficult task, O
citizens, to make speeches to the belly, which has no ears."
Reproving, also, their sumptuous habits, he said, it was hard to
preserve a city, where a fish sold for more than an ox. He had a
saying, also, that the Roman people were like sheep; for they, when
single, do not obey, but when altogether in a flock, they follow
their leaders: "So you," said he, "when you have got together in a
body, let yourselves be guided by those whom singly you would never
think of being advised by." Discoursing of the power of women:
"Men," said he, "usually command women; but we command all men, and
the women command us." But this, indeed, is borrowed from the
sayings of Themistocles, who, when his son was making many demands of
him by means of the mother, said, "O woman, the Athenians govern the
Greeks; I govern the Athenians, but you govern me, and your son
governs you; so let him use his power sparingly, since, simple as he
is, he can do more than all the Greeks together." Another saying of
Cato's was, that the Roman people did not only fix the value of such
and such purple dyes, but also of such and such habits of life:
"For," said he, "as dyers most of all dye such colors as they see to
be most agreeable, so the young men learn, and zealously affect what
is most popular with you." He also exhorted them, that if they were
grown great by their virtue and temperance, they should not change
for the worse; but if intemperance and vice had made them great, they
should change for the better; for by that means they were grown
indeed quite great enough. He would say, likewise, of men who wanted
to be continually in office, that apparently they did not know their
road; since they could not do without beadles to guide them on it.
He also reproved the citizens for choosing still the same men as
their magistrates: "For you will seem," said he, "either not to
esteem government worth much, or to think few worthy to hold it."
Speaking, too, of a certain enemy of his, who lived a very base and
discreditable life: "It is considered," he said, "rather as a curse
than a blessing on him, that this fellow's mother prays that she may
leave him behind her." Pointing at one who had sold the land which
his father had left him, and which lay near the sea-side, he
pretended to express his wonder at his being stronger even than the
sea itself; for what it washed away with a great deal of labor, he
with a great deal of ease drank away. When the senate, with a great
deal of splendor, received king Eumenes on his visit to Rome, and the
chief citizens strove who should be most about him, Cato appeared to
regard him with suspicion and apprehension; and when one that stood
by, too, took occasion to say, that he was a very good prince, and a
great lover of the Romans: "It may be so," said Cato, "but by nature
this same animal of a king, is a kind of man-eater;" nor, indeed,
were there ever kings who deserved to be compared with Epaminondas,
Pericles, Themistocles, Manius Curius, or Hamilcar, surnamed Barcas.
He used to say, too, that his enemies envied him; because he had to
get up every day before light, and neglect his own business to follow
that of the public. He would also tell you, that he had rather be
deprived of the reward for doing well, than not to suffer the
punishment for doing ill; and that he could pardon all offenders but

The Romans having sent three ambassadors to Bithynia, of whom one was
gouty, another had his skull trepanned, and the other seemed little
better than a fool; Cato, laughing, gave out, that the Romans had
sent an embassy, which had neither feet, head, nor heart. His
interest being entreated by Scipio, on account of Polybius, for the
Achaean exiles, and there happening to be a great discussion in the
senate about it, some being for, and some against their return; Cato,
standing up, thus delivered himself: "Here do we sit all day long,
as if we had nothing to do, but beat our brains whether these old
Greeks should be carried to their graves by the bearers here or by
those in Achaea." The senate voting their return, it seems that a
few days after Polybius's friends further wished that it should be
moved in the senate, that the said banished persons should receive
again the honors which they first had in Achaea; and, to this
purpose, they sounded Cato for his opinion; but he, smiling,
answered, that Polybius, Ulysses-like, having escaped out of the
Cyclops' den, wanted, it would seem, to go back again because he had
left his cap and belt behind him. He used to assert, also, that wise
men profited more by fools, than fools by wise men; for that wise men
avoided the faults of fools, but that fools would not imitate the
good examples of wise men. He would profess, too, that he was more
taken with young men that blushed, than with those who looked pale;
and that he never desired to have a soldier that moved his hands too
much in marching, and his feet too much in fighting; or snored louder
than he shouted. Ridiculing a fat overgrown man: "What use," said
he, "can the state turn a man's body to, when all between the throat
and groin is taken up by the belly?" When one who was much given to
pleasures desired his acquaintance, begging his pardon, he said, he
could not live with a man whose palate was of a quicker sense than
his heart. He would likewise say, that the soul of a lover lived in
the body of another: and that in his whole life he most repented of
three things; one was, that he had trusted a secret to a woman;
another, that he went by water when he might have gone by land; the
third, that he had remained one whole day without doing any business
of moment. Applying himself to an old man who was committing some
vice: "Friend," said he, "old age has of itself blemishes enough; do
not you add to it the deformity of vice." Speaking to a tribune, who
was reputed a poisoner, and was very violent for the bringing in of a
bill, in order to make a certain law: "Young man," cried he, "I know
not which would be better, to drink what you mix, or confirm what you
would put up for a law." Being reviled by a fellow who lived a
profligate and wicked life: "A contest," replied he, "is unequal
between you and me; for you can hear ill words easily, and can as
easily give them; but it is unpleasant to me to give such, and
unusual to hear them." Such was his manner of expressing himself in
his memorable sayings.

Being chosen consul, with his friend and familiar Valerius Flaccus,
the government of that part of Spain which the Romans call the Hither
Spain, fell to his lot. Here, as he was engaged in reducing some of
the tribes by force, and bringing over others by good words, a large
army of barbarians fell upon him, so that there was danger of being
disgracefully forced out again. He therefore called upon his
neighbors, the Celtiberians, for help; and on their demanding two
hundred talents for their assistance, everybody else thought it
intolerable, that ever the Romans should promise barbarians a reward
for their aid; but Cato said, there was no discredit or harm in it;
for if they overcame, they would pay them out of the enemy's purse,
and not out of their own; but if they were overcome, there would be
nobody left either to demand the reward or to pay it. However, he
won that battle completely, and after that, all his other affairs
succeeded splendidly. Polybius says, that by his command the walls
of all the cities, on this side the river Baetis, were in one day's
time demolished, and yet there were a great many of them full of
brave and warlike men. Cato himself says, that he took more cities
than he stayed days in Spain. Neither is this a mere rhodomontade,
if it be true, that the number was four hundred. And though the
soldiers themselves had got much in the fights, yet he distributed a
pound of silver to every man of them, saying, it was better, that
many of the Romans should return home with silver, rather than a few
with gold. For himself he affirms, that of all the things that were
taken, nothing came to him beyond what he ate and drank. "Neither do
I find fault," continued he, "with those that seek to profit by these
spoils, but I had rather compete in valor with the best, than in
wealth with the richest, or with the most covetous in love of money."
Nor did he merely keep himself clear from taking anything, but even
all those who more immediately belonged to him. He had five servants
with him in the army; one of whom called Paccus, bought three boys,
out of those who were taken captive; which Cato coming to understand,
the man rather than venture into his presence, hanged himself. Cato
sold the boys, and carried the price he got for them into the public

Scipio the Great, being his enemy, and desiring, whiles he was
carrying all things so successfully, to obstruct him, and take the
affairs of Spain into his own hands, succeeded in getting himself
appointed his successor in the government, and, making all possible
haste, put a term to Cato's authority. But he, taking with him a
convoy of five cohorts of foot, and five hundred horse to attend him
home, overthrew by the way the Lacetanians, and salting from them six
hundred deserters, caused them all to be beheaded; upon which Scipio
seemed to be in indignation, but Cato, in mock disparagement of
himself, said, "Rome would become great indeed, if the most honorable
and great men would not yield up the first place of valor to those
who were more obscure, and when they who were of the commonalty (as
he himself was) would contend in valor with those who were most
eminent in birth and honor." The senate having voted to change
nothing of what had been established by Cato, the government passed
away under Scipio to no manner of purpose, in idleness and doing
nothing; and so diminished his credit much more than Cato's. Nor did
Cato, who now received a triumph, remit after this and slacken the
reins of virtue, as many do, who strive not so much for virtue's
sake, as for vainglory, and having attained the highest honors, as
the consulship and triumphs, pass the rest of their life in pleasure
and idleness, and quit all public affairs. But he, like those who
are just entered upon public life for the first time, and thirst
after gaining honor and glory in some new office, strained himself,
as if he were but just setting out; and offering still publicly his
service to his friends and citizens, would give up neither his
pleadings nor his soldiery.

He accompanied and assisted Tiberius Sempronius, as his lieutenant,
when he went into Thrace and to the Danube; and, in the quality of
tribune, went with Manius Acilius into Greece, against Antiochus the
Great, who, after Hannibal, more than anyone struck terror into the
Romans. For having reduced once more under a single command almost
the whole of Asia, all, namely, that Seleucus Nicator had possessed,
and having brought into obedience many warlike nations of the
barbarians, he longed to fall upon the Romans, as if they only were
now worthy to fight with him. So across he came with his forces,
pretending, as a specious cause of the war, that it was to free the
Greeks, who had indeed no need of it, they having been but newly
delivered from the power of king Philip and the Macedonians, and made
independent, with the free use of their own laws, by the goodness of
the Romans themselves; so that all Greece was in commotion and
excitement, having been corrupted by the hopes of royal aid which the
popular leaders in their cities put them into. Manius, therefore,
sent ambassadors to the different cities; and Titus Flamininus (as is
written in the account of him) suppressed and quieted most of the
attempts of the innovators, without any trouble. Cato brought over
the Corinthians, those of Patrae and of Aegium, and spent a good deal
of time at Athens. There is also an oration of his said to be
extant, which he spoke in Greek to the people; in which he expressed
his admiration of the virtue of the ancient Athenians, and signified
that he came with a great deal of pleasure to be a spectator of the
beauty and greatness of their city. But this is a fiction; for he
spoke to the Athenians by an interpreter, though he was able to have
spoken himself; but he wished to observe the usage of his own
country, and laughed at those who admired nothing but what was in
Greek. Jesting upon Postumius Albinus, who had written a historical
work in Greek, and requested that allowances might be made for his
attempt, he said, that allowance indeed might be made, if he had done
it under the express compulsion of an Amphictyonic decree. The
Athenians, he says, admired the quickness and vehemence of his
speech; for an interpreter would be very long in repeating what he
expressed with a great deal of brevity; but on the whole he professed
to believe, that the words of the Greeks came only from their lips,
whilst those of the Romans came from their hearts.

Now Antiochus, having occupied with his army the narrow passages
about Thermopylae, and added palisades and walls to the natural
fortifications of the place, sat down there, thinking he had done
enough to divert the war; and the Romans, indeed, seemed wholly to
despair of forcing the passage; but Cato, calling to mind the compass
and circuit which the Persians had formerly made to come at this
place, went forth in the night, taking along with him part of the
army. Whilst they were climbing up, the guide, who was a prisoner,
missed the way, and wandering up and down by impracticable and
precipitous paths, filled the soldiers with fear and despondency.
Cato, perceiving the danger, commanded all the rest to halt, and stay
where they were, whilst he himself, taking along with him one Lucius
Manlius, a most expert man at climbing mountains, went forward with a
great deal of labor and danger, in the dark night, and without the
least moonshine, among the wild olive trees, and steep craggy rocks,
there being nothing but precipices and darkness before their eyes,
till they struck into a little pass which they thought might lead
down into the enemy's camp. There they put up marks upon some
conspicuous peaks which surmount the hill called Callidromon, and
returning again, they led the army along with them to the said marks,
till they got into their little path again, and there once made a
halt; but when they began to go further, the path deserted them at a
precipice, where they were in another strait and fear; nor did they
perceive that they were all this while near the enemy. And now the
day began to give some light, when they seemed to hear a noise, and
presently after to see the Greek trenches and the guard at the foot
of the rock. Here, therefore, Cato halted his forces, and commanded
the troops from Firmum only, without the rest, to stick by him, as he
had always found them faithful and ready. And when they came up and
formed around him in close order, he thus spoke to them. "I desire,"
he said, "to take one of the enemy alive, that so I may understand
what men these are who guard the passage; their number; and with what
discipline, order, and preparation they expect us; but this feat,"
continued he, "must be an act of a great deal of quickness and
boldness, such as that of lions, when they dart upon some timorous
animal." Cato had no sooner thus expressed himself, but the Firmans
forthwith rushed down the mountain, just as they were, upon the
guard, and, falling unexpectedly upon them, affrighted and dispersed
them all. One armed man they took, and brought to Cato, who quickly
learned from him, that the rest of the forces lay in the narrow
passage about the king; that those who kept the tops of the rocks
were six hundred choice Aetolians. Cato, therefore, despising the
smallness of their number and carelessness, forthwith drawing his
sword, fell upon them with a great noise of trumpets and shouting.
The enemy, perceiving them thus tumbling, as it were, upon them from
the precipices, flew to the main body, and put all things into
disorder there.

In the meantime, whilst Manius was forcing the works below, and
pouring the thickest of his forces into the narrow passages,
Antiochus was hit in the mouth with a stone, so that his teeth being
beaten out by it, he felt such excessive pain, that he was fain to
turn away with his horse; nor did any part of his army stand the
shock of the Romans. Yet, though there seemed no reasonable hope of
flight, where all paths were so difficult, and where there were deep
marshes and steep rocks, which looked as if they were ready to
receive those who should stumble, the fugitives, nevertheless,
crowding and pressing together. In the narrow passages, destroyed even
one another in their terror of the swords and blows of the enemy. Cato
(as it plainly appears) was never oversparing of his own praises, and
seldom shunned boasting of any exploit; which quality, indeed, he
seems to have thought the natural accompaniment of great actions; and
with these particular exploits he was highly puffed up; he says, that
those who saw him that day pursuing and slaying the enemies, were
ready to assert, that Cato owed not so much to the public, as the
public did to Cato; nay, he adds, that Manius the consul, coming hot
from the fight, embraced him for a great while, when both were all in
a sweat; and then cried out with joy, that neither he himself, no,
nor all the people together, could make him a recompense equal to his
actions. After the fight he was sent to Rome, that he himself might
be the messenger of it; and so, with a favorable wind, he sailed to
Brundusium, and in one day got from thence to Tarentum; and having
traveled four days more, upon the fifth, counting from the time of
his landing, he arrived at Rome, and so brought the first news of the
victory himself; and filled the whole city with joy and sacrifices,
and the people with the belief, that they were able to conquer every
sea and every land.

These are pretty nearly all the eminent actions of Cato, relating to
military affairs: in civil policy, he was of opinion, that one chief
duty consisted in accusing and indicting criminals. He himself
prosecuted many, and he would also assist others who prosecuted them,
nay would even procure such, as he did the Petilii against Scipio;
but not being able to destroy him, by reason of the nobleness of his
family, and the real greatness of his mind, which enabled him to
trample all calumnies underfoot, Cato at last would meddle no more
with him; yet joining with the accusers against Scipio's brother
Lucius, he succeeded in obtaining a sentence against him, which
condemned him to the payment of a large sum of money to the state;
and being insolvent, and in danger of being thrown into jail, he was,
by the interposition of the tribunes of the people, with much ado
dismissed. It is also said of Cato, that when he met a certain
youth, who had effected the disgrace of one of his father's enemies,
walking in the market-place, he shook him by the hand, telling him,
that this was what we ought to sacrifice to our dead parents-- not
lambs and goats, but the tears and condemnations of their
adversaries. But neither did he himself escape with impunity in his
management of affairs; for if he gave his enemies but the least hold,
he was still in danger, and exposed to be brought to justice. He is
reported to have escaped at least fifty indictments; and one above
the rest, which was the last, when he was eighty-six years old, about
which time he uttered the well-known saying, that it was hard for him
who had lived with one generation of men, to plead now before
another. Neither did he make this the last of his lawsuits; for,
four years after, when he was fourscore and ten, he accused Servilius
Galba: so that his life and actions extended, we may say, as
Nestor's did, over three ordinary ages of man. For, having had many
contests, as we have related, with Scipio the Great, about affairs of
state, he continued them down even to Scipio the younger, who was the
adopted grandson of the former, and the son of that Paulus, who
overthrew Perseus and the Macedonians.

Ten years after his consulship, Cato stood for the office of censor,
which was indeed the summit of all honor, and in a manner the highest
step in civil affairs; for besides all other power, it had also that
of an inquisition into everyone's life and manners. For the Romans
thought that no marriage, or rearing of children, nay, no feast or
drinking-bout ought to be permitted according to everyone's appetite
or fancy, without being examined and inquired into; being indeed of
opinion, that a man's character was much sooner perceived in things
of this sort, than in what is done publicly and in open day. They
chose, therefore, two persons, one out of the patricians, the other
out of the commons, who were to watch, correct, and punish, if any
one ran too much into voluptuousness, or transgressed the usual
manner of life of his country; and these they called Censors. They
had power to take away a horse, or expel out of the senate any one
who lived intemperately and out of order. It was also their business
to take an estimate of what everyone was worth, and to put down in
registers everybody's birth and quality; besides many other
prerogatives. And therefore the chief nobility opposed his
pretensions to it. Jealousy prompted the patricians, who thought
that it would be a stain to everybody's nobility, if men of no
original honor should rise to the highest dignity and power; while
others, conscious of their own evil practices, and of the violation
of the laws and customs of their country, were afraid of the
austerity of the man; which, in an office of such great power was
likely to prove most uncompromising and severe. And so consulting
among themselves, they brought forward seven candidates in opposition
to him, who sedulously set themselves to court the people's favor by
fair promises, as though what they wished for was indulgent and easy
government. Cato, on the contrary, promising no such mildness, but
plainly threatening evil livers, from the very hustings openly
declared himself; and exclaiming, that the city needed a great and
thorough purgation, called upon the people, if they were wise, not to
choose the gentlest, but the roughest of physicians; such a one, he
said, he was, and Valerius Flaccus, one of the patricians, another;
together with him, he doubted not but he should do something worth
the while, and that, by cutting to pieces and burning like a hydra,
all luxury and voluptuousness. He added, too, that he saw all the rest
endeavoring after the office with ill intent, because they were
afraid of those who would exercise it justly, as they ought. And so
truly great and so worthy of great men to be its leaders was, it
would seem, the Roman people, that they did not fear the severity end
grim countenance of Cato, but rejecting those smooth promisers who
were ready to do all things to ingratiate themselves, they took him,
together with Flaccus; obeying his recommendations not as though he
were a candidate, but as if he had had the actual power of commanding
and governing already.

Cato named as chief of the senate, his friend and colleague Lucius
Valerius Flaccus, and expelled, among many others, Lucius Quintius,
who had been consul seven years before, and (which was greater honor
to him than the consulship) brother to that Titus Flamininus, who
overthrew king Philip. The reason he had for his expulsion, was
this. Lucius, it seems, took along with him in all his commands, a
youth, whom he had kept as his companion from the flower of his age,
and to whom he gave as much power and respect as to the chiefest of
his friends and relations.

Now it happened that Lucius being consular governor of one of the
provinces, the youth setting himself down by him, as he used to do,
among other flatteries with which he played upon him, when he wee in
his cups, told him he loved him so dearly that, "though there was a
show of gladiators to be seen at Rome, and I," he said, "had never
beheld one in my life; and though I, as it were, longed to see a man
killed, yet I made all possible haste to come to you." Upon this
Lucius, returning his fondness, replied, "Do not be melancholy on
that account; I can remedy that." Ordering therefore, forthwith, one
of those condemned to die to be brought to the feast, together with
the headsman and axe, he asked the youth if he wished to see him
executed. The boy answering that he did, Lucius commanded the
executioner to cut off his neck; and this several historians mention;
and Cicero, indeed, in his dialogue de Senectute, introduces Cato
relating it himself. But Livy says, that he that was killed was a
Gaulish deserter, and that Lucius did not execute him by the stroke
of the executioner, but with his own hand; and that it is so stated
in Cato's speech.

Lucius being thus expelled out of the senate by Cato, his brother
took it very ill, and appealing to the people, desired that Cato
should declare his reasons; and when he began to relate this
transaction of the feast, Lucius endeavored to deny it; but Cato
challenging him to a formal investigation, he fell off and refused
it, so that he was then acknowledged to suffer deservedly.
Afterwards, however, when there was some show at the theater, he
passed by the seats where those who had been consuls used to be
placed, and taking his seat a great way off, excited the compassion
of the common people, who presently with a great noise made him go
forward, and as much as they could, tried to set right and salve over
what had happened. Manilius, also, who, according to the public
expectation, would have been next consul, he threw out of the senate,
because, in the presence of his daughter, and in open day, he had
kissed his wife. He said, that as for himself, his wife never came
into his arms except when there was great thunder; so that it was a
jest with him, that it was a pleasure for him, when Jupiter

His treatment of Lucius, likewise, the brother of Scipio, and one who
had been honored with a triumph, occasioned some odium against Cato;
for he took his horse from him, and was thought to do it with a
design of putting an affront on Scipio Africanus, now dead. But he
gave most general annoyance, by retrenching people's luxury; for
though (most of the youth being thereby already corrupted) it seemed
almost impossible to take it away with an open hand and directly, yet
going, as it were, obliquely around, he caused all dress, carriages,
women's ornaments, household furniture, whose price exceeded one
thousand five hundred drachmas, to be rated at ten times as much as
they were worth; intending by thus making the assess-ments greater,
to increase the taxes paid upon them. He also ordained that upon
every thousand asses of property of this kind, three should be
paid, so that people, burdened with these extra charges, and seeing
others of as good estates, but more frugal and sparing, paying less
into the public exchequer, might be tired out of their prodigality.
And thus, on the one side, not only those were disgusted at Cato, who
bore the taxes for the sake of their luxury, but those, too, who on
the other side laid by their luxury for fear of the taxes. For people
in general reckon, that an order not to display their riches, is
equivalent to the taking away their riches; because riches are seen
much more in superfluous, than in necessary, things. Indeed, this
was what excited the wonder of Ariston the philosopher; that we
account those who possess superfluous things more happy than those
who abound with what is necessary and useful. But when one of his
friends asked Scopas, the rich Thessalian, to give him some article
of no great utility, saying that it was not a thing that he had any
great need or use for himself, "In truth," replied he, "it is just
these useless and unnecessary things that make my wealth and
happiness." Thus the desire of riches does not proceed from a
natural passion within us, but arises rather from vulgar out-of-doors
opinion of other people.

Cato, notwithstanding, being little solicitous as to those who
exclaimed against him, increased his austerity. He caused the pipes,
through which some persons brought the public water into their own
houses and gardens, to be cut, and threw down all buildings which
jutted out into the common streets. He beat down also the price in
contracts for public works to the lowest, and raised it in contracts
for farming the taxes to the highest sum; by which proceedings he
drew a great deal of hatred on himself. Those who were of Titus
Flamininus's party canceled in the senate all the bargains and
contracts made by him for the repairing and carrying on of the sacred
and public buildings, as unadvantageous to the commonwealth. They
incited also the boldest of the tribunes of the people to accuse him,
and to fine him two talents. They likewise much opposed him in
building the court or basilica, which he caused to be erected at the
common charge, just by the senate-house, in the market-place, and
called by his own name, the Porcian. However, the people, it seems,
liked his censorship wondrously well; for, setting up a statue for
him in the temple of the goddess of Health, they put an inscription
under it, not recording his commands in war or his triumph, but to
the effect, that this was Cato the Censor, who, by his good
discipline and wise and temperate ordinances, reclaimed the Roman
commonwealth when it was declining and sinking down into vice.
Before this honor was done to himself, he used to laugh at those who
loved such kind of things, saying, that they did not see that they
were taking pride in the workmanship of brass-founders and painters;
whereas the citizens bore about his best likeness in their breasts.
And when any seemed to wonder, that he should have never a statue,
while many ordinary persons had one; "I would," said he, "much rather
be asked, why I have not one, than why I have one." In short, he
would not have any honest citizen endure to be praised, except it
might prove advantageous to the commonwealth. Yet still he had
passed the highest commendation on himself; for he tells us that
those who did anything wrong, and were found fault with, used to
say, it was not worthwhile to blame them; for they were not Catos.
He also adds, that they who awkwardly mimicked some of his actions,
were called left-handed Catos; and that the senate in perilous times
would cast their eyes on him, as upon a pilot in a ship, and that
often when he was not present they put off affairs of greatest
consequence. These things are indeed also testified of him by
others; for he had a great authority in the city, alike for his life,
his eloquence, and his age.

He was also a good father, an excellent husband to his wife, and an
extraordinary economist; and as he did not manage his affairs of this
kind carelessly, and as things of little moment, I think I ought to
record a little further whatever was commendable in him in these
points. He married a wife more noble than rich; being of opinion
that the rich and the high-born are equally haughty and proud; but
that those of noble blood, would be more ashamed of base things, and
consequently more obedient to their husbands in all that was fit and
right. A man who beat his wife or child, laid violent hands, he
said, on what was most sacred; and a good husband he reckoned worthy
of more praise than a great senator; and he admired the ancient
Socrates for nothing so much as for having lived a temperate and
contented life with a wife who was a scold, and children who were

As soon as he had a son born, though he had never such urgent
business upon his hands, unless it were some public matter, he would
be by when his wife washed it, and dressed it in its swaddling
clothes. For she herself suckled it, nay, she often too gave her
breast to her servants' children, to produce, by sucking the same
milk, a kind of natural love in them to her son. When he began to
come to years of discretion, Cato himself would teach him to read,
although he had a servant, a very good grammarian, called Chilo, who
taught many others; but he thought not fit, as he himself said, to
have his son reprimanded by a slave, or pulled, it may be, by the
ears when found tardy in his lesson: nor would he have him owe to a
servant the obligation of so great a thing as his learning; he
himself, therefore, (as we were saying,) taught him his grammar, law,
and his gymnastic exercises. Nor did he only show him, too, how to
throw a dart, to fight in armor, and to ride, but to box also and to
endure both heat and cold, and to swim over the most rapid and rough
rivers. He says, likewise, that he wrote histories, in large
characters, with his own hand, that so his son, without stirring out
of the house, might learn to know about his countrymen and
forefathers: nor did he less abstain from speaking anything obscene
before his son, than if it had been in the presence of the sacred
virgins, called vestals. Nor would he ever go into the bath with
him; which seems indeed to have been the common custom of the Romans.
Sons-in-law used to avoid bathing with fathers-in-law, disliking to
see one another naked: but having, in time, learned of the Greeks to
strip before men, they have since taught the Greeks to do it even
with the women themselves.

Thus, like an excellent work, Cato formed and fashioned his son to
virtue; nor had he any occasion to find fault with his readiness and
docility; but as he proved to be of too weak a constitution for
hardships, he did not insist on requiring of him any very austere way
of living. However, though delicate in health, he proved a stout man
in the field, and behaved himself valiantly when Paulus Aemilius
fought against Perseus; where when his sword was struck from him by a
blow, or rather slipped out of his hand by reason of its moistness,
he so keenly resented it, that he turned to some of his friends about
him, and taking them along with him again, fell upon the enemy; and
having by a long fight and much force cleared the place, at length
found it among great heaps of arms, and the dead bodies of friends as
well as enemies piled one upon another. Upon which Paulus, his
general, much commended the youth; and there is a letter of Cato's to
his son, which highly praises his honorable eagerness for the
recovery of his sword. Afterwards he married Tertia, Aemilius
Paulus's daughter, and sister to Scipio; nor was he admitted into
this family less for his own worth than his father's. So that Cato's
care in his son's education came to a very fitting result.

He purchased a great many slaves out of the captives taken in war,
but chiefly bought up the young ones, who were capable to be, as it
were, broken and taught like whelps and colts. None of these ever
entered another man's house, except sent either by Cato himself or
his wife. If any one of them were asked what Cato did, they answered
merely, that they did not know. When a servant was at home, he was
obliged either to do some work or sleep; for indeed Cato loved those
most who used to lie down often to sleep, accounting them more docile
than those who were wakeful, and more fit for anything when they were
refreshed with a little slumber. Being also of opinion, that the
great cause of the laziness and misbehavior of slaves was their
running after their pleasures, he fixed a certain price for them to
pay for permission amongst themselves, but would suffer no
connections out of the house. At first, when he was but a poor
soldier, he would not be difficult in anything which related to his
eating, but looked upon it as a pitiful thing to quarrel with a
servant for the belly's sake; but afterwards, when he grew richer,
and made any feasts for his friends and colleagues in office, as soon
as supper was over he used to go with a leathern thong and scourge
those who had waited or dressed the meat carelessly. He always
contrived, too, that his servants should have some difference one
among another, always suspecting and fearing a good understanding
between them. Those who had committed anything worthy of death, he
punished, if they were found guilty by the verdict of their
fellow-servants. But being after all much given to the desire of gain,
he looked upon agriculture rather as a pleasure than profit;
resolving, therefore, to lay out his money in safe and solid things,
he purchased ponds, hot baths, grounds full of fuller's earth,
remunerative lands, pastures, and woods; from all which he drew large
returns, nor could Jupiter himself, he used to say, do him much
damage. He was also given to the form of usury, which is considered
most odious, in traffic by sea; and that thus: -- he desired that those
whom he put out his money to, should have many partners; and when the
number of them and their ships came to be fifty, he himself took one
share through Quintio his freedman, who therefore was to sail with
the adventurers, and take a part in all their proceedings; so that
thus there was no danger of losing his whole stock, but only a little
part, and that with a prospect of great profit. He likewise lent
money to those of his slaves who wished to borrow, with which they
bought also other young ones, whom, when they had taught and bred up
at his charges, they would sell again at the year's end; but some of
them Cato would keep for himself, giving just as much for them as
another had offered. To incline his son to be of this kind of
temper, he used to tell him, that it was not like a man, but rather
like a widow woman, to lessen an estate. But the strongest
indication of Cato's avaricious humor was when he took the boldness
to affirm, that he was a most wonderful, nay, a godlike man, who left
more behind him than he had received.

He was now grown old, when Carneades the Academic, and Diogenes the
Stoic, came as deputies from Athens to Rome, praying for release from
a penalty of five hundred talents laid on the Athenians, in a suit,
to which they did not appear, in which the Oropians were plaintiffs,
and Sicyonians judges. All the most studious youth immediately
waited on these philosophers, and frequently, with admiration, heard
them speak. But the gracefulness of Carneades's oratory, whose
ability was really greatest, and his reputation equal to it, gathered
large and favorable audiences, and erelong filled, like a wind, all
the city with the sound of it. So that it soon began to be told,
that a Greek, famous even to admiration, winning and carrying all
before him, had impressed so strange a love upon the young men, that
quitting all their pleasures and pastimes, they ran mad, as it were,
after philosophy; which indeed much pleased the Romans in general;
nor could they but with much pleasure see the youth receive so
welcomely the Greek literature, and frequent the company of learned
men. But Cato, on the other side, seeing this passion for words
flowing into the city, from the beginning, took it ill, fearing lest
the youth should be diverted that way, and so should prefer the glory
of speaking well before that of arms, and doing well. And when the
fame of the philosophers increased in the city, and Caius Acilius, a
person of distinction, at his own request, became their interpreter
to the senate at their first audience, Cato resolved, under some
specious presence, to have all philosophers cleared out of the city;
and, coming into the senate, blamed the magistrates for letting these
deputies stay so long a time without being dispatched, though they
were persons that could easily persuade the people to what they
pleased; that therefore in all haste something should be determined
about their petition, that so they might go home again to their own
schools, and declaim to the Greek children, and leave the Roman
youth, to be obedient, as hitherto, to their own laws and governors.

Yet he did this not out of any anger, as some think, to Carneades;
but because he wholly despised philosophy, and out of a kind of
pride, scoffed at the Greek studies and literature; as, for example,
he would say, that Socrates was a prating seditious fellow, who did
his best to tyrannize over his country, to undermine the ancient
customs, and to entice and withdraw the citizens to opinions contrary
to the laws. Ridiculing the school of Isocrates, he would add, that
his scholars grew old men before they had done learning with him, as
if they were to use their art and plead causes in the court of Minos
in the next world. And to frighten his son from anything that was
Greek, in a more vehement tone than became one of his age, he
pronounced, as it were, with the voice of an oracle, that the Romans
would certainly be destroyed when they began once to be infected with
Greek literature; though time indeed has shown the vanity of this his
prophecy; as, in truth, the city of Rome has risen to its highest
fortune, while entertaining Grecian learning. Nor had he an aversion
only against the Greek philosophers, but the physicians also; for
having, it seems, heard how Hippocrates, when the king of Persia sent
for him, with offers of a fee of several talents, said, that he would
never assist barbarians who were enemies to the Greeks; he affirmed,
that this was now become a common oath taken by all physicians, and
enjoined his son to have a care and avoid them; for that he himself
had written a little book of prescriptions for curing those who were
sick in his family; he never enjoined fasting to anyone, but ordered
them either vegetables, or the meat of a duck, pigeon, or leveret;
such kind of diet being of light digestion, and fit for sick folks,
only it made those who ate it dream a little too much; and by the
use of this kind of physic, he said, he not only made himself and
those about him well, but kept them so.

However, for this his presumption, he seemed not to have escaped
unpunished; for he lost both his wife and his son; though he himself,
being of a strong robust constitution, held out longer; so that he
would often, even in his old days, address himself to women, and when
he was past a lover's age, married a young woman, upon the following
pretense. Having lost his own wife, he married his son to the
daughter of Paulus Aemilius, who was sister to Scipio; so that being
now a widower himself, he had a young girl who came privately to
visit him; but the house being very small, and a daughter-in-law also
in it, this practice was quickly discovered; for the young woman
seeming once to pass through it a little too boldly, the youth, his
son, though he said nothing, seemed to look somewhat indignantly upon
her. The old man perceiving and understanding that what he did was
disliked, without finding any fault, or saying a word, went away
as his custom was, with his usual companions to the market: and
among the rest, he called aloud to one Salonius, who had been a clerk
under him, and asked him whether he had married his daughter? He
answered, no, nor would he, till he had consulted him. Said Cato,
"Then I have found out a fit son-in-law for you, if he should not
displease by reason of his age; for in all other points there is no
fault to be found in him; but he is indeed, as I said, extremely
old." However, Salonius desired him to undertake the business, and
to give the young girl to whom he pleased, she being a humble servant
of his, who stood in need of his care and patronage. Upon this Cato,
without any more ado, told him, he desired to have the damsel
himself. These words, as may well be imagined, at first astonished
the man, conceiving that Cato was as far off from marrying, as he
from a likelihood of being allied to the family of one who had been
consul, and had triumphed; but perceiving him in earnest, he
consented willingly; and, going onwards to the forum, they quickly
completed the bargain.

Whilst the marriage was in hand, Cato's son, taking some of his
friends along with him, went and asked his father if it were for any
offense he brought in a stepmother upon him? But Cato cried out, "Far
from it, my son, I have no fault to find with you nor anything of
yours; only I desire to have many children, and to leave the
commonwealth more such citizens as you are." Pisistratus, the tyrant
of Athens, made, they say, this answer to his sons, when they were
grown men, when he married his second wife, Timonassa of Argos, by
whom he had, it is said, Iophon and Thessalus. Cato had a son by
this second wife, to whom from his mother, he gave the surname of
Salonius. In the mean time, his eldest died in his praetorship; of
whom Cato often makes mention in his books, as having been a good
man. He is said, however, to have borne the loss moderately, and
like a philosopher, and was nothing the more remiss in attending to
affairs of state; so that he did not, as Lucius Lucullus and Metellus
Pius did, grow languid in his old age, as though public business were
a duty once to be discharged, and then quitted; nor did he, like
Scipio Africanus, because envy had struck at his glory, turn from the
public, and change and pass away the rest of his life without doing
anything; but as one persuaded Dionysius, that the most honorable
tomb he could have, would be to die in the exercise of his dominion;
so Cato thought that old age to be the most honorable, which was
busied in public affairs; though he would, now and then, when he had
leisure, recreate himself with husbandry and writing.

And, indeed, he composed various books and histories; and in his
youth, he addicted himself to agriculture for profit's sake; for he
used to say, he had but two ways of getting -- agriculture and
parsimony; and now, in his old age, the first of these gave him both
occupation and a subject of study. He wrote one book on country
matters, in which he treated particularly even of making cakes, and
preserving fruit; it being his ambition to be curious and singular in
all things. His suppers, at his country-house, used also to be
plentiful; he daily invited his friends and neighbors about him, and
passed the time merrily with them; so that his company was not only
agreeable to those of the same age, but even to younger men; for he
had had experience in many things, and had been concerned in much,
both by word and deed, that was worth the hearing. He looked upon a
good table, as the best place for making friends; where the
commendations of brave and good citizens were usually introduced, and
little said of base and unworthy ones; as Cato would not give leave
in his company to have anything, either good or ill, said about

Some will have the overthrow of Carthage to have been one of his last
acts of state; when, indeed, Scipio the younger, did by his valor
give it the last blow, but the war, chiefly by the counsel and advice
of Cato, was undertaken on the following occasion. Cato was sent to
the Carthaginians and Masinissa, king of Numidia, who were at war
with one another, to know the cause of their difference. He, it
seems, had been a friend of the Romans from the beginning; and they,
too, since they were conquered by Scipio, were of the Roman
confederacy, having been shorn of their power by loss of territory,
and a heavy tax. Finding Carthage, not (as the Romans thought) low
and in an ill condition, but well manned, full of riches and all
sorts of arms and ammunition, and perceiving the Carthaginians carry
it high, he conceived that it was not a time for the Romans to adjust
affairs between them and Masinissa; but rather that they themselves
would fall into danger, unless they should find means to check this
rapid new growth of Rome's ancient irreconcilable enemy. Therefore,
returning quickly to Rome, he acquainted the senate, that the former
defeats and blows given to the Carthaginians, had not so much
diminished their strength, as it had abated their imprudence and
folly; that they were not become weaker, but more experienced in war,
and did only skirmish with the Numidians, to exercise themselves the
better to cope with the Romans: that the peace and league they had
made was but a kind of suspension of war which awaited a fairer
opportunity to break out again.

Moreover, they say that, shaking his gown, he took occasion to let
drop some African figs before the senate. And on their admiring the
size and beauty of them, he presently added, that the place that bore
them was but three days' sail from Rome. Nay, he never after this
gave his opinion, but at the end he would be sure to come out with
this sentence, "Also, Carthage, methinks, ought utterly to be
destroyed." But Publius Scipio Nasica would always declare his
opinion to the contrary, in these words, "It seems requisite to me
that Carthage should still stand." For seeing his countrymen to be
grown wanton and insolent, and the people made, by their prosperity,
obstinate and disobedient to the senate, and drawing the whole city,
whither they would, after them, he would have had the fear of
Carthage to serve as a bit to hold in the contumacy of the multitude;
and he looked upon the Carthaginians as too weak to overcome the
Romans, and too great to be despised by them. On the other side, it
seemed a perilous thing to Cato, that a city which had been always
great, and was now grown sober and wise, by reason of its former
calamities, should still lie, as it were, in wait for the follies and
dangerous excesses of the overpowerful Roman people; so that he
thought it the wisest course to have all outward dangers removed,
when they had so many inward ones among themselves.

Thus Cato, they say, stirred up the third and last war against the
Carthaginians: but no sooner was the said war begun, than he died,
prophesying of the person that should put an end to it, who was then
only a young man; but, being tribune in the army, he in several
fights gave proof of his courage and conduct. The news of which
being brought to Cato's ears at Rome, he thus expressed himself: --

The only wise man of them all is he,
The others e'en as shadows flit and flee.

This prophecy Scipio soon confirmed by his actions.

Cato left no posterity, except one son by his second wife, who was
named, as we said, Cato Salonius; and a grandson by his eldest son,
who died. Cato Salonius died when he was praetor, but his son Marcus
was afterwards consul, and he was grandfather of Cato the
philosopher, who for virtue and renown was one of the most eminent
personages of his time.


Having mentioned the most memorable actions of these great men, if we
now compare the whole life of the one with that of the other, it will
not be easy to discern the difference between them, lost as it is
amongst such a number of circumstances in which they resemble each
other. If, however, we examine them in detail as we might some piece
of poetry, or some picture, we shall find this common to them both,
that they advanced themselves to great honor and dignity in the
commonwealth, by no other means than their own virtue and industry.
But it seems when Aristides appeared, Athens was not at its height of
grandeur and plenty, the chief magistrates and officers of his time
being men only of moderate and equal fortunes among themselves. The
estimate of the greatest estates then, was five hundred medimns; that
of the second, or knights, three hundred; of the third and last called
Zeugitae, two hundred. But Cato, out of a petty village from a
country life, leaped into the commonwealth, as it were into a vast
ocean; at a time when there were no such governors as the Curii,
Fabricii, and Hostilii. Poor laboring men were not then advanced from
the plow and spade to be governors and magistrates; but greatness of
family, riches, profuse gifts, distributions, and personal application
were what the city looked to; keeping a high hand, and, in a manner,
insulting over those that courted preferment. It was not as great a
matter to have Themistocles for an adversary, a person of mean
extraction and small fortune, (for he was not worth, it is said, more
than four or five talents when he first applied himself to public
affairs,) as to contest with a Scipio Africanus, a Servius Galba, and
a Quintius Flamininus, having no other aid but a tongue free to assert

Besides, Aristides at Marathon, and again at Plataea, was but one
commander out of ten; whereas Cato was chosen consul with a single
colleague, having many competitors, and with a single colleague, also,
was preferred before seven most noble and eminent pretenders to be
censor. But Aristides was never principal in any action; for
Miltiades carried the day at Marathon, at Salamis Themistocles, and at
Plataea, Herodotus tells us, Pausanias got the glory of that noble
victory: and men like Sophanes, and Aminias, Callimachus, and
Cynaegyrus, behaved themselves so well in all those engagements, as to
contest it with Aristides even for the second place. But Cato not
only in his consulship was esteemed the chief in courage and conduct
in the Spanish war, but even whilst he was only serving as tribune at
Thermopylae, under another's command, he gained the glory of the
victory, for having, as it were, opened a wide gate for the Romans to
rush in upon Antiochus, and for having brought the war on his back,
whilst he only minded what was before his face. For that victory,
which was beyond dispute all Cato's own work, cleared Asia out of
Greece, and by that means made way afterwards for Scipio into Asia.
Both of them, indeed, were always victorious in war; but at home
Aristides stumbled, being banished and oppressed by the faction of
Themistocles; yet Cato, notwithstanding he had almost all the chief
and most powerful of Rome for his adversaries, and wrestled with them
even to his old age, kept still his footing. Engaging also in many
public suits, sometimes plaintiff, sometimes defendant, he cast the
most, and came off clear with all; thanks to his eloquence, that
bulwark and powerful instrument to which more truly, than to chance or
his fortune, he owed it, that he sustained himself unhurt to the last.
Antipater justly gives it as a high commendation to Aristotle the
philosopher, writing of him after his death, that among his other
virtues, he was endowed with a faculty of persuading people which way
he pleased.

Questionless, there is no perfecter endowment in man than political
virtue, and of this Economics is commonly esteemed not the least
part; for a city, which is a collection of private households, grows
into a stable commonwealth by the private means of prosperous citizens
that compose it. Lycurgus by prohibiting gold and silver in Sparta,
and making iron, spoiled by the fire, the only currency, did not by
these measures discharge them from minding their household affairs,
but cutting off luxury, the corruption and tumor of riches, he
provided there should be an abundant supply of all necessary and
useful things for all persons, as much as any other lawmaker ever did;
being more apprehensive of a poor, needy, and indigent member of a
community, than of the rich and haughty. And in this management of
domestic concerns, Cato was as great as in the government of public
affairs; for he increased his estate, and became a master to others in
economy and husbandry; upon which subjects he collected in his
writings many useful observations. On the contrary Aristides, by his
poverty, made justice odious, as if it were the pest and impoverisher
of a family and beneficial to all, rather than to those that were
endowed with it. Yet Hesiod urges us alike to just dealing and to
care of our households, and inveighs against idleness as the origin of
injustice; and Homer admirably says: --

Work was not dear, nor household cares to me,
Whose increase rears the thriving family;
But well-rigged ships were always my delight,
And wars, and darts, and arrows of the fight:

as if the same characters carelessly neglected their own estates, and
lived by injustice and rapine from others. For it is not as the
physicians say of oil, that outwardly applied, it is very wholesome,
but taken inwardly detrimental, that thus a just man provides
carefully for others, and is heedless of himself and his own affairs:
but in this Aristides's political virtues seem to be defective; since,
according to most authors, he took no care to leave his daughters a
portion, or himself enough to defray his funeral charges: whereas
Cato's family produced senators and generals to the fourth generation;
his grandchildren, and their children, came to the highest
preferments. But Aristides, who was the principal man of Greece,
through extreme poverty reduced some of his to get their living by
juggler's tricks, others, for want, to hold out their hands for public
alms; leaving none means to perform any noble action, or worthy his

Yet why should this needs follow? since poverty is dishonorable not
in itself, but when it is a proof of laziness, intemperance, luxury,
and carelessness; whereas in a person that is temperate, industrious,
just, and valiant, and who uses all his virtues for the public good,
it shows a great and lofty mind. For he has no time for great
matters, who concerns himself with petty ones; nor can he relieve many
needs of others, who himself has many needs of his own. What most of
all enables a man to serve the public is not wealth, but content and
independence; which, requiring no superfluity at home, distracts not
the mind from the common good. God alone is entirely exempt from all
want: of human virtues, that which needs least, is the most absolute
and most divine. For as a body bred to a good habit requires nothing
exquisite either in clothes or food, so a sound man and a sound
household keep themselves up with a small matter. Riches ought to be
proportioned to the use we have of them; for he that scrapes together
a great deal, making use of but little, is not independent; for if he
wants them not, it is folly in him to make provision for things which
he does not desire; or if he does desire them, and restrains his
enjoyment out of sordidness, he is miserable. I would fain know of
Cato himself, if we seek riches that we may enjoy them, why is he
proud of having a great deal, and being contented with little? But if
it be noble, as it is, to feed on coarse bread, and drink the same
wine with our hinds, and not to covet purple, and plastered houses,
neither Aristides, nor Epaminondas, nor Manius Curius, nor Caius
Fabricius wanted necessaries, who took no pains to get those things
whose use they approved not. For it was not worth the while of a man
who esteemed turnips a most delicate food, and who boiled them
himself, whilst his wife made bread, to brag so often of a halfpenny,
and write a book to show how a man may soonest grow rich; the very
good of being contented with little is because it cuts off at once the
desire and the anxiety for superfluities. Hence Aristides, it is
told, said, on the trial of Callias, that it was for them to blush at
poverty, who were poor against their wills; they who like him were
willingly so, might glory in it. For it is ridiculous to think
Aristides's neediness imputable to his sloth, who might fairly enough
by the spoil of one barbarian, or seizing one tent, have become
wealthy. But enough of this.

Cato's expeditions added no great matter to the Roman empire, which
already was so great, as that in a manner it could receive no
addition; but those of Aristides are the noblest, most splendid, and
distinguished actions the Grecians ever did, the battles at Marathon,
Salamis, and Plataea. Nor indeed is Antiochus, nor the destruction of
the walls of the Spanish towns, to be compared with Xerxes, and the
destruction by sea and land of so many myriads of enemies; in all of
which noble exploits Aristides yielded to none, though he left the
glory and the laurels, like the wealth and money, to those who
needed and thirsted more greedily after them: because he was superior
to those also. I do not blame Cato for perpetually boasting and
preferring himself before all others, though in one of his orations he
says, that it is equally absurd to praise and dispraise one's self:
yet he who does not so much as desire others' praises, seems to me
more perfectly virtuous, than he who is always extolling himself. A
mind free from ambition is a main help to political gentleness:
ambition, on the contrary, is hard-hearted, and the greatest fomenter
of envy; from which Aristides was wholly exempt; Cato very subject to
it. Aristides assisted Themistocles in matters of highest importance,
and, as his subordinate officer, in a manner raised Athens: Cato, by
opposing Scipio, almost broke and defeated his expedition against the
Carthaginians, in which he overthrew Hannibal, who till then was even
invincible; and, at last, by continually raising suspicions and
calumnies against him, he chased him from the city, and inflicted a
disgraceful sentence on his brother for robbing the state.

Finally, that temperance which Cato always highly cried up, Aristides
preserved truly pure and untainted. But Cato's marriage, unbecoming
his dignity and age, is a considerable disparagement, in this respect,
to his character. For it was not decent for him at that age to bring
home to his son and his wife a young woman, the daughter of a common
paid clerk in the public service: but whether it were for his own
gratification or out of anger at his son, both the fact and the
presence were unworthy. For the reason he pretended to his son was
false: for if he desired to get more as worthy children, he ought to
have married a well-born wife; not to have contented himself, so long
as it was unnoticed, with a woman to whom he was not married; and,
when it was discovered, he ought not to have chosen such a
father-in-law as was easiest to be got, instead of one whose affinity
might be honorable to him.


Cleander was a man of high birth and great power in the city of
Mantinea, but by the chances of the time happened to be driven from
thence. There being an intimate friendship betwixt him and Craugis,
the father of Philopoemen, who was a person of great distinction, he
settled at Megalopolis, where, while his friend lived, he had all he
could desire. When Craugis died, he repaid the father's hospitable
kindness in the care of the orphan son; by which means Philopoemen
was educated by him, as Homer says Achilles was by Phoenix, and from
his infancy molded to lofty and noble inclinations. But Ecdemus and
Demophanes had the principal tuition of him, after he was past the
years of childhood. They were both Megalopolitans; they had been
scholars in the academic philosophy, and friends to Arcesilaus, and
had, more than any of their contemporaries, brought philosophy to
bear upon action, and state affairs. They had freed their country
from tyranny by the death of Aristodemus, whom they caused to be
killed; they had assisted Aratus in driving out the tyrant Nicocles
from Sicyon; and, at the request of the Cyreneans, whose city was in
a state of extreme disorder and confusion, went thither by sea, and
succeeded in establishing good government and happily settling their
commonwealth. And among their best actions they themselves counted
the education of Philopoemen, thinking they had done a general good
to Greece, by giving him the nurture of philosophy. And indeed all
Greece (which looked upon him as a kind of latter birth brought
forth, after so many noble leaders, in her decrepit age) loved him
wonderfully; and, as his glory grew, increased his power. And one of
the Romans, to praise him, calls him the last of the Greeks; as if
after him Greece had produced no great man, nor who deserved the name
of Greek.

His person was not, as some fancy, deformed; for his likeness is yet
to be seen at Delphi. The mistake of the hostess of Megara was
occasioned, it would seem, merely by his easiness of temper and his
plain manners. This hostess having word brought her, that the
General of the Achaeans was coming to her house in the absence of
her husband, was all in a hurry about providing his supper.
Philopoemen, in an ordinary cloak, arriving in this point of time,
she took him for one of his own train who had been sent on before,
and bid him lend her his hand in her household work. He forthwith
threw off his cloak, and fell to cutting up the fire-wood. The
husband returning, and seeing him at it, "What," says he, "may this
mean, O Philopoemen?" "I am," replied he in his Doric dialect,
"paying the penalty of my ugly looks." Titus Flamininus, jesting
with him upon his figure, told him one day, he had well-shaped hands
and feet, but no belly: and he was indeed slender in the waist. But
this raillery was meant to the poverty of his fortune; for he had
good horse and foot, but often wanted money to entertain and pay
them. These are the common anecdotes told of Philopoemen.

The love of honor and distinction was, in his character, not
unalloyed with feelings of personal rivalry and resentment. He made
Epaminondas his great example, and came not far behind him in
activity, sagacity, and incorruptible integrity; but his hot
contentious temper continually carried him out of the bounds of that
gentleness, composure, and humanity which had marked Epaminondas, and
this made him thought a pattern rather of military than of civil
virtue. He was strongly inclined to the life of a soldier even from
his childhood, and he studied and practiced all that belonged to it,
taking great delight in managing of horses, and handling of weapons.
Because he was naturally fitted to excel in wrestling, some of his
friends and tutors recommended his attention to athletic exercises.
But he would first be satisfied whether it would not interfere with
his becoming a good soldier. They told him, as was the truth, that
the one life was directly opposite to the other; the requisite state
of body, the ways of living, and the exercises all different: the
professed athlete sleeping much, and feeding plentifully, punctually
regular in his set times of exercise and rest, and apt to spoil all
by every little excess, or breach of his usual method; whereas the
soldier ought to train himself in every variety of change and
irregularity, and, above all, to bring himself to endure hunger and
loss of sleep without difficulty. Philopoemen, hearing this, not
only laid by all thoughts of wrestling and contemned it then, but
when he came to be general, discouraged it by all marks of reproach
and dishonor he could imagine, as a thing which made men, otherwise
excellently fit for war, to be utterly useless and unable to fight on
necessary occasions.

When he left off his masters and teachers, and began to bear arms in
the incursions which his citizens used to make upon the
Lacedaemonians for pillage and plunder, he would always march out the
first, and return the last. When there was nothing to do, he sought
to harden his body, and make it strong and active by hunting, or
laboring in his ground. He had a good estate about twenty furlongs
from the town, and thither he would go every day after dinner and
supper; and when night came, throw himself upon the first mattress in
his way, and there sleep as one of the laborers. At break of day he
would rise with the rest, and work either in the vineyard or at the
plow; from thence return again to the town, and employ his time with
his friends, or the magistrates in public business. What he got in
the wars, he laid out on horses, or arms, or in ransoming captives;
but endeavored to improve his own property the justest way, by
tillage; and this not slightly, by way of diversion, but thinking it
his strict duty, so to manage his own fortune, as to be out of the
temptation of wronging others.

He spent much time on eloquence and philosophy, but selected his
authors, and cared only for those by whom he might profit in virtue.
In Homer's fictions his attention was given to whatever he thought
apt to raise the courage. Of all other books he was most devoted to
the commentaries of Evangelus on military tactics, and also took
delight, at leisure hours, in the histories of Alexander; thinking
that such reading, unless undertaken for mere amusement and idle
conversation, was to the purpose for action. Even in speculations on
military subjects it was his habit to neglect maps and diagrams, and
to put the theorems to practical proof on the ground itself. He
would be exercising his thoughts, and considering, as he traveled,
and arguing with those about him of the difficulties of steep or
broken ground, what might happen at rivers, ditches, or
mountain-passes, in marching in close or in open, in this or in that
particular form of battle. The truth is, he indeed took an
immoderate pleasure in military operations and in warfare, to which
he devoted himself, as the special means for exercising all sorts of
virtue, and utterly contemned those who were not soldiers, as drones
and useless in the commonwealth.

When he was thirty years of age, Cleomenes, king of the
Lacedaemonians, surprised Megalopolis by night, forced the guards,
broke in, and seized the marketplace. Philopoemen came out upon the
alarm, and fought with desperate courage, but could not beat the
enemy out again; yet he succeeded in effecting the escape of the
citizens, who got away while he made head against the pursuers, and
amused Cleomenes, till, after losing his horse and receiving several
wounds, with much ado he came off himself, being the last man in the
retreat. The Megalopolitans escaped to Messene, whither Cleomenes
sent to offer them their town and goods again. Philopoemen
perceiving them to be only too glad at the news, and eager to return,
checked them with a speech, in which he made them sensible, that what

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