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

Part 4 out of 8

integrity of Demosthenes, in several epigrams which they made on
the subject.

As for Demades, he did not long enjoy the new honors he now came
in for, divine vengeance for the death of Demosthenes pursuing him
into Macedonia, where he was justly put to death by those whom he
had basely flattered.


It is generally said that Helvia, the mother of Cicero, was well
born; but of his father nothing is reported but in extremes. For
whilst some would have him the son of a fuller, and educated in
that trade, others carry back the origin of his family to Tullus
Attius, an illustrious king of the Volscians, who waged war not
without honor against the Romans. However, he who first of that
house was surnamed Cicero seems to have been a person worthy to be
remembered; since those who succeeded him not only did not reject,
but were fond of that name, though vulgarly made a matter of
reproach. For the Latins call a vetch Cicer, and a nick or dent at
the tip of his nose, which resembled the opening in a vetch, gave
him the surname of Cicero.

Cicero, whose story I am writing, is said to have replied with
spirit to some of his friends, who recommended him to lay aside or
change the name when he first stood for office and engaged in
politics, that he would make it his endeavor to render the name of
Cicero more glorious than that of the Scauri and Catuli. And when
he was quaestor in Sicily, and was making an offering of silver
plate to the gods, and had inscribed his two names, Marcus and
Tullius, instead of the third, he jestingly told the artificer to
engrave the figure of a vetch by them.

Cicero was born on the third of January, the same day on which now
the magistrates of Rome pray and sacrifice for the emperor. As
soon as he was of an age to begin to have lessons, he became so
distinguished for his talent, and got such a name and reputation
amongst the boys, that their fathers would often visit the school,
that they might see young Cicero, and might be able to say that
they themselves had witnessed the quickness and readiness in
learning for which he was renowned. And the more rude among them
used to be angry with their children, to see them, as they walked
together, receiving Cicero with respect into the middle place. And
being, as Plato would have the scholar-like and philosophical
temper, eager for every kind of learning, and indisposed to no
description of knowledge or instruction, he showed, however, a
more peculiar propensity to poetry; and there is a poem now
extant, made by him when a boy, in tetrameter verse, called
Pontius Glaucus. And afterwards, when he applied himself more
curiously to these accomplishments, he had the name of being not
only the best orator, but also the best poet of Rome. And the
glory of his rhetoric still remains, notwithstanding the many new
modes in speaking since his time; but his verses are forgotten and
out of all repute, so many ingenious poets have followed him.

Leaving his juvenile studies, he became an auditor of Philo the
Academic, whom the Romans, above all the other scholars of
Clitomachus, admired for his eloquence and loved for his
character. He also sought the company of the Mucii, who were
eminent statesmen and leaders in the senate, and acquired from
them a knowledge of the laws. For some short time he served in
arms under Sylla, in the Marsian war. But perceiving the
commonwealth running into factions, and from faction all things
tending to an absolute monarchy, he betook himself to a retired
and contemplative life, and conversing with the learned Greeks,
devoted himself to study, till Sylla had obtained the government.

At this time, Chrysogonus, Sylla's emancipated slave, having laid
an information about an estate belonging to one who was said to
have been put to death by proscription, had bought it himself for
two thousand drachmas. And when Roscius, the son and heir of the
dead, complained, and demonstrated the estate to be worth two
hundred and fifty talents, Sylla took it angrily to have his
actions questioned, and preferred a process against Roscius for
the murder of his father, Chrysogonus managing the evidence. None
of the advocates durst assist him, but fearing the cruelty of
Sylla, avoided the cause. The young man, being thus deserted, came
for refuge to Cicero. Cicero's friends encouraged him, saying he
was not likely ever to have a fairer and more honorable
introduction to public life; he therefore undertook the defence,
carried the cause, and got much renown for it.

But fearing Sylla, he traveled into Greece, and gave it out that
he did so for the benefit of his health. And indeed he was lean
and meagre, and had such a weakness in his stomach that he could
take nothing but a spare and thin diet, and that not till late in
the evening. His voice was loud and good, but so harsh and ill-
managed that in vehemence and heat of speaking he always raised it
to so high a tone, that there seemed to be reason to fear for his

At Athens, he became a hearer of Antiochus of Ascalon, with whose
fluency and elegance of diction he was much taken, although he did
not approve of his innovations in doctrine. And Cicero made up his
mind that if he should be disappointed of any employment in the
commonwealth, to retire from pleading and politics, and pass his
life quietly in the study of philosophy.

But after he had received the news of Sylla's death, and his body,
strengthened again by exercise, had grown vigorous, and his voice
was rendered sweet and full to the ear, his friends at Rome
earnestly solicited him by letters to return to public affairs.
He, therefore, again prepared for use his orator's instrument of
rhetoric, and summoned into action his political faculties,
diligently exercising himself in declamations, and attending the
most celebrated rhetoricians of the time. He sailed from Athens
for Asia and Rhodes. Among the Asian masters, he conversed with
Xenocles of Adramyttium, Dionysius of Magnesia, and Menippus of
Caria; at Rhodes, he studied oratory with Apollonius, the son of
Molon, and philosophy with Posidonius. Apollonius, we are told,
not understanding Latin, requested Cicero to declaim in Greek. He
complied willingly, thinking that his faults would thus be better
pointed out to him. After he finished, all his other hearers were
astonished, and vied with each other in praising him, but
Apollonius showed no signs of excitement while he was hearing him,
and now, when he had finished, sat musing for some time, without
any remark. And when Cicero was discomposed at this, he said, "You
have my praise and admiration, Cicero, and Greece my pity and
commiseration, since those arts and that eloquence which are the
only glories that remain to her, will now be transferred by you to

And now when Cicero, full of expectation, was again bent upon
political affairs, a certain oracle blunted the edge of his
inclination; for consulting the god of Delphi how he should attain
most glory, the Pythoness answered, "By making your own genius and
not the opinion of the people the guide of your life;" and
therefore at first he passed his time in Rome cautiously, and was
very backward in pretending to public offices, so that he was at
that time in little esteem, and had got the names, so readily
given by low and ignorant people in Rome, of Greek and Scholar.
But when his own desire of fame and the eagerness of his father
and relations had made him take in earnest to pleading, he made no
slow or gentle advance to the first place, but shone out in full
lustre at once, and far surpassed all the advocates at the bar. At
first, it is said, he as well as Demosthenes, was defective in his
delivery, and on that account paid much attention to the
instructions, sometimes of Roscius, the comedian, and sometimes of
Aesop, the tragedian. They tell of this Aesop, that while
representing in the theatre Atreus deliberating the revenge of
Thyestes, he was so transported beyond himself in the heat of
action, that he struck with his sceptre one of the servants, who
was running across the stage, so violently, that he laid him dead
upon the place. And such afterwards was Cicero's delivery, that it
did not a little contribute to render his eloquence persuasive. He
used to ridicule loud speakers, saying that they shouted because
they could not speak, like lame men who get on horseback because
they cannot walk. And his readiness and address in wit and sarcasm
were thought to suit a pleader well.

He was appointed quaestor in a great scarcity of corn, and had
Sicily for his province, where, at first, he displeased many, by
compelling them to send in their provisions to Rome, yet after
they had had experience of his care, justice, and clemency, they
honored him more than ever they did any of their governors before.
It happened, also, that some young Romans of good and noble
families, charged with neglect of discipline and misconduct in
military service, were brought before the praetor in Sicily.
Cicero undertook their defence, which he conducted admirably, and
got them acquitted. So returning to Rome with a great opinion of
himself for these things, a ludicrous incident befell him, as he
tells us himself. Meeting an eminent citizen in Campania, whom he
accounted his friend, he asked him what the Romans said and
thought of his actions, as if the whole city had been filled with
the glory of what he had done. His friend asked him in reply,
"Where is it you have been, Cicero?" Utterly mortified and cast
down, he perceived that the report of his actions had sunk into
the city of Rome as into an immense ocean, without any visible
effect or result in reputation.

On beginning to apply himself more resolutely to public business,
he remarked it as unreasonable that artificers, using vessels and
instruments inanimate, should know the name, place, and use of
every one of them, and yet the statesman, whose instruments for
carrying out public measures are men, should be negligent and
careless in the knowledge of persons. And so he not only
acquainted himself with the names, but also knew the very place
where every one of the more eminent citizens dwelt, what lands he
possessed, his friends and his neighbors, and when he traveled on
any road in Italy, he could readily name and show the estates and
seats of his acquaintances. Having a small competency for his own
expenses, it was much wondered at that he took neither fees nor
gifts from his clients, and especially, that he did not do so when
he undertook the prosecution of Verres. This Verres, who had been
praetor of Sicily, and stood charged by the Sicilians with many
evil practices during his government there, Cicero succeeded in
getting condemned, not by speaking, but, as it were, by holding
his tongue. For the praetors, favoring Verres, had deferred the
trial by several adjournments to the last day, in which it was
evident there could not be sufficient time for the advocates to be
heard, and the cause brought to an issue. Cicero, therefore, came
forward, and said there was no need of speeches; and after
producing and examining witnesses, he required the judges to
proceed to sentence. Many witty sayings are on record, as having
been used by Cicero on the occasion. When a man named Caecilius,
one of the freed slaves, who was said to be given to Jewish
practices, would have put by the Sicilians, and undertaken the
prosecution of Verres himself, Cicero asked, "What has a Jew to do
with swine?" verres being the Roman word for a boar. And when
Verres began to reproach Cicero with effeminate living, "You
ought," replied he, "to use this language at home, to your sons;"
Verres having a son who had fallen into disgraceful courses.
Hortensius, the orator, not daring directly to undertake the
defence of Verres, was yet persuaded to appear for him at the
laying on of the fine, and received an ivory sphinx for his
reward; and when Cicero, in some passage of his speech, obliquely
reflected on him, and Hortensius told him he was not skilful in
solving riddles, "No," said Cicero, "and yet you have the Sphinx
in your house!"

Verres was thus convicted; though Cicero, who set the fine at
seventy-five myriads, lay under the suspicion of being corrupted
by bribery to lessen the sum. But the Sicilians, in testimony of
their gratitude, came and brought him all sorts of presents from
the island, when he was aedile; of which he made no private profit
himself, but used their generosity only to reduce the public price
of provisions.

He had a very pleasant seat at Arpi, he had also a farm near
Naples, and another near Pompeii, but none were of any great
value. The portion of his wife, Terentia, amounted to ten myriads,
and he had a bequest valued at nine myriads of denarii: upon these
he lived in a liberal but temperate style, with the learned Greeks
and Romans that were his familiars. He rarely, if at any time, sat
down to meat till sunset, and that not so much on account of
business as for his health and the weakness of his stomach. He was
otherwise in the care of his body nice and delicate, appointing
himself, for example, a set number of walks and rubbings. And
after this manner managing the habit of his body, he brought it in
time to be healthful, and capable of supporting many great
fatigues and trials. His father's house he made over to his
brother, living himself near the Palatine Hill, that he might not
give the trouble of long journeys to those that made suit to him.
And, indeed, there were not fewer daily appearing at his door, to
do their court to him, than there were that came to Crassus for
his riches, or to Pompey for his power among the soldiers, these
being at that time the two men of the greatest repute and
influence in Rome. Nay, even Pompey himself used to pay court to
Cicero, and Cicero's public actions did much to establish Pompey's
authority and reputation in the state.

Numerous distinguished competitors stood with him for the
praetor's office; but he was chosen before them all, and managed
the decision of causes with justice and integrity. It is related
that Licinius Macer, a man himself of great power in the city, and
supported also by the assistance of Crassus, was accused before
him of extortion, and that, in confidence on his own interest and
the diligence of his friends, whilst the judges were debating
about the sentence, he went to his house, where hastily trimming
his hair and putting on a clean gown, as already acquitted, he was
setting off again to go to the Forum; but at his hall door meeting
Crassus, who told him that he was condemned by all the votes, he
went in again, threw himself upon his bed, and died immediately.
This verdict was considered very creditable to Cicero, as showing
his careful management of the courts of justice.

Yet he was preferred to the consulship no less by the nobles than
the common people for the good of the city; and both parties
jointly assisted his promotion, for the following reasons. The
change of government made by Sylla, which at first seemed a
senseless one, by time and usage had now come to be considered by
the people no unsatisfactory settlement. But there were some that
endeavored to alter and subvert the whole present state of
affairs, not from any good motives, but for their own private
gain; and Pompey being at this time employed in the wars with the
kings of Pontus and Armenia, there was no sufficient force at Rome
to suppress any attempts at a revolution. These people had for
their head a man of bold, daring, and restless character, Lucius
Catiline, who was accused, besides other great offences, of
killing his own brother; and fearing to be prosecuted at law, he
persuaded Sylla to set his brother down, as though he were yet
alive, amongst those that were to be put to death by proscription.
This man the profligate citizens choosing for their captain, gave
faith to one another, amongst other pledges, by sacrificing a man
and eating of his flesh; and a great part of the young men of the
city were corrupted by him, he providing for every one pleasures
and drink, and profusely supplying the expense of their debauches.
Etruria, moreover, had all been excited to revolt, as well as a
great part of Gaul within the Alps. But Rome itself was in the
most dangerous inclination to change on account of the unequal
distribution of wealth and property, those of highest rank and
greatest spirit having impoverished themselves by shows,
entertainments, running for office, and sumptuous buildings, and
the riches of the city had thus fallen into the hands of mean and
low-born persons. So that it required but a slight impetus to set
all in motion, it being in the power of any daring man to overturn
a sickly commonwealth.

Catiline, however, being desirous of procuring a strong position
to carry out his designs, stood for the consulship, and had great
hopes of success, thinking he should be appointed, with Caius
Antonius as his colleague, who was a man fit to lead neither in a
good cause nor in a bad one, but might be a valuable accession to
another's power. The greater part of the good and honest citizens
apprehending these things, put Cicero upon standing for the
consulship; whom the people readily receiving, Catiline was put
by, so that he and Caius Antonius were chosen, although amongst
the competitors he was the only man descended from the father of
the equestrian, and not of the senatorial, order.

Though the designs of Catiline were not yet publicly known, yet
considerable trouble immediately followed Cicero's entrance upon
the consulship. For, on the one side, those who were disqualified
by the laws of Sylla from holding any public offices, being
neither inconsiderable in power nor in number, came forward as
candidates and entreated the people; on the other hand, the
tribunes of the people proposed laws to the same purpose,
constituting a commission of ten persons, with unlimited powers,
in whom as supreme governors should be vested the right of selling
the public lands of all Italy and Syria and Pompey's new
conquests, of judging and banishing whom they pleased, of planting
colonies, of taking money out of the treasury, and of levying and
paying what soldiers should be though needful. And several of the
nobility favored this law, but especially Caius Antonius, Cicero's
colleague, in hopes of being one of the ten. But what gave the
greatest fear to the nobles was, that he was thought privy to the
conspiracy of Catiline, and not to dislike it because of his great

Cicero, endeavoring in the first place to provide a remedy against
this danger, procured a decree assigning to Antonius the province
of Macedonia, he himself declining that of Gaul, which was offered
to him. And this piece of favor so completely won over Antonius,
that he was ready to second, like a hired player, whatever Cicero
said for the good of the country. And now, having made his
colleague tame and tractable, he could with greater courage attack
the conspirators. Therefore, in the senate, making an oration
against the law of the ten commissioners, he so confounded those
who proposed it, that they had nothing to reply.

For Cicero, it may be said, was the one man, above all others, who
made the Romans feel how great a charm eloquence lends to what is
good, and how invincible justice is if it be well presented. An
incident occurred in the theatre, during his consulship, which
showed what his speaking could do. Formerly the knights of Rome
were mingled in the theatre with the common people, and took their
places amongst them just as it happened; but when Marcus Otho
became praetor he distinguished them from the other citizens, and
appointed them special seats, which they still enjoy as their
place in the theatre. This the common people took as an indignity
done to them, and, therefore, when Otho appeared in the theatre
they hissed him; the knights, on the contrary, received him with
loud clapping. The people repeated and increased their hissing;
the knights continued their clapping. Upon this, turning upon one
another, they broke out into insulting words, so that the theatre
was in great disorder. Cicero, being informed of it, came himself
to the theatre, and summoning the people into the temple of
Bellona, he so effectually chid and chastised them for it, that,
again returning into the theatre, they received Otho with loud
applause, contending with the knights as to who should give him
the greatest demonstrations of honor and respect.

The conspirators with Catiline, at first cowed and disheartened,
began presently to take courage again. And assembling together,
they exhorted one another boldly to undertake the design before
Pompey's return. But the old soldiers of Sylla were Catiline's
chief stimulus to action. They had been disbanded all about Italy,
but the greatest number and the fiercest of them lay scattered
among the cities of Etruria entertaining themselves with dreams of
new plunder and rapine among the hoarded riches of Italy. These,
having for their leader Manlius, who had served with distinction
in the wars under Sylla, joined themselves to Catiline, and came
to Rome to assist him with their suffrages at the election. For he
again aspired for the consulship, having resolved to kill Cicero
in a tumult at the elections. The divine powers seemed to give
intimation of the coming troubles, by earthquakes, thunderbolts
and strange appearances. Nor was human evidence wanting, certain
enough in itself, though not sufficient to convict the noble and
powerful Catiline. Therefore Cicero, deferring the day of
election, summoned Catiline into the senate, and questioned him as
to the charges made against him. Catiline, believing there were
many in the senate desirous of change, and to give a specimen of
himself to the conspirators present, returned an audacious answer.
"What harm," said he, "when I see two bodies, the one lean and
consumptive with a head, the other one great and strong without
one, if I put a head to that body which wants one?" This covert
representation of the senate and the people excited yet greater
apprehensions in Cicero. He put on armor, and was attended from
his house by the noble citizens in a body; and a number of the
young men went with him into the Plain. Here, designedly letting
his tunic slip partly off from his shoulders, he showed his armor
underneath, and discovered his danger to the spectators, who,
being much moved at it, gathered around about him for his defence.
At length, Catiline was by general suffrage again put by, and
Silanus and Murena chosen consuls.

Not long after this, Catiline's soldiers got together in a body in
Etruria, and began to form themselves into companies, the day
appointed for the design being near at hand. About midnight, some
of the principal and most powerful citizens of Rome, Marcus,
Crassus, Marcus Marcellus, and Scipio Metellus went to Cicero's
house, where, knocking at the gate, and calling up the porter,
they commanded him to awake Cicero, and tell him they were there.
The business was this: Crassus's porter after supper had delivered
to him letters brought by an unknown person. Some of them were
directed to others, but one to Crassus, without a name; this only
Crassus read, which informed him that there was a great slaughter
intended by Catiline, and advised him to leave the city. The
others he did not open, but went with them immediately to Cicero,
being affrighted at the danger, and to free himself of the
suspicion he lay under for his familiarity with Catiline. Cicero,
considering the matter, summoned the senate at break of day. The
letters he brought with him, and delivered them to those to whom
they were directed, commanding them to read them publicly; they
all alike contained an account of the conspiracy. And when Quintus
Arrius, a man of praetorian dignity, recounted to them, how
soldiers were collecting in companies in Etruria, and Manlius was
stated to be in motion with a large force, hovering about those
cities, in expectation of intelligence from Rome, the senate made
a decree to place all in the hands of the consuls, who should
undertake the conduct of everything, and do their best to save the
state. This was not a common thing, but only done by the senate in
cases of imminent danger.

After Cicero had received this power, he committed all affairs
outside to Quintus Metellus; but the management of the city he
kept in his own hands. Such a numerous attendance guarded him
every day when he went abroad that the greater part of the forum
was filled with his train when he entered it. Catiline, impatient
of further delay, resolved himself to break forth and go to
Manlius; but he commanded Marcius and Cethegus to take their
swords and go early in the morning to Cicero's gates, as if only
intending to salute him, and then to fall upon him and slay him. A
noble lady, Fulvia, coming by night, discovered this to Cicero,
bidding him beware of Cethegus and Marcius. They came by break of
day, and being denied entrance, made an outcry and disturbance at
the gates, which excited all the more suspicion. But Cicero, going
forth, summoned the senate into the temple of Jupiter Stator,
which stands at the end of the Sacred Street, going up to the
Palatine. And when Catiline with others of his party also came, as
though intending to make his defence, none of the senators would
sit by him, but all of them left the bench where he had placed
himself. And when he began to speak, they interrupted him with
outcries. At length, Cicero, standing up, commanded him to leave
the city; for, since one governed the commonwealth with words, the
other with arms, it was necessary that there should be a wall
betwixt them. Catiline, therefore, immediately left the town, with
three hundred armed men; and assuming, like a magistrate, the
rods, axes, and military ensigns, he went to Manlius, and having
got together a body of near twenty thousand men, with these he
marched to the several cities, endeavoring to persuade or force
them to revolt. It being now come to open war, Antonius was sent
forth to fight him.

The remainder of those in the city whom he had corrupted,
Cornelius Lentulus kept together and encouraged. He had the
surname Sura, and was a man of a noble family, but a dissolute
liver, who for his debauchery was formerly turned out of the
senate, and was now holding the office of praetor for the second
time, as the custom is with those who desire to regain the dignity
of senator. It is said that he got the surname Sura upon this
occasion; being quaestor in the time of Sylla, he had lavished
away and consumed a great quantity of the public moneys, at which
Sylla, being provoked, called him to give an account in the
senate. He appeared with great coolness and contempt, and said he
had no account to give, but they might take this, holding up the
calf of his leg, as boys do at ball, when they have missed. Upon
which he was surnamed Sura, sura being the Roman word for the calf
of the leg. Being at another time prosecuted at law, and having
bribed some of the judges, he escaped by only two votes, and
complained of the needless expense he had gone to in paying for a
second, as one would have sufficed to acquit him. This man, such
in his own nature, and now inflamed by Catiline, false prophets
and fortune-tellers had also corrupted with vain hopes, quoting to
him fictitious verses and oracles, and proving from the Sibylline
prophecies that there were three of the name Cornelius designed by
fate to be monarchs of Rome; two of whom, Cinna and Sylla, had
already fulfilled the decree, and that divine fortune was now
advancing with the gift of monarchy for the remaining third
Cornelius; and that therefore he ought by all means to accept it,
and not lose opportunity by delay, as Catiline had done.

Lentulus, therefore, designed no mean or trivial matter, for he
had resolved to kill the whole senate, and as many other citizens
as he could, to fire the city, and spare nobody, except Pompey's
children, intending to seize and keep them as pledges of his
reconciliation with Pompey. For there was then a common report
that Pompey was on his way homeward from his great expedition. The
night appointed for the design was one of the Saturnalia; swords,
flax, and sulphur they carried and hid in the house of Cethegus;
and providing one hundred men, and dividing the city into as many
parts, they had allotted to every one singly his proper place, so
that in a moment, many kindling the fire, the city might be in a
flame all together. Others were appointed to stop up the
aqueducts, and to kill those who should endeavor to carry water to
put it out. While these plans were preparing, it happened that
there were two ambassadors from the Allobroges staying in Rome; a
nation at that time in a distressed condition, and very uneasy
under the Roman government. These Lentulus and his party, judging
useful instruments to move Gaul to revolt, admitted into the
conspiracy, and they gave them letters to their own magistrates,
and letters to Catiline; in those they promised liberty, in these
they exhorted Catiline to set all slaves free, and to bring them
along with him to Rome. They sent also to accompany them to
Catiline, one Titus, a native of Croton, who was to carry those
letters to him.

These counsels of inconsidering men, who conversed together over
their wine, Cicero watched with sober industry and forethought,
and with most admirable sagacity, having several emissaries
abroad, who observed and traced with him all that was done, and
keeping also a secret correspondence with many who pretended to
join in the conspiracy. He thus knew all the discourse which
passed between them and the strangers; and lying in wait for them
by night, he took the Crotonian with his letters, the ambassadors
of the Allobroges acting secretly in concert with him.

By break of day, he summoned the senate into the temple of
Concord, where he read the letters and examined the informers.
Junius Silanus further stated that several persons had heard
Cethegus say that three consuls and four praetors were to be
slain; Piso, also, a person of consular dignity, testified other
matters of like nature; and Caius Sulpicius, one of the praetors,
being sent to Cethegus's house, found there a quantity of darts
and of armor, and a still greater number of swords and daggers,
all recently whetted. At length, the senate, decreeing indemnity
to the Crotonian upon his confession of the whole matter, Lentulus
was convicted, abjured his office (for he was then praetor), and
put off his robe edged with purple in the senate, changing it for
another garment more agreeable to his present circumstances. He,
thereupon, with the rest of his confederates present, was
committed to the charge of the praetors in free custody.

It being evening, and the common people in crowds expecting
without, Cicero went forth to them, and told them what was done,
and then, attended by them, went to the house of a friend and near
neighbor; for his own was taken up by the women, who were
celebrating with secret rites the feast of the goddess whom the
Romans call the Good, and the Greeks, the Women's goddess. For a
sacrifice is annually performed to her in the consul's house,
either by his wife or mother, in the presence of the vestal
virgins. And having got into his friend's house privately, a few
only being present, he began to deliberate how he should treat
these men. The severest and the only punishment fit for such
heinous crimes, he was somewhat shy and fearful of inflicting, as
well from the clemency of his nature, as also lest he should be
thought to exercise his authority too insolently, and to treat too
harshly men of the noblest birth and most powerful friendships in
the city; and yet, if he should use them more mildly, he had a
dreadful prospect of danger from them. For there was no likelihood
that, if they suffered less than death, they would be reconciled,
but, rather, adding new rage to their former wickedness, they
would rush into every kind of audacity, while he himself, whose
character for courage already did not stand very high with the
multitude, would be thought guilty of the greatest cowardice and
want of manliness.

While Cicero was in doubt what course to take, a portent happened
to the women in their sacrificing. For on the altar, where the
fire seemed wholly extinguished, a great and bright flame issued
forth from the ashes of the burnt wood; at which others were
affrighted, but the holy virgins called to Terentia, Cicero's
wife, and bade her hasten to her husband, and command him to
execute what he had resolved for the good of his country, for the
goddess had sent a great light to the increase of his safety and
glory. Terentia, therefore, as she was otherwise in her own nature
neither tender-hearted nor timorous, but a woman eager for
distinction (who, as Cicero himself says, would rather thrust
herself into his public affairs than communicate her domestic
matters to him), told him these things, and excited him against
the conspirators. So also did Quintus his brother, and Publius
Nigidius, one of his philosophical friends, whom he often made use
of in his most weighty affairs of state.

The next day, a debate arising in the senate about the punishment
of the men, Silanus, being the first who was asked his opinion,
said, it was fit that they should be all sent to prison, and there
suffer the utmost penalty. With him all agreed in order till it
came to Caius Caesar, who was afterwards dictator. He was then but
a young man, and only at the outset of his career, but had already
directed his hopes and policy to that course by which he
afterwards changed the Roman state into a monarchy.

When it came Caesar's turn to give his opinion, he stood up and
proposed that the conspirators should not be put to death, but
their estates confiscated, and their persons confined in such
cities in Italy as Cicero should approve, there to be kept in
custody till Catiline was conquered. To this sentence, as it was
the most moderate, and he that delivered it a most powerful
speaker, Cicero himself gave no small weight, for he stood up and,
turning the scale on either side, spoke in favor partly of the
former, partly of Caesar's sentence. And all Cicero's friends,
judging Caesar's sentence most expedient for Cicero, because he
would incur the less blame if the conspirators were not put to
death, chose rather the latter; so that Silanus, also, changing
his mind, retracted his opinion, and said he had not declared for
capital, but only the utmost punishment, which to a Roman senator
is imprisonment. The first man who spoke against Caesar's motion
was Catulus Lutatius. Cato followed, and so vehemently urged in
his speech the strong suspicion about Caesar himself, and so
filled the senate with anger and resolution, that a decree was
passed for the execution of the conspirators. But Caesar opposed
the confiscation of their goods, not thinking it fair that those
who had rejected the mildest part of his sentence should avail
themselves of the severest. And when many insisted upon it, he
appealed to the tribunes, but they would do nothing; till Cicero
himself yielding, remitted that part of the sentence.

After this, Cicero went out with the senate to the conspirators;
they were not all together in one place, but the several praetors
had them, some one, some another, in custody. And first he took
Lentulus from the Palatine, and brought him by the Sacred Street,
through the middle of the market-place, a circle of the most
eminent citizens encompassing and protecting him. The people,
affrighted at what was doing, passed along in silence, especially
the young men; as if, with fear and trembling, they were
undergoing a rite of initiation into some ancient, sacred
mysteries of aristocratic power. Thus passing from the market-
place, and coming to the gaol, he delivered Lentulus to the
officer, and commanded him to execute him; and after him Cethegus,
and so all the rest in order, he brought and delivered up to
execution. And when he saw many of the conspirators in the market-
place, still standing together in companies, ignorant of what was
done, and waiting for the night, supposing the men were still
alive and in a possibility of being rescued, he called out in a
loud voice, and said, "They did live"; for so the Romans, to avoid
inauspicious language, name those that are dead.

It was now evening, when he returned from the market-place to his
own house, the citizens no longer attending him with silence, nor
in order, but receiving him, as he passed, with acclamations and
applauses, and saluting him as the savior and founder of his
country. A bright light shone through the streets from the lamps
and torches set up at the doors, and the women showed lights from
the tops of the houses, to honor Cicero, and to behold him
returning home with a splendid train of the principal citizens;
amongst whom were many who had conducted great wars, celebrated
triumphs, and added to the possessions of the Roman empire, both
by sea and land. These, as they passed along with him,
acknowledged to one another, that though the Roman people were
indebted to several officers and commanders of that age for
riches, spoils, and power, yet to Cicero alone they owed the
safety and security of all these, for delivering them from so
great and imminent a danger. For though it might seem no wonderful
thing to prevent the design, and punish the conspirators, yet to
defeat the greatest of all conspiracies with so little
disturbance, trouble, and commotion, was very extraordinary. For
the greater part of those who had flocked in to Catiline, as soon
as they heard of the fate of Lentulus and Cethegus, forsook him,
and he himself, with his remaining forces, joining battle with
Antonius, was destroyed with his army.

And yet there were some who were very ready both to speak ill of
Cicero, and to do him hurt for these actions; and they had for
their leaders some of the magistrates of the ensuing year, as
Caesar, who was one of the praetors, and Metellus and Bestia, the
tribunes. These, entering upon their office some few days before
Cicero's consulate expired, would not permit him to make any
address to the people, but, throwing the benches before the
Rostra, hindered his speaking, telling him he might, if he
pleased, make the oath of withdrawal from office, and then come
down again. Cicero, accordingly, accepting the conditions, came
forward to make his withdrawal; and silence being made, he recited
his oath, not in the usual, but in a new and peculiar form,
namely, that he had saved his country, and preserved the empire;
the truth of which oath all the people confirmed with theirs.
Caesar and the tribunes, all the more exasperated by this,
endeavored to create him further trouble, and for this purpose
proposed a law for calling Pompey home with his army, to put an
end to Cicero's usurpation. But it was a very great advantage for
Cicero and the whole commonwealth that Cato was at that time one
of the tribunes. For he, being of equal power with the rest, and
of greater reputation, could oppose their designs. He easily
defeated their other projects, and, in an oration to the people,
so highly extolled Cicero's consulate, that the greatest honors
were decreed him, and he was publicly declared the Father of his
Country, which title he seems to have obtained, the first man who
did so, when Cato applied it to him in this address to the people.

At this time, therefore, his authority was very great in the city;
but he created himself much envy, and offended very many, not by
any evil action, but because he was always lauding and magnifying
himself. For neither senate, nor assembly of the people, nor court
of judicature could meet, in which he was not heard to talk of
Catiline and Lentulus. Indeed, he filled his books and writings
with his own praises, to such an excess as to render a style, in
itself most pleasant and delightful, nauseous and irksome to his
hearers. This ungrateful humor, like a disease, always clove to
him. Still, though fond of his own glory, he was very free from
envying others, but was, on the contrary, most liberally profuse
in commending both the ancients and his contemporaries, as any one
may see in his writings. He called Aristotle a river of flowing
gold, and said of Plato's Dialogues, that if Jupiter were to
speak, it would be in language like theirs. He used to call
Theophrastus his special luxury. And being asked which of
Demosthenes's orations he liked best, he answered, "The longest."
And as for the eminent men of his own time, either in eloquence or
philosophy, there was not one of them whom he did not, by writing
or speaking favorably of him, render more illustrious.

An example of his love of praise is the way in which sometimes, to
make his orations more striking, he neglected decorum and dignity.
When Munatius, who had escaped conviction by his advocacy,
immediately prosecuted his friend Sabinus, he said in the warmth
of his resentment, "Do you suppose you were acquitted for your own
merits, Munatius, or was it not that I so darkened the case, that
the court could not see your guilt?" When from the Rostra he had
made a eulogy on Marcus Crassus, with much applause, and within a
few days after again as publicly reproached him, Crassus called to
him, and said, "Did not you yourself two days ago, in this same
place, commend me?" "Yes," said Cicero, "I exercised my eloquence
in declaiming upon a bad subject." At another time, Crassus had
said that no one of his family had ever lived beyond sixty years
of age, and afterwards denied it, and asked, "What should put it
into my head to say so?" "It was to gain the people's favor,"
answered Cicero; "you knew how glad they would be to hear it."
When Vatinius, who had swellings in his neck, was pleading a
cause, he called him the tumid orator; and having been told by
some one that Vatinius was dead, on hearing soon after that he was
alive, he said, "may the rascal perish, for his news not being

Upon Caesar's bringing forward a law for the division of the lands
in Campania amongst the soldiers, many in the senate opposed it;
amongst the rest, Lucius Gellius, one of the oldest men in the
house, said it should never pass whilst he lived. "Let us postpone
it," said Cicero, "Gellius does not ask us to wait long." There
was a man of the name of Octavius, suspected to be of African
descent. He once said, when Cicero was pleading, that he could not
hear him; "yet there are holes," said Cicero, "in your ears." When
Metellus Nepos told him that he had ruined more as a witness than
he had saved as an advocate, "I admit," said Cicero, "that I have
more truth than eloquence." To a young man who was suspected of
having given a poisoned cake to his father, and who talked largely
of the invectives he meant to deliver against Cicero, "Better
these," replied he, "than your cakes." Publius Sextius, having
amongst others retained Cicero as his advocate in a certain cause,
was yet desirous to say all for himself, and would not allow
anybody to speak for him; when he was about to receive his
acquittal from the judges, and the ballots were passing, Cicero
called to him, "make haste, Sextius, and use your time; to-morrow
you will be nobody." He cited Publius Cotta to bear testimony in a
certain cause, one who affected to be thought a lawyer, though
ignorant and unlearned; but when Cotta had said, "I know nothing
at all about the matter," Cicero answered: "You think, perhaps, we
are asking you about a point of law." When Marcus Appius, in the
opening of some speech in a court of justice, said that his friend
had desired him to employ industry, eloquence, and fidelity in
that cause, Cicero asked, "And how have you had the heart not to
accede to any one of his requests?"

One Clodius, whom Cicero had vehemently opposed in an important
trial, having got himself chosen one of the tribunes, immediately
attacked Cicero, endeavoring to incite everybody against him. The
common people he gained over with popular laws; to each of the
consuls he decreed large provinces, to Piso, Macedonia, and to
Gabinius, Syria. Of the three men then in greatest power, Crassus
was Cicero's open enemy, Pompey indifferently made advances to
both, and Caesar was going with an army into Gaul. To him, though
not his friend, Cicero applied, requesting an appointment as one
of his lieutenants in the province. Caesar accepted him, and
Clodius, perceiving that Cicero would thus escape his tribunician
authority, professed to be inclinable to a reconciliation, made
always a favorable mention of him, and addressed him with kind
expressions, as one who felt no hatred or ill-will, but who merely
wished to urge his complaints in a moderate and friendly way. By
these artifices, he so freed Cicero of all his fears, that he
resigned his appointment to Caesar, and betook himself again to
political affairs. At which Caesar being exasperated, joined the
party of Clodius against him, and wholly alienated Pompey from
him; he also himself declared in a public assembly of the people,
that he did not think Lentulus and Cethegus, with their
accomplices, were fairly and legally put to death without being
brought to trial. And this, indeed, was the crime charged upon
Cicero, and this impeachment he was summoned to answer. And so, as
an accused man, and in danger for the result, he changed his
dress, and went round with his hair untrimmed, in the attire of a
suppliant, to beg the people's grace. But Clodius met him in every
corner, having a band of abusive and daring fellows about him, who
derided Cicero for his change of dress and his humiliation, and
often, by throwing dirt and stones at him, interrupted his
supplication to the people.

However, first of all, almost the whole equestrian order changed
their dress with him, and no less than twenty thousand young
gentlemen followed him with their hair untrimmed, and supplicating
with him to the people. And then the senate met, to pass a decree
that the people should change their dress as in time of public
sorrow. But the consuls opposing it, and Clodius with armed men
besetting the senate-house, many of the senators ran out, crying
aloud and tearing their clothes. But this sight moved neither
shame nor pity; Cicero must either fly or determine it by the
sword with Clodius. He entreated Pompey to aid him, who on purpose
had gone out of the way, and was staying at his country-house in
the Alban hills; and first he sent his son-in-law Piso to
intercede with him, and afterwards set out to go himself. But
Pompey being informed, would not stay to see him, being ashamed at
the remembrance of the many conflicts in the commonwealth which
Cicero had undergone in his behalf, and how much of his policy he
had directed for his advantage. But being now Caesar's son-in-law,
at his instance he had set aside all former kindness, and,
slipping out at another door, avoided the interview. Thus being
forsaken by Pompey, and left alone to himself, he fled to the
consuls. Gabinius was rough with him, as usual, but Piso spoke
more courteously, desiring him to yield for a while to the fury of
Clodius, and to await a change of times, and to be now, as before,
his country's savior from the peril of these troubles and
commotions which Clodius was exciting.

Cicero, receiving this answer, consulted with his friends.
Lucullus advised him to stay, as being sure to prevail at last;
others to fly, because the people would soon desire him again,
when they should have enough of the rage and madness of Clodius.
This last Cicero approved. But first he took a statue of Minerva,
which had been long set up and greatly honored in his house, and
carrying it to the capitol, there dedicated it, with the
inscription, "To Minerva, Patroness of Rome." And receiving an
escort from his friends, about the middle of the night he left the
city, and went by land through Lucania, intending to reach Sicily.

But as soon as it was publicly known that he was fled, Clodius
proposed to the people a decree of exile, and by his own order
interdicted him fire and water, prohibiting any within five
hundred miles in Italy to receive him into their houses. Most
people, out of respect for Cicero, paid no regard to this edict,
offering him every attention, and escorting him on his way. But at
Hipponium, a city of Lucania, now called Vibo, one Vibius, a
Sicilian by birth, who, amongst may other instances of Cicero's
friendship, had been made head of the state engineers when he was
consul, would not receive him into his house, sending him word
that he would appoint a place in the country for his reception.
Caius Vergilius, the praetor of Sicily, who had been on the most
intimate terms with him, wrote to him to forbear coming into
Sicily. Cicero, thoroughly disheartened at these things, went to
Brundusium, whence he put forth with a prosperous wind, but a
contrary gale blowing from the sea carried him back to Italy the
next day. He put again to sea, and having reached Dyrrachium, on
his coming to shore there, it is reported that an earthquake and a
convulsion in the sea happened at the same time, signs which the
diviners said intimated that his exile would not be long, for
these were prognostics of change. Although many visited him with
respect, and the cities of Greece contended with each other in
honoring him, he yet continued disconsolate, like an unfortunate
lover, often casting his looks back upon Italy; and, indeed, he
had become more humiliated and dejected by his misfortunes than
any one could have expected in a man who had devoted so much of
his life to study and learning. And yet he often desired his
friends not to call him orator, but philosopher, because he had
made philosophy his business, and had only used rhetoric as an
instrument for attaining his objects in public life.

Clodius, having thus driven away Cicero, fell to burning his farm-
buildings and villas, and afterwards his city house, and built on
the site of it a temple to Liberty. The rest of his property he
exposed for sale by daily proclamation, but nobody came to buy. By
this course he became formidable to the noble citizens, and, being
followed by the commonalty, whom he had filled with insolence and
licentiousness, he began at last to try his strength against
Pompey, some of whose arrangements in the countries he conquered,
he attacked. The disgrace of this made Pompey begin to reproach
himself for his cowardice in deserting Cicero, and, changing his
mind, he now wholly set himself with his friends to contrive his
return. And when Clodius opposed it, the senate made a vote that
no public measure should be ratified or passed by them till Cicero
was recalled. But when Lentulus was consul, the commotions grew so
high upon this matter, that the tribunes were wounded in the
Forum, and Quintus, Cicero's brother, was left as dead, lying
unobserved amongst the slain. The people began to change in their
feelings; and Annius Milo, one of their tribunes, was the first
who had the courage to summon Clodius to trial for acts of
violence. Many of the common people in Rome and the neighboring
cities formed a party with Pompey, who headed them in person,
drove Clodius out of the Forum, and summoned the people to pass
their vote. And, it is said, the people never passed any suffrage
more unanimously than this. The senate, also, striving to outdo
the people, sent letters of thanks to those cities which had
received Cicero with respect in his exile, and decreed that his
house and his country-places, which Clodius had destroyed, should
be rebuilt at the public charge.

Thus Cicero returned sixteen months after his exile, and the
cities were so glad, and the people so zealous to meet him, that
his boast, that Italy had brought him on her shoulders home to
Rome, was rather less than the truth. And Crassus himself, who had
been his enemy before his exile, went voluntarily to meet him, and
was reconciled, as he said, to please his son Publius, who was
Cicero's affectionate admirer.

Cicero had not been long at Rome, when, taking the opportunity of
Clodius's absence, he went, with a great company, to the capitol,
and there tore and defaced the tribunician tables, in which were
recorded the acts done in the time of Clodius. And on Clodius
calling him in question for this, he answered, that he, being of
the patrician order, had obtained the office of tribune against
the law, and, therefore, nothing done by him was valid. Cato was
displeased at this, and opposed Cicero, not that he commended
Clodius, but rather disapproved of his whole administration; yet,
he contended, that it was an irregular and violent course for the
senate to vote the illegality of so many decrees and acts,
including those of Cato's own government in Cyprus and at
Byzantium. This occasioned a breach between Cato and Cicero,
which, though it did not come to open enmity, made a more reserved
friendship between them.

After this, Milo killed Clodius, and, being arraigned for the
murder, he procured Cicero for his advocate. The senate, fearing
lest the questioning of so eminent and high-spirited a citizen as
Milo might disturb the peace of the city, committed the
superintendence of this and of the other trials to Pompey, who
should undertake to maintain the security alike of the city and of
the courts of justice. Pompey, therefore, went in the night, and
occupying the high grounds about it, surrounded the Forum with
soldiers. Milo, fearing lest Cicero, being disturbed by such an
unusual sight, should conduct his cause the less successfully,
persuaded him to come in a litter into the Forum, and there rest
till the judges had taken their seats, and the court was filled.
For Cicero, it seems, not only wanted courage in arms, but, in his
speaking also, began with timidity, and in many cases scarcely
left off trembling and shaking when he had got thoroughly into the
current and the substance of his speech. Once when he had to
defend Licinius Murena against the prosecution of Cato, being
eager to outdo Hortensius, who had made his plea with great
applause, he took so little rest the night before, and was so
disordered with thought and over-watching, that he spoke much
worse than usual. And so now, on quitting his litter to commence
the cause of Milo, at the sight of Pompey, encamped, as it were,
with his troops, and seeing arms shining round about the Forum, he
was so confounded that he could hardly begin his speech, for the
trembling of his body and hesitancy of his tongue; whereas Milo,
meantime, was so bold and intrepid in his demeanor, that he
disdained either to let his hair grow, or to put on the mourning
habit. And this, indeed, seems to have been the principal cause of
his condemnation. And Cicero was thought not so much to have shown
timidity for himself, as anxiety about his friend.

When the outbreak between Caesar and Pompey came, Cicero wavered
painfully between both, for he writes in his epistles, "To which
side should I turn? Pompey has the fair and honorable plea for
war; and Caesar, on the other hand, has managed his affairs
better, and is more able to secure himself and his friends. So
that I know whom I should fly from, not whom I should fly to." But
when Trebatius, one of Caesar's friends, by letter signified to
him that Caesar thought it was his most desirable course to join
his side, but if he considered himself too old a man for this, he
would do better to retire into Greece, and stay quietly there, out
of the way of either party, Cicero, wondering that Caesar had not
written himself, replied angrily that he should do nothing
unbecoming his past life.

But as soon as Caesar had marched into Spain, he immediately
sailed away to join Pompey. And he was welcomed by all but Cato;
who, taking him privately aside, chid him for coming to Pompey. As
for himself, he said, it would have been indecent to forsake that
part in the commonwealth which he had chosen from the beginning;
but Cicero might have been more useful to his country and friends,
if, remaining neutral, he had attended and used his influence to
moderate the result, instead of coming hither to make himself,
without reason or necessity, an enemy to Caesar, and a partner in
such great dangers. By this language, Cicero's feelings were
altered, and partly, also, because Pompey made no great use of
him. Although he was himself really the cause of it, by his not
denying that he was sorry he had come, by his deprecating Pompey's
resources, finding fault underhand with his counsels, and
continually indulging in jests and sarcastic remarks on his

After the battle of Pharsalia was over, at which he was not
present for want of health, and Pompey had fled, Cato, having
considerable forces and a great fleet at Dyrrachium, would have
had Cicero commander-in-chief, according to law, and the
precedence of his consular dignity. But on his refusing the
command, and wholly declining to take part in their plans for
continuing the war, he was in the greatest danger of being killed,
young Pompey and his friends calling him traitor, and drawing
their swords upon him; only that Cato interposed, and with
difficulty rescued and brought him out of the camp.

Afterwards, arriving at Brundusium, he tarried there some time in
expectation of Caesar, who was delayed by his affairs in Asia and
Egypt. And when it was told him that he had arrived at Tarentum,
and was coming thence by land to Brundusium, he hastened towards
him, not altogether without hope, and yet in some fear of making
experiment of the temper of an enemy and conqueror in the presence
of many witnesses. But there was no necessity for him either to
speak or do anything unworthy of himself; for Caesar, as soon as
he saw him coming a good way before the rest of the company, went
forward to meet him, saluted him, and, leading the way, conversed
with him alone for some furlongs. And from that time on he
continued to treat him with honor and respect, so that, when
Cicero wrote an oration in praise of Cato, Caesar, in writing an
answer to it, took occasion to commend Cicero's own life and
eloquence, comparing him to Pericles and Teramenes. Cicero's
oration was called "Cato"; Caesar's, "Anti-Cato."

So also, it is related that when Quintus Ligarius was prosecuted
for having been in arms against Caesar, and Cicero had undertaken
his defence, Caesar said to his friends, "Ligarius, without
question, is a wicked man and an enemy. But why might we not as
well once more hear a speech from Cicero?" yet when Cicero began
to speak, he wonderfully moved him, and proceeded in his speech
with such varied pathos, and such a charm of language, that the
color of Caesar's countenance often changed, and it was evident
that all the passions of his soul were in commotion. And when at
length, the orator touched upon the Pharsalian battle, he was so
affected that his whole frame trembled and some of the papers he
held dropped out of his hands. And thus he was overpowered, and
acquitted Ligarius.

Henceforth, the commonwealth being changed into a monarchy, Cicero
withdrew himself from public affairs, and employed his leisure in
instructing those young men that wished, in philosophy; and by the
near intercourse he thus had with some of the noblest and highest
in rank, he again began to possess great influence in the city.
The work which he set himself to do was to compose and translate
philosophical dialogues and to render logical and physical terms
into the Roman idiom. For he it was, as it is said, who first or
principally gave Latin names to technical Greek terms, which,
either by metaphors or other means of accommodation, he succeeded
in making intelligible to the Romans. For his recreation, he
exercised his dexterity in poetry, and when he was set to it,
would make five hundred verses in a night. He spent the greatest
part of his time at his country-house near Tusculum.

He had a design, it is said, of writing the history of his
country, combining with it much of that of Greece, and
incorporating in it all the stories and legends of the past that
he had collected. But his purposes were interfered with by various
public and various private unhappy occurrences and misfortunes;
for most of which he was himself in fault. For first of all, he
put away his wife, Terentia, by whom he had been neglected in the
time of the war, and sent away destitute of necessaries for his
journey; neither did he find her kind when he returned into Italy,
for she did not join him at Brundusium, where he staid a long
time, and would not allow her young daughter, who undertook so
long a journey, decent attendance, or the requisite expenses;
besides, she left him a naked and empty house, and yet had
involved him in many and great debts. These were alleged as the
fairest reasons for the divorce. But Terentia, who denied them
all, had the most unmistakable defence furnished her by her
husband himself, who not long after married a young maiden for the
love of her beauty, as Terentia upbraided him; or as Tiro, his
emancipated slave, has written, for her riches, to discharge his
debts. For the young woman was very rich, and Cicero had the
custody of her estate, being left guardian in trust; and being in
debt many myriads of money, he was persuaded by his friends and
relations to marry her, notwithstanding their disparity of age,
and to use her money to satisfy his creditors. Antony, who
mentions this marriage in his answer to the Phillippics,
reproaches him for putting away a wife with whom he had lived to
old age; adding some happy strokes of sarcasm on Cicero's
domestic, inactive, unsoldier-like habits. Not long after this
marriage, his daughter died at Lentulus's house, to whom she had
been married after the death of Piso, her former husband. The
philosophers from all parts came to comfort Cicero; for his grief
was so excessive, that he put away his newly-married wife, because
she seemed to be pleased at the death of Tullia.

He had no concern in the design that was now forming to kill
Caesar, although, in general, he was Brutus's confidant.

But as soon as the act was committed by Brutus and Cassius, and
the friends of Caesar had assembled, so that there was danger of
another civil war, Antony, being consul, convened the senate, and
made a short address recommending concord. And Cicero, following
with various remarks such as the occasion called for, persuaded
the senate to imitate the Athenians, and decree an amnesty for
what had been done in Caesar's case, and to bestow provinces on
Brutus and Cassius. But neither of these things took effect. For
as soon as the common people, who were naturally inclined to pity,
saw the dead body of Caesar borne through the market-place, and
Antony showing his clothes stained with blood, and pierced through
in every part with swords, they were enraged to such a degree of
frenzy, that they made a search for the murderers, and with
firebrands in their hands ran to their houses to burn them.

Antony at this was in exultation, and every one was alarmed at the
prospect that he would make himself sole ruler, and Cicero more
than any one else. For Antony, seeing his influence reviving in
the commonwealth, and knowing how closely he was connected with
Brutus, was ill-pleased to have him in the city. Besides, there
had been some former jealousy between them, occasioned by the
difference of their manners. Cicero, fearing the event, was
inclined to go as lieutenant with Dolabella into Syria. But
Hirtius and Pansa, consuls-elect as successors of Antony, good men
and lovers of Cicero, entreated him not to leave them, undertaking
to put down Antony if he would stay in Rome. And he, neither
distrusting wholly, nor trusting them, let Dolabella go without
him, promising Hirtius that he would go and spend his summer at
Athens, and return again when he entered upon his office. So he
set out on his journey; but some delay occurring in his passage,
new intelligence, as often happens, came suddenly from Rome, that
Antony had made an astonishing change, and was managing the public
affairs in harmony with the will of the senate, and that there
wanted nothing but his presence to bring things to a happy
settlement. Therefore, blaming himself for his cowardice, he
returned to Rome, and was not deceived in his hopes at the
beginning. For such multitudes flocked out to meet him, that the
compliments and civilities which were paid him at the gates, and
at this entrance into the city, took up almost a whole day's time.

On the morrow, Antony convened the senate, and summoned Cicero
thither. But he kept his bed, pretending to be ill from his
journey; but the true reason seemed to be the fear of some design
against him, upon a suspicion and intimation given him on his way
to Rome. Antony, however, showed great offence at the affront, and
sent soldiers, commanding them to bring him or burn his house; but
many interceding and supplicating for him, he was contented to
accept sureties. Ever after when they met, they passed one another
in silence, and continued on their guard, till the younger Caesar
(Augustus), coming from Apollonia, entered on the first Caesar's
inheritance, and was engaged in a dispute with Antony about two
thousand five hundred myriads of money, which Antony detained from
the estate.

Upon this, Philippus, who married the mother, and Marcellus, who
married the sister of young Caesar, came with the young man to
Cicero, and agreed with him that Cicero should give them the aid
of his eloquence and political influence with the senate and
people, and Caesar give Cicero the defence of his riches and arms.
For the young man had already a great party of the soldiers of
Caesar about him. And Cicero's readiness to join him was founded,
it is said, on some yet stronger motives; for it seems, while
Pompey and Caesar were yet alive, Cicero, in his sleep, had
fancied himself engaged in calling some of the sons of the
senators into the capitol, Jupiter, according to the dream, being
about to declare one of them the chief ruler of Rome. The
citizens, running up with curiosity, stood about the temple, and
the youths, sitting in their purple-bordered robes, kept silence.
On a sudden the doors opened, and the youths, arising one by one
in order, passed round the god, who reviewed them all, and, to
their sorrow, dismissed them; but when this one was passing by,
the god stretched forth his right hand and said, "O ye Romans,
this young man, when he shall be lord of Rome, shall put an end to
all your civil wars." It is said that Cicero formed from his dream
a distinct image of the youth, and retained it afterwards
perfectly, but did not know who it was. The next day, going down
into the Campus Martius, he met the boys returning from their
gymnastic exercises, and the first was he, just as he had appeared
to him in his dream. Being astonished at it, he asked him who were
his parents. And it proved to be this young Caesar, whose father
was a man of no great eminence, Octavius, and his mother, Attia,
Caesar's sister's daughter; for which reason, Caesar, who had no
children, made him by will the heir of his house and property.
From that time, it is said that Cicero studiously noticed the
youth whenever he met him, and he as kindly received the civility;
and by fortune he happened to be born when Cicero was consul.

These were the reasons spoken of; but it was principally Cicero's
hatred of Antony, and a temper unable to resist honor, which
fastened him to Caesar, with the purpose of getting the support of
Caesar's power for his own public designs. For the young man went
so far in his court to him, that he called him Father; at which
Brutus was so highly displeased, that, in his epistles to Atticus
he reflected on Cicero saying, it was manifest, by his courting
Caesar for fear of Antony, he did not intend liberty to his
country, but an indulgent master to himself. Notwithstanding,
Brutus took Cicero's son, then studying philosophy at Athens, gave
him a command, and employed him in various ways, with a good
result. Cicero's own power at this time was at the greatest height
in the city, and he did whatsoever he pleased; he completely
overpowered and drove out Antony, and sent the two consuls,
Hirtius and Pansa, with an army, to reduce him; and, on the other
hand, persuaded the senate to allow Caesar the lictors and ensigns
of a praetor, as though he were his country's defender. But after
Antony was defeated in battle, and the two consuls slain, the
armies united, and ranged themselves with Caesar. And the senate,
fearing the young man, and his extraordinary fortune, endeavored
by honors and gifts, to call off the soldiers from him, and to
lessen his power; professing there was no further need of arms,
now Antony was put to flight.

This gave Caesar a fright, and he privately sent friends to
entreat Cicero to procure the consular dignity for them both
together; saying that he should manage the affair as he pleased,
should have the supreme power, and govern the young man who was
only desirous of name and glory.

And now, more than at any other time, Cicero let himself be
carried away and deceived, though an old man, by the persuasions
of a boy. He joined him in soliciting votes, and procured the
good-will of the senate, not without blame at the time on the part
of his friends; and he, too, soon enough after, saw that he had
ruined himself, and betrayed the liberty of his country. For the
young man, once established, and possessed of the office of
consul, bade Cicero farewell; and reconciling himself with Antony
and Lepidus, joined his power with theirs, and divided the
government, like a piece of property, with them. Thus united, they
made a schedule of above two hundred persons who were to be put to
death. But the greatest contention in all their debates was on the
question of Cicero's case. Antony would come to no conditions,
unless he should be the first man to be killed. Lepidus held with
Antony, and Caesar opposed them both. They met secretly and by
themselves, for three days together, near the town of Bononia. The
spot was not far from the camp, with a river surrounding it.
Caesar, it is said, contended earnestly for Cicero the first two
days; but on the third day he yielded, and gave him up. The terms
of their mutual concessions were these; that Caesar should desert
Cicero, Lepidus his brother Paulus, and Antony, Lucius Caesar, his
uncle by his mother's side. Thus they let their anger and fury
take from them the sense of humanity, and demonstrated that no
beast is more savage than man, when possessed with power
proportioned to his rage.

While these things were contriving, Cicero was with his brother at
his country-house near Tusculum; whence, hearing of the
proscriptions, they determined to pass to Astura, a villa of
Cicero's near the sea, and to take shipping from there for
Macedonia to Brutus, of whose strength in that province news had
already been heard. They traveled together in their separate
litters, overwhelmed with sorrow; and often stopping on the way
till their litters came together, condoled with one another. But
Quintus was the more disheartened, when he reflected on his want
of means for his journey; for, as he said, he had brought nothing
with him from home. And even Cicero himself had but a slender
provision. It was judged therefore most expedient that Cicero
should make what haste he could to fly, and Quintus return home to
provide necessaries, and thus resolved, they mutually embraced,
and parted with many tears.

Quintus, within a few days after, was betrayed by his servants to
those who came to search for him, and slain, together with his
young son. But Cicero was carried to Astura, where, finding a
vessel, he immediately went on board of her, and sailed as far as
Circaeum with a prosperous gale; but when the pilots resolved
immediately to set sail from there, whether he feared the sea, or
did not wholly lose faith in Caesar, he went on shore, and passed
by land a hundred furlongs, as if he was going to Rome. But losing
resolution and changing his mind, he again returned to the sea,
and there spent the night in fear and perplexity. Sometimes he
resolved to go into Caesar's house privately, and there kill
himself upon the altar of his household gods, to bring divine
vengeance upon him; but the fear of torture restrained him. And
after passing through a variety of confused and uncertain
counsels, at last he let his servants carry him by sea to Capitae,
where he had a house, an agreeable place to retire to in the heat
of summer, when the Etesian winds are so pleasant.

There was at that place a chapel of Apollo, not far from the sea-
side, from which a flight of crows rose with a great noise, and
made towards Cicero's vessel as it rowed to land, and lighting on
both sides of the yard, some croaked, others pecked the ends of
the ropes. This was looked upon by all as an evil omen; and,
therefore, Cicero went again ashore, and entering his house, lay
down upon his bed to compose himself at rest. Many of the crows
settled about the window, making a dismal cawing; but one of them
alighted upon the bed where Cicero lay covered up, and with its
bill, little by little pecked off the clothes from his face. His
servants, seeing this, blamed themselves that they should stay to
be spectators of their master's murder, and do nothing in his
defence, while the brute creatures came to assist and take care of
him in his undeserved affliction; and therefore, partly by
entreaty, partly by force, they took him up, and carried him in
his litter toward the sea-side.

But in the meantime the assassins had come with a band of
soldiers--Herennius, a centurion, and Popillius, a tribune, whom
Cicero had formerly defended when prosecuted for the murder of his
father. Finding the door shut, they broke them open, and when
Cicero did not appear and those within said they did not know
where he was, it is stated that a youth, who had been educated by
Cicero in the liberal arts and sciences, an emancipated slave of
his brother Quintus, Philologus by name, informed the tribune that
the litter was on its way to the sea through the close and shady
walks. The tribune, taking a few with him, ran to the place where
he was to come out. And Cicero, perceiving Herennius running in
the walks, commanded his servants to set down the litter; and
stroking his chin, as he used to do, with his left hand, he looked
steadfastly upon his murderers, his person covered with dust, his
beard and hair untrimmed, and his face worn with his troubles. So
that the greatest part of those that stood by covered their faces
whilst Herennius slew him. And thus was he murdered, stretching
forth his neck out of the litter, being now in his sixty-fourth
year. Herennius cut off his head, and, by Antony's command, his
hands also, by which his Philippics were written; for so Cicero
styled those orations he wrote against Antony, and so they are
called to this day.

When these members of Cicero were brought to Rome, Antony was
holding an assembly for the choice of public officers; and when he
heard it, and saw them, he cried out, "Now let there be an end of
our proscriptions." He commanded his head and hands to be fastened
up over the Rostra, where the orators spoke; a sight which the
Roman people shuddered to behold, and they believed they saw there
not the face of Cicero, but the image of Antony's own soul.

A long time after, Augustus, when visiting one of his daughter's
sons, found him with a book of Cicero's in his hand. The boy for
fear endeavored to hide it under his gown; but Caesar took it from
him, and turning over a great part of the book standing, gave it
to him again, and said, "My child, this was a learned man, and a
lover of his country." And immediately after he had vanquished
Antony, being then consul, he made Cicero's son his colleague in
the office; and, under that consulship, the senate took down all
the statues of Antony, and abolished all the other honors that had
been given him, and decreed that none of that family should
thereafter bear the name of Marcus; and thus the final acts of the
punishment of Antony were, by the divine powers, devolved upon the
family of Cicero.


These are the most memorable circumstances recorded in history of
Demosthenes and Cicero which have come to our knowledge. But,
omitting an exact comparison of their respective faculties in
speaking, yet this seems fit to be said: That Demosthenes, to make
himself a master in rhetoric, applied all the faculties he had,
natural or acquired, wholly that way; that he far surpassed in
force and strength of eloquence in political and judicial speaking
all his contemporaries, in grandeur and majesty all the
panegyrical orators, and in accuracy and science all the logicians
and rhetoricians of his day; that Cicero was highly educated, and
by his diligent study became a most accomplished general scholar
in all these branches, having left behind him numerous
philosophical treatises of his own on Academic principles; as,
indeed, even in his written speeches, both political and judicial,
we see him continually trying to show his learning by the way. And
one may discover the different temper of each of them in their
speeches. For Demosthenes's oratory was, without all embellishment
and jesting, wholly composed for real effect and seriousness; not
smelling of the lamp, as Pytheas scoffingly said, but of the
temperance, thoughtfulness, austerity, and grave earnestness of
his temper. Whereas, Cicero's love of mockery often ran him into
scurrility; and in his love of laughing away serious arguments in
judicial cases by jests and facetious remarks, with a view to the
advantage of his clients, he paid too little regard to what was
decent. We are told that Cicero, being consul, undertook the
defence of Murena against Cato's prosecution; and, by way of
bantering Cato, made a long series of jokes upon the absurd
paradoxes, as they are called, of the Stoic sect. When loud
laughter passed from the crowd to the judges, Cato, with a quiet
smile, said to those that sat next to him, "My friends, what an
amusing consul we have."

And, indeed, Cicero was by natural temper very much disposed to
mirth and pleasantry, and always appeared with a smiling and
serene countenance. But Demosthenes had constant care and
thoughtfulness in his look, and a serious anxiety which he seldom,
if ever, laid aside; and, therefore, was accounted by his enemies,
as he himself confessed, morose and ill-mannered.

Also, it is very evident, out of their several writings, that
Demosthenes never touched upon his own praises but decently and
without offence when there was need of it, and for some weightier
end. But Cicero's immeasurable boasting of himself in his orations
argues him guilty of an uncontrollable appetite for distinction,
his cry being evermore that "Arms should give place to the gown,
and the soldier's laurel to the tongue." And at last we find him
extolling not only his deeds and actions, but his orations, as
well those that were only spoken, as those that were published.

It is necessary for a political leader to be an able speaker; but
it is an ignoble thing for any man to admire the glory of his own
eloquence. And, in this matter, Demosthenes had a more than
ordinary gravity and magnificence of mind, for he considered his
talent in speaking nothing more than a mere accomplishment and
matter of practice, the success of which must depend greatly on
the good-will and candor of his hearers, and regarded those who
pride themselves on such accounts to be men of a low and petty

The power of persuading and governing the people did, indeed,
equally belong to both, so that those who had armies and camps at
command stood in need of their assistance; as Chares, Diopithes,
and Leosthenes did that of Demosthenes, and Pompey and young
Caesar of Cicero's, as the latter himself admits in his Memoirs
addressed to Agrippa and Maecenas. But what are thought and
commonly said most to demonstrate and try the tempers of men,
namely, authority and place, by moving every passion, and
discovering every frailty, these are things which Demosthenes
never received; nor was he ever in a position to give such proof
of himself, having never obtained any eminent office, nor led any
of those armies into the field against Philip which he raised by
his eloquence. Cicero, on the other hand, was sent quaestor into
Sicily, and proconsul into Cilicia and Cappadocia, at a time when
avarice was at the height, and the commanders and governors who
were employed abroad, as though they thought it a mean thing to
steal, set themselves to seize by open force; so that it seemed no
heinous matter to take bribes, but he that did it most moderately
was in good esteem. And yet he, at this time, gave the most
abundant proofs alike of his contempt of riches and of his
humanity and good-nature. And at Rome, when he was created consul
in name, but indeed received sovereign and dictatorial authority
against Catiline and his conspirators, he attested the truth of
Plato's prediction, that then only would the miseries of states be
at an end, when by a happy fortune supreme power, wisdom, and
justice should be united in one.

It is said, to the reproach of Demosthenes, that his eloquence was
mercenary; that he privately made orations for Phormion and
Apollodorus, though adversaries in the same cause; that he was
charged with moneys received from the king of Persia, and
condemned for bribes from Harpalus. And should we grant that all
those (and they are not few) who have made these statements
against him have spoken what is untrue, yet we cannot assert that
Demosthenes was not the character to look without desire on the
presents offered him out of respect and gratitude by royal
persons. But that Cicero refused, from the Sicilians when he was
quaestor, from the king of Cappadocia when he was proconsul, and
from his friends at Rome when he was in exile, many presents,
though urged to receive them, has been said already.

Moreover, Demosthenes's banishment was infamous, upon conviction
for bribery; Cicero's very honorable, for ridding his country of a
set of villains. Therefore, when Demosthenes fled from his
country, no man regarded it; for Cicero's sake the senate changed
their habit, and put on mourning, and would not be persuaded to
make any act before Cicero's return was decreed. Cicero, however,
passed his exile idly in Macedonia. But the very exile of
Demosthenes made up a great part of the services he did for his
country; for he went through the cities of Greece, and everywhere,
as we have said, joined in the conflict on behalf of the Greeks,
driving out the Macedonian ambassadors, and approving himself a
much better citizen than Themistocles and Alcibiades did in a
similar fortune. And, after his return, he again devoted himself
to the same public service, and continued firm in his opposition
to Antipater and the Macedonians. Whereas Laelius reproached
Cicero in the senate for sitting silent when Caesar, a beardless
youth, asked leave to come forward, contrary to the law, as a
candidate for the consulship; and Brutus, in his epistles, charges
him with nursing and rearing a greater and more heavy tyranny than
that they had removed.

Finally, Cicero's death excites our pity; for an old man to be
miserably carried up and down by his servants, flying and hiding
himself from that death which was, in the course of nature, so
near at hand; and yet at last to be murdered. Demosthenes, though
he seemed to supplicate a little at first, yet, by his preparing
and keeping the poison by him, demands our admiration; and still
more admirable was his using it. When the temple of the god no
longer afforded him a sanctuary, he took refuge, as it were, at a
mightier altar, freeing himself from arms and soldiers, and
laughing to scorn the cruelty of Antipater.


Alcibiades, it is supposed, was descended from Ajax, by his
father's side; and by his mother's side from Alcmaeon. Dinomache,
his mother, was the daughter of Megacles. His father (Clinias)
having fitted out a galley at his own expense, gained great honor
in the seafight at Artemisium, and was afterwards slain in the
battle of Coronea, fighting against the Boeotians. The friendship
which Socrates felt for him has much contributed to his fame; and
though we have no account from any writer concerning the mother of
Nicias or Demosthenes, of Lamachus or Phormion, of Thrasybulus or
Theramenes, notwithstanding these were all illustrious men of the
same period, yet we know even the nurse of Alcibiades, that her
country was Lacedaemon, and her name Amycla; and that Zopyrus was
his teacher and attendant; the one being recorded by Antisthenes,
and the other by Plato.

It is not, perhaps, material to say anything of the beauty of
Alcibiades, only that it bloomed with him in all the ages of his
life, in his infancy, in his youth, and in his manhood; and, in
the peculiar character becoming to each of these periods, gave
him, in every one of them a grace and a charm.
What Euripides says, that
"Of all fair things the autumn, too, is fair,"
is by no means universally true. But it happened so with
Alcibiades, amongst few others, by reason of his happy
constitution and natural vigor of body. It is said that his
lisping, when he spoke, became him well, and gave a grace and
persuasiveness to his rapid speech. Aristophanes takes notice of
it in the verses in which he jests at Theorus: "How like a colax
he is," says Alcibiades, meaning a corax*; on which it is
"How very happily he lisped the truth,"
(*This fashionable Attic lisp, or careless articulation, turned
the sound r into l. Colax, a flatterer; corax, a crow.)

His conduct displayed many inconsistencies, not unnaturally, in
accordance with the many wonderful vicissitudes of his fortunes;
but, among the many strong passions of his real character, the
most powerful of all was his ambition for superiority, which
appears in several anecdotes told of him while he was a child.
Once being hard pressed in wrestling, and fearing to be thrown, he
got the hand of his antagonist to his mouth, and bit it with all
his force; and when the other loosed his hold presently, and said,
"You bite, Alcibiades, like a woman." "No," replied he, "like a
lion." Another time, when playing at dice in the street, being
then only a child, a loaded cart came that way, just as it was his
turn to throw; at first he called to the driver to stop, because
he was about to throw in the way over which the cart would pass;
but when the man paid him no attention, and was driving on, the
rest of the boys divided and sprang away; but Alcibiades threw
himself on his face before the cart, and, stretching himself out,
bade the carter pass on now if we would. The man was so startled
that he put back his horses, while all that saw it were terrified,
and, crying out, ran to assist Alcibiades. When he began to study,
he obeyed all his other masters fairly well, but refused to learn
upon the flute, as a thing unbecoming a free citizen; saying that
to play upon the lute or the harp does not in any way disfigure a
man's body or face, but one is hardly to be known by his most
intimate friends, when playing on the flute. Besides, one who
plays on the harp may speak or sing at the same time; but the use
of the flute stops the mouth, intercepts the voice, and prevents
all articulation. "Therefore," said he, "let the Theban youths
pipe, who do not know how to speak, but we Athenians, as our
ancestors have told us, have Athena for our patroness, and Apollo
for our protector, one of whom threw away the flute, and the other
stripped the Flute-player of his skin." Thus, between raillery and
good earnest, Alcibiades kept not only himself but others from
learning, as it presently became the talk of the young boys, how
Alcibiades despised playing on the flute, and ridiculed those who
studied it. In consequence of which, it ceased to be reckoned
amongst the liberal accomplishments, and became generally

It was manifest that the many well-born persons who were
continually seeking his company, and making court to him, were
attracted and captivated by his extraordinary beauty only. But the
affection which Socrates entertained for him is a great evidence
of the natural noble qualities and good disposition of the boy,
which Socrates, detected under his personal beauty; and fearing
that his wealth and station, and the great number both of
strangers and Athenians who flattered and caressed him, might at
last corrupt him, resolved, if possible, to interpose, and
preserve so hopeful a plant from perishing in the flower, before
its fruit came to perfection. For never did fortune surround a man
with so many of those things which we vulgarly call goods, or so
protect him from every weapon of philosophy, and fence him from
every access of free and searching words, as she did Alcibiades;
who, from the beginning, was exposed to the flatteries of those
who sought merely his gratification, such as might well unnerve
him, and indispose him to listen to any real adviser or
instructor. Yet such was the happiness of his genius, that he
selected Socrates from the rest, and admitted him, while he drove
away the wealthy and the noble who made court to him. In a little
time, they grew intimate and Alcibiades, listening now to language
entirely free from every thought of unmanly fondness and silly
displays of affection, found himself with one who sought to la
open to him the deficiencies of his mind and repress his vain and
foolish arrogance, and
"Dropped like the craven cock his conquered wing."
He esteemed these endeavors of Socrates as most truly a means
which the gods made use of for the care and preservation of youth,
and it was a matter of general wonder, when people saw him joining
Socrates in his meals and his exercises, living with him in the
same tent, while he was reserved and rough to all others who made
their addresses to him.

He behaved in the same manner to all others who courted him,
except one stranger, who, as the story is told, having but a small
estate, sold it all for about a hundred staters, which he
presented to Alcibiades, and besought him to accept. Alcibiades,
smiling and well pleased at the thing, invited him to supper, and,
after a very kind entertainment, gave him his gold again,
requiring him, moreover, not to fail to be present the next day,
when the public revenue was offered to farm, and to outbid all
others. The man would have excused himself, because the contract
was so large, and would cost many talents; but Alcibiades, who at
that time a private pique against the existing farmers of the
revenue threatened to have him beaten if he refused. The next
morning, the stranger, coming to the market-place, offered a
talent more that the existing rate; upon which the farmers,
enraged and consulting together, called upon him to name his
sureties, concluding that he could find none. The poor man, being
startled at the proposal, began to retire; but ALCIBAIDES,
standing at a distance, cried out to the magistrates, "Set my name
down, he is a friend of mine; I will be security for him." When
the other bidders heard this, they perceived that all their
contrivance was defeated; for their way was, with the profits for
the second year to pay the rent for the year preceding; so that,
not seeing any other way to extricate themselves out of the
difficulty, they began to treat with the stranger, and offered him
a sum of money. Alcibiades would not suffer him to accept of less
than a talent; but when that was paid down, he commanded him to
relinquish the bargain, having by this device relieved his

Though Socrates had many power rivals, yet the natural good
qualities of Alcibiades gave his affection the mastery. His words
overcame him so much, as to draw tears from his eyes, and to
disturb his very soul. Yet sometimes he would abandon himself to
flatteries, when they proposed to him varieties of pleasure, and
would desert Socrates; who, then, would pursue him, as if he had
been a fugitive slave. He despised every one else, and had no
reverence or awe for any but him. But as iron which is softened by
the fire grows hard with the cold, and all its parts are closed
again; so, as often as Socrates observed Alcibiades to be misled
by luxury or pride he reduced and corrected him by his addresses,
and made him humble and modest, by showing him in how many things
he was deficient, and how very far from perfection in virtue.

When he was past his childhood, he went once to a grammar-school,
and asked the master for one of Homer's books; and when he made
answer that he had nothing of Homer's, Alcibiades gave him a blow
with his fist, and went away. Another schoolmaster telling him
that he had a copy of Homer corrected by himself; "Why?" said
Alcibiades, "do you employ your time in teaching children to read?
You, who are able to amend Homer, may well undertake to instruct

When he was very young, he was a soldier in the expedition against
Potidaea, where Socrates lodged in the same tent with him, and
stood next to him in battle. Once there happened a sharp skirmish,
in which they both behaved with signal bravery; but Alcibiades
receiving a wound, Socrates threw himself before him to defend
him, and beyond any question saved him and his arms from the
enemy, and so in all justice might have challenged the prize of
valor. But the generals appearing eager to adjudge the honor to
Alcibiades, because of his rank, Socrates, who desired to increase
his thirst after glory of a noble kind, was the first to give
evidence for him, and pressed them to crown, and to decree to him
the complete suit of armor. Afterwards, in the battle of Delium,
when the Athenians were routed and Socrates with a few others was
retreating on foot, Alcibiades, who was on horseback, observed it,
and would not pass on, but stayed to shelter him from the danger,
and brought him safely off, though the enemy pressed hard upon
them, and cut off many.

He gave a box on the ear to Hipponicus, the father of Callias,
whose birth and wealth made him a person of great influence and
repute. And this he did unprovoked by any passion or quarrel
between them, but only because, in a frolic, he had agreed with
his companions to do it. People were justly offended at this
insolence, when it became known through the city; but early the
next morning, Alcibiades went to his house and knocked at the
door, and, being admitted to him, took off his outer garment, and
presenting his naked body, desired him to scourge and chastise him
as he pleased. Upon this Hipponicus forgot all his resentment, and
not only pardoned him, but soon after gave him his daughter
Hipparete in marriage.

Alcibiades had a dog which cost him seventy minas, and was very
large and handsome. His tail, which was his principal ornament, he
caused to be cut off, and an acquaintance exclaiming at him for
it, and telling him that all Athens was sorry for the dog, and
cried out against him for this action, he laughed and said, "Just
what I wanted has happened, then, I wished the Athenians to talk
about this, that they might not say something worse of me."

It is said that the first time he came into the assembly was upon
occasion of a largess of money which he made to the people. This
was not done by design, but as he passed along he heard a shout,
and inquired the cause; and having learned that there was a gift-
making to the people, he went in among them and gave money also.
The multitude thereupon applauding him, and shouting, he was so
transported at it, that he forgot a quail which he had under his
robe, and the bird, being frightened at the noise,, flew off; upon
which the people made louder acclamations than before, and many of
them started up to pursue the bird; and Antiochus, a pilot, caught
it and restored it to him, for which he was ever after a favorite
with Alcibiades.

He had great advantages for entering public life; his noble birth,
his riches, the personal courage he had shown in divers battles,
and the multitude of his friends and dependents, threw open, so to
say, folding doors for his admittance. But he did not consent to
let his power with the people rest on any thing, rather than on
his own gift of eloquence. That he was a master in the art of
speaking, the comic poets bear him witness; and the most eloquent
of public speakers, in his oration against Midias, allows that
Alcibiades, among other perfections, was a most accomplished

His expenses in horses kept for the public games, and in the
number of his chariots, were matters of great observation; never
did any one but he, either private person king, send seven
chariots to the Olympic games. And to have carried away at once
the first, the second, and the fourth prize, as Thucydides says,
or the third, as Euripides relates it, outdoes every distinction
that was ever thought of in that kind.

The emulation displayed by the deputations of various states, in
the presents which they made to him, rendered this success yet
more illustrious. The Ephesians erected a tent for him, adorned
magnificently; the city of Chios furnished him with provender for
his horses and with great numbers of beasts for sacrifice; and the
Lesbians sent him wine and other provisions for the many
entertainments which he made.

As soon as he began to intermeddle in the government, which was
when he was very young, he quickly lessened the credit of all who
aspired to the confidence of the people, except Phaeax and Nicias,
who alone could contest with him. Nicias was arrived at a mature
age, and was esteemed their first general. Phaeax was but a rising
statesman like Alcibiades; he was descended from noble ancestors,
but was his inferior in many other things, but principally in

Alcibiades was not less disturbed at the distinction which Nicias
gained among the enemies of Athens, than at the honors which the
Athenians themselves paid to him. It was commonly said in Greece,
that the war in the Peloponnesus was begun by Pericles, and that
Nicias made an end of it, and the peace was generally called the
peace of Nicias. Alcibiades was extremely annoyed at this, and
being full of envy, set himself to break the league. First,
therefore observing that the Argives as well out of fear as hatred
to the Lacedaemonians, sought for protection against them, he gave
them a secret assurance of alliance with Athens. He exclaimed
fiercely against Nicias, and accused him of many things, which
seemed probable enough: as that, when he was general, he made no
attempt himself to capture their enemies that were shut up in the
isle of Sphacteria, but, when they were afterwards made prisoners
by others, he procured their release and sent them back to the
Lacedaemonians, only to get favor with them.

It happened, at the very time when Nicias was by these arts
brought into disgrace with the people, that ambassadors arrived
from Lacedaemon, who, at their first coming, said what seemed very
satisfactory, declaring that they had full powers to arrange all
matters in dispute upon fair and equal terms. The council received
their propositions, and the people was to assemble on the morrow
to give them audience. Alcibiades grew very apprehensive of this,
and contrived to gain a secret conference with the ambassadors.
When they were met, he said: "What is it you intend, you men of
Sparta? If you expect to obtain equal terms from the Athenians,
and would not have things extorted from you contrary to your
inclinations, begin to treat with he people upon some reasonable
articles, not avowing yourselves plenipotentiaries; and I will be
ready to assist you, out of good-will to the Lacedaemonians." When
he had said this, he gave them his oath for the performance of
what he promised, and by this way drew them from Nicias to rely
entirely upon himself, and left them full of admiration of the
discernment and sagacity they had seen in him. the next day, when
the people were assembled and the ambassadors introduced,
Alcibiades, with great apparent courtesy, demanded of them: With
what powers they had come? They made answer that they had not come
as plenipotentiaries.

Instantly upon that, Alcibiades, with a loud voice, as though he
had received and not done the wrong, began to call them dishonest
prevaricators, and to urge that such men could not possibly come
with a purpose to say or do anything that was sincere. The council
was incensed, the people were in a rage, and Nicias, who knew
nothing of the deceit and the imposture, was in the greatest
confusion, equally surprised and ashamed at such a change in the
men. so thus the Lacedaemonian ambassadors were utterly rejected,
and Alcibiades was declared general, who presently united the
Argives, the Eleans, and the people of Mantinea, into a
confederacy with the Athenians.

No man commended the method by which Alcibiades effected all this,
yet it was a great political feat thus to divide and shake almost
all Peloponnesus, and to combine so many men in arms against the
Lacedaemonians in one day before Mantinea; and, moreover, to
remove the war and the danger so far from the frontier of the
Athenians, that even success would profit the enemy but little,
should they be conquerors, whereas, if they were defeated, Sparta
itself was hardly safe.

But with all these words and deeds, and with all this sagacity and
eloquence, he intermingled exorbitant luxury and wantonness in his
eating and drinking and dissolute living; wore long purple robes
like a woman, which dragged after him as he went through the
market-place; caused the planks of his galley to be cut away, that
so he might lie the softer, his bed not being placed on the
boards, but hanging upon girths. His shield, again, which was
richly gilded, had not the usual ensigns of the Athenians, but a
Cupid, holding a thunderbolt in his hand, was painted upon it. The
sight of all this made the people of good repute in the city feel
disgust and abhorrence and apprehension also, at his free-living,
and his contempt of law, as things monstrous in themselves, and
indicating designs of usurpation. Aristophanes has well expressed
the people's feeling towards him:--

"They love, and hate, and cannot do without him."

And still more strongly, under a figurative expression,

"Best rear no lion in your state, 't is true;
But treat him like a lion if you do."

The truth is, his liberalities, his public shows, and other
munificence to the people, which were such as nothing could
exceed, the glory of his ancestors, the force of his eloquence,
the grace of his person, his strength of body, joined with his
great courage and knowledge in military affairs, prevailed upon
the Athenians to endure patiently his excesses, to indulge him in
many things, and, according to their habit, to give the softest
names to his faults, attributing them to youth and good nature.
As, for example, he kept Agatharcus, the painter, a prisoner till
he had painted his whole house, but then dismissed him with a
reward. He publicly struck Taureas, who exhibited certain shows in
opposition to him, and contended with him for the prize. When
Aristophon, the artist, had drawn Nemea sitting and holding
Alcibiades in her arms, the multitude seemed pleased with the
piece, and thronged to see it, but elder people did not relish it,
but looked on these things as enormities, and movements toward
tyranny. So that it was not said amiss by Archestratus, that
Greece could not support a second Alcibiades. Once, when
Alcibiades succeeded well in an oration which he made, and the
whole assembly attended upon him to do him honor, Timon, the
misanthrope, did not pass slightly by him, nor avoid him, as he
did others, but purposely met him, and, taking him by the hand,
said, "Go on boldly, my son, and increase in credit with the
people, for thou wilt one day bring them calamities enough." Some
that were present laughed at the saying, and some reviled Timon;
but there were others upon whom it made a deep impression.

The Athenians, even in the lifetime of Pericles, had already cast
a longing eye upon Sicily; but did not attempt any thing till
after his death. Then, under pretence of aiding their
confederates, they sent succor upon all occasions to those who
were oppressed by the Syracusans, preparing the way for sending
over a greater force. But Alcibiades was the person who inflamed
this desire of theirs to the height, and prevailed with them no
longer to proceed secretly, and little by little, in their design,
but to sail out with a great fleet, and undertake at once to make
themselves masters of the island. He possessed the people with
great hopes, and he himself entertained yet greater; and the
conquest of Sicily, which was the utmost bound of their ambition,
was but the mere outset of his expectation. Nicias endeavored to
divert the people from the expedition, by representing to them
that the taking of Syracuse would be a work of great difficulty;
but Alcibiades dreamed of nothing less than the conquest of
Carthage and Libya and by the accession of these conceiving
himself at once made master of Italy and of Peloponnesus, seemed
to look upon Sicily as little more than a magazine for the war.
The young men were soon elevated with these hopes, and listened
gladly to those of riper years, who talked wonders of the
countries they were going to; so that you might see great numbers
sitting in the wrestling grounds and public places, drawing on the
ground the figure of the island and the situation of Libya and

Together with Alcibiades, Nicias, much against his will, was
appointed general: and he endeavored to avoid the command, not the
less on account of his colleague. But the Athenians thought the
war would proceed more prosperously, if they did not send
Alcibiades free from all restraint, but tempered his heat with the
caution of Nicias. This they chose the rather to do, because
Lamachus, the third general, though he was of mature years, yet in
several battles had appeared no less hot and rash than Alcibiades
When all things were fitted for the voyage, many unlucky omens
appeared. The mutilation of the images of Mercury, most of which,
in one night, had their faces all disfigured, terrified many
persons who were wont to despise most things of that nature. Alike
enraged and terrified at the thing, looking upon it to proceed
from a conspiracy of persons who designed some commotions in the
state, the council, as well as the assembly of the people, which
was held frequently in a few days' space, examined diligently
every thing that might administer ground for suspicion. During
this examination, Androcles, one of the demagogues, produced
slaves and strangers before them, who accused Alcibiades and some
of his friends of defacing other images in the same manner, and of
having profanely acted the sacred mysteries at a drunken meeting.
The people were highly exasperated and incensed against Alcibiades
upon this accusation. But when they perceived that all the seamen
designed for Sicily were for him, and the soldiers declared that
they had undertaken this distant maritime expedition for the sake
of Alcibiades, and that, if he was ill-used, they would all go
home; they let him set sail at once, and decided that when the war
should be at an end, he might then in person make his defence
according to the laws.

Alcibiades perceived the malice of this postponement, and,
appearing in the assembly, represented that it was monstrous for
him to be sent with the command of so large an army, when he lay
under such accusations and calumnies. But he could not prevail
with the people, who commanded him to sail immediately. So he
departed, together with the other generals, having with them near
140 galleys, 5,100 men at arms, and about 1,300 archers, slingers,
and light-armed men, and all the other provisions corresponding.

Arriving on the coast of Italy, he landed at Rhegium, and there
stated his views of the manner in which they ought to conduct the
war. He was opposed by Nicias; but Lamachus being of his opinion,
they sailed for Sicily forthwith, and took Catana. This was all
that was done while he was there, for he was soon after recalled
by the Athenians to abide his trial. At first, as we before said,
there were only some slight suspicions advanced against
Alcibiades. But afterwards, in his absence, his enemies attacked
him more violently, and confounded together the breaking the
images with the profanation of the mysteries, as though both had
been committed in pursuance of the same conspiracy for changing
the government. The truth is, his accusers alleged nothing against
him which could be positively proved. One of them, being asked how
he knew the men who defaced the images, replied, that he saw them
by the light of the moon, making a palpable misstatement, for it
was just new moon when the act was committed. This made all men of
understanding cry out upon the thing; but the people were as eager
as ever to receive further accusations. And, in conclusion, they
sent the galley named the Salaminian to recall Alcibiades. But
they expressly commanded those that were sent, to use no violence,
nor seize upon his person, but address themselves to him in the
mildest terms, requiring him to follow them to Athens in order to
abide his trial, and clear himself before the people. For they
feared mutiny and sedition in the army in an enemy's country,
which indeed it would have been easy for Alcibiades to effect, if
he had wished it. For the soldiers were dispirited upon his
departure, expecting for the future tedious delays, and that the
war would be drawn out into a lazy length by Nicias, when
Alcibiades, who was the spur to action, was taken away. For though
Lamachus was a soldier, and a man of courage, poverty deprived him
of authority and respect in the army. Alcibiades, just upon his
departure, prevented Messena from falling into the hands of the
Athenians. There were some in that city who were upon the point of
delivering it up, but he, knowing the persons, gave information to
some friends of the Syracusans, and so defeated the whole
contrivance. When he arrived at Thurii, he went on shore, and
concealing himself there, escaped those who searched after him.
But to one who knew him, and asked him if he durst not trust his
own native country, he made answer, "In every thing else, yes; but
in a matter that touches my life, I would not even my own mother,
lest she might by mistake throw in the black ball instead of the
white." When, afterwards, he was told that the assembly had
pronounced judgment of death against him, all he said was "I will
make them feel that I am alive."

The information against him was framed in this form:--
"Thessalus lays information that Alcibiades has committed a crime
against the goddesses Ceres and Proserpine, by representing in
derision the holy mysteries, and showing them to his companions in
his own house."

He was condemned as contumacious upon his not appearing, his
property confiscated, and it was decreed that all the priests and
priestesses should solemnly curse him.

Alcibiades, lying under these heavy decrees and sentences, when he
fled from Thurii, passed over into Peloponnesus, and remained some
time at Argos. But being there in fear of his enemies and seeing
himself utterly hopeless of return to his native country, he sent
to Sparta, desiring safe conduct, and assuring them that he would
make them amends by his future services for all the mischief he
had done them while he was their enemy. The Spartans giving him
the security he desired, he went eagerly, was well received, and,
at his very first coming, succeeded in inducing them, without any
further caution or delay, to send aid to the Syracusans; and so
roused and excited them, that they forthwith despatched Gylippus
into Sicily, to crush the forces which the Athenians had in
Sicily. A second point was, to renew the war upon the Athenians at
home. But the third thing, and the most important of all, was to
make them fortify Decelea, which above everything reduced and
wasted the resources of the Athenians.

The renown which he earned by these public services was equaled by
the admiration he attracted to his private life; he captivated and
won over everybody by his conformity to Spartan habits. People who
saw him wearing his hair close cut, bathing in cold water, eating
coarse meal, and dining on black broth, doubted, or rather could
not believe, that he ever had a cook in his house, or had ever
seen a perfumer, or had worn a mantle of Milesian purple. For he
had, as it was observed, this peculiar talent for gaining men's
affections, that he could at once comply with and really enter
into their habits and ways of life, and change faster than the
chameleon. One color, indeed, they say the chameleon cannot
assume; it cannot make itself appear white; but Alcibiades,
whether with good men or with bad, could adapt himself to his
company, and equally wear the appearance of virtue or vice. At
Sparta, he was devoted to athletic exercises, was frugal and
reserved; in Ionia, luxurious, gay, and indolent; in Thrace,
always drinking; in Thessaly, ever on horseback; and when he lived
with Tissaphernes, the Persian satrap, he exceeded the Persians,
themselves in magnificence and pomp. Not that his natural
disposition changed so easily, nor that his real character was so
very variable, but whenever he was sensible that by pursuing his
own inclinations he might give offence to those with whom he had
occasion to converse, he transformed himself into any shape and
adopted any fashion, that he observed to be most agreeable to
them. So that to have seen him at Lacedaemon, a man, judging by
the outward appearance, would have said, "'T is not Achilles' son,
but he himself, the very man" that Lycurgus designed to form.

After the defeat which the Athenians received in Sicily,
ambassadors were despatched to Sparta at once from Chios and
Lesbos and Cyzicus, to signify their purpose of revolting from the
Athenians. But the Lacedaemonians, at the persuasion of
Alcibiades, chose to assist Chios before all others. He himself,
also, went instantly to sea, procured the immediate revolt of
almost all Ionia, and, co-operating with the Lacedaemonian
generals, did great mischief to the Athenians. But King Agis was
his enemy, and impatient of his glory, as almost every enterprise
and every success was ascribed to Alcibiades. Others, also, of the
most powerful and ambitious amongst the Spartans, were possessed
with jealousy of him, and, at last, prevailed with the magistrates
in the city to send orders into Ionia that he should be killed.
Alcibiades, however, had secret intelligence of this, and, in
apprehension of the result, while he communicated all affairs to
the Lacedaemonians, yet took care not to put himself into their
power. At last he retired to Tissaphernes, the satrap of the king
of Persia, for his security, and immediately became the first and
most influential person about him. For this barbarian, not being
himself sincere, but a lover of guile and wickedness, admired his
address and wonderful subtlety. And, indeed, the charm of daily
intercourse with him was more than any character could resist or
any disposition escape. Even those who feared and envied him could
not but have a sort of kindness for him, when they saw him and
were in his company. So that Tissaphernes, otherwise a cruel
character, and, above all other Persians, a hater of the Greeks,
was yet so won by the flatteries of Alcibiades, that he set
himself even to exceed him in responding to them.
The most beautiful of his parks, containing salubrious streams and
meadows, where he had built pavilions, and places of retirement
royally and exquisitely adorned, received by his direction the
name of Alcibiades, and was always so called and so spoken of.

Thus Alcibiades, quitting the interests of the Spartans, whom he
could no longer trust, because he stood in fear of Agis,
endeavored to do them ill offices, and render them odious to
Tissaphernes, who, by his means, was hindered from assisting them
vigorously, and from finally ruining the Athenians. For his advice
was to furnish them but sparingly with money, and so wear them
out, and consume them insensibly; when they had wasted their
strength upon one another, they would both become ready to submit
to the king.

At that time the whole strength of the Athenians was in Samos.
Their fleet maintained itself here, and issued from these head-
quarters to reduce such as had revolted, and protect the rest of
their territories; in one way or other still contriving to be a
match for their enemies at sea. What they stood in fear of, was


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