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longer viewed anything with sober judgment. Distracted by alarm for
the whole army, and love of his son at the same time, he was urged by
one motive to go to his aid, and by the other not to go: but finally
he began to move in advance. In the mean time the enemy came up,
making themselves more formidable by their shouts and pæans, and many
of the drums again bellowed around the Romans, who were in expectation
of a second attack. The Parthians, carrying the head of Publius fixed
on a spear, rode close up to the Romans, and, displaying it
insultingly, asked who were his parents and family, for it was not
decent to suppose that so noble and brave a youth was the son of so
cowardly and mean a man as Crassus. The sight of this broke and
unstrung the spirit of the Romans more than all the rest of their
dangers; and it did not fill them with a spirit for revenge, as one
might have supposed, but with shuddering and trembling. Yet they say
that the courage of Crassus on that dreadful occasion shone forth more
brightly than ever before; for he went along the ranks, crying out,
"Mine alone, Romans, is this misfortune: but the great fortune and
glory of Rome abide in you, if your lives are saved, unbroken and
unvanquishcd: and, if you have any pity on me, who have been deprived
of the noblest of sons, show this in your fury against the enemy. Take
from them their rejoicing, avenge their cruelty: be not cast down at
what has happened, for it is the law that those who aim at great
things must also endure. Neither did Lucullus vanquish Tigranes
without loss of blood, nor Scipio Antiochus; and our ancestors of old
lost a thousand ships on the coast of Sicily, and in Italy many
Imperatores and generals, not one of whom, by being first vanquished,
prevented them from vanquishing the victors; for it is not by good
fortune that the Roman state has advanced to such a height of power,
but by the endurance and courage of those who meet danger."

XXVII. Though Crassus used such words to encourage them, he did not
see many eager to follow his exhortations: but, by ordering them to
shout the battle cry, he discovered the dispirited condition of his
men, so weak, and feeble, and irregular a shout they made; while the
cries on the side of the enemy were clear and bold. When the Parthians
began the attack, their slaves and clients, riding about on the flanks
of the Romans, galled them with their arrows: and the horsemen in
front, using their long spears, kept driving the Romans into a narrow
compass, except those who, to avoid death from the arrows, made a
desperate attempt to rush upon the Parthians; wherein they did the
enemy little damage, but met with a speedy death by great and mortal
wounds; for the Parthians drove their spears, heavy with iron, against
the horsemen; and, from the force of the blow, they often went even
through two men. After thus fighting, as dark came on the Parthians
retired, saying, that they allowed Crassus a single night to lament
his son, unless he should take better counsel for himself, and choose
rather to come to King Arsakes than to be taken. The Parthians
encamped near the Romans, in high hopes. A painful night followed to
the Romans, who neither paid any attention to the interment of the
dead, nor care to the wounded, and those who were in the agonies of
death; but every man was severally lamenting his own fate; for it
appeared that they could not escape, either if they waited there till
daybreak, or if they plunged by night into a boundless plain. And the
wounded caused a great difficulty; for they would be an obstacle to
the quickness of their flight if they attempted to carry them off:
and, if they should leave them, their shouts would betray the attempt
to escape unobserved. Though they considered Crassus to be the cause
of all their sufferings, the soldiers still wished to see him and hear
his voice. But Crassus, wrapping himself up in his cloak, lay
concealed in the dark, an example to the many of fortune's reverses,
and to the wise of want of judgment and of ambition, which made him
dissatisfied unless he was the first and greatest among so many
thousands, and think that he lacked everything because he was judged
to be inferior to two men only. However, Octavius the legate, and
Cassius, endeavoured to rouse and comfort him; but, finding that he
had entirely given himself up to despair, they called together the
centurions and tribunes, and, after deliberating, they resolved not to
stay on the ground, and they made an attempt at first to put the army
in motion without the sound of the trumpet, and in silence. But when
the soldiers who were disabled, perceived that they were going to be
deserted, terrible disorder and confusion, mingled with groans and
shouts, filled the camp; and this was followed by disorder and panic
as they began to advance, for they thought that the enemy was coming
upon them. After frequently turning from their route, and frequently
putting themselves in order of battle, and taking up the wounded who
followed, and then laying them down again, they lost much time on the
march, with the exception of three hundred horsemen, with Ignatius[82]
at their head, who reached Carrhæ about midnight. Ignatius, calling
out in the Roman language to the watch upon the walls, and making them
hear, told them to tell Coponius, the commander, that there had been a
great battle between Crassus and the Parthians; and, without saying
more or who he was, he rode off to the Zeugma, and saved all his men;
but he got a bad name for deserting his general. However, the
information thus conveyed to Coponius was some advantage to Crassus;
for Coponius concluded that this hasty and confused message indicated
that he who brought it had no good news to report: and, accordingly,
he immediately ordered the soldiers to arm; and, as soon as he learned
that Crassus was on his march, he went out to meet him, and, taking
charge of him and his army, conducted them into the city.

XXVIII. Though the Parthians during the night discovered that the
Romans were making their escape, they did not pursue, but at daybreak
they came upon those who were left in the camp, to the number of four
thousand, and massacred them; and they rode about the plain and
overtook many who were there rambling about. Four complete cohorts,
while it was still dark, under the command of Varguntinus the legate,
got separated from the rest and lost their way, and, being surrounded
by the Parthians on an eminence, they fought till they were all
killed, with the exception of twenty men. The Parthians, admiring the
courage of these twenty men, who were endeavouring to push through
them with their bare swords, made way and allowed them a passage
through their ranks, and to march slowly to Carrhæ. A false report
reached Surena, that Crassus and all the men of rank had made their
escape, and that those who had fled to Carrhæ were a mingled rabble
not worth notice. Thinking, then, that he had lost the end of his
victory, but being still doubtful and wishing to know the truth, in
order that he might either stay there and besiege the town, or leave
the people of Carrhæ behind and pursue Crassus, he sends one of the
men with him, who could speak both languages, with instructions to
approach the walls, and in the Roman language to call out for Crassus
himself or Cassius, and to say that Surena wished to have a conference
with them. The man did as he was ordered; and when it was reported to
Crassus, he accepted the invitation, and soon after there came from
the barbarians some Arabs who well knew Crassus and Cassius by sight,
having been in the camp before the battle. The Arabs, observing
Cassius on the wall, said that Surena proposed a truce, and offered,
if they would become friends to the king, to let them go safe, if they
would leave Mesopotamia; for he considered this proposal advantageous
to both sides, rather than to let matters come to extremities. Cassius
accepted the proposal, and asked for a place and time to be fixed
where Surena and Crassus should meet: the men replied that this should
be done, and rode off.

XXIX. Now Surena was delighted at the Romans being besieged, and at
daybreak he led the Parthians against the city, who, with many
insulting expressions, bade the Romans, if they wished to have a
truce, deliver up to them Crassus and Cassius[83] in chains. The
Romans were vexed at being deceived; and, telling Crassus to give up
all hopes of aid from the Armenians as too remote and groundless, they
prepared to make their escape by stealth; and none of the people of
Carrhæ were to know this before the time came. But Andromachus, that
most faithless wretch, heard of it from Crassus, who confided to him
the secret, and also the guidance on the route. Accordingly, all was
known to the Parthians; for Andromachus reported to them every
particular. But as it is not the custom of the Parthians to fight in
the dark, and indeed they cannot easily do it, and Crassus had left
the city by night, Andromachus contrived that the Parthians should not
be far behind in the pursuit, by leading the Romans first by one route
and then by another, till at last he brought them out of their course
into deep marshes and ground full of ditches, and thus made the march
difficult and circuitous to all who followed him; for there were some
who suspected that Andromachus had no honest object in turning and
twisting about, and therefore did not follow. Cassius, indeed,
returned to Carrhæ; and when the guides, who were Arabs, advised him
to wait till the moon had passed the Scorpion, he replied, "I fear the
Archer more than the Scorpion," and, saying this, he rode off to
Syria, with five hundred horsemen. Others, who had faithful guides,
got into a mountainous country, called Sinnaca,[84] and were in a safe
position before daybreak: they were about five thousand in number, and
were commanded by a brave man, Octavius. But daybreak found Crassus
exposed to the treachery of Andromachus in the unfavourable ground and
the marshes. Crassus had with him four cohorts of the legionary
soldiers, and a very few horsemen, and five lictors, with whom he got
upon the road with great difficulty just as the enemy was falling upon
him; and now being about twelve stadia short of joining Octavius, he
fled to another hill not so difficult for cavalry nor yet so strong,
but one that lay below Sinnaca, and was connected with it by a long
ridge, which stretched through the middle of the plain. His danger was
apparent to Octavius, who ran before any one else with a few men, from
the higher ground to aid Crassus, upon which the rest of the men,
abusing themselves for cowards, rushed forward, and, falling on the
enemy, and repulsing them from the hill, put Crassus in the midst of
them, and threw their shields before him, proudly exclaiming that
there was no Parthian missile which should strike the Imperator until
all of them had fallen in defence of him.

XXX. Surena observing that the spirit of the Parthians was somewhat
dulled towards the contest, and, if the night should come on and the
Romans get among the mountains, they could not by any means be
overtaken, employed the following stratagem against Crassus. Some of
the captives were let loose, who, in the Parthian camp, had heard the
barbarians saying to one another, in pursuance of a concerted plan,
that the king did not wish the war with the Romans to be carried to
extremities, but desired to have their friendship again, by doing them
the favour of treating Crassus kindly. Accordingly the barbarians
stopped fighting; and Surena, with his chief officers, riding gently
up to the hill, unstrung his bow, and holding out his right hand,
invited Crassus to come to terms, saying, that Crassus had put the
king's courage and power to the test, though the king did not wish it,
and yet the king of his own free will made the Romans an offer of
mercy and friendship by being ready to make a truce with them if they
would retire, and by giving them the opportunity of a safe retreat.
Upon Surena saying this the Romans eagerly accepted his proposal, and
were overjoyed; though Crassus, having been always over-reached by
their fraud, and considering the suddenness of the change to be
inexplicable, would not listen to them and hesitated. But the soldiers
began to call out and urge him to accept the terms, and they fell to
abusing and reproaching him, for wishing to expose them to the risk of
fighting with those whom he did not venture to go to a conference
with, even when they laid aside their arms. Crassus at first attempted
to prevail on them by entreaty, and he said that, if they would hold
out for the rest of the day, they would be able to march by night
through the rough and mountain country, and he pointed out to them the
route, and entreated them not to throw away their hopes when safety
was so near; but, as the soldiers began to be exasperated and to
clatter their arms and threaten him, he was alarmed, and advanced
towards Surena, after first turning round and merely saying, "Octavius
and Petronius, and you Roman officers who are here, you see that I go
under compulsion, and you are witnesses that I am treated in a
shameful way and am under constraint; but, if you get safe home, tell
all the world, that Crassus lost his life through the treachery of the
enemy, and was not surrendered by his fellow-citizens."

XXXI. Yet Octavius and those about him did not stay behind, but
descended the hill with Crassus. However, Crassus made the lictors who
were following him turn back. The first who met them, on the part of
the barbarians, were two Greeks of half-breed, who, leaping down from
their horses, made their obeisance to Crassus, and, addressing him in
the Greek language, urged him to send forward some persons, who, as
they said, would see that Surena himself and those about him were
advancing without armour and without their weapons. Crassus replied,
that if he had the least concern about his life, he should not have
put himself into their hands; however, he sent two Roscii, brothers,
to inquire upon what terms they should meet, and how many of them.
Surena immediately seized and detained the two brothers, and he
himself advanced on horseback with the chief officers, and said, "What
is this? the Roman Imperator on foot while we are riding!" and he
ordered them to bring a horse to Crassus. Crassus observed that
neither himself nor Surena was acting wrong in coming to the
conference according to the fashion of their respective countries; on
which Surena said that from that moment there was a truce and peace
between king Hyrodes and the Romans; but that it was requisite to
advance to the river,[85] and there have the agreement put in writing;
"for you Romans," he said, "have not a very good memory about
contracts;" and he held out his right hand to Crassus. When Crassus
was going to send for a horse, Surena said there was no occasion; "for
the king gives you this." At the same time a horse with golden bits
stood close by Crassus, and the grooms raised him up and mounted him,
and then followed, quickening the horse's pace with blows. Octavius
first laid hold of the bridle of the horse, and, after him, Petronius,
one of the tribunes, and then the rest got round the horse of Crassus,
endeavouring to stop it, and dragging away those who pressed close
upon Crassus on each side. This led to a struggle and tumult, and
finally to blows; Octavius drew his sword and killed the groom of one
of the barbarians, and another struck Octavius from behind and killed
him. Petronius had no weapon, and, being struck on the breastplate, he
leapt down from the horse unwounded; and a Parthian, named
Pomaxathres, killed Crassus.[86] Some say that it was not Pomaxathres,
but another, who killed Crassus, and that Pomaxathres cut off the head
and right hand when Crassus was lying on the ground. But these are
rather matters of conjecture than of certain knowledge; for of those
who were present some fell there fighting about Crassus, and the rest
immediately fled back to the hill. Upon this the Parthians came and
said, that Crassus had been punished as he deserved, but Surena
invited the rest to come down and fear nothing: whereupon, some of the
Romans came down and surrendered, and the rest dispersed themselves
under cover of night, of whom a very few escaped; the rest the Arabs
hunted out, and put to death when they caught them. It is said that
twenty thousand perished in all, and ten thousand were taken alive.

XXXII. Surena sent the head[87] and hand of Crassus to Hyrodes in
Armenia; and, causing a report to be carried by messengers to
Seleukeia that he was bringing Crassus alive, he got ready a kind of
ridiculous procession which, in mockery, he called a triumph. One of
the Roman prisoners who bore the greatest resemblance to Crassus,
Caius Paccianus, putting on a barbarian female dress, and being
instructed to answer as Crassus and Imperator to those who addressed
him, was conducted, seated on a horse, and in front of him trumpeters,
and some lictors rode upon camels; and there were purses[88] suspended
from the fasces, and, by the side of the axes, heads of Romans newly
cut off. Behind these followed courtesans of Seleukeia, singing girls,
who chanted many obscene and ridiculous things about the effeminacy
and cowardice of Crassus. All this was public. But Surena assembling
the Senate of Seleukeia,[89] laid before them certain licentious books
of the Milesiaca of Aristeides,[90] and, in this matter, at least,
there was no invention on his part; for they were found among the
baggage of Rustius,[91] and they gave Surena the opportunity of
greatly insulting and ridiculing the Romans, because they could not,
even when going to war, abstain from such things and such books. To
the Senate of Seleukeia, however, Æsopus[92] appeared to be a wise
man, when they saw Surena with the wallet of Milesian obscenities in
front of him, and dragging behind him a Parthian Sybaris in so many
waggons full of concubines, in a manner forming a counterpart to those
vipers and skytalæ[93] so much talked of, by presenting the visible
and the front parts formidable and terrific, with spears, and bows,
and horses, but in the rear of the phalanx, terminating in harlots,
and rattling cymbals, and lute-playing, and nocturnal revels with
women. Rustius, indeed, merits blame, but the Parthians were shameless
in finding fault with the Milesian stories; for many of the kings who
have reigned over them, as Arsakidæ, have been the sons of Milesian
and Ionian concubines.

XXXIII. While this was going on, Hyrodes happened to have been
reconciled to Artavasdes the Armenian, and had agreed to receive the
sister of Artavasdes as wife to his son Pacorus: and there were
banquets and drinking-parties between them, and representations of
many Greek plays; for Hyrodes was not a stranger either to the Greek
language or the literature of the Greeks: and Artavasdes used to write
tragedies, and speeches, and histories, some of which are preserved.
When the head of Crassus was brought to the door, the tables were
taken away, and a tragedy actor Jason,[94] by name, a native of
Tralles, chanted that part of the Bacchæ[95] of Euripides which
relates to Agave. While he was receiving applause. Sillakes, standing
by the door of the apartment, and making a reverence, threw the head
of Crassus before the company. The Parthians clapped their hands with
shouts of joy and the attendants, at the command of the king, seated
Sillakes, while Jason handed over to one of the members of the chorus
the dress of Pentheus, and, laying hold of the head of Crassus, and,
putting on the air of a bacchant, he sung these verses with great
enthusiasm: -

We bring from a mountain
A young one new killed to the house,
A fortunate prey.

This delighted all the company; and, while the following verses were
being chanted, which are a dialogue with the chorus,

_A_. Who killed him?
_B_. Mine is the honour,

Pomaxathres, springing up (for he happened to be at the banquet), laid
hold of the head, as if it was more appropriate for him to say this
than for Jason. The king was pleased, and made Pomaxathres a present,
according to the fashion of the country, and he gave Jason a talent.
In such a farce[96] as this, it is said, that the expedition of
Crassus terminated just like a tragedy. However, just punishment
overtook Hyrodes for his cruelty, and Surena for his treachery. Not
long after, Hyrodes put Surena to death, being jealous of his
reputation. Hyrodes also lost his son Pacorus,[97] who was defeated
by the Romans in a battle; and having fallen into an illness which
turned out to be dropsy, his son, Phraates,[98] who had a design on
his life, gave him aconite.[99] But the poison only operated on the
disease, which was thrown off together with it, and Hyrodes thereby
relieved; whereupon Phraates took the shortest course and strangled
his father.


[Footnote 5: Crassus belonged to the Licinia Gens. His name was M.
Licinius Crassus Dives. He was the son of P. Licinius Crassus Dives,
who was consul B.C. 97, and afterwards governor of the nearer Spain.
In B.C. 93 P. Crassus had a triumph. He was afterwards employed in the
Marsic war; and in B.C. 89 he was censor with L. Julius Cæsar, who had
been consul in B.C. 90.

M. Licinius Crassus, whose life Plutarch has written, was the youngest
son of the Censor. The year of his birth is uncertain; but as he was
above sixty when he left Rome for his Parthian campaign B.C. 55, he
must have been born before B.C. 115. Meyer (_Orator. Roman.
Fragment_.) places the birth of Crassus in B.C. 114.]

[Footnote 6: Kaltwasser makes this passage mean that Crassus merely
took his brother's wife and her children to live with him; which is
contrary to the usual sense of the Greek words and readers the
following sentence unmeaning.

Kaltwasser observes that we do not know that such marriages were in
use among the Romans. I know no rule by which they were forbidden.
(Gaius, i. 58, &c.)]

[Footnote 7: The punishment of a Vestal Virgin for incontinence was
death. She was placed alive in a subterranean vault with a light and
some food. (Dionysius, ix. 40: Liv. 8. c. 15; Juvenal, Sat. iv. 8.)
The man who debauched a Vestal was also put to death. The Vestal
Virgins had full power of disposing of their property; they were
emancipated from the paternal power by the fact of being selected to
be Vestal Virgins (Gaius, i. 130); and they were not under the same
legal disabilities as other women (Gaius, i. 145; according to Dion
Cassius, 49. c. 38, Octavia and Livia received privileges like those
of the Vestals).

Another Licinia, a Vestal, had broken her vow, and was punished B.C.

[Footnote 8: See the Life of Crassus, c. 12; and the Life of Sulla, c.

[Footnote 9: This may hardly be a correct translation of [Greek:
argurognômonas] ἀργυρογνωμόνας: but it is something like the meaning.]

[Footnote 10: King Archidamus of Sparta, the second of the name, who
commanded the Peloponnesian war, B.C. 431. Plutarch (Life of
Demosthenes, c. 17) puts this saying in the mouth of one Krobylus, a

[Footnote 11: Cicero (_Brutus,_ c. 66) speaks of the oratory of
Crassus, and commends his care and diligence; but he speaks of his
natural parts as not striking. Crassus spoke on the same side as
Cicero in the defence of Murena, of Caelius, and of Balbus (Meyer,
_Orator. Roman. Fragmenta,_ p. 382).]

[Footnote 12: A Roman who aspired to the highest offices of the State,
prepared his way by the magnificence of his public entertainments
during his curule ædileship, and by his affable manners. An humble
individual is always gratified when a great man addresses him by name,
and a shake of the hand secures his devotion. Ovidius (_Ars Amat_. ii.
253) alludes to this way of winning popular favour, and judiciously
observes that it costs nothing, which would certainly recommend it to
Crassus. If a man's memory was not so good as that of Crassus, he had
only to buy a slave, as Horatius (1 _Epist_. i. 50) recommends, who
could tell him the name of every man whom he met. Such a slave was
called Nomenclator. If the nomenclator's memory ever failed him, he
would not let his master know it: he gave a person any name that came
into his head.]

[Footnote 13: The Greek is [Greek: stegastrou] στέγαστρου, 'something
that covers;' but whether cloak or hat, or covered couch, or sedan,
the learned have not yet determined.]

[Footnote 14: These words may not be Plutarch's, and several critics

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