Copyright
Plutarch.

Plutarch's lives : in six volumes : translated from the Greek (Volume 2) online

. (page 31 of 42)
Online LibraryPlutarchPlutarch's lives : in six volumes : translated from the Greek (Volume 2) → online text (page 31 of 42)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


of the enemy, and taken all their arms and baggage,
marched back to join his collegue, (9) who had not fuch
good fuccefs in his undertaking againft the Gauls be-
fore Milan, which is a very large city, well inhabited,
and the capital of all that country. The Gauls de-
fended this place with fuch obflinacy and reiblution,
that Scipio, inftead of befieging it, feemed rather be-
fieged himfelf. But upon the return of Marcellus, the

Gefatse

(9) Scipip his coilegue took A- met with a misfortune, which,
-cerrse ; whereupon the Gauls, re- however he foon repaired. The
tiring to Milan, Scipio purfued Gauls fell upon his rear, which
them ; but in his return bacl^ he they cut to pieces and routed part

. of



MARCELLUS.

Gefatss underftanding that their King was flain, and his
army defeated, withdrew their forces in all hade ; and
fo Milan was taken,- and the Gauls delivered up their
other cities to the Romans, who granted them a peace
on reafonable conditions.

The fenate made a decree, that only Marcellus mould
have the honour of a triumph ; and, for the quan-
tity and richnefs of the fpoils, the prodigious ftature
of the captives, and the pomp and magnificence of all
kinds, it was one of the moft fplendid that had ever been
feen. But the mofl fmgular and agreeable fight of all
was Marcellus himielf, bearing in^ triumph the compleat
armour of the vanquifhed barbarian, which he had vow-
ed to Jupiter. He had cut a branch of a large oak in the
form of a trophy ; to this he faftened the armour, dif-
pofing every part in an apt and natural order. When
the proceflion began to move, he afcended his triumphal
chariot, and pafled through the city with the trophy on
his fhoulders, which was the nobleft ornament of the
whole triumph. The army clofed the proeeflion in bright
armour, fmging fongs of triumph, and celebrating the
praifes of Jupiter and their General.

Being arrived at the temple of Jupiter Feretrius, he
there fixed and dedicated his trophy, being the third,
and, as yet, the laft Roman General who claimed that
honour. The fir ft was Romulus, after he had flain A-
cron King of the Geninenfes ; Cornelius Coffus, who flew
Volumnius the Tufcan was the fecond ; and the third and
laft was Marcellus. The God to whom they eonfecrated
thefe fpoils, was Jupiter, furnamed Feretrius, (as fome
fay) from the Greek word Pheretron, fignifying a car,
on which the trophy was borne in triumph ; the Greek
language being at that time very much mixt with the
Latin. Others affirm that Feretrius fignifks the fame as
Thunderer, being derived from Ferire, which in the Ro-
man

of his army. But Scipio turning marching back to Milan, took
fhort upon them, flopped the fu- it by ftorni And there it was
gitives, wrefted the vi'&ory out that Marcellus joined him.
f the hands of the Gauls, and

Y 2 (0 See



LIFE of

*

man language fignifies to ilrike. Laftly, there are others
who. are of opinion that this r.ame is taken from the
fbrokes given in battle ; for even now when the Romans
charge or purfue an enemy, they by \vay of encourage-
ment call out to one another, fen, fen, that is, {like,
kill. They gave the general name of Spoils to whatever
is taken from the enemy in war - 7 but thofe which their
General; took from the chief commander of the enemy's
army, after he had (lain him with his own hands, had
the particular appellation of rich or Opime Spoils. Bu.-t
r.otwithftanding this, feme authors 'write that Numa
Fompilius in his commentaries makes mention of fh'fl 7
ieccmd, and third Opirne Spoils, and orders that the firfb
fbould be confecrated to Jupiter Feretrius, the fecond to
Mars, and the third to Quirinus ; as alib that the reward
of the firfl fhould be three hundred Ailes, of the fecond
two hundred, and of the third a hundred. But the rnoft
ge.ieral opinion is, that the only fpoiis to which this
honourable name is given, are thofe which the General
takes in a pitched battle, and from the enemy's General,
whom he has (lain with his own hand. But of this mat-
ter enough (i).

This victory and the conclufion of the war caufed fo
much joy among the Roman people, that they ordered
a golden cup to be made and presented to Apollo at
Delphi, as a testimony of their gratitude; they divided
a great part of the booty among the confederate cities
which had fided with them, and like wife fent confrder-
able prefents to Hiero King of Syracufa, their friend and
ally.

Some time after this, Hannibal having made an irrup-
tion into Italy, Marcellus was fent with a fleet to Sicily :
and two years after happened the unfortunate defeat at
Cannae, in which many thoufands of the Romans were
flain, and the few that efcaped, retired to Canufmm;
and it was very much feared, that Hannibal, when he

had

{') See more upon this fubjeft, in the life of Romulus, and the
notes, vol. I. p. 71.

i This



MARCEL L US.

had thus deftroyed the ftrength of the' Roman forces,
would march diredly with his victorious troops to Rome.
Whereupon Marcellus fent fifteen hundred of his men
by fea to guard the city ; and by order of the fenate re-
paired toCanufmrri; where having put himfelf at the
head of thofe troops that had retired thither after the
battle, he brought them all out of their intrenchments,
being refolved to defend the country -from being ravaged
by the enemy.

The wars had by this time carried off the chief of
the Roman nobility, and moil of their commander?.
Fabius Maxi mu s indeed was flill left, a man of fmgular
worth and great capacity. But his extraordinary pre-
caution and folicitude to avoid the lead rifk or lofr,
pafled for a defect in courage, and ilownefs in execu-
tion. The Romans therefore looking upon him as a
perfon proper to provide for their defence, but by no
means fit to attack an enemy, applied themielves to
Marcellus ; and wifely tempering his active forwardnefs
and daring courage with the flow cautious conduct of
Fabius, they often chofe them confuls together, and
&MTIC times fent them, one as Conful, and the other as
Proconful, againfl the enemy. For this reafon it was,
as Pofidoiiius writes, that Fabius was called the Buckler,
and Marcellus the Sword of the Roman itate. And Han-
nibal himfelf ufed to fay, " he flood in fear of Fabius as
" his fchoolmafter, and of Marcellus as his adverfary ;"
for the latter would hurt him, and the former hinder him
from doing hurt.

Hannibal's ibldierc, after their victory, growing dif-
folute and carelefe, often fhaggled in parties about
the country in fearch of plunder ; where Marcellus fell
upon them frequently, and cut off great numbers, and
thus by little and little diminifhed the enemy's forces.
After this he w-ent to the relief of Naples and Noia,
and having encouraged the Neapolitans, and confirmed
them in the good difpofition they were in towards tine
Romans, he entered Nola, where he found great divi-
lions, the- fenate being unable to rdlrain the people,

Y who



342 -The LIFE of

who were ftrongly in the intereft of Hannibal. There
was in the town a perfon highly renowned for his per-
fonal valour as well as noble birth, whofe name was
Bandius, and who had remarkably diftinguifhed him-
felf at the battle of Cannae ; where, after having flain a
great number of Carthaginians, he was found atlaftupon
a heap of dead bodies, covered -with wounds. Hanni-
bal admiring his courage, contracted a friendfhip with
him, difmifled him without any ranfom, and at his
departure loaded him with prefents. Bandiusoutof
gratitude, efpoufed Hannibal's intereft with great zeal,
and endeavoured all he could to bring over the people
to his fide. Marcellus thought it unjuft and difhonour-
able to put fo eminent a man to death, who had fought
fo often for the Romans, and expofed his life in their
caufe. Befides, he had fo much affability and fweet-
nefs of behaviour joined with his natural humanity,
that he could hardly fail of engaging the affection of a
man of a great and generous fpirit. Wherefore one
day when Bandius went to vifit him, Marcellus afked
him who he was ; not that he was unacquainted with
him before, but that he might have an opportunity to
introduce what he had a mind to fay $ and when Ban-
dius had told him his name, Marcellus, feeming to be
highly pleafed and furprized, faid to him, " How ! art
" thou the Bandius fo much talked of at Rome for his brave
" behaviour at the battle of Cannae ; who not only did not
" defertPaulus^milius the Conful, but even received into
" hisbody feveral arrows aimed at that General ?" Bandius
owning himfelf to be that very perfon, and fhowing his
wounds and fears ; " Why then, faid Marcellus, fince you
" have given us fo many proofs of your friendfhip, would
<c you not cqme to me at my firft arri val ? Do you think i can
"be ungrateful to a friend who is honoured even by his
"enemies?" When he had ended this obliging difcourfe,
he embraced him, and made him a prefent of a fine
war horfe, and five hundred drachmas in filver. From

that

(2) This was'L. Pofthumins A!- Tiberius SemproniusGracchus j he
biaus, nominated for Ccuiul v.'ith was ilatn with his whole army, by

the



MARCELLUS,

that time, Bandius never left him, but appeared very
zealous in difcovering the defigns of thofe who were of
the contrary party. Thefe were indeed very numerous,
and had formed a confpiracy, when the Romans were
gone out of the city to fight the enemy, to plunder all
their waggons and baggage. Marcellus being advef-
tifed of this confpiracy, drew up his army in order of
battle within the city, placed the baggage near the
gates, and publifhed an edict, forbidding any of the
inhabitants to appear upon the walls. By this means
Hannibal was deceived ; for feeing the walls quite aban-
doned, he did not doubt but there was a great fedition
in the city, and in that perfuafion marched up to it
with the lefs order and precaution. At that very mo-
ment Marcellus commanded that gate of the city which
was directly before him to be opened ; and ilTuing out
with the beft of his horfe, he charged the enemy in
front. Soon after a fecond gate was opened, through
which the infantry poured forth with loud fhouts ; and
as Hannibal was going to divide his troops to make head
againft thefe laft, a third gate was opened, at which
iffued out all the reft of the Roman forces, who fell furi-
oufly upon the enemy; they were furprized at this
unexpected fally, and made but a faint refinance againil
thofe with whom they had been firft engaged, by reafoa
of their being warmly attacked by a fecond body.

This was the firft time Hannibal's troops fled before
the Roman legions; they were driven back to their
camp in great confirmation, and with prodigious ha-
vock ; for Hannibal is faid to have loft more than five
thoufand men, and Marcellus not above five hundred.
Livy does not make this defeat, or the numbers (lain on
the enemy's fide, to be fo confiderable ; he only allows
that this fuccefs raifed the glory of Marcellus very higb,
and infpired the Romans with new courage in the midit
of their misfortunes, by letting them fee that the enemy
they fought againft was not invincible. (2) Upon the

death

the Gauls, and after a very parti- to pafs through a certain forell
cular manner. He being obliged 'called the Litanian Foreft, the

Y 4 Gauls



344



LIFE of



death of one of the confuls, the people called home
Marcellus, (3) who was abfent at that time, to fill his
place, and, in fpite cf the magiftrates, caufed the elec-
tion to be deferred till his return. As foon as he ar-
rived he was unanimoufly chofen Con (ill ; but it hap-
pening to thunder at that time, the augurs plainly faw
that the election was faulty, but yet durft not oppofe it
openly for fear of the people however Marcelluc laid
down the office voluntarily : but this did not hinder him
from continuing the command of the army, for he was
eledled Proconful, ar.d returned immediately to Nob,
where (4) he chaftifed all thofe who had declared for
the Carthaginians in his abfence. Hannibal made hafte
to their afliflance, and offered Marcellus battle, which
he refufed. But fbme days after, (5) when he found
that Hannibal, no longer expecling a battle, had fent
the greateft part of his army to forage and plunder, he
attacked him vigorouily, having firil furnifhed his
foot with fuch long fpears as are ufed on ihipboard, and

like wife



Gauls had cut all the trees ?n it
near the road he was to pafs, af-
ter fuch a manner, that they ftill
continued ftanding, but with the
lea ft motion would all of them
tumble down. When Alhinus
was arrived in rhe foreft with his
army, confiding of twenty-five
thoufand men, the Gauis, who
Jay hid, fet the trees that were
mar them in motion, which fall-
ing on the next to them, and they
on the next, and io on, they all
tumbled down almoft at (he very
fame time, overwhelming and
tilling both rnen and horfes.
Thofe tlmt efcnped this fnnre
were killed by the Gauls, nrnong
xvhom vras the Conful bivnfdr".
The Gauls cut off his head, ;<nd
emptying his fkull, fet it in gold,
ro be ufed for libations nt their
feails, Livy xxiil. z.;, This hap-



pened fome months after the bat-
tle at Cannx.

(3) The fenate having fent him
into Campania to exchange ar-
mies, the people believed they had
fent him away on purpofe that lie
might not be piefent at the elec-
tion, and therefore were refoived
to defer it till his return. Livy
xxiii. 13.

(4) He immediately can fed the
heads of feventy of the inhabi-
tants ofNola to be cutoff, and
confifcated their eftates to the ufe
of the Roman fiate. V^utarch
fptaks here of the ravages com-
mitted by Maicellus in the country
of rhe HiipinsandSamnites, where
he dc-ftroyed every thing with fire
a;;d iv.'ord. Livy xxiii, 41.

(5) Two



M A R C E L L U S. 345

likewife taught them how to wound the enemy with
them at adiftance ; while the Carthaginians fought only
with very fhort fwords or darts, which they were un-
fkilled in throwing;. For this reafon all thofe who
attempted to make head againft them were forced to turn
their backs, and fled in confufion, (6) leaving 5000 flain
upon the field of battle ; befide four elephants killed, and
two taken alive. But what was of ftill greater confe-
quence, the third day after the battle, (7) above three
hundred hqrfe, Spaniards and Numidians, came over to
Marcel lus ; a misfortune which had never befallen Han-
nibal till that time: for though his army wascompofed
of men of feveral barbarous nations, as different in their
manners as language, he had ever till then preserved a
good underftanding and Uriel: concord among them.
Thefe deferters always continued inviolably faithful to
Marcellus, and the generals who commanded after him.
(8) Marcellus being a third time created Conful, paf-
fed over into Sicily j for Hannibal's great fuccefs had

fo



($} Two days before this there
was a battle before the walls of
Nola ; for Hannibal coming up to
make a general attack upon the
city, Marcellus Tallied out, and
overthrew all that oppofed him.
The difpute would have been very
fliarp had not a violent ftorm hap-
pened that fcparated the comba-
tants. Livy xxiii. 44.

(6) " There were more than
' five thoufand men killed. Six
' hundred prifoners were taken,
4 eighteen llandards, and two ele-
' phants, beiide four elephants
' that were killed. On the Roman

fide there were not a thoufand
flain." Liv. xxiii. 46.

(~) Livy makes them a thou-
l"an.l two hundred and feventy-
wo. It is therefore probable that
we fliould read in this place, " one



" thoufand three hundred horfe."

(8) In the fecond year of the
141 ft Olympiad, the (,39th year
of Rome, and 212 years before
the birth of Chritt. Plutarch for-
gets here a third vidory that Mar-
cellus gained overHaunibal before
Nola. leaving learned that Han-
nibal was marching again towards
that place, he refolved to meet
him. In order to this, he caufed
Claudius Nero to march with the
horfe by night out at the gate
that was oppofite to the way Han-
nibal was to come ; after having
taken a great circuit, he was to
return back, and follow Hannibal;
and when he favv the battle be-
gun, to attack him in the rear.
It is not known whether Nero loft
his way in the night, or whether
he had not time enough to exe-
cute



34-6 The LIFE of

fo fwelled the hopes of the Carthaginians, that they enter-
tained thoughts of re-conquering that iiland ; and eipe-
cially fmce (9) the death of the tyrant Hieronymus had
thrown every thing into confufion at Syracufe^ (i)
wherefore the Romans had already fent an army thither
under the command of Appius Claudius.

As foon as Marcellus had taken upon him the com-
mand of the army in Sicily, a great number of Romans
came and threw themfelves at his feet, imploring his
afliftance under their unhappy circumftances. Of thofe
who fought at the battle at Cannae, fome fled, and fome
v/ere taken prifoners and thefe latter were fo many in
number, that it was faid, the Romans had not men
enough left to defend the walls of their city. But they
ftill retained fo much courage and magnanimity that
when Hannibal offered to releafe the prifoners for a
very inconfiderable ranfom, they not only refufed it,
but without giving themfelves any further trouble about
them, left them to be killed by the enemy, or fold out
of Italy ; and thofe who had faved themfelves by flight
they tranfported into Sicily, with an exprefs command
not to return home till the war with Hannibal was
ended. When Marcellus was arrived in that ifland,
great numbers of thefe unfortunate men addrelTed
themfelves to him, and falling on their knees before

him,

cute this order ; but had he come the Romans had not that day
up at the time appointed. Han- made reprifal upon Hannibal for
uibal had been entirely defeated, thelofs they fuftained at the battle
Marcellus, indeed, had already ofCannss. Liv. xxiv. 17.
beaten him himfelf, but not hav-
ing horfe enough, he durft not (9) Hieronymus was murdered
purfue him, and therefore founded by his own iubjefts at Leontium.
a retreat. Hannibal loft above He was the fon of Gelo, and the
two thoufand men, and the Ro- grandfon of Hiero. His father
~iar,s lefs than four hundred. Ne- Gelo died firft, and afterwards his
ro returned to Nola in the evening, grandfather, being ninety years
after having fatigued his troops old^ and Hieronymus, who was not
to no purpofe, without feeing the then fifteen was flain fome months
enemy. Marcellus expoftuiated after. Thefe three deaths hap-
fevereiy with him, and faid that pened towards the latter end of
?t was wholly owing to him that the year that preceded Marcel-

cellus's



MARCELLUS. 347

him, with the deepefl lamentations and floods of tears,
begged to be admitted into the troops, promifmg to
make it appear by their future behaviour that that de-
feat was owing to fome misfortune, and not to their
cowardice. Whereupon Marcellus, out of compaffion,
wrote to thefenate, defiring leave to recruit his troops
out of thofe exiles, as he mould have occafion. The
fenate deliberated a long time about the matter, and
at length returned this anfwer, " That the Romans did
" not (land in need of the afliftance of cowards ; but
" however, if Marcellus had a mind, he might make
" ufe of them,provided he did not beflow on any of them,
" a crown, or any other cuftomary reward of valour."
This decree of the fenate gave Marcellus great unea-
finefs ; and at his return to Rome, after the war was
ended, he expoflulated and complained to them, that
after all his fervices, they had denied him the fatisfac-
tion of retrieving the honour, and alleviating the misfor-
tunes of thofe poor citizens.

His firft care, after he came into Sicily, was to be re-
venged on (2) Hippocrates, the Syracufan General, for
his treachery ; who, to mew his affection to the Cartha-
ginians, and by their means to make himfelf tyrant of
Sicily, had attacked the Romans near Leontium, and flain
great numbers of them. Marcellus therefore marched

with

Jus's third confulate. brother Epycides were Carthagi-

(1) They had fent Appius " nians by birth, but originally
Claudius thither in quality or prx- from Syracufe ; for their grand-
tor. He was there before the death father having been baniftied from
of Hieronymus, who laughed at thence, fettled at Carthage, where
the ambaffadors that came from he married. Hannibal fent theie
Rome, to confirm the alliance be- two brothers, with a Carthaginian
tween him and the Romans, of noble extraction, whofe name

' What fuccefs, had ye, faid he, was Hannibal, ambafladors to Sy-

' at the battle of Cannae! Han- racufe. This laft returned quickly

' nibal's amb ffadors tell me with the treaty they had made

' ftrange things about it: I would with the tyrant; but the two

' fain know the truth, that I may others, by Hannibal's confent,

;< know what to refolve on." continued ftillat his court as am-

(2) This Hippocrates and his baffadors in ordinary.

(3) This



LIFE of

with his whole army to.befiege that city, and took it
by ftorm; but offered no injury or violence to the in-
habitants ; only fuch deferters as he found there, he
ordered to be beaten with rods, and then put to death.
Hippocrates prefer.tly fent an account to Syracufe, that .
Marccllus had put to the fword without diftinftion all
that were able to bear arms-, and while the Syracufans
were under the iitmoft confternation at this news, he
came fuddenly upon them and furpri.fed the city.

Hereupon Marcellus marched with his whole army,
and encamping near Syracufe, lent ambailadors thither
to acquaint the inhabitants with the whole truth of what
had happened at Leontium. But finding that all he
could fay was to nopurpofe, and that the Syracufans, av/ed
by the power of Hippocrates, refufed to liften to him,
lie prepared to attack the city both by fea and land.
Appius Claudius commanded the land forces, while Mar-
cellus with fixty gallies, each of which had five rows of
oars, and was provided with all kinds of arms and mif-
file weapons, attacked it by fea ; he had befidesa ter-
rible machine carried upon eight gallies fattened toge-
ther ; and he was animated with great hopes by the
number of his batteries, the vaftnefs of his preparations,
and efpecially by the great reputation he had acquired
in war. But Archimedes defpifed all his machines and
preparations, which were nothing in comparifon of
thofe engines lie invented daily , although he did not
at all value himfelf upon them, or to confider the inven-
tion of them as any effort of genius, but ftnly as ai
amufdment and diverfioi in his geometrical (Indies.
Neither had he gone fo far, but at the earned requeft
of Hierq, who had a long time folicited him to reduce
his (peculations into practice, by employing them about
corporeal and fenfible things, and to make his abft rafted
.reafonings more evident and intelligible to the ge-
nerality of mankind, by applying them to the ufes of
lite.

Eudcrxus and Archytas were the firft that invented and
put in practice this celebrated mechanical knowledge,

to



M A R C E L L U S. 349

to give geometry more variety and agreeabienefs, and LO
iolve by ieniible experiments and the uie of inftrumen.s,
certain problems fur which mere geometrical reaionn.'g
is not iuiticient. That problem, ior example, of two
mean proportional lines, which cannot be found out
geometrically, and yet are io neceiiary tor the Iblution
ot ieveiai other pioblems, they reioived mechanicaih ,
by the ainflance ot certain mfhuments called Meibiabe^
tu^en from con i civ lections. But when Plato grew difc-
pkctied at them, arid reproached them for corrupting
uiid debating the excellence of geometry, by making it
deicena from incorporeal and intellectual to corporeal
tin a ieniible things, and forcing it to make ufe ot mat-
ter, which requires manual labour, and is the object of
low and iervile trades from that Lime the fludy of me-
cnaniim was judged beneath the dignity of geometry,
and feparated from it ; and after having been a long
time deipiied by the philosophers, came to be reckoned
a part ot the military art.

Archim:des afierted one day to King Hiero, whcfe
friend and kinfman he was, this propoinion, that with
ituy given force the greateft weight whatever might be
moved; and confident of the ttrength of his demon-
Itiation he ventured further to affirm, that if there was
another earth betide this we inhabit, by going into that,
he would move this wherever he pleated. The King,
furprized hereat, defired him to evince the truth of
his proportion by moving fome great weight with a



Online LibraryPlutarchPlutarch's lives : in six volumes : translated from the Greek (Volume 2) → online text (page 31 of 42)