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Diodorus Siculus, Book 37

  ( fragments covering the period 91 - 88 B.C. )


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[1] G   Ever since human actions have been recorded for eternal memory in history, the greatest war known to us is the Marsic War, named after the Marsi. This war, indeed, surpassed all those that preceded it, both in the bravery of the leaders and in the greatness of their exploits. Homer, the most famous of poets, made the Trojan war forever famous by his epic poem. In this struggle between Europe and Asia, while the two largest continents competed for victory, they accomplished such great deeds that posterity has drawn extensively on them for mythical and tragic subjects in the theatre. 2 Yet these heroes of antiquity took ten years to subdue the cities of the Troas, while later the Romans defeated Antiochus the Great in a single battle, and became masters of Asia. After the Trojan War, the Persian king marched against Greece; permanent rivers were dried up by the crowd of warriors who followed the king. However, the strategic skill of Themistocles together with the courage of the Greeks defeated the Persians. 3 At the same time, when three hundred thousand Carthaginians landed in Sicily, Gelon, the ruler of Syracuse, by a single stratagem, and within a short time, burned two hundred ships, killed in battle one hundred and fifty thousand of the enemy, and made an equal number prisoners . But the Romans, who fought in the Marsic War, defeated the descendants of those who had done all these great things. 4 In more recent times, the Romans conquered Macedonia, the home of that Alexander who, by his genius and his extraordinary bravery, overthrew the Persian empire. Carthage, which had for twenty-four years fought to resist the Romans in Sicily, contesting the largest and most numerous battles by land and sea, succumbed to the power of the Romans; and later, after Carthage started the so-called Hannibalic War, although it won many battles by land and sea, and achieved great fame for its exploits under the leadership of Hannibal, a most excellent general, yet finally it was subdued by the bravery of the Romans and Italians, as well as by the prowess of Scipio. 5 The Cimbri, who had the appearance of giants, endowed with enormous strength, destroyed several large Roman armies and attacked Italy with four hundred thousand men; but, thanks to the courage of the Romans, they were completely exterminated.

6 G   So everyone judged that the palm of bravery should be awarded to the Romans and the people of Italy; but fate, which seemed deliberately to provoke discord among these peoples, unleashed a war that surpassed all others in its proportions. The people of Italy, who were always considered the bravest, were torn apart by internal factions, and rebelled against the authority of Rome. Then there arose this immense war, which was called the Marsic War after the name of the Marsi who were the leaders of the rebellion.

[2] G   (Diodorus says that) the so-called Marsic war (which happened in his lifetime) was greater than all previous wars. The Marsic war took its name from the leaders of the defection, although the Italians in general made this war upon the Romans. It is said that the primary cause of this arose was that the Romans, who had risen to such great power through their frugal and sparing way of living, fell into the pursuit and luxury and licentiousness. 2 This alteration caused great dissension between the populace and the senate; and when the senate called on the Italians for support, and in response to their frequent entreaties promised to enfranchise them, and make them free citizens of Rome, and to ratify it by a law, but the Italians saw nothing performed as had been promised, these were the sparks which at length broke forth into a flame at the time when Lucius Marcius Philippus and Sextus Julius were consuls, in the hundred and (?) seventieth Olympiad.

3 G   Many were the slaughters, sieges, and sacking of towns on both sides, during this war, victory hovering sometimes here and sometimes there, as if uncertain where to fall, and giving no assurance to either party which of them she favoured. But at length, after the shedding of much blood, the Romans with much difficulty got the better, and regained their former power and sovereignty. 4 There were engaged against them in this war the Samnites, the people of Asculum, the Lucanians, the Picentes, the people of Nola, and other cities and nations; amongst which was Corfinium, a large and famous city, recently established as the capital city of the Italians. Here were all things necessary for the support and defence of so great a city, and the maintenance of the government; particularly a large forum and council-house, with a vast treasure, and a plentiful stock of provisions of all sorts.5 They had likewise a senate consisting of five hundred members; out of which were chosen those considered fit to hold the most important magistracies, and to manage the weighty affairs of state. These therefore they entrusted with the management of the war, and put the absolute power of conducting all their business into the hands of the senators, who made a law that two consuls should be chosen every year, and twelve generals. 6 At this time Quintus Pompaedius Silo, a Marsian, (a person of the highest repute in his country), and Gaius Aponius Motylus, a Samnite, likewise famous for his noble acts above the rest of his own nation, were chosen consuls. They divided all Italy into two parts, and took each an equal share for the execution of their consular authority. 7 They allotted the region or tract from the Cercoli (so called) to the Adriatic sea, which lies to the north and west, to Pompaedius and six of the generals. The rest, which lay to the south and east, the Italians assigned to Motylus, with an equal number of generals. Having put all things into this good order, and, to sum up, having ordered all things according to the ancient model of the Roman government, they threw themselves more intently and earnestly into the prosecution of the war, and called the city itself Italia. 8 And they were so successful, that they for the most part came off as victors, until Gnaeus Pompeius was made consul and commander in the war, who with Sulla, the general of Cato the other consul, often routed them, and reduced them to such straits, that at length their power was shattered to bits. However, they still continued the war, but were often worsted by Gaius Cosconius, who was sent as general to Iapygia. 9 Being therefore weakened and much reduced in numbers, since the Marsi and other neighbouring nations had gone over to the Romans, they agreed to abandon Corinfium, their capital city, and transplanted themselves to Aesernia, a city of the Samnites, under the command of five generals; of whom they made Quintus Pompaedius the chief for his valour and prudent management of the war; who with the consent of the other generals, raised a great army, which with the old soldiers amounted to the number of thirty thousand. 10 And besides, he got together at least twenty thousand foot-soldiers and one thousand cavalrymen by manumitting slaves, and armed them as well as the time would allow. Coming to battle with the Romans, whose general was Mamercus, he killed a few of them, but lost upwards of six thousand of his own men. About the same time Metellus captured the important city of Venusia in Apulia, which had in it a great number of soldiers, and carried away over three thousand prisoners.

11 G   And now the Romans prevailed every day more and more against their enemies; so that the Italians sent envoys to Mithridates king of Pontus, who had then an excellent and well appointed army, to entreat him to march into Italy with his army, to oppose the Romans; by which means, they told him, the Roman power could easily be broken. Mithridates answered, that he would march into Italy as soon as he had subdued Asia, the task in which he was currently engaged. The rebels being therefore frustrated in their hopes of immediate assistance, and of supplies of money, were greatly disheartened: for there were but a few of the Samnites remaining, together with the Sabelli at Nola, and also Lamponius and Clepitius, who commanded what were left of the Lucanians.

12 G   The Marsic war being now almost at an end, there arose again a great sedition in Rome, by reason of the contentious ambition of many of the Roman nobles, every one striving to be general in the war against Mithridates, lured on by the greatness of the rewards and riches to be reaped in that war. For Gaius Julius and Gaius Marius, who had been six times consul, opposed each other; and the people on that occasion were divided, some for the one and some for the other. There were likewise other disturbances about the same time; 13 for Sulla the consul went from Rome to the forces which lay near to Nola, and so terrified many of the neighbouring territories and cities, that he forced them into surrender. But when Sulla was engaged in the war in Asia against Mithridates, and Rome was filled with slaughters and internal strife, Marcus Lamponius and Tiberius Cleptius, and also Pompeius, the generals of those Italians who were left remaining in Bruttium, attempted to capture the strong city of Isiae. After they had lain before the city for a long time, they left part of their army to maintain the siege, and fiercely assaulted Rhegium, in the expectation, that if they gained this place, they might with ease transport their army into Sicily, and so become masters of the richest island under the sun. 14 But Gaius Norbanus, the governor of Sicily, so overawed the Italians with the greatness of his army and his vast preparations, that they drew off from the siege; and so the Rhegians were freed from danger. And afterwards, when the civil war broke out between Marius and Sulla, some of the Italians sided with Marius, and the rest with Sulla, and most of them were killed in the war; and all those who survived, joined the conqueror Sulla. And thus, at the same time as the civil war, ended the greatest of all wars, the Marsic war.

[3] G   The Romans formerly, being governed by good and wholesome laws and customs, gradually grew to such a height of power, that at length they gained the greatest empire of any that history makes mention of. But in later times, after they had conquered many nations, and had long indulged themselves in the enjoyment of an uninterrupted peace, they declined from their ancient manners to wicked and destructive pursuits. 2 For the young men, enjoying rest and ease from war, with plenty of all things to be fuel to their lusts, gave themselves up to luxury and intemperance; for in the city prodigality was preferred before frugality, and living at ease before military service; and he that wasted all his time in voluptuousness, and not he that was of a virtuous and sober conduct, was accounted by all to be the only happy man. 3 Therefore sumptuous feasts, most fragrant ointments, flowered and embroidered carpets, rich and stately dining couches, splendidly wrought with gold, silver, ivory, and such like materials, came into fashion everywhere. Wine that was but of an ordinary quality they would not touch, but only Falernian and Chian, and other such fine wines: the choicest fish likewise, and everything of the best sort, was provided to gratify their shameless luxury.4 The young men likewise wore garments of the finest and softest wool, woven so fine, that they were even transparent, and, with their flimsy texture, altogether like women's gowns. All these things, serving to nourish luxury and voluptuousness, (to their ruin and destruction), were generally coveted by all, so that in a short time their prices grew to an excessive level: 5 for a jar of Falernian wine was sold for a hundred drachmas, and a jar of salted Pontic fish for four hundred, skilful cooks were sold for four talents a-piece, and delicate and beautiful boys for many talents. While all with full swing were giving themselves up to this luxurious course of life, some of the governors in the provinces used their utmost endeavour to reform these enormities; and to that end, being most noticeable by reason of their eminent rank, they framed their own lives so as to be examples of virtue and liberal education to others.

6 G   Marcus Cato, a wise man and distinguished by the purity of his morals, spoke in the senate against the luxury that invaded Rome. "Only in this this city," he exclaimed, "does a pot of salted Pontic fish fetch a higher price than a pair of oxen, and a catamite cost more than a slave."

[4] G   I shall mention some men as an example for others, to give them their due praise and as an aid to public life: so that depraved men may be discouraged from pursuing their wicked designs by the blame they receive in histories, and good men may aspire to noble behaviour in the expectation of praise and external glory.

[5] G   Quintus Scaevola used his utmost endeavour to reform other men's corrupt manners by his own virtuous example. For when he was sent as proconsul to Asia, he chose Quintus Rutilius, the worthiest of his friends, to be his legate, and always took his advice in the government of his province, and in making of laws. All the costs and expenses both of himself and his retinue he ordered to be defrayed out of his own purse; and by his moderation and frugality, together with his just and upright dealings, he freed the province from its former miseries and oppressions. For the proconsuls of Asia before him had conspired with the publicans, who at that time controlled the administration of justice at Rome, and they oppressed the whole province with their illegal exactions.

2 G   Mucius Scaevola managed his government with all possible diligence and integrity; he not only suppressed all false accusations, but also restrained the injuries and oppressions committed by the publicans. For whenever any who had been oppressed by those tax-gatherers appealed to him, he commissioned upright judges, by whom he condemned them in every case, and forced them to pay the penalty imposed upon them to the persons they had injured; but for capital offences, he gave sentence of death. 3 One of the stewards of chief these publicans, who had contracted with his master for his freedom in exchange for a great sum of money, he condemned to die before he was manumitted, and crucified him.

4 G   Those that were condemned by the judges, he delivered over to the persons injured, to be carried away by them to prison; so that they who before, through their insolence and greed, committed all manner of injustice, were unexpectedly hurried away to jail by those whom they had injured. Moreover, by paying for his own expenses and the expenses of his retinue out of his own private purse, he soon restored the goodwill of all the allies towards the people of Rome.

[5a] G   . . . he intended; but some say that he left most of his estate to be inherited by the other son, and so risked losing all of it. The youth, who was extremely rash and hot-headed, put on a diadem and proclaimed himself king of the Macedonians. He called on the populace to rebel against the Romans and re-establish the old, ancestral kingdom of the Macedonians. When many flocked to join him, in the expectation of booty, Execestus in his anxiety sent a messenger to the praetor Sentius, to inform him of his son's folly. He also contacted Cotys, the king of the Thracians, and asked him to summon the youth and persuade him to desist from his venture. Cotys, who was a friend of Euphenes, summoned the youth and, after detaining him for a few days, returned him to his father; so he was released from the accusations against him.

[6] G   The governor, by his prudence and timely relief, put an end to the hatred with which Roman rule was regarded. He received divine honours from those he had helped, and numerous awards from his fellow citizens.

[7] G   We must also mention those who, starting from a lowly position, have directed their efforts towards objectives no different from those already mentioned; for both the humble and the exalted are animated by the same zeal to distinguish themselves by their good deeds.

[8] G   Lucius Asyllius, whose father was a quaestor, was sent as praetor to Sicily, and found great turmoil and devastation in the province. But by his prudent management of things, in a short time he restored it to its former state and condition. For after the example of Scaevola, he chose as his legate Gaius Longus, the worthiest of his friends, who was a follower of the traditional temperate mode of life, and together with him used as his counsellor Publius, the most eminent of the Roman knights residing in Syracuse, 2 who besides the gifts of fortune, was eminent for the virtues of his character. His piety towards the gods is sufficiently testified by his sacrifices, gifts, and adorning of the temples; and the quick and lively use of all his senses until the last moment of his life is an evident proof of his sobriety and temperance; and his learning and courteous disposition are apparent from the great value and esteem he ever had of learned men, and his bounty and liberality out of his own purse towards those who applied themselves to the study of the liberal arts and sciences. 3 Syllius made it his daily care to reform and set all things right again in the province, assisted by the advice of these two men, who continued to reside close by him in adjoining houses, and sat with him when he was engaged in the administration of justice.

4 G   In the courts of justice, this man aimed at the public good, and cleared the court of all sycophants and false accusers ; and it was his chief care to relieve the poorest man, and those that were less able to help themselves. Whereas the other praetors had committed the care of orphans and widows who were destitute of friends to tutors and guardians, he looked after them himself, and decided their cases with all the care and diligence imaginable, and was a great relief to the oppressed. And as long as he was governor of Sicily, he continually used his utmost endeavour to suppress both private and public injuries, until he at length settled the island into its former state of happiness and prosperity.

[9] G   The senate had threatened Gracchus with war for transferring control of the courts to the knights , but he exclaimed boldly:   "Even if I am to die, I will not cease . . . the sword seized from the side of the senators." This saying was, like an oracle, substantiated by events; for Gracchus, who aspired to tyrannical power, was put to death without trial.

[10] G   Marcus Livius Drusus, though he was still very young, was adorned with every commendable quality, in reference to either his body or his mind: for he was the son of a renowned father, who was singularly beloved of the people of Rome, on the account of both his noble birth and his virtuous character. And he himself excelled all his contemporaries in eloquence, and all his fellow-citizens in wealth and riches. On account of his faithfulness to his word, he gained a very great influence and authority among the citizens; and, having a thoroughly noble spirit, he seemed to be the only patron of the senate.

2 G   Drusus' family enjoyed great influence due to its noble origin and humanity towards the citizens. When a law had been recently proposed and sanctioned, a citizen wrote in jest at the bottom of his vote:   "This law applies to all citizens, with the exception of two Drusi."

3 G   When the senate rejected the laws proposed by Drusus, he said: "Although I have the power to oppose the decrees of the senate, I will not do so, because I know that the guilty will soon receive their punishment." He added that if his laws were revoked, it would result in the abolition of his law about the judiciary; by this law, every incorruptible man was freed from the fear of prosecution, while those who plundered the provinces would be punished as criminals; so that the envious men, who sought to diminish his glory, would as it were kill off their own decrees.

[11] G   "By Capitoline Jupiter , Vesta of Rome, Mars the patron of the city , Sol the origin of all the people, Terra the benefactress of animals and plants; by the demigods who founded Rome, and the heroes who have contributed to the increase of its power, I swear that the friend or the enemy of Drusus will also be mine; I will not spare my life or my children or my parents, if the interests of Drusus and those who are bound by the same oath require it. If, by the law of Drusus , I become a citizen, I will regard Rome as my my homeland, and Drusus as my greatest benefactor. I will communicate this oath to the largest possible number of my fellow citizens. If I keep my oath, may I obtain every blessing; and the opposite, if I violate my oath."

[12] G   One day, when public games were being celebrated, and the theatre was filled with Roman spectators, they slew a comedian who expressed annoyance on the stage, on the pretext that he had not properly fulfilled his role. The whole theatre was filled with disorder and terror, when fortune brought onto the scene a satirical character appropriate to the circumstances. 2 His name was Saunio, and he was of Latin origin. He was a very clever clown, who excited laughter not only by his words, but even when he was silent by the different poses of his body; there was something appealing about him, so that he enjoyed a high reputation in the theatres of Rome. The Picentes, wishing to deprive the Romans of the entertainment given by this humorous actor, determined to kill him. 3 Saunio, informed of the fate that awaited him, stepped onto the stage where the comedian had just been murdered, and, addressing the audience, he said : "My spectators, the omens are favourable! May this evil turn into good fortune! I'm not a Roman, and I'm subject to the fasces just like you. I travel throughout Italy, searching for favours by making people laugh and giving pleasure. So spare the swallow, which the gods allow to nest safely in all your houses, for it is not fair to do anything that would make you upset." The jester continued to speak with many other humorous remarks that amused them, and so by appeasing the crowd he freed himself from danger.

[13] G   Pompaedius, general of the Marsi, attempted a great and extraordinary feat; for he picked out ten thousand soldiers from amongst those who were afraid of suffering due punishment for their offences, and, ordering them to hide their swords under their coats, marched with them towards Rome, with the intention of surrounding the senate with armed men, and demanding to share in citizenship; and if this was not granted, they would ravage the state with fire and sword. Gaius Domitius met him upon the road, and asked him: "Whither do you go, Pompaedius, with so great a company?" He answered, "To Rome," for he had been summoned by the tribunes of the plebs, to share in the citizenship. But Domitius replied, "You may obtain what you seek far more easily, and much more honourably, if you do not approach the senate in a hostile manner; for the senate will not be compelled, but entreated and petitioned, to bestow such a favour upon the Latins, who are their allies and confederates." 2 Pompaedius was struck by this, as with a divine admonition from heaven, and, convinced by what Domitius had said, he immediately returned home. And thus Domitius, by his prudent advice, delivered his country from the dreadful misfortune that threatened it, addressing himself to Pompaedius much more effectively than Servilius the praetor did to the Picentes: for Servilius spoke to them not as to freemen and allies, but as to slaves, and insulted them with the greatest scorn and contempt imaginable. He uttered such appalling threats, that he provoked the allies, to the ruin and destruction both of himself and others. But Domitius on the contrary, by his mild and calm speech, allayed the fury and violence of the enraged rebels.

[14] G   They shared the spoils with the soldiers, in order to give them a taste of the profits of war and make them more disposed to fight for freedom .

[15] G   Marius led his army into the plain of the Samnites, and encamped in front of the enemy. Pompaedius, who had been invested with the chief command of the Marsi, also advanced with his troops. As the two armies approached one another, their warlike attitude changed into a peaceful mood. 2 When they came into sight, the soldiers of each army recognized many of their hosts, their comrades, and finally many of those with whom they were bound by family ties. Natural sympathy therefore drove them to exchange kind words; they called each other by their names, and exhorted them not to defile themselves with the murder of their kinsmen. Putting aside their panoplies, which they held ready to fight, they stretched out their right hands, and cordially embraced. 3 Marius, when he saw this happening, also left the ranks; Pompaedius did the same, and the two leaders talked amicably. While these leaders were talking at length about peace and citizenship, both sides were filled with joy and hope, and instead of a battle, there was the appearance of a festival. By appropriate words the (?) commanders encouraged a peaceful conclusion, and they all gladly abstained from bloodshed and fighting.

[16] G   There was one Agamemnon, a Cilician, who on account of his wicked deeds and murder of allies, was committed to prison in Asculum by the Romans. This man was released by the Picentes, and in gratitude for the kindness shown to him, fought resolutely on their side. Being inured to robberies from a boy, he joined with others of a similar nature, and ravaged the enemy's country.

[17] G   Although he was not from an illustrious family and he lacked the resources for advancement, yet he unexpectedly achieved great repute and glory . . . Fortune tends towards what is fitting, and it involves those who plot evil against others in similar misfortunes of their own. They may act like tyrants for a time, but the crimes of these tyrants will eventually be punished.

[18] G   A Cretan came to the consul Julius and offered to act as a traitor. "If by my help," he said, "you defeat your enemies, what reward will you give me?" Caesar replied, "I'll make you a citizen of Rome, and you will be in favour with me." At these words, the Cretans laughed and said, "Citizenship is considered a nonsense amongst the Cretans. We aim at gain when we shoot our arrows; we only work on land and sea to get money, and so I have come here in search of money. As for political rights, grant that to those who are fighting for it and who are buying this nonsense with their blood." The consul laughed at this and said to the man, "Well, if we are successful, I will give a reward of a thousand drachmae."

[19] G   The people of Aesernia, pressed by famine, found some way of driving the slaves out of their city, because circumstances forced them to try anything and ensure their salvation by the destruction of others. Beset by this terrible misfortune, the slaves withdrew, but they found recompense for the cruelty of their masters in the kindness of their enemies.

2 G   The people of Aesernia ate dogs and other animals; for their bodily needs forced them to act completely against convention, and to make use of abominable and unusual food.

3 G   The soul of man partakes of the divine nature; sometimes it can predict the future, and by using natural images it can foresee what is going to occur. This is what happened to women of Pinna, who lamented their misfortune before it happened to them.

4 G   The Italians led the children of the people of Pinna to the foot of the walls of the city, and threatened to kill them if they did not abandon their alliance with Rome. But the people of Pinna were prepared to suffer terribly, and replied : "If you deprive us of our children, we will produce some more easily, as long as we remain faithful to the Romans."

5 G   These Italians, despairing of taking the city by persuasion, performed an act of great cruelty. They brought the children up to the walls, and ordered those who were about to die to implore the mercy of their fathers, and to raise their hands to heaven, begging the sun, which oversees the life of all men, to save their innocent lives.

[20] G   The inhabitants of the city of Pinna fell into most dreadful calamities on account of their constant fidelity to the Romans; for, being obstinately resolved not to desert the Romans, they were forced to put aside any sense of natural affection, and watch their children being slaughtered before their eyes.

[21] G   Their warlike ardour was such that they could not be surpassed by anyone, in fearlessly braving all dangers. Although they were outnumbered the besiegers, they made up for their lack of numbers by their extraordinary courage.

[22] G   The Italians, who had so often fought brilliantly on behalf of the Romans, now that they were fighting for themselves, showed even more bravery than in their previous victories. For their part, the Romans, who were fighting against their former subjects, did not want to appear to be outdone by their inferiors.

[23] G   Lamponius charged at Crassus, in the belief that the people ought not to fight for the leaders, but the leaders should fight for the people.

[24] G   The Romans and Italians fought to be able to bring in the crops. They kept on slaughtering each other in their confrontations; for with the wheat close at hand and ready to be harvested, they strove to obtain this essential food by mutual bloodshed. The soldiers did not wait for a command from their leaders; nature spurred them on to acts of bravery, because lack of food compelled them. They all preferred to die gloriously by the sword of the enemy, rather than by hunger.

[25] G   Lucius Sulla bravely and gallantly performed most notable actions, and his fame and renown was celebrated all over the city. The people of Rome judged him worthy of the consulship, looking upon him as a man eminent for both his valour and his skill as a general; in summary, it was clear that he was likely to reach the highest pitch of glory.

[26] G   Mithridates having conquered the Roman generals in Asia, and taken many prisoners, sent them all home with clothing and provisions for the journey. This mild treatment was reported everywhere, and the cities generally came flocking over to him; so that envoys came to him from all cities, inviting him by their public decrees to enter their territory, calling him their god and deliverer. Upon notice of the king's approach, the people came in crowds out of the several cities, wearing bright garments to greet him, and received him with great joy and acclamation.

[27] G   Mithridates' party swept all before them in Asia, and as there was nothing to stop them, all the cities revolted from the Romans. The Lesbians resolved not only to surrender themselves to the king, but also to deliver up Aquilius, who had fled to Mytilene, and was receiving treatment for an illness there. Therefore they sent to his lodgings some youths, chosen for their strength, who all rushed inside the house, and seized Aquilius and bound him, supposing he would be a splendid present to send, and very acceptable to the king. 2 . . . but he, though he was but as yet a youth, performed a most noble and heroic act ; for preferring death before disgrace and humiliating punishment, he pre-empted the men who were ready to hurry him away, and killed himself; by this desperate act he so shocked those that came to seize him, that they did not dare approach him. His valour and resolution, therefore, became famous everywhere; by putting an end to his own life, he had rescued himself with an undaunted courage from the torments awaiting him.

[28] G   When it came to a sea-fight, the Rhodians were outclassed in nothing except the number of their ships; and in all other respects they were far superior. They were the better pilots, and knew better how to arrange their ships and ply the oars; they had the braver soldiers, and the more expert commanders. The Cappadocians, on the other hand, were inexperienced and seldom exercised in sea-fights; and, what is a common cause of failure, they acted without any discipline. It is true, indeed, they were as eager to fight as the Rhodians, because they were to fight within sight of the king, and therefore wished to demonstrate their loyalty and affection to him. Since they only surpassed their enemies in the number of their ships, they used all the arts and contrivances they could devise to surround and hem them in.

[29] G   Marius went every day to the Campus, where he took part in military exercises. He wanted to correct the weakness and slowness of age by daily exercise and hard work.

2 G   Gaius Marius was the most renowned person of his time, when he was young: he was ambitious of honour and glory, free from greed, and performed many noble acts, both in Africa and Europe, so that his name was famous, and celebrated everywhere. But when he reached old age, he coveted the riches of king Mithridates, and the wealth of the cities of Asia, and sought against the laws to have the province, which was allotted to Cornelius Sulla, transferred to himself. As a result, he suffered many calamities, and brought disgrace on his previous good reputation; 3 for he not only failed to obtain those riches which he coveted, but also he lost all his own possessions, when his property was confiscated because of his extraordinary greed. He was, moreover, condemned to death by his own country; but escaped that punishment by running away, and wandered solitarily and alone up and down Italy. At length he was forced out of Africa and reached Numidia, without any resources, servants or friends. Afterwards, when the civil wars broke out in Rome, he joined with the enemies of his fatherland, and, being victorious, he was not contented with his return home, but stirred up the flames of war. At length, having gained a seventh consulship, and by his own misfortunes learned the inconstancy of fortune, he was unwilling to put things to a hazard any more.

4 G   Therefore, foreseeing the impending war that Sulla would bring upon his country, he willingly departed from life; but he left behind him the seeds of a grievous war, which involved his son and country in most dreadful calamities. His son, being forced to contend with an enemy more powerful than himself, perished most miserably in a vault, where he fled to hide himself. The people of Rome and cities of Italy descended into the cruel war that had long awaited them, and suffered many dreadful calamities. 5 For two principal men of the city, Scaevola and Crassus, without any course of legal proceedings, were murdered in the senate; their cruel murder plainly demonstrated the extent of those miseries that then threatened both the city and all Italy: for the majority of the senators, and the most eminent men of the city, were slaughtered by Sulla, and no less than a hundred thousand soldiers were slain, either in mutinies or battles; and all these miseries were caused at the start by the greed of Marius.

[30] G   Wealth, the subject of so much dispute amongst men, sometimes causes great misfortunes to those who long to gain it. It drives them to unjust and criminal actions; it provides fuel for licentiousness, and leads the unwise into shameful behaviour. Thus we see these men fall into the greatest misfortune, and bring disaster on their cities. 2 Such is the pernicious power of gold over men, when they foolishly over-value it. In their insatiable greed, they apply to everything these verses of the poets:
  "Blessed gold, most beautiful gift to mortals, greater pleasure than a mother . . ."

And also:
  "Let them call me wicked, as long as I make a profit. "

And these verses:
  "Blessed gold, offshoot of the land, what desire you inflame in mortals! You are mightiest of all, you are tyrant of all. In a war you are more powerful even than Ares. You entice everything; the trees and wild animals may have followed Orpheus with his songs, but you lead the whole earth, the sea and all-finding Ares."

3 G   Yet how much better it would be to quote the poems which give the opposite advice:
  "Lady wisdom , how I admire you! I would not wish the god to give me the bright gleam of gold, or a tyrant's power, if I cannot have wisdom. Furthest from Zeus stands the man who has amassed a fair treasure."

Book 38


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