Florus, born apparently in Africa, lived in Spain and in Rome in Hadrian’s time. He wrote, in brief pointed rhetorical style, a summary of Roman history (especially wars) in two books in order to show the greatness and decline of Roman morals. It is based chiefly on Livy. It was perhaps planned to reach his own times, but the extant work ends with Augustus’s reign (30 BCE–14 CE). This Epitome is a useful rapid sketch of Roman military history.
Chapter I: Of Romulus, The First King Of The Romans
The founder of the city and empire was Romulus, the son of Mars and Rhea Sylvia. The priestess, when pregnant, confessed this fact of herself, nor did report, soon afterwards, testify a doubt of it, as, being thrown, with his brother Remus, into the river by order of Amulius, he could not be destroyed; for not only did the Tiber repress its stream, but a she-wolf, leaving her young, and following the children’s cries, offered her teats to the infants, and acted towards them the part of a mother. Being found, in these circumstances, under a tree, the king’s shepherd carried them into a cottage, and brought them up.
The metropolis of Latium, at that time, was Alba, built by Iulus; for he had disdained Lavinium, the city of his father Aeneas. Amulius, the fourteenth descendant from them, was now reigning there, having dethroned his brother Numitor, of whose daughter Romulus was the son. Romulus, in the first ardour of youth, drove Aemilius from the citadel, and restored his grandfather. Being fond, however, of the river, and of the mountains where he had been brought up, he thought of founding among them the walls of a new city. But as he and his brother were twins, it was resolved to consult the gods which of the two should commence the work, and enjoy the sovereignty. Romulus, accourdingly, took his station on Mount Aventine, and Remus on Mount Palatine. Romulus first saw six vultures; Remus was behind him in time, but saw twelve. Being thus superior in point of augury, Romulus proceeded to build the city, with full expectation that it would prove a warlike one, for so the birds, accustomed to blood and prey, seemed to promise.
For the defence of the new city a rampart appeared sufficient. While Remus was deriding its diminutiveness, and showing his contempt for it by leaping over it, he was, whether by his brother’s order is uncertain, put to death. He was certainly the first victim, and consecrated the fortification of the new city with his blood.
But Romulus had formed the idea of a city, rather than a real city; for inhabitants were wanting. In the neighbourhood there was a grove, which he made a place of refuge; and immediately an extraordinary number of men, some Latin and Tuscan shepherds, others from beyond the seas, Phrygians who had come into the country under Aeneas, and Arcadians under Evander, took up their residence in it. Thus of various elements, as it were, he formed one body, and was himself the founder of the Roman people. But a people consisting only of men could last but one age; wives were therefore sought from the neighbouring nations and, as they were not obtained, were seized by force. For a pretence being made of celebrating some equestrian games, the young women who came to see them, became a prey; and this immediately gave rise to wars. The Vejentes were routed and put to flight. The city of the Caeninenses was taken and demolished; and Romulus also, with his own hands, offered the spolia optima, taken from their king, to Jupiter Feretrius. To the Sabines, the gates of Rome were given up by a young woman, though not treacherously; she had asked, as a reward, what they wore on their left arms, but whether she meant their shields or their bracelets, is doubtful. They, to keep their word, and be revenged on her, buried her under their bucklers. The enemy having thus gained admission within the walls, there ensued, in the very forum, so desperate an engagement, that Romulus intreated Jupiter to stop the shameful flight of his men; and hence a temple was afterwards erected, and Jupiter surnamed Stator. At last the women who had been carried off, rushed, with their hair dishevelled, between the contending parties, and separated them. This peace was made, and a league established, with Tatius; abd a wonderful event followed, namely, that the enemy, leaving their habitations, removed into the new city, and shared their hereditary portion with their sons-in-law, as a portion for their daughters.
The strength of the city being soon increased, this most wise monarch made the following arragment in the state; that the young men, divided into tribes, should be ready, with horses and arms, for any sudden demands of war; and that the administration of affairs should be in the hands of the older men, who, from their authority, were called Fathers, and from their age, the Senate. When he had thus regulated matters, and was holding an assembly of the people at the late of Caprea, near the city, he was suddenly snatched out of their sight. Some think that he was cut to pieces by the senate, on account of his excessive severity; but a tempest which then arose, and an eclipse of the sun, were apparent proofs of his deification. This opinion Julius Proculus soon after confirmed, asserting that he had seen Romulus in a more majestic shape than he had when alive; that he also commanded them to acknowledge him as a deity, as it pleased the gods that he should be called Quirinus in heaven; and that thus Rome should have the sovereignty of the world.
Chapter II: Of Numa Pompilius
The successor of Romulus was Numa Pompilius, whom, when he was living at Cures, a town of the Sabines, the Romans of their own accord solicited, on account of his celebrated piety, to become their king. It was he who taught them sacred rites and ceremonies, and the whole worship of the immortal gods, and who instituted the pontiffs, augurs, Salii, and other sacerdotal offices among the Roman people. He also divided the year into twelve months, and the days into those for legal business and for vacation. He appointed the sacred shields and the image of Pallas, as certain secret pledges of empire; and ordered the temple of double-faced Janus to be the symbol of peace and war. He assigned the fire of Vesta to the care of virgins, that its flame might constantly burn, in imitation of the stars of heaven, as a guardian of the empire. All these arrangements he pretended to make by the advice of the goddess Egeria, that his barbarous subjects might more willingly submit to them. In process of time, he brought that uncivilized people to such a condition, that they managed, with peity and justice, a government which they had acquired by violence and oppression.
Chapter III: Of Tullius Hostilius
To Numa Pompilius succeeded Tullius Hostilius, to whom the kingdom was voluntarily given in honour of his ability. It was he that established military discipline, and the whole art of war. Having, therefore, trained the youth in an extraordinary manner, he ventured to defy the Albans, a powerful, and, for a long time, a leading people. But as both sides, being equal in strength, were weakened by frequent engagements, the fortunes of the two people, to bring the war to a speedier conclusion, were committed to the Horatii and Curiatii, three twin-brothers, chosen on each side. It was a doubtful and noble conflict, and had a wonderful termination. For after three were wounded on one side, and two killed on the other, the Horatius who survived, adding subtlety to valour, counterfeited flight in order to separate his enemies, and then, attacking them one by one, as they were able to pursue him, overcame them all. Thus (an honour rarely attained by any other) a victory was secured by the hand of one man. But this victory he soon after sullied by a murder. He had observed his sister in tears at the sight of the spoils that he wore, which had belonged to one of the enemy betrothed to her, and chastised the love of the maiden, o unseasonably manifested, with his sword. The laws called for the punishment of the crime; but esteem for his valour saved the murderer, and his guilt was shielded by his glory.
The Alban people did not long keep their faith; for being called out, according to the treaty, to assist the Romans in the war againsty Fidenae, they stood neutral betwixt the two parties, waiting for a turn of fortune. But the crafty king of the Romans, seeing his allies ready to side with the enemy, roused the courage of his army, pretending that he had ordered them so to act; hence hope arose in the breasts of our men, and fear in those of the enemy. The deceit of the traitors was accordingly without effect; and, after the enemy was conquered, Tullius caused Metius Fufetius, as a breaker of the league, to be tied between two chariots, and torn in pieces by swift horses. Alba itself, which, though the parent of Rome, was nevertheless its rival, he demolished, but previously removed all the wealth of the place, and the inhabitants themselves, to Rome, that thus a kindred city might seem not to have been destroyed, but to have been re-united to its own body.
Chapter IV: Of Ancus Marcius
Next reigned Ancus Marcius, a grandson of Numa Pompilius, and of a similar disposition. He encompassed the city with a wall, made a bridge over the Tiber, that flows through the town, and settled the colony of Ostia at the junction of the river with the sea; even then, apparently, feeling a presentiment, that the riches and supplies of the whole world would be brought to that maritime store-house of the city.
Chapter V: Of Tarquinius Priscus
Afterwards, Tarquinius Priscus, though sprung from a country beyond the sea, making application for the throne, obtained it through his industry and accomplishments; for, having been born at Corinth, he had joined to his Grecian wit the arts of Italy. This king increased the authority of the senate by adding to its number, and augmented the tribes with additional centuries; for Attius Naevius, a man eminent in augury, forbade their number to be increased. The king, for a trial of Naevius’s skill, asked him if that which he had conceived in his mind could be done? The other, haing tried the question by augury, answered that it could. I was thinking then, replied the king, whether I could cut this whetstone with my razor. You can then, rejoined the augur; and the king cut it. Hence augury came to be a sacred institution among the Romans.
Nor was the ability of Tarquinius greater in peace than in war; for he reduced, by frequent attacks, the twelve tribes of Etruria, from whom were adopted the fasces, robes of state, curule-chairs, rings, horse-trappings, military cloaks, and the gown called praetexta. Hense also came the custom of riding in triumph, in a gilded chariot, with four horses; as well as embroidered togae, and striped tunics; and, in fine, all ornaments and marks of distinction by which regal dignity is rendered imposing.
Chapter VI: Of Servius Tullius
Servius Tullius was the next that assumed the government; nor was the meanness of his extraction any hindrance to his exaltation, though he was the son of a female slave. For Tanaquil, the wife of Tarquinius Priscus, had improved his talents, which were extraordinary, by a liberal education; and a flame, that had been seen surrounding his head, had portended that he would be famous. Being, therefore, on the death of Tarquinius, put in the king’s place, by the aid of the queen, (as if merely for a time,) he exercised the government, thus fraudulently obtained, with such effect, that he seemed to have obtained it by right. By this king the Roman people were submitted to a census, disposed into classes, and divided into curiae and companies; and, through his eminent ability, the whole commonwealth was so regulated, that all distinctions of estate, dignity, age, employments, and ofices, were committed to registers, and a great city was governed with all the exactness of the smallest family.
Chapter VII: Of Tarquinius Superbus
The last of all the kings was Tarquinius, to whom the name of Superbus, or the Proud, was given, on account of his deportment. He chose rather to seize by violence, than patiently to wait for, the kingdom of his grandfather, which was held from him by Servius, and, having set some assassins to murder him, managed the power, obtained by crime, not more justly than he gained it. Nor did his wife Tullia differ from him in disposition; for, to salue her husband king, as she was riding in her chariot, she drove her startled horses over the blood-stained corpse of her father. He himself offended the senate by putting some of them to death, disgusted the whole nation by his pride (which, to men of right feelings, is more intolerable than cruelty,) and, after glutting his inhumanity at home, turned at length against his enemies. Thus the strong towns in Latium were taken, Ardea, Ocriculum, Gabii, Suessa, Pometia.
He was also cruel to his own family; for he scrupled not to scourge his son, in order that he might gain credit with the enemy when feigning himself a deserter. This son, being received, as he had wished, at Gabii, and consulting his father what he desired to have done, the father answered (what pride!) by striking off, with his staff, the heads of some poppies that chanced to grow higher than the rest, wishing it thence to be understood that the chief men at Gabii were to be put to death.
From the spoils of the captured cities, however, he built a temple, at the consecration of which, though the other gods gave up their ground, Juventus and Terminus, strange to say, stood firm. Yet the obstinacy of these deities pleased the augurs, as it promised that all would be firm and enduring. But what was extremely surprising, was, that at the foundation of the edifice a human head was found by the builders; and all were persuaded that this was a most favourable omen, portending that the seat of empire, and supreme head of the world, would be in that place.
The Roman people tolerated the pride of this king, as long as lust was not united with it; but this additional oppression they were not able to endure on the part of his sons, one of whom having offered violence to Lucretia, a most excellent matron, she put an end to her dishonour by killing herself. All power was then taken out of the hands of kings.
Chapter VIII: A Recapitulation Of The Acts Of The Seven Kings
This is the first age, and, as it were, infancy, of the Roman people, which it had under seven kings, who, by a certain contrivance of the fates, were as various in their dispositions as the nature and advantage of the commonwealth required. Who was more daring than Romulus? Such a man was necessary to hold the government. Who was more religious than Numa? Circumstances required that he should be so, in order than a barbarous people might be softened by fear of the gods. What sort of man was Tullius, that author of military discipline? How necessary to warlike spirits, that he might improve their valour by discipline! What kind of king was the architect Ancus? How fitted to extend the city by means of a colony, to unite it by a bridge, and secure it by a wall! The decorations and insignia of Tarquinius, too, how much dignity did they add to this great people by the very dress! What did the census instituted by Servius effect, but that the state should know its own strength? Lastly, the tyrannic government of the proud Tarquin produced some good, and indeed a great deal; for it came to pass, by means of it, that the people, exasperated by wrongs, were inflamed with a desire of liberty.
Chapter IX: Of The Change Of Government
Under the conduct and guidance of Brutus and Collatinus, therefore, to whom the dying matron had recommended the avenging of her cause, the Roman people, incided apparently by some impulse from the gods, to vindicate the honour of insulted liberty and chastity, suddenly deserted the king, made spoil of his property, consecrated his lands to their god Mars, and transformed the government to the hands of those asserters of their liberty, with a change only of its power and name; for they resolved that it should be held, not for life, but only for a year, and that there should be two rulers instead of one, least the authority, by being vested in a single person, or by being retained too long, might be abused; and, instead of kings, they called them consuls, that they might remember they were to consult the welfare of their citizens. So great exultation, on account of their newly recovered liberty, took possession of them, that they scarcely believed that they could carry their change of condition far enough, and deprived one of the consuls of his office, and expelled him from the city, for no other reason that his name and family were the same as those of the kings. Valerius Publicola, accordingly, being elected in his place, used his utmost endeavours to advance the dignity of the liberated people; for he lowered the fasces before them at a public assembly, and gave them the right of hearing appeals against the consuls themselves. He also removed his house, which stood upon an eminence, into the level parts of the town, that he might not offend people by appearing to occupy a fortress. Brutus, meanwhile, endeavoured to gain the favour of the citizens by the destruction and slaughter of his own family; for finding that his sons were endeavouring to bring back the royal family into the city, he brought them into the forum, and caused them, in the midst of an assembly of the people, to be scourged with rods, and then beheaded; in order that he might seem, as a parent of the public, to have adopted the people in the room of his own children.
The Roman people, being now free, took up arms against other nations, first, to secure their liberty, next, for the acquisition of territory, afterwards in support of their allies, and finally, for glory and empire. Their neighbours, on every side, were continually harassing them, as they had no land of their own (the very pomoerium belonging to the enemy), and as they were situated, as it were, at the junction of the roads to Latium and Etruria, and, at whatever gate they went out, were sure to meet a foe. At length, as if in a certain destined course, they proceeded against their opponents one after another, and, subduing the nearest, reduced all Italy under their sway.
Chapter X: The War With Porsena
After the royal family was expelled, the first war that the people made was in defence of their liberty; for Porsena, king of Etruria, came against them with a large army, designing to restore the Tarquins by force. Yet, though he pressed them hard both with arms and with famine, and seizing the Janiculum, occupied the very entrance to the city, they withstood and repelled him, and struck him, at last, with such amazement, that, though he had the advantage, he of his own accord concluded a treaty of friendship with those whom he had almost conquered. Then appeared those Roman prodigies and wonders, Horatius, Mucius, and Cloelia, who, if they were not recorded in our annals, would now appear fabulous characters. For Horatius, being unable alone to repel the enemies that pressed him on all sides, swam across the Tiber after the bridge was broken down, without letting go his arms. Mutius Scaevola, by a strategem, made an attempt on the king in the midst of his camp, but having stabbed one of his courtiers by mistake, and being seized, he thrust his hand into a fire that was burning there, and increased the king;s terror by a piece of craft, saying, “that you may know what a man you have escaped, three hundred of us have sworn the same undertaking;” while, strange to relate, Mucius himself stook unmoved, and the king shuddered, as if his own hand had been burning. Thus the men displayed their valour; but that the other sex might not want its praise, there was a like spirit among the young women; for Cloelia, one of the hostages given to the king, having escaped from her keepers, crossed the river of her country on horseback. The king, in consequence, being struck with so many and so great prodigies of valour, bid them farewell, and left them free.
The Tarquins continued the war, till Brutus, with his own hand, killed Aruns, the king’s son, and fell dead upon his body of a wound received from his adversary, as if he would pursue the adulterer even to Tartarus.
Chapter XI: Of The War With The Latins
The Latins also took part with the Tarquins, out of rivalry and envy towards the Romans, desiring that a people, who ruled abroad, might at least be slaves at home. At Latium, accordingly, under the leadership of Mamilius of Tusculum, roused their spirits as if to avenge the king’s cause. They came to a battle near lake Regillus, where success was for a long time doubtful, till Posthumius, the dictator, thre a standard among the enemy, (a new and remarkable stratagem,) that it might be recovered by rushing into the midst of them. Cossus, the master of the horse, too, ordered the cavalry to take off their bridles, (thus was also a new contrivance,) that they might attack with greater force. Such at last was the desparateness of the engagement, that fame reported two of the gods, on white horses, to have been present to view it, and it was universally believed that they were Castor and Pollux. The Roman general accordingly worshipped them, and, on condition of gaining the victory, promised them temples; a promise which he afterwards performed, as payment to the gods who assisted him.
Thus far they contended for liberty. Afterwards they fought with the same Latins, perseveringly and without intermission, about the boundaries of their territory. Sora (who would believe it?) and Algidum were a terror to them. Satricum and Corniculum were provinces. Of Verulae and Bovillae I am ashamed to speak; but we triumphed. Tibur, now a portion of the suburbs, and Praeneste, a pleasant summer residence, were not attacked till vows for success had been offered in the Capitol. Faesulae was as much to us as Carrae was of late; the grove of Aricia was as considerable as the Hercynian forest, Fregellae as Gesoriacum, the Tiber as the Euphrates. That Corioli was taken, was thought (disgraceful to relate) such a cause for triumph, that Caius Marcius Coriolanus added a name from the captured town to his own, as if he had subdued Numantia or Africa. There are extant also spoils taken from Antium, which Maenius put up on the rostra in the forum, after capturing the enemy’s fleet, if a fleet, indeed, it could be called; for there were only six beaked vessels. But this number, in those early times, was sufficient for a naval war.
The most obstinate of the Latins, however, were the Aequi and Volsci, who were, as I may say, daily enemies. But these were cheifly subdued by Lucius Quintius, the dictator taken from the plough, who, by his eminent bravery, saved the camp of the consul, Lucius Minucius, when it was besieged and almost taken. It happened to be about the middle of seed-time, when the lictor found the patrician leaning on his plough in the midst of his labour. Marching from thence into the field, he made the conquered enemies, that he might not cease from the imitation of country work, pass like cattle under the yoke. His expedition being thus concluded, the triumphant husbandman returned to his oxen, and, O faith of the gods with what speed! for the war was begun and ended within fifteen days; so that the dictator seemed to have hastened back to resume the work which he had quitted.
Chapter XII: The Wars With The Etrurians, Falisci, And Fidenates
The Vejentes, on the side of Etruria, were continual enemies of the Romans, attacking them every year; so that the single family of the Fabii offered extraordinary assistance, and carried on a private war against them. But the slaughter that befell them was sufficiently memorable. Three hundred (an army of patricians) were slain at Cremera, and the gate that let them pass, when they were proceeding to battle, was stigmatised with the name of wicked. But that slaughter was expiated by great victories, the enemies’ strongest towns being reduced by one general after another, though in various methods. The Falisci surrendered of their own accord; the Fidenates were burned with their own fire; the Vejentes were plundered and utterly destroyed.
During the siege of the Falisci, an instance of honour on the part of the Roman general was regarded as wonderful, and not without justice; for he sent back to them, with his hands bound behind him, a schoolmaster who intended to betray their city, with some boys whom he had brought with him. Being an upright and wise man, he knew that that only was a true victory which was gained with inviolate faith and untainted honour. The people of Fidenae, not being a match for the Romans with the sword, armed themselves with torches and party-coloured fillets resembling serpents, in order to excite terror in the enemy, and marched out against them like madmen; but their dismal dress was only an omen of their destruction. How great the strength of the Vejentes was, a ten years’ siege proves. It was then that the Roman soldiers first wintered under skins, while the extraordinary winter labour was recompensed with pay, and the soldiers were voluntarily bound by an oath not to return till the city was taken. The spoils of Lars Tolumnius, the king of the Vejentes, were offered to Jupiter Feretrius. The destruction of the city was at last effected, not by scaling-ladders, nor by a breach in the walls, but by a mine, and strategems under ground. The spoil was thought so great, that the tenth was sent to the Pythian Apollo, and the whole Roman people were called out to share in the pillage. Such was Veii at that time; who now remembers that it existed? What relic or vestige is left of it? Even the trustworthiness of our annals can hardly make us believe that Veii ever had a being.
Chapter XIII: Of The War With The Gauls
At this point, whether through the envy of the gods, or the appointment of fate, the rapid progress of the advancing empire was stopped, for a short time, by an invasion of the Galli Senones. Whether this period were more hurtful to the Romans by the disasters which it caused them, or more glorious by the proofs which it gave of their valour, I am unable to tell. Such, however, was the violence of the calamity, that I must suppose it inflicted upon them, by divine Providence, for a trial of their spirit, the immortal gods desiring to know whether the conduct of the Romans would merit the empire of the world. The Galli Senones were a nation naturally fierce, and rude in manners; and, from the vastness of their bodies, and the corresponding weight of their arms, so formidable in all respects, that they seemed evidently born for the destruction of men and the depopulation of cities. Coming originally from the remotest parts of the earth, and the ocean that surrounds all, and having wasted everything in their way, they settled between the Alps and the Po; but not content with this position, they wandered up and down Italy, and were now besieging the town of Clusium. The Romans interposed on nehalf of their allies and confederates, by sending, according to custom, ambassadors. But what regard to justice was to be expected from barbarians? They only grew more daring; and hence arose a conflict. After they had broken up from Clusium, and were marching towards Rome, Fabius, the consul, met them at the river Allia with an army. Scarecely ever was there a more disgraceful defeat; and Rome has therefore set a damnatory mark on this day in its calendar. The Roman army being routed, the Gauls approached the city. Garrison there was none; but then, or never, true Roman courage showed itself. In the first place the elder men, who had borne the highest offices, met together in the forum, where, the high priest performing the ceremony of devotion, they consecrated themselves to the infernal gods; and immediately afterwards returning, each to his own house, they seated themselves, dressed as they were in their long robes and richest ornaments, on their curule chairs, that, when the enemy came, they might die with proper dignity.
The high-priests and flamens, taking whatever was most sacred in the temples, hid part of it in casks buried in the earth, and carried part away with them in waggons. The virgins of the priesthood of Vesta, at the same time, followed, with their feet bare, their sacred things as they were conveyed from the city. But Lucius Albinus, one of the common people, is said to have assisted them in their flight; for, setting down his wife and children, he took up the virgins into his vehicle; so much, even in their utmost extremity, did regard for the public religion prevail over private affactions.
A band of the youth (which, it is certain, scarcely amounted to a thousand) took their position, under the command of Manlius, in the citadel on the Capitoline mount, intreating Jupiter himself, as if present in the place, that “as they had united to defend his temple, he would support their efforts with his power.” The Gauls, meantime, came up, and finding the city open, were at first apprehensive that some stratagem was intended, but soon after, preceiving nobody in it, they rushed in with shouting and impetuosity. They entered the houses, which in all parts stood open, where they worshipped the aged senators, sitting in their robes on their curule chairs, as if they had been gods and genii; but afterwards, when it appeared that they were men (otherwise deigning to answer nothing), they massacred them with cruelty equal to their former veneration. They then threw burning brands on the houses, and with fire, sword, and the labour of their hands, levelled the city with the ground. But round the single Capitoline mount, the barbarians (who would believe it?) were detained six months, though making every effort, not only by day but by night, to reduce it. At length, as some of them were making an ascent in the night-time, Manlius, being awakened by the gabbling of a goose, hurled them down from the to of the rock; and, to deprive the enemy of all hope of success, and make a show of confidence on his own part, he threw out some loaves of bread, though he was in great want, from the citadel. On a certain fixed day, too, he sent out Fabius, the high-priest, from the citadel, through the midst of the enemy’s guards, to perform a solemn sacrifice on the Quirinal hill. Fabius, under the protection of religion, returned safe through the weapons of the enemy, and reported that “the gods were propitious.” At last, when the length of their siege had tired the barbarians, and when they were offering to depart for a thousand pounds of gold, (Making that offer, however, in an insolent manner, throwing a sword into the scale with unfair weights, and proudly crying out, “Woe to the conquered!”) Camillus, suddenly attacking them in the rear, made such a slaughter of them as to wash out all traces of the fire with an inundation of Gallic blood. But with pleasure may we give thanks to the immortal gods on the very account of this great destruction; for that fire buried the cottages of the shepherds, and that flame hid the poverty of Romulus. What, indeed, was the effect of that conflagration, but that a city, destined for the seat of men and gods, should not seem to have been destroyed or overthrown, but rather cleansed and purified? After being defended, therefore, by Manlius, and restored by Camillus, it rose up again, with still more vigour and spirit, against the neighbouring people.
But first of all, not content with having expelled the Gauls from their city, theys so closely pursued them under the conduct of Camillus, as they were dragging their broken remains up and down through Italy, that at this day not a trace of the Senones is left in the country. On one occasion, there was a slaughter of them at the river Anio, where Manlius, in a single combat, took from a barbarian, among other spoils, a golden chain; and hence was the name of the Torquati. On another occasion they were defeated in the Pomptine territory, when Lucius Valerius, in a similar combat, being assisted by a sacred bird sitting upon his helmet, carried off the spoils of his enemy; and hence came the name of the Corvini. At last Dolabella, some years afterwards, cut off all that remained of them at the lake Vadimo in Etruria, that none of that nation might survive to boast that Rome had been burned by them.
Chapter XIV: The Latin War
In the consulship of Manlius Torquatus and Decius Mus, the Romans turned from the Gauls upon the Latins, a people always ready to attack them from rivalry for empire, and now in contempt for the burnt state of the city. They demanded that the right of citizenship should be granted them, and a participation in the government and public offices; and presumed that they could now do something more than struggle for these privileges. But who will wonder that the enemy should then have yielded, when one of the consuls put his own son to death, for fighting, though successfully, contrary to orders, as if there were more merit in observing command than in gaining a victory; and the other, as if by the admonition of the gods, devoted himself, with his face covered, and in front of the army, to the infernal deities, so that, casting himself into the thickest of the enemy’s weapons, he opened a new way to victory by the track of his own blood.
Chapter XV: The Sabine War
After the Latins, they attacked the nation of the Sabines, who, unmindful of the alliance contracted under Titus Tatius, had united themselves, by some contagion of war, to the Latins. But the Romans, under Curius Dentatus, their consul, laid waste, with fire and sword, all that tract which the Nar and the springs of Velinus inclose, as far as the Adriatic sea. By which success such a number of people, and such an extent of territory, was brought under their jurisdiction, that even he who had made the conquest could not tell which was of the greater importance.
Chapter XVI: The Samnite War
Being then moved by the intreaties of Campania, they attacked the Samnites, not on their own account, but, what is more honourable, on that of their allies. A league had indeed been made with both those nations, but the Campanians had made theirs more binding and worth of regard, by a surrender of all that they had. The Romans accordingly took up the war against the Samnites as if on their own behalf.
The region of Campania is the finest of all countries, not only in Italy, but in the whole world. Nothing can be softer than its air; indeed it produces flowers twice a year. Nothing can be more fertile than its soil; and it is therefore said to have been an object of contention between Bacchus and Ceres. Nothing can be more hospitable than its shores; for on them are those noble harbours, Caieta, Misenus, and Baiae with its warm springs, as well as the lakes Lucrinus and Avernus, places of retirements as it were for the sea. Here, too, are those vine-clad mountains, Gaurus, Falernus, Massicus, and Vesuvius the finest of all, the imitator of the fires of Aetna. On the sea are the cities Formiae, Cumae, Puteoli, Naples, Herculaneum, Pompeii, and, the chief of all, Capua, which was formerly one of the three greatest cities in the world, Rome and Carthage being the others.
In defence of this city, and this country, the Roman people attacked the Samnites, a nation, if you would know its wealth, equipped with gold and silver armour, and with clothes of various colours even to ostentation; if you would understand its subtlety, accustomed to assail its enemies by the aid of its forests and concealment among the mountains; if you would learn its rage and fury, exasperated to destroy the city of Rome by sacred laws and human sacrifices; if you would look to its obstinacy, rendered desperate by six violations of the treaty, and by its very defeats. Yet in fifty years, by means of the Fabii and Papirii, fathers and sons, the Romans so subdued and reduced this people, so demolished the very ruins of their cities, that Samnium may now be sought in Samnium; nor does it easily appear whence there was matter for four-and-twenty triumphs over them. But the greatest defeat that the Romans received from this nation was at the Caudine Forks, in the consulship of Veturius and Posthumius. For the Roman army being inclosed, by means of an ambush, within that defile, whence it was unable to extricate itself, Pontius, the general of the enemy, struck with such extraordinary good fortune, consulted his father Herennius how he should act, who, as a man of greater age and experience, judiciously advised him “either to release them all, or to put them all to the sword.” But Pontius preferred making them pass, despoiled of their arms, beneath the yoke; so that they were not made friends by his mercy, but rendered greater enemies after such dishonour. The consuls, therefore, without delay, and in a noble spirit, removed, by a voluntary surrender of themselves, the disgrace of the treaty; and the soldiers, clamourous for revenge, and led on by Papirius, rushed furiously along the line of march, with their swords drawn (fearful to relate!) before they came to battle; and the enemy affirm that in the encounter the eyes of the Romans were like burning fire. Nor was there an end put to the slaughter, until they retaliated with the yoke upon their enemies and their general who was taken prisoner.
Chapter XVII: The War With The Etrurians And The Samnites Combined
As yet the Roman people had warred only with single nations, but soon after it had to struggle with a combination of them; yet in such circumstances it was a match for them all. The twelve tribes of the Etrurians, the Umbri, the most ancient people of Italy, hitherto unassailed in war, and those that remained of the Samnites, suddenly conspired for the utter destruction of the Roman name. The terror excited by nations so numerous and so powerful was very great. The standards of four armies, ready for engagement, flew far and wide throughout Etruria. The Ciminian forest, too, which lay between Rome and Etruria, and which had hitherto been as little explored as the Caledonian or Hercynian forests, was so great an object of dread, that the senate charged the consul not venture on such a peril. But no danger deterred the general from sending his brother before to learn the possibilities of forcing a passage. He, putting on a shepherd’s dress, and examining all around in the night, reported that the way was safe. Fabius Maximus, in consequence, terminated a most hazardous war without hazard, for he suddenly assailed the enemy as they were in disorder and straggling about, and, possessing himself of the higher grounds, thundered down on those below at his pleasure, the aspect of the war being as if weapons were hurled on the children of earth from the sky and the clouds. Yet final success was not secured without bloodshed; for one of the consuls, being surprised in the hollow of a valley, sacrificed his life, devoted, after the example of his father, to the infernal gods; and made this act of devotion, natural to his family, the price of victory.
Chapter XVIII: The War With The Tarentines And Pyrrhus
Next follows the Tarentine War, one, indeed, in title and name, but manifold in victories; for it involved in one ruin, as it were, the Campanians, Apulians, and Lucanians, as well as the Tarentines, who were the authors of it, that is to say, the whole of Italy, and, together with all these, Pyrrhus, the most famous king of Greece; so that the Roman people, at one and the same time, completed the reduction of Italy and commenced their transmarine triumphs.
Tarentum was built by the Lacedaemonians, and was formerly the metropolis of Calabria, Apuliam and all Lucania; it was famous for its size, and walls, and harbour, and admired for its situation; for, being placed at the very entrance to the Adriatic, it sends its vessels to all the adjacent countries, as Istria, Illyricum, Epirus, Greece, Africa, and Sicily. A large theatre lies close upon the harbour, built so as to overlook the sea; which theatre was the cause of all the calmities that befel the unhappy city. They happened to be celebrating games, when they saw from thence the Roman fleet rowing up to the shore, and, supposing that they were enemies approaching, ran out and attacked them without further consideration; for “who or whence were the Romans?” Nor was this enough; an embassy came from Rome without delay, to make a complaint; and this embassy they vilely insulted, with an affront that was gross and disgraceful to be mentioned. Hence arose the war. The preparations for it were formidable, so many nations, at the same time, rising up on behalf of the Tarentines, and Phrrhus more formidable than them all, who, to defend a city, which, from its founders being Lacedaemonians, was half Greek, came with all the strength of Epirus, Thessalia, and Macedonia, and with elephants, till then unknown in Italy; menacing the country by sea and land, with men, horses, and arms, and the additional terror of wild beasts.
The first battle was fought by the consul Levinus, at Haraclea, on the Liris, a river of Campania; a battle so desperate, that Obsidius, commander of a Frentane troop of horse, riding at the king, put him into disorder, and obliged him to throw away his royal insignia and quit the field. He would doubtless have been defeated, had not the elephants, turning round, rushed forward to attract the attention of the combatants; when the horses, startled at their bulk and ugliness, as well as at their strange smell and noise, and imagining the beasts, which they had never seen before, to be something more terrible than they were, spread consternation and havoc far and wide.
A second engagement took place at Asculum in Apulia, under the consuls Curius and Fabricius, with somewhat better success; for the terror of the beasts had in some degree passed off, and Caius Minucius, a spearman of the fourth legion, having cut off the trunk of one of them, showed that the monsters were mortal. Lances were accordingly heaped upon them, and firebrands, hurled against their towers, covered the troops of the enemy with flaming ruins. Nor was there any stop to the slaughter till night separated the combatants; and the king himself, the last of those that retreated, was carried off by his guards, with a wound in the shoulder, on his own shield.
The last battle was fought by the same leaders, near what are called the Arusine plains in Lucania; but success was then wholly on the side of the Romans. Chance brought the termination of the struggle which valour would have given; for the elephants being again brought into the front line, the heavy stroke of a weapon descending on the head of a young one, made it turn about; and then, as it was trampling down numbers of its own party, and whining with a loud noise, its dam recognised it, and broke out of her place as though to revenge the injury done to it, disordering all about her, as if they had been troops of the enemy, with her unweildy bulk. Thus the same beasts, which had gained the first victory, and balanced the second, gave the third to the Romans without dispute.
Nor did they engage with Pyrrhus only with arms and in the field, but contended with him also in counsel, and at home within the city. For the subtle king, after his first victory, being convinced of the valour of the Romans, despaired of gaining success by arms, and had recourse to stratagem. He burnt the bodies of the Romans that were slain, treated the prisoners kindly, and restored them without ransom; and having afterwards sent ambassadors to the city, he sought, by every means in his power, to be received into friendship and to make a league with them. But at that period the conduct of the Romans approved itself in every way, in war and in peace, abroad and at home; nor did any other conquest, more than that over the Tarentines, show the fortitude of the Roman people, the wisdom of their senate, and the gallantry of their generals. What sort of men were those whom we find trampled down by elephants in the first battle? The wounds of all were in their breasts; some had fallen dead upon their enemies; all had swords in their hands, and threatening left in their looks; and their anger lived even in death itself. Pyrrhus was so struck with admiration at the sight, that he exclaimed, “Oh, how easy were it for me to gain the empire of the world, if I had Romans for my soldiers; or for the Romans, if they had me for their king!” And what must have been the expedition of those who survived, in recruiting the army? For Pyrrhus said, “I see plainly that I was born under the constellation of Hercules, since so many heads of enemies, that were cut off, arise again upon me out of their own blood, as if they sprung for the Lernaean serpent.” And what kind of senate was there? when, on the address of Appius Caecus, the ambassadors were sent away from the city with their presents, and assured their king, who asked them what they thought of their enemy’s abode, that “the city appeared to them a temple, and the senate an assembly of kings.” And what sort of generals were there? either in the camp, when Curius sent back the physician that offered the head of king Pyrrhus for sale, and Fabricius refused a share of the kingdom offered him by Pyrrhus; or in peace, when Curius preferred his earthen vessels to the gold of the Samnites, and Fabricius, with the gravity becoming a cesnor, condemned ten pounds of silver, in the possession of Rufinus, though a man of consular dignity, as a luxury.
Who then can wonder that the Romans, with such manners, and with a brave soldiery, were victorious? And that in this one war with the Tarentines, they brought under their power, within the space of four years, the greatest part of Italy, the stoutest nations, the most wealthy cities, and the most fruitful regions? Or what can more exceed credibility than a comparison of the beginning of the war with the end of it? Pyrrhus, victorius in the first battle, laid waste Campania, Liris, and Fregellae, whilst all Italy was in alarm, and took a view of Rome, which was well-nigh captured, from the heights of Praeneste, filling the eyes of the trembling city, at the distance of twenty miles, with smoke and dust. The same prince being afterwards twice forced from his camp, twice wounded, and driven over sea and land into Greece, his own country, peace and quiet ensued; and so vast was the spoil from so many wealthy nations, that Rome could not contain her own victory. Hardly ever did a finer or more glorious triumph enter the city; when before this time you could have seen nothing but the cattle of the Volscians, the flocks of the Sabines, the chariots of the Gauls, or the broken arms of the Samnites; but now, if you looked on the capitives, they were Molossians, Thessalians, Macedonians, Bruttians, Apulians, and Lucanians; if upon the pomp of the procession, there was gold, purple, statues, pictures, and all the ornaments of Tarentum. The people of Rome, however, beheld nothing with greater pleasure than those beasts which they had dreaded, with their towers on their backs; which, not without a sense of their own capitivity, followed the victorious horses with their heads bowed to the earth.
Chapter XIX: The Picenian War
Soon after all Italy enjoyed peace, (for who would venture on war after the subjugation of Tarentum?) except that the Romans thought proper, of their own accord, to pursue those who had joined the enemy. The people of Picenum were in consequence subdued, with Asculum, their metropolis, under the conduct of Sempronius; who, as there was a tremor of the earth during the battle, appeased the goddess Earth by vowing a temple to her.
Chapter XX: The Sallentine War
The Sallentines shared the fate of the people of Picenum; and Brundusium, the chief city of the country, with its famous harbour, was taken by Marcus Atilius. In this contest Pales, the goddess of shepherds, demanded, of her own accord, a temple as the price of the victory.
Chapter XXI: The War With The Volsini
The last of the Italians that fell under the government of the Romans were the Volsini, the richest of all the Etrurians, who sought aid against rebels that had formerly been their slaves, and that had turned their liberty, granted them by their masters, against their masters themselves, taking the government into their own hands, and making themselves tyrants. But these were chastised for their presumption under the leadership of Fabius Gurges.
Chapter XXII: Of Seditions
This is the second age of the Roman people, and, as it were, its youth; in which it was extremely vigorous, and grew warm and fervid in the flower of its strength. Thus a certain rudeness, derived from the shepherds, their ancestors, which still remained in them, betrayed something of an untamed spirit. Hence it happened that the army, having mutinied in the camp, stoned their general, Posthumius, for withholding the spoil which he had promised them; that under Appius Claudius they refused to conquer the enemy when they had the power; that on occasion of the soldiers, with Volero at their head, declining to serve, the fasces of the consul were broken; and that the people punished their most eminent leaders with exile, when they opposed their will: as Coriolanus, for desiring them to till their grounds, (nor would he have less severely revenged his wrongs in war, had not his mother Veturia, when we was leading on his forces, disarmed him with her tears,) and Camillus, because he seemed to have divided the plunder of Veii unfairly between the common people and the army. But the latter, with better fortune than Coriolanus, grew old in the city which he had taken, and afterwards avenged his countrymen, at their entreaty, on their enemies the Gauls.
Chapter XXIII: The Subject Continued
The first disagreement was occasioned by the tyranny of the money-lenders, who vented their resentment even on the backs of their debtors, scourging them as if they were slaves; and the commons, in consequence, withdrew under arms to the Sacred Mount, from which they were with difficulty recalled by the authority of Menenius Agrippa, an eloquent and wise man; nor would they have returned at all if they had not obtained tribunes for themselves. The fable of his, in the old style, so powerfully persuasive to concord, is still extant, in which he said that “the members of the human body were once at variance among themselves, alleging, that while all the rest discharged their duties, the stomach alone continued without occupation; but that at length, when ready to die, they returned from their disagreement to a right understanding, as they found that they were nourished by the food that was by the stomach reduced to blood.”
Chapter XXIV: The Subject Continued
The licentiousness of the Decemvirate gave rise to the second disagreement, which occurred in the middle of the city. Ten eminent men of the city, chosen for the purpose, had, by order of the people, drawn up in a body certain laws which had been brought from Greece, and the whole course of the administration of justice had been arranged in twelve tables; but, though the object of their office was accomplished, they still retained the fasces that had been delivered to them, with a spirit like that of kings. Appius Claudius, above all the rest, advanced to such a degree of audacity, that he destined for dishonour a free-born virgin, forgetting both Lucretia, and the kings, and the laws which he himself had written. When her father Virginius, therefore, saw his daughter unjustly sentenced, and dragged away to slavery, he slew her, without any hesitation, in the midst of the forum, with his own hand; and, bringing up the troops of his fellow-soldiers, he dragged the whole band of tyrants, beset with an armed force, from the Aventine Mount to imprisonment and chains.
Chapter XXV: The Subject Continued
The question of the propriety of intermarriages raised a third sedition, it being demanded that plebeians be allowed to intermarry with patricians. The tumult broke out on Mount Janiculum, Canuleius, a tribune of the people, being the leader in it.
Chapter XXVI: The Subject Continued
An ambition for public honours occasioned a fourth sedition, from a demand being made that plebeians should be admitted to magistracies. Fabius Ambustus, the father of two daughters, had married one to Sulpicius, a man of patrician family, and the other to Stolo, a plebeian. The latter, on some occasion, being rather scornfully laughed at by her sister, because she had been startled at the sound of the lictor’s staff, (which was unknown in her family,) could not endure the affront. Her husband, in consequence, having gained the tribuneship, obtained from the senate, though much against their will, a share in public honours and offices for the plebeians.
But in these very seditions, you may not properly admire the conduct of this great people; for at one time they supported liberty, at another chastity, at another the respectability of their birth, at another their right to marks and distinctions of honour; and mong all these proceedings, they were vigilant guardians of nothing more than of liberty, and could by no bribery be corrupted to make sale of it; though there arose from time to time, as was natural among a people already great, and growing daily greater, citizens of very pernicious intentions. Spurius Cassius, suspected of aiming at kingly power by the aid of the agrarian law, and Maelius, suspected of a similar design, from his excessive largesses to the people, they punished with instant death. On Spurius, indeed, his own father inflicted the punishment. Ahala, the master of the horse, killed Maeliis in the middle of the forum, by order of Quinctius the dictator. Manlius, also, the defender of the Capitol, when he behaved himself too arrogantly, and unsuitably to the rank of a citizen, presuming on having liberated most of the debtors, they precipitated from that very citadel which he had preserved. In this manner, at home and abroad, in peace and war, did the Roman people pass the period of adolescence, that is to say, the second age of their empire, in which they subdued with their arms all Italy between the Alps and the sea.
Chapter I: Introductory
After Italy was conquered and subjugated, the Roman people, now approaching its five-hudredth year, and being fairly arrived at maturity, was then truly robust and manly, (if robustness and manhood may be attributed to a nation,) and had begun to be a match for the whole world. Accordingly (wonderful and scarcely credible to relate!) that people who had struggled with their neighbours at home for nearly five hundred years, (so difficult was it to give Italy a head,) overran, in the two hundred years that follow, Africa, Europe, Asia, and indeed the whole world, with their wars and victories.
Chapter II: The First Punic War
The victor-people of Italy, having now spread over the land as far as the seam checked its course for a little, like a fire, which, having consumed the woods lying in its track, is stopped by some intervening river. But soon after, seeing at no great distance a rich prey, which seemed in a manner detached and torn away from their own Italy, they were so inflamed with a desire to possess it, that since it could neither be joined to their country by a mole or bridge, they resolved that it should be secured by arms and war, and reunited, as it were, to their continent. And behold! as if the Fates themselves opened a way for them, an opportunity was not wanting, for Messana, a city of Sicily in alliance with them, happened to make a complaint concerning the tyranny of the Carthaginians.
As the Romans coveted Sicily, so likewise did the people of Carthage; and both at the same time, with equal desires and equal forces, contemplated the attainment of the empire of the world. Under the pretext, therefore, of assisting their allies, but in reality being allured by the prey, that rude people, that people sprung from shepherds, and merely accustomed to the land, mad eit appear, though the strangeness of the attempt startled them, (yet such confidence is there in true courage,) that to the brave it is indifferent whether a battle be fought on horseback or in ships, by land or by sea.
It was in the consulship of Appius Claudius that they first ventured upon the strait which has so ill a name from the strange things related of it, and so impetuous a current. But they were so far from being affrighted, that they regarded the violence of the rushing tide as something in their favour, and, sailing forward immediately and without delay, they defeated Hiero, king of Syracuse, with so much rapidity, that he owned he was conquered before he saw the enemy. In the consulship of Duilius and Cornelius, they likewise had courage to engage at sea, and then the expedition used in equipping the fleet was a presage of victory; for within sixty days after the timber was felled, a navy of a hundred and sixty ships lay at anchor; so that the vessels did not seem to have been made by art, but the trees themselves appeared to have been turned into ships by the aid of the gods. The aspect of the battle, too, was wonderful; as the heavy and slow ships of the Romans closed with the swift and nimble barks of the enemy. Little availed their naval arts, such as breaking off the oars of a ship, and eluding the beaks of the enemy by turning aside; for the grappling-irons, and other instruments, which, before the engagement, had been greatly derided by the enemy, were fastened upon their ships, and they were compelled to fight as on solid ground. Being victorious, therefore, at Liparae, by sinking and scattering the enemy’s fleet, they celebrated their first naval triumph. And how great was the exultation at it! Duilius, the commander, not content with one day’s triumph, ordered, during all the rest of his life, when he returned from supper, lighted torches to be carried, and flutes to play, before him, as if he would triumph every day. The loss in this battle was trifling, in comparison with the greatness of the victory; though the other consul, Cornelius Asina, ws cut off, being invited by the enemy to a pretended conference, and put to death; and instance of Carthaginian perfidy.
Under the dictatorship of Calatinus, the Romans expelled almost all the garrisons of the Cathaginians from Agrigentum, Drepanum, Panormus, Eryx, and Lilybaeum. Some alarm was experienced at the forest of Camarina, but we were rescued by the extraordinary valour of Calpurnius Flamma, a tribune of the soldiers, who, with a choice troop of three hundred men, seized upon an eminence occipied by the enemy to our annoyance, and so kept them in play till the whole army escaped; thus, by eminent success, equalling the fame of Thermopylae and Leonidas, though our hero was indeed more illustrious, inasmuch as he escaped and outlived so great an effort, notwithstanding he wrote nothing with his blood.
In the consulship of Lucius Cornelius Scipio, when Sicily was become as a suburban province of the Roman people, and the war was spreading further, they crossed over into Sardinia, and into Corsica, which lies near it. In the latter they terrified the natives by the destruction of the city of Olbia, in the former by that of Aleria; and so effectually humbled the Carthaginians, both by land and sea, that nothing remained to be conquered but Africa itself. Accordingly, under the leadership of Marcus Attilius Regulus, the war passed over into Africa. Nor were there wanting some on the occasion, who mutinied at the mere name and dread of the Punic sea, a tribune named Mannius increasing their alarm; but the general, threatening him with the axe if he did not obey, produced courage for the voyage by the terror of death. They then hastened their course by the aid of winds and oars, and such was the terror of the Africans at the approach of the enemy, that Carthage was almost surprised with its gates open.
The first prize taken in the war was the city of Clypea, which juts out from the Carthaginian shore as a fortress or watch-tower. Both thjis, and more than three hundred fortresses besides, werew destroyed. Nor had the Romans to contend only with men, but with mosters also; for a serpent of vast size, born, as it were, to avenge Africa, harassed their camp on the Bagrada. But Regulus, who overcame all obstacles, having spread the terror of his name far and wide, having killed or taken prisoners a great number of the enemy’s force, and their captains themselves, and having despatched his fleet, laden with much spoil, and stored with materials for a triumph, to Rome, proceeded to besiege Carthage itself, the origin of the war, and took his position close to the gates of it. Here fortune was a little changed; but it was only that more proofs of Roman fortitude might be given, the greatness of which was generally best shown in calamities. For the enemy applying for foreign assistance, and Lacedaemon having sent them Xanthippus as a general, we were defeated by a captain so eminently skilled in military affairs. It was then that by an ignominious defeat, such as the Romans had never before experienced, their most valiant commander fell alove into the enemy’s hands. But he was a man able to endure so great a calamity; as he was neither humbled by his imprisonment at Carthage, nor by the deputation which he headed to Rome; for he advised what was contrary to the injunctions of the enemy, and recommended that no peace should be made, and no exchange of prisoners admitted. Even by his voluntary return to his enemies, and by his last sufferings, whether in prison or on the cross, the dignity of the man was not at all obscured. But being rendered, by all these occurences, even more worthy of admiration, what can be said of him but that, though Carthage had not submitted, he triumphed over Fortune herself?
The Roman people were now much keener and more ardent to revenge the fate of Regulus than to obtain victory. Under the consul Metellus, therefore, when the Carthaginians were growing insolent, and when the war had returned into Sicily, they gave the enemy such a defeat at Panormus, that they thought no more of that island. A proof of the greatness of this victory was the capture of about a hundred elephants, a vast prey, even if they had taken that number, not in war, but in hunting. Under the consulship of Appius Claudius, they were overcome, not by the enemy, but by the gods themselves, whose auspices they had despised, their fleet being sunk in that very place where the consul had ordered the chickens to be thrown overboard, because he was warned by them not to fight. Under the consulship of Marcus Fabius Buteo, they overthrew, near Aegimurus, in the African sea, a fleet of the enemy which was just sailing for Italy. But O how great materials for triumph were then lost by a storm, when the Roman fleet, richly laden with spoil, and driven by contrary winds, covered with its wreck the coasts of Africa and Syrtes, and of all the islands lying amid those seas! A great calamity! But not without some honour to this eminent people, from the circumstances that their victory was intercepted only by a storm, and that the matter for their triumph was lost only by shipwreck. Yet, though the Punic spoils were scattered abroad, and thrown up by the waves on every promontory and island, the Romans still celebrated a triumph. In the consulship of Lutatius Catulus, an end was at last put to the war near the islands named Aegates. Nor was there any greater flight during this war; for the fleet of the enemy was laden with provisions, troops, towers, and arms; indeed, all Carthage, as it were, was in it; a state of things which proved its destruction, as the Roman fleet, on the contrary, being active, light, free from incumbrance, and in some degree resembling a land-camp, was wheeled about by its oars like cavalry in a battle by their reins; and the beaks of the vessels, directed now against one part of the enemy and now against another, presented the appearance of living creatures. In a very short time, accordingly, the ships of the enemy were shattered to pieces, and filled the whole sea between Sicily and Sardinia with their wrecks. So great, indeed, was the victory, that there was no thought of demolishing the enemy’s city; since it seemed superfluous to pour their fury on towers and walls, when Carthage had already been destroyed at sea.
Chapter III: The Ligurian War
After the Carthaginian war was ended, there followed a time of repose indeed, but short, and as it were only to take breath. As a proof of peace, and of a real cessation from arms, the Temple of Janus was then shut for the first time since the reign of Numa. But it was immediately and without delay opened again. For the Ligurians, and the Insubrian Gauls, as well as the Illyrians, began to be troublesome. Indeed, the two former nations, situate at the foot of the Alps, that is, at the very entrance to Italy, stirred up, apparently, by some deity, lest the Roman arms should contract rust and mould, and at length becoming, as it were, our daily and domestic enemies, continued to exercise the young soldiery in the business of war; and the Romas whetted the sword of their valour on each of those nations as upon a whetstone. The Ligurians, lying close to the bottom of the Alps, between the rivers Varus and Macra, and shrouded in woody thickets, it was more trouble to find than to conquer. Defended by their position and facilities of escape, and being a hardy and nimble race, they rather committed depradations as occasion offered, than made regular war. After all their tribes, therefore, the Salyi, the Deceates, the Oxybii, the Euburiates, and the Ingauri, had baffled the Romans for a long time with success, Fulvius at length surrounded their recesses with flames, Baebius drew them down into the plains, and Posthumius so disarmed them that he scarcely left them iron to till the ground.
Chapter IV: The Gallic War
The Galli Insubres, who were also borderers upon the Alps, had the tempers of savage beasts, and bodies greater than human. But by experience, it was found that, as their first onset was more violent than that of men, so their subsequent conduct in battle was inferior to that of women. The bodies of the people about the Alps, reared in a moist atmosphere, have somewhat in them resembling their snows, and, as soon as they are heated in fight, run down with perspiration, and are relaxed with any slight motion, as it were by the heat of the sun. These had often at other times sworn, but especially under their general Britomarus, that they would not loose their belts before they mounted the Capitol. And it happened accordingly; for Aemilius conquered and disarmed them in the Capitol. Soon after, with Ariovistus for their leader, they vowed to their god Mars a chain made out of the spoil of our soldiers. But Jupiter prevented the performance of their vow; for Flaminius erected a golden trophy to Jove out of their chains. When Viridomarus was their king, they vowed the arms of the Romans to Vulcan; but their vows had a very different result; for Marcellus, having killed their king, hung up his arms to Jupiter Feretrius, being the third spolia opima since those of Romulus, the father of the city.
The Illyrians, or Liburnians, live at the very root of the Alps, between the rivers Arsia and Titius, extending far over the whole coast of the Adriatic. This people, in the reign of a queen named Teutana, not content with depredations on the Roman territory, added an execrable crime to their audacity. For they beheaded our ambassadors, who were calling them to account for their offences; and this death they inflicted, not with the sword, but, as if they had been victims for sacrifice, with the axe; thy also burnt the captains of our ships with fire. These insults were offere, to make them the more offensive, by a woman. The people were in consequence universally reduced to subjection, by the efforts of Cnaeus Fluvius Centimalus; and the axe, descending on the necks of their chiefs, made full atonement to the manes of the ambassadors.
Chapter VI: The Second Punic War
After the first Carthaginian war, there was scarcely a rest of four years, when there was another war; inferior indeed in length of time, (for it occupied but eighteen years,) but so much more terrible, from the direfulness of its havoc, that if any one compares the losses on both sides, the people that conquered was more like one defeated. What provoked this noble people was, that the command of the sea was forced from them, that their islands were taken, and that they were obliged to pay tribute which they had before been accustomed to impose. Hannibal, when but a boy, swore to his father, before an altar, to take revenge on the Romans, nor was he backward to execute his oath. Saguntum, accordingly, was made the occasion of a war; an old and wealthy city of Spain, and a great but sad example of fidelity to the Romans. This city, though granted, by the common treaty, the special privilege of enjoying its liberty, Hannibal, seeking pretences for new disturbances, destroyed with his own hands and those of its inhabitants, in order that, by an infraction of the compact, he might open a passage for himself into Italy.
Among the Romans there is the highest regard to treaties, and consequently, on hearing of the siege of an allied city, and remembering, too, the compact made with the Carthginians, they did not at once have recourse to arms, but chose rather to expostulate on legal grounds. In the mean time the Sagintines, exhausted with famine, the assaults of machines, and the sword, and their fidelity being at last carried to desperation, raised a vast pile in the market-place, on which they destroyed, with fire and sword, themselves, their wives and children, and all that they possessed. Hannibal, the cause of this great destruction, was required to be given up. The Carthaginians hesitating to comply, Fabius, who was at the head of the embassy, excalimed, “What is the meaning of this delay? In the fold of this garment I carry war and peace; which of the two do you choose?” As they cried out “War,” “Take war, then,” he rejoined, and, shaking out the fore-part of his toga in the middle of the senate-house, as if he really carried war in its folds, he spread it abroad, not without awe on the part of the spectators.
The sequel of the war was in conformity with its commencement; for, as if the last imprecations of the Saguntines, at their public self-immolation and burning of the city, had required such obsequies to be performed to them, atonement was made to their manes by the devastation of Italy, the reduction of Africa, and the destruction of the leaders and kings who engaged in that contest. When once, therefore, that sad and dismal force and storm of the Punic war had arisen in Spain, and had forged, in the fire of Saguntum, the thunderbolt long before intended for the Romans, it immediately burst, as if hurried along by resistless violence, through the middle of the Alps, and descended, from those snows of incredible altitude, on the plains of Italy, as if it had been hurled from the skies. The violence of its first assault burst, with a mighty sound, between the Po and the Ticinus. There the army under Scipio was routed; and te general himself, being wounded, would have fallen into the hands of the enemy, had not his son, then quite a boy, covered his father with a shield, and rescued him from death. This was the Scipio who grew up for the conquest of Africa, who was to receive a name from its ill-fortune.
To Ticinus succeeded Trebia, where, in the consulship of Sempronius, the second outburst of the Punic war was spent. On that occasion, the crafty enemy, having chosen a cold and snowy day, and having first warmed themselves at their fires, and anointed their bodies with oil, conquered us, though they were men that came from the south and a warm sun, by the aid (strange to say!) of our own winter.
The third thunderbolt fell at the Trasimene lake, when Flaminius was a commander. There also was employed a new stratagem of Carthaginian subtlety; for a body of cavalry, being concealed by a mist rising from the lake, and by the osiers growing in the fens, fell upon the rear of the Romans as they were fighting. Nor can we complain of the gods; for swarms of bees settling upon the standards, the reluctance of the eagles to move forward, and a great earthquake that happened at the commencement of the battle, (unless, indded, it was the trampling of horse and foot, and the violent concussion of arms, that produced this trembling of the ground,) had forewarned the rash leader of approaching defeat.
The fourth, and almost mortal wound of the Roman empire, was at Cannae, an obscure village of Apulia; which, however, became famous by the greatness of the defeat, its celebrity being acquired by the slaughter of forty thousand men. Here the general, the ground, the face of heaven, the day, indeed all nature, conspired togather for the destruction of the unfortunate army. For Hannibal, the most artful of generals, not content with sending pretended deserters among the Romans, who fell upon their rear as they were fighting, but having also noted the nature of the ground in those open plains, where the heat of the sun is extremely violent, the dust is very great, and the wind blows contantly, as as it were statedly, from the east, drew up his army in such a position, that, while the Romans were exposed to all these inconveniences, he himself, having heaven, as it were, on his side, fought with wind, dust, and sun in his favour. Two vast armies, in consequence, were slaughtered till the enemy were satiated, and till Hannibal said to his soldiers, “Put up your swords.” Of the two commanders, one escaped, the other was slain; which of them showed the greater spirit, is doubtful. Paulus was ashamed to survive; Varro did not despair. Of the greatness of the slaughter the follwing proofs may be noticed; that the Aufidus was for some time red with blood; that a bridge was made of dead bodies, by order of Hannibal, over the torrent of Vergellus; and that two modii of rings were sent to Carthage, and the equestrian dignity estimated by measure.
It was afterwards not doubted, but that Rome might have seen its last day, and that Hannibal, within five days, might have feasted in the Capitol, if (as they say that Adherbal, the Carthaginian, the son of Bomilcar, observed,) “he had nown as well how to use his victory as how to gain it.” But at that crisis, as is generally said, either the fate of the city that was to be empress of the world, or his own want of judgment, and the influence of deities unfavourable to Carthage, carried him in a different direction. When he might have taken advantage of his victory, he chose rather to seek enjoyment from it, and, leaving Rome, to march into Campania and to Tarentum, where both he and his army soon lost their vigour, so that it was justly remarked that “Capua proved a Cannae to Hannibal;” since the sunshine of Campania, and the warm springs of Baiae, subdued (who could have believed it?) him who had been unconquered by the Alps, and unshaken in the field. In thge mean time the Romans began to recover, and to rise as it were from the dead. They had no arms, but they took them down from the temples; men were wanting, but slaves were freed to take the oath of service; the treasury was exhausted, but the senate willingly offered their wealth for the public service, leaving themselves no gold but what was contained in their children’s bullae, and in their own belts and rings. The knights followed their example, and the common people that of the knights; so that when the wealth of private persons was brought to the public treasury, (in the consulship of Laevinius and Marcellus,) the registers scarcely sufficed to contain the account of it, or the hands of clerks to record it.
But how can I sufficiently praise the wisdom of the centuries in the choice of magistrates, when the younger sought advice from the elder as to what consuls should be created? They saw that against an emeny so often victorious, and so full of subtlety, it was necessary to contend, not only with courage, but with his own wiles. The first hope of the empire, now recovering, and, if I may use the expression, coming to life again, was Fabius, who found a new mode of conquering Hannibal, which was, not to fight. Hence he received that new name, so salutary to the commonwealth, of Cunctator, or Delayer. Hence too it happened, that he was called by the people the shield of the empire. Through the forests of Samnium, and through the Falerian and Gauran forests, he so harassed Hannibal, that he who could not be reduced by valour, was weakened by delay. The Romans then ventured, under the command of Claudius Marcellus, to engage him; they came to close quarters with him, drove him out of his dear Campania, and forced him to raise the siege of Nola. They ventured likewise, under the leadership of Sempronius Gracchus, to pursue him through Lucania, and to press hard upon his rear as he retired; though they thenm fought him (sad dishonour!) with a body of slaves; for to this extremity had so many disasters reduced them; but they were rewarded with liberty; and from slaves they made them Romans.
O amazing confidence in the midst of so much adversity! O extraordinary courage and spirit of the Roman people in such oppressive and distressing circumstances! At a time when they were uncertain of preserving their own Italy, they yet ventured to look at other countries; and when the enemy were at their throat, flying through Campania and Apulia, and making an Africa in the middle of Italy, they at the same time both withstood that enemy, and dispersed their arms over the earth into Sicily, Sardinia, and Spain.
Sicily was assigned to Marcellus, and di not long resist his efforts; for the whole island was conquered in the conquest of one city. Syracuse, its great and, till that period, unconquered capital, though defended by the genius of Archimedes, was at last obliged to yield. Its triple wall, and three citadels, its marble harbour, and the celebrated fountain of Arethusa, were no defence to it, except so far as to procure consideration for its beauty when it was conquered.
Sardinia Gracchus reduced; the savageness of the inhabitants, and the vastness of its Mad Mountains, (for so they are called,) availed it nothing. Great severity was exercised upon its cities, and upon Caralis, the city of its cities, that a nation, obstinate and regardless of death, might at least be humbled by concern for the soil of its country.
Into Spain were sent the two Scipios, Cnaeus and Publius, who wrested almost the whole of it from the Carthaginians; but, being surprised by the artifices of Punic subtlety, they again lost it, even after they had slaughtered the enemy’s forces in great battles. The wiles of the Carthaginians cut off one of them by the sword, as he was pitching his camp, and the other by surrounding him with lighted faggots, after he had made his escape into a tower. But the other Scipio, to whom the fates had decreed so great a name from Africa, being sent with an army to revenge the death of his father and uncle, recovered all that warlike country of Spain, so famous for its men and arms, that seminary of the enemy’s force, that instructress of Hannibal, from the Pyrenaean mountains (the account is scarcely credible) to the Pillars of Hercules and the Ocean, whether with greater speed or good fortune, is difficult to decide; how great was his speed, four years bear witness; how remarkable his good fortune, even one city proves, for it was taken on the same day in which siege was laid to it, and it was an omen of the conquest of Africa that Carthage in Spain was so easily reduced. It is certain, however, that what most contributed to make the province submit, was the eminent virtue of the general, who restored to the barbarians certain captive youths and maidens of extraordinary beauty, not allowing them even to be brought into his sight, tnat he might not seem, even by a single glance, to have detracted from their virgin purity.
These actions the Romans performed in different parts of the world, yet were they unable, notwithstanding, to remove Hannibal, who was lodged in the heart of Italy. Most of the towns had revolted to the enemy, whose vigorous commander used even the strength of Italy against the Romans. However, we had now forced him out of many towns and districts. Tarentum had returned to our side; and Capua, the seat, home, and second country of Hannibal, was again in our hands; the loss of which caused the Punic leader so much affliction, that he then directed all his force against Rome.
O people worthy of the empire of the world, worthy of the favour and admiration of all, not only men but gods! Though they were brought into the greatest alarm, they desisted not from their original design; though they were concerned for their own city, they did not abandon their attempts on Capua; but, as part of their army being left there with the consul Appius, and part having followed Flaccus to Rome, they fought both at home and abroad at the same time. Why then should we wonder that the gods themselves, the gods, I say, (nor shall I be ashamed to admit it,) again opposed Hannibal as he was preparing to march forward when at three miles’ distance from Rome. For, at every movement of his force, so copious a flood of rain descended, and such a violent storm of wind arose, that it was evident the enemy was repulsed by divine influence, and the tempest proceeded, not from heaven, but from the walls of the city and the Capitol. He therefore fled and departed, and withdrew to the furthest corner of Italy, leaving the city in a manner adored. It is but a small matter to mention, yet sufficiently indicative of the magnanimity of the Roman people, that during those very days in which the city was besieged, the ground which Hannibal occupied with his camp was offered for sale at Rome, and, being put up to auction, actually found a purchaser. Hannibal, on the other side, wished to imitate such confidence, and put up for sale the bankers’ houses in the city; but no buyer was found; so that it was evident that the fates had their presages.
But as yet nothing had been effectually accomplished by so much valour, or even through such eminent favour from the gods; for Hasdrubal, the brother of Hannibal, was approaching with a new army, new strength, and every fresh requisite for war. There had doubtless been an end of Rome, if that general had united himself with his brother; but Claudius Nero, in conjuntion with Livius Salinator, overthrew him as he was pitching his camp. Nero was at that time keeping Hannibal at bay in the furthest corner of Italy; while Livius had marched to the very opposite quarter, that is, to the very entrance and confines of Italy; and of the ability and expedition with which the consuls joined their forces, (though so vast a space, that is, the whole of Italy where it is longest, lay between them,) and defeated the enemy with their combined strength, when they expected no attack, and without the knowledge of Hannibal, it is difficult to give a notion. When Hannibal, however, had knowledge of the matter, and saw his brother’s head thrown down before the camp, he exclaimed, “I perceive the evil destiny of Cathage.” This was his first confession of that kind, not without a sure presage of his approaching fate; and it was now certain, even from his own acknowledgement, that Hannibal might be conquered. But the Roman people, full of confidence from so many successes, thought it would be a noble enterprise to subdue such a desparate enemy in his own Africa. Directing their whole force, therefore, under the leadership of Scipio, unpon Africa itself, they began to imitate Hannibal, and to avenge upon Africa, the sufferings of their own Italy. What forces of Hasdrubal, (good gods!) what armies of Syphax, did that commander put to flight! How great were the camps of both that he destroyed in one night by casting firebrands into them! At last, not at three miles’ distance, but by a close siege, he shook the very gates of Carthage itself. And thus he succeeded in drawing off Hannibal when he was still clinging to and brooding over Italy. There was no more remarkable day, during the whole course of the Roman empire, than that on which those two generals, the greatest of all that ever lived, whether before or after them, the one the conqueror of Italy, and the other of Spain, drew up their forces for a close engagement. But previously a conference was held between them concerning conditions of peace. They stood motionless awhile in admiration of each other. When they could not agree on a peace, they gave the signal for battle. It is certain, from the confession of both, that no troops could have been better drawn up, and no fight more obstinately maintained. This Hannibal acknowledged concerning the army of Scipio and Scipio concerning that of Hannibal. But Hannibal was forced to yield, and Africa became the prize of the victory; and the whole earth soon followed the fate of Africa.
Chapter VII: The First Macedonian War
When Carthage was overcome, no nation was ashamed of being conquered. The people of Macedonia, Greece, Syria, and all other countries, as if carried away by a certain tide and torrent of fortune, immediately shared the destiny of Africa. But the first of all were the Macedonians, a people that had formerly aspired to the dominion of the world. Though Philip, therefore, was then king, the Romans seemed nevertheless to be fighting against king Alexander. The Macedonian war was greater from its name than from any regard due to the nation itself. It had its origin from a treaty of Philip, by which he had joined to himself Hannibal when he was previously triumphant in Italy. Further cause was then given for it, by an application from Athens for relief against the injuries against the king, at a time when, beyond the just rights of victory, he was wreaking his fury against their temples, altars, and the sepulchres of the dead. To petitioners of such consideration the senate thought it right to give assistance; for kings, commanders, peoples, and nations, were now seeking protection from this one city. Under the consul Laevinius, therefore, the Roman people, having entered the Ionian Sea for the first time, coasted along the whole of Greece with their fleet, as if in triumph; for it carried all the spoils of Sicily, Sardinia, Spain, and Africa; and a laurel that grew up in the general’s ship, promised certain victory. Attalus, king of Pergamus, came of his own accord to their assistance; the Rhodians, too, came, who were a naval people, and who struck terror into all parts by sea with their ships, while the consul did the same on land with his horse and foot. The king was twice defeated, twice put to flight, and twice despoiled of his camp; but nothing was more terrible to the Macedonians than the sight of their wounds, which were not inflicted with darts, arrows, or any Grecian weapon, but with huge jevelins, and swords of no less weight, and gaped beyond what was necessary for producing death.
Under the conduct of Flaminius, too, we penetrated the mountains of the Chaonians, which were before impassable, and the river Aous, flowing through steep places which form the very barriers of Macedonia. To have effected an entrance, was victory; for the king, never afterwards venturing into the field, was forced to submission in one engagement, which was far indeed from being a regular battle, at the hills which they call Cynoscephalae. But the consul granted him peace, and restored him his kingdom; and afterwards; and afterwards, that no enemy might be left behind, reduced Thebes, Euboea, and Laceaemon, which was making some attempts at opposition under its tyrant Nabis. To Greece he then restored its ancient condition, allowed it to live according to its own laws, and to enjoy its ancient liberty. What rejoicings, what shouts of pleasure, were heard, when this was proclaimed by the herald and the quinquennial games, in the theatre at Nemea! What an emulation of applause was there! what flowers did they heap on the consul! They called on the herald to repeat the proclamation, in whicn the liberty of Achaia was declared, again and again; nor did they enjoy the declaration of the consul less than the most harmonious concert of flutes and harps.
Chapter VIII: The Syrian War Against King Antiochus
Antiochus immediately followed the fate of Macedonia and king Philip; fortune, by a certain influence, and as if by design, directing affairs in such a manner, that as the empire had advanced from Europe into Africa, and that the order of its victories might keep its course accourding to the situation of the quarters of the world. As far as the report of it was concerned, there never was any war more formidable, when the Romans reflected upon the Persians and the east, upon Xerxes and Darius, and the times when impassable mountains are said to have been cut through, and the sea to have been hidden with sails. An apparent menace from heaven also alarmed them, for Apollo, at Cumae, was in a constant perspiration; but this was only the fear of the god, under concern for his beloved Asia.
To say the truth, no country is better furnished with men, money, and arms than Syria; but it had fallen into the hands of so spiritless a monarch, that the highest praise of Antiochus was that he was conquered by the Romans. There were two persons who impelled the king to war; on the one hand Thoas, prince of Aetolia, who complained that his service in the war against Macedonia had not been sufficiently rewarded by the Romans; on the other, Hannibal, who, conquered in Africa, exiled from his country, and impatient of peace, was seeking through the whole world for an enemy to the Roman people. And how great would the danger have been to Rome, if the king had been guided by his directions, that is, if the desperate Hannibal had wielded the whole power of Asia! But the king, trusting to his resources, and to the mere title of monarch, thought it enough to begin the war. Europe, without dispute, was now the peoperty of the Romans; but Antiochus demanded from them Lysimachia, a city founded by his ancestors on the coast of Thrace, as if it were his by hereditary right. By the influence of this star, so to speak, the tempest of the Asiatic war was raised. But this greatest of kings, content with having declared war, and having marched out of Asia with a great noise and tumult, and taken possession of the islands and coasts of Greece, thought of nothing but ease and luxury, as if he were already a conqueror.
The Euripus divides from the continent, the island of Euboea, which is close to it, by a narrow strait, the waters of which are continually ebbing and flowing. Here Antiochus, having erected tents of cloth of gold and silk, close to the murmuring noise of the stream, while the music of flutes and stringed instruments mingled with the sound of the waters, and having collected roses, though it was winter, from all quarters, formed levies, that he might seem in every way a general, of damsels and youths. Such a king, already vanquished by his own luxury, the Roman people, under the command of the consul Acilius Glabrio, having approached while he was still on the island, compelled him to flee from it by the very news of their coming. Having then overtaken him, as he was fleeing with precipitation, at Thermopylae, a place memorable for the glorious death of the three hundred Spartans, they obliged him (not having confidence in the ground so as to make resistance even there) to flee before them by sea and land. Without the least delay they proceeded straight into Syria. The king’s fleet was committed to Polyxenides and Hannibal, for Antiochus himself could not endure to look on the figt; and it was wholly destroyed by the Roman general, Aemilius Regillus, the Rhodians lending him their assistance. Let not Athens plume itself on its victories; in Antiochus we conquered a Xerxes; in Aemilius we equalled Themistocles; in our triumph at Ephesus we matched that at Salamis.
The Romans then determined on the entire subjugation of Antiochus under the generalship of the consul Scipio, whom his brother Africanus, recently conqueror of Carthage, voluntarily accompanied in the character of lieutenant-general. The king had given up the whole of the sea; but we proceeded beyond it. Our camp was pitched by the river Maeander and Mount Sypilus. Here the king had taken his position, with so many auxiliary and other forces as is quite incredible. There were three hundred thousand foot, and no less a number, in proportion, of cavalry and chariots armed with scythes. He had also defended his army, on either side, with elephants of vast size, making a gay appearance with gold, purple, silver, and their own ivory. But all this mighty force was embarrassed by its own vastness, as well as by a shower of rain, which, pouring down on a sudden, with wonderful luck for us, spoiled the Persian bows. There was at first consternation, next flight, and then a triumph. To Antiochus, vanquished and suppliant, it was resolved to grant peace and a portion of his kingdom; and this the more readily, because he had so easily yielded.
Chapter IX: The Aetolian War
To the Syrian war succeeded, as was to be expected, that of Aetolia; for after Antiochus was conquered, the Romans pursued the incendiaries of the Asiatic war. The charge of taking vengeance on them was committed to Fulvius Nobilior, who immediately, with his engines of war, assaulted Ambracia, the metropolis of the nation, and sometime the royal residence of Pyrrhus. A surrender followed. The Athenians and Rhodians supported the intreaties of the Aetolians for mercy; and, as we remembered the aid which they had given us, we resolved to pardon them. But the war spread widely amongst their neighbours, and through all Cephallenia and Zacynthus; and whatever islands lie in that sea between the Ceraunian mountains and the promontory of Malea, became a portion of our conquests in that war.
Chapter X: The Istrian War
The Istrians shared the fortune of the Aetolians, whom they had recently assisted in their warlike efforts. The commencement of the enemy’s military operations was successful, but that very success was the cause of their overthrow. For after they had taken the camp of Cnaeus Manlius, and were devoting themselves to the enjoyment of a rich spoil, Appius Pulcher attacked them as they were mostly feasting and revelling, and not knowing, from the influence of their cups, where they were. Thus they yielded up their ill-gotten prey with their blood and breath. Apulo, their king, being set on horseback, because he was constantly stumbling from intoxication and lightness of head, could scarcely be made sensible, after he came to himself, that he was a prisoner.
Chapter XI: The Gallo-grecian War
The disaster of the Syrian war involved in it also the Gallo-Grecians. Whether they had really been among the auxiliaries of king Antiochus, or whether Manlius, too desirous of a triumph, merely pretended that they were, is doubtful. But it is certain that, though he was successful, a triumph was denied him, because the senate did not approve of his reasons for the war.
The nation of the Gallo-Grecians, as the name itself indicates, mere mixed and adulterated relics of the Gauls who had devastated Greece under Brennus, and who afterwards, marching eastwards, settled in the interior of Asia. But as the seens of fruits degenerate when their soil is changed, so the native savageness of those settlers was softened by the gentle air of Asia. In two battles, therefore, they were routed and dispersed, although they had left their abodes at enemy’s approach, and retreated to certain lofty mountains which the Tolostobogi and Testosagi then occupied. Both these tribes, being harassed with slings and arrows, surrendered themselves, promising to observe uninterrupted peace. But those that had been captured excited our wonder by attempting to bite their chains with their teeth, and offering their throats one to another to be strangled. The wife of king Orgiagon, having suffered violence at the hands of a centurion, made her escape, by a remarkable effort, from her guards, and brought the soldier’s head, which she had cut off, to her husband.
Chapter XII: The Second Macedonian War
While nation after nation fell in the ruin of the Syrian war, Macedonia again roused herself. The recollection and consideration of their former eminence excited that brave people to action. To Philip had succeeded his on Perses, who thought it unbecoming the dignity of the nation, that Macedonia, by being once conquered, should be conquered forever. The Macedonians accordingly arose under him with much more spirit than they had shown under his father. They then induced the Thracians to join their party, and thus tempered the dexterity of the Macedonians with the robust valour of the Thracians, and the daring spirit of the Thracians with the discipline of the Macedonians. To this arrangement was added the prudence of the prince, who, having surveyed the face of the country from the top of Haemus, and having pitched several camps in steep places, had so secured his kingdom with men and arms, that he seemed to have left no access for enemies, unless they came down from heaven.
But the Romans, under the consul Marcius Philippus, having entered the province, and having carefully explored the approaches by the lake of Astrus, over troublesome and dangerous hills, and heights which seemed inaccessible even to birds, forced a passage for themselves, and, by a sudden inroad of war, alarmed the king, who was lying secure, and apprehending nothing of the kind. His consternation was so great, that he ordered all his money to be thrown into the sea, lest it should be lost, and his fleet to be burned, lest it should be set on fire.
Under the consul Paulus, when stronger garrisons, in great numbers, had been stationed on the frontiers. Macedonia was surprised by other ways, through the consummate art and perseverance of the general, who made a feint on one part, and effected an entrance at another; and whose mere approach was so alarming to the king, that he durst not meet the enemy in the field, but committed the management of the struggle to his generals. Being vanquished, therefore, in his absence, he fled to the sea, and took refuge in the island of Samothrace, trusting to the well-known sanctity of the place, as if temples and altars could protect him whom his mountains and arms could not defend.
No monarch longer cherished regret for his lost dignity. When he wrote as a suppliant to the Roman general, from the temple to which he had fled, and set his name to the letter, he added King to it. But no general was ever more respectful to captive majesty than Paulus. When his enemy came within sight, he invited him into his tent, entertained him at his own table, and admonished his own sons to worship fortune whose power was so great.
The triumph over Macedonia the Roman people also estimated and viewed as among the most glorious that they had ever known; for they occupied three days in witnessing it. The first day displayed the statues and pictures; the second, the arms and treasures; and the third, the captives and the king himself, who was still in a state of amazement, and as it were stupified at the suddenness of his calamity.
The people of Rome received the joyful news of this victory long before they learned of it from the general’s letter; for it was known at Rome on the very same day on which Perses was conquered. Two young men, with white horses, were seen cleansing themselves from dust and blood at the lake of Juturna; and these brought the news. It was generally supposed that they were Castor and Pollux, because they were two; that they had been present at the battle, because they were wet with blood; and that they had come from Macedonia, because they were still out of breath.
Chapter XIII: The Illyrian War
The contagion of the Macedonian war involved the Illyrians. They had served in it, having been hired by king Perses to harass the Romans in the rear. They were subdued without loss of time by the praetor Anicius. It was only necessary to destroy Scorda the capital, and a surrender immediately followed. The war was indeed finished before the news reached Rome that it was commenced.
Chapter XIV: The Third Macedonian War
By some appointment of destiny, as if it had been so agreed between the Carthaginians and Macedonians, that they should each be conquered a third time, both assumed arms at the same juncture, though the Macedonians took the lead in shaking off the yoke, being grown more formidable than before by having been despised. The occasion of the war is almost to be blushed at; for one Andriscus, a man of the lowest rank, seized the throne, and commenced a war against the Romans, at the same time. Whether he was a freedman or slave is doubtful, but it is certain that he had worked for pay. Being, howeverm from a resemblance to king Philip, generally called Pseudo-Philip, he sustained the person and name of a king with the spirit of a king. The Romans slighting these proceedings on his part, and being content with the services of the praetor Juventius against him, rashly engaged the man when he was strengthened not only with the troops of Macedonia, but also with vast forces from Thrace, and they that were invincible against real kings, were defeated by this imaginary and pretended king. But under the consulship of Metellus they took ample revenge for the loss of their praetor and his legion; for they not only reduced Macedonia to servitude, but brought the leader in the war, who was given up to them by a petty prince of Thrace to whom he fled, in chains to the city, Fortune indulgently granting him this favour in his misfortunes, that the Roman people triumphed over him as a real king.
Chapter XV: The Third Punic War
The third war with Africa was both short in its duration, (for it was finished in four years,) and, compared with those that preceded it, of much less difficulty; as we had to fight, not so much against troops in the field, as against the city itself; but it was far the greatest of the three in its consequences, for in it Carthage was at last destroyed. And if any one contemplates the events of the three periods, he will understand that the war was begun in the first, greatly advanced in the second, and entirely finished in the third.
The cause of the war was, that Carthage, in violation of an article in the treaty, had once fitted out a fleet and army against the Numidians, and had frequently threatened the frontiers of Masinissa. But the Romans were partial to this good king, who was also their ally.
When the war had been determined upon, they had to consider the end of it. Cato, even when his opinion was asked on any other subject, pronounced, with implacable enmity, that Carthage should be destroyed. Scipio Nasica gave his voice for its preservation, lest, if the fear of the rival city were removed, the exultation of Rome should grow extravagant. The senate decided on a middle course, resolving that the city should only be removed from its place; for nothing appeared to them more glorious than that there should be a Carthage which should not be feared. In the consulship of Manlius and Censorinus, therefore, the Roman people having attacked Carthage, but giving them some hopes of peace, burned their fleet, which they voluntarily delivered up, in sight of the city. Having bnext summoned the chief men, they commanded them to quit the place if they wished to preserve their lives. This requisition, from its cruelty, so incensed them, that they chose rather to submit to the utmost extremities. They accordingly bewailed their necessities publicly, and shouted with one voice to arms; and a resoltion was made to resist the enemy by every means in their power; not because any hope of success was left, but because they had rather their birthplace should be destroyed by the hands of the enemy than by their own. With what spirit they resumed the war, may be understood from the facts that they pulled down their roofs and houses for the equipment of a new fleet; that gold and silver, instead of brass and iron, was melted in their forges for the construction of arms; and that women parted with their hair to make cordage for the engines of war.
Under the command of the consul Mancinus, the siege was warmly conducted both by land and sea. The harbour was dismantled of its works, and a first, second, and even third wall taken, while nevertheless the Byrsa, which was the name of the citadel, held out like another city. But though the destruction of the place was thus very far advanced, it was the name of the Scipios only that seemed fatal to Africa. The government, accordingly, applying to another Scipio, desired from him a termination of the war. This Scipio, the son of Paulus Macedonicus, the son of the great Africanus had adopted as an honour to his family, and, as it appeared, with this destiny, that the grandson should overthrow the city which the grandfather had shaken. But as the bites of dying beasts are wont to be most fatal, so there was more trouble with Carthage half ruined, than when it was in its full strength. The Romans having shut the enemy up in their single fortress, had also blockaged the harbour; but upon this they dug another harbour on the other side of the city, not with a design to escape, but because no one supposed that they could even force an outlet there. Here a new fleet, as if just born, started forth; and, in the mean while, sometimes by day and sometimes by night, some new mole, some new machine, some new band of desperate men, perpetually started up, like a sudden flame from a fire sunk in ashes. At last, their affairs becoming desperate, forty thousand men, and (what is hardly credible) with Hasdrubal at their head, surrendered themselves. How much more nobly did a woman behave, the wife of the general, who, taking hold of her two children, threw herself from the top of her house into the midst of the flames, imitating the queen that built Carthage. How great a city was then destroyed, is shown, to say nothing of other things, by the duration of the fire, for the flames could scarcely be extinguished at the end of seventeen days; flames which the enemy themselves had raised in their houses and temples, that since the city could not be rescued from the Romans, all matter for triumph might at least be burned.
Chapter XVI: The Achaean War
As if this age had been destined for the subversion of cities, Corinth, the metropolis of Achaia, the ornament of Greece, situated, as if for an object of admiration, between the Ionian and Aegean Seas, soon after shared the fate of Carthage. This city (a proceeding unworthy of the Roman name) was destroyed even before it was counted among the number of undoubted enemies. The cause of the war was Critolaus, who used the liberty granted him by the Romasn against themselves, and insulted the ambassadors sent from Rome, whether by personal violence is doubtful, but certainly by words. Revenge for this affront was committed by Metellus, who was at that time settling the state of Macedonia; and hence arose the Achaean war. In the first place, Metellus, now consul, cut to pieces the forces of Critolaus on the open plains of Elis, and along the whole course of the Alpheus. The war was indeed ended in one battle; and a siege threatened the city itself; but (such is the fortune of events,) after Metellus had ought, Mummius came to take the victory. He scattered, far and wide, the afmy of the other general Diaeus, at the very entrance of the Isthmus, and dyed its harbours with blood. At length the city, ebing forsaken by the inhabitants, was first plundered, and then pulled down to the sound of trumpets. What a profusion of statues, of garments, of pictures, was then burnt or scattered abroad! How great wealth the general then both carried off and burned, may be known from this fact, that whatever Corinthian brass is held in esteem throughout the world, we find to have been the relics of that conflagration. The ruin of that most opulent city even made the value of this brass the greater, inasmuch as, when many statues and images were melted together in the fire, veins of brass, gold, and silver, ran together into one mass.
Chapter XVII: Affairs In Spain
As Corinth followed the fortune of Carthage, so Numantia followed that of Corinth. Nor was there a single place, throughout the whole world, that was afterwards untouched by the Roman arms. After the famous conflagrations of these two cities, there was far and wide, not with different nations one after another, but, as it were, one war pervading the whole world at the same time; so that those cities seemed, as if by the action of the winds, to have dispersed certain sparks of war over the whole globe. Spain never had the determination to rise in a body against us; it never thought of uniting its strength, or making an effort for empire, or combining for a general defence of its liberty; else it is so surrounded on all sides by the sea and the Pyrenees, that, by the very nature of its situation, it is secure from all atacks. But it was beset by the Romans before it knew itself, and was the only one of all their provinces that did not discover its strength till it was subdued.
The war in this country lasted nearly two hundred years, from the time of the first Scipios to Caesar Augustus, not continuously or without intermission, but as occasions excited the Romans; nor was the dispute at first with the Spaniards, but with the Carthginians in Spain, from whom proceeded the contagion, and connexion, and causes of all the contentions. The two Scipios, Publius and Cnaeus, carried the first Roman standards over the Pyrenaean mountains, and defeated Hanno, and Hasdrubal the brother of Hannibal, in important battles; and Spain would have been carried as it were by assault, had not those gallant men been surprised by Punic subtlety in the height of victory, and cut off at a time when they were conquerors by land and sea. That Scipio, therefore, who was afterwards called Africanus, the avenger of his father and uncle, entered the country as a new and fresh province, and having speedily taken Carthage and other cities, and not being content with having expelled the Carthaginians, made the province tributary to us, reduced under our dominion all places on either side of the Iberus, and was the first of the Roman generals that prosecuted a victorious course to Gades and the mouth of the Ocean.
But it is a greater matter to preserve a province than to acquire one. Generals were accordingly despatched into several parts of the country, sometimes one way, sometimes another, who, with much difficulty, and many bloody engagements, taught those savage nations, which had till then been free, and were consequently impatient of control, to submit to the Roman yoke. Cato the Censor humbled the Celtiberians, the main strength of Spain, in several battles. Gracchus, the father of Tiberius and Caius Gracchus, inflicted on the same people the demolition of a hundred and fifty cities. Metellus, who was surnamed Macedonicus, deserved also to be called Celtibericus, for when he had with great glory reduced Contrebia and the Nertobriges, he with greater glory spared them. Lucullus conquered the Turduli and Vaccaei, from whom the younger Scipio, having been challenged by their king to a single combat, carried off the spolia opima. Decimus Brutus, taking a somewhat wider range, overcame the Celts and Lusitanians, and all the tribes of Gallaecia, crossed the river of Oblivion, and object of dread to the soldiers, and having pursued a victorious route along the shore of the Ocean, did not turn back until he beheld, not without some dread and apprehension of being guilty of impiety, the sun descend into the sea, and his fire buried in the waters.
But the main difficulty of he war was with the Lusitanians and Numantines; and not without reason; for they alone, of all the nations of Spain, had the good fortune to have leaders. There would, indeed, have been difficulty enough with all the Celtiberians, had not Salendicus, the author of their insurrection, been cut off at the beginning of the war. He would have been a great man, from the union of craft and daring in his character, if the course of events had favoured him. Brandishing a silver spear, which he pretended to have been sent him from heaven, and conducting himself like a prophet, he drew upon him the attention of every one. But having, with corresponding rashness, penetrated the camp of the consul in the night, he was slain near his tent by the javelin of a sentinel. The Lusitanians Viriathus stirred up, a man of the most consummate craft, who, from a hunter becoming a robber, was from a robber suddenly made a leader and commander, and who would have been, if fortune had seconded his attempts, the Romulus of Spain. Not content with defending the liberty of his countrymen, he for fourteen years wasted all that belonged to the Romans, on both sides of the Iberus and Tagus, with fire and sword. He attacked the camps of praetors and governors, defeated Claudius Unimanus, wit the almost utter destruction of his army, and erected, in the mountains of his country, trophies adorned with the robes and fasces which he had taken from our generals. At last the consul Fabius Maximus overcame him, but his victory was disgraced by his successor, Pompilius, who, eager to bring the matter to an end, proceeded against the hero, when he was weakened and meditating a surrender, by the aid of fraud and treachery and domestic assassins, and conferred upon his adversary the glory of seeming to have been invincible by any other means.
Chapter XVIII: The Numantine War
Numantia, however inferior to Carthage, Capua, and Corinth, in wealth, was, in regard to valour and distinction, equal to them all. If we look to the conduct of its inhabitants, it was the greatest glory of Spain; for, though without a wall, without towers, situate only on a slight ascent by the river Douro, and manned only with four thousand Celtiberians, it held out alone, for the space of fourteen years, against an army of forty thousand men; nor did it hold out merely, but also several times repulsed them, and forced them to dishonourable treaties. At last, when it was found impregnable by its present assailants, it was necessary, they thought, to apply to him who had destroyed Carthage.
Scarcely ever, if we may confess the truth, was the pretext for a war more unjust. The Numantines had sheltered certain Segidians, some of their own allies and relatives, who had escaped from the hands of the Romans. The intercession which they made for these refugees had no effect; and when they offered to withdraw themselves from all concern in the war, they were told to lay down their arms as the condition of a treaty on fair terms. This was understood by the barbarians to signify that their hands were to be cut off. In consequence they immediately flew to arms, and under the conduct of Megara, a very determined leader, attacked Pmpeius; yet, when they might have cut his army to pieces, they chose rather to make a treaty with him. They had next for an assailant Mostilius Mancinus, whose troops they so dispirited, by continual slaughters, that not a man of them could endure the looks or voice of a Numantine. Yet, when they might have put all his followers to the sword, they preferred making a treaty also with him, and were content with despoiling his men of their arms. But the people of Rome, incensed at the ignominy and shame of this Numantine treaty, no less than at the Caudine treaty of former days, expiated the dishonour of their miscarriage, for the present, by the surrender of Mancinus. But afterwards, under the leadership of Scipio, who was prepared by the burning of Carthage for the destruction of cities, they grew outrageous for revenge.
At first, however, Scipio had a harder struggle in the camp than in the field, with out own troops than with those of Numantia. For the soldiery, under his orders, were of necessity exercised in constant, excessive, and even servile labour.</ref>Excessive—labour] Injustic—operibus. “Injustus,” says Duker, “for immodicus and nimius. Some have proposed to read insuetis, but Madame Dacier defends injustus by a reference to Virgil, Geo., iii., 346:
— Haud secus ac patriis acer Romanus in armis,
— Injusto sub fasce viam dum carpit.“</ref> Such as knew not how to bear arms, were ordered to carry an extraordinary number of stakes for ramparts; and such as were unwilling to be stained with bloo, were forced to defile themselves with dirt. Besides, all the women and servant-boys, and all the baggage except what was requisite for use, was dismissed.
Justly has it been said, that an army is of the same worth as its leader. When the troops were thus reduced to dicipline, a battle was fought, and that was effected which none had ever expected to see, namely, that every one saw the Numantines fleeing. They were even willing to surrender themselves, if nothing but what was endurable by men had been required of them. But as Scipio was eager for a full and absolute victory, they were brought to such despair, that, having gorged themselves, as if for a funeral banquet, with half-raw flesh and celia, (a name which they give to a drink of the country made from corn,) they rushed out to battle with a determination to die. Their object was understood by our general, and to men defying death the opportunity of fighting was not granted. But when famine pressed hard upon them, (as they were surrounded by a trench and breastwork, and four camps,) they intreated Scipio to be allowed the privilege of engaging with him, desiring that he would kill them as men, and, when this was not granted, they resolved upon making a sally. A battle being the consequence, great numbers of them were slain, and, as the famine was still sore upon them, the survivors lived for some time on their bodies. At last they determined to flee; but this their wives prevented, by cutting, with great treachery, yet out of affection, the girths of their saddles. Despairing, therefore, of escape, and being driven to the utmost rage and fury, they resolved to die in the following manner. They first destroyed their captains, and then themselves and their native city, with sword and poison and a general conflagration. Peace be to the ashes of the most brave of all cities; a city, in my opinion, most happy in its very sufferings; a city which protected its allies with honour, and withstood, with its own force, and for so long a period, a people supported by the strength of the whole world. Being overfpowered at length by the greatest of generals, it left no cause for the enemy to rejoice over it. Its plunder, as that of a poor people, was valueless; their arms they had themselves burnt; and the triumph of its conquerors was only over its name.
Chapter XIX: Summary Of The Roman Wars For Two Hundred Years
Hitherto the Roman people had been noble, honourable, pious, upright, and illustrious. Their subsequent actions in this age, as they were equally grand, so were they more turbulent and dishonourable, their vices inceasing with the very greatness of their empire. So that if any one divides this third age, which was occupied in conquest beyond the sea, and which we have made to consist of two hundred years, into equal parts, he will allow, with reason and justice, that the first hundred years, in which they subdued Africa, Macedonia, Sicily, and Spain, were (as the poets sing) golden years; and that the other hundred, which to the Jugurthine, Cimbrian, Mithridatic, and Parthian wars, as well as those of Gaul and Germany, (in which the glory of the Romans scended to heaven,) united the murders of the Gracchi and Drusus, the Servile War, and (that nothing might be wanting to their infamy) the war with the gladiators, were iron, blood-stained, and whatever more severe can be said of them. Turning at last upon themselves, the Romans, as if in a spirit of madness, and fury, and impiety, tore themselves in pieces by the dissensions of Marius and Sylla, and afterwards by those of Pompey and Caesar.
These occurrences, though they are all involved and confused, yet, they may appear the more clearly, and that what is bad in them may not obscure what is good, shall be related separately and in order. And in the first place, as we have begun, we shall give an account of those just and honourable wars which they waged with foreign nations, that the daily increasing greatness of the empire may be made manifest; and we shall then revert to those direful proceedings, those dishonourable and unnatural contests, of the Romans among themselves.
After Spain was subdued in the West, the Roman people had peace in the East; nor had they peace only, but, by unwonted and unexampled good fortune, wealth left them by bequests from kings, and indeed whole kingdoms at once, fell into their possession. Attalus, king of Pergamus, son of king Eumenes, who had formerly been our ally and fellow-soldier, left a will to the following effect: “Let the Roman people be heir to my property.” Of the king’s property the kingdom was a portion. The Romans accordingly entering on the inheritance, became possessors of the province, not by war and arms, but, what is more satisfactory, by testamentary right.
But as to what followed, it is hard to say whether the Romans lost or recovered this province with the greater ease. Aristonicus, a high-spirited youth of the royal family, brought over to his interest, without much difficulty, part of the cities which had been subject to the kings, and reduced a few, which offered resistance, as Myndus, Samos, and Colophon, by force of arms. He then cut to pieces the army of the praetor Crassus, and took Crassus himself prisoner. But the Roman general, remembering the dignity of his family and the name of Rome, struck out the eye of the barbarian, who had him in custody, with a wand, and this provoked him, as he intended, to put him to death. Aristonicus, not long after, was defeated and captured by Perperna, and, upon giving up all claim to the kingdom, kept in confinement. Aquilius then suppressed the relics of the Asiatic war, by poisoning certain springs, (a most dishonourable proceeding,) in order to force som cities to a surrender. This act, though it hastened his victory, rendered it infamous; for, contrary to the laws of the gods and the practices of our ancestors, he desecrated the Roman arms, which had till then been pure and inviolate, by the use of detestable drugs.
Chapter I: The Jugurthine War
This was the state of things in the east. But in the southern quarter there was no such tranquillity. Who, after the destruction of Carthage, would have expected any war in Africa? Yet Numidia roused herself with no small effort; and in Jugurtha there was something to be dreaded after Hannibal. This subtle prince assailed the Romans, when they were illustrious and invincible in arms, by means of his wealth; and it fortunately happened, beyond the expectation of all, that a king eminent in artifice was ensnared by artifice.
Jugurtha, the grandson of Masinissa, and son of Micipsa by adoption, having determined, from a desire of being sole king, to put his brothers to death, but having less fear of them than of the senate and people of Rome, in whose faith and protection the kingdom was placed, effected his first crime by treachery; and having got the head of Hiempsal, and then turned his efforts against Adherbal, he brought the senate over to his side, (aftr Adherbal had fled to Rome,) by sending them money through his ambassadors. This was his first victory over us. Having by similar means assailed certain commissioners, who were sent to divide the kingdom between him and Adherbal, and having overcome the very integrity of the Roman empire in Scaurus, he prosecuted with greater confidence the wicked course which he had commenced. But dishonesty cannot long be concealed; the corrupt acts of Scaurus’s bribed commission came to light, and it was resolved by the Romans to make was on the fratricide. The consul Calpurnius Bestia was the first general sent to Numidia; but Jugurtha, having found that gold was more efficient against the Romans than iron, purchased peace with him. Being charged with this underhand dealing, and summoned, on the assurance of safe conduct, to appear before the senate, the prince, with equal boldness, both came to the city and procured the death of Massiva, his competitor for the kingdom of Masinissa, by the aid of a hired assassin. This was another reason for war against Jugurtha. The task of inflicting the vengeance that was to follow was committed to Albinus; but Jugurtha (shameful to relate!) so corrupted his army also, that, through the voluntary flight of our men in the field, he gained a victory, and became master of our camp; and an ignominious treaty, as the price of safety to the Romans, being added to their previous dishonour, he suffered the army, which he had before bought, to depart.
At this time, to support, not so much the Roman empire as its honour, arose Metellus, who, with great subtlety, assailed the enemy with his own artifices; an enemy who sought to deude him, sometimes with intreaties, sometimes with threats, sometimes with flight that was evidently pretended, but sometimes with such as seemed to be real. But the Roman, not content with devastating the fields and villages, made attempts on the principal cities of Numidia, and for a long time sought in vain to reduce Zama; but Thala, a place stored with arms and the king’s treasures, he succeeded in capturing. Afterwards he pursued the prince himself, deprived of his cities, and forced to flee from his country and kingdom, through Mauretania and Getulia. Finally, Marius, having greatly augmented the army, (for, from the obscurity of his birth, he enlisted numbers of the lowest class of people,) attacked the king when he was already defeated and disabled, but did not conquer him more easily than if he had engaged him in full and fresh vigour. The same general, also, with wonderful good fortune, reduced Capsa, a city built by Hercules, lying in the middle of Africa, and defended by serpents and sandy deserts, and forced his way, by the aid of a certain Ligurian, into Mulucha, a city seated on a rocky eminence, the approach to it being steep and apparently inaccessible. Soon after he gave a signal overthrow, near the town of Cirta, not only to Jugurtha himself, but to Bocchus, the king of Mauretania, who, from ties of blood, had taken the part of the Numidian prince. But the Mauretanian, distrusting the condition of his own affairs, and apprehensive of being involved in another’s ruin, offered to purchase, by the surrender of Jugurtha, a treaty and alliance with Rome. That most treacherous of princes, accordingly, was ensnared by the treachery of his own father-in-law, and delivered into the hands of Sylla, and the people of Rome at last beheld Jugurtha loaded with chains and led in triumph, while the king himself, conquered and captive, looked again on the city which he had vainly prophesied “was to be sold, and doomed to perish if it could not find a buyer.” But if it had been to be sold, it had a purchaser in him, and since he did not escape, it will appear certain that it is not destined to perish.
Chapter II: The War With The Allobroges
Thus did the Romans succeed in the south. In the north there much more sanguinary proceedings, and in a greater number of places at once. Nothing is more inclement than these regions. The air is severe, and the temper of the inhabitants similar to it. From all this tract, on the right and the left, and in the midst of the northern quarter, burst forth savage enemies. The Salyi were the first people beyond the Alps that felt our arms, in consequence of Marseilles, a most faithful and friendly city, having complained of their inroads. The Allobroges and Arverni were the next, as similar complaints from the Aedui called for our assistance and protection against them. The river Varus is a witness of our victories, as well as the Isara and Vindelicus, and the Rhone, the swiftest of all rivers. The greatest terror to the barbarians were the elephants, which matched the fierceness of those people. In the triumph there was nothing so conspicuous as king Bituitus, in his variegated arms and silver chariot, just as he had fought. How great the joy was for both victories, may be judged from the fact that both Domitius Aenobarbus, and Fabius Maximus, erected towers of stone upon the places where they had fought, and fixed upon them trophies adorned with the arms of the enemy: a practice not usual with us, for the Roman people never upbraided their conquered enemies with their victories over them.
Chapter III: The Wars With The Cimbri, Teutones, And Tigurini
The Cimbri, Teutones, and Tigurini, fleeing from the extreme parts of Gaul because the Ocean had inundated their country, proceeded to seek new settlements throughout the world; and being shut out from Gaul and Spain, and wheeling about towards Italy, they sent deputies to the camp of Silanus, and from thence to the senate, requesting that “the people of Mars would allot them some land as a stipend, and use their hands and arms for whatever purpose they pleased.” But what lands could the people of Rome give them, when they were ready to fight among themselves about the agrarian laws? Finding their application, therefore, unsuccessful, they resolved to obtain by force what they could not get by intreaty. Silanus could not withstand the first attack of the barbarians, nor Manlius the second, nor Caepio the third. All the three commanders were routed, and driven from their camps. Rome would have been destroyed, had not Marius happened to live in that age. Even he did not dare to engage them at once, but kept his soldiers in their camp, until the impetuous rage anf fury, which the barbarians have instead of valour, should subside. The savages, in consequence, set off for Rome, insulting our men, and (such was their confidence of taking the city) asking them whether they had any messages to send to their wives. With not less expedition than they had threatened, they marched in three bodies over the Alps, the barriers of Italy. But Marius, exerting extraordinary speed, and taking a shorter route, quickly outstripped the enemy. Assailing first the Teutones, at the very foot of the Alps, in a place which they call Aquae Sextiae, in how signal a battle (O heavenly powers!) did he overthrow them! The enemy possessed themselves of a valley, and a river running through the midst of it, while our men wanted water; but whether Marius allowed this to happen designedly, or turned an error to his advantage, is doubtful; certain it is, however, that the courage of the Romans, stimulated by necessity, was the cause of their victory. For when the troops clamoured for water, “You are men,” he replied; “yonder you have it.” Such, in consequence, was the spirit with which they fought, and such the slaughter of the enemy, that the Romans drank from the ensanguined stream not more water than blood of the barbarians. Their king himself, Teutobocchus, who was accustoed to vault over four or six horses at once, could scarcely mount one when he fled, and being taken prisoner in the neighbouring forest, was a remarkable object in the triumph, for, being a man of extraordinary stature, he towered over the trophies themselves.
The Teutones being utterly cut off, Marius directed his efforts against the Cimbri. This people had made a descent, even (who would believe it?) in the time of winter, which raises the Alps still higher than ordinary, rolling forward, like a falling mass of rock, from the Tridentine heights into Italy as far as the Adige. Attempting the passage of the river, not by the aid of a bridge or of boats, but, with the stupidity of savages, trying to stem it with their bodies, and making vain efforts to stop its current with their hands and shields, they at last blocked it up with a mass of trees thrown into it, and so got across. And had they immediately marched for Rome in a body, and eager for battle, the danger to the city would have been great; but delaying in the parts about Venice, where the climate of Italy is most luxurious, their vigour was diminished by the very mildness of the country and atmosphere. When they had been further relaxed by the use of bread, cooked flesh, and pleasant wines, Marius opportunely came up with them. They requested our general to fix upon a day for battle, and he appointed the next. They enagaged in an open plain, which they called the Raudian field. There fell on the side of the enemy to the number of sixty thousand; on ours fewer than three hundred. The barbarians were slaughtered during an entire day. Marius had also assisted valour by artifice, in imitation of Hannibal and his stratagem at Cannae. In the first place, he had fixed upon a foggy day, so that he could charge the enemy before they were awar of his approach; and, as it was windy also, he manoevred so that the dust was driven into the eyes and faces of the enemy; while, in addition, he had arranged his troops to face the east, so that, as was afterwards learned from the prisoners, the heaven seemed to be on fire from the glittering of the Roman helmets and the reflection of the sun’s rays from them. But the struggle with the enemies’ wives was not less severe than that with themselves; for the women, being mounted on waggons and other carriages, which had been ranged around as a defence, fought from them, as from towers, with spears and pikes. The death of these savages was as glorious as their contest for victory; for when, upon sending an embassy to Marius, they failed to obtain their liberty, and sacerdotal protection, which it was not lawful to grant, they either fell, after strangling or braining the whole of their children, by mutual wounds, or hanged themselves, with ropes made of their own hair, upon tress and the yokes of their waggons. Their king Bojorix fell in the battle, fighting furiously, and not without avenging himself.
The third body, the Tigurini, which, as if for a reserve, had taken post on the Noric heights of the Alps, dispersing in different ways, and betaking themselves to ignoble flight or depradations, at last quite disappeared. This joyful and happy news, of the deliverance of Italy and the securing of the empire, the people of Rome received, not, as is usual, by the mouths of men, but, if we may believe it, by the intervention of the gods themselves. For the very same day on which the contest was decided, two young men, crowned with lurel, were seen, in front of the temple of Castor and Pollux, to deliver a letter to the praetor; and a general rumour prevailed in the theatre of a victory over the Cimbri, attended with the expression, “May it be happy for us.” What could be more wonderful, what more extraordinary, than this? For as if Rome, raised on her won hills, had taken a view of the battle, the people were clapping their hands in the city, as is the case at a show of gladiators, at the very moment when the Cimbri were falling in the field.
Chapter IV: The Thracian War
After the Macedonians were subdued, the Thracians, please the gods, rebelled; a people who had themselves been tributary to the Macedonians, and who, not satisfied with making inroads into the neighbouring provinces of Thessaly and Dalmatia, advanced as far as the Adriatic. Being content with this as a boundary, nature apparently stopping their progress, they hurled their weapons into the waves. No cruely, however, during the whole course of their march, had been left unexercised by their fury upon such as they took prisoners; they offered human blood to the gods; they drank from men’s skulls; they made death, from fire and sword, more ignominious by every kind of insult; and they even forced by tortures infants from their mothers’ wombs.
Of all the Thracians the most savage were the Scordisci; and to their strength was added cunning. Their situation among woods and mountains agreed with their temper. An army, accordingly, which Cato commanded, was not only routed or put to flight by them, but, what resembled a prodigy, entirely cut off. Didius, however, drove them back, as they were straggling and dispersed in unrestrained devastation of the country, into their own Thrace. Drusus repelled them further, and hindered them from crossing the Danube. Minucius made havoc of them all along the banks of the Hebrus, though he lost many of his men when the river, which deceived them with its ice, was attempted by his cavalry. Piso passed over Rhodope and Caucasus. Curio went as far as Dacia, but was afraid to penetrate the darkness of its forests. Appius advanced to the Sarmatians, Lucullus to the Tanais, the boundary of those nations, and to the lake Maeotis. Nor were these most savage of enemies subdued by any other treatment than such as they exercised on others; for cruelties by fire and sword were inflicted on all that were taken prisoners. But nothing seemed more horrid to these barbarians than that they should be left with their hands cut off, and be obliged to live and survive their sufferings.
Chapter V: The Mithridatic War
The Pontic nations lie to the north, along the sea on the left, and have their name from the Pontus. Of these people and countries the most ancient king was Aeetes. After him reigned Artabazes, who was spring from of the seven Persians. Then came Mithridates, the mightiest of all kings; for though four years were sufficient to defeat Pyrrhus, and seventeen to conquer Hannibal, this monarch held out for forty years, till, being subdued in three great wars, he was, by the good fortune of Sylla, the bravery of Lucullus, and the greatness of Pompey, entirely brought to nothing.
As a pretext for war, he alleged to Cassius, our ambassador, that “his borders were wasted by Nicomedes, king of Bithynia.” Moved, however, by a spirit of ambition, he burned with a desire to grasp all Asia, and, if he could, all Europe. Our vices gave him hope and confidence; for while we were distracted by civil wars, the opportunity of attacking us tempted him; and Marius, Sylla, and Sertorius showed him from a distance that the side of the empire was exposed. In the midst, therefore, of these sufferings and disturbances of the commonwealth, the tempest of the Pontic war, as if seizing its opportunity, suddenly descended, as from the extreme heights of the north, upon a people wearied and preoccupied. Its first interruption at once snatched Bithynia from us. Asia was next seized with similar terror, and our cities and people without delay revolted to the king. He himself was active and urgent, and exercised cruelty as if he thought it a virtue. For what could be more atrocious than one of his edicts, ordering all citizens of Rome that were in Asia to be put to death? Then, indeed, homes, temples, and altars, and all obligations, human and divine, were violated.
This terror in Asia opened to the king also a passage into Europe. Accordingly, Archelaus and Neoptolemus, two of his generals, being despatched thither, the Cyclades, Delos, Euboea, (and all the islands except Rhodes, which adhered to us more firmly than ever,) with Athens, the very glory of Greece, were seized by his troops. The dread of the king even affected Italy and the city of Rome itself. Lucius Sylla, therefore, a man excellent in war, hastened to oppose him, and repelled, as with a push of the hand, the enemy who was advancing with equal impetuosity. Athens, a city which was the mother of corn, he first compelled, by siege and famine to eat (who would believe it?) the flesh of human beings; and then, having undermined the harbour of the Piraeus, with its six walls and more, and having reduced the most ungrateful of men, as he himself called them, he yet spared them for the honour of their deceased ancestors, and for the sake of their religion and fame. Having next driven the king’s garrisons from Euboea and Boeotia, he dispersed the whole of his forces in one battle at Chaeronea, and in a second and Orchomenus; and shortly after, crossing over into Asia, he overthrew the monarch himself, when the war would have been brought to a conclusion, had he not been desirous to triumph over Mithridates rather speedily than completely.
The following, however, was the condition in which Sylla placed Asia. A treaty was made with the people of Pontus. He recovered Bithynia for king Nicomedes, and Cappadocia for Ariobarzanes. Asia thus became ours again, as it had begun to be. But Mithridates was only repulsed. This state of things, accordingly, did not humble the people of Pontus, but incensed them. For the king, being caught, as it were, with the hope of possessing Asia and Europe, now sought to recover both by right of war, not as belonging to others, but because he had before lost them.
As fires, therefore, which have not been completely extinguished, burst forth into greater flames, so Mithridtes, with an increased number of forces, and indeed with the whole strength of his kingdom, descended again upon Asia, by sea, by land, and along the rivers. Cyzicus, a noble city, adorns the shore of Asia with its citadel, walls, harbour, and towers. This city, as if it had been another Rome, he assailed, with his whole warlike force; but a messenger, who, (surprsing to relate,) seated on a stuffed skin, and steering his course with his feet, had made his way through the middle of the enemy’s ships, (appearing, to those who saw him from a distance, to be some kind of sea-monster,) gave the citizens courage to make resistance, by assuring them that Lucullus was approaching. Soon after, distress reverting upon the king, and famine, from the long continuance of the siege, and pestilence, as a sequel to the famine, pressing grievously upon him, Lucullus surprised him as he was endeavouring to retreat, and slew so great a portion of his army, that the rivers Granicus and Aesapus were reddened with blood. The crafty king, well acquainted with Roman avarice, ordered the baggage and money to be scattered about by his troops as they fled, as a means of retarding the course of the pursuers.
Nor was his retreat by sea more fortunate than that by land; for a tempest, in the Pontus Euxinus, falling on a fleet of above a hundred ships, laden with warlike stores, shattered it with so miserable a havoc, that its fate presented the appearance of the sequel to a sea-fight, as if Lucullus, by some compact with the waves and storms, had delivered the king to the winds to conquer.
The whole strength of his mighty kingdom was now greatly impaired; but his spirit rose with his misfortunes. Turning, therefore, to the neighbouring nations, he involved in his destruction almost the whole of the east and north. The Ibrians, Caspians, Albanians, and the people of both Greater and Lesser Armenia, were solicited to join him; and Fortune, by every means in her power, sought glory, and name, and titles, for her favourite Pompey, who, seeing Asia excited with new commotions, and one king rising after another, thought that he ought not to delay till the strength of the nations should be united, but, having speedily made a bridge of boats, was the first of all before him to pass the Euphrates, and overtaking the king in the middle of Armenia, suppressed him (such was his good fortune!) in one battle. The engagement took place by night, and the moon was Pompey’s ally; for having, as if fighting on his side, stationed herself in the rear of the enemy, and in front of the Romans, the men of Pontus, by mistake, discharged their weapons at their own long shadows, taking them for bodies of the enemy. IN that night, indeed, Mithridates was utterly overcome; for he was able to do nothing afterwards; though he made all manner of efforts, like serpents, which, when their head is crushed, threaten with their tails to the last. Having fled from the enemy to the Colchians, he sought to alarm, by a sudden descent, the coasts of Sicily and our own Campania, to form a communication between the Bosporus and Colchis, then to hasten through Thrace, Macedonia, and Greece, and so to make a sudden inroad into Italy. But this he only conceived; for, being prevented from the execution of it by a revolt of his subjects, and by the treachery of his son Pharnaces, he at last ended by the sword the life which he had in vain attempted by poison.
Pompey, meantime, in pursuit of the remains of the rebels in Asia, was hurrying through divers nations and countries. Following the Armenians eastward, and capturing Artaxata, the metropolis of the kingdom, he allowed Tigranes, on offering submission, to retain his throne. Then, steeing his course by the stars, as in a voyage over the sea, towards the Scythian north, he overthew the Colchians, gave quarter to Iberia, spared the Albanians, and, pitching his camp at the foot of Mount Caucasus, commanded Orodes, king of the Colchians, to remove down into the plains, and required also Arthoces, who ruled the Iberians, to give his children as hostages. Orodes, too, who sent him from his country of Albania a golden couch and other presents, he amply rewarded. Afterwards, turning his army to the south, and madding Mount Libanus in Syria, and Damascus, he led the Roman standards through the well-known groves of perfumes, and the forests of frankincense and balm. The Arabians, if he gave them any commission, were ready to execute it. The Jews made an effort to defend Jerusalem; but this city he also entered, and saw the grand mystery of an impious nation laid open, as it were, under a golden sky. And being chosen arbiter between two brothers, who were disputing about the throne, he gave sentence that Hyrcanus should be king, and cast Aristobulus, as he was unwilling to submit to his decision, into chains. Thus the Roman people, under the leadership of Pompey, having traversed the whole of Asia where it is broadest, made that the middle province of their empire which they had previously accounted the last. For except the Parthians, who preferred coming to a treaty, and the Indians, who were as yet ignorant of us, all Asia, between the Red and Caspian Seas and the Ocean, was under our jurisdiction, having been either conquered or overawed by the arms of Pompey.
Chapter VI: The War Against The Pirates
In the mean time, while the Romans were engaged in different parts of the world, the Cilicians had spread themselves over the sea, and, by the obstruction of commerce, and the disruption of bonds of human society, had made the seas as impassable by their piracies as they would have been rendered by a tempest.
The state of Asia, disturbed by the wars of Mithridates, gave confidence to these desperate and audacious robbers, who, under cover of the confusion of a war raised by others, and the odium against a foreign prince, roved up and down without control. Even at first, under a leader named Isidorus, they did not confine themselves to the neighbouring sea, but exercised their piracies between Crete and Cyrene, and between Achaia and the Malean Gulf, which, from the spoils that they took there, they named the Golden Gulf. Publius Servilius was sent against them, who, though he worsted their light and nimble brigantines with his heavy and well-appointed ships of war, did not obtain a victory without much bloodshed. He was not, however, content with driving them from the sea, but sacked their strongest towns, stored with spoil that they had been long in collecting, Phaselis, Olympos, and Isaurus, the very stronghold of Cilicia, whence, conscious that he had achieved a great exploit, he assumed the name of Isauricus.
Yet the pirates, though humbed by so many losses, could not, on that account, confine themselves to the land, but, like certain animals, which have a twofold nature for living either on land or in water, they became, upon the retreat of the enemy, impatient of remaining ashore, and spring back again into the waters, extending their excursions, indeed, somewhat more widely than before. So that Pompey, who had been so fortunate already, was considered a fit person to secure a victory over these depredators, and this was made an addition to his Mithridatic province. Resolving, accordingly, to suppress, at once and for ever, a plague that had dispersed itself over the whole sea, he proceeded against it with extraordinary measures. As he had a large naval force, both of his own and our allies the Rhodians, he secured the entrances both of the Pontus and the Ocean, with the aid of several captains and commanders. Gellius was stationed in the Tuscan sea, Plotius in that of Sicily. Gratilius guarded the Ligurian bay, Pompeius the Gallic, Torquatus the Balearic; Tiberius Nero had charge of the Strait of Gibraltar, where the entrance to our sea opens; Lentulus watched the Lybian sea, Marcellinus the Egyptian, the young Pompeys the Adriatic, Terentius Varro the Aegean and Pontic, Metellus the Pamphylian, and Caepio the Asiatic; while Porcius Cato locked up the mouth of the Propontis like a gate, with his ships drawn across it. Thus, whatever pirates were to be found in any harbour, bay, creek, recess, promontory, strait, or peninsula, were enclosed and secured, as it were, with a net. Pompey himself directed his efforts against Cilicia, the source and origin of the war. Nor did the enemy shrink from engagement with him, not, indeed, from confidence in their strength, but, as they were hard pressed, they were willing to appear daring. But they did nothing more than meet the first onset, for immediately afterwards, when they saw the beaks of our ships encircling them, they threw down their weapons and oars, and, with a general clapping of hands, which was with them a sign of supplication, intreated for quarter. Never did we obtain a victory with so litte bloodshed. Nor was any nation afterwards found so faithful to us; a state of thinsg which was secured by the remarkable prudence of the general, who removed this maritime people far from the sight of the sea, and tied them down, as it were, to the inland parts of the country. Thus, at the same time, he both recovered the free use of the sea for ships, and restored to the land its own men.
In this triumph what shall we most admire? Its espedition, as being gained in forty days? Its good fortune, as not a single ship was lost? Or its durable effect, as the Cilicians, in consequence of it, were never after pirates?
Chapter VII: The Cretan War
The Cretan war, if we would but admit the truth, we ourselves occasioned, solely from a desire of subduing that noble island. It was thought to have favoured Mithridates, and we resolved to take vengeance for this offence by force of arms. The first who invaded the island was Marcus Antonius; and, ideed, with such vast hopes and confidence of success, that he carried in his vessels more chains than arms. He, however, paid the penalty of his rashness, for the enemy captured most of his ships, and the dead bodies of the prisoners were suspended from the sails and tackling. In this manner the Cretans, with their sails spread, rowed back in triumph to harbours.
At a subsequent period, Metellus, after wasting the whole island with fire and sword, drove the inhabitants to their fortresses and towns, and took Gnossus, Erythraea, and Cydonia, the mother, as the Greeks are wont to call it, of its cities; and so cruel was his treatment of the prisoners, that most of them poisoned themselves, while others sent offers of surrender to Pompey, who was then at a distance. Pompey, though fully engaged in Asiatic affairs, nevertheless despatched Antonius as his deputy to Crete, and thus gained reputation from another man’s province. But Metellus enforced the rights of war on the enemy only the more unmercifully, and, after suppressing Lasthenes and Panares, captains of Cydonia, returned home victorious; yet from so remarkable a conquest he gained nothing more than the surname of Creticus.
Chapter VIII: The Balearic War
As the family of Metellus Macedonicus was accustomed to military surnames, it was not long, after one of his sons became Creticus, till the other was called Balearicus. The Balearic Isles, at that time, had infested the seas with piratic outrages. You would wonder that a savage people, living in the woods, should venture even to look upon the sea from the tops of their rocks. But they had the courage to go on board some ill-made boats, and, from time to time, surprised vessels sailing by with unexpected attacks. Seeing also a Roman fleet approaching from the sea, and looking upon it as a prize, they ventured to engage it, and, at the first onset, covered the shps with a vast shower of small and great stones. Every one of them fights with three slings; and who can wonder that their execution with these instruments is very sure, when they are the only weapons of the nation, and the use of them is their only exercise from their infancy? A child receives no food from his mother but what he has struck down with his sling at her bidding. But they did not long frighten the Romans with their stones; for, when they came to close combat, and felt the effects of our beaks, and the weapons that fell on them, they set up a bellowing like oxen, and fled to the shore, where, dispersing themselves among the nearest hills, they were to be found before they could be conquered.
Chapter IX: The Expedition To Cyprus
The fate of the islands was come; and Cyprus, in consequence, was taken without a war. Of this island, which abounded in wealth from times of old, and was for this reason sacred to Venus, Ptolemy was king; but such was the fame of its riches, and not without cause, that a people who had conquered nations, and was accustomed to give away kingdoms, ordered, at the instigation of Publius Clodius the tribune, that the king’s property, though he was their ally and still living, should be brought into the public treasury. Ptolemy, upon the news of this decree, hastened his death by poison. Porcius Cato, however, brought the wealth of Cyprus in Liburnian vessels into the mouth of the river Tiber, an event which replenished the treasury of Rome more largely than any triumph.
Chapter X: The Gallic War
When Asia was subdued by the efforts of Pompey, Fortune conferred what remained to be done in Europe upon Caesar. There were still left the most savage of all nations, the Gauls and Germans; and Britain, though separated from the whole world, had yet one to conquer it. The first commotion in Gaul arose from the Helvetii, who, lying between the Rhone and the Rhine, and finding their country insufficient for them, came forth, after setting fire to their cities, (an act equivalent to an oath that they would not return,) to ask of us new settlements. But Caesar, having asked for time to consider of their application, prevented them, meanwhile, from getting off, by breaking down the bridge over the Rhone, and straightway drove back this warlike nation to their former abodes, as a shepherd drives his flocks into the fold. The next affair was a war with the Belgae, which was attended with far more bloodshed, as being a struggle with men fighting for their liberty. In the course of it were displayed many brave acts among the soldiery, and a remarkable one of the general himself, who, when his troops were on the point of flight, having snatched a buckler from a retreating soldier, hurried to the front of the army, and restored the battle by his own extertions. Then followed a naval war with the Veneti, but there was a greater struggle in it with the Ocean than with the ships of the enemy; for the vessels were rude and ill-shaped, and were shattered as soon as they felt our beaks; but the contest was obstructed by the shallows, as the Ocean, retiring by its usual ebbs during the engagement, seemed disposed to put a stop to the war.
There were also other diversities of operation, according to the nature of the people and the ground. The Aquitani, a crafty nation, betook themselves to their caverns; Caesar ordered them to be shut up in them. The Morini dispersed themselves among their woods; he ordered the woods to be set on fire.
Let no one say that the Gauls are mere senseless warriors; for they act with cunning. Indutiomarus called together the Treviri, Ambiorix the Eburones; and the two, in the absence of Caesar, having entered into a conspiracy, fell upon his lieutenant-generals. Indutiomarus was valiantly repulsed by Dolabella, and his head carried from the field. Ambiorix, however, placing an ambuscade in a valley, gave us by that contrivance a defeat, so that our camp was plundered, and our treasure carried off. Then we lost Cotta, and Titurius Sabinus, one of the legates. Nor was any revenge afterwards taken on Ambiorix, as he lay in peretual concealment beyond the Rhine.
Yet the Rhine was not, on that account, left unassailed; nor was it just that the receiver and protector of our enemies should escape. The first battle against the Germans on its banks arose indeed from very just grounds; for the Aedui made compaints of their inroads. And how great was the haughtiness of Ariovistus! Whe our ambassadors said to him, “Come to Caesar,” “And who is Caesar?” he retorted; “let him come to me, if he will. What is it to him what our Germany does? Do I meddle with the Romans?” In consequence of this reply, so great was the dread of the unknown people in the Roman camp, that wills were publicly made even in the principia. But the greater the vast bodies of the enemy were, the more they were exposed to swords and other weapons. The ardour of the Roman soldiers in the battle cannot be better shown than by the circumstances that when the barbarians, having raised their shields above their heads, protected themselves with a testudo, the Romans leaped upon their very bucklers, and then came down upon their throats with their swords.
The Tencteri were the next that made complaint of the Germans. Caesar, then, of his own impulse, crossed the Moselle by a bridge of ships, and passed even the Rhine itself, to seek the enemy in the Hercynian forests. But the whole nation had fled away to their thickets and fens, so great alarm did the Roman force, suddenly appearing on that side of the river, excite in them. Nor was the Rhine crossed by Caesar only once, but even a second time, when a bridge was built over it. The consternation of the barbarians grew then much greater, for when they saw their Rhine taken captive with a bridge, which seemed to them as a yoke laid upon it, they all fled a second time to their woods and marshes, and, what was most vexatious to Caesar, no enemies remained to be conquered.
All, therefore, by land and sea, being subdued, he cast his eyes upon the wide Ocean, and, as if the world which the Romans possessed as not sufficient for them, he meditated the conquest of another. Having accordingly equipped a fleet, he set sail for Britain. He crossed the water with extraordinary expedition, for, having started from a harbour of the Morini at the third watch, he reached the island before mid-day. The shores were crowded with a tumultuous assemblage of the enemy, and their chariots, as if in consternation at the sight of something strange, were hurrying backwards and forwards. Their trepidation was in consequence a victory to Caesar, who received arms and hostages from them while they were in alarm, and would have proceeded further along their coasts, had not the Ocean punished his daring fleet with a wreck. He returned, therefore, for the present, into Gaul; but, having augmented his fleet, and reinfoeced his army, he ventured again upon the same Ocean, and pursued the same Britains into the Caledonian forests, taking one of the Cavelian princes prisoner. Content with these exploits, (for his object was not to get a province, but a name,) he sailed back with greater booty than before, the Ocean itself being also more tranquil and proptious, as it it acknowledged itself to be under his power.
But the greatest rising of all the Gauls, which was also the last, was when that prince, so formidable for his stature, martial skill, and courage, (his very name, Vercingetorix, being apparently intended to excite terror,) drew together all the Arverni and Bituriges, in conjunction with the Carnutes and Sequani. This king, upon festivals and days of assembly, when he had the people collected in great numbers in the groves, roused them, by his high-spirited harangues, to recover their former liberty and rights. Caesar was at that time absent, levying troops at Ravenna, and the Alps had grown higher during the winter, so that they thought his passage stopped. But he, (such was his happy temerity at the report of these proceedings,) foring a way with a light-armed troop over tops of mountains previously impassable, and over nows never before trodden, reached Gaul, collected a force from the different winter-quarters, and secured a position in the midst of the country before he was apprehended to be on the borders of it. Proceeding then against the cities that took the chief part in the insurrection, he overthrew Avaricum, with its garrison of forty thousand men, and burned to the ground Alexia, though relying upon a force of two hundred and fifty thousand. The whole stress of the war was at last collecetd about Gergovia, a city of the Arverni, which eighty thousand men defended with the aid of a wall, a citadel, and precipitous rocks. This great city he first weakened by famine, surrounding it with a rampart, palisades, a trench, (the river being let into the trench,) eighteen towers, and a high breastwork; and afterwards, when the inhabitants ventured upon sallies, he slaughtered them from the ramparts with swords and pikes; and at last forced them to surrender. The king of the place himself, (the greatest ornament of the victory,) after having come as a suppliant to the Roman camp, and thrown his royal ensigns and arms at the feet of Caesar, exclaimed, “Receive them: thou, O bravest of men, hast conquered a brave man.”
Chapter XI: The Parthian War
Whilst the Romans, by the instrumentality of Caesar, were subduing the Gauls in the north, they received a grievous blow from the Parthians ion the east. Nor could we complain of Fortune; there was no consolation for the disaster. The avarice of the consul Crassus, who, in deiance of gods and men, was longing eagerly for Parthian gold, was punished with the destruction of eleven legions, and the loss of his own head.
Metellus, a tribune of the people, had cursed Crassus, as he was going out of Rome, with bitter execrations. After the army had passed Zeugma, the Euphrates swallowed up the standards which had been carried into it by a sudden whirlwind. When he had pitched his camp at Nicephorium, ambassadors, sent to him by king Orodes, urged him “to remember the treaties made with Pompey and Sylla;” to which the consul, whose heart was set upon the king’s treasures, made, witout even a pretext of justice, no other reply than that he would give his answer at Seleucia. The gods, therefore, the avengers of violated treaties, refused their assistance neither to the secret artifices, nor to the open valour, of our enemies. The first military error of Crassus was to desert the Euphrates, which alone could supply him with provisions or secure his rear. He then trusted a Syrian named Mazaras, a counterfeit deserter, till, under his guidance, the army was led into the middle of an open plain, and exposed to the enemy on every side. Scarcely, in consequence, had he reached Carrae, when Sillaces and Surenas, the king’s generals, displayed their standards waving with gold and silken banners. Immediately afterwards, the cavalry gathering around, whowered upon the Romans their arrows as thick as hail or rain. The army was thus cut off with a direful slaughter. The consul, being invited to a conference, would, upon a given signal, have fallen alive into the hands of the enemy, had not the Parthians, in consequence of resistance from the tribunes, hastened to prevent his escape with their swords. Yet even thus his head was carried off, and made an object of derision to the enemy. His son, almost in the sight of his father, they cut off with the same weapons. The relics of the unhappy army, scattered wherever the hope of escape drove them, through Armenia, Cilicia, and Syria, scarcely brought home the news of the disaster.
The head of Crassus, when cut off, together with his right hand, was carried to the king, and treated by the enemy, not unjustly, with mocking insult. Molten gold was poured into his mouth, that the flesh of him whose mind had burnt with desire of gold, might, when dead and inanimate, be burnt with gold itself.
Chapter XII: A Recapitulation
This is the third age of the Roman people, described with reference to its transactions beyond the sea; an age in which, when they had once ventured beyond Italy, they carried their arms through the whole world. Of which age, the first hundred yeats were pure and pious, and, as I have called them, golden, free from vice and immorality, as there yet remained the sincere and harmless integrity of the pastoral life, and the imminent dread of a Carthaginian enemy supported the ancient discipline. The succeeding hundred, which we have reckoned from the destruction of Carthage, Corinth, and Numantia, and from the inheritance bequeathed us by king Attalus in Asia, to the times of Caesar and Pompey, and those of Augustus who succeeded them, and of whom we shall speak hereafter, were as lamentable and dsigraceful for the domestic calamities, as they were honourable for the lustre of the warlike exploits that distinguished them. For, as it was glorious and praiseworthy to have acquired the rich and powerful provinces of Gaul, Thrace, Cilicia, and Cappadocia, as well as those of the Armenians and Britons, which, though of not much advantage, were great names to add to the splendour of the empire, so it was disgraceful and lamentable, at the same time, to have fought at home with our won citizens, with our allies, our slaves, and gladiators, while the whole senate was divided into parties. And I know not whether it would not have been better for the Roman people to have been content with Sicily and Africa, or even to have been without them, while still enjoying the dominion of Italy, than to grow to such greatness as to be ruined by their own strength. For what else produced those intestine distractions but excessive good fortune? It was the conquest of Syria that first corrupted us; and the succession afterwards, in Asia, to the estate of the king of Pergamus. Such wealth and riches ruined the manners of the age, and overwhelmed the republic, which was sunk in its own vices as in a common sewer. For how did it happen that the Roman people demanded from their tribunes lands and subsistence, unless through the scarcity, which they had by their luxury produced? Hence there arose the first and second sedition of the Gracchi, and a third, that of Apuleius. From what cause did the equestrian order, being divided from the senate, domineer by virtue of the judiciary laws, if it was not from avarice, in order that the revenues of the state, and trials of causes, might be made a means of gain? Hence again it was that the privilege of citizenship was promised to the Latins, and hence were the arms of our allies raised against us. And what shall we say as to the wars with the slaves? How did they come upon us, but from the excessive number of slaves? Whence arose such armies of gladiators against their masters, if it was not that a profuse liberality, by granting shows to gain the favour of the populace, amde that an art which was once but a punishment of enemies? And to touch upon more specious vices, did not the ambition for honours take its rise from the same excess of riches? Hence also proceeded the outrages of Marius, hence those of Sylla. The extravagant sumptuousness of banquets, too, and profuse largesses, were not they the effects of wealth, which must in time lead to want? This also stirred up Catiline against his country. First, whence did that insatiable desire of power and rule proceed, but from a superabundance of riches? This it was that armed Caesar and Pompey with fatal weapons for the destruction of the state.
Of all these domestic distractions of the Roman people, distinct from their foreign and justifiable wars, we shall give an account in their proper order.
Chapter XIII: The Seditious Nature Of The Tribunitial Power
The Tribunitial Power furnished occasions for all kinds of seditions; a power which, under pretence of maintaining the rights of the common people, (for whose protection it was established,) but in reality to acquire power for itself, courted the favour of the populace by proposing laws respecting the division of lands, the distribution of corn, and the disposal of judicial proceedings. In all these laws there was indeed a colour of equity. For what was more just, than that the commons should have their full rights from the senate, that a people who had conquered all other nations, and was master of the world, might not live without altars and hearths of their own? What was more equitable, than that the poorest class of people should be maintained from the public treasury of their country? What was more conducive to the security of equal liberty, than that, while the senate settled the provinces, the authority of the equestrian order should be supported by judicial privileges? Yet these very objects led to harm, and the unhappy state became a prize for its own overthrow. For the transference of the judicial power from the senate to the knights, caused peculation with regard to taxes, the patrimony of the of the government; while the purchase of corn exhausted the treasury, the nerves of the commonwealth. And how could the common people be put in possession of lands, but by the ejection of those that already occupied them, who were themselves a part of the people, and who moreover held their estates, as bequeathed to them from their forefathers, by prescription of time and right of inheritance?
Chapter XIV: The Sedition Of Tiberius Gracchus
Tiberius Gracchus kindled the first flame of contention, a man who was unquestionably the first in Rome for family, person, and eloquence. But he, whether dreading to be involved in the odium of Mancinus’s surrender, (as he had been one of the sureties for the performance of that treaty,) and joining in consequence the popular party, or moved by a regard to equity and justice, and taking pity on the commons, in order that a people who had conquered all other nations, and was master of the world, might continue exiles from their own altars and hearths, or from whatever motive he acted, entered upon a great political measure, and, when the day for propounding the bill for it was come, ascended the Rostra attended with a vast train of followers; nor did the nobility, on the other side, fail to meet him with a body of opponents, among whom were the rest of the tribunes. But when Gracchus observed Cnaeus Octavius opposing his laws, he laid hands upon him, in violation of the rights of the tribunitial body and the privileges of their office, and thrust him from the Rostra; and, besides, put him so much in fear of instant death, that he was obliged to lay down his office. Gracchus was in consequence made one of three commissioners for the division of the lands. But when, to complete his objects, he requested, at the comitia, that his term of office might be prolonged, and a party of the nobility, and of those whom he had expelled from their lands, rose up against him, a sanguinary conflict ensued in the forum. Having, upon this, fled to the Capitol, and exhorting the people to save his life, touching his head, at the same time, with his hand, he excited the idea that he was asking for royalty and a diadem. The people, therefore, at the instigation of Scipio Nasica, being roused to take up arms, he was, with apparent justice, put to death.
Chapter XV: The Sedition Of Caius Gracchus
Shortly after, Caius Gracchus was animated with equal ardour to become the avenger of his brother’s death and the maintainer of his laws. Endeavouring, accordingly, with similar tumult and terror, to reinstate the people in their forefathers’ lands, promising them the late bequest of Attalus for their support, and becoming elated and influential by means of a second tribuneship, he pursued for a time, with the support of the common people, and apparently successful course; but when Minucius, another of the tribunes, ventured to oppose his laws, he had the boldness, relying on the aid of partisans, to take possession of the Capitol so fatal to his family. Being driven thence, with a great slaughter among his party, he sought refuge on Mount Aventine, where, a number of the senators assailing him, he was cut off by the consul Opimius. Insult was also offered to his dead body; and the sacred head of a tribune of the people was paid for to his assassins with its weight in gold.
Chapter XVI: The Sedition Of Apuleius
Apuleius Saturninus, however, still persisted to promote the laws of the Gracchi, so much was he encouraged by Marius, who, being always an enemy to the nobility, and presuming, moreover, on his consulship, endeavoured, after killing openly, at the comitia, Annius his competitor for the tribunate, to introduce in his stead one Caius Gracchus, a man without tribe or name, but who, by a forged pedigree, had represented himself as one of the family of the Gracchi.
Apuleius, exulting with impunity amidst so many and so great outrages, applied himself, with such determination, to pass the laws of the Gracchi, that he even prevailed upon the senate to take an oath to promote his object, threatening such as hesitated that he would procure their exile.</ref>That he would procure their exile] Aqua et igni interdicturem. “That he would interdict from fire and water,” the common form of words used in the sentence of banishment.</ref> Yet there was one who chose exile rather than to take the oath. After the banishment of Metellus, therefore, when the nobility were greatly dispirited, and when he was domineering in his third year, he proceeded to such a height of audacity, that he even disturbed the consular comitia with a new murder. In order to make Glaucias, an abettor of his insanity, consul, he ordered his rival Caius Memmius to be slain, and, in the midst of the consequent tumult, joyfully heard himself called king by his followers. But the senate afterwards combining against him, and Marius, as he was no longer able to support him, becoming his opponent, a pitched battle was fought in the forum, and, being driven from the field, he took refuge in the Capitol. Being, however, besieged, and deprived of water, and producing in the minds of the senators, by the representations of his deputies, a belief that he repented of what he had done, he was allowed to come down from the Capitol, and was received, with the leaders of his party, into the senate-house, when the people, bursting into the building, overwhelmed him with sticks and stones, and tore him to pieces before he was dead.
Chapter XVII: The Sedition Of Drusus
Last of all, Livius Drusus, depending not only on the influence of the tribuneship, but on the authority of the senate, and the consent of all Italy, endeavoured to promote the same laws, and, by attempting one thing after another, excited so violent a combustion in the state, that not even the first flash of it could be endured; and, being cut off by a sudden death, he left a war as an inheritance to his posterity. The Gracchi, by their law respecting the judicial power, had divided the Roman people into two parties, and made of one nation a state with two heads. The Roman knights, feeling strong in such extraordinary privileges, as having the lives and fortunes of the greatest men in their hands, were, by intercepting the public revenues, robbing the state at their pleasure; while the senate, weakened by the banishment of Metellus and the condemnation of Rutilius, had lost all the pride of their dignity. In this state of affairs, Servilius Caepio and Livius Drusus, men equal in wealth, spirit, and dignity, (whence the rivalship that animated Drusus arose,) proceeded to maintain, the former the cause of the equestrian order, and the latter that of the senate. Standards, eagles, and banners accompanied each, and there was as much hostility in one city as there could have been in two camps. Caepio, in the first place, making an attack upon the senate, singled out Scaurus and Philippus, leaders among the nobility, to prosecute them for bribery at elections. Drusus, to oppose these proceedings, attracted the populace to his side by the prospect of passing the laws of the Gracchi, and inspired the allies, by means of the same laws, with the hope of obtaining the civic franchise. There is a saying of his remembered, “that he left nothing for any one to give away, unless he would distribute dust or air.” The day for proposing the bills arrived, when suddenly so vast a multitude showed themselves on all sides, that the city seemed to be beset with a crowd of enemies. Yet the consul Philippus ventured to oppose the bills; but an officer, seizing him by the throat, did not let him go till the blood gushed from his mouth and eyes. The bills were accordingly proposed and passed by force. But the allies, immediately afterwards, demanded the civic franchise which had been offered as the price of their assisting to pass them, when death, meantime, carried off Drusus, who was unable to keep his word, and who was sick of the disturbances which he had rashly excited; a death very seasonable at such a crisis. Nevertheless, the allies did not, on that account, cease to demand, by force of arms, the performance of Drusus’s promise from the Roman people.
Chapter XVIII: The War With The Allies
Though this war be called a war with the allies, to extenuate the odium of it, it was, if we acknowledge the truth, a civil war. For as the people of Rome united in itself the Etrurians, the Latins, and the Sabines, and derives one blood from them all, it formed one body of those several members, and is one people composed of them all. Nor did the allies with less disgrace excite an insurrecton within Italy than the citizens within the city.
When the allies, therefore, had with great justice demanded the freedom of a city which they had strengthened by their exertions, (with the hope of which Drusus, from a desire of getting power, had inspired them,) the same firebrand that burned Drusus, inflamed the allies, after he was cut off by the perfidy of his fellow-citizens, to take up arms and attack the city. Than such an outbreak what could be more sad, what more calamitous? when all Latium and Picenum, all Etruria and Campania, and at last Italy itself, rose up in arms against their metropolis and parent; when those monsters of ingratitude from the municipal towns led all the flower of our most brave and faithful allies under their several standards, Popedius heading the Marsians, Afranius the Latins, their whole senate and consuls the Umbrians, and Telesinus the Samnites and Lucanians; and when a people that was arbiter of princes and nations could not govern itself, and Rome, that had conquered Asia and Europe, was assailed from Corfinium.
The first step in the war was to have been taken on the Alban Mount, when, on the destival of the Latin Feriae, the consuls, Julius Caesar and Marcus Philippus, were to have been assassinated amidst the sacrifices and altars. That atrocity being prevented by a discovery, the whole fury of the war burst forth at Asculum, where certain commissioners, who had come from Rome, were slain in the midst of a crowd at the public games. This outrage bound them, as it were by an oath, to prosecute this impious war. Immediately, therefore, the various signals for hostilities sounded through tribes and cities from every quarter of Italy, Popedius, the leader and authro of the war, hurrying about from one place to another. Neither the devastation spread by Hannibal, nor that by Pyrrhus, was so great as the present. Ocriculum and Grumentum, Fesulae and Carseoli, Reate, Nuceria, and Picentia, were laid waste with slaughter, fire, and sword. The forces of Rutilius, the forces of Caepio, were alike defeated. Julius Caesar himself, having lost his army, and being brought back to Rome covered with blood, passed through the city a wretched corpse. But the great good fortune of the Roman people, always more remarkable in adversity than prosperity, rose again in all its might. Their generals, respectively, defeated the people whom they attacked; Cato dispersed the Etrurians, Gabinius the Marsians, Carbo the Lucanians, Sylla the Samnites; and Pompeius Strabo, laying waste the country about Asculum with fire and sword, did not cease from destroying, till, by the overthrow of the place, he had made atonement to the manes of so many armies and consuls, and to the gods of so many devastated cities.
Chapter XIX: The War Against The Slaves
Though, in the preceding war, we fought with our allies, (which was bad enough,) yet we contended with free men, and men of good birth: but who can with patience hear of a war against slaves on the part of a people at the head of all nations? The first was with slaves occurred in the infancy of Rome, in the heart of the city, when Herdonius Sabinus was their leader, and when, while the state was distracted with the seditions of the tribunes, the Capitol was besieged and wrested by the consul from the servile multitude. But this was an insurrection rather than a war. At a subsequent period, when the forces of the empire were engaged in different parts of the world, who would believe that Sicily was much more cruelly devastated by a war with slaves than in that with the Carthaginians? This country, fruitful in corn, and, in a manner, a suburban province, was covered with large estates of many Roman citizens; and the numerous slave-houses, and fettered tillers of the ground, supplied enough force for a war. A certain Syrian, by name Eunus, (the greatness of our defeats from him makes us remember it,) counterfeiting a fanatical inspiration, and tossing his hair in honour of the Syrian goddess, excited the slaves, by command of heaven as it were, to claim their liberty and take up arms. And that he might prove this to be done by supernatural direction, he concealed a nut in his mouth, which he had filled with brimstone and fire, and, breathing gently, sent forth flame together with his words. This prodigy at first attracted two thousand of such as came in his way; but in a short time, by breaking open the slave-houses, he collected a force of above sixty thousand; and, being adorned with ensigns of royalty, that nothing might be wanting to his audacity, he laid waste, with lamentable desolation, fortresses, towns, and villages. The camps even of praetors (the utmost disgrace of war) were taken by him; nor will I shrink from giving their names; they were the camps of Manilius, Lentulus, Piso, and Hypsaeus. Thus those, who ought to have been dragged home by slave-takers, persued praetorian generals routed in battle. At last vengeance was taken on them by our general Perperna; for having conquered them, and at last besieged them in Enna, and reduced them with famine as with a pestilence, he threw the remainder of the marauders into chains, and then crucified them. But over such enemies he was content with an ovation, that he might not sully the dignity of a triumph with the name of slaves.
Scarcely had the island recovered itself, when it passed from the hands of a Syrian slave to those of a Cilician. Athenio, a shepherd, having killed his master, formed his slaves, whom he had released from the slave-house, into a regular troop. Then, equipped with a purple robe and a silver sceptre, and with a crown on his head like a king, he drew together no less an army than the fanatic his predecessor, and laying waste, with even greater fury, (as if taking vengeance for his fate,) villages, fortresses, and towns, he vented his rage upon the masters, but still more violently on the slaves, whom he treated as renegades. By him, too, some armies of praetors were overthrown, and the camps of Servilius and Lucullus taken. But Aquilius, following the example of Perperna, reduced the enemy to extremites by cutting off his supplies, and easily destroyed by famine forces which were well defended by arms. They would have surrendered, had they not, from dread of punishment, preferred a voluntary death. Not even on their leader could chastisement be inflicted, though he fell alive into our hands, for while the people were disputing who should secure him, the prey was torn to pieces between the contending parties.
Chapter XX: The War Against Spartacus
We may, however, support the dishonour of a war with slaves, for though they are, by their circumstances, subjected to all kinds of treatment, they are yet, as it were, a second class of men, and may be admitted to the enjoyment of liberty with ourselves. But the war raised by the efforts of Spartacus I know not what name to call, for the soldiers in it were slaves, and the commanders gladiators; the former being persons of the meanest condition, and the latter men of the worst character, and adding to the calamity of their profession by its contempibleness. Spartacus, Crixus, and Oenomaus, breaking out of the fencing school of Lentulus, escaped from Capua, with not more than thirty of the same occupaion, and, having called the slaves to their standard, and collected a force of more than ten thousand men, were not content with merely having escaped, but were eager to take vengeance on their masters. The first theatre for action that attracted them was Mount Vesuvius. Here, being besieged by Clodius Glaber, they slid down a passage in the hollow part of the mountain, by means of ropes made of vine-branches, and pentrated to the very bottom of it; when, issuing forth by an outlet apparently impracticable, they captured, by a sudden attack, the camp of the Roman general, who expected no molestation. They afterwards took other camps, and spread themselves to Cora, and through the whole of Campania. Not content with plundering the country seats and villages, they ravaged, with terrible devastation, Nola and Nuceria, Thurii and Metapontum. Being joined with new forces day after day and forming themselves into a regular army, they made themselves, out fo osiers and beasts’ hides, a rude kind of shields, and out of the iron from the slave-houses forged swords and other weapons. And that nothing proper might be wanting to the complement of the army, they procured cavalry by breaking in the herds of horses that came in their way, and conferred upon their leader the ensigns and fasces that they took from the praetors. Nor did he, who of a mercenary Thracian had become a Roman soldier, of a soldier a deserter and robber, and afterwards, from consideration of his strength, a gladiator, refuse to receive them. He afterwards, indeed, celebrated the funerals of his own officers, who died in battle, with the obsequies of Roman generals, and obliged the prisoners to fight with arms at their funeral piles, just as if he could atone for all past dishonours by becoming, from a gladiator, an exhibitor of shows of gladiators. Engaging next with the armies of the consuls, he cut to pieces that of Lentulus, near the Apennines, and destroyed the camp of Caius Cassius at Mutina. Elated by which success, he deliberated (which is sufficient disgrace for us) about assailing the city of Rome. At length an effort was made against this swordsman with the whole force of the empire, and Licinius Crassus avenged the honour of Rome, by whom the enemies (I am ashamed to call them so) being routed and put to flight, betook themselves to the furthest parts of Italy. Here, being shut up in a corner in Bruttium, and attempting to escape into Sicily, but having no ships, and having in vain tried, on the swift current of the strait, to sail on rafts made of hurdles and casks tied together with twigs, they at last sallied forth, and died a death worthy of men. As was fitting under a gladiator captain, they fought without sparing themselves. Spartacus himself, fighting with the utmost bravery in the front of the battle, fell as became their general.
Chapter XXI: The Civil War Of Marius And Sylla
This only was wanting to complete the misfortunes of the Romans, that they should raise an unnatural war among themselves, and that, in the midst of the city and forum, citizens should fight with citizens, like gladiators in an amphitheatre. I should bear the calamity, however, with greater patience, if plebeian leaders or contemptible nobles had been at the head of such atrocity; but even Marius and Sylla, (O indignity! such men, such generals!) the grace and glory of their age, lent their eminent characters to this worst of evils. It was carried on, if I may use the expression, under three constellations, the first movement being light and moderate, an affray rather than a war, for the violence prevailed only between the leaders themselves; in the next rising, the victory spread with greater cruelty and bloodshed, through the very bowels of the whole senate; the third conflict exceeded not merely animosity between citizens, but that between enemies, the fury of the war being supported by the strength of all Italy, and rancour raging till none remained to be killed.
The origin and cause of the war was Marius’s insatiable ambition of honours, in endeavouring to procure for himself the province decreed to Sylla by a law of Sulpicius.</ref>A law of Sulpicius] Silpicia lege. Sulpicius was a tribune of the people who had procured a law to be passed for this purpose.</ref> Sylla, provoked at this injustice, immediately led back his legions, and, putting off the war with Mithridates, poured two bodies of troops into the city by the Esquiline and Colline gates. Here Sulpicius and Albinovanus designedly throwing their troops in his way, and sticks, stones, and other weapons, being discharged on him on all sides from the walls, he himself also threw weapons in return, and forced a passage even by fire, and triumphantly occupied the citadel on the Capitoline hill as a captured fortress, a place which had escaped being taken by the Carthaginians and the Gauls. Having then, by a decree of the senate, pronounced his opponents enemies to the state, he proceeded to the utmost severities, by forms of law, upon the tribune who was present, and others of the adverse faction. Flight like that of slave saved Marius, or rather Fortune preserved him for another war.
In the consulship of Cornelius Cinna and Cnaeus Octavius, the fire, which had been but imperfectly suppressed, burst forth afresh, ebing excited, indeed, by a disagreement between the consuls themselves, on a proposal being made to the senate for recalling such as the senate had declared enemies. The assembly met armed with swords, but the party that preferred peace and quiet prevailing, Cinna was driven from the country, and fled to join Marius. Marius then returned from Africa, the greater for his misfortunes; for the report of his imprisonment, chains, flight, and exile, had surrounded his dignity with a certain awe. At the name of so great a man people flocked together from all parts; slaves, (a disgraceful proceeding,) and persons condemned to the prisons, were armed in his cause; and the unhappy general easily found an army. Claiming by force, therefore, a restoration to his country from which he had by force been expelled, he might seem to have acted with justice, had he not stained his cause with cruelty. But as he returned at enmity with gods and men, at the first irruption of his fury, Ostia, the ward and foster-child of the city, was pillaged with miserable havoc; and his army next entered Rome in four bodies, Cinna, Marius, Carbo, and Sertorius, dividing the troops amongst them. Here, when the whole force of Octavius had been driven from the Janiculum, and a signal had been immediately after given for the slaughter of the leading men, somewhat more cruelty was shown than would have been practiced in a town of the Carthaginians or the Cimbri. The head of the consul Octavius was exposed upon the Rostra; that of Antonius, who had held the consulship, was displayed on Marius’s dining-table; the Caesars were killed by Fimbria in the midst of their own household-gods; the two Crassi, father and son, each in the sight of the other; the hooks of the executioners dragged Baebius and Numitorius through the middle of the forum; Catulus released himself from the insults of his enemies by swallowing fire; Merula, the priest of Jupiter, sprinked the face of Jupiter himself with blood from his veins; Ancharius was stabbed in the sight of Marius himself, because, forsooth, he did not stretch out that fatal hand Such and so many deaths of senators did the seventh consulship of Marius produce, between the calends and ides of the month of January. What would have happened if he had completed the year of his consulship?
In the consulate of Scipio and Norbanus the third tempest of civil rage thundered forth with its whole fury, eight legions, and five hundred cohorts, being ranged in arms on the one side, and on the other Sylla returning from Asia with his victorious army. And since Marius had been so cruel to the party of Sylla, how much further cruelty was necessary that Sylla might be avenged on Marius? The first conflict took place at Capua, near the river Vulturnus, where the army of Norbanus was instantly put to flight, and the forces of Scipio, immediately afterwards, surprised, while hopes of peace were held out to them. The younger Marius and Carbo, being then made consuls, as if despairing of ultimate victory, but purposing not to fall unavenged, sacrificed to their own manes, as it were, beforehand, with the blood of the senate; and the senate-house being beset, its members were led forth, as prisoners from a gaol, to be put to death. What slaughters were committed in the Forum, in the Circus, in the open temples! Quintus Mucius Scaevola, one of the pontifices, embracing the Vestal altars, was almost buried in the same fire with them. Lamponius and Telesinus, eladers of the Samnites, wasted Campania and Etruria more cruelly than Pyrrhus and Hannibal had done, and revenged themselves under pretence of supporting their party. But at Sacriportus, and the Colline gate, all the forces of Marius were defeated. At the former place Marius, at the latter Telesinus, was conquered. the end of the war, however, was not the end of the massacres; for swords were drawn even in peae, and vengeance was taken even on such as had voluntarily surrendered. It was a less atrocity that Sylla cut to pieces more than seventy thousand men at Sacriportus and the Colline gate, for it was then war; but it was a greater than he ordered four thousand unarmed citizens to be butchered in the Villa Publica. Were there so many killed in peace, and no more? Who, inded, can reckon those whom every one that would, killed in the city? until Fufidius admonishing Sylla that “some ought to be left alive, that there might be people for them to rule,” that great proscription-list was put forth, and two thousand were selected, out of the equestrian and senatorial orders, to be sentenced to die. This was an edict of a new kind. It grieves me to state, after these proceedings, that the deaths of Carbo, Soranus the praetor, and Venuleius, were subjects of sport; that Baebius was severed limb from limb, not by the sword, but by the hands of men, like wild beasts; and that Marius, the brother of the general, was kept alive awhile at the sepulchre of Catulus, his eyes being put out, and his hands and legs being cut off one after another, that he might die as it were piecemeal.
When the punishments of individuals were nearly over, the first municipal towns of Italy were put up to sale, Spoletium, Interamniusm, Praeneste, and Florence. As to Sulmo, an ancient city in alliance and friendship with us, Sylla (a heinous act) ordered it, though not taken by siege, to be destroyed; just as enemies condemned by the law of arms, and malefactors sentenced to death, are ordered to be led to execution.
Chapter XXII: The War With Sertorius
What was the war with Sertorius but a consequence of Sylla’s proscription? Whether I should call it a war with foreign enemies, or a civil war, I do not know, as it was one which Lusitanians and Celtiberians carried on under the conduct of a Roman. Sertorius, a man of great but unsuccessful ability, becoming an exile and fugitive from that fatal proscription, disturned sea and land in consequence of his ill-treatment; and, trying his fortune, at one time in Africa, and at another in the Balearic isles, and being driven over the Ocean, went as far as the fortunate Islands, and at length armed Spain. A brave man easily unites himself with brave men; nor did the valour of the Spanish soldiery ever appear greater than under a Roman general. Nor was he indeed content with Spain, but extended his views to Mithridates and the people of Pontus, and assisted that king with a fleet. And what would have happened if they had formed a junction? The Roman state could not withstand so powerful an enemy as Sertorius by means of one general only. To Metellus was joined Cnaeus Pompey: and these two wasted his forces for a long time, though always with doubtful success; nor was he at last subdued in the field, until he was betrayed by the villainy and treachery of those about him. Having pursued his forces through almost all Spain, they were long in reducing them, the contests being always such that victory was dubious. The first battles were fought under the command of the lieutenant-generals; Domitius and Thorius making a commencement on one side, and the brothers Herculeii on the other. Soon afterwards, the two latter being overthrown at Segovia, and the former at the river of Anas, the generals themselves tried their strength in the field, and at Lauron and Sucro suffered equal loss on both sides. Part of our army them devoting itself to the devastation of the country, and part to the destruction of the cities, unhappy Spain suffered for the disagreement between the Roman generals, till Sertorius, being cut off by the treachery of his people, and Perperna being defeated and given up, the cities themselves submitted to the power of the Romans, as Osca, Termes, Tutia, Valentia, Auxima, and, after having endured the extremity of famine, Calagurris. Spain was thus restored to peace. The victorious generals would have the war accounted rather a foreign than a civil one, that they might have the honour of a triumph.
Chapter XXIII: The Civil War Under Lepidus
In the consulship of Marcus Lepidus, and Quintus Catulus, a civil war that was kindled was suppressed almost before it began; but how violent was it! It was a spark of the great civil contention that had spread abroad its fires from the very funeral pile of Sylla. For Lepidus, in his presumption, being eager for a change in the state of affairs, prepared to annul the acts of that eminent man, and not indeed unjustly, if he could have done so without much injury to the commonwealth. But he would not; for since Sylla, as dictator, had proscribed his enemies by the right of war, if Lepidus recalled those of them that survived, for what other end were they recalled than for a war? And since Sylla had assigned the estates of the condemned citizens, though seized unjustly, yet by form of law, a demand for their restitution would no dount disturn the city that was now tranquillised. It was expedient, therefore, for the sick and wounded republic to continue upon any terms, lest its wounds should be torn open by the dressing.
Lepidus, then, having alarmed the state, as with the blast of a trumpet, by his turbulent harangues, set out for Etruria, and thence brought arms and an army against Rome. But Lutatius Catulus and Cnaeus Pompey, the captains and ringleaders under Sylla’s tyranny, had previously occupied the Milvian bridge, and the Janiculan hill, with another army. Being repulsed by these generals in the first encounter, and afterwards declared an enemy by the senate, he fled back, without loss, to Etruria, and thence retired to Sardinia, where he died of disease and sorrow of mind. The conquerors, which was scarcely ever the case in the civil wars, were content with re-establishing peace.
Chapter I: The Insurrection Of Catiline
It was in the first place expensive indulgence, and, the next, the want of means occasioned by it, with a fair opportunity at the same time, (for the Roman forces were then abroad in the remotest part of the world,) that led Catiline to form the atrocious design of subjugating his country. With what accomplices (direful to relate!) did he undertake to murder the senate, to assassinate the consuls, to destroy the city by fire. to plunder the treasury, to subvert the entire government, and to commit such outrages as not even Hannibal seems to have contemplated! He was himself a patrician; but this was only a small consideration; there were joined with him the Curii, the Porcii, the Syllae, the Cethegi, and Antronii, the Varhunteii, the Longini, (what illustrious families, what ornaments of the senate!) and Lentulus also, who was then praetor. All these he had as supporters in his horrid attempt. As a pledge to unite them in the plot, human blood was introduced, which, being carried round in bowls, they drank amongst them; an act of the utmost enormity, had not that been more enormous for which they drank it. Then would have been an end of this glorious empire, if the conspiracy had not happened in the consulship of Cicero and Antonius, of whom one discovered the plot by vigilance, and the other suppressed it by arms.
The revelation of the atrocious project was made by Fulvia, a common harlot, but unwilling to be guilty of treason against her country. The consul Cicero, accordingly, having convoked the senate, amde a speech against the accused, who was then present in the house; but nothing further was effected by it, than that the enemy made off, openly and expressly declaring that he would extinguish the flame raised against him by a general ruin. He then set out to an army which had been prepared by Manlius in Etruria, intending to advance under arms against the city. Lentulus, meanwhile, promising himself the kingdom portended to his family by the Sibylline verses, disposed throughout the city, against a day appointed by Catiline, men, combustibles, and weapons. And not confined to plotting among the people of the city, the rage for the conspiracy, having excited the deputies of the Allobroges, who happened then to be at Rome, to give their voice in favour of war, would have spread beyond the Alps, had not a letter of Lentulus been intercepted through the information of Vulturcius. Hands were immediately laid on the barbarian deputies, by order of Cicero; and the praetor was openly convicted by the senate. When a consultation was held about their punishment, Caesar gave his opinion that they should be spared for the sake of their rank, Cato that they should suffer the penalty due to their crime. Cato’s advice being generally adopted, the traitors were strangled in prison.
But though a portion of the conspirators were thus cut off, Catiline did not desist from this enterprise. Marching, however, with an army from Etruria against his country, he was defeated by a force of Antonius that encountered him on the way. How desperate the engagement was, the result manifested; for not a man of the rebel troops survived. Whatever place each had occupied in the battle, that very spot, when life was extinct, he covered with his corpse. Catiline was found, far in advance of his men, among the dead bodies of the enemy; a most glorious death, had he thus fallen for his country.
Chapter II: The War Between Caesar And Pompey
Almost the whole world being now subdued, the Roman empire was grown too great to be overthrown by any foreign power. Fortune, in consequence, envying the sovereign people of the earth, armed it to its own destruction. The outrages of Marius and Cinna had already made a sort of prelude within the city, as if by way of trial. The storm of Sylla had thundered even further, but still within the bounds of Italy. The fury of Caesar and Pompey, as with a general deluge or conflagration, overran the city, Italy, other countries and nations, and finally the whole empire wherever it extended; so that it cannot properly be called a civil war, or war with allies; neither can it be termed a foreign war; but it was rather a war consisting of all these, or even something more than a war. If we look at the leaders in it, the whole of the senators were on one side or the other; if we consider the armies, there were on one side elevemn legions, and on the other eighteen, the entire flower and strength of the manhood of Italy; if we contemplate the auxiliary forces of the allies, there were on one side levies of Gauls and Germans, on the other Deiotarus, Ariobarzanes, Tarcondimotus, Cotys, and all the force of Thrace, Cappadocia, Cilicia, Macedonia, Greece, Aetolia, and all the East; if we regard the duration of the war, it was four years, a time short in proportion to the havoc made in it; if we attend to the space and ground on which it was conducted, it arose within Italy, whence it spread into Gaul and Spain, and, returning from the west, settled with its whole force on Epirus and Thessaly; hence it suddenly passed into Egypt, then turned towards Asia, next fell upon Africa, and at last wheeled back into Spain, where it at length found its termination. But the animosities of parties did not end with the war, nor subsided till the hatred of those who had been defeated satiated itself with the murder of the conqueror in the midst of the city and the senate.
The cause of this calamity was the same with that of all others, excessive good fortune. For in the consulship of Quintus Metellus and Lucius Afranius, when the majesty of Rome predominated thoughout the world, and Rome herself was celebrating, in the theatres of Pmpey, her recent victories and triumphs over Pontus and Armenia, the overgrown power of Pompey, as is usual in similar cases, excited among the idle citizens a feeling of envy towards him. Metellus, discontented at the diminution of his triumph over Crete, Cato, ever an enemy to those in power, calumniated Pompey, and raised a clamour against his acts. Resentment as such conduct drove Pompey to harsh measures, and impelled him to provide some support for his authority. Crassus happened at that time to be distinguished for family, wealth, and honour, but was desirous to have his power still greater. Caius Caesar had become eminent by his eloquence and spirit, and by his promotion to the consulate. Yet Pompey rose above them both. Caesar, therefore, being eager to acquire distinction, Crassus to increase what he had got, and Pompey to add to his, and all being equally covetous of power, they readily formed a compact to seize the government. Striving, accordingly, with their common forces, each for his own advancement, Caesar took the province of Gaul, Crassus that of Asia, Pompey that of Spain; they had three vast armies,, and thus the empire of the world was now held by these three leading personages. Ther government extended through ten years. At the expiration of this period, (for they had previously been kept in restraint by dread of one another,) a rivalry broke forth between Caesar and Pompey, consequent to the death of Crassus among the Parthians, and that of Julia, who, being married to Pompey, maintained a good understanding between the son-in-law and fathr-in-law by means of this matrimonial bond. But now the power of Caesar was an object of jealousy to Pompey, and the eminence of Pompey was offensive to Caesar. The one could not bear an equal nor the other a superior. Sad to relate, they struggled for mastery, as if the resources of so great an empire would not suffice for two. Accordingly, in the consulship of Lentulus and Marcellus, their first bond of union being broken, the senate, that is, Pompey, began to think of a successor to Caesar in the consulate; nor did Caesar refuse to comply with their wishes, if regard were but had to him at the following election. But the consulship, which ten tribunes of the people, with Pompey’s approbation, had recently decreed him in his absence, was now, as Pompey remained neutral, refused him. It was insisted “that he should come and sue for it according to ancient usage.” He, on the other hand, demanded what had been decreed him, and declared, that unless they adhered to their word, he would not part with his army. A decree was accordingly passes against him as an enemy.
Caesar, provoked at these proceedings, resolved to secure the rewards of arms by means of arms. The first scene of acion, in this civil war, was Italy, of which Pompey had occupied the strongholds with light garrisons. But they were all ovrpowered by the sudden advance of Caesar. The first signal for battle sounded from Ariminium, when Libo was expelled from Etruria, Thermus from Umbria, and Domitius from Corfinium. The war would have been finished without bloodshed, if Caesar could have surprised Pompey at Brundusium; and he would have surprised him, had he not escaped by night through the barricade of the beseiged harbour. Dishonourable to relate! he that was recently at the head of the senate, the arbiter of peace and war, fled across the sea, over which he had once triumphed, in a single vessel that was shattered and almost dismantled. Nor was Pompey driven from Italy sooner than the senate was forced from the city, which Caesar having entered, when it was almost evacuated from fear of him, created himself consul. The sacred treasury, too, as the tribunes were slow in unlocking it, he ordered to be broken open, seizing the revenue and property of the Roman people before he seized their empire.
Pompey being driven off and put to flight, Caesar thought it better to regulate the provinces before proceedings to pursue him. Sicily and Sardinia, to be assured of corn, he secured by means of his lieutenant-generals. In Gaul there were no remains of hostility; for he himelf had established peace in it. But Marseilles, when he wished to pass through it on his way to the Spanish armies of Pompey, ventured to shut her gates against him. The unhappy city, desirous of peace, fell into a war through fear of war. But, as it was fortified with walls, he lft it to be reduced for him in his absence. The men of the Greek city, in opposition to the effeminacy of its character, ventured to break through the enemy’s lines, to set fire to their machines, and angage them with their vessels. But Brutus, to whom the conduct of the siege had been intrusted, defeated them by land and sea, and utterly subdued them. At length, when they surrendered, everything was taken from them, except, what they valued above everything, their liberty.
In Spain, a doubtful, varied, and bloody contest awaited Caesar with Petreius and Afranius, the generals of Pompey, whom, when they were lying encamped at Ilerda, near the river Sicoris, he attempted to besiege, and to cut them off from the town. In the mean time, by an overflow of the river in the spring, he himself was prevented from getting provisions. Thus his camp was assailed by famine, and the besieger was himself in a manner besieged. But when the river subsided, it left the plains free for devastation and contest. Caesar then pressed fiercely upon the enemy, and, having overtaken them as they were retreating to Celtiberia, forced them with a mole and line of circimvallation, and consequent privation of water, to capitulate.
Hither Spain was thus secured; nor did Farther Spain long resist. For what could one legion do, after five had been defeated? Varro, therefore, readily submitting, Cadiz, the Strait of Gibraltar, the Ocean, and everything else, acknowledged the superior fortune of Caesar. Fortune, however, in Illyricum and Africa, made some attempt against him in his absence, as if on purpose that his successed might be made more striking by something unfavourable. For when Dolabella and Antony, who were ordered to secure the entrance to the Adriatic, had pitched their camps, the former on the Illyrian, the latter on the Curictian shore, at a time when Pompey was master of a vast extent of sea, Octavius Libo, Pompey’s lieutenant-general, suddenly surrounded both of them with a large force from the fleet. Famine forced Antony to surrender. Some flat boats sent to his assistance by Basilus, such as want of ships had obliged them to make, were caught, as it were, in a net, by means of ropes stretched under the water, through a new contrivance of the Cilicians in Pompey’s service. Two of them, however, the tide brought off; but one, which bore some men of Opitergium, struck upon the shallows, and underwent a fate deserving to be remembered by posterity. A party of something less than a thousand men sustained, for a whole day, the weapons of an army that entirely surrounded them; and, when their valour had no way of escape, they agred, in order to avoid a surrender, and at the instigation of the tribune Vulteius, to kill one another.
In Africa the valour of Curio was equalled by his ill-fortune; for, being sent to secure that province, and elated with the conquest and rout of Varus, he was unable to make a stand against the sudden arrival of the king Juba and the Mauretanian cavalry. After he was defeated, he might have fled; but shame prompted him to die with the army which was lost by his rashness.
But fortune now summoning the pair of combatants, destined to contend for the empire of the world, Pompey fixed on Epirus for the seat of warfare, nor was Caesar slow to meet him; for, having settled everything in his rear, he set sail, though the middle of winter obstructed his passage by unfavourable weather, to pursue the war; and, having pitched his camp at Oricum, and finding that part of his forces, which had been left with Antony for want of ships, made some delay at Brundusium, he grew so impatient, that, to get them over, he attempted so sail alone in a spy-boat at midnight, though the sea was tempestuously agitated by the wind. A saying of his to the master of the boat, who was alarmed at the greatness of the danger, is well remembered; “What dost thou fear? Thou carriest Caesar.”
When the forces of Caesar and Pompey were assembled from every quarter, and their camps were pitched at no great distance, the plans conceived by the generals were widely different. Caesar, naturally daring, and eager to bring the affair to a conclusion, displayed his troops, and challenged and harassed the enemy, sometimes besieging their camp, which he had inclosed with a wall of sixteen miles in circuit; (but what hurt could a siege do to those who, from the sea being open, had an abundance of supplies?) sometimes by fruitless attacks on Dyrrachium, (a place which even its situation rendered impregnable,) and, at the same time, by constant engagements with their parties as they sallied out, (at which time the extraordinary valour of Scaeva the centurion was displayed, into whose shield a hundred and twenty weapons penetrated,) as well as by plundering such cities as had joined Pompey, among which he wasted Oricum, and Gomphi, and other strongholds of Thessaly. To counteract these attempts, Pompey contrived delays, and declined to fight, in order that he might wear out the enemy, who were hemmed in on all sides, with want of provisions, and that the ardour of his impetuous opponent might be exhausted. But the prudent plan of the general did not long avail him; the soldiers found fault with the inaction in which they were kept, the allies with the protraction of the war, and the nobility with the general’s love of power. Thus the fates hurrying him on, Thessaly was chosen as the theatre for battle, and the destiny of the city, the empire, and the whole of mankind, was committed to the plains of Philippi. Never did fortune behold so many of the forces, or so much of the dignity, of the Roman people collected in one place. More that three hundred thousand men were assembled in the two armies, besides the auxiliary troops of kings and nations. Nor were there ever more manifest signs of some approaching destruction; the escape of victims, swarms of bees settling on the standards, and darkness in the daytime; while the general himself, in a dream by night, heard a clapping of hands in his own theatre in Rome, which rung in his ears like the beating of breasts in sorrow; and he appeared in the morning (an unlucky omen!) clad in black in the centre of the army.
As to the army of Caesar, it was never possessed of greater spirit and alacrity. It was on his side that the trumpets first sounded, and the darts were first discharged. The javelin of Crastinus, too, was noticed as that of the beginner of the battle; who, being soon after found among the dead bodies of the enemy, with a sword thrust into his mouth, proved by the strangeness of the wound the eagerness and rage with which he fought. Nor was the issue of the contest less wonderful. For though Pompey had so much larger a number of horse, that he seemed capable of easily hemming in Caesar, he was himself hemmed in. When they had fought a long time without advantage on either side, and Pompey’s cavalry had galloped foreard at his command from one of the wings, the German cohorts on the other side, at a given signal, suddenly met the horse in their course with so furious a charge, that the cavalry seemed to be but infantry, and the infantry to advance with the force of cavalry. On the overthrow of the retreating horse followed the destruction of the light-armed foot. Consternation then spreading wider and wider, and the troos of Pompey throwing each other into confusion, the slaughter of the rest was effected as with one hand, nor did anything contribute to the overthrow of the army so much as its magnitude. Caesar exerted himself greatly in the battle, acting a middle part, as it were, between a commander and a soldier. Some sayings of his, too, which fell from him as he rode about, were caught up; one of which was cruel, but judicious and conducive to the victory, “Soldiers, strike at the face;” another, uttered when he was in pursuit, was intended only for effect, “Spare your countrymen.”
Happy had Pompey been, though in misfortune, had the same fate that overwhelmed his army fallen upon himself. He survived his honour, to flee on horseback, with more disgrace, through Thessalian Tempe; to reach Lesbos in one small vessel; to be driven from Syedrae, and to meditate, upon a desert rock of Cilicia, an escape to Parthia, Africa, or Egypt; and finally, to die on the shore of Pelusium, in sight of his wife and children, at the word of a most contemptible prince, at the instigation of eunuchs, and, that nothing might be wanting to his calamities, by the sword of Septimius, a deserter from his own army.
With the death of Pompey who would not have supposed that the war had been concluded? But the ashes of the fire of Thessaly burst forth into flame again with much more violence and heat than before. In Egypt, indeed, a war arose against Caesar without the influence of Roman faction. Ptolemy, king of Alexandria, having committed the crowning atrocity of the civil war, and assured himself of the friendship of Caesar by means of Pompey’s head, but Fortune, at the same time, demanding vengeance for the manes of so great a man, an opportunity for her purpose was not long wanting. Cleopatra, the king’s sister, falling at the feet of Caesar, intreated that a part of the kingdom might be restored to her. The damsel had beauty, and its attractions were heightened by the circumstance that, being such as she was, she seemed to have suffered injustice; while Caesar had a dislike for the king her brother, who had sacrified Pompey to the fortune of party, and not from regard to Caesar, and who would doubtless have treated Caesar himself in a similar manner, had his interest required it. Caesar, desiring that Cleopatra should be reinstated in power, was immediately beset in the palace by the same persons that had assassinated Pompey; but with wonderful bravery, though only with a small body of troops, he withstood the efforts of a numerous army. In the first place, by setting fire to the neighbouring houses and dockyards, he kept at a distance the darts of his eager enemies, and then suddenly made his escape to the island of Phaos. Being driven from thence into the sea, he swam off, with wonderful good fortune, to his fleet that lay at hand, leaving his military cloak in the water, whether by chance, or with a view to its receiving, instead of himself, the shower of darts and stones hurled by the enemy. At length being taken up by the men of his fleet, and attacking the enemy on all sides at once, he made atonement to the manes of his son-in-law by a conquest of that perfidious nation. Thedotus the king’s guardian, the author of the whole war, and Pothinus and Ganymede, monsters that were not even men, after fleeing in various directions over sea and land, were cut off by death. The body of the king himself was found buried in the mud of the river, distiguished by a golden coat of mail.
In Asia, too, there arose a new commotion from Pontus, Fortune apparently, and as it were purposely, taking this opportunity to terminate the kingdom of Mithridates, that as the father was conquered by Pompey, the son might be conquered by Caesar. King Pharnaces, presuming more on our dissensions than on his own valour, poured into Cappadocia with an army ready for action. But Caesar, engaging him, overthrew him in one battle, and that, as I may say, not an entire one, falling upon him like lightning, which, in one and the same moment, comes, strikes, and is gone. Nor was it a vain boast on the part of Caesar, “that the enemy was conqered before he was seen.”
Such were the occurences with foreig enemies. But in Africa he had a fiercer contest with his own countrymen than at Pharsalia. A tide of civil fury had driven the relics of the shipwrecked party to this country; relics, indeed we should hardly call them, but rather a complete warlike force. The very calamity of the general had strengthened the obligation of their military oath; nor did the succeeding eladers show any degeneracy; for the names of Cato and Scipio had a sufficiently effective sound in the room of that of Pompey. To the force on that side was added Juba, king of Mauritania, as if that Caesar might carry his conquests the further. There was therefore no difference in the fields of Pharsalia and Thapsus, except that the efforts of the Caesarians were greater and more vigorous, as being indignant that the war should have grown up after the death of Pompey. The trumpeters (what had never happened before) sounded a charge of themselves, before the general gave an order for it. The overthrow began with Juba, whose elephants, new to war, and lately brought from the woods, were startled at the sudden noise, and his army immediately took to flight. Nor were the leaders too brave to flee, though the deaths of them all were not inglorious. Scipio got off in a ship, but, as the enemy overtook him, he thrust his sword into his bowels, and when some one asked where he was, he retrned this answer, “The general is well.” Juba, habing betaken himself to his palace, and having banqueted sumptuously on the following day with Petreius the companion of his flight, offered himself, at table, in the midst of their cups, to be killed by his hand. Petreius slew both Juba and himself, and the half-consumed meats, and funeral dishes, were mixed with the blood of a king and a Roman. Cato was not at the battle, but, having pitched his camp on the Bagrada, guarded Utica, as a second barrier of Africa.</ref>As a second barrier of Afrca] Velut altera Africae claustra. Thapsus having been the other.</ref> Hearing, however, of the defeat of his party, he did not hesitate to die, but even cheerfully, as became a wise man, hastened his own death. Dismissing his son and attendants with an embrace, and reading in the night, by the light of a lamp, that book of Plato which treats of immortality of the soul, he afterwards rested a while, but, about the first watch, having drawn his sword, he pierced his breast, which he had uncovered with his hand, more than once. After this the surgeons would needs trouble him with plasters, which he endured till they were gone, and then opened the gashes afresh, when a vast quantity of blood issuing foth made his dying hands sink on the wounds.
But as if there had hitherto been no fighting war, and the party of Pompey, arose again; and Spain exceeded Africa in the struggle as much as Africa had exceeded Thessaly. What now attracted great regard to the party, was, that the two generals were brothers, and that two Pompeys had appeared instead of one. Never, therefore, were there fiercer encounters, or with such dubious success. First of all, Varus and Didius, the lieutenant-generals, engaged at the very mouth of the Ocean. But their vessels had a harder contest with the sea, than with one another. For the Ocean, as if it would punish the discord of fellow-citzens, destroyed both fleets by shipwreck. What an awful scene was it, when waves, storms, men, ships, and arms, mingled in contention at the same time! Consider, too, the frightful nature of the situation itself; the shores of Spain, on the one side, and of Mauretania on the other, closing as it were together; the internal and external seas, and the pillars of Hercules overhanging them, while all around was agitated with a battle and a tempest.
Soon after, they applied themselves, in various quarters, to the sieges of cities, which, between the leaders on one side and the other, paid a severe penalty for their alliance with Rome. Of the battles, the last was fought at Munda. Here the contest was not attended with Caesar’s previous success, but was long doubtful and threatening, so that Fortune seemed evidently hesitating how to act. Caesar, too, before the battle, was more low-spirited than ordinary, whether from meditating on the instability of human things, from a feeling of mistrust of his long-continued prosperity, or from dreading Pompey’s fate after having obtained Pompey’s station. But in the course of the battle there occurred an incident, such as no man ever remembered to have heard of before; for when the two armies, equal in fortune, had been wholly engaged in mutual slaughter, there happened suddenly, in the greatest heat of the combat, a deep silence, as if by common consent, on both sides. This was an expression of general feeling. At last came the dire misfortune, strange to the eyes of Caesar, that after fourteen years of service, his tried body of veterans gave ground. They did not indeed flee, but they seemed to resist rather from being ashamed to retreat than from real courage. Springing off his horse, therefore, he rushed like a madman to the front of the battle, where he stayed and encouraged those that were shrinking, and made his influence felt through the whole body with eye, hand, and voice. Yet, in the confusion, he is said to have meditated death, and to have shown plainly by his looks that he was inclined to hasten his end, had not five battalions of the enemy, which then marched across the field, and which had been sent by Labienus to defend the camp that was in danger, caused an appearance of flight. This the crafty general either believed, or took advantage of the movement to make it appear; and, advancing on the enemy as if they were fleeing, he both raised the courage of his own men, and damped that of his opponents. The party of Caesar, thinking themselves conquerors, pressed forward with greater spirit; that of Pompey, supposing some on their side to be fleeing, commenced a general flight. How great the slaughter of the enemy was, and how great the rage and fury of the conquerors, may be estimated from the following circumstance. The fugitives from the battle having taken refuge in Munda, and Caesar, giving orders that they should immediately be besieged, a rampart was formed of dead bodies heaped on one another, which were held together by being stuck through with lances and javelins; a spectacle that would have been horrible even among barbarians.
When Pompey’s sons had lost all hope of victory, Caesonius, having overtaken Cnaeus, who had fled from the field of battle, and was making his way, with a wound in his leg, to some desert and solitary place, slew him in the town of Lauron, still fighting, and proving that his spirit was not utterly broken. Fortune, meanwhile, hid Sextus in Celtiberia, and reserved him for other wars after Caesar’s time.
Caesar returned triumphant to his native city. The Rhine, the Rhone, and the subjugated Ocean formed of gold, represented his first triumph, for Gaul. The second was for Egypt; when the Nile, Arsinoe, and the Pharos burning like fire, were displayed. The third was for Pharnaces and Pontus. The fourth was displayed for Juba and the Moors, and twice-conquered Spain. But Pharaslia, Thapsus, and Munda, were nowhere to be seen; yet how much greater were those actions for which he had no triumph!
There was now, at last, an end of hostilites. The peace that followed was free from bloodshed, and atonement was made for the war by clemency. No one was put to death by Caesar’s order except Afranius, (it was enough that he had pardoned him once,) and Faustus Sylla, (he had learned to be afraid of sons-in-law,) and the daughter of Pompey with her children by Sylla; in which proceeding regard was had to posterity. His countrymen, therefore, being not ungrateful, all kinds of honours were conferred on him as the sole governor of the state; as statues in the temples, a radiant crown to wear in the theatre, a raised seat in the senate-house, a cupola on his own house, and a month in the heavens. He was, besides, called Father of his country, and Perpetual Dictator; and at last, whether with his own consent is doubtful, the ensigns of royalty were offered him on the Rostra by the consul Antony.
But all these honours were but as decorations laid on a victim doomed to die. The envy of others overcame the clemency of the ruler, and his very power of conferring benefits was insupportable to the free. Nor was long delay granted him, before Brutus and Cassius, and others of the nobility, conspired to put him to death. How great is the power of fate! The knowledge of the conspiracy had spread widely; an account of it, on the very day fixed for its execution, had been presented to Caesar himself; nor was he able, when he sacrificed, to find one in a hundred victims propitious. Yet he ventured into the senate-house, meditating an expedition against the Parthians. Here, as he was sitting in his curule chair, the senate fell upon him, and he was struck to the ground with three-and-twenty wounds. Thus he, who had deluged the world with the blood of his countrymen, deluged the senate-house at last with his own.
Chapter III: Caesar Augustus
The Roman people, when Caesar and Pompey were killed, thought that they had returned to their state of pristine freedom; and they would have returned to him, had neither Pompey left children, nor Caesar an heir; or, what was worse, had not Antony, once the sharer and afterwards the rival of Caesar’s power, survived to be the incendiary and disturber of the succeeding age. For as Sextus Pompey sought to recover what was his father’s, consternation was spread over the whole sea; as Octavius tried to revenge his father’s death, Thessaly was again to be disquieted; and as Antony, a man of fickle disposition, either showed displeasure, that Octavius should succeed Caesar, or, from love of Cleopatra, was ready to degenerate into a king, the Romans could not otherwise find safety but by taking refuge in a state of servitude. Yet, in the midst of their great distractions, it was a source of congratulations to them that the sovereign power fell into the hands of Augustus Caesar, rather than those of any other man; for he, by his wisdom and prudence, reduced to order the body of the empire, which was distracted in every part, and which, doubtless, would never have coalesced and harmonised again, had it not been regulated by the direction of one president, as by one soul and mind.
In the consulship of Mark Antony and Publius Dolabella, when Fortune was proceeding to transfer the empire to the Caesars, there arose various and manifold convulsions in the state; and, as it happens in the annual revolution of the heavens, that the constellations by their motions occasion thunder, and make known their change of place by change of weather, so, in the change of condition in the Roman government, that is, of the whole human race, the body of the empire was shaken throughout, and distracted with all kinds of perils, and civil wars both by land and sea.
Chapter IV: The Conflict At Mutina
The first occasion of civil commotion was Caesar’s will, whose second heir, Antony, enraged that Octavius was preferred before him, raised a desperate war to set aside the adoption of the spirited young man. Seeing that he was but a tender youth, under eighteen years of age, and therefore a fit and proper subject, as he thought, for any ill-usage, while he himself was of high dignity from his long service with Caesar, he proceeded to dismember his inheritance by clandestine acts of injustice, to attack him personally with opprobrious language, and to hinder, by all imaginable artifices, his co-optation into the Julian family. At last, to crush the young man entirely, he openly took up arms against him, and, having got an army in Cisalpine Gaul, besieged Decimus Brutus, who opposed his movements, in Mutina; but Octavius Caesar, recommended to public favour by his age and injuries, and by the greatness of the name which he had assumed, recalled the veterans to arms, and, though but a private person, engaged (who would believe it?) with a consul. He relieved Brutus from the siege at Mutina, and drove Antony from his camp. On that occasion, too, he behaved gallantly in action; for, wounded and covered with blood, he carried back an eagle, which had been committed to him by a dying standard-bearer, upon his shoulder into the camp.
Chapter V: The Siege Of Perusia
The distribution of lands among the soldiers occasioned another war; lands which Caesar assigned the veterans in his army as the reward of their service. Fulvia, the wife of Antony, girt with a sword in the field like a man, stimulated Antony’s mind, which otherwise was always sufficiently ill-disposed, to action. By rousing the husbandmen, therefore, who had been driven from their lands, he produced another war. Caesar now attacked him as one attacks an enemy, not by private opinion, but by the suffrages of the whole senate, shut him up within the walls of Perusia, and, by means of a wretched famine, that had recourse to every expedient, forced him at last to a surrender.
Chapter VI: The Triumvirate
When Antony, even alone, was a hindrance to the public quiet, and a trouble to the state, Lepidus was joined with him, as one fire to another. What could Caesar then do against two armies? He was necessitated to join in a most cruel league with their leaders. The views of all the three were different. The desire of wealth, of which there was a fair prospect from a disturbance of the state, animated Lepidus; the hope of taking vengeance on those who had declared him an enemy, instigated Antony; the death of his father unavenged, while Cassius and Brutus lived offensive to his manes, actuated Caesar. With a view to a confederacy for these objects, a peace was made among the three generals. At Confluentes, between Perusia and Bononia, they joined hands, and the armies saluted each other. After no good precedent, a Triumvirate was established; and the state being subjugated by force of arms, the proscription, first introduced by Sylla, was revived. Its fury embraced no fewer than a hundred and forty senators. The deaths of many, who fled into all parts of the world, were shocking, cruel, and mournful; such, indeed, as no one can sufficiently lament. Antony proscribed Lucius Caesar, his own uncle; Lepidus, Lucius Paulus, his own brother. It was now a common practice to expose the heads of such as had been killed, on the Rostra at Rome; but, though such was the case, the city could not refrain from tears, when the head of Cicero, severed from his body, was seen on that very Rostra which he had made his own; nor was there a less concourse to see him there than there had formerly been to hear him. These atrocities proceeded from the lists of Antony and Lepidus. Caesar was content with proscribing the assassins of his father; the deaths of whom, had they been less numerous, might have been thought just.
Chapter VII: The War Raised By Cassius And Brutus
Brutus and Cassius seemed to have cast Caesar, like another king Tarquin, from the sovereignty; but the liberty, which by his assassination they had hoped to restore, they entirely lost. After the murder was committed, they fled from the senate house to the Capitol, being afraid, and not without reason, of Caesar’s veterans, who did not want inclination to avenge his death, but had no leader. As it appeared, however, that desolation threatened the commonwealth, vengeance was not then thought proper to be pursued.
But, to escape the eye of the public grief, Brutus and Cassius withdrew into Syria and Macedonia, the very provinces assigned them by the Caesar whom they had slain. Vengeance for Caesar was thus delayed rather than smothered. The government being regulated, therefore, rather as it was possible than as it was requisite, by the Triumviri, and Lepidus being left to guard the city, Caesar, accompanied by Antony, prepared for a war against Cassius and Brutus, who, having collected a vast force, had taken post on the same ground that had been fatal to Cnaeus Pompey. But evident omens of destined calamity were observed on this occasion. Birds, accustomed to feed on dead bodies, flew around the camp as if it were already their own. An Ethiopian meeting the troops, as they were proceeding to the field of battle, was too plainly a dismal sign. Some black phantom, too, appeared to Brutus in the night, when he was meditating, after his custom, with a lamp by his side, and, being asked what it was, replied, “Thy evil Genius.” Thus it spoke, and vanished from his eyes while he was wondering at its appearance.
In Caesar’s camp the birds and victims gave predictions with equal significance, but all for the better. Nothing, however, was more remarkable, than that Caesar’s physician was admonished in a dream, that “Caesar should quit his camp, which was destined to be taken,” as afterwards happened. For when the battle had commenced, and both sides had fought for some time with equal spirit, (though the leaders were not present, one of whom sickness, and the other fear and indolence, had detained from the field, yet the invincible fortune, both of the avenger and the avenged, supported the party, the danger being at first equally threatening to either side, as indeed the event of the conflict showed,) the cam of Caesar was taken on the one side, and that of Cassius on the other. But how much more powerful is fortune than conduct, and how true is that which Brutus said when he was dying, that “Virtue existed not in reality, but merely in name!” A mistake settled the victory in this battle. Cassius, at a time when one of his wings was giving way, observing his cavalry, after having surprised Caesar’s camp, coming back at full speed, imagined that they were fleeing, and withdrew to a neighbouring hill, where the dust and confusion, with the approach of night, obstructing his view of the action, and a scout, whom he sent for the purpose, being slow in bringing intelligence, he concluded that his party was utterly defeated, and caused one of his followers to strike off his head.
Brutus, having lost his very soul in Cassius, and being resolved to adhere strictly to their compact, (for they had agred that both should survive the battle, or neither,) presented his side to one of his attendants, that he might run him through with his sword.
Who cannot but wonder, that these wisest of men did not use their own hands to despatch themselves? But perhaps this was avoided from principle, that they might not, in releasing their most pure and pious souls, stain their own hands, but, while they used their own judgment, might allow the crime of the execution to be another’s.
Chapter VIII: The War With Sextus Pompey
Though the assassins of Caesar were cut off, the house of Pompey was yet left. One of the young men, his sons, had fallen in Spain; but the other had escaped by flight, and, having collected the relics of the unhappy war, and armed a body of slaves, kept possession of Sicily and Sardinia. He had now also covered the sea with a fleet. But how different was he to his father! The one had suppressed the Cilician pirates; the other carried pirates in his own vessels. This youth was entirely overpowered, in the Strait of Messina, with a vastly superior force; and, had he attempted nothing afterwards, would have carried with him to the grave the reputation of a great commander. But it is the mark of a great genius to hope always. After his defeat he fled, and sailed to Asia, where he was destined to fall into the hands and fetters of enemies, and, what is most intolerable to the brave, to die by the sentence of his foes under the axe of the executioner. There never was a more wretched flight since that of Xerxes. For he who, a short time before, was master of three hundred and fifty ships, fled with only six or seven, putting out the light of his own vessel, casting his rings into the sea, and looking anxiously behind him, yet not afraid that he should perish.
Chapter IX: The Parthian War, Under Ventidius
Although Caesar, by defeating Cassius and Brutus, had disabled their party, and, by cutting off Pompey, had extirpated its very name, yet he could not succeed in establishing peace as long as that rock, knot, and obstacle to the public tranquillity, Antony, remained alive. He himself, indeed, by reason of his vices, was not wanting to his own destruction; but by indulging, from ambition and luxury, in every irregular course, he first freed our enemies, then his own countrymen, and lastly the age in which he lived, from the dread of him.
The Parthians, on the overthrow of Crassus, had assumed greater courage, and had heard with joy of the civil discords among the Romans. As soon, therefore, as an opportunity showed itself, they did not hesitate to rise in arms, especially as Labienus earnestly incited them, who, having been sent thither by Brutus and Cassius, such is the madness of civil discord, had solicited the enemies of Rome to assist them. The Parthians, under the conduct of Pacorus, a youth of the royal family, expelled the garrisons of Antony. Saxa, Antony’s lieutenant-general, owed it to his sword that he did not fall into their hands. At length, Syria being taken from us, the evil extended itself more widely, as the enemy, under pretence of aiding others, were conquering for themselves, and would have continue to conquer, had not Ventidius, also a lieutenant-general of Antony, overthrown, with incredible good fortune, not only the forces of Labienus, but Pacorus himself, and all the Parthian cavalry, along the whole plain betwen the Orontes and Euphrates. The slain amounted to more than twenty thousand. Nor was this effected without stratagem on the part of the general, who, pretending fear, suffered the enemy to come so close to our camp, that, by depriving them of room for discharging their arrows, he rendered them useless. The prince fell fighting with great bravery; and his head being carried about through the cities which had revolted, Syria was soon recovered without further war. Thus by the slaughter of Pacorus we made compensation for the overthrow of Crassus.
Chapter X: The War Of Antony With The Parthians
After the Parthians and Romans had made trial of one another, and Crassus and Pacorus had given proof of their mutual strength, their former friendship was renewed with expressions of equal regard on either side, and a treaty with the king concluded by Antony himself. But such was the excessive vanity of the man, that being desirous, from a love of distinction, to have Araxes and Euphrates read under his statues, he suddenly quitted Syria, and made an inroad on those very Parthians, and that without any cause or reason, or even pretended proclamation of war, as if it were among a general’s accomplishments to surprise people by stealth. The Parthians, who, besides having confidence in their arms, are crafty and subtle, pretended to be alarmed, and to retreat across the plains. Antony, as if already victorious, instantly pursued, when suddenly a body of the enemy, not very numerous, rushed suddenly forth, like a storm of rain, upon the Romans, who, as it was evening, were tired with the day’s march. Discharging their arrows from all sides, they overwhelmed two legions. But this was nothing in comparison with the destruction that would have met them on the following day, had not the mercy of the gods interposed. One of the Romans who had survived the overthrow of Crassus, rode up to the camp in a Parthian dress, and having saluted the soldiers in Latin, and thus gained credit with them, told them of the danger which threatened them: saying, that “the king would soon come up with all his forces; that they ought therefore to retreat, and take shelter in the mountains; and that possibly, even if they did so, enemies would not be wanting.” In consequence, a smaller number of enemies overtook them than had been intended. Overtake them, however, they did; and the rest of the army would have been destroyed, had not the soldiers, while the arrows were falling on them like hail, fortunately sunk down, as if they had been taught, upon their knees, holding up their shields above their heads, and making it appear as if they were killed. The Parthians then refrained from shooting. When the Romsn afterwards rose up, the proceeding appeared so like a miracle, that one of the barbarians exclaimed, “Go, and fare ye well, Romans; fame deservedly speaks of you as the conquerors of nations, since you have escaped death from the arrows of the Parthians.” After this, there was no less endured from want of water, than at the hands of the enemy. The country, in the first place, was deadly from its drought; the river, too, with its brackish and bitter water, was more deadly to some; and besides, even good water was pernicious to many, being drunk greedily when they were in a weak condition. Subsequently the heat of Armenia, the snows of Cappadocia, and the sudden change of climate from one to the other, was as destructive as a pestilence. Scarce the third part, therefore, of sixteen legions being left, and his silver being everywhere cut up with hatchets, the excellent general, begging death, from time to time, at the hands of a gladiator of his, escaped at last into Syria, where, by some unaccountable perversion of mind, he grew considerably more presuming than before, as if he had conquered because he had escaped.
Chapter XI: The War With Antony And Cleopatra
The madness of Antony, which could not be allayed by ambition, was at last terminated by luxury and licentiousness. After his expedition against the Parthians, while he was disgusted with war and lived at ease, he fell in love with Cleopatra, and, as if his affairs were quite prosperous, enjoyed himself in the queen’s embraces.
The Egyptian woman demanded of the drunken general, as the price of her favours, nothing less than the Roman empire. This Antony promised her; as though the Romans had been easier to conquer than the Parthians. He therefore aspired to sovereignty, and not indeed covertly, but forgetting his country, name, toga, and fasces, and degenerating wholly, in thought, feeling, and dress, into a monster. In his hand there was a golden sceptre; a scymitar by his side; his robe was of purple, clasped with enormous jewels; and he wore a diadem, that he might dally with the queen as a king.
At the first report of his new proceedings, Caesar had crossed the sea from Brundusium to meet the approaching war. Having pitched his camp in Epirus, he beset the island of Leucas, Mount Leucate, and the horns of the Ambracian Gulf, with a powerful fleet. We had more than four hundred vessels, the enemy about two hundred, but their bulk made up for their inferiority in number; for, having from six banks of oars to nine, and being mounted with towers and high decks, they moved along like castles and cities, while the sea groaned and the winds were fatigued. Yet their magnitude was their destruction. Caesar’s vessels rose from three banks of oars to not more than six, and being therefore ready for all that necessity required, whether for charging, retreating, or wheeling around, they attacked, several at once, each of those heavy vessels, too unwieldy for any kind of contest, as well with missile weapons, as with their beaks, and firebrands hurled into them, and dispersed them at their pleasure. Nor was the greatness of the enemy’s force shown by anything so much as by what occurred after the victory. The vast fleet, being shattered in the engagement, spread the spoils of the Arabians and Sabaeans, and a thousand other nations of Asia, over the whole face of the deep. The waves, driven onward by the winds, were continually throwing up purple and gold on the shore. The queen, commencing the flight, made off into the open sea with her gilded vessel and sails of purple. Antony immediately followed.
But Caesar pursued hard on their track. Neither their preparations, therefore, for flight into the Ocean, nor the securing of the two horns of Egypt, Paraetonium and Pelusium, with garrisons, were of the least profit to them. They were almost caught by Caesar’s own hand. Antony was the first to use his sword against himself. The queen, falling at the feet of Caesar, tempted his eyes in vain; for her charms were too weak to overcome the prince’s continence. Her suit was not for life, which was offered her, but for a portion of the kingdom. Despairing of obtaining this from Caesar, and seeing that she was reserved for his triumph, she took advantage of the negligence of her guard, and withdrew herself into a mausoleum, a name which they give to the sepulchres of their kings. Having there put on her best apparel, as she used to be dressed, she placed herself by her dear Antony in a coffin filled with rich perfumes, and, applying serpents to her veins, died a death resembling sleep.
Chapter XII: The Wars With Foreign Nations
This was the termination of the civil wars. Those which followed were with foreign nations, and started up in various parts of the world while the empire was distracted with its own troubles. Peace was new; and the swelling and proud necks of the nations had not yet accumstomed to the curb of bondage, recoiled from the yoke that had been but recently imposed upon them. The part of the world lying to the north, peopled by the Norici, Illyrians, Pannonians, Dalmatians, Mysians, Thracians, Dacians, Sarmatians, and Germans, was in general the most violent.
The Alps and their snows, to which they thought that war could not reach, gave confidence to the Norici; but Caesar, with the aid of his step-son, Claudius Drusus, subjugated all the people of those regions, the Brenni, Senones, and Vindelici. How savage these nations were, their women plainly proved, for, when weapons failed, they threw their very infants, after having dashed them on the ground, in the faces of the soldiers.
The Illyrians lie at the foot of the Alps, and guard their deep valleys, which are a sort of barriers of defence to them, surrounded by precipitous torrents. Against this people Caesar himself underttok an expedition, and ordered bridges to be constructed in order to reach them. Here the waters and the enemy throwing his men into some confusion, he snatched a shield from a soldier hesitating to mount a bridge, and was the first to march across; and when the army had followed, and the Illyrins, from their numbers, had broken down the bridge, he, wounded in his hands and legs, and appearing more comely in blood and more majestic in danger, did great execution on the enemy’s rear.
The Pannonians were defended by two forests, as well as by three rivers, the Drave, the Save, and the Ister. After laying waste the lands of their neighbours, they had withdrawn themselves within the banks of the streams. To reduce them, he despatched Vibius, and they were cut to pieces along both the rivers.</ref>Along both the rivers] In utrisque fluminibus. Three rivers are mentioned above, tribus fluviis, Dravo, Savo, Histroque. But Histro is not found in all the manuscripts, and Salmasius conjectures satis acribus fluviis, Dravo Savoque.</ref> The arms of the conquered were not burnt, according to the usage of war, but were gathered up, and thrown into the rivers, that the news of the victory might thus be conveyed to those who still held out.
The Dalmatians live for the most part in woods, whence they boldly sally out to commit robberies. This people Marcius had before, as it were, deprived of a head, by burning their city Delminium. Afterwards Asinius Pollio, he that was the second orator in Rome, deprived them of their flocks, arms, and lands. But Augustus committed the final subjugation of them to Vibius, who forced the savages to dig the earth, and collect the gold from its veins, for which this nation, naturally the most covetous of all people, seeks with care and industry, so that they appear to hoard it for their own purposes.
To describe how cruel and inhuman the Mysians are, and how much the most barbarous of all barbarians, would be a horrid task. One of their leaders, calling for silence in front of the army, exclaimed, “Who are you?” The answer retuirned was, “The Romans, lords of all nations.” “So you may be,” they retorted, “if you conquer us.” Marcus Crassus took their words for an omen. They, having straightway offered up a horse before their lines, made a vow that “they would sacrifice, and eat, the bowels of the Roman generals that they should kill.” I could suppose that the gods heard them, for they could not endure even the sound of our trumpets. Domitius, a centurion, a man of stolidity sufficiently barbarous, yet effective against men like himself, struck the savages with no small terror, by mounting a pan of coals upon his helmet, and shedding from his head, which appeared on fire, a flame excited by the motion of his body.
Before these the people of Thrace had revolted. These barbarians had been accustomed to the military standards, discipline, and arms of the Romans. But being subdued by Piso, they showed their violent spirit even in captivity, attempting to bite their chains, and thus punishing their own fierceness.
The Dacians live among the mountains. But, whenever the Danube became passable by being frozen, they were accustomed, at the command of Cotiso their king, to make descents, and lay waste the neighbouring country. This people, so difficult of approach, Caesar Augustus determined to drive back. Having despatched Lentulus for this perpose, he repulsed them beyond the further bank, and built garrisons on this side of the river. The Dacians were not, therefore, conquered, but repelled, and left for a future opportunity.
The Sarmatians occupy wide plains, in which they ride about; and it was though sufficient to prevent them, by the expertions of the same Lentulus, from crossing the Danube. They have nothing on the face of their territory but snows and a few woods, and such savages are they, that they known not what peace is.
I wish he had not thought it of so much importance to conquer Germany. The dishonour with which it was lost was greater than the glory with which it was gained. But because he knew that Caesar, his father, had twice made bridges over the Rhine to prosecute the war against the country, he was desirous, in honour of him, to make it a province, and it would have been made so effectually, if the barbarians could have endured our vices as well as our government. Drusus, being sent to the country, first subdued the Usipetes, and then overran the districts of the Tenctheri and Catti. Of the remarkable spoils of the Marcomanni he raised a high mound, by way of a trophy. Next he attacked, at the same time, the three powerful tribes of the Cherusci, Suevi, and Sicambri, who had commenced the war by burning twenty of our centurions, regarding this proceeding as a bond of union, and entertaining such confident hopes of victory, that they divided the spoil by agreement beforehand. The Cherusci chose the horses, the Suevi the gold and silver, and the Sicambri the captives. But all happened contrary to their expectations; for Drusus, proving conqueror, divided their horses, cattle, gold chains, and themselves, as spoil, and sold them. For the defence of the provinces, too, he fixed garrisons, and bodies of guards, along the Meuse, the Elbe, and the Weser. On the banks of the Rhine he raised more than fifty fortresses. He built bridges at Bonn and Gesoriacum, and secured them with ships. He opened a way through the Hercynian forest, which, till that time, had been unpenetrated and unattempted. At length such peace was made throughout Germany, that the inhabitants seemed changed, the ground different from what it was, and the air milder and softer than it was wont to be. And when that brave young man died there, the senate gave him a surname from the province, (an honour which they had never bestowed on any other general,) not from flattery, but in testimony of his merit.
But it is more difficult to retain provinces than to acquire them. They are obtained by force, but secured by justice. Our exultation was accordingly but short. The Germans had been defeated rather than subdued. Under the rule of Drusus they respected our manners rather than our arms. But when Drusus was dead, they began to detest the licentiousness and pride, no less than the cruelty, of Quintilius Varus. He ventured to call an assembly, and administered justice in his camp, as if he could restrain the violence of barbarians by the rods of a lictor and voice of a crier. But the Germans, who had long regretted that their swords were covered with rust, and their horses idle, proceeded, as soon as they saw the toga, and felt laws more cruel than arms, to go to war under the conduct of Arminius, while Varus, meantime, was so well assured of peace, that he was not the least alarmed, even by a revious notice, and subsequent discover of the plot, made by Segestes, one of the enemy’s chieftains. Having, therefore, risen upon him unawares, and fearing nothing of the kind, while he, with a strange want of precaution, was actually summoning them to his tribunal, they assailed him on every side, seized his camp, and cut off three legions. Varus met his overthrow with the same fortune and spirit with which Paulus met the day of Cannae. Never was slaughter more bloody than that which was made of the Romans among the marshes and woods; never were insults more intolerable than those of the barbarians, especially such as they inflicted on the pleaders of causes. Of some they tore out the eyes, of others they cut off the hands. Of one the mouth was sewed up, after his tongue had been cut out, which one of the savages holding in his hand, cried, “At last, viper, cease to hiss.” The body of the consul himself, which the affection of the soldiers had buried, was dug out of the ground. To this day the barbarians keep possession of the standards and two eagles, the third, the standard-bearer, before it fell into the hands of the enemy, wrenched off, and keeping it hid within the folds of his belt, concealed himself in the blood-stained marsh. In consequence of this massacre, it happened that the empire, which had not stopped on the shore of the Ocean, found its course checked on the banks of the Rhine.
Such were the occurrences in the north. In the south there were rather disturbances than wars. Augustus quelled the Musulanians and Getulians, who border on the Syrtes, by the agency of Cossus, who had thence the surname of Getulicus. But his successes extended further. He assigned the Marmardiae and Garamantes to Curinius to subdue, who might have returned with the surname of Marmaricus, had he not been too modest in setting a value on his victory.
There was more trouble with the Armenians in the east, whither Augustus sent one of the Caesars his grandsons. Both of them were short-lived, but only one of them died without glory. Lucius was carried off by disease at Marseilles, Caius in Syria by a wound, whilsy he was engaged in recovering Armenia, which had revolted to the Parthians. Pompey, after the defeat of king Tigranes, had accustomed the Armenians to such a degree of bondage as to receive rulers from us. The exercise of this right, after having been interrupted, was, by Caius Drusus, recovered in a slight struggle, which, however, was not without bloodshed. Domnes, whom the king had made governor of Artaxata, pretending that he would betray the place, struck Drusus as he was intent on perusing a scroll, which the assasin had just presented to him as containing an account of the treasures. He was hurt, but recovered of the wound for a time. But Domnes, pursued on all sides by the incensed army, made some atonement to Caesar while he still survived, not only by his sword, but a burning pyre, on which, when wounded, he cast himself.
In the west, almost all Spain was subdued, except that part which the Hither Ocean washes, and which lies close upon the rocks at the extremity of the Pyrenees. Here two very powerful nations, the Catabrians and Asturians, lay exempt from the dominion of the Romans. The spirit of the Cantabrians was the more mischievous, more haughty, and more obstinate in raising war; for not content with defending their liberty, they also attempted to domineer over their neighbours, and harassed, with frequent inroads, the Vaccaei, the Curgonii, and the Autrigonae.
Against this people, therefore, as they were said to be pursuing violent measures, an expedition was not committed by Augustus to another, but undertaken by himself. He advanced to Segisama, where he pitched his camp, and then, dividing his army, he inclosed by degrees the whole of Campania, and caught the savage people, like wild beasts, as with a circle of nets. Nor were they spared on the side of the Ocean, where theur rear was vigorously assailed by a fleet. His first battle against the Cantabrians was under the walls of Vellica. Hence they fled to the lofty mountain Vinnius, which they thought the waters of the Ocean would ascend sooner than the arms of the Romans. In the third place, the town of Aracillum made violent resistance; but it was at last taken. At the siege of the mountain Medullus, (which he had surrounded with a trench of fifteen miles in length,) when the Romans pressed forward on every side, and the barbarians saw themselves reduced to extremity, they eagerly hastened their own deaths at a banquet, with fire, sword, and a kind of poison, which is there commonly extracted from yew-trees; and thus the greater part escaped the captivity which threatened them. Of this success, obtained by his lieutenant-generals Antistius, Furnius, and Agrippa, Caesar received the news while wintering on the sea-coast at Tarraco. He himself, arriving at the place, brought some of the inhabitants down from the mountains, bound others by taking hostages of them, and sold others, by right of war, for slaves. The achievement appeared to the senate worthy of the laurel and triumphal chariot, but Caesar was now so great that he could despise chariots.
The Asturians, at the same time, had come down in a vast body from their mountains; nor had they undertaken an enterprise rashly, like barbarians, but, having pitched their camp at the river Astura, and divided their forces into three parts, they prepared to attack three camps of the Romans at once. With such brave enemies, coming upon us so suddenly and in such order, there would have been a doubtful and desperate combat, (and would that I could think the loss on both sides would have been equal!) had not the Trigaecini betrayed them. Carisius, forewarned by the latter people, and coming up with his army, frustrated the enemy’s designs, though not even thus without bloodshed. Lancia, a strong city, received the survivors of the routed army. Here there was so fierce an encounter, that firebrands were called for to burn the city after it was taken, when the general with difficulty prevailed with the troops to spare it, “that it might be a monument of the Roman victory as it stood, rather than burnt.”
This was the termination of the campaigns of Augustus, as well as the rebellion in Spain. The fidelity of the Spaniards towards us was afterwards unshaken, and peaced remained uninterrupted; a consequence resulting as well from their own disposition, which was now more inclined to tranquillity, as from the managment of Caesar, who, dreading their confidence in the mountains where they sheltered themselves, ordered them to occupy and inhabit the part in which his camp had been, and which was level ground. This regulation was noticed as one of great prudence. The country round about contains gold, and yields vermillion, chrysocolla, and other pigments. He accordingly ordered the soil to be worked. Thus the Asturians became acquainted with their treasures hid in the earth, but searching for them for others.
All nations in the west and south being subdued, and all to the north between the Rhine and Danube, as well as all to the east between the Cyrus and Euphrates, the other countries also, which had not fallen under the authority of Rome, yet grew sensible of her grandeur, and reverenced a people who had conquered so many nations. The Scythians and Sarmatians sent ambassadors to us, desiring our friendship. The Seres, too, and the Indians who live under the very sun, coming with jewels and pearls, and bringing also elephants among their presents, thought they proved their respect to Augustus by nothing so much as the length of their journey, which they had taken four years to complete. The complexion of the men showed that they came from another climate. The Parthians, also, as if they repented of their victory, brought back, of their own accord, the standards which they had taken on the overthrow of Crassus.
Thus there was everywhere, throughout the whole world, uniform and uninterrupted peace or agreement; and Caesar Augustus, in the seven hundredth year from the foundation of the city, ventured to shut the temple of double-faced Janus, which had been shut twice before, in the reign of Numa, and when Carthage was first conquered. Afterwards, applying his thoughts to secure transquillity, he kept in order, by many strict and severe laws, an age which was prone to every vice, and plunging fast into luxury. For these great achievements, he was styled Perpetual Dictator, and Father of his Country. It was debated, too, in the senate, whether, as he had established the empire, he should not also be called Romulus; but the name of Augustus was thought more sacred and venerable, in order that, while he still lived on earth, he might in name and title be ranked among the gods.