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plutarch's Lives




Sometime Fellow and Tutor of Oriel College, Oxford, and Late

Professor of the English Language and Literature

at University College, London.

Volume HI.







Lysander 1

Sylla 84

Comparison of Lysander with Sylla. ... ar

Chnon 8>

Lucullus , Hi

Comparison of Lucullus with Cimon 162

Nicias 168

Crassus J04

Comparison of Crassus with Nicias S44

Sertorms 347

Eumenes 281

Comparison of Sertorms witn Eumenes, ......,.,,...,....,..,. 303

Agesilaus ,,,.... ,...., ,.,..,... 305

Pompey . . . . , 850

Comparison of Pompey and AgesUatiB. ....*, ..*...... 6 ..... 445



THE treasure-chamber of the Acanthians at Delphi na*
this inscription : " The spoils which Brasidas and the
Acanthians took from the Athenians." And, accordingly,
many take the marble statue, which stands within the
building by the gates, to be Brasidas's ; but, indeed, it is
Lysander's, representing him with his hair at full length,
after the old fashion, and with an ample beard. Neither
is it true, as some give out, that because the Argives, after
their great defeat, shaved themselves for sorrow, that the
Spartans contrarywise triumphing in their achievements,
suffered their hair to grow ; neither did the Spartans come
to be ambitious of wearing long hair, because the Bac-
chiada3, who fled from Corinth to Lacedsemon, looked mean
and unsightly, having their heads all close cut. But this,
also, is indeed one of the ordinances of Lycurgus, who, as
it is reported, was used to say, that long hair made good-
looking men more beautiful, and ill-looking men more

Lysander's father is said to have been Aristoclitus, who
was not indeed of the royal family but yet of the stock of
the Heraclidse. He was brought up in poverty, and showed
himself obedient and conformable, as ever any one did, to
the customs of his country ; of a manly spirit, also, and

superior to all pleasures, excepting only that which their



good actions bring to those who are honored and success-
ful ; and it is accounted no base thing in Sparta for their
young men to be overcome with this kind of pleasure.
For they are desirous, from the very first, to have their
youth susceptible to good and bad repute, to feel pain at
disgrace, and exultation at being commended ; and any
one who is insensible and unaffected in these respects is
thought poor-spirited and of no capacity for virtue. Am-
bition and the passion for distinction were thus implanted
in his character by his Laconian education, nor, if they
continued there, must we blame his natural disposition
much for this. But he was submissive to great men, be-
yond what seems agreeable to the Spartan temper, and
could easily bear the haughtiness of those who were in
power, when it was any way for his advantage, which
some are of opinion is no small part of political discretion.
Aristotle, who says all great characters are more or less
atrabilious, as Socrates and Plato and Hercules were,
writes that Lysander, not indeed early in life, but when he
was old, became thus affected. What is singular in his
character is that he endured poverty very well, and that
he was not at all enslaved or corrupted by wealth, and yet
he filled his country with riches and the love of them, and
took away from them the glory of not admiring money ;
importing amongst them an abundance of gold and silver
after the Athenian war, though keeping not one drachma
for himself, When Dionysius, the tyrant, sent his daughters
some costly gowns of Sicilian manufacture, he would not
receive them, saying he was afraid they would make them
look more unhandsome. But a while after, being sent am-
bassador from the same city to the same tyrant, when he
had sent him a couple of robes, and bade him choose which
of them he would, and carry to his daughter : " She," said
he, " will be able to choose best for herself," and taking
both of them, went his way.
The Pelopoimesian war having now been carried on a


long time, and it being expected, after the disaster of the
Athenians hi Sicily, that they would at once lose the
mastery of the sea, and ere long be routed everywhere,
Alcibiades, returning from banishment, and taking the
command, produced a great change, and made the Athenians
again a match for their opponents by sea ; and the Lace-
daemonians, in great alarm at this, and calling up fresh
courage and zeal for the conflict, feeling the want of an
able commander and of a powerful armament, sent out
Ly sander to be admiral of the seas. Being at Ephesus,
and finding the city well affected towards him, and favor-
able to the Lacedaemonian party, but in ill condition, and
in danger to become barbarized by adopting the manners
of the Persians, who were much mingled among them, the
country of Lydia bordering upon them, and the king's
generals being quartered there for a long time, he pitched
his camp there, and commanded the merchant ships all
about to put in thither, and proceeded to build ships of
war there ; and thus restored their ports by the traffic he
created, and their market by the employment he gave, and
filled their private houses and their workshops with wealth,
so that from that time the city began, first of all, by
Lysander's means, to have some hopes of growing to that
stateliness and grandeur which now it is at.

Understanding that Cyrus, the king's son, was come to
Sardis, he went up to talk with him, and to accuse Tisa
phernes, who, receiving a command to help the Lacedaemo-
nians, and to drive the Athenians from the sea, was thought,
on account of Alcibiades, to have become remiss and un-
willing, and by paying the seamen slenderly to be ruining
the fleet. Now Cyrus was willing that Tisaphernes might
be found in blame, and be ill reported of, as being, indeed,
a dishonest man, and privately at feud with himself. By
these means, and by their daily intercourse together, Ly-
sander, especially by the submissiveness of his conversation,
won the affection of the young prince, and greatly rcased


him to carry on the war ; and when he would depart, Cyrus
gave him a banquet, and desired him not to refuse his good-
will, but to speak and ask whatever he had a mind to,
and that he should not be refused anything whatsoever :
" Since you are so very kind," replied Lysander, " I ear-
nestly request you to add one penny to the seamen's pay,
that instead of three pence, they may now receive four
pence." Cyrus, delighted with his public spirit, gave him
ten thousand darics, out of which he added the penny to
the seamen's pay, and by the renown of this in a short time
emptied the ships of the enemies, as many would come
over to that side which gave the most pay, and those who
remained, being disheartened and mutinous, daily created
trouble to the captains. Yet for all Lysander had so dis-
tracted and weakened his enemies, he was afraid to engage
by sea, Alcibiades being an energetic commander, and having
the superior number of ships, and having been hitherto, in
all battles, unconquered both by sea and land.

But afterwards, when Alcibiades sailed from Samos to
Phocsea, leaving Antiochus, the pilot, in command of all his
forces, this Antiochus, to insult Lysander, sailed with two
galleys into the port of the Ephesians, and with mocking
and laughter proudly rowed along before the place where
the ships lay drawn up. Lysander, in indignation, launched
at first a few ships only and pursued him, but as soon as
he saw the Athenians come to his help, he added some
other ships, and, at last, they fell to a set battle together ;
and Lysander won the victory, and taking fifteen of their
ships, erected a trophy. For this, the people in the city
being angry, put Alcibiades out of command, and finding
himself despised by the soldiers in Samos, and ill spoken of,
he sailed from the army into the Chersonese. And this
battle, although not important in itself, was made remark-
able by its consequences to Alcibiades.

Lysander, meanwhile, inviting to Ephesus such persons in
the various cities as he saw to be bolder and haughtier-spir


ited than the rest, proceeded to lay the foundations of that
government by bodies of ten, and those revolutions which
afterwards came to pass, stirring up and urging them to
unite in clubs, and apply themselves to public affairs, since
as soon as ever the Athenians should be put down, the
popular government, he said, should be suppressed and they
should become supreme in their several countries. And
he made them believe these things by present deeds, pro-
moting those who were his friends already to great em-
ployments, honors, and offices, and, to gratify their covet-
ousness, making himself a partner in injustice and wicked-
ness. So much so, that all flocked to him, and courted and
desired him, hoping, if he remained in power, that the high-
est wishes they could form would all be gratified. And
therefore, from the very beginning, they could not look pleas*
antly upon Callicratidas, when he came to succeed Lysan-
der as admiral ; nor, afterwards, when he had given them ex-
perience that he was a most noble and just person, were they
pleased with the manner of his government, and its straight-
forward, Dorian, honest character. They did, indeed,
admire his virtue, as they might the beauty of some hero's
image ; but their wishes were for Lysander's zealous and
profitable support of the interests of his friends and par-
tisans, and they shed tears, and were much disheartened
when he sailed from them. He himself made them yet
more disaffected to Callicratidas ; for what remained of the
money which had been given him to pay the navy, he sent
back again to Sardis, bidding them, if they would, apply
to Callicratidas himself, and see how he was able to main-
tain the soldiers. And, at the last, sailing away, he
declared to him that he delivered up the fleet in posses-
sion and command of the sea. But Callicratidas, to expose
the emptiness of these high pretensions, said, "In that
case, leave Samos on the left hand, and sailing to Miletus,
there deliver up the ships to me ; for if we are masters
of the sea, we need not fear sailing by our enemies ia


Samos." To which Lysander answering, that not himself,
but he commanded the ships, sailed to Peloponnesus, leav-
ing Callicratidas in great perplexity. For neither had he
brought any money from home with him, nor could ha
endure to tax the towns or force them, being in hardship
enough. Therefore, the only course that was to be taken
was to go and beg at the doors of the king's commanders,
as Lysander had done ; for which he was most unfit of any
man, being of a generous and great spirit, and one who
thought it more becoming for the Greeks to suffer any
damage from one another, than to flatter and wait at the
gates of barbarians, who, indeed, had gold enough, but
nothing else that was commendable. But being compelled
by necessity, he proceeded to Lydia, and went at once to
Cyrus's house, and sent in word, that Callicratidas, the
admiral, was there to speak with him ; one of those who
kept the gates replied, " Cyrus, O stranger, is not now at
leisure, for he is drinking." To which Callicratidas
answered, most innocently, " Very well, I will wait till he
has done his draught." This time, therefore, they took
him for some clownish fellow, and he withdrew, merely
laughed at by the barbarians ; but when, afterwards, he
came a second time to the gate, and was not admitted, he
took it hardly and set off for Ephesus, wishing a great
many evils to those who first let themselves be insulted
over by these barbarians, and taught them to be insolent
because of their riches ; and added vows to those who
were present, that as soon as ever he came back to Sparta,
he would do all he could to reconcile the Greeks, that they
might be formidable to barbarians, and that they should
cease henceforth to need their aid against one another. But
Callicratidas, who entertained purposes worthy a Lace-
daemonian, and showed himself worthy to compete with
the very best of Greece, for his justice, his greatness of
mind and courage, not long after, having been beaten in a
sea fight at Arginusse, died*


And now, affairs going backwards, the associates in the
war sent an embassy to Sparta, requiring Lysander to be
their admiral, professing themselves ready to undertake
the business much more zealously if he was commander ',
and Cyrus also sent to request the same thing. But
because they had a law which would not suffer any one to
be admiral twice, and wished, nevertheless, to gratify their
allies, they gave the title of admiral to one Aracus, and
sent Lysander nominally as vice-admiral, but, indeed, with
full powers. So he came out, long wished for by the
greatest part of the chief persons and leaders in the towns,
who hoped to grow to greater power still by his means,
when the popular governments should be everywhere

But to those who loved honest and noble behavior in
their commanders, Lysander, compared with Callieratidas,
seemed cunning and subtle, managing most things in the
war by deceit, extolling what was just when it was profit-
able, and when it was not, using that which was conve-
nient, instead of that which was good ; and not judging
truth to be in nature better than falsehood, but setting a
value upon both according to interest. He would laugh at
those who thought Hercules's posterity ought not to use
deceit in war : " For where the lion's skin will not reach,
you must patch it out with the fox's." Such is the con-
duct recorded of him in the business about Miletus ; for
when his friends and connections, whom he had promised
to assist in suppressing popular government, and expelling
their political opponents, had altered their minds, and were
reconciled to their enemies, he pretended openly as if he
was pleased with it, and was desirous to further the rec.
onciliation, but privately he railed at and abused them,
and provoked them to set upon the multitude. And as
soon as ever be perceived a new attempt to be commencing,
he at once came up and entered into the city, and the first
of the conspirators he lit upon, he pretended to rebuke, and


spoke roughly, as if he would punish them ; out the others^
meantime, he bade be courageous, and to fear nothing, now
he was with them. And all this acting and dissembling
was with the object that the most considerable men of the
popular party might not fly away, but might stay in the
city and be killed ; which so fell out, for all who believed
him were put to death.

There is a saying also, recorded by Androclides, which '
makes him guilty of great indifference to the obligations of
an oath. His recommendation, according to this account,
was to " cheat boys with dice, and men with oaths," an
imitation of Polycrates of Samos, not very honorable to a
lawful commander, to take example, namely, from a tyrant ;
nor in character with Laconian usages, to treat gods as ill
as enemies, or, indeed, even more injuriously ; since he who
overreaches by an oath admits that he fears his enemy,
while he despises his God.

Cyrus now sent for Lysander to Sardis, and gave him
some money, and promised him some more, youthfully pro-
testing in favor to him, that if his father gave him noth-
ing, he would supply him of his own ; and if he himself
should be destitute of all, he would cut up, he said, to make
money, the very throne upon which he sat to do justice, it
being made of gold and silver ; and, at last, on going up
into Media to his father, he ordered that he should re-
ceive the tribute of the towns, and committed his govern-
ment to him, and so taking his leave, and desiring him not
to fight by sea before he returned, for he would come back
with a great many ships out of Phoenicia and Cilicia, de-
parted to visit the king.

Lysander's ships were too few for him to venture to fight,
and yet too many to allow of his remaining idle ; he set out,
therefore, and reduced some of the islands, and wasted
JEgina and Salamis ; and from thence landing in Attica,
and saluting Agis, who came from Decelea to meet him, h
made a display to the land-forces of the strength af Ida


fleet, as though he could sail where he pleased, and were
absolute master by sea. But hearing the Athenians pur-
sued him, he fled another way through the island into
Asia. And finding the Hellespont without any defence, he
attacked Lampsacus with his ships by sea ; while Thorax,
acting in concert with him with the land army, made an
assault on the walls; and so having taken the city by
storm, he gave it up to his soldiers to plunder. The fleet
of the Athenians, a hundred and eighty ships, had just
arrived at Elseus in the Chersonese ; and hearing the news,
that Lampsacus was destroyed, they presently sailed to
Sestos ; where, taking in victuals, they advanced to .^Egos
Potami, over against their enemies, who were still stationed
about Lampsacus. Amongst other Athenian captains who
were now in command was Philocles, he who persuaded
the people to pass a decree to cut off the right thumb of
the captives in the war, that they should not be able to hold
the spear, though they might the oar.

Then they all rested themselves, hoping they should
have battle the next morning. But Lysander had other
things in his head ; he commanded the mariners and pilots
to go on board at dawn, as if there should be a battle as
soon as it was day, and to sit there in order, and without
any noise, excepting what should be commanded, and in
like manner that the land army should remain quietly in
their ranks by the sea. But the sun rising, and the Athe-
nians sailing up with their whole fleet in line, and challeng-
ing them to battle, he, though he had had his ships all
drawn up and manned before daybreak, nevertheless did
not stir. He merely sent some small boats to those who
lay foremost, and bade them keep still and stay in their
order ; not to be disturbed, and none of them to sail out and
offer battle. So about evening, the Athenians sailing back,
he would not let the seamen go out of the ships before two
or three, which he had sent to espy, were returned, after
seeing the enemies disembark. And thus they did the next


day. and the third, and so to the fourth. So that the Athe*
nians grew extremely confident, and disdained their ene
mies as if they had been afraid and daunted. At this time,
Alcibiades, who was in his castle in the Chersonese, came
on horseback to the Athenian army, and found fault with
their captains, first of all that they had pitched their camp
neither well nor safely on an exposed and open beach, a very
bad landing for the ships, and secondly, that where they
were, they had to fetch all they wanted from Sestos, some
considerable way off ; whereas if they sailed round a little
way to the town and harbor of Sestos, they would be at
a safer distance from an enemy, who lay watching their
movements, at the command of a single general, terror of
whom made every order rapidly executed. This advice,
however, they would not listen to ; and Tydeus answered
disdainfully, that not he, but others, were in office now.
So Alcibiades, who even suspected there must be treachery,

But on the fifth day, the Athenians having sailed to-
wards them, and gone back again as they were used to do,
very proudly and full of contempt, Lysander sending some
ships, as usual, to look out, commanded the masters of them
that when they saw the Athenians go to land, they should
row back again with all their speed, and that when they
were about half-way across, they should lift up a brazen
shield from the foredeck, as the sign of battle. And
he himself sailing round, encouraged the pilots and masters
of the ships, and exhorted them to keep all their men to
their places, seamen and soldiers alike, and as soon as ever
the sign should be given, to row up boldly to their enemies.
Accordingly, when the shield had been lifted up from the
ships, and the trumpet from the admiral's vessel had
sounded for the battle, the ships rowed up, and the foot
soldiers strove to get along by the shore to the promontory,
The distance there between the two continents is fifteen
furlongs, which, by the zeal and eagerness of the rowers.


Was quickly traversed Conon, one of the Athenian com-
manders, was the first who saw from the land the fleet ad-
vancing, and shouted out to embark, and in the greatest
distress hade some and entreated others, and some he forced
to man the ships. But all his diligence signified nothing,
because the men were scattered about ; for as soon as they
came out of the ships, expecting no such matter, some went
to market, others walked about the country, or went to
sleep hi their tents, or got their dinners ready, being, through
their commanders' want of skill, as far as possible from any
thought of what was to happen ; and the enemy now coming
up with shouts and noise, Conon, with eight ships, sailed out,
and making his escape, passed from thence to Cyprus, to
Evagoras. The Peloponnesians fallirfg upon the rest, some
they took quite empty, and some they destroyed while
they were filling; the men, meantime, coming unarmed and
scattered to help, died at their ships, or, flying by land,
were slain, their enemies disembarking and pursuing them.
Lysander took three thousand prisoners, with the generals,
and the whole fleet, excepting the sacred ship Paralus, and
those which fled with Conon. So taking their ships in tow,
and having plundered their tents, with pipe and songs of
victory, he sailed back to Lampsacus, having accomplished
a great work with small pains, and having finished in one
hour a war which had been protracted in its continuance,
and diversified in its incidents and in its fortunes to a de-
gree exceeding belief, compared with all before it. After
altering its shape and character a thousand times, and
after having been the destruction of more commanders
than all the previous wars of Greece put together, it was
now put an end to by the good counsel and ready conduct
of one man.

Some, therefore, looked upon the result as a divine inter-
vention, and there were certain who affirmed that the stars
of Castor and Pollux were seen on each side of Lysander's
ship, when he first set sail from the haven toward his


enemies, shining about the helm ; and some say the stone
which fell down was a sign of this slaughter. For a stone
of a great size did fall, according to the common belief,
from heaven, at JEgos Potami, which is shown to this day,
and held in great esteem by the Chersonites. And it is
said that Anaxagoras foretold, that the occurrence of a slip
or shake among the bodies fixed in the heavens, dislodging
any one of them, would be followed by the fall of the whole
of them. For no one of the stars is now in the same place
in which it was at first ; for they, being according to him,
like stones and heavy, shine by the refraction of the upper
air round about them, and are carried along forcibly by
the violence of the circular motion by which they were
originally withheld from falling, when cold and heavy
bodies were first separated from the general universe. But
there is a more probable opinion than this maintained by
some, who say that falling stars are no effluxes, nor dis-
charges of ethereal fire, extinguished almost at the instant
of its igniting by the lower air ; neither are they the sudden
combustion and blazing up of a quantity of the lower air
let loose in great abundance into the upper region ; but the
heavenly bodies, by a relaxation of the force of their cir-

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