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LIFE OF CAIUS MARCIUS CORIOLANUS. I. THE patrician family of the Marcii at Romo produced many illustrious men, amongst whom was Ancus Marcius, the grandson of Numa, who became king after the death of Tullus Hostilius. To this family also belonged Publius and Quintus Marcius, who supplied Rome with abundanco of excellent water, and Censorinus, twice appointed censor by the Roman people, who afterwards passod a law that no one should hold that office twico.
Caius Marcius, the subject of this memoir, was an orphan, and brought up by a widowed mothor. IIe proved that, hard though the lot of an orphan may bo, yet it docs not prevent a man's becoming great and distinguishod, and that the bad alone allege it as an excuse for an intemperato life. llo also proves to us that a naturally nuble nature, if it be not properly disciplined, will produce many good and bad qualitics together, just as a rich field, if not properly tilled, will produce both weeds and good fruit. The immense energy and courage of his mind used to urge him to attempt and to perform great exploits, but his harsh and ambitious temper made it difficult for him to live on friendly terms with his companions. They used to admire his indifference to plcasuro and pain, and his contempt for bribes, but in politics they were angered by his morose and haughty manner, too proud for a citizen of a republic. Indeed there is no advantage to be gained from a liberal education so great as that of softening and disciplining the natural ferocity of our disposition, by teaching it moderation, and how to avoid all extremes. However, at that period warlike virtucs were valued above all others at Rome, which is proved by the Romans possessing only one word for virtue and for bravery, so ibat virtuc, a general term, is applied by them to the particular furn, courage.
II. Marcins, having an especial passion tür war, was familiar from childhood with tho uso of arms. Hellocting that artificial weapons aro of littlo uso without a body capable of wielding them, ho so trained himself for all possible emergencies that he was both ablo to run swiftly and also to grapple with his foo so strongly that few could escape from him. Those who entered into any contest with him, when beaten, used to ascribe their defcat to his immenso bodily strength, which no exertions could tiro out.
III. Ho served his first campaign whilo yet a youth, when Tarquin, tho exiled King of Romo, after many battles and dofcats, staked all upon one last throw, and assembled an army to attack Roinc. llis force consisted chiefly of Latins, but many other Italian states took his part in the war, not from any attachment to his person, but through fear and disliko of tho growing power of Rome. In the battle which ensued, in which various turps of fortuno took placo, Marcius, whilo fighting bravely under the eye of tho dictator himself, saw a Rowan fallen and helpless near him. llo at onco mado for this man, stood in front of him, and killed his assailant. After the victory, Marcins was among tho first who roceived the onk-leaf crown. This crown is given to him who has savel tho lifo of a citizen in battlo, and is composed of vak-leaves, cither out of compliment to tho Arcadians, whom tho oracle calls “acorn caters,' or because in any campaign in any country it is casy to obtain oakboughs, or it inay be that tho oak, sacred to Jupiter the protector of cities, forms a suitablo crown for ono who has saved the life of a citizen. The oak is the most beautiful of all wild trees, and the strongest of those which are artificially cultivatod. It afforded men in early times buth food and drink, by its acorns and tho honey found in it, while by the bird-lime which it produces, it enables them to catch inost kinds of birds and other oroatures, as additional daintios.
This was the battle in which they say that the Diosouri, Castor and Pollux, appeared, and immediately aftor the
battlo were seen in the Forum at Romo announcing the victory, with their horses dripping with sweat, at the spot whero now thoro is a tomplo built in their honour besido the fountain. In memory of this, tho day of the victory, the 15th of July, is kept sacred to the Dioscuri.
IV. To win distinction carly in life is said to quench and satisfy the eagerness of somo men whose desire for glory is not keen; but for those with whom it is the ruling passion of their lives, tho gaining of honours only urges them on, as a ship is urged by a gale, to fresh achievements. They do not regard themselves as having received a reward, but as having given a pledge for the futuro, and they feel it their duty not to disgrace the reputation which they have acquired, but to eclipse their former fame by some new decd of prowess. Marcius, feel. ing this, was ever trying to surpass himself in valour, and gained such prizes and trophies that the later generals under whom he scrved were always striving to outdo the former ones in their expressions of esteem for him, and their testimony to his merits. Many as wcro the wars in which Rome was then engaged, Marcius never returned from any without a prize for valour or some especial mark of distinction. Other men were brave in order to win glory, but Marcius won glory in order to please his mother. That sho should hcar him praised, sce him crowned, and embrace him weeping for joy, was tho grontest honour and happinoss of his life. Epamcinondas is said to have had the same feelings, and to have considered it to be his greatest goud-fortuno that his father and mother were both alive to witness his triumphant success at the battle of Leuktra. Ho, however, enjoyed the sympathy and applause of both parents, but Marcius, being fatherless, lavished on his mother all that affection which should have belonged to his father, besides her own sharo. So boundless was his love for Volumnia that at her earnest desire ho even married a wifo, but still continued to live in the house of his mother.
V. At this time, when his reputation and influence were very considerable because of his prowess, there was party-quarrel going on in Romo between the patricians, who wished to defend the privileges of mon of proporty, and the people, who were suffering terrible ill-treatment at the hands of their creditors. Those who possessed a sinall property were forced either to pledve or to sell it, while those who were absolutely destituto were carried off and imprisoned, though they miglit be scarred and enfeebled from the wars in which they haul served in defenco of their country. The last campaign was that against the Sabines, after which their rich croitors promiscil tu treat them with less harshness. In pursuance of a decree of the Senate, Marcus Valerius the consul was tho guaranteo of this promise. But when, after serving manfully in this campaign and conquering the enemy, they met with no better treatment from their creditors, and the Senate scoined unmindful of its engagements, allowing them to bo innprisoned and distresses to be levied upon their property as before, there were violent outbrcaks and riots in the city. This disturbed condition of tho commor sealth was taken advantage of by the enemy, who invaded the country and plundered it. When the consuls called all men of military a ce to arms, no ono obeyed, and then at last the patricians hesitated. Some thought that they onght to yield to tho lower classes, and mako some concessions instead of enforcing the strict letter of the law ayninst them; whilo others, among whoin wlis Marcius, opposed thin ilon, not becauso ho thought tho money of great consequenco, but becanso he considered this to bo the beginning of an outburst of democratic insolenco which a wise government would take timely mcasures to suppress before it gathered strength.
VI. As the Senate, although it frequently mot, camo to no decision on this matter, tho plebcians suddenly assembled in a body, left the city, and established them. selves on what was afterwards called tho Mons Sarer, of Sacrod Hill, near tho river Anio. They abstained from all factious proceedings, and merely stated that thoy had been driven from tho city by tho wealthy classes. Air": and wator and a placo in which to be buried, they said, could be obtained anywhere in Italy, and they could get nothing more than this in Rome, except tho privilege of boing wounded or slain in fighting battles on behalf of the rich. At this demonstration, the senato became alarmed, and sent the most moderate and populur of its mom burs
to treat with the people. The spokesman of this embassy was Menenius Agrippa, who, after begging the plebeians to come to terms, and pleading the cause of the Senate with them, wound up his speech by the following fable: Once upon a time, said he, all the members revolted against the belly, reproaching it with lying idle in the body, and making all the other members work in order to provide it with food; but the belly laughed them to scorn, saying that it was quite true that it took all the food which the body obtained, but that it afterwards distributed it among all the members. “This," he said, " is the part played by the Senate in the body politic. It digests and arranges all tho affairs of thio State, and provides all of you with wholesome and useful measurcs."
VII. Upon this they came to terms, after stipulating that five men should be chosen to defend the cause of the peoplo, who aro now known as tribunes of the people. They choso for the first tribunes the leaders of the revolt, the chief of whom were Junius Brutus and Sicinius Vellutus. As soon as the State was one again, the people assembled under arms, and zealously offered their services for war to their rulers. Marcius, though but littlo pleasod with these concessions which tho plolioinns hnd wrung froin tho patricians, yot, noticing thnt many patricians were of his mind, called upon them not to bo outilono in patriotism by tho plebcians, but to prove themselves their superiors in valour rather than in political strength.
VIII. Corioli was the most important city of the Volscian nation, with which Rome then was at war. The consul Cominius was besicging it, and the Volscians, fearing it might be taken, gnthored from all quarters, meaning to fight a battlo under tho city walls, and so place the Romans between two fires. Cominius divided his army, and led ono part of it to fight tho relioving forco, leaving Titus Lartius, a man of tho noblest birth in Rome, to continuo tho sicgo with the rest of his troops. The garrison of Corioli
, despising the small numbers of their besiegers, attacked them and forced them to take shelter within their camp. But there Marcius with a few followers checked their onset, slow tho foremost, and with a loud voico called on the Romuus w rally. He