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As to thefe misfortunes which he fuffered from the
publick, they were likely foon to have an end ; for the
people had, as it were, left their fling in the wound,
and their anger was fpent as foon as gratified. But his
domeftick afflictions were more fevere^ he had loft
many of his friends and relations by the plague, and a
divifion had long fubfifted in his family. Xanthippus the
cldeft of his legitimate fbns, who was himfelf of a pro-
digal difpofition, and who had married a young extra-
vagant wife, the daughter of Ifander the fon of Epilycus,
being extremely provoked at his father's exact oeco-
nomy and the fcanty allowance which he received from
him, fent to one of his friends to borrow a fum of
money in the name of Pericles. When the man after-
wards demanded it, Pericles not only refufed to pay it,
but likewife brought an action againft him. This fo en-
raged Xanthippus, that he began openly to abufe and
revile his father. Firft he turned into ridicule his con-
verfations at home, and the difcourfes he held with the
fophifts ; and faid that when Epitimius the Pharfalian had
undefignedly killed a horfe by throwing a dart at the
publick games, his father difputed for a whole day with
Protagoras, whether the dart, or the man who threw it,
or the perfons who directed the fports, ought according
to truth and reafon to be confidered as the caufe of this
accident. Befide this, as Stefimbrotus fays, he publickly
fpread a report of an infamous commerce between his
wife and Pericles ; and he continued this implacable
hatred againft his father even to the end of his life. He


(6) According to Plutarch's account at the beginning of the



died of the plague. At the fame time Pericles alfo loft
his fifter and molt of his relations and friends who had
been of the greatefl fervice to him in managing the
commonwealth. But he remained unihaken inthemidit
of thefe misfortunes, and Hill preferred his wonted dig-
.nity and ferenity of mind. He neither wept, nor perform-
ed any funeral rites, nor was he fcen at the grave of any
of his neareft relations, till the death of Paralus his only
furviving legitimate fon. This at lad fubdued him ; he
endeavoured indeed flill to maintain his former cha-
radter, and to fliow the fame invincible firmnefs of
mind by which he had been always diftinguilhed ; but
as he was putting a wreath upon the head of the dead
body, not being able to fupport fo affecting a fight,
he (for the firft time in his whole life) burft into aloud
lamentation, andfhed a flood of tears.

The people having made a trial of other Generals
and Orators, and finding that none of them had abi-
lities and authority equal to fo important a charge, re-
gretted the abfence of Pericles, and invited him to re-
lume his former power both in civil and military af-
fairs. He had then for fome time fhut himfelf up at
home to indulge his forrow ; and his fpirits were quite
deprefled by the weight of his misfortunes. But at
the perfuafion of Alcibiades and his other friends he
again appeared in publick ; and the people having ac-
knowledged their ingratitude to him, he 'accepted the
government. As foon as he was appointed General he
procured a repeal of that law concerning baflards of
which he himfelf had been the author ; for if it had
continued in force, his name and family muft have be T
come utterly extinct for want of a fucceflbr. The hi-
flory of that law is this. Many years before, when Pe-
ricles was in the height of his power, and had, as we
have already mentioned, fome legitimate children, he
perfuaded the people to make a law that none mould
be efteemed citizens of Athens but thole whole parents
were both Athenians (6). When the King of Egypt fent


life of Themifcocles, this law was made before the time of Pericles.
Vot il. D (7)XyIander

5 o 37* LIFE of

forty thoufand Medimni of wheat to be diftributed a-
mong the people of Athens, many contefls and profecu-
tions arofe in confequence of this law for great num-
bers of thofe whom the law declared illegitimate, and
who had hitherto paffed unnoticed, were on this occafion
difcovered and profecuted ; and feveral befides were un-
juftly difgraced by means of falfe accufations. Near five
thoufand were fentenced as illegitimate and fold for
flaves (7). The number of thofe who upon examination
appeared to be true Athenians and entitled to the free-
dom of the city was fourteen thoufand and forty. Though
it was hard and unreafonable that a law which had been
put in execution with fuch feverity fhould be repeal
ed at the requeft of him who had firft propofed it, yet
the Athenians being touched with companion for the
domeftick misfortunes of Pericles, and thinking that
he had been fufficiently punifhed for his excefllve pride
and haughtinefs, and that humanity required them to
alleviate thefe cruel perfecutions of fortune by tender-
nefs and kind offices, allowed him to regifter his fon in
his own tribe and under his own name. This was he
who afterwards defeated the Peloponnefians in a fea-
fight at Ariginufse, and was put to death by the peo-
ple together with his cellegues (8).

About this time Pericles was feized with the plague ;,
it did not, however, operate with its ufual violence and
conftancy, but was rather a lingringdiftemper which with
frequent intermilTions and by flow degrees wafted his
body and enfeebled his mind. Theophraftus in his E-
thicks, when he is confidering whether the characters of
men may be changed by their fortunes, and whether the
foul may be fo affected by the diforders of the body as
to be deprived of its virtue, relates that Pericles (howed
to a friend who came to vifit him in his ficknefs,


(7) Xylancler imagines that the in the rank of (hangers.

text is faulty in this place. For (8) The Athenians had ap-

this illegitimacy did not reduce pointed ten commanders on that

raen to a (late of fei vitude j it on- occafion. After they had ob-

ly excluded them from the free- tained the victory they were

doot of the city, and placed them tried, and fentence of death



an amulet which had been hung about his neck by
the women, intimating that he mud be fick indeed,
fince he fubmitted to ib ridiculous a fuperftition.

While he lay at the point of death his fur viving friends
and the principal citizens, who were fitting round his
bed, difcourfed together concerning Ms extraordinary
virtue and the great authority which he had enjoyed,
and mentioned of his various exploits and the number
of his victories ; for while he was General of the Athe-
nians he had erected nine trophies for nine victories
which he had obtained. They imagined that he was
quite infenfible, and that he underftood nothing of their
converfation ; but he had liftened attentively to all that
had been faid ; and on a fudden breaking filence he
told them that " he wondered they mould extol thofc
" actions in which fortune had a confiderable fhare, and
" which were fuch as had been performed by many other
" commanders, and that they mould omk the beft ad
" mod honourable part of his character, which was thatno
" Athenian through his means had ever put on mourning."

Such was Pericles ; a man who merits our highefb
admiration, whether we confider that lenity and mo-
deration of temper which he conftantly preserved amidft
all the difficulties of pubiick bufmefs and the violence
of party-contentions, or that real dignity of fentiment
which appeared in his efleeming this, among his va-
rious excellencies, to be the greateft, that, though his
power was fo abfolute, he had never employed it to
gratify his envy or refentment, nor had ever behaved
to an enemy as if he thought him irreconcileable. And
in my opinion, his kind and difpaffionate nature, his
unblemimed integrity and irreproachable conduct dur-
ing his whole adminiftration, are of themfelves fuffi-
cient to juftify the appellation of Olympius which was


was pronounced againrV eight of that they had not buried the
them, of whom fix that were dead. Xenophon has given a large
upon the fpot were executed, account of this tranfa&ion in his
and this baftard fon of Pericles Grecian biftory. The engage-
was one of them. The only inent happened under the archon-
crime laid to their charge, was, (hip of Callias, the zd year of

D z the

52 tf>e L I F E of P E R I C L E S.

beflowed upon him ; for though he could not othcrwife
have worn that title without arrogance and abfurdity,
yet his virtue prevented it from being the object of en-
vy, and rendered it graceful and becoming. For this
is the ground of our veneration for the Gods ; and we
judge them worthy to rule and dired the univerfe, be-
cauie they are the authors of good only and not of evil.
TliQ poets indeed attempt to perplex and miflead us by
their vain and ridiculous imaginations ; but they con-
fute themfelves ; for though they defcribe the habi-
tation of the Gods as a place of perfedt fecurity and re-
pofe, not difturbed by winds nor obfcured by clouds,
but perpetually illuminated by a pure light, and blef-
fed with uninterrupted ferenity, fuch an abode being
bed fuited to the nature of happy and immortal beings ;
yet they reprefent the Gods themfelves, as agitated by
vexation, hatred, anger, and various other pallions un-
worthy even of a wife man. But thefe reflections are,
perhaps, more proper for fome other place.

The ftate of publick affairs after the death of Pe-
ricles foon convinced the Athenians of the greatnefs of
their lofs (9). For thofe who during his life moft re-
pined at the fplendour of that power by which they
were themfelves darkened and eclipfed, as foon as he
was dead, and a trial had been made of other orators
and governors, acknowlegded that no man could like
him temper his pride with humanity and moderation,
or unite ib much dignity with fo much mildnefs and
patience. And that high authority which before had
expofed him to envy, and had been 'reprefented as
equal to that of a King or a tyrant, appeared now- to
have been the fupport and prelervation of the ilate ; fb
enormous was that corruption and wickednefs which
'afterwards overfpread the commonwealth, and which
during his adminiftration had been checked and fup-
prefTed, and prevented from gaining fuch ftrength as
to become quite defperate and incurable.

the 9^d Olympiad, 24 Years af- der. Pericles died in the 3d year

ter the death of Pericles of the Peloponnefian war, that is

(9) This wil! appear in the lives the laft year of the 8/th Olympiad,
of Alcibiadcs, Nicias and Lyfan-


[ 53


AVING related the memorable aftions of
Pericles, let us now proceed to the life of Fa-
bius. It is reported that Hercules falling in
love with a nymyh near the banks of the Tiber, or as
ibme fay, with a woman of that country, had by her
the firft Fabius, (i) from whom is defcended the family
of the Fabii, one of the moft numerous, and powerful
in Rome (2). According to fome they were firft called


(i) According to Dionyfius of
Halicarnaflus, Hercules had but
two cihldren in Italy, one named
Pellas, by a daughter of Evander,
and another called Latinus, by an
Hyperborean woman, whomhe had
brought with him into thofe parts.


(z)The mod numerous, for that
family alone undertook the war
againft the Veientes, and fept out
againtl them 300 perjbjis all of
their own name, who were all
(lain in the fervice. It was like-
wife the moftpowerful, for it had
3 enjoyed

54 7. 'be L I F E /

(3) Fodii, becaufe when they went a hunting they ufed
to catch their game in traps and pits, for to this day
theRomans calf a pitFovea, and Fodere fignifies " to dig ; "
and in procefs of time by the change of two letters,
they came to be called Fabii. This family produced
many eminent men. Fabius whofe life I am now
writing was the fourth in defcent from that (4) Fabius
Rullus, or Rutilianus, who firft brought the honourable
furname of Maxirnus into his family. He likewife had
the name of Verucofus, from a wart on his upper lip ;
and in his childhood they called him Ovicula (5) from
the mildnefs and gravity of his difpofition. His fe-
datenefs and taciturnity, his indifference to childifh
fports and amufements, his ilownefs and difficulty in
learning, and his eafy fubmilTive behaviour to his
equals, made thofe to whom he was not thoroughly
known, efteem him infenfible and flupid ; a few only
could difcover that greatnefs of mind, that fteadinefs
and invincible courage which lay concealed under this
disadvantageous appearance. But as foon as he entered
upon publick employments; his hidden virtues difplayed
themfelves. Then it appeared to all that what had
pafTed for timidity, was cautious prudence ; and what
feemed inactivity, indolence, and infenfibility was calm
refolution and inflexible conftancy.

Fabius confidering the difficulty of managing fo great
a commonwealth, and the many wars in which the Ro-
mans were engaged, inured his body to labour and ex-
ercife, wifely judging that natural ftrength was the
beft armor : h alfo applied himfelf to the ftudy of


enjoyed the higheft dignities in " Ciceronutn, ut quifque aliquod

the commonwealth. There were " optime genus fereret." lib. 18.

foaie of the Fabii, who had been cap. 3. This agrees with the funpli-

feven times confuls. city of thofe times, when agricul-

(3) Feftus fays they were called ture was the principal occupation

Fcvii from Fovea. But why of a hero.

iTiould we not rather believe with (4) This Fabius was five times
Pliny, that they were called Fabii, conful, and obtained feveral im-
a Fabis, from their fkill in railing portant victories over the Sam-
beans f as the Lentuli and Ciceros nites, Tufcans and other nations,
xvere fo called frompeafe and len- But it was not thofe memorable
tils, "jam FabiorumjLentuJorum, actions that procured him the



oratory, looking upon words as the engines by which
the minds of the people are to be moved. And he at-
tained to fuch a kind of eloquence, that his manner of
fpeaking and of acting was perfectly the fame : for in
his fpeeches there were no nice refinements nor affect-
ed and oftentatious ornaments ; but they were always
grave, fententious, and full of folid inflruction ; and are
laid to have much refembled thofe of Thucydides. We
have yet extant his funeral oration upon the death of
his fon, who died .conful, which he recited before the

He was five times conful, and in his firil confulfhip
had the honour of a triumph for the victory he gained
over the Ligurians, who being defeated with great lols
were forced to take fhelter in the Alps, from whence
they never after made any inrode nor depredations
upon their neighbours. After this Hannibal came into
Italy, (6) and having at his firft entrance gained a great
battle near the river Trebia, traverfed all Tufcany with
his victorious army, and laying waite the country
round about, filled Rome itfelf with aftonifhment and
terror. At the fame time many omens were obferved,
fome of which were common and familiar to the Ro-
mans, as thunder and lightning; others were very
ftrange-and unaccountable. For it was faid, that ibme
targets fweated blood ; that at Antium, when they reaped
their corn, many of the ears were filled with blood;
that red-hot flones dropped from the clouds ; that the
Falerians had feen the heavens open, (7) and feveral
billets falling down, in one of which was plainly writ-

furname of Maximus, which was of fifteen years; for Hannibal en-
given him, becaufe when he was tered into Italy under the confu-
cenfor he reduced the whole popu- late of Scipioand Senipronius, the
Jace of Rome into four tribes, who third year of the i4Oth Olym-
before were difperfed among all piad, thet;35th of Rome, arul 216
the tribes in general, and thus before the commencement of the
had very great power in the aiTem- Chriftian /Era.
blies. Thefe tribes were called (7) It feem c to me that Plutarch
Tribus urbanx. Liv. ix. 46. mifum'erftood Li vy, who mentions

(5) Ovicula fignifies a little two different prodigies. Thefe are

flieep. his words. Lib. XXII- " Fsleriis

( ) Here Plutarch leaves a void " Coehim findi vifum velut niag-

D 4 "BO

56 The L I F E of

ten, Now Mars himfelf brandifhes his arms. But thefe
prodigies had no effect upon the impetuous and fiery
temper of the conful Flaminius, whole natural vehe-
mence had been much heightned by his late victory
over the Gauls, which he obtained contrary to all pro-
bability, having engaged them in opposition to the
order of the fenate and the advice of his collegue. But
though Fabius did not much regard thefe prodigies
which fo affected the minds of the multitude, looking
on them as too abfurd to be believed, (8) yet know-
ing that their enemies were few in number and in great
want of money, he advifed the Romans to wait pati-
ently, and not rifk an engagement with a General
whole army was well difcipiined, and inured to war by

' no Hiatu, quaque patuerit, in-
' gens Lumen effulfiffe ; Sortes
' fua fponte attenuatas, unamque
' excidilTe ifa fciiptam, Mavors
' telum fuum concutit. At Fale-
' rium the Iky was feen to open,
' and from the void fpace tlream-
' ed a great body of light. The lots
' fhrunk of their own accord, and
'one of them dropped down,
c when on was written, Mars
' brandiiheth his fword." Out of
thefe two prodigies Plutarch has
made but one. Thefe lots did not
drop out of the fky. Llvy fpeaks
of the lots which were carefully
preferved in an olive cheft at Pr^-
nefte. They appeared ihrunk or
leffened, whi:h of itfelf was omi-
nous, and one of them dropped
down, on which was found the


which flood in a certain place ;
that he accordingly went, and
when he had done as he had been
commanded, feveral bits of oak
handfomely wrought iiTued out of
the ftone, with fome ancient cha-
racters infcribed upon them ; that
they were immediately depofited
in an olive coffer ; that when
any one came to confult them
the coffer was opened, and a
child having firft ihaken them to-
gether, drew out one from the
reft, which contained the anfwer
to the querift's demand. But what
are we to underftand from thefe
words in Livy, Sortes extenuatse;
which was looked upon as an ill
omen ? Probably there were two
fets of tbefe lots, one large and
tiie other fmall, and the prieits
contrived that one or the other
fhould be drawn jutt as ihey

jnfcription mentioned.

Cicero in his fecond book on

divination has given an account of thought it for their purpofe, to
the nature of thefe lots, and the
manner of divination by them. He
fays, that in the archives of Pra:-
nefle it was written, that one of
the mod confiderable men in the
city, named Numerics SurTucius,
was directed by feveral dreams,
to go, and bieak open a fione

encourage or intimidate thofe who
caiie to confult them. For in
prodigies, dreams and vifions, if
any thing appeared larger than
its ufual fize, the omen was
efteemed favourable ; if fmaller,
the contrary. Cicero adds that
thefe lots were very much difcie-


many battles which they had fought under his com-
mand ; and told them that if they would only take
care to fend fuccours to their allies, and fecure the
cities which were in their pofleifion, the vigour of the
enemy would foon expire of itfelf, like aflame for want
of fuel. Thefe reafons however- did not prevail with
Flammius, who protefted he would not differ the enemy
to advance, nor would he be reduced, as Camillus for-
merly was, to fight for Rome within the walls of Rome.-
Accordingly he ordered the tribunes to draw out the
army into the field. As foon as he mounted his horfe,
the beafl without any apparent caufe, took fright and
caft his rider headlong on the ground (9). Notwith-
ftanding this, he peifjfted in his firft refolution of


dited in his time ; that no body
made ufe of them, nor was the
name of the Prasneftine lots known
but by the common people, who
are always tenacious of their fu-
perftitions. However, it appears
from a remarkable paflage in Su-
etonius, that they got into vogue
again in the reign ot Tiberius ; for
he tells us that that emperor hav-
ing a defign to ruin all the Ora-
cles in the neighbourhood of
Rome, was deterred from it by
the majefty of thofe Prseneftine
lots ; for that having caufed the
coffer clofe fhut, and fealed, to be
brought to him, upon opening it
there was not one lot to be feen
in it, but fo foon as it was re-
ftored to the temple they were all
found in it as ufuaL Pfeenefte was
not the only place where thefe
lots were to be found ; they had
them at Antium, at Tibur, and
other places.

(3) 'Had this been faid of Fla-
minius it would have been no
more than he deferved ; for Livy
tells us that he feared not the
Gods, " necDeorum fatis metuens
" erat" and that he neither took
the advice of Gods or men, "nee

" Deosnec homines confulentem."
But I queftion whether Plutarch
had the fame reafon to fay it of
Fabius, at leaft I have not met
with any thing that couldgive one
fuch an idea of him He was too
prudent to oppofe or contemn the
reigning religion, from regard to
which the fenate had been in-
duced to order that thofe prodi-
gies fhould be expiated by facri-
rices, by publick prayers and of-
ferings. If Fabius was not moved
by thefe prodigies, it was not be-
caufe he defpifed them, but be-
caufe he hoped by appeafmg the
anger of the Gods, to render
them ineffectual ; and accordingly
heomitted nothing requifite there-
to, as we fhal'l fee in the fe-

(9) This fall from his horfe,
which was looked upon as omi-
nous, was followed by fomethin^
elfe, which was underftood to be
altogether as unfavourable. When
the enfign attempted to pull his
ftandard out of the ground in or-
der to march, he had not ftrength
enough to draw it up. But where
is the wonder, fays Cicero, to have
a horfe take fright, or to find a

5 8 tte L I F E of

inarching to meet Hannibal, and drew up his army near
the lake Trafimena in Tufcany. During the engagement,
there happened fo great an earthquake that it deftroyed
ieveral towns, altered the courfe of rivers, and tore off
the tops of mountains ; yet none of the combatants
were fenfible of this violent agitation. In this battle
Flaminius fell, having given many proofs of his
fcrength and courage, and round about him lay all the
braved of the army the reft were put to flight and
great {laughter was made of them. In the whole, fif-
teen thouland were killed, and as many taken pri-
foners (i). Hannibal being defirous to beftow funeral
honours upon the body of Flaminius, on account of his
bravery, made diligent fearch after it, but could not
find it ; nor was it ever known what became of it.
When the former defeat happened near Trebia, neither
the General who wrote, nor the meiTenger who told
the news, related it otherwife than as a battle in which
the lofs was equal on both fides: but now, as foon
as Pomponius the praetor had the intelligence, he caufed
the people to affemble, and without difguifing the
matter, told them plainly, " We are defeated (O Romans !)
*' our army is deftroyed, the conful Flaminius is killed ;
" think therefore what is to be done for your fafety." The
fame commotion which a furious wind caufes in the oce-
an, did thefe words of the praetor raife in the minds of
that great v multitude. In their fiift confternation they
were at a lofs what to determine, but foon united in
the refolution of chufing a Dictator, the preient exi-
gence requiring that abfolute power mould be lodged
in the hands of fome one man who would exercife it
with fteadinefs and intrepidity. (2) Their choice una-
nimoufly fell upon Fabius, whofe gravity of manners
and undaunted courage rendered him equal to the
gr-eatnefs of the command ; and who was then of an

ftanda?d-bearer, who perhaps was (i) Livy and Valerius Maxinms
unwilling to march, feebly en- mention only 6000 prifoners.
deavouring to draw up the ftand- (:) None but the Confuls had
ard which he had purpofely ftruck the power of naming a Didta-
deep into the ground ? tor, and as Servilius was at the



age in which valour was tempered by prudence, and
in which the body v/as in full vigour for executing the
purpofes of the mind. Fabius having entered upon the
office of Dictator, in the firft place gave the command
of the horfe to Lucius Minucius (3) ; and next he afked
leave of the fenate for himfelf, that in time of battle

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