THE LIFE OF
Antonius' grandfather was that famous Orator whom Marius slew, because he took Sylla's part. HisAntonius' parentage. father was another Antonius surnamed Cretan,aa Because that by his death he ended the war which he unfortunately made against those of Creta. who was not so famous nor bare any great sway in the commonwealth: howbeit otherwise he was an honest man, and of a very good nature, and specially very liberal in giving, as appeareth by an act he did. He was not very wealthy, and therefore his wife would not let him use his liberality and frank nature. One day a friend of his comingThe liberality of Antonius' father. to him to pray him to help him to some money, having great need, Antonius by chance had no money to give him, but he commanded one of his men to bring him some water in a silver basin, and after he had brought it him, he washed his beard as though he meant to have shaven it, and then found an errand for his man to send him out, and gave his friend the silver basin, and bade him get him money with that. Shortly after, there was a great stir in the house among the servants, seeking out this silver basin. Insomuch as Antonius seeing his wife marvellously offended for it, and that she would examine all her servants, one after another, about it, to know what was become of it: at length he confessed he had given it away, and prayed her to be contented. HisJulia, the mother of M. Antonius. wife was Julia, of the noble house and family of Julius Caesar, who, for her virtue and chastity, was to be compared with the noblest Lady of her time. M. Antonius was brought up under her, being married after her first husband's death unto Cornelius Lentulus, whom Cicero put to death with Cethegus and others, for that he was of Catiline's conspiracy against the commonwealth. And this seemeth to be the original cause and beginning of the cruel and mortal hate Antonius bare unto Cicero. For Antonius self saith, that he would never give him the body of his father-in-law to bury him, before his mother went first to entreat Cicero's wife: the which undoubtedly was a flat lie. For Cicero denied burial to none of them whom he executed by law. Now Antonius being a fair young man, and in the prime of his youth, heAntonius corrupted by Curio. fell acquainted with Curio, whose friendship and acquaintance (as it is reported) was a plague unto him. For he was a dissolute man, given over to all lust and insolency, who, to have Antonius the better at his commandment, trained him on into great follies, and vain expenses upon women, in rioting and banqueting. So that in short time he brought Antonius into a marvellous great debt, and too great for one of his years, to wit, of two hundred and fifty talents, for all which sum Curio was his surety. His father hearing of it did put his son from him, and forbade him his house. Then he fell in with Clodius, one of the desperatest and most wicked Tribunes at that time in Rome. Him he followed for a time in his desperate attempts, who bred great stir and mischief in Rome: but at length he forsook him, being weary of his rashness and folly, or else for that he was afraid of them that were bent against Clodius. Thereupon he left Italy, and went into Greece, and there bestowed the most part of his time, sometime in wars, and otherwhile in the study of eloquence. He used a manner of phrase in his speech, called Asiatic,Antonius used in his pleading the Asiatic phrase. “ which carried the best grace and estimation at that time, and was much like to his manners and “life: for it was full of ostentation, foolish bravery, and vain ambition. After he had remained there some time, Gabinius Proconsul, going into Syria, persuaded him to go with him. Antonius told him he would not goAntonius had charge of horsemen under Gabinius Proconsul going into Syria. Antonius' acts against Aristobulus as a private man: wherefore Gabinius gave him charge of his horsemen, and so took him with him. So first of all he sent him against Aristobulus who had made the Jews to rebel, and was the first man himself that got up to the wall of a castle of his, and so drave Aristobulus out of all his holds: and with those few men he had with him he overcame all the Jews in set battle, which were many against one, and put all of them almost to theAntonims took Aristobulus prisoner. sword, and furthermore, took Aristobulus himself prisoner with his son. Afterwards, Ptolemy king of Egypt, that had been driven out of his country, went unto Gabinius to entreat him to go with his army with him into Egypt, to put him again into his kingdom: and promised him, if he would go with him, ten thousand talents. The most part of the Captains thought it not best to go thither, and Gabinius himself made it dainty to enter into this war: although the covetousness of these ten thousand talents stuck sorely with him. But Antonius, that sought but for opportunity and good occasion to attempt great enterprises, and that desired also to gratify Ptolemy's request: he went about to persuade Gabinius to go this voyage. Now they were more afraid of the way they should go, to come to the city of Pelusium, than they feared any danger of the war besides: because they were to pass through deep sands and desert places, where was no fresh water to be had all the marishes through, which are called the marishes Serbonides, which the Egyptians call the exhalations or fume by the which the Giant Typhon breathed. But in truth it appeareth to be the overflowing ofAntomus Acts in Egypt under Gabinius. the Red Sea, which breaketh out under the ground in that place, where it is divided in the narrowest place from the sea on this side. So Antonius was sent before into Egypt with his horsemen, who did not only win that passage, but also took the city of Pelusium (which is a great city) with all the soldiers in it: and thereby he cleared the way, and made it safe for all the rest of the army, and the hope of the victory also certain for his Captain. Now did the enemies themselves feel the fruits of Antonius' courtesy, and the desire he had to win honour. For, when Ptolemy (after he had entered into the city of Pelusium) for the malice he bare unto the city, would have put all the Egyptians in it to the sword, Antonius withstood him, and by no means would suffer him to do it. And in all other great battles and skirmishes which they fought, and were many in number, Antonius did many noble acts of a valiant and wise Captain: but specially in one battle, where he compassed in the enemies behind, giving them the victory that fought against them, whereby he afterwards had such honourable reward as his valiantness deserved. So was his great courtesy also much commended of all, the which he shewed unto Archelaus. For having been his veryAntonius courtesy unto Archelaus being dead. friend, he made war with him against his will while he lived: but after his death he sought for his body, and gave it honourable burial. For these respects he wan himself great fame of them of Alexandria, and he was also thought a worthy man of all the soldiers in the Romans' camp. But besides all this, he hadAntonius' shape and presence. a noble presence, and shewed a countenance of one of a noble house: he had a goodly thick beard, a broad forehead, crook-nosed, and there appeared such a manly look in his countenance, as is commonly seen in Hercules' pictures, stamped or graven in metal. NowThe house of the Antonii descended from Hercules. it had been a speech of old time, that the family of the Antonii were descended from one Anton, the son of Hercules, whereof the family took name. This opinion did Antonius seek to confirm in all his doings: not only resembling him in the likeness of his body, as we have said before, but also in the wearing of his garments. For when he would openly shew himself abroad before many people, he would always wear his cassock girt down low upon his hips, with a great sword hanging by his side, and upon that, some ill-favoured cloak. Furthermore, things that seem intolerable in other men, as to boast commonly, to jest with one or other, to drink like a good fellow with everybody, to sit with the soldiers when they dine, and to eat and drink with them soldier like: it is incredible what wonderful love it wan him amongst them. And furthermore, being given to love, that made him the more desired, and by that means he brought many to love him. For he would further every man's love, and also would not be angry that men should merrily tell him of those he loved. But besides all this, that which most procuredAntonius' liberality. his rising and advancement was his liberality, who gave all to the soldiers and kept nothing for himself: and when he was grown to great credit, then was his authority and power also very great, the which notwithstanding himself did overthrow by a thousand other faults he had. In this place I will shew you one example only of his wonderful liberality. He commanded one day his cofferer that kept his money to give a friend of his 25 Myriads: which the Romans call in their tongue, Decies. His cofferer marvelling at it, and being angry withal in his mind, brought him all this money in a heap together, to shew him what a marvellous mass of money it was, Antonius, seeing it as he went by, asked what it was: his cofferer answered him, it was the money he willed him to give unto his friend. Then Antonius perceiving the spite of his man, ‘I thought,’ said he, ‘that Decies had been a greater sum of money than it is, for this is but a trifle’: and therefore he gave his friend as much more another time, but that was afterwards. Now the Romans maintaining two factions at Rome at that time, one against the other, of the which, they that took part with the Senate did join with Pompey being then in Rome: and the contrary side taking part with the people sent for Caesar to aid them, who made wars in Gaul: then Curio, Antonius' friend, that had changed his garments and at that time took part with Caesar, whose enemy he had been before: he wan Antonius, and so handled the matter, partly through the great credit and sway he bare amongst the people by reason of his eloquent tongue, and partly also by his exceeding expense of money he madeAntoniu, Tribune of the people and Augur. which Caesar gave him, that Antonius was chosen Tribune, and afterwards made Augur. But this was a great help and furtherance to Caesar's practices. For so soon as Antonius became Tribune he did oppose himself against those things which the Consul Marcellus preferred (who ordained that certain legions which had been already levied and billed should be given unto Cneius Pompey, with further commission and authority to levy others unto them) and set down an order, that the soldiers which were already levied and assembled should be sent into Syria, for a new supply unto Marcus Bibulus, who made war at that time against the Parthians. And furthermore, prohibition that Pompey should levy no more men, and also that the soldiers should not obey him. Secondly, where Pompey's friends and followers would not suffer Caesar's letters to be received and openly read in the Senate: Antonius, having power and warrant by his person,Antonius' acts for Caesar. through the holiness of his tribuneship, did read them openly, and made divers men change their minds: for it appeared to them that Caesar by his letters required no unreasonable matters. At length, when they preferred two matters of consideration unto the Senate, whether they thought good that Pompey, or Caesar, should leave their army: there were few of the Senators that thought it meet Pompey should leave his army, but they all in manner commanded Caesar to do it. Then Antonius, rising up, asked whether they thought it good that Pompey and Caesar both should leave their armies. Thereunto all the Senators jointly together gave their whole consent, and with a great cry commending Antonius, they prayed him to refer it to the judgement of the Senate. But the Consuls would not allow of that. Therefore Caesar's friends preferred other reasonable demands and requests again, but Cato spake against them: and Lentulus, one of the Consuls, drave Antonius by force out of the Senate, who at his going out made grievous curses against him. After that, he took a slave's gown, and speedily fled to Caesar, withAntonius flieth from Rome unto Caesar. Quintus Cassius, in a hired coach. When they came to Caesar, they cried out with open mouth, that all went hand over head at Rome: for the Tribunes of the people might not speak their minds, and were driven away in great danger of their lives, as many as stood with law and justice. Hereupon Caesar incontinently went into Italy with his army, which made Cicero say in his Philippics that as Helen was cause of the war of Troy, so was Antonius the author of the civil wars, whichCicero reproved for lying. indeed was a stark lie. For Caesar was not so fickle headed, nor so easily carried away with anger, that he would so suddenly have gone and made war with his country, upon the sight only of Antonius and Cassius being fled unto him in miserable apparel and in a hired coach: had he not long before determined it with himself. But sith indeed Caesar looked of long time but for some colour, this came as he wished, and gave him just occasion of war. But to say truly, nothing else moved him to make war with all the world as he did, but one self cause, which first procured Alexander and Cyrus also before him: to wit, an insatiable desire to reign, with a senseless covetousness to be the best man in the world, the which heAlexander, Cyrus, and Caesar and all contended to reign. Caesar's ambition the only cause of the civil war. could not come unto, before he had first put clown Pompey, and utterly overthrown him. Now, after that Caesar had gotten Rome at his commandment, and had driven Pompey out of Italy, he purposed first to go into Spain, against the legions Pompey had there: and in the meantime to make provision for ships and marine preparation, to follow Pompey. In his absence, he left Lepidus that was Praetor, governor of Rome: and Antonius thatCaesar gave the charge of Italy unto Antonius. was Tribune, he gave him charge of all the soldiers and of Italy. Then was Antonius straight marvellously commended and beloved of the soldiers, because he commonly exercised himself among them, and would oftentimes eat and drink with them, and also be liberal unto them according to hisAntonius' vices. ability. But then in contrary manner he purchased divers other men's evil wills, because that through negligence he would not do them justice that were injuried, and dealt very churlishly with them that had any suit unto him: and besides all this, he had an ill name to entice men's wives. To conclude, Caesar's friends that governed under him were cause why they hated Caesar's government (which indeed in respect of himself was no less than a tyranny), by reason of the great insolencies and outrageous parts that were committed: amongst whom Antonius, that was of greatest power, and that also committed greatest faults, deserved most blame. But Caesar notwithstanding, when he returned from the wars of Spain, made no reckoning of the complaints that were put up against him: but contrarily, because he found him a hardy man, and a valiant Captain, he employed him in his chiefest affairs, and was no whir deceived in his opinion of him. So he passed over the Ionian Sea unto Brundusium, being but slenderly accompanied: and sent unto Antonius and Gabinius, that they should embark their men as soon as they could, and pass them over into Macedon. Gabinius was afraid to take the sea, because it was very rough, and in the winter time: and therefore fetched a great compass about by land. But Antonius fearing some danger might come unto Caesar, because he was compassed in with a great number of enemies: first of all he drave away Libo, who rode at anchor with a great army before the haven of Brundusium. For he manned out such a number of pinnaces, barks, and other small boats about every one of his galleys, that he drave him thence. After that, he embarked intoAntonius taketh sea with his army at Brundusium, and goeth unto Caesar. ships twenty thousand footmen and eight hundred horsemen, and with this army he hoised sail. When the enemies saw him, they made out to follow him: but the sea rose so high, that the billows put back their galleys that they could not come near him, and so he scaped that danger. But withal he fell upon the rocks with his whole fleet, where the sea wrought very high: so that he was out of all hope to save himself. Yet by good fortune, suddenly the wind turned South-west, and blew from the gulf, driving the waves of the river into the main sea. Thus Antonius loosing from the land, and sailing with safety at his pleasure, soon after he saw all the coasts full of shipwracks. For the force and boisterousness of the wind did cast away the galleys that followed him: of the which, many of them were broken and splitted, and divers also cast away, and Antonius took a great number of them prisoners, with a great sum of money also. Besides all these, he took the city of Lyssus, and brought Caesar a great supply of men, and made him courageous, coming at a pinch with so great a power to him. Now there were divers hot skirmishes and encounters,Antonius' manhood in wars. in the which Antonius fought so valiantly, that he carried the praise from them all: but specially at two several times, when Caesar's men turned their backs and fled for life. For he stepped before them, and compelled them to return again to fight: so that the victory fell on Caesar's side. For this cause he had the second place in the camp among the soldiers, andAntonius led the left wing of Caesar's battle at Pharsalia, where Pompey lost the field. they spake of no other man unto Caesar, but of him: who shewed plainly what opinion he had of him, when at the last battle of Pharsalia (which indeed was the last trial of all, to give the Conqueror the whole Empire of the world) he himself did lead the right wing of his army, and gave Antonius the leading of the left wing, as the valiantest man and skilfullest soldier of all those he had about him. After Caesar had won the victory, and that he was created Dictator, he followed Pompey step by step: howbeit before he named Antonius general of the horsemen, and sent him to Rome. The general of the horsemen is theThe dignity of the general of the horsemen. second office of dignity, when the Dictator is in the city: but when he is abroad, he is the chiefest man, and almost the only man that remaineth, and all the other officers and Magistrates are put down, after there is a Dictator chosen. Notwithstanding, Dolabella being at that time Tribune, and a young man desirous of change and innovation: he preferred a law which the Romans call Novas tabulas (as much. to say, as a cutting off and cancelling of all obligations and specialties, and were called the new tables, because they were driven then to make books of daily receipt and expense), and persuaded Antonius his friend (who also gaped for a good occasion to please and gratify the common people) to aid him to pass this law. But Trebellius and Asinius dissuaded from it all they could possible. So by good hap it chanced that Antonius mistrusted Dolabella for keeping ofDissension betwixt Antonius and Dolabella. his wife, and took such a conceit of it, that he thrust his wife out of his house, being his Cousin german, and the daughter of C. Antonius, who was Consul with Cicero: and joining with Asinius, he resisted Dolabella, and fought with him. Dolabella had gotten the market place where the people do assemble in council, and had filled it full of armed men, intending to have this law of the new tables to pass by force. Antonius by commandment of the Senate, who had given him authority to levy men, to use force against Dolabella: he went against him, and fought so valiantly, that men were slain on both sides. But by this means he got the ill will of the common people, and on the other side, the noblemen (as Cicero saith) did not only mislike him, but also hate him for hisAntonius' abominable life. naughty life: for they did abhor his banquets and drunken feasts he made at unseasonable times, and his extreme wasteful expenses upon vain light huswives: and then in the day time he would sleep or walk out his drunkenness, thinking to wear away the fume of the abundance of wine which he had taken over night. In his house they did nothing but feast, dance, and mask: and himself passed away the time in hearing of foolish plays, or in marrying these players, tumblers, jesters, and such sort of people. As for proof hereof it is reported, that at Hippias' marriage, one of his jesters, he drank wine so lustily all night, that the next morning, when he came to plead before the people assembled in council, who had sentAntonius laid up his stomach before the whole assembly. for him, he being queasy-stomached with his surfeit he had taken, was compelled to lay all before them, and one of his friends held him his gown instead of a basin. He had another pleasant player called Sergius, that was one of the chiefest men about him, and a woman also called Cytheris, of the same profession, whom he loved dearly: he carried her up and down in a litter unto all the towns he went, and had as many men waiting upon her litter, sheAntonius' insolency. being but a player, as were attending upon his own mother. It grieved honest men also very much to see that, when he went into the country, he carried with him a great number of cupboards full of silver and gold plate, openly in the face of the world, as it had been the pomp or shew of some triumph: and that eftsoons in the midst of his journey he would set up his halls and tents hard by some green grove or pleasant river, and there his cooks should prepare him a sumptuous dinner. And furthermore, Lions were harnessed in traces to draw his carts: and besides also, in honest men's houses in the cities where he came, he would have common harlots, courtesans, and these tumbling gillots lodged. Now it grieved men much to see, that Caesar should be out of Italy following of his enemies, to end this great war, with such great peril and danger: and that others in the meantime, abusing his name and authority, should commit such insolent and outrageous parts unto their Citizens. This methinks was the cause that made the conspiracy against Caesar increase more and more, and laid the reins of the bridle upon the soldiers' necks, whereby they durst boldlier commit many extortions, cruelties,Caesar and Lepidus Consuls. and robberies. And therefore Caesar after his return pardoned Dolabella, and, being created Consul the third time, he took not Antonius, but chose Lepidus his colleague and fellow Consul. Afterwards when Pompey's house was put to open sale, Antonius bought it:Antonius buyeth Pompey's house. but when they asked him money for it, he made it very strange, and was offended with them, and writeth himself that he would not go with Caesar into the wars of Africk, because he was not well recompensed for the service he had done him before. Yet Caesar did somewhat bridle his madness and insolency, not suffering him to pass his faults so lightly away, making as though he saw them not. And therefore he left his dissoluteAntonius married Fulvia, Clodius' widow. manner of life, and married Fulvia, that was Clodius' widow, a woman not so basely minded to spend her time in spinning and housewifery, and was, not contented to master her husband at home,Fulvia ruled Antonius at home and abroad. but would also rule him in his office abroad, and command him, that commanded legions and great armies: so that Cleopatra was to give Fulvia thanks for that she had taught Antonius this obedience to women, that learned so well to be at their commandment. Now, because Fulvia was somewhat sour and crooked of condition, Antonius devised to make her pleasanter, and somewhat better disposed: and therefore he would play her many pretty youthful parts to make her merry. As he did once, when Caesar returned the last time of all Conqueror out of Spain: every man went out to meet him, and so did Antonius with the rest. But on the sudden there ran a rumour through Italy, that Caesar was dead, and that his enemies came again with a great army. Thereupon he returned with speed to Rome, and took one of his men's gowns, and so apparelled came home to his house in a dark night, saying that he had brought Fulvia letters from Antonius. So he was let in, and brought to her muffled as he was for being known: but she, taking the matter heavily, asked him if Antonius were well. Antonius gave her the letters, and said never a word. So when she had opened the letters, and began to read them, Antonius ramped of her neck, and kissed her. Wc have told you this tale for example's sake only, and so could we also tell you of many suchlike as these. Now, when Caesar was returned from his last war in Spain, all the chiefest nobility of the city rode many days' journey from Rome to meet him, where Caesar made marvellous much of Antonius, above all the men that came unto him. For he always took him into his coach with him, throughout all Italy: and behind him, Brutus Albinus and Octavius, the son of his Niece, who afterwards was called Caesar, and became Emperor of Rome long time after. So, Caesar being afterwards chosen Consul the fifth time, he immediately chose Antonius hisCaesar and Antonius Consuls. colleague and companion: and desired, by deposing himself of his Consulship, to make Dolabella Consul in his room, and had already moved it to the Senate. But Antonius did stoutly withstand it, and openly reviled Dolabella in the Senate: and Dolabella also spared him as little. Thereupon Caesar being ashamed of the matter, he let it alone. Another time also, when Caesar attempted again to substitute Dolabella Consul in his place, Antonius cried out, that the signs of the birds were against it: so that at length Caesar was compelled to give him place, and to let Dolabella alone, who was marvellously offended with him. Now in truth, Caesar made no great reckoning of either of them both. For it is reported that Caesar answered one that did accuse Antonius and Dolabella unto him for some matter of conspiracy: ‘Tush,’ said he, ‘they be not those fat fellows and fine combed men that I fear, but I mistrust rather these pale and lean men,’ meaning by Brutus and Cassius, who afterwards conspired hisAntonius unwittingly Bave Caesar's enemies occasion to conspire against him. death, and slew him. Antonius unwares afterwards gave Caesar's enemies just occasion and colour to do as they did: as you shall hear. The Romans by chance celebrated the feast called Lupercalia, and Caesar, being apparelled in his triumphing robe, was set in the Tribune where they use to make their orations to the people, and from thence did behold the sport of the runners. The manner of this running was this. On that day there are many young men of noble house, and those specially that be chief Officers for that year: who, running naked up and down the city anointed with the oil of olive, for pleasure do strike them they meet in their way with white leather thongs they have in their hands. Antonius being one among the rest that was to run, leaving the ancient ceremonies and old customs of that solemnity, he ran to the Tribune where Caesar was set, and carried a laurel crown in his hand, having a royal band or diadem wreathed about it, which in old time was the ancient mark and token of a king. When he was come to Caesar, he made his fellow-runnersAntonius Lupercian putteth the diadem upon Caesar's head. with him lift him up, and so he did put this laurel crown upon his head, signifying thereby that he had deserved to be king. But Caesar, making as though he refused it, turned away his head. The people were so rejoiced at it, that they all clapped their hands for joy. Antonius again did put it on his head: Caesar again refused it, and thus they were striving off and on a great while together. As oft as Antonius did put this laurel crown unto him, a few of his followers rejoiced at it: and as oft also as Caesar refused it, all the people together clapped their hands. And this was a wonderful thing, that they suffered all things subjects should do by commandment of their kings: and yet they could not abide the name of a king, detesting it as the utter destruction of their liberty. Caesar in a rage rose out of his seat, and plucking down the collar of his gown from his neck, he shewed it naked, bidding any man strike off his head that would. This laurel crown was afterwards put upon the head of one of Caesar's statues or images, the which one of the Tribunes plucked off. The people liked his doing therein so well, that they waited on him home to his house with great clapping of hands. Howbeit Caesar did turn them out ofBrutus and Cassius conspire Caesar's death their offices for it. This was a good encouragement for Brutus and Cassius to conspire his death, who fell into a consort with their trustiest friends, to execute their enterprise: but yet stood doubtful whether they should make Antonius privy to it or not. All the rest liked of it, saving Trebonius only. He told them that, when they rode to meet Caesar at his return out of Spain, Antonius and he always keeping company, and lying together by the way, he felt his mind afar off: but Antonius, finding his meaning, would hearken no more unto it, and yet notwithstanding never made Caesar acquainted with this talk, but had faithfullyConsultation about the murther of Antonius with Caesar kept it to himself. After that they consulted whether they should kill Antonius with Caesar. But Brutus would in no wise consent to it, saying, that venturing on such an enterprise as that, for the maintenance of law and justice, it ought to be clear from all villainy. Yet they, fearing Antonius' power and the authority of his office, appointed certain of the conspiracy, that, when Caesar were gone into the Senate, and while others should execute their enterprise, they should keep Antonius in a talk out of the Senate house. Even as they had devised these matters, so were they executed: and Caesar was slain in the midst of the Senate. Antonius, being put in a fear withal, cast a slave's gown upon him, and hid himself. But afterwards, when it was told him that the murtherers slew no man else, and that they went only into the Capitol, he sent his son unto them for a pledge, and bade them boldly come down upon his word. The self same day he did bid Cassius to supper, and Lepidus also bade Brutus. The next morning the Senate was assembled, and Antonius himself preferred a law that all things past should be forgotten, and that they should appoint provinces unto Cassius and Brutus: the which the Senate confirmed, and further ordained that they should cancel none of Caesar's laws. Thus went Antonius out of the Senate more praised, and better esteemed, than ever man was: because it seemed to every man that he had cut off all occasion of civil wars, and that he had shewed himself a marvellous wise governor of the commonwealth, for the appeasing of these matters of so great weight and importance. But now, the opinion he conceived of himself after he had a little felt the goodwill of the people towards him, hoping thereby to make himself the chiefest man if he might overcome Brutus, did easily make him alter his first mind. And therefore, when Caesar's body was brought to the place where it should be buried, he made a funeral oration in commendation of Caesar, according to the ancient custom of praising noblemen at their funerals. When he saw that the people were very glad and desirous also to hear Caesar spoken of, and his praises uttered, he mingled his oration with lamentable words, and by amplifying of matters did greatly move their hearts and affections unto pity and compassion. In fine, to conclude hisAntonius maketh uproar among the people for the murther of Caesar. oration, he unfolded before the whole assembly the bloody garments of the dead, thrust through in many places with their swords, and called the malefactors cruel and cursed murtherers. With these words he put the people into such a fury, that they presently took Caesar's body, and burnt it in the market-place with such tables and forms as they could get together. Then, when the fire was kindled, they took firebrands, and ran to the murtherers' houses to set them afire, and to make them come out to fight. Brutus therefore, and his accomplices, for safety of theirCalpurnia, Caesar's wife persons, were driven to fly the city. Then came all Caesar's friends unto Antonius, and specially his wife Calpurnia, putting her trust in him, she brought the most part of her money into his house, which amounted to the sum of four thousand talents, and furthermore brought him all Caesar's books and writings, in the which were his memorials of all that he had done and ordained. Antonius did daily mingle with them such as he thought good, and by that means he created new officers, made new Senators, called home some that were banished, and delivered those that were prisoners: and then he said that all those things were so appointed and ordained by Caesar. Therefore the Romans mocking them that were so moved, they called them Charonites: because that when they were overcome, they had no other help but to say that thusM.Antonius Consul, Caius Antonius Praetor, Lucius Antonius Tribune all there brethren. they were found in Caesar's memorials, who had sailed in Charon's boat, and was departed. Thus, Antonius ruled absolutely also in all other matters, because he was Consul, and Caius, one of his brethren, Praetor, and Lucius, the other, Tribune. Now things remaining in this state at Rome, Octavius Caesar the younger came to Rome, who was the son of Julius Caesar's Niece, as you have heard before, and was left his lawful heir by will, remaining, at the time of the death of his great Uncle that was slain, in the city of Apollonia. This young man at his first arrival went to salute Antonius, as one of his late dead father Caesar's friends, who by his last will and testament had made him his heir: and withal, he was presently in hand with him for money and other things which were left of trust in his hands, because Caesar had by will bequeathed unto the people of Rome three score and fifteen silver Drachmas to be given to every man, the which he as heir stood charged withal. Antonius at the first made no reckoning of him, because he was very young: and said he lacked wit, and good friends to advise him, if he looked to take such a charge in hand as to undertake to be Caesar's heir.Variance betwixt Antonius and Caesar, heir unto Julius Caesar. But when Antonius saw that he could not shake him off with those words, and that he was still in and with him for his father's goods, but specially for the ready money: then he spake and did what he could against him. And first of all, it was he that did keep him from being Tribune of the people: and also, when Octavius Caesar began to meddle with the dedicating of the chair of gold, which was prepared by the Senate to honour Caesar with, he threatened to send him to prison, and moreover desisted not to put the people inOctavius Caesar joined in friendship with Cicero- an uproar. This young Caesar, seeing his doings, went unto Cicero and others, which were Antonius' enemies, and by them crept into favour with the Senate: and he himself sought the people's good will every manner of way, gathering together the old soldiersAntonius and Octavius became friends. of the late deceased Caesar, which were dispersed in divers cities and colonies. Antonius being afraid of it talked with Octavius in the Capitol, and became his friend. But the very same night Antonius had a strange dream, who thought that lightning fell upon him, and burnt his right hand. Shortly after word was brought him, that Caesar lay in wait to kill him. Caesar cleared himself unto him, and toldAntonius'dream. him there was no such matter: but he could not make Antonius believe the contrary. Whereupon they became further enemies than ever they were: insomuch that both of them made friends of either side to gather together all the old soldiers through Italy, that were dispersed in divers towns, and made them large promises, and sought also to win the legions of their side, which were already in arms. Cicero on the other side being at that time the chiefest man of authority and estimation in the city, he stirred up all men against Antonius: soAntonius judged an enemy by the Senate that in the end he made the Senate pronounce him an enemy to his country, and appointed young Caesar Sergeants to carry axes before him, and such other signs as were incident to the dignity of a Consul or *Praetor: and moreover sent Hirtius and Pansa,Hirtius and Pansa Consuls. then Consuls, to drive Antonius out of Italy. These two Consuls together with Caesar, who also had an army, went against Antonius that besieged the city of Modena, and there overthrew him in battle:Antonius overthrown in battle by the city of Modena. but both the Consuls were slain there. Antonius, flying upon this overthrow, fell into great misery all at once: but the chiefest want of all other, and that pinched him most, was famine. Howbeit he was of such a strong nature, that by patience he would overcome any adversity, and, the heavier fortune lay upon him, theAntonius patient in adversity more constant shewed he himself. Every man that feeleth want or adversity knoweth by virtue and discretion what he should do: but when indeed they are overlaid with extremity, and be sore oppressed, few have the hearts to follow that which they praise and commend, and much less to avoid that they reprove and mislike. But rather, to the contrary, they yield to their accustomed easy life: and through faint heart, and lack ofAntonius' hardness in adversity, notwithstanding his fine bringing up. courage, do change their first mind and purpose. And therefore it was a wonderful example to the soldiers to see Antonius, that was brought up in all fineness and superfluity, so easily to drink puddler bringing water, and to eat wild fruits and roots: and' moreover it is reported that, even as they passed the Alps, they did eat the barks of trees, and such beasts as never man tasted of their flesh before, Now their intentt was to join with the legions that were on the other side of the Mountains, under Lepidus' charge: whom Antonius took to bc his friend, because he had holpen him to many things at Caesar's hand through his means. When he was come to the place where Lepidus was, he camped hard by him: and when he saw that no man came to him to put him in any hope, he determined to venture himself, and to go unto Lepidus. Since the overthrow he had at Modena, he suffered his beard to grow at length and never clipped it, that it was marvellous long, and the hair of his head also without combing: and besides all this, he went in a mourning gown, and after this sort came hard to the trenches of Lepidus' camp. Then he began to speak unto the soldiers, and many of them their hearts yearned for pity to see him so poorly arrayed, and some also through his words began to pity him: insomuch that Lepidus began to be afraid, and therefore commanded all the trumpets to sound together to stop the soldiers' ears, that they should not hearken to Antonius. This notwithstanding, the soldiers took the more pity of him, and spake secretly with him by Clodius' and Laelius' means, whom they sent unto him disguised in women's apparel, and gave him counsel that he should not be afraid to enter into their camp, for there were a great number of soldiers that would receive him, and kill Lepidus, if he would say the word. Antonius would not suffer them to hurt him, but the next morning he went with his army to wade a ford, at a little river that ran between them: and himself was the foremost man that took the river to get over, seeing a number of Lepidus' camp that gave him their hands, plucked up the stakes, and laid flat the bank of their trench to let him into their camp. When he was come into their camp,Antonius wan all Lepidus' army from him and that he had all the army at his commandment, he used Lepidus very courteously, embraced him, and called him father: and though indeed Antonius did all, and ruled the whole army, yet he alway gave Lepidus the name and honour of the Captain. Munatius Plancus, lying also in camp hard by with an army, understanding the report of Antonius' courtesy, he also came and joined with him. Thus Antonius being afoot again, and grown of great power, repassed over the Alps, leading into Italy with him seventeen legions and ten thousand horsemen, besides six legions he left in garrisonVarius surnamed Cotylon among the Gauls under the charge of one Varius, a companion of his that would drink lustily with him, and therefore in mockery was surnamed Cotylon: to wit, a bibber. So Octavius Caesar would not lean to Cicero, when he saw that his whole travail and endeavour was only to restore the commonwealth to her former liberty. Therefore he sent certain of his friends toThe conspiracy and meeting of Caesar, Antonius and Lepidus Antonius, to make them friends again: and thereupon all three met together, (to wit, Caesar, Antonius, and Lepidus), in an Island environed round about with a little river, and there remained three days together. Now as touching all other matters, they were easily agreed, and did divide all the Empire of Rome between them, as if it had been their own inheritance. But yet they could hardly agree whom they would put to death: for every one of them would kill their enemies, and save their kinsmen and friends. Yet at length, giving place to their greedy desire to be revenged of their enemies, they spurned all reverence of blood and holiness of friendship at their feet. For Caesar left Cicero to Antonius' will, Antonius also forsook Lucius Caesar, who was his Uncle by his mother, and both of themThe proscription of the Triumviri. together suffered Lepidus to kill his own brother Paulus. Yet some writers affirm, that Caesar and Antonius requested Paulus might be slain, and that Lepidus was contented with it. In my opinion there was never a more horrible, unnatural, and crueller change than this was. For, thus changing murther for murther, they did as well kill those whom they did forsake and leave unto others, as those also which others left unto them to kill: but so much more was their wickedness and cruelty great unto their friends, for that they put them to death being innocents, and having no cause to hate them. After this plot was agreed upon between them, the soldiers that were thereabouts would have this friendship and league betwixt them confirmed by marriage, and that Caesar should marry Claudia, the daughter of Fulvia, and Antonius' wife. This marriage also being agreed upon, they condemned three hundred of the chiefest citizens of Rome to be put to death by proscription. And Antonius also commandedAntonius' cruelty unto Cicero. them to whom he had given commission to kill Cicero, that they should strike off his head and right hand, with the which he had written the invective Orations (called Philippics) against Antonius. So, when the murtherers brought him Cicero's head and hand cut off, he beheld them a long time with great joy, and laughed heartily, and that oftentimes, for the great joy he felt. Then, when he had taken his pleasure of the sight of them, he caused them to be set up in an open place, over the pulpit for Orations (where when he was alive he had often spoken to the people) as if he had done the dead man hurt, and not blemished his own fortune, shewing himself (to his great shame and infamy) a cruel man, and unworthy the office and authority he bare. His uncle Lucius Caesar also, as they sought for him to kill him, and followed him hard, fled unto his sister. The murtherers coming thither, forcing to break into her chamber, she stood at her chamberLucius Caesar's life saved by his sister. door with her arms abroad, crying out still: ‘You shall not kill Lucius Caesar, before you first kill me, that bare your Captain in my womb. By this means she saved her brother's life. Now the government of these Triumviri grew odious and hateful to the Romans, for divers respects: but they most blamed Antonius,Antonius' riot in his Triumvirate. because he being elder than Caesar, and of more power and force than Lepidus, gave himself again to his former riot and excess, when he left to deal in the affairs of the commonwealth. But, setting aside the ill name he had for his insolency, he was yet much more hated in respect of the house he dwelt in, the which was the houseThe praise of Pompey the great of Pompey the great: a man as famous for his temperance, modesty, and civil life, as for his three triumphs. For it grieved them to see the gates commonly shut against the Captains, Magistrates of the city, and also Ambassadors of strange nations, which were sometimes thrust from the gate with violence: and that the house within was full of tumblers, antic dancers, jugglers, players, jesters, and drunkards, quaffing and guzzling, and that on them he spent and bestowed the most part of his money he got by all kind of possible extortions, bribery and policy. For they did not only sell by the crier the goods of those whom they had outlawed and appointed to murther, slanderously deceived the poor widows and young orphans, and also raised all kind of imposts, subsidies, and taxes: but understanding also that the holy vestal Nuns had certain goods and money put in their custody to keep, both of men's in the city, and those also that were abroad, they went thither, and took them away by force. Octavius Caesar perceiving that no money would serve Antonius' turn, he prayed that they might divide the money between them, and so did they also divide the army, for them both to go into Macedon to make war against Brutus and Cassius: and in the meantime they left the government of the city of Rome unto Lepidus. When they had passed over the seas, and that they began to make war, they being both camped by their enemies, to wit, Antonius against Cassius, and Caesar against Brutus: Caesar did no great matter, but Antonius had alway the upper hand, and did all. For at the first battle Caesar was overthrown by Brutus, and lost his camp, and very hardly saved himself by flying from them that followed him. Howbeit he writeth himself in his Commentaries, that he fled before the charge was given, because of a dream one of his friends had.The valiantness of Antonius against Brutus. Antonius on the other side overthrew Cassius in battle, though some write that he was not there himself at the battle, but that he came after the overthrow whilst his men had the enemies in chase. So Cassius at his earnest request was slain by a faithful servant of his own called Pindarus, whom he hadThe death of Cassius. enfranchised: because he knew not in time that Brutus had overcome Caesar. Shortly after they fought another battle again, in the which Brutus was overthrownBrutus slew himself who afterwards also slew himself. Thus Antonius had the chiefest glory of all this victory, specially because Caesar was sick at that time. Antonius having found Brutus' body after this battle, blaming him much for the murther of his brother Caius, whom he had put to death in Macedon for revenge of Cicero's cruel death, and yet laying the fault more in Hortensius than in him, he made Hortensius to be slain on his brother's tomb.Antonius gave honourable burial unto Brutus. Furthermore, he cast his coat armour (which was wonderful rich and sumptuous) upon Brutus' body, and gave commandment to one of his slaves enfranchised, to defray the charge of his burial. But afterwards, Antonius hearing that his enfranchised bondman had not burnt his coat armour with his body, because it was very rich, and worth a great sum of money, and that he had also kept back much of the ready money appointed for his funeral and tomb, he also put him to death. After that Caesar was conveyed to Rome, and it was thought he would not live long, nor scape the sickness he had. Antonius on th'other side went towards the East provinces and regions, to levy money: and first of all he went into Greece, and carried an infinite number of soldiers with him. Now, because every soldier was promised five thousand silver Drachmas, he was driven of necessity to impose extreme tallages and taxations. At his first coming into Greece, he was not hard nor bitter unto the Grecians, but gave himself only to hear wise men dispute, to see plays, and also to note the ceremonies and sacrifices of Greece, ministering justice to every man, and it pleased him marvellously to hear them call him Philhellene, (as much to say, a lover of the Grecians), and specially theAntonius' great courtesy in Greece Athenians, to whom he did many great pleasures, Wherefore the Megarians, to exceed the Athenians, thinking to shew Antonius a goodly sight, they prayed him to come and see their Senate house and council hall. Antonius went thither to see it: so when he had seen it at his pleasure, they asked him, ‘My Lord, how like you our hall?’ ‘Methinks’ (quoth he) ‘it is little, old, and ready to fall down.’ Furthermore, he took measure of the temple of Apollo Pythius, and promised the Senate to finish it. But when he was once come into Asia, having left Lucius Censorinus Governor in Greece, and that he had felt the riches and pleasures of the East parts, and that Princes, great Lords, and Kings came to wait at his gate for his coming out, and that Queens and Princesses to excel one another gave him very rich presents, and came to see him, curiously setting forth themselves, and using all art that might be to shew their beauty, to win his favour the more, (Caesar in the mean space turmoiling his wits and body in civil wars at home, Antonius living merrily and quietly abroad), he easily fell again to his old licentious life. For straight one Anaxenor a player of the cithern, Xouthus a player of the flutes, Metrodorus a tumbler, and such a rabble of minstrels and fit ministers for the pleasures of Asia, (who in finenessThe plagues of Italy in riot and flattery passed all the other plagues he brought with him out of Italy) all these flocked in his court, and bare the whole sway: and, after that, all went awry. For every one gave themselves to riot and excess, when they saw he delighted in it: and all Asia was like to the city Sophocles speaketh of in one of his tragedies:
- Was full of sweet perfumes, and pleasant songs,
- With woeful weeping mingled there amongs.
For in the city of Ephesus, women attired as they go in the feasts and sacrifice of Bacchus came out to meet him with such solemnities and ceremonies as are then used, with men and children disguised like Fauns and Satyrs. More-over, the city was full of Ivy, and darts wreathed about with Ivy, psalterions, flutes, and hautboys, and in their songs they called him Bacchus, father of mirth, courteous, and gentle: and so was he unto some, but, to the most part of men, cruel and extreme. For he robbed noblemen andAntonius' cruelty in Asia gentlemen of their goods, to give it unto vile cruelty flatterers, who oftentimes begged men's goods living, as though they had been dead, and would enter their houses by force. As he gave a citizen's house of Magnesia unto a cook, because (as it is reported) he dressed him a fine supper. In the end he doubled the taxation, and imposed a second upon Asia. But then Hybreas the Orator, sent from the estates of Asia to tell him the state of their country, boldly said unto him: ‘If thou wilt have powerHybreas' words unto Antonius touching their great payments of money unto him. to lay two tributes in one year upon us, thou shouldst also have power to give us two summers, two autumns, and two harvests. ‘This was gallantly and pleasantly spoken unto Antonius by the Orator, and it pleased him well to hear it: but afterwards, amplifying his speech, he spake more boldly, and to better purpose: ‘Asia hath paid the two hundred thousand talents. If all this money be not come to thy coffers, then ask accompt of them that levied it: but if thou have received it, and nothing be left of it, then are we utterly undone.’ Hybreas' words nettled Antonius roundly. For he understood not many of the thefts and robberies his officers committed by his authority in his treasure and affairs: not so much because he was careless, as for that he over simply trusted his men in all things. For he was a plain man without subtilty, and therefore over late found out the foul faults they committed against him: but when heAntonius' simplicity. heard of them he was much offended, and would plainly confess it unto them whom his officers had done injury unto by countenance of his authority. He had a noble mind, as well to punish offenders, as to reward well-doers: and yet he did exceed more in giving, than in punishing. Now for his outrageous manner of railing heAntonius' manners. commonly used, mocking and flouting of every man, that was remedied by itself. For a man might as boldly exchange a mock with him, and he was as well contented to be mocked, as to mock others. But yet it oftentimes marred all. For he thought that those which told him so plainly and truly in mirth, would never flatter him in good earnest in any matter of weight. But thus he was easily abused by the praises they gave him, not finding how these flatterers mingled their flattery, under this familiar and plain manner of speech unto him, as a fine device to make difference of meats with sharp and tart sauce, and also to keep him by this frank jesting and bourding with him at the table, that their common flattery should not be troublesome unto him as men do easily mislike to have too much of one thing: and that they handled him finely thereby, when they would give him place in any matter of weight and follow his counsel, that it might not appear to him they did it so much to please him, but because they were ignorant, and understood not so much as he did. Antonius being thus inclined, the last and extremest mischief of all other (to wit, the love of Cleopatra) lighted on him, who did waken and stir up many vices yet hidden in him, and were never seen to any: and if any spark of goodness or hope of rising were left him, Cleopatra quenched it straight, and made it worse than before. The manner how he fell in love with her was this. Antonius, going to make war with the Parthians,Antonius' love to Cleopatra whom he sent for into Cilicia. sent to command Cleopatra to appear personally before him, when he came into Cilicia, to answer unto such accusations as were laid against her, being this: that she had aided Cassius and Brutus in their war against him. The messenger sent unto Cleopatra to make this summons unto her was called Dellius: who when he had throughly considered her beauty, the excellent grace and sweetness of her tongue, he nothing mistrusted that Antonius would do any hurt to so noble a Lady, but rather assured himself that within few days she should be in great favour with him. Thereupon he did her great honour, and persuaded her to come into Cilicia as honourably furnished, as she could possible, and bade her not to be afraid at all of Antonius, for he was a more courteous Lord than any that she had ever seen. Cleopatra, on th’ other side, believing Dellius' words, and guessing by the former access and credit she had with Julius Caesar and Cneius Pompey (the son of Pompey the great) only for her beauty: she began to have good hope that she might more easily win Antonius. For Caesar and Pompey knew her when she was but a young thing, and knew not then what the world meant: but now she went to Antonius at the age when a woman's beauty is at the prime, and she also of best judgement. So, she furnished herself with a world of gifts, store of gold and silver, and of riches and other sumptuous ornaments as is credible enough she might bring from so great a house, and from so wealthy and rich a realm as Egypt was. But yet she carried nothing with her wherein she trusted more than in herself, and in the charms and enchantment of her passing beauty and grace.The wonderful sumptuousness of Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, going unto Antonius. Therefore when she was sent unto by divers letters, both from Antonius himself, and also from his friends, she made so light of it and mocked Antonius so much, that she disdained to set forward otherwise, but to take her barge in the river of Cydnus, the poop whereof was of gold, the sails of purple, and the oars of silver, which kept stroke in rowing after the sound of the music of flutes, hautboys, citherns, viols, and such other instruments as they playedCydnus fl. upon in the barge. And now for the person of herself: she was laid under a pavilion of cloth of gold of tissue, apparelled and attired like the goddess Venus commonly drawn in picture: and hard by her, on either hand of her, pretty fair boys apparelled as painters do set forth god Cupid, with little fans in their hands, with the which they fanned wind upon her. Her Ladies and gentlewomen also, the fairest of them were apparelled like the nymphs Nereides (which are the mermaids of the waters) and like the Graces, some steering the helm, others tending the tackle and ropes of the barge, out of the which there came a wonderful passing sweet savour of perfumes, that perfumed the wharf's side, pestered with innumerable multitudes of people. Some of them followed the barge tall alongst the river's side: others also ran out of the city to see her coming in. So that in th’ end, there ran such multitudes of people one after another to see her, that Antonius was left post alone in the market place in his lmperial seat to give audience: and there went a rumour in the people's mouths, that the goddess Venus was come to play with the god Bacchus, for the general good of all Asia. When Cleopatra landed, Antonius sent to invite her to supper to him. But she sent him word again, he should do better rather to come and sup with her. Antonius therefore, to shew himself courteous unto her at her arrival, was contented to obey her, and went to supperThe sumptuous preparations of the suppers of Cleopatra and Antonius. to her: where he found such passing sumptuous fare, that no tongue can express it. But amongst all other things, he most wondered at the infinite number of lights and torches hanged on the top. of the house, giving light in every place, so artificially set and ordered by devices, some round, some square, that it was the rarest thing to behold that eye could discern, or that ever books could mention. The next night, Antonius feasting her contended to pass her in magnificence and fineness: but she overcame him in both. So that he himself began to scorn the gross service of his house, in respect of Cleopatra's sumptuousness and fineness. And, when Cleopatra found Antonius' jests and slents to be but gross and soldier like in plain manner, she gave it him Cleopatra's finely, and without fear taunted him throughly.Cleopatra's beauty Now her beauty (as it is reported) was not so passing, as unmatchable of other women, nor yet such as upon present view did enamour men with her: but so sweet was her company and conversation, that a man could not possibly but be taken. And besides her beauty, the good grace she had to talk and discourse, her courteous nature that tempered her words and deeds, was a spur that pricked to the quick. Furthermore, besides all these, her voice and words were marvellous pleasant: for her tongue was an instrument of music to divers sports and pastimes, the which she easily turned to any language that pleased her. She spake unto few barbarous people by interpreter, but made them answer herself, or at least the most part of them: as the Ethiopians, the Arabians, the Troglodytes, the Hebrews, the Syrians, the Medes, and the Parthians, and to many others also, whose languages she had learned. Whereas divers of her progenitors, the kings of Egypt, could scarce learn the Egyptian tongue only, and many of them forgot to speak the Macedonian. Now Antonius was so ravished with the love of Cleopatra, that though his wife Fulvia had great wars, and much ado with Caesar for his affairs, and that the army of the Parthians (the which the king's Lieutenants had given to the only leading of Labienus) was now assembled in Mesopotamia ready to invade Syria: yet, as though all this had nothing touched him, he yielded himself to go with Cleopatra into Alexandria, where he spent and lost in childish sports (as a man might say) and idle pastimes the most precious thing a man can spend, as Antiphon saith: and that is, time. ForAn order set up by Antonius and Cleopatra they made an order between them, which they called. Amimetobion (as much to say, no life comparable and matchable with it) one feasting each other by turns, and in cost exceeding all measure and reason. And for proof hereof, I have heard myThe excessive expenses of Antonius and Cleopatra in Egypt. grandfather Lamprias report, that one Philotas a Physician, born in the city of Amphissa, told him that he was at that present time in Alexandria, and studied Physic: and that, having acquaintance with one of Antonius' cooks, he took him with him to Antonius' house, (being a young man desirous to see things) to shew him the wonderful sumptuous charge and preparation of one only supper. When he was in the kitchen, and saw a world of diversities of meats, and amongst others, eight wild boars roasted whole: he began to wonder at it, and said,’ Sure you have a great number of guests to supper.'Eight wild boars roasted whole. The cook fell a-laughing, and answered him,’ No ‘(quoth he) ‘not many guests, nor above him, twelve in all: but yet all that is boiled or roasted must be served in whole, or else it would be marred straight. For Antonius peradventure will sup presently, or it may be a pretty while hence, or likely enough he will defer it longer, for that he hath drunk well to-day, or else hath had some other great matters in hand: and therefore we do not dress one supper only, but many suppers, because we are un-Philotas, a Physician born in Amphissa, reporter of this feast. certain of the hour he will sup in.’ Philotas the Physician told my grandfather this tale, and said moreover, that it was his chance shortly after to serve the eldest son of the said Antonius, whom he had by his wife Fulvia: and that he sat comPhilotas, Physician to the younger Antonius monly at his table with his other friends, when he did not dine nor sup with his father. It chanced one day there came a Physician that was so full of words that he made every man weary of him at the board:Philotas' subtle proposition. but Philotas, to stop his mouth, put out a subtle proposition to him: ‘It is good in some sort to let a man drink cold water that hath an ague: every man that hath an ague hath it in some sort: ergo, it is good for a man that hath an ague to drink cold water.’ The Physician was so gravelled and amated withal, that he had not a word more to say. Young Antonius burst out in such a laughing at him, and was so glad of it, that he said unto him: ‘Philotas, take all that, I give it thee:’ shewing him his cupboard full of plate, with great pots of gold and silver. Philotas thanked him, and told him he thought himself greatly bound to him for this liberality, but he would never have thought that he had had power to have given so many things, and of so great value. But much more he marvelled, when shortly after one of young Antonius' men brought him home all the pots in a basket, bidding him set his mark and stamp upon them, and to lock them up. Philotas returned the bringer of them, fearing to be reproved if he took them. Then the young gentleman Antonius said unto him: ‘Alas, poor man, why dost thou make it nice to take them? Knowest thou not that it is the son of Antonius that gives them thee, and is able to do it? If thou wilt not believe me, take rather the ready money they come to: because my father peradventure may ask for some of the plate, for the antique and excellent workmanship of them.’ This I have heard my grandfather tell oftentimes. But now again to Cleopatra.Plato writeth of four kind of flattery. Plato writeth that there are four kinds of flattery: but Cleopatra divided it into many kinds. For she, were it in sport or in matter of earnest, still devised sundry new delights to have Antonius at commandment,Cleopatra Queen of all flatterers. never leaving him night nor day, nor once letting him go out of her sight. For she would play at dice with him, drink with him, and hunt commonly with him, and also be with him when he went to any exercise or activity of body. And sometime also, when he would go up and down the city disguised like a slave in the night, and would peer into poor men's windows and their shops, and scold and brawl with them within the house: Cleopatra would be also in a chambermaid's array, and amble up and down the streets with him, so that oftentimes Antonius bare away both mocks and blows. Now, though most men misliked this manner, yet the Alexandrians were commonly glad of this jollity, and liked it well, saying very gallantly and wisely, that Antonius shewed them a comical face, to wit, a merry countenance: and the Romans a tragical face, to say, a grim look. But to reckon up all the foolish sports they made, revelling in this sort, it were too fond a part of me, and therefore I will only tell you one among theAntonius' fishing in Egypt rest. On a time he went to angle for fish, and when he could take none he was as angry as could be, because Cleopatra stood by. Wherefore he secretly commanded the fishermen, that when he cast in his line, they should straight dive under the water, and put a fish on his hook which they had taken before: and so snatched up his angling rod, and brought up fish twice or thrice. Cleopatra found it straight, yet she seemed not to see it, but wondered at his excellent fishing: but, when she was alone by herself among her own people, she told them how it was, and bade them the next morning to be on the water to see the fishing. A number of people came to the haven, and got into the fisher-boats to see this fishing. Antonius then threw in his line, and Cleopatra straight commanded one of her men to dive under water before Antonius' men, and to put some old salt fish upon his bait, like unto those that are brought out of the country of Pont. When he had hung the fish on his hook, Antonius, thinking he had taken a fish indeed, snatched up his line presently. Then they all fell a-laughing. Cleopatra laughing also, said unto him: ‘Leave us (my Lord) Egyptians (which dwell in the country of Pharus and Canobus) your angling rod: this is not thy profession: thou must hunt after conquering of realms and countries.’ Now Antonius delighting in these fond and childish pastimes, very ill news were brought him from two places. The first from Rome, that hisThe wars of Lucius Antonius and Fulvia against Octavius Caesar. brother Lucius and Fulvia his wife fell out first between themselves, and afterwards fell to open war with Caesar, and had brought all to nought, that they were both driven to fly out of Italy. The second news, as bad as the first: that Labienus conquered all Asia with the army of the Parthians, from the river of Euphrates, and from Syria, unto the countries of Lydia and Ionia. Then began Antonius with much ado, a little to rouse himself, as if he had been wakened out of a deep sleep, and as a man may say, coming out of a great drunkenness. So, first of all he bent himself against the Parthians, and went as far as the country of Phoenicia: but there he received lamentable letters from his wife Fulvia. Whereupon he straight returned towards Italy with two hundred sail: and as he went, took up his friends by the way that fled out of Italy to come to him. By them he was informed, that his wife Fulvia was the only cause of this war: who, being of a peevish, crooked, and troublesome nature, had purposely raised this uproar in Italy, in hopeThe death of Fulvia, Antonius' wife. thereby to withdraw him from Cleopatra. But by good fortune his wife Fulvia, going to meet with Antonius, sickened by the way, and died in the city of Sicyon: and therefore Octavius Caesar and he were the easilier made friends together. For when Antonius landed in Italy, and that men saw Caesar asked nothing of him, and that Antonius on the other side laid all the fault and burden on his wife Fulvia: the friends of both parties would not suffer them to unrip any old matters, and to prove or defend who had the wrong or right, and who was theAll the Empire of Rome divided between the Triumviri first procurer of this war, fearing to make matters Empire of worse between them: but they made them divided friends together, and divided the Empire of Rome between them, making the sea Ionlium the bounds of their division. For they gave all the provinces Eastward unto Antonius: and the countries Westward unto Caesar: and left Africk unto Lepidus: and made a law, that they three one after another should make their friends Consuls, when they would not be them-selves. This seemed to be a sound counsel, but yet it was to be confirmed with a straiter bond, which fortune offered thus. There was Octavia the eldestOctavia, the half sister of Octavius Caesar, and daughter of Ancharia which was not Caesar's mother sister of Caesar, not by one mother, for she came of Aneharia, and Caesar himself afterwards of Accia. It is reported that he dearly loved his sister Octavia, for indeed she was a noble Lady, and left the widow of her first husband Caius Marcellus, who died not long before: and it seemed also that Antonius had been widower ever since the death of his wife Fulvia. For he denied not that he kept Cleopatra, but so did he not confess that he had her as his wife: and so with reason he did defend the love he bare unto this Egyptian Cleopatra. Thereupon every man did set forward this marriage, hoping thereby that this Lady Octavia, having an excellent grace, wisdom, and honesty, joined unto so rare a beauty, that when she were with Antonius (he loving her as so worthy a Lady deserveth) she should be a good mean to keep good love and amity betwixt her brother and him. So,A law at Rome for marrying of widows. when Caesar and he had made the match between them, they both went to Rome about this marriage, although it was against the law that a widow should be married within ten months after her husband's death. Howbeit the Senate dispensed with the law, and so the marriageAntonius married Octavia, Octavius Caesar's half-sister. proceeded accordingly. Sextus Pompeius at that time kept in Sicilia, and so made many an inroad into Italy with a great number of pinnaces and other pirates' ships, of the which were Captains two notable pirates, Menus and Menecrates, who so scoured all the sea thereabouts, that none durst peep out with a sail. Furthermore, Sextus Pompeius had dealt very friendly with Antonius, for he had courteously received his mother, when she fled out of Italy with Fulvia: and therefore theyAntonius and Octavius Caesar do make peace with Sextus Pompeius. thought good to make peace with him. So they met all three together by the mount of Misenum, upon a hill that runneth far into the sea: Pompey having his ships riding hard by at anchor, and Antonius and Caesar their armies upon the shore side, directly over against him. Now, after they had agreed that Sextus Pompeius should have Sicile and Sardinia, with this condition, that he should rid the sea of all thieves and pirates, and make it safe for passengers, and withal that he should send a certain of wheat to Rome: one of them did feast another, and drew cuts who should begin. It was Pompeius' chance to invite them first, Whereupon Antonius asked him: ‘And where shall we sup?’ ‘There,’ said Pompey, and shewed him his admiral galley which had six banks of oars: ‘That’ (saidSextus Pompeius' taunt to Antonius. he) ‘is my father's house they have left me.’ He spake it to taunt Antonius, because he had his father's house, that was Pompey the great. So he cast anchors enow into the sea to make his galley fast, and then built a bridge of wood to convey them to his galley from the head of mount Misenum: and there he welcomed them, and made them great cheer. Now in thesextus Pompeius being offered wonderful great fortune, for his honesty and faith's sake refussed it. midst of the feast, when they fell to be merry with Antonius' love unto Cleopatra, Menas the pirate came to Pompey, and, whispering in his ear, said unto him: ‘Shall I cut the cables of the anchors, and make thee lord not only of Sicile and Sardinia, but of the whole Empire of Rome besides?’. Pompey, having paused awhile upon it, at length answered him: ‘Thou shouldst have done it, and never have told it me, but now we must content us with that we have. As for myself, I was never taught to break my faith, nor to be counted a traitor.' The other two also did likewise feast him in their camp, and then he returned into Sicile. Antonius, after this agreement made, sent Ventidius before into Asia to stay the Parthians, and to keep them they should come no further: and he himself in the meantime, to gratify Caesar, was contented to be chosen Julius Caesar's priest and sacrificer, and so they jointly together dispatched all great matters concerning the state of the Empire. But in all other manner of sports and exercises, wherein they passed the time away the one with the other, Antonius was ever inferior unto Caesar, and always lost, which grieved him much. With Antonius there was a soothsayer or astronomer of Egypt, that could cast a figure, and judge of men's nativities, to tell them what should happen to them.Antonius told by a Soothsayer that his fortune was inferior unto Octavius Caesar. He, either to please Cleopatra, or else for that he found it so by his art, told Antonius plainly, that his fortune (which of itself was excellent good, and very great,) was altogether blemished and obscured by Caesar's fortune: and therefore he counselled him utterly to leave his company, and to get him as far from him as he could. ‘For thy Demon,’ said he, ‘(that is to say, the good angel and spirit that keepeth thee) ‘is afraid of his: and being courageous and high when he is alone, becometh fearful and timorous when he cometh near unto the other.’ Howsoever it was, the eventsAntonius unfortunate in sport and earnest against Octavius Caesar. ensuing proved the Egyptian's words true. For it is said that as often as they two drew cuts for pastime, who should have anything, or whether they played at dice, Antonius alway lost. Often-times, when they were disposed to see cock-fight, or quails that were taught to fight one with another, Caesar's cocks or quails did ever overcome, The which spited Antonius in his mind, although he made no outward shew of it: and therefore he believed the Egyptian the better. In fine, he recommended the affairs of his house unto Caesar, and went out of Italy with Octavia his wife, whom he carried into Greece, after he had had a daughter by her. So Antonius lying all the winter at Athens, news came unto him of the victories of Ventidius, who had overcome the Parthians in battle, in the which also were slain Labienus and Pharnabates, the chiefest Captain king Orodes had. For these good news he feasted allOroder, king of Parthia. Athens, and kept open house for all the Grecians, and many games of price were played at Athens, of the which he himself would be judge. Wherefore, leaving his guard, his axes, and tokens of his Empire at his house, he came into the show place (or lists) where these games were played, in a long gown and slippers after the Grecian fashion, and they carried tip-staves before him, as marshals' men do carry before the Judges to make place: and he himself in person was a stickler to part the young men, when they had fought enough. After that, preparingVentidius notable victory of the Parthians. to go to the wars, he made him a garland of the holy Olive, and carried a vessel with him of the water of the fountain Clepsydra, because of an Oracle he had received that so commanded him. In the meantime, Ventidius once again overcame Pacorus (Orodes' son king of Parthia) in a battle fought in theThe death of Pacorus, the king of Parthia's son. country of Cyrrestica, he being come again with a great army to invade Syria: at which battle was slain a great number of the Parthians, and among them Pacorus the king's own son slain. This noble exploit, as famous as ever any was, was a full revenge to the Romans of the shame and loss they had received before by the death of Marcus Crassus: and he made the Parthians fly, and glad to keep themselves within the confines and territories of Mesopotamia and Media, after they had thrice together been overcome in several battles. Howbeit Ventidius durst not undertake to follow them any further, fearing lest he should have gotten Antonius' displeasure by it. Notwithstanding, he led his army against them that had rebelled, and conquered them again: amongst whom he besieged Antiochus, king of Commagena, who offered him to give a thousand talents to be pardoned his rebellion, and promised ever after to be at Antonius' commandment. But Ventidius made him answer, that he should send unto Antonius, who was not far off, and would not suffer Ventidius to make any peace with Antiochus, to the end that yet this little exploit should pass in his name, and that they should not think he did anything but by his Lieutenant Ventidius. The siege grew very long, because they that were in the town, seeing they could not be received upon no reasonable composition, determined valiantly to defend themselves to the last man. Thus Antonius did nothing, and yet received great shame, repenting him much that he took not their first offer. And yet at last he was glad to make truce with Antiochus, and to take three hundred talents for composition. Thus, after he had set order for the state and affairs of Syria, he returned again to Athens: and having given Ventidius such honours as he deserved, he sent him to Rome, to triumph for the Parthians.Ventidius the only man of the Romans that triumphed for the Parthuni. Ventidius was the only man that ever triumphed of the Parthians until this present day, a mean man born, and of no noble house nor family: who only came to that he attained unto through Antonius' friendship, the which delivered him happy occasion to achieve to great matters. And yet, to say truly, he did so well quit himself in all his enterprises that he confirmed that which was spoken of Antonius and Caesar: to wit, that they were alway more fortunate when they made war by their Lieutenants, than by themselves. For Sossius, one of Antonius' Lieutenants in Syria, did notable good service: and Canidius, whom he had also left his Lieutenant in the borders of Armenia, did conquer it all. So did he also overcome the kings of the IberiansCanidius' conquests. and Albanians, and went on with his conquests unto mount Caucasus. By these conquests the fame of Antonius' power increased more and more, and grew dreadful unto all the barbarous nations. But Antonius, notwithstanding, grew to be marvellously offended withNew dis. pleasures betwixt Antonius and Octavius. Caesar, upon certain reports that had been brought unto him: and so took sea to go towards Italy with three hundred sail. And, because those of Brundusium would not receive his army into their haven, he went further unto Tarentum. There his wife Octavia, that came out of Greece with him, besought him to send her unto her brother: the which he did. Octavia at that time was great with child, and moreover had a second daughter by him, and yet she put herself in journey, and met with her brother Octavius Caesar by the way, who brought his two chief friends, Maecenas and Agrippa, with him. SheThe words of Octavia unto Maecenas and Agrippa. took them aside, and with all the instance she could possible, entreated them they would not suffer her, that was the happiest woman of the world, to become now the most wretched and unfortunatest creature of all other. ‘For now,’ said she, ‘every man's eyes do gaze on me, that am the sister of one of the Emperors and wife of the other. And if the worst counsel take place (which the gods forbid) and that they grow to wars: for yourselves, it is uncertain to which of them two the gods have assigned the victory, or overthrow. But for me, on which side soever victory fall, my state can be but most miserable still.’ These words of Octavia so softened Caesar's heart, that he went quickly unto Tarentum. But it was a noble sight for them that wereOctavia pacifieth the quarrel betwixt Antonius and her brother, Octavius Caesar. present, to see so great an army by land not to stir, and so many ships afloat in the road quietly and safe: and, furthermore, the meeting and kindness of friends, lovingly embracing one another. First, Antonius feasted Caesar, which he granted unto for his sister's sake. Afterwards they agreed together, that Caesar should give Antonius two legions to go against the Parthians: and that Antonius should let Caesar have a hundred galleys armed with brazen spurs at the prows. Besides all this, Octavia obtained of her husband twenty brigantines for her brother: and of her brother for her husband, a thousand armed men. After they had taken leave of each other, Caesar went immediately to make war with Sextus Pompeius, to get Sicilia into his hands. Antonius also, leaving his wife Octavia and little children begotten of her with Caesar, and his other children which he had by Fulvia, he went directly into Asia. Then began this pestilent plague and mischief of Cleopatra's love (which had slept a long time, and seemed to have been utterly forgotten, and that Antonius had given place to better counsel) again to kindle, and to be in force,Plato calleth concupiscence the horse of the mind. so soon as Antonius came near unto Syria. And in the end, the horse of the mind, as Plato termeth it, that is so hard of rein (I mean the unreined lust of concupiscence) did put out of Antonius head all honest and commendable thoughts: for he sent Fonteius Capito to bring Cleopatra into Syria. Unto whom, to welcome her, he gave no trifling things: but unto that sheAntonius sent for Cleopatra into Syria. had already he added the provinces of Phoenicia, those of the nethermost Syria, the Isle of Cyprus, and a great part of Cilicia, and that country ofAntonius gave great provinces unto Cleopatra. Jewry where the true balm is, and that part of Arabia where the Nabathaeans do dwell, which stretcheth out towards the Ocean. These great gifts much misliked the Romans. But now, though Antonius did easily give away great seigniories, realms, and mighty nations unto some private men, and that also he took from otherAntigonu. king of Jewry, the first king; beheaded by An tonius. kings their lawful realms, (as from Antigonus king Of the Jews, whom he openly beheaded, where never king before had suffered like death) yet all this did not so much offend the Romans, as the unmeasurable honours which he did unto Cleopatra. But yet he did much more aggravate their malice and illAntonius' twins by Cleopatra, and their names. will towards him, because that Cleopatra having brought him two twins, a son and a daughter, he named his son Alexander, and his daughter Cleopatra, and gave them to their surnames, the Sun to the one, and the Moon to the other. This notwithstanding, he, that could finely cloak his shameful deeds with fine words, said that the greatness and magnificence of the Empire of Rome appeared most, not where the Romans took, but where they gave much: and nobility was multiplied amongst men by the posterity of kings, when they left of their seed in divers places: and that by this means his first ancestor was begotten of Hercules, who had not left the hope and continuance of his line and posterity in the womb of one only woman, fearing Solon's laws, or regarding the ordinances of men touching the procreation of children: but that he gave it unto nature, and established the foundation of many noble races and families in divers places. Now, when Phraates had slain his father Orodes andPhraates slew his father Orodes, king of Parthia. possessed the kingdom, many gentlemen of Parthia forsook him, and fled from him. Amongst them was Monaeses, a nobleman, and of great authority among his countrymen, who came unto Antonius, that received him, and compared his fortune unto Themistocles, and his own riches and magnificence unto the kings of Persia. For he gave Monaeses three cities, Larissa, Arethusa, and Hierapolis, which was called before Bombyce. Howbeit the king of Parthia shortly after called him home again, upon his faith and word. Antonius was glad to let him go, hoping thereby to steal upon Phraates unprovided. For he sent unto him, and told him that they would remain good friends, and have peace together, so he would but only redeliver the standards and ensigns of the Romans, which the Parthians had won in the battle where Marcus Crassus was slain, and the men also that remained yet prisoners of this overthrow. In the meantime he sent Cleopatra back into Egypt, and took his way towards Arabia and Armenia, and there took a general muster of all his army he had together, and of the kings his confederates that were come by his commandment to aid him, being a marvellous number: of the which the chiefest was Artavasdes, king of Armenia,Antonius' great and puissant army. who did furnish him with six thousand horsemen and seven thousand footmen. There were also of the Romans about three-score thousand footmen, and of horsemen (Spaniards and Gauls reckoned for Romans) to the number of ten thousand, and of other nations thirty thousand men, reckoning together the horsemen and light-armed footmen. This so great and puissant army, which made the Indians quake for fear, dwelling about the country of the Bactrians, and all Asia also to tremble, served him to no purpose, and all for the love he bare to Cleopatra. For the earnest great desire he had to lie all winter with herAntonius drunk with the love of Cleopatra. made him begin his war out of due time, and for haste to put all in hazard, being so ravished and enchanted with the sweet poison of her love, that he had no other thought but of her, and how he might quickly return again, more than how he might overcome his enemies. For first of all, where he should have wintered in Armenia to refresh his men, wearied with the long journey they had made, having come eight thousand furlongs, and then at the beginning of the spring to go and invade Media, before the Parthians should stir out of their houses and garrisons: he could tarry no lenger, but led them forthwith unto the province of Atropatene, leaving Armenia on the left hand, and foraged all the country. Furthermore, making all the haste he could, he left behind him engines of battery which were carried with him in three hundred carts, (among the which also there was a ram four-score foot long) being things most necessary for him, and the which he could not get again for money, if they were once lost or marred. For the high provinces of Asia have no trees growing of such height and length, neither strong nor straight enough, to make suchlike engines of battery. This notwithstanding, he left them all behind him, as a hindrance to bring his matters and intent speedily to pass: and left a certain number of men to keep them, and gave them in charge unto one Tatianus. Then he wentAntonius besiegeth the cry of Phraata in Medna. to besiege the city of Phraata, being the chiefest and greatest city the king of Media had, where his wife and children were. Then he straight found his own fault, and the want of his artillery he left behind him, by the work he had in hand: for he was fain, for lack of a breach (where his men might come to the sword with their enemies that defended the wall) to force a mount of earth hard to the walls of the city, the which by little and little with great labour rose to some height. In the meantime, King Phraates came down with a great army: who understanding that Antonius had left his engines of battery behind him, he sent a great number of horsemen before, which environed Tatianus with all his carriage, and slew him, and ten thousand men he had with him. After this, the barbarous people took these engines ofThe Parthians took Antomus' engines of battery. battery, and burnt them, and got many prisoners, amongst whom they took also King Polemon. This discomfiture marvellously troubled all Antonius' army, to receive so great an overthrow (beyond their expectation) at the beginning of their journey: insomuch that Artabazus, king of the Armenians, despairing of the good success of the Romans, departed with his men, notwithstanding that he was himself the first procurer of this war and journey. On the other side the Parthians came courageously unto Antonius' camp, who lay at the siege of their chiefest city, and cruelly reviled and threatened him. Antonius therefore fearing that if he lay still and did nothing his men's hearts would fail them: he took ten legions, with three cohorts or ensigns of the Praetors (which are companies appointed for the guard of the General) and all his horsemen, and carried them out to forage, hoping thereby he should easily allure the Parthians to fight a battle. But when he had marched about a day's journey from his camp, he saw the Parthians wheeling round about him to give him the onset, and to skirmish with him, when he would think to march his way. Therefore he set out his signal of battle, and yet caused his tents and fardels to be trussed up, as though he meant not to fight, but only to lead his men back again. Then he marched before the army of the barbarous people, the which was marshalled like a crescent or half moon: and commanded his horsemen, that as soon as they thought the legions were near enough unto their enemies to set upon the voward, that then they should set spurs to their horses, and begin the charge. The Parthians standing in battle ray,Battle betwixt the Parthians and Antonius. beholding the countenance of the Romans as they marched, they, appeared to be soldiers indeed, to see them march in so good array as was possible.The Romans' good order in their march. For in their march they kept the ranks a like space one from another, not straggling out of order, and shaking their pikes, speaking never a word. But so soon as the alarum was given, the horsemen suddenly turned head upon the Parthians, and with great cries gave charge on them: who at the first received their charge courageously, for they were joined nearer than within an arrow's shoot. But when the legions also came to join with them, shouting out aloud, and rattling of their armours, the Parthians' horses and themselves were so afraid and amazed withal, that they all turned tail and fled, before the Romans could come to the sword with them. Then Antonius followed them hard in chase, being in great good hope by this conflict to have brought to end all, or the most part, of this war. But after that his footmen had chased them fifty furlongs off, and the horsemen also thrice as far, they found in all but thirty prisoners taken, and about four score men only slain. But this did much discourage them, when they considered with themselves, that obtaining the victory they had slain so few of their enemies: and where they were overcome, they lost as many of their men, as they had done at the overthrow when the carriage was taken. The next morning, Antonius' army trussed up their carriage, and marched back towards their camp: and by the way in their return they met at the first a few of the Parthians: then going further they met a few moe. So at length, when they all came together, they reviled them and troubled them on every side, as freshly and courageously as if they had not been overthrown: so that the Romans very hardly got to their camp with safety. The Medes on the other side, that were besieged in their chief city of Phraata, made a sally out upon them that kept the mount, which they had forced and cast against the wall of the city, and drave them for fear from the mount theyDecimation, a martial punishment. kept. Antonius was so offended withal, that he executed the Decimation. For he divided his men by ten legions, and then of them he put the tenth legion to death, on whom the lot fell: and, to the other nine, he caused them to have barley given them instead of wheat. Thus this war fell out troublesome unto both parties, and the end thereof much more fearful. For Antonius could look for no other of his side, but famine: because he could forage no more, nor fetch in any victuals, without great loss of his men. Phraates on the other side, he knew well enough that he could bring the Parthians to anything else but to lie in camp abroad in the winter. Therefore he was afraid that if the Romans continued their siege all winter long, and made war with him still, that his men would forsake him, and specially because the time of the year went away apace, and the air waxed cloudy and cold, in the equinoctial autumn. There upon he called to mind this device. He gave theThe craft of the Parthians agaist the Romans chiefest of his gentlemen of the Parthians charge, that when they met the Romans out of their camp, going to forage, or to water their horse, or for some other provision, that they should not distress them too much but should suffer them to carry somewhat away, and greatly commend their valiantness and hardiness, for the which their king did esteem them the more, and not without cause. After these first baits and allurements, they began by little and little to come nearer unto them, and to talk with them a-horseback, greatly blaming Antonius' self-will that did not give their King Phraates occasion to make a good peace, who desired nothing more than to save the lives of so goodly a company of valiant men: but that he was too fondly bent to abide two of the greatest and most dreadful enemies he could have, to wit: winter, and famine, the which they should hardly away withal, though the Parthians did the best they could to aid and accompany them. These words being oftentimes brought to Antonius, they made him a little pliant, for the good hope he had of his return: but yet he would not send unto the king of Parthia, before they had first asked these barbarous people that spake so courteously unto his men, whether they spake it of themselves, or that they were their master's words. When they told them the king himself said so, and did persuade them further not to fear or mistrust them: then Antonius sent some of his friends unto the king, to make demand for the delivery of the ensigns and prisoners he had of the Romans, since the overthrow of Crassus: to the end it should not appear that, if he asked nothing, they should think he were glad that he might only scape with safety out of the danger he was in. The king of Parthia answered him: that for the ensigns and prisoners he demanded, he should not break his head about it: notwithstanding, that if he would presently depart without delay, he might depart in peaceable manner, and without danger.Antonius returneth from the journey of the Parthians. Wherefore Antonius, after he had given his men some time to truss up their carriage, he raised his camp, and took his way to depart. But though he had an excellent tongue at will, and very gallant to entertain his soldiers and men of war, and that he could passingly well do it, as well or better than any Captain in his time: yet being ashamed for respects, he would not speak unto them at his removing, but willed Domitius Ænobarbus to do it. Many of them took this in very ill part, and thought that he did it in disdain of them: but the most part of them presently understood the truth of it, and were also ashamed. Therefore they thought it their duties to carry the like respect unto their Captain that their Captain did unto them: and so they became the more obedient unto him. So Antonius was minded to return the same way he came, being a plain barren country without wood. But there came a soldier to him born in the country of the Mardlans, who, by oft frequenting the Parthians of long time, know their fashions very well, and had also shewed himself very true and faithful to the Romans, in the battle where Antonius' engines of battery and carriage were taken away. This man came unto Antonius to counsel him to beware how he went that way, and to make his army a prey, being heavily armed, unto so great a number of horsemen, all archers in the open field, where they should have nothing to let them to compass him round about: and that this was Phraates' fetch, to offer him so friendly conditions and courteous words to make him raise his siege, that he might afterwards meet him as he would in the plains: howbeit, that he would guide him, if he thought good, another way on the right hand through woods and mountains, a far nearer way, and where he should find great plenty of all, things needful for his army. Antonius, hearing what he said, called his council together to consult upon it. For after he had made peace with the Parthians, he was loath to give them cause to think he mistrusted them: and on th' other side also he would gladly shorten his way, and pass by places well inhabited, where he might be provided of all things necessary: therefore he asked the Mardian what pledge he would put in to perform that he promised. The Mardian gave himself to be bound hand and foot, till he had brought his army into the country of Armenia. So he guided the army thus bound, two days together, without any trouble or sight of enemy. But the third day, Antonius thinking the Parthians would no more follow him, and trusting therein, suffered the soldiers to march in disorder as every man listed. The Mardian perceiving that the dams of a river were newly broken up, which they should have passed over, and that the river had overflown the banks and drowned all the way they should have gone: he guessed straight that the Parthians had done it, and had thus broken it open, to stay the Romans for getting too far before them. Thereupon he bade AntoniusThe Parthians do set upon Antonius in h, return. look to himself, and told him that his enemies were not far from thence. Antonius having set his men in order, as he was placing of his archers and slingmen to resist the enemies, and to drive them back, they descried the Parthians that wheeled round about the army to compass them in on every side, and to break their ranks, and their light armed men gave charge upon them. So, after they had hurt many of the Romans with their arrows, and that they themselves were also hurt by them with their darts and plummets of lead: they, retired a little, and then came again and gave charge, until that the horsemen of the Gauls turned their horses and fiercely galloped towards them, that they dispersed them so, as all that day they gathered no more together. Thereby Antonius knew what to do, and did not only strengthen the rearward of his army, but both the flanks also, with darters and slingmen, and made his army march in a square battle: commanding the horsemen, that when the enemies should come to assail them, they should drive them back, but not follow them too far. Thus the Parthians four days after, seeing they did no more hurt to the Romans, than they also received of them, they were not so hot upon them as they were commanded, but excusing themselves by the winter that troubled them, they determined to return back again. The rift day, FlaviusThe bold act of Flavius Gallus. Gallus, a valiant man of his hands, that had charge in the army, came unto Antonius to pray him to let him have some moe of his light armed men than were already in the rearward, and some of the horsemen that were in the voward, hoping thereby to do some notable exploit. Antonius granting them unto him, when the enemies came according to their manner to set upon the tail of the army, and to skirmish with them, Flavius courageously made them retire, but not, as they were wont to do before, to retire and join presently with their army, for he over-roshly thrust in among them to fight it out at the sword. The Captains that had the leading of the rearward, seeing Havius stray too far from the army, they sent unto him to will him to retire, but he would not hearken to it. And it is reported also, that Titius himself the Treasurer took the ensigns, and did what he could to make the ensign bearers return back, reviling Flavius Gallus, because that through his folly and desperateness he caused many honest and valiant men to be both hurt and slain to no purpose. Gallus also fell out with him, and commanded his men to stay. Wherefore Titius returned again into the army, and Gallus still overthrowing and driving the enemies back whom he met in the voward, he was not ware that he was compassed in. Then seeing himself environed of all sides, he sent unto the army, that they should come and aid him: but there the Captains that led the legions (among the whichCanidius' fault, Antonius' Captain. Canidius, a man of great estimation about Antonius, made one) committed many faults. For, where they should have made head with the whole army upon the Parthians, they sent him aid by small companies: and when they were slain, they sent him others also. So that by their beastliness and lack of consideration they, had like to have made all the army fly, if Antonius himself had not come from the front of the battle with the third legion, the which came through the midst of them that fled, until they came to front of the enemies, and that they stayed them from chasing any further. Howbeit at this last conflict there were slain no lessFlavius Gallus slain. Antonius' care of them that were wounded. than three thousand men, and five thousand besides brought sore hurt into the camp, and amongst them also Flavius Gallus, whose body was shot through in four places, whereof he died. Antonius went to the tents to visit and comfort the sick and wounded, and for pity's sake he could not refrain from weeping: and they also, shewing him the best countenance they could, took him by the hand, and prayed him to go and be dressed, and not to trouble himself for them, most reverently calling him their Emperor and Captain: and that, for themselves, they were whole and safe, so that he had his health. For indeed, to say truly, there was not at that time any Emperor or Captain that had so great and puissant an army as his together, both for lusty youths and courage of the soldiers, as also for their patience to away with so great pains and trouble. Further more, the obedience and reverence they shewedThe love and reverence of the soldiers unto Antonius. unto their captain, with a marvellous carnest love and good will, was so great, and all were indifferently (as well great as small, the noble men as mean men, the Captains and soldiers) so earnestly bent to esteem Antonius good will and favour above their own life and safety, that in this point of martial discipline, the ancient Romans could not have done any more. But divers things were cause thereof, as we have toldThe rare and singular Rifts of Antonius. you before: Antonius' nobility and ancient house, his eloquence, his plain nature, his liberality and magnificence, and his familiarity to sport and to be merry in company: but specially the care he took at that time to help, visit, and lament those that were sick and wounded, seeing every man to have that which was meet for him: that was of such force and effect, as it made them that were sick and wounded to love him better, and were more desirous to do him service, than those that were whole and sound. This victory so encouraged the enemies (who otherwise were weary to follow Antonius any further) that all night long they kept the fields, and hovered about the Romans' camp, thinking that they would presently fly, and then that they should take the spoil of their camp. So the next morning, by break of day, there were gathered together a far greater number of the Parthians than they, were before. For the rumour was, that there were not much fewer than forty thousand horse, because their king sent thither even the very guard about his person, as unto a most certain and assured victory, that they might be partners of the spoil and booty they hoped to haveThe king of Parthm never came to fight in the field. had: for, as touching the king himself, he was never in any conflict or battle. Then Antonius, desirous to speak to his soldiers, called for a black gown, to appear the more pitiful to them: but his friends did dissuade him from it. Therefore he put on his coat armour, and being so apparelled made an oration to his army: in the which he highly commended them that had overcome and driven back their enemies, and greatly rebuked them that had cowardly turned their backs. So that those which had overcome prayed him to be of good cheer: the other also to clear themselves willingly offered to take the lots of Decimation if he thought good, or otherwise to receive what kind of punishment it should please him to lay upon them, so that he would forget any more to mislike, or to be offended with them. Antonius, seeing that, did lift up his hands to heaven, and made his prayer to the gods, that if in exchange of his former victories theyAntonius' charitable prayer to the goods for his army. would now send him some bitter adversity: then that all might light on himself alone, and that they would give the victory to the rest of his army. The next morning they gave better order on every side of the army, and so marched forward: so that when the Parthians thought to return again to assail them, they came far short of the reckoning. For where they thought to come not to fight but to spoil and make havoc of all, when they came near them, they were sore hurt with their slings and darts, and such other javelins as the Romans darted at them, and the Parthians found them as rough and desperate in fight, as if they had been fresh men they had dealt withal. Whereupon their hearts began again to fail them. But yet, when the Romans came to go down any steep hills or mountains, then they would set on them with their arrows, because the Romans could go down but fair and softly. But then again, the soldiers of the legionThe Romans' testudo and covering against shot. that carried great shields returned back, and enclosed them that were naked or light armed in the midst amongst them, and did kneel of one knee on the ground, and so set down their shields before them: and they, of the second rank also covered them of the first rank, and the third also covered the second, and so from rank to rank all were covered. Insomuch that this manner of covering and shading themselves with shields was devised after the fashion of laying tiles upon houses, and, to sight, was like the degrees of a Theatre, and is a most strong defence and bulwark against all arrows and shot that falleth upon it. When the Parthian, saw this countenance of the Roman soldiers of the legion, which kneeled on the ground in that sort upon one knee, supposing that they had been wearied with travail they laid down their bows, and took their spears and lances, and came to fight with them man for man. Then the Romans suddenly rose upon their feet, and with the darts that they threw from them they slew the foremost, and put the rest to flight, and so did they the next days that followed. But by means of these dangers and lets Antonius' army could win no way in a day, by reason whereof they suffered great famine: for they could have but little corn, and yet were they driven daily to right for it, and besides that, they had no instruments to grind it, to make bread of it. For the most part of them had been left behind, because the beasts that carried them were either dead, or else employed to carry them thatGreat famine in Antonius' army. were sore and wounded, For the famine was so extreme great, that the eight part of a bushel of wheat was sold for fifty Drachmas, and they sold barley bread by the weight of silver. In the end, they were compelled to live off herbs and roots, but they found few of them that men do commonly eat of, and were enforced to taste of them that were never eaten before: among the which there was one that killed them, and made them out of their wits. For he that had once eaten of it,A deadly herb incurable without wine his memory was gone from him, and he knew no manner of thing, but only busied himself in digging and hurling of stones from one place to another, as though it had been a matter of great weight and to be done with all possible speed. All the camp over, men were busily stooping to the ground, digging and carrying of stones from one place to another: but at the last they cast up a great deal of choler, and died suddenly, because they lacked wine, which was the only sovereign remedy to cure that disease. It is reported that Antonius seeing such a number of his men die daily, and that the Parthians left them not, neither would suffer them to be at rest: he oftentimes cried out sighing, and said: ‘O, ten thousand!’ He hadThe valiantness of ten thousand Grecians, whom Xenophon brought away after the overthrow of Cyrus. the valiantness of ten thousand Grecians in such admiration, whom Xenophon brought away after the overthrow of Cyrus: because they had come a farther journey from Babylon, and had also fought against much moe enemies many times told than themselves, and yet came home with safety. The Parthians therefore, seeing that they could not break the good order of the army of the Romans, and contrarily that they themselves were oftentimes put to flight, and wellfavouredly beaten, they fell again to their old crafty subtleties. For when they found any of the Romans scattered from the army to go forage, to seek some corn, or otherThe Parthians very subtile and crafty people. victuals, they would come to them as if they had been their friends, and showed them their bows unbent, saying that themselves also did return home to their country as they did, and that they would follow them no further, howbeit that they should yet have cer
- Here lies a wretched corse, of wretched soul bereft,
- Seek not my name: a plague consume you wicked wretches left.
It is reported that Timon himself when he lived made this epitaph: for that which is commonly rehearsed was not his but made by the Poet Callimachus:
- Here lie I Timon, who alive all living men did hate,
- Pass by, and curse thy fill: but pass, and stay not here thy gate.
Many other things could we tell you of this Timon, but, this little shall suffice at this present. But now to return to Antonius again. Canidius himself came to bring him news, that he had lost all his army by land at Actium. On th' other side he was advertised also, that Herodes king of* Jewry, who had also certain legions and bands with him, was revolted unto Caesar, and all the other kings in like manner: so that, saving those that were about him, he had none left him. All this notwithstanding did nothing trouble him, and it seemed that he was contented to forgoAntonius rioting in Alexandria after his great loss and over throw Togavirilis all his hope, and so to be rid of all his care and troubles. Thereupon he left his solitary house he had built in the sea which he called Timoneon, and Cleopatra received him into her royal palace. He was no sooner come thither, but he straight setAntyllus the eldest son of Antonius by his wife Fulvia. all the city of rioting and banqueting again, and himself to liberality and gifts. He caused the son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra to be enrolled (according to the manner of the Romans) amongst the number of young men: and gave Antyllus, his eldest son he had by Fulvia, the man's gown, the which was a plain gown without guard or embroidery of purple. For these things there was kept great feasting, banqueting, and dancing in Alexandria many days together. Indeed they did break their first order they had set down,An ordered erected by Antonius and Cleopatra called Synapothancemenon revoking the former called Amimetobion. which they called Amimetobion (as much to say, no life comparable), and did set up another, which Synapothanumenon (signifying the order and agreement of those that will die together), the which in exceeding sumptuousness and cost was not inferior to the first. For their friends made themselves to be enrolled in this order of those that would die together, and so made great feasts one to another: for every, man, when it came to his turn, feasted their whole company and fraternity. Cleopatra in the meantime was very careful in gathering all sorts of poisons together to destroy men. Now, to make proof of those poisons which made men die with least pain, she tried it upon condemned men in prison. For,Cleopatra very busy in proving the force of poison. when she saw the poisons that were sudden and vehement, and brought speedy death with grievous torments, and, in contrary manner, that such as were more mild and gentle had not that quick speed and force to make one die suddenly: she afterwards went about to prove the stinging of snakes and adders, and made some to be applied unto men in her sight, some in one sort and some in another. So, when she had daily made divers and sundry proofs, she found none of all them she had proved so fit as the biting of an Aspic, the which only causeth a heaviness of the head, without swoundingThe property of the biting of an Aspic. or complaining, and bringeth a great desire also to sleep, with a little sweat in the face, and so by little and little taketh away the senses and vital powers, no living creature perceiving that the patients feel any pain. For they are so sorry when anybody waketh them, and taketh them up, as those that being taken out of a sound sleep are very heavy and desirous to sleep. This notwithstanding, Antonius and Cleopatra send Ambassadors unto Octavius Caesar. they sent Ambassadors unto Octavius Caesar in Asia, Cleopatra requesting the realm of Egypt for her children, and Antonius praying that he might be suffered to live at Athens like a private man, if Caesar would not let him remain in Egypt. And, because they had no other men of estimation about them, for that some were fled, and those that remained, they did not greatly trust them: they were enforced to send Euphronius the schoolmaster of their children. For Alexas Laodicean, who was brought into Antonius'house and favour by means of Timagenes, and afterwards was in greater credit with him than any other Grecian (for that he had alway been one of Cleopatra's ministers to win Antonius, and to overthrow all his good determinations to use his wife Octavia well) him Antonius had sent unto Herodes king of Jewry, hoping still to keep him his friend, that he should not revolt from him. But he remained there, and betrayed Antonius. For where he should have kept Herodes from revolting from him, he persuaded him to turn to Caesar: and trusting King Herodes, he presumed to come in Caesar's presence. Howbeit Herodes did him no pleasure: for he was presently taken prisoner, and sent in chains to his own country, and there by Caesar's commandment put to death. Thus was Alexas in Antonius' lifetime put toAlexas'th reason justly punished. death for betraying of him. Furthermore, Caesar would not grant unto Antonius' requests: but for Cleopatra, he made her answer, that he would deny her nothing reasonable, so that she would either put Antonius to death, or drive him out of her country. Therewithal he sent Thyreus one of his men unto her, a very wise and discreet man, who, bringing letters of credit from a young Lord unto a noble Lady, and that besides greatly liked her beauty, might easily by his eloquence have persuaded her. He was longer in talk with her than any man else was, and the Queen herself also did him great honour: insomuch as he made Antonius jealous of him. Whereupon Antonius caused him to be taken and well-favouredly whipped, and so sent him unto Caesar: and bade him tell him that he made him angry with him, because he shewed himself proud and disdainful towards him, and now specially when he was easy to be angered, by reason of his present misery. ‘To bc short, if this mislike thee,’ said he, ‘thou hast Hipparchus one of my enfranchised bondmen with thee: hang him if thou wilt, whip him at thy pleasure, that we may cry quittance.’ From thenceforth Cleopatra, to clear herself of the suspicion he had of her, she made more of him than ever she did. For first of all, where she did solemnize the day of her birth very meanly and sparingly, fit for her present misfortune, she now in contrary manner did keep it with such solemnity, that she exceeded all measure of sumptuousness and magnificence: so that the guests that were bidden to the feasts, and came poor, went away rich. Now, things passing thus, Agrippa by divers letters sent one after another unto Caesar, prayed him to return to Rome, because the affairs there did of necessity require his person and presence. Thereupon he did defer the war till the next year following: but when winter was done, he returned again through Syria by the coast of Africk, to make wars against Antonius, and his other Captains. When the city of Pelusium wasPelusium was yielded up to Octavius Caesar. taken, there ran a rumour in the city, that Seleucus, by Cleopatra's consent, had surrendered the same. But to clear herself that she did not, Cleopatra brought Seleucus' wife and children unto Antonius, to be revenged of them at his pleasure. Furthermore, Cleopatra had long before made many sumptuous tombsCleopatra's monuments set up by the temple of Isis. and monuments, as well for excellency of workmanship as for height and greatness of building, joining hard to the temple of Isis. Thither she caused to be brought all the treasure and precious things she had of the ancient kings her predecessors: as gold, silver, emeralds, pearls, ebony, ivory, and cinnamon, and besides all that, a marvellous number of torches, faggots, and flax. So Octavius Caesar being afraid to lose such a treasure and mass of riches, and that this woman for spite would set it afire, and burn it every whit: he always sent some one or other unto her from him, to put her in good comfort, whilst he in the meantime drew near the city with his army. So Caesar came, and pitched his camp hard by the city, in the place where they run and manage their horses. Antonius made a sally upon him, and fought very valiantly, so that he drave Caesar's horsemen back, fighting with his men even into their camp. Then he came again to the palace, greatly boasting of this victory, and sweetly kissed Cleopatra, armed as he was when he came from the fight, recommending one of his men of arms unto her, that had valiantly fought in this skirmish. Cleopatra to reward his manliness gave him an armour and head-piece of clean gold: howbeit the man at arms, when he had received this rich gift, stale away by night, and went to Caesar. Antonius sent again to challenge Caesar to fight with him hand to hand. Caesar answered him, that he had many other ways to die than so. Then Antonius, seeing there was no way more honourable for him to die than fighting valiantly, he determined to set up his rest, both by sea and land. So, being at supper (as it is reported), he commanded his officers and household servants that waited on him at his board, that they should fill his cups full, and make as much of him as they could: ‘For,’ said he, ‘you know not whether you 'shall do so much for me tomorrow or not, or whether you 'shall serve another master: and it may be you shall see me ‘o more, but a dead body.’ This notwithstanding, perceiving that his friends and men fell a-weeping to hear him say so: to salve that he had spoken, he added this more unto it, that he would not lead them to battle, where he thought not rather safely to return with victory, than valiantly to die with honour. Furthermore, the self same night within little of midnight, when all the city was quiet, full of fear and sorrow, thinking what would be the issue and end of this war: it is said that suddenly they heard a marvellous sweet harmony of sundry sorts of instrumentsStrange noises heard, and nothing seen. of music, with the cry of a multitude of people, as they had been dancing, and had sung as they use in Bacchus’ feasts, with movings and turnings after the manner of the Satyrs: and it seemed that this dance went through the city unto the gate that opened to the enemies, and that all the troop that made this noise they heard went out of the city at that gate. Now, such as in reason sought the depth of the interpretation of this wonder, thought that it was the God unto whom Antonius bare singular devotion to counterfeit and resemble him, that did forsake them. The next morning by break of day, he went to set those few footmen he had in order upon the hills adjoining unto the city: and there he stood to behold his galleys which departed from the haven, and rowed against the galleys of his enemies, and so stood still, looking what exploit his soldiers in them would do. ButAntonius navy do yield themselves unto Caesar. when by force of rowing they were come near unto them, they first saluted Caesar's men, and then Caesar's men re-saluted them also, and of two armies made but one, and then did all togetherAntonius over-thrown by Octavius Caesar. row toward the city. When Antonius saw that his men did forsake him, and yielded unto Caesar, and that his footmen were broken and overthrown:Cleopatra flieth into her tomb or monument. he then fled into the city, crying out that Cleopatra had betrayed him unto them, with whom he had made war for her sake. Then she, being afraid of his fury, fled into the tomb which she had caused to be made, and there locked the doors unto her, and shut all the springs of the locks with great bolts, and in the meantime sent unto Antonius to tell him that she was dead. Antonius, believing it, said unto himself: ‘What dost thou look for further, Antonius, sith spiteful fortune hath taken from thee the only joy thou hadst, for whom thou yet reservedst thy life?’ When he had said these words, he went into a chamber and unarmed himself, and being naked said thus: ‘O Cleopatra, it grieveth me not that I have lost thy company, for I will not be long from thee: but I am sorry that, having been so great a Captain and Emperor, I am indeed condemned to be judged of less courage and noble mind than a woman.’ Now he had a man of his called Eros, whom he loved and trusted much, and whom he had long before caused to swear unto him, that he should kill him when he did commandEros, antonius' servant, slew himself. him: and then he willed him to keep his promise. His man drawing his sword lift it up as though he had meant to have stricken his master: but turning his head at one side he thrust his sword into himself, and fell down dead at his master's foot.Antonius did thrust his sword into himself, but died not presently. Then said Antonius, ‘O noble Eros, I thank thee for this, and it is valiantly done of thee, to shew me what I should do to myself, which thou couldst not do for me.’ Therewithal he took his sword, and thrust it into his belly, and so fell down upon a little bed. The wound he had killed him not presently, for the blood stinted a little when he was laid: and when he came somewhat to himself again, he prayed them that were about him to despatch him. But they all fled out of the chamber, and left him crying out and tormenting himself: until at last there came a secretary unto him called Diomedes, who was commandedAntonius carried unto Cleopatra's tomb. to bring him into the tomb or monument where Cleopatra was. When he heard that she was alive, he very earnestly prayed his men to carry his body thither, and so he was carried in his men's arms into the entry of the monument. Notwithstanding, Cleopatra would not open the gates, but came to the high windows, and cast out certain chains and ropes, in the which Antonius was trussed: and Cleopatra her own self, with two women only, which she had suffered to come with her into these monuments, triced Antonius up. They that were present to behold it said they never saw soA lamentable sight to see Antonius and Cleopatra. pitiful a sight. For they plucked up poor Antonius all bloody as he was, and drawing on with pangs of death, who holding up his hands to Cleopatraraised up himself as well as he could. It was a hard thing for these women to do, to lift him up: but Cleopatra stooping down with her head, putting to all her strength to her uttermost power, did lift him up with much ado, and never let go her hold, with the help of the women beneath that bade her be of good courage, and were as sorry to see her labour so, as she herself. So when she had gotten him in after that sort, and laid him on a bed, she rent her garments upon him, clapping her breast, and scratching her face and stomach. Then she dried up his blood that had berayed his face, and called him her Lord, her husband, and Emperor, forgetting her own misery and calamity, for the pity and compassion she took of him. Antonius made her cease her lamenting, and called for wine, either because he was athirst, or else for that he thought thereby to hasten his death. When he had drunk, he earnestly prayed her, and persuaded her, that she would seek to save her life, if she could possible, without reproach and dishonour: and that chiefly she should trust Proculeius above any man else about Caesar. And, as for himself, that she should not lament nor sorrow for the miserable change of his fortune at the end of his days: but rather that she should think him the more fortunate for the former triumphs and honours he had received, considering that while he lived he was the noblest and greatest Prince of the world, and that now he was overcome not cowardly, but valiantly, a Roman by another Roman. As Antonius gave the last gasp, Proculeius came that was sent from Caesar. For after Antonius had thrust his sword in himself, as they carried him into the tombs and monuments of Cleopatra, one of his guard called DercetaeusThe death of Antonius. took his sword with the which he had stricken himself, and hid it: then he secretly stale away, and brought Octavius Caesar the first news of his death, and shewed him his sword that was bloodied, Caesar hearing these news straight withdrew himself Octavius Caesar lamenteth Antonius' death. into a secret place of his tent, and there burst out with tears, lamenting his hard and mlserable fortune that had been his friend and brother-in- law, his equal in the Empire, and companion with him in sundry great exploits and battles. Then he called for all his friends, and shewed them the letters Antonius had written to him, and his answers also sent him again, during their quarrel and strife: and how fiercely and proudly the other answered him to all just and reasonable matters he wrote unto him. After this, he sent Proculeius,Proculeius sent by Octavius Caesar to bring Cleopatra alive. and commanded him to do what he could possible to to get Cleopatra alive, fearing lest otherwise all the treasure would be lost: and furthermore, he thought that if he could take Cleopatra, and bring her alive to Rome, she would marvellously beautify and set out his triumph. But Cleopatra would never put herself into Proculeius' hands, although they spake together. For Proculeius came to the gates that were very thick and strong, and surely barred, but yet there were some cranews through the which her voice might be heard, and so they without understood, that Cleopatra demanded the kingdom of Egypt for her sons: and that Proculeius answered her, that she should be of good cheer, and not be afraid to refer all unto Caesar. After he had viewed the place very well, he came and reported her answer unto Caesar. Who immediately sent Gallus to speak once again with her, and bade him purposely hold her with talk, whilst Proculeius did set up a ladder against that high window by the which Antonius was triced up, and came down into the monument with two of his men, hard by the gate where Cleopatra stood to hear what Gallus said unto her. One of her women which was shut in her monuments with her saw Proculeius by chance as he came down, and shrieked out: ‘O poor Cleopatra, thou art taken.’ Then, when she saw Proculeius behind her as she came from the gate, she thought to have stabbed herself in with a short dagger she ware of purpose by her side. But Proculeius came suddenly upon her, and taking her by both theCleopatra taken. hands said unto her: ‘Cleopatra, first thou shalt do thyself great wrong, and secondly unto Caesar, to deprive him of the occasion and opportunity openly to shew his bounty and mercy, and to give his enemies cause to accuse the most courteous and noble Prince that ever was, and to appeach him, as though he were a cruel and merciless man that were not to be trusted.’ So even as he spake the word, he took her dagger from her, and shook her clothes for fear of any poison hidden about her. Afterwards Caesar sent one of his enfranchised men called Epaphroditus, whom he straightly charged to look well unto her, and to beware in any case that she made not herself away: and, for the rest, to use her with all the courtesy possible. And for himself, he in theCaesar took the city of Alexandria. Caesar greatly honoured Arnus the Philosopher. meantime entered the city of Alexandria, and as he went, talked with the Philosopher Arrius, and held him by the hand, to the end that his countrymen should reverence him the more, because they saw Caesar so highly esteem and honour him. Then he went into the show place of exercises, and so up to his chair of state which was prepared for him of a great height: and there, according to his commandment, all the people of Alexandria were assembled, who, quaking for fear, fell down on their knees before him, and craved mercy. Caesar bade them all stand up, and told them openly that he forgave the people, and pardoned the felonies and offences they had committed against him in this war: First, for the founder's sake of the same city, which was Alexander the Great: secondly, for the beauty of the city, which he much esteemed and wondered at: thirdly, for the love he bare unto his very friend Arrius. Thus did Caesar honour Arrius, who craved pardon for himself and many others, and specially forPhilostratus, the eloquentest Orator in his time for present speech upon a sudden. Philostratus, the eloquentest man of all the so-phisters and Orators of his time for present and sudden speech: howbeit he falsely named himself an Academic Philosopher. Therefore Caesar, that hated his nature and conditions, would not hear his suit. Thereupon he let his grey beard grow long, and followed Arrius step by step in a long mourning gown, still buzzing in his ears this Greek verse:
- A wise man if that he be wise indeed,
- May by a wise man have the better speed.
Caesar understanding this, not for the desire he had to deliver Philostratus of his fear, as to rid Arrius of malice and envy that might have fallen out against him, he pardoned him. Now, touching Antonius' sons, Antyllus hisAntyllus, Antonius eldest son by Fulvia slain. eldest son by Fulvia was slain, because his schoolmaster Theodorus did betray him unto the soldiers, who strake off his head. And the villain took a precious stone of great value from his neck, the which he did sew in his girdle, and afterwards denied that he had it: but it was found about him, and so Caesar trussed him up for it. For Cleopatra's children, they were very honourably kept, with their governors and train that waited on them. But for Caesarion, who was said to be Julius Caesar's son, his mother Cleopatra had sent him unto the Indians through Ethiopia, with a great sum of money. But one of his governors also called Rhodon, even such another as Theodorus, persuaded him to return into his country, and told him that Caesar sent for him to give him his mother's kingdom. So, as Caesar was determining with himself what he should do, Arrius said unto him:The saying of Arnus the Philosopher.
‘Too many Caesars is not good,’
alluding unto a certain verse of Homer that saith:
Too many Lords doth not well.
Therefore Caesar did put Caesarion to death, afterCaesarion, Cleopatra's son, put to death. the death of his mother Cleopatra. Many Princes, great kings, and Captains did crave Antonius' body of Octavius Caesar, to give him honourable burial:Cleopatra burieth Antonius. but Caesar would never take it from Cleopatra, who did sumptuously and royally bury him with her own hands, whom Caesar suffered to take as much as she would to bestow upon his funerals. Now was she altogether overcome with sorrow and passion of mind, for she had knocked her breast so pitifully, that she had martyred it, and in divers places had raised ulcers and inflammations, so that she fell into a fever withal: whereof she was very glad, hoping thereby to have good colour to abstainOlympus, Cleopatra's Physician. from meat, and that so she might have died easily without any trouble. She had a Physician called Olympus, whom she made privy of her intent, to th' end he should help her to rid her out of her life: as Olympus writeth himself, who wrote a book of all these things. But Caesar mistrusted the matter, by many conjectures he had, and therefore did put her in fear, and threatened her to put her children to shameful death. With these threats Cleopatra for fear yielded straight, as she would have yielded unto strokes, and afterwards suffered herself to be cured and dieted as they listed. Shortly after, Caesar came himself in person to see her and to comfort her. CleopatraCaesar came to see Cleopatra. being laid upon a little low bed in poor estate, when she saw Caesar come into her chamber, she suddenly rose up, naked in her smock, and fell down at his feet marvellously disfigured: both for that she had plucked her hair from her head, as also for that she had martyredCleopatra a martyred creature through her own passion and fury. all her face with her nails, and besides, her voice was small and trembling, her eyes sunk into her head with continual blubbering: and moreover they might see the most part of her stomach torn in sunder. To be short, her body was not much better than her mind: yet her good grace and comeliness and the force of her beauty was not altogether defaced. But notwithstanding this ugly and pitiful state of hers, yet she showed herself within by her outward looks and countenance. When Caesar had made her lie down again, and sate by her bed's side, Cleopatra began to clear and excuse herself for that she had done, laying all to the fear she had of Antonius: Caesar, in contrary manner, reproved her in every point. Then she suddenly altered her speech, and prayed him to pardon her, as though she were afraid to die, and desirous to live. At length, she gave him a brief and memorial of all the ready money and treasure she had. But by chance there stood Seleucus by, one of herSeleucus one of Cleopatra's Treasurers. Treasurers, who to seem a good servant, came straight to Caesar to disprove Cleopatra, that she had not set in all, but kept many things back of purpose. Cleopatra was in such a rage with him, that she flew upon him, and took him by the hair of the head, and boxed him well-favouredly. Caesar fell a-laughing,Cleopatra beat her treasurer before Octavius Caesar. and parted the fray. ‘Alas,’ said she, ‘O Caesar, is not this a great shame and reproach, that thou having vouchsafed to take the pains to come unto me, and hast done me this honour, poor wretch and caitiff creature, brought into this pitiful and miserableCleopatra's words unto Caesar. estate, and that mine own servants should come now to accuse me: though it may be I have reserved some jewels and trifles meet for women, but not for me (poor soul) to set out myself withal, but meaning to give some pretty presents and gifts unto Octavia and Livia, that they, making means and intercession for me to thee, thou mightest yet extend thy favour and mercy upon me?’ Caesar was glad to hear her say so, persuading himself thereby that she had yet a desire to save her life. So he made her answer, that he did not only give her that to dispose of at her pleasure which she had kept back, but further promised to use her more honourably and bountifully than she would think for: and so he took his leave of her, supposing he had deceived her, but indeed he was deceived himself. There was a young gentlemanCleopatra finely deceiveth Octavius Caesar, as though she desired to live. Cornelius Dolabella, that was one of Caesar's very great familiars, and besides did bear no evil will unto Cleopatra. He sent her word secretly as she had requested him, that Caesar determined to take his journey through Syria, and that within three days he would send heraway before with her children. When this was told Cleopatra, she requested Caesar that it would please him to suffer her to offer the last oblations of the dead unto the soul of Antonius. This being granted her, she was carried to the place where his tomb was, and there falling down on her knees, embracing the tomb with her women, the tears running down her cheeks, she began to speak in this sort: ‘O my dear Lord Antonius,Cleopatra's lamentation over Antonius' tomb. not long sithence I buried thee here, being a freewoman: and now I offer unto thee the funeral sprinklings and oblations, being a captive and prisoner, and yet I am forbidden and kept from tearing and murdering this captive body of mine with blows, which they carefully guard and keep, only to triumph of thee: look therefore henceforth for no other honours, offerings, nor sacrifices from me, for these are the last which Cleopatra can give thee, sith now they carry her away. Whilst we lived together, nothing could sever our companies: but now at our death I fear me they will make us change our countries. For as thou, being a Roman, hast been buried in Egypt: even so wretched creature I, an Egyptian, shall be buried in Italy, which shall be all the good that I have received by thy country. If therefore the gods where thou art now have any power and authority, sith our gods here have forsaken us, suffer not thy true friend and lover to be carried away alive, that in me they triumph of thee: but receive me with thee, and let me be buried in one self tomb with thee. For though my griefs and miseries be infinite, yet none hath grieved me more, nor that I could less bear withal, than this small time which I have been driven to live alone without thee.’ Then, having ended these doleful plaints, and crowned the tomb with garlands and sundry nosegays, and marvellous lovingly embraced the same, she commanded they should prepare her bath, and when she had bathed and washed herself she fell to her meat, and was sumptuously served. Now whilst she was at dinner, there came a countryman, and brought her a basket. The soldiers that warded at the gates asked him straight what he had in his basket. He opened the basket, and took out the leaves that covered the figs, and shewed them that they were figs he brought. They all of them marvelled to see so goodly figs. The countryman laughed to hear them, and bade them take some if they would. They believed he told them truly, and so bade him carry them in. After Cleopatra had dined, she sent a certain table written and sealed unto Caesar, and commanded them all to go out of the tombs where she was, but the two women: then she shut the doors to her. Caesar, when he received this table, and began to read her lamentation and petition, requesting him that he would let her be buried with Antonius, found straight what she meant, and thought to have gone thither himself: howbeit he sent one before in all haste that might be, to see what it was. Her death was very sudden.The death of Cleopatra. For those whom Caesar sent unto her ran thither in all haste possible, and found the soldiers standing at the gate, mistrusting nothing, nor understanding of her death. But when they had opened the doors, they found Cleopatra stark dead, laid upon a bed of gold, attired and arrayed in her royal robes, and one of herCleopatra's two waiting women dead with her. two women, which was called Iras, dead at her feet: and her other woman called Charmion half dead, and trembling, trimming the Diadem which Cleopatra ware upon her head. One of the soldiers, seeing her, angrily said unto her: ‘Is that well done, Charmion?’ ‘Very well,’ said she again, ‘and meet for a Princess descended from the race of so many noble kings.’ She said no more, but fell down dead hard by the bed. Some report that this Aspic was brought unto her in the basket with figs, and that she had commanded them to hide it under the fig-leaves, that when she should think to take out the figs, the Aspic should bite her before she should see her: howbeit that, when she would have taken away the leaves for the figs, she perceived it, and said, ‘Art thou here then?’ And so, her arm being naked, she putCleopatra killed with the biting of an Aspic. it to the Aspic to be bitten. Other say again, she kept it in a box, and that she did prick and thrust it with a spindle of gold, so that the Aspic being angered withal, leapt out with great fury, and bit her in the arm. Howbeit few can tell the troth. For they report also that she had hidden poison in a hollow razor which she carried in the hair of her head: and yet was there no mark seen of her body, or any sign discerned that she was poisoned, neither also did they find this serpent in her tomb. But it was reported only, that there were seenThe image of Cleopatra carried in triumph at Rome with an Aspic biting of her arm. certain fresh steps or tracks where it had gone, on the tomb side toward the sea, and specially by the door's side. Some say also, that they found two little pretty bitings in her arm, scant to be discerned, the which it seemeth Caesar himself gave credit unto, because in his triumph he carried Cleopatra's image, with an Aspic biting of her arm. And thus goeth the report of her death. Now Caesar, though he was marvellous sorry for the death of Cleopatra, yet he wondered at her noble mind and courage, and therefore commanded she should be nobly buried, and laid by Antonius: and willed also that her two women should have honourable burial. Cleopatra died being eight-and-thirty year old, after she hadThe age of Cleopatra and Antonius. reigned two-and-twenty years, and governed above fourteen of them with Antonius. And for Antonius, some say that he lived three-and-fifty years: and others say, six-and-fifty. All his statues, images and metals were plucked down and overthrown, saving those of Cleopatra which stood still in their places, by means of Archibius one of her friends, who gave Caesar a thousand talents that they should not be handled as those of Antonius were. Antonius left seven children by three wives, of the which Caesar did put Antyllus, the eldest son he had by Fulvia, to death. Octavia his wife took all the rest, and brought them up with hers, and married Cleopatra, Antonius' daughter, unto Juba, a marvellous courteous and goodlyOf Antonius' issue came Emperors. Prince. And Antonius, the son of Fulvia, came to be so great, that next unto Agrippa, who was in greatest estimation about Caesar, and next unto the children of Livia, which were the second in estimation, he had the third place. Furthermore, Octavia having had two daughters by her first husband Marcellus, and a son also called Marcellus, Caesar married his daughter unto that Marcellus, and so did adopt him for his son. And Octavia also married one of her daughters unto Agrippa. But when Marcellus was dead, after he had been married a while, Octavia perceiving that her brother Caesar was very busy to choose some one among his friends, whom he trusted best to make his son-in-law: she persuaded him that Agrippa should marry his daughter (Marcellus' widow) and leave her own daughter. Caesar first was contented withal, and then Agrippa: and so she afterwards took away her daughter and married her unto Antonius, and Agrippa married Julia, Caesar's daughter. Now there remained two daughters more of Octavia and Antonius. Domitius ænobarbus married the one: and the other, which was Antonia, so fair and virtuous a young Lady, was married unto Drusus, the son of Livla, and son-in-law of Caesar. Of this marriage came Germanicus and Claudius: of the which, Claudius afterwards came to be Emperor. And of the sons of Germanicus, the one whose name was Caius came also to be Emperor: who, after he had licentiously reigned a time, was slain, with his wife and daughter. Agrippina also, having a son by her first husband ænobarbus called Lucius Domitius, was afterwards married unto Claudius, who adopted her son, and called him Nero Germanicus. This Nero was Emperor in our time, and slew his own mother, and had almost destroyed the Empire of Rome, through his madness and wicked life, being the fift Emperor of Rome after Antonius.