Page images

escorting the girls with superior numbers. Still they made a stout defence, and meanwhile Valeria, the daugh. ter of Poplicola, made her way through the combatants and escaped, and three slaves who also got away took care of her. The others were mixed up with the fight, and were in considerable danger, when Aruns, Porsena's son, came to the rescue, put the enemy to the rout, and saved the Romans. When the girls wero brought before Porscna, he asked which it was that had conceived the attempt to escape and encouraged the others. Being told that it was Clælia, he smiled kindly upon her, and presented her with ono of his own horses, splendidly caparisoned. This is relied upon by those who say that it was Cloelia alone who rode on horseback over the river, as proving their case. Others say that it was not because she used a horso, but to honour her manly spirit that the Etruscan king made her this present. A statue of her, on horseback, stands in the Sacred Way as you go up to the Palatine Hill, which by some is said not to be a statuo of Clælia, but of Valeria.

Porsena, after making peace with the Romans, among many other instances of generosity, ordered his army to carry back nothing but their arms when they retired, leaving the entrenched camp full of food and property of every kind for the Romans. For this reason, at the present day, whenever there is a sale of any public property, especially that which is taken in war, proclamation is always made, “Porsena's goods for sale," so that tho Romans have never forgotten the kindness which they received from him. A brazen statue of him used to stand near the senate house, of plain and old fashioned workmanship.

XX. After this the Sabines invaded the country. Marcus Valerius, Poplicola's brother, and Posthumius Tubertus were then consuls, and Marcus, acting by the advice of Poplicola, who was present, won two grent battles, in the second of which ho slew thirteen thousand of the enemy without the Romans losing a man. rewarded for this, in addition to his triumph, by having a house built for him upon the Palatine Hill at the publie expense. And whereas all other street doors open inwards,

He was

the doors of that house were made to open outwards, as a perpetual memorial of the honour paid him by the people, who thus made way for him. It is said that all the doors in Greece used once to open this way, arguing from the comedies, in which those who aro coming out of a houso always knock at the door, to warn thoso who aro passing or standing near not to be struck by the leaves of the door as they open.

XXI. Next ycar Poplicola was consul for the fourth time. There was an expectation of a war against tho Latins and Sabincs combined.

Moreover tho city scomed to have displeased the gods ; for all the pregnant women wero delivered prematurely, and of imperfectly formed children. Poplicola, after appeasing the gods below according to the injunctions of the Sibyllino books, re-established certain games'in accordance with an oracle, brought the city into a more hopeful state of mind, and began to consider what he had to fear from carthly foes, for the enemy's army was largo and formidable. There was one Appius Clausus, a Sabine, of great wealth and remarkable personal strength, and a virtuous and eloquent man, who, like all great men, was the object of enry and ill-will to many. Ho was accused by his enemies of having put an end to tho war, because ho wished to increase the power of Romo, in order to enable hiin the moro casily to triumph over tho liberties of his own country, and make himself king of it. Perceiving that the populaco eagerly listened to theso tales, and that he was an object of dislike to the war party and tho army, he began to fear impeachment: so, having numerous followers, besides his personal friends and relatives, he was able to divide the state into two partics. This caused great delay in the Sabines' preparations for attacking tho Romans, and Poplicola, feeling it to be his duty not merely to watch but to assist Clausus, sent envoys, who spoke to him as follows: “ Poplicola feels that you aro a man of honour, who would be unwilling to take vengeance upon your countrymen, although you have been shamefully created by them. But if you choose to put yourself in safety by leaving your country and a people that hates you, ho will receive you, both in his public and his privato capacity, in a manner worthy of your own high character and of the dignity of Rome.” After much deliberation, Clausus decided that he could not do better than accept this offer, and assembled all his friends. They in their turn influenced many others, so that he was able to transplant to Rone five thousand of the most peaceful and respectable families of the Sabine nation. Poplicola, who had notice of their arrival, welcomed them kindly and graciously. He made them all citizens of Rome, and gave cach of them two acres of land along tho river Anio. Ho gave Clausus twenty-fivo acres, and enrolled him among the Senators. Clausus afterwards became one of the first men in Rome for wisdom and power, and his descendants, the Claudian family, was one of the most illustrious in history.

XXII. Thongh the disputes of the Sabincs were settle by this migration, yet their popular orators would not let them rest, but vehemently urged that they ought not to let Appius, a deserter and an enemy, prevail upon them to let the Romans go unpunished-a thing which he could not persuado them to do when he was present among theul They proceeded to Fidenæ with a great army and encamped there, and laid two thousand men in ambush before Rome, in wooded and broken ground, meaning in the morning to send out a few horsemen to plunder ostentatiously. These men were ordered to rido un closo to Rome, and then to retire till their pursuers were drawn into the snare. Poplicola heard of this plan the same day from deserters, and quickly made all necessary arrangements. At evening he sent Postumius Ballur, his son-in law, with three thousand men to occupy the tops of the hills under which the Sabine ambush was placed. His colleague, Lucretius, was ordered to take the swiftestfooted and noblest youth of the city, and pursue the plundering horsemen, while he himself with the rest of the forces made a circuitous march and outflanked the enemy. It charced that a thick mist camo on about dawn, in the midst of which Postumius charged down from the hille upon the men in ambush with a loud shout, while Lucretius sent his men to attack the cavalry, and Poplicoln fell upon the enemy's camp. The Sabines were routed in cvery quarter, and even when fighting no longer were cut down by the Romans, their rash confidenco proving ruinous to them. Each party thought that the others must be safe, and did not care to stay and fight where they were, but those who were in the camp ran to those in the ambush, and those in the ambush towards the camp, each of them mecting thoso with whom they hoped to tako refuge, and finding that thoso who they had hoped would help thom nccded help themselves. 'î'ho Sabines would have been all put to tho sword, had not the neighbouring city of Fidenæ afforded them a refugo, especially for the men from the camp. Such as could not reach Fidenæ were either put to death or taken prisoners.

XXIII. The Romans, accustomed as they are to refer all great success to the intervention of Ileaven, thought that the whole glory of this achievement was due to tho general. The first thing heard was tie victorious soldiers declaring that Poplicola had delivered up the enemy to them blind and lame, and all but in chains, for them to slaughter at their ease. The people were enriched by tho plundor and the sale of the prisoners for slaves. Poplicola enjoyed a triumph, and proviously delivering over the administration of the city to the two succeeding consuls, died shortly afterwards, having attained to the highest pitch of glory that man can reach. The people, as if they had dono nothing during his life to honour him as he descrved, and were now for tho first time to show their gratitudo, decreed hiin a public funeral, and morcover that every person should contribute the coin called quadrans, to show him respect. The wonien also made a common agreoment to wear mou

ourning for him for a whole year. He was buried by a decree of the people within tho city near the place called Velia, and all his family were given the privilege of burial there. At the present day not one of the family is actually buried there, but the corpse is carried thither, and laid down, whilo somo ono places a lighted torch under it for a moment, after which it is carried away. By this ceremony they claim the right, although they forego it, Aud bury the corpse outside the city.


I. It is a point peculiar to this comparison, and which does not occur in any of the other Lives which I have written, that in turn one imitatcs and the other bears witness to his fellow's deeds. Observe, for instance, Solon's definition of happiness before Crocsus, how much better it suits Poplicola than Tellus. He says that Tellus was fortunato becauso of his good luck, his virtue, and his noblo children; but yet ho makes no mention of him or of his children in his poetry, and ho never was a man of any renown, or hold any high offico.

Now Poplicola's virtues made him the most powerful and glorious of the Romans during his life, and six hundred years after his death the very noblest families of Rome, thoso nained Publicola and Messala and Valerius, are proud to trace their descent from him, even at the present day. Tellus, it is truo, died like a bravo man fighting in tho ranks, but Poplicola slew his enemies, which is much better than being killed oneself, and made his country victorious by skill as a general and a statesman, and, after triumphing and enjoying honours of every kind, died the death which Solon thought so enviable. Besides, Solon, in his answer to Mimnermus about the time of life, bas written the verses :

“To me may favouring Henven send,

Thut all ing fricuds may mourn my end," in which he bears witness to the good fortune of Poplicola ; for he, when he died, was mourned not only by all his friends and relations but by the whole city, in which thousands wept for him, while all the women wore mourn. ing for him as if he wero a son or father of them all that they had lost.

« PreviousContinue »