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much trouble, who at first strove to restrain them with
reason and good counsel, but when he perceived them re-
fractory and unseasonably violent, he gave way to their
impetuous desires, and permitted them to engage with the
enemy, in such sort that they might, being repulsed, yet
not totally routed, become more obedient to his commands
for the future. Which happening as he had anticipated,
he soon rescued them, and brought them safe into his camp.
And after a few days, being willing to encourage them
again, when he had called all his army together, he caused
two horses to be brought into the field, one old, feeble, lean
animal, the other a lusty, strong horse, with a remarkable
thick and long tail. Near the lean one he placed a tall,
strong man, and near the strong young horse a weak,
despicable-looking fellow ; and at a sign given, the strong
man took hold of the weak horse's tail with both his hands,
and drew it to him with his whole force, as if he would
pull it off ; the other, the weak man, in the mean time, set
to work to pluck off hair by hair from the great horse's tail.
And when the strong man had given trouble enough to him-
self in vain, and sufficient diversion to the company, and



8EBTOBIUS. 267

had abandoned his attempt, whilst the weak, pitiful fellow
in a short time and with little pains had left not a hair on
the great horse's tail, Sertorius rose up and spoke to his
army. " You see, fellow-soldiers, that perseverance is more
prevailing than violence, and that many things which can-
not be overcome when they are together, yield themselves
up when taken little by little. Assiduit}' and persistence
are irresistible, and in time overthrow and destroy the
greatest powers whatever. Time being the favorable friend
and assistant of those who use their judgment to await his
occasions, and the destructive enemy of those who are un-
seasonably urging and pressing forward." With a frequent
use of such words and such devices, he soo thed the fierce-
ness of the barbarous people, and taught them to attend
and watch for their opportunities.

Of all his remarkable exploits, none raised greater ad-
miration than that which he put in practice against the
Characitanians. These are a people beyond the river
Tagus, who inhabit neither cities nor towns, but live in a
vast high hill, within the deep dens and caves of the rocks,
the mouths of which open all towards the north. The
country below is of a soil resembling a light clay, so loose
as easily to break into powder, and is not firm enough to
bear any one that treads upon it, and if you touch it in the
least it flies about like ashes or unslacked lime. In any danger
of war, these people descended into their caves, and carry-
ing in their booty and prey along with them, stayed quietly
within, secure from every attack. And when Sertorius,
leaving Metellus some distance off, had placed his camp
near this hill, they slighted and despised him, imagining
that he retired into these parts, being overthrown by the
Romans. And whether out of anger or resentment, or out
f his unwillingness to be thought to fly from his enemies,
early in the morning he rode up to view the situation of
the place. But finding there was no way to come at it, as
he rode about, threatening them in vain and disconcerted*



268 PLUTARCH'S

he took notice that the wind raised the dust and earned it
up towards the caves of the Characitanians, the mouths of
which, as I said before, opened towards the north ; and the
northerly wind, which some call Csecias, prevailing most in
those parts, coming up out of moist plains or mountains
covered with snow, at this particular time, in the heat of
summer, being further supplied and increased by the melt'
ing of the ice in the northern regions, blew a delightful
fresh gale, cooling and refreshing the Characitanians and
their cattle all the day long. Sertorius, considering well
all circumstances in which either the information of the
inhabitants or his own experience had instructed him,
commanded his soldiers to shovel up a great quantity of
this light, dusty earth, to heap it up together, and make a
mount of it over against the hill in which those barbarous
people resided, who, imagining that all this preparation
was for raising a mound to get at them, only mocked and
laughed at it. However, he continued the work till the
evening, and brought his soldiers back into their camp.
The next morning a gentle breeze at first arose, and moved
the lightest parts of the earth and dispersed it about as the
chaff before the wind ; but when the sun coming to be
higher, the strong northerly wind had covered the hills
with the dust, the soldiers came and turned this mound of
earth over and over, and broke the hard clods in pieces,
whilst others on horseback rode through it backward and
forward, and raised a cloud of dust into the air : there with
the wind the whole of it was carried away and blown into
the dwellings of the Characitanians, all lying open to the
north. And there being no other vent or breathing-place
than that through which the Csecias rushed in upon them,
it quickly blinded their eyes and filled their lungs, and all
but choked them, whilst they strove to draw in the rough
air mingled with dust and powdered earth. Nor were
they able, with all they could do, to hold out above two
days, but yielded up themselves on the third, adding, by



SERTORIUS. 269

their defeat, not so much to the power of Sertorius, as to his
renown, in proving that he was able to conquer places by
art, which were impregnable by the force of arms.

So long as he had to do with Metellus, he was thought to
owe his successes to his opponent's age and slow temper,
which were ill suited for coping with the daring and activity
of one who commanded a light army more like a band
of robbers than regular soldiers. But when Pompey also
passed over the Pyrenees, and Sertorius pitched his camp
near him, and offered and himself accepted every occasion
by which military skill could be put to the proof, and in
this contest of dexterity was found to have the better, both
in baffling his enemy's designs and in counter-scheming
himself, the fame of him now spread even to Rome itself,
as the most expert commander of his time. For the renown
of Pompey was not small, who had already won much
honor by his achievements in the wars of Sylla, from whom
he received the title of Magnus, and was called Pompey
the Great ; and who had risen to the honor of a triumph
before the beard had grown on his face. And many cities
which were under Sertorius were on the very eve of revolt-
ing and going over to Pompey, when they were deterred
from it by that great action, amongst others, which he
performed near the city of Lauron, contrary to the expecta-
tion of all.

For Sertorius had laid siege to Lauron, and Pompey
came with his whole army to relieve it ; and there being
a hill near this city very advantageously situated, they
both made haste to take it. Sertorius was beforehand, and
took possession of it first, and Pompey, having drawn down
his forces, was not sorry that it had thus happened, imag-
ining that he had hereby enclosed his enemy between his
own army and the city, and sent in a messenger to the
citizens of Lauron, to bid them be of good courage, and to
come upon their walls, where they might see their besieger
besieged. Sertorius, perceiving their intentions, smiled,



270 PLUTARCH 1 S LIVES.

and said, he would now teach Sylla's scholar, for so he
called Pompey in derision, that it was the part of a general
to look as well behind him as before him, and at the same
time showed them six thousand soldiers, whom he had left
in his former camp, from whence he marched out to take
the hill, where, if Pornpey should assault him, they might
fall upon his rear. Pompey discovered this too late, and
not daring to give battle, for fear of being encompassed,
and yet being ashamed to desert his friends and confeder-
ates in their extreme danger, was thus forced to sit still,
and see them ruined before his face. For the besieged
despaired of relief, and delivered up themselves to Sertorius,
who spared their lives and granted them their liberty, but
burnt their city, not out of anger or cruelty, for of all com-
manders that ever were, Sertorius seemed least of all to
have indulged these passions, but only for the greater
shame and confusion of the admirers of Pompey, and that
it might be reported amongst the Spaniards, that though he
had been so close to the fire which burnt down the city of
his confederates as actually to feel the heat of it, he still
had not dared to make any opposition.

Sertorius, however, sustained many losses ; but he always
maintained himself and those immediately with him unde-
feated, and it was by other commanders under him that
he suffered ; and he was more admired for being able to
repair his losses, and for recovering the victory, than the
Roman generals against him for gaining these advantages ;
as at the battle of the Sucro against Pompey, and at the
battle near Tuttia, against him and Metellus together.
The battle near the Sucro was fought, it is said, through
the impatience of Pompey, lest Metellus should share with
him in the victory, Sertorius being also willing to engage
Pompey before the arrival of Metellus. Sertorius delayed
the time till the evening, considering that the darkness of
the night would be a disadvantage to his enemies, whether
flying or pursuing, being strangers, and having no know!



8ERTORIUS, 27!

edge of the country. When the fight began, it happened
that Sertorius was not placed directly against Pompey, but
against Af ranius, who had command of the left wing of
the Roman army, as he commanded the right wing of his
own ; but when he understood that his left wing began to
give way, and yield to the assault of Pompey, he commit-
ted the care of his right wing to other commanders, and
made haste to relieve those in distress ; and rallying some
that were flying, and encouraging others that still kept
their ranks, he renewed the fight, and attacked the enemy
tn their pursuit so effectively as to cause a considerable
rout, and brought Pompey into great danger of his life.
For after being wounded and losing his horse, he escaped
unexpectedly. For the Africans with Sertorius, who took
Pompey's horse, set out with gold, and covered with rich
trappings, fell out with one another ; and upon the dividing
of the spoil, gave over the pursuit. Afranius, in the mean
time, as soon as Sertorius had left his right wing, to assist
the other part of his army, overthrew all that opposed
him ; and pursuing them to their camp, fell in together
with them, and plundered them till it was dark night ;
knowing nothing of Pompey's overthrow, nor being able
to restrain his soldiers from pillaging; when Sertorius,
returning with victory, fell upon him and upon his men,
who were all in disorder, and slew many of them. And the
next morning he came into the field again well armed, and
offered battle, but perceiving that Metellus was near, he
drew off, and returned to his camp, saying, " If this old
woman had not come up, I would have whipped that boy
soundly, and sent him to Rome."

He was much concerned that his white hind could no-
where be found ; as he was thus destitute of an admirable
contrivance, to encourage the barbarous people, at a time
when he most stood in need of it. Some men, however.
wandering in the night, chanced to meet her, and knowing
her by uer color, took her ; to whom Sertorius promised a



272 PLUTARCH* S LIVES,

good reward, if they would tell no one of it ; and
diately shut her up. A few days after, he appeared in
public with a very cheerful look, and declared to the chief
men of the country that the gods had foretold him in a
dream that some great good fortune should shortly attend
him ; and, taking his seat, proceeded to answer the petitions
of those who applied themselves to him. The keepers oi
the hind, who were not far off, now let her loose, and she
no sooner espied Sertorius, but she came leaping with great
joy to his feet, laid her head upon his knees, and licked his
hands, as she formerly used to do. And Sertorius stroking
her, and making much of her again, with that tenderness
that the tears stood in his eyes, all that were present were
immediately filled with wonder and astonishment, and
accompanying him to his house with loud shouts for joy,
looked upon him as a person above the rank of mortal
men, and highly beloved by the gods ; and were in great
courage and hope for the future.

When he had reduced his enemies to the last extremity,
for want of provision, he was forced to give them battle, in
the plains near Saguntum, to hinder them from foraging
fmd plundering the country. Both parties fought glori-
ously. Memrnius, the best commander in Pompey's army,
was slain in the heat of the battle. Sertorius overthrew
all before him, and with great slaughter of his enemies
pressed forward towards Metellus. This old commander,
making a resistance beyond what could be expected from
one of his years, was wounded with a lance ; an occurrence
which filled all who either saw it or heard of it with
shame, to be thought to have left their general in distress,
but at the same time to provoke them to revenge and fury
against their enemies ; they covered Metellus with their
shields, and brought him off in safety, and then valiantly
repulsed the Spaniards ; and so victory changed sides, and
Sertorius, that he might afford a more secure retreat to his
army, and that fresh forces might more easily be



BERTORITTS. 2?S

retired into a strong city in the mountains. And though
it was the least of his intention to sustain a long siege, yet
he began to repair the walls, and to fortify the gates, thus
deluding his enemies, who came and sat down before the
town, hoping to take it without mucji resistance ; and
meantime gave over the pursuit of the Spaniards, and
allowed opportunity for raising new forces for Sertorius,
to which purpose he had sent commanders to all their
cities, with orders, when they had sufficiently increased
their numbers, to send him word of it. This news he no
sooner received, but he sallied out and forced his way
through his enemies, and easily joined them with the rest
of his army. And having received this considerable rein-
forcement, he set upon the Romans again, and by rapidly
assaulting them, by alarming them on all sides, by ensnar-
ing, circumventing, and laying ambushes for them, he cut
off all provisions by land, while with his piratical vessels
he kept all the coast in awe, and hindered their supplies by
sea. He thus forced the Roman generals to dislodge and
to separate from one another : Metellus departed into Gaul,
and Pompey wintered among the YaccEeans, in a wretched
condition, where, being in extreme want of money, he wrote
a letter to the senate, to let them know that if they did not
speedily supply him, he must draw off his army ; for he
had already spent his own money in the defence of Italy.
To these extremities, the chiefest and the most powerful
commanders of the age were reduced by the skill of Serto-
rius; and it was the common opinion in Rome that ha
would be in Italy before Pompey.

How far Metellus was terrified, and at what rate he es-
teemed him, he plainly declared, when he offered by proc-
lamation an hundred talents and twenty thousand acres
of land to any Roman that should kill him, and leave, if he
were banished, to return ; attempting villanously to buy
his life by treachery, when he despaired of ever being able

to overcome him in open war. And when once he gained
18



274 PL UTA ECW 8 LIVES.

the advantage in a battle against Sertorius, he was id
pleased and transported with his good fortune, that he
caused himself to be publicly proclaimed imperator ;
and all the cities which he visited received him with altars
and sacrifices ; he allowed himself, it is said, to have gar-
lands placed on his head, and accepted sumptuous entertain-
ments, at which he sat drinking in triumphal robes, while
images and figures of victory were introduced by the motion
of machines, bringing in with them crowns and trophies of
gold to present to him, and companies of young men and
women danced before him, and sang to him songs of joy
and triumph, By all which he rendered himself deservedly
ridiculous, for being so excessively delighted and puffed
up with the thoughts of having followed one who was
retiring of his own accord, and for having once had the
better of him whom he used to call Sylla's runaway slave,
and his forces, the remnant of the defeated troops of Carbo.
Sertorius, meantime, showed the loftiness of his temper
in calling together all the Roman senators who had fled
from Rome, and had come and resided with him, and giv-
ing them the name of a senate ; and out of these he chose
praetors and quaestors, and adorned his government with
all the Roman laws and institutions. And though he made
use of the arms, riches, and cities of the Spaniards, yet he
would never, even in word, remit to them the imperial
authority, but set Roman officers and commanders over
them, intimating his purpose to restore liberty to the
Romans, not to raise up the Spaniard's power against
them. For he was a sincere lover of his country, and had
a great desire to return home ; but in his adverse fortune
he showed undaunted courage, and behaved himself to-
wards his enemies in a manner free from all dejection and
mean-spiritedness ; and when he was in his prosperity, and
in the height of his victories, he sent word to Metellus and
Pompey, that he was ready to lay down his arms, and live
% private life, if he were allowed to return home, declaring



275

that he had rather live as the meanest citizen in Rome v
than, exiled from it, be supreme commander of all other
cities together. And it is thought that his great desire for
his country was in no small measure promoted by the ten-
derness he had for his mother, under whom he was brought
up after the death of his father, and upon whom he had
placed his entire affection. And after that his friends had
sent for him into Spain to be their general, as soon as he
heard of his mother's death, he had almost cast away him-
self and died for grief ; for he lay seven days together con-
tinually in his tent, without giving the word, or being seen
by the nearest of his friends ; and when the chief com-
manders of the army and persons of the greatest note came
about his tent, with great difficulty they prevailed with
him at last to come abroad, and speak to his soldiers, and
to take upon him the management of affairs, which were
in a prosperous condition. And thus, to many men's judg-
ment, he seemed to have been in himself of a mild and com-
passionate temper, and naturally given to ease and quiet-
ness, and to have accepted of the command of military
forces contrary to his own inclination, and not being able
to live in safety otherwise, to have been driven by his
enemies to have recourse to arms, and to espouse the wars
as a necessary guard for the defence of his person.

His negotiations with king Mithridates further argue the
greatness of his mind. For when Mithridates recovering
himself from his overthrow by Sylla, like a strong wrestler
*that gets up to try another fall, was again endeavoring to
re-establish his power in Asia, at this time the great fame of
Sertorius was celebrated in all places ; and when the mer-
chants who came out of the western parts of Europe, bring-
ing these, as it were, among their other foreign wares, had
filled the kingdom of Pontus with their stories of his ex-
ploits in war, Mithridates was extremely desirous to send ail
embassy to him, being also highly encouraged to it by the
boastings of his flattering courtiers, who, comparing Mith-



276 PL trTARCtt '8 LIVES.

ridates to Pyrrhus, and Sertorius to Hannibal, professed
that the Romans would never be able to make any con
Biderable resistance against such great forces, and such ad-
mirable commanders, when they should be set upon on both
sides at once, on one by the most warlike general, and on
the other by the most powerful prince in existence.

Accordingly, Mithridates sends ambassadors into Spain
to Sertorius with letters and instructions, and commission to
promise ships and money toward the charge of the war, if
Sertorius would confirm his pretensions upon Asia, and au-
thorize him to possess all that he had surrendered to the
Romans in his treaty with Sylla. Sertorius summoned a
full council which he called a senate, where, when others
joyfully approved of the conditions, and were desirous im-
mediately to accept of his offer, seeing that he desired noth-
ing of them but a name, and an empty title to places not
in their power to dispose of, in recompense of which they
should be supplied with what they then stood most in need
of, Sertorius would by no means agree to it ; declaring that
he was willing that king Mithridates should exercise all
royal power and authority over Bithynia and Cappadocia,
countries accustomed to a monarchical government, and not
belonging to Rome, but he could never consent that he
should seize or detain a province, which, by the justest
right and title, was possessed by the Romans, which Mith-
ridates had formerly taken away from them, and had
afterwards lost in open war to Fimbria, and quitted upon
a treaty of peace with Sylla. For he looked upon it as hi
duty to enlarge the Roman possessions by his conquering
arms, and not to increase his own power by the diminution
of the Roman territories. Since a noble-minded man,
though he willingly accepts of victory when it comes
with honor, will never so much as endeavor to save his
own life upon any dishonorable terms.

"When this was related to Mithridates, he was struck
With amazement, and said to his intimate friends, " What



8ERTORIUS. 271

mil Sertorius enjoin us to do when he comes to be seated in
the Palatium in Rome, who at present, when he is driven
out to the borders of the Atlantic Sea, sets bounds to our
kingdoms in the east, and threatens us with war, if we
attempt the recovery of Asia ? ' However, they solemnly,
upon oath, concluded a league between them, upon these
terms : that Mithridates should enjoy the free possession
of Cappadocia and Bithynia, and that Sertorius should
send him soldiers and a general for his army, in recom-
pense of which the king was to supply him with three
thousand talents and forty ships. Marcus Marius, a Roman
senator who had quitted Rome to follow Sertorius, was sent
general into Asia, in company with whom, when Mithri-
dates had reduced divers of the Asian cities, Marius made
his entrance with rods and axes carried before him, and
Mithridates followed in the second place, voluntarily wait-
ing upon him. Some of these cities he set at liberty, and
others he freed from taxes, signifying to them that these
privileges were granted to them by the favor of Sertorius,
and hereby Asia, which had been miserably tormented by the
revenue farmers, and oppressed by the insolent pride and
covetousness of the soldiers, began to rise again to new
hopes and to look forward with joy to the expected change
of government.

But in Spain, the senators about Sertorius, and others of
the nobility, finding themselves strong enough for their
enemies, no sooner laid aside fear, but their minds were
possessed by envy and irrational jealousies of Sertorius's
power. And chiefly Perpenna, elevated by the thoughts
of his noble birth, and carried away with a fond ambition
of commanding the army, threw out villanous discourses
in private amongst his acquaintance. " What evil genius,"
he would say, "hurries us perpetually from worse to
worse ? We who disdained to obey the dictates of Sylla,
the ruler of the sea and land, and thus to live at home in
peace and quiet, are come hither to our destruction, hoping



278 PLUTARCH 9 S LIVES.

to enjoy our liberty, and have made ourselves slaves of oui
own accord ; and are become the contemptible guards and
attendants of the banished Sertorius, who, that he may
expose us the further, gives us a name that renders us
ridiculous to all that hears it, and calls us the Senate, when
at the same time he makes us undergo as much hard labor,
and forces us to be as subject to his haughty commands
and insolences as any Spaniards and Lusitanians." With
these mutinous discourses, he seduced them ; and though
the greater number could not be led into open rebellion
against Sertorius, fearing his power, they were prevailed



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