The Boys' and Girls' Plutarch Being Parts of The "Lives" of Plutarch Edited for Boys and Girls With Introductions

Part 2 out of 8

A third ordinance or Rhetra was that they should not make war
often, or long, with the same enemy, lest they should train and
instruct them in war, by habituating them to defend themselves.
And this is what Agesilaus was much blamed for a long time after;
it being thought that, by his continual incursions into Boeotia,
he made the Thebans a match for the Lacedaemonians; and therefore
Antalcidas, seeing him wounded one day, said to him that he was
very well paid for taking such pains to make the Thebans good
soldiers, whether they would or no. These laws were called the
Rhetras, to intimate that they were divine sanctions and

In order to the good education of their youth (which, as I said
before, he thought the most important and noblest work of a
lawgiver), he took in their case all the care that was possible;
he ordered the maidens to exercise themselves with wrestling,
running, throwing the quoit, and casting the dart, to the end that
they might have strong and healthy bodies.

It was not in the power of the father to dispose of his child as
he thought fit; he was obliged to carry it before certain "triers"
at a place called Lesche; these were some of the elders of the
tribe to which the child belonged; their business it was carefully
to view the infant, and, if they found it stout and well made,
they gave order for its rearing, and allotted to it one of the
nine thousand shares of land above mentioned for its maintenance;
but if they found it puny and ill-shaped, ordered it to be taken
to what was called the Apothetae, a sort of chasm under Taygetus;
as thinking it neither for the good of the child itself, nor for
the public interest, that it should be brought up, if it did not,
from the very outset, appear made to be healthy and vigorous. Upon
the same account, the women did not bathe the new-born children
with water, as is the custom in all other countries, but with
wine, to prove the temper and complexion of their bodies; from a
notion they had that epileptic and weakly children faint and waste
away upon their being thus bathed, while, on the contrary, those
of a strong and vigorous habit acquire firmness and get a temper
by it like steel. There was much care and art, too, used by the
nurses; they had no swaddling bands; the children grew up free and
unconstrained in limb and form, and not dainty and fanciful about
their food; nor afraid in the dark, or of being left alone;
without any peevishness or ill humor or crying. Upon this account,
Spartan nurses were often bought up, or hired by people of other

Lycurgus was of another mind; he would not have masters bought out
of the market for his young Spartans, nor such as should sell
their pains; nor was it lawful, indeed, for the father himself to
raise his children after his own fancy; but as soon as they were
seven years old they were to be enrolled in certain companies and
classes, where they all lived under the same order and discipline,
doing their exercises and taking their play together. Of these he
who showed the most conduct and courage was made captain; they had
their eyes always upon him, obeyed his orders, and underwent
patiently whatsoever punishment he inflicted; so that the whole
course of their education was one continued exercise of a ready
and perfect obedience. The old men, too, were spectators of their
performances, and often raised quarrels and disputes among them,
to have a good opportunity of finding out their different
characters, and of seeing which would be valiant, which a coward,
when they should come to more dangerous encounters. Reading and
writing they gave them, just enough to serve their turn; their
chief care was to make them good subjects, and to teach them to
endure pain and conquer in battle. To this end, as they grew in
years, their discipline was proportionally increased; their heads
were close-clipped; they were accustomed to go barefoot, and for
the most part to play naked.

After they were twelve years old they were no longer allowed to
wear any under-garment; they had one coat to serve them a year;
their bodies were hard and dry, with but little acquaintance of
baths and unguents; these human indulgences they were allowed only
on some few particular days in the year. They lodged together in
little bands upon beds made of the rushes which grew by the banks
of the river Eurotas, which they were to break off with their
hands without a knife; if it were winter, they mingled some
thistledown with their rushes, which it was thought had the
property of giving warmth.

Besides all this, there was always one of the best and most honest
men in the city appointed to undertake the charge and governance
of them; he again arranged them into their several bands, and set
over each of them for their captain the most temperate and bold of
those they called Irens, who were usually twenty years old, two
years out of boyhood; and the eldest of the boys, again, were
Mell-Irens, as much as to say, "who would shortly be men." This
young man, therefore, was their captain when they fought, and
their master at home, using them for the offices of his house;
sending the oldest of them to fetch wood, and the weaker and less
able, to gather salads and herbs, and these they must either go
without or steal; which they did by creeping into the gardens, or
conveying themselves cunningly and closely into the eating-houses;
if they were taken in the act, they were whipped without mercy,
for thieving so ill and awkwardly. They stole, too, all other meat
they could lay their hands on, looking out and watching all
opportunities, when people were asleep or more careless than
usual. If they were caught, they were not only punished with
whipping, but hunger, too, being reduced to their ordinary
allowance, which was but very slender, and so contrived on
purpose, that they might set about to help themselves, and be
forced to exercise their energy and address.

So seriously did the Lacedaemonian children go about their
stealing, that a youth, having stolen a young fox and hid it under
his coat, suffered it to tear out his very bowels with its teeth
and claws, and died upon the place, rather than let it be seen.
What is practised to this very day in Lacedaemon is enough to gain
credit to this story, for I myself have seen several of the youths
endure whipping to death at the foot of the altar of Diana
surnamed Orthia.

The Iren, or under-master, used to stay a little with them after
supper, and one of them he bade to sing a song, to another he put
a question which required an advised and deliberate answer; for
example, Who was the best man in the city? What he thought of such
an action of such a man? They accustomed them thus early to pass a
right judgment upon persons and things, and to inform themselves
of the abilities or defects of their countrymen. If they had not
an answer ready to the question, Who was a good or who an ill-
reputed citizen? they were looked upon as of a dull and careless
disposition, and to have little or no sense of virtue and honor;
besides this, they were to give a good reason for what they said,
and in as few words and as comprehensive as might be; he that
failed of this, or answered not to the purpose, had his thumb bit
by his master.

They taught them, also, to speak with a natural and graceful
raillery, and to comprehend much matter of thought in few words.
For Lycurgus, who ordered, as we saw, that a great piece of money
should be but of an inconsiderable value, on the contrary would
allow no discourse to be current which did not contain in few
words a great deal of useful and curious sense; children in
Sparta, by a habit of long silence, came to give just and
sententious answers; for, indeed, loose talkers seldom originate
many sensible words. King Agis, when some Athenian laughed at
their short swords, and said that the jugglers on the stage
swallowed them with ease, answered him, "We find them long enough
to reach our enemies with;" and as their swords were short and
sharp, so, it seems to me, were their sayings. They reach the
point and arrest the attention of the hearers better than any
others. Lycurgus himself seems to have been short and sententious.
if we may trust the anecdotes of him; as appears by his answer to
one who by all means would set up democracy in Lacedaemon. "Begin,
friend," said he, "and set it up in your family." Another asked
him why he allowed of such mean and trivial sacrifices to the
gods. He replied, "That we may always have something to offer to
them." Being asked what sort of martial exercises or combats he
approved of, he answered, "All sorts, except that in which you
stretch out your hands."

Of their dislike to talkativeness, the following apophthegms are
evidence. King Leonidas said to one who held him in discourse upon
some useful matter, but not in due time and place, "Much to the
purpose, sir, elsewhere." King Charilaus, the nephew of Lycurgus,
being asked why his uncle had made so few laws, answered, "Men of
few words require but few laws." When one blamed Hecataeus the
sophist because that, being invited to the public table, he had
not spoken one word all supper-time, Archidamidas answered in his
vindication, "He who knows how to speak, knows also when."

The sharp, and yet not ungraceful, retorts which I mentioned may
be instanced as follows. Demaratus, being asked in a troublesome
manner by an importunate fellow, Who was the best man in
Lacedaemon? answered at last," He, sir, that is the least like
you." Some, in company where Agis was, much extolled the Eleans
for their just and honorable management of the Olympic games;
"Indeed," said Agis, "they are highly to be commended if they can
do justice one day in five years."

We may see their character, too, in their very jests. For they did
not throw them out at random, but the very wit of them was
grounded upon something or other worth thinking about. For
instance, one, being asked to go hear a man who exactly
counterfeited the voice of a nightingale, answered, "Sir, I have
heard the nightingale itself." Another, having read the following
inscription upon a tomb,----

Seeking to quench a cruel tyranny,
They, at Selinus, did in battle die,

said, it served them right; for instead of trying to quench the
tyranny they should have let it burn out. A lad, being offered
some game-cocks that would die upon the spot, said he cared not
for cocks that would die, but for such as would live and kill
others. In short, their answers were so sententious and pertinent,
that one said well that intellectual, much more truly than
athletic, exercise was the Spartan characteristic.

Nor was their instruction in music and verse less carefully
attended to than their habits of grace and good breeding in
conversation. And their very songs had a life and spirit in them
that inflamed and possessed men's minds with an enthusiasm and
ardor for action; the style of them was plain and without
affectation; the subject always serious and moral; most usually it
was in praise of such men as had died in defence of their country,
or in derision of those that had been cowards; the former they
declared happy and glorified; the life of the latter they
described as most miserable and abject. There were also vaunts of
what they would do, and boasts of what they had done, varying with
the various ages, as, for example, they had three choirs in their
solemn festivals, the first of the old men, the second of the
young men, and the last of the children; the old men began thus:

We once were young, and brave and strong;

the young men answered them, singing,

And we're so now, come on and try;

the children came last and said,

But we'll be strongest by and by.

Before they engaged in battle, the Lacedaemonians abated a little
the severity of their manners in favor of their young men,
suffering them to curl and adorn their hair, and to have costly
arms, and fine clothes; and were well pleased to see them, like
proud horses, neighing and pressing to the course. And therefore,
as soon as they came to be well grown, they took a great deal of
care of their hair, to have it parted and trimmed, especially
against a day of battle, pursuant to a saying recorded of their
lawgiver, that a large head of hair added beauty to a good face,
and terror to an ugly one.

The senate, as I said before, consisted of those who were
Lycurgus's chief aiders and assistants in his plan. The vacancies
he ordered to be supplied out of the best and most deserving men
past sixty years old. The manner of their election was as follows:
the people being called together, some selected persons were
locked up in a room near the place of election, so contrived that
they could neither see nor be seen, but could only hear the noise
of the assembly without; for they decided this, as most other
affairs of moment, by the shouts of the people. This done, the
competitors were not brought in and presented all together, but
one after another by lot, and passed in order through the assembly
without speaking a word. Those who were locked up had writing-
tables with them, in which they recorded and marked each shout by
its loudness, without knowing in favor of which candidate each of
them was made, but merely that they came first, second, third, and
so forth. He who was found to have the most and loudest
acclamations was declared senator duly elected.

When he perceived that his more important institutions had taken
root in the minds of his countrymen, that custom had rendered them
familiar and easy, that his commonwealth was now grown up and able
to go alone, then, as Plato somewhere tells us the Maker of the
world, when first he saw it existing and beginning its motion,
felt joy, even so Lycurgus, viewing with joy and satisfaction the
greatness and beauty of his political structure, now fairly at
work and in motion, conceived the thought to make it immortal too,
and as far as human forecast could reach, to deliver it down
unchangeable to posterity. He called an extraordinary assembly of
all the people, and told them that he now thought everything
reasonably well established, both for the happiness and the virtue
of the state; but that there was one thing still behind, of the
greatest importance, which he thought not fit to impart until he
had consulted the oracle; in the meantime, his desire was that
they would observe the laws without even the least alteration
until his return, and then he would do as the god should direct
him. They all consented readily, and bade him hasten his journey;
but, before he departed, he administered an oath to the two kings,
the senate, and the whole commons, to abide by and maintain the
established form of polity until Lycurgus should come back. This
done, he set out for Delphi, and, having sacrificed to Apollo,
asked him whether the laws he had established were good and
sufficient for a people's happiness and virtue. The oracle
answered that the laws were excellent, and that the people, while
it observed them, should live in the height of renown. Lycurgus
took the oracle in writing, and sent it over to Sparta, and,
having sacrificed a second time to Apollo, and taken leave of his
friends and his son, he resolved that the Spartans should not be
released from the oath they had taken, and that he would, of his
own act, close his life where he was. He was now about that age in
which life was still tolerable, and yet might be quitted without
regret. Everything, moreover, about him was in a sufficiently
prosperous condition. He, therefore, made an end of himself by a
total abstinence from food; thinking it a statesman's duty to make
his very death, if possible, an act of service to the state, and
even in the end of his life to give some example of virtue and
effect some useful purpose. Nor was he deceived in his
expectations, for the city of Lacedaemon continued the chief city
of all Greece for the space of five hundred years, in strict
observance of Lycurgus's laws; in all which time there was no
manner of alteration made, during the reign of fourteen kings,
down to the time of Agis, the son of Archidamus.

King Theopompus, when one said that Sparta held up so long because
their kings could command so well, replied, "Nay, rather because
the people know so well how to obey." For people do not obey,
unless rulers know how to command; obedience is a lesson taught by
commanders. A true leader himself creates the obedience of his own
followers; as it is the greatest attainment in the art of riding
to make a horse gentle and tractable, so is it of the science of
government to inspire men with a willingness to obey.

It is reported that when the bones were brought home to Sparta his
tomb was struck with lightning, an accident which befell no
eminent person but himself and Euripides. But Aristocrates, the
son of Hipparchus, says that he died in Crete, and that his Cretan
friends, in accordance with his own request, when they had burned
his body, scattered the ashes into the sea, for fear lest, if his
relics should be transported to Lacedaemon, the people might
pretend to be released from their oaths, and make innovations in
the government.


SOLON, as Hermippus writes, when his father had ruined his estate
in doing benefits and kindnesses to other men, though he had
friends enough that were willing to contribute to his relief, yet
was ashamed to be beholden to others, since he was descended from
a family who were accustomed to do kindnesses rather than receive
them; and therefore applied himself to merchandise in his youth;
though others assure us that he traveled rather to get learning
and experience than to make money. It is certain that he was a
lover of knowledge, for when he was old he would say that he

Each day grew older, and learnt something new.

But that he accounted himself rather poor than rich is evident
from the lines,

Some wicked men are rich, some good are poor,
We will not change our virtue for their store;
Virtue's a thing that none can take away,
But money changes owners all the day.

It is stated that Anacharsis and Solon and Thales were familiarly
acquainted, and some have quoted parts of their discourse; for,
they say, Anacharsis, coming to Athens, knocked at Solon's door
and told him that he, being a stranger, was come to be his guest,
and contract a friendship with him; and Solon replying; "It is
better to make friends at home," Anacharsis replied, "Then you
that are at home make friendship with me." Solon, somewhat
surprised at the readiness of the repartee, received him kindly,
and kept him some time with him, being already engaged in public
business and the compilation of his laws; which when Anacharsis
understood, he laughed at him for imagining the dishonesty and
covetousness of his countrymen could be restrained by written
laws, which were like spiders' webs, and would catch, it is true,
the weak and poor, but easily be broken by the mighty and rich. To
this Solon rejoined that men keep their promises when neither side
can get anything by the breaking of them; and he would so fit his
laws to the citizens, that all should understand it was more
eligible to be just than to break the laws. But the event rather
agreed with the conjecture of Anacharsis than Solon's hope.
Anacharsis, being once at the assembly, expressed his wonder that
in Greece wise men spoke and fools decided.

Now, when the Athenians were tired with a tedious and difficult
war that they conducted against the Megarians for the island
Salamis, and made a law that is should be death for any man, by
writing or speaking, to assert that the city ought to endeavor to
recover it, Solon, vexed at the disgrace, and perceiving thousands
of the youth wished for somebody to begin, but did not dare to
stir first for fear of the law, counterfeited a distraction, and
by his own family it was spread about the city that he was mad. He
then secretly composed some elegiac verses, and getting them by
heart, that it might seem extempore, ran out into the market-place
with a cap upon his head, and, the people gathering about him, got
upon the herald's stand, and sang that elegy which begins thus:--

I am a herald come from Salamis the fair,
My news from thence my verses shall declare.

The poem is called "Salamis"; it contains a hundred verses, very
elegantly written. When it had been sung, his friends commended
it, and especially Pisistratus exhorted the citizens to obey his
directions; insomuch that they recalled the law, and renewed the
war under Solon's conduct. The popular take is, that with
Pisistratus he sailed to Colias, and, finding the women, according
to the custom of the country there, sacrificing to Ceres, he sent
a trusty friend to Salamis, who should pretend himself a renegade,
and advise them, if they desired to seize the chief Athenian
women, to come with him at once to Colias; the Megarians presently
sent off men in the vessel with him, and Solon, seeing it put off
from the island, commanded the women to be gone, and some
beardless youths, dressed in their clothes, their shoes, and caps,
and privately armed with daggers, to dance and play near the shore
till the enemies had landed and the vessel was in their power.
Things being thus ordered, the Megarians were allured with the
appearance, and, coming to the shore, jumped out, eager who should
first seize a prize, so that not one of them escaped; and the
Athenians set sail for the island and took it.

For this Solon grew famed and powerful; but his advice in favor of
defending the oracle at Delphi, to give aid, and not to suffer the
Cirrhaeans to profane it, but to maintain the honor of the god,
got him most repute among the Greeks: for upon his persuasion the
Amphictyons undertook the war.

Now the Cylonian pollution had a long time disturbed the
commonwealth, ever since the time when Megacles the archon
persuaded the conspirators with Cylon that took sanctuary in
Athena's temple to come down and stand to a fair trial. And they,
tying a thread to the image, and holding one end of it, went down
to the tribunal; but when they came to the temple of the Furies,
the thread broke of its own accord, upon which, as if the goddess
had refused them protection, they were seized by Megacles and the
other magistrates; as many as were without the temples were
stoned, those that fled for sanctuary were butchered at the altar,
and only those escaped who made supplication to the wives of the

The Athenians, now the Cylonian sedition was over and the polluted
gone into banishment, fell into their old quarrels about the
government, there being as many different parties as there were
diversities in the country. The Hill quarter favored democracy;
the Plain, oligarchy; and those that lived by the Sea-side stood
for a mixed sort of government, and so hindered either of the
parties from prevailing. And the disparity of fortune between the
rich and the poor at that time also reached its height; so that
the city seemed to be in a truly dangerous condition, and no other
means for freeing it from disturbances and settling it to be
possible but a despotic power.

Then the wisest of the Athenians, perceiving Solon was of all men
the only one not implicated in the troubles, that he had not
joined in the exactions of the rich, and was not involved in the
necessities of the poor, pressed him to succor the commonwealth
and compose the differences. Solon, reluctantly at first, engaged
in state affairs, being afraid of the pride of one party and the
greediness of the other; he was chosen archon, however, after
Philombrotus, and empowered to be an arbitrator and lawgiver; the
rich consenting because he was wealthy, the poor because he was
honest. There was a saying of his current before the election,
that when things are even there never can be war, and this pleased
both parties, the wealthy and the poor; the one conceiving him to
mean, when all have their fair proportion; the other, when all are
absolutely equal. Thus, there being great hopes on both sides, the
chief men pressed Solon to take the government into his own hands,
and, when he was once settled, manage the business freely and
according to his pleasure; and many of the commons, perceiving it
would be a difficult change to be effected by law and reason, were
willing to have one wise and just man set over the affairs; and
some say that Solon had this oracle from Apollo:

Take the mid-seat, and be the vessel's guide;
Many in Athens are upon your side.

From which it is manifest that he was a man of great reputation
before he gave his laws. The several mocks that were put upon him
for refusing the power, he records in these words:

Solon surely was a dreamer, and a man of simple mind;
When the gods would give him fortune, he of his own will declined;
When the new was full of fishes, over-heavy thinking it,
He declined to haul it up, through want of heart and want of wit.
Had but I that chance of riches and of kingship for one day,
I would give my skin for flaying, and my house to die away.

Thus he makes the many and the low people speak of him. Yet,
though he refused the government, he did not show himself mean and
submissive to the powerful, nor make his laws to pleasure those
that chose him. For the first thing which he settled was, that
what debts remained should be forgiven, and no man, for the
future, should engage the body of his debtor for security. Though
some, as Androtion, affirm that the debts were not canceled, but
the interest only lessened, which sufficiently pleased the people;
so that they named this benefit the Seisacthea, together with the
enlarging of their measures, and raising the value of their money;
for he made a pound, which before passed for seventy-three
drachmas, go for a hundred; so that, though the number of pieces
in the payment was equal, the value was less; which proved a
considerable benefit to those that were to discharge great debts,
and no loss to the creditors.

While he was designing this, a most vexatious thing happened; for
when he had resolved to take off the debts, and was considering
the proper form and fit beginning for it, he told some of his
friends, Conon, Clinias, and Hipponicus, in whom he had a great
deal of confidence, that he would not meddle with the lands, but
only free the people from their debts; upon which, they, using
their advantage, made haste and borrowed some considerable sums of
money, and purchased some large farms; and when the law was
enacted, they kept the possessions, and would not return the
money; which brought Solon into great suspicion and dislike, as if
he himself had not been abused, but was concerned in the
contrivance. But he presently stopped this suspicion, by releasing
his own debtors of five talents (for he had lent so much),
according to the law; others, as Polyzelus the Rhodian, say

Soon becoming sensible of the good that was done, the people laid
by their grudges, made a public sacrifice, and chose Solon to new-
model and make laws for the commonwealth, giving him the entire
power over everything, their magistracies, their assemblies,
courts, and councils; that he should appoint the number, times of
meeting, and what estate they must have that could be capable of
these, and dissolve or continue any of the present constitutions,
according to his pleasure.

First, then, he repealed all Draco's laws, except those concerning
homicide, because they were too severe and the punishments too
great; for death was appointed for almost all offences, insomuch
that those that were convicted of idleness were to die, and those
that stole a cabbage or an apple to suffer even as villains that
committed sacrilege or murder. So that Demades, in after time, was
thought to have said very happily, that Draco's laws were written
not with ink, but blood; and he himself, being once asked why he
made death the punishment of most offences, replied: "Small ones
deserve that, and I have no higher for the greater crimes."

Next, Solon, being willing to continue the magistracies in the
hands of the rich men, and yet receive the people into the other
part of the government, took an account of the citizens' estates,
and those that were worth five hundred measures of fruits, dry and
liquid, he placed in the first rank; those that could keep a
horse, or were worth three hundred measures, were made the second
class; those that had two hundred measures, were in the third; and
all the other were called Thetes, who were not admitted to any
office, but could come to the assembly, and act as jurors; which
at first seemed nothing, but afterward was found an enormous
privilege, as almost every matter of dispute came before them in
this latter capacity. Besides, it is said that he was obscure and
ambiguous in the wording of his laws, on purpose to increase the
honor of his courts; for since their differences could not be
adjusted by the letter, they would have to bring all their causes
to the judges, who thus were in a manner masters of the laws. Of
this equalization he himself makes mention in this manner:

Such power I gave the people as might do,
Abridged not what they had, now lavished new.
Those that were great in wealth and high in place,
My counsel likewise kept from all disgrace.
Before them both I held my shield of might,
And let not either touch the other's right.

When he had constituted the Areopagus of those who had been yearly
archons, of which he himself was a member therefore, observing
that the people, now free from their debts, were unsettled and
imperious, he formed another council of four hundred, a hundred
out of each of the four tribes, which was to inspect all matters
before they were propounded to the people, and to take care that
nothing but what had been first examined should be brought before
the general assembly. The upper council, or Areopagus, he made
inspectors and keepers of the laws, conceiving that the
commonwealth, held by these two councils like anchors, would be
less liable to be tossed by tumults, and the people be more at
quiet. Such is the general statement that Solon instituted the

Amongst his other laws, one is very peculiar and surprising, which
disfranchises all who stand neuter in a sedition; for it seems he
would not have any one remain insensible and regardless of the
public good, but at once join with the good party and those that
have the right upon their side, assist and venture with them,
rather than keep out of harm's way and watch who would get the

Another commendable law of Solon's is that which forbids men to
speak evil of the dead.

Since the country has but few rivers, lakes, or large springs, and
many used wells which they had dug, there was a law made, that,
where there was a public well within a hippicon, that is, four
furlongs, all should draw at that; but then it was farther off,
they should try and procure a well of their own; and, if they had
dug ten fathoms deep and could find no water, they had liberty to
fetch a pitcherful of four gallons and a half in a day from their
neighbors'; for he thought it prudent to make provision against
want, but not to supply laziness. He showed skill in his orders
about planting, for any one that would plant another tree was not
to set it within five feet of his neighbor's field; but if a fig
or an olive, not within nine, for their roots spread farther, nor
can they be planted near all sorts of trees without damage, for
they draw away the nourishment, and in some cases are noxious by
their effluvia. He that would dig a pit or a ditch was to dig it
at the distance of its own depth from his neighbor's ground; and
he that would raise stocks of bees was not to place them within
three hundred feet of those which another had already raised.

He permitted only oil to be exported, and those that exported any
other fruit, the archon was solemnly to curse, or else pay an
hundred drachmas (a drachma was about twenty cents.) himself; and
this law was written in his first table, and, therefore, let none
think it incredible, as some affirm, that the exportation of figs
was once unlawful. He made a law also, concerning hurts and
injuries from beasts, in which he commands the master of any dog
that bit a man to deliver him up with a log about his neck four
and a half feet long-a happy device for men's security.

All his laws he established for an hundred years, and wrote them
on wooden tables or rollers, named axones, which might be turned
round in oblong cases; some of their relics were in my time still
to be seen in the Prytaneum, or common hall, at Athens. These, as
Aristotle states, were called cyrbes, and there is a passage of
Cratinus the comedian,

By Solon, and by Draco, if you please,
Whose Cyrbes make the fires that parch our peas.

But some say those are properly cyrbes, which contain laws
concerning sacrifices and the rites of religion, and all the other
axones. The council all jointly swore to confirm the laws, and
every one of the Thesmothetae vowed for himself at the stone in
the market-place, that, if he broke any of the statutes, he would
dedicate a golden statue, as big as himself, at Delphi.

Now when these laws were enacted, and some came to Solon every
day, to commend or dispraise them, and to advise, if possible, to
leave out, or put in something, and many criticised, and desired
him to explain, and tell the meaning of such and such a passage,
he, to escape all displeasure, it being a hard thing, as he
himself says,

In great affairs to satisfy all sides,

As an excuse for traveling, bought a trading vessel and, having
obtained leave for ten years' absence, departed, hoping that by
that time his laws would have become familiar.
His first voyage was for Egypt, and he lived, as he himself

Near Nilus' mouth, by fair Canopus' shore,

And spent some time in study with Psenophis of Heliopolis, and
Sonchis the Saite, the most learned of all the priests; from whom,
as Plato says, getting knowledge of the Atlantic story, he put it
into a poem, and proposed to bring it to the knowledge of the
Greeks. From thence he sailed to Cyprus, where he was made much of
by Philocyprus, one of the kings there, who had a small city built
by Demophon, Theseus's son, near the river Clarius, in a strong
situation, but incommodious and uneasy of access. Solon persuaded
him, since there lay a fair plain below, to remove, and build
there a pleasanter and more spacious city. And he stayed himself,
and assisted in gathering inhabitants, and in fitting it both for
defence and convenience of living; insomuch that many flocked to
Philocyprus, and the other kings imitated the design; and,
therefore, to honor Solon, he called the city Soli.

That Solon should discourse with Croesus, some think not agreeable
with chronology; but I cannot reject so famous and well-attested a
narrative, and, what is more, so agreeable to Solon's temper, and
so worthy his wisdom and greatness of mind, because, forsooth, it
does not agree with some chronological canons, which thousands
have endeavored to regulate, and yet, to this day, could never
bring their differing opinions to any agreement. They say,
therefore, that Solon, coming to Croesus at his request, was in
the same condition as an inland man when first he goes to see the
sea; for as he fancies every river he meets with to be the ocean,
so Solon, as he passed through the court, and saw a great many
nobles richly dressed, and proudly attended with a multitude of
guards and footboys, thought every one to be the king, till he was
brought to Croesus, who was decked with every possible rarity and
curiosity, in ornaments of jewels, purple, and gold, that could
make a grand and gorgeous spectacle of him. Now when Solon came
before him, and seemed not at all surprised, nor gave Croesus
those compliments he expected, but showed himself to all
discerning eyes to be a man that despised the gaudiness and petty
ostentation of it, he commanded them to open all his treasure
houses, and carry him to see his sumptuous furniture and luxuries,
though Solon did not wish it; he could judge of him well enough by
the first sight of him; and, when he returned from viewing all,
Croesus asked him if ever he had known a happier man than he. And
when Solon answered that he had known one Tellus, a fellow-citizen
of his own, and told him that this Tellus had been an honest man,
had had good children, a competent estate, and died bravely in
battle for his country, Croesus took him for an ill-bred fellow
and a fool, for not measuring happiness by the abundance of gold
and silver, and preferring the life and death of a private and
mean man before so much power and empire. He asked him however,
again, if, besides Tellus, he knew any other man more happy. And
Solon replying, Yes, Cleobis and Biton, who were loving brothers,
and extremely dutiful sons to their mother, and, when the oxen
delayed her, harnessed themselves to the wagon, and drew her to
Juno's temple, her neighbors all calling her happy, and she
herself rejoicing; then, after sacrificing and feasting, they went
to rest, and never rose again, but died in the midst of their
honor a painless and tranquil death. "What," said Croesus,
angrily, "and dost not thou reckon us amongst the happy men at
all?" Solon, unwilling either to flatter or exasperate him more,
replied, "The gods, O king, have given the Greeks all other gifts
in moderate degree; and so our wisdom, too, is a cheerful and a
homely, not a noble and kingly, wisdom; and this, observing the
numerous misfortunes that attend all conditions, forbids us to
grow insolent upon our present enjoyments, or to admire any man's
happiness that may yet, in course of time, suffer change. For the
uncertain future has yet to come, with every possible variety of
fortune; and him only to whom the divinity has continued happiness
unto the end, we call happy; to salute as happy one that is still
in the midst of life and hazard, we think as little safe, and
conclusive as to crown and proclaim as victorious the wrestler
that is yet in the ring." After this, he was dismissed, having
given Croesus some pain, but no instruction.

Aesop, who wrote the fables, being then at Sardis upon Croesus's
invitation, and very much esteemed, was concerned that Solon was
so ill-received, and gave him this advice: "Solon, let your
converse with kings be either short or seasonable." "Nay, rather,"
replied Solon, "either short or reasonable." So at this time
Croesus despised Solon; but when he was overcome by Cyrus, had
lost his city, was taken alive, condemned to be burnt, and laid
bound upon the pile before all the Persians and Cyrus himself, he
cried out as loud as he possibly could three times, "O Solon!" and
Cyrus being surprised, and sending some to inquire what man or god
this Solon was, whom alone he invoked in this extremity, Croesus
told him the whole story, saying, "He was one of the wise men of
Greece, whom I sent for, not to be instructed, or to learn
anything that I wanted, but that he should see and be a witness of
my happiness; the loss of which was, it seems, to be a greater
evil than the enjoyment was a good; for when I had them they were
goods only in opinion, but now the loss of them has brought upon
me intolerable and real evils. And he, conjecturing from what then
was, this that now is, bade me look to the end of my life, and not
rely and grow proud upon uncertainties." When this was told Cyrus,
who was a wiser man than Croesus, and saw in the present example
Solon's maxim confirmed, he not only freed Croesus from
punishment, but honored him as long as he lived; and Solon had the
glory, by the same saying, to save one king and instruct another.

When Solon was gone, the citizens began to quarrel; Lycurgus
headed the Plain; Megacles, the son of Alcmaeon, those of the Sea-
side; and Pisistratus the Hill-party, in which were the poorest
people, the Thetes, and greatest enemies to the rich; insomuch
that, though the city still used the new laws, yet all looked for
and desired a change of government, hoping severally that the
change would be better for them, and put them above the contrary
faction. Affairs standing thus, Solon returned, and was reverenced
by all, and honored; but his old age would not permit him to be as
active, and to speak in public, as formerly; yet, by privately
conferring with the heads of the factions, he endeavored to
compose the differences, Pisistratus appearing the most tractable;
for he was extremely smooth and engaging in his language, a great
friend to the poor, and moderate in his resentments; and what
nature had not given him, he had the skill to imitate; so that he
was trusted more than the others, being accounted a prudent and
orderly man, one that loved equality, and would be an enemy to any
that moved against the present settlement. Thus he deceived the
majority of people; but Solon quickly discovered his character,
and found out his design before any one else; yet did not hate him
upon this, but endeavored to humble him, and bring him off from
his ambition, and often told him and others, that if any one could
banish the passion for preeminence from his mind, and cure him of
his desire of absolute power, none would make a more virtuous man
or a more excellent citizen. Thespis, at this time, beginning to
act tragedies, and the thing, because it was new, taking very much
with the multitude, though it was not yet made a matter of
competition, Solon, being by nature fond of hearing and learning
something new, and now, in his old age, living idly, and enjoying
himself, indeed, with music and with wine, went to see Thespis
himself, as the ancient custom was, act; and after the play was
done, he addressed him, and asked him if he was not ashamed to
tell so many lies before such a number of people; and Thespis
replying that it was no harm to say or do so in play, Solon
vehemently struck his staff against the ground: "Ay," said he, "if
we honor and commend such play as this, we shall find it some day
in our business."

Now when Pisistratus, having wounded himself, was brought into the
market-place in a chariot, and stirred up the people, as if he had
been thus treated by his opponents because of his political
conduct, and a great many were enraged and cried out, Solon,
coming close to him, said, "This, O son of Hippocrates, is a bad
copy of Homer's Ulysses; you do, to trick your countrymen, what he
did to deceive his enemies." After this, the people were eager to
protect Pisistratus, and met in an assembly, where one Ariston
made a motion that they should allow Pisistratus fifty clubmen for
a guard to his person. Now, the people, having passed the law,
were not nice with Pisistratus about the number of his clubmen,
but took no notice of it, though he enlisted and kept as many as
he would, until he seized the Acropolis. When that was done, and
the city in an uproar, Megacles, with all his family, at once
fled; But Solon, though he was now very old, and had none to back
him, yet came into the market-place and made a speech to the
citizens, partly blaming their inadvertency and meanness of
spirit, and in part urging and exhorting them not thus tamely to
lose their liberty; and likewise then spoke that memorable saying,
that, before, it was an easier task to stop the rising tyranny,
but now the greater and more glorious action to destroy it, when
it was begun already, and had gathered strength. But all being
afraid to side with him, he returned home, and, taking his arms,
he brought them out and laid them in the porch before his door,
with these words: "I have done my part to maintain my country and
my laws," and then be busied himself no more.

But Pisistratus, having got the command, so extremely courted
Solon, so honored him, obliged him, and sent to see him, that
Solon gave him his advice, and approved many of his actions; for
he retained most of Solon's laws, observed them himself, and
compelled his friends to obey. And he added other laws, one of
which is that the maimed in the wars should be maintained at the
public charge, following Solon's example in this, who had decreed
it in the case of one Thersippus, that was maimed.

Solon lived after Pisistratus seized the government a long time.
But the story that his ashes were scattered about the island
Salamis is too strange to be easily believed, or be thought
anything but a mere fable; and yet it is given, among other good
authors, by Aristotle the philosopher.


The birth of Themistocles was somewhat too obscure to do him
honor. His father, Neocles, was not of the distinguished people of
Athens, but of the township of Phrearrhi; and by his mother's
side, as it is reported, he was low-born.

"I am not of the noble Grecian race,
I'm poor Abrotonon, and born in Trace;
Let the Greek women scorn me, if they please,
I was the mother of Themistocles."

From his youth he was of a vehement and impetuous nature, of a
quick apprehension, and a strong and aspiring bent for action and
great affairs. the holidays and intervals in his studies he did
not spend in play or idleness, as other children, but would be
always inventing or arranging some oration or declamation to
himself, the subject of which was generally the excusing of
accusing of his companions, so that his master would often say to
him, "You, my boy, will be nothing small,, but great one way or
other, for good and else for bad." he received reluctantly and
carelessly instructions given him to improve his manners and
behavior, or to teach him any pleasing or graceful accomplishment,
but whatever was said to improve him in sagacity, or in management
of affairs, he would give attention to beyond one of years, from
confidence in his natural capacities for such things.

In the first essays of his youth he was not regular nor happily
balanced; he allowed himself to follow mere natural character,
which, without the control of reason and instruction, is apt to
hurry, upon either side, into sudden and violent courses, and very
often to break away and determine upon the worst; as he afterwards
owned himself, saying that the wildest colts make the best
horses, if they only get properly trained and broken in.

Yet it is evident that his mind was early imbued with the keenest
interest in public affairs, and the most passionate ambition for
distinction. It is said that Themistocles was so transported with
the thoughts of glory, and so inflamed with the passion for great
actions, that, though he was still young when the battle of
Marathon was fought against the Persian, upon the skillful conduct
of the general, Miltiades, being everywhere talked about, he was
observed to be thoughtful and reserved; he passed the nights
without sleep, and avoided all his usual places of recreation, and
to those how wondered at the change, and inquired the reason of
it, he gave the answer that "the trophy of Miltiades would not let
him sleep." And when others were of opinion that the battle of
Marathon would be an end to the war, Themistocles thought that it
was but the beginning of far greater conflict, and for these, to
the benefit of Greece, he kept himself in continual readiness, and
his city also in proper training, foreseeing from far before what
would happen.

And, first of all, the Athenians being accustomed to divide
amongst themselves the revenue proceeding from the silver mines at
Laurium, he was the only man that durst propose to the people that
this distribution should cease, and that with the money, ships
should be built to make war against the Aeginetans, who were the
most flourishing people in all Greece, and by the number of their
ships held the sovereignty of the sea; and Themistocles thus,
little by little, turned and drew the city down towards the sea,
in the belief that, whereas by land they were not a match for
their next neighbors, with their ships they might be able to repel
the Persian and command Greece; thus, as Plato says, from steady
soldiers he turned them into mariners and seamen tossed about the
sea, and gave occasion for the reproach against him, that he took
away from the Athenians the spear and the shield, and bound them
to the bench and the oar. He was well liked by the common people,
would salute every particular citizen by his own name, and always
showed himself a just judge in questions of business between
private men; he said to Simonides, the poet of Ceos, who desired
something of him when he was commander of the army that was no
reasonable, "Simonides, you would be no good poet if you wrote
false measure, nor should I be a good magistrate if for favor I
made false law."

Gradually growing to be great, and winning the favor of the
people, he at last gained the day with his faction over that of
Aristides, and procured his banishment by ostracism. When the kind
of Persia was now advancing against Greece, and sent messengers
into Greece, with an interpreter, to demand earth and water, as an
acknowledgement of subjection, Themistocles, by the consent of the
people, seized upon the interpreter, and put him to death, for
presuming to publish the barbarian orders and decrees in the Greek
language; and having taken upon himself the command of the
Athenian forces, he immediately endeavored to persuade the
citizens to leave the city, and to embark upon their galleys, and
meet with the Persians at a great distance from Greece.

When the contingents met at the straits of Artemisium, the Greeks
would have the Lacedaemonians to command, and Eurybiades to be
their admiral; but the Athenians, who surpassed all the rest
together in number of vessels, would not submit to come after any
other, till Themistocles, perceiving the danger of this contest,
yielded his own command to Eurybiades, and got the Athenians to
submit, persuading them that if in this war they behaved
themselves like men, he would answer for it after that, that the
Greeks, of their own will, would submit to their command.

Though the fights between the Greeks and Persians in the straits
of Euboea were not so important as to make any final decision of
the war, yet the experience which the Greeks obtained in them was
of great advantage; for thus, by actual trial and in real danger,
they found out, that neither number of ships, or riches and
ornaments, nor boasting shouts, nor barbarous songs of victory,
were any way terrible to men that knew how to fight, and were
resolved to come hand to hand with their enemies. This, Pindar
appears to have seen, and says justly enough of the fight at
Artemisium, that

There the sons of Athens set
The stone that freedom stands on yet.

For the first step towards victory undoubtedly is to gain courage.
Artemisium is in Euboea, beyond the city of Histiaea, a sea-beach
open to the north; there is small temple there, dedicated to
Diana, surnamed of the Dawn, and trees about it, around which
again stand pillars of white marble; and if rub them with your
hand, they send forth both the smell and color of saffron.

But when news came from Thermopylae to Artemisium, informing that
that king Leonidas was slain, and that Xerxes had made himself
master of all the passages by land, they returned back to the
interior of Greece. Xerxes had already passed through Doris and
invaded the country of Phocis, and was burning and destroying the
cities of the Phocians, yet the Greeks sent them no relief; and,
though the Athenians earnestly desired them to meet the Persians
in Boeotia, before they could come into Attica, as they themselves
had come forward by sea at Artemisium, they gave no ear to their
request, being wholly intent upon Peloponnesus, and resolved to
gather all their forces together within the Isthmus, and to build
a wall from sea to sea in that narrow neck of land; so that the
Athenians were enraged to see themselves betrayed, and at the same
time afflicted and dejected at their own destitution. For to fight
alone against such a numerous army was to no purpose, and the only
expedient now left them was to leave their city and cling to their
ships; which the people were very unwilling to submit to,
imagining that it would signify little now to gain a victory, and
not understanding how there could be deliverance any longer after
they had once forsaken the temples of their gods and exposed the
tombs and monuments of their ancestors to the fury of their

Themistocles, being at a loss, and not able to draw the people
over to his opinion by any human reason, set his machines to work,
as in a theatre, and employed prodigies and oracles. The serpent
of Athena, kept in the inner part of her temple, disappeared; the
priests gave it out to the people and declared, by the suggestion
of Themistocles, that the goddess had left the city, and taken her
flight before them towards the sea. And he often urged them with
the oracle which bade them "trust to walls of wood," showing them
that walls of wood could signify nothing else but ships; and that
the island of Salamis was termed in it not miserable or unhappy,
but had the epithet of divine, for that it should one day be
associated with a great good fortune of the Greeks. At length his
opinion prevailed, and he obtained a decree that the city should
be committed to the protection of Athena, "queen of Athens"; that
they who were of age to bear arms should embark, and that each
should see to sending away his children, women, and slaves where
he could. This decree being confirmed, most of the Athenians
removed their parents, wives, and children to Troezen, where they
were received with eager good-will by the Troezenians, who passed
a vote that they should be maintained at the public charge.

Among the great actions of Themistocles at this crisis, the recall
of Aristides was not the least, for, before the war, he had been
ostracized by the party which Themistocles headed, and was in
banishment; but now, perceiving that the people regretted his
absence, and were fearful that he might go over to the Persians to
revenge himself, and thereby ruin the affairs of Greece,
Themistocles proposed a decree that those who were banished for a
time might return again, to give assistance by word and deed to
the cause of Greece with the rest of their fellow citizens.

Eurybiades, by reason of the greatness of Sparta, was admiral of
the Greek fleet, but yet was faint-hearted in time of danger, and
willing to weigh anchor and set sail for the Isthmus of Corinth,
near which the land army lay encamped; which Themistocles,
resisted; and this was the occasion of the well-known words, when
Eurybiades, to check his impatience, told him that at the Olympic
games they that start up before the rest are lashed. "And they,"
replied Themistocles, "that are left behind are not crowned." Some
say that while Themistocles was thus speaking things upon the
deck, an owl was seen flying to the right hand of the fleet, which
came and sat upon the top of the mast; and this happy omen so far
disposed the Greeks to follow his advice, that they presently
prepared to fight. Yet, when the enemy's fleet was arrived at the
haven of Phalerum, upon the coast of Attica, and with the number
of their ships concealed all the shore, and when they saw the king
himself in person come down with his land army to the sea-side,
with all his forces united, then the good counsel of Themistocles
was soon forgotten, and the Peloponnesians cast their eyes again
towards the Isthmus, and took it very ill if any one spoke against
their returning home; and, resolving to depart that night, the
pilots had order what course to steer.

Themistocles, in great distress that the Greeks should return, and
lost the advantage of the narrow seas and strait passage, and slip
home very one to his own city, considered with himself, and
contrived that stratagem which was carried out by Sicinnus. this
Sicinnus was a Persian captive, but a great lover of Themistocles,
and the attendant of his children. Upon this occasion he sent him
privately to Xerxes, commanding him to tell the king that
Themistocles, the admiral of the Athenians, having espoused his
interest, wished to be the first to inform him that the Greeks
were ready to make their escape, and that he counseled him to
hinder their flight, to set upon them while they were in this
confusion and at a distance from their land army, and thereby
destroy all their forces by sea. Xerxes was very joyful at this
message, and received it as from one who wished him all that was
good. and immediately issued instructions to the commanders of his
ships that they should instantly set out with two hundred galleys
to encompass all the islands, and enclose all the straits and
passages, that none of the Greeks might escape, and that they
should afterward follow with the rest of their fleet at leisure.
This being done, Aristides, the son of Lysimachus, was the first
man that perceived it, and went to the test of Themistocles, not
out of any friendship, for he had been formerly banished by his
means, as has been related, but to inform him how they were
encompassed by their enemies. Themistocles, knowing the generosity
of Aristides, and much struck by his visit at that time, imparted
to him all that he had transacted by Sicinnus, and entreated him
that, as he would be more readily believed among the Greeks, he
would make use of his credit to help to induce them to stay and
fight their enemies in the narrow seas. Aristides applauded
Themistocles, and went to the other commanders and captains of the
galleys and encouraged them to engage; yet they did not perfectly
assent to him till a galley of Tenos, which deserted from the
Persians, of which Panaetius was commander, came in, while they
were still doubting, and confirmed the news that all the straits
and passages were beset; and then their rage and fury, as well as
their necessity, provoked them all to fight.

As soon as it was day, Xerxes placed himself high up, to view his
fleet, as Acestodorus writes, in the confines of Megara, upon
those hills which are called the Horns, where he sat in a chair of
gold, with many secretaries about him to write down all that was
done in the fight.

The number of the enemy's ships the poet Aeschylus gives in his
tragedy called the Persians, as on his certain knowledge, in the
following words:

Xerxes, I know, did into battle lead
One thousand ships; of more than usual speed
Seven and two hundred. So is it agreed.

The Athenians had a hundred and eighty; in every ship eighteen men
fought upon the deck, four of whom were archers and the rest men-

As Themistocles had fixed upon the most advantageous place, so,
with no less sagacity, he chose the best time of fighting; for he
would not run the prows of his galleys against the Persians, nor
begin the fight till the time of day was come when there regularly
blows in a fresh breeze from the open sea, and brings in with it a
strong swell into the channel; this was no inconvenience to the
Greek ships, which were low-built, and little above the water, but
did much hurt to the Persians, which had high sterns and lofty
decks, and were heavy and cumbrous in their movements, as it
presented them broadside to the quick charges of the Greeks, who
kept their eyes upon the motions of Themistocles, as their best
example, and more particularly because, opposed to his ship,
Ariamenes, admiral to Xerxes, a brave man, and by far the best and
worthiest of the king's brothers, was seen throwing darts and
shooting arrows from his huge galley, as from the walls of a
castle. Aminias the Decelean and Sosicles the Pedian, who sailed
in the same vessel, upon the ships meeting stem to stem, and
transfixing each the other with their brazen prows, so that they
were fastened together, when Ariamenes attempted to board theirs,
ran at them with their pikes, and thrust him into the sea; his
body, as it floated amongst other shipwrecks, was discovered by
Artemisia, and carried to Xerxes.

The first man that took a ship was Lycomedes the Athenian, captain
of a galley, who cut down its ensign, and dedicated it to Apollo
the Laurel-crowned. And as the Persians fought in a narrow sea,
and could bring but part of their fleet to fight, and fell foul of
one another, the Greeks thus equaled them in strength, and fought
with them till the evening, forced them back, and obtained, as
says Simonides, that noble and famous victory, than which neither
amongst the Greeks nor barbarians was ever known more glorious
exploit on the seas; by the joint valor, indeed, and zeal of all
who fought, but most by the wisdom and sagacity of Themistocles.

After this sea-fight, Xerxes, enraged at his ill-fortune,
attempted, by casting great heaps of earth and stones into the
sea, to stop up the channel and to make a dam, upon which he might
lead his land forces over into the island of Salamis.

Themistocles, being desirous to try the opinion of Aristides, told
him that he proposed to set sail for the Hellespont, to break the
bridge of ships, so as to shut up, he said, Aisa a prisoner within
Europe; but Aristides, disliking the design, said: "We have
hitherto fought with an enemy who has regarded little else but his
pleasure and luxury; but if we shut him up within Greece, and
drive him to necessity, he that is master of such great forces
will no longer sit quietly with an umbrella of gold over his head,
looking upon the fight for his pleasure; but he will be resolute,
and attempt all things. Therefore, it is noways our interest,
Themistocles," he said, "to take away the bridge that is already
made, but rather to build another, if it were possible, that he
might make his retreat with the more expedition." To which
Themistocles answered: "If this be requisite, we must immediately
use all diligence, art, and industry, to rid ourselves of him as
soon as may be;" and to this purpose he found out among the
captives one named Arnaces, whom he sent to the king, to inform
him that the Greeks, being now victorious by sea, had decreed to
sail to the Hellespont, where the boasts were fastened together,
and destroy the bridge; but that Themistocles, being concerned for
the king, revealed this to him, that he might hasten toward the
Asiatic seas, and pass over into his own dominions; and in the
meantime would cause delays, and hinder the confederates from
pursuing him. Xerxes no sooner heard this than, being very much
terrified, he proceeded to retreat out of Greece with all speed.
The prudence of Themistocles and Aristides in this was afterward
more fully understood at the battle of Plataea, where Mardonius,
with a very small fraction of the forces of Xerxes, put the Greeks
in danger of losing all.

Herodotus writes that, of all the cities of Greece, Aegina was
held to have performed the best service in the war; while all
single men yielded to Themistocles, though, out of envy,
unwillingly; and when they returned to the entrance of
Peloponnesus, where the several commanders delivered their
suffrages at the altar, to determine who was most worthy, every
one gave the first vote for himself and the second for
Themistocles. The Lacedaemonians carried him with them to Sparta,
where, giving the rewards of valor to Eurybiades, and of wisdom
and conduct to Themistocles, they crowned him with olive,
presented him with the best chariot in the city, and sent three
hundred young men to accompany him to the confines of their
country. And at the next Olympic games, when Themistocles entered
the course, the spectators took no further notice of those who
were competing for the prizes, but spent the whole day in looking
upon him, showing him to the strangers, admiring him, and
applauding him by clapping their hands, and other expressions of
joy, so that he himself, much gratified, confessed to his friends
that he then reaped the fruit of all his labors for the Greeks.

He was, indeed, by nature, a great lover of honor, as is evident
from the anecdotes recorded of him. When chosen admiral by the
Athenians, he would not quite conclude any single matter of
business, either public or private, but deferred all till the day
they were to set sail, that, by dispatching a great quantity of
business all at once, and having to met a great variety of people,
he might make an appearance of greatness and power. Viewing the
dead bodies cast up by the sea, he perceived bracelets and
necklaces of gold about them, yet passed on, only showing them to
a friend that followed him, saying, "Take you these things, for
you are not Themistocles." He aid to Antiphates, a handsome young
man, "Time, young man, has taught us both a lesson." He said that
the Athenians did not honor him or admire him, but made, as it
were, a sort of plane-tree of him; sheltered themselves under him
in bad weather, and as soon as it was fine, plucked his leaves and
cut his branches. When a Seriphian told him that he had not
obtained this honor by himself, but by the greatness of his city,
he replied: "You speak truth; I should never have been famous if I
had been of Seriphus; nor you, had you been of Athens." Laughing
at his own son, who got his mother, and by his mother's means, his
father also to indulge him, he told him that he had the most power
of any one is Greece: "For the Athenians command the rest of
Greece, I command the Athenians, your mother commands me, and you
command your mother." Of the two who made love to his daughter, he
preferred the man of worth to the one who was rich, saying he
desired a man without riches, rather than riches without a man.

When the citizens of Athens began to listen willingly to those who
traduced and reproached him, he was forced, with somewhat
obnoxious frequency, to put them in mind of the great services he
had performed. And he yet more provoked the people by building a
temple to Diana with the epithet of Aristobule, or Diana of Best
Counsel; intimating thereby that he had given the best counsel,
not only to the Athenians, but to all Greece. At length the
Athenians banished him, making use of the ostracism to humble his
eminence and authority, as they ordinarily did with all whom they
thought too powerful, or, by their greatness, disproportionate to
the equality thought requisite in a popular government. For the
ostracism was instituted, not so much to punish the offender as to
mitigate and pacify the violence of the envious, who delighted to
humble eminent men, and who, by fixing this disgrace upon them,
might vent some part of their rancor.

Themistocles being banished from Athens, while he stayed at Argos
the detection of Pausanias happened. And after Pausanias was put
to death, letters and writings were found which rendered
Themistocles suspected, and his enemies among the Athenians
accused him. In answer to the malicious detractions of his
enemies, he merely wrote to the citizens urging that he who was
always ambitious to govern, and not of a character or a
disposition to serve, would never sell himself and his country
into slavery to a barbarous and hostile nation.

Notwithstanding this, the people, being persuaded by his accuser,
set officers to take him and bring him away to be tried before a
council of the Greeks; but, having timely notice of it, he passed
over into the island of Corcyra, where the state was under
obligations to him; for, being chosen as arbitrator in a
difference between them and the Corinthians, he decided the
controversy by ordering the Corinthians to pay down twenty
talents, and declaring the town and island of Leucas a joint
colony from both cities. From thence he fled into Epirus, and, the
Athenians and Lacedaemonians still pursuing him, he threw himself
upon chances of safety that seemed all but desperate. For he fled
fro refuge to Admetus, kind of the Molossians, who had formerly
made some request to the Athenians when Themistocles was in the
height of his authority, and had been disdainfully used and
insulted by him, and had let it appear plain enough that could he
lay hold of him he would take his revenge. Yet in this misfortune,
Themistocles, fearing the recent hatred of his neighbors and
fellow-citizens more than the old displeasure of the king, put
himself at his mercy, and became an humble suppliant to Admetus,
after a peculiar manner, different from the custom of other
countries. For taking the king's son, who was then a child, in his
arms, he laid himself down at his hearth, this being the most
sacred and only manner of supplication, among the Molossians,
which was not to be refused.

Thucydides says, that, passing over land to the Aegean Sea, he
took shop at Pydna in the bay of Thermae, not being known to any
one in the ship, till, being terrified to see the vessel driven by
the winds near to Naxos, which was then besieged by the Athenians,
he made himself known to the master and pilot, and, partly
entreating them, partly threatening, he compelled them to bear off
and stand out to sea, and sail forward toward the coast of Aisa.

When he arrived at Cyme, and understood that all along the coast
many laid in wait for him (the king of Persia having offered by
public proclamation two hundred talents to him that should take
him), he fled to Aegae, a small city of the Aeolians, where no one
knew him but only his host Nicogenes, who was the richest man in
Aeolia, and well known to the great men of Inner Asia. There
Themistocles, going to bed, dreamed that he saw a snake coil
itself up upon his belly, and so creep to his neck; then, as soon
as it touched his face, it turned into an eagle, which spread its
wings over him, and took him up and flew away with him a great
distance; then there appeared a herald's golden wand, and upon
this at last it set him down securely, after infinite terror and

His departure was effected by Nicogenes by the following artifice:
the barbarous nations, and among them the Persians especially, are
extremely jealous, severe, and suspicious about their wives, whom
they keep so strictly that no one ever sees them abroad; they
spend their lives shut up within doors, and, when they take a
journey, are carried in close tenets, curtained in on all sides,
and set upon a wagon. Such a traveling carriage being prepared for
Themistocles, they hid him in it, and carried him on his journey,
and told those whom they met or spoke with upon the road that they
were conveying a young Greek woman out of Ionia to a nobleman at

When he was introduced to the king, and had paid his reverence to
him, he stood silent, till the king commanding the interpreter to
ask him who he was, he replied: "O king, I am Themistocles the
Athenian, driven into banishment by the Greeks. The evils I have
done to the Persians are numerous; but my benefits to them yet
greater, in withholding the Greeks from pursuit, so soon as the
deliverance of my own country allowed me to show kindness also to
you. I come with a mind suited to my present calamities; prepared
alike for favors and for anger; to welcome your gracious
reconciliation, and to deprecate your wrath. Take my own
countrymen for witnesses of the services I have done for Persia,
and make use of this occasion to show the world your virtue,
rather than to satisfy your indignation. If you save me, you will
save your suppliant; if otherwise, you will destroy an enemy of
the Greeks."

In the morning, calling together the chief of his court, he had
Themistocles brought before him, who expected no good of it. Yet,
when he came into the presence, and again fell down, the king
saluted him, and spake to him kindly, telling him he was now
indebted to him two hundred talents; for it was just and
reasonable that he should receive the reward which was proposed to
whosoever should bring Themistocles; and promising much more, and
encouraging him, he commanded him to speak freely what he would
concerning the affairs of Greece. Themistocles replied, that a
man's discourse was like to a rich Persians carpet, the beautiful
figures and patterns of which can only be shown by spreading and
extending it out; when it is contracted and folded up, they are
obscured and lost; and, therefore, he desired time. The king being
pleased with the comparison, and bidding him take what time he
would, he desired a year; in which time, having learnt the Persian
language sufficiently, he spoke with the king by himself without
the help of an interpreter; the king invited him to partake of his
own pastimes and recreations both at home and abroad, carrying him
with him a-hunting, and made him his intimate so far that he
permitted him to see the queen-mother, and converse frequently
with her. By the king's command, he also was made acquainted with
the Magian learning.

They relate, also, how Themistocles, when he was in great
prosperity, and courted by many, seeing himself splendidly served
at his table, turned to his children and said: "Children, we had
been undone if we had not been undone." Most writers say that he
had three cities given him--Magnesia, Myus and Lampsacus--to
maintain him in bread, meat and wine; and some add two more, the
city of Palaescepsis, to provide him with clothes, and Percote,
with bedding and furniture for his house.

He lived quietly in his own house in Magnesia, where for a long
time he passed his days in great security, being courted by all,
and enjoying rich presents, and honored equally with the greatest
persons in the Persian empire; the king, at that time, not minding
his concerns with Greece, being taken up with the affairs of Inner

But when Egypt revolted, being assisted by the Athenians, and the
Greek galleys roved about as far as Cyprus and Cilicia, and Cimon
had made himself master of the seas, the king turned his thoughts
thither, and, bending his mind chiefly to resist the Greeks, and
to cheek the growth of their power against him, began to raise
forces, and send out commanders, and to dispatch messengers to
Themistocles at Magnesia, to put him in mind of his promise, and
to summon him to act against the Greeks. Yet this did not increase
his hatred nor exasperate him against the Athenians, but, being
ashamed to sully the glory of his former great actions, and of his
many victories and trophies, he determined to put a conclusion to
his life, agreeable to its previous course. He sacrificed to the
gods, and invited his friends; and having entertained them and
shaken hands with them, drank bull's blood, as is the usual story;
as others state, a poison, producing instant death; and ended his
days in the city of Magnesia, having lived sixty-five years, most
of which he had spent in politics and in the wars, in government
and command. The king, being informed of the cause and manner of
his death, admired him the more than ever, and continued to show
kindness to his friends and relations.

The Magnesians possess a splendid sepulchre of Themistocles,
placed in the middle of their market-place. And various honors and
privileges were granted to the kindred of Themistocles at
Magnesia, which were observed down to our times, and were enjoyed
by another Themistocles of Athens, with whom I had an intimate
acquaintance and friendship in the house of Ammonius the


Among the many remarkable things that are related of Furius
Camillus, it seems singular that he, who continually was in the
highest commands, and obtained the greatest successes, was five
times chosen dictator, triumphed four times, and was styled a
second founder of Rome, yet never was so much as once consul. The
reason of which was the state and temper of the commonwealth at
that time; for the people, being at dissension with the senate,
refused to return consuls, but they instead elected other
magistrates, called military tribunes, who acted, indeed, with
full consular power, but were thought to exercise a less obnoxious
amount of authority, because it was divided among a larger number.

The house of the Furii was not, at that time, of any considerable
distinction; he, by his own acts, first raised himself to honor,
serving under Postumius Tubertus, dictator, in the great battle
against the Aequians and Volscians. For, riding out from the rest
of the army, and in the charge receiving a would in his thigh, he
for all that did not quit the fight, but, letting the dart drag in
the would, and engaging with the bravest of the enemy, put them to
flight; for which action, among other rewards bestowed on him, he
was created censor, an office in those days of great repute and
authority. During his censorship one very good act of his is
recorded, that, whereas the wars had made many widows, he obliged
such as had no wives, some by fair persuasion, others by
threatening to set fines on their heads, to take them in marriage;
another necessary one, in causing orphans to be rated, who before
were exempted from taxes, the frequent wars requiring more than
ordinary expenses to maintain them. What, however, pressed them
most was the siege of Veii. Some call this people Veientani. This
was the head city of Tuscany, not inferior to Rome either in
number of arms or multitude of soldiers, insomuch that, presuming
on her wealth and luxury, and priding herself upon her refinement
and sumptuousness, she engaged in many honorable contests with the
Romans for glory and empire. But now they had abandoned their
former ambitious hopes, having been weakened by great defeats, so
that, having fortified themselves with high and strong walls, and
furnished the city with all sorts of weapons offensive and
defensive, as likewise with corn and all manner of provisions,
they cheerfully endured a siege, which, though tedious to them,
was no less troublesome and distressing to the besiegers. For the
Romans, having never been accustomed to stay away from home except
in summer, and for no great length of time, and constantly to
winter at home, were then first compelled by the tribunes to build
forts in the enemy's country, and, raising strong works about
their camp, to join winter and summer together. And now the
seventh year of the war drawing to an end, the commanders began to
be suspected as too slow and remiss in driving on the siege,
insomuch that they were discharged and others chosen for the war,
among whom was Camillus, then second time tribune. But at present
he had no hand in the siege, the duties that fell by lot to him
being to make war upon the Faliscans and Capenates, who, taking
advantage of the Romans being occupied on all hands, had carried
ravages into their country, and through all the Tuscan war, given
them much annoyance, but were now reduced by Camillus, and with
great loss shut up within their walls.

And now, in the very heat of the war, a strange phenomenon in the
Alban lake, which, in the absence of any known cause and
explanation by natural reasons, seemed as great a prodigy as the
most incredible that are reported, occasioned great alarm. It was
the beginning of autumn, and the summer now ending had, to all
observation, been neither rainy nor much troubled with southern
winds; and of the many lakes, brooks, and springs of all sorts
with which Italy abounds, some were wholly dried up, others had
very little water in them; all the rivers, as is usual in summer,
ran in a very low and hollow channel. But the Alban lake, which is
fed by no other waters but its own, and is on all sides encircled
with fruitful mountains, without any cause, unless it were divine,
began visibly to rise and swell, increasing to the feet of the
mountains, and by degrees reaching the level of the very tops of
some of them, and all this without any waves or agitation. At
first it was the wonder of shepherds and herdsmen; but when the
earth, which, like a great dam, held up the lake from falling into
the lower grounds, through the quantity and weight of water was
broken down, and in a violent stream it ran through the ploughed
fields and plantations to discharge itself in the sea, it not only
struck terror into the Romans, but was thought by all the
inhabitants of Italy to portend some extraordinary event. But the
greatest talk of it was in the camp that besieged Veii, so that in
the town itself, also, the occurrence became known.

As in long sieges it commonly happens that both parties on both
sides meet often and converse with one another, so it chanced that
a Roman had gained much confidence and familiarity with one of the
besieged, a man versed in ancient prophecies, and of repute for
more than ordinary skill in divination. The Roman, observing him
to be overjoyed at the story of the lake, and to mock at the
siege, told him that this was not the only prodigy that of late
had happened to the Romans; others more wonderful yet than this
had befallen them, which he was willing to communicate to him,
that he might the better provide for his private interests in
these public distempers. The man greedily embraced the proposal,
expecting to hear some wonderful secrets; but when, little by
little, he had led him on in conversation, and insensibly drawn
him a good way from the gates of the city, he snatched him up the
middle, being stronger than he, and, by the assistance of others
who came running from the camp, seized and delivered him to the
commanders. The man, reduced to this necessity, and sensible now
that destiny was not to be avoided, discovered to them the secret
oracle of Veii, that it was not possible the city should be taken
until the Alban lake, which now broke forth and had found out new
passages, was drawn back from that course, and so diverted that it
could not mingle with the sea. The senate, having heard and
satisfied themselves about the matter, decreed to send to Delphi,
to ask counsel of the god. The messengers returned with the answer
that the Alban water, if possible, they should keep from the sea,
and shut it up in its ancient bounds; but if that was not to be
done, then they should carry it off by ditches and trenches into
the lower grounds, and so dry it up; which message being
delivered, the priests performed what related to the sacrifices,
and the people went to work and turned the water.

And now the senate, in the tenth year of the war, taking away all
other commands, created Camillus dictator, who chose Cornelius
Scipio for his general of horse, and, having made vows, marched
into the country of the Faliscans, and in a great battle overthrew
them and the Capenates, their confederates; afterwards he turned
to the siege of Veii, and finding that to take it by assault would
prove a difficult and hazardous attempt, proceeded to cut mines
under ground, the earth about the city being easy to break up, and
allowing such depth for the works as would prevent their being
discovered by the enemy. This design going on in a hopeful way, he
openly gave assaults to the enemy, to keep them to the walls,
until they that worked underground in the mines might, without
being perceived, arrive within the citadel, close to the temple of
Juno, which was the greatest and most honored in all the city. It
is said that the prince of the Tuscans was at that very time at
sacrifice, and that the priest, after he had looked into the
entrails of the beast, cried out with a loud voice that the gods
would give the victory to those that should complete those
offerings; and that the Romans who were in the mines, hearing the
words, immediately pulled down the floor, and, ascending with
noise, and clashing of weapons, frightened away the enemy, and,
snatching up the entrails, carried them to Camillus. But this may
look like a fable. The city, however, being taken by storm, and
the soldiers busied in pillaging and gathering an infinite
quantity of riches and spoil, Camillus, from the high tower
viewing what was done, at first wept for pity; and when the
bystanders congratulated him upon his success, he lifted up his
hands to heaven, and broke out into this prayer: "O most mighty
Jupiter, and ye gods that are judges of good and evil actions, ye
know that not without just cause, but constrained by necessity, we
have been forced to revenge ourselves on the city of our
unrighteous and wicked enemies. But if, the the vicissitude of
things, there by any calamity due, to counter-balance this great
felicity, I beg that it may be diverted from the city and army of
the Romans, and fall, with as little hurt as may be, upon my own
head." Having said these words, and just turning about (as the
custom of the Romans is to turn to the right after adoration or
prayer), he stumbled and fell, to the astonishment of all that
were present. But, recovering himself presently from the fall, he
told them that he had received what he had prayed for, a small
mischance, in compensation for the greatest good fortune.

Camillus, however, whether puffed up with the greatness of his
achievement in conquering a city that was the rival of Rome, and
held out a ten years' siege, or exalted with the felicitations of
those that were about him, assumed to himself more than became a
civil and legal magistrate; among other things, in the pride and
haughtiness of triumph, driving through Rome in a chariot drawn
with four white horses, which no general either before or since
ever did; for the Romans consider such a mode of conveyance to be
sacred and specially set apart to the king and father of the gods.
This alienated the hearts of his fellow-citizens, who were not
accustomed to such pomp and display.

The second pique they had against him was his opposing the law by
which the city was to be divided; for the tribunes of the people
brought forward a motion that the people and senate should be
divided into two parts, one of which should remain at home, the
other, as the lot should decide, remove to the new-taken city. By
which means they should not only have much more room, but, by the
advantage of two great and magnificent cities, be better able to
maintain their territories and their fortunes in general. The
people, therefore, who were numerous and indigent, greedily
embraced it, and crowded continually to the forum, with tumultuous
demands to have it put to the vote. But the senate and the noblest
citizens, judging the proceedings of the tribunes to tend rather
to a destruction than a division of Rome, greatly averse to it,
went to Camillus for assistance, who, fearing the result if it
came to a direct contest, contrived to occupy the people with
other business, and so staved it off. He thus became unpopular.

And now the tribunes of the people again resuming their motion for
the division of the city, the war against the Faliscans luckily
broke out, giving liberty to the chief citizens to choose what
magistrates they pleased, and to appoint Camillus military
tribune, with five colleagues; affairs then requiring a commander
of authority and reputation, as well as experience. And when the
people had ratified the election, he marched with his forces into
the territories of the Faliscans, and laid siege to Falerii, a
well-fortified city, and plentifully stored with all necessaries
of war. And although he perceived it would be so small work to
take it, and no little time would be required for it, yet he was
willing to exercise the citizens and keep them abroad, that they
might have no leisure, idling at home, to follow the tribunes in
factions and seditions: a very common remedy, indeed, with the
Romans, who thus carried off, like good physicians, the ill humors
of their commonwealth. The Falerians (The Falerians, in this
narrative, are the people of the town; the Faliscans, the nation
in general.), trusting in the strength of their city, which was
well fortified on all sides, made so little account of the siege,
that all, with the exception of those that guarded the walls, as
in times of peace, walked about the streets in their common dress;
the boys went to school, and were led by their master to play and
exercise about the town walls; for the Falerians, like the Greeks,
used to have a single teacher for many pupils, wishing their
children to live and be brought up from the beginning in each
others company.

This schoolmaster, designing to betray the Falerians by their
children, led them out every day under the town wall, at first but
a little way, and, when they had exercised, brought them home
again. Afterwards by degrees he drew them farther and farther,
till by practice he had made them bold and fearless, as if no
danger was about them; and at last, having got them all together,
he brought them to the outposts of the Romans, and delivered them
up, demanding to be led to Camillus. Where being come, and
standing in the middle, he said that he was the master and teacher
of these children, but, preferring his favor before all other
obligations, he had come to deliver up his charge to him, and, in
that, the whole city. When Camillus had heard him out, he was
astounded at the treachery of the act, and, turning to the
standers-by observed that, "War, indeed, is of necessity attended
with much injustice and violence! Certain laws, however, all good
men observe even in war itself, nor is victory so great an object
as to induce us to incur for its sake obligations for base and
impious acts. A great general should rely on his own virtue, and
not other men's vices." Which said, he commanded the officers to
tear off the man's clothes, and bind his hands behind him and give
the boys rods and scourges, to punish the traitor and drive him
back to the city. By this time the Falerians had discovered the
treachery of the schoolmaster, and the city, as was likely, was
full of lamentations and cries for their calamity, men and women
of worth running in distraction about the walls and gates; when,
behold, the boys came whipping their master on, naked and bound,
calling Camillus their preserver and god and father; so that it
struck not only the parents, but the rest of the citizens, with
such admiration and love of Camillus's justice, that, immediately
meeting in assembly, they sent ambassadors to him, to resign
whatever they had to his disposal. Camillus sent them to Rome,
where, being brought into the senate, they spoke to this purpose:
that the Romans, preferring justice before victory, had taught
them rather to embrace submission than liberty; they did not so
much confess themselves to be inferior in strength as they must
acknowledge them to be superior in virtue. The senate remitted the
whole matter to Camillus, to judge and order as he thought fit;
who, taking a sum of money of the Falerians, and making a peace
with the whole nation of Faliscans, returned home.

But the soldiers, who had expected to have the pillage of the
city, when they came to Rome empty-handed railed against Camillus
among their fellow-citizens, as a hater of the people, and one
that grudged all advantage to the poor. The People were
exasperated against him. Gathering, therefore, together his
friends and fellow-soldiers, and such as had borne command with
him, a considerable number in all, he besought them that they
would not suffer him to be unjustly overborne by shameful
accusations, and left the mock and scorn of his enemies. His
friends, having advised and consulted among themselves, made
answer, that, as to the sentence, they did not see how they could
help him, but that they would contribute to whatsoever fine should
be set upon him. Not able to endure so great an indignity, he
resolved in his anger to leave the city and go into exile; and so,
having taken leave of his wife and son, he went silently to the
gate of the city, and, there stopping and turning round, stretched
out his hands to the Capitol, and prayed to the gods, that if,
without any fault of his own, but merely through the malice and
violence of the people, he was driven out into banishment, the
Romans might quickly repent of it; and that all mankind might
witness their need for the assistance, and desire for the return,
of Camillus.

And there is not a Roman but believes that immediately upon the
prayers of Camillus a sudden judgment followed, and that he
received a revenge for the injustice done unto him, which was very
remarkable, and noised over the whole world: such a punishment
visited the city of Rome, an era of such loss and danger and
disgrace so quickly succeeded; whether it thus fell out by
fortune, or it be the office of god not to see injured virtue go

The first token that seemed to threaten some mischief to ensure
was the death of the censor Julius; for the Romans have a
religious reverence for the office of a censor, and esteem it
sacred. The second was, that, just before Camillus went into
exile, Marcus Caedicius, a person of no great distinction, nor of
the rank of senator, but esteemed a good and respectable man,
reported to the military tribunes a thing worthy their
consideration: that, going along the night before in the street
called the New Way, and being called by somebody in a loud voice,
he turned about, but could see no one, but heard a voice greater
than human, which said these words, "Go, Marcus Caedicius, and
early in the morning tell the military tribunes that they are
shortly to expect the Gauls." But the tribunes made a mock and
sport with the story, and a little after came Camillus's

The Gauls are of the Celtic race, and are reported to have been
compelled by their numbers to leave their country, which was
insufficient to sustain them all, and to have gone in search of
other homes. And being, many thousands of them, young men able to
bear arms, and carrying with them a still greater number of women
and young children, some of them, passing the Riphaean mountains,
fell upon the Northern Ocean, and possessed themselves of the
farthest parts of Europe; others, seating themselves between the
Pyrenean mountains and the Alps, lived there a considerable time,
near to the Senones and Celtorii; but, afterwards tasting wine,
which was then first brought them out of Italy, they were all so
much taken with the liquor, and transported with the hitherto
unknown delight, that, snatching up their arms and taking their
families along with them, they marched directly to the Alps, to
find out the country which yielded such fruit, pronouncing all
others barren and useless. He that first brought wine among them
and was the chief instigator of their coming into Italy is said to
have been one Aruns, A Tuscan, a man of noble extraction.

At their first coming they at once possessed themselves of all
that country which anciently the Tuscans inhabited, reaching from
the Alps to both the seas, as the names themselves testify; for
the North of Adriatic Sea is named from the Tuscan city Adria, and
that to the south the Tuscan Sea simply. The whole country is rich
in fruit trees, has excellent pasture, and is well watered with
river. It had eighteen large and beautiful cities, well provided
with all the means for industry and wealth, and all the enjoyments
and pleasures of life. The Gauls cast out the Tuscans, and seated
themselves in them.

The Gauls at this time were besieging Clusium, a Tuscan city. The
Clusinians sent to the Romans for succor, desiring them to
interpose with the barbarians by letters and ambassadors. The
Romans, perceiving that Brennus, the leader of the Gauls, was not
to be treated with, went into Clusium and encouraged the
inhabitants to make a sally with them upon the barbarians, which
they did either to try their strength or to show their own. The
sally being made, and the fight growing hot about the walls, one
of the Fabii, Quintus Ambustus, who had come as an ambassador,
being well mounted, and setting spurs to his horse, made full
against a Gaul, a man of huge bulk and stature, whom he saw riding
out at a distance from the rest. At the first he was not
recognized, through the quickness of the conflict and the
glittering of the armor, that precluded any view of him; but when
he had overthrown the Gaul, and was going to gather the spoils,
Brennus knew him; and invoking the gods to be witnesses that,
contrary to the known and common law of nations, which is holily
observed by all mankind, he who had come as an ambassador had now
engaged in hostility against him, he drew off his men, and,
bidding Clusium farewell, led his army directly against Rome.

Whilst the barbarians were hastening with all speed, the military
tribunes brought the Romans into the field to be ready to engage
them, being not inferior to the Gauls in number (for they were no
less than forty thousand foot), but most of them raw soldiers, and
such as had never handled a weapon before. Besides, they had
wholly neglected all religious usages, had not obtained favorable
sacrifices, nor made inquiries of the prophets, natural in danger
and before battle. No less did the multitude of commanders
distract and confound their proceedings; frequently before, upon
less occasions, they had chosen a single leader, with the title of
dictator, being sensible of what great importance it is in
critical times to have the solders united under one general with
the entire and absolute control placed in his hands. Add to all,
the remembrance of Camillus's treatment, which made it now seem a
dangerous thing for officers to command without humoring their
solders. In this condition they left the city, and encamped by the
river Allia, about ten miles from Rome, and not far from the place
where it falls into the Tiber; and here the Gauls came upon them,
and, after a disgraceful resistance, devoid of order and
discipline, they were miserably defeated. The left wing was
immediately driven into the river, and there destroyed; the right
had less damage by declining the shock, and from the low ground
getting to the tops of the hills, from whence most of them
afterwards dropped into the city; the rest, as many as escaped,
the enemy being weary of the slaughter, stole by night to Veii,
giving up Rome and all that was in it for lost.

This battle was fought about the summer solstice, the moon being
at full, the very same day in which the sad disaster of the Fabii
had happened, when three hundred of that name were at one time cut
off by the Tuscans.

And now, after the battle, had the Gauls immediately pursued those
that fled, there had been no remedy but Rome must have wholly been
ruined, and all those who remained in it utterly destroyed; such
was the terror that those who escaped the battle brought with them
into the city, and with such distraction and confusion were they
themselves in turn infected. But the Gauls, not imagining their
victory to be so considerable, and overtaken with the present joy,
fell to feasting and dividing the spoil, by which means they gave
leisure to those who were for leaving the city to make their
escape, and to those that remained, to anticipate and prepare for
their coming.

On the third day after the battle, Brennus appeared with his army
at the city, and, finding the gates wide open and no guards upon
the walls, first began to suspect it was some design or stratagem,
never dreaming that the Romans were in so desperate a condition.
But when he found it to be so indeed, he entered at the Colline
gate, and took Rome, in the three hundred and sixtieth year, or a
little more, after it was built.

Brennus having taken possession of Rome, set a strong guard about
the Capitol, and, going himself down into the forum, was there
struck with amazement at the sight of so many men sitting in such
order and silence, observing that they neither rose at his coming,
nor so much as changed color or countenance, but remained without
fear or concern, leaning upon their staves, and sitting quietly,
looking at each other. The Gauls, for a great while, stood
wondering at the strangeness of the sight, not daring to approach
or touch them, taking them for an assembly of superior beings. But
when one, bolder than the rest, drew near to Marcus Papirius, and,
putting forth his hand, gently touched his chin and stroked his
long beard, Papirius with his staff struck him a severe blow on
the head; upon which the barbarian drew his sword and slew him.
This was the introduction to the slaughter; for the rest,
following his example, set upon them all and killed them, and
dispatched all others that came in their way; and so went on to
the sacking and pillaging of the houses, which they continued for
many days ensuing.

Camillus then sojourned in the city of Ardea, having, ever since
his leaving Rome, sequestered himself from all business, and taken
to a private life; but now he began to rouse up himself, and
consider not how to avoid or escape the enemy, but to find out an
opportunity to be revenged upon them. And perceiving that the
Ardeatians wanted not men, but rather enterprise, through the
inexperience and timidity of their officers, he began to speak
with the young men, first to the effect that they ought not to
ascribe the misfortune of the Romans to the courage of their
enemy, nor attribute the losses they sustained by rash counsel to
the conduct of men who had no title to victory: the event had been
only an evidence of the power of fortune. When he found the young
men embraced the thing, he went to the magistrates and council of
the city, and, having persuaded them also, he mustered all that
could bear arms, and drew them up within the the walls, that they
might not be perceived by the enemy, who was near; who, having
scoured the country, and now returned heavy laden with booty, lay
encamped in the plains in a careless and negligent posture, so
that, with the night ensuing upon debauch and drunkenness, silence
prevailed through all the camp. When Camillus learned this from
his scouts, he drew out the Ardeatians, and in the dead of the
night, passing in silence over the ground that lay between, came
up to their works, and, commanding his trumpets to sound and his
men to shout and halloo, he struck terror into them from all
quarters; while drunkenness impeded and sleep retarded their
movements. A few whom fear had sobered, getting into some order,
for awhile resisted; and so died with their weapons in their
hands. But the greatest part of them, buried in wine and sleep,
were surprised without their arms, and dispatched; and as many of
them as by the advantage of the night got out of the camp were the
next day found scattered abroad and wandering in the fields, and
were picked up by the horse that pursued them.

The fame of this action soon flew through the neighboring cities,
and stirred up the young men from various quarters to come and
join themselves with him. But none were so much concerned as those
Romans who escaped in the battle of Allia, and were now at Veii,
thus lamenting with themselves, "O heavens, what a commander has
Providence bereaved Rome of, to honor Ardea with his actions! And
that city, which brought forth and nursed so great a man, is lost
and gone, and we, destitute of a leader and shut up within strange
walls, sit idle, and see Italy ruined before our eyes. Come, let
us send to the Ardeatians to have back our general, or else, with
weapons in our hands, let us go thither to him." To this they all
agreed, and sent to Camillus to desire him to take the command;
but he answered that he would not until they that were in the
Capitol should legally appoint him. When this answer was returned,
they admired the modesty and tempter of Camillus; but they could
not tell how to find a messenger to carry the intelligence to the
Capitol, or rather, indeed, it seemed altogether impossible for
any one to get to the citadel whilst the enemy was in full
possession of the city. But among the young men there was one
Pontius Cominius, of ordinary birth, but ambitious of honor, who
proffered himself to run the hazard, and took no letters with him
to those in the Capitol, lest, if he were intercepted, the enemy
might learn the intentions of Camillus; but, putting on a poor
dress and carrying corks under, he boldly traveled the greatest
part of the way by day, and came to the city when it was dark; the
bridge he could not pass, as it was guarded by the barbarians; so
that taking his clothes, which were neither many nor heavy, and
binding them about his head, he laid his body upon the corks, and,
swimming with them, got over to the city. And avoiding those
quarters where he perceived the enemy was awake, which he guessed
at by the lights and noise, he went to the Carmental gate, where
there was greatest silence, and where the hill of the Capitol is
steepest, and rises with craggy and broken rock. By this way he
got up, though with much difficulty, by the hollow of the cliff,
and presented himself to the guards, saluting them, and telling
them his name; he was taken in, and carried to the commanders. And
a senate being immediately called, he related to them in order the
victory of Camillus, which they had not heard of before, and the
proceedings of the soldiers, urging them to confirm Camillus in
the command, as on him alone all their fellow-countrymen outside
the city would rely. Having heard and consulted of the matter, the
senate declared Camillus dictator, and sent back Pontius the same
way that he came, who, with the same success as before, got
through the enemy without being discovered, and delivered to the
Romans outside the decision of the senate, who joyfully received
it. Camillus, on his arrival, found twenty thousand of them ready
in arms; with which forces, and those confederates he brought
along with him, he prepared to set upon the enemy.

But at Rome some of the barbarians passing by chance near the
place at which Pontius by night had got into the Capitol, spied in
several places marks of feet and hands, where he had laid hold and
clambered, and places where the plants that grew to the rock had
been rubbed off, and the earth had slipped, and went accordingly
and reported it to the king, who, coming in person, and viewing
it, for the present said nothing, but in the evening, picking out
such of the Gauls as were nimblest of body, and by living in the
mountains were accustomed to climb, he said to them, "The enemy
themselves have shown us a way how to come at them; where it was
easy for one man to get up, it will not be hard for many, one
after another; nay, when many shall undertake it, they will be aid
and strength to each other. Rewards and honors shall be bestowed
on every man as he shall acquit himself."

When the king had thus spoken, the Gauls cheerfully undertook to
perform it, and in the dead of night a good party of them
together, with great silence, began to climb the rock, clinging to
the precipitous and difficult ascent, which yet upon trial offered
a way to them, and proved less difficult than they had expected.
So that the foremost of them having gained the top of all, and put
themselves into order, they all but surprised the outworks, and
mastered the watch, who were fast asleep; for neither man nor dog
perceived their coming. But there were sacred geese kept near the
temple of Juno, which at other times were plentifully fed, but
now, by reason that corn and all other provisions were grown
scarce for all, were in but a poor condition. The creature is by
nature of quick sense, and apprehensive of the least noise, so
that these, being moreover watchful through hunger, and restless,
immediately discovered the coming of the Gauls, and, running up
and down with the noise and cackling, they raised the whole camp;
while the barbarians, on the other side, perceiving themselves
discovered, no longer endeavored to conceal their attempt, but
with shouting and violence advanced to the assault. The Romans,
every one in haste snatching up the first weapon that came to
hand, did what they could on the sudden occasion. Manlius, a man
of consular dignity, of strong body and great spirit, was the
first that made head against them, and, engaging with two of the
enemy at once, with his sword cut off the right arm of one just as
he was lifting up his blade to strike, and, running his target
full in the face of the other, tumbled him headlong down the steep
rock; then mounting the rampart, and there standing with others
that came running to his assistance, drove down the rest of them,
who, indeed, to begin with, had not been many, and did nothing
worthy of so bold an attempt. The Romans, having thus escaped this
danger, early in the morning took the captain of the watch and
flung him down the rock upon the heads of their enemies, and to
Manlius for his victory voted a reward, intended more for honor
than advantage, bringing him, each man of them, as much as he
received for his daily allowance, which was half a pound of bread
and one eighth of a pint of wine.

Henceforward, the affairs of the Gauls were daily in a worse and
worse condition; they wanted provisions, being withheld from
foraging through fear of Camillus, and sickness also was amongst
them, occasioned by the number of carcasses that lay in heaps
unburied. Neither, indeed, were things on that account any better
with the besieged, for famine increased upon them, and despondency
with not hearing anything of Camillus, it being impossible to send
any one to him, the city was so guarded by the barbarians. Things
being in this sad condition on both sides, a motion of treaty was
made at first by some of the outposts, as they happened to speak
with one another; which being embraced by the leading men,
Sulpicius, tribune of the Romans, came to a parley with Brennus,
in which it was agreed that the Romans laying down a thousand
weight of gold, the Gauls upon the receipt of it should
immediately quit the city and territories. The agreement being
confirmed by oath on both sides, and the gold brought forth, the
Gauls used false dealing in the weights, secretly at first, but
afterwards openly pulled back and disturbed the balance; at which
the Romans indignantly complaining, Brennus in a scoffing and
insulting manner pulled off his sword and belt, and threw them
both into the scales; and when Sulpicius asked what that meant,
"What should it mean," says he, "but woe to the conquered?" which
afterwards became a proverbial saying.

Whilst this difference remained still unsettled, both amongst
themselves and with the Gauls, Camillus was at the gates with his
army; and, having learned what was going on, commanded the main
body of his forces to follow slowly after him in good order, and
himself with the choicest of his men hastening on, went at once to
the Romans; where all giving way to him, and receiving him as
their sole magistrate, with profound silence and order, he took
the gold out of the scales, and delivered it to his officers, and
commanded the Gauls to take their weights and scales and depart;
saying that is was customary with the Romans to deliver their
country with iron, not with gold. And when Brennus began to rage,
and say that he was unjustly dealt with in such a breach of
contract, Camillus answered that it was never legally made, and
the agreement of no force or obligation; for that himself being
declared dictator, and there being no other magistrate by law, the
engagement had been made with men who had no power to enter into
it; but now they might say anything they had to urge, for he had
come with full power by law to grant pardon to such as should ask
it, or inflict punishment on the guilty, if they did not repent.
At this, Brennus broke into violent anger, and an immediate
quarrel ensued; both sides drew their swords and attacked, but in
confusion, as could not otherwise be amongst houses, and in narrow
lanes and places where it was impossible to form any order. But
Brennus, presently recollecting himself, called off his men, and,
with the loss of a few only, brought them to their camp; and,
rising in the night with all his forces, left the city, and
advancing about eight miles, encamped upon the way to Gabii. As
soon as day appeared, Camillus came up with him, splendidly armed
himself, and his soldier full o courage and confidence; and there
engaging with him in a sharp conflict, which lasted a long while,
overthrew his army with great slaughter, and took their camp. Of
those that fled, some were presently cut off by the pursuers;
other, and these were the greatest number, dispersed hither and
thither, and were despatched by the people that came sallying out
from the neighboring towns and villages.

Thus Rome was strangely taken, and more strangely recovered,
having been seven whole months in the possession of the
barbarians, who entered her a little after the Ides of July, and
were driven out about the Ides of February following. Camillus
triumphed, as he deserved, having saved his country that was lost,
and brought the city so to say, back again to itself. For those
that had fled abroad, together with their wives and children,
accompanied him as he rode in; and those who had been shut up in
the capitol, and were reduced almost to the point of perishing
with hunger, went out to meet him, embracing each other as they
met, and weeping for joy, and, though the excess of the present
pleasure, scarcely believing in its truth.

It was a hard task, amidst so much rubbish, to discover and re-
determine the consecrated places; but by the zeal of Camillus, and
the incessant labor of the priest, it was at last accomplished.
But when it came also to rebuilding the city, which was wholly
demolished, despondency seized the multitude, and a backwardness
to engage in a work for which they had no materials. The senate,
therefore, fearing a sedition, would not suffer Camillus, though
desirous, to lay down his authority within the year, though no
other dictator had ever held it above six months.

Camillus thought good to refer the matter of rebuilding to general
deliberation, and himself spoke largely and earnestly in behalf of
his country, as also may others. At last, calling to Lucius
Lucretius, whose place it was to speak first, he commanded him to
give his sentence, and the rest as they followed, in order.
Silence being made, and Lucretius just about to begin, by chance a
centurion, passing by outside with his company of the day-guard,
called out with a loud voice to the ensign-bearer to halt and fix
his standard, for this was the best place to stay in. This voice,
coming in that moment of time, and that crisis of uncertainty and
anxiety for the future, was taken as a direction what was to be
done; so that Lucretius, assuming an attitude of devotion, gave
sentence in concurrence with the gods, as he said, as likewise did
all that followed. Even among the common people it created a
wonderful change of feeling: every one now cheered and encouraged
his neighbor, and set himself to the work, proceeding in it,
however, not by any regular lines or divisions, but every one
pitching upon that plot of ground which came next to hand, or best
pleased his fancy; by which haste and hurry in building they
constructed their city in narrow and ill-designed lanes, and with
houses huddled together one upon another; for it is said that
within the compass of the year the whole city was raised up anew,
both in its public walls and private buildings.

And now they had scarcely got a breathing time from their trouble
when a new war came upon them;a and the Aequians, and the Tuscans
besieged Sutrium, their confederate city. Camillus, being the


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