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THE LIFE OF JULIUS CAESAR - Plutarch, Shakespeare’s Plutarch, Vol. I (containing the main sources of Julius Caesar) 
Shakespeare’s Plutarch, ed. C.F. Tucker Brooke (New York: Duffield and Company, 1909). Vol. I containing the main sources of Julius Caesar.
Part of: Shakespeare’s Plutarch, 2 vols.
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THE LIFE OF JULIUS CAESAR
P. 3, ll. 9, 11. Miletus. The old editions have Miletum, an erroneous expansion of Amyot's Milet. North seems never to have had recourse in case of difficulty to a Latin or Greek text of Plutarch. Practically all his mistranslations are due to his effort to follow Amyot where the latter's language is ambiguous or obscure. In almost every instance reference to the Greek version would have set him right at once. It is especially noteworthy that in the names of persons and places he either takes over the Gallicized form directly or else Anglicizes it, as here, purely by guess.
P. 5, l. 14. quail. The word here retains its original signification, ‘to die, perish,’ as in O.E. cwelan.
P. 6, l. 5. scratch. This is the form found in the text of 1595 and subsequent editions. The 1579 folio reads scrat.
P. 7, l. 19. bought good cheap. ‘Cheap is, of course, here a noun, as in ‘Cheapside,’ and has the meaning of ‘bargain.’ The phrase ‘good cheap’ is really prepositional, a word like ‘at’ being understood before it, but it occurs in just the present use at least as early as the M.E. Ayenbite of Inwit.
l. 23. highway going unto Appius. Such is the reading of the first two editions, a stupid mistranslation of Amyot's ‘chemin qui s'appelle la uoye d'Appius.’ The edition of 16o3 gives the obvious correction, ‘the highway called Appius way.’
P. 8, ll. 12, 13. in their greatest ruff. The French has, ‘en leur plus grande uogue.’ The word ‘ruff’ in this sense is common in Elizabethan usage; cf. Sir Thomas More, II. iv. 99, ‘And you in ruff of your opynions clothd.’
l. 14. of victories that carried triumphs: ‘des uictoires qui portoient des trophees.’ The Greek has Níκας τροπαιοϕóρους.
P. 9, ll. 20, 21. that hardily he should give place to no man: ‘qu'il prist hardiment cueur de ne ceder ´ personne.’
l. 24. chief Bishop. This is a rather startling anachronism in which North persists. Amyot has quite regularly ‘le souuerain Pontife.’ The office is, of course, that of Pontifex Maximus, to which Caesar was elected in the year 63 B.C.
P. 10, l. 7. lend should be ‘borrow.’ Amyot's word is ‘emprunteroit.’ Plutarch wrote προσδανεισáμενος.
P. 11, l. 16. best appear. So add. 1579, 1595. The editions of 16o3 and after read ‘appear best.’
P. 13, l. 19. ymph of wood: ‘dryad,’ νᾛμφην “ρυáδα.
P. 15, l. 15. slanaered. The proper meaning of the word appears from Amyot's reading, ‘´ qui il auoit faict cast oultrage.’ Cf., for another instance, the Life of Brutus, p. 112, 1. 24.
P. 17, l. 22. Calatcans. The old editions of North spell ‘Callæcians,’ following Amyot's ‘Callæciens.’ Plutarch writes Kοαλλαïκοὺς.
l. 23. Oceanus. Old editions, ‘Oceanum’; again an error due to the attempt to Latinize the French ‘Oceane.’
P. 20, l. 9.let: ‘hinder.’
l. 21. made sure: ‘betrothed.’
II. 22, 23. Pompey's daughter. This is the correction of ed. 1603. The first two editions have ‘Pompey's wife,’ a mistake caused by the ambiguity of Amyot's ‘celle de Pompeius.’
P. 21, l. 15.Gaul on this side: ‘Cisalpine Gaul.’ The edition of I579 gives ‘Gaul on his side,’ corrected in ed. 1595. Amyot reads ‘routesles Gaules, tant de deca que de dela les monts.’
P. 22, l. I. that would be President of the Senate under him: a complete mistranslation. Plutarch wrote: Tῶνδὲἄλλων συγκλητιῷν ὀλίγοιπαντάπασιν αὐτῷ συνῃεσαν. Amyot translates: ‘il y eut peu des Senateurs qui se uoulussent trouuer soubz luy President au Senat,’ where ‘President’ is, of course, to be construed with ‘luy.’
P. 26, ll. 14, 15. thereby bestowed his rest, to make him alwaysable to do something: ‘employant par ce moien son repos #x00B4; faire tousiours quelque chose.’
P. 28, l. 8. Arar. Both in the text and in the marginal note the old editions of North read ‘Arax,’ though Amyot gives the proper form ‘Arar.’
1. 20. distress their camp: ‘take their camp.’ Cf. N.E.D., s.v. Distress, v., 2.
1. 21. strength: ‘rempart’ in Amyot.
P. 31, 1. 7. Sequanes: ‘Sequaniens’ in Amyot.
P. 32, 1. 8. tat Nervians. The form of the proper name here agrees as usual with the French, ‘Nerviens.’In the marginal note, however, we find the Latin form, ‘Nervii.’ There are no marginal notes in Amyot except a very few dealing principally with textual criticism. From various discrepancies between the notes in North and the text, it would seem probable that the former were not written by the translator, but were later inserted by the publisher for the comfort of readers. Cf. my notes to the Life of Coriolanus, Vol. II. pp. 152, 202, and to p. 103, 1. 10 of this volume.
1. 13. six-score thousand fighting men. Plutarch's number, 60,000, has been exactly doubled; but cf. p. 33, I. 2, where we have the proper computation, ‘three-score thousand.’ Such irregularities in reckoning are the rule rather than the exception in Amyot and North; they are really of no consequence, and indicate merely the ease with which mistakes in numerals crept into all ancient texts.
P. 33, 1. 23. Luca. Here the old editions have Luke, corresponding to Amyot's ‘Lucques,’ whereas the marginal note gives Luca.
P. 34, 1. 14. Favonius. ‘Faonius’ old editions and Amyot, corresponding to the Greek Φαώνιος. I follow modern editors in using the Latin form.
1. 26. Ipes. The proper form would be ‘Usipes.’ The mistake is due to a corruption in the Greek text of Plutarch by which Oὐσίας became οὕς“Iπας
P. 37, 11. 2–7. to make war in that so great and famous Island ... inhabitable. North's national pride is here responsible for the addition of an adjective or two and for the slurring over of the reference to the conquest of Britain. The corresponding passage in Amyot runs as follows: ‘pour aller faire la guerre en ceste isle, si grande, que plusieurs des anciens n'ont pas uoulu croire qu'elle fust en nature, & qui a mis plusieurs historiens en grande dispute, maintenans que c'estoit chose faulse & controuuee ´ plaisir, & luy fut le premier qui commencea á la conquerir.’
1. 22. tickle: ‘insecure.’ Cf. p. 181,1. 6.
P. 38, 11. 22, 23. making accompt that he was but a handful in their hands, they were to few. The pronouns are decidedly mixed; Amyot's version is much clearer: ‘faisans leur compte, qu'ilz l'édporteroient tout du premier coup, ´ cause qu'il auoit si peu de gens.’
P. 40, 1. 12. towards the sea Adriatic. The marginal note to these words is one of Amyot's, where it runs, ‘Les autres lisent en ce lieu, πρòςτòνἌραριν,qui seroit á dire iusqu'á la riuiere de la Sone. ‘The alternative reading is the one which all modern editors of Plutarch have adopted.
1. 19. very valiant. The editions of 1595, etc., omit ‘very.’
1. 25. unvincible. Edd. 1603, etc., change to ‘invincible.’
P. 41, 1. 6. Aedui. Old editions have ‘Hedui’= Amyot's ‘Heduiens.
P. 43,11. 26, 27. who only did see that one of them two must needs fall. This is vilely translated from Amyot and fails entirely to convey Plutarch's idea in öς ηνἔφεδροςἀμφοῖν The French is, ‘qui seul Pouuoit espier que l'un d'eulx deux donnast en terre,’ which means that Crassus was the only Roman sufficiently powerful to look on till one of the competitors should be overcome, and then join combat with the survivor.
P. 44, 11. 2–4. neither did anything let Pompey to withstandthat it should not come to pass. Clumsily and probably incorrectly translated. Amyot reads, ‘ny á Pompeius pour obuier á ce que cela ne luy aduinst,’ where cela refers to becoming the greatest person at Rome. The Greek is somewhat different: ἀπελέιπετο τῷμὲν (Caesar) ὑπὲρ τοῦ γενέσθαι μεγίστῳ τον ὂντα (Pompey) καταγύειντῷδὲ (Pompey),ïνα μὴ πάθῃ ποῦτοῦτο,προαναιρεῖν ὂνἑν ἑδεδοίκει.
P. 49, I. 6. Marcellus. So Amyot, by mistake, but Plutarch says ‘Lentulus.’
P. 50 11. 20, 21. a great city of Gaul, being the first city men come to, when they come out of Gaul: ‘grande uille, que l'on rencontre la premiere au sortir de la Gaule.’
P. 52, 1. 4. A desperate man feareth no danger: ‘A tout perdre n'y a qu'un coup perilleux. 'The marginal note to this passage is translated from Amyot.
P. 54, 1. 4. garboil: ‘commotion.’ Cf. Life 0f Brutus, p. 113, 1. 6.
P. 55, 1. 2. carriage: ‘tout son bagage.’ North uses the word repeatedly in this sense. Cf. p. 177, 1. 17; Vol. II. p. 59, 1. 26.
P. 64, 11. 25, 26. so many captains. So the edition of 1579; the later editions all read ‘many captains,’ but wrongly, for the French is ‘tant de Capitaines.’
P. 65, l. 17. Gomphi in Thessaly. The old editions of North follow the spelling of Amyot both here and in the margin, reading ‘Gomphes.’
1. 23. Baccherians. Amyot has ‘Bacchanales,’ Plutarch ‘BακΧεúοντες.
P. 66, l. 5. hands. This passage is obviously incoherent. Amyot gives the following note, disregarded by North: ‘L'original Grec est defectueux en cest ᾽droit: le faut r᾽plir de ce qui est cy doubt escrit en la uie de Pompeius, feuillet 458 soubs la lettre C.' The passage in question runs: ‘Et la nuict ensuiuant il fut aduis à Pompeius en dormant, qu'il entroit dedans le Theatre, lá ou le peuple le recueillolt auec grands battemens de mains par honneur, & que luy ornoit le temple de Venus uictorieuse de plusieurs despouilles. Ceste uision de songe d'un costé luy donnoit bon courage, & d'un autre costé le luy rompoit aussl, pour autant qu'il auoit peur, qu'estant la race de Caesar descendue de la deesse Venus, son songe ne uoulust signifier qu'elle seroit annoblle & illustree par la uictolre & par les despouilles qu'il gagneroit sur luy. ’Modern editors of Plutarch bracket the Greek sentence corresponding to ‘For he thought—hands’ as spurious.
ll. 8, 9. the chief Bishopric: ‘le souuerain Põtificat.’ Cf. note to p. 9, l. 24.
P. 67, l. 13. dost thou think: a mistaken translation of Amyot's imperative, ‘attens toy.’
l. 17. the element: that is, par excellence, the element of air. Cf. N.E.D., s.v. Element, sb. 10.
P. 69, l. 9. a box on the ear. Quite wrong. Amyot's word 'souffiet’ has here the sense of ‘bellows.’ Cf. Littré's dictionary, s.v. 10. The simile is not in the Greek.
P. 70, l. 9. but to seek ... and to hurt. Instances of the so-called absolute infinitive construction. Cf. Kellner, Historical Outlines of English Syntax, §§ 399, 400.
P. 72, l. 23. give. So the second and later editions of North. The editio princeps reads ‘gaue,’ but Amyot's phrase is 'se commence.’
P. 73, l. 14. at o'side. Edd. 1579, 1595 read ‘at toe side,’ which is merely a Middle English form of the words in the text. The preposition and article have been merged, as in Chaucer's ‘atten ale,’ ‘atte beste,’ and in redividing the final consonant of ‘at’ has remained with the article; cf. ‘the tother’ < ‘that other.’ o’ is a weakened form of ‘one’ (¯n), which originally might serve either as indefinite article or as numeral. The edition of 1603, not understanding the idiom ‘at toe side,'substituted ‘aside’; modern editors have printed ‘at one side.’
P. 74, l. 17. treen: ‘wooden.’ O.E. ‘tr¯owen,’ the adjective belonging to trëo, ‘tree.’
P. 76, l. 19. holding divers books in his hand: ‘tenant plusieurs papiers en l'une de ses mains.’ It is very likely that this passage suggested to Shakespeare the episode of Caesar's swimming match with Cassius (Julius Caesar, I. ii. 100-115). Cf. also the last speech but one of Achillas in The False One (V. iv.).
P. 79, l. 11. battles he fought: ‘battles fought,’ 1595, etc.
1. 13. Sallution. So Amyot; the old editions of North give wrongly, ‘Sallutius.’
P. 81, l. 13. Praetors and Consuls: ‘Praetor and Consuls,’ 1595, etc. Amyot's phrase is ‘personnages de dignité Praetoriale ou Consulaire.’
P. 82, l. 9. for a civil: ‘for civil,’ 1595, etc.
1. 21. allowing: ‘commending,’ the common M.E. sense. Cf. also p. 104., l. 1.
P. 88, l. 11. Persians. Plutarch and Amyot have ‘Parthians,’ which is right, but cf. note to Vol. II. p, 57, l. 12.
l. 24. Circeii. ‘Circees’ in old editions and Amyot.
P. 89, l. 1. seaw: ‘drain.’ Amyot writes, ‘de destourner l'eau.’
P. 91, l. 2l. standing of their feet ‘standing on their feet,’ ed. 1595, etc. The use of the preposition of, or its abbreviation o', in such cases is almost too common to call for notice. Cf. Vol. II. p. 17,1. 10.
P. 93, l. 13. with Diadems upon their heads. In Shakespeare it is only scarfs which Flavius and Marullus pull off. Cf. Julius Caesar, I. ii. 290.
l. 18. Brutes. We should expect ‘Bruti’ or ‘Brutuses,’ but North keeps the Gallicized form of Amyot.
P. 94, l. 10. many more of his friends besides. Instead of ‘more’ the 1595 edition gives the old adverbial form ‘moe.’
P. 95, l. 23. the solitary birds. So ed. 1595, etc.; the folio of 1579 gives ‘these solitary birds,’ but Amyot's rendering is ‘des oyseaux solitaires.’
P. 96, l. 17. to the Soothsayer. For ‘to’ ed. 1595, etc., read ‘vnto.’
P. 97, l. 25. none did like them: ‘he luy en promettoient rien de bon.’ For like in the common Elizabethan sense of ‘please,’ cf. N.E.D., s.v. Like, v1, 1.
P. 98, l. 2. Decius Brutus. Amyot reads ‘Decimus,’ which is Plutarch's word.
l. 25. to dismiss them. Another instance of the ‘absolute infinitive.’ Cf. note to p. 70, l. 9.
P. 99, l. 5. unto his house. The edition of 1595 replaces ‘unto’ by ‘into.’
P. 100, l. 15. beside. ‘besides’ in the old editions.
l. 18. Decius Brutus Albinus. In the Life of Brutus, p. 132,1. 8, as in Shakespeare, it is Trebonius who decoys Antony away. Perhaps these lines ought not to be marked with asterisks, as Shakespeare's plain debt is rather to the version of the same incident in the Life of Brutus. Probably, though, both accounts were in the poet's mind.
l. 24. Metellus Cimber. The name should be ‘Tullius Cimber,’ as in Plutarch and in North's version of the Life of Brutus; cf. p. I32, 1. 15. The mistake is due to Amyot. Here Shakespeare follows the Life of Caesar rather than that of Brutus.
P. 101, ll. 19, 20. that they had no power to fly. The folio of 1595 and its successors omit ‘that.’
P. 102, l. 11. gore-blood. A common intensive with North; cf. Life of Brutus, p. 126, ll. 17, 18.
l. 16. three and twenty wounds. Shakespeare says ‘three and thirty,’ possibly a mere slip of the memory.
P. 103, l. 10, marginal note. do go to the market-place. Instead of ‘market-place’ the editions of 1579, 1595 read ‘Capitoll,’ which the later folios altered to make the note agree with the text (I. 9). Cf. note to p. 32, l. 8.
l. 16. among. Folio 1595, etc., read ‘amongest.’
P. 104, l. 19. their houses that had slain Caesar. ‘their’ has here retained its original character of personal pronoun in the genitive; it is the antecedent of the relative.
P. 105, l. 10. one of mean sort: ‘one of the mean sort’ ed. 1595, etc.
ll. 24, 25. and Pompey also lived not passing four years morethan he. This is not by any means the significance of the French,‘ & ne suruescut Pompeius gueres plus de quattre ans.’ North has taken the object of the verb for its subject, led astray no doubt by the preservation of the Latin nominative termination. The Greek is perfectly clear: Πομπηδ'ἑπιβιώσαςοὐ πολ[46w] πλέσν ἑτοῶντσσάρων.
P. 106, ll. 12, 13. at the journey of Philippi. For ‘journey’ in sense of ‘battle’ cf. N.E.D. s.v. 7. North follows Amyot's ‘aprwes auoir esté desfait en battaille en la iournée de Philippes.’ It should be added that both here and elsewhere the old editions of North retain the French form of the proper name, Philipes.
l. 17. the eight night. ‘Eight’ is here a weakened form of the ordinal ‘eighth,’ as often in early English. Cf. N.E.D. s.v. Eighth.
l. 24. rotted before it could ripe. The use of ‘ripe’ in this way illustrates one of the most striking features of the Elizabethan language, the facility with which verbs could be made out of adjectives, nouns or any other part of speech.
P. 108, ll. 4–6. For a more detailed account of the death of Brutus, cf. pp. 189, 190.