If it be true, Sosius Senecio, that, as Simonides tells us,
"Of the Corinthians Troy does not complain"
for having taken part with the Achaeans in the siege, because the Trojans also had Corinthians (Glaucus, who sprang from Corinth,) fighting bravely on their side, so also it may be fairly said that neither Romans nor Greeks can quarrel with the Academy, each nation being equally represented in the following pair of lives, which will give an account of Brutus and of Dion, -- Dion, who was Plato's own hearer, and Brutus, who was brought up in his philosophy. They came from one and the selfsame school, where they had been trained alike, to run the race of honor; nor need we wonder that in the performance of actions often most nearly allied and akin, they both bore evidence to the truth of what their guide and teacher had said, that, without the concurrence of power and success with justice and prudence, public actions do not attain their proper, great, and noble character. For as Hippomachus the wrestling-master affirmed, he could distinguish his scholars at a distance. though they were but carrying meat from the shambles, so it is very probable that the principles of those who have had the same good education should appear with a resemblance in all their actions, creating in them a certain harmony and proportion, at once agreeable and becoming.
We may also draw a close parallel of the lives of the two men from their fortunes, wherein chance, even more than their own designs, made them nearly alike. For they were both cut off by an untimely death, not being able to accomplish those ends which through many risks and difficulties they aimed at. But, above all, this is most wonderful; that by preternatural interposition both of them had notice given of their approaching death by an unpropitious form, which visibly appeared to them. Although there are people who utterly deny any such thing, and say that no man in his right senses ever yet saw any supernatural phantom or apparition, but that children only, and silly women, or men disordered by sickness, in some aberration of the mind or distemperature of the body, have had empty and extravagant imaginations, whilst the real evil genius, superstition, was in themselves. Yet if Dion and Brutus, men of solid understanding, and philosophers, not to be easily deluded by fancy or discomposed by any sudden apprehension, were thus affected by visions, that they forthwith declared to their friends what they had seen, I know not how we can avoid admitting again the utterly exploded opinion of the oldest times, that evil and beguiling spirits, out of an envy to good men, and a desire of impeding their good deeds, make efforts to excite in them feelings of terror and distraction, to make them shake and totter in their virtue, lest by a steady and unbiased perseverance they should obtain a happier condition than these beings after death. But I shall leave these things for another opportunity, and, in this twelfth book of the lives of great men compared one with another, begin with his who was the elder.
Dionysius the First, having possessed himself of the government, at once took to wife the daughter of Hermocrates, the Syracusan. She, in an outbreak which the citizens made before the new power was well settled, was abused in such a barbarous and outrageous manner, that for shame she put an end to her own life. But Dionysius, when he was reestablished and confirmed in his supremacy, married two wives together, one named Doris, of Locri, the other, Aristomache, a native of Sicily, and daughter of Hipparinus, a man of the first quality in Syracuse, and colleague with Dionysius when he was first chosen general with unlimited powers for the war. It is said he married them both in one day, and no one ever knew which of the two he first made his wife; and ever after he divided his kindness equally between them, both accompanying him together at his table, and in his bed by turns. Indeed, the Syracusans were urgent that their own countrywoman might be preferred before the stranger; but Doris, to compensate for her foreign extraction; had the good fortune to be the mother of the son and heir of the family, whilst Aristomache continued a long time without issue, though Dionysius was very desirous to have children by her, and, indeed, caused Doris's mother to be put to death, laying to her charge that she had given drugs to Aristomache, to prevent her being with child.
Dion, Aristomache's brother, at first found an honorable reception for his sister's sake; but his own worth and parts soon procured him a nearer place in his brother-in-law's affection, who, among other favors, gave special command to his treasurers to furnish Dion with whatever money he demanded, only telling him on the same day what they had delivered out. Now, though Dion was before reputed a person of lofty character; of a noble mind, and daring courage, yet these excellent qualifications all received a great development from the happy chance which conducted Plato into Sicily; not assuredly by any human device or calculation, but some supernatural power, designing that this remote cause should hereafter occasion the recovery of the Sicilians' lost liberty and the subversion of the tyrannical government, brought the philosopher out of Italy to Syracuse, and made acquaintance between him and Dion. Dion was, indeed, at this time extremely young in years, but of all the scholars that attended Plato he was the quickest and aptest to learn, and the most prompt and eager to practice, the lessons of virtue, as Plato himself reports of him, and his own actions sufficiently testify. For though he had been bred up under a tyrant in habits of submission, accustomed to a life, on the one hand of servility and intimidation, and yet on the other of vulgar display and luxury, the mistaken happiness of people that knew no better thing than pleasure and self-indulgence, yet, at the first taste of reason and a philosophy that demands obedience to virtue, his soul was set in a flame, and in the simple innocence of youth, concluding, from his own disposition, that the same reasons would work the same effects upon Dionysius, he made it his business, and at length obtained the favor of him, at a leisure hour, to hear Plato.
At this their meeting, the subject-matter of their discourse in general was human virtue, but, more particularly, they disputed concerning fortitude, which Plato proved tyrants, of all men, had the least pretense to; and thence proceeding to treat of justice, asserted the happy estate of the just, and the miserable condition of the unjust; arguments which Dionysius would not hear out, but, feeling himself, as it were, convicted by his words, and much displeased to see the rest of the auditors full of admiration for the speaker and captivated with his doctrine, at last, exceedingly exasperated, he asked the philosopher in a rage, what business he had in Sicily. To which Plato answered, "I came to seek a virtuous man." "It seems then," replied Dionysius, "you have lost your labor." Dion, supposing, that this was all, and that nothing further could come of his anger, at Plato's request, conveyed him aboard a galley, which was conveying Pollis, the Spartan, into Greece. But Dionysius privately dealt with Pollis, by all means to kill Plato in the voyage; if not, to be sure to sell him for a slave: he would, of course, take no harm of it, being the same just man as before; he would enjoy that happiness, though he lost his liberty. Pollis, therefore, it is stated, carried Plato to Aegina, and there sold him; the Aeginetans, then at war with Athens, having made a decree that whatever Athenian was taken on their coasts should forthwith be exposed to sale. Notwithstanding, Dion was not in less favor and credit with Dionysius than formerly, but was entrusted with the most considerable employments, and sent on important embassies to Carthage, in the management of which he gained very great reputation. Besides, the usurper bore with the liberty he took to speak his mind freely, he being the only man who upon any occasion durst boldly say what he thought, as, for example, in the rebuke he gave him about Gelon. Dionysius was ridiculing Gelon's government, and, alluding to his name, said, he had been the laughing-stock of Sicily. While others seemed to admire and applaud the quibble, Dion very warmly replied, "Nevertheless, it is certain that you are sole governor here, because you were trusted for Gelon's sake; but for your sake no man will ever hereafter be trusted again." For, indeed, Gelon had made a monarchy appear the best, whereas Dionysius had convinced men that it was the worst, of governments.
Dionysius had three children by Doris, and by Aristomache four, two of which were daughters, Sophrosyne and Arete. Sophrosyne was married to his son Dionysius; Arete, to his brother Thearides, after whose death, Dion received his niece Arete to wife. Now when Dionysius was sick and like to die, Dion endeavored to speak with him in behalf of the children he had by Aristomache, but was still prevented by the physicians, who wanted to ingratiate themselves with the next successor, who also, as Timaeus reports, gave him a sleeping potion which he asked for, which produced an insensibility only followed by his death.
Nevertheless, at the first council which the young Dionysius held with his friends, Dion discoursed so well of the present state of affairs, that he made all the rest appear in their politics but children, and in their votes rather slaves than counselors, who timorously and disingenuously advised what would please the young man, rather than what would advance his interest. But that which startled them most was the proposal he made to avert the imminent danger they feared of a war with the Carthaginians, undertaking, if Dionysius wanted peace, to sail immediately over into Africa, and conclude it there upon honorable terms; but, if he rather preferred war, then he would fit out and maintain at his own cost and charges fifty galleys ready for the service.
Dionysius wondered much at his greatness of mind, and received his offer with satisfaction. But the other courtiers, thinking his generosity reflected upon them, and jealous of being lessened by his greatness, from hence took all occasions by private slanders to render him obnoxious to the young man's displeasure; as if he designed by his power at sea to surprise the government, and by the help of those naval forces confer the supreme authority upon his sister Aristomache's children. But, indeed, the most apparent and the strongest grounds for dislike and hostility existed already in the difference of his habits, and his reserved and separate way of living. For they, who, from the beginning, by flatteries and all unworthy artifices, courted the favor and familiarity of the prince, youthful and voluptuously bred, ministered to his pleasures, and sought how to find him daily some new amours and occupy him in vain amusements, with wine or with women, and in other dissipations; by which means, the tyranny, like iron softened in the fire, seemed, indeed, to the subject to be more moderate and gentle, and to abate somewhat of its extreme severity; the edge of it being blunted, not by the clemency, but rather the sloth and degeneracy of the sovereign, whose dissoluteness, gaining ground daily, and growing upon him, soon weakened and broke those "adamantine chains," with which his father, Dionysius, said he had left the monarchy fastened and secured. It is reported of him, that, having begun a drunken debauch, he continued it ninety days without intermission; in all which time no person on business was allowed to appear, nor was any serious conversation heard at court, but drinking, singing, dancing. and buffoonery reigned there without control.
It is likely then they had little kindness for Dion, who never indulged himself in any youthful pleasure or diversion. And so his very virtues were the matter of their calumnies, and were represented under one or other plausible name as vices; they called his gravity pride, his plain-dealing self-will, the good advice he gave was all construed into reprimand, and he was censured for neglecting and scorning those in whose misdemeanors he declined to participate. And to say the truth, there was in his natural character something stately, austere, reserved, and unsociable in conversation, which made his company unpleasant and disagreeable not only to the young tyrant, whose ears had been corrupted by flatteries; many also of Dion's own intimate friends, though they loved the integrity and generosity of his temper, yet blamed his manner, and thought he treated those with whom he had to do, less courteously and affably than became a man engaged in civil business. Of which Plato also afterwards wrote to him; and, as it were, prophetically advised him carefully to avoid an arbitrary temper, whose proper helpmate was a solitary life. And, indeed, at this very time, though circumstances made him so important, and, in the danger of the tottering government, he was recognized as the only or the ablest support of it, yet he well understood that he owed not his high position to any good-will or kindness, but to the mere necessities of the usurper.
And, supposing the cause of this to be ignorance and want of education, he endeavored to induce the young man into a course of liberal studies, and to give him some knowledge of moral truths and reasonings, hoping he might thus lose his fear of virtuous living, and learn to take pleasure in laudable actions. Dionysius, in his own nature, was not one of the worst kind of tyrants, but his father, fearing that if he should come to understand himself better, and converse with wise and reasonable men, he might enter into some design against him, and dispossess him of his power, kept him closely shut up at home; where, for want of other company, and ignorant how to spend his time better, he busied himself in making little chariots, candlesticks, stools, tables, and other things of wood. For the elder Dionysius was so diffident and suspicious, and so continually on his guard against all men, that he would not so much as let his hair be trimmed with any barber's or hair-cutter's instruments, but made one of his artificers singe him with a live coal. Neither were his brother or his son allowed to come into his apartment in the dress they wore, but they, as all others, were stripped to their skins by some of the guard, and, after being seen naked, put on other clothes before they were admitted into the presence. When his brother Leptines was once describing the situation of a place, and took a javelin from one of the guard to draw the plan of it, he was extremely angry with him, and had the soldier who gave him the weapon put to death. He declared, the more judicious his friends were, the more he suspected them; because he knew, that were it in their choice, they would rather be tyrants themselves than the subjects of a tyrant. He slew Marsyas, one of his captains whom he had preferred to a considerable command, for dreaming that he killed him: without some previous waking thought and purpose of the kind, he could not, he supposed, have had that fancy in his sleep. So timorous was he, and so miserable a slave to his fears, yet very angry with Plato, because he would not allow him to be the valiantest man alive.
Dion, as we said before, seeing the son thus deformed and spoilt in character for want of teaching, exhorted him to study, and to use all his entreaties to persuade Plato, the first of philosophers, to visit him in Sicily, and; when he came, to submit himself to his direction and advice: by whose instructions he might conform his nature to the truths of virtue, and, living after the likeness of the Divine and glorious Model of Being, out of obedience to whose control the general confusion is changed into the beautiful order of the universe, so he in like manner might be the cause of great happiness to himself and to all his subjects, who, obliged by his justice and moderation, would then willingly pay him obedience as their father, which now grudgingly, and upon necessity, they are forced to yield him as their master. Their usurping tyrant he would then no longer be, but their lawful king. For fear and force, a great navy and standing army of ten thousand hired barbarians are not, as his father had said, the adamantine chains which secure the regal power, but the love, zeal, and affection inspired by clemency and justice; which, though they seem more pliant than the stiff and hard bonds of severity, are nevertheless the strongest and most durable ties to sustain a lasting government. Moreover, it is mean and dishonorable that a ruler, while careful to be splendid in his dress, and luxurious and magnificent in his habitation, should, in reason and power of speech, make no better show than the commonest of his subjects, nor have the princely palace of his mind adorned according to his royal dignity.
Dion frequently entertaining the king upon this subject, and, as occasion offered, repeating some of the philosopher's sayings, Dionysius grew impatiently desirous to have Plato's company, and to hear him discourse. Forthwith, therefore, he sent letter upon letter to him to Athens, to which Dion added his entreaties; also several philosophers of the Pythagorean sect from Italy sent their recommendations, urging him to come and obtain a hold upon this pliant, youthful soul, which his solid and weighty reasonings might steady, as it were, upon the seas of absolute power and authority. Plato, as he tells us himself, out of shame more than any other feeling, lest it should seem that he was all mere theory, and that of his own good-will he would never venture into action, hoping withal, that if he could work a cure upon one man, the head and guide of the rest, he might remedy the distempers of the whole island of Sicily, yielded to their requests.
But Dion's enemies, fearing an alteration in Dionysius, persuaded him to recall from banishment Philistus, a man of learned education, and at the same time of great experience in the ways of tyrants, and who might serve as a counterpoise to Plato and his philosophy. For Philistus from the beginning had been a great instrument in establishing the tyranny, and for a long time had held the office of captain of the citadel. There was a report, that he had been intimate with the mother of Dionysius the first, and not without his privity. And when Leptines, having two daughters by a married woman whom he had debauched, gave one of them in marriage to Philistus, without acquainting Dionysius, he, in great anger, put Leptines's mistress in prison, and banished Philistus from Sicily. Whereupon, he fled to some of his friends on the Adriatic coast, in which retirement and leisure it is probable he wrote the greatest part of his history; for he returned not into his country during the reign of that Dionysius.
But after his death, as is just related, Dion's enemies occasioned him to be recalled home, as fitter for their purpose, and a firm friend to the arbitrary government. And this, indeed, immediately upon his return he set himself to maintain; and at the same time various calumnies and accusations against Dion were by others brought to the king: as that he held correspondence with Theodotes and Heraclides, to subvert the government; as, doubtless, it is likely enough, that Dion had entertained hopes, by the coming of Plato, to mitigate the rigid and despotic severity of the tyranny, and to give Dionysius the character of a fair and lawful governor; and had determined, if he should continue averse to that, and were not to be reclaimed, to depose him, and restore the commonwealth to the Syracusans; not that he approved a democratic government, but thought it altogether preferable to a tyranny, when a sound and good aristocracy could not be procured.
This was the state of affairs when Plato came into Sicily, who, at his first arrival, was received with wonderful demonstration of kindness and respect. For one of the royal chariots, richly ornamented, was in attendance to receive him when he came on shore; Dionysius himself sacrificed to the gods in thankful acknowledgment for the great happiness which had befallen his government. The citizens, also, began to entertain marvelous hopes of a speedy reformation, when they observed the modesty which now ruled in the banquets, and the general decorum which prevailed in all the court, their tyrant himself also behaving with gentleness and humanity in all their matters of business that came before him. There was a general passion for reasoning: and philosophy, insomuch that the very palace, it is reported, was filled with dust by the concourse of the students in mathematics who were working their problems there. Some few days after, it was the time of one of the Syracusan sacrifices, and when the priest, as he was wont, prayed for the long and safe continuance of the tyranny, Dionysius, it is said, as he stood by, cried out, "Leave off praying for evil upon us." This sensibly vexed Philistus and his party, who conjectured, that if Plato, upon such brief acquaintance, had so far transformed and altered the young man's mind, longer converse and greater intimacy would give him such influence and authority, that it would he impossible to withstand him.
Therefore, no longer privately and apart, but jointly and in public, all of them, they began to slander Dion, noising it about that he had charmed and bewitched Dionysius by Plato's sophistry, to the end that when he was persuaded voluntarily to part with his power, and lay down his authority, Dion might take it up, and settle it upon his sister Aristomache's children. Others professed to be indignant that the Athenians, who formerly had come to Sicily with a great fleet and a numerous land-army, and perished miserably without being able to take the city of Syracuse, should now, by means of one sophister, overturn the sovereignty of Dionysius; inveigling him to cashier his guard of ten thousand lances, dismiss a navy of four hundred galleys, disband an army of ten thousand horse and many times over that number of foot, and go seek in the schools an unknown and imaginary bliss, and learn by the mathematics how to be happy; while, in the meantime, the substantial enjoyments of absolute power, riches, and pleasure would be handed over to Dion and his sister's children.
By these means, Dion began to incur at first suspicion, and by degrees more apparent displeasure and hostility. A letter, also, was intercepted and brought to the young prince, which Dion had written to the Carthaginian agents, advising them, that, when they treated with Dionysius concerning the peace, they should not come to their audience without communicating with him: they would not fail to obtain by this means all that they wanted. When Dionysius had shown this to Philistus, and consulted with him, as Timaeus relates, about it, he overreached Dion by a feigned reconciliation, professing, after some fair and reasonable expression of his feelings, that he was at friends with him, and thus, leading him alone to the sea-side, under the castle wall, he showed him the letter, and taxed him with conspiring with the Carthaginians against him. And when Dion essayed to speak in his own defense, Dionysius suffered him not; but immediately forced him aboard a boat, which lay there for that purpose, and commanded the sailors to set him ashore on the coast of Italy.
When this was publicly known, and was thought very hard usage, there was much lamentation in the tyrant's own household on account of the women, but the citizens of Syracuse encouraged themselves, expecting that for his sake some disturbance would ensue; which, together with the mistrust others would now feel, might occasion a general change and revolution in the state. Dionysius, seeing this, took alarm, and endeavored to pacify the women and others of Dion's kindred and friends; assuring them that he had not banished, but only sent him out of the way for a time, for fear of his own passion, which might be provoked some day by Dion's self-will into some act which he should be sorry for. He gave also two ships to his relations, with liberty to send into Peloponnesus for him whatever of his property or servants they thought fit.
Dion was very rich, and had his house furnished with little less than royal splendor and magnificence. These valuables his friends packed up and conveyed to him, besides many rich presents which were sent him by the women and his adherents. So that, so far as wealth and riches went, he made a noble appearance among the Greeks, and they might judge, by the affluence of the exile, what was the power of the tyrant.
Dionysius immediately removed Plato into the castle, designing, under color of an honorable and kind reception, to set a guard upon him, lest he should follow Dion, and declare to the world in his behalf, how injuriously he had been dealt with. And, moreover, time and conversation (as wild beasts by use grow tame and tractable) had brought Dionysius to endure Plato's company and discourse, so that he began to love the philosopher, but with such an affection as had something of the tyrant in it, requiring of Plato that he should, in return of his kindness, love him only, and attend to him above all other men; being ready to permit to his care the chief management of affairs, and even the government, too, upon condition that he would not prefer Dion's friendship before his. This extravagant affection was a great trouble to Plato, for it was accompanied with petulant and jealous humors, like the fond passions of those that are desperately in love; frequently he was angry and fell out with him, and presently begged and entreated to be friends again. He was beyond measure desirous to be Plato's scholar, and to proceed in the study of philosophy, and yet he was ashamed of it with those who spoke against it and professed to think it would ruin him.
But a war about this time breaking out, he sent Plato away, promising him in the summer to recall Dion, though in this he broke his word at once; nevertheless, he remitted to him his revenues, desiring Plato to excuse him as to the time appointed, because of the war, but, as soon as he had settled a peace, he would immediately send for Dion, requiring him in the interim to be quiet, and not raise any disturbance, nor speak ill of him among the Grecians. This Plato endeavored to effect, by keeping Dion with him in the Academy, and busying him in philosophical studies.
Dion sojourned in the Upper Town of Athens, with Callippus, one of his acquaintance; but for his pleasure he bought a seat in the country, which afterwards, when he went into Sicily, he gave to Speusippus, who had been his most frequent companion while he was at Athens, Plato so arranging it, with the hope that Dion's austere temper might be softened by agreeable company, with an occasional mixture of seasonable mirth. For Speusippus was of the character to afford him this; we find him spoken of in Timon's Silli, as "good at a jest." And Plato himself, as it happened, being called upon to furnish a chorus of boys, Dion took upon him the ordering and management of it, and defrayed the whole expense, Plato giving him this opportunity to oblige the Athenians, which was likely to procure his friend more kindness than himself credit. Dion went also to see several other cities, visiting the noblest and most statemanlike persons in Greece, and joining in their recreations and entertainments in their times of festival. In all which, no sort of vulgar ignorance, or tyrannic assumption, or luxuriousness was remarked in him; but, on the contrary, a great deal of temperance, generosity, and courage, and a well-becoming taste for reasoning and philosophic discourses. By which means he gained the love and admiration of all men, and in many cities had public honors decreed him; the Lacedaemonians making him a citizen of Sparta, without regard to the displeasure of Dionysius, though at that time he was aiding them in their wars against the Thebans.
It is related that once, upon invitation, he went to pay a visit to Ptoeodorus the Megarian, a man, it would seem, of wealth and importance; and when, on account of the concourse of people about his doors, and the press of business, it was very troublesome and difficult to get access to him, turning about to his friends who seemed concerned and angry at it, "What reason," said he, "have we to blame Ptoeodorus, when we ourselves used to do no better when we were at Syracuse?"
After some little time, Dionysius, envying Dion, and jealous of the favor and interest he had among the Grecians, put a stop upon his incomes, and no longer sent him his revenues, making his own commissioners trustees of the estate. But, endeavoring to obviate the ill-will and discredit which, upon Plato's account, might accrue to him among the philosophers, he collected in his court many reputed learned men; and, ambitiously desiring to surpass them in their debates he was forced to make use, often incorrectly, of arguments he had picked up from Plato. And now he wished for his company again, repenting he had not made better use of it when he had it, and had given no greater heed to his admirable lessons. Like a tyrant, therefore, inconsiderate in his desires, headstrong and violent in whatever he took a will to, on a sudden he was eagerly set on the design of recalling him, and left no stone unturned, but addressed himself to Archytas the Pythagorean (his acquaintance and friendly relations with whom owed their origin to Plato), and persuaded him to stand as surety for his engagements, and to request Plato to revisit Sicily.
Archytas therefore sent Archedemus, and Dionysius some galleys, with divers friends, to entreat his return; moreover, he wrote to him himself expressly and in plain terms, that Dion must never look for any favor or kindness, if Plato would not be prevailed with to come into Sicily; but if Plato did come, Dion should be assured of whatever he desired. Dion also received letters full of solicitations from his sister and his wife, urging him to beg Plato to gratify Dionysius in this request, and not give him an excuse for further ill-doing. So that, as Plato says of himself, the third time he set sail for the Strait of Scylla,
"Venturing again Charybdis's dangerous gulf."
This arrival brought great joy to Dionysius, and no less hopes to the Sicilians, who were earnest in their prayers and good wishes that Plato might get the better of Philistus, and philosophy triumph over tyranny. Neither was he unbefriended by the women, who studied to oblige him; and he had with Dionysius that peculiar credit which no man else ever obtained, namely, liberty to come into his presence without being examined or searched. When he would have given him a considerable sum of money, and, on several repeated occasions, made fresh offers, which Plato as often declined, Aristippus the Cyrenaean, then present, said that Dionysius was very safe in his munificence, he gave little to those who were ready to take all they could get, and a great deal to Plato, who would accept of nothing.
After the first compliments of kindness were over, when Plato began to discourse of Dion, he was at first diverted by excuses for delay, followed soon after by complaints and disgusts, though not as yet observable to others, Dionysius endeavoring to conceal them, and, by other civilities and honorable usage, to draw him off from his affection to Dion. And for some time Plato himself was careful not to let anything of this dishonesty and breach of promise appear, but bore with it, and dissembled his annoyance. While matters stood thus between them, and, as they thought, they were unobserved and undiscovered, Helicon the Cyzicenian, one of Plato's followers, foretold an eclipse of the sun, which happened according to his prediction; for which he was much admired by the tyrant, and rewarded with a talent of silver; whereupon Aristippus, jesting with some others of the philosophers, told them, he also could predict something extraordinary; and on their entreating him to declare it, "I foretell," said he, "that before long there will be a quarrel between Dionysius and Plato."
At length, Dionysius made sale of Dion's estate, and converted the money to his own use, and removed Plato from an apartment he had in the gardens of the palace to lodgings among the guards he kept in pay, who from the first had hated Plato, and sought opportunity to make away with him, supposing he advised Dionysius to lay down the government and disband his soldiers.
When Archytas understood the danger he was in, he immediately sent a galley with messengers to demand him of Dionysius; alleging that he stood engaged for his safety, upon the confidence of which Plato had come to Sicily. Dionysius, to palliate his secret hatred, before Plato came away, treated him with great entertainments and all seeming demonstrations of kindness, but could not forbear breaking out one day into the expression, "No doubt, Plato, when you are at home among the philosophers, your companions, you will complain of me, and reckon up a great many of my faults." To which Plato answered with a smile, "The Academy will never, I trust, be at such a loss for subjects to discuss as to seek one in you." Thus, they say, Plato was dismissed; but his own writings do not altogether agree with this account.
Dion was angry at all this, and not long after declared open enmity to Dionysius, on hearing what had been done with his wife; on which matter Plato, also, had had some confidential correspondence with Dionysius. Thus it was. After Dion's banishment, Dionysius, when he sent Plato back, had desired him to ask Dion privately, if he would be averse to his wife's marrying another man, For there went a report, whether true, or raised by Dion's enemies, that his marriage was not pleasing to him, and that he lived with his wife on uneasy terms. When Plato therefore came to Athens, and had mentioned the subject to Dion, he wrote a letter to Dionysius, speaking of other matters openly, but on this in language expressly designed to be understood by him alone, to the effect that he had talked with Dion about the business, and that it was evident he would highly resent the affront, if it should be put into execution. At that time, therefore, while there were yet great hopes of an accommodation, he took no new steps with his sister, suffering her to live with Dion's child. But when things were come to that pass, that no reconciliation could be expected, and Plato, after his second visit, was again sent away in displeasure, he then forced Arete, against her will, to marry Timocrates, one of his favorites; in this action coming short even of his father's justice and lenity; for he, when Polyxenus, the husband of his sister, Theste, became his enemy, and fled in alarm out of Sicily, sent for his sister, and taxed her, that, being privy to her husband's flight, she had not declared it to him. But the lady, confident and fearless, made him this reply: "Do you believe me, brother, so bad a wife, or so timorous a woman, that, having known my husband's flight, I would not have borne him company, and shared his fortunes? I knew nothing of it; since otherwise it had been my better lot to be called the wife of the exile Polyxenus, than the sister of the tyrant Dionysius." It is said, he admired her free and ready answer, as did the Syracusans, also, her courage and virtue, insomuch that she retained her dignity and princely retinue after the dissolution of the tyranny, and, when she died, the citizens, by public decree, attended the solemnity of her funeral. And the story, though a digression from the present purpose, was well worth the telling.
From this time, Dion set his mind upon warlike measures; with which Plato, out of respect for past hospitalities, and because of his age, would have nothing to do. But Speusippus and the rest of his friends assisted and encouraged him, bidding him deliver Sicily, which with lift-up hands implored his help, and with open arms was ready to receive him. For when Plato was staying at Syracuse, Speusippus, being oftener than he in company with the citizens, had more thoroughly made out how they were inclined; and though at first they had been on their guard, suspecting his bold language, as though he had been set on by the tyrant to trepan them, yet at length they trusted him. There was but one mind and one wish or prayer among them all, that Dion would undertake the design, and come, though without either navy, men, horse, or arms; that he would simply put himself aboard any ship, and lend the Sicilians his person and name against Dionysius. This information from Speusippus encouraged Dion, who, concealing his real purpose, employed his friends privately to raise what men they could; and many statesmen and philosophers were assisting to him, as, for instance, Eudemus the Cyprian, on whose death Aristotle wrote his Dialogue of the Soul, and Timonides the Leucadian. They also engaged on his side Miltas the Thessalian, who was a prophet, and had studied in the Academy. But of all that were banished by Dionysius, who were not fewer than a thousand, five and twenty only joined in the enterprise; the rest were afraid, and abandoned it. The rendezvous was in the island Zacynthus, where a small force of not quite eight hundred men came together, all of them, however, persons already distinguished in plenty of previous hard service, their bodies well trained and practiced, and their experience and courage amply sufficient to animate and embolden to action the numbers whom Dion expected to join him in Sicily.
Yet these men, when they first understood the expedition was against Dionysius, were troubled and disheartened, blaming Dion, that, hurried on like a madman by mere passion and despair, he rashly threw both himself and them into certain ruin. Nor were they less angry with their commanders and muster-masters, that they had not in the beginning let them know the design. But when Dion in his address to them had set forth the unsafe and weak condition of arbitrary government, and declared that he carried them rather for commanders than soldiers, the citizens of Syracuse and the rest of the Sicilians having been long ready for a revolt, and when, after him, Alcimenes, an Achaean of the highest birth and reputation, who accompanied the expedition, harangued them to the same effect, they were contented.
It was now the middle of summer, and the Etesian winds blowing steadily on the seas, the moon was at the full, when Dion prepared a magnificent sacrifice to Apollo; and with great solemnity marched his soldiers to the temple in all their arms and accouterments. And after the sacrifice, he feasted them all in the race-course of the Zacynthians, where he had made provision for their entertainment. And when here they beheld with wonder the quantity and the richness of the gold and silver plate, and the tables laid to entertain them, all far exceeding the fortunes of a private man, they concluded with themselves, that a man now past the prime of life, who was master of so much treasure, would not engage himself in so hazardous an enterprise without good reason of hope, and certain and sufficient assurances of aid from friends over there. Just after the libations were made, and the accompanying prayers offered, the moon was eclipsed; which was no wonder to Dion, who understood the revolutions of eclipses, and the way in which the moon is overshadowed and the earth interposed between her and the sun. But because it was necessary that the soldiers, who were surprised and troubled at it, should be satisfied and encouraged, Miltas the diviner, standing up in the midst of the assembly, bade them be of good cheer, and expect all happy success, for that the divine powers foreshowed that something at present glorious and resplendent should be eclipsed and obscured; nothing at this time being more splendid than the sovereignty of Dionysius, their arrival in Sicily should dim this glory, and extinguish this brightness. Thus Miltas, in public, descanted upon the incident. But concerning a swarm of bees which settled on the poop of Dion's ship, he privately told him and his friends, that he feared the great actions they were like to perform, though for a time they should thrive and flourish, would be of short continuance, and soon suffer a decay. It is reported, also, that many prodigies happened to Dionysius at that time. An eagle, snatching a javelin from one of the guard, carried it aloft, and from thence let it fall into the sea. The water of the sea that washed the castle walls was for a whole day sweet and potable, as many that tasted it experienced. Pigs were farrowed perfect in all their other parts, but without ears. This the diviners declared to portend revolt and rebellion, for that the subjects would no longer give ear to the commands of their superiors. They expounded the sweetness of the water to signify to the Syracusans a change from hard and grievous times into easier and more happy circumstances. The eagle being the bird of Jupiter, and the spear an emblem of power and command, this prodigy was to denote that the chief of the gods designed the end and dissolution of the present government. These things Theopompus relates in his history.
Two ships of burden carried all Dion's men; a third vessel, of no great size, and two galleys of thirty oars attended them. In addition to his soldiers' own arms, he carried two thousand shields, a very great number of darts and lances, and abundant stores of all manner of provisions, that there might be no want of anything in their voyage; their purpose being to keep out at sea during the whole voyage, and use the winds, since all the land was hostile to them, and Philistus, they had been told, was in Iapygia with a fleet, looking out for them. Twelve days they sailed with a fresh and gentle breeze; on the thirteenth, they made Pachynus, the Sicilian cape. There Protus, the chief pilot, advised them to land at once and without delay, for if they were forced again from the shore, and did not take advantage of the headland, they might ride out at sea many nights and days, waiting for a southerly wind in the summer season. But Dion, fearing a descent too near his enemies, and desirous to begin at a greater distance, and further on in the country, sailed on past Pachynus. They had not gone far, before stress of weather, the wind blowing hard at north, drove the fleet from the coast; and it being now about the time that Arcturus rises, a violent storm of wind and rain came on, with thunder and lightning, the mariners were at their wits' end, and ignorant what course they ran, until on a sudden they found they were driving with the sea on Cercina, the island on the coast of Africa, just where it is most craggy and dangerous to run upon. Upon the cliffs there they escaped narrowly of being forced and staved to pieces; but, laboring hard at their oars, with much difficulty they kept clear until the storm ceased. Then, lighting by chance upon a vessel, they understood they were upon the Heads, as it is called, of the Great Syrtis; and when they were now again disheartened by a sudden calm, and beating to and fro without making any way, a soft air began to blow from the land, when they expected anything rather than wind from the south and scarce believed the happy change of their fortune. The gale gradually increasing, and beginning to blow fresh, they clapped on all their sails, and, praying to the gods, put out again into the open sea, steering right from Africa for Sicily. And, running steady before the wind, the fifth day they arrived at Minoa, a little town of Sicily, in the dominion of the Carthaginians, of which Synalus, an acquaintance and friend of Dion's, happened at that time to be governor; who, not knowing it was Dion and his fleet, endeavored to hinder his men from landing; but they rushed on shore with their swords in their hands, not slaying any of their opponents (for this Dion had forbidden, because of his friendship with the Carthaginians), but forced them to retreat, and, following close, pressed in a body with them into the place, and took it. As soon as the two commanders met, they mutually saluted each other; Dion delivered up the place again to Synalus, without the least damage done to anyone therein, and Synalus quartered and entertained the soldiers, and supplied Dion with what he wanted.
They were most of all encouraged by the happy accident of Dionysius's absence at this nick of time; for it appeared that he was lately gone with eighty sail of ships to Italy. Therefore, when Dion was desirous that the soldiers should refresh themselves there, after their tedious and troublesome voyage, they would not be prevailed with, but, earnest to make the best use of that opportunity, they urged Dion to lead them straight on to Syracuse. Leaving therefore their baggage, and the arms they did not use, Dion desired Synalus to convey them to him as he had occasion, and marched directly to Syracuse.
The first that came in to him upon his march were two hundred horse of the Agrigentines who were settled near Ecnomum, and, after them, the Geloans. But the news soon flying to Syracuse, Timocrates, who had married Dion's wife, the sister of Dionysius, and was the principal man among his friends now remaining in the city, immediately dispatched a courier to Dionysius with letters announcing Dion's arrival; while he himself took all possible care to prevent any stir or tumult in the city, where all were in great excitement, but as yet continued quiet, fearing to give too much credit to what was reported. A very strange accident happened to the messenger who was sent with the letters; for being arrived in Italy, as he traveled through the land of Rhegium, hastening to Dionysius at Caulonia, he met one of his acquaintance, who was carrying home part of a sacrifice. He accepted a piece of the flesh, which his friend offered him, and proceeded on his journey with all speed; having traveled a good part of the night, and being through weariness forced to take a little rest, he laid himself down in the next convenient place he came to, which was in a wood near the road. A wolf, scenting the flesh, came and seized it as it lay fastened to the letter-bag, and with the flesh carried away the bag also, in which were the letters to Dionysius. The man, awaking and missing his bag, sought for it up and down a great while, and, not finding it, resolved not to go to the king without his letters, but to conceal himself, and keep out of the way.
Dionysius, therefore, came to hear of the war in Sicily from other hands, and that a good while after. In the meantime, as Dion proceeded in his march, the Camarineans joined his forces, and the country people in the territory of Syracuse rose and joined him in a large body. The Leontines and Campanians, who, with Timocrates, guarded the Epipolae, receiving a false alarm which was spread on purpose by Dion, as if he intended to attack their cities first, left Timocrates, and hastened off to carry succor to their own homes. News of which being brought to Dion, where he lay near Macrae, he raised his camp by night, and came to the river Anapus, which is distant from the city about ten furlongs; there he made a halt, and sacrificed by the river, offering vows to the rising sun. The soothsayers declared that the gods promised him victory; and they that were present, seeing him assisting at the sacrifice with a garland on his head, one and all crowned themselves with garlands. There were about five thousand that had joined his forces in their march; who, though but ill-provided, with such weapons as came next to hand, made up by zeal and courage for the want of better arms; and when once they were told to advance, as if Dion were already conqueror, they ran forward with shouts and acclamations, encouraging each other with the hopes of liberty.
The most considerable men and better sort of the citizens of Syracuse, clad all in white, met him at the gates. The populace set upon all that were of Dionysius's party, and principally searched for those they called setters or informers, a number of wicked and hateful wretches, who made it their business to go up and down the city, thrusting themselves into all companies, that they might inform Dionysius what men said, and how they stood affected. These were the first that suffered, being beaten to death by the crowd. Timocrates, not being able to force his way to the garrison that kept the castle, took horse, and fled out of the city, filling all the places where he came with fear and confusion, magnifying the amount of Dion's forces, that he might not be supposed to have deserted his charge without good reason for it. By this time, Dion was come up, and appeared in the sight of the people; he marched first in a rich suit of arms, and by him on one hand his brother, Megacles, on the other, Callippus the Athenian, crowned with garlands. Of the foreign soldiers, a hundred followed as his guard, and their several officers led the rest in good order; the Syracusans looking on and welcoming them, as if they believed the whole to be a sacred and religious procession, to celebrate the solemn entrance, after an absence of forty-eight years, of liberty and popular government.
Dion entered by the Menitid gate, and, having by sound of trumpet quieted the noise of the people, he caused proclamation to be made, that Dion and Megacles, who were come to overthrow the tyrannical government, did declare the Syracusans and all other Sicilians to be free from the tyrant. But, being desirous to harangue the people himself, he went up through the Achradina. The citizens on each side the way brought victims for sacrifice, set out their tables and goblets, and as he passed by each door threw flowers and ornaments upon him, with vows and acclamations, honoring him as a god. There was under the castle and the Pentapyla a lofty and conspicuous sundial, which Dionysius had set up. Getting up upon the top of that, he made an oration to the people, calling upon them to maintain and defend their liberty; who, with great expressions of joy and acknowledgment, created Dion and Megacles generals, with plenary powers, joining in commission with them, at their desire and entreaty, twenty colleagues, of whom half were of those that had returned with them out of banishment. It seemed also to the diviners a most happy omen, that Dion, when he made his address to the people, had under his feet the stately monument which Dionysius had been at such pains to erect; but because it was a sundial on which he stood when he was made general, they expressed some fears that the great actions he had performed might be subject to change, and admit some rapid turn and declination of fortune.
After this, Dion, taking the Epipolae, released the citizens who were imprisoned there, and then raised a wall to invest the castle. Seven days after, Dionysus arrived by sea, and got into the citadel, and about the same time came carriages bringing the arms and ammunition which Dion had left with Synalus. These he distributed among the citizens; and the rest that wanted furnished themselves as well as they could, and put themselves in the condition of zealous and serviceable men-at-arms.
Dionysius sent agents, at first privately, to Dion, to try what terms they could make with him. But he declaring that any overtures they had to make must be made in public to the Syracusans as a free people, envoys now went and came between the tyrant and the people, with fair proposals, and assurances that they should have abatements of their tributes and taxes, and freedom from the burdens of military expeditions, all which should be made according to their own approbation and consent with him. The Syracusans laughed at these offers, and Dion returned answer to the envoys that Dionysius must not think to treat with them upon any other terms but resigning the government; which if he would actually do, he would not forget how nearly he was related to him, or be wanting to assist him in procuring oblivion for the past, and whatever else was reasonable and just. Dionysius seemed to consent to this, and sent his agents again, desiring some of the Syracusans to come into the citadel and discuss with him in person the terms to which on each side they might be willing, after fair debate, to consent. There were therefore some deputed, such as Dion approved of; and the general rumor from the castle was, that Dionysius would voluntarily resign his authority, and rather do it himself as his own good deed, than let it be the act of Dion. But this profession was a mere trick to amuse the Syracusans. For he put the deputies that were sent to him in custody, and by break of day, having first, to encourage his men, made them drink plentifully of raw wine, he sent the garrison of mercenaries out to make a sudden sally against Dion's works. The attack was quite unexpected, and the barbarians set to work boldly with loud cries to pull down the cross-wall, and assailed the Syracusans so furiously that they were not able to maintain their post. Only a party of Dion's hired soldiers, on first taking the alarm, advanced to the rescue; neither did they at first know what to do, or how to employ the aid they brought, not being able to hear the commands of their officers, amidst the noise and confusion of the Syracusans, who fled from the enemy and ran in among them, breaking through their ranks, until Dion, seeing none of his orders could be heard, resolved to let them see by example what they ought to do, and charged into the thickest of the enemy. The fight about him was fierce and bloody, he being as well known by the enemy as by his own party, and all running with loud cries to the quarter where he fought. Though his time of life was no longer that of the bodily strength and agility for such a combat, still his determination and courage were sufficient to maintain him against all that attacked him; but, while bravely driving them back, he was wounded in the hand with a lance, his body armor also had been much battered, and was scarcely any longer serviceable to protect him, either against missiles or blows hand to hand. Many spears and javelins had passed into it through the shield, and, on these being broken back, he fell to the ground, but was immediately rescued, and carried off by his soldiers. The command-in-chief he left to Timonides, and, mounting a horse, rode about the city, rallying the Syracusans that fled; and, ordering up a detachment of the foreign soldiers out of Achradina, where they were posted on guard, he brought them as a fresh reserve, eager for battle, upon the tired and failing enemy, who were already well inclined to give up their design. For having hopes at their first sally to retake the whole city, when beyond their expectation they found themselves engaged with bold and practiced fighters, they fell back towards the castle. As soon as they gave ground, the Greek soldiers pressed the harder upon them, till they turned and fled within the walls. There were lost in this action seventy-four of Dion's men, and a very great number of the enemy. This being a signal victory, and principally obtained by the valor of the foreign soldiers, the Syracusans rewarded them in honor of it with a hundred minae, and the soldiers on their part presented Dion with a crown of gold.
Soon after, there came heralds from Dionysius, bringing Dion letters from the women of his family, and one addressed outside, "To his father, from Hipparinus;" this was the name of Dion's son, though Timaeus says, he was, from his mother Arete's name, called Aretaeus; but I think credit is rather to be given to Timonides's report, who was his father's fellow-soldier and confidant. The rest of the letters were read publicly, containing many solicitations and humble requests of the women; that professing to be from his son, the heralds would not have them open publicly, but Dion, putting force upon them, broke the seal. It was from Dionysius, written in the terms of it to Dion, but in effect to the Syracusans, and so worded that, under a plausible justification of himself and entreaty to him, means were taken for rendering him suspected by the people. It reminded him of the good service he had formerly done the usurping government, it added threats to his dearest relations, his sister, son, and wife, if he did not comply with the contents, also passionate demands mingled with lamentations, and, most to the purpose of all, urgent recommendations to him not to destroy the government, and put the power into the hands of men who always hated him, and would never forget their old piques and quarrels; let him take the sovereignty himself, and so secure the safety of his family and his friends.
When this letter was read, the Syracusans were not, as they should have been, transported with admiration at the unmovable constancy and magnanimity of Dion, who withstood all his dearest interests to be true to virtue and justice, but, on the contrary, they saw in this their reason for fearing and suspecting that he lay under an invincible necessity to be favorable to Dionysius; and they began therefore to look out for other leaders, and the rather, because to their great joy they received the news that Heraclides was on his way. This Heraclides was one of those whom Dionysius had banished, very good soldier, and well known for the commands he had formerly had under the tyrant; yet a man of no constant purpose, of a fickle temper, and least of all to be relied upon when he had to act with a colleague in any honorable command. He had had a difference formerly with Dion in Peloponnesus, and had resolved, upon his own means, with what ships and soldiers he had, to make an attack upon Dionysius. When he arrived at Syracuse, with seven galleys and three small vessels, he found Dionysius already close besieged, and the Syracusans high and proud of their victories. Forthwith, therefore, he endeavored by all ways to make himself popular; and, indeed, he had in him naturally something that was very insinuating and taking with a populace that loves to be courted. He gained his end, also, the easier, and drew the people over to his side, because of the dislike they had taken to Dion's grave and stately manner, which they thought overbearing and assuming; their successes having made them so careless and confident, that they expected popular arts and flatteries from their leaders, before they had in reality secured a popular government.
Getting therefore together in an irregular assembly, they chose Heraclides their admiral; but when Dion came forward, and told them, that conferring this trust upon Heraclides was in effect to withdraw that which they had granted him, for he was no longer their generalissimo if another had the command of the navy, they repealed their order, and, though much against their wills, canceled the new appointment. When this business was over, Dion invited Heraclides to his house, and pointed out to him, in gentle terms, that he had not acted wisely or well to quarrel with him upon a punctilio of honor, at a time when the least false step might be the ruin of all; and then, calling a fresh assembly of the people, he there named Heraclides admiral, and prevailed with the citizens to allow him a life-guard, as he himself had.
Heraclides openly professed the highest respect for Dion, and made him great acknowledgments for this favor, attending him with all deference, as ready to receive his commands; but underhand he kept up his dealings with the populace and the unrulier citizens, unsettling their minds and disturbing them with his complaints, and putting Dion into the utmost perplexity and disquiet. For if he advised to give Dionysius leave to quit the castle, he would be exposed to the imputation of sparing and protecting him; if, to avoid giving offense or suspicion, he simply continued the siege, they would say he protracted the war, to keep his office of general the longer, and overawe the citizens.
There was one Sosis, notorious in the city for his bad conduct and his impudence, yet a favorite with the people, for the very reason that they liked to see it made a part of popular privileges to carry free speech to this excess of license. This man, out of a design against Dion, stood up one day in an assembly, and, having sufficiently railed at the citizens as a set of fools, that could not see how they had made an exchange of a dissolute and drunken for a sober and watchful despotism, and thus having publicly declared himself Dion's enemy, took his leave. The next day, he was seen running through the streets, as if he fled from some that pursued him, almost naked, wounded in the head, and bloody all over. In this condition, getting people about him in the marketplace, he told them that he had been assaulted by Dion's men; and, to confirm what he said, showed them the wounds he had received in his head. And a good many took his part, exclaiming loudly against Dion for his cruel and tyrannical conduct, stopping the mouths of the people by bloodshed and peril of life. Just as an assembly was gathering in this unsettled and tumultuous state of mind, Dion came before them, and made it appear how this Sosis was brother to one of Dionysius's guard, and that he was set on by him to embroil the city in tumult and confusion; Dionysius having now no way left for his security but to make his advantage of their dissensions and distractions. The surgeons, also, having searched the wound, found it was rather razed, than cut with a downright blow; for the wounds made with a sword are, from their mere weight, most commonly deepest in the middle, but this was very slight, and all along of an equal depth; and it was not one continued wound, as if cut at once, but several incisions, in all probability made at several times, as he was able to endure the pain. There were credible persons, also, who brought a razor, and showed it in the assembly, stating that they met Sosis running in the street, all bloody, who told them that he was flying from Dion's soldiers, who had just attacked and wounded him; they ran at once to look after them, and met no one, but spied this razor lying under a hollow stone near the place from which they observed he came.
Sosis was now likely to come by the worst of it. But when, to back all this, his own servants came in, and gave evidence that he had left his house alone before break of day, with the razor in his hand, Dion's accusers withdrew themselves, and the people by a general vote condemned Sosis to die, being once again well satisfied with Dion and his proceedings.
Yet they were still as jealous as before of his soldiers, and the rather, because the war was now carried on principally by sea; Philistus being come from Iapygia with a great fleet to Dionysius's assistance. They supposed, therefore, that there would be no longer need of the soldiers, who were all landsmen and armed accordingly: these were rather, indeed, they thought, in a condition to be protected by themselves, who were seamen, and had their power in their shipping. Their good opinion of themselves was also much enhanced by an advantage they got in an engagement by sea, in which they took Philistus prisoner, and used him in a barbarous and cruel manner. Ephorus relates that when he saw his ship was taken he slew himself. But Timonides, who was with Dion from the very first, and was present at all the events as they occurred, writing to Speusippus the philosopher, relates the story thus: that Philistus's galley running aground, he was taken prisoner alive, and first disarmed, then stripped of his corslet, and exposed naked, being now an old man, to every kind of contumely; after which they cut off his head, and gave his body to the boys of the town, bidding them drag it through the Achradina, and then throw it into the Quarries. Timaeus, to increase the mockery, adds further, that the boys tied him by his lame leg, and so drew him through the streets, while the Syracusans stood by laughing and jesting at the sight of that very man thus tied and dragged about by the leg, who had told Dionysius, that, so far from flying on horseback from Syracuse, he ought to wait till he should be dragged out by the heels. Philistus, however, has stated, that this was said to Dionysius by another, and not by himself.
Timaeus avails himself of this advantage, which Philistus truly enough affords against himself in his zealous and constant adherence to the tyranny, to vent his own spleen and malice against him. They, indeed, who were injured by him at the time are perhaps excusable, if they carried their resentment to the length of indignities to his dead body; but they who write history afterwards, and were noway wronged by him in his lifetime, and have received assistance from his writings, in honor should not with opprobrious and scurrilous language upbraid him for those misfortunes, which may well enough befall even the best of men. On the other side, Ephorus is as much out of the way in his encomiums. For, however ingenious he is in supplying unjust acts and wicked conduct with fair and worthy motives, and in selecting decorous and honorable terms, yet when he does his best, he does not himself stand clear of the charge of being the greatest lover of tyrants, and the fondest admirer of luxury and power and rich estates and alliances of marriage with absolute princes. He that neither praises Philistus for his conduct, nor insults over his misfortunes, seems to me to take the fittest course.
After Philistus's death, Dionysius sent to Dion, offering to surrender the castle, all the arms, provisions, and garrison-soldiers, with full pay for them for five months, demanding in return that he might have safe conduct to go unmolested into Italy, and there to continue, and also to enjoy the revenues of Gyarta, a large and fruitful territory belonging to Syracuse, reaching from the sea-side to the middle of the country. Dion rejected these proposals, and referred him to the Syracusans. They, hoping in a short time to take Dionysius alive, dismissed his ambassadors summarily. But he, leaving his eldest son, Apollocrates, to defend the castle, and putting on board his ships the persons and the property that he set most value upon, took the opportunity of a fair wind, and made his escape, undiscovered by the admiral Heraclides and his fleet.
The citizens loudly exclaimed against Heraclides for this neglect; but he got one of their public speakers, Hippo by name, to go among them, and make proposals to the assembly for a redivision of lands, alleging that the first beginning of liberty was equality, and that poverty and slavery were inseparable companions. In support of this, Heraclides spoke, and used the faction in favor of it to overpower Dion, who opposed it; and, in fine, he persuaded the people to ratify it by their vote, and further to decree, that the foreign soldiers should receive no pay, and that they would elect new commanders, and so be rid of Dion's oppression. The people, attempting, as it were, after their long sickness of despotism, all at once to stand on their legs, and to do the part, for which they were yet unfit, of freemen, stumbled in all their actions; and yet hated Dion, who, like a good physician, endeavored to keep the city to a strict and temperate regimen.
When they met in the assembly to choose their commanders, about the middle of summer, unusual and terrible thunders, with other inauspicious appearances, for fifteen days together, dispersed the people, deterring them, on grounds of religious fear, from creating new generals. But, at last, the popular leaders, having found a fair and clear day, and having got their party together, were proceeding to an election, when a draught-ox, who was used to the crowd and noise of the streets, but for some reason or other grew unruly to his driver, breaking from his yoke, ran furiously into the theater where they were assembled, and set the people flying and running in all directions before him in the greatest disorder and confusion; and from thence went on, leaping and rushing about, over all that part of the city which the enemies afterwards made themselves masters of. However, the Syracusans, not regarding all this, elected five and twenty captains, and, among the rest, Heraclides; and underhand tampered with Dion's men, promising, if they would desert him, and enlist themselves in their service, to make them citizens of Syracuse, with all the privileges of natives. But they would not hear the proposals, but, to show their fidelity and courage, with their swords in their hands, placing Dion for his security in the midst of their battalion, conveyed him out of the city, not offering violence to anyone, but upbraiding those they met with their baseness and ingratitude. The citizens, seeing they were but few, and did not offer any violence, despised them; and, supposing that with their large numbers they might with ease overpower and cut them off before they got out of the city, fell upon them in the rear.
Here Dion was in a great strait, being necessitated either to fight against his own countrymen, or tamely suffer himself and his faithful soldiers to be cut in pieces. He used many entreaties to the Syracusans, stretching out his hands towards the castle, that was full of their enemies, and showing them the soldiers, who in great numbers appeared on the walls and watched what was doing. But when no persuasions could divert the impulse of the multitude, and the whole mass, like the sea in a storm, seemed to be driven before the breath of the demagogues, he commanded his men, not to charge them, but to advance with shouts and clashing of their arms; which being done, not a man of them stood his ground; all fled at once through the streets, though none pursued them. For Dion immediately commanded his men to face about, and led them towards the city of the Leontines.
The very women laughed at the new captains for this retreat; so to redeem their credit, they bid the citizens arm themselves again, and followed after Dion, and came up with him as he was passing a river. Some of the light-horse rode up and began to skirmish. But when they saw Dion no more tame and calm, and no signs in his face of any fatherly tenderness towards his countrymen, but with an angry countenance, as resolved not to suffer their indignities any longer, bidding his men face round and form in their ranks for the onset, they presently turned their backs more basely than before, and fled to the city, with the loss of some few of their men.
The Leontines received Dion very honorably, gave money to his men, and made them free of their city; sending envoys to the Syracusans, to require them to do the soldiers justice, who, in return, sent back other agents to accuse Dion. But when a general meeting of the confederates met in the town of the Leontines, and the matter was heard and debated, the Syracusans were held to be in fault. They, however, refused to stand to the award of their allies, following their own conceit, and making it their pride to listen to no one, and not to have any commanders but those who would fear and obey the people.
About this time, Dionysius sent in a fleet, under the command of Nypsius the Neapolitan, with provisions and pay for the garrison. The Syracusans fought him, had the better, and took four of his ships; but they made very ill use of their good success, and, for want of good discipline, fell in their joy to drinking and feasting in an extravagant manner, with so little regard to their main interest, that, when they thought themselves sure of taking the castle, they actually lost their city. Nypsius, seeing the citizens in this general disorder, spending day and night in their drunken singing and reveling, and their commanders well pleased with the frolic, or at least not daring to try and give any orders to men in their drink, took advantage of this opportunity, made a sally, and stormed their works; and, having made his way through these, let his barbarians loose upon the city, giving up it and all that were in it to their pleasure.
The Syracusans quickly saw their folly and misfortune, but could not, in the distraction they were in, so soon redress it. The city was in actual process of being sacked, the enemy putting the men to the sword, demolishing the fortifications, and dragging the women and children with lamentable shrieks and cries prisoners into the castle. The commanders, giving all for lost, were not able to put the citizens in any tolerable posture of defense, finding them confusedly mixed up and scattered among the enemy. While they were in this condition, and the Achradina in danger to be taken, everyone was sensible who he was in whom all their remaining hopes rested, but no man for shame durst name Dion, whom they had so ungratefully and foolishly dealt with. Necessity at last forcing them, some of the auxiliary troops and horsemen cried out, "Send for Dion and his Peloponnesians from the Leontines." No sooner was the venture made and the name heard among the people, but they gave a shout for joy, and, with tears in their eyes, wished him there, that they might once again see that leader at the head of them, whose courage and bravery in the worst of dangers they well remembered, calling to mind not only with what an undaunted spirit he always behaved himself, but also with what courage and confidence he inspired them when he led them against the enemy. They immediately, therefore, dispatched Archonides and Telesides of the confederate troops, and of the horsemen Hellanicus and four others. These, traversing the road between at their horses' full speed, reached the town of the Leontines in the evening. The first thing they did was to leap from their horses and fall at Dion's feet, relating with tears the sad condition the Syracusans were in. Many of the Leontines and Peloponnesians began to throng about them, guessing by their speed and the manner of their address that something extraordinary had occurred.
Dion at once led the way to the assembly, and, the people being gathered together in a very little time, Archonides and Hellanicus and the others came in among them, and in short declared the misery and distress of the Syracusans, begging the foreign soldiers to forget the injuries they had received, and assist the afflicted, who had suffered more for the wrong they had done, than they themselves who received it would (had it been in their power) have inflicted upon them. When they had made an end, there was a profound silence in the theater; Dion then stood up, and began to speak, but tears stopped his words; his soldiers were troubled at his grief, but bade him take good courage and proceed. When he had recovered himself a little, therefore, "Men of Peloponnesus," he said, "and of the confederacy, I asked for your presence here, that you might consider your own interests. For myself, I have no interests to consult while Syracuse is perishing, and, though I may not save it from destruction, I will nevertheless hasten thither, and be buried in the ruins of my country. Yet if you can find in your hearts to assist us, the most inconsiderate and unfortunate of men, you may to your eternal honor again retrieve this unhappy city. But if the Syracusans can obtain no more pity nor relief from you, may the gods reward you for what you have formerly valiantly done for them, and for your kindness to Dion, of whom speak hereafter as one who deserted you not when you were injured and abused, nor afterwards forsook his fellow-citizens in their afflictions and misfortunes."
Before he had yet ended his speech, the soldiers leapt up, and with a great shout testified their readiness for the service, crying out, to march immediately to the relief of the city. The Syracusan messengers hugged and embraced them, praying the Gods to send down blessings upon Dion and the Peloponnesians. When the noise was pretty well over, Dion gave orders that all should go to their quarters to prepare for their march, and, having refreshed themselves, come ready armed to their rendezvous in the place where they now were, resolving that very night to attempt the rescue.
Now at Syracuse, Dionysius's soldiers, as long as day continued, ransacked the city, and did all the mischief they could; but when night came on, they retired into the castle, having lost some few of their number. At which the factious ringleaders taking heart, and hoping the enemy would rest content with what they had done and make no further attempt upon them, persuaded the people again to reject Dion, and, if he came with the foreign soldiers, not to admit him; advising them not to yield, as inferior to them in point of honor and courage, but to save their city and defend their liberties and properties themselves. The populace, therefore, and their leaders sent messengers to Dion to forbid him to advance, while the noble citizens and the horse sent others to him to desire him to hasten his march; for which reason he slacked his pace, yet did not remit his advance. And in the course of the night, the faction that was against him set a guard upon the gates of the city to hinder him from coming in. But Nypsius made another sally out of the castle with a far greater number of men, and those far more bold and eager than before, who quite ruined what of the rampart was left standing, and fell in, pell-mell, to sack and ravage the city. The slaughter was now very great, not only of the men, but of the women also and children; for they regarded not so much the plunder, as to destroy and kill all they met. For Dionysius, despairing to regain the kingdom, and mortally hating the Syracusans, resolved to bury his lost sovereignty in the ruin and desolation of Syracuse. The soldiers, therefore, to anticipate Dion's succors, resolved upon the most complete and ready way of destruction, to lay the city in ashes, firing all at hand with torches and lamps, and at distance with flaming arrows, shot from their bows. The citizens fled every way before them; they who, to avoid the fire, forsook their houses were taken in the streets and put to the sword; they who betook themselves for refuge into the houses were forced out again by the flames, many buildings being now in a blaze, and many falling in ruins upon them as they fled past.
This fresh misfortune by general consent opened the gates for Dion. He had given up his rapid advance, when he received advice that the enemies were retreated into the castle; but, in the morning, some horse brought him the news of another assault, and, soon after, some of those who before opposed his coming fled now to him, to entreat him he would hasten his relief. The pressure increasing, Heraclides sent his brother, and after him his uncle, Theodotes, to beg him to help them: for that now they were not able to resist any longer; he himself was wounded, and the greatest part of the city either in ruins or in flames. When Dion met this sad news, he was about sixty furlongs distant from the city. When he had acquainted the soldiers with the exigency, and exhorted them to behave themselves like men, the army no longer marched but ran forwards, and by the way were met by messengers upon messengers entreating them to make haste. By the wonderful eagerness of the soldiers and their extraordinary speed, Dion quickly came to the city and entered what is called the Hecatompedon, sending his light-armed men at once to charge the enemy, that, seeing them, the Syracusans might take courage. In the meantime, he drew up in good order his full-armed men and all the citizens that came in and joined him; forming his battalions deep, and distributing his officers in many separate commands, that he might, be able to attack from many quarters at once, and so he more alarming to the enemy.
So, having made his arrangements and offered vows to the gods, when he was seen in the streets advancing at the head of his men to engage the enemy, a confused noise of shouts, congratulations, vows, and prayers was raised by the Syracusans, who now called Dion their deliverer and tutelar deity, and his soldiers their friends, brethren, and fellow-citizens. And, indeed, at that moment, none seemed to regard themselves, or value their safeties, but to be concerned more for Dion's life than for all their own together, as he marched at the head of them to meet the danger, through blood and fire and over heaps of dead bodies that lay in his way.
And indeed the posture of the enemy was in appearance terrible; for they were flushed and ferocious with victory, and had posted themselves very advantageously along the demolished works, which made the access to them very hazardous and difficult. Yet that which disturbed Dion's soldiers most was the apprehension they were in of the fire, which made their march very trouble some and difficult; for the houses being in flames on al] sides, they were met everywhere with the blaze, and, treading upon burning ruins and every minute in danger of being overwhelmed with falling houses, through clouds of ashes and smoke they labored hard to keep their order and maintain their ranks. When they came near to the enemy, the approach was so narrow and uneven that but few of them could engage at a time; but at length, with loud cheers and much zeal on the part of the Syracusans, encouraging them and joining with them, they beat off Nypsius's men, and put them to flight. Most of them escaped into the castle, which was near at hand; all that could not get in were pursued and picked up here and there by the soldiers, and put to the sword. The present exigency, however, did not suffer the citizens to take immediate benefit of their victory in such mutual congratulations and embraces as became so great a success; for now all were busily employed to save what houses were left standing, laboring hard all night, and scarcely so could master the fire.
The next day, not one of the popular haranguers durst stay in the city, but all of them, knowing their own guilt, by their flight confessed it, and secured their lives. Only Heraclides and Theodotes went voluntarily and surrendered themselves to Dion, acknowledging that they had wronged him, and begging he would be kinder to them than they had been just to him; adding, how much it would become him who was master of so many excellent accomplishments, to moderate his anger and be generously compassionate to ungrateful men, who were here before him, making their confession, that, in all the matter of their former enmity and rivalry against him, they were now absolutely overcome by his virtue. Though they thus humbly addressed him, his friends advised him not to pardon these turbulent and ill-conditioned men, but to yield them to the desires of his soldiers, and utterly root out of the commonwealth the ambitious affectation of popularity, a disease as pestilent and pernicious as the passion for tyranny itself. Dion endeavored to satisfy them, telling them that other generals exercised and trained themselves for the most part in the practices of war and arms; but that he had long studied in the Academy how to conquer anger, and not let emulation and envy conquer him; that to do this it is not sufficient that a man be obliging and kind to his friends, and those that have deserved well of him, but rather, gentle and ready to forgive in the case of those who do wrong; that he wished to let the world see that he valued not himself so much upon excelling Heraclides in ability and conduct, as he did in outdoing him in justice and clemency; herein to have the advantage is to excel indeed; whereas the honor of success in war is never entire; fortune will be sure to dispute it, though no man should pretend to have a claim. What if Heraclides be perfidious, malicious, and base, must Dion therefore sully or injure his virtue by passionate concern for it? For, though the laws determine it juster to revenge an injury than to do an injury, yet it is evident that both, in the nature of things, originally proceed from the same deficiency and weakness. The malicious humor of men, though perverse and refractory, is not so savage and invincible but it may be wrought upon by kindness, and altered by repeated obligations. Dion, making use of these arguments, pardoned and dismissed Heraclides and Theodotes.
And now, resolving to repair the blockade about the castle, he commanded all the Syracusans to cut each man a stake and bring it to the works; and then, dismissing them to refresh themselves, and take their rest, he employed his own men all night, and by morning had finished his line of palisade; so that both the enemy and the citizens wondered, when day returned, to see the work so far advanced in so short a time. Burying therefore the dead, and redeeming the prisoners, who were near two thousand, he called a public assembly, where Heraclides made a motion that Dion should be declared general with full powers at land and sea. The better citizens approved well of it, and called on the people to vote it so. But the mob of sailors and handicraftsmen would not yield that Heraclides should lose his command of the navy; believing him, if otherwise an ill man, at any rate to be more citizenlike than Dion, and readier to comply with the people. Dion therefore submitted to them in this, and consented Heraclides should continue admiral. But when they began to press the project of the redistribution of lands and houses, he not only opposed it, but repealed all the votes they had formerly made upon that account, which sensibly vexed them. Heraclides, therefore, took a new advantage of him, and, being at Messene, harangued the soldiers and ships' crews that sailed with him, accusing Dion that he had a design to make himself absolute. And yet at the same time he held private correspondence for a treaty with Dionysius by means of Pharax the Spartan. Which when the noble citizens of Syracuse had intimation of, there arose a sedition in the army, and the city was in great distress and want of provisions; and Dion now knew not what course to take, being also blamed by all his friends for having thus fortified against himself such a perverse and jealous and utterly corrupted man as Heraclides was.
Pharax at this time lay encamped at Neapolis, in the territory of Agrigentum. Dion, therefore, led out the Syracusans, but with an intent not to engage him till he saw a fit opportunity. But Heraclides and his seamen exclaimed against him, that he delayed fighting on purpose that he might the longer continue his command; so that, much against his will, he was forced to an engagement and was beaten, his loss however being inconsiderable, and that occasioned chiefly by the dissension that was in the army. He rallied his men, and, having put them in good order and encouraged them to redeem their credit, resolved upon a second battle. But, in the evening, he received advice that Heraclides with his fleet was on his way to Syracuse, with the purpose to possess himself of the city and keep him and his army out. Instantly, therefore, taking with him some of the strongest and most active of his men, he rode off in the dark, and about nine the next morning was at the gates, having ridden seven hundred furlongs that night. Heraclides, though he strove to make all the speed he could, yet, coming too late, tacked and stood out again to sea; and, being unresolved what course to steer, accidentally he met Gaesylus the Spartan, who told him he was come from Lacedaemon to head the Sicilians, as Gylippus had formerly done. Heraclides was only too glad to get hold of him, and fastening him as it might be a sort of amulet to himself, he showed him to the confederates, and sent a herald to Syracuse to summon them to accept the Spartan general. Dion returned answer that they had generals enough, and, if they wanted a Spartan to command them, he could supply that office, being himself a citizen of Sparta. When Gaesylus saw this, he gave up all pretensions, and sailed in to Dion, and reconciled Heraclides to him, making Heraclides swear the most solemn oaths to perform what he engaged, Gaesylus himself also undertaking to maintain Dion's right, and inflict chastisement on Heraclides if he broke his faith.
The Syracusans then laid up their navy, which was at present a great charge and of little use to them, but an occasion of differences and dissensions among the generals, and pressed on the siege, finishing the wall of blockade with which they invested the castle. The besieged, seeing no hopes of succors and their provisions failing, began to mutiny; so that the son of Dionysius, in despair of holding out longer for his father, capitulated, and articled with Dion to deliver up the castle with all the garrison soldiers and ammunition; and so, taking his mother and sisters and manning five galleys, he set out to go to his father, Dion seeing him safely out, and scarce a man in all the city not being there to behold the sight, as indeed they called even on those that were not present, out of pity that they could not be there, to see this happy day and the sun shining on a free Syracuse. And as this expulsion of Dionysius is even now always cited as one of the greatest and most remarkable examples of fortune's vicissitudes, how extraordinary may we imagine their joy to have been, and how entire their satisfaction, who had totally subverted the most potent tyranny that ever was by very slight and inconsiderable means!
When Apollocrates was gone, and Dion coming to take possession of the castle, the women could not stay while he made his entry, but ran to meet him at the gate. Aristomache led Dion's son, and Arete followed after weeping, fearful and dubious how to salute or address her husband, after living with another man. Dion first embraced his sister, then his son; when Aristomache bringing Arete to him, "O Dion," said she, "your banishment made us all equally miserable; your return and victory has canceled all sorrows, excepting this poor sufferer's, whom I, unhappy, saw compelled to be another's, while you were yet alive. Fortune has now given you the sole disposal of us; how will you determine concerning her hard fate? In what relation must she salute you as her uncle, or as her husband?" This speech of Aristomache's brought tears from Dion, who with great affection embraced his wife, gave her his son, and desired her to retire to his own house, where he continued to reside when he had delivered up the castle to the Syracusans.
For though all things had now succeeded to his wish, yet he desired not to enjoy any present advantage of his good fortune, except to gratify his friends, reward his allies, and bestow upon his companions of former time in Athens and the soldiers that had served him some special mark of kindness and honor, striving herein to outdo his very means in his generosity. As for himself, he was content with a very frugal and moderate competency, and was indeed the wonder of all men, that when not only Sicily and Carthage, but all Greece looked to him as in the height of prosperity, and no man living greater than he, no general more renowned for valor and success, yet in his garb, his attendance, his table, he seemed as if he rather commoned with Plato in the Academy than lived among hired captains and paid soldiers, whose solace of their toils and dangers it is to eat and drink their fill, and enjoy themselves plentifully every day. Plato indeed wrote to him that the eyes of all the world were now upon him; but it is evident that he himself had fixed his eye upon one place in one city, the Academy, and considered that the spectators and judges there regarded not great actions, courage, or fortune, but watched to see how temperately and wisely he could use his prosperity, how evenly he could behave himself in the high condition he now was in. Neither did he remit anything of his wonted stateliness in conversation or serious carriage to the people; he made it rather a point to maintain it, notwithstanding that a little condescension and obliging civility were very necessary for his present affairs; and Plato, as we said before, rebuked him, and wrote to tell him that self-will keeps house with solitude. But certainly his natural temperament was one that could not bend to complaisance; and, besides, he wished to work the Syracusans back the other way, out of their present excess of license and caprice.
Heraclides began again to set up against him, and, being invited by Dion to make one of the Council, refused to come, saying he would give his opinion as a private citizen in the public assembly. Next he complained of Dion because he had not demolished the citadel, and because he had hindered the people from throwing down Dionysius's tomb and doing despite to the dead; moreover he accused him for sending to Corinth for counselors and assistants in the government, thereby neglecting and slighting his fellow-citizens. And indeed he had sent messages for some Corinthians to come to him, hoping by their means and presence the better to settle that constitution he intended; for he designed to suppress the unlimited democratic government, which indeed is not a government, but, as Plato calls it, a marketplace of governments, and to introduce and establish a mixed polity, on the Spartan and Cretan model, between a commonwealth and a monarchy, wherein an aristocratic body should preside, and determine all matters of greatest consequence; for he saw also that the Corinthians were chiefly governed by something like an oligarchy, and the people but little concerned in public business.
Now knowing that Heraclides would be his most considerable adversary, and that in all ways he was a turbulent, fickle, and factious man, he gave way to some whom formerly he hindered when they designed to kill him, who, breaking in, murdered Heraclides in his own house. His death was much resented by the citizens. Nevertheless, when Dion made him a splendid funeral, followed the dead body with all his soldiers, and then addressed them, they understood that it would have been impossible to have kept the city quiet, as long as Dion and Heraclides were competitors in the government.
Dion had a friend called Callippus, an Athenian, who, Plato says, first made acquaintance and afterwards obtained familiarity with him, not from any connection with his philosophic studies, but on occasion afforded by the celebration of the mysteries, and in the way of ordinary society. This man went with him in all his military service, and was in great honor and esteem; being the first of his friends who marched by his side into Syracuse, wearing a garland upon his head, having behaved himself very well in all the battles, and made himself remarkable for his gallantry. He, finding that Dion's principal and most considerable friends were cut off in the war, Heraclides now dead, and the people without a leader, and that the soldiers had a great kindness for him, like a perfidious and wicked villain, in hopes to get the chief command of Sicily as his reward for the ruin of his friend and benefactor, and, as some say, being also bribed by the enemy with twenty talents to destroy Dion, inveigled and engaged several of the soldiers in a conspiracy against him, taking this cunning and wicked occasion for his plot. He daily informed Dion of what he heard or what he feigned the soldiers said against him; whereby he gained that credit and confidence, that he was allowed by Dion to consort privately with whom he would, and talk freely against him in any company, that he might discover who were his secret and factious maligners. By this means, Callippus in a short time got together a cabal of all the seditious malcontents in the city; and if anyone who would not be drawn in advised Dion that he was tampered with, he was not troubled or concerned at it, believing Callippus did it in compliance with his directions.
While this conspiracy was afoot, a strange and dreadful apparition was seen by Dion. As he sat one evening in a gallery in his house alone and thoughtful, hearing a sudden noise he turned about, and saw at the end of the colonnade, by clear daylight, a tall woman, in her countenance and garb like one of the tragical Furies, with a broom in her hand, sweeping the floor. Being amazed and extremely affrighted, he sent for some of his friends, and told them what he had seen, entreating them to stay with him and keep him company all night; for he was excessively discomposed and alarmed, fearing that if he were left alone the specter would again appear to him. He saw it no more. But a few days after, his only son, being almost grown up to man's estate, upon some displeasure and pet he had taken upon a childish and frivolous occasion, threw himself headlong from the top of the house and broke his neck.
While Dion was under this affliction, Callippus drove on his conspiracy, and spread a rumor among the Syracusans, that Dion, being now childless, was resolved to send for Dionysius's son, Apollocrates, who was his wife's nephew and sister's grandson, and make him his heir and successor. By this time, Dion and his wife and sister began to suspect what was doing, and from all hands information came to them of the plot. Dion, being troubled, it is probable, for Heraclides's murder, which was like to be a blot and stain upon his life and actions, in continual weariness and vexation, declared he had rather die a thousand times, and open his breast himself to the assassin, than live not only in fear of his enemies but suspicion of his friends. But Callippus, seeing the women very inquisitive to search to the bottom of the business, took alarm, and came to them, utterly denying it with tears in his eyes, and offering to give them whatever assurances of his fidelity they desired. They required that he should take the Great Oath, which was after this manner. The juror went into the sanctuary of Ceres and Proserpine, where, after the performance of some ceremonies, he was clad in the purple vestment of the goddess, and, holding a lighted torch in his hand, took his oath. Callippus did as they required, and forswore the fact. And indeed he so little valued the goddesses, that he stayed but till the very festival of Proserpine, by whom he had sworn, and on that very day committed his intended murder; as truly he might well enough disregard the day, since he must at any other time as impiously offend her, when he who had acted as her initiating priest should shed the blood of her worshiper.
There were a great many in the conspiracy; and as Dion was at home with several of his friends in a room with tables for entertainment in it, some of the conspirators beset the house around, others secured the doors and windows. The actual intended murderers were some Zacynthians, who went inside in their under-dresses without swords. Those outside shut the doors upon them and kept them fast. The murderers fell on Dion, endeavoring to stifle and crush him; then, finding they were doing nothing, they called for a sword, but none durst open the door. There were a great many within with Dion, but everyone was for securing himself, supposing that by letting him lose his life he should save his own, and therefore no man ventured to assist him. When they had waited a good while, at length Lycon the Syracusan reached a short sword in at the window to one of the Zacynthians, and thus, like a victim at a sacrifice, this long time in their power, and trembling for the blow, they killed him. His sister, and wife big with child, they hurried to prison, who poor lady, in her unfortunate condition was there brought to bed of a son, which, by the consent of the keepers, they intended to bring up, the rather because Callippus began already to be embroiled in troubles.
After the murder of Dion, he was in great glory, and had the sole government of Syracuse in his hands; and to that effect wrote to Athens, a place which, next the immortal gods, being guilty of such an abominable crime, he ought to have regarded with shame and fear. But true it is, what is said of that city, that the good men she breeds are the most excellent, and the bad the most notorious; as their country also produces the most delicious honey and the most deadly hemlock. Callippus, however, did not long continue to scandalize fortune and upbraid the gods with his prosperity, as though they connived at and bore with the wretched man, while he purchased riches and power by heinous impieties, but he quickly received the punishment he deserved. For, going to take Catana, he lost Syracuse; whereupon they report he said, he had lost a city and got a bauble. Then, attempting Messena, he had most of his men cut off, and, among the rest, Dion's murderers. When no city in Sicily would admit him, but all hated and abhorred him, he went into Italy and took Rhegium; and there, being in distress and not able to maintain his soldiers, he was killed by Leptines and Polysperchon, and, as fortune would have it with the same sword by which Dion was murdered, which was known by the size, being but short, as the Spartan swords, and the workmanship of it very curious and artificial. Thus Callippus received the reward of his villanies.
When Aristomache and Arete were released out of prison, Hicetes, one of Dion's friends, took them to his house, and seemed to intend to entertain them well and like a faithful friend. Afterwards, being persuaded by Dion's enemies, he provided a ship and pretended to send them into Peloponnesus, but commanded the sailors, when they came out to sea, to kill them and throw them overboard. Others say that they and the little boy were thrown alive into the sea. This man also escaped not the due recompense of his wickedness, for he was taken by Timoleon and put to death, and the Syracusans, to revenge Dion, slew his two daughters; of all which I have given a more particular account in the life of Timoleon.
Marcus Brutus was descended from that Junius Brutus to whom the ancient Romans erected a statue of brass in the capitol among the images of their kings with a drawn sword in his hand, in remembrance of his courage and resolution in expelling the Tarquins and destroying the monarchy. But that ancient Brutus was of a severe and inflexible nature, like steel of too hard a temper, and having never had his character softened by study and thought, he let himself be so far transported with his rage and hatred against tyrants, that, for conspiring with them, he proceeded to the execution even of his own sons. But this Brutus, whose life we now write, having to the goodness of his disposition added the improvements of learning and the study of philosophy, and having stirred up his natural parts, of themselves grave and gentle, by applying himself to business and public affairs, seems to have been of a temper exactly framed for virtue; insomuch that they who were most his enemies upon account of his conspiracy against Caesar, if in that whole affair there was any honorable or generous part, referred it wholly to Brutus, and laid whatever was barbarous and cruel to the charge of Cassius, Brutus's connection and familiar friend, but not his equal in honesty and pureness of purpose. His mother, Servilia, was of the family of Servilius Ahala, who, when Spurius Maelius worked the people into a rebellion and designed to make himself king, taking a dagger under his arm, went forth into the marketplace, and, upon presence of having some private business with him, came up close to him, and, as he bent his head to hear what he had to say, struck him with his dagger and slew him. And thus much, as concerns his descent by the mother's side, is confessed by all; but as for his father's family, they who for Caesar's murder bore any hatred or ill-will to Brutus say that he came not from that Brutus who expelled the Tarquins, there being none of his race left after the execution of his two sons; but that his ancestor was a plebeian, son of one Brutus, a steward, and only rose in the latest times to office or dignity in the commonwealth. But Posidonius the philosopher writes that it is true indeed what the history relates, that two of the sons of Brutus who were of men's estate were put to death, but that a third, yet an infant, was left alive, from whom the family was propagated down to Marcus Brutus; and further, that there were several famous persons of this house in his time whose looks very much resembled the statue of Junius Brutus. But of this subject enough.
Cato the philosopher was brother to Servilia, the mother of Brutus, and he it was whom of all the Romans his nephew most admired and studied to imitate, and he afterwards married his daughter Porcia. Of all the sects of the Greek philosophers, though there was none of which he had not been a hearer and in which he had not made some proficiency, yet he chiefly esteemed the Platonists; and, not much approving of the modern and middle Academy, as it is called, he applied himself to the study of the ancient. He was all his lifetime a great admirer of Antiochus of the city of Ascalon, and took his brother Aristus into his own house for his friend and companion, a man for his learning inferior indeed to many of the philosophers, but for the evenness of his temper and steadiness of his conduct equal to the best. As for Empylus, of whom he himself and his friends often make mention in their epistles, as one that lived with Brutus, he was a rhetorician, and has left behind him a short but well-written history of the death of Caesar, entitled Brutus.
In Latin, he had by exercise attained a sufficient skill to be able to make public addresses and to plead a cause; but in Greek, he must be noted for affecting the sententious and short Laconic way of speaking in sundry passages of his epistles; as when, in the beginning of the war, he wrote thus to the Pergamenians: "I hear you have given Dolabella money; if willingly, you must own you have injured me; if unwillingly, show it by giving willingly to me." And another time to the Samians: "Your counsels are remiss and your performances slow: what think ye will be the end?" And of the Patareans thus: "The Xanthians, suspecting my kindness, have made their country the grave of their despair; the Patareans, trusting themselves to me, enjoy in all points their former liberty; it is in your power to choose the judgment of the Patareans or the fortune of the Xanthians." And this is the style for which some of his letters are to be noted.
When he was but a very young man, he accompanied his uncle Cato, to Cyprus, when he was sent there against Ptolemy. But when Ptolemy killed himself, Cato, being by some necessary business detained in the isle of Rhodes, had already sent one of his friends, named Canidius, to take into his care and keeping the treasure of the king; but presently, not feeling sure of his honesty, he wrote to Brutus to sail immediately for Cyprus out of Pamphylia, where he then was staying to refresh himself, being but just recovered of a fit of sickness. He obeyed his orders, but with a great deal of unwillingness, as well out of respect to Canidius, who was thrown out of this employment by Cato with so much disgrace, as also because he esteemed such a commission mean, and unsuitable to him, who was in the prime of his youth, and given to books and study. Nevertheless, applying himself to the business, he behaved himself so well in it that he was highly commended by Cato, and, having turned all the goods of Ptolemy into ready money, he sailed with the greatest part of it in his own ship to Rome.
But upon the general separation into two factions, when, Pompey and Caesar taking up arms against one another, the whole empire was turned into confusion, it was commonly believed that he would take Caesar's side; for his father in past time had been put to death by Pompey. But he, thinking it his duty to prefer the interest of the public to his own private feelings, and judging Pompey's to be the better cause, took part with him; though formerly he used not so much as to salute or take any notice of Pompey, if he happened to meet him, esteeming it a pollution to have the least conversation with the murderer of his father. But now, looking upon him as the general of his country, he placed himself under his command, and set sail for Cilicia in quality of lieutenant to Sestius, who had the government of that province. But finding no opportunity there of doing any great service, and hearing that Pompey and Caesar were now near one another and preparing for the battle upon which all depended, he came of his own accord to Macedonia to partake in the danger. At his coming it is said that Pompey was so surprised and so pleased, that, rising from his chair in the sight of all who were about him, he saluted and embraced him, as one of the chiefest of his party. All the time that he was in the camp, excepting that which he spent in Pompey's company, he employed in reading and in study, which he did not neglect even the day before the great battle. It was the middle of summer, and the heat was very great, the camp having been pitched near some marshy ground, and the people that carried Brutus's tent were a long while before they came. Yet though upon these accounts he was extremely harassed and out of order, having scarcely by the middle of the day anointed himself and eaten a sparing meal, whilst most others were either laid to sleep or taken up with the thoughts and apprehensions of what would be the issue of the fight, he spent his time until the evening in writing an epitome of Polybius.
It is said that Caesar had so great a regard for him that he ordered his commanders by no means to kill Brutus in the battle, but to spare him, if possible, and bring him safe to him, if he would willingly surrender himself; but if he made any resistance, to suffer him to escape rather than do him any violence. And this he is believed to have done out of a tenderness to Servilia, the mother of Brutus; for Caesar had, it seems, in his youth been very intimate with her, and she passionately in love with him; and, considering that Brutus was born about that time in which their loves were at the highest, Caesar had a belief that he was his own child. The story is told, that when the great question of the conspiracy of Catiline, which had like to have been the destruction of the commonwealth, was debated in the senate, Cato and Caesar were both standing up, contending together on the decision to be come to; at which time a little note was delivered to Caesar from without, which he took and read silently to himself. Upon this, Cato cried out aloud, and accused Caesar of holding correspondence with and receiving letters from the enemies of the commonwealth; and when many other senators exclaimed against it, Caesar delivered the note as he had received it to Cato, who reading it found it to be a love-letter from his own sister Servilia, and threw it back again to Caesar with the words, "Keep it, you drunkard," and returned to the subject of the debate. So public and notorious was Servilia's love to Caesar.
After the great overthrow at Pharsalia, Pompey himself having made his escape to the sea, and Caesar's army storming the camp, Brutus stole privately out by one of the gates leading to marshy ground full of water and covered with reeds, and, traveling through the night, got safe to Larissa. From Larissa he wrote to Caesar, who expressed a great deal of joy to hear that he was safe, and, bidding him come, not only forgave him freely, but honored and esteemed him among his chiefest friends. Now when nobody could give any certain account which way Pompey had fled, Caesar took a little journey alone with Brutus, and tried what was his opinion herein, and after some discussion which passed between them, believing that Brutus's conjecture was the right one, laying aside all other thoughts, he set out directly to pursue him towards Egypt. But Pompey, having reached Egypt, as Brutus guessed his design was to do, there met his fate.
Brutus in the meantime gained Caesar's forgiveness for his friend Cassius; and pleading also in defense of the king of the Lybians, though he was overwhelmed with the greatness of the crimes alleged against him, yet by his entreaties and deprecations to Caesar in his behalf, he preserved to him a great part of his kingdom. It is reported that Caesar, when he first heard Brutus speak in public, said to his friends, "I know not what this young man intends, but, whatever he intends, he intends vehemently." For his natural firmness of mind, not easily yielding, or complying in favor of everyone that entreated his kindness, once set into action upon motives of right reason and deliberate moral choice, whatever direction it thus took, it was pretty sure to take effectively, and to work in such a way as not to fail in its object. No flattery could ever prevail with him to listen to unjust petitions; and he held that to be overcome by the importunities of shameless and fawning entreaties, though some compliment it with the name of modesty and bashfulness, was the worst disgrace a great man could suffer. And he used to say, that he always felt as if they who could deny nothing could not have behaved well in the flower of their youth.
Caesar, being about to make his expedition into Africa against Cato and Scipio, committed to Brutus the government of Cisalpine Gaul, to the great happiness and advantage of that province. For while people in other provinces were in distress with the violence and avarice of their governors, and suffered as much oppression as if they had been slaves and captives of war, Brutus, by his easy government, actually made them amends for their calamities under former rulers, directing moreover all their gratitude for his good deeds to Caesar himself; insomuch that it was a most welcome and pleasant spectacle to Caesar, when in his return he passed through Italy, to see the cities that were under Brutus's command and Brutus himself increasing his honor and joining agreeably in his progress.
Now several praetorships being vacant, it was all men's opinion, that that of the chiefest dignity, which is called the praetorship of the city, would be conferred either upon Brutus or Cassius; and some say that, there having been some little difference upon former accounts between them, this competition set them much more at variance, though they were connected in their families, Cassius having married Junia, the sister of Brutus. Others say that the contention was raised between them by Caesar's doing, who had privately given each of them such hopes of his favor as led them on, and provoked them at last into this open competition and trial of their interest. Brutus had only the reputation of his honor and virtue to oppose to the many and gallant actions performed by Cassius against the Parthians. But Caesar, having heard each side, and deliberating about the matter among his friends, said, "Cassius has the stronger plea, but we must let Brutus be first praetor." So another praetorship was given to Cassius; the gaining of which could not so much oblige him, as he was incensed for the loss of the other. And in all other things Brutus was partaker of Caesar's power as much as he desired; for he might, if he had pleased, have been the chief of all his friends, and had authority and command beyond them all, but Cassius and the company he met with him drew him off from Caesar. Indeed, he was not yet wholly reconciled to Cassius, since that competition which was between them; but yet he gave ear to Cassius's friends, who were perpetually advising him not to be so blind as to suffer himself to be softened and won upon by Caesar, but to shun the kindness and favors of a tyrant, which they intimated that Caesar showed him, not to express any honor to his merit or virtue, but to unbend his strength, and undermine his vigor of purpose.
Neither was Caesar wholly without suspicion of him nor wanted informers that accused Brutus to him; but he feared, indeed, the high spirit and the great character and the friends that he had, but thought himself secure in his moral disposition. When it was told him that Antony and Dolabella designed some disturbance, "It is not," said he, "the fat and the long-haired men that I fear, but the pale and the lean," meaning Brutus and Cassius. And when some maligned Brutus to him, and advised him to beware of him, taking hold of his flesh with his hand, "What," he said, "do you think that Brutus will not wait out the time of this little body?" as if he thought none so fit to succeed him in his power as Brutus. And indeed it seems to be without doubt that Brutus might have been the first man in the commonwealth, if he had had patience but a little time to be second to Caesar, and would have suffered his power to decline after it was come to its highest pitch, and the fame of his great actions to die away by degrees. But Cassius, a man of a fierce disposition, and one that out of private malice, rather than love of the public, hated Caesar, not the tyrant, continually fired and stirred him up. Brutus felt the rule an oppression, but Cassius hated the ruler; and, among other reasons on which he grounded his quarrel against Caesar, the loss of his lions which he had procured when he was aedile elect was one: for Caesar, finding these in Megara, when that city was taken by Calenus, seized them to himself. These beasts, they say, were a great calamity to the Megarians; for, when their city was just taken, they broke open the lions' dens, and pulled off their chains and let them loose, that they might run upon the enemy that was entering the city; but the lions turned upon them themselves, and tore to pieces a great many unarmed persons running about, so that it was a miserable spectacle even to their enemies to behold.
And this, some say, was the chief provocation that stirred up Cassius to conspire against Caesar; but they are much in the wrong. For Cassius had from his youth a natural hatred and rancor against the whole race of tyrants, which he showed when he was but a boy, and went to the same school with Faustus, the son of Sylla; for, on his boasting himself amongst the boys, and extolling the sovereign power of his father, Cassius rose up and struck him two or three boxes on the ear; which when the guardians and relations of Faustus designed to inquire into and to prosecute, Pompey forbade them, and, sending for both the boys together, examined the matter himself. And Cassius then is reported to have said thus, "Come, then, Faustus, dare to speak here those words that provoked me, that I may strike you again as I did before." Such was the disposition of Cassius.
But Brutus was roused up and pushed on to the undertaking by many persuasions of his familiar friends, and letters and invitations from unknown citizens. For under the statue of his ancestor Brutus, that overthrew the kingly government, they wrote the words, "O that we had a Brutus now!" and, "O that Brutus were alive!" And Brutus's own tribunal, on which he sat as praetor, was filled each morning with writings such as these: "You are asleep, Brutus," and, "You are not a true Brutus." Now the flatterers of Caesar were the occasion of all this, who, among other invidious honors which they strove to fasten upon Caesar, crowned his statues by night with diadems, wishing to incite the people to salute him king instead of dictator. But quite the contrary came to pass, as I have more particularly related in the life of Caesar.
When Cassius went about soliciting friends to engage in this design against Caesar, all whom he tried readily consented, if Brutus would be head of it; for their opinion was that the enterprise wanted not hands or resolution, but the reputation and authority of a man such as he was, to give as it were the first religious sanction, and by his presence, if by nothing else, to justify the undertaking; that without him they should go about this action with less heart, and should lie under greater suspicions when they had done it, for, if their cause had been just and honorable, people would be sure that Brutus would not have refused it. Cassius, having considered these things with himself, went to Brutus, and made him the first visit after their falling out; and after the compliments of reconciliation had passed, and former kindnesses were renewed between them, he asked him if he designed to be present in the senate on the Calends of March, for it was discoursed, he said, that Caesar's friends intended then to move that he might be made king. When Brutus answered, that he would not be there, "But what," says Cassius, "if they should send for us?" "It will be my business then," replied Brutus, "not to hold my peace, but to stand up boldly, and die for the liberty of my country." To which Cassius with some emotion answered, "But what Roman will suffer you to die? What, do you not know yourself, Brutus? Or do you think that those writings that you find upon your praetor's seat were put there by weavers and shopkeepers, and not by the first and most powerful men of Rome? From other praetors, indeed, they expect largesses and shows and gladiators, but from you they claim, as an hereditary debt, the extirpation of tyranny; they are all ready to suffer anything on your account, if you will but show yourself such as they think you are and expect you should be." Which said, he fell upon Brutus, and embraced him; and after this, they parted each to try their several friends.
Among the friends of Pompey there was one Caius Ligarius, whom Caesar had pardoned, though accused for having been in arms against him. This man, not feeling so thankful for having been forgiven as he felt oppressed by that power which made him need a pardon, hated Caesar, and was one of Brutus's most intimate friends. Him Brutus visited, and, finding him sick, "O Ligarius," says he, "what a time have you found out to be sick in!" At which words Ligarius, raising himself and leaning on his elbow, took Brutus by the hand, and said, "But, O Brutus, if you are on any design worthy of yourself, I am well."
From this time, they tried the inclinations of all their acquaintance that they durst trust, and communicated the secret to them, and took into the design not only their familiar friends, but as many as they believed bold and brave and despisers of death. For which reason they concealed the plot from Cicero, though he was very much trusted and as well beloved by them all, lest, to his own disposition, which was naturally timorous, adding now the wariness and caution of old age, by his weighing, as he would do, every particular, that he might not make one step without the greatest security, he should blunt the edge of their forwardness and resolution in a business which required all the dispatch imaginable. As indeed there were also two others that were companions of Brutus, Statilius the Epicurean, and Favonius the admirer of Cato, whom he left out for this reason: as he was conversing one day with them, trying them at a distance, and proposing some such question to be disputed of as among philosophers, to see what opinion they were of, Favonius declared his judgment to be that a civil war was worse than the most illegal monarchy; and Statilius held, that, to bring himself into troubles and danger upon the account of evil or foolish men, did not become a man that had any wisdom or discretion. But Labeo, who was present, contradicted them both; and Brutus, as if it had been an intricate dispute, and difficult to be decided, held his peace for that time, but afterwards discovered the whole design to Labeo, who readily undertook it. The next thing that was thought convenient, was to gain the other Brutus, surnamed Albinus, a man of himself of no great bravery or courage, but considerable for the number of gladiators that he was maintaining for a public show, and the great confidence that Caesar put in him. When Cassius and Labeo spoke with him concerning the matter, he gave them no answer; but, seeking an interview with Brutus himself alone, and finding that he was their captain, he readily consented to partake in the action. And among the others, also, the most and best were gained by the name of Brutus. And, though they neither gave nor took any oath of secrecy, nor used any other sacred rite to assure their fidelity to each other, yet all kept their design so close, were so wary, and held it so silently among themselves, that, though by prophecies and apparitions and signs in the sacrifices the gods gave warning of it, yet could it not be believed.
Now Brutus, feeling that the noblest spirits of Rome for virtue, birth, or courage were depending upon him, and surveying with himself all the circumstances of the dangers they were to encounter, strove indeed as much as possible, when abroad, to keep his uneasiness of mind to himself, and to compose his thoughts; but at home, and especially at night, he was not the same man, but sometimes against his will his working care would make him start out of his sleep, and other times he was taken up with further reflection and consideration of his difficulties, so that his wife that lay with him could not choose but take notice that he was full of unusual trouble, and had in agitation some dangerous and perplexing question. Porcia, as was said before, was the daughter of Cato, and Brutus, her cousin-german, had married her very young, though not a maid, but after the death of her former husband, by whom she had one son, that was named Bibulus; and there is a little book, called Memoirs of Brutus, written by him, yet extant. This Porcia, being addicted to philosophy, a great lover of her husband, and full of an understanding courage, resolved not to inquire into Brutus's secrets before she had made this trial of herself. She turned all her attendants out of her chamber, and, taking a little knife, such as they use to cut nails with, she gave herself a deep gash in the thigh; upon which followed a great flow of blood, and, soon after, violent pains and a shivering fever, occasioned by the wound. Now when Brutus was extremely anxious and afflicted for her, she, in the height of all her pain, spoke thus to him: "I, Brutus, being the daughter of Cato, was given to you in marriage, not like a concubine, to partake only in the common intercourse of bed and board, but to bear a part in all your good and all your evil fortunes; and for your part, as regards your care for me, I find no reason to complain; but from me, what evidence of my love, what satisfaction can you receive, if I may not share with you in bearing your hidden griefs, nor be admitted to any of your counsels that require secrecy and trust? I know very well that women seem to be of too weak a nature to be trusted with secrets; but certainly, Brutus, a virtuous birth and education, and the company of the good and honorable, are of some force to the forming our manners; and I can boast that I am the daughter of Cato and the wife of Brutus, in which two titles though before I put less confidence, yet now I have tried myself, and find that I can bid defiance to pain." Which words having spoken, she showed him her wound, and related to him the trial that she had made of her constancy; at which he being astonished, lifted up his hands to heaven, and begged the assistance of the gods in his enterprise, that he might show himself a husband worthy of such a wife as Porcia. So then he comforted his wife.
But a meeting of the senate being appointed, at which it was believed that Caesar would be present, they agreed to make use of that opportunity: for then they might appear all together without suspicion; and, besides, they hoped that all the noblest and leading men of the commonwealth, being then assembled, as soon as the great deed was done, would immediately stand forward, and assert the common liberty. The very place, too, where the senate was to meet, seemed to be by divine appointment favorable to their purpose. It was a portico, one of those joining the theater, with a large recess, in which there stood a statue of Pompey, erected to him by the commonwealth, when he adorned that part of the city with the porticos and the theater. To this place it was that the senate was summoned for the middle of March (the Ides of March is the Roman name for the day); as if some more than human power were leading the man thither, there to meet his punishment for the death of Pompey.
As soon as it was day, Brutus, taking with him a dagger, which none but his wife knew of, went out. The rest met together at Cassius's house, and brought forth his son, that was that day to put on the manly gown, as it is called, into the forum; and from thence, going all to Pompey's porch, stayed there, expecting Caesar to come without delay to the senate. Here it was chiefly that anyone who had known what they had purposed, would have admired the unconcerned temper and the steady resolution of these men in their most dangerous undertaking; for many of them, being praetors, and called upon by their office to judge and determine causes, did not only hear calmly all that made application to them and pleaded against each other before them, as if they were free from all other thoughts, but decided causes with as much accuracy and judgment as they had heard them with attention and patience. And when one person refused to stand to the award of Brutus, and with great clamor and many attestations appealed to Caesar, Brutus, looking round about him upon those that were present, said, "Caesar does not hinder me, nor will he hinder me, from doing according to the laws."
Yet there were many unusual accidents that disturbed them and by mere chance were thrown in their way. The first and chiefest was the long stay of Caesar, though the day was far spent, and his being detained at home by his wife, and forbidden by the soothsayers to go forth, upon some defect that appeared in his sacrifice. Another was this: There came a man up to Casca, one of the company, and, taking him by the hand, "You concealed," said he, "the secret from us, but Brutus has told me all." At which words when Casca was surprised, the other said laughing, "How come you to be so rich of a sudden, that you should stand to be chosen aedile?" So near was Casca to let out the secret, upon the mere ambiguity of the other's expression. Then Popilius Laenas, a senator, having saluted Brutus and Cassius more earnestly than usual, whispered them softly in the ear and said, "My wishes are with you, that you may accomplish what you design, and I advise you to make no delay, for the thing is now no secret." This said, he departed, and left them in great suspicion that the design had taken wind. In the meanwhile, there came one in all haste from Brutus's house, and brought him news that his wife was dying. For Porcia, being extremely disturbed with expectation of the event, and not able to bear the greatness of her anxiety, could scarce keep herself within doors; and at every little noise or voice she heard, starting up suddenly, like those possessed with the bacchic frenzy, she asked everyone that came in from the forum what Brutus was doing, and sent one messenger after another to inquire. At last, after long expectation, the strength of her body could hold out no longer; her mind was overcome with her doubts and fears, and she lost the control of herself, and began to faint away. She had not time to betake herself to her chamber, but, sitting as she was amongst her women, a sudden swoon and a great stupor seized her, and her color changed, and her speech was quite lost. At this sight, her women made a loud cry, and many of the neighbors running to Brutus's door to know what was the matter, the report was soon spread abroad that Porcia was dead; though with her women's help she recovered in a little while, and came to herself again. When Brutus received this news, he was extremely troubled, nor without reason, yet was not so carried away by his private grief as to quit his public purpose.
For now news was brought that Caesar was coming, carried in a litter. For, being discouraged by the ill omens that attended his sacrifice, he had determined to undertake no affairs of any great importance that day, but to defer them till another time, excusing himself that he was sick. As soon as he came out of his litter, Popilius Laenas, he who but a little before had wished Brutus good success in his undertaking, coming up to him, conversed a great while with him, Caesar standing still all the while, and seeming to be very attentive. The conspirators, (to give them this name,) not being able to hear what he said, but guessing by what themselves were conscious of that this conference was the discovery of their treason, were again disheartened, and, looking upon one another, agreed from each other's countenances that they should not stay to be taken, but should all kill themselves. And now when Cassius and some others were laying hands upon their daggers under their robes, and were drawing them out, Brutus, viewing narrowly the looks and gesture of Laenas, and finding that he was earnestly petitioning and not accusing, said nothing, because there were many strangers to the conspiracy mingled amongst them, but by a cheerful countenance encouraged Cassius. And after a little while, Laenas, having kissed Caesar's hand, went away, showing plainly that all his discourse was about some particular business relating to himself.
Now when the senate was gone in before to the chamber where they were to sit, the rest of the company placed themselves close about Caesar's chair, as if they had some suit to make to him, and Cassius, turning his face to Pompey's statue, is said to have invoked it, as if it had been sensible of his prayers. Trebonius, in the meanwhile, engaged Antony's attention at the door, and kept him in talk outside. When Caesar entered, the whole senate rose up to him. As soon as he was set down, the men all crowded round about him, and set Tillius Cimber, one of their own number, to intercede in behalf of his brother, that was banished; they all joined their prayers with his, and took Caesar by the hand, and kissed his head and his breast. But he putting aside at first their supplications, and afterwards, when he saw they would not desist, violently rising up, Tillius with both hands caught hold of his robe and pulled it off from his shoulders, and Casca, that stood behind him, drawing his dagger, gave him the first, but a slight wound, about the shoulder. Caesar snatching hold of the handle of the dagger, and crying out aloud in Latin, "Villain Casca, what do you?" he, calling in Greek to his brother, bade him come and help. And by this time, finding himself struck by a great many hands, and looking round about him to see if he could force his way out, when he saw Brutus with his dagger drawn against him, he let go Casca's hand, that he had hold of, and, covering his head with his robe, gave up his body to their blows. And they so eagerly pressed towards the body, and so many daggers were hacking together, that they cut one another; Brutus, particularly, received a wound in his hand, and all of them were besmeared with the blood.
Caesar being thus slain, Brutus, stepping forth into the midst, intended to have made a speech, and called back and encouraged the senators to stay; but they all affrighted ran away in great disorder, and there was a great confusion and press at the door, though none pursued or followed. For they had come to an express resolution to kill nobody besides Caesar, but to call and invite all the rest to liberty. It was indeed the opinion of all the others, when they consulted about the execution of their design, that it was necessary to cut off Antony with Caesar, looking upon him as an insolent man, an affecter of monarchy, and one that, by his familiar intercourse, had gained a powerful interest with the soldiers. And this they urged the rather, because at that time to the natural loftiness and ambition of his temper there was added the dignity of being consul and colleague to Caesar. But Brutus opposed this counsel, insisting first upon the injustice of it, and afterwards giving them hopes that a change might be worked in Antony. For he did not despair but that so highly gifted and honorable a man, and such a lover of glory as Antony, stirred up with emulation of their great attempt, might, if Caesar were once removed, lay hold of the occasion to be joint restorer with them of the liberty of his country. Thus did Brutus save Antony's life. But he, in the general consternation, put himself into a plebeian habit, and fled. But Brutus and his party marched up to the capitol, in their way showing their hands all bloody, and their naked swords, and proclaiming liberty to the people. At first all places were filled with cries and shouts; and the wild running to and fro, occasioned by the sudden surprise and passion that everyone was in, increased the tumult in the city. But no other bloodshed following, and no plundering of the goods in the streets, the senators and many of the people took courage and went up to the men in the capitol; and, a multitude being gathered together, Brutus made an oration to them, very popular, and proper for the state that affairs were then in. Therefore, when they applauded his speech, and cried out to him to come down, they all took confidence and descended into the forum; the rest promiscuously mingled with one another, but many of the most eminent persons, attending Brutus, conducted him in the midst of them with great honor from the capitol, and placed him in the rostra. At the sight of Brutus, the crowd, though consisting of a confused mixture and all disposed to make a tumult, were struck with reverence, and expected what he would say with order and with silence, and, when he began to speak, heard him with quiet and attention. But that all were not pleased with this action they plainly showed when, Cinna beginning to speak and accuse Caesar, they broke out into a sudden rage, and railed at him in such language, that the whole party thought fit again to withdraw to the capitol. And there Brutus, expecting to be besieged, dismissed the most eminent of those that had accompanied them thither, not thinking it just that they who were not partakers of the fact should share in the danger.
But the next day, the senate being assembled in the temple of the Earth, and Antony and Plancus and Cicero having made orations recommending concord in general and an act of oblivion, it was decreed, that the men should not only be put out of all fear or danger, but that the consuls should see what honors and dignities were proper to be conferred upon them. After which done, the senate broke up; and, Antony having sent his son as an hostage to the capitol, Brutus and his company came down, and mutual salutes and invitations passed amongst them, the whole of them being gathered together. Antony invited and entertained Cassius, Lepidus did the same to Brutus, and the rest were invited and entertained by others, as each of them had acquaintance or friends. And as soon as it was day, the senate met again and voted thanks to Antony for having stifled the beginning of a civil war; afterwards Brutus and his associates that were present received encomiums, and had provinces assigned and distributed among them. Crete was allotted to Brutus, Africa to Cassius, Asia to Trebonius, Bithynia to Cimber, and to the other Brutus Gaul about the Po.
After these things, they began to consider of Caesar's will, and the ordering of his funeral. Antony desired that the will might be read, and that the body should not have a private or dishonorable interment, lest that should further exasperate the people. This Cassius violently opposed, but Brutus yielded to it, and gave leave; in which he seems to have a second time committed a fault. For as before in sparing the life of Antony he could not be without some blame from his party, as thereby setting up against the conspiracy a dangerous and difficult enemy, so now, in suffering him to have the ordering of the funeral, he fell into a total and irrecoverable error. For first, it appearing by the will that Caesar had bequeathed to the Roman people seventy-five drachmas a man, and given to the public his gardens beyond Tiber (where now the temple of Fortune stands), the whole city was fired with a wonderful affection for him, and a passionate sense of the loss of him. And when the body was brought forth into the forum, Antony, as the custom was, making a funeral oration in the praise of Caesar, and finding the multitude moved with his speech, passing into the pathetic tone, unfolded the bloody garment of Caesar, showed them in how many places it was pierced, and the number of his wounds. Now there was nothing to be seen but confusion; some cried out to kill the murderers, others (as was formerly done when Clodius led the people) tore away the benches and tables out of the shops round about, and, heaping them all together, built a great funeral pile, and, having put the body of Caesar upon it, set it on fire, the spot where this was done being moreover surrounded with a great many temples and other consecrated places, so that they seemed to burn the body in a kind of sacred solemnity. As soon as the fire flamed out, the multitude, flocking in some from one part and some from another, snatched the brands that were half burnt out of the pile, and ran about the city to fire the houses of the murderers of Caesar. But they, having beforehand well fortified themselves, repelled this danger.
There was however a kind of poet, one Cinna, not at all concerned in the guilt of the conspiracy, but on the contrary one of Caesar's friends. This man dreamed that he was invited to supper by Caesar, and that he declined to go, but that Caesar entreated and pressed him to it very earnestly; and at last, taking him by the hand, led him into a very deep and dark place, whither he was forced against his will to follow in great consternation and amazement. After this vision, he had a fever the most part of the night; nevertheless in the morning, hearing that the body of Caesar was to be carried forth to be interred, he was ashamed not to be present at the solemnity, and came abroad and joined the people, when they were already infuriated by the speech of Antony. And perceiving him, and taking him not for that Cinna who indeed he was, but for him that a little before in a speech to the people had reproached and inveighed against Caesar, they fell upon him and tore him to pieces.
This action chiefly, and the alteration that Antony had wrought, so alarmed Brutus and his party, that for their safety they retired from the city. The first stay they made was at Antium, with a design to return again as soon as the fury of the people had spent itself and was abated, which they expected would soon and easily come to pass in an unsettled multitude, apt to be carried away with any sudden and impetuous passion, especially since they had the senate favorable to them; which, though it took no notice of those that had torn Cinna to pieces, yet made a strict search and apprehended in order to punishment those that had assaulted the houses of the friends of Brutus and Cassius. By this time, also, the people began to be dissatisfied with Antony, who they perceived was setting up a kind of monarchy for himself; they longed for the return of Brutus, whose presence they expected and hoped for at the games and spectacles which he, as praetor, was to exhibit to the public. But he, having intelligence that many of the old soldiers that had borne arms under Caesar, by whom they had had lands and cities given them, lay in wait for him, and by small parties at a time had stolen into the city, would not venture to come himself; however, in his absence there were most magnificent and costly shows exhibited to the people; for, having bought up a great number of all sorts of wild beasts, he gave order that not any of them should be returned or saved, but that all should be spent freely at the public spectacles. He himself made a journey to Naples to procure a considerable number of players, and hearing of one Canutius, that was very much praised for his acting upon the stage, he wrote to his friends to use all their entreaties to bring him to Rome (for, being a Grecian, he could not be compelled); he wrote also to Cicero, begging him by no means to omit being present at the shows.
This was the posture of affairs when another sudden alteration was made upon the young Caesar's coming to Rome. He was son to the niece of Caesar, who adopted him, and left him his heir by his will. At the time when Caesar was killed, he was following his studies at Apollonia, where he was expecting also to meet Caesar on his way to the expedition which he had determined on against the Parthians; but, hearing of his death, he immediately came to Rome, and, to ingratiate himself with the people, taking upon himself the name of Caesar, and punctually distributing among the citizens the money that was left them by the will, he soon got the better of Antony; and by money and largesses, which he liberally dispersed amongst the soldiers, he gathered together and brought over to his party a great number of those that had served under Caesar. Cicero himself, out of the hatred which he bore to Antony, sided with young Caesar; which Brutus took so ill that he treated with him very sharply in his letters, telling him, that he perceived Cicero could well enough endure a tyrant, but was afraid that he who hated him should be the man; that in writing and speaking so well of Caesar, he showed that his aim was to have an easy slavery. "But our forefathers," said Brutus, "could not brook even gentle masters." Further he added, that for his own part he had not as yet fully resolved whether he should make war or peace; but that as to one point he was fixed and settled, which was, never to be a slave; that he wondered Cicero should fear the dangers of a civil war, and not be much more afraid of a dishonorable and infamous peace; that the very reward that was to be given him for subverting Antony's tyranny was the privilege of establishing Caesar as tyrant in his place. This is the tone of Brutus's first letters to Cicero.
The city being now divided into two factions, some betaking themselves to Caesar and others to Antony, the soldiers selling themselves, as it were, by public outcry, and going over to him that would give them most, Brutus began to despair of any good event of such proceedings, and, resolving to leave Italy, passed by land through Lucania and came to Elea by the seaside. From hence it was thought convenient that Porcia should return to Rome. She was overcome with grief to part from Brutus, but strove as much as was possible to conceal it; but, in spite of all her constancy, a picture which she found there accidentally betrayed it. It was a Greek subject, Hector parting from Andromache when he went to engage the Greeks, giving his young son Astyanax into her arms, and she fixing her eyes upon him. When she looked at this piece, the resemblance it bore to her own condition made her burst into tears, and several times a day she went to see the picture, and wept before it. Upon this occasion, when Acilius, one of Brutus's friends, repeated out of Homer the verses, where Andromache speaks to Hector: --
But Hector, you To me are father and are mother too, My brother, and my loving husband true.
Brutus, smiling, replied, "But I must not answer Porcia, as Hector did Andromache,
'Mind you your loom, and to your maids give law.'
For though the natural weakness of her body hinders her from doing what only the strength of men can perform, yet she has a mind as valiant and as active for the good of her country as the best of us." This narrative is in the memoirs of Brutus written by Bibulus, Porcia's son.
Brutus took ship from hence, and sailed to Athens where he was received by the people with great demonstrations of kindness, expressed in their acclamations and the honors that were decreed him. He lived there with a private friend, and was a constant auditor of Theomnestus the Academic and Cratippus the Peripatetic, with whom he so engaged in philosophical pursuits, that he seemed to have laid aside all thoughts of public business, and to be wholly at leisure for study. But all this while, being unsuspected, he was secretly making preparation for war; in order to which he sent Herostratus into Macedonia to secure the commanders there to his side, and he himself won over and kept at his disposal all the young Romans that were then students at Athens. Of this number was Cicero's son, whom he everywhere highly extols, and says that whether sleeping or waking he could not choose but admire a young man of so great a spirit and such a hater of tyranny.
At length he began to act openly, and to appear in public business, and, being informed that there were several Roman ships full of treasure that in their course from Asia were to come that way, and that they were commanded by one of his friends, he went to meet him about Carystus. Finding him there, and having persuaded him to deliver up the ships, he made a more than usually splendid entertainment, for it happened also to be his birthday. Now when they came to drink, and were filling their cups with hopes for victory to Brutus and liberty to Rome, Brutus, to animate them the more, called for a larger bowl, and holding it in his hand, on a sudden upon no occasion or forethought pronounced aloud this verse: --
But fate my death and Leto's son have wrought.
And some writers add that in the last battle which he fought at Philippi the word that he gave to his soldiers was Apollo, and from thence conclude that this sudden unaccountable exclamation of his was a presage of the overthrow that he suffered there.
Antistius, the commander of these ships, at his parting gave him fifty thousand myriads of the money that he was conveying to Italy; and all the soldiers yet remaining of Pompey's army, who after their general's defeat wandered about Thessaly, readily and joyfully flocked together to join him. Besides this, he took from Cinna five hundred horse that he was carrying to Dolabella into Asia. After that, he sailed to Demetrias, and there seized a great quantity of arms, that had been provided by the command of the deceased Caesar for the Parthian war, and were now to be sent to Antony. Then Macedonia was put into his hands and delivered up by Hortensius the praetor, and all the kings and potentates round about came and offered their services. So when news was brought that Caius, the brother of Antony, having passed over from Italy, was marching on directly to join the forces that Vatinius commanded in Dyrrhachium and Apollonia, Brutus resolved to anticipate him, and to seize them first, and in all haste moved forwards with those that he had about him. His march was very difficult, through rugged places and in a great snow, but so swift that he left those that were to bring his provisions for the morning meal a great way behind. And now, being very near to Dyrrhachium, with fatigue and cold he fell into the distemper called Bulimia. This is a disease that seizes both men and cattle after much labor, and especially in a great snow; whether it is caused by the natural heat, when the body is seized with cold, being forced all inwards, and consuming at once all the nourishment laid in, or whether the sharp and subtle vapor which comes from the snow as it dissolves, cuts the body, as it were, and destroys the heat which issues through the pores; for the sweatings seem to arise from the heat meeting with the cold, and being quenched by it on the surface of the body. But this I have in another place discussed more at large.
Brutus growing very faint, and there being none in the whole army that had anything for him to eat, his servants were forced to have recourse to the enemy, and, going as far as to the gates of the city, begged bread of the sentinels that were upon duty. As soon as they heard of the condition of Brutus, they came themselves, and brought both meat and drink along with them; in return for which, Brutus, when he took the city, showed the greatest kindness, not to them only, but to all the inhabitants, for their sakes. Caius Antonius, in the meantime, coming to Apollonia, summoned all the soldiers that were near that city to join him there; but finding that they nevertheless went all to Brutus, and suspecting that even those of Apollonia were inclined to the same party, he quitted that city, and came to Buthrotum, having first lost three cohorts of his men, that in their march thither were cut to pieces by Brutus. After this, attempting to make himself master of some strong places about Byllis which the enemy had first seized, he was overcome in a set battle by young Cicero, to whom Brutus gave the command, and whose conduct he made use of often and with much success. Caius himself was surprised in a marshy place, at a distance from his supports; and Brutus, having him in his power, would not suffer his soldiers to attack, but maneuvering about the enemy with his horse, gave command that none of them should be killed, for that in a little time they would all be of his side; which accordingly came to pass, for they surrendered both themselves and their general. So that Brutus had by this time a very great and considerable army. He showed all marks of honor and esteem to Caius for a long time, and left him the use of the ensigns of his office, though, as some report, he had several letters from Rome, and particularly from Cicero, advising him to put him to death. But at last, perceiving that he began to corrupt his officers, and was trying to raise a mutiny amongst the soldiers, he put him aboard a ship and kept him close prisoner. In the meantime the soldiers that had been corrupted by Caius retired to Apollonia, and sent word to Brutus, desiring him to come to them thither. He answered that this was not the custom of the Romans, but that it became those who had offended to come themselves to their general and beg forgiveness of their offences; which they did, and accordingly received their pardon.
As he was preparing to pass into Asia, tidings reached him of the alteration that had happened at Rome; where the young Caesar, assisted by the senate, in opposition to Antony, and having driven his competitor out of Italy, had begun himself to be very formidable, suing for the consulship contrary to law, and maintaining large bodies of troops of which the commonwealth had no manner of need. And then, perceiving that the senate, dissatisfied with his proceedings, began to cast their eyes abroad upon Brutus, and decreed and confirmed the government of several provinces to him, he had taken the alarm. Therefore dispatching messengers to Antony, he desired that there might be a reconciliation, and a friendship between them. Then, drawing all his forces about the city, he made himself be chosen consul, though he was but a boy, being scarce twenty years old, as he himself writes in his memoirs. At his first entry upon the consulship he immediately ordered a judicial process to be issued out against Brutus and his accomplices for having murdered a principal man of the city, holding the highest magistracies of Rome, without being heard or condemned; and appointed Lucius Cornificius to accuse Brutus, and Marcus Agrippa to accuse Cassius. None appearing to the accusation, the judges were forced to pass sentence and condemn them both. It is reported, that when the crier from the tribunal, as the custom was, with a loud voice cited Brutus to appear, the people groaned audibly, and the noble citizens hung down their heads for grief. Publius Silicius was seen to burst out into tears, which was the cause that not long after he was put down in the list of those that were proscribed. After this, the three men, Caesar, Antony, and Lepidus, being perfectly reconciled, shared the provinces among themselves, and made up the catalogue of proscription, wherein were set those that were designed for slaughter, amounting to two hundred men, in which number Cicero was slain.
This news being brought to Brutus in Macedonia, he was under a compulsion, and sent orders to Hortensius that he should kill Caius Antonius in revenge of the death of Cicero his friend, and Brutus his kinsman, who also was proscribed and slain. Upon this account it was that Antony, having afterwards taken Hortensius in the battle of Philippi, slew him upon his brother's tomb. But Brutus expresses himself as more ashamed for the cause of Cicero's death than grieved for the misfortune of it, and says he cannot help accusing his friends at Rome, that they were slaves more through their own doing than that of those who now were their tyrants; they could be present and see and yet suffer those things which even to hear related ought to them to have been insufferable.
Having made his army, that was already very considerable, pass into Asia, he ordered a fleet to be prepared in Bithynia and about Cyzicus. But going himself through the country by land, he made it his business to settle and confirm all the cities, and gave audience to the princes of the parts through which he passed. And he sent orders into Syria to Cassius to come to him, and leave his intended journey into Egypt; letting him understand, that it was not to gain an empire for themselves, but to free their country, that they went thus wandering about and had got an army together whose business it was to destroy the tyrants; that therefore, if they remembered and resolved to persevere in their first purpose, they ought not to be too far from Italy, but make what haste they could thither, and endeavor to relieve their fellow-citizens from oppression.
Cassius obeyed his summons, and returned, and Brutus went to meet him; and at Smyrna they met, which was the first time they had seen one another since they parted at the Piraeus in Athens, one for Syria, and the other for Macedonia. They were both extremely joyful and had great confidence of their success at the sight of the forces that each of them had got together, since they who had fled from Italy, like the most despicable exiles, without money, without arms, without a ship or a soldier or a city to rely on, in a little time after had met together so well furnished with shipping and money, and an army both of horse and foot, that they were in a condition to contend for the empire of Rome.
Cassius was desirous to show no less respect and honor to Brutus than Brutus did to him; but Brutus was still beforehand with him, coming for the most part to him, both because he was the elder man, and of a weaker constitution than himself. Men generally reckoned Cassius a very expert soldier, but of a harsh and angry nature, and one that desired to command rather by fear than love; though, on the other side, among his familiar acquaintance he would easily give way to jesting, and play the buffoon. But Brutus, for his virtue, was esteemed by the people, beloved by his friends, admired by the best men, and hated not by his enemies themselves. For he was a man of a singularly gentle nature, of a great spirit, insensible of the passions of anger or pleasure or covetousness; steady and inflexible to maintain his purpose for what he thought right and honest. And that which gained him the greatest affection and reputation was the entire faith in his intentions. For it had not ever been supposed that Pompey the Great himself, if he had overcome Caesar, would have submitted his power to the laws, instead of taking the management of the state upon himself, soothing the people with the specious name of consul or dictator, or some other milder title than king. And they were well persuaded that Cassius, being a man governed by anger and passion and carried often, for his interest's sake, beyond the bounce of justice, endured all these hardships of war and travel and danger most assuredly to obtain dominion to himself, and not liberty to the people. And as for the former disturbers of the peace of Rome, whether a Cinna, a Marius, or a Carbo, it is manifest that they, having set their country as a stake for him that should win, did almost own in express terms that they fought for empire. But even the enemies of Brutus did not, they tell us, lay this accusation to his charge; nay, many heard Antony himself say that Brutus was the only man that conspired against Caesar out of a sense of the glory and the apparent justice of the action, but that all the rest rose up against the man himself, from private envy and malice of their own. And it is plain by what he writes himself, that Brutus did not so much rely upon his forces, as upon his own virtue. For thus he speaks in a letter to Atticus, shortly before he was to engage with the enemy: that his affairs were in the best state of fortune that he could wish; for that either he should overcome, and restore liberty to the people of Rome, or die, and be himself out of the reach of slavery; that other things being certain and beyond all hazard, one thing was yet in doubt, whether they should live or die free men. He adds further, that Mark Antony had received a just punishment for his folly, who, when he might have been numbered with Brutus and Cassius and Cato, would join himself to Octavius; that though they should not now be both overcome, they soon would fight between them selves. And in this he seems to have been no ill prophet.
Now when they were at Smyrna, Brutus desired of Cassius that he might have part of the great treasure that he had heaped up, because all his own was expended in furnishing out such a fleet of ships as was sufficient to keep the whole interior sea in their power. But Cassius's friends dissuaded him from this; "for," said they, "it is not just that the money which you with so much parsimony keep and with so much envy have got, should be given to him to be disposed of in making himself popular, and gaining the favor of the soldiers." Notwithstanding this, Cassius gave him a third part of all that he had; and then they parted each to their several commands. Cassius, having taken Rhodes, behaved himself there with no clemency; though at his first entry, when some had called him lord and king, he answered, that he was neither king nor lord, but the destroyer and punisher of a king and lord. Brutus, on the other part, sent to the Lycians to demand from them a supply of money and men; but Naucrates, their popular leader, persuaded the cities to resist, and they occupied several little mountains and hills, with a design to hinder Brutus's passage. Brutus at first sent out a party of horse, which, surprising them as they were eating, killed six hundred of them; and afterwards, having taken all their small towns and villages round about, he set all his prisoners free without ransom, hoping to win the whole nation by good-will. But they continued obstinate, taking in anger what they had suffered, and despising his goodness and humanity; until, having forced the most warlike of them into the city of Xanthus, he besieged them there. They endeavored to make their escape by swimming and diving through the river that flows by the town, but were taken by nets let down for that purpose in the channel, which had little bells at the top, which gave present notice of any that were taken in them. After that, they made a sally in the night, and seizing several of the battering engines, set them on fire; but being perceived by the Romans, were beaten back to their walls, and, there being a strong wind, it carried the flames to the battlements of the city with such fierceness, that several of the adjoining houses took fire. Brutus, fearing lest the whole city should be destroyed, commanded his own soldiers to assist, and quench the fire.
But the Lycians were on a sudden possessed with a strange and incredible desperation; such a frenzy as cannot be better expressed than by calling it a violent appetite to die, for both women and children, the bondmen and the free, those of all ages and of all conditions strove to force away the soldiers that came in to their assistance, from the walls; and themselves gathering together reeds and wood, and whatever combustible matter they found, spread the fire over the whole city, feeding it with whatever fuel they could, and by all possible means exciting its fury, so that the flame, having dispersed itself and encircled the whole city, blazed out in so terrible a manner, that Brutus, being extremely afflicted at their calamity, got on horseback and rode round the walls, earnestly desirous to preserve the city, and, stretching forth his hands to the Xanthians, begged of them that they would spare themselves and save their town. Yet none regarded his entreaties, but by all manner of ways strove to destroy themselves; not only men and women, but even boys and little children, with a hideous outcry, leaped, some into the fire, others from the walls, others fell upon their parents' swords, baring their throats and desiring to be struck. After the destruction of the city, there was found a woman who had hanged herself with her young child hanging from her neck, and the torch in her hand, with which she had fired her own house. It was so tragical a sight, that Brutus could not endure to see it, but wept at the very relation of it, and proclaimed a reward to any soldier that could save a Xanthian. And it is said that one hundred and fifty only were found, to have their lives saved against their wills. Thus the Xanthians, after a long space of years, the fated period of their destruction having, as it were, run its course, repeated by their desperate deed the former calamity of their forefathers, who after the very same manner in the Persian war had fired their city and destroyed themselves.
Brutus, after this, finding the Patareans resolved to make resistance and hold out their city against him, was very unwilling to besiege it, and was in great perplexity lest the same frenzy might seize them too. But having in his power some of their women, who were his prisoners, he dismissed them all without any ransom; who, returning and giving an account to their husbands and fathers, who were of the greatest rank, what an excellent man Brutus was how temperate and how just, persuaded them to yield themselves and put their city into his hands. From this time all the cities round about came into his power, submitting themselves to him, and found him good and merciful even beyond their hopes. For though Cassius at the same time had compelled the Rhodians to bring in all the silver and gold that each of them privately was possessed of, by which he raised a sum of eight thousand talents, and besides this had condemned the public to pay the sum of five hundred talents more, Brutus, not having taken above a hundred and fifty talents from the Lycians, and having done them no other manner of injury, parted from thence with his army to go into Ionia.
Through the whole course of this expedition, Brutus did many memorable acts of justice in dispensing rewards and punishments to such as had deserved either; but one in particular I will relate, because he himself, and all the noblest Romans, were gratified with it above all the rest. When Pompey the Great, being overthrown from his great power by Caesar, had fled to Egypt, and landed near Pelusium, the protectors of the young king consulted among themselves what was fit to be done on that occasion, nor could they all agree in the same opinion, some being for receiving him, others for driving him from Egypt. But Theodotus, a Chian by birth, and then attending upon the king as a paid teacher of rhetoric, and for want of better men admitted into the council, undertook to prove to them, that both parties were in the wrong, those that counseled to receive Pompey, and those that advised to send him away; that in their present case one thing only was truly expedient, to seize him and to kill him; and ended his argument with the proverb, that "dead men don't bite." The council agreed to his opinion, and Pompey the Great (an example of incredible and unforeseen events) was slain, as the sophister himself had the impudence to boast, through the rhetoric and cleverness of Theodotus. Not long after, when Caesar came to Egypt, some of the murderers received their just reward and suffered the evil death they deserved. But Theodotus, though he had borrowed on from fortune a little further time for a poor despicable and wandering life, yet did not lie hid from Brutus as he passed through Asia; but being seized by him and executed, had his death made more memorable than was his life.
About this time, Brutus sent to Cassius to come to him at the city of Sardis, and, when he was on his journey, went forth with his friends to meet him; and the whole army in array saluted each of them with the name of Imperator. Now (as it usually happens in business of great concern and where many friends and many commanders are engaged), several jealousies of each other and matters of private accusation having passed between Brutus and Cassius, they resolved, before they entered upon any other business, immediately to withdraw into some apartment; where, the door being shut and they two alone, they began first to expostulate, then to dispute hotly, and accuse each other; and finally were so transported into passion as to fall to hard words, and at last burst out into tears. Their friends who stood without were amazed, hearing them loud and angry, and feared lest some mischief might follow, but yet durst not interrupt them, being commanded not to enter the room. However, Marcus Favonius, who had been an ardent admirer of Cato, and, not so much by his learning or wisdom as by his wild, vehement manner, maintained the character of a philosopher, was rushing in upon them, but was hindered by the attendants. But it was a hard matter to stop Favonius, wherever his wildness hurried him; for he was fierce in all his behavior, and ready to do anything to get his will. And though he was a senator, yet, thinking that one of the least of his excellences, he valued himself more upon a sort of cynical liberty of speaking what he pleased, which sometimes, indeed, did away with the rudeness and unseasonableness of his addresses with those that would interpret it in jest. This Favonius, breaking by force through those that kept the doors, entered into the chamber, and with a set voice declaimed the verses that Homer makes Nestor use, --
Be ruled, for I am older than ye both.
At this Cassius laughed; but Brutus thrust him our, calling him impudent dog and counterfeit Cynic; but yet for the present they let it put an end to their dispute, and parted. Cassius made a supper that night, and Brutus invited the guests; and when they were set down, Favonius, having bathed, came in among them. Brutus called out aloud and told him he was not invited, and bade him go to the upper couch; but he violently thrust himself in, and lay down on the middle one; and the entertainment passed in sportive talk, not wanting either wit or philosophy.
The next day after, upon the accusation of the Sardians, Brutus publicly disgraced and condemned Lucius Pella, one that had been censor of Rome, and employed in offices of trust by himself, for having embezzled the public money. This action did not a little vex Cassius; for but a few days before, two of his own friends being accused of the same crime, he only admonished them in private, but in public absolved them, and continued them in his service; and upon this occasion he accused Brutus of too much rigor and severity of justice in a time which required them to use more policy and favor. But Brutus bade him remember the Ides of March, the day when they killed Caesar, who himself neither plundered nor pillaged mankind, but was only the support and strength of those that did; and bade him consider, that if there was any color for justice to be neglected, it had been better to suffer the injustice of Caesar's friends than to give impunity to their own; "for then," said he, "we could have been accused of cowardice only; whereas now we are liable to the accusation of injustice, after all our pain and dangers which we endure." By which we may perceive what was Brutus's purpose, and the rule of his actions.
About the time that they were going to pass out of Asia into Europe, it is said that a wonderful sign was seen by Brutus. He was naturally given to much watching, and by practice and moderation in his diet had reduced his allowance of sleep to a very small amount of time. He never slept in the daytime, and in the night then only when all his business was finished, and when, everyone else being gone to rest, he had nobody to discourse with him. But at this time, the war being begun, having the whole state of it to consider and being solicitous of the event, after his first sleep, which he let himself take after his supper, he spent all the rest of the night in settling his most urgent affairs; which if he could dispatch early and so make a saving of any leisure, he employed himself in reading until the third watch, at which time the centurions and tribunes were used to come to him for orders. Thus one night before he passed out of Asia, he was very late all alone in his tent, with a dim light burning by him, all the rest of the camp being hushed and silent; and reasoning about something with himself and very thoughtful, he fancied someone came in, and, looking up towards the door, he saw a terrible and strange appearance of an unnatural and frightful body standing by him without speaking. Brutus boldly asked it, "What are you, of men or gods, and upon what business come to me?" The figure answered, "I am your evil genius, Brutus; you shall see me at Philippi." To which Brutus, not at all disturbed, replied, "Then I shall see you."
As soon as the apparition vanished, he called his servants to him, who all told him that they had neither heard any voice nor seen any vision. So then he continued watching till the morning, when he went to Cassius, and told him of what he had seen. He, who followed the principles of Epicurus's philosophy, and often used to dispute with Brutus concerning matters of this nature, spoke to him thus upon this occasion: "It is the opinion of our sect, Brutus, that not all that we feel or see is real and true; but that the sense is a most slippery and deceitful thing, and the mind yet more quick and subtle to put the sense in motion and affect it with every kind of change upon no real occasion of fact; just as an impression is made upon wax; and the soul of man, which has in itself both what imprints and what is imprinted on, may most easily, by its own operations, produce and assume every variety of shape and figure. This is evident from the sudden changes of our dreams; in which the imaginative principle, once started by anything matter, goes through a whole series of most diverse emotions and appearances. It is its nature to be ever in motion, and its motion is fantasy or conception. But besides all this, in your case, the body, being tired and distressed with continual toil, naturally works upon the mind, and keeps it in an excited and unusual condition. But that there should be any such thing as supernatural beings, or, if there were, that they should have human shape or voice or power that can reach to us, there is no reason for believing; though I confess I could wish that there were such beings, that we might not rely upon our arms only, and our horses and our navy, all which are so numerous and powerful, but might be confident of the assistance of gods also, in this our most sacred and honorable attempt." With such discourses as these Cassius soothed the mind of Brutus. But just as the troops were going on board, two eagles flew and lighted on the first two ensigns, and crossed over the water with them, and never ceased following the soldiers and being fed by them till they came to Philippi, and there, but one day before the fight, they both flew away.
Brutus had already reduced most of the places and people of these parts; but they now marched on as far as to the coast opposite Thasos, and, if there were any city or man of power that yet stood out, brought them all to subjection. At this point Norbanus was encamped, in a place called the Straits, near Symbolum. Him they surrounded in such sort that they forced him to dislodge and quit the place; and Norbanus narrowly escaped losing his whole army, Caesar by reason of sickness being too far behind; only Antony came to his relief with such wonderful swiftness that Brutus and those with him did not believe when they heard he was come. Caesar came up ten days after, and encamped over against Brutus, and Antony over against Cassius.
The space between the two armies is called by the Romans the Campi Philippi. Never had two such large Roman armies come together to engage each other. That of Brutus was somewhat less in number than that of Caesar, but in the splendidness of the men's arms and richness of their equipage it wonderfully exceeded; for most of their arms were of gold and silver, which Brutus had lavishly bestowed among them. For though in other things he had accustomed his commanders to use all frugality and self-control, yet he thought that the riches which soldiers carried about them in their hands and on their bodies would add something of spirit to those that were desirous of glory, and would make those that were covetous and lovers of gain fight the more valiantly to preserve the arms which were their estate.
Caesar made a view and lustration of his army within his trenches, and distributed only a little corn and but five drachmas to each soldier for the sacrifice they were to make. But Brutus, either pitying this poverty, or disdaining this meanness of spirit in Caesar, first, as the custom was, made a general muster and lustration of the army in the open field, and then distributed a great number of beasts for sacrifice to every regiment, and fifty drachmas to every soldier; so that in the love of his soldiers and their readiness to fight for him Brutus had much the advantage. But at the time of lustration it is reported that an unlucky omen happened to Cassius; for his lictor, presenting him with a garland that he was to wear at sacrifice, gave it him the wrong way up. Further, it is said that some time before, at a certain solemn procession, a golden image of Victory, which was carried before Cassius, fell down by a slip of him that carried it. Besides this there appeared many birds of prey daily about the camp, and swarms of bees were seen in a place within the trenches, which place the soothsayers ordered to be shut out from the camp, to remove the superstition which insensibly began to infect even Cassius himself and shake him in his Epicurean philosophy, and had wholly seized and subdued the soldiers; from whence it was that Cassius was reluctant to put all to the hazard of a present battle, but advised rather to draw out the war until further time, considering that they were stronger in money and provisions, but in numbers of men and arms inferior. But Brutus, on the contrary, was still, as formerly, desirous to come with all speed to the decision of a battle; that so he might either restore his country to her liberty, or else deliver from their misery all those numbers of people whom they harassed with the expenses and the service and exactions of the war. And finding also his light-horse in several skirmishes still to have had the better, he was the more encouraged and resolved; and some of the soldiers having deserted and gone to the enemy, and others beginning to accuse and suspect one another, many of Cassius's friends in the council changed their opinions to that of Brutus. But there was one of Brutus's party, named Atellius, who opposed his resolution, advising rather that they should tarry over the winter. And when Brutus asked him in how much better a condition he hoped to be a year after, his answer was, "If I gain nothing else, yet I shall live so much the longer." Cassius was much displeased at this answer; and among the rest, Atellius was had in much disesteem for it. And so it was presently resolved to give battle the next day.
Brutus that night at supper showed himself very cheerful and full of hope, and reasoned on subjects of philosophy with his friends, and afterwards went to his rest. But Messala says that Cassius supped privately with a few of his nearest acquaintance, and appeared thoughtful and silent, contrary to his temper and custom; that after supper he took him earnestly by the hand, and speaking to him, as his manner was when he wished to show affection, in Greek, said, "Bear witness for me, Messala, that I am brought into the same necessity as Pompey the Great was before me, of hazarding the liberty of my country upon one battle; yet ought we to be of courage, relying on our good fortune, which it were unfair to mistrust, though we take evil counsels." These, Messala says, were the last words that Cassius spoke before he bade him farewell; and that he was invited to sup with him the next night, being his birthday.
As soon as it was morning, the signal of battle, the scarlet coat, was set out in Brutus's and Cassius's camps, and they themselves met in the middle space between their two armies. There Cassius spoke thus to Brutus: "Be it as we hope, O Brutus, that this day we may overcome, and all the rest of our time may live a happy life together; but since the greatest of human concerns are the most uncertain, and since it may be difficult for us ever to see one another again, if the battle should go against us, tell me, what is your resolution concerning flight and death?" Brutus answered, "When I was young, Cassius, and unskillful in affairs, I was led, I know not how, into uttering a bold sentence in philosophy, and blamed Cato for killing himself, as thinking it an irreligious act, and not a valiant one among men, to try to evade the divine course of things, and not fearlessly to receive and undergo the evil that shall happen, but run away from it. But now in my own fortunes I am of another mind; for if Providence shall not dispose what we now undertake according to our wishes, I resolve to put no further hopes or warlike preparations to the proof, but will die contented with my fortune. For I already have given up my life to my country on the Ides of March; and have lived since then a second life for her sake, with liberty and honor." Cassius at these words smiled, and, embracing Brutus said, "With these resolutions let us go on upon the enemy; for either we ourselves shall conquer, or have no cause to fear those that do." After this they discoursed among their friends about the ordering of the battle; and Brutus desired of Cassius that he might command the right wing, though it was thought that this was more fit for Cassius, in regard both of his age and his experience. Yet even in this Cassius complied with Brutus, and placed Messala with the valiantest of all his legions in the same wing, so Brutus immediately drew out his horse, excellently well equipped, and was not long in bringing up his foot after them.
Antony's soldiers were casting trenches from the marsh by which they were encamped, across the plain, to cut off Cassius's communications with the sea. Caesar was to be at hand with his troops to support them, but he was not able to be present himself, by reason of his sickness; and his soldiers, not much expecting that the enemy would come to a set battle, but only make some excursions with their darts and light arms to disturb the men at work in the trenches, and not taking notice of the boons drawn up against them ready to give battle, were amazed when they heard the confused and great outcry that came from the trenches. In the meanwhile Brutus had sent his tickets, in which was the word of battle, to the officers; and himself riding about to all the troops, encouraged the soldiers; but there were but few of them that understood the word before they engaged; the most of them, not staying to have it delivered to them, with one impulse and cry ran upon the enemy. This disorder caused an unevenness in the line, and the legions got severed and divided one from another; that of Messala first, and afterwards the other adjoining, went beyond the left wing of Caesar; and having just touched the extremity, without slaughtering any great number, passing round that wing, fell directly into Caesar's camp. Caesar himself, as his own memoirs tell us, had but just before been conveyed away, Marcus Artorius, one of his friends, having had a dream bidding Caesar be carried out of the camp. And it was believed that he was slain; for the soldiers had pierced his litter, which was left empty, in many places with their darts and pikes. There was a great slaughter in the camp that was taken, and two thousand Lacedaemonians that were newly come to the assistance of Caesar were all cut off together.
The rest of the army, that had not gone round but had engaged the front, easily overthrew them, finding them in great disorder, and slew upon the place three legions; and being carried on with the stream of victory, pursuing those that fled, fell into the camp with them, Brutus himself being there. But they that were conquered took the advantage in their extremity of what the conquerors did not consider. For they fell upon that part of the main body which had been left exposed and separated, where the right wing had broke off from them and hurried away in the pursuit; yet they could not break into the midst of their battle, but were received with strong resistance and obstinacy. Yet they put to flight the left wing, where Cassius commanded, being in great disorder, and ignorant of what had passed on the other wing; and, pursuing them to their camp, they pillaged and destroyed it, neither of their generals being present; for Antony, they say, to avoid the fury of the first onset, had retired into the marsh that was hard by; and Caesar was nowhere to be found after his being conveyed out of the tents; though some of the soldiers showed Brutus their swords bloody, and declared that they had killed him, describing his person and his age. By this time also the center of Brutus's battle had driven back their opponents with great slaughter; and Brutus was everywhere plainly conqueror, as on the other side Cassius was conquered. And this one mistake was the ruin of their affairs, that Brutus did not come to the relief of Cassius, thinking that he, as well as himself, was conqueror; and that Cassius did not expect the relief of Brutus, thinking that he too was overcome. For as a proof that the victory was on Brutus's side, Messala urges his taking three eagles and many ensigns of the enemy without losing any of his own. But now, returning from the pursuit after having plundered Caesar's camp, Brutus wondered that he could not see Cassius's tent standing high, as it was wont, and appearing above the rest, nor other things appearing as they had been; for they had been immediately pulled down and pillaged by the enemy upon their first falling into the camp. But some that had a quicker and longer sight than the rest acquainted Brutus that they saw a great deal of shining armor and silver targets moving to and fro in Cassius's camp, and that they thought, by their number and the fashion of their armor, they could not be those that they left to guard the camp; but yet that there did not appear so great a number of dead bodies thereabouts as it was probable there would have been after the actual defeat of so many legions. This first made Brutus suspect Cassius's misfortune, and, leaving a guard in the enemy's camp, he called back those that were in the pursuit, and rallied them together to lead them to the relief of Cassius, whose fortune had been as follows.
First, he had been angry at the onset that Brutus's soldiers made, without the word of battle or command to charge. Then, after they had overcome, he was as much displeased to see them rush on to the plunder and spoil, and neglect to surround and encompass the rest of the enemy. Besides this, letting himself act by delay and expectation, rather than command boldly and with a clear purpose, he got hemmed in by the right wing of the enemy, and, his horse making with all haste their escape and flying towards the sea, the foot also began to give way, which he perceiving labored as much as ever he could to hinder their flight and bring them back; and, snatching an ensign out of the hand of one that fled, he stuck it at his feet, though he could hardly keep even his own personal guard together. So that at last he was forced to fly with a few about him to a little hill that overlooked the plain. But he himself, being weak-sighted, discovered nothing, only the destruction of his camp, and that with difficulty. But they that were with him saw a great body of horse moving towards him, the same whom Brutus had sent. Cassius believed these were enemies, and in pursuit of him; however, he sent away Titinius, one of those that were with him, to learn what they were. As soon as Brutus's horse saw him coming, and knew him to be a friend and a faithful servant of Cassius, those of them that were his more familiar acquaintance, shouting out for joy and alighting from their horses, shook hands and embraced him, and the rest rode round about him singing and shouting, through their excess of gladness at the sight of him. But this was the occasion of the greatest mischief that could be. For Cassius really thought that Titinius had been taken by the enemy, and cried out, "Through too much fondness of life, I have lived to endure the sight of my friend taken by the enemy before my face." After which words he retired into an empty tent, taking along with him only Pindarus, one of his freedmen, whom he had reserved for such an occasion ever since the disasters in the expedition against the Parthians, when Crassus was slain. From the Parthians he came away in safety; but now, pulling up his mantle over his head, he made his neck bare, and held it forth to Pindarus, commanding him to strike. The head was certainly found lying severed from the body. But no man ever saw Pindarus after, from which some suspected that he had killed his master without his command. Soon after they perceived who the horsemen were, and saw Titinius, crowned with garlands, making what haste he could towards Cassius. But as soon as he understood by the cries and lamentations of his afflicted friends the unfortunate error and death of his general, he drew his sword, and having very much accused and upbraided his own long stay, that had caused it, he slew himself.
Brutus, as soon as he was assured of the defeat of Cassius, made haste to him; but heard nothing of his death till he came near his camp. Then having lamented over his body, calling him "the last of the Romans," it being impossible that the city should ever produce another man of so great a spirit, he sent away the body to be buried at Thasos, lest celebrating his funeral within the camp might breed some disorder. He then gathered the soldiers together and comforted them; and, seeing them destitute of all things necessary, he promised to every man two thousand drachmas in recompense of what he had lost. They at these words took courage, and were astonished at the magnificence of the gift; and waited upon him at his parting with shouts and praises, magnifying him for the only general of all the four who was not overcome in the battle. And indeed the action itself testified that it was not without reason he believed he should conquer; for with a few legions he overthrew all that resisted him; and if all his soldiers had fought, and the most of them had not passed beyond the enemy in pursuit of the plunder, it is very likely that he had utterly defeated every part of them.
There fell of his side eight thousand men, reckoning the servants of the army, whom Brutus calls Briges; and on the other side, Messala says his opinion is that there were slain above twice that number. For which reason they were more out of heart than Brutus, until a servant of Cassius, named Demetrius, came in the evening to Antony, and brought to him the garment which he had taken from the dead body, and his sword; at the sight of which they were so encouraged, that, as soon as it was morning, they drew out their whole force into the field, and stood in battle array. But Brutus found both his camps wavering and in disorder; for his own, being filled with prisoners, required a guard more strict than ordinary over them; and that of Cassius was uneasy at the change of general, besides some envy and rancor, which those that were conquered bore to that part of the army which had been conquerors. Wherefore he thought it convenient to put his army in array, but to abstain from fighting. All the slaves that were taken prisoners, of whom there was a great number that were mixed up, not without suspicion, among the soldiers, he commanded to be slain; but of the freemen and citizens, some he dismissed, saying that among the enemy they were rather prisoners than with him, for with them they were captives and slaves, but with him freemen and citizens of Rome. But he was forced to hide and help them to escape privately, perceiving that his friends and officers were bent upon revenge against them. Among the captives there was one Volumnius, a player, and Sacculio, a buffoon; of these Brutus took no manner of notice, but his friends brought them before him, and accused them that even then in that condition they did not refrain from their jests and scurrilous language. Brutus, having his mind taken up with other affairs, said nothing to their accusation; but the judgment of Messala Corvinus was, that they should be whipped publicly upon a stage, and so sent naked to the captains of the enemy, to show them what sort of fellow drinkers and companions they took with them on their campaigns. At this some that were present laughed; and Publius Casca, he that gave the first wound to Caesar, said, "We do ill to jest and make merry at the funeral of Cassius. But you, O Brutus," he added, "will show what esteem you have for the memory of that general, according as you punish or preserve alive those who will scoff and speak shamefully of him." To this Brutus, in great discomposure replied, "Why then, Casca, do you ask me about it, and not do yourselves what you think fitting?" This answer of Brutus was taken for his consent to the death of these wretched men; so they were carried away and slain.
After this he gave the soldiers the reward that he had promised them; and having slightly reproved them for having fallen upon the enemy in disorder without the word of battle or command, he promised them, that if they behaved themselves bravely in the next engagement, he would give them up two cities to spoil and plunder, Thessalonica and Lacedaemon. This is the one indefensible thing of all that is found fault with in the life of Brutus; though true it may be that Antony and Caesar were much more cruel in the rewards that they gave their soldiers after victory; for they drove out, one might almost say, all the old inhabitants of Italy, to put their soldiers in possession of other men's lands and cities. But indeed their only design and end in undertaking the war was to obtain dominion and empire, whereas Brutus, for the reputation of his virtue, could not be permitted either to overcome or save himself but with justice and honor, especially after the death of Cassius, who was generally accused of having been his adviser to some things that he had done with less clemency. But now, as in a ship, when the rudder is broken by a storm, the mariners fit and nail on some other piece of wood instead of it, striving against the danger not well, but as well as in that necessity they can, so Brutus, being at the head of so great an army, in a time of such uncertainty, having no commander equal to his need, was forced to make use of those that he had, and to do and to say many things according to their advice; which was, in effect, whatever might conduce to the bringing of Cassius's soldiers into better order. For they were very headstrong and intractable, bold and insolent in the camp for want of their general, but in the field cowardly and fearful, remembering that they had been beaten.
Neither were the affairs of Caesar and Antony in any better posture; for they were straitened for provision, and, the camp being in a low ground, they expected to pass a very hard winter. For being driven close upon the marshes, and a great quantity of rain, as is usual in autumn, having fallen after the battle, their tents were all filled with mire and water, which through the coldness of the weather immediately froze. And while they were in this condition, there was news brought to them of their loss at sea. For Brutus's fleet fell upon their ships, which were bringing a great supply of soldiers out of Italy, and so entirely defeated them, that but very few of the men escaped being slain, and they too were forced by famine to feed upon the sails and tackle of the ship. As soon as they heard this, they made what haste they could to come to the decision of a battle, before Brutus should have notice of his good success. For it had so happened that the fight both by sea and land was on the same day, but by some misfortune, rather than the fault of his commanders, Brutus knew not of his victory twenty days after. For had he been informed of this, he would not have been brought to a second battle, since he had sufficient provisions for his army for a long time, and was very advantageously posted, his camp being well sheltered from the cold weather, and almost inaccessible to the enemy, and his being absolute master of the sea, and having at land overcome on that side wherein he himself was engaged, would have made him full of hope and confidence. But it seems, the state of Rome not enduring any longer to be governed by many, but necessarily requiring a monarchy, the divine power, that it might remove out of the way the only man that was able to resist him that could control the empire, cut off his good fortune from coming to the ears of Brutus; though it came but a very little too late, for the very evening before the fight, Clodius, a deserter from the enemy, came and announced that Caesar had received advice of the loss of his fleet, and for that reason was in such haste to come to a battle. But his story met with no credit, nor was he so much as seen by Brutus, being simply set down as one that had had no good information, or invented lies to bring himself into favor.
The same night, they say, the vision appeared again to Brutus, in the same shape that it did before, but vanished without speaking. But Publius Volumnius, a philosopher, and one that had from the beginning borne arms with Brutus, makes no mention of this apparition, but says that the first eagle was covered with a swarm of bees, and that there was one of the captains whose arm of itself sweated oil of roses, and, though they often dried and wiped it, yet it would not cease; and that immediately before the battle, two eagles falling upon each other fought in the space between the two armies, that the whole field kept incredible silence and all were intent upon the spectacle, until at last that which was on Brutus's side yielded and fled. But the story of the Ethiopian is very famous, who meeting the standard-bearer at the opening the gate of the camp, was cut to pieces by the soldiers, that took it for an ill omen.
Brutus, having brought his army into the field and set them in array against the enemy, paused a long while before he would fight; for, as he was reviewing the troops, suspicions were excited, and informations laid against some of them. Besides, he saw his horse not very eager to begin the action, and waiting to see what the foot would do. Then suddenly Camulatus, a very good soldier, and one whom for his valor he highly esteemed, riding hard by Brutus himself, went over to the enemy, the sight of which grieved Brutus exceedingly. So that partly out of anger, and partly out of fear of some greater treason and desertion, he immediately drew on his forces upon the enemy, the sun now declining, about three of the clock in the afternoon. Brutus on his side had the better, and pressed hard on the left wing, which gave way and retreated; and the horse too fell in together with the foot, when they saw the enemy in disorder. But the other wing, when the officers extended the line to avoid its being encompassed, the numbers being inferior, got drawn out too thin in the center, and was so weak here that they could not withstand the charge, but at the first onset fled. After defeating these, the enemy at once took Brutus in the rear, who all the while performed all that was possible for an expert general and valiant soldier, doing everything in the peril, by counsel and by hand, that might recover the victory. But that which had been his superiority in the former fight was to his prejudice in this second. For in the first fight, that part of the enemy which was beaten was killed on the spot; but of Cassius's soldiers that fled few had been slain, and those that escaped, daunted with their defeat, infected the other and larger part of the army with their want of spirit and their disorder. Here Marcus, the son of Cato, was slain, fighting and behaving himself with great bravery in the midst of the youth of the highest rank and greatest valor. He would neither fly nor give the least ground, but, still fighting and declaring who he was and naming his father's name, he fell upon a heap of dead bodies of the enemy. And of the rest, the bravest were slain in defending Brutus.
There was in the field one Lucilius, an excellent man and a friend of Brutus, who, seeing some barbarian horse taking no notice of any other in the pursuit, but galloping at full speed after Brutus, resolved to stop them, though with the hazard of his life; and, letting himself fall a little behind, he told them that he was Brutus. They believed him the rather, because he prayed to be carried to Antony, as if he feared Caesar, but durst trust him. They, overjoyed with their prey, and thinking themselves wonderfully fortunate, carried him along with them in the night, having first sent messengers to Antony of their coming. He was much pleased, and came to meet them; and all the rest that heard that Brutus was taken and brought alive, flocked together to see him, some pitying his fortune, others accusing; him of a meanness unbecoming his former glory, that out of too much love of life he would be a prey to barbarians. When they came near together, Antony stood still, considering with himself in what manner he should receive Brutus. But Lucilius, being brought up to him, with great confidence said: "Be assured, Antony, that no enemy either has taken or ever shall take Marcus Brutus alive (forbid it, heaven, that fortune should ever so much prevail above virtue), but he shall be found, alive or dead, as becomes himself. As for me, I am come hither by a cheat that I put upon your soldiers, and am ready, upon this occasion, to suffer any severities you will inflict." All were amazed to hear Lucilius speak these words. But Antony, turning himself to those that brought him, said: "I perceive, my fellow-soldiers, that you are concerned and take it ill that you have been thus deceived, and think yourselves abused and injured by it; but know that you have met with a booty better than that you sought. For you were in search of an enemy, but you have brought me here a friend. For indeed I am uncertain how I should have used Brutus, if you had brought him alive; but of this I am sure, that it is better to have such men as Lucilius our friends than our enemies." Having said this, he embraced Lucilius, and for the present commended him to the care of one of his friends, and ever after found him a steady and a faithful friend.
Brutus had now passed a little brook, running among trees and under steep rocks, and, it being night, would go no further, but sat down in a hollow place with a great rock projecting before it, with a few of his officers and friends about him. At first, looking up to heaven, that was then full of stars, he repeated two verses, one of which, Volumnius writes, was this: --
Punish, great Jove, the author of these ills.
The other he says he has forgot. Soon after, naming severally all his friends that had been slain before his face in the battle, he groaned heavily, especially at the mentioning of Flavius and Labeo, the latter his lieutenant, and the other chief officer of his engineers. In the meantime, one of his companions, that was very thirsty and saw Brutus in the same condition, took his helmet and ran to the brook for water, when, a noise being heard from the other side of the river, Volumnius, taking Dardanus, Brutus's armor-bearer, with him, went out to see what it was. They returned in a short space, and inquired about the water. Brutus, smiling with much meaning, said to Volumnius, "It is all drunk; but you shall have some more fetched." But he that had brought the first water, being sent again, was in great danger of being taken by the enemy, and, having received a wound, with much difficulty escaped.
Now Brutus guessing that not many of his men were slain in the fight, Statyllius undertook to dash through the enemy (for there was no other way), and to see what was become of their camp; and promised, if he found all things there safe, to hold up a torch for a signal, and then return. The torch was held up, for Statyllius got safe to the camp; but when after a long time he did not return, Brutus said, "If Statyllius be alive, he will come back." But it happened that in his return he fell into the enemy's hands, and was slain.
The night now being far spent, Brutus, as he was sitting, leaned his head towards his servant Clitus and spoke to him; he answered him not, but fell a weeping. After that, he drew aside his armor-bearer, Dardanus, and had some discourse with him in private. At last, speaking to Volumnius in Greek, he reminded him of their common studies and former discipline, and begged that he would take hold of his sword with him, and help him to thrust it through him. Volumnius put away his request, and several others did the like; and someone saying, that there was no staying there, but they needs must fly, Brutus, rising up, said, "Yes, indeed, we must fly, but not with our feet, but with our hands." Then giving each of them his right hand, with a countenance full of pleasure, he said, that he found an infinite satisfaction in this, that none of his friends had been false to him; that as for fortune, he was angry with that only for his country's sake; as for himself, he thought himself much more happy than they who had overcome, not only as he had been a little time ago, but even now in his present condition; since he was leaving behind him such a reputation of his virtue as none of the conquerors with all their arms and riches should ever be able to acquire, no more than they could hinder posterity from believing and saying, that, being unjust and wicked men, they had destroyed the just and the good, and usurped a power to which they had no right. After this, having exhorted and entreated all about him to provide for their own safety, he withdrew from them with two or three only of his peculiar friends; Strato was one of these, with whom he had contracted an acquaintance when they studied rhetoric together. Him he placed next to himself, and, taking hold of the hilt of his sword and directing it with both his hands, he fell upon it, and killed himself. But others say, that not he himself, but Strato, at the earnest entreaty of Brutus, turning aside his head, held the sword, upon which he violently throwing himself, it pierced his breast, and he immediately died. This same Strato, Messala, a friend of Brutus, being, after reconciled to Caesar, brought to him once at his leisure, and with tears in his eyes said, "This, O Caesar, is the man that did the last friendly office to my beloved Brutus." Upon which Caesar received him kindly; and had good use of him in his labors and his battles at Actium, being one of the Greeks that proved their bravery in his service. It is reported of Messala himself, that, when Caesar once gave him this commendation, that though he was his fiercest enemy at Philippi in the cause of Brutus, yet he had shown himself his most entire friend in the fight of Actium, he answered, "You have always found me, Caesar, on the best and justest side."
Brutus's dead body was found by Antony, who commanded the richest purple mantle that he had to be thrown over it, and afterwards the mantle being stolen, he found the thief, and had him put to death. He sent the ashes of Brutus to his mother Servilia. As for Porcia his wife, Nicolaus the philosopher and Valerius Maximus write, that, being desirous to die, but being hindered by her friends, who continually watched her, she snatched some burning charcoal out of the fire, and, shutting it close in her mouth, stifled herself, and died. Though there is a letter current from Brutus to his friends, in which he laments the death of Porcia, and accuses them for neglecting her so that she desired to die rather than languish with her disease. So that it seems Nicolaus was mistaken in the time; for this epistle (if it indeed is authentic, and truly Brutus's) gives us to understand the malady and love of Porcia, and the way in which her death occurred.
COMPARISON OF DION AND BRUTUS
There are noble points in abundance in the characters of these two men, and one to be first mentioned is their attaining such a height of greatness upon such inconsiderable means; and on this score Dion has by far the advantage. For he had no partner to contest his glory, as Brutus had in Cassius, who was not, indeed, his equal in proved virtue and honor, yet contributed quite as much to the service of the war by his boldness, skill, and activity; and some there be who impute to him the rise and beginning of the whole enterprise, saying that it was he who roused Brutus, till then indisposed to stir, into action against Caesar. Whereas Dion seems of himself to have provided not only arms, ships, and soldiers, but likewise friends and partners for the enterprise. Neither did he, as Brutus, collect money and forces from the war itself, but, on the contrary, laid out of his own substance, and employed the very means of his private sustenance in exile for the liberty of his country. Besides this, Brutus and Cassius, when they fled from Rome, could not live safe or quiet, being condemned to death and pursued, and were thus of necessity forced to take arms and hazard their lives in their own defense, to save themselves, rather than their country. On the other hand, Dion enjoyed more ease, was more safe, and his life more pleasant in his banishment, than was the tyrant's who had banished him, when he flew to action, and ran the risk of all to save Sicily.
Take notice, too, that it was not the same thing for the Sicilians to be freed from Dionysius, and for the Romans to be freed from Caesar. The former owned himself a tyrant, and vexed Sicily with a thousand oppressions; whereas Caesar's supremacy, certainly, in the process for attaining it, had inflicted no little trouble on its opponents, but, once established and victorious, it had indeed the name and appearance, but fact that was cruel or tyrannical there was none. On the contrary, in the malady of the times and the need of a monarchical government, he might be thought to have been sent, as the gentlest physician, by no other than a divine intervention. And thus the common people instantly regretted Caesar, and grew enraged and implacable against those that killed him. Whereas Dion's chief offense in the eyes of his fellow-citizens was his having let Dionysius escape, and not having demolished the former tyrant's tomb.
In the actual conduct of war, Dion was a commander without fault, improving to the utmost those counsels which he himself gave, and, where others led him into disaster, correcting and turning everything to the best. But Brutus seems to have shown little wisdom in engaging in the final battle, which was to decide everything, and, when he failed, not to have done his business in seeking a remedy ; he gave all up, and abandoned his hopes, not venturing against fortune even as far as Pompey did, when he had still means enough to rely on in his troops, and was clearly master of all the seas with his ships.
The greatest thing charged on Brutus is, that he, being saved by Caesar's kindness, having saved all the friends whom he chose to ask for, he moreover accounted a friend, and preferred above many, did yet lay violent hands upon his preserver. Nothing like this could be objected against Dion; quite the contrary, whilst he was of Dionysius's family and his friend, he did good service, and was useful to him; but driven from his country, wronged in his wife, and his estate lost, he openly entered upon a war just and lawful. Does not, however, the matter turn the other way? For the chief glory of both was their hatred of tyranny, and abhorrence of wickedness. This was unmixed and sincere in Brutus; for he had no private quarrel with Caesar, but went into the risk singly for the liberty of his country. The other, had he not been privately injured, had not fought. This is plain from Plato's epistles, where it is shown that he was turned out, and did not forsake the court to wage war upon Dionysius. Moreover, the public good made Brutus Pompey's friend (instead of his enemy as he had been) and Caesar's enemy; since he proposed for his hatred and his friendship no other end and standard but justice. Dion was very serviceable to Dionysius whilst in favor; when no longer trusted, he grew angry and fell to arms. And, for this reason, not even were his own friends all of them satisfied with his undertaking, or quite assured that, having overcome Dionysius, he might not settle the government on himself, deceiving his fellow-citizens by some less obnoxious name than tyranny. But the very enemies of Brutus would say that he had no other end or aim, from first to last, save only to restore to the Roman people their ancient government.
And apart from what has just been said, the adventure against Dionysius was nothing equal with that against Caesar. For none that was familiarly conversant with Dionysius but scorned him for his life of idle amusement with wine, women, and dice; whereas it required an heroic soul and a truly intrepid and unquailing spirit so much as to entertain the thought of crushing Caesar so formidable for his ability, his power, and his fortune, whose very name disturbed the slumbers of the Parthian and Indian kings. Dion was no sooner seen in Sicily but thousands ran in to him and joined him against Dionysius; whereas the renown of Caesar, even when dead, gave strength to his friends; and his very name so heightened the person that took it, that from a simple boy he presently became the chief of the Romans; and he could use it for a spell against the enmity and power of Antony. If any object that it cost Dion great trouble and difficulties to overcome the tyrant, whereas Brutus slew Caesar naked and unprovided, yet this itself was the result of the most consummate policy and conduct, to bring it about that a man so guarded around, and so fortified at all points, should be taken naked and unprovided. For it was not on the sudden, nor alone, nor with a few, that he fell upon and killed Caesar; but after long concerting the plot, and placing confidence in a great many men, not one of whom deceived him. For he either at once discerned the best men, or by confiding in them made them good. But Dion, either making a wrong judgment, trusted himself with ill men, or else by his employing them made ill men of good; either of the two would be a reflection on a wise man. Plato also is severe upon him, for choosing such for friends as betrayed him.
Besides, when Dion was killed, none appeared to revenge his death. Whereas Brutus, even amongst his enemies, had Antony that buried him splendidly; and Caesar also took care his honors should be preserved. There stood at Milan in Gaul, within the Alps, a brazen statue, which Caesar in after-times noticed (being a real likeness, and a fine work of art), and passing by it, presently stopped short, and in the hearing of many commended the magistrates to come before him. He told them their town had broken their league, harboring an enemy. The magistrates at first simply denied the thing, and, not knowing what he meant, looked one upon another, when Caesar, turning towards the statue and gathering his brows, said, "Pray, is not that our enemy who stands there?" They were all in confusion, and had nothing to answer; but he, smiling, much commended the Gauls, as who had been firm to their friends, though in adversity, and ordered that the statue should remain standing as he found it.