46 Plutarch.

Plutarch's Lives Volume III online

. (page 48 of 55)
Online Library46 PlutarchPlutarch's Lives Volume III → online text (page 48 of 55)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


"enemy" must mean the Macedonians: but we find that they really were
the native Eubœans, led by Kallias of Chalkis, with only a detachment
of Macedonians and some Phokian mercenary troops.]

[Footnote 628: Disregarding Phokion's order, and acting with a
deliberate treason which was accounted at Athens unparalleled,
Plutarchus advanced out of the camp to meet them; but presently fled,
drawing along in his flight the Athenian horse, who had also advanced
in some disorder. - Grote, l.c.]

[Footnote 629: The battle of Chæronea, which took place in August,
B.C. 338.]

[Footnote 630: The Greek is "to offer sacrifice," with the implied
idea of feasting on the animal offered. In the first chapter of this
Life we learn that it was only the less eatable parts of the victim
which were burned. Thus the idea of offering sacrifice always
suggested merry-making and feasting to the Greek mind. Grote says, "We
cannot doubt that the public of Athens, as well as Demosthenes, felt
great joy at an event which seemed to open to them fresh chances of
freedom, and that the motion for a sacrifice of thanksgiving, in spite
of Phokion's opposition, was readily adopted."]

[Footnote 631: This speech of Phokion is given at greater length by
Diodorus, xvii. 15.]

[Footnote 632: A quarter of Athens, probably south of the Acropolis.
See Lieut.-Col. Leake's 'Topography of Athens,' sect. iv.]

[Footnote 633: The original is [Greek: apobatês] ἀποβάτης, which
corresponds to the Latin desultor, meaning one who rode several
horses, leaping from one to the other.]

[Footnote 634: Plutarch's narrative here is misleading, as it seems to
imply that Harpalus gave this money to Charikles _after_ his arrival
in Athens. We know from Theopompus (Fr. 277) that the monument had
been finished some time before Harpalus quitted Asia. Plutarch treats
it as a mean structure, unworthy of the sum expended on it; but both
Dikæarchus and Pausanias describe it as stately and magnificent.
Grote's 'History of Greece,' Part II. ch. xcv., note.]

[Footnote 635: See Life of Demosthenes, ch. xxv.; and Grote, Hist. of
Greece, Part II., ch. xcv.]

[Footnote 636: The Lamian war, so called from the siege of Lamia, in
which Leosthenes perished.]

[Footnote 637: [Greek: Hêbê] Ἥβη, the word here used, means the time
just before manhood, from about fourteen to twenty years of age; at
Sparta it was fixed at eighteen, so that of [Greek: hoi deka aph'
hêbês] οἱ δέκα ἀφ' ἥβης were men of twenty-eight, [Greek: hoi
tettarakonta aph' hêbês] οἱ τετταράκοντα ἀφ' ἥβης men of fifty-eight,
&c. Xen. Hell. 3. 4, 23. Liddell and Scott. Here, therefore, [Greek:
hoi achri heksêkonta aph' hêbês] οἱ ἄχρι ἑκσήκοντα ἀφ' ἥβης must mean
all citizens under about seventy-five years of age.]

[Footnote 638: Rhamnus was a demus of Attica, situated on a small
rocky peninsula on the east coast of Attica, sixty stadia from
Marathon.]

[Footnote 639: In Thessaly. The action was fought B.C. 322. Menon with
his Thessalian horse defeated the Macedonian cavalry, but the Greek
infantry were beaten back by the phalanx, with a loss of 120 men.]

[Footnote 640: Plutarch speaks as if Leonnatus had effected his
junction with Antipater before the action was fought. But the real
truth was that Leonnatus advanced to raise the siege of Lamia, and
that Antiphilus, who was not strong enough to continue the blockade
and fight the relieving force, raised the blockade and moved by rapid
marches to attack Leonnatus apart from Antipater. Through the superior
efficiency of the Thessalian cavalry under Menon, he gained an
important advantage in a cavalry battle over Leonnatus, who was
himself slain. On the very next day Antipater came up, bringing the
troops from Lamia, and took command of the defeated army.]

[Footnote 641: See Smith's Dict. of Antiquities, s.v. Graphé
Paranomon.]

[Footnote 642: Demades, although Plutarch does not mention it,
accompanied Phokion on his first visit to Antipater.]

[Footnote 643: The successor of Plato and Speusippus as presiding
teacher in the school of the Academy.]

[Footnote 644: The expression in the text is vague, but we learn from
other sources that the surrender of at least two other anti-Macedonian
orators was demanded.]

[Footnote 645: Grote.]

[Footnote 646: See vol. i., Life of Alkibiades, ch. 34.]

[Footnote 647: The three sub-divisions of Port Peiræus were named
Kantharus, Aphredisium and Zea. See Leake, 'Topography of Athens,' and
Schol. in Ar. Pac. 144.]

[Footnote 648: The upright threads of the loom are meant, not a large
rope.]

[Footnote 649: Philip Arrhidæus.]

[Footnote 650: Another of the accused.]

[Footnote 651: May.]

[Footnote 652: These words, which I borrow from Clough, express the
meaning to English ears, though the Greek merely is "piled up a
mound."]


LIFE OF CATO.


I. Cato's family derived the origin of its splendour and reputation
from his great-grandfather[653] Cato, a man who had reputation and
power chief among the Romans by reason of his merit, as it has been
written in his Life. Cato was left an orphan with his brother Cæpio
and a sister Porcia. Servilia also was a sister of Cato by the same
mother. All of them were brought up and lived with Livius Drusus,[654]
their mother's uncle, who was then the chief political leader; for he
was a most powerful speaker, and also a man of the best regulated
habits, and in lofty bearing inferior to no Roman. It is said that
Cato from his childhood both in his voice and the expression of his
countenance and even in his amusements gave indication of a character
immovable and impassive and firm in everything. His purposes displayed
a strength in accomplishing his ends which was above his age: and
while he was rough and stubborn towards those who attempted to flatter
him, still more did he show his mastery over all who would try to
terrify him by threats. He was also difficult to move to laughter, and
his countenance was seldom relaxed even into a smile; he was not quick
nor prone to anger, but when he had been moved to anger, he was hard
to pacify. Accordingly when he began to learn, he was dull and slow to
conceive, but when he had conceived, he held fast and remembered well.
And it is generally the case that those who have a good natural
capacity are more ready at recollection,[655] but those have a strong
memory who learn with labour and trouble; for all learning is in a
manner a branding on the mind. It appears too that Cato's difficulty
of persuasion made learning a matter of more labour to him; for
learning is in truth a kind of passive condition, and to be easily
persuaded is incident to those who have less power of resistance. It
is for this reason that young men are more easily persuaded than old
men, and sick persons than those who are whole; and generally, with
those in whom the doubting faculty is weakest, that which is proposed
meets the readiest acceptance. However, they say that Cato was
obedient to his pædagogus and did everything that he was bid, but he
would ask for the reason of everything, and inquire the Why. His
pædagogus also was a good-tempered man, and was readier at a reason
than a blow: his name was Sarpedon.

II. While Cato was still a boy, the Allies[656] of the Romans were
agitating to obtain the Roman franchise; and a certain Pompædius
Sillo,[657] a man of military talent and of the highest repute, and a
friend of Drusus, lodged with him several days, during which he became
familiar with the youths, and he said, "Come now, pray your uncle on
our behalf to exert himself to get the franchise for us." Now, Cæpio
with a smile nodded assent, but as Cato made no answer and looked on
the strangers steadily and sternly, Pompædius said, "But you, young
man, what reply have you for us? Can you not help the strangers with
your uncle, like your brother?" As Cato still would not speak, but by
his silence and his expression showed that he rejected their entreaty,
Pompædius took him up and holding him through the window as if he
intended to drop him down, told him either to assent or he would let
him fall, and at the same time he assumed an angry tone and several
times he swung the boy backwards and forwards as he held him in his
hands. Now, when Cato had borne this for some time, unmoved and
fearless, Pompædius gently putting him down said to his friends, "What
a blessing[658] to Italy that he is a child; for if he were a man, I
do not think we should have a single vote among the people." On
another occasion when a kinsman on his birthday invited to supper
other boys and Cato with them, in order to pass the time they played
in a part of the house by themselves, younger and older mixed
together; and the game consisted of trials, and accusations, and
carrying off those who were convicted. Now, one of the boys convicted,
who was of a handsome presence, being dragged off by an older boy to a
chamber and shut up, called on Cato for aid. Cato soon perceiving what
was going on came to the door, and pushing through those who were
standing before it and endeavouring to stop him, took the boy out; and
in a passion he went off home with him and other boys accompanied him.

III. Cato was so much talked off that when Sulla was preparing for
exhibition the sacred horse race called Troja,[659] in which youths
are the actors, and had got together the boys of noble birth and
appointed two captains, the boys submitted to the one for his mother's
sake, for he was a son of Metella, Sulla's wife; but the other, who
was a nephew of Pompeius and named Sextus, they would not have, nor
would they go through their exercise nor follow him; and on Sulla
asking whom they would have, they all called out "Cato," and Sextus
himself gave way and yielded the honour to Cato as his better. It
happened that Sulla was an old friend of Cato's family, and sometimes
he had the children brought to him and talked with them, a kind of
friendship which he showed to few, by reason of the weight and state
of the office and power that he held. Sarpedon considering this a
great matter both as regarded the honour and security of the youth,
constantly took Cato to pay his respects to Sulla at his house, which
at that time to all outward appearance differed not from a place of
torture for criminals,[660] so great was the number of those who were
dragged there and put to the rack. Cato was at this time in his
fourteenth year, and seeing the heads of persons who were said to be
men of distinction brought out, and those who were present lamenting
inwardly, he asked his pædagogus why nobody killed this man. Sarpedon
replied, "Because they fear him, child, more than they hate him."
"Why, then," said Cato, "do you not give me a sword that I might kill
him, and so free my country from slavery?" Hearing these words and at
the same time observing his eyes and countenance to be filled with
passion and resolve, Sarpedon was so afraid that henceforward he kept
a close look and watch upon him, that he should not venture on any
desperate measure. Now when he was still a little boy, and some
persons asked him whom he loved most, he replied his brother; when he
was asked whom he loved next, he gave the same answer, his brother;
and so on to the third question, until the questioner was tired out by
always getting the same answer. When he arrived at man's estate, he
strengthened still more his affection to his brother; for when he was
twenty years of age he never supped, he never went abroad, never came
into the Forum without Cæpio. When Cæpio used perfumes, Cato would
not have them; and in all other respects he was strict and frugal in
his way of living. Accordingly Cæpio, who was admired for his
temperance and moderation, admitted that he was indeed temperate and
moderate when contrasted with others, "but," said he, "when I compare
my life with Cato's, I seem to myself to differ not at all from
Sippius;" which was the name of a man notorious at that time for
luxury and effeminacy.

IV. After Cato obtained the priesthood[661] of Apollo, he changed his
residence, and taking his portion of his paternal property, which
portion was a hundred and twenty talents, he contracted his style of
living still further, and making his companion of Antipater[662] of
Tyrus, a Stoic, he attached himself mainly to Ethical and Political
studies, occupying himself with every virtue as if he were possessed
by some divine influence; but above all that part of the beautiful
which consists in steady adherence to justice and in inflexibility
towards partiality or favour was his great delight. He disciplined
himself also in the kind of speaking which works upon numbers,
considering that, as in a great state, so in political philosophy,
there should be nurtured with it something of the contentious quality.
Yet he did not practise his exercises in company with others, nor did
any one hear him when he was declaiming; but to one of his companions
who observed, "Men find fault, Cato, with your silence," he replied,
"I only hope they may not find fault with my life. But I will begin to
speak, when I am not going to say something that were better unsaid."

V. The Basilica[663] called Porcia was a censorial dedication of the
old Cato. Now, as the tribunes were accustomed to transact business
here, and there was a pillar which was considered to be in the way of
their seats, they resolved to take it away or to remove it to another
spot. This was the first occasion that brought Cato into the Forum,
and against his will; for he opposed the tribunes, and he gained
admiration by this sample of his eloquence and elevated character. His
speech contained nothing juvenile or artificial, but it was
straightforward, full to overflowing, and rough. However there was
diffused over the roughness of the sentiments a charm which led the
ear, and his own character intermingled with it gave to the dignity of
his address a certain pleasingness and placidity, that were not ill
calculated to win men's favour. His voice was loud and powerful enough
to reach to so large a multitude, and it had a strength and tone which
could neither be broken nor tired; for he often spoke for a whole day
without being wearied. On this occasion he got the better in the
matter in dispute, and then again wrapped himself up in silence and
his discipline. He used to harden his body by vigorous exercises,
training himself to endure both heat and snow with uncovered head, and
to walk along the roads in all seasons without a vehicle. His friends
who used to accompany him on his journeys employed horses, and Cato
would often go side by side with each of them in turns, and talk to
them, himself walking while they rode. He showed in his complaints
also wonderful endurance and self-denial; for when he had a fever, he
would spend the day quite alone without permitting any person to
approach him, until he felt certain relief, and that the disease was
going away.

VI. At entertainments he used to cast lots for the parts, and if he
failed, and his friends urged him to begin first, he would say that it
was not right to do so against the will of Venus.[664] And at first he
would get up from supper after drinking once, but in course of time
he stuck to drinking more than anybody, so that he often continued
over his wine till daybreak. His friends said that the cause of this
was the administration and public affairs, in which Cato being engaged
all day and hindered from literary pursuits, associated with
philosophers during the night and over his cups. Accordingly when one
Memmius[665] observed in company that Cato was intoxicated all night
long, Cicero rejoined, "But you do not say that he also plays at dice
all day long." Altogether Cato thought that he ought to walk a course
the opposite to the then modes of life and usages, which he considered
to be bad and to require a great change, and observing that a purple
dress of a deep bright was much in fashion, he himself wore the dark.
He would go into public without shoes and tunic after dinner, not
seeking for reputation by the strangeness of the practice, but
habituating himself to be ashamed only of what was shameful, and to
despise everything else as indifferent. The inheritance of his cousin
Cato of the value of a hundred talents having been added to his
property, he turned it into money and let any of his friends make use
of it who needed, without paying interest. Some also pledged to the
treasury both lands and slaves of his, which Cato himself offered for
this purpose and confirmed the pledge.

VII. When he considered that he was ripe for marriage, without ever
having had to do with any woman, he betrothed Lepida, who had before
been promised in marriage to Scipio Metellus,[666] but at that time
was disengaged, for Scipio had repudiated her, and the betrothment was
cancelled. However before the marriage Scipio again changed his mind,
and by using every exertion got the maid. Cato, who was greatly
irritated and stung, made preparation to prosecute the matter in legal
form, but on his friends preventing him, in his passion and youthful
fervour he betook himself to iambic verses and vented much injurious
language upon Scipio, employing the bitterness of Archilochus,[667]
but dropping his ungoverned licence and childish manner. He married
Atilia,[668] the daughter of Soranus, and this was the first woman
with whom he came together, but not the only woman, like Lælius[669]
the companion of Scipio; for Lælius was more fortunate in having known
during his long life only one woman and that his wife.

VIII. When the Servile War[670] was on foot, which they called the war
of Spartacus, Gellius was commander, but Cato joined the service as a
volunteer for his brother's sake, for his brother Cæpio was a tribune.
He had not indeed the opportunity of displaying as much as he wished
his zeal and his discipline in virtue owing to the war being ill
conducted; but notwithstanding this, by showing, in contrast to the
great effeminacy and luxury of those who were engaged in that
campaign, orderly behaviour and bravery when it was required, and
courage and prudence in all things, he was considered in no degree to
fall short of the old Cato. Gellius assigned to him special
distinctions and honours, which Cato would not take nor allow, saying
that he had done nothing worthy of honour. In consequence of this he
was considered a strange kind of fellow; and when a law was made, that
those who were candidates for an office should not be accompanied by
nomenclators,[671] he was the only person when a candidate for a
tribuneship who observed the law; and having himself made it his
business to salute and address those whom he met with, he did not
escape censure even from those who praised him, for the more they
perceived the honourable nature of his conduct, the more they were
annoyed at the difficulty of imitating it.

IX. Upon being appointed a tribune he was sent to Macedonia to Rubrius
the Prætor. On that occasion it is told that his wife being troubled
and shedding tears, one of the friends of Cato, Munatius, said,
"Atilia, be of good cheer; I will take care of him for you." "It shall
be so," replied Cato; and after they had advanced one day's journey,
he said immediately after supper, "Come, Munatius, and keep your
promise to Atilia by not separating yourself from me either by day or
by night." Upon this he ordered two beds to be placed in the same
chamber and Munatius always slept thus, being watched in jest by Cato.
There accompanied him fifteen slaves, and two freedmen and four
friends, and while they rode on horseback, Cato himself always went on
foot, keeping by the side of each of them in turns and talking with
them. When he arrived at the camp, where there were several legions,
being appointed to the command of one legion by the general, he
considered the display of his own merit, being only one thing, as a
small matter and nothing kingly, but being chiefly ambitious to make
those who were under him like himself, he did not deprive his power of
its terrors, but he added to it reason, by means of which persuading
and instructing his men about every thing - honour and punishment
following; whether he made his soldiers more peaceable or warlike or
more full of zeal or just, it is difficult to say, so formidable did
they become to the enemy, and gentle to the allies, and so little
disposed to wrong, and so ambitious of praise. But that which Cato
cared least for, he had most of, both good opinion, and popularity,
and honour above measure, and affection from the soldiers. For by
voluntarily labouring at that which he imposed on others, and in his
dress and way of living and marching on foot making himself like them
rather than the commander, and in his morals and in his noble bearing,
and in eloquence surpassing all who were intitled Imperators and
generals, by such means he imperceptibly produced in the men at the
same time good will towards himself. For no true emulation after
virtue is bred except from perfect good will and respect towards him
who commends it: but those who having no love, praise the brave,
respect their character, though they admire not their virtue, nor do
they imitate it.

X. Hearing that Athenodorus[672] named Kordylion, who had great skill
in the Stoic philosophy, was living at Pergamus, being now an old man,
and having most resolutely resisted all intimacy and friendship with
governors and kings, Cato thought that he should get nothing by
sending and writing to him, but as he had a furlough of two months
allowed by the law, he made a voyage to Asia to the man, in the
confidence that through his own merits he should not fail in the
chase. After discoursing with Athenodorus and getting the victory
over him and drawing him from his settled purpose, he returned with
him to the camp, overjoyed and greatly elated at having made the
noblest capture and got a more splendid booty than the nations and
kingdoms which Pompeius at that time and Lucullus were subduing in
their campaigns.

XI. While Cato was still engaged in the service, his brother, who was
on his road to Asia, fell sick at Ænus,[673] in Thrace; and a letter
immediately came to Cato, and though the sea was very stormy, and
there was no vessel at hand of sufficient size, taking only two
friends with him and three slaves, he set sail from Thessalonike in a
small trading ship. After narrowly escaping being drowned at sea, he
was saved by unexpected good luck, but he found Cæpio already dead. He
was considered to have borne the misfortune with more of passion than
philosophy, not only in his lamentations and his embracings of the
dead body and the heaviness of his grief, but also in his expenditure
about the interment, and the trouble that he took about fragrant
spices and costly vests which were burnt with the body, and a monument
of polished Thasian stone of the cost of eight talents which was
constructed in the Agora of Ænus. These things there were some who
found fault with by comparison with Cato's freedom from all display in
other matters, not seeing how much mildness and affection there was in
the man who was inflexible and firm against pleasures and fears and
shameless entreaties. For the celebration of the funeral both cities
and princes offered to send him many things to do honour to the dead,
from none of whom however would he receive valuables, but he accepted
fragrant spices and vests, paying the price to those who sent the
things. Though the succession came to him and the young daughter of
Cæpio, he did not claim back in the division of the property any thing
that he had expended about the funeral. And though he did such things
as these and continued to do such, there was one[674] who wrote, that
he passed the ashes of the dead through a sieve and sifted them to
search for the gold that was burnt. So far did the writer allow, not
to his sword only, but also to his stilus, irresponsibility and
exemption from all account.

XII. When the time of Cato's service was at an end, he was attended on
his departure, not with good wishes, which is usual, nor yet with
praises, but with tears and never-satisfied embraces, the soldiers
placing their garments under his feet on the way by which he went and
kissing his hands, which the Romans of that day hardly ever did to any
of their Imperators. As he wished, before engaging in public affairs,
at the same time to travel about to make himself acquainted with Asia,
and to see with his own eyes the customs and mode of living and power



Online Library46 PlutarchPlutarch's Lives Volume III → online text (page 48 of 55)