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flying part, and those who were still disembarking and
coining forward, falling foul of the retreaters, came inta
conflict with their own party, taking the fugitives for pur
suers, and treating their friends as if they were the enemy.

Thus huddled together in disorder, distracted with fear
and uncertainties, and unable to be sure of seeing anything,
the night not being absolutely dark, nor yielding any steady
light, the moon then towards setting, shadowed with the
many weapons and bodies that moved to and fro, and
glimmering so as not to show an object plain, but to make
friends through fear suspected for foes, the Athenians fell
into utter perplexity and desperation. For, moreover, they
had the moon at their backs, and consequently their own
shadows fell upon them, and both hid the number and the
glittering of their arms ; while the reflection of the moon
from the shields of the enemy made them show more nu-
merous and better appointed than, indeed, they were. At
last, being pressed on every side, when once they had given
way, they took to rout, and in their flight were destroyed,
some by the enemy, some by the hand of their friends, and
some tumbling down the rocks, while those that were dis-
persed and straggled about were picked off in the morning
by the horsemen and put to the sword. The slain were two
thousand ; and of the rest few came oft safe with their arms

Upon this disaster, which to him was not wholly an unex-
pected one, Nicias accused the rashness of Demosthenes ;
but he, making his excuses for the past, now advised to be
gone in all haste, for neither were other forces to come, nor
could the enemy be beaten with the present. And, indeed,
even supposing they were yet too hard for the enemy in any
case, they ought to remove and quit a situation which thej
understood to be always accounted a sickly one, and danger

KICIAS. 19ft

ous for an army, and was more particularly unwholesome
now, as they could see themselves, because of the time of
year. It was the beginning of autumn, and many now lay
sick, and all were out of heart.

It grieved Kicias to hear of flight and departing home,
not that he did not fear the Syracusans, but he was worse
afraid of the Athenians, their impeachments and sentences;
he professed that he apprehended no further harm there,
or if it must be, he would rather die by the hand of an
enemy than by his fellow-citizens. He was not of the
opinion which Leo of Byzantium declared to his fellow-
citizens : " I had rather," said he, " perish by you, than
with you." As to the matter of place and quarter whither
to remove their camp, that, he said, might be debated at
leisure. And Demosthenes, his former counsel having
succeeded so ill, ceased to press him further ; others thought
Nicias had reasons for expectation, and relied on some as-
surance from people within the city, and that this made
him so strongly oppose their retreat, so they acquiesced.
But fresh forces now coming to the Syracusans and the
sickness growing worse in his camp, he, also, now approved
of their retreat, and commanded the soldiers to make
ready to go abroad.

And when all were in readiness, and none of the enemy
had observed them, not expecting such a thing, the moon
was eclipsed in the night, to the great fright of Kicias and
others, who, for want of experience, or out of superstition,
felt alarm at such appearances. That the sun might be
darkened about the close of the month, this even ordinary
people now understood pretty well to be the effect of the
moon ; but the moon itself to be darkened, how that could
come about, and how, on the sudden, a broad full moon
should lose her light, and show such various colors, was
not easy to be comprehended; they concluded it to be
ominous, and a divine intimation of some heavy calamities.
For he who the first, and the most plainly of any, and wttfc


th greatest assurance committed to writing how the moon
is enlightened and overshadowed, was Anaxagoras ; and
he was as yet but recent, nor was his argument much
known, but was rather kept secret, passing only amongst
a few, under some kind of caution and confidence. People
would not then tolerate natural philosophers, and the-
orists, as they then called them, about things above ; as
lessening the divine power, by explaining away its agency
into the operation of irrational causes and senseless forces
acting by necessity, without anything of Providence, or a
free agent. Hence it was that Protagoras was banished,
and Anaxagoras cast in prison, so that Pericles had much
difficulty to procure his liberty ; and Socrates, though he
had no concern whatever with this sort of learning, yet
was put to death for philosophy. It was only afterwards
that the reputation of Plato, shining forth by his life, and
because he subjected natural necessity to divine and more
excellent principles, took away the obloquy and scandal
that had attached to such contemplations, and obtained
these studies currency among all people. So his friend
Dion, when the moon, at the time he was to embark from
Zacynthus to go against Dionysius, was eclipsed, was not
in the least disturbed, but went on, and arriving at
Syracuse, expelled the tyrant. But it so fell out with
Nicias, that he had not at this time a skilful diviner with
him ; his former habitual adviser who used to moderate
much of his superstition, Stilbides, had died a little before
For, in fact, this prodigy, as Philochorus observes, was not
unlucky for men wishing to fly, but on the contrary very
favorable ; for things done in fear require to be hidden, and
the light is their foe. Nor was it usual to observe signs in
the sun or moon more than three days, as Autoclides
states in his Commentaries. But Nicias persuaded them to
wait another full course of the moon, as if he had not seen
it clear again as soon as ever it had passed the region of
shadow where the light was obstructed by the earth.


NICIA8. 197

In a manner abandoning all other cares, he betook him*
self wholly to his sacrifices, till the enemy came upon them
with their infantry, besieging the forts and camp, and plac-
ing their ships in a circle about the harbor. Nor did the
men in the galleys only, but the little boys everywhere got
into the fishing-boats and rowed up and challenged the
Athenians, and insulted over them. Amongst these a
youth of noble parentage, Heraclides by name, having vent-
ured out beyond the rest, an Athenian ship pursued and
well-nigh took him. His uncle Pollichus, in fear for him,
put out with ten galleys which he commanded, and the
rest, to relieve Pollichus, in like manner drew forth ; the
result of it being a very sharp engagement, hi which the
Syracusans had the victory, and slew Eurymedon, with
many others. After this the Athenian soldiers had no
patience to stay longer, but raised an outcry against their
officers, requiring them to depart by land ; for the Syra-
cusans, upon their victory, immediately shut and blocked
up the entrance of the harbor; but Nicias would not con-
sent to this, as it was a shameful thing to leave behind so
many ships of burden, and galleys little less than two hun-
dred. Putting, therefore, on board the best of the foot,
and the most serviceable darters, they filled one hundred
and ten galleys ; the rest wanted oars. The remainder of
his army Nicias posted along by the seaside, abandoning
the g.'eat camp and the fortifications adjoining the temple
of Hercules ; so the Syracusans, not having for a long time
performed their usual sacrifice to Hercules, went up now y
both priests and captains, to sacrifice.

And their galleys being manned, the diviners predicted
from their sacrifices victory and glory to the Syracusans,
provided they would not be the aggressors, but fight upon
the defensive; for so Hercules overcame all, by only de-
fending himself when set upon. In this confidence they
set out ; and this proved the hottest and fiercest of all their
sea-fights, raising no less concern and passion in the


holders than in the actors ; as they could oversee the whok
action with all the various and unexpected turns of fort-
une which, in a short space, occurred in it ; the Athenians
suffering no less from their own preparations, than from
the enemy ; for they fought against light and nimble ships,
that could attack from any quarter, with theirs laden and
heavy. And they were thrown at with stones that fly in-
differently any way, for which they could only return darts
and arrows, the direct aira of which "ihe motion of the water
disturbed, preventing their coming true, point foremost to
their mark. This the Syracusans had learned from Aris-
ton the Corinthian pilot, who, fighting stoutly, fell himself
in this very engagement, when the victory had already
declared for the Syracusans.

The Athenians, their loss and slaughter being very great,
their flight by sea cut off, their safety by land so difficult,
did not attempt to hinder the enemy towing away their
ships, under their eyes, nor demanded their dead, as,
indeed, their want of burial seemed a less calamity than
the leaving behind the sick and wounded which they now
had before them. Yet more miserable still than those did
they reckon themselves, who were to work on yet, through
more such sufferings, after all to reach the same end.

They prepared to dislodge that night. And Gylippus
and his friends seeing the Syracusans engaged in their
sacrifices and at their cups, for their victories, and it being
also a holiday, did not expect either by persuasion or by
force to rouse them up and carry them against the Athe-
nians as they decamped. But Hermocrates, of his own head,
put a trick upon Nicias, and sent some of his companions
to him, who pretended they came from those that were
wont to hold secret intelligence with him, and advised him
not to stir that night, the Syracusans having laid ambushes
and beset the ways. Nicias, caught with this stratagem,
remained, to encounter presently in reality what he had
Heared when there was no occasion. For they, the next

&IUXA& 199

morning, marching before, seized the defiles, fortified tha
passes where the rivers were fordable, cut down the bridges,
and ordered their horsemen to range the plains and ground
that lay open, so as to leave no part of the country where
the Athenians could move without fighting. They stayed
both that day and another night, and then went along as
if they were leaving their own, not an enemy's country,
lamenting and bewailing for want of necessaries, and for
their parting from friends and companions that were
not able to help themselves; and, nevertheless, judging
the present evils lighter than those they expected to come.
But among the many miserable spectacles that appeared up
and down in the camp, the saddest sight of all was Nicias
himself, laboring under his malady, and unworthily reduced
to the scantiest supply of all the accommodations necessary
for human wants, of which he in his condition required
more than ordinary, because of his sickness ; yet bearing
up under all this illness, and doing and undergoing more
than many in perfect health. And it was plainly evident
that all this toil was not for himself, or from any regard
to his own life, but that purely for the sake of those under
his command he would not abandon hope. And, indeed,
the rest were given over to weeping and lamentation
through fear or sorrow, but he, whenever he yielded to
anything of the kind, did so, it was evident, from reflection
upon the shame and dishonor of the enterprise, contrasted
with the greatness and glory of the success he had antici-
pated, and not only the sight of his person, but, also, the
recollection of the arguments and the dissuasions he used
to prevent this expedition enhanced their sense of the un-
(leservedness of his sufferings, nor had they any heart to
put their trust in the gods, considering that a man so re-
ligious, who had performed to the divine powers so many
and so great acts of devotion, should have no more favorable
treatment than the wickedest and meanest of the army.
Mcias, however, endeavored all the while by his voic%


his countenance, and his carriage, to show himself
defeated by these misfortunes And all along the way
shot at, and receiving wounds eight days continually from
the enemy, he yet preserved the forces with him in a body
entire, till that Demosthenes was taken prisoner with the
party that he led, whilst they fought and made a resistance,
and so got behind and were surrounded near the country
house of Polyzelus, Demosthenes thereupon drew his
sword, and wounded but did not kill himself, the enemy
speedily running in and seizing upon him, So soon as the
Syracusans had gone and informed Nicias of this, and he
had sent some horsemen, and by them knew the certainty
of the defeat of that division, he then vouchsafed to sue to
Gylippus for a truce for the Athenians to depart out of
Sicily, leaving hostages for payment of money that the
Syracusans had expended in the war.

But now they would not hear of these proposals, but
threatening and reviling them, angrily and insultingly con-
tinued to ply their missiles at them, now destitute of every
necessary. Yet Nicias still made good his retreat all that
night, and the next day, through all their darts, made his way
to the river Asinarus. There, however, the enemy encoun-
tering them, drove some into the stream, while others,
ready to die for thirst, plunged in headlong, while they
drank at the same time, and were cut down by their
enemies. And here was the cruellest and the most immod-
erate slaughter. Till at last Nicias falling down to Gylip-
pus, " Let pity, O Gylippus," said he, " move you in your
victory ; not for me, who was destined, it seems, to bring
the glory I once had to this end, but for the other Athe-
nians ; as you well know that the chances of war are com-
mon to all, and the Athenians used them moderately and
mildly towards you in their prosperity."

At these words, and at the sight of Nicias, Gylippus was
somewhat troubled, for he was sensible that the Lacede-
monians had received good offices from Nicias in th laie


treaty, and he thought it would be a great and glorious
thing for him to carry off the chief commanders of the
Athenians alive. He therefore raised Nicias with respect,
and bade him be of good cheer, and commanded his men
to spare the lives of the rest. But the word of command
being communicated slowly, the slain were a far greater
number than the prisoners. Many, however, were privately
conveyed away by particular soldiers. Those taken openly
were hurried together in a mass ; their arms and spoils
hung up on the finest and largest trees along the river.
The conquerors, with garlands on their heads, with their
own horses splendidly adorned, and cropping short the
manes and tails of those of their enemies, entered the city,
having, in the most signal conflict ever waged by Greeks
against Greeks, and with the greatest strength and the
utmost effort of valor and manhood, won a most entire

And a general assembly of the people of Syracuse and
their confederates sitting, Eurycles, the popular leader,
moved; first, that the day on which they took Nicias
should from thenceforward be kept holiday by sacrificing
and forbearing all manner of work, and from the river be
called the Asinarian Feast. This was the twenty-sixth
day of the month Carneus, the Athenian Metagitnion. And
that the servants of the Athenians with the other con-
federates be sold for slaves, and they themselves and the
Sicilian auxiliaries be kept and employed in the quarries,
except the generals, who should be put to death* The
Syracusans favored the proposals, and when Hermocrates
said, that to use well a victory was better than to gain a
victory, he was met with great clamor and outcry. When
Gylippus, also, demanded the Athenian generals to be de-
livered to him, that he might carry them to the Lacedae-
monians, the Syracusans, now insolent with their good-
fortune, gave him ill words. Indeed, before this, even
in the war, they had been impatient at his rough behar*


ior and Lacedaemonian haughtiness, and had, as Timseui
tells us, discovered sordidness and avarice in his character,
dees which may have descended to him from his father
Cleandrides, who was convicted of bribery and banished.
And the very man himself, of the one thousand talents which
Lysander sent to Sparta, embezzled thirty, and hid them
under the tiles of his house, and was detected and shame-
fully fled his country. But this is related more at large in the
life of Lysander. Timseus says that Demosthenes and Nicias
did not die, as Thucydides and Philistus have written, by
the order of the Syracusans, but that upon a message sent
them from Hermocrates, whilst yet the assembly were sit-
ting, by the connivance of some of their guards, they were
enabled to put an end to themselves. Their bodies, how-
ever, were thrown out before the gates and offered for a
public spectacle. And I have heard that to this day in a
temple at Syracuse is shown a shield, said to have been
Nicias's, curiously wrought and embroidered with gold and
purple intermixed. Most of the Athenians perished in the
quarries by diseases and ill diet, being allowed only one
pint of barley every day, and one half pint of water.
Many of them, however, were carried off by stealth, or,
from the first, were supposed to be servants, and were sold
as slaves. These latter were branded on their foreheads
with the figure of a horse. There were, however, Athenians,
who, in addition to slavery, had to endure even this. But
their discreet and orderly conduct was an advantage to
them ; they were either soon set free, or won the respect ot
their masters with whom they continued *o live. Several
were saved for the sake of Euripides, whose poetry, it ap-
pears, was in request among the Sicilians more than among
any of the settlers out of Greece. And when any travellers
arrived that could tell them some passage, or give them
any specimen of his verses, they were delighted to be able
to communicate them to one another. Many of the cap-
tives who got safe back to Athens are said, after they

N1CIA8. 203

reached home, to have gone and made their acknowledg-
ments to Euripides, relating how that some of them had
been released from their slavery by teaching what they
could remember of his poems, and others, when straggling
after the fight, been relieved with meat and drink for re-
peating some of his lyrics. Nor need this be any wonder,
lor it is told that a ship of Caunus fleeing into one of their
narbors for protection, pursued by pirates, was not received,
but forced back, till one asked if they knew any of Euripi-
des's verses, and on their saying they did, they were ad-
mitted, and their ship brought into harbor.

It is said that the Athenians would not believe their loss,


in a great degree because of the person who first brought
them news of it. For a certain stranger, it seems, coming
to Piraeus, and there sitting in a barber's shop, began to
talk of what had happened, as if the Athenians already
knew all that had passed ; which the barber hearing, before
he acquainted anybody else, ran as fast as he could up into
the city, addressed himself to the Archons, and presently
spread it about in the public Place. On which, there being
everywhere, as may be imagined, terror and consterna-
tion, the Archons summoned a general assembly, and there
brought in the man and questioned him how he came to
know. And he, giving no satisfactory account, was taken
for a spreader of false intelligence and a disturber of the
city, and was, therefore, fastened to the wheel and racked
a long time, till other messengers arrived that related the
whole disaster particularly. So hardly was Mcias believed
to have suffered the calamity which he had often predicted



MARCUS CRASSUS, whose father had borne the office of a
censor, and received the honor of a triumph, \vas educated
in a little house together with his two brothers ^r he botb
married in their parents' lifetime ; they kept but ?ne table
amongst them ; all which, perhaps, was not the least reason
of his own temperance and moderation in diet. One of his
brothers dying, he married his widow, by whom he had his
children ; neither was there in these respects any of the
Romans who lived a more orderly life than he did, though
later in life he was suspected to have been too familiar with
one of the vestal virgins, named Licinia, who was, never-
theless, acquitted, upon an impeachment brought against
her by one Plotinus. Licinia stood possessed oi a beautiful
property in the suburbs, which Crassus desiring to pur-
chase at a low price, for this reason was frequent in his
attentions to her, which gave occasion to the scandal, and
his avarice, so to say, serving to clear him of the crime, he
was acquitted. Nor did he leave the lady till he had got the

People were wont to say that the many virtues of Crassus
were darkened by the one vice of avarice, and indeed he
seemed to have no other but that ; for it being the most
predominant, obscured others to which he was inclined.
The arguments in proof of Ms avarice were the vastness of
his estate, and the manner of raising it ; for whereas at first
he was not worth above three hundred talents, yet, though
in the course of his political life he dedicated the tenth of
all he had to Hercules, and feasted the people, and gave to
every citizen corn enough to serve him three months, upon
-justing up his accounts, before he went upon his Parthian


expedition, he found his possessions to amount to seven
thousand one hundred talents ; most of which, if we may
scandal him with a truth, he got by fire and rapine, making
his advantages of the public calamities. For when Sylla
seized the city, and exposed to sale the goods of those that
he had caused to be slain, accounting them booty and spoils,
and, indeed, calling them so too, nd was desirous of making
as many, and as eminent men as he could, partakers in the
crime, Crassus never was the man that refused to accept, or
give money for them. Moreover, observing how extremely
subject the city was to fire and falling down of houses, by
reason of their height and their standing so near together v
he bought slaves that were builders and architects, and
when he had collected these to the number of more than
five hundred, he made it his practice to buy houses that
were on fire, and those in the neighborhood, which, in the
immediate danger and uncertainty the proprietors were
willing to part with for little or nothing, so that the greatest
part of Rome, at one time or other, came into his hands.
Yet for all he had so many workmen, he never built any-
thing but his own house, and used to say that those that
were addicted to building would undo themselves soon
enough without the help of other enemies, And though
he had many silver mines, and much valuable land, and la-
borers to work in it, yet all this was nothing in comparison
of his slaves, such a number and variety did he possess of
excellent readers, amanuenses, silversmiths, stewards and
table- waiters, whose instruction he always attended to him-
self, superintending in person while they learned, and
teaching them himself, accounting it the main duty of a
master to look over the servants that are, indeed, the living
tools of housekeeping ; and in this, indeed, he was in the
right, in thinking, that is, as he used to say, that servants
ought to look after all other things, and the master after
them. For economy, which in things inanimate is but
money-making, when exercised over men becomes policy.


But it was surely a mistaken judgment, when he said m
man was to be accounted rich that could not maintain an
army at his own cost and charges, for war, as Archidamus
well observed, is not fed at a fixed allowance, so that there
is no saying what wealth suffices for it, and certainly it was
one very far removed from that of Marius ; for when he
had distributed fourteen acres of land a man, and under-
stood that some desired more, " God forbid," said he, " that
any Roman should think that too little which is enough to
keep him alive and well."

Crassus, however, was very eager to be hospitable to
strangers ; he kept open house, and to his friends he would
lend money without interest, but called it in precisely at

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