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CLEOMENES. - Plutarch, Plutarch’s Lives (Dryden trans.) vol. 4 
Plutarch’s Lives. The Translation called Dryden’s. Corrected from the Greek and Revised by A.H. Clough, in 5 volumes (Boston: Little Brown and Co., 1906).
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Thus fell Agis. His brother Archidamus was too quick for Leonidas, and saved himself by a timely retreat. But his wife, then mother of a young child, he forced from her own house, and compelled Agiatis, for that was her name, to marry his son Cleomenes, though at that time too young for a wife, because he was unwilling that any one else should have her, being heiress to her father Gylipus’s great estate; in person the most youthful and beautiful woman in all Greece, and well-conducted in her habits of life. And therefore, they say, she did all she could that she might not be compelled to this new marriage. But being thus united to Cleomenes, she indeed hated Leonidas, but to the youth showed herself a kind and obliging wife. He, as soon as they came together, began to love her very much, and the constant kindness that she still retained for the memory of Agis, wrought somewhat of the like feeling in the young man for him, so that he would often inquire of her concerning what had passed, and attentively listen to the story of Agis’s purpose and design. Now Cleomenes had a generous and great soul; he was as temperate and moderate in his pleasures as Agis, but not so scrupulous, circumspect, and gentle. Page 468 There was something of heat and passion always goading him on, and an impetuosity and violence in his eagerness to pursue any thing which he thought good and just. To have men obey him of their own freewill, he conceived to be the best discipline; but, likewise, to subdue resistance, and force them to the better course, was, in his opinion, commendable and brave.
This disposition made him dislike the management of the city. The citizens lay dissolved in supine idleness and pleasures; the king let every thing take its own way, thankful if nobody gave him any disturbance, nor called him away from the enjoyment of his wealth and luxury. The public interest was neglected, and each man intent upon his private gain. It was dangerous, now Agis was killed, so much as to name such a thing as the exercising and training of their youth; and to speak of the ancient temperance, endurance, and equality, was a sort of treason against the state. It is said also that Cleomenes, whilst a boy, studied philosophy under Sphærus, the Borysthenite, who crossed over to Sparta, and spent some time and trouble in instructing the youth. Sphærus was one of the first of Zeno the Citiean’s scholars, and it is likely enough that he admired the manly temper of Cleomenes, and inflamed his generous ambition. The ancient Leonidas, as story tells, being asked what manner of poet he thought Tyrtæus, replied, “Good to whet young men’s courage;” for being filled with a divine fury by his poems, they rushed into any danger. And so the stoic philosophy is a dangerous incentive to strong and fiery dispositions, but where it combines with a grave and gentle temper, is most successful in leading it to its proper good.
Upon the death of his father Leonidas, he succeeded, and observing the citizens of all sorts to be debauched, the rich neglecting the public good, and intent on their private gain and pleasure, and the poor distressed in their own homes, and therefore without either spirit for war or ambition to be trained up as Spartans, that he had only the name of king, and the ephors all the power, he was resolved to change the present posture of affairs. He had a friend whose name was Xenares, his lover, (such an affection the Spartans express by the term, being inspired, or imbreathed with); him he sounded, and of him he would commonly inquire what manner of king Agis was, by what means and by what assistance he began and pursued his designs. Xenares, at first, willingly complied with his request, and told him the whole story, with all the particular circumstances of the actions. But when he observed Cleomenes to be extremely affected at the relation, and more than ordinarily taken with Agis’s new model of the government, and begging a repetition of the story, he at first severely child him, told him he was frantic, and at last left off all sort of familiarity and intercourse with him, yet he never told any man the cause of their disagreement, but would only say, Cleomenes knew very well. Cleomenes, finding Xenares averse to his designs, and thinking all others to be of the same disposition, consulted with none, but contrived the whole business by himself. And considering that it would be easier to bring about an alteration when the city was at war, than when in peace, he engaged the commonwealth in a quarrel with the Achæans, who had given them fair occasions to complain. For Aratus, a man of the greatest power amongst all the Achæans, designed from the very beginning to bring all the Peloponnesians into one common body. And to effect this was the one object of all his many commanderships and his long political course; as he thought this the only means to make them a match for their foreign enemies. Pretty nearly all the rest agreed to his proposals, only the Lacedæmonians, the Eleans, and as many of the Arcadians as inclined to the Spartan interest, remained unpersuaded. And so as soon as Leonidas was dead, he began to attack the Arcadians, and wasted those especially that bordered on Achæa; by this means designing to try the inclinations of the Spartans, and despising Cleomenes as a youth, and of no experience in affairs of state or war. Upon this, the ephors sent Cleomenes to surprise the Athenæum, near Belbina, which is a pass commanding an entrance into Laconia and was then the subject of litigation with the Megalopolitans. Cleomenes possessed himself of the place, and fortified it, at which action Aratus showed no public resentment, but marched by night to surprise Tegea and Orchomenus. The design failed, for those that were to betray the cities into his hands, turned afraid; so Aratus retreated, imagining that his design had been undiscovered. But Cleomenes wrote a sarcastic letter to him, and desired to know, as from a friend, whither he intended to march at night; and Aratus answering, that having heard of his design to fortify Belbina, he meant to march thither to oppose him, Cleomenes rejoined, that he did not dispute it, but begged to be informed, if he might be allowed to ask the question, why he carried those torches and ladders with him.
Aratus laughing at the jest, and asking what manner of youth this was, Damocrates, a Spartan exile, replied, “If you have any designs upon the Lacedæmonians, begin before this young eagle’s talons are grown.” Presently after this, Cleomenes, encamping in Arcadia with a few horse and three hundred foot, received orders from the ephors, who feared to engage in the war, commanding him home; but when upon his retreat Aratus took Caphyæ, they commissioned him again. In this expedition he took Methydrium, and overran the country of the Argives; and the Achæans, to oppose him, came out with an army of twenty thousand foot and one thousand horse, under the command of Aristomachus. Cleomenes faced them at Pallantium, and offered battle, but Aratus, being cowed by his bravery, would not suffer the general to engage, but retreated, amidst the reproaches of the Achæans, and the derision and scorn of the Spartans, who were not above five thousand. Cleomenes, encouraged by this success, began to speak boldly among the citizens, and reminding them of a sentence of one of their ancient kings, said, it was in vain now that the Spartans asked, not how many their enemies were, but where they were.* After this, marching to the assistance of the Eleans, whom the Achæans were attacking, falling upon the enemy in their retreat near the Lycæum, he put their whole army to flight, taking a great number of captives, and leaving many dead upon the place; so that it was commonly reported amongst the Greeks that Aratus was slain. But Aratus, making the best advantage of the opportunity, immediately after the defeat marched to Mantinea, and before anybody suspected it, took the city, and put a garrison into it. Upon this, the Lacedæmonians being quite discouraged, and opposing Cleomenes’s designs of carrying on the war, he now exerted himself to have Archidamus, the brother of Agis, sent for from Messene, as he, of the other family, had a right to the kingdom; and besides, Cleomenes thought that the power of the ephors would be reduced, when the kingly state was thus filled up, and raised to its proper position. But those that were concerned in the murder of Agis, perceiving the design, and fearing that upon Archidamus’s return they should be called to an account, received him on his coming privately into town, and joined in bringing him home, and presently after murdered him. Whether Cleomenes was against it, as Phylarchus thinks, or whether he was persuaded by his friends, or let him fall into their hands, is uncertain; however, they were most blamed, as having forced his consent.
He, still resolving to new model the state, bribed the ephors to send him out to war; and won the affections of many others by means of his mother Cratesiclea, who spared no cost and was very zealous to promote her son’s ambition; and though of herself she had no inclination to marry, yet for his sake, she accepted, as her husband, one of the chiefest citizens for wealth and power. Cleomenes, marching forth with the army now under his command, took Leuctra, a place belonging to Megalopolis; and the Achæans quickly coming up to resist him with a good body of men commanded by Aratus, in a battle under the very walls of the city some part of his army was routed. But whereas Aratus had commanded the Achæans not to pass a deep watercourse, and thus put a stop to the pursuit, Lydiadas, the Megalopolitan, fretting at the orders, and encouraging the horse which he led, and following the routed enemy, got into a place full of vines, hedges, and ditches; and being forced to break his ranks, began to retire in disorder. Cleomenes, observing the advantage, commanded the Tarentines and Cretans to engage him, by whom, after a brave defence, he was routed and slain. The Lacedæmonians, thus encouraged, fell with a great shout upon the Achæans, and routed their whole army. Of the slain, who were very many, the rest Cleomenes delivered up, when the enemy petitioned for them; but the body of Lydiadas he commanded to be brought to him; and then putting on it a purple robe, and a crown upon its head, sent a convoy with it to the gates of Megalopolis. This is that Lydiadas who resigned his power as tyrant, restored liberty to the citizens, and joined the city to the Achæan interest.
Cleomenes, being very much elated by this success, and persuaded that if matters were wholly at his disposal, he should soon be too hard for the Achæans, persuaded Megistonus, his mother’s husband, that it was expedient for the state to shake off the power of the ephors, and to put all their wealth into one common stock for the whole body; thus Sparta, being restored to its old equality, might aspire again to the command of all Greece. Megistonus liked the design, and engaged two or three more of his friends. About that time, one of the ephors, sleeping in Pasiphae’s temple, dreamed a very surprising dream; for he thought he saw the four chairs removed out of the place where the ephors used to sit and do the business of their office, and one only set there; and whilst he wondered, he heard a voice out of the temple, saying, “This is best for Sparta.” The person telling Cleomenes this dream, he was a little troubled at first, fearing that he used this as a trick to sift him, upon some suspicion of his design, but when he was satisfied that the relater spoke truth, he took heart again. And carrying with him those whom he thought would be most against his project, he took Heræa and Alsæa,* two towns in league with the Achæans, furnished Orchomenus with provisions, encamped before Mantinea, and with long marches up and down so harassed the Lacedæmonians, that many of them at their own request were left behind in Arcadia, while he with the mercenaries went on toward Sparta, and by the way communicated his design to those whom he thought fittest for his purpose, and marched slowly, that he might catch the ephors at supper.
When he was come near the city, he sent Euryclidas to the public table, where the ephors supped, under pretence of carrying some message from him from the army; The rycion, Phœbis, and two of those who had been bred up with Cleomenes, whom they call mothaces,* followed with a few soldiers; and whilst Euryclidas was delivering his message to the ephors, they ran upon them with their drawn swords, and slew them. The first of them, Agylæus, on receiving the blow, fell and lay as dead; but in a little time quietly raising himself, and drawing himself out of the room, he crept, without being discovered, into a little building which was dedicated to Fear, and which always used to be shut, but then by chance was open; and being got in, he shut the door, and lay close. The other four were killed, and above ten more that came to their assistance; to those that were quiet they did no harm, stopped none that fled from the city, and spared Agylæus, when he came out of the temple the next day.
The Lacedæmonians have not only sacred places dedicated to Fear, but also to Death, Laughter, and the like Passions. Now they worship Fear, not as they do supernatural powers which they dread, esteeming it hurtful, but thinking their polity is chiefly kept up by fear. And therefore, the ephors, Aristotle is my author, when they entered upon their government, made proclamation to the people, that they should shave their moustaches, and be obedient to the laws, that the laws might not be hard upon them, making, I suppose, this trivial injunction, to accustom their youth to obedience even in the smallest matters. And the ancients, I think, did not imagine bravery to be plain fearlessness, but a cautious fear of blame and disgrace. For those that show most timidity towards the laws, are most bold against their enemies; Page 475 and those are least afraid of any danger who are most afraid of a just reproach. Therefore it was well said that
A reverence still attends on fear;
and by Homer,
Feared you shall be, dear father, and revered;
In silence fearing those that bore the sway;
for the generality of men are most ready to reverence those whom they fear. And, therefore, the Lacedæmonians placed the temple of Fear by the Syssitium of the ephors, having raised that magistracy to almost royal authority.
The next day, Cleomenes proscribed eighty of the citizens, whom he thought necessary to banish, and removed all the seats of the ephors, except one, in which he himself designed to sit and give audience; and calling the citizens together, he made an apology for his proceedings, saying, that by Lycurgus the council of Elders was joined to the kings, and that that model of government had continued a long time, and no other sort of magistrates had been wanted. But afterwards, in the long war with the Messenians, when the kings, having to command the army, found no time to administer justice, they chose some of their friends, and left them to determine the suits of the citizens in their stead. These were called ephors, and at first behaved themselves as servants to the kings; but afterwards, by degrees, they appropriated the power to themselves, and erected a distinct magistracy. An evidence of the truth of this was the custom still observed by the kings, who, when the ephors send for them, refuse, upon the first and the second summons, to go, but upon the third, rise up and attend them. And Asteropus, the first that raised the ephors to that height of power, lived a great many years after their institution. So long, therefore, he continued, as they contained themselves within their own proper sphere, it had been better to bear with them than to make a disturbance. But that an upstart, introduced power should so far subvert the ancient form of government as to banish some kings, murder others, without hearing their defence, and threaten those who desired to see the best and most divine constitution restored in Sparta, was not to be borne. Therefore, if it had been possible for him, without bloodshed, to free Lacedæmon from those foreign plagues, luxury, sumptuosity, debts, and usury, and from those yet more ancient evils, poverty and riches, he should have thought himself the happiest king in the world, to have succeeded, like an expert physician, in curing the diseases of his country without pain. But now, in this necessity, Lycurgus’s example favored his proceedings, who being neither king nor magistrate, but a private man, and aiming at the kingdom, came armed into the market-place, so that king Charillus fled in alarm to the altar. He, being a good man, and a lover of his country, readily concurred in Lycurgus’s designs, and admitted the revolution in the state. But, by his own actions, Lycurgus had nevertheless borne witness that it was difficult to change the government without force and fear, in the use of which he himself, he said, had been so moderate as to do no more than put out of the way those who opposed themselves to Sparta’s happiness and safety. For the rest of the nation, he told them, the whole land was now their common property; debtors should be cleared of their debts, and examination made of those who were not citizens, that the bravest men might thus be made free Spartans, and give aid in arms to save the city, and “We” he said, “may no longer see Laconia, for want of men to defend it, wasted by the Ætolians and Illyrians.”
Then he himself first, with his step father, Megistonus, and his friends, gave up all their wealth into one public stock, and all the other citizens followed the example. The land was divided, and every one that he had banished, had a share assigned him; for he promised to restore all, as soon as things were settled and in quiet. And completing the number of citizens out of the best and most promising of the country people, he raised a body of four thousand men; and instead of a spear, taught them to use a sarissa, with both hands, and to carry their shields by a band, and not by a handle,* as before. After this, he began to consult about the education of the youth, and the Discipline, as they call it; most of the particulars of which, Sphærus, being then at Sparta, assisted in arranging; and, in a short time, the schools of exercise and the common tables recovered their ancient decency and order, a few out of necessity, but the most voluntarily, returning to that generous and Laconic way of living. And, that the name of monarch might give them no jealousy, he made Euclidas, his brother, partner in the throne; and that was the only time that Sparta had two kings of the same family.
Then, understanding that the Achæans and Aratus imagined that this change had disturbed and shaken his affairs, and that he would not venture out of Sparta and leave the city now unsettled in the midst of so great an alteration, he thought it great and serviceable to his designs, to show his enemies the zeal and forwardness of his troops. And, therefore, making an incursion into the territories of Megalopolis, he wasted the country far and wide, and collected a considerable booty. And, at last, taking a company of actors, as they were travelling from Messene, and building a theatre in the enemy’s country, and offering a prize of forty minæ in value, he sat spectator a whole day; not that he either desired or needed such amusement, but wishing to show his disregard for his enemies, and by a display of his contempt, to prove the extent of his superiority to them. For his alone, of all the Greek or royal armies, had no stage-players, no jugglers, no dancing or singing women attending it, but was free from all sorts of looseness, wantonness, and festivity; the young men being for the most part at their exercises, and the old men giving them lessons, or, at leisure times, diverting themselves with their native jests, and quick Laconian answers; the good results of which we have noticed in the life of Lycurgus.
He himself instructed all by his example; he was a living pattern of temperance before every man’s eyes; and his course of living was neither more stately, nor more expensive, nor in any way more pretentious, than that of any of his people. And this was a considerable advantage to him in his designs on Greece. For men when they waited upon other kings, did not so much admire their wealth, costly furniture, and numerous attendance, as they hated their pride and state, their difficulty of access, and imperious answers to their addresses. But when they came to Cleomenes, who was both really a king, and bore that title, and saw no purple, no robes of state upon him, no couches and litters about him for his ease, and that he did not receive requests and return answers after a long delay and difficulty, through a number of messengers and doorkeepers, or by memorials, but that he rose and came forward in any dress he might happen to be wearing, to meet those that came to wait upon him, stayed, talked freely and affably with all that had business, they were extremely taken, and won to his service, and professed Page 479 that he alone was the true son of Hercules. His common every day’s meal was in an ordinary room, very sparing, and after the Laconic manner; and when he entertained ambassadors or strangers, two more couches were added, and a little better dinner provided by his servants, but no savoring sauces or sweetmeats; only the dishes were larger, and the wine more plentiful. For he reproved one of his friends for entertaining some strangers with nothing but barley bread and black broth, such diet as they usually had in their phiditia; saying, that upon such occasions, and when they entertained strangers, it was not well to be too exact Laconians. After the table was removed, a stand was brought in, with a brass vessel full of wine, two silver bowls, which held about a pint apiece, a few silver cups, of which he that pleased might drink, but wine was not urged on any of the guests. There was no music, nor was any required; for he entertained the company himself, sometimes asking questions, sometimes telling stories; and his conversation was neither too grave or disagreeably serious, nor yet in any way rude or ungraceful in its pleasantry. For he thought those ways of entrapping men by gifts and presents, which other kings use, dishonest and inartificial; and it seemed to him to be the most noble method, and most suitable to a king, to win the affections of those that came near him, by personal intercourse and agreeable conversation, since between a friend and a mercenary the only distinction is, that we gain the one by one’s character and conversation, the other by one’s money.
The Mantineans were the first that requested his aid; and when he entered their city by night, they aided him to expel the Achæan garrison, and put themselves under his protection. He restored them their polity and laws, and the same day marched to Tegea; and a little while after, fetching a compass through Arcadia, he made a descent upon Pheræ, in Achæa, intending to force Aratus to a battle, or bring him into disrepute, for refusing to engage, and suffering him to waste the country. Hyperbatas at that time was general, but Aratus had all the power amongst the Achæans. The Achæans, marching forth with their whole strength, and encamping in Dymæ, near the Hecatombæum, Cleomenes came up, and thinking it not advisable to pitch between Dymæ, a city of the enemies, and the camp of the Achæans, he boldly dared the Achæans, and forced them to a battle, and routing their phalanx, slew a great many in the fight, and took many prisoners, and thence marching to Langon, and driving out the Achæan garrison, he restored the city to the Eleans.
The affairs of the Achæans being in this unfortunate condition, Aratus, who was wont to take office every other year, refused the command, though they entreated and urged him to accept it. And this was ill done, when the storm was high, to put the power out of his own hands, and set another to the helm. Cleomenes at first proposed fair and easy conditions by his ambassadors to the Achæans, but afterward he sent others, and required the chief command to be settled upon him; in other matters offering to agree to reasonable terms, and to restore their captives and their country. The Achæans were willing to come to an agreement upon those terms, and invited Cleomenes to Lerna, where an assembly was to be held; but it happened that Cleomenes, hastily marching on, and drinking water at a wrong time, brought up a quantity of blood, and lost his voice; therefore being unable to continue his journey, he sent the chiefest of the captives to the Achæans, and, putting off the meeting for some time, retired to Lacedæmon.
This ruined the affairs of Greece, which was just beginning in some sort to recover from its disasters, and to Page 481 show some capability of delivering itself from the insolence and rapacity of the Macedonians. For Aratus. (whether fearing or distrusting Cleomenes, or envying his unlooked-for success, or thinking it a disgrace for him who had commanded thirty-three years, to have a young man succeed to all his glory and his power, and be head of that government which he had been raising and settling so many years,) first endeavored to keep the Achæans from closing with Cleomenes; but when they would not hearken to him, fearing Cleomenes’s daring spirit, and thinking the Lacedæmonians’ proposals to be very reasonable, who designed only to reduce Peloponnesus to its old model, upon this he took his last refuge in an action which was unbecoming any of the Greeks, most dishonorable to him, and most unworthy his former bravery and exploits. For he called Antigonus into Greece, and filled Peloponnesus with Macedonians, whom he himself, when a youth, having beaten their garrison out of the castle of Corinth, had driven from the same country. And there had been constant suspicion and variance between him and all the kings, and of Antigonus, in particular, he has said a thousand dishonorable things in the commentaries he has left behind him. And though he declares himself how he suffered considerable losses, and underwent great dangers, that he might free Athens from the garrison of the Macedonians, yet, afterwards, he brought the very same men armed into his own country, and his own house, even to the women’s apartment. He would not endure that one of the family of Hercules, and king of Sparta, and one that had reformed the polity of his country, as it were, from a disordered harmony, and retuned it to the plain Doric measure and rule of life of Lycurgus, should be styled head of the Tritæans and Sicyonians; and whilst he fled the barleycake and coarse coat, and, which were his chief accusations against Cleomenes, the extirpation of wealth and reformation of poverty, he basely subjected himself, together with Achæa, to the diadem and purple, to the imperious commands of the Macedonians and their satraps. That he might not seem to be under Cleomenes, he offered sacrifices, called Antigonea, in honor of Antigonus, and sang pæans himself, with a garland on his head, to the praise of a wasted, consumptive Macedonian. I write this not out of any design to disgrace Aratus, for in many things he showed himself a true lover of Greece, and a great man, but out of pity to the weakness of human nature, which, in characters like this, so worthy and in so many ways disposed to virtue, cannot maintain its honors unblemished by some envious fault.
The Achæans meeting again in assembly at Argos, and Cleomenes having come from Tegea, there were great hopes that all differences would be composed. But Aratus, Antigonus and he having already agreed upon the chief articles of their league, fearing that Cleomenes would carry all before him, and either win or force the multitude to comply with his demands, proposed, that having three hundred hostages put into his hands, he should come alone into the town, or bring his army to the place of exercise, called the Cyllarabium,* outside the city, and treat there.
Cleomenes, hearing this, said, that he was unjustly dealt with; for they ought to have told him so plainly at first, and not now he was come even to their doors, show their jealousy, and deny him admission. And writing a letter to the Achæans about the same subject, the greatest part of which was an accusation of Aratus, while Aratus, on the other side, spoke violently against him to the assembly, he hastily dislodged, and sent a trumpeter to denounce war against the Achæans, not to Argos, but to Ægium, as Aratus writes, that he might not give them notice enough to make provision for their defence. There had also been a movement among the Achæans themselves, and the cities were eager for revolt; the common people expecting a division of the land, and a release from their debts, and the chief men being in many places ill-disposed to Aratus, and some of them angry and indignant with him, for having brought the Macedonians into Peloponnesus. Encouraged by these misunderstandings, Cleomenes invaded Achæa, and first took Pellene by surprise, and beat out the Achæan garrison, and afterwards brought over Pheneus and Penteleum to his side. Now the Achæans, suspecting some treacherous designs at Corinth and Sicyon, sent their horse and mercenaries out of Argos, to have an eye upon those cities, and they themselves went to Argos, to celebrate the Nemean games. Cleomenes, advertised of this march, and hoping, as it afterward fell out, that upon an unexpected advance to the city, now busied in the solemnity of the games, and thronged with numerous spectators, he should raise a considerable terror and confusion amongst them, by night marched with his army to the walls, and taking the quarter of the town called Aspis, which lies above the theatre, well fortified, and hard to be approached, he so terrified them that none offered to resist, but they agreed to accept a garrison, to give twenty citizens for hostages, and to assist the Lacedæmonians, and that he should have the chief command.
This action considerably increased his reputation and his power; for the ancient Spartan kings, though they many ways endeavored to effect it, could never bring Argos to be permanently theirs. And Pyrrhus, the most experienced captain, though he entered the city by force, could not keep possession, but was slain himself, with a considerable part of his army. Therefore they admired the dispatch and contrivance of Cleomenes; and those that before derided him, for imitating, as they said, Solon and Lycurgus, in releasing the people from their debts, and in equalizing the property of the citizens, were now fain to admit that this was the cause of the change in the Spartans. For before they were very low in the world, and so unable to secure their own, that the Ætolians, invading Laconia, brought away fifty thousand slaves; so that one of the elder Spartans is reported to have said, that they had done Laconia a kindness by unburdening it; and yet a little while after, by merely recurring once again to their native customs, and reëntering the track of the ancient discipline, they were able to give, as though it had been under the eyes and conduct of Lycurgus himself, the most signal instances of courage and obedience, raising Sparta to her ancient place as the commanding state of Greece, and recovering all Peloponnesus.
When Argos was captured, and Cleonæ and Phlius came over, as they did at once, to Cleomenes, Aratus was at Corinth, searching after some who were reported to favor the Spartan interest. The news, being brought to him, disturbed him very much; for he perceived the city inclining to Cleomenes, and willing to be rid of the Achæans. Therefore he summoned the citizens to meet in the Council Hall, and slipping away without being observed to the gate, he mounted his horse that had been brought for him thither, and fled to Sicyon. And the Corinthians made such haste to Cleomenes at Argos, that, as Aratus says, striving who should be first there, they spoiled all their horses; he adds that Cleomenes was very angry with the Corinthians for letting him escape; and Page 485 that Megistonus came from Cleomenes to him, desiring him to deliver up the castle at Corinth, which was then garrisoned by the Achæans, and offered him a considerable sum of money, and that he answered, that matters were not now in his power, but he in theirs. Thus Aratus himself writes. But Cleomenes, marching from Argos, and taking in the Trœzenians, Epidaurians, and Hermioneans, came to Corinth, and blocked up the castle, which the Achæans would not surrender; and sending for Aratus’s friends and stewards, committed his house and estate to their care and management; and sent Tritymallus, the Messenian, to him a second time, desiring that the castle might be equally garrisoned by the Spartans and Achæans, and promising to Aratus himself double the pension that he received from king Ptolemy. But Aratus, refusing the conditions, and sending his own son with the other hostages to Antigonus, and persuading the Achæans to make a decree for delivering the castle into Antigonus’s hands, upon this Cleomenes invaded the territory of the Sicyonians, and by a decree of the Corinthians, accepted Aratus’s estate as a gift.
In the mean time, Antigonus, with a great army, was passing Geranea; and Cleomenes, thinking it more advisable to fortify and garrison, not the isthmus, but the mountains called Onea, and by a war of posts and positions to weary the Macedonians, rather than to venture a set battle with the highly disciplined phalanx, put his design in execution, and very much distressed Antigonus. For he had not brought victuals sufficient for his army; nor was it easy to force a way through, whilst Cleomenes guarded the pass. He attempted by night to pass through Lechæum, but failed, and lost some men; so that Cleomenes and his army were mightily encouraged, and so flushed with the victory, that they went merrily to supper; and Antigonus was very much dejected, being driven, by the necessity he was in, to most unpromising attempts. He was proposing to march to the promontory of Heræum, and thence transport his army in boats to Sicyon, which would take up a great deal of time, and require much preparation and means. But when it was now evening, some of Aratus’s friends came from Argos by sea, and invited him to return, for the Argives would revolt from Cleomenes. Aristoteles was the man that wrought the revolt, and he had no hard task to persuade the common people; for they were all angry with Cleomenes for not releasing them from their debts as they expected. Accordingly, obtaining fifteen hundred of Antigonus’s soldiers, Aratus sailed to Epidaurus; but Aristoteles, not staying for his coming, drew out the citizens, and fought against the garrison of the castle; and Timoxenus, with the Achæans from Sicyon, came to his assistance.
Cleomenes heard the news about the second watch of the night, and sending for Megistonus, angrily commanded him to go and set things right at Argos. Megistonus had passed his word for the Argives’ loyalty, and had persuaded him not to banish the suspected. Therefore, despatching him with two thousand soldiers, he himself kept watch upon Antigonus, and encouraged the Corinthians, pretending that there was no great matter in the commotions at Argos, but only a little disturbance raised by a few inconsiderable persons. But when Megistonus, entering Argos, was slain, and the garrison could scarce hold out, and frequent messengers came to Cleomenes for succors, he, fearing least the enemy, having taken Argos, should shut up the passes, and securely waste Laconia, and besiege Sparta itself, which he had left without forces, dislodged from Corinth, and immediately lost that city; for Antigonus entered it, and garrisoned the town. He turned aside from his direct march, and assaulting the walls of Argos, endeavored to carry it by a sudden attack; and then, having collected his forces from their march, breaking into the Aspis, he joined the garrison, which still held out against the Achæans; some parts of the city he scaled and took, and his Cretan archers cleared the streets. But when he saw Antigonus with his phalanx descending from the mountains into the plain, and the horse on all sides entering the city, he thought it impossible to maintain his post, and, gathering together all his men, came safely down, and made his retreat under the walls, having in so short a time possessed himself of great power, and in one journey, so to say, having made himself master of almost all Peloponnesus, and now lost all again in as short a time. For some of his allies at once withdrew and forsook him, and others not long after put their cities under Antigonus’s protection. His hopes thus defeated, as he was leading back the relics of his forces, messengers from Lacedæmon met him in the evening at Tegea, and brought him news of as great a misfortune as that which he had lately suffered, and this was the death of his wife; to whom he was so attached, and thought so much of her, that even in his most successful expeditions, when he was most prosperous, he could not refrain, but would ever now and then come home to Sparta, to visit Agiatis.
This news afflicted him extremely, and he grieved, as a young man would do, for the loss of a very beautiful and excellent wife; yet he did not let his passion disgrace him, or impair the greatness of his mind, but keeping his usual voice, his countenance, and his habit, he gave necessary orders to his captains, and took the precautions required for the safety of Tegea. Next morning he came to Sparta, and having at home with his mother and children bewailed the loss, and finished his mourning, he at once devoted himself to the public affairs of the state.
Now Ptolemy, the king of Egypt, promised him assistance but demanded his mother and children for hostages. This, for some considerable time, he was ashamed to discover to his mother; and though he often went to her on purpose, and was just upon the discourse, yet he still refrained, and kept it to himself; so that she began to suspect, and asked his friends, whether Cleomenes had something to say to her, which he was afraid to speak. At last, Cleomenes venturing to tell her, she laughed aloud, and said, “Was this the thing that you had so often a mind to tell me, and were afraid? Make haste and put me on shipboard, and send this carcass where it may be most serviceable to Sparta, before age destroys it unprofitably here.” Therefore, all things being provided for the voyage, they went by land to Tænarus, and the army waited on them. Cratesiclea, when she was ready to go on board, took Cleomenes aside into Neptune’s temple, and embracing him, who was much dejected, and extremely discomposed, she said, “Go to, king of Sparta; when we come forth at the door, let none see us weep, or show any passion that is unworthy of Sparta, for that alone is in our own power; as for success or disappointment, those wait on us as the deity decrees.” Having thus said, and composed her countenance, she went to the ship with her little grandson, and bade the pilot put at once out to sea. When she came to Egypt, and understood that Ptolemy entertained proposals and overtures of peace from Antigonus, and that Cleomenes, though the Achæans invited and urged him to an agreement, was afraid, for her sake, to come to any, without Ptolemy’s consent, she wrote to him, advising him to do that which was most becoming and most profitable for Sparta, and not, for the sake of an old woman and a little child, stand always in fear of Ptolemy. This character she maintained in her misfortunes.
A little while after, being informed that Antigonus designed a new advance to Tegea, and thence to invade Laconia, he rapidly took his soldiers, and marching by a side road, appeared early in the morning before Argos, and wasted the fields about it. The corn he did not cut down, as is usual, with reaping hooks and knives, but beat it down with great wooden staves made like broadswords, as if, in mere contempt and wanton scorn, while travelling on his way, without any effort or trouble, he spoiled and destroyed their harvest. Yet when his soldiers would have set Cyllabaris, the exercise ground, on fire, he stopped the attempt, as if he felt, that the mischief he had done at Megalopolis had been the effects of his passion rather than his wisdom. And when Antigonus, first of all, came hastily back to Argos, and then occupied the mountains and passes with his posts, he professed to disregard and despise it all; and sent heralds to ask for the keys of the temple of Juno, as though he proposed to offer sacrifice there and then return. And with this scornful pleasantry upon Antigonus, having sacrificed to the goddess under the walls of the temple, which was shut, he went to Phlius; and from thence driving out those that garrisoned Oligyrtus, he marched down to Orchomenus. And these enterprises not only encouraged the citizens, but made him appear to the very enemies to be a man worthy of high command, and capable of great Page 493 things. For with the strength of one city, not only to fight the power of the Macedonians and all the Peloponnesians, supported by all the royal treasures, not only to preserve Laconia from being spoiled, but to waste the enemy’s country, and to take so many and such considerable cities, was an argument of no common skill and genius for command.
But he that first said that money was the sinews of affairs, seems especially in that saying to refer to war. Demades, when the Athenians had voted that their galleys should be launched and equipped for action, but could produce no money, told them, “The baker was wanted first, and the pilot after.” And the old Archidamus, in the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, when the allies desired that the amount of their contributions should be determined, is reported to have answered, that war cannot be fed upon so much a day. For as wrestlers, who have thoroughly trained and disciplined their bodies, in time tire down and exhaust the most agile and most skilful combatant, so Antigonus, coming to the war with great resources to spend from, wore out Cleomenes, whose poverty made it difficult for him to provide the merest sufficiency of pay for the mercenaries, or of provisions for the citizens. For, in all other respects, time favored Cleomenes; for Antigonus’s affairs at home began to be disturbed. For the barbarians wasted and overran Macedonia whilst he was absent, and at that particular time a vast army of Illyrians had entered the country; to be freed from whose devastations, the Macedonians sent for Antigonus, and the letters had almost been brought to him before the battle was fought; upon the receipt of which he would at once have marched away home, and left the Achæans to look to themselves. But Fortune, that loves to determine the greatest affairs by a minute, in this conjuncture showed such an exact niceness of time, that immediately after the battle in Sellasia was over, and Cleomenes had lost his army and his city, the messengers came up and called for Antigonus. And this above every thing made Cleomenes’s misfortune to be pitied; for if he had gone on retreating and had forborne fighting two days longer, there had been no need of hazarding a battle; since upon the departure of the Macedonians, he might have had what conditions he pleased from the Achæans. But now, as was said before, for want of money, being necessitated to trust every thing to arms, he was forced with twenty thousand (such is Polybius’s account) to engage thirty thousand. And approving himself an admirable commander in this difficulty, his citizens showing an extraordinary courage, and his mercenaries bravery enough, he was overborne by the different way of fighting, and the weight of the heavy-armed phalanx. Phylarchus also affirms, that the treachery of some about him was the chief cause of Cleomenes’s ruin.
For Antigonus gave orders, that the Illyrians and Acarnanians should march round by a secret way, and encompass the other wing, which Euclidas, Cleomenes’s brother, commanded; and then drew out the rest of his forces to the battle. And Cleomenes, from a convenient rising, viewing his order, and not seeing any of the Illyrians and Acarnanians, began to suspect that Antigonus had sent them upon some such design; and calling for Damoteles, who was at the head of those specially appointed to such ambush duty, he bade him carefully to look after and discover the enemy’s designs upon his rear. But Damoteles, for some say Antigonus had bribed him, telling him that he should not be solicitous about that matter, for all was well enough, but mind and fight those that met him in the front, he was satisfied, and advanced against Antigonus; and by the vigorous charge of his Spartans, made the Macedonian phalanx give ground, and pressed upon them with great advantage about half a mile; but then making a stand, and seeing the danger which the surrounded wing, commanded by his brother Euclidas, was in, he cried out, “Thou art lost, dear brother, thou art lost, thou brave example to our Spartan youth, and theme of our matrons’ songs.” And Euclidas’s wing being cut in pieces, and the conquerors from that part falling upon him, he perceived his soldiers to be disordered, and unable to maintain the fight, and therefore provided for his own safety. There fell, we are told, in the battle, besides many of the mercenary soldiers, all the Spartans, six thousand in number, except two hundred.
When Cleomenes came into the city, he advised those citizens that he met to receive Antigonus; and as for himself, he said, which should appear most advantageous to Sparta, whether his life or death, that he would choose. Seeing the women running out to those that had fled with him, taking their arms, and bringing drink to them, he entered into his own house, and his servant, who was a freeborn woman, taken from Megalopolis after his wife’s death, offering, as usual, to do the service he needed on returning from war, though he was very thirsty, he refused to drink, and though very weary, to sit down; but in his corselet as he was, he laid his arm sideway against a pillar, and leaning his forehead upon his elbow, he rested his body a little while, and ran over in his thoughts all the courses he could take; and then with his friends set on at once for Gythium; where finding ships which had been got ready for this very purpose, they embarked. Antigonus, taking the city, treated the Lacedæmonians courteously, and in no way offering any insult or offence to the dignity of Sparta, but permitting them to enjoy their own laws and polity, and sacrificing to the gods, dislodged the third day. For he heard that there was a great war in Macedonia, and that the country was devastated by the barbarians. Besides, his malady had now thoroughly settled into a consumption and continual catarrh. Yet he still kept up, and managed to return and deliver his country, and meet there a more glorious death in a great defeat and vast slaughter of the barbarians. As Phylarchus says, and as is probable in itself, he broke a bloodvessel by shouting in the battle itself. In the schools we used to be told, that after the victory was won, he cried out for joy, “O glorious day!” and presently bringing up a quantity of blood, fell into a fever, which never left him till his death. And thus much concerning Antigonus.
Cleomenes, sailing from Cythera, touched at another island called Ægialia, whence as he was about to depart for Cyrene, one of his friends, Therycion by name, a man of a noble spirit in all enterprises, and bold and lofty in his talk, came privately to him, and said thus: “Sir, death in battle, which is the most glorious, we have let go; though all heard us say that Antigonus should never tread over the king of Sparta, unless dead. And now that course which is next in honor and virtue, is presented to us. Whither do we madly sail, flying the evil which is near, to seek that which is at a distance? For if it is not dishonorable for the race of Hercules to serve the successors of Philip and Alexander, we shall save a long voyage by delivering ourselves up to Antigonus, who, probably, is as much better than Ptolemy, as the Macedonians are better than the Egyptians; but if we think it mean to submit to those whose arms have conquered us, why should we choose him for our master, by whom we have not yet been beaten? Is it to acknowledge two superiors instead of one, whilst we run away from Antigonus, and flatter Ptolemy? Or, is it for your mother’s sake that you retreat to Egypt? It will indeed be a very fine and very desirable sight for her, to show her son to Ptolemy’s women, now changed from a prince into an exile and a slave. Are we not still masters of our own swords? And whilst we have Laconia in view, shall we not here free ourselves from this disgraceful misery, and clear ourselves to those who at Sellasia died for the honor and defence of Sparta? Or, shall we sit lazily in Egypt, inquiring what news from Sparta, and whom Antigonus hath been pleased to make governor of Lacedæmon?” Thus spoke Therycion; and this was Cleomenes’s reply: “By seeking death, you coward, the most easy and most ready refuge, you fancy that you shall appear courageous and brave, though this flight is baser than the former. Better men than we have given way to their enemies, having been betrayed by fortune, or oppressed by multitude; but he that gives way under labor or distresses, under the ill opinions or reports of men, yields the victory to his own effeminacy. For a voluntary death ought not to be chosen as a relief from action, but as an exemplary action itself; and it is base either to live or to die only to ourselves. That death to which you now invite us, is proposed only as a release from our present miseries, but carries nothing of nobleness or profit in it. And I think it becomes both me and you not to despair of our country; but when there are no hopes of that left, those that have an inclination may quickly die.” To this Therycion returned no answer; but as soon as he had an opportunity of leaving Cleomenes’s company, went aside on the sea-shore, and ran himself through.
But Cleomenes sailed from Ægialia, landed in Libya, and being honorably conducted through the king’s country, came to Alexandria. When he was first brought to Ptolemy, no more than common civilities and usual attentions were paid him; but when, upon trial, he found him a man of deep sense and great reason, and that his plain Laconic way of conversation carried with it a noble and becoming grace, that he did nothing unbecoming his birth, nor bent under fortune, and was evidently a more faithful counsellor than those who made it their business to please and flatter, he was ashamed, and repented that he had neglected so great a man, and suffered Antigonus to get so much power and reputation by ruining him. He now offered him many marks of respect and kindness, and gave him hopes that he would furnish him with ships and money to return to Greece, and would reinstate him in his kingdom. He granted him a yearly pension of four and twenty talents; a little part of which sum supplied his and his friends’ thrifty temperance; and the rest was employed in doing good offices to, and in relieving the necessities of the refugees that had fled from Greece, and retired into Egypt.
But the elder Ptolemy dying before Cleomenes’s affairs had received a full despatch, and the successor being a loose, voluptuous, and effeminate prince, under the power of his pleasures and his women, his business was neglected. For the king was so besotted with his women and his wine, that the employments of his most busy and serious hours consisted at the utmost in celebrating religious feasts in his palace, carrying a timbrel, and taking part in the show; while the greatest affairs of state were managed by Agathoclea, the king’s mistress, her mother, and the pimp Œnanthes. At the first, indeed, they seemed to stand in need of Cleomenes; for Ptolemy, being afraid of his brother Magas, who by his mother’s means had a great interest amongst the soldiers, gave Cleomenes a place in his secret councils, and acquainted him with the design of taking off his brother. He, though all were for it, declared his opinion to the contrary, saying, “The king, if it were possible, should have more brothers for the better security and stability of his affairs.” And Sosibius, the greatest favorite, replying, that they were not secure of the mercenaries whilst Magas was alive, Cleomenes returned, that he need not trouble himself about that matter; for amongst the mercenaries there were above three thousand Peloponnesians, who were his fast friends, and whom he could command at any time with a nod. This discourse made Cleomenes for the present to be looked upon as a man of great influence and assured fidelity; but afterwards, Ptolemy’s weakness increasing his fear, and he, as it usually happens, where there is no judgment and wisdom, placing his security in general distrust and suspicion, it rendered Cleomenes suspected to the courtiers, as having too much interest with the mercenaries; and many had this saying in their mouths, that he was a lion amidst a flock of sheep. For, in fact, such he seemed to be in the court, quietly watching and keeping his eye upon all that went on.
He, therefore, gave up all thought of asking for ships and soldiers from the king. But receiving news that Antigonus was dead, that the Achæans were engaged in a war with the Ætolians, and that the affairs of Peloponnesus, being now in very great distraction and disorder, required and invited his assistance, he desired leave to depart only with his friends, but could not obtain that, the king not so much as hearing his petition, being shut up amongst his women, and wasting his hours in bacchanalian rites and drinking parties. But Sosibius, the chief minister and counsellor of state, thought that Cleomenes, being detained against his will, would grow ungovernable and dangerous, and yet that it was not safe to let him go, being an aspiring, daring man, and well acquainted with the diseases and weakness of the kingdom. For neither could presents and gifts conciliate or content him; but even as Apis,* while living in all possible plenty and apparent delight, yet desires to live as nature would provide for him, to range at liberty, and bound about the fields and can scarce endure to be under the priests’ keeping, so he could not brook their courtship and soft entertainment, but sat like Achilles,
His affairs standing in this condition, Nicagoras, the Messenian, came to Alexandria, a man that deeply hated Cleomenes, yet pretended to be his friend; for he had formerly sold Cleomenes a fair estate, but never received the money, because Cleomenes was either unable, as it may be, or else, by reason of his engagement in the wars and other distractions, had no opportunity to pay him. Cleomenes, seeing him landing, for he was then walking upon the quay, kindly saluted him, and asked what business brought him to Egypt. Nicagoras returned his compliment, and told him, that he came to bring some excellent war-horses to the king. And Cleomenes, with a smile, subjoined, “I could wish you had rather brought young boys and music-girls; for those now are the king’s chief occupation.” Nicagoras at the moment smiled at the conceit; but a few days after, he put Cleomenes in mind of the estate that he had bought of him, and desired his money, protesting, that he would not have troubled him, if his merchandise had turned out as profitable as he had thought it would. Cleomenes replied, that he had nothing left of all that had been given him. At which answer, Nicagoras, being nettled, told Sosibius Cleomenes’s scoff upon the king. He was delighted to receive the information; but desiring to have some greater reason to excite the king against Cleomenes, persuaded Nicagoras to leave a letter written against Cleomenes, importing that he had a design, if he could have gotten ships and soldiers, to surprise Cyrene. Nicagoras wrote such a letter, and left Egypt. Four days after, Sosibius brought the letter to Ptolemy, pretending it was just then delivered him, and excited the young man’s fear and anger; upon which it was agreed, that Cleomenes should be invited into a large house, and treated as formerly, but not suffered to go out again
This usage was grievous to Cleomenes, and another incident that occurred, made him feel his hopes to be yet more entirely overcast. Ptolemy, the son of Chrysermas, a favorite of the king’s, had always shown civility to Cleomenes; there was a considerable intimacy between them, and they had been used to talk freely together about the state. He, upon Cleomenes’s desire, came to him, and spoke to him in fair terms, softening down his suspicions and excusing the king’s conduct. But as he went out again, not knowing that Cleomenes followed him to the door, he severely reprimanded the keepers for their carelessness in looking after “so great and so furious a wild beast.” This Cleomenes himself heard, and retiring before Ptolemy perceived it, told his friends what had been said. Upon this they cast off all their former hopes, and determined for violent proceedings, resolving to be revenged on Ptolemy for his base and unjust dealing, to have satisfaction for the affronts, to die as it became Spartans, and not stay till, like fatted sacrifices, they were butchered. For it was both grievous and dishonorable for Cleomenes, who had scorned to come to terms with Antigonus, a brave warrior, and a man of action, to wait an effeminate king’s leisure, till he should lay aside his timbrel and end his dance, and then kill him.
These courses being resolved on, and Ptolemy happening at the same time to make a progress to Canopus, they first spread abroad a report, that his freedom was ordered by the king, and, it being the custom for the king to send presents and an entertainment to those whom he would free, Cleomenes’s friends made that provision, and sent it into the prison, thus imposing upon the keepers, who thought it had been sent by the king. For he sacrificed, and gave them large portions, and with a garland upon his head, feasted and made merry with his friends. It is said that he began the action sooner than he designed, having understood that a servant who was privy to the plot, had gone out to visit a mistress that he loved. This made him afraid of a discovery; and therefore, as soon as it was full noon, and all the keepers sleeping off their wine, he put on his coat, and opening the seam to bare his right shoulder, with his drawn sword in his hand, he issued forth, together with his friends, provided in the same manner, making thirteen in all. One of them, by name Hippitas, was lame, and followed the first onset very well, but when he presently perceived that they were more slow in their advances for his sake, he desired them to run him through, and not ruin their enterprise by staying for an useless, unprofitable man. By chance an Alexandrian was then riding by the door; him they threw off, and setting Hippitas on horseback, ran through the streets, and proclaimed liberty to the people. But they, it seems, had courage enough to praise and admire Cleomenes’s daring, but not one had the heart to follow and assist him. Three of them fell on Ptolemy, the son of Chrysermas, as he was coming out of the palace, and killed him. Another Ptolemy, the officer in charge of the city, advancing against them in a chariot, they set upon, dispersed his guards and attendants, and pulling him out of the chariot, killed him upon the place. Then they made toward the castle, designing to break open the prison, release those who were confined, and avail themselves of their numbers; but the keepers were too quick for them, and secured the passages. Being baffled in this attempt, Cleomenes with his company roamed about the Page 503 city, none joining with him, but all retreating from and flying his approach. Therefore, despairing of success, and saying to his friends, that it was no wonder that women ruled over men that were afraid of liberty, he bade them all die as bravely as became his followers and their own past actions. This said, Hippitas was first, as he desired, run through by one of the younger men, and then each of them readily and resolutely fell upon his own sword, except Panteus, the same who first surprised Megalopolis. This man, being of a very handsome person, and a great lover of the Spartan discipline, the king had made his dearest friend; and he now bade him, when he had seen him and the rest fallen, die by their example. Panteus walked over them as they lay, and pricked every one with his dagger, to try whether any was alive, when he pricked Cleomenes in the ancle, and saw him turn upon his back, he kissed him, sat down by him, and when he was quite dead, covered up the body, and then killed himself over it.
Thus fell Cleomenes, after the life which we have narrated, having been king of Sparta sixteen years. The news of their fall being noised through the city, Cratesiclea, though a woman of a great spirit, could not bear up against the weight of this affliction; but embracing Cleomenes’s children, broke out into lamentations. But the eldest boy, none suspecting such a spirit in a child, threw himself headlong from the top of the house. He was bruised very much, but not killed by the fall, and was taken up crying, and expressing his resentment for not being permitted to destroy himself. Ptolemy, as soon as an account of the action was brought him, gave order that Cleomenes’s body should be flayed and hung up, and that his children, mother, and the women that were with her, should be killed. Amongst these was Panteus’s wife, a beautiful and noble-looking woman, who had been but lately married, and suffered these disasters in the height of her love. Her parents would not have her embark with Panteus, so shortly after they were married, though she eagerly desired it, but shut her up, and kept her forcibly at home. But a few days after, she procured a horse and a little money, and escaping by night, made speed to Tænarus, where she embarked for Egypt, came to her husband, and with him cheerfully endured to live in a foreign country. She gave her hand to Cratesiclea, as she was going with the soldiers to execution, held up her robe, and begged her to be courageous; who of herself was not in the least afraid of death, and desired nothing else but only to be killed before the children. When they were come to the place of execution, the children were first killed before Cratesiclea’s eyes, and afterward she herself, with only these words in her mouth, “O children, whither are you gone?” But Panteus’s wife, fastening her dress close about her, and being a strong woman, in silence and perfect composure, looked after every one that was slain, and laid them decently out as far as circumstances would permit; and after all were killed, rearraying her dress, and drawing her clothes close about her, and suffering none to come near or be an eyewitness of her fall, besides the executioner, she courageously submitted to the stroke, and wanted nobody to look after her or wind her up after she was dead. Thus in her death the modesty of her mind appeared, and set that guard upon her body which she always kept when alive. And she, in the declining age of the Spartans, shewed that women were no unequal rivals of the men, and was an instance of a courage superior to the affronts of fortune.
A few days after, those that watched the hanging body of Cleomenes, saw a large snake winding about his head, and covering his face, so that no bird of prey would fly at it. This made the king superstitiously afraid, and set the women upon several expiations, as if he had been some extraordinary being, and one beloved by the gods, that had been slain. And the Alexandrians made processions to the place, and gave Cleomenes the title of hero, and son of the gods, till the philosophers satisfied them by saying, that as oxen breed bees, putrifying horses breed wasps, and beetles rise from the carcasses of dead asses, so the humors and juices of the marrow of a man’s body, coagulating, produce serpents. And this the ancients observing, appropriated a serpent, rather than any other creature, to heroes.
Having completed the first two narratives, we now may proceed to take a view of misfortunes, not less remarkable, in the Roman couple, and with the lives of Agis and Cleomenes, compare these of Tiberius and Caius. They were the sons of Tiberius Gracchus, who, though he had been once censor, twice consul, and twice had triumphed, yet was more renowned and esteemed for his virtue than his honors. Upon this account, after the death of Scipio who overthrew Hannibal, he was thought worthy to match with his daughter Cornelia, though there had been no friendship or familiarity between Scipio and him, but rather the contrary. There is a story told, that he once found in his bedchamber a couple of snakes, and that the soothsayers, being consulted concerning the prodigy, advised, that he should neither kill them both nor let them both escape; adding, that if the male serpent was killed, Tiberius should die, and if the female, Cornelia. And that, therefore, Tiberius, who extremely loved his wife, and thought, besides, that it was much more his part, who was an old man, to die, than it was hers, who as yet was but a young woman, killed the male serpent, and let the female escape; and soon after himself died, leaving behind him twelve children borne to him by Cornelia.
Cornelia, taking upon herself all the care of the household and the education of her children, approved herself so discreet a matron, so affectionate a mother, and so constant and noble-spirited a widow, that Tiberius seemed to all men to have done nothing unreasonable, in choosing to die for such a woman; who, when king Ptolemy himself proffered her his crown, and would have married her, refused it, and chose rather to live a widow. In this state she continued, and lost all her children, except one daughter, who was married to Scipio the younger, and two sons, Tiberius and Caius, whose lives we are now writing.
These she brought up with such care, that though they were without dispute in natural endowments and dispositions the first among the Romans of their time, yet they seemed to owe their virtues even more to their education than to their birth. And as, in the statues and pictures made of Castor and Pollux, though the brothers resemble one another, yet there is a difference to be perceived in their countenances, between the one, who delighted in the cestus, and the other, that was famous in the course, so between these two noble youths, though there was a strong general likeness in their common love of fortitude and temperance, in their liberality, their eloquence, and their greatness of mind, yet in their actions and administrations of public affairs, a considerable variation showed itself. It will not be amiss, before we proceed, to mark the difference between them.
Tiberius, in the form and expression of his countenance, and in his gesture and motion, was gentle and composed; but Caius, earnest and vehement. And so, in their public speeches to the people, the one spoke in a quiet orderly manner, standing throughout on the same spot; the other would walk about on the hustings, and in the heat of his orations, pull his gown off his shoulders, and was the first of all the Romans that used such gestures; as Cleon is said to have been the first orator among the Athenians that pulled off his cloak and smote his thigh, when addressing the people. Caius’s oratory was impetuous and passionate, making every thing tell to the utmost, whereas Tiberius was gentle, rather, and persuasive, awakening emotions of pity. His diction was pure, and carefully correct, while that of Caius was vehement and rich. So likewise in their way of living, and at their tables, Tiberius was frugal and plain, Caius, compared with other men temperate and even austere, but contrasting with his brother in a fondness for new fashions and rarities, as appears in Drusus’s charge against him, that he had bought some silver dolphins,* to the value of twelve hundred and fifty drachmas for every pound weight.
The same difference that appeared in their diction, was observable also in their tempers. The one was mild and reasonable, the other rough and passionate, and to that degree, that often, in the midst of speaking, he was so hurried away by his passion, against his judgment, that his voice lost its tone, and he began to pass into mere abusive talking, spoiling his whole speech. As a remedy to this excess, he made use of an ingenious servant of his, one Licinius, who stood constantly behind him with a sort of pitchpipe, or instrument to regulate the voice by, and whenever he perceived his master’s tone alter, and break with anger, he struck a soft note with his pipe, on hearing which, Caius immediately checked the vehemence of his passion and his voice, grew quieter, and allowed himself to be recalled to temper. Such are the differences between the two brothers; but their valor in war against their country’s enemies, their justice in the government of its subjects, their care and industry in office, and their self-command in all that regarded their pleasures were equally remarkable in both.
Tiberius was the elder by nine years; owing to which their actions as public men were divided by the difference of the times in which those of the one and those of the other were performed. And one of the principal causes of the failure of their enterprises was this interval between their careers, and the want of combination of their efforts. The power they would have exercised, had they flourished both together, could scarcely have failed to overcome all resistance. We must therefore give an account of each of them singly, and first of the eldest.
Tiberius, immediately on his attaining manhood, had such a reputation, that he was admitted into the college of the augurs, and that in consideration more of his early virtue than of his noble birth. This appeared by what Appius Claudius did, who, though he had been consul and censor, and was now the head of the Roman senate, and had the highest sense of his own place and merit, at a public feast of the augurs, addressed himself openly to Tiberius, and with great expressions of kindness, offered him his daughter in marriage. And when Tiberius gladly accepted, and the agreement had thus been completed, Appius, returning home, no sooner had reached his door, but he called to his wife and cried out in a loud voice, “O Antistia, I have contracted our daughter Claudia to a husband.” She, being amazed, answered, “But why so suddenly, or what means this haste? Unless you have provided Tiberius Gracchus for her husband.” I am not ignorant that some apply this story to Tiberius, the father of the Gracchi, and Scipio Africanus; but most relate it as we have done. And Polybius writes, that after the death of Scipio Africanus, the nearest relations of Cornelia, preferring Page 510 Tiberius to all other competitors, gave her to him in marriage, not having been engaged or promised to any one by her father.
This young Tiberius, accordingly, serving in Africa under the younger Scipio, who had married his sister, and living there under the same tent with him, soon learned to estimate the noble spirit of his commander, which was so fit to inspire strong feelings of emulation in virtue and desire to prove merit in action, and in a short time he excelled all the young men of the army in obedience and courage; and he was the first that mounted the enemy’s wall, as Fannius says, who writes, that he himself climbed up with him, and was partaker in the achievement. He was regarded, while he continued with the army, with great affection; and left behind him on his departure a strong desire for his return.
After that expedition, being chosen paymaster, it was his fortune to serve in the war against the Numantines, under the command of Caius Mancinus, the consul, a person of no bad character, but the most unfortunate of all the Roman generals. Notwithstanding, amidst the greatest misfortunes, and in the most unsuccessful enterprises, not only the discretion and valor of Tiberius, but also, which was still more to be admired, the great respect and honor which he showed for his general, were most eminently remarkable; though the general himself, when reduced to straits, forgot his own dignity and office. For being beaten in various great battles, he endeavored to dislodge by night, and leave his camp; which the Numantines perceiving, immediately possessed themselves of his camp, and pursuing that part of the forces which was in flight, slew those that were in the rear, hedged the whole army in on every side, and forced them into difficult ground, whence there could be no possibility of an escape. Mancinus, despairing to make his way through by force, sent a messenger to desire a truce, and conditions of peace. But they refused to give their confidence to any one except Tiberius, and required that he should be sent to treat with them. This was not only in regard to the young man’s own character, for he had a great reputation amongst the soldiers, but also in remembrance of his father Tiberius, who, in his command against the Spaniards, had reduced great numbers of them to subjection, but granted a peace to the Numantines, and prevailed upon the Romans to keep it punctually and inviolably.
Tiberius was accordingly despatched to the enemy, whom he persuaded to accept of several conditions, and he himself complied with others; and by this means it is beyond a question, that he saved twenty thousand of the Roman citizens, besides attendants and camp followers. However, the Numantines retained possession of all the property they had found and plundered in the encampment; and amongst other things were Tiberius’s books of accounts, containing the whole transactions of his quæstorship, which he was extremely anxious to recover. And therefore, when the army were already upon their march, he returned to Numantia, accompanied with only three or four of his friends; and making his application to the officers of the Numantines, he entreated that they would return him his books, lest his enemies should have it in their power to reproach him with not being able to give an account of the moneys intrusted to him. The Numantines joyfully embraced this opportunity of obliging him, and invited him into the city; as he stood hesitating, they came up and took him by the hands, and begged that he would no longer look upon them as enemies, but believe them to be his friends, and treat them as such. Tiberius thought it well to consent, desirous as he was to have his books returned, and was afraid lest he should disoblige them by showing any distrust. As soon as he entered into the city, they first offered him food, and made every kind of entreaty that he would sit down and eat something in their company. Afterwards they returned his books, and gave him the liberty to take whatever he wished for in the remaining spoils. He, on the other hand, would accept of nothing but some frankincense, which he used in his public sacrifices, and, bidding them farewell with every expression of kindness, departed.
When he returned to Rome, he found the whole transaction censured and reproached, as a proceeding that was base, and scandalous to the Romans. But the relations and friends of the soldiers, forming a large body among the people, came flocking to Tiberius, whom they acknowledged as the preserver of so many citizens, imputing to the general all the miscarriages which had happened. Those who cried out against what had been done, urged for imitation the example of their ancestors, who stripped and handed over to the Samnites not only the generals who had consented to the terms of release, but also all the quæstors, for example, and tribunes, who had in any way implicated themselves in the agreement, laying the guilt of perjury and breach of conditions on their heads. But, in this affair, the populace, showing an extraordinary kindness and affection for Tiberius, indeed voted that the consul should be stripped and put in irons, and so delivered to the Numantines; but for the sake of Tiberius, spared all the other officers. It may be probable, also, that Scipio, who at that time was the greatest and most powerful man among the Romans, contributed to save him, though indeed he was also censured for not protecting Mancinus too, and that he did not exert himself to maintain the observance of the articles of peace which had been agreed upon by his kinsman and friend Tiberius. But it may be presumed that the difference between Page 513 them was for the most part due to ambitious feelings, and to the friends and reasoners who urged on Tiberius, and, as it was, it never amounted to any thing that might not have been remedied, or that was really bad. Nor can I think that Tiberius would ever have met with his misfortunes, if Scipio had been concerned in dealing with his measures; but he was away fighting at Numantia, when Tiberius, upon the following occasion, first came forward as a legislator.
Of the land which the Romans gained by conquest from their neighbors, part they sold publicly, and turned the remainder into common; this common land they assigned to such of the citizens as were poor and indigent, for which they were to pay only a small acknowledgment into the public treasury. But when the wealthy men began to offer larger rents, and drive the poorer people out, it was enacted by law, that no person whatever should enjoy more than five hundred acres of ground. This act for some time checked the avarice of the richer, and was of great assistance to the poorer people, who retained under it their respective proportions of ground, as they had been formerly rented by them. Afterwards the rich men of the neighborhood contrived to get these lands again into their possession, under other people’s names, and at last would not stick to claim most of them publicly in their own. The poor, who were thus deprived of their farms, were no longer either ready, as they had formerly been, to serve in war, or careful in the education of their children; insomuch that in a short time there were comparatively few freemen remaining in all Italy, which swarmed with workhouses full of foreign-born slaves. These the rich men employed in cultivating their ground, of which they dispossessed the citizens. Caius Lælius, the intimate friend of Scipio, undertook to reform this abuse; but meeting with opposition from men of authority, and fearing a disturbance, he soon desisted, and received the name of the Wise or the Prudent, both which meanings belong to the Latin word Sapiens.
But Tiberius, being elected tribune of the people, entered upon that design without delay, at the instigation, as is most commonly stated, of Diophanes, the rhetorician, and Blossius, the philosopher. Diophanes was a refugee from Mitylene, the other was an Italian, of the city of Cuma, and was educated there under Antipater of Tarsus, who afterwards did him the honor to dedicate some of his philosophical lectures to him. Some have also charged Cornelia, the mother of Tiberius, with contributing towards it, because she frequently upbraided her sons, that the Romans as yet rather called her the daughter of Scipio, than the mother of the Gracchi. Others again say Spurius Postumius was the chief occasion. He was a man of the same age with Tiberius, and his rival for reputation as a public speaker; and when Tiberius, at his return from the campaign, found him to have got far beyond him in fame and influence, and to be much looked up to, he thought to outdo him, by attempting a popular enterprise of this difficulty, and of such great consequence. But his brother Caius has left it us in writing, that when Tiberius went through Tuscany to Numantia, and found the country almost depopulated, there being hardly any free husbandmen or shepherds, but for the most part only barbarian, imported slaves, he then first conceived the course of policy which in the sequel proved so fatal to his family. Though it is also most certain that the people themselves chiefly excited his zeal and determination in the prosecution of it, by setting up writings upon the porches, walls, and monuments, calling upon him to reinstate the poor citizens in their former possessions.
However, he did not draw up his law without the advice and assistance of those citizens that were then most eminent for their virtue and authority; amongst whom were Crassus, the high-priest, Mucius Scævola, the lawyer, who at that time was consul, and Claudius Appius, his father-in-law. Never did any law appear more moderate and gentle, especially being enacted against such great oppression and avarice. For they who ought to have been severely punished for transgressing the former laws, and should at least have lost all their titles to such lands which they had unjustly usurped, were notwithstanding to receive a price for quitting their unlawful claims, and giving up their lands to those fit owners who stood in need of help. But though this reformation was managed with so much tenderness, that, all the former transactions being passed over, the people were only thankful to prevent abuses of the like nature for the future, yet, on the other hand, the moneyed men, and those of great estates, were exasperated, through their covetous feelings against the law itself, and against the law giver, through anger and party spirit. They therefore endeavored to seduce the people, declaring that Tiberius was designing a general redivision of lands, to overthrow the government, and put all things into confusion.
But they had no success. For Tiberius, maintaining an honorable and just cause, and possessed of eloquence sufficient to have made a less creditable action appear plausible, was no safe or easy antagonist, when, with the people crowding around the hustings, he took his place, and spoke in behalf of the poor. “The savage beasts,” said he, “in Italy, have their particular dens, they have their places of repose and refuge; but the men who bear arms, and expose their lives for the safety of their country, enjoy in the mean time nothing more in it but the air and light; and having no houses or settlements of their own, are constrained to wander from place to place with their wives and children.” He told them that the commanders were guilty of a ridiculous error, when, at the head of their armies, they exhorted the common soldiers to fight for their sepulchres and altars; when not any amongst so many Romans is possessed of either altar or monument, neither have they any houses of their own, or hearths of their ancestors to defend. They fought indeed, and were slain, but it was to maintain the luxury and the wealth of other men. They were styled the masters of the world, but in the mean time had not one foot of ground which they could call their own. An harangue of this nature, spoken to an enthusiastic and sympathizing audience, by a person of commanding spirit and genuine feeling, no adversaries at that time were competent to oppose. Forbearing, therefore, all discussion and debate, they addressed themselves to Marcus Octavius, his fellow-tribune, who, being a young man of a steady, orderly character, and an intimate friend of Tiberius, upon this account declined at first the task of opposing him; but at length, over persuaded with the repeated importunities of numerous considerable persons, he was prevailed upon to do so, and hindered the passing of the law; it being the rule that any tribune has a power to hinder an act, and that all the rest can effect nothing, if only one of them dissents. Tiberius, irritated at these proceedings, presently laid aside this milder bill, but at the same time preferred another; which, as it was more grateful to the common people, so it was much more severe against the wrongdoers, commanding them to make an immediate surrender of all lands which, contrary to former laws, had come into their possession. Hence there arose daily contentions between him and Octavius in their orations. However, though they expressed themselves with the utmost heat and determination, they yet were never known to descend to any personal reproaches, or in their passion to let slip any indecent expressions, so as to derogate from one another.
When the day appointed was come, and the people summoned to give their votes, the rich men seized upon the voting urns, and carried them away by force; thus all things were in confusion. But when Tiberius’s party appeared strong enough to oppose the contrary faction, and drew together in a body, with the resolution to do so, Manlius and Fulvius, two of the consular quality, threw themselves before Tiberius, took him by the hand, and with tears in their eyes, begged of him to desist. Tiberius, considering the mischiefs that were all but now occurring, and having a great respect for two such eminent persons, demanded of them what they would advise him to do. They acknowledged themselves unfit to advise in a matter of so great importance, but earnestly entreated him to leave it to the determination of the senate. But when the senate assembled, and could not bring the business to any result, through the prevalence of the rich faction, he then was driven to a course neither legal nor fair, and proposed to deprive Octavius of his tribuneship, it being impossible for him in any other way to get the law brought to the vote. At first he addressed him publicly, with entreaties couched in the kindest terms, and taking him by his hands, besought him, that now, in the presence of all the people, he would take this opportunity to oblige them, in granting only that request which was in itself so just and reasonable, being but a small recompense in regard of those many dangers and hardships which they had undergone for the public safety. Octavius, however, would by no means be persuaded to compliance; upon which Tiberius declared openly, that seeing they two were united in the same office, and of equal authority, it would be a difficult matter to compose their difference on so weighty a matter without a civil war; and that the only remedy which he knew, must be the deposing one of them from their office. He desired, therefore, that Octavius would summon the people to pass their verdict upon him first, averring that he would willingly relinquish his authority if the citizens desired it. Octavius refused; and Tiberius then said he would himself put to the people the question of Octavius’s deposition, if upon mature deliberation he did not alter his mind; and after this declaration, he adjourned the assembly till the next day.
When the people were met together again, Tiberius placed himself in the rostra, and endeavored a second time to persuade Octavius. But all being to no purpose, he referred the whole matter to the people, calling on them to vote at once, whether Octavius should be deposed or not; and when seventeen of the thirty-five tribes had already voted against him, and there wanted only the votes of one tribe more for his final deprivation, Tiberius put a short stop to the proceedings, and once more renewed his importunities; he embraced and kissed him before all the assembly, begging, with all the earnestness imaginable, that he would neither suffer himself to incur the dishonor, nor him to be reputed the author and promoter of so odious a measure. Octavius, we are told, did seem a little softened and moved with these entreaties; his eyes filled with tears, and he continued silent for a considerable time. But presently looking towards the rich men and proprietors of estates, who stood gathered in a body together, partly for shame, and partly for fear of disgracing himself with them, he boldly bade Tiberius use any severity he pleased. The law for his deprivation being thus voted, Tiberius ordered one of his servants, whom he had made a freeman, to remove Octavius from the rostra, employing his own domestic freed servants in the stead of the public officers. And it made the action seem all the sadder, that Octavius was dragged out in such an ignominious manner. The people immediately assaulted him, whilst the rich men ran in to his assistance. Octavius, with some difficulty, was snatched away, and safely conveyed out of the crowd; though a trusty servant of his, who had placed himself in front of his master that he might assist his escape, in keeping off the multitude, had his eyes struck out, much to the displeasure of Tiberius, who ran with all haste, when he perceived the disturbance, to appease the rioters.
This being done, the law concerning the lands was ratified and confirmed, and three commissioners were appointed, to make a survey of the grounds and see the same equally divided. These were Tiberius himself, Claudius Appius, his father-in-law, and his brother, Caius Gracchus, who at this time was not at Rome, but in the army under the command of Scipio Africanus before Numantia. These things were transacted by Tiberius without any disturbance, none daring to offer any resistance to him; besides which, he gave the appointment as tribune in Octavius’s place, not to any person of distinction, but to a certain Mucius, one of his own clients. The great men of the city were therefore utterly offended, and, fearing lest he should grow yet more popular, they took all opportunities of affronting him publicly in the senate house. For when he requested, as was usual, to have a tent provided at the public charge for his use, while dividing the lands, though it was a favor commonly granted to persons employed in business of much less importance, it was peremptorily refused to him; and the allowance made him for his daily expenses was fixed to nine obols only. The chief promoter of these affronts was Publius Nasica, who openly abandoned himself to his feelings of hatred against Tiberius, being a large holder of the public lands, and not a little resenting now to be turned out of them by force. The people, on the other hand, were still more and more excited, insomuch that a little after this, it happening that one of Tiberius’s friends died suddenly, and his body being marked with malignant-looking spots, they ran, in a tumultuous manner, to his funeral, crying aloud that the man was poisoned. They took the bier upon their shoulders, and stood over it, while it was placed on the pile, and really seemed to have fair grounds for their suspicion of foul play. For the body burst open, and such a quantity of corrupt humors issued out, that the funeral fire was extinguished, and when it was again kindled, the wood still would not burn; insomuch that they were constrained to carry the corpse to another place, where with much difficulty it took fire. Besides this, Tiberius, that he might incense the people yet more, put himself into mourning, brought his children amongst the crowd, and entreated the people to provide for them and their mother, as if he now despaired of his own security.
About this time, king Attalus, surnamed Philometor, died, and Eudemus, a Pergamenian, brought his last will to Rome, by which he had made the Roman people his heirs. Tiberius, to please the people, immediately proposed making a law, that all the money which Attalus left, should be distributed amongst such poor citizens as were to be sharers of the public lands, for the better enabling them to proceed in stocking and cultivating their ground; and as for the cities that were in the territories of Attalus, he declared that the disposal of them did not at all belong to the senate, but to the people, and that he himself would ask their pleasure herein. By this he offended the senate more than ever he had done before, and Pompeius stood up, and acquainted them that he was the next neighbor to Tiberius, and so had the opportunity of knowing that Eudemus, the Pergamenian, had presented Tiberius with a royal diadem and a purple robe, as before long he was to be king of Rome. Quintus Metellus also upbraided him, saying, that when his father was censor, the Romans, whenever he happened to be going home from a supper, used to put out all their lights, lest they should be seen to have indulged themselves in feasting and drinking at unseasonable hours, whereas now, the most indigent and audacious of the people were found with their torches at night, following Tiberius home. Titus Annius, a man of no great repute for either justice or temperance, but famous for his skill in putting and answering questions, challenged Tiberius to the proof by wager, declaring him to have deposed a magistrate who by law was sacred and inviolable. Loud clamor ensued, and Tiberius, quitting the senate hastily, called together the people, and summoning Annius to appear, was proceeding to accuse him. But Annius, being no great speaker, nor of any repute compared to him, sheltered himself in his own particular art, and desired that he might propose one or two questions to Tiberius, before he entered upon the chief argument. This liberty being granted, and silence proclaimed, Annius proposed his question. “If you,” said he, “had a design to disgrace and defame me, and I should apply myself to one of your colleagues for redress, and he should come forward to my assistance, would you for that reason fall into a passion, and depose him?” Tiberius, they say, was so much disconcerted at this question, that, though at other times his assurance as well as his readiness of speech was always remarkable, yet now he was silent and made no reply.
For the present he dismissed the assembly. But beginning to understand that the course he had taken with Octavius had created offence even among the populace as well as the nobility, because the dignity of the tribunes seemed to be violated, which had always continued till that day sacred and honorable, he made a speech to the people in justification of himself; out of which it may not be improper to collect some particulars, to give an impression of his force and persuasiveness in speaking. “A tribune,” he said, “of the people, is sacred indeed, and ought to be inviolable, because in a manner consecrated to be the guardian and protector of them; but if he degenerate so far as to oppress the people, abridge their powers, and take away their liberty of voting, he stands deprived by his own act of his honors and immunities, by the neglect of the duty, for which the honor was bestowed upon him. Otherwise we should be under the obligation to let a tribune do his pleasure, though he should proceed to destroy the capitol or set fire to the arsenal. He who should make these attempts, would be a bad tribune. He who assails the power of the people, is no longer a tribune at all. Is it not inconceivable, that a tribune should have power to imprison a consul, and the people have no authority to degrade him when he uses that honor which he received from them, to their detriment? For the tribunes, as well as the consuls, hold office by the people’s votes. The kingly government, which comprehends all sorts of authority in itself alone, is morever elevated by the greatest and most religious solemnity imaginable into a condition of sanctity. But the citizens, notwithstanding this, deposed Tarquin, when he acted wrongfully; and for the crime of one single man, the ancient government under which Rome was built, was abolished for ever. What is there in all Rome so sacred and venerable as the vestal virgins, to whose care alone the preservation of the eternal fire is committed? yet if one of these transgress, she is buried alive; the sanctity which for the gods’ sakes is allowed them, is forfeited when they offend against the gods. So likewise a tribune retains not his inviolability, which for the people’s sake was accorded to him, when he offends against the people, and attacks the foundations of that authority from whence he derived his own. We esteem him to be legally chosen tribune who is elected only by the majority of votes; and is not therefore the same person much more lawfully degraded, when by a general consent of them all, they agree to depose him? Nothing is so sacred as religious offerings; yet the people were never prohibited to make use of them, but suffered to remove and carry them wherever they pleased; so likewise, as it were some sacred present, they have lawful power to transfer the tribuneship from one man’s hands to another’s. Nor can that authority be thought inviolable and irremovable which many of those who have held it, have of their own act surrendered, and desired to be discharged from.”
These were the principal heads of Tiberius’s apology. But his friends, apprehending the dangers which seemed to threaten him, and the conspiracy that was gathering head against him, were of opinion, that the safest way would be for him to petition that he might be continued tribune for the year ensuing. Upon this consideration, he again endeavored to secure the people’s good-will with fresh laws, making the years of serving in the war fewer than formerly, granting liberty of appeal from the judges to the people, and joining to the senators, who were judges at that time, an equal number of citizens of the horsemen’s degree, endeavoring as much as in him lay to lessen the power of the senate, rather from passion and partisanship than from any rational regard to equity and the public good. And when it came to the question, whether these laws should be passed, and they perceived that the opposite party were strongest, the people as yet being not got together in a full body, they began first of all to gain time by speeches in accusation of some of their fellow-magistrates, and at length adjourned the assembly till the day following.
Tiberius then went down into the market-place amongst the people, and made his addresses to them humbly and with tears in his eyes; and told them, he had just reason to suspect, that his adversaries would attempt in the night time to break open his house, and murder him. This worked so strongly with the multitude, that several of them pitched tents round about his house, and kept guard all night for the security of his person. By break of day came one of the soothsayers, who prognosticate good or bad success by the pecking of fowls, and threw them something to eat. The soothsayer used his utmost endeavors to fright the fowls out of their coop; but none of them except one would venture out, which fluttered with its left wing, and stretched out its leg, and ran back again into the coop, without eating any thing. This put Tiberius in mind of another ill omen which had formerly happened to him. He had a very costly headpiece, which he made use of when he engaged in any battle, and into this piece of armor two serpents crawled, laid eggs, and brought forth young ones. The remembrance of which made Tiberius more concerned now, than otherwise he would have been. However, he went towards the capitol, as soon as he understood that the people were assembled there; but before he got out of the house, he stumbled upon the threshold with such violence, that he broke the nail of his great toe, insomuch that blood gushed out of his shoe. He was not gone very far before he saw two ravens fighting on the top of a house which stood on his left hand as he passed along; and though he was surrounded with a number of people, a stone, struck from its place by one of the ravens, fell just at his foot. This even the boldest men about him felt as a check. But Blossius of Cuma, who was present, told him, that it would be a shame, and an ignominious thing, for Tiberius, who was the son of Gracchus, the grandson of Scipio Africanus, and the protector of the Roman people, to refuse, for fear of a silly bird, to answer, when his countrymen called to him; and that his adversaries would represent it not as a mere matter for their ridicule, but would declaim about it to the people as the mark of a tyrannical temper, which felt a pride in taking liberties with the people. At the same time several messengers came also from his friends, to desire his presence at the capitol, saying that all things went there according to expectation. And indeed Tiberius’s first entrance there was Page 526 in every way successful; as soon as ever he appeared, the people welcomed him with loud acclamations, and as he went up to his place, they repeated their expressions of joy, and gathered in a body around him, so that no one who was not well known to be his friend, might approach. Mucius then began to put the business again to the vote; but nothing could be performed in the usual course and order, because of the disturbance caused by those who were on the outside of the crowd, where there was a struggle going on with those of the opposite party, who were pushing on and trying to force their way in and establish themselves among them.
Whilst things were in this confusion, Flavius Flaccus, a senator, standing in a place where he could be seen, but at such a distance from Tiberius that he could not make him hear, signified to him by motions of his hand, that he wished to impart something of consequence to him in private. Tiberius ordered the multitude to make way for him, by which means, though not without some difficulty, Flavius got to him, and informed him, that the rich men, in a sitting of the senate, seeing they could not prevail upon the consul to espouse their quarrel, had come to a final determination amongst themselves, that he should be assassinated, and to that purpose had a great number of their friends and servants ready armed to accomplish it. Tiberius no sooner communicated this confederacy to those about him, but they immediately tucked up their gowns, broke the halberts which the officers used to keep the crowd off into pieces, and distributed them among themselves, resolving to resist the attack with these. Those who stood at a distance wondered, and asked what was the occasion; Tiberius, knowing that they could not hear him at that distance, lifted his hand to his head, wishing to intimate the great danger which he apprehended himself to be in. His adversaries, taking notice of that action, ran off at once to the senate house, and declared, that Tiberius desired the people to bestow a crown upon him, as if this were the meaning of his touching his head. This news created general confusion in the senators, and Nasica at once called upon the consul to punish this tyrant, and defend the government. The consul mildly replied, that he would not be the first to do any violence; and as he would not suffer any freeman to be put to death, before sentence had lawfully passed upon him, so neither would he allow any measure to be carried into effect, if by persuasion or compulsion on the part of Tiberius the people had been induced to pass any unlawful vote. But Nasica, rising from his seat, “Since the consul,” said he, “regards not the safety of the commonwealth, let every one who will defend the laws, follow me.” He, then, casting the skirt of his gown over his head, hastened to the capitol; those who bore him company, wrapped their gowns also about their arms, and forced their way after him. And as they were persons of the greatest authority in the city, the common people did not venture to obstruct their passing, but were rather so eager to clear the way for them, that they tumbled over one another in haste. The attendants they brought with them, had furnished themselves with clubs and staves from their houses, and they themselves picked up the feet and other fragments of stools and chairs, which were broken by the hasty flight of the common people. Thus armed, they made towards Tiberius, knocking down those whom they found in front of him, and those were soon wholly dispersed, and many of them slain. Tiberius tried to save himself by flight. As he was running, he was stopped by one who caught hold of him by the gown; but he threw it off, and fled in his under-garments only. And stumbling over those who before had been knocked down, as he was endeavoring to get up again, Page 528 Publius Satureius, a tribune, one of his colleagues, was observed to give him the first fatal stroke, by hitting him upon the head with the foot of a stool. The second blow was claimed, as though it had been a deed to be proud of, by Lucius Rufus. And of the rest there fell above three hundred, killed by clubs and staves only, none by an iron weapon.
This, we are told, was the first sedition amongst the Romans, since the abrogation of kingly government, that ended in the effusion of blood. All former quarrels which were neither small nor about trivial matters, were always amicably composed, by mutual concessions on either side, the senate yielding for fear of the commons, and the commons out of respect to the senate. And it is probable indeed that Tiberius himself might then have been easily induced, by mere persuasion, to give way, and certainly, if attacked at all, must have yielded without any recourse to violence and bloodshed, as he had not at that time above three thousand men to support him. But it is evident, that this conspiracy was fomented against him, more out of the hatred and malice which the rich men had to his person, than for the reasons which they commonly pretended against him. In testimony of which, we may adduce the cruelty and unnatural insults which they used to his dead body. For they would not suffer his own brother, though he earnestly begged the favor, to bury him in the night, but threw him, together with the other corpses, into the river. Neither did their animosity stop here; for they banished some of his friends without legal process, and slew as many of the others as they could lay their hands on; amongst whom Diophanes, the orator, was slain, and one Caius Villius cruelly murdered by being shut up in a large tun with vipers and serpents. Blossius of Cuma, indeed, was carried before the consuls, and examined touching what had happened, and freely Page 529 confessed, that he had done, without scruple, whatever Tiberius bade him. “What,” replied Nasica, “then if Tiberius had bidden you burn the capitol, would you have burnt it?” His first answer was, that Tiberius never would have ordered any such thing; but being pressed with the same question by several others, he declared, “If Tiberius had commanded it, it would have been right for me to do it; for he never would have commanded it, if it had not been for the people’s good.” Blossius at this time was pardoned, and afterwards went away to Aristonicus in Asia, and when Aristonicus was overthrown and ruined, killed himself.
The senate, to soothe the people after these transactions, did not oppose the division of the public lands, and permitted them to choose another commissioner in the room of Tiberius. So they elected Publius Crassus, who was Gracchus’s near connection, as his daughter Licinia was married to Caius Gracchus; although Cornelius Nepos says, that it was not Crassus’s daughter whom Caius married, but Brutus’s, who triumphed for his victories over the Lusitanians; but most writers state it as we have done. The people, however, showed evident marks of their anger at Tiberius’s death; and were clearly waiting only for the opportunity to be revenged, and Nasica was already threatened with an impeachment. The senate, therefore, fearing lest some mischief should befall him, sent him ambassador into Asia, though there was no occasion for his going thither. For the people did not conceal their indignation, even in the open streets, but railed at him, whenever they met him abroad, calling him a murderer and a tyrant, one who had polluted the most holy and religious spot in Rome with the blood of a sacred and inviolable magistrate. And so Nasica left Italy, although he was bound, being the chief priest, to officiate in all principal sacrifices. Thus wandering wretchedly and ignominiously from one place to another, he died in a short time after, not far from Pergamus. It is no wonder that the people had such an aversion to Nasica, when even Scipio Africanus, though so much and so deservedly beloved by the Romans, was in danger of quite losing the good opinion which the people had of him, only for repeating, when the news of Tiberius’s death was first brought to Numantia, the verse out of Homer
Even so perish all who do the same.
And afterwards, being asked by Caius and Fulvius, in a great assembly, what he thought of Tiberius’s death, he gave an answer adverse to Tiberius’s public actions. Upon which account, the people thenceforth used to interrupt him when he spoke, which, until that time, they had never done, and he, on the other hand, was induced to speak ill of the people. But of this the particulars are given in the life of Scipio.
[* ]Agis, their king in old times, had said, the Spartans were not used to ask how many their enemies were, but where they were. Cleomenes says that now it is no use asking even where they are.
[* ]Alea or Asea more probably.
[* ]The Mothǎees or Mothōnes were young helots, who were admitted, as the associates of some particular young Spartan, to the Spartan training, were brought up with him, and were free, but were not admitted to the full rights of citizenship. There is a statement, but not a very trustworthy one, that Lysander, Callicratidas, and Gylippus all sprang from this class.
[* ]By an okhǎne, instead of a porpax, the precise distinction between which it is hard to determine. Evidently the former allowed the soldier to use the left hand more freely than the latter; the object of the change was to have both hands hold the long Macedonian spear.
[* ]For the gymnasium of Cyllaribis, Cylarabis, or Cylarabes, see the life of Pyrrhus, Vol. II., p. 44. The Aspis, also, the Shield, one of the two citadels of the town, so called from a shield that was hung up there as an ensign, is mentioned in the same place.
[* ]The sacred bull whom the Egyptians worshipped.
[* ]Dolphins, delphinas, is changed by some critics to delphicas, tables of Delphian make.
Life of Cleomenes,page 468 . — Sphærus the Borysthenite came from the distant Greek colony of Borysthenis, or Olbia, on the north coast of the Black Sea, having the former name from the neighboring and larger river, the Dnieper, the ancient Borysthenes, but more correctly called Olbia (Wealthy), and actually situated on the Hypanis, the present Boug, not far from the Russian arsenal of Nicholaieff. Olbia was visited by Herodotus, and still flourished in the days of Plutarch. It seems to have been a sort of Greek Odessa. Zeno the Citiean, of Citium in Cyprus, is Zeno the founder of the Stoic philosophy. Sphærus was a philosopher of considerable reputation; in the list of his works given by Diogenes Laertius, there is a book On the Spartan Polity, and another On Lycurgus and Socrates.
Page 475 . — A reverence still attends on fear. This is the end of a fragment quoted in Plato’s Euthyphro, and said by the scholiast on the passage there to be taken from the Cypria or Cyprian Epics, attributed to the poet Stasinus, at one time thought to be Homer’s. The Cypria contained the whole tale of Troy antecedent to the Iliad, as the Little Iliad, the Æthiopid, the Seck of Ilium, and other epic pieces, did the sequel. The two lines which Socrates uses to Euthyphro in the Dialogue are: “But Zeus who did it, and was the sower of it all, you are not willing to name; for where fear is, there also is reverence,” or shame. Feared shall you be, dear father, and revered, are the words with which Helen when she comes to the walls of the city in the third Iliad returns Priam’s salutation and inquiry as to the names of the Greek warriors, whom they see: “I approach you with shame, dear father-in-law, and with trembling. Would that an evil death had met me on the way when I came hither with your son, leaving my marriage chamber and friends, my little daughter, and pleasant companions! . . . But this of whom you ask me is the son of Atreus, Agamemnon with large dominions, brother-in-law, if indeed I may say so, of me the dishonored,” (Iliad, III., 172). In silence fearing those that bore the sway is from the description of the steady advance of the Greek line of battle in the fourth Iliad (431). The word translated reverence (aidōs) is the same which in other places is shame, or modesty (more generally the fear of doing what is disgraceful than the shame at having done it), but it is continually and perhaps most properly used for the feeling of respect for persons and fear of behaving amiss to our betters. Diomede, out of aidōs or respect, would not answer Agamemnon’s rebuke to him. I felt aidōs to do so in their presence, I could not for aidōs refuse or contradict him, are current expressions. The distinction between courage or bravery, and a mere absence of fear or being afraid of nothing, is enforced by Aristotle. Some things every one ought to be afraid of. And hence we come, with Plato, to perceive that courage is only another form of knowledge of the truth, knowing what is truly to be feared and avoided, and what is so only in appearance. The Virtues, he said, were all Knowledges.
Page 479 . — The wine more plentiful is perhaps incorrect; it is more exactly, the wine less ascetic (literally more humane, more philanthrōpon), and he means, in quality, not in quantity. The passage, which he followed in Phylarchus the admiring historian of Cleomenes, is quoted in Athenæus, “When he had company, the wine was a little better.” It is part of a long extract about Cleomenes and his habits. (Athenæus, p. 142.)
Page 481 . — Even to the women’s apartments is an allusion to what is told in the Life of Aratus of the conduct of Philip, the young king of Macedon, to the wife of Aratus’s son.
Page 485 . — Tritymallus the Messenian is in the Life of Aratus called Tripylus.
Page 493 . — The baker was wanted first, and the pilot after, is literally in the Greek the kneader comes before the look-out man, or kneading before acting as look-out man, which seems too poor a saying to be the right one. By no very violent alteration it might be brought to the sense, they must knead before theybaked (artopteusai for proratsusai, a conjecture of Hermann’s). The copy is had been misled by the mention of the ships just before, and changed the word into one that seemed to suit them. But there are several other conjectures.
Page 503 . — Cleomenes’s body should be flayed and hung up. Flayed is not the correct term; it was one way of insulting a dead body to sew it into the skin of a brute animal and hang it up. Thus a case is quoted from Polybius where a man first has his extremities cut off, then is beheaded, and his trunk then stitched into an ass’s skin and hung on a cross. The strange theory of dead oxen generating bees, dead horses wasps, and dead men snakes, seems to have been very prevalent. Ovid, in the last book of the Metamorphoses, mentions all the three supposed phenomena (XV., 365, 368, 379). Virgil has made the first well known by the story of Aristæus and his bees in the fourth Georgic, and Pliny speaks of the third as a received tradition (Hist. Nat., X., 66).
Page 510 . — Fannius is quoted by Cicero as the author of a history, in which the times of the Gracchi were included. He was the son-in-law of Lælius, and is one of the speakers in Cicero’s dialogue, de Amicitia.
Page 513 . — The friends and reasoners who urged on Tiberius. The original word for reasoners is sophistæ; perhaps it would be better to translate it friends and philosophical teachers, or teachers of philosophy and rhetoric. Diophanes and Blossius are meant, who are described in the following page. The workhouses full of foreign born slaves are what the Romans called their ergastula. The Latin word Sapiens has, he says, p. 514, the two meanings of Wise and of Prudent; the two original words for which are sophos and phronimos, famous in Greek philosophy, sophia and phronesis being the two forms of intellectual virtue or excellence, sophia, the knowledge of the truth as it is, phronesis, the knowledge of its practical application. What the sophos sees by the light of reason, the phronimos converts into immediate precepts for action; sophos is the epithet of the philosopher, phronimos of the statesman; the first and supreme principles of morality are discerned by the sophos, the rules of life and conduct are supplied by the phronimos. No two English words exactly express a distinction which is scarcely recognized in English modes of thought. Wisdom is with us rather the practical habit, phronesis than sophia; yet speculative is a term which it is a disparagement to apply to sophia, the perceptions of which are of an absolute certainty: the word science would be better, as implying this, but the range of scientific knowledge must be extended (to make it commensurate with the claims of Greek intellect) to include subjects to which, in modern use, such an expression would never be applied. What geometry is to magnitudes, such is another, not less exact science to the highest phenomena of the world and of human nature, and in the knowledge of this consists the proper exercise of sophia.
Page 526 . — Flavius should, in accordance with Roman usage, be Fulvius.
Page 528 . — This punishment, by which Caius Villius was cruelly murdered, is that usually said to have been reserved for parricides, except that the tun, as Plutarch calls it, should be a sack. The parricide was sewn up in a leather sack (insutus in culeum) with a dog, an ape, a viper, and a cock, and thrown into the sea. Thus Juvenal, VIII., 214,
Page 529 . — The story of Blossius is told by Cicero in the dialogue on Friendship (de Amicitia, 11). The verse out of Homer in the following page is from the first book of the Odyssey (47). Minerva says so to Jupiter, who has spoken of Orestes killing Ægisthus; he has died the death he deserved; “so perish any one else that does as he has been doing.”