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' To be ignorant of the lives of the most celebrated men of antiquity, u
to continue in a state of childliood all our days."




Stereotyped by Thomas SewajRd^

**Ki(TUKD according to Art of Oonfress. in the year 1831, br fViUiam C
JBorratUiiU, in the Clerk's Oflke of the District Court of the Soutbern Ota-
trici of New York.**





The style and genius of dedications, in general,
have neither done honour to the patron nor to the
author. Sensible of this, we intended to have pub-
lished a work, which has been the labour of jeare,
without the usual mode of solic iting protection.
An accident has brought us into the number of
dedicators. Had not you accompanied your noble
father to our humble retreat, we should still have
been unacquainted with your growing virtues, — your
extraordinary erudition, and perfect knowledge of
the Greek language and learning; and Plutarch
would have remained as he did in his retirement at
Chaeronea, where he sought no patronage but in the
bosom of philosophy.

Accept, my Lord, this honest token of respect,
from men, who, equally independent and unambi-
tious, wish only for the countenance of genius and
friendship. Praise, my Lord, is the usual language
of dedications : But will our praise be of value to
you.** — Will any praise be of value to you, but that



of your own heart ? Follow the example of the Earl
OF Radnor, jour illuBtrious father. Lik* him main-
tain that temperate spirit of pohcy, which consults
the dignity of governments while it supports the
liberty of the subject. But we put into your hands
the best of pohtical preceptors, — a preceptor who
trained to virtue the greatest monarch upon earth;
and, by giving happiness to the world, enjoyed a
pleasure something like that of the Benevolent Being
who created it. We are, My Lord,


Most obedient, and

Very humble Servants,




RomvJus ......... 1

Lycvrgus 25

Numa -.-.......44

Solon 54

Themistocles ...74

Camillus ....96

Pericles 116

Alcihiades 130

Timoleon ••-...... 158

Aristides - - . . . . . . 182

CaU) the Censor - - - • . . . . 201

Pyrrhus - -16

Eumenes 240

Pompey 257

Alexander - • - ••.. 296
Julius CcBsar ........ 339

Demosthenes ........ 371

Cicero - - - 387

Demosthenes and Cicero Compared ..... 422
An Account of Weights and Measures .... 426
Denominatijons of Money ..•••. 427

Table of Proper Names - . 1 .... 429




Flourished 753 years before Christ.

From whom and for what cause, the city of Rome obtained a
name, the glory of which has diffused itself over the world, his-
torians are not agreed.* The account which deserves the most
credit, and has the most vouchers, is that published by Diodes the
Peparenthian, whom Fabius Pictor comm<»nly follows. The story
is this : The kings of Alba descending lineally from iGneas, the
succession fell to two brothers, Numitor and Amulius. The lat-
ter divided the whole inheritance into two parts, setting the trea-
sures brought from Troy against the kingdom ; and Numitor made
choice of the kingdom. Amulius then having the treasures, and
consequently being more powerful than Numitor, easily possessed
himself of the kingdom too^ and fearing the daughter of Numitor
might have children, he appointed her priestess of Vesta, in which
capacity she was always to live unmarried and a virgin.

Some say her name was Ilia, some Rhea, and others Sylvia.
. But she was soon discovered to be pregnant, contrary to the law
of the Vestals. Antho, the king's daughter, by much entreaty,
prevailed with her father that she should not be capitally punished.
She was confined, however, and excluded from societv. When
her time was completed, she was delivered of two sons of uncom-
mon size and beauty; whereupon AmuHus, siill more alarmed,
ordered one of his servants to destroy them. Pursuajit to his or-
ders, he put the children into a small trough or cradle, and went

* Such is the uncertainty of the origin of imperial Rome, and indeed of most
cities antJ nations that are of any considerable antiquiiv. That of Rome mighr be
the more uncertam, t)ecanse itj: l^rst inhabitants, heinj; a coUection of mean persons,
fugitives and outlaws from other nations, could not be supposed to leave histories
behmd them. Livy, however, and most of the Latin historians, agree that Rome
was built by Romulus, and both the city and people named after him: while the
vanity of the Greek writers wants to ascirltie almost every tbing, and Rome among
t)ie festt to a Greciao origma}.


down towards the river, with a design to cast them in ; but seeing
it verv rough, and running with a strong current, he was afraid to
approach it. He therefore laid them down near the bank, and
departed. The flood increasing continually, set the trniigh atloat,
and j^tirned it gently down to a pleasant place, toiiKriv cailed
Gerinanum, denoting that the two brothers arrived tit le.

Near this place was a wild fig-tree, which they called Rumina-
lis, either on account of Romulus, as is generally supposed, or
because the cattle there ruminated, or chewed the cud, during the
noontide, in the shade ; or rather because of the suckling of the
children there; for the ancient Latins called the breast rvma, and
the goddess who presides over the nursery Rumilia,* whose rites
they celebrated without wine, and only with libaiions of milk.
The iiifantH, as the stor} goes, lying there, were suckled by a sbe-
wolf, and fed and taken cure of bv a wood.pecker. These ani-
mals are sacred to Mars ; and the woodpecker is held in great
honour and veneration by the Latins. Such wonderful events
ContribuctMl not a little to gain credit to the mother's report, that
she had the children by Mars. Some say, th^ ambiguity of the
narhe's name gave occasion to the fable ; for the Latins called not
she-wolves, but prostitutes, lujxB ; and such was Acca Larentia,
the wife of Faustnlus, the foster-father of the children.

Faustulus, Amuiius's herdsman, brought up the children entirely
undiscovered ; or rather, as others with greater probability assert,
Numitor knew it from the first,"|" and privately supplied the neces.
saries for their maintenance. It is also said, that they were sent
to Gahii, and there insirticted in letters, and other branches of
education suitable to ilietr birth: that the\ had he names of Ro-
mulus and Remus, froin the teat of the wild animal which they
were seen to suck. The beaut\ and dignity of their |>erson8, even
in their childhood, promised a generous disposition ; and as they
grew up, they both discovered great courage and bravery, with
an inclination to hazardous attempts, and a spirit which nothing
could subdue. But Romulus seemed more to cultivate the powers
of reason, and to excel in political knowledge ; while b\ his de-
portment among his neighbours, in the department of pasturage
and hunting, he convinced them that he was bom to romnmnd
rather than to otiey. To their equals and inferiors they b<*haved
very courteously ; but they despised the king's bailifl's and chief
herdsmen, as not superirn* to themselves in courage, though they
were in authority, disregarding at once their threats and their an-
ger. They applied themselves to generous exercises and pursuits,

* Th« Romnntcalliid thai fnddMt. not Rumilia, but Rumiua.

f Nuintiur might build up n '- ho|t«>fl of bit r»>««iablwhmMil : bul hitkooir*

log ihff plac* wh«r« thv cin rmifthi up. and Mip^tiiit ihamwiUi^Msawi*

rw«. It quitn incnn«ittffni w ncr of tlieir dii0ov«ffy when grown up, which

it th« moat airaaable pnrt of Hit »tut j.

ROMurxs. 9

looking upon idleness and inactivity as illiberal, but on hunting,
running, banishing or apprehending robbers, and delivering such
as were oppressed by violence, as the employments of honour and
virtue. By this conduct they gained great renown.

A dispute arising between the herdsmen of Numitor and Amu-
lius, and the former having driven away some cattle belonging to
the latter, Romulus and Remus fell upon them, put them to flight,
and recovered the greatest part of the booty. At this conduct
Numitor was highly offended ; but they little regarded his resent-
ment. The first steps they took on this occasion were to collect,
and receive into their company, persons of desperate fortunes, and
a great number of slaves ; a measure which gave alarming proofs
of their bold and seditious inchnations. It happened that when
Romulus was employed in sacrificing, to which and divination he
was much inclined, Numitor's herdsmen met with Remus, as
he was walking with a small retinue, and fell upon him. After
some blows exchanged, and wounds given and received, Numi-
tor*s people prevailed, and took Remus prisoner. He was car-
ried before Numitor, and had several things laid to his charge ;
but Numitor did not choose to punish him himself, for fear of his
brother's resentment. To him, therefore, he applied for justice,
which he had all the reason in the world to expect ; since, though
brother to the reigning prince, he had been injured by his ser-
vants, who presumed upon his authority. The people of Alba,
moreover, expressing their uneasiness, dnd thinking that Numitor
suflfered great indignities, Amulius, moved with their complaints,
delivered Remus to him, to be treated as he should think proper.

When the youth was conducted to his house, Numitor was
greatly struck with his appearance, as he was very remarkable
for size and strength, he observed, too, his presence of mind and
the steadiness of his looks, which had nothing servile in them, nor
were altered with the sense of his present danger ; and he was
informed, that his actions and whole behaviour were suitable
to what he saw. But above all, some divine influence, as it
seems, directing the beginnings of the great events that were to
follow, Numitor, by his sagacity, or by a fortunate conjecture,
suspecting the truth, questioned him concerning the circumstances
of his birth; speaking mildly at the same time, and regarding him
with a gracious eye. He boldly answered, " I will hide nothing
from you, for you behave in a more princely manner than Amu-
lius, since you hear and examine before you punish : but he has
delivered us up without inquiring into the matter. I have a twin-
brother, and heretofore we believed ourselves the sons of Faustu-
lus and Larentia, servants to the king. But since we were ac-
cused before you, and so pursued by slander, as to be in danger of
our lives, we hear nobler things concerning our birth. Whether

10 ROMULt:?.

they arc true, the present crisis will show.* Our birth is said to
have been secret ; our support in our infancy miraculous. We
were exposed to birds and wild beasts, and by them nourished ;
suckled by a she.wolf, and fed by the attentions of a wood.pecker,
as wo lay in a trough by the groat river. The trough is still pre-
served, bound about with brass bands, and inscribed with letters
partly faded ; which may prove, perhaps, hereaAer very useful
tokens to our parents, when we are destroyed." Numitor hear-
ing this, and comparing the time with the young man's looks,
was confirmed in the pleasing hope he had conceived, and consi-
dored how he might consult his daughter about this affair ; for she
was still kept in close custody.

Meanwhile Faustulus, having heard that Remus was taken and
delivered up to puiu:$hment, desired Romulus to assist his brotlier,
informing him then clearly of the particulars of his birth ; for be-
fore, he had only given dark hints about it, and signified just so
much as might take off the attention of bis wards from every thing
that was mean. Ho himself took the trough, and in all the tu-
mult of concern and fcnr carried it to Numitor. His disorder
raised some suspicion in the king's guards at the gate, and
that disorder increasingwhile they looked earnestly upon him, and
perplexed him with their questions, he was discovered to have a
trough under his cloak. There happened to be among them one
of those who had it in charge to throw the children into the river>
and who was concerned in the exposing of them. This man
seeing the trough, and knowing it by its make and inscription,
rightly guessed the business ; and thinking it an affair not to be
neglected, immediately acquainted the king with it. In these
great and pressing difficulties, Faustulus did not preserve entirely
his presence of mind, nor yet fully discover the matter. He ac«
knowledged that the children were saved indeed, but said that
they kept cattle at a great distance from Alba; and that he was
carrying the trough to Ilia, who had of\en desired to see it, that
she might entertum the better hopes that her children were alive.
Whatever persons perplexed and actuated with fear or anger use
to suffer, Amulius then suffered ; for in his hurry he sent an
honest man, a friend of Numitor's, to inquire of him whether ho
had any account that the children were alive.

When the man was come, and taw Remus almost in the em-
braces of Numitor, he endeavoured to confirm him in the pertua-
aion that the youth was really his grandson ; begging him, at the
same time, immediately to take the best measures that could be
thought of, and offering his bett aMistanco to support their
party. Tlie occasion admitted of no delay, if they had been in-

* For if they were true, the p^od who miraculously piotcctH them in theur in.
fkne^, wouM deliver Remu* from his pretent d&i\|et


clined to it ; for Romulus was now at hand, and a good number of
the citizens were gathered about him, either out of hatred or fear
of AmuHus. lie brought also a considerable force with him, di-
vided into companies of a hundred men each, headed by an offl.
cer who bore a handful of grass and shrubs upon a polo. These
the Latins call Manipuli; and hence it is, that soldiers of
the same compa,ny were called Manipulares. Remue then,
having gained those within, and Romulus assaulting the palace
without, the tyrant knew not what to do, or whom he should
consult, but amidst his doubts and perplexity, was taken and slain.

Amulius being dead, and the troubles composed, the two bro-
thers were not willing to live in Alba, without governing there ;
nor yet to tike the government upon themselves during their
grandfather's life. Having, therefore, invested him with it, and
paid due honours to their mother, they determined to dwell in a
city of their own, and, for that purpose, to build one in the place
where they had their first nourishment. This seems, at least, to
be the most plausible reason of their quitting Alba ; and perhaps
too it was necessary, as a great number of slaves and fugitives
was collected about them, either to see their affairs entirely
ruined, if these should disperse, or with them seek another habi-
tation ; for the people of Alba refused to permit the fugitives to
mix with them, or to receive them as citizens.

As soon as the foundation of the city was laid, they opened a
place of refuge for fugitives, which they called the Temple of the
Asylaen god.* Here they received all that came, and would nei-
ther deliver up the slave to his master, the debtor to his creditor,
nor the murderer to the magistrate ; declaring that they were di-
rected by the Oracle of Apollo to preserve the Asylum from all
violation. Thus the city was soon peopled ; for it is said that
the houses at first did not exceed a thousand.

While they were intent upon building, a dispute soon arose
about the place. Romulus having built a square, which he call-
ed Rome, would have the city there ; but Remus marked out a
more secure situation on Mount Aventine, which, from him, was
called Remonium.f The dispute was referred to the decision of
augury, and for this purpose they sat down in the open air, when
Remus, as they tell us, saw six vultures, and Romulus twice as
many. Some say that Remus's account of the number he had

* It is not certain who this God of Refuge was. Dionysius of Halicamassus tells
vs, that in his time, the place where the asylum had been, was consecrated to
Jupiter. Romulus did not at first receive the fugitives and outlaws within the walls,
but allowed them the hill Satumius, afterward called Capitolinus, for their

f Most of the Trojans, of whom there still remained fifty families in Augustus'^
time, chose to follow the fortune of Romulus and Remus, as did also the inhabitants
of Pallantium and Saturnia, two small towrts.


seen was true, and tliat of Romulus not so ; but when Remus
came up to him, he did really see twelve.

When Remus knew that he was imposed upon, he was highly
incensed, and as Romulus was opening a ditch round the place
where the walls were to be buih, he ridiculed some parts of the
M'ork, and obstructed others. At last, as he presumed to leap
over it, some say he fell by the hands of Romulus, others, by
that of Celer, one of his companions ; Paustulus also fell in the
scufHe, and Plistinus, who being brother to Paustulus, is said to
have assi'Sted <n hnnging Rnmulus up.

Romulus buried his brother Remus, together with his foster.
fathers, in Remonia,*" and then built his city, having sent for per-
sons in Hetruria, who, according to stated ceremonies and written
rules, were to order and direct how every thing was to be done*
First a circular ditch was dug, and the first fruits of every thing
that is reckoned either good by use, or necessary by nature, were
cast into it ; and then, each bringing a small quantity of the earth
of the country whence he came, threw it in promiscuously.f This
ditch had the name of Mundus, the same with that of the universe.
In the next place they marked o»it the city like a circle round this
centre, and the founder having fitted to a plough a brazen plough-
share, and yoked a bull and cow, himself drew a deep furrow
round the boundaries. The business of those who followed was
to turn all the clods raised by the plough inwards to the city, and
not to suffer any to remain outwards. This line described the
compass of the city, and between it and the walls is a space call-
ed by contraction Pomcpnum, as lying behind or beyond the wall.
Where they designed to have a gate, they took the ploughshare
out of the groimd, and lifted up the plough, making a break for it.
Hence they look upon the whole wall as sacred, except the gate-
ways. If they considered the gates in the same light as the rest,
it would be deemed lawful either to receive the necessaries of life
by them, or to carry out what is unclean.

The day on which they began to build the city is universally
allowed to be the twenty.first of April, and was celebrated annu-
ally by the Romans as the birthday of Rome. At first we are

• Tb« Metruriaot or Tuicani had. at Fettus infnrins ut, a vort of ritual wbaraia
ware contained Uie cerenmniea that were to \m observed in buildiiw ciiie*. leinplat,
altarn. walls, and gates. Thry were inMrm-ird in au^tiry and religious rites by
Tsges, who IS said to have been taueht by Mircurr.

f Ovid does not sav it was a hondful of the earth each had brou«bt out of hit
own country, but of tb« earth each had taken f/om bis neighbours : which wa» dona
to signify that Rome would soon sub<iiie the npigbbourmg nations. Rut Isidorus
(lib XXV. rap. 2.) is of Ofiinion, that bv ihrowiiig the firf^fniiiw and a handful of
earth tntn the irenr.h, th«v adn-f »' ' hrads (»f the colony, that it ought to ba
tt>eir chief siiidv to procuri? for ritiaens all the r^invenienceeof life, to

maintain peace and union anioi i '■ cotne together frotn dKlefanl parts of

tha world, and by thU to form theui»«:lves into a body nevar to he diaohrtd.


told, that they sacrificed nothing that had life, persuaded that they
ought to keep the solemnity sacred to the birth of their country
pure and without bloodshed. On that day too, we are informed,
there was a conjunction of the sun and moon, attended with an
eclipse, the same day that was observed by Antimachus the Teian
poet, in the third year of the sixth Olympiad.

When the city was built, Romulus divided the younger part of
the inhabitants into battalions. Each corps consisted of three
thousand foot, and three hundred horse, and was called a Legion,
because the most warlike persons were selected. The rest of
the multitude he called The People. An hundred of the most
considerable citizens he took for his council, with the title of
Patricians,* and the whole body was called the Senate, which
signifies an Assembly of Old Men. Its members were styled
Patricians, because as some say they were fatl^rs of freebora
children ; or rather, according to others, because they themselves
had fathers to show, which was not the case with many of the
rabble that first flocked to the city. But we shall be nearer the
truth, if we conclude that Romulus styled them Patricians, as
expecting these respectable persons would watch over those in
humble stations with a paternal care and regard ; and teaching
the commonalty in their turn not to fear or envy the power of
their superiors, but to behave with love and respect, both looking
upon them as Fathers, and honouring them with that name. For,
at this very time, foreign nations call the Senators Lords, but the
Romans themselves call them Conscript Fathers, a style of greater
dignity and honour, and withal much less invidious. At first, in-
deed, they were called Fathers only ; but afterwards, when more
were enrolled in their body. Conscript Fathers. With this vene.
rable title, then, he distinguished the senate from the people. He
likewise made another distinction between the nobility and the
commons, calling the former Patrons, and the other Clients,
which was the source of mutual kindness and many good offices
between them ; for the Patrons were, to those they had taken
under their protection, counsellors and advocates in their suits at
law, and advisers and assistants on all occasions. On the other
hand, the Clients failed not in their attentions, whether they were
to be shown in deference or respect, or in providing their daugh-
ters portions, or in satisfying their creditors, if their circumstances
happened to be narrow. No law or magistrate obliged the Patron
to be evidence against his Client, or the Client against his Patron.
But in after times, though the claims continued in full force, it was

* The choice of these three hundred persons was nor made by the king himself;
each tribe chose 'hree senator - , and each of the thirty curae the like number, which
'made in all the number of ninety nine ; so that RotDulus named only the hundredth,
who was the head, or prince of the senate, and the chief governor of the city, when
the king was in the field.


14 liOMULUS.

law, and advisers and assistants on all occasions. On the other
hand, the Clients failed not in their attentions, whether they were
to be shown in deference and respect, or in providing their daugh-
ters portions, or in satisfying their creditors, if their circumstiuices
happened to be narrow. No law or magistrate obliged the Patroo
to be evidence against his Client, or the Client against his Patron.
But in after times, though the claims continued in full force, it was
looked upon as ungenerous for persons of condition to take money
of those below them.

In the fourth month, after the building of the city,* as Fabius
informs us, the rape of the Sabine women was put in execution.

Online LibraryPlutarchPlutarch's lives of the most select and illustrious characters of antiquity → online text (page 1 of 51)