Page images

chief, and besides this great power enjoyed their entiro confidence; whilo Alkibiades, though his assistanco wils found useful ly tho Jinccdemonians, was nover trusted by them, but remained without any recogniscil position, first in Sparta and then in tho camp in sin Minor, till ho finally threw himself into the arms of Tissa phernes, unless, indeed, ho took this step to savo Athens, hoping some day to bo restored to her.

III. As to money, Alkibiailcs has been blanned for receiving it discrcilitably in bribes, and for spending it in luxurious extravagance; whilo tho generals who ultered Marcius money as an honourable reward for his valour could not prevail upon him to accepit it. This, Liowever, made him especially unpopular in the debates about freeing the people from debt, because it was said that ho pressed so hardly on the poor, not becauso he wished to make money by them, but purely through arroganco anil priile. Antipiter, in a letter to a friend on the death of Aristotle the philosopher, observes, " Besides his other abilities, the inan hal tho art of persuasion." Now Marcius had not this art; and its alisenco marle all his exploits and all his virtues unpleasant even to thoso who benefited by them, as they could not enduro his prido ani haughtiness, which brookal no compeer. Alkibiades, on the other hand, know how to deal on friendly tcrms with every one, and wo nced not thereforo be surprised at tho pleasuro which men took in his successes, whilo cven some of his failures had a charm of their own for his friends. IIence it was that Alkibiades, even after inflicting many grievous losses upon his countrymen, was chosen luy them as commander-in-chief, whereas Marcius, when after a splendid display of courage and conduct ho tried for tho consulship which ho deserved, failed to obtain it. Tho ono could not bo hated by his countrymen, even when they wero ill treated by him; whilo the other, though admired by all, was loved by nono.

IV. Marcius, indeed, cffected nothing great when in command of his own countrymen, but only when fighting against them, whereas the Athenians frequently benefited by the successcs of Alkibiades, when ho was acting as their cummander-in-chiof. Alkibiades when present easily triumphel over his enemies, whereas Marcins, althongh present, was condemned by the lomalls, and put to death by the Volscians. Moreover, though ho was wrongfully slain, yet ho liimself furnished his enemies with a pretext for his murier, by refusing tho public ofler of peacu marlo by the Romans, and then yielding to the privato cntrcatics of his mother and wife, so that lie did not put an end to the enmity between the two nations, but left them at war, und yet lost a filvourablo opportunity for the Voiscians.

If he was influenced by a feeling of duty towarıls tho Volscians, he ought to havo obtained their consent beforo withdrawing their forces from before Rome; but if he cared nothing for them, or for anything except the gratitication of his own passion, and with this feeling made war upon his country, and only priscil in the inoment of victory, it was not croclitable to loim to sparo his country for his mother's siko, but rather he should havo sparel his country and his mother with it; for his mother and his wifo were but a part of Rome, which he was besieging: Title should have treated the public supplications of ambassadors and tho prayers of priests with contempt, and afterwards have drawn off his forces to please his mnothor, is not so much it creilit to her as a disgrace to his country, which was saved by the tears and cntrcatics of ono woman, as though it did not deserve to survive on its own merits. The mercy which ho showed the Romans was so harshly and offensively granted that it pleased neither party; lo witiidrew his forces without having cither having como to an understanding with his friends or his focs. All this must be attributed to his haughty, un bending temper, which is in all cascs odious, but which in an ambitions ran renders him savage anıl inexorable, Such men will not seek for popularity, thinking themselves already sufficiently distinguished, and then aro angry at finding themselves impopular.

ludccd, neither Motellus, nor Aristeides, nor Epamei. rhondas would stoop to court tho favour of the people, and had a thorough contempt for all that tho people can either givo or take away; yet although they wore often ostraciscd, convicted, and condemned to pay fines, they wero not angry with their fellow countrymon for their fully, but came back and becamo reconciled to them as soon as those repented. Tho man who will not court the people, ought least of all to bear malico against thom, reflecting that anger at not being elected to an ollico in tho stato, must spring from an excessivo desiro to obtain it.

V. Alkibiarles mado no secret of his delight in being honoured and his vexation when slighted, and in consequence endeavoured to make himself acceptablo to all with whom he had to do. Marcius was provented by his pride from courting those who could have bestowed honour and advancement upon him, whilo his ambition tortured him if these wero withheld.

Theso are the points which we find to blame in his character, which in all other respects was a noblo ono. With regard to temperanco, and contempt for money, he may bo compared with tho greatest and purest men of Greece, not merely with Alkibiadcs, who cared only too little for such things, and paid no regard to his reputation.


It was for the sako of others that I first undertook to write biographies, but I soon began to dwell upon and delight in them for myself, endeavouring to the best of my ability to regulate my own life, and to inake it like that of thoso who were reflecteil

. in their history as it were in a mirror beforo mo. By tho stndy of their biographics, wo roccivo cach man as a guest into our minds, and wo scem to understand their character as the result of a personal acquaintance, becauso we havo obtained from their acts tho best and most important means of forming an opinion about them. “What greater pleasuro could'st thon gain than this?" What more valuable for the elevation of our own character? Demokritus says, that wo ought to pray that wo may meet with propitious phantasms, and that from the infinito sp: co which surrounds is good and con. genial phantasms, rather than buso and sinister oncs, may ho brought into contact with us.. Ilo derrades philosophy by fuisting into it a theory which is untrue, and which leads to unbounded superstition; whereas we, by our familiarity with history, and habit of writing it, so train ourselves by constantly receiving into our minds the memorials of tho great and good, that should anything baso or vicious be placed in our way by the society into which we are necessarily thrown, wo reject it and expel it from our thoughts, by fixing them calmly and severely on somo of these great examples. Of these, I have chosen for you in this present instance, the life of Timolcon the Corinthian, and that of Æmilius Paulus, men who both laid their plans with skill, and carried them out with good fortuno, so as to raise a question whether it was more by good luck or by good sense that they succeeded in their most important achievements.

I. The state of affairs at Syracuse, before the mission of Timolcon to Sicily, was this. Dion had driven out the despot* Dionysius, but was immediately afterwards slain by treachery, and thoso who, unler Dion, al freed the Syracusans, quarrelled amongst themselves. The city, which received a constant succession of despots, was alınost fursaken because of its many troubles. Of the rest of Sicily, one part was rendereil quite ruined awl uninhabited liy the wars, and most of the citics wero held by Barbarianis of various nations, and soiliers who wero under no puymaster. As these men willingly lent their aiil to cilect changes of dynasty, Dionysius, in the twelfth year of his cxilo, collected a boly of foreign troops, drovo out Nysiens, tho then ruler of Syracuso, again restored his empire, and was re-established as despot.llo liad strangely lost tho greatest known empire at tho hands of a fuw men, and more strangely still became again the lord of those who had driven him out, after having been an esilo and a beggar. Thuse then of the Syracusis who remincil in the city were the subjects of a despot nut naturally humane, and whose heart now had been ombitterci by inisfortune : f but the better class of citizens and the incu of note fled to llikctes, the ruler of Leontini, sworu allogiance to him, and chose him as their general for the war. This man was nowiso better than tho avowed despots, but they had no other resource, anıl they trusted him because he was a Syracusan by birth, and had a furco capable of encountering that of their own despot.

II. Mcan while the Carthaginians came to Sicily with a grcat ficet, and were hovering off the island watching their opportunity. The Sicilians in terror wished to send an embassy to Greece, and ask for help from tho Corinthians, not merely on account of their kinship with them, and of the many kindnesses which they had received from them, but also because they saw that the wholo city loved frecdoin, and hated despots, and that it had waged its greatest and most important wars, not for supremacy and greed of power, but on behalf of the liberty of Greoco. But Ilikutes who had obtained his post of cuinmander-in-chief with a

rúpavvos, hero and elsewhoro translated depot, menns a muu who had obtained irresponsible power by unconstitutional rucun

4 Cumparo Tucitus, a co immitiur quia tulcruverut."

« PreviousContinue »