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REF 920,038

VOL, 2

NNRP 941035619 MM



The Newark
Public Library

Aator, Lenox and Tilden Foundations


JffU YO'iK F



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NEW YOi*, N*W YORK 10016






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plutarch's Lives




Sometime Fellow and Tutor of Oriel College, Oxford, and Lat*

Professor of the English Language and Literature

at University College, London.

Volume H.






Gorlolamis 1

Comparison of Alcibiadea with Coriolanus 46

Timoleon...., . 51

JEmilius Paulus 98

Comparison of Timoleon with ^Emilius Paulus 136

Pelopidas 1%$

Marcellua . 172

Comparison of Pelopidas with MarceUus. 207

Aristides .., 311

Marcus Cato . 244

Comparison of Aristides with Marcus Cato 277

Philopcemen . . 283

Fla m minus 305

Comparison of Philopoemen with Flamininua. 331

Pyrrhus 334

C&ius Jklaxiufj* *.... *>** -. oti



THE patrician house of the Marcii in Rome produced
many men of distinction, and among the rest, Ancus Mar*
cius, grandson to Nurna by his daughter, and king after
Tullus Hostilius ; of the same family were also Publius and
Quintus Marcius, which two conveyed into the city the best
and most abundant supply of water they have at Rome.
As likewise Censorinus, who, having been twice chosen
censor by the people, afterwards himself induced them
to make a law that nobody should bear that office
twice. But Caius Marcius of whom I now write, being
left an orphan, and brought up under the widowhood of
his mother, has shown us by experience, that, although the
early loss of a father may be attended with other disad
vantages, yet it can hinder none from being either virtuous
or eminent in the world, and that it is no obstacle to true
goodness and excellence ; however bad men may be pleased
to lay the blame of their corruptions upon that misfortune
and the neglect of them in their minority. While the
force and vigor of his soul, and a persevering constancy in
all he undertook, led him successfully into many noble
achievements, yet, on the other side, also, by indulging the
vehemence of his passion, and through an obstinate reluct-
ance, to yield or accommodate his humors and sentiments
to those of a people about him, he rendered himself inca-
pable of acting and associating with others. Those who


saw with admiration how proof his nature was against all
the softnesses of pleasure, the hardships of service, and the
allurements of gain, while allowing to that universal firm-
ness of his the respective names of temperance, fortitude,
and justice, yet, in the life of the citizen and the states-
man, could not choose but be disgusted at the severity and
ruggedness of his deportment, and with his overbearing,
haughty, and imperious temper. Education and study, and
the favors of the muses, confer no greater benefit on those
that seek them, than these humanizing and civilizing les-
sons, which teach our natural qualities to submit to the
limitations prescribed by reason, and to avoid the wildness
of extremes.

Those were times at Rome in which that kind of worth
was most esteemed which displayed itself in military
achievements ; one evidence of which we find in the Latin
word for virtue, which is properly equivalent to manly cour-
age. As if valor and all virtue had been the same thing, they
used as the common term the name of the particular excel-
lence. But Marcius, having a more passionate inclination
than any of that age for feats of war, began at once, from his
very childhood, to handle arms ; and feeling that adventitious
implements and artificial arms would effect little, and be
of small use to such as have not their native and natural
weapons well fixed and prepared for service, he so exercised
and inured his body to all sorts of activity and encounter,
that besides the lightness of a racer, he had a weight in
close seizures and wrestlings with an enemy, from which
ib was hard for any to disengage himself; so that his
competitors at home in displays of bravery, loath to own
themselves inferior in that respect, were wont to ascribe
their deficiencies to his strength of body, which they said
no resistance and no fatigue could exhaust.

The first time he went out to the wars, being yet a strip-
ling, was when Tarquinius Superbus, who had been king of
Rome and was afterwards expelled, after many unsuccessful


attempts, now entered upon his last effort, and proceeded td
hazard all as it were upon a single throw. A great number
of the Latins and other people of Italy joined their forces,
and were marching with him toward the city, to procure his
restoration ; not, however, so much out of a desire to serve
and oblige Tarquin, as to gratify their own fear and envy
at the increase of the Roman greatness ; which they were
anxious to check and reduce. The armies met and engaged
in a decisive battle, in the vicissitudes of which, Marcius,
while fighting bravely in the dictator's presence, saw a
Roman soldier struck down at a little distance, and
immediately stepped in and stood before him, and slew his
assailant. The general, after having gained the victory,
crowned him for this act, one of the first, with a garland of
oaken branches ; it being the Roman custom thus to adorn
those who had saved the life of a citizen ; whether that the
law intended some special honor to the oak, in memory of
the Arcadians, a people the oracle had made famous by the
name of acorn-eaters ; or whether the reason of it was be-
cause they might easily, and in all places where they fought,
have plenty of oak for that purpose ; or, finally, whether
the oaken wreath, being sacred to Jupiter, the guardian of
the city, might, therefore, be thought a proper ornament
for one who preserved a citizen. And the oak, in truth, is
the tree which bears the most and the prettiest fruit of any
that grow wild, and is the strongest of all that are under
cultivation ; its acorns were the principal diet of the first
mortals, and the honey found in it gave them drink. I may
say, too, it furnished fowl and other creatures as dainties,
in producing mistletoe for bird-lime to ensnare them. In
this battle, meantime, it is stated that Castor and Pollux
appeared, and immediately after the battle were seen at
Rome just by the fountain where their temple now stands,
with their horses foaming with sweat, and told the news of
the victory to the people in the forum. The fifteenth of


July, being the day of this conquest, became consequently
a solemn holiday sacred to the Twin Brothers.

It may be observed, in general, that when young men
arrive early at fame and repute, if they are of a nature but
slightly touched with emulation, this early attainment is
apt to extinguish their thirst and satiate their small appetite ;
whereas the first distinctions of more solid and weighty
characters do but stimulate and quicken them and take
them away like a wind, in the pursuit of honor; they look
upon these marks and testimonies to their virtue not as a
recompense received for what they have already done, but
as a pledge given by themselves of what they will per-
form hereafter, ashamed now to forsake or underlive the
credit they have won, or, rather, not to exceed and obscure
all that is gone before by the lustre of their following
actions. Marcius, having a spirit of this noble make, was
ambitious always to surpass himself, and did nothing, how
extraordinary soever, but he thought he was bound to
outdo it at the next occasion ; and ever desiring to give
continual fresh instances of his prowess, he added one
exploit to another, and heaped up trophies upon trophies,
so as to make it matter of contest also among his command-
ers, the latter still vying with the earlier, which should pay
him the greatest honor and speak highest in his commenda-
tion. Of all the numerous wars and conflicts in those days
there was not one from which he returned without laurels
and rewards. And, whereas others made glory the end of
their daring, the end of his glory was his mother's gladness ;
the delight she took to hear him praised and to see him
crowned, and her weeping for joy in his embraces ren.
dered him in his own thoughts the most honored and most
happy person in the world. Epaminondas is similarly said
to have acknowledged his feeling, that it was the greatest
felicity of his whole life that his father and mother survived
to hear of his successful generalship and his victory at
Leuctra. And he had the advantage, indeed, to have both


bis parents partake with him, and enjoy the pleasure of his
good fortune. But Harems, believing himself bound to pay
his mother Yolumnia all that gratitude and duty which
would have belonged to his father, had he also been alive,
could never satiate himself in his tenderness and respect to
her. He took a wife, also, at her request and wish, and con-
tinued, even after he had children, to live still with his
mother, without parting families.

The repute of his integrity and courage had, by this time,
gained him a considerable influence and authority in Rome,
when the senate, favoring the wealthier citizens, began to
be at variance with the common people, who made sad
complaints of the rigorous and inhuman usage they received
from the money-lenders. For as many as were behind with
them, and had any sort of property, they stripped of all
they had, by the way of pledges and sales ; and such as
through former exactions were reduced already to extreme
indigence, and had nothing more to be deprived of, these
they led away in person and put their bodies under con-
straint, notwithstanding the scars and wounds that they
could show in attestation of their public services in nu-
merous campaigns ; the last of which had been against the
Sabines, which they undertook upon a promise made by
their rich creditors that they would treat them with more
gentleness for the future, Marcus Valerius, the consul,
having, by order from the senate, engaged also for the per-
formance of it. But when, after they had fought courage*
ously and beaten the enemy, there was, nevertheless, no
moderation or forbearance used, 'and the senate also pro-
fessed to remember nothing of that agreement, and sat
without testifying the least concern to see them dragged
away like slaves and their goods seized upon as formerly,
there began now to be open disorders and dangerous meet-
ings in the city ; and the enemy, also, aware of the popular
confusion, invaded and laid waste the country. And when
the consuls now gave notice, that all who were of an age


to bear arms should make their personal appearance, but
found no one regard the summons, the members of the
government, then coming to consult what course should
be taken, were themselves again divided in opinion ; some
thought it most advisable to comply a little in favor of the
poor, by relaxing their overstrained rights, and mitigating
the extreme rigor of the law, while others withstood thia
proposal ; Marcius in particular, with more vehemence
than the rest, alleging that the business of money on either
side was not the main thing in question, urged that this
disorderly proceeding was but the first insolent step
towards open revolt against the laws, which it would be-
come the wisdom of the government to check at the earliest

There had been frequent assemblies of the whole senate,
within a small compass of time, about this difficulty, but
without any certain issue ; the poor commonalty, therefore,
perceiving there was likely to be no redress of their griev-
ances, on a sudden collected in a body, and, encouraging
each other in their resolution, forsook the city, with one
accord, and seizing the hill which is now called the Holy
Mount, sat down by the river Anio, without committing
any sort of violence or seditious outrage, but merely ex-
claiming, as they went along, that they had this long time
past been, in fact, expelled and excluded from the city by
the cruelty of the rich; that Italy would everywhere
afford them the benefit of air and water and a place of
burial, which was all they could expect in the city, un-
less it were, perhaps, the ^privilege of being wounded and
killed in time of war for the defence of their creditors.
The senate, apprehending the consequences, sent the most
moderate and popular men of their own order to treat with

Menenius Agrippa, their chief spokesman, after much
entreaty to the people, and much plain-speaking on behalf
of the senate, concluded, at length, with the celebrated


fable. "It once happened," he said, "that all the other
members of a man mutinied against the stomach, which
they accused as the only idle, uncontributing part in the
whole body, while the rest were put to hardships and the
expense of much labor to supply and minister to its appe-
tites. The stomach, however, merely ridiculed the silli-
ness of the members, who appeared not to be aware that
the stomach certainly does receive the general nourish-
ment, but only to return it again, and redistribute it
amongst the rest. Such is the case," he said, " ye citizens,
between you and the senate. The counsels and plans that
are there duly digested, convey and secure to all of you
your proper benefit and support."

A reconciliation ensued, the senate acceding to the re-
quest of the people for the annual election of five protectors
for those in need of succor, the same that are now called
the tribunes of the people ; and the first two they pitched
upon were Junius Brutus and Sicinnius Vellutus, their
leaders in the secession.

The city being thus united, the commons stood presently
to their arms, and followed their commanders to the war
with great alacrity. As for Marcius, though he was not a
little vexed himself to see the populace prevail so far, and
gain ground of the senators, and might observe many other
patricians have the same dislike of the late concessions, he
yet besought them not to yield at least to the common
people in the zeal and forwardness they now showed for
their country's service, but to prove that they were superior
to them, not so much in power and riches, as in merit and

The Romans were now at war with the Volscian nation,
whose principal city was Corioli ; when, therefore, Cominius
the consul had invested this important place, the rest of
the Volscians, fearing it would be taken, mustered up
whatever force they could from all parts, to relieve it,
designing to give the Romans battle before the city, and so


attack them on both sides. Cominius, to avoid this incon-
venience, divided his army, marching himself with one
body to encounter the Volscians on their approach from
without and leaving Titus Lartius, one of the bravest
Romans of his time, to command the other and continue
the siege. Those within Corioli, despising now the small-
ness of their number, made a sally upon them, and pre-
vailed at first, and pursued the Romans into their trenches.
Here it was that Marcius, flying out with a slender com-
pany, and cutting those in pieces that first engaged him,
obliged the other assailants to slacken their speed ; and
then, with loud cries, called upon the Romans to renew the
battle. For he had, what Cato thought a great point in a
soldier, not only strength of hand and stroke, but also a
voice and look that of themselves were a terror to an enemy.
Divers of his own party now rallying and making up to
him, the enemies soon retreated ; but Marcius, not content
to see them draw off and retire, pressed hard upon the
rear, and drove them, as they fled away in haste, to the
very gates of their city ; where, perceiving the Romans to
fall back from their pursuit, beaten off by the multitude of
darts poured in upon them from the walls, and that none
of his followers had the hardiness to think of falling in
pell-mell among the fugitives and so entering a city full of
enemies in arms, he, nevertheless, stood and urged them to
the attempt, crying out, that fortune had now set open
Corioli, not so much to shelter the vanquished, as to receive
the conquerors. Seconded by a few that were willing to
venture with him, he bore along through the crowd, made
good his passage, and thrust himself into the gate through
the midst of them, nobody at first daring to resist him.
But when the citizens on looking about saw that a very
small number had entered, they now took courage, and
came up and attacked them. A combat ensued of the most
extraordinary description, in which Marcius, by strength
of hand, and swiftness of foot, and daring of soul, over-


powering every one that he assailed, succeeded in driving
the enemy to seek refuge, for the most part, in the interior
of the town, while the remaining submitted, and threw
down their arms ; thus affording Lartius abundant oppor-
tunity to bring in the rest of the Romans with ease and

Corioli being thus surprised and taken, the greater part
of the soldiers employed themselves in spoiling and pil-
laging it, while Marcius indignantly reproached them, and
exclaimed that it was a dishonorable and unworthy thing,
when the consul and their fellow-citizens had now perhaps
encountered the other Volscians, and were hazarding their
lives in battle, basely to misspend the time in running up
and down for booty, and, under a pretence of enriching
themselves, keep out of danger. Few paid him any atten-
tion, but, putting himself at the head of these, he took the
road by which the consul's army had marched before him,
encouraging his companions, and beseeching them, as they
went along, not to give up, and praying often to the gods,
too, that he might be so happy as to arrive before the fight
was over, and come seasonably up to assist Cominius, and
partake in the peril of the action.

It was customary with the Romans of that age, when
they were moving into battle array, and were on the point
of taking up their bucklers, and girding their coats about
them, to make at the same time an unwritten will, or verbal
testament, and to name who should be their heirs, in the
hearing of three or four witnesses. In this precise posture
Marcius found them at his arrival, the enemy being ad-
vanced within view.

They were not a little disturbed by his first appearance,
seeing him covered with blood and sweat, and attended
with a small train ; but when he hastily made up to the
consul with gladness in his looks, giving him his hand, and
recounting to him how the city had been taken, and when
they saw Cominius also embrace and salute him, every one


took fresh heart ; those that were near enough hearing,
and those that were at a distance guessing, what had hap-
pened ; and all cried out to be led to battle. First, how-
ever, Marcius desired to know of him how the Volscians
had arrayed their army, and where they had placed their
best men, and on his answering that he took the troops of
the Antiates in the centre to be their prime warriors, that
would yield to none in bravery, " Let me demand and ob-
tain of you," said Marcius, " that we may be posted against
them." The consul granted the request, with much
admiration for his gallantry. And when the conflict began
by the soldiers darting at each other, and Marcius sallied
out before the rest, the Volscians opposed to him were not
able to make head against him ; wherever he fell in, he
broke their ranks, and made a lane through them ; but the
parties turning again, and enclosing him on each side with
their weapons, the consul, who observed the danger he was
in, despatched some of the choicest men he had for his res-
cue. The conflict then growing warm and sharp about
Marcius, and many falling dead in a little space, the
Romans bore so hard upon the enemies, and pressed them
with such violence, that they forced them at length to
abandon their ground, and to quit the field. And going
now to prosecute the victory, they besought Marcius, tired
out with his toils, and faint and heavy through the loss of
blood, that he would retire to the camp. He replied, how-
ever, that weariness was not for conquerors, and joined
with them in the pursuit. The rest of the Yolscian army
was in like manner defeated, great numbers killed, and no
less taken captive.

The day after, when Marcius, with the rest of the army,
presented themselves at the consul's tent, Cominius rose,
and having rendered all due acknowledgment to the gods
for the success of that enterprise, turned next to Marcius,
and first of all delivered the strongest encomium upon his
rare exploits which he had partly been an eye-witness of


himself, in the late battle, and had partly learned from the
testimony of Lartius. And then he required him to choose
a tenth part of all the treasure and horses and captives
that had fallen into their hands, before any division should
be made to others ; besides which, he made him the special
present of a horse with trappings and ornaments, in honor
of his actions. The whole army applauded ; Marcius, how-
ever, stepped forth, and declaring his thankful acceptance
of the horse, and his gratification at the praises of his gen-
eral, said, that all other things, which he could only regard
rather as mercenary advantages than any significations of
honor, he must waive, and should be content with the or-
dinary proportion of such rewards. " I have only," said he,
"one special grace to beg, and this I hope you will not
deny me. There was a certain hospitable friend of mine
among the Volscians, a man of probity and virtue, who is
become a prisoner, and from former wealth and freedom is
now reduced to servitude. Among his many misfortunes
let my intercession redeem him from the one of being
sold as a common slave." Such a refusal and such a re-
quest on the part of Marcius were followed with yet louder
acclamations ; and he had many more admirers of this gen-
erous superiority to avarice, than of the bravery he had
shown in battle. The very persons who conceived some
envy and despite to see him so specially honored, could not
but acknowledge, that one who so nobly could refuse re-
ward, was beyond others worthy to receive it ; and were
more charmed with that virtue which made him despise
advantage, than with any of those former actions that have
gained him his title to it. It is the higher accomplishment
to use money well than to use arms ; but not to need it is
more noble than to use it.

When the noise of approbation and applause ceased,
Cominius, resuming, said : " It is idle, fellow-soldiers, to
force and obtrude those other gifts of ours on one who is
ma willing to accept them; let us, therefore, give him one


of such a kind that he cannot well reject it ; let us pass a
vote, I mean, that he shall hereafter be called Coriolanus,
unless you think that his performance at Corioli has itself
anticipated any such resolution." Hence, therefore, he
had his third name of Coriolanus, making it all the plainer
that Caius was a personal proper name, and the second, or
surname, Marcius, one common to his house and family ;
the third being a subsequent addition which used to be
imposed either from some particular act or fortune, bodily
characteristic, or good quality of the bearer. Just as the
Greeks, too, gave additional names in old time, in some
cases from some achievement, Soter, for example, and
Callinicus; or personal appearance, as Physcon and
Grypus ; good qualities, Euergetes and Philadelphus ; good

Online LibraryPlutarchPlutarch's Lives (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 36)