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The Romans were now at war with the Volfcians,
\vhofe principal city was Corioli; when therefore Comi-
nius the conful had inverted this important place, the,,
reft of the Volfcians, fearing it mould be taken, collected
all their force, defigning to give the Romans battle be-
fore the city, and (b attack them on both fides. Comir
nius, 'to avoid this inconvenience, divided his army,
marching himfelf with one body to encounter thofe
Volfcians *iiat made towards him from without ; and
leaving Titus Lartius (one of the braveft Romans of his
time) to command the other, and (till carry on the


called Lucius Junius Brutus, he which expofed him to a great
jilfo took the name of Brutus, deal of ridicule.

K 3 (4) Dionyfius

I5 o fbt LIFE of

ftege. Thofe within Corioli defpifmg now the fmallnefs
of that number, made a brifk fally upon them, wherein
they prevailed at firft, andpurfued the Romans to their
trenches. Here Marcius with a fmall party flying out
to their afliftance, cut in pieces the firft of the enemy
that were in his way, ftood the (hock of the reft, and
flopped them in their full career ; then with a great
fhout recalled the Romans. For he had (what Cato re-
quired in a foldier) not only an irrefiftible force in his
arm ; but the very found of his voice, and fiercenefs
of his afpect, ftruck terror and confufion into the enemy.
Divers of his own party then rallying iJnd making up
to him, the enemies were terrified and immediately
retreated. But Marcius, not content to fee them retire,
prefied hard upon the rear, and drove them, as they
fled away in hafte, to the very gates of their city - 9
v/here perceiving that the Romans defifted from the pur-
fuit, beaten off by a multitude of darts poured down
upon them from the walls, and that none of his fol-
lowers had the hardinefs to think of falling in among
the fugitives and forcing an entrance with them into
the city, in which the enemies were fo numerous and fo
well armed ; he earneftly requefted them to continue the
purfuit, and animated and encouraged them by his
words and actions, crying out, " That fortune had now
" fet open Corioli, not fomuch tofhelter the vanquifhed,
" as to receive the conquerors." He had no foonerfpoken
thus, but feconded by a few that were willing to venture
with him, he forced his way through the midft of the ene-
mies, and entered the gates along with them, no one da-
ring to refift him. But when he looked round him, and
could difcern but a very fmall number of afliftants who
had flipped in to engage in that hazardous fervice, and
faw that friends and enemies were now mingled toge-
ther, then collecting all his. force, he performed the
moft extraordinary and incredible actions, with amaz-
ing ftrength,- agility and courage breaking through all
oppofition, conftraining feme to fhift for themfelves in
the furtheft corners of the city, and others to throw
down their weapons, as thinking all refiftance vain.


Caius Marcius Coriolanus. 151

By all which he save Titus Lartius a fair occafion to

j *J

bring in the reft of the Romans with eafe and fafety.

Corioli being thus taken, the greater part of the-fol-
4iers fell prefently to pillage, and were wholly employed
in feizing and carrying off' the booty ; at which Marcius
v-as highly offended, and reproached them for it "as a dif-
u honourable and unworthy thing, that whilft the conful
" and their fellow-citizens were now perhaps encountering
" the other Volfcians, and -were hazarding their lives in bat-
<l tie, they fhould bafely mifpend their time in running up
ct and down in queil of plunder, or under a pretence of en-
" riching themfelves, decline the prefent danger." There
were however but few that would hearken to him. Put-
ting himfelf then at the head of thofe who were willing to
follow him, he took that rode where the eonful's army had
marched before him, often exciting his companions, and
.befeechingthem as they went along, "That they would not
" faulter and give out ;" praying often to the Gods too,
that he might be fo happy as to arrive before the fight
was over, and come feafonably up to aftift Cominius, and
partake in the peril of that action.

It was cuftomary with the Romans of that age, when
they ftood in battle array, and were taking up their
bucklers, and girding their gowns about them, to make
at the fame time a verbal teftament, and to name who
mould be their heirs in the hearing; of three or four


witneffes : in this pofture did Marcius find them at his
arrival, the enemy being advanced within view. They
were not a little difordered by his firft appearance, fee-
ing him all over bloody and fweating, and attended
with a fmall train ^ but when he haftily made up to the
conful with an air of gladnefs in his looks, giving him
his hand, and recounting to him how the city had been
taken ; when they faw Cominius alfo embrace and falute
Marcius upon that difcourfe, then every one took heart
afrefh, and both fuch as were near enough to hear the
relation of his fuccefs, and thofe who being at a greater
diftance, could only guefs what had happened by the
manner of their 'greeting, befought the conful with a
loud voice, that he would lead them on to engage the

K 4 enemy.

i 5 3 The LIFE of

enemy. But Marcius firfl defired to know how the Vol-
fcians had difpofed their order of battle, and where they
had placed their chief flrength. Cominius told him he
thought that the troops of the Antiates in the main body
were the beft foldiers, and inferior to none in bravery :
"Let me then beg of you, fays Marcius, that I may be
" placed directly oppofite to thefe daring people." The
conful granted his requeft, admiring much his ardour and
alacrity. When the conflict was begun, Marcius fallied
out before the reft, and charged with to much fury, that
the van-guard of the Volfcians were not able to ftand their
ground : for wherefoever he attacked them, he prefently
broke their ranks ; but the parties rallying again, and
enclofmg him on each fide, the conful, who obferved the
danger he was in, difpatched fome of the choiceft men he
had for his fpeedy refcue. The difpute then growing warm
about Marcius, and many being killed in a fhort time,
the Romans bore fo hard upon the enemies, and preffed
them with fuch violence, that they put them to flight ;
and going now to profecute the victory, they belbught
Marcius, tired with his toils, and faint through lofs of
blood, that he would retire to the camp ; but he reply-
ing, " that wearinefs was a thing which did not befit
" conquerors," joined with them in the purfuit. The
whole army of the Volfcians was defeated, a great mul-
titude being flain, and many taken. The next morning
Marcius being fent for, and the reft of the army being
aflembled about the conful's tent, Cominius mounted
the tribunal, and having in the firft place rendered to
the gods the acknowledgments due for that important
victory, he then addrelTed himfelf to Marcius, whom he
highly extolled for his many fignal exploits, part of which
he had been an eye-witnefs of himfelf, and had heard the
reft fromLartius. He then defired him tochufe a tenth
part of all the treafure, and horfes, and captives, that
had fallen into their hands, before any divifion mould be
made to others ; befide which, he made him the prefent
of a" horef adorned with rich trappings. This action be-
ing highly applauded by the whole army, Marcius ftep-
ped forth and declared his thankful acceptance of the


Cains Marcius Coriolanus.

horfe, and how extremely fatisfied he was with the
praife which the conftil had beftowed upon him ; but as
for other things which he looked upon rather as mercen-
ary pay than any fignifications of honour, he waved them
all, and defired to (hare them equally with the reft of the ar-
my. " I haveonly," fays he, "one favour to beg, and this
" I hope you will not deny me. There was among the
xc Volfcians a certain friend of mine, bound with me in
" the facred rites of hofpitality, a perfon of great pro-
" bity and virtue, who now is become a prilbner, and
" from the wealth and freedom wherein he lived, redu-
" ced to poverty and fervitude ; the man has fallen un-
" der many misfortunes, but he would think it a fuffici-
u ent deliverance, if my interceflion mall redeem him from
" this oneatleaft, the being fold as a Have." Thefe words
of Marcius were followed with ftill louder acclamations,
and he had many more admirers of this gene ous refb-
lution, by which he conquered avarice, than of the va-
lour he had mown in fubduing his enemies. For thofe
very perfons that were touched with envy at feeing fo
many honours heaped upon him, could not but acknow-
ledge that he was worthy of ftill greater for thus nobly
declining them, and were more in love with that virtue
of his, which made him defpife fuch advantages, than
that whereby he had defer ved them. For it is much
more commendable to make a right ufe of riches, than
of arms, and ftill more honourable and heroick to def-
pife them, than to know how to make a right ufe of
them. When the acclamations ceafed, and filence was
obtained, Cominius turning to the people, faid, " There
" is no way, fellow-foldiers, of forcing thefe gifts of
<c ours on a perfon fo unwilling to accept them : let r.s
" therefore give him, what it js not in his power to re-
" fufe i let us pafs a vote that he (hall hereafter be cal-
" led Coriolanus, unlefs you think his behaviour at Co-
" rioli has itfelf prevented us in decreeing him that title."
Hence came his third name of Coriolanus. By which it
appears, that Caius was his proper name ; that the fe-
cond or furname Marcius was a name common to
his houfe and family ; and that the third Roman ap-


pellative was a peculiar note of diflindion, given after,
wards on account of fome particular fact, or fortune, or
fignature, or virtue of him that bore it : for thus alib
among the Greeks additional titles were given to fome
for their exploits, as Soter, that is, " the preferver," and
Callinicus, " the famous conqueror ;" to others for fome-
thing remarkable in their fhape, as Phy fcon, "big-bellied,"
or Grypus, eagle-nofed ;" or for their good qualities, as Eu-
ergates,"the benefactor," and Philadelphus, " the lover of
" his brethren ;" or their good fortune, as Eudaemon, " the
" profperous," an epithet given to the fecond Prince of the
Batti. Several princes alfo have had names appropriated
to them in reproach and mockery, as Antigonus that of
Dofon, or " one that was liberal only in the future," fince he
always promifed, but never performed ; and Ptolomy,
who was ftiled Lamyrus, or the " buffoon.'' Appellations
of this kind were very much in ufe among the Romans.
One of the Metelli was furnamed by them Diadematiis ?
becaufe he had for a long time together walked about
with his head bound up, by reafon of an ulcer in his
forehead. Another of the fame family they called Celer,
i.e. " the fwift or nimble," for that expedition with which
he procured them a funeral entertainment of gladiators,
within a few days after his father's death ; the difpatch
which he ufed on this occafion, being thought very ex-
traordinary. There are fome who even at this day de-
rive their names from certain cafual incidents at their
nativity ; one for inftance, who happens to be born
when his father is abroad in a foreign country, they call
Proculus ; but if after his father's deceafe, they ftile him
Poflhumus ; and when two twins comes into the world,
whereof one dies at the birth, the furvivorof them is cal-
led Vopifcus, Nay, they denominate not only their Syllas
andNigers, that is, men of a pimpled or fwarthy vifage,


(4) Donyfius of Halicarnaflus that of the poor, the fields were

obferves, that thepeoplewithdrew left unfilled ; and when at laft

to the facred mountain foon after the troubles were compofed, it was

the autumnal equinox, juft before fo late in the year, (for it was

feed-time; and as fome of the huf- not effected till the winter folftice)

bandmen and farmers had efpou- it was impoflible to make good

fed the part/ of the rich, and others the time that had been loft ; for


Caius Marcius Coriolanus. 155

but their Caeci and Claudii, the blind and the lame, from
fuch corporal blemiflies and defects ; thus wifely accu-
ftoming their people not to reckon either the lofs of
fight, or any other bodily misfortune, as a matter of
ignominy and difgrace to them, but to anfwer to thefe
appellations as their proper names. But to treat of
thefe things is not fo proper to the argument I have
now in hand.

The war againft the Volfcians was no fooner at an
end, but the popular tribunes and factious orators began
again to revive domeflick troubles, and raife another
fedition, without any new caufe of complaint or juft griev-
ance to proceed upon ; but thofe very mifchiefs that
unavoidably enfued from their former differences and
coritefts, were then made ufe of as a ground to quarrel
with the nobility. (4) The greateft part of their ara-
ble land had been left unfown and without tillage, (5)
and the time of war allowing them no means or leifure
to fetch in prqvifion from other countries, there was
an extreme fcarcity in Rome. The leaders of the people
then obferving that there was neither corn brought in-
to the market, or if there had been any to fupply them,
yet that the people wanted money to buy it, began
to calumniate the wealthy, as if they, from remem-
brance of the former quarrel, and to revenge themfelves,
had purpofely contrived it thus, to bring a famine up-
on the poor. While thefe things were in agitation,
there came an embafly from the Velitrani, who deliver-
ed up their city to the Romans, defiring that they would
fend fbme new inhabitants to people it, inairnuch as a
late peftilential diieafe had made fuch havock and de-
flruftion among the inhabitants, that there was hardly
a. tenth part of them remaining. This fad necellity of
the Velitrani was confidered by the more prudent fort as

a feafonable

they had made no provifion for factors very roughly : Ariftodemus

feed-corn, their draught-horfes feized the corn they bad bought

were dead, and their (laves run atCumsejand thofe, who under-

away. took the fervice in Sicily, met

(5) They fent to buy fome a- with very ftorniy weather at fea,

mong the Volfcians, at Cumae, and and could not for a long time ar-

in Sicily. The Volfcians ufed their rive with their fupplies.

(6) Several

156 The L I F E tf

a feafonable relief to themfelves ; for not only the dearth
of victuals had made it needful to eafe and unburden
the city of its fuperfluous members, but they hoped alfo
at the fame time to fcatter and diilblve the faction which
now threatened them, by difcharging the moil reftlefs
and turbulent of the people, who were as dangerous to
the flate as a redundancy of morbid humours is to the
body. Such as thefe therefore the confuls fingled out
to fupply the defolation at Velitrse, and gave notice to
others that they ftiould be ready to march againft the
Volfcians, which was politically defigned to prevent in-
teftine broils, by employing them abroad. And there
was reafon to prefume, that when both the rich and the
poor, the Plebeians and the Patricians, fhould be min-
gled again in the fame army, and the fame camp, and
engage in one common fervice and danger for the
piiblick, it would mutually difpofe them to reconcilia-
tion and friendfhip.

But Sicinius and Brutus, the two factious tribunes,
oppofed both thefe defigns ; exclaiming publickly, that
the confuls difguifed the moft cruel action in the world,
under the mild and plaufible name of fending a colony,
and were precipitating fo many poor 'citizens, as it were,
into the very gulph of perdition, by removing them to
fettle in an infectious air, and a place that was covered
with noifome careafles, and expofing them to the fury of
a ftrange and revengeful Deity ; and then, as if it would
not fatisfy their hatred, to deftroy fome by hunger, and
expofe others to the plague, they involved them alfo in
a needlefs war of their own chufmg; that every kind of
calamity might fall upon the city at once, becaufe it re-
fufed to contiune any longer in flavery to the rich.

By this kind of diicourfe, the people were fo irritated
that none of them would appear upon the confular fum-
mons to be lifted for the war , and they as little relifhed
the propofal for a new colony. This put the fenate in-
to great perplexity. But Marcius, whofe fpirit was


(6) Several of the patricians vo- their clients, to whom were joined
luntarily offered to ferve in that fome of the people ; and Corio-
war. Thef were followed by lanus being attended by his own


Caius Marcius Coriolanus.

greatly elated by the honours he had acquired, and who
was held in the higheft efteem by the nobility, openly
and warmly oppofed the tribunes, fo that in fpite of
them a colony was difpatched to Velitrse ; thofe who were
chofen by lot being obliged to go thither under fevere
penalties. But when he (aw them obflinately perfift in re- enroll themfelves for the Volfcian expedition,
(6) Marcius then muftered up his own clients, and as many
others as could be wrought upon by perfuafion ; and with
thefehe made an inroad into the territories of the Anti-
ates, where finding a confiderable quantity of corn, and
much booty both of cattle and prifoners, he referved
nothing for himfelf, but thofe who ventured out with
him returned loaded with rich pillage. This made the
reft who (laid at home repent of their perverfenefs, and
envy fuch as had fped fo well by the enterprize ; they
werealfo much difpleafed with Marcius, and repined at
the honours which he continued to acquire, looking up-
on the increafe of his power as a diminution of that of
the people. (7) Not long after this he flood for the con-
fulfhip ; then they began to relent, and inclined to fa-
vour him, as being fenfible what a fhame it would be to
repulfe and affront a man of his family and courage,
and that too after he had done fo many fignal fervices to
the publick. It was the cuftom for thofe who pretend-
ed to offices and dignities among them, to folicit and
carefs the people at their general aflemblies, clad only in
aloofe gown, without any coat under it, either becaufe
fuch an humble habit Teemed beft to fuit the character of
a fuppliant,or becaufe thofe who had received wounds in
war might thus more readily mow the vifible tokens of
their fortitude : for it was not from any fufpicion the
people then had of bribery, that they required fuch as
petitioned them to appear ungirt and open without any
clofe garment ; for it was much later, and many ages af-
ter this, that buying and felling crept in at their eledions,
and money was an ingredient in the publick fuffrages.


friends and clients, went at the the third of the feventy-fecond
head of them. Dionyf. lib. 7. Olympiad, 488 years before the

(7) It wa? the next year, being biirh of our Saviour.

(8) Plutarch

158 ne L I F E of

But when this practice was introduced, it reached even
to their tribunals and camps, arms were fubdued by mo-
ney, and the commonwealth changed into a monarchy ;
for it was juftly obferved by fome one, "That the per-
" fon who firft began to give treats and largefles to the
" people, was he that firft deprived them of their power."
But the mifchief it feems ftole fecretly in, and by degrees,
not being prefently difcerned and taken notice of at Rome ;
for it is not certainly known who the man was that did
there firft bribe either the citizens, or the judges ; but
in Athens it is faid, t-iat Anytus the fon of Anthemion
was the firft that gave money to the judges, toward the
latter end of he Peloponnefian war, he being then accufed
of treachery, for delivering up the fort of Pyle-, whilft
imcorrupt judges, the remains of the golden age, as yet
prefided in the Roman courts. When Marcius therefore,
mowed the fears and gafhes that were ftill vifible in his
body, from thofe innumerable battles wherein he had
fucceffively engaged, and always victorioufly fignalized
himfelf for feventeen years together ; out of reverence
for his virtue the people were afhamed to reject him,
and therefore agreed to chufe him Conful. But when the
day of election was come, and Marcius appeared at the
place where they were to give their votes, with a pom-
pous train of fenators attending him, and all the patri-
cians manifeftly exprefTed a greater concern, and acted
more vigoroufly in this particular than they had ever done
before on the like occafion , the commons then fell off
again from all the kindnefs they ha*d conceived for him,
and their late benevolence was changed into envy and
indignation. The malignity of which paflions wasaflifted
too, by the general fear they were in, that if a man,
who was defirous of increafmg the power of the fen ate,
and was fo highly refpected by the nobility, mould be
invefted with all the power which that office would give
him, he might utterly deprive the people of their liberty.
For thefe reafons they rejected Marcius. When two others
was declared confuls, the fenate took it extremely ill,
reckoning that the indignity reflected more on them-
felves than Marcius, who for his own part was more


Cams Marcius Coriolanus. 159

fenfibly mortified at this proceeding, and could not bear
the difgrace with any temper : for he had been ufed to
indulge the more violent and impetuous paflions of his
foul, as if there was fomething of dignity and grandeur
in fuch tranfports j but he had not due mixture of that
gravity and gentlenefs, which are virtues fo neceflary in
the conduct of political affairs, and which are the ef-
fects of mature reafon, and a good education ; he did
not confider, that whoever undertakes to manage publick
bufmefs, and converfe with men, mud above all things
avoid pride and obftinacy, which, as Plato fays, " are the
" companions of folitude," and muft endeavour to re-
commend himfelf by thofe qualities, fo much derided
by the ignorant and injudicious, patience and forbearance.
Whereas Marcius being plain and artlefs, but ever rigid
and inflexible, and flrongly perfuaded, that to vanquifli
oppofition was the proper work of fortitude, and not con-
fidering this impetuofity rather as the weaknefs and effe-
minacy of a diftempered mind, from which thefe vio-
lent paflions break out, like the fwelling of a bruifed
and painful part, left the aflembly in great diforder,
being bitterly enraged againfl the people. The younger
patricians, who valued themfelves mod on account of
their birth, and made the greateft figure in the city,
were always wonderfully devoted to his intereft, and at
this time by attending upon him, and condoling with
him unhappily contributed to inflame his refentment j for
he was their leader in every expedition, and a kind in-
fiructor in all martial affairs ; he infpired them alfo with
a truly virtuous emulation, and taught them to enjoy the
praife of their own good actions without envying or de-
tracting from others.

In the midft of thefe commotions a great quantity of
corn was brought into Rome, part of which had been
bought up in Italy ; the remainder was fent from Syracufe,
as a prefent from Gelo, King of Sicily ; fo that many be-
gan to have good hopes of their affairs, expecting the city
would by this means be delivered at once both from its
want and difcord. The fenate being thereupon immedi-
ately called, the people came flocking about the fenate-

160 We LIFE of

houfe, eagerly attending the iflueof that deliberation, and
expecting that the market-rates would be eafy for that
which had been bought, and that that which was fent as
a gift, would be diftributed gratis among them ; for there
were fome within who advifed the fenate thus to mode-
rate the price of the one, and give fuch orders for the dif-
pofal of the other. But Marcius ftanding up, fharply in-
veighed againft thofe who fpoke in favour of the multi-
tude, called them flatterers of the rabble, and traitors to
the fenate ; affirming, " That by fuch mean and foolifh
" gratifications they nourifhed thofe pernicious feeds of
" boldnefs and petulance, that had been fown amopg the
" people, to their own prejudice ; that they ought to*
" have obferved and ftifled them at their firil appearance,
" and not have differed the plebeians to grow fo ftrong,
" by giving fuch exorbitant authority to their tribunes ;
" that the fenate had rendered the people formidable by
" complying with them in whatever they demanded, and

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